Late Thoughts on a Slow Wednesday #2

ITEM: The Jehovah’s Witnesses have developed a new strategy – they’ve started sending good looking young women round to knock on doors. It seems terribly ungrateful (but also agreeably debauched) to have impure thoughts about people who are only interested in saving my soul.

ITEM: Yesterday I turned the house upside down in search of something that had gone missing. I didn’t find it, but I did discover £3.50 in loose change, an unopened and now out of date box of condoms, enough receipts to wallpaper the spare room, four photographs of The Imaginary Girlfriend taken when she was as good looking in reality as she now is only in my imagination, yet another front door key (I now have four – why do I need four front door keys?), my blood donor book and badge, a letter that was dated 2005 and I thought I’d replied to (wondered why I’d never heard from the guy since, and guess now I know), any number of extremely rude birthday cards, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, I just bunged the last one in, but however you cut it, everything suggests that I am a man who likes his clutter. Oh yeah, and there was a stone with a strange pattern on it that I picked up on a beach and brought home with me for reasons that I now can’t bring to mind.

What’s the strangest thing any of you guys have found while looking for something else?

ITEM: Subject line of a recent spam email – ‘Penis Growth Sample’. They’re going to send me a foreskin clipping?

Ladies, purely as a matter of interest, do any of you ever get spam for bigger boobies?

ITEM: So far today two people have turned up at this blog after using the search engine term ‘peter tennant dog walker’. I’m flummoxed. Is it some neologism for a peculiar form of sexual activity?

ITEM: Let’s get serious for a moment. Over on his blog the redoubtable Stephen Theaker is writing about soliciting votes for awards and so is the equally redoubtable Juliet McKenna on her blog, though somewhat more comprehensively.

The worst case of ‘ballot stuffing’ I ever saw was in connection with that never reliable indicator of achievement the Preditors & Editors Awards. For those who don’t know – you cast your vote and an email is sent asking you to verify. One gentleman was boasting on a message board that he had voted for himself multiple times using the names of everyone in his e-address book, and sent a mass mailing out telling them to just click ‘Yes’ when they got asked to verify.

I thought he was a complete and utter arsehole. He didn’t win either.

ITEM: Mr Theaker is also writing about reviewing under a pseudonym, and as happens so often I find myself in total agreement with him. It’s not up to reviewers to arrogantly declare that conflict of interest isn’t a problem, and then use a pseudonym to avoid criticism from those who feel otherwise. Taking that argument to its logical conclusion we might as well allow authors to write the reviews of their own work, perhaps with reviews from friends and family to crank up the numbers, though of course everyone would need to use pseudonyms to prevent these outrageous accusations of personal bias.

Oh, wait a minute, Amazon and Goodreads have already got it covered.

Full disclosure – back in the early days of Zine/Zene I did review one of my own stories and considered it arguably the best in the magazine under discussion, but I didn’t use a pseudonym and conceded that ‘my judgement might be out to lunch’, or words to that effect.

Readers must be free to make up their own minds if a pinch of salt is required when considering a review, and the person who wrote the review shouldn’t remove the condiments from the table.

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6 Responses to Late Thoughts on a Slow Wednesday #2

  1. Still getting elderly ladies and young men at my door – and working at home I’ve been here every time they’ve called for twelve years. Curiously I’ve found that putting a red A for atheist sticker on my bookcase by the door has been very effective in persuading them to leave. Now, when I say I’m an atheist, I point to it, and they just accept it as a fact and leave, whereas before they would carry on talking, assuming, I think, that I was just saying it to get rid of them.

    Thanks for the linkage… I’m losing my nerve a bit, though – I pushed that second post back a few times before letting it out into the wild.

    • petertennant says:

      Oh, I have no problem shutting the door on people who won’t take no, not interested, for an answer. One woman trying to sell high range tea/coffee products stood there for a couple of minutes raving about how rude I was.

      Despite being an atheist I have an RE ‘A’ level, and can quote Bible with the best of them. There was a time when I used to enjoy standing on the doorstep arguing with people about religion, but I’ve grown out of my desire to be a small village Dawkins.

      I don’t like the use of pseudonyms for reviews, though there are exceptions e.g. the guy behind The Alien Online used to review as Ariel, and it was an open secret, the equivalent of a writer’s pseudonym. And certainly, if you’re writing in a totalitarian state with the risk of prison for saying the wrong thing, I can see good reason to not do so under your own name.

      In general though, I think it’s too prone to ‘mischief’, and Guy Haley’s justification struck me as nothing more than sophistry, if even that.

  2. Cate Gardner says:

    A sad explanation for the four house keys: The Imaginary Girlfriend kept claiming she’d lost the key you gave her and every time you bought her a new one she hid it down the back of the sofa.

    No boob spam, just more penises. Erm… I’ll leave on that note.

    Actually, no I won’t. I remember Zine.

    • petertennant says:

      A nice thought Cate, but alas, The Imaginary Girlfriend doesn’t do home visits, or at least not to my home. She’s often round her friend G’s – mostly when I phone 😦

      >>No boob spam, just more penises

      Spammers do seem rather scattershot in their approach. Market research is what they need more of, to target their niche audience. Do you think we should spam them with an offer?

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