Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Just trying to hack my way to happiness ; )

It seems that coming up with a clever title is half the battle in having a successful book.  I was listening to a CNN interview with Anna Akbari on her new book, Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way to Happiness, in which she uses the small business model as a means of improving one's life.  Don't let yourself get down over failures, Anna says, just pivot as start-ups so often do, finding success in earlier failures.  But, it seems the major success here is Anna, who found a way to cash in on other peoples' misfortunes.

We're pretty good at that in America.  Much of our economy hinges on being able to take advantage of peoples' insatiable desire to score it big.  The self-help book industry is just one part of it.  Investment bankers, stock traders and many others are always trying to convince you of huge paybacks if you invest in their products.  We now even have a prosperity theology, which convinces persons that if they invest monetarily in God they will get huge financial rewards.

Getting rich quickly has long been a dream of Americans, which is why whatever little bit of extra cash one has at the end of the week usually goes into a lottery ticket. or on-line gaming or the horse track, as the case may be.   The well-placed bet that will turn one's life around is cemented into our psyches, especially since we see it happen on television and on rare occasions with our neighbors.

Television and now the Internet stokes our fantasies.  We see vloggers like PewDiePie and Zoella, offering little more than gaming skills and beauty tips, become overnight sensations, commanding huge audiences and drawing in big revenue thanks to advertising.  It seems so easy until you try it yourself.

I hooked up my blog to Adsense, but all I got were unwanted ads and no revenue.  This blog averages about 2500 hits per month, not enough to draw advertisers willing to pay for space.  Every once in a while I see an upsurge in hits thanks to a Russian audience which for whatever reasons plugs in for about a week boosting my monthly hits to over 5000.  More likely this is some kind of bot that embeds unwanted links in posts, diverting actual readers away from my blog.

Not that this blog was ever for the money.  It was an attempt to keep an American History reading group going after the New York Times closed down its reading forums.  I still have contact with some of my NYT friends through facebook but they very rarely visit this site because they often find themselves re-directed as the result of these unwanted ads.  I encourage them to get AdBlock as it works for me, but I guess mainly they lost interest in the topic.

That's why I "pivoted" more to contemporary subjects, principally politics, serving mainly as a personal journal.  Occasionally, I link a post to facebook to see if anyone is interested, but inevitably I'm told they have been redirected.  I tried contacting Blogger about this but got no answer, and the advice I've picked up on the Internet has failed to address the problem.  So, I assume I too have been hacked by Russia.  I suppose I should take this as a compliment given my limited readership.

To make a long story short, I've decided to give this blog more than just a new look but an entirely new feel.  With the Age of Trump soon upon us I've been trying out my literary chops on a serial novel, which I have given the working title "Deep Cover."  Not very catchy, but I will work on that.  I don't want to say too much as it is a spy novel, you might even say a "thriller," as I have no ending in mind yet other than attempt to explain in an indirect and roundabout way how Trump got elected.  It is meant to be satire but if some unsuspecting news blogs pick up on it and run it as a true story, so be it.  Maybe it will increase my readership, assuming they give me credit for the story.

Anyway, I'm just trying to have fun and add a little life to this blog.  I hope you enjoy it.  First installment due January 1.  The other posts will remain if you should ever want to peruse them.

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