THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL
Now in its sixth year serving discriminating readers in Australia, North America, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Western Europe
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Volume 5, No. 35
Editor: Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller
Associate Editor: Dennis William Steussy
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. Every once in awhile, we all run across someone quite extraordinary. This is my encounter with such an individual.
By Guardian Angel standards, Jonah Daniel wasn’t much to show. He was small, slim uncomplicated and plain spoken. In a gathering of eagles, he was a stalwart sparrow; a minor angel as it were.
So, of course, Jonah never got the real impressive assignments like preventing a planetary disaster or inspiring a Michelangelo. When he wasn’t on a lesser mission, he was content to farm a celestial cornfield with the same wife and two kids he’d started out with in the beginning.
Technically, he was in semi-retirement, where angels live forever once they’ve earned their cloud. But because he was a professional and very good at his job, once in awhile, he was tapped for an assignment that needed his special touch.
This one was a young man about ready to leap from a tall bridge into a very cold and moving body of water. In January. These were hard times so he was not the first to mount that particular span and he likely would not be the last.
And when Jonah showed up in a yellow raincoat and with a police badge on his billed cap, the jumper wasn’t particularly pleased and warned the angel in mufti not to try to talk him out of it.
Jonah shrugged and replied, “Why should I want to do that?”
A bit taken aback, the man stared at him. “Excuse me?”
“It’s your choice, son. Whether you jump or not. I just need some information for my report is all.”
“You’re a cop. You’re supposed to try to talk me out of this,” the young man argued.
Jonah nodded. “Okay. I can also call the media, etc. But in the end, it’s still going to be your call.”
“It’s the only ‘call’ I have left,.” the jumper replied bitterly.
“Then if that’s the way you feel,” Jonah agreed amiably, “that’s the way we’ll play it. You probably got lots of choices but you’re too stressed to see any of them. Understandable, I guess.”
“Thank you,” the Jumper responded guardedly. “I think.”
“Tell you what, though”, the angel nodded thoughtfully. “You jump, you’ll get a real head-clearing rush. All those other options will come sailing past you. And as the last of them goes whistling by, you’ll see and feel all the grieving your particular choice has caused. Yep, by the time you smack those waves into the next world, you’ll certainly see the downside of your decision to jump.”
The jumper looked at him. “Then you’re really not going to stop me?”
“Nope,” Jonah replied. “Probably be the last truly independent decision you ever make. Might as well enjoy it, one way or the other.”
Then, off in the distance, they both heard the wail of approaching sirens and the man leaped off the bridge. Turns out, he’d just lost everything in the stock market and had murdered his wife when he came home and discovered she was leaving him.
Jonah was right, though. It was the last decision the guy ever made. And he lived just long enough to regret it some.
When Jonah returned to Heaven, he went back to being a farmer, with a wife and two kids that were his and alive forever.
IN OTHER NEWS
Apparently, women and men really do see things differently. For more on this one, please go here.
Well, a recent study has ranked the international community by how effectively their citizens use the Internet. Of 61 countries, Sweden came in first, followed by America, Britain, Canada and Finland. For more on this one, as well, please go here.
In what has to be one of the best examples of accepting responsibility on an international level, the Japanese government has decided to help North America pay for the disposal of the tsunami debris which crossed the Pacific Ocean in the wake of last year’s earthquake. Finest kind, folks. Finest kind.
America keeps a strategic oil reserve. Canada stockpiles maple syrup. Is there a correlation? According to Michael Farrell, an extension associate at Cornell University College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, yep, there is. And it might surprise you.
Despite modest but steady economic gains in the nation’s economy, Bank of Canada remains firm in it decision to keep its interest rate at one percent. They cited the fiscal uncertainty of the Eurozone and other spheres and implied that until Canada’s own economy was clearly again bedrocked, their interest rates were not likely to rise. For more on this one, please go here.
Author Chaim Potok once wrote, through a character in one of his novels, that it us bit how long we live but how. This story about a dying boy’s last request and the gift he gave in return fits Reb Potok’s definition of life about as well as any I’ve ever read.
When I first moved back to WashingtonState in 1989, I remember regretting incredibly that the Interstate 5 freeway ~ that multi-lane highway that runs the PacificCoast south from San Diego, California to the Canadian border at Blaine, Washington had to pass within a hundred miles of Tacoma, Washington because the city smelled so bad. They’ve since taken responsibility for that and some 20 years or so later, Tacoma’s a real nice play to visit, work and live. Here’s why.
It looks like Latino voters in America are taking the environmental issues of the day very seriously as they contemplate how they are going to vote in November’s elections. See also: Latino Voters Ready to Leave Coal in the Dust
Even in these tense economic times, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, some delegates still spend lavishly while those they represent often struggle to live on less than two dollars a day.
FROM YOU GUYS
Every once in awhile, something you guys send us makes me clear my throat, look over the top of my specs, roll my eyes and beseech the Gods for a reason why I get this stuff sometimes. There’s only one reason that’s ever made sense. To pass it along. So here’s a video of some baby ducks and their mom crossing a busy freeway. This is not a good clip for people with cardiac incident history.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE AND EXPLORATION
Some 35 years after it was launched into space to explore Saturn and Neptune, Voyager 1 is still sending back data and is about ready to leave our solar system to explore the vastness of the Milky Way. Its sister craft, Voyager 2, launched two weeks later, is expected to follow.
Do you believe in evolution? Chances are, then, that you’re either British or Canadian, because only about 30 percent of Americans accept Darwin. For more on this one, please go here.
Mars One, a Dutch company which intends to start its own colony on the Red Planet by 2023, has received its first sponsorship funding. For more on this exciting commercial enterprise, please go here.
HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE
To our mind, beans are one of the humblest foods out there. They’re also one of the best for you.
Here’s a fun family project for autumn and winter. Grow your own herbs.
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.
This sounds like something I might make up if I was pulling someone’s leg but apparently, it’s true. Housework could reduce the risk of breast cancer by some 13 percent.
It also looks like (happily married) married cancer patients have a better survival rate than single ones, at a rate of about three to one. This really isn’t surprising and we suspect the same is true of others facing life-threatening diseases. As too many of you unfortunately know, facing imminent death makes a person especially lonely, scared and desolate. The traditional spousal/life partner closeness that marriage symbolizes to many is especially needed at times like this. One of the best things you can do for a cancer patient is just to hug them, tell them you love them and let them know that as long as you’re around, they’re not alone. Ever.RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: Cancer: What You Need to Know American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society
With advancement made in genetic engineering, scientists may soon be able to clone a wholly mammoth. Why would we want to do that? Is it necessarily a good idea? To weigh in on this and for further discussion, yep, go here.
WEEK’S BEST VIDEOS, SLIDESHOWS AND OTHER MEDIA
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 online heart of the magazine itself and its offerings are stellar.
Foundation For A Better Life’s short video vignettes rival the best of Hallmark, Folgers and Campbell Soup. Three I’d recommend right off 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
Smokey the Bear was a childhood icon when I was growing up. Now there’s a new Smokey and he’s just as cute and endearing as his predecessor.
Researchers have been exploring the bottom of the CaribbeanOcean this summer. As we right have expected, there are some pretty bizarre life forms living down there.RELATED LINKS: Living With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Earlier this year, the world’s oldest message in a bottle was found. For more on this and a slideshow of Guinness World Record Breakers, yep, go here.
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.