Bobbing Around

Volume Twelve, Number Two
September, 2012

Bob Rich's (sunny) rave

bobswriting.com/  anxietyanddepression-help.com/  mudsmith.net/  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe
  guidelines for contributions
*Politics
  A campaign for those who are hurting
  Paper recycling but...
  Oppose inhuman treatment of refugees, From Adam Bandt
*Environment
  Acidic Oceans, by Jasmine Greene
  How to Make Solar Energy Better: Use Spinach, by Beth Buczynski
*Good news
  ACT acts for the good
*Deeper issues
  Living a good life, despite anything
  HOPE! By Tim Knight
  Cambridge Declaration on animal consciousness
  A Prison Without Bars, by Zoe Weil
  Since Other Animals Are Predators, Why Shouldn't We Eat Animals? by Zoe Weil
*Psychology
  Childhood trauma and mental illness, by Alfredo Zotti
  10 Ways to Stop Procrastinating, by Marlo Sollitto
  I am rude
  I feel sad and helpless
*Health
  The evidence against antidepressants
  GM corn --> tumours
*For writers
  Don't get confused about word confusions: an interview by Joan Edwards
*What my friends want you to know
  September Bainstorming
  Ecology conference in India
  Guide to Foreign Obama Cartoons
  Two books out by Michael Thal
  Stop global warming -- petition
  News from John James
  Wildheart by Stephanie Black is out
*Book reviews
  Bizarre Bipeds, reviewed by Rebecca Minto
  Rarity From the Hollow, by Robert Eggleton, reviewed by Adicus Ryan Garton

My stories, on your phone

   If you have a smartphone, you can download an app that allows you to read stories, at Etherbooks.com. Once that's in your phone, you can access short stories of all kinds. Don't bother. Instead, do a search by name, for "Bob Rich." At this stage, they have got a FREE story from me. A second one has been submitted, which is to be sold at a trivial price, but at last check it wasn't there yet. Will come, because I keep pestering them.


Retired -- for the 4th time

   ...and three to go.

   Last Saturday was my final attendance at a Board meeting of the Australian Psychological Society. My three year term has come to an end.

   It has been a very challenging three years, but good for me. I have learned lots, and gained in poise and confidence. I didn't achieve all I had set out to do, but I believe that my presence on the Board has led to several significant improvements.

   Life is a game designed to give us opportunities for learning Lessons. It is made up of a multitude of games of various importance and difficulty. From within the game, outcome is everything. From the wider perspective, what counts is whether you have grown in any way, facilitated the growth of others, and worked to make this planet a better place. I feel that, from within this perspective, I have done well as an APS Director.


I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.


   Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.


   People are much more magic than pills.

   The diagnosis you are given depends too much on the person doing the diagnosis and not enough on the person being diagnosed.

   Oscar Metcalfe is an inspiring young man who rambles all around Australia, sometimes earning money, sometimes not, but always working toward a sustainable, liveable future. He and I are both members of Transform Australia, a movement toward whole system change. We believe that band aid solutions are not enough, necessary as they are. We need to change the culture.

   This picture is the first draft of one of Oscar's projects. Only the start of the pic...

   And here is a photo he recently posted as a guest blogger on the ABC's web site:

   It's from the Pilbara, the north-west of Western Australia.


Politics

A campaign for those who are hurting
Paper recycling but...
Oppose inhuman treatment of refugees From Adam Bandt

A campaign for those who are hurting

   At the end of this year, the Australian Government plans to cut access to psychological treatment in Medicare, down to ten sessions with no exceptions. This contradicts decades of controlled studies in the field of psychology and other related mental health disciplines. The internationally recommended minimum length of treatment that should be offered to people with common mental health conditions is 15 to 20 appointments.

   In previous years, patients referred by their GP with a Mental Health Care Plan could access up to 18 appointments of psychological treatment if they needed it. The program, which was called Better Access to Mental Health Care, had been running successfully since 2006, with a huge uptake from people with serious levels of distress who for the most part had never reached out for help in prior years. A large-scale evaluation of the Better Access program gave it a glowing report card, showing that the treatment was cost effective and delivered positive clinical outcomes for the over 80% of people with 'severe' levels of distress who received psychological services. The Better Access program reduced stigma by breaking down barriers to receiving high quality treatment at a minimal cost to the taxpayer.

   But since 2011, the Federal Government has been trying to reduce access to psychological treatment in Medicare. The government says that it wants to treat mental health in the same way as it does physical health, but to compare the two, the planned changes would be a bit like giving people only half a dose of antibiotics or doing half an operation. Understandably, people who access psychological services are up in arms about this. They have joined with mental health professionals in making this website and sharing their stories, so that our decision makers can appreciate the negative impact of what they are planning to do to mental health care in Australia.

   Limiting access to ten appointments, with no exceptions, will cause some obvious problems even for people who have relatively moderate levels of depression or anxiety. Research by Harnett et al. (2010) shows that only around a third of people will show significant improvement at that mark, and that around half of people will show no change at all. Keep in mind that significant improvement does not mean recovery, so even then, that third of people who do improve will likely need more therapy to return to a normal state of well-being.

   Please join with us in sharing your view about the planned cuts to treatment. There are a number of ways you can help change the minds of our politicians, including signing our petition, linking with us and spreading the word over social media, or sending a letter to politicians. Every Australian deserves a fair chance at recovery, so join with us in speaking out. Every voice makes a difference!

Reference
Harnett, P., O'Donovan, A., & Lambert, M. J. (2010). The dose response relationship in psychotherapy: Implications for social policy. Clinical Psychologist, 14 2: 39-44.


Paper recycling but...

   Australian Paper (a fully owned subsidiary of Nippon Paper) is getting closer to building a recycled paper factory.

   This is great news, and something that the Wilderness Society supports. After all, who would say no to a dinky-di, 100% post-consumer recycled paper?

   But the problem is Australian Paper's proposed recycled paper factory doesn't yet give any guarantee that native forest logging will be reduced any time soon.

   Today, as we write to you, logging continues in a place called Leo's Foot, on Mount Saint Leonard in the Yarra Ranges. Most of the trees logged here will be made into Reflex copy paper.

   The scar on the mountain in the picture has been caused by logging for Reflex paper, and one that will take hundreds of years to heal.

   Now we know you don't buy Reflex copy paper anymore (the Fairy Leadbeater's Possum thanks you, and so do we!). Your promise has helped build the campaign to protect Victoria's native forests.

   Australian Paper is to be congratulated for their efforts to build a recycled paper factory, and to generate jobs in the La Trobe Valley. But this is only part of the solution.

   If you haven't already, please share the Ethical Paper Pledge with three of your friends and family today. Together let's send a strong message to Australian Paper that there's still work to be done to protect our magnificent forests from logging. Click here to send it around right away.

   Thanks, from the forest team at the Wilderness Society Victoria,
Trier, Luke and Amelia

   P.S. Earlier this week Professor David Lindenmeyer resigned from the Leadbeater's Possum Recovery Program, disillusioned with the Liberal-National state government's "environmental bankruptcy". You can read the article in The Age.


Oppose inhuman treatment of refugees
From Adam Bandt, MP, Australian Greens

   Labor and Tony Abbott voted to take us back to John Howard's Pacific Solution of expelling refugees and detaining people indefinitely on Nauru.

   Parliament has now sanctioned an assault on the mental health of some of the world's most vulnerable people. I

   n my speech last night to the House of Representatives I challenged the Minister to tell Parliament how long Labor will allow people to be detained on Nauru. I also moved a Greens amendment to put in place a 12 month limit on detention on Nauru.

   Unfortunately, Labor and the Coalition joined together to vote the amendment down.

   We can save lives and care for refugees in a better way. The Government still has an opportunity to work with the Greens to put in place refugee processing in countries like Indonesia. This will give people waiting in camps hope of a safer pathway so they don't make dangerous boat journeys. I will keep working to hold Labor and Tony Abbott to account on their responsibility to protect refugees.

   Please help me do this by watching and sharing my speech to spread the word about this inhumane policy.

Yours sincerely,
Adam Bandt MP
Federal Member for Melbourne
PS. Have you signed our petition to save lives? You can still sign here.


Environment

Acidic Oceans by Jasmine Greene
How to Make Solar Energy Better: Use Spinach by Beth Buczynski

Acidic Oceans
by Jasmine Greene

   The climate change issue has been a major topic among politicians and civilians alike. But while we spend much of our time looking to the skies, we've neglected our oceans. With the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, acid levels in the oceans have been rising, which in turn could harm many marine animals including shellfish and corals.

   Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean takes up extra CO2 from the atmosphere. When CO2 dissolves in water it increases the amount of hydrogen ions, which then decreases the pH levels. Since the industrial revolution, the ocean's pH level has lowered by 0.1 [Source: Yale]. While this might not seem like a huge drop, the truth is, the pH scale is logarithmic, each step up or down increases the amount of hydrogen ions tenfold. This roughly translates to a 30% decrease in pH levels in the ocean. [Source: Ocean Acidification]. with half of the anthropogenic CO2 stored in the upper 10% of the oceans [Source: NOAA]. Increase in acidity is particularly harmful to organisms that require calcium bicarbonate to build shells. If the water is too acidic, it can dissolve the shells, sometimes faster than organisms can rebuild them. The impact of this change has been seen in the US northwest, most notably Washington, where there has been a significant decrease in oysters along the coast. Other areas that would be highly sensitive to changing pH are the continental shelves since many marine organisms either live or spawn there. In 2008 a University of Chicago report stated that these changes were happening much faster than predicted and that "This increase will have a severe impact on marine food webs and suggests that ocean acidification may be a more urgent issue than previously thought..." [Source: Science Daily]

   The growing urgency to halt the change in pH has forced the EPA to step in and "consider ways the states can address rising acidity levels in oceans" [Source: Seattle P.I.] in accordance with the Clean Water Act. This was brought on by a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, who wanted the EPA to address the acidity level of Washington's ocean. Many view this victory as another way for the federal government to put restrictions on greenhouse gases that also affect the oceans (only CO2 increases the acidity level of the oceans [Source: Treehugger]). There are, of course, organizations that argue that the increase acidity could be beneficial. While mollusks are growing thinner shells, other crustaceans (namely crab, lobster and shrimp) are forming thicker shells. This might sound beneficial, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, state that "...any possible ramifications are complex. For example, the crab exhibited improved shell-building capacity, and its prey, the clams, showed reduced calcification. 'This may initially suggest that crabs could benefit from this shift in predator-pray dynamics. But without shells, clams may not be able to sustain their populations, and this could ultimately impact crabs in a negative way, as well..." [Source: WHOI].

   It is difficult to say what exactly the long-reaching effects will have on all of the life forms in the oceans, however, it has become serious enough that the EPA, NOAA and various other organizations have begun taking action against ocean acidification.

Jasmine Greene is an avid environmentalist and writes for pieces-zine.com and gadizmo.com.

From Care2.com


How to Make Solar Energy Better: Use Spinach
by Beth Buczynski

   Spinach is one of my favorite superfoods. It's a delicious, leafy dark green vegetable that's chock full of vitamins, minerals, proteins and nutrients the human body needs to be well. Popeye told kids spinach would make them grow big and strong. Now, new research from Vanderbilt University suggests spinach can do the same thing for solar energy production.

   Scientists have found a way to combine spinach's photosynthetic protein, which naturally converts light into electrochemical energy, with silicon in a new "biohybrid" solar cell. The protein is called Photosystem 1 (PS1). Researchers say that this spinach-based material produces substantially more electrical current than has been reported by previous "biohybrid" solar cells, and could be key to increasing solar energy efficiency.

   The study, which was published online in the journal Advanced Materials, was inspired by the fact that spinach plants are able to convert sunlight into electrical energy with nearly 100 percent efficiency. Most manmade solar cells can achieve only 40 percent efficiency or less. It's taken several decades for scientists to figure out how to extract this PS1 from the spinach plant, and now, they've demonstrated that it can be made into cells that produce electrical current when exposed to sunlight. Vanderbilt's David Salisbury explains more:

   To make the device, the researchers extracted PS1 from spinach into an aqueous solution and poured the mixture on the surface of a p-doped silicon wafer. Then they put the wafer in a vacuum chamber in order to evaporate the water away leaving a film of protein. They found that the optimum thickness was about one micron, about 100 PS1 molecules thick.

   The implications of this technological advancement are not to be ignored. A major criticism of photovoltaic solar cells is that they require rare earth materials, the extraction of which is expensive and bad for the planet. Biohybrid cells, however, could be made from renewable and relatively cheap sources, like spinach or even kudzu, which is an invasive species.

From Care2.com.


Good news

ACT acts for the good

ACT acts for the good

From 100percent.org.au
24th September, 2012

   Today the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) government has announced a detailed action plan to move the ACT to 90% renewable energy by 2020.

   You can read all about it here. This new plan will see the ACT undertake a comprehensive program to cut energy usage, install solar panels on roofs across the territory, develop new big solar PV plants and get power from local wind projects. This plan is a victory for everyone who wants to see Australia move to a renewable energy future -- and shows that way more ambition in setting renewable energy targets is possible when the vision from our political leaders is there. So often we write to ask you to express your disappointment to our politicians or to push for something we still want. Today, we want to send a positive message and show our politicians that true leadership will be supported and rewarded by the community.

   Will you write a short message of support to the ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell and CC in the Chief Minister Katy Gallagher? It's easy -- all you need to do is tell them why moving to 90% renewable energy in the ACT is important to you (whether you're in the territory or as someone watching on from elsewhere).

   Their emails are: corbell@act.gov.au and gallagher@act.gov.au

   (Oh and please remember to also BCC in info@100percent.org.au) Of course we still have our work cut out for us over the coming months to see our national renewable energy target increased but today's announcement shows it can be done.

Onwards, with hope,
Lindsay, Andrew, Jen, Dean (in Scotland, where they know how to set 100% renewable energy targets!) and rest of the 100% team.


Deeper Issues

Living a good life, despite anything
HOPE! By Tim Knight
Cambridge Declaration on animal consciousness
A Prison Without Bars by Zoe Weil
Since Other Animals Are Predators, Why Shouldn't We Eat Animals? by Zoe Weil

Living a good life, despite anything

   Everybody has problems. Only, some people's problems are socially acceptable while other ways of suffering are categorised as "mental illness." It's OK to feel sad if an old dog has died. It is being depressed if the same feeling is because childhood damage is triggered by someone saying an unkind word. It's OK to feel angry almost to the point of road rage if the car in front is going at 10 km/h below the speed limit. It's pathological to feel angry if some fellow speaks exactly as my long-dead stepfather.

   There is considerable evidence that much of what is considered to be a diagnosable mental disorder is explicitly traceable to childhood experiences. My friend Alfredo Zotti and I go further: our theory is that ALL mental disorders are due to an interaction of:

   1. genetic weaknesses (everybody has some);

   2. childhood damage of some kind, including modelling on someone who acted that way;

   3. current stresses that exceed the person's ability to cope;

   4. the person's resilience, which is also a product of genetics, childhood learning and current habits of thought.

   But, whatever the causal mix, you may be suffering NOW. There is a way of handling any crap in your life, any pain or distress, whatever its nature. I didn't invent it. The method is as old as humanity. It is part of the 2500+ year old Buddhist tradition, borne out by modern research, and is intuitively practiced by people I call geniuses at survival.

   If you want to be inspired and educated in how to do it, read two books, written by such geniuses:

   Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl,

   The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif by Najaf Mazari.

   I can best explain this method by using the example of physical pain.

   This can (and should) be addressed by two actions at the same time: engineering plus acceptance.

   Engineering is to wriggle into a better position, take an analgesic, do relaxation, put heat on it, anything with a chance of reducing the problem.

   If I take a painkiller, it may start to work in 20 minutes. In the meantime, I should do the other thing: acceptance. That can immediately improve my quality of life, even while the pain is still there. And, if it does for 20 minutes, then maybe I can extend this indefinitely, and I don't even need to take the painkiller.

   Here is how acceptance works. OK, I have a severe pain sensation somewhere. That pain is sensation + negative emotion. If I can withdraw the emotion, then I have an uncomfortable sensation, so what. My quality of life is fine.

   So, I simply accept that it is there. I put a number on it, say 7/10. I don't DO anything with it: don't wish it to go away, don't tell myself how terrible it is, nothing. It is there, so what. Complete acceptance.

   When I do this, sometimes the pain sensation actually reduces or even goes away. But if I accept it in order to make it go away, then I am pretending to accept, and it won't work. If I genuinely accept it, then it may reduce or not. Either way, I have peace in my heart.

   Sometimes I can't manage this. I buy into the pain, want it to go away, am hurting. Then, if I remember, I can use level 2 acceptance: "OK, for now I am in pain. I simply accept that I am in pain and it's terrible and I want it to go away." Sometimes, doing this enables me to slip into level 1 acceptance: I still have the pain sensation, but I am content with life. But if I pretend to accept being in pain in order to get rid of the emotional component, then it won't work. Same as before.

   Sometimes, I can't even do level 2 acceptance, and I am in despair. Life is not worth living, this is terrible, I can't stand it. Then I can still carry on if I remember to use level 3 acceptance. What is, is: for the moment I am desperate and want to die. It's OK to feel like this. I can calmly observe my despair and get on with life. Again, this can allow me to revert to level 2 acceptance, as long as it's genuine. But even if it doesn't, the feeling of despair is there, so what.

   As I said, the same logic can be applied to emotional pain, to dealing with a disaster in your life like the death of a person you love, to anger, disgust, hopelessness -- anything.

   So, suppose you have bipolar, and have slipped into a depressive phase. You can calmly accept that, for now, you feel miserable, and it's OK to feel miserable. Then you have the unavoidable part of the problem, but you are calm within, and can have peace in your heart. And if this time you can't manage it, you can simply accept your current inability to do it.

   Try it. Practice acceptance. Next time something bad comes into your life, welcome it as a practice opportunity.


HOPE!
by Tim Knight

Tim is one of my honorary grandchildren, though we live on opposite sides of the planet. I answered a desperate cry for help from him, and I am absolutely delighted that he has turned his life around. Here is his story:

   Bob has asked me to write about how I changed my attitude and I gladly will.

   It wasn't easy, but well worth it.

   I used to really hate people because I thought they were better and I hung with the wrong crowd and thought that it was their fault that I was hanging around with them when really it was mine.

   So I got into drugs, became depressed, paranoid, psychotic. I used to cut myself and think that the people in my neighborhood and town were against me and I'd always have weird views about life and death and the reasons behind things, kind of obsessional.

   I got out of hospital a few months ago just after Christmas and was a bit unsteady. Not with self harm but with delusions and psychosis -- not thinking straight. And about a month ago I started feeling better all of a sudden, which was magnificent. Bob helped me, and thank you so much for that, but I have to give credit to myself because I really didn't think I could do it when I was in that dark place (I feel like crying now).

   I used to not be able to stand to think about the future, but now I can't stop thinking about my options. It really was realizing I have options that helped a lot, that and growing up. It's nice seeing things clearly now and I have myself to thank for that, and Bob and my family and friends... and all the health specialists, but some of them were really helpful and nice. Thank you guys!

   I want to go onto study medicine, it may not seem realistic with 4 GCSEs, but I'm doing some one-year courses in a college to get more. But it doesn't matter that I have 4 because that's just a fact and it can be changed. I CAN get 9 A*s, I WILL get 9 A*s and go onto to study what I want.

   And that's what I tell myself all the time: I will achieve and I will succeed! Not because I don't believe in myself but because I want to push myself and I'm so grateful that I'm better and don't want to waste any opportunities.

   Things get even better: I'm going out for runs now, in public (I used to be socially anxious)! I'm going to bed early and waking up early, I'm making the most of my day (every half an hour counts for me!) and I'm laughing. Really genuinely happy. And most importantly my tears are of joy. It's what we do that makes us different. So, go on to to study medicine or pure mathematics. It's all possible with a bit of Hope!


Cambridge Declaration on animal consciousness

   A whole bunch of the most eminent scientists on the planet have signed a declaration, based on a wide range of evidence (you'll find some of it in past issues of Bobbing Around, but I don't have the time to give you the links). They say that we humans are far from being the only ones who think, feel emotions, have a complex inner life.

   Some of the studies the Declaration is based on demonstrate these qualities for a wide range of mammals, several species of birds, and even the octopus. These people may wear different bodies, but they are people like us.

http://io9.com/5937356/prominent-scientists-sign-declaration-that-animals-have-conscious-awareness-just-like-us


A Prison Without Bars Reminds Us We Can Change Entrenched Systems
by Zoe Weil

   I'm philosophically opposed to imprisoning non-violent offenders who aren't a threat to others. I believe people need to provide restitution for wrong-doing and to make amends and give back; but punishment for punishment's sake has always seemed childish to me, using tax-payer money unwisely, providing little or no rehabilitation and offering scant hope for positive change. For criminals who are a danger to society, however, I've supported imprisonment, believing that's it's the only way to ensure that society is protected.

   But maybe that's not true.

   I recently learned about the Bastoy prison in Norway, where 115 prisoners, some of whom are murderers and rapists, live without bars or barbed wire. Set on a one square mile island, the inmates live relatively free lives. While they are not permitted to leave the island and must appear for a head count four times a day, little could stop them if they chose to walk across the frozen ice in the winter, or swim in the summer, to the mainland just two miles away. But in the 20 years this "alternative" prison has existed, they haven't had anyone leave. Prisoners must apply to Bastoy to live a different sort of prison life, one in which they work (and are paid), are part of a community, grow food, compost, build, cook, do their laundry and live a relatively normal village life. In the evenings, only five guards remain on the island.

   Only 16 percent of Bastoy inmates become repeat offenders, compared to 20 percent of Norway's inmates as a whole. Norway's recidivism rates are far lower than in the U.S., where the U.S. Bureau of Justice reports: "Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 states in 1994, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years," and "Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%)."

   As someone who promotes solutions to complex challenges and solutionary education, I find Norway's approach intriguing and compelling. If the goal is to provide the most effective, practical, efficient and fiscally wise approach to tackle the thorny problem of criminals and imprisonment, Norway seems to have come up with a positive solution that is cost-effective, positive, successful and humane.

   I love learning about such programs and approaches that offer good solutions to complex and vexing problems. It reminds me that each of us has the capacity to bring a solutionary lens to seemingly intractable problems within our purview, whether we work in health care, education, politics, law, engineering, planning, construction or any other field. When we bring our wisdom, skills and passions to bear upon the issues that most deeply concern us, anything is possible.

Zoe Weil is the president of the Institute for Humane Education, which offers the only graduate programs in comprehensive humane education, as well as online courses, workshops, and dynamic resources. She is the author of Nautilus silver medal winner Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life; Above All, Be Kind; The Power and Promise of Humane Education, and Moonbeam gold medal winner Claude and Medea, about middle school students who become activists. She has given a TEDx talk on humane education and blogs. Join her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @ZoeWeil.


Since Other Animals Are Predators, Why Shouldn't We Eat Animals?
by Zoe Weil

   Last month, I wrote an article about the ethics of fishing. It received almost 100 comments. A few people pointed out that fishes eat other fishes; since they eat other animals, as do plenty of other predators, why shouldn't we?

   A few weeks ago, I was swimming in the pond at the Institute for Humane Education. One of my favorite things to do in the pond is take photographs of the many frogs and dragonflies (and then share them on Facebook). This particular day, I debated whether or not to bring my camera into the water. After all, I've taken dozens of photos of the frogs and the dragonflies. What would be new to photograph? But I brought the camera anyway, and indeed there was something new. I took this photo of a green frog swallowing another frog (probably another green frog since those are the only frogs we see in the pond right now), and I found myself thinking about those comments about fishing. Here was a perfect example of the predatory reality all around us. Why shouldn't we be full participants in such predation, given that we're omnivores?

   This is why: basing our behaviors on those of other animals is a slippery slope, and can be dangerous, silly, and potentially just self-serving. If I am right that the green frog in this photo is eating another green frog, does that mean we should be cannibals? My dog Elsie loves to eat poop. Should I therefore eat poop? Elephant seals have harems and control their multitude of much smaller female mates aggressively, seemingly raping them repeatedly, and attacking other elephant seals who try to mate with any of their females. Does this mean that men ought to have harems, rape women, and attack other men who threaten their dominion?

   Humans have the capacity to make decisions based on our ethics, not simply our desires, and throughout human history, we have codified our morality. Every religion and every society, theistic or not, has its list of ethical principles designed to help us humans avoid succumbing to brutality, cruelty, jealousy, greed and hatred, and live harmoniously with compassion, love and kindness.

   So to me, the fact that falcons prey on rodents, that some frogs eat other frogs, that cats are carnivores, and that most fishes eat other fishes does not mean that I should cause harm and death to other animals by eating them if I don't have to. Unlike falcons, frogs, cats, and fishes, I can choose.

   I try to live by the MOGO (most good) principle and do the most good and least harm, not only to myself, but also to other people, other species, and the environment. It's for this reason that I have chosen a vegan diet that is primarily organic and often locally produced (very locally in the summer and fall because I grow much of our food in my garden).

   I feel very fortunate that I have the ability to choose what I eat and to do so based on this principle. Many others around the globe don't have such choices, and if I had to eat other animals to survive I would do so, just like an Inuit or a Pacific Islander. But I don't have to. And so my answer to those who ask why shouldn't we eat animals since other animals are predators is simply this: because (most of us) don't have to. Why should we cause suffering and death to other sentient animals simply because we like the taste of them?

   Given the reality that our rapacious appetite for animal flesh is also rapidly destroying habitats, causing the extinction of myriad fish species, polluting the environment, and wasting food that could otherwise feed the one billion people around the world who don't have enough to eat, justifying our animal consumption based on observations of what other species do seems foolhardy.


Psychology

Childhood trauma and mental illness by Alfredo Zotti
10 Ways to Stop Procrastinating by Marlo Sollitto
I am rude
I feel sad and helpless

Childhood trauma and mental illness
by Alfredo Zotti

   Current research indicates that the great majority of people who suffer with schizophrenia or bipolar have endured some kind of trauma, particularly childhood trauma. In the case of schizophrenia, some research estimates an 80% incidence of traumas, which is quite high. For example, Spauwen, Krabbendam, Lieb, Wittchen, and van Os, write that:

   Childhood trauma, a risk factor for psychosis, blocks the functioning of a gene that keeps the human response to stress under check, according to research released online by Nature Neuroscience on February 22:

   My personal research, both a longitudinal study and, more recently, a pilot study, support the high correlation between childhood trauma and psychosis. Psychologist Robert Rich and psychiatrist John Butler, in email exchanges or communication with me, tell me that there is a definite correlation between endured trauma and development of psychosis or other mental disorders.

   I personally found that, amongst sufferers of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, childhood trauma was present in the great majority of cases. This prompted me to write a paper titled Childhood trauma and mental anguish were sufferers themselves spoke about their personal traumas. The most common causes were childhood neglect, abandonment or separation; parent's alcoholism or drug abuse; parental break ups; and sexual abuse or molestation. To be precise, over 80% of all subjects in both the longitudinal research and pilot study had endured childhood traumas.

   What became apparent is that most of these sufferers (73%) where not aware of it until our email exchanges clearly pointed to the trauma. What they were saying pointed to a possible traumatic experience that was further explored and identified. To give an example, this is what a sufferer wrote:

   After discussing the matter with psychologist Bob Rich I came to agree with him and this is what he wrote regarding this sufferer:

   This was not an isolated incident as the majority of suffered either seemed to block the traumatic events from consciousness, in which case I have often had to work carefully not to cause distress, or alternatively they were genuinely not aware because convinced that psychological disorders are an illness with no apparent cause.


10 Ways to Stop Procrastinating
by Marlo Sollitto

1. Create a To-Do List

   Not a mental list, but one written on a piece of paper. Something about the process of writing it down makes you focus on the tasks at hand. Prioritize your list. What must be conquered immediately? Next, estimate how long each project will take and time your day accordingly. Don't overbook. Leave some extra for life's interruptions that will no doubt come up.

2. Break it Down

   Break large jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks. Plan and complete a start-up task, no matter how small. Tackle each piece, one by one.

3. Set Short-Term Deadlines

   Set deadlines for completing a job. Assign yourself small-scale deadlines. Work in small blocks of time instead of in long stretches. Take a short break once a part of the task is complete.

4. Tell Someone

   Sometimes we need someone else to help us stay on track. We are less likely to procrastinate if we know there's accountability. Telling your husband or best friend, "I'm going to get it done" could provide that extra bit of motivation to follow through. We want to avoid the lecture that is sure to come if we don't get it done.

5. Visualize

   Develop a clear mental picture of the completed task and how you will feel at that time. Focus on the end result, not the process. Feel the weight lift off your shoulders. Think about how good you will feel when you're finished.

6. Remove Distractions

   Turn off the television, the phone ringer, and anything else that might keep you from your task. If necessary bring in respite care for mom or dad for a few hours, so you won't have to be pulled away from the job at hand.

7. Change Your Expectations

   Striving for perfection and feeling that things should be a certain way are stumbling blocks to beating procrastination. If you are waiting until you can do something "perfectly" it will never get done. No one is perfect. Do your best.

8. Just Do It

   Next time you catch yourself saying, "I can do this later," think like a Nike commercial: Just do it! Push through the feelings and do it now. Dive right in. Once you've taken the first step, you realize "hey, I'm doing this," which motivates you to keep going. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you finish will be better than any relief you get from putting it off.

9. Cross It Off

   Literally, go back to your list and cross off tasks as you finish them. Putting that pen to paper provides a sense of accomplishment in its own right. It gives you visual confirmation that you are getting somewhere.

10. Reward Yourself for Accomplishments

   Set a reward for yourself once the job is done. But, if you don't earn the reward, don't take it.

From AgingCare.com.

Marlo assists with the editorial direction of AgingCare.com, including researching and writing articles and creating content on all aspects of elder care. Serving as a contributing editor since AgingCare.com's inception in 2007, her goal is to provide quality information that is engaging, informative and supportive. She has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and journalist. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and websites focusing on health care, gerontology, consumer goods and business. Marlo has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Kent State University.


I am rude

Hi there

   I recently read your article on queendom.com referring to rudeness. I to suffer from this issue. Your response to the lady's question was very helpful to me. At the bottom of your response you suggested that if anyone wished to discus there issues further then they might contact you. I am an engineer and today at work I was taken to one side by a my line manager, who thankfully is a friend of mine. He suggested that I can come across quite rude at times. After a long talk I told him that I had recognised this problem and had been trying to curb it. This has been very difficult for me as I do not know when it is happening.

   He explained that I can be arrogant and defensive. I have always been aware of this and I have attributed it to being bullied at school, a sort of self defence mechanism you might say.

   My friend gave good advice, I am lucky he got to me before it got out of hand.

   If there is any further advice you might have for me as to how to control my over enthusiastic tendencies and rudeness I would be very grateful.

   I look forward to hearing from u soon.

Tom

Hi Tom,

   You have taken the first and most difficult step: recognizing that you have a problem, and that you have the power to do something about it.

   We are talking about a style of presentation: how you hold your body, the tones of your voice, perhaps your choice of words. These are of course very long term habits, so they will take a fair bit of effort to replace with a style of presentation that you now approve of. So, this is a major project, but well worthwhile.

   The first step is to to examine if there are thoughts, beliefs or emotions associated with events in which another person would consider you rude and defensive. So, you need to identify the relevant events.

   1. Find a few trusted people you can use as helpers. Ask them to let you know when you appear in the old way, and to give you encouragement when you appear in the new way.

   2. Study other people's reactions to you. When they act aggressive or intimidated, you know you are in the old pattern.

   When you know you're in the old pattern, see if you can identify what you're thinking. It may be things like "I'll show them!" or "Hey, that's not right" or something.

   Such thoughts can then become warning signals.

   Second, design how you will act in those situations. Again, your helpers can be useful. Study people who get their way, and are respected, and do it in a way that is not rude or defensive. Do your best to copy them.

   So, for the time being, you become a character actor. If there was a camera and microphone focused on you, they would see a confident but respectful person.

   When you have acted this part long enough, it will become natural.

   Sometimes you'll slip into the old pattern. That's fine; it's part of habit change. Then you apologize, and simply return to the new pattern.

   So, in summary, "rude" is not something you are, but something you do. If you choose to, you can learn to do it differently.

   Research shows that consistently practicing a new habit for 3 to 6 weeks makes it feel natural. Give it at least that much time, then let me know how you go.

Good luck,
Bob


I feel sad and helpless

   I feel like I am suffocating and am so sad! I am 59 and feel so helpless and most of all sad. it hurts so bad and all I can do is cry and hurt. Our renter is moving out -- my hubby decided he had enough of her. She drinks mouthwash and becomes mean and bitter. Still I am going to miss her. I won't see her again and I hate the thought of knowing she won't be here. she is a friend of my brothers. I hate endings and I can't handle any type of endings. my dog is 13 and he so loving. I guess I am just hurting. I know this is all jumbled but please, I hate the place I am in: this hurt and feeling of loss.

My dear, I don't know where you live, but a few sessions with a good psychologist would be an excellent investment if it is financially possible. If you came to me as a client, you would feel strong and in charge of your life within a few weeks.

   But a psychologist doesn't fix you. That person is a guide for you to do the work. And you can actually do that yourself.

   Every bad situation has two parts: suffering that's from "out there," not in your control, and an optional extra, which is your reaction to the situation.

   You address the "out there" part by looking for solutions to problems. For example, I hear behind your cry for help that you are lonely and isolated. Although this lady can be mean and bitter sometimes, she has been company for you. So, you can look for other sources of friendship, ones that are better in most ways. You won't find that by sitting at home and feeling sad, but by engaging in new activities, meeting new people, doing things that have meaning for you and benefit for others. This could be church-based groups, or a volunteer activity, a hobby, doing a course on something that interests you, almost anything that puts enjoyment into your life and brings you in contact with new people.

   Some problems don't have solutions. Also, solutions take time before they can have an effect. So, it is also important to do something about how you react.

   Even in the worst hell, some people have the ability to put peace into their hearts. I call them geniuses and survival. They simply accept whatever is.

   Do you know the Serenity Prayer? That's what I am talking about:

   No matter how bad my situation, whatever is, is, and is all right.

   If you like reading books, you'll get a great deal of inspiration along this line from two:

   Viktor Frankl, "Man's search for meaning" and Najaf Mazari "The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif."

   You are welcome to respond to this.

Good luck,
Bob

   I took great comfort in your email: thank you, thank you & thank you!

   I did not cry until later today. I guess any change is hard for me. I keep getting this feeling of dread that something bad is going to happen. my dog, a dachshund, is 13 now. I start crying about life without him and his love. mind you, he has no health issues except being fat.

   I am going to read the books that you suggested. do you have books, also? I live in the USA- Ohio. I have insurance so maybe I need to see someone.

   Thank you, so much again. I don't feel alone as much.

Jane

Jane my dear,

   You brought a smile to my face and a glow into my heart. I do have 14 published books. Have a look around my web sites. The psychology one has lots of resources. Particularly, find the page titled "First Aid."

   I have several clients whose life is made bearable by suitable pets. One lady with a terrible back injury had two little dogs, both very old. One died, and her son gave her a puppy. She said, "He'll never replace Cindy." At first she resented the rambunctiousness of the little animal, the need to toilet train, the need to take him for walks, but now he is the center of her life and is keeping her alive. Old Rusty is still alive, but when he dies, the young one will keep her going.

   The way to change your life is to change what you do. Behavior leads emotion.

:)
Bob


Health

The evidence against antidepressants
GM corn --> tumours

The evidence against antidepressants

   Paul W. Andrews, J. Anderson Thomson Jr., Ananda Amstadter and Michael C. Neale have had their paper "Primum non nocere: an evolutionary analysis of whether antidepressants do more harm than good" published online in Evolutionary Psychology.

   Here is the abstract:

   To translate this into English even I can understand, SSRIs don't cure depression. However, they stuff up all sorts of other necessary functions of the body, and even damage the brain. They should be used cautiously, and never for a long term.


GM corn --> tumours

   Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, Institute of Biology and his colleagues have just published a very carefully researched paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. Here is the abstract:

   Naturally, the problem is the Roundup, not the corn by itself. It's that GM corn is designed to tolerate the Roundup.

   Have you noticed the epidemic of breast cancer in human females? Maybe a class action against Monsanto would be a good idea...

http://research.sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Final-Paper.pdf


Writing

Don't get confused about word confusions an interview by Joan Edwards

Don't get confused about word confusions: an interview by Joan Edwards

   For fun and inspiration about an intriguing Australian author and editor of books, read my blog:

   Interview with Dr. Bob Rich: Writer, Mudsmith, Psychologist, and Editor

Celebrate you today.
Joan Y. Edwards
Flip Flap Floodle on Amazon Even mean ole Mr. Fox can't stop this little duck!

You see, Joan discovered my secret: I am obsessive enough to have made lists of pairs of words that are commonly confused. At this stage, I have many thousands of them. Anyway, read her interview.


What my friends want you to know

September Bainstorming
Ecology conference in India
Guide to Foreign Obama Cartoons
Two books out by Michael Thal
Stop global warming -- petition
News from John James
Wildheart by Stephanie Black is out

September Bainstorming

   The September Bainstorming is now live at http://www.darrellbain.com/

   Subjects this month: Changing Opinions, Food trucks and Junk Food with Food Stamp Card, Book Reviews, Bain Brothers interviewed, Reading my own book, My Exercise and Diet Regime, Simple Meal Recipe, NIH statement on effectiveness of medical treatments, State of America: lawyers and our legal system, Clifford Pickover's Reality Circus, Excerpt from Starship Down.

Darrell Bain
Fictionwise Author of the Year
Multiple Dream Realm and Eppie awards


Ecology conference in India

   CALL FOR PAPERS: Announcing Major Kerala, India Ecology Conference

   Dr. Glen Barry of Ecological Internet to serve as Academic Convener, and present on the global biodiversity, ecosystem and biosphere imperatives for biocentric land planning and strengthened legal protections for Kerala's Asian elephants -- and their corridors, particularly the Sigur plateau -- as an umbrella species for other ecological values.

   I am pleased to announce a major international conference on conservation of India's forests, wild life, and ecology; and to issue a call for academic papers and attendance. The conference will occur in mid-December, 2012, in Kerala, India, located in the Western Ghats, which is known for its lush ecosystems, tremendous biodiversity - including viable Asian elephant populations - and high levels of human development, as well as human encroachment upon these vital ecosystems. Noted ecologist Dr. Madhav Gadgil, author of the important and controversial Kerala ecological land sensitivity designations, as well as Dr. V. S. Vijayan, Chairman of Salim Ali Foundation and Former Chairman of Kerala Bio-Diversity, have indicated they will be participating in the conference.

   The Kerala Eco Conference will emphasize global aspects of Kerala's ecological sustainability issues, placing issues of Western Ghats' broad environmental challenges within the larger international perspective of climate change, mass extinction, loss of ecosystem services, international environment law, landscape planning, and land use laws and policy. It is desired that various countries' practices as to protection of their hills and mountains' terrestrial ecology, and protecting watershed functionality and wildlife corridors in their countries, can provide an essential global view to the proceedings. An emphasis will be upon biocentric planning and law for India's ecology, people, elephants and other biodiversity, and their future together.

   Ecological Internet has been active in campaigning to protect critical elephant corridors in Kerala since 2006, achieving stunning success, including the relocation of a proposed Neutrino laboratory from prime elephant corridor habitat. On this basis, I have been asked to act as academic convener and coordinator for the conference, and will be presenting a paper which examines the importance of ecological conservation in the Western Ghats to global climate and ecological sustainability. I will highlight the importance of biocentric landscape planning to ensure adequate elephant habitat and corridors -- particularly in the Sigur Plateau -- using elephants as an umbrella species to secure ecosystems, biodiversity, water and future sustainable development potential.

   I ask that you please circulate the conference announcement (below) widely -- particularly to your environmental law and academic ecology colleagues and departments around the world -- as this will truly be an international affair. I would love to make your acquaintance there personally, as we work together to protect one of the most special natural ecosystems on Earth. Please contact the conference organizer Nagaraj Narayanan at nagaraj@keralalawacademy.org, or myself, with any questions. I hope to see you soon in India's special evergreen city!

Warm regards, for Earth,
Dr. Glen Barry
Political Ecological and President, Ecological Internet


Guide to Foreign Obama Cartoons on Amazon Kindle

   Here is a unique document which helps you understand how the rest of the world sees American foreign policy, as practiced by the Obama administration.

   It consists of comments on over 120 representative foreign cartoons featuring Obama, created in at least 40 different countries. Many of such cartoons have never been seen in America and are considered politically incorrect for publication due to American media temerity, discrimination and outright censorship. Due to copyright and ownership issues the guide does not display actual cartoon images but includes instructions how to locate them at specific web sites throughout the world, and provides the links to all the sources used in their selection and analysis.

   The First Edition of the guide contains comments and links to one or more foreign Obama cartoons in each of 41 countries. These are listed alphabetically with cartoon tag lines for each country identified in the table of contents. As political events develop around the world new cartoons are created in those and other countries which are monitored by 21st Century Research and prepared for comments and publication in subsequent editions of the guide.

   The countries covered in this edition include Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Yemen.


Two books out by Michael Thal

   It's tough for a writer to get his work published. It's even rarer for two books he's written to be published in one year. In February/March 2012 I had the unique experience of having two books published, and by different publishers.

   Goodbye Tchaikovsky was published by Royal Fireworks Press. It's about a twelve-year-old violin virtuoso, David Rothman, who is plunged into a deaf world, necessitating him to adapt to a new culture and language in order to survive. Though the book is fiction, it is an emotional memoir about my hearing loss. It's available in print at: http://www.rfwp.com/series/books-on-deafness#book-goodbye-tchaikovsky

   The Legend of Koolura, published by Solstice Publishing, is a fantasy about a young girl's metamorphosis into adolescence. Unlike most girls, Koolura has amazing cool powers she uses to protect her friends from a weird stranger bent on her destruction. It is available on Amazon as a Kindle and in print at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Legend-Of-Koolura-ebook/dp/B00792L9QG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329416014&sr=8-2 Readers can learn more about me at http://www.michaelthal.com.

Best wishes,
Michael Thal


September 14, 2012

Have Your Voice Counted

   One of the founding principles of StopGlobalwarming.org is the belief that we must all act to solve the problem of climate change. Not only by making simple changes in our daily life, but also by demanding our leaders focus on this problem, and its solution.

    StopGlobalwarming.org is a non-political movement, because the issue transcends politics, but engagement in the political process is crucial. This election season, at the local, state and federal levels, please make sure your voice counts. Help us make sure that our political leaders understand that global warming is real, and they must do their part to help solve it. With your help, we can make it a central policy issue for all newly elected leaders.

   If you'd like more information on where the presidential candidates stand on the issues of climate change and energy policies, the Christian Science Monitor has prepared a series of briefings entitled Obama vs Romney 101.

   We encourage you to educate yourself on their differing views. Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters, sees a sharp contrast.

   "My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet -- because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They're a threat to our children's future. And in this election, you can do something about it." -- President Obama, from his convention speech.

   "I'm not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet." -- Mitt Romney, on Meet the Press

   If you'd like to see a climate change related question included in the debates, please sign the Climate Reality Project's online petition.


News from John James

Dr John James knows his stuff. Everything he writes is well researched, important and powerful. What's more, he agrees with me on pretty well every issue. Do follow up his links.

Dear friends

   FIRSTLY, our work at the Crucible Centre is now on YouTube. Have a look and enjoy. http://youtu.be/bMTDjyqZyaE

   SECONDLY, we can provide therapy for any personal issues on Skype or by phone, cost $100/hr.

   THIRDLY, here are our latest FOOTPRINT blogs:

  • This may turn out to be the most important report I have written, if it leads to action!
    We have breached the first tipping point. http://planetextinction.com/blog/archives/497
  • The melting of Arctic sea ice and permafrost is releasing huge stores of methane that have been locked away underground for many thousands of years might be released over a relatively short period of time.
    Vast methane plumes in the Arctic http://planetextinction.com/blog/archives/493
  • The release of large amounts of methane
    A planetary emergency http://planetextinction.com/blog/archives/491
  • War: it's what we do the most and attend to the least. It's a nasty combination.
    War is what America knows how to do best. http://planetextinction.com/blog/archives/488
  • Mike Carlton's emotional call to end war
    Caught in the cross fire of futility and cant http://planetextinction.com/blog/archives/485

    John James


    Wildheart by Stephanie Black is out

    Dear Bob,

       Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you, I have been flat out with edits and publishing on "Wildheart!" That's a pretty good excuse, right?

       I'm just writing to say thank you for your excellent edits on "Wildheart." You have a sensitive and light hearted manner and you helped me take my book from good to shining. I also got a few laughs and some constructive thinking along the way, and I learned heaps not only about editing but about writing that I've never had the chance to learn elsewhere. Now I'm really excited that "Wildheart" is out in the Kindle store at Amazon. If you'd like to take a look here's the link.

       There's also some info about it on my website. There's a few short stories on there and a blog that you might enjoy too.

    Thanks again, and I hope to work with you again on my next book!
    Stephanie.


    Book reviews

    Bizarre Bipeds reviewed by Rebecca Minto
    Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton, reviewed by Adicus Ryan Garton

    Bizarre Bipeds
    reviewed by Rebecca Minto

    Buy the book here.

       I will be the first person to admit that I'm not normally keen on science fiction tales. It isn't a genre I follow, although I was a huge fan of Star Wars in my misbegotten youth. Despite that fact, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Dr. Rich's stories were engaging, capturing your attention and imagination. While I don't sit around and think about the biology of alien species, I was perfectly able to envision this species he created. He took an original stance on the topic of aliens, fleeing from the overstated idea that they are advanced, evil creatures set on destroying humankind; rather in his vision it was the reverse that was true, and believably so. The additional shorter tales in this book were engaging, capturing the attention, humor and imagination at once. If you are a fan of science fiction, or even if you aren't, you will not want to miss this book.

    Just who is this Rebecca Minto chick? I ask myself that same question just about every day. I'm a woman, a mother, a lunatic, a romance writer, a laughaholic, a sister, a daughter, and usually more than just a little bit crazy.

       My first romance novel, A Kiss To Remember, was released January 7, 2012. More stories will follow because this crazy Rebecca chick just can't seem to stop writing. I love creating a world to amuse and entertain my readers almost as much as I love sitting down and watching the latest Marvel movie. As much as I love reading and writing romance novels, I can't stand most romantic flicks.

       I currently live in Utah, in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, a world away my native Kentucky and Tennessee. When I'm not writing, you can usually find me pretending to be The Hulk or catering to my little diva of a dog, Alice.


    Rarity From the Hollow
    by Robert Eggleton
    reviewed by Adicus Ryan Garton

       Imagine Wizard of Oz and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy smashed together and taking place in a hollow in the hills of West Virginia. Now you have an idea of what to expect when you sit down to read Rarity From the Hollow: A Lacy Dawn Adventure by Robert Eggleton.

       This novel is an unabashed, unashamed exploration of the life of young Lacy Dawn, as she learns that she is the savior of the universe. The naked, genderless android, Dot-com, who lives in a ship in a cave, told her so. Add her abusive father, her weak-willed mother, a sexually-abused ghost for a best friend that was murdered by her own father, trees that talk to her, a dog that can communicate telepathically with cockroaches and so much more.

       There is so much to this story, and its writing is so unblinkingly honest; Eggleton spares us nothing in his descriptions of her father beating her and her mother, the emotions that the mother and daughter go through, the dark creeping insanity that eats away at her Iraq-veteran father, and the life in general of people too poor, too uneducated to escape.

       In part, it is a grueling exposition of what children endure when being physically and emotionally abused. Eggleton almost seems to suggest that the only way for a child to escape is to learn that she is the savior of the universe. Lacy Dawn is strong, tough, smart -- all those attributes that any child should have -- and she reminds us that children are survivors, adaptive and optimistic. Instead of giving us a story of escapism, Eggleton shows us a girl whose life follows her through the story.

       But don't think you're going to be reading something harsh and brutal and tragic. This book is laugh-out-loud funny at times, satiric of almost everything it touches upon (some common themes are shopping, masturbation, welfare, growing and selling drugs, and the lives of cockroaches). The characters from the hollow and from the planet Shptiludrp (the Mall of the Universe) are funny almost to the point of tears.

       I hate happy endings to stories that deal with any kind of oppression or abuse because they tend to suggest, "In this case, it worked out okay," and the reader walks away with the impression that the world is a better place (think of all those inner-city sports movies about black kids who win the big championship despite being addicted to crack). I thought for a long time that this book was an escapist fantasy, and when the fantasy broke, it was going to be tragic. No one wants to see a little girl go through heaven only to learn that hell awaits her at the end. And then when I realized that Eggleton was not writing an escapist fantasy, I worried that this happy ending effect was going to take place, making me not like the book, despite all its positive attributes. But when I realized that Lacy Dawn had to fix her life first before the story could progress, and that this was IMPOSSIBLE except by extraterrestrial means, and that Lacy Dawn carried her past with her as part of her instead of in spite of, it made the prospect of a happy ending much better.

       Go here, buy the book and read it. It's absolutely fantastic, and the proceeds go to the Lacy Dawn Adventures project. It's like buying ice cream for charity -- everybody wins.

    Adicus Ryan Garton is the editor of the online science fiction magazine Atomjack. He is currently teaching English in South Korea.

       Robert Eggleton was born in 1951 to impoverished West Virginian parents. His mother was a victim of domestic violence and his father was alcoholic, traumatized by WWII before PTSD was treatable. He grew up fast by supporting his family with odd jobs until his first real job at age 12 in a pharmacy. In the '70s, the Vietnam War Protests drew him into a counter culture that would have prevented him from attending WV State College, had it not been for the military draft that targeted low-income and minority youth. Instead, he graduated with a degree in Social Work in 1973 and a Masters in 1977. For the next thirty-five years, he has been employed as an advocate for veterans, homeless youth, institutionalized juveniles, the unemployed, and, especially for abused/neglected children. He was the primary author of hundreds of investigative reports published by the WV Supreme Court from 1985 to 1997. He created models of children's social services accepted and distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of Social Workers, and private nonprofit agencies. In 2006, Mr. Eggleton turned to fiction, in part, as a means of raising funds to prevent child abuse. His first novel was preceded by three satirical fantasies published in magazines. Lacy Dawn, the protagonist of his adventures, is Mr. Eggleton's real life heroine.

       Rarity from the hollow is available on-line (Amazon), in some brick and mortar bookstores in paperback (you may have to order or it may be easier to go to Lulu, or as a hardback from the publisher: http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/category/books)


    About Bobbing Around

       If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don't want a repeat, it's simple. Drop me a line and I'll drop you from my list.

       You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article's author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

       If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be 'subscribe Bobbing Around' (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

    Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to ecline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

    Submission Guidelines

       It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

       Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

       Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

       Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.