decus, integritas, probitas

Winner of Two Hersh Best Read On The Net Awards

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Volume 5, No. 15

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor



Steven Spielberg's Pinky and the Brain

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, I for one found this uproar around North Korea’s attempt to launch a weather satellite into space a bit much.  More precisely, I thought it was silly.  I happen to believe Pyongyang.  It is ultimately cheaper to develop one’s own payload delivery vehicle and it’s nice to have one’s own satellite up there, as well, doing its meteorological thing.  That’s important to a lot of nations with orbiting junk up there.  Why should it not be important to North Korea?

I’ve noticed that the superpowers tend to treat North Korea like  Pinky and the Brain, Steven Spielberg’s two lab mice who set out each night to conquer the world.  The West characterizes North Korean leaders as messianic and the people as brain washed legions who live only to serve.

It is an Orwellian image and the irony is that the West ~ with its crime and its fear of terrorism ~ has a “camera on every street corner”.  The entire planet itself is under extremely sophisticated orbital surveillance.  In the name of scientific discovery, we’ve probed every aspect of the human condition and environment.  It would be unrealistic to believe there were not microphones, cameras and other sensory recording devices left behind.  What can track the salmon can also track the recreational SCUBA diver.

It is technological evolution that has made this possible.  It is our own behavior toward one another which has made it necessary.  Perhaps it is easier to  Koreathan to admit that what we fear most is that North Korea will act as we would if the situation was reversed.

If that is the case ~ and I truly believe it is ~ then the solution is simple.  Is it not?


Next Sunday, April 22, 2012, a billion people will be celebrating Earth Day.  To join them, please go here.

A father in Argentina who went to say good-bye to his dead infant son opened the boy’s coffin and found the child still alive.  This was heralded as a “miracle,” but authorities are investigating the hospital personnel involved and they do not consider this a case of Divine Intervention but of human error.  The Today Show’s Linda Carroll reports.

Yesterday, Saturday, April 14, was National Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Day in America.  For a slideshow of the 13 sexiest examples of this particular “food group,” the Huffington Post reports.


We reported earlier that the Canadian Mint is no longer coining the penny.  In a further development, the Mint is now proposing a “digital” one cent piece for transactions under ten dollars.  The Huffington Post’s Business Canada reports.

How people in three cities ~ Vancouver, BC, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon~ get to work was the subject of a recent study.  Price Tag’s Andy Coupland reports.

Shipping containers may not seem to most of us to be a real inviting home.  But for those who have faced less comfortable alternatives, they are not that far removed from the list of options, especially when those of conscience and engineering skills can transform them into a good alternative to a wet sleeping bag in a tangled median on the King’s Highway.  The Vancouver Sun’s Lori Culbert reports.


When two kids save a school bus full of their classmates after the driver is found incapacitated, it makes news in my state.  CBS News reports.

We love it when a local business lends its support to quality education.  We also see nothing at all cynical about that being a way to augment its consumer base.  And we are especially not going to take issue with our favorite American fish and chips dispenser.  Seattle’s KOMO4 News Bellevue reports.

When we reported earlier this month in CRITTER STUFF on the birth of two penguins at the Woodland Park Zoo here in Seattle, we had no idea one of them might have been precocious enough to try swimming without a lifeguard.  And there is certainly no way we could have predicted that a human child would have jumped into that habitat to save the tuxedo’d little guy from drowning.  The Seattle Times staff reports.


In the high desert of Chile, some 16,000 ft/4,800 meters up, our species has built another array of antennas seeking both life in the universe and more information on how the universe began.  The New York Times’ Simon Romero reports.

Here’s one which should please but not totally surprise those with Icelandic roots.  It looks like nation’s volcanoes may, in the near future, be supplying electricity to the United Kingdom and points beyond.  The Huffington Post United Kingdom desk reports,

In a related story much closer to home but also about “harnessing” the energy of volcanoes, the Ecotrope’s Cassandra Profita reports.


We need to preface this first one with a disclaimer of sorts.  It’s a link to a series of photographs of open one-family refrigerators stocked with enough food to feed a small global village.  It is not intended to persuade the food-addicted to diet but rather to empower those who can exert such influence.  Good Evening magazine reports.

All of us, at some point, are confronted with the need for pain management.  Here’s a short list of common foods which can mitigate both the need to worry about it and the severity of it as well.

With the advent of better weather and increased outdoor activity, particularly among health conscious seniors, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at preventing heart attacks by eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

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


The incidence of melanoma ~ more commonly known as “skin cancer” ~ is on the rise, according to the American Cancer Society.  Teens, it appears, are particularly vulnerable.  Seattle’s KING5 Healthlink reports.

Cancer:  What You Need to Know
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society


Has globalization made us feel less citizens of our local communities?  The Atlantic Cities takes a look at the enduring effects of neighborhoods.


German runaway Yvonne the cow nets moo-vie deal


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.

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.

Foundation For A Better Life produces 15 – 90 second inspirational videos equaling ~ if not surpassing ~ the video vignettes produced by Hallmark, Folgers Coffee and Campbell Soup.  Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.

National Geographic Kids Page:  If you enjoy learning about the places, people and things which make life on this planet such a unique experience?

National Geographic 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).

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.

Word Games:  Merriam Webster has a totally creative menu, including a daily vocabulary quiz where you can see how you rank with people your age, younger and older.


Our local ABC television affiliate, Seattle’s KOMO 4, publishes an ezine version of neighborhood weekly newsletters.  Greenwood-Phinney is the home of our Woodland Park Zoo.  Last week, the stork swung by there and delivered two baby Humboldt penguin chicks.

Strictly coincidentally, from our Ballard neighborhood comes this touching story of some folks in our town who really love an osprey.

A little further afield but not surprisingly, in California, a man owns a two-headed bearded dragon, which he displays at various animal freak shows in that rather interesting state.

Living With Wildlife
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals


I admire dedication, zeal and a gung ho attitude about as much as I do most extremes of behavior.  But this one does giveth the prophet pause to wonder as it were.  This traffic cop in Hanoi pulls this bus over but the driver won’t produce paperwork and decides to drive off.  So this cop leaps onto the front of the bus and hangs on until the driver freaks out and pulls over.  If professional ambition was the motivator for this one, this Robocop wannabe will probably be at the top of every strong arm recruitment list in the galaxy.  I am, however, real glad this dude does not wear a badge in my town.  The Huffington Post World reports.

Well, that’s about it for this week.  As a final word, The Northstar Journal is supported by contributions from readers like yourselves so if you enjoyed what you read here and would like to toss a dollar or two in the pot, as it were, please go here.

Take care, stay well and God Bless.

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller

Writer/Editor For Hire

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


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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