Now in its sixth year serving discriminating readers in Australia, North America, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Western Europe

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Volume 5, No. 27

Editor:  Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller

Associate Editor:  Dennis W. Steussy

Seattle, Washington

Email:  minstrel312@aol.com

Cafe Racer, University District, Seattle, Washington

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, as I write, Seattle is being invaded by lightning storms that are also bringing heavy rain, high winds and, of course thunder.

The Café Racer re-opened this morning ~ about a month after some lethal loon shot and killed several people in the place.  I had intended to drop by, the storm notwithstanding.

Earlier today, however, over a thousand miles and several states away, a guy opened up and slaughtered a bunch of people in a theater in the Rocky Mountains.

There is no cause and affect relationship between the two shooting sprees.  So there is no rationale for not joining my pal Larry Adams, who saved several lives by throwing stools at the shooter, the cook who was injured and others of my neighbors in celebrating the notion that even after the most profound of tragedies, life does go on.

There was a time when that would have very much appealed to me.  But I have seen a lot of Café Racers and Aurora theaters.  It is not that there are no more tears but rather that I now wonder how many of them need to shed in the future.  The dead cannot be brought back to life by the species which killed them.  But there is something we can and should be doing to protect the living.

So yes, I wonder if the same thing will happen again at the Café Racer.  What have they done to mitigate that possibility?  Am I going to be any safer in there now than I was before the shooting?

I also want to know how a guy armed and dressed like a Rambo even Sly Stallone would envy got into a theater like that one in Aurora, Colorado in the first place.  This isn’t some Rocky Mountain high artsy-fartsy destination.  It is not an isolated resort community.  It’s a suburb of Denver, for crying out loud.

I’d also like to see a lot more proactive research done on all of these lethal loons.  I’m not convinced there’s not a common denominator.  I am worried that with everything else going on, we won’t take the time to deal with it effectively.  What kind of species will we be if we adapt to this and accept it as the natural state of the species?

I’m not advocating anything behind this.  If human beings need to be taught how to make themselves and their environment safer, chances are, it’s more the lack of a good survival instinct.

We’ve said it for years of horses and it’s true of us, as well.  Even the thirstiest of us can be led to good water.  It’s still up to us whether we take a drink.


Our hearts certainly go out to the rest of the country searing under record-breaking temperatures.  It’s nice to consider things like locally grown but when ‘local’ is scorched earth, it’s tough to do much more sometimes than pray for rain.  See also U.S. Drought Means Wilting Crops, Higher Food Prices; Officials Pray For Rain

In what looks like another appropriate partnership between private industry and government, check out Dream Chaser, one of several new spacecraft under development and scheduled for launch within the next several years.

Well, it looks like there’s a physiological reason why some people are more generous than some others of us.  According to a new Swiss study, altruism occupies a part of the brain.  That might sort of suggest that being selfish isn’t a character flaw as much as it is a neurological imbalance.


The Tsleil-Waututh Nation became the 100th to sign the Save the Fraser Declaration.  The document opposes the construction of pipelines intended to carry Alberta oil sands petroleum products to the Pacific Coast.

With the news that the Canadian economy is doing better than most in the world, including that of America, are we really richer than our immediate neighbor to the south?

Huffington Post Canada wants to know what we name our pets and a picture of same.  Considering we live everywhere from the Arctic to the American border, the results of this study should be historically profound.


When a tree smashed into his neighbor’s home during a bad storm last month in Springfield, Virginia, eight-year-old Johnny Karlinchak stepped in and proved that lending a hand is never about age but about heart

The 10,000 or so workers at a high tech company in China got an extra $314 in their pay envelopes recently.  Their CEO donated his $3-million bonus to the people who helped him earn it

Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors.  I also admire him as a man.  One of the reasons should be very clear after reading this.

Myanmar Martyr’s Day: TV Broadcasts Aung San Suu Kyi’s Father Memorial Ceremony
U.S. Sanctions on Myanmar Formally Eased – NYTimes.com
Report highlights clean energy might of small cities | Sustainable Business Or
Sharing is caring: Onstar to let GM owners rent out their cars – CSMonitor.com


We are proud to announce that one of the University of Washington’s astrophysicists has apparently discovered a new planet.

Considering there were at least six species of human beings on the planet at one time or another, how it is that ours is the only one to survive?  This video interview with the London Natural History Museum paleoanthropoligist Chris Stringer offers more than a few clues.

The fossil of a 60-million year old “gargantuan turtle” makes it a contemporary of several other ultra-large reptiles which lived in South America at the time.  This turtle’s shell was round like a tire and 5 ft/1.5 m in diameter, making it too large for the mother of all boa constrictors.  We totally enjoyed this so for more, yep, please go here.


Which country’s citizens work out the least and which work out the most?  The answers might surprise you.

Well, here’s one of the stupidest stressors I’ve encountered in some while.  Apparently when women make more money than men, the bearded gender gets very upset.  I doubt money is the root of all evil but thinking that one gender is inherently capable of making more of it than the other seems to me about as practical as going on a cruise and wearing a parachute, just in case the ship comes too close to the edge of the earth.

Top cities for vegetarians?
Worrying About Weight: Men And Women Think About Their Weight 3 Times A Day
Margaret Reffell: Stressed?! Maybe You’re Eating Too Much of These


This column is dedicated to Shannon Patricia Goddard Mills, who died of cervical cancer in 2001, at the age of 38.

Occasionally, it pays to review what we already know about this killer and what we’re doing to both protect ourselves and end its reign of terror.  Shannon often reminded us that “every day I’m alive is one day more I win and it does not.”  We’re offering this link as another resource for your Internet medicine cabinet.

The New York Times has a solid three-part series going on new approaches to fighting cancer.  This is a definite Northstar recommends so for more, please go here.

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


In an age when communication demands that the language be abbreviated and simplified, is proper spelling still important?


Week’s Best Videos

If you’re not afraid of dying over an overdose of cute, check out Kitten Attack: Stealthy Rescue Kitten Doesn’t Care What You Were Doing

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, sung by the Irish Tenors’ John McDermott, comes to us from some readers in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  It is about one of the worst military disasters in the history of warfare.  It is written by a soldier who came ashore at SulvaBay, on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli, and was later shipped back to Australia, after his legs were blown off.  This is stark, graphic and in a profoundly haunting way, artistically beautiful.  In that it addresses the tragic folly of war, it is also timeless.  Our thanks to Ian, Elizabeth, Rene and Sherwood.  The next shout for a pint is ours, then, eh?

We’ve been following the evolution of robotics for some while now and particularly those which seek to mimic human beings in appearance and behavior.  This video, entitled “FACE Robot Mimics Human Facial Expressions, Aims To Cross ‘Uncanny Valley,’” is making me wonder how far off the day is when not even a hairdresser will know for sure.’


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.

Games and Stuff

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.


Dinosaur sex experts apparently concur that animals mated front to back.  Oookay.  In the first place, I didn’t know there were dinosaur sex experts.  Second, for some reason, I’ve never been curious about how dinosaurs mated so, third, I am pondering how my life has been enriched by this discovery.

An eighth wolf pack was confirmed in Washington state earlier this month.  Department of Fish and Wildlife officials captured the alpha male of the group and a pup and released them with a monitoring collar and ear tag respectively.  These creatures live in eastern Washington near the Idaho state line and a seventh pack was cited in June in the same general area.

Alaska pink salmon are adapting to climate change without an appreciable decline in population.  While this is reassuring on the one hand, it is also raising red flags all over the scientific community because the sustainability of any species depends on the survival of other species in the food chain.  And that, apparently, hasn’t been studied enough.

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


And then there was that beloved elected official whose nickname is Mayor Schwinn because he’s such a biking enthusiast.  He finally had to put a limit on his passion, however, when one of his constituents ‘borrowed’ his wife’s machine without asking.  Ergo his Tweet to that effect.

Well, that’s it for this week.  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.




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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