Bobbing Around Volume 18 Number 12

If that were true, I’d have to completely change my life. If that were true, I and my loved ones would be in terrible danger. So, of course it cannot be true.
The explanation of climate change denial


You say you love your children above all else and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.
Greta Thunberg

Bobbing Around

Volume Eighteen, Number Twelve,
June, 2019

Bob Rich’s rave

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There have been geological periods where Earth’s CO2 has been as high or higher than today, but never before in the planet’s multibillion-year history has so much buried carbon been dumped back into the atmosphere so quickly.
Adam Frank


Atmospheric CO2 levels have now reached 415 ppm. The last time humans experienced levels this high was… never. Human didn’t exist.
Peter Gleick


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.


From me to you

This nice young woman has been teaching me
Post-election depression?
I’ve interviewed an inspiring lady

 

This nice young woman has been teaching me


She goes by the name Emily Harstone to hide her real identity, because she does good work exposing scams that catch writers. She has had threats made against her in our all-so-lovely society. She is an attractive lady, and creeps have been stalking her online.

She is the author of a regular newsletter from Authors Publish, in which you will find lists of paying gigs for writers, legitimate contests, and opportunities to query legitimate publishers. I find this e-zine immensely useful, and can thoroughly recommend it.

Recently, she announced that she was running a course on how to submit work to a publisher. Especially given the exchange rate that undervalues Aussie dollars, I sighed, thinking, Pity I can’t afford this. At the time, I was reading Julia Novak’s Down and Back. You can check out my review. Her worldview pushed me to take a risk, and give it a go.

Then, during one of my regular phone conversations with my daughter, Natalie, I brought up the issue. She said, “Dad, your writing is great, but whatever you’ve been doing to market it hasn’t worked. Never mind the money, DO IT.”

I did. Emily’s course was oversubscribed, and she now has a waiting list, but I got in.

Her next newsletter announced that a British SF publisher was open to unagented submissions, but only during the month of May. Because of the tight deadline, she gave me priority, and I have submitted the first volume of my Doom Healer series in time. The query letter, synopsis and sample I sent them is far better than I could have done without Emily’s feedback.

Maybe Bill Sutcliffe will join Harry Potter? Thank you Julia, Natalie, and Emily.


Post-election depression?

You will find this disorder to be an epidemic in Australia right now. For a couple of years, right up to the day before the elections, everyone predicted that the Labor party would win, but the COALition dinosaurs scraped back in.

My first reaction was outrage: HOW CAN PEOPLE BE SO STUPID? For the past six years, the conservative government (illiberal “Liberals” and sectional-interest “Nationals”) have been plagued by scandals, caught in lies and improper behaviour, been blatantly stealing from the poor to give more money to their owners, like the coal industry and large corporations. They’ve had public rows along ideological lines, and repeated leadership coups.

I am no Labor supporter, but consider this party to be Liberal Lite. All the same, I admired their unity (at least in public — who know what goes on behind closed doors?) and their raft of carefully crafted and costed policies aiming for social justice, the uncovering of criminal conduct, and environmental action.

So, what happened?

When I examined the results, it made more sense. In the country as a whole, there was an even balance between the two sides. A half-dozen electorates in north Queensland made all the difference. (Remember Al Gore being defeated by a few hundred votes in Florida?)

Murdoch owns all commercial media in Queensland. Adani, and an Australian billionaire, spent millions in spreading lies and twisted facts (e.g., “The Adani mine is 380 km from the Great Barrier Reef.” True, but that doesn’t stop greenhouse gas emissions from killing the Reef.)

Unemployment is high in north Queensland. The major lie is that Adani will provide thousands of jobs. In fact, it is planned to be a highly automated mine, employing a few hundred highly trained people instead of thousands of unskilled workers. So, these people swallowed the lies blanketing their news. I can forgive them, although their votes advanced global suicide by a big step. The Adani mine can now only be stopped on financial grounds. David Fickling, writing in Bloomberg has calculated that it will lose about $220 million a year if it becomes reality.

Apart from the environment, the poor asylum seekers on Manus Island and in Nauru have again had hope destroyed, and thousands in Australia face so-called Temporary Protection Visas, which are a form of torture. The re-elected mob have promised to greatly reduce taxation of the rich, naturally at the expense of public services, and so on ad nauseam (that means, till we vomit).

So, how do I cope? What can I offer to fellow sufferers, including those with Trumpitis in the US and Brexititis in Britain?

I will let the hero of my Doom Healer series, Bill Sutcliffe, speak for me.

    There are millions of locations of intelligent life within our galaxy alone, and there are innumerable galaxies. All those places, including Earth, are schools for souls. The body dies, but the life energy of an animal or a plant continues. There is sound scientific evidence for reincarnation.

    So, those billions will return, if not here, then to some other school within the universe. This is because we have a job to do… We need to live again and again, learning and advancing, until we have evolved sufficiently. You’re not here to become wealthy, or famous, or powerful. You’re here on a journey toward becoming like Jesus, like the Buddha. This is not a matter of religion. You can be an atheist, but if you attain a life dedicated to Love, what we call by the Buddhist term metta, then you qualify for Buddhahood.

    Everything ever born must die. We can die one at a time, or billions together. That doesn’t matter. We can die before birth, or 100 years old. That doesn’t matter. Even suffering is only short term. In the long view, we can shrug that off. All that matters is progress along the journey toward moral perfection.

I hope I’ve eased your pain.


I’ve interviewed an inspiring lady

She is Joey Garcia, and if you want to know why I consider her inspiring, read our conversation.

If you are not interested in why I consider her inspiring, then GO AWAY!



New stuff

Environment
Going, going…

Inspiration
Thank you, Dayton, Ohio

Psychology
Support for people experiencing PTSD, by Doug Briscoe
The effects of sleep deprivation, by Kelly Patricci
Tortured by guilt
I am raising my grandkids because my daughter is an addict

Deeper Issues
Wasps can do a Sherlock Holmes

Technology
Plastic-free gardening
Not nuclear
My beard is an environmental benefit

Look over a writer’s shoulder
What would you like to your readers to know about your novels and their purpose?
A great resource for writers

Reviews
From Depression to Contentment reviewed by: Florence Weinberg; Joan Edwards
Sleeper, Awake reviewed by John Rosenman
Six and a half years on a dunghill by Peter Gibilisco, reviewed by Susan Prior
Down and Back by Julia Novak
And then they were gone by Judy Bebelaar and Ron Cabral

Fun
Watch this mouse
Archaeological find
A few reasons I love English


Environment

Going, going…

That’s all complex life on this planet.

The media have almost completely ignored a major announcement from The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Scientific information from 130 countries demonstrates that we are losing species at an incredible and accelerating rate.

Please read Melissa Breyer’s impassioned call to action.

Also have a look at the comments below the article.


Thank you, Dayton, Ohio


This report in the New York Times made me proud about being a human
.

For some reason, the KKK decided to have a rally outside the Dayton courthouse. Nine people turned up — but perhaps 600 people mounted a counter-rally, rejecting hate and division.


Psychology

Support for people experiencing PTSD, by Doug Briscoe
The effects of sleep deprivation, by Kelly Patricci
Tortured by guilt
I am raising my grandkids because my daughter is an addict

 

Support for people experiencing PTSD, by Doug Briscoe

I appreciate all of the effort you’ve put in to making your site an authority on PTSD, and perhaps more important than that, a place people can turn to when they’re looking for some anonymous support. On that note, below is some additional information that you’re welcome to add to your site. I hope it will offer some hope and guidance to people living with this mental health disorder.

PTSD And Complex PTSD: What Happens When You’ve Lived In A Psychological War Zone Anyone suffering any degree of PTSD should reach out for support, but those with complex PTSD should seek help immediately; as its name implies, its sufferers shouldn’t try to manage it on their own.

The Veteran’s Guide to Creating a Peaceful At-Home Atmosphere After Returning Home Combat veterans are often at risk of PTSD triggers, and this guide discusses how to make your home atmosphere comforting after returning home.

Trauma and PTSD in Teens: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment This is a very comprehensive look at the signs and symptoms of PTSD in teenagers, and it offers ideas for helping children cope with this illness.

Recognizing PTSD Triggers It’s critical to understand what our (or our loved one’s) triggers are in order to effectively cope with PTSD.

Workplace Mental Health – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder This is a very helpful tool for employers working with someone who is suffering some form of PTSD.

12 Surprising Remedies for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) I don’t personally believe that you should rely solely on homeopathic methods to treat PTSD, but I do think they can be an effective tool in managing its symptoms.

As someone who has struggled with this illness for years, thanks again for everything you’re doing to give people with PTSD a place to turn. I hope this new information offers a light in the darkness for them!

Doug created mentallyfit.info. He’d like this website to be a place where people with a mental health condition feel safe to share and read about what they’re all going through.


The effects of sleep deprivation, by Kelly Patricci

Sleep is a vital component to a healthy life.

Similar to your diet and level of exercise, sleep plays a huge role in both your physical and mental health. Your mind and body continue to work while you sleep, as they recharge from the previous day and prepare you for the next.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that roughly one in three Americans regularly doesn’t get enough sleep. There are myriad issues that can be caused by a poor night’s sleep — including irritability and mood swings — but consistently getting less than the CDC’s recommended seven hours per night can also lead to a more serious problem: sleep deprivation.

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation occurs when you regularly don’t get enough sleep to feel rested, awake, and alert. The ideal amount of sleep a person should get will vary based on the individual, and a number of things can cause sleep deprivation. These causes might include medical conditions, problematic scheduling, or even poor bedtime habits that keep you from giving yourself enough time to fall asleep.

While almost everyone experiences the effects of too little or poor quality sleep at some point in their lives, the effects of sleep deprivation are more serious than those of a single restless night. In fact, sleep deprivation is closely linked to insomnia, and it may require changes to your lifestyle or the help of a medical professional to properly address the issue.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder primarily characterized by the inability to fall or stay asleep, even when presented with the opportunity to do so. People with insomnia may have trouble falling asleep, wake up too early in the morning, wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep, or feel tired and unrested upon waking.

Individual experiences with insomnia often differ, but there are three main types. Each type is defined by the length of time you are experiencing insomnia. The three main kinds of insomnia are:

Transient insomnia: This kind of insomnia usually only lasts for a few days. There may be a sudden change or trigger that causes it, such as jet lag or stress about an upcoming event. Normal sleep often resumes after you adjust to the change or remove the trigger.

Acute insomnia: Also called short-term insomnia, this type can last for several weeks or up to a month. You may have a longer-term issue or stressor that is preventing you from sleeping, such as the loss of a loved one or a recurring problem at work. Acute insomnia is slightly more difficult to treat than transient insomnia.
Chronic insomnia: Any kind of insomnia that lasts longer than a month is considered chronic insomnia. Depending on the cause, it can last for months or even years. Chronic insomnia can be caused by other medical conditions, and may represent a medical condition in and of itself. You will likely need the help of a medical professional to treat this kind of insomnia.

Though the terms “insomnia” and “sleep deprivation” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Insomnia is a sleep disorder, but sleep deprivation is a condition caused by not getting enough sleep. Whereas insomnia is not a choice, you might experience sleep deprivation because of poor choices you make, such as staring at screens before bed or not going to sleep at a reasonable hour.
More at Tuft and Needle. Tuft & Needle believes everyone deserves a good education, a clean community and a great night’s sleep. Similar to your diet and level of exercise, sleep plays a huge role in both physical and mental health. This article is meant to inform you of the causes, symptoms, and treatments for sleep deprivation.


Tortured by guilt

A 34 year old lady contacted me. When she was a child, she’d engaged in inappropriate contact with two much younger kids, and is now feeling terrible about this. Without going into the details, I have referred her to the page I’ve constructed to help such people.


I am raising my grandkids because my daughter is an addict

I am at a loss of what to do and how to handle anything. I am not sure where my 38yr marriage is and we are raising our 6 grandkids. I just had to run my daughter off again and left her in an apt with no lights, listening to her tell me how happy she is. I am not sure if my daughter will ever come back from the drug use. she is now delusional… I have lost 3 sisters and 2 brothers and my son in law and I have never been so afraid in my life. I am watching my daughter die and at the same time my marriage and my life. I hold on to sanity because of these beautiful babies who are lost without their dad and their home. my heart just can’t take anymore. I refuse to bury my daughter but am running out of things to try. God doesn’t hear me anymore so please pray for me, that he will turn this thread that I am hanging onto into a cable.

I guess I just need someone to hear me and talk to god for me.

My dear,

You don’t need anyone else to talk to God for you. He hears you. He has placed your lovely grandchildren in your care to be angels in your life (yes, angels can be naughty, and cause problems, but they give you a reason to stay strong, and keep going).

First, I suggest you and your husband go for a few sessions of relationship counseling. Pick a therapist who is trained in the Gottman techniques. This will be an excellent investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

I don’t know the details of the trouble between you and your husband, but such stresses are understandable, given your situation. The two of you can work on being supports for each other, instead of additional sources of stress, and relationship therapy is the way to learn how to do that.

I feel for you regarding your daughter. It is terrible when someone we love is acting in a self-destructive way. Unfortunately, we cannot live their lives for them. She is killing herself with drugs, and won’t admit that she has problems — and no one else can do something about it.

I have had clients in this kind of situation. One lady, considerably older than you, was raising her little granddaughters. Her son had died from heroin overdose, and the daughter-in-law was violent, still on drugs, associated with a series of criminal men, and rejected the girls.

The lady coped by simply accepting the situation. “What is, is, and I need to make the best of it.” I was called in because once or twice a month, the little girls transformed from well-behaved kids into raging “monsters” who attacked her, broke things, screamed and carried on. Then after a sleep, they were perfect kids again — until the next time they thought of their mother’s rejection.

You can gain strength by making sure your angels don’t react like this. You didn’t write how old they are, but given their level of understanding, explain that mom is sick, and she can’t help being the way she is. They can join you in feeling sorry for her, and sending her love regardless of what she does and doesn’t do. And their father is up in heaven, and looking down on them, and however he had acted while alive, now he is sending them perfect love.

Get them to ask, “Dad in heaven, how do you want me to act in this situation?” (naturally, this needs to be in language suitable for the particular child’s age).

As for you, I read that you are a support for your daughter, despite anything she has done. Isn’t that what Jesus commands us to do?

So, continue the way you are. However it feels inside, you are doing well. Work with your husband on rebuilding your relationship. Devote your life to raising your angels to become adults like you, instead of like their mother.

A last thing. You are going through a terrible trial. Ask yourself, “Why did God put me in this situation? In what way can I grow spiritually because of this sad state of affairs?”

Because this is our task as humans.

With love,
Bob


Deeper Issues

Wasps can do a Sherlock Holmes

This bunch of researchers put a bunch of paper wasps through a bunch of tasks, and demonstrated that these insect-brains can deduce that if A is bigger than B, and B is bigger than C, then A is bigger than C. Got it? This is inferential reasoning, a very powerful logical tool.

I know the truth about the nature of all life, because the aliens who have instructed my hero, Bill Sutcliffe, have let me know that everything is life energy, and all life energy is always One, and each living being is a tiny part of the Universal Life Energy. Animals are different from us, because they need to cope with different life situation. But think how well you might go at solving a problem a wasp sets for you…


Technology

Plastic-free gardening
Not nuclear
My beard is an environmental benefit

 

Plastic-free gardening

You’d be surprised at how much plastic is involved in growing food and flowers, if you do it the unthinking way. The main problem is, you don’t know what chemicals leach out of the little seedling pots, plastic lining, whatever. But also, plastic is made out of fossil carbon, and now we want to keep all that under the ground.

Here is a little article full of useful tips, including making mudballs with seeds inside. Sounds like fun.

herder3 for commons.wikimedia.org


Not nuclear

Clive Palmer is a sleazy liar and cheat who has made billions of dollars, in part by not paying his workers (sound familiar?). By spending lots of money, he once convinced his neighbours to elect him to Australia’s parliament, but… he was never there. He was the MP with the highest rate of absenteeism, and his ego trip ended at the next elections.

One of his current dreams is to open up a huge new coalmine next to the controversial Adani one, which has faced endless opposition. If Adani succeeds, he’ll also get his permit. Adani can pay for all the infrastructure, then Palmer can hop on board.

He has thought of a fun chess move to get things going. He spent about $50 million on an election campaign. He stood for the Senate, and hired people to stand in every electorate in Australia. That’s literally true: people working for his companies in one State stood as candidates in another, but in name only. They never bothered to appear in their electorates.

Not one of his candidates got in, and neither did he. But that was not the object of the exercise. His barrage of lies and twisted truths swung enough electorates in north Queensland to get the dinosaur government re-elected, and now they owe him.

Why is my rave under “technology?” His answer to climate change is nuclear power. If I had his email address, I’d forward him this link.


My beard is an environmental benefit

In the past 52 years, I shaved once: to trick my daughter, Anina, at her 21st birthday party. I came as my twin brother John, and she didn’t recognise me until I opened my mouth. Then I couldn’t convince her that of course Uncle John speaks the same way as Dad.

I’ve justified my beard as a cost saving, an efficiency and a convenience, but now also have an environmental excuse: disposable razors are as bad for the environment as throw-away straws and shopping bags.

Anyway, I always say, if God had meant men to have faces like sandpaper, He’d have made us that way. And little kids like a fuzzy kiss on the cheek.


Look over a writer’s shoulder

What would you like to your readers to know about your novels and their purpose?
A great resource for writers

 

What would you like to your readers to know about your novels and their purpose?

This was the topic Rhobin Courtright set us participating bunnies. Here is my answer.


A great resource for writers

This is a regular e-zine put out by Emily Harstone and her friends, Caitlin and Jacob Jans. It lists paying venues for writers. I’ve found it to be reliable and well researched.


Reviews

From Depression to Contentment reviewed by: Florence Weinberg; Joan Edwards
Sleeper, Awake reviewed by John Rosenman
Six and a half years on a dunghill by Peter Gibilisco, reviewed by Susan Prior
Down and Back by Julia Novak
And then they were gone by Judy Bebelaar and Ron Cabral

From Depression to Contentment


Florence Weinberg

Dr. Bob Rich’s book exudes the contentment it promises. Not puffery, not self-promotion, but an atmosphere of true serenity based on a life well balanced and well lived. And Dr. Bob maps out just how to achieve the same; how to go and do likewise.

His style is easygoing and readable, logical, with clear organization. The book begins with a “first-aid” list of things to do to start emerging from depression, and provides the sufferer with weapons: how to relax; how to meditate, and how to recognize the enemy within. Bob’s recipes for combatting that enemy are detailed in chapter after chapter with many anecdotes of successful techniques practiced with his former patients (all names are changed).

Dr. Bob has “been there and done that.” His book is full of humor and wisdom learned from the personal experience of healing himself and then healing many others over years of practice. Also, he shares a hoard of treasures: books and articles of other psychic healers, gladly sharing the spotlight with them. The book ends with a discussion of reincarnation, Buddhist contentment and its similarity to the foundational ideas in quantum mechanics. The reader may remain skeptical, but there is plenty of evidence (scientific, too) of the validity of the position. I find the ideas consoling and hopeful in this “vale of tears,” and have believed in something along those lines — quite independent of any organized religion — since early adolescence.

I strongly recommend this book. At least give it a quick read first, since it abounds in helpful ideas, and you may decide to take it seriously and follow its recommendations. I beg you to do so. You have nothing to lose but your depression.

Florence is the author of 10 books that won 11 awards. The next one is in the pipeline. She is one of my main beta readers, and her input shaped this book. She has re-read the final product for this review.


Joan Edwards

If you are depressed, a little sad, or you want to help others get out of their depressed moods, Dr. Bob Rich’s book From Depression to Contentment gives many ways to lift yourself or help others go from feelings of hopelessness to feelings of contentment.

Dr. Rich’s book gives examples of people who came to him as a psychologist professionally. Of course, he changed their names and locations to protect their identities. When you are encompassed by sad feelings, you need a different perspective than your personal one to help you climb through the bonds of sadness. Each chapter gives readers exercises and information to help see things from a healthier perspective.

I loved Dr. Rich’s saying: “Nothing works for everyone, but something works for everyone.” There is something that will work for you. Dr. Rich gives information about reasons for different ailments and ways to alleviate them through study and changing your beliefs and thought patterns. Here are two ways:

ABC diary — Antecedent (Event What went on before?), Behavior (What did you think? What did you do?) Consequence (What happened because of this behavior?). This is very helpful to me. Think of an event. What I did I believe about that event that triggered my actions? What were the consequences of my actions? It helps us see underlying causes of our reactions. If we can change our beliefs, we can change our emotions and our reactions.

ACT — Acceptance and Commitment Therapy says to act means you accept the unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or sensations and accept them and observe them without judgment. This relieves the tension of your trying to change the situation. It changes it by releasing the tension.

Good advice from Dr. Rich, “If something works, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, do something else.” This book is jam-packed full of ideas to help you and those you love find better ways of looking at your life experiences. I highly recommend it.

Joan Y. Edwards is a motivational speaker and author of Flip Flap Floodle, Joan’s Elder Care Guide, and 80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year B. Her Never Give Up blog inspires many: https://www.joanyedwards.com/. She is a member of the Charlotte Writers Club. She enjoys light romance and humorous mysteries.


Sleeper, Awake reviewed by John Rosenman


Recently I discovered a very talented writer. The fact that he’s a science fiction and speculative fiction writer like myself didn’t give me a moment’s pause. Here’s my review of Sleeper Awake, a novel that I highly recommend:

Sleeper, Awake belongs to a sub-genre of science fiction in which one or more people are put to sleep, usually for medical reasons, and wake up in the far future to a radically transformed, perhaps even utopian society. As I began this novel, it reminded me briefly of others I had read, such as Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000–1887, but I soon realized that the author was taking the narrative in a new and imaginatively challenging direction.

Flora Fielding is awakened after over 1400 years asleep and finds herself in a world with a population restricted to only one million. She is the first of 123 terminally or seriously ill sleepers to be restored to consciousness, and she is bombarded by staggering concepts. To name just one, people can now send multiple “images” of themselves to distant locations at the same time and actually interact with people there. Flora, who has terminal cancer, had herself preserved because she hoped to wake up in a society that had a cure. Does it? The answer to this question might surprise some readers.

While Flora’s attempt to cope with her disease and this new environment is fascinating, there are other interesting and sympathetic characters, such as the violent, love-torn Kiril and Tamàs, “a boy on the verge of manhood.” Both go on dangerous, beautifully described “quests” throughout the world in order to acquire status and “credentials” that will enable them to father children. Only a select few males can earn this right, and the women alone have the right to choose the father of their child.

The ending in particular, is unexpected and fully satisfying. I highly recommend Sleeper, Awake to all readers.

John Rosenman is a retired professor of English, but still an enthusiastic science fiction writer. Check out his many books.


Six and a half years on a dunghill by Peter Gibilisco, reviewed by Susan Prior

This book is about someone with amazing perseverance and intellect. The author dispassionately scrutinises the situation in which he finds himself. In this book you feel his frustration and pain as he critically discusses being disenfranchised by the system that is meant to care for our disabled citizens. This book gives an insight into the true grit of the author and his selfless willingness to take up the fight for the benefit of others who find themselves without a voice.

I can recommend this book to anyone with an interest in our disability care sector. You will be reconsidering how society treats our disabled citizens once you have read it.


Down and Back by Julia Novak

Many people seek me out to learn from me, and I have the joy of being able to benefit them. I’ve been there and done that, and got the T-shirt. When I read, it’s not often that I find myself the student rather than the teacher. All the same, I learned a great deal from Julia Novak’s “Down and Back.” I don’t know if Julia has studied the works of Jung, but the similarities of philosophy are remarkable. Only, she puts it in terms of her personal experience, and in words of beauty.

My recently published book on depression is entirely science-based. Julia’s book is that of an intuitive, clairvoyant empath. And yet, the deep messages, and even many of the recommended tasks, are the same. This reminds me of the Shintoist saying, “There are many mountains to God, and many paths up each mountain.” Whether you choose my path or hers, you can end up in a place of healing and contentment.

A major plus for this beautifully written book is the prose poetry Julia uses to describe what living with depression feels like. She brought to life for me exactly my internal reality during the many years of my depression.

Highly recommended.


And then they were gone by Judy Bebelaar and Ron Cabral

Do you remember the Jonestown massacre in 1978? The Reverend Jim Jones took his followers to Guyana, and eventually there was a mass suicide.

Many of the victims were teenagers. This book is written by two teachers who’d taught those kids. The writing is beautiful, passionate, yet objective. The ’60s ’70s are brought to life in well-chosen vignettes, leading to the problems with education at the time, and the creation of the “Opportunity School” thanks to the daring and persistence of a few idealistic young teachers.

The authors then concentrate on rounding out the personalities of two groups of children. The “old students” were from the slums, or from troubled backgrounds, the ones the standard education system couldn’t accommodate. Then there were the “Temple kids:” 120 admitted through the persistent campaigning of the Reverend Jim Jones.

In a leisurely way, through descriptions of interactions among students and teachers, and aided by photographs, we get to know at least the key personalities. All along the way, there is the knowledge of doom coming, and yet the slow journey is illuminating and enlightening. This is not an easy thing to do.

Then the Temple kids moved to help the Rev. Jones in Guyana, at first one at a time, depleting the school baseball team of talent.

One-third into the book, ugly stories emerge about Jones and his church, and as reader, I reflected back to earlier events, apparently innocuous, but now obviously signs of hidden malaise.

Then hundreds went to Guyana, including all the kids attending the school. By then, the terrible conditions the church’s members suffered were public knowledge.

Then comes the crunch. The final part is an excellent examination of the psychology of how a charismatic person can infect a whole group with his own insanity.

The most powerful passage in the book is a detailed account of the experiences of Jones’ surviving son, Stephan.

The history this book recounts is in the public domain. What it adds is humanity, bringing names and statistics to life.

I do have criticisms. One is that, especially during the early parts, there is too much fine detail. For example, we get blow-by-blow accounts of several baseball practice sessions and games, which could be summarized in a few sentences. Second, there are so many names and relationships that after a while they become a blur. I’ve also faced this problem in some of my books, and there is no easy solution. Mentioning those people is necessary, but perhaps a few more signposts and reminders would have been good.

Overall, though, this is an excellent read, an interesting dip into history, and a necessary lesson on the trap of blindly following a leader, any leader. Those assessing today’s politicians should especially take note.


Fun

Watch this mouse
Archaeological find
A few reasons I love English

 

Watch this mouse

Straight from a fairytale…


Archaeological find


A few reasons I love English

What’s the hardest musical instrument? The trombone: it’s the only one with a bone in it.

(Stop groaning!)

If you use a chisel to chisel, and a saw to saw, why don’t you use a hammer to ham?

(I know, you’ve heard it before. There are no new jokes, only new people.)

Take one pill, three times a day? YUCK, I’ll have a new one each time.

(I got this one from a character in one of my stories in Striking Back from Down Under.)

Count how many uses you can find for “bit” and for “kid.”



Posts during May

ENVIRONMENT

Understanding why extinctions matter
What can we do about the environment: an answer at Quora

POLITICS

Letter to all candidates in my electorate. The Australian elections are over, but this will still be of interest.

COMPASSION

Compassion in practical action

INSPIRATION

The environmental shopping portal
Human nature being what it is…
A 76 year old Greta Thunberg
Meet the Oyster Wench
Join the kindness revolution

DEEPER ISSUES

How to improve your inner beauty

TECHNOLOGY

Bagging the plastic
Recycling people: you can support Planet Earth when you no longer need your body.

HEALTH

We swim in a sea of poisons

LOOK OVER A WRITER’S SHOULDER

Kristin Johnson being thoughtful about From Depression to Contentment


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;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

Submission Guidelines

It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.

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About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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4 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 18 Number 12

  1. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Just Bob, my friend. No need for Dr.
    🙂

    Like

  2. Rydz One says:

    Wow, so many informational info and knowledges, do support me and visit my pages. Give a thought on my writing and comment.

    Like

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