• Vol. IV  No. 21
  • Sunday, May 8, 2011
  • Seattle, Washington

Merritt Scott (Mishka) Miller, Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Today, Sunday, May 8, 2011, is Mother’s Day in not only Canada and the United States but in 52 other countries around the world.  It is also celebrated on other days in about 140 other nations around the globe, making it possibly the most universally commemorated holiday on the planet.  That should not come as any surprise.  Most people I know wouldn’t be here without a mother playing some part in that process, eh? 

It’s also a holiday that has been around since the dawn of civilization.  The Egyptians, ancient Romans, Greeks and Europeans celebrated it.  In America, Juliet Ward Howe, the 19th Century literary giantess who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, first proclaimed it a national holiday in 1870 but it was actually another woman, Anna Jarvis, who successfully lobbied for it.  West Virginia was the first state to recognize it (in 1912) and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it an official American national holiday.  For an excellent source of historical detail on this one, please go here

On a more practical level, a mother’s love is admittedly priceless but we thought it would be cool to see how much it would cost if someone else did the work at the prevailing wage.  Based upon our research, we’ve concluded that mothers are dramatically underpaid unless you’re laying out about $115,000 for a stay at home model and $62,000 for a working mom, not counting her other job salary.  To see how we arrived at these figures, please go here

To each and every mother out there, then, thank you.


 Next time you’re trapped in rush hour traffic, take some solace in this.  If you think it’s crowded out there now, do NOT hope to live as long as some of the people in the Bible.  As of this writing, there are 7-billion of us cabbages in the global patch now.  By the dawn of the next century, that will be to 10-billion of us, unless dramatic population control measures are taken.  Part of this, ironically, can be attributed to advances in medical science, nutrition and peace, all factors which are extending human longevity.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

 Not surprisingly, since the demise of Osama bin Laden, American President Barack Obama’s esteem among the national constituency has skyrocketed, even among those who did not vote for him in the first place.  We have long contended that the American Public is an interesting creature to watch.  With unemployment as high as it has been since the dawn of the Great Recession and economic recovery still in a stall mode, things for which the Eagle’s chief executive has been castigated for a daily basis, it’s nice to know that Mr. Obama has been forgiven for this now that he’s been credited for the success of a military operation which spans three presidential terms and just happened to culminate successfully during his administration.

 Our favorite international fossil fuel corporation is apparently making good on causing the largest oil spill in the history of Alaska’s North Slope.  British Petroleum is laying out $25-million in fines and $60-million to upgrade its operation in America’s 49th state.  And the drilling continues.  Sigh.

 In a tribute to the totally chimerical nature of weather, while much of the southern portion of the United Statesis reeling from the worst flooding and tornados since 1925, the Great Plainsis experiencing a profound drought.  One small town in Oklahomais experiencing the worst drought in its plus-one hundred year history.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.


 We are profoundly grateful to report that a Penticton, British Columbiawoman who, with her husband, was stranded for seven weeks in a remote part of Nevadaenroute to Las Vegas, has been found alive.  A hospital spokesman in Idahoreports that she is expected to make a full recovery.  Sadly, her husband, who set out to find help, remains missing.  For more on this remarkable tale of survival, please go here.

Canada’s economy continues a gradual but sustained improvement with the addition of 51,000 jobs in April.  The unemployment rate now stands at 7.6 percent and although the recent gain was mostly in part-time employment, full time work continues to climb faster.  For more on this, please go here.


 The Old West and solar energy are not a connection I suspect most of us would make.  But from personal experience living and working there, I can tell you that in Oregon, such anomalies are more common than not.  For an interesting look at a place where solar panels might just outnumber the descendants of John Wayne and the Marlboro man, yep, please go here.

 During the Green versus Timber wars that made Oregonsuch an interesting place to live in the last two decades of the 20th Century, a handful of people who represented neither side pushed for economic diversity and in particular, using forest products in ways that predated commercial logging and the shipping of whole trees abroad to places like Japan.  In pioneer times, for example, people made furniture, homes, horse-drawn transportation, boats, ships, homes and toys out of the timber they cut.  This concept failed in the 1980s and 1990s because neither side was willing to entertain that option.  We’re therefore pleased to find out that in Seattle, where we’re living now, local merchants and crafts people are using the bounty of local forests in ways very similar.  This is an exportable so to learn more, please go here.

 The Great Recession is having some unexpectedly good consequences in Seattle, in terms of maximizing the use of less space, creating more affordable housing and reducing a shrinking carbon footprint.  Welcome the birth of the aPODment, a studio apartment replete with kitchenette and bathroom, which occupies about 100 square feet.  That’s about the size of a college dorm room or a two-prisoner jail cell, depending on your orientation.  Yep, for more, please go here.


 Sometimes surviving hard times is not a matter of preventing them but adapting to them and the nine-county region which comprises the San Francisco, California Bay Areas is preparing to that as climate change becomes a matter not of “if,” but of “when.”  Measures being taken range from installing extra cooling units in public buildings in anticipation of heat waves to propping up shore line houses on stilts as the ice caps melt and the ocean rises.  The State of Californiathis week released a 21-page report entitled “Climate Change Hits Home”.   For salient portions and how residents are reacting, please go here.


Since so many of us consider coffee the source of the energy that gets us moving and keeps us going, I totally could not resist snapping this one. It is located on 45th Avenue North in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.


The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) last week selected the 11 Walk Friendly Communities in America and Seattle.came in first.  Other winners included. Ann Arbor, Mich., Arlington, Va., Hoboken, N.J.. Santa Barbara, Calif., Charlottesville, Va.Decatur, Ga.Austin, Texas, Charlotte, N.C.Flagstaff, Ariz. and Wilsonville, Ore.   For more on this one, please go here


  • Population:                   612.000
  • GreaterSeattleArea      3,707,400
  • Area:                            84 sq mi/217 sq km
  • Density:                        7,286 people per sq mi/2,821 per sq km
  • Annual Rainfall:             36.2 inches/92 cm
  • Compared to:
  • San Francisco                     19.5 in —  50 cm
  • Chicago                               34.5 in —  88 cm
  • Dallas                                   37.1 in –  94 cm
  • Washington,DC                  39.0 in —  99 cm
  • New York City                      40.3 in –102 cm

 More Seattle Facts & Figures

Upcoming Events


 I’ve said it before and it’s true again.  I love it when one of my favorite foods also has supreme health benefits.  I’m talking about garbanzo beans, aka chick peas.  They’re a rich source of Vitamin B6 which prevents DNA damage and the kind of genetic mutations which cause, among other things, cancer.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

 Okay, I found this one more than a little weird but it’s worth the warning nonetheless.  If you’re fond of eating armadillos, stop.  They can apparently carry Hansen’s disease which is more popularly known as leprosy.  For more details and the bridge the credibility gap, go here.


 The odds are one in a thousand but it does happen.  A pregnant woman contracts cancer.  To see how one brave mother to be handled this medical bolt of lightning from the sky, please go here.

 We’ve always known Brits have grit.  Anyone who has ever studied World War II history and particularly what the UKfaced when standing alone against the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain cannot fail to be impressed.  Some 71 years later, that upper lip remains stiff.  Check out this story ~ courtesy of the Daily Mail ~ about a five-year-old cancer victim who is paying for his own treatment by selling drawings of his favourite monsters.


Science Daily:  Health & Medicine News


 Celtic Woman is The Northstar Journal’s favourite musical performance group.  When it is inspiration in a song we seek, they invariably provide it and they look as good as they sound.  The production values of their performances, whether at the Helix in Dublin or on a television stage in Adelaide, are flawless.  Perhaps most endearing for me is that these Irish ladies are totally ingenuous, and totally free of pretense or posturing.  They have a global following and for a sampling of why, please go here.

 (The) Clearwater Marine Aquarium inFlorida is the home of Winter, the rescued dolphin who was fitted with a prosthetic fluke and continues to amaze marine lovers the world over by her recovery.  The CMA is in the marine mammal rescue business for real, both as a public amusement site at which they also take care of a variety of species, and on the web as well.  Their videos and other information also make for a nice “educational” experience to share with others.

Finding Rootedness is perhaps the most empowering blog we have yet come across for those of us who value positive and empowering alternatives.  This one is for the window pushers among us.  It offers not only solid alternatives to the chaos but news of where these options are being successfully implemented.

Irish Newsletter is an outstanding pocket source of Irish life, politics and times.  Particularly well written are their news snaps (shorts) which ~ according to friends of mine inErin ~ literally tell it like it is.  While theRepublic ofIreland’s population is only about 4.5-million, there are an estimated 80 million people of Irish descent worldwide and email version of this reached 50,000 of them.

Rusty Miller – Writer/Editor For Hire is my professional home page.  Contracts I receive through this site help finance The Northstar Journal.

Sightline Daily is the bestPacific Northwest source of environmentally friendly news we’ve encountered yet.  They draw from newspapers and National Public Radio sources inAlaska,Alberta,British Columbia,California,Idaho,Montana,Nevada,Oregon andWashingtonState.

The Northstar Gallery features photography ofSeattle available as postcards, computer wallpaper and workspace art. 

The Northstar General Store is a truly unique online shopping experience and reflects what you, the readers, have said interests you the most.  Whether it’s a specialty food item for that proverbial someone who has everything else or just to browse with some discretionary capital to spend on a whim, you’ll find everything from quality camping gear to interesting CDs, DVDs and books to totally fun and otherwise useless toys, women and men’s apparel and a wide variety of other items and wares you simply will not find under a single roof anywhere else on the Net.  And by shopping here, you help us pay our bills.  To enter and check it out, please click the picture of the store above. 

Words Matter: How Media Can Build Civility or Destroy It is a “Should Read” for any of us involved in the communication of the written word. 

Wrath of the Testament, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available for $3.99 at amazon.com. 

Yes magazine is the online Life and Look of the Internet combined and their present series “What Happy Families Know is both insightful and inspirational. 


When a 130-lb. ewe plotted her escape from her pen on Washington State’s South Whidbey Island, it was one of those “it sure seemed like a good idea at the time” plans.  She had not, however, factored in the reaction of a visiting sheep shearer from Talybont-on-Usk in Wales.  Yep, she got clipped, big time.  For more on this slice of life in the great American Pacific Northwest, please go here

We had the opportunity to catch the trailer to a film which sounds like it just might be the critter inspiration of the century.  Starring Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, it’s the story of Winter, a dolphin who lost her fluke, and the humans who rescued her, took her in and built her a new one.  The Warner Brothers film is scheduled for release on September 23, 2011.  For the trailer, some very interesting facts about Winter and the making of the movie and more information in general, please go here

Recommended Related Links:


The bad news is that The Boeing Aircraft Company charged the US Army $644.75 for a tiny, black plastic motor gear that cost another Pentagon agency $12.51.  The good news is that after they were caught doing it, they refunded the difference.  For more on this dog and pony show involving America’s second largest defense contractor, please go here

Well, that’s it for this week.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next, please go here

And if you’re in a shopping mood and into some interesting choices?  We have a “reader stocked” General Store that you might want to check out.  We’ve stocked a bit of everything from camping gear and cookware, specialty food items, books, music, films and fun/interesting/weird things that just somehow found their way onto the shelves at night when we were asleep. 

If you would like to sell something with us or know someone who does, email us at minstrel312@aol.com and we’ll see what we can do.  See you next time.  Be well.

Mishka, and with special thanks to our new friend, Tatyana, in Noyabrsk, Russia


About minstrel312

MERRITT SCOTT MILLER Bio Wrath of the Testament Author and Northstar Journal editor Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller is a former newspaper reporter who has published extensively in the Pacific Northwest and several times nationally. A U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, he began his career in the alternative media of the mid-Seventies. His own Sacramento-based monthly ~ Rapline ~ drew praise from Sacramento BEE metro columnist Herb Michelson in a column published that that newspaper; and from Berkeley Film Quarterly editor and author of the bestsellers Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging, Ernest Callenbach. A Northern California native with roots in British Columbia, Mr. Miller has written for several Northwest community newspapers, United Press International, the daily Portland Oregonian and for such Seattle publications as the Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Press and the University Herald. As an investigative reporter for the McMinnville, Oregon News-Register ~ and in conjunction with CBS News in New York, Washington, DC and Flagstaff, Arizona ~ Mr. Miller localized a story of alleged Contra gun-running by an international air freight company headquartered in that Willamette Valley community. During the 1987 Angel Complex Fire in southern Oregon, Mr. Miller worked as the lead dispatcher for the U.S. Forest Service and covered the disaster for National Public Radio and as a special writer for the Portland, Oregonian. His 1988 series on child abuse for a rural weekly earned him praise from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. In his career as a journalist, Mr. Miller has interviewed a Nobel peace laureate; an internationally renowned abstract artist; a popular folksinger and various Pacific Northwest elected officials, include a state treasurer and governor. An accomplished travel book writer, Mr. Miller has penned demographic and feature copy for the “Best Choices” series on Eastern Washington, British Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina and Atlanta. As either a contract or staff publicist, he has served a host of clients including the Olympia Music Festival, Umpqua Valley Community Hospital, the City of Canyonville, the Tiller Ranger District, The English School, the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners, Yamhill County Assessor Kim Worrell and Workers of Oregon Development. His freelance publications include: United Press International, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Portland Oregonian, Forest World, American Trucking, Trucks, Oregon Adventures, Oregon Education, Old Oregon, The Entertainer, the Seattle Press, the San Juan Island Sounder, Northwest Passage, Northwest Connection, Seattle Source, Seattle Forum, the University of Colorado’s Writers Forum, Clouds, The long Beach Literary Journal and the Pacific Media Group. He has worked since the age of 13 and has been a hop harvester, professional musician, civil servant, forester, convenience market clerk, lumber mill worker, temporary word processor, technical writer and editor. He has also led a social services research and development team and has six years of radio and telephone communications experience. His interests include astronomy, aviation, camping, Canada, communications, conversation, cooking, dancing, economic development, education, environmentalism, exploration, film/DVDs, fine dining, government, green technology, health. History, human rights, International community, Internet media, law, literature, marine engineering & design, medicine, music, nature, networking, outdoors, pets, photography, romance, science, sexuality, technology, travel, water, wildlife His honors and awards include: Letter of Appreciation - Amnesty International; US Senator Patti Murray Letter of Appreciation for The Northstar Journal Blog; Editors Choice, International Library of Poetry; Congressman Edward Murray Letter of Appreciation; Congressman Frank Chopp Letter of Appreciation; Hersch Best Read on the Net Award for The Northstar Journal; President Bill Clinton Letter of Appreciation; Workers Of Oregon Development Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Police Department Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Mayor’s Office Certificate of Appreciation; California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird Letter of Appreciation; Northwest Magazine Editorial Board Letter of Appreciation for Rain; Editorial Award, Society of Professional Journalists; Sacramento Bee Metro Column; Honor Roll: California State University Long Beach; Deans List: Long Beach City; Mr. Miller currently resides in Seattle, Washington, where he continues to edit and publish The Northstar Journal. He is working on two novels concurrently and a sequel to Wrath of the Testament.
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