decus, integritas, probitas

Winner of Two Hersh Best Read On The Net Awards

Now reaching informed readers in America, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Russia & Australia

Volume 4, No. 42

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seattle, Washington

Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Sometimes the most significant battles are small and in remote places.  This one has, in one corner, one of the richest salmon fisheries in the world.  And in the other, a proposed open pit mine which would be the largest of its kind on the North American continent.

 A small community on Alaska’s Bering Sea coast has decided that preserving a sustainable economy and environment is more important than the alleged benefits of commercial resources extraction.  The borough of Dillingham has passed an ordinance specifically prohibiting any government or private venture that would have “significant adverse impact” on fisheries.  

Environmental groups have, of course, trumpeted this as a victory.  If it is indeed that, right now it is one in principle only.  The Alaska attorney general does not think the borough’s ordinance is enforceable.  The mining consortium that municipal legislation is directed at stopping intends to appeal at the state court level. 

We see this as the right of a community to decide its own economic destiny and protect ~ at the very least ~ its organic quality of life.  We suggest that this is not Dillingham, Alaska’s issue alone.  For more on this one, please go here.  And to weigh in on a publishable comment from wherever you live, email us at 


It looks like the planetary population will reach seven billion in two weeks or so.  Some of us are living longer and better.  Over half of us are going to bed hungry.  And we keep propagating the species as though the Garden welcomes the bounty as a blessing.  I wonder what it is going to take to keep from reaching critical mass and experiencing the slow and protracted suffering that will entail.  Seems to me, we either work on population control or we stop intervening in self-destructive acts which do not hurt anyone or ask anyone not involved to pick up the tab.  I certainly hope it does not come to that but in most nations, dying of stupidity is not punishable by law. 

We would like to extend our congratulations to Carla and Nicholas Sarkozy on the birth of a baby girl.  The father visited the pediatric clinic three times during a very hectic week but was in Frankfurt for a meeting on the Euro debt crisis when France’s newest First Daughter was born.  She is also the first child born to a French president in office.   I think that statue you gave us 125 years agois really smiling.  It is also not lost on us that the little girl totally ignored geopolitics and made her entrance when she was bloody well ready.   

Well, I don’t know how much the Wall Street protestors have cost your community thus far but Seattle taxpayers have shelled out around $105,000.  Weird.  Normally tourists make the community money.  The mayor and the city council have been extremely indulgent so far.  Pikes Place Market may have been founded on an onion price revolt,but these folks did not come to town on a hay wagon.  When it rains hard, they generally put out collection buckets before reaching for umbrellas or slickers.  It’s probably somehow linked to paying merchants for the Viaduct Closure.  Protestor Tourism as a renewable resource is an interesting concept.  But not an atypical one.  We are nothing in the Emerald City if not out of the carton.  See alsoOccupy Wall Street becomes NYC tourist stop  Occupy Vancouver protest costs city $500K so far  Young and old Irish are flocking to protest site in Dublin 


Canadians in British Columbia are looking ahead to how climate changes many of them will see in their lifetime are going to impact their personal economy.  The issues discussed in this Vancouver Sun story are neither unique nor limited to those who live under the Maple Leaf or the other eight flags this ezine and blog reach.  Yep, for more, please go here. 

Rural Internet users in Canada will now have access to much faster speeds, thanks to a ViaSat-1, launched aboard a Proton rocket in Kazakhstan last week.  The improved service this newest satellite is providing will impact about 1.5-million people. 

Internet users in Canada are not responsible for the links they include in what they post, according to what is being called a “landmark decision” rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada.  The case was brought by a Green Party candidate in British Columbia who claimed that a blog on him contained links to material that was unflattering to either him or his political affiliation.  Legal action insued when the blogger was asked to remove said links and refused. 


Our congratulations to Her Majesty’s Royal Navy on their recent capture of a Somali pirate mothership, crew and captives.  Search and interdiction is a military art of the highest order and the British have been doing it very well since about 871.  This was a great 21st Century update and certainly in the best tradition of Forrester and McLean. 

Sometimes good examples are not as far away as the high seas or as hard an act to follow as swashbuckling Royal Marines.  Consider, then.  Do Irish fathers outshine their American counterparts?   

As alternative energy sources like solar and wind become more popular, it’s time to turn attention to a new breed of working person’s hero, the men and women who maintain the giant machines which provide this electricity.  We share this with three injunctions:  1.  This is not for those who are afraid of heights.  2.  Do not let children watch this without adult supervision.  3.  Remember that these people are trained professionals, not amateurs trying to take a short cut to save a buck. 


If this seems like a rerun, it is not your imagination.  Several weeks ago, we reported on a large American satellite that was going to re-enter the atmosphere and crash somewhere on the planet.  Now, it is Germany’s turn to explain how come, if they can launch it, they cannot bring it home.  The good news is that this one isn’t as big as a bus; only a minivan. 

Some Russians are now looking at global warming/climate change as perhaps not entirely a bad thing as a melting summer icepack  revives dream of sea route across the Arctic Circle. 

In what we consider an outstanding application of appropriate technology, here are nine ways Internet access can save you money 


It is with a profound sense of loss that we bid farewell to the inventor of my favourite junk food vice.  Doritos king Arch West passed away recently at the age of 97.  They say that to really know a human being is to have experienced their noblest work.  Test your knowledge of Doritos, then, by going here. 

Apparently how old we feel has a great deal to do with how old we actually are.  This might explain why it is that people in the Puget Sound still climb mountains as they themselves approach some pretty impressive chronological summits.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 

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


Apparently, annual checkups for at least cervical cancer are proving medically unnecessary.  Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press Chief Medical Writer, reports. 

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


Will riding a bicycle for the shorter trips actually save for money than taking the car?  Christian Science Monitor guest blogger Trent Hamm estimates that on a four-mile roundtrip to the store in a vehicle which gets 20 city miles to the gallon and determined that yes, it is $1.62 cheaper.  To see how he arrived at this figure and for more tips on how to save money in your daily living, yep, go here. 



FREE VIDEOis for those of us who in whom the Inner Child is still alive and well.  It is a joyful romp with totally ingenuous music and outstanding video footage, including scenes of trolley cars in San Francisco.  This one gets fives stars from us.   


Animal Tracks is’s Critter Stuff.  They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial.  This is a great stress buster for me and a profound pick-me-up if I’m having a “poor me” day. 

Baby pandas soak up sun for the first time 

NASA Probe To Explore Jupiteris a National Geographic video whose production values I found outstanding.  This is one you might enjoy sharing with the family. 

OH AMERICA– Celtic Woman expresses my love for America far better than I have thus far ever been able.  

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. 


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. 

National 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.

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 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 in Erin ~ literally tell it like it is.  While the Republic of Ireland’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 Dailyis the best Pacific 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.   


Yes, it does snow in Seattle. And it’s likely to come a little earlier this year. Photo by Merritt Scott Miller



Just a reminder that the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed Saturday and will be re-opened after Halloween.  Here are a list of alternative routes

Upcoming Seattle Events
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
Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera


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. 

The Northstar Photo Gallery features photography ofSeattle available as postcards, computer wallpaper and workspace art. 

Sponsorship ads are another way 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 

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


My aversion to swimming with creatures big enough to have me as an hors oeuvre notwithstanding, I think that if you’re into recreational kayaking, an eye-to-eye encounter with a giant blue whale is probably a peak experience.  These peaceful leviathans are the largest living creatures (that we know of) on the planet and likely one of the gentlest.  So I’m thinking that for these two Southern California humans, meeting this one in its own environment had to be a humbling experience.  The video they got is pretty cool too.  Yep, go here

In the rural Pacific Northwestand certainly in Alaska, neighbors come in all sizes, shapes, ages and species.  And when one of them decides to amble on into a grocery store and romp through the fresh vegetable section, remedial measures are sometimes necessary.  The video with this one was totally cute and the encounter, of course, had a happy ending.  Hint:  The subject has more body hair/fur than a giant blue whale.  Yep, go here

Animal Tracks is’s Critter Stuff.  They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial.
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 another splendid example of how contagious a dumb idea can be.  Does anyone remember when American President G.W. Bush decided to go skydiving on his 85th birthday?  It was June 12, 2009.  Well, last week, it came to light that the president of Austria went up and dove out of a perfectly good airplane during an exercise of that European nation’s military might.  For a video of this questionably sane way of engendering one’s self to the constituency, yep, 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.  If you’d like to receive the graphically enhanced version of The Northstar Journal by direct email, please let us know at

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: Logo

You are commenting using your 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.