Monday, February 27, 2012

Where Is God?

Tens of thousand of years ago early civilizations honored and prayed to many gods and types of gods.The Greeks, the Romans, and  the Egyptians had many gods and goddesses for whom they built numerous elaborate temples. The ancient Egyptians also believed that their pharaohs were gods and treated them as such. Other ancient people prayed to the gods of nature, such as the sun, wind, fire, animals and the forest. People prayed to different gods who represented different aspects of life.  About 4000 years ago the idea of, monotheism or"one"god was introduced by Abraham in the founding of the Jewish religion. A few thousand years later, Christianity, an offshot of Judaism was founded. At about the same time Islam was founded. All three of these religions honored one single God, who was basically the same God with different names, Jehovah, Allah or God, according to what religion you belonged to. All of a sudden praying to only one God became the norm. Even though the same one God is recognized as the same "one true God" each of these religions have been at each other's throats for thousand of years, professing to be the "only true religion". Even the different sects in Judaism, Christianity and Islam are professing to be the true sect of their religion. Millions of people have died and thousands continue to die to this day, all in the name of God.

All of these religions believe that God is an all loving, all powerful and all forgiving God.  One thing that baffles me is, how God lets this bloodshed continue. Why does he stand by an allow people to murder each other in His name? Why doesn't He come out and say "cut the crap and accept and love one another in My name instead of killing your fellow man in My name"?  Surely God can do that.

If you look at the Bible, you will see that God had talked to Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Ezekiel, Noah and a few others. But that was about 4,000 years ago. Why was God so talkative way back then, but suddenly so quiet now?  As far as I know God has not talked to anyone in at least 2000 years, if you don't count some of the present day Republican candidates for president. Another question I have on this subject is "where was God all of those tens of thousand of years before he supposedly spoke to Abraham"? What made Him decide suddenly to talk to Abraham and tell him to found the Jewish religion? I don't uinderstand it. I am sure if I were to address these concerns to any devout member of the above religions I would get the response, "It's God's will". The standard response a religious person gives when he can't come up with an logical answer.

What I am really worried about is that if by some amazing miracle God reads this blog and decides to talk to someone about the religious violence ocurring in the world today. Would that person believe that God was actually talking to him? And what would happen when he communicated to the rest of us what God had said? We all would probably think he was crazy and pay him no heed. Who knows? Maybe God has already told us to stop the killing and violence in the name of religion and we just laughed at the messenger. I really believe, however, that is intrinsically human for people to hate and to kill for no reason at all, other than slight differences in opinion. Animals kill for food and for defense. Humans kill for no reason at all. And we consider ourselves superior! Maybe God is just fed up with us all.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Think I Am Becoming Addicted To Blogging.

Last May I started my first blog, Retired in Malaysia, and had no idea what I was doing. I thought it would be fun, give me something to do with my time and even help me make a little money. I wasn't really gung ho about it, but it was fun designing it and publishing posts. Then I talked myself into starting a blog on politics because I had my own, somewhat liberal views on American politics and social issues, but no one to share them with here in Malaysia. In June I started Senior Neurons so that I could share my views with anyone who was interested in reading them. I spent a great deal of time trying to promote these two blogs, so I thought I was satisfied. But then back in November as I was thinking of possible topics to write about on my blogs, I realized that some of the topics just did not fit retiring in Malaysia or politics. So naturally the thing to do was to start another blog where I can express many different ideas, thoughts and opinion that didn't fit anywhere else.  Thus Steveso Thinks was born.

Now that I have a total of 3 blogs on which I spend a hell of a lot of time trying to promote to increase my traffic and also my earnings. There are times I spend 5 or more hours a day trying to do this. I spend more time on promotion than actually writing the posts. Many times I have done a lot of work promoting and writing what I thought was a great post just to see the traffic and income remain stagnant.  I have previously written a post here, Have I No Shame, where I go into more detail what I have done. Even after publishing that post and almost begging people to follow me or click on some ads, there was not a bit of difference. You can't make people click on ads or sign up to follow, it they don't want to or don't feel my site is worth while. Recently I actually paid  to help me increase my traffic on my blogs and it is helping a little.

Even though I have 3 blogs and I have a lot of work to do in promoting them, I guess I am still not satisfied. Many times when I go to bed at night, just after spending a good deal of time on my sites I lay awake with all kinds of ideas running through my head. This doesn't help my sleep but I do come up with some ideas. Unfortunately I forget some of them when I wake up. I came up with a thought for a brand new site the other night, which would be completely different than any of the other sites that I have created. So far I have spent approximately 20 hours doing research about setting it up and I am no where near starting it. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can get it up and running. Have I become addicted to blogging or an I just plain nuts?

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Can I lose Weight Fast?

How many people have Googled the question, "How can I lose weight fast?" I am willing to bet that hundreds of thousands of people have. Well if you've landed on this post in response to your question about losing weight, don't be upset because you won' find any answers here.

If you do a search for help in losing weight you will find hundreds of sites, mostly all useless. You will undoubtedly find results in sites such as "Wikihow", "Ehow" and "Ezine" and if you look closely enough you will notice that the articles are almost exactly the same. Drink plenty of water, exercise, eat more fruit and vegetables, less fat and sugar and count your calories. This is information any idiot would know, unless they have been living in a cave all of their life. Then you will find sites selling the miracle diets or supplements, ranging from diet teas to exotic fruit from the jungles of the Amazon. Diet teas work great if you want to sit on the toilet all day and give up eating. The supplements usually are very expensive and consist of ingredients which have absolutely no effect on weight and can be very dangerous in many cases. A lot of these miracle weight loss supplements raise your metabolism, which also raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Coffee is a much cheaper and safer alternative. You can also buy over the counter drugs that prevent fat from being absorbed by your digestive system. These work great as long as you don't mind the occasional "accident" you have when you sneeze or cough, or when you thought "it" was going to be a fart. If you take the pills you really shouldn't wear white pants and have a constant supply of clean underwear with you. 

Aside from the supplements there are a number of alternative exercise techniques, like those vibration plates that are supposed to shake the fat off you.  Some of the advertising claims that you can burn 1000 calories in 15 minutes. None of the current research on these techniques have found any positive benefits for weight loss. I have known people who have tried the vibration plates and paid some hefty fees over a few months period. The only weight they lost was in their wallets.

Some sites advertise "body wrap" where they promise you can lose inches around your waist. Of course you do. The wrapping just moves the fat to another part of the body! If this doesn't work maybe you can try electric muscle stimulation to shock the fat off your body. Once again all of the current research shows no evidence of any weigh loss benefits. If you read any literature on the above techniques, you will find some extremely fine print at the bottom of brochures or customer testamonials, which says that success comes only when used in conjunction with proper diet and exercise.

The other sites you will run across will be legitimate sites which offer just that - proper diet and exercise. They offer advice on eating healthy, along with recipes and which foods will help you lose weight  and keep it off.  Other sites offer exercise programs and tips that will help you burn fat and lose weight in a healthy fashion. Many of these exercises can be done at home at little or no cost. There are sites that advertise gyms or home exercise equipment to lose weight and keep in shape. Unlike weight loss miracles, supplements and the latest fat burning technologies, nutrition and exercise has been proven to be effective for weight loss.

The bottom line is that for most of us, we are fat because we eat way too much of the wrong food and won't get off our butts to do any exercise. We realize we are fat but we are too damn lazy to do anything about it except to waste our time looking for a miracle quick fix weight loss gimmick. The anwer to the title question is eat less, drink water and exercise more.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Finding Friends on Facebook.

Today it seems as though all young people have a Facebook page with hundreds, if not thousands of friends. When it comes to us older folks the situation is a bit different though. I am retired and have had a FB account for a couple of years now, but my friends list is far from being in the hundreds. The only reason I have an account is because it is the only way I could keep in touch with my nieces and nephews. But soon I began exploring FB on my own.

I discovered that I could search for friends very easily. I began searching for people from my place of work where I had just retired. My list of friends began to grow. Then I got to know a lot of people at the gym I belonged to and I added them as friends. I was almost feeling popular. I soon began to add people to my friends list who I hardly knew. Then it dawned on me. Everybody in my friends list was younger than me! So then I decided to search for people who were my friends in high school and college. I was really surprised. I could not find any of the friends who lived in my neighborhood as a child or who were my closest friends in high school. I wondered why. Were they all dead or in prison? We're they all living in the middle of nowhere without access to the Internet or even electricity? Or were they unbelievably not as technologically advanced as me? Or did they just simply not care? I really don't know.

I didn't give this much thought until just recently when I suddenly, for some reason, thought of an old college room mate. I put his name in the search bar and I found him. Luckily he had a photo so I was sure it was him. Then I started searching for other friends in my past and I actually found a very few this time around. But oddly enough I didn't send a friend request to them immediately. I gave it some thought. If they really wanted to be friends on FB, they could have sent me a friend request. Right? Then I began thinking again (I do a lot of thinking). I was friends with them years ago. Would they really care what I have done with my life or what I am doing now? Do I really care what they have done with their lives or what they are doing now? I live so far away from the US now, I would probably never have the chance to meet up with them and talk about "the old days".  I thought for a while and decided not to send a friend request at this time. I remembered the old saying, "you can't go home again" and decided for the time being not to try. Who knows? Maybe in the future they will befriend me or I will change my mind and sent them a friend request. It's something to think about.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Deep Tissue Massage

In my last post I reported about my first visit to an acupuncturist. I have had 2 appointments and apparently it wasn't working. Immediately after I received acupuncture I could feel a big difference, but the next day it was back to normal.  After my latest appointment the doctor explained that it would take about 8 or 10 visits for me notice a big difference. When I arrived for the appointment she asked if I had any improvement since my last visit. I told her that I had not really noticed any difference, other than the relief of pain immediately after the procedure. She then suggested that I try deep tissue massage.  I thought about it for a minute and said, "why not? It couldn't hurt." Boy was I wrong!

I had always thought that a massage was supposed to be extremely pleasant and relaxing. I have experienced massage chairs and light massages, so I thought a deep tissue massage would get right to the root of my lower back pain.  It was nothing like I had imagined. Naturally I could not see what the doctor was doing, but I could only envision some ancient type of Chinese torture. It felt as though she was drilling her finger nails into my skin and them tearing the skin from my back, layer by layer. A couple of times I let out a slight scream and felt like vomiting once, because of the sever pain. I think I actually would rather have a root canal, than this massage. When the massage was finally finished, the pain continued for another 15 minutes under the heat lamp. I can definitely say that this was the most painful procedure I have ever endured.

When I got off the table I no longer feel any of my original back pain. Only the pain and heat from the massage. It has been 5 hours since my deep tissue massage and my lower back pain has not returned. Looking in the mirror I can see that my back is red an raw with numerous welts lining my spine and lower back. Even though the pain was unbearable I am scheduled to return in 1 week, after the wounds heal. I gave modern medicine a chance and nothing helped,  so I will now give alternative medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine an equal chance. I really don't have anything to lose, but my  chronic lower back pain.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Visit to the Acupuncturist.

A short time ago I wrote an entry in this blog called Needles and Pins in which I described some physical ailments that I have to put up with. In this post I wrote that I had decided to try an alternative to modern medicine for my chronic sinusitis and lower back pain. That alternative was acupuncture. Since I live in Penang, Malaysia there is no shortage of  Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. Today was my first appointment with an acupuncturist.

I took a 20 minute walk to the office of the the practitioner which was located in a shopping mall in my neighborhood.  On my way I was trying to decide which ailment I should treat first. By the time I got to my destination my lower back was killing me, so the choice was easy. I arrived on time for my appointment and immediately met the doctor. We discussed the ailments which were of concern to me and decided to treat the back pain first, then after a while, treat the chronic sinusitis. Acupuncture for the back involved placing needles in the lower back and legs, while for the sinusitis the needles would be placed in the face and forehead. If I find results in my back pain I will then go for the needles in the face.

I went into the treatment room, which was a small room with a massage table, and laid face down on the table. The doctor cleansed the area with alcohol and proceeded to place the needles. I could feel her fingers putting pressure on certain areas of my lower back and left leg. Next it felt as if she were using her fingernail to initiate a little pain as she inserted the needle. It didn't feel bad going in, but when she pushed deeper and twisted the needles it felt as though I was being given electric shock treatments. The needles in the lower back didn't feel that bad, but the ones in the back of the knee and thigh were excruciating. I think I had a total of 8 needles placed and then I had to rest for about a half hour, which seemed to me like 2 hours. While I was resting a heat lamp was placed above my back to increase the blood circulation. About 50 minutes after I first walked into the treatment room, the doctor removed the needles and I left the room and had a seat. I was given a glass of very hot water to drink immediately and I was told not to shower for 4 hours. Then the worst news. I was told not to have any beer.

When I got up from the massage table I felt as though I were drunk and remained very dizzy for about 15 minutes. I was told that this was normal and would wear off in a few minutes .I made another appointment for 3 days from now and then paid my bill. The total was about $3.50 for the treatment. I then walked back home and amazingly I was pain free.  According to the doctor it will take a few more sessions to notice a real difference. As I am writing this I still feel no pain. Hopefully acupuncture will work for my back pain and then I can try my other ailments.

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues