INSIDE: The Most Unpredictable Predator On The Planet; Headline News At A Glance; From Olya – Coco Made Me Laugh & Cry At The Same Time; For Your Consideration; Our Science Section, Unabridged; Way To Go, You Guys; Dalai Lama; Travel; The Green Beat; Health; Home, Family & Lifestyle; Best of the Net; Masha & the Bear; Northstar General Store; All Creatures Great & Small; You Guys Think We Make This Stuff Up; About Us
THE MOST UNPREDICTABLE PREDATOR ON THE PLANET
Hi again, gang, from the shores of the Salish Sea. It has been a soul-searching week in America for anyone involved with or impacted by the school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Our hearts and our prayers are with you. We had not intended to discuss gun control but since some of you have emailed or texted, asking us to weigh in on the issue, I’ll give you what I’ve got, which isn’t much.
I’m also not prepared to speak for Olya, nor to really discuss the philosophical, ethical, moral or theological aspects of this either. It guts me – as I hope it does you – whenever one human being takes the life of another human being. I did not enjoy my part in the process even though, in the military, killing another human being or being part of a team which does is “legal,” as long as your side wins.
I grew up in Northern California back when the frontier tradition was almost as alive as it was when my forbearers took the 2,170-mile (3,490 km)[ Oregon Trail west from Independence, Missouri, then took off south into Northern California and settled in the mountains around 200 miles/322 km north of the state capital in Sacramento.
Ranchers, small townsfolk and close to the land, we also fished, hunted, gathered and raised our own vegetables, hay and oats. Our mountains were too high to farm but good for horses for the army and big city people; enough Hereford beef cattle to help feed us and trade; Holstein dairy cows for our own milk and cheese; and, above treeline lived Basque shepherds and their flocks.
We had guns but for us, firearms were not part of a gun culture. They were part of a tool culture. We augmented our diet with venison, sometimes bear. We protected what we had from hungry predators, including members of our own species. Our relative isolation meant not depending on those trained to protect us, just like we fished rather than driving four hours for a can of tuna. By circumstance, certainly, rather than choice, we became good with guns and, for the most part, handled them as responsibly as we did any other tool on which our lives depended.
The cultural overlay was also a part of a culture which included the Boy Scouts of America, which was all about personal responsibility and pride in doing for one’s self. The National Riflemens Association taught courses on firearms safety and responsible ownership at local indoor and outdoor gun ranges, for those who did not pick that up at home. The YMCA even offered courses in archery.
By the time I got to Navy boot camp, at 19, I was proficient with a dozen domestic firearms. I was also a very good shot. The only reason I did not demonstrate that to the Navy was because in the Navy, if you were good at something, you got to do it a lot. I figured that with a war across the Pacific, that probably did not mean staying in San Diego and working on a gun range. I’d never had any experience with targets that shot back and was not particularly anxious to gain any.
Now, I do not own any firearms because I live in a city of 700,000 with a good police department, several of whose members I know professionally. I also have cool housemates and I live in a neighborhood in which the sounds of war – except low flying jet aircraft – are relatively unobtrusive. I’ve stopped, as well, giving the bad guys a chance by taking the bus to Starbucks at midnight doing my Bill Gates impersonation.
I also have a best friend who, depending on where she travels in her native land, hears the sounds of war. The infrequent noise like that here is usually the product of arrested development, boredom, access to fireworks and no respect for city laws which clearly ban home pyrotechnics. I have noticed something about people who engage in this behavior. They seldom escape this life with all the body parts they came into it with. I call that, “the Mark of Moron.”
But in two or three years, I will become a gun owner again because I will be moving back into an environment where such tools will be appropriate. I’ve investigated compressed air weapons and I’m sold on these.
I’m not looking for enough firepower to stop a mother grizzly whose cub I kidnapped and sold to the circus. I’m not strapping on my Colt Peacemakers (ironic name for a gun, I’ve always thought) to face down some bad guys I got mad at me. I’m not going to start hanging out with gun-toters and nobody except God and my cousin Olya will know whether I’m packing heat or not. I don’t have a Death Wish and I’m not going to dress to kill. I’m not a knight without armor in a savage land and I’m not taking the law into my own hands. I’ll just be another quiet gentle man protecting himself and his from the most unpredictable predator on the planet.
Have a great week, gang, and thanks for the ear. Rusty
COCO MADE ME LAUGH & CRY AT THE SAME TIME
Hi Rusty and All Our Northstar Readers:
I was lucky to be in London on the day of the British Academy Of Film And Television Arts (BAFTA) 2018 awards held in Albert Hall last Sunday.
It is always intriguing to see the crowd in bows and long dresses even on a bit chilly weather, but what can’t be sacrificed for an opportunity to walk on the red carpet. Yes it’s not all only Hollywood, British film industry is thriving too. The difference is in more complex stories that are usually appreciated by English, nothing is straightforward, everything has deeper connotation. So the list of those who got lucky to get their awards http://www.bafta.org/film/awards/ee-british-academy-film-awards-in-2018
Gary Oldman’s portrayal of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill took top honors for best leading actor. “Churchill” is a good film and a dramatic look back over seven decades and so much history. I was so inspired by Churchill that I’m reading his biographical history, “The Gathering Storm.” Winston Churchill message is clear: “In war: resolution. in defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill”.
“Phantom Thread” leading actor Daniel Day Lewis unfortunately did not win the leading actor award despite a magnificent and one hundred percent believable performance. The Americans have a saying, “He was a tough act to follow,” and Gary Oldman in Churchill definitely was. Phantom did, however, win for best costume design. Considering it is about renowned dressmaker Woodcock and set in 1950s in London, this did not come as a surprise to me.
Among the other winners, two drew my special attention; Shape of Water, a brilliant, romantic, very arty film about love of beauty and beast both, took Production Design, while the animated film Coco, a tale about the importance of remember, made me smile and cry at the same time.
That’s all for now. Take care, Mishka. Olya Бог с тобой, любимой двоюродной моей. Бог со всеми нами.
Northstar columnist and associate editor Olya Bereza was born in the former Soviet Union and now lives in Ukraine. Fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, and English, she is a degreed psychologist with a background in international marketing and personnel management. For comments, please go here.
Quote of the Week: “Contrary to popular belief, God did not rest on Sunday. She potty trained what She created on Saturday, after making everything of any consequence.” – Rusty’s Uncle Fergus Finbar McCool
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Amnesty International Report Makes Scathing Assessment Of Human Rights
OUR SCIENCE SECTION, ABRIDGED
I totally love this little dude. 5,000 Days On Mars; Solar-Powered Rover Approaching 5,000th Martian Dawn
Let’s hope they move on this before their skies look like the ones over a very large neighbor of theirs. Coal India Report Finds Renewables Will ‘Substantially Decrease’ Coal Demand
Comprehensive Study Suggests Big Potential For Urban Farming On A Global Scale. If so adopted, it could put a big dent in starvation and infant mortality rates. In some places, it would also be an economic bootstrap.
WAY TO GO, GUYS
Everybody appreciates kindness, but unfortunately our modern education system, with its materialistic goals, doesn’t have much room for inner values. We need to make people more aware of such inner values on the basis of scientific findings, common sense and common experience.
THE GREEN BEAT
HEALTH, HEALING, MEDICINE & NUTRITION
FAMILY, COMMUNITY, CULTURE & LIFESTYLE
BEST OF THE NET
DAILY 10 QUESTION TRIVIA QUIZ: This one is from Daily Email Trivia and delivered to me in mine. There is also an opportunity, the site, to take more quizzes on a wide range of subjects and to engage interactively and competitively.
THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL GENERAL STORE is a page full of mostly free stuff and several unique gifts for under $5.00//4.5 EUROS. It includes films, television episodes, gadgets and apps to make our work lives easier. So load up on the good stuff and if you have any spare change, drop it in the jar on your way out. You can even try it now and use the back browser to return to the rest of the magazine.
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
Where Narwhals Like To Hang Out Now watch. Everybody will want to go there
This will move you to tears and then make you want to stand up and cheer. Stranded Whale Cries In Terror And Pain – Then An Angel Makes Everything Okay Again
Face To Face With A Crocodile While Collecting Its Eggs Nope. Not even for God and my cousin Olya, who would not ask me to do this in the first place.
FOLKS WE FOLLOW
The Audubon Society’s February 2018 newsletter is now online and it’s a beaut. If you’ve ever wondered if woodpeckers give themselves a headache, they tell you. Laughing.
YOU GUYS THINK WE MAKE THIS STUFF UP
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