Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 8

To bring a child into a dying world is an act of negligent homicide to the child and our shared Planet.
Dr. Glen Barry


Writing is the chocolate icing on the cake of life.
Dr Bob Rich

Bobbing Around

Volume Seventeen, Number Eight,
February, 2018

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
Request for a birthday present
New Book Review Site
A special honour
First Aid for all suffering
Interesting interview
Queendom blog
Stories
Circle of Books
Skye Taylor

*Responses
Carla Louise
Joan Y. Edwards
Margaret Sutherland

*Politics
Crying Wolff
Australia’s refugee policy
A compassionate view of Trump

*Environment
Going up, still
4 million people will be without water

*Good news
China expands its forests, +++
I’ll have him as the Leader

*Inspiring people
A random act of kindness
British Church leaders have it right
If you have a chronic illness
Ecowatch’s 2017 list of inspirational people
Fly with the birds
Francis inspired me, again

*Compassion
Forgive the crime against you, and pay the criminal’s fine
$260,000 Christmas present

*Technology
Coal failed — renewable to the rescue
Sun in Britain
Leshoto solar home is a winner

*Deeper issues
The power of belief
What’s wrong with renewable energy?
What is voluntary poverty?
David Suzuki on consumption
One Consciousness and Mental Unity
Nirvana

*Psychology
Answers to self-assessed sexual abusers
20 minutes of peace to change your world
Difficult kids
Maybe facts are helpful
I’m obsessed with killing my boyfriend’s family

*Health
Proven carcinogens
Gluten-free world?
Everything you need to know about Flakka, by Jason Adams

*For writers
A magic trick for writing
I’m Talking About One Person!

*What my friends want you to know
Understand climate science
Without war
Art from Rich McLean
Food Shift impressive in 2017
Doctors without borders

*Reviews
Bizarre Bipeds reviewed by Jennifer McRae
Green Boat by Mary Pipher

*Fun
Darrell Bain
Asylum for Norwegians


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.


Buddhism is compassion. Unfortunately, much of Buddhism in the West is focused on individual salvation, self improvement, meditation, and spiritual experiences. It is a Buddhism of privilege, focused on the sufferings of wealth as opposed to the suffering of poverty.
Peace Paul


On current trend, one in two people will be diagnosed with cancer by age 85.
Ranjana Srivastava. In 2005, when I researched my book on cancer, this was one in three.
Dr Bob Rich

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

Request for a birthday present
New Book Review Site
A special honour
First Aid for all suffering
Interesting interview
Queendom blog
Stories
Circle of Books
Skye Taylor

 

Request for a birthday present

…and it won’t cost you a cent.

When I started Bobbing Around in 2000, the internet was a very different place. I feel it’s time I revised my format. An increasing number of people choose to “follow” this blog. This means they get instant email copies of anything I post, and can respond any time.

More convenient for you, more convenient for me.

All the same, I have over 800 subscribers who get an email notification of this monthly newsletter, then read it if they wish.

(If they don’t wish, it’s an unnecessary annoyance for the electrons in their computers, and in between my computer and theirs.)

I’ll be turning three-quarters of a century on the 4th of February. If you are one of the newsletter subscribers, please make me a gift by “following” Bobbing Around, and letting me know by return email that you’ve done so.


New Book Review Site

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has posted my review of The Power of Good People to her New Book Review site.

She doesn’t do this for every book, or every reviewer, so if you want to find out about books you’ll probably enjoy, have a look around her site.


A special honour


Talented YA author Michael Thal has a list of the 5 best books he’s reviewed in a year. For 2017, he has chosen two of my books: Guardian Angel as his favourite, and Anikó: The stranger who loved me as one of the others.


First Aid for all suffering

I’ve had the page “First aid for depression” up at my psychology site for many years. Currently, one of my current projects is a self-help book on depression, and this is a chapter in it.

Having revised it for the book, I’ve posted the new version there.

It is actually first aid for any kind of emotional malaise. If the world is not a good place for you, reading this chapter may help you to change things.


Interesting interview

Well, it took place in July, 2017, but it was published within a Yahoo group. You could only read it by subscribing.

So, I have now had the chance to reproduce Margaret Carter’s interview with me.

I’ll randomly choose one person who leaves a comment before 7th February, 2018 as the winner of a free e-book.


Queendom blog

I’ve previously announced the first part of my interview at wonderful Queendom blog.

Now, the second serving is available for your enjoyment.


Stories

I’ve released an increasing number of my stories, which you can access here.

As a new development, one of the free bits of entertainment is a funny story from my buddy, Darrell Bain.

So, from now on, I am open to submissions. If you have a story you’d like to contribute, please send it along.


Circle of Books

Circle of Books are featuring two of my books for a couple of months.

These are Guardian Angel, being my last book published, and Ascending Spiral.

Please look them up and leave a comment. Their thing seems to be to tweet. So, can you please spread their twittering around?

While there, you’ll notice that they display many other books as well.


Skye Taylor

Skye and I are both regular contributors to Rhobin’s Rounds.

Only recently, she made some comments that made me realise how much we share in attitudes. So, we’ve had a public conversation, which I think you’ll find enjoyable.

Skye is offering a free electronic copy of one of her books to a randomly chosen commenter. Deadline is 7th February.


Responses

Carla Louise
Joan Y. Edwards
Margaret Sutherland

 

Carla Louise

Dear Bob
Thank you for your thoughtful and inspiring New Year’s wish.

It made me feel humble and quite tall all at once!

To imagine, being like that tree. To reach into the earth and enrich the soil and leave this planet a better place for my having been here, even for just a short while.

Have a great year, Bob!

With love.

Carla


Joan Y. Edwards

Dear Dr. Bob,

Thank you for the lovely words on your card. I appreciate them very much.

I pray that God will bless you in a special way.

Be joyful! You are a gift to our world.

Dream! Love! Laugh!
Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards


Margaret Sutherland

Hello Bob,

Yes, I liked your card and its sentiments. Trees, like most animals, are sensible, live as they are designed to do, and don’t make a fuss about their lives, adapting quietly to whatever life dishes out.

I am still struggling along, trying to clear a path by getting rid of unwanted possessions, and catching up with back logs, including this email inbox. Christmas does bring many good wishes and friendly greetings but also seems to double the usual amount of time needed to stay on top of our electronic lives.

Thanks again for your good wishes, and I wish you whatever you hope for (if anything) in 2018.

I have no plans. A pleasant prospect!

Best wishes,

Margaret

These lovely people were responding to my new little card. Several others have done so also, but their messages were more private.

May your taproot anchor you to our planet.

May your branches reach the sky.

May your great lateral roots stablise you against the storms of life.

May your being enrich the soil, purify the air, provide bounty for all that lives.

And when you finally pass on to the next stage of your existence, beyond death, may you be a better person, thanks to having lived, this time.

Your friend and fellow traveller,
Bob Rich


Crying Wolff
Australia’s refugee policy
A compassionate view of Trump

 

Crying Wolff


If you don’t read Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, then at least read the extract in the New York Times.

This is not optional, but a must-read. It rings true. And it encapsulates the tragedy of our times.


Australia’s refugee policy

What Offshore Detention Costs and What it Buys

  • $739 million will be paid by taxpayers to keep 2,000 refugees on Manus Island and Nauru in the current financial year.
  • An extra $546 million will be paid in grants to PNG government and $25 million will be paid to the Nauruan government.
  • This totals $665,000.00 per refugee in 12 months.
  • Local community members in PNG and Nauru will see little of this money.

    This expenditure ensures 2000 innocent people are unsafe, unfree and malnourished and denied appropriate medical help and live in unsanitary situations without full time water and power.

    It ensures that every one of them will suffer health problems and many will be denied medical treatment.

    It ensures they cannot use their trade or professional skills to contribute to society. It ensures that their families back home are missing their bread winners and loved family members.

    It costs Australia its international credibility as a nation of a fair go.

    It costs tens of thousands of Australians their pride in their nation.

    It costs every Australian government and opposition politician their humanity and integrity and reveals them as morally bankrupt.

    It costs Australians of future generations the security of living in a nation where they can expect their human rights will be respected.

    Sr. Jane Keough.


    A compassionate view of Trump


    In 1987, Tony Schwartz ghost-wrote a book for Donald Trump. This changed his life, and made him an activist for decency and responsibility in business: the opposite of everything he saw in Trump.

    He is an activist, but all the same, his picture of the “president” is so compassionate that I was tempted to classify it as such.

    Do yourself a favour and read his essay in The Guardian.


    Environment

    Going up, still
    4 million people will be without water

     

    Going up, still

    It’s official. 2017 was the second hottest year ever. It is the hottest without an el Nino event, which raises global temperatures.

    17 of the 18 warmest years globally have been in this century. 1998 is the other one, not that long before.

    Shouldn’t we be doing something about it, NOW?


    4 million people will be without water

    12th April is the estimated date of when Cape Town, South Africa will need to shut off water supply to its residents. The area is facing its worst drought, ever, and reservoirs are dry, or nearly so.

    Climate change worsens whatever extreme weather events a climatic region is exposed to. This is an area that has faced drought many times in the past. Now, it has become worse.

    “Unprecedented” is the new normal when applied to weather events.


    Good news

    China expands its forests, +++
    I’ll have him as the Leader

     

    China expands its forests, +++

    I don’t like the Chinese government’s politics, cruelty to minorities and dissidents, their aggressive military stance. However, I do admire them for assessing a problem, designing a solution, then implementing it with vigour, efficiency and effectiveness.

    It has announced a huge expansion in its forest planting program, which is already vigorous.

    As the British newspaper, The Telegraph, reported, China plans to reforest an area the size of Ireland each year.

    This is wisdom. The economic justification is timber in 2050, but the benefits will be much sooner than that: reduction in soil erosion, wind-borne dust clouds, and certain kinds of air pollution; increase in the storing of atmospheric carbon in the trees, retention of ground water — and beauty.

    The location of some of these projects also helps to contain and reduce desertification.

    I wish the decision-makers in my country were as wise.


    I’ll have him as the Leader


    People who inspire

    A random act of kindness
    British Church leaders have it right
    If you have a chronic illness
    Ecowatch’s 2017 list of inspirational people
    Fly with the birds
    Francis inspired me, again

     

    A random act of kindness

    Please read my very short recent blog post about how I made two new friends.


    British Church leaders have it right

    The Bishop of Liverpool, and his boss the Archbishop of Canterbury, have both denounced people who claim to be Christians (usually calling themselves “evangelical”) who support Trump and his evil policies.

    OK, that’s politics, but what Bishop Bayes said is definitely inspirational. His REAL boss, Jesus, would approve, and you need to read what he says.


    If you have a chronic illness


    …or someone you love does, you need to read what Angie Simonton has posted on her blog.

    She is a therapist, with a health condition bad enough that she can’t always guarantee to keep an appointment with a client. All the same, she is strong, and positive, and I have no doubt that she is a better therapist, and a better person, for suffering herself.


    Ecowatch’s 2017 list of inspirational people

    Reading about them inspired me. You’ll probably feel the same.

    Have a look.


    Fly with the birds

    You’ve got to watch this. When I did, it made my day.

    Frenchman, Christian Moullec, raises orphaned migratory birds, then guides them to where they need to go using his ultralight plane.

    Fly along with him.

    His work is more than necessary, because our beautiful birds are being killed by pesticides. Maybe watching him might inspire you to change the world into one where such poisons are not used.


    Francis inspired me, again

    He conducted a marriage in a plane, and the account brought tears to my eyes.


    Compassion

    Forgive the crime against you, and pay the criminal’s fine
    $260,000 Christmas present

     

    Forgive the crime against you, and pay the criminal’s fine

    That’s what the people of a mosque in Arkansas have done. They simply say, “This is Islam.”


    $260,000 Christmas present

    There is this joke that 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name. DON’T BELIEVE IT. Lawyers can be wonderful people, like any other sort.

    Mark Holden, a lawyer in Kansas, gave a brave woman a pair of prosthetic hands that the wretched health insurance refused.

    Do yourself a favour and read the story.


    Technology

    Coal failed — renewable to the rescue
    Sun in Britain
    Leshoto solar home is a winner

     

    Coal failed — renewable to the rescue

    One of the arguments thrown at wind and solar power is that it’s intermittent, and so can’t be relied on. Coal, of course, is known to be a steady, predictable supplier.

    Here is evidence to the contrary.

    It made world news when Tesla installed a huge battery bank in South Australia. Recently, coal fired power stations failed on two occasions. Each time, the battery system, powered by wind, kicked in within milliseconds, instead of the typical 15 minutes plus.

    Here is a more comprehensive report in a major Australian newspaper.


    Sun in Britain

    Japanese car maker Nissan wants to improve its market for electric cars in Britain.

    They’re going about it in an ingenious way: a very cheap solar house system including batteries. Your house can power your car.


    Leshoto solar home is a winner

    I agree with the judges. A demonstration building for “four old ladies,” heated with solar-heated water instead of fossil fuels, and has many other sustainable features, won one of the seven contests MIT Climate Colabs ran last year. I voted for it, and am pleased it won.

    As the picture shows, having affordably heated houses is a good idea.


    Deeper Issues

    The power of belief
    What’s wrong with renewable energy?
    What is voluntary poverty?
    David Suzuki on consumption
    One Consciousness and Mental Unity
    Nirvana

     

    The power of belief

    I made a fortunate mistake today.

    Being booked in for a hip replacement operation, it’s essential for me to get all my leg and core muscles as strong as possible. The quad muscles are the most important. One of the relevant exercises is a sitting, straight-leg lift against a resistance. I hold the leg up for a set number of seconds, until I can do 20 repetitions, then increase by 2 seconds. I can then expect to do about 12 reps, gradually increasing session to session.

    Well, last time I’d managed not 20, but 21 repetitions at 16 seconds, so it was time to increase to 18. I noted “18” and “increase,” then had to answer the phone. When I returned, I did the first repetition for 18 seconds, then thought, “Hey that’s wrong, I should have increased. Oh well, I’ll stay with 18, and get up over 20 reps again.”

    I did: managed 22 repetitions with each leg.

    Then I checked my records and saw my mistake.

    Because I falsely believed that I needed to do 21 or more reps at 18, I did so.

    Remember this the next time you believe you can’t do something, or just have to stop, or put any other limitations on yourself.

    I will.


    What’s wrong with renewable energy?

    In the 1970s, the Club of Rome demonstrated that technology can fix any problem, but only by making one or more other problems worse.

    The use of renewable energy is a perfect example. This is because climate change is not a problem in its own right, but a terrible symptom of a more basic problem, which is unlimited growth in a limited system. And that in turn is a symptom of the real problem: the way we are all trained and pushed to think.

    Replacing coal and petroleum with electric vehicles and solar and wind and stuff is great. Doing so gives us some time to work on the basic problems. However, that’s very unlikely to happen, because renewable energy is an “enabler” for an addiction.

    The wonderful organisation Al Anon bases its work on this concept.

    Suppose I’m the mother of a person addicted to gambling. Time and again, he comes to me with a sob story, and because I love him, I lend him some money, knowing full well I’ll never get it back. This means that he can keep gambling, hoping against hope to win it big “and then I’ll repay mother.” I am protecting him from the consequences of his addiction, so he has no motivation to stop.

    After all too many disappointments, I finally tell him, “No more. You won’t get another cent out of me.”

    But now, I soon find out that in some weeks, my grandchildren don’t have enough to eat. I still refuse to give him money, but spend $100 on food and store it in his cupboards.

    He now has $100 of disposable income, which he is guaranteed to gamble away. I am still enabling his habit.

    The global economy is energised by fossil fuels. It was created because of the incredibly concentrated energy within oil, natural gas, and to a lesser extent, coal. Now, fossil fuels are killing us. The solution is to get off the addiction to endless growth, and switch to a way of living that respects all life.

    Anything that allows the current pattern to continue is therefore counterproductive, because it enables the addiction. That’s what renewable energy does.


    What is voluntary poverty?

    I have a new friend. He is a professional in Kenya, and has been visiting Bobbing Around. As we exchanged comments, I mentioned the concept of voluntary poverty, which was new to him.

    Here is my explanation:

    In western countries like USA, Europe, Australia etc., people live very wasteful lives. They think they need big houses, lots of material goods, more and more and more.

    This is one of the reasons people in other places have too little, and are suffering malnutrition, have to drink polluted water, and so on.

    The global economy is a tool for moving money from poor countries to rich countries, and from poor people everywhere to rich people. So, every time I spend a dollar, I am enabling big business to do this.

    But if I earn money and don’t spend it, then I have to invest it, which means I join the people who do this terrible thing, or I put it in savings, which means the bank uses my money for that.

    Many years ago, my wife and I decided we would earn the minimum amount of money we could live on, and instead grow our own food, build our own house, make what we could, buy second hand.

    That is, our aim was to reduce our environmental footprint.

    Almost by accident, we found that this led to a very satisfying lifestyle. This is the secret of contentment in a crazy world.

    Many wise people in the past pointed out that voluntary poverty is a path to a good life. Among them are Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi. Christian, Hindu and Buddhist monks and nuns (and probably those of other religions) take wows of voluntary poverty.

    You might want to read my essay at How to change the world.


    David Suzuki on consumption

    I really enjoyed this wise and well-written essay by a person I’ve admired for many years. Among other things, he exposes the way the myths of society were explicitly invented to fool people into buying more stuff.


    One Consciousness and Mental Unity


    I have received an email from a young man, Elijah Osborne, in Las Vegas, who has posted a very thoughtful essay that’s well worth reading.

    He must have been secretly reading my unpublished series, The Doom Healer, because what he writes is very close to what various characters in these books have revealed to me. The concepts are the same; how they are presented is somewhat different. But then, Truth cannot be directly expressed, only through mathematics, story, poetry, allegory, myth.

    In the reality of my story, the Universe is a conscious entity, God if you like, Who consists of life energy. This Person has created the material universe we are part of and are aware of, because It needs a school for souls. All us little people are homes for tiny bits of life energy, which are progressing toward the ultimate lesson of unconditional love, as expressed by all the great religions. This is the Universe’s method for gaining adulthood. When that happens, the material universe will no longer be needed.

    So, everything is One. Division is illusory.

    Elijah’s essay expresses the same Truth, through a different story.

    Visit him and have a read.


    Should I seek a more favorable human rebirth with my actions in this life or strive for nirvana or rebirth in a different dimension?

    This was a question on Quora

    How do you strive for nirvana? It is by seeking enlightenment, which is the state of perfect inner peace, and the absence of dukkha, which has no English equivalent, but is often translated as suffering.

    You cannot address deep truths, except through poetry, mathematics, music, myth, story. So, what I’ve said is only one of a great many ways of stating this Truth. Another one is, there are a myriad lessons we need to learn. An early one is empathy. The final lesson is one of unconditional universal love, which is the message of all the great religions. In Buddhism, it is called metta. This is a more precise term than the English love, which has 5 different meanings. It corresponds to the Greek agape (pronounced agapi): whatever you have done, whatever you may do in the future, however much I may disapprove of your actions, I love you just because you exist. This is the love of a perfect mother for her naughty child.

    When you automatically, without having to will it or think about it, feel metta for all, then you have reached enlightenment. Since that is the final lesson, once you have gained it, you’ve accomplished the reason for living in this material existence, and you need not come back. And, since we are here to learn lessons, you don’t need to live perfect, only to die perfect.

    Nirvana is not a place, but a state of being. It can be achieved for an instant or, as the Buddha did, for decades. It does not correspond to the western idea of heaven.

    All things are change. The past is history, the future is a mystery. I give you a PRESENT. That’s all there is. So, if you strive for complete acceptance of what is, for now, with all its negatives, then you are in nirvana, for now.

    As I am writing this, I am experiencing physical pain, and I am scheduled for a hip replacement operation. However, I am not suffering. That uncomfortable sensation is there, it is allowed to be there, so what. This is nirvana.

    My current activity is to write this answer, which I conceive of as being of service to you, and to other readers. So, this makes me feel satisfied inside, for now. This is nirvana.

    My wife has made me a cup of herb tea, and I’ve just noticed that I’ve left the tea bag in longer than I like. I experienced a flash of annoyance — nirvana gone. Then I simply accepted that I was annoyed for a moment — nirvana back.

    I have another, somewhat different explanation in a debate I had with a Christian gentleman: Buddhism for Christians.

    This may not be the answer you expected, but I suspect it is the answer you need.

    Have a good life, or lives,
    Bob


    Psychology

    Answers to self-assessed sexual abusers
    20 minutes of peace to change your world
    Difficult kids
    Maybe facts are helpful
    I’m obsessed with killing my boyfriend’s family

     

    Answers to self-assessed sexual abusers

    Over the years, I’ve answered many cries for help. Some are recurring issues, and I intend to collect related ones with an explanation, so they are readily available for people suffering from that issue. The first one is Answers to self-assessed sexual abusers.

    In case that label puts you off, they are actually NOT sexual abusers, but believe themselves to be.


    20 minutes of peace to change your world

    Here is a beautiful, simple meditation from Mark Bertin that focuses on compassion for someone you love, yourself, and expanding to everyone.

    You send out four wishes, to a series of recipients:

      May you be happy.
      May you be healthy.
      May you feel safe.
      May you live your life with ease.

    I have been doing something similar, but my standard wish list is:

      May you live in contentment.
      May you be healthy.
      May you rise to your challenges.
      May you grow spiritually.

        I vary this, depending on the target. For example, when it’s a dying friend, I replace “May you be healthy” with “May you die a good death.”

        What you send out you get back. Do this regularly, and you’ll feel the difference.


        Difficult kids

        I have added a new page to my psychology website. It is on how to deal with difficult children.

        If this is something that interests you, then please read, and leave a comment here.


        Maybe facts are helpful

        A very large scale set of studies examined the “backfire effect”: that facts at odds with a person’s belief system tend to entrench false beliefs rather than modifying them.

        It seems that this may not be so after all, which is encouraging. S. E. Smith gives an accurate and illuminating discussion of the implications.


        I’m obsessed with killing my boyfriend’s family

        I had a tough childhood. My parents had me at a very young age. Let’s just say my mom ran after men and my dad drank and partied while I was dumped from house to house. My mother broke my self esteem along with her family who constantly put me down as a kid. Anyway, fast forward a couple years later I met my BF whom I love but his family treated me so badly. His sister made fun of my body calling me fat so I ended up losing weight and developed a bad relationship with food. I want to kill his whole family LITERALLY I think about how I’m going to do it everyday. I need serious help because these thoughts are becoming obsessive.

        So, why am I obsessing over my b.f’s family? Why do I want to kill these people and see them hurt?

        Sometimes I think I’m possessed by evil.

        Kelly my dear,

        No, you are not evil.

        Because of your childhood, you are experiencing the effects of multiple traumas. This can have many ways of showing itself. A frequent one is anger. “The world is unfair and cruel, and I want to hit back.”

        When your boyfriend’s sister made fun of you, when they all treated you as if you were inferior, this gave you something to focus all that anger on. They are a convenient target, but if you could kill them, the anger would not go away, because the cause is further back.

        You should do three things. The first and most important is to deal with the effects of what happened to you when you were a little girl. Those events happened, and nothing will make them go away, but you can “process” them, so they no longer hurt in the present. They become memories with no anger or pain associated with them.

        If you can afford a psychologist, find one who does “exposure therapy.” My preferred technique for that is through hypnosis. There are other effective ones, including EMDR.

        Another form of very effective exposure therapy is Traumatic Incident Reduction. You can find a practitioner in your area at www.tir.org. I can thoroughly recommend the technique.

        If you cannot afford a therapist, you may be able to do the healing for yourself. I did, when I was about your age. I have written my life story as fiction, but included all the things that happened to me. Part of it is doing exposure therapy for myself. The title of the book is Ascending Spiral, and you can buy an electronic copy for a few dollars. Have a look at the book’s page at my website.

        You will probably find that when you have removed the poison from your memories, your anger will go, and you’ll be able to shrug off disdain from people, including your boyfriend’s relations.

        Second, you sound very disapproving of your parents. Good. Use them as role models on how NOT to live. Whatever they did, deliberately do the opposite. Design the person you would like to be. Write it out as if it was a film script. Make it so detailed that a Hollywood star could step into the role. Then, of course, you will be the actress. Every moment, act as if you were this person you designed. That is what Ascending Spiral is for me. The hero of the book dealt with my many life events better than I did at the time, so I have learned to be a better person.

        At first, this will feel false and artificial, but habits become second nature through practice. After awhile, it will be natural to behave this way. This will give you self-respect, and then other people will react to the new you. The difference can be enormous.

        The third and hardest thing is to work toward forgiveness within your heart. You do NOT have to accept bad behavior from others. They are responsible for what they did, and the way your parents treated you was inexcusable. But you can reject the behavior, and still forgive the person.

        Resentment, anger, a wish for vengeance, is a hot coal you pick up to throw at someone. It is your hand that gets burned.

        How do we work toward forgiveness? By following the Native American saying (I don’t know which nation): “Do not judge me until you have walked in my moccasins for 100 days.” Your boyfriend’s sister, his other relations, your parents, all the other people who have hurt you, all have individual stories and hurts of their own, and have chosen poor ways of dealing with them.

        Since until now you have chosen a poor way of reacting, you can see that they don’t have to be perfect either. By forgiving them, you become a better person — and probably even lead others to becoming the best people they can be.

        You can choose to stay hating and angry, and burn yourself up with all the negative emotion, or you can choose to be the opposite of your parents, and design the person you would like to be, then live that, with peace in your heart. You have that power.

        You are welcome to email me so I can continue to guide you on your journey.

        Your new grandfather,
        Bob


        Health

        Proven carcinogens
        Gluten-free world?
        Everything you need to know about Flakka by Jason Adams

         

        Proven carcinogens

        Bacon, sausages, ham, processed meats of all kinds, have various chemicals in them that have long been known to have bad health effects. A new, authoritative report has summarised a lot of evidence that eating these foods significantly increases the risk of cancer.

        The PDF file of this report is lengthy, and I found it difficult to navigate, but fortunately, Dr Michael Greger gives an excellent summary.


        Gluten-free world?

        Celiac disease is real. It affects about 1% of people. In recent years, however, there has been an explosion of people who know they’ve improved their health by getting off gluten.

        Read the facts. They are wrong.


        Everything you need to know about Flakka
        by Jason Adams

        This article is based on an infographic.

        Here is a news video from NBC which talks about it.

        We’re going to drill into one of the worst drugs being used in the United States today. Law Enforcement Officers across the country are saying it is more powerful and addictive than cocaine and methamphetamine. The media is calling it the “Devil’s Drug” and “5 Dollar Insanity,” and even the United States Drug Enforcement Administration had to step in and put an emergency ban this drug, so what is it?

        It’s technical and scientific name is a-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone. More common names include A-PVP, Alpha-PVP, O-2387, Prolintanone, Desmethyl Pyrovalerone, Pure NRG, Snow Blow, and Crystal Love, but the most common name is Flakka. The actual word “Flakka” is Spanish slang for “beautiful woman.”

        The history behind flakka started back in 1963 when it was known and mentioned as a-pvp and was first mentioned in patent literature on pyrrolidino valerophenones and also on pyrrolidino ketones. Then in 1967, it was formally patented and was developed as a central nervous system stimulant and as a pressor agent. Years later, Flakka reemerged back on the scene in 2013 when it was available in the United States in tablet form. Popularity grew dramatically early in 2014 and this is when it became known as flakka. At the end of January 2014, the United States Federal Government placed an emergency ban on flakka making it a schedule 1.

        Flakka is a syntethic cathenone and is based on the khat plant. People in east Africa and southern Arabia are known to chew the leaves of the khat plant. The leaves contain the a chemical known as cathinone. Cathinone is an amphetamine-like stimulant and is a banned substance in the United States. Flakka is basically a synthetic version of khat but it is many times stronger, more powerful and dangerously addictive.

        In 2014, there were over 2,700 cases of flakka detected in crime labs across the United States, and since 2011 there have been over 20,000 drug-related emergency room visits because of flakka and other bath salts.

        What makes Flakka so dangerous is that it affects the mind and body in very severe ways. It has the ability to give a person superhuman strength. There have been instances of police officers using taser guns on suspects under the influence with little to no resistance from the suspect on Flakka. In many instances a person on flakka experiences severe hallucinations and perceives other people as demons trying to attack them.

        Flakka is known to affect the mind in the following ways:

        • Excited Delirium
        • Severe Hallucinations
        • Paranoia
        • Psychotic Delusions
        • Psychosis
        • Seizures

        In the body flakka is linked to:

        • Hyperthermia
        • Vasoconstriction & Cardiac Arrhythmias
        • Renal Failure
        • Hypertension
        • Liver Failure
        • Death

        The active effects of flakka can last up to 4 hours. There have been reports with body temperatures being above 109 degrees. According to the Utah Poison Control, Emergency Management Personnel should administer aggressive intravenous benzodiazephines, rapid cooling and volume resuscitation to treat the medical effects of flakka. If you know someone who is considering to use Flakka, share this information with them immediately. It may just save their life!


        Writing

        A magic trick for writing
        I’m Talking About One Person!

         

        A magic trick for writing

        This is the title of my January post in Rhobin’s Rounds.

        The magic is to use guided imagery for getting INTO the point of view of a character.


        I’m Talking About One Person!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        How else can we do it?

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

        ‘WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN BULLIED IN SCHOOL, THEY ARE QUITE LIKELY TO KEEP THIS A SECRET FROM YOU.’

        ‘A child who has been bullied in school is quite likely to keep this a secret from you.’

        ‘A victim of bullying in school is likely to be secretive about it.’

        ‘Your child may have been bullied in school and never tell you about it.’

        ‘Has your child been bullied? You may never find out.’

        ‘ONE OF THE DANCERS LEFT THE FLOOR. THEY HAD A LONG DRINK BEFORE WALKING OUT OF THE HALL.’

        ‘One of the dancers left the floor, had a long drink, then walked out of the hall.’

        One of the dancing young women left the floor. She had a long drink…’

        ‘Dancers were leaving the floor. One of them had a long drink…’

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

        Recycled from Bobbing Around Volume 1 Number 5 and more relevant than ever.


        What my friends want you to know

        Understand climate science
        Without war
        Art from Rich McLean
        Food Shift impressive in 2017
        Doctors without borders

         

        Understand climate science

        At Climate Reality, we get a lot of questions about how the climate crisis is impacting the world we live in. Some of the most common questions have to do with the science behind why and how our climate is changing. How certain are climate scientists that climate change is real and caused by human activity? How do we know? Why should we care and what can we do?

        In our Climate Crisis 101 e-book, we teach you the basics of climate science and explain how you can take action today.

        Download it for free.


        Without war

        A “bloody nose” for North Korea. More “usable” nuclear weapons. Permanent war in Syria. A spending spree at the Pentagon equal to the entire GDP of Switzerland.

        One year into Donald Trump’s presidency, his administration is rolling out plans for the next 1,095 days. It all sounds like one scary thing: War. War. War.

        But Win Without War has big plans, too. We’re jamming emergency legislation between Trump and his nuclear button. We’re demanding Congress do their jobs and end America’s illegal, secret wars. We’re holding the media accountable for reporting on the truth, not just Donald Trump’s tweets. And we’re relying on our secret weapon to make sure Trump’s terrifying war plans never become reality: You.

        Will you pitch in $3.65 to slam on the brakes after 365 days of Trump’s war machine?


        Art from Rich McLean

        Hi everyone, it’s Rich McLean.

        (Politely asking you to indulge me for three minutes!)

        I just wanted to remind you, all my five publications are now available to purchase as physical copies, or alternately as digital downloads.

        Please have a quick look, and consider sharing it to support a hard working artist!

        I’m happy to answer any questions or hear constructive feedback.

        (If you ask nicely I’ll even give you an iBooks download code if you can’t afford 99 cents — as long as you leave a nice review!)


        ‘Grogan the Monster in… What Do You Love?’ is a funny, quirky book I illustrated about a monster that hatches and he just loves everything! (There is a twist at the end!)

        25% of any proceeds from this book go to The Royal Children’s Hospital Banksia Mental health unit for Children and Adolescents. I’ve already raised them about $1000 for this charity at my book launch, and it is the first fundraiser they have ever had for the centre!

        Buying or downloading this book supports a great cause.

        (And also supports me get through my PhD!) 🙂

        Lots of other pics and things at my website.


        Food Shift impressive in 2017

        Food Shift reduces wasted food, puts it to good use, and provides employment. This is what its originator, Dana Frasz, wrote:

        I hope you are doing well. As this year comes to a close, I wanted to share with you a visual snapshot of Food Shift’s 2017 impact. You can see the environmental impact of our work and the dynamic web of people and partners who benefit from Food Shift and make our work possible. Thank you for your continued support as we work towards a future that truly nourishes our community, our health, and our environment.

        Wishing you a happy and abundant new year.

        Sincerely,

        Dana Frasz
        Founder & Director


        Doctors without borders

        Dear Bob,

        From war and civil strife, disease and epidemics, to natural disasters, Médecins Sans Frontières was on the frontline of saving lives during 2017.

        Thanks to the ongoing support of our generous donors like you, we were able to provide emergency care as an independent and impartial humanitarian organisation.

        Médecins Sans Frontières Australia and New Zealand sent 225 medical and non-medical field workers into countries like Bangladesh, South Sudan, and Iraq. These field workers, alongside thousands of local staff, helped to provide medical care in extreme conditions and contexts.

        With your support, we were able to expand our medical operations in Bangladesh to treat over 155,000 Rohingya fleeing violence in their home Rakhine state.

        We spoke out against the appalling conditions for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Libyan holding camps and provided mental health support to help people face the challenges of the world’s most severe conflicts.

        Our mobile clinics have allowed us to respond at a moment’s notice, and reach locations others can’t.

        To learn more about how we work in emergency situations, watch the video of Médecins Sans Frontières staff constructing a 20 bed hospital for Rohingya refugees:

        None of this would have been possible without your support.

        Thank you.

        To help us prepare for urgent medical needs in 2018 and beyond, please consider signing up to become a field partner for as little as $20 per month.

        Warm regards,
        Paul McPhun
        Executive Director
        Médecins Sans Frontières Australia


        Reviews

        Bizarre Bipeds reviewed by Jennifer McRae
        Green Boat by Mary Pipher

         

        Bizarre Bipeds reviewed by Jennifer McRae

        Sci Fi is not my usual thing, but this is a very inventive science fiction collection that shows the active, creatively scientific mind behind it. And I loved the tripods!

        In case that last bit puzzles you, the people in the lead story, Liberator, have three arms and three legs, but no heads, are green, and have many other attractive features.


        Green Boat by Mary Pipher

        I’d like to give this book 7 stars out of 5. It was published in 2013, pre-Trumpistan, but the changes since have made it even more true, and even more relevant.

        Like me, Mary was a therapist, a long-term conservationist, humanist and nature lover. I feel we are twins of the spirit. Like Mary, I am an environmental activist, and have been one since 1972. But, as I have seen the Instruments of Darkness win, time and time again, I’ve become tired.

        She has rejuvenated my spirit. She has shown me the way, the way I’ve been walking for many years, shone a searchlight along it, and convinced me that yes, I can keep going.

        The book starts by setting out the facts — the undeniable facts — about the way we are destroying the life support system of this planet. Then, she goes into a detailed and accurate description of the nature of denial, the reason people need it, and the damage it does.

        This is about a third of the book. The rest is hope and positive action, which had me cheering.

        It is full of statements I want to write up on billboards. A few examples are:

        “If we want people to listen to and process traumatic information, we must be able to frame that information in ways that allow our listeners to be hopeful and calm… As a therapist, I had learned that information must be carefully paired with people’s emotional ability to absorb and process it.” (p 24)

        “Realistically, our children and grandchildren are more likely to live long and happy lives if we work tirelessly to save the earth’s resources today… Even the world’s richest man cannot buy a new ozone layer for his grandkids.” (p 43)

        “We can deal with our cultural and environmental crises only after we deal with our human crises of trauma, denial, and emotional paralysis. This will require that most difficult of all human endeavors, facing our own despair.” (p 68)

        “The cure for the pain is the pain. Unprocessed pain almost always leads to something much worse than pain. Opening ourselves up to the awareness of the world we have and our emotional reactions to that world, and allowing ourselves to feel the gamut of emotions that opening inevitably produces in us, is the beginning of a movement toward wholeness and healing.” (p 69)

        “When problems are too big to face, the best solution is to grow bigger.” (p 72)

        “Over and over, the historical record shows us that, when the going gets tough, the tough take care of each other.” (p 82)

        “One of the best ways to both protect and prepare children is to encourage them to act for the common good.” (p 132)

        “Wisdom is not an individual characteristic; rather, it emerges from conversations between people about what is most important in their lives.” (p 141)

        “The necessary conditions for revival are not economic ones, but rather mindfulness and community.” (p 143)

        “We mostly talked about what we were for, not what we were against.” (p 146)

        “I do this work because acting as if I have hope gives me hope.” (p 194)

        So, this is a book of self-empowerment through community, the power of action and hope, and a reason we much keep striving.

        I read and review a great many books. Since I am an obsessive editor, I automatically do a line edit. I have found this book to be remarkably free of typos and small mistakes, just one more reason for admiration.


        Fun

        Darrell Bain
        Asylum for Norwegians

         

        Darrell Bain

        Some days I think I need to get a job so I’ll have some time off to write.
        Darrell Bain


        Asylum for Norwegians

        You’ve got to read this hilarious essay by Lloyd Alter.

        As everyone knows, Trump has invited Norwegians to migrate to the USA. Here is a reason they should take up the offer.


        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.)

        I’d love you to follow my blog. That will automatically get you a copy of this newsletter, and other posts. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the newsletter. To do so, email me. Subject should be ‘subscribe Bobbing Around’ (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

        Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

        • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
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        • 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.

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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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3 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 8

  1. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Barbara, your smiling face often looks at me from the email notification of a “Like,” so you feel like an old friend by now.

    May you have a good life.
    🙂
    Bob

    Like

  2. barbarakay1 says:

    I’ve been following your blog for some time now, but have only now gotten to this email (number 11,854 out of the 14k+ I am winnowing).

    May you have a blessed day. Barbara

    On Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 8:13 AM, Bobbing Around wrote:

    > Dr Bob Rich posted: ” To bring a child into a dying world is an act of > negligent homicide to the child and our shared Planet. Dr. Glen Barry > Writing is the chocolate icing on the cake of life. Dr Bob Rich Bobbing > Around Volume Seventeen, Number Eight, February, 2″ >

    Like

  3. svenaake says:

    Hi Bob
    Thanks
    Always enjoy browsing through your posts.

    I have just made a new article – the first in a long time.
    https://ufbutv.com/2018/01/27/leap-into-the-future-detrump/
    Maybe you can use it?

    Cheers

    Sven Åke

    Sven Åke Bjørke
    Asst. professor (Retired)
    University of Agder, Norway
    Department for Global Development Studies and Planning
    Pedagogical Development Centre (PULS)
    Mobile Phone: +47 48074088
    Website: http://www.futurelearninglab.org/our-team/
    Blog: Education for sustainable development

    Fra: Bobbing Around [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com]
    Sendt: onsdag 31. januar 2018 14.13
    Til: Sven Åke Bjørke
    Emne: [New post] Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 8

    Dr Bob Rich posted: ” To bring a child into a dying world is an act of negligent homicide to the child and our shared Planet. Dr. Glen Barry Writing is the chocolate icing on the cake of life. Dr Bob Rich Bobbing Around Volume Seventeen, Number Eight, February, 2″

    Like

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