Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, February 10, 2013
Volume 6, No. 9
Published by
Northstar Media Services
Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor
 Seattle, Washington


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  I want to share with you for Valentine’s Day, a story of love and war that we publish each year as a reminder of just how precious love is and how fragile.  It has been updated and revised for this publication.  The original appeared in the Portland Oregonian.  It is entitled RAIN.

They’d been married once.  Younger then, their lives had been a collage of rain dimpling a duck pond, wishing games in the high branches of the evergreens, intimate meals in the kitchen and nights that grew richer with familiarity.

Theirs was a strange, almost inarticulate love best captured in the mornings she’d fall asleep at her easel, exhausted over a night’s work, or the cold-coffee dawns he’d come home totally exhausted and with not nearly enough to show for a week on the road with his band.

“I like it.”

“You don’t think the trees are too green?”

“They’re beautiful.”

“I’m glad you’re home.”

“Me too.”

“How much do we owe the landlord?”

“I’m glad you’re home.  The landlord will keep.”

There were, as well, those funny/sad times when the edge cut so deep it blunted itself on midnight cornflake conversations.

“What are you doing still up?”

“Couldn’t sleep.  What’s your excuse?”

“I missed you.  Go for a walk?”

“Like this?”

“You look fine.”


And then they’d stroll the quiet streets, reaping a clear night star harvest, or stand alone on the levee, watching the moon play on the rolling glass river.  Sometimes it was back to the all-night coffee shop, where they would sit across from each other without talking, or needing to.  Theirs was the rule of no apology, and that gentle dictate blessed their lives for two years and a season.

Then time and an era caught up with them.

His best friend was killed in Afghanistan over Thanksgiving, and she sold two of her canvases, only to learn they’d been purchased for their frames.  She began her rage at one end of town, he his at the other, and they met in the heat of it all at the coffee shop.  She cursed him for something he said, and he slapped her.  In a moment of absolute terror, they told each other they were sorry.

He came back 18 months later with a limp and a double row of campaign ribbons.  They talked over coffee, and he whistled at the prices her paintings were bringing.  She reached out to touch the gaunt planes of his cheeks.  They dined together, then went walking.

Along dusty country lanes, they played in rainbow leaves, chased squirrels and waded in the Indian summer silt of bullfrog ponds.  They renamed the trees and called the southbound geese by the colors of the palette.  He memorized her eyes again, and traced her long mane from bangs to shoulder blades.  She felt the gentle strength of his hands and heard the quiet joy of words a cordite-parched throat could barely speak.  Loves was theirs once more — and for an emerald instant — time and an era left them in peace.

When he returned to stay, she met him at the airport and saw him through the final mile home.  He never smiled or told her how glad he was to see her.  She never mentioned how much she had missed him.  When the final strains of epitaph faded into the eternal chill, she walked home and sat down on the living room couch.

Rain fell softly beyond her.

© 2013 by Merritt Scott Miller


In what must be the most horrific example of a bad idea gone epidemic, a report recently released cites over 50 nations involved in the illegal detention and torture of suspected terrorists.  For more, please go here.

And here we go again with the big rocks from space.  This one’s about 164 feet (50 meters) long and will pass closer to earth than much of the orbiting tin already up there.  But don’t worry, folks.  This one’s not supposed to hit us either.  I guess if they’re ever wrong about that, it will be pretty much a moot point after impact, eh?

For our readers in the 14 states east of the Mississippi, this is not going to come as much of a surprise, but what they’re calling “The Storm of the Decade” and “Nemo” could very well be the result of climate change.  Yep, for more, please go here.


China:  China Issues Plan to Narrow Income Gap

Egypt:  Many Egyptians Fight on Streets to Restore Revolution’s Goals

European Union:  Europe Adopts Sweeping Changes to Fishing PolicyE.U. Steps In To Save Pompeii, Pledges Millions Toward Restoration Of Ancient CityEuropean Union Leaders Agree to Slimmer Budget

France:  Against the Odds, Starting a Tech Business in France

Germany:  German Education Chief Quits in Scandal Reflecting Fascination With Titles

Iceland:  Iceland Investigates Mass Herring Deaths

India:  Report Faults India Government Over Child Sex AbuseImages From the Kumbh Mela

Iran:  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Rejects Direct Talks With U.S.

Ireland:  Seeking Redress in Ireland Over Magdalene LaundryKevin McGeever, Missing Irish Millionaire, Found 8 Months After Disappearance

Mali:  Saving Timbuktu’s Priceless Artifacts From Militants’ ClutchesNew Focus in Mali Is Finding Militants Who Have Fled Into Mountains 

Mexico:  Tomato Imports Deal Reached by U.S. and Mexico

Netherlands:  Dutch Put Electric Cars To The Test

North Korea:  North Korea Dream Video Shows U.S. City In Ruins After Missile Attack

Thailand:  Thailand Cracks Down On Animal Trafficking

Tunisia:  European Union Leaders Agree to Slimmer Budget

United Kingdom:  Scholars Say Bones Belonged to Richard III,  King Richard III Of England Skeleton Shows Deformity & Deadly WoundsHouse of Commons Approves Same-Sex MarriageMark Carney: Bank Of England’s New ‘Super Cop’ Will Have Stunning Powers

United States:  Postal Service To Cut Saturday Mail Delivery To Save $2 Billion Per YearEmu Oil Aids the Survival of an Unusual Industry


Thomas Menino, Boston Mayor, Calls On City To Prepare For Climate Change

Lisa Jackson, Outgoing EPA Chief, Convinced Obama Is Serious On Climate Change

San Francisco Fears Rising Seas

Climate Message Essentials for All Six Americas

In California, the Snow Tells the Future for the Water Supply


White House Tensions Over Syria Exposed in Hearing

A Faceless Teenage Refugee Who Helped Ignite Syria’s War

How to Ease Syrian Suffering


Well, as of this month, Canada is no longer using the penny.  Here are ten things we’ll miss about the one-cent piece.  And here are some things you can do with those copper thingies you still have around the house.

Canadians are actually putting more money into savings than ever before.  Check out some of the things they’re putting that dinero away for.

Despite the fact that her track record is less than perfect, Canada has generally treated her First People better than most nations, including the United States.  This accounts, in part, for the 21st renaissance of that culture.  Yep, for more, please go here.


Wab Kinew: Idle No More Is Not Just an “Indian Thing”

BlackBerry Z10 Launch: Canadian Retailers Get New Smartphones Today

Anthony Morgan: How a Black Man Saved Queen’s University


The United States Congress called her “the first lady of Civil Rights.”  On the 100th anniversary of her birthday, it is, therefore, appropriate, to remember Rosa Parks.

If you’re green and a woman in need of inspiration, you might want to check out this story about those of your gender making majour contributions to the Sustainable Cities Movement.  We know a couple of these people and we could not be prouder of them if we were related to them.

One of our favourite people, Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of it herself, is preparing to go to war on gun violence.  Gaby, you totally rock, girl.


Sandy-Shaken Staten Island Applauds Cuomo’s Proposal To Buy Out Destroyed Homes

Hewlett-Packard Joins Push to Limit Use of Student Labor in China

Asia Pulp & Paper Company Pledges To Stop Deforestation In Indonesia


Even in his culture and religion, there’s a special Hell waiting for the Muslim cleric who beat his five year old daughter to death.  He allegedly questioned the girl’s virginity.  And yes, we did say FIVE year old.

If you’ve got a weak stomach, you might want to take a pass on this one.  It’s a story about Seattle’s dirtiest restaurants.  Nope, folks, it is not pretty.


One of the greatest mysteries of the scientific world is what caused the mass extinction of most dinosaurs and one of the theories that keeps being recycled is that it was caused by the impact of a large meteor.  There seems to be more proof than ever before now that this was in fact the case.

The recent discovery of living bacteria in lakes beneath the South Pole has scientists again revising their criteria for what constitutes a habitable planet.  One source I spoke with said that it’s likely that the same instruments and protocols used to facilitate this Antarctica find could be used in future explorations of other planets beyond our own solar system.

Its name is ISON and it’s a comet that’s been headed our way for quite awhile now.  A NASA deep probe captured the first photos of it and it very well could rival Halley’s as “the comet of the century.”  It will swing through our solar system later this year.  Its tail is already 40,000 miles (64,400 km) long and when it reaches us in November, it will be visible from everywhere on the planet.  If you’re a stargazer, you’re absolutely going to love the details of this one.


Pterosaur Fossils Come From New Species Of Prehistoric Flying Reptile

ESA Moon Base Plan Could Use 3D Printing & Lunar Soil

Luxor Sarcophagus Unearthed: Archeologists Excavate 3,000-Year-Old Tomb In Egypt


Power Plant Carbon Pollution Declined In 2011 Thanks To Less Coal Burning

What’s Cheaper than Solar, Slashes Carbon Emissions, and Creates Jobs in Kentucky

Find out which facilities near you are doing the most damage to the climate

What Should Sally Jewell Do As Interior Secretary?

Why People Choose Cars, Even When Mass Transit Would Serve Them Better  

Go Green: Sustainable Resort Vacations

RainWise rain gardens a hit in Ballard (Seattle)



Well, here’s a good reason not to be a male couch potato, unless, of course, you don’t want to help produce other male couch potatoes.  Apparently too much TV watching lowers the sperm count.  Significantly.

That old saying that the road to Hades is paved with good intentions is, in fact, about is far from the truth as it gets.  Good intentions are linked to health, happiness, optimism and positive thinking.

The latest Gallup Poll has identified the happiest and saddest days of the year.  Yep, check it out here.


Scientists Identify Life-Saving Stroke Gene

Heart Disease Prevention – 6 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

Winter Exercises: How To Work Out In Between Skiing, Snowboarding And Outdoor Running


February is Cancer Prevention Month.  Physicians Mehmet Oz and Michael Roisen discuss why regular screenings save lives and how they’ve helped reduce the incident rate of this disease in America.

Allergy suffers may be much less susceptible to brain cancer, according to a new study released this month.  Yep, for more, please go here.

A ten year old boy battling cancer has created a “List For Life.”  This one moved me to tears.


Cancer:  What You Need to Know

American Cancer Society

Canadian Cancer Society


If introspection characterized the 20th Century, then “outrospection” ~ coming to know who you are by getting outside yourself and relating to other minds around you ~ will likely be one of the hallmarks of the 21st.  This is another of Roman Krznaric’s cartoon videos and it is as informative and thought provoking as it is entertaining and insightful.  Our profound thanks to the folks at YES magazine for this one.

I blush at sex scenes in nature movies so I was more than a little scarlet when I read this one.  But I learned a lot and as far as I’m concerned, it’s as much for men as it is for women.  Check out Orgasm Facts: 14 Things You Never Knew About Climaxes

One of my favourite comedians is Norm Crosby, the one who has fun messing around with words.  So I thoroughly enjoyed 15 common words that are (probably) made up


Generation Y’s Legislative Agenda: What Millennials Will Do When They Get Power

Best Quebec Cheeses: Try These Provincial Options For Your Next Party

Constructive Criticism: Can You Handle The Heat Of Criticism?

Turn-Offs For Men And Women Include Bad Breath And Grooming, Canadian Sex Survey Reveals


Animal Photos Of The Week: Monkeys, Gazelles, Baby Tigers And More Pictures

Clever Bird Goes Fishing: Bird Uses Bread To Catch Fish (VIDEO)

NASA Earth Observatory Images Of The Week











In October, we told you about Seattle’s plan to use drone aircraft for various functions, including surveillance and criminal apprehension.  This week, Mayor McGinn and SPD Chief Diaz cancelled the program.  For more on this one, please go here.

Well, our EmeraldCity seems to have its head on straight.  Check out this great story headlined In Seattle, It’s Cats, Dogs And Kids — In That Order

The Chamber of Commerce is not going to be thrilled with us for telling the world about this one but then again, maybe the exposure will move them to pressure the Health Department to actually do something about Seattle’s dirtiest restaurants.  And save those of us who live here from spending a lot of money to get sick and throw up.

THE TODAY FILE:  “Your guide to the latest news from Seattle and around the Northwest”


Seattle Weather

Map of Seattle

Seattle City Cams

More Seattle Facts & Figures

Komo 4 News (ABC)

King 5 News (NBC)

Seattle Times


Here’s something people in Florida might be able to handle because of the alligators but really stretches my imagination.  At an Indonesian wildlife preserve, a Komodo dragon strolled into the park office and attacked a ranger and several others.  Nobody was seriously injured but all agreed they could have enjoyed a less exciting day.

Here’s the SeaDoc Society’s monthly update.  Lots of good stuff in this one.

The land which brought us the (allegedly) fictional Godzilla and Rodan is now presenting us with the reality of flying squid.  (And no, I am NOT making this up).


New Eelpout Species Discovered Off New Zealand Coast (PHOTOS)

Scientists: We May Have to Feed Polar Bears

Animal Magnetism: How Salmon Find Their Way Back Home

Common Ancestor of Mammals Plucked From Obscurity

Researchers looking for elusive wolverine near Snoqualmie

62-year-old Albatross Has Miracle Baby


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


You will NOT believe who wants to be Iran’s first astronaut.  In my humble opinion, the monkey is still a better choice.


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.  If you’re reading this on our blogsite and would like the graphically enhanced edition delivered to you by email, please so inform us at  Until next week, cheers, then, eh?  And stay well.  Rusty

Wrath of the Testament, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available as a kindle book, for $3.99 at For a preview, go here


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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