Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who or What Are the Kardashians?

There are many mysteries of life that sometimes baffle me. Is there life after death? Do aliens exist? How did the universe really begin? Who killed Kennedy? These are profound questions that hopefully someday will be answered. One lingering question I have had for the past few years is why in hell do people watch the reality TV series, "Keeping up with the Kardashians"?

I have a friend who watches it quite frequently and have had the opportunity to watch it on occasion. but it seems like a complete waste of time. When I first watched it I asked myself "who are the Kardashians?". So I Googled them and found out who they were. I was not impressed. They just appear to be a family version of that useless, rich airhead, Paris Hilton. When I found out that former Olympian, Bruce Jenner, is married to the matriarch of the Kardashian family, I lost all respect for him. The very few times I have watched along with my friend I have seen spoiled brats steal their father's credit card, families argue over trivial luxuries that the rest of us can't even ever imagine affording and arrogant obnoxious teenage girls spend enough money on clothes to feed, clothe and house many many poor families in this country and perhaps hundreds of families in the third world. No one in this family has the slightest concept of the meaning on money or any kind of social responsibility. Sure they have started businesses, that supposedly heighten the awareness of the environment, but these were only to make money off the concerns of the truly sociable responsible public.

In today's hard economic times, where people are demonstrating against the excesses of wall street, big business and the extremely wealthy , it is hard to believe that people would watch a reality show where the family flaunts their wealth so flamboyantly.  The recent 72 day sham marriage of Kim Kardashian, which made the family another $18 million, shows just how stupid some people can be.  Television stations and advertisers shelled out millions of dollars for a contrived wedding that made fools of everyone, but the Kardashians, and yet people who have no chance for a real life continue to watch these arrogant, materialistic con-men.I want to know what happened to the supposed $2 million engagement ring Kim got. Maybe it was sold for charity. I doubt it.

During this political season there are many pushing for an increase in taxes for the super wealthy and I believe "Keeping up with the Kardashians" is the strongest argument in favor of that. I am sure, however, that those same people bitching about how much the wealthy have and they don't, will continue to watch the Kardashians.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Okay, So Where Do I Really Get Help Promoting My Blog?

Well my blog, Steveso Thinks, is only a few days old and it is depressing to check the stats every now and then to see that no one is reading it. So what can I do to promote it and drive more traffic to the site? This is my third blog, so I have gone through this feeling of stagnation and helplessness before. I realize that it will take a lot of time.

Writing a blog post does not take a lot of time, if you know what you want to write about and have many ideas. Where you spend most of your time is promoting it and monetizing it. You add Adsense to your blog and then wait for people to click on the ads, so you can make a couple of cents. You won't get anyone to click on these ads if they don't come to your site. Getting this traffic is extremely important and is very time consuming. When I first started writing my first blog I knew nothing about what was involved. I thought it would involve a couple of hours or so a week. Wrong! I have spent hours searching the web for ways to promote my blog and learning about SEO (search engine optimization).

One thing that I found searching the web was that there are hundreds, if not thousands of experts out there. When I clicked on many sites, they were selling books or services to help promote a site. So I searched sites offering ways to promote blogs  for free. I found that the vast majority of these sites said exactly the same thing, word for word. So what are these people doing? Copying someone else's work and pretending to be knowledgeable in the field? It appears so. Another thing I found was that many articles suggested using blog directories to submit a site. Some of these article included up to a hundred so called "free" sites for blog submissions. Well some of these "free" sites charge fees, some of which can be pretty hefty. So I studied the absolutely free sites to submit my blogs. The problem here is that these sites expect a reciprocal agreement. This means they will list your site if you put the name of their site on your blog. This may seem quite reasonable, but if you list your blog on many of these sites your blog will be comprised of mainly ads for these blog directory sites. I am still searching sites on SEO and struggling to understand how I can use them to promote my blog.

I must admit that in my other blogs, Senior Neurons and Retired in Malaysia, I did use many of these reciprocal sites, but got nothing in return.When I decided to write Steveso Thinks I also decided that I was not going to load it up with links to other sites that promised to promote my blogs or to have a lot of affiliate advertising, that so far has not brought me one red cent. I am going to try to keep the site clean and simple looking. So I am going to depend solely on the readers of my blog to follow it and tell their friends to follow it. I also would appreciate, now and then, if you can click on my ads so I can pay for my blog domain registration fee. And don't be afraid to become a follower or donate to my blog. I promise I will try to add informative or at least interesting content on a regular basis. Thanks.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adam and Eve: The First Dysfunctional Family?

I grew up Catholic and attended Catholic school through high school. So naturally I had to attend religion classes where the Bible was the central textbook authority. I can remember being taught about the Creation and the story of Adam and Eve, just like every other Christian, Muslim or Jew has been taught. We were taught that God created Adam from the dust of the earth and then created Eve from a rib taken from Adam. The Bible also teaches us that Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. That was it. No questions asked, just believe it.

Now that I am older and have completed my formal education and am still being educated in life, I have developed lots of questions. I actually think about these questions quite frequently. In biology I learned that in order for the population to increase and be healthy, men and women must reproduce, as in the union of egg and sperm. I also learned that in order for humankind to flourish there must be diversity in the gene pool. This means that the offspring of closely related parents can and will be genetically defective.

I have also learned through history and civics classes that it is illegal to marry first cousins or siblings, even though this may be common in some parts of Appalachia or some third world countries. Marrying close family members is called incest and is considered immoral by all religions and societies, regardless of whether or not it is part of a country's laws.

This is where problems with the story of all humankind descending from Adam and Eve arise.  Okay according to the bible Adam and Eve had two sons. So who did they have their children with? Eve? Some religious scholars say that the Adam and Eve had as many as many as 56 children (poor Eve). So did the rest of humanity come to be as a result of all 56 of these children fornicating with each other?  Many hard core fundamentalists argue that somewhere in the Bible it mentions that Cain had a wife and could not have had an incestuous relationship with his mother, but where did he find his wife? Did he share her with Abel, his brother? And did they have children? Strict fundamentalists, wearing blinders, insist that the Bible is correct in saying Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were the first family, and refuse to entertain any other ideas to the contrary.

The stories of Creation and Adam and Eve are very confusing, unless you accept them blindly like many people do. I accepted the stories of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus until I became old enough to question them and see the faults in these myths. I think that instead of believing that
Adam and Eve were incestuous and the Bible was promoting such a relationship, I will believe that the story is just another myth, which was used by the authors of the Bible to teach an illiterate and uneducated populace lessons of religion.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday and Then Comes Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. This is the day that merchants, especially big ones like Walmart, throw their doors open in the wee hours of the morning offering fantastic bargains on just about everything. Some people actually camp out overnight in the parking lots of some stores. When the doors open people stampede into the stores to be the first ones to grab the best bargains. Some people are even injured in the stampede, but they feel it's worth it. Personally I think these people are a bunch of nuts, but that is only my opinion. If Black Friday is a success and it produces  a high volume of sales, this could mean a successful Christmas shopping season and a much needed boost to the economy. Black Friday has become a harbinger of the Christmas holidays.

I can remember when I was younger the day after Thanksgiving meant that all of the Christmas decorations would be out in the malls and stores. Artificial Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and anything and everything pertaining to Christmas transformed the city. Even the weather changed to colder temperatures. I guess I should be politically correct and change all references about "Christmas" to "holiday", but forget it. It's has always been Christmas and will always be Christmas. It you're offended, tough.  The Christmas season officially begins.

When I first moved to Malaysia I thought I would miss the atmosphere and celebrations of Christmas and other holidays.  I was wrong. On Halloween the malls are elaborately decorated with Halloween themes and Halloween candy can be found in the grocery stores. Kids here don't trick or treat, but the adults and older kids attend Halloween parties at local bars and clubs. We don't have Thanksgiving here, so what signals the coming of Christmas? It's Halloween of course. Yes, I was amazed that after Halloween is over the Christmas trees and decorations come out. Even Christmas carols are heard in the malls. The Christmas shopping season started here even earlier in the United States.

I was surprised that some of our holidays are celebrated here and I enjoyed seeing the local people enjoy themselves. I remember asking the staff at my gym, who were decorating for Halloween, if they knew what the holiday was. They didn't have a clue. What is really surprising here is how enthusiastically Christmas is celebrated by the Malaysians. Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, but the Chinese and the Westerners here  really do Christmas up big time. They enjoy shopping and giving and receiving gifts. And of course the merchants love making big bucks. Once again I really doubt that people here know what Christmas is all about, except for the decorations, presents and parties. But wait a minute. I am sure that American kids today don't know what the hell Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas or any other American holiday is all about either!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone in America

Here in Malaysia it is already Thanksgiving in America, as we are 13 hours ahead of the US. It is 90 degrees and sunny as I think about the cool crisp weather for my family and friends in Watertown ,NY and in the Boston area. I am also thinking of the roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and all of the rest of the meal. Alas I won't be enjoying the same here. Even though you can get turkey here it is very expensive and the fixings are sometimes hard to get. Naturally it is not a holiday here so all of my friends are working. So I have already bought my turkey and will have a traditional American Christmas dinner with my friends here.

Even though I can't be with everyone back home my thoughts are with you. Enjoy the feast, don't eat too much, have a drink for me and drive home safely.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Yet Another Blog for Watertown Wanderer

When I retired from my job in Boston almost 4 years ago and moved to Penang, Malaysia, many people asked me what I would do all day. I must admit that I was puzzled at first at what I actually would do. I told people I would go to the gym every day and probably do volunteer work. When I finally moved here I did join a gym but I must admit I don't go every day, even though I should. There were not as many volunteer opportunities as I had hoped and without a car at my disposal I was very limited as to where I could go.
I really wasn't bored at all when I first moved here. I had many local eateries and stores to visit and occupy my time.  I did want something to keep my mind active during the day and especially at night, so I didn't wind up watching TV all of the time.  I had a couple of Japanese friends whom I taught English to for one hour a week and enjoyed this very much.  I still wanted something else to occupy my mind and perhaps make a little pocket-money at the same time.  I started surfing the web for ways to make money online. There were 2 interesting alternatives. One was taking surveys and the other was blogging. I tried taking surveys for a couple of weeks and soon learned it was a complete waste of time, especially living outside the United States. I started researching blogging and became very interested, as I loved voicing my opinion. I soon started 2 blogs. My first blog is called Retired in Malaysia and is about my decision to retire and move here and about my life in Malaysia. In my other blog, Senior Neurons, I share my thoughts and opinions on what is happening in the US from my unique perspective as an American expat living in Malaysia.
Even though I can discuss my home in Malaysia in regards to the culture, food etc. and I can spout off about politics and social issues of interest to me; I still had a lot to say. I am a dedicated people watcher who loves nothing more than to sit and observe people and their behavior. Many times I have wanted to share my thoughts and feelings from these observations, but only kept them to myself.  Sometimes I lay in bed thinking of things ranging from the profoundly serious to the ridiculous. Once again I have kept these thoughts to myself.  Then one night I suddenly decided to start a new blog to air these random thoughts and other ideas and opinions I may have. My other blogs are on Blogger, but I decided to try WordPress for a change. Well I tried WordPress for 2 days and absolutely hated it. It was very difficult to use and I couldn’t ad Adsense. So I deleted it and came back to Blogger where I feel more comfortable. I hope people will find my posts interesting or at least amusing and will follow my blog. And I hope you click on the ads so I can make a little money. Thank you.

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues