Bobbing Around Volume 13 Number 8

Bobbing Around

Volume Thirteen, Number Eight
March, 2014

Bob Rich’s (melting ice coloured) rave

email other issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
“Moving the Opinions of Climate Change Deniers”
Book giveaway till 6th of March
Healing Scripts CD posted free to anywhere

*Responses to past issues
Rayne Golay
Dorothy Carroll

Some journalists are worth reading
We need more people like this man
State lawmakers will try to live off of the minimum wage for a week, by Bryce Covert
Heroes for peace treated as criminals
John Kerry calls for urgent climate action
Abbott’s insane logic exposed
Legal fight to defend the Great Barrier Reef is ON

Coal mine fire still raging
How to predict disaster
Rebuttal of the need for nuclear power
Chemical weapons all at sea
Trouble for tea
Arctic ice: no words needed
Your water footprint
Freezing in most of the US? Heatwave in Alaska
Norway wildfires — in winter

*Good news
Another source of eco-paper coming
From SumOfUs
Backyard gardens could feed a city, research shows
Church Of England Takes On ‘Giant Evil’ Of Climate Change, by Ari Phillips
Grantham: The Great American Shale Boom Is A Dangerous Waste Of Time And Money

Farming differently to save the planet
Airships: technology catching up with me
Waste water produces electricity plus clean water

*Deeper issues
Top Six Reasons to Stop Fighting Wars
Not everyone is greedy
Wealth is compatible with decency
Culture change: it’s happening. Copy this man
Can a free market economy be moral?
We need to replace the GDP, by Robert Costanza and colleagues

A new source of help for domestic violence
I hurt the people I love
Insulted and did not stand up for myself
Is he too old for me?
How do I say no?
I feel like a mess

Environmental Toxins Linked to Late-Onset Alzheimer’s, by s.e. smith
Is Your Bra Dangerous to Your Health? by Michelle Schoffro Cook
Dangers of testosterone therapy
Coffee Won’t Dehydrate You, New Study Finds
Diet worked for my dogs, so… by Carolyn Harris

*For writers
Behind the words: the messages your writing carries
Craft an exceptional elevator pitch, by Penny Sansevieri

*What my friends want you to know
New Edition of Multi Award-Winning Book
Success Is Your Birthright: God’s Success, by R. Stanton Tucker
Introduction to Ecovillage Design Education
A Policy and Enterprise Conference, Melbourne 24-25 March 2014
The All-New ‘Earth Garden’ Journal
Patonga’s Fundraiser For Mental Health in Gosford, NSW
Alchohemy in Audio

*Book reviews
Alchohemy: The Solution to Ending Your Alcohol Habit for Good-Privately, Discreetly, and Fully in Control, by David Norman
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by “Lauren B”
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Carolyn Harris
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Esther Simons
Ecologist Guide to Food, by Andrew Wasley
Memoirs of the 2008 and 2012 presidential election: Voice of a skeptical voter, by Katherine Greig

*A bit of fun
NEW STUDY: Corporate Welfare Makes the Rich Lazy, by David Harris Gershon
Prime Monster a people smuggler, by Bonnie Doon

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.

From me to you

I am posting this newsletter a few days early, for two reasons. First, I’ll be away from home at the turn of the month, and second, I want to ask a favour. Both are described below.

“Moving the Opinions of Climate Change Deniers”

This is the topic of a workshop I’ve developed. I have been given the opportunity of trying it out on the weekend between 28th February and 3rd of March. I’ll be talking to a group of 25 people at the time I would normally put the finishing touches to Bobbing Around.

I’ll let you know how I went next time.

Book giveaway till 6th of March


Expense be dashed, I’ve offered three free, postage free, autographed copies of Ascending Spiral through Goodreads. I was hoping for THOUSANDS of requests, but… not quite.

If you know anyone who might enjoy this book, please send them this link:

Thank you!

Guided imagery CD, reduced price


Last issue, I announced a reduction in price of my Healing Scripts CD. Having researched worldwide postage charges for a CD, I’ve decided to offer it with free shipping (for American speakers) to anywhere.

This is your chance for a very enjoyable and useful form of meditation.

Responses to past issues

Rayne Golay
Dorothy Carroll


Rayne Golay

Hi Bob,

Very good issue of “Bobbing Around,” as usual. I particularly enjoyed the section on psychology. Apparently, Australia is no different from the countries I’m familiar with when it comes to covering therapy for mood disorders and mental health. It’s regrettable, but when more people like you speak up, change may happen.

Was interviewed for an online outlet on child abuse. Here’s the link to the article if you’re interested in taking a look.

Best thoughts to you.

Dorothy Carroll

Dear Bob,

I really like this bobbing around it’s really easy to navigate & it all looks terrific. Your format is really good & as always I enjoy reading.



Some journalists are worth reading
We need more people like this man
State lawmakers will try to live off of the minimum wage for a week by Bryce Covert
Heroes for peace treated as criminals
John Kerry calls for urgent climate action
Abbott’s insane logic exposed
Legal fight to defend the Great Barrier Reef is ON


Some journalists are worth reading

One of them is James Campbell, whose article on my part of the world will give you a laugh, and an occasion for thought. He is reporting on the plight of the Leadbeater’s Possum, and on the equally endangered forestry industry. The two are in competition for survival.

James comes out on the side of the possum.

We need more people like this man

He is Tom Steyer, who is one of America’s billionaires. He has pledged $100 million to support candidates for election who strongly advocate for climate change action.

Read about it at

State lawmakers will try to live off of the minimum wage for a week
by Bryce Covert

Minnesota has one of the lowest minimum wages in the US. I think there will be 5 politicians who will want to have it raised.

Read about them at Think Progress.

Heroes for peace treated as criminals

An 84 year old nun and two devoutly Christian men did the impossible, and broke into a US nuclear weapons facility. They put up a banner, wrote quotes from the bible, and scattered some human blood as a symbolic act. When arrested, they treated the guards with friendship.

For these terrible crimes, they have been jailed.

Read the report

This is the blog dedicated to them.

John Kerry calls for urgent climate action

johnkerryUS Secretary of State is now running around the globe — China and Indonesia so far — to draw attention to the fact that we are at the point of no return. No major changes now, and we’re down the gurgler.

He is an optimist, and I salute him for it. I hope that the Prime Monsters of Australia and Canada have a change of heart and listen.

Read the report.

Abbott’s insane logic exposed

A brilliant blog by Alex White is the clearest explanation I have yet seen of how the climate change denier mind works.

In summary, to the conservative mindset, being wealthy is proof of being a moral, hardworking person. Being poor and needy is proof of being beneath contempt.

Alex then shows the folly of this, and advances an argument that, if read and considered, would be very hard to refute by someone starting from such a mindset.i-hate-poor-people

Legal fight to defend the Great Barrier Reef is ON



They must have assumed they’d had the final word.

When Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the Marine Park Authority approved dumping of five million tonnes of seabed inside Reef waters, it was supposed to be campaign over. Vested interests had won, and our Reef would be sold out for short-term profits.

Instead, something incredible happened. You and thousands of other GetUp members put your own money forward to launch a citizens’ Reef Fighting Fund. We’ve never seen anything quite like it.

All up, more than 16,000 people have donated so EDO [Environment Defenders’ Office; recently denied government funding] Queensland and North Queensland Conservation Council can take this fight to the courts. Thanks to your generosity, we’re contributing $130,000 to the legal case right off the bat — $50,000 more than our original target! You’ve also ensured we have the resources to fund a strong ongoing campaign that won’t shy away from other hard-hitting legal, legislative and corporate tactics.

Thank you.

We all know how prolonged and expensive legal fights can be. To their enormous credit, EDO Queensland and North Queensland Conservation Council had been prepared to pull together a case on a barebones budget. Now, thanks to you and other GetUp members, it’s a very different story.

“Now there is money for expert witnesses, court transcripts, barristers’ fees and transport costs. We can be bigger, better and more ambitious with the court case to protect the Reef. This is nothing short of miraculous. We are overwhelmed by the determination of GetUp supporters!” — Jo Bragg, EDO Queensland Solicitor.

No matter what happens in court, we’ve sent a very uncomfortable ripple through the legions of power and the vested interests used to getting their way. Thousands of everyday Australians are making it possible to go toe-to-toe with big mining, and together we will do everything in our power to protect our Reef.

There’s so much further to go with this campaign, so we’ll be in touch soon. But now, for everything, thank you.

The GetUp team

Donations still needed and accepted!


Coal mine fire still raging
How to predict disaster
Rebuttal of the need for nuclear power
Chemical weapons all at sea
Trouble for tea
Arctic ice: no words needed
Your water footprint
Freezing in most of the US? Heatwave in Alaska
Norway wildfires — in winter


Coal mine fire still raging


Victoria, Australia is suffering its worst fire season since the disastrous fires of 2009. One of these fires has started in an open cut coal mine. The coal goes down a long way, and such fires can burn for many years.

I hope someone comes up with the technical solution of putting this fire out. But then, the terrible peat fires of Indonesia are similar, and they’ve been going for years.

Another nail in the coffin of humanity.

How to predict disaster

Of necessity, the usual predictions of the effects of climate change focus on predictable, gradual changes. Put so much CO2 into the atmosphere, and you can expect an average global rise in temperature of such-and-such.

However, in addition to this kind of change, there is also discontinuous, stepwise change. Through an unfortunate coincidence, several processes converge, and a system is unable to cope.

There is a standard statistical technique for predicting the outcome of such events, called a Markov process [PDF file]. A subset of these have an “absorbing state.”

Suppose a drunken man is staggering home along a mountain path. You know the kind: a near-vertical wall rises on his left, a sheer drop waits for him on the right. Each step takes him forward, but also some steps move him a certain distance to one side or another. So, regardless of where he’s been, his next location is completely determined by where he is now, and the next step he takes. That’s the essence of a Markov process.

The sideways distance randomly varies in size and direction. He may safely get home. Or, he may be in a position of having three or four steps taking him to the very edge. If now his next step is slightly to the right, over he goes. That’s the absorbing state.

By measuring the sideways variation of his past few hundred steps, we can estimate the probability that, some time or another, he will plummet.

This is the kind of logic used by insurance companies to asses risk. It is the logic we can use to assess the probability that a combination of events may take humanity into the absorbing state of total collapse.

I don’t have the resources to collect relevant data and do the calculations, but I hope a reader with a university affiliation and project-hungry research students might. All I can say is that this way of looking at environmental degradation is just as necessary as the projection of more or less continuous trends.

Recent research has showed that quite a number of very serious potential global disasters are possible absorbing states for a Markov process. An example is the danger of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf starting to break up.

Fascinating account of the history of glaciology.

Rebuttal of the need for nuclear power


Recently, a number of respected conservationists have called for expansion of nuclear power in order to reduce the use of coal. A beautifully written, faultlessly researched and argued paper by a group of Japanese academics rebuts this [PDF document].

A must read.

The most important statement in the report is: “If we can eliminate the barrier of vested interests, then it is technologically possible and economically feasible to achieve two degrees C target without relying on nuclear power or fossil fuels.”

Chemical weapons all at sea

The destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons is old news now, but we actually don’t know if the process has any toxic leftovers. My friend Thomas Pascoe lives in Crete, and locals are concerned about what chemical residues may be poisoning their sea. He drew my attention to this article in the Washington Times.

Trouble for tea

Tea is a very popular drink: an estimated 3 billion cups are used annually. However, a recent Ecologist report points out several problems.

Climate change is one. All the main producing nations are under threat from bad environmental events such as drought.

If you like a cuppa, you will want to read the report for yourself.

Arctic ice: no words needed


Your water footprint

Use of fresh water is one of the ecological bottlenecks, one that’s less discussed than climate change, but potentially just as deadly.

Your water footprint has two components: personal use for things like drinking, hygiene, and gardening; and the amount of water needed to produce what you use, including food, clothing and entertainment (think of the water used on a golf course).<p.A pernicious aspect is that the wealthy countries import a lot of this indirect water from places that are suffering severe water stress.

You can calculate your water footprint by studying the material at

Freezing in most of the US? Heatwave in Alaska

And the two are tied together. When cold air “falls” from north to south, warm air will replace it.

Read the article
This photo shows a major Alaskan highway, cut by an avalanche caused by rain — in January.

Norway wildfires — in winter

Reported by “Robert Scribbler”.

If you will read my essay But there is no need for despair, you will see that I predicted wildfires in areas of the world like Scandinavia. It is now happening, but even I didn’t expect it to be happening in December.

Good news

Another source of eco-paper coming
From SumOfUs
Backyard gardens could feed a city, research shows
Church Of England Takes On ‘Giant Evil’ Of Climate Change by Ari Phillips
Grantham: The Great American Shale Boom Is A Dangerous Waste Of Time And Money


Another source of eco-paper coming

palmoilJungle once stood here

A Thai company is almost ready to go into production of high-grade paper made from palm oil waste.

I’d prefer no palm oil plantations at all, but they exist, and anything is better than chipping up trees for paper. Let’s hope they get into full production soon and succeed.

There already is a source excellent printing paper, made from wheat straw in India. I’ve recently written about it.

From SumOfUs

Dear Bob,

This, just in the last 3 months:

  • The “world’s least sustainable corporation” has committed to stop destroying the rainforest
  • Three huge clothing manufacturers have stopped torturing rabbits for their fur
  • The biggest corporate power grab in a generation has stalled in the US Congress, and is facing growing opposition around the world
  • The UK government has put plans to sell citizens’ private medical data to corporations on hold.

Our growing community of more than 3 million people played a crucial role in every one of these victories — and many, many more! It’s been an exciting few months.

Meanwhile, we’re pushing forward in other areas, too. A massive US garden store has confirmed to us that it’s developing a policy on neonics, the pesticides that are killing the bees. We’ve filed a legal request to fight back in the courts against Bayer’s attempt to overturn Europe’s ban on these poisons. And more and more companies are making strong commitments to remove conflict palm oil from their products. Things are happening fast.

But let’s be clear: The fight against corporate power is a big one. In almost every country, and on almost every issue, big corporations are fighting against the issues we care most about. From environmental protection to human rights to economic justice, corporate power is a huge part of the problem. And until we name it and fight it, we can’t win.

And that’s why there is huge hope in the SumOfUs community. Together, we’re 3 million people strong — and we hold tremendous collective power over the corporations that increasingly control our democracies.

Thanks for being a part of it. Towards the next 3 months,

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Executive Director

PS: Get ready for some groundbreaking campaigning in the months ahead to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and challenge giant corporations like Monsanto, as well as the launch of SumOfUs in German, French and Spanish (with more to come). Chip in to make it happen here.

Backyard gardens could feed a city, research shows

The report concerns the Australian city of Melbourne, which has a fairly benign climate. All the same, it should be relevant to a great many other places in the world.

Church Of England Takes On ‘Giant Evil’ Of Climate Change
by Ari Phillips

The Church of England’s parliamentary body announced that it was considering redirecting its investments in an effort to battle climate change. The motion put forward, which called for the Church to recognize “the damage being done to the planet through the burning of fossil fuels,” received overwhelming support.

“Climate Change is a moral issue because the rich world has disproportionately contributed to it and the poor world is disproportionately suffering,” Canon Goddard said.

According to the Church of England’s official statement, the passing of the motion makes clear that the Church’s investment policies are “aligned with the theological, moral and social priorities” of the Church on climate change.

Read on.

Grantham: The Great American Shale Boom Is A Dangerous Waste Of Time And Money

at the Business Insider.

Obviously, his business advice is, invest in the future. My only disagreement is, we don’t have 30 years. Do it yesterday.

It’s good to know many already are:

A Reuters report has stated that big investors are withdrawing sums amounting to a couple of billion dollars from fossil fuel industries. They are being wise as well as environmentally responsible: an article in the right wing rag The Australian has reported a prediction from a major mining company that coal prices are set to plummet in 2014.

One wonders then, why there is such a rush to destroy the Great Barrier reef in order to expand coal port facilities.


Farming differently to save the planet
Airships: technology catching up with me
Waste water produces electricity plus clean water


Farming differently to save the planet

Britain is being devastated by floods. Here is a (not too good) picture of the border between two farms. On the left is Rebecca Hosking’s Permaculture farm, with greenery and soil in place. On the right is her neighbour’s, under muddy water.

The soil on her farm is also a storehouse of organic matter: by binding carbon dioxide, it helps to reduce the effects of industrial idiocy.

You can read an article about Rebecca written by Maddy Harland.

Permaculture is a catchy name for a philosophy of farming that works, because it is based on age-old wisdom. Chinese farmed the same land over thousands of years without loss of fertility — until the introduction of western farming techniques.

You should read what a top level UN conference had to say about this [PDF].

Airships: Technology catching up with me

The world of my science fiction novel Sleeper, Awake centrally depends on large airships called “vacuum balloons.” They were developed because helium, being a byproduct of oil extraction, was no longer available.

Airships have several huge advantages over other forms of transport. At last, they are again being developed, and could revolutionise things like freight transport. Read the report and see a video.

Waste water produces electricity plus clean water

It’s not magic but science, developed for NASA to deal with waste water in space. It’s now being applied on an industrial scale.

You can read a report here.

Deeper Issues

Top Six Reasons to Stop Fighting Wars
Not everyone is greedy
Wealth is compatible with decency
Culture change: it’s happening. Copy this man
Can a free market economy be moral?
We need to replace the GDP by Robert Costanza and colleagues


Top Six Reasons to Stop Fighting Wars


This moving, powerful piece of writing is the best I have read this year. It is from the heart, using the brain as a tool: well researched, calmly passionate, and exactly right.

If we had the kind of world culture that doesn’t need war, doesn’t need a military, we would have more than all the resources needed to correct every global problem.

All we need is for enough people to want such a world. Read the essay, and join the author’s team.

Not everyone is greedy

Homeless Hungarian man László Andraschek
A homeless man spent his last few coins on a lottery ticket — and won a huge prize. He has certainly paid off his own debts and improved the living conditions of his family, but instead of splurging the money, he has also established a foundation to care for other homeless people, and for helping women escaping domestic violence.

The cliche, “Human nature being what it is” implies that we are selfish, uncaring, nasty even. This is false. All of us has both noble and selfish in us. We need to use Mr Andraschek as our role model.

Wealth is compatible with decency

Our world is being wrecked by greed: huge businesses taking as much as they can while giving back nothing but grief.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, is sponsoring 6 Caribbean countries as they switch from diesel power to renewables combined with energy conservation.

Read the full report by Andrew Burger.

Culture change: it’s happening. Copy this man

From Daily Cos

Most of you know about the disgraceful scene at a Salt Lake City elementary school, where 40 kids had their lunches thrown away because they had negative balances in their accounts. When Kenny Thompson, a longtime tutor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, found out that several kids at his school had negative balances, he was determined to prevent a repeat performance of what happened in Salt Lake City. So Thompson stepped up and fully funded the accounts.

“I’m like, ‘Wow. I know that’s probably a situation at my school, and the school my son goes to, and the other schools I mentor at.’ So I came in and inquired about it,” Thompson said.

He not only inquired about it, Thompson learned that many of the kids were already on reduced lunch. Children whose parents couldn’t afford the meals that cost just 40 cents a day. He took $465 of his own money and zeroed out the delinquent accounts of more than 60 kids.

“These are elementary school kids. They don’t need to be worried about finances,” said Thompson. “They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling.”

The kids with negative balances had been making do with cold cheese sandwiches. Now they get to have a good hot meal like everyone else. Thompson said one other thing that spurred him to action was that a lot of kids were skipping the lunch line altogether rather than endure the embarrassment. In some cases, this meant they were missing out on the only full meal they’d even get a chance to have at all during the day.

Within hours of this running on KPRC’s Monday news, the station’s phone line blew up with calls from people asking how they could help. Thompson has now taken his effort national, and has started a foundation called Feed the Future Forward to make sure kids everywhere get fed.

Donate here.

Can a free market economy be moral?


akidjan has provided 25 powerful, convincing historical examples that say no.

Left to itself, business will maximise profits at any cost to others: communities, customers, workers.

We need a society built on “Above all, do no harm.” While those with the moneybags think that’s ridiculous, they need tethers around their necks, held tight by government. However, they BUY politicians. So, it’s up to us, the ordinary people they despise and dismiss, to hold government to account.

We need to replace the GDP
by Robert Costanza and colleagues

Bob Costanza is at the Australian National University. He is the lead author of a “Comments” piece in Nature that should be obligatory reading for everyone puzzled by the fact that becoming wealthier doesn’t make you happier.


A new source of help for domestic violence
I hurt the people I love
Insulted and did not stand up for myself
Is he too old for me?
How do I say no?
I feel like a mess


A new source of help for domestic violence


Secrecy is one of the worst problems with domestic violence. According to Carimah Townes, a recent study showed that while one-third of American women have experienced domestic violence, only 25% of them discuss it with their doctor.

A new source of identification and referral has come into being: hairdressers, “beauty therapists” and similar are being trained to spot the indications of domestic violence, and given resources to refer their customer to sources of help.

This is the kind of change we need to see in society.

I hurt the people I love

Hai! I’m Nerida from Peru. Unfortunately, I’ve been surfing around the websites to ways controlling my anger but unfortunately, nothings working out. Its so difficult and since raising thousands of problem to me xoz of my anger and at times I do even hurt my close ones. I need your help. I won’t be able to consult a doctor regarding to it. I need ur help. I’m just not even to recognise the state when anger takes over the situation and spoils it and the worst part is I do never realise it at that state of moment and my priorities unknowingly is my anger not caring of the results that may occur or may hurt my close ones. I’m really afraid I can’t help myself

Take care

Dear Nerida,

You have taken the first step in overcoming your anger: you want to do so. You recognise that there is a problem, and it distresses you. So, you are ready for change.

A secret is this: you are not responsible for FEELING angry, for having angry thoughts, for the way your body reacts to certain situations. You do not think, “Hmm, what will I do? I know, I’ll get angry!”

Rather, it is an automatic reaction. This is the way it happens, whether you want to or not.

What you ARE responsible for is the way you react to feeling angry. Until now, you have acted as if you had no choice. You were feeling angry, so you acted in aggressive, harmful ways. I imagine this is shouting, using hurtful words, perhaps physical violence.

Such reactions are NOT automatic. Nothing forces them on you, except habit, and habits can be changed.

Read my habit change page for some ideas on how to change habits.

If you can spare a few dollars, buy my little book Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias.

That sets out a simple program for training yourself to have a “switch” for turning the anger off, just long enough to exercise choice in how to react. All you need is time enough for one breath, then you are in control. You then have at least 6 choices:

  • Yes, in this situation I should throw a tantrum.
  • Not worth bothering, I’ll just walk away.
  • Handle it assertively (this is to protect my space without attacking the other person in any way).
  • Take time out. Calm down, think out how I should respond, then return and deal with the issue.
  • Humour (not AT other people). Turn the issue aside with a joke.
  • Vigorous exercise. Let it out through chopping wood, pummelling a punching bag or big pillow, go for a run.

Many other people have done this. So can you.

Insulted and did not stand up for myself

Got insulted by a damn salesman recently in front of acquaintances. Did not stand up for myself, he indirectly implied I was not smart and said he did not like my tone of voice. I ignored it and now feel angry at myself and ashamed. Did I just lose everyone’s respect at that place along with my own? Should I just move on?

Selwyn my friend,

I can suggest two separate ways of addressing this problem. Have a go at both.

The first is to learn a new skill. Most people have an armory of two reactions to an insult: aggression or retreat. There is a third, called being “assertive.” It doesn’t work if the other person insists on being objectionable, but it has the best chance of working, and even if it fails it puts you on the moral high ground.

Here is a card I often hand out to my clients:

Assertive communication

You can handle an annoyance in three ways:
1. Bulldozer: “Get off my toes or I’ll punch your face in!”
2. Doormat: “Sorry for being in your way. Please trample on me.”
3. Assertive: “You’re standing on my toes and it hurts. Please get off now.”
The assertive formula is: “When you do this, I feel… so please do that.”
You don’t need the formula in words, but use the philosophy behind it.

Had you been assertive in this interaction, there may have been nothing in your tone to offend this fellow in the first place. If he wanted to pick on you anyway, you could have said something like “I find your judging attitude to be objectionable. Please treat me with the respect you expect for yourself.”

That is, you maintain your dignity, defend your territory, without attacking.

This is a skill, and you need to practice it. Do that by replaying past situations in imagination, and responding assertively. Do it in front of a mirror, and in role play with trusted friends. Then try it out in real life.

Second, there is nothing wrong with you as a person. Some of the things you do are excellent. Most of the things you do are OK. The remainder are your growing opportunities. Learning to be assertive is one of them.

One way of thinking about this is to write a film script, whose hero is Selwyn. Only, this is the Selwyn you’re going to be when you’ve learned the lessons you need. There is no story line for the film yet, but you need to describe this new Selwyn so well that an actor could step in. The more concrete and detailed you make the description, the better. But note what can go into a film script: only what the camera and microphone can capture. Thoughts, emotions, memories, images are excluded.

Then of course you become the actor, and learn to DO the new Selwyn.

Good luck!

Is he too old for me?

I go to school with this guy. Let’s call him Bill. Well, Bill was having problems from the past with his wife and as soon as he graduates, and finds a job, he’s filing for a divorce. The other night, he told me he liked me, and I like him too. I’m 19, and his oldest son is a year younger than me. So, he’s kind of older than I am. Everyday we talk, text, skype, or when he’s not at work, we’re gaming. We have so much in common that it’s scary. Not scary that makes me want to run, but scary because I could easily fall in love. I have chosen not to officially date him until after his divorce is final.

I suppose my question is, should I stick around and talk to him while he’s going through the divorce or should I try and move on? Again, before I even got to know him he told me about his problems with his current wife. I feel as if right now, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if he walked out of my life. We have not had sex or any kind of kissing or making out or even holding hands. He just simply told me he liked me and we’ve flirted back and forth.

I’m not sure what I should do. I want to stick around and hope he gets the divorce soon since he’s been unhappy for two years. All I want to do is be able to call him mine.

Annie, you’ve answered your question in your last sentence. You want to be with him and build a long term relationship.

The two of you are being wise, not rushing things, and acting morally. That’s the best basis for a relationship. It’s really good to be friends first, before being lovers.

I suspect the reason for your doubt is “what will people think?” Will his children accept you? How will your family and friends react to you being with a man “old enough to be her father”?

If this is so, approach his kids with an attitude of respect and equality. Smile at critics and say, “It’s my life. Thank you for your concern, I appreciate it, but I am enjoying things, and when problems arise, he and I will handle them.”

Follow your intuition, not that of others.

How do I say no?

I am 10 years old and having problems; this guy asked me out, well really his friends did for me but, I am not into dating guy friends, I mean on a scale of 1-10 with how much I like him I would choose 6 but the last time I dated a guy friend I ended up not looking at him for two weeks should I say yes or no? they keep on asking and I can’t keep on saying no. I need to give a reason but what do I say??? plz help me!!!

Bella, you show remarkable wisdom in not wanting to date guys. Trust this judgment.

I have a rule: anybody can ask me anything, as long as I can say yes or no. So, OK, someone has asked you something. You can say yes or no.

You can say, “Nothing personal against you, but I am not interested in that stuff.” Or repeat what I just wrote: “It’s OK for you to ask me, but it’s OK for me to say no.”

So, you don’t need to give a reason. You have a right to run your life the way you want, as long as you act decently and responsibly, and don’t hurt anyone else. Have fun, your way. Enjoy being a girl of 10.

And if other girls make different choices, that’s OK. They can. You are not a sheep, but a thinking person who makes up her own mind. Be proud of that independence.

Your new grandfather,

I feel like a mess

I’m 23 good looking and smart but I feel like a mess, I don’t know where I’m going in my life. I have no sense of direction at all, no hobbies, no friends and my girlfriend of 3 years broke up with me less than a month ago and its still getting me down a lot. I’m in a deep state of depression I have never held down a job nor have I attended any type of schooling passed a ged. I live with my mom who has gone nowhere in life, she lives off of social security checks and I don’t want to end like her, I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m a shut in, I’m afraid to talk to people and I’m very shy, I think if I say something it’ll sound stupid or it won’t be right I think I have a case of social anxiety which fuels my depressed state even more. All of my old friends have jobs and are almost Done with college and I’m stuck in my room with nothing, no one no light at the end of the tunnel, I’m afraid to go to college cause I feel like I won’t like it and dropout like I did with high school and I just got my ged which took 3 years and was tough, and I’m also thinking about getting into a trade but I have no clue which one. I have no skills or past work experience with anything, I guess this is less of a question and more of me crying out for help. I don’t want to be a nobody in life, I want to make some thing of myself and be able to support myself. I need advice on how to get out of this rut.

John, I am willing to bet that you don’t always feel so helpless and hopeless, although at the moment it feels like it’s been forever and will continue forever. Less than a month ago, your girlfriend broke up with you, and you are still grieving. That’d drag anyone down, particularly a loner like you and me.

When I was your age, I asked a girl to marry me. She turned me down, and I felt like you feel now. 6 months later, I was married to another girl, and we’re still married 47 years later. You don’t know what’s around the corner.

Let’s go back 3 years. If you are so hopeless, how come you managed to get a girlfriend in the first place? What did she see in you, and why did she stick around for 3 years? Doesn’t this show that there must be good things about you? Work out what they are.

I can’t tell you whether to go for a trade, or to return to study. You have decided that you’ll create a good future for yourself. The first step is to find something to aim for. You can do this through a technique called brainstorming:

1. Think up as many future occupations as you can. Don’t criticize your ideas, write down whatever comes to mind. A stupid idea can lead to a good one. No censoring at all at this stage, just write down as many possibilities as you can.

2. Say you got 40. Next, order them in terms of attractiveness (do I really want to be a lawyer for the rest of my life?) and practicality. Put them in order.

3. Finally, research the top few. Find out everything you can about them. Then choose one.

Then go for it with everything you’ve got. That will end your feeling of drifting — because you are not, any more.

Let me know what you decided on.


Environmental Toxins Linked to Late-Onset Alzheimer’s by s.e. smith
Is Your Bra Dangerous to Your Health? by Michelle Schoffro Cook
Dangers of testosterone therapy
Coffee Won’t Dehydrate You, New Study Finds
Diet worked for my dogs, so… by Carolyn Harris


Environmental Toxins Linked to Late-Onset Alzheimer’s
by s.e. smith

Many health problems are the result of toxic substances, which have a long onset. You copped some DDT as a youngster? It could perhaps destroy you 50 years later.


Photo from Sonia Shah.

Is Your Bra Dangerous to Your Health?
Michelle Schoffro Cook

“To Bra or Not to Bra?” That’s the question medical anthropologists Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer, are asking. They’ve been studying the connection between bras and women’s health for twenty years. Some of you may recall their book Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras.

They found that wearing bras can make breasts droopy and stretched out, cause cysts, pain, and possibly even cancer. Years ago they conducted a study in which they found that bras are linked to breast cancer. In the same way that corsets were the height of fashion in their time and interfered with circulation and lymph flow, bras have the same effect, according to Ross Singer and Grismaijer.

The lymphatic system is the body’s “waste disposal system” which moves lymph fluid around the whole body collecting up debris and toxins found in the tissues so it can be eliminated. Ross Singer and Grismaijer found that bras restrict lymph flow which may be the connection to the increase risk of breast cancer. Backed up lymphatic fluid can also cause pain and cysts.

Their research shows that women who go bra-free have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men, which is extremely low. And the longer and tighter a bra, the higher the incidence of breast cancer. Women who wear bras every day, all day have over 100 times the breast cancer incidence as bra-free women, according to the authors.

Additional Harvard studies along with Chinese and Venezuelan research have confirmed their findings.


Dangers of testosterone therapy

…are set out at Drug Dangers. There is an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes if you take testosterone.

And if you’re a woman, you may need to shave regularly too (sorry, that’s my addition).

Coffee Won’t Dehydrate You, New Study Finds

I have been advised, many times, including by health professionals, that I need to drink two and a half glasses of water for each cup of coffee. I don’t drink coffee anyway, but the same is said about my tipple of choice, which is a chocolaty drink.

Well, a simple and well-designed study tested the dehydrating effects of coffee, and found the belief to be untrue.

Read it at

Diet worked for my dogs, so…
by Carolyn Harris

I needed to lose some weight and was heartily sick of avoiding everything that ‘they’ say is fattening, ‘their’ facts change every day and what is ‘good’ one day is ‘bad’ the next. Fad Diets are dangerous and usually so utterly wrong.

These were my thoughts as I put food down for my dogs.

Now, because my Blue Heeler is allergic to ‘storage mite’, which is found in all grain products, I have had to resort to making up food for him and so included my Miniature Poodle in the new food regime.

I buy ten types of vegetables and fruit (not of the onion family, which is poisonous to dogs), put them all through the food processor, mix in meat, usually roo and beef bought in the animal meat section, then bag up 800 gram amounts and freeze it.

These vegetables usually include tomatoes, capsicum (a pepper) cabbage, spinach, apples, zucchini, parsnip, swede, sweet potato and broccoli. Yes, dogs love all fruit and vegetables if they can get them.

For the past six years neither dog has put on any weight at all. They remain at a healthy 26 kilos for the Heeler and 10 kilos for the Poodle.

As I watched them wolfing it down it suddenly occurred to me that I should do the same for myself, I wouldn’t go so far as to eat it off the floor, but I would cut out all grain products — rice, wheat, barley, etc and see what happened. This meant that things like bread, cake, biscuits, pasta, and all other foods that are bulked up with grain products would not be part of my food intake from now on.

One year later I lost the required 10 kilos and have not put it on again. I eat butter, full cream milk, cheese, vegetables, fruit, meat and fish with no fear of gaining weight at all. I have found I am not interested in tinned foods, but that came as a side issue to my main scheme.

I substitute cabbage and spinach in place of pasta, finely cut and doused in hot water is just as good as pasta and healthier.

I use cabbage leaves doused in hot water and laid in a pizza pan in place of pastry for a pizza.

There are hundreds of ways of avoiding grain products and all of them good for you.

I don’t make a big issue of it, if I go out to a friend’s place for lunch I eat whatever she serves in the way of bread, but I don’t eat a lot of it. I tend to totally forget I have cut out grains, and unless someone asks how I lost weight, I don’t mention it, it’s not an issue.

This success in my life has led me to wonder what they are doing to grains nowadays that it can be so easy to lose weight if we don’t eat them, and if they are doing it with one of the most basic food resources, what are they doing to other foods?

I am guilty of looking at trolleys in the supermarket that are wheeled through the checkouts if the woman is overweight, and yes, there are the offending items, loaves of bread, buns, pasta packets…

I am not saying this would work for everyone, but it is certainly worth trying. Without bread I don’t bloat, I have more energy and I feel much better.

It’s worth a try. 🙂


Behind the words: the messages your writing carries
Craft an exceptional elevator pitch by Penny Sansevieri


Behind the words: the messages your writing carries

Every piece of text has a purpose. A shopping list is a reminder, and perhaps a restraining tool. A novel is meant to entertain. A car manual is designed to guide maintenance and repairs.

That’s up front. Behind it, invisible, is the belief system of the writer. That shopping list can be very illuminating regarding the lifestyle of its author. For example, my shopping list never has alcoholic drinks on it. If you read my stories, alcohol use tends to be limited to characters I disapprove of, or to characters who are going to learn painful lessons about what alcohol does to people.

Not that I am a killjoy. It is rather that my thinking-when-I-don’t-think-about-it is influenced by my work as a psychotherapist. I have seen the worst this substance can do, and automatically react against it.

Every piece of writing has such hidden messages. What to you is common sense, so obvious that it doesn’t need to be expressed, will be there, telling the world about you as a person. You simply cannot avoid this. And other people’s common sense is different from yours.

Nor should you want to avoid having your writing display your inner reality. Instead, make the unconscious conscious, and become deliberate about using your words to create the kind of society you approve of. This will give your writing strength and passion — as long as you carefully avoid missionary zeal. No one likes to be preached at by someone who is supposed to give you a few hours of pleasant relaxation, or useful instruction, or helpful information (depending on the type of writing).

I think this is one of the features that sets off hack writing from the memorable, whether we are considering fiction or nonfiction. A boy meets girl story can be a standard, formula romance. Read a half a dozen, and they’ll merge into one another. Or it can be powerful, emotionally compelling, because it is written with passion and conviction. The story is a vehicle for creating the reality of choice the author would like to see. It may have events in it the author would like to eliminate from real life, such as domestic violence, or racial hatred, or hanging on to past hurt. Without lecturing, it teaches.

A cook book is instructional, nonfiction. It can simply have recipes and pictures. But it is also an expression of the author’s sense of creativity, humour, views on health, knowledge of cultures — or the lack of these characteristics.

In fiction and creative nonfiction (biography, travel, journalism), memorable writing is set apart by passion and commitment. This is the fruit of self-understanding: knowing where you are coming from, where you are, and where you want to go.

So, make the implicit known to yourself, and write deliberately, with the aim of improving the world. Have that cook book become a tool for giving people better lives. Have that novel inspire and provoke thought as well as entertain. That travelogue can be a better geographical and cultural instruction that any text book.

Actually, coming to think of it, this is not only a recipe for writing, but a recipe for life.

Craft an exceptional elevator pitch
by Penny Sansevieri

So what is an elevator pitch and why do you need one?

An elevator pitch is a short 1 to 2 sentence description about the book. It’s the briefest of the briefest descriptions you can come up with. The reason elevator pitches are important is that we have an ever shrinking attention span, and so you need to capture someone’s attention in a very short, sisynced pitch.

How do you begin crafting elevator pitch? Well, the first thing is to look at the core of your book. What is your book about, really? Looking at the core of your book will help you determine the primary message. The next piece of this is to look at the real benefits to the reader. Not what you think the reader wants to what they actually need. So, what’s in it for the reader?

When I worked with people on elevator pitches before I found that they often kept the best sentence for last. This comes from being an author and saving the crescendo of the story till the final chapter. You don’t want to do that in an elevator pitch. You want to lead with the tease that will pull the reader in.

When would you use an elevator pitch? You might use it to get yourself to the media, or a book or speaking event, or to a blogger. Elevator pitches can be used for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. Once you have a great elevator pitch you may find yourself using it over and over again. That’s a good thing!

Components of a great elevator pitch

All elevator pitches have particular relevance to them, but for the most part every elevator pitch has at least one or more of the following bullets:

  • Emotion
  • Helpful
  • Insightful
  • Timely
  • It must matter to your reader!

Essential Elements of a Powerful Elevator Pitch

  1. Concise: Your page needs to be short, sweet, to the point.
  2. Clear: Save your five dollar words for another time. For your elevator pitch to be effective, you must use simple language any layperson could understand. If you make someone think about a word, you’ll lose them and the effectiveness of your elevator pitch will go right out the window as well.
  3. Passion: if you’re not passionate about your topic, have you expect anyone else to be?
  4. Visual: use words that bring visual elements to your reader’s mind. It will help to make your message more memorable, as well as bring the reader into your story.
  5. Stories: and speaking of stories, people love stories. So the one, and perhaps the biggest element of the elevator pitches: tell the story. I also find that when the pitch is woven into the story it often helps to create a smoother presentation.

How to Craft Your Killer Elevator Pitch

  • Write it down: first you want to write down, start by writing a very short story so if you can tell the story of your book in two paragraphs. This will get the juices flowing. As you start to wiggle your story down from let’s say 200,000 words to 2 paragraphs, you’ll start to see why it’s important to pull only the most essential elements from your story to craft your elevator pitch.
  • Make a list: make a list of 10 to 20 things that your book does for the reader. So this can be action statements, benefits, or book objectives.
  • Record yourself: Next, you’re going to want to get a recorder to record yourself. See how you sound. I can almost guarantee you that you will not like the first few drafts of this that you do. That actually a really good thing if you like the first thing that you write, it probably won’t be that effective. Recording yourself will really help you to listen what you’re saying and figure out how to tighten up various areas of it.
  • Rest: I highly recommend that you give yourself enough time to do your elevator pitch. Ideally you want to let it rest overnight, if not longer. Remember the elevator pitch is perhaps the most important thing that you created your marketing package. Make sure it’s right.

Wishing you publishing success,

Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. AME is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 12 books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity. AME was the first book marketing firm to use Internet promotion to its full impact through The Virtual Author Tour. AME has promoted 11 recent bestsellers. To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit her web site.

What my friends want you to know

New Edition of Multi Award-Winning Book
Success Is Your Birthright: God’s Success, by R. Stanton Tucker
Introduction to Ecovillage Design Education
A Policy and Enterprise Conference
Melbourne 24-25 March 2014
The All-New ‘Earth Garden’ Journal
Patonga’s Fundraiser For Mental Health in Gosford, NSW
Alchocemy in Audio


New Edition of Multi Award-Winning Book

Coming to the Aid of Anyone who Writes with Updated Editing and Grammar Information

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s newest book is second edition of the multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your new bestseller.

The first edition was winner of USA Book News’ pick for Best Professional Book, a Reader Views winner, and received nods from the New Generation awards and the Military Writers Society of America, but the new version is Expanded (more than 100 pages)! Updated! And reformatted for e-books that have changed considerably since it was published in 2007. It also has a new subtitle, a new cover by Chaz DeSimone with a new three-dimensional look by Gene Cartwright.

The second edition covers new editing tricks the author has come to appreciate since the first was published, including how to spot the overuse of helping verbs when simple past tense would work as well; a reminder that politically correct usage isn’t always what a writer should strive for (consider some of the language used in the award-winning movie Twelve Years A Slave); and more on style choices vs. grammar rules and how to make those choices. She says, “I’d be embarrassed if I had to say I hadn’t learned anything more I could share with my readers in seven years since the first edition was published.”

Howard-Johnson, an instructor for nearly a decade at UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program, chose to release this new edition for e-books with Amazon’s Kindle because their free app allows readers to access it for many platforms and the lower price of digital publishing gives her struggling students and clients an affordable choice. It will soon be available in print, too.

The Frugal Editor battles the gremlins out there who are determined to keep an author’s work from being published or promoted. Resolved to embarrass authors before the gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for them — these gremlins lurk in a writer’s subconscious and the depths of computer programs. Whether a new or experienced author, The Frugal Editor helps writers present whistle-clean copy (from a one-page cover letter to your entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say “yea” or “nay.”

Learn more about Howard-Johnson and her HowToDoItFrugally series of books.

The e-book is available at

Success Is Your Birthright: God’s Success by R. Stanton Tucker

(Paperback, ISBN 978-0-9895675-1-0, $14.99).

This book offers hope, love, and lessons to cope with those not so great moments and the people who instigate and perpetuate them, including ourselves, using the biblical Joseph Story as a platform. Why the Joseph Story? His story mirrors our own. He too experienced life’s roller coaster. Joseph’s story is not just a testament to resilience, but one of faith in and reliance on God.

Success Is Your Birthright: God’s Success:

  • Offers a spiritual awakening
  • Builds confidence
  • Prods introspection and growth
  • Encourages during difficult times
  • Challenges misconceptions
  • Opens a closed heart and hands
  • Demonstrates love, hope, selflessness, and forgiveness

Success Is Your Birthright: God’s Success is a captivating appraisal, making it hard to put down. We discover life’s beauty and the confidence to bounce back from life’s unpredictable moments.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and internationally in bookshops.

Read an excerpt.

Introduction to Ecovillage Design Education

Sunday 6th April – Friday 11th April 2014
Paradise One, Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

A six day journey introducing the four pillars of Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) as taught around the world by Gaia Education.

An experience based course that will explore eco and intentional communities incorporating aspects of Transition Towns, Permaculture, Social Design and Deep Ecology and the latest processes and knowledge from eco villages around the world.

Taught by an experienced team with a wealth of knowledge from Ecovillages around the world including Findhorn in Scotland and Zegg in Germany. The course is set in Paradise One, a fledgling community 10 minutes from Byron Bay, and incorporates the community as part of the course.

Topics covered in the workshop will include but not limited to:

  • Social design
    Group decision making and archetypes
    Different process to solve conflict in community

  • including non-violent communication and forum
  • processes from ZEGG community
    Transition towns, co-housing and rural eco-village models

  • Lessons from communities around the world
  • Legal structures and options for communities
  • Sustainable economics for communities
  • Creating right livelihood
  • Creating vision and world view of communities
  • Permaculture as design of communities
  • Green buildings and technology
  • CSA farms, organic food production
  • Community strengthening practices
  • Deep ecology and connection with land, sprit and each other.

Who the workshop is for

The course caters for many people, but is targeted to:

  • People interested in intentional communities or eco-villages
  • People intending to live in community
  • Community group members
  • Transition Town members
  • People in community
  • Community development workers
  • Group facilitators
  • Town planners
  • Property developers
  • Permaculture students
  • Environmental activists, workers and professionals
  • People who are yearning for a better way to live.

Grab the program.

Building local autonomy, capacity and decision-making
A Policy and Enterprise Conference
Melbourne 24-25 March 2014

  • Local economic development
  • Local produce and markets
    Local planning and zoning

  • Local savings and investments
    Transport and Infrastructure

  • Local leadership and activism
    Local governance

  • Local government

Invitation to Participate in a Conference on Localism

Around the world, localism is on the rise. It is a response to globalism, the centralisation of the economy, and the sameness of cultures in mass media and mass markets. It is driven by the imperative of low-cost sustainability, the yearning for community belonging, and the connectivity brought by online technology.

Australia’s tyranny of distance has been partially conquered by the internet. Small scale production and home-based industry can be connected with customers and markets without the high-cost middle men of the past. Local energy generation is becoming affordable without a centralised grid. Individual budgets in social policy allow for the design of tailored supports to fit local circumstances.

Models of local governance are emerging, complementing the formal structures of municipalities. Community-based leadership is emerging without the constraints imposed by distant and centralised political parties.

This conference aims to explore these trends and develop a policy and enterprise agenda that can support these various expressions of localism. It will examine the potential of localism for renewal of economies and community belonging. It will also explore the limits of localism, and examine optimal arrangements for integration of local aspirations with state and national priorities.

Contributions are invited which address this theme across various sectors, in both rural and regional as well as urban settings.

Register here.

The All-New ‘Earth Garden’ Journal



  • Beautifully Redesigned
  • Printed on Thick, Luscious, Eco-Friendly Paper
  • Vegetable-Based Inks
  • Now $11.95 per issue

Earth Garden is Australia’s original journal of sustainable living and reaches householders who seek to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

We’ve been around for a long time — over 40 years! Since 1972 we have been the trusted ‘go to’ guide for those seeking practical information and positive inspiration through the real life stories we share.

Our new look format makes the most of cutting edge, eco-printing techniques and we’ve moved away from being a newsprint magazine, to a sophisticated journal that readers will want to keep on their coffee table or slip into their satchel and share with friends, family and colleagues.


Patonga’s Fundraiser For Mental Health in Gosford, NSW

Patonga Hall, corner of Brisk St. and Bay St. Walking distance from the Patonga’s Pub

29 of MARCH 2014

FROM 6 pm TILL 10 pm.


Children free

Barbeque and bring your own beverage

Entertainment provided by

The Future 4 band (rock, soul, pop and blues) and other entertainers.

Buy tickets online.

Or buy tickets at the door, when you get there, thanks.

Alchocemy in Audio

You can read my review of David Norman’s excellent Alchohemy a bit further along. The book is now available as an adiobook.

The audiobook incorporates a 13-element program that will guide you step by step through the process of becoming alcohol-free. It focuses on the WHY, BELIEF and HOW aspects of an alcohol dependency and provides you with the guidance to change from within to achieve your desired outward results. You remain in control of what you do and when you do it. The power to transform your life is generated from within you.

It is based on David’s personal journey; years of alcohol-related frustration, subsequent research, self-education and successful transformation to a joyful permanent alcohol-free lifestyle. To lead by example, David has recounted upbringing and alcohol-related events from his childhood, teens through to present day. Some of these events involve family break-up, crime and infidelity. As part of the 13-element process, participants are asked to do this same reflection of their life, to come to terms with some of their ‘whys’ that alcohol became the choice for them.

All in all, the book provides listeners with enough information and real-life examples of the consequences of being alcohol dependent, to make an informed choice as to whether they will commit to completing the 13-element transformational process themselves.

Book Reviews

Alchohemy: The Solution to Ending Your Alcohol Habit for Good-Privately, Discreetly, and Fully in Control, by David Norman
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by “Lauren B”
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Carolyn Harris
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Esther Simons
Ecologist Guide to Food, by Andrew Wasley
Memoirs of the 2008 and 2012 presidential election: Voice of a skeptical voter, by Katherine Greig


Alchohemy: The Solution to Ending Your Alcohol Habit for Good-Privately, Discreetly, and Fully in Control, by David Norman

First, an apology. I reviewed Alchohemy several months ago, but because I’d read an advance copy, this was some time before being able to post the review on public web sites. And it hasn’t made it to Bobbing Around. Well, here it is.


As a scientist by training, I was rather skeptical when I realized that this book is basically a personal story. A case of one can be misleading. All of us are unique and different, and what works for David may well only work for him. What convinces me is experimental evidence, controls and comparisons.

However, as I read on, I became more and more impressed. Either David is a genius who invented all this, or he has trained himself very well indeed in the fine details of psychotherapy. I have worked as a counseling psychologist since 1991, and a great deal of the contents of this book could have come from my case notes with clients. I have not found a single statement in Alchohemy that is not evidence-based.

The method described in this book worked for David, and will work for you, because it is best psychotherapeutic practice.

At the same time, it is new and novel. Like everyone else, until I read Alchohemy, I believed that an alcoholic can only become a dry alcoholic, because the condition is a disease, as stated by AA. I agreed with the general assessment that many years of abstinence can be broken if an alcoholic takes a drink, even unknowingly. The urge, the desire is always there in the background.

David has convinced me that it is possible to get rid of this urge, this desire to drink alcohol, and by implication to get rid of any other addiction. I have started to apply David’s ideas in my therapeutic practice, and hope the book will be widely enough known that it becomes the new accepted wisdom.

You can buy the book at Amazon.

Ascending Spiral
reviewed by “Lauren B”

There has been a lot of praise for Bob Rich’s Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance, and after reading this strange splice between spiritual and historical fiction, I can definitely understand why. Although not my usual genre, I decided to read this book in any case as I enjoy reading historical fiction…I’d made the right decision.

I believed the story to be quite straight-forward with the introduction of our protagonist Pip Lipkin, but the more I read, the more I realized just how layered and involved the plot was. Not just a simple immigrant making a new life in Australia, Pip is actually a 12,000-year-old alien life form trying to atone for his sins by living the lives of many humans on the planet Earth.

Pip’s first incarnation is that of Dermot — an Irish boy living through the horrors of the English invasion of Ireland. Forced into being a soldier, Dermot does all that he can to help his people. His efforts land him very far from home where feelings of jealousy and rage slowly build within him. In a whiskey-fueled rage, Dermot makes the decision that would ultimately end his life…except that it is not the end of his spiritual life.

His second incarnation is that of a young woman who has married a tyrant of a man. Forced to endure years upon years of this man’s hostility, anger and physical abuse, Amelia finally learns the lessons that Dermot never did, however unconsciously. She manages to change the path of her son, leaving him with a more lasting impression than his father could have ever left.

With two more lives lived in between, we’re finally reintroduced to Pip. As he embarks on his own spiritual enlightenment, all the pieces and people from his old lives fall into place — a random event in one life is somehow connected to the present, the people he finds an instant affinity to are old friends and beloved family members. Everyone and everything that has been involved in Dermot’s and Amelia’s lives has a role in Pip’s current life.

There’s a deep spiritual undertone to this book. It’s about learning from past errors, embracing those lessons in your current life and learning to become a better informed, well-rounded human being. Rich’s story-telling ability — especially with Dermot and Amelia’s stories — is exceptional. I really could find no fault as I was willingly dragged into their worlds in both Ireland and colonial outback Australia.

Dr Rich’s passion for psychology and spirituality as well as a deep investment in environmental sciences can be found throughout. I found that I enjoyed the first two ‘lives’ much more than the next few. Two were a little too scientific/sci-fi for my particular tastes, although I must applaud Rich on his creativity and insight.

At the end of Ascending Spiral, you might see the pieces of Pip’s life and recognise where they fit, but it’s not until a few hours later upon some reflection that you really see the bigger picture — the completed jigsaw puzzle if you want to think of it that way. Ascending Spiral is a masterfully created story with a message that stays with the reader long after the final words have been read.

I have not been able to track Lauren down to get a bio for her. Even though she got a few little details wrong, I am grateful for her insightful and interesting review

Ascending Spiral
reviewed by Carolyn Harris

Why on earth are we here? It’s a good question, and one that has a lot more depth to it than we yet choose to accept.

On the brink of human extinction, as we might well be, many of us are wondering ‘what’s it all about?’

Why do we try so hard when it seems there is little to try for except money, success and things if — IF you are very lucky, then we die and can’t take it with us. Indeed, what’s it all about?

Good Question, and if you are one of those seriously asking the question, then maybe Ascending Spiral will contain answers that will ring bells for you.

We need, in this time, to begin to face the fact that there has to be more to life than just a mere 70 or 80 years or less in which we can be saints or sinners and end up in either heaven or hell when we die. Do you really believe that?

This does not make any real sense for the efforts we put into our lives and to see it all come to nothing much at the end, as we can’t take it with us, is perplexing to say the least.

Dr. Rich was not a believer in reincarnation until events in his life took over and demanded that, as a psychologist, he had to come to the realisation that there was more to life if and sense was to be made of it.

Now he has written a definitive account of one man and his journey through many lives and the reasons for why this should be so for all of us.

It is a clear account without any mumbo-jumbo and makes sense to the most logical among us.

It’s a good read and worthy of thought for a long time after you put it down.

Carolyn has spent many years being an internet mother for cancer sufferers, particularly those with breast cancer.

Ascending Spiral
reviewed by Esther Simons

If you are concerned about over population, the over use of chemicals, the extinction of plants and animals, the over use of water and the destruction of forests you should read DR BOB RICH’S BOOK “ASCENDING SPIRAL.”

It is a masterful semi-autobiographical novel written by a remarkable man. The author was a teenage refugee who grew up in an Australian migrant hostel without family and without much adult support and who achieved considerable success and significant honours against the odds.

Partly it is a very thinly disguised story of the author’s own life written with surprising and unusual candour full of insights and wry humour and partly a collection of gripping yarns with a powerful message.

I hope that Dr Rich won’t mind my quoting from the rich store of his memorable sayings:

“I decided that dissatisfaction is an inside not an outside thing. As long as you take it with you, you can enjoy being miserable anywhere.”

Question: “You’re going to be a shrink?” Reply: “I object to the term. If ever feel able to do psychotherapy I’ll help people to grow not to shrink.”

“Growth is good right? Well friends, cancer is growth.”

“Let me advise you, build your second house first.”

Aside from the author’s honest warts and all life story detailing his inner pain and anguish and spiritual growth, the book has chapters of a completely different nature. These chapters describe the author’s recalls of himself in various previous reincarnations in different times and places. He is variously a victim of Viking oppression in 805 AD, an Irish freedom fighter, an Australian settler, a perpetrator of rape, a woman rape victim, a space flower and a plant.

It is a most UNUSUAL BOOK.

Each chapter is engrossing and thrilling in its own right as a separate tale, some more realistic and believable then the others. As the book moves along, the chapters drift into the supernatural before with a jolt we arrive at the autobiographical part and meet an old friend.

At the end of the book all the separate elements are knitted into a whole and the reader discovers the author’s philosophy and finds a call to arms and a recipe to save the planet and the human race.

You should read this book!

Esther Simons
February 2014

Esther is a solicitor who was born in Hungary, and has experienced many of the events described in this book.

Ecologist Guide to Food, by Andrew Wasley

Published by Ivy Press.

As an environmentalist who started reading the Ecologist magazine in 1972, I am well informed on negative aspects of the global food industry. All the same, I learned lots from reading this book.

To most of us, food is what we eat. For small farmers, food is the product of decent work and investment; a lifestyle. However, to big business, it is merely another way of maximising profit by “externalising” irrelevancies. These irrelevancies include the rights of people who happen to own what you want to take from them, such as land or fishing grounds; the living conditions of the slaves who work for you; cruelty done to animals in the name of efficiency; the sustainability of the source from which you get your product; the poisons left in the food or drink you market.

Whether it’s shrimps or bananas, the picture is the same. Indeed, food is merely a case study in corporate greed. The same dossier of insane, inhuman profit-making can be assembled concerning pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbon fuels, timber, palm oil, the behaviour of large retail chains… any field of endeavour at all that has a promise of turning a quid. Making an honest profit by providing an honest service is never enough to those who already have too much.

Food, however, is a special field: we need it to survive. Few people live in circumstances that allow them to be self-sufficient in food. So, this book is particularly relevant to those of us who don’t want to eat pesticides, want there to be a future for the children of the world, and who are horrified at the thought of being unwitting partners in crimes against humanity.

This is only a small book, with each page set out the way you’d see in a tabloid newspaper, but it is packed with information. It is easy reading, well researched and hard-hitting.

Here and there we are given examples of how it can be done: real examples of ethical food growing and marketing. I would have liked the book to include many more such examples, and a systematic discussion of where food provision needs to go, and how to get there.

However, even without that, the Ecologist Guide to Food is a must-read. It should be read by high school kids, and even more, be compulsory reading for politicians.

Memoirs of the 2008 and 2012 presidential election: Voice of a skeptical voter, by Katherine Greig

kathgreigThis book is an important statement. It is well researched, and written with passion. Explicitly political and partisan, Ms. Greig uses the technique of setting out someone’s claims, then examining them in the light of the evidence. She shows no fear or favor, doing this impartially to the full range of participants in American politics, and the most controversial issues. What’s more, she does so with skill and clarity. Even though she is strongly supportive of President Obama, she is not afraid to expose his actions to the same examination as she accords to everyone else.kgreig

To my surprise, this African American author expresses considerable admiration for the Tea Party, not for their opinions but for the way they have organized, and vitalized their side of politics. She holds them up as an example to Black activists.

I don’t agree with all her opinions and conclusions, but that is not necessary for me to admire her work. This is a book any intelligent observer of American politics needs to read.
Katherine’s web site.

Dr. Katherine Greig is the CEO of New Perspective Counseling Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a psychotherapist, trainer, consultant and professor of Social Work. She spends most of her time practicing being present. She advocates love and random acts of kindness.

A bit of fun

NEW STUDY: Corporate Welfare Makes the Rich Lazy by David Harris Gershon
Prime Monster a people smuggler by Bonnie Doon


NEW STUDY: Corporate Welfare Makes the Rich Lazy
by David Harris Gershon

Part of the conservative logic is that poor people are lazy (or they wouldn’t be poor) and wealth is evidence of good moral character and industriousness.

Here is a light-hearted but plausible rebuttal

Bank of America CEO being stimulated by the World Economic Forum

Prime Monster a people smuggler
by Bonnie Doon

Bonnie Doone: Our government, by putting refugees into boats that we paid for and sending them secretly to Indonesia is now a people smuggler. Our government is running an illegal people smuggling racket!

Explanation for foreigners: Australian Prime Monster Tony Abbott has been waging a war on asylum seekers. Public enemy number 1 to him is a people smuggler. (Public enemy number 2 is a scientist.)

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.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
This entry was posted in Bobbing Around. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bobbing Around Volume 13 Number 8

  1. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 13 Number 10 | Bobbing Around

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s