Bobbing Around

Volume Nine, Number Two
September, 2009

Bob Rich's (purple) rave  other issues


*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Responses to past issues
  Mindy Phillips Lawrence owning up to theft...
  Carolyn Harris on murder urges
  Mark Snell on the plight of young people
  Growing a new culture of health?
  Make solar affordable
  Touching video of a connection
  World Bank funds forest destruction
  John James on global warming
  Urban wind power
  Aquaconfidence trick
*Deeper issues
  Marc Bekoff: Moral behaviour in animals
  Building the "Real" Economy, by Steve Bhaerman
  I hate myself
  I am evil
  I don't want a wife like my mother
  Torn between husband and son
*For writers
  10 writing tips from Shirley Martin
*What my friends want you to know
  The Condor soars for Margaret Muir
  Swami Beyondananda in California
  Writing contest for kids
  Unleash your story for cystic fibrosis
  September Bainstorming
  Military Writers Society of America Announces 2009 Book Award Nominees
  Saffron Dreams supports a charity
  Alfredo: protect your Mac
  Bizarre Bipeds, reviewed by ChrisChat
  Personal Wisdom, by Robert Brown

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.

Meet darling Arianna, my newest grandchild. Well done, Anina and Mark

Toward a unified theory of anguish
by Alfredo Zotti and Bob Rich

   Alfredo and I have been exchanging many emails about the nature of mental disorders, and more generally of suffering, whether it qualifies for a diagnosis or not.

   I have also occasionally communicated with Michael Gathercole, whose paper on depression is up at my web site. The work Alfredo and I are doing is logically an extension of Michael's, who has focused on one kind of suffering.

   This is not the place for a theoretical analysis, the citing of endless items of evidence (which exist), or generating testable predictions. All that needs to be done, and will if we ever arrive at a scholarly paper. Here, we merely state our conclusions.

1. People vary in every way possible. All of us have genetic strengths and weaknesses. A weakness is only a potential, not a life sentence. For example, a genetic weakness to alcoholism will only be a problem for a person who abuses alcohol. Someone who drinks moderately if at all will never become an alcoholic. A person with a weak pancreas will probably avoid diabetes by keeping to a suitable diet.

2. Some genetic weaknesses predispose a person to a given kind of mental suffering such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc. Again, these are not preordained problems, but are risks that manifest in the right (well, wrong) circumstances.

3. Early childhood experiences either provide protection from genetic weaknesses, or trigger them. For example, a person who early on develops a self-view of being faulty could suffer either depression or anxiety in adulthood. Which of these manifests will depend on the presence of the relevant genetic weakness.

4. Children who have inherited a tendency to develop a psychological problem are likely to be cared for by people with the same weakness. This can even be true for adopted children. Therefore, early childhood experiences are likely to combine with genetic weaknesses rather than to protect against them. For this reason, there is not much point in worrying about genetics. You can't change your kids' genes, but you can change how you bring them up.

5. A separate issue is resilience. This is the ability to stand up to stress, survive difficulties, thrive on challenges. It may also have a genetic basis. That is, some people may be naturally more robust than others.

6. However, resilience changes over the life span. It varies from time to time, situation to situation and is affected by things like current physical health, the thoughts going through your mind and the company you keep.

7. At any one time, you are under a certain amount of stress. Its source doesn't matter that much. You can be stressed by work demands, life changes (even good ones), tiredness, illness, pain, conflict, grief, disappointment... All of these add up.

8. If the level of stress at this moment exceeds your resilience, then you will break. This break may be temporary or long-lasting, depending on many factors including your thoughts about it.

9. Now we come back to the start. When you break, the symptoms will be those determined by your genetic weaknesses and early childhood upbringing.

   This means that the same causal processes will make me depressed, Alfredo bipolar, my friend Terry terrified (good pun?) and my friend Lisa schizophrenic. The symptoms don't matter. The label is counterproductive, and is not a guide to the required treatment.

   Because the causes are the same, the treatment is the same. Outrageous as this statement may seem, it is actually supported by a huge amount of evidence. Studies of the factors influencing success in psychotherapy show that technique has a very minor bearing. Therapies with wildly different approaches have about the same success rate.

   That doesn't make sense if we look at mental disorders as something like physical disorders, and psychotherapy as a medical-like cure. It makes perfect sense from our point of view.

   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.

Responses to past issues

Mindy Phillips Lawrence owning up to theft...
Carolyn Harris on murder urges
Mark Snell on the plight of young people

Mindy Phillips Lawrence owning up to theft...

   Miss Carolyn! Miss Carolyn! I done gone and pilfered yo "Shortening." LOL. I'm fessing up to both you and Bob, though, so I am at least an honest thief. If I could get the concept stated in your article through Doc's head, he would have already won a Pulitzer.

   I took the article because I am guilty of all the wordiness that you describe. I need to read it more than once. One of my BIG failings is continuing a sentence (padding the devil out of it) when it's already done its work.

   I enjoy reading what both you and Bob have to say. I was following Bob's e-zine way before I knew that you two "knew" one another in a writerly fashion.

Mindy Phillips Lawrence is the author of two poetry collections and co-author of The Complete Writer (Red Engine Press). She writes the"Itty Bitty Column on Writing" for Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Sharing with Writers and is a publicist, editor and literary agent for Dr. Dan Skelton. She lives in Springfield, Missouri.

Carolyn Harris on murder urges

Hi Bob, I have been thinking about 26 year old Mick who lives in the UK and wondering exactly what he feels and why.

   I can recall thinking on one occasion that 'if that person were dead life would be easier for me'. It shocked me at the time, but it has given me a tiny bit of insight into where Mick is coming from.

   I think that all of us, at some point in life, consider what it would mean to kill someone and of course when it comes to being in the Defence Forces this is highlighted by the training to actually do just that.

   I know that if my loved ones or I were seriously attacked - if I were threatened with death and could deal a final blow - I would.

   We are facing a situation these days that makes it very hard for some people to cope with the 'coming together' of our primal desire to 'kill or be killed' and the amount of war talk that is presented to us every day that highlights the amount of killing that is going on in the world.

   The thing is that in a civilised world we know not to kill each other, that it is wrong and against our own good as well as everyone else's good, but how do the younger people see this conflict that is happening around them?

   Where does one draw the boundaries between 'it's okay to kill in a war zone' but not in the middle of London -- especially when suspects are killed in the middle of London -- or anywhere else come to that.

   In Mick's case he is in a situation that has brought to the fore the primal desire to kill and, as you said, he has given it priority in his mind so that it is becoming an obsession.

   Is this happening to other people too? Is this one of the 'fall outs of war' that is not yet recognised? In fact, is this the reason so many of our young people are becoming violent and refusing to settle down to study?

   Are they excited by the scenes of young people in war zones raging through the streets doing all the damage they can manage as they inflict their youthful desires of vengeance on others?

   I know that in Africa some tribes sent their young men out to kill a tiger or be killed by a tiger before they were recognised as men... is this what Mick is suffering from? The desire to pit his strength and wits against an enemy? Or has he been so 'melted down' by civilisation that he can only think of 'killing someone' without the need to fight?

   He has got a serious problem and one that he has to face by asking for help. That he has emailed you and told you about it is a wonderful first step, but he needs help to understand the conflicts that are going on inside him to bring him to this point.

   He also needs to find some acceptable way of working through this. Sport is now the way most young men deal with this need to fight and kill, they are sent out to pit their wits against another team and sometimes the game becomes ferocious and dangerous and they feel good being part of it.

   Men nowadays have been reduced to civilised creatures who cannot climb mountains, kill mammoths, forge spears, shout their strength and be applauded for it.

   They cannot go out and boast their daring-do to the woman they desire, they are reduced to show the only power they have left is in 'making money' and sometimes this is not enough.

   Men were meant for more than that, but due to the changes the world has wrought there can be no way for them to recreate their own needs, and maybe this is the reason why war is continuous -- it is the only way nowadays we can have heroes unless it is on the sports field.

   I would say Mick needs to talk to someone who can help him find his own way of proving to himself he is a man in every way and that he doesn't have to think of killing someone else to do that.

   He needs a challenge that will make him more than he ever thought he could be -- something that will take up his mind and body to its full extent, and challenge him.

   An 'easy kill' is not the way Mick! It doesn't do anything for you at all. It just makes you weak and the more you think this way the weaker you become and the less chance you have of ever being the man you really are.

   Instead you will be caught, end up in jail and lose a life to worthlessness.

   You have made the first step toward help, now go find someone like Bob you can talk to and begin to unravel this for yourself then go seek the man you really are.

Carolyn has been a major support for breast cancer sufferers for years. Recently, she has expanded her interest to all forms of cancer, and then included depression as well, since the two monsters are mutually supportive of each other in making your life a misery. Look her up at

   Thanks for this wisdom, Carolyn. If you want to examine a good way to harness this aggressive male impulse, read my novel Sleeper, Awake.

Mark Snell on the plight of young people

Dear Bob,

   It's good to read your newsletter as usual, and good to see the contributions from Walter Divissi and from Peter.

   I wonder how many of your readers are under 15. If your newsletter was a film, you might be surprised to learn that it may well receive an M rating from the Australia censors and the information it contains would not be readily available to those under 15.

   I was concerned to read about a recent decision to give The Age of Stupid an M rating ( on the grounds that "the main theme is the destruction of the earth and the human race."

   I would be interested to read your views about this, as a psychologist as well as an environmental campaigner.

   It reminds me of the times when 18-year-olds were sent off to the Vietnam war but did not have the vote until they were 21.

   It seems to me that we are increasingly disenfranchising our younger generation.

   Housing is another good example of this. As housing becomes less and less affordable, and just not affordable or available to many young people, we are preventing them from having the opportunities available to us in our youth. For example, we are increasingly imposing laws that make it illegal for them to build cheaply from natural materials and to share with others as a means of reducing costs.

   Social inequity can lead to civil war. In the 1960s and 70s, it led to a less violent social revolution. I hope the young people of today will take a similar course.

All the best

Mark was a journalist at 21. Since the life expectancy of journalists was 42 years, he decided that he was middle-aged, and therefore retired. Like me, he has retired many times since. For the past several years, he has run a software company. Mark is a friend of about 30 years' standing. He is strongly involved in organisations like the Australian Conservation Foundation.

   Well, Mark, I think it is entirely appropriate, and the duty of society, to protect young people from reality. Indeed, it is the duty of society to protect everyone from reality, or haven't you noticed?

   I mean, would people engage in retail therapy if they knew that every dollar spent is a nail in the coffin of the environment? As the great Dr. Seuss wrote in The Lorax, "Busines is business, and business must grow, regardless of crummies in tummies you know!"

   Let me tell you a little secret. Humans are not the dominant species on this planet. About 300 years ago, a new species of life evolved. It has conquered everything in its path, and has domesticated the previously dominant bipeds. We are their feed stock, domestic animals, and the lucky ones among us are their pets.

   We call them multinational corporations, and have the illusion that some humans (who are actually their pets) control them. Not so. Just see what happens to an owner or CEO who makes a decision that displeases the Corporation. It's about the same as a dog who bites its owner.

   Unfortunatly, being very young, the species multinational corporation is impulsive, short-sighted, selfish and quarrelsome. They are stupidly destrroying their own life support system, because of immaturity.

   Both the issues you brought up, and a thousand others, can be understood in this light.



Growing a new culture of health?
Make solar affordable
Touching video of a connection
World Bank funds forest destruction

Growing a new culture of health?

   I'm sure you've all heard about it, but no harm in repeating of something good...

   Barack and Michelle are growing vegies. They would like to set up a farmers' market outside the White House. This was revealed at a health care forum.

   He tied eating healthy, home-grown food to health. If the rate of obesity could be returned to that in the 1980s, the Medicare system over several years could save as much as a trillion dollars.That's how much difference the American obesity rate has made a in terms of diabetes and heart failure and all sorts of preventable diseases.

   He emphasised the need for early prevention of disease, good nutrition, and plenty of exercise, especially for children.

Make solar affordable

   The Greens and independent MP Rob Oakeshott are urging the federal government to reward ordinary Australians who generate their own electricity and more to spare.

   Mr Oakeshott introduced a bill in Australian parliament, proposing the introduction of feed-in tariffs - payments for electricity generated from renewable sources and fed back to the main grid.

   It would cover everything from a householder installing rooftop solar panels to a mid-sized developer building a solar thermal power plant.

   It was time ordinary Australians were directly involved in the climate change battle, rather than just politicians and business groups, Mr Oakeshott said.

   "Here is an opportunity to engage people in real change and a real move to a new economy," he told parliament.

   "People want to be engaged and now is certainly the time to do it."

   Mr Oakeshott's proposal complements a similar bill being put forward to the upper house by Senator Christine Milne from the Greens, who have come together to call for a national feed-in tariffs system.

   Mr Oakeshott noted similar schemes overseas had boosted the use of renewable energy, most successfully in Germany, where a major boost in renewable energy was directly attributed to feed-in tariffs.

   The plan would reward electricity generated from sources such as wind, solar and geo-thermal.

   "If people do better in their own houses, they benefit," Mr Oakeshott said of the legislation.

   "At the moment what we're seeing in this climate change debate is a welfare system being established for the top end of town -- that frustrates people, it disengages people."

   Individual states and territories have all looked at implementing feed-in tariffs, which is being looked at by the Council of Australian Governments, Mr Oakeshott said.

   A nationally consistent system would streamline the process.

   Feed-in tariffs were successful in Spain and parts of North America and would undoubtedly contribute to Australia's expected renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020, Senator Milne added.

   She said it was time for the government to show real leadership and allow everyone an opportunity to contribute.

Touching video of a connection

   Sometimes there's nothing more powerful than shaking someone's hand, looking them in the eye and hearing their story. That's exactly what a delegation of Indigenous leaders were able to do in Canberra this week.

   Armed with your support the delegation shared their stories with decision makers in our nation's capital.

   We could tell you the stories of Barayuwa, Yinimala and Samuel - the loss of their homelands and their fight to reclaim them - but it's best to hear it in their own words, just as federal MPs did this week. Watch this video to hear about their struggle.

   This was a momentous step in the fight for Indigenous homeland communities. Thank you for adding your name to our homelands petition and helping the voices of Indigenous leaders resonate where it counts.

The GetUp team

World Bank funds forest destruction


Questioning World Bank Palm Oil Funding and Forest Carbon Finance in Indonesia

By Rainforest Rescue, with Ecological Internet's Rainforest Portal,

   September 11, 2009


   Ombudsman report on 20 years of corrupt IFC, World Bank Group lending to the Indonesian oil palm industry casts doubt on Bank's fitness to manage international forest carbon funds that may emerge at Copenhagen climate talks. It is time for the World Bank to end finance of oil palm, sustainable forest management, paper pulp and other industrial rainforest developments known to be the root causes of deforestation, degradation and climate change. The Bank must permanently end financial support for these industrial developments impacting primary rainforests, or it is the wrong entity to administer forest carbon monies.

   NOTE: This alert is part of EI's campaign to protect and restore old forests globally. After sending this protest you are forwarded to several other related crucial and ongoing alerts, which we ask you to please send as well.



John James on global warming
Urban wind power
Aquaconfidence trick

John James on global warming

Dear Friends

   If you have been wondering why the heat has gone off the heating, read this report from The Guardian, and calculate what the increasing level of the El Nino plus the end of the sun's eleven-year cycle is going to mean over the next few years.

   The research promises that it will be getting much hotter, with consequential impacts on the ice caps, sea levels, refugees and heat waves.

   If you buy air conditioning units you will use more electricity and just make the heating worse. Wow! That's a paradox, isn't it?

   Activate this map of gradually changing global heat patterns between 1884 and today. There are natural fluctuations, especially a short slightly hotter period in the 1930s, and the big changes that started in 1980 and keep increasing every year.

   Notice this heating has been concentrated in the northern hemisphere, where most of the ice-melt has been happening and where most of the methane lies buried.

John James
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Urban wind power

   A car wrecker business in Cleveland, Ohio is now self-sufficient in electricity. They have erected their own wind turbine on a 140 foot hgh tower. To me, this seems to be a far better landmark than environmentally idiotic things like highrise buildings (If they didn't exist and a science fiction writer described one, it'd be considered to be too stupid to be realistic.)

   Pearl Road Auto Parts and Wrecking is leading its area in working for a sustainable future. The wind turbine is expected to generate about 100,000 kWh of electricity a year. If one small business can do this, why don't more?

Aquaconfidence trick

   Fish are being depleted. The hunt is on for species that used to be ignored, because the ones people used to value are in danger of extinction.

   Fish farming is an enthusiastic answer. Aquaculture, once a fledgling industry, now accounts for 50 percent of the fish consumed globally, according to a new report by an international team of researchers. The promise is to feed millions, and investors have been pouring in the money.

   There is only one thing wrong with the game. The overwhelming bulk of the food being provided to captive fish is...

   Wait for it...

   Wild fish.

Deeper Issues

Marc Bekoff: Moral behaviour in animals
Building the "Real" Economy by Steve Bhaerman

Marc Bekoff: Moral behaviour in animals

   Do animals have a sense of morality? Do they know right from wrong? In our forthcoming book, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, philosopher Jessica Pierce and I argue that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding "yes."

   "Ought" and "should" regarding what's right and what's wrong play important roles in the social interactions of animals, just as they do in ours.

   Historically, others agree. Charles Darwin believed that animals, like humans, could be moral beings. He suggested that human morality is continuous with similar social behavior in other animals. Darwin paid special attention to the capacity for sympathy, which he believed was evidenced in a large numbers of animals. Darwin wrote, "Any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instinctsÉ would inevitably acquire a moral sense of conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well-developed, or nearly as well-developed, as in man."

   More recently, Jane Goodall noted in her book The Chimpanzees of Gombe " is easy to get the impression that chimpanzees are more aggressive than they really are. In actuality, peaceful interactions are far more frequent than aggressive ones; mild threatening gestures are more common than vigorous ones; threats per se occur much more often than fights; and serious, wounding fights are very rare compared to brief, relatively mild ones."

   Consider the following scenarios.

  • A teenage female elephant nursing an injured leg is knocked over by a rambunctious hormone-laden teenage male. An older female sees this happen, chases the male away, and goes back to the younger female and touches her sore leg with her trunk.
  • Eleven elephants rescue a group of captive antelope in KwaZula-Natal; the matriarch elephant undoes all of the latches on the gates of the enclosure with her trunk and lets the gate swing open so the antelope can escape.
  • A rat in a cage refuses to push a lever for food when it sees that another rat receives an electric shock as a result.
  • A male Diana monkey who learned to insert a token into a slot to obtain food helps a female who can't get the hang of the trick, inserting the token for her and allowing her to eat the food reward.
  • A female fruit-eating bat helps an unrelated female give birth by showing her how to hang in the proper way.
  • A cat named Libby leads her elderly deaf and blind dog friend, Cashew away from obstacles and to food.
  • In a group of chimpanzees at the Arnhem Zoo in The Netherlands, individuals punish other chimpanzees who are late for dinner because no one eats until they're all present.
  • A large male dog wants to play with a younger and more submissive male. The big male invites his younger partner to play and when they play, the big dog restrains himself and bites his younger companion gently and allows him to bite gently in return.

       These examples show that animals display moral behavior, that they can be compassionate, empathic, altruistic, and fair. Animals not only have a sense of justice, but also a sense of empathy, forgiveness, trust, reciprocity, and much more as well.

       One of the most compelling examples of animals having a sense of morality is the story of a female Western Lowland gorilla named Binti Jua, Swahili for "daughter of sunshine," who lived in the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. One summer day in 1996, a three-year-old boy climbed the wall of the gorilla enclosure and fell twenty feet onto the concrete floor below. As spectators gaped and the boy's mother screamed in terror, Binti Jua approached the unconscious boy. She reached down and gently lifted him, cradling him in her arms while her own infant, Koola, clung to her back. Growling warnings at the other gorillas who tried to get close, Binti Jua carried the boy safely to an access gate and the waiting zoo staff. Binti Jua was widely hailed as an animal hero. She was even awarded a medal from the American Legion.

       Scientific research has shown that mice display empathy -- they feel the pain of other mice and change their behavior. In this compelling story CeAnn Lambert, director of the Indiana Coyote Rescue Center, saw that two baby mice had become trapped in the sink and were unable to scramble up the slick sides. They were exhausted and frightened. CeAnn filled a small lid with water and placed it in the sink. One of the mice hopped over and drank, but the other was too exhausted to move and remained crouched in the same spot. The stronger mouse found a piece of food and picked it up and carried it to the other. As the weaker mouse tried to nibble on the food, the stronger mouse moved the morsel closer and closer to the water until the weaker mouse could drink. CeAnn created a ramp with a piece of wood and the revived mice were soon able to scramble out of the sink.

       The social lives of many animals are strongly shaped by affiliative and cooperative behavior as Jane Goodall wrote above for chimpanzees. Also consider wolves. For a long time researchers thought that pack size was regulated by available food resources. Wolves typically feed on prey such as elk and moose, both of which are bigger than an individual wolf. Successfully hunting such large ungulates usually takes more than one wolf, so it makes sense to postulate that wolf packs evolved because of the size of wolves' prey. However, long-term research by David Mech showed that pack size in wolves is regulated by social and not food-related factors. Mech discovered that the number of wolves who can live together in a coordinated pack is governed by the number of wolves with whom individuals can closely bond (the "social attraction factor") balanced against the number of individuals from whom an individual could tolerate competition (the "social competition factor"). Packs and their codes of conduct break down when there are too many wolves.

       Fairness is also an important part of social life of animals. Researchers Sarah Brosnan, Frans de Waal, and Hillary Schiff discovered what they call "inequity aversion" in Capuchin monkeys, a highly social and cooperative species in which food sharing is common. These monkeys, especially females, carefully monitor equity and fair treatment among peers. Individuals who are short-changed during a bartering transaction by being offered a less preferred treat refuse to cooperate with researchers. The Capuchins expect to be treated fairly. Research by Friedericke Range and her colleagues in Austria also shows that dogs expected to be treated fairly. Dogs won't work for food if they see other dogs getting more than they do for performing the same task.

       Animals are incredibly adept social actors: they form intricate networks of relationships and live by rules of conduct that maintain social balance, or what we call social homeostasis. Humans should be proud of their citizenship in the animal kingdom. We're not the sole occupants of the moral arena.

    Marc Bekoff is a former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He has won many awards for his scientific research including the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Marc has written more than 200 articles, numerous books, and has edited three encyclopedias. His books include the Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, The The Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall), the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, the Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships, Minding Animals, Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Reflections on Redecorating Nature, The Emotional Lives of Animals, Animals Matter, Animals at Play (a children's book), and Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (with Jessica Pierce). In 2005 Marc was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners. The Animal Manifesto: Ten Reasons For increasing Our Compassion Footprint will appear in 2010. In 2009 he became a faculty member of the Humane Society University.

    Building the "Real" Economy
    by Steve Bhaerman

    Steve is Swami Beyondananda, the most gifted twister of English I know. I wish I could attend one of his live performances, but have to satisfy myself with his newsletter. Check him out at

       This is a condensed version of some of his wisdom.

       As the house of credit cards economy reveals itself to be little more than empty promises that have emptied the bank accounts of far too many, we are left with some sobering questions in the wake of a 30-year binge.

       We've been so collectively hypnotized into believing that the power of money has the right to rule, that paper wealth is real, and that every American has the "moral" right to selfishly pursue wealth as the primary "value" of life, that we didn't see it coming. Or going.

       Two things were missing in the endless pursuit of "wealth." First, we failed to accurately define wealth. Second, we neglected to understand where real wealth comes from. In my work over the past three years on Spontaneous Evolution, I've gained a better understanding from nature's point of view of the source and nature of "true wealth."

       "Wealth" has the same root as wellbeing. So, wealth and health are related, making the question "can we afford health care" patently absurd. But that is for another conversation. For now, let's see what nature has to say about a "healthy commonwealth."

       What Would Nature Do?

       Inside the body and in nature, "wealth" is the equivalent of energy, the ability to do the work for the organism to thrive. The body's "wealth" is stored and "spent" via ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which Bruce Lipton describes as "the molecular equivalent of a re-chargeable battery." Cells tap the energy from ATP molecules to empower cellular function.

       Biology textbooks even refer to ATP as "the coin of the realm," recognizing it as a means of energy exchange. Cells are "paid" in ATP, and excess energy is stored as ATP in "banks" called fat cells. If we "follow the ATP," we find that cells work for the system and pool their ATP. In the cellular economy, there is universal health care, full employment and truly "no cell left behind." However, this is no "communist" system. More vital cells are "paid more," and may even have their own entourages of "helper cells."

       Without becoming too anthropomorphic (cells hate that), we can still draw some powerful conclusions from the economy beneath our skins that allows some 50 trillion cells to thrive:

    The "Real" Economy

       When we boil away all the derivatives, all the financial leverage, all of the non-existent paper (or more accurately, digits), the "real" economy consists of five things:

    1. Energy From the Sun. The sun is our 24/7 sustainable generator of "wealth" in the form of energy. This includes fossil fuels (what Thom Hartmann called "ancient sunlight"). We have an energy source that is, for our purposes, infinite. Our task is to harness and magnify this source in the present time.

    2. Food From the Earth. As Charles Walters points out in Unforgiven, "all new wealth comes from the soil." Imagine this... you plant a kernel of corn, and a corn plant sprouts, yielding thousands of kernels. This is so obvious that it can be overlooked. Nature produces new wealth every season.

    3. Love. Yes, love. This most under-developed of Divinely-given human resources is the "glue" that holds our world together. It is a key component of a truly wealthy economy because it facilitates all things good. Consequently, it is a secret factor in economic efficiency. Where love proliferates, we need less "stuff." Nurturance prevents problems (e.g., crime, illness) that are costly later. And like loaves and fishes, love can infinitely reproduce without diminishment.

    4. Imagination. Another under-utilized tool, imagination is the precursor for the technology that allows us to multiply our finite resources. Perhaps more importantly, imagination is what makes us "surrogate gods," or as Swami calls us, "the Creator's creation created to create." Oh, and love + imagination = beauty, another form of nourishment we too often ignore.

    5. Community and Awareness. As we point out in Spontaneous Evolution, every stage of evolution involves expanding community and expanding awareness. Just as surely as single cell organisms became more "economically efficient" by combining into multi-cell ones, increased awareness (on both the internet and outernet) and interwoven community make us economically more efficient, and spiritually more free. In practical terms, this means that our entire economic understanding is up for "re-valuation." As we value assets (tangible and spiritual), we now must adhere to a new bottom line:

       These are the questions we must address collectively. However, the first step is for each of us to address this personally and with our families. We must "re-valuate" what we spend and "feed," consciously and unconsciously. Here are a few opening questions to get the internal (and family) conversation going:

    1. What is, for me, truly valuable? (Hint: It has something to do with mission, purpose and heart's desire.)

    2. What is most valuable for my wellbeing and the wellbeing of my family?

    3. How well does my work represent my values?

    4. How closely do my expenditures -- not just in money, but in time, attention and intention -- reflect these values?

    5. How can I shift this "spending" to reflect what is most valuable to me, and for a healed planet? Consider how easy it would be to shift $10 or $50 or $100 each month from something that is either harmful or unnecessary, to something that is more generative? These ideas are not offered so we can "punish" or deprive ourselves, but so we can become more conscious and more responsible "cells" and selves in this emerging organism called Humanity. What if we took what we spent on People magazine, and spent that resource on People's media? What if we withdrew our savings from predatory mega-banks, and banked them with local banks or credit unions? What if we shifted a few dollars a month from processed to organic food, from fast food to slow food?

       You get the idea... we have more choices than we can imagine, and in making these choices we can and will strengthen the truly nourishing, healing and loving forces in our society.


    I hate myself
    I am evil
    I don't want a wife like my mother
    Torn between husband and son

    I hate myself


       I'm a 19 years old girl from Algeria.

       My name is Kata.

       And I hate myself. I hate myself so much that I would like to snatch my heart out of my chest with my own hands.

       Unfortunately for me I can't commit suicide because I'm Muslim.

       But I'm always depressed and that is due to my childhood.

       When I was young my parents used to argue a lot. They even used knife and acid, each trying to kill the other one.

       It wasn't very nice to see. But due to that I developed many diseases. When they used to fight I always felt like the major cause of that.

       I felt useless. That my life didn't have any meaning. It was then that I started working hard to make them proud of me. But they were stones. They didn't care. So I stopped having good marks.

       But I still hate myself and cry over my existence every day. I also hate being in public. And I don't have friends.

    Thank you

    My dear Kata,

       When you were a little girl, your parents did awful things to each other. They were angry, and hurting, and completely involved in their own misery, so that they had no emotional energy left over for anyone else, not even their children. They hated each other, and probably hated themselves, so there was no room in their hearts for love.

       This was THEIR problem. How could it have been your fault?

       Do you know any small children? How much ability does a child have to exercise responsibility?

       Even if you had been the worst child in the world, if your parents had been decent people, they would not have acted badly toward each other. They would have been a team in an effort to help their child to overcome bad behavior.

       And even if you had been the best child in the world, what power could you possibly have exercised to stop them from fighting? Little children have no such power.

       You were not the cause of their fighting. If you had never been born, they would have been fighting anyway. It was their problem, not yours.

       So, please, stop blaming yourself for the evil they have done. It is their responsibility, and you are blameless.

       You tried to buy their love by doing well at school. But they didn't show you the love you wanted, so you stopped trying.

       Probably, they did love you, and probably they love you still. But they are damaged by hate. They were not able to give you love because they hate themselves, and cannot give love to anyone. Again, this is not because there are shortcomings in you, but is their problem.

       Also, studying in school is not something you do for somebody else, but for yourself. If you get good marks, this is an indication that you have built knowledge and skills and even wisdom. This is for you, to base the rest of your life on.

       When you stopped trying, and no longer learned, this made no difference to your parents. They are too focused on themselves to be able to care about anyone else, even their child. It makes a difference to you. And your responsibility is for your own wellbeing.

       So, let's go back to the start. You hate yourself. Why? What evil have you done?

       Instead of blaming yourself for something you had no control over, ask what kind of a life you want to build for the future?

       Use your parents' way as a model of what NOT to do. Find people you admire. Spend time in their company, and learn from them how to live well. Use them as models.

       Once you start respecting and even liking yourself, you will find that other people will be drawn to you, and you will have friends, and love, and satisfaction.

       And although we shall never meet, you have my love. Think of me as your grandfather.


    I am evil

       Question: I had promised to God that I'll not thought about sex especially of my relatives (as it often comes on my mind ). 2 months ago i had thought about my mother for a while (but i think i had not thought at all,but often it strikes that i had thought.) Now i have achieved success in healing my vices i.e not thinking about sex. but i cannot forgive myself. I am in a terrible condition. Plz sir give me some suggestion so thai i can forgive myself or be cured.

    My friend,

       You are clearly a highly moral person. You have a desire to do good things and avoid bad things. And, of course, sex with relatives is incest, and it would be an evil thing to do. It is quite right that you are horrified by these desires that come to you.

       But, did you ask for these thoughts? And when they came, did you obey them and do the evil thing?

       The answer to both these questions is NO.

       You are a young man. A man looks at a woman, and if she is attractive, thoughts of sex automatically come to him. If the woman is available as a possible sexual partner, then that’s fine. But, for all of us, most women are not so available. I can’t just go up to a stranger in the street and say, “Hey, I like you. Come and have some sex.” That would be both wrong and foolish.

       Thinking the thought is not evil. If the woman is someone I must not have sex with, then obeying the thought is evil.

       So, you have nothing to be cured of. You are not evil and have done no wrong. Some thoughts came to you. You knew they were wrong, and refused to follow them. That is good. All you need to do is to continue to be the way you are.

       The only reason you have been suffering is that you have the belief that the thoughts themselves are evil. They are not. Only acting on them is.

       So, forgive yourself, because you have done no wrong. Accept yourself. Instead of struggling with the thoughts, realize that they do no harm to anyone, as long as you DO what is in line with your high moral values.

    Go with God,

    I don't want a wife like my mother

       I have serious problem with long-time relationships, that is, I always run away from relationships at the very beginning.

       Whenever my relationship starts, I can always talk myself out of it. Since the woman I know about the most is my mother, I'd like to use her as an example demonstrating my first reason to talk myself out.

       She is a educated professional and used to be one of those super cool moms who give their children a lot of space. However, when she reached 45, she became very suspicious, irritable and worst of all, unreasonable. When we disagree with each other, she always tries to " win", even using ridiculous reasons. And whenever I do something wrong, she knows exactly how to push my buttons. She wouldn't even hear me out first. My biggest fear is that a woman so cool like my mother, who majored in PHILOSOPHY in college, can become who she is today, what will average women who perhaps failed philosophy in high school be when they reached 45. ( I love my mother and everything, but....) As we all know that long-term relationships are the path for marriage, but having seen what marriage provides, I don't think that a manipulative and unreasonable wife is what I want.

       And here comes personal experience with peers. There was this girl I really liked back in middle school, and fortunately, the feeling was mutual. We had a very long time of "good friend" period, when we stayed friends but we both knew what was going on. However, right after we made it official, she became very clinging, and always need me to apologize for any little thing. At first, it was fine, but as time went by, I became tired and bit of angry with this behavior and eventually back out. I broke her heart and felt really bad about that, but to my surprise, I was kind of unhurtable in my last two badly break-ups, which really bugs me. I want to feel the pain but I can't, since I can always convince myself that there will always be other girls.

       And now I met this girl who is really fun, warm and optimistic, and I feel great just to be around her. But I can't make my move becasue there is always this voice in my head saying that even by some miracle that she agrees to go out with me, I will still run away because the word " forever" really terrifys me. It is like that I like this girl and everything but forever? What if she isn't the one( and judging by my experience, that is high likely), I will leave her again and broke her heart. I can't bined with a girl deeply because I am afraid that everything I say will eventually be used agaist me. And hypothetically I maintained a relationship with her for years and then find out she is not the one and breake up with her, she will be davastated, and I don't think it is fair for her or any girl to lose years of their youth on me because of my personal emotional flaw.

       Upper mentioned reasons always work for me to keep me out. I am pretty sure, that unlike others in the websites who can't commit because they are afaid of being hurt, I can't commit because I am fear of forever and hurting others who genuinely cared for me, and seeing what " forever" provides, I am even more terrified.

       However, some of my best boddies do have long-term relationship, some even last for years, and they have experienced way more terrible catastropic marriage. I really envy them.

       I am not fond of bacholar life style, and I do long for love. Sometime I watch romantic films wondering how the hell they do it, does " happily ever after" or even " warmly ever after with occasionally friction" really exist, if the answer is yes, how the heck am I supposed to find it.

       I am looking for help of any kind.

    Dear Dany,

       I think the main problem is not in your relationships with girls, but in what you expect from a relationship. You have fallen for the “romantic myth,” which is that there is a perfect partner out there for each person, and that if only you find her, things will go without problems forever. And so, if you should commit yourself to a girl and some problems arise, then you will eventually break off with her and hurt her, which is something you don’t want to do.

       In fact, this is a myth, and causes much unhappiness. There are ALWAYS problems between any two people. And of course there are problems with having no one, being alone. So, the first step for long term contentment is to accept imperfection. It is life.

       I recommend that you read two books: ‘The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work’ by John Gottman, and ‘Love is Never Enough’ by Aaron Beck.

       You will find all the answers you need in these books.

    Have a good life,

    Torn between husband and son

    I am married for the last 13 years. I have a son who was 2 when we married and my husband has raised as his own. We also have 3 children together. We've never been considered blended, as this is the only father my son has known.

       We're having had some issues with my son, there has been lies, sneaking treats. Recently he went on the computer without permission to look at 'sexy pictures', watching some more adult movies(American Pie) without permission, sneaking change here and there. Now this is all concerning. from my perspective, but not all that unusual. My husband however feels there's something seriously wrong.

       My husband is talking of sending him to live with my parents. I completely disagree, I don't think he's a bad kid, and the situation isn't that horrible. He's an honor student, well liked by his teachers. I can't say much about his friends, because he doesn't bring them home, and he doesn't go out. I'm totally at loss what to do. How can we overcome the deception that my son is doing? I do seem to recall being the same at his age, overly private.

       Am I going have to chose between them? I love my husband dearly, but I was a mother first.

    Dear Rachel,

       You don’t need to choose between them. All you need to do is to gently and respectfully educate your husband.

       The issues you describe are normal developmental events that most boys undergo. It is a natural stage of his time in life to push against limits. This needs two kinds of responses: negotiating increased responsibility for himself with him, and firm but loving enforcement of rules.

       If this boy was your husband’s genetic descendant, then almost certainly he’d be doing much the same kinds of things. The details might be different, but the situation would be the same.

       The three of you should have a meeting. The rules are: respect from all parties to everyone else; there need to be house rules and everyone needs to obey them; privileges need to be earned through taking on responsibility; if something is forbidden at this time, the reason needs to be explained, and the rule could be relaxed when he is older.

       I also recommend that your husband start something that works beautifully in all families. You have 4 kids. At regular intervals, such as once a week or once every two weeks, he should spend time with one of the four. The child has the right to plan the time, and the two of them do it together, getting as much enjoyment out of it as they can. And of course the kids take turn and turn about. Over time, this will build a wonderful bond of friendship between the father and all the children, including the eldest boy.


    For Writers

    10 writing tips from Shirley Martin

    10 writing tips from Shirley Martin

    1. Stay focused. Write only one book at a time. Reserve one part of the day for writing, the same time every day. If you work and/or have young children, try to fit in at least one hour that you can write. Even if you write only one page a day, at the end of the year, you have written a book.

    2. If possible, join a critique group, either online or local or both. Many specialty chapters of Romance Writers of America have online critique groups. It is necessary to first join Romance Writers of America to belong to any of these groups, such as the Hearts through History chapter, or Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal.

    3. Be willing to take advice. Ultimately, you, the writer, must make the final decision as to whether a particular scene or line works. But listen to the advice of others and carefully weigh what they say. I've known several writers who refused to listen to others' advice, and even after many years, none of them are published.

    4. Stay focused.

    5. It's helpful to start with an outline or at least have a basic idea of your plot and characters.

    6. Read everything you can, both fiction and non-fiction. Read newspapers and magazines. Broaden your horizons. Be observant; notice other people, their dresss, mannerisms, and manner of speaking.

    7. Join a writers' group if you can, such as Romance Writers of America® or Mystery Writers of America.

    8. Stay focused.

    9. Avoid negative people. By this I mean not only those who may make derogatory remarks about your writing, but those who have a negative outlook on life.

    10. Read writing manuals. Here are some suggestions:
    * Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.
    * Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon
    * Dare to Be a Great Writer by Bishop.

       Many how-to books are available through the Writer's Digest Book Club.

    Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Shirley Martin has written several historical romances that take place in western Pennsylvania. She has also branched out to paranormal and fantasy novels, writing vampire romances and a time travel romance. Now living in Birmingham, Alabama, she has two grown sons. For recreation, she enjoys reading and going for long walks.

       We share several writers' groups, and she is often in the position of mentor to younger colleagues.


       Have you ever considered the things that stick out from the front of your feet? What are they for anyway?

       If I were to design a platform for standing and walking on, it would be very different. For a human foot, it would look like the sole of a shoe. I mean, if the original design was any good, why would we bother to put an artificial thingie under it?

       Toes are particularly delicate and easily damaged. If you don't believe me, drop a brick on yours, or invite someone to stomp on them. Instead of several protrusions with delicate, multi-jointed bones, there should be a nice solid framework.

       Then there are the toenails. What a nuisance they are! I wonder how our distant ancestors coped with them before the development of sharp-edged tools. Did they just suffer them to break, and to grow into neighbouring tissue? Were they flexible enough to chew them off, or perhaps cooperative enough to chew them off for eah other?

       Hope they washed their feet first!

    What my friends want you to know

    The Condor soars for Margaret Muir
    Swami Beyondananda in California
    Writing contest for kids
    Unleash your story for cystic fibrosis
    September Bainstorming
    Military Writers Society of America Announces 2009 Book Award Nominees
    Saffron Dreams supports a charity

    The Condor soars for Margaret Muir

    July 31 sees the publication of my latest novel, The Condor’s Feather. And whilst I have not yet seen a copy of the book, last week I received an offer from FA Thorpe (Ulverscroft) to publish in large print.

       Set in 1885 against the awesome landscape of Southern Patagonia, The Condor’s Feather is a dramatic equestrian adventure in which a group of English riders become embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a group of dangerous prison escapees.

       Accompanying the group across the pampas is a pair of Newfoundland dogs. Their presence not only adds a unique dimension to the story, but their actions are guaranteed to touch your heart.

    To read more about the book, go to:
    To read more about the Newfoundland dogs mentioned here, go to:
    To be one of the first to read this unforgettable story, place an order with your local library, or purchase a copy from and receive FREE POSTAGE to anywhere in the world. Or for a 30% discount and free UK postage go to:

    Book details:
    The Condor’s Feather by Margaret Muir
    Published in hardcover by Hale Books, London
    Date of publication: 31 July 2009
    ISBN: 978-0-7090-8822-6

       I hope you will enjoy this novel.
    Margaret Muir (Tasmania)

    Swami Beyondananda in California

    Steve and Swami at Nonduality Event, October 21st-25th

    "We need to move from dueling dualities to fully-empowered dance partners."
    -- Swami Beyondananda

    Dear Friends:

       As we come up against the limits of our current Newtonian-Darwinian paradigm of oppositional forces locked in eternal struggle, a holistic, evolutionary worldview is emerging. We are coming to recognize that everything is related, and by understanding and using these relationships, we can create solutions at a higher level than the problem.

       I am excited to be presenting -- as both Steve and the Swami -- at the upcoming Nonduality Conference, October 21st-25th at the Embassy Suites, Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, California. I'll be there on Sunday the 25th.

       (I know, I know. Being both Steve and Swami at a Nonduality event would seem to be contradictory, but since I intend to occupy just one body, I think it will be okay.)

       Other presenters include Amit Goswami, Daniel Pinchbeck, Dean Radin, Peter Russell, Marilyn Schlitz, Fred Alan Wolf, Stephen Wolinsky, and other enlightening luminaries from the domains of science, psychology and spirituality. The brochure describes the conference as:

       "Part seminar, part festival, part conference, this event explores and shows how science combines with meditation, philosophy, art, music, dance, lovemaking, shamanism, and entheogens to point the way to nondual experience, to aid in integrating nonduality into daily life, and to deepen the understanding of a fundamental nondual reality."

       If you're ready to help animate this evolutionary understanding and see how it applies in your life, your community and your world, you can register here. There is still time to get reduced price tickets.

    Writing contest for kids

       Please support young writers around the world. Help spread the word about Epic's New Voices writing competition for Middle and High School students. You can follow New Voices on Twitter at:

       You can also announce and direct young writers everywhere to the temporary site to learn more:

       I am excited to be a (new and very green) co-chair this year. Help us get the word out.

    Danielle Thorne

    Unleash your story for cystic fibrosis

       Unleash Your Story: Make a Difference/ brings readers and writers together to raise awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease in the U.S. Thirty years ago life expectancy for a child born with CF was only five years, but through the efforts of the CFF and others, life expectancy and quality of life has increased dramatically. We hope through our fund-raiser to help the CFF continue these efforts and to someday soon find a cure!

       The /Unleash Your Story: Make a Difference /event will feature fun contests and prizes to challenge readers and writers to rack up the highest word counts, pages read and funds raised. Writers can strive to keep pace with prolific, award-winning author Lori Wilde while readers can try to match avid reader Michelle Buonfiglio of Romance: B(u)y the Book.

       To participate you can:

       · Start your own team. Work with other readers or writers to raise money, complete WIPs, read books, and win prizes together.

       · Donate individually, and ask others to support you. Through the CFF web site every participant will get their own personal web page where people can donate in that participant’s name. (All donations are tax deductable.)

       The event will run Augusts 31-September 28 at:

       For more information email or visit our web site at

    September Bainstorming

       The September issue of Bainstorming is now live at

       Subjects this month: Award winning book, Tonto, Purpose of Government, Temperpedic, Short term memory loss, Tuscan cantaloupes, Celebrity Worship, Progress report, Why we're alone, Book report, Plotting, Health care reform notes, Excerpt from Human by Choice.

    Darrell Bain
    Fictionwise author of the Year, 2005
    Multiple Epic awards, 2007, Dream realm award, 2007, 2009

    Military Writers Society of America Announces 2009 Book Award Nominees

       Nominees for the Military Society of America Book Awards for 2009 were announced by MWSA president Joyce Faulkner, founder Bill McDonald, lead reviewer Rob Ballister, award-winning author, Richard Lowry, and Veterans Radio host Dale Throneberry at on August 29, 2009. The winners in each category will be announced on at 9am EST on September 12.

       The nominees for the 2009 Book Awards are listed here in no particular order. For more information on these fine books, go to

    For an Anthology.
    Home of the Brave by Jeffery Hess
    By Dammit, We’re Marines! by Gail Chatfield
    Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Salutes the Military by Andrew Lubin, et. al.

    For a Children's Book:
    The Elementary Adventures of Jones, JEEP, Buck & Blue, Jones, Books 1-4 by Sandra Miller Linhart
    Memories of Me by L.M. Romagnoli
    You and Your Military Hero by Sara Jensen-Fritz, Paula Jones-Johnson, Thea L. Zitzow
    If I had a Daddy by Mary M. Sullivan

    For Fiction:
    The Take-Us by John Raymond Takacs
    The Sandman by David Lucero
    Child Finder by Michael Angley
    Honor Defended by D. H. Brown

    For Historical Fiction:
    Hollywood Buzz: A Pucci Lewis Mystery by Margit Liesche
    True Colors by Erin Rainwater
    The Final Salute by Kathleen M. Rodgers
    Virginia's War by Jack Woodville London

    For a Memoir:
    Embedded: A Marine Corps Advisor Inside the Iraqi Army by Wesley Gray
    The Lady Gangster, A Sailor’s Memoir by Del Staecker
    Cat Lo, A Memoir of Invincible Youth by Virgil Erwin
    Immeasurable Spirit: Lessons of a Wounded Warrior by Latoya Lucas

    For a Music CD:
    Goin Home by James Jellerson

    For Non-fiction:
    Sacred Ground by Tom Ruck
    The Ether Zone, US Army Special Forces Detachment B-52 by Raymond Morris
    Fire in the Night: Creative Essays from an Iraq War Vet by Lee Kelley
    A Vietnam Trilogy by Raymond Monsour Scurfield

    For Poetry:
    Tears for Mother Earth by Jim Greenwald
    Poems of Passion & Songs for the Soul by James Randy Jellerson
    Sugar, Zeroes, and Lemon by Jim Greenwald

    For Reference:
    Strike from the Sea by Tommy H. Thomason
    USAF Prototype Jet Fighters by Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis
    The Book of War by Dwight Jon Zimmerman
    America's Film Vault by Phillip W. Stewart

    For a Spiritual Book:
    God in the Foxhole by Charles W. Sasser
    Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II by Larkin Spivey
    Bible Promises for Soldiers by J. M. Barnes
    I Will Never Give Up on God Again by Derek W. Clark

       MWSA is an association of more than eight-hundred authors, poets and artists drawn together by the common bond of military service. Most members are active duty military, retirees or military veterans. A few are civilians who have chosen to honor our military through their writing or their art. Their only core principle is a love of the men and women who defend this nation, and a deeply personal understanding of their sacrifice and dedication.

       For the latest news releases and other information, visit MWSA on the Internet at

    Saffron Dreams supports a charity

       According to the World Bank, the current global crisis has pushed 90 million people into poverty and is slated to have a disastrous impact on health and education projects in the developing world unless the rich nations begin aiding the poor. Shaila Abdullah is reaching out to friends and fans to see if we can do our part in alleviating global poverty.

       From now until September 15, 2009, if you buy a copy of Saffron Dreams, proceeds from the sale will go to the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA), a renowned international organization. The book is also offered at a discounted rate of $16.95. Feel free to buy a few copies for friends, family, and coworkers.

    Special deal: Shaila is extending this offer to the end of September for Bobbing Around subscribers.

       Aga Khan Foundation develops and promotes creative solutions to address problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and Africa. Under the umbrella of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), AKF works in the areas of health, education, rural development, civil society and the environment. It is presently engaged in over 100 projects in 18 countries. Learn more | View lives impacted by the work

    Alfredo: protect your Mac

       To protect your Mac from break-ins go to the sharing pane in your Mac’s system and there you can turn on your Tiger’s firewall to put a wall between yourself and the world. It works silently in the background to protect your computer from danger.

       In the System Preferences click the Sharing icon, then click the Firewall tab. At the bottom right of the “Allow:” list is an Advanced button. Stealth Mode hides your Mac from a ping so that anyone who is looking at hacking into your Mac will have a more difficult time doing it even if they have your IP address. Once you are in the firewall box you can tick both the Enable Firewall Logging and the Enable Stealth Mode. Stealth mode is particularly good during banking transactions and payments over the internet. It offers that extra security and protection and it is a very good feature of Tiger or Leopard at no extra cost.


    Bizarre Bipeds reviewed by ChrisChat
    Personal Wisdom, by Robert Brown

    Bizarre Bipeds
    reviewed by ChrisChat

    BIZARRE BIPEDS_By Dr. Bob Rich
    Publisher: Anina's Book Company
    Genre: Science Fiction
    ISBN: 978-1-877053-20-7
    Pages: eBook: 119
    Price: eBook: $10.00 (Australian)

       1) What makes people--people?

       Does a person need two legs, two arms, a head on a neck with only two ears and eyes? What design changes would you make to the human body? Must a culture look like ours to be classified sentient?

       2) What person/people would you pick to populate a new planet and save the human race?

       Would you take a murderer over a police officer? What if the police officer had to kill to survive? A farmer over a pianist?

       3) Invasion or visitationÉask first and shoot later or just shoot?

       If there are intelligent life-forms, not us, out in the universe, how should they let us know? If they're smarter than us, maybe they wouldn'tÉshouldn't.

       4) Who says life needs oxygen to live?

       Are we really that arrogant to think every single intelligent life-form must require the same elements as us to live? Why?

       These are the three short stories and novella presented in "Bizarre Bipeds: What IS humanity's place in the universe." Together they provide a thought-provoking good time.

       Dr. Rich's quirky look at people's structure did make some senseÉI still like our current model. But he proves emotions matter over shape.

       His other questions are questions my dad often asked, still no answers.

       While I'm not a big science fiction reader, Dr. Rich's telling strikes the right balance. He simply asks his readers to think as they enjoy his tale. He blends science, hardcore and way off the normal understanding, into an easy believability.

       "Bizarre Bipeds: What IS humanity's place in the Universe" is a good break read.

    Personal Wisdom: Making sense of you, others and the meaning life
    by Robert Brown

    Publisher: Denro Classics
    ISBN 1-43825-756-2

       Bob Brown was an entrant in one of my editing contests. In the event, he chose to hurry things up and paid for the edit. Since then, I've edited several books for him, Personal Wisdom being the latest.

       This was my "final comment" on the book:

       Do yourself a favour and check out Bob's many books. He is a clear thinker and a clear writer.

    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, 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.

    Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

    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.

       Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.