Vol. IV No. 27
Monday, July 4, 2011
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, of course we’re wishing America a happy 235th birthday. In this house, with roots in bothCanada and the States, that means two fireworks displays to watch, etc. And yep, definitely a reason to appreciate the birth and survival of both nations.
This past week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Canada on her birthday, July 1. Prince William spoke with the simple elegance of a citizen soldier, which he also is, like so many “Brits.” Rather than celebrate the relationship between theUnited Kingdom andCanada, he reaffirmed it.
He praised the Canadian Forces for a job well done in Afghanistan(Canadais ending its military commitment there and bringing her troops home this month). He reminded us of other wars in which the sons and daughters of the Maple Leaf have served well. Valor is as much a part of the Canadian character as it is the American. The Maple Leaf just does it with a bit less fanfare. But the sacrifices her citizens have made in the name of freedom rank with any nation ever conceived and it is this that Prince William so simply acknowledged on Canada’s 144th birthday.
America has had a different history. She had more to offer, in a warmer climate, thanCanada, which was largely valued for its beaver pelt trade. Many thrones attempted to colonizeAmerica. Canadajust had two, the English and the French. In the remarkable coexistence of two such diametrically opposed influences lies the secret toCanada’s quiet strength and enduring bilingualism.
Americawas not so fortunate. Being about straight across from southernFranceandSpain, she was warmer and richer agriculturally. She had a vast seaboard and a rich harvest of theAtlanticas well. She was also primitive enough ~ likeAustralia~ to serve as a dumping ground for the undesirables of a shifting and revolutionaryEurope. Also, likeAustralia,America had an indigenous population and coexistence was apparently not an option. All things considered, the simple politics of colonial America dwarfed those of Canada.
So while one nation grew quietly, loyal to an essentially benevolent monarch, and earned her freedom patiently, the other sought to send the same message to all the thrones ofEuropeand ofRussia, as well. While we, as Americans, might respect the traditions, there are just too many of them that don’t work for us. So we are making our own and let no monarch presume.
It was a brave and daring experiment, declaring one’s self independent of most of the Western world. And it was bloody. It also involved genocide, slavery and a host of other traits and characteristics that in some form manifest themselves in the evolution of every nation. Americahas been eloquent in its love of freedom and equality. On more than one occasion, it has also been incredibly hypocritical in these regards and remains so to some degree even today.
But it is also true that this polyglot land of the Statue of Liberty andGuantanamoBayjoined the family of nations early and despite the mistakes it has made in these regards, remains a devoted member so today. If any other nation of such relative youth can step forward and claim to have done more than this presumptuous eagle in defending that family, let it do so now. If there are none, let all nations also learn from the goodAmericaand Americans have done.
It was once said that the sun never set on the Union Jack. It is also true that the sun cannot ever set on American valor and the ultimate sacrifice her citizens have made for freedom.
Happy birthday,America. Nice going, guys.
IN OTHER NEWS
Well, it looks like the idealism which started the Green Movement back in the Sixties will not die out with the Baby Boom generation. Apparently, this generation of college graduates thinks that environmental causes and concerns are very cool. Volunteerism is up and they are flocking to green positions that are themselves proliferating, now that we’ve decided, as a species, to clean up the messes we’ve made and try to cultivate better planetary hygiene habits. It also helps that during a major economic down time, another major industry is evolving.
One of the best friends I ever had and an older brother role model for me was an American Southerner who started with the space industry in time to lead the design team which built the capsule Americaused to launch a monkey into space. His name was Russell Anderson League, Jr. Since his time, the global family has sent a lot of stuff into orbit. There’s now a ring like one of Saturn’s rings. Only it’s stuff that we sent up, used until it expired or broke, and then just deleted from the database because we didn’t know how to get it back or hoped it would totally disintegrate in the earth’s atmosphere. Fine as far as it goes. Except we have something real important which also orbits Earth and is definitely not junk. We have an international space station up there. And guess what? Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
In a tribute to the ongoing unreliability of fossil fuel delivery systems and the flagrant lack of concern for the health of the end user when such systems fail, we note that Exxon has once again managed to screw up monumentally in these regards. And in one of the most beautiful parks in the United States. Under a river running through this particular stretch of God’s Half Acre. Nice going, Exxon. You guys never learn, do you? For more on this one, please go here.
As we mentioned earlier, the Maple Leaf is playing host to one of the Queen’s grandsons and his new bride. Officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, they are more affectionately referred to as William and Kate. In America, it might seem presumptuous to refer to the President and First Lady as Barack and Michelle but Canadians are on much more comfortable terms with royalty. They like and they dislike and while they are not particularly fond of William’s father, Charles, Prince of Wales ~ this in part because of his treatment of Diane Spencer, Princess of Wales ~ they have taken this royal couple into their arms as they yet adore his mother and revere the Queen. I had the opportunity to experience, vicariously, the Canada Day celebration in Ottawa. It was in the low 90s/33 C. It is estimated that some 300,000 turned out in person. That’s about 11 percent of the entire population. It has been suggested that about 50 percent of Canadians have no use for the royals or even the concept of royalty. That still leaves the other half and when a third of a million people show up on a hot day, that’s got to say something. A friend of mine in Regina put it this way. “Some of us love our royals. Sue us.” I agree. When two people like William and Kate can make 18 million people feel good about themselves and their world, royalty will always stand for something fine and decent in Canada. As a final somber note, Friday, Canada Day, would have been Princess Diana’s 50th birthday. I suspect wherever she is, she is proud of both her sons.
One of the best examples of my life was a Trinity Alps rancher who revered the land, believed that you could rent it but never own it and that for the most part, it was best taken as it is, rather than transforming it. He also believed that the high peaks ~ because they were at the end of roads considerably less traveled ~ retained the same healing powers attributed to them by, in his case, the Shasta Indians. He’d be pleased to watch this video about how a place, near wear I live now, is doing just that for some very special young people in a home for kids without parents. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
In its pioneering heyday, Seattlegot most of what its citizens needed by large sailing vessels which plied the oceans of the world and by a swarm of wooden boats, also equipped by sale, which plied the inland waters of the SalishSea, aka the Puget Sound. Moribund for over a century, the “mosquito fleet” ~ albeit on a very modest scale ~ is re-emerging on the SalishSeaand on the Pacific NorthwestCoast. To learn more about how this colorful chapter of history is becoming a precursor of things yet to come, yep, please go here.
The mission of Common Threads Farms is “to connect kids to food, community, and environment through seed-to-table education.” They’re doing that on 11-1/2 acres of ‘urban farmland’ the Fairhaven District of Bellingham, Washington, a community of 81,000 at the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fucha, a half hour’s drive from the Canadian border crossing at Blaine. It’s a combination petting zoo, working farm, hands on gardening and cooking classes aimed at kids from about six to nine years of age. This is definitely something that could be emulated other places so yep, for more on this one, please go here.
SURVIVING HARD TIMES
Sometimes, surviving hard times is about knowing the difference between reality and a consumer myth. One that the Nutrition Nazis have a lot of us sold on is that truly healthy food is more expensive than the alleged junk stuff. I’m sure that it can be but I wear cotton, not mink and I don’t buy my bean sprouts at Tiffany’s. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
NATURE ADVENTURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & EXPLORATION
Apparently, more residential owners are buying small wind generators and the increase has been steady over nearly a decade, from 2,100 units sold in 2001 to 2009’s nearly 10,000. These small wind turbines cost $35,000 — $50,000 and the average American household spends about $1,200 a year on electricity. At that rate, one of these units would pay for itself in about 29 years, IF it was the sole source of this kind. On the other hand, in this form, this is relatively new technology and if industrial history repeats itself, as these become more popular and more effort is put into making them stronger, cheaper and more durable ~ kind of like the Model T of small wind turbines ~ it is anticipated the relative price of these will go down. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
Thanks to the continued evolution of micro-technology and robotics, battlefields are becoming more and more depersonalized as the destruction goes on by remote control. Flying drones ranging in size from a butterfly to a single-engine Cessna are engaged in everything from reconnaissance to political assassination. What’s even cooler is that in some cases, these lethal instruments of war are “flown” by people thousands of miles removed from the battlefield. Yep, it was one of those that took out Osama bin Laden. The only possible down side to this that we can see is that as war becomes more like a video game, it might also become easier to wage. Unless, of course, one happens to be on the receiving end. Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m going to be a casualty of conflict, I want it to be up close and personal for the person who offs me to possibly feel bad about it. For more on this one, please go here.
Because migraine headaches have symptoms in common with other conditions, it is entirely possible to have this more severe form of brain pain and not be aware that is what it is. And, of course, if one misdiagnoses, one often mis-medicates. For example ,medical experts estimate that 80 percent of what, in lay terms are called “sinus headaches,” are, in fact, migraines. According to the National Headache Foundation, approximately 20.5 million people inAmericasuffer from migraine headaches. Migraines occur most commonly between the ages of 15 and 55 but they are not uncommon in preschoolers and elementary school-age children either. Frequency usually peaks at 40-50 years of age and subsides thereafter in both men and women. Up to 80% of migraineurs have a family history of migraine headache. For more on this and how to diagnose and treat it, please seek the links provided below:
ON THE CANCER FRONT
A drug popular for fighting breast cancer is itself fighting for its life now. The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that it is actually ineffective in fighting this disease. Avastin is FDA-approved for various types of colon, lung, kidney and brain cancer. It apparently never was recommended for breast cancer.
RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society Cancer Research Journal National Cancer Institute (American) Fighting Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Survivor Stories Science Daily: Health & Medicine News
DEFINITELY SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Next time you’re thinking about taking the car instead of walking or riding your bank, don’t just consider the cost to your carbon footprint but what that litre or gallon of gasoline actually costs all of us. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
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.
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,I daho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State.
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.
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.
SEATTLE FACTSPopulation: 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, ranking it 41st in rainy US cities More Seattle Facts & Figures Upcoming Events Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera
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We’ve all heard that rusty old saw, “It’s a dog eat dog world,” right? It might interest you to know that apparently, it’s also a bird eat bird world, from the largest to the meekest. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
And this has got to come as real good news to hikers in the NorthCascadesPark, which stretches along the Canadian border in WashingtonState. In addition to the local and relatively good-natured black bear of the area, this past year, for the first time in a very long time, the feared grizzly bear has also been photographed. For more on this one, please go here.
Recommended Related Links:Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera National Wildlife Magazine Go Northwest: Northwest Wildlife Websites BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals Retrieverman’s Weblog: — Engaging articles on domestic & wildlife in the American South Bugguide.net – More than most of us ever wanted to know about these critters The National Park Service’s endangered species database Center for Biological Diversity — profiles for a wide range of rare flora and fauna The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List – a comprehensive database for rarities around the planet
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Well, it looks like more and more people who had their right to possess firearms revoked for mental health reasons are now getting them back if they can stay level long enough to show that they’ve got the symptoms under control and are taking their medication. All this one guy in Virginiahad to do was go through a real informal hearing before the equivalent of a traffic court judge. Now he’s got his 14 long guns and three sidearms back. He himself admitted it wasn’t real hard. This restoration of arms to the mentally disabled isn’t just becoming a popular trend on the state level. The federal Department of Veterans Affairs gave the right to (own) and bear arms back to 100.000 former combat veterans once diagnosed too troubled to be trusted with them. I believe in a self-correcting universe. What I cannot figure out about this one is the logic behind arming former mental patients. If they just shot one another, it might remotely be a population control device in action. I think compassion is a great thing but contrary to popular misconception, happiness for most of us is NOT a warm gun. I don’t even like smoking ones anymore. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
Well, that’s about it for this week. If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next, please go here.
Take care, stay well and God Bless