Bobbing Around

Volume Eight, Number Seven
June, 2009

Bob Rich's (chocolate flavoured) rave  other issues


*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Responses to the last issue
  Larraine Barker on Alfredo's advice re computers
  Ka Nikolajuk on animal emotion
  Back Obama's brave move toward peace
  Rally to have a deposit on plastic bottles
  Rich countries must pay their ecological debt
  The doldrums are plastic
  Listen to Nobel opinion
  Friends of the Earth recommendations
  Greenpeace dismisses carbon storage
  Forest saved from palm oil, by Glen Barry
  Wild fruit trees face extinction
*Deeper issues
  Animals are human too? Two studies
  Murder urges
  Can't control my anger
  My dream job sucks
  My mother and my career
*For writers
  Healing magazine looking for submissions
  Revision is More Than "Spell Check," by Devon Ellington
  Tie it down!
  Alfredo Zotti:Dealing with spyware
*What my friends want you to know
  8th world wind energy conference
  Lori Avocato's new romance
  Sally Odgers: paperback in your hand
  Fiction Flyer’s Flash Fiction Contest for Writers
  Swami Beyondananda: Heartland Security Radio
  Banking happiness
  Slow Money, from Steve Bhaerman
  A chess book with a difference
  Climate change: the latest word
  Slang: The People's Poetry, reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
  A Healthy Way to be Sick, reviewed by Denise Cassino

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.

Suffering is the apprenticeship for growth toward the ultimate lesson of Love.

Kahil Gibran

   My fourteenth book, Bizarre Bipeds, is up and flying. It contains four of my favourite science fiction stories. One is a novella of 55,000 words, and has had success in its own right. A previous, shorter version has received praise when it was featured at Eternal Night, a science fiction site that is now, alas, no longer in active operation.

   We humans arrogantly assume that we are the centre and crowning glory of creation. Read these four stories to see some alternative interpretations. What IS humanity's role in the universe?

   The cover has a bit of a story of its own (click on the thumbnail above to see the full-size version). My friend Martine Jardin was too busy, so I engaged an internet-based service. They did all they promised, but somehow in such a way that when my payment was used up, I still didn't have the cover I needed. My friend Alfredo Zotti then painted the pic, to their design.

   This is the scene the cover symbolically illustrates:

       “Wait!” Jim had seen a movement, somewhere beyond the fence.
       Both of them released the safety of their crossbows. Finger on trigger, Jim held his breath to hear better. He looked a little to one side, knowing that night vision worked better that way.
       He saw another movement, low down. Could be a dog or something, or a man on hands and knees. Either way...
       Without warning, a light of incredible brightness shone from above, blinding him for a moment. He looked up. “Holy shit!” he said aloud. “A flying saucer!” It certainly hadn’t been there a minute ago.
       At least six people were on the other side of the chain-link fence. A glance showed him that, thank heavens, they didn’t have guns, but held spears. Despite the dirt on her face and clothes, the youngest female looked quite sexy, apart from her ferocious expression. The others were way older than him, but seemed strong and fit. Probably stayed that way on human meat, he thought.

   Want to read on?

Tragedy in Sri Lanka

   A few weeks ago, I got a surprise email: would I like to contribute to the welfare of the over 300,000 displaced persons in northern Sri Lanka?

   Since then, I have become email friends with several professionals of various kinds who have extremely polysyllabic names. I have helped them to gather information, which is right now being translated into Singhalese and Tamil -- and it is possible that I will be asked to go there myself, if a useful role can be found for me.

   The situation is horrendous. People have seen loved ones killed, their house and all their possessions destroyed. Some cannot return home because of the danger from land mines. Huge numbers are searching for family members who have become separated from them.

   While there is a coordinated effort to provide for the necessities of life, it cannot keep up with the need. Simple things like provision of drinking water and the disposal of human wastes cannot be met for the increasing numbers of desperate people.

   Health needs are even harder to fill. One camp of 120,000 people has 90 health workers of various levels of training and experience. So, the workers on the ground are possibly more in need of psychological help than the direct victims of war themselves. This is because people focus on survival while in an emergency mode, but burnout and overwork can severely lower a person’s ability to cope, and people not trained in trauma work can be overwhelmed by the suffering of others.

   I don’t know yet if I’ll be required to go, but hope to do what little I can.

Responses to the last issue

Larraine Barker on Alfredo's advice re computers
Ka Nikolajuk on animal emotion

Larraine Barker on Alfredo's advice re computers

Hi Bob

   Your friend Alfredo might know a lot about Windows machines but he certainly knows nothing about Macs. It's a long time since you needed to reinstall the system every so often on a Mac--not since the days of OS 9. I've been using OS X for four years now (starting with Panther, and I'm now on Leopard) and the only time I reinstalled was when I upgraded. Come to think of it, I didn't reinstall. I simply upgraded. However, if you turn your machine off at night, as I do, you probably need to use software to do the "housework" that would automatically get done if the machine was on all the time. I use Onyx (which is free) every night. I simply set it going and walk out of my office and it automatically switches off my machine when it's finished.

   As for viruses, I've been using Macs since 1 May 1986 and I've come into contact with only two. Both were in the days of the "Classic" OS (up to OS 9). The first was on a floppy disk sent to me by a client and the second on a replacement hard drive that a friend sent me for my by then ancient PowerBook 150. Norton dealt with both of them. I have no idea whether my OS X virus software is effective because so far it's had nothing to deal with.

   Our Macs are both loaded with Seagate Barracuda hard drives. We've always used Seagate and have never had cause for complaint. But hard drives have a finite life, no matter how good they are. So far, apart from the PowerBook's drive, I've had only one other break down on me (in 23 years, remember) and I'd be a fool not to expect it to happen again. The drive that broke down was over five years old and had been used hard (my computer is on all day, nearly every day of the year).

   We tried Thunderbird. We both hated it and went back to Mail. We also have Firefox but hardly use it because it's too slow compared with Safari. We can't give Windows machines viruses, incidentally, simply because we haven't got Windows on our Macs. I can't comment about Macs that do have it but would guess Windows would have to be running to pick up the virus in the first place.

   Oh, BTW. I didn't lose anything in that hard drive crash. But that wasn't because I had a right-up-to-the-minute back-up. It was as though my Mac (or the hard drive itself) was saying, "Come, on, hurry up! Dump whatever you want onto another disk; I'm about to die."

Kind regards
Laraine Anne Barker

Ka Nikolajuk on animal emotion

   I've just been out in the sun with my dogs. And here's a true animal story. I've attached a picture of my dog, Digger. He likes to dig. And bring rotting bones into the back yard. And he likes to torment prey animals. He is a splendid sheepdog. He knows that the best thing in the world is the feeling of sun on his shiny bits. When we lost our beloved old mare in 2004 to a violent paddock accident, the only other horse we had here at the time, her daughter Precious, got sad like you've never seen. Digger spent most of the next two months after the accident a couple of metres away from Precious, like a gentle herdmate. Not like a dog. He walked around with her. He stood around with her. He nuzzled her. He slept next to her on the ground, and chased the other dogs away when she started to eat happily again. It wasn't normal dog business at all, what he did for that horse. Nobody believed it until they saw. Precious cheered up and got back to normal, dragging broom handles through the fence and stealing hats from your head, and Digger got back to normal lying on his back in the sun all day.

   Nothing too deep in this story, except that love makes the world go round, hey Bob.

cheers, Ka


Back Obama's brave move toward peace
Rally to have a deposit on plastic bottles
Rich countries must pay their ecological debt

Back Obama's brave move toward peace

   President Obama just made a remarkable speech in Egypt, committing personally to building peace in the Middle East. Unexpectedly, his first move is to directly challenge the new right-wing government of America's ally Israel -- pressing them to stop their self-destructive policy of settlements (illegal colonies set up on territory recognised by the US and the world as Palestinian).

   This is a moment of rare crisis and opportunity. Obama’s bold strategy is facing powerful opposition, so he’s going to need help around the world in the coming days and weeks to strengthen his resolve. Let’s start right now -- by raising a massive global chorus behind Obama’s statement that the settlements in occupied territory must stop.

   We’ll advertise the number of signatures in key newspapers in Israel, as well as in Washington DC (where some are trying to undermine Obama in the US Congress). Read Obama’s words now and add your signature to them at the link below, then forward this email to friends and family so they can do the same:

   There is broad agreement that the settlements are a significant barrier to peace, a view also shared by a silent majority of the Israeli public. Combined with a network of roadblocks and barriers, these colonies now blanket the West Bank, seizing territory and forcing Palestinians to live effectively as prisoners in smaller and smaller pockets (see map at right).

   Until this problem is tackled, it seems impossible to build a viable Palestinian state or any kind of lasting peace. For Arab states deciding what more they themselves can do for peace, stopping the settlements has become a crucial test of Israel’s seriousness.

   We’ll need to urge the other parties to take bold steps too. If we can help Obama to stay the course on settlements, shift Israeli policy and encourage the Palestinians and key Arab states also to stretch out their hands, a new beginning for the Middle East is possible.

   But none of this will happen without a growing global movement of citizens taking action to support it. Read Obama’s words, add your signature and spread the word today.

Rally to have a deposit on plastic bottles

   On Sunday 17th May, Colleen Hartland, Greens member of the Victorian Parliament (that's in Australia, for those of you who is ingorant), organised a rally in support of having a 10 cent deposit on drink bottles. South Australia has had such a scheme for many years, with considerable reduction in landfill costs, and many other environmental and financial benefits. A deposit scheme will:

   It may seem odd for a politician in an elected position to organise a protest, but in Australia what we have is two conservative parties, with different sources of financing and different rhetoric, but not much difference in what they actually do. Currently the Greens are the only effective opposition, and their numbers are small.

Rich countries must pay their ecological debt

   Submission by Republic of Bolivia to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the [UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] (AWG-LCA)

   The climate debt of developed countries must be repaid, and this payment must begin with the outcomes to be agreed in Copenhagen. Developing countries are not seeking economic handouts to solve a problem we did not cause. What we call for is full payment of the debt owed to us by developed countries for threatening the integrity of the Earth’s climate system, for over-consuming a shared resource that belongs fairly and equally to all people, and for maintaining lifestyles that continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of the poor majority of the planet’s population. This debt must be repaid by freeing up environmental space for developing countries and in particular the poorest communities.

   There is no viable solution to climate change that is effective without being equitable. Deep emission reductions by developed countries are a necessary condition for stabilising the Earth’s climate. So too are profoundly larger transfers of technologies and financial resources than so far considered, if emissions are to be curbed in developing countries and they are also to realise their right to development and achieve their overriding priorities of poverty eradication and economic and social development. Any solution that does not ensure an equitable distribution of the Earth’s limited capacity to absorb greenhouse gases, as well as the costs of mitigating and adapting to climate change, is destined to fail.

Full article at


The doldrums are plastic
Listen to Nobel opinion
Friends of the Earth recommendations
Greenpeace dismisses carbon storage
Forest saved from palm oil by Glen Barry
Wild fruit trees face extinction

The doldrums are plastic

   In the sailing days, mariners tried to avoid an area of the Pacific that was a dead space. Currents come there but don't flow out. Winds stop, and a ship could be becalmed for weeks and even months. This huge area was always covered with floatsam from faraway continents -- but at least it was stuff that would eventually rot.

   Now, the floatsam is all plastic. To a ten-metre depth, there is six times more plastic than plankton (microscopic marine life, the base of the food chain of the sea). An area twice the size of France is a deathtrap for fish, as it once was for sailors.

   All over the world, marine life is found dead, killed by plastic. On some beaches, there is more plastic than sand. Some of it is recognisable objects, but much is the tiny pellets plastic becomes through wave action and friction.

   Humanity is destroying itself, and that's OK in a way. But what are we leaving in our wake?

   Want to read more?

Listen to Nobel opinion

   World carbon emissions must start to decline in only six years if humanity is to stand a chance of preventing dangerous global warming, a group of 20 Nobel prize-winning scientists, economists and writers declared.

   The United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen in December must agree to halve greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 to stop temperatures from increasing by more than 2C (3.6F), the St James’s Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium concluded.

   While even a 2C temperature rise will have adverse consequences, a bigger increase would create “unmanageable climate risks,” according to a memorandum, signed by 20 Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, economics, peace and literature.

   The temperature target “can only be achieved with a peak of global emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2015," the document said. If emissions continue to rise after that date, the required cuts would become unachievable. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, a convenor of the symposium, likened the urgency for action on climate change to the threat of thermonuclear weapons during the Cold War.

   “We are facing a crisis as deep as the arms race of the 1950s and 1960s and the Cold War notion of mutually assured destruction,” he said. “Today we have mutually assured increases in greenhouse gases.”

   Full story at:

   Watch the video about the declaration, "We can’t go slow, we must go fast [on reducing emissions:"

Actually, I disagree with them. 6 years is too slow. Forget about 2050. Historically, all forecasts of change have been too conservative. This will prove to be so as well. Act NOW.

Friends of the Earth recommendations

   Friends of the Earth Victoria asked a question: how can we respond effectively to the interconnected issues of recession, accelerating climate change and growing energy costs and insecurity. More than 1000 people contributed to a document, the final version of which is at

Key recommendations:

Greenpeace dismisses carbon storage

   Greenpeace has released a report titled “Reality Check on Carbon Storage,” which examines some of the major challenges and uncertainties facing CCS. The report, focusing on the Sleipner project and Utsira formation in the North Sea, illustrates the wide range of issues regarding the safety, efficacy and permanency of CO2 storage that remain unresolved.

   Countries around the globe are spending billions of their citizens’ money to accelerate CCS deployment while ignoring critical knowledge gaps and their potential implications. Greenpeace is urging governments to look before they leap: “The future of the planet is being gambled on a technological solution that could turn out to be a pipe dream. Governments need to invest in proven solutions like wind, solar and the smarter use of power,” said Emily Rochon, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace International.

   Scientific research says that if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2015 and fall dramatically thereafter. That leaves about six years to shift energy systems to a low emissions pathway.

   “The sometimes singular focus on CCS threatens to derail implementation of readily available solutions and cause us to miss this critical window. Time is running out,” said Peter Haugan, Professor at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Norway, and an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on CCS.

   CCS for commercial use for coal plants is not expected to be ready before 2020. Even then, the optimistic predictions regarding its ability to radically cut emissions from coal power stations are unlikely to pan out. Greenpeace’s own Energy Revolution scenario shows that proven solutions such as energy efficiency and renewable energy can achieve ambitious emission reductions, in both the short- and long-term, if we start implementing them today.

   In the midst of climate and economic crises, Greenpeace is calling upon governments to prioritize investments in these technologies to kick-start the new energy economy and tackle climate change.

   “Rehabilitating the economy and protecting the climate will only happen if we prioritize investments in clean, renewable energy,” continued Rochon. “Continuing to burn coal and grasping at straws like CCS will ensure that we fail on both fronts.”

Forest saved from palm oil
by Glen Barry

   Côte d'Ivoire's (Ivory Coast) main palm oil company, Palmci, on Friday announced it was abandoning a major plantation scheme in the south of the country after opposition by environmentalists to destruction of 12,000 hectares (29,700 acres) of primary rainforests. Tanoé Swamps Forest is one of the last remaining old growth forests in the country and the last refuge for three highly endangered primates -- the Miss Waldron's Red Colobus, the Geoffroy's colobus and the Diana roloway -- as well as home to many endangered plant species.

   In June of 2008, Ecological Internet and Rainforest Rescue of Germany initiated the first major international campaign against the Tanoé Swamps Forest oil palm project and in support of local opposition. Leading global consumer products company Unilever was then poised to destroy Ivory Coast's rainforests as both investor and customer, after having just made a supposed commitment -- falsely heralded by some -- to rainforest protection and certified oil palm, but starting in 2015.

   6,257 people from 92 countries sent 407,131 protest emails, resisting Unilever's greenwash, and making this a global rainforest controversy. Again, together we have proven the power of global citizens working within loose transnational coalitions, connected by the Internet, to confront ecocide wherever it is occurring. Never doubt that ecological protest, online and in person, can make a real difference for Earth. As with all rainforest 'victories', this bears continued watching as Palmci is scouting other areas.

   This recent victory highlights the growing effectiveness of Ecological Internet's "Earth Action Network," particularly working with Rainforest Rescue on U.S. biomass energy issues. In the past few months, EI's global network of tens of thousands of ecological sustainability citizen activists have significantly contributed to victories to begin ending the use of corn ethanol biofuels (while highlighting the dangers of 2nd generation biomass based biofuels), exposed the charlatan nature of proposed climate geo-engineering schemes, stopped the midnight raid upon Oregon's wild forests, and fearlessly and at great expense confronted those greenwashing FSC's approval for industrial first time logging of primary forests.

   Oil palm development, logging and other industrial development of ancient primary and old growth forests -- certified or not -- is a crime against Earth and humanity. Earth, and all her creatures including humans, cannot exist without old forests. Their full protection and restoration is a global ecological imperative or all life may end. If you care about you and your family's water, air, food and shelter in the future, you will commit now to continued, escalating ecological protest on rainforests and climate, and thus to save being.

You will find Ecological Internet at

Wild fruit trees face extinction

   Victoria Gill, science reporter for the BBC, has cited Fauna & Flora International, whose findings show that over-exploitation and expanding human development are causing a previously hidden environmental catastrophe. Many of the fruit tree species we take for granted originate in a particular area of central Asia. The wild varieties there are a source of vigorous genetic stock, and have been used for the development of domestic varieties over the ages. However, now the wild trees are endangered.

   The Red List of Central Asia identifies 44 tree species in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan as under threat of extinction. The region's threatened forests are home to more than 300 wild fruit and nut species including apple, plum, cherry, apricot and walnut.

Deeper Issues

Animals are human too? Two studies

Animals are human too? Two studies challenge current myths

   Martin Heisenberg, professor emeritus in the department of biology at the University of Würzburg, Germany has been exploring free will in animals. His paper, in the prestigious journal Nature, is too long to reproduce here, although he has given permission. You can read it at

   He explores the vexed question of whether we can make choices, or whether this is an illusion and we are merely puppets dancing on strings pulled by our genes and environment. Bacteria do not act mechanically, because randomness and unpredictability have survival advantages. He briefly describes an experiment with fruit flies, in which these tiny animals successfully reacted to situations never before faced by a fruit fly during their entire evolutionary history, exercising choice in order to survive. "Like humans who can paint with their toes, we have found that flies can be made to use several different motor outputs to escape a life-threatening danger or to visually stabilize their orientation in space." This of course gells with my more informal experiement with a purposeful beetle, reported a couple of issues ago.

   You will want to read his thoughtful analysis in full.

   The second paper is by Paul Morris, Christine Doe and Emma Godsell. They set up behavioural tasks for dogs, and collected reports from dog owners. Their conclusion is that canines experience emotions such as jealousy, embarrassment and envy.

   I am not at all surprised. I am sure that all animate life has (possibly more primitive) versions of all that we consider human, with the exception of language. And, for example, horse owners tell me that they are sure horses talk to one another, even if we cannot perceive their mode of communication.


Murder urges
Can't control my anger
My dream job sucks
My mother and my career

Hi Bob,

   I read your excerpt on Queendom about murder written by "somebody" and I was hoping you could help me until I get professional help soon. I've been battling with depression for a few years now and with severity, I'm planning to murder someone. This started a few days ago when I began taking medications for my hypothyroidism and this experience isn't exactly what I hoped. Two days ago, I had images of slicing someone's body and I smiled watching them bleed. It's like cutting into my own skin, but only better. When I woke up this morning, I imagined murder scenes in which I committed and watched on the side while it is being investigated. One scene, particularly was my favorite and been frequently in my head was the constant plunging of a sharp knife into the victim's skull as they bleed and eventually died, yet their death did not stop me. In my preference, I wouldn't use the word victim, but rather loosely for that person deserves every bit of torture. By the way, I have not met this person in real life. For the last two years, I believe, I would speak to individuals in a casual conversation and would get images of either I'm stabbing them in their faces or on the back of their heads. Then I would close my eyes and focus on the conversation to keep my composure. Since this morning, I've been stalking this individual I haven't met. I want this to stop because these obsessive thoughts are preventing me from reaching my potential. One of the reasons, I think I'm feeling this way is because I want to be the best and if I wasn't the best person in his life, no one else will. I left my emotionally abusive relationship last year and now he's gotten someone new. Please help me.

Someone Forgotten

Dear Dot,

   What you are saying is that you have this terrible repetitive thought that has taken you over for the time being, but you do not want to kill anyone. If you did, you would just do it instead of writing to me.

   Get this clear in your mind: YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, IMPULSES AND URGES. You did not ask for an obsession to kill someone. It has just come and now you are fighting it.

   Of course, I have no idea what’s in your past, what horrors or abuses are at the base of your inner rage. And in a way, it doesn’t matter where it came from. The images, thoughts, feelings are there, and that’s it.

   By the way, depression does not typically involve murderous thoughts -- suicide is a more frequent danger. But of course, a person can have more than one problem.

   Dot, I have a client who has an obsession to hurt tiny infants. He hates himself for this, but if he is alone with a baby, he has to fight off a need to pinch, nearly suffocate, pull the hair, to prick it with a pin, to impose pain and suffering.

   His solution over the years has been to make it 100% certain that he is never alone with a baby. As long as he stays away, he is free of the obsession. In public, he finds it easy to control it, because he’d be mortified if anyone noticed him doing it.

   So, as a first aid, I suggest you make absolutely sure that you never have a suitable weapon with you. You cannot stab anyone without a knife.

   Second, here is the way to cope with unwanted thoughts and things. Simply accept them, watch them like they were a movie on the TV of your mind. You are not responsible for the programming, and there is no off switch. So, OK, the thoughts are there.

   That doesn’t mean that you need to believe them, or to obey them. They are invitations, not commands. They are neither true nor false, and have nothing to do with the real world. It’s just a stupid movie you can’t switch off.

   Until now, you have been struggling with the urges, and this has given them power. The more you focus on a thought or image, the stronger it gets. Fighting it focuses your attention on it. When you can turn it into unwanted but unimportant background, it will lose its power.

   So, get on with your life. Rebuild it. Go out and find kindnesses you can do for people, animals, plants. Especially, when you come across a person who triggers the murder urge, be kind to that person, share a joke with him or her, act in a way you would find admirable in someone else. If you can fool the world, you have won.


   You might also be able to deal with these thoughts through art. Write murder stories. Draw and paint horror pictures. Compose music. You might actually find that you can develop a career from the problem. Sue Grafton is a very successful writer, and she did this. After her divorce, she planned out how to murder her ex. Instead of doing it, she wrote it up as a story -- and she’s gone from success to success. This makes her a highly moral person. Copy her.




   I am 19 and live alone, I don't really have any close companions, I am also unemployed.

   I feel so depressed and isolated and often have anger problems, is this due to isolation?

   I get angry at my boyfriend quite a lot for no reason. Mainly because I don't see him much and only feel better mentally when I am around him.

   Is isolation bad for our health and are the effects reversible once I gain social stimulation.

    I have been with my boyfriend for a few days once and began to feel much better.

Michelle my dear,

   When I was your age, I was in the same space. Only, I was so shy and awkward around girls that I didn’t have a girlfriend.

   I didn’t know at the time, but I was severely depressed. Then, in my early 20s I developed a number of activities for myself that helped me to control the depression. Later, I found out that I had reinvented the wheel: these were well researched tools called cognitive-behavioural therapy.

   So, for maybe another 20 years, I had my depression under control. Something would trigger it, and I’d feel miserable. But I knew I could get myself out of it at any time (though I sometimes enjoyed wallowing in misery for a while).

   Now, I have my depression beaten. Oh, the roots of it are still there, but they no longer have control over me. Something happens and I think, “Oh yes, that’s what used to be a trigger for crashing,” but at the most I have a fleeting feeling of annoyance.

   Michelle, you are also severely depressed. Depression is a pair of gloom-coloured glasses that make everything, particularly you to yourself, seem to be bad.

   You live in the UK, where help from a psychologist is available under the National Health. Go to one, and rebuild your life so it is joyful and interesting.

   I did it. So can you.


Can't control my anger


   I seem to have lost my way lately and find myself getting angry really easily with one person in particular, the main issue is the person in question being my daughter. What is worse is she is only 3 and I find I am losing her and ruining my relationship with my whole family because of it. I would never hurt anybody on purpose yet I feel I am poisoning my entire family. I really do not know which way to move forward to stop this. Could you please help me with the best course of action as I am really scared of losing everything.

Many thanks for any support

Dear Charlie,

   We need to approach this problem on two fronts: first aid, and underlying issues.

   Even the first aid can be divided into two. For the immediate action, realize that thoughts, images, memories, urges, emotions, moods are not real. They are not in the real world, but in our mind. If I was a heroin addict and wanted to stop, the urge to go out and buy a dose and shoot up would be an invitation, although it would feel like a command. I actually have the power to choose whether to accept the invitation or to decline it.

   In the same way, if you have the urge to shout at your little girl, this is an invitation, although it feels like a command. You do it automatically, without previous thought -- then feel terrible about it.

   You have decided that you will do things differently from now on. Design how this is. Describe to yourself in detail how you are going to react to the frustrations and provocations that have until now triggered your anger. When you feel the anger rising, take a deep breath, then DO what you have chosen as your new pattern.

   Since anger feels as if it sneaked up on us without warning, you’ll need a helper in this. Sit down, take your daughter onto your knee and give her a hug. Say something like, “Darling, I’ve been grumpy and angry with you, and I want to stop. Can you help me?”

   She’ll agree for sure.

   Then say to her, “If I accidentally slip back and start shouting or something, I want you to give me a signal to remind me that now I am going to do things better. Let’s agree on that signal.”

   The child of one of my clients chose to put her thumb on her nose and wiggle her fingers at her mother. This made both of them laugh -- and the anger was gone.

   Once you have the signal, practice it with her. Do a play: you pretend to be angry, she gives the signal, then you laugh and hug each other.

   Also, explain to her that another way she can help is to stop doing the things she knows gets adults angry with her. There are rules, and she needs to keep them, and although you will stop shouting at her, you still need to make sure she obeys the rules.

   Only, now enforce the rules with love.

   For the slightly longer term, you need to identify early warning signs of anger. I describe how in my e-book Anger and Anxiety. You can buy this from Twilight Times Books I don’t have enough information to work with you on the long term reasons for your short fuse. If you want to do that, we can engage in email therapy. Go to to see how I do it.

All the best,

My dream job sucks

Hey Bob, Barry here.

   First, thanks for the information you've posted on your website.

   I'm 26. I went to college, received my bachelors and masters degree all in preparation for my dream job. I just got hired to my "dream job" and I've never felt so low! I HATE it with a passion. I have great anxiety and a vague fear about the future. My thoughts are consumed with the dread of having to go to work, even on my days off. I have an inability to concentrate, focus, or make decisions. I feel trapped and a stranger in my own body. I understand that all jobs have stresses, especially this career. Normally, I'd be able to persevere (being in a normal state of mind). But I feel as if I have no control over my thoughts and emotions and this scares me. I feel on edge and am scared what I may do under the constant stresses of work. I genuinely think that I am mentally ill. The obvious decision to me is to quit. But I feel trapped in this job because of the state of the economy here in the US, as well as disappointing my family by being a quitter, and the difficulty in getting hired at a new employer if they find that I quit this job. This catch 22 has brought upon recurring thoughts of suicide. THIS is the most scary thing to me as I am 100% against the idea. I can not fathom that my mind even considered such a thing. It seems that the longer I stay at this job, the more out of control my thoughts become. I often wish that I could take some time off of work so that I can see a doctor or go to some kind of treatment center, but I fear that I could get fired for even admitting to such a problem.

   I try to imagine what it would be like if I did throw in the towel and quit my job. Suddenly, I remember what "normal" feels like again. I regain my sense of identity and have a desire to do the activities which once brought me happiness when I had the time to do them. This is when I realize that my mental health is far more important than anything else.


   I notice in your online chapter of First Aid for Depression that getting out of your job/marriage/stressful social situation is not a recommended choice. Why not?

Thanks for your time,


Dear Barry,

   Seems to me that your reaction is perfectly understandable. The feelings you have, the thoughts that torture you, are not signs of any mental illness, but something that a great many people in similar situations experience. If anything is sick, it's the culture that put you in your position. "You've got to be crazy to stay sane in a crazy culture."

   Let me answer your last question first. Distress is not caused by anything "out there." It comes from our reactions to it. I can guarantee that you could construct a hypothetical situation in which you would have exactly the same job, in exactly the same circumstances, but thriving on it. I don't even know what the job is, what your profession is, and why you find it so distressing. But relatively minor changes in some aspect of your life could turn your reaction around.

   I have a current client who came to me because of job stress. She works weekends in the emergency department of a hospital. She said the only good thing about the job was that it paid much better than anything else she could get in her profession. Her attitude was that the job's been so stressful that she has retrained as a massage therapist, and is in the process of slowly building up a practice.

   Well, two weeks ago she and her guy decided to buy a block of land near a beach, and in time build a holiday house on it. This is a substantial financial commitment. She said in the last session, "Guess I'm stuck for several years if I'm to pay for what I want. You know, that job is not all that bad, really."

   Now, the job is a means to an end for a reward she has set her heart on. Therefore, she has a reason for putting up with aspects that previously felt unbearable. So, they now feel less heavy, although of course they are still stressful.

   Perhaps it's helped that she's been learning stress management skills from me.

   So, her experience gives you two possible tools to examine.

1. She has retrained. She is older than you, with three children, and was working at this job, but found the time, energy and commitment to do a part time course and acquire a new set of skills. Maybe you can do the same. Your current education is not wasted. Even if you completely retrain, it will still be useful in many ways, often quite unexpected. Or, you can use it to get a different job in the same field, or move sideways into something a little different, or do some additional study and move into a related field.

2. You can also think about your situation differently, as this lady has. You know, you could find another job, entirely different from this one, and may become just as distressed -- if your perception is to focus in on the bad things about it.

   Nietzsche wrote: "You can bear any what if you have a why."

   You've got to read a couple of books. One is Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. The other is The Rugmaker of of Mazar-E-Sharif by Najaf Mazari.

   Both these books show not only survival, but the triumph of the human spirit, in circumstances that seem from the outside to be unsurvivable. Najaf grew up in the middle of the war in Afghanistan. He was tortured by the Taliban. He escaped, eventually nearly drowning when a leaky people-smuggling boat sank on the way between Indonesia and Australia. When he arrived, he was put into a concentration camp for years. Yet his book is gently amusing, never bitter, inspiring and uplifting.

   When you have attitudes like those of Najaf or Viktor (whose story is better known), everything can be coped with.

   That's what I meant. The problem is not your nasty work situation, but how you perceive it.


   OK, now let's have a look at having no control over your thoughts. You know, nobody does. Thoughts, urges, emotions, images, memories, moods are not under conscious control. They come, and that's that.

   The trouble is when we take them seriously, as if they were real. They are not; just something that goes on inside your head. They are neither true or false, just are.

   If these thoughts give you distress, and interfere with having you enjoy the good aspects of your situation, then refuse to dignify them by either believing them or arguing with them. Allow them to be there, as an unwanted but unstoppable background noise, and get on with what's good in your life.

   For example, right now, you might write down a list of all the good things about your job. You may be surprised at how many you will list once you start.

   You have the power of setting a time limit, and by the time you reach it, improving the outer aspects of your life by changing your job. You also have the power of changing how you look at your life, and then you can have contentment, regardless of whether your job has awful elements or not.



   Thank you Dr. Bob Rich. You're Amazing! Your words have helped a lot. Thank you for taking the time to put things back into perspective for me.

PS My job is in law enforcement.


Barry, you've made my day. Thank you.

   Yes, a policeman's job is inherently stressful, but also, potentially it is one of the most rewarding.

   Think of yourself as needing to set a positive example to society. You are an authorized Batman/Superman without the gimmicks, there to lead people from crime and sleaze toward decency.

   I think of myself as a worker for the light.

   Join me.



Jealousy seems to be a repeating theme for people asking me to help. So far, I've been able to make reasonably different responses to each.


   Just looking for a bit of advice really not sure if you can but worth a try.

   Anyway, I have been with my boyfriend for around 12 months.

   We are quite open with each other but sometimes he makes comments on girls he sees, saying they are pretty and it really gets to me. I don't tell him it bothers me because I don't want him to think I'm insecure and needy.

   So instead I usually end up being mean to him every time he makes me feel insecure.

   It’s ruining our relationship.

   Also there's this girl he has slept with (before we got together) and he is still friends with her -- he doesn't see her but if he did I’d hate it. He has known her for years and says she's just a friend but I’d think there was more going on if she ever came round.

   Are there ways to get over being extremely jealous and insecure? Is it a case of just getting happy with myself?

   I know I am overly jealous but I love my boyfriend and want to stop treating him badly every time I feel jealous.


Dear Pamela,

   If you enjoy science fiction, and have a few dollars to spare, you might read an e-book: Sleeper, Awake. One of the major themes of this story is what jealousy is, where it comes from, and what to do about it.

   In summary, at some level, at some time, you developed the belief of the type 'I am not good enough' or 'nobody could love me' or 'I don't deserve good things' or 'no one can be trusted' or 'people always let you down.'

   These are irrational, childish thoughts that allow some children to make sense of bad experiences in their lives. They served a function then, but keep coming up time and again, as current experiences trigger them.

   So, you need to use your more mature, wiser mind to examine these childish thoughts and instead of reacting on the basis of what they tell you, assess the situation intelligently, and act on that assessment.

   Also, jealousy is your worst enemy. You have recognized this. When you are poisoned by jealousy, you are mean to him, which pushes him away. So, fear of losing him brings along exactly what you fear.

   Therefore, the solution is to do the opposite. If you had no jealous feelings, if you felt confident in your ability to hold his interest and his love, how would you act? Perhaps you might actually have some fun pointing pretty girls out to him, then giggle at his reaction? I don't know you or him or the customs where you live, but perhaps you could watch and observe some girls who are self-confident and act in a way that shows they expect people to like them. See how they do it.

   Then, become an actress. What you feel inside is just feelings and thoughts. They don't actually matter, as long as they have no influence on what you do. So, acknowledge, "Here are those stupid jealous thoughts again. Now, how would confident girl Susie act?" Then you do how you've seen Susie do it.

   This will have two effects. First, instead of pushing your boyfriend away, you stay attractive and interesting to him. Second, you are breaking one long term habit, and over time and practice, replacing it with a new, better one.

   And let me know how you succeed at it.


My mother and my career

Hi Bob,

   I wrote to you a couple of years ago about my depression, and I felt that you helped me a great deal with what you wrote. Now I have a different problem I was wondering whether you could share your thoughts on.

   I'm currently on my gap year, and next September I'm enrolled to study psychology in the UK. This is a decision my mother is happy with--she wants me to be a useful member of society--after having refused to try medicine school or law school, she's okay with psychology. But I feel much more inclined towards writing and music and photography: creative things in general, which my mum just won't accept. I feel paralyzed. I need her support tremendously, I'm not sure why. Perhaps this has something to do with having lived alone with her for 8 years, or the fact that she's a very opinionated and often imposing woman who is also full of good sense. I know she wants to secure a good future for me, meaning financially secure. When I express my wishes she becomes very angry and sarcastic; I think this is just because she's worried about me.

   I don't have much faith in my own abilities in the things I want to pursue, mainly writing. My friends tell me that I write well (judging from my descriptions in emails, I don't try to write stories). Another thing that's important to mention is that I'm a very temperamental and emotional person; I don't think I possess the calm needed to pursue a scientific field at all, but neither do I have it in me to commit to anything, perhaps because I've never really gone for something I would like to commit to.

Thanks for reading,
I hope to hear from you

Chris my dear,

   I am assembling the next issue of Bobbing Around, and including our last exchange with a name change for you. I've just realised who you are.

   Our previous exchange a few years ago has inspired hundreds of my clients. You are one of the stars of my therapeutic repertoire! If you go to, you will see an edited version of our emails to each other towards the end, under the discussion of meaning.

   I am so glad that you got through that bleak period of your life. As I said to you then, you have all the qualifications for becoming a brilliant psychologist. And you are smart enough to be able to do anything. One of my mottoes is, "If someone else can do it, I can learn it."

   There is a wonderful book you should read. It is "The Optimistic Child" by Martin Seligman.

   Now to answer your question:

   I am a psychologist, and also a writer with my 14th book just out. Four of them won awards. Before I got into creative writing, I did wood carving. Learning to build my own house was a highly creative and rewarding exercise, and in time led to my writing career.

   My daughter is a research scientist. She loves that and finds it very creative. But also, she plays several musical instruments, and has had featured roles in jazz bands with 20 + players.

   In Boston, there is a symphony orchestra, every member of which is a doctor. One of the famous Russian composers was a chemist.

   You don't need to choose between a profession and professional creative activities. You can do both.

   Robert Heinlein was a science fiction writer of the 1960s. He once said, "The ant is a specialist. Man is a generalist."


For Writers

Healing magazine looking for submissions
Revision is More Than "Spell Check" by Devon Ellington

Healing magazine looking for submissions

   Recovering The Self : A Journal of Hope and Healing is actively seeking submissions of previously unpublished material in the form of informative articles, poetry, artwork, short stories, and commentary. Article lengths are suggested to be from 1,000 to 4,000 words, although we are willing to be persuaded to other treatments if the story needs it.


   We are tracking the following subject areas with respect to adults, children and elders in America and abroad:

Submission Details

   Articles should be submitted in Microsoft Word 2003 format (or something equivalent) with as little formatting as possible. It is not necessary to write a query letter in advance. We do accept work that has appeared before on the web, but generally are not interested in reprinting work that is already published in print. You will receive an email acknowledgment within a few days that your item was received. Please direct all inquiries to

Editorial Deadlines

  • May 1st deadline for JULY issue
  • Aug 1st deadline for OCTOBER issue
  • Nov 1st deadline for JANUARY issue
  • Feb 1st deadline for APRIL issue

    A Token of Our Appreciation

       As a small token of our appreciation, we will send TWO post-paid copies of the journal edition in which your work appears. Additional copies may be purchased for US$5.95 plus cost of shipping.

    Revision is More Than "Spell Check"
    by Devon Ellington

       I'm very disturbed by the trend I see from aspiring writers. They vomit out a first draft, run it through spell check, and say, "Oh, I revised it." And then they send it out and wonder why it keeps getting rejected.

       First, Spell and Grammar Check are both filled with errors. You need to make sure each word is the proper one in the proper context. It is YOUR job to know correct spelling, grammar and sentence structure. Learn it.

       Second, if you revise/edit as soon as you've finished a draft, you don't have enough distance and won't catch mistakes. Unless you're falling behind on a deadline, put away a short story for 3-5 days and a novel for 2 weeks to 2 months before you revisit it for edits and revisions.

       Proofread a draft before you give it to your Trusted Readers. We all miss some typos. Every time I send something out to my Trusted Readers, I am delighted that I proofread carefully. I get it back and I'm mortified by the amount of typos. However, I tried. Far too often, writers (especially those early in their trajectory) send out unproofed drafts. That's disrespectful toward your readers. There WILL be mistakes, but try to minimize them.

       Revision means taking out what doesn't work and wrestling with every word in every sentence to make it better. If it doesn't work and you can't fix it, get rid of it; if it's a good idea, it will find its way into another piece. Make sure every scene works, beat to beat, and that every scene is relevant to the overall story. Even a scene that seems like a tangent should actually have a purpose.

       Question EVERYTHING, even "and" and "the." Make sure every word is the best shade of meaning for your vision.

       I would say 70% of the clients with whom I work overuse the verb "to be" and its variants (has driven, had gone, was sitting). Change it to a direct verb (drove, went, sat). Does it work better? Change it! Is there a specific reason for the use of "was" in that specific sentence? Keep it. TEST EVERY PHRASE.

       Don't tell me ABOUT what your character experienced. Put me in the middle of it. Give me sensory details. If all you say is, "Rick hit Gail and she went to the hospital," well, yeah, I'm sorry to hear that, but it doesn't pull me in. I need to know the details of the confrontation, the sounds, the smells, how Rick attacked, how Gail responded, whether anyone intervened, and how she got to the hospital. Or I'm not really going to care. And I won't keep reading, unless I'm being paid to read.

       Keep your tense consistent. If you chose to move between past and present, make the reason clear. Make each shift a conscious, logical choice. Try keeping everything in one tense or the other to see if it works better. Few writers can shift tenses in the same piece so it works. It's a valid stylistic choice when it's a choice, but it still rarely works.

       Put the revision away and re-read it a day or two later. Then put it away and re-read again. Keep making tweaks. Before you send it out, give it one final proof. You will be surprised at how many little glitches you catch. It's time intensive, but it will allow your manuscript to find its best home sooner rather than later if you take the time to perfect it BEFORE you put it on the Submission-Go-Round.

    Devon Ellington publishes under a half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction. She writes The Jain Lazarus Adventures, and released her first Middle Grade YA, Dixie Dust Rumors, under the Jenny Storm name. Visit Ink in My Coffee, her blog on the writing life.


    Tie it down!

    Tie it down!

       Mounties in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, said a woman who died in a car accident last month appears to have been killed by her laptop computer.

       She, was driving to work March 16 when her vehicle was hit by a tow truck.

       Her laptop was sitting unsecured in her back seat and RCMP spokesman Sgt. Roger Morrow said the vehicle's abrupt stop sent the computer flying into the back of Ms. Storey's head.

       The force of the blow was so severe that it shattered the computer's screen and bent the frame.

       The coroner determined that she had died as a result of blunt force trauma.

       Sgt. Morrow said investigators believe the accident was survivable and that police are warning the public to secure their belongings while driving.

    Dealing with spyware

    by Alfredo Zotti

       Spy-ware can bring your PC or Macintosh to a halt. To remove spy-ware for the Mac here is a website For the PC here are some websites where you can get a free anti spy-ware program and

       It is absolutely necessary to have one anti spy-ware program on the Mac and two anti-spy-ware programs on a PC and my favorite ones for PC are Spybot Search and Destroy and 2-Squares. These must be updated regularly and scans run at least once a week.

       It is important to understand that the Restore Program in both XP and Vista does not always get rid of Viruses or other malicious threats. For this reason I recommend that backup is done regularly and System Restore is turned OFF completely. System Restore is resource hungry and will render the computer much slower also putting a substantial load on a hard drive therefore reducing its life.

       It is also important to have a suitable anti virus. Those anti viruses that run permanently and constantly are trouble. You should run anti virus software twice a week possibly when you do not use the computer and run anti spy ware also twice a week for best results. You should switch off constant anti virus monitoring as this also puts a tremendous strain on resources. An anti virus is necessary but many anti viruses today are exaggerated and cause problems by themselves.


       If you bank online or do delicate and private operations on the net I would suggest the stealth mode. This renders your Mac invisible to traffic. Here is an informative website for both Mac and PCs

       Finally for those who have Vista Home Premium or Ultimate (NOT VISTA HOME BASIC) it is important to know that the Aereo program which are fancy visual effects like transparency use a tremendous amount of resources. Most people would want to turn these off for more improved performance. To turn visual effects off do the following:

       Click on start (bottom left) and right click on the word My Computer. Click on Advanced system settings and then click on settings underneath performance. On the visual effects tab select adjust for best performance to disable everything. For those of us who need a fast basic computer (not for games) we have now a much faster performance improved machine.

       For best security always remove private data files and cookies from the system. All your private information and passwords will have to be re-typed each time but very secure method to keep your business safe.

    What my friends want you to know

    8th world wind energy conference
    Lori Avocato's new romance
    Sally Odgers: paperback in your hand
    Fiction Flyer’s Flash Fiction Contest for Writers
    Swami Beyondananda: Heartland Security Radio

    8th world wind energy conference

    23-25 June
    Jeju island, South Korea

       The Korea Wind Energy Association (KWEA) in partnership with the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and supported among others by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Government of Jeju Province, UNESCO and the German Ministry for Environment, presents the Korean debut of the 8th World Wind Energy Conference “Wind Power for Islands -- Offshore and Onshore.”

       Speakers from 40 countries will give than 130 presentations on the latest developments of wind energy. The conference will focus on wind energy utilisation on islands as well as around islands: offshore applications as well as hybrid and stand-alone systems. Both are key technologies for the shift towards a future global energy supply based on 100 % renewable energy. Offshore wind energy accounts today for roughly 1.5 GW of installed wind turbines, equaling 1% of the globally installed wind capacity. Many countries in Asia like Korea and China, in Europe and in North America, are further exploring this technology and are planning huge offshore wind farms to contribute large shares to their energy supply. Islands like the conference venue, Jeju, often offer excellent conditions for wind turbines in their vicinity in the sea.

       Renewable energy hybrid systems, especially wind in combination with other renewable technologies, will play a key role in providing electricity for islands which often possess an abundance of wind. In many cases smaller scaled wind turbines would be applied for such purposes. A lot of progress has been made in the past few years in combining and integrating such different renewable technologies. These technologies are also increasingly important for rural electrification in remote or unserved areas, such as in many underdeveloped countries.

       WWEC2009 will also discuss effective national and international policies which are an essential precondition for the success of wind energy. The conference will make its outcomes available both to the International Renewable Energy Agency as well as to the UN climate change negotiations, which aim at a more effective international climate change agreement to be adopted in Copenhagen by the end of this year.

       Jeju island is the ideal location for the WWEC2009, hosting South Korea's first commercial wind farm and aiming at a total capacity of 500 MW, which will provide one third of the island's electricity.

       For more information, please visit, or contact:
    Prof. Young-Ho LEE, Ph.D., Vice President, Korea Wind Energy Association (KWEA)
    Chairperson of WWEC2009 Organizing Committee
    Tel: +82-51-410-4293
    Fax: +82-51-403-0381 or

    Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General, World Wind Energy Association
    WWEA Head Office
    Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 5
    53113 Bonn, Germany
    Tel. +49-228-369 40-80
    Fax +49-228-369 40-84

    Darrell Bain

    The June 09 issue of Bainstorming is now live at

       Subjects this month: Tonto and a couple of other short segments are in here as well as my usual Book Report and Progress Report, but most of the rest of this month's Bainstorming will be devoted to an account of the Rescue Reunion mentioned last month that Betty and I attended. This is a true story and a real human interest account of the very brave men who rescued my brother Gary after his jet fighter was shot down in Vietnam and their reunion forty years later. Both events happened on Mother's Day.

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

    Lori Avocato

       A new Lori Avocato book is about to be released on June 3, 2009

    Title: SHEAR MAGIC
    Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
    ISBN: 1-60154-529-0 PRINT BOOK
    ISBN 13: 9781601545299 E-Book

       In this classic romance story, a conservative rancher and a free-spirited photographer are forced to share more than a common lake in the steamy New Mexico desert. There they must decide--are wealth and property worth more than love? Becky Chambers becomes a fish out of water when she and Slate Lawson learn they have both inherited half of the same ranch in New Mexico. Now they must learn what is really important in life.

       Only Lori could pen a tale of romance, humor and love set in the New Mexico desert, which she once called home.

       Link to buy it: Wild Rose Express or Amazon or it can be ordered at your local bookstore( B&N, Borders etc) and you won't have to pay the shipping and handling.

       Let Lori know how you like it at

    Sally Odgers: paperback in your hand

    Hello, everyone;

       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 Please pass this notification on to anyone you think would be interested.

    Sally Odgers for
    Manuscript assessments you can afford.

    Fiction Flyer’s Flash Fiction Contest for Writers

       TRI Studio LLC, owner of the free ezine for writers, The Fiction Flyer, announces a contest for writers of fiction, judged by youth book illustrator and author Kevin Collier, his author and wife, Kristen, and author and promotional guru, Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Old Mold New Milieu challenges authors and writers to choose two characters from one of their books or works and create a flash fiction story based on several prompts provided in the contest guidelines. Winners will receive certificates and modest cash prizes, and their stories will be published in the July/August issue of The Fiction Flyer with a subscriber list of about 1,000.

       The contest will be judged on the following criteria: Character strength and credibility, dialogue and short story development. The deadline for contest entries is June 30, 2009. Contest details may be viewed here:

       Kevin Collier is the Art Director for the Grand Haven Tribune newspaper, and is author or illustrator of over 100 published books. He also appears on KICKS Club TV. Kristen Collier is the author of "King of Glory," a critically acclaimed Christian novel released in 2005. She is also a columnist for several newspapers and feature writer for The Chronicle of the Horse magazine.

       Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the multi award-winning author of numerous novels, books of poetry, and the best-selling how-to Frugal Book series on book promotion.

    Swami Beyondananda: Heartland Security Radio

    Dear Friends:

       As we begin our sixth month of weekly broadcasts, I would like to invite you to give Heartland Security Radio a listen. On Heartland Security, we feature playful and informative interviews with leading-edge thinkers and doers -- known and not-yet-known -- that focus on how to build the emergent butterfly organism as the caterpillar collapses all around us. Guests tend to represent the domains of Heart (applied spirituality), Land (sustainable abundance) and Security (a healthy body politic) or in some cases, all three. Interspersed with comical comments by Swami Beyondananda, the interviews are in-depth conversations, uninterrupted by breaks. These conversations are designed to inform, inspire and invite participation. They are intentionally archived for a year, so they can be listened to at your convenience, and your friends can listen too.

       In June, we are pleased to present the following guests:

    Tuesday, June 2nd

       The Sacred Purpose of Humanity... author and spiritual psychologist Jacqueline Small will discuss her book, The Sacred Purpose of Humanity, and offer practical and inspirational insights on bringing "heaven" down to earth. You've probably heard that saying, "We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Find out how and why this is true, and what it means for your life and our world.

    Tuesday, June 9th

       From TV to Tell-A-Vision... join author and new media expert David Mathison who will discuss his new book, Be the Media, offering hopeful and practical information for replacing the "weapons of mass distraction" used by mainstream media to do-it-yourself media that will help us weave a web of mass-construction.

    Tuesday, June 16th

       The Cultural Creatives and the New Political Compass... Sociologist, market researcher and author Paul Ray (The Cultural Creatives) shares his latest research that indicates America's new political compass is pointing us past the divisive and obsolete distinctions of "left" and "right." Don't miss this one!

    Tuesday, June 23rd

       Healing Our Health Care System... Integrative medicine expert Len Saputo, MD, author of A Return To Healing: Radical Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine, offers a holistic view of how we can turn our "unhealthy care system" into a healthy, caring one. Very pertinent in the light of the current political conversation!

    Tuesday, June 30th

       The Economics of Peace... Join Georgia Kelly, Director of Praxis Peace Institute as she describes some exciting new developments to help us make sure that, in Swami's words, "we use our energy to fruitfully re-grow the Garden instead of fruitlessly scrapping over the scraps." Shows air on World Puja Radio every Tuesday at 11 am Pacific Time, 2 pm Eastern Time, and again at 6 pm PT, 9 pm ET. New show is added to the archives every Thursday so you can listen to them whenever you like! Go here, to find out more.

       We will keep you posted on the Heartland Security Radio landing page, coming soon. We are now screening sponsors for both archived and upcoming shows. If you think you have a product or service that resonates with Heartland Security, please respond to this email and put "sponsor" in the subject category.


    Banking happiness
    Slow Money, from Steve Bhaerman

    Banking happiness

       A 92-year-old, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

       His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

       As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

       "I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

       "Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room. Just wait."

       "That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I've already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away.. Just for this time in my life."

       Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.

       So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!

       Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank.

       I am still depositing.

    Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

    1. Free your heart from hatred.

    2. Free your mind from worries.

    3. Live simply.

    4. Give more.

    5. Expect less.

    Slow Money, from Steve Bhaerman

       In his book, Slow Money, Woody Tasch tells the story of the rabbi, the Hindu holy man, and the hedge fund manager who are traveling and need to stop for the night. They stop at a farm house, and the farmer tells them he only has two beds, and one of them will have to sleep in the barn. "No problem," says the holy man, who is used to the humblest of surroundings. "I will sleep in the barn." After a few minutes, there is a knock on the door. It's the holy man. "You didn't tell me there was a cow in the barn. It's not against my religion to sleep near a cow, but I just don't feel comfortable."

       "I have no problem with cows," says the rabbi, and he goes off to sleep in the barn. Within a few minutes, there is another knock on the door. It's the rabbi, who says, "You didn't tell me there was a pig in the barn. There's no real religious issue with me sleeping near a pig, but I just don't feel comfortable."

       Up jumps the hedge fund manager. "I'm not going to have any religious issues with the animals. Let's get some sleep!" And off he goes to the barn, and the holy man and rabbi go up to the bedrooms.

       But in a few minutes, there is another knock on the door.

       It's the cow and pig.

       This joke is funny for the same reason it is not funny. With millions of people losing savings and equity in the house of credit cards economy. the hedge fund managers of the world -- or as we call them "hedge hogs" -- have earned contempt and disrespect. However, if we stopped with pointing the finger, we would miss those other three fingers pointing back at us.

       Why us?

       First, as a culture and a so-called civilization, we have bought into the unchallenged belief that the power of money should rightfully rule. We have also swallowed the myth of money being some kind of inscrutable mystery that the likes of ordinary folks cannot fathom. Consequently, we are told it is our job to accept it without questioning.

       But now as the current monetary system is being exposed for what it really is -- a state-sanctioned "legal" ponzi scheme -- leaving it to the woolly-headed economists and plundering privateers can no longer work. A remarkable self-education process is taking place, as blogs, magazines articles and books seek to open the "black box" that is our financial system, only to reveal what Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland: There's no there there.

       The economic crisis is no abstraction. The consequences are devastating. Banks are not making business loans. People are losing their jobs. Homes are being foreclosed. Out of necessity, families are curtailing their spending, and many worthy endeavors are struggling to stay alive.

       Blame and accusations -- and even punishing the perpetrators of the most egregious financial atrocities -- will not get us from where we are today to where we need to go: An economy where real value is valued, and life's most worthwhile endeavors are supported and prospered. As we awaken from a quarter-century binge with the biggest financial headache in history, where do we turn for solutions?

    A Grassroots Solution -- Literally!

       According to author and investment consultant Woody Tasch, our guest on this week's Heartland Security Radio show, the answer is right in front of our nose and under our feet. As economist Carl Wilken said back in the 1930s, "All new wealth comes from the soil." And now, 75 years later -- after decades of displacing farmers, and replacing agriculture with agribusiness, we are finding a resurgence in real farming, real food -- and the foundation of a real economy.

       Inspired by the "slow food" movement that celebrates locally grown food and locally cultivated culture, Woody's book Slow Money offers practical ways to bring the economy "down to earth." While "fast money" with its get-rich-quick, make-a-fast-buck philosophy burns its way through an economy leaving devastation for most and profit-taking for a few, slow money begins at the bottom -- with healthy food -- and slowly makes its way up the economic food chain, prospering everyone in its path. It is the polar opposite of trickle-down... it's bubble up.

       If you're curious about how the "nurturing economy" is being built, and how you can help build it, hear the program at your convenience. You'll find out about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and the new investment models that help build genuine wealth slowly. To find out more about Woody Tasch's work and the newly-formed Slow Money Alliance, go here.


    A chess book with a difference
    Climate Change: An Australian guide to the science and potential impacts by Barrie Pittock
    Slang: The People's Poetry reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    A Healthy Way to be Sick reviewed by Denise Cassino

    Zuke 'em: The Colle-Zuckertort revolutionized
    by David Rudel

    Thinkers' Press
    ISBN: 1-888710-35-7

       This is not your typical chess book. For one thing, it is well written, and if you can follow chess notation, you can read it like a book -- a very rare thing indeed.

       David has done incredible amounts of research, following up the statistics in top-level chess play that used a particular subline he is discussing.

       Unlike most chess books, he explains the reasons for a particular set of moves, and for working toward a given position. The result is that I got to understand the underlying reasons for a given move, so I can adapt my responses to novel moves from my opponent.

       Before I read this book, I had a vague idea that the Colle was a closed, slow, mild Queen’s Pawn opening -- and why would you bother instead of the Queen’s Gambit? And if you’d asked me what a Zuckertort was, I’d have guessed some sort of a German sugary cake.

       Now I know better. This is a clever, sound attacking system that will give me a lot of fun from now on.

    Climate Change: An Australian guide to the science and potential impacts
    by Barrie Pittock

       Barrie has worked as a climate scientist for many years at the CSIRO, and is one of Australia's most respected people in the field. He has been Australia's representative on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I have previously reviewed his book Climate Change: Turning up the heat.

       This highly readable book has now been revised, with all the data brought up to date. This version is aimed at high school science students, but any person with an elementary knowledge of what climate is about should be able to understand and enjoy it.

       The book is Climate Change: Science, Impacts and Solutions (2nd. edition), Barrie Pittock, in press, 2009: see


       In the first chapter, Barrie demolishes the argument that climate change has nothing to do with human activity. He also shows the evidence, and what this means to you, personally. He also suggests what humanity at large, and you in particular, can do about it.

       Climate change is not out there, on your TV screen. It has already affected your life, and will continue to do so with increasing severity. Read Barrie's work to gain an understanding, and to help us to save our world.

       Being a text book, it is quite expensive, but there is free access to the information it contains at

    Slang: The People's Poetry
    by Michael Adams
    reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Oxford University Press
    ISBN: 9780195314632

       When I teach my writing students, I urge them to keep reading, keep writing, keep taking classes. Michael Adams has cobbled together a definitive book that appeals to every side of my book-loving nature. A work of nonfiction, it even appeals to my need for entertainment. It is Slang: The People's Poetry published by the Oxford Press.

       Adams manages to give readers equal doses of fun and information--information that our formal education in languages (English in particular) may have neglected. As an example, he gives us a veritable list of words we use for getting plastered... er, snockered. Then he shows us how these words may be onomatopoetic or related to the visual or how they reflect a cultural need to set ourselves apart. Those are hardly things Miss Jones would have discussed in our basic grammar class.

       But for fun he'll say things like, "It's hard to decide whether visual hurl is more vivid than audible barf, as the words offend different senses." (Yes, you may be amused that your taste for dry humor develops as you read.)

       He can buckle down to business, too. He warns us early on that we are to come away from this book with something more than a guffaw: " might be wise to distinguish slang even more precisely from jargon, argot, and colloquial use." And that's something, gratefully, he does frequently.

       I'm not crazy about his tendency to fall back on snooze-producing syntax and Latinate words. He doesn't do it so frequently that casual readers won't enjoy what he has to say, but they'll have a better chance of not relegating this book to their "maybe later" pile if they skip the introduction.

       Writers, on the other hand, will want to buy and keep this book handy for research. It will be invaluable for producing accurate dialogue. In which decade, as an example, would one have been more likely to use gone Borneo for getting blasted? Writers who pick the wrong one may find their credibility trashed by those hip enough to know.

    The reviewer, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, is well known to Bobbing Around readers. She has multiple achievements in multiple fields, and her work is a great resource for writers and others. Look her up at

    A Healthy Way to be Sick
    by Marc Lerner
    reviewed by Denise Cassino

    A Must Read Book for Those Suffering

       I wanted to pass this on to you as I know so many people with back injuries, fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses. Sometimes you find a person whose life teaches lessons that you know are valuable, but you feel lucky you are not him. Marc Lerner, who has had MS for 29 years, has learned how to take incredibly difficult challenges and turn them into incredible spiritual experiences. One of our biggest challenges in life is how we deal with difficult situations. If you want to learn how to grow from difficulties instead of being defeated by them...I encourage you to read this e-book, A Healthy Way to Be Sick. After all -- don't we all know someone who is sick? I'm giving this to a friend of mine as a gift!

       Marc, the author, blind and in a wheelchair, says:

       "The greatest lesson I learned from 28 years of dealing with a chronic illness is: The quality of your life doesn't depend on the health of your body; it depends on your focus. What if you learned how to develop a habit that freed you from your mind? Of course, that isn't a place you have to live in all of the time; it is just a place to rest your consciousness when you face a challenge you cannot control.

       When we go beyond our thinking mind, we find what I call the 'Wisdom of the Body'. That is not a difficult place to find; kids play there and athletes find it in the zone. We touch it in passionate moments and at the depth of sincere prayers. So why can't it become a natural place for shelter when we face difficult challenges?

       My illness forced me to that depth. In my e-book, I share a simple technique that becomes an incredible habit. I feel within every person is the 'Wisdom of the Body'. This habit consciously conditions your mind to touch that beyond thought reality as simply as breathing. This reality is within you always and when we ignore it...that is real ignorance. In that inner wisdom are powerful inner resources needed to face difficult times. This e-book had to meet 3 requirements when I wrote it for people in a health challenge; 1) it had to be profound 2) it had to be easy to understand and 3) it had to below $10."

       If you or anyone you know deals with a challenge they cannot control; I strongly recommend this e-book. Go to and read a mini version of the e-book. A Healthy Way to Be Sick will teach you the power you have to find quality in your darkest times. We all face challenges; now enjoy your life as you deal with what you cannot control. Simply click here to order A Healthy Way to Be Sick.

       P.S. If you buy this $9.95 e-book you get great downloadable gifts from the world's experts worth nearly $8,500.

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