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Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Funnies

Taken quite literally . . .X definitely marked the spot square.
We're hoping for some sun here in Nashua, NH this weekend. While no rain or snow is forecast, the temperatures won't be very spring-like as you can see below. 
Luckily, we have alternate plans to spend part of Saturday morning at an indoor yard sale sponsored by the Nashua area Humane Society. This annual event is always well attended and it's been a couple of years since we last went to one — looking is always free and fun.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Rainy Day Monday

Rain, rain go away was the refrain all day earlier this week. It could have been worse as neighbors to our north had "white" stuff and even some accumulation. There was only an overnight dusting here, which the rain (thankfully) washed away.
By late Tuesday afternoon, things were improving. The cloud cover was impressive as viewed from our 5th floor window.  

Hope the weather is better where you are. We're hoping Spring arrives before Summer.

(Thanks for your comments on the Edible Cake Contest at the Nashua Public Library. I've no idea which won top votes; there was no info on the library's web site.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Eat Your Words . . .

Is an idiom that really isn't literal in the sense that someone could actually eat words. It mean to retract, regret or feel foolish about what was previously said or to admit that a previous statement or prediction was wrong. (For example, many people who were doubtful, he would win the election are now eating their words.)

The exact origin of the phrase is uncertain, yet it was a figure of speech even in playwright William Shakespeare's day. In Much Ado About Nothing (act 4, scene 1), Beatrice (really the character's name) asks Bendrick "Will you not eat your word?" and he replies "With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest I love thee."

Over the weekend here in NH,  not only could words be eaten, but entire books devoured. 

It's not as confusing as it sounds. Since the best place to (literally) eat a book is at the library, that's where I went on Sunday. It was the site of the Nashua Public Library's 6th annual Edible Book Contest which featured about a dozen entries, a few shown here.

There were several categories, first were children's books. 

Here's a couple more children's' book entries.
This entry in the adult book category was quite detailed down to a bloody hatchet.
Here's a couple of entries that were in the family category. 
Library visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite in each category. The popular vote winners would be announced by library closing time. I cast my ballots but didn't stay to learn the final results. 

I admit to having wondered if any entrants later would actually eat their words books.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Funnies

Only one title came to mind for this one — The Light at the End of the Tunnel?
Photo taken at Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) last fall
Forecasts are calling for rainy and overcast weather here in Nashua until early next week. Just yesterday, I spotted these colorful blooms, so maybe spring is (finally) on its way.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

More on Blog Spam . . .

It ain't over, folks, so this is another post on blog spam. 
It's like a bad itch; you scratch it and somehow it returns.

Wanting to learn more about comment spam, I did online sleuthing to learn reasons for and actions bloggers can take. (That's what happens when I'm recovering from a cold and staying awake.)

Thanks to a fellow blogger who posted that some blogs, including mine, had been spammed. I'd deleted recent spam, but wasn't diligent in marking comments them as spam (now done) to avoid future repeats. 

And, I'd failed to re-check comments a couple days after a current post. Sure enough, I found spam that had been left after. This won't be happening again; an Italian proverb states:
When a man deceives me once, it is his fault; when twice, it is mine. Today, this is more popularly translated to: Fool me onceshame on youfool me twice, shame on me. — Good advice !
Everything here may not be practical or applicable for all, but I enjoy sharing info.

What's comment spam?
Sometimes, it's an underhanded sleazy way for a spammer to hope for a free link back to their website by either copying previous comments or leaving a totally irrelevant  comment and a link. If a comment looks like unsolicited advertisement, it's can be spam.

Why it's annoying & why moderate it?
Blog authors take time to design a post they hope will entertain or inform or where they can share things of interest. "Real" commenters spend similar time reading such posts. 

Comment spam, if left unattended, could make it look like the blog author doesn't care about or read comments left by "real" commenters. 

It's even possible that not doing so could put readers at risk. If someone clicks on a fake link in a spam comment, a re-direct might lead to a malware site that could infect a computer with spyware or even a virus. 

You can be sure that not only will that person not return, but could alert others to avoid your blog. Wouldn't you?

How to identify spam
Comment links — be careful when you see links to other websites that you either don't recognize or suspect are not legitimate blogger sites. Avoid clicking on them.

Commenter names — many spammers won't use an actual name, but instead use SEO (search engine optimization) keywords like "best design company." If you spot a comment with no name, mark it as spam. The use of keywords in the name field of a comment without a real first and/or last name is almost always the sign of an SEO spammer. 

Relevant comment — is the comment related to the blog post? Generic platitudes like nice blog heregreat captureI have bookmarked it, keep posting, your site looks amazing can (but not always) can possibly be spam.

Not all comments like this are spam. "Real" commenters may leave similar ones due to time constraints, yet still want a blog author to know they've visited. Perhaps, you've received some from regular readers. In those cases, you'll need decide about its validity.

Inappropriate language — English is the most common language and a comment that you don't understand could be spam.  However, even on English language blogs, those from other countries may comment in their own language. You may well need to use your own judgement in many cases. 

There are two major blogging platforms. Wordpress offers plug-ins to combat spam comments through several third-party systems (at added cost). Blogger offers several built-in features. It's the only platform I've used, so here's some of them. 

Limiting spam in Blogger
Avoid anonymous comments — Log into your blog dashboard and go to Settings > Posts and Comments. You'll see an Option called Who can comment? Instead of Anyone, choose one of the other options: Registered User, User with Google accounts, or Only members of this blog.

Turn on comment moderation — This step takes time, but many blog authors do it to maintain the integrity of their blog. Go to Settings > Posts, comments and sharing and you'll see the comment moderation option. If you set it to Always and enter email moderation requests to — it prevents any comments from being posted without your approval first.

Receive comment notification email — Go to Settings > Mobile and email where you'll see a field for comment notification email. You can enter up to 10 emails, separated by commas. This option will notify you whenever a comment is left.

Enable CAPTCHA verification  — Most spam bots can't surpass CAPTCHA verification. Go to Settings > Posts and comments. You'll see an option for word verification. Enable it, by clicking to Yes and then Save settings. Now to leave a comment, someone will first have to complete a word verification. Be aware that not all commenters may like this additional step especially when reading and commenting on multiple blogs.

Websites implement CAPTCHA codes into registration processes because of spam. Those crazy numbers and letters are a way of checking if the person registering or trying to comment is a "real" human being as opposed to a computer program attempting to spam the site. (CAPTCHA is short for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.)

To check comments
Click Comments > Published
Under the comment, click Delete or Spam to move it to the Spam folder.

To manage comments in Spam, click Comments > Spam
Comments previously marked as Spam will be sent to this folder. You can delete them.  

You can check the spam folder not only to see what's been found, but also to make sure that no "real" comments went there in error. If you find one, click Not Spam and it returns to the post comments.

As the blog author/administrator, you can delete or mark a comment as spam, even if it's already posted — nothing is forever — especially spam.

What method(s) do you use to monitor comments — any of these?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spammers Begone

A special thanks to fellow blogger, William, from Ottawa Daily Photo for the heads up on recent spam comments. I had recognized a couple as such and deleted them, but neglected to backtrack further. After reading William's post, I backtracked and found others. These comments have been deleted and marked as spam in blogger. Also, while checking comments in the spam folder, I found comments from fellow bloggers that were authentic and not spam, those have been restored.

Here's what William posted (I hope he will not mind that I am repeating his warning):

Note to my fellow bloggers, especially those using Blogger as your template. The last few days have seen repeated instances by one spammer, probably using two or more names, pulling the same Thai spammer routine we saw some months back. Co Coya is one of the names being used (Sam Nang being another), and the method is copying and pasting the comments of others (or text from your own posts) and adding in links, including in what looks like Thai spelling for their spam - which is the same page in both instances. 

I've seen it in my blog as well as several of yours, as well as another one going by the name Vaiybora and spamming another Thai page with the same technique. I encourage you to delete any comments from them, but also to report their profiles to Blogger as spam. To that spammer (or those spammers), I recommend you do the universe a favour and take a long walk off a short pier.

As William suggested, I also urge fellow bloggers to delete these comments and report them as spam.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fooled by Mother Nature

What do Easter and snow have in common?

Very little, except this year when the holiday coincided with April Fool's Day, Sunday, April 1. Mother Nature got the message a bit late, and played a weather prank 24 hours later.

Thanks for the well wishes for the Easter holiday. We hope your holiday was happy. 

As in previous years, we were in RI to enjoy some fun activities with the grandkids. This year we arrived early to attend grandson Bobby's science fair. His project was on salinity. 
An egg hunt and egg coloring were highlights on Saturday. Bobby, granddaughter Ellie, and their friend, Andrew, along with Grandpa Grenville and mom Shannon created some colorful eggs.

Ellie worked solo on her creations. 

Easter Sunday we all traveled to CT for a family gathering and holiday celebration. And, there was another egg hunt, organized by Grenville's aunt Anita.
Youngest granddaughter, 14-month old Lilliana celebrated the holiday with her parents and family in PA.
Easter in CT is traditionally a time to celebrate family members with birthdays in March and April. The celebrants (all cousins) gathered for a group photo. 
Soon enough that beautiful weekend weather was a thing of the past. Monday morning was quite a different situation as seen in this 9 a.m. view from our RI hotel.
This was a wet snow that clung to the trees creating a winter wonderland. The photos, which were taken in color, have a monochromatic look.
The 90-minute drive from Warwick, RI to Nashua, NH, was like driving in a blizzard in some areas. Thankfully, the temperature was warm enough so the highway wasn't snow-covered or very busy. We had left after the morning rush hour commute. By the time we reached Nashua, there was hardly any snow remaining on the ground.
Now that Mother Nature has (hopefully) had the last prank in New England, we hope she'll surprise us again and, this time, with some spring-like weather — soon, please.
Thanks for the well wishes for the Easter holiday & we hope you had a good day. 

Today is my "baby" brother's birthday. Here he is on his 1st celebration (I'm on the right).

 Happy Birthday, Tony.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Holiday Wishes (No Fooling)

This weekend is not only a double celebration of two religious observances, but a special date that some jokesters will enjoy as well. 

Passover or Pesach is observed this year from March 30 to April 7. The celebration of Easter changes each year, but it's always celebrated on a Sunday. Today is the first time in 62 years that it falls on the same date as April Fool's Day.

We'll be celebrating the Easter holiday with family in RI and CT. While we're looking forward to both an egg hunt and egg coloring with the grandchildren, we won't be playing any pranks, like using real eggs in the hunt.

Whatever your own holiday (or prankster) plans are for this weekend, we hope that everyone has a safe and happy weekend.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday Funnies

Unusual way to park . . .
And, it makes getting out really challenging.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Bargain Hunting

Who doesn't like a good great sale and, for me, book sales are a favorite event, especially a recent one here in Nashua, NH. 

The Friends of the Nashua Public Library held their annual book and media sale a couple of weeks ago on the weekend of St. Patrick's Day. As Friends members, we were invited to preview the sale (and make purchases) on Friday night. Essentially, that means first choice. I got lucky with a few good finds.
While I would not have purchased these books if they hadn't been found at the sale and it's not that we needed any more cookbooks. But, at $2 each, these like-new books were too good to pass up; the original retail price of each was over $30. 

And who doesn't need a recipe book for Bisquick — apparently, I did at only $1.
Actually, my buying was quite modest with just a couple of other specialty cookbooks which fortunately won't take up much bookshelf space. Preview night is also open by invitation to those who buy books for resale. And they were a lot of these folks with  boxes and tote bags filled with their bargains as well.
 
In addition to fiction and nonfiction paperback and hardcover books, the sale included other items too: games, puzzles, music CDs, and DVD movies. I added a few classic films to our collection: Sabrina, The Way We Were, and The Wizard of Oz. More great deals at only $1 each.

Have you been to any good sales lately — books or otherwise?

Thanks to everyone for your comments on our recent apartment kitchen update. While clearing things out and putting them back was took some effort, it gave us a chance for additional downsizing and updating as well. 

In reply to a couple of comments: The replaced Oneida stainless cutlery was saved for get-togethers (much better than using disposable plastic utensils). The new set is not only nearly the same design, but the pieces are slightly larger and heavier. We expect to be using this set for a quite a few years.
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