Bobbing Around

Volume Thirteen, Number Three
October, 2013

Bob Rich's (melting ice coloured) rave  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
  Weather forecasters banned, by Phil Dobbie
  Victoria's new car number plates
  Let's keep our borders safe
  TAKE ACTION to stop Canada’s filthy tar sands, from Dr Glen Barry
  Climate change? Try catastrophic climate breakdown, by George Monbiot
  When you lighten the lid...
  Leaky frack
  IPCC climate trends: Blueprints for tipping points, by Andrew Glikson
  Leading climate change economist brands sceptics 'irrational'
  Amazon: no words needed.
*Good news
  Germany is detoxifying from coal addiction
  World’s biggest solar thermal power plant fired up in California, by John Upton
  Wind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story, by Simon Chapman
*Deeper issues
  The Tipping Point, by William Sosinsky
  What You Think About, You Bring About, by Michael Michalko
  Julian Burnside: Alienation to alien nation
  Pope Francis: Money is the root of all evil, by Jen Hayden
  The Effects of Bullying Last Long Into Adulthood, from Anna Mikulak
  Dissociative Identity Disorder: a resource
  Are Dental X-Rays Safe? by Dr. Michael Greger
  Help with withdrawal symptoms
  Our daily bread, by Hazel Sillver
*For writers
  Filter out the filters, by Rayne Golay
  You will love these gems of writing
*What my friends want you to know
  24 hours of reality, from Al Gore, 22 October 2013
  Connecting to the Land, Saturday 26th October 2013
  Save national parks: protest Saturday 2 November 2013
  Climate and Health Summit, Nov 16 2013
  Jay Levy interviewed
  Carolyn's latest book marketing newsletter
  New book from Carole Marshall
*Book reviews
  Pretreatment Guide for Homeless Outreach & Housing First by Jay Levy
  Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes
  Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time by Shawn Howen
  Over the Top, by Brandon Wilson
  Jupiter's Reef, by Karl Kofoed
  Gifts Of The Peramangk, by Dean Mayes
  Ascending Spiral reviewed by:
    Robert William Case
    Veronica Knox
    David Norman
    Brandon Wilson
    Dean Mayes
    Robin Marvel

Bobbing or Blogging?

   Last issue, I asked my friends to advise me on how to continue Bobbing Around. I was surprised at the number of replies. Good to know people read my rave. :)

   The vote was a clear majority for continuing the newsletter format, about once a month.

   However, the clincher was one message, which came from a robot rather than a subscriber. My ISP sent me an automatic notification that I was now using 80% of my paid-for bandwidth (nearly 51,000 hits a month). If I kept increasing the number of visitors to my web site, I would have to pay more.

   This is of course just as my income is shrinking, due to my retirement.

   My friend Glen Morris, who runs such things arcane as the web site I piggyback on, looked around and found that a fair bit of the traffic is to Bobbing Around.

   So, the best trick is to move the mag off site, somewhere else that's free. Wordpress it is. Sigh, I now have a lot of new skills to learn.

   My aim is to use the new venue to continue the same service. Hopefully starting next month, Bobbing Around will have a new address, probably a changed appearance, but will continue to be what my subscribers want: the content I have provided for over 12 years now.

My best book to date featured

   On Thursday 26th September, Susan Wingate posted an extract from Ascending Spiral. I'd be grateful if each of my friends visited there and left a comment, and even more important, share the announcement and send others along. The link is

Susan Wingate’s blog.

   Also, the Center for Writing Excellence has listed Ascending Spiral as a book from one of their friends. This is because Janie, who runs the show there, is helping me with setting up a blog.

Victoria's new car number plates

   Having passed ZZZ 999, Victorian number plates have a new pattern, illustrated here. I have kindly invented a new motto to go on the bottom of the plate. It is most apt, given the Victorian government's determination to sell as much brown coal as possible, before it should go out of fashion worldwide.

   And yes, coal is a killer. People in coal mining areas have higher incidence of cancers, particularly lymphomas because fine carbon dust is carcinogenic. Wherever coal is burned, it increases the rate of respiratory diseases. This is not even mentioning climate change, because of course the government doesn't believe in that.

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.

Choosing to disbelieve in climate change does not protect you from its effects.


Weather forecasters banned by Phil Dobbie
Victoria's new car number plates
Let's keep our borders safe

Weather forecasters banned
by Phil Dobbie

   The government is to close the Bureau of Meteorology in an attempt to keep the weather off the front page of newspapers.

   "We will decide what weather you see and the manner in which you see it," said the Prime Minister.

   It's believed his concern is that the collection of weather data can be used for propaganda purposes by climate change alarmists.

   Instead a retired three star general will be responsible for analysing available weather data and revealing what he believes is appropriate from an operational perspective.

   Foxtel has reached a compromise deal whereby it can continue to offer its weather channel, but only broadcast reruns and avoid reference to extreme weather events.

   Graham Creed said he saw this coming and is about to launch a privately funded Meteorology Council, run by volunteers. Even so, any information will have to be approved by the general, who is believed to be in a coma. Or he might be in Cooma. The press office wasn't able to elaborate.

   Government ministers will be prevented from talking about the weather unless it has been cleared through Tony Abbott's press secretary.

From Phil Dobbie's blog.

Let's keep our borders safe

   Australia has just had a change in government. In part, the election was a race between two conservative parties regarding who could offer more harsh treatment to boat people: asylum seekers so desperate to escape hell at home that they risk their lives in leaky boats to reach a safe haven.

   Both parties offered solutions that are illegal according to the UN resolution on refugees, of which Australia is a signatory. Here is my response.


   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) released it's 5th Assessment Report on Climate Change. This is the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of scientific knowledge on climate change, prepared by over 800 of the world's leading experts. Its findings are clear -- climate change is real, caused by human activity and needs to be urgently addressed.

   Since we're quite fond of science and numbers at -- after all, we're named after the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- we wanted to share a few of the key numbers from the new climate report:

   But there are a few numbers you should know about climate change that aren't in the latest report -- numbers that give us reason for hope:

   Unfortunately however, Australia's new Government has stuck its head in the sand. As one of its first moves, Tony Abbott's Coalition abolished the Climate Commission -- Australia's own version of the IPCC. The Climate Commission provided essential information to the Australian public on climate change, taking the politics out of climate science. And last week, the Government announced plans to introduce legislation that would ban boycotts on products for environmental reasons - preventing consumers from getting the information they need to make informed choices.

   But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Just days after the Climate Commission was abolished, a new Climate Council was established, and it has been flooded with support from the community. Since Tuesday, thanks to small donations from over 20,000 individuals, almost $1 million has been raised. If you haven't already chipped in, you can do so here. This is the power of community. And when it comes to the Coalition's proposed anti-boycott amendments, we'll stand up again to protect our consumer rights.

   The IPCC report lays out the challenge we're facing. It's now up to us to do what's needed to meet that challenge. We can do it, but only if we keep up the fight. Check out our recently updated website: to see how you can join us.


TAKE ACTION to stop Canada’s filthy tar sands from Dr Glen Barry
Climate change? Try catastrophic climate breakdown by George Monbiot
When you lighten the lid...
Leaky frack
IPCC climate trends: Blueprints for tipping points by Andrew Glikson
Leading climate change economist brands sceptics 'irrational'
Amazon: no words needed.

TAKE ACTION to stop Canada’s filthy tar sands
from Dr Glen Barry

   Canadian tar sands production, transport, and consumption represent continued fossil fuel addiction that guarantees runaway climate change and global ecosystem collapse. From the deforestation of old-growth boreal forests, to the fouling of land and water as the carbon intensive oil is mined and extracted, to the constant dangers of far-flung spills as the viscous oil is transported, through its burning and release of tar sand filth into the atmosphere: tar sands is the epitome of ecocidal industrial activity that must end to limit abrupt climate change and achieve global ecological sustainability. Alberta’s tar sands are landlocked, and keeping them from ocean ports is vital to eliminating their production, and keeping the toxic tar in the ground where it belongs. Ecological Internet has already taken the lead in delaying the Northern Gateway pipelines to the West -- join us now in stopping the Energy East pipeline to the Atlantic.

    Discuss this alert.

Climate change? Try catastrophic climate breakdown
by George Monbiot

   Already, a thousand blogs and columns insist the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's new report is a rabid concoction of scare stories whose purpose is to destroy the global economy. But it is, in reality, highly conservative...

   [Climate deniers] manage to overlook the panel's conclusion that this slowing of the trend is likely to have been caused by volcanic eruptions, fluctuations in solar radiation and natural variability in the planetary cycle.

   Were it not for man-made global warming, these factors could have made the world significantly cooler over this period. That there has been a slight increase in temperature shows the power of the human contribution...

   It doesn't matter how many windmills or solar panels or nuclear plants you build if you are not simultaneously retiring fossil fuel production.

I AGREE. As usual, George is spot on. Having read these snippets, you might want to read the full article.

When you lighten the lid...

   Greenland is a supervolcano, with a very thin rock cover (the mantle) over the magma. For eons, the extra weight of the ice cap, which is over 2 Km thick, has kept the lid on.

   The international research initiative IceGeoHeat, led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, published in the current online issue of Nature Geoscience (Vol 6, August 11, 2013) that now the Greenland ice sheet is melting from below as well as from above.

   Anyone know if this has been taken into consideration by the recent IPCC report?

Photo by Sarah Das.

Leaky frack

   Geophysical Research Letters has published the results of a study in which an aeroplane measured methane leaks on a particular day over a natural gas field in Utah. On that day, 6 to 12% of the methane produced ended up in the air. This is NOT a good idea, because methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. The study adds to the evidence against the view that gas is less dangerous than coal.

   You can read a fuller discussion by Joseph Romm, a Fellow at American Progress and is the editor of Climate Progress, which New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010."

IPCC climate trends: Blueprints for tipping points
by Andrew Glikson

   Andrew has permitted his essays to be reproduced before. He is one of the world's top climate scientists, and has a far more realistic approach than most of what I read.

   In a very recent essay, he has pointed to a fault with the usual climate prediction process: it tends to look at change as gradual and continuous, when in fact it is likely to be almost stepwise and catastrophic:

   "The extreme rates of global warming experienced since about 1975 result in feedback effects from warming oceans, drying land sectors, release of methane from permafrost and Arctic lakes and release of CO2 from fires. A continuation of these processes is bound to bring on a synergy of warming processes and potential irreversible tipping points in the climate system."

   Read his essay.

Leading climate change economist brands sceptics 'irrational'
by Fiona Harvey

Lord Stern says governments should treat as 'just noise' what sceptics say on climate change

   "There is the danger of an abrupt change in the whole [climate] mechanism. We need to approach the issue as one of risk management."

Lord Nicolas Stern

   Read the whole article at The Guardian.

Amazon: no words needed

Good news

Germany is detoxifying from coal addiction
World’s biggest solar thermal power plant fired up in California by John Upton
Wind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story by Simon Chapman

Germany is detoxifying from coal addiction

   Karl-Friedrich Lenz is my source for the news that as well as having shut down nuclear generators post-Fukushima, Germany is also getting rid of coal-powered ones, 3.1 GW worth. This is because the widespread use of renewables has lowered the wholesale price of electricity so much that the dirty ones are no longer economical.

   If you know anything about the climate of Germany, this is remarkable. They have SNOW there in winter. If they can run much of their country (and export power to other places in Europe), then environmentally friendly power sources will work everywhere.

World’s biggest solar thermal power plant fired up in California
by John Upton

   Three sprawling units each contain a circular array of mirrors reflecting rays from the sun toward a 459-foot central tower. Water in the tower is heated by the rays to produce steam, which spins turbines and -- voila -- electricity is produced.

Read the article at

Deeper Issues

The Tipping Point by William Sosinsky
What You Think About, You Bring About by Michael Michalko
Julian Burnside: Alienation to alien nation
Pope Francis: Money is the root of all evil by Jen Hayden

The Tipping Point
by William Sosinsky

   As far back as I can remember since we as people began to recognize our potential to destroy our planet's environment, experts have spoken of a tipping point. This is a theoretical time frame where our collective action would no longer offset catastrophic damage to our biosphere. The reality is, we passed that tipping point years ago.

   The wheels of change are now unalterably moving forward with a momentum we are powerless to reverse. This will change our planet in fundamental ways that will have a huge impact on every human being on earth. The icecaps will continue to melt, sea levels will rise, oceans will continue to become more acidic, weather patterns will become more severe, temperatures rise, and the general health and vitality of our food chain will continue to deteriorate no matter what mitigating steps we now take. Anyone who does not realize this is either living in a fantasy world or too afraid to face the consequences. We need to acknowledge the scientific trends and cumulative data.

   The sad truth is, we are about to enter an unprecedented age of resource depletion that has the potential to turn our future into an extended "dark age," the likes of which our species has never experienced. That is unless we put into action massive restructuring of our planet's supportive infrastructure.

   That being said, there is a much more significant tipping point no one talks about. What happens when we run out of economic resources to prepare our population for the changes that are sure to occur, and societies around the world start to collapse? A regional response will become impossible. If you think that unlikely, look what has happened in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria. When you don't have sufficient food and water, you stop listening to the police. More than 75% of our global population lives in jeopardy of losing access to basic necessities for survival before mid century. Additionally neighboring countries that can somehow manage to get by will quickly come under pressure from migrating populations desperately seeking the resources they need to survive. This is the frightening reality our world now faces.

   We still have the opportunity to avoid the worst of that scenario, but time is running short. Every year as food, energy, and commodity prices rise as a percentage of family income, our ability to counter these trends diminish. This results in families and countries having less and less money available for discretionary investment and infrastructure development, thus eroding and crippling our ability to respond. Subsidies disappear, philanthropy is reduced, and money for education and health is diverted in an attempt to make up for those shortcomings till you are eventually broke and powerless. Read the papers or listen to the news. That is all they seem to talk about in one form or another. The days of large humanitarian aid efforts will soon stop and we will be powerless to act as we watch regions of our world collapse under these pressures, unless we prepare in advance of that tipping point.

   Never before has it been so important and necessary for humanity to act in common purpose. Actions and projects need to be coordinated, prioritized, and quantified for efficiency and impact. Our failure to accomplish this is unthinkable in terms of the human suffering and environmental destruction that will occur as a result of our inaction.

   It all has to start with education and training being available and accessible to every human being in the world so they can participate. This is what Energime University is trying to accomplish.

   Please work with us to solve these challenges.

Thank You,
William Sosinsky
Director, Energime University

Bill has been a proponent of sustainable growth and renewable energy since the early 1970s. After academic work at the SUNY Binghamton School of business for undergraduate studies, and NYU graduate school, he started Environomic Solutions, an early version of Energime, in 1977. He ran that company until its dissolution in 1981 when it closed due to an immature market. During the 1980s he traveled the world working on documentary films, many of which dealt with the issues of unsustainable development and the improper use of natural resources. Later in that decade, Bill settled back in New York City where he started a construction and renovation company. 1996 saw a move to the Pacific Northwest for Bill and his family. There he developed and built single and multi-family residential communities, invested in real estate and worked as a teacher and mentor, educating new real estate agents and investors. Bill’s credits also include teaching at the Henry George School of Economics, working for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York City Bicentennial Corporation, NYPIRG, and composing and producing sound tracks for television and film. Returning to his green roots in 2005, Bill began creating the structure and building the core relationships that would become Energime Renewable Energy Systems.

What You Think About, You Bring About
by Michael Michalko

   Many of us have the illusion that we think comprehensively, but we don't. We cannot take in multitudes of information, assimilate it, and make it valuable in any meaningful way; we take in information in sequence. It isn't possible to simultaneously process in parallel multiple potent stimuli and do it effectively. You can demonstrate this to yourself by performing the following thought experiment.

Thought Experiment

Visualize the alphabet in capital letters.


   How many letters have "curved" lines in them?

   Notice how you think. You see the letters flash before you "one by one," sequentially, not spontaneously. It's like watching a slide show. We think no faster than the speed of life. If you are still uncertain, try counting forward to 100 by threes, and backwards by sevens simultaneously.

   Because we think sequentially and no faster than the speed of life, we cannot pay attention to everything effectively. Our attention becomes too scattered to be of any use. You'll find that your intention will create criteria, which will determine what -- out of the vast range of possible experiences -- you are attending to at the time, will help you reach your goal. In short, what you intend determines what you perceive in your world.

   Let us imagine that your intention is to make a canoe. You will have, at first, some idea of the kind of canoe you wished to make. You will visualize the kind of canoe you wish to make. You will visualize the canoe, then you will go into the woods and look at the trees. Your desired outcome will determine your criteria for the tree you need. Your criteria might involve size, usefulness, and beauty of the tree. Criteria both filter your perceptions and invest a particular situation with meaning and thereby, informs your experience and behavior at the time. Out of the many trees in the woods, you will end up focusing on the few that meet your criteria, until you find the perfect tree.

   You will cut the tree down; remove the branches from the trunk; take off the bark; hollow out the trunk; carve the outside shape of the hull; form the prow and the stern; and then, perhaps, carve decorations on the prow. In this way you will produce the canoe.

   The process is so ordinary, so simple, so direct that we fail to see the beauty and simplicity of it. You have the intention to make a canoe, visualize an outcome, and give birth to something whole, a canoe. Your intention to make a canoe gives you direction and also imposes criteria on your choices, consciously and unconsciously.

   Intention has a way of bringing to our awareness only those things that our brain deems important. You'll begin to see ideas for your canoe pop up everywhere in your environment. You'll see them in tables, magazines, on television, and in other structures, while walking down the street. You'll see them in the most unlikely things, such as a refrigerator, that you use every day without giving them much thought. How the brain accomplishes such miracles has long been is one of neuroscience's great mysteries.

You can continue here.

Julian Burnside: Alienation to alien nation

   Julian is one of my heroes, and I am not alone. He is a model to follow. If everyone thought like him, we would have a sustainable world, and one worth living in.

   You must read what he has to say here on a variety of issues, particularly Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. But this is not about politics. It is about core values.

Pope Francis: Money is the root of all evil
by Jen Hayden

   Pope Francis is really on a roll, even for this non-believer. Yesterday he rejected the Catholic Church's longtime focus on women's rights and homosexuality. Today, he says money is the root of all evil.

   Even for the non-religous, it is difficult not to like Pope Francis.

Jen posts daily, so you'll need to search this page for the title, then you can access a video of the Pope's speech.

Wind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story
by Simon Chapman

   People who host wind turbines on their properties and derive rental income from wind energy companies have important stories to tell about living alongside turbines, but they've largely been absent from the debate on wind farms and health. Australian filmmaker and researcher Neil Barrett is finally giving this critical group a voice in his new short film, The way the wind blows, released today.

   In Barrett's short film, 15 hosts and some of their neighbours from the central Victorian district near the town of Waubra tell what it's like to live surrounded by large turbines.

   Turbine hosts at Waubra earn A$8,000 a year for each turbine on their land. In the bush, the expression that wind farms can "drought-proof a farm" is common: a land owner with ten turbines can wake up each morning comfortable in the thought that a tough year with poor rain or bad frosts can be ridden out, thanks to income from wind generation.

   All of Barrett's interviewees say they can hear the turbines but none say they are bothered by them or suffer from any health problems they attribute to the turbines. If there is such a phenomenon as "wind turbine syndrome" it would seem it is a condition that, remarkably, can be prevented by the wonder drug called money.

   Read on at The Conversation.


The Effects of Bullying Last Long Into Adulthood from Anna Mikulak
Dissociative Identity Disorder: a resource

The Effects of Bullying Last Long Into Adulthood
from Anna Mikulak

   A new study shows that serious illness, struggling to hold down a regular job, and poor social relationships are just some of the adverse outcomes in adulthood faced by those exposed to bullying in childhood.

   It has long been acknowledged that bullying at a young age presents a problem for schools, parents and public policy makers alike. Although children spend more time with their peers than their parents, there is relatively little published research on understanding the impact of these interactions on their lives beyond school.

   The results of the new study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, highlight the extent to which the risk of problems related to health, poverty, and social relationships are heightened by exposure to bullying. The study is notable because it looks into many factors that go beyond health-related outcomes.

   Psychological scientists Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick and William E. Copeland of Duke University Medical Center led the research team, looking beyond the study of victims and investigating the impact on all those affected: the victims, the bullies themselves, and those who fall into both categories, so-called "bully-victims."

   "We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up," says Wolke. "We need to change this mindset and acknowledge this as a serious problem for both the individual and the country as a whole; the effects are long-lasting and significant."

   The "bully-victims" were at greatest risk for health problems in adulthood, over six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder compared to those not involved in bullying.

   The results show that bully-victims are perhaps the most vulnerable group of all. This group may turn to bullying after being bullied themselves as they may lack the emotional regulation or support required to cope with it.

   "In the case of bully-victims, it shows how bullying can spread when left untreated," Wolke added. "Some interventions are already available in schools but new tools are needed to help health professionals to identify, monitor, and deal with the ill-effects of bullying. The challenge we face now is committing the time and resources to these interventions to try and put an end to bullying."

   All the groups were more than twice as likely to have difficulty in keeping a job, or committing to saving compared to those not involved in bullying. As such, they displayed a higher propensity for being impoverished in young adulthood.

   However, the study revealed very few ill effects of being the bully. After accounting for the influence of childhood psychiatric problems and family hardships -- which were prevalent among bullies -- the act of bullying itself didn't seem to have a negative impact in adulthood.

   "Bullies appear to be children with a prevailing antisocial tendency who know how to get under the skin of others, with bully-victims taking the role of their helpers," explained Wolke. "It is important to finds ways of removing the need for these children to bully others and, in doing so, protect the many children suffering at the hand of bullies -- they are the ones who are hindered later in life."

   Although they showed no real difference in the likelihood of being married or having children, all groups showed signs of having difficulty forming social relationships, particularly when it came to maintaining long term friendships or good ties with parents in adulthood.

   The research assessed 1,420 participants four to six times between the ages of 9 and 16 years and adult outcomes between 24-26 years of age.

Dissociative Identity Disorder: a resource

   Yes, there is such a thing. There are people with multiple personalities. This condition is the ultimate damage from extended, chronic childhood trauma, usually involving sexual abuse. I have so far worked with 10 sufferers, and have the honour of assisting several to improve their lives until they could cope and thrive.

   The worst situation is when adults deliberately set out to "program" the child to develop multiple personalities. And yes, this happens. There is plenty of strong evidence.

   An excellent resource for such people is Jean's Ritual Abuse Blog. Jean's work is beautiful, apt and powerful.


Are Dental X-Rays Safe? by Dr. Michael Greger
Help with withdrawal symptoms
Our daily bread by Hazel Sillver

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
by Dr. Michael Greger

   Every year, doctors cause an estimated 29,000 cancers a year dosing patients with X-rays during CAT scans. What about dentists? 100 million Americans are exposed to dental X-rays every year, but don't the lead apron and thyroid shield protect our vital organs? All our vital organs, except one -- our brain!

   A study entitled "Dental X-Rays and Risk of Meningioma" was recently published. The objective was to explore the association between dental X-rays -- the most common artificial source of ionizing radiation -- and the risk of intracranial meningioma, the most common type of brain tumor.

   The researchers found that those who report ever having a bitewing X-ray had twice the odds of a brain tumor, and those that got a panoramic series -- the full mouth X-rays -- before age 10 had nearly 5 times the odds.

   While more research is needed, the bottom line is the benefits and risks of radiation exposure must always be carefully weighed. Dentists should consider the justification for every exposure. Furthermore, dentists should not prescribe routine dental X-rays at preset intervals for all patients (such as every 6 months or year, etc.). Says who? Says the official recommendations of the American Dental Association. There is little evidence to support irradiating people looking at all the teeth in search of hidden problems in asymptomatic patients. Accordingly, dentists should select patients wisely -- only take X-rays when there is patient-specific reason to believe there is a reasonable expectation the X-rays will offer unique information influencing diagnosis or treatment.

   I was actually just at the dentist for my check-up and was again offered a set of full mouth X-rays (because I was "due"). Normally when I refuse routine dental X-rays I've just explained that I try to minimize my radiation exposure, but this time I was able to refuse "as per the official recommendation of the American Dental Association!" I just got a blank stare.

In health, Michael Greger, M.D.


Help with withdrawal symptoms

   I was looking for some information, and noticed that you list Al-Anon (, along with a few other great sites on:

   Honestly, thank you for mentioning them. I really can't say enough positive things about their organization.

   It may be worthwhile to mention either above or below them. The signs and symptoms of withdrawal are very serious. Unfortunately, the community does not discuss these dangers often enough, and most webpages offering information are commercial with an interest in client acquisition. is part of the USA Addiction Treatment Partnership, a Florida registered non-profit. This way you can point visitors somewhere without having to trust a commercial site.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you again, and keep up the great work.
Take care.
Mari Hernandez
Outreach Director

Our daily bread
by Hazel Sillver

   Do a 2-week gluten fast and you may just see your energy levels double...

   Put yourself in Novak Djokovic’s tennis shoes. It’s 2009. You have been playing tennis passionately since the age of 4, even beneath a sky peppered with F-117 bombers in war-torn Serbia. It is your dream to win Grand Slam tournaments and be the best. But no matter how hard you train, your body betrays you. Djokovic had collapsed in matches before and now he was defending his title in the Australian Open against top player Andy Roddick. The whole world was watching. The last thing he wanted was to bow out from fatigue before the end of the match, but that is exactly what he had to do.

   He felt exhausted, his body had no fight left -- it just wouldn’t do what he wanted it to. The tennis world was unimpressed and shocked that someone would give up because they felt tired! But not all the spectators were bemused.

   A Serbian doctor who had been watching the match contacted Djokovic to suggest that he might be gluten intolerant. Willing to try anything, the tennis player subjected himself to a series of tests that confirmed, yes, he had a very high intolerance to wheat, as well as sensitivity to dairy and tomatoes.

   Read on at The Ecologist, for a detailed and useful article.


Filter out the filters by Rayne Golay
You will love these gems of writing

Filter out the filters
by Rayne Golay

   After I signed the contract for the publication of my award winning novel THE WOODEN CHAIR with Untreed Reads Publishing, eventually I got to work on the proofs. As I edited my way through the manuscript, I was horrified that I’d used the filter word “feel” and its different tenses over and over. I made a search for “feel” and its varieties and found to my amazement there were over 200 of this pesky word in a 104,000 word novel, and so I proceeded to delete most of them.

   There is the rule not to use filters, those words that are so easy to drop into my writing. Filters don’t make writing better. In fact, if filters can be the cause of a rejection, they usually are. They also keep the reader at arms length from my story.

   As in “she wondered.” I guess the question is, would the sentence work just as well if I showed her wondering? To wonder is to question something. “She wondered what kind of life he lived in New York.” It’s not bad, but “What kind of life did he live in New York?” allows the reader deeper into the story.

   The only time filters are okay to use is

a) when a sentence has more than one subject and it wouldn’t be clear who the primary subject was without the filter;

b) when any other rewrite of the sentence makes the phrasing awkward or slows the pace in such a way the filter actually reads better, or

c) when the action could be attributed to another character in a preceding or following sentence. Here the filter belongs for clarification.

   Other than that, filters are not important to use. Sometimes, a better alternative eludes me at the time of writing, and I just leave it in, hoping to fix it on rewrite. And remember, too, that writing in your strongest, clearest voice, is a lot more important than a few ‘filters’ popping up in your work. It’s like chocolate--too much at once will make your tummy hurt, but a little over time is satisfying.

   So, these are the filters:

   The latter three (and others more like them) are really not as “bad” as the preceding “sensory” list. As with any general writing rule there are instances when a filter is actually needed or works better than without it--just as there are sentences where the word “was” works better than any other word.

   The reason filters are considered unnecessary or bad for the story is because it keeps the writer from reaching a depth of character, and jerks the reader out of the story. For instance:

   “She felt embarrassed by his lewd comments.”

   The writing would be stronger, and give the character more depth if I showed this rather than told it: “She recoiled and averted her face, embarrassed by his lewd comments.”

   In the first instance, I’m telling you about her embarrassment, in the second I show how she behaves when embarrassed.

   Now, take another character, who perhaps becomes angry when she’s embarrassed: “The embarrassment made her angry.” This is not so good, don’t you agree? Like this it works much better: “She clenched her fists and scowled, enraged he would embarrass her with such lewd comments.”

   By fixing the reader deeply into the character and her/his POV, there is no need to tell she felt or she saw. The writer simply needs to show what that characters feels and sees. For instance, a character who has a background in fashion design might look at a sunset and see this: “The glowing sun cast the landscape in vermilion and gold, a combination she would use in the fall designs.”

   Or another character, who is a romantic at heart, might see the same scenery with the thought: “The glowing sun cast vermilion and gold over the landscape, which needed only entwined lovers to perfect the postcard imagery.”

   Neither of the above would have quite the same impact if the I wrote, “She saw the glowing sun cast vermilion and gold over the landscape.”

   When writing the first draft, I don’t get hung up on filters, but once I edit the text, I make a search for filters, in particular those that are my “pets” as for instance “feel” and any variety of it. To write in your strongest voice possible, to pull your reader into the story, drop as many of the filters as you can. Don’t wonder, just leave them out!

See more at: Coffe Time Romance.

You will love these gems of writing

   Please inspect 33 opening sentences that should never have seen the light.

What my friends want you to know

24 hours of reality from Al Gore
Connecting to the Land
Save national parks: protest Saturday 2 November 2013
Climate and Health Summit Nov 16 2013
Jay Levy interviewed
Carolyn's latest book marketing newsletter
New book from Carole Marshall

24 hours of reality
from Al Gore

   On October 22, 2013, The Climate Reality Project and I will be hosting our third annual 24 Hours of Reality. It is a global event that brings together news, multimedia and voices from around the world to tell the story of the climate crisis.

   Join us as we identify the costs of carbon pollution, and learn about how it is affecting our planet. To solve the climate crisis we know we have to put a price on carbon. During 24 Hours of Reality, you'll see how we can make this solution... a reality.

   I hope you're as excited as I am.

   So please, click here and sign up to receive reminders... and mark your calendar to tune into this historic event.

Al Gore
Chairman, The Climate Reality Project

Connecting to the land

SPLICE FOUNDATION Social Change Agents
Proudly invite you to a beautiful and sacred event

   Join us for a Reconciling With the Land ceremony and a sacred forest walk
Conducted by respected Aboriginal elder

   All funds raised will go to Uncle Max to help him to continue his work with connecting Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young people to culture for wellbeing.

Saturday 26th October 2013 10:30 am - 2:30 pm. (Please arrive by 10 am to Red Hill showgrounds, and walk to the retreat.)

183 Arthurs St Rd
Red Hill

Adults $80, children $20; includes picnic lunch.

Bookings essential. Phone Judith 0419 493 346.

Save national parks: protest Saturday 2 November 2013

   The Victorian Government has passed a law allowing 99-year leases in national parks for private developers. The Victorian National Parks Association is organising a protest. Saturday 2 November 2013 at Tidal River. Mark it in your calendar for November. Hop on a VNPA bus and join 1000 people with torches to make a human sign on the beach at dusk, spelling out the message 'HANDS OFF PARKS'.

Read all about it.

Climate and Health Summit, Nov 16 2013

   The Global Climate & Health Alliance (GCHA) would like to invite you to the Climate and Health Summit 2013 on Saturday 16 November in Warsaw.

   The Summit will take place during COP19 at the Marriot Hotel, Central Warsaw, Poland and is being organized under the auspices of the World Health Organization.

   The Summit will coordinate action across all sectors to protect human health from the impacts of climate change. It will build a road-map for the international health community to work in the runup to the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris. It will draw on the 2011 Durban Health Sector Call to Action and will be used to determine areas for collaboration in the future.

   Click here to register.

Jay Levy interviewed

   Jay Levy is a social worker who has been involved with homeless people for 25 years. To me, he is an example and inspiration to therapists, whatever field they work in. Have a look at his interview, promoting his latest book, which I have reviewed below.

Carolyn's latest book marketing newsletter

“Careers that are not fed die as readily as any living organism given no sustenance.” ~ CHJ

September 30, 2013
Sharing with Writers Since 2003

   To read, it go to and click on the September 30 issue.

   This newsletter is also a community. Share your ideas. Learn from theirs! Associated with the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers.


   Regular Features ~Note from Carolyn: Thoughts about Wally Lamb’s New Novel ~Letters-to-the-Editor ~Thank Yous (where you also find leads and great resources!) ~Tips and News Galore! (They're scattered; you'll just have to find them!) ~Opportunities (You’ll find them in several places.) ~Accessible Contests ~On Poetry ~Author Successes ~Mindy Lawrence's Itty Bitty Column: Procrastination -- Don’t Go There ~Carolyn's Appearances and Teaching ~Wordstuff ™

   This Issue Only Introducing Kindle MatchBook -- A New Program to Help you Sell More Books ~Feature: Paying It Forward: Content Marketing and Sharing to Benefit Your Book, from Karen Cioffri-Ventrice

   Associated with the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

New book from Carole Marshall

   Once again author Carole Marshall's ability to create humor and elicit deep emotion jumps from the page directly to your heart. Her latest novel, Reading to Jane, is a journey of inspiration that combines the reality of aging, the brashness of youth, the stigma of societal outcasts, and the turmoil of loss into an intricately woven three-part adventure. The novel takes the reader through laughter, tears and a hint of direction toward meaningful existence and a more harmonious, joyful way to live in the world. Reading to Jane is everyone's story, so real in spots you'll have goose bumps. You are invited to view an exciting book trailer and reviews on the author's website.

   Reading to Jane is available in e-book and hard copy. Direct links and purchase page available on author's website.

Book Reviews

Pretreatment Guide for Homeless Outreach & Housing First by Jay Levy
Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes
Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time by Shawn Howen
Over the Top, by Brandon Wilson
Jupiter's Reef, by Karl Kofoed
Gifts Of The Peramangk, by Dean Mayes
Ascending Spiral reviewed by:
Robert William Case
Veronica Knox
David Norman
Brandon Wilson
Dean Mayes
Robin Marvel

Pretreatment Guide for Homeless Outreach & Housing First by Jay Levy

   This book could be a textbook for a course on working with chronically homeless people. It is a hands-on manual full of caring, compassion and decency. The principles here applied to homeless people are those that should guide all helping relationships such as psychotherapy and social work. This is actually best expressed in the opening sentence of the last chapter: "A pretreatment guide based on universal principles of care has been presented and applied to Homeless Outreach and Housing First activities." It is all evidence-based, and the author's expertise shines through.

   A really valuable aspect of this book is the level of detail in the case studies. This makes it a primer for inexperienced therapists and social workers. Equally useful is the way in which the same principles are applied in different circumstances, cumulatively adding to their understanding. This is always fresh, never boring.

   As always, editing Jay Levy's work has been an honor.

   Published by Loving Healing Press.

Flowers and Stone
by Jan Sikes

   The opening of the book tells the reader that this is a fictionalized autobiography. Very quickly it becomes clear that the story is a girl-boy (well, girl-man) romance, except that in the preface we already find out that the man is destined to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. This twist gives all the highs in the book a bitter-sweet flavor. Doom is coming, although we don't find out how till near the end.

   Darlina is a naïve 19 year old, rebelling against her strict parents by working nights as a dancer. She falls in love with Luke, successful singer and band leader who is known for his womanizing ways.

   This is a recipe for disaster, but Luke falls in love with her, and the disaster that strikes is quite different.

   This book is a good read. It is well crafted, and gives a window into a particular culture that will interest many people.

Jan Sikes is a singer and songwriter as well as a writer. Her husband Rick was a popular pop star, and this book is a fictionalised version of their meeting and early life.

Medicine Man I: The Chief of All Time by Shawn Howen

   When I read the first scene in The Medicine Man, I wanted to stop. A man leaving a new-born child to die was too terrible. However, I'd promised to read this book, and continued.

   I am glad I did. It is a powerful, engrossing story bringing to life American Indian myths and traditions. It is a tale of magic, but the magic is anything but the stereotyped repetition that has put me off the fantasy genre for some time.

   As I followed Shannon Running Dear through his adventures, both in our modern world and in ancient times before colonialization, I got to like and admire him more and more.

   In a few places, I got a bit lost in the logic of the magical happenings, but the overall effect has been gripping. I wanted to read on and on, and cheered Shannon through his battles, groaned with his sufferings, identified with his motivations.

   I am looking forward to the sequel.

Over the Top, by Brandon Wilson

   This book starts with a cliffhanger -- literally. Brandon is desperately hanging on to a thin rope, dangling over a long, long drop. After that, anyone would want to read on.

   I don't know offhand how many travel guides Brandon has written, but of them all, this describes the most challenging journey: following the Via Alpina from near Trieste in a great loop over the mighty mountains, back to Monaco.

   A travelogue needs to instruct the reader, to convey practically useful information. Brandon does this, but without weighing the reader down with it. The writing is always chatty and easy to read, although in many places I found the words in the local language to be a bit intrusive. Still, that adds color.

   Brandon's usual style is to laugh at himself while describing trials that would overwhelm most people, and that's what he does in Over the Top. This time, the humor is enhanced by delightful pen sketches.

   As in his other books, Brandon is very good at visual descriptions that can only be called word pictures. They bring the scenery, buildings and people to life.

   What is the greatest gain from suffering danger, discomfort and financial cost on a marathon trek? This is best expressed on page 121: "Lizabeth, a very special lady, reminded me why I like to do these treks. It’s not so much the places you see; it’s the folks you meet along the path. Traveling simply, you throw yourself out into the universe with abandon, depending far on fate and the kindness of strangers. Simply put, it means trusting, letting go, and letting life unfold in a natural and beautiful way. It’s a remarkable exercise."

   There is a collection of magnificent photos in the middle of the book. Some are just inspiring. Others, like the words and drawings, made me laugh.

   A problem with a single book describing such a long journey is that even though each individual section is unique, and well described, after awhile it feels like more of the same. Like Brandon and his wife Cheryl were fatigued by the long trek, the reader can get fatigued too. I don't have a solution for this: the route is long and goes through 8 countries, so to be true, the book needs to do the same.

   If you are interested in following part (or even all!) of the Via Alpina, or if you are an armchair traveler wanting to find out about a beautiful part of our planet without leaving home, you can't do better than to read this book.

Jupiter's Reef, by Karl Kofoed

   Karl Kofoed is justly famous for his wonderful Galactic Geographic series, so it is no surprise that he has created a wonderfully vivid, complex, realistic alien ecosystem on Jupiter. As I was reading, at first I doubted the science, but it's all explained by the end. The whole thing makes sense within the laws of science, something I find essential in science fiction.

   The living world within the Great Red Spot of Jupiter is background to a human story of a young man with a dream, and a love, and an attitude of bucking against authority. The theme, and the style of writing, remind me of early Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, and initially I found this to be rather old and tired. However, as the story developed, I got to like it more and more. It is worth reading, and an enjoyable read.

   All good writing has a deeper message. Although not at all evident until near the end (often the best place), the message is one of environmental sensitivity; of rejecting the attitude of colonialism and exploitation; a respect for the sanctity, complexity and vulnerability of the web of life.

Karl is a graphic artist with over 40 years of commercial advertising and promotional graphic design experience. Today, he specializes in photo retouching and restoration. Karl is also a science fiction illustrator and writer. He has done scores of book covers and interior illustrations for magazines like Analog and Asimov's SF magazine.

   Karl is best known for his Galactic Geographic, which has appeared in Heavy Metal magazine. His pieces feature diverse and imaginative views of living alien worlds and a distinctive documentary style. The Galactic Geographic is a single work of art. He designed, wrote, illustrated, and produced the Galactic Geographic Annual 3003, which is a nature magazine from the future. Published by Chrysalis/Paper Tiger Books in 2003, it's still available.

   Two novels, Deep Ice and JOKO, have been published by BeWrite Books and he has several more books waiting, including an SF trilogy.

Gifts Of The Peramangk, by Dean Mayes

   This book reminds me of Angela's Ashes. Both expose great hardship, and are anthems to the human spirit triumphing over adversity. Actually, I like Gifts Of The Peramangk more, because the language is far more lyrical, and because it celebrates the joys of music while Angela's Ashes is uniformly bleak, until the one-word last chapter.

   I hope Dean Mayes achieves the same success as Frank McCourt did. He writes from the heart, and with heart. Characterisation is excellent. The plot is gripping, full of tension and interest. The parallel stories of two little Aboriginal girls, 50 years apart, meld together beautifully, sadly, giving a perfectly accurate picture of the past and current troubles of these mistreated survivors of genocide. He also shows how the symptoms of victimisation can be overcome. Not all Aboriginal people have the gift of the musical prodigy, but all can take pride in culture, and prove themselves as good as anyone else, despite discrimination and prejudice.

   There is another reason I compared this book with Angela's Ashes. I found that book very difficult to read at first, because of the complete lack of quotation marks. An ordinary story would have been sunk by such a technical fault, but the content triumphed over the format.

   Dean uses quotes faultlessly, but I had problems with two choices of presentation: head hopping and info dumps. That is, he doesn’t keep to the point of view of any particular character within a scene, and he frequently passes on information from the outside, as the author. Both of these are to be avoided for several good reasons.

   However, as I said, the magnificent content overrides issues of presentation. This is a must-read book.

Adelaide based Pediatric ICU Nurse Dean Mayes had almost given up on ever being published. However, Dean had a story, and decided to blog the it.

   Quite unexpectedly, that blog took off, logging upward of 3000 unique visits per month to Dean's dreamlike tale of a young man who discovers he has taken on the memories and dreams of a complete stranger after a drug overdose.

   In 2010, Dean's humble blog became his debut novel "The Hambledown Dream" -- a lyrical and moving romance about a young man's journey on both sides of mortality. The novel has since gone on to receive global attention and critical acclaim.

   After 2 years of meticulous research, Central Avenue Publishing released Dean's second book, the powerful Australian family drama "Gifts of the Peramangk."

   A third project, an experimental sci-fi novella entitled "The Regenesis Cluster," was released in 2013. Dean describes this piece as an exploration of death and life, an artistic interpretation of reincarnation using words.

   Dean is now working on his third feature length novel, tentatively titled "The Recipient."

Ascending Spiral reviewed by:
Robert William Case

Bob, Your latest book, Ascending Spiral, came along on our recent vacation and I enjoyed it immensely. The writing is good and the message is better. So much so that I'm meeting with a counselor in a few weeks to do a past life regression of my own. Here is my review for your consideration:

   In his latest work Ascending Spiral Bob Rich embraces the power of the purposeful life. Assuming a narrative pose, the author escorts modern readers through a series of incarnations of his evolving, principal character, Pip. Over a span of 12,000 years, Dr Pip Lipkin atones through a series of lives into an oxygen breathing, carbon-based life form, living on the edge of an endangered planet. It is character development on a karmic scale, taking the reader from far-flung corners of the English empire, into fantastical times and places where alien life forms live out complex lives. Each life is its own hero's journey, rich with love, danger and drama. All of them interweave into the metaphysical ascending spiral.

   And the author does not stop there. Ascending Spiral is a call to action. Dr. Rich demands that the reader take stock of his or her role on this planet we call home. He pointedly asserts that we did not come into these lives to make money, or to be better than our neighbors. Instead, we are here to learn lessons about connection and higher purpose. Our task, therefore, is to create a sustainable society and to work for the survival of our planet. Ascending Spiral is a very readable and challenging book for compassionate thinkers worldwide.

Robert William Case
Writer, Speaker, Storyteller

Drawn to the land and its people, the beauty and the turmoil, Bob first traveled to the eastern Mediterranean after dropping out of college in the 1970s. Next came marriage and fatherhood, but the sirens of the ancient legends and myth still called. Robert’s first book, Daedalus Rising was published in 2008. The journey continues with Wingbuilder, the first volume of a trilogy of historical fiction about the rise of the Minoan civilization and its fall, in the wake of a cataclysmic volcanic eruption. Robert obtained a MS in geophysics from the University of Utah and a JD from the University of Denver.

...Veronica Knox

   First, let me state the obvious: a story is an idea with a problem. A good story, however, has an idea with a double problem. One is the protagonist's mistaken response to their perceived problem; the other is an issue that begs a greater question that he/she will come to understand and redress later. 'Ascending Spiral' is a double-problem story.

    Initially a problem is posed; an invitation is extended, but then a writer's style has to meet the challenge and seduce the reader with language. If that fails, even a fascinating story is lost. Words and imagery are everything on the written page. It's called being hooked.

    And Dr. Rich's words will hook you.

    You will be treated to his fluid and passionate, natural storyteller style.

    'Ascending Spiral' is what I call 'quantum reading' -- listening, watching, and hearing on several levels of intuitive understanding.

    One is asked to suspend their belief in order to fully-experience the tapestry of several lifetimes sewn together in a seamless journey that flows with emotional karma -- often violent, yet hauntingly compassionate at the same time.

    Meet Padraig, a gentle soul who is torn from an honest rural life by a cruel Viking raid that destroys his faith in man and cruelly separates him from the promise of profound young love.

    So begins the bittersweet tangle of a love story told in a commentary of painful memories.

    We shadow one man's progress and regressions from lifetime to lifetime as he discovers rather than searches for his past loves and enemies in settings with the potential for reconciliation and the choices to ignore them in favor of a continual feud. But by then Padraig is Dermot, who is really feuding with himself. Each of his subsequent incarnations builds upon the last until a critical mass of enlightenment forces the issue of atonement in startling ways.

    From the innocence of childhood to the guilt and shame that comes with maturity, Bob Rich writes of classic revenge that backlashes in a Snakes and Ladders game of life gone awry from a first mistake. One that collects power and snowballs into the repetitive loop of suffering of a complex human singularity who ends in an uplifting reveal of reconciled reincarnation.

    'Ascending Spiral' is an unusual tale of collective-consciousness and awareness where contradictions abound: love and hate, courage and fear, and guilt and shame. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, which, after the last piece is in place, one discovers that the 'bigger picture' has been on the underside all along.

    Bob Rich's writing style flows just as his protagonist dances from one life to another. Follow the breadcrumbs of his multiple personas who you can cheer for even when appalled by their behavior.

    Be swept along from initial curiosity to a quest to know Padraig's eventual fate, and be amazed at the conclusion of life-altering philosophy -- the taming of the ego from cradle to grave which begins inside one's skin, and encompasses a greater family than one's immediate kin.

Veronica Knox, author of 'Second Lisa'

Veronica is an artist, and this shows in her incredibly imaginative books.

...David Norman

   Have you ever wondered why you are inexplicably drawn to a particular person as if you know them well, though have never met them? Have always had a strong particular personal trait that you can’t explain where it originated from? Ascending Spiral may just answer these questions for you. This is a brilliantly written and extremely thought provoking journey of the soul. The central character could be any one of us as we journey through our particular life/s in search for the meaning of our existence. The stories are told in such a realistic way that placed me in the bodies and minds of many of the characters. My perception of the central theme (and there are a few thread throughout), is that we reap what we sow. That violence and aggression beget the same and we will be confronted with many hard life-lessons until we embrace the fact that we are the masters of our own fate; only our own love and genuine kindness brings peace. I found Bob Rich’s novel Ascending Spiral to be emotionally confronting in a positive way that triggered private reflection and it questions our own level of personal and spiritual growth.

David Norman, author of Alcohemy: The Solution to Ending Your Alcohol Habit for Good.

I have written a review of David's excellent book, but am waiting for its publication before sharing the review with you.

...Brandon Wilson

   Life is an adventure; some say a never-ending one. Ascending Spiral by Bob Rich takes us on that rollercoaster of life. As they say, "Keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times." It's a wild ride.

   As the book opens, we join therapist Pip Lipkin assisting patients in recent times, then swiftly travel backward, ultimately some 12,000 years. As each chapter introduces a new character and their personal drama unfolds, it soon becomes obvious we are witnessing the same being again and again struggling with new life challenges as they gradually resolve, evolve, and reawaken. There's never a dull moment. Friends and adversaries resurface in each life playing different roles -- some nurturing, some violent -- as "Pip" continues his spiraling metaphysical journey from one calamity or triumph to the next.

   I had little idea what to expect when I began reading, but was soon wrapped up in the fascinating adventure. As I devoured the book within two sittings, (one has to sleep), I was reminded how all events, even minor, can be interconnected. There are no coincidences and personal choices constantly create or resolve our karma. This simple reminder can help reassure and heal us through the darkest of times.

   Ascending Spiral is an engaging adventure, blurring the lines of genre while appealing to a wide audience who enjoy adventure, sci-fi, philosophy, metaphysics, and historical fiction. I heartily recommend it.

Brandon Wilson
Lowell Thomas Award-winning author of
Along the Templar Trail and others.

...Dean Mayes

   In the ascending spiral of evolution, each new generation absorbs the experiences of the previous level and expands upon them..." (theorist and scholar Gene Youngblood, 2010).

   Such is the underlying theme of Dr. Bob Rich's profound and sometimes confounding literary masterpiece Ascending Spiral: Humanity's Last Chance.

   The journey of Rich's protagonist Pip Lipkin through 12000 years of human history is a powerful and often lyrical narrative featuring a vivid palette of historical settings and fully realized protagonists -- all of whom represent a singular hero on a quest for redemption. From the Viking era of Continental Europe to the Irish vs. English struggle for supremacy in the Middle Ages and beyond to the present day, each vignette is visually lush and evocative, laying the foundation of the hero's journey and building on it with thought provoking subtlety and an eye towards a powerful message of atonement for the sins of the past.

   The connective tissue of reincarnation allows the story to advance through the ages until we come full circle to the modern day with Pip Lipkin. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story as reincarnation is a concept that I am really drawn to and I like to read different takes on it. Rich's use of it in his story -- under the convention of the Ascending Spiral -- was satisfyingly original.

   Bob Rich's Ascending Spiral: Humanity's Last Chance is a unique piece of fiction, a hand crafted literary work that lingers in the mind long after the final page. You will be captured by the story and perhaps changed by it.

...Robin Marvel

   Ascending Spiral by Bob Rich is a captivating read. You are immediately drawn to the story, so beautifully written. As you take the journey through trials, tribulations and adventures of Dr. Pip Lipkin you cannot help but become involved in the story line and lessons that are being conveyed. Creating thought within about the lessons you are experiencing and the impact on humanity. I highly recommend Ascending Spiral. Be aware that once you pick it up you will not put it down until it is finished! Great job Bob.

Robin Marvel is a multi-published author and speaker in the field of self development. Despite a childhood filled with abuse, homelessness and teen pregnancy, Robin has overcome many challenges to make her life one of purpose. Today she has devoted her life to showing others how to do the same. Using her story, books and workshops as tools she is inspiring others to break cycles and choose to live the life they desire.

About Bobbing Around

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