Post # 173 Spam A Lot

October 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’ve been thinking about Spam a lot over the last couple of weeks, in all its forms.  Mostly because recently I’ve been getting a slightly higher volume of spam in the comments section of this blog.  I’ve had quite a puzzle with what to do with these.

See, the way this blog host handles spam is to put it in a separate folder.  The rules that it uses to determine what is spam versus what is a real comment is the sender’s email address.  Everyone on the internet has an email address and they all use the same basic format: username @ emailhostname.   User names tend to show the creativity or professionalism of the owner.  Mine is simply my professional name.  I know one lady whose username is a reflection of her favorite hobby.  However, when an email comes in from a user whose email address is over two lines long and uses slashes, dots, commas, and semicolons to split the address up into multiple levels before getting to what looks like it might be a real email address, it makes not only the service suspicious, it makes me suspicious.  I wonder if someone’s email has been hacked.  Or if the host name shows that it’s a porn site, I know it’s not one I’m going to answer.  If the body of the comment is in a language other than mine, I know what to do with it.  If the body of the comment is in a language I can read, but reading shows that the sender did not actually read the blog, I know what to do.  (One time I got a comment from someone who said I should stop relying on the videos to make up my blog content.  I’ve never used a video on this blog.  But it’s a good idea!)  So in some cases, it’s very easy to hit the delete key without any guilt at all.

There are other times when it’s not so easy.  Sometimes I get spam comments where the comment is actually lucid and about my blog in generic sense.  It might ask for a follow up on a certain point, or it might want to present an alternative point of view.  I know my friends and I know their email addresses.  I even know some people who have become friends through the blog because their email addresses were standard so easy to reply to.  But it’s those cases that aren’t easy that cause me worry.  I don’t want to shut anyone out if they have good things to say, but I don’t want to open myself up to more spam, or attacks against my computer, even though I’ve got all the requisite fire walls and antivirus set ups.

A few months ago, I set up a separate email for anyone reading this blog who wanted to contact me directly rather than through the blog.  I’ve posted it within blog entries several times.  Here it is again:  So far, the only messages I’ve received on that account have come from Gmail itself.  That goes a long way to letting me know that most of the spam comments I receive really are spam and not legitimate readers.  So, if you’ve ever made a comment and I have responded to it through the blog, you can assume it went to my spam folder for whatever reason and I deleted it.  If you did send a comment on something and want to send it again, please use the email address above.  I’d like to get conversations going between people who are reading the blog, as well as suggestions, etc.  I try to act on all the suggestions I get, spam or not.

Having said that, one spam comment talked about guest blogging.  This person wanted to volunteer to one day guest write a post.  I’m all for that.  Anyone who feels like they want to contribute please feel free to do so.  Contact me at the email address above so we can figure out the best way to do it.

Now, because I’ve been thinking a lot about spam recently, it follows naturally that I’d be thinking about Spam a lot recently.  Those of us who grew up during a specific point in time (50’s, 60’s, and 70’s) will know Spam quite well.  Others may not.  Spam is a canned meat product developed by Hormel in 1937 and has been ubiquitous ever since.

spam 01

It’s inexpensive, fairly nutritious, and has a unique flavor.  It can be made into all kinds of things.  The recipe for Spam has always been pork shoulder and ham combined with just a couple of spices and seasonings and binders and preservatives.  Pretty simple.  Only a few people now how the name came about and they ain’t talkin’.  But the pervading opinion is that it’s a contraction of “spiced ham”.

There are people who love the stuff, and whole cooking competitions have grown around using Spam as the main ingredient.  It’s even shown up on Food Network’s show Chopped.  It’s a love/hate kind of thing.  You either love it or hate it.  Partner/spouse hates it.  I can take it or leave it.  FiL loves it.  Maybe it’s a generational thing.

My mom used to make a main dish casserole with Spam and a box mix of Au Gratin Potatoes.  She’s slice the Spam lengthways and layer it on the bottom of a baking dish.

spam 02

Then she’d mix up the Au Gratin Potato mix and put it on top of the Spam.  She’d bake it according to the directions on the box and serve it up with either a salad or some other vegetable.  Now that I think about it, she only did that once or twice.

When I moved out on my own for the first time, like most young people starting out, I didn’t have a whole lot of money so I was always looking for ways to stretch my food budget.  I used to make Spam sandwiches for dinner and lunch.  I’d take a long sandwich bun and cut it lengthways then toast it in butter.  Once that was done, I’d dress the bun with mustard, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and sliced pickles.  Then I’d fry two pieces of Spam on both sides until brown and crispy.  Put them on the bun with a piece of melty cheese and I had a huge sandwich for not a whole lot of money.  And all the fixins on the sandwich helped mask the flavor of the Spam which I could only tolerate for about six or seven bites before wishing I had almost anything else to eat.

So that’s spam and Spam.  Please enjoy and please, use the email address.

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