Going offline, but only briefly (I hope)


InformationTechnologyAs you may know, visitors to this site have received unexpected redirects. It’s frustrating because I can’t see them. I contacted the vendor on Saturday, who found a specific evil bug. That was fixed.

But shortly thereafter, my friend Catbird wrote: “This is where that latest link you sent goes; it’s a phishing page that spoofs Apple. There’s a blue banner across the top of the page saying ‘Safari Search Contest 2021’. This photo is a screenshot of the message, which is obviously some kind of phishing ploy.

“When I called Apple Support they immediately thought you were spamming me and it took a few tries to explain that you were a friend and not only wouldn’t spam me but probably didn’t know how to set up a computer scam.” This is very true, BTW.

So I contacted the host again.


“After further review of the rogerogreen.com website, I am seeing that it’s been compromised since at least July 25th. I checked our oldest backup (dated from 7/30) but noticed the hacked files were present in the backups. Performing a restore via the DreamHost panel is no longer an option as we only keep backups for the preceding 7 to 10 days. Restoring the website from the oldest backup would restore a hacked file structure.”

Yes, that WOULD be unsatisfactory.

Earlier that day, my cousin Tom had looked at the workings of my blog via ZOOM – OK, ZOOM is not ALWAYS terrible. He was looking at my plugins, and somehow he was showing one more than I had installed, or had listed.

Dreamhost guy Matthew noted: “When I checked your /plugins directory within your /wp-content directory, I was able to find a directory named /zend-fonts-wp which looks to contain malware that would redirect the website. After further research, I was able to find it is NOT a valid WordPress plugin.

Like magic

Bottom line: “A full reinstall of WordPress will need to be done to return the site to a properly working, updated, and secure state. The following link has instructions on how to proceed with the installation in a way that will help ensure there is no data/content loss.”

This means this site will go offline for an hour or three, probably today or tomorrow. But as the former governor of California once said, “The more knowledge you have, the more you’re free to rely on your instincts.”

Many thanks to Catbird, fillyjonk, Alison, ADD, west coast Bill, Mary R, Tom the Mayor, Kevin, Darby, Jack, and especially cousin Tom.

How to center yourself to write

You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.

centeringI had a quick question which I’d like to ask:
if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.
I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Thanks!

First, it helps to know what you want to write about. The reason I have well over 100 posts in draft is that sometimes, I’m not always motivated to write about the item I thought I was going to write about.

For instance, late in 2015, I looked at a list of people who were going to turn, or would have turned, 70, in 2016. I created a post for all the people I considered writing about. When you have a daily blog, it helps not to have to come up with something from whole cloth daily. And I’ve already done the same thing for 2017.

Then I do…nothing. I just let the topics percolate in the subconscious of my brain. Then when I read something about that person, I throw the link into that draft post. By the time I actually start writing, I usually know where I want to go, even it eventually takes another track.

As for the actual writing, I try very hard not to worry about grammar, spelling, that sort of thing. Just get the ideas down.

That said, there may be nothing wrong with spending 10 or 15 minutes figuring out how to begin. Maybe that’s your process.

Check out this article from writer Ken Levine.

The question, BTW, came from my spam folder, some German company. I was always jealous of Dustbury’s ability to milk a blogpost from his spam folder every Monday. This was a rare shot to do the same.

Oh, yes, this was also from the spam:

May I simply just say what a relief to uncover a person that truly understands what they’re talking about online. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people should look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.

It’s always nice to be flattered, even by a bot.

January Rambling #1: Of Oz The Wizard

This is what happens when you reply to spam email.


Gordon Parks’ Jim Crow photos still resonate, alas.

David Brooks of the NY Times: The Brutalism of Ted Cruz.

The father of a boy killed at Sandy Hook gets death threats from people who say the shooting was a hoax.

Amy Biancolli: Not alone at being alone.

Affluenza and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

What militants and the pungent salad radish have in common.

Mark Evanier’s scarlet fever.

The New Yorker: My Last Day as a Surgeon. “In May of 2013, the Stanford University neurosurgical resident Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic lung cancer. He was thirty-six years old.”

Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. “Workplaces need more walls, not fewer,” something I’m painfully aware of.

‘Lost’ Jerry Lewis Holocaust film sees the light.

Your favorite movies, re-edited, including Of Oz The Wizard, the movie arranged in alphabetical order, from Aah to Zipper. Don’t watch “of”, if you value your sanity.

Periodic table’s seventh row finally filled as four new elements are added, and the song to go with it.

British actor Alan Rickman, star of stage and ‘Harry Potter,’ dies at 69. Here are his Top 20 movie quotes.

2015: SamuraiFrog’s 50 favorite pop culture artifacts and the year in 4 minutes.

2016 in the Capital District: Salaries, food and taxes, have yourself a nice hot cup of coffee while you still can.

Metroland, RIP, and Albany’s alternative weekly Metroland nostalgic, bittersweet final issue.

TEDx: James Veitch: This is what happens when you reply to spam email.


Natalie Cole, R.I.P.

The Drifters: A Legacy of Harmony

The Beatles’ 50 Biggest Billboard Hits.

SCIENCE WARS – A capella Parody

“Cortez the Killer” – Anders Osbourne Band with Warren Haynes and Danny Louis, Island Exodus 1/18/2013

Hula Medley – Robert Crumb.

Muppets: Kodachrome and Pure Imagination.


abridged classics
How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain.

Morrie Turner dies at 90; broke barriers in comics.


Coming Out as Gay Superheroes.

A Nigerian comics startup is creating African superheroes.

Google alert (me)

Is Arthur a blog cheat? (I don’t think so). And he credited/blamed me for him getting out 365 blog posts in 2015. You’re welcome.

Chuck Miller’s five most prolific blog commenters of 2015.

Get out the vote/off my lawn.

D-Day, as in discovery

Finding myself agreeing with Scalia: “Make no mistake about it. Because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.”

There’s a blogger called Altonian, who is writing a lot about The War Years in England, most recently: “Alton received its fair share of evacuees during the war, most of which came from London.” With my life proceeding as it has, I had not sought to follow any more bloggers. But I saw him comment on the blogs of both Berowne AND Sharp Little Pencil; both of them I met on ABC Wednesday, which, BTW, you can join too.

Berowne, BTW, generally takes a movie or play, changes it up, and sees if you can recognize it. For his current entry, I must admit, I didn’t recognize the movie until he gave a vital hint. Only then was it obvious to me. (I never saw the movie, having fallen asleep watching it on video.)

Amy at Sharp Little Pencil has been writing a string of great poems: a political rant -I don’t rant nearly so well; her manic depression, which she has dealt with; surviving sexual abuse, which she has also dealt with; and a celebration, all in this calendar month.

Appreciated LoveSong: SamuraiFrog and Rainy Days and Mondays on Splotchy’s site. Even without his obsession for Paul Williams, I got to the same place with the song.

Re: ABC Wednesday, I had to deal with a load of spam on the site, all fairly recent. It was a pain; yet its removal felt very cleansing, not as irritating as you would think.

I was struck when Melanie wrote: “It isn’t easy to be still- even when you are sick and can’t move much! That’s because stillness is also a quality of soul.”

I realized, as much as anything, the recent Supreme Court ruling, which states that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime, operates the efficiency over justice model. Finding myself agreeing with Antonin Scalia: “Make no mistake about it. Because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason. But the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would not have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.” Faster – when it tramples on the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure – is not better.
Some recent passings:

Frank Lautenberg, the Last of the New Deal Liberals. The New Jersey Democrat was the last WWII soldier left in Congress. Interesting that Governor Christie has called a special election in October, rather than saving the taxpayer dollars money, by holding it in November. Interesting political calculation.

There would be no ALL IN THE FAMILY without Jean Stapleton.

I used to love to read the syndicated column of Andrew M. Greeley: Priest, Author, Scholar, Scold.

David “Deacon” Jones was the original sackmaster of the National Football League. When I think of the original Fearsome Foursome on the LA Rams, I recall Jones, who the Hall of Fame defensive end who later had his own foundation to help kids; the late Merlin Olsen, who eventually showed up on Little House on the Prairie and other programs; and the still living Rosey Grier, who also played for the NY Giants, and liked to knit. Always seemed to forget the late Lamar Lundy, for some reason.

Ask Roger Anything: Equinox Edition

Sometimes you just have to embrace the spam.

What the title says. You (i.e., YOU there) get to ask me ANYTHING. And I HAVE to answer. Honesty, though evasiveness is allowed.

Just recently, I got a question from a previous iteration of this meme:

Hey there, i read your blog site often and i individual an equivalent one particular we was just wanting to know if you get plenty of junk e-mail remarks? If you are how do you avert this, any sort of tool and also the things you can encourage? I am a great deal of lately it truly is cruising people crazy hence any kind of assistance is greatly loved.

So this was a spam comment about getting junk e-mail. I LOVED it! It made me laugh out loud.

But in answer to the query: yes, I do get a lot of junk mail. I have the Akismet thing that comes with my WordPress, and in less than 17 months, I’ve gotten about 75,000 spam comments. This is why I approve of all my comments.

That said, I don’t get a lot of rude, weird comments here. I HAVE it on the Times Union site. But ever since I said to one guy in particular, in my comments, “Please go away,” he has, and so have all the other stalkers. Who knew it’d be that easy?

And as I’ve indicated before, sometimes you just have to embrace the spam. I mean, I know the nasty spam comments are not really directed to me. But I do like to pretend that the complimentary notes are actually real. Case in point:
I enjoy you because of your entire work on this web site. My mother takes pleasure in participating in internet research and it is easy to understand why. I learn all about the lively ways you present effective tricks through your web blog and in addition encourage contribution from visitors on the theme while our girl is undoubtedly studying a lot of things. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You are always performing a wonderful job.

I mean, why WOULDN’T I want that to be honest, to be sincere? Alas, it’s from some dating site trying to get traction.

Anyway, the answers to YOUR questions will appear soon, assuming you have any. Oh and for the record, I usually participate when others initiate this, as Jaquandor did recently.

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