Friday, December 30, 2011

A Happy New Year to One and All

Well New Year's Eve is almost here in Penang. I just finished posting New Year's greetings in my two other blogs, Senior Neurons and Retired in Malaysia. It is going to be a very warm New Years Eve here, as was Christmas and every holiday. At times like these I sometimes miss the cold weather and fluffy white snow from back home, but only briefly. Snow is beautiful, when fresh, but you have to drive in in and shovel it. It's good exercise though. Speaking of exercise I managed to drag myself to the gym for the last time in 2011. It was a difficult time, as the A/C wasn't working that well and it was extremely humid.

I suppose just about everyone is planning on some sort of New Year's Eve celebration, either staying home for a quiet early night, partying at a friends home of going out for a night on the town with hundreds of party goers. For me, I am celebrating New Year's Eve with a Mexican flare to include chili and tacos. Of course there will be a lot of beverages as well. After dinner we will watch fireworks over Gurney Drive from our balcony. With all of that Mexican food I don't want to get that close to the fireworks.

I hope that before everyone celebrates the New Year's, resolutions have already been made. Some people will give up or try giving up smoking, some will go on a diet (once again) and many people will start going to the gym to work off excess holiday weight. At the beginning of January gyms are packed with those complying with their resolutions, but by the beginning of February they have given up already. This year, as last year, my New Year resolution is not to make any. This way I never break my resolutions. I hope whatever resolutions anybody they can try hard and keep them, for a happy and healthy 2012.

However you celebrate, or even if you don't I wish all of my family, friends and everyone a very safe, healthy, prosperous and happy New Year. Please celebrate sensibly and drive carefully. I want everyone around for 2012.

                                         HAPPY NEW YEAR 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Facebook Friends?

For a long time I paid no attention to Facebook and had no desire to join. Finally I caved in to my nieces, who both had accounts, and joined Facebook. It took me a while to navigate the site and at first I didn't spend too much time on the site. Since I wanted to keep in touch with my nieces and nephews I had to utilize Facebook. Absolutely no one uses snail mail anymore to keep in touch and email is fading, so I had no choice. I befriended my family right away and then began searching for more "friends". I was amazed to find that very, very few friends of my age were on Facebook. I found only a few friends from high school and none so far from the many colleges I attended. I found a long lost relative, who I had not seen in about 30 years. I sent him a friend request and he evidently didn't like my profile and rejected my invitation. Well screw him. I didn't want him as a friend anyway. Most of the friends I have are former colleagues or students living in the US and young people from the gym, whom I have met here in Penang.

I get friend requests from quite a few people I do not know and have never heard of. This really intrigued me until I checked out the number of friends they had. I have seen some people who have friends in the hundreds and even thousands. I have about 139 friends. I really don't like to call them friends, because I consider them to be Facebook acquaintances.  What is really sad it that these people with hundreds of friends actually think they are really friends. Do they have such a sad life that they have to ask people they don't know to be their friend? Is their self esteem so low that they have to collect artificial friends to feel wanted or popular?

Many people on Facebook post a lot of nonsense or crap which I don't think anyone cares for.  Some people publish a post every time they fart or or have something to eat. I think a lot of people post just because they are lonely and need attention. I must admit that I have been bored and posted something just to see if anyone would respond. Most of the time I usually received only one response, probably out of pity.

I know with the hundred or so friends that I have I am not that interested in much that is posted by them, so I hide them. I also know that probably all, except for family and a few close friends hide me too. I can tell on special occasions such as my birthday, Christmas or other holidays, when I receive very few special greetings. When I first began to write blogs, all of the information I gathered from the internet said that promoting your blog on Facebook and other social networks would greatly increase traffic. Well this is only true if you friends on Facebook actually pay attention to what you post. I get about 10 or so hits on my blogs from Facebook, which is okay I guess. Some of my friends here in Malaysia don't post in English, so I can't understand what they are doing. And they can't speak English well enough to understand what I am talking about.

Personally it doesn't bother me that most of my "friends" ignore me or hide my posts, because they are only acquaintances, not real friends and I don't expect them to be interested in my life. I am not crushed. But sadly I think there are many young people, and probably a few lonely old farts, who really think that their Facebook friends really are their friends and really care.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh My God, I Am Old.

Even though I retired about 4 years ago I never really considered myself a senior citizen or old. I just considered myself retired at a young age.  I still referred to retirees older than myself as "old farts", especially when they got in my way in traffic. I can still remember my mother yelling at my father for calling a fellow motorist an old fart, even though my father was probably older than the victim of the verbal abuse. I have been living here in Penang, Malaysia since I retired and somehow I think I have gotten older.

I go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, but somehow I can't do what I did before I retired. My body has forgotten how to bound up the steps or climb over a traffic barrier. My mind can still do it, but not the body. My bladder seems a hell of a lot smaller than it used to. Sometimes I find myself forgetting my cell phone, my watch, wallet or keys, but I think I have always done that. If you ask me what I had for dinner yesterday, it might take me a while to remember. Either I am starting to forget more, or my life just isn't that interesting.

I am finding that I don't need as much sleep as I used to, which really doesn't bother me, even though I have to get up to pee a number of times during the night. What is really strange though is when I dream, I am in my thirties probably, no gray hair, very physically fit and at the perfect weight. But when I wake up and look into the mirror I find that I have turned into an old fart. Strange.

Here in Malaysia the retirement age is 55 and anyone over that age is considered really old. When you read in the newspaper about someone in their late fifties or sixties, they are referred to as elderly. I remember once when a reporter interviewed me about a missing manhole cover in my neighborhood, I gave her my name and told her not to call me "an elderly foreigner". She didn't. One thing that annoys me here about being an older person is that they are called "auntie" and "uncle" by people even a few years younger. Excuse me, but when someone calls me uncle I can only think of a senile, perverted old man, who likes little kids to call him uncle and sit on his lap.

I can remember how when political correctness came into vogue and the names of many things changed. I guess I was still in high school or college when "retirement communities" or "senior citizen housing" or "assisted living homes" became popular. One of the older terms I was used to was "nursing homes", which is still being used today.  I was shocked when I first moved to Penang and I drove past a facility with a big sign that read " Penang Old Folks Home". Now that's way beyond politically incorrect. Scary is more like it. Am I doomed to be put into an old folks home?

Well Penang may be a little behind the times in the appellation of residences for seniors, but at least there are many restaurants that offer senior citizen discounts for those over 55 or 60.  I still have my own teeth and I still can eat. Luckily my middle finger still works and I can still remember my  collection of 4 letter words, which comes in handy when trying to cross the road and nobody even slows down, or when getting on an elevator and I am almost trampled by young people exiting. As long as my teeth, my mouth, my middle finger and my mind still works, I guess I will have to accept the fact that some body parts are wearing down and I might be becoming an old fart.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas or Should I Say Happy Holidays?

I will be celebrating my fourth Christmas in Malaysia soon. I have been asked by family and friends many times, if it is the same celebrating Christmas in a tropical country. I usually answer "not much, except for the temperature". Recently I have been thinking of the differences and I will try to explain them to everyone back in the US.

The most obvious difference is the weather. I grew up in Watertown, NY where there was usually snow and cold temperatures for Christmas. I lived and worked for many years in Boston, where there is also a lot of snow and cold temperatures, but not as cold and snowy as in Watertown. Here in Penang, Malaysia, the Christmas season has sunshine, temperatures in the 90's and fairly high humidity. Some may think that this is the biggest difference, but it's not. I would say the biggest difference is one of attitude and tolerance.

I grew up as a Roman Catholic in Watertown, a small city in upstate New York. I would say that this area is very predominantly Christian, as is the rest of the USA. I can remember going Christmas shopping downtown and the few malls that were there at the time. It was a good feeling, hearing the Christmas Carols as you shopped and seeing all of the decorations and  greetings of "Merry Christmas" in the stores, in the streets and on peoples' houses. There was a nativity scene in Public Square in the downtown area of the city. You wished everyone you met a Merry Christmas and they wished you Merry Christmas in return. I shared these greetings with everybody, including my Jewish friends. Well that doesn't happen any more. No I am not talking about Malaysia. I am talking about the US.

In the years after I left college and my home town the celebration of Christmas changed. I do not consider myself a religious person, but I do know what Christmas is. Christmas is the holiday which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It has been traditionally celebrated on December 25th, since the middles ages, in Europe. As European Christians spread to to North and South America and even Asia, this tradition followed them. Each country's culture celebrates Christmas in a different way, with different customs and food. My family was no different. We had our own traditions, with Tom and Jerry's, made by my father, to drink and moms homemade cranberry sauce for dinner. Now my brother Pete makes the Tom and Jerry's for the family. The tradition continues.

By the time I got to Boston, the country began to change. I worked in a Jewish hospital and saw Christmas turn into "the Holidays". The hospital and department Christmas party became a "Holiday Party", even after the hospital was no longer Jewish affiliated. Even wishing a person Merry Christmas was frowned upon. Sadly people who were raised in a Christian family and were in positions of leadership strongly and spinelessly discouraged using the word Christmas. The more you shopped in the malls during Christmas, the less you saw the word, Christmas.

Is this just political correctness gone astray or just complete stupidity and ignorance? I think the latter. I remember in the hospital you could still wish your Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah, but you were discouraged from wishing your other friends a Merry Christmas. Christmas trees became holiday trees, Christmas parties became holiday parties, Christmas vacation became a holiday vacation, Christmas cookies became holiday cookies and Christmas presents became holiday presents! What a crock of dung! I suppose next Jesus Christ will become Jesus Holiday!  This country was founded on religious freedom and tolerance, and what is happening with Christmas is totally out of step with what our country stands for.  Many Americans fought and died for the right of people to practice their religion and to celebrate their cultures and traditions. This country is made up of people from every religion and from every country of the world. Their customs and traditions are what make this country a great, diverse and tolerant country. Who the hell are these people telling us we can't celebrate a holiday the way our families have done for generations?

Reasons given for changing "Christmas" to "the Holiday Season" are that saying "Merry Christmas" may offend someone or that saying "Happy Holidays" is more inclusive.  How can a greeting which imparts nothing but kindness, goodwill and happiness offend someone? How can wishing that someone have the same happiness and joy that you have, not be inclusive?  Here in Malaysia, which is a predominantly Muslim country, Hari Raya, Christmas, Chinese New Year and Deepavali are celebrated by everyone, regardless of race or religion. It's is part of the culture and no one is offended. Being forced to say Happy Holidays, during my Christmas holidays is like a bride and groom sending out xeroxed thank you notes for their wedding gifts. Insensitive, thoughtless, ignorant and selfish.

Cinqo de Mayo, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Hari Raya, Valentine's Day, Halloween and any other religious or ethnic tradition that may offend you.

So in the meantime, I would like to wish all of my friends and family and all of my followers here a very Merry Christmas. If I have indeed offended anyone, I sincerely and honestly don't really give a damn. Spend your next Holiday Vacation in North Korea.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do We Really Have a Choice?

Well election season is here in full force in the United States. While writing a post for my other blog, Senior Neurons, I started thinking about our political system. We have one of the longest, if not the longest, political campaign season of any country. It is certainly the most expensive, costing billions of dollars.  It is funny how we Americans are so arrogantly proud of our democratic election processes and think we are the only democratic country of the world. We are neither the largest democracy, nor the oldest. India is by far the largest democracy and probably the title of the oldest democratic form of government goes to the Six Nation Tribes of the Iroquois, the Native Americans of the US. Iceland has a very long history going back to the early 900's. Of course we all know, at least I hope we know, that democracy started in ancient Greece. America has it's own concept of democracy, which is not necessarily shared by the other democratic countries of the world.

During our election campaigns we are always reminded by politicians of both parties of how lucky Americans are, compared to Communist countries, such as China. We are told that in China and other communist countries or countries run by authoritarian governments, the people may vote in elections, where there is only one party on the ballot. We are told that we are lucky because we have a choice. Do we really? Are we really that much different than a communist country? Yes it is true there is only one party, the Communist Party. But in the United States we have two parties, Democrats and Republicans. Big deal. One more party!

Sure there have been elections where there has been a candidate from another party. We call this person the third party candidate. Where are the fourth, fifth, sixth and so on party candidates. If they exist we don't hear about them. Why? The answers probably are that these parties don't have any money and the media pays no attention to them. Another Abe Lincoln or FDR could be out there belonging to a party with no assets. We would never know.

That brings to mind something else we hear about quite often during elections. That is "any kid can grow up to be president of the US". Really? Let's take a look at that. If you look at all of the candidates in this years election and all previous elections in modern times, you find that they are extremely wealthy and have extremely wealthy backers. So in reality only the very rich can afford to run for president. According to the US constitution only citizens born in the US can become president, so naturalized citizens cannot run for president. How about a gay person becoming president? That's a laugh.  Gay people can't even marry each other in this country or sponsor their same sex partner to immigrate to this country. There is no chance in hell one will become president. How about a Muslim becoming president? Absolutely not. In order to be president you have to be a church going, bible thumping Christian to even run for the presidency. 1960 was the first time a Roman Catholic was elected with JFK becoming president. I remember as a teenager all of the Southern Baptists and other fundamentalists predicting the Pope would take over the country. Now Mitt Romney is fighting the bigotry of these so called Christians. The republican candidates are constantly questioning just how Christian their opponents are. So if you are Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu or God forbid an atheist, forget about ever becoming president. Up until the last election we all thought it would be impossible for a Black person to become president. Well Obama broke that barrier and he's been paying for it every since. Republican conservatives and other racists and bigots have been trying to destroy him from the day he became president.

Okay now let's just look at an average person, who happens to have a superior intellect and unquestionable honesty. He hasn't got a chance. To be a good politician you have to have a certain level of arrogance and a hidden streak of dishonesty. Remember Jimmy Carter? Nobody liked him because he was too honest. Now no one is perfect, but in order to run for president you have to have an appearance of perfection. In each election campaign you find at least one candidate who is forced to drop out over accusations of sexual misconduct or some illegal financial dealings. Herman Cain was the latest victim. The rest of the candidates are by no means angels. They just have enough money, lawyers and strategies to keep the skeletons in their closets hidden. They also probably have some good dirt on their opponents that keep them quiet.

So what is the difference between the communist system and ours when it comes to elections? Well in communist countries like China the candidates for leadership must be a member in good standing of the Communist party, which means you have to strictly adhere to the Communist ideology. In American politics, you can be president as long as you are Christian, rich, preferably white and a man, definitely heterosexual ( or have the outward appearance of being straight), anti-immigrant, a little bit crooked and against any kind of social change benefiting minorities. All others need not apply.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Leave the Kids at Home.

The other night I went out to eat at a neighborhood restaurant and expected to have a very relaxing evening. I was going out alone, as all my friends were busy and I just wanted a quiet evening alone, so I could enjoy having a few beers and taking in the scenery. It was about 8 o'clock in the evening and when I first entered the restaurant there were only a couple of lone patrons, also sitting alone.

I must tell you that I live in Penang, Malaysia, where most people go to food courts and hawker stands where the local food is very good and cheap. They also have the tendency to bring their children with them. The restaurant I went to was more or less a medium priced restaurant selling both local and Malaysian style Western food.  I was enjoying a cold beer and a plate of beef stew and was thinking of ordering a few more beers after dinner and just kicking back relaxing. Suddenly the calm ambiance was shattered by a family of 2 parents, 2 grandparents and 4 screaming miserable little brats,under the age of 4.

One kid was stomping up and down the wooden floor as her grandfather stupidly looked with delight at her obnoxious behavior. One little boy was not crying, but just screaming for no reason at all. The other 2 kids were pounding on the aquarium in the restaurant, terrifying the poor fish. I am sure the owner did not appreciate this, as these fish were by no means cheap. The ignorant adults made no attempt to discipline the children, but smiled and actually encouraged their behavior.  I was amazed at their stupidity and complete lack or respect for the other patrons of the restaurant. They definitely lacked any kind of parenting skills.

At home this type of behavior would not be condoned in a restaurant other that fast food chains or family friendly restaurants. If someone wants a quiet meal back home they know better than to go to such family friendly restaurants. Also back home, it would be considered abusive or neglectful to keep children awake so late at night. Most children I know of go to bed about 8 PM, but here it is quite common to see them falling asleep when they are out with their parents at 11 or 12 at night. I know this is a different culture, but I still think forcing kids to stay up all night and not disciplining them for unacceptable behavior in public is a form of neglect.

Needless to say I did not order another beer, but instead I went home in complete disgust. The only thing that made me feel better was the knowledge that these ignorant adults will have to live with these kids, who are destined to grow up to be selfish, spoiled and undisciplined teenagers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Are Those Walmart Shoppers in the Internet Pictures and Videos for Real?

I am sure that almost everyone who has an email account and friends has received an email with an attachment that includes numerous photos of strange or weird looking people, who are supposedly shopping at Walmart. The people in these pictures have to be the oddest people around. Mostly they are extremely overweight or obese, yet dress as though they are petite young teenage girls. They oddly enough think that they are gorgeous. Many of these people come out in public, minus their teeth and wearing outfits, most of us would not be caught dead in. Obviously none of these people have purchased a mirror on  their previous trips to Walmart.

My nephew Jon loves these photos and is the main source of the photos I receive. Sometimes I think he secretly wishes he could dress like that and join these people shopping. Who knows maybe he does. My question is where the hell do these people come from? Why do you only see these people at Walmart, not in K-Mart, Sears or Target?  I remember the first time I ever went into Walmart, a number of years ago, when I was living in Boston. I had to drive a few miles south of Boston on Route 1 to Walpole, MA. Walpole is a quiet, upper middle class town with a population of about 24,000 people, living in mainly single family homes. When I entered the parking lot of Walmart I noticed a variety of automobiles, including Mercedes, BMW's, Hummers, Lexus, numerous rather expensive SUVs and pickup trucks and some older cars. Frankly I thought the stereotype of the Walmart shopper was overly exaggerated. Upon entering the store I was proven wrong. My first thought was that these people just crawled out from under a rock. I saw many far from good looking older women wearing fake leopard skin outfits with gaudy sequined jackets and garish outlandish eye glasses. I was more amazed at the bizarre appearing people than the great bargains in the store.

I often wondered where these people came from. I didn't think they lived in Walpole, as I had never seen them in any of the surrounding stores. Where were the drivers of the expensive luxury vehicles? Where do these people go when they are not shopping at Walmart? I had a theory. I have a friend who worked with me who constantly berated Walmart and the people who shopped there. Now everyone knows you can't beat the prices at Walmart, especially on electronics, cleaning supplies and things you use every day. For those people, like my friend, who wouldn't be caught dead in Walmart, I think they disguise themselves to shop there and not be seen by people they may know. This would explain why one never sees these shoppers anywhere else, but Walmart.

I still love looking at the pictures my nephew and others send me and when I go back to the US I still love to go to Walmart, for the scenary and the bargains. The bottom line is Walmart has a great variety of products at an affordable price. As far as the Walmart shoppers go, I can only say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

Thanks to You Tube for this video.

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