Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 9

Bobbing Around

Volume Fourteen, Number Nine,
February, 2015

Bob Rich’s rave

email previous issues

Scientific American has said of the IPCC: “Across two decades and thousands of pages of reports, the world’s most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent.”

It’s not how long you live that matters, but how well.

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Sufficiency Economy Philosophy
New fun story
Methane update
My Ascending Spiral contest is still on

*Responses to past issues
Carolyn Harris
Oscar Metcalfe
Elizabeth Tindle

Has America gone crazy?
Australian Greens’ climate policies
Inequality is not inevitable, it’s engineered

It’s official: 2014 hottest on record
How whales change climate
For young people who want a future

*Compassionate action
Putting their religion into practice
Would you risk your life for a stranger?
Home first policy in Utah works
Putting your life where your beliefs are
The dignity of income works
Aboriginal Elder stands up for refugees

That wretched heat-shrunk plastic wrap
Matthew Wright on evaporative coolers
8 reasons to adopt a car-free lifestyle

*Deeper issues
The change we need, summed up in two words
A rave on rich kids
Compassionate animals
The meaning of life
Accept that you are a bombu
Repelling evil with something lovelier in a world of hurt
Pledge these 3 values

I have hateful urges to hurt someone
My father does what he punished me for, so I hate him
I need to help reduce my boyfriend’s anxiety
I’m 11 and want to start a relationship
Link between anxiety and alcoholism

The facts on gluten
Is Roundup harmful?

*For writers
I’m Talking About One Person!

*What my friends want you to know
Please support Nigerian kids who want to save water
Offers from Double Dragon Publishing
Healing for survivors of childhood abuse
70th novel by Anna Jacobs
Community festival Yarra Junction 22/3/2015
Bullying conference 29/6/2015
Asylum seeker webinar series
Sharing with writers
New edition of ecological economics book
Bob Massey tour of Australia, February 2015
Help to fight poverty
Global Divestment Day, 13-14 February

The Star Family by Theresa Crater
Ascending Spiral reviewed at My Train of Thoughts

*A bit of fun
A well-deserved holiday?
The cordless garden hose

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

Sufficiency Economy Philosophy
New fun story
Methane update
My Ascending Spiral contest is still on


Sufficiency Economy Philosophy

If that sounds awkward, it’s because it is, in English. It is a literally translated Thai phrase, and the translation was made many years ago, so it’s a given. But the concept is WONDERFUL.

I found out about it because my friends Gayle and Harry are co-editors of a book in preparation about applications of the philosophy. The project needed a competent editor — and I am it. Since the end of December, I’ve been working very hard, and it’ll go on for months yet. All the authors are Thai academics, and leaders in various fields. They all write in English — sort of. It’s my job to translate text into English you would enjoy reading. In parts, this is more like ghost writing than editing, and very demanding.

But it’s more than worth it. The concept is the brainchild of Thailand’s King, who first described it upon his coronation in 1946. After he and others have persevered over all this time, it is at last taking off (perseverance is one of the virtues it is based on).

It is far more than a philosophy of economics; more a philosophy of life. Hang on: it is EXACTLY the philosophy of life I’ve been advocating for many years.

So, I am putting everything I have into supporting this project. I would love it if the book took the world by storm.

New fun story

Bill doesn’t know that he has superpowers. He only knows that the aliens have tried to abduct him three times so far.

Want to find out what happens?

So do I. This is my current project, which has taken me over. 25,000 words have been revealed to me so far, and it looks like it may have to become a series…

Methane update

I have added a rider to my essay But there is no need for despair. There are three updates. Please have a look, and direct any climate change deniers thataway.

There are also some wonderful comments people have left recently.

My Ascending Spiral contest is still on

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.

The collapse of the Amazon is one of the anticipated tipping points. Its massive rain forests have been soaking up enormous quantities of carbon, as well as keeping the planet’s weather equitable. Neither of these benign effects can be expected in the future. Dr John James, in response to the Sao Paulo drought (see Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 5.

Responses to past issues

Carolyn Harris
Oscar Metcalfe
Elizabeth Tindle


Carolyn Harris

Just reading about the starlings chasing off the eagle.

ALL birds have intelligence, just as you say they do. I’ve seen all sorts of birds take on hawks and eagles chasing them away from their nests. Even saw an eagle come down on the road and fly off with a dead possum to be chased by a very angry raven, it was his road kill, not the eagle’s 😀

I suppose living with animals all my life of one sort of another, I have learned they have the same intelligence and emotions we do, only their concept of life is different from ours of course, so just like we thought black people were dumb and had no intelligence we still have to learn we are not alone, we are not unique at all, we’re just the same as everything else. The only big difference is we have opposing thumbs so we can perform intricate work and that has led to technology, but then animals have their own technology too and it’s just as smart as ours.

We live with ‘aliens’ every day of our lives and yet we ‘fear an alien attack.’ I have to admit I do find that funny.


Oscar Metcalfe

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your ongoing writing, counsel and general spreading of light.

With love,

Now, Oscar, you’ve fogged up my glasses! You’re not bad yourself.

Elizabeth Tindle

Hi Bob

Many thanks for another journal from the heart.

I will send you the script of the musical I recently put on at QUT and a report on it. It is basically a play called The Reef Cycle and it is the battle between coal and coral reefs.


I hope the Reef wins! Elizabeth, I am looking forward to having it hit Broadway.


Has America gone crazy?
Australian Greens’ climate policies
Inequality is not inevitable, it’s engineered


Has America gone crazy?

No, I am not asking this question. Only an American has that right, really.

Ann Jones is an American who has been to most places on the planet.

Her answer to this question is obligatory reading.

Australian Greens’ climate policies

Here are 12 measures that would serve Australia, and the rest of the planet.

Inequality is not inevitable, it’s engineered

This is of course true. Read Suzanne’ Moore’s essay.


It’s official: 2014 hottest on record
How whales change climate
For young people who want a future


It’s official: 2014 hottest on record

Read this brief, informative report by Joe Romm.

Global temps are climbing. Look at the graph: there is no slowdown, and hasn’t been one at any stage. You can only pretend by cherrypicking short stretches.

1998 was a freak year, when a super El Nino pushed up global temperatures. In 2014, there was no El Nino to speak of, and yet the 1998 record was exceeded.

The best account and description is in an infographic from the Climate Council of Australia.

How whales change climate

You’ve got to watch this video, scripted and narrated by George Monbiot.

The astonishing story of how whales keep the oceans alive — and alter the composition of the atmosphere.

For young people who want a future

Connect4Climate is a vigorous young organisation for vigorous young people.

Send your kids along so they can make a difference.

Compassionate action

Putting their religion into practice
Would you risk your life for a stranger?
Home first policy in Utah works
Putting your life where your beliefs are
The dignity of income works
Aboriginal Elder stands up for refugees


Putting their religion into practice

Like last winter, the USA is suffering from terribly cold weather as a result of climate change. And the USA has a great many homeless people, as a result of the actions of the same people who have got in the way of humanity doing something about climate change.

This is an opportunity for compassionate action. This wonderful group of people are going out to do their best to relieve distress.

Their boss the Jewish Carpenter would approve.

Would you risk your life for a stranger?

A man was in his motorised wheelchair when it stalled on railway tracks. A train was coming.

A motorist dived under the descending boom gate and ran in front of the train to drag him out of harm’s way.

This is what being human should be about.

Home first policy in Utah works

Utah has found that it costs about $12,000 a year to provide a homeless person with a home, in contrast to $20,000 a year for the various costs to society of a homeless person.

What’s more, it works to lead the person out of hopelessness. Compassionate action works.

Putting your life where your beliefs are

A family sold their house and moved into a trailer park, among severely disadvantaged people, and has been transforming lives.

The dignity of income works

40 years ago, an experiment was started in a small Canadian city. Those below the poverty line received financial assistance, no strings attached. The result was positive in every way. There was no abuse, or “dole bludging.”

Then, the government changed, and conservative politicians killed the system.

Aboriginal Elder stands up for refugees

There is no “my issue” versus “your issue.” There is only being a decent, humane person, or acting subhuman; sub-animal even. No species other than homo stupidens does things like concentration camps.
Read the story.


That wretched heat-shrunk plastic wrap
Matthew Wright on evaporative coolers
8 reasons to adopt a car-free lifestyle


That wretched heat-shrunk plastic wrap

Almost everything you buy is surrounded by a layer of heat-shrunk plastic. This is the stuff that makes its way into the oceans, killing birds and marine life. It’s not accepted as what you can put into the recycle bin (at least where I live).

I have just been told that it’s OK to put it in bins in supermarkets that accept plastic shopping bags. This makes sense, since both are polyethylene.

Matthew Wright on evaporative coolers

Matthew’s advice is, don’t use them.

That’s a bit hard if your house came with one, but if you have the choice, go for an efficient, modern reverse cycle air conditioner/heater.

8 Reasons to adopt a car-free lifestyle

Anastasia Pantsios writes at Ecowatch about the advantages of doing without personal wheels.

It’s excellent advice for urban dwellers, though more difficult for the tribe of Suburbanites.

Deeper Issues

The change we need, summed up in two words
A rave on rich kids
Compassionate animals
The meaning of life
Accept that you are a bombu
Repelling evil with something lovelier in a world of hurt
Pledge these 3 values


The change we need, summed up in two words


A rave on rich kids

Marina Hyde, writing in the Guardian, hides a great deal of wisdom behind a bit of a laugh at a web site where apparently kids with too much money post for each other. I don’t know, I haven’t bothered to check their communications.

Her essay is perfect support for what religions tell us about having too much. It sucks.

Compassionate animals

Yeah, I know. This heading combines two of my hobbyhorses.

Watch 6 brief videos, in each of which one animal rescues another. Some are of the same species, some not. The rescuer may be a pet, but can also be a “wild” animal.

Further evidence, adding to a great many other items, that words we like to reserve for humans certainly apply to other mammals. (There is also evidence that it goes beyond that.)

To continue, here is a story in which the animal rescues a human baby.

The meaning of life

A young boy asked Neil deGrasse Tyson “What is the meaning of life?”

I agree with his answer.

Accept that you are a bombu

“PeacePaul” has written a short but illuminating essay that certainly speaks to me. I suspect it applies to every human on this planet.

Have I intrigued you sufficiently?

Repelling Evil with Something Lovelier in a World of Hurt

Have you read, no, studied, the Qur’an? I have. Like the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah, it is a complex document, open to many interpretations. Mohammed himself has said, “There will be 73 different versions of my message.”

If you want to know what is central to the Qur’an, read this essay by Omid Safi.

One little quote:

“I’ve been thinking of the Qur’an, which tells us in no uncertain terms to repel evil with something lovelier.”

Pledge these 3 values

Dear amazing Avaaz community,
The path to changing the world requires us to walk the longest journey — the journey within — to change ourselves. When 500,000 of us pledge to live 3 simple but powerful values in 2015, we’ll invite world leaders to join us:

Dag Hammarskjold, the great UN leader, once reflected that we’d never make sustainable progress in our world until we all “walked the longest journey”. The journey within.

Each of our capacities to create the world we dream of depends on our own journey, from fear to love, towards believing in ourselves, and leaving our demons behind.

We’ve come together as a community hundreds of times in campaigns, and created magic. At this most reflective time of a new year, let’s come together around this, most important campaign of all — the campaign for ourselves, to “be the change we wish to see” — for us, and for all the people we love and the planet we call home.

Our community has chosen 3 simple but powerful values to support each other to follow in 2015. When 500,000 of us pledge, we’ll invite world leaders to join us, and we’ll check in 3 times this coming year to see how we’re all doing
Click to see them and sign a new year’s pledge to ourselves.

Our journeys within are profoundly individual. But it’s amazing how similar we are in what we love and fear and hope for. Over 97% of our community strongly support every one of the 3 principles in our petition!

Being part of a community can be a powerful influence, for better or worse. Avaaz is an extraordinary community of hopeful, practically idealistic people who choose to sign a petition or donate money when no one is looking. I’ve been blown away by the wisdom and humanity of the people in this community. Seems like we’re a good influence on each other :).

I wake up every day grateful for how we change the world together. It’s just a thrilling bonus that I might get a chance to hear inspiration and support from everyone on how I personally can grow and be better. And I think inviting our leaders to join us could powerfully impact some of their own journeys to be wiser for the rest of us. So excited to do this with you all!

With hope and gratitude,

Ricken, with Danny, Nataliya and the whole Avaaz team


I have hateful urges to hurt someone
My father does what he punished me for, so I hate him
I need to help reduce my boyfriend’s anxiety
I’m 11 and want to start a relationship
Link between anxiety and alcoholism


I have hateful urges to hurt someone

Good evening… My name is Amanda. I am writing this mail because of unknown reasons… I do not know why I want to write to you but I just do. I was surfing on the web and found one of your answers to a 18 yo girl… it was something about wanting to kill someone… And I thought that I should write this email. I am not exactly like that girl, but I can somehow relate to her. I also have some kind of urge… I want to hurt someone, and I do not know why. Lately, I started imagining all kinds of bloody and grotesque things, and it kind of scares me… I did not know that I could have such thoughts, and I do not really know what to do. If you read this mail and answer me, I would really appreciate it.

P.S I am sorry for any mistakes that I have made in the mail, but english is not my first language.

P.P.S I am 17 years old.

With respect, Amanda

Amanda my dear, you are welcome to write to me. I have the gift of being able to lead people into a better life, and I hope I will be able to benefit you.

There are many reasons people may get such ideas. Where the thoughts come from doesn’t matter. What matters is that you did not act on them. Instead, they distress you, and you are fighting them.

You are not what you think or imagine, but what you do. You have done nothing wrong. And this proves that you are a good person.

It may help to have some fun: a monster has moved in with you. It is putting all sorts of horrible thoughts in your mind, trying to trick you into doing evil things. Only, it can not make you do anything. All it can hope is to trick you into acting on those thoughts. So, you can simply say, “No thank you!”

Then these thoughts lose their power. Laugh at the monster — they hate being laughed at. Its thoughts are only invitations, not commands. They have no reality, but are only noise — unless you believe them as real.

If you try to make them go away, they become stronger. Instead, allow them to be there. The monster has put those thoughts there. They are only noise. So what — they are allowed to be there.

Then, because you are not reinforcing them, they grow weaker.

The next thing you can do is the opposite. Suppose a thought is to hurt a particular person. Let’s say it’s another girl. Then, regardless of what she has done, you can do an act of kindness for her. It is actually even stronger if it is a secret act of kindness, one that she never realises happened. It’s your secret. But it will benefit her, and it will benefit you. And the poor monster will be screaming with rage, and then you can laugh at it.

The third thing is, you can turn bad into good. Write down your horrible thoughts, and then work them into a story. For some reason I don’t understand, horror fiction is very popular. So, you can write short stories, or even a novel, with the horrible thoughts in there.

If these ideas agree with you, put them into practice, then let me know how well they have worked.

Your new grandfather

My father does what he punished me for, so I hate him

I’m from Ca, I’m a very nice person and I’m very loving. I’ve always had some issues due to the fact that I was molested by a family member since I was 7 and I was always scared to tell someone, until he raped me at 14. Even then I still didn’t mention his name, I just said “someone” until I finally got the courage to say something because he was still raping with me even after I got pregnant with my child (age 16). I’m not over it but I force myself not to dwell on it. Back to the point when I was 13 I didn’t like boys probably because I was already being tampered with but I honestly only had interest in girls, but my dad was a preacher and he humiliated me and taunted me with his “church beliefs”, he threatened to beat me, he talked about it with people everything to make my life horrible. With all the shame and humiliation I just started to date boys to make him happy. I changed my whole sexuality because back then I had a thing for dressing like a boy and I was being taunted by my dad for being my own person. Anyways , fast forwarding in life I recently got out of a three year abusive relationship with my ex boyfriend which moved me back into my parents’ house which I moved out of at 17 because my dad is so judgmental. Here is the point my dad has this guy that comes over all the time and they stay locked in the office with the light off all the time, they go out eat and everything together. I had my suspicions about them sleeping together but I thought it couldn’t be because he taunted me so much about being gay when I was younger. Then one day after having a date I came home and could hear them having sex, so I banged on the door because I needed a explanation, I needed clarity, I needed to know why would he even disrespect my mom and siblings in our home. He repeatably said he isn’t gay, he doesn’t do that, I’m the one who likes girls, I’m the one who hurt my mom by having kids, I’m in his house I shouldn’t be questioning him. All I could call him was a hypocrite and a liar, I was so crushed, everything was adding up. All the fat portion websites I have seen on his computer, makes pictures of his name friends all this from when I was 13-14 access he was criticizing me and humiliating me for being new. Now I keep having dreams and thoughts of stabbing him in the face. I just really want to stab that fake Christian mask right off his face. I want him to feel the pain I felt and still feel because I’m so self conscious about being myself because of him.

What can stop these thoughts abs dreams? Why do I want to stab him in the face? Am I crazy? HELP ME PLEASE. I’m not a bad person, why am I changing?

Sandra my dear,

First, you can do something about resolving the effects of the childhood sexual abuse and rape. There are several very powerful, research-based techniques available for this. They all work to about the same extent, because they are all based on the same knowledge base. You could find a local psychologist who uses a form of “exposure therapy.” I prefer to do this through hypnosis because that’s the most effective. Other commonly used versions are “EMDR” and Traumatic Incident Reduction”. “ lists accredited therapists who use TIR, and there could be one near you.

Second, I think you are right. You developed a sexual orientation toward girls because sex with males became associated with the horrible times with this man. And if you want love with women, that’s fine. It is also possible that you have inherited a tendency toward homosexuality from your father. Roughly one person in seven is naturally homosexual.

This may help you to think with more tolerance about your father. If he has a hereditary leaning toward sex with men, and yet his entire belief system is that this is wrong and evil, then all his life he will have been living in terrible torment. Eventually, he betrayed his religion and his principles, and gave in to his nature.

His irrational, strong reaction against your Lesbian preferences is what is called a “reaction formation.” That is, he has unconsciously tried to suppress his sexual attraction to men by being super-strong in condemning homosexuality. He may have chosen his particular version of the Church because of this.

By acting toward you the way he did, he could displace onto you all the anger, guilt and disgust he felt toward himself, without realizing it. This does NOT excuse it, but does make it understandable.

The way he reacted to his teenage daughter is inexcusable. However, if you understand where he was coming from, you might start to pity rather than hate him. He is a hypocrite because he happens to be born with genes that make nonsense of his religion. He has been using his extreme religious beliefs to battle yearnings that come unbidden, but he considers to be evil. Can you see what a torture this must be?

There is a silver lining. Because you are his daughter, and have exposed his hypocrisy, you are a stronger, better, more rational person than you would be otherwise. He is a negative role model: “I will not be like him.” That’s very useful for you.

I suggest that, as soon as possible, you move out again. Build a life for yourself that’s independent of your dad. And be open to love, wherever it comes from — male or female. What matters is mutual caring and commitment.

You don’t need to hurt your father — he has hurt himself more than enough already.

Have a good life my dear,

I need to help reduce my boyfriend’s anxiety

I have been with my partner for 2 years now and between us, we have our fair share of mental health disorders, including both of us having tourettes sydnrome and depression. but my boyfriend also has severe anxiety, which in the last few months, has been worse than ever!
in the mornings he is constantly vomiting, saying he’s anxious and has an upset stomach. all through the day as I see his anxiety peek. he vomits all through the day, is very sensitive to heat, has a resting heart rate of 100 beats per minute, easily.
this has been going on for months. I’ve taken him to many doctors who haven’t done anything because he holds his anxiety together when we are at the doctors.
surely it cannot be good for him to be vomiting all the time.
he is on seroquel XR 100mg each night before bed. also haloperidol .5mg for his tourettes.
please if you have any advice, please help me… I’m desperate,
I can’t bear to see him vomit for the next couple of months like he has for the last couple 😥

Dear Eve,

It says lots of good things about you that you’re seeking help for someone else, not for yourself. He is very fortunate to have you there as his support.

First, I am concerned about the drugs he is on, and possibly you too. Seroquel and Haloperidol are very powerful antipsychotic drugs with many side effects. Tourette syndrome is not a form of psychosis, so I don’t know why those drugs are being used. To me, they seem completely inappropriate.

This web site lists rapid heart rate, digestive upsets, tremor / shaky hands among possible side-effects of Seroquel. There are also interactions between these two drugs.

Everyone responds differently to drugs. It is possible that, even if the two of you are taking the same drugs, he is reacting differently from you. Have him seek an opinion from a new doctor on the suitability of his medication regime, and whether that is partly or wholly responsible for his vomiting.

At the same time, he must not just discontinue. Stopping these drugs needs to be done very carefully and gradually, under medical supervision.

Second, vomiting is not that common a symptom of severe anxiety. It can occur, but few people with anxiety disorders suffer regular vomiting like your boyfriend. Maybe he is vomiting, and then he is understandably anxious about that?

What can help is an attitude of “acceptance.” “OK, so I vomit lots. So what. It’s probably not fatal (hasn’t killed me so far, has it?) but even if it is, that’s all right.” People usually laugh when they think like this. So, if you are right and he is vomiting because of anxiety, then there is a vicious cycle. Anxiety – vomiting – anxiety about vomiting – more vomiting – more anxiety. Simple acceptance cuts the cycle. So, you have anxiety – vomiting – so what. Much better!

If the vomiting has nothing to do with anxiety, then it’s even more beneficial to simply accept it, while tracking down the cause.

You are right about it being unwise to hide problems from the doctor. Any person there to help needs to know the full story. Putting on a good act means continuation of the problem.

Finally, I’d like to help you to be a more effective support person. You cannot carry another person on life’s journey, only walk with them. If he wants to make changes, he is the one who needs to do so. Perhaps strangely, having a loving person making decisions for him, making him go to doctors etc., may actually be keeping the problem going.

You might see this if I illustrate it with different examples.

Man is a problem gambler. He spends all his money on the poker machines, even if his kids go hungry. He then asks his mother for money so he can buy food for them. He goes shopping — and spends the money gambling. After awhile, she refuses to give him money, but buys food for the kids. You know, she is still enabling his gambling. The kids are OK thanks to her, and he can still waste his money. He may hate himself for behaving like this, but gives in to the addiction.

Another example: a lady came to me with migraines. As we were talking, I found out that when she had a migraine, husband and kids tiptoed around the house, and did the cooking and cleaning. When she was OK, she felt like an unpaid housekeeper, with them making a mess and leaving her to clean up. I called a family conference, and explained to them: “You are rewarding mother for having her headaches. Why don’t you reward her for feeling OK, by doing your fair share of the work and more, whether she has a migraine or singing and dancing through the house?” This worked: the frequency of migraines decreased to about half. Not that she was deliberately having headaches to manipulate her family, but that she no longer got rewards for having them.

So, your boyfriend’s vomiting can be genuine and real and not put on, and at the same time one of the things keeping it going may be that your loving concern rewards him for them.

What to do about this?

Continue to give him love and support, but in a way that allows him to make the decisions that affect him. When you want him to do something for his own good, make the suggestion once, in a neutral way. “I’ve come across this book. I think you might want to read it.” Or, “You are due to see Dr Smith this afternoon. Please, do not put on a good front, but let him know just how badly this anxiety is affecting you.” Then leave it up to him. No second reminder, unless he specifically asks for it.

Good luck, and I am keen to hear how things progress in the future for the two of you.

I’m 11 and want to start a relationship

I’m a shy girl of 11 and rarely talk to boys, but there is this one who is very friendly. I want to start a relationship but don’t know how to do it. I want to get close to the person I love first. Please, how should I start to act around him to get emotionally close.

My dear,

You state that you are 11 years old.

There are different stages of life, and they are for different things. A “relationship” is basically for settling down and having children. Are you ready for that? Or do you want to live for a while first?

Having a boyfriend is a fun way of learning how to have relationships later on. Girls and boys form a group, and pair off for a while. They break up, learn from the turmoil, find another special friend. This can and should happen several times.

Despite what you see on TV, and what you see other kids do, having a boyfriend is not good for a girl of 11. It actually gets in the way of learning stuff you are supposed to learn about how to get on with boys.

What you need, and what is really fun and enjoyable, is to have friends. Some of these friends will be boys, some girls. Some will be closer than others. It is perfectly fine for you to have this boy as your friend, even as your best friend. You can do things together, talk about stuff that interests you both. But don’t make it “I am yours and you are mine until death does us part.” That’s nonsense for someone who needs to learn through experience how to be friendly to all sorts of people, not just a few.

I have had clients who are about 30 to 35 years old. A lady may love her husband and kids, and has no intention of breaking up her marriage. All the same, she has gone and had an affair. The husband has found out, and is terribly hurt. She loves him, and hurting him hurts her. But she has done it.

Every time I see this pattern, I find out that they teamed up very young, maybe 15 or 16 years of age, and have had no other partners, ever. Kids, boring job, bills to be paid… life can be a chore for people. Then, some look for something to blame. If she picks on the marriage as the supposed cause of her dissatisfaction, she is ripe to be seduced by some man looking for easy pickings. She missed out on the freedom of being irresponsible and unattached when young — so she became irresponsible when she “should know better.”

So, it’s OK to like this boy. It’s OK for him to like you. Be friends. But it’s not forever-love. Have fun, learn about life.

You may find that if you have this attitude, then the shyness will go. You don’t need to judge yourself, or worry about the impression you are making, if you are only aiming at having a fun time.

So, have a good life, my dear.

Link between anxiety and alcoholism

Hello, my name is Jeffrey Redd. I was doing a bit of research about anxiety, and the connection to alcoholism. I saw you mention the Anxiety, and Depression Association of America on your psych contacts page. I want to thank you for listing them, as they are so important in fighting related disorders.

I thought it would be worth suggestion an article I helped put together tying anxiety, and alcoholism together. It is here. If you have a chance to check it out, like share, or even list it near ADAA that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much, and keep in touch.

Jeffrey Redd
Outreach Director


The facts on gluten
Is Roundup harmful?


The facts on gluten

This well researched essay is a must-read for all those many people who are affected by gluten — or think that they are.

There is coeliac disease. For some people, gluten can be literally deadly. But most people who negatively react to gluten are probably succumbing to the nocebo effect.

Is Roundup harmful?

Read this and make up your own mind.


I’m Talking About One Person!

Once upon a time, English had the quaint rule that a person of unknown gender should be referred to as ‘he’. English teachers managed to get a predictable giggle with ‘The masculine embraces the feminine’.

Not any more. Read a book from the 1960s or earlier, and passages like ‘Somebody inched around the corner. He…’ will seem odd, somehow incorrect, leading to the thought, ‘but how do you know it’s a male?’ And indeed, the paragraph might have continued ‘…was obviously trying to be quiet. John watched, then from the figure’s way of moving, recognised Sara.’

The first replacement was the pedantic and awkward ‘he or she,’ which rightly withered on the vine of disuse. Personally, I’d be quite comfortable with using ‘she’ for unknown gender. After all, whatever the book of Genesis says, genetically females are the prototype: males are basically females with one missing X chromosome. Besides, there were compensations in those olden days when grammatically the masculine embraced the feminine. It was also a custom for ladies to be first into the life boats, through doors and into carriages.

Unfortunately, using ‘she’ is not the path of current custom. Instead, even otherwise competent writers choose to fracture grammar by using a plural form: ‘The child threw a tantrum. They lay on the ground, kicking their heels and screaming.’

Not only is this ugly, it is also guaranteed to lead to frequent ambiguity. ‘Two of the three children threw tantrums. The little blonde grew blue in the face and I worried they might suffer an injury.’ Who might? The blonde, or both of them?

The object of language is to communicate, therefore anything that leads to fuzzy messages is wrong. ‘They’ instead of ‘he or she’ is wrong.

Another argument is to look at the processing complexity facing the reader or listener. As you are reading my words, your brain is carrying out complex and multi-level computing tasks. If I have done my job of writing correctly, the meaning you construct is the meaning I intended. But what happens if, from my words, you get the message that I am referring to two or more individuals, when actually I meant one person? Later, when this fact is revealed, you are forced to recompute: extra work that interferes with the job of interpretation.

This is the difference between good writing and bad. Good writing is a pleasure to read because the author has used every possible device to make the task of reading simple. Bad writing is where the reader must work hard to make sense of the words.

So, avoiding the plural when singular is meant is not a question of taste, but of strategy. I want my writing to be enjoyable. I want it to be unambiguous, vivid, sharp. If I use ‘they’ to refer to one person, I am getting in my own way.

How else can we do it?

There is ALWAYS a means for conveying ‘he or she’ in an elegant manner, without resorting to ‘they.’ Here are a few examples:

‘A child who has been bullied in school is quite likely to keep this a secret from you.’
‘A victim of bullying in school is likely to be secretive about it.’
‘Your child may have been bullied in school and never tell you about it.’
‘Has your child been bullied? You may never find out.’

‘One of the dancers left the floor, had a long drink, then walked out of the hall.’
One of the dancing young women left the floor. She had a long drink…’
‘Dancers were leaving the floor. One of them had a long drink…’

So, here is the challenge. Improve the quality of your writing by saying what you mean. If there was only one person, don’t write as if there were several.

I’ve been immersed in a major, difficult editing job, and at the same time a new science fiction story has taken off, and interferes with my sleep. So, I haven’t written anything new. This essay is reproduced from Bobbing Around Volume 1 Number 5. Why should this little gem be buried in the depths of history?

What my friends want you to know

Please support Nigerian kids who want to save water
Offers from Double Dragon Publishing
Healing for survivors of childhood abuse
70th novel by Anna Jacobs
Community festival Yarra Junction 22/3/2015
Bullying conference 29/6/2015
Asylum seeker webinar series
Sharing with writers
New edition of ecological economics book
Bob Massey tour of Australia February 2015
Help to fight poverty
Global Divestment Day 13-14 February


Please support Nigerian kids who want to save water

The Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE) has signed an Agreement of Cooperation with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in Sweden as the National Organizer in Nigeria for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) for the period 2015-2017.

Also see two links: about the prize and about the national organisers.

The responsibility of PAVE under the Agreement includes the following:

  1. To organise each year starting 2015 a National Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition in Nigeria (SJWP Nigeria);
  2. To finance the National competition through the engagement of sponsors;
  3. To select students to represent the winning project in the International Final in Stockholm;
  4. To pay for the finalist travelling and accompany them to the International Final in Stockholm;
  5. To appoint a National Jury;
  6. To inform SIWI about members of the National Jury;

We will be grateful for financial support for this worthwhile initiative.

Water-related issues will continue to evolve and will grow more critical as we move into the future. The resolution of these issues depends on a populace sensitive to and knowledgeable of water and water resources. Education provides one of the best approaches to ensuring responsible behaviour towards water. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) provides a veritable platform for encouraging young people to take interest in the management of our vital water resources.


Anthony Akpan
Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE)
2nd Floor, Rear Flat,
59, Palm Avenue, Mushin
P.O.BOX 494 , Ijanikin, Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: 08033510419, 08035423750

Offers from Double Dragon Publishing

Help us CELEBRATE — 15 years of service to the eBook Industry!

Double Dragon Publishing is celebrating its 15th anniversary! With this landmark in mind, we will be releasing various free and discounted titles, and special edition hard cover books for the remainder of the year. This includes this FREE “sampler” of Double Dragon Publishing titles that will allow you to read various titles published over the last 15 years. Most samplers will include at least 10 titles in a common genre and will provide links to the full version if you wish to continue the story.

Enjoy! And help us celebrate 15 years of service to the eBook publishing industry.

Healing for survivors of childhood abuse

Ellen Lacter, psychologist and activist against ritual abuse and mind control, has just released:

A Coloring Book of Healing Images for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (2015)
She authored this with two wonderful illustrators, Robin Baird Lewis and Jen Callow.

Each of the 17 chapters begins with a page or two describing an aspect of healing. This is followed by a list of tools and ideas for creative expression to facilitate it. Then the coloring images are listed next to their thumbnail images, each with a self-affirming intention.

The next pages are the images for “coloring,” 119 illustrations in all on full-size (8.5 by 11-inch) paper. These images are more complex and interesting to color than those of a children’s coloring book.

The book is printed on high-quality heavy-weight paper (67 lb vellum bristol) suitable for crayons, water-based markers, chalk and oil pastels, color pencils, pastel pencils, and gel pens. Watercolor pencils (Ellen’s favorite), acrylic paints, and water-based crayons are also suitable when working with a lightly moistened brush. The pages lie completely flat when opened, to facilitate application of art media.

Most images in this book will have value to survivors of all kinds of child abuse. Many images address “parts of self,” “inner children,” or dissociated identities or personalities. Ellen made sure to address ritual abuse, since these survivors are so under-served and it is her hope to increase, in this small way, the global consciousness of this kind of abuse. She also worked with the illustrators to try to avoid imagery likely to trigger ritual abuse survivors.

The book’s introduction provides more detail.

Ordering information is here.

70th novel by Anna Jacobs


West Australian novelist Anna Jacobs’ 70th novel ‘A Time to Remember’ was published on January 1st. She writes historical and modern stories for three major UK publishers. It’s a happy coincidence of numbers, because Anna is in her 70s. She still writing three novels a year because story telling is her passion in life.

This novel is particularly close to her heart, as it’s the start of a series taking place just after World War 2, a time she remembers as a small child. She found the research fascinating, seeing the period anew with an adult’s eye — but she has trouble thinking of it as ‘history’.

It was a time when the men (and women) were coming home from war, as her own father did after four years in the Middle East. She met him for the first time then. Building new homes had a high government priority and that is a major focus of the book’s background. Not all women were glad to see their husbands, though…

As usual, Anna has produced a complex tale with several protagonists, and one or two surprises en route, plus a vivid picture of the era.

You can read more about ‘A Time to Remember’ on her website and read the first chapter.

Community festival Yarra Junction 22/3/2015


Bullying conference 29/6/2015

Are you passionate about the prevention and education of bullying?

Would you like to showcase your new research, project or case study?

The Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association is currently seeking submissions to present at the 2015 No 2 Bullying Conference, which will be held on the Gold Coast from the 29 – 30 June 2015.

The conference will provide the opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the field of Bullying Policy, Prevention and Management Strategies.

With your help, the program will continue the journey for our commitment and continuing support for Bullying Prevention and Education.

If you would like to be a part of the 2015 No 2 Bullying Conference Program, please visit the conference website.

Asylum seeker webinar series

I am on the committee of the “Refugee Issues Interest Group” of the Australian Psychological Society. We have organised a series of 4 very powerful webinars, by excellent presenters.

This series explores a range of critical topics in understanding the psychology of being a refugee and asylum seeker, and what psychological interventions and support can be undertaken to help. It will provide clinicians, therapists, and workers new to working with refugees and asylum seekers an opportunity to develop professional knowledge and skills in this complex and often highly charged area. For those experienced in this area, it offers an update of issues and a refresher of the key considerations in working with this group of highly vulnerable people. It brings together some of the leading experts in the field in a comprehensive and contemporary review of issues and interventions. It is a professional development activity for clinicians, therapists, and workers and is not suitable for consumers.

Webinar 1 10/2/2015 6 – 9 pm (AEDT)
Presenter: Dr Ida Kaplan
Topic: Experiences, issues and interventions

Webinar 2 10/3/2015 6 – 9 pm (AEDT)
Presenters: Topic 1: Mr David Manne Topic 2: Dr Amanda Gordon
Topic: 1. The legal context 2. Child, adolescent, and family issues

Webinar 3 14/4/2015 6 – 9 pm (AEDT)
Presenters: Topic 1: Guy Coffey Topic 2: Dr Angela Nickerson
Topics: 1. Ethical issues 2. The evidence for PTSD interventions

Webinar 4 12/5/2015 6 – 9 pm (AEDT)
Topic: Therapeutic approaches for working with asylum seekers and refugees
Therapy: Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) as a treatment for refugees — concept, evidence and challenges
Presenter: Professor Frank Neuner

Registration for the whole series closes on 7th February. Sessions 2 to 4: registration closes 7 days prior to the webinar.

All presenters are volunteering. Fees will barely cover the costs of production and presentation, and are very cheap for the length and quality of this mini-course.

More details including costs at the Interest Group’s web site.

Register here.

Sharing with writers

This is a monthly resource published by Carolyn Howard Johnson. If you’re a writer, you can’t afford not to check out each issue.

They can be downloaded here.

New edition of ecological economics book

I’d like to draw your attention to a new book: Introduction to Ecological Economics, Second Edition by me and several co-authors. This edition is a major update and expansion of our 1997 first edition. Ecological economics explores new ways of thinking about how we manage our lives and our planet to achieve a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. The Second Edition:

  1. includes several new pieces and updates in each section;
  2. adds a series of independently authored “boxes” to expand and update information in the current text;
  3. addresses the historical development of economics and ecology and the recent progress in integrating the study of humans and the rest of nature; and
  4. covers the basic concepts and applications of ecological economics in language accessible to a broad audience.

You can find the book at the publisher’s site or at Amazon

Dr. Robert Costanza
Editor-in-Chief, Solutions
Professor and Chair of Public Policy
Crawford School of Public Policy (
Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Bob Massey tour of Australia, February 2015

We talk about it all the time, but what does it really mean to move beyond fossil fuels?

We’re inviting you to a national speaking tour featuring leading US economist and politician Bob Massie to help answer this important question.

For over a year now, we’ve been calling on individuals and institutions to divest from fossil fuels — and the response has been overwhelming.

Increasingly, Australians know that we need to move beyond our fossil fuel addiction but, importantly, they want to know how we make this shift. What does the transition to a low carbon economy look like and what does it mean for our communities, jobs and economy? How might the burdens of such a shift be managed, and how might the opportunities for creating truly better ways of meeting our needs be embraced?

There’s no doubt that these are difficult questions. They are questions that will take all of us to answer. Yet as the rest of the world grapples with them, Australia’s political leaders are working hard to avoid these questions at all cost — and that’s why it’s time for us to ask them louder than ever.

In that vein, we are excited to announce that, next month, we are hosting a national speaking tour with renowned US economist Bob Massie — one of the world’s foremost experts on building a just transition to a low carbon economy.

From Sydney, Perth, Canberra and Melbourne to Newcastle, Queensland and the La Trobe Valley, Bob will join with local and national experts to talk about one of the biggest issues of our time: the need to build a just transition away from fossil fuels.

We hope you can join us — click here to book your free ticket now!

Help to fight poverty


Global Divestment Day, 13-14 February

Never before has the need to divest and keep fossil fuels in the ground been so clear!

Just last week, a groundbreaking report in the prestigious journal Nature stated what we’ve known all along — the vast majority of oil, coal and gas must stay in the ground if we are to have any chance of a liveable future.

In Australia, this translates to at least 90% of our coal needing to stay in the ground. But as the science speaks louder than ever, our politicians are determined to bury their heads in the sand and let the fossil fuel industry dictate their decisions.

And this is why, now more than ever, we need you to join us on February 13 – 14 to divest from fossil fuels as part of Global Divestment Day.

Watch this animation to learn more.


The Star Family by Theresa Crater
Ascending Spiral reviewed at My Train of Thoughts


The Star Family by Theresa Crater

This book screws on the tension. It starts with a hint of mayhem, then there is the classical device of loose ends and new beginning: the protagonist loses her job without warning, and accedes to a dying old woman’s wish to take over her house. Then, things are interesting although low-key. But, as you read on, the screw turns, and the tension multiplies.

I like learning about new things. I certainly found a treasure trove in this book. It has educated me about a version of Christianity, an ancient tradition I’ve never heard of. Checks on the internet showed Theresa to be accurate in every detail.

This background is central to the theme, and leads into paranormal phenomena, with nothing less than the fate of humanity in the balance. We have the mysterious Mr. Knight who leads the forces of light, and Mr. Coche who is one of those people who will do anything to increase his already obscene wealth and power.

And, although she doesn’t know why or how, Jane is caught in the middle.

I won’t say anything more about the plot, but you’ll have fun finding out for yourself.

Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her visionary fiction. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include The Judgment of Osiris and Bringing the Waters. Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.

Ascending Spiral reviewed at My Train of Thoughts

With Ascending Spiral, Dr. Bob Rich presents us with a thrilling journey through some darker points in history. Each time passage and/or reincarnation has its own flow and length. I soon asked myself this burning question: “When will they ever learn?” (from ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone’, written by Pete Seeger in 1955). I had a great time reading Ascending Spiral. It is a thought-provoking and chilling read, especially if you consider the above teaser – it is chilling because it is really ‘close to home’. This story is for you if you appreciate a well written combination of fiction and non-fiction and/or if you like thought-provoking material.


Karen runs the blog My Train of Thoughts. She is a self-confessed book addict.

A bit of fun

A well-deserved holiday?
The cordless garden hose


A well-deserved holiday?


The cordless garden hose

Isn’t it annoying when a hose snargles all over the place, and catches on itself, and, inevitably, kinks so the flow is cut off?

Well, here is my brand new invention to solve the problem.

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.

2 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 9

  1. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 14 Number 11 | Bobbing Around

  2. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 14 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