Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 4

Defending ourselves from global warming and nuclear disaster requires us to do two things: stop fighting destructive wars, and start fighting to save our planet.
Andrew Glikson

Even if wind turbines did get damaged by a storm, they don’t explode or spread around radioactive fallout.
Juan Cole

Bobbing Around

Volume Seventeen, Number Four,
October, 2017

Bob Rich’s rave

email    previous issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Supporting renewable energy legislation
My house
LiFE Award

Jennifer Poulter

USA as the next Rwanda?
Coal kills: the disconnect in politics
Branson to Trump

Stop talking right now about the threat of climate change. It’s here; it’s happening, by Bill McKibben
A must-read report
Another reason to keep carbon in the ground
Known in 1912!
Has our generation helped or hurt the environment? How?
Forests are now a major SOURCE of carbon release

*Good news
France leads the world
Big coal loses in court

*Inspiring people
Religion at its best
He used BP’s prize money to help Greenpeace
Nun better

What if you accidentally kill someone?
Criminal kids

Plastics from potatoes, by Kaili Killpatrick
You don’t need to poison weeds
Texas wind turbines kept working

*Deeper issues
Peace Paul’s answer to hate
How to use good science to diss bad science
Frugality is environmental conservation

Assisting A Senior After The Loss Of A Spouse: How To Sort Through The Belongings, by Marie Villeza
Climate anxiety doesn’t have to ruin your life. Here’s how to manage it
Betrayed by a friend
My husband wants me to take him back
He beats my child
She is trying to buy my kids’ affection

Alcohol lies are like tobacco lies
Links for families with a ‘special needs’ person

*For writers
Eric Hoffer wants to love your book
Americans need not apply

*What my friends want you to know
This is my festival
Transparent Tibet fund
Doctors without borders
Stop Adani
Carolyn’s community
What is Orthobionomy?
Killer corporation
Make Melbourne a sustainable city

Formatting e-books for writers, by Susan Stewart
Guardian Angel, reviewed by Margaret Carter
Haven’s End by Greg Austin

The power of firearms
This is business

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.

The perpetual quest for growth drives our economics. That’s why our environment and financial system lurch from crisis to crisis.
George Monbiot

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

Supporting renewable energy legislation
My house
LiFE Award


Supporting renewable energy legislation

This is what I wrote to my state member of parliament. Not that she’ll listen…

    This planet is in its 6th great extinction event. When we have unravelled the web of life, we also fall through the hole.

    We must do everything to handle the crisis, which is not in the future, but right now. Look at what’s happening in Texas and on the Indian subcontinent. Look at the terrible droughts of equatorial regions.

    These are current examples of the effects of climate change. Victoria is not immune. We have had a very dry winter, and can expect increasingly terrible bushfire seasons.

    We need to act. This means keeping brown coal in the ground, conserving energy — and generating it via renewables.

    Although you are in the Liberal Party, you don’t represent that organisation, but your voters. For the sake of our lives, please support this legislation.

    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

My house

17th September was national sustainable house day in Australia. People all over the country toured houses with the kinds of features that are worthy of copying.

To celebrate the occasion, I have updated the web page showing off a few features of the house Jolanda and I built, all too many years ago.

If you know anyone who’d love to live in a community, and so needs a house at Moora Moora, send them along.

LiFE Award

I am delighted to let you know that the LiFE Award: Literature For Environment has two new recipients.

One is another illustrated children’s book from Jennifer Poulter, Wildlife Corridor.

The second is Greg Austin’s Last Haven.

Please support environmental writing by buying books that have qualified for this award, and spread the word so other worthy books may be honoured.


Jennifer Poulter



Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 3 did not refer to North Korea at all, but this didn’t stop someone from posting this comment:

    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.

This is my response, which people who know me can probably predict:

    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.

    Jennifer Poulter

    Hi Bob

    What a WONDERFUL, eclectic article on Children’s books – I have reposted it on FaceBook and Twitter! 🙂

    Bravo Bob!

    Jennifer was referring to my guest post at Bonnie Ferrante’s blog.


    USA as the next Rwanda?
    Coal kills: the disconnect in politics
    Branson to Trump


    USA as the next Rwanda?

    The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr. makes a strong case for the possibility. Trump as his cronies are making the same noises as Rwandan politicians did before the massacre there.

    Coal kills: the disconnect in politics

    Tim Hollo, executive director of the Green Institute has written a brief but powerful essay in the Guardian.

    He sets out the major reasons for coal to be replaced with cleaner energy sources, and ties the disconnect between facts and action to the alienation of a society based on greed.

    Spot on.

    Art by Noel Counihan

    Branson to Trump

    Richard Branson survived Hurricane Irma. He lives in the Virgin Islands (now we know why he calls his businesses virgins), which were hit. All trees, all houses are gone.

    He has sent a challenging message to Donald Trump about it: the whole world knows climate change is real, and we are the cause.

    He is also donating a large sum to Caribbean Island nations, provided they switch to renewable energy.

    What’s left of a house after Hurricane Irma


    Stop talking right now about the threat of climate change. It’s here; it’s happening by Bill McKibben
    A must-read report
    Another reason to keep carbon in the ground
    Known in 1912!
    Has our generation helped or hurt the environment? How?
    Forests are now a major SOURCE of carbon release


    Stop talking right now about the threat of climate change. It’s here; it’s happening
    by Bill McKibben

    Bill has it exactly right.

    Please read his passionate, rational and evidence-based description of one example of what galloping climate change does: one week in the USA.

    I simply cannot understand how some people can “not believe” in climate change.

    A must-read report

    Ian Dunlop was once a high-level fossil fuel executive. Then he saw where the world was heading, and he became a climate campaigner. Part of his distinguished CV is being one of the members of the Club of Rome.

    He has co-authored a powerful report with David Spratt that should be compulsory reading: What Lies Beneath: The scientific understatement of climate risks.

    You can read an extract in The Guardian.

    Another reason to keep carbon in the ground

    It is when ships, trains or trucks carrying it have an accident.

    Look at what the sinking of an oil tanker near the Greek coast has done.

    Nuclear is of course even worse. Solar and wind simply cannot cause damage like this.

    Known in 1912!

    I learned about the greenhouse effect in high school. It is well-established science.

    Thank you Karl Kofoed for forwarding this gem from the past:

    As with all climate predictions, the time scale is too optimistic. Otherwise, it’s spot on.

    Has our generation helped or hurt the environment? How?

    This is an answer to a question at Quora:

    Every generation, certainly since the start of the Industrial Revolution, has hurt the environment. The effect is an exponential, like compound interest. At first, changes were local, like the peasoup fogs of London were in the 1800s. But as the number of humans kept growing, and technology gave us more power to make changes, the rate of damage has grown. Now, it is global, and has already caused great harm.

    A few examples:

    Our Ecological Footprint is such that we use the production of 1.5 earths each year, but we only have one. That means that each year, we steal from the future. People now are suffering in many places, because the resources they need have been used up by previous generations.

    Overfishing has caused the extinction of many species, and greatly depleted others that used to be widely available as food stock. Even species still found in large numbers are much smaller, since the large ones have been hunted out.

    Global use of fresh water is more than all the rain that falls on land everywhere. We are mining the aquifers. This has all sorts of effects, like large land subsidences in places like Taiwan, Mexico City and other places, and the death of farmland when salty sea water is sucked into underground water tables.

    The glaciers are rapidly melting. Many millions of people depend for their lives for the outflow of the Himalayan glaciers. These are drying up. Same is true in, for example, South America.

    Rising sea water temperatures are killing coral reefs all over the globe. Perhaps the worst is one of the most wonderful sights of this planet: the Great Barrier Reef off the north-eastern coast of Australia. Coral reefs are very important for the global environment, not only locally but as breeding places for many species.

    Factory farming practices are destroying topsoil. This means that every year, global farmlands grow less food, even while food demand is increasing.

    I could keep going. I could document each of these, but you can use a search engine and check for yourself.

    What to do about it?

    We are past the tipping points. Making small, gradual practical changes will do nothing. What is needed is a global emergency action, in which all of humanity cooperates. We need to get off the path of greed and aggression that’s causing all the damage. Live simply so you may simply live. If we can share, act with compassion, and stop wars, we may still have a chance.

    Forests are now a major SOURCE of carbon release

    A healthy tropical rainforest absorbs enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. A sick one behaves in the opposite way.

    This has been known for a long time, but a very recent article in Science has shown that currently forests produce more CO2 than all American cars combined. Unfortunately, the link I was provided for the article was a dud, but here is an excellent summary in the Guardian.

    Good news

    France leads the world
    Big coal loses in court


    France leads the world

    Legislation has been proposed to ban all exploration for fossil fuels in France including its territories, and the conversion of exploration into production licenses.


    Keep carbon in the ground!

    Big coal loses in court

    This is one of several reports that a US court has ruled against permission for massive coal mining on public lands.

    People who inspire

    Religion at its best
    He used BP’s prize money to help Greenpeace
    Nun better


    Religion at its best

    Pope Francis, and Patriarch Bartholomew, who is the leader of Orthodox Christians, have together issued the following statement:

    The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment. At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up — for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5). The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10). Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation.

    However, “in the meantime”, the history of the world presents a very different context. It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators. Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets — all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation. We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs.

    The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting. The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe. Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development.

    Therefore, united by the same concern for God’s creation and acknowledging the earth as a shared good, we fervently invite all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment on 1 September. On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labour in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps 126-127), if prayer is not at the centre of our reflection and celebration. Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.

    We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation. We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.

    He used BP’s prize money to help Greenpeace

    New Zealand artist Henry Christian-Slane was one of 2580 hopefuls who entered a British art contest. He was uneasy doing so, because the sponsor was BP, which is trying to improve its image by buying up the British art scene.

    Henry won, and solved the moral dilemma in a brilliant way: he donated 1000 pounds to Greenpeace for anti-oil campaigns.

    The win also gave him a platform for exposing BP’s less than moral behaviour.

    Nun better

    Please read this amusing little essay by s. e. smith at about Catholic and Buddhist nuns who devote their time, energy, and in one case, money, to make this planet a better place.


    What if you accidentally kill someone?
    Criminal kids


    What if you accidentally kill someone?

    You’ve got to read this immensely powerful essay in the New Yorker by Alice Gregory.

    It is a case study in why compassion should replace blame. She writes in depth about the extreme issue of causing damage: a good person causing unintended death.

    Reading her words will make you a better person.

    Criminal kids

    People who have read my Hit and Run know my attitude to children who commit serious crimes.

    Here is the same attitude from Afua Hirsch, who has worked as a criminal lawyer, defending them in court.

    It would cost the taxpayer heaps less to look after the most vulnerable children from the worst environments, before they offend, than to send them to the clink after — and it would make their lives better.


    Plastics from potatoes by Kaili Killpatrick
    You don’t need to poison weeds
    Texas wind turbines kept working


    Plastics from potatoes, by Kaili Killpatrick

    It’s probably fair to say that most people would love to make the world a better place. We want the world to be a place where our children can grow up and live in the full beauty of this earth, without pollution forcing them to spend a life indoors.

    One Idaho native, Brad LaPray, set out to make this vision a reality. After years of working in the agriculture industry and discovering an interest in bioplastics, LaPray founded the company BiologiQ.

    BiologiQ is LaPray’s contribution to solving the problem of plastic pollution. They have developed a bioplastic technology that allows plastic manufacturers to use their current equipment to produce sustainable plastic products.

    According to, 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface is plastic. That make 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile, and kills one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.

    That’s a huge problem!

    Another large pollutant, in fact the leading source of global warming pollution, is the vast production of fossil fuels.

    BiologiQ seeks to limit both of these pollutants with their products, by providing an eco-friendly way for plastic manufacturers to do what they do best — make plastic!

    But how do they help the environment by enabling companies to continue producing plastic?

    That is a great question!

    To reduce the use of fossil fuels and limit pollution of the air, BiologiQ makes their plastic from starch instead of petroleum. They use the starch that remains from processing potatoes into chips and french fries to produce their Eco Starch Resin (ESR), which is a thermoplastic material that can be used to manufacture a variety of plastic products, including films, bags, injection molded parts, and blow molded bottles.

    Not only does this limit the amount of fossil fuels being projected into the air, but it also lessens the amount of non-biodegradable plastic on the market. While BiologiQ strives to create a recyclable and reusable product, they know that not everyone is catching on to the trend. ESR is completely biodegradable, and BiologiQ teaches plastic manufacturers how to use this product to create plastic products that will biodegrade when disposed of in an environment rich with microorganisms.

    Reducing fossil fuel pollution, reducing the production of non-biodegradable plastic, and teaching other plastic manufacturers to do the same, BiologiQ is revolutionizing the production of plastic in an innovative and sustainable way!

    Plastic isn’t going away anytime soon, so rather than boycotting the thing that is used to package almost everything we consume, they are creating a movement to lessen the impact of this pollutant on the environment.

    Kaili Killpack is the lead content writer for Manwaring Web Solutions, the best web design company in Idaho Falls, ID. She has her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Communications, with an emphasis in News and Journalism. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor between full-time positions.

    You don’t need to poison weeds

    A helpful article at lists a dozen alternatives.

    Texas wind turbines kept working

    That’s right. During the hurricane and its terrible aftermath, they quietly generated electricity.

    I borrowed the (unacknowledged) photo from a New Scientist paper predicting that hurricanes would destroy proposed wind farms.

    Nothing like real-world testing. It’s the oil refineries and rigs that went kaput.

    Deeper Issues

    Peace Paul’s answer to hate
    How to use good science to diss bad science
    Frugality is environmental conservation


    Peace Paul’s answer to hate

    Please read this powerful post about interdenominational action in Hawaii.

    Sadly, even there, a group of hatemongers organised a counterevent, acting with aggression toward the bearers of Love.

    How to use good science to diss bad science

    A recent study attempted to replicate 38 published papers claiming to indicate that humans are not responsible for climate change. If you are interested in the philosophy of science, and understand the scientific method, you’ll find this fascinating.

    If not, you can still go with the conclusions: all of this research failed to allow replication, and was full of methodological faults.

    Frugality is environmental conservation

    If you have read my essay How to change the world, you’ll know I’ve advocated this for many years. Live simply so you may simply live.

    It’s worth reading Katherine Martinko’s words on the subject.


    Assisting A Senior After The Loss Of A Spouse: How To Sort Through The Belongings by Marie Villeza
    Climate anxiety doesn’t have to ruin your life. Here’s how to manage it
    Betrayed by a friend
    My husband wants me to take him back
    He beats my child
    She is trying to buy my kids’ affection


    Assisting A Senior After The Loss Of A Spouse: How To Sort Through The Belongings
    by Marie Villeza

    When seniors lose their spouses, it is difficult to know how to help. They need time to work through their grief, but they also need to sort through their loved one’s belongings and decide what to keep. If you are looking to support a beloved senior through this process, there are ways you can make things easier on them.

    Stay close to a senior working through grief, but don’t rush them on big decisions

    Most seniors need time after a loss before they are ready to make decisions about what’s next. As a friend or loved one, allow them space and time to grieve, but stay connected and available. As the Guardian shares, many people lend their support right after a loved one dies. However, that support often dissipates after a while and you can help by staying engaged and involved.

    Grieving seniors do not always know where to start after losing their spouse. There may be major changes that need to be made regarding finances and housing, but Colgan Capital suggests moving slowly on big decisions like these whenever possible. Selling a home or giving cherished possessions away too quickly can lead to regret later.

    Don’t push a grieving senior into sorting through their spouse’s belongings before they are ready. Everybody moves forward on different timetables and there may be sentimental items that are too difficult to make decisions on until further down the road. Once your loved one is ready, encourage them to move through the items as slowly as they need.

    Find creative ways to keep cherished memories without keeping the items

    When the sorting process begins, there will be items to keep, others to donate or give away, and some that could go to storage. Coach Sue West details that this sorting may need to be done in stages, and going through the clothes closet may be one of the easier places to start.

    It is tricky to know what to keep and what to get rid of in these situations. When there are hobby items or collectibles involved, a senior may decide to keep one representative piece and donate or sell the rest. You can also take photos of sentimental items before getting rid of them, even things like a beloved recliner, car or boat.

    Take care when discarding things and use a storage unit if needed

    Be cautious about throwing out important papers right away, and papers that can be discarded and have personal or financial information on them should be shredded. There may be items that friends or family members would like to have, and charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army will take a lot of household items that need to be donated.

    It is easy for the “save” pile to become sizable as it is difficult to part with items that remind a senior of their departed loved one. Moving these things to a storage unit rather than make any permanent decisions about them might be the best course of action during this process. They can always be donated or sold later, but your loved one can take more time to decide whether or not to keep them.

    Going through a deceased partner’s belongings can get emotional, and loved ones helping should take things slowly. Keep touches of sentimental items that may not make sense to hold onto and utilize a storage unit for pieces that need to be held onto a while longer. It is easier to keep things and progress slowly than rush the process and have a senior have regrets later.

    Climate anxiety doesn’t have to ruin your life. Here’s how to manage it

    This well-researched essay by Eve Andrews offers good advice. In sum:

    1. Being a forceful missionary puts people off, and running the other way. You can’t change other people.

    2. Instead of giving in to despair, use what you enjoy the most to change the world in a little way. One example is an artist in coral, who is subtly drawing attention to the fact that we are killing her raw material.

    She is Courtney Mattison

    Betrayed by a friend

    Had what I thought a friend who turned against me. We are both internship psychologists who were in the same organisations. I shared my life with this person in text messages outside work office hours. I wanted to see if I could learn to balance dual relationships, some good, all non-sexual and some stupid ones from me and so did she. She then printed off all these messages and deleted some of her texts. She gave them all to my, our manager. I now have a mandatory health assessment to sit after notification from the national board and council.

    What should I say or do while being assessed?

    Dear Richard,

    There are two questions here, not one: how to handle the investigation, and how to relate to this woman.

    I assume you have malpractice insurance. If so, immediately report the situation to the insurer (this is a requirement of the policy in any case). They will provide support and advice.

    The PBA will have appointed an investigator, and possibly the organisation(s) will investigate too. Send them the full record of texts, pointing out the items she has deleted.

    It is not possible to “balance” dual relationships, which is the reason for the injunction against them. At the same time, she was not your client, your supervisor or supervisee. You had a personal relationship, but your defence can be that there was no professional relationship other than fellow students/workers. So, while the content of the messages may have been objectionable (I don’t know), your defence could be that in fact there was no dual relationship. Study the act, and the Australian Psychological Society’s relevant ethical guidelines, to make up your mind about this.

    If it comes to a hearing, be fully open and transparent. Don’t try to excuse yourself, and say you have learned your lesson.

    The worst thing the PBA may do is to require you to have a certain number of sessions with a supervisor they appoint. If this happens, use it as an opportunity to learn from a wise person.

    Second, neither of us is a mind reader, so we don’t know why she did this. The first thing you should do is to forgive her. We all walk our path, and trip on the rocks there, and no one else can know why. Resentment, anger and the like is a hot coal you pick up to throw at someone. It is your hand that gets burned.

    It is natural for you to feel hurt. Accept the pain, and do your best to move on.

    I suggest you ask for the two of you to have a talk about the situation, in the presence of a person you both respect, like one of the staff members at your university. If she agrees, simply ask her why she did what she did. Don’t attack, don’t argue. What she says will be her reality, which will be different from yours. Then explain your point of view.

    Hope this helps,

    Richard (not his real name of course) has replied:

    Hi Dr Rich,

    Many thanks for your reply. Your response is excellent. I cannot disagree with you. I accept and forgive her and myself. Will let you know the outcome. I extend a hand of kindness to you and many blessings.

    My husband wants me to take him back

    I have been married almost 7 years. My husband is a nice guy, but we haven’t had much of a physical relationship. He was into meditation etc and believed any sexual activity will affect it. We did not consummate our marriage until 3 years after the wedding, and even then it was limited. Physical contact was restricted. I couldn’t even hold his hands or get a hug.

    It took 6 years to break me. I couldn’t take it anymore. Didn’t know who to talk to about it. Started talking to my husband’s cousin and found out he was having marital issues as well. The more we talked, the more we realized that we have a lot in common and are attracted to each other. We live far away from each other, but have met a few times since we started talking. We have been having an affair for the last few months. He has not lived with his wife for more than a year and is getting a divorce now.
    My husband has realized the effect his behavior has had on me and is trying to change and be better. What should I do? Give him another chance, or leave for good?

    Dear Jane,

    This is indeed a difficult situation. Whatever you do, someone will feel hurt. So, you need to look after your own interest. No one else can make up your mind for you.

    If you break up with your new man, he will eventually get over it. If you leave your husband, he will eventually get over it. How they react to the situation is not in your control, but in theirs. All you can do is the best you can do.

    Here is a process for making a difficult decision.

    Set out all the good things in favor of continuing the marriage and stopping the affair. This can include anything and everything, including practical/financial considerations.

    Then set out all the bad things of this choice, including the question of whether your husband’s change is likely to be lasting.

    Next, do the same for the choice of ending the marriage and becoming an open couple with the other man. The bad list should include the question of how their wider family will react to the situation.

    Take your time about making up these four lists. Think about them.

    When they are as good and complete as you can make them, get in tune with your intuition. Here is one trick for that: toss a coin. “Heads is husband, tails is cousin.” (Substitute the names of course.) When the coin lands, pay attention to your immediate emotional reaction, which could be anything from “Thank heavens” to “Rats! Oh no!”

    Go with the emotional reaction (which is now based on your rational study of the situation by making up the four lists) rather than with the fall of the coin.

    Good luck,

    He beats my child

    My husband beats my child. How am I supposed to handle it?

    Dear Luey,

    There is very little information here to base a response on, so I can only go on generalities.

    I assume your husband is not the child’s father. The general rule then is that discipline is the parent’s task, and the step-parent should only have a secondary role as the parent’s advisor.

    Second, is the child’s natural father in the picture? Are there access arrangements?

    Third, how old is the child?

    All of these influence what action you should take. But the emotion behind your question is correct: no one should beat a child. Not only that: no one should use words or actions with a child that makes the young person feel damaged, inferior, powerless, abused.

    I assume your husband’s motives are good. He was probably beaten when naughty as a child, and considers this to be the way to raise kids: do not spare the rod, force them to stay on the straight and narrow. He may well feel he would be neglectful if he didn’t do this.

    Or he may be quick to anger, and unfairly takes out his frustrations on a convenient target. That is completely wrong.

    You can show him my reply to you, and ask his reasons for acting this way.

    Children learn by example far more than from instruction. They do what they see people do, not what they are told. Physical punishment teaches these lessons:

    “The more powerful has the right to impose his will on weaker people.” That is, it can lead to the child becoming a bully, and even a criminal.

    “When I can, it’s OK for me to do whatever I want, without regard for the feelings of others.” Instead, children need training in empathy — basing their actions on how they would feel in the other person’s situation.

    “He hates me, that’s why he bashes me. When I’m big enough, I’ll beat the shit out of him.” Even with the best of motives, your husband may be making an enemy for himself. Instead, he could train the child to become his best friend and support in the future.

    If your husband doesn’t care about the child’s welfare, and is merely using him as a way to relieve his frustrations, then there is nothing much you can do, except to threaten to end the marriage. Demand that he stops to have anything directly to do with controlling the child’s behaviour.

    If, as is more likely, he thinks he is doing the right thing, I suggest the two of you find a local organization that runs classes on child raising. I entered “child raising courses (in your state) USA” in a search engine, and got several interesting leads. The two of you could do the same, phone each, and choose one.

    If approached in the right way, this major problem in your marriage could end up as the thing that draws the three of you closer together.

    Good luck!

    She is trying to buy my kids’ affection

    My ex and I have been divorced for 3 + years. I am remarried and very happy and secure in my new marriage. My ex recently starting dating the 22 year old babysitter. He is 42. She spends more time with them than he does. He works 50 + hours a week and she’s a bartender. She buys them whatever they want, takes them everywhere, let’s them play with ipads and ipods (I despise these things)… they are 9, 7, and 5.

    I just don’t know how to deal with this. It is not jealousy over him… it’s a little jealousy over my kids. I feel like they would rather be there than with me. I know that I will always be their mother but I can’t deal. She is also my best friend’s step-sister. My best friend can’t see why it upsets me. I know this relationship will not last. My children will be heartbroken when they split. Can you please give me some advice??

    Dear Laura,

    I can understand your upset. It must feel like this girl is buying their affections, to take them away from you.

    While there may well be an element of this, it is also likely that she is merely doing what comes natural to her: treating the kids in the way she would have loved as a child. “When I was that age, this is what would have made me happy. I love X, I love his kids, and I want them to be happy when with me.”

    Your situation is very common. Please read a letter I wrote to a couple who were far worse off than you are. It worked for them. The advice will work for you.

    You should explain to your kids, in language right for the age of each, that as long as they stay honest, decent and well behaved, they have your permission to do whatever this young woman allows them to do. But there are different rules at home, and you have good reasons for these rules. If she allows them to use ipads and ipods, then they can use them — there. They don’t have those things at home, because… and set out two or three clear, logical reasons (not just that you hate these things). For example, kids need physical activity, they can have more fun with active rather than sitting-around passive play, it’s bad for their eyes… Research the topic so you can speak with authority.

    Also, make an extra effort to give them enjoyment while with you. Organize activities YOU approve of that’ll give them fun. Also, involve your new husband in this. Have him organize times when he takes one or more child to something special. It need not cost much, but should be the child’s choice.

    You expect your ex’s relationship to end. It could. If it does and the kids are heartbroken, then you will be there for them. Genuinely share their pain, and tell them that their sorrow shows them to be good, loving people. You may even be able to organize occasional contact between the kids and the girl, provided of course she wants to meet them.

    Strangely, if you take this attitude of generosity, compassion and empathy, it will also improve your life. Give it a go.



    Alcohol lies are like tobacco lies
    Links for families with a ‘special needs’ person


    Alcohol lies are like tobacco lies

    A new research report, entitled How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer is a window into how urban myths are deliberately created by vested interests.

    There is a well-researched and multiply demonstrated direct link between alcohol and cancer. It is a linear relationship: the more alcohol, the higher risk of cancer. There is no threshold below which it is OK.

    You wouldn’t know this if you chat to people about it.

    Follow the money: this paper shows how public ignorance is created.

    Here are some completely false general beliefs. Yes. Every one of these is untrue.

    Links for families with a ‘special needs’ person

    Cyrus Dylan has an autistic brother, and was motivated to assemble a list of helpful links to assist people in a like situation.

    Here they are:

    Legal Resources for Special Needs

    Keeping Disabled Persons Safe While Remodeling

    Teacher Resources for Special Needs

    Disaster Preparedness for Special Needs

    Home Accommodations for Special Needs

    Disability Resources from the Department of Labor

    Tips for Disabled Persons to Declutter and Organize their Home

    Financial Planning for Special Needs

    Actually, his web site makes me wonder whether to list his contribution under “compassion” or “inspiration” rather than health.


    Eric Hoffer wants to love your book
    Americans need not apply


    Eric Hoffer wants to love your book



    New or old, we want to read your book. Each year, independent publishers release extraordinary books to little or no recognition. The Eric Hoffer Book Award recognizes excellence in publishing. A SINGLE REGISTRATION gives you SIX WAYS TO WIN by genre, press, the Montaigne Medal, the da Vince Eye, the First Horizon Award, and the Hoffer grand prize. There is a category for every book. (See submission guidelines below or check our listing in Writer’s Market or visit E-books and chapbooks also accepted.

    * $2,000 GRAND PRIZE * Low Entrance Fee of $55 * Many Categories *
    * E-BOOK categories for fiction and nonfiction *
    * CHAPBOOK category at a reduced rate: $40 *

    * $2,000 GRAND PRIZE (the Eric Hoffer Award for Books)
    * Winner of the Montaigne Medal for most thought-provoking books
    * Winner of the da Vinci Eye for best covers
    * Winner of the First Horizon Award for debut authors
    * Winner and First Runner-Up awarded for every category
    * Honorable Mentions for every category
    * Individual Awards for Micro, Small, and Academic Presses, as well as Self-Published Books
    * Coverage in The US Review of Books ( and on
    * Gold Seal Certificates
    * Worldwide Exposure

    CATEGORIES: Art, Poetry, Chapbook, General Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Children, Young Adult, Culture, Memoir, Business, Reference, Home, Health, Self-Help/Spiritual, Legacy Fiction, Legacy Nonfiction, E-book Fiction, and E-book Nonfiction.

    Internet payment for entrance fee accepted.

    Americans need not apply

    2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

    Open for entries 1 September

    Closing date 1 November 2017

    We are delighted to announce that the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the flagship project of Commonwealth Writers, is open for entries from 1 September 2017 to 1 November 2017.

    Entry is free.

    The Prize is for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000 – 5,000 words) in English; regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Stories translated into English are eligible, and this year we invite entries in the original languages of Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil.

    The five winning stories from the 2018 competition will be published online by Granta Magazine.

    Visit our website for the entry and eligibility guidelines and online entry form:

    What my friends want you to know

    This is my festival
    Transparent Tibet fund
    Doctors without borders
    Stop Adani
    Carolyn’s community
    What is Orthobionomy?
    Killer corporation
    Make Melbourne a sustainable city


    This is my festival

    Transparent Tibet fund

    The Tibet Fund was recognized for our transparency with a Gold Seal on our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile

    GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. More than 8 million visitors per year and a network of 200+ partners use GuideStar data to grow support for nonprofits.

    In order to get the Gold Seal, the Tibet Fund shared important information with the public using our profile on Now our community members and potential donors can find in-depth information about our goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress. We’re shining a spotlight on the difference we help make in the world.


    Darrell Bain and I go back a long way. We both published our first books with a pioneering small publisher, long defunct, Bookmice. He is now suffering multiple health problems, but still at it:

    A new issue of my Bainstorming Blog for the month of August (and earlier) is now live at My web site has been adjusted so that it easier to get to Bainstorming with one click from the menu.

    Subjects this month: Apologies (again), “Jungle Fever”, Books to be self-published, Timely Audie Murphy quote, Apertures information, Post Office Can lose mail, Sacral Implant, Whoops! Storm!, Freak fall Again, Neat Butterfly Experiment, The God Stories, The Last Williard Brothers Book Fight For Mars which completes the series, A very apt C.S. Lewis Quote.


    Darrell Bain

    Doctors without borders

    Well, this is an English-language newsletter.

    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are streaming across the border into Bangladesh, fleeing violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar. Among them are heavily pregnant women, elderly people and children.

    They are exhausted, hungry and visibly distressed, with many in need of urgent medical care.

    Will you make a donation of $50 today so that we can continue to respond to medical humanitarian emergencies?

    “We’ve not had something on this scale here in many years. Our teams are seeing streams of people arriving destitute and extremely traumatised, and who have had no access to medical care,” said Pavlo Kolovos, Médecins Sans Frontières head of mission in Bangladesh.

    Stop Adani

    Recently we called for Australians around the country to come together to help stop the Adani mega coal mine in Queensland. We all know we don’t need another coal mine. Burning more coal will only lead to more catastrophic climate change, more extreme weather and even move bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef. Coal is killing our planet and it’s time we took action to stop it.

    As part of the #StopAdani Alliance, Australia is deadly serious about stopping the Adani coal mine and moving Australia beyond fossil fuels.

    On October 7 we are asking communities across Australia to come together to form giant human signs spelling out Stop Adani or organise a #StopAdani event in your community as part of the national #StopAdani Big Day of Action.

    If we all stand together, we can #StopAdani.

    Blair Palese, CEO, for the whole 350 team

    Carolyn’s community

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s (usually) monthly newsletter Sharing with writers is a community of mutual support among writers.

    Check it out if you haven’t already done so (if you’re a writer, that is).

    What is Orthobionomy?

    It’s my son’s specialisation. He cures people of all sorts of painful conditions in a gentle, noninvasive way. They don’t even need to undress.

    He also runs courses on how to do it.

    Killer corporation

    That’s Monsanto. Please sign this Avaaz petition:

    Monsanto is launching a super poison that kills plants in its path — except for Monsanto GMOs. It even flies through the air onto neighbouring land!

    But in days we can shut it down.

    After a massive outcry from 1,000 affected farmers, a key US state could now ban this poison. This will set a precedent to influence regulation around the world.

    Monsanto is mounting an intense pressure campaign, and hoping to keep it to a local fight. But if one million of us sign this petition now, we’ll submit it to the official process and show that the whole world wants this toxic chemical out of our fields and off our food! Add your name:

    Stand up to Monsanto

    It’s no surprise farmers are up in arms. Dicamba spreads death with the wind, drifting onto their crops, trees, soil, and water. Farmers are now faced with a terrible choice — switch to Monsanto GMO seeds, or watch their crops die.

    Make Melbourne a sustainable city

    This is a Friends of the Earth campaign.

    Our Sustainable Cites campaign is getting started with a sponsored walk across Melbourne on October 7th with #WalkThisWay!

    Beginning on the banks of the Yarra in Melbourne’s CBD and journeying through the urban spaces, park lands and communities we call home, we’ll walk 15 km of Melbourne’s iconic Capital City Trail to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on our city and support FoE’s campaigns for social and environmental justice.

    For more information about the event contact Jemila Rushton · 0426 962 506


    Formatting e-books for writers, by Susan Stewart
    Guardian Angel, reviewed by Margaret Carter
    Haven’s End by Greg Austin


    Formatting e-books for writers, by Susan Stewart

    In a way, this book’s title is misleading. It covers a LOT more than formatting. “Everything you need to know about publishing e-books” is closer. For example, title, cover, marketing, and pricing are essential considerations for any book. Susan Stewart gives advice on each.

    This is not a book to read, but an instruction manual to use, a cookbook for self-publishing if you like. Susan has been running courses on this topic, and the book is obviously a distillation of her notes to students.

    All the same, it is readable, clear in most places, and concise. I found a few places too dense, but I took a breath, and re-read the passages. In a cookbook, this is acceptable.

    I’ve “been there, done that, got the T-shirt” for the content of this book, but all the same, learned several tricks and techniques, so I am glad I decided to review it.

    Guardian Angel, reviewed by Margaret Carter

    The depth of the author’s research is clear in the vividly presented details of Aboriginal life under colonial rule, in both physical and social dimensions. I was fascinated by the beauty of their culture and the harshness of their lives as shown in this story, especially the effects of European encroachment upon their traditional world. The Australian setting comes alive in descriptions of the landscape and its flora and fauna. Characters, both major and minor, are portrayed in three dimensions with their virtues, flaws, and human confusion. The only reservation I might have is that some of the antagonists repent and reform more quickly and thoroughly than one might expect even under the influence of an “angel unaware.” On the whole, though, GUARDIAN ANGEL impresses me as a believable and heart-rending story of redemption in the face of cruelty and ignorance.

    Haven’s End by Greg Austin

    I edited a much earlier version of this story for Greg, and am impressed by how it has grown into a tale that grips you, and forces you to think. It now has depth and power. The narrative flows, and although I remembered the general outline of the plot, I had a compulsion to read on.

    More than 700 years after humanity has destroyed earth’s environment, the surface is lush and green, but the inhabitants of an underground city designed for survival still continue hiding, despite gradually failing infrastructure. Survival has descended into slavery, with a master class dealing out death to anyone who dissents. A blood sport keeps the masses docile.

    Marcus Jarrett is the champion, adored by the crowds, but he is intelligent, and thinks for himself. So, he is a danger to the despots.

    In a masterful way, Greg Austin shows how wealth, power and privilege corrupt, and how myths designed for another time can stifle a culture.

    There is a group of survivors on the surface too, who are descended from a blending of Aborigines and city refugees. There also, a pattern of living designed for the past stifles the present, and a rebel arises. The contrast between the two cultures is striking and illuminating, and their interaction even more so.

    I am delighted to give 5 stars to this excellent novel.


    The power of firearms
    This is business


    The power of firearms

    43,000 residents of Florida had signed up to shoot at Hurricane Irma.

    If that’s not funny, I don’t know what is.

    This is business

    About Bobbing Around

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

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

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


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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