THE MERCURY AS MESSENGER

THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL

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

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Volume 5, No. 31

Editor:  Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller

Associate Editor:  Dennis W. Steussy

Seattle, Washington

Email:  minstrel312@aol.com

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it sure seems that so far this year, we’ve sent you folks to a lot of bad news about some very dramatic weather.  A couple of you wondered why we broke that news out separately this last edition.  Someone else also asked me if we’re “a climate change believer publication”.

My staff is divided on the issue and I honestly don’t know.  What is rather obvious to me though is that while the origins and/or “first causes” of these meteorological extremes may perhaps yet be subject to debate, thanks to the Internet media, the global reality of them is not.

As tragic or as uplifting as they may be, these stories are a chronicle of human adaptability.  While those of us who live in Anchorage, Alaska may never face the raging furnace that scorched a great part of southeastern Australia several years ago, some traits of survival are universal.

The most important of these is being prepared.  To us, that does not mean getting ready for an apocalyptic plunge into bunkers with blast-proof doors, private arsenals, and a lot of food which requires potable water, ironically, a scarce commodity in any catastrophe.

Being prepared does not mean anticipating a return to ethics and behavior I sometimes think we attribute unfairly to just the Stone Age.  Nor does it mean surrendering to the inevitability of extinction in our lifetime and partying hearty before the world is plunged into eternal and irrevocable darkness.

Being prepared does mean being aware of what others are doing, joining with members of your neighborhood/community and together working for your mutual survival. 

It may very well be true that we enter and leave this plain alone.  But in between, we share our own existence with over seven billion other human beings.  Just for perspective, here’s what that number looks like:  7,000,000,000.

I’m not real good with math but I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to see the odds are pretty good that among that many of us, we can and will figure all this out and how to adapt and get on with a good life.

And in the meantime, we’ll keep you posted.

IN OTHER NEWS

It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that we join much of the known world in noting the passing of American writer and women’s right advocate Helen Gurley Brown.  The editor of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1997.  Her classic bestseller Sex and the Single Girl not only empowered several generations of her own gender but taught mine more than a few things we needed to know.  She died this past Monday in New York, at the age of 90.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Global Livability Survey is out now.  Among the 140 cities in the world did they judge the most inhabitable?  The results might surprise you.

A recent survey ranks American states not by how well their economy is actually doing, but how people who live there feel about their lives in general.  On a one to ten scale, we give this one an 8 plus.

SHORTS
Appalachian Trail Marks 75th Anniversary, Path Still Evolving
Drought-Stricken Farmers To Get $170M Pay-Day From Feds
Who Won The Olympics?
 

OH CANADA

Bellingham, Washington is generally one of the nicest border towns in the States for both Canadians and Americans.  The community’s retail sector has profited by shoppers from as far away as Vancouver, Penticton and Kelowna.  But now, some “good citizens” have decided they want their local Costco to serve only Americans.  For more of this monumental asininity, check it out here.

Global warming and climate change deniers are an endangered species in Canada now.  A recent survey indicates they now number about two percent of the population.

As Toronto’s National Canada Exhibition celebrates its 134th year, one question being asked is The Ex Food: Which Deep-Fried, Bacon-Riddled Creations Would You Try?

SHORTS
RCMP Fashion: Female Mounties Can Finally Wear Pants And Boots
Volunteers transform Downtown Eastside parking lot into micro-farm
 

GOOD EXAMPLES

Despite the fact that he makes more money in five seconds that I’ll make in the next 500 years, I’m a Bill Gates fan, if for no other reason than because he plays it forward where forward is sometimes needed most.  Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Some people just do not know the meaning of the word “quit,” including this paraplegic whose black belt in the martial arts includes kick boxing.

At one time, neighborhoods were served by mom and pop groceries which prided themselves on offer fresh produce daily.  Mini marts have largely replaced those but in Seattle, there’s an innovative movement to return to an old way that was very likely, a better way.

SHORTS
Check out this cool slideshow of what it looks like to be car free in Oregon
Funding for an untapped resource; woody biomass on public lands
Los Angeles puts a new park at its heart
 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE AND EXPLORATION

The gruesome find of a “pickled brain” in an English bog several years ago is making the news again as more has been learned about what is being touted as the oldest preserved organ of its type in the world.  It dates back to the Iron Age and apparently belonged to a mid-thirties male who was first hung and then surgically decapitated.  Yep, for more, check it out here.

Have you ever wanted to try out this really cool new restaurant but your significant other didn’t want to go with you?  Or maybe you’re single and feel awkward dining alone?  Well, be patient.  Soon, you might just be able to buy a robot that enjoys such experiences and just generally “hangin’.”  See also:  Robotic Earthworm, ‘Meshworm,’ Contracts With Artificial Muscles (VIDEO)

Which professions drink the most coffee?  The answers just might surprise you.

HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE

FOR YOUR HEALTH:

The Northstar Journal is proud to welcome naturopathic health physician and nutritionist Van Byington, a neighbor from Tacoma, on board.  To contact him directly, email him at silentbrave@yahoo.com

The Chinese have a saying: “No Disease, Short Life; One Disease, Long Life.” To interpret, this goes to how we take care of ourselves and whether we are aware of what our choices in life are doing to our bodies and our health in general.

The first part says if we are not taking care and making good choices for ourselves, we may wind up having a foreshortened existence.  The other part indicates that once we are made aware of something we did, we can pick our self up and go on in a sensible and informed manner, which hopefully would grow into an across-the-spectrum quest for THE healthiest choices we can find and make for us.

I came to know this through having a brush with Multiple Sclerosis in 1993. I am one of the ‘lucky’ ones who was diagnosed as “probable,” yet never actually protracting it fully. After becoming informed about it and finding out ways of managing it to keep it from re-occurring, I chose healthier eating habits and found many other avenues I could broaden my health and nutrition intelligence. 

Perhaps telling about the four ways to manage the MS disease could help show how we all can extrapolate wisdom from these guidelines.

1) Heat Reduction: We could all “take a chill pill” once in a while or throughout the day to keep our top lid from blowing off at some silly occurrence that could be laughed at should we take the time to look from a different, non-hurried viewpoint.

2) Stress Reduction: Go to the restroom quicker, drive a little slower than the speed limit, take a time-out from a stressful discussion in which you’d rather not participate or simply breathe deeply through your nose.

3) Diet: Ah, this is a large area which we will have a great deal of fun discussing in future installments.  However, for the time being, choose less starchy side dishes, such rice pilaf or better yet, brown rice instead of the baked potato that we load down with other no-no’s.

4) Exercise: Just how much do we really get in the course of the day’s activities?  I walk around a lot and I used to climb staircases many times throughout the day.  Folks, that is exercise and it counts towards your daily total that we possibly have been minimizing or simply overlooking.  I am not saying the gym is not the thing to do, only keep the maxim of “Everything in Moderation” in mind to help us from going overboard by buying things that are fad-like to ‘junk up’ the floor space.

So, are you beginning to get the picture?  You can choose to have things go differently in Your Life so that you can play the cards a bit more in control of your surroundings, taking stock of how you make your life decisions. Be Positive, not A Negative, ok?

Van

HEALTH NEWS

We’ve long known that anger and its more extreme forms, hatred and holding a grudge, can compromise the quality of daily living and shave years off the end of one’s life.  New evidence strongly suggests that forgiveness has precisely the opposite salutary effects.

And for those of us with a passion for all things chocolate, here’s yet another reason for this scandalous self-indulgence.  Recent studies strongly suggest it could prevent or mitigate the impacts of dementia.

Is loss of memory and mental acuity inevitable as we age?  According to a new study of out of Northwestern University in Chicago, no.

SHORTS
Books For Your 20s: Books To Read For Twentysomething Women
Why Are Migraines More Common in Women?
Fat In Chocolate: Scientists Cut Fat In Half With Fruit Juice (PHOTO)
 

ON THE CANCER FRONT

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

She’s 12 years old and for half her life, she’s been battling cancer.  She also has a fan base of 115,000 on YouTube who totally love her tutorials on cosmetics, hairstyling and other ways women can achieve the hot look.  Meet Talia Joy Castellano, a young lady whose own beauty is considerably more than skin deep.

RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:
Cancer:  What You Need to Know
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society
 

NORTHSTAR FORUM

Thirty-five percent of Americans are obese and the national rate has been rising steadily, along with the majority of states.  Society is also paying an escalating price for it because obesity does not impact just the directly-affected.

Obese people also work, parent, use public amenities and interact on all the same levels of society as people who are not lethally overweight.  And to the extent that carrying a lot extra pounds affects the performance of the obese, those of us lighter on our feet must compensate. 

Down years of dealing with this in my own family, I have heard a lot of medical reasons and even more personal excuses for why obese people are that way. 

Conversely ~ albeit in much smaller numbers ~ I have also seen obese people stop being selfish and living for themselves alone.  I have seen them start caring as much about themselves as others do about them.  I admire and applaud any individual who takes that kind of personal responsibility. 

Here are the numbers on obesity in America, including a breakdown by state.  Maybe this will make believers out of those who are not.  Perhaps it will give those of us are, another resource to convert these health heathens and keep them among us awhile longer.  To sound off on this yourself, email me at minstrel312@aol.comRusty

See also:
Four Ways To Make Weight Loss Last
More Americans Are Walking
Food For Healthy Bones: Olive Oil And 8 Other Picks
 

FUNZONE

WEEK’S BEST VIDEOS, SLIDESHOWS AND OTHER MEDIA 

Mars Landscapes Include Red Planet’s Craters, Hills, Rocks (PHOTOS)

Well, if you want to scare the living heck out of yourself and perhaps never go into deep saltwater again, check out this latest video celebrating the 25th anniversary of Shark Week.  You might also want to wear rubber shorts.  I wish I had.

Alken Enge: Danish Bog Excavation Reveals Remains Of Hundreds Of Ancient Soldiers

Perennials

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.

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, LIVING AND PREHISTORIC

When human beings are willing to risk the treachery that the Rocky Mountains can be in summer to rescue a pet dog that wandered off a hiking trail and got lodge in a crevice, we submit it does not get a whole lot better than this.

On the same page, there’s been a wildfire “east of the mountains” of my state that has turned out to be as treacherous as the mercury was astronomical.  That didn’t stop resource and swift-moving smoke eaters from saving a chimpanzee sanctuary in Cle Elum.

SHORTS
Sperm Whales Sleep While ‘Drifting’ Vertically, Scientists Say (VIDEO)
Rabbits ravage seabird populations on Destruction Island
Live! Great Blue Heron Nest at Cornell Lab of Ornithology 
 
RELATED LINKS:
Living With Wildlife
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals
 

YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP

About the time I’m almost over my phobia of going up 30,000 feet in a plane put together by a consortium of lowest bidders, with no parachute and in the company of a whole bunch of total strangers, I read a story about 15 totally dumb things people try to smuggle on a plane. 

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Northstar Media Services

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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