Bobbing Around

Volume Nine, Number Four
December, 2009

Bob Rich's (purple) rave

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

 

*About Bobbing Around
  subscribe/unsubscribe
  guidelines for contributions
*Responses to past issues
  Hope Harris: when is it okay to confess?
  Bob Nichols on solar and nuclear power
  Link to a grammar resource, from Kristi Nichols
*Politics
  Ditch the dollar, by Jonathan Tirone
  Mutations on the rise
*Environment
  The worst US blizzard ever
  Carbon dating, by Judy Molland
  A positive from Brazil
  American climate refugees -- now
*Health
  The largest diet experiment in history
*Deeper issues
  Angry over environmental idiocy
  Ben Stein on Christmas
*Psychology
  Are recovered memories therapist-implanted? by Charles Whitfield
  Yet another killer
  I feel empty and worthless
  Unfulfilled
  Yes! I can get over it
  Dealing with traumatic memories
  Girls are horrid
*For writers
  Write tight
*What my friends want you to know
  An anthology to help with pancreatic cancer
  Promote your book on radio
  Aboriginal art auction
  Greg Austin: prize at film festival
  Bainstorming
  Forbidden Family, by Joan Wheeler
  Sara Webb Quest gets great review
*Reviews
  Anikó, reviewed by Kora
  Bizarre Bipeds, reviewed by Bent Lorentzen
*Poetry
  I love my mommy
*Stories
  The Russian Bear by Dr Lee Choron


Making friends with Arianna


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.

Christmas ...and all that

   If Christmas or Hanukah is a special period for you, then you have my best wishes for your time of celebration. If you consider the day we call the first of January the start of the year, then may your year be everything you want for it.
   Jesus was born in March rather than December, but you are welcome to celebrate His birthday whenever you like. This celebration is meant to be a time of giving, and like almost everything else, the occasion is exploited for commercial ends. Be generous, but do it without falling for the consumerist crap. The best presents are those made by your hands, with thought and love.
   And since the more you give the more you get, you'd benefit by treating every day of the year as Christmas.
   Once upon a time, New Year was at the start of the Northern Hemisphere spring. If you don't believe me, look up the meanings of the names of the months. "October" means "tenth month" and so on. Count backward from that. Jewish custom is to circumcise a boy 7 days after his birth, so when Constantine's Synod pretended that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, they made a week later into something special: the start of the new year.
   If January the first is a new start for you, a time for resolutions you hope to keep, then remember that every moment of every day has the potential for the start of a new life. Every day is New Year's Day.
   The holiday season is a time of great sorrow for many people: those who are alone and isolated, and those for whom it is a reminder of loved ones lost. Perhaps the best way of exercising the giving spirit of Christmas, and the new start symbolised by the New Year, is to find such a person to invite into your home.


Copenhagen -- my take

   The climate conference at Copenhagen is a dud, and has achieved nothing. Don't blame the politicians, they are powerless. If they take significant action, the profits of the multinationals will reduce. That means major economic downturns in all the countries, and that in turn means that voters in democracies, and even subject populations in countries like China, will throw the current rulers out.
   But the shareholders of the multinationals are also passengers on this planet. Climate change has already killed people. It will continue to do so, in billions. Past war crimes -- the Holocaust, Stalin's murder of his own people -- are nothing compared to the crime against humanity perpetrated via climate change. Shareholders are mass murderers. What's more, as the effects spread, shareholders will be victims too.
   So, what can we do? What should be done to prevent disaster?
   Prevent? Everybody stand. Repeat after me: "Our father, which art in heaven..."
Should we then just give up?
   No. We can do lots to slow the inevitable, giving us more time.
   We can do lots to make the effects smaller.
   We can do lots to reduce the effects on vulnerable people.
   Action should be taken at all levels: by Shell and Exxon and BHP-Billiton; through the governments of the nation states; to every individual, particularly in the highly polluting countries like Australia and the USA. You, individually, can do much.
   The timeline is not by 2050.
   The timeline is not by 2020.
   We should start significant action by 1970.
   I have lived this reality since 1972. At least, I can say that it's not my fault.
   Can you?
What should be done?
   At the national level, to my surprise I am in agreement with Tony Abbott, the new leader of the Liberals. Carbon trading is useless. We need to reduce energy use; reduce heat generation (this is one of the many reasons nuclear power is no solution); switch to alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, mini-hydro, tidal. However, I am sure Mr Abbott won't agree with the rest: we need to radically change society from one ruled by greed to one ruled by cooperation and a focus on survival.
   Many countries have done so in times of war, with volunteers going off to face death, and those at home working long hours and willingly accepting rationing of necessities. Now, the war is global, and the enemy is the Economy.
   On the individual level, remember that the smallest step in the right direction can change the world, if it is marching in step with millions of others. Some suggestions:

  • Learn. Find out the facts. For example, many people leave lights on in the belief that this saves energy compared to switching them on and off. This is not true. Turning on a fluorescent light uses as much energy as having it on for 5 minutes. When you leave a room, you are highly unlikely to return in less time than that.
  • Reduce. To stay with the same example, ambient light levels nowadays are many times brighter than they were 50 years ago. You can learn to be comfortable in light too dim to read the phone book by. When you need to read small print, switch on a small, efficient task light rather than flood a large space with burnt energy.
  • Extend. Don't throw out an object with still some use in it. Some of my clothes were bought 20 years ago -- in an opp shop. People don't know unless I tell them. And fashion? What's that? Am I a sheep that I should follow the rulings of others on what I should wear?
  • Repair. The antenna broke on my radio. I soldered it back on (three times so far). As long as we don't move it around, it works perfectly well. Why should I junk an electronic marvel and get a new one? I'll do so when there is no alternative.
  • Liberate yourself. So much of what people can't live without is chains and prisons. Do you REALLY need 10 pairs of shoes for all those different occasions? If you must have a car, does it have to have a 2.6 litre engine and the most modern gimracks? How much more time would you have for family activities, creativity and learning if you didn't have a TV?
       You get the idea? Every time you spend a dollar, you are contributing to the Economy, which is the enemy. If you spend less, you can afford to earn less, so you become less of a soldier for the enemy.
       Where possible, do it for yourself. Cooperate with those around you to form cohesive communities that have a chance of surviving anything.
       Live more, buy less.
  • Responses to past issues

    Hope Harris: when is it okay to confess?
    Bob Nichols on solar and nuclear power
    Link to a grammar resource from Kristi Nichols

    When is it okay to confess?
    from Hope Harris

    Hope posted this to a writers' list dealing with psychological issues. She is a student of creative writing with a series of novels planned, starring an obsessive compulsive neat freak who wears glasses. Absolutely nothing like her at all.

       There's a letter from man who molested his sister and another child when he was 15. When he was 27 his sister confronted him and he was taken to court but the judge deemed him to no longer be a danger and he wasn't sent to jail. His sister forgave him. The brother and sister of the other child confronted him, he confessed and they forgave him. I was actually gobsmacked at how forgiving all these people were, which might say more about me than them! He is disgusted at what he did and is a changed man, married with two children who he'd never hurt. He confessed to a priest who said God had forgiven him.

       The man says he can't even tell his therapists (who he's seeing about his own childhood abuse) what he did, and he is still full of guilt. He can't let go of it.

       His letter and Bob's answer were very moving and emotional. And I hoped it helped the man. But I found myself thinking about it. Part of Bob's answer was that it was okay for him to tell his wife and people he was close to and trusted.

       I'm no psychologist, just an ordinary person, but I thought about the situation from the wife's point of view. Presumably they are happily married, the man gave no indication otherwise and they have two lovely children. He sits her down one day, and confesses, shows her the email he wrote and Dr. Bob's answer. Now it could go fine, she might be shocked and then understanding and her love and trust remain intact. She could also be shocked, try to be understanding, but the knowledge could eat away at her, even subconsciously, and she might begin not to trust him around their children. She might look at him differently, her feelings might change however much she might not want them to.

       I know that when you are close to someone, you love and trust them, communication is important. He might not want to keep secrets from her. But I had a thought. What he did, was very much in the past. He was a different person with his own problems which probably contributed. He was forgiven by the people involved, repented and found redemption by changing and having a family he would never hurt.

       Is it fair of him to 'drag' her into it, bringing what happened very much into his present life, by having his wife have to live with the knowledge of it? Or should he not tell her but work with the therapists to come to terms with it? I sometimes wonder whether a person's quest for forgiveness and redemption can become a selfish thing. Maybe confessing isn't always a good idea. Can it become a compulsion, a way actually of obsessing about what the person did, being stuck in the guilt and maybe refusing to move on? Can it be a form of abreaction? Maybe confessing can be used as a way for the person to punish themselves. But it can also punish the person being confessed to. It can be traumatic to find something out about a person, when perhaps you didn't need to know. It was all in the past, the person's changed etc. Especially if it involves something so close to the present situation, like the fact that they have children and he wants to confess his own past abuse of children.

       I'm not sure what's 'right'. I guess only the man who wrote the letter will know what's right for him. But these days it seems we're all supposed to talk about things and get things out in the open, get closure, own up to things etc. I'm British and there's the famous (or infamous, lol) 'stiff upper lip' attitude we have (loosened up a bit over the years). Sometimes I think there is something to be said for that. There are times when things need to be talked about, and there are times when a person just needs to get on with it and be able to put it behind them and not keep talking about it. I don't mean come across as harsh. The man was obviously deeply traumatised (both a victim and a perpetrator) and needs a lot of help, and maybe telling her is just what he needs to do. But other people have the right not to be used as an emotional dumping ground, just to make the person confessing feel better.

       It just seemed to me a very delicate situation. Maybe it's better to confess to someone close when you've dealt with it enough to have some distance and self-forgiveness? I don't know. These are thoughts and questions that came up when I read it.

       I'd never really thought about a perpetrator feeling traumatised by what they had done, but obviously it makes sense if they are truly sorry for what they did.


    Bob Nichols on solar and nuclear power

    Hi Bob from Bob in California!

       Good issue, dude!

       Here's an excellent article you can get your teeth into on climate change from Morton Skorodin, a retired MD in Oklahoma.

       He uses the wonderfully straightforward approach of utilizing the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics and makes some profound observations I believe you and your readers will appreciate.

       Bests,

       Bob

       Good and Bad Choices for Energy Policy and the Environmental Movement 2009-2010

       By Morton S. Skorodin, M.D. Axis of Logic Exclusive

       Two energy/environment phenomena are being widely discussed currently. These are global warming, and its mitigation, and the nuclear resurgence Ė the worldwide push to supply power with nuclear power plants. Careful study of these issues leads to the following conclusions:

    1. Global warming is real and is causing harm.

    2. Global warming is mostly due to heat production by human industry since the 1800s, from nuclear power and fossil fuels, better termed hydrocarbons, - coal, oil, natural gas. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2 play a minor role even though they are widely claimed the cause.

    3. Both nuclear and hydrocarbon-based power must be eliminated to solve the global warming problem.

    4. Nuclear power advocates have commandeered the global warming/greenhouse gas formula to promote nuclear power, based upon two errors: exaggerating the role of CO2 on the one hand and incorrectly claiming that nuclear power plants do not produce CO2 on the other hand.

    5. Nuclear power can not be separated from nuclear weapons, which are essential to the consistent drive for American military dominationof the world. This is the reason for nuclear power. Nuclear power does not make sense as a safe, efficient, or economical way to provide energy.

    6. Solar and solar-derived (wind, wave) sources of power do not add heat to the environment and can be used to supply virtually unlimited electrical energy without causing global warming. If done properly they will open up new vistas of human freedom and cultural development. They also produce much less CO2 than either nukes or hydrocarbons.

    More ... http://tinyurl.com/yfoyoa9


    Link to a grammar resource
    from Kristi Nichols

    Hi!

       My name is Kristi Nichols, I am a English teacher, and was working on finding links about grammar and punctuation to post on our class site. While looking for pages about grammar I found your page http://mudsmith/bobbing2-1.html, which was very helpful. Thanks so much :)

       I noticed you link to http://ccc.commnet.edu/grammar appears to be down. May I offer a thought on a possible replacement page for the broken link?

    http://www.rasmussen.edu/articles/grammar-and-punctuation-guide.asp

       It looks like a very nice resource on grammar, I really like it, because it briefly explains the different parts of grammar/punctuation and includes links that further explain when and where to use each... I plan on using this page in my list of resources.

       Have a wonderful day :)

    Kristi


    Politics

    Ditch the dollar by Jonathan Tirone
    Mutations on the rise

    Ditch the dollar
    by Jonathan Tirone

       The dollar's role in international trade should be reduced by establishing a new currency to protect emerging markets from the "confidence game" of financial speculation, the United Nations said.

       UN countries should agree on the creation of a global reserve bank to issue the currency and to monitor the national exchange rates of its members, the Geneva-based UN Conference on Trade and Development said today in a report.

       China, India, Brazil and Russia this year called for a replacement to the dollar as the main reserve currency after the financial crisis sparked by the collapse of the U.S. mortgage market led to the worst global recession since World War II. China, the world's largest holder of dollar reserves, said a supranational currency such as the International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights, or SDRs, may add stability.

       "There's a much better chance of achieving a stable pattern of exchange rates in a multilaterally-agreed framework for exchange-rate management," Heiner Flassbeck, co-author of the report and a UNCTAD director, said in an interview from Geneva. "An initiative equivalent to Bretton Woods or the European Monetary System is needed."

       The 1944 Bretton Woods agreement created the modern global economic system and institutions including the IMF and World Bank.

    Enhanced SDRs

       While it would be desirable to strengthen SDRs, a unit of account based on a basket of currencies, it wouldn't be enough to aid emerging markets most in need of liquidity, said Flassbeck, a former German deputy finance minister who worked in 1997-1998 with then U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to contain the Asian financial crisis.

       Emerging-market countries are underrepresented at the IMF, hindering the effectiveness of enhanced SDR allocations, the UN said. An organization should be created to manage real exchange rates between countries measured by purchasing power and adjusted to inflation differentials and development levels, it said.

       "The most important lesson of the global crisis is that financial markets don't get prices right," Flassbeck said. "Governments are being tempted by the resulting confidence game catering to financial-market participants who have shown they're inept at assessing risk."

       The 45-year-old UN group, run by former World Trade Organization chief Supachai Panitchpakdi, "promotes integration of developing countries in the world economy," according to its Web site. Emerging-market nations should consider restricting capital mobility until a new system is in place, the group said.

       The world body began issuing warnings in 2006 about financial imbalances leading to a global recession.

    Posted at http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601068&sid=aSp9VoPeHquI. To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at jtirone@bloomberg.net


    Mutations on the rise

       From time to time, I've been shouting about the use of so-called depleted uranium munitions.

       What is depleted uranium? It is uranium. The natural ore has two isotopes. "Enriching" uranium is the removal of the less abundant type, which is used as fuel in nuclear power stations, and as stockfeed for nuclear weapons. What is left behind is a HIGHLY radioactive substance that is not useful for these two purposes, and used to be intractable waste. However, it can be formed into a ceramic for coating bullets, rocket projectiles and bombs, making them penetrate thick steel armour (such as the wall of a tank). It burns when impacted, creating high temperatures that melt through most things. The result is a highly radioactive, fine powdery ash that is easy to breathe in, and can move hundreds of Km on the wind, enter ground water, and poison life for millions of years.

       For years, US and other servicemen have been reported as suffering from "Gulf War Disease," which has been made into a mystery, but in fact is clearly identifiable as radiation sickness. Now, the completely, 100% predictable other consequence is hitting the news: a horrendous number of babies born in Iraq have mutations of various kinds. Doctors in Fallujah, a major battle zone during the conflict, note a staggering increase in birth defects in the last few years. The Guardian reports that 25% of all babies born at one hospital have birth defects and abnormalities; compared to the statistic that 6% of babies are born with defects globally. One Iraqi doctor confirmed seeing significant increases in neurotube defects, hydrocephalus, tumors and mutations. Specialists are finally being able to compile statistics that show a birth defect occurrence as much as 15 times the pre-war rate. An undertaker buries 4 to 5 newborns every day, most of them with deformities.

       As with "Gulf War Disease," multiple reasons are advanced. There is no need for them: we know what radiation does to the mutation rate. Put the blame where it belongs.


    Environment

    The worst US blizzard ever
    Carbon dating by Judy Molland
    A positive from Brazil
    American climate refugees -- now

    The worst US blizzard ever

       Have you noticed that all weather patterns are bigger, stronger, more vicious? Hurricanes are more devastating, wildfires burn hotter, floods rise higher, droughts last longer... and blizzards blow colder.

       Believe it or not, the blizzard that closed down airports and froze the USA was so bad because of global warming.

       To understand how this can be, think of a blizzard as part of a convection current. The hotter air is, the less its density. Cold air is heavy. Therefore, hot air in the Gulf of Mexico rises. This lowers air pressure, and heavy, cold air from the north moves in. The bigger the temperature difference between the arctic and the tropics, the more energy this system has, leading to stronger winds.

       In turn, when the cold air moves south, this leaves space for warmer air to move north, up high above the cold. This of course speeds up the melting of the polar ice, which speeds up global warming, which makes future blizzards stronger.

       I'll guarantee: the records will be broken, time and again. Think of this next summer, before you switch on your airconditioner. Think of it when choosing your next car. Waste energy now -- and freeze your bum off next winter.


    Carbon dating
    by Judy Molland

       Ask a teenager in England what she thinks of carbon dating, and she'll probably tell you it's brilliant. Seeing your puzzled look, she'll go on to explain that carbon dating has many options: riding a bike to meet up with your date, or going on a bike ride together; sharing a nice vegetarian dinner by candlelight, instead of using up electricity; or perhaps taking a romantic stroll on the beach with the love of your life. Have a bit of fun, and practice carbon reduction at the same time!

       While the British government in Copenhagen may be meeting pressure to reduce its carbon emissions, there is something of a revolution taking place at the school level. The Eco-Schools program has been adopted by more than 31,000 schools around the world, and almost 14,000 of those schools are in England. By contrast, the program is only just getting started in the U.S. The National Wildlife Federation launched Eco-Schools USA in September 2009, and according to their website, they hope to recruit more than 5,000 U.S. schools to the program in the next five years. Good luck!

       What are eco-schools? The program, by the U.N.'s Foundation for Environmental Education, teaches kids about sustainable development by encouraging them to take an active role in how their school can be run in a more eco-friendly way. Once registered, schools follow a simple seven-step process that helps them to address a variety of environmental themes, ranging from litter and waste to healthy living and solar heating. (Yes, solar heating does work in England!) Most importantly, children drive the agenda. The school has an eco-council, made up of eco-reps. One of these is ten-year-old Caitlyn Fletcher, who attends a primary school in London. She explains that the kids get the ideas first and then share them with their teachers and others. "We make sure everyone is saving electricity and energy, and we have different monitors in each classroom," she says, adding that using less light and turning off radiators before opening windows are two big starting points.

       Schools can earn a Green Flag, a Silver Award or a Bronze Award, and competition is fierce. Projects to win one of these in 2009 included the Hippo Water Saving Poster Contest, which involved creating a new design to decorate water saving devices, with the winning school receiving a Hippo for every loo in their school and one for every student to take home, and the Wipe Out Waste Awards (WOW). For the 2009 WOW Awards ceremony, students from all over the UK traveled to London to pitch their ideas to "Green Dragons" in a Dragons Den-style event at a London Club. The winning team, made up of 10- and 11-year-olds from a school in Manchester, came up with an ingenious idea to sustain the use of pencils which are normally thrown away when half used. They designed an innovative pencil holder, made from sustainable material, which grips the pencil from new until it is a mere stub.

       Since I grew up in England, I am not entirely surprised that Britain is years ahead of the United States in environmental awareness, at least in its schools. Using public transport, having one car per family (or maybe no car), driving small cars, growing your own vegetables, were all a way of life and for the most part, still are. And even though creating a hippo water saving poster isn't going to change the world, taking one step now, then another, means that environmental awareness is gradually being built into the sensibilities of these young people. And just imagine where that could lead, when they become the ones making the rules.

       Time for the U.S. to get serious too! Carbon dating, anyone?

    From Care2.com


    A positive from Brazil

       Brazil was one of the first countries (with South Africa) to introduce fuel ethanol. Now, it is again pioneering a major environmental advance.

       Like Australia, Brazil is one of the world's greatest producers of sugar from sugar cane. When this plant is processed, the leftover is bagasse. If left to rot, the thousands of tonnes of bagasse produce a lot of methane, which is about 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Burning it in the field is obviously not much better for the environment.

       A company called Brazil Pellet is converting bagasse into pellets that can be burned in power stations instead of coal. This replaces the worst source of climate pollution with the carbon-neutral residue of an annual plant. By 2015, Brazil Pellet plans to make 520,000 tons of pellets a year, which would produce 2,420 gigawatts of energy.

       I wish this approach could become global. Go Brazil!


    American climate refugees -- now

    Based on a report from care2.com

       We think of climate change affecting people on low-lying Pacific islands, Bangla Desh and potentially Holland. However, among the first climate refugees are within the USA.

       CNN recently reported that the Inupiat Eskimo village of Shishmaref, Alaska is experiencing coastal erosion at an accelerated rate, due to melting permafrost caused by climate change, and as a result, one home has already toppled into the sea, and over a dozen more have been moved inland.

       "Rising global temperatures have started to thaw the permafrost that once helped anchor this village in place." Typically, "sea ice that protects Shishmaref's coast from erosion melts earlier in the spring and forms later in the fall. As a result of the temperature increases, "the increasingly mushy and exposed soil along Shishmaref's shore is falling into the water in snowmobile-sized chunks."

       It's important to note that this is not an isolated incident. CNN reported that "a dozen Alaskan villages, including Shishmaref, are at some stage of moving because of climate-change-related impacts like coastal erosion and flooding."

       While the rest of the world watches with differing levels of apathy and denial as politicians debate about whether climate change is a reality, the chunks of once stable permafrost continue to melt and fall away in Alaska, and the centuries-old Eskimo culture, their unique language and the viability of their entire village waits to slip into oblivion.

       These American citizens will likely be some of the world's first climate refugees, a threat that tops the list of concerns for Copenhagen attendees, and an issue that no amount of polling can allow us to continue to ignore.


    Health

    The largest diet experiment in history

    The largest diet experiment in history

       The journal International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food has publised an important article by Dr Don Lotter, who is working on an agricultural project in Tanzania. Because he dares to be critical of genetially modified foods, he has probably destroyed his chances of employment by any University department that is financially beholden to Montsanto and similar companies.

       According to Lotter, the science GM foods are based on is faulty and superseded. The technology is based on the idea of a 1:1 correspondence between DNA and proteins, but the Human Genome project has disproved this theory. However, by then, Montsanto and others had invested huge amounts of money in the technology, so have protected themselves by distorting the science.

       The promoter gene used in genetically engineered crops, the cauliflower mosaic virus, is a powerful promoter of inter-species gene exchange. Scientists thought it would be denatured in our digestive system, but it's not. It has been shown to promote the transfer of transgenes from GM foods to the bacteria within our digestive system, which are responsible for 80% of our immune system function; they are enormously important. This is a huge flaw, but not even the biggest in crop transgenics. The GM foods you ingest can cause cell mutations within your body. Incredibly, funding for research on this issue is... not available. Anyone who tries to conduct research looking at GM food safety is given trouble.

       Change is not going to come from above, because, again, money gets in the way. To protect yourself, campaign for proper labelling of GM foods, and do your best to avoid buying them.


    Deeper Issues

    Angry over environmental idiocy
    Ben Stein on Christmas

    Angry over environmental idiocy

    Hi Bob,

       I wonder if you can help.

       I am an environmental activist who is experiencing a lot of anger which is beginning to affect my relationship with a lot of people! The effect on my family is what worries me particularly however.

       Do you think you can help Ė or can you suggest someone who could?

       Many thanks,

    Fiona

    Dear Fiona,

       Fiona, if anyone on this planet can help, it is me. Look over my mudsmith site.
       

       I felt the way you feel from about 1972 till maybe 1995. Then, gradually, I managed to come to terms with it. I am still a very active environmental activist, as you will see in my newsletter http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html.
       However, the success of the forces of ignorance and greed no longer gets me depressed. Sure, they are killing all of us while they are killing themselves. They are a cancer on this planet. Revise that. We, Homo Stupidens, are the cancer on the planet.
       But it's OK. All truth is paradox, and this is a big one. However terrible the trends are, however much suffering there may be in the present and future, it's OK, and the universe is developing in exactly the way it is supposed to be.
       Three months ago, I dislocated my shoulder. At a certain stage, the physiotherapist gave me some homework: play basketball with myself. Bouncing the ball, shooting for a goal, introduced certain movements my shoulder needed. Right. I shoot, and get the ball through the ring. I shoot again, and miss. Is there a difference?
       That's the model of life. Giving your best, fighting the good fight, putting your heart and mind and resources in the battle for a just, sustainable world is important, and is a wonderful vehicle for taking you toward spiritual growth. Winning or losing the fight is immaterial.
       Everything has to end. Some people die at 120, others before they are born. Everyone now alive will die. Some will die peacefully, others in great misery. On the scale of the universe, of which we are necessary parts, none of this matters.
       Suffering is a spur to growth. Without it, there is no need for change and development. This planet we live on is a school for souls, to mass-produce as much spiritual growth as possible. So, things are organised to provide all too much suffering.
       I used to say, if I had one wish that can come true, it would be to eliminate the need for my profession of psychological healer. Now I know this is wrong. You and I are here to do a job. That job is not to win, but to be workers for the Light: for fairness and humaneness and decency, for mutual support and a sustainable lifestyle. Doing the job will take us toward a higher plane of existence. We are here to grow, not to win or lose. Outcome is immaterial.
       

       This is just a very small extract from over 30 years of thinking about these issues. But it's the kind of thinking that allows me to do my best and not worry about what actually happens. There are a great many little children I love, including my grandchildren. They are at terrible risk of not being able to live out their lives. When I allow myself to be within the game of life, this can drag me down. When I can stand back and see life as a training game, I am OK with it.
       From time to time, I have jotted down my thoughts on the matter. It is nothing like a book, but a collection of reasonings, based on the evidence available to me.
       In part, I wrote this about the people who shape our world:
       

       After infancy, the next stage in human growth is the 'terrible twos': the little child who is developing the concept of being an independent entity.
       Two to three year olds have an incredibly high energy level. I remember an illustrated article about Olympic champion boxer Tony Madigan participating in an experiment. His task was to shadow a toddler, and copy everything the child did. He couldn't keep up.
       A knee biter's favourite word is 'no'. Even the nicest ones are completely self-centred, and are pushing against the limits set by their environment. They have a need to strive, to grow in every sense by ignoring restraint.
       The second favourite word is 'mine'. They can be generous, but even then it has to be 'it's mine to give and I will give it.' They consider it unfair if they can't have something they want simply because it belongs to another person. The Anarchist saying 'all property is theft' fits right in with this age level.
       Little kids are as yet unable to anticipate the consequences of their actions. This is why they need adult carers to protect them from dangers. They will poke metal objects into power points, play with matches, walk out onto the road in the path of cars.
       Look around at our world. Isn't the culture of western society perfectly described by this?
       

  • There is the high energy level that has resulted in the greatest rate of change in all recorded history, technological development that reshapes the world, a continuous striving for novelty and excitement.
       
  • Ego is accepted as an instinctual part of the human psyche, although there is ample evidence that other cultures have lacked the very concept. The aim of existence is believed to be happiness, something I find a very childish concept. It is like saying that the aim of eating is to have something nice-tasting in your mouth, instead of the nutrition food provides for the body.
       
  • Our society is selfish in the extreme. 'Let the buyer beware,' 'the market sets the price,' 'what's in it for me?' express the ethos.
       
  • The economy, which is the major force within society, is destroying the environment on which our very life depends. Short term gain overrules long term considerations. How childish is that?
        Clearly, our history, our current world, are shaped by individuals. To me, it is an inescapable conclusion that these people, the leaders, have a lot in common with toddlers. Obviously, when they influenced humanity, they were adults in their current lives, so the childishness had to be an aspect of their ongoing component, their soul or spirit.
       

       Not that all 'toddler' spirits are world shapers. I have a client we'll call Dennis. He is a sensitive, caring, highly moral young man, who has been victimised for most of his life. He is constantly tortured by anxiety. Sometimes, this is just a feeling that gnaws at his inner being. Most of the time, the anxiety is attached to some aspect of his life: jealousy concerning his partner, fear of attack from an ex-con he knows, worry about his performance at work. In therapy, he has decided that these concrete fears occur simply because the free-floating anxiety is worse.
       Where does the anxiety come from? When he was a child, his elder brother Peter mercilessly bullied him. Peter even gave Dennis a beating while he was recovering from a serious bicycle accident.
       In his teens, Dennis learned Karate. Once, Peter threatened him, and automatically, without thought, Dennis launched a kick. He saw the fear on Peter's face -- and pulled the kick so it caused no damage. The response? Peter knocked him down with a punch to the jaw, then gloated over him.
       To me, it is obvious that Dennis is a highly evolved soul with a very high level of empathy, and an inherent gentleness that gets in the way of his hurting people. Peter is very 'young', and fits the mould of a toddler soul. He has many good qualities. He is not evil. But, emotionally, he is at the stage of bolstering his own ego by diminishing another person. At least, that's what he was like a teenager. Perhaps, life experience will help him to grow.
       

       So, Fiona, we live on a planet run by toddler souls. They are in charge because of the selfish, high-energy drive. This is why long-term consequences don't seem to matter. Also, because we are a young species compared to the rest of the universe, we have an awful lot of young souls.
       The students are destroying the school. But it's OK -- there are billions of other schools in the universe.
       An old Buddhist cliche is "Life is a journey, not a destination." When you can believe this, put it firmly within your heart, you can stay passionate and committed, but without the anger and bitterness.
       

       When I started on my journey as a greenie, I looked at tactics as well as goals. The major tool of the insane society is the missionary spirit. "I know what's good for you, and you'll get it even if it kills you." It is salesmanship, convincing you of what you don't want to believe. I decided, and still believe, that rather than ends justifying means, evil means corrupt noble ends.
       So, I will not argue with people who disagree with me, except in three circumstances: 1. When we already share so much that a debate is healthy; 2. In response to a direct question; 3. If the other person tries to force something down my throat -- then I have the right of defence.
       Your family have heard it all. You don't need to tell them again. Same with your friends. Strangers you should treat with respect, however idiotic their beliefs and practices are. We all travel our own paths, and make our own choices. All you can do is the best you can do -- and it's good enough.

    Love,
    Bob


    Ben Stein on Christmas

    My confession:

       I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

       It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

       I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

       Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

       In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

       Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

       In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

       Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

       Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

       Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

       Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

       Are you laughing yet?

       Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

       Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

       Pass it on if you think it has merit.

       If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

    My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
    Ben Stein


    Psychology

    Are recovered memories therapist-implanted? by Charles Whitfield
    Yet another killer
    I feel empty and worthless
    Unfulfilled
    Yes! I can get over it
    Dealing with traumatic memories
    Girls are horrid

    Are recovered memories therapist-implanted?
    by Charles Whitfield

       ...in a study of 30 malpractice law suits by retractors against their former therapists for "implanting false memories" or "implanting DID," Scheflin and Brown (1999) found that most of the 30 had recovered their memories and/or had the diagnosis of DID made before the sued therapist had seen them. There were many other kinds of direct and circumstantial evidence in these cases. Nearly all 30 retractors had been previously given multiple co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses that are extensively reported in the clinical scientific literature to be associated with or caused by childhood trauma, especially child sexual abuse (e.g., Herman, 1992; Whitfield, 1997c, 1998c). These included: major depression (e.g., Kendler, et al, 2000), anxiety disorders (e.g., McCauley, et al, 1997), PTSD (e.g,, Rowan, Foy, Rodriguez, & Ryan, 1994), major dissociative disorders (e.g., Whitfield, 1997c), personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (e.g., Herman, 1992), and major addictions such as chemical dependence and eating disorders (e.g., Felitti, et al, 1998; Herman, 1992; McCauley, et al, 1997). Ninety percent (27 of the 30) had a diagnosis of either DID (11 retractors) or Dissociative Disorder, Not Otherwise Stated (DD-NOS) (17 retractors) (Scheflin & Brown, 1999).

       Nearly all of the therapists sued had given the retractors appropriate stage-oriented trauma treatment. In none of the 30 cases was there any mention or evidence of "recovered memory therapy" or a single-minded focus on recovering memories of abuse. Scheflin and Brown (1999) said, "later, after encounters with pro-false memory (mis)information, the patient came to misattribute the source of his/her abuse memory to the defendant therapist and forgot that it had been self-reported, sometimes being recovered outside the context of therapy" (p. 685). In fact Scheflin and Brown (1999) found that if any false information was implanted, it likely occurred by exposure to pro-false memory sources close to or after the time of the identified therapy sessions. They said, "in all 30 cases the plaintiff failed to report his or her vulnerability to post-therapeutic suggestive influences that might have been operative in the shaping of the retraction belief itself..the most striking finding from our analysis was [that] the significant post-therapeutic suggestive influences associated with the development of the retraction belief could be identified in every one of the 30 cases" (p. 687).

       They conclude, "In our analysis of these 30 cases, significant exposure to false memory (mis)information occurred in the great majority of the cases and had a significant impact on the progressive shaping of retraction beliefs. .What do these data tell us? That sometimes litigious patients, plaintiff attorneys, and other individuals intentionally solicit other former patients in order to influence them" (Scheflin & Brown, 1999, p. 688). http://childabuse.georgiacenter.uga.edu/both/whitfield/whitfield24.phtml.

    From The "False Memory" Defense: Using Disinformation and Junk Science in and out of Court Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., F.A.S.A.M.- Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 9 (3 & 4) Haworth Press (2001)


    Yet another killer

       I grow up from age five with out a dad. by age ten my dad completely step out of my life when my little brother was hit be a plowtruck. soon after my 16th brithday my mom had a heart atck right in fornt of me. which couse my dad to want to step back in only to take my young brother so he could get paid for taking care of him. there more to my life then that.

       I've had dreams since age 13 about killing people not just one person. Anyone could be some one i don't even know; didn't say or do anything to me. i also think of killing people who i do know. so i kill fast others or slow an painfull. yet never a women or child. always a male most of the time some one bigger not strong just taller or fatter. but in my dreams or day dreams i smile while dreaming of doing theses killing. i am short temperd for no reason I'll wake up that way. my dreams feel like a drug to me. then theres days i'm focus on way to commit the perfect murder. i don't i would go though with it. but i've been to jail an truely i'm not scared of it nor am i scared to die myself. never would i kill my self but i do like pain. as for my emotions few an far between its either mad or a dead straigh. so my question what can help me control these dream an sometimes urges?

    Dear Tom,

       I don't have to tell you where the killing urges come from. You have told me already. When you were a little boy, you decided that the world was a terrible place, and your father to be a terrible man, and nobody loved you and maybe that nobody could ever love you. You hated him, and hated the world that allowed your mom to die and your father to neglect you.

       So, these dreams help you to let off steam. You don't actually kill people, because you do the killing in imagination, which is much better.

       You know, you are not what you think. You are what you do. OK, you've been in jail, and have so far not done anything good with your life. But you have choices. You can continue the way you have lived so far, and copy your father in being irresponsible, or you can build a good life for yourself.

       I think the reason you posted this question is that, without having put it into words, you have decided to change. You no longer want to be a young criminal, but to choose your own path, and have a good life. You can do that.

       Emotions, thoughts and urges are habits. You have them because you had them in the past. But habits can be broken. And the best way to break a habit is to learn a new one that gets in the way of the old habit.

       You can design your own new habits. Some suggestions: when you see a person you want to kill, remind yourself that this person has feelings like yours. This man or boy deserves a good life, just like you deserve a good life. He hasn't hurt you at all, so why should you hurt him?

       If you make a habit of thinking thoughts like this, the urges to kill will get weaker and eventually go away.

       In the meantime, remember. You are not a kid any more. Now you are a man. The thoughts you developed as a kid were helpful to you then. You don't need them any more.

    Have a good life,
    Bob


    I feel empty and worthless

    Bob,

       Every day is a struggle. I feel empty and worthless. I am never right in eyes of the people who supposedly love me. I spend every hour I'm not in class in my bed staring at the blank walls wondering where I went wrong. I have never felt so much hate, anger, and frustration in my life. It all started when I started going to college and got a boyfriend. It seems like everything about my life is negative. I block people out of my life just so I don't spread the hate to them. I feel like I'm going to explode one of these days with all the built up emotions I never let out because no one really cared. I used to be so incredibly happy with my life. I'm far from that now. I wish I could sleep for weeks at a time so I don't have the loneliness anymore, but just dreams. I feel like there's no hope. I'm 19 years old. I don't know what I did wrong to make myself feel like this. I think other people brought it upon me when I only let them down or didn't meet their expectations. Their words crushed me to pieces. There's nothing left to break down because I don't feel anything anymore. I feel so numb inside like it wouldn't matter if I felt a certain way or not. I want my old life back, but that seems damn near impossible at this point in time.

    Lesley

    Lesley my dear,

       Just from what you wrote, I cannot tell what the matter is, and why you got into this deep pit. Obviously, you are in extreme depression, and need to do something about it.

       Clearly, you are intelligent. You made it to college, and your writing is faultless. You are attractive -- at least one boy thinks so. The problem is not out there, in your circumstances, but in the way you think about yourself and your world.

       These terrible thoughts in your head feel true, feel like commands: "You can't get out of bed. Don't even try!" "You know nobody cares about you. So just stay away from them. Who will miss you anyway, you ugly stupid girl" or whatever things your depression tells you.

       There are two secrets you need to know about these thoughts. The first is that they are not actually Lesley's thoughts. Think of your depression as a monster who has moved into your head. It eats sadness. Its aim is to kill you, as slowly and miserably as possible, by sucking the life out of you. So, it whispers these things into your ear, doing a perfect job of mimicking your thoughts.

       The second secret is that its commands are actually invitations. You don't have to obey them. You have choices: to believe the lies your depression tells you, or to get on with your life regardless of how this monster makes you feel. Fight back.

       I have a theory. When you were still a tiny girl, you made sense of your world with some unspoken beliefs such as: "I must never let anyone down or it's terrible." "Everyone must like me at all times and if they don't that proves that I am no good." "I must be perfect because if other people find out that I have faults, they will abandon me and I will never have anyone, ever again."

       I don't know the exact list of little-child beliefs you acquired, but this is the kind of stuff reflected in what you wrote.

       When I was terribly depressed all the time, I used to imagine myself within a black steel box. I was completely encased in black steel, and couldn't get out. Then, one day, I reached out a hand and touched one of those black steel walls. I found that it was actually a black curtain that I could simply push aside. And I could walk through into sunlight and beauty and joy.

       You can do the same. The world is not shit-coloured. You are looking at it through shit-coloured glasses. Any time you want to, you can turn these into chocolate-coloured glasses, and gain power over your life once more.

       I did this for myself, over many years. If I could, so can you. However, you can speed up the process by seeking out a competent psychologist to help you. You can start on the wonderful road to regaining your life in a few sessions, and the cost is the best investment you can make in your future.

    Love,
    Bob


    Unfulfilled

    Hello,

       I feel unfulfilled and alone.

       My life's pretty dim.

       I looked at the life of this lad i met once whose from a different town and seen all his pictures of his mates, him being popular and wished i could trade lives. I feel like i wish i could start my life over again or be someone else. I am somewhat introverted which doesn't help - had a pretty crappy social life at school and now i don't really have friends which sucks.

       I go out to clubs when i can and i'm pretty much extraverted and very likeable after a couple drinks and have met a few people that way but none that i feel are real mates. I do enjoy going out and I'm at my happiest when i'm around people. i live in a pretty small village so there's not much in it.

       I haven't had much of an upbringing, My home is depressing place for me. I feel like an uninteresting person , i feel like i haven't achieved anything working in an office :( I just want to be around people and be happy.

       Rant over. any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks :)

    Hilda my dear, you have written to me before, haven't you?

       There is a saying: "Life depends on the liver." If there are aspects of your life you don't like, then change them.

       You don't like it in your village? Find a job in a bigger city or town, and do a new start.

       You want to have friends? Pubs and clubs are the wrong place. You might get a casual sex contact (and maybe more than you want), but nothing meaningful. If you want a friend, first be a friend. Develop some interests such as a sport, a hobby, a way of helping others, a political party, a church, whatever. There, you will interact with people you already have at least one thing in common. Be kind and decent, and go out of your way to make others feel good. The friendships will come from that.

       You feel like an uninteresting person? Study up on some topics. Travel on your holidays and find out how other people live. Join internet groups where you can learn. Watch informative TV shows. Enrol in courses.

       I think what is underneath your unhappiness is that you are focused on yourself. Forget that. Focus on what you can do to make the planet a better place in some small way: volunteer to help others, become active in some group that is working for change, generally be on the lookout to be of service to others.

       Do some or all of the above, and watch your life change.

    :)
    Bob


    Yes! I can get over it

       A young lady and I have been exchanging emails. She initially approached me because of a romantic attraction gone wrong. She had a crush on a guy. When she revealed this to him, he tried to use her in a sleazy way. Then she found out he was married.

       That was a year ago. She has completely cut herself off from him, but has been unable to get on with her life. Her head was filled with obsessive ruminations about him, and about the events between them. They had met at a swimming pool, and for a long time she gave away swimming, which is her favourite activity. She couldn't sleep at night because these bitter thoughts kept her awake, then she couldn't function in the daytime because she was too tired.

       I wrote to her:

     

       For sleep, read the relevant part of my first aid document. Also, go to http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html and search for "thought stopping".

       Sounds like your trouble is attentional. Suppose I told you to NOT think of the word hippopotamus for one minute. You couldn't do it, because fighting it focuses your attention on it.

       Same thing. Thinking about Jack is distressing, so you are trying not to do it. The harder you try, the more energy you give it.

       This is very common, in many situations. In one of the rooms I work, I have a wall clock. It ticks. I only hear it when I focus on it. My clients only hear it when I draw their attention to it. But the room is also used by another counselor. The ticking of the clock drives him crazy. He either takes the clock off the wall and puts it outside the room, or temporarily removes the battery. Once he got it into his head that the ticking of the clock is annoying, he cannot not focus on it. He needs therapy just as much as you do.

       The solution? Instead of fighting the thought/perception whatever, or trying to avoid it, just accept it. It's a song on Radio Doom and Gloom. There is no off switch or volume control. It's there, but you don't need to listen.

       Whenever a Jack thought comes, accept it. Say hello to it. Don't argue with it, or examine its truth, or dignify it in any other way. It's just a background noise. Acknowledge its existence, then get on with whatever you were doing (including doing nothing).

       I have a continuous ringing in my ears. So what. You have repeating Jack thoughts. So what.

       This will starve them of attention and the dignity of being believed, so they will fade away.

    :)
    Bob

       Her response:

     

    BOB!

       You are a genius! You are so right! I am beginning to do what I want. For instance, I enjoy swimming very much so I still go to the pool to swim. I continue to realize whether itís at the pool or at the gym, I catch Jack staring at me from afar when Iím busy doing what I was doing (including nothing). Last night I forgot a towel so I just sat on the bench to dry off and listen to my IPod and there I felt his eyes on me again. I am beginning to accept that he is where I want to be, and not purposely; I honestly like to work out and swim and be healthy and not because he is there. Iím not going to run out of the gym because he came through the door.

       I always felt like I was the bad guy, but these places and this town is mine too. I do what I do. I do accept that he exists, but will continue doing what I like. And soon the same thing will happen, weíll bump into each other, and it gets old. Itís almost Christmas and itís about time Iíve realized this.

       God I am hot. I even got a guy at the gym to come up to me three times complementing me. I think Iím going to do this once and for all. With the holidays coming up, Iím more focused on that than ever. (Even though I hate when I have to scrape off ice and snow off my car).

       Bob you take care! Iím going to go make a sandwich. And itís going to be awesome.


    Dealing with traumatic memories

       This is also sexual, but the details don't matter. A person has repeating flashbacks and nightmares concerning a very nasty experience. This is what I wrote:

     

       My dear, this is a very usual reaction to trauma.

       The memories are painful and distressing. The automatic reaction is to put them into a box and use a lot of energy to keep the lid shut. We don't want the monster to get out!

       But it does. The memories keep coming back, simply because there is unfinished business. And each time that happens, it is an unpleasant experience, and in effect we get traumatized again. This keeps it going. Post-traumatic reactions can keep themselves going like this for decades.

       The reason for the persistence is therefore avoidance plus retraumatization on each occasion.

       The standard therapy is, paradoxically, exposure. That is, you deliberately invite the memory to return, but in very different conditions.

       My analogy is: if you took the courage to open the box, you would not find a monster in there, but the photograph of the monster. In an exposure situation, you know you are safe. You open the box and look at the photograph of the monster. The bad stuff does come, but you know it can't hurt you. It is only a photograph. So, there is no retraumatization. After awhile, the bad feelings fade away. So, the power of the memories to hurt diminishes.

       This is what you need to do. When the memories come back, don't run from them. Don't argue with them, or double guess as to what you should have done. Welcome them. They cannot hurt you, because actually you are now in a safe situation. Say to yourself: "Isn't it good that this memory has come back. It gives me an opportunity for a session of exposure therapy." Stay with the bad feelings. Experience them to the full, but while being an observer of them. Give them a rating: "Hmm. When it started, my distress was 8/10 but it faded quite quickly to about 6/10, and now it's only 4/10. I am doing well. Right. See if I can get back to making it more vivid. I'll return to the start of the episode and replay it all over again. Right. At the start it was only 7/10, and it faded almost immediately to a 3. I'm doing well. It can't hurt me."

    :)
    Bob


    Girls are horrid

       I'm no predator, but at he same time I enjoy the company of a woman. Lately, I've found myself seeking men and I know I'm not gay but I just do it because it's sooo much easier attracting a male than a female. I have a lot of femenine tendencies already, lots of people thought I was gay forever. I'm not aroused by men for the most part but it's not hard at all to get involved with them. I am TOTALLY afraid of girls though. Touching them, looking at them, talking with them, it's horrid. I honeslty don't know what my problem is. I want to experience what a man and a woman do, but I'm so picky. How can I get over my fears? My views on life? Thanks for helping guys like me.

    Dear Jerry,

       I don't know how old you are, what country you live in, or anything about your circumstances. But from what you write, I get the distinct feeling that when you were little something nasty was done to you by some girl or woman. It may have been at a very young age, so that you were not yet able to put things into words.

       You see, touching girls is not at all horrid. I know many gay men who enjoy it, although not sexually. And interestingly, even in such a short message, you have a contradiction. You start by saying you enjoy the company of women, and later you find even talking with them horrid. It is as if there were two of you writing, with opposing attitudes.

       One is the rational, reasonable (I suspect young) adult. The other, sneaking in, is the hurt little child.

       I suggest you find a good psychologist who is competent at hypnosis, and invest a bit of money and time in finding out if you have some sex-related trauma in your childhood or infancy.

    :)
    Bob


    For Writers

    Write tight

    Write tight

       He nodded his foot, winked his nose and shrugged his elbow, right?

       Few people can nod with anything but their head. Winking is done with an eye. What can you shrug apart from your shoulder?

       "He nodded his head" is not just using extra words. It's stodgy writing that slows the pace. Any unnecessary word should be cut, except in dialogue where you want a person to speak that way.

       This goes for other tautologies. While we are with body parts, consider "She shook her head no, then thought a moment, and nodded her head yes." Um... Maybe the writer got it wrong, and she shook her head yes and nodded her head no? Or maybe nodded her knee no?

       Choose between the two following sentences. They make the same point. Which one does it better?

       Tight writing is easy to read.

       When your writing is full of unnecessary words that add nothing to the content, this complicates syntax and makes reading harder work, so that the reader loses interest and eventually can't cope.


    What my friends want you to know

    An anthology to help with pancreatic cancer
    Promote your book on radio
    Aboriginal art auction
    Greg Austin: prize at film festival
    Bainstorming
    Forbidden Family by Joan Wheeler
    Sara Webb Quest gets great review

    An anthology to help with pancreatic cancer

    FORSWORN

       Over the last two years, I've lost several good friends to the horror that is Pancreatic Cancer. Among those were authors Ronda Thompson and Patricia Lucas White. So, in their memories, I've decided to put together a charity anthology with all the money going for research into defeating the monster that is Pancreatic Cancer.

       Pat's favorite genre was fantasy. Ronda's last published books with St. Martin's Press were fantasy romance. It seems only reasonable to honor the memory of these lovely ladies with an anthology they would have enjoyed reading.

       The title of the fantasy anthology is Forsworn.

        I am looking for fantasy tales of 5,000 to 10,000 words. All submissions must be original. Stories may have been previously published, but you have to own the rights to the tale(s) you submit for consideration in the anthology. All subgenres of fantasy are welcome in the anthology; with the exception of fantasy erotic romance and fantasy erotica.

       If you want to submit a story, send it as an attachment in rtf with track changes disabled to forswornanthology@gmail.com. Make sure the subject line reads SUBMISSION. But read the rest of this before you submit anything.


    Promote your book on radio

       Lillian Cauldwell and Carolyn Howard-Johnson partner to offer fiction reading opportunity.

       Starting March, 2010, Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio will feature authors of published books of fiction to join in the first-ever serial weekly literary festival where authors read brief excerpts from their books over PIVTR's radio network.

       (Nonfiction and Poetry Weeks will come later in 2010.)

       Authors may book a reading on what may be a first-of-its-kind event: It is only $10 for 10 minutes. Authors may contact lillian.cauldwell@gmail.com before January 15, 2010. The special will air March 21 thru March 28, 10 to 11 p.m. (New York time) except Wednesday evening when the show starts 10:30 and ends at 11:30 p.m.

       E-mail: LSaraCauldwell@gmail.com for details.

       The planned program also includes:

  • Authors' book reviews will be posted on Carolyn's The New Book Review blog: http://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. That blog was recently named to Online Universities 101 Best Blogs for Readers list.
  • A special authors' page will be created on Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio Web page.
  • Lillian will make MP3 streams (html codes) of participating authors' presentations available for $3 each plus shipping. Proceeds from the MP3 streams will go to Mission Socorro and Capuchin Soup Kitchen to help the homeless, migrant workers and recently released prisoners get back on their feet.

        Passionate Voices Radio is based on three principles: to market and promote published mid-list and unknown authors to the media; to provide a conduit for voices not otherwise heard in this noisy world; and to provide quality educational and informative content to listeners so they can use it immediately in their spiritual, personal and business lives.

        Lillian Cauldwell is an author of one award-winning nonfiction book, "Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide." She writes multi-cultural paranormal mysteries for mid teens (9 to 14 years) and mentors junior and senior high school students to write their first books. http://lilliancauldwell.com and http://internetvoicesradio.com.

        Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist and poet. She is also the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. www.howtodoitfrugally.com.


    Aboriginal art auction

       If you can get to Rye on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne in the second week of January 2010, you will be interested in clicking on this link.

       You will find out about an auction of authentic Aboriginal art, intended to raise money for promoting this worthwhile cultural activity.

       Aboriginal people are survivors of savage cultural destruction. As in other parts of the world, the symptoms are substance abuse, violence, criminality, feelings or worthlessness, shame and guilt. This then leads to more discrimination; victims being judged for the symptoms of what was done to them.

       The way out is through activities that lead to self-respect, and pride in heritage -- just like this auction.


    Greg Austin: prize at film festival

    Hi Bob, Greg Austin here.

       Thought I'd send this along -- I recently won 3rd place, Best Feature Screenplay for LAST HAVEN (formally Fallen City) behind two international scripts at the Fantastic Planet Film Festival. Your editing skills had helped buff this piece of work.

       The fest was for sci-fi and fantasy and was a terrific event. The director/producer that won Best Feature film is currently looking at two of my scripts.

    http://www.fantasticplanetfilmfestival.com/2009_winners.htm

    Best
    Greg


    Darrell Bain

       The December issue of Bainstorming is now live at http://www.darrellbain.com Subjects this month: Finalists, Books for Christmas, Special Book Sale, Misplaced ice cream, Sign of the Times, Book report, RICO Law, A tribute to Snooky, A Tribute to TC, Progress Report, Quotables, Excerpt from Prion Promises.

    Darrell Bain
    Fictionwise author of the Year, 2005
    Multiple Epic awards, 2007, Dream realm award, 2007, 2009
    See all of my books at http://www.darrellbain.com


    Forbidden Family, by Joan Wheeler

    Announcing...

    Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan's Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism
    by Joan M Wheeler

       Available online at Trafford Publishing Bookstore and at Amazon.

       I will also sell my book at Adoption Conferences, social work conferences, general book signings locally in Buffalo, New York. As income builds, I'll be able to travel to do lectures.

       Book info and Trafford link also available at my website: http://forbiddenfamily.com.

    Thank you!
    Joan M Wheeler
    adoptee, reform activist.


    Sara Webb Quest gets great review

    Hi Bob,

       Wow, I'm still reeling over the recent book review of my "AYDIL VICE" book in THE BARNSTABLE PATRIOT.

       The review was a very pleasant surprise! Marie, the amazing book buyer & manager of Cape Cod's book-store chain "Books by the Sea" informed me of the review, said she hadn't gotten the copy of "AYDIL VICE" back because a few people at the newspaper were passing the book around to read (another pleasant surprise).

       Also, here's my facebook page which I update regularly. Check-out my "Friends" album for pictures of my friends, family, and me.

       The reason I'm in so many is because I had my husband take a bunch of new "author photos" for my upcoming books.

    Peace & Love,
    Sara Webb Quest


    Reviews

    Anikó: The stranger who loved me reviewed by Kora
    Bizarre Bipeds reviewed by Bent Lorentzen

    Anikó: The stranger who loved me
    reviewed by Kora

    Kora is an American lady whose family comes from Albania. She has bought several of my books. This is what she has to say about Anikó: The stranger who loved me

       I read your book. Quite an interesting family you had there from your mother's side. I adore aunt Janka so much, I adore your grandparents. Wonderful people. The war events were elaborated in so much detail, I thought, I am part of it. It made me shiver at times. I feel sorry for the people and their losses. Unfair world we live, not then, not now, not later, but always.

       Uncle Peter gave me creeps about his immoral habits. I have had problems with men like that. He lied in many ways. Maybe after my personal experiences, I am too disapproving of these people, who are just users. He did use his skills to survive the war. Maybe, Tibor couldn't do what uncle Peter had to do to survive. He was not honest to your family either about the gold. He should not have kept it.

       A lot of "communist" stories happened in Albania as well. I was little but I do know that the same Soviet Union rules applied there. My father tells a lot of stories. You had to carry a communist red card (Party membership) to advance. My father never enrolled, big mistake from his part. I guess I take a lot after him, too honest and straightforward, like Joseph :))))). Unlike us, You have been a brat. :)) One in 3 people were spies, you had to watch what to say. My mother's uncle was jailed 13 years, because he raised an argument on how the agriculture ministry should have operated. He earned that post since he finished agronomy with high results from University Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy, in 1937. Funny to mention that, while he was jailed, he got punished with the death sentence, "for propaganda against the Party." Later, the verdict was changed to life imprisonment, since they needed his expertise in agronomy and agriculture projects. He also translated and created an extensive literature of agriculture books, through which, the first University of Agriculture was opened in Albania. While leading agriculture projects in poor conditions, he exchanged expertise with an Hungarian engineer who also was part of the team. Since the two became friends, the Hungarian went to the People's government and appealed that the punishment to be reduced to a certain years. That's how he ended up serving 13 years instead of his entire life.

       Above all, I love your mother's personality. Your mother was a tough woman and I am so glad she pursued all her dreams. Tibor may have been a good husband but did not prove his love in the war. He proved it in the ballrooms. War is the reality stage. I like it so much when she said: he was a good husband, but if I did not leave him, I was not going to find my love. That struck me. Maybe I am wrong to think such about her husband as a reader, I am getting egoist, but I am going with the woman instinct here. I am going with Aniko's heart. Your mother is an icon and philanthropist. She is an incredible lady. There are no words to describe her talent.

       Your writing amazes me. When I read your style, I completely forget about the rest. I forget about myself as well. Very few write like you.

    With Love,
    Kora


    Bizarre Bipeds
    reviewed by Bent Lorentzen

       There's an old sketch from Monty Python which satirizes David Attenborough's melodramatic way of coming up close to nature, The Legendary Walking Tree of Dahomey.

       Then there's an ancient African culture that has a name for human beings. It's not easy to pronounce, but basically it translates to "trees that walk."

       Bizarre Bipeds instantly tickles your funny bone without a shred of melodrama and feeds your intellect without a hint of complexity, as you get personal and dirty with the Greenies Yes, it will give you a whole new way of understanding this thing that's been coined since Global Warming and long before: "Green"

       Don't worry, this book doesn't come close to being a boys with their toys science fiction. This is one that any female worth her soul, any male with gonads... and quite literally every manner of gender self-identification conceivable will enjoy without maligning the gender of others, even if in flux.

       Bizarre Bipeds captures the reader instantly and on every level with tension that doesn't hurt or bind. The book's primary story, basically a novel, reveals these Greenies being exploited much like the Conquistadors crucified the soulless natives of 16th century Mesoamerica. I'm going to let that phrase hang for a moment by also confiding how Bizarre Bipeds treats the reader to a multiple course meal designed not only to satisfy every conceivable palate, but in fact help in discovering tastes never even dreamed of.

       Why?

       Well, I certainly don't want to reveal all the secrets in Dr. Bob's repertoire of writing, his incredible tour de force within Bizarre Bipeds, of peeking into the minds and psyches of beings so alien and bizarre that you suddenly and without difficulty find yourself inside that alien mind looking out at... well, someone else rather bizarre. You are inside an alien looking at yourself, and without emotional entanglement.

       Now, I've read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in my time and only Ray Bradbury ever came close to pulling that one off. Bob does it pretty instantly, effortlessly and completely free of Bradbury's often misty eyed moment of a thunderous inner-self Jungian God clap to herald the mind-shift moment of enlightenment. This is the ultimate in grasping this thing so hard to analyze in its degrees and scales within the relativity of the human ego: intelligent self-awareness.

       Having the ability to write this way is in itself a good enough reason to instantly stop what you are in the middle of... yes, that means you who's reading this review on your 3G mobile while sweating on the treadmill. It's almost Christmas, or whatever you want to call it. If you love your boyfriend, wife, husband, mistress, chick, son, daughter or even if you only love that green thing growing over there by the window, buy this book instantly and download it. It will immediately give your loved one, and I hope that means you who's reading this review, an incredible experience rarely found in the written art, self-insight, but without the slightest bit of the author's shadow in it, and hardly even your own. It's very uncanny.

       But even if that's not a good enough reason for recommending this genre to my intelligent readership here, getting acquainted with author Dr. Bob Rich ought to. Bob, a respected psychologist from Down Under, evokes one's own inner morality and empathy about nature's diverse expressions but without the slightest shadow of a didactic voice or even the hint of a dogmatic codex. His stories simply evoke the ones that lie genetically dormant within the you, reader, and if such functional features of your brain anatomy sit all too dormant, my guess is that Bob's writing will still be a hell of a good read.

       Only in the brief but unobtrusive author's notes at the ends of each story does one get a peek at Bob's heart and motivations

       Speaking of that, the other stories in his book will tantalize you in some most surprising and often sensual ways. You won't be disappointed in taking a short moment out of your day and downloading or otherwise buying this book.

       Here's what Bob said makes him such a good author when I asked him the other day in an email:

    1. I have poor visual imagery. I am a word person. Whatever experiences I have are in words. So, I have become very good at translating the inexpressible into words.

    2. I am not really a human, but a visitor to this planet. I am always the outsider, the observer -- but with extremely high level of empathy.

    There is more. Read the full version.

       I edited Bent's wonderful fantasy book Krona for the publisher a couple of years ago. I will now re-read it. Wait for the review in the next issue.

       Bent Lorentzen, a Danish PTSD-psychotherapist, biologist and anthropologist, is the author of The Kingdom of Denmark (non-fiction), Dragon's Moon (Dream Realm Award finalist) and Krona, Dragons of Nistala


    Poetry

    I love my mommy

       My 5-year-old just came home from first grade with a story that he wrote for me. He said I could share it, so I am!!! Sure made me smile!!

    Lynn McMonigal
    Author of Forsaking the Call, 2008; Summertime, 2009; The Ladies of Faith, coming Fall 2009.
    http://lynnmcmo.com
    2009 Golden Pen Winner
    Indy 500 and I Am Woman Hear Me Roar


    Stories

    The Russian Bear
    by Dr Lee Choron

       Well, holiday season has begun and that leaves most of us thinking about presents. That's an especially difficult situation if all of your children happen to be adults. Well, for me, in at least one case I don't have any trouble at all and never have.

       My oldest son collects plushies... That's right, Erik the Aweful... Master Sergeant. E. J. Choron of the United States Army... age 28... collects plushies and always has. He has over 300 now, and has been working on his litle "family" ever since, literally, the day he was born. Erik was born on Christmas morning, December 25th, 1981, I was there for the delivery, but I went home afteward and took a nap. When I went back to see him in the hospital a few hours later, that very first Christmas, I took him his first Christmas/Birthday present... a Care Bear... It began from there. That Care Bear, and a matching smaller one, are the prizes of his collection... almost... There's one more that's just a little special.

       You all know that I live in Russia, and that my kids were raised here. When Erik was about ten years old, the old man who lived in the flat underneath us came up to visit one day and saw all of Erik's animals, all sitting neatly on his bed, even then, there were about sixty of them. In any case, it was Revolution Day weekend, and that's what makes me think of this now.

       The next day, the old man came back. When I opened the door, I saw that he had a shoe box under his arm. He asked to see Erik if he was there. Of course he was, and Erik was sort of flattered to have a visitor. In any case, the old man leaned down and smiled at Erik and said "Grandson, I see that you have a lot of little friends..." He pointed to all of the animals on the bed. "I have something for you here, someone who has been with me for a long time. I can see that you will love him, and give him a good home, and it's been a very long time since this..." He opened the box, and inside was a very old but very well cared for articulated, original "Teddy"... "It's been a long time since "Mishka" (Russian diminutive for a little bear) has had a little boy to love him... He once had one who loved him very much. He's been lonely for a very long time. He was my son's bear. My son... left me... in the war... I want you to have his bear... Give him a good home and love him."

       When he lifted the little bear out and handed him, very gently, over to Erik, my son hugged the bear, then hugged the old man and told him thank you... in very good Russian... Then...

       The old gentleman turned to me, reached down into the bottom of the box and took out an old black and white photo. He looked at me and said, "One of these days, when the child is older and understands, show him this." He handed me the photo. "Tell him that this little bear once met Lenin."

       The photo, which must have been taken in the early 1920s, showed a little boy, about ten years old, standing in line with what looked like his school class. He was holding the little bear up with his paw extended, and Lenin was shaking hands... with the bear.

       The man's son died in the Second World War.

       There was very seldom a day after that, that Erik would not stop and see the old gentleman on his way home from school, or wave to him, or sit and talk with him in the courtyard in front of our apartment building any time he saw him. He's gone now, like so many I've known over the years. He passed away not too long after he gave Erik this very special gift. He had cancer. I think he knew that he was dying when he did it. Erik and I both cried when he left us.


    About Bobbing Around

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

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

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

    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;
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    Submission Guidelines

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

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

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

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