Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 3

I want her death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion.
Susan Bro, mother of young woman killed by a hate-filled terrorist in Charlotteville

To talk about climate breakdown (which in my view is a better term than the curiously bland labels we attach to this crisis) is to question not only Trump, not only current environmental policy, not only current economic policy — but the entire political and economic system.
George Monbiot

Bobbing Around

Volume Seventeen, Number Three,
September, 2017

Bob Rich’s rave

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

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Downhill
Humanity at its best
Bob on children’s writing
Cover, cover

*Responses
Theresa Hortley
Margaret Goodman

*Politics
Brilliant idea: Trump forest
A WW2 veteran reads the times right
Comedy in parliament

*Environment
Leaked report confirms the obvious
Blasting the climate?
Pet food has a pawprint
How to Reduce Extreme Weather
Hurricane Harvey: George has it right
But the monsoon is worse

*Good news
Solar-driven highway in Queensland
Drowned coal mine goes solar
Strawless for September
Sun rises over Australia
Amazon reef saved

*Inspiring people
A new father
The courage of his convictions

*Compassion
A hug to this bereft mother
Yes, Judaism is also based on metta
Just a kid, but he saved a life

*Technology
Cow manure powers semi and other vehicles
What is cheaper: coal or wind?

*Deeper issues
The American Taliban
Wedding without waste
Our only hope is a moral awakening
Nature is as much cooperation as conflict

*Psychology
Let go, and perform better
Terrorist in the family?
The Recovering Actor Gains Appropriate Knowledge, by Alfredo Zotti
I am filth
In her bed
Why do I want to hurt those I love?
My daughter treats me like a stranger

*Health
Flying in a jet plane can kill you
Stress when pregnant is bad for your baby

*For writers
A few odd points you may have worried about too
How to Handle Book Bigotry, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

*What my friends want you to know
From Faithful America
Claire Dunn wants to take you out
Geoff Nelder’s historical fantasy
Invitation from Al Gore
Walk this way is coming to Melbourne
Can you sing?
Australia, let’s copy California
Sharing with writers
Bring them home

*Reviews
Guardian Angel, reviewed by Roberta Abba

*Fun


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.


Every land which has been colonized and suffered extinction of natives has stories of people like Maraglindi who stood as a bridge of peace between the invading and the native culture and who remind us of the violence that has taken place in the name of God.
Rajat Mitra, reviewing Guardian Angel

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

Downhill
Humanity at its best
Bob on children’s writing
Cover, cover

 

Downhill

You might be interested to read my new blog post, about an argument with a friend who thought I was risking his life, while I thought I was doing something environmentally responsible.


Humanity at its best

Or why I quietly cried at a happy occasion.


Bob on children’s writing

That’s writing for children, not writing by children. I do love English and its ambiguities.

I have a guest post at Bonnie Ferrante’s blog. Please have a read and leave a comment.


Cover, cover

My publisher for Hit and Run is coming after me with a cricket bat, because, responding to helpful comments from my friends, I rejected the draft from the second artist she has hired. The new concept is Sylvia lying in bed, looking at an apparition of Charlie, as described in the first chapter of the book on the book’s page.

I’d originally hoped for publication in February. Oh well, Buddhist equanimity and all that.

There is good in everything. Hit and Run is still available free, for an advance review. Please spread the word.

Any of my artist friends might be kind enough to sketch that scene, to help the cover artist?


Responses

Theresa Hortley
Margaret Goodman

 

Theresa Hortley

Hey Bob,

I had a bit of time on my hands, and re-read Liberator. It’s such a wonderful story! I’d love to be one of your Greenies — well, I am a greenie, although I only have two arms and two legs, and my skin is light brown rather than green.

Anyway, this inspired me to get busy on my social networks, blowing your trumpet for you, and asked my contacts to look your books up. Mate, your writing deserves it. I don’t see why your books are not up there with the most famous.

So, I hope all your other subscribers and followers do the same.

How about it, folks?

Theresa, you fog up my glasses. Thank you.

By the way, Theresa is a high school English teacher, and a formidable beta reader. The story she refers to, Liberator, is the lead novella in Bizarre Bipeds.


Margaret Goodman

Bob,

I always enjoy Bobbing Around!

Your advice to women shows me that you understand and respect women a lot more than I think most men do, which helps to explain your long happy marriage.

Thank you for being such a good guide.

Margaret

Margaret also offered feedback on the second draft cover of Hit and Run.


Politics

Brilliant idea: Trump forest
A WW2 veteran reads the times right
Comedy in parliament

 

Brilliant idea: Trump forest

Here is the rationale, quoted from the EcoWatch article:

    US President Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the science of human-caused climate change. He wants to ignore one of the greatest threats to healthy life on Earth.

    Trump wants to bring back coal despite scientists telling us we cannot afford to burn it, and despite economists telling us there’s more money to be made and more jobs available in renewable energy.

    So we’re planting a forest to soak up the extra greenhouse gases Trump plans to put into our atmosphere.

    We’re planting a global forest to offset Trump’s monumental stupidity.

    We need your help.


A WW2 veteran reads the times right


Harry Leslie Smith was 16 when the second world war broke out. Now, he is reading the many parallels between then and now. Take heed.


Comedy in parliament

The Australian constitution has a reasonable clause: a person who is a citizen of another country (i.e., a dual citizen) may not be a member of parliament.

Some time ago, Greens senator Scott Ludlam found out that, unknown to himself for most of his life, he is a dual citizen. He immediately resigned. A second Greens senator discovered that she had the same problem. She also resigned.

Now comes the farce. While humanity is staggering from multiple crises, top billing in Australian news has been about a long and increasing list of members of parliament who have discovered dual citizenship, or whom others have accused of the crime.

Funny thing is, not one of these, from any political party, have resigned. Instead, they cling onto their positions, in a couple of instances even to their ministerial status, vote in parliament, and act in a thoroughly Trumpian manner.

Taxpayers’ money is to be spent on High Court hearings to determine their status.

I do say, time and again. On the Aussie political scene, only the Greens have any ethics.


Environment

Leaked report confirms the obvious
Blasting the climate?
Pet food has a pawprint
How to Reduce Extreme Weather
Hurricane Harvey: George has it right
But the monsoon is worse

 

Leaked report confirms the obvious

It is a sad world when scientists doing their job need to leak their report, because its official release requires the president’s signature.

The New York Times has released the report so it cannot be buried. It spells out the evidence that the United States is suffering the effects of climate change now, not in the future.


Blasting the climate?

A person asked this on Quora:

    What are the pros and cons of a short “open season” on nuclear testing (not a war)? Suppose the world’s nuclear powers agreed that each could test one nuclear device. Could a positive effect on global warming be had with a minimal amount of fallout?

Frankly, the idea horrifies me.

An uncontrolled nuclear explosion does an awful lot more than raise dust.

It results in the release of radioactive elements into the atmosphere, soil and water, some of which last for many thousands of years, causing cancers and mutations in all living things, humans included.

Radioactive clouds know no borders. They are death, blowing on the wind.

Even if there are no humans within range of the explosion, other living beings are. Already, with humans being this planet’s pest species, we are killing nature. It is official: we are in the 6th major extinction event of this planet. Some of the causes are the replacement of nature with monocultures for food and other human use such as fibres and industrial raw materials; urbanisation, with cities and roads replacing nature; overfishing; poaching wildlife; mutations due to the chemical soup covering the planet; and major, rapid climate change.

Past release of long term radioactive substances also adds to this tragedy. And now you would blast areas of the planet with new holes where nothing will live for a long time?

We only have one Earth. Even if the pie-in-the-sky space hopefuls succeed with getting some humans off-planet, that will be no help to the billions of others, never mind intelligent creatures like whales, dolphins, elephants and octopuses.

There is only one safe nuclear device in this solar system: the Sun.


Pet food has a pawprint

The amount of animal-based food dogs and cats eat has a significant impact on humanity’s load on the planet. This is obvious, but a research report published in early August quantifies the answer. The author, Gregory Okin, doesn’t want you to get rid of your four-legged friend, but maybe you should explore alternative foods. Apparently, dogs can thrive on a vegetarian or even vegan diets, but cats can’t.

Read a brief, informative and well-written report about the study here.


How to Reduce Extreme Weather

Christopher Searles has written an important essay everyone should read.

The most powerful climate control mechanism on this planet after tropical oceans is the tropical rainforest, which we have been destroying. Stopping and reversing this destruction would give us a chance.

In plain language, and with excellent illustrations, Chris makes a case for action. Let’s get behind him.

Chris Searles is a native of Austin, TX. After 10 years as a full-time environmentalist he wanted to know, “What the #1 solution to climate change and the extinction crisis?” Extensive research led to the realization that protecting and restoring Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems is our most urgent and most complete solution to both. Visit BioIntegrity.net for more.


Hurricane Harvey: George has it right

I have immense admiration for George Monbiot. His analysis of Hurricane Harvey is a must-read.

The immediate humanitarian catastrophe is blinding people to who the villains are: those who have raised the height of their offshore drilling platforms in order to improve their safety from the effects of climate change, which they spend billions of dollars denying.

Why the media silence of this connection? Because the change needed is basic: one to the global culture of greed and aggression.


But the monsoon is worse

World news have focused on Texas, but the Indian subcontinent is suffering an even worse disaster: floods and landslides due to the unprecedentedly heave monsoon. At least 1200 people have been reported as dead, and millions have lost everything they have.

Sadly, “unprecedented” is the new norm.

Here is one report.


Good news

Solar-driven highway in Queensland
Drowned coal mine goes solar
Strawless for September
Sun rises over Australia
Amazon reef saved

 

Solar-driven highway in Queensland

According to this report in EcoWatch, the government of the Australian state intends to provide 18 rapid electric charging stations along a highway that goes from the northern tip of the continent for a distance of 1,800 Km. It is to be extended later, all the way to the state’s southern border.

All the charging stations will be powered with renewable energy, and at least for the first year, their use will be free.


Drowned coal mine goes solar

I dislike many things about the rulers of China, but I applaud them on one thing: doing their best to switch from carbon to solar.

One example is the launch of the world’s largest floating solar farm. The lake it is on used to be a coal mine.


Strawless for September

I have long admired Seattle for its many initiatives. The citizens of this great city are going without straws in their drinks, as a gesture toward protecting marine creatures from damage.

Yes, it’s true. Drinking straws that make their way into waterways can cause terrible injuries and even death to a wide range of animals who live there.

You can read a more detailed report of the damage these indestructible plastic tubes do here.

Shall we follow the leader?

This photo shows Alex and Norma Sellers’ public service (not in Seattle)


Sun rises over Australia

There have been multiple reports, but nothing in the Aussie news: there is now enough renewable power generated in Australia to power 70% of its homes.

This is despite the dinosaur government in Canberra, who think the sun shines out of coal.

You can read a more comprehensive report in the Guardian.


Amazon reef saved

The Great Barrier Reef is still threatened by a mega coal mine, but Brazil’s environmental protection agency is more sensible. Thanks to a long and vigorous Greenpeace campaign, a partnership of two huge oil companies has been refused permission to drill for oil off the Amazon.

This is to protect one of the wonders of the world: the coral reefs off the Amazon delta.


People who inspire

A new father
The courage of his convictions

 

A new father

This is one of the loveliest letters I have ever read from a father to his child.

The only difference between us is that this wonderful man is full of hope. I wish I could share it… despite the evidence.

May he be proved right and I wrong.


The courage of his convictions

Loyalty to the party line is a big thing in Australia’s two major political groupings. I therefore cheer in admiration, because Liberal member of parliament Russell Broadbent has demanded in parliament an end to Australia’s terrible torture of refugees and asylum seekers.


Compassion

A hug to this bereft mother
Yes, Judaism is also based on metta
Just a kid, but he saved a life

 

A hug to this bereft mother

A young man blinded by hate and imagined entitlement murdered her daughter, and injured 19 other people.

She feels sorry for him for having ruined his life, feels compassion for his mother, and wants her personal tragedy to be a rallying cry for compassion, equality and fairness.

I have no way of contacting this lady, but am sending her all the love in my heart — the kind of love Buddhists call metta. She is a role model for all of us.


Yes, Judaism is also based on metta


“Metta” is a Buddhist word for unconditional love, what is the heart of Jesus’ message. Here is a short but powerful essay from Rabbi Ron Isaacs, which demonstrates that it is also a requirement for being a good Jew.

The most important values in Judaism are compassion, modesty, and the performance of acts of loving kindness.

Let’s all do it that way, regardless of our religion, if any.


Just a kid, but he saved a life

Please read this report.

In New York, suicide kills more people than car smashes and murders. What does this say about society?

Most people don’t know how to respond, so they just walk by, looking the other way. But when a young woman was about to kill herself, a complete stranger risked his life to talk her to safety.


Technology

Cow manure powers semi and other vehicles
What is cheaper: coal or wind?

 

Cow manure powers semi and other vehicles

A nice family have been running a fully organic dairy for years, and have a methane generator that converts manure into gas, which they burn to generate electricity, and provide heat.

They have now added a prime mover (the kind of truck that pulls a semitrailer) that is fully electric, and is charged by their setup.


What is cheaper: coal or wind?

A popular Australian TV program features celebrities fronting an audience that asks challenging questions. At a recent one, the Minister for Mines and Energy denied that renewable energy is cheaper than coal.

A fact check looked at the issue in two ways: comparing costs-as-they-are, which necessarily means electricity produced by old coal-fired power stations with new wind farms; and the new wind farms compared to the cost of new coal-fired power stations that need to be built.

Because the initial costs of building an old power station have been paid off years ago, indeed current operating costs for coal are cheaper than anything new, so literally speaking, the minister is correct. However, as the analyst stated, this is comparing unlike items. Once the costs of the wind energy farms are paid off, their operating costs will be far lower.

To my mind, though, this is not the central issue. I left this comment:

A problem with this analysis is that it fails to include what economists mis-call externalities. The obvious one is the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, adding to the gigantic financial costs of climate change, now and exponentially increasing into the future. Another is the recurrent problem of the rehabilitation of abandoned coal mines. And a third is the health effects of small carbon particles on people and other animals. So, even if renewables were far more expensive in strictly financial terms, they would be cheaper if all relevant factors were considered.


Deeper Issues

The American Taliban
Wedding without waste
Our only hope is a moral awakening
Nature is as much cooperation as conflict

 

The American Taliban

This passionate but well argued essay by J. C. Weatherby demonstrates what to me has been obvious for years, but not generally appreciated: The Taliban’s aims and philosophy in Afghanistan are exactly the same as the so-called Christian right’s aims and philosophy in the USA.

Read it, and see the parallels.


Wedding without waste

When Jolanda and I married, only 50 years ago, the entire event cost us $70 including hall hire. Friends brought goodies to share, in a coordinated way. Jolanda and her sister made the cake, and I iced it.

A newlywed couple in England has done something different, but with the same aim. A local venture is to feed people, not bins. Food that would be wasted is used instead.

Charlotte and Nick Baker hired them to cater, the delightful event described by Katherine Martinko.


Our only hope is a moral awakening

I clicked on this link with interest because it promised to validate my views.

It did, to a certain extent. Basically, it’s a well-written, current précis of the conclusions of the 1972 Club of Rome report, The Limits to Growth: technical solutions applied to a problem, such as an aspect of climate change, will make other problems worse. We need a systems approach.

I was disappointed however. To me, systemic is not the same as moral. I left a comment to that effect.


Nature is as much cooperation as conflict

Read the description of a documentary movie about the theories and discoveries of Lynn Margulis, who has transformed biology as much as Darwin.

It is very easy reading, and presents fascinating concepts.


Psychology

Let go, and perform better
Terrorist in the family?
The Recovering Actor Gains Appropriate Knowledge, by Alfredo Zotti
I am filth
In her bed
Why do I want to hurt those I love?
My daughter treats me like a stranger

 

Let go, and perform better

Here is an excellent essay from a high achiever who demonstrates that he could do better, and yet let go of stress, by changing his value system.


Terrorist in the family?


Anna Almendrala has written a well-researched analysis of how young people become radicalised. Her article is focused on white supremacists in the USA, but apply equally to Muslims in western countries, to why the North Korean leader is reacting the way he is… to any situation in which fear is converted into hate and aggression.

This is obligatory reading if you want to understand our world.


The Recovering Actor Gains Appropriate Knowledge
by Alfredo Zotti

Who and what is a recovering actor? It is someone who suffers with a mental disorder, and attempts to use an aspect of the acting career to recover from it. In other words, if we feel extremely depressed, we have to act to look happy. Is this even possible? Yes, it is, but not easy. It takes enormous courage determination, and practice.

As recovering actors, we must learn to do research about important things in our life. We must learn as much as possible about our mental disorder; we must communicate with other sufferers and compare their suffering to our own to see differences and similarities; we must read books that speak of recovery, of hope and that tell us that it is possible to find happiness, no matter what is wrong with us.

We are special actors, who work to improve their own life. But there are similarities, and some methods are the same. And to this end it is very helpful to read as much as possible about method acting. Imagine you are an actor. You happen to feel depressed or anxious or tired or whatever. How can you function despite your symptoms? Actors do it often, for no matter how they feel, the show must go on.

At this stage, is to important to understand how we can empower ourselves and how we can get on the road to recovery. In order to play our character we need knowledge. We need to understand that our effort here is to learn to cope and function well with our mental disorder and to do this we can begin with social and environmental issues and then move to the personal.

What matters towards recovery is not how severe our mental disorder is, but how we travel in our mind: are we traveling towards hope and the effort to improve our life? Or are we traveling towards hopelessness and despair? If we look around us, it is not difficult to entertain the idea that most people with a mental disorder today travel towards hopelessness and despair and the reason for this is our problematic social world and how mental disorders are seen, from a very wrong perspective. Rather than ask: “what caused my problem?” we rush to look at the symptoms and treat them as illness, as a malfunction of the brain. Unfortunately what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder teaches us, and it is behind the majority of mental disorders in our world, is that there is almost always an origin, particularly a traumatic experience, especially endured during childhood, which is the root cause of the problem. This requires therapy or the ability to begin to discuss one’s problems with a therapist or at least someone with knowledge who is willing to listen; and the necessary acquisition of knowledge. We need to become knowledgeable actors because for recovery is through first acting our way out of the pit of despair.

The Prognosis of Doom must be replaced with the Reality of Hope. The main message is that we can recover, we can get better. This does not mean to stop experiencing symptoms but to learn how to cope with them and to even gain positive outcomes from the suffering. Is this possible? Of course it is, my wife and I are living proof that this is possible. Many others would say the same.

People with mental disorders are no longer passive recipients of symptoms and behavior interventions given by professionals as we accept whatever treatment is given to us. We need to become active in our recovery, become educated about medication, about therapy, about our particular disorder, and work with our therapist towards recovery.

We need to learn to make the right choices, with the advice of experienced people who work with us. We need to become responsible for our lives. We need to promote a world where sufferers with mental disorders are recognized as valuable members of society.
So, we must understand that many people see those with mental disorders as dangerous, incompetent, dependent, and irresponsible. This could not be further from the truth and, as recovering actors we must act in such a way that we can dispel these myths. For a healthy integration with our society. we need to be in synchronism with our hopes, values and beliefs; we need to attempt to create a supportive environment with people who support and understand us; we need to develop a certain spiritual understanding of life, not necessarily religious but one based on the idea that everything is connected in the Universe by an invisible energy, perhaps collective consciousness. Work, education, politics, our past, our friends and everything that is part of life is important and we need to synchronize ourselves with these social institutions so that we can be part of society. What prevents us from doing this is the negative impact that the main ideology on mental illness has on us. But we can act our way out of this damaging ideology.

This is the theme of Alfredo’s next book, which is currently in preparation for publishing by Loving Healing Press.


I am filth

A young man — we’ll call him Jack — has written me a long email. He was suicidal, and disgusted with himself.

Here is an extract: “I have done a terrible mistake as a teenager, and this mistake keeps haunting me till now, and I am disgusted by the fact that I have done this mistake, I remember doing a lot of terrible mistakes in the past, but this mistake has lead me to my knees, when I was 14, I exposed my genitals to a 3-4 year old child, the child was our neighbor’s son, once I did this exposure the child seem to be afraid, when I saw the signs of fear I immediately dressed and let him go, 4 years from this incident, this child shows signs of happiness, and even likes to hand shake with me, he is filled with joy, and likes to make friends, he likes laughing too much to, but he doesn’t show any sign that he was traumatized…”

He also reported that his father, and when the father was overseas his uncle, used to mete out terrible beatings to him and his brother.

Here is my answer to him.

Dear Jack,

If you were filth, you would not be feeling guilty, would not be writing to me. Sexual abusers enjoy the feeling of power, they get a high from memories of sexual abuse, they go from victim to victim, doing worse and worse to keep up the thrill. They are arrogant, and justify their actions to themselves.

Your email shows you to be doing the opposite in all aspects.

I have helped many men and women to deal with this basic issue. Here is a link to my answer to a lady in a similar situation. That answer has links to two others.

Everything I say to these three people applies to you too.

Yes, what you did some years ago was wrong. It had the serious risk of doing harm. You should not have done those things. However, you have checked, and fortunately the victims were not harmed. The only person damaged has been yourself.

You can now turn this around, and make these unfortunate events be of benefit to you rather than harm. Because of those mistakes, you are now a morally upright person, who will do anything to avoid harming children, right? Celebrate this. Instead of bashing yourself up, appreciate the fact that you have learned from your mistakes and became a better person than you would have been otherwise.

At 18, you are starting your adult life. I suggest you explore career options that allow you to protect children from harm, or to lead (real) sexual offenders toward decency and empathy. Examples are child protection worker, police, teacher, psychologist, social worker.

The second issue you mentioned is the cruelty of your father and uncle. Such treatment of children is never justified. I hope when you have children of your own, and when you interact with the children of others, you treat them with kindness, love, care. Discipline is necessary, but it is not a matter of causing pain, but rather of loving, firm guidance.

Your negative way of thinking about yourself is likely to be a habit. Today, you can start a new way of thinking: “I am a good person, as Bob has proven to me.” But the old “Jack you’re filth” thoughts will still come back from time to time. The way to deal with this is to accept that young, damaged Jack is still there — and to give him love, acceptance and reassurance.

I hope this is helpful to you. Take your time, practice the new way of thinking, and know that I am here for you. You are welcome to email me at any time.

Your new grandfather,
Bob


In her bed

I met the man of my dreams online 9 months ago. We connected immediately! I have never had such a deeply intimate connection with a man before. He told me he and his wife were separated. It turns out that they are not, they are still in the same house but he says they do not sleep together, he is there for the sake of his daughter who is going into her senior year of high school. He asked me to be his girlfriend 3 months ago but wants to keep our relationship a secret (he calls it our world) until his daughter graduates from high school. His wife will be going on a trip soon and he wants me to stay with him while she is away.

Tell me, why do I not feel guilty about the affair or the lies he has told me but I am bothered by the thought of having sex with him in their bed?

My dear, your story is all too common. A huge number of novels, plays and movies have the theme of the way this man has taken advantage of you.

Your question shows that you know you’ve been conned. He went on that dating site, not to find love, but to find a victim, so he could have his cake and eat it too. Men like that don’t think of women as their equals, worthy of respect, but as potential conquests, boosts to their ego. I can imagine him boasting to his buddies about “scoring.” And if you left him, I have no doubt he’d go fishing again.

The reason you are bothered by the thought of having sex with him in their bed is that in contrast to his attitude, you have empathy. Without wanting to, you have imagined how his wife would feel if she discovered it. She would be revolted, disgusted, violated — so, you feel the same, if only as a shadow of what you would if in her place.

Therefore, this unfortunate situation is a chance for you to grow in wisdom, compassion and decency.

I won’t give you any advice on what you should do, but think about my words, and follow your emotions.

Have a good life,
Bob


Why do I want to hurt those I love?

I am a very two-faced person. I will be joking around with my friends or my significant other, and all of a sudden I will become very violent and I’ll start saying terrible things. I’m generally a very shy and sweet person with people I don’t know all that well, but when I get close to someone I “snap” at them more often.

I have only been in love 2 times in my life and each time I get the urge to kill them. I wanna see them scream and suffer, I wanna see their blood. Even though I love them so much… no, *because* I love them so much. I like seeing people suffer, and I like to manipulate them in general. In my mind, it’s their fault for being so easy to fool. In my mind, it’s survival of the fittest. When I’m on the edge of “switching” it feels scary that this monster is taking me over. But even so… I let it. I scare people.

That being said, I know on a rational level how wrong this is. I feel disgusted with myself for thinking of these things. And even though I know I’m totally contradicting myself I don’t want to hurt anyone.

My question is: How do I get rid of this ugly side to myself?

Dear Delia,

A prior question is, where did this inner monster come from? When you understand that, you will destroy its power over you.

I know nothing about you, apart from what you have written. All the same, I am willing to bet that when you were a very young child, as you watched and interacted with the adults in your life, you learned a twisted lesson: that love means hurting people.

There is the real you, whose nature is to be a very shy and sweet person. The real you is disgusted with violence, and wants to get rid of the ugliness.

Then there is the monster, who is not you. She is an inner passenger who has been eating at your being since infancy. If you look deeply, you may see her face as being that of someone who habitually did terrible things to those s/he supposedly loved, possibly but not necessarily including you.

This person from your past gained power from cruelty. A little child in a violent family lacks power, even more than other children. So, it is natural to model thinking and emotions on the most powerful person.

The monster came into existence. She is a hungry monster who feeds on the suffering of others. Often, she is asleep, but when something wakes her, it is like throwing a switch, and she takes you over without warning.

Ask yourself, how long will you permit this monster, your inner representation of an adult from your childhood, to run and ruin your life?

What to do about it?

Find a good psychologist who is competent at hypnosis, and do trauma therapy through age regression. As an adult, you can go back to your childhood, and watch what happens with your current wisdom and understanding. Re-live the terrible episodes from the outside, watching that little girl in that unfortunate situation, over and over. And each time, take her on your lap, hug her, give her gentle, unconditional love. Let your sweet real nature show her how to love. It is not hurting but cherishing. Cherish her. Let her cry, and cry with her.

Even after such therapy, the monster won’t give up immediately. She will still try to run and ruin your life, but now you will be in control. The way forward in habit change is to become an observer. Read my little e-book Anger and Anxiety , where I set out a detailed self-help program.

My dear, have a good life. You can.
Bob


My daughter treats me like a stranger

I’m a single parent with a grown-up daughter in her mid twenties. I work full-time, my daughter has only studied and had stray jobs.

I wonder is she has some kind of a psychological problem like ADD or something. She seems incapable of talking with me. She partly listens and does answer my questions but never talks with me like normal people do. I feel so hurt and shut out. It feels like there is a glass wall in between us. She has a wonderful partner. For example if we sit at the dinner table, it’s mainly her partner talks with me, my daughter just may utter just one word or so. They partly reside overseas and partly here with me in my apartment. When she is overseas she never gives me a call, she doesn’t even ask how her beloved cat is doing. Of course the cat is now my responsibility and a well loved family member. It’s like her thoughts do not reach outside her immediate sphere. I am so dreadfully sad about this, so sad that I could die. What do you think the problem is? I talk about this with my very dear and closest friend but nobody else. Would very much appreciate your comments about this. Thank you before hand and hoping for a reply.

with kind regards
Alma

Dear Alma,

I can see how hurtful this situation is for you. The one person who should be the closest to you treats you like a stranger. She lives in your house when not abroad, no doubt depends on you for various material things, but refuses any connection.

My first question is whether this is her behaviour pattern with other people. Is she generally one to avoid chatter, to stay within her own world while avoiding emotional contact?

If so, she is not behaving like this because she doesn’t love you or appreciate you, but simply because that is her pattern. In that case, your hurt doesn’t come from what she does or doesn’t do, but your expectation to have things differently. If you can simply accept and love her the way she is, then your suffering will disappear. When you get a flash of “I wish she’d phone me,” you will get an automatic, smiling reply: “This is just her way. It doesn’t mean rejection or lack of love.”

On the other hand, if she is vivacious, animated, talkative with some other people, then the problem is that she remembers some childhood events that exist in her reality, but probably don’t exist in yours. Memory is creative. If you remember some event from yesterday, this is not like turning on a record, but is the construction of something new, based on a complex array of stored-away components. Some “childhood memories” can be disproven on the basis of objective evidence. In most families, the genuinely believed memories of different people are widely divergent. Usually, there is no way of deciding who is right, but represents the different realities these people create.

So, it is quite possible that she holds a deep grudge against you for some event or series of events that you have a completely different interpretation of, or don’t even know about.

The only way forward is to bring the possible difference out into the open. I suggest you write her a very carefully worded letter, in which you avoid judging her or implying that she may be faulty, and in which you don’t cast any blame on her or admit any possible guilt on your part. Start with stating your love for her, regardless of how she acts. Then describe your vision of the current situation, your distress about it, and ask for her reason. Tell her that, whatever her version, you will accept it as her reality with respect and love, even if your memory is completely different.

Then ask for and offer mutual forgiveness. “We draw a line. Before the line is water that has flown down a river. After the line, it is all gone, never to be seen again, and we are loving family.”

Remember, I set out two possibilities. If the second one is the case, I am happy to help you with your letter.

With love,
Bob


Health

Flying in a jet plane can kill you
Stress when pregnant is bad for your baby

 

Flying in a jet plane can kill you

Not from crashes or terrorists, but from breathing.

Since 1999, there has been a condition named aerotoxic syndrome. The way cabin air is handled has the risk of contamination from the engines. Crew and frequent flyers are at real risk — and there is a web site dedicated to those who have died from it.

Before booking your next flight, please read this well researched report in the Guardian.
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Stress when pregnant is bad for your baby

This is a bit of an obvious statement, but research has shed new light on it. Read this brief and informative essay on the topic.

Monique Robinson has listed a few appropriate methods of stress reduction, but I suggested one she left out in my comment:

    Perhaps the most powerful stress reduction tool is the mindset at the base of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “stress reduction” technique.

    The pain in any situation, physical or psychological, is wanting it to go away. If I simply accept that I am in an unpleasant situation, and do my best to be content anyway, then half the suffering goes.

    This can be combined in doing my best to also reduce the pain. It is not giving in or being complicit with evil being done to me, but an inner calmness.

    It can be learned.


Writing

A few odd points you may have worried about too
How to Handle Book Bigotry, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

 

A few odd points you may have worried about too

I’ve been editing a fine piece of writing for a lady who is even older than I am. She’d left school at 15, and is now a writer. Naturally, she has some gaps in her knowledge of writing conventions. Here are two of my answers to her.

What is the difference between … and — ?

… is the ellipsis. It indicates when something is incomplete, e.g., if I am talking and fade off mid-sentence. The em dash is a triple-length hyphen, which in a manuscript can be indicated by two hyphens. It can be something like brackets. ‘He was different — refreshingly so — but people didn’t always appreciate him for it.’ It is also a convention to use it when someone’s speech is deliberately interrupted:

Mary said, “I beg your pardon, I — ”

“Well, you don’t have my bloody pardon,” Jim shouted over her timid voice.

Difference between : and ;

The colon indicates that a list is following. ‘He bought three things: a box of matches, a gallon of kerosene, and a newspaper.’

Sometimes the form is the same, but the list is in effect one item long, e.g., ‘He peeked around the edge of the door and what did he see: a naked green monster!’

The semicolon has two uses.

Normally, items in a list are separated by commas. When one of more of the items has a comma within, then the items are separated by semicolons. ‘It was an august gathering, consisting of the mayor of the town, with his bulrush moustache and bald head; the chief of police, who wore a uniform although he was not required to; and the madame of the local brothel, who welcomed her two visitors with glee.’

The second use should be rare. It can happen that if two sentences are joined, they gain power. ‘He was a powerful candidate; no person was likely to best him.’ The two sentences separately lack the emphasis of the joint one.


How to Handle Book Bigotry
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

An excerpt from Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

I thought I would share an excerpt from the newest book in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books, titled How to Get Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically with your readers. It was launched in a special BookBaby.com promotion, and it is estimated that it was read by at least 20,000 authors, which makes me practically ecstatic that I can help that many in its first months as an e-book. It is now available as a paperback, too.

I believe — know — that attitudes toward self- and indie-publishers have become more accepted over the decades. When my first novel was published, any book published by anything other than university presses and New York’s Big Five were derisively called “vanity publishers.” Still, book bigotry or its near cousins hasn’t disappeared entirely.

That sounds discouraging, but it’s a reality. Some — including reviewers — find it convenient to let the name of a press help vet their final choices among hundreds of thousands of books available to them these days. Using the name of a respected press is an easy — though misguided — way to do that.

Brooke Warner, the author of Green Light Your Books, and board member of IBPA (Independent Book Publishers of America) says, “I advise authors with [print-on-demand books] never to specify how their books were printed [when they are] talking to book buyers, event hosts, booksellers, conference organizers or librarians…”
Notice that Warner is not suggesting you fib about how the book is published. It seems she is suggesting we just omit that piece of information. But in some cases you can bravely face down book bigotry. That means owning up to however your book is published. My coauthor of the Celebration Series of Chapbooks, Magdalena Ball, and I list our poetry chapbooks (booklets) in the series as “proudly self-published in the time-honored tradition of poets since before Gutenberg invented the press.”

Honesty is essential. Reviewers and other contacts are not naïve. They know a digitally printed book, micro press, indie publisher or any number of entities now in the publishing business when they see it. But, as writers, we know that words and the way we use them are powerful and we should be willing to use the power to the best of our ability within the boundaries required by ethics.

It is your job — no matter who printed your books — to convince reviewers (and, yes, readers!) that your book is the one they want to spend time with. That your book has value that particular reader or reviewer can use, wants, or desperately needs. We do that:

  1. By publishing or having someone else publish a professional, well edited book. Read more on how to do that in my multi award-winning The Frugal Editor, and find more books that will help you with the journey in the Index of that book.
  2. By building — and continuing to build — a platform that is respected by others in the publishing industry. (Read more on that in The Frugal Book Promoter).
  3. By approaching reviewers (and other gatekeepers) with whom you have built a relationship and/or those you have researched so you are confident that they will have an interest in your genre. That requires lots of reading and research so you won’t waste sending a book to someone with no clout or who isn’t actually a reviewer. You’ll want to read How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career to learn more on getting and managing those reviews successfully.

    Note: By being familiar with the reviewer or other contact and the media she writes for, you limit the chances your book, or the content within, will be misused. For more on that, see the chapter on “Why Book Reviews Aren’t What You Think They Are” in How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

    You, the author of your book, are the one who is so passionate about it. You will not be daunted by the review-garnering task. Persistence is the key. But here’s The Secret to getting around this to-tell-or-not-to-tell conundrum:

    Pretend you are a florist and must put the best blooms in your book-bouquet forward. You discard the wilted ones, or at least place them behind the more exquisite blossoms in your inventory.

    • So, you shout it out when it’s your advantage to tell and you do it with pride.
    • When you think your bloom will appear slightly wilted to your contact, you disguise it with the name of a professional publishing company you set up for your own books.
    • And when all else fails, you tactfully omit that information. You won’t fool anyone who finds this information super-important, but there is no rule that you must flaunt it, either.

      Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners, including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor, which won awards from USA Book News. Other awards include Readers’ Views Literary Award, the top marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. And now, ta da! The third: How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. She will present at BookBaby’s #IndieAuthorsCon in Philadelphia in November.


      What my friends want you to know

      From Faithful America
      Claire Dunn wants to take you out
      Geoff Nelder’s historical fantasy
      Invitation from Al Gore
      Walk this way is coming to Melbourne
      Can you sing?
      Australia, let’s copy California
      Sharing with writers
      Bring them home

       

      From Faithful America

      Yesterday, a group of religious-right activists released a new theological statement condemning lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and purporting to excommunicate Christians who affirm them.

      The so-called “Nashville Statement” not only claims that “it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism” — it says that “such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness.”

      This new statement is making headlines and causing deep pain for LGBT people, so it’s time to stand up and show how many Christians repudiate this hateful theology.

      Add your name: Christians reject the Nashville Statement’s theology of hate.

      Thanks!

      I am neither Christian nor American, but I signed the petition.
      A study of the Bible will show you that there is NO condemnation of homosexuality in it. Lot’s story is the usual thing dragged up. I cannot believe that God’s word is to offer your virgin daughters to be gang raped by a mob, in order to save visiting “angels.”


      Claire Dunn wants to take you out

      Dear Bob

      It has been a good while since you heard from me. I have been undertaking an experiment of only using the computer when I feel to, which has meant very little! Instead I have been at my sit spot down by the river regularly, tracking the birds in my backyard, foraging wild edibles, making and eco-dyeing clothes, basket weaving, gardening, holding ceremony, sitting around fires with friends, wandering, dancing. My hands don’t look so much like soft city hands anymore.

      With the passing of the winter solstice though I am turning my attention to Spring and the adventures that I am offering.

      Vision Quest in November is a precious opportunity to sit on the land in solitude and prayer, supported by a community, releasing old patterns and coming to know with clarity the unique gift that only you can bring to the world. As one participant of the Autumn Quest said “I feel changed, as though every part of me is a tiny bit altered.”

      We are inviting applications now.

      October 4-8 I am collaborating with Firekeepers and Wildcraft Australia to offer Victoria’s first Wild by Nature Village Camp. This is an all ages gathering, weaving together the fabric of a village through deep nature connection practices, play, song, storytelling and an intention to renew our connections to earth, self and other.

      There are still places left for the Psychology of Spirituality retreat in Bali early September, designed for practitioners and facilitators to deepen their understanding and experience of an integral approach to therapy.

      There is more to come, but for now, the late afternoon winter sun is calling me to play.

      Hope to see you in Spring.

      In Wildness,

      Claire


      Geoff Nelder’s historical fantasy


      One day in your illustrious history you might have hinted that you’d like be told when I release a masterpiece of a novel. Well, that’s a few years off, but here is a historical fantasy based on a shocking truth.

      In 1551, pirates abducted the entire population of the island of Gozo. Those they didn’t throw overboard for being old or sick, they sold in slave auctions, put to rowing, or rehoused in harems in Constantinople. Their spirits cry out for revenge. They get their wish in XAGHRA’S REVENGE, but they have to wait nearly 500 years before a young couple, whose ancestry include pirate and abductee. They’ve no idea which is which and only when a cusp in time and the spirits engage is revenge ready.

      Kindle

      Paperback


      Invitation from Al Gore


      Dear Friends,

      My new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, was recently released in theaters across the United States. For two years, camera crews accompanied me around the world to visit areas greatly impacted by the climate crisis. From the melting ice sheets of Greenland to the flooded streets of Miami Beach, I saw time and time again how Mother Nature is calling out to remind us what will happen if we don’t take climate action now. And in places like the city of Georgetown, TX, which is moving to 100 percent renewable electricity, I also saw that so many have the will to step up and fight.

      That’s why it’s imperative that we all do our part to protect our shared home. I’ve had the great privilege of personally training over 12,000 climate activists as part of our Climate Reality Leadership Corps program, which I’m happy to say is showcased in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. These activists have shown me what can happen when citizens take a stand, and every day, I’m amazed at their commitment and courage in educating their communities about the climate crisis and empowering them to take action.

      Today, I’m excited to announce that we’ll be training our next group of activists at our 36th Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from October 17-19, with support from the Heinz Endowments.


      Walk this way is coming to Melbourne


      Walk This Way is coming to Melbourne in October 2017!

      This spring we will be kick-starting our new Sustainable Cities campaign and getting active with a sponsored walk across our city. Walk This Way will be an opportunity to highlight the key areas of community action in the face of climate change and build our vision of a sustainable city.

      On Saturday October 7th, we will walk 15 kilometres of Melbourne’s Capital City Trail to raise $10,000 for Friends of the Earth Melbourne.

      Beginning on the banks of the Yarra in Melbourne’s CBD and journeying through the urban spaces, parklands and communities we call home, we will finish up at the heart of Melbourne’s activist community here at Friends of the Earth for a Sustainable Cities campaign launch party!

      Melbourne has been voted the world’s most liveable city for the past six years — but what will that mean for its residents when we begin to deal with climate change in our day to day lives?

      For Friends of the Earth and the Walk This Way team, a liveable Melbourne is one that will have resilience to the impact of climate change locked in. A liveable Melbourne will also have less traffic, reliable public transport, great pedestrian access and planning, and more parkland.

      We’ve been a part of the local community in Melbourne’s inner north for four decades, and we have seen a lot of change in that time. Now famous for our street art, cafes, bars, galleries and warehouse apartments, our community has been transformed into an iconic urban landscape. But more people, more buildings, and more attractions has brought an increase in traffic, developments and pollution.

      We know that in the face of climate change, our city will need to adapt.

      Walk This Way will be an opportunity to consider who our neighbours are, how they live and how they move about in this city. Together we will reflect on what we need to do to ensure we’re all going to be living in climate resilient spaces.

      Transport is one of the biggest contributors to climate change in Victoria. With our Sustainable Cities campaign calling for reduced emissions from the transport sector and a halt to large car-based infrastructure projects, it’s time to take it to the streets.

      Together, Melbourne communities have the power to tackle the big challenges of climate change and we’re asking everyone to get involved and #WalkThisWay with us this October.


      Can you sing?


      Australia, let’s copy California

      Dear Bob,

      Australia and California. We’re pretty similar right?

      Both home to sand, surf and sun. We have similar vulnerabilities to climate change, and are both rich in renewable energy resources. We also use about the same amount of electricity!

      But that’s where the similarities end.

      Watch and share our new video that shows when it comes to climate action, California is kicking our butt!

      Amanda McKenzie
      Climate Council CEO


      Sharing with writers

      Check out Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s helpful newsletter for writers.


      Bring them home

      I’ve just arrived on Manus Island to catch up with some friends who have been imprisoned for years by the Labor and Liberal parties in one of the biggest injustices in our country’s history. I’ve come to support my friends, and bear witness to what is happening to them and many hundreds of Australia’s other political prisoners here.

      In Port Moresby last night, I met with some of the men from Manus who are being warehoused at a motel in a dangerous part of town. When I was there just three months ago, there were less than twenty men staying there. Now there are about 100, and at the Manus Island airport I met another 20 who are going to Port Moresby today.

      These men are being sent there for “medical reasons”, but then receiving scant medical care when they arrive. They are being kept under tight security and are fearful of leaving the motel. I was not allowed to visit them in their rooms and had to meet them in a carpark.

      I need your help to spread the word about what’s happening in these offshore hell holes.

      Senator Nick McKim
      Greens spokesperson for Immigration


      Reviews

      Guardian Angel, reviewed by Roberta Abba

      “Guardian Angel” is a story that touches the heart. Although it is set in a small Australian town in the 1850s, its message is universal and timeless: unconditional love has the power to bring out the best in people and overcome hate, ignorance and intolerance. We need more Maraglindis in the world and more people to read the book and spread its message.


      Fun

      Sorry, no fun this issue. Life is too short to be treated with the seriousness it deserves, and I’m too tired after a day’s work renovating my house to raise a laugh.

      So, please send me contributions for the next issue.


      About Bobbing Around

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

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

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

      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.

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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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4 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 3

  1. masuchna says:

    In response to North Korea missile shot over Japan we must fire a missile from a naval cruiser in the Sea of Japan to fly over North Korea and into the Yellow Sea.

    Like

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      I disagree. Two wrongs don’t cancel, but add up.
      To find a good policy, imagine you are little boy Kim. You’re absolute ruler of your country, as long as you can convince 25 million people to do as they are told. Your reaction to any threat will be counterattack, not withdrawal.
      My grandmother said, “Every fight starts with you hitting back.”
      So, just suppose that by some magic, Kim came to believe that there are no longer any external threats to his rule. He might then use the resources of his impoverished country to benefit his people, instead of a 1 million strong army and a super-expensive nuclear missile program.

      Like

  2. Margaret Goodman says:

    Two comments:

    I really liked your statement, “There is only one safe nuclear device in this solar system: the Sun.” What a good way to put nuclear issues in their place.

    You wrote of the wedding catered by Fur Clemt Real Junk Food Café. What an interesting name. The first two words remind me of the Yiddish word verklemt. Wikipedia has this definition, “,Verklempt: Choked with emotion (German verklemmt = emotionally inhibited in a convulsive way; stuck)”. So I guess the owners of the cafe are stuck on the idea of stopping food waste.

    Like

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you, Margaret. Actually, that catering firm is using a term from the local version of English. If you click on the link, you’ll find out what that is.
      🙂
      Bob

      Like

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