|*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions
*Responses to An unpopular view
*Responses to John Gorman's Intelligent design is a crock
*A small step forward
Sweden plans to go oil-free
Geroge Monbiot on biodiesel
Note from a jealous husband
Helping the victim of bullying
' Traumatic Incident Reduction' by Elizabeth Clark
The Eightfold Path
'Loving myself', by Peter Ryan
'World Morality', a provocative essay by Michael Westfall
*What my friends hope will interest you
A new grief support email group.
Award for Kathe and Ray Gogolewski
Free Australian Organic Gardening Resource Guide
Radio course for writers
The Noble (not Nobel) Prize for Literature
Margaret Muir's Sea Dust is available
'The ergonomics of living left,' an eloquent complaint by Cheryl O'Brien
'When the bough breaks,' an inspiring article by Margaret Muir
Cancer: A personal challenge
reviewed by Georgiann Baldino
and by Michael Larocca
*Banned in Boston
A reminiscence by Ron Peters
*Always a FREE contest here
In February it's 'Cupid's Capers'.
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.
About to be reissued
My book Woodworking for Idiots Like Me had been out of print since 1999. I have almost finished converting it into an electronic book. When it's ready, it will be available for $Au10 or $US7.50.
My current work
I didn't mean to do it... I have plenty to occupy my time, but nevertheless got caught up in a project that threatens to capture all my interest. It is a book exploring my understanding of the universe, our place in it, the meaning of life -- trivial issues like that.
I don't even know if I'll ever make it into something publishable, but it certainly has been a powerful vehicle for increasing my own understanding. I now know how little I know!
19th recipient for the LiFE Award
Legacy: A Story of Hope for a Time of Environmental Crisis by Joanne Poyourow is the newest recipient for the LiFE Award. It joins 18 other books of a wide range of genres that have one thing in common: they reflect their authors' belief that we need to change the way we live, if we want to continue to live at all.
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.
In the last issue, I wrote about the execution of an Australian drug runner in Singapore. I invited responses, expecting people to tell me off for not being as outraged as the rest of Australia seemed to be. I received five responses. All were one-liners, and all said much the same as this:
"Bob, I don't disagree with what you wrote. It's hard to truly mourn the passing of a drug dealer, no matter how he died.
In the last issue, John Gorman presented a critique of the idea that people were specially created, as distinct from having evolved. Here are some responses:
from Cheryl O'Brien
from Cynthia Clay
Fact, fiction or fillosofee, intelligent design just doesn't sit right in my mind. Nor does accidental evolution. My mind tends to settle comfortably with the idea that I just don't know and seriously don't need to know how it all came about.
Just as I don't need to understand, exactly how the images recorded by a television camera can be stored for long periods of time and relayed around the world in a moment with a push of a button, to enjoy watching a movie, I don't need to know how our universe got here to enjoy the benefits.
It seems to me that a lot of people spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince themselves, then others, of their understanding of how it all came to be. Our time can be spent differently.
I think we can all intelligently design our lives to include a large dose of simple old fashioned acceptance. try this recipe:
To Make Acceptance:
take a small dose of understanding of fellow humans
stir in a spoonful of goodwill
swish in a cup of tolerance
blend with a good dose of heartfelt compassion
set aside a small amount to give to those who can't follow the recipe
and sprinkle the remainder liberally throughout your life.
"Intelligent Design" is being discussed in the USA because George Bush agrees that it should be taught in American science classes and because there are school boards that are making it a madatory part of science education. The question is not whether Intelligent Design is a sound theological premise. The question is should it be taught in science classes. Since Intelligent Design is a theological premise, it does not belong in a science class, period. Whether it is a sound theological premise is moot. Religious premises are not the stuff of science. Science, not religion, is what must to be taught in science classes. Religion is not science.
That said, Gorman discusses "Intelligent Design" from a Christian frame of reference. There are religions that answer the questions he poses quite differently, see the questions as confounds (confounding apples and organges as it were), or as not answerable in the way a Christian context poses the questions. For instance, does God permit those evil earthquakes? From the Pagan perspective, certainly, the Goddess and the God permit those earthquakes, for those earthquakes are not evil at all. Humans are choosing the risk and perhaps the thrill of living on a faultline. If humans don't like earthquakes, they can move. But natural phenomena are not evil. Those earthquakes might be doing something useful for the earth that we as humans don't realize.
What about those genocides, like 30,000 dead in Iraq, George Bush? That is a very complex question actually. A Christian perspective does have a good answer: humans have free will, and it is by our acts God knows us. If we choose to do evil, then we reveal ourselves to God as evil. (Ah-hem George Bush!) Many Pagans might consider that genocide is a result of evil choices, out of balance mental states, and/or that magically powerful individuals were able to shift the healthy energy of other people into decidely unhealthy, septic, and just plain evil actions.From the Pagan perspective, we take part in creating reality, and so sometimes we do a really wretched job of it, messing up what would otherwise be good, or at least better off without our "intervention."
And now for a plug: The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry is now out in paperback as well as e-format! For those interested in Earthbased spirituality and poetry, this is the book for you. Go to www.oestarapublishing.com and buy The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry.
A small step forward
Sweden plans to go oil-free
George Monbiot on biodiesel
Australia has the second worst record on climate change action, after the United States. It is therefore a major achievement that the Minister for Environment has finally made a public statement, drawing attention to the consequences of generating greenhouse gases. Good morning, Mr Campbell! Glad you have awoken at last.
The three highest generators of greenhouse emissions are private transport (cars), air travel (jet planes) and road haulage (trucks). It is quite possible to design a world that hugely reduces these activities, but changing to such a world would mean huge losses for a great many large and profitable businesses, as well as to millions of small businesses and hundreds of millions of individuals. This is why there has been so much resistance to change.
The fact is, either we have a planned transformation of society, or there is an unplanned, catastrophic transformation. Which is worse? There is simply NOTHING that can replace fossil hydrocarbons to allow business as until now, but with lower greenhouse emissions. In fact, there is nothing that can replace fossil hydrocarbons as energy source for cars, planes and trucks.
Petrol, dieseline, and aviation fuel are now rapidly rising in price. They will continue to do so, faster and faster, and this is good. It provides motivation for changes that, if implemented rapidly enough, may allow humanity to survive.
Forget helicopters (extremely hungry), jet planes and even propeller-driven planes. Air travel is still possible, using helium balloons. These can be powered by solar energy. Of course, they will be very much slower. Going from Australia to Europe will again be about six weeks, as it used to be in the age of cruise ships, instead of two or three days. The payload of even the largest helium balloon is tiny compared to a jumbo jet, so air travel becomes very expensive. In the post-petroleum age, you stay where you are instead of flitting around the globe.
Forget the motor car. Only a hundred years ago, the car was an oddity. Since then, it has transformed society. Human settlements are now organised around it, especially in the overdeveloped world. Fortunately, many cities in Europe and America were built largely before the car, and so they have the potential to return to a car-free mode. However, Australian cities evolved with private motor transport. Lacking a car when you live in Melbourne or Brisbane is a form of deprivation. You become isolated, and suffer financially because many resources are very difficult to access.
We need a new design for the city. Many thinkers have come up with designs that are remarkably similar to each other. One example is the work of Ted Trainer of the University of New South Wales.
A sustainable city is a mosaic or network of individually sustainable villages. Each settlement is able to produce all the essential goods and services for its inhabitants. In addition, it produces specialties that serve a larger population base. For example, each village has a general hospital that can deal with most common health problems. Each hospital also has a specialisation: one may have a burns unit, another a brain damage clinic, and so on.
There is a highly efficient mass transit system joining villages. This is ultimately powered by solar energy. So, movement within the city is possible, but of course nowhere near as fast or convenient as the private car allows.
Each village is surrounded by farming land, and again, there is a combination of self-sufficiency and trade goods. However, distance costs. Locally grown food is cheap, but bananas are expensive in Melbourne, apples in Brisbane.
Trucks and buses are out. Transport between distant places will need to rely on ships (high-efficiency sailing ships, supplemented by solar power), helium balloons and electric (solar powered) mass transit. These simply cannot replace the capacity of current road transport, and therefore the movement of goods over long distances becomes a luxury.
There are huge social implications.
Petroleum has made us into a highly mobile society. People move from place to place. Families scatter, in the full expectation of being able to flit around and maintain occasional contact. It is nothing for a person to commute hours to and from work. All this has to change.
You live where you live, and that's where your personal contacts are, for better or worse. If you move, you expect to move for good. You work where you live. If you change your job, you change your residence, trade in one entire community for another. Once more, as for most of human history, you need to become an organic part of the community you live in.
In many ways, this model of society is attractive. The major problem is, how can we go from here to there?
Minister for Sustainable Development Mona Sahlin has declared that Sweden is going to become the first country in the world to break the dependence on fossil energy. Sweden will stop using oil by 2020 and eventually the energy supply of the country will be based on renewable energy only.
The goal is to gradually rid the country of gasoline-run cars and oil-heated homes. This is going to be achieved through tax discounts, more efficiency in energy and by large-scale investments in renewable energy and in research. Already next year there will be tax incentives for single family homeowners to switch from oil to renewable energy to heat their homes.
Such financial incentives are already available to libraries, aquatic facilities and hospitals that want to switch to more efficient renewable energy. The expansion of distant heating continues to be an important tool in this process. The Swedish government also wants to make environmental cars more affordable. One of the ways it is doing this is by not subjecting fuel that is free of carbon dioxide to the energy tax or to the carbon dioxide emission tax. Environmental cars will also not have to pay the congestion tax that will be introduced in Stockholm in January and many municipalities allow free parking for such cars.
Swedish industry and the economy as a whole are already benefiting from a lower dependency on oil in an international comparison. Since 1994 the use of oil in residences and in the service sector has dropped by 15.2 TWH. The consumption of oil in industries has remained at the same level since that year, even though industrial production has increased by 70 percent. A growing number of households make use of the advantages of distant heating as well as of pellets.
Minister Sahlin's latest statement on the abolition of oil in 2020 is actually just a confirmation of a goal set a long time ago. Sweden has been a pioneer in the environmental field and has introduced many innovative measures through the years to achieve its goals.
Already in 1990 Swedes implemented a "green tax shift". Taxes on energy and on carbon dioxide emissions were raised, while other taxes, such as those on payroll were decreased by an equivalent amount. Sweden also invested heavily in its cities and towns. Municipalities receive grants to conduct long-term climate research and make investments in environment-friendly technology. Not only has this helped cut local pollution, it has also raised the level of public awareness of environmental issues.
In 1999 a unanimous national goal was established for all the country's major environmental problems to be solved within one generation, by the year 2020. The Swedish Parliament gave unanimous approval to 15 national targets including a phasing out of all use of hazardous chemicals by 2020; ensuring that all lakes and watercourses are ecologically sustainable, their habitats and ecological and water-conserving function preserved; providing a safe and sustainable supply of drinking water and contributing to viable habitats for flora and fauna; pro-lection of the value of forests for biological production, while biological diversity, cultural heritage and recreational assets are safeguarded, and a healthy living environment to be provided by cities and towns where buildings and amenities must be located and designed with sound environmental principles.
There are interim objectives for each target, regional and local objectives to match, and an Environmental Objectives Council to monitor progress towards the goals. Progress is charted through 70 national indicators, which track results and verify whether the country is heading in the right direction.
British environmental columnist George Monbiot wrote a powerful analysis in The Guardian of the replacement of dieselene with a plant-based fuel. He gave me permission to reproduce it -- but The Guardian wanted me to pay for the privilege. So, here is a summary in my own words instead.
Basically, the problem, as with all simplistic solutions, is arithmetic. The fossil fuel we burn globally in one year is as much carbon as is produced by 400 years of biological growth (plants and animals combined). That's FOUR HUNDRED.
Therefore, no new energy source, or combination of energy sources, can possibly replace fossil fuel based energy. It is just not possible. To think that any sustainable source of energy plus the nightmare of nuclear power could do so is simply wishful thinking.
The only possible solution is to cut back on usage, as a matter of life and death urgency.
George then analyses one specific example: the idea of replacing petroleum-based dieselene with plant-based biodiesel. He points out that all the waste cooking oil generated in Great Britain amounts to one-380th of their use of dieselene.
So, it has to be specially grown oil crops. The problem is that the most productive substance for this purpose is palm tree oil. Tropical countries such as Malaysia have already installed huge palm oil refineries, and are commissioning more of them.
He writes: 'In September, Friends of the Earth published a report about the impact of palm oil production. "Between 1985 and 2000," it found, "the development of oil-palm plantations was responsible for an estimated 87 per cent of deforestation in Malaysia".'
Among other nasty consequences, we are converting the last remaining homes of the orangutan into palm plantations, to be burned in trucks.
Already, a huge amount of damage has been done, and the greenhouse effects are horrendous. Big, old trees are being cleared, and replaced with small, scrubby palms. Entire cultures are being made homeless, because their lands can generate a dollar for someone else.
George rightly concludes: 'All this illustrates the futility of the technofixes now being pursued in Montreal. Trying to meet a rising demand for fuel is madness, wherever the fuel might come from. The hard decisions have been avoided, and another portion of the biosphere is going up in smoke.'
Note from a jealous husband
Helping the victim of bullying
Traumatic Incident Reduction by Elizabeth Clark
Dear Dr. Rich,
I am a jealous husband. After reading your post/reply to "Handling his jealousy", it really made me think I actually felt something inside. I can relate to the woman as well as the jealous man. She sounds like my wife, and I sound like the man whom she described. The quotes/excerpts from the book were very descriptive in terms of translating how jealousy worked. I am new to the Queendom.com boards, as well as expressing my feelings verbally. My family didn't do that much, which also makes me relate to "Is it really me". I would like to say thank you for being an inspiration.
I belong to an excellent list dealing with helping trauma survivors. One of the other members asked me to outline my approach to working with children who have been bullied. Here is my response:
Naturally, every person is unique and different, and I use my intuition rather than any manualised approach. But you could call it cognitive-behavioural therapy set within a narrative therapy philosophy.
First, the person needs to feel safe enough to disclose the hurt. I've had kids tell me about bullying they had kept secret from everyone else. This is the first, and sometimes the biggest, step.
Second, we need to separate the person from the problem. I use suitable language, and things like drawings, to make the person arrive at the feeling that s/he is not faulty, damaged, unworthy, guilty etc -- whatever bad self-feelings emerge. Victims ALWAYS feel that they are to blame.
We then distinguish blame from responsibility. I tell them that bullies prod at everyone. Some people respond in a way that is rewarding to the bully, and they are the ones who keep getting it. So, I explain that they have the power to change the situation if we can identify what it is they have done to invite the recurring attacks.
Mixed in with this is straight behaviour management: learning skills of assertive communication, inventing and rehearsing humorous responses, acting positive, confident body language, etc. In fact, sometimes this kind of thing is the first thing I do, as first aid. When it works, it enhances everything else. If it doesn't, that's no tragedy: you just need more practice. Besides, there are often problems with response sets of other people, that is, they respond to what you used to be, not what you are now, so persistence is needed.
One recent client used one of these tricks (broken record) and the bullying stopped.
I have used Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) with 100% success in my own practice. It has considerable research support. I learned about it because all the books about it are published by Loving Healing Press, and I edit all their books.
Elizabeth Clark is currently the only qualified TIR trainer in Australia. She is based in Sydney. The only web link she gave me was for the TIR organisation. If you want to contact her, I will gladly forward your email.
Elizabeth Clark is currently the only qualified TIR trainer in Australia. She is based in Sydney. The only web link she gave me was for the TIR organisation. If you want to contact her, I will gladly forward your email.
This is a brief, one-on-one, non-hypnotic, person centered, simple and highly structured method for permanently eliminating the negative effects of past traumas. It involves repeated viewing of a traumatic memory under conditions designed to enhance safety and minimize distractions. The client does all the work, the therapist or counselor offers no interpretations or negative or positive evaluations, but only gives appropriate instructions to the client to have him view a traumatic incident thoroughly from beginning to end. Hence, we use the term "viewer" to describe the client and "facilitator" to describe the person who is helping the client through the procedure by keeping the structure of the confines herself simply to giving a series of set instructions to the viewer; she offers no advice, interpretations, evaluations, or reassurances -- but rather offers sincere and appropriate acknowledgement as well as unconditional positive regard. The viewer locates a specific trauma that he is interested in working on -- one with a specific, finite beginning, then "plays" it through to the end -- without (usually) talking about it while he is viewing it. AFTER he has viewed it, the facilitator then asks him what happened, and he can then describe the event or his reactions whilst going through it.
After the viewer has completed one review (and one description), the facilitator has him "rewind the videotape" to the beginning and run through it again in the same fashion. The facilitator does not prescribe the degree of detail, sensory modalities, or content the viewer is to get on each run through. The viewer will view as much as he is relatively comfortable viewing. After several runs through, most viewers will become more courageous, contacting the emotion and uncomfortable details more and more thoroughly. Typically, the viewer will reach an emotional peak after a few runs through and then, on successive runs through, the amount of negative emotion will diminish, until the viewer reaches a point of having no negative emotion about the incident. Instead, he becomes rather thoughtful and contemplative, and usually comes up with one or more insights -- often major -- concerning the trauma, life, or himself. He displays positive point, the viewer has reached an "end point" and the facilitator stops the TIR procedure. Frequently, there a number of questions that have to be asked and other procedures to follow in doing this procedure at certain points.
A TIR session is not ended until the viewer reaches an end point and feels good. This may take anywhere from an hour or so to 3 hours but usually this is achieved with 1 ¾ - 2 hours. Depending on its severity, the total number of sessions for each incident can be anything from 1 to 20 or so, and in severe traumas even more. Most sessions are of 100 minute duration.
TIR, is its basic form, is a specialized approach to deal with emotional matters, it is a systematic method of locating reviewing and resolving traumatic events and inappropriate negative emotions and sensations. It is a cognitive, imagery and exposure/desensitization procedure. It delivers the positive gains that a person would have had if he had been able to fully confront the incident or situation at the time it occurred. In competent hands and properly applied, in most cases, TIR results in complete and permanent elimination of the symptomatology.
It is highly effective in eliminating the negative effects of past traumatic incidents. It is especially useful when:
a. A person has a specific trauma or set of traumas that she feels has adversely affected her, whether or not she carries a formal definition of "PTSD".
b. A person reacts inappropriately or overreacts in certain situations, and it is thought some part trauma might have something to do with it.
c. A person experiences unaccountable or inappropriate negative emotions, either chronically or in response to certain experiential triggers.
TIR has been in use since 1984 in something similar to its current form. It has undergone minor modifications over the years, mostly in the interests of greater simplicity and teachability.
In a great majority of cases, TIR correctly applied results in the complete and permanent elimination of PTSD symptomatology. It also provides valuable insights, which the viewer arrives at quite spontaneously, without any prompting form the facilitator and hence can "own" entirely as his own.
By providing a means for completely confronting a painful incident, TIR can and does deliver the positive gain a person would have had if he had been able to fully confront the trauma at the time it occurred.
The Eightfold Path
Loving myself by Peter Ryan
The path to liberation from miserable states of being, as taught by the Buddha, has eight points and is known as the eightfold path.
Right view -- the right way to view the world. Wrong view occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward approach to life.
Right intention proceeds from right view. If we are able to abandon our expectations, our hopes and fears, we no longer need to be manipulative. We don't have to try to con situations into our preconceived notions of how they should be. We work with what is. Our intentions are pure.
Right speech. Once our intentions are pure, we no longer have to be embarrassed about our speech. Since we aren't trying to manipulate people, we don't have to be hesitant about what we say, nor do we need to try bluff our way through a conversation with any sort of phoney confidence. We say what needs to be said, very simply in a genuine way.
Right discipline involves a kind of renunciation. We need to give up our tendency to complicate issues. We practice simplicity. We have a simple straight-forward relationship with our dinner, our job, our house and our family. We give up all the unnecessary and frivolous complications that we usually try to cloud our relationships with.
Right livelihood is the fifth step on the path. It is only natural and right that we should earn our living. Often, many of us don't particularly enjoy our jobs. We can't wait to get home from work and begrudge the amount of time that our job takes away from our enjoyment of the good life. Perhaps, we might wish we had a more glamorous job. We don't feel that our job in a factory or office is in keeping with the image we want to project. The truth is, that we should be glad of our job, whatever it is. We should form a simple relationship with it. We need to perform it properly, with attention to detail.
Right effort. Wrong effort is struggle. We often approach a spiritual discipline as though we need to conquer our evil side and promote our good side. We are locked in combat with ourselves and try to obliterate the tiniest negative tendency. Right effort doesn't involve struggle at all. When we see things as they are, we can work with them, gently and without any kind of aggression whatsoever.
Right mindfulness, the seventh step, involves precision and clarity. We are mindful of the tiniest details of our experience. We are mindful of the way we talk, the way we perform our jobs, our posture, our attitude toward our friends and family, every detail.
Right concentration, or absorption, is the eighth point of the path. Usually we are absorbed in absentmindedness. Our minds are completely captivated by all sorts of entertainment and speculations. Right absorption means that we are completely absorbed in nowness, in things as they are. This can only happen if we have some sort of discipline, such as sitting meditation. We might even say that without the discipline of sitting meditation, we can't walk the eightfold path at all. Sitting meditation cuts through our absentmindedness. It provides a space or gap in our preoccupation with ourselves.
Most people have heard of nirvana. It has become equated with a sort of eastern version of heaven. Actually, nirvana simply means cessation. It is the cessation of passion, aggression and ignorance; the cessation of the struggle to prove our existence to the world, to survive. We don't have to struggle to survive after all. We have already survived. We survive now; the struggle was just an extra complication that we added to our lives because we had lost our confidence in the way things are. We no longer need to manipulate things as they are into things as we would like them to be.
Peter died in a horrific car smash on December 17th. Not long before that, he posted this to an internet email list. His loving partner Margaret Muir sent it to me.
The way I see it -- I have to love myself, before I can love others.
But there have been times in the past when I haven't even liked myself very much, let alone loved myself.
Then one day, the light bulb in the thought balloon above my head clicked on. It wasn't a case of, "Eureka, I Have Found It" -- a quote from Archimedes, discovering something while sitting in the bath -- but a case of "Bloody Hell, so that is what life is all about!"
I suddenly realised the importance of being me! The inner me! The real me! The importance of life and not wasting it!
Someone once said to me, when I was feeling particularly vulnerable, "This is not a rehearsal, Peter. You have only one life -- Make the most of it!"
As far as I'm aware, the statement was true and the advice excellent.
If I eventually find out there is another chance of life on this planet -- or some other world, far away, I hope I will have learnt from my mistakes, and be able to profit from them.
So, here I am, enjoying life to the best of my ability. Finding new wonders all the time!
My favourite thing might be me!
But my favourite person is sitting next to me. The one person who helps made my dreams come true and gives my wishes, life -- Life with a great big, giant, capital "L".
I am convinced we do get born, time and again, and are here in each life to learn specific lessons. There is a shiver all over my body as I type this, but... this message from Peter may have been THE lesson for him, this life. That was why he was finished with this class, and could go. To us, here, it was a horrific car smash. For him, it was an awakening, and the start of preparing the next set of lessons.
Wherever we live in the world we are becoming more socially homogenized and must be aware of what is occurring socially and morally in other cultures. Given the influence of America’s culture, this paper will address America and more specifically the ACLU, which is an organization working to impact America’s culture. See http://michaelwestfall.tripod.com/id49.html.
The ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, actively participates in separation of church and state cases. Many important Christian organizations believe the ACLU wants to totally eliminate any reference to religion from American government.
Historically, moral absolutes have been based on God’s word, the Bible. Today there is an effort to minimize, question and eliminate the Bible and characterize Christians as finger pointing, radical, delusional chumps.
America’s culture has become profane and offers legalized on-demand murder through abortion, living room pornography through television, vulgar music through our radios and sleazy, violent, anti-family movies at our movie theatres. American movies today, which are shown all over the world, are filled with senseless anti-Biblical liberality, seething with, vulgarity, excessive violence and gratuitous sex. They shape the minds of viewers and have long-term negative societal impacts. The people producing this trash hide behind the term censorship and use it as a license to circumvent morality and decimate the moral values of viewers.
The ACLU has shown the ability to manipulate liberal judges and dish out a bucketful of legal trouble to any group who disagrees with them. They have fought to legalize child pornography, homosexual marriage, prostitution, sex between adults and children and remove “under God” from the pledge of allegiance.
Their efforts have been lethal in removing prayer from the lips of America’s impressionable children in their schools and public events. They have worked passionately for the gruesome murder of millions of America’s unborn children through various types of abortion and abortion for America’s young schoolgirls without parental consent.
They have fought against nativity scenes on public property, sex offender registries, broadcast decency laws, tax exemptions for churches and posting the Ten Commandments on public property. They have defended “NAMBLA” which promotes the rape of America’s young children under the guise of free expression.
One of the premier organizations fighting the ACLU in Washington D.C. is The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Jay Alan Sekulow is its chief counsel. Its purpose is to protect the religious and constitutional freedoms of Americans. It fights to protect human life and the rights of America’s families. Mr. Selulow has been rightfully called “a powerful counterweight” to the ACLU.
In conclusion, “our nations” are being poisoned and immorality is marching on in lockstep. If God-fearing people will put the cause above themselves for a period of time and openly come together on these issues for the good of our cultures, then our world will change for the better…are you going to help?
Michael Westfall is the editor of “The American Conservative Worker”.
Your reactions to Michael's paper will be printed without censorship. He wrote to me that he enjoys a good debate.
and a response
Your reactions to Michael's paper will be printed without censorship. He wrote to me that he enjoys a good debate.
For my part, I totally agree with some of Michael's points (which is of course why I printed his essay). In particular, the moral degradation of society through the media has worried me for a long time.
However, I disagree with other aspects of his stance.
First, I don't believe that the US, or any other country, should be ruled by the religion of a subset of its inhabitants. Part of the excuse for American military presence in the Middle East is to establish western-style democracies there, to divorce State from (Islamic) religion. We can't have it both ways. In any case, in my opinion, people like Michael choose to intepret the Bible in a way I object to. It is a source of divine inspiration, wisdom and counsel, because of the meaning behind the content. The actual words, the parables and stories, are myths, and human rather than divine-created. This is not the place to present the evidence (my current work in progress will address the issue). But suffice it to say that, in my opinion, people who interpret the sacred writing of their religion (Christian, Muslim or Jewish) literally are responsible for as much suffering and hardship as the people they oppose.
Second, Michael sees the UCLA as evil, and hell-bent on destroying society. This is more evident in some of his other essays. I believe this is a case of two well-meaning groups of people who happen to disagree. Neither is evil.
Third, I don't believe all abortion is wrong. I have worked with many people who were brought up by parents who hated them. They would rather have been aborted! Death is not the worst possible fate.
Finally, I must defend people whose sexual orientation is homosexual. I have seen a lot of tragedy because of the moral disapprobation of homosexuals in our society. Research shows that roughly one person in seven is 'programmed' to be homosexual. I have worked with many children whom their worried parents brought to me. These are kids in the 5 to 12 age range, before sexual feelings manifest, who act in a pre-homosexual rather than pre-heterosexual way. I have also counselled the grieving parents of young men and women who had committed suicide because they had tried to be 'straight' and couldn't do it.
Blaming such people 'because the Bible says it's evil' is like doing the same to children with Downs Syndrome.
Other people choose to be homosexual because of very severe past trauma. I have met many cases of women who had been repeatedly raped as children (often by family members), and lived a life of misery until they chose a Lesbian life, and similarly, many gay men are coping with sexual feelings the only way they can, after childhood sexual abuse by women, or by witnessing rape of a loved person by a man.
A new grief support email list
Award for Kathe and Ray Gogolewski
Free Australian Organic Gardening Resource Guide
Radio course for writers
The Noble (not Nobel) Prize for Literature
Margaret Muir's Sea Dust is available
Cheryl has established a group to support people who are affected by grief. There is information, articles and ideas that you may find useful. You are invited to post to the messageboard the things you have found useful in dealing with grief.
I have joined the group, and find it both helpful and inspiring.
Go to http://www.groups.yahoo.com and search for AustraliaTheWorldGriefSupport.
Kathe and Ray Gogolewski were presented with the Outstanding Member Award by the Publishers and Writers of San Diego (PWSD) at their annual holiday meeting in Encinitas, California on December 17, 2005. The couple, lauded for promotional activities and publishing successes, expressed interest in further networking with other members of the organization. “We found out that promotion works best when we combine our efforts with the efforts of others,” Kathe said. “We are pleased and honored,” Ray added.
PWSD at http://www.publisherswriters.org is a professional association of the publishing community in San Diego, educating business minded self-publishers and authors. It has served as a forum for education, networking, and motivation for nearly ten years. Originally founded as The San Diego Publishers Alliance, the group comprises members from all areas of publishing and writing—authors, self-publishers, independent publishers, editors, book packagers, designers, consultants, and promotional professionals.
Kathe and Ray Gogolewski are also members of TRI Studio Authors, LLC. You can find out more about them and their books at http://www.TRI-Studio.com.
Green Harvest publishes the free Australian Organic Gardening Resource Guide, 48 pages of organic gardening products and hints. The website www.greenharvest.com.au and online shop has a wealth of information and products including books, tools, propagation supplies, water saving products, organic seeds and hard-to-find pest control products to manage pests organically.
Double Dragon's Newest Offering -- POD Radio courses! Listen to award-winning authors as they share secrets and know-how that helped them get published, sell books and build a reader base.
Recently, five published authors got together to create a series of audio classes for writers. After they recorded their first class, Double Dragon Publishing offered them contracts, and established a brand new imprint to produce a series of 30 audio classes. Moderated by Allyn Evans, founder of http.queenpower.com, it is taught by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Kathe Gogolewski, Joyce Faulkner, and Marilyn Peake.
Instructor Marilyn Peake said, "I love doing these classes! I feel like I'm chatting with good friends whom really know how to discuss writing in-depth. I feel invigorated after each and every class, with my writing batteries completely recharged!"
Evans adds, "Besides having a blast, I have learned so much. I must confess it's hard to scribble down notes while trying to moderate a show, but all four of our experienced writers have so much to share."
The series will include three categories: Writing, Technology related to writing, and Book Promotion. All classes will be available in both MP3 and CD formats.
The first audio class is FREE in MP3 format (and can also be purchased as a CD). It is Radio: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Promoting Easy and Cheap! The second audio class is available for purchase in both MP3 and CD formats and is the perfect gift for any writer. The course -- Promote or Perish! The Greatest Myth of Publishing: Your Book Is Written, Now Let the Publisher Promote It -- is now available at Double Dragon Publishing. Remaining classes will be recorded in 2006.
Howard-Johnson is the founder of Authors' Coalition, the editor of an associated e-zine, "Sharing with Writers," and the author of THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T. She is also an instructor for the renowned Writers' Program at UCLA. Each of the instructors has expertise in an area related to writing and each is committed to sharing her expertise with other writers.
To listen to a 5-minute excerpt from the audio class Promote or Perish! The Greatest Myth of Publishing: Your Book Is Written, Now Let the Publisher Promote It, click here: http://tri-studio.com/kathegogolewskiPODCASTEXCERPT.html
To learn more about the courses being offered, visit: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/imprintlist.asp?imprint=PODRADIO
To learn more about Authors' Coalition go to: http://authorscoalitionandredenginepress.com
Praised or maligned, the Nobel Prize for Literature is always news. It selects the best from the world and therefore misses much of value. Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author and “Back to Literature” columnist for MyShelf.com, closes the gap (only slightly) with her an annual “Noble Prize for Literature.”
Over the last years the Nobel committee has recognized authors for their literary expertise but there has also been a trend toward awarding the prize for, as Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Tim Rutten says, “an author’s particular relevance to the moral moment in which the world finds itself.”
Howard-Johnson’s prize therefore concentrates on books that address these same issues. For her Noble Prize (as opposed to the NOBEL prize), Howard-Johnson considers books written in English (which narrows the field of prospects considerably) because writers who write in English have been rather neglected over the years and because that is the language in which she, ahem, reads well enough.
Howard-Johnson’s lists have included well-known authors who explore discrimination in their writing like Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison, but she tries to concentrate on talented literary authors who have not been posted to bestseller lists or won major awards. Some past winners are Randall Sylvis and LA's Leora G. Krygier.
The winners for 2005 just announced in January's issue of Myshelf are: Los Angeles writers and UCLA instructors Christopher Meeks, Suzanne Lummis and Caroline Leavitt. Others are Kauzo Ishiguro, Leora Skolkin-Smith, Sean Wisley, and Jeannette Walls.
Howard Johnson is no stranger to literary prizes. Her first, "This is the Place, " won the Reviewers’ Choice Award after it was published in 2001 and went on to win seven other awards. A chapter from the book was a finalist in the Masters’ Literary Award and another was selected for inclusion in The Copperfield Review. Her book of creative nonfiction, “Harkening,” has won three awards, her "Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't" was USA Book News' Best Professional Book of 2004 and her new book of poetry, "Tracings," was just named "Top 10 Reads for 2004" by The Compulsive Reader. She also is an instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers' Program.
Announcing the publication of 'Sea Dust' by Margaret Muir. 'Sea Dust', published in hardback by Robert Hale Ltd, was released in England on 31 December 2005. It will be available in Australia by mid February. 'Sea Dust' is a historical novel set in 1856 in Whitby, Yorkshire.
In order to escape from her cruel husband, Emma Quinlan stows away on a sailing ship bound for Australia. But the dangers she faces on board are far worse than those she has left behind. 'Sea Dust' is Emma's journey in which the emotional conflict and tension is reflected in the turbulent moods of the sea.
Margaret lives in country Western Australia. 'Sea Dust' is her first novel. You can read Chapter 1 on her website at http://www.margaretmuirauthor.com.
The ergonomics of living left by Cheryl O'Brien
When the bough breaks by Margaret Muir
er·go·nom·ics (ûrg-nmks) n.
The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.
Roget's Thesaurus records all of these words and terms as substitutes for 'left': larboard, leftward, near, nigh side, port, portside, sinister, sinistral, south, left-wing, leftist, liberal, progressive, revolutionary, socialist, continuing, departed, extra, forsaken, gone out, left over, marooned, over, remaining, residual, split, staying.
Roget's Thesaurus records all of this for 'left-handed': awkward, backhanded, careless, fumbling, gauche, heavy-handed, maladroit, ambidextrous, ambiguous, back-handed, double, double-dealing, double-edged, enigmatic, equivocal, hypocritical, indirect, ironic, sardonic.
During my early childhood I was smacked, cajoled, strapped, tormented, urged and teased into being what I am not. I am not a right-handed person.
Later in life people explained, attempted to excuse, and consoled me about my early battle of being the only lefty in a righty family. Excuses included the religious, Judas Iscariot sat at Jesus' left hand side during the last supper, an excuse which equated my leftness with the trait of betrayal. Cultural explanations were no better, apparently in some cultures the left hand is used for toiletting practices, the right reserved for eating and other such clean habits, an explanation which equated my leftness with being unclean or dirty. Consolation included the need to understand that in the 'old days', whichever days they happen to be, 'everyone' was right handed, a consolation which excluded me from being a part of 'everyone'.
Politically speaking to be on the left is to be, not conservative enough, too free, unrestrained and radical. Urban myths abound of leftness being considered to be because of right-brainness making the 'sufferer' more creative and less logical in a logical orientated world.
My home is designed as such that to enter my house I have to use my right hand. When I fill my glass with cold water I must use my right hand. All but one light switch is on the right side of a doorway forcing the use of my right hand. When I step into my shower I have to remember the tap which my left hand is in charge of is the hot tap, a fact which made me avoid showers and prefer baths in my younger years after scalding myself in a hot shower that my brain thought should be a cool shower. I bought a clothes iron which has a central extending electric chord to avoid those which are the wrong way around for lefty ironing. I don't have a washing machine at the moment, but those I have had were all right-operated. Television switches are right-operated. The desk I sit at has the drawers on the right-hand side. My digital camera is right-operated.
When purchasing scissors I need to remember to find the lefty ones. I don't use the ice-cream scoops with the little metal band that loosens the ice-cream from the scoop as it is right operated, I use the plain scoop that is ambidextrous in nature.
At 40 years of age people still take the time to explain to me how I can train myself to be right-handed, without bothering to discover that I have tried that and didn't like it. People still comment on the 'oddness' of left-handedness and even though we don't live in the 'old days' I still hear parents tirading about the need to right their children's handedness.
Just as some people are born with blue eyes and some with hazel, green, brown, or grey, some people are right-handed, some are left-handed, and some are ambidextrous.
The world we live in is ergonically designed to benefit right-handed people, placing leftys at an instant disadvantage.
Cheryl is a frequent contributor to bobbing around, and a wonderful human being. She is the owner of several email lists devoted to issues such as writing, and grieving for lost loved ones. Enter 'AustraliaTheWorld' as a search term at http://www.groups.yahoo.com.
'When the bough breaks' is about Nicole, a young mother who survived a horrific accident. But because of her injuries and her inability to work full time, she was barred by the Board from finishing her apprenticeship. For a year and a half she fought the controlling body with no success. But almost immediately after the publication of the following article, Nicole was given approval to continue her training. She will complete her apprenticeship in 2006.
"I had borrowed Dad's Hilux to take my girls shopping. It was nearly lunchtime when I packed the groceries in the car and we set off home on the Great Eastern Highway. It was a warm day so I wound the car window down."
Nicole remembers the day well. It was 1st November, 2000. Her three year old daughter, Jessica, was sitting in the back. She had a seat belt on. Courtney, ten months, was in her child safety seat. "She was asleep," said Nicole. "And for a second I fell asleep too."
She remembers the wheels hitting the gravel and trying to get the car back on the road. "But I overcorrected and the car swerved. I put my hand out of the window and onto the roof in an attempt to hold on."
The Toyota rolled four times.
"When it stopped, my first thoughts were for the girls. The shopping was scattered everywhere inside the car. Jessica had bumped her head but she was okay. Courtney was still in the child seat but she was crying." All the flesh and muscle had been stripped from Nicole's right arm. "I couldn't reach round to unfasten Courtney's harness, and, as the car was on its side, even if I did, I knew she would roll out and I wouldn't be able to catch her. Fortunately," said Nicole, "Jessica managed to get herself out of her seat belt. Then she saw my arm.
"I told her it was only beetroot juice and asked her to check on her sister. I never felt any pain. I was just worried about the girls."
Nicole had not realised her injuries were critical. Her shoulder, upper arm and forearm were broken. Her wrist, hand and knuckle were shattered. And apart from the fractures, her arm was de-gloved from the back of her hand to the elbow.
"I spent a month in hospital," she said.
Much of that time was in the Burns Unit where she underwent reconstruction and skin grafts. A steel plate was inserted into her upper arm and pins and screws in her hand. Muscle from her abdomen was used to replace the muscle stripped from her forearm, this was then covered with skin taken from her leg. Bone from her hip was used to rebuild her shattered wrist.
"I learned afterwards that they were going to amputate my arm," Nicole said. "At first, because of the pain, I wished it had gone. But now I am glad I have it."
Australian Transport Safely Bureau statistics show that in 2004, 178 people died on Western Australian roads; 1598 died throughout Australia. Since 1990 around 22,000 have been seriously injured each year in road crashes. According to a Bureau of Transport Economics report, road accidents cost Australia $15 billion per year, a staggering $41 million every day. Mr. Grzebieta, President of the Australasian College of Road Safety, said that road trauma also devastates families and rips at the fabric of our society.
For Nicole, life changed after the accident. She and her husband separated, leaving her to raise Jessica and Courtney alone. But because of her permanent injury, her opportunity to compete in the workforce was severely reduced.
When Nicole was offered the chance to return to hairdressing she was delighted. She loved the work and wanted to become financially independent. Despite having only 10% mobility in her wrist, she coped well, and the appearance of her knurled arm did not embarrass her. But she dearly wanted to complete her apprenticeship.
Though Nicole will never regain full use of her arm, she knows she was lucky she did not suffer brain or spinal injury, and that because of the seat belts, her girls, Jessica and Courtney, now aged seven and five, survived uninjured.
Nicole's accident was the direct result of falling asleep at the wheel. Dr Mark Rosekind, a fatigue specialist at NASA's Ames Research Centre in California, said drowsy people are notoriously bad at judging their ability to stay awake. If you are travelling at 100 km per hour and close your eyes for two seconds, the car will travel 50 metres. Enough distance to do plenty of damage.
"These days I make sure I never drive when I'm tired," Nicole said.
Margaret Muir is a talented Western Australian writer who has recently contributed to bobbing around on a variety of issues. She is the author of Sea Dust.
Cancer: A personal challenge reviewed by Georgiann Baldino
and by Michael Larocca
Dr. Bob Rich has divided the book into four parts: hope, facts, living with cancer, and tools for fighting back. Each section builds on the others. Topics introduced in the first chapter are expanded and reinforced in the sections that follow. While reading this book I could feel and appreciate how the contributors' strong beliefs have led them to develop the coping techniques. The authors are careful to explain that a great number of self-help and alternative therapies are available. They show us the importance of choosing a lifestyle that encourages the immune system and illustrate what has worked for others. At the same time, the authors respect how vital it is for individuals to confront the diagnosis, gather the hope and encouragement already in their lives, embrace new ideas, and find things to sustain them during the struggle to return to health.
I was glad to see that coping with cancer is also shown from a caregiver's perspective. Phyllis Phucas writes movingly about the experience of caring for her husband. Patients and caregivers alike can learn from her. She tells us, "It's frustrating to redirect a loved one constantly about everything. It's so easy to revert to ordering him around, but that doesn't work at all. I have to constantly remind myself to request everything of him, as if he could make a good decision." Her account shows a wisdom that goes beyond caring for her husband's physical needs to nursing his emotional and spiritual needs as well.
The writing is penetrating, insightful, and intelligent. If you want to learn how to become a valuable member of your health care team, mobilize your inner healing resources, and encourage your immune system this book is a wonderful resource. The contributors use poetry, fiction and fact to show you the truths of dealing with cancer. I recommend Cancer, A personal Challenge for patients with cancer, their friends, and family. The hope given is realistic, and the tools teach us the importance of nurturing a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Georgiann Baldino lives in the U.S. and has developed a therapeutic journaling workshop for cancer patients and caregivers in northern Illinois. She is also the author of numerous short stories, nonfiction articles and novels. Her current novels are: The Acts of Judas, Treble Heart Books and The Nursing Home Fugitive, available from Australian Publisher, Smink Works Books
I came at this book from a strange place. To the best of my knowledge, none of my friends and none of my family have ever had cancer. I strongly suspect I'll die of other causes. My family tree is littered with the fruit of almost inconceivable longevity. However, the editor of this book is Dr Bob Rich, who I greatly respect and admire. Since he chose to be involved with this book, I figured I oughta read it. He's never steered me wrong.
I came away from this book with a whole bunch of misconceptions cleared up. If you or a loved one has cancer, this book is absolutely essential reading. For the rest of us, it's great information that we all need. Will it, as its author challenged me via email, save my life? I can't be certain, but I'm willing to acknowledge the possibility is strong. The stubborn old bastard in me can do no more.
Part One, There Is Hope. Part Two, The Facts. Part Three, Living With It. Part Four, Tools For Fighting Back. The statistics on how many people get cancer are mind-boggling. I had no idea. But where does it come from? Again, I had no idea. I'm writing this review two weeks after reading the book, because I needed some time just to process it. I had it so wrong. In so many ways. I think you should read this book for the same reason. In my case, it put my mind at ease. I don't know what it'll do in your case.. But hey, it's knowledge. That's always the best first step, no matter the subject. Plus, it really might save your life.
Michael has often contributed to bobbing around. He is a talented writer and editor. He and I have a mutual admiration society going. His newsletter, Who moved my rice provides entertainment to many people.
Recently, a local writer's group had a guest speaker with an unusual topic--one that this woman had kept secret for over 50 years.
You see, she was too embarrassed to admit that at the age of 14 she'd joined her mother and aunts onstage as a burlesque stripper. Of course, in those days a stripper left on more clothes than you'd see today in any department store ad or at the beach. But nonetheless, a stripper she was, with scanty clothes, spinning tassels, and infamous friends such as Sally Rand and Ann Corio.
Her name is Lillian Kiernan Brown and she wrote a book named Banned In Boston.
In the 1950's, Burlesque had outlived its day of being the breeding ground for comedians, actors, singers, perhaps some writers, and yes, strippers. Many famous personalities got their start in burlesque and vaudeville, and the author remembers Phil Silvers, Robert Goulet, and others performing at the theatre where she worked.
Her presentation brought back memories of growing up outside of Boston at the end of this era.
When I was in high school, sometime about 1955, a few friends and I skipped school and went to the Old Howard in Scollay Square. We were excited--the featured stripper was named Candy Barr and she had quite a reputation. But at the same time we were nervous that we might get caught, or worse, get into trouble in that run-down section of Boston. Being from a small conservative town about 12 miles north of Boston, this was all new to us.
I remember that as we entered the Old Howard it was so dark inside we had to stand at the back of the theatre for quite some time to let our eyes get adjusted to the low light. And once they did and we looked around at the audience, we realized we were entering a strange environment of undistinguished gentlemen.
A burlesque comedy act was on, so we snuck down the right-hand isle and grabbed some seats at the very end of a row just opposite an exit door. We figured it was safer to have two options in case we needed a fast exit. I was seated in the first seat just off the isle and noticed a set of metal steps that ran up the side wall to a door on the second level. It looked like an inside fire escape, but I didn't give it much thought.
Candy Barr came on next and we were mesmerized by her act: a real live pinup girl who exceeded our wildest 15 year-old imaginations. But before we knew it, it was over and she was gone. We argued over whether to stay for another act or leave while our luck was holding out. Just when the temptation to stay was winning, the door at the top of the metal staircase opened and several strippers stepped out onto the metal platform and started down the stairs toward us.
We sat there with our mouths open. Was this luck, or what? Four beautiful strippers, dressed in scanty costumes covered only by loose wraps, were going to walk right by us. We could reach out and touch them if we dared!
The last one in line was none other than Miss Candy Barr herself. My heart was beating so fast I figured I'd be the youngest person in the theatre to have a heart attack. And, just as she hopped off the last step, her high heels caught on something and she stumbled toward me. I started to rise to catch her but it was too late. She bumped into me and we both went sprawling back into my seat.
I was sitting there with Miss Candy Barr in my lap!
She smiled at me, murmured something about being sorry, and was up and gone in a flash. But the memory of her body heat and smell lingered for a very long time, all the way back home on the MTA and for several days afterwards.
Of course, I was a local hero for a short period of time--too short. But as I look back on that event I have to smile at how naive I was and how wonderful it was to be 15 in 1955.
Ron is a past editing client who keeps sending new customers along to me. He is the author of the dry humor Dun Wheeling, PI novels: SOS, Night Before August, and Castles of Deceit. He lives in Florida with his wife of 40 years and is already working on the next in the series. You can learn more about Ron at his website: www.ronpeters.net.
Two winners will receive one Valentine gift box of Godiva Chocolates. Five winners will receive one print copy of LOVE An Anthology complete with author autograph plate. Ten winners will receive one ebook download in the genre of their choice from a Books We Love author. One winner will receive an ebook download copy of Cupid's Capers.
January 14 - February 14.
Click on the author index buttons on the contest page and visit the Books We Love author pages. Sign FIVE author guest books to let them know you've visited, then fill out the entry form on the contest page. Enter as often as you like but you must sign 5 guest books for each entry. Remember signatures will be verified before any prizes are awarded to winners.
You will find all contest information and entry form by going to the Books We Love main page and clicking on the CUPID’S CAPERS button.
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