decus, integritas, probitas

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

Volume 5, No. 25

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Seattle, Washington

Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor

Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  We are proud and honored to wish Canada a happy 145th birthday.  She is one of Northstar’s parents.  America, who celebrates her 236th birthday on Wednesday, the fourth of July, is, of course, the other.

Though we have occupied the same continent for about six hundred years now, we are two distinct nations. Canada took one path to independence. Americatook another.

Canada remained a “colony” for much longer.  What she produced was intended for an empire, not a developing nation.  And because she was a member of the mighty British Commonwealth, her young men and women “served at the discretion of the Crown.”  If the Maple Leaf flag were to fly over all the graves of her children lost in battle or international rescue, there is not a place on this planet that modest emblem would not be seen.

Americans came from other world empires but with every intention of building their own. Britain did not have nearly the hold over the international nature and character of “the Colonies.”  The Crown consistently underestimated the intelligence, resourcefulness and passion for self-determination of her American subjects.  She treated them as she did her other colonials and that spelled the beginning of the end of the Empire itself.  It also set an example for the subjects of monarchs all over the world and after Waterloo and the Crimea, the Crown was very, very tired.

Because they came of age differently, America and Canada also ~ to me ~ have distinct national characters.  Americans paint with a bigger brush and a bolder stroke.  Adventure ~ direct or vicarious ~ is still a burning passion with them.  It has pervaded every aspect of their civilization, of their society.

It has also taken them to the moon and other very interesting places.  It has made them at times the enfant terrible of the international community.  At other times, it is why they were the only thing standing between all of us and a maniac’s Final Solution.

Americans are a most interesting species to observe; particularly when it comes to beating their own drum a bit too loudly and, arguing among themselves about things even more absurd than how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

They seem to display a particular penchant for dubious public discourse.  In the name of striking for common ground ~ and in language far pithier than even that of Nero’s Rome~ they proceed to call each other every possible biological combination except another child of God.  And this, some of them of them stolidly assert, is consensus building.

When their president Abraham Lincoln suggested that a house divided against itself could not stand, he obviously did not truly understand the nature of the creatures with whom he was dealing.  When their nation is in peril, when one of their communities has suffered a major disaster, and when other places in the world have a dramatic need for them, Americans stop bickering, set aside their tools, close up shop and pitch in to help where they are needed most.

Canadians are more reserved, quieter and less inclined to court the favors of divine providence.  They are the second largest nation in terms of land mass but 36th in total population. Canada’s average density is 3.4 per square kilometer/9.1 per square mile. 

In contrast, the United States is the third largest nation in both land mass and population. America’s average density is 31.9 per square kilometer/82.7 per square mile.  With Canada’s population at around 36,000,000 andAmerica close to 332,000,000, it means thatAmerica has slightly less land and over nine times the people.

Much of Canada, then, is still wilderness and vast expanses where there are no human beings.  So if Canadians from Victoria to Halifax seem to act as if they know one another, chances are there’s a friend, relative or distant family member they have in common.

Canada does not have the ethnic diversity that the States does.  Her population is comprised of British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%.

The United States uses a slightly different breakdown:  white 79.96%, Hispanic 15.1%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)

Many inferences can be drawn from data.  What is most important to me is thatCanadaand theUnited States have not only shared the same continent for all this time, but a common border.  They are also two very separate and distinct countries which have been living in peace beside one another longer than any other two nations on the planet.

Happy birthday guys and nice going.


We reported recently that rising Pacific Ocean levels were expected to reclaim several inches of the California coast by 2030.  Apparently, the Atlantic Ocean is causing those same kinds of problems on the American East Coast.

We’ve been following China’s 13-day space mission and are proud to report that it was a total success.  They docked with their orbiting module and made a real soft landing in the grasslands of Outer Mongolia.  Nice going guys and guyettes.  Welcome home.

Aesop, Disney and all the others who have attributed “human” characteristics and behavior to animals may have been much closer to the reality of those creature than scientists have ever thought before.  Seth Borenstein of Huff Post Science reports.


Big Ben Clock Tower To Be Renamed Elizabeth Tower

Garbage Trucks’ Diesel Fumes May Be Increasing Asthma In New York City

‘Son Of Concorde’ Jet To Fly From London To Sydney In Four Hours


Aboriginal health care is about to get both a significant cash transfusion and a new direction, focusing on on obesity and diabetes, tuberculosis, oral health and suicide prevention in aboriginal communities.  The Canadian Press reports.

How did Vancouveracquire its reputation for being the most environmentally friendly city in the world?  For a fascinating and indepth answer to that question, please go here.

Canada’s economy continues to grow, modestly but steadily.  For more on how and why, please go here.


In Knoxville, Tennessee, there is a small team of people who collect flowers from grocery stores, weddings, funerals and other events where they would otherwise be thrown away and then totally recycles them to hospitals, hospices and other heath care facilities in the community.  To learn more about Random Acts of Flowers, please go here.

The only thing cooler to me than a good “boy and his dog” story is a story about a dog who saves the life of a small child, like this one in Michigan did.

A wedding ring and an engagement ring valued at $3,300 were left at aConnecticuthospital as a contribution to the facility’s cancer patients.  The two pieces of jewelry were found in the hospital chapel with a note identifying them as belonging to a cancer survivor’s wife.  The donor did not leave her name or any other identifying information For more, please go here.


Seattle retailers say good-bye to plastic bags

Florida Businessman, Jeff Bennett, Flies 1000th Rescue

Hillary Clinton Sets Record As Secretary Of State


We didn’t know, honestly, that scientists twitter.  Here’s a list of 30 biologists and chemists to follow.

New fossil evidence suggests that human beings have probably been eating “natural foods” even more “granola” than granola, including tree bark and leaves, for a lot longer than they’ve been dining on haute cuisine or Big Macs.  For more on this rather humbling perspective on our genetic dietary habits, yep, please go here.

Does the Mayan calendar, as many claim, really predict the end of the world?  Of course not.


Mars Rover Landing Sequence ‘Seven Minutes of Hell

X-37B Air Force Space Plane Remains Mysterious After Long Orbital Mission

‘Fairy Circles’ In Namibia Grasslands Remain A Mystery To Scientists


Let’s try something real quick and I really hope we get some mail from the international community on this one too.  Take just a second or several to write down the five to ten things you love to eat.  Then compare that list with the Huffington Post panel’s World’s 50 healthiest foods.

We keep getting sent these Best Cities For lists and quite frankly, enjoying them a great deal.  Here’s one about the best and worst skin cities and no, I did not make that title up.

Here’s another great personal fitness motivator.  It’s a calendar of Canadian women rugby players, sans uniforms and protective gear.


How To Get Rid Of Ants Naturally

Foods Before Working Out: 10 Carbs To Eat Before And Post-Workout

Don’t Let Your Supermarket Make You Fat

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


When it comes to saving the life of their offspring, human mothers are just about as tenacious and resourceful as any species in the galaxy.  Here’s how one mum used YouTube and the Internet to find a surgeon for her son, who was dying of cancer.

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


Aliens And God:  Would Finding Extraterrestrial Life Destroy Religion?  Space.com’s Mike Wall explores.


Réunion Island Photo: Milky Way Over Piton De l’Eau By Luc Perrot Is Stunning

Lincoln Harrison’s Australian Outback Night Sky Pictures Dazzle (PHOTOS)

NASA films solar tornado as big as US

Baby bear trapped in garage is rescued by its mom

Cute animal photos of the week

This Week In Science History, June 24-July 1 (SLIDESHOW)


Animal Tracks is msnbc.com’s Critter Stuff.  They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial. 

National Geographic Kids Page is a great way to spend time with the young people in your life.

National Geographic Video Page is the essence of both the Society and the magazine, in shorter video features.

Foundation For A Better Life’s short video vignettes rival the best of Hallmark, Folgers and Campbell Soup.  Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.


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.

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.


Wolves are apparently returning to eastern Oregon, according to trail camera footage, and more may be on the way.

Is Bob the world’s smartest cat?  Watch him in action and you tell us, then, eh?

And then there are the ducks who help deliver mail in a nursing home.

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


We keep running across stuff that reminds us of one of our favorite movies of all times, Armageddon.  That’s the one where Billy Bob Thornton hires the best oil well driller in the world, Bruce Willis and his team of globally famous roughnecks to land on this asteroid the size of Texas, drill down into it, plant a nuclear device and get clear before detonation.  A private team of former NASA people and other non-technical types are designing a telescope that can spot “space rocks” (euphemism for very small asteroids) that might pose a threat to a city or continent here on Terra Firma.  I’m going to make a small prediction here.  Watch for a story about another private team of former NASA people and other non-technical types who are designing an “asteroid neutralization device (AND) and a third private team of former NASA people and other non-technical types who are working on the delivery system.  My guess is that these three components of what is surely to be called the Asteroid Neutralization device system (ANDS) will be operational by 2020.  Remember where you read it first, gang. 

Okay, just to leave on a note of total reality here, how about Canada’s national anthem played on Molson bottles and cans?  Our thanks to Ian and Beth on the Rock.  It’s nice to see you folks have not lost a sense of humour that must necessarily be so uniquely yours.  Our love to the little Out of the Boxers in the house.  So, again, Oh Canada, courtesy of Molson products and our friends on Vancouver Island. 

Well, that’s about it for this week.  As a final word, The Northstar Journal is one hundred percent supported by readers like you.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute ~ however modestly ~ to the next, please go here and with our thanks.

Take care, stay well and God Bless,


The Northstar Journal is a subsidiary of Northstar Communications, which also includes Northstar Media Services, The Northstar Gallery and Wrath of the Testament.  For more information, email us at minstrel312@aol.com


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



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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