Thursday, June 15, 2006


Ok, so I'm ruthlessly exploiting the "Snakes on a Plane" meme for my own purposes, to drive page views and see who shows up here. If I was really organized, I'd be selling t-shirts, or at least banner ads, but I'm not. This is being done out of sociological interest, plus the sheer thrill of seeing the ol' sitemeter ticking over, plus I saw an article about the mini-fad somewhere today and then I caught yesterday's Daily Show, which also had a SoaP reference, plus it turns out that a recent Colbert Report also had a veiled reference that completely escaped me at the time. I hate it when I'm that not up on the current internet fads, even though I'm technically still boycotting pop culture (just so we're all clear on that). It makes me feel old. I'm starting to think that even frivolous and irrelevant things like SoaP now operate on 24 hour news cycles, just like real news stories do.

Oh, also I'm posting this because the creaky old "OMG PONIES" meme is so ten weeks ago. It's done. It's, like, totally paleolithic. And don't even get me started about furry lobsters or silky anteaters. They may be cute-n-cuddly and all, but their 15 minutes are up.

Anyway, the meme-starting blog entry is here, the IMDB page is here, a good shot of the movie poster is here, and and MSM story from the SF Chronicle (with an impressive link farm) is here. I'm sorry, but they can all go on all they want about how this is a leaderless, viral, emergent phenomenon, but I don't believe it for a minute. Hollywood marketers don't make the big bucks for nothing. They know the net's plagued with needy, gullible fanboys who jump on every bandwagon that lumbers by. So long as you let them go on thinking they're being "subversive" and they're in control of the meme, they'll do anything for you, absolutely free. And they'll never admit to anyone, even themselves, that they were had. Remember the Blair Witch Project fad, anyone? Or was that before your time?

I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize in case this post is a little on the loopy side. Allergy season kicked in in earnest late this afternoon, and right now I'm self-medicating with two kinds of generic allergy medicine plus a bit of cheap Cabernet. So really, I'm not 100% responsible for any of this stuff you see here. It's not writing, it's typing

While we're talking about snakes, a blogspammer somehow got past Blogger's "captcha" a couple hours ago. I've heard the spam industry's somehow figured out how to defeat captchas now, but this is the first spammer I've gotten since I turned word verification on. It's an impressive bit of pattern recognition -- someone's come up with an advanced technique and they aren't using their powers for good.

But two can play at that game. The spammer hit my semi-obligatory Christmas '05 post twice in just over an hour,both times shilling for a customized greeting card company. I guess associating Christmas and greeting cards isn't a big stretch, and for all I know the sort of person who buys custom engraved holiday cards just might order them in June. That world is opaque to me.

So I did a quick WHOIS search on the domain the spam was advertising ( personalizedgreetingcards . com ), and here's what it returned:

Domain Services Provided By:

Peter Wilson
2316 E.Sycamore St
Anaheim, CA 92806

Registrar: 000DOM
Created on: 18-SEP-00
Expires on: 18-SEP-06
Last Updated on: 12-JAN-06

Administrative, Technical Contact:

Domain servers in listed order:

The domain info for the "executivegreetingcards" domain is identical. More information from their website:


158 N. Glendora Ave.

Suite T

Glendora, Ca 91741

Tax ID # 33-091655

This Google Map shows that the Sycamore address is a residential address, presumably of this Wilson guy. Now, he may just be the hapless IT guy whose name shows up on the domain registration, and he may have nothing at all to do with this evening's spam. But he's still associated with spammers, so there's a real limit to my sympathy here.

The first "714" phone number maps to:
Executive Greeting Card Co - (714) 533-4560 - Po Box 6108, Anaheim, CA 92816. A November '05 press release of theirs can be found here.

They've also got a big Better Business Bureau graphic on their page, which is a little unusual. That plus the tax ID suggest they're trying to go to extra lengths to convince people they're legit. I'm sorry, but if you spam someone's blog twice in an hour, just because they posted about a major national holiday half a year ago, you are not a legitimate business. Also, I've tried looking them up by the tax ID they've provided and it doesn't seem to be valid.

And yes, I didn't lift a finger to obfuscate either email address, so that any friendly neighborhood spambot that wanders by can parse them easily. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, after all. I'm not a spammer, and the guilty parties won't hear from me directly, but if someone else happens to see those email addresses and then see dollar signs, I can't be responsible for what they choose (of their own free will) to do with that information. It's totally out of my hands at that point.

Updated 7/13/06: Finally, something to knit this post together cohesively. Turns out there is such a thing as a "Snakes on a plane" greeting card. I just got a search hit for someone looking for 'em, and at the moment Google's actually ranking this page higher than the one where the greeting cards are for sale. Go figure. So I thought I'd link to that page, in case anyone else shows up here looking for the same thing. Because you know how I hate to have anyone leave here disappointed. Well, except crazy fundie conservative types.. They can all go to hell, so far as I'm concerned.

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