Vol. IV  No. 23

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Seattle, Washington

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller, Editor


Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, I once vowed I’d keep Internet issues mostly out of The Northstar Journal but that was a generation ago and, like it or not, online is just as much a part of “real time” as sleeping, eating, socializing on a cell phone or getting together in person.  From an historical standpoint, this is just the latest in human progress. 

Think back to about 100 years ago.  There were no telegraphs, no telephones; certainly no radio or television and definitely no internet.  We tend now to look at those times and wonder how they could have possibly survived the sheer loneliness.  I think it’s because they experienced the present in a much more dynamic way The fewer people and the less distractions, the more energy one is able to focus on those few and the resources at hand. 

Technology has provided us with an opportunity to grow and growth itself is amoral.  It doesn’t question and it defies definition.  There was a time when a person waited a year to hear their local musicians in concert at a county fair.  But they carried that music in their hearts and minds just as surely as we do when we’ve watched a good DVD. 

It’s not the technology I’m thinking about so much now as certain transcendental issues involving human behavior.  More specifically, I’m tired of hearing about inappropriate “real time” bad manners being sanctioned on the Net because said medium is supposed to be this other dimension where we’re all basically individual and the decision to be ourselves or play act is entirely our own, with no consequences to anyone else. 

That’s no truer now of the Net than it ever was in life in general.  The Internet is not an extension of reality.  It is part of reality.  We may not be able to see the individual but we can follow how he or she represents themselves in print.  That can reveal a lot.  It is the body language and the eye contact of the Net.  And billions of dollars change hands around the globe based on those perspectives, predicated on this same premise. 

I frequent several AOL chatrooms to sample the readership as it were.  The Northstar Journal was built on AOL and a fair number of you folks socialize in these same surrogate/virtual pubs and coffeehouses.  In several of these with common patrons, there was a brilliant online personality who definitely caught our attention and held it for some while.  We still don’t know for sure who she is for sure but we know now who she is not.  Yep, we’re talking chatroom identity theft.  This one came from one of you who has been with us the longest and vetted by several others of you.  We also reported the theft to the source and told the folks in the originating chatroom that’s what we’d done.  At no point did I even consider sharing this stuff with you guys. 

This person was convincing, for awhile.  But I can tell you this from personal experience.  Sometimes the more you run your mouth, the bigger it’s got to grow to accommodate the number of feet you end up putting in it.  That may or may not be well and good.  But where this particular individual crossed the line was by impersonating someone, a media professional and rising star in her profession.  Telling somebody that you are someone else and then claiming that their websites are your websites because you are them is identity theft and it’s a crime to do that online now.

The poor troubled woman who attempted this fraudulent role-playing has a history of it.  She’s good at attracting and holding interest and while she’s doing it, she’s draining energy from her audience.  We’re not getting to know the personal side of a professional we might love or hate.  We’re getting a performance we did not pay for.  I can’t say for sure whether this woman ripped anyone off financially but I can attest that she robbed a lot of us of something that is more valuable than any coin of the realm. 

She wasted our time.  And time’s not something you recover.  Therefore, in some ways, it’s worse than material property theft.  I hope this person and everybody like gets apprehended, arrested and put in jail for a long time.  These vampires don’t need to be out in healthy society, where they can feed and breed.  A decent society doesn’t deserve them and an honorable one does not tolerate them.  What we, as individuals do about them, then necessarily says a lot about us, as well, and what kind of a society we really want.  And whether that includes liars and thieves. 


 It was a day and event most of us with Irish or British ancestry never thought we’d see.  But then we reckoned without the depth of character and integrity of the United Kingdom’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.  She began a four-day visit to the Republic of Ireland Tuesday, despite a major bomb scare and threats from radical terrorist groups bent on keeping the hatred of the British alive.  It was the first royal visit to the Republic ever and the second since the Queen’s grandfather, King George V visited the island nation when it was still part of theBritish Empire.  It is very obvious to this writer that Bonny Prince Charlie is going to have an extremely tough act to follow. 

It looks like the prospects for new college graduates in Washington State to actually find jobs in the professions for which they trained are improving.  According to a recent report released by the Washington Employment Security Department, unemployment edged down from 9.2. March to 9.1 in April.  The state reported a 41,500-job gain over last year and interprets that as a slow gain in the economy.  The report also points out that it’s not just the number of positions which open up, but the type, the level and the industry or field.  I found this personally fascinating reading, so for more, please go here

We’ve been asked to weigh in on what’s happening to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund since he was arrested for sexual assault against a maid in a New York City hotel.  The Northstar Journal doesn’t believe in trying a person in the media.  But we’re also not so naïve as to believe that’s not already being done.  This case is taking on a lot of baggage because apparently Mr. Strauss-Kahn was been accused by other women of not taking no for an answer.  What makes this more interesting is the man’s arrogance and sense of entitlement.  I’m not sure this makes him any more predatory or less a threat than a repentant rapist but it strongly suggests that he’s at risk to repeat.  If he’ is guilty, he deserves to go to prison where, in a House of Correction, he will have plenty of time and opportunity to experience what it is like to be a victim of unsolicited and unwanted sexual advances.  From banker to bitch is quite a fall.  I hope it discourages and/or stops others if his ilk from making the leap.  Like Grandpa Seamus used to say. “If Good Lord had wanted us to think from below the belt buckle, most of us would be sitting on our brains instead of our butts.” 


 In British Columbia, the tax on carbon was signed into law three years ago to encourage the industrial and transportation sectors to reduce their own carbon footprint and to provide them province with another source of revenue to fund other taxes Victoria felt necessary for the general welfare.  Has the carbon tax worked?  Is it a viable option?  For the answer to these questions and more, please go here

Victoriahas its internationally renown Butchart Gardens.  Vancouver has a living green beauty all her own, as well.  For more information on her urban gardens, please go here.  For a tour, please go here

We’re delighted to report that Canadian-American journalist Dorothy Parvaz was reunited with her family at the Vancouver, BC airport last week.  The Al-Jazeera correspondent went missing shortly after landing in Syria April 29 and was totally out of contact until her release on Tuesday, May 17th.  She posted a description of her imprisonment and interrogation in Syria and in Iran on Al-Jazeera’s website and it is a compelling read. 


A comic book team in the Seattlearea has come up with one specifically targeted at teens who are being or have been bullied.  This is a labor of love that was done on donations and now needs a few more to get hard copies out to the kids for whom it was created.  For more on this one, please go here

One of the higher costs of education is the maintenance of the building involved.  The Toronto District School Board has come up with an interesting way to pay for these capital outlay necessities.  As roofs are repaired or replaced, the TSCB has solar panels installed.  Then it sells the energy to the local utility and uses that money for maintenance, repair and upgrade.  For more, yep, go here.

When Fred Lutz lost his wife of 58 years, he lost, as well, his major reason for living.  After Virginia’s death of diabetes, he went through the motions, but with no real sense of emotional connectedness.  In an attempt to find something to anchor him, he stopped by a local college to see if they had a course he liked and at which he could spend some of those lonely hours.  He turned out to find much more than a time killer.  He found a lot of warm human interaction.  And this June, at the age o 86, he’s getting his bachelor’s degree.  For the full story, please go here. 


 Sometimes, surviving hard times is knowing what we can live without and why, every once in awhile, less is better.  Canadian finance writer Garry Marr ponders the pros and cons of a second car


It has the wingspan of a major commercial passenger aircraft and flashes silvery in the sky.  It is also quiet and uses only the sun for fuel.  We’re talking about the Solar Impulse, a beautifully designed and engineered aircraft which is now making a flight around the world.  To see this technological eagle and follow her flight, please go here.

 Where once other life in the universe once seemed a remote possibility, more and more researchers believe that if life as we know it depends on water, the cosmos could literally be teeming with it.  It could be as simple as a microbe to as exotic a diversity as our oceans produce on this planet.  But it is out there and as we reach out at least into our own solar system, I imagine we’re in for some amazing discoveries.  We may find out that we’re not only the most intelligent life form in all of Creation.  We might not be the best looking, either.


Sometimes good health is also about being inspired by a tragedy someone has overcome.  Imagine for a moment being in a hospital bed, fully aware but being unable to move or speak.  Take it a step further and listen to doctors telling your significant other and your kids that you are “brain dead”.  Go yet a bit more down that road being in a room with two other patients like yourself and the family of one of them considering turning off life support as a humane measure.  All that happened to a woman in Englandand her story of survival is truly remarkable.  So grab a tissue and please go here

Having trouble with a little too much in the way of love handles or “baby” fat?  Check out this slide show of nine foods that will help you lose the weight and feel better about yourself. 


If you want to lower your risk of lung cancer by about 45 percent, here are some common foods that can do that.  The good news for me on this one is that I’m already eating most of them ~ in one form or another.  I strongly suspect that true of you as well.

 Resources & Related Links:


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 in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State. 

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 

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. 


Our thanks to Scott in Chicago for sending us this one

 If you have something you’d like to share with us, mail us at  We won’t promise to run it but we will take a good look at it.  MS(R)M


Seattle is certainly not without its own floral beauty. This was taken on Capitol Hill, not far from the Group Health Hospital. Photo by MS(R)M

Seattle Facts:

  • 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


Typical of spring in Seattle, a black bear was spotted in a patch of woods between two Bothel schools ealier this week.  It wasn’t hurting anyone and didn’t precipitate a panic.  It basically just ate and then went to sleep in a tree.  State wildlife agents waited until it came down before shooting it with tranquilizer darts and then capturing it.  It was released back in the Cascades in real good shape and is expected to do just fine. 

We really admire those who work for the preservation of life on this planet.  We’re fascinated by the lives these people live, the adventures they have, the attachments they form and the example they set for generations coming up behind.  This is the story of a lady oceanographer who is up on northern Alaska’s pack ice helpiing in a bowhead whale census.  She’s not just watching them, she counting them.  For a totally absorbing window on her life up there, please go here

It’s shades of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds in skies over Great Britain these days.  It seems they’re filled with parakeets and experts at present have absolutely no clue as to what has caused the population explosion.  Yep, for more on this one, go here.

Recommended Related Links:


If you’re reading this on Sunday, chances are the Rapture didn’t come and none of us has ascended.  I’ have noticed that these “end of the world events” seem to happen more often during tough times.  I’ve been brought up not judge how other people believe, think or live.  But these doomsayers are pushing it.  What is interesting to note is that fanatics don’t necessarily beget fanatics and even the sane ones in the family have it rough.  For a window on that world, 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 and we’ll see what we can do.  See you next time.  Be well. 



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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