Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 8

Bobbing Around

Volume Fourteen, Number Eight,
January, 2015

Bob Rich’s rave

email previous issues

As every January, I wish you all a preposterous new ear.

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
New year
Submission to Marine Sanctuaries Review Panels
An interview
And a reblog
A contest

*Responses to past issues
Lance Collins
Linda Morelli
Guilt is gone

Sense from a politician: Bernie Sanders
The GDP is the wrong measure, and there is a better one
An alternative to Australia’s evil refugee policy
Mining is so good for the economy! Then why does it need government subsidies?
A Tale of Two Girls: Malala and Nabeela
Karl Kofoed on torture

Photos of the hottest year, ever
Living Planet report
Greenland melting

*Good news
9th large bank abandons coal project
Fired 5 days before Christmas? It’s an opportunity
Renewables Outpace Nuclear All Over the World
Ice hockey goes environmental

*Compassionate action
The power of forgiveness
Saving babies
Time for a good cop story
Kindness is a boomerang
Love is the only thing that can conquer hate
4 minutes to give you joy
End slavery

Matthew Wright suggests you get rid of gas
Agricultural waste saves forests, returns kids to school

*Deeper issues
While you’re up…
How to deal with a crime, from Roxahn Thomas
Pope: voluntary workers are builders of peace and harmony
Did these little birds show purpose, intelligence and communication?
About spiders
Refuge, the Heart of Buddhism, by Rev. Ananda Paul Normann
Monbiot does it again: the age of loneliness
Honouring Martin Luther King

Giving can change your life, by Lois Holzman
How to help someone with anxiety
Are we all going to die?

Do you use endocrine disruptor compounds?
Meditation alters brain
Science does give hope
Lively kid? Medicate!
Disability resources
Put Down That Glass! Red Wine Is Not Good For You! by Judy Molland

*For writers
Getting to know you: developing character

*What my friends want you to know
Gun control in USA
Electronic publishing conference
EcoInternet Achieves Non-Profit Status
Al Gore in India
Everywoman’s Leadership
Carolyn’s regular service to writers
Ned Kelly’s Son, by Trevor Tucker
From the Tibet Fund
Novel Publicity — free books
Help Eva achieve her dream

Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Kurt Springs
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Dale Walters

*A bit of fun
A Christmas joke, a few days late
Garden ecology
7 Animals That Smell Like Gourmet Jelly Beans
A sample of what the Scriptures might look like if Jesus had actually been a conservative
Is a corporation a person?

From Pendantry
Halloween Every day, by Harry Nydick

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

New year
Submission to Marine Sanctuaries Review Panels
An interview
And a reblog
A contest


New year

Actually, it isn’t. As of the change from the 31st of December to 1st January, we have survived exactly one day. It is just a day, like any other, a stepping stone, not a milestone.

I hope it was a good day for you. I hope today is too. Every moment, every breath, is new, and the start of a new year. May all of them go in the direction you desire.

Submission to Marine Sanctuaries Review Panels

While I am not an environmental scientist although I have a science PhD, I have followed the work of environmental scientists since 1972, and can claim a good understanding of the subject.
We live at a crucial time in the history of humankind. We can choose extinction as a species. We are sliding that way through a “thousand cuts:” by repeated and many-faceted attacks on the biosphere; the life support system of our planet.
Ocean acidification is already causing extinctions, and threatens corals, molluscs and other life. During the past couple of centuries, overfishing has led to the extinction of several species that were once commercial food sources, and many others are seriously endangered. Species now fished used to be ignored as food sources — but they are what we have left.
As biodiversity plummets, the whole of marine life is more and more at risk of catastrophic collapse, because nature is a very complex, interacting system and changes made to it are unpredictable by our current scientific understanding.
In this situation, the planet needs marine sanctuaries where plants and animals can live without danger from humans. Australia’s past performance in this regard has been excellent. It needs to be maintained, and even extended.
We are a part of nature, not apart from nature. Fail to protect marine life, and you endanger human life.

An interview

Sometimes news can be years old. I was interviewed on The Mountain Journal in April, 2010, then forgot all about it.

Having found it again, I am posting a link to it on my blog so it won’t get lost again.

And a reblog

will take you to a brief, hilarious, and yet very apt little essay by my friend Pendantry.

Contest: win a free book

Lat month, I announced a contest. Correctly answer 5 questions based on Ascending Spiral, and you have earned a free electronic copy of one of these books:

The quiz has its own post.

Please spread the word.

“Giving is not expensive; a life of giving is a life of receiving. We are all valuable, especially in the lives of others.”
Rolene Strauss, Miss World, 2014
She is a 4th year medical student, who wants to be of service to others.

Responses to past issues

Lance Collins
Linda Morelli
Guilt is gone


Lance Collins

HI Bob,

You are spending too much time at your computer. Do you know a good psychologist who could help with your addiction?

But until you are cured check this out

I read how lithium-ion batteries are going to take over the world and this battery could be an order-of-magnitude better.

Lance Collins

Linda Morelli

As always (though I don’t always post it), this edition of “Bobbing Around” is great. I especially loved Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s poetry contribution, “Christmas Magic Wrought by Google’s Keyword Elves”, and I have to admit, your latest book, “Ascending Spiral”, sounds great.

Guilt is gone

Hi Dr Bob Rich,

You helped me back in November, then you sent me a copy of your novel, you probably remember the story of myself as a confused 14 year old lad pressing my penis against my 5 year old niece out of curiosity. I came to you as I was suffering extreme anxiety over the incident, and you were very kind enough to talk to me and send me a copy of Ascending Spiral.

You spoke to me and made me feel human again, I only saw myself as a dirty monster, even though I would never repeat the actions of that 14 year old boy, you made me feel like a person, a person that made a silly mistake when he was just a teenager himself. I just want to thank you for your words and the literature, it has changed my thoughts about myself and given me confidence. I support a charity called ‘Action for Children’ financially, the charity protects children that are being neglected or abused.

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate it), and I took this opportunity to thank you because I approached you feeling like a vile and inhuman monster crippled with guilt that couldn’t move on. You have helped feel like a person again, a person who has learned from that mistake and has improved his life. You have made me remember that I am human, and I am a good and decent man who wouldn’t harm a fly, and one sad mistake so many years ago should not rule over my current life.


Sense from a politician: Bernie Sanders
The GDP is the wrong measure, and there is a better one
An alternative to Australia’s evil refugee policy
Mining is so good for the economy! Then why does it need government subsidies?
A Tale of Two Girls: Malala and Nabeela
Karl Kofoed on torture


Sense from a politician: Bernie Sanders

The Huffington Post has published a 12 point program, “An Economic Agenda for America: 12 Steps Forward” by Senator Bernie Sanders.

I agree with his ideas, except that they apply everywhere, not only in the USA. Now, to get the 1% to agree to them…

The GDP is the wrong measure, and there is a better one

Professor Bob Constanza has set out (again, but very well) the case against the Gross Domestic Product as measuring anything worthwhile. He advocates switching globally to the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), which is already used by two US States. This includes consideration of valuable inputs like water, pollution control, climate, volunteer work and social support.

According to the GPI, there has been NO economic growth since 1978. In fact, the value of the global economy is shrinking.

An alternative to Australia’s evil refugee policy

Jeff Sparrow’s op-ed in the Guardian compares Australia’s war on asylum seekers with the bankrupt was on drugs. Both are failures, for the same reason.

A harm minimisation approach is better in both cases.

Mining is so good for the economy! Then why does it need government subsidies?

Those who have shalt receive. Those with nothing shalt be robbed. Thus goeth the logic that rules governments in countries like Australia.

According to a report from the Australia Institute, state governments in Australia subsidise the mining industry to a total of $17.6 billion over 6 years. Think of the public benefit that could be funded with that money, with people like health workers, emergency staff, schools, people with disabilities being squeezed instead.

Instead, we should have followed the example of Norway, which has used its North Sea old windfall to fund lots of services to its citizens, and build up a huge nest egg as well. When the oil runs out, or needs to be left unexploited because of climate change, Norway will be fine. But Australia has given its resources away. Now, we are talking about the end of the mining boom, and this leads to dire predictions.

When has there ever been a boom without an end?

If mining is uneconomic, plan it out. Replace it, not with another boom, but with a regulated, planned, compassionate degrowth process that may include falling GDP, but improved quality of life. This is perfectly possible.

A Tale of Two Girls: Malala and Nabeela

No, I’d never heard of Nabeela either. She is the survivor of a drone attack on her family, which killed most of them. Someone, far away, looking at a screen, made a mistake. Collateral damage.

It’s a lot more if you imagine that it happened to your family.

Read her story.

Karl Kofoed on torture

When the British fought against the colonists in the Revolutionary War they consistently committed atrocities like torture, rape, starvation and murder against the colonists. But when General George Washington took British prisoners he issued an edict that all prisoners should be treated with respect, decency, kindness and humanity. As a result, many of those fighting against us defected, became our friends and allies, and even citizens of the new Untied States. Contrast this with the well documented horrors inflicted on terrorist captives by the CIA and with police brutality committed against our own citizens. If we are to truly be an example of the best of humanity we must admit how far we have fallen, recant our failings, and use any means necessary to earn the respect in the eyes of the world that we think we deserve.

K. B. Kofoed
Upper Darby, PA


Photos of the hottest year, ever
Living Planet report
Greenland melting


Photos of the hottest year, ever

The Guardian illustrates the practical, observable effects of climate change, now.


We are in the 6th great extinction event of this planet. A recent report in Nature states that 41% of amphibians, 26% of mammals and 13% of birds are likely to die out, as a direct result of human activities.

You can “disbelieve climate change,” and still find this unacceptable. Even if you don’t care about other species, self-interest should induce you to take stock. As the web of life unravels, we are guaranteed to fall through it.
deaddodo Dead dodo sketch by Andrew Trimmer

Living Planet report

WWF makes a global assessment every 2 years.

The 2014 report is a must-read. Biodiversity is plummeting. Population sizes of vertebrates have fallen by 52% over the past 40 years.

Humans are also mining natural resources faster then they can regenerate, including forests and fish.

Even if climate change was not an issue, this would be a warning. Without the web of life, we are nothing.

Greenland melting

I have reblogged something Mike Stasse reblogged, because we both think you should be aware of the evidence.

There is a positive feedback loop, melting the Greenald ice with ever-increasing speed.

Good news

9th large bank abandons coal project
Fired 5 days before Christmas? It’s an opportunity
Renewables Outpace Nuclear All Over the World
Ice hockey goes environmental


9th large bank abandons coal project

The French bank Societe Generale has severed connection with the Galilee coal project which is threatening to destroy the Great Barrier Reef, and hugely add to climate change.

Fired 5 days before Christmas? It’s an opportunity

A small country town, already with high unemployment, suffered the closure of a business employing 79 people. The workers, the union, local farmers and the state government are forming a cooperative.

This is the culture change we need to create a good world to live in: get rid of the moneybags, and do it ourselves.

Renewables Outpace Nuclear All Over the World

The title says it all. David Elliott reports in Ecowatch that in country after country, nuclear projects are delayed and have gone over budget. Old reactors are being phased out, or taken offline because of problems. In the meanwhile, wind and solar are booming, and getting cheaper.

His examples are mostly British, but actually that makes them more impressive, given the climate of the Rainy Isles.

Another recent item:

Citizen opposition has led to the permanent shutdown of a nuclear reactor in Vermont. Read this excellent report.

Ice hockey goes environmental

The (American) National Hockey League is taking action to reduce its carbon footprint, and to offset what it generates. Anastasia Pantsios reports at Ecowatch that, in fact, hockey fans are already environmentally more active than the average person.

Good for them.
ockey Photo from National Hockey League.

Compassionate action

The power of forgiveness
Saving babies
Time for a good cop story
Kindness is a boomerang
Love is the only thing that can conquer hate
4 minutes to give you joy
End slavery


The power of forgiveness

Read this wonderful letter from a woman to her father’s killer. It may change the way you see the world.

Saving babies

Recently, two desperate mothers dumped very young babies in Australia. One child died, the other miraculously survived.

An ordinary grandmother has set up Operation Safe Haven to be of help to such women, and to save their babies. Catherine Lucre had herself suffered from undiagnosed post-natal depression, so rather than react with judgment and censure, she is offering compassion and help.

My wife Jolanda and I have offered to be among her volunteers. You could too.

Time for a good cop story

Jen Hayden, writing for Daily Kos, reports on a heart-warming story of 50 cents that made a difference.

If all of us could act like this, all the time…

Kindness is a boomerang

A young female student lost her card, and didn’t have money to get home. To her surprise, a homeless man offered her enough money for a taxi.

In response, she has raised the money to enable him to find a home to live in.

Read the touching story here.

Love is the only thing that can conquer hate

This was Gandhi’s message regarding Muslims. It is now being applied by ordinary people to Muslims, in anticipation of the wave of unthinking hate reactions following the actions of one violent person in Sydney.

Read about one woman’s compassionate response to a Muslim woman’s fear.

4 minutes to give you joy

Someone has assembled a series of the year’s news events to show the best in humanity. Do yourself a favour and watch it.

Thank you, Carolyn Harris, for sending me the link.

End slavery

For the first time in history, leaders of the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish faiths made a joint declaration to end slavery.

Many of you will be relaxing with friends and family over the holiday season as you read this, a fitting time to reflect on the commitment made by the world’s largest faiths as they united to end slavery.

Watch and share the video of this historic moment when global faith leaders declared their commitment to ending slavery.

Whether you have religious belief or not, getting the word out that the world’s major faiths have united in this way sends a powerful message that can encourage many more people to join the fight to end slavery.

Olly, Michael, Jayde and the rest of the Walk Free team.


Matthew Wright suggests you get rid of gas
Agricultural waste saves forests, returns kids to school


Matthew Wright suggests you get rid of gas

In his essay, Matthew sets out the advantages of using state of the art electric devices for house heating, hot water and cooking. New devices are surprisingly more efficient than what you could find even a few years ago, so it’s certainly worth at least investigating.

Agricultural waste saves forests, returns kids to school

Education is the door out of poverty, but fuel for cooking has to come first. As the forests of Uganda are destroyed, children need to walk further to find fuel, so miss out on school.

And of course the destruction of forests is a tragedy too.

Read what this man is doing to solve these problems.

Deeper Issues

While you’re up…
How to deal with a crime from Roxahn Thomas
Pope: voluntary workers are builders of peace and harmony
Did these little birds show purpose, intelligence and communication?
About spiders
Refuge, the Heart of Buddhism by Rev. Ananda Paul Normann
Monbiot does it again: the age of loneliness
Honouring Martin Luther King


While you’re up…

I once worked with a couple whose marriage was wrecked by “While you’re up…”

They’d be relaxing, watching TV or something, and both of them were yearning for a cup of coffee. However, it was a battle of wills: “I’ve made the coffee the last three days, it’s bloody well his turn!” Meanwhile, he’d be desperate for a cup, perhaps with a nice something to go with it, but, “Hell, I’ve worked so hard all day while she just has to look pretty at her desk and answer the phone, surely a guy’s entitled to being looked after by his wife?”

So, they’d sit there, unspoken resentment vibrating in the room, until one or the other just had to go to the bathroom. Then, immediately, the other said, “While you’re up, a cup of coffee would be lovely!”

However hard I worked to move their attitudes, both were too proud to give in. Both were sure they were the victim of unfair treatment from the other.

After they split, they were both forced to look after themselves, but at least they had no one to resent.

The last point on my relationships page is about the little word “me.” That’s the problem that blasted these two people apart. Both were defending territory, looking after ME ME ME.

Suppose they’d got rid of ego. Suppose that each of them had the motivation to make life better for the other. Then, she might have said, “Darling, feel like a cup of coffee?”

He’d get to his feet. “No, I’ve got to go for a wee anyway. I’ll put it on in the meantime.”

By the time he’d have finished washing his hands, she’d have got some cookies out of the pantry, and the cups ready for the water to boil.

The air would still be vibrating, but not with resentment. It would be love, and companionship, and friendship.

Of course, this works only if it is mutual. Otherwise, you very quickly have an exploitative relationship.

Apply the logic to any issue, any setting. The Director of Nursing knows that all the staff will cut corners, ignore the nursing care plan, waste material. She tries to be everywhere, ensuring that everyone keeps to her high standards.

Naturally, the staff hate this. So, how do they respond? Whenever they can, they cut corners, ignore the nursing care plan, waste material. Staff turnover is high, lots take sickies, temps hate working there because they are treated with even more suspicion than the regulars. Patients feel the negativity, and complain about everything. All the same, they need to stay longer than they should, because the atmosphere drags down their immune systems.

Compare this to the way my friend Fran used to run “her” hospital. Every day, she put a vase of flowers in the staffroom, and often baked cakes or cookies for her “girls.” She set the standards, then trusted the staff to rise to them. Each person, even the cleaners and kitchen hands, felt appreciated. If someone made a mistake, Fran ensured it was a learning experience, and offered more help than censure.

The consequence? The hospital was such a good place for everyone that patients got well quickly. The only time you could get a job there was if someone died, retired or got pregnant. Sometimes, a nurse might come in while not feeling well. Fran invariably chased her to go home, if necessary even working on the floor herself to make up for the gap.

Suppose we applied this logic to the way we interact with everyone around us. Sometimes, we’ll lose as a result, because the attitude does need to be mutual. People carry their own hell around with them, and someone living in hell will respond to your decency by exploiting it, or reacting with resentment, or considering it to be manipulation.

The proper reaction, of course, is to withdraw. No need to be angry or disappointed. That person is suffering hell, even if it is self-induced. Compassion is more appropriate than anger. But it’s important to refuse to allow that person to exploit you.

For the rest, you will be the focus of a spreading wave of kindness, decency, enjoyment, like Fran was to her staff.

How to deal with a crime
from Roxahn Thomas

I thought I’d share something about what community means to me. I saw this post on my Facebook thread months back and thought it to be apt and hopefully what Moora Moora offers its members.

In this African tribe, when someone does something harmful, they take the person to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds them. For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done. The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as good, each one of us only desiring safety, love, peace and happiness. But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes. The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help. They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I am good.”

Shikoba Nabajyotisaikia! NABAJYOTISAIKIA, is a compliment used in South Africa and means: “I respect you, I cherish you. You matter to me.” In response, people say SHIKOBA, which is: “So, I exist for you.”

As a therapist and fellow human, true or not, I agree with the story’s message. Too often do we hold contempt and anger towards those who have wronged us or our loved ones. Never really being empathic to the other’s own story, and why they have lost their way and disconnected from “I am good”. I view anger to be a secondary reaction — hurt being our initial response.

Maybe those who hurt others do so from a wounded and fearful position. Their own negative experiences/interactions taint the benefits of coming from a vulnerable space when in relationship with others and ourselves. I think it’s up to us as a community to show compassion to those who embody anger as a form of protection. To not perpetuate their experience by mirroring negative reactivity.

Pope: voluntary workers are builders of peace and harmony

Pope Francis has again earned my admiration.

He praised volunteer workers, while at the same time pointing the finger at the causes of poverty: environmental destruction, exploitation, war.

Did these little birds show purpose, intelligence and communication?

Read this beautiful, brief account of how a gang of starlings chased off a sea eagle.

Long-term readers of Bobbing Around know that, in my opinion, even insects show what we consider to be our higher mental functions. What do you think?

About spiders

A nice little article about spiders is worth reading.
I left this comment:

The main problem spiders (and snakes) have is in the PR department. So, thank you for doing some PR for them.

You could have mentioned their intelligence. Being hunters, spiders are smart.

Refuge, the Heart of Buddhism
by Rev. Ananda Paul Normann

peacepaul Paul and his wife Judy
I have often said that Buddhism and Christianity place the same requirements on people. Here are Paul’s beautiful words to show how correct this is.

Monbiot does it again: the age of loneliness

George Monbiot has a mind like a searchlight and words like a scalpel. In this article, he shines that spotlight on another way we are killing ourselves: isolation.

It’s the same message from a different viewpoint: we don’t need wealth, we don’t need to win. We need mutual love.

Read his passionate essay.

Honouring Martin Luther King

Please read this wonderful essay.

How to gain liberty? Face the fear and do it anyway. How to react to terrorism? By singing joyously anyway.
mlking Photo: Wikicommons.


Giving can change your life by Lois Holzman
How to help someone with anxiety
Are we all going to die?


Giving can change your life
by Lois Holzman

This essay in Psychology Today could indeed change your life. It is about the joys and benefits of giving.

How to help someone with anxiety

This little essay by Steve Williams is worth reading by everyone. It is practical and accurate.

Are we all going to die?

Hi, My name is Miranda and I am 23 years old. I live in the United States. I have been feeling this anxiety/existential crisis for over 3 months and it gets better and then it gets worse. Right now its worse. I just think about how the world is going to end or how I and everyone I love is going to die and it causes me anxiety. It has led me to question if life is real as well. Please help me figure out what to do to feel better. Thank you.

Miranda my dear,

From this short note, naturally, I can’t discern the cause of your distress. I suspect it’s intelligence and rationality, in an insane world. I share your reaction.

If you want to deal with the symptoms — anxiety — you can make use of my little book, Anger and Anxiety

To address the deeper issues, I have taken the liberty of attaching a little book of my essays, You too can live in contentment. Many of them may speak to you.

You are welcome to write back to me. If you have an income, you could use my email counseling service.

If not, I am happy to work with you pro bono.


Dr. Rich thanks for the books, I will be reading them. I am not generating income at this time. Now I just want to find the cause for my distress so I would like to know what you need from me to help find the cause of my distress.

Read the books and think about them. I’ll be interested in your reaction to them.

Then imagine the two of us are sitting in the same room. You’re talking. I nod occasionally, or say “Hmm?” Tell me what will help me to understand your situation, thinking, what are you anxious about.

Well, the Anxiety and Anger book was a great book and I am going to try some of the things that you wrote. As for your book of essays it was all good until I got to the part of When despair seems the only option and My decision–our disaster and it just made me scared of the end of humanity. I know you said it would be the end of civilization and I read your other article But there is no need for despair and I felt the feelings of anxiety. I had to look up news about climate change and if there is hope for us just to alleviate some of this anxiety. I know it is just a prediction and the future can’t really be predicted accurately but it still scared me. But I do have hope because the UN is meeting in Lima about climate change and maybe it’s not too late if world leaders are talking about it and preventing it by lowering gas emissions. So now two things are causing me anxiety.

My dear, this anxiety is rational. It cannot be talked away. People who don’t feel anxiety about the future are stupid, or motivated to deny the facts.

But several of my essays take you to the evidence that there is life before and after death. Reincarnation is supported by science. We are born, and die, over and over, and while we can go up and down in spiritual development, on the average we climb. That’s why the title of my latest book is Ascending Spiral.

Everything that has a beginning has an end. One day, the Himalayas will have eroded down to a flat plain. One day, the Sun will end. One day, quite soon, I will die.

Yesterday, I attended a 1st birthday party. I love children, and there were many of them there. I cuddled babies, played shuttlecock with a little girl, threw a ball for a toddler, chatted with parents. And all the while, although I said nothing, I knew that almost certainly, none of these beautiful little people will survive to adulthood, because billions of people are going to die in the next few years, and there is nothing we can do now to stop it. All I can do is to work for a miracle of having some people survive, with knowledge that will allow them to build a better world.

And yet, I have armor to protect me from the despair and anxiety. Those lovely little kids will live again. Maybe as humans, maybe in entirely different environments elsewhere in the universe. Their ongoing being will go on, and continue their reason for existence, which is learning Lessons and growing.

I think of us humans as caterpillars feeding on the green leaves of experience. Round and round we go, until we have learned all the Lessons we can by living in a three-dimensional body. Then, we graduate as butterflies, and don’t need to return.

The Ultimate Lesson, the one we need to feel in the heart and guts before being allowed to graduate, is the Message of unconditional Love, the message of Jesus (I am Jewish, and my belief system is Buddhist, but…).

So, some people die before being born, others may live to 120 years. Doesn’t matter. It’s not how long, but how well. Your feelings of existential anxiety are reasonable — if death is the end. It isn’t. The extinction of all life on this planet is not going to happen, but even if it did, it would still only be the end of a chapter, not the end of the book. You and I will survive anything, even that.

Even suffering doesn’t matter. It is the goad to change. When everything is OK, there is no reason to change. Suffering gives us choice points: opportunities to learn. If I slip and hurt myself, then hopefully next time I’ll be more careful in that kind of situation. Bearing a child is painful for a human, but many women willingly have more children than one. Your current anxiety is merely a Life Lesson looking you in the eyes: “here is your opportunity to learn.”

Now to the anxiety I have been experiencing. The anxiety/existential anxiety was about the end of the universe and how even after I am dead I could still be affected by it. Whenever I think about I get chest pains and sometimes stomach problems. I also started thinking about if the universe ends and there is another big bang does that mean that all of this that we are experiencing will start over again. Then that led me to think about whether or not life and everything I see is real. The thoughts are what are causing me anxiety but I really don’t know what is causing the thoughts in my head to cause my anxiety.

Again, this shows great intelligence and rationality. Congratulations.

I am a skeptic, and don’t BELIEVE anything. Instead, I combine all the evidence I can find to construct a tentative model of reality to aid my understanding. Here is my current model, based on a great deal of reading, discussion and thought. I am willing to revise it, if new information conflicts with it.

OK. Think of the Universe as an intelligent plant; a beautiful flower. It was born, and will eventually die. In the meantime, it is making seeds for future universes, just as it has parents and ancestors.

Because it is sentient, and self-aware, and intelligent, it needs components to do this kind of work. I don’t know if these components are the “butterflies,” or some level above that, but we are the T cells that give rise to the brain equivalent of the Universe.

The Universe is much more than the 3D-in-time we can perceive. That is a sort of illusion, or more exactly a projection of the totality. Its task is to provide schools for the many billions of brain cells it needs. And there are many such schools, most of them very different from earth-type planetary surfaces.

My guess is that our universe is quite young. You know how there is a sudden spurt of growth at all levels during puberty? I think that’s what may be happening. As part of its genetic programming, at the right time it established lots of schools for souls. Earth is one. So, when the growth spurt comes, there will be lots more butterflies available to do a higher level of thinking. Perhaps that will result in a less cruel universe?

I think it will be untold billions of years before our universe dies of old age. I don’t know if universes have the equivalent of diseases and murder, but it doesn’t matter. Earth will have become ash in the Sun’s final explosion before the universe dies.

So, all you and I need to do is to be the best little caterpillars we can, and learn from our experiences, and do our best to graduate to butterflies. All the great religions carry this message: Do onto others as you’d have done onto you (actually, I reckon that’s wrong: do onto others as you know they want to have done onto them is better); above all, do no harm; love thine enemies; serve God; serve humankind.

Also if I start feeling good then all of a sudden the thoughts go back in my head as if saying that I shouldn’t be feeling good because I have to worry.

This is a habit you have established. Use the ABC diary described in Anger and Anxiety to make yourself an observer of this habit. And the best way to get rid of it is to allow it. “Isn’t it interesting? I’ve had one of those thoughts. I don’t need to believe it or disbelieve it or accept it or reject it. It’s just some noise in my head. So what.”

I wonder if it is because I spend a lot of time alone and don’t have friends that I can call or hang out with. Or the fact that I am shy and find it hard to even talk to someone over the phone except when it’s family. Or the fact that I have had fights with my mom and every time I end up crying and I don’t even know why. And I want to tell her what is going on but I am so afraid she will judge me or tell others what is going on with me. I have been trying to look for a job but it has been hard even though I have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Is it worth it to look for a job if civilization and perhaps humanity might be destroyed in 6 years?

Yes, it is. Live every day as if you were going to live forever, AND live every day as if it was your last.

I used to be shy. This is a sort of stage fright: you think people are judging you all the time. You know, most other people are so involved in worrying about what others think of them that they consider you incidental. And if someone is judging you, so what. Nowadays, I genuinely don’t worry about the opinions of others. If any people don’t like me, it’s their loss.

You are intelligent, thoughtful, morally upright, kind, decent. Here is an exercise that works. Every morning, look in the mirror for 5 minutes, and say good things about yourself such as “I deserve a job where I can make a positive difference for people.” “I deserve love — all I need to do is to love myself first.” “When I get a job, I know they will get the best value ever from my work.” You can make up your own list.

At the moment, you are sending out negative energy with your inner talk: “I am shy.” “I can’t talk to people.” I can’t get a job.” On and on, negativity. Establish positive habits. When you send out positive energy, watch yourself bloom.

Miranda (not her real name of course) has corresponded further, but this was about the books she’d read.


Do you use endocrine disruptor compounds?
Meditation alters brain
Science does give hope
Lively kid? Medicate!
Disability resources

Put Down That Glass! Red Wine Is Not Good For You! by Judy Molland


Do you use endocrine disruptor compounds?

I’d never heard of them until I read this report.

Apparently, they are in many household chemicals such as antiperspirants, toilet cleaners and stuff. And there is evidence they do nasty things to people.

Meditation alters brain

As I’ve written before in my little e-book You too can live in contentment (which you can request), brain language doesn’t explain anything; demonstrated brain changes do not make a psychological phenomenon more real. All the same, thinking so is now part of pop psychology, and in fact of the thinking of many psychologists.

So, it’s good to have a demonstration that mindfulness meditation does cause brain changes.

Science does give hope

Lizabeth Paulat reports on several remarkable improvements in health care: a prosthetic that allows an amputee to feel sensation, a possible cure for macular degeneration, an answer to antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and others.

Lively kid? Medicate!

ADHD didn’t exist when I was young. Some kids were naughty. Some didn’t pay attention. Some couldn’t sit still. These often annoying behaviours were met with a number of responses, some less constructive than others. But no one would have dreamed of putting a kid on medication for misbehaviour.

A British report states that increasing numbers of preschoolers are put on medications like Ritalin, as punishment.

Unnamed educational psychologists have said, “There is an increasingly prevalent view in society that people who do not fit a particular environment must have something wrong with them.”

Long term use of these drugs has terrible effects. They are addictive. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they are unnecessary. If your child or grandchild is accused of ADHD, resist pressures to medicate. Take the kid to a good child psychologist instead.

Disability resources

Nearly 1 in 5 people — 56.7 million — have a disability in the U.S. Those with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities to report having poorer overall health, less access to adequate healthcare and more engagement in risky behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity.

These facts were enough to encourage our team to put together a toolkit to help raise awareness about the health and safety of our disabled population. Please share this resource collection as you deem appropriate.

Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities’s Guide to Health Information and Resources

Disability Accommodation Cost Guide

Home Safety for People with Disabilities

Fire Safety & Disabilities Guide’s Guide to Transportation

The Ultimate Guide to Driving with Disabilities

Disability and Obesity

Physical Activity for People with Disabilities

A Safety Guide for Disabled Pedestrians

Thank you for anything you can do to help us raise awareness.

It’s my sincerest hope that this information is useful to you and, in turn, your site visitors.

In health,
Patricia Sarmiento

Putting the Public Back in Public Health
340 S LEMON AVE #5780, WALNUT, CA 91789

Put Down That Glass! Red Wine Is Not Good For You!
by Judy Molland

Attention, wine lovers! If you thought drinking all that red wine was good for you, think again.
It turns out that the University of Connecticut researcher who announced that red wine has anti-aging qualities and is good for your heart was lying.

Read on here.


Getting to know you: developing character

As with a plot, it is perfectly possible to design a character by listing the person’s relevant details. This can be very good for minor walk-ons, and even for central characters while plotting. However, even then, you need to stay flexible.

This may be your dossier:

    Hilary Grattan hates his first name, because, all his life, he’s been teased for “being a girl.” He’d change it, except that his mother would be hurt, and that’s the last thing he wants to do. So, he became good at fighting as early as five years of age. Now, at 16, he is tall, muscular and very fast. Among his friends, he insists on being called “Grater,” as long as mother doesn’t find out about it. At home, he is Hil.
    He is an only child. His father died when he was still a baby, and this accounts for the closeness between mother and son.
    He has blond hair, which he keeps as a short stubble to project a tough appearance, blue eyes that can be icy or melting, and spends hours a day on exercising. He is his school’s star football centre. He’d be handsome, except for some pimples that make him very embarrassed around girls.

The story is about someone else, perhaps Bill, a new boy to the school who is instantly bullied by the in crowd, with Grater rescuing and befriending him. Then the central character is kidnapped by creatures from outer space, and we only meet Grater again in the last chapter when our hero returns victorious to earth.

So, Grater’s dossier as above is more than we need. Information in the dossier is essential to the writer. Having it recorded is insurance against glitches, such as Grater being a single child in Chapter 2 and having a sister in Chapter 48. Since he is a minor character, there is no need for growth, change or development.

Mind you, that dossier must not be presented as it is. It’s an outside view. Any relevant facts need to be revealed in one of three ways: from Bill’s POV, or in things Grater happens to say in Bill’s hearing, or in scenes when you make Grater the witness.

Well… this was the initial plan. But Grater would be a good ally in the space adventure, wouldn’t he? Grater could try to stop the abduction, and find himself going to battle the alien invaders with his new friend. So, the needs and preferences of the characters come first, and the plot just has to be modified. Grater is going.

Now, that dossier is inadequate. Grater has become a major character, and needs to develop into a fully rounded person. How do we find out more about this boy?

The way you would find out about him if you were Bill. When the two of them meet in the playground, they don’t exchange dossiers. Bill might say, “Thanks. I thought I was gonna be bashed then.”

“Yeah, I don’t stand for bullying. Where’d you come from, kid?”

“Oh, my name’s Bill… Wilfred for short.”

The big boy grinned. “I’m Grater. But you didn’t answer my question.”

“My family just moved here from the country.”


I’d better focus attention on him before he catches me out, Bill thought, shifting foot to foot. Aloud, he said, “Grater? Is that really your name?”

“You better believe it! But listen, if you’re new to town, your folks are too. Any day after school, why don’t you bring them along to visit me and my mum? Only, at my place, you’ve gotta call me Hil.”

What an odd name. “Why?” Bill asked.

“None of your business. Just do it.” Grater’s face became a distinct shade of red, somehow making the pimples stand out more. His previously warm, deep blue eyes went icy. He took a deep breath. “Anyway, I’ve gotta go. Doing 15 minutes of weights in the gym before returning to boredom.”

What was more fun to read — this exchange, or the dossier?

PS I wrote this snippet for the writing book I’ve been working on. But I liked Bill and Grater so much that they have taken over, and in between all my many other activities at a busy time of the year, I’ve written 1000 words + a day. The story has changed considerably from the above concept, which is fine. I don’t need my dossiers for Grater and Bill any more, because they’ve come alive for me, but when a new person comes along (Bill’s aunt Valerie is the newest), I do jot down a few facts, to avoid glitches.

What my friends want you to know
Gun control in USA
Electronic publishing conference
EcoInternet Achieves Non-Profit Status
Al Gore in India
Everywoman’s Leadership
Carolyn’s regular service to writers
Ned Kelly’s Son, by Trevor Tucker
From the Tibet Fund
Novel Publicity — free books
Help Eva achieve her dream

Dear friend,

Here at 350 we talk a lot about money — how moving it can help unlock the climate deadlock, how the wrong people have too much of it, how the coal industry’s losing it, how clean energy needs more of it.

But the thing is that we hate asking people for it for ourselves. After all, none of us are in this for the money. We’re in it because we deeply care about people and the planet. We’re in it because we want a safe future for our kids, a Reef to enjoy, healthy air, land and water. We’re in it because we know that climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time.

Besides, most of the good things in life (e.g. love, happiness, friendship) money just can’t buy. But there’s no denying that a little bit of money makes a world of difference to what a little NGO like us can do.

So, we’re going to swallow our pride and respectfully invite you to chip in to keep our work strong in 2015.

But before you do, consider how much your contribution can do by reflecting on what YOU helped us to achieve in 2014…

Take: 2 full-time staff, a few part-timers, an awesome base of volunteers and supporters, a dash of passion, a lot of inspiration, amazing partners in the movement and some strong coffee…

And this is what you get:

  1. One coal port and 10 coal ships blockaded
  2. 15 divestment announcements and 12 new divestment campaigns
  3. 8 peaceful direct actions against the fossil fuel industry in cities around Australia
  4. Hundreds of 350 supporters mobilised to support the longest running community blockade at the Leard Forest
  5. 30 Pacific climate warriors standing up to Australia’s fossil fuel industry
  6. 30 community-based trainings and 50 community forums and talks
  7. People’s Climate Marches around the country, attended by over 60,000 Australians, organised in partnership with our friends in the climate movement
  8. $450 million moved out of the Big 4 banks and 2 national divestment days with our friends at Market Forces
  9. 12+ front page news articles and hundreds of divestment articles in the mainstream media
  10. 25,000 new supporters
  11. 3 new websites, 2 reports and one nationwide poll
  12. 1 former Australian Wallabies Captain taking peaceful direct action to stop new coalmines
  13. the fossil fuel industry feeling the heat
  14. …and so much more!

There are some things that money can’t buy, but a little bit contributed to 350 Australia will go a long way.

Thank you SO much for a wonderful year!

Blair, Charlie, Aaron, Josh, Vicky, Simon and Phil for Australia.

Gun control in USA

Bob —

This scene happens far too often in America.

Moms Demand Action is releasing a new ad today as a reminder of why millions of Americans are determined to spare our children from the horror of gun violence.

As the two-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting approaches, please watch this video.

If it moves you, as it does me, share and ask your friends and family to join our fight.

Please note: The scenes depicted in this video may be disturbing to some viewers.

I started Moms Demand Action the day after the tragedy in Newtown. We are fighting for a country where our children can go to school without the threat of gun violence.

We’ve grown into a movement of more than 2.5 million members. But to build on our momentum in the year ahead, we’re going to have to be even stronger.

There have been at least 95 school shootings since Sandy Hook. We owe it to our children and ourselves to build a country that doesn’t have to live in fear of a lockdown.

Thank you,
Shannon Watts

Electronic publishing conference

EPICon 2015 Registration opens December 6, 2014

San Antonio, Texas – December 31, 2015

EPICon 2015, Bringing ePublishing Partners Together

EPICon is the annual conference of EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition, whose mission is to provide education and to promote ePublishing standards to publishers and independent authors.

EPICon is March 13 and 14, 2015 and is held at the Menger Hotel, in San Antonio, Texas. There are additional add-on options available on March 12. All days are packed with educational workshops that all industry professionals will find informative. Registration is open from December 6, 2014 through February 28, 2015 online at

Guest speakers include Jim Azevedo of Smashwords, John W. Warren of Mason Publishing Group/George Mason University Press, and many others. Workshop topics include marketing, fan-base creation, and using clean metadata to increase sales by 70%.

Price is $224 for members, $249 for non-members and includes most meals. Price does not include hotel or travel. Rooms are available at the Menger Hotel at a discounted rate of $110 per night.

EPIC is also accepting advertising opportunities and sponsorships. Contact Susan Brooks for more information.

Desiree Holt
Susan Brooks

EcoInternet Achieves Non-Profit Status

I am thrilled to report that EcoInternet has gained 501c3 non-profit status, and as such you donations may be tax-deductible (backdated to March 2014). Never has there been a better time to support EcoInternet’s unique brand of biocentric advocacy than now at:

The amount EcoInternet is trying to raise — $10K — is very small compared to the excesses of big NGOs.

Recent achievements:

  • A peer-reviewed scientific journal article proposing loss of terrestrial ecosystems as a tenth planetary boundary and establishing in the science literature the need to maintain 66% of land as natural and agro-ecological ecosystems. If you haven’t yet read this in-depth scientific basis for protecting and restoring old-growth forests, it is a must read that has been well-received and is generating much buzz.
  • Together we continued to innovate in use of the Internet for deep ecology activism by being the first environmental action platform to integrate the option for tweets within online protests, such as at our current climate alert. Virunga’s mountain gorillas, Tasmanian forests, and old-growth forests the world over are safer — and an ecologically rich climate change policy message is propagating — because of our action alert successes over the past year.
  • Our 7 year campaign to get major NGOs and the Forest Stewardship Council to stop logging old-growth forests, falsely claiming it is sustainable, achieved major progress as our pressure led to Greenpeace and FSC announcing new limits upon certification of old-growth forest logging. Our protest tweets and emails flowed in from all over the world as they voted! First our efforts were mocked, then vilified, and then were successful.
  • Something special is happening on EcoInternet’s twitter accounts and over two dozen others lead the way in environmental social media. Together we are building an unprecedented global deep ecology action network featuring the most comprehensive newsfeeds, deep green thought, and action opportunities. You really must check it out if you haven’t.
  • And let’s not forget our web sites including our new home page at and all of our award-winning portals including and We are in the process of updating our curated search engines using big data technologies, as we plan to comprehensively organize green knowledge in service to environmental sustainability (more on our future plans soon).

For Earth and warm regards,

Dr. Glen Barry
President and CIO

Al Gore in India

For us here at Climate Reality, the holiday season is a time for celebrating with friends and family and a time for reflecting on what we want to accomplish in the year ahead. And we hope you’ll include working for a better future among your New Year’s resolutions.

Your resolutions for next year is to make a difference in the fight for a safer climate, we have the best way to check that off your list early: Join the ranks of our Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Applications are now open for our next training in New Delhi, India from February 22–24.

Everywoman’s Leadership

How Women in Authentic Alliance Expand What’s Possible

Globally, the data are in: when you strengthen the leadership of women, everything improves — ecologically, socially, educationally and economically. Justice, peace, health and human rights all get better. This is not an issue for women only!

20 years ago, when I first started to explore women reinventing leadership to be relational, collaborative and cooperative, I could hardly have foreseen how vital a solution it would offer today at this critical juncture of environmental and social crises.

Today, our Everywoman’s Leadership program is flourishing, strengthening women’s leadership from the inside out while connecting leaders across diverse walks of life. With your help, we are poised to do so much more.

I invite you to download the just-released Everywoman’s Leadership yearbook chapter now, and I hope you are inspired to make an investment in our work.

This year, we produced three Cultivating Women’s Leadership (CWL) intensives — deep dives into clarifying purpose and what women uniquely bring to leadership.

With love and in service to thriving life,
Nina Simons, Co-founder & President

Carolyn’s regular service to writers

You will find Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s monthly newsletter for writers here.

A newsletter that is also a community. Share your ideas. Learn from theirs! Associated with the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers.

Ned Kelly’s Son, by Trevor Tucker

This story is NOT about Ned Kelly, though his genes were necessary for its telling. It was told to the author’s father who befriended the old bloke who saved the author from drowning. That old bloke, known as Niall Kelly, unburdened his life story upon the author’s father… during which he claimed to be Ned Kelly’s son. That chance meeting and friendship gives cause to believe there was more to Ned Kelly’s claim to fame… than just Australia’s most notorious bushranger!

The story is a tantalising, inspirational account of adventure, love, enduring mateship, determination, the making and losing of vast fortunes, family tragedies, and the intrigue of an indigenous background theme.

Ned Kelly’s Son is available in e-book format from Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Kindle etc. Prices vary, but expect to pay approximately AUD $15-$16.

The paperback version can be purchased for $29.95 at most Collins Bookseller stores, and some Dymocks stores.

Unsigned, or signed copies (with any message) can be provided by contacting the author on 0414 935 218, or by email. In this case, delivery (via Australia Post to any address in Australia) will be charged at cost; currently $13.00.

Perhaps too late for a Christmas gift, but it will make a great summer holiday read.

From the Tibet Fund

Dear Friends,


As we approach the opportunities awaiting us in 2015, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions. We want to reassure our supporters that in the next year we are resolute in our mission to support the Tibetan exile community and preserve Tibetan culture.

We wish you and your family much joy, happiness, and prosperity in 2015! 
From the Board of Directors and staff of The Tibet Fund.

Novel Publicity — free books

Happy New Year!

We hope you’re as excited about your upcoming year as we are about ours. To start things off right, we’re launching a new book series called the Novel Publicity Guides to Writing & Marketing Fiction, and we’re doing it for FREE.

Oh, and have you noticed the complete redesign of our website at Many great things are in store this year, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

Here’s to our mutual success in 2015,

Emlyn Chand
President, Novel Publicity

Tired of sifting through book marketing guides that focus more on the author’s life story than on advice you can apply to your career? Or, worse still, advice guides that are really meant for nonfiction authors and have precious little information for novelists? What about when an entire book reads as nothing more than a pitch for the author’s services or other books in his series?

We’re tired of it too. Every Novel Publicity Guide to Writing & Marketing Fiction is focused on you. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist who’s still trying to figure all this out or an established novelist doing your best to stay up-to-date with the hottest marketing tactics of the day, this book will deliver tons of action-packed advice you can put into practice today.

Check for your free books.

Help Eva achieve her dream

My name is Eva, I’m 14 and live in Malinzanga, Tanzania. I want to wish you a Happy New Year, and ask you if you’ll do something amazing with me in 2015.

This year I finished my primary education at Mlowa School. It’s not been easy — my parents have not always been able to pay for my uniform and textbooks — but I did it and I’m really proud.

My hope for 2015 is to start secondary school, so I can one day get my dream job as a policewoman and take care of my community. It’s harder for girls to stay in school here, but I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.

I was born in 2000, the same year the Millennium Development Goals were set. During my lifetime, the number of people in the world who are extremely poor has dropped a lot.

In my, village some people now have mobile phones so know what’s going on in other places. New schools have been built so more of us are getting an education, but I’m lucky. Children from the poorest families or who have disabilities are not going to school. I see this and it makes me sad.

This year, as I turn 15, our leaders will agree a new plan for a better world. If they make it really good, and then actually stick to it, there could be almost no extremely poor people – anywhere – by the time I am 30. How cool would that be? 

This is what I wanted to ask you about.

Will you help make sure the new development plan is really great, and leaves no-one out?

Like me and more than 6 million others, you’re already a ONE member. Together we need to do more than ever before to build a better world – and demand better from our leaders.

Share my New Year’s message and find out how you can do more this year.


Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Kurt Springs
Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Dale Walters


Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Kurt Springs

Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance is a story older than civilization itself. Dr. Pip Lipkin has lived many lives. He has been Padraig (Patrick in English) who dies with his beloved Sheilagh (Sheila) in a Viking raid. He has been Dermot, an Irish Rebel against the English who was eventually transported to Australia as a convict slave. He has been Amelia, an Australian woman who must survive a marriage to a brutal man. He becomes an animated plant on another world, trying to protect her young. He is an immense alien being who is trying to pay retribution for an accidental genocide. As Pip, he is working off his crime by trying to save humanity from destruction with a message of compassion and decency: “Live simply so you may live.”

Dr. Bob Rich has written a story that defies genre classification. The story is an interesting one, told from the first person perspective. Dr. Rich delivers a message of culture change with the rejection of violence, greed, and revenge. In this story, he goes through the protagonist’s lives, encapsulating the lesson of each life at its end. This works well for most of the book. When we get to the last part, which is Dr. Pip Lipkin’s life, the author disrupts the forward flow of the story with a flashback of Pip’s childhood and early life in Australia. I have always felt that flashbacks are a problematic construct for storytelling. For a few moments, I found myself jarred out of the story. However, I was able to pick up the story’s thread again without much trouble. Overall, the story is an intriguing examination of the concept of reincarnation and learning through past lives.

Kurt D. Springs is presently an adjunct professor of anthropology and archaeology in New Hampshire. He holds a PhD in anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His main area of interest is megalithic landscapes in prehistoric Ireland.

Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Dale Walters

Ascending Spiral captured my attention from the first page. A thought provoking and well written book that certainly challenged my own thoughts and beliefs on circumstances in my own life. I was captivated by this inner adventure of the soul and will be returning to this fine piece of literature in future. Highly recommended read for all.

A bit of fun

A Christmas joke, a few days late
Garden ecology
7 Animals That Smell Like Gourmet Jelly Beans
A sample of what the Scriptures might look like if Jesus had actually been a conservative
Is a corporation a person?


A Christmas joke, a few days late

Thank you, Rosemary Wattle, for this and the next item.

Garden ecology

GOD to ST. FRANCIS: Frank… You know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

St. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: ‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord. It’s a story about…

 Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

7 Animals That Smell Like Gourmet Jelly Beans

I assume this illustrated list by Kate Horowitz is accurate. Whether it is or not, it’s certainly funny.

A sample of what the Scriptures might look like if Jesus had actually been a conservative

This bit of satire from James Martin could have been posted under Politics, Deeper Issues or Compassionate Action — but it’s funny enough to be classed as humour.


Is a corporation a person?





From Pendantry
Halloween Every day by Harry Nydick


From Pendantry

            Gaia, swirling heaven.
            Mankind blossoms, then explodes;
            The end: just deserts?

I love the pun in the last line.

Halloween Every day
by Harry Nydick

            For such a long time now, you’ve made every effort
            Worked hard and long at perfecting your craft.
            Concealed who you are, the things that you’re made of,
            Miles and miles beneath that old mask.

            Now others believe that you’re just what you show them,
            But see you far less than the little you know them
            And wouldn’t it shock them, and what a surprise,
            If they could just see who’s behind your two eyes.

            You’ve spent so much time, working so hard to fool them,
            Wearing that false-face, a burdensome task
            And missed the third person, whom you’ll never know
            Wearing a second beneath the first mask.

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.
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3 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 8

  1. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 9 | Bobbing Around

  2. Dr Bob Rich says:

    All right, Joan, I’ll forgive you for commenting before I’ve even finished sending out the notifications.
    I’ve got a favour to ask you: stay as you are.


  3. Joan Y. Edwards says:

    You are right. There is great healing in forgiveness.

    Celebrate you.



Comments are closed.