Bobbing Around

Volume Two, Number Five
March, 2003

Bob Rich's rave
email me
bobswriting.com/  anxietyanddepression-help.com/  mudsmith.net/

 
*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions
*Thank you, Atlantic Bridge
*Readers write
Elaine Corvidae on the LiFE Award.
Sally Odgers on the apostrophe.
Mark Snell: more on the apostrophe.
Clive Warner on energy efficiency in building.
*Announcing my SECOND FREE-EDIT CONTEST.
*Announcements by my friends
Helen Polaski: call for submissions to two anthologies.
Cornelia Amiri: new book release.
Nina Osier: release of a prequel.
Robert Cales: horror novel.
Mike DiCerto: Rock and roll space fantasy.
*On Terrorism
*A Wonderful Gift
Martine Glaser
*Prejudice
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.
*Criteria for writing excellence:
Judging instructions for the Dream Realm Awards
*Insomnia Fix
*'Neuro-Emotional Techniques'
by Jef Gazley
*Book review
Forget Me Knots from the Front Porch
by Helen Polaski, reviewed by Vanessa Mullins.
*Poetry
Gently the Night, a poem by Lee Taylor.
And a little one from me.

Free Counselling!

   Quite right. Counselling should not have been imprisoned in the first place. So, to make up for this outrage, I am offering one free email exchange to subscribers of Bobbing Around. The offer lasts until the end of April 2003.
   If you are interested, go to http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/intercouns.html and read how internet counselling works. Then send me an email, stating that you are accepting the offer in Bobbing Around.

Disclaimer

   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.

Thank you, Linda Ebertharter

   Sending Bobbing Around off used to be a big job. Now, it's a matter of visinging an online form, then sending a single email, thanks to Atlantic Bridge Publishers. The least I can do is to offer this forum to Linda Eberharter, the publisher, for publicising her publishing business. Please visit her and look around.


On Terrorism

   I strongly disapprove of terrorism. It is a form of bullying: 'Do as I tell you or I'll bash you up!"

   Worse, the terrorist typically strikes at the innocent, the soft target, the defenceless. Terrorism is an evil practice, a blight on humanity.

   This is true whoever the terrorist is. It is true for a shadowy group of drug-crazed psychos. It is true for power-hungry criminals. It is true for those who fight for a genuinely oppressed minority with real grievances. And it is true for those who control the full power of a country.

   By any definition, one of the worst acts of terrorism of modern times was the firebombing of Dresden in 1945. This was FAR worse than the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre. It killed more people -- also mostly innocent civilians. It destroyed an entire, beautiful city. It was an act with no military necessity behind it. Germany was as good as defeated by then. Dresden was annihilated, all those people killed, because the Western powers wanted to intimidate Stalin with a demonstration.

   Another, equally evil act was the dropping of two nuclear bombs on Japan. Albert Einstein had begged the President of the United States to set off one of the two available bombs over the sea, where it could be seen from Tokyo, and hold the second in reserve. The military had a toy, and used it, to kill civilians. This is as much an act of terrorism as anything Osama bin Laden might have thought of.

 

   The current upsurge of militant Muslim fundamentalism uses evil means, and must be condemned. But killing civilians in Afghanistan was equally evil. It was also terrorism.

   Moreover, it was ineffective. There are now millions of formerly moderate Muslim people who have been turned into conscripts for violence.

 

   I hate Saddam Hussein's regime. It is evil. It has used horrible means to fight a war against Iran. It has used State terrorism against its own people, and is a repressive, cruel blight on its country. Saddam Hussein is no better than Hitler or Stalin.

   He is not alone. There are many dictatorial regimes around the world, none better than the others.

   But Iraq's is the only one that controls oil, the only one that may threaten other countries that control oil.

 

   The United States owns weapons of mass destruction. Recently, Bush threatened to use them.

   India and Pakistan both own weapons of mass destruction. Last year, India unveiled a rocket that can take a nuclear warhead to anywhere in Pakistan. I did not notice anyone offering to fight these two countries unless they dismantled their nuclear arsenal.

 

   But then they don't control oil.

Postscript

   Events have moved faster than I have. Bush has attacked since I wrote the above essay. If Saddam Hussein had any weapons of mass destruction, he would surely have used them by now?

   A man is accused of a crime. He is the process of being tried in court when a witness for the prosecution attacks him. Due to what happens during the attack, the defendant is revealed to be innocent of the accusations, whatever else he may be guilty of. What does this say about the culpability of his attacker?


A Wonderful Gift

   Martine Glaser is a delightful email friend of some years' standing. She is an artist, writer, CEO of a dynamic and successful agency and an all-round human being.

   Her Housing Agency has just adopted a boarding school for orphan girls in Kenya.

   Why?

   Why a secondary boarding school, why orphan girls, why Kenya? In reverse order: Kenya is extremely poor -- like many African countries, of course -- the people who run this project and some of my company happened to meet and for some reason they clicked at once. One of my co-workers went there to check things out, reported positively and I decided to make it a partner group/network project -- a binding element which also might fulfil the commonly felt need -- especially now -- to attribute to this world in a positive way. There are a lot of orphan girls in Kenya and many of them lead tragic lives. Relatives are poor or, due to AIDS, scarce, and girls of 11, 12 years old are regularly being sold to older men who lost their wives to AIDS or other causes.

   There is shockingly much AIDS, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy in this group. Over 5000 girls under 15 die each year of 'corkscrew' abortions! Only very few girls have a chance to attend secondary school. For orphans, this chance is practically zero. And well, since housing is our field of work, we thought a boarding school would fit in nicely.

   So within some four months we raised about 100.000 euro -- almost 60 % of the total cost of a school for 1000 girls, 750 of them intern, the rest living in nearby villages. Two weeks ago, I went there to open the first part, which now houses 240 girls.

 

   Here is her opening speech:

   Some 4500 miles away, in the Dutch city of Leiden, there is a small company called Ons Doel.
   Twenty four people are employed there -- ten of them men, fourteen women.
   I have the honour and the pleasure to be their boss.
   Our company helps people with finding good, affordable homes in a safe and pleasant neighbourhood.
   Of course we cannot do this alone.
   A great number of partners assist us in doing so, all of them contributing in their own special way.
   Some of them take care of the elderly.
   Some of them keep our neighbourhoods clean and safe.
   Some of them convey the needs and wishes of our tenants.
   And quite a lot of them make sure our tenant's homes are in good condition.
   One of those is Theo Leermans, who is standing here next to me.
   Theo and his company take care of painting our houses, doing a great job at that.
   When we heard of the wonderful things the Jan Verkaart Foundation is doing here, we wanted to be part of that.
   Not just as one company, but as a group of partners.
   Therefore we decided to financially adopt this school.
   You may wonder why Dutch companies would choose to be part of the lives of people in Kenya, a country so different, so far away.
   I'll try to explain.
   In Europe, some people refer to African countries as 'the third world'.
   We do not believe in such a distinction.
   We strongly believe we all share one world, for which, as a whole, we are responsible.
   There is much inequality in this world and we believe that's wrong.
   Inequality is injustice.
   Some people in Europe also say: Africa, Kenya is far away.
   We have nothing in common.
   I believe that, too, isn't true.
   Television, internet and planes have joined us.
   Television allows us to see with our own eyes what's going on over here.
   The internet allows us to chat with you and to be part of your lives.
   Planes can take us here in only eight or nine hours.
   And there is more.
   The birds that traverse our skies in the summer spend their winters with you.
   But, most important -- our own roots lie here.
   The first human beings that walked on planet earth were born here, in Africa.
   All people of all races are children of these African ancestors.
   So, by joining hands today, we are honouring our ancestors.
   But we also will be honouring Future.
   You, the pupils of this school, are young and full of promise.
   You are women to be, and women are of great importance to our world.
   We bring new life into this world and we want our children to be happy and safe.
   Therefore, we strive to make this world, or at least the part we live in, a better place.
   In the end, that is what we all are striving for.
   The goal we share.
   Ons Doel in Dutch,
   Lengo letu in Swahili.
   I hope you are ready to share this name with us.
   If you do, you would do us a great honour.
   Back in Holland, we all will work hard to be the best housing company and partner group to make you feel proud of us being namesakes. We will keep in touch and let you know how we are doing.
   But of course, we also would love to hear how you are doing, since sharing a name will connect us, making us part of each other's life.
   I hope this school will help you all to became strong, confident, well educated, happy and healthy young women. I also hope it will be an asset to the community, something to be proud of.
   I thank all who in any way contributed to it
   Please allow me to thank you all for doing me the honour and the pleasure of officially opening it now.


Prejudice
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Will The Damage Done in the Elizabeth Smart Case Continue to Plague Us?

    (This essay is about a news story popularly known as the Elizabeth Smart case in the US. It is high profile news in spite of its competition from the war because Elizabeth is from a wealthy family in Salt Lake City, Utah. The family's ties to the powerful Mormon community there assured front page status across the nation even before she was found with her abductor and his wife. This man professes to be a latter-day prophet in the vein of Mormon church leaders and polygamists, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. It has also come to light that he has written a manifesto professing his God-given rights to take "seven wives." It is now believed that "Immanuel's" intent was to coerce the 14-year-old Elizabeth to be his second wife.)

   Elizabeth Smart is home physically safe and sound. The little girl who lives in my home state is a victim of the radical fringe. She lives where people feel relatively safe, where they go to church, talk religion, try to be good, honest and decent people and like people everywhere, tend not to notice the pockets of intolerance in their own communities and in their own hearts.

   Elements of hatred do not exist only in the hills and back streets of foreign lands and in the cellars of mosques and churches of little-known religions but right here at home. This is an issue that is getting short shrift in the press. Unless it is aired it will molder in our own alleys and the recesses of our own Judeo-Christian traditions with an even more devastating effect.

   Someone once said, "We have seen the enemy and it is us." After the World Trade Towers decomposed before our eyes there was some discussion about the corrosive nature of prejudice. Mostly we heard this after American backlash against Muslims make headlines across the world. That the nature of radicalism was not discussed earlier lost us a chance to mitigate these vile reactions before they ran rampant.

   Because the Smart kidnapping has returned to the front pages or our newspapers and because of the likelihood that this story will remain in the news as the case moves through the courts, I fear another backlash.

   The perpetrators of this devastating crime were part of a radical fringe. Those who don't understand the Mormon religion or its culture may find prejudice lying in wait to attack again.

   Because I am an author whose books are set in Utah I am often privy to intolerance about the Mormons--especially after people hear that I am not a member of that church. Most of these opinions are based on inaccurate rumors about the Mormons and Utah culture in general.

   The Elizabeth Smart Case--a cold and impersonal term--may add fuel to that fire. Joan Stewart, a well-known publicist and editor of The Publicity Hound said, " Some, like me, are tempted to paint Mormons with the same broad brush, just because of this one nut case." To her credit she understands the danger.

   Her concern is my concern.

   I worry that the problem is broader still. I see a tendency in our society to blame, to concentrate on the differences between our diverse groups rather than the similarities. If we can come together as this case progresses, can see how radicalism affects our culture, indeed has influenced cultures from the beginning of time, we will be better for it.

   Shaking our heads and pointing to the insane tendencies at the outer limit of one group only blinds us to the fact that there are those among "us"--whoever "us" may be--who are just as dangerous, just as deluded.

   Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the awards-winning novel This is the Place. Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered has already garnered the Red Sky Press Award and two others.

   For More information go to: http://carolynhowardjohnson.com.


Announcing
The second FREE EDIT CONTEST

   On three separate occasions, I have paid for an external edit of a book I had written. Each time, my writing skills improved a great deal. More recently, I have exchanged edits with competent colleagues, to mutual benefit.

   Every manuscript NEEDS an external content edit. I am too close to my work to pick up places where it should be improved.

   I have now edited perhaps a couple of hundred books since 1999, when I started. My clients clearly appreciate the work. Several have sent me more than one book. Even more have recommended me to their friends.

   Here is your chance to win a free edit of a book of yours, and there is not even an entry fee. The book need not be complete right now. If you win, you have the choice of having me comment on the part-completed work, and this should help you to make the new parts better. Or, I am happy to wait for you to finish it.

   If you want to enter, send me an email with a blurb about the book, what will one day be on the back cover. This can be up to 200 words in length. Attach an RTF file, with the first 3000 words of the book.

   The content can be anything from a children's book through a novel of any genre to a graduate text book.

   I will select the ten entries I would most enjoy editing. This shortlist will be posted to my web site, and visitors will be invited to vote for the best one. Everyone casting a vote will be rewarded with a gift.

   Deadline for submissions is 1st of July, so get writing!


Announcements from my friends.

Helen Polaski
Cornelia Amiri
Nina M. Osier
C. Robert Cales
Mike DiCerto

Helen Polaski

CALL FOR SUBMISSION:

ANTHOLOGY: DOWN CAME AN ANGEL (an anthology of true stories that show God's love is real.)

   God loves us so much, He sends His angels to watch over us. DOWN CAME AN ANGEL seeks true stories that show how God works every day miracles on earth through His angels. Sometimes God sends His angels to answer the prayers from a little girl searching for her lost kitten. Sometimes His angels appear in the nick of time to stop a dog from biting its victim, or help someone when they run out of gas. Sometimes the angel's job is to hold the hand of someone who is frightened or alone. Sometimes His angels are sent to save lives. When these mysterious helpers appear, we feel peace and love radiating from them and we know in our hearts that we have been touched by one of God's Messengers. Has He sent an angel to help you in your time of need? If so, share your experience with those who have not been so blessed. Visit our website and tell us your story: http://www.thewriterslife.net/downcameanangel.html.

 

CALL FOR SUBMISSION:

   ANTHOLOGY: Forget Me Knots...beyond the Garden Gate is in search of stories that touch the many facets of gardening. (Deadline for submissions: April 15, 2003.) We are looking for true, poignant, heartwarming, humorous and bittersweet recollections that could never be forgotten.Take our readers on a trip down Memory Lane--make them remember your story long after they've put down the book. Remember the first seed you planted? The first pumpkin you carved? Ah, those were the days! Do you remember the bountiful harvests, tending the family garden, racing through it on your way to the neighbor's, watching the watermelon vines snake across the rows, or pulling up a handful of baby carrots and eating them, dirt and all? Share your story with the world. For info regarding KNOTS anthologies, visit: www.geocities.com/forgetmeknotsanthology.


Cornelia Amiri

   ONE HEART – ONE WAY, the second Celtic/Saxon based historical romance by Houston author, Cornelia Amiri, will be released April 17, 2003. Available in multiple e-book formats from Awe-Struck E-books and in paperback from Earthling Press, ISBN 1-58749-368-3.

   One Heart - One Way takes you back to the days of Warrior Kings. Princess Ricole of Mercia helps her father’s enemy, prince Blaise of Powys, escape the Mercian stronghold. In turn Blaise vows to escort Ricole to her sister in Scotland so she can escape a marriage her father arranged. Instead Blaise takes Ricole as his hostage, but she captures his heart. Will Blaise be forced to throw away his honor for love or to tear out his heart for honor? http://coramiri.tripod.com/historomance/.

   Cornelia Amiri's articles have have appeared in more than a dozen magazines and she writes a monthly column for Savvy Click. In addition to her current novel, The Fox Prince, her second book, One Heart One Way, will be released soon. She lives in Houston, TX with her wonderful son.


Nina M. Osier

   For readers of her 5-star novel, STARSHIP CASTAWAYS, Nina M. Osier announced today the Lulu Press release of its prequel: ESCAPE TO THEMYSCIRA. "Starting with Debbie Gilbert of Romance Reviews Today, just about everyone who reads STARSHIP CASTAWAYS wants to know more about the worlds and societies from which its characters come," Ms. Osier said. "ESCAPE TO THEMYSCIRA answers those requests."

   Readers of TABITHA JUNE IS A SHOULDER CAT, Ms. Osier's first book of pet stories, have clamored for more ever since its 2000 release. THE SONGS OF A KITTEN ARE DEADLY, also new from Lulu Press, offers those readers more humorous and heart-warming tales - all of them true!

   To order ESCAPE TO THEMYSCIRA and THE SONGS OF A KITTEN ARE DEADLY, go to http://www.lulu.com/ninamosier.


C. Robert Cales

   Devil Glass is the title of my first novel. Don’t be scared off by “first novel”. I practiced for a very long time before I took my show on the road. Devil Glass is also the English translation of the Latin term Antitheus Vitrum.

   Antitheus Vitrum is an aberrant crystalline structure predicted to exist by an archaic Numerology based science.

   To the casual observer Joyce Robbins has it all. Her beauty is unmarred by her forty-eight years and her education in archaeology is the basis for a rewarding career with a well-respected museum in the Midwest. But that casual observer fails to see the ironclad financial base, which alone supports her comfortable lifestyle. The observer also fails to see the emotional scars. Locked away in a dark corner of her mind are the memories of three best friends, the tragedy in Vietnam that ripped them apart and the pain she’s refused to acknowledge for thirty years.

   Something has stirred those memories from her college years, a time when three best friends lived together, bound by love, friendship and a dangerous secret. It’s the whisper of a warning she doesn’t hear.

   Joyce is about to discover an ancient artifact with a horrid appearance. Captured within the framework of the artifact is the only example of Antitheus Vitrum the world has ever seen.

   Antitheus Vitrum has a dark secret. Pray we don’t find out.

Want a little more?
www.antitheus-vitrum.com

   Robert writes of himself:

   I fell in love with Horror at the tender age of seven and at the age of sixteen the urge to write hit me. For years the dream of becoming a writer was a major focus in my life, but amazingly, I had no idea what I wanted to write. I went through a political phase and toyed with Science Fiction, but nothing seemed to click. When I was about twenty-five there was a cataclysmic collision between my love of Horror, my desire to write and my imagination, which had been my lifelong companion. The original idea for Devil Glass was born from that collision.

   Devil Glass was my contribution to the world of Horror and my vehicle for learning to write. During the project I had two unwitting mentors, Stephen King and Anne Rice. I invite you to see what became of all that study.


Mike DiCerto

   Milky Way Marmalade is the debut novel by filmmaker and writer (No Exit) Mike DiCerto. Mike successfully combines his masterly skill with the humorous turn of phrase, a wild and vivid imagination and his passion for Rock music.

   "My goal was to have readers come away with the same sense about their own reality and our perceptions of such as they did after reading The Holographic Universe , only without making it obvious that there were ideas about the nature of reality hiding between the lines of silliness. Why can't illumination be hysterical?" wonders Mike.

   "Ultimately I strove to entertain. I'm a proud geek. I grew up loving Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, British humor, Classic and Prog Rock, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and Star Wars. I wanted to write a book I would love to read because so few authors do funny SF. Laughing out loud is a wondrous medicine. Aiming that laughter at the pre-programmed reality that is spoon fed to us daily is perhaps the most powerful mind altering method there is."

   Milky Way Marmalade is scheduled for a Spring 2003 release by Zumaya Publications, a British Columbia-based publisher in trade paperback and ebook formats. For more, got to www.milkywaymarmalade.com.

   A filmmaker, avid reader and self-confessed Seeker, Mike is fascinated with mysticism, ancient wisdom, meta and quantum physics, yoga, extraterrestrial life, dream theory and most importantly, music-especially Rock Music. He lives quite contently in the NYC apartment owned by his two cats Thumper and Nana with his wife and soulmate, Suzy.


Readers Write

Elaine Corvidae
Sally Odgers
Mark Snell
Clive Warner

Elaine Corvidae

   I saw your LiFE award on Kate Douglas' website and followed the link to your site to read more about it. I just wanted to say that I think it's a terrific idea, and I will be sure to check out all of the books that have received it. This is a subject near and dear to my heart as someone who works to conserve birds of prey. I work in the rehabilitation department of Carolina Raptor Center (USA), caring hands-on for hawks, owls, ospreys, eagles, and vultures injured by human carelessness. Almost half of the animals we receive have been struck by cars (people litter, rodents are attracted to the litter, the raptors are attracted to the rodents); the rest have been shot, caught in leg-hold traps, trapped in chimneys and warehouses, and otherwise harmed by humans. West Nile Virus, imported into North America by human carelessness, is also beginning to take a serious toll on some populations. If you are interested, you can see our website at http://www.birdsofprey.org.

   I fear that none of my books are eligible for your award, though; since I fight the good fight at work, I use my writing as a platform to fight for social justice. But I wanted to say "good job" to you for creating such a thoughtful and worthy award.

   Elaine Corvidae has worked as an office assistant, archaeologist, and raptor rehabilitator. Her first published novel, WINTER'S ORPHANS, was the recipient of the 2001 Dream Realm Award and the 2002 Eppie Award. You can visit her on the web at www.onecrow.net.


Sally Odgers

Dear Bob;

   I have read and enjoyed your piece on apostrophes in Bobbing Around. One of my greatest literary loathes is the wandering apostrophe. Many writers (esp. young ones) seem to think that where there is S, there is apoStrophe Excess. Being pedantic about a few things in life, I object strongly to menus which offer soup's. And grocery lists that suggest onion's. Onion's what? One of the best signs I ever saw, though had no apostrophe stated -- or seemed to state -- suoiuo. Suoiuo. Was that some new kind of vegetable? Eventually, I asked the grocer. He looked startled -- unhooked the sign and rehung it -- the right way up.

Sally Odgers.

   Sally is a frequent contributor to Bobbing Around, and to a huge number of other places. She is the author of more books than any other writer I know of, and manages to live off her writing. Visit her WONDERFUL jungle of a web site at http://www.sallyodgers.com/index.html.


Mark Snell

Dear Bob

   Good to hear from you again!

   Further to your Apostrophe Catastrophe, as editor of our local newspaper Peninsula News, I find many people can't resist the apostrophe for plurals of initials and numerals -- CD's and the 1900's are two popular examples.

   These sorts of mistakes are so common I have started to wonder whether English is taught differently around here.

   Anyway, in an attempt to at least get everyone writing consistently, I have issued some guidelines for our writers (usually volunteers from local community groups) based around the things that have most commonly tripped them up.

   I thought your readers might be interested. It can be found at www.peninsulanews.asn.au/jun01/policy.html and it's free!

   Hope things are well with everyone down there.

All the best,
Mark Snell

   Mark was a journalist at 21. Since the life expectancy of journalists was 42 years, he decided that he was middle-aged, and therefore decided to retire. Like me, he has retired many times since. For the past several years, he has run a software company.


Clive Warner

   Adobe is great, but I absolutely don't agree with you about brick and block.

   A clapboard house provides no energy bank to compensate for variations in temperature. Its specific heat index is very low and its mass is also very low. It also provides poor protection against extreme conditions such as a tornado.

   A brick or block house is permanent - unlike wood which is subject to rot, insects, and decay. Insulating the outside (NOT the inside) of a brick or block house results in a structure which maintains an even indoor temperature for long periods of time even when outside conditions are extreme.

   As an example, I have a concrete house here in Monterrey where outside shade temps are frequently at 44C in the day, dropping to 10C at night. The house is never more than 35C even with no cooling at all. I use a ducted evaporation cooler which provides an average reduction of 7C and so my maximum internal temp is normally not more than 28C.

   I would say the worst of all house designs can be found in the USA where they use the horrible timber frame and stucco. Liable to fire, these houses are literally blown away by tornadoes, and the moment the air conditioning is switched off, the internal temperatures soar because there is no heat bank.

Best wishes.
Clive Warner

 

Dear Clive,

   I fully agree with everything you've said. If you insulate the outside of a masonry house, it will have excellent thermal properties.

   However, if it is to stand up to tornadoes, I suspect it will also need steel reinforcement that is set in the footings and has the roof structure bolted to it. And this will work for a timber construction as well (I have helped to build an alpine safety shed using the principle).

   Unfortunately, I know of very few brick or concrete houses that have external insulation. In Melbourne, Australia, the 'Housing Commission' built concrete houses with 4" thick walls just after the second world war. As you will imagine, they actually amplify outside temperatures: hotter than outside in summer, colder in winter.

   A friend of mine did a research project: he sprayed the outside with a thick coating of foam. This eliminated the problem.

   I do have a second problem with fired clay bricks: it takes enormous amounts of energy to make enough to build a house. The concrete blocks you used are far better in this regard.

All the best,
Bob

 

   Clive then responded to a couple of points:

   "Some people have used spray foam here, and it is very effective. My only worry is the notes I have read, concerning the emission of residual vapours. I have the feeling I saw formaldehyde mentioned. We still have a lot to learn here in Monterrey. Most houses are being built exactly as you described those concrete block houses in Melbourne. And with the same results: the walls soak up the sun to the point that by evening, they are uncomfortably hot to the touch! And then all night long the walls radiate heat into the bedrooms making them horribly uncomfortable. I'm slowly taking steps to modify my own house. I have grown ivy over the south-facing walls, a solution I like because it's cheap, provides shade in summer, yet leaf drop in winter leaves sufficient area uncovered for warming by the winter sun. I intend to add a second (external) wall to the worst zone, filling the air space with the white polystyrene foam, and keying the walls together with metal ties. I might use treated pine since it seems to last well.

   Finally, I need to cover the roof, presently waterproofed with tar/fabric, with tiles, to provide a more permanent weatherproofing solution and to keep the sun off the roof."

   "I worked for a cement company for a while. The energy input is enormous! I would say higher than brick, frankly. After all, it is only the firing process that creates brick. Whereas cement: first you have to crush all the primary materials, then they are melted in the rotating kiln at 2800C - I bet that's a lot higher than bricks - then cooled, and the resulting gravel then has to be milled to the consistency of talcum, which takes a lot more energy."

   Clive Warner, an expatriate Brit, lives in Monterrey, northern Mexico, with his family and pets. Clive teaches computer science during the day, and spends his free time writing novels: action-adventure, science-fiction, and general fiction. His first novel, Appointment in Samara, was published by Barclay Books in 2002.


Criteria for Writing Excellence

   Recently I judged one of the categories in the Dream Realm Awards. Here are the criteria Samandi Adams sent to the judges. Reading them should be helpful to any writer.

Dream Realm Awards 2002
http://www.dream-realm-awards.net
JUDGING CRITERIA - BOOKS

   Please take a moment to review the following items. You should be looking for all of these in every entry you read. Each should be rated on a scale of 1 to10.... 10 being the highest.

   PLOT: How strong is the overall story line? Is it too slow? Does it confuse you? Do you feel tension throughout the book?

   CHARACTERS: How realistic are the characters? Do you care what happens to them? Are they sufficiently motivated? Are they believable?

   ACCESSIBILITY: How easy is this story to read? Does it flow? Is it hard to follow? Do you think anyone can easily read it? Do you need special knowledge to understand it?

   STYLE: Is the story well written? Is it telling or showing you something?
   Is it clumsy or smooth?

   ORIGINALITY: Have you read a million stories just like this one? Obviously this doesn't mean the setting, but refers to the plot. Is it the same old hackneyed thing with nothing to set it apart from all the others of the same genre?

   When I emailed Samandi to ask for permission to publish her criteria in Bobbing Around, I suggested an extra criterion. She is going to add it for next year's contest. Here it is:

   Perhaps the only thing missing is technical competence: the extent to which the book is free of typos, spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors, malapropisms and awkward syntax.
   Since we are trying to fight the image of incompetence ('or the big publishers would have picked it up'), I think this is important.

   Samandi Adams is the Executive Coordinator of the Dream Realm Awards. She's an accomplished musician, editor, artist and mother. Samandi holds degrees in both English and music. She has taught music, played keyboards professionally and currently edits, creates computer graphics and designs webpages. Samandi lives in Fresno, California with her long-time significant other, a Bischon dog and four cockatiels.


Can't Get to Sleep?

   Chronic insomnia can be defeated, even if it has pestered you for decades. How it originally started is immaterial. Here are some tricks to try. Take an experimental approach, and keep going with the ones that work for you.


Neuro-Emotional Techniques (TM)
by Jef Gazley

   'Neuro-Emotional Techniques' (NET) is one of the newer "power therapies" that along with Thought Field Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing have become popular in the last ten years. These therapies seem to work quicker than traditional talk therapies. This appears to be due in part because they target the more primitive parts of the brain: the Limbic system, the Medulla Oblongata, and the Enkelphin system, which is in every cell of the body.

   Dr. Scott Walker, a chiropractor, developed NET in the early 1980's. He uses Applied Kinesiology or AK. AK is based on acupuncture and the Meridian System, the body's need for homeostasis. If the Chi or energy of the body is balanced then it is assumed that the body will be able to cure itself and run at top efficiency. Practitioners test acupressure points in the body, which are divided up into 12 main Meridian Systems. These Meridian Systems are named for the main organs of the body such as the Lung or the Liver. Each system is correlated with particular emotions. The lung is associated with grief and sorrow and the liver with anger and resentment.

   AK tests the Chi by taking any strong muscle, and asking the client to lock the muscle as the practitioner pushes or pulls the area to see if it will hold. The practitioner might ask a client to hold an arm straight out in front and lock it while the clinician firmly pushes down with an open hand on the arm above the wrist. This checks to see if the arm will hold. Almost any major muscle will work for muscle testing.

   The body consists of water and electricity. It is believed that muscle testing checks to see if the muscle has enough electricity in it to hold. It is thought that Chi is essentially the same as this electricity. Dr. Goodheart, the father of AK, first demonstrated therapy localization. This occurs when you test a strong muscle alone and then touch another part of the patient's body to test for a change of muscle strength. If it does then dysfunction is assumed to be present in the localized area.

   Chiropractors who practice AK challenge a vertebra in the neck or the back. If the vertebra is misaligned, the muscle goes weak. They align the vertebra and retest. When the muscle is strong it is assumed the vertebra is back in alignment. The client routinely reports feeling better.

   Dr. Walker adapted Dr. Goodheart's work by applying AK to the emotions. Emotions are energy. Emotions can be tested through the electrical system of the body. Therefore, if a muscle tests strong in the clear and then the NET recipient thinks of some upsetting issue, that previously strong muscle will become weak. Dr. Walker believes that he is testing the "emotional reality" of the body. This means that theoretically if a person believes an untruth his muscle testing will be consistent with that belief.

   However, the emotional belief of a client, at least who is not psychotic, is usually consistent with reality. Therefore, if a person says "My name is Sam" and it is Sam, a muscle test of that statement will be congruent and will hold strong. The reverse is equally true.

   This means that Dr. Walker has found the royal road to the subconscious. The ramifications of this discovery cannot be overstated. There has never been a better diagnostic indicator for subconscious reality. In my experience working with trauma survivors this technique is essential for a full recovery.

   These populations usually show a tremendous amount of dissociation. Consciously they often do not know how they feel. NET accurately diagnoses a client's feelings and the client then often reports congruence with that previously dissociated set of feelings. Then it releases it from the body by tapping on a few vertebrae that are related to the particular Meridian System that is associated with the emotion. Usually at that point several things occur. The client reports subjectively 1) A lessening of that feeling state 2) A feeling of relief and 3) Less dissociation in general and more overall integration.

   NET seems to work in several ways:

1. It diagnosis problems and feelings.

2. It accesses the subconscious.

3. It discovers early trauma and how that trauma relates to present problems.

4. It acts as a biofeedback loop, which teaches people what they feel.

5. It increases congruence between the Human Brain, Limbic system or Mammalian Brain, the Medulla Oblongata or Reptilian Brain, and the Endorphin System, which is an even more primitive brain in each cell of the body and

6. This thereby increases overall mental, emotional and physical health. The possibilities for the spiritual side of man are also immense.

   While all of these are good reasons to become proficient in NET, with trauma work and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder this technique is a must. PTSD is so pervasive and the symptoms are attached so securely to the body, that unless some relief to the physical part of the trauma is attained then the client will remain in great distress. Neuro-Emotional Techniques is a welcome addition to a clinician specializing in this field.

   Jef Gazley is a fellow internet therapist, though I don't know how he can use NET by email :) Look up his web site www.asktheinternettherapist.com.


Book Review:
Forget Me Knots from the Front Porch by Helen Polaski
Reviewed by Vanessa Mullins

   This is the kind of book that takes you right back home to those wonderful times spent with family and friends and makes you feel good about life.

   Forget Me Knots from the Front Porch (ISBN: 0971326681) is a book about family sharing time together on the front porch -- like families used to do. As you read each story you will be reminded of the good times shared with family members and friends on the front porch of your own home. It'll make you laugh, smile, get all choked up. But most of all, it will make you feel as if you are right there.

   Through the eyes of 41 authors from across the United States, and including such places as Ireland, Canada, Australia and England, you'll visualize home in so many exceptional ways. This book is a keeper. It's every bit as good as the Chicken Soup series -- maybe better.

   I had planned on reading one short story at a time, but I found I couldn't put it down! Trust me, this book is one you'll remember long after you finish the last story, which is as wonderfully written as the first. If you're looking for a good gift, one that will not only be enjoyed, but appreciated, look no further.

   Forget Me Knots from the Front Porch, the first in a series, is available at major bookstores as well as online at Amazon.com, Walmart and Barnes and Noble.

   Vanessa K. Mullins is a writer, editor, poet and anthology compiler. She has published both non-fiction and fiction articles, stories and poetry. Her work is published in several anthologies including most recently: 911:The Day America Cried and the Let Us Not Forget Anthology. She is co-founder of the Southeast Michigan Writers Association. Vanessa has recently compiled and released and anthology titled: Nudges from God - an Anthology of Inspiration, which is getting rave reviews by readers. It is now available in both online and "brick and mortar" bookstores worldwide.


A couple of poems

Lee Taylor
and one by me.

Gently the Night

A poem by Lee Taylor

Nestled in the darkness
Searching in the comforts
Wearing winter's quilts
Bearing the wonders
Sharing the gifts

Looking to the light
Harboring the sight
Flowing gently
Entering to the night

© 2002, Lee Taylor

   Other works to be enjoyed please feel free to browse and comment at : http://www.lcs.net/users/mysticpond/index.html.

   Lee has completed a book of poems, "Annie's Mystical Gardens" Dr. Deborah Arrowsmith has yet to find a publisher. Upcoming book of poems the "Mystic Pond". Lee resides in Tennessee,at the present, in the USA


Autumn Rains

   I live in a community called Moora Moora. We have just celebrated the Autumn Equinox, and each person was asked to say something about water. Here is the little contribution that came to me:

Water is wet.
We no longer sweat.
It's routed the drought,
The bushfires are out.

   So there.


About Bobbing Around

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