Bypassing Spam Filters

The scumbags are getting more inventive.

Thanks to Unicode, many characters will display on the Internet which won’t flag spam keyword detectors, allowing such rubbish to trickle through. Things like this:


From: Ƕσᵯȅ₳ppliaŋce₡overage via

First Month₣RḖḖ on ComprehensiveǶσᵯȅWarrantyCoverage .


From: __ɵṹṝ__ᵵᶖᵯe__dᶏᵵᶖng__ via

Subject: __¶ŋȶeresȶed__¶ŋ__ȿiŋgles__ǿ˅erƼѻ?__

__¶ŋȶeresȶed__¶ŋ__ȿiŋgles__ǿ˅erƼѻ? (This link redirects to an outfit called OurTime; Stay away from them.)
Joinɵṹṝ__ᵵᶖᵯe.comAnd meetȿiŋgles ǿ˅erƼѻ


Unicode allows you to uʍop ǝpısdn ǝʇıɹʍ, among other things, or send people clever greetings:

♫♪♥♥[̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅ Y̲̅][̲̅̅B̲̅][̲̅̅I̲̅][̲̅̅R̲̅][̲̅̅T̲̅][̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅D̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅]♥♥♫♪ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ•*¨`*•♥ •*¨`*•

But unfortunately, evil people have a way of turning anything good to their twisted and nefarious purposes. These two things should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:

  1. Any company that spams you is operating very close to the line of ethicality, and
  2. Any company that spams you in this underhanded way is probably running a criminal enterprise, and should be avoided like the plague.

Depending on what you read, spam can account for up to 90% of all email; at this point, 62% of all web traffic is generated by non-humans, although not all of this is malicious. As for me and my house, any company that spams me is guaranteed not to get my business, and bad reviews in public if they happen to be extra-obnoxious. Halting the flood is like spitting in the ocean, but the best I can do is raise awareness.


The Old Wolf has spoken.

December 17, 1940

From /r/historyporn:


“Children of Japan, Germany, and Italy meet in Tokyo to celebrate the signing of the Tripartite Alliance between the three nations, on December 17, 1940. Japanese education minister Kunihiko Hashida, center, holding crossed flags, and Mayor Tomejiro Okubo of Tokyo were among the sponsors.”

A relevant story from my own family history: My father was, in his day, a well-known character actor who began his career in radio. Italian was his first language, and his theatrical gift made him a superb dialectician. One day he was on a sound stage playing Mussolini in a radio play, when the actor playing Hitler became ill; Dad jumped in and assumed the rôle. By some odd quirk of fortune, the actor playing Hirohito also became unable to continue, and so my father ended up voicing all three parts. The director looked at him and exclaimed, “My God, you’re playing the whole Axis!”

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Movie Review: Monuments Men

I had heard good things about this film from some people I trust, so today the Bean an Tí and I went to see it. Remember that Rotten Tomatoes accorded it only 33% fresh, which is a pretty abysmal rating.

You know what? To Pluto1 with the critics. To Pluto2 with anyone who was paying more attention to the fine details of cinematography. And to Pluto3 with anyone who thought this film stunk. It was wonderful.

I loved the cast; they were wonderful together. I loved the story; it was uplifting and inspiring despite the transitory sadness. And it reconfirmed in my mind that the incalculable evil and darkness that the National Socialists represented encompassed every aspect of their lives; to them, nothing human, nothing of beauty, nothing of decency had any value in their sick and twisted ideology – and they were most definitely worth sacrificing to defeat.

Was this film superb in every way? No, parts of it were pretty vanilla – but it worked well to get its message across, and I’m well-pleased that I saw it.

Rating: 8Stars 8 Stars out of 10.

1. Still a planet.
2. Always was, always will be.

Nine Planets Thumb

Something Smells Rotten in Denmark… Oh Wait, it’s Danish Pastry

(Cross-posted from Livejournal entry of Oct. 12th, 2010)

♬ The sense of sight
Is what guides us right
When we go out on walks.
The sense of smell’s
The way you tell
That you need to change your socks. ♬
-Animaniacs, “The Senses”

Smell and taste are funny things. As anyone familiar with my Banquet from Hell could tell you, one man’s sweet savour is another woman’s “Jayzus Bejayzus Keep It Away!”

A lot of it’s chemical. How this molecule fits into that olfactory receptor or that taste bud. And how it all works is beyond me, given that some living creatures have noses jillionty-three times more sensitive than ours.

But it’s not all chemical. A lot of it goes on in our minds.

A case in point. One day in several years ago I walked into our bedroom, which we were keeping closed as we try to maintain it cooler than the rest of the house; at that time my mother, go ndéanai Día trocaire uirthi, was living with us, and at 94 she liked a warmer environment. I said to myself, “It smells like cat’s piss in here.” Impossible – while we now have three cats, at the time we had none, and we had been in the home for a month and a half. I racked my brain trying to figure out what was smelling so bad – it was making me ill.

And then it struck me. We had two large basil plants in the windowsill, and they were getting the benefit of full Southern exposure. The room was filled with the odor of basil. And I love basil. And as soon as my mind had identified the odor, it no longer smelled like cat pee, or repulsive in any way. Same molecules. Same smell. Just a different frame of reference, and my room smelled like an herb garden.

Pesto waiting to happen

Would it be possible to re-frame one’s mindset so that evil humours are less offensive? Butyric acid is found in puke, but it’s also found in many cheeses. Nobody appreciates a technicolor yawn in public, but if you happen to be an honest to goodness turophile, the smell of a good, authentic European cheese shop is like unto ambrosia, and the smells are astonishingly familiar.

Mind you, some things are not worth the experiment. One of the last times I drove across the country in the spring, I passed through miles and miles of the most fragrant apple orchards in bloom that I have ever seen, followed by the most pungent – and literally lung-searing – stockyards I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. I don’t think I’d like to hang around and see if I could learn to appreciate that evil miasma.

Still, it was an interesting subject to think about. And now I’m craving a portion of gamalost.

The Old Wolf has spoken.