Archive for October, 2010

The Proliferation of ‘Spam’

“Spam, spam, spam, spam … Spam! Love­ly spam!” — Mon­ty Python’s Fly­ing Cir­cus — The ‘Spam’ sketch

The pro­lif­er­a­tion of ‘spam’ (and oth­er atten­dant attempts to access, cor­rupt or oth­er con­script web­sites) is a con­stant pain for any­one. As I write this, the blog has been in action for about eight weeks and has accu­mu­lat­ed over 170 com­ment spam attempts. (That alone is some­what dis­cour­ag­ing, as, if I dis­count my own com­ment replies, that is almost 15x the num­ber of actu­al com­ments the blog has received.) How­ev­er, my Word­Press instal­la­tion is con­fig­ured to auto­mat­i­cal­ly scan any com­ment and sequester any that appear to be spam for my approval. It also means that any post, spam or not, will have to wait until I can approve it until I can imple­ment a bet­ter method for han­dling com­ments, one that will take a lit­tle investigation.

(Its not like the spam is real­ly very intel­li­gent. One sim­ply scat­ters a num­ber of ran­dom let­ters, some­times in a for­eign alpha­bet, around a URL. Anoth­er repeats a rather gener­ic greet­ing. The most amus­ing one was one that actu­al­ly men­tioned ‘hip­no­sis’ but gave as their URL the web­site of a male-enhance­ment drug in German.)

I am using the best spam pre­ven­tion meth­ods I can find, some that should stop spam­mers even before they even get to the web­site, but its an ongo­ing bat­tle. Its just so easy for some­one with lit­tle or no knowl­edge or com­put­er expe­ri­ence to get a spam­ming toolk­it and a list of address­es from a black-hat web­site and start spam­ming away. Its even worse when idiot peo­ple let their sys­tems get com­pro­mised and become unwit­ting tools to act as a proxy army to expand on the efforts of just one spam­mer or a whole array of unsa­vory activities.

And still there is spam. It is a con­tin­u­ing bat­tle. And one that I will con­tin­ue to fight. Its not lim­it­ed here: my com­pa­ny web­site peri­od­i­cal­ly will have a num­ber of attempts to access a non-exis­tent blog or any oth­er pop­u­lar type of web pack­age: I designed the web­site to report any attempts that return a 404 (not found) error and there have been sev­er­al times when it report­ed sev­er­al attempts (the record is actu­al­ly 137 attempts from the same web address at all rough­ly the same time) try­ing dif­fer­ent sequences of URLs in the vain attempt to find some­thing to exploit. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for them, and for­tu­nate­ly for me, there wasn’t.

And what can be done? From a per­son­al stand­point, pro­tec­tion: use an anti-virus pro­gram and make sure it is always up-to-date. In fact, make sure your entire sys­tem is up-to-date with the lat­est cor­rec­tions, most of which nowa­days are to close holes in the oper­at­ing sys­tem that can be tak­en advan­tage of.

But most of all, use good sense. Remem­ber that there are peo­ple out on the Inter­net who will, if giv­en the slight­est oppor­tu­ni­ty, will take advan­tage of it. Don’t let them.

“Secrets of the Sleep Merchants” by William Lindsay Gresham

Back­ground: In junior high Eng­lish class, one of the exer­cis­es was to take a card from a rack, read the arti­cle or sto­ry on it, then answer a series of ques­tions based on that arti­cle or sto­ry. The racks were divid­ed by read­ing lev­el, and most of the stu­dents, includ­ing myself, were giv­en cards from the aver­age lev­el read­ing lev­el. The prob­lem was that even then, I was read­ing at a col­lege lev­el (I read one of my old­er broth­ers’ text­books, “Mythol­o­gy” by Edith Hamil­ton, at the age of 8, and was then answer­ing whole columns (in the form a ques­tion, of course) labeled “Mythol­o­gy” while watch­ing “Jeop­ardy” soon after­ward ) and the selec­tions I was giv­en were rather bor­ing. That was when I decid­ed to try some­thing from the advanced rack, and it turned out to be one of those strange hyp­no­sis-relat­ed coin­ci­dences that pop up every so often in my life.

The arti­cle was enti­tled ‘Secrets of the Sleep Mer­chants’ and it described how carny stage hyp­no­tists of the ear­ly 20th Cen­tu­ry used tricks like chlo­ro­form or hashish to help induce their sub­jects. Every­thing was told from the point of view of the author describ­ing how his father used these tricks. It was a remark­able coin­ci­dence, as by even then I had a strong inter­est in hyp­no­sis. At that time, I decid­ed I would find a copy of this arti­cle for myself, as this was only an abbre­vi­at­ed ver­sion, so I was sure that I mem­o­rized the title of both the arti­cle and the mag­a­zine it was in, “True, the Men’s Mag­a­zine”. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I soon dis­cov­ered that the libraries did­n’t col­lect the mag­a­zine. For years, I would peri­od­i­cal­ly make a slight effort at locat­ing the arti­cle or the mag­a­zine, with no suc­cess, search­ing at paper col­lec­tors con­ven­tions and approach­ing col­lec­tors, and, then, lat­er, search­ing eBay: of course, it did­n’t help that I could only remem­ber the year of pub­li­ca­tion, 1955 (my birth year) but not the month.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““Secrets of the Sleep Mer­chants” by William Lind­say Gresham”

“Batman — The Brave and the Bold”


His­to­ry: It all start­ed with ’ ”Bat­man: The Ani­mat­ed Series” and con­tin­ued with ’ ”Super­man’ “and final­ly “The Jus­tice League”. These series were extreme­ly pop­u­lar with both adults and chil­dren, large­ly for their clever writ­ing and the excep­tion­al voice tal­ents (Michael Iron­side as Dark­seid, Michael Dorn as Kalibak, and, last but not least, Adam West as a washed-up, stereo­typed actor, for exam­ple) under the direc­tion of voice direc­tor Andrea Romano. When they final­ly end­ed, the icon­ic char­ac­ter of the Bat­man was returned to screen in a new series, “Bat­man: the Brave and the Bold”.

So how does it stand up?

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““Bat­man — The Brave and the Bold””

“Warriors of Illusion”

His­to­ry: The name ‘Jack Kir­by’ is be one that every comics fan should imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nize: the artist behind the cre­ation of some of the most rec­og­niz­able comics char­ac­ters ever, such as Cap­tain Amer­i­ca, the Fan­tas­tic Four, the Incred­i­ble Hulk, the Uncan­ny X‑Men., as well as draw­ing just about every major comics char­ac­ter in exis­tence for just about every comics com­pa­ny around. He was called Jack “The King” Kir­by and “The King of Comics“1 and deserved ever acco­lade giv­en him.

But there was a time when he was­n’t work­ing in the comics indus­try. Dis­af­fect­ed with both Mar­vel and DC, he went to Hol­ly­wood and worked for the Ruby-Spears ani­ma­tion com­pa­ny, where he helped cre­ate the visu­als for such ani­mat­ed series as “Thun­darr the Bar­bar­ian” 2 and “Mis­ter T” 3. But that was­n’t all he did: he cre­at­ed a large set of pre­lim­i­nary art­work for a num­ber of oth­er char­ac­ters and groups which have not seen the light of day until recently.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““War­riors of Illusion””

My Weekly Schedule

When I start­ed this blog, I only thought I was going to post every week. That’s changed.

I am now going with the fol­low­ing post­ing sched­ule, but only the Sun­day will be reg­u­lar. All of the rest of posts, on each day, are occa­sion­al, when I find the time and the mate­r­i­al to write about.


Mon­day is for “Mon­day Mes­sages” regard­ing blog sta­tus, my sta­tus, etc.


Tues­day is “Tele­vi­sion Tues­day” about new tele­vi­sion pro­grams and episodes worth mentioning.


Wednes­day will be my “Quick­ie Wednes­day” where I blog about items that con­tain only brief men­tions of hyp­no­sis or are rel­a­tive­ly short entries.


Thurs­days will see my “New In Comics For the Week of –/–/–”. What­ev­er I find rel­e­vant in that week’s (as they are usu­al­ly avail­able every Wednes­day) comics will be men­tioned here.


Fri­days will be “Fri­day At The Movies With Hyp­no­Me­dia” about new and applic­a­ble movie releases.


Sat­ur­day will be “Exis­ten­tial Sat­ur­days”. This is where I will write about just about any­thing that does­n’t have to do with the Hyp­no­sis in Media col­lec­tion or hyp­no­sis-relat­ed mate­r­i­al in gen­er­al. (This is a shout back to Ellie Blunt and her “Eso­teric Sat­ur­day” entries in “The Trans­par­ent Hyp­no­tist” blog and her gra­cious request for me to pub­lish arti­cles there under that top­ic. That was what got me writ­ing about my col­lec­tion and so is part­ly respon­si­ble for the cre­ation of the blog. Thanks Ellie!)


This will be my reg­u­lar week­ly sched­uled post.

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