I have often posted about snake oil vendors on the internet and the operation of scummy affiliate marketers that flood our inboxes and search results with come-ons for worthless products that hook vulnerable people into giving up credit card numbers and signing up for endless refills of overpriced trash.
After some brilliant internet sleuthing, GoDaddy just killed 15,000 spammy domains that hawk these products. The article is worth the read if you’re interested in protecting your loved ones from bogus marketing and scams.
It certainly won’t be the end of the problem, but it’s a good thing and I give them props for the effort.
Even if torpedoing 15,000 domains won’t put much of a dent in one of the most pervasive scourges of the web—as Miller-Osborn fully acknowledges—it at least shines a light on the problem. You can’t clear all the rats out of the sewer, but you can at least remind them that you’re there.
This is something that I have struggled with since the dawn of the internet, and long before.
I remember my sense of dismay when I read a letter in the newspaper (remember those?) to an advice column, from a reader who basically said “my husband’s kind of a slob but he’s a good man and I love him.” Shortly after that, the columnist posted a response from some uppity SJW who had to write back to the effect that “My husband cleans up after himself, and I’m so much better than you, you worthless doormat.” I was saddened that the columnist felt a need to diminish an honest sentiment for the sake of readership.
Nowadays the outrage over anything and everything flows like the Mississippi River, wide, full, and neverending. Anytime something begins showing up on the Internet as a meme or a recurring joke, you know there’s some truth behind it.
In 1960, A.J. Liebling wrote, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” In our day, the Internet provides a pulpit and a bullhorn to every genius, idiot, savior, preacher, or troll who has access to a terminal. And the cacophony can be overwhelming.
I learned from reading the linked article that Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher) just walked away from a Twitter account with 4,000,000 followers because so many people were not following what has come to be known as Wheaton’s law: “Don’t be a dick.” If a celebrity who has dedicated his life to making the world a better place has to step back from the fury, you know it’s bad out there.
And the thing is, it’s not just opinions. The Greeks have a saying: “Η γλώσσα κόκαλα δεν έχει και κόκαλα τσακίζει” (I glossa kokala then exi kai kokala tsakizi). It means, “The tongue has no bones, but it breaks bones.” This kind of madness hurts. Actress Kelly Marie Tran who played Rose Tico in “The Last Jedi” had to leave Instragram because of months of harassment from drooling, racist cretins. And that’s just a crying shame.
People need to just clean up their acts and begin cultivating a sense of social decency rather than unbridled rage, rudeness, meanness, and bullying. As a species we will never be able to crawl out of the mud and shoot for the stars unless it happens.
Having recently re-watched the first Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr. and having devoured “Sherlock” with Benedict Cumberbatch some time before, I put out a poll to my Facebook circle of friends: Which Holmes did you like best?
Despite being only 4 days in, Mr. Cumberbatch leads by an overwhelming margin of 24 to 4… but the comments at the poll indicated that there were others who might have fared even better. So I went digging and found as many Sherlocks as I could see (and I may have missed a few in spite of it all, although I suspect these are perhaps the best known); I was astonished to see how many superb actors undertook the iconic rôle, but given the excellence of their craft it was understandable.
I present them here for your gratuitous viewing pleasure.
Who do you think did the best Holmes? Do your homework. There will be a quiz (actually, it’s the poll at the end.)
Viggo Larsen Sherlock Holmes i Livsfare
Alwin Neuß Sherlock Holmes
Henry Arthur Saintsbury The Valley of Fear
Eille Norwood The Yellow Face
John Barrymore Sherlock Holmes
Clive Brook The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Wontner Sherlock Holmes Fatal Hour
Raymond Massey The Speckled Band
Reginald Owen A Study in Scarlet
Bruno Güttner The Hound of the Baskervilles
Louis Hector The Three Garridebs
Basil Rathbone The Hound of the Baskervilles 1939 Probably the most definitive Holmes of my parents’ generation
Alan Napier The Speckled Band
Alan Wheatley Sherlock Holmes
Ronald Howard Sherlock Holmes
Peter Cushing The Hound of the Baskervilles
Christopher Lee Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace
Douglas Wilmer Detective
John Neville A Study in Terror
Robert Stephens The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
Radovan Lukavský Touha Sherlocka Holmese
Stewart Granger The Hound of the Baskervilles
John Cleese Comedy Playhouse; Elementary, My Dear Watson:
The Strange Case of the Dead Solicitors
Leonard Nimoy The Interior Motive – Stage Play 1975
Roger Moore Sherlock Holmes in New York
Nicol Williamson The Seven Percent Solution
Christopher Plummer The Sunday Drama
Vasiliy Livanov Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: The Acquaintance
Tom Baker The Hound of the Baskervilles Series
Guy Henry Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor
Peter O’Toole Burbank films, Animated
Ian Richardson The Hound of the Baskervilles
Jeremy Brett The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1984 By far the most popular suggestion from my poll-takers.
Nicholas Rowe Young Sherlock Holmes
Brent Spiner TNG “Elementary, Dear Data”
Michael Caine Without a Clue
Michael Pennington The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Anthony Higgins Sherlock Holmes Returns
Matt Frewer The Hound of the Baskervilles 2000 A good fit for Berlinghoff Rasmussen, a time-traveling con-man in Star Trek. As Holmes? Not so much.
Joaquim de Almeida The Xango from Baker Street
James D’Arcy Sherlock
Richard Roxburgh The Hound of the Baskervilles
Rupert Everett Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk
Jonathan Pryce Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street
Robert Downey, Jr. Sherlock Holmes 2009 Perfect Holmes for the Guy Richie vehicle; Jude Law was a great Watson as well.
Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock 2010 You could not ask for a more exquisite “high-functioning sociopath.”
Ben Syder Sherlock Holmes
Jonny Lee Miller Elementary
Gary Piquer Holmes & Watson. Madrid Days
Igor Petrenko Sherlock Holmes; Russian series
Kōichi Yamadera Sherlock Holmes
Ian McKellen Mr. Holmes
Yoshimitsu Tagasuki Shisha no teikoku 2015
Will Ferrell Holmes and Watson 2018 Perhaps the most maligned Holmes outside of Matt Frewer, but this film was not intended to be taken seriously.
So now, you must choose. But choose… wisely.
The Old Wolf has spoken, and will be interested to see the results.
This started out as a Facebook thing; I participated, and – having a lot of erudite and eclectic friends – I got a lot of commentary.
Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you, for whatever reasons. This isn’t your top 15 canon or even books you’d necessarily recommend, just books that have made their mark on you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
I gathered all the responses, edited out the duplicates, and came up with this list – which would keep me busy for quite a while if I ever found myself locked in a bookstore after the zombie apocalypse…
I have chosen to share the list for your gratuitous pleasure. Enjoy.
1984 – George Orwell A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton A Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle A Separate Peace – John Knowles A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith. A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula LeGuin A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle Alice Munro (anything) All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr An American Bible – Elbert Hubbard Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt Animal Dreams – Barbara Kingsolver Animorphs series – Katherine Applegate Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy Anne Of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery Babel Tower – A. S. Byatt Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delaney Baby Island – Carol Ryrie Brink Barbara Pym (anything) Becoming – Michelle Obama Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me – by Richard Fariña Beloved – Toni Morrison Beyond the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo Black Beauty – Anna Sewell Black Boy – Richard Wright Black Like Me – John Howard Griffin Bonds that make us Free – C. Terry Warner Born A Crime – Trevor Noah Brave New World – Aldous Huxley Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke Come to Grief – Dick Francis Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky Cry the Beloved County – Alan Paton Dans l’or du temps – Claudie Gallay Death at an Early Age – Jonathan Kozol Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler Double Negative – David Carkeet Down all the Days – Christy Brown Dreamsnake – Vonda N. McIntyre Dune – Frank Herbert Educated – Tara Westover Ender series – Orson Scott Card Enemy Mine – Barry B. Longyear Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer Expecting Adam – Martha Beck Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce Foundation Trilog – Isaac Asimov Gaudy Night – Dorothy L. Sayers Girl in Translation – Jean Kwok Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas Hofstadter Grant – Ron Chernow Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck Green Eggs And Ham – Dr. Seuss Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond Hamilton – Ron Chernow Handbook of Designs and Devices – the Dover Pictorial Archive Harry Potter Saga – J.K. Rowling Have Space Suit, Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad Horton Hatches the Egg – Dr Seuss How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins I Am A Strange Loop – Douglas Hofstadter I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou In Calabria – Peter Beagle I Will Always Love You – Cecily von Ziegesar If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! – Sheldon Kopp In the Garden of Beasts – Eric Larson Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer It’s the Heart That Goes Last – Margaret Atwood Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë Joan Aiken (anything) John le Carré (anything) John Scalzi (anything) Kate Atkinson (anything) Kon Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl Leaders eat Last – Simon Sinek L’écume des jours – Boris Vian Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin Les gens de Mogador – Élisabeth Barbier Les Miserables – Victor Hugo Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone – Susan Beth Pfeffer Light in August – William Faulker Little Men – Louisa May Alcott Little Women – Louisa May Alcott Lord of the Flies – William Golding Love, Again – Doris Lessing Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl Me & Emma – Elizabeth Flock Michel Folco – Everything Middlemarch – George Eliot Mistress Masham’s Repose – T. H. White Moby Dick – Herman Melville My Antonia – Willa Cather My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante My Name is Asher Lev – Chaim Potok No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy O, Pioneer – Willa Cather Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens On Becoming a Person – Carl Rogers On Writing – Stephen King Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson Pappan och havet – Tove Jansson Past Sins – Pen Stroke Peeps – Scott Westerfeld People of the Book – Gwendolyn Brooks PG Wodehouse (anything) Philip K. Dick (anything) Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett Possession – A.S. Byatt Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen Puckoon – Spike Milligan Reading in the Dark – Seamus Deane Resurrection – Leo Tolstoy Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis Seven Days In May – Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle Silent Spring – Rachel Carson Spiritual Roots of Human Relations – Stephen R. Covey Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein Strumpet City – Joseph Plunkett Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives – David Eagleman Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy The “Tomorrow” series – John Marsden The Alexandria Quartet – Lawrence Durrell The Anatomy of Peace – The Arbinger Institute The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama The Black Stallion – Walter Farley The Book of Mormon The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky The Call Of The Wild – Jack London The Canopy of Time – Brian Aldiss The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer The Carpet Makers – Andreas Eschbach The Chosen – Chaim Potok The Company of Wolves – Angela Carter The Compassionate Samurai – Brian Klemmer The Crystal Cave – Mary Stewart The Dark – John McGahern The Dean’s December – Saul Bellow The Devil Tree – Jerzy Kosiński The Diary of a bookseller – Shaun Bythell The Disposessed – Ursula LeGuin The Education of Little Tree – Asa Earl Carter The Ellie Chronicles – John Marsden the Emily trilogy – L. M. Montgomery The Family of Man, Museum of Modern Art Exhibition Catalogue The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand The Giver – Lois Lowry The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins The Golden Apples of the Sun – Ray Bradbury The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck The Great Divorce – C. S. Lewis The Green Hills of Earth – Robert A. Heinlein The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood The Hiding Place – Cory Ten Boom The Holy Bible The Horse’s Mouth – Joyce Cary The Human Comedy – William Saroyan The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot The Jewel in the Crown Quartet and Staying On – – Paul Scott The Last Question – Isaac Asimov The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle The Lazarus Long series – Robert Heinlein The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula le Guin The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold The Magus – John Fowles The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy The Odyssey – Homer The Rape of Nanking – Iris Chang The Red Tent – Anita Diamant The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – William L. Shirer The Road – Cormac McCarthy The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret History – Donna Tartt The Shining – Stephen King The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner The Source – James A. Michener The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell The Spinning Heart – Donal Ryan The Sword of Shannara – Terry Brooks The Thirteen Clocks – James Thurber The Thrawn Trilogy – – Timothy Zahn The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger The Turn of the Screw – – Henry James The Twilight Saga – – Stephanie Meyer The Whiteoaks of Jalna – Mazo de la Roche The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (various) Time and Again – Jack Finney To Be a Slave – Julius Lester To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis Tolkien (anything) Tomorrow When the War Began – John Marsden Tortilla Flats – John Steinbeck Touching Spirit Bear – Ben Mikaelsen U.S.A. Trilogy – John Dos Passos Ulysses – James Joyce Up the Down Staircase – Bel Kaufman Ursula LeGuin – Everything Vida – Marge Piercy Waiting for the Barbarians – JM Coetzee War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy Warmth of Other Suns -Isabel Wilkerson White Fang – by Jack London Wicked – Gregory Maguire Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys Young Jedi Knights series – Kevin J. Anderson) Zookeeper’s Wife – Diane Ackerman
The Old Wolf assumes no liability for death by starvation in libraries, dens, or bookstores.
People who send things like this out are the dung of dung-eaters. Please never fall for these shady extortion efforts.
From: “Ava Avila” <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: [redacted] Subject: Central Intelligence Agency – Case #45693781
Case #45693781 Distribution and storage of pornographic electronic materials involving underage children.
My name is Ava Avila and I am a technical collection officer working for Central Intelligence Agency. It has come to my attention that your personal details including your email address [redacted] are listed in case #45693781. The following details are listed in the document’s attachment:
Your personal details,
List of relatives and their contact information.
Case #45693781 is part of a large international operation set to arrest more than 2000 individuals suspected of paedophilia in 27 countries. The data which could be used to acquire your personal information: Your ISP web browsing history, DNS queries history and connection logs, Deep web .onion browsing and/or connection sharing, Online chat-room logs, Social media activity log.
The first arrests are scheduled for April 8, 2019.
Why am I contacting you ?
I read the documentation and I know you are a wealthy person who maybe concerned about reputation. I am one of several people who have access to those documents and I have enough security clearance to amend and remove your details from this case. Here is my proposition.
Transfer exactly $10,000 USD (ten thousand dollars – about 2.5 BTC) through Bitcoin network to this special bitcoin address:
3C36DiGhcf4LvznzC6B2MWduPrL9rakgRp (note: this is a scam bitcoin address, never use it for anything.)
You can transfer funds with online bitcoin exchanges such as Coinbase, Bitstamp or Coinmama. The deadline is March 27, 2019 (I need few days to access and edit the files).
Note: I didn’t see this email until April 9, 2019 – thus far I haven’t been arrested by the CIA. 🤣😜🤣
Upon confirming your transfer I will take care of all the files linked to you and you can rest assured no one will bother you.
Please do not contact me. I will contact you and confirm only when I see the valid transfer.
Ava Avila Technical Collection Officer Directorate of Science and Technology Central Intelligence Agency
The executive summary: “I’m a corrupt CIA agent, and if you bribe me $10,000 I’ll make your child-pornography file go away.”
Look at this email address: email@example.com – it’s from a domain in Gabon. These people are dumber than a pile of bricks.
Never fall for scummy tricks like this. Never give money to scammers. Be careful out there.
Sandwiched between articles on “A New Reason for Dehorning” and “Brown Coal” in the Kansas City Sun of May 6, 1921, one finds this little bit of whimsy – perhaps the editor was desperate for something to fill two column inches on a really slow news day.
Whatever the case, the text reads:
Really Not Important
An investigator claims to have discovered in some dusty archives that back in the days when the pilgrims landed each person coming to America from England was required to bring with them eight bushels of corn meal, two bushels of oatmeal, two gallons of vinegar and a gallon each of oil and brandy. In view of the fact that nothing of importance hinges on the truth or falsity of this statement, not much time need be consumed to ascertain whether this is truth or fiction.
I was pointed to this gem by the inimitable XKCD, which cites a grudging respect for the fact-checker of the Kansas City Sun that day.
The rest of the page is viewable as a free clip here; some of the articles are stolid and mundane, others exude a hint of humor – such as this ad for the Peerless Bowling and Billiard Parlors:
Perusing old newspapers can be just as entertaining as Netflix.
An experience interacting with a rather un-Christian biblical apologist some time ago left me somewhat unsettled, and I wasn’t able to think about much else for a couple of days. The thing that unsettled me the most was that despite my best intentions, I felt myself being dragged into the fray.
Additional research on the internet has led me to a plethora of websites of every possible permutation.
Atheists vs. Apologists
Evangelicals vs. non-orthodox Christians
Muslims vs. Jews
Muslims vs. Christians
Jews vs. Gentiles
Secular humanists vs. Believers
Mormons vs. Atheists
Evangelicals vs. Mormons
Bible-believing Christians vs. Jehovah’s Witnesses
Scientologists vs. Everybody
7th-Day-Adventists vs. …
You get the picture. Choose one from column A, and one from Column B, and you’ll be able to find it out there.
Incredible amounts of time, effort, indignation, anger and outright hatred are being spent in attempts to prove, by logic, or reason, or scripture, or exegesis, or tradition, that which is virtually unprovable – hence the cartoon above, which I created more for my own benefit than anyone else’s. And it all comes down to the most basic of human addictions, the addiction to being right.
I remember back in the late 60’s and early 70’s when Vietnam was in full swing, a popular bumper sticker read, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”, and that led me to an odd thought. My own faith holds out that before Christ comes again, the earth has to be made ready for his coming. Part of this involves preaching the Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, which is why almost everywhere you go, you see our young missionaries out spreading the word.
That’s well and good, but what’s the ultimate point of that Gospel? Imagine with me for a moment that the earth was divided into only two nations, Exegetia and Harmonia.
The Republic of Exegetia consisted of three billion people. 99% of those belonged to a single faith – the “correct” one, whatever that happened to look like. Other than that, things were pretty much the same way they are now.
In Harmonia, there were also three billion people, of all different persuasions, religious and secular – and it was not uncommon to find a mosque and a synagogue built next to each other, right across the street from a Hindu temple, an Anglican chapel, and a chapter of the Harmonian Humanist Society. While not everyone was rich, there were no poor, because everyone believed in a society where everyone wins. People didn’t covet one another’s goods. People didn’t lie, or steal, or rob, or murder, or slander or persecute one another. People lived simply, so that everyone could simply live. People respected their environment, and did all they could to be good stewards of the only planet they had to live on. People were kind, and loving, and charitable. Lawyers and judges were out of work, because nobody wanted to sue anyone else.
If you were God, which nation would you want to walk with? “Wait, wait, God loves everyone, he’s not a respecter of persons!” Well, you’re right but you get my point, which is:
“In the end analysis, God cares less about which Church you belong to, or don’t, than how you’re treating your fellow man.”
This, then, is the Ecumenism that I support. It has nothing to do with the various faiths trying to become like one another. It has nothing to do with everyone joining the “First Church of Blah Unsalted Farina”. It has to do with each one of us, regardless of our walk in life, reaching out to every member of humanity and doing our best to create an entire planet where everyone wins, and helping every other member of our species to make it across the finish line.
Utopia won’t come cheap. Given human nature, there will always be poor folk, there will always be those who don’t obey the rules, there will always be illness, natural disasters and everything else that makes our world a challenge to live in. But what if we were to make it even halfway to that glorious goal? Wouldn’t that be better than maintaining the status quo?
The more time goes on, the more I become committed to bringing people to Christ (which is my particular walk) by raising the human condition, rather than worrying about what they wear, which scriptures they read or which direction they face to pray – or if they even pray at all. I may be the only book of scripture that some people ever read.
Just saying that could get me heaved out of my own faith by certain people.