Bobbing Around Volume 15 Number 3

I posted this issue, back in September, 2015, but something went wrong. It is not in the WordPress archives. Since it is full of good stuff, I’ve removed outdated material, and am having a second go.

Think of it as a bonus issue.


There is no reality. There is no thing and no nothing. There is no body and no nobody. There is only what there is, and that is not. Only change is constant, and only consciousness can see it. What the consciousness sees, it sees.

U Gaun, in Finding the Enemy, sequel of The Doom Healer.


The financial system is the most fragile of all the systems we depend on (though the others do not lack fragility).

James Howard Kunstler

Bobbing Around

Volume Fifteen, Number Three,
September, 2015

Bob Rich’s rave

email

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

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Cat-love and dog-love

*Politics
What does pro-life mean?
Facts about India’s need for coal
Kiribati: stop new coal mines
Nurses endorse Bernie Sanders

*Environment
More than twice the size of continental USA
The only solution is to keep carbon in the ground
Heat waves
And the world’s glaciers are melting
Earth overshoot day earlier
July, 2015 hottest month, ever
Oceans in peril

*Good news
Kids fed in Indianapolis
New Zealand sheds coal
21 kids sue US government over climate change

*Compassionate action
What if you won $500,000?

*Inspiring people
Teacher
Go on then, jail me
Better to give than to take
These little girls raise tens of thousands of dollars
Paralysis inspiration
From coal miner to environmentalist

*Technology
Off-grid is the future?
Salt water light

*Deeper issues
Why forgiveness is powerful
Listen to this wonderful man
Compassion pill or compassion training?
Wisdom from an American senator
You need to know this about Amazon

*Psychology
Fighting urge to kill
I am lying to keep my dad’s secret
Torn between two loves
Do I need to murder my brother?

*Health
How to flush brain waste
About Aspartame

*For writers
Comma addendum
Excellent resource for editors

*Reviews
Calm Ground, By Megan Williams
Dolet, by Florence Weinberg
Flowers from the Grave, by Wendy Laing
The Doom Healer series, reviewed by Jack Gilbert

*Have a laugh
What’s in a name?
A Titanic opinion


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.

Humanity is currently on a rapid slide toward extinction. Not that this is such a bad thing, but the crime is, we are hurting all sorts of other people such as dolphins, and elephants, and frogs, and sharks, and ponderosa pines, and the forests of the Rocky Mountains, and the sedges of the Tundra, and unnamed vines of the Amazon… the entire web of life of this little planet is threatened.
From an interview with Dr Bob Rich


From me to you

Cat-love and dog-love

Cat-love and dog-love

I have posted a new page to the Bobbing Around blog.

Please read it and leave a comment.
dogcat


Politics

What does pro-life mean?
Facts about India’s need for coal
Kiribati: stop new coal mines
Nurses endorse Bernie Sanders

 

What does pro-life mean?

joanc


Facts about India’s need for coal

Please read this authoritative, well-argued essay. I wish Australia’s Prime Monster Tony Abbott would, but he probably won’t.

Briefly, coal cannot cure India’s electricity shortage, because of the cost of connection of much of the rural area, and the danger and cost of providing urban residents without power. Insofar as coal imports go, Indonesian coal is half the cost of what the proposed Australian developments can supply. And the health effects are horrendous.

The essay doesn’t even mention global warming. Actually, it’s more powerful that way, because it irrefutably makes sense even for deniers.
78261917JH022_Environment Photo source is also worth visiting.


Kiribati: stop new coal mines

The Pacific Island nation of Kiribati is on the frontline of climate change. It is organising a push to put a moratorium on new coal mines.

I do hope the world listens.
kiribati


Nurses endorse Bernie Sanders

Of course, I live in Australia, but we live on the one planet. US presidential concerns have relevance for everyone. I have friends who ask, “Bernie who?”

This will answer a few of their questions.


Environment

More than twice the size of continental USA
The only solution is to keep carbon in the ground
Heat waves
And the world’s glaciers are melting
Earth overshoot day earlier>
July, 2015 hottest month, ever
Oceans in peril

 

More than twice the size of continental USA

garbage
This is the patch of floating garbage in the Pacific.


The only solution is to keep carbon in the ground

A team of researchers have done a very useful thought experiment. They postulated an as yet uninvented technology for removing carbon dioxide from the air, back to pre-industrial levels, then examined how planetary systems would react.

The answer it, it would not stop disaster, because the oceans have very long lag times. Ocean acidity, and deep water temperature, will take a very long time to correct.

So, the recommendation is: STOP BURNING THE STUFF.


Heat waves

This year, extreme heat has killed thousands of people in India and Pakistan. Now, there is extreme heat in the Middle East.

Shoes are melting in Texas and Arizona.

And generally, we’re on track to overtake 2014 as the hottest year, ever.
heatwave


And the world’s glaciers are melting

It’s “unprecedented.” That word keeps coming up again and again.
glacierchange

Perhaps the most noticeable change is in Alaska: “Alaska’s southern coast glaciers that once terminated in the ocean have now retreated far up Alaska’s valleys. A recent study shows that fresh water and glacial melt from these retreating glaciers are pouring into the Gulf of Alaska accumulating more water than is seen in some of the world’s great rivers.”
alaskamelt


Earth overshoot day earlier

Earth ‘overshoot day’ — the day each year when our demands on the planet outstrip its ability to regenerate — comes six days earlier than 2014, with world’s population currently consuming the equivalent of 1.6 planets a year.
oneearth


July, 2015 hottest month, ever

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said so.

Please note this is an average GLOBAL figure, and has nothing to do with local weather variations.


Oceans in peril

This report in EcoWatch summarises new research supporting what I’ve been shouting for a long time: we are killing the life of the sea.

Even if people who “don’t believe in climate change” will just have to be worried about this.

overfishing
Overfishing is one of the major problems. Photo John Wallace / NOAA via Wikimedia Commons.


Good news

Kids fed in Indianapolis
New Zealand sheds coal
21 kids sue US government over climate change

 

Kids fed in Indianapolis

indianapolis
One comment pointed out that the taxpayer supplies 3 meals a day to people who break the law. Isn’t it appropriate that two meals a day should be supplied to the kids of people who have done nothing wrong, but have fallen on hard times?


New Zealand sheds coal

Thanks largely to increased energy efficiency, such as insulating thousands of homes, New Zealand has decided to close its remaining coal-fired power stations.

I hope dinosaur governments follow.


21 kids sue US government over climate change

Read about their inspirational action.

A group of Dutch people have won such a case, and a group of kids in Seattle. Now, this one is national within the USA.

Compared to Australia, America’s climate change policies are brilliant. All the same, there is still all too much support for the fossilising industry, and these kids are right. Their future is being burned up.


Compassionate Action

What if you won $500,000?

 

What if you won $500,000?

Heather McHugh did, for her poetry.

Instead of spending it for her own benefit, she has established a foundation that funds holidays for caregivers.

“Nobody deserves that kind of money, and I think something in me was chastened by being awarded such a big amount of money,” she said.

Then, her godson and his wife had a baby with severe disabilities, and McHugh says she kept thinking about how stressful that would be for them raising a daughter who would never walk, talk or be able to feed herself.

“It was obvious to me when that baby was born that in 10 years, they were going to need a break,” she said.

So McHugh took the money she received and used it to start a nonprofit called Caregifted, awarding vacations to people who have spent a decade or more taking care of a family member full-time.


Inspiring people

Teacher
Go on then, jail me
Better to give than to take
These little girls raise tens of thousands of dollars
Paralysis inspiration
From coal miner to environmentalist

 

Teacher

teacher
The little boy is a street vendor’s son. The teacher is just a girl who wants to make a difference. This is in Egypt.

This is one of a series of pictures showing generosity of spirit. I’ll guarantee good tears in your eyes.


Go on then, jail me

The criminal government of Australia has a new law that will jail health workers and others for up to 2 years for revealing human rights violations including sexual abuse of children. Of course, the victims are not human, but asylum seekers in offshore concentration camps.

Watch a video (or read the transcript) prepared by people of principle who are risking jail by defying this evil law.


Better to give than to take

During the summer break, some kids don’t have food at all. This old lady is doing something about it, feeding kids
feed


These little girls raise tens of thousands of dollars

orig
Their father is half-Japanese, and taught his daughters origami. They make beautiful things, and use them to raise money for clean water supplies where that makes a huge difference.

You might want to support them.


Paralysis inspiration

heidim
This young lady was paralysed in a car smash in 2007. She finished her education, has a productive job — and has designed jeans to suit wheelchair-bound people.

The changes she made are all sensible. They increase comfort, convenience and practicality, while looking good.

She is a perfect example showing that suffering is not in your situation, but in your reaction to it. Whatever is wrong in your life, maybe you can copy Heidi McKenzie.


From coal miner to environmentalist

nickm
I find this young man to be an inspiration. As the Sierra Club reports, he has decided to save his health, and save a future for his kids, by getting out of coalmining and actively campaigning to keep coal in the ground.


Technology

Off-grid is the future?
Salt water light

 

Off-grid is the future?

My friend Glen Morris is one of Australia’s top authorities on solar energy. He sent me this link.

The electricity distribution network is THE major cost of power. It is antiquated, and in one part of Australia, about to be replaced.


Salt water light

A Philippina engineer and her brother have invented a light that frees poor people from the dangers of kerosene or car-battery lighting. A cup of water, a tablespoon of salt, and rods made from two different metals (which last for 6 months of use) generate electricity. The whole thing costs $20.
mijeno


Deeper Issues

Why forgiveness is powerful
Listen to this wonderful man
Compassion pill or compassion training?
Wisdom from an American senator
You need to know this about Amazon

 

Why forgiveness is powerful

grudge


Listen to this wonderful man

dalaikindness


Compassion pill or compassion training?

Please read thoughtful, accurate article in The Vancouver Sun.

While you’re there, check out other excellent essays by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger.

Kids naturally exercise compassion. It’s life that beats it out of most people. Yes, there is a pill to induce it, but it’s like a muscle: strengthens with training. And it’s part of the web of Karma.
Silhouette of mother kissing child on head

You can also read an interesting interview in New Scientist with James Doty of Stanford, whose research focuses on compassion.


Wisdom from an American senator

coryb


You need to know this about Amazon

EVIL is the only term I can apply to this method of managing the staff of a company.

This claim first appeared in The New York Times after interviews with many current and ex-employees. Jeff Bezos has denied the claims.

In a way, I don’t care if they are true or not. An overarching consideration is ethics. The mere fact that such an allegation can be seriously made says to me that the model of capitalism is evil.

This company needs to change its attitudes. We know that. But that’s insufficient. The entire attitude to employees as ‘human resources’ needs to be discarded.


Psychology

Fighting urge to kill
I am lying to keep my dad’s secret
Torn between two loves
Do I need to murder my brother?

 

Fighting urge to kill

Before I was born my mom and dad was put in jail for child porn. My mom was bailed out by my godmother. I grown up alone every one hated me my mom was always hi on pills or in the hospital. My old home was pretty violent. Then my godmother passed away. My mom couldn’t raise me cause she has a brain problem. So I moved with my granny and pops. Also I’m very paranoid about giving my real name age and address.

How do I control these awful thoughts!!! For my entire life I thought of murder. But, I been controlling it. Only now it’s getting out of hand. Like really when I see a knife I really want to use it and bad memories start to flood my mind. I tried to talk to my pops and granny but, they wouldn’t believe me. I told my new friends but, they only encouraged it. Now I’m stuck and sometimes I blame myself for everything. Also I sometimes think I’m insane just like my mom. Help me soon as possible.

Dear Warren,

I have good news for you.

You are not insane, and not evil.

You are traumatised.

This means that the events of your childhood have hurt you, inside.

Life has been very unfair to you, hasn’t it? Even before you were born, you parents did terrible things, so bad they were put in jail. And if they were into child porn, it’s likely they did nasty things to you when you were a baby and a small child.

A violent childhood has a hidden message. “I am more powerful than you. If you do something I don’t like, then you are bad, and I have the right to punish you. WHACK!”

Is it surprising that you have kept thinking of murder? As a child, you probably had those thoughts aimed at your mom and dad. But as you grew older, you saw that other kids had better lives, and that everything, the whole world, was unfair. So, your resentment grew, and now you have urges to kill other people, maybe anyone who has it better than you.

Do you agree, anyone who had a childhood like yours would have a good chance of thinking like this? So, you are NOT insane.

It takes a lot of work, but you can change this. How?

Violence, drugs, porn are the pattern of your mom and dad. Whatever they do is wrong, so you can decide, deep in your heart, that you will do the opposite in everything.

Instead of violence, go out of your way to do good things for people. Make it your aim to become the kindest person you know. It doesn’t matter how you feel inside, what you think. ACT kind.

You’ve seen what drugs have done to your mom’s brain. So, don’t use drugs, including alcohol. Instead, eat healthy, do a sport that’ll get you fit and strong. A martial art would be good, because that teaches you self-control, inner strength and responsibility.

Porn is the same as violence. It looks at another person as a thing to be used, not a person. The opposite of that is respectful love. Man or woman, boy or girl, old or young, treat everyone as if you felt respectful love for them. This should even include your mom and dad, if you can do that. If not, that’s fine too.

By doing these three things, to the best of your ability, you will train yourself to become the opposite of your parents.

You’ve got to your teenage years, and have all this time stopped yourself from murdering anyone. Willpower is the hardest way to resist an urge — but you have managed it anyway, using willpower. Well done.

Could you have done this if you were evil, if you were insane? Of course not.

Finally, sometimes you blame yourself for everything.

Some of it happened before you were born, the rest when you were a small child. Now that you are older, can you see that you had no power to do any of it? That thought is a leftover from being a traumatized little child. Little kids have the belief that they are responsible for whatever happens, even when this is obviously wrong.

So, you can see, that belief is wrong. This is helpful. When you have an urge to murder someone, you can say to yourself, “This thought is just as silly and wrong as blaming myself. It’s only noise.”

Because it is.

My dear young friend, you are welcome to email me back.

Your new grandfather,
Bob


I am lying to keep my dad’s secret

I am a 12 year old girl living in Ontario, Canada. I learned some things about my father I shouldn’t have. It’s making me depressed. I have to lie to my mom and brother every day to protect them from the truth I know.

Hi, my dad was running a festival. One day I went behind the stage area because my mom said go find your dad. I was 10 or 11. I saw him smoking a cigarette. When I was 3 he stopped smoking so I wouldn’t be affected by it. My mother hated smoking. He vowed to never smoke again. I saw him smoking that day. I lied to my mom. I didn’t tell her he was smoking. I told her he was talking with his friend and shooed me away. Near the beginning of grade 6 about 3 months later I found a pack of cigarettes in his pocket. And a red lighter. I can’t tell my mom or she will hate him. And I can’t tell my brother because he would freak out. Every day I get more and more depressed. My mom keeps asking me what’s wrong but I can’t tell her. What should I do? Help me please.

Lucy my dear,

You can get rid of this problem that has been torturing you. This is because it is not your problem.

Your situation hurts because you feel responsible for the happiness and wellbeing of all your family.

This says wonderful things about you as a person. You care, and want everyone to be happy. This is a strength, and says to me you should train for one of the helping professions. In my work as a psychologist, I have got a great deal of joy in leading people to improve their lives. That can also be your path.

But also, any extreme is bad. The middle path is better. When someone comes to me with troubles, I can be of service because I make sure my client’s problem is not my problem. Nurses are taught: “It’s not your pain. You are not there to share it, but to relieve it.” With a psychotherapist, it’s even more: I am not even there to relieve the pain, but to lead my client to go onto a path of relieving the pain. The client does the work, I am only a guide.

Sometimes, my client doesn’t succeed. That is NOT my failure. I said, “If you walk on this path, you’ll arrive at a better place.” But, my client chose to go another way.

Let’s apply this thinking to your family’ situation.

Nine years ago, your dad made a promise to your mom. He has been doing his best to keep that promise — but quitting cigarettes is harder than stopping any other drug. He has not been able to manage it, and has occasional slipbacks.

This is not your responsibility, but his. It is not your secret, but his. Only he can change it. If you choose to, you could wait till the two of you are alone, and tell him you know his secret, and have been keeping it, and you’re on his team. If you do it right, that’ll make him feel loved.

You can look up my stop smoking page and draw his attention to it. He CAN stop smoking, and you can be his inspiration and assistant.

He has probably been desperately doing his best to stop, but believes he can’t. So, he has made the choice of not ever smoking where your mom might discover it. I am willing to bet that your mom knows this. If you have found him out twice, she is likely to have done so too.

He is hiding his smoking because he loves her and doesn’t want to hurt her. If she knows anyway (and that’s highly likely), then she is keeping that a secret, respects his attempt at hiding it, and is keeping quiet out of love for him.

You were right to say nothing to your mom and brother about your dad’s smoking. It’s not your secret. But this doesn’t make you a liar. It makes you respectful of your dad.

Keeping the secret was the right thing. Feeling guilty about it is not. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Your family would work better with honesty all around — but you are a child of the family, not one of its heads. That’s your parents. Let them do it, their way.

Love,
Bob


Torn between two loves

8 years ago I met the love of my life. I loved her so much but for circumstances of life, I had to leave the country and we ended up our relationship. She went on a new relationship and I stayed alone for quite some time. I never stopped thinking about her. I met someone else a couple of years later, I was lonely and we got together. I was her first, and she did a lot of things to be with me, lied to her family and left everything to be with me. We have been married for 6 years, I care a lot about her, I wouldn’t want to hurt her. I think I love her, but I’m not in love with her, I never felt the same way that I felt with the one before. My ex contacted me a few months ago, and we have been talking for a while, all those feelings that were there are still there. She is going through a rough time and she’s leaving her husband (yes, she got married too a few years ago), she says that she has always kept me in her mind and that she got really sad when she knew i was married years ago. We were never really talking, maybe a message once every 2 years or so. I want to be with her so bad, but i don’t know what to do, my wife is a good person, but i don’t think i ever really felt connected, but i can’t leave her, she would fall apart without me, her family would crush her. We leave in a different country by ourselves and our families are far away, she has no one else, it would be a disaster.

I don’t know what to do, should I forget about the love of my life and stay just not to hurt someone I really care about? We haven’t had kids yet, but she has been bringing the idea, I don’t know what to tell her, because if we have kids, I know for sure I would never leave and my love would never accept to be with me if I have kids, she would never do that.

Dear Franz,

There is a beautiful wall poster. It is two full-rigged sailing ships sailing side by side. Written under is: “We come from different ports, are headed to different destinations. Isn’t it wonderful that we could share our journey for awhile?”

The time you shared with your first love is precious, and a memory to be cherished. It is in your past. Handled right, it sweetens your life. Handled wrong, it sours it.

You’re clearly an honorable man. You’ve made a promise to your wife, you care for her happiness and wellbeing, and don’t want to hurt her.

This is difficult, because you feel that life with the other lady would be full of ecstasy, be a return to that young romance.

If you left your wife and resumed your first relationship, at first, indeed, it would be wonderful. But the honeymoon fades, and after awhile, it would be not too different from what you have now. I can guarantee that, because plenty of research shows it to be the case.

Choice points, challenges difficulties, problems — they are the growing points. Look on your current temptation and yearning as an opportunity to become a stronger, more compassionate, better person.

You are in two minds. I suggest you follow your “better self:” the one who wants to avoid harm, who appreciates the sacrifices your wife made to be with you, the one who insists on staying honorable.

Have you ever heard of the “7-year itch”? When a romance transitions into an endless daily round, when two people know each other so well that no mystery is left, when practicalities drown out fun, many people look elsewhere, trying in vain to recapture that glow of years ago. I think both you and your first lady are in this situation.

Please read my relationships page and see how to build a good relationship. Consider yourself someone whose task is to be of service to your wife. Act AS IF you were in love with her.

Give it a few months, then let me know how things are.

All the best, my friend,
Bob


Do I need to murder my brother?

I am a 15 year old girl. My brother is addicted to alcohol and marijuana. He is 28 years old, and he is trying to recover from his addictions. However, he is also very violent, and disrespects my whole family. He often physically abuses our maid and the people he hangs out with. He has been in jail once, for attacking a man on the street.

It has been a month or so that I have been having bad thoughts. Very, very bad thoughts… I plan onto murdering my brother. I am aware that it’s a terrible thing, a sin, it’s just… There is basically nothing worse than taking someone else’s life away. But I feel like he is affecting so many other people’s lives negatively, and I truly think it would be the best option for everyone…

However, I do have second thoughts. My mother, she… She gave birth to him! She tried so hard for 28 years, she paid for his disasters, she raised him, she loves him. I might ruin her life like this, and that would be the exact opposite of what I am trying to achieve.

I just… I would do it, straight away. I have planned out everything… But, I feel like it is wrong, because it is. And I am not a bad person. I don’t want to commit this heinous crime. I just need a reason not to. I swear to my everything, I can’t seem to find a reason to stop myself.

I simply want his abuse to stop. I want everyone to be happy again. But after a beloved family member dying, who could ever be… I am lost. Completely. And I cannot seek counsil, nor tell anyone about my… obscure ideas. I don’t know what to do.

Thank you a lot for taking your time to read this message. Cheers

Dear Sherry,
This is indeed a terrible problem. Clearly, you are a highly moral person, and everything you write shows you are motivated to do the right thing. And the solution you have come up with is murder, and you reject this as the ultimate evil.

You didn’t indicate where you live, so I can’t advise about local resources. Since you have a maid, I assume your family is well off. I recommend that both you and your mother seek the services of a competent psychologist, who will lead you to better solutions for your problem. A psychologist will respect confidentiality.

Also, there is a worldwide organization that will be of great benefit to both you and your mother. This is Al Anon. Check them out.

What your brother needs is not support and forgiveness, but tough love. Al Anon will help your family to give this to him. Tough love IS love. Whatever he does, you love him. But it’s also tough: avoiding doing things to maintain his problem. Al Anon teaches you how to do this, and will give you support.

That means that when he breaks the law, you don’t protect him from the police. When he is violent in the home, he is made to leave, if necessary with police assistance. Believe it of not, that can be done with love.

I don’t think I need to give you a reason to not murder him. You have given the reasons yourself, very well.

He does deserve to keep living. He does deserve to live a good life, but first he needs to make the choice to work for one.

Until now, he could mostly get away with being a spoiled kid. From now on, his tantrums need to have consequences for him., while at the same time, your family needs to protect yourselves from his abuse and violence.

If you think it right, perhaps the first thing is to show your mom your cry for help, and my answer. If you think she’d react the wrong way, or if you don’t feel able to share your feelings with her in full, then remove references to murder from the question and answer, and show her that.

You are welcome to keep in touch with me.

Love,
Bob


Health

How to flush brain waste
About Aspartame

 

How to flush brain waste

Recent research indicates that sleeping on your side provides better drainage of the wastes of brain activity than lying on your back.

It is possible this may help protect you from dementia and Parkinson’s disease.


About Aspartame

Like many people, I’ve heard about the dreadful effects of most kinds of artificial sweeteners, so I followed the link to Is aspartame good or bad for you? by Dr Atli Arnason.

According to his review of the evidence, it’s OK.


Writing

Comma addendum
Excellent resource for editors

 

Comma addendum

Last issue contained my rave about commas. I’ve just come across a very good example from the writing of some bloke named Bob Rich.

    One corner held weights, a discus, and a javelin leaning against the wall.

This is the Oxford comma, doing its thing correctly.

    One corner held weights, a discus and a javelin leaning against the wall.

This means something different: that the weights and discuss were also leaning against the wall.

THIS is why I consider the Oxford comma to be optional rather than obligatory.


Excellent resource for editors

My attention has been drawn to a well-thought-out set of standards for editors. While this is for Australia, its recommendations apply anywhere.

If you’re an editor, or intend to hire an editor, you’ll find a read very valuable.


Reviews

Calm Ground, By Megan Williams
Dolet, by Florence Weinberg
Flowers from the Grave, by Wendy Laing

 

Calm Ground, By Megan Williams

Modern society is designed to make us dissatisfied, worried, unhappy. Contented people don’t need to buy things. So, we all need tools apart from retail therapy to relieve distress.

Nearly one-third of people will qualify for a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder at one time or another, and people in the “normal” range also suffer stress and anxiety far more than is good for them. Calm Ground by Megan Williams is an invaluable tool for them.

This little book is a plain-language primer on anxiety disorders, and evidence-based techniques for dealing with them, but it’s more than that. It is also a collection of magnificent photos of Australian landscapes including peaceful forests, beaches and mountain streams. Understanding is also aided by helpful diagrams. The pictures are tools for self-soothing.

Although relevant psychological theory is explained, the words and concepts are simple enough for a high school student to follow.

There are useful exercises that anyone can do. They will help at times of anxiety and worry, and more generally will lead to inner peace.

So, do yourself a favour and study this mini-manual, and follow its suggestions.

Available here.


Dolet, by Florence Weinberg

Welcome to 16th Century France, graced by the Inquisition.

As a young man, Etienne Dolet witnessed a burning at the stake. The victim had been unjustly convicted of heresy, and was a man Etienne admired. He knew that, already, the reactionaries of the Church had their eyes on him.

A person of great intellect, Etienne attracted the patronage and friendship of many men, several in positions of power and influence. He was admired as one of the foremost thinkers of his time — and this was his downfall. The Church felt beleaguered by the advent of Lutheran and Calvinist thinking, and saw a heretic in everyone who expressed anything but fervent agreement with the status quo.

So, for much of his adulthood, Etienne was in mortal danger. As well as friends, he had many enemies, for he was intolerant of stupidity, cutting with his wit, and arrogant in his bearing.

His story, as told by Florence Weinberg, is a compelling tale, although not at all comfortable. It is an account of brilliance, courage and decency. It brings to life a little-known period of history, one as grim as for example either of the two World Wars. Above all, it is a gripping story. Once you get to know, respect and like Etienne, you won’t be able to put the book down.


Flowers from the Grave, by Wendy Laing

wendyl_
The first thing to note about this book is that it’s easy reading. The language is clear, always appropriate to the emotions, so the reader can get lost in the content.

That content is a detective story, featuring a policewoman, to me improbably, named Jane Doe.

While investigating a series of murders of prostitutes in Melbourne, Jane suffers a depressed skull fracture, and needs a holiday. A colleague recommends a place, at the suggestion of another policeman Jane had worked with, in the distant past.

But another murder spoils the idyllic holiday. Jane is the witness who finds the body, and is out of the jurisdiction, and on holiday, but gets involved anyway.

This is interlaced with the question: will she marry Oliver or won’t she?

All the classical elements of a murder mystery are there, including danger to the detective, and the insertion of cues, to see if the reader can solve the crime before the detective.

I’m proud to say I did, but I won’t tell you.

Excellent characterisation and description, and a twist including a ghost, make this book a pleasant night’s reading.

Wendy Laing MA, BA, Dip. T.
A Jill of all trades — writer, part-time housewife with a Teaching Diploma, a BA (Professional Writing) and MA (Thesis on Electronic & Digital Publishing). Teacher, Curriculum consultant, travel agent/manager, international airline employee & professional dog trainer, living in Melbourne with hubby Dave & Kynda, a much loved labradoodle.


The Doom Healer series
reviewed by Jack Gilbert

I have read both The Doom Healer and the advance copy of Finding the Enemy.

Imagine David Eddings’s Belgariad with the passion and message of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, the message of all the great religions without identifying with any of them (perhaps Buddhism if anything), an iconoclastic sense of humour that had me chuckling in many places, and squirming in some like when… no, I’m not going to be a tattletale like Tante Gretchen in the story is (Oh, she is a great prophet, too).

The central concept of the story is metta, which, as Rich writes, is the Love St Paul describes in one of his Letters to the Corinthians. Humanity is going down the gurgler, and taking the rest of nature with it. In the early chapters, I found it surprising that exercising this Love could be considered as a tool for saving us in the environmental sense, but our hero Bill and his companions convinced me, well before the end of the first book.

If you want a very entertaining read that may well change the way you look at the world, go for these two. And since there is a baby all the prophecies called the Prince of Light, I suspect there is a third volume in the making. I am looking forward to it.

Jack built his own house, using my Earth Garden Building Book as his guide. He has been reading Bobbing Around since 2002. On a quarter-acre block in an outer suburb of Sydney, his family is self-sufficient for vegies and fruit, and their three chooks keep them in eggs 9 months of the year.


Have a laugh

What’s in a name?
A Titanic opinion

 

What’s in a name?

One of Australia’s popular magazines is the Women’s Weekly. It comes out once a month, but for some reason, the name is not Women’s Monthly

I wonder why.


A Titanic opinion

titanic


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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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