Bobbing Around

Volume Eight, Number Six
April, 2009

Bob Rich's (chocolate flavoured) rave

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

 

*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe
  guidelines for contributions
*Response to the last issue
  Barbara Ehrentreu
*Politics
  Wilderness Society out-gunns forest destroyer
*Environment
  October 24th 2009: day of action to stop the climate crisis
  Some Kangaroos threatened by climate change
  Alice is a shining example
  Save the planet, pay for baby? from the Green Pages
*Deeper issues
  How deep empathy works, from Petrea King
  Stimulating a sustainable economy, by Barry Brooks
  Portrait of a sociopath, from Gina Robertson
*Psychology
  A magic solution for relationship issues
  Helping children traumatised by disaster, by Dr Janet Hall
  I don't know why I am suicidal
  Can't control my anger and violence
  Depression is wrecking her life
*For writers
  How to write with style, by Kurt Vonnegut
  Dialogue conventions for American writing
*Health
  Corner for cancer is for depression too
  Borderline personality online support group
*Computers
  Advice from Alfredo
*What my friends want you to know
  Prizes for having fun
  Swami Beyondananda promotes a sane school
  The Fiction Flyer is always entertaining
  Bainstorming
  Footprints 33: Restoring soil carbon can reverse global warming
  Two new fun romances from Lori Avocato
  Along the Templar Trail is shortlisted for an award
  Carolyn launches new book
  Paperback in your hand contest from Sally Odgers
*Fun
  A Proposed Job Swap To Save American Capitalism, by Liz Lerman
*Reviews
  The Start of Magic, reviewed by 'ChrisChat'
  The Doofuzz Dudes Rescue Moondar, by Roslyn Motter
  Publishing Possibilities, by Cheryl Pickett, reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
  Emotional Stimulus: How to write a personal program of wellness and healing, by Georgiann Baldino

   My friends may be interested to know, somehow I’ve found myself thrust into the position of a leader of a revolution. Only, I think conflict is revolting, so am doing my best to induce change in a way that causes minimal harm to anyone.

   The issue is one of fairness and respect for the overwhelming majority of psychologists in Australia. It involves money, but to me that’s secondary.

   Qualifications for registration/certification vary around the world. In Australia, a person can practice as a psychologist after 4 years of university study, followed by 2 years of supervised practice. It is also possible to do further study, and qualify for one of 9 recognised specialties.

   Each of these specialties has its own College within the Australian Psychological Society. Naturally, a person can have the qualification, but choose not to join a College, or for that matter the APS. All the same, the standards of the specialty are defined by the competencies and minimum training specified by these Colleges (except in Western Australia, where they are defined in specific legislation).

   Considerable research exists to show that the length and type of training for a therapist are not major determinants of the effectiveness and efficiency of therapy. Certain personal qualities and attitudes are far more important. After sufficient experience, most 4 year trained psychologists do excellent work. By the same token a freshly graduated person with the highest qualifications can only be considered as a beginner, and should proceed with caution and humbleness.

   Despite these facts, a relatively small group of Australian psychologists appear to have engaged in an ongoing covert campaign to create themselves as an elite. They consider themselves to be better, and to deserve higher pay. Over more than 10 years, they have worked themselves into positions of power and influence, and have become more and more arrogant. They have influenced the previous government to set up a system of Medicare benefits for psychological services that pays their particular specialty a higher rate than anyone else. And the lower level includes both 4 year trained psychologists and other specialists, of which I am one.

   This year, the situation has reached a flashpoint. Those complaining can no longer be ignored. The leadership of the APS has finally recognised this, in part due to action by me.

   My punishment is that I need to attend yet ANOTHER set of meetings, and think about submissions, and deal with a new horde of emails.

   Oh well. If it gets too much, I can always retire.


This is the ultrasound face of my new grandchild, aged about 20 weeks in utero.


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.”
Kahlil Gibran (Lebanese born 1883-1931)

Responses to the last issue

Barbara Ehrentreu

Barbara Ehrentreu

Bob,

   So glad to see that even fire cannot stop your monthly Bobbing Around. I look forward to the issues, because I never know what I'll read.

   I loved Carolyn Howard-Johnson's poem about the California fire. Beautiful imagery about a very unbeautiful and sad experience.

Barbara.


Politics

Wilderness Society out-gunns forest destroyer

   For several years now, the island State of Tasmania has been at risk of wide environmental destruction. A large company called Gunns has been wanting to set up a wood chipping mill with a huge appetite for trees, waiting to eat Tasmania's pristine native forests, replace them with plantations and thus "fuel the State's economy." Pollution at the site of the mill will be inevitable, despite the many restrictions placed on the project.

   At first, Gunns appeared to be winning. They bought the Tasmanian government, then the Australian Commonwealth government approved the project. They intimidated opposition by using expensive lawyers to sue both organisations like the Wilderness Society, and people individually.

   But then, intense lobbying by thousands induced their financier, a large bank, to withdaw funding, and they have not been able to find a replacement. Even banks are wary of bad publicity.

   Recently, the Wilderness Society has triumphantly announced that not only has Gunns lost its claim against the environmental group for $3.5 million in damages, but it has even been ordered to pay $350,000 in costs.

   I would suggest you don't buy shares in Gunns.


Environment

October 24th 2009: day of action to stop the climate crisis
Some Kangaroos threatened by climate change
Alice is a shining example
Save the planet, pay for baby? from the Green Pages

October 24th 2009: day of action to stop the climate crisis

Dear friends,

   Here's the invitation I'm sending around about the October 24th Day of Action--it comes to you from a coalition of leaders around the world.

   It's going out to people on every continent and in every nation, from Antarctica (hi to our friends at McMurdo Station) to Zimbabwe (greetings to the folks at ZERO working on windpower in rural Africa!). We need everyone working together, in a way that's rarely happened before.

   The invitation is a bit long, which worries me since I'm a writer, and value conciseness. But we need to get across both the problem and the plan--and after all this is the greatest challenge we face.

   This is going to be fun--and important. Please spread it around.

Many thanks,
Bill McKibben

   This is an invitation to help build a movement--to take one day day and use it to stop the climate crisis.

   On October 24, we will stand together as one planet and call for a fair global climate treaty. United by a common call to action, we'll make it clear: the world needs an international plan that meets the latest science and gets us back to safety.

   This movement has just begun, and it needs your help.

   Here's the plan: we're asking you, and people in every country on earth, to organize an action in your community on October 24.

   http://www.350.org/oct24

   There are no limits here--imagine bike rides, rallies, concerts, hikes, festivals, tree-plantings, protests, and more. Imagine your action linking up with thousands of others around the globe. Imagine the world waking up.

   If we can pull it off, we'll send a powerful message on October 24: the world needs the climate solutions that science and justice demand.

   It's often said that the only thing preventing us from tackling the climate crisis quickly and equitably is a lack of political will. Well, the only thing that can create that political will is a unified global movement--and no one is going to build that movement for us. It's up to regular people all over the world. That's you.

   So register an event in your community for October 24, and then enlist the help of your friends. Get together with your co-workers or your local environmental group or human rights campaign, your church or synagogue or mosque or temple; enlist bike riders and local farmers and young people. All over the planet we'll start to organize ourselves.

   With your help, there will be an event at every iconic place on the planet on October 24-from America's Great Lakes to Australia's Great Barrier Reef--and also in all the places that matter to you in your daily lives: a beach or park or village green or town hall.

   If there was ever a time for you to get involved, it's right now.

   There are two reasons this year is so crucial.

   The first reason is that the science of climate change is getting darker by the day. The Arctic is melting away with astonishing speed, decades ahead of schedule. Everything on the planet seems to be melting or burning, rising or parched.

   And we now now have a number to express our peril: 350.

   NASA's James Hansen and a team of other scientists recently published a series of papers showing that we need to cut the amount of carbon in the atmosphere from its current 387 parts per million to below 350 if we wish to "maintain a planet similar to that on which civilization developed."

   No one knew that number a year ago-but now it's clear that 350 might well be the most important number for the future of the planet, a north star to guide our efforts as we remake the world. If we can swiftly get the planet on track to get back below 350, we can still avert the worst effects of climate change.

   The second reason 2009 is so important is that the political opportunity to influence our governments has never been greater. The world's leaders will meet in Copenhagen this December to craft a new global treaty on cutting carbon emissions.

   If that meeting were held now, it would produce a treaty would be woefully inadequate. In fact, it would lock us into a future where we'd never get back to 350 parts per million-where the rise of the sea would accelerate, where rainfall patterns would start to shift and deserts to grow. A future where first the poorest people, and then all of us, and then all the people that come after us, would find the only planet we have damaged and degraded.

   October 24 comes six weeks before those crucial UN meetings in Copenhagen. If we all do our job, every nation will know the question they'll be asked when they put forth a plan: will this get the planet back on the path below 350?

   This will only work with the help of a global movement-and it's starting to bubble up everywhere. Farmers in Cameroon, students in China, even World Cup skiers have already helped spread the word about 350. Churches have rung their bells 350 times; Buddhist monks have formed a huge 350 with their bodies against the backdrop of Himalayas. 350 translates across every boundary of language and culture. It's clear and direct, cutting through the static and it lays down a firm scientific line.

   On October 24, we'll all stand behind 350--a universal symbol of climate safety and of the world we need to create. And at the end of the day, we'll all upload photos from our events to the 350.org website and send these pictures around the world. This cascade of images will drive climate change into the public debate--and hold our leaders accountable to a unified global citizenry.

   We need your help-the world is a big place and our team is small. Our crew at 350.org will do everything we can to support you, providing templates for banners and press releases, resources to spread the word, and tools to help you build a strong local climate action group. And our core team is always just a phone call or e-mail away if you need some support.

   This is like a final exam for human beings. Can we muster the courage, the commitment, and the creativity to set this earth on a steady course before it's too late? October 24 will be the joyful, powerful day when we prove it's possible.

   Please join us and register your local event today.

Onwards,
Bill McKibben - Author and Activist- USA
Vandana Shiva - Physicist, Activist, Author - India
David Suzuki - Scientist, Author, Activist - Canada
Bianca Jagger - Chair of the World Future Council - UK
Tim Flannery - Scientist, Author, Explorer -Australia
Bittu Sahgal - Co-convener, Climate Challenge India - India
Andrew Simmons - Environmental Advocate, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Christine Loh - Environmental Advocate and Legislator - Hong Kong


Some Kangaroos threatened by climate change

   Imagine a world without the classic Australian icon. According to a new study released by James Cook University, an increase in average temperature by only 2 degrees could have a devastating effect on the kangaroo population.

   "Our study provides evidence that climate change has the capacity to cause large-scale range contractions, and the possible extinction of one macropodid (kangaroo) species in northern Australia," write study authors Euan G. Ritchie and Elizabeth E. Bolitho of James Cook University in Australia.

   Ritchie and Bolitho used computer modeling and three years of field observations to predict how temperature changes that are considered to be likely over the next half-century might affect four species of kangaroos.

   They found that a temperature increase as small as a half-degree Celsius may shrink kangaroos' geographic ranges. An increase of two degrees may shrink kangaroos' ranges by 48 percent. A six-degree increase might shrink ranges by 96 percent.

   Dr Ritchie says that generally accepted climate models predict temperatures in northern Australia to be between 0.4 and two degrees warmer by 2030, and between two and six degrees warmer by 2070.

   And although kangaroo species may be mobile enough to relocate as the climate changes, the vegetation and topography for which they are adapted are unlikely to shift at the same pace.

   The antilopine wallaroo, a kangaroo species adapted for a wet, tropical climate, faces the greatest potential risk. Ritchie and Bolitho found that a two-degree temperature increase may shrink its range by 89 percent. A six-degree increase may lead to the extinction of antilopine wallaroos if they are unable to adapt to the arid grassland that such a temperature change is likely to produce.

   The paper appears in an issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology on the focused topic "Predicting Extinction: Investigating the Interface of Physiology, Ecology, and Climate Change."

Read more from James Cook University


Alice is a shining example

   Right in the centre of Australia, the desert town of Alice Springs is a world famous attraction, particularly because Uluru, the oldest mountain in the world, is accessible from there.

   One thing about deserts is that there is no lack of sunshine. At last, someone with intelligence has noticed this. The Crowne Plaze hotel is having the lasrgest solar panel array in the Southern Hemisphere constructed on its roof. General manager Adam Glass said the system would help the Crowne Plaza reduce its annual carbon footprint by 420 tonnes of carbon dioxide. And you can be sure the system will pay for itself in reduced electricity bills within a few years.

   You can do the same (on a smaller scale of course).


Save the planet, pay for baby?
from the Green Pages

   You can't tell from their adorable little faces, but your baby's environmental impact is much bigger than what you can fit into an adorable pair of booties!

   Some experts have gone so far as to suggest a ‘baby levy' in the form of a carbon tax, in line with the idea of ‘polluters pay' principle. ‘Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years,' says Dr Barry Walters, Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetric Medicine at the Royal Perth Hospital. In a letter published in the Medical Journal of Australia in December 2007, Walters called for a carbon tax that would fund the planting of enough trees to offset the carbon cost generated by a new human being, which he estimated to be around $5000 at birth (to purchase the land needed to plant the trees) and then $400-$800 annually for the life of the child to maintain the planted trees.

   ‘The fact is that humans contribute hugely to the carbon economy, mainly through their consumption of energy, but also through their own metabolism, producing CO2 with every breath,' he says. ‘Children and adults today live indoors, use air conditioning, electricity, mobile phones, computers, get cars of their own much earlier, consume more by having many possessions.' The result is a quite a sizable increase in the modern carbon footprint.

   While Walters admits that his initial idea for a carbon tax on childbirth was ‘tongue in cheek', it was a genuine reaction to the ‘arrogance of the Australian government' in paying people to have more babies given the environmental impact of each child. ‘Having children is a basic human right -- there is however a philosophic view that there is not a right to unlimited procreation -- as resources are limited and the more children one family has, the less is available to others,' he says.

   Meanwhile, some eco minded modern women have taken the matter to heart, and have voluntarily sterilised themselves citing environmental concerns. Toni Vernelli from the UK terminated an accidental pregnancy and then opted to have herself sterilised reports the Daily Mail in the UK. ‘Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,' she says.

The Green Pages is an excellent weekly e-zine you can have in your inbox. This item was at http://www.thegreenpages.com.au/index.asp?page_id=1195.


Deeper Issues

How deep empathy works, from Petrea King
Stimulating a sustainable economy by Barry Brooks
Portrait of a sociopath from Gina Robertson

How deep empathy works
from Petrea King

   In the last issue I reviewed Petrea's wonderful book Sometimes Hearts Have to Break. In one of her stories in that book, she said something to her client Bella that could have been outrageous, but 'happened to' perfectly resonate with this person.

   I wrote to Petrea: "I seem to have such empathy too, although not 100%. I made a mistake last week. but usually, when I allow myself to say what comes without censoring, it is somehow from my client, and can be wonderfully liberating for that person. My question is, how do we do it? I am sure I am not telepathic. I have a complete blindness for anything paranormal, even if other people have such skills (I am a sceptic until evidence is presented to me, and so far I've never seen anything I can't find an alternative explanation for).

   "All the same, people like you and I can somehow tune in to the inner world of another person, and 'pull out' something that is based on a past we don't know, like Bella's love of the violin. How do we do it?"

   Here is her reply:

Hi Bob

   It's simple. Much that happens to us in life causes us to develop patterns of behaviour which become second nature to us. People say, "It's second nature for me to think this way, feel this way, react like this." I've always found it strange that no one ever asks, "what is your first nature?" We universally know what second nature is.

   They are not the truth of who we are in our essence -- our first nature. For me, and I suspect you, the sole purpose of human existence is simply this: to relinquish everything that has become second nature to us so that we reveal and experience our first nature.

   When the mind is quiet, what is first nature in me blends effortlessly with what is first nature in another. If we enter with any agenda for the person it evaporates because we already have in place a filter to our/their experience. When we simply are of service to the other: In that sacred space information is exchanged at profound levels and we are present to its unfolding in us/them. Words often monster the experience.

   It is second nature to us to feel separate from one another and yet in truth, at the level of first nature, we are one.

   This was largely the subject of my book, Your Life Matters -- the Power of Living Now.

   Was that simple?

With love
Petrea

   You've guessed it. I've bought the book, and you can anticipate a review -- if and when I get the time to read it!

   She sent an addendum:

   And further... people are oozing information when they come to us. They are desperate for our help. We need to be quiet so that we can 'read,' 'pick up,' 'see' whatever morsel they might hold within their consciousness aching for someone to help unravel the knot of their despair. More often than not the person can't put into words their experience hence the necessity for us to be able to interpret through body language, in its grossest form, and intuition, in its more subtle form the language of the person's unconscious. I can see there's a book to be written here... I've just peeped into its depths.


Stimulating a sustainable economy
by Barry Brooks

   In the United States employers generally accepted the 8-hour day as of 1912. Increases in productivity since then indicate that a further reduction in working hours is long overdue. Cutting the work week again could spread scarce jobs around, and it would reduce welfare.

   A reduced work week does nothing for the many people who are unemployable. Also, imagine if all jobs were only a few hours a week. There would be a vast waste in commuting, training, and dispersion of information.

   Perhaps extended years of education and early retirement would be a better method to spread jobs among workers. Where would that leave the income distribution problem?

   We must return to very old ideas about economics to solve the distribution problem. With our machine-slaves we must someday return to seeing ourselves as thankful guests at nature's table, rather than as proud creators of wealth. Sacrifices to the Gods will not be required, yet thankfulness is not dead. Humility struggles to survive in the custom of giving thanks for the gift of this food.

   The amount of work we must do to harvest nature's wealth depends on our knowledge and organization. Robots will make us rethink our role as the proud creators of wealth. We will come to see ourselves as the planet-parasites we really are. (Offended by parasite? Too bad. The truth hurts.)

   Once we have given up on being proud creators of wealth, we can begin to rethink economics from a new perspective. As creators of wealth we imagine we have no limits. More work will always create more wealth. As thankful guests at nature's table we can see our limits, but we can also see new possibilities.

   From that new perspective it's easy to see that the goal of getting people to buy cars is wrong. It shows how confused economic policy has become. If people have a car they don't need to buy another when we should be conserving resources.

   If people don't have a car they will need one, but after that the car factories will not need to keep producing more cars than needed for replacement. If we make the cars more durable to save money and resources the number of cars we need to buy will be very small.

   The goal of stimulating the economy to produce more than we need is wrong. We should stimulate the economy in a way to produce what we really need, no more, no less. Well...maybe a little more than we need would be best.

   That kind of stimulus must go directly to people to support the consumption they require; not to business to produce things they can't sell, things we don't need and can't afford, using credit we can't repay. We need cash money in our pockets to buy the basics. That will allow the market to provide the goods and services we need without a need to waste enough resources to stay busy.

   Why would we expect to have full employment when machine unemployment is about to be dwarfed by robot unemployment? Why would we assume that we must keep all labor busy when we have a vast surplus of productive capacity?

   A direct stimulus to the people is the best response to the robot economy, which must operate with limited resources. A stimulus to producers will not work, because they would never produce any more than they can sell, and if they did produce more it would not bring full employment like it did before robots.

   Let's really accept capitalism. Dividends are at the heart of our system. A direct stimulus to people would be like a dividend, a form of unearned income.

   A basic income would start as only a supplement to wages, the ultimate stimulus. Over time that basic income would rise and fall as the need for labor and the nature of the economy varies. When we have better robots, wages may only be a supplement to a basic income.

   If capitalism was democratic people would be getting unearned income, just like the capitalists we have today who want to keep it all for themselves. With basic income awful jobs would pay well, and the unpaid work of caring for others would gain an adequate labor supply.

Barry Brooks is too modest to have supplied me with a bio. He wrote, "I don't have a bio that would impress anyone, and even if I did I wouldn't want anyone to take things on my authority. I only hope to persuade."


Portrait of a sociopath
from Gina Robertson

   I was married to a criminal--a fascinating mind he had. He had little or no conscience, so on any given day if he did not commit a crime, it wasn't due to any sense of moral duty or righteousness. He did refrain from certain behaviors at certain times when he thought he might get caught and punished, but at other times he committed crimes when he must have known he'd get caught. He moderates his behavior in order to fit into society and live well, but he enjoys indulging his contempt for the system by breaking the rules. I think living outside the rules of society proves, in his mind, that he really is "above" everyone else, that he truly is entitled to have every advantage and to do whatever he wants. He wouldn't have to keep proving this to himself, I suppose, unless he doubted it, so I guess his criminal arrogance is a sign of insecurity.

   This is the way I've come to understand his thinking when it comes to crime and punishment: he'll use logic and reason to judge the likelihood of getting caught and the consequences if he does, and he'll moderate his behavior based on that. He'll slow down in a speed trap. He'll leave his dope at home instead of bringing it with him in the car. He'll stop doing drugs for a week when he knows he's going to be drug tested. He'll pay for the item in the store instead of shoving it in his jacket and walking out with it because he notices the security camera. In these instances, he avoids committing the crime in order to avoid the punishment.

   But he will never give up crime completely. He needs it to prove that he has a right to live by different rules than the rest of us. He knows he won't get caught every time, so he uses his intelligence to decide when it's "safe" for him to indulge in criminal behaviors. I think "someone's watching" is a bigger deterrent for him in any given instance than "you'll be punished really bad if you get caught." But I think that even if he were watched constantly, he'd eventually be compelled to commit the crime anyway because he also feels like he's 10 feet tall and bullet proof, so he's arrogant enough to think he can get away with it, and he'll commit crimes just for the thrill of proving he's untouchable.

   Then there's the "retribution" crimes--when someone has "done him wrong" in some way, which could be any manner of denying him what he wants or creating some inconvenience for him. In that case, he's got this sense of entitlement that is purely insane. He's justified in doing anything to anybody who crosses him. At first, he seemed to expect the law to back him up on this. "Well, I had to beat the hell out of her, your honor. She made me real mad. She deserved it." It took him a few times to realize the law doesn't support him in this notion, so he had to start being more stealthy in exacting his justice so he wouldn't get caught and punished. But being stealthy about it isn't the same thing as being deterred from commiting the crime. No matter what the punishment he risked for himself, he still felt it was his "right" to commit whatever act of harm that person deserved, and as a matter of pride he'd exercise that right, no matter what the law says about it. Since he's got the gift of charm and he's ten feet tall and bullet proof, he figures he'll talk his way out of it if he gets caught, or hire a good defense attorney to get him off. The scary thing is, he's right more times than not.

   My research on this personality disorder (anti-social or sociopath) indicates that it is actually quite common in society. If so, it would seem a large percentage of criminals fall into this category, and in that case, I conclude that punishment is not a deterrent to most criminals.

   What about the other side of the coin--those of us who do not commit crimes? Are we deterred because we fear punishment? Speaking for myself, I can say that I'm no angel. There are probably crimes I would commit if I knew there'd be no chance of punishment or getting caught. But I think, for the most part, I refrain from seriously criminal behavior because of a sense of integrity or honor in my heart that would be disturbed if I routinely dislodged it to commit acts of injustice on other people. In general, punishment is not what deters me from committing horrible crimes. I would imagine (hope) the same is true for most of us.

   Gina is right. I think most of us refrain from committing crimes because we prefer certain long term consequences, and because we don't want to harm others. And that is a matter of empathy--being able to appreciate how someone else feels. I have a theory about people like Gina's ex. There is remarkably good evidence that we are born time and again. I think that people like him are first-time humans who haven't yet learnt enough about being a human, so they completely lack empathy.

   Gina's response: "Wow, that's an interesting theory, and one I have thought of myself. I too believe in reincarnation, and I admit there's a certain "clumsiness" to this kind of person. Like a child screaming "MINE!" every time he thinks someone's going to take something from him or someone has something he wants. A precocious child, though, for he's very intelligent."


Psychology

A magic solution for relationship issues
Helping children traumatised by disaster by Dr Janet Hall
I don't know why I am suicidal
Can't control my anger and violence
Depression is wrecking her life

A magic solution for relationship issues

   Some relationships last, with the partners overcoming all the problems that arise (and there are always problems, between any pair of people). Despite ups and downs, they are content with the relationship, and know themselves to be fortunate.

   Other relationships, perhaps with exactly the same issues, are stormy, unhappy and often short-lived.

   What is the magic difference? What can you do to be content in your love affairs, contact with close family, business partnerships?

   Unfortunately, nothing by yourself. You can do all the right things, but if the other person doesn't, then things still won't work. This magic is effective only if it is mutual. But if it is, then it's wonderful.

   Here it is, encoded in the tiny word "me":

There are two ways of approaching a romantic relationship:

  1. I need someone to love me = what can I get?
  2. I need someone to love = what can I give?

   When the inevitable problem arises:

  1. S/he is hurting me. How can I defend myself?
  2. S/he is hurting. How can I help?

   The same logic can of course be applied to other kinds of relationships, for example that between supervisor/boss and employee. And here, because power is unequal, the effect on the relationship is unequal too. The most productive, effective, efficient and therefore profitable workplaces are where the workers are happy.


Helping children traumatised by disaster
by Dr Janet Hall

   Children are able to cope better with a traumatic event if parents, friends, family, teachers and other adults support and help them with their experiences. Help should start as soon as possible after the event.

   It's important to remember that some children may never show distress because they squash it inside, but it may begin to ooze out in uncharacteristic changes in behaviour after several weeks or even months. Other children may not show a change in behavior, but may still need your help.

Children may exhibit these behaviours after a disaster:

1. Be upset over the loss of a favorite toy, blanket, teddy bear or other things that adults might consider insignificant, but which are important to the child.

2. Change from being quiet, obedient and caring to loud, noisy and aggressive or may change from being outgoing to shy and afraid.

3. Develop nighttime fears. They may be afraid to sleep alone at night with the light off, to sleep in their own room, or have nightmares or bad dreams.

4. Be afraid the event will reoccur.

5. Become easily upset, crying and whining.

6. Lose trust in adults. After all, their adults were not able to control the disaster.

7. Revert to younger behavior such as bed wetting and thumb sucking.

8. Not want parents out of their sight and refuse to go to school or childcare.

9. Feel guilty that they caused the disaster because of something they had said or done.

10. Become afraid of wind, rain or sudden loud noises.

11. Have symptoms of illness, such as headaches, vomiting or fever.

12.Worry about where they and their family will live.

Things Parents or Other Caring Adults Can Do

1. Talk with the children about how they are feeling and listen without judgment. Let them know they can have their own feelings, which might be different from others. It's OK.

2. Let the children take their time to figure things out and to have their feelings. Don't rush them or pretend that they don't think or feel as they do.

3. Help them learn to use words that express their feelings, such as happy, sad, angry, mad and scared. Just be sure the words fit their feelings -- not yours.

4. Assure fearful children that you will be there to take care of them. Reassure them many times.

5. Stay together as a family as much as possible.

6. Go back as soon as possible to former routines or develop new ones. Maintain a regular schedule for the children.

7. Reassure the children that the disaster was not their fault in any way.

8. Let them have some control, such as choosing what outfit to wear or what meal to have for dinner.

9. Help your children know that others love them and care about them by visiting, talking on the phone or writing to family members, friends and neighbours.

10. Encourage the children to give or send pictures they have drawn or things they have written to family and friends.

11. Re-establish contact with extended family members.

12. Help your children learn to trust adults again by keeping promises and including children in planning routines and outings.

13. Help your children regain faith in the future by helping them develop plans for activities that will take place later -- next week, next month.

14. Children cope better when they are healthy, so be sure your children get needed health care as soon as possible.

15. Make sure the children are getting balanced meals and eating enough food and getting enough rest.

16. Remember to take care of yourself so you can take care of your children.

17. Spend extra time with your children at bedtime. Read stories, rub their backs, listen to music, talk quietly about the day.

18. lf you will be away for a time, tell them where you are going and make sure you return when you promised or call at the time you say you will.

19. Allow special privileges such as leaving the light on when they sleep for a period of time after the disaster.

20. Limit their exposure to additional trauma, including news reports.

21. Children should not be expected to be brave or tough, or to "not cry."

22. Don't be afraid to "spoil" children in this period after a disaster.

23. Don't give children more information than they can handle about the disaster.

24. Don't minimize the event.

25. Find ways to emphasize to the children that you love them.

26. Allow the children to grieve losses.

27. Develop positive rituals and "anniversary" activities to commemorate the event. Help children understand that these events may bring tears, but they are also a time to celebrate survival and the ability to get back to a normal life.

Activities for Children

1. Encourage the children to draw or paint pictures of how they feel about their experiences. Hang these at the child's level to be seen easily.

2. Write a story of the frightening event.

You might start with: Once upon a time there was a terrible ___________ and it scared us all_________. This is what happened: ____________. Be sure to end with, "And now we are safe."

3. Playing with playdough or clay is good for children to release tension and make symbolic creations.

4. Music is fun and valuable for children. Creating music with instruments or rhythm toys helps relieve stress and tension.

5. Provide the children with clothes, shoes, hats, etc. so they can play "dress up" and can pretend to be adults in charge of recovering from the disaster and "being in charge."

6. Make puppets with the children and put on a puppet show for family and friends, or help children put on a skit about what they experienced.

7. Read stories about disasters to and with children making sure to talk about how people coped and recovered.

   Dr Janet Hall is a well-known Australian psychologist who regularly appears on the media. Visit her at http://www.drjanethall.com.au/. She is the author of several books, including Fear-free Children.


I don't know why I am suicidal

Bob,

   My name is Kelly. I'm 17 years old and a junior in high school. I've been going to counseling for about 5 months now because I had suicide thoughts a lot and tried once. I've also been smoking weed since the 9th grade. My psychologist said my wanting to commit suicide had something to do with that, she also said it could be other things also but most of the time I don't think it does. My mother has suffered from depression a good bit of life, and sometimes I think she could be bipolar but I don't actually know what that could consist of. I've been dating the same boy now for 7 1/2 months and for the first 4 months everything was PERFECT! I mean no fighting or anything, but that's how it always is. Sometimes I feel like I am depressed but I can't really tell. My friend told me that if I'm having thoughts of suicide I should be taking some sort of medicine or something like that. I'm happy most of the time, but lately my boyfriend and I have been rocky. We broke up a few Fridays ago and "technically" aren't dating but we still act like it, but even though we are acting like it last week we would bicker at each other A LOT and I would just come home and cry. Last Thursday I was so upset I wanted to commit suicide again for the first time in a long time. I had the same thought today when I got into a fight with a girl I wasn't even friends with just because the drama going on between me and her affected so many people, my friends as well, and I just didn't want to have to deal with any of it anymore. I know that everyone had there off days, and everyone gets really upset but i know that what I'm thinking isn't as common as it seems and I don't know if I should be doing something medical about it. My boyfriend knows that I have thoughts and I told him about my last episode but I just feel like it's another burden for him on top of our fighting. Most of our fighting is jealousy and we are working on that, but I just don't know how because I have alot of guy friends and some end up liking me more then friends.

   I've read through my last paragraph there doesn't really seem like there is a point. I guess what I want to know is should I be taking medication or be checked out for depression because my psychologist said she thinks I'm fine but also doesn't talk a lot while my appointment is going on. I guess it's just because I tell her more of what's going on in my life rather then venting. I also want to know how I can stop this bickering with my boyfriend because I feel like that's all we do anymore. I also want to know how to be happy. I live with just my mom and she just always seems so depressed, and treats everyone badly. My dad is worried I am going to end up like that because children act the way they were raised, but I know I don't want to end up like my mom. I also find myself being mean to people for no reason. I apologize sometimes but never really know what to say. I have a lying problem also and it's because I act before I speak. I mean, I catch myself lying about the stupidest things when I just could have told the truth. I'm honestly working to improve because I know I can fix myself and with the economy the way it is, my parents can't really afford to pay for expensive medication.

   In case you are wondering how I found you out I googled "wanting to die" and I clicked on the first, or second thing (I can't remember) and read the story about the boy who cut himself. I really hope you can help me, and continue to talk if I have anymore problems because my psychologist isn't seeming to work.

Kelly

Kelly my dear,

   What I read in your note is that you are suffering, and don’t even know why. On the surface, you have lots of good things in your life: loving parents, friends, intelligence, good looks that boys like, and yet it sometimes doesn’t seem worth living. It seems almost as if the hopelessness comes from the fact that you can’t explain your low mood.

   From what you wrote, you are suffering from serious depression. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. At your age, so did I, and now I don’t. If I could beat it, so can you. You can think of it like a disease, only this is a disease of thinking. There is a monster sitting on your shoulder, and whispers thoughts in your ear. She is a good mimic, so that you think those suggested thoughts are yours. But they are not. You can tell Depression-thoughts from Kelly-thoughts by examining their outcomes. If I believe this thought, will my life be better or worse? Is this thought taking me where I want to be, or in the opposite direction? If I saw somebody else doing what this though wants me to do, would I advise that person to change, or congratulate her for doing well?

   And your counselor is right. Marijuana and alcohol are the two drugs you should avoid, because even though they may blot out the pain for the moment, in the long term they will only get you more depressed. They are downers.

   To answer your main question: you can heal yourself without medication. In fact, medication can’t heal you at all; only you can do that. However, antidepressants are a sort of a crutch. When you have a broken leg, a crutch is very useful to help you to get around. When you have serious suicidal thoughts, antidepressants give you enough calmness that you can work on your issues. But if you don’t work on your issues, you don’t get better.

   So, in situations such as yours, I recommend the medications for a short period, say three months. That will be more than enough time to get you started on the road to a good life. The journey will take you years, but you only need the crutches to get started.

   You know, in some States of the USA, they kill people who committed nasty crimes such as murder and rape. In other States, they are now more civilized, and don’t retaliate with evil for evil by killing the criminal.

   But what evil crime have you committed, that you should want to execute yourself? I think it’s wrong to kill even murderers. So, it’s certainly wrong to kill an attractive, intelligent, decent young woman. So, don’t become a murderer by killing her. And if you think your parents can’t afford the medication, think of the costs of the funeral. (Really, I don’t mean the money costs here. They love you, as do other people. They would be devastated if you succeeded in killing yourself. They are upset and sad even because you feel like it.)

   About your boyfriend. You know, disagreement and conflict are a natural part of closeness. It occurs in the most loving relationships. My wife and I have been married for nearly 42 years, and it’s a mutually caring marriage, but we do have occasional conflict. That’s fine, because we handle it right.

   Actually, it’s not a good idea for the two of you to link up for life yet. In our culture, you’re too young, have too much learning to do. Instead, both of you should use your connection to do that learning. It’s OK for each of you to have other partners for a while, and stay as friends. Perhaps you may fall in love with each other again in a few years’ time, maybe not.

   You’ll both benefit from reading two books. One is Love is Never Enough by Aaron Beck, the other The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman. Both should be readily available, and not too expensive.

   Finally, you say you want to be happy. Who doesn’t? But happiness is not a thing you can get. It is the byproduct of doing things that make you feel good about yourself and your situation. When you enjoy reading a good book, or playing a good game of tennis, or helping a friend with homework you understood but she struggled with, when you watch little children or birds or dogs play, when you achieve a goal you’ve been striving for... then you are happy. But it doesn’t last, because life goes on.

   It’s better to aim for contentment. This is when you can look at all the good and bad things in your situation, accept the bad while working hard to improve it, and celebrate the good. It means respecting and liking the person you are, appreciating other people for their good qualities while forgiving their shortcomings, and even celebrating the current problem things about yourself.

   Why?

   Because they are the growing edges. Some things you do wonderfully. Some things you do OK. And some things you currently do badly. When you find one of these, cheer, because that’s where you can improve. For example, when you argue with your boyfriend, you can think about how you can resolve that difference better. By learning from that pain and annoyance, you can become a more loving, tolerant yet strong person who cannot be pushed around, but who can stand up for herself without aggression or causing pain.

   All growth involves suffering. So, when things go badly, treat the situation as a problem. Then by solving the problem, you’ll be able to do something better for the rest of your life.

Have a good one,
Bob

Dear Bob,

   Thank you so much! That really tells me a lot about myself. I knew something wasn't right because I know that I shouldn't be thinking like that. My boyfriend and I are slowly improving but getting better each day. I guess I have been improving for a while and my life hit a small ditch and I just went back to the way I used to think. But isn't that how it's going to be for a while like when I hit ruff spots in life? Like when you are quitting smoking, you can stop yourself from doing it but when something bad happens you crave the nicotine? I told my mom what you said about the medication and I will talk to my psychologist about it, so I will. Well anyway, I want to thank you for taking time out of your (I'm sure busy) day to e-mail me! I will keep you updated on my improvement or if anything gets worse.

Thanks SO MUCH!!!
Kelly

Kelly, it's my reason for being on the planet at the moment that I am an instrument for reducing suffering. It is a sort of magic. People like you find me, and I speak some words from my heart, and by some magic I can make a difference.

   When you are on top of your depression, and have grown into adulthood, maybe you can thank me by doing the same to those around you.

   You are right about relapses. Read http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/habit.html about how to cope with this. The main requirement is forgiveness.

:)
Bob


Can't control my anger and violence

   I am a working mother, I'm very short tempered, cant control my anger, and I actually become violent. What can I do to cope with my destructive anger? plzzzzzzzzz help.

Dear Molly,

   Everyone is different. There is no other person like you. So, I cannot answer your question on the basis of your three sentences. All I can do is to suggest what has worked for other people. You can then try these out, and then change them to suit your unique needs and strengths.

   You might look at my book Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias. It is for sale very cheaply as an electronic book at Twilight Times Books http://twilighttimesbooks.com/AngerAnxiety_ch1.html.

   In addition to what I write there, I have this feeling that you may be under a lot of stress as a working mother. So, you need to look after yourself, as well as your job and your family. Read http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/firstaid.html for a few ways of doing this.

   And you know, it may FEEL as if you couldn't control your temper. That may be because you are trying to control the wrong thing. It is true that we cannot control what thoughts and emotions come to us. However, we CAN control what we DO. You can feel as angry as you might be, but you still have a choice.

   I don't know how old your children are. But suppose you have just screamed at one of them. Then you feel terrible, but once started, just keep going.

   OK, at a time when you are calm, say to the child, "Darling, I am going to change my habit of screaming at you, and I would like you to help me. Next time I scream at you, please give me a secret signal we can agree on now, and when you do that I'll remember. Then I'll stop screaming, and apologize to you, and then we can start dealing with the situation from the start as if I hadn't been angry." Of course, the complexity of the message has to be adjusted to the child's age.

   You will find this to be a very powerful way of changing a habit you want to get rid of.

   Let me know in a few weeks how this has helped you.

:)
Bob


Depression is wrecking her life

Dear Dr. Bob:

   I'm fed up from everything … No Love No Money Nothing that brightens my life. I’m trying to walk as I heard that walking elevates the mood but nothing happens. I’m falling into debt and I don’t know what to do. I’m searching for a better job with better salary in order to try to manage my debts and life expenses but I couldn’t find any… I feel that I’m going to collapse… please try to tell me how to manage my life in a better way in order to survive at least just until I find another better job offer… at the same time I feel that my boyfriend is getting away from me bit by bit… he is not interested in seeing me or calling me anymore… life became so hard for me to bear… Need your help.

Thank you.

My dear,

   This email was not sent by you. It was sent by your Depression. This is a kind of inner monster that mimics the voice of your thoughts. It whispers to you things that are twists of reality. Its aim is to kill you, as slowly and miserably as possible. So, it takes a fact, and presents it as if it was a disaster, when it is a problem needing a solution. It saps you of energy, destroys hope and lies about you as a person to put you in the worst light possible to yourself.

   But you can fight back. You do not need to believe your Depression.

   For example, it’s not true that you have no money. You have a job. In this current world economic climate, millions have lost their jobs. What is true that in the past you must have spent more than you earned, and so have debts, and you find it difficult to reduce them on your current income. As I said, this is a problem. You are attacking this problem by looking for a higher-paid job. You might be able to do other things, such as a systematic examination and reduction of your expenditures, finding a second part time job, or going to a financial counselor if they have such people where you live.

   You have a boyfriend, but you say he is ‘getting away from me bit by bit.’ Well, if your email is a fair sample of how you feel at the moment, then chances are your company is not that much fun. If you were doing well in your life, and had a boyfriend who was constantly miserable, then, chances are, at first you would be supportive, and would do your best to cheer him up. But, after awhile, you’d get worn out, and feel that nothing you did made any difference. You might get him laughing one day. Next time you meet, he’ll be in the dumps again. So, what’s the point?

   This is how Depression works to destroy your life. The way to fight back is to do the opposite of what Depression tells you to do. When you are in your boyfriend’s company, don’t do what feels like it’s coming naturally, because that’s in fact being Depression’s puppet rather than yourself. Instead, think of yourself as doing a sort of a paid job. You have been employed to make this young man feel good during the time you are together. However you feel inside, you do and say what from experience you know makes him feel happy. Laugh, make jokes, tell him about your day in a way that does not sound like a complaint. Go with him to activities he finds enjoyable, and then show him that you are enjoying yourself. You are an actress, acting the happy girlfriend.

   Apply this logic to all areas of your life, and see what happens.

You can do it.
Bob


For Writers

How to write with style by Kurt Vonnegut
Dialogue conventions for American writing

How to write with style
by Kurt Vonnegut

   Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.

   These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bright, crooked or honest, humorless or playful--? And on and on.

   Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you're writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead -- or, worse, they will stop reading you.

   The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don't you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.

   So your own winning style must begin with ideas in your head.

1. Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

   I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way -- although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do.

2. Do not ramble, though

   I won't ramble on about that.

3. Keep it simple

   As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. "To be or not to be?" asks Shakespeare's Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long. Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story "Eveline" is this one: "She was tired." At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.

   Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred. The Bible opens with a sentence well within the writing skills of a lively fourteen-year-old: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

4. Have guts to cut

   It may be that you, too, are capable of making necklaces for Cleopatra, so to speak. But your eloquence should be the servant of the ideas in your head. Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.

5. Sound like yourself

   The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad's third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish. And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.

   In some of the more remote hollows of Appalachia, children still grow up hearing songs and locutions of Elizabethan times. Yes, and many Americans grow up hearing a language other than English, or an English dialect a majority of Americans cannot understand.

   All these varieties of speech are beautiful, just as the varieties of butterflies are beautiful. No matter what your first language, you should treasure it all your life. If it happens to not be standard English, and if it shows itself when your write standard English, the result is usually delightful, like a very pretty girl with one eye that is green and one that is blue.

   I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

6. Say what you mean

   I used to be exasperated by such teachers, but am no more. I understand now that all those antique essays and stories with which I was to compare my own work were not magnificent for their datedness or foreignness, but for saying precisely what their authors meant them to say. My teachers wished me to write accurately, always selecting the most effective words, and relating the words to one another unambiguously, rigidly, like parts of a machine. The teachers did not want to turn me into an Englishman after all. They hoped that I would become understandable --- and therefore understood. And there went my dream of doing with words what Pablo Picasso did with paint or what any number of jazz idols did with music. If I broke all the rules of punctuation, had words mean whatever I wanted them to mean, and strung them together higgledy-piggledy, I would simply not be understood. So you, too, had better avoid Picasso-style or jazz-style writing, if you have something worth saying and wish to be understood.

   Readers want our pages to look very much like pages they have seen before. Why? This is because they themselves have a tough job to do, and they need all the help they can get from us.

7. Pity the readers

   They have to identify thousands of little marks on paper, and make sense of them immediately. They have to read, an art so difficult that most people don't really master it even after having studied it all through grade school and high school --- twelve long years.

   So this discussion must finally acknowledge that our stylistic options as writers are neither numerous nor glamorous, since our readers are bound to be such imperfect artists. Our audience requires us to be sympathetic and patient readers, ever willing to simplify and clarify --- whereas we would rather soar high above the crowd, singing like nightingales.

   That is the bad news. The good news is that we Americans are governed under a unique Constitution, which allows us to write whatever we please without fear of punishment. So the most meaningful aspect of our styles, which is what we choose to write about, is utterly unlimited.


Dialogue conventions for American writing

  • Use double quotes for speech.
  • Do not use quotes for thoughts that are quoted word for word. It’s best to put them in italics instead.
  • Punctuation marks go inside the quotes.
  • When you have a person do something and say something, keep it all in the same paragraph. Do not have a line break before the speech.
  • When you switch to another person, start a new paragraph.
  • When you have quotes inside quotes, have the outside ones double (") and the inside ones single (').
  • Do not ever have two single quotess side by side instead of a ".
  • Minimize the use of tags (he said, or the equivalent). Certainly don't have more than one in the single sample of speech.
  • Avoid adverbs (descriptive words) in tags. They are a form of telling rather than showing. So, "he said excitedly" or the like is not much good.
  • When a character makes a long speech so that you need to quote more than one paragraph, start the first paragraph with a ". Start each of the succeeding paragraphs with a " as well. However, only end the last paragraph with a ".
       Because this can lead to misreadings, it's a good trick to break it up so there is something between succeeding paragraphs, for example the current witness's thoughts about the speech. Then, each paragraph of conversation can have quotes at both the beginning and the end.

    Health

    Corner for cancer is for depression too
    Borderline personality online support group

    Corner for cancer is for depression too

       My friend Carolyn Harris writes:

       I have been thinking about the bush fires and the people who will be marked for life by them -- to put it mildly -- and of course the chances of you being involved in their healing processes as time goes on.

       I think I have told you the Corner for Cancer is also for people with depression and they have their own place in the site. I have encouraged people to talk about what has brought them to despair and I am amazed that most of them want to and have done so and of course the response they get from others who understand what they have gone through has been great.

       If you do have clients who are suffering, do let them know they are very welcome to join us all, as of course, the more members we get the more experiences that are gathered and the more help through like minds develop.

       I have 'locked' the site so one has to register to be able to read the Corner, but it is one sure way of being certain that if we get any trouble makers in there Julian or I can de-register them immediately and that makes it as safe as possible.

       Because everyone has an ID they are anonymous anyway and that helps too.

       So if you think we can help anyone at all please tell them we would welcome them and give them whatever support we can.

    http://www.darkiescancercorner.com


    Borderline personality online support group

    Hi,

       My name is Beth and I volunteer to help spread the word about a new free Borderline personality online support group.

       As I know this falls within your interest I thought that you might want to help us in the quest to reach as many people as possible (the more people know about the group the better help they will get). You can support us in many ways (not financially): telling people you know, linking to it, writing a blog or forum post and participating in the group discussions.

       Your help is much needed and any support will be most appreciated.

       You can check out the group at: mdjunction.com/borderline-personality.


    Computers

    Advice from Alfredo

       My friend Alfredo Zotti spends some of his time renovating computers, which he then gives to people who could otherwise not afford one. So, he does know what he is talking about.

       The best way to keep your computer in good working order is to reload the operating system every six months, particularly for people who use Apple computers. This is why it is good practice to keep an external hard drive so that important documents and emails can be safely stored. Even the external hard drive should be backed up possibly using a USB drive (today they go up to 16 Gigabytes) in which all important data can be stored safely and permanently.

       For people who use Windows, it may be of some interest to know that Windows Vista Home Premium is one of the best operating systems around today. Despite the negative publicity from people who understand little or nothing about computers, the fact is that since service pack 1, Vista Home Premium has become one of the most reliable and stable systems around today. It certainly is far superior to any OS X and any other Window OS. The negative publicity was started probably by the Microsoft company because they knew that despite the negative publicity many people would buy the system and because those who were satisfied with XP would later upgrade to the new system, Windows 7, which is supposed to be an improvement on Vista but in reality is pretty much the same. For this version, there is no need to reload the operating system since there is a way to restore the Hard Drive to a previous saved disk image. This is not always as successful on a Mac that is why reloading the system is the best option.

       What happens if one does not reload the OS system? In the case of a OS X 10.4 or 10.5, de-fragmenting the drive does not work as well as it does on Windows OS and files are often scattered all over the hard drive in a messy fashion. This means reduced power as time goes by and too much stress on the Hard Drive, usually made in China, which in most cases breaks down. Please make sure to use an expensive hard drive such as a Toshiba or Maxtor or other good brand. Soon we will not have mechanical Hard Drives but hard drives with chips that work just like a USB drive only that are much bigger in size such a 500 Gigabytes. These drives will not break easily but for now we have to wait till the price goes down.

       The safest web browser is Mozilla Firefox, which makes it absolutely difficult for viruses to break into your system. The safest e-mail program is Mozilla Thunderbird, which also makes it hard for viruses to infect your computer. Both programs work on Macs and PCs and both are absolutely free and the download site is the following:

    http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
    http://www.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/thunderbird/

       If you have a Mac you may have decided not to use an antivirus program, but keep in mind that you can still transmit viruses to those people who have normal PCs; and yes, OS x can get viruses as well contrary to popular belief.

    Alfredo


    What my friends want you to know

    Prizes for having fun
    Swami Beyondananda promotes a sane school
    The Fiction Flyer is always entertaining
    Bainstorming
    Footprints 33: Restoring soil carbon can reverse global warming
    Two new fun romances from Lori Avocato
    Along the Templar Trail is shortlisted for an award
    Carolyn launches new book
    Paperback in your hand contest from Sally Odgers

    Prizes for having fun

       From now through the end of April, the BooksWeLove Reader's loop is having a grand opening Scavenger Hunt and new member drive. The events promise to be fun. Twenty authors have put up prizes, many of them autographed print copies of their books. The "travel/road map" for the Hunt will be posted daily on the BWL readers list. Answers to the questions are clearly displayed in excerpts, teasers, and descriptions on the designated websites on the travel/road map. Come and play, join the loop, you might get doubly lucky!

       Please fell free to pass along the information.

       To join: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BWL_Readers


    Swami Beyondananda promotes a sane school

    Philip Moore, Upland Hills School
    Raising Children to Become Adults of God

       "Sadly, much of what we call 'raising children' actually ends up lowering them instead."?-- Swami Beyondananda

       It's a cliché and yet too true to ignore: Our children are our most precious natural resource. And yet, too often our archaic schooling system stifles genius, individuality and creativity, and instead provides willing consumers and cogs for the economic machinery. Even by its own standards -- standardized testing -- the system is failing. In this inspiring hour, we will explore the remarkable success of one small project, Upland Hills School, by talking with its director for the past 38 years, Philip Moore. Find out what happens when a school embraces nature and technology, balances freedom and structure, and creates self-motivated individuals who are part of a healthy community.

       Philip Moore has been the director of Upland Hills School in Southeastern Michigan since 1971. A student of Buckminster Fuller and Krishnamurti, influenced by Helen and Scott Nearing, Ken Wilbur and Sri Aurobindo, Phil has dedicated his life to helping children find and develop their own genius in the context of a community where every child is "known." Upland Hills has been a pioneer in alternative renewable energy sources, having installed wind and solar power as far back as 1974. He writes, "I continue to appreciate the ever evolving challenges of attempting to put into practice ideals and ideas that will increase consciousness and create new ways of becoming."

       To find out more about the Upland Hills School, please go to: http://www.uplandhills.org/


    The Fiction Flyer is always entertaining

       The March issue presents our featured author, Joyce Faulkner, who contributes two of her amazing fiction shorts. Both are ghost stories. One is tender and hard to read, the other weird, spooky and fun. You can decide which is which. Our contributors for Flash Fiction this issue are: Larry L.Evans, Lisa Haselton, Alex Knight, Mindy Phillips Lawrence, Marie Shield, Bill West and Raymond Grant.

       We also have several articles on writing: One from Piers Anthony, author of the Xanth series, who writes about editing. That may sound humdrum, but I promise you…not when Piers writes it. The second one comes from Carolyn Howard-Johnson, who offers tips for writing sharp dialogue. I also offer a couple of my own. The first is about how I create a story plot, which comes with an invitation for you to submit your own thoughts for how you craft your stories, so please join the fun. Finally, I have a short article about change in the publishing industry. My sources are all very recent.

       Ray writes his financial article, this one about Economic Transition. It’s sound advice.

       In our prior issue, we featured the photographic work of author Mike Kechula in AUTHART, the section we reserve for showcasing the visual artistry of authors. He submitted so many lovely photos that it will take several issues to feature them all, so once again, we reserve a page for his work. He has given permission for you to download and frame them (non-commercial use only!). Enjoy! You may find the link to the pdf file here:

    http://tri-studio.com/ezine.html
    Best Wishes,
    Kathe Gogolewski


    Darrell Bain

       Bainstorming for April is now live at www.darrellbain.com.

       Subjects this month: Kindle report, Apt quotes, Excerpts, A Gary funny, Title question, Pleasant exercise, Concentration, Computer fix, Book report, Tonto's crisis, Progress report, Parents of special needs kids, Small town prices, Hidden aggravation, Excerpt from The Disappearing Girls.

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


    Footprints 33: Restoring soil carbon can reverse global warming

       Dr John James edits the widely circulated e-zine Footprints. Issue 33 is out, and contains a lot of interesting reading.


    Two new fun romances from Lori Avocato

       Two Lori Avocato releases are available now from my website. ??Here’s a glimpse: ??Do You Take This Man…Again? A military romantic comedy.

       Annie Hamilton and Major David Grainger have a conflicted past as mis-matched spouses and now as separated parents. He saw the problem as her drive to be a successful inventor and her not fitting into the mold of an Air Force officer’s wife. Annie blamed their breakup on his unfortunate habit of bringing his dictatorial nature into their relationship as if she were in his squadron. Can they each learn to accept the other as they are? Will Annie let stubborn pride cause her to lose the only man she has ever loved? The real question for Annie is: does she take the man…again? Available now for $5.32.

       OOPS! A romantic comedy only Lori could write!

       Greta Lipinski's biological clock has run out of batteries. She always wanted children--problem is she’s never married. Well, that's not about to stop her. Greta is going to have a baby--she doesn't need a man. She has a track record of dating losers who she tried to reform--to no avail anyway. So, uses the money for a down payment on a house for tests, minor surgery, and the artificial insemination procedure, which had to be repeated three times. ?Dr. Alec Thurston, a renowned fertility expert throughout New England, opened a fertility clinic to help couples fulfill their dreams. Alec loves his job, but fatherhood is not for him. He grew up with parents who were distant, uncaring. If it wasn't for his maid and butler, Alec would barely know the meaning of the word "family." He was never a son, merely an heir. But a lab error throws Greta and Alex into a major…oops moment. Available now for $5. 32.

    www.loriavocato.com


    Along the Templar Trail is shortlisted for an award

    Aloha Bob,

       I just received news that Along the Templar Trail is a Book of the Year Award Finalist, ForeWord Magazine.

       Thanks for all you did to make this possible.

    Brandon
    author/photographer/member of The Explorers Club

    Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace: a Book of the Year Award Finalist, ForeWord Magazine

       "Simply one of the most remarkable adventure stories of our time, and one that proves that with the right combination of character and determination great things can be done, and the eyes of the world can be opened.” ~ Richard Bangs, adventurer, author/host of the PBS television series Adventures With Purpose.


    Carolyn launches new book

       Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be debuting her newest book at the National Stationery Show in New York in May in what may be the largest book launch ever and possibly the first at a gift industry tradeshow. NSS expects some 13,000 to attend their premier show for stationers and gift retailers in May.

       Howard-Johnson puts her nearly three decades of retail experience plus oodles more in the fields of journalism, public relations, publishing, and marketing into A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She consults in the three Ps: publishing, promotion and publicity and is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor and award-winning books of fiction and poetry.

       Howard-Johnson founded and operated stores ranging from home décor to gifts to antiques and other collectibles. She owned and operated the souvenir shop at the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. She has served on the boards of directors of the malls where her stores were located, the boards of cooperative catalogs her stores utilized, and periodicals like Gift Beat. She also served on the California Gift Show board of directors. She puts this world of experience in retailing to work for you with this series of Survive and Thrive books and in her private consultation sessions.

       The retailer cum author will present two seminars: Monday, May 18, she speaks on "Move Upward in a Down Market with Free Publicity Exposure and Money-Making In-Store Promotions" and Tuesday, May 19, she’ll speak on "Grow Your Business Online for No $$$." She will also read roundtables planned for the benefit of attendees.

       She will also present two seminars and lead a round table discussion at NSS. She joins other outstanding trade show faculty Sarah Schwartz, Linda Cahan, Juanita Lewis, Patricia Norins, and Maureen Barten. A recognized gift industry leader in buyer education, Debra Gold of Gold & Company, says, “We are so proud of our amazing lineup of speakers and the opportunities and perks we’ll be offering NSS attendees this year including what may well be a first, the launch of a how-to book for retailers.”


    Paperback in your hand contest from Sally Odgers

       Calling all you writers, published or not, who have a manuscript you'd LOVE to see in a privately-printed paperback! The second Paperback in Your Hand contest is now open for entries. This time, there are three categories for mss of up to 25,000 words, 25-60,000 words, and 60-100,000 words. Every entry gets a full-scale manuscript assessment. Full details at http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com Please pass this notification on to anyone you think would be interested.


    A bit of fun

    A Proposed Job Swap To Save American Capitalism
    by Liz Lerman

       Do Wall Street executives deserve big bonuses during hard times? Does increased arts funding have a place in an economic stimulus package? I'll leave it to others to debate these controversies. Meanwhile I'd like to make a modest proposal to solve some of our economic problems: Let's do a job swap. We'll put the corporate executives to work as artists while the artists run Wall Street.

       Since their first task will be getting economic markets back on solid footing, I'm convinced that artists have the perfect resumès for their new jobs. Here's why:

    1.. Artists work ridiculous hours for no pay. And most of the artists I know will keep working until they get the job done right.

    2.. Artists do not need fancy offices. In fact, they usually work in the worst part of town . until that part of town becomes fancy because the artists are there. Then they have to move because they haven't paid themselves enough to afford the new rent.

    3.. Artists throw everything they earn back into the store - which is why they haven't paid themselves enough. (I will admit that there was one time I didn't do this. When I was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship back in 2002, I decided to open my first retirement account. I put the money in "very safe" stock market investments. I would have been better off putting it into my next dance.)

    4.. Artists do not need financial incentives. Artists do the work they do because they love it. Or because they believe in it. Or because they think it is a social necessity for our communities. Or because they know when people make poems or pictures or dances, our best human spirits emerge.

    5.. Artists do not expect to get anything if they do a bad job. Except maybe a bad review.

    6.. No artist gets a bonus because there is never enough money at the end of a project.

    7.. Artists keep very tight budgets. They know how to spend the same penny over and over (not by cooking the books, but by pinching, recycling, borrowing, bartering and plowing their economy-airline frequent-flyer miles back into the next project.)

    8.. Artists have a rightful reputation for fresh ideas combined with a capacity for self-evaluation that borders on recrimination.

    9.. Artists play well with others, having evolved highly efficient collaborative techniques in the service of their visions. But they are also very independent, delivering great things even when they work alone.

       Meanwhile, in their new capacities as painters, poets, cellists and choreographers, our Wall Street executives might be experiencing a combination of culture shock therapy and ethical boot camp. Artistic practice may force them to discover what they really believe in, because the combination of introspection, discipline and craft that fuels an artist's work (oh, and it is work) puts people in a very demanding state of truth. Doing what artists do every day, some might find themselves in overcrowded classrooms, excited to share their practices to help young people discover that they actually can learn. Others might be sparked to help communities solve problems by bridging differences through the unique power of their art forms. Those who have been lucky enough to get funded for their work will likely be staying up nights, filling out multiple forms to prove the exact use of the money they have been granted. All will find their moral compasses tested as they balance the demanding loyalties of pursuing personal vision and creating value for an audience.

       The job swap I propose might have a final payoff: With artists in charge of Wall Street, you might even see people donate to the cause because artists know how to inspire others to participate together, to work for something that matters, to build on the intangibles of the human experience, to make a difference.

       Imagine that kind of Wall Street.

    Choreographer Liz Lerman is founding artistic director of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in Takoma Park, Md., and a 2002 MacArthur Fellow. Over the next two months her company will be appearing in Ann Arbor, San Francisco, Houston, Bloomington, Burlington, Sapporo, Japan and the rainforest of Guyana.

       Reproduced with permission from http://www.communityarts.net:80/readingroom/archivefiles/2009/03/a_proposed_job.php


    Reviews

    The Start of Magic reviewed by 'ChrisChat'
    The Doofuzz Dudes Rescue Moondar by Roslyn Motter
    Publishing Possibilities by Cheryl Pickett, reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Emotional Stimulus: How to write a personal program of wellness and healing By Georgiann Baldino

    The Start of Magic
    reviewed by 'ChrisChat'

    The Start of Magic: Part I of The First Story of The Ehvelen
    By Dr. Bob Rich
    For more information, Dr. Bob Rich’s site: http://bobswriting.com/magic.html
    Genre: Fantasy
    ISBN: eBook: 1-877053-06-6
    Price: eBook: $10.00 (Australian)

       Have you ever wondered about mankind’s first meeting with Elves? Dr. Rich’s series “The Stories of the Ehvelen” reveals his version of this historical meeting. But, is it his version or the true tales of the Ehvelen People just found?

       This is not a fast read. Dr. Rich offers a compact telling of a nomadic tribe that is used to killing and stealing females to give them sons, and through the sons, power. These people, the Doshi, are barbaric when compared to the Ehvelen. And, to the Doshi, the Ehvelen are “Midgets” who possess magical powers. How else could such small beings kill Doshi males? How else can the Doshi explain the “Midget” females wearing men’s clothing and killing like men?

       This first part is told through the eyes of Heather, a young Ehvelen girl who learns to survive as a captured slave of the Doshi. Becoming their leader’s ‘woman,’ along with his other ‘women.’

       Heather helps perpetuate the myths the Doshi men share about her people. All in the hopes of ultimately defeating them at their own game. Will Heather escape; survive the attempt; and warn her people of the war that is coming to them?

       As I mentioned, this isn’t a fast or easy read Dr Rich developed a complete tribal history for the Doshi never painting them as completely evil beings. The Ehvelen people’s history is sparingly shared via Heather’s internal comparisons and her conversations with the other women.

       At times “The Start of Magic” reads with the calm quiet voice of a land’s Native People and, at other times, with the crashing and dominating destructive voice of an egotistical bully.

       You must realize that this story is being told to us via an Ehvelen storyteller. This isn’t just a straightforward story of groups of people discovering each other. It is a written history of a mythical race of people that very few believe in anymore.

       Between all there is pride of self; belief in self and ways of life; and that the other way is wrong. An interesting view of a classic tale of one people forced against another.

       A very different Elf, Ehvelen, story.


    The Doofuzz Dudes Rescue Moondar
    by Roslyn Motter

    White Hawk Publishing
    ISBN 0-9775159-0-7
    The books can be purchased on line at www.doodlesbookshop.com.au or ordered through any Angus and Robertson book store.

       'The Doofuzz Dudes Rescue Moondar' is a cute little story that has all the elements to entertain seven to ten year old kids. It's a nice mixture of reality (bullies and coughs and getting wet in the rain) with the kind of fantasy children will get lost in. Toby's ninth birthday party is spoiled by an attack from a nasty gang, but then the magic starts. Using delightful and amusing devices, Roslyn Motter has the children face challenge after challenge in a makebelieve that'll become reality for young readers.

       The language is light and clear, and just right for the age group. Although I am WAY past ten years of age, the humour had me chuckling, and I noted something that will slip kids by, although it'll influence them: in this story, Toby always finds a way to use kindness to conquer enemies.

       This book is the start of a series. I can recommend it to every young reader.


    Publishing Possibilities
    by Cheryl Pickett
    reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Publishing Possibilities: Eight Steps to Understanding Your Options and Choosing the Best Path for Your Book
    Brighter Day Publishing, 2009
    ISBN: 9780615260808

       The days when authors were at the mercy of others are gone. Any writer in any genre now has choices; those who rely on the old, traditional mode of publishing may be doing themselves a disservice. Equally so of those who plunge headlong into the world of partner, subsidy and self publishing without considering what that will entail.

       Publishing Possibilities by Cheryl Picket gives a new author the essentials they need to choose a publishing process that is best for his or her books and experienced writers options they may never have considered.

       Authors who have been around publishing for a while may have picked up shreds of publishing wisdom that are not rooted in fact, even terms that are misused. Picket clarifies. She also offers these more experienced authors new possibilities, especially if their work has taken a new direction. A publishing plan for one genre may work fine but not work as well for another.

       I must insert a disclaimer here. After reading Publishing Possibilities, I asked Cheryl to contribute a column to my newsletter, Sharing with Writers. That does not diminish my belief that this book serves authors. In fact, it confirms that I found it a useful resource for writers.

       Publishing Possibilities is short and clearly written so it does not soak up unnecessary valuable time an author could use doing other things to further their careers. It gives them the essential on publishing as well as resources for finding more information from seasoned and trusted publishers, writer’s Web sites and consultants.

       Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This Is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, Tracing, a chapbook of poetry, and the author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.


    Emotional Stimulus: How to write a personal program of wellness and healing
    by Georgiann Baldino

    Pearl Editions 2009

       This workbook contains lot of wisdom, borne out by my personal experience and the research I am aware of.

       The author is a cancer survivor, whose recovery was in part due to her use of journaling. Part of the silver lining on her cloud is that now she works with other people to use this flexible and useful tool to relieve the stresses of life, make sense of suffering, and to gain insight into their innermost motivations, fears and desires.

       She states, “In our support group it continually happens that people find things out about themselves by writing... They uncover wonderful, challenging things that they may not have realized before they wrote about them.”

       The first half of this little book presents the rationale for using a personal journal as a healing device. Georgiann shows how you can use it to help in healing serious health problems such as cancer, relieve stress, help us to get in touch with what is important in life, become in tune with our nature.

       The second half provides a great many writing prompts. In half a page or a little more, she sets up an exercise that should help anyone to get started with scribbling ideas, feelings and insights. And, as she is at pains to point out, this is not meant to be a straightjacket. Once the prompt gets you started, you go where your inner needs take you.

       If you have serious health concerns, if the stresses of life get you down, if life lacks meaning, this book could help you to change.

    Georgiann Baldino is an experienced speaker and the author of four books. She co-facilitates a monthly support group at Edward Cancer Center. Her Keynote® presentation “Four-part Wellness” is a survivors' guide to adjunct therapies where participants learn how to promote happiness and self-healing.


    About Bobbing Around

       If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don't want a repeat, it's simple. Drop me a line and I'll drop you from my list.

       You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article's author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

       If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be 'subscribe Bobbing Around' (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

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  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
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    Submission Guidelines

       It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

       Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

       Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

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