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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Volume 5, No. 40

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington


 Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Here at Northstar, as in each of your homes, we have anniversaries which have nothing to do with national holidays or even history shaping and history making events.

There is a tribe of people in Africa who believe that each of us is the sum of all who have gone before us; relatives, protégés, friends, lovers, individuals who impact our lives in ways we sometimes cannot begin to calculate until something happens which triggers a memory.

The anniversary of Shannon Patricia Goddard Mills’ death of cervical cancer 11 years ago this week is the catalyst for this reflection.  

Briefly, she was born in Regensburg, Germany, the daughter of a Royal Canadian Air Force noncommissioned officer.  She was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  She loved children, art, writing, people, Canada and horses.  It was her passion for the last which motivated her to acquire formal training as a farrier.  Most of her life, she worked as a ranch hand in her native province and in the American states of Wyoming and Montana.

She was, in many respects, a controversial young woman.  Independent, articulate, stubborn and intractable to an occasionally annoying degree, she took life head on, seeking no quarter and certainly giving none.  Her romantic life was scandalous, her passions satyrical and her contempt for the strait-laced morality and rigid behaviour codes of the small towns of the North American West as deeply profound as her conduct was outrageous.

When I met her, she was living on Vancouver Island, a divorced mother with three children.  She was working on a ranch which adopted abused race horses and taught blind children to ride.  She was also dying of cancer.

For the last two years of her life, she served as this publication’s Canadian editor when it was a monthly.  She taught herself html and created pages which were works of aesthetic beauty and literary excellence.  She believed with all her soul in the goodness of people and imagined herself under moon rise, soaring around the planet, staring down at all the homes The Northstar Journal reached.  She called you guys “my twinkling lights.”

She could have done many things in the concluding days of her existence.  She chose to dedicate them to this publication and to those it served.  When the end was near, she left all of us and spent her final hours with a gay male friend because he made her laugh.  She was cremated and her ashes spread over the CowichanValley and the pastures where the horses she loved so much grazed.

She has been gone over a decade now.  But there are times, here alone late at night, putting this publication together, when I can feel her hands on my shoulders and her chin on the top of my head.

She loved you guys a lot.  And I miss her.


This year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to the 27-member European Union and to us this is incredibly significant because it recognizes the essentially unity of these historically diverse and often lethally contentious nations.  For an excellent treatment of this one, please go here.

In perhaps the most profound denunciation of gender discrimination by any national leader yet, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard lambasted opposition leader Tony Abbott in what has been described as an “epic speech on sexism“.  As far as we’re concerned, it does not get any better than this.  For more, please go here.

If ever there was a reason to practice safe sex, it is now.  As most of us know, everything on this planet is in a constant state of evolution, including things that can kill us.  There’s a new strain of gonorrhea that is apparently resistant to every drug and treatment our species has yet devised.  For more on this one, yep, go here.


Nobel Prize In Medicine 2012: John Gurdon, Shinya Yamanaka Win For Cell Research

U.S. Mortality Rate: Deaths Surpass 2.5 Million For The First Time

Boy Who Said He Saw Heaven Has New Book

U.S. Mortality Rate: Deaths Surpass 2.5 Million For The First Time

10 Things Women Pay More For Than Men


Arctic Methane Leak Research Looks For Signs Of Accelerating Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise With GDP But Slower To Fall During Recession, Study Shows

Americans See Climate Change, Here and Now

Climate Change Survey Shows Most Americans Believe Warming Is Tied To Extreme Weather Events


Another outstanding example of Canadian, American and International technological cooperation took place last week when the commercial cargo ship Space X delivered supplies to the International Space Station and it was the big arm built by the Maple Leaf which made the docking possible in the first place.  Yuppers, for more, go here.

Montreal got a bit of a shake last week and it wasn’t anything that the Parti libéral du Québec did.  This time, it was an earthquake.  Thank God nobody was hurt and property damage was minimal.

Of the 7.43 million vehicles Toyota is recalling worldwide for a faulty power window switch, 240,000 belong to Canadians.  For the years, models and more details, please go here.


Why Canadian Banks Weathered The Storm

B.C. Premier Reaction To Bullying Death

Canada Comes In Fourth At Culinary Olympics

Canada Workplace Depression: Over 1 In 5 Employees Report Current Depression


In what has to be one of the most outstanding examples of government and citizen cooperation, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is asking Maple Leafers to help them develop a national retail code for cellphone companies

When one of her young citizens committed suicide after being bullied, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark let the world know ~ in blistering and no uncertain terms ~ what she thought and what’s going to happen in her province if this ever happens again.  For the record, Christy is one of our favourite people and this is one of the reasons why.


Discriminated Gay Teen Finally Gets Eagle Scout Badge


As most of you folks who have been with us some while know, I was raised by two generations of law enforcement officers and I live in a city ~ Seattle, Washington ~ whose police department was under a federal investigation for excessive use of force.  I also have strong and profound ties to Canada so this story of a Montreal cop caught on video AGAIN being a badge heavy bully does not exactly incite me to rapture.  For more on this one, please go here.  Sigh.


Dear Mr. Miller,

Thank you for contacting me about salmon and steelhead on the Columbia and SnakeRivers.  I appreciate hearing from you and share your concern for the long-term survival of endangered salmon species.

There are 13 Endangered Species Act protected salmon and steelhead runs that migrate through the Columbia River and its tributaries to the Pacific Ocean.  These salmon and steelhead runs are affected by the operation of federally owned and operated hydroelectric dams in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.  Recovery of salmon and steelhead species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act is vital to communities up and down the West Coast.  

In 2008, and supplemented in 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed a 10-year plan, known as a “Biological Opinion” (2008/2010 BiOp).  This BiOp would govern the operation of the federal hydroelectric system for the years 2008-2018 while also protecting endangered salmon. In the Northwest, federal agencies, together with state and tribal governments, worked for over three years on a court-ordered, science-based, ground-up collaborative effort to develop the 2008/2010 BiOp.

On August 2, 2011, the U.S. Federal District Court in Portland, Oregon, concluded that the 2008/2010 BiOp should remain in place through the end of 2013, but directed NOAA to provide more a more specific habitat program for the term 2014-2018.  The Court remanded the post-2013 term of the BiOp to NOAA to work with the federal agencies that operate the hydroelectric system – the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – together with states and tribes to develop a more specific 2014-2018 habitat program by January 1, 2014. The Court has ordered that the collaborative process that led to the 2008-2010 BiOp shall continue for developing a more specific plan for 2014-2018, to ensure that the plan put in place not only complies with the Endangered Species Act, but also reflects an important regional collaboration.  The Court also ordered that spring and summer spill will continue in accordance with previous court-ordered spill levels, as would current river flow and reservoir operations.

Saving salmon requires sound science to develop the necessary plans, and the commitment of resources and political will to implement them.  We must develop a solution that fulfills our energy needs and simultaneously preserves our valuable Northwest salmon species.  Decisions regarding the future of our endangered salmon stocks must be based on sound science and carefully consider all potential impacts on the state.  

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

* * *


In your edition before last, the one with the blue moon, you hit a pet topic of mine so I’m going to throw a curve ball into the dietary debate.  I’ve been reading a very popular natural health newsletter and website for a while now, and the doctor who owns it has been saying that beef isn’t the problem.  The problem is that the cattle are being fed hormones, GMO corn, etc.  He advocates eating grass-fed organic beef… that is, cattle that eat ONLY grass and aren’t fattened up with corn at the end of their lives.  He cites studies that show that the composition of the beef is better, higher in nutrition and good things, if it’s grass-fed.  Here’s the website:  Surf around it.  Dr. Mercola isn’t just an “internet doctor” — Dr. Oz has had him on his TV show, which to me says that he’s coming into the mainstream.  Mercola is usually at the head of the curve and everyone else catches up with him later.  Almost everything that I’ve read on his site has eventually become known to the rest of the medical world.

The other thing that Mercola is saying is that some people are “protein types” and need more meat than others.  (This is directly opposite what T. Colin Campbell said in “Forks Over Knives,” his film that shows that meat consumption is correlated with cancer rates.)  I was a little skeptical but I recently read that a certain lymphoma is actually treated with a diet high animal protein.  I actually had that disease about 18 years ago, and it followed my being on a high carb/low protein diet that I’d been on for a few months, so maybe there is something to that.  You can take his Nutritional Type test on his website.  Once you find your type, you can read his diet recommendations for you.

I think the right thing is to stay away from just about everything that comes in a bag or a box, especially if there is any corn or soybean product in it (gotta stay away from the GMO’s).  I don’t even buy crackers anymore.  For me, snacks are natural trail mixes with dried fruit, seeds, and nuts… whole fruits, berries, carrots, multigrain bread.  If it isn’t pure nutrition, I don’t want to eat it.  We are not meant to eat chemicals or GMO food. Screw the food conglomerates.  They’d just as soon kill us… AFTER taking our money, that is.  After reading that sugar consumption is correlated with cancer and heart disease, I gave up candy, cookies, ice cream, soda, etc., except on very special occasions or holidays. You will see very little processed food in my house, just some pasta, bread, spaghetti sauce, and occasional organic soup.              Shelly in PA


Well, apparently a house-sized asteroid passed within 59,000 miles of Earth last week.  I wonder why we were not warned it was coming and I’m glad it didn’t collide with us.  Something that big doesn’t burn up in the atmosphere and what is left of it when it “lands” is enough to cause widespread devastation and climate change for a thousand miles in all directions.

Many of us have been wondering when the space shuttle Endeavor would be making her way from the LAX, through the streets of Los Angeles, to her final home at the CaliforniaScienceCenter.  That question has been answered.

One of our favorite deep sea explorers is not a human being.  “He” is a small but sturdy submersible named Alvin.  The 4,664 dives he’s made since 1965 include the Titanic and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  And now, Alvin’s getting a makeover which should extend the little dude’s life another few decades.  For a thoroughly engaging look at this tiny submarine, please go here.


Mars Rock Resembles Rare Volcanic Specimens Seen On Earth, Scientist Says

‘Cookie Monster Craters’ On Mercury Visible In NASA Photo

China’s Mars Exploration Plan Calls For Probe To Bring Samples Back To Earth By 2030

Russian Geoglyph: Elk-Shaped Design Found In Ural Mountains, May Predate Peru’s ‘Nazca Lines’

Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans | Human Origins | Ardi, Hobbits & Neander


For millions of people on this planet, autumn is not a Norman Rockwell New England Technicolor extravaganza nearly as much as it is a time of acute allergic suffering.  Here are several foods to avoid and several foods to eat more of that can mitigate the physical angst these people experience.

In our ongoing crusade to save the species from dying of obesity, we’ve found five common foods that are good for weight loss.  What we particularly appreciated about this is that it’s a video and the person in it reminds us of a neighbor of ours who lives right across the street.  How do we spell “user friendly,” again gang?

And on that other side of that particular coin, here are foods you should NOT eat before bedtime.

If, like most of us in this gradually post-Recession age, money is still tight, you might be interested in 20 of the most overpriced products we consume.


3 Tips for an Emergency Energy Boost

10 Secrets To Lose Weight And Keep It Off

2.5 Minutes Spent Exercising Can Burn Crazy Calories: Study

Don’t Doubt Your Fish Oil Supplements

5 Habits for a Sharp Memory


As we’ve mentioned before, surviving this killer is also a matter of attitude and nothing so much fosters a winning attitude as a good example.  Check out this story about a young cancer survivor who won second prize in Maryland’s state lottery and what he did with a fair share of those winnings.

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


One of the most controversial issues of my generation in the Sixties and Seventies was capital punishment and the debates centered around whether the death penalty actually served as a deterrent.  Now that issue appears to have returned ~ Lazarus-like ~ and with regards to children, in a book entitled “God’s Law.”  Written by Charlie Fuqua, a Republican candidate for the Arkansas House of Representatives, it cites the Bible as a source precedent and contends that even if it was never enforced, such a statute would discourage “unruly children.”  For more on this little bon mot of legislative wisdom, please go here.



WATCH: Heroic Golden Retriever Saves His Brother

Puppy, Kitten Think They Are ‘Sisters’: Buttons The Jack Russell, Kitty The Cat

Life and Climate Change on a Rocky Island – Slide Show –


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.


All photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor.  For a visual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here. 

After 81 days with less than .03 inches of rain, the wet stuff has returned to the Emerald City. The next time people talk about “soggy Seattle,” you can tell them from us here at Northstar that “it ain’t necessarily so.”


We occasionally have a lot of fun with a Seattle citizen we basically respect a lot.  We’ve referred to him as “Mayor Schwinn” because he rides his bicycle to work in monsoons that would drown a spawning salmon.  We’ve kidded him about being the Puget Sound’s answer to Don Johnson because he appears to have a permanently bristly face.  And we’ve made fun of him for essentially putting the “laid back” in Seattle’s already notoriously informal style of living and getting things done. 

As I said at the start of this left-handed tribute, the plain fact is that I admire him very much and think he’s one of the best things to hit this town since onion farmers established Pike’s Place Market.  We therefore encourage all of you ~ natives and “outlanders” alike  ~ to check out his web page and get to know him.  He’s definitely an exportable whose ideas on how a city should be managed and run can and should be emulated elsewhere.  Here’s that link.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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


Phred the Crow, a Neighbor of Ours

In response to our story last week about Walter the Rescued Crow finding a new home in Ottawa, we’ve since learned ~ thanks to one of you ~ just how unique and intelligent these birds really are.  I have a feeling this will absolutely astound you.  See also Crow Intelligence, Memory Research Suggests Birds Don’t Forget Your Face (VIDEO)

The Northstar Journal is both proud and honored to endorse CornellUniversity’s Birds of Paradise Project.  For more and an absolutely stunning video, please go here.

Here’s something you don’t see very often and Aesop would have loved this one.  Check out this lioness who befriends a baby antelope after killing its mother.


Whale Deaths Since 1970s Mostly Human-Caused, Study Finds

PHOTOS: Tiny Fossilized Brain Raises Big Scientific Question

‘Extinct’ Venomous Mammal Shows Up After Long Search

Deep Sea Creature PHOTOS Show Blobfish, Bioluminescent Plankton & Other Bizarr

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


Appropriate for Halloween, check out this photo gallery of real monsters you’ve always feared.

And thank you to Ken and Claudia in St. Paul, Minnesota for the best place in the world to have a heart attack.

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.  And if you’d like to receive this by direct email, request at


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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