Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
My site Monkey in the Middle is focused on the politically right of the American Political spectrum. It is pro-life, anti-gun control, pro-Israel and supporting the candidacy of John McCain. Although you might find it a bit offensive at times, as I find some sites offensive to my political point of view. I try to keep the level of the blog at a high bar, hoping to start a true dialog with my posts.
I’m in my 50’s, Female, Widowed, Mother of 2 grown children. I was born in Queens, NY, raised in Brooklyn and have the accent to prove it. I’m a veteran of the US Air Force. I worked as a Translator and Analyst. My theater of expertise was the Middle East. Just an NCO here. No need to salute me. I’m currently in semi-retirement, been outsourced once too often. I’m neither a conservative nor liberal. I am liberal on some issues and conservative on others. I vote my conscience.
Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?
Absolutely! I find that the more I write, the better I get. I want my writing to be another extension of my voice, therefore I am always striving for excellence. I am my worst critic. Many posts that would have been acceptable on other blogs, will not pass my final muster. This wasn’t true when I first started to write, but it is true now.
I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
The fact that people actually will read what I write. I don’t receive many comments on my posts, but I do know many people read my blog on a regular basis. I receive this information from tracking sources.
What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?
Many of my fellow bloggers are in daily communication via email with me. We not only read and review each others postings, but we find stories that each one of us passes on to each other. In this way a story can get reposted to many sites and many people other than the ones who regular read our sites get exposed to new ideas and stories.
What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?
Bloggers! During the 2004 elections blogging was a new thing. There weren’t many blogs and most people didn’t read them often. Today people are reading at least one blog a day, in many cases it is a few dozen. Sometimes the postings are the same, in many cases they aren’t. But the news and viewpoints are being heard either by the bloggers themselves or by their readers in the comments sections of the blogs.
Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?
Maybe not responsive, but more informed. It is hard to compete here in the US with American Idol and other idiotic shows. It is the duty of this new media to present the truth as we see it. The media shows what is commercially proper, bloggers speak their mind.
What do you think sets Your site apart from others?
I give to my readers more than just news stories. I give background analysis on the issues. I make it a point to do more than just speak my point of view. I back it with facts and historical references. When someone reads my posts they come away with some knowledge of the topic. Plus a little humor doesn’t hurt. I find that the most favorite posts with my readers are the ones in which I am sarcastic and use humor to bring my point across.
If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?
A sense of humor. It is easy to get depressed at life, many do. And so hard to find the humor in a situation. I have been told that I have a very dry, British sense of humor, which may explain why my friends and family groan when I tell a joke or make a pun.
What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
The happiest moments of my life were the births of my daughters. They have brought me great joy over the years and watching them grow and mature into responsible adults has left me with a warm feeling of accomplishment.
The worst moment of my life was when my husband collapsed and died of a major coronary. We were married for 23 years and the loss is still painful.
If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for – what would your top 3 choices be?
Hawaii: For the sheer beauty and wonder of the place.
New Zealand: From what I’ve seen, it is a beautiful place to visit.
Iceland: Because I’ve never been there and alway have wanted to go. Plus with all 3 they are active seismically and have had a fascination with geology since childhood.
What is your favorite book and why?
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Since my High School days, I have read and re-read Professor Tolkien’s books. They take me to a time and a place where the distinction of good and evil are very well defined. That is something in today’s world that we don’t actually have.
What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?
The way they carry themselves. Body language tells a lot about a person’s attitude and outlook on life.
Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?
Not that I couldn’t write, but I did have a science teacher who told me that girls can’t do science. He actually told the whole class that. Many girls in that class have gone on to careers in the sciences.
How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
Many bloggers run ads on their sites. I personally am looking into this. And many have written books (I might do the same one day). There is nothing wrong with making a few bucks now and then, as long as it is legal and honest.
Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?
No. Although many do have this problem, I know of quite a few bloggers who actually have jobs outside their homes.
One could say the same for anybody who spends hours on the internet. There are thousands who play World of Warcraft and for them that is their main hobby and enjoyment.
What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?
We blogger try to open up a truthful dialog. We encourage the free exercise of ideas and thought. We know that everyone doesn’t have our point of view, and want an exchange of points of view. If you a reader find something offensive on a blog, write a comment on it in the comment section. The blogger or another reader will respond. If you as a commenter write a point of view opposite to the blogger’s, be courteous and polite in your reply. Stick to the topic and forgo the profanity. Many times I have had to remove a commenter from my blog due to profanity or ill manners. Calling someone names doesn’t open up a dialog, it closes a mind to your ideas.
Who are your top five favourite bloggers?
I will use their handles in most cases due to the fact that they want to keep their privacy:
There are many others I can name and these 5 are the first blogs I started with.
Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
My publication of a letter from a US soldier in Afghanistan. On that day I received over 2000 hits on my site and 20 comments on the story. It touched a nerve with many.
What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?
I haven’t been to Pakistan, maybe one day, but I do have neighbors who are originally from there. They have educated me on many of the customs and the politics of the nation. They have changed my attitude towards Pakistan’s people 180 degrees. I find that although many things I read about Pakistan in the media and on the web anger me, I know that from my association with them that the Pakistani people are warm and loving.
Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?
Roger W. Gardner is more than a political blogger, he has 2 sister sites that contain his poetry and short stories. When he writes, he does it with such eloquence.
What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?
The level of education. Poverty is not caused by the lack of wealth, but by the lack of education. Illiteracy is the true curse of the world. And its cure is knowledge. Once a nation or people realize that and start on the road to 100% literacy, their standard of living increases as does their life span.
What is the future of blogging?
More and more people blogging. One day everyone will have a blog just like most people having phones, or email addresses.
You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
I could comment on with a joke like: What personal life? But the truth is that professionally I am in semi-retirement (consultant work) and I find that blogging hones my writing and analyzing skills. I do take time to meet with friends and family (although my housework suffers), I also have friends on-line whom I look forward with chatting with too.
What are your future plans?
I plan on continuing blogging. I enjoy it and find it stimulating to my mind. And when I finally do fully retire, and can afford it, I plan on doing some traveling. Something I haven’t done in many years.
Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
You will probably not like what I write on my blog, I realize that. But if you do comment, be polite and to the point. The dialog that you start can lead to a change of opinion in many cases either yours or mine.