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Volume 4, No. 44

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor

Photo Courtesy of KING5 News, Seattle, Washington

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, when you wake up at five a.m. on Friday, do the first cup of coffee thing, then turn on the telly and get told by your favourite newsperson (Joyce Taylor, at NBC affiliate KING5) to be a little extra careful out there today because there is a bear roaming the ‘hood, you know it’s either Seattle or you’ve died and gone to the wrong Hereafter.

These occurrences are certainly not uncommon here.  I frequent an AOL chatroom over morning coffee so I know that encounters like this are happening more often all over theUnited States.  Someone this morning said they thought that indicated just how few wildlife areas are left.  As much as that stung, it is true.  Our ancestors not only destroyed wildlife but an entire indigenous human civilization and replaced it with their own.  In many respects, our forbearers were more savage than anything they encountered.

Now, thanks to better than a half century of more enlightened wildlife and land conservation practices on the part of government, non-profits, private citizens and even big industry, this policy of comfort-sanctioned genocide seems not only to have stopped but to be reversing itself.  The animal kingdom is not stupid.  They can tell when it is safe to come out of hiding.  They know we are not like our ancestors.

As much as I revere my own roots, I personally think that, in this regard, it is a good thing, a very good thing.


The Chinese have been busy in space and we congratulate them on last week’s docking of the Shenzhou 8 capsule with the Tiangong 1 module.  The event was broadcast on national television and understandably, watched by billions inAsia.  If you’re into this at all, you’ve love this one.

Poverty can have profound consequences even for those who were not even born at the time.  A team of British and Canadian researchers have determined that it alters the DNA and sets up future generations for such conditions as obesity and diseases of the immune system.  We found this particular study extremely impressive because it followed its middle-aged subjects from birth.

After a woman participant in Occupy Vancouver was found unresponsive in her tent on the grounds of an art gallery, Mayor Robertson served notice and has ordered the protestors to strike their shelters, pack their kits and go home.  It appears even Canadian patience has a limit.

Well, after the three other largest financial institutions in the United States decided not to charge a $5.00 debit card fee, Bank of America decided to do the same.  We found this story interesting from another aspect and that’s the implication that B of A’s chief executive officer was extremely hard to convince, even by his own advisors.

An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will be passing between earth and the moon over the next few days.  It’s about 85% closer to Luna than to Terra Firma so scientists say it’s not going to collide with us.  This time.  Apparently this big stone pup is coming back in about 200 years and we might not be so lucky. 


Canada will take no role in helping Europe with its financial problems, Prime Minister Harper announced last week.  He was inCannes attending a G20 Summit enmeshed in attempting to deal with the flailing Greek economy.   

Native Canadians are joining environmental activists in attempting to stop of pipeline which would carry Alberta tar sands oil south across the United States to refineries in Texas.  They are opposed to the entire concept of petroleum extraction and particularly the construction of such a long pipeline when another shorter one owned by the same company has leaked several times.  They are essentially fighting to keep their land from being polluted.

Vancouverites apparently spend their money on a variety of very interesting things.  Some apparently reflect the Maple Leaf national character (not hard to do when you’re this big but only have about as many people asCalifornia).  Some certainly reflect the Canadian West and a few do seem singularly unique to the nation’s westernmost mainland city.  This was thoroughly entertaining and includes some absolutely stunning visuals.


The newly elected president of Ireland voluntarily took atook a $106,000 pay cut.  Here’s how Michael Higgins’ annual paycheck compares with some chief executives in other nations:  

Before social engineers started misreading Darwin, cooperation was more the norm that the economic cannibalism which seems to be making life so tenuous for millions on this planet.  This story of a small Native American/First Nation community on the edge of the world in Alaska has survived for centuries because it has learned something apparently the rest of us have not.  I found this truly inspirational.


To me, this is one of the most globally appropriate uses of this technology.  Click the pix for the video or go here:  Girl with severe allergies sends robot to school for her

Well, here’s one I personally would not want to meet in the dark and it may explain why rats are such a hardy and ubiquitous species.  Apparently they were around when the dinosaurs were still here.  Their fossils have been discovered in South Americaand I am telling you, these little guys are gnarly.  Yep, for more on this one, check it out here.

After 520 days, a successful mock mission to Mars has ended.  An international team whose members were paid $100,000 each to do this, endured almost a year and a half in a sealed environment at a facility inMoscow where the exercise was conducted.


In our ongoing and occasionally annoying campaign to save some of you from the wages of the slim-challenged, we invite you to consider five tricks to fight food cravings.

Apparently a lot of us who are reluctant to start an exercise routine or resume it after we’ve stopped for awhile are suffering from a kind of fitness stage fright.  It is pretty understandable and it is also imminently manageable.  See if you agree with us by going here.

Aging has been slowed and in some cases stopped in laboratory mice.  This was done by flushing out the old cells which had stopped reproducing.  Apparently these collect as an organism ages.  I got the idea it was a little like buying groceries every week without ever taking the trash out to the bin.  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


Preventing cancer or minimizing its impact is also a matter of living in healthy surroundings.  Check out twelve ways to detoxify your environment.

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


There is a killer among us, a most insidious predator.  It takes more life than any other disease, human act or natural disaster.  It is not an extraterrestrial invader.  Perhaps the most chilling aspect of this one is that it is born inside us.  There it grows, sucking the joy, the hope, the courage, the quiet nobility from life.  It is contagious and at times it history, it has destroyed nations.  It’s name is Despair.  And yes, it can be defeated.  The New York Times Opinion Page is running a weekly series interviewing people who fight diseases of entire cultures.  I found this five minute video featuring A. C. Grayling, a philosopher, to be both incredibly information and absolutely uplifting.


We have no idea how this got here. The formal Occupy Seattle took place downtown, some five miles from this quiet residential street in the Wallingford neighborhood. I guess the winds we’ve had lately have been a little stronger than we have been told. Photo by Merritt Scott Miller


Yep, it’s been a lot foggier out there than usual.  For a stunning visual and some more interesting information on our ever schizoid weather, yep, go here.

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



If you can go back into the water in Southern California and just hang out on a board after watching this video, you’re a better person than I am, Gunga Din.  (Hint:  another reason I don’t swim with stuff big enough to have a small house for breakfast.


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

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

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.

OH AMERICA – Celtic Woman expresses my love forAmerica 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.


NEWThe Legacy Project was originally designed as a course teaching students to make appropriate life choices personal and particular to them.  Its exercises have kids answering such questions as what they would like to learn, how would they like to make a living and what they can I do for their community.  What I found remarkable about these exercise is that so many adults these days are addressing these issues as well in order to survive hard times and stabilize in spite of them.

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 Central is absolutely the best commercial source of news, entertainment, politics and all things Irish and hyphenated Irish.

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 andAlaska. 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.


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.


Well, according to a canine researcher at the Universityof British Columbia, my favorite breed of dog is the most intelligent.  To see where yours ranks, please go here.

For the first time since 1946, a wolf has been spotted in southwestern Oregon.  It is a young male who has left the pack to find a mate and range of its own.  Wildlife experts know about it because they caught it last February and put an electronic collar on it.  They suspect that other wolves are returning to genetically familiar habitat after being hunted to extinction by cattle, mining and timber interests of the mid-20th Century.

The animal kingdom’s most superb aerialist must be, hands down, the hummingbird.  I thought for years and years that they were showoffs with the egos of eagles.  I probably should have known better.  What motives the intra-dimensional airborne acrobatics is universal than even conceit.  For more, 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


I share this with the full realization that I trace my paternal line back to the nation in question.  Nonetheless, I have to stand back and wonder a little when a country about the size of Iowa can lose $5-billion out its annual budget.

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 and we’ll see you next week.  Have a good one, then, eh?



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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