Bobbing Around Volume 20 Number 2

If your compassion doesn’t include yourself, it is incomplete.
Siddhartha Gautama

Portugal is the third EU country to go completely coal-free (two years ahead of plan), thanks to falling cost of renewables, coupled with the rising cost of CO2 pollution permits on the EU carbon market.
Frédéric Simon for Euractiv

Bobbing Around

Volume Twenty, Number Two,
August, 2020

Bob Rich’s rave

email    previous issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

Comments are welcome — on the bottom of every post and page here, including this one.

You can send me a private message via my contact form

Do note that anyone buying any of my titles anywhere, in any format, qualifies for a second electronic book for free. Emailing me a review qualifies as proof of purchase (unless I sent you a free review copy of course).

*From me to you
My new card
47th LiFE Award winner
Showing off my books in a new place
Joan likes my window
Win a book

*New stuff

*Blog posts during July

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.

Had the climate not changed due to man-made greenhouse gases, the heat we have seen in parts of Siberia would have been a 100,000-year event.
Carl Parker

Metta is what we need to survive. You see, all the problems are due to greed, aggression, fear, envy, hate. If you exercise metta, you won’t be doing things that way, and then we’ll be able to deal with the problems facing us.
Bill Sutcliffe

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

My new card
47th LiFE Award winner
Showing off my books in a new place
Joan likes my window
Win a book

My new card

In the covering email for the July Bobbing Around, I asked for suggestions for words to accompany a picture of a lovely humpback whale swimming through the blue.

Thank you for all the kind people who emailed me with their ideas. The winner is Joan Edwards, with her suggestion you can see right here:

47th LiFE Award winner

The LiFE Award: Literature For Environment celebrates publications that help to look after our wonderful planet.

It is my pleasure to let you know that the latest recipient is a book to be used by classroom teachers for instructing kids on the facts of climate change. This is Carolyn Wilhelm’s Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE.

You can read my review of this book here.

Showing off my books in a new place

This is the Independent Author Network.

I will be very grateful if you can spread this link via your social networks. My reward for you is a big blast of healing energy your way if you do… or even if you don’t. But then, I’ve always been a poor businessman.

Joan likes my window

Joan Edwards ran a sort of a contest: she wants to know what you see through your window. I wrote a cheeky answer (so what’s new?) and she liked it.

Hie over and have a read. (Yes, I’ve checked, “hie” is a word.)

Win a book

English is a funny language. “Please take a chair.” Where to?

In the same way, “Please leave a comment.” My invariable reaction is, “No! I’ll take it with me.”

But if you DO comment here, and leave it behind, you could win a book, and even choose between four offerings.

New stuff

Why do I cry all of a sudden? I have depression and I cry often out of the blue for some reason. I haven’t thought about suicide, self harm, self doubt, and I still cry for no reason

Keeping takeaway containers

Look over a writer’s shoulder
The unique people in my computer
On blurbs

I approve of these announcements
Freebies, exclusively for Bobbing Around readers

Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Fiona Lemmon
From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Larry White
Hit and Run, reviewed by Jay Kerk
Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE: Students Help Save the Earth, by Carolyn Wilhelm
Snow and Caramel, by Jay Kerk
Confessions of a Zen narcissist, by Larry White

The Underlord, by Arianna Rich
A few pics


Why do I cry all of a sudden? I have depression and I cry often out of the blue for some reason. I haven’t thought about suicide, self harm, self doubt, and I still cry for no reason

The most likely reason is some physical problem. Get a thorough medical checkup. But regardless of the outcome, you can get rid of your distress through understanding how the searchlight of attention works.

At one time, I noticed that Q seemed to occur far more frequently on car number plates than any other letter. Wherever I looked, there was a “Q car.” Being obsessive, and with scientific training, I systematically recorded things for several weeks. You’ve guessed the result: Q occurred no more and no less frequently than would be expected by chance.

I kept noticing the Qs because I thought they were more frequent, then it seemed as if they were.

So, some time ago, you cried for no reason you could identify. Once you were alert to this, it happened more often, and the more you looked for it, the more often it came.

If medical tests show that there is a reason, it can be treated. But it’s possible that you had a medical condition at the time you first started crying without explanation, and it has cleared up since, so the tests will show up nothing. The crying continued because of the searchlight of attention.

Now you know this, you can simply accept that, for the time being, sometimes you cry for no reason. “Here are the tears again, so what.” You can even laugh at it.

This will probably mean that the problem will fade away. But even if it doesn’t, it will give you no distress. It’s here again, so what!


Keeping takeaway containers

With lockdowns in many places, the use of single-use containers has multiplied. This excellent article in The Guardian gives explicit directions on several ways of using them.

The pic shows a compostable container you can use to make a mini-greenhouse, which is just one example.

Look over a writer’s shoulder

The unique people in my computer
On blurbs

The unique people in my computer

I enjoyed giving a non-answer to the question Rhobin Courtright asked her followers in July:

How do you develop a character who is different in personality from all the other characters you have developed, or from yourself?

As I said in the “From me to you” section, on Monday, 3rd August, I will randomly select one commenter on this post. The lucky person will have a choice of four books to select from. Which titles? You’ll need to click on the link to find out.

On blurbs

Some time ago, I posted a link to an essay by Karen Wiesner on how to write blurbs. An editing client has sent me her draft blurb, so I wanted to refer her to this essay, to find that the link no longer works. So, I contacted Karen.

Here is her reply:

Hi Bob,

There are still two articles up there about blurbs, just buried:

You could also direct the person to my blurb service and the book I wrote on how to write blurbs.


I approve of these announcements

Freebies, exclusively for Bobbing Around readers

They are from Rich McLean, who has recently earned his Ph.D. (apart from a few pesky changes). But that’s now what he is giving away. Rich is an artist, and has generously offered 20 redeemable codes for ‘Grogan the Monster in… What Do You Love?’


‘A Certain beauty in Un-Resolution…ART;’

Rich sent me a bit of embedded code to include here, but WordPress refused to digest it. You can see the graphic here.

Rich has provided me with 20 codes. Contact me to grab one. First in, first served.

(Unfortunately only for macintosh, apple books and iPhone).


Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Fiona Lemmon
From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Larry White
Hit and Run, reviewed by Jay Kerk
Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE: Students Help Save the Earth, by Carolyn Wilhelm
Snow and Caramel, by Jay Kerk
Confessions of a Zen narcissist, by Larry White

Ascending Spiral, reviewed by Fiona Lemmon

In “Ascending Spiral”, the author, Dr Bob Rich, presents the reader with a kaleidoscope of emotions, experiences, dramas and life lessons learnt and to be learnt. Spanning 12 millennia of evolution, the central character of the book, Pip and his alter egos including the Space Flower, ascend, often painfully, the spiral towards wisdom and enlightenment. Like his Dickensian namesake, Pip has Great Expectations in which “… we can work together to make life better.” In the advance upward and onward through spiritual development, there comes the exhortation to “live simply, so you may simply live”. The denouement of the book is an appeal for us all to pull together to save our planet Earth. Both passionate and well reasoned, the inspirational appeal made by Pip/Dr Bob touches the reader’s heart and mind. Thank you, Dr Bob, for sharing the adventurous journey of your fictional autobiography.

From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Larry White

Bob Rich has done an interesting thing with his book. He has addressed the needs of people who are suffering from depression from the perspective of a person who has been there and who is still there from time to time. So, we know that his are the words, not only of a trained and certified therapist, but of a fellow sufferer.

Rather than launch into discussions of the causes of and possible long-term cures for depression he has gone into elaborate detail to outline simple and easy to follow procedures and methods for dealing with depression right now, in this moment. These methods and procedures may seem superficial and oversimplified, but I’m sure that they work and can be easily remembered and incorporated into the life of a person with ongoing depression. People are looking for ways to get rid of their pain, and Bob provides excellent procedures to do that.

At the same time, however, Bob refers his readers to other writings which can take him or her into whatever depth of exploration and understanding they are interested in and open to. He drops in comments and observations which provide humor and richness as well as relief from intensity.

Then at the end of his book, starting at Chapter 7, Bob goes into detail about area of his life such as his longtime involvement with Buddhism. We come to know Bob, not just as an insightful and helpful therapist, but as a whole human being with a deeply empathetic worldview and approach to other people. Also important is Bob’s ability to discuss concepts such as Buddhism without appearing to be a Master who has all of the answers.

Bob’s book is a deeply worthwhile and satisfying read for anyone who experiences significant discomfort from depression.

Hit and Run, reviewed by Jay Kerk

Hit & Run is a fast-paced, action-packed story.

Bob Rich directly takes you into the depth of a well written real-life situation where things change and can never go back to normal. One might accept a motor vehicle accident that harms close ones, but how might one accept that such an act was intentional? Isn’t it enough that few seconds drastically changed their lives?

Reading Hit and Run makes you change your perspective about guilt and innocence. The connection Sylvia makes is a testament to the power of love that is much needed in today’s world.

Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE: Students Help Save the Earth, by Carolyn Wilhelm

Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE: Students Help Save the Earth is a fun read, specifically designed for the reading skills and comprehension of grade 3 children. It is full of facts about climate change, but hidden within the story line. There is no lecturing, but references at the back support all the claims made.

This little book fills a gap in resources available to classroom teachers who want to inform their children regarding the climate catastrophe. The story brings to life the future consequences, all too soon, of the current global idiocy that is destroying its own life support system.

My main argument with the plot is that the super-rich who are doing all the destroying find themselves on the losing end, with courts forcing them to yield resources that allow ordinary people to survive. Sadly, in the real world, they own the courts, the law, and law enforcement, so this is unlikely to happen.

Snow and Caramel, by Jay Kerk

Snow is a 16 year old boy; Caramel is his beloved 13 year old sister. They live in a post-apocalyptic world, and are of a race of humans who are much smaller. The two have been bought by a man whose job for them is a task guaranteed to kill them in a year.

I won’t say more about the story, except that it has excellent characterization and reality building. Rather, I need to point out that despite the horror, this is an inspiring allegory for our times. Well, maybe it is BECAUSE of the horror.

Black lives matter. Little humans’ lives matter. Muslim or Sufi or Uighur or Hazara or Rohingya lives matter. Whoever is treated as if they were inferior, without dignity, are our brothers and sisters, and matter.

That’s what “Snow and Caramel” is about.

Confessions of a Zen narcissist, by Larry White

With psychology as my professional background, I am always interested in the lived experience of suffering in any of the particular ways humans do. Also, I have been a Buddhist for all of my life. So, I agreed to review this book.

While a sample size of 1 just has to be unique, different from every other story, Larry did bring to life for me the inner reality of narcissism, which is utterly different from my problem of an overdose of empathy. In our crazy world in which diagnosable narcissists rule entire countries and mega-corporations (I won’t name any names), his depiction of this disorder should be of interest to any thinking person.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is almost impossible to overcome, because the inner insecurity and feelings of inadequacy result in a worldview of being always right, and never admitting any defect or failing. No amount of evidence will ever lead to “Sorry, I was wrong.” As Larry writes, “Beneath the surface of the person with NPD is a frightened and insecure individual” (p 92).

Larry managed a cure, so it is well worth while to follow his life story, which otherwise would be of little interest to a stranger.

While NPD is rare, probably under 1% of the adult population, most of us share some of its characteristics. If Larry could grow out of the full catastrophe, you and I can use his insights for our personal spiritual growth.


The Underlord, by Arianna Rich

2018 (9 years old)

            The Underlord is rising,
            Feeding on your tears,
            Brush away the sadness,
            That is what he fears.

            The Underlord is rising,
            Beside his little pet,
            The black dog of depression,
            Has raised its ugly head.

            The sun will always rise each morning,
            Will always set at night,
            You just need to remember,
            It will always be alright.

            It doesn’t make you weak,
            To acknowledge the black beast within,
            It takes more guts to survive,
            Then to let the Underlord win.

            Roll yourself out of bed,
            Push yourself out the door,
            Make yourself call to friends,
            Don’t be alone anymore.

            If that black dog starts a growling,
            Tempt it with a treat,
            Say you don’t need dark anymore,
            These fears, we are going to beat.

            Force that grimace into a smile,
            Grab that black dog’s lead.
            It’s turned into a playful puppy of hope,
            And that is all that you need.

Arianna is my darling granddaughter, who has never personally experienced depression, but has immense empathy. Follow her instructions, and you will be free of depression, too.

She has kindly given me permission to reproduce her poem in my coming book, Lifting the Gloom: An antidepressant primer of short stories. I have put it right up front.


A few pics

In these times, laughter is essential. So, I’ve gone through my records, and pulled out a few pics from past issues:

Posts during July


Can anyone STILL deny catastrophic climate change?

The Idle Off Project


Good man cleared after 7 years

COVID19: Australian Aborigines show the way

World first: University of Queensland produces more green electricity than it uses


13 years of torture without trial


Greta Thunberg inspires again

Another inspiring young woman


COVID19 survivor saves lives


Inspiring cooking stove


Surprise: meditation is good for you


The rationale behind face masks


Forgiveness: Backstory from the Doom Healer series, and an extract from my current work.

The Distance Runner: What it really feels like.

About Bobbing Around

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

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

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.

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.
This entry was posted in Bobbing Around. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 20 Number 2

  1. Sue Rich says:

    Bob, come on. You do know you cannot claim ownership of titles. If I wanted to, I could name my next book Gone With The Wind. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carolyn Howard-Johnson says:

    I love seeing your review of Carolyn Wilhelm‘s “Captive” book this month, Bob! It is so important to have fun, appropriate material for young people to apply to their classroom learning as well as their recreational reading. Thank you, also, for your helpful list of environment-focused material we can all use (and support) every day!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s