Stephen Sovie's Blog is Moving, Permanently.

 

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Should You Monetize a Small Personal Blog?

  Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay


I've been writing blogs since 2011 and admittedly have made little or no money doing so.  I never had the intention of getting rich by blogging, but I did hope to make enough money to pay for my domain and web hosting. When you are not selling a product or service there are very few ways of earning money from your endeavors. 

The most popular option for monetizing a blog is through the placement of ads on your blog.  The most widely used of these is AdSense from Google. It is quite easy to apply for AdSense and be accepted.  There are no minimum traffic requirements for AdSense, but Google is very strict and unforgiving.  I had AdSense on one of my blogs in 2011, but it was disabled after a friend of mine unknowingly started to click on my ads daily.  I appealed the decision in 2011 and was immediately denied.  Ten years later I tried again and was once again immediately denied.  When you appeal, Google states that it may take 2 weeks for a decision, but their decision came within a couple of hours.  I'm sure they didn't even read my appeal.

I was upset with the loss of Google AdSense but in reality, since I didn't have traffic numbers in the thousands every month, I wouldn't have made anything more than a few cents. For AdSense and similar ad campaigns that rely on clicks to pay, you would need at least 1000 clicks per month to earn a dollar! There are alternatives to AdSense and other similar companies, but they rely on thousands of visitors a month.

Using affiliate advertising, such as Amazon or eBay, is also very popular for smaller blogs.  I have used Amazon ads on one of my blogs for quite some time.  The ads look very pleasing on my blog, but once again I haven't earned a cent. Infolinks is another popular way to monetize a smaller blog and is quite easy to set up.  I am using Infolinks, but have not reached the minimum payout threshold of $50 yet. The more you post, the better the chances of earning money are.

Finally, if you want to "earn" some money to help allay the costs of maintaining your blogs, you can beg! By this I mean you can come right out and ask people for donations through sites such as PayPal or Ko-Fi.  I have the buttons for both of these sites on my blogs.  I have received several donations from the use of these sites, but nothing to brag about.

It is easy monetizing smaller personal blogs, but it often is not productive.  Unless you have unique content or a unique niche you're going to have trouble drawing a substantial amount of traffic, which results in revenue. As with anything involved in blogging you have to be a prolific writer, but that alone will not guarantee success. I've put many, many hours into my blogs with little to show for it.

If you want to write a blog and not have to worry about domains, hosting, and monetization I would suggest you join and write on Medium.com. For $5 a month you can read and write as much as you want and actually earn money for your efforts. I have been writing on Medium for a couple of years and usually earn enough money to cover my monthly membership fee, plus enough money for a coffee and donut.  The more you put into your writing the more you will get out of it.  You're not going to get rich here, but it's better than breaking your neck over maintaining a blog, unless, like me, you like the challenge.  Check out this link for more information. But anyway, good luck in whatever you do.



                                                     


All Politics is Local, And All Hate is Local

 

                                                                              USA Today

Former House Speaker, "Tip" O'Neil, once said, "that all politics is local".  This was true back in the '70s and even more true now.  Over the past 4 years, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of hate crimes in our country.  In the past year, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a 150% increase in violent crimes against Asians.  This can be primarily attributed to former President Trump, who insisted on referring to the disease as "the China virus"' in an attempt to blame Asians for his incompetency and negligence that killed half a million Americans. Of course, most Americans are not educated or intelligent enough to understand the epidemiology of this virus and cannot tell the difference between a Chinese person, a Japanese, Thai, Korean, Indonesian, Indian, or any other person from Asia. They react to fear-mongering and blame all Asians.

Trump did not invent racism and hatred, but he legitimized it and used it to divide the country, for his own purposes. Racists, bigots, and haters have always been hiding in the shadows in this country. Up until Trump was elected they were prominent at the local level, but not as evident on the national stage.  They controlled who could vote and who their communities sent to Washington to represent them. 

During the Trump administration, the rights and freedoms of minorities were fair game.  Immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and Democrats were vilified and attacked. The Republicans in Congress allowed Trump to trash the Constitution and the foundations of our Democracy. They refused to condemn him or hold him accountable for, not only unconstitutional acts, but criminal acts. They refused to vote for his impeachment.

When Trump lost the 2020 election and refused to comply with the will of a majority of the American people, Republicans allowed Trump to continue to lie and spread conspiracy theories about the election results.  They supported him in his attempts to overturn the election and refused to recognize Joe Biden as the legitimately elected President. 

Finally, on January 6th, Trump supporters, with the full cooperation and support of Trump, attempted to overthrow our democratically elected government.  This insurrection caused the deaths of police officers and endangered the lives of the House Speaker and prominent Democrats in the House and Senate.  Trump's supporters even endangered the life of Vice President Pence. 

While Congress was being attacked, Trump and his co-conspirators in the Pentagon purposely held back the National Guard from putting down the insurrection.  As order was finally restored, Congress reconvened and continued to vote on the certification of Biden's electoral votes. Even with the blood and destruction of the attempted insurrection still evident in the halls of the Capitol 147 Republicans voted to overturn the election.

Since this attack on our democracy, many of those same Republicans have attempted to block Biden's cabinet nominees. One successful blockage was an Asian woman. Every single Republican voted against the Covid relief package that gave much-needed relief to Americans suffering from the pandemic. As Republicans in Red state legislatures are busy introducing laws to suppress the votes of Blacks and other peoples of color, they are trying to block bills strengthening voter rights and women's rights.  Republican Chip Roy(Texas) criticized a hearing on violence against Asians arguing that discrimination is free speech. 

The House voted to award the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers protecting the Capitol during the insurrection, but 12 Republicans voted against it.  The bill now goes to the Senate where I'm sure some Republicans will be opposed as they try to trivialize the insurrection and their part in the treasonous act.

Trump may be gone, but white supremacy still rules in the Halls of Congress. It's always been there, but now the Republican Party has made it a tenet of their party. Racism, bigotry, and hatred will be a governing principle in the passage of future legislation if the Republicans are allowed to have their say.  This is not indigenous to Washington.  This is local.

US Senators and Congressmen are our representatives. They represent our views, beliefs, and opinions. They represent us. These racist, bigoted, hate-filled members of congress don't decide on their own to become members of Congress.  Their constituents elect them to represent them. If the local constituents are racists, bigots, and haters they'll continue to send those people who espouse their beliefs to Congress.

If we want to end white supremacy, racism, and bigotry we must begin at the grass-roots, the local community. And that means we must address these issues in our schools, churches, and in our own families.






It's That Time of Year Again to Say, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or whatever you want to hear!


                                                                 Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay

 

Christmas is only a couple of days away and for some reason, I feel obligated to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, even if I don’t really know them. I have already sent my Christmas salutations to my family and close friends, so now I must do the same for my followers and anyone else who cares to receive my wishes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being a scrooge, but I always feel the same way during the holiday season. Christmas is a special time, with all of the decorations and holiday trappings surrounding almost every aspect of our lives. Holiday movies and television shows offer a variety of entertainment venues that tug at our hearts and emphasize “peace on earth and goodwill to men”. We are encouraged to be charitable to those of us who are less fortunate. Warm and loving feelings and gestures abound. And then it’s all over! Back to the selfish, greedy, hate-filled society that we live in.

Sometimes when I look at the decorations filling our home I can’t help but fantasize about what Christmas was like a hundred years ago. When I look at one of my favorite Christmas figurines, shown below, I wonder what it would be like to be a part of that scene. Then I realize that I wouldn’t have been accepted into that congregation back then. Hell, a hundred years later I’m still not accepted in most churches and communities. Goodwill toward men my ass! The warm feelings of my fantasies don’t last long.


 

This is December 2020 and there are a lot of people in our country suffering. Suffering physically and mentally from Covid-19. Suffering from hunger and homelessness. Suffering from hate and discrimination. Suffering because they’re not one of the privileged in our society. Unfortunately, a great deal of that suffering is unnecessary and preventable. I know many people reading this will be upset because my thoughts to them seem political. Push aside your hate and tribalism and face reality. This is not about politics. This is about being human and caring for our neighbors.

How can those very people who adorn their houses with nativity scenes, raise their voices in praise of “the newborn king” and rejoice in the celebration of the birth of Christ allow this human suffering and support those who perpetuate it? They have no right criticizing those who have materialized Christmas or who don’t celebrate it. There never was a war on Christmas. There’s just a continuing war of the poor, the middle class, minorities, and anyone who doesn't fit into the old America.

To me, Christmas would be great, if it wasn’t so fake. Poor people, suffering people, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and the less fortunate don’t just exist during the holidays. They are with us every day of the year. We also can care for abandoned pets all year long too. There’s no reason we can’t have the Christmas spirit all year long. That’s what being a Christian is, or for that matter, that’s what a Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist is. Or if you’re not religious, that’s what a human being is.

 

So in the spirit of hope, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and more importantly a warm, loving season of caring.

 



 

The Pandemic May Seem Like a Dark Cloud , But I see a Silver Lining

 

                                                       Image by MarciaAnn from Pixabay 

The year 2020 has mainly been overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic and most people have trouble finding any bright spots.  I, for one, however, have found a few positives amongst all of the negativity.

Probably the most obvious change in our lives that was a result of the Coronavirus was wearing a face mask. After living for many years in Asia, where wearing a mask to protect yourself and others from colds and the flu is quite common, wearing a mask was no big deal. Masks also are worn to ward off the effects of air pollution in most Asian countries.

But good God, not in America! Wearing a mask was and is viewed as an attack on a man's masculinity and an abridgment of a person's freedom. After all, we all have a right to die by any means possible! Sure, we all wear seat belts and most of us refrain from drinking while driving and driving above the speed limit. But wear a mask to protect others from dying?  That's going a bit too far.

Since the start of the pandemic, I have come to the sad conclusion that a large portion of American society is either ignorant or just plain stupid. I am shocked by how idiotic some of my family and friends have been in response to the suggestions and guidance of the CDC. They have ignored the medical and public health professionals in favor of following a scientifically illiterate, narcissistic, self-centered conman who seeks only to profit from the pandemic. The world has not seen this type of fascist, evil behavior since Germany succumbed to the cult of Adolf Hitler. 

I've faithfully followed the CDC guideline about social distancing and wearing a mask, to protect myself and others. I've done this without suffering any inconveniences or loss of my civil rights.  I have noticed one benefit of wearing a mask other than preventing the spread of Covid-19.  I usually suffer from at least one nasty cold during the late summer and fall, but not this year. Even my COPD and asthma have not been as bad as in previous years. For me, the mask has been a healthy and pleasant side effect of the pandemic.

Perhaps the best thing to come of this pandemic is something that no one is talking about.  Every since the start of the pandemic with the lockdowns and school closings we have not had one mass school shooting. In the previous year, 2019, there were 45 school shootings.  But that's only part of the story. It's not really a bright spot. Unfortunately, even though there were no mass school shootings, there was an increase in mass shootings outside the school setting.  It's almost as if people can't shoot up a school they'll find someplace else to commit mass murder. 

With so many people acting like complete assholes and idiots defying the reality of the pandemic, the goodness of the majority of our citizenry goes unnoticed. So many Americans have stepped up unselfishly to assist their neighbors and strangers who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.  From helping elderly neighbors shop to collecting food and money for those who have lost their jobs, so they can feed their family, Americans have shown what it's like to be American. We have seen ordinary Americans, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, first responders, truck drivers, grocery store workers, farmworkers, and both the young and elderly become the true heroes of this pandemic. 

Going forward I see these people as the silver lining in the dark cloud of the pandemic and the nightmare of the Trump presidency.  We have all had our complaints and bitching about minor inconveniences, but we're still alive. Some of us have lost family and friends to the Coronavirus, and some are still suffering. We owe it to those people to fight on and endure, to protect each other and defeat the virus, regardless of the selfishness of a few. Our families, our children, and our country depend on us. 




It's Not Fair, I've Been Cheated My Whole Life


 
Image by Wolfgang Eckert from Pixabay

 
Okay, it's almost the end of 2020 and I'm really pissed. I've been cheated all my life and I'm not going to take it anymore!  I've had it and I'm going to do something about everyone who has cheated me out of what is rightfully mine.

First of all, I'm going to retroactively sue my parents for not leaving me an inheritance of millions of dollars.  How is one to survive on anything less?  I'll get a good lawyer.  Maybe Rudy can take up my case.  Then I am going to sue God and the hospital where I was born for allowing me to be born with asthma and allergies. I shouldn't have had to put up with all of those breathing problems!

Then there was this insult when I was in high school.  I'm going to sue my high school because they let someone else graduate as the valedictorian of my class.  It's not going to stop there.  Next, I am going to sue Harvard for not accepting me into their prestigious institution. I didn't apply, but that's not the point.  I deserved to be accepted.  They should have begged me to attend.

Perhaps the biggest indignity of my entire life is that I've had to actually work my whole life until I had to retire.  I wasn't cut out to work.  That's for losers and suckers. For my entire life, someone else took those cushy jobs that were meant for me.  Many of those who stole my dream jobs were minorities or immigrants.  It wasn't fair.

Do you realize how many times I've won the Mega Millions jackpot?  Every time I won someone changed the winning numbers and gave the money to some loser who really didn't know what to do with the money. Even when I buy scratch tickets the clerk, who sells them to me, purposely takes my ticket from the losers' bundle of tickets. Every damn time!  Even the machines that dispense lottery tickets are rigged against me.

Oh yeah. I forgot about the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. I don't know how many times I sent in my entry and followed all the rules, but to no avail.  I've sat for hours looking out my window waiting for the prize patrol to drive up to my front door.  It has to be rigged against me.  I haven't even won the Irish Sweepstakes, and I'm half Irish!

I really become angry when I see these losers driving around in beautiful red Porsche Boxters! I should be driving one! That's my car!  Just because I can't afford one doesn't mean I shouldn't have one. It's not fair.

Now that I am retired I have to live on government handouts like Social Security and my pension.  Who does that?  Where the hell is my slush fund.  People should be giving me money for no other reason than I deserve it. Maybe I should go to Deutsche Bank and take out a loan for a billion dollars. I can use my name as collateral. Or I can run for president. I hear anyone can. 

I'm psyched right now about getting everything I deserve. Now that I know that my failures have not been my fault, but someone else's, I can work to right these wrongs.  And I have that wonderful role model and benevolent human being, Donald J. Trump, to thank for enlightening me. We're not losers, are we Don?




Hell! If They Can Do It, We Can Do It! Living with a stolen Supreme Court.

 

                                                       Image by Barbara Rosner from Pixabay


Like most people I know I was deeply depressed upon hearing that Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrette, was finally confirmed by the GOP senate. It was expected, but it still was a travesty. I was struck with the competing emotions of anger, fear, and depression. To some people, this is just another court seat that is being filled. Not for me. Once again as long as some people are not being directly affected they don’t care.

My first thoughts upon hearing that this right-wing religious extremist, who has actively spoken out against LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage was that my marriage and those of millions of others will soon be in jeopardy. Two of the Justices, useless Clarence Thomas, and “Atilla” Alito have recently stated that the same-sex marriage ruling was a mistake and should be revisited. I guess Thomas, whose wife is white, has forgotten that it wasn’t too long ago that his bi-racial marriage was illegal.

Before Trump’s stooges on the court destroy my marriage and my rights they’re going to destroy women’s rights, in particular reproductive rights. This will probably be the first thing that Barrett goes after, along with her cohort Brett Kavanaugh, if he sobers up in time to vote. I will venture a guess that this attack on women will take place within a year. Barrett is not only vehemently against abortion, but she has also spoken out against in-vitro fertilization. Here come the handmaidens!

Among other tenants of our American democracy that will fall by the wayside are the separation of church and state and voting rights. It’s only been one day since Barrett has been part of the court and the conservative Supreme Court has already said that votes received after November 3rd cannot be counted. Kavanaugh’s written decision seems like it was written by Trump himself! I have always thought that all American citizens, over the age of 18 have a Constitutional right to vote, regardless of race, religion, or gender. No more! Trump’s court will soon allow only white, male Christians the right to vote.

As far as the separation of church and state is concerned she holds strong beliefs in the expression of religious liberty that would preserve the right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community and people of non-Christian faiths. She has even hinted that religious beliefs supersede the Constitution. She will legalize bigotry and hate towards some members of our society.

We will be subjected to an onslaught of attacks on our freedoms for quite some time. She’s in there for life unless Congress can set new terms limits for justices. Hopefully, the way the Republicans have unethically filled this seat by pushing the confirmation through one week before an election will energize Democrats to vote in overwhelming numbers to destroy Trump and his Republican henchmen in Congress.

For too long the Democrats have played too nicely, while the Republicans lied, cheated, and stole their way to power. Trump, his cohorts in Congress, in the Justice Department, and now on the Supreme Court have ignored tradition, the rule of law, and the Consitution to get what they want. None of them has been held accountable. If the Democrats win the House, the Senate, and the White House, we should take our country and our freedoms back. If the Supreme Court disagrees with what is being done, the Democrats should ignore them. The Republicans did it. So we should do it now.

Stephen Sovie's Blog is Moving, Permanently.

  flickr To those few people who have been following "Stephen Sovie's Blog" I would like to inform you that it is moving to Me...