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 5, No. 8

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, welcome to the wonderful world of weird weather, eh?  I’d snag a headline for this one but then sometimes, one size does fit all, doesn’t it? 

And it does tend to restore a bit of fundamental perspective, particularly during a national election year.  As challenging as it is, I think human beings are intrinsically better prepared to deal with a schizoid climate than they are the vagaries of a political system that started out with good intentions and then went derelict largely through neglect.

Now we have people who have never been hungry, abused, homeless, out of work, in combat, in jail or backed up against the hard choices far too many of us are forced to make telling us that they’ve got answers.  They’re raising millions of dollars to convince us that they alone do and that the other party is dead set on wrecking the economy and destroying the nation.

The infrastructure is failing in the unremitting onslaught of something we cannot relegate to debate or the illusion of political power.  These next storms will kill those who cannot afford to keep warm, dry or well fed.  The attempt to survive will stretch thin budgets even tauter.  The fear of total personal collapse will drive some to extreme behaviors.

And even as this is happening, millions will be spent by people who have never been cold telling us they know how to make us forever warm.

Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be something terribly, terribly wrong with that picture.  And yes, certainly, our prayers are with each and every one of you.


This coming September, a Dutch scientist is flipping a hamburger.  What makes this culinary event newsworthy is that his meat is being “grown” in test tubes.  The project is being funded to the tune of 250,000 Euros/$331,000 by a private investor with animal cruelty issue.  The Dutch scientist contends that once the processes are refined, this form of meat production will be both more cost effective and kinder to the planet.

Apparently, one sure sign that the Recession is ending is that this ubiquitous creature called “the male shopper” is again loose on the veldt.  And not only is he buying suits and other apparel but apparently he is ~ gasp ~ accessorizing.  Personally, this is not the stuff of knapsacks, camous, five layers of outer ware and rubber sox with the Birkenstocks just in case it monsoons on you crossing from the soggy to the dry side of the street.  Frankly I’d be embarrassed to wear some of this noveau fashion stuff on Halloween.  That’s why I am absolutely certain it will be all the rage.  Yep, for more, go here.  Sigh.

On the other hand, maybe being the fashion court jester is not such a bad thing if you’ve got a few other things working for you.  We do here in Washington State.  The latest numbers in confirm that we’re pulling out of the Recession and due, in no insignificant part, to our popularly parodied love of the environment and our fixation on it sometimes to the extreme. 

We join the world in a global sigh of relief as former South African president and Nobel Peace laureate Nelson Mandela continues to recover from surgery he had last week for what officials are calling “a longstanding abdominal complaint.”  For more, please go here.


Only about one-third of all Canadians plan to be fully retired at the age of 66.  Maple Leaf baby boomers are not only living longer but are in much better health than previous generations.  Despite an improving national and provincial economic climate, older Canadians want to stuff a few more sugar cans, as it were, to make sure that if another Recession happens in their lifetime, it won’t hit them and theirs quite so hard.

A new study out now ranks 50 cities in terms of both the incident of and vulnerability to cyber crime.  We share this with a couple of caveats.  Cyber crime is a global problem and in pointing out WHY certain communities are more vulnerable, the media helps everyone better protect themselves.  Until such cyber security is truly in place, however, denizens of the cyber crime world now know where to go for relatively easy scores.  If you know of a cyber criminal, please try to discourage them from reading stories like this.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a warning on several brands of cold smoked sockeye salmon because of concerns of possible Listeria contamination


Spanish-born American philosopher, poet and humanist George Santayana contended that “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”  Thanks to a new generation of interactive museums dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement, that portion of it has been preserved.  The flagship appears to be one in Atlanta but according to one historian, “Drive through any state in the Deep South and you’ll find a monument or a museum dedicated to civil rights.”  For more and an outstanding slideshow, please go here.

If you think you’re having a hard day or wonder why your life hasn’t been easier, be glad you’re not a woman in Sudan.  If you need to be reminded of what true endurance, strength, love and the will to overcome are all about, take five minutes to walk barefoot in this human being’s world.

If you are a global warming denier and would like to own a beautiful Beretta Silver Pigeon 12 gauge over/under shotgun, go here.  All you need to do is convince the conservationist hunter who owns it that climate change is not occurring. 


Physicists in America and Australia have made a transistor out of a single atom.  This can be imbedded in silicon and used to build nano-sized computers.  It’s taking me a little while to wrap my mind around this so I consulted a friend who is totally into this.  He said to imagine a computer so small it takes an electron microscope to see it.  He also said that more of them can dance on the head of a pin than all the angels in Heaven.  I’m thinking of a novel I read that gave me nightmares for weeks, The Shrinking Man, nature’s revenge on the tall and arrogant.

As long as we’re on the subject of small, take a video tour of the new and innovative apartment built as small as San Francisco Code permits.  I was a little skeptical because I’m tall and I can still remember the embarrassment of shopping for a BMW Mini Cooper and being told they didn’t make them in my size.  This unit has a very tall ceiling though and uses space in some very interesting spaces.  And no, this didn’t remind me of the Airstream trailer the designer said inspired him.

We should have seen this one coming.  Now, fashion designers are incorporating 21st Century technology into their creations.  The one I imagine the pundits are going to have a ball with is the gown with the GPS device in it.  I’m sure someone will say it’s something every blonde should have; a dress that makes sure she never gets lost.  Being a semi-retired blond, I am really looking forward to this.


Research on geriatric laboratory rats has established that when they were allowed unlimited access to an exercise wheel, while they didn’t all use it for the same length of time or intensity, the benefits were uniform throughout the group.  It improved memory and strengthened the immune system in comparison to the elderly rats who were only allowed limited access to the wheel.  As embarrassing as it might be, systemically, rodents and humans are genetically very close.  On worlds with even greater diversity than ours, we might even be considered families of the same species.  Much of the data our rat-faced cousins have provided has proven applicable to the branch of the family which walks on two legs and keeps its tail in its pants.  So yep, for more, please go here.

Well, this is going to come as real good news to the millions of coffee drinkers on the planet, including me.  It reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes and Parkinson’s.  For more on this one, yep, please go here.

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


It is still considered perhaps the most invasive procedure in the cancer detection arsenal but a 20-year study confirms that a colonoscopy is a very effective early detection protocol.  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


In some ways, I think the 21st Century might be one of the most cynical we’ve known yet and perhaps the more hypocritical.  There is a man fighting to stay out of a federal prison to which he has been sentenced for lying about receiving the Medal of Honor.  As loathsome as this lie is, I’ve seen it in bars and pubs, American Legion and VFW Halls and in the political arena from one end of the Pacific Coast to the other and some nationally.  I have the same moral repugnance for it as most people do.  I’ve also known some paper tigers and they’re more deserving of pity than they are prosecution.  Attorney and legal professor William Bennett Turner has to me a realistic perspective on this and a viable protocol for dealing with liars such of these that does not involve our tax dollars supporting them while they endure a punishment truly nowhere in proportion to the crime.



Watch Andrew Trites, UBC marine mammalogist, discussing his sea lion research.


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

The Foundation For A Better Life produces 15 – 90 second inspirational videos equally ~ if not surpassing ~ the video vignettes produced by Hallmark, Folgers Coffee and Campbell Soup.  These are human stories, sans preaching, and to me, their appeal is universal.  Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.

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.

This National Geographic slideshow of an underwater park comprised of lifesized human statues is nothing short of incredible.

National Geographics Photos of the Week are of a newly discovered tiny galaxy.

National Geographic’s Video Page is the diversion the doctor ordered If you’re looking for a video experience that will definitely take you out of wherever you are and you don’t mind your reality coming at you in relatively short bursts (about long enough to keep a fussing child occupied).

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

A baby polar bear whose mother could not produce enough milk to feed it is being cared for at a wildlife refuge in Denmark.  If you’re allergic to cute, avoid this one at all costs.

Republican state representative breaks ranks to support Washington same sex marriage.

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.


NEW!  Backcountry Gallery is a free source of some of the best computer wallpaper and screensavers on the Net.  They come with calendars and without and are affiliated with, an outstanding site for computer information and related newsletters.

Amnesty International has a long, honorable and effective history at championing the rights of human beings all over the world.  The Northstar Journal is proud to carry this link to their activities, gatherings and fundraisers in your area.

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.

The 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. 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.


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.


Here’s why it’s better to be a Stellar sea lion living in Canada’s British Columbia province than it is to be one living in Alaska.  This is excellent wildlife reportage and the still photo and video are outstanding.

In the latest “discovery” which supports the contention that other life forms on this planet are a lot more intelligent and “social” than they’ve thus far been given credit for, it has been determined that Pigmy goats develop “accents” as they grow up and mingle with other goats outside their immediate family.  I liked this one because I’m into cute goat pictures and weird things like an audio recording which allegedly captures the change of inflection.

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


A man trapped in his car for two months in Swedennear the Arctic Circleis expected not only to survive but to make a full recovery.  It is not known how he came to be in that predicament or why he was not discovered as the result of a search but by a passerby who spotted the snow covered vehicle after some strong winds had exposed a small portion of it.  The car formed a natural igloo which is why, even when temperatures dropped to -30F/-34C, the man did not freeze.  Swedish medical authorities attributed the first month of the man’s survival to being able to drink snow water and live off body fat.  They are, however, at a loss to explain how he survived the second thirty days.  For more and a video, 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.  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.
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.