Winner of Two Hersh Best Read On The Net Awards

Volume 4, No. 40

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor



Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  This month marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of Shannon Patricia Goddard, a fellow Canadian, a profound partner and the third of the trio which published The Northstar Journal during the three years it was a monthly.  She was an exceptional individual and I believe it is not only appropriate but healthy to celebrate the life and commemorate the death of exceptional human beings.  In doing so, we preserve their example for posterity and imbue them with a deserved immortality south of St. Peter and the Gates.

Shannon was born on a Royal Canadian Air Force Base in Regensburg, Germany but grew up in Winnipeg.  She had a passionate love for horses and learned the farrier’s trade.  That took her to ranches in Manitoba, Montana, Wyoming and eventually to British Columbia’s Vancouver Island where she met a man she liked, gave up being a cowgirl for awhile, and became instead, a wife and mother of three children.

It turned out she loved kids as much as she did horses.  She started making up stories for her own children and illustrations to use when she told them.  A trip to the Calgary Stampede turned two of her offspring into cowgirl and cowboy wannabes, right down to the fancy shirts and jeans they wore but which Shannon’s household could not afford.

Yep, you’re way ahead of me.  Out came her sketch book and then the sewing machine.  Her kids loved the results and so did their friends, several of whom had parents in the Canadian Forces – Naval stationed at Esquimalt.  She had a real popular line of western wear going and with the extra income came riding lessons for the kids and a real good lifestyle.  It also brought spousal jealousy and eventually single parenting in Victoria. 

Shannon wasn’t much for sharing her suffering and to show her pity or even unsolicited sympathy was to earn her scorn and her contempt.  She was an at times outrageous slash of whipcord blonde and attitude.  She worked hard.  She played hard.  And they loved her in karaoke bars in Victoria and in the Cowichan.  She presented tough, savvy, street and prairie wise.  At night, alone, like someone else I knew and loved, she went out on horseback and talked to the stars.  And no three kids ever born on this planet had a more devoted mother. 

She started with the Northstar Journal as a columnist writing about horses.  Her popularity was almost instantaneous and people started emailing in asking her opinion about things.  Within five editions, we had enough interest to generate a Canadian edition which actually grew faster up there than the American edition did in the States.  Readers recognized that rough she might be but genuine, sincere and honest, she was as well.

Cancer struck Shannon at the age of 35 and took three years to claim her life.  She remained true to character to the very last and at her own behest, chose to spend her final days alone.  She said it was vanity.  She wanted to be remembered as someone who looked a little like Sharon Stone, her favourite actress.  Shannon herself was directly related to the film actress Paulette Goddard.

She loved the readers of the Northstar Journal.  She used to say it was like at night, she was this eagle soaring over the world and looking down at all those twinkling lights of places people wrote her from.  She loved her readers and they returned the favor in kind.

She’s been missed some.  And some fondly remembered. 


Our congratulations to the controller of the explosive-laden drone aircraft which assassinated al-Qaeda’s new leader, American-born Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen last week.  This hydra of international terrorism isn’t growing a new head quite as fast as the US is chopping them off.  Nice flying, guys, and nice shooting.

Thirteen Americans have died from eating melons infected with listeria in what the Center For Disease Control is calling the worst outbreak of food-borne illness in America in over ten years.  For more and for what you can do to minimize the risk to yourself and your loved ones, please go here.  For related story:  Cantaloupe illnesses and deaths expected to rise  

Washington, DC, Chicago and Los Angeles are America’s most congested metropolitan areas, according to the 2011 Urban Mobility Report.  Issued by the Texas Transportation Institute of the Texas A&M University System, it is based on a variety of 2010 data and is comprehensive in scope.  To see where your city or SMSA ranked, please go to page 20 of this document.

If healthy lungs are important to you and you get a natural high off clean air, you might want to think about moving to Estonia or Mauritius.  Too far?  How about Canada?  Or Australia?  According to a recent study of cities in 91 countries, the four nations I just named have the best air on the planet.  Yep, for more, please go here.


Vancouver is the most likely city in Canada to suffer the catastrophic impacts of climate change, according to a startling new assessment released by Ottawa late last week.  For more: Vancouver vulnerable to climate-change flooding

On the other hand, the mantra “green is good” certainly seems to be working very well in Vancouver as well.  Major financiers such as Credit Suisse are investing millions in sustainable office buildings with features like a high-efficiency heating and cooling system, storm water retention and reuse, solar thermal panels and on-site waste water recycling.  One building, slated for completion in 2015 is expected to consume energy at about half the right of previous construction.

And in the same province, albeit some inland, Dawson Creek creates BC’s first “carbon fund”.  Yep, this is a nine flags exportable and yet another example of what can be done and is being done on the community level.


When most of us think of a real estate developer, we are probably not envisioning someone who holds degrees in art history and natural-resources policy and planning.  Or who spent eight years on the staff of a national land-conservation organization and then eight more with the Seattle Art Museum.  Meet Chris Rogers and the project he’s designing.  It’s being heralded as the greenest office building in the world.

They’re taking down yet another dam in Washington State.  This one is on the White Salmon River and is the third largest project of its type in the United States.  The other two are also in Washington, on the Elwah River.  For a really cool photo of a salmon and windows on this very special part of the Pacific Northwest, please go here.

I think it’s great when cities compete for something that will do them all good.  Apparently, Minneapolis, Minnesota ~ despite its harsh winters ~ is America’s most bike-friendly metropolis.  It unseated Portland, Oregon for that honor.  Yep, for more, please go here.


This one is straight out of daring young men and their flying machines.  Last week, a 38-year-old aerialist from North Carolina crossed the Swiss Alps in a chair strapped to a bunch of helium ballons.  For more, Watch: He’s Floating Over the Alps

The Boeing Aircraft Company’s 787 is making industry waves but not the kind of turbulence that makes for a rough ride.  Aviation enthusiasts are touting it as A Plane Built With, Gasp, Passengers In Mind

A company in Boston has invented a robotic dog that will soon be terrorizing battlefields wherever Americans decide to go to war.  And we’re not just talking about some lapdog knock off.  The video showing what this “pup” can do is scary.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week launched a new initiative to help primary care practices deliver higher quality, more coordinated and patient-centered care. Under the new initiative, Medicare will work with commercial and state health insurance plans to offer additional support to primary care doctors who better coordinate care for their patients. Known as the Comprehensive Primary Care initiative, it is modeled after innovative practices developed by large employers and leading private health insurers in the private sector.  To see if and/or how this applies to you specifically, please contact your health care provider.

Here are two more good reasons for drinking milk.  Reduce Blood Pressure with These Drinks and Vitamin D Clears Alzheimer’s Plaques

Center For Disease Control Disease FAQs Index
Tips and Tools For Staying Young
Weight Watchers:  Calculate Your Body Mass Index


Each year, 250,000 women in the world die of cervical caner.  The majority of them are in underdeveloped countries.  One simple but apparently very effective procedure using, of all things, vinegar, stands to dramatically change that.  I found this one absolutely thrilling.  Fighting Cervical Cancer With Vinegar and Ingenuity

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



One of the most devastating consequences of the present Recession is what it has done to the housing industry.  Half finished or abandoned developments litter the landscape from Bangor, Maine to Bangor, Washington.  Seattle architect and land use expert Mark Hinshaw sees this not, however, as the carnage of a careless economy but as an aspect of the evolution of more planet-friendly housing alternatives.  I thought his article A recessionary reset on land use was outstanding.


NASA Probe To Explore Jupiter is a National Geographic video whose production values I found outstanding.  This is one you might enjoy sharing with the family.
NEW:  OH AMERICA – Celtic Woman expresses my love for America far better than I have thus far ever been able.  
Animal Tracks is Today Show’s CRITTER STUFF.  They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordially wild.  This is a great stress buster for me and a profound pick-me-up if I’m having a “poor me” day.
Winter, A Dolphin’s Tale is the Flipper of this generation and is the true story of a dolphin so snarled in commercial crab trap that her fluke had to be amputated in order to free her.  She was adopted by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where she was fitted with a prosthetic.  The film, starring Kris Kristopherson and Morgan Freeman, is out now and I highly recommend it.
NEWNational Geographic Kids Page:  If you enjoy learning about the places, people and things which make life on this planet such a unique experience?
Vocabulary Quiz:  Take this 10-word daily test and see how you rank with people your age, younger and older.
Daily Crossword:  This one from Universal has two levels.  It is extremely easy to use and it has some features like music and clues that we thought were pretty cool.
Other Word Games:  Merriam Webster has a totally creative menu.
Tank Hunter – This puts you behind the controls of a tank on a vast battlefield in which everything from small tanks to big ones to invisible ones is shooting at you.  Definitely the best game play of its type I have personally encountered.


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. is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HTSA) website.  It contains a wealth of safety and reliability information on motor vehicles.  You can also, as have we, subscribe to an email newsletter which informs its subscribers of all vehicle recalls and the reason for 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. has a comprehensive email directory of American federal and state elected officials and government agencies.  You fill in two or three blanks, hit Enter and you’ve got what you need to offer support or air a grievance.

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


Seattle Convention Center.  Photo by Merritt Scott Miller


PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTERFor a map, please go here.

Two New Exhibits Open Saturday

This Saturday, October 1, Pacific Science Center opens not one, but two outstanding new exhibits. The first is Design Zone where you will learn the secrets behind how video game developers, music producers, roller coaster designers and other creative problem solvers do what they do. With 26 interactive stations, both kids and adults will have hours of fun while discovering the engineering, math and science behind many of our favorite pastimes. Learn More

After you’ve taken a peek into the world of design, enter the wonderfully challenging world of Puzzle Palooza Featuring Groovik’s Cube. This exhibit is full of puzzles and brainteasers guaranteed to test the brain power and problem solving skills of even the most experienced puzzlers. At the center of the exhibit is the enormous, interactive Groovik’s Cube. Standing more than two stories tall and weighing in at just under a ton, this mammoth puzzle is based on the classic Rubik’s Cube. Young and old alike will be mesmerized. Learn More


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.

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


This one I think is appropriate as the season changes and temperature cool down.  It’s a National Geographic video on how penguins keep warm.  I’ve done it before and I’m sure you have, as well.  It reminds me of American poet Rod McKuen’s advice about how to treat a cold.  He recommending going to bed with a good book or a friend who has read one.

Well, this is not going to make the homophobes of the world real happy but oceanographic researchers have just discovered a species of squid about 5½ in/14 cm which engages in same sex sex.  It lives in the Pacific Ocean about a half mile or one kilometer down and is apparently a very solitary little creature.  It is also one of hundreds of life forms on this planet which engage in this behavior.

Even if you do not love dolphins, you will be absolutely moved by a human who does and has launched The Wild Dolphin Project to learn how they communicate.  This is one of the most daring and potentially comprehensive attempt at interspecies communication launched in this writer’s memory.  This is definitely one you’ll want to share with your family.

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


Start saving your coffee grounds for more than the garden and the worm farm.  The British have developed a motor vehicle which runs on them.  Last week that car, at a blazing 66.5 mph/107 kmph, broke the world land speed record for organically powered transportation.  Yep, for more, a video and to learn how this car works, please go here.  Our thanks to the BBC for this one.

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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