Bobbing Around

Volume Six, Number Seven
April, 2007

Bob Rich's rave  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
  Belgium bans uranium weapons.
  A response on Venezuela.
  A reponse on DU.
  The Access Card: Big Brother wants to watch you.
  Cannibalism is good for you.
  Fuel ethanol? by John Michael Greer.
  Saving Resources, by Cheryl O'Brien.
  Wind power in Spain.
  The eco-switch.
*Social justice, one person at a time
*How to Graduate from the College of Hard Knocks
  Breast cancer link -- and a story.
*Helping others
  I am so angry!
  Response: having a second child?
  'Choices': A DVD to help with teenage crime.
  Cheryl O'Brien on sleep.
*For writers
  'Silent Killers: How to create dead manuscripts' by Jane Toombs.
*What my friends want you to know
  Carolyn at Book Expo America.
  Jim Choron's book discounted.
  Darrell Bain's April newsletter.
  Ron Peters' 4th book is out.
  Traumatic Incident Reduction course.
  You CAN win something for nothing.

An occasion

   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.

   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.


Belgium bans uranium weapons.
A response on Venezuela.
A response on DU.
The Access Card: Big Brother wants to watch you.

Belgium bans uranium weapons
by Willem Van den Panhuysen

   Belgium has become the first country in the world to ban uranium weapons! ICBUW praises the hard work and commitment of the Belgian Coalition Stop Uranium Weapons.

   On March the 7th, 2007, the Belgian Chamber Commission on National Defence voted unanimously in favour of banning the use of depleted uranium "inert ammunitions and armour plates on Belgian territory." Although Belgium isn't a user of DU, it is the home of NATO and regularly has US DU shipments travelling through its port of Antwerp .

   Acknowledging the Precautionary Principle, the deputies agreed that the manufacture, use, storage, sale, acquisition, supply and transit of these conventional weapon systems should be prohibited. At the last minute, the term "weapon" was deleted to make sure that the law proposal would not cover the US thermonuclear bombs that are stored on the Air Force base of Kleine Brogel.

   On Thursday 22nd March, the bill was adopted by Parliament, again with a unanimous vote from across the political spectrum; making Belgium the first country in the world to ban ammunitions and armour that contain depleted uranium, or any other industrially manufactured uranium.

   Because it was suggested that the government needs time to promote the ban outside Belgium , and because the Dutch-speaking liberal-democrat party wanted to know if other countries would be willing to follow the Belgian example, it is now stipulated in the accepted text that the law will enter into force two years after its publication in the Belgian Statute Book.

   The decision is the culmination of more than three years hard work, direct action and lobbying by the Belgian Coalition 'Ban Uranium Weapons'. While many Belgian politicians were extremely supportive of the process, ICBUW praised Dirk van der Maelen, the leader of the Flemish Socialists, in particular for his committment to our cause. Muriel Gerkens and Marie Nagy of the Greens and Joseph Arens of the Christian Democrats also played an important part in the process. The work of expert witnesses such as Dr Keith Baverstock and the support of the military, represented by EUROMIL, was also crucial.

   The vote represents a growing awareness of the issue among European countries, thanks in no small part to the European Parliament's repeated calls for a ban on the use of uranium weapons. ICBUW is convinced that Belgium will soon be followed by other states in implementing domestic bans, which in turn will give the campaign more leverage at an international level.


I published a vigorous defence of Venezuela in the last issue. Here is a response from Dan King:

   Remember the self-proclaimed liberators of Africa--those big men with big dreams and even bigger ambitions. Recall Kwame Nkrumah, first elected president of Ghana who invented the anti-imperialist, long-forgotten philosophy of Nkrumahism. This man intended to unite all of Africa under his wise leadership. Instead he simply led his country into poverty.

   Do not forget Leopold Senghor, the poet and intellectual, the very man who invented negritude, a man who thought that his people were sheep needing his ever-loving and perpetual care. And yet today, his Senegalese compatriots flee their country in rickety boats for the Canary Islands, from where they hope to earn a menial living in Spain.

   Spare a thought for Milton Obote, recently deceased, the freely-elected, two-time dictator of Uganda, whose illustrious career of mass murder was overshadowed by Idi Amin. What a shame that today this honorable murderer is nearly unknown in the larger world, all because some two-bit, illiterate upstart, yet another anti-imperialist fighter, was able to out-do him in only five years.

   Take pity on Julius Nyerere, truly an honest and gentle man, with at least the good sense to retire voluntarily. But this man created ujamaa, an anti-imperialist philosophy akin to that of North Korea, predictably reducing Tanzania to among the poorest countries on the continent.

   Shed a tear for Robert Mugabe, the honest winner of a free election--let's see, that happened in the 1970's, I believe. This unfortunate gentleman is so enamored of his own ability that even the total destruction of his own people is not too small a price to pay.

   And why do I remember these? Because one of Bob's correspondents champions Hugo Chavez, the newly re-elected president of Venezuela. Mr. Chavez, we should understand, is a new light in the political firmament, having invented the Bolivarian Revolution. How this differs from Nkhrumahism, ujamaa or negritude is unclear. Indeed, nobody really knows what the Bolivarian Revolution is supposed to accomplish, anyway. No matter--like all the others, it is anti-imperialist and anti-American, and thus worthy of our support.

   So let's keep Mr. Chavez in our thoughts as he progresses from elected president, to impoverisher of his country, to mass murderer. Do you think it will take him as long as it took Mr. Mugabe--30 years? I rather doubt it--I predict that Mr. Chavez will rise to the challenge in less than half the time.

   If you want to know what I really think about politicians (and more), may I recommend my book, Naked in Haiti, published by Anina's Book Company, distributed by Booksurge (sorry, Bob), and best of all, edited by Bob Rich. You can find it at

Dan King.

A response on DU
from Benny Zable


   I wish to point out one issue which needs to be questioned and clarified: the issue of depleted uranium. There is no proof of depleted uranium being used in Australia according to James Courtney who has for the past 20 years headed the Nuclear Campaigns for Greenpeace.

   I think it is best that proof is substantiated on this issue.

The Access Card: Big Brother wants to watch you

   Australia's Federal Government is trying to establish an ID system for every man, woman and child in Australia. Whilst the card itself is not available to anyone under 18 without a current Medicare card, their details will be recorded on their parent's card and as such the system will catch everyone.

   The Access Card--an ID card in disguise--is significantly different from what we have now and is much more intrusive even than the Australia Card proposed in 1986 and voted down by the Democrats and Liberal parties.

   It will create a single key through which both government and business can confidently index, link, track and profile our movements, transactions and personal affairs, combining records in large scale and routine ways. The central register will be a massive database with potentially no limits on who will have access to it.

   The Access Card legislation has already been referred to the Senate Finance & Administration Senate committee, which handed down its scathing report on 15 March 2007. The Committee's comprehensive analysis of the legislation has revealed faults in the application process, the register, the chip, and the card itself. After much debate the Government sensibly withdrew the Bill.

   While the government is reworking its legislation, we have until June 2007 to expose the access card for what it is: an offensive and intrusive surveillance card. If we don't, it will be legislated into existence by 2008.

   And you can't rely on Labor to overturn the card if they win government either. Shadow Minister Tanya Plibersek says they won't dismantle the card if contracts have been let for the work! The Government has already called tenders so the contract will be let later this year to establish the Access Card.

   The Democrats have been at the forefront of the campaign against this card, and will continue to fight it, just like the Australia Card in the 1980s.

   PETITION: Say No to the Access Card


Cannibalism is good for you.
Fuel ethanol? by John Michael Greer.
Saving Resources by Cheryl O'Brien.
Wind power in Spain.
The eco-switch.

Cannibalism is good for you

   A brief notice in the last issue had me thinking...

   The best, most nourishing meat you can have is human flesh. After all, nothing needs to be transformed. It is exactly like your own body, and therefore is the perfect food for it.

   I am not speaking from personal experience, but I believe it is also delicious, tasting very much like pig meat. This implies that you can prepare it in the many delicious ways developed for pigs: bacon, ham, pork in its various forms.

   Of course, you have to be careful about diseases. It is essential to cook human well, otherwise you could ingest micro-organisms that could harm you.

   What's wrong with this scenario?

   That steak you are eating will have been the muscles of some person with feelings just like yours. It is evil and unacceptable to kill another human being for any reason, so it is doubly evil to kill someone for food.

   But if we accept this argument, then it applies to more than the species we mis-call homo sapiens. Suppose that tomorrow a tribe of Neatherlanders was discovered, or the mysterious Yowie was tracked down, or perhaps the little people in Indonesia. They are a different species, but also have language, names for each other, a culture, even if primitive. They are people, although a different species.

   Would it be right to eat them?

   If not, then the same argument applies to others species that are entirely different from us, but exhibit signs of sentience and self-awareness.

   There are such species, and humans have been eating them.

   Scientific studies in the last few years have indicated that the whale family have all the characteristics we value in people:


  • Dolphins have been shown to have names for each other. Two dolphins can talk about a third one when that dolphin is not present.


  • The humpback whale is a krill eater rather than a hunter like the dolphin, so until recently was considered to be less intelligent. However, a study has shown that its brain is structured in a way that closely parallels that of anthropoid apes including man.


  • Cetaceans have shown grief reactions to the loss of their companions.


  • They assist and protect a mother and new-born, and in other ways engage in actions that would be considered acts of heroism in humans.

       Killing them is murder.

       Eating them is cannibalism.

    Fuel ethanol?
    by John Michael Greer

       Expecting some other energy resource to provide energy on the same scale and level of concentration as petroleum, just because we happen to want one, is a little like responding to one huge lottery win by assuming that when that money starts running out, another equally large win can be had for the cost of a few more tickets. This is close enough to today's consumer psychology that it's easy to imagine somebody in this position pouring all the money he has left into lottery tickets, and throwing away his chances of avoiding bankruptcy because the only solution he can imagine is winning the lottery again. And this, again, is exactly the mentality of current attempts to fuel industrial society by pouring our food supply into our gas tanks.

    Check out John's blog for other gems.

    Saving Resources
    by Cheryl O'Brien

    Hi Bob,

       I was impressed by Yumico Tanaka's idea for saving paper in the classroom and thought it would be good if everyone who receives your newsletter submitted their ideas for saving our natural resources and maybe one day you could dedicate your newsletter to these ideas that help us all. In light of that, I have compiled these suggestions for saving our natural resources:

       Wash out and reuse containers rather than buying containers. I wash out margarine tubs and reuse them to freeze portions of soups, stews, casseroles etc. I wash out jars and their lids and use these as mouse and bug proof canisters for foodstuffs in my pantry. I reuse plant pots all the time. When I buy a plant in a pot the pot is washed out and then used when I want to take cuttings from my garden, grow seeds or to give a plant away as a present.

       Use layered steamers to cook your vegies. This means that you can cook lots of different vegetables using the same energy as just one vegie in a saucepan also it means that you use far less water in the cooking process.

       Grow native plants in your garden and collect and germinate the seeds. Plant the seedlings or donate them to a local bush regeneration programme. Better still, join the bush regeneration programme and help plant them in your local bush areas. Many Aussie native plants have hard pods that require a half hour on a low heat in an oven to open. Alternatively, place them in a glass container in a sunny position for a few days to open the pods or nuts.

       Turn off appliances at the wall when not in use. Standby mode is still using electricity. Turn off the appliances you are not using right now at the wall switch.

       Replace all light bulbs with low wattage energy saver bulbs.

       Plan your day so that if you take the car out you accomplish several things on one round trip rather than going back and forth.

       Walk or cycle wherever possible. Self powered transportation is healthier, cheaper, and saves a lot of pollution in our environment as well as saving on the use of fossil fuels.

       Turn off your air conditioner / heater and learn to live with a bit of heat or cold. Use these appliances only when very necessary. You'll save a lot of money and a lot of fossil fuel and you will be healthier!

       I hope these suggestions are helpful and I look forward to reading everyone else's suggestions too.

    Kind regards
    International Literary Networking Group

    Wind power in Spain

       On March 20th, Spain's wind power generation rose to contribute 27 per cent of the country's total daily power demands, surpassing supplies by nuclear and coal. This is a new record for contribution of wind-generated power at a given time to their electricity grid. As projected, this occurred without any stability issues.

       Spain's installed wind power capacity is the second highest in the world at 11,615 Mega Watts (MW). Half of the country's wind farm fleet is constructed of older technology with much less efficiency than what is currently available. Spain will increase installed wind capacity to 20,000MW by 2010 and are adding 2000MW in the year 2007.

       Spain's electricity grid is approximately the same size of Australia's NEM (National Electricity Market) Grid, making it a prime model for comparison. Spain's success with wind power also presents an exciting opportunity for Australia to follow its renewable lead, given Spain's poor wind and solar potential energy resources when compared to Australia.

       The Global Wind Energy Council reported a record boom in the wind energy markets across 70 countries for 2006. Despite formidable political barriers, wind power has earned its place as a mainstream energy source.

       Australia is 15 times the size of Spain, with only half of Spain's population. With around one thirtieth of Spain's population density, Australia has a phenomenal capacity for wind generation that remains untapped.

    The eco-switch: a new invention that'll save you money

       Rod Sheppard, who lives in his own sustainable house out in country Victoria, has invented a very simple but ingenious device called the "Eco Switch". It's an energy saving device that enables you to turn off ALL your electrical devices at ONE switch. So you no longer have to leave all of your electrical gadgets on stand-by all day and night -- which guzzles lots of electricity -- but can simply and easily switch them off when you're not using them. It's the sort of incredibly simple device that you would assume already exists... but it doesn't! So big cheers to Rod for inventing it.

       You can check out the Eco-Switch at This clever invention will also be screened on The New Inventors on the ABC on April 25th at 8 pm.

       To support Rod in this brave endeavour, you can go to his website and register your interest in the Eco-Switch. There is no obligation to buy it, but your support will be an indication to potential investors of the market for this product and may help Rod to get a license for his invention.

    Social justice, one person at a time

       Alfredo Zotti is a relatively new email friend. He lives in a government complex of 28 houses. The culture of this complex is largely one of alcohol and drug consumption. Very few people work. Most exist on welfare payments such as New Start allowance, carer or disability pension. He is there because he is the full time carer for his disabled wife.

       Many of his neighbours are Aboriginals, and are in trouble with the law a great deal at the time. In court, they face a foreign culture -- one of middle class whites, educated language, prejudice against them.

       He writes:

       He is aware that with the best of will, the application of mainstream ideas of justice will be unfair to disadvantaged groups such as Aboriginals.

       Alfredo's wonderful voluntary work reminds me of a cartoon by Michael Leunig, Australia's foremost philosopher. The tide has receded, and thousands of starfish are dying on the beach. An old man is throwing them back, one at a time. A young fellow rails at him: "You old idiot! What's the point? There are thousands, what does it matter if you save a few?" The old bloke throws the next starfish into the sea, saying, "It matters a lot -- to THIS starfish."

    How to Graduate from the College of Hard Knocks

    by Cheryl O'Brien

       I have never met Cheryl, but consider her to be one of my most treasured friends. She has often contributed her wisdom to 'Bobbing Around'.

       She sent me a 2000 word essay, which she has also has on her own web site I liked it so much that, with her permission, I have posted it to Here are the first 500 words or so:

       I have been told that I have a PhD from the College of Hard Knocks. Having experienced many of the toughest things a person can face, I have learnt much about surviving the tough stuff and moving along. Much of what I have learnt can be applied without having to experience those same things.

       When life throws curved balls your way, learn to catch or duck! Catch the balls worth catching and duck the rest.

       During my early teens I was institutionalised in a place where I did not belong. The 100 or so other residents were all adults and all had serious problems. This particular institute used abuse and neglect of its residents as a standard management technique. I knew I did not belong there but because of my youth, it took a while to work out how to extricate myself from the institution.

       In the meantime I learnt a great deal about life and people. I learned how to really look at myself and how I present to the world and also to assess my values. Along the way I learnt the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous and discovered that one does not have to be an alcoholic to find the 12 steps useful. When I finally left the institute I took with me lots of information and useful concepts on coping with life.

       In other words I kept the curved balls worth keeping, and the other balls I let wizz by. I took what applied to me and left the rest.

       When waves keep knocking you over, keep getting up, and if you don't want to be knocked over or you are sick of getting back up, get out of the ocean!

       As a tiny tot our family lived on a farm near the beach so we had the very best of both worlds: the lovely freedom that farm kids everywhere celebrate daily and the close proximity to the lovely energies of the ocean. The occasional day out on the beach was always pleasant and involved having a picnic and lots of sand castles and splashing in the water.

       During one of these days out on the beach when I was four years old, I stood chest deep in water and got knocked over time and time again by the waves. Twice my brother had reached down into the water and grabbed my drifting body and dragged me back to shallow water. Again I followed my older siblings out into the deeper water and was knocked over by a wave. This time I went under the water for what felt like a very long time and could not tell which way was up under the pounding waves. I was thrashing around and began to panic. Eventually my brother found me and this time could only grasp my little blonde locks in his fingers to drag me back to the shallow water. He swooped me up into his arms and took me high and dry on the beach.

       "Twice is too much. Three times means you're in the wrong place! Stay out of the water," he commanded in that tone only oldest brothers can muster.

    Do read the rest. It'll be worth your while.

    More on cancer

    Breast cancer link -- and a story

       The last issue included an invitation for people affected by breast cancer to join the chat room 'Chiwag'. Only, Carolyn forgot to include the link. Here it is:

       She has also forwarded a message, one that brought me close to crying:

       My girl was diagnosed with BC but unfortunately it was advanced.

       Together we went to see her GP who told us it was a cyst. After 12 mths, and at least 3 or 4 more visits to the GP, he giving assurance it was only a cyst, the "cyst" had finally taken over her right breast.

       Finally in desperation we just barged into a specialist's surgery and demanded an examination. Got one due the desperate looks on our faces I guess.

       Got the bad news. My beautiful wife did the lot, guys. Chemo big time, surgery, radio, and more "mop up" chemo. Did the rebuild thing and nothing but regrets here. The most invasive surgery ever.

       Went into remission for around 6 mths. That was a special time. Did an island cruse. We were so happy.

       Had pain at Bali -- just general type stuff, and went to see about it. The cancer had now returned with a vengeance. Knocked the wind out of our sails. In the bones, liver and brain.

       You have no idea how she battled this. With such courage and determination -- she never once gave up -- for the sake of our three little kids I'm sure. I pushed her around in a wheel chair for the last 12 months.

       It's now three years on and we still miss her so much in our lives. We are still hurting so much. Still cry myself to sleep sometimes as I know my kids do. She was my one and only, my best mate, my lover, my wife and mother of my kids.

       My point here is, please don't put off going for a check-up, if not for yourself then for the people who care about and love you.


    Helping Others

    I am so angry!
    Response: having a second child?
    Choices: a DVD to help with teenage crime.
    Cheryl O'Brien on sleep.

    I am so angry!


    Hello my name is Mary. I don't know what I should do. I have serious anger issues, I seem to get angry very easily. Last-night my husbands dog shit in my bed for the 4th time because I forgot to shut my bedroom door and I put the choke chain on him and beat him. I choked him so bad I made his eye hemorrhage. Oh my God, that is not me. I don't know what is wrong with me. I am an animal lover and I feel horrible. What do I do?

       I was molested from the time I was 7-10 years old. I think things are trying to resurface but I don't know how to release them so I am taking my anger out on the dog. I don't have money to get help so what is the next best thing? Please, I hate feeling so angry. I feel like my heart is going to explode when something sets me off. I try to hold it in but the feeling in me is so great. I don't even know how to explain it to my husband because he doesn't understand. I really need help and don't know what to do. I would be very gratefulif you would be able to suggest something I might be able to try. Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail.


    Dear Mary,

       I would be furious too if a dog shat in my bed.

       It is OK to feel angry. In fact, whatever feelings, thoughts or moods you have, they are OK. They come without being invited. If you have no choice in something, then you have no responsibility for it.

       However, we do have choice in how we RESPOND to our feelings, thoughts and moods. You are perfectly right: you should not have been cruel to that dog.

       But again, feeling guilty does nothing. It only causes hurt to you without removing the hurt from the dog. The proper response, therefore, is how to prevent it from happening the next time?

       You might put a sign on the door to remind you to keep it shut. You can get some books or information from the internet on how to train animals, and teach the dog to behave better.

       And above all, you can learn how to respond to feelings of anger.

       I don't know where you live. In most places, there is access to free or very cheap counselling, and anger management groups, supplied by neighborhood health centers, or religious organizations such as the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army or the Anglican Church. These services are for everyone, not just for members of that religious group, and they do not try to convert you.

       As the victim of childhood sexual abuse, you may well qualify for crime compensation, which will also fund therapy. In Australia, where I live, there is a very good system for this, and I do a lot of work with victims of crime. If there is no such system in your country, again there may be private organizations that help adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. If there is a phone line like Crisis Line, Help Line or Samaritans, ask them. Such services have a very good list of available help.

       Also, look at, the web site of the Traumatic Incident Reduction organization. They may have a practitioner near you. That person should be able to help you for a very reasonable fee.

       Mary, we always have a choice in what we do. If you find an anger management group, the first skills they will teach you are to tune in to early warning signals that you can pick up BEFORE becoming uncontrollably angry, and how to take time out in that situation. If you'd had a few seconds to cool down, you would have stayed angry at the dog, but would have dealt with the situation in a reasonable manner.

       You might want to look at my book 'Anger and Anxiety'. It is available very cheaply at Twilight Times Books, and may help you with understanding and controlling your anger.

       Finally, what has been done to us is not a prison. We can always walk out of it. I have overcome the effects of a great deal of abuse. So can you.


    Response: having a second child?

    Hi Bob,

       I wondered if I could write a reply to Vicky about whether to have a second child.

       I am an only child, and I have both good and bad feelings about it. I didn't have any problems with it when I was a kid -- having only 1 kid meant my parents had more money available for things like family trips. I spent more time with adults than some of my friends, but it helped make me comfortable in talking with them and I believe gave me a good sense of self-confidence in my own opinion.

       The only thing I noticed that I did NOT get as a child, was an understanding that siblings could actually hurt each other when they fight. I actually thought that one would never want to actually hurt one's sibling. Who knew!

       Now that I am older (39), sure, I would like to have the camaraderie of a sibling, though I realize that doesn't necessarily happen. But the main thing is that I would like to have a sibling to go through the aging of my parents along with me. Perhaps if I was married, I wouldn't feel so alone in this -- I don't know. My parents are both in their 70s, with various health issues, and it would be nice to have someone to share the responsibility and worries with, and to know I would not be alone when they go.

       OK, all that being said, I want to let you know what has really been great to help me with the downside of being an only child. I have some great friends who have always been there for me. Three of them are like sisters to me. One I was friends with since birth, one since high school, and one since college. I have long felt a part of their families. I know I can count on them when I need them. They also know my parents well so they can commiserate with me over 'parental' things they say etc. So I totally recommend encouraging friendships for your child.

       One last thing -- you could always adopt...

       Whatever you do, as long as you love and support your son, and help ensure he has a network of people to look to for support if anything happens to you, you should be good!


    Choices: a DVD to help with teenage crime

       Teen Violence is higher today than ever before. What is the answer? One answer is to show the kids what it's like in prison, which is where they will go if they do crimes, drugs, alcohol and being in gangs. The Choice Is Yours DVD was filmed on death row. It has made a big difference to thousands of kids already. Great for kids fourth grade and up.

       Five men on death row talk about life, death and their mistakes. Their days as carefree youths have ended. They are facing death or, if they are lucky, a long period of isolation. They know it. Their families know it. They know why they are there and they want to help other youngsters from facing their bleak future, day in and day out. The Choice Is Yours is a stark video containing stories from the five men.

       They let the kids know that this will not just affect themselves, but their whole family. Their brothers and sisters will be ostracized by other kids at school. Kids won't be allowed to play with them, and they will be outcasts. Their mothers and fathers will die a little each day they sit on death row knowing one day their child will sit in the electric chair and die.

       These men come out one by one, in chains, and tell of life on death row. Their daily lives consist of the 8 x 10 cell where they must live, eat, sleep and go to the bathroom. They have no choices left. They don't get to eat hamburgers, steak, or pizza any longer.

       They can't go to the refrigerator to get a cold drink or snack. They must wait upon guards who pass their food in the slot, with plastic silverware. The food is not cooked with salt and other spices and most of it all tastes the same. Horrible.

       They get one hour a day outside in the chain link pen. They won't be able to feel grass beneath their feet, or smell the flowers any longer. Those choices were taken from them.

       Some will never get to touch their loved ones again as on visiting day they must visit looking through a glass and using a telephone to talk to their family members. A few states allow contact visits but not many. Once a day you are taken to the showers where everyone waits in line as guards watch over them. There isn't any privacy for those things any longer as those choices as well were taken away when they got into trouble.

       CHOICES...We make choices every day, from the time we get up in the morning until the time we go to bed at night. It doesn't matter if you think you deserve all the good things in life. So your family wasn't like the Waltons, or Little House on the prairie. So you didn't wear designer clothes to school...or have a lot of spending money...perhaps you were abused as a child. Perhaps you feel that you have the right to take what you want, no matter what you have to do to get it...even committing a violent act against someone else. You don't. You can't blame anyone for the choices you alone have made. You can overcome your past. Don't blame society because you started doing drugs, even if you saw parents at it. You don't have to follow them.

       From Gerald Laney, one of the inmates on death row. "So I started hanging around these bikers and naturally I learned how to cuss, to steal, to sell drugs, and how to do them. To put it plainly, I wasn't nothing but a foul-mouth little punk. It wasn't long before I began taking these drugs to school to sell them. And the other kids thought I was cool and looked up to me as some kind of leader. But I wasn't cool, I was a fool. Because if I knew then what I know now, I'd of stayed in school, gotten an education and made something of myself.

       "It wasn't long before I got kicked out of school and at the time I thought it was the happiest time of my life. So I just went back to the old motorcycle gang, wheeling, stealing and doing drugs. I earned the nickname Hustler for my fast and easy way to earning money. But little did I know or care that the state of Tennessee had a cell waiting for me, and it was on Tennessee's death row.

       "For the last twenty years of my life, I've been in prisons, and I've spent the past 13 years on Tennessee's death row. At one time I slept about twenty feet from the electric chair, called Old Sparky. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think about death and dying in that electric chair and I thought about what got me there. It was not going to school, getting a good education, drugs, alcohol and being a gang member, and choosing the wrong kind of friends."

       If you'd like to order a copy of the DVD or book or both, go to This won't work miracles but it will stop SOME of the kids from doing crimes and drugs and every single one we can stop from going in the wrong direction is worth it. Show it to your own children as well as those in your classrooms. Help to stop the violence.

    Cheryl O'Brien on sleep

    Dear Bob,

       Thanks so much for continuing the great newsletter Bobbing Around! There is always something, usually several somethings, of interest in it for me! I want to say that I really appreciate all the work that goes into the newsletter and your dedication to it.

       I notice that recently there has been a fair bit of conversation about depression and associated sleeping problems and I wanted to comment on this topic. I have lived for a couple of decades with depression that varies from mild to severe ad have had along the way a whole assortment of sleep problems to overcome. In some stages I have overslept and in other stages found it hard to go to sleep and at other times found it hard to sleep for more than a few hours a night.

       Being an advocate of natural methods of dealing with all kinds of health issues and being unable to take anti-depressants and associated medications without horrid side effects I had to do a lot of reading and research to find answers to my sleeping probems. The answer to all of the sleep problems I have had is pretty much the same whether I am in an insomniac stage, an oversleeping stage, or restless stage. Here is what I need to do to overcome my sleeping problems:

    1) Have a set bedtime; mine is 10 pm.

    2) have set rising time; mine is 6 am.

    3) Create a routine for going to bed. Mine involves having a glass of water or juice, spending ten minutes just clearing my mind and bidding others in my house a good night.

    4) Create a rising routine. Mine includes a shower, a coffee ( I know its not ideal but I do like my coffee) and spending time on the Internet before greeting the slow risers in the house as they wake.

    5) Eat healthier, include lots of fresh fruit and vegies.

    6) Drink more water.

    7) Do some serious exercise throughout the day. A recent sleepless stage got me digging a variety of palm trees and ferns that had been hapahazardly planted out of several gardens and grouping them together in one garden here on the cattle station where I live. The result is a peaceful and pleasant palm and fern garden.

    8) Watch less TV. I have found television tends to make me restless and makes my mind overactive, and these days hardly watch it at all.

    9) Stay in bed during your set 'sleeping' hours even if you arent sleeping, just leave the light off and give yourself permission to rest your body peacefully in the darkened room. When your mind starts to work overtime on a problem, give yourself permission to set problems aside until waking hours. Think on positive things like what you have acheived and how you have managed things in a positive way during the day... congratulate yourself for remaining in bed even when you are restless. 10) Remember that this is a stage and like all stages of life it has its own set of feelings and thoughts and that these will eventually pass and your sleep can and will return to a more normal pattern.

       I hope that your readers will find this helpful too.

    Kind Regards
    International Literary Networking Group

    Silent Killers: How to create dead manuscripts

    by Jane Toombs

       Grammatical and other seemingly insignificant errors may doom your manuscript. Contrary to what some writers believe, an editor expects any submission to be free of these small but deadly, mistakes.

       What are some of the most common?

    Spelling. To a spell checker, they're, their, and there are all correct. It can't tell which one you meant. Nor does it know that you meant "won" when you typed in "own". There's no substitute for careful proofreading.

       Find a friend who's a good speller to go over your ms. Mind you, this doesn't excuse you from looking up words you're not sure how to spell before handing over your work to the friend.

    Using the wrong word. Very common is misusing its vs. it's. Think of it this way. The apostrophe indicates "it is". When you write it's, say to yourself, "it is." If that's not what you mean, remove the apostrophe and change to its.

       Affect, effect are also often confused. Here are two sentences to help:

       The effect of sun on human skin is both beneficial and harmful.

       Madeline's skin was adversely affected by the sun.

       You should also memorize the difference between lie and lay.

       If you're not sure of a meaning, consult a dictionary. Averse and adverse mean two different things. And watch out for thesaurus words. The one you choose may not have exactly the same meaning as the one you looked up. Be certain of the meaning of any word you choose to write. You can be positive the editor knows.

    Dialogue. Another common error is in punctuation and tags. A tag is "he said" or "she asked" etc. Always choose a simple word for the verb tag. No human can successfully grunt, hiss or snort an intelligible sentence. One word, maybe. But if hissed, that word would have to contain at least one s. Obviously a sentence can't be smiled or laughed either.

       This is wrong: "You're wonderful," he smiled.

       This is right: He smiled. "You're wonderful."

       Note the change in punctuation. In the second example, he smiled is a separate sentence used in place of a tag. The reader knows that the person who smiled said the words.

       Internal dialogue, meaning what a character is thinking, is not put in quotes unless the character says it aloud. Some editors will put internal dialogue in italics, most don't.

    Misplacement. Sol Stein, in his HOW TO GROW A NOVEL, says that the single most common mistake he finds in the manuscripts he edits is "words, phrases, clauses, sentences and paragraphs in the wrong order." With practice, a writer can usually pick out a paragraph that needs to be moved to the right place, but the others are harder.

       What's wrong with this sentence?

       Turning the corner, the Empire State Building loomed up ahead of Marsha.

       That's an easy one, a clause out of place. Naturally the Empire State Building couldn't turn a corner.

       Corrected, it reads: Marsha turned the corner and the Empire State Building loomed up ahead of her.

       Another: "I'll see you after my bank meeting is over at the library."

       Unless the business meeting is at the library, this sentence is wrongly worded. Assuming the meeting is not at the library, this would be correct: "I'll see you at the library after my bank meeting is over."

    Unattached body parts. Hands, arms, knees, fingers and eyes all belong to a human body. None of them can act on their own. Here's a sentence:

       Hands parted the curtains.

       Depending on the context, this could be wrong or right. If the heroine is standing outside looking up at the windows of a supposedly deserted house, the hands would be all she could see at first.

       The next sentence might read:

       A ghostly face looked down at her, whether a man or woman's she couldn't tell.

       Now the hands and face are attached to either a human or the ghost of one.

       But if the heroine is standing in the room and can see whose hands are parting the curtains, then the sentence is wrong. His or her hands did the parting--or maybe its, if the being truly is a sexless ghost.

       Another sentence: Her eyes fastened on his face and clung there.

       Here we have eyes that have left this woman's body to fasten and cling to some man's face. No-one's eyes leave the body they belong to. Her gaze is what fastened and clung, not her eyes.

    Point of view. Master POV until you're certain you know how to use it. Don't assume that because some best-selling authors seem to switch from head to head all over the place, that an editor will accept the same from an unpublished author. Once you have a good grasp of POV, then you have a better chance of knowing the best places to switch from one character's head to another. This is vital, so don't slough it off as unimportant.

       (Note: I wanted to write sluff, but checked with my big Webster's. No sluff. So I used slough. Which also means various other things as well. Always check!)

       POV needs to be mastered by every writer to the point where it's second nature. Because point of view is complex, this article is not the place to delve deeply into it. But all writers should take the time to learn POV thoroughly.

    Purple prose. Guilty? Every writer is at times. Description of surroundings can enhance a setting, but it's easy to get carried away and go on too long. If, when editing your work, you come across a long narrative passage you absolutely love, stop and ask yourself if all those words are really necessary. Sometimes we are not our own best critics.

    Talking heads. Characters should never act and talk in a vacuum. The reader expects to find them in some kind of setting. whether in this world or a fictional one. Indoors or outdoors? If outside, what kind of weather? In the USA, New Zealand or another planet? Is it 1780, 2003 or 2550? What's the time of day? All this information should never be dropped in as a chunk of information, but worked into the first chapter subtly.

    Loose ends. Have you taken care to tie up all loose ends by the finale? This includes any minor character that has actually played a part in the story. Does the reader know what has happened to this minor character or is he or she left dangling? If one of the main characters was estranged from a relative, has this been concluded one way or the other? If a character has promised to tell another character something "later" has this been taken care of? In other words, before the book ends, make sure everything has been explained that needs explaining.

       Errors add up. Take it's, its, for example. If a writer consistently uses the wrong one throughout an entire story, this can set an editor's teeth on edge. Any other mistakes in the same manuscript might then be judged more harshly. Do all you can to avoid letting your work be murdered by silent killers.

    Jane Toombs is co-author with Janet Lane Walters of Becoming Your Own Critique Partner, a nonfiction how-to book to help both with writing and editing. Published by Zumaya Publishing. Available in download and print.
       Jane's website:

    For writers

    What my friends would like you to know

    Carolyn at Book Expo America
    Jim Choron's book discounted
    Darrell Bain's April newsletter
    Ron Peters' 4th book is out
    Traumatic Incident Reduction course
    You CAN win something for nothing

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

       Award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be at the Biblio Booth at Javits Center in New York City at 1 pm Friday, June 1, signing her new Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success.

       The Frugal Editor is the second in the author's HowToDoItFrugally series after The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't. She has a new website to support the launch of this new book. The site features the author, her literary work and how-to books, but it is also designed to give both readers and writers information they want and need.

       The Frugal Editor was written, Howard-Johnson says, because "there are gremlins out there determined to keep authors' work from being published, our books from being promoted. They resolve to embarrass us before gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for us. They lurk in out subconscious and the depths of our computer programs." The Frugal Editor will help writers of every ilk present whistle-clean copy (whether it's a one-page cover letter or an entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say "Yea" or "Nay."

       Howard-Johnson was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the 43rd and 44th District of the California Legislature. Her first novel, This is the Place, and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, are both multiple award winners. She speaks frequently, is an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Program and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide.

       The author's first book in the HowToDoItFrugally series was named USA Book News' Best Professional Book and given the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award.

       At the famous Book Expo America where the publishing industry convenes at different cities throughout the nation in different years, Howard-Johnson will sign and give her copies of her new release to publishing professionals.

    Jame Choron

    Dr. Bob,

       My book, "Footprints in the Snow: Tales of Haunted Russia" is now up at They have it discounted from $14.95 to $10.95 as an introductory offer. Pass the word... You can find it easiest by searching my name "James L. Choron".

       Sales seem to be steady and I'm begining to get some comments on the book.

    Darrell Bain

    Hi folks--

       My april newsletter is live at and includes free books, odd happening, spouses who talk, honesty, and more.

    Thanks for reading.
    Darrell Bain. Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year.
    See for all my books.

    Ron Peters

       Finally, the 4th book in the tongue-in-cheek Dun Wheeling PI series is available. Thanks to the 'neverending snow' in the mid-west, it was delayed a few weeks.

    Cover of 'Sphere of Reason'Title: Sphere of Reason
    ISBN:1-58961-523-9. Available at bookstores or online. My website has direct links in case you want to order it online. I've attached a pic of the cover in case you need a target for darts.

       Sphere of Reason is a little different in that it involves a psychopathic sexual stalker, long wanted by the FBI as a serial killer. This is nowhere near the Stephen King level, but this guy does like to gift wrap his victims. And he drools as he unwraps his presents.

       Dun reluctantly agrees to protect a young woman who outwardly looks like an ugly duckling in her baggy jogging suits, shaggy hair, and no makeup. But underneath lies a genuine beauty who gradually reveals her charms to Dun. Again, Dun is tempted to break the most sacred rule of his profession: don't get involved with a client. And she's hoping he does.

       Another Dun Wheeling easy read with more twists than 20 miles of bad road, murder, mystery, romance, action, and of course my sick humor.

       Who'd ever 'thunk' that I would end up writing novels? Two years ago i cudn't spell auther; now I are one. And working on the 5th book.

       If you decide to take the plunge on this novel, I'd love to hear any wonderful raves and hearty accolades. Forget any negative stuff; I've already heard all of that. :o)

    Take care, my best to all,

       p.s. The cover photo was taken from the 14th floor balcony of Dottie and Earl Reed's condo in Destin, Florida. I told them that after I reach my first million in royalties, I'd give them an autographed book. They are just a twitter with anticipation.

    Elizabeth Clark

       Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) is an integrative mindfulness-oriented approach to counselling, best known for addressing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Controlled comparative studies with other methods for resolving PTSD have demonstrated TIR to be consistently effective at resolving PTSD and other effects of traumatic stress.

       Many of the tools consist of repetitive exercises, practised in the absence of judgment, that train the client to better focus his/her attention on mental pictures, thoughts or other 'private events'. The continuous focus of attention, intensified through repetition and a suitable environment, can lead to the reduction and even 'extinction' of specific unwanted psychological phenomena.

       TIR counselling is a way to achieve this within a small number of sessions.

       TIR is a systematic approach for enabling detached, non-judgmental observation of almost any inner or outer world event, whether cognitive, emotive, physiological, behavioural or other.

       Tools are varied, client-led and applied in order to:

    1) maintain congruence with the client's own experience

    2) maximise client engagement moment to moment, and

    3) cater to the client's mental resources at a given time.

       The approach also consists of useful strategies for accessing awareness the client was previously unable to access.

       All tools enable the client to achieve greater equanimity with respect to his/her mental and physical environment.

       The next TIR course will be held in Campbelltown/Mittagong from July 11-13; 9am-5pm each day. The cost will be $825.00 or $695.00 paid in full 6 weeks before the course starts. The trainers will be Elizabeth Clark and Maree Frater. THere is a limit on course numbers. We can be contacted for further information on 46843541/0409656979.

       (Those outside Australia should look at


       Bookswelove is a unique web site. A number of authors, most with multiple publications, have banded together for mutual benefit, and to show off their books to the world. There is careful selection of members, so that only quality books are on offer.

       There is always a free contest at Bookswelove, with excellent prizes, including my books from time to time.

       Check it out when you have a few moments. And if you sign my guestbook there, I'll send you a 'thank you' short story.

    About Bobbing Around

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