Bobbing Around

Volume Seven, Number Three
November, 2007

Bob Rich's rave  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
  Helen Caldicott: Toward a nuclear-free Australia
  Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, from William Bloom
  A new vision for Australia, by Sam Watson
  Poland changes direction, from Gaither Stewart
  Walk Against Warming
  Good-bye, Arctic ice
  Bushfire weather in southeast Australia
  'Pathways to a low carbon future' by Tim Winton
  'Clean Coal' is an oxymoron, by Dr John Kaye
*Responses to the last issue
  Rona Fraser: Vale Chas Eeles
  Jane Toombs: teenagers cutting wrists
  Mark Snell: correction re Granville train disaster
*Deeper issues
  'Journalism and Ethics: New Challenges in a Wired Age' by Kathe Gogolewski
  'Sub-prime markets and the environment' by Phil Harris
  Carl Stonier: The Giving Machine raises money for cancer
  Glen grows a mo in Movember
*Helping Others
  She killed herself: am I to blame?
  My father's slave
  No-one wants my friendship
*For writers: On author lectures
*What my friends want you to know
  Human Rights torch relay
'Child Cancer: Fighters and Heroes' from Lanie Shanzyra Rebancos
  Carolyn honoured again.
  Jane Toombs has new publications
  Compulsive Reader radio
  All-tips issue from Authors' Coalition
  Mother Daughter Club radio show
  Darrel Bain's newsletter
*Review: Church Outside the Walls from Phil Harris

Moora Moora Festival

   If you have any intention of travelling to Victoria, Australia in 2008, make sure it includes Saturday 1st March. The next Moora Moora Festival will be then. The theme is sustainable living, and we are partnered by the Sustainable Living Foundation, which mounts an amazing Expo in Melbourne each year. We will naturally complement their event by showing a long term alternative community in action.

   Moora Moora is solar-powered. We supply our own water, and there is a new Community Supported Agriculture project that provides much of our food for minimal energy costs. There are plans to make biodiesel, and the newest houses have strawbale walls.

   Already, the program looks fantastic. It includes live music and stage acts all day, culminating in a dance at night. There will be tours all day -- in fact, my job will be that of a tour guide.

   All the details are at

Hear me rave about editing

   Victor Volkman is the Publisher at Loving Healing Press, and uses me to edit all the books he accepts. We now have a relationship going back several years.

   He has other interests too. One of them is sponsoring a radio show designed to inform and inspire writers. He takes an active part in the interviews.

   Well, a recent interview was with me. I talked for nearly an hour about editing. So, if you are a writer, or just want to hear my voice for some reason I can't imagine, go to and hear what you can hear.


   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.


Helen Caldicott: Toward a nuclear-free Australia
Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples from William Bloom
A new vision for Australia by Sam Watson
Poland changes direction from Gaither Stewart

Toward a nuclear-free Australia
from Dr Helen Caldicott

    Never has there been a time when an issue has been so crucial in our country, and the upcoming federal election promises to be one of the most important in the history of Australia.

   In essence I believe that this is a nuclear election, because the decisions we make today, if incorrect, will have a serious impact upon future generations of many Australians.

   PEOPLE FOR A NUCLEAR-FREE AUSTRALIA has established to provide factual information and a realistic perspective on nuclear power and its ramifications for future generations. The website contains many accessible fact sheets and articles about the medical consequences of the nuclear fuel cycle.

   One of the aims of PNFA is to aggregate and mobilise popular opposition to a nuclear power industry in Australia. This email newsletter will help us to do that. You can encourage your friends and family to support us by forwarding this email to them, or just directing them to the PNFA website, where they can join our mailing list.

   The PEOPLE FOR A NUCLEAR-FREE AUSTRALIA website contains an Action Page with many practical suggestions about how you can influence your friends, local communities, relatives, federal politicians and the media on the nuclear issue as we approach the next federal election. Go to now.

   Together we can make our views known to current and future governments by effectively mobilising the many ordinary people who are motivated to save our country from a seriously dangerous nuclear future.

   We warmly welcome your interest and participation in PEOPLE FOR A NUCLEAR-FREE AUSTRALIA and we will keep you informed about other important actions that you can take in the upcoming weeks.

Very Sincerely,
Helen Caldicott

Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
from William Bloom

   The United Nations General Assembly today adopted a landmark declaration outlining the rights of the world's estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlawing discrimination against them -- a move that followed more than two decades of debate.

   The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been approved after 143 Member States voted in favour, 11 abstained and four -- Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States -- voted against the text.

   A non-binding text, the Declaration sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues.

   The Declaration emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations.

   It also prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them, and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development.

   General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour have all welcomed today's adoption.

   Sheikha Haya said, "The importance of this document for indigenous peoples and, more broadly, for the human rights agenda, cannot be underestimated. By adopting the Declaration, we are also taking another major step forward towards the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all."

   But she warned that "even with this progress, indigenous peoples still face marginalization, extreme poverty and other human rights violations. They are often dragged into conflicts and land disputes that threaten their way of life and very survival; and, suffer from a lack of access to health care and education."

   In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban described the Declaration's adoption as "a historic moment when UN Member States and indigenous peoples have reconciled with their painful histories and are resolved to move forward together on the path of human rights, justice and development for all."

   He called on governments and civil society to ensure that the Declaration's vision becomes a reality by working to integrate indigenous rights into their policies and programmes.

   Ms. Arbour noted that the Declaration has been "a long time coming. But the hard work and perseverance of indigenous peoples and their friends and supporters in the international community has finally borne fruit in the most comprehensive statement to date of indigenous peoples' rights."

   The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues estimates there are more than 370 million indigenous people in some 70 countries worldwide.

   Members of the Forum said earlier this year that the Declaration creates no new rights and does not place indigenous peoples in a special category.

   Ambassador John McNee of Canada said his country was disappointed to have to vote against the Declaration, but it had "significant concerns" about the language in the document.

   The provisions on lands, territories and resources "are overly broad, unclear and capable of a wide variety of interpretations" and could put into question matters that have been settled by treaty, he said.

   Mr. McNee said the provisions on the need for States to obtain free, prior and informed consent before it can act on matters affecting indigenous peoples were unduly restrictive, and he also expressed concern that the Declaration negotiation process over the past year had not been "open, inclusive or transparent."

William Bloom is the author of several inspiring books and generally a good bloke.

A new vision for Australia
by Sam Watson

Sam is an Aboriginal activist, and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate in Queensland for the coming Federal elections.

   As Australia's most important federal election in decades approaches we urgently need a new vision for this country's future.

   Traditional politics--Coalition and Labor--is more and more hostile and irrelevant to that future.

   What hope can a government that has engaged in criminal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attacks on Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory offer us?

   What hope is in there in a Labor "opposition" that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with John Howard in his latest racist attack, supports anti-terrorism legislation that destroys civil liberties, and retreats from its promises to tear up Howard's hated anti-worker and anti-union laws?

   It's time to put the shameful and disgusting politics of the major parties into the rubbish bin.

   It's time to enshrine the values of the just, democratic and sustainable society. We need in a Bill of Rights--something Australia's ruling elites have never felt its people could be trusted with.

   At the core of such a Bill should be reconciliation with and justice for Indigenous Australia.

   Most of all, it's time to build a political alternative that rejects the economic rationalist agenda of dog-eat-dog "competitiveness", which threatens our planet with a permanent tragedy of war and environmental disaster.

   The alternative we need must put people and our planet before the profits of the giant corporations. It must enshrine the principles of democracy, solidarity and cooperation. It must learn from Indigenous tradition and respect and live in balance with the natural world.

   As a Socialist Alliance candidate in the 2007 federal election I am standing [along with other Socialist Alliance candidates]to advance these values and the concrete policies that can promote them.

   If you agree with our approach, express your support by signing on at the web address below. By working together we will build the future we all need!

Poland changes direction
from Gaither Stewart

   In the name of Europe and renewal of the nation, Polish voters struck another blow against George W. Bush and his wars last Sunday. After two years of the disastrous Catholic fundamentalist government of the Kaczynski twins, Poles in national elections favored the modern pro-Europe, liberal Civic Platform led by the 50-year old Donald Tusk, who intends withdrawing Polish troops from Iraq.

   The democratic victory after two years of darkness is a severe setback for Bush because Polish troops command one of the four zones of the occupation administration in Iraq. After his victory Tusk commented, "Love counts more than power," echoing the 1968 slogan "make love, not war."

   Supported by the European Union and most European capitals, Tusk aims at a thaw with the EU. He intends to mend relations with Germany, and Russia in the East, relations that had degenerated during the two years of witch hunts by unleashed secret services, suspicions, fear and incompetence, while the populist, demagogic twins -- one president, the other prime minister -- at the helm of government became the laughing stock of Europe.

   The national populist party, Law and Justice, of Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski thus loses its hold on power after two devastating years for Poland, distancing this big country situated between East and West from both. In fact, the entire European Union awaited anxiously the electoral results that meant the return of Poland to the fold of progressive Europe.

   In response to appeals from liberal and progressive parties and the Father of Polish democracy, Lech Walesa, and the majority of Catholic Church leaders, the vote turnout of 55 percent was better than expected. This was the highest turnout since the first democratic elections after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Empire, a testimony to the desire of Poles for a change of direction.

   Donald Tusk will have a comfortable majority in Parliament, enabling him to maintain his platform of return to Europe and abandonment of mad directions such as Polish troops to the Middle East. Tusk's priorities are reconciliation with the European Union, Berlin and Moscow and putting an end to the climate of accusations and suspicion, slander and abuses of power and the curtain of ridicule that hung over Poland for the two years of reaction under the tutelage of the nefarious Kaczynski twins.

Gaither Stewart is originally from Asheville, NC. After studies at the University of California at Berkeley and other American universities, he has lived his adult life abroad, in Germany and Italy, alternated with residences in The Netherlands, France, Mexico, Argentina and Russia. After a career in journalism as Italian correspondent for the Rotterdam newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad, and contributor to media in various European countries, he writes fiction full-time. His books, "Icy Current Compulsive Course, To Be A Stranger" and "Once In Berlin" are published by Wind River Press. His new novel, "Asheville," is published by He lives with his wife, Milena, in Rome, Italy. E-mail:


Walk Against Warming
Good bye, Arctic ice
Bushfire weather in southeast Australia
Pathways to a low carbon future by Tim Winton
'Clean Coal' is an oxymoron by Dr John Kaye

Walk Against Warming

   When it comes to stopping runaway climate change, this election is critical.

   Yet, despite all the evidence pointing to the need for urgent action, neither major party has committed to cut Australia’s greenhouse pollution by the levels and time the scientists say is necessary.

   We really need your help to advertise Walk Against Warming so that we can tell the next Australian Government to get serious about climate change.

   If half a million people turn out across Australia for Walk Against Warming this November 11, it will make climate change top of the agenda in the crucial final two weeks of the election campaign.

Good bye, Arctic ice

   A report in the Independent by science editor Steve Connor is only one of many authoritative, well-researched accounts of what is happening in the far North. The Arctic ice is melting far faster than ever, far faster than any of the models have predicted.

   There are STILL people who argue about whether climate change is real. For the overwhelming majority of people, it's still business as usual. But even the predictions of the experts have been far too optimistic, as this information shows.

   Various governments have announced carbon emission targets to be achieved by dates such as 2020, or even later. If time machines were available, they should be working for reduced emissions by 1970! As always, it's too little too late.

   But why should we worry if the polar ice is melting? Sure, it's very sad for the polar bears and all that, but we'll be all right, won't we?

   We won't be:

Bushfire weather in southeast Australia

   Further to my comments above...

   In early 2007,The Climate Institute commissioned the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre,the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research to undertake the most comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the impact of climate change on bushfire weather in Australia. The full 91 page report is available as a PDF. I have read a brief summary, but that's enough. Over the past 30 years, fire danger, severity and frequency have increased; the worst 3 fire seasons were 2007,1997 and 2003. The strength of the recent increase in fire weather is equal to or exceeds the changes estimated to occur by 2050 in the different climate change projections.For example,the recent increase at Melbourne airport is twice that projected by the most severe warming scenarios by 2020.

Pathways to a low carbon future
by Tim Winton

   Audio and PDF PowerPoint presentations are available on the Permaforest Trust web site for my presentation during the community forum "Pathways to a Low Carbon Future" that Permaforest Trust put on with Sally McKinnon of the Ethos Foundation and Giovanni Obono of the Obono Institute on Thursday October 25th at the Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre.


'Clean Coal' is an oxymoron
by Dr John Kaye

   Plans to develop a pilot carbon capture 'clean coal' facility at Munmorah Power Station on the NSW Central Coast are nothing but an exercise in propaganda, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

   Dr Kaye said: NSW Energy Minister Ian Macdonald announced a pilot plant this afternoon that might eventually lead to a larger pilot plant, which at best would capture a tiny 1.5% of the CO2 emissions from the power station. Even if the first mini-pilot and then the subsequent pilot were successful, Munmorah would still be emitting 98.5% of its current CO2 output. This is an extraordinarily long way from the genuine reductions in this state's greenhouse gas emissions needed to avoid runaway climate damage.

   The Minister's announcement has nothing to do with genuinely reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It has much more to do with helping the coal industry to perpetuate the 'clean coal' myth that carbon capture and storage is a promising response to climate change.

   After Ian Macdonald's cabinet colleague, Environment and Climate Change Minister Phil Koperberg, attacked the notion of 'clean coal', describing it as 'almost an oxymoron' on Monday, the Iemma government is struggling to retain credibility on emissions.

   Minister Macdonald's announcement is a ham-fisted attempt to regain the momentum that is doomed to failure. Toy pilot plants like this are dwarfed by the massive emissions from the electricity industry. In 2005, electricity generation in NSW was responsible for 57.8 million tonnes of CO2, most of which came from the burning of coal. There is no way that carbon capture can address this quantity of gas in any realistic timescale and Minister Macdonald is smart enough to know it.

   "The Iemma government should stop wasting time on propaganda for the coal industry and invest in real technologies like energy efficiency and renewable energy.

   For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Responses to the last issue

Rona Fraser: Vale Chas Eeles
Jane Toombs: teenagers cutting wrists
Mark Snell: correction re Granville train disaster

Rona Fraser: Vale Chas Eeles

   After reading about Chas' wife's experience, I wanted to share what I had experienced.

   I was good friends with Catherine when we were kids, but we have lived about 5 hours' drive apart since we were maybe 25. (I am now 40). We still kept in touch -- maybe 2 letters and a phone call every year plus a visit every few years -- not much, but it we had so much past experience between us and knew each other so well that it was always comfortable to talk -- you know, like no time had passed.

   Anyway, when she was 38, she got diagnosed with a brain tumour. They tried an operation and unending chemo but nothing worked. Another childhood friend and I would meet and drive down every month or so to spend a couple of hours chatting with Catherine, to lift her spirits. Her family behaved awfully, so they were out of the picture and friends were her main support.

   13 months after being diagnosed, she was at her home, waiting to die. I knew this, so I knew she'd be gone soon. Ever since her diagnosis, I often would start crying, thinking about her, but one day, driving home from getting groceries, I suddenly burst into tears -- I hadn't been thinking about her and there was no trigger song playing on the radio. I got home and unloaded my groceries and sat on the couch and suddenly felt like Catherine was standing in the room (couldn't see her). I said to her "Well, I'm glad you came to see me but if you are here, then you are dead..." A couple of hours later, I got a phone call to tell me that Catherine had passed away around 6:30pm, which was around the time I felt her presence.

   I was of course sad that she was gone (and relieved as she was VERY uncomfortable near the end), but it really made me feel good that she came to visit. Kind of a thank you for being there for her in the end when perhaps not many people were.

   I still talk to her sometimes, as if she is around, but that is just my wishful thinking perhaps -- I have not felt her to the same degree as I did that night.

   And it's funny -- my granny died 6 months later, and I am the only child of her only child, so it is a pretty small family... but I never felt her visit me. I figure she was probably in a hurry to meet up with my granddad and go off ballroom dancing somewhere, whereas Catherine was more tied to people still alive.


Jane Toombs: teenagers cutting wrists

   Bob: As usual I enjoyed your newsletter. I homed in on the advice to the young girl who cut herself. My granddaughter has self-esteem issues and is always threatening to "cut her wrists." She never has, but she does sometimes scratch them. I've urged her mother to get her into counseling. Do I have your permission to quote to her mother from your answer to that young girl, not using any info that would identify the girl herself and giving you credit for the words?

Naturally, I gave my permission. I get many more cries for help than I publish. I show the world the ones that are likely to help many people, because the problem is a common one. My reason for being on the planet at this time is to lead people from misery to contentment, from helplessness to strength. And the questions and answers I post are already disguised by changing the name, and removing any identifying details.

Mark Snell: correction re Granville train disaster

   In the last issue, my friend Carolyn Harris described her experience when the Granville train disaster happened. I made a mistake in describing this terrible event.

   Mark Snell writes: "Thank you for another wonderful episode of Bobbing Around. I thought I would just correct what you said about the Granville train disaster. This was Australia's worst rail accident which happened when a carriage of a commuter train left the track at the Sydney suburb of Granville on January 18, 1977, (doesn't seem that long ago) bringing down a road bridge on top of it. In all 83 people died and 213 were injured.

Deeper Issues

Journalism and Ethics: New Challenges in a Wired Age by Kathe Gogolewski
Sub-prime markets and the environment by Phil Harris

Journalism and Ethics: New Challenges in a Wired Age
by Kathe Gogolewski

   Kathe sent me three excellent essays for publication. However, they are all about 1500 words long, about three times my word limit. So, I have posted her thoughtful and challenging essay to my writing site. Do read it there.

Sub-prime markets and the environment
by Phil Harris

   We have all heard of the problems relating to the sub-prime mortgage. What may not be readily understood is that events surrounding this economic issue can serve as an example and model for debates over environmental issues. The universe is all about relationships, many of which we do not understand or even recognize.

   In an oversimplified summary, people who were at the economic margin borrowed money for homes at very low interest rates. The only way they could afford the mortgages is because of those low rates. Keep in mind that many lenders enticed people into these markets with a constant barrage of advertising. The problem arose because these very low-interest rate mortgages were variable and not fixed. When interest rates doubled and tripled, the homeowner could not afford the new payments, hence, foreclosure.

   People did not understand the extent to which this phenomenon would impact the world. No one really knewthat many of these mortgages were in the hands of foreign investors. The result? The closure of many foreign banks, many job losses, a downturn in the economy, an increase in bankruptcies, loss of local government tax revenues, lives destroyed, credit crunches, a stalled housing market -- the effects are still unfolding.

   What does this have to do with the environment? Perhaps humanity's greatest failing is that it fails to learn from its mistakes and its actions. Biologists talk of the 'web of life.' It is about the inter-connectedness of all things. In CNN's "Planet in Peril" numerous examples were given of how one event can trigger many events. The re-introduction of the grey wolf into Yellowstone Park was but one example. From the tiniest insect to the largest mammal, the presence had a profound impact upon the ecosystem. Just as in the sub-prime market, the decision to raise interest rates affected not only the borrower, but its impact was felt globally and throughout the economy. Few of the effects were anticipated. Just as with climate change, few of the effects of our action and ignorance are anticipated. The CNN show, backed by recent UN reports, indicates that basically, we do not know what we are doing. Even our most sophisticated computer models have been in error. Impacts of climate change that were forecast to occur in 2050 are happening now. We seem to have no clue as to what is really happening to the environment, just as lenders had no clue as to the impact of raising interest rates.

    The most recent UN report on the environment indicates that despite warnings, there has been no reduction in climate changing emissions in the past 20 years. Having ears, we have not heard the warnings. Having eyes we have not seen the damaging affects of our actions. A recent AP report said that a third of the world's primates are in danger of extinction. CNN, backed by other reports, said that humanity is causing the 6th major worldwide extinction of animals and plants with the rate of loss 1,000 times the normal rate. Now we see reports of drugs and chemicals that are consumed by humans finding their way into water supplies as we urinate these wastes from our body and flush them into the environment. Effects are now being observed in fish and other wildlife.

    Regardless of your political persuasion, the handwriting is on the wall. From the economy to the loss of primates and the chemicalization of the environment, we have set in motion a chain of event that is spinning out of our control. The impact of our actions will be felt regardless of what we do. Of course, we are still doing nothing. Perhaps we should all change our name to Nero since we seem to be fiddling while Rome, or rather civilization as we know, burns.

Philip Harris is a multi-published author. His latest book, RAPING LOUISIANA: A DIARY OF DECEIT is a LiFE Award recipient. A complete listing of his books can be found at


The Giving Machine raises money for cancer from Carl Stonier
Glen grows a mo in Movember

The Giving Machine raises money for cancer

   I'm a trustee with a national cancer charity, (National Conference of Cancer Self Help Groups) and I've just set up an account with 'The Giving Machine', whereby, if you shop online and buy via their website, the charity will get around 5% at no cost to you. All you need do is to set up an account through them (takes about 2 minutes) and then visit you seller via them.

   Every supporter needs to open an account with them by going to then clicking on 'Shopper' That takes you to a page where you enter your name, email and password, then tell them which charity you want to support, which you select from a list arranged alphabetically.

   Once the account is set up, every time you want to shop online, you go through this website rather than direct to your vendor site (most of the big online sellers seem to be listed) and make your purchase. We then get about 5%.

   If you feel that you would like to help this worthwhile charity, then please log on to the Giving Machine and make your future online purchases through them.

Many thanks
Carl Stonier

Glen grows a mo in Movember

   During Movember (the month formerly known as November) I'll be growin a Mo. That's right I'm bringing the Mo back because I'm passionate about changing men's health and the fight against male depression and prostate cancer. Why...

   Depression affects 1 in 6 men...Most don't seek help. Untreated depression is a leading risk factor for suicide.

   Last year in Australia 18,700 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 2,900 died of prostate cancer -- equivalent to the number of women who die from breast cancer annually.

   Men are far less healthy than women. The average life expectancy of males is 5 years less than females.

   To sponsor my Mo please go to, enter my registration number which is 129064 and your credit card details. Or you can sponsor me by cheque made payable to the "Movember Foundation" clearly marking the donation as being for my Registration Number: 129064. Please mail cheques to: PO Box 292, Prahran VIC 3181. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

   The money raised by Movember is donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue, the national depression initiative, which will use the funds to create awareness, fund research and increase support networks for those men who suffer from prostate cancer and male depression.

   For those that have supported Movember in previous years, you can be very proud of the impact it has had and can check out the detail at: Fundraising Outcomes.

   Movember culminates at the end of the month at the Gala Partés. These glamorous and groomed events will see Tom Selleck and Borat look-a-likes battle it out for their chance to take home the prestigious Man of Movember title. If you would like to be part of this great night you'll need to purchase a Gala Parté ticket .

Thanks for your support,

Helping Others

She killed herself: am I to blame?
My father's slave
No-one wants my friendship

She killed herself: am I to blame?

help... a friend commited suicide three days ago. they took her off life support on Saturday. I feel so guilty her boyfriend broke up with her they had been together for 8 months she was only 18. we had started dating and she found out and wanted him back but he was not interested because she had caused the breakup. But everyone thinks he left her for me everyone blames us...i feel like if it were not for me she would be alive it seem she was such a happy person nobody could believe it how could she have done this???am I to blame??

My dear,

   The simple answer is, NO, YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME.

   We are all responsible for what we do. No-one else is. When we face a situation we find terrible, even hopeless, we still have a choice about how we react to it.

   Of course, I know nothing about this young lady except what you wrote, but many people put on a happy face when they are crying inside. She may well have been deeply depressed, and hiding it from the world. Suicide is not a rational reaction to any problem; therefore she was not acting rationally. You can not be blamed for that.

   If she had chosen a less extreme reaction of despair, or if she had survived without permanent damage, then without doubt after awhile she would have found a new guy for herself and got on with her life. If she had been able to think rationally, she would have realized this.

   I once had a client whose ex-husband had broken into the house, and shot himself in front of her and the children. She came to me two years later, still suffering from nightmares, still suffering from guilt. Six months after we stopped therapy, she phoned to let me know that she was in love with a guy who was gentle and considerate, and she intended to marry him.

   Finally, let's look at your distress due to the opinions of others. Again, you are not responsible for their thought processes. Whatever conclusions they come to is their business. So, until their reactions fade away, as such things always do, just bear yourself with dignity, respond to any slights or innuendoes with politeness, and get on with life.

   It will all pass.


My father's slave


   I'm Mike and I am 20 years old.

   I seem to be in a no-win situation. I work from home in our family business, but am basically treated like a slave by my father. I am not paid any wages and get basically zero time off. I am expected to work from the time I get up to the time I go to bed.

   As an example, today he called me a "cunt" because the work I did didn't come up to his "standards". I am getting bloody sick of him.

   I have tried to discuss things with my father and he says "You have no idea how fucking easy you have it." I am forced to take time off behind his back just so I can do what *I* want. I have taken to just surfing the net when he goes out to the post office. He has used excessive amounts of abusive language when I refuse to do what he wants, to the extent where he is threatening to throw me out of home if I don't tow the line. We have no close family here so I would have nowhere to go if he did throw me out and I cannot afford rent.

   Getting a conventional job is not an option since I have no qualifications nor any money to pay for an apprenticeship or TAFE course, neither of which I am the slightest bit interested in.

   I have to go now because I am sending this email behind his back.

   Who knows what he will do if he finds out.

   What can I do? I can't take this any more.

Thank you.

Dear Mike,

   From your email address, I can't tell where you live. However, what your father is doing is against the law in probably all civilized countries. Also, I don't know if you father is physically bigger and stronger than you, so that you are at risk of physical violence.

   Basically, no person has the right to abuse another, and this applies to relationships between parents and their offspring. What's more, you are an adult, and have the right to be treated as one.

   I suggest you write him a letter.

   First, write a draft in which you can say anything and everything, be as abusive as you like, get it all out of your system. You don't even have to show this draft to anyone.

   Then, write a second letter. Keep out all aggression, bitterness and even resentment from this one. Instead, levelly and reasonably, set out the facts. There are laws to support your case. Research them as part of writing your letter. There are even lawyers who do what is called 'pro bono' work: offering free advice. Others work for a fee they collect after the client has received compensation. Get a quote from one of these, and set out your situation to him/her. This lawyer will be able to calculate how much your father will be legally obliged to pay you if you take him to court.

   These facts will completely floor him. You can threaten him with having to pay you thousands in back pay and other obligatory payments. He could even face criminal charges.

   If this is not your style, option 2 is to confront him personally. Again, start by speaking in a level tone. Rehearse what you are going to say. You can predict his responses, and prepare your own to them.

   When he gets abuse, wait him out and then, still speaking levelly, say, 'You throwing a tantrum like a child does not change anything.' And then repeat your message.

   The research I suggested above will also be useful in this case.

   The third option, if either of the above seems to difficult, is simply to leave home. You would be leaving penniless, sure. But you sound intelligent. You are a hard worker. Use the internet to find a job for yourself, and then simply walk out of his life.

   He has you fooled into thinking that you have to do as he tells you. This is not so. Your life is your life, and it's up to you to run it the way you want it. You have the power to get out of this situation, or to turn it around.

Let me know how you go.



   I'm 17 and have found the love of my life, I love her sooo much and she feels the same for me. Problem is I'm having jealousy problems. Every time she talks about hanging out with 1 of her guy friends, these images of her cheating on me pop up in my head when I know they're not true. Its caused her to stop hanging out with some people and it's starting to get to her. I don't know what to do, my worst fear is losing her, she's everything to me but I don't know how to handle it. I'm cutting myself to stop feeling soo angry and start feelin lonely... but its not helping much.
Pls help.

Dear Martin,

   Isn't it wonderful when you love a person, and it's mutual? It feels so good that you are probably terrified of losing it. But, you know, the thing most likely to push this girl away from you is if you start acting jealous.

   Note that I didn't say feeling jealous. After all, you don't INTEND to feel jealous! If those thoughts come, they didn't come at your invitation. If you have imaginings of her having it off with some other guy, this is entirely out of your control.

   It doesn't matter if these thoughts and imaginings are true or false. You know in the head that they are false, but they are there all the same. The trouble is, you act as if they were true.

   You might enjoy one of my books, Sleeper, Awake. This is an award-winning science fiction book in which one of the main characters suffers jealousy, just like you are. By seeing how he overcame his problem, you may be able to overcome yours.

   Basically, jealousy destroys what it most desires. If you show your jealousy, to your girl or to anyone else, then this will push her away. If you act in a way that makes her feel good in your presence, then you will be able to trust her.

   So, the secret is to accept your thoughts and imaginings. They are there, and that's that. But, at the same time, your ACTIONS should be governed by what you want to achieve. You want her to be happy with you. Therefore, act to make her happy.

   If this girl is ever going to cheat on you, she will do so regardless of the amount of control you try to exercise. Except, the more you try to control her, the worse she will feel about being with you, and she is MORE likely to separate from you and push you away. So, the best strategy is to avoid basing your actions on your feelings of jealousy.

   I know this is much easier to say than to do. So, it may help if I tell you that I have clients where the woman has had an affair, and they couple decided to continue the marriage. As you can imagine, the guy feels terrible jealousy. All the same, by acting in the way I've described, people like this have healed their marriage, and have continued more loving and together than before.

Good luck,

No-one wants my friendship

Dr. Bob Rich,

   I was Google searching "shy and nervous around" people and luckily found this article ( I am e-mailing you because my situation is very similar to the other 23 year old who posted on that page.

   I'm a 23 year old senior in college... I am around the same students all the time.... I've known some of these kids for a few months, others for maybe a year. I don't know any of them that great, but I'm on friendly terms with most of them. My biggest concern is, even though I try to fit in by getting in on a conversation with them (sports, current events, etc.), it doesn't seem that anybody wants me to be part of their group. It's always been like this, in high school, in college and at work sometimes. Except for a few select close friends, it just seems that most people are willing to be nice to me, react to me if I say something, but don't have much interest in befriending me beyond that.

   As a result, my confidence is just shattered. In some situations, I sit through class, wondering how to act so that people will kind of know that I exist. I have a sense of humor, and sometimes I can be serious too. I just don't know if people think that sometimes, I try to be funny and I'm not, or if they think I'm just some shy person who is very serious. Ughhh, it drives me crazy.

   The sad part is, I'm in a four year relationship with my girlfriend who I am very happy with... who I know I will spend the rest of my life with. Even when I'm with her, for example, we could be walking around the mall, and because there are a lot of people there, some close to my age, I'm paranoid that I might be walking funny or that I just look funny in general and that people are walking by me and thinking I'm some loser.

   I realize that I am not the center of attention in other people's minds... but I can't still grasp that when I'm in one of those nervous situations. Alone, I'm all confident. With my friends and family... confident. Around bosses, people who I don't feel are established friends... I'm on-guard and nervous. I don't expect you to necessarily reply back, but I guess at the very least, it feels good to write this out for the first time ever and at least express myself to someone, for the first time.


Dear Miguel,

   I have a 52-year-old ex-client who feels like you do. When he makes the effort, people are friendly to him, but he has performed little experiments: he stops contacting someone, and the friendship withers. So, he has gone through life feeling that he is unlovable, and that no-one really cares if he lives or not.

   The difference from you is, he has never had a girlfriend, and there is no-one who might want to spend her life with him. It was VERY hard work for him to accept that he has some good qualities. In contrast, you have a girl who presumably does care for you. I'll bet her description of you is very different from the way you see yourself.

   But even if, some time in the future, you and your girl were to part, you'd still be better off than him, because you now have the knowledge that she DID care for you over a period of 4 years +.

   So, OK, some people are friend-magnets and others are not. There are those lucky people who seem to have a circle of friends almost despite what they do, without effort. However, most people need to follow the rule: TO HAVE A FRIEND, FIRST BE A FRIEND. For most of us, having friends is continuous, ongoing work. This is not unique to you, or to the my ex-client, but is the norm.

   And there is a bonus. You really, really value the love of your girl, and will probably be like me. 40 years ago, I felt like a lost puppy looking for a home. A girl decided to take me in. We are still married, and I still feel grateful. So, I've made a very faithful, loving and caring husband, who has never cheated on his wife, has always put her interest first, has been there for her through good and bad. Whenever there are strains between us (which is inevitable between any two people), I remember how I used to feel before she committed herself to me.

   In a less intense way, the same is true for friendships. Precisely because having a friend is a special achievement for you, you'll feel a need to be a good friend: loyal, helpful, generous.

   The friend-magnets don't need to be like this. Making friends is easy, so if one goes, there'll soon be someone else to step into the gap. As a result, paradoxically, they are not so good to have as your friends.

   Now comes the point in all this.

   If you accept what I've said so far, you'll know that you are the kind of person who makes the best friend for those who are willing to have your friendship. Wrap yourself around this fact, make it a part of you. For you, friendship is precious. Therefore, you are the best friend anyone could have.

   At the moment, the fact that you need to work for friendship makes you feel as if there was something lacking in you. Therefore, you feel the need to put up a false front, to try too hard, to make an impression. But from now on, all you need to do is to act yourself. Look for ways to make other people feel better, be thoughtful, kind and considerate, value and respect yourself, in the way you value and respect other people.

   You'll be surprised at the result. Once you send out this positive message to the universe, the positive will come back.


On author lectures

   The fiction writer's job is to create a group of characters, put them in a situation -- and then get off the stage.

   If the writing is good enough, the reader will do all the rest of the work: being the character whose point of view (POV) is being used in the scene; creating the scenery and background on the basis of very sketchy information provided by the writer; bringing the story to life and moving into it.

   Reading is a creative activity, quite unlike viewing a movie. Suppose you, as the writer, see a character as having a hook nose, acne scars and deeply sunken eyes. If you consider these aspects to be important to the story, you need to convey the information to the reader. But it is quite counterproductive to write:

   OK, this paints a picture, gives a lot of useful information in a few words. What's wrong with it then?

   First, I as reader may well have a hook nose and acne scars. You'll have lost me. Or I may have a favorite uncle who looks like that, so for me these are signs of kindness, not of being sinister. In giving these descriptive facts, your intention would have been to induce a certain reaction in me. So, it's much better to induce that reaction by having someone in the story have it:

   Word count is exactly the same. The second version has a little less information -- that about Janelle -- but so what? Now we have HER impression that his appearance suits him to play a sinister role. And actually, this third version will be even more powerful:

   The difference is, THIS VERSION LACKS DESCRIPTION. Therefore, I, as reader, can imagine what a sinister, cruel cop looks like to me. That may be a giant with a body like a barrel, a big fat bloated face and a nose like a pig, or... or anything. The point is, that to me, George now looks like MY nightmare of a cop, not yours.

   Second, compare the impact of the first and second versions on you. The first is reporting, journalistic writing, telling. The second one is alive. From the reaction of Janelle and the other police in the squad room, you will have an immediate positive reaction to George -- because they do. "Everyone in the team liked George and enjoyed working with him" is tame, low-key, blah. This is the message the second version gives, without saying so.

   For these two reasons, do anything to avoid author lectures. They kill a story. For these two reasons, think of writing as drawing a graphite sketch rather than a photograph. Instead of painstakingly depicting everything, good writing is a few bold lines that shows movement and character, but as little detail as possible. Let the reader put in the detail.

   Here is an exercise. Find a tract of writing that has author lectures in it. It can be something you've written, or something you've read. Rewrite it so that everything is presented from within the story. Make the writer invisible, off the stage.

What my friends want you to know

Human Rights torch relay
Child Cancer: Fighters and Heroes from Lanie Shanzyra Rebancos
Carolyn honoured again
Jane Toombs has new publications
Compulsive Reader radio
All-tips issue from Authors' Coalition
Mother Daughter Club radio show
Darrell Bain's newsletter

Human Rights torch relay

1.   For your interest, please have a look at the Human Rights Torch Relay website. I am a co-ordinaor for this project here in Victoria. The Communist Party are still torturing and murdering Falun Gong practitioners for their vital organs. Their organs are removed from their bodies while they are alive. They die in the process. One report from a man who went China for a kidney transplant said that 8 Falun Gong practitioners (people of conscience who embrace truthfulness, compassion and tolerance) were murdered to supply his new kidney. This is happening by the thousands, and I hope you can support the Human Rights Torch Relay, which aims to bring awareness of this atrocity during the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, dubbed the "Bloody Harvest Olympics" by Honerable David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State and co-author of the independant investigative report into illegal organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

   At this stage, we plan to include Healesville in the relay route. The torch will be in Victoria between November 16th and December 2nd. I can let you know the exact date it will be in Healesville as soon as we finalise the route.

Hope to have your support.
Kind Regards,


   I am writing to forward the news and pictures (attached) of: After having been lit in Greece on 9 August, the Global Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR), arrived in Berlin, Germany on 18 August.

   Next Stop: MUNICH, GERMANY, Saturday, August 25 2007 Please search humanrightstorch for more information.

Lanie Shanzyra Rebancos

Child Cancer: Fighters and Heroes

   Is your child diagnosed with cancer? Do you know someone in this battlefield? Maybe lost a friend or a child to cancer? Do you have cancer? Child Cancer: Fighters and Heroes is a Poetry Anthology by/for kids with cancer and their families and friends, caregivers and doctors.

   Please send 3-5 poems or 1-2 short stories in a body of an email with a short bio (4-5 sentences) and on the subject line type Child Cancer Submission. If you’re dedicating the poem or short story to someone, please indicate their names and what cancer they have. Everyone is welcome to submit their poems and short stories especially the ones who are involved: KIDS WITH CANCER. Kids can also submit their drawings and paintings in jpeg form. Send in your poems, short stories and drawings to

   Contributors will get their complimentary copy as an ebook. Printed version will be no longer available at because they only print pics in black and white which will not be appropriate for all the submitted drawings and paintings. Ebook will be in colored PDF format. Deadline is extended until March 3, 2008.

NOTE: I hope you could all bear with me with these changes. I have health problems right now which needs a lot of tests and oncology visits. I will do my very best to response to all your submission as soon as I receive it. Please feel free to pass this message to all your friends and writers groups. Thank you.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

   Award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson received the American Business Women's Association's (ABWA) Outstanding Woman Award at the their 19th national American Business Women's Day Celebration, Sat., Sept. 8, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Anaheim, CA. Lynn White Shelby, Burbank, CA, nominated her for the National Award.

   The ABWA is an organization that brings together businesswomen of diverse occupations and provides opportunities for personal and professional growth. Their motto "Together we can do it" unites tens of thousands of members throughout the world who benefit from membership and its national magazine Women in Business.

   Howard-Johnson is the author of a novel, book of creative nonfiction and poetry, all award-winners. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the 43rd and 44th Districts of the California Legislature. She speaks on Utah's culture, tolerance and subjects relating to writing and publishing and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She is also is an instructor for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program. Her book The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't was named USA Book News' Best Professional Book and earned the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin award and her newest book, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success will be released Oct. 1. Howard-Johnson is also the founder of Authors' Coalition, an organization for writers.

   Howard-Johnson's web site is

   The ABWA site is

Jane Toombs

   Jane has signed three contracts with a new Aussie pub, Eternal Press, to publish three of her short stories.

   The Sometime Place and In The River, not quite horror stories, will be in the Twist Of Fate Anthology to be released in October. It Can't be Mine! is about the classic male response on being confronted with a certain situation. Only in this case, the male is a ghoul. This story is in a December anthology called Twisted Fayrie Tales.

   Publisher Julie D'Arcy plans a launch on September 7, with some books already available on the site.

Maggie Ball

   Hi Bob, I love your newsletter -- the serendipity of your broad perspective is great fun. You might like to mention to your readers that The Compulsive Reader now has a radio show. The Compulsive Reader Talks is an extension of our site, and features live (and then podcast) author interviews, book chat, literary discussions, readings and more. It's an audio haven for book lovers! Readers can call in to shows, and I'm always open to chatting to new authors. The show is here:

   Thanks again for the great newsletter.

Authors' Coalition

Pssst. Did you know?

   That kind of approach has always caught our interest. We look for hot stuff on the stock market, best buys and, of course, better ways to do business. Now that authors find themselves in the positions of promoter and publisher as well as writer, they look for tips, too!

   Tips, in fact, are the favorite feature of Authors' Coalition's newsletter, "Sharing with Writers." Founder of the organization, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, is editor of that letter and noticed that correspondence from readers was mostly about tips and more tips. Thus, the first-ever, all-new tips edition was born. After that, subscribers asked for more and the tips edition become a semi-annual event.

   Authors' Coalition members are always encouraged to participate in the letter, to share with their fellows by sending articles and news. They came out in droves for this issue and the edition may need to become a two-part newsletter. Before September has waned, the third semi-annual edition will hit the email boxes of subscribers.

   Authors' Coalition's site is under construction but interested authors may subscribe to the letter at, or do so by sending an e-mail with "subscribe" in the subject line to

   The group also offers ad space, free writing-related e-books, promotional ideas, a bookstore to showcase their books, a blog focused on making a humdrum booth at a book fair into a rousing success by using value-added promotions, and more.

   Directors of the group are published authors Pat McGrath Avery and Joyce Faulkner.

   Howard-Johnson, the editor of "Sharing with Writers," is the author of USA Book News' Best Professional Book and Irwin Award winnner, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't. Hew new is release, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success.

   Among the sponsors of Authors' Coalition are and Red Engine Press.

   More information on Authors' Coalition principles may be found at:,,

Mother Daughter Club Radio show

   Once a week, I get an email notification from Kathe Gogosewski about interesting intereviews at Even though I am neither a mother nor a daughter in this life, I have found the offerings to be interesting.

   Go and have a listen for yourself.

Darrell Bain

Hi Folks--

   My November Newsletter is now live at


Thanks for reading.
Darrell Bain
Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year. Double Eppie Award winner 2007. Dream Realm Award, 2007.


Church Outside the Walls
Video by David Frederickson
reviewed by Phil Harris

   Something is fundamentally wrong! After two millennia of organized Christianity the world is not a better place. The same can be said for Islam and all organized religions. Faiths based the teachings of love have become pillars of hatred. Teachings that claimed we are all brothers and sisters have turned brothers and sisters against one another. Each religion rails against the other and within religions sectarianism will prove their undoing.

   What went wrong? An award winning video, "Church Outside The Walls" has been produced by Family Room Media. It states that there is no real biblical foundation for the concept of a physical church with its corporate styled power structure. It was produced largely by former ministers and pastors that spent 20 t0 30 years as part of that structure. No longer able to stand before a congregation and act as intermediary between the people and God, they took the "church" and left the building. Citing the historical evolution of the modern church as a way for the few to dictate to the many that began with the Roman Emperor Constantine, the video illustrates how organized religion has separated man from God.

   Video host David Frederickson, author of the book, "When The Church Leaves The Building" the myths that underlie religious institutions. Noting that versions of the Bible had been re-written to satisfy the needs of a growing church and political power structure, Frederickson sets up the interviews of a growing number of former clergy that, while maintaining their faith in Christ's teachings, have abandoned the role of leading and dictating to an unsuspecting flock. Those interviewed indicated that since leaving the organized church structure with all of its manmade rules and corporate organization, they have actually developed a more personal relationship with God. Claiming that the "body of Christ" is really the people and not the church, these former preachers of the "word' have discovered that the stifling and divisive nature of organized religion.

   The video shows that the early church was really just a casual get-together of like minded people who shared their hopes, dreams, food and shelter to those in need. Rather than preaching, there was discussion and sharing with perhaps a "facilitator" to help those with the finer points of the Christ message. This facilitator evolved into bishops, popes, pastors and deacons who began to assume total authority over teachings and relegating the true congregation to onlookers and mindless followers. This drastic turn of events began in the year 112 with rules issued by Ignatius and went down hill from there. Even the Protestant Reformation was exposed as a movement that only replaced one authoritarian religious hierarchy with another.

   Churches built by Constantine and since were actually designed to prevent the interaction of its members by focusing all eyes toward a podium and building ceilings so high that the focus was on the church leader and the rising arches put God symbolically out of reach from all but those in control. In essence, they built the precursor to the modern cinema where all attention is placed on the screen in front and everyone saying "shhh" if you try to talk. Whether built of simple materials or the most expensive stone and glass, the physical church, according to Frederickson, fosters separation and blind obedience.

   Indeed, something is fundamentally wrong with organized religion and the downhill slide began only twelve years after the last apostle's death. History has witnessed the continuous bloodletting fostered by religious institutions. Sectarian violence has not been confined to Islam, as seen today in the Middle East, but has followed the trail of every major religion as they have struggled to gain theological dominance or world religious thought. As these institutions attempt to fight off their inevitable "green mile," a growing sense of spirituality, one without walls, is emerging.

   From the gifts of giving on the Oprah Show to those discovering how to use the Law of Attraction, a new non-institutionalized spirituality is spreading across the globe. People are waking to the God within and the "Secret" is becoming a household world. From the revelation that Jesus taught esoteric laws to the growing exodus from the confining walls of church steeples, humanity is on the cusp of a Great Awakening where the true congregation is found discussing spiritual principles rather than dictating religious dogma. Perhaps the fundamental flaw in organized religion has served its purpose by showing what not to do and the reaction to its failings will lead humanity into a clearer light of understanding.

Philip Harris

Philip Harris is multi-published author including both fiction and non-fiction books. He is a nationally syndicated writer with the American Chronicle and a featured Ezine writer. He hosts two internet talk radio shows called ALL THINGS THAT MATTER. You can see many of his articles at

About Bobbing Around

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