Volume 4, Number 33

Sunday, August 15, 2011

Seattle, Washington

Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it’s certainly been an interesting week on Wall Street, eh?  With all due respect to the turf that madeAmerica great, I’m glad me and mine are not heavily invested in pieces of paper whose worth seems as constant and predictable as the seven faces of Eve, no disrespect intended to the mood-challenged here. 

It’s been described variously as a rollercoaster, an American military combat pilot of GI speed and as a harbinger of Dickensian hard times to come.  Everyone who can tell Dow Jones from Dow Chemical is interpreting for the rest of us paper-securities uninformed and the most intelligent comment I heard all week is the same one the Chamber of Commerce here inSeattletries to sell to the tourists. 

Ignore what happens on a daily basis and look at it from a longer and broader perspective.  That certainly gives me hope as I view an international economy so incestuously interwoven that an earthquake in Asia can cause layoffs in Seattle and Wichita and where the economic alpha nations can dictate fundamental life issues, such as birth control in Africa and the right to advocate the overthrow of the government in China without going to prison for it to the rest of the global hoi polloi. 

For some of the millions of small time “players” in America, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Australia, Japan and all the flags The Northstar Journal does NOT reach, investing in the stock market is an attempt to provide a secure future for themselves and their families.  And unfortunately, these people can be wiped out in a single afternoon if the Market panics.  That’s happened often, just like Boeing layoffs, inSeattle.  And those have occurred so often that the very engineers, line workers and office personnel that this major aircraft company needs now are going, “Ummm, I don’t think so.  I’d rather work for half the wage for ten years than double the salary for three years out of ten.” 

I predict we’re going to see an evolution in small investor philosophy as more and more of us look to small, local, more modest enterprises in which to invest.  I believe, as well, that we’re going to see an upsurge in hard commodities markets.  As the NSJ grows, I plan on again investing in regional art, alternative energy and transportation, a promising young musician or scientist and in gold, jewelry and other things I can reach out and touch, things that won’t be influenced by developments on the other side of the planet. 

Since there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about the rollercoaster or the weather, it’s time to get off the former and pack an umbrella in the knapsack for the latter.  It’s probably also good I intend to do that before the City ofNew Yorktakes a good hard look at Wall Street and decides it need affordable parking more. 


The face of America has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and in ways that might actually surprise, if not shock.  Yes, for more on this, please go here.

 Unemployment insurance applications in America are the lowest they have been in four months.  To understand how this factors into a guardedly optimistic economic forecast, please go here.

 It is estimated that by the middle of this century, 70 percent of the earth’s human population will be living in cities.  The preponderance of major metropolitan areas on the globe are also death traps when compared to the quality of rural living.  There is, however, a comprehensive and concerted effort to de-toxify the Main Streets of the world.  To learn how you can join and or support this movement, yep, please go here.

 The US Postal Service (USPS) plans to cut nearly a quarter million employees from its payroll and close 300 post offices.  For an idea of how that will impact Small Town America, please go here.


Anyone who follows the “small is beautiful” housing movement has to have spent some time looking at Vancouver as a leader in this field.  For another reason why and to imagine yourself living in an 89 square foot house, yep, go here

It appears that some extremely tech heavy Canadians are drawing a line where tweeting is concerned.  When it comes to vacationing in provincial parks, they want to hear birds doing it and nothing else.  The NSJ totally concurs, so for more on this one, please go here. 


History and the daily headlines both strongly suggest that courage in the face of adversity ~ particularly in the wake of nature’s fury ~ is not the exclusive province of a single race, religion, gender or nationality.  It is a trait of our species not to go gently into that good night but to cling to life by faith and short fingernails.  Never has that been more graphically illustrated for me than by this letter from a survivor of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which rocked Japan earlier this year.  This edition of the Northstar Journal is dedicated to Aoki, Ji Woo, Lee Mi, Misumi and Yoko, new friends and dear friends from Kyoto.  I wish we had met under better circumstances. 

While millions of well fed people in the world are worried about the fate of the starving in Africa and global relief agencies join the pantheon, seeking aid for these unfortunate people during one of the worst economic times in recent memory, one young man in Ghana is cutting through all the red tape and making a difference.   

America’s 45th rainiest city is getting onboard with solar energy in a big way.  To see how and why that works for them (us), yep, go here. 


If ever there was a need for the techno community to organize, link up and engage in the restoration and preservation of the planet, it is certainly now and America is launching a good example in these regards


Like an estimated 40-million Americans, I suffer occasionally from lower back pain and I’ve tried several remedies for it.  I didn’t realize there was one which actually works for me and does not involve jacking my immune system around with chemical medications.  Yep, for more on this, go here

For expectant parents who really care whether the new life they’re bringing into the world is female or male, there is a new test out there which can provide that information as early as seven weeks into the pregnancy


There is a new screening tool now available to the oncology community which has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths.  Yes, for more on this one, by all means, go here. 


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 


This one isn’t deep philosophy but I thought it was interesting from a “truth in advertising” point of view.  There is a famous restaurant in New York City which advertises a lobster soup that isn’t all that it seems.  Even though they’ve been “outed” in this regard, customers are hardly turning away.  Why?  Because it tastes so darn good.  Yep, for this one, please go here


We received a rather moving response to an item in Other News last week.

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 a message dated 8/7/20116:53:39 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Raccoons31@aol.com writes: 

I’m not sure I understand this…You were in Japanand students rioted against the brutality of the atom bomb yet they stoned a young girl to death. Something is wrong with the logic there. All life is precious….stoning or harming is never OK. I don’t understand people at all. :O( 

Those students rioted because one of their people was escorting several Westerners to a very sacred place where, at the time, they felt we did not belong.  I’ve also noticed one thing about a mob mentality ~ regardless of culture ~ and that is that logic and reason are more valued in the breech than in the observance.  I might have added that we were sailors in uniform at the time but the incident I shared with you was unfortunately typical of their reaction to Westerners in general at the time.  I’m in close contact with this latest generation of Japanese and it doesn’t seem likely this will happen again.  I noted it because I sincerely hope not, regardless the alleged target involved.  I’d like your permission to share this under FROM YOU GUYS in the next edition, along with my response.  In any event, it is real nice to hear from you and I hope that where you are is a little cooler than most of the country is or has been for some while. 

In a message dated 8/7/2011 7:13:21 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Raccoons31@aol.com writes:

You may share my comments. I am just in shock over the stoning. I don’t get it. I just don’t get the brutality at all. : 

I honestly don’t either.  But I do know that if enough people to whom such brutality is simply not acceptable refuse to allow it to be so, eventually, it simply ceases to exist as an option.  We are, in terms of the other species on this planet, still in our youth and, as my notorious Grandpa Fergus was wont to say, “We really aren’t doing that bad for a species created on God’s last working day, with what was left over.”  Thank you once again for your response.  Take care, stay well and God Bless.  Warmest regards, MSM 

And on a lighter note, have you ever seen flying sharks?  No, I’m not kidding.  Well, okay, maybe a little.  It’s a new toy and to watch it in action, please go here.  Liz, thank you very much for this. 


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, 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. 


Neighbors relaxing on a summer day. Yep, in “soggy Seattle”. (smile) Photo by MSM


America’s 45th rainiest city is getting onboard with solar energy in a big way.  To see how and why that works for them (us), yep, 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, ranking it 41st in rainy US cities
More Seattle Facts & Figures
Upcoming Events
Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera 


Any media professionals interested in relocating to the Greater Seattle area?  Microsoft is looking for a good PR person.  For details, http://bit.ly/ostsPs 


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. 


A Madison, Wisconsin bat who tried to save himself a lot of flying to Georgia by hitching a ride on a Delta flight to Atlanta was discovered after stretching his wings and moving from third class to first.  He was subsequently confined in one of the aircraft’s restrooms and the plane returned to Madison.  Before authorities could question the flying rodent, however, it escaped.  It is not believed to be connected with any terrorism, domestic or foreign, but the FAA has issued an advisory calling for closer scrutiny of ALL passengers great and small. 

This one comes from the Pacific Northwest and it is about seven laboratory chimpanzees who found a good home in rural Washington, simply because some caring human beings decided these creatures were worth more, in and of themselves, than any possible benefits making them sick and confined to the equivalent of a small penitentiary for the rest of their lives.  In an age when computer models are accomplishing so much more, this seems like not only a compassionate decision, but an appropriate one. 

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 


Well, here’s something that not every one I know wakes up to very often in their backyard.  Yep, for this one, you get to 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




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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