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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Volume 5, No. 33

Editor:  Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller

Seattle, Washington


Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it has certainly been a mixed bag this past week.  America lost two great ones with the passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong and feminist Helen Gurley Brown.  The examples both set will resonate down the generations and I believe Neil went to the Next Place happier that ~ despite the lack of administration support for it ~ the American space program is moving forward.

We also noted that according to a March 2012 Yale/George Mason survey, two out of three Americans believe that global warming is changing our weather and want to learn more.  We made the decision to provide those links for you several weeks ago and this seems to affirm our position.

It’s been suggested that our last Northstar Forum may have hit the obesity issue rather hard.  No one has ever said that about our dedication to fighting cancer and I suspect that is because cancer is seen as more arbitrary; that is, people don’t engage in “at risk” behaviors as obvious as those involving an overindulgence in food.

The reality is that there’s been a lot more done to irradicate the number one cause of cancer, cigarette smoking.  Millions of former nicotine addicts, including me, quit because we decided that our lives mattered to other people.  We got a lot of help from the government, the medical community and from commercial establishments who voluntarily banned the use of tobacco on their premises.

I don’t see this progress being made with obesity, even within my own family.  I’ve been reluctant to hit the issue as hard as I should have because I’ve been afraid of losing the society of that person.  But since I know what the mortality rates are among the obese, I’m positive this person won’t last a whole lot longer anyway.  So I had to ask myself, am I going to feel better or worse when they’re gone because I didn’t say anything, even though the odds of them listening might be a thousand to one?

The decision was not easy to make and it isn’t for the millions of us dealing with that same issue in their own families.  I’ve chosen, what I feel is the most appropriate course of action and one which I hope empowers others of you.

And it is not a decision for which I will ever apologize.


Health officials are warning fair goers and petting zoo visitors to avoid pgs after some 200 Americans have contracted a new and more virulent strain of swine flu.  For more details, please go here and contact your local health department for more information.

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.

Appalachian Trail Marks 75th Anniversary, Path Still Evolving
Who Won The Olympics?
Drought-Stricken Farmers To Get $170M Pay-Day From Feds
Antarctic Peninsula Warms Rapidly
Revealed: Antarctic ice growing, not shrinking | Watts Up With That?


An Ontario teenager showed the world the heart, soul and mettle of Canada this past week when she swam across Lake Ontario.  At 14, she’s the youngest person ever to do that.  Annaleise Carr, you rock, Sweetheart.

As another indication of the nation’s slow but persistent economy recovery, workers in certain industries can anticipate a pay increase this year.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

Experts are not exactly sure why, but heart failure is on the decline in Ontario and is in line with declines in Canada as a whole and with other nations.  Two reasons cited as likely contributing factors are a decline in smoking and better hypertension management.

Burgers In Toronto: Are The City’s New Gourmet Burgers Worth It?
Canada Travel Abroad Hits 40-Year High: Statistics Canada
Canada Housing Market: Expected Decline Will Be Cushioned By Population Growth


We’ve been following the evolution of drone aircraft for some while now and have been a bit disheartened to see the emphasis on military application.  We were therefore delighted to learn that they’re now being used for conservation efforts and to protect wildlife.

Myanmar continues on its rocky road to democracy.  In what is seen as a major step in that regard, the government has said that it will not longer censor private publications. 

During hard times, Americans are still among the most philanthropic on the planet.  To see how generous citizens of individual states are, please go here.


On a planet where full half the population goes to bed hungry and where children die from starvation, I found it absolutely unconscienceable to learn that Americans waste $165,000,000 in food each year.

During the Second World War ~ and without due process ~ the American government interned 120,000 Japanese in remote camps.  Two thirds of these people were American citizens.  For a graphic portrait of what life was like behind that barbed wire, please go here.  And for God’s sake and in the name of all that is decent and good about this country, please never let it happen again.

We certainly hope this was not done deliberately and if it was, we hope that those who mislabeled pet food and sent it on to inmates of a Texas prison, who consumed same before the mistake was discovered, get to sample the error of their ways.


The day may soon be coming when motor vehicles will avoid colliding with one another by talking to each other.  A test of “smart” cars is underway now in Michigan

I got this very eerie sense of déjà vu after reading that apparently, the collapse of the Mayan civilization is now believed to have been caused by drought and deforestation.  Is history in the process of repeating itself?

The one-ton Mars Rover Curiosity passed its test drive last week and is now, indeed on the move to a spot some 1,300 ft/400m from where it originally landed.  NASA engineers have been testing the vehicle’s various measuring and recording devices and aside from a slight problem with the weather station, all systems appear “go.”  Nice going, guys.


Crack cocaine is one of the most lethal and addictive narcotics out there.  Even Brazilian drug dealers won’t touch it because they stay it destabilizes communities. 

Here are 10 days to live long and prosper.  They’re all simple and it is very likely you’re doing at least five of them already.

Most of us know that trans fat kills.  Research now strongly suggests that it alters a person’s mood, producing a range of behavior from mild irritability to road rage.  For more of this one, please go here.

Alcohol Addiction Signs: Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms Of Alcoholism
Obesity Statistics in the United States
Menopause Evolved To Limit Competition Between Older Women & Daughters-In-Law
Power Of Smiling: Study Says Fewer Smiles Can Make You More Powerful


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

Each year, 3 Americans in 1,000 are diagnosed with some form of cancer.  Whole Living magazine thinks that number is way too high and has found a way we can all join the fight to bring that toll down.  To join the fight, please go here.

Throat cancer victims and others whose vocal cords have been damaged ~ including one of our favorite singers and all time beautiful people, Julie Andrews ~ could be looking at dramatic healing as early as next year as the result of a new medicine recently developed.  For details, please go here.

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


For as long as there has been crime and punishment, the debate around the latter has been whether harsh incarceration actually deters or whether it simply provides more training for the proactively anti-social.  Many nations have opted for a rehabilitation approach, under the assumption that people who commit acts of violence are simply victims themselves, acting out, and that placing them in an environment which compensates for that earlier lack of compassion will, in the end, make them better human beings.  In recent history, I don’t think that’s been tested more than the 21-year sentence handed down earlier this month by a Norwegian court after the trial by mass slayer Anders Behring Breivik.  To sound off on this yourself, email me at minstrel312@aol.comRusty



Humpback Whale Close Encounter Off California Coast Captured By Photographer

Remembering Neil Armstrong: A Slideshow

Our apologies to anyone who has to cross one of these ten terrifying bridges on a regular basis.


Animal Tracks is’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.


Now that spring is approaching Down Under and more Australians will be hitting the ocean for various reasons, we thought it provident to provide some information on how to prevent a shark attack if you encounter one in the water.

We admire anyone who loves animals ~ land, air or marine ~ enough to dedicate his life, his profession and his art to saving them.  This guardian of the sea fits all three categories.

If you’re a lover of dogs and especially of stories about dogs, you’re going to love this real life “tale” of Bella, a dog who fell down a tall cliff on the English Channel Coast and not only survived but managed to find her way back home.  I would so love to see this made into a film.

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


We found the irony in this one absolutely hilarious.  At one of the world’s major aerospace centers, footprints of a dinosaur which lived some 110 million years ago have recently been discovered.

   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





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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