Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sir Salman The Clown

Eight floors above, in the Random House boardroom, Rushdie is sipping takeaway coffee, and looking both professorial and profoundly amused. These days he is, as the receptionist implies, a novelist more talked about than read, a situation he is keen to reverse.

It wasn't always thus. Back in 1981 when he won the Booker Prize for Midnight's Children, an instant classic, he was the hottest young writer of the day. That all changed in 1989 when, following publication of The Satanic Verses, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa calling for its author's death.

Overnight, Rushdie stopped being "just" a novelist and became a weird hybrid – a man in hiding who was also a public figure, a visible symbol of freedom of speech who was, himself, invisible. Rushdie was forced into hiding for 10 years over his book's alleged slight on the prophet Mohammed.

Having said that were it not for the first lot of Moslem nonsense over his book the Satanic Verses, and a certain Iranian getting a fatwa on his arse few people would not really have heard of him. They do say that publicity no matter what type is good, as Oscar Wilde said something on the lines of it was better to be talked about than not talked about all. I am sure Salman is sat back cashing in the cheques and thinking, each death threat means a few more book sales.

What a lot of people don’t know was that he had round-the-clock police protection costing nearly £1 million a year, although that has been downgraded in recent years after Iran indicated the death sentence no longer applied.

I have to remind myself I’m a writer, not just a fighter, and that’s the story of my life, said Rushdie. Living in hiding is worse than death and your detractors will always try to discredit your work.

Now for those who came in late - a quick biography……

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is an Indian born novelist and essayist. He was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 19 June 1947. He went to school in Bombay and at Rugby in England, and read History at King's College, Cambridge, where he joined the Cambridge Footlights theatre company. After graduating, he lived with his family who had moved to Pakistan in 1964, and worked briefly in television before returning to England, beginning work as a copywriter for an advertising agency. His first novel, Grimus, was published in 1975.

He first achieved fame with his second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), which won the Booker Prize for fiction in 1981, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction), an Arts Council Writers' Award and the English-Speaking Union Award, and in 1993 was judged to have been the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize for Fiction in the award's 25-year history.

Salman Rushdie is Honorary Professor in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was made Distinguished Fellow in Literature at the University of East Anglia in 1995. He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 1993 and the Aristeion Literary Prize in 1996, and has received eight honorary doctorates. He was elected to the Board of American PEN in 2002. In the spring of 2007, Rushdie was named Distinguished Writer in Residence in the English Department at Emory University. Phew !

“Midnight's Children” narrates key events in the history of India through the story of pickle-factory worker Saleem Sinai, one of 1001 children born as India won independence from Britain in 1947.


The critic Malcolm Bradbury acclaimed the novel's achievement in The Modern British Novel (Penguin, 1994) as a new start for the late-twentieth-century novel.

Much of his early fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism mixed with historical fiction, and a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

The author's own biography is of a boy born in 1947, educated in an `English public school ethos' school in Bombay, then leaving India as a teenager to complete his education at a major public school in England, and then Cambridge University, before making a career for ten years as an advertising copywriter in London. Lack of deep and broad insight into India and its people, much beyond his own rather narrow background and what one can pick up from books, newspapers, TV docs and acquaintances in England, is perhaps unsurprising. Now I know that I am being a bit over the top here, but aren’t all of from the same mould ?

Nonetheless, anyone who liked Rushdie’s other books is bound to love this one as well. The book certainly has some great moments that will definitely hold your interest.

Unfortunately, whatever people say, I have my views and perhaps that may be to the fact that I am not such a big fan of Salman Rushdie. However, at times, he rocks !

For example, there is the recent row over Muslim women's dress codes reignited today after author Salman Rushdie declared that "veils suck". Speaking as somebody with three sisters and a very largely female Muslim family, he added that there's not a single woman that he knows in his family, or in his friends circle who would have accepted wearing the veil. He was expressing an important opinion, which is that veils suck, which in fact, they do and he felt that in other words it is way of taking power away from women. No comments, but it takes a lot of guts to speak up.

The fatwa was lifted in 1997, and in more recent years Rushdie's public image has altered to that of literary playboy. The new view is that he spends his time attending parties with Bono, squiring beautiful young women (his marriage to the actress, model and TV presenter Padma Lakshmi ended last year) and hanging out with Martin Amis and Ian McEwan, the novelists with whom he supposedly forms a neocon triumvirate. Being a literary playboy is easier than being a fugitive from Islamic vengeance, but the divorce seems to have left a devastating effect on Salman Rushdie

Once reclusive, now apparently a global gadabout with homes in London, New York and his native India. He gets called lots of things – arrogant, smug, and overindulged – but in the final analysis, could Sir Salman be nothing more than a good bloke to whom some bad things have happened?
We start by talking about his new novel, The Enchantress Of Florence, which is set during the 16th century and in which Rushdie forges a connection between the sexual decadence of Medieval Florence and the sensual world of India's Mughal Empire. He has been working on the book for three years, and seems to feel that it proves, after almost a decade of bad reviews, that he remains a world-class novelist. "Sometimes when you finish a book you don't know quite what you've got," he says. "This time I actually felt happy when I finished it. As far as I can tell, this is not bad. The last time I really felt that way was Haroun And The Sea Of Stories, and before that Midnight's Children."

Rushdie, who studied history, did an enormous amount of research for "Enchantress," and there is the odd inclusion, for a novel, of an 83-book bibliography. The purpose, he said, was to acknowledge the work he built upon as well as to ward off any accusations that he copied other sources.

He particularly said that he did not want some smart aleck to go find the facts mentioned in his book and say that he stole it from another source.
He added that it is obvious that he has done extensive research and has taken stuff from all over the place. The only existing record of the Ottoman campaign against Dracula, for instance, is a journal written by a young Serbian janissary named Konstantine, who describes arriving at a town finding 20,000 people impaled on stakes. The image that particularly haunted Rushdie was of a mother with a baby, and he uses this description of 'crows nesting in her hollowed breasts.'

That's his, not mine," said Rushdie, who used it in "Enchantress." "But who can beat that for a description?"

The Enchantress Of Florence is also an important book for Rushdie because writing it helped him recover from his split from Lakshmi, his fourth wife.

After three years of marriage, they had split and for around two months, he was unable to work, but eventually found comfort in flitting imaginatively through the whorehouses and harems of Florence and the Mughal court. In his novels there is a recurring motif of artists literally disappearing into their own work, and he seems to have done something similar here, sinking into his own pages, sighing with pleasure and relief.

The two novels also share a fairytale quality. Rushdie is a great admirer of fairy stories and fables, a habit that he and his sisters were told when they were kids Memories of Ali Baba, Aladdin, Sinbad were the stories that his father told him and which he enjoys watching as movies. This was enormously important to his later development as a magical realist writer, but what it did at the time was bond him to his father, Anis Ahmed Rushdie, a small businessman in Bombay.

One of the few things that he remembers about his father was that he was a very good storyteller. However, he had a problem with drink and that made him difficult, but he was a very good father of small children – entertaining and amusing and entrancing. He had more difficulties with all of us when we acquired minds of our own, but as a child he was completely enchanted by him.

How did the relationship change? "Well, it got much worse and then it got better again.
There was a long time when he was in his thirties that things got so worse and they were not on talking terms. However, when his cancer was diagnosed he went back to meet him and they became immensely close. There wasn't very long between his diagnosis and his dying, but he says that it was during that time they put away most of their problems.

It then appears that on his 40th birthday (June, 87), his father wrote him a very long letter (which he still retains) in which he had spoken to him about his work. He had never really spoken to him about his work before as he found it hard to do so, but that letter it appears was extraordinary and deeply affecting. In short, towards the end they became very attached

He died in November that year

It isn’t surprising that he is called the literary playboy and the connection he has with women. He was born in Bombay in 1947 and his sisters arrived one, five and 14 years later. He seems to have had many more close women friends than men. Besides, the fact that in his family there was always the presence of such a disproportionate female element.

He grew up surrounded by confident, assertive women. One of his aunts married a general in the Pakistan army and became a high society figure. The other was one of the great intellectuals of her generation and through her he met some of the greatest writers and poets. In short, his knowledge of women was that they were anything but the clich√© of mild, self-effacing Indian women. They were extremely confident, forthright and took no ‘shit’

This influence is paramount in his books as well. His friendship with women is evident in many of his books. He has never had any problems in making friends with women, perhaps it was due to the fact that they understood that he was only trying to be their friend and not trying to get them to bed. Many men start being friendly with women because they are trying to seduce them.

He maintains that the women he befriends are not for any other purpose but with the only purpose of hanging out with them. Perhaps a “seduction” is a bonus (pardon the pun). That said; let's not forget that Rushdie has been married four times. Seduction cannot be a completely foreign art for him. He feels that he has done his share and laughs at the fact of being viewed as a ‘Don Juan’, albeit embarrassing. Four marriages and still he remains an optimistic and romantic idiot !

It does seem to me that even now, aged 60 and with two children of his own, he craves acceptance. This desire to belong, would explain, for instance, why being awarded a knighthood made him so happy, why it meant so much to him that Indian readers took Midnight's Children to their hearts, and the very fact that why it hurts so much that The Satanic Verses was banned in that country.

Last June, when Queen Elizabeth knighted him, many of the issues that have dogged Rushdie over the past 20 years were freshly aroused, not only among Muslims around the world but also among political kin contemptuous that an avowed leftist would accept such an imperial honor, and conservatives who lashed out at him because they believed he was once again endangering Britain's security.

It appears that he deeply resented the assaults on him, and couldn’t quite fathom the animosity. Perhaps he should write a book titled “Sir Shalimar The Clown” and quieten his critics

Then, a few weeks later, he announced that Lakshmi was leaving him (she informed him via e-mail). Cheap…….didn’t think she would do that, but what to do, her upbringing is evident. Poor Sir Salman, he still hasn’t quite understood her.

Now if Rushdie happens to be spotted having a drink with an attractive woman, he is soon likely to be greeted with a headline like "Salman Rushdie Is Once Again On The Prowl in Midtown," in some New York magazine (no names here). Not being able to work was one of the terrible byproducts of his breakup with Lakshmi, Rushdie said. He has described the split as a "nuclear bomb dropped in your living room when you're trying to work. What a sentimental idiot – there are more to some guys that never are written.

As Rushdie himself acknowledges, he enjoys going out and socializing. Tell me something new. Perhaps, it might help him relax and get “himself out of the system” after a day of slogging and groom himself for another grueling day

Rushdie now lives in Manhattan but regularly commutes to London to see his family, and keeps a punishing lecture and touring schedule in North America and Europe. A theme that repeatedly surfaces in "Enchantress" is the illusion that one can come home after a long journey and find peace.

And to set the record straight, he recently clarified that all the people that he has been recently associated with “in such reports”, are not true.

He went a step further to add “I'm totally eligible, single and available." Any takers ? You kidding ?

What an old fart ! (with all due apologies)

Wishing him another four more marriages !

Bibliography
· Grimus (1975)
· Midnight's Children (1981)
· Shame (1983)
· The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey (1987)
· The Satanic Verses (1988)
· Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990)
· Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981 - 1991 (1992)
· Homeless by Choice (1992, with R. Jhabvala and V. S. Naipaul)
· East, West (1994)
· The Moor's Last Sigh (1995)
· The Firebird's Nest (1997)
· The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999)
· The Screenplay of Midnight's Children (1999)
· Fury (2001)
· Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992 - 2002 (2002)
· Shalimar the Clown (2005)
· The Enchantress of Florence (2008)
· The Best American Short Stories (2008, as Guest Editor)

Prizes and awards

· 1981 Arts Council Writers' Award
· 1981 Booker Prize for Fiction Midnight's Children
· 1981 English-Speaking Union Award Midnight's Children
· 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) (joint winner) Midnight's Children
· 1983 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) Shame
· 1984 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (France) Shame
· 1988 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) The Satanic Verses
· 1988 Whitbread Novel Award The Satanic Verses
· 1989 German Author of the Year The Satanic Verses
· Kurt Tucholsky Prize (Sweden)
· 1992 Writers' Guild Award (Best Children's Book) Haroun and the Sea of Stories
· Austrian State Prize for European Literature
· 1993 Booker of Bookers (special award made to celebrate 25 years of the Booker Prize)
· Prix Colette (Switzerland)
· 1995 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) The Moor's Last Sigh
· 1995 British Book Awards Author of the Year The Moor's Last Sigh
· 1995 Whitbread Novel Award The Moor's Last Sigh
· Aristeion Literary Prize
· Mantova Literary Prize (Italy)
· Budapest Grand Prize for Literature (Hungary)
· Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France)
· Freedom of the City, Mexico City (Mexico)
· 2005 Whitbread Novel Award (shortlist) Shalimar The Clown
· 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) Shalimar The Clown
· 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (shortlist) Shalimar The Clown
· KBE
· 2007 Man Booker International Prize (shortlist)
· 2008 Best of the Booker Midnight's Children


Publisher (General enquiries) Agent

Jonathan Cape Ltd The Wylie Agency (UK) Ltd
Random House UK Ltd 17 Bedford Square
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road London WC1B 3JA
London SW1V 2SA England
England Tel: +44 (0)20 7908 5900
Tel: +44 (0)20 7840 8539 Fax: +44 (0)20 7908 5901
Fax: +44 (0)20 7932 0077 E-mail: mail@wylieagency.co.uk


References :

· Salman Rushdie – Wikipedia
· Summaries of all his novels and links to interviews with Salman Rushdie
· Salman Rushdie -- An Overview
· Salman Rushdie Biography -- Books and Writers
· Salman Rushdie Biography -- British Council
· Salman Rushdie – IMDB
· Salman Rushdie Interview -- Salon.com
· Salman Rushdie Interview -- Powell’s Books
· Salman Rushdie: An interview
· Salman Rushdie interviewed by Ginny Dougary (2005)
· The Irshad Manji interview with Salman Rushdie
· A Timeline -- Salman Rushdie
· Salman Rushdie Profile -- The Blanket
· Notes on The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
· The Ayatollah, the Novelist, and the West by Daniel Pipes, Commentary
· The fatwa on Salman Rushdie
· http://www.aspenwriters.org/AspenPrizeBios.html
· http://living.scotsman.com/books/Magical-thinking--Salman-Rushdie.3999048.jp
· http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/books/25cohe.html?pagewanted=print
· http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/offthepage/guide.htm?command=Search&db=/catalog/main.txt&eqisbndata=0099578514
· http://www.dailypress.com/topic/sfl-bkrushdiesbjun29,0,1472902.story?page=1
· http://society.indianetzone.com/literature/1/salman_rushdie.htm

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Of Twits And Clowns

John McCain makes me roll in laughter…

He is a joke and he is immature and he makes immature and irresponsible decisions. Giving him power to lead a country is like giving a 4 year old a crayon in front of a wall and telling him not to write on it

I beg to disagree…

Why, you may ask

Well I support his outsourcing plan

Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain announced that he would, if elected president, immediately begin to outsource the cabinet and their respective agencies.

Anyway, you will be pleased to note that McCain has said that the Housing department will be placed with an Indian call center. He feels that the Indians seem to know far better what is missing in the housing scene throughout America these days. Besides, they apparently also have the funds to manage the department and its problems, with their casinos bulging with cash. Besides, the natural skills of these people to manage and stay out of global conflicts is amazing, said the Senator from Arizona.

How can such a man be a clown

This ofcourse is apart from his natural ability to be one - now that’s another story!

It is also believed that John McCain has also decided to learn how to use the internet.

He is learning to get online and he hopes to do that soon, McCain told the New York Times in an interview. "I don't expect to be a great communicator, nor I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need."

In sharp contrast to McCain, Obama has 46,195 followers on “Twit-ter”. He apparently follows 48,040 Twitter accounts.

Amen

Monday, October 20, 2008

Work From Home - Freelancing And Blogging

In addition to monetizing your own blog with advertising spots, paid reviews, affiliate marketing, freelance jobs etc., there are many opportunities on the net for getting paid to blog and other freelance jobs.

The secret is to start using your content to get paid to blog.

If planned well, blogging can take your affiliate income through the roof.

Being Consistent

Many freelancers are inconsistent in marketing themselves and looking for new freelance jobs. This means that when you do market yourself and something comes in, you feel good because you have some income, you have some money, and you feel like your business is going well. But then you take your eye off the ball of marketing yourself and you just focus on delivering your service for your current projects.

Without keeping some consistent marketing in your routine, you're not filling the pipeline for new potential freelance job opportunities. Therefore, when you get a job, you feel great when you finish the job, and after which you have nothing. Result - you scramble desperately to find the next job.

By the time you start marketing again, it takes a while to get the engine back up and going, so it's a very inconsistent way to market yourself. The best way to remedy this deadly mistake that many freelancers make (especially most people who are new to the freelance business) is to set aside a certain amount of time each day to look for new freelance jobs and follow up with potential employers.

This could be a certain amount of time or it could be a certain number of jobs that you're going to apply to. Even if it's just one job a day or two jobs a day, that’s fine. All you need is to pick your rhythm, a success habit that you're going to do daily, every weekday for your business, and it doesn't have to take a lot of time. Set something as your daily goal and make it a success habit.

The key part of that habit is being consistent. It's where most freelancers fail and this is what takes most freelancers out of their business and puts them back into full-time jobs.

When you crack the code as a freelancer, you're going to love it as you're going to earn great money and you're going to have lots of freedom and responsibility to do what you want to do, when you want to do it.

Planning Ahead

Now, let us determine how much money you want to make and CAN make in the next 12 months. First, let us assume the salary you are seeking, say $30,000. Now, let's divide that number by 2,080 (based upon 40 hours per week over 1 year) and you will come up with $14.42 per hour (gross).

Every day, you would have to make over $105.00, and for every week you should set a target of $577.00.

Let us say you are unable to find a job for the first month, which means you have lost an estimate of $2,500, which eventually has to be added on to the yearly salary that you are seeking. So to play safe put in a two-month period [that the time tour search might take], which increases your annual salary target to $35,000, your hourly target to $16.80 or a daily target of $.134.40 [8 hours], or a weekly target of $.672.00 [40 hours]

Now make note of this;

 Your targeted annual salary [12 months] – should be set at $.35,000
 Your hourly rate that you plan to charge would have to be greater than $.16.80, let us say $.17.0
 Divide the figure in #1 by your answer in #2 to get the total number of hours you need to work in the next 12 months to reach your goal.
 Divide the answer in #3 by 2080 [based upon 40 hours per week over 1 year] to estimate the gain you would make and the time you would take to breakeven.
 Then think about how many hours you would have to be putting in, on a weekly basis, so as to figure out how many clients it’s going to take to reach your goal.

The result you get here is how many hours a week you have to work to reach that goal. The only advantage is that you can also work on holidays and get paid on it. This, of course depends on your social life.

If this number seems unreasonable, then you need to go back and reassess your goals. Maybe you need to increase your rates or you need to decrease your goals.

Whatever may be the case, I sincerely hope it works out for you.

If you crack the freelance code and start charging a lot more for your services, you can make it to your goal with far-less hours and fewer clients than you have in mind, and beat out most of the freelancers out there who work without a profitable strategy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hot, Flat, and Crowded - Can It Renew America

Alright, let’s get this straight

Who is Thomas Friedman and what do you know of him?

Well he is a New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning writer Friedman who has written a couple of books that include, The Lexus and the Olive Tree which came out in 1999 and introduced thousands to the notion of globalization. So, when the book, The World Is Flat came out nearly everybody was reading it. So his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded may make it official, for many, that ecology-mindedness is the character of our times.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is that I have NOT got down to reading Thomas Friedman’s new book…where he apparently suggests the industries and fields in which we should be investing. Now I have trouble with anyone telling me where people should be investing, but if the reviews in New York Times, Washington Post and the Salon are to be believed, I am fairly sure I will be buying the book.

"The shortest way I can explain it is that 'hot' stands for the increase in global warming, 'flat' is my metaphor for the rise of middle classes all over the world, from India to China to Brazil to Russia, who are now able to consume and produce like Americans, and 'crowded' is the fact that the population of the planet in my lifetime ...has almost tripled."

Friedman it appears offers a thought- provoking, accessible look at the impact of wealth transfer from energy consuming to energy producing nations, failed policies, environmentalism, conservation, greenness, and redefining a vision for America, that “MAY” leave the reader asking questions and demanding solutions. Although some of the ideas presented aren’t new, this book to me appears worth the reader’s time.

Alright so much for the books - but who is Thomas Friedman?

Thomas Lauren Friedman was born on 20th July, 1953. He is an American journalist, neo-liberal columnist and author. Tell me something new!

He apparently is also a contributor to The New York Times and whose column appears twice weekly and mainly addresses topics relating to foreign affairs. TLF [easier calling him that as Thomas Lauren Friedman is a mouthful] is known for supporting a compromise resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and ofcourse the modernization of the Arab world, then environmentalism and now globalization.

However, he has lost a lot of his supporters because of his vehement and open supporter of the invasion of Iraq. He later on became an outspoken critic of the war and the Bush administration which upset his credibility

To quote a few of the comments seen in the net don’t speak much about the publics view about him, thanks to his support of the war - “I used to worship Thomas Friedman until he vocally, vehemently pushed the War in Iraq in line with a social experiment, certain that it would promote democracy in the Middle East. I was so disappointed in his nearsightedness, especially because he had spent his career covering the region.

A couple hundred thousand dead Iraqis who died for a "elective" social experiment even more revolting than "collateral damage" inflicted by an incompetent, undermanned, casualty averse US Military trying to accomplish some vague, every shifting "mission." In short, what a raging, pompous, self-justifying, cowardly, intellectual asshole!”

So, I guess a lot of people still can't forgive him for advocating the Iraq war for mental health reasons, because he "felt it in his gut" that it was the right thing to do. Besides America had to strike out against SOMEbody after 9/11. It is just about the most irresponsible thing any columnist could ever perhaps say or write.

Okay, taking a few minutes to let our focus shift back to TLF - Thomas Friedman was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. He attended the St. Louis Park High School, where he wrote articles for his school's newspaper, where he also managed to interview Ariel Sharon, an Israeli general who later on went to become the Prime Minister of Israel. TLF graduated in 1971. He later on when to attend the St Antony's College at the University of Oxford on a Marshall scholarship, earning an M.Phil. in Middle Eastern studies.

And that is not all; this "green revolutionary" is married to the heiress to a shopping center fortune and lives in an 11,000 square foot house in Maryland, valued at over $10 million. Friedman's wife, Ann, a graduate of Stanford University is the daughter of Matthew Bucksbaum, the chairman of the board of General Growth Properties, a real estate development group. The Bucksbaums helped pioneer the development of shopping centers in the United States and as of 2007, Forbes estimated the Bucksbaum family's assets at $4.1 billion that included about 18.6 million square meters of mall space

Phew! TLF is surely set… Am waiting to see when he comes out with a Foundation, that supports his books views - will surely give back his LOST credibility

So let’s get back to TLFs new book - Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Friedman as always is in search of a new bandwagon to pump out yet another book. This wagon is already full, full of people who are seriously concerned about our planet earth but he would like to take the reins and drive this buggy to the gates of hell, or at least to where the cash is stashed away. There isn't a good cause that can't be milked.

Now he is writing about a Green Revolution. Even though Al Gore did not invent the internet, he sure is at the forefront of the Green Revolution. Why do we need Thomas Friedman's thinking on the subject? Is he trying to redeem himself?

Jimmy Carter was right about this issue during his administration. Al Gore has been right about this issue for years. John Kerry was right about this issue, and his call for an Apollo program for green energy, back in the 2004 campaign.

Personally, I believe the engine of this whole change is the market and all of the major investment banks have large positions in fossil fuels - in fact, Forbes recently claimed that if those banks were forced to liquidate their positions in fossil fuels, prices would drop to as low as $50-$75 a barrel - and that's what the current bailout is intended to avoid. Goldman Sachs also has huge holdings in fossil fuels, and the recent $5 billion Buffet injection should be viewed in the light of Buffet's extensive energy investments - PetroChina, ConocoPhillips, and Mid-American and Constellation Energy.

In other words, if only energy could be harnessed to take the place of oil . . . guess that is what TLF is trying to get across?

Or speaking as an Indian - The US can just get used to the Third World conditions - In other words the IMF proposes an austerity package for the U.S. as a precondition on a World Bank loan rescue package. Their first demand is that we privatize Social Security and halt all funding for public education. How is that for change?

That said, I used to work in a financial company that got influenced by the 'green committee' - trying to change the way we do business in an environmentally intelligent way. Infact the people involved who are mostly middle class people have basically no urgency or real understanding of what the hell is going on. They treat it like an irritating fad, and easily take 'no' as an answer when trying to change the way the company operates, or more so as they operate.

Unfortunately, most people still do not read or understand and to top it all do not care about science. Rationalism is apparently not their philosophy. In such a situation, how does one visualize environmentalism? Until they have intimate, personal experiences with global climate change - in other words they are scared, vis-à-vis Katrina, it is very unlikely they would do anything

Now, let me get to the bottom of this, I was supposed to keep this under a page and it appears that I have run into over 2 pages now.

As the apparent "God of Globalization," Friedman understands only too well how interconnected we have become. In other words, the pollution in India's Ganges River could have a direct impact on the quality of life in New York. Every coal factory that China builds, competes for resources with an Indonesian child. And to top it all, every time a woman in Southern California switched on her air conditioner, its effect travels to the Brazilian slums.

In short there is no way we can regulate our way out of this problem, but only innovate. This in turn requires legislation and rules.

But are we prepared for that ?

Bottom-line - He definitely is not the mystical seer, second only to that prophetic magician of the middle ages, the amazing Nostril-Dumb-ass.

Amen

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

SEO – What Is It And Why You Need It

Search Engine Optimization, SEO is not something new nowadays. Basically, if you want your online business to be successful, it's a good idea to optimize your site on a regular basis to make sure it's got a good position in the Web's top search engines.

Now, what in the world is this SEO?

Thankfully, most of us here, know what it is, but for those who came in late… SEO stands for search Engine Optimization.

So in other words SEO means if you trying to optimize your site for the search engines, you are basically optimizing your page for those keywords for which you want a high page ranking. Basically, in order to maintain your page-rank, you have to keep on top of what's happening in the rapidly changing search engine industry. The rules that affected your page rank yesterday may be meaningless tomorrow!

Search engines analyze title tags, image tags, link structure, directory structure, keyword density, prominence, and proximity, total words, total words in specific areas, alt tags, input tags, word repetitions, comment lines, domain name, directory name, filename, etc. The list is endless…..Moreover, to complicate things further, each engine has it's own unique way of ranking pages, so you need to create different pages to exactly match the criteria of each one.

So, do you have to use SEO?

The answer to why you have to use it is an easy one. You need Search Engine Optimization to be number one, or maybe at least make your site income generating.

For the past few years, search engines would be the most widely used internet tool to find the sites that they need to go to, or the product or information they need. Most people that use search engines use only the ten top search results in the first page. So you basically need to get it done right. In other words, you need an expert...

Now once again why do we need to pay for SEO, when we can do it ourselves?
When you get online, you would want people to visit your blog and for this you will need traffic and for that you need Search Engine Optimization. Now, although SEO is the hottest way to drive targeted traffic to your site, it costs aplenty, unless you are skilled in it. Likewise, maximizing the benefits of an optimized website will also yield lots of earnings for the marketer.

It is not that people cannot make money from the net; it is because people can’t get traffic to their site. This is mainly because one of the common mistakes in generating traffic which we all tend to make is the method of how we generate traffic. The biggest mistake here is that you are not focusing on generating traffic, but instead, you’ve tried almost every method out there that can supposedly increase the traffic to your site.

If we adopt a pattern, that is to say, the first day, you try and find more links for better SEO, then the next day, you try and generate traffic with article marketing and the following day you try obtaining with CPC advertising – then the chances of getting traffic are much better.



Basically, if you want your online business to be successful, it's a good idea to optimize your site on a regular basis to make sure it's got a good position in the web's top search engines. However, in order to maintain your page rank, you have to keep on top of what's happening in the rapidly changing search engine industry. The rules that affected your page rank yesterday may be useless tomorrow!

With the rapid growth of the Internet, it is no doubt why Search Engine Optimization has become one of the hottest topics within Internet marketing. The amount of daily search engine traffic is staggering, and for an individual who is thinking of marketing their products or services online, the Internet can be a virtually limitless gold mine of potential customers.

However, to reach these customers you will need to position yourself on those same search engines that so many people are using daily looking for your services or products. When queried, a search engine will reveal all of the sites that it has in its database about a particular subject or product. If your site happens to fall into the requested search category, this is called your site or page ranking [PR].

However, and as mentioned earlier, usually only the first few (top 10) ranked websites get to reap the sweet fruit of victory over their competition.

To make matters worse, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is not something new nowadays. In other words, the search engine industry is continually evolving. You need to know which of the major "players" is powering the smaller search engines if you want to know where you should focus your optimization efforts.

In order to achieve this, you need to create multiple streams of traffic for your site. Settling for one source of traffic is simply not enough for most small to mid-size sites, or home-based business sites. Considering the competition most people experience with search engines, not to mention the ever-increasing trend towards ‘pay for inclusion’ with the major search engines, it can be a real challenge to get decent traffic from search engines.

Google is still extremely powerful with Yahoo! a close runner-up and MSN still a distant but threatening third. It must be also noted that many of the smaller search engines plus some paid listings are still powered by Yahoo and Google

Before you can actually begin to start optimizing a site, you must understand how search engines and their robots work. This information will give you a head start on the process of building an optimized web site.

Almost daily, we meet web designers who do not truly understand the function of search engines. This usually results in poorly developed sites in regards to search engine placement that usually disappear. Sure, anyone can build a site with a little practice. However, knowing how search engines work and building a site that meets its ever changing ranking criteria and also achieves top ranking results for key search terms, is quite different.

There presently exist two types of major search engines, robot-indexed and human-indexed. It is important to understand the differences between the two because the way they index pages will dramatically affect your sites position within them. The main idea of web site optimization is about getting ranked on search engines. So, it has nothing to do with how fancy your web site looks or getting ranked in the last few pages. This is where the page rank plays an important part for which SEO is an important criterion.





Obviously it is important to have a practical and easy navigation system and favorable looks, so that you can maintain the visitors you receive form the search engines, but those all come to play after the page rank.

About 95% of the search engines on the Internet are self-indexing or spider / robot indexed. The other 5% are human indexed and are usually referred to as directories. At this point, the important point to learn is that human indexed search engines cannot be manipulated and optimized for, as freely as a spider index search engine can. The good news is that with the advancements in the robot indexed search engines and their algorithms, they are getting closer and closer to human indexed search engines.

Search engines will simply keep on producing traffic forever once your site has been indexed. The problem is getting a good placement (first page) on good keywords and gets lots of searches. This is not always easy, especially if you are in a competitive field. Even if you have a poor search engine placement, you will still get some traffic. Search engines frequently change the algorithms they use for page ranks and for ranking sites. They don't want unscrupulous site owners manipulating their indexing methods in order to get high rankings. By doing so, they damage the integrity of free search!

Regardless of how poorly the site has been optimized, the domain name (URL) will be indexed in most search engines and in almost every case; search engines will be able to return a web site address when asked. This means that if you were to go to a major search engine and type in your site name, you will probably see it right on top of that search engines results. Don’t be deceived by this type of search engine response as search engines categorize sites based on keywords, and visitors search for sites using keywords not the site URL.

Bottom line, most search engines will be able to return the correct URL address for any site if asked to, provided the site was indexed by them. This does not mean that the site is ranking well.

Once again, if someone searches for your domain name, it should pop right up on most search engines.

In fact, if this does not happen, that means your Internet presence has some fundamental deficiencies. To be successfully ranked on a search engine means your web site must achieve a favorable position over others based on a scale such as the keyword used for the search.

As mentioned earlier, the search engine industry is continually evolving and it is difficult to put the entire process into one article. It would take a couple of pages to go about each phase and for those interested in hard-core SEO, it is better to get hold of a book or a much more detailed article source.

Basically, just use the above to get a brief idea on how and where you should focus your efforts on Search Engine Optimization.