Bobbing Around

Volume Eight, Number Two
October, 2008

Bob Rich's (chocolate flavoured) rave  other issues


*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Responses to the last issue
  Rita Toews on the soul of a dog
  Ellie Whitaker on walking paths
  How to fix the financial meltdown
  Dr James Choron on Georgia
  What's wrong with carbon trading?
  Who pollutes more than the USA?
  Sharks, from Sara Webb Quest
  Earth Overshoot Day, from Brooke Oehm Smith
*Deeper issues
  A Blessing
  'The Delusional Revoution' by Robert Jensen
  I want to kill
  No friends
  Suicide feels like a reprieve
*For writers
  Kathryn Struck on one reason for e-books
  "I" as a conceit, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
  Interviewed on the radio
*What my friends want you to know
  Rick Singer: Million Dollar Run to raise money for charity
  Barry Brook's new climate change web site
  Human Rights Overboard: Seeking Asylum in Australia
  Shopping Extravaganza contest
  The Rhesus Factor in audio book form
  Peter Bright wants quiet
  Carolyn Howard-Johnson to appear on TV
  Earth's newsdesk
  Readers Views Literary Awards open for submissions
  PTSD increases the risk of heart disease
  I won't do what THEY do!
  Claire crosses the Equator
  How to Be Fully Capacitated in Our Inclining Years
  'In Memory of Central Park' by Queenelle Minet
  Striking Back from Down Under, reviewed by ChrisChat

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.

   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. .

Calling for Green ambassadors

   The 2008 Commonwealth Bank Green Ambassador Awards are looking for young people who are determined to make a difference.

   Now in its fourth year, the program will acknowledge Australians aged 16 to 30 who are championing green initiatives in one of the following five categories:

  • At Home... living green and doing what it takes to reduce their household's environmental impact
  • At Work... taking action, influencing and empowering others to reduce the 'footprint' of the workplace and its employees
  • At School, TAFE, College or University... positively influencing other students, teachers and the administration
  • On the Road... using 'smart travel' practices to minimise negative effects on the environment
  • In the Community... actively participating in or leading practical conservation activities in local neighborhoods

       "As part of our ongoing commitment to the environment, the Bank is proud to be involved in a program that recognises and rewards our young Australians for the fantastic work they do and their leadership in environmentally sustainable living", said Barbara Chapman, Group Executive HR and Group Services, Commonwealth Bank.

       Five individuals, one from each of the categories, will be crowned national Green Ambassadors. To reward their hard work, the Commonwealth Bank will give each ambassador an award winning Naturewise eco-tour, giving them the chance to get up close and personal with Australia's great outdoors. One runner-up Ambassador will be selected for each category, with each receiving a five day Conservation Break with Conservation Volunteers.

       Previous ambassadors have made good use of their green credentials: going on to study Environmental Management at University, working with Conservation Volunteers and even standing for local election.

       Colin Jackson, Chief Executive Officer Conservation Volunteers Australia, said "The Green Ambassador program is a fantastic way to recognise budding young conservationists. By creating five categories we are able to recognize and reward the efforts of individuals who are working hard to protect their environment, regardless of how big or small the initiative."

       Nominate a Green Ambassador online now at or call Conservation Volunteers on 1800 032 501 for more information.

       Applications are open until Friday 24 October 2008.

    A note from my mate Ron Peters

       I continue to be impressed with the high quality of your editing and the specific comments/suggestions designed to improve the acceptance and readability of this novel. In other words, you done good, Bob.

       Seriously, your editing skills are outstanding. And I believe you have finally pounded the concepts of POV and witness into this thick skull to the point where I’m beginning to understand them. That alone is a major accomplishment for a head-hopper like me.

       Thanks Bob. I can always count on your professionalism to give my writing a major quality boost.


       p.s. Please feel free to use any part of this, except of course my rantings and carrying-ons about your weird slang usage (above in white font), in any of your promotions.
    Your codger cobber,

    New recipient for the LiFE Award: Literature For Environment

       The LiFE Award: Literature For the Environment has been awarded to the 27th recipient, a powerful novel of the all too possible future. It is In Memory of Central Park by Queenelle Minet. You can read my review of this book. Queneelle's web site is also well worth visiting, with wonderful quotes from many sources, and interesting content.

  • Responses to the last issue

    Rita Toews on the soul of a dog
    Ellie Whitaker on walking paths

    Rita Toews on the soul of a dog

    Hi Bob!

       Good issue of Bobbing Around. The letter from the man about his grief for his dog struck a chord.

       I lost a dog and really grieved. A lot of the points you made were very valid.

       At the time of the loss I was auditing a class at a local Christian college. One of the exercises was to write an Apologetic. I chose to argue why my wonderful dog should be allowed into heaven. I enclose my work for your enjoyment. Perhaps your correspondent, would get a lift from it as well.

       The work is in the form of a prayer with the classic four points: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.

       Since I had made such a strong bond with my dog, for my next pet I chose a cat. I figured cats are aloof -- I wouldn't form the same close bond that nearly tore me apart when the dog died. Didn't work. I grieved for the cat as well. (shrugs) Guess I'm just a softy when it comes to animals.

    Oh - almost forgot. Our novel, Body Traffic, was recommended as a summer read by a women's magazine! We were pleased. :-)
    Rita Toews

    Unfortunately, Rita's prayer is nearly 2000 words long -- way too much for Bobbing Around. She is half of a prolific writing partnership with Alex Domokos, and also the author of two books on bulllying. Look her up at

    Ellie Whitaker on walking paths

    Hello Bob,

       Congratulations on your new style newsletter, which I received through the Australian Community Writers group. Very interesting reading.

        I would like to say how much I agree with Sally Odgers about 'useful' walking paths. I have never in my life owned or driven a car, so my life has been walk, walk, walking and public transport.

        Currently I live in a suburb well supplied with public transport for longer distances, and can walk to local shops. However, I remember back to early married days when I lived in a little house in a bushy outer suburb, with a busy road, but no footpath. Well, there was a footpath of sorts, rough, narrow, unmade, and on a cliff face above the road! On this I had to transverse a mile to the nearest shops with a pram containing a toddler and a baby, and the groceries on the way back as well!

       Sally's suggestion has much merit.

    Ellie Whitaker.

    Ellie Whitaker, a lady of mature years, has had many poems and short stories published in anthologies, Uni Press journals, and community writing books. She belongs to two local writing groups and is also a member of a local theatre group. She makes no claim to fame, other than having raised four beautiful children. She is owned by two very bossy cats.

       I forwarded Ellie's email to Sally. Here is her response:

       Thanks for the feedback, Bob. I don't use a pram, but I do take one or two dogs with me when I walk. One attempt to take them to a greengrocery 3 km from home led to the following. We had to walk along a narrow (1 m across) raised walkway 6 inches above the road. This had no rail between it and the cars zipping by over the bridge at 80 Km/h. We got across, and I bought my vegetables, including a very large cabbage, which I put in my hessian bag.

       On the way home, the (normally placid) dogs both decided they would NOT go on the walkway again. There were trucks zooming by. I couldn't drag them, in case one slipped her harness and shot across the road, so I contemplated swimming with them across the river. However... it was winter. So, I slung the bag of vegetables round my neck, and picked up one dog in each arm. I had to use my right arm for the heavier one, and bend, holding her, to pick up the smaller one. Thus *burdened with 15 kg of dog and about 5 kg of vege, including the monster cabbage, I staggered back along the walkway.

       *Oddly, I've had acquaintances offer me a lift when I've been trotting along the road happily with a loaf of bread, but no one ever stops when I'm overburdened. Why IS that? I had a similar experience when pregnant. People used to offer me help with carrying things, but when I had a four year old attached to my leg and a baby on my hip no one ever offered! Maybe it's a rule of thumb that people only ever want to help those who don't need it.



    How to fix the financial meltdown
    Dr James Choron on Georgia

    How to fix the financial meltdown

    Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
    Craig Isherwood, National Secretary PO Box 376, COBURG, VIC 3058 Phone: 03 9354 0544 Fax: 03 9354 0166 Email: Website:

    Rudd copies Bush, while G-14 nations turn to LaRouche’s New Bretton Woods

       The Bush/Paulson $700 billion bailout had an immediate impact on Monday, crashing markets all around the world. In Australia, hundreds of thousands of retirees and pre-retirees have now joined farmers, mortgage-stressed homeowners, and pensioners as victims of the economic collapse, having lost hundreds of billions of dollars in superannuation.

       Yet what is our Government doing? Kevin Rudd is taking his lead from the dumbest president in history -- save the bankers, and screw the people! The Government that can only “watch” fuel prices, food prices, homeowners, and pensioners, bends over backwards for bankers. Is this what you expected when you voted for him? The only approach that will save the people from ruin and a new dark age is Lyndon LaRouche’s proposal for a complete reorganisation of the financial system, which is premised on the understanding that there is no way that the financial system in its present form can be saved.

       By contrast to Rudd and his “leader” Bush, many other nations, particularly in Europe, are turning to LaRouche’s New Bretton Woods reorganisation:

       On Sunday evening, Russian National TV’s Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week) program, watched by 70 million viewers, chose to broadcast LaRouche elaborating on his Rooseveltian, New Bretton Woods proposal, as the solution to the international crisis: “This system, in its present form, is virtually extinct. This system will not live out, probably, this year. By the first of the year, we may have a broken-down international financial- monetary system. The question is, what is the alternative to a collapse? It means a reorganization, on an emergency basis, of the entire international monetary-financial system. It would require that the United States would have to go to the three largest nations, outside itself, which would be Russia, China, and India. If [they] agree on reorganizing the international financial-monetary system, we could solve the problem. This would mean going to a Roosevelt approach, to a kind of new Bretton Woods system.”

       French President Nicholas Sarkozy is leading moves in Europe to scrap the deadly constraints which the Maastricht Treaty imposes on the national governments of Europe, and initiate a government-run, Roosevelt-style reorganisation of the financial system. His initiative is being taken up by the G-14, which includes the G-8 and China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, and sometimes South Korea, Australia or Nigeria. LaRouche commented: “There’s a complete coincidence between what the Russian TV quoted from me, and the policy and the circumstances of the policy that has now essentially gone through in Europe, as the outlook of Europe, and that is coming out of the G-14 grouping. So the whole G-14, implicitly by this broadcast and by the things coming from France and so forth, is saying that the entire system is going through reorganization, and that it’s going towards a Roosevelt-style system, a Roosevelt-style reform... The Europeans are acting. They are acting their way: not my way, but their way. That’s what is happening. There is an agreement that the present IMF system is implicitly dead—that we’re going back to something like the Roosevelt system—and that is coming from sources such as the President of France. It involves not just Europe, it involves also the G-14.”

       Australians must decide: Bush, or LaRouche? Bankers, or the people? We must insist that the Rudd Government stop copying the Bush banker-bailout policy, and reach out to collaborate with the G-14 moves to reorganise the system.

    What you can do

       The first step in a reorganisation must be an emergency firewall to protect the people. This is the intention of the Homeowners and Bank Protection Bill. Read the petition, sign it and fax it to your Federal MP this week. A LaRouche Youth Movement/Citizens Electoral Council delegation will be in Canberra next week, to meet MPs and push for the bill to be tabled in Parliament. More information on the Homeowners and Bank Protection Bill is available by clicking here.

    Dr James Choron on Georgia


       This needs to be told. The world needs to know the truth. The vast majority of news reports about Georgia are nothing like the facts.

       In 1991 South Ossitia was promised independence from the Soviet Union and the Georgian Republic. However, Georgia saw an opportunity to grab land, and the terminals for two major oil pipelines. Since Georgia is essentially bankrupt, they saw this as a viable option.

       Also, Georgia is now over 60% Moslem, with Moslems controlling the government, and South Ossittia, which is surrounded on three sides by Georgia, is over 80% Orthodox Christian. Bush has amazing choice of "allies!"

       They invaded South Ossitia and installed a brutal military government. The South Ossitians they fought back, and in the fighting some Russian cities were damaged just across the border, with civilian casualties. Russia therefore sent troops protect its people. They became the main component in a small international (with Azerbaizhan and Tdjikistan) peacekeeping force in the region.

       Last Thursday the Georgians attacked the Russians in South Ossitia. Once again they are after those two oil terminals. They began shelling Russian peacekeepers... and again overshot and shelled two small Russian towns across the border. The Russians came in to evacuate the Russian wounded and tried to keep the Georgians and South Ossitians from damaging Russian cities.

       The Russians tried to send in relief supplies (for all parties) and the Georgians attacked the unarmed, civilian transport ship. A Russian Krivak class frigate that was on a routine patrol out of Sevastopol picked up the SOS and responded. An 120 ft. missile boat is not much of a match for a Krivak class frigate... enough said. The result was splinters and an oil slick but not before the freighter had been seriously damaged and sustained numerous casualties.

       The US has been aiding the Georgians (over 1,500 "advisors" and massive shipments of US arms and ammunition for the past 18 months). So, the Russians are suspicious of US aid, especially when it comes aboard military ships and airplanes. Should the US send aid via civilian vessels, the Russians will have no objections and have made it clear that such aid would be welcomed by all parties.

       The US is fully aware of who the aggressor is. How can Bush can go to Peking and bow down to the COMMUNIST Chinese and have "most favored nation status” with both COMMUNIST CHINA and COMMUNIST VIETNAM and at the same time provoke proxy nut-cases like the Georgians and Ukrainians to attack Russia?

       At the moment, Bush is threatening to send a naval task force into South Ossitia under the guise of "humanitarian aid" and has "warned" Russia, through whose territorial waters it will pass not to be "belligerent". Sending a helicopter carrier and escort vessels into someone else's waters is belligerent in its own right. I recall a similar incident in 1962 in Cuba.

       There is currently a US infantry brigade set to deploy in Georgia and an unknown number of US military personnel set to airlift in with the "aid". The US flew Georgian troops, who took part in the wanton destruction of the South Ossitian capital into Georgia from Iraq on US transport jets! This has all of the makings of a repeat of what happened in Vietnam in '64.

       It seems like Bush is deliberately trying to provoke a major war with Russia and it's a very bad idea. He obviously believes his own propaganda about how "weak" Russia is and thinks the oil terminals in South Ossitia are easy pickings. If the US fires at a Russian vessel, there is going to be a war. Nothing can stop it. No head of state could sit for it from any country. The same can be said if the reinforced Georgians resume their campaign of laying waste to South Ossitia and one more shell or rocket falls on a Russian town.

       The US is now "pressuring" Ukraine to "limit" access by Russian naval vessels to a legitimate Russian naval base at Sevastopol and inciting the Ukrainians to further border raids against Russia. This is also demonstrable. It seems that Bush is determined to start a war with the "evil empire" (that only exists in his delusional mind).



    What's wrong with carbon trading?
    Who pollutes more than the USA?
    Sharks from Sara Webb Quest
    Earth Overshoot Day from Brooke Oehm Smith

    What's wrong with carbon trading?

       A video at shows what's wrong with carbon trading. This highly touted solution to climate change is actually just a way to license polluters to keep going. They can then up their charges, and also, if they are lucky like the Australian coal industry is, they can get government subsidies to eliminate all pain.

       And what about the vendors of carbon credits? Who are they? Often, they are big business that sells what they don't own. They take land and other resources belonging to poor peasants, and replace them with fast-growing trees that not only earn the carbon credits, but will also turn a tidy profit as timber in the future.

       So, humanity loses out on several counts. The polluters continue to pollute. Not only can they do it without being out of pocket, but can even be financially rewarded for doing so. For the consumer, the price of goods and services goes up. Land, water and other natural resources are tied up in money-making ventures that do store carbon, but at a great cost to those least able to defend themselves against rapacious developers.

       The video gives a case example. Polluters in a Scottish town buy their carbon credits from a company that replaces the farms of poor Brazilian people with an eucalypt monoculture.

       What should be done instead? Well, how about forcing the polluters to stop, to redesign their processes, to rebuild the world in a sustainable way? Carbon trading is smokes and mirrors. For survival, we need real change.

    Who pollutes more than the USA?

       Americans need no longer feel guilty. The USA is no longer the top polluting nation on earth. That wonderful distinction has been achieved by the People's Republic of China.

       The Journal of Environment Economics and Management has published an analysis by a research team from the University of California that shows this for 2006-2007. You can read about it at the BBC web site in an article by Roger Harrabin.

       Why is this happening? You don't have to be a genius to realise that it's outsourcing. Western companies have their manufacturing done in countries such as China precisely because the costs can be kept down. This is achieved by not needing to bother with annoying things like occupational health and safety, annual leave, superannuation, sick leave, pollution control and all the other ways that unreasonable western workers abuse the beneficient companies that used to employ them, and still try to sell them inferior-quality merchandise.

       Why is this merchandise inferior quality? Well. if you had to work in a pollution soup, and enjoy all the other life-enhancing conditions Chinese workers do, would you be motivated to do high-quality work?

    from Sara Webb Quest

    Hi Bob,

       Real quick. We humans have a way of working occurrences to our favor. I just want to state something I just learned, and as a JAWS (and horror flick) fan, I welcome anyone to refute these facts! According to several website statistics, four people per year are killed by sharks. The same statistics report that approximately forty MILLION sharks per year are killed by HUMANS. Please now consider a practice called shark finning. I love Asian traditions but this is not one of them, and frankly, since watching the PETA website I'm not all about eating cows or pigs either in addition to it being healthier and more humane to eat fish and chicken anyway. Back to the sharks, their fins are cut off for soup and these millions are left to die. I welcome any comments. Bring it on.

    Visit SARA WEBB QUEST at:

    Earth Overshoot Day
    from Brooke Oehm Smith

       Tuesday Sep 23 marked a not-so-joyous milestone: Earth Overshoot Day 2008, the day when humanity had officially used up all the resources nature will provide this calendar year. Thanks to the problem of "ecological overshoot," in 2008 we gobbled up about 40 percent more resources than Earth can regenerate, worsening pretty much every pressing environmental problem we face today, from climate change to declining biodiversity to shrinking forests. And every year, as we cut down more and more trees before they can re-grow, emit more and more carbon dioxide before it can be absorbed, and catch more and more fish before they can spawn -- not to mention all our other unsustainable activities -- Earth Overshoot Day will come earlier and earlier.

     For the next three months, we're living beyond our ecological means for the year, racking up charges on Mother Nature's credit card without any resources to pay it off. We'd better come up with a pretty stellar bail-out plan -- and act on it -- right away. Learn more about Earth Overshoot Day from the Global Footprint Network.

    Brooke Smith has a career in IT and uses these skills as a volunteer consultant with Friends of the Earth. He has co-organised two Walk Against Warmings in Brisbane and a Fossil Fools Day walk through Brisbane to highlight the big Coal companies and the crimes they have committed. These activities have been mostly suspended as he now spends as much time as possible bonding with his 5 month old daughter. His reflections on the Environment can be seen at

    Deeper Issues

    A Blessing
    The Delusional Revoution by Robert Jensen

    A Blessing

       The human mind, even the scientifically trained human mind, is unable to perceive exponential change. We think in straight lines.

       Climate change has been exponential. That is, it grows in a cumulative way like interest on a loan. Scientific forecasts made only a few years ago now seem ridiculously optimistic. And, in the same way, today’s predictions will seem ridiculously optimistic in a few years from now.

       Even today, governments seriously set targets for 2020. They can set all the targets they like -- that’s way too late. My prediction is that unless we put humanity on a war footing, with every action by every person aimed at survival, we will see the end of civilisation as we know it. It is possible we will encounter extinction for our species, and for a lot of others as well.

       And, given current trends, such a mobilisation is not going to happen. Big Money is very busy ensuring that it continues to make big money, even if it means the destruction of everything, including the shareholders and billionaires.

       One day, sooner than you think, there will be no food in the supermarkets, no electricity in the grid, no water in the tap. Cities will be death traps -- those not destroyed by high-energy weather patterns combined with sea level rise.

       When the global economy unravelled in 1930, there was surprisingly little chaos and lawlessness. When decent people lost all they had, they continued to be decent homeless, starving people.

       This time, it will be different. It already is.

       When people starve in the cities, they will do anything out of desperation.

       I knew all this 30 years ago. That was why I joined the Australian Army Reserve, and got trained as an infantryman. My thought was that if chaos comes in my lifetime, I will be able to defend my loved ones and friends, and ensure a seed of sane survival for the new world.

       Only, I’ve changed since. Now, I have trouble killing an insect, and I know I could not kill or even hurt another human. So, what will I do?

       If it happens in my lifetime, as it is highly likely to, I will be generous. When the raiders come, they may kill me. I will not fight back. If they don’t, I will happily give them what will keep them alive for another few days or weeks.

       I happen to know that the kindest way to die is to stop eating. Discomfort stops after the first couple of days. Then there is a state that’s called “starvation euphoria.” You just quietly fade away.

       We all have to die, and all things come to an end. That’s all right. I just hope that the next chapter of my story will be in another place, inhabited by beings less crazy than the all too dominant species of this planet.

    The Delusional Revoution
    by Robert Jensen

       The delusional revolution is my term for the development of sophisticated propaganda techniques in the 20th century (especially a highly emotive, image-based advertising system) that have produced in the bulk of the population (especially in First World societies) a distinctly delusional state of being. Even those of us who try to resist it often can't help but be drawn into parts of the delusion. As a culture, we collectively end up acting as if unsustainable systems can be sustained because we want them to be. Much of the culture's storytelling -- particularly through the dominant storytelling institution, the mass media -- remains committed to maintaining this delusional state. In such a culture, it becomes hard to extract oneself from that story.

       So, in summary: The agricultural revolution set us on a road to destruction. The industrial revolution ramped up our speed. The delusional revolution has prevented us from coming to terms with the reality of where we are and where we are heading. That's the bad news. The worse news is that there's still overwhelming resistance in the dominant culture to acknowledging that these kinds of discussions are necessary. This should not be surprising because, to quote Wes Jackson, we are living as "a species out of context." Jackson likes to remind audiences that the modern human -- animals like us, with our brain capacity -- have been on the planet about 200,000 years, which means these revolutions constitute only about 5 percent of human history. We are living today trapped by systems in which we did not evolve as a species over the long term and to which we are still struggling to adapt in the short term.

       Realistically, we need to get on a new road if we want there to be a future...

       Click here for the full text.

    Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center The ideas in this essay are drawn in part from his forthcoming book, The New Communion (Soft Skull Press, 2009).

       Professor Jensen is the author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism, and White Privilege (City Lights Books, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights Books, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2001). He can be reached at and his articles can be found online at


    I want to kill
    No friends
    Sucide feels like a reprieve

    I want to kill

       I am a 23 year old male.

       I was traversing my way through Google, typing in ways to get away with murder. There have been people before saying they had the perfect crime. But it's not about having a plan, it's about planning for the moment. Why people get caught is their sloppiness, careless mistakes that would never occur to their simple human minds.

       The only reason I do not kill is because the law will crush me like a bug if I do. I am not stupid, I know the rules. Play by them and you won't get hurt. And patience is a virtue even for men of evil.


       I do not see it as a problem, but I have never had morals. Or have seen what virtue they possess besides weakening people by riddling them with guilt.

       I have no value for life.

       I believe more in Cthulhu The Dreamer rather them the pitiful gods this race has conjured up. Their faith gave them power when people were even more ignorant.

       But now in this day and age of a world run by corporations, their gods have no substance.

        I've gone to other psychologists before and they told me "you are the problem" "you are a monster" "if you want to be whole, you must work against yourself and change."

       But here is the crux of the matter.

       I don't want to change. I like darkness. I like evil and want nothing more than to fill this world with demons and fiends alike. Ruled by me. Power is the only thing I can see worth a damn in this world. It's the only thing people respect and worship.

       Why in such a fucked up evil place as this world is evil shunned?

       Is there no place for darkness in this world?

       I had no choice in birth, I was happier in oblivion.

       But I cannot die yet because what if it was fate that brought me here and I have a destiny given to me by... my masters.

       I am caught in a horrible dilemma of not knowing.

       But such is blind faith.

       It's the same for Christ and the same for Cthulhu.

       Maybe it has something to do with the equation.

       Or the source.

       I only message you ‘cause I am afraid that destiny might have brought me to you and that you might hold some secret piece of knowledge that I am required to find out. To better serve The Purpose.


    Dear Stephan,

       I cannot read your destiny. I wish I could read mine. All I know is that, at the moment, my reason for being in the world is that I have an ability to heal tortured souls.

       You have previously gone to psychologists. You have sought me out. Why?

       If you were truly evil, and happy in being evil, you would not seek dialogue with healers, with workers for the light. You would shun them, or even hunt them.

       Your excuse for not having killed is that you believe the law would catch you. There are a great many people out there who have not let that risk stop them. Indeed, some have been caught, but who knows how many are still free, and undetected?

       Therefore, this is an excuse, so that you don’t actually have to be weak and give in to your murderous impulses.


       There is a senior policeman who has successfully arrested a number of so-called pedophiles. He knows that sexually abusing little children is the most damaging thing you can do to them, and he is determined to do everything he can to protect kids from harm.

       And yet, all his adult life, he has been tortured by inner urges to do just that. Every time he is in the presence of a little boy or girl, he suffers vivid images of fondling their genitals, of having them suck on his penis and so on.

       All his life, he has kept this a secret. Nobody knows but he and his therapist, who is a young man I supervised (so, I don’t actually know his identity). He has never, ever, hurt a little child.

       The difference between his impulses and yours is that he believes that his impulses are wrong, and he knowingly resists them. You also resist yours, and have done so just as successfully, but you have been doing so unknowingly.


       I repeat. If you REALLY wanted to kill people, you’d have done so long ago. Most killers are arrogant enough to believe that they will get away with it. You are using an imagined external constraint because at some level you have found this easier than acknowledging that you actually don’t want to kill, and fear that you are too weak to use internal controls like this policeman has.


       OK, what value do morals have? A wise man called Emmanuel Kant provided an answer to this. He proposed a little test he called the Principle of Universability. When assessing whether something is desirable or not, imagine a world in which it is universal.

       What’s better: to tell the truth, or to lie? Well, if everyone always lied, you would be in a world of a lot of insecurity, with expensive and complex mechanisms needed to oversee every transaction between people. Come to think of it, that’s the world we live in, right? If everyone always told the truth, you could get rid of contracts, and legal trials, and a whole heap of other things. Life would be safer, more predictable, more pleasant in many ways.

       So, Kant said, telling the truth is better than lying.

       This analysis can be made as subtle as you like. What about always telling the truth, except when it’d hurt somebody’s feelings? In one world, “white lies” are always told. In another, people say the truth even if it’s hurtful. I think the white lies world is kinder. So, I consider them to be OK.


       Let’s now get to your problem. Would you be comfortable in a world where everyone freely kills anyone else, as long as they can get away with it? At the moment, you can safely indulge in your murderous imaginings, because you are reasonably protected. When you walk down a street, you are very unlikely to be randomly gunned down. If you agree with this, then you will know why it’s not a good idea to kill other people. If you disagree, then why don’t you go to some part of the world where anarchy rules, and hire yourself out as a mercenary? Then you can kill, and even get paid for it. However, every moment, your own life will be at risk. There will be no policemen to protect you. Your life will be infinitely less secure, comfortable and predictable than it is now.

       If the risk of being killed by others is not a good thing, then you killing others is not a good thing. That’s all Kant meant by morality, and I agree with him.

       Morals don’t weaken people, but strengthen them. Who is weaker: the bastard who sexually abuses a little child, or that policeman who has the urge to do so, but his morality allows him to resist it? Anyone with urges to harm someone else has a choice: to weakly give in to it, or to decide how to act, and do that. The policeman is admirable and strong, precisely because he has terrible urges to harm. The same is true for you. So far, you have resisted urges to kill. You have done so by imposing an external control over yourself: “If I kill someone, the police will get me.” The next step is to decide whether you REALLY want to kill, or only have this urge because it fills some hole in your inner life, one you may be able to fill in other ways.


       You say you like evil, darkness, filling the world with demons.

       But do you like evil done to YOU? What if I now used my magical abilities, and translocated myself to where you are, and then nailed you to a wall and very slowly tortured you to death? Would you like THAT evil? What if you filled the world with demons, and they got YOU?

       You say you want to have those demons be ruled by you. That’s never the way it works. When you release demons, they rule you, use you while it suits them -- then they consume you, with as much pain as they can. This is guaranteed. Both history and literature bear it out. The danger to you is not that of being caught by the police, but in having your wish come true.


       Nor is it true that power is the only thing people respect. It may be true for some, but not by any means for all. I don’t give a stuff about the rich, famous and powerful. My criterion is that the only things that matter are those I can take with me upon death. I cannot take along fame, power, possessions, status, even children and friends. All that will come with me are the lessons I learn through life.

       One of those lessons is that there is no such thing as an evil person. People DO evil, but this does not make them evil. They may be deluded, as I think you are. But I disagree with those other psychologists. I don’t consider you to be a monster, and I don’t want you to change. All I suggest is that you examine whether you are happy with your habitual thought processes. If you were happy, would you be spending all your free time fantasizing over murder? I don’t think so. These ruminative obsessions have been dragging you down, for a long time. They have not worked in making your life good. If something works, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, do something else.

       I very strongly suspect that you consider yourself to be powerless, and your obsession with killing gives you an imagined sense of vicarious power. Well, why don’t you do this professionally, and get some real power as an author.

       This is what Sue Grafton did. During a terribly bitter divorce, she devised a way of killing her husband. It was a good plan, and she thinks she might have got away with it. Instead, she wrote it up as a detective story, the first of many. Now, she is a world-famous best-selling author with about 20 published titles and more coming.

       Horror is a very popular genre. Why don’t you write a horror fiction book, and see where it gets you?

       Of course, few writers break through into the big time. But the only way to get there is to give it a go.

       Or, you may have, or develop, the skills of constructing interactive games for a suitable medium. You can create your demons, and get kids to pay you for playing with them.

       So, Stephan, you have choices, every instant of your life. You can choose to continue torturing yourself as you’ve been doing. You can choose to give in to your impulses and kill some person who has feelings and thoughts and is in most ways like you are. Or you can choose to accept these inner events, and turn them to your benefit.

    Let me know your responses to my ramblings,

    To my delight, "Stephan" (not his real name) replied, and we are carrying on an email discussion.

    No friends

    Hi Bob, hope you are well.

       I just wanted some understanding really on why I am so emotionally insecure. I'm 18 years old and I try to keep busy with work and going the gym but whenever I come home I just feel really lonely. I kind of rely on this guy who I met at work who I'm good friends with to be there for me, because I just want someone there for me so I don't have to feel lonely.

       At work I work more or less on my own and the other part of the place everyone works together which makes me long to be there with them.

       I was depressed for quite sometime before, when I didn't have a job, before I met a new friend and started at the gym. I'm better, but still lonely and I feel like it takes over my life.

       I think it all started when I left school and me and my best mate who I used to see all time just drifted apart. We have started at the gym but our relationships just not the same, and to be honest I am quite bored of her, she has her own life now.

       I just hate feeling like this, I just want people around me, even if I just had one friend who I saw a lot I’d feel okay.

       Hope you could give me some advice, no one else feels like me. I don't want to live like this.

    Helen x

    Helen my dear,

       At your age, I felt the same. I was so shy and lonely, I could not even talk to girls. I just immersed myself in study and sport, and had no social contacts at all.

       So, you’re already doing better than I did. You have at least one male friend.

       Why are you so isolated? Because we live in a selfish, childish, isolated culture where each person is supposed to "look after number one." In traditional communities, in places like India and Africa, there are very few people like us. Everybody is connected, and has a role. It's only where western ways of doing things have disrupted the culture that you have isolation and meaninglessness.

       What to do about it? The rule is: to have a friend, first be a friend.

       You wrote that you used to be depressed. I suspect that you still are, and so, unknowingly, you are sending out nonverbal messages something like "I'm no fun to be with; I'm no good; leave me alone."

       It's OK to feel like this. However, if you want to make a change to your situation, you need to send out nonverbal messages such as "I like myself; I am interested in you as a person; I enjoy life; I want to make things go well for you."

       Behavior precedes emotion rather than the other way. If you start acting in accordance with these messages, you will feel that they are true. And then they will be true. Act the way you would like your life to be -- and it will come true.

       I don't know what your interests are apart from going to gym. But look for new activities to become involved in, with new people. Be cheerful, sunny, helpful and considerate with them, and you'll be surprised at the reaction.

       I ended up building a very good life for myself. You can do the same.


    Suicide feels like a reprieve

    Hi Bob,

       Before the age of 8, I had been molested by 3 different men. Two of which were family members, and one of which was my mother's boyfriend at the time. When I came out and told my family, no one believed me but my mother. They would ask me to tell others I was lying, or I had made it up, so it would resolve conflict.

       The last two boyfriends I've had in a row are borderline psychopathic, one more than the other. The most recent made me sit on the phone through an hour of him telling me he's about to kill himself, so that I wouldn't want to spend a few days apart from him. I would sobbingly beg for his safety, and he would tell me he didn't think he could last through the days I wanted apart. I didn't even want those days at that point in time. I just wanted him to be safe. He doesn't have emotions. I spent 7 months of my life with him, and he was always shallow and fickle when trying to explain his "feelings". He let his own mother die. I can see a coldness in his eyes when he looks at someone else going through pain. He makes up illnesses for himself. He has a terrible work ethic, calling off days at a time frequently.

       But that isn't the point. Sorry to ramble. Now on to the question I have.

       I'm quite confused when it comes to myself. I am an 18 year old female, with a good amount of both opportunity and hopelessness. I can remember days before I was even 10, where I would sit and contemplate the idea of suicide. As the years grew on, I slowly, very slowly, came closer and closer to the act. When I was younger, I would hold a knife to my stomach or throat. When I got older, I would lay pills out infront of me with a glass and just stare, eventually putting it up. Now, I will go so far as to take a couple pills, but I stop myself before I take too many. I'm worried that when I grow older, I will be taking more than just a few.

       Suicide seems like a reprieve. The only thing that's stopping me is the love of my mother. I have almost made it up in my head that I'll finally be able to take all of the pills once she has passed.

       In essence, there isn't anything wrong with my life right now. But underneath, I have dream after dream of my character (me) looking at the possibility of ending it all; but I wake up before it happens. Usually. Once, someone else shot me in a dream, and I quite enjoyed being a ghost.

       Another thing that bothers me..Violent images show up in my head sometimes. Terrible pictures of carnage to organic beings, like people, horses, dogs. I won't go into further detail. But, I can't push these images away. I always think there's someone in the closet, someone right behind me, and at any moment, my life will end. I have to tell myself that my soul will be safe no matter what in order to calm myself down.

       I think about jumping off the water tower every day.

       I'm afraid that my decision to kill myself will come calm, smoothly, and just in such an order that it will be easy to get done. I wake up thinking about suicide sometimes.

       Again, thanks for the help. It helps more than anything to get it out and have it there for someone to read. I can't tell anyone else about this seriously.


    Dear Kerry,

       The way you set out your question, I can see that you understand the links between the childhood sexual abuse and your current suffering, including becoming attached to inappropriate boyfriends.

       When you were a little girl, your spirit was violated. Control over your own body was taken away from you, and then you were not even believed, and people who should have loved and cared for you put pressure on you to sacrifice your truth for the welfare of other people.

       This had a very complex mixture of effects upon you.

       One of them was anger, and rightly so. But, you were not allowed to show this anger, to act on it. You were forced to keep the secret, and the anger has stayed there. It is not the anger of an 18 year old young woman, but the anger of a hurt little child. So, it shows itself in those images and dreams.

       Another component is that although in your rational mind you know you are a good person, the message you got as a little kid was the opposite: “You evil destructive liar, how dare you accuse people of doing horrible things to you!” Reason, rationality has nothing to do with our deep inner feelings. Your deep inner feeling is that you don’t deserve to live, you are bad, you need to be punished. That’s why you have been consumed by suicidal thoughts, that’s why you have punished yourself in various ways including allowing yourself to be emotionally abused by boyfriends. At some level, you felt that you deserved such punishment.

       Does all this make sense?

       If I could sit down in the same room with you, I would help you to go back, as an 18 year old visitor, to that poor abused little girl. My personal preference is to use hypnosis for this, but other methods work too. Perhaps you can even do this unaided, though I suggest you have your mother present for comfort and security.

       Close your eyes. Breathing softly, relax your body. Visualize some lovely place where you feel safe. Here is a nice one: you are in the back of a rowboat, very comfortable. See the blue water, the sky, plants on the shore, birds. Hear the wind, smell the scent of fresh water.

       Your mother is at the oars, so you know you are safe.

       Holding this feeling in your mind, also go back to one specific episode in your childhood when you were harmed. This could be when you were disbelieved and told you were lying, and at a different time, it could be when the sexual abuse was being done to you. Watch from the outside as things happen to the poor little girl, and also be that little girl again. See how she is without power, not responsible for the evil being done to her. She is blameless. When you reach the end, replay the episode in your mind, again and again and again, until it is just a story without any emotional load. That will happen.

       Then, you, the 18 year old, gather the little girl onto your lap. Hug her. Kiss the top of her head. Tell her that you believe her, you love her, you will always be there for her.

       You will probably need to do this for more than one episode. It is much easier if you are working with a therapist you trust. But even then, the work of healing has to be done by you. The therapist is only a guide, and a source of emotional support.

       In the meantime, some first aid:

       Whatever thoughts, impulses, emotions, dreams, images come to you, they come unasked. They feel like commands, but they are only invitations. You know that, because you have been declining these invitations.

       These inner events are not real. They are only things that go on within your mind. They are neither true nor false, they just are.

       Accept them. Don’t argue with them, because that gives them more power. They are there, OK, they are there. They feel awful, but they are not real, just inner leftovers of something that once happened, in the past.

       Instead of obeying them, or being tempted to obey them, or struggling against them, just accept them, let them play out on the stage of your mind without paying them attention, and do something good instead. This could be some vigorous physical exercise, or enjoying something beautiful, or doing a creative activity, or an act of kindness for someone.


    For writers

    Kathryn Struck on one reason for e-books
    "I" as a conceit by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Interviewed on the radio

    Kathryn Struck on one reason for e-books

    Just because the US is planting trees to replace the ones we cut doesn't mean that the atmosphere can recover from the loss of mature trees with young trees. It takes decades for those new trees to really augment the carbon-dioxide/oxygen exchange at a balanced rate.

       And just because the US is planting trees to replace cutting of old growth trees, doesn't mean OTHER countries, especially developing ones, are doing the same. They are very interested in improving their economy and quality of life for their people; and like us in Colonial days, they are stripping their forests.

       The US has just come to realize (sort of) that we can't do that and keep the environment in balance. We stripped our natural resources for two centuries before--duh--that realization hit us. And it still hasn't hit some people. It should have hit us ALL 30 years ago. We are running late.

       Of course, the big companies want to slow down some of that investigation into clean fuels and clean industries until their profits run out. So they are dabbling in it and pretending, IMHO, to invest billions. I don't believe that.

       So paper is still being printed (with all its acids and pollutants) and will be for some time to come. If our nation regulates it too much, we can always out-source it to a developing country which may not regulate their industries for need of profits. We ARE Global. Look at this current Wall Street bail out to see that. If we go under, the world goes under.

       Or with anti-pollution devices, the price of paper will really rise, and buying a paper book may not be as common. It may become more of a luxury. IF this country applies regulations.

       I have nothing against paper books. I love them. I just think that their future is limited. Just like oil, we are running out of cheap paper. The environment will certainly become a major issue in the next ten years. I hope so. Are humans committed to slow suicide by pollution and dirty industry?

       In time, the clean industries will be rewarded with tax cuts. Then they will turn to electronic books.

       Sorry to harp on an old tune. Ebooks will win out. Hang in there.

    Kathryn Struck

    Kathryn is the initiator and CEO of one of the most successful and longest existing electronic publishers, Awe-Struck Books. Her success is based on an unsullied reputation for fair dealing, loyalty to her authors, good marketing, and as you can see, a lot of passion in her beliefs.

    "I" as a conceit
    by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

       I don't know when I learned the word "conceited." I was raised in Utah where most of us didn't use "conceit" in the sense of an elaborate or strained metaphor but rather to mean that someone thought they were extra-super special. The little girl across the street who snubbed me because I didn't wear long stockings with garters (which was an immediate tipoff that I was not her kind) was "conceited" rather than prejudiced. The kid who was quick to make a point of how bright he was when I made a mistake was "conceited" rather than arrogant (or insecure). Gawd! I loved the word "conceited." I could apply it to so many situations and avoid learning new vocabulary words.

       Of course, in a culture where being extra-super humble was valued, I soon noticed that our English language is, indeed, "conceited."

       I'm speaking of the way we capitalize the pronoun "I." None of the other pronouns are capped. So what about this "I," standing tall no matter where you find it in a sentence?

       Recently as I tutored students in accent reduction and American culture I noticed that some languages (like Japanese) seem to do quite well without pronouns of any sort. I did a little research. Some languages like Hebrew and Arabic don't capitalize any of their letters and some, like German, capitalize every darn noun. So, English—a Germanic language at its roots—just carried on the German proclivity for caps.

       But the question remained. Why only the "I?" Why not "them" and "you" and all the others? Caroline Winter, a 2008 Fulbright scholar, says "England was where the captital "I" first reared its dotless head... Apparently, someone back then decided that just "i" after it had been diminished from the original Germanic 'ich' was not substantial enough to stand alone." It had to do with an artistic approach to fonts. The story goes that long ago in the days of handset type or even teletype machines, little sticks and dots standing all alone looked like broken bits of lead or scrappy orphan letters.

       Then there is the idea that religion played a part in capitalizing the "I." Rastafarians (and some others, too) think in terms of humankind as being one with God and therefore--one has to presume--it would be rather blasphemous not to capitalize "I" just as one does "God." Capitals, after all, are a way to honor a word or concept.

       Which, of course, brings us back to the idea that we speakers of English are just plain "conceited."

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an instructor for UCLA Extension's world-renown Writers' Program, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. It is a USA Book News award-winner as well as the winner of the Reader View's Literary Award and a finalist in the New Generation Book Awards. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and is a popular speaker and actor. Her website is

    Interviewed on the radio

    Margaret Carter posted this request to an email list:

       This Thursday (6 p.m. Mountain time, 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight time) I'm scheduled to be interviewed over the phone by a radio station in El Paso. They were looking for horror writers to feature and somehow found my name. I'm a bit apprehensive, because I'm terrible at extemporizing. I've never been interviewed "live" before. I am afraid of dead air, making dumb-sounding remarks, and going "um" a lot. The e-mail contact guy didn't give me any hints as to what kinds of questions they will ask.

    My suggestion to her was:

       Margaret, it won't help with THIS interview, but for the longer term, join Toastmasters. This is a wonderful organization, and you will find your poise, self-confidence and speaking power increase exponentially.

       For next Thursday, think of the event like this:

  • You don't have to extemporize. Ask for a list of questions to be emailed to you, and think about them in advance. Many times when I've been interviewed, they were keen for ME to supply the list of questions -- saves them work!
  • In any case, you don't have a script with your usual conversations. We meet somewhere. I ask you what your interests are. You say you're a writer, I say I am too, and we chat about it. This is the way to think about this event too. You are chatting to someone about the thing you love to spend your time on.
  • Simply ignore the fact that you are talking on radio. There are people out there who are listening to you. But each is just one person. You're talking with one person. Talk to the interviewer as to a new friend. All the other new friends listening in are just one person in each place. You've been talking to people all your life.
  • You can disarm any critical attitude by starting with something like, "You know, writing is basically a loner's occupation. I spend hours in front of a computer, by myself, and I drifted into that because I'm comfortable in my own company. So, being here is a bit overwhelming." Listeners will immediately identify with you, and you'll have their sympathy. After that, ums and ahs, silences, remarks that sound dumb to you will be immediately forgiven.


    Her response was:

       I did ask for the interviewer to send me some examples of questions he might ask, but he didn't. The hour went pretty well, though. The radio host was very nice. I didn't say anything dumb, as far as I can remember, and I "talked over" the interviewer only once. Afterward, off the air, he asked me to let him know when I had a new release, and he would get me on the program again. So I must have done all right.

    Margaret L. Carter specializes in vampires, having been marked for life by reading DRACULA at the age of twelve. In addition to her horror, fantasy, and paranormal romance fiction, she has had several books and articles published on the supernatural in literature. Visit her website, Carter's Crypt, at

    What my friends want you to know

    Rick Singer: Million Dollar Run to raise money for charity
    Barry Brook's new climate change web site
    Human Rights Overboard: Seeking Asylum in Australia
    Shopping Extravaganza contest
    The Rhesus Factor in audio book form
    Peter Bright wants quiet
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson to appear on TV
    Earth's newsdesk
    Readers Views Literary Awards open for submissions

    Rick Singer: Million Dollar Run to raise money for charity

       I would like to express my gratitude for everyone that has been so supportive of this international campaign. Million Dollar Run, Inc. has partnered with several sponsors thus far to make a big difference in the Cayman Islands and the United States. Our ultimate goal is to have this spread across the world. We are proud to have the Cayman Islands Marathon, Dr. Marc Lockhart, Pooley Cabinets, and ITC as sponsors. I will be contacting many more in Grand Cayman and our US Fundraising Director will be working hard. We need many more sponsors, products, volunteers, and anything to help us succeed in Grand Cayman and the United States. I believe it is our responsibility to make this happen. Please pass this info on and do whatever you can to help transform the lives of all the human beings this campaign will touch. For updated info please visit For any info contact me at

    Rick Singer
    Million Dollar Run, Inc.

    Rick is also the founder and moderator of an internet forum, Humanity on Trial. This is a tounge-in-cheek examination of the question: does humanity deserve to survive beyond December, 2012? So far, the case against has proven to be formidable...

    Barry Brook

       Professor Barry Brook holds the Foundation Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change and is Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide.

       He has published two books and over 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and regularly writes opinion pieces and popular articles for the media. He has received a number of distinguished awards in recognition of his research excellence, which addresses the topics of climate change, computational and statistical modelling and the synergies between human impacts on Earth systems.

       Effective communication of the science of climate change is fundamental to providing policy makers with the type of evidence required to institute meaningful mitigation policy and to understand available adaptation options. It is this imperative that has Barry to take an active leadership role in the communication of the science of global change to government, industry and the community (directly, via public lectures and workshops and advisory committees, and indirectly via the media - including television, radio, the print media and popular science articles).

       It is his belief that presenting hard-won technical scientific evidence to a broad audience in an intelligible way is the surest path to provoking meaningful societal change towards long-term sustainability.

       For further details, see his University website:

    Human Rights Overboard: Seeking Asylum in Australia

       In 2005, in the wake of the Cornelia Rau scandal, a citizen's inquiry was established to bear witness to events in Australian immigration-detention facilities. Until then, the federal government had refused to conduct a broad-ranging investigation into immigration detention in Australia, and the operations within detention centres had been largely shrouded in official secrecy.

       The People's Inquiry into Detention (as it came to be called) heard heartbreaking evidence about asylum-seekers' journeys to Australia, their detention process, life in detention, and life after detention. In total, around 200 people testified to the inquiry, and a similar number of written submissions were received.

       Human Rights Overboard draws together, for the first time, the oral testimony and written submissions from the inquiry in a powerful and vital book that stands as an indelible record of one of Australia's bleakest legacies.

       With a foreword by prominent humanitarian lawyer Julian Burnside, Human Rights Overboard is an essential book that will resonate with the Australian public and, indeed, the world, for years to come.

       For more information and to order:

    Human Rights Overboard: Seeking Asylum in Australia
    The testimonies of The People's Inquiry into Detention
    by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard
    $35 plus shipping, member discount 5%

    Shopping extravaganza contest

       Something for nothing? Impossible?

       Not at

       The rules for the current contest can be found at

    Sonny Whitelaw

       Broken Sea Productions have today released The Rhesus Factor as an audio book -- free, gratis, no charge, thanks to them and my fabulous Canadian publisher, Deron Dougas -- over at

    Sonny Whitelaw

    Modern civilizations grew from city-states, not nomadic tribesmen. But nomads have the flexibility of moving when climate changes, city-states do not, unless they wage war on other city-states and displace them.
    The Rhesus Factor

    Peter Bright

    Dear Bob,

       I am pleased to inform you that my anti-Noise, anti-barking website Quiet Tasmania is back on the air, and that's it's better than ever and much easier to navigate.

       I invite you to examine it and offer your comments.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Bright, NZCS (Physics)

    Darrell Bain

       The September issue of Bainstorming is now live at

       Subjects this month:
    Bain Muses, Popular at Amazon, What I believe, Review of Doggie Biscuit! Admiration vs Jealousy, A Forrest Gump Life, Tonto's "Help", Book Report, Recognition, Reward for finding book for me!!, Does Corruption and Bribery Stifle Invention and Innovation?, Bain Prediction, Excerpt From "The Pet Plague Trilogy".

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

       And the October Issue is there too.

       Subjects are: Bain Muses, Bain Boners, Figgling and the Invisible Man, Plato on Political Oratory, Hurricane Ike and Loss of Power, What I Believe, Newsweek copies me, Medical forms Insanity, Book Reports, Progress Report, Twaddle Definition, Excerpt from "Life On Santa Claus Lane", a humorous book.

    Darrell Bain

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson to appear on TV

       Author advocate Carolyn Howard-Johnson will appear with Paul Bruno on his Career Czar talk radio program on January 30, 2009. This unique Internet talk radio program focuses on all aspects of the world of careers.

       The two will chat will about something dear to the hearts of baby-boomers--reinventing yourself at retirement. The subject will be writing. Howard-Johnson was selected because her writing career spans everything from journalism to poetry and writing movie reviews to writing novels. The first segment of Paul's hour-long show will be about careers in freelance and journalism. The second segment will be about forging a career in fiction (novels and short stories). The third segment will cover the joys of poetry. And the fourth segment will be about nonfiction. It will include how Howard-Johnson's nonfiction books for writers have helped her career and those of others and how some similar how to books or books of inspiration can work for yours.

       The Career Czar, dedicated to discussing the world of careers and work in an informative and entertaining way, premiered on on October 26, 2007. The show, is hosted by Paul Bruno, and certified career coach Christine Wunderlin, and produced by Millian. It focuses on helping listeners improve their career choices by providing information on various careers, how to choose a career, searching for a job, life skills such as financial management, and tips and techniques that will help listeners balance work and play.

       Howard-Johnson instructs at UCLA Extension's world renown Writers' Program. Her first novel, This Is the Place, won eight awards. Her second book, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, creative nonfiction, won three. She is also an award-winning poet. Her how-to book for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't is recommended reading for her classes, was named USA Book News' "Best Professional Book" and is an Irwin Award winner. Her second book in the How To Do It Frugally series is The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. It, too, is a USA Book News award-winner as well as the winner of the Reader View's Literary Award.

       She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the Glendale American Business Women's Association's Woman of the Year award. Her community's Character and Ethics Committee honored her for promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly's list of 14 "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen." She is a popular speaker and actor.

       Check out the show’s website .

       After the broadcast, the show will be available for download to those thinking about a career change at\careerczar\career013009.mp3 or at by clicking on the download show button.

    Earth's newsdesk

       (Earth) -- A new type of environmental news service launches this week, as "Earth's Newsdesk" will report upon ecological science, policy and advocacy from the Earth's perspective. Ecological Internet will begin regularly providing biocentric media releases and feature articles for publication elsewhere. This continues a long list of firsts from EI and its predecessors, including the web's first blog and environmental search engine.

       The free service will build upon Ecological Internet's constant tracking of environmental science, policy and advocacy -- and years of deep green analysis and action -- and will report upon major threats and opportunities facing forests, climate, water and oceans. It will focus upon environmental sustainability and the needs of the biosphere, and her ability to continue maintaining a habitable Earth for all life.

       "The emphasis will be upon fully and truthfully knowing the magnitude of global ecological crises, and reporting upon ambitious yet attainable ecological sustainability solutions," explains Ecological Internet's President, Dr. Glen Barry.

       "There is something deeply wrong when foundation-fed environmental groups tell us logging ancient forests protects them, and governments fail miserably to promote adequate climate policies. 'Earth's Newsdesk' will be a fierce, independent voice for ecological sufficiency. No government or organization's greenwash will be safe from criticism."

       This new news service, along with the soon to launch "New Earth Rising" e-zine, will substantially increase Ecological Internet's original content offerings. EI continues to recruit essayists and guest bloggers. These writings will compliment Ecological Internet's unmatched environmental search, news tracking, deep ecological analysis and action alerts.

    Readers Views Literary Awards open for submissions

       The annual literary awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press, or independent book publisher geared for the North American reading audience. POD books are accepted.

       Reader Views Literary Awards are open to all authors regardless of residency, however, the books must be published in the English language and targeted for the North American market. Work published by major book publishers, their subsidiaries, or their imprints are not eligible. Books must have 2008 copyright date. Submission for more than one category or more than one title is acceptable. Books that have racist themes will be not be accepted.

       Three semi-finalists will be chosen in each fiction and non-fiction category. First and second place winners will be awarded in each category. Third place will receive an honorable mention. One finalist, the top score in each area, will be chosen in each regional and global category. Each will receive a certificate. All certificates and awards stickers will be dated for year 2009.

       Aside from general awards, specialized awards will be presented. All books submitted will qualify and be considered for these awards. A jury of judges will make the final decision on awards. Prizes total near $5000.

       Click here for more information


    PTSD increases the risk of heart disease
    I won't do what THEY do!

    PTSD increases the risk of heart disease

       Dr. Joseph Boscarino from the Center for Health Research, Geisinger Clinic, Danville, Pennsylvania has published the results of a research study that followed up military veterans from the Vietnam era. Whether they had experienced combat in Vietnam or not, those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were significantly more likely to have died from heart disease. These were men still only in their mid-50s.

       The research report was published in Psychosomatic Medicine, 2008;70:668-676.

       Based on a Reuters Health report.

       This finding makes perfect sense to me. PTSD is a condition in which anxiety and anger become chronic. This leads to increased blood pressure, the suppression of the immune and healing powers of the body, recourse to self-medication through alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances and other self-harming behaviours.

       In recent years, there has been increasing evidence that all sorts of mental and physical problems are worsened and in some cases caused by past trauma. This includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, cancer and various personality disorders.

    I won't do what THEY do!

       Ad campaigns aimed at reducing unhealthy behaviors like binge drinking often focus on the health risks.But new research suggests a surprising new tactic exploiting social psychology might work better. The trick: link a risky behavior with some other group of people that the targeted audience wouldn’t want to be confused with.

       Such a campaign, in other words, would “attend to how behaviors act as markers or signals of identity,” wrote the scientists, Jonah Berger of the University of Pennsylvania and Lindsay Rand of Stanford University in California, in the newly published findings.The pair organized their own experimental publicity campaigns. These were aimed at college students -- but with an eye toward another group whom these participants had nothing against, but wouldn’t want to be confused with.

       Groups of people seen as somehow separate by another are known as “outgroups” in social psychology jargon. The “ingroup” often sees outgroups as inferior, but not always.Berger and Rand conducted two initial studies based on a presumption that college students would consider “graduate students” an outgroup.In one study, college students were led to believe that graduate students consumed more junk food. Students exposed to this message chose 28 percent fewer junk food items than participants who thought their group ate more junk food, the researchers reported.In another study, researchers put fliers in freshman college dormitories. In one dorm, the fliers emphasized the health risks of binge drinking. In another dorm, the fliers linked binge drinking to graduate students. Participants in the dorm with the second flier drank at least 50 percent less alcohol than those who saw the health risk fliers, the investigators found

       In a third study, students on their way to a campus eatery were surveyed about perceptions of the media. One group read an article about politics and pop culture. A second group read an article associating junk food eating with online gamers. When research assistants watched the two groups ordering food, they found that the group who had read the article about online gamers made healthier choices.“Decisions are not only based on risks and benefits, but also the identity that a given choice communicates to others,” Berger and Rand wrote. Thus “shifting perceptions of the identity associated with a risky behavior can help make better health a reality.” The findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

    Copied with permission from

    A bit of fun

    Claire crosses the Equator
    How to Be Fully Capacitated in Our Inclining Years

    Claire crosses the Equator

       My friend Claire, whom I think of as an albatross, has got herself a job on a luxury yacht. Here is a short report from her:

       The night before last I had the most horrifying yet amusing experience! Normally most 'yachties' get to cross the equator during the regular Med to the Caribbean trip. I've never done a huge crossing until now and we've crossed the equator going from PNG to Hong Kong. Anyway, it is tradition that anyone doing so for the first time be punished for not asking Neptune for permission (or something along those lines). On Thursday, our 2nd officer pulled me and the other stews down to the forepeak (hatch at the front of the boat) for an emergency briefing. I had my safety and security induction earlier in the day and the whole thing seemed odd. It was a strange time to do it and the other stews kept giggling. Anyway, the rest of the crew locked us in there and I thought they were just having a laugh. When the hatch opened there was our deckhand Dan in a white overall and I knew I was in deep. They pulled me out, tied me to the anchor chain controls with cable ties, rope and a noose around my neck. All the crew came out and the chef had apparently spent 24 hours concocting something made of mince, chicken that had been in the oven for 24 hours, beef that had been left in the baking engine room, fish sauce and anchovies...the lot. Disgusting! So he came out with this huge bowl, gave it to Dan who tipped it over my head. It was awful! They then hosed me down. The smell was disgusting, it went in my eyes, all down my clothes, my pants....everywhere. It was so so funny. I was laughing and crying at the same time...brilliant! Before they tipped everything over, the Captain came out dressed as Neptune and read a speech about my various 'crimes' which was classic. Lots of wine, cheers and photos...some of which are attached. It took me ages to get the chunks of meat out of my hair afterwards and I'm still traumatised!!!

    How to Be Fully Capacitated in Our Inclining Years
    by Swami Beyondananda

       I've just returned home after a busy "world win" tour to the northeast and midwest that had so many highlights that I couldn't list them all in a short newsletter. High points included a living room concert at the home of Clare and Allan Rosenfield (whose work as Dean of the Columbia University School of Public Health and worldwide influence has been acknowledged by folks like Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton and Richard Gere), a fuller-than-full-house event in Fairfield, Iowa that had a crowd of TM'ers levitating above their seats, and a Course In Laughter weekend workshop at the Rowe Conference Center in Massachusetts.

       I want to focus on one breakthrough moment in that workshop, because it offers a helpful, positive direction at a time when negativity fills the news. One of the important intentions of the workshop -- which is subtitled "The Art of Situational Comedy" -- is to help individuals use the magic of humor to reframe life challenges in an empowering way. One of the participants was a woman who, facing retirement in a few years, was concerned that she might not have the health and financial well being to enjoy it. The way she put it was, "I don't want to be incapacitated during my declining years."

       Someone else in the workshop then made a suggestion that it might be more helpful to focus on what we do want rather than what we don't. So we offered her a new intention: "How can I be fully capacitated during my inclining years?" We all had a good hearty laugh, but that was nothing compared to what happened the following morning. The woman performed an entire routine -- involving mime, the white board and the spoken word -- that evoked laughter, and tears. She was entirely transformed, as she now had a positive intention she was living into.

       I knew how she felt because something quite similar happened to me about a month ago. I got a call from a woman named Jacquelyn Aldana who wanted some comedy coaching to spice up her presentation. To give me some background, she sent me her book and her workbook, The 15-Minute Miracle. As I read through this deceptively-simple book, I realized some truths that I had heard many times before but hadn't integrated.

       I realized I had fallen into the habit of basing my mood on external events, rather than choosing an intentional internal state. I began to use gratitude as the "karma fuel" to generate these good feelings within, and quickly began to notice positive changes in all aspects of my life. I had read works by Gregg Braden and others about how feelings provided the energy behind prayers, but this was the first time I actually experienced it myself.

       So... when the woman in my workshop offered up the ominously negative projection for her future, I was able to playfully guide her into a positive projection instead. This is not the same as "positive thinking," which too often involves covering over the negative with an "everything is great" facade, which is merely a form of denial. However, when we acknowledge the negative AND put our emotional energy into a fully-felt representation of what we want instead, we transform the "awful truth" into an "awesome opportunity."

       As a nation and a world, we are facing profound and undeniable challenges. The predicted collapse of our economic house of credit cards has just occurred (with the bail out the dollar is worth slightly less than a dollar in Monopoly money... Swami calls this "homeopathic money" with just ethereal trace elements of actual value), and what a great opportunity this is to recreate it based on real value.

       More importantly, this is an opportunity for us collectively to face the negative, and at the same time infuse our healthier scenarios with emotional juice. In the next few days, the Department of Heartland Security will make some announcements that will offer new, positive and practical directions for us to take as individuals, as a nation, and as a world.


    In Memory of Central Park by Queenelle Minet
    Striking Back from Down Under reviewed by ChrisChat

    In Memory of Central Park
    by Queenelle Minet

    Synergy Books, 2008.
    ISBN 978-1-934454-25-1

       This book is a very believable, terrifying direct projection of our current society. It is one of the kinds of world we could be heading for.

       The story is a romance, but with a difference or six. Noah is in hopeless love with his twin brother’s wife Margaret, and the journey of their interactions is the backbone of the novel. So, I won’t tell you how this aspect develops. After all, I’d hate it if a reviewer was to reveal all about one of my plots.

       They live in New York, but this is not the city of our time. It is a monstrous precursor to something like Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel (in which all of Earth is a city). In order to escape the effect of climate change, terrorism and plagues, the city encapsulates itself, secedes from the United States, and develops into a world in its own right.

       As in George W Bush’s America, fear is used to control the population, stifle dissent, separate the haves from the have nots. The author shows the very believable progression of events as little by little, public freedom is destroyed in the name of liberty, and ever more aspects of life are controlled.

       The heart a story is the characters, and here Ms Minet excels. Noah is a very real, three-dimensional hero, Margaret a wonderful heroine, and the other players provide excellent background. Since Noah is a psychologist, I could identify with his accounts of his work with suffering clients. I was rather surprised that Freud figured in this New York of the future, since I consider his work to be of historical interest only, but was relieved that Noah himself uses more effective techniques.

       If you want to know why we should stand up to criminal manipulations like the US PATRIOT act, why we should not put profit ahead of protection from environmental destruction?and if you want to enjoy a good story? Then read In Memory of Central Park.

    Striking Back from Down Under
    reviewed by ChrisChat

    STRIKING BACK FROM DOWN UNDER: an Anthology of Short Stories
    By Dr. Bob Rich
    Publisher: Twilight Times Books
    Genre: Literary/dark fantasy
    Pages: eBook: 182?Price: eBook: $4.50

       Strength found from not being one of the strong.

       Dr. Rich has written a group of short stories that showcase the humanity hidden in us all. Some are from the perspective of those taken advantage of…bullied, some from the bullies. Still other stories are seen through the eyes of those who will not accept the act of bullying.

       There are also stories of human differences and triumphs over our shared differences.

       “Striking Back from Down Under” is a deeply interesting read that at times is very uncomfortable. I was unable to read it in one sitting, as I can with some anthologies, but over a course of weeks. I have to admit some stories left me troubled, but all left me thinking.

       Dr Rich’s writing is very clear-voiced and candid. The stories are full and alive in their settings.

       “Striking Back from Down Under” is a thinking person’s anthology to be enjoyed by all.

    ChrisChat, "Lady Moonstone"
    Christine I Speakman

    That is me in a nutshell. I love books. All and any books, just give me something to read. Okay, there are a few exceptions. I don’t generally mix well with romance, but will give it a try. Erotica pushes my limits. I will not read heavy violence or sexual violence and do not even think of bringing kids into these stories.

    About Bobbing Around

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