Bobbing Around

Volume Eight, Number Four
January, 2009

Bob Rich's (chocolate flavoured) rave

bobswriting.com/  anxietyanddepression-help.com/  mudsmith.net/  other issues

 

*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe
  guidelines for contributions
*Responses to the last issue
  Georgiann Baldino on depression and panic
  Tim Rowe and Alina Leahy on comma rules
  Cheryl O'Brien on psychological advice
  Lance Collins on war crimes and DDT
*Politics
  Forget the financial collapse: there is worse
  Swami on the economy
*Environment
  Store carbon in the SOIL, by David Arnold
  Better batteries
  How fast is climate change?
  River redgums protected, from Jon La Nauze
*Deeper issues
  From the Tao Te Ching: A New English Version by Lao Tzu and Stephen Mitchell.
  God is not a noun, by Laurie Corzett
*Psychology
  Cheryl O'Brien on antidepressants
  Seduced
  No willpower
  I can't control my anger
*For writers
  Why I don't edit on paper
  Query letter -- Rob Preece and I
*What my friends want you to know
  State Governor to Everett Beal
  'The Secret Stairway' by Ron Peters
  Denise Cassino on Living the Law of Attraction
  Bainstorming
  Footprints newsletter number 28
  Earthwatch Ohio
  Mike DiCerto's latest film
  Thank God I... from Swami Beyondananda
  Frugal Message Hits Top Spot for AuthorsAccess Listeners
  2009 Sustainability convergence in Melbourne
  Read an e-book Week
*Reviews
  Pay Attention, Say Thank You. Seven Rules & Practices for Joyful Living, by Gail Woodard
  A Faded Lilly, by Taylor Ross, reviewed by Cassandra Skevis
*Fun
  How to install your home security system, from Betty Sullivan La Pierre
  Colonoscopy, by Cynthia Cantrell

My 14th book

   You can get it at half price... for now.

   My latest book, Bizarre Bipeds, is ready to fly. This collection of four stories is waiting only for a wonderful cover by Martine Jardin.

1. Liberator is a novella in its own right, and features some of my favourite people. They lived happily on their planet, although their lives were full of challenge and adventure. Then the monsters from outer space came. They killed half the village, and took the rest into slavery because they wanted free labour to mine diamonds. It took a very special little boy to free his people.

   Only... the monsters were two-legged beings, originally from earth. The people were much smaller, had green skin, three arms and legs and a number of other features that are far superior to our anatomy.

2. Dummies in Dimensional Drive is a love story with a difference or three. Much of humanity has been destroyed by environmental catastrophe (well, what else would you expect?) with some survivors living in self-sufficient communities, others by raiding and killing. Jim is a teenager guarding the food plants, Jena is about to attack him. But then, a huge flying saucer appears overhead. It's the Galactic Council's representatives, here to rescue at least a part of humanity. They have terraformed Venus, and can take a little over 60 million people. Jim is allowed to go, and uses his quick wit to ensure that Jena is also selected. And that's where the story starts...

   Ron Peters, who critiqued an earlier version of the story, demanded a picture of Jena. :)

3. A Different Invasion is seen through the eyes of Luci, whose stepfather has again bashed her mother. She is going for help when Trevor takes charge. He is a few years older, a teenager, and manages to fix all of Luci's mother's injuries, but at a cost. And this reveals his secret: he is not at all what he appears to be...

4. Cooked: A person who normally lives in the centre of the Galaxy blunders into our solar system. All it wants to do it to go home, but this needs a large amount of fissile material such as uranium. After some hard work in getting enough fuel to move around the area, it decides to check if our Moon might have a suitable supply.

   Some people manage to communicate with it, and convince it that Earth has intelligent life. Therefore, it changes its mind and decides to go to Mars.

   However, the military take a hand. The visitor is very grateful, and shows its thanks in a way that makes perfect sense to its kind.

   Four stories to amuse, entertain and challenge you. If you want an electronic book for only $5 Australian, email me.


I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

   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.


"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.Ē

Kahlil Gibran (Lebanese born 1883-1931)

Responses to the last issue

Georgiann Baldino
Tim Rowe
Alina Leahy, also on comma rules
Cheryl O'Brien
Lance Collins

Georgiann Baldino

   I wanted you to know how much I appreciate all the effort that goes into your newsletter. The articles on depression and panic were particularly helpful during the illness of a family member. Your stories help; your stories heal. Thank you.

Georgiann Baldino
Celebrate the 2008 anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Preview "Following Lincoln" at: http://www.lulu.com/content/1337769. Video: http://www.youtube.com/user/obtener33
Autographed copies of The Nursing Home Fugitive are available from the author: http://home.comcast.net/~gbaldino/


Tim Rowe

   I agree with all of your comma rules, but perhaps you should have added to number 4, "Commas separate items in a simple list. When the last item is preceded by 'and,' the comma before it is optional" that "whatever you do -- include the optional comma or omit it -- you will infuriate a large chunk of your readership. Grit your teeth and live with it."

Tim Rowe


Alina Leahy, also on comma rules

Hi Bob,

   I was one of the (mostly lurking) Muse Conference attendees in October, and I'm also on the Muse Conference Board, where I saw the link to your newsletter.

   I have a question about the use of comma rules.

   In example 3, "The girl with the curly red hair, green-tinted toenails and a smile to light up a room..." you say is not supposed to have any commas.

   But don't the items the girl had (curly red hair, green-tinted toenails, and a smile) constitute a list, which means, as stated in example 4: "Commas separate items in a simple list," they should have commas between them?

   It seems the rule was made to help clear up confusion for the reader, and seeing "curly red hair green-tinted toenails and a smile" could get confusing, or at least stop the flow.

Thanks,
Alina

   Thanks for this, Alina. Obviously, I wasn't being clear enough. There should be no comma before the verb. The commas between the list items are fine.

:)
Bob


Cheryl O'Brien

Dear Bob,

   This is just a personal note to you to say Thank You. Thank you for being so generous with your time and wisdom. Thank you for offering real help that people, like me, can apply your suggestions in practical ways to make our journey here on earth more manageable.

   Over the several years I have known (in this ultra-hi-tech manner) you, I have developed a serious habit of referring to you on a regular basis.

   Many of my workmates at my job on the local council have heard me say... "There's this bloke down Victoria way called Dr Bob and he suggests..." or "My mate Dr Bob says..."

   Your many wisdoms are bandied around over boiling billies in the work vans, and on roadsides and along footpaths while we rake, shovel, and do the council lean while waiting for our next task.

   I have downloaded a copy of your First Aid Against Depression for my own use and have shared it with my partner and others. We all agree. "He talks a lot of sense that Dr. Bob." and "He really does have a dinkum approach." I figure that is fair comment and felt I had to pass it along as I know you will enjoy hearing these words of praise from other dinkum blokes and the odd sheila too.!

   Thanks for being you!

Kindest Regards
Cheryl

I am blushing. That's the pot calling the kettle brilliantly shiny. I feel honoured to have Cheryl as a friend (though we have never met).


Lance Collins

Hi Bob,

   A couple of points about your last issue. A phrase in one item stated that the atomic bombing of Japan was a war crime. It's not a clear case. Those bombs caused an immediate Japanese surrender. If not used how many would have died in a conventional invasion of Japan? How do you compare the number of people who died with the greater number of people who didn't die because the war ended quickly?

   And the banning of DDT. How many millions of people in third world countries have died from malaria because the most effective method of controlling mosquitoes was banned? What's the tradeoff between people's lives and saving the environment?

   Just pointing out two issues with arguable opposite viewpoints to those assumed in your digest items.

Regards
Lance Collins

Dear Lance,

   Please do not reply to the bobbing around email, since it doesn't directly come to me. It's a newsletter, not an email list. Any replies should come to bobrich at bobswriting.com.

 

   First, do realise that I did not write those articles. The reference to DDT was in a book review, written by someone else. And I did a search, and could find nothing anywhere about the dropping of the A-bombs on Japan. There are two references to war crimes, one in Robert Jensen's speech,the other in Anwaar Hussein's letter and both are aimed at George Bush and Dick Cheney, during the past 8 years. I agree with them.

 

   When the two atom bombs had been completed, Albert Einstein begged the President to explode one off Japan, over the sea. He argued that the threat would be as effective as its execution. Of course, with today's scientific knowledge, we are aware that this would have caused multiple serious problems too -- but nothing like killing two cities-full of civilians.

   In any case, Japan was defeated by then. A simple blockade would have done it, if in a bit more time. But the soldiers had a new toy, and insisted on using it. That in my view is a war crime.

   And it's unarguable that despite there having been all those nasties in charge of powerful nations, the USSR etc., the only country ever to use nuclear weapons in war was the USA. The only two countries to have used chemical weapons since the First World War were Saddam's Iraq (and he bought his material off the USA) and Agent Orange in Vietnam. As far as I know, the only country ever to deliberately expose people to radiation from an above-ground nuclear explosion was Britain, and they did it in Australia. It was an 'experiment' and a horrendous crime that no one has been held accountable for.

 

   I have some sympathy with your view regarding DDT. There is a trade-off between poisoning entire ecosystems, or allowing malaria to exist. My view is that on balance it is wrong to cause widespread harm to the ecosystem of the planet, regardless of the benefits to humans. We all have to die of something, some time. Malaria is no less respectable a death than bilharzia or cancer. It's a bit like a morphine preparation called Brompton's cocktail. It relieves intractable pain -- but kills the patient. Sometimes it's justified.

   DDT was killing us. Carson's argument prevailed because she showed that it was causing such widespread damage that in time all life on earth was going to be compromised, including human life. So, take your choice. Cancer and infertility and all the other problems with insecticide poisoning of humans everywhere as well as the extinction of birds etc, or rampant malaria in regions where it's always been a problem.

:)
Bob


Politics

Forget the financial collapse: there is worse
Swami on the economy

Forget the financial collapse: there is worse

 During the past several months, you couldn't have news on any medium that didn't focus on the financial meltdown. The world economy has "lost" between 1 and 1.5 trillion US dollars of make-believe money. And strangely, the response has been to invent some more money, and give it to the perpetrators. How can the US, with a deficit of trillions of dollars, have a recovery program costing a trillion dollars, as Obama wants to do? Where is that money to come from?

   It's the emperor's clothes. Money has value as long as everyone pretends that it does.

   At the same time, we are losing real value, far in excess of the losses due to the financial collapse, and we are doing so all the time, year after year. This loss is not just entries in computers as money is, but is measurable in terms of goods and services.

   Recently, Germany commissioned a study of biodiversity. This showed that the ANNUAL loss due to the destruction in forests is between $US 2 trillion and 5 trillion, which dwarfs the overall losses of the financial sector to date. And we can expect these losses to go on, and presumably to increase, year after year.

   The study was headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, Pavan Sukhdev, who has been interviewed on the BBC.

   If these costs of forest loss don't make sense to you, consider all the "poor me" cries from major greenhouse gas generators like the coal, aluminium and car industries. They are under financial pressure because what nature used to provide for free we now need to pay for. THIS is the kind of cost the study is drawing attention to. These are real, measurable, and immensely dangerous for human survival, or perhaps even for the survival of all life on this planet.

   People in cities have to pay increasing water rates. Why? Because climate change makes fresh water harder to get. Food is getting so expensive that some people are forced to do without. Why? Because farming costs are rising due to climate change. And so on, ad infinitum.

   So, if governments want to invent more money, they should throw it at climate change reduction and mitigation. Humanity must go on a war footing, doing whatever is necessary, foregoing private profit for common survival.

   Those who have the most wealth got it by benefiting from 250 years of activities that stole from the future. That future is here, now. Therefore, all the resources held by huge multinationals should be put to the service of a continued future. After all, shareholders are mortal too.

Prince Charles agress with me

   The Prince of Wales has been reported as proposing a scheme that would start to deal with the problem. He was addressing the President and Parliament of Indonesia, one of the world's major rainforest countries. His idea is that, just as we pay for water and electricity, we need to pay for the services provided by the forests of the planet. That is, the users -- which is everyone -- should pay the custodians of the rainforests, such as Indonesia, an annual fee, which would then be used to halt destructive practices.

   He said, "Payments should have the characteristics of a commercial transaction, in the same way we pay for our water, gas and electricity. "In return the rainforest nations would provide eco-services such as carbon storage, fresh water and the protection of biodiversity." The Prince said the forests provided a livelihood for more than a billion people.


Swami on the economy

Dear Swami:

   There certainly doesn't seem to be anything good -- let alone funny -- about the current financial crisis and bail out proposal. The headlines and stories are grim and depressing, and that's why I'm writing you. No matter what the situation, Swami, you always seem to have something worthwhile to offer. So how about it -- do you have anything positive to say about us being in deep financial doo-doo?

Bernadette Daly, Bellingham, Washington

Dear Bernadette:

   Absolutely. I am positive we are in deep financial doo-doo.

   This should come as no surprise what with our body politic afflicted by Mad Cowboy Disease, Truth Decay, and Irony Deficiency, all of which have led to the most devastating condition of all, Deficit Inattention Disorder. As for the bail out plan, unfortunately most of the perpetrators have already bailed out using their golden parachutes, so when the crash comes they will have nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, according to the most recent Greenspan Report, the average American family barely has enough "green" to span the average month. So those of you spiritual folks who've long envisioned a moneyless society, your patience is paying off. We're almost there!

   Fortunately, money isn't wealth. In and of itself, it is worthless. If you doubt that, try this simple experiment. Eat your money. While high in fiber, paper money has little nutritional value. And here is something even more amazing. A hundred dollar bill has no more nutritional content than a dollar bill.

   So here's the real good news. As surely as the sun comes up every morning, we have more abundant wealth than we know what to do with. Wealth is energy, and how that energy is used. Not only have we been given solar energy to grow our food and power our lives, we've been given soul energy as well -- to use and magnify our resources wisely. With the collapse of the house of credit cards economy, we can finally get real. We can use the two most underdeveloped resources on the planet, love and imagination, to re-grow our Garden and have a heaven of a time doing it.

Visit http://www.wakeuplaughing.com for many more gems like this from Steve Bhaerman, known as Swami Beyondananda.


Environment

Store carbon in the SOIL by David Arnold
Better batteries
How fast is climate change?
River redgums protected from Jon La Nauze

Store carbon in the SOIL
by David Arnold

   As a permaculturalist, I am for a permanent culture based on perennial plants, especially trees. I have devoted a large part of my life to reforestation and have been involved in the planting of more than a million trees. I have also developed a tree based agriculture at Murrnong, where I live. I will be the first to agree with and promote the value of trees.

   I am certainly all for reforestation done intelligently, and yes, a permanent culture based on trees can develop a far more stable food production system.

   Climate change is related to high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. In the historical or geological record, there are peaks of high CO2, and elevated temperatures, associated with events such as periods of volcanic activity, or meteorite impact and massive fires. These peaks are followed by decline in the CO2 level and world temperature, as terrestrial life [and I believe also the oceans] took up some of that carbon. On land, the vegetation recovered, regrew, carbon was sequestered in soils and plant biomass, and world temperature came down.

   These historical fluctuations were smaller than the high levels of CO2 we have now. Melting of the polar ice caps and changed ocean currents could flip world temperature somewhere different.

   Right now, we need that process to happen again, where vegetation recovers and carbon is sequestered. Dr Christine Jones of Armadale, www.amazingcarbon.com, states

   "Of the estimated 3060 gigatonnes of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, 82 per cent is in soils. That's over four times the amount of carbon stored in the world's vegetation. Dr Jones asks, "If only 18 per cent is stored in vegetation, why all the emphasis on biomass, rather than soil, as a carbon sink?"

   She has calculated the following....

   If we consider a *Pastoral* zone in Australia being SE Aust, the Murray Darling basin, the East coast, Tasmania, and SW WA, and the *Rangeland* zone being the rest..., interior Central Australia, WA, etc. Then, a 1% increase in soil carbon for the top 30 cm for pastoral zone and a 0.5% increase in soil carbon for the top 30 cm for rangeland zone would sequester 48 Gt of carbon, which is almost 100 times the annual Australian carbon emissions of 576 Mt.

   These increases in soil carbon are modest and achievable in just a few years with changed management practices and little energy expense required. For example, changing from set stocking to rotational grazing.

   Christine is a founder of the Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme, not yet adopted by government probably mainly due to the political influence of carbon depleting agribusiness interests. As usual, mischievous befuddlement goes around, saying that we cannot measure it, does it really work, etc. Yes, it works, it is measurable, it is absolutely the main game for carbon sequestration, and can happen as soon as the public understands enough about this to prompt government to go with soil carbon accreditation and financial incentives.

David Arnold

David Arnold is a designer, teacher and permaculture activist who works from Violet Town in NE Victoria. He is active in local community development, localisation, in preparation for energy descent. Current projects are the development of a permaculture community subdivision, see www.youtube.com/murrnong, and the Violet Town EcoLiving Project, www.ecoliving.violettown.org.au

This is a postcard David sent with his essay. On the back is written: The basket of fresh supermarket produce will have generated about 30 kg of CO2 emissions, and the contents traveled an average of 8,730kms. Compare that to the 10 steps into the garden. HOME GROWN FOOD uses only 1/5th the water, is healthy, fresh, free, gives us local food security, and gardening can even sequester CO2.


Better batteries

   The real problem with electric and hybrid cars, and also with standalone solar/wind power, is energy storage. The conventional lead-acid battery could have been specially designed to be unsuitable, but it's the most economically viable.

   Quite a number of research teams are working on new devices. Toshiba is due to go into production with a new kind of Lithium-Ion battery that has an expected life span of 10 years even if rapidly discharged many times. It can be charged to 90% capacity in 5 minutes. Its intended use is electric motor bikes and cars, and hybrid vehicles.

   Of course the cost is still very high.


How fast is climate change?

   There have been predictions of global warming since the 1970s. They have been regularly updated and refined over the years. The many predictions have one thing in common: all have been too optimistic.

   Thirty-five years ago, I forecast changes that I thought would come in about 100 years. They have already occurred. Official climatologists have done no better.

   This is illustrated by a new report from WWF. They state that the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- a study of global warming by 4,000 scientists, is now out of date. Andrew Glikson made the same point in the last issue.

   Arctic sea ice is reducing at a rate that is 30 years ahead of the IPCC prediction. There has been ice at the North Pole for a million years. Within 5 years, we could have it all gone.

   This is one of the threshold points Barrie Pittock discusses in his book Climate Change: Turning up the heat. Water reflects less radiant energy, and stores more. The cold of the Arctic is what drives the Gulf Stream. All the ocean currents are connected. If the Gulf Stream stops, or moves far out to sea, or even if it loses energy, the entire climate pattern of the planet will change.

   A few conclusions from the WWF report:

  • Global sea level rise could more than double from the IPCC's estimate of 0.59m by the end of the century.
  • Natural carbon sinks, such as forests and oceans, are losing their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere faster than expected.
  • Rising temperatures have already led to a major reduction in food crops resulting in losses of 40m tonnes of grain per year.
  • Marine ecosystems in the North and Baltic Sea are being exposed to the warmest temperatures measured since records began.
  • The number and intensity of extreme cyclones over the UK and North Sea are projected to increase, leading to increased wind speeds and storm-related losses over Western and Central Europe.

    River redgums protected
    from Jon La Nauze

       Ten years after Friends of the Earth and the Yorta Yorta people first conceived of a jointly managed Barmah-Millewa National Park, the Victorian government have joined us in our vision. It is a truly inspiring day.

       Your support along the way has been crucial and we thank you. This is your victory and we congratulate you on helping create an extraordinary legacy for the planet. As Ďthe kidneys of the river,í wetland-forests like Barmah are critical to the health of the Murray River. Protecting these complex ecosystems will bolster the Murrayís natural resilience in the face of climate change and reduced water flows. Doing so in partnership with the Traditional Owners will set our community on a more just and respectful footing so that we may together, take better care for this country.

       Many challenges remain before we have a healthy Murray-Darling basin -Ė not least, the protection of the great red gum forests across the border in NSW. But right now is a time to celebrate a hard-fought win and congratulate our political leaders on a courageous decision.

       As people who care about the planet, we are always quick to hold our leaders to account when they make bad policy. But it is equally important to give them recognition. Please take the time to a letter to the editor of your local paper, congratulating the government on taking this courageous step. You may also like to send our premier, environment minister and your local member a message of support, or call their office and leave a message of congratulations.

    Jon is a long term comrade in arms, who has led the battle to save the last remaining stands of huge river redgums that keep the Murray River (Australia's longest river system) in existence. If these trees were to go, much of the Murray would become a swamp.


    Deeper Issues

    From the Tao Te Ching: A New English Version
    by Lao Tzu and Stephen Mitchell
    "God" is not a noun by Laurie Corzett

    From the Tao Te Ching: A New English Version
    by Lao Tzu and Stephen Mitchell


    "God" is not a noun
    by Laurie Corzett

       Each and every one of us is inclusively ALL, yet we keep getting wrong just what that means individually. It is not that we are some amorphous mass or borg society, or required to worship one god or always feel perfect love for everyone. The ALL is self-evidently and eternally all that is/becoming. We, self-evidently, are all part of that process: a collective verb, not a noun. All that we individually are, each unique act of being, is of the essence of the ALL, always.

       These truths are laid out in the holy books and teachings, but almost everyone seems to misread/misunderstand them. We want to make the truth more complicated than it is. We say things like: you can only get to heaven through Jesus, when Jesus' message was that heaven is here, right here right now, for all of us if we would but open our eyes and hearts. We say things like: there is only one god and we must worship him and do as he bids for our final reward. We interpret "god" as a noun, an infinitely large eternal man up in the sky telling us what to do.

       "God" is a designation for the concept of the ALL. It is an eternal becoming, a kaleidoscopic eternal creation, of which we, each and all, are part, no matter what we do. "God's" "laws" are human wisdom to help us live more graciously, more healthily. The punishment is the natural one when we eat too much candy and get a stomach ache or have sex indiscriminately and get STDs. Then, if we are paying attention to the "laws," we learn to act more moderately because that leads to a more comfortable life. We learn to make medicines and learn ways of curing our diseases. If we are really paying attention, we learn to live lightly, peacefully, with loving compassion for each and all, including ourselves.

    Laurie Corzett/libramoon, seeking outlet for those crazy thoughtstreams, is always moving into new (or resurrected) projects. She is the editor/publisher of Emerging Visions, visionary art ezine http://emergingvisions.blogspot.com.
    You can see more of her work on her webpage and her blogs, libramoon's observatory; http://lunaramble.blogspot.com.


    Psychology

    Cheryl O'Brien on antidepressants
    Seduced
    No willpower
    I can't control my anger

    Cheryl O'Brien on antidepressants

    Hi Bob,

       It is a long time since I responded to a Bobbing Around but am prompted to do so by the problems expressed in your last issue. As you know, I well relate to the issue of depression and the problems it presents in life and am an advocate of practical application of medicine-free solutions to depression. So here I am once again offering my humble opinions on this topic for you and your readers.

       In particular I would like to respond to Kelly and her fear of her own thoughts.

       Kelly please know you are not alone. I relate to this experience of adverse reactions to anti-depressant medication and still know the horrid fear I felt that I might act on the thoughts that the drugs produced. Like you I had no intention to act on these thoughts and the thoughts really were foreign to me.

       Let me reassure you, my youngest is now 18, healthy and has joined the army. In other words, I never did act on those thoughts. I never acted on them because I knew I had a choice, just as you do. I chose to act in healthy ways for myself and my children.

       It has been a long time since I had those thoughts but the first step was to stop taking the medication and seek the advice of health professionals who know that drugs are not the answer. (Do please check the archives of Bobbing Around for depression related articles I have submitted and Dr Bob has kindly reproduced in previous editions.)

       In short you can have a happier, more relaxed attitude to parenting your children by choosing to have that for you and your children. Follow these simple guidelines as a starting point and build from there.

       Be involved in community activities with the children. i.e., play group if they are quite young, church activity (you say you are a Christian), join an environmental group as a family.

       Take the children for walks and to the park as often as you can. Make each walk a life lesson for them and for you. Talk with them about the way plants grow, watch out for butterflies and discuss how caterpillars become butterflies, if you see a rainbow talk with them how the rainbow is a symbol of hope and how rainbows are made by light reflecting off clouds, In this way you are drawing their attention as well as your own to the wonders of everyday life while gaining the added benefits of exercise, fresh air and sunshine. The talk you talk to your children works on you too!

       Pray with each of the children each day. In this way you are teaching them to have their own personal relationship with God and you are setting an example for them too.

       When you are feeling very low and sad, be honest with your children, even if they are young. Their ability to understand will develop through honesty. I used to tell my kids, "A long time before you were born, bad things happened that made me sad. Sometimes I think of those things and they make me sad again." If they asked a question I answered honestly but without burdening them with too much detail, then Iíd change the topic by saying something like "I think I need a walk. Would you like to come for a walk?"

       Build a garden, just something simple. A small herb garden in containers will do. The physical process of planting and caring for a garden can make you feel better and the fresh herbs are great in your meals.

       Pay attention to your self-talk and change the conversations when needed. When you hear yourself saying, "That was dumb..." "Who cares anyway..." "Why bother?" or other negative self-talk, stop yourself. Stop the negative and immediately change the talk to positive. "I am learning new things all the time." "My husband and children really care about me." and "I am a valuable member of this family, community, church, state, country..." "I matter!" "I bother because Iím worth bothering about."

       Your thought process belongs to you. Yes, it was invaded by chemicals, but you can take control back by choosing to do so. Choose positive thoughts about yourself and your children. Spend time in meditation or contemplation, imagining your children in a few years. Imagine them stronger, smarter, happier. Hold that image in your mind and nurture the image of them as they grow. These positive thoughts will eventually minimise the other thoughts until there is no room for the negative thoughts. You can crowd out the horrid thoughts with good thoughts.

       Trust your inner self. You know in your heart that you love your children and you want them to grow into great citizens of the earth. Together you and your husband can work with them to nurture them into being responsible and loving members of the human community.

       Read all you can on the websites that Dr Bob has suggested, he has so much wisdom to offer and he also recommends really great information.

       I hope you find some comfort in something I have written here and that you can find it within yourself to begin this journey of healing, because ya know, Iím just up the track a bit and I can tell you that you will have some amazingly wondrous experiences along the way...and you really are worth the effort!

    Kind Regards
    Cheryl O'Brien


    Seduced

       I feel so hurt by this lad I really love. He acted really caring to me, with all his cuddles and holding each other in bed, he looking at me saying he really likes me and doesn't want us to end for a long time. I miss him so much. He said it's 'cause we wouldn't work long term cause we don't have enough in common and he doesn't want me to get hurt (he's older and has relationship experience) but how can he change his mind so suddenly after it was only a week ago we was cuddling in bed and he saying he wants to spend more time with me. He said he still wants me as one of his best friends.

        I dunno how to deal with that tho, as we work in the same place (not same room) and he's the first lad that I've ever been so close to and that's been loving with me.

       Also, I am feeling suicidal a lot. Before I met him I lost my close mate, stopped seeing a couple of friends and felt so lonely and on the verve of doing something silly. But he came along and I started to feel better--actually happy when I was with him. Now I'm back to my old depressed self. I am so lonely, I feel like I can't cope and I just need him to hold me everynite--even as a friend--just so I'm not alone.

     

    Heidi my dear,

       This man is not worthy of you.

       He is a predator: a vulture who zeroes in on lonely, vulnerable young girls. He enjoys the hunt of winning their affection, robs them of their innocence, and then moves on to the next victim.

       He doesnít love anyone; probably not even himself, because if he liked himself he would not need to bolster his ego by destroying others.

       You need help. Help is available and effective.

       I donít know where you live, but from your choice of words I think itís in Britain. If so, you have access to free service from psychologists. Even if not, you do have a job. The best investment of your money you could ever make is to go to a person like me, face to face, and do some therapy.

       That person will lead you on the road to self-respect, confidence and inner strength. You may need to learn certain social skills, and sort out some long-held beliefs about yourself that are holding you back from enjoyment of life.

       If you do this, it could be the start to a brand new, satisfying life. You may look back on this unfortunate episode as the suffering that helped you to start to LIVE.

    You can do it.
    Bob


    No willpower

    Dear Dr. Rich,

       I stumbled on a few articles you authored on queendom.com and really appreciated the psychological insight into people with whom I can identify. Anyway, I decided to "go out on a limb," if you will, and ask you a few quick questions:

       I have a motivation problem. I'm sure any doctor would diagnose me with ADD if I bothered to pursue it; I'm extremely absent-minded, often have trouble concentrating, and am easily distracted. For example, I'm sitting in a campus computer lab with the intention of working on essays I desperately need to start, and I find myself surfing the internet (for 8 hours) and e-mailing an Australian Psychologist who likely has better things to do than answer an e-mail from a college kid with problems of mediocre proportion who can't afford to pay for the advice as described on your "price card." Anyway, what it boils down to, as I understand myself, is will-power, self-control, motivation, or whatever synonym you'd like to use. I often "take the path of least resistance" as opposed to the path that would be most satisfying in the end, easily justify my laziness and procrastination with mental excuses, and don't finish things I start. The only solution I can hypothesize is to just "man-up" and DO (or not do) what I want. Is there anything to it aside from the direct approach? Though, I do think will-power is like a muscle or skill; it takes practice and development. I've never used mine and it has succumbed to atrophy. Lastly, if you know any books that may help my cause, I may have time over Christmas break to read for pleasure.

    Thanks for your time,
    Larry

    P.S. My mother was seduced by http://thesecret.tv/. It's both a nefarious scam and new-age spiritualism with no basis in reality. The video she showed me told me that if I think about something in a positive way, those thoughts with actually send out "waves" and otherwise affect the "universe's energy" to make my dreams reality. At least, that's what I got out of it. So, it advocated positive, optimistic thinking (that's good, I suppose) but preaches a crazy metaphysics to back it up, and charges you every step of the way. I told my mom I've been thinking about boobs for at least six hours a day for the last 6 years and it's not working.

    Dear Larry,

       Letís start with The Secret. Itís false -- and also absolutely true. Depends on how you take it. For the past year, Iíve been suffering from chronic pain. No amount of wishing has made the pain go away. However, when I remember to send out the right energy, I can feel the pain and yet be content with life. I can be happy instead of suffering.

       I canít necessarily change the world out there. I can and do change the world in here.

       Get a depressed person to drive in heavy traffic. Youíll hear a tale of woe, of people being rude and red lights one after the other and near misses and other dreadful misfortunes. Have the exact same journey taken by someone on the top of the world, and youíll get a report thatís all sunshine: nice people letting you in just before youíre cut off by a parked car, green lights all the way, and arenít those near misses lucky?

       And of course these attitudes are self-fulfilling prophecies. The one carrying the black cloud will behave in ways that bring the woes on. The smiling face of the other will invite the good things in life.

       Try an experiment. At least once a day, and whenever you find an opportunity, perform a secret good deed. It doesnít have to be anything major. Turning a beetle the right way up qualifies, or putting some trash in a bin, or picking up a bent nail on the driveway so it wonít puncture the neighborís tire. The only requirement is that no other person should ever find out about it.

       This is the Jewish custom of Mitzvah. So, when you do your secret kindness, say ďMitzvahĒ in your mind.

       When you do this, self-consciously and deliberately, youíll find that your days goes well. Why? See the above.

     

       Now to come to your personal problem. Next time you feel like surfing the web instead of writing that essay, do a search for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

       Your problem is that youíve got a habit you want to break. So, you struggle with it. That takes energy. You feel bad about it, and that lowers your mood and self-respect, and that saps your energy.

       So, start by being kind to yourself. Forgive.

       Stop struggling.

       Instead, decide how you will act when you are just the way you want to be. Write a film script in which you are a character, and describe that person so concretely, vividly and in such detail that an actor can step into the role.

       Then be that actor.

       The other thing you can do is to monitor the problem. Go to http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/problems.html and see what I mean. You may want to spend a (very) few dollars and buy my e-book Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/AngerAnxiety_ch1.html Among other things, in this book I describe how to use an ABC diary. Thatís useful for all sorts of problems, including the one you described.

       So, stop struggling with your problem. Accept it, let it be, and nevertheless DO what you have decided to do.

    :)
    Bob


    I can't control my anger

       Would you be willing to help me gain control of my anger. I saw on another site you offered to help a woman from Singapore control hers.

       I get angry a the smallest, stupidest, most mundane things. Anything can set me off. And I normally overreact in an aggressive, physical way. Normally I punch holes through my wall or throw and destroy some of my own items to try to vent. But when my half brother, who is 30-40 years old, pisses me off, I react violently towards him. I've just shoved him the past two times, but I'm afraid it's going to escalate, and if I do it again I'm kicked out of my house.

       Please help me, I need to control my anger, this isn't who I want to be, I'm really not a bad person most of the time.

    Sincerely, John

    Dear John,

       The first thing you can do is to spend less than $5 (I don't know the exact price) and buy an electronic copy of my book "Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias." The publisher's link is http://twilighttimesbooks.com/AngerAnxiety_ch1.html.

       In addition to what's in the book, you can take immediate charge of your anger by realizing that it is not a command, but an invitation. If you feel anger, that's not your responsibility. You didn't ask to become angry. It just came. It's a habit. However, you ARE responsible for what you do.

       You are distressed by the acts you do when you obey the anger. You do not have to do these things. You ARE responsible for them, and you have the ability to choose to not do them.

       Until now, it's been, "I feel angry so I hit something." From this day on, it will be, "I feel angry and I have a choice regarding what I do."

       Get yourself a punching bag and mitts, or make your own. Join a Karate club, so you can learn inner strength and self-control.

       All the above are first-aid measures. They deal with the fact that you have acquired a habit of reacting even to minor frustrations with anger. For longer term change, you need to learn to think differently. I think you are at the stage of your life when you are ready to grow. If you have a few sessions with a good therapist, you can identify the kinds of thoughts that make you feel that you have the right to hit out. You can do this work by yourself, but it's much easier with a guide competent at cognitive-behavioral therapy.

    This is the start of the rest of your life.
    :)
    Bob


    For Writers

    Why I don't edit on paper
    Query letter -- Rob Preece and I

    Why I don't edit on paper

       I write onscreen, and do all my editing work electronically too. Most of my work never sees paper -- I don't even own a red pen any more.

       Why?

       For the same reason I wouldn't dig a ditch with a teaspoon. There are better tools available, so I use them. Here are seven advantages of using a computer, and I am sure there are others:

    1. Environmentally more sensible: no forests eaten.

       If we want to survive, we need to change how we do things -- everything. Minimising paper use is a part of this.

    2. Results can be sent and received via email. Almost instant, zero cost.

       My editing clients are all over the planet: the USA, UK, the Netherlands, India, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Australia... Mailing wads of paper backward and forward would be expensive, slow, and more prone to disasters. If an emailed file goes wrong, it can be sent again. But what if the manuscript gets lost in the mail? Besides, again, why use fossil fuel to move mass when you can do it with a few electrons?

    3. Spellcheck (the wriggly red lines) is a definite help, though not to be relied on.

       I do pretty well in picking up typos, and errors of spelling, grammar and puncuation, even when I am reading for pleasure. However, my accuracy is higher onscreen, thanks to things like the spell checker.

    4. Magnification: you can have the letters as big as your eyes require.

       You can even have text to speech and have the computer read to you. I don't bother, but actually that's a great way to check for various language problems like repetitiveness and awkward sentences.

    5. Searchability.

       In chapter 17, I may suspect that a character just named Mr. Jones was called Mr. Johnson in chapter 3. I can find out in 5 seconds. Try doing that on paper.

    6. Word count.

       I've had books sent to me with very long chapters. It helps to be able to say, "Your chapter 5 was 15,000 words long. No reader is going to wade through that. Break it up into chapters, length ranging from 1500 to 4500 words."

    7. Instant ability to rearrange.

       Moving, copying and pasting are wonderful aspects of writing on a computer. They are often very useful when editing too.


    Query letter

    Recently, someone posted two versions of a query letter that had the aim of finding an agent or publisher for a children's story. Both would have got instant rejection; the recipient wouldn't have read beyond the first paragraph. The writer was trying too hard.

    My answer

       You could be lucky with either, by finding someone with a sense of humor, on the right day.

       However, a query letter is a business communication. It needs to be businesslike. A good structure is:

    1. A hook about the book. This of course includes the title, which I had difficulty finding in either of your drafts. For example, "No young child will stay bored if a loving adult will read /title/ to them. The key character, Pop the Squirrel, will amuse, educate and intrigue small readers..."

    One paragraph, max. 200 words.

    2. About the author. Past publications, suitability/qualifications for writing this kind of book.

    3. Target audience, and why they would be interested in this book.

    4. Competition, and how this book is similar enough to fit into a category, and different enough that it will attract attention.

    5. Marketing. Much of what you have written in your second version belongs here: your networking, connections etc.

       All of this on one page.

    :)
    Bob

    Rob Preece

       Rob is the publisher at Booksforabuck, a successful small publishing company. He wrote:

       This is an important question. I think the answer is, in general it's best to give a straightforward appeal. Tell the story, sell the author as a person who's talented, experienced, and easy to do business with.

    Agents don't want to sign authors who aren't creative and won't sell, but they're paranoid about signing authors who are nuts. Too much creativity in a query letter could be scary.

    Of course, on any given day, your milage may vary.

    Best of luck,
    Rob Preece
    Publisher, www.BooksForABuck.com


    What my friends want you to know

    State Governor to Everett Beal
    The Secret Stairway by Ron Peters
    Denise Cassino on Living the Law of Attraction
    Bainstorming
    Footprints newsletter number 28
    Earthwatch Ohio
    Mike DiCerto's latest film
    Thank God I... from Swami Beyondananda
    Frugal Message Hits Top Spot for AuthorsAccess Listeners
    2009 Sustainability convergence in Melbourne
    Read an e-book Week

    State Governor to Everett Beal

    Letter from Sonny Perdue, Governor of the State of Georgia

    Dear Mr. Beal:

       It was a true pleasure meeting you and Judy at the Dillard House Breakfast, and I greatly appreciate your gift of Fatal Addiction and Southern Winds.

       While I have only skimmed the surface of both books, I am eager to read them and learn your ideas on addiction. I have both books displayed in a prominent place in my library in the Mansion. By your gift, you've left a legacy to the State of Georgia.

       Please know that Mary and I are grateful for the numerous contributions you have made and continue to make to Georgia's success.We appreciate you thinking of us, and we extend our best wishes to you for continued success.

    God Bless
    Sincerely,
    Sonny Perdue


    Ron Peters

    Winner of the 2008 Best Young Adult Mystery Award

    The Secret Stairway by Ron Peters
    Edited by Dr. Bob Rich

     Rescued from the streets, Jennifer Paskin doesnít need any more trouble. But when strange noises develop at her school, itís more trouble than ever! Is there a secret stairway? How far will they go to keep Jennifer from finding it? And worse--why hasnít the boy of her dreams called yet?

       A spinoff from Ronís tongue-in-cheek Dun Wheeling mystery series, Jennifer Paskin begins her own adventures as a bright teenager with a nose for trouble. Along with her pal, Rache, she matches wits with professional thieves who will kill to protect their secrets.

       Ron combines humor and mystery with danger and light romance to produce a young adult adventure the girls will never forget--if they survive.

       The Dun Wheeling series presents an unusual approach to the usual private eye adventures. Dun Wheeling, unlike the typical gumshoe, makes up for his inexperience with intelligence, tenacity, and lots of dumb luck. Easy reads that are hard to put down, the series so far includes: SOS, Night Before August, Castles of Deceit, and Sphere of Reason.

       Available at all online retailers and bookstores. Visit Ronís website at: www.ronpeters.net


    Denise Cassino

       Once in awhile you come across something that absolutely "wows" you, and you just have to tell your friends. Well, I've come across an offer that I feel I have to share with you.

    A Phenomenal Book!

       Let me tell you about a book that came out recently that I believe has a tremendous potential to change your life. It's called Living the Law of Attraction: Real Stories of People Manifesting Health, Wealth, and Happiness.

    Amazing Special Offer

       As a special bonus for you, authors Rich German and Robin Hoch have teamed up with dozens of authors and personal growth experts -- including me -- who support and recommend their book, to provide you with over 70 gifts when you purchase their book today.

    Click This Link Now: http://www.richgerman.com/bookpromo/livingthelawofattraction

       Once you purchase the book, you will immediately be able to access the bonus gifts. All the gifts are yours; you pick and choose the ones you want to receive ... no strings attached!

    Why Do You Want This Book?

       If you've heard about the Law of Attraction, but haven't quite figured out how it can work for you, pick up this book and read the stories from everyday people who have experienced incredible results in their lives by harnessing the power of the Law of Attraction.

       You don't even have to be familiar with the Law of Attraction, though, to enjoy this book. Co-author Rich German provides an insightful introduction that will clearly explain how you, too, can implement this amazing universal law in your life. His proven "Six Steps to Manifestation" will put you on the path toward living the life of your wildest dreams.

    Real Stories from Real People

    In this book you will read:
    How Ross Craft was cured from blindness and two fatal diseases.
    How Julie Ann Connelly overcame suicidal depression.
    How Sierra Goodman lost 170 pounds.
    How Elizabeth Grant created the career and life of her dreams.
    How fourteen-year-old Korbe manifested a computer.
    And many, many more!


    Darrell Bain

       The Dec 08 issue of Bainstorming is now live at www.darrellbain.com. Subjects This Month: Great gift, Another gift, Bain Boners, Damn Rabbits, Bain Muses, Things History Books Don't Mention, Amazing Piloting, Progress Report, Fine Print, Our Legal System, What I Believed When I Was Young, Nice Review, Books Report, Incongruity, Another Incongruity, Kissable, Back Problems, Fishing, Hamburger Healthy, Excerpt From Strange Valley

       The January issue: Tonto's Adventures, Bain boners, Charity, Progress Report, Health Care Fix, Book Report, Christmas Dinner, Mechanically challenged, Death of a nation, Cookies, Meeting Betty, Togetherness, Excerpt from Circles of Displacement.

    Darrell Bain
    Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year. Double Eppie Award winner 2007.
    Dream Realm Award, 2007. See for all my books.


    Footprints newsletter number 28

       John James' newsletter Footprints is full of interesting stuff on climate change. Examples are:

  • The dual pressure of population growth and climate change;
  • What atmospheric CO2 level should we aim for?
  • Andrew Glikson on climate tipping points;
  • A New Scientist article discussing why politicians go for economic growth instead of addressing climate change;
  • The methane time bomb;
  • UN report: a pollution cloud is poisoning Asian people, but is masking the full effects of global warming;
  • Canadian report that increasing ocean acidity is interfering with CO2 absoprtion.

    Earthwatch Ohio

    The December/January issue of EarthWatch Ohio is now available at www.earthwatchohio.org.

       Help support the efforts of EarthWatch Ohio and BUY TICKETS TODAY for our upcoming fundraiser, LIVE GREEN GIVE GREEN, April 3, Executive Caterers. Come hear actor and environmental activist Ed Begley, Jr. give his inspiring and entertaining talk, Live Simply So That Others Can Simply Live.


    Mike DiCerto

    Hey ALL-

       Episode 2 of Tripping Film is up for your viewing pleasure. Again- thanks for watching and please spread around! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mBhmptLd7M

    Mike DiCerto
    www.triptosane.com


    Swami Beyondananda

    Thank God I... Stories of Inspiration for Every Situation

    Dear Friends,

       In challenging times, there seems to be all the more reason for "self-generated" gratitude. The Thank God I ... books -- for which I am happy to be a contributor -- offer inspiring and enlightening stories of people being grateful for the darnedest things. No, this is not some form of denial, but rather affirmation of the first order, affirmation that gratitude, like happiness, is an inside job. We give ourselves tremendous freedom when we choose to be grateful in spite of and not because of our circumstances.

       For more information or to order: http://www.thankgodi.com/best-seller

    May the FARCE be with you,
    Steve Bhaerman


    Carolyn Howard/Johnson/Victor Volkman

       Cohosts of Authors Access radio, Victor R. Volkman and Irene Watson, announced multi award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson was the most popular guest on AuthorsAccess.com podcasts for 2008.

       Volkman says, "With more than 1,000 listeners this year, Carolyn again proved the lasting power of her Frugal Book Promotion message. Not only is her message popular, but it's way out in front of all the other guests. The 2nd most popular podcast was 20% behind Carolyn's. We wish Carolyn continued success in 2009 and we are certain her message will become even more important as economic turmoil continues." That podcast is at http://authorsaccess.com/archives/90.

       Authors Access is a joint project of Loving Healing Press and ReaderViews. It features interviews from people around the world who can help authors better manage their writing careers. The show is recorded live each Thursday evening and posted immediately on www.AuthorsAccess.com. Since 2006, aspiring authors have browsed and downloaded more than 75 posted podcast shows for free. And they come back again and again: more than 50,000 podcast episode MP3s are downloaded per year.

       Watson is the owner of Reader Views, an Austin, Texas, based company that offers book reviews, publicity packages, editing services, as well as support to up and coming authors. The company provides quality service with professionalism, efficiency, and personal attention.

       Victor R. Volkman is the publisher of Loving Healing Press, an Ann Arbor, Michigan, based independent press that produces books in the Self-Help, Psychology, and New Age genres. It empowers authors to produce books which redefine what is possible for healing mind and spirit.

       Howard-Johnson was selected as a guest for the pair's radio show because of her strong record helping authors. She edits an online newsletter for authors, "Sharing with Writers." She is also author of the HowToDoItFrugally.com series of books for writers that includes the Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success

       Both books are winners of USA Book News' Best Book award and The Frugal Editor also won Reader Views Literary Award and the New Generation Award for Marketing. She sponsors the annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for books and is also an instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers' Program.


    2009 Sustainability convergence in Melbourne

    Sustainable Living Foundation, Friends of the Earth, and Greenleap Institute present
    the 2009 sustainability convergence
    'breakthrough: from recession to sustainability'

       As we face a looming financial crisis, what are the threats and opportunities to social and environmental movements?

       How do we break the 'business as usual' model? How do we 'bail out' the planet? This convergence seeks to bring together people from across Melbourne to start to develop a pathway through the recession to a sustainable economy. What would this look like and how we would we get there? What about livelihood and good work, what about community resilience? What about our place in the world? How do we respond effectively to the looming crisis of climate change? And what does this mean for the social and environmental movements in the short term?

       This one day forum will look at the opportunities and threats connected to the economic downturn Ė political, financial, cultural. We will look at hope and fear (and how we can speak in frames not of opposition but of hope and determination), sketch out pathways to a better future, and how we could get to a safe climate economy in 10 years.

       We will also consider how we could make Melbourne a sustainable city Ė one that is compact, people friendly, based on public transport, renewable energy, biodiversity and food production

       There will be a session for workshops Ė you are welcome to send proposals in before the conference or nominate speakers for the plenary sessions

    When: Saturday February 14, 9am Ė 5pm

    Where: inner north (venue TBC)

    Cost: Low income - $15
    Waged - $25 (no one excluded through lack of funds)

    Further information: Cam at FoE: cam.walker@foe.org.au

       This is the third sustainability convergence Ė- details on the first two can be found here: http://www.sustainabilityconvergence.org.au/.

       And in early 2009 we will have details up on this event on this website.


    Read an e-book Week

       Read an E-Book Week (March 8 - 14) is fast approaching. In preparation for the big event we have completely redone the website -- and it's a beauty. http://www.ebookweek.com

       This year we welcome several new supporters: Tor.com, E Ink and Sony. One, and possibly two, well-known guest writers are working on articles about the future of e-books. Their offering will replace the current article on the main page of the site. We want to ensure your name appears along with theirs on the "Partners" page. Plan your promotion early and let us know what you will do to promote e-books during Read an E-Book Week.

       So help us celebrate Read an E-Book Week. Mark your calendars for March 8 - 14 and let us know about your event. Banners are available for downloading at: http://www.ebookweek.com/ebook_banners.html. Feel free to resize them to fit your website and link back to us at http://www.ebookweek.com We would be pleased to send you a banner if you prefer, but please don't link to the banner on our site.

    Rita Toews
    founder - Read an E-Book Week


    Reviews

    Pay Attention, Say Thank You. Seven Rules & Practices for Joyful Living by Gail Woodard
    A Faded Lilly by Taylor Ross, reviewed by Cassandra Skevis

    Pay Attention, Say Thank You. Seven Rules & Practices for Joyful Living
    by Gail Woodard


    ISBN: 978-0-9819291-0-1
    Price: $14.00

    Publisher: Dudley Court Press (www.dudleycourtpress.com)
    Trim Size: 5x7 ľĒ, trade paperback with French flaps, 131 pages.
    Printed in Canada on 100% recycled paper
    Official publication date: April, 2009.

       With my background of counselling, meditation and positive psychology, I have found everything in this book to be familiar. The author herself says in the introduction that she is presenting age-old wisdom, and so she is.

       This also means that her message, the tools she teaches, are valid.

       Thatís the first requirement for a self-help book. The second is to present it in a way that will induce the reader to read on. This bookís language is clear, chatty, amusing in parts, inspiring in others. Because itís an instructional, you are not supposed to read it from cover to cover, but point by point, thinking about each. I found that even though I did this, going on to other things in between, I kept coming back to it. Test passed.

       The third, and most important criterion is that the reader should be motivated to do more than read and think: to ACT, to DO. On this criterion, the book is excellent.

       Even though I already routinely practice many of Gailís recommendations, I found myself doing them while reading. Were they new to me, they would lead me to a sense of wonder and joy, a liberation.

       And thatís the purpose of the book.

       I can recommend it.


    A Faded Lilly
    by Taylor Ross
    reviewed by Cassandra Skevis

    Llumina Press
    ISBN: 978-1-60594-150-9 $14.95 Paperback
    ISBN: 978-1-60594-151-6 $27.95 Hardcover

       According to the media, we are heading for hard times, and many of us are already tightening our belts as credit dries up, jobs shut down, and money grows scarce. Who knows what to expect of 2009? Perhaps if we study history, we can get some idea. Or maybe fiction will be a better indicator.

       Taylor Rossís new book, A Faded Lilly, follows the life of a young woman, who despite a rocky beginning, is able to master Southern living and remain true to her family values. Just as she begins to think that everything is going to work out, that hard times are over, her family is threatened by a nefarious millionaire bent on owning their land. Thus begins a journey of personal struggle and desperate action. With her life and the lives of her three cousins at stake, Lilly must decide who she will become to save her family.

       "Lord, forgive me my transgressions; I surrender my life to you. Donít judge this dead person I have become. I know we are accountable for our sins, but you never said anything about the sins we commit when we are dead. I died thirty-two days ago."

       Taylor Ross was born in Bessemer City, North Carolina, and is new to the fiction genre. When asked where the inspiration for A Faded Lilly came from, she says, ďFrom my experiences in working with the mentally ill and people with HIV/AIDS. Iíve also encountered many homeless men and women in New York City who make me wonder about living with hard times.Ē Currently, Taylor lives in the Bronx with her daughter, Achazia.

       You can hear her interviewed on radio at http://www.conversationsliveradio.com


    Fun

    How to install your home security system from Betty Sullivan La Pierre
    Colonoscopy by Cynthia Cantrell

    How to install your home security system
    from Betty Sullivan La Pierre

    1. Go to a second-hand store and buy a pair of men's used size 14-16 work boots.

    2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo Magazine.

    3. Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.

    4. Leave a note on your door that reads...

       Hey Bubba -- Big Jim, Duke, Slim, and I went for more ammunition. Back soon. Don't mess with the pit bulls -- they attacked the mailman this morning and messed him up real bad. I don't think Killer took part in it but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house. Better wait outside.

    Cooter

    Betty Sullivan La Pierre Mystery/Suspense Author of the renowned "Hawkman Series" Website: http://bettysullivanlapierre.com Publisher SynergEbooks MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bettysullivanlapierre


    Colonoscopy
    by Cynthia Cantrell

       I called a gastroenterologist to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, he showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing through Minneapolis.

       Then he explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, "HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!"

       I left with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called "MoviPrep," which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I'll discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies.

       I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

       Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder in a one-liter plastic jug, then fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes -- here I am being kind -- like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with a hint of lemon. The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, "a loose, watery bowel movement may result." This is like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you haven't even eaten yet.

       After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage.

       At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked. Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I'd have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You'd have no choice but to burn your house.

       When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room. I didn't see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew they had it hidden somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. They had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was "Dancing Queen" by ABBA. I remarked that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, "Dancing Queen" had to be the least appropriate. "You want me to turn it up?" said the surgeon from somewhere behind me. "Ha ha," I said. And then it was time, the moment I'd been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I'll tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

       I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling "Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine," and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.

       The surgeon was looking down at me and asking how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when he told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.


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