Spam (January 2011)

We all get lots of spam on the internet. While I find most of it annoying I understand the objective of most of what I receive.

While I don't buy Viagra on the internet (as far as you know), I imagine that every once in a while someone, somewhere out there actually does. While I don't think it is a good idea to send an African prince money so that he get to bank and then send me back 200% of my money, I guess someone once might have fallen for that scam (and hey, I guess if you've got nothing better to do then might as well give it a shot and send a few thousand emails). While I don't buy strange chinese electronics on the internet, even when my friends send me e-mails in oddly broken English encouraging me to do so, I suppose someone out there might want to save a few bucks and purchase and Aple I-Pood.

I'm sure you've gotten all these types of emails (or similar ones- I may have taken some artistic license above) and more. As I said, I get that someone is trying to scam people out of a few bucks even if they only get one taker for every million e-mails they send.

Having this blog, I also get a lot of spam comments, on all the topics above and more (though prescription drugs seem to be particularly popular topic these days). In fact, at my cousin Thomas' warning, when we originally started this blog we only allowed comments from people that had created accounts. This most restrictive setting was on my cousin Thomas' advice to prevent "the blog-bots" (his word, not mine) from spamming me. After protests from the hordes of friends (perhaps some artistic license again) who wanted to post but didn't want to create accounts, we changed the setting to allow for any kind of postings.

Well, it looks like the blog-bots may be getting their revenge by filling the commentary box with tons of spam comments. Fortunately, Google employs some pretty good software engineers who have figured out to route all these blog-bot comments to a separate spam inbox. Not sure how exactly they stay ahead of the blog-bots, but I'm glad they do (and I apologize to any of you that have made comments involving prescription drugs which ended up in the spam pile).

As I said above, while for the most part I get why people and blog-bots spam, I don't think I have an adequate understanding as to why someone might post this as comments to this blog:

"Safe, they remonstrate on to be taught that filing lawsuits is not the closer to invoke call to a standstill piracy. As an choosing, it's to entreat something mastery than piracy. Like peace of intellectual of use. It's fully a enormous numbers easier to berating iTunes than to search the Internet with jeopardy of malware and then crappy idiosyncrasy, but if people are expected to make amends for fact of bankroll b turn upside down loads and part of at to against ages, it's not overflowing to work. They even-handed standing by a squat consummation thitherto people beget software and Catch sites that amount to it ridiculously as to plagiarize, and up the quality. If that happens, then there valorous be no stopping piracy. But they're too biting and alarmed of losing. Risks recompense in compensation to be french bewitch‚e!"

Clearly they aren't trying to sell me anything, as there is no product to be purchased. Perhaps it is some political statement about free use of information in the internet age? Or an anti-piracy tirade? Those are the only possible themes I've been able to glean from the above.

Perhaps it is a teenager in Thailand experimenting with Google-translator with disasterous results (maybe they are asking to be my friend in some convulated Thai form of nomenclature?). In any case, I love the idea of "berating I-Tunes"; I've actually done the same thing but mainly when a song has become stuck in my head but has somehow ended up in the chasm of my computer and I-Tunes can't seem to find it. I also like the idea of "squat consummation", though it also creates a disgusting image in my head of two people.... well best to leave it there.

The lesson for the day: The internet is a very interesting, but sometimes greatly confusing, place.

And if anyone wants to come out and let me know that this is actually from them, I'll buy them a Guatemalan beer of their choosing (which isn't saying much as they'll only have about 2 choices).

A Famous Queztaltecan (January 2011)

The below article was in the local paper yesterday making Meg famous (or else making someone with a similar, though not identical last name, famous). She's out signing autographs now. The rough translation, for those non-Spanish speakers, is below followed by the original article (which is also available at

Quetzaltecos [what people from Quetzaltenango are called] Work for the Social Good

They are successful empresarios that put individual economic gain secondary and do social work with their earnings.

This week, more than 100 people received free medical care and medicines. In other work, 150 children will be able to begin their studies, thanks to grants, and outside of Xela there is a daycare for mothers who work [this should actually be for the children of mothers who work but they left that out so it implies that the mothers are actually going to daycare, which would be a little odd]. On the environmental front, this year thousands of trees were grown and will be planted and dozens of rural women have better stoves that consume less wood.

These deeds are the fruit of the work of a collective of Quetzaltecos, who through the Pop Wuj Spanish School invest funds to finance these social projects, according to organization member Roney Alvarado. Seventy percent of the financing for these projects comes from the school's own funds and the rest is donations, added Alvarado. There are medical students and residents that come from the United States to study Spanish with the understanding that they will do volunteer work, in addition they receive a cultural competency class to ensure better care of the patients.

Meg Sulivan, the head doctor, said that they attend to patients on Tuesday and five times per year they do health campaigns [this isn't actually factually correct, but it is possible that this mystery "Sulivan" told the reporter the wrong thing...]. Matt Parsons, a volunteer, said that they stay for four weeks and at least one training.