Bobbing Around

Volume Three, Number One
July, 2003

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

 
*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions
*A little plug
*How to be noticed
*The shortlist of my second free edit contest.
*Politics
Move On. Org: should Bush be impeached?
*Interesting news from my friends:
A cover design service from Marlies Bugmann.
A free book on bullying by Rita Toews.
A Christian suspense by Wilburta Arrowood
*Writing
The Bio
*Tantrum Taming
*Reviews
Technology in Counselling and Psychotherapy
The Bully
*Internet
Battle Scam with Mailwasher
An ISP odyssey.
Xenu is wonderful.
Silly name, great service.
*Humour
An error message.
An Interstate Business Venture.
*Poetry

   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.

   It is only a month since the last issue of this supposedly monthly newsletter. This is some kind of a record, but there is a reason:

Announcing the shortlist for my second free edit contest.

   Want to RECIEVE A FREE BOOK as payment for a little enjoyable reading? Then go to the contest page and cast a vote.


Please vote for me

   'Cruelty and Compassion' is the story in Striking Back From Down Under that has received the most praise. I have entered it in a contest by Donard Publishing. It is story number 136. Please read it, and if you like it, cast a vote for me.


   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.

A little plug

   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.

   This time, Linda would like you to know about Believe If You Can. This is a collection of Irish, Spanish and Basque Legends and Tales by Richard Marsh.

   If you think you might enjoy 16 intriguing traditional stories from several cultures, please go to Atlantic Bridge Publishers and check it out.


How to be noticed

   Are you a writer? When you get your first book published (by whatever means), you feel on top of the world. You aren't, really. It's a big world out there, and you are at the bottom of a heap of thousands, all clamouring for attention.

   How do you get noticed?

   One way is to subscribe to the BooksWeLove.net network. This is the creation of highly regarded authors Maureen McMahon and Jude Morris. I am a member because I can't afford not to be.

   Not anyone may join. The books you find at www.bookswelove.net have all been professionally edited, have content that is probably out of the range of cliched formulas you'll find in bookshops, and push the envelope in other ways.

   If you are bored with the reading you can find, visit BooksWeLove.net and see what's new in the world.


Bob's Second Free Edit Contest:
The Shortlist

   The contestants already know if they are in or not, but here it is to everyone else.

   I received 43 entries. They varied along every conceivable dimension, from kids' books to a play, every genre, and several non-fiction books. Length ranged from 19,000 to 140,000 (though the author of that one withdrew, because I told her that if she won I'd only charge her for the last 40,000 words).

   Judging was as close to 'blind' as I could make it. This was important, since several entries came from email friends, and I didn't feel it right to play favourites.

   So, when I received an entry, I gave it a number, stored the information in numbered files and put it aside. I selected the shortlist after the deadline. This meant that I no longer knew the authors of the entries, except for the four I received on the last day (all from strangers).

   My major criterion was: how much mechanical work would I need to do on this manuscript? Editing for content can be fun. Editing for grammar, punctuation and expression is tedious.

   However, some entries had substantial practical or social utility, or were in agreement with my world view, or grabbed my heart. These were selected, even if they were full of annoying minor problems. After all, it's my contest!

   From now on, the selection of the winner is out of my hands. The public is invited to visit http://www.hotkey.net.au/~bobrich/writer/free-edit2.html, look over the entries and vote for one. As an inducement, everyone who casts a valid vote will have the right to a FREE copy of one of my nine e-books.

The shortlist

   The entries are in no particular order:


Move On.Org: should Bush be impeached?

   I am a subscriber to Move On, a newsletter circulated by Move On, an American-based anti-war organisation.

   I just received their latest and have reproduced a few snippets with permission:

INTRODUCTION

   Arguing for the necessity of a pre-emptive attack on Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush and other administration officials cited intelligence that Saddam Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Not only had Iraq manufactured chemical and biological weapons, the administration contended, they had attempted to obtain materials for nuclear weaponry. In one address, Bush said: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

Yet more than two months after Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq, no WMDs have been found. While he still insists such weapons will be discovered, evidence mounts that his administration's drive for war was based on forged, inaccurate, and deliberately misconstrued intelligence.

ONE LINK

   No time for more? Read the New York Times' Paul Krugman on the Bush administration's "denial and deception" to justify war in Iraq and why Congress won't confront these distortions. http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0624-04.htm
...

   In a March 17 letter to President Bush, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman called upon the President to explain the situation. As he said, "The two most obvious explanations -- knowing deception or unfathomable incompetence -- both have immediate and serious implications." http://www.house.gov/waxman/text/admin_iraq_march_17_let.htm

   Rep. Waxman has prepared two excellent factsheets: "The Bush Administration's Use of the Forged Iraq Nuclear Evidence" and "What Intelligence Officials Knew about the Forged Iraq Nuclear Evidence." http://www.house.gov/reform/min/inves_admin/admin_nuclear_evidence.htm

MISREPRESENTATION

   The Observer reports that the two vehicles Bush and Blair claim are mobile biological weapons labs are probably used to produce hydrogen for artillery balloons. http://www.moveon.org/r?458

   A memo from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity to President Bush: "What is at play here is a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions." http://truthout.org/docs_03/050503D.shtml

   UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, who retired on Monday: "It is sort of fascinating that you can have 100 percent certainty about weapons of mass destruction and zero certainty of about where they are." http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0623-10.htm
...

IMPEACHMENT

   John Dean, President Nixon's White House counsel, says the case for impeachment would be easy legally, but impossible politically: "To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be 'a high crime' under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony 'to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.'" http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/dean/20030606.html

   A superb interview with Dean from BuzzFlash: "Impeachment is a political proceeding, of quasi-legal nature. Republicans are not going to impeach their president. To the contrary, it is very clear they would defend him." http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/06/17_dean.html

IN BRITAIN

   In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Tony Blair is under fire for his dossier alleging Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. An inquiry underway in the Parliament has heard devastating testimony from former foreign secretary Robin Cook and former international development secretary Clare Short, both of whom resigned over Blair's claim that Iraq was a "clear and serious threat." http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,987816,00.html

ABOUT THE MOVEON BULLETIN AND MOVEON.ORG

   The MoveOn Bulletin is a free email bulletin providing information, resources, news, and action ideas on important political issues. The full text of the MoveOn Bulletin is online at http://www.moveon.org/ moveonbulletin/; you can subscribe to it at that address. The MoveOn Bulletin is a project of MoveOn.org.


Interesting News

A cover design service
A free book on bullying
Revenge or...

Marlies Bugmann

   Swiss-born Tasmanian artist and conservationist Marlies Bugmann has an increasingly popular service, making covers for books, CDs and, well, anything you want to cover. She also works for Zumaya Publications, and painted the artwork for the cover of my fourth Ehvelen book The Making of a Forest Fighter.

   Her favourite medium is to paint in acrylics. Her style, subsequently fused with digital art, gives her work a unique appearance. Look her up at http://MM.resourcez.com


Rita Toews

   Bullies are a growing problem in our schools and neighbourhoods. I've written an e-book for children and adults on the issue of bullies that gives helpful suggestions on how to deal with the problem in a positive manner. It's illustrated with child oriented graphics that encourages children to read the book for themselves, and it includes a short quiz with helpful feedback.

   The illustrations can be printed out and colored as the problem of bullies is discussed by the child and parent.

   This e-book is available free of charge on my website at: www.domokos.com/freeebooks.html.

   Read my review of this book.


Wilburta Arrowood

Cover of 'For the Love of a Child'   Wilburta Arrowood announces the release of her new Christian fiction novel, For the Love of a Child.

   For the Love of a Child opens with widow Margaret Ceradsky attending her twenty-two-year-old daughter’s funeral. A man is responsible for Angela’s death, and Margaret intends to track him down and make him pay. She researches how to find a missing person and sets her plan in motion, but, she is a drapery maker, and she has to work.

   Her first job after the funeral is to replace the draperies at a local church. There she meets a man who will love her, and she learns to love God.

   Her struggle to please God proves more and more difficult each time a piece of her search falls into place, even after she quits actively seeking. If she finds the fiend who killed her daughter, will she be able to forgive?

   Could a just God really expect her to?

   Margaret’s journey toward the Lord will make you cheer, cry, and cheer again. I hope it’s a story you won’t want to miss.

   You can order off Wilburta's web site.


My internet adventures

Mailwasher
An ISP odyssey
Xenu is wonderful
Silly name, great service

Battle scam with Mailwasher

   Sometimes, a third of my incoming email is uninvited rubbish. I utterly refuse to follow up a spam email even if the services touted might be of interest to me (virus checking programs, inkjet cartridges and the like). Quite a bit of time and two computers ago, I got a copy of Mailwasher, a program that allows me to filter out the unwanted, and to have it bounced instead of downloading it to my computer. I can set up rules to ban anything that mentions 'penis' or 'prescription', 'Viagra' or 'slut'. And after some practice, I can look at the header information Mailwasher displays and pick the likely spam myself. A click allows me to read the first few lines, then I can decide what to do with the message.

   I liked the program. I had some editing money sitting in PayPal, so I sent a payment to the developer and duly received a registration key.

   Now Mailwasher have released a 'Pro' version that eliminates many of the teething troubles of the earlier model. I was entitled to a free registration key, but there were some problems.

   The reason I feel I need to praise the Mailwasher team is that they sorted out the problems, and even refused a second payment from me.

   The new web site for Mailwasher is http://www.firetrust.com/


An ISP Odyssey

   When my original ISP went out of business, I registered with TPG, the cheapest one I could access with a local phone call. It seemed fine, at first, a very impressive service in many ways. But... but obviously too many people thought the same, and for the past several months I found myself in an electronic traffic jam. 4 pm, kids home from school? Forget logging on. Holidays and weekends? It's either the engaged signal, or worse, wasting the phone call and having everything time out.

   Australia's biggest network is Bigpond. It's run by Telstra, the telephone service supplier. They recently introduced national local call access. I checked out costs, and was told over the phone that it was only slightly dearer than TPG. They offer the first month for free, so I felt there was little to lose in trying them out. I also contacted another national network with a local call facility, Hotkey. They were dearer.

   So I went with Bigpond, but only for a few weeks. I have cancelled the account before the end of that first month, and now I am a satisfied Hotkey customer.

   Why? First, the price I was quoted over the phone was wrong. In fact, Bigpond charges about the same as Hotkey. More important, the service proved to be faulty. Even at the end of three weeks, Bigpond was unable to forward my emails through bob@bobswriting.com. Their help service was automated, slow and ineffective. I guess they are fine for a family situation with the kids' photos up on a web site and POP email, but are not set up for esoteric requirements like mine.

   If you live in Australia, and are looking for a reliable and fast internet connection, I can recommend Hotkey. This is a national network, but uses local franchises so that there is a real person to talk to, via phone or email. My contact, Alf, has been friendly, fast and effective.


Xenu is wonderful

   Do you manage a web site? You MUST have Xenu. This little program checks links. You can check out your web site on your hard disk before uploading, then afterwards, so that external links are checked too.

   When I moved from Web Solutions to TPG, it took me WEEKS of mucking about, getting it all right. Now, with the move to Hotkey, it took about an hour. I changed some of the architecture, so there were links to be changed. I checked with Xenu and found about 30 mistakes. After uploading there were only 7!

   Xenu is available for free, though its developer Tilman Hausherr asks you to make a donation to a charity, preferably one battling brain-washing sects. You can find Xenu at http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html.


Silly name, great service

   I have four domain names, and changing to a new ISP is guaranteed to cause problems. The problems came, just as I expected. I buy my domains from GoDaddy, simply because they are cheaper. However, their web site is also well organised and easy to use. They offer a whole heap of services at surprisingly low prices. But here's why I decided to sing their praises.

   Some of the problems I encountered were due to my own stupidity. Their service staff sorted them out quickly, efficiently and without even laughing at me. In today's world, that is unusual enough to deserve public acknowedgment.


Humour

An error message
An Interstate Business Venture

An error message

   Warning: it's political, but regardless of your personal loyalties, this is funny. My friend Annie Schlebaum forwarded an email to me that suggested I enter 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' in the Google search slot and click 'I am feeling lucky'. Try it.

   On the internet, all things pass, often very fast. In case things have changed at Google, here is the link my click threw up: http://www.coxar.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/


An Interstate Business Venture

   I collect English. My favourite example is the sign they had, years ago, in Toorak Road:

SLOW
ROADWORKS IN PROGRESS

   They weren't kidding. It stood there for six months.

   Then there's that one capsule to take three times a day. Disgusting. I insist on taking a different capsule each time.

   I could go on -- "You usually do," my husband would have said.

   But that's not why I killed him.

   Nor was it because of the truck, though that was close. For fifteen years, Tom drove for a boss, and we were OK. Then he got delusions of grandeur, and became an Owner Driver. You could hear the capital letters when he said it.

   There was capital in the truck too, more than in our house. And what with fuel, oil, tyres and maintenance, Betsy the Behemoth was a costlier pet than the three kids combined. Naturally, months before the last payment, Betsy's gearbox self-destructed. It proved cheaper to start again with Betsy Mark II. So, we got a second mortgage on the house after Tom almost got down on his knees to me, and even managed to break down and cry. I earned my semi-license, and acted as relief driver. Then Tom changed to interstate contracts, which paid far better. I started work as a checkout chick at Coles.

   For five years, I spent eight hours, four days a week, converting my feet into volcanoes of pain. It would cost too much for Coles to equip every cash register with a stool. For five years, I desisted from throwing the cash register at Rhonda Rigger, the all-so-mighty supervisor. And for the same length of time, I managed to smile at idiot customers, lightning-fingered two-foot high terrors and teenagers with an attitude.

   And why? So that the current Betsy's loan could be kept in the luxury to which it has become accustomed.

   But that's not why I killed Tom.

   It wasn't even the brunette in Sydney. Actually, I reckon I'm prettier than her, judging from the photo I found in Tom's wallet when he'd left it in the pocket of his coveralls. I'd nearly put it in the washing machine when I felt the weight, and as I pulled the wallet from the pocket it slipped from my wet hands and fell open on the ground. There she was, with a shy smile on the front and 'To my Tom, with love' written on the back.

   Her Tom indeed! To tell the truth, I liked her looks, if she lived nearby we could have been friends. I'm betting that Tom told her he was single, divorced, widowed or tied to a wife in a mental institution.

   I had the photo on the mantelpiece when he came home. His face turned an interesting colour, I'd call it pastel beetroot. Then he went on the attack. "You been pawing through my things?"

   "My Tom! No I haven't. You left it in your coveralls, and I didn't think the lady needed a wash. Your conscience might though."

   "Look, Eve, it's not what you think…"

   "Tom, I believe you. How could a decent, hardworking Owner Driver ever cheat on his wife?"

   "I haven't, I'm telling you. Shirl is the receptionist in Rigby's Sydney office, and we have an ongoing joke. She gave me the photo with the message just to tease me." Rigby's is one of the big companies who use him.

   "Yeah, that's why you carried her around right next to your you-know-what."

   "Evie, you know I'd never risk our marriage!"

   "Certainly not, not while my aching feet subsidise Betsy." So I gave him the benefit of the doubt, at least in public.

   Nevertheless, exactly two years ago today, on our twentieth wedding anniversary, I got rid of my two liabilities, and collected both comprehensive and life insurance, keeping half. Oh, I can be cool about it now, but, let's just say it wasn't pleasant.

   When Tom came in I surprised him with his favourite whisky. He tossed down the first one, not noticing the valium dissolved in it. So I gave him another. By the fourth, he was still conscious, but off the planet, so I said, "Darling, let's go for a drive to clear your head. I haven't driven Betsy in years."

   He was in no state to argue. Somehow, he crawled up with me pushing on his bum. Off we went to Healesville.

   An hour later, we were at this lookout, facing an already dark mountain as the sun set to our left. "Here mate, have a swig," I offered, not telling him that the rest of the bottle of valium was in the whisky. Soon he was unconscious. I managed to drag him over into the driver's seat, buckled him in. Then I fired up the engine, stood on the step, and leaning over him, flicked the lever into Drive.

   Betsy inched forward as I jumped off, then gravity took charge.

   I vomited into a bush, but there was no-one to see.

   By no coincidence, I wore black. It took me hours to walk off the mountain, into Healesville, where I melted into the small crowd at a hotel. At closing time I took a taxi to Lilydale, raising no eyebrows.

   But why?

   Well, three days before, I received a phone call, from Perth. Her name was Viviane. She said, "I believe you're the original Mrs Driscoll?"

   "Twenty years this week. What do you mean, original?"

   "Until today, I thought I was the only one."

   "The bastard!"

   "I've been contributing $200 a week towards payments on the truck. What about you?"

   We had a good talk, then I phoned Rigby's in Sydney. The girl chattily explained that Shirl only worked three days a week now that the baby was nearly due.

   "Oh, who's the father?"

   "One of our regular contract drivers…"

   "Tom Driscoll?"

   "Yes, that's him."

   "Why does she keep working?"

   "Oh she's so good. She's helping him to pay off the truck."


The Bio

   As a writer, you may be asked to provide 'a bio'. It goes on the back of the paperback or the dust jacket of the hardcover. It is needed when you win in a writing competition. Your book may be reviewed, or you may review someone else's. Publish an article, essay, poem or story in a magazine or newspaper, and they will want a bio.

   More prosaically, you should have one on your web site, or when joining an email list.

   A bio is short. Usually 50 to 200 words are specified. The shorter a piece of writing, the harder it is, so producing a bio is often a form of torture.

What is a bio anyway?

   It is a prose snippet designed to induce people to read your writing.

   You are not in court, required to state the Truth, All the Truth and Nothing But the Truth. You are writing something with the theme 'Me!' in order to get people to read your books, stories, essays, poems, whatever.

   Above all, a bio is A SAMPLE OF YOUR WRITING. Therefore, it should not consist of stodge.

   If a publisher of romantic suspense happened to stumble across this, would she instantly dash off an email to Joanie, demanding to see the manuscript? Not on the basis of this sample of Joanie's writing.

   All right, let's try again.

   Joanie Smith often has to deal with evil kidnappers, torturers of children, drug-crazed psychopaths. She helps young women to rescue the poor victims against all the odds. These girls start as naďve and apparently with few resources, but Joanie coaches them, and helps them to find tough, attractive allies who inevitably fall in love with them.

   Well… this is what she does when she is inside her computer. The rest of her life is none of your business.

   Isn't that more fun?

   Or how about:

   Should a bio be true? I don't see why. Read this:

   This is true, of course it is, in the same way that Joanie's second and third bios are true. But is it good writing? Does it make you want to read more? I hope so.


Tantrum Taming

   Many two-year-olds go through a spectacular tantrum stage: sound effects to rival a police siren, fists and heels drumming as the little tyke dives for the ground, breath-holding that would put a diver to shame.

   Most kids grow out of it. Some, regrettably, still behave like this in adulthood. They don't perform the exact same acts, but the attitude is identical: I WANT IT AND I WANT IT NOW AND HOW DARE YOU GET IN MY WAY!

   The right time to tame tantrums is when they start. Here are a few suggestions.

   But what about the older child who is still throwing tantrums? Here is a condensed extract from my popular book Anger and Anxiety.
 

   "Katie, it's time for school! Are you getting dressed?"

   "I'm not going to school and you can't make me!"

   "Come on, love, get ready quickly, I have to get to work on time."

   "NO!!! I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL!!!" With that, Kate threw herself on the ground and screamed until she was blue in the face and froth came from her mouth.

   Mum tried many approaches. She screamed back. She hit eight-year-old Kate with a wooden spoon. She forcibly dressed her and dragged her to the car. She took her to the doctor -- who prescribed sedatives for both of them. She gave in and let Kate stay home and play computer games. She tried bribery to stop the tantrums, and withdrawal of the right to go to netball (which Katie loved) as punishment for them. She tape-recorded a typical tantrum and tried blackmail. Nothing worked.

   The whole family were ruled by Katie's tantrums. Everything revolved around them. Finally, she brought Kate for counselling.

   It was hard to believe that this quiet, demure little child was the monster Mum described in such detail. There she sat, hands folded in her lap, eyes cast down. She readily answered all my questions in a soft but steady voice, and looked far more like a little angel than a terrifying devil.

   "Nobody believes it," Mum sighed. "Listen to this." She pulled out a pocket tape player and turned it on. The terrible family theatre emerged in its full glory.

   I was as interested in Kate's reaction as to the sounds recorded. She sat there with a half-smile on her face. She gave me one quick glance, then looked down again. And what do YOU think you can do about me! that glance said. She was far from being ashamed of the recording. Rather, she seemed to be proud of her performance.

    "Kate, Jenny, I've been listening to your story," I said, "and I have good news for you. You can beat this terrible thing that is haunting your family."

   They looked confused.

   I turned to the little girl. "Kate, you probably didn't know, but I am a Professional Monster Hunter."

   Her eyes lit up and she giggled.

   "No, no, I am serious. I'm an expert in spotting a certain kind of monster. These things move into a home and cause trouble. No one can see them, but they whisper in people's ears, so quietly that the victims think it is their own thoughts they hear. At first they are tiny, but they feed on anger. And the more anger there is in the home, the bigger and fatter the monster gets, and the more powerfully it can push people around. Well, you've got a real beauty in your home. There are many kinds. Would you say yours is a Tantrum Monster?"

   "Yes, of course it is!" Kate said. For the first time in the session, there was liveliness in her voice.

   "Do you like to have your life wrecked by a Tantrum Monster? Wouldn't you rather be the boss than let the Monster push you around?"

   "Nobody pushes me around!"

   "Well, see if you and Mum can tell me of times when you resisted the Monster and didn't have a tantrum, even though it told you that you should."

   This was hard at first, but they came up with a few.

   "That proves it, Katie. You are right. You are not the kind of person to be pushed around by a nasty old Tantrum Monster. You can resist it. Now tell me, Jenny, how has the Tantrum Monster been making life a misery for Kate?" I asked many such questions, exploring the way the Monster had been dividing the family (Katie against the rest), the way it tricked them into being angry so it could feed and get ever stronger, the way they had managed to resist it in the past, how they thought they could work together to starve it by depriving it of anger.

   Then I gave Katie a ritual to do. Before the next session, she had to draw a picture of the Monster, as colourful and as terrifying as possible. She had to take out this picture and make fun of it at least once a day, because Monsters hate being laughed at. At other times, it had to be in a box tied up with string, and hanging off a doorknob. If anybody was about to get angry in the family (including, but not especially, Katie), others had to say, "Don't let the Monster out of the box!"

   By the fourth session, Katie reported that the Tantrum Monster had become so small and weak that nobody in the family had got angry for the whole week! During the session, she was lively and full of energy, drew flowers and butterflies on the whiteboard, and didn't sit still for more than five minutes at a time. She had become a very different person.
 

   In her mother's eyes, Kate had changed from being a 'terrible child' to someone beset by a problem, and an ally in fighting it.


Book Reviews

Technology in Counselling and Psychotherapy
The Bully

Technology in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Edited by Stephen Goss and Kate Anthony

   This important book should be a reference for every psychologist, therapeutic social worker and counsellor. It should be compulsory reading for trainees in these fields, and set reading for anyone wishing to establish a counselling practice over the internet, using the telephone or via videoconferencing.

   It is a scholarly work, reports from practitioners in the field. It covers both well-established activities such as telephone counselling, and new developments including supervision via video link and stand-alone therapeutic computer programs.

   Being a collection of writings from several authors, the style varies from highly readable to standard academese. However, throughout, the treatment of the subject matter is meticulous.

   I had been invited to submit a chapter on counselling via email, but in the event Stephen Goss found my approach to be insufficiently scholarly. So, the book is marred by the absence of my contribution. All the same, this is an instruction manual and reference work that is a must for everyone in the helping professions.

   The book is available right now from Kate Anthony's web site OnlineCounsellors.co.uk.


The Bully
by Rita Toews

   An eleven-year-old boy was referred to me for assessment. His teacher suspected intellectual impairment, since he was two years behind in his school work.

   I confirmed the deficit, but when I gave him an IQ test, he proved to be in the 'superior' range.

   I have a way with kids. Soon he confided in me. For the past two years, he had been mercilessly bullied by a couple of bigger, stronger boys. They told him they'd 'murder him' if he told anyone. He had not told his parents. He had not told his teacher, or his elder sister. He had no friends at school, because the bullies threatened anyone who gave him friendly attention. For two years, he had been sentenced to daily terror, isolation and loneliness, and suffered in secret. Is it any wonder that he stopped learning?

   Many people dismiss bullying as just 'high spirits', 'toughening up', 'part of life'. It isn't. It is a junior version of criminal activity, and it causes immense harm. What's more, it causes as much harm to the bully as to the victim. Many habitual residents of jails cut their teeth in the school ground, and if they'd been stopped then, they might have grown into law-abiding members of society. So, we all suffer from bullying.

   This wonderful little book by Rita Toews addresses the problem in a way that will appeal to senior elementary school students. It offers advice I know to be valid and effective. It gives detailed, specific steps to take, reinforced by drawings that will raise a smile, and a quiz for both kids and their parents.

   The format is intriguing: it is a book on the screen of your computer. Click an arrow, and the page turns. The program for producing a book like this is 'Desktop Author', supplied by http://www.ebook-publishing-tools.com/.

   It is clear, easy to use and easy to view. Kids will love it. I only have one problem. In this day of viruses, people are justly scared of opening email attachments. And every time I double click on the book, my firewall program gets very upset and gives me dire warnings.

   Rita has made an alternative version available, a '.dnl file', which apparently doesn't have this shortcoming. I haven't tested it out, because I knew the book was not a virus and blythely ignored the warnings.

   There is one more remarkable thing about 'Bullying'. It is available free at http://www.domokos.com/freeebooks.html.

   Oh, what happened with my little boy? With his permission, I told his parents, and marched into the School Principal's office. He sorted the bullies out. I then taught my young friend how to become the kind of person bullies will not target, and he went to a high school where nobody knew him so he could have a fresh start.


Poetry

Wombat Hollow Dawn


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