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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Volume 5, No. 37

Rusty Miller


Seattle, Washington


Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Like most of us, I think, I really love superlatives.  I especially admire and seek out those who strive not to be better than someone else or to raise the bar on human achievement, but rather those who excel at being the best they can be. 

The envelope pushers I know are real modest about it because it’s not a commercially competitive sport in which they’re engaged.  They’re not out there trying to break somebody’s record.  Their goals are more idealistic than those who want to build the fastest plane ever flown or run the swiftest mile.

In my life, I have two young people who represent the difference.  When the issue of replacing a worn out computer came up, one of them was all for as state of the art as we could afford.  He wanted the fastest with the best video, audio, etc. in anticipation of the magazine’s eventual evolution into a weekly Net “TV show”.

He gave an impressive display and it was like watching the trailer for a Star Wars movie before there were like eight million of them.  The computer he had in mind would do everything except serve a cup of Starbucks and was even itself working on an app for that.

The other young person took a different approach.  Her vision of what we needed was a computer with a gentle female voice, a good set of manners, a wardrobe that had considerably fewer shoes than Imelda Marcos and did not start the day like some dazed Greyhound waiting for the mechanical hare to leap onto the track.

Although we chose the latter model, there is no denying the efficacy of both approaches.  Sometimes it is appropriate to let technology dictate.  There’s always just a chance that dog might catch that rabbit after all.

But at Northstar, human technology serves human beings and not the other way around.  Speed and efficiency in and of themselves are not virtues but derive their value from context.

Sometimes it is not necessary to break the sound barrier getting there.  Occasionally it’s just nice to sit back and enjoy the ride.


In which cities are the highest earnings made?  The answers just might surprise you.

In what many geopolitical analysts are interpreting as another major step in the democratization of Myanmar (aka Burma), the chief government censorship office is closing.  This Orwellian bureaucratic artifact has a heinous history of repression, torture and propaganda.  During the Second World War, it hosted the occupying Japanese Secret Police.  For more on this one, please go here.

Those of us who use the Internet to do good, evil or the indifferent are hopefully giving back more to the planet than we are taking in.  After reading this article on now much energy the World Wide Web actually consumes, I’m getting a lot better at asking, “Is this text really necessary?”

Historian Says Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife
Chain Stores Lead Firms in Solar Power Use, Study Finds
Life Expectancy for Less Educated Whites in U.S. Is Shrinking
2012 Gulf Fish Catches Above Some Pre-Spill Levels, Long-Term Effects Unknown
August 2012 Temperatures Made It Fourth Warmest Such Month On Record
Greenland’s Unfrozen Future – Video
Climate change threat more real to those with perceived personal experience
Sauk-Suiattle Tribe plans for climate change
Arctic Sea Ice Levels Hit Record Low, Scientists Say We’re ‘Running Out Of Time
Arctic Resources, Exposed by Warming, Set Off Competition
Portland City Council passes resolution against coal trains


Looking for work in Canada?  Here are the industries hiring.

Here are seven reasons why American retailers are flocking to Canada.

What does the Canadian family of the 21st Century look like?  The answers might just surprise you.

Tanning Bed Ban Ontario: Province To Adopt Bill To Ban Minors From Tanning Bed
Family Canada Census 2011: Canadian Young Adults Still Living At Home
Same Sex Marriage Canada Census 2011: Census Shows New Picture Of Couples
Overweight Kids: Massive Percentage Of Canadian Kids Overweight Or Obese


Eleven more billionaires have agreed to give away half of their wealth.  Earlier this month, they signed The Giving Pledge, thus adding themselves to the ranks of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin, along with Intel Chairman Emeritus Gordon Moore and his wife Betty.

What does it take to really make a difference?  Here’s one man and father’s story of how he joined others in White Rock, British Columbia to block a coal train.  Why did he risk jail and his daughter’s respect?  The answer just might surprise you.

One of the reasons we admire Barack Obama so much as a person is that even as the chief executive of America, he takes the time to show what a really cool human being can be like.

Britain’s inspirational Women Of The Year Awards: Olympic heroines launch Femail’s hunt
Delhi Plastic Bags Ban Begins This Week
Vancouver expands food scrap recycling program
Europe’s Biofuel Policy To Limit Use At 5 Percent Of Transportation Fuel


Yunel Escobar of the Toronto Blue Jays has been suspended for three games after playing with a homophobic slur on his face.  It was written in French under his eyes and we suspect this is what happens with a testosterone overload.  It makes a person so stupid they think they can pull something like this because not everybody speaks French.  Ummm, this is Canada, Yunel, where the tongue of the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees is the nation’s second language and the first of one entire province.

Illegal rat meat was discovered for sale at a London, England market.  Apparently there’s quite an international trade in rodent flesh and other exotic wildlife.

Apparently the American Congress doesn’t think quite as much of the 9/11 emergency responders as we’ve been lead to believe.  It looks like they’re transferring funds out of an account designated to compensate those killed or injured trying to save lives that horrific day.

U.S. Is Taking Over Spirit Lake Sioux’s Social Services
Quebec Corruption Inquiry: Mafia Reaches Deep Into Ontario Businesses
Allergic to Peanuts? Here, Have a PB&J, Say Bullies


We wish to thank all of you who wrote in, Instant Messaged or commented in chatrooms about proactive stance on bigotry.  We didn’t figure we were along out there but when a magazine declares war on prejudice and the slime that promotes it, it is nice to know the readership has your back.  You guys do and we’re all a lot stronger as a result.  Thank you very much, folks.  Rusty


I’ve noticed a correlation between the number of stories in the media about the search for life on planets other than this one and how obnoxious any given election year is.  Welcome to Gliese 163C, a newly discovered alien planet which might be able to support intelligent life.

We’re Indiana Jones fans despite the fact that we know archaeologists don’t very often lead adventure packed lives.  So this story about a real surprising find in a 1,000 year old tomb in a Philippine jungle really caught our interest.

My Grandfather Seamus believed that if God could create human beings out of mud and leftovers, God’s Children were probably capable of creating life from the materials available to them.  He therefore treated tractors and intractable children pretty much the same way, which is to say he didn’t kick or waste his breath cussing at either one of them.  He had a real nice touch.  Apparently so does Baxter, this new robot they made in Boston, Massachusetts, in America.

Huge Magnetic Star, Newly Discovered NGC 1624-2, Has Scientists Buzzing
Russian Diamonds: Siberian Meteorite Crater Said To Hold Trillions Of Carats
Roman Fort That Helped Julius Caesar Conquer Gaul Identified In Germany


Not surprisingly, researchers have established a definite cause and effect relationship between how people feel about themselves and their lives and the healthy choices they make.  For more on this one, please go here.

We totally enjoyed 9 Simple Steps to Improve Your Health (Without Joining a Gym)

If you know a vegetarian or are thinking about becoming one, here’s something you might want to check out.  7 Unhealthy Foods (Some) Vegetarians Eat

10 Common Myths About Therapy
Alternative Treatments for Headache Relief
Overweight Kids: Massive Percentage Of Canadian Kids Overweight Or Obese
Sexual Health Awareness Week: Contraception Myths Explained (PICTURES)
A Graceful Exit: Taking Charge at the End of Life by Claudia Rowe
The Breakfast Food That Boosts Your Health, Big-Time
The dried fruit that can treat everyday ailments | Mail Online


Who knew that “weird” food combinations just might not be fun for cancer cells?  I thoroughly enjoyed this piece from Across the Pond. Who’s For Fish Fingers With Honey And Sprouts Six Times A Day? Chef Shirley’s Story Reveals It’s Not Just Doctors And Nurses Who Help Save Lives On Child Cancer Wards.  Our thanks to Demi and Jon in Oxfordshire for turning us onto this one.

The same type of GPS technology that either keeps you from getting lost when you drive or at least makes it more interesting is now being used to good effect in the war on cancer.

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


In what has to be one of the strangest and most convoluted film debacles in the history of the art, Innocence of Muslims, I think it behooves us all to remember that actors and others involved in a project often have no idea what the end result will look like after it is edited nor how it will be promoted.  Innocence started out being called Desert Warrior and one of its stars, Anna Gurji, had no idea it would end up being inflammably anti-Muslim.  I think we all owe it to ourselves to check out what she has to say about it.



If you want to see why so many of us who live in the Pacific Northwest feel as passionately as we do about lands our First Nation ancestors first discovered, check out this photo essay entitled Columbia River: Great River of The West

Sometimes I’m reminded that the micro cosmos is just as mysterious as that one out with in Star Trek Land.  I don’t understand the allure of some of this real tiny stuff like spider skin or dandelions but there is no denying the outstanding beauty of that universe within.

I’m a Bob Ballard fan to the max.  This video interview with him about his National Geographic special “Alien Deep” should explain why.


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 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.


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.


Red dawn over Wedgwood – Smoke from scores of wildfires east of the Cascade Mountains made the skies of northeast Seattle hazy. This was taken about ten minutes from
Matthews Beach Park


Is Seattle the rainiest city in America?  No.  At 38 inches annually, it ranks 44th behind, among others, Houston and New Orleans.  For the soggiest places in the Continental Unites States and a great description of Seattle’s weather, please go here.

How large is Seattle?  Seattle is in King County, Washington, which is about as big as the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.  Seattle itself is 142.5 square miles/369 sq. km, of which 58.82% is land and 41.18% is water.

How many people live in Seattle608,660.  King County’s population is 1,969,722.  Population density varies from 50,978 people per square mile (PPSM) to 190 PPSM.


King 5 News
Seattle City Cams
Map of Seattle
Seattle Times


My dislike of sharks is no secret.  I do not wish them ill-will.  I just do not want to swim with them.  There’s a reason for that which goes back many many incarnations to the day when Devonians as huge as this monster used to hunt stuff as big as T Rex to snack on.

Seattle’s human population is showing that it understands and appreciates the role honey bees play in the planetary web of life.  Nice going, folks.  This is really cool when it comes from neighbors of mine.

Here is a list of the 100 Most Threatened Species On Earth.

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


We all probably know someone who would give us the shirt off their back.  Meet a Winnipeg bus driver who gave a homeless man the shoes off his feet.

  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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