Bobbing Around

Volume Two, Number Seven
June, 2003

Bob Rich's rave
email me

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions
*Thank you, Atlantic Bridge
*REMINDER: the second free-edit contest.
*A New Resource: Books We Love
*History Repeating Itself?
on Bush and Hitler, by Harley Sachs.
*I Told You So!
Still on Iraq
Annie Malcolm: help for social phobia sufferers.
Kate Anthony: 'Technology in Counselling and Psychotherapy'.
Wendy Laing's new audio thriller.
John Byrnes on ancestral links.
Dorothy Thompson: 'Romancing the Soul'.
'Open-minded? Who? Me?' by John Gorman.
The Art of Critique.
*Book Review
'The Start of Magic' reviewed by Charlene Austin
Coping with the Stresses of Work.
'My King of Comedy moment' by Mike DiCerto.
'The Circle' by Ray Wilkins.
'I met with God' by Ndubuisi.
'Autumn' by John Williams.


   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.

   Did you know that public speaking is ranked as one of the most feared situations? And yet, what's the worst that can happen if you make an idiot of yourself in front of an audience? Such experiences are rarely fatal, and everyone but you will forget it within days at the most.

   Becoming a confident and effective public speaker is an excellent way to build up a healthy self-image. You owe it to yourself to investigate Toastmasters, an international organisation devoted to self-development through public speaking. Everything is done through positive encouragement rather than harsh criticism. In fact, the world's ills could be eliminated if we raised our children in the way Toastmasters operate. Read my speech on the subject.

Earn a book

   Soon after the first of July 2003, I will have the shortlist of my Free Edit contest posted at my web site. The book that gains the highest number of votes from visitors will be the one I'll edit at no cost.

   In order to encourage people to come and vote, anyone who does so will be entitled to a FREE copy of any of my electronic books.

Thank you, Linda Ebertharter

   Sending Bobbing Around off used to be a big job. Now, it's a matter of visiting 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.

A New Resource is a site where readers can come to find quality reading, and where authors and publishers can benefit from the considerable promotional clout of the network. For readers, the website provides ease of browsing. Books are presented by genre. Selections are easy to find and easy to buy. Authors and publishers subscribed to must meet stringent qualifications, so books are of excellent quality and priced far below those found in most brick and mortar stores. Come visit today! (

History Repeating itself?

by Harley Sachs

   In our faculty and grad student email debates on the Iraq II war and terrorism, I have tried to point out the parallels between Adolf Hitler and George Bush.

1.   In response to the burning of the Reichstag, Hitler suspended civil rights. His Gestapo and SS preceeded Interpol, which was an SS invention.

   In response to the 9-11 terrorist attack on the US, congress was panicked into passing the Homeland Security Act I, with II in the works, which suspend or circumvent a great deal of our civil rights, such as habeas corpus, necessity for a warrant to tap a phone, search your premises, take you into detention without access to a lawyer, etc. all in the name of "National Security."

2.   Just as Hitler won support by promsing major war contracts to Krupp, the German and Danish industrialists, the Bush gang has handed contracts for the "rebuilding" of Iraq to US corporations such as Halliburton.

3.   Just as Hitler launched a propaganda campaign against Jews and Communists, after Bush's plans for war were opposed in the UN Security Council by France, Germany, Russia and China, it was France that myseriously became the butt of a massive backlash against all things French, though Germany, Russia, and China were not so vilified.

4.   As for the Homeland Security program by which librarians may be required to reveal what books you read and imprisoned if they reveal to you that they were asked, some wag suggested the original German title sounded better. My guess is that it would be Heimats Sicherheits Dienst.

4.   Now we have seen Iraq conquered by the Bush Blitzkrieg.

   One of your Australian contributors said your government wouldn't lie to the people, but there are ample instances in the US of deliberate lies to the public. One you may remember was the infamous Gulf of Tonkin "incident" which was used as justification for the bombing of North Vietnam. And of course Oliver North admitted lying to the Congress over the Iran/Contra illegal arms deal. If you want to know when Bush is lying, watch his forehead. And of course "It's not about oil" was a blatant lie and everyone knew it. Some gullible people believed it. Our democracy is in dire peril.

   Harley writes this about himself: 'I'm an American, retired college professor and author of about a dozen books, many short stories (a couple of them broadcast on the BBC World Service short wave), magazine articles and newspaper columns. I'm a veteran of the US Army and if you visit my web site you'll see that I also worked under cover, so have some exposure to the secret police and the cold war. You can also link to the BBC recording of the short story "Couch Potato." (a cautionary tale for sports enthusiasts).'

I Told You So!

   I don't know what the media feeds the American public, but the news here in Australia show that my comments about the Iraqi war hit the target.

   Saddam Hussein did not have an arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction to throw at the world.

   Various sources have leaked information that Colin Powell, Tony Blair and others knowingly acted on intelligence summaries that were not based on evidence.

   The conclusion is unmistakable: The USA and its allies, which sadly includes my country, committed a criminal act by launching an unprovoked war of aggression.

   This in no way condones anything that Saddam Hussein has done in the past. I hate all that he stood for.

   I can go to jail for attacking a criminal who is doing nothing to hurt me. This is proper. Who is going to put George Bush in jail?

Annie Malcolm: social phobia
Kate Anthony: Technology in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Wendy Laing: a new audio thriller
John Byrnes: ancestral links
Dorothy Thompson: 'Romancing the Soul'

Annie Malcolm

Opportunity for people with social anxiety:

   A treatment trial for social phobia has just begun, and we are looking for participants. The trial is an experimental treatment for social phobia which aims to reduce symptoms by changing the way people with social phobia process information. An innovative delivery format means that this trial is being conducted entirely over the internet, and so anyone from around the world can participate. The trial consists of a computer task that is completed for 16 consecutive days, taking 10 to 30 minutes to complete each day. If you are interested in finding out more, please go to this website:

   The treatment trial is free, and your participation would make a valuable contribution to research into finding new and better ways to treat social phobia. In addition to this, you could experience a reduction in your own symptoms. Thank you for your consideration.

Kate Anthony

Technology in Counselling and Psychotherapy
A Practitioner's Guide

Edited by Stephen Goss and Kate Anthony

   Information technology has become an increasingly important part of counselling and psychotherapy. This text, with contributions from internationally leading figures, provides an up-to-the-minute, precise and practical guide to the different ways in which technology can be used in therapeutic work.

   Contributors include internationally leading figures such as Gary Stofle, Michael Fenichel, Phillip Armstrong, Jason Zack and David Shapiro.

   You can buy the book right now at

   STEPHEN GOSS is Research Development Manager with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Honorary Research Fellow with the University of Strathclyde and a qualified counsellor and supervisor. He is the lead author and editor of the recent BACP Guidelines for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy. His other publications include Evidence Based Counselling and Psychotherapy with Nancy Rowland (2000).

   KATE ANTHONY runs, providing online and offline training for practitioners using the internet. She offers consultancy and makes media appearances and international presentations on the topic. She is also a psychotherapist for a London Health Trust. Previous publications include co-authorship of the BACP Guidelines for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy and many journal articles.

Wendy Laing

Wendave audio books -- Listen to a book instead of reading it!
Latest book now released!
'Flowers from the Grave' audio CD by Wendy Laing.

   This is the first of Wendy Laing's Inspector Jane Doe Mystery/paranormal series. The tale, set in her home state of Victoria, Australia has just been published by Wendave Audio Books. Beautifully narrated by talented voice Actress Amy Howard Wilson, Wendy Laing's mystery/paranormal book will please any mystery fan.

Review excerpt: Entertaining Read: 5 stars Highly Recommended

   Flowers from the Grave is a bang-up little chiller sure to grasp the reader right from the opening as Jane confronts the maniacal murderer in a dreary warehouse where Jane nearly loses her life. Writer Laing presents a cleverly wrought work filled with the sounds of the sea, the scent of liquor on the murderer's breath, terror filled moments broken only through the ministrations of another worldly figure, and good police work. Laing's excellent research methodology prior to commencing any of her tales once again holds her in good stead. The preternatural is an integral and wholly believable part of the work. Writer Laing's enthralling chronology is coruscating, well thought out and downright exciting to read. Filled with captivating settings, down to earth dialogue, fiduciary interplay between the characters and a winning plot theme Flowers from the Grave is an exciting read meant to be savoured.

   Reviewed by: molly martin

   This set of audio CDs will provide the listener with hours of entertainment. Ideal for listening to whilst driving your car, doing housework at home or even to share with friends in ''serial'' form whilst sipping a glass of wine around a cosy fire.

   The MP3 CDs are playable on any CD player. This set will also be an ideal present for someone in hospital, or someone with a sight handicap and has difficulties in reading a printed book.

   Just like the good old days of listening to a mystery tale on the radio! This book is available from the Wendave internet book shop (secure site for your credit card) or via normal mail, whichever you prefer. Great value for a 5 x CD set at AUD $25.00 + 4.00 P&H (USD $20.00 + 4.00P&H).

   Check out the audio version of Wendy Laing's other books at Wendave bookshop internet address:

Wendave mail address: P O Box 283, Sunbury, 3429 (please make cheques payable to Wendy Laing)
or USA Amy Howard Wilson P O Box 1654, Petersburg VA 23805 USA (checks to Amy Howard Wilson)

John Byrnes

   My latest venture is as at This is a seminar to celebrate the 200th year since the arrival of Ann Reffin in Australia. Ann and David Burns/Byrnes had six children. The seminar hopes to attract researchers of those family lines, and will also briefly treat the geology and prehistory of Castlereagh and the possible reasons that drew the Byrnes family to Castlereagh.

   Our earliest Australian ancestors did not write and did not leave direct records of their lives, so this has to be pieced together little by little from other information. Ann's ancestry near Nottingham in England will be discussed. David's Irish life just before his transportation following the 1798 uprising in Ireland is known from Militia records, but it has not yet been possible to trace David's parents in Ireland. David was forced to leave a wife and six children behind in Ireland and nothing is known of what became of them.

Dorothy Thompson

   Dorothy Thompson’s latest anthology, Romancing the Soul—True Stories and Verse of the Existence of Soul Mates from around the World and Beyond has just been contracted by Zumaya Publications ( for print and e-book publication to be released by June 2004. Romancing the Soul has been a two-year project for Dorothy in her attempt to prove that soul mates do exist. Over sixty authors from all over the world have banded together to tell of their soul mate experience in the hope that this book will be a reference book to all that are looking for purpose in life—whether it be for relationships, friendships or personal gratification. Promising to be a stepping stone towards understanding the soul mate experience, this book will be touted as the book for ‘soul mates of the new age’ and will have a profound difference in the way you look at your fellow man in your search for your soul mate.

   Dorothy Thompson has written on many metaphysical subjects and is known as the ‘soul mate queen’. Her beliefs and teachings have made a difference in many people’s lives in their search for their soul mates. She is also the compiler and editor of Romancing the Spirit’s Soul and Romancing the Psychic Soul (, the last two of her new age anthologies, which are still accepting submissions.

Open-minded? Who? Me?

by John Gorman

    If we were to stop the proverbial "man on the street" and ask him if he were open-minded, he would almost certainly assure us he was. In fact, he might even wonder why we had bothered to ask. If we look at the question more closely, however, it takes on a deeper significance, and the answer is no longer so certain.

   In our heads, we carry mental pictures of how the world works. On a practical level, these pictures, while not absolutely accurate, are close enough to keep us from walking into walls, driving on the wrong side of the road or putting our clothes on backwards. When external reality is altered, e.g. by road construction requiring us to drive on the left, there is some confusion. But we can usually handle it, provided the change is not too sudden or too widespread.

   On a more abstract level, however, trouble may set in. Most of us also carry around in our heads very clear pictures of the moral workings of the world, who are the Good Guys, who are the Bad Guys, and why -- handy images that relieve us of the duty to make moral judgments of specific acts or persons. It suffices to know to which class the perpetrators belong. If they are the Good Guys, whatever they have done must be right. If they are the Bad Guys, whatever they have done must be wrong. It is all so simple.

   But reality has a way of breaking in on our well ordered mental universe. Occasionally, we encounter an event which seems to tell us that the Good Guys have acted badly or, worse yet, that the Bad Guys have been in the right, at least this time.

   Such events put our much-vaunted open-mindedness to a painful test. They demand a major adjustment in our mental universe, an adjustment that threatens to turn comforting blacks and whites into disconcerting grays. Unlike adjustments to our practical picture of the world, adjustments to our moral images can have a frightening "domino effect." One alteration may demand another and another, until -- horror of horrors! -- we find ourselves uncertain, not only who the Bad Guys really are, but also whether we ourselves are truly among the righteous.

   There is, of course, a seemingly more comfortable and less costly alternative. We deny the reality of the event, claim that it did not occur, that it was incorrectly reported, or that it was of no significance anyway. We keep our moral image of the world intact. Our certainties stay safe.

   This Orwellian "doublethink" saves much anguish in the short run. Carried to its logical conclusion, however, it ends in the madness of living in a "reality," made up, not of facts, things and people, but of our own overheated imaginings run wild. Jonestown, Waco and Heaven's Gate are recent examples of where giving mental constructs unconditional priority over personal experience can take us. A cursory glance at history can provide many others.

   Genuine open-mindedness is not an easy practice. Closing our minds brings comfort. But being ready to change them when events demand it is ultimately far less destructive to ourselves and the world we have to live in.

   John Gorman is a freelance journalist based in Florida. He is the author of King of the Romans, Eppie finalist, available from and Blackstone Audiobooks 1-800-729-2665.

The Art of Critique

   The considered, honest opinion of a discerning reader is growth hormone to a writer. It consists of two components: a massage to the ego and a goad to change.

   Praise is powerful. It validates, reassures and motivates. However, used alone it is deadly: like honey it is a kind of adhesive that glues bad habits firmly into the work. 'It is wonderful, I loved every minute of reading it' makes me feel fantastic, fires up my imagination and raises my hopes for the future.

   But what if it was not entirely true? What if there were errors, big or little, that the reader was too kind to mention? When the work enters the cruel world of publishers, agents, reviewers, readers who paid money for it, its reception will be far more hostile. Will it die at the first dispassionate encounter with a stranger?

   The longer term effects are important too. Practice does not make perfect. Praise confirms habits, and if these habits are bad, practice makes pathetic. I need to know if something in my writing needs improvement, and how can I learn if I am kept in ignorance?

   Think back to your teenage years. Remember growth pains? As a writer, the words I produce are part of me. Being told that a story I wrote and thought to be great is less than perfect is HURTFUL. But nothing is ever perfect, growth and improvement are always possible -- and they come only through the honest acceptance of criticism, honestly offered.

   The role of the editor or critique partner is primarily negative, however it is dressed up. As an editor, I need to find every misplaced comma, every typo and malapropism and grammatical glitch. I need to point out when a sentence has poor syntax, when dialogue is dead, when a character is a cardboard cutout. I need to help the author to produce a plot that goes somewhere, keeps the attention and satisfies the intended audience.

   Certainly, if that is ALL I do, I risk squashing the spirit of my client. It is both right and effective to also praise all that I can honestly praise, so that upon reading my comments, the recipient will be motivated to continue, and to benefit from my efforts. After all, I am supposed to be a growth hormone, not a suicide pill.

Book Review

The Start of Magic
Reviewed by Charlene Austin

   Grasshopper, the storyteller, has written the stories of his people. THE START OF MAGIC is the first of the stories of the Ehvelen.

   A young group of Ehvelen hunters are unafraid when they meet the giants in their forest. After all, the concept of anyone harming another person is totally unknown; it would never occur to them. They are a peaceful people, who honor the mother within, and respect all life and learning. They greet the Doshi invaders with welcome and friendship. The boys are quickly slaughtered with arrows from the warrior’s bows, and the girls, Oak and Heather, taken as slaves. Oak manages to kill her owner and escape, but Heather is trapped, a slave of the Doshi: a woman used by her master for pleasure, scorned for her status as slave.

   The Doshi return to the forest of the Ehvelen, for one has seen gold. They are secure in their strength as warriors. But, again and again, the raiding Doshi are driven back across the river. The Ehvelen are skilled hunters, and have learned the art of camouflage from the animals they stalk. They are a very small people, but strong and agile, able to jump from great heights and run long distances at great speed. The Doshi warriors fall, their skulls crushed by stones. They die, felled by spears wielded with deadly accuracy and tremendous strength by an enemy they cannot catch, and rarely see.

   The Doshi begin to believe the "midgets" have magic powers. Despite this belief, when the Ehvelen kill Harila’s son, Djing, he vows vengeance. The word goes out to all the Sabads to gather and turn all their warrior's strength against the forest people.

   Heather will learn, from the Areg trader, Moustaf, from the other Doshi slave women, the language and the ways of these savage people, their strengths and their weaknesses. For she must escape, warn her people, and prepare them for war.

   Dr. Bob Rich has created a world to match his name. THE START OF MAGIC is a story rich in its ability to pull you into the fantasy of a long ago time of myth and legend. Rich in strong, believable characters that tug at the heartstrings or shock with their savagery. A lesson in the absurdity of prejudice, slavery, and man's innate cruelty to man. THE START OF MAGIC is a stirring and entertaining read, while showing how violence begets violence and vengeance erodes values.

   The companion volume "THE MOTHER’S SWORD, and the trilogy TRAVELS OF THE FIRST HORSE, may be read in any order.

    Charlene Austin was raised in Zion National Park, and now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with five of her grandchildren. A medical office manager, Char has been writing since she was eleven. She has published several poems and short stories and completed a paranormal mystery novel, Dream Pictures.

Coping with the Stresses of Work

   Lately I've had a run of clients who have demanding jobs. Many of them love their work, and yet they come home exhausted. Typically, they need a weekend to recover from a week of work, and Monday is definitely not a day to anticipate with joy.

   I ask a few questions. In every case, the answers show a lifestyle in which there is no time for fun, no time for relaxation or even looking after one's health. What little time is not spent on work is needed for crashing out, recovering from it.

   This is a vicious circle at its worst.

   Here is a strategy that many people have found successful in escaping the trap of a life on the treadmill.

First aid

Physical exercise

   Start (or in many cases restart) a regular physical exercise routine. If you have become unfit, the minimum is 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (an activity that gets your heart racing, breath puffing, sweat pouring), three times a day. There is a wide choice: running, swimming, cycling (on the street or on an exercise bike), skipping rope, BRISK walking, repeatedly running up and down a flight of stairs.

   Monitor the load this makes on you. Take your pulse 30 seconds after stopping. Count the beats over 6 seconds, then multiply by 10. The result should be 220 minus your age, multiplied by the level of fitness you are aiming for.

   Example: a 40-year-old aiming in the first instance for 50% fitness should work up to a pulse rate of 90. This is achievable with a fairly gentle walk. Within a week or two, s/he can aim for perhaps 120, in a couple of months for 170. A fit 40-year-old would aim for 180.

Mental rest

   Switch off once a day, for at least half an hour. This could be meditation, yoga, intensely listening to quiet, good quality music, doing a repetitive activity you find soothing like gardening or (believe it or not) ironing. Reading an engrossing book qualifies.


   Do something creative. Find some hobby that intrigues you, learn music or art, start a craft.


   Schedule some fun into your week. Do something that gives you joy.

Yes but...

   The inevitable reaction to this prescription is BUT I DON'T HAVE THE TIME!

   You do.

   If you spend time on these four types of activities, you will find that you become more efficient at everything else. At the moment, you are working too hard. Work less hard, but work better.

   You have a half-hour lunch break at work? Eat your lunch in ten minutes, spend ten minutes skipping rope or running up and down the stairs, then ten minutes having a little wash to cool down again.

   It's a myth that people need eight hours of sleep. Get up earlier, then spend half an hour meditating. You'll feel far more rested after that island of peace. Then, instead of getting into the car, ride a bike to work, have a shower there and note how much more energy and vitality you have for your job.

Long term

   Why do you need a job that is so demanding anyway? Can you reorganise your material needs to reduce the amount of money you need to earn? Then you might be able to switch to part time, or find someone to job share with. What's the use of all the money you earn if your life slips away in dissatisfaction?

   A second consideration is that people get worn out by doing the same thing year after year. If you want to stay (or become) an enthusiastic, energetic person who thrives on the challenges of work, change what you do every five to twelve years. This may or may not mean a new job, or even a new occupation.

   Third, what can you do to reform your workplace? Can some sources of stress be eliminated? Achieve this, and you could become a hero to your colleagues.

   I have a friend who used to be the Matron of a hospital (definitely not the DON). She told me that the secret of good nursing care is HAPPY NURSES. The same is true in every occupation.

My King of Comedy moment

by Mike DiCerto

Hi Bob:

   Not sure if this little true story is of interest for you newsletter, but it does show the desperate lengths artists go through to have their work seen!

   I had my own KING OF COMEDY moment. My God, us artists do desperate things!

   Here is the tale: I decided to go to Borders Bookstore and discuss them carrying my book, Milky Way Marmalade. I spoke with the manager and he gave me the phone number of their buyer. I decided, since I was there, to pull off a "reverse shoplifting" and leave a copy on my book on their shelves in the scifi section. This is an old writer's trick. Anyway...that done, I went back to work.

   While at work listening to the local Classic Rock radio station, I hear that Led Zeppelin is staying at the Plaza Hotel- in town to promote their new DVD. BINGO! Milky Way Marmalade book is a tribute to Zep (et al) so here was my chance to drop a signed copy off to them as "thank you" for all their great tunes that inspired me so.

   DRATS...I have no copy. The only one I had with me was sitting in the scifi section of Borders! BINGO...I have to go back and shoplift a copy of my own book from Borders (that I left there for free)!!

   Could I? Should I? Could I get arrested for stealing my own book that I left for free? With the current climate, I would surely be fined by the city. Needed a PLAN B...

   BINGO...the Co-President of my company had a copy! On his desk. He was sneak in and swipe his (unsigned copy)..

   I quickly knock out a letter and sign the book and rush over to the Plaza. I approach the concierge and smile and say "Hi..I'm from the radio station. Mr. Page left this at the party last night. Just wanted to drop it off." "There is no Mr. Page registered" "He is with the band...(whispering as to not draw the attention of all the blue blood Zep fans) you know...Led Zeppelin" "There is no Led Zeppelin in the system" "How about Plant." Confused glare... "Plant. P-L-A-" "No sir" "Damn...he really needs this. Let me call the station."

   So, I pulled out my cell phone and pretended to be important. Outside I stood. What to do but go back to work. I drew the line at hanging around the Plaza for the scenes of Mr. Pupkin (the Robert Deniro character in KING OF COMEDY) were filling my mind. I did not want to seem the nut...

what we do for our art....

   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.


The Circle by Ray Wilkins.
I met with God by Ndubuisi Eke.
Autumn by John Williams.

The Circle
by Ray Wilkins

   Ray Wilkins is an Australian practitioner of natural medicine, artist, poet and songwriter trapped in the lowlands of southern Belgium . Look him up at

I met with God
by Ndubuisi Eke

   Ndubuisi lives in Lagos, Nigeria, and clearly English is not his primary language (I edited his poem a little). So, his effort is particularly creditable. He is a 22-year-old man who wants to devote his life to a noble cause: 'I want to leave the earth knowing I utilized every bit of my ability and to fulfill my purpose. I don't want to die with any money in the bank. I want to use every dollar I have to spread the name of Jesus on the earth. Jesus is simply a base to move forward, upward and onward. In order to be taken seriously by serious people, God is the focus of my foundation. I always give others a chance to build their own self-respect by affirming the dignity of my fellow human beings. I know there is no substitute for learning in a rapidly changing world. I want to become a broad thinker to cross ethical and global boundaries and to work with other Christans to propose creative, ethical solutions to the world's problems.'

by John Williams

About Bobbing Around

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