Volume 4, Number 32

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seattle, Washington 

Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish SeaWell, I’m sure I’m joining my fellow Americans in thanking those elected officials whose salaries we pay for not letting America go into default.  Ambrose Bierce was once described as “a pen dipped in hell” and that’s the context of the damnation by faint praise offered here. 

I also appreciate the fact that this was also about paying active duty military personnel on time.  I didn’t know that our young men and women in uniform have had to worry about this before.  But then, I never suspected that bipartisanship could take such an incredibly toxic and lethally infantile form.  It makes me question, as I have so often, the psychology of those who aspire to govern.  I know that in the past, it has been about power, material wealth and influence. 

This is, however, the 21st Century, an age of instant communication.  And alternatives.  And more “dependence/reliance” on what we, as neighborhoods, communities, cities, states and regions can do without Permission from thePotomac.

I think so many Americans are also angry at themselves for letting this happen.  My guess now is that this is going to have a grass roots backlash.  I’m not so sure we’re going to be sending as much money to the national coffers from here on out.  I also don’t think that our elected federal representatives are going to be taken quite so seriously from here on out and I think this will be reflected in a low turnout in future elections.

 I have no doubt that we’ll come through this, as Americans, stronger and wiser.  And I am equally convinced that history will note with some admiration that we survived the elephant and the jackass both.


Lest we forgot, next week also marks the 65th anniversary of the birth of the atom as a weapon of mass destruction.  This is the weekAmerica used atomic bombs onHiroshima andNagasaki.  The above statute of a young girl who survived the initial blast but died of radiation poisoning after stands in one of the small parks on the north bank ofSeattle’s Ship Canal.  I have been toNagasaki’s Ground Zero, as aUS serviceman, and in the company of a young student/waitress who wanted us to understand.  There was an American atomic aircraft carrier inTokyoBay at the same time.  Students all overJapan rioted and we got caught in it.  We made it..  She was stoned to death and died bloody in my arms.  My flowers are among those at this girl’s feet. 

In the midst of perhaps the biggest dog and pony show of the new century, one elected official who almost lost her life to an assassin several months ago and whose prognosis was grim at best showed up in Washington, DC to make a difference.  This edition of The Northstar Journal is dedicated to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. 

Well, this is not going to come as good news to those who love Ford Motor Company products and it should certainly keep the critics of foreign auto makers like Toyotaon a shorter leash.  The American car and truck giant is recalling over a million of its pickups because the gas tank could fall off.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 

We would like to take this opportunity to wish America’s chief executive happy birthday.  President Obama turned 50 this past Tuesday, August 4.  According to my astrologically inclined friends, that would make him a Leo.  We have a lion for a national leader.  One would hope that would be an improvement over both the pachyderm and the jackass

Apparently a nutritious and healthy diet is out of the price range of many Americans.  According to a new study published jointly by the University of Washington School of Public Health.  A research team interviewed a thousand King County (greater Seattle area) regarding their eating habits and how much they spend on food.  Then they compared the prices at three of the area’s largest retain groceries.  For more on this and recommendations on how to correct for course, please go here. 

Since logging federal forest land was virtually abolished nearly 20 years ago, scientists have had an opportunity ~ with new instruments and methods ~ to more accurately measure how valuable these lofty giants are to the preservation of all other life in the region.  The results amazed even the most optimistic.  For more, please go here. 


The Canadian health care system is actually superior to any in the United States, according to a new study jointly published by American’s Cornell University and the University of Toronto

See also
Canadians can expect to live longer than Americans
U.S. longevity rates rising more slowly than Canada, others 



There’s nothing in the Book of Celebrity that says that what you’re worked so hard for needs to be shared with anyone.  And the reality is that most celebrities are also, by choice or circumstances, much busier than those who do not have a fickle public to satisfy.  Therefore, to me, it is all the more impressive when celebrities do champion causes and support them not only with donations but with proactive spokespersonship.  Here are a list of 16 who are doing exactly that. 

Ten years ago, one out of six adults in Oregon was obese.  Today, that number stands at one in four.  To see how they did it, please go here. 

He may very well be the oldest performing jazz musician on the planet and he certainly is in the Big Easy.  New Orleans native Lionel Ferbos turned 100 recently.  For an outstanding story on a charming and thoroughly ingenuous human being, please go here

A new generation of billionaire and millionaire adventurers is advancing the private/civilian exploration of the ocean, space and the environment in general in ways perhaps unheralded in over a century.  Yep, for more on these people and what they are going, please go here. 


Several years ago, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) predicted that the explosive growth of the Internet would double the planet’s use of energy.  To find out why that not only has not happened despite the anticipated growth but why energy consumption in this sector has actually declined, please go here

Windmills have probably been around as long as our species has dreamed of harnessing nature to work for us.  And they’ve come a long way since the Dutch first built them in Holland and even in the last fifty years, when they were grudgingly admitted to the power generation community.  Now, some of them have vanes as large as football fields.  For a totally fascinating “more on this one,” please go here

Well, we found this one a little spooky but apparently now, while you still can’t take it with you, you can leave some of yourself behind.  Gravestones can now include a postage-stamp sized grid on them which contains your life story, with photos, videos and music.  For more on this rather macabre application of technology, please go here. 


Veterans all over the world who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now have a new tool in their coping arsenal, thanks to a joint venture by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs (VA).  They funded the development of a free smartphone application called “The PTSD Coach.”  Introduced in April. as of July, the application had been downloaded more than 14,000 times in 41 countries, according to the VA.  As a combat veteran who has in the past suffered from PTSD, nice going folks.  Bravo Zulus all around, then, eh? 

People who skip breakfast, and according to one reliable source that’s slightly more than half of us, are definitely not doing themselves, those they work with and for, family, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens of the Planet Earth any favors.  For words and pictures both on this one, please go here.  This article also has a dozen or so ways to have a good, quick, economic first meal of the day


Sometimes, surviving cancer is about hearing how others have done it, learning from them and being inspired.  This woman tells her story in her own words.  I found it extremely and profoundly moving so yes, for more, please go here.  See also 20 Must-Know Facts About Breast Cancer and Terms Breast Cancer Patients Need To Know 

Cancer:  What You Need to Know
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 


Robert Wiedemer’s new book, “Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown,” is now for millions, the survival guide for the 21st century. Newsmax’s eye-opening Aftershock Survival Summit video, with exclusive interviews and prophetic predictions, already has affected hundreds of thousands around the world.  Despite the doomsday titles, both the book and the video are not only the predictions of a brilliant economic forecaster, the advice offered is just as solid.  I’m glad I read this and I’m encouraging everyone else I know to at least take a quick look.  For the video, 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.  

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, Idaho, 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.


My neighbors have interesting hobbies. Photo by MSM


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, ranking it 41st in rainy US cities
More Seattle Facts & Figures
Upcoming Events
Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera


Rusty Miller – Writer/Editor For Hire for everything from business letters to data entry to editing and proofing, to speech writing and special projects, you’ll find it here at negotiable rates.  I don’t consider any request too small and I don’t take on any that are too large.  For a full list of services and more information, please go here

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. 

Sponsorships:  The Northstar Journal is now accepting sponsorships from individuals, organizations, causes, etc. in which we believe.  Sponsorships begin at $5.00 a week for a simple small logo and link to the source.  Ads more elaborate than that are negotiated and charged on an individual basis.  For more details, email us at minstrel312@aol.com or click on the graphic above. 

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


We can’t honestly say this is something every parent dreams of but when two local lads found something big and strange in a tidal pool near their home, everybody involved handled it pretty well.  To see what these kids found, please go here

The search for a recently extinct species of predatory carnivorous marsupial leads a man and his three sons to Australia.  I found this saga totally absorbing so yes, for more, please go here

The Western Pond Turtle, once thought extinct in Washington State, may, in fact, still be hanging in there.  One was discovered on a country road north of Seattle.  Folks at the Woodland Park Zoo are taking care of it now and people living around Edmonds are now watching out for another one.  For a photo of this “home on my back” cutie, please go here

Oceana:  The National Geographic of the World’s Oceans
How to Behave Around Bears
Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera
National Wildlife Magazine
Go Northwest:  Northwest Wildlife Websites
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals


I love Oregon with the heart of an adopted native son but I also have to note, having said that, it is also because the state and I have two things in common.  We are magnets for anything weird.  There’s actually a pub in Bend now that caters to people who like to exercise and drink beer when they move about town.  It’s a cable car style bar on wheels whose patrons sit at ‘stools,’ sipping their suds and pedaling.  I looked pretty carefully at the photos, though, and I didn’t see a bathroom.  I guess that’s one of the bugs they’re working out of a concept that is probably going to sweep the nation like a sudsy tsunami.  Cheers, then, eh? 

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

Until next week then, eh? Take care, stay well and God Bless.


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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.