Winner of Two Hersh Best Read On The Net Awards

Volume 4, Number 34

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Seattle, Washington

Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor

And in loving memory of Shannon Patricia Goddard Mills, Canadian editor emeritus

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  As are so many of you this night, the Northstar Journal is on hurricane watch.  We come out on Sunday afternoon so you folks can read us “after church,” as it were.  At this writing, Irene has just come ashore inNorth Carolina and is ravaging vast portions of the Atlantic seaboard.  When we were all still wondering where Irene would land, a couple of you in New Jersey were hoping the angry lady would elect Newark, in the not entirely unjustified belief that as obnoxious as those folks can be on occasion, she might just decide to sheer off and go home.  I’ve had some experience with the Family back there so that’s about as far down this particular road as we’re driving. 

We’ve heard from quite a few others of you in these regards and probably as many who are not in Harm’s Way as those of you who are.  The whole flipping country is watching this one, guys.  We’ve all got kith and kin on the Atlantic seaboard.  And we here at Northstar have seen some really interesting stuff.  We’ve watched some of you pack and move to higher ground.  We’ve watched a Rhode Island minister send half his family to Ohio and keep his older daughter with him because he’s got a sermon to preach on Sunday, Irene notwithstanding, and she edits those for him.  We’ve watched some others of you, for various reasons not ours to judge, decide to stay in the angry lady’s path, as well.  All of you have vented to some degree.  None of you have panicked.  The last time I witnessed this much courage from this many Americans rounded up in a bunch was Katrina.  And before that, it was New Yorkers after 9/11.  

At times like this, for as little patience as I have with the average American’s political perspective, I am also reminded that America itself is hardly just about an insufferably noisy contest between an elephant and a jackass. Americais also about her people and sometimes how they correct for course after not so wisely representing themselves on the larger stage.  But they are still here, in spite of their own foolishness and the stupidity of those they pay to commit same in their name.  And they are here because they do eventually tack to the Trades. 

There is very little those of us “west of theMississippi” can do now to materially help you.  But unless I’m missing something here, I don’t hear you guys asking for that.  What I hear instead is that you just need us fellow Americans to care, to pray, to keep talking to you in chatrooms, emails and Instant Messages and all the other ways we do, as usual.  And even if, God forbid, some of you are literally in a crowded basement or other shelter with a single laptop and some others looking over your shoulder.  That’s not an unreasonable request for us.  I suspect we’re not alone in those regards. 

Those of you in the path of Irene should probably know something else, scant comfort I know it will bring now.  After tonight’s editorial meeting, we decided ~  admittedly modest outfit that we are ~ that whatever happens, we will do our level best to make sure that federal relief does not come in like it did after Katrina.  If one human life is lost because Congress or the Executive Branch was slow to respond, we will join our responsible media peers, from to the New York Times, in not beating the drum so slowly this time.  I will remind you all, however, that ~ in all fairness and with all due respect ~ if you want responsible media, support it.   

That having been said, none of you folks in the path of Irene with whom we have “spoken” is counting on any relief from the present administration.  What you’ve said, at least to us, is that if all our elected officials cannot come up with a budget without turning it into perhaps one of the biggest dog and pony shows in several centuries, what rational precedent do any of us have to expect that these same folks and the agencies under their administration will be able to handle the aftermath of another Katrina? 

If that’s how it turns out, as Americans, we will all have learned something..  And we will recover from this because that’s also what Americans do.  We’ll get it done this time and, if necessary, from here on out, without the historically dubious assistance of Camelot on thePotomac. 

Good luck and Godspeed, then.  Please continue to keep us posted.  You are not alone. 


Well, last Tuesday, America’s capital city was struck by a 5.8 earthquake.  Allegedly the strongest tremblor to hit the East Coast in 60 years, we have it on good authority that it was not, in fact a seismic event.  It was every voting American slamming their fist on the table at the same time and saying, “Enough of this bullshyte.”   See also AP-GfK Poll: 87% in US disapprove of Congress and (Washington) State poll shows voters glum about future 

One of NASA’s unmanned space probes last March sent back images of a black hole eating a star.  And instead of folding in on itself after its “meal,” the black hole appears to have actually regenerated itself.  It is sending x-rays out all over the universe like a kosher cat purring after a plate of lox.  For a stunning video on this one and more links, please go here

Well, this certainly comes as good news to the Puget Sound and in other places Boeing puts people to work.  The Federal Administration Agency (FAA) has approved the Jumbo 747 and there are orders now for 78 of these 18-wheelers of the clouds.  Yep, for more, go here.

Well, here’s one that should come as no surprise.  Being unemployed/without an income generator for a protracted period of time can make people very depressed.  Nice to see we have some medical documentation to back that one up, then eh, now?  Sigh. 


Well, thanks to an outstanding application of GPS technology, Smartphone owners taking Vancouver Metro Transit will now be able to see where every bus in the system is.  That specific application is part of a software suite designed to, “give our customers better tools and information when they’re out and about on the system,” a spokesperson for Metro Van explained.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.  Nice going, guys, and give our love to the one that goes down Robson Street then, eh? 


This one has shades of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington about it.  It’s the story of how a little Canadian First Nations girl from British Columbia is taking on a major pipeline construction project with faith, guts and a song.  To watch this stalwart little wonder in action and find out why she’s capturing the hearts of all Canadians, please go here.  And to watch Shallow Waters, the video she created, yep, go here

Here’s one we’ve been anticipating and we are not a bit surprised that it should come from America’s heartland.  This is a definite exportable and the headline says it all.  High schools retool to train new kind of worker 

In an effort to reduce the incident rate of DUII in this state, The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has created a website that allows residents of King (Seattle), Snohomish (Everett) and Pierce (Tacoma) counties to see when and where DUII patrols will be conducted in their communities.  There are just the three counties on the site so far but if this works out as anticipated, eventually the whole state will be “mapped”. 


If you love aviation as much as I do ~ and I know for a fact that many of you do ~ you’ll be delighted to hear that they’re breaking ground next to Boeing Field here in Seattle for the previously nomadic Aviation High School, which opened in 2004.  The institution’s goal is to not only educate but to provide mentorships with those working in the industry.  This story is an outstanding look at the human interest side of aviation and aerospace and I totally recommend it

Most mobile devices use between 1 and 15 watts of electricity.  The average human foot step generates 10 watts.  Scientists are now very close to putting these two factors together to produce a walking shoe which could not only provide operating power to mobile devices but could recharge them as well.  Yep, I can definitely see walking in the rain in those shoes. 

Those who use the Baldock Rest Area on Interstate 5 about 22 miles/35 km south of Portland, Oregon  will not only have the satisfaction of knowing that the site is solar powered but will also have the opportunity to see this alternative energy source being collected.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) owns seven acres behind the rest stop, on which Portland Gas & Electric (PGE) is erecting 7,000 solar collectors.  These are expected to generate 9 percent of the electricity consumed by the agency in the utility’s service territory.  According to an ODOT spokesperson with whom we spoke, the project is slated for completion in late 2011 or early 2012. We asked if the rest area would then have electric vehicle charging stations like several other facilities (but not rest areas) along the Interstate 5 (north-south) corridor and she said that while all parties concerned would love to see something like that, two obstacles loom at present.  First, I-5 is a federal roadway and vendors are not allowed.  That means that the charging stations would have to be free to use.  Second, as originally conceived, these rest areas were not designed for people to hang out for the three or four hours it takes to recharge the average electric motor (quick charges can do it in one-half hour but use more electricity).  They were designed for people to get out, stretch their legs and use the amenities. 


Heat related illnesses kill hundreds of Americans each year and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all of them are preventable.  To protect yourself and your family, please go here

In our ongoing war on obesity, we found something tasty to add to lunch that also apparently curbs the afternoon munchies.  They’re also incredibly nutritious and especially popular in the southern United States, where they are called chick peas.  Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we call the garbanzo beans.  Yep, the same ones used in a lot of Greek dishes.  For more, please go here

Extra energy can come from a variety of sources organic and synthetic, legal and illicit, good for us and lethal.  Here are nine high energy foods which make good snacks and are organic, legal and good for us


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first new drug in 30 years effective in treating Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  This form of cancer is estimated to strike about 8,000 Americans this year.  One of every six of them will die from it.  Yes, for more, please 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 


Well, it seems that nationally syndicated blogger and Washington State resident Glenn Beck believes that a force of nature which could potentially kill hundreds, ruin thousands of lives, do irreparable damage to property and the natural environment is, in fact, a blessing from God.  He’s basically pissed off at a lot of us for not taking him seriously when he said we should be stocking up for the Apocalypse.  So now, as God’s messenger, he’s reminding us that while we strayed from the flock as it were, as God is forgiving, so is Glenn Beck.  And how again does a rational world spell “Messiah Complex?”  Glenn, as most of us have been reminded by you often enough, it is possible to make a jackass out of a man of God.  You have failed to convince us, however, that it is possible to make a man of God out of jackass.  So good luck with that one, Ace.  And have a nice flipping life, eh? 


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 in Florida 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 throughout the American west, northwest, Western Canada and Alaska. 

Yes magazine is the editorial hammer of the Green Movement and the most deeply rooted, informative, insightful and magazine on the Net. 



The venerable Paramount Theatre, a Seattle landmark. Photo by MSM



Not that we really believe for a moment that any of you drive while under the influence, but just on the remote chance that you may know someone in the Greater Puget Sound who still tries it occasionally, Washington State is really cracking down on DUII but they’re being fair about it.  There is now a website which alerts possible offenders to when and where DUII Patrols will be operating.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here


We also want to remind everybody that the Labor Day weekend also marks Bumbershoot, Seattle’s international celebration of the arts.  Now in its 40th year, it has survived recessions, an earthquake, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens and other significant cataclysmic events to become, as well, perhaps the most durable festival of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.  For more information, please visit Bumbershoot’s website

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, 




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. 


Sponsorship ads are another way The Northstar Journal generates operating capital.  These begin at $5.00 a week for a simple small logo and web page link.  Ads more elaborate than that are negotiated and charged on an individual basis.  For more details, email us at


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




In an effort to destroy an invasive species and protect a native one critical to the greater ecological web, lake trout indigenous to the American Great Lakes but which have invaded Yellowstone Lake are being released with tiny transmitters marine biologists are hoping will lead them to the deeper reaches of their new home, where they congregate, mate and spawn.  Park officials are not exactly sure how the lake trout got there in the first place but they are certain that these new fish are decimating the local population of cutthroat trout by more aggressively pursuing the same food sources.  Because they come from a much bigger place, they are also much better at eluding Yellowstone Lake predators.  So the impact rolls right on down to those who depend on the cutthroat trout for food, like the grizzly bear and human populations.  I found this a fascinating story on some of the factors at play in the entire field of wildlife management.  Yep, I’ve been thinking about how this applies on some other levels as well.  Studying the behavior of “lesser creatures” has a tendency to do that for me. 


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 




Here’s something that would freak me right out if I was former American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  Apparently, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has (at this writing, he is still alive as far as we know) a crush on her.  We admire and respect Ms Rice and agree that she is a strikingly beautiful and intelligent human being.  In this particular instance, however, we do not envy her, her fan club. 


Well, that’s about it for this week.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next, please go here.  For a quick way to respond to what you’ve experienced here, yep, 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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