Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 6

Every Australian who has accepted the government’s dishonest rhetoric about ‘boat people’ should read this book, so they can understand the horrors which cause people to flee, to leave behind the only culture they know, to risk everything in a dangerous journey across the ocean.
Julian Burnside, in the Foreword to The power of good people

Bobbing Around

Volume Seventeen, Number Six,
December, 2017

Bob Rich’s rave

email

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

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
One last chance
My Facebook adventure
Kindle unlimited giveaway
THE cover for Hit and Run!
40th recipient of the LiFE Award
Interview at wonderful Queendom Blog
Stories

*Responses
Frances Bildner
Theresa Hortley

*Politics
Who is a terrorist?
Why I don’t consider Trump as president
The cost of war
Prophecy comes true

*Environment
Water
We have entered uncharted territory
Tragedy now in Greece
From the Everglades to Kilimanjaro, climate change is destroying world wonders
How to travel better

*Good news
100% renewable sweeps US
Italy is getting off coal
Americans are represented at climate talks
How to cut smog
Tesla delivers

*Inspiring people
11-year-old scientist invents lead-detecting device
Action needed, says Dalai Lama
Two kids sue Trump
Francis to world

*Compassion
Compassionate business
I’ve found a new comrade, in Tennessee
Compassionate caravan back on the road

*Technology
Plastic bottles strengthen concrete

*Deeper issues
How to feel good about your life
Thomas Keneally on death
Environmental funeral
Nonhuman kindness to strangers
Excellent brief primer on meditation
Superstition and statistics
Christmas

*Psychology
Coping with loneliness (or any other problem)
The healing power of love
Am I betraying my wife?
Am I depressed?
I abuse the man I love
If mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be God and me

*Health
What lurks in the permafrost?
WHO: reduce antibiotics use for animals
But there is another cause for superbugs
Helpful links for people with disabilities, from Sarah Brian
All that glitters ain’t gold

*For writers
Do it yourself book design
The back cover blurb
Survey of 10,000 readers
How to get a PDF onto Kindle
The Rabbit and the Seed

*What my friends want you to know
Protect an acre of forest
Book launch, The Power of Good People, 10th Dec
Book conversion service
No child belongs in detention
Thank you, from the Tibet fund
Avaaz: A warning to humanity

*Reviews
Anikó: The stranger who loved me, reviewed by Michael Thal
The power of good people by Para Paheer and Alison Corke

*Fun
No, women are not equal to men
From an old friend
Spot the odd item
Where we come from


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.


97% of the 10 billion animals tortured and killed each year are [factory] farm animals.
Last Chance for Animals

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

One last chance
My Facebook adventure
Kindle unlimited giveaway
THE cover for Hit and Run!
40th recipient of the LiFE Award
Interview at wonderful Queendom Blog
Stories

 

One last chance

Voting in the contest I’ve entered Guardian Angel in closes on the 2nd of December. I know it’s so easy to intend to do something, put it off for something more urgent, then let it slip away, but please, can you take a moment to cast a vote if you haven’t already done so?

All the details are here.


My Facebook adventure

I spent two hours being guest author at LitRingVIP, a Facebook readers’ group run by Melissa Storm.

Two weeks later, the responses to my many posts were still coming in. Likes for my Ascending Spiral page have more than tripled and still growing, and many hundreds of people now know about my books. We’ll see whether they will buy them…

It took me more than a week of preparation. Not wanting this to disappear forever, I’ve reproduced my posts here at Bobbing Around. If you’ve missed the event, do have a look and leave a comment.


Kindle unlimited giveaway

I am so impressed with Melissa and her team that I’ve signed up to another promo tool of hers. She has organised an event involving giveaways for books on Kindle Unlimited. Since Guardian Angel is one of those, I have entered it.

Even if you have already bought Guardian Angel, you might well find another book there to interest you. If you haven’t, please give it a go (then send me a review, please).

Either way, please tell your friends.


THE cover for Hit and Run!

After nearly a year, and lots of frustration for my publisher Sandy Cummins and me, and repeated expense for her, I thought to ask an old friend’s advice. In the early days, when Martine Jardin was establishing her publishing and cover design businesses, she practiced her skills by designing a number of covers for my books. So, I set out the problem, and asked her for suggestions.

Instead, she sent me a series of three concepts. The third one blew me away. It perfectly expresses the emotional feel and message of the book, and is entirely different from anything anyone else has thought of.

Sandy is also enthusiastic about it, so, at last, the book is a goer.

Thank you, Martine.


40th recipient of the LiFE Award

The LiFE Award: Literature For Environment celebrates and promotes writing of any kind that has the message of looking after the life of our precious little planet.

The 40th recipient is a handbook on what you personally can do to save a future for my grandchildren. That’s you, or your kids, or grandkids.

Check out Feasible Planet — A guide to more sustainable living.


Interview at wonderful Queendom Blog

Part of my reason for being on this planet is that I have the joyful good fortune that my words have healing power. Nowadays, that’s mostly via email. Once a month, I answer cries for help at www.queendom.com. The reason many other suffering people find me on the internet is that my Queendom answers are in the public domain, and come up high in search engine listings.

Now my association with Queendom has been extended. The lady running it has sent me a list of questions. I got somewhat enthusiastic in my answers, so she has divided the interview in two. Here is the first half.

I am interested in what you think about it, so am offering a free book to three people who leave a comment. I’ll do the same for the second half.


Stories

When you have a moment, you may enjoy reading a few of my short stories. Three exactly 100 word short stories are now available, with a 1000 word one due mid-December.


Responses

Frances Bildner
Theresa Hortley

 

Frances Bildner

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kindness in drawing your readers’ attention to my art and writing. Only, I forgot to include a link!

Here it is.


Theresa Hortley

Hey mate, thanks for sending me a copy of that cover for Hit and Run. It says nothing about the story, but it says everything about the story.

Go for it.

Theresa is one of my loyal beta readers, a small, select group who are kind enough to advise me on my writing. She is a high school English teacher, but not really all that scary.


Politics

Who is a terrorist?
Why I don’t consider Trump as president
The cost of war
Prophecy comes true

 

Who is a terrorist?


Why I don’t consider Trump as president

Because of the many “abnormalities.” Rebecca Solnit sets out the evidence in the Guardian.


The cost of war

This very brief report is worth reading. This century, the US has spent about 6 TRILLION dollars of military cost.

Jen Hayden points to all the many American sources of suffering that could be eliminated, but I’d prefer to take a global view. If we turned swords into ploughshares, there would be no world hunger.


Prophecy comes true


Thank you, Karl Kofoed for sending this gem.


Environment

Water
We have entered uncharted territory
Tragedy now in Greece
From the Everglades to Kilimanjaro, climate change is destroying world wonders
How to travel better

 

Water

All this century, environmental debates have focused on climate change, but we humans are destroying ourselves in other terrible ways. One is, we are using fresh water at a greater rate than it can be replenished. We can do this because there is fossil water underground: the great aquifers.

Scientists have been sounding the warning for decades. But now, farmers are noticing too.

One of North America’s major aquifers has sunk by 100 feet, and going. This promises to make six states into a desert.

The article recommends using water more wisely. I recommend living more wisely.

Photo is about the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. It was reversed through a major tree planting exercise. Now those trees are dying because of lack of water.


We have entered uncharted territory

The World Meteorological Organization has said so in its annual report. They are referring to the concentration of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide — and water vapour that’s increasing because of the warmer atmosphere, in a positive feedback loop.

The graphs show the increase in CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, since reliable measurements were started, until 2015.

In one word, scary.


Tragedy now in Greece

Heat the air and the surface of the sea, and what do you get? More water vapour in the air. So, what used to be heavy rain is now a catastrophic flood. Texas, India and Bangladesh — now it’s Greece, with people killed, houses, roads and power systems destroyed…

All this suffering could have been prevented, by concerted action thirty years ago.

We should still do the best we can. We can make a difference, personally and collectively.

Climate change is here, it is real, and it is terrible.

We are responsible. We need to take action, now.


From the Everglades to Kilimanjaro, climate change is destroying world wonders

The headline says it all. Damian Carrington, writing for the Guardian summarises a International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report.

The Guardian article is well worth reading, and has some beautiful photos.

I can offer a consoling thought. Future generations (if any) can marvel at sights like drowned cities instead.


How to travel better


Good news

100% renewable sweeps US
Italy is getting off coal
Americans are represented at climate talks
How to cut smog
Tesla delivers

 

100% renewable sweeps US

Well, maybe not quite, but the growth is impressive.
The Sierra Club has constructed a map of where it is already fact, and where a commitment has been made.


Italy is getting off coal

There is a bit of lead time needed, but the plan is, Italy will be coal-free by 2025.

This is a 5-year advance on previous plans.

Mind you, my enthusiasm is somewhat tempered in that part of the load is to be taken up by gas-fired power stations.

The best resource is to use less: major energy conservation. The rest should be all from renewables, which IS possible, right now.


Americans are represented at climate talks

Sure, the administration is there, but only represent the 1%. So, there is a delegation of mostly young people there, speaking for the other 99%.


How to cut smog

Well, locally at least. The Chinese city of Shenzen will have no petrol or diesel buses by the end of this year. They will all be electric.

The population of this one city is half that of the entire country where I live.

Of course, the true benefit of this depends on what generates the electricity.


Tesla delivers

In March, Elon Musk offered to install the world’s largest battery in South Australia. He said it would be free if he couldn’t get it done in 100 days.

It’s official: the system is ready to be energised 45 days ahead of schedule.


People who inspire

11-year-old scientist invents lead-detecting device
Action needed, says Dalai Lama
Two kids sue Trump
Francis to world

 

11-year-old scientist invents lead-detecting device

There is hope while there are children like Gitanjali Rao of Lone Tree, Colorado.

She has a social conscience, empathy, and obviously high intelligence.

You can watch her winning video, but I found her speech too fast to follow.

This report in EcoWatch made more sense to me.

She is an inspiring young lady, all the same.


Action needed, says Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama met with 25 leaders from war-torn countries. His advice to them applies to us all.


Two kids sue Trump

There are other court actions by children. This is new. Two Philadelphian advocates for sanity, aged 11 and 7, are suing Trump, Pruitt and Perry.

    In recent years, the United States has experienced a steady increase in extreme weather events that have destroyed American homes and businesses, displaced millions of United States citizens, and caused the tragic loss of lives. The United States Government’s current acts to roll back regulations and practices previously directed at addressing and minimizing the United States contribution to climate change will increase the frequency and severity of these extreme weather events and the dangers to Plaintiffs’ lives and a life-sustaining environment.

    Through these acts, the Government is relying on junk science to wage a war on facts, data, and reliable principles and methods arising out of scientific, technical, and specialized knowledge. In doing so, Defendants have acted with reckless and deliberate indifference to the established clear and present dangers of climate change, knowingly increasing its resulting damages, death, and destruction.

The action is sponsored by the Clean Air Council of Philadelphia. You might want to support them.


Francis to world

Pope Francis is one of the people on this planet I admire the most, even though I have no interest in his religion. He is an example to us all, and his words are always worth following.

He has sent a letter to the Bonn climate conference that should be implemented everywhere, but probably won’t be.

He has warned us against “four perverse attitudes:” denial, indifference, resignation, and trust in inadequate solutions.

I fully agree. We only have one Earth. If our global culture were sane, we’d be doing everything to save it.

Please read the Holy Father’s letter.


Compassion

Compassionate business
I’ve found a new comrade, in Tennessee
Compassionate caravan back on the road

 

Compassionate business

Big business doesn’t need to be a predatory monster, with profit its only measure.

TJ Maxx, a company owning chain stores in Purto Rico, has continued paying its employees, although hurricane destruction has stopped their business for the past many weeks.

I’ve never heard of them, but the internet is a wonderful research tool. They sell discount fashion and home stuff. If you ever need what they offer, give them your business.

All business owners, everywhere, please copy.


I’ve found a new comrade, in Tennessee


Like me, Dr. Phil Kronk is a retired psychologist. Like me, he knows the power of compassion to change our inner world, and the world we live in.

Please read his short, inspiring essay.


Compassionate caravan back on the road

I’ve written about The Catholic Action Center’s Compassionate Caravan before. They are an inspiring group of people who are true followers of Jesus. No hellfire and judgment, but a hand up to those who need it the most.

Mind you, my news item last year mentioned the year before

Please read this lovely essay by Caitlin Centner.


Technology

Plastic bottles strengthen concrete

Jennifer Chow, writing for EcoWatch, has reported on a beaut student project at MIT: suitable treated PET bottles were minced, and mixed into concrete.

The result is an increase in strength, I suspect because of the reduction of shrinkage cracks. I don’t know, because I was unable to access the original paper in Waste Management journal.

I did find an MIT press release with interesting information about the project.


Deeper Issues

How to feel good about your life
Thomas Keneally on death
Environmental funeral
Nonhuman kindness to strangers
Excellent brief primer on meditation
Superstition and statistics
Christmas

 

How to feel good about your life

Well, the essay by Nancy Clark in Forbes Journal talks about happiness, but in fact the six points she covers are pathways to contentment.

The difference is, happiness is transient, above what’s usual, while contentment is ongoing.

My personal experience bears out five of the six points. I didn’t know about smell.

Have I intrigued you enough?


The source of the lovely pic.


Thomas Keneally on death


He is a wonderful Australian writer, now 81 years old. I enjoy his writing, and enjoyed what he has to say about death.

If you have the time, you will too, and he will make you think.


Environmental funeral

While we’re on death, what about the funeral?

Cremation uses irreplaceable fossil fuel to turn excellent fertiliser into greenhouse gases and other pollution.

Normal burial involves harmful chemicals and quite a large environmental footprint, besides cemeteries are becoming rare resources in many areas.

For a long time, my wish has been: put my discarded body in a (biodegradable) hessian or paper bag. Bury it in a hole, and plant a walnut tree seedling on top. Then, in years to come, my descendants can come together once a year to gather Bob’s nuts.

This article advances an even better idea. Have the burial ground on the edge of a nature reserve. The tree is one local to the area. When the area is full, it joins the reserve.

I like it.


Nonhuman kindness to strangers

Long term readers of Bobbing Around know that one of my hobbyhorses is that other animals are people, too, with similar feelings, emotions, thought processes. Here is one item with seven examples of interspecies kindness.

And here is an essay about humpback whales who often defend other species from orcas.

A new study shows that bonobos often exercise kindness to strangers. That makes them better people than many humans.


Excellent brief primer on meditation

I meditate every day, and when I have a few moments, stave off boredom by one form or another of meditation. The result is the ability to bounce back from annoyance and misfortune, an effective immune system, quick healing from injury, the ability to cheerfully endure physical pain, and recovery from physical and mental stress.

If you also practice meditation, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t, give it a go.

Here is an excellent, short but detailed set of instructions on mindfulness meditation, one of several forms I use.

You’ll find it useful, even if you’ve been meditating for years.


Superstition and statistics

Here is an interesting, brief essay in the Guardian about water dowsing.

Convincing studies 40 years ago have showed it works no better than chance, but it is seriously being used by commercial operators. How come?

It’s because humans are not designed to detect statistical patterns. I am a case in point. For a couple of years, I’d noticed that cars with Q on the numberplate are more numerous in my locality than others, and was wondering why. Does it have a protective effect over rust and car smashes?

I started counting, and recording my observations. (I am not ashamed of having obsessive tendencies. They help when you are an editor.)

Over many sessions, I found that 11.13% of cars have a Q in one or more of the three locations a letter might be. R occurred for 10.39%, S 13.33%, P 10.25%…

I didn’t bother with a significance test. They are all about the same. I’d expect later-issued registrations to be somewhat more numerous, but beyond that, clearly it’s all random.

But where did my original belief come from?

The magic of attention. Attention is a searchlight. Whatever you shine it on stands out, while other things recede. For some reason, or no reason at all, I started looking for Q cars. When I did, I found them. Without counting, I just noticed that they were everywhere.

But when, during my little nonsense experiment, I counted R cars, they were the ones that popped up all the time.

So now, I can be of service to you. Take the trouble to examine your own beliefs, and borrow my obsessiveness a little. Gather data.

Science is the most powerful way of understanding our world. One of my cliches is: I don’t believe anything, but go by the evidence.


Christmas

I approve of holy days, and strongly disapprove of holidays. Outrageous?

Read my November contribution to “Rhobin’s Rounds”.


Psychology

Coping with loneliness (or any other problem)
The healing power of love
Am I betraying my wife?
Am I depressed?
I abuse the man I love
If mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be God and me

 

Coping with loneliness (or any other problem)

You’ll enjoy reading this very brief but wise essay by Lauren Bowen at Care2.com.

I felt impelled to leave this comment: “Excellent. This is exactly the therapy I use with clients struggling with almost any issue, and is also at the heart of Buddhist philosophy.”


The healing power of love

When I was in my 20s, I had a friend, about 10 years older. She taught me one of the most important lessons of my life.

At 17 years of age, she was raped so brutally that she became catatonic. She didn’t speak, did nothing but cower in fetal posture in a corner. Carers fed her, got her to drink, and looked after her other needs.

She was long out of this when I met her, but she was far from over the trauma. Highly intelligent, she got excellent marks for her assignments throughout the university year — then went to pieces at exam time, and was unable to complete the assessment. She was given compassionate permission to repeat, year after year, for five years.

Then she fell in love with another woman, and they formed a couple. This was many years ago, and if they are still alive, I am sure they’re still together.

After this, she completed her course with ease, and trained as a psychologist, working with, you guessed it, rape victims. She became one of the best therapists I know of — because she’d been there herself.

This is the healing power of love. Given her trauma, she could not under any circumstances have fallen in love with a male. Is there anything wrong with another woman’s love healing her?


Am I betraying my wife?

I am a 54 year old man, married for 23 years, with two children. I have a good job and a comfortable income.

Unfortunately, for the past 4 years, I’ve had a friendship with a divorced 36 year old woman. In several cases I have supported her financially. OF COURSE we did not have any sexual relations.

I have a respected social reputation as a educated technical expert among my colleagues and friends. Even the least knowledge of this relationship will be a disaster for all my life, given the culture of my country.

My friend is a low-level ad clerk in a small newspaper and my wife is a high-school teacher. I feel terrible guilt about this association, but also get much pleasure from it. It is like I had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality, and the duality is killing me! Please help: me how can I overcome to this brain-bursting wave? for God’s sake help, me!

IS it a real love or is it only a foolish sexual attraction for a young woman?

Dear Waleed,

You have not had sexual relationships with this young lady. You are 18 years older than she is. This age difference is big enough that she could be your daughter.

Here is the key. You can love her, without sex, as if she were your daughter. Within your mind, whenever you think of her, call her your daughter. Make this a mental habit.

Naturally, that does not prevent other people from reaching incorrect conclusions. They may assume that you are being unfaithful to your wife. So, yes, you also need to take precautions to ensure safety for yourself, your wife, children and the young woman.

Beyond that, give yourself permission to be her support, friend and honorary father.

Have a good life,
Bob


Am I depressed?

I am sad a lot. Even around my one friend, who makes me laugh frequently and is the loveliest person I could meet, I feel numb. I can smile and laugh and I occasionally laugh so hard I cry but once I’ve stopped expressing humour everything settles in me and a kind of fog falls on me. Also, anxiety had been a huge issue for me, and I have no doubt that the feelings I experience when in social situations are connected to social anxiety. I did the test at Queendom and I got really poor results for my social capabilities. I’ve been experiencing all of this for about two years, but it was all kind of dormant before that. My counsellor sort of diagnosed me with depression, in regards to how low I was last year, but the feelings haven’t gone away. Is this normal? Or am I depressed?

Dear Anna,

Yes, you are experiencing depression. But that is only a label. Anxiety and depression very often go together, so you are not alone. Other people have beaten these monsters, me included, and so can you.

Please read my first aid document, where I describe 7 measures that will improve your life.

You might also want to read my little e-book on how to deal with anxiety. Actually, the tools I set out there are also useful in dealing with depression.

The way to conquer social anxiety is to defy it. The best way is to find a supportive situation in which you can spread your wings and gain confidence. The very best is Toastmasters. Check them out at https://toastmasterclub.org/. (This is the link for Britain, where you are.) Most people who join Toastmasters have social anxiety to start with — but within a year, they become self-confident and strong, able to face an audience, and through that, other social situations.

My attitude to things is to try them out. Please try these three, and when you’ve given them a chance, you are welcome to email me and let me know how they have benefited you.

Here is to a good future for you,
Bob


I abuse the man I love

I’m a 20 year old woman. My parents had me at a very young age. My father was 16 and my mom 18. Even after my parents separated (I was 2) they were still abusive to each other. My father would pick physical fights with people, and even my mom’s new husband. My father and mom use to yell from the top of their lungs infant of me even if they were no longer together.

As time went by, my father was just very physically abusive with me: if I didn’t finish my food he would hit me, if I didn’t listen he would hit me and so on and so forth.

As a young teen I fell in love with this guy and he ended up cheating on me. I would always believe his words over anyone else and it came bit me in the ass. And in my family there is a long history of cheating (my mom was cheated on, my grandma, my aunt, etc.)

I’ve been dating this amazing guy for about a year and a half. His so sweet and kind to me. If I’m sick he makes me soup, if I have an exam he gets me coffee.

But at some point he started asking about my past and who I’ve been with. This came evoke old memories. Then at some point I asked him as well and I started to be abusive towards him. Physically and verbally. I was living with him at the time. Finally, I moved out and we still stayed together and he forgave me for it.

But as time passed by I still had this in me. I had to lash out and get mad, scream and hit him in order for me to feel better. I knew was wrong every time but couldn’t seem to stop myself or shut myself up.

Eventually he started defending himself and started to hit my leg.

We talked, then I learned to calm myself down again.

But recently, I found something that wasn’t mine among his things and I lashed out once more. I started hitting again, start throwing stuff, and him trying to stop me from hitting him his arm fell on my nose and I started bleeding. And only later on I learned that it was his mom that put it there, not knowing it was her husband that got it for her as a gift.

He panicked and a couple days later wanted to leave me.

We are currently trying to take a week’s break, no talking, not seeing each other nothing.

I don’t want to be like this. I’m hoping it not to late for our relationship. I contacted a psychologist through email and hoping she answers me. and could set an appointment. But I am terrified to know if it too late for me and him… he the best thing that has happened to me and I would hate that my past came and ruin such a beautiful thing… I love him so much and I know he still does… I just don’t want to lose him. I don’t know what to do and I know I need help.

Robyn my dear,
Your story tells me that you want to get away from the family pattern. From your childhood, you learned to react with violence, and when you are under pressure, that’s what comes out. But you hate this, and want to do things better.

You can, but it is hard work to change childhood habits.

Please read and study what I have written about relationships, and practice what I describe there.

You are lucky that you have a helper in changing habits. Tell him, “I am doing my best to stop being violent like my father. Please be my helper.”

When something happens that used to get you verbally and even physically abusive, take a breath, count in your mind to 10, and work out how else you can react.

Sometimes, you will succeed in this. When you do, your friend’s job is to notice, and to congratulate you.

Sometimes, you will forget, and automatically start being abusive. Your friend’s job then is to simply say, “Hey Robyn, remember, you’re not doing this anymore.”

Then thank him, and take time out. That means, going somewhere by yourself, forgive yourself for having slipped, and think about how to handle the issue. This may take you 2 or 3 minutes.

Then go back, thank him again for the reminder, and do it right.

Habit change needs at least 3 weeks of consistent effort, but the longer you do it, the better it gets. You could have a slipback even years later — but then you can handle it in exactly the same way.

Give this a go, and let me know how successful it has been in maybe a month’s time.

Bob


If mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be God and me

I worked for charities for the last 30 + years, but have had to stop for over 2 years now.

I am 55 and have liver cancer and at least one tumor growing fast, maybe five more too small to tell. Doctor gave me little over year on liver but it maybe shorter.

My wife is struggling very hard, and she works so hard without complaining to help us. I can’t work and gone through all channels for help, but by time I get it will be too late. I am very weak and tired a lot, and don’t have energy to keep trying to get help. Not sure what to do. I go to church and prayer meeting every week, and wife plays piano at church.

I’ve spent most of my life helping others. Didn’t know in time I would be on the other side, looking for the same, so kind of swallowing my pride and letting it ride. I’m grateful for any ideas.

Ernie, my dear friend,

Your doctor thinks you are dying. Maybe he is right — we all need to die sometime, and that can be at any age. And from what you have written, that doesn’t worry you too much. You are far more concerned for your wife than for yourself, and that’s wonderful. That’s the real purpose of life: to serve God by loving His creations. What matters is not how long you live, but how well, and it seems to me that apart from the past few years, you have lived a life of service. Thank you.

All the same, I personally know people who were in your situation many years ago — and are still alive, now. One is a lady called Petrea King, who was told she was going to die, at 32 years of age. She is now 73, and still working with people experiencing life-threatening conditions like cancer and AIDS. She has written several books, and all of them are inspiration to read.

I think you are taking the right attitude, which I have described on my page about how to respond to cancer.

If you do die soon, your wife will grieve, and have maybe 1 to 2 years of major sadness — but we little humans are tough. She will get through it. Give yourself permission to let go of worry for her. You are fortunate in being an honest Christian. Pray — not to get better, or for a miracle, but for peace in your heart, whatever happens.

With love,
Bob


Health

What lurks in the permafrost?
WHO: reduce antibiotics use for animals
But there is another cause for superbugs
Helpful links for people with disabilities from Sarah Brian
All that glitters ain’t gold

 

What lurks in the permafrost?

You will enjoy this essay by Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic.

It concerns an aspect of climate change I haven’t considered: the potential awakening of ancient diseases that could now be unfreezing.

I learned quite a bit from this informative, well-written and well-researched article.


WHO: reduce antibiotics use for animals

About time.

All humans, and perhaps all mammals and birds, are threatened with the rise of the superbugs. A surgeon has advised me to avoid having an operation, because, regardless of precautions, there is now a 3% probability of a superbug infection.

The major reason these antibiotic-resistant strains have arisen is the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming.

The World Health Organization is now officially recommending major changes.


But there is another cause for superbugs

Interesting new research indicates that bacteria can increase their resistance to antibiotics through another mechanism: their response to pesticides like glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba.


Helpful links for people with disabilities
from Sarah Brian

I can’t thank you enough for the work you do to help people with disabilities and to build much-needed community and support. The resources I found here are fantastic. As a librarian, I’ve staked my career in helping empower people with stories and knowledge, and I’m grateful to find others who share that vision.

I’m putting together a list of special needs resources for an upcoming library newsletter, and thought they might be of interest to you:

Low Vision Internet Gateway
Managing Sensory Processing Issues At Home
Cleaner Indoor Air & Chemical Sensitivities
Disabled Home Modification Checklists and Funding
Renters’ Rights for People with Disabilities
Moving for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Best,
Sarah Brian


All that glitters ain’t gold

I didn’t even know that many cosmetics have tiny bits of glitter in them. They are a bonding of a plastic and aluminium. And the plastic part has nasty chemicals that will leach out over time.

This stuff is only one kind of microplastic that has been entering our environment. It stays there forever, except what is eaten by living organisms. Once in the food chain, they go everywhere, including into people.

This is part of our assault on the planet: the way we are accelerating the sixth great extinction event of earth.

Read this informative essay at Alternet by Daniel Ross.


Writing

Do it yourself book design
The back cover blurb
Survey of 10,000 readers
How to get a PDF onto Kindle
The Rabbit and the Seed

 

Do it yourself book design

This essay by Joel Friedlander at Bookworks will teach you a few of the trade conventions of what is considered to be a well-designed book.

All trades have these nonsense rules that allow insiders to scoff at others. In nursing, I learned that the pillowcase opening should face away from the door (really improves patient comfort, right?). When you lay up a brick wall, horizontal rows must be exactly straight and level (adds nothing to strength or stability, but looks good).

Same in book design. Heaven help us if there is a blank page on the right rather than the left! (I avoid blank pages everywhere, but that’s a different issue.)

Anyway, Joel lists quite a few of these markers of professionalism.


The back cover blurb


Even e-books have the equivalent. They are brief, and have the task of getting a person to become a reader.

The shorter something is, the harder it is to write.

Here is super-prolific author Karen Wiesner sharing her wisdom on how to write one. More exactly, much of her post is about how NOT to do it.


Survey of 10,000 readers

LitRing have conducted this survey, yielding very useful information for writers. I’ve been assured that the summary stays here for about a year.

You can get the full report for free here.


How to get a PDF onto Kindle

I am one of the many people who volunteer as judges for EPIC’s ebook contest. Recently, one person asked this question, and I learned something new as a result.

Catherine Snodgrass explained that you send an email to your Kindle email address, attaching the PDF file. It will be delivered to you as a Kindle file.

What is your Kindle email address?

    You go into your account at Amazon. Go to Manage Content and Devices. Go to Devices. Select your device and the associated email will come up. Generally speaking, it is NOT the email you signed into for Amazon. A number will follow your name, then at kindle. com.

    Catherine

Thank you, Catherine.


The Rabbit and the Seed

I am editing a crime story. In Chapter 17, Mark Matheson, tough African-American police detective, can only close the case by burgling the headquarters of the baddies. The law doesn’t permit such action of course, but it’s 3 a.m., and Mark is there dressed in a black tracksuit, and of course his skin is dark anyway.

How is he going to get in? No worries! He takes a device from his bag and places it against the deadlock. A screen dimly glows, Mark presses buttons, there is a click… and the door opens.

Mark now pulls a piece of paper from his pocket and reads the number on it using a pen light. It is the code to the security system, passed on to him by an informer within the organisation.

Good stuff, but there is one thing wrong with it. Chapters 1 to 16 made no mention of either an informer or a high-tech device that allows you to open any deadlock. These story elements were rabbits pulled out of the hat by the author when he needed them.

As a reader, I simply don’t believe the author. Once I think of questions like, ‘Hey, what informer?’ the illusion of being in the reality of the story has been destroyed. With it will go my interest, and if I put the book down, I’m unlikely to pick it up again. My opinion about it to others is likely to be, “Don’t bother, it’s not worth reading.”

And yet, in other ways, it may be an excellent book.

Here is another example, a romance. Jessica and Tom are having an almighty fight in Chapter 17. Well, they do this often. Each secretly loves the other, but whenever they are together, they push each other’s buttons and the argument is on.

But now, Marge walks onto the scene. She is a middle-aged lady who turns out to be Jessica’s aunt. When Jess’s parents abused her, she used to run to Auntie Marge who gave her love and caring and consistent discipline, so Jess is now a fine person thanks to Marge.

And, we immediately find out, Tom also has a connection to Marge. He comes from a criminal family, but Marge lived a couple of houses down the street, and her son Kevin was Tom’s best friend, so again, Tom is a decent, fine person only thanks to this living jewel.

Wonderful. But how come that we had not one word about Marge from either protagonist for sixteen chapters? She is a rabbit out of the hat, created by the author when she needed one.

So, however good a character Marge may be, I as reader simply don’t believe in her. Again, the illusion is lost.

How else can it be done?

In the paper and pen days, this kind of mistake would have needed a rewrite. But perhaps the greatest boon of the computer age to writers is that we can insert, delete or move text anywhere.

Let’s go back to Chapter 2 of the police drama. There, Mark Matheson gets a phone call from his friend Darla, who had locked her keys in her car. “You cops are so good at opening car doors and things,” she says.

Mark turns up with his high-tech device, and opens the car in two seconds. He tells Darla to keep the tool a secret, because of course it’s highly illegal.

“How did you get a thing like this?”

Mark tells the story, and perhaps this can be a flashback, added in as a complete, exciting chapter. A criminal organisation had kidnapped the beloved mother and sister of Mark’s old school friend Nick, who is a weedy little blond fellow with washed out blue eyes that peer through thick glasses. He is an electronic genius, and the crims force him to make incredible tools for them. When he tries to resist, he can see them mistreating his women through a one-way glass screen. When he behaves, mother and sister are treated well.

Of course, the baddies underestimate Nick, who manages to make a disguised cell phone, and talks to Mark. And when Mark leads the heroic rescue, Nick’s thank you gift is the lock opener.

The informant needs to be inserted in various places too.

Similarly, in the romance, Jessica can tell us about her aunt Marge early in the book. And, in other places, Tom can mention the kind neighbour lady who’d changed his life. Therefore, when Marge walks onto the stage, the only coincidence is that she is both the aunt and the neighbour — far easier to believe than a newly created character.

So, if you need a story element, go back to earlier parts and plant the seed. Water it well, give it occasional attention here and there so that the reader doesn’t forget, and have it come to full bloom when you need it.

This is much more believable than the magical rabbit out of the hat.


What my friends want you to know

Protect an acre of forest
Book launch, The Power of Good People 10th Dec
Book conversion service
No child belongs in detention
Thank you, from the Tibet fund
Avaaz: A warning to humanity

Protect an acre of forest



Click here


Book launch, The Power of Good People

para
Please read my review of this powerful, timely book.

If you live within a cooee of Eltham near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, or perhaps even if you don’t, you can support the work of compassion for asylum seekers by attending the book launch.

Guest speaker is Professor Gillian Triggs, Former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Everyone in Australia knows Gillian, who stood up to vicious attacks from a vicious government for years.

Details:
Date: December 10th
Time: 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm
Venue: Eltham Library, Panther Place, Eltham
Entry: $30.00 per couple includes a copy of the book or a $20.00 gift voucher, an opportunity to hear the story from Para and Alison & Tamil afternoon tea.
10% of the sales will go to a collection of books for Tamil children-in-need.

Prepaid bookings are essential:
ELTHAM bookshop
(03) 9439 8700
970 Main Road, Eltham, 3095
elthambookshop@bigpond.com


Book conversion service

My name is Amit Dey, and I am from Kolkata, India. I’ve been in the professional Book Publishing & Website industry since 2006 and know what it takes to create books that will bring you business!

Please check my Resume and Credentials.

Our services:

  • Kindle Mobi Conversion for Amazon Kindle
  • Digital Epub for Apple iBookstore, iPhone, Nook, Kobo, Sony and other sites and other sites
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  • Book Formatting for Create Space, Ingram, Lightning Source (Print ready PDF)
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We have converted more than 5000 eBooks with over 320 Print ready PDF in Amazon Create Space, Ingram, and Lightning Source in the last few years.

For references or any additional questions, please feel free to ask.

Amit Dey
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No child belongs in detention

Bob, like you, I’m continuing to monitor the escalating situation for the men on Manus Island.

Very soon, I will be writing to you with an important update on the work we’re doing here and with local agencies in Manus to ensure these men and their fight for freedom is not forgotten.

But Manus is just the very ugly and public tip of the iceberg.

Bob we can’t forget that over 2,000 people seeking asylum are incarcerated in detention right now — including 45 children on Nauru.

No child belongs in detention. Not one.

In my eyes, this amounts to torture and is hardship that no child should experience in their lifetime.

Bob we’re determined to put an end to mandatory detention. This holiday season, can you stand with us to help make this a reality?

Donate now.

Children in detention are growing up surrounded by wire fences instead of in the playground. But it’s the reality that many children and their families live with each day.

In detention, children spend months exposed to the harsh and unrelenting weather of some of the hottest places in the world. The heat is unbearable for children to play outside.

When the sun isn’t suffocating, the rains have arrived and children can’t play and explore — there is no room. The innocence of childhood is lost.

Bob, we know a life outside of detention for these families is possible if we keep up the pressure.

A gift of $112 will continue the fight for justice for those still in mandatory detention and as well as those on our shores.

With your support, we’ll maintain pressure on politicians to change policy by campaigning at all levels of government.

We’ll continue to provide humanitarian services to those in detention as well as thousands of other families now living within our community.

Together, we can champion fairness, freedom and dignity for all who seek asylum on our shores.
Yours in solidarity,

Kon Karapanagiotidis
CEO and Founder
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre


Thank you, from the Tibet fund

Tashi Delek! In this season of Thanksgiving, on behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of The Tibet Fund, I express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for your support. Each year we strive to make a difference in the lives of thousands of Tibetan refugees living in settlements across India, Nepal and in Tibet. Your generosity has enabled us to carry out initiatives focusing on health, education, cultural preservation, humanitarian assistance, economic and community development of Tibetan communities and refugees in exile.

This year, through your generosity we supported a wide range of projects: provided scholarships, renovated schools in remote areas, hosted medical, dental and eye camps; built elderly homes, rehabilitation center, and residential homes; provided disaster relief assistance to Tibetans affected by massive fire and severe drought resulting in economic loss; help sponsor monks, nuns, elders, and school children; improved water and sanitation infrastructures in Tibetan settlements; continued our commitment to help rebuild the communities impacted by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal; and initiated the Tibetan Civil Society and Community Empowerment Program with a goal to empower local leaders to create sustainable organizations for the advancement of Tibetan communities. This is just a small glimpse of what we were able to accomplish this year with your help and support.

Although we have made significant contributions, challenges remain ahead and we request you to join us to continue investing into the Tibetan people and community. Your year-end gift will help to improve the lives of Tibetans throughout India, Nepal and Tibet. Please act now to bring the gift of hope and happiness and some holiday cheer to Tibetan families in need.

We are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As such, your gifts are tax-deductible. For more information, please visit our website at www.tibetfund.org.

The Tibet Fund wishes you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving and furthermore extend our deepest gratitude for your continued generosity, love and compassion towards the Tibetan community.

Best wishes,

Lobsang Nyandak
President, The Tibet Fund


Avaaz: A warning to humanity


15,000 scientists just sent out an SOS — a “warning to humanity” that if we don’t stop polluting, our planet is doomed.

The facts are terrifying: species are going extinct at 1000 times the natural rate. 90% of the Great Barrier Reef is dead or dying. Oceans are so choked with plastic that fish are addicted to eating it.

But scientists have discovered something else — a kind of miracle that could save us. If we can protect 50% of our planet from human exploitation, our ecosystem will be able to stabilise and regenerate. Life on earth will recover!

Our governments have already promised to protect a quarter of the planet, so we know it’s possible. But no other global movement is championing this miracle recovery plan!

It’s up to us.

If 50,000 of us chip in just the cost of a cup of coffee a week, we can make the proposal famous, face down the polluters and poachers, and campaign to get leaders to drive through a deal to save the planet at the Global Summit on Biodiversity.

Chip in now — let’s bring this miracle recovery plan for our planet to life.


Reviews

Anikó: The stranger who loved me, reviewed by Michael Thal
The power of good people by Para Paheer and Alison Corke

 

Anikó: The stranger who loved me
reviewed by Michael Thal


Dr. Bob Rich tells the story of his mother, Anikó Stern, in an extraordinary biography about a remarkable woman who lived an exceptional life.

Rich takes his readers to 1936 Hungary prior to the Holocaust, as young Anikó falls in love with her future husband, Tibor, and trains to become a bookbinder.

The author does an amazing job showing the strengths and weaknesses of his mother and the sacrifices she made to ensure the survival of her family during the darkest period in Jewish history. As Hitler’s army overran Hungary and herded millions of Jews into ghettos, Anikó conspired ways to find food and a safe haven for her family to wait out the war.

When allied forces liberated Hungary in 1945, Anikó had to confront Soviet occupation and the stifling demands of Communism. Anni figured out ways around the system to ensure her box business remained afloat and thrived.

As in most families, there is strife, which Rich shows masterfully as he remains objective with the ability to show all sides of the dispute, even though he sat center stage. We eventually understand the subtitle — The Stranger Who Loved Me — as Anikó placed her son behind the needs of a second husband and an inspiring job.

Though Anikó’s maternal instinct seems to be lacking and her second husband’s performance as a father is less than stellar, you’ll still love Anikó for her strength of character and mourn her passing with tears. Anikó: The Stranger Who Loved Me is a book for anyone searching for insight into family dynamics with a backdrop of historical references throughout 20th Century European History. Highly recommended.

Michael Thal was a talented and dedicated school teacher until hearing loss forced him to do other things. His writing reflects the normalization of disabilities such as deafness, and shows how people can triumph because of them.


The power of good people, by Para Paheer and Alison Corke

para
As I am writing this review, the current government of my country is committing its worst crime against humanity to date. 602 men have been deprived of water in a tropical location, denied food and all other amenities, and exposed to very real danger of murder and mutilation.

These men have committed no crime, but have been imprisoned without trial, in some cases for many years. If Para had sought refuge in Australia a few years later, he might well be among them.

These are the refugees in Australia’s illegal concentration camp on Manus Island. After a sleepless night, I have sent various politicians, including the Minister for Inhumanity, and the Prime Minister, this message: “You are committing a crime against humanity. If any of those 602 men die, you will be guilty of murder.”

What else can I do?

Only what Para and Alison are doing: our best to change people’s perception of asylum seekers. Refugees like I was, like Para is, are just… people. We tend to be those with courage, intelligence and initiative, who manage to escape impossible situations when others succumb. When accepted, we benefit our new home in many ways. Look at the record of high achievers who once were refugees.

The writing in this book is very powerful. Ali’s voice is calm, factual, avoids hysteria, and is all the more compelling for this. She narrates Para’s life, with him figuring there in a great many quotes so that he quickly becomes a real live person to the reader: a boy then young man to admire.

I’ve read other stories of trauma, such as Anne Frank’s Diary, The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif, and I am Malala. This book belongs up there with them.


Fun

No, women are not equal to men
From an old friend
Spot the odd item
Where we come from

 

No, women are not equal to men


From an old friend

For many years, I’ve been one of the volunteer counsellors to answer cries for help at Queendom, and in occasional correspondence with the person who runs it.

To my delight, yesterday I found that she’s visited Bobbing Around, but as the Queendom blog. I looked her up, and now we are following each other.

I’ve stolen this from one of her posts:

    Customer: “Hey, there’s glass all over your parking lot.”
    Me: “What happened?”
    Customer: “Oh, I dropped my beer.”
    Me: “Okay.” (I grab the broom and dustpan and tell my co-worker to mind the till while I sweep it up. As I’m on the way out the door, the customer stops me.)
    Customer: “So, can I get another bottle of beer?”
    Me: “Why wouldn’t you get another bottle of beer?”
    Customer: “No, I mean, don’t I get a free one?”
    Me: “Why would you get a free beer?”
    Customer: “I dropped it in YOUR parking lot!”


Spot the odd item

You know those games where you need to find something that doesn’t fit? Here is one from Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Thank you Karl Kofoed for this beauty.


Where we come from


From here.


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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2 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 6

  1. Dear Bob,

    Thanks for your latest Bobbing Around!

    Dream! Love! Laugh!

    Never Give Up

    Joan Y. Edwards

    http://www.joanyedwards.com

    https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/

    Like

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      You are quick! I’m only just now sending notifications out to my list, which has become nearly 1000 people.
      Thank you for always being a good friend, Joan.

      Like

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