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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Vol. 6, No. 51
SEATTLE IS AN INTERESTING PLACE TO LIVE
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Seattle is an interesting place to live. Even in America, which is young as nations go, this jewel on the shores of the Puget (pew-jet) Sound’s ElliottBay, is recent. And the first white people who settled here were not Mr. & Mrs. Albert Einstein.
They landed in a beautiful place that was mostly deserted by the Native inhabitants, who came here for the salmon, the clams and the shellfish but did not establish a permanent presence. It never occurred to Seattle’s European antecedents to wonder why.
So they ended up building right down on the water during a period of low tides and were doing fine until that cycle ended. When their toilets started backing up, they realized it was time to move to higher ground or make some. With some 60 regrades of the immediate topography in a massive infrastructure program the Pharaohs would have envied, they did the latter. When you take a tour of the Seattle Underground, it’s not a good idea to take a deep breath. It still doesn’t smell very good down there after over 100 years.
The signal landmark of the community is over 50 years old and rises majestically above the more pedestrian cityscape as a yet colorful reminder of a time when the Space Age was young and so were Baby Boomers. What bothers me is that the Needle sits on a hill and at the top of the column, there is a restaurant which does a 360 on a regular basis. Seattle is on an isthmus between a big fresh water lake and a saltwater sound. Salt’s other name is sodium chloride and the same seasoning so prized by our species also corrodes metal.
There is also an unconfirmed rumor that the Needle is actually an alien vessel waiting for the right dinner crowd before it zooms off into the wild blue yonder and has tourists for lunch, literally. I’ve never been up in the Space Needle. Nothing short of a date with the traffic lady I have a crush on, will ever get me up in the Space Needle. I was not raised to be an entrée on some Venusian Delicatessen’s lunch menu.
Seattle’s Pike Place market started out with onions and grew to be a multi-leveled labyrinthine mercantile Mecca. If you’re one of those “Shop ‘Til I Drop” people, you’ll die happy here. And if you’re both idealistic and masochistic, you can come down and really feel bad about materialistic our species has become.
Seattle is built on several hills. Beneath downtown and under several of those hills are tunnels for trains and buses. Another reason the Natives never built permanent structures here is that occasionally the earth shakes and even giant trees go boom.
That did not stop the people who live here now from importing from Japan the largest earth boring machine in the history of the galaxy to build yet another tunnel to replace an aging infrastructure called the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
The boring machine’s name is Bertha. Bertha is currently stuck some 60 feet underground. She hit a locomotive that was part of the bigger recyclables used as landfill during all those regrades at the turn of the 20th Century.
The University of Washington’s seismologists tell us that we can expect “the big one” any time now. I hope they get Bertha unstuck before that occurs. It’s embarrassing enough that it happened in the first place.
Sometimes this toddler of a city is much better at messing its diapers than it is at changing them.
IN OTHER NEWS
This has to be a little humbling. Humans Topped by Pigs on the Food Chain
This is more like the American Motor Industry I know and love. G.M. Names First Female Chief Executive
We’ve been expecting this but it is still good news. Wind energy becoming cheaper than natural gas
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
In the wake of the Lac-Mégantic, Que. disaster last summer, Ottawa has officially designated crude oil a very dangerous substance. New and tougher rules regarding the shipment of this fossil fuel are imminent.
Santa must be in rapture about this. Canada has formally claimed the North Pole.
Considering there was a time when it took a letter a week to get from Surrey to North Van, perhaps this isn’t really that bad an idea after all. Sigh. Canada to Stop Delivering Mail to City Homes Over 5 Years
Felina: Samuel, would you mind joining Arnold and I in the den for a moment? And please bring that CD that has all of the life on the planet on it.
Sam: Gotcha. Anything else I can get for you and Arnie?
Felina: Arnold, dear.
Sam: Yeah, him too.
Felina: Well, it is brunch time.
Sam: One onion and sesame street bun and lox for the Lady Mountain Lion and the CD with All The Life on the Planet for Arnold the television set.
Felina: Thank you, oh mate of my three lives.
Sam: Not a problem, Sweetheart. Hang on a second. And by the miracle of instant teleportation, “Shazaam, ma’am. My name is Sam.”
Felina: You make me smile, Dear.
Sam: I think that’s what I love most about you Canadians. Sometimes you are very easily entertained.
Felina: Careful, my dear. You Americans have an occasionally lethal habit of not watching the ice on which you are skating. Did MacGyver teach you nothing?
Sam: Point well taken and gotcha. However, we digress.
Felina: We are the mistress and master of ceremony of digression. We are the Fred and Ginger of digression.
Sam: Go for it, Felina. You’re on a roll.
Felina: A poppy seed roll, with creamed cheese and smoked salmon. A real she-cat roll.
Sam: Is there any other kind, my love?
Felina: Quite so. Samuel, what is this creature called Bertha and what is it doing at the bottom of a deep hole beneath the streets of this majour human community of Seattle?
Sam: Okay, that’s going to take a little explaining.
Felina: It looks like it is going to take a lot of explaining.
Sam: We already know that some human beings prefer to live under the ground, rather than on top of it.
Felina: Like earthworms, yes. And I know they like to travel under it as well as on it and over it.
Sam: Yep. That’s a good course you’re charting, Sweetheart.
Felina: This is not a living creature, then, this Bertha?
Felina: So it did not fall in? And if it did not fall it, it must have… Oh no.
Sam: Yep and sorry, Felina. I hate to be the one to break it to you but these creatures you insist on studying so intensely and love in spite of themselves are using the biggest human-built “mole” in the history of the Constellation to dig a tunnel to drive their fume-spewing metal camels, horses, jackasses and mules through.
Felina: No wonder Arnold did not want to tell me. They are digging this tunnel into dirt they already moved one hundred years ago and in a land where the earth shakes violently sometimes and volcanoes belch flame and smoke into the sky?
Sam: Ummm, well, yep. That’s about the size of it.
Felina: This is absolutely preposterous.
Sam: That’s one word for it, Sweetheart. Not necessarily the one I would use.
Felina: You are a Colonial. I do not curse in American. Even for them, Samuel, this is insane. The Creator should give them all a big spanking.
Sam: If you stop and think about it, between three volcanoes and “the big one” they’re expecting any day now…
Felina: I would settle for a very small one.
Sam: Just enough to bury Bertha.
Felina: Deeply. And forever.
Sam: Gotcha. Then on that note, Felina?
Felina: On that note, Gentle Readers, may you be blessed with the harvest you have sown. And may the Creator keep you safe in the palm of Her paw. Until next week then, eh?
This will move you. Teacher who survived Sandy Hook, saved lives, opens up
We thought this was incredibly creative. A Copenhagen trash incinerator doubles as a ski slope.
In one of the last conversations I had with him before he died, Ernest Callenbach said that re-greening the planet would take place one community at a time and that kids would play a major role. He was right on both counts. Smokestack city: An industrial neighborhood decides it has had enough
We know where these folks are going. I hope they have lots of sun screen. Thieves broke into a convent and stole all their organic Brussels sprouts
You can help find this veddy bad dude. Funding Hunt for African Warlord Joseph Kony.
Not only is India not safe for women, it looks like it could soon be lethal to gays. India’s Supreme Court Restores an 1861 Law Banning Gay Sex
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Is aging necessary? Apparently not as much as we think.
Guess who landed on the moon? Nice going, guys.
And can a coal fired plant do this for us? How offshore wind farms could protect us from hurricanes
Here On Earth
200,000 People Apply for One-Way Ticket to Mars
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about earthquakes?
THE GREEN AGENDA
Healthy eating actually costs less than previously thought, according to a recent 10-nation study.
We’ve long suspected this. Now if they could just bring the price down. Organic milk is better for your heart
Along these same lines and with all due respect to 21st Century technology, check out these eight tricks our ancestors knew about preparing healthy food.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
NOURISHMENT FOR BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT: Leah Libow, Wellness Coach, Nourishing Educator, Cook, Writer
This week I have found myself lounging a lot – giving into winter’s pull towards rest and rejuvenation, towards the darkness and quiet that comes with rooting our energy underground like trees.
Along with lounging, one of the things I love to do when it’s cold outside is to cook! This week’s blog is a continuation of my exploration with using food and cooking as ways of connecting in with all parts of ourselves and the world around us. What is Wellness? Attending to Making Love goes a step beyond being “present” with our bodies and our food by looking at how attending to our lives through intention and love can bring about a whole new way of being. And there’s a Kraut recipe included!
And, since I love to support and be engaged with other folks who are promoting Wellness in this world, I’ve written my first review about a local organization that is making great strides in connecting us to our food. Check out my write-up on Übrlocal’s first annual dinner – Singing Our Landscape – Übrlocal Creates Connections! This awesome new organization is attending to making the connections between food growers and producers and the folks that love them.
As we settle further into winter and celebrate our intimate connections with family and friends, I encourage you to also consider those folks who make it easier for you to live nourishing lives: farmers, grocery store clerks, bus drivers, taxi cab drivers, mechanics, baby sitters, healers, environmental organizations, etc. Without everyone doing their part in nourishing this world we could not thrive and survive.
AND….thank you for continued support of my endeavor to be a part of your nourishment!
May you be nourished,
BEST OF THE NET
Watch: Goats Outrun Avalanche
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL — AI has been at the front of every human rights issue and concern since its founding in 1961 by a British attorney. Without this organization, thousands would still be imprisoned and international justice would yet be a dream.
BACK COUNTRY GALLERY: BEST NATURE PHOTOS ON THE NET — This nature photographer’s work is the single best I’ve seen outside National Geographic.
BLACK SEA AGRO: AGRICULTURE IN THE BLACK SEA REGION — This region feeds most of the former Soviet Union. How they tackle issues of concern to their own agrarians deserves to be read by every farmer on the planet.
CREAM MAGAZINE & MILLENNIUM ART GALLERY — We have a relationship with the two Canadian men in Vancouver who own and manage this gallery that goes back over 30 years. They were the first to publish our mountain lions, Felina and Sam. Their literary magazine features talent from all over the world and their virtual gallery is a cozy rainy afternoon virtual excursion.
GRITTV WITH LAURA FLAUNDERS is about personal and community empowerment in an environmentally sane world.
HELP END WORLD HUNGER & POVERTY | HEIFER INTERNATIONAL® | HEIFER.ORG — This was recommended to us by a staffer who loves cows and admires the splendid work this particular organization is doing.
NO CAMELS – WEEKLY ISRAELI INNOVATION NEWS is like a blend of Popular Mechanics, Scientific American and the science pages of the New York Times and the Huffington Post. I totally geek out when I read these folks.
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE — This is the comprehensive weekly for the rugged and socially responsible nature sports set, which marginally includes me. The National Geographic is still the standard here so if NG is ten, OM is an eight.
Affiliated with the University of California – Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, these folks are headquartered on a small forested island in the north part of Washington state’s Puget Sound. They are actively involved in research, education and legislation to protect the marine environment. Their monthly newsletter is an animal lover’s delight.
Historically, the Sierra Club has been in the vanguard of the Conservation Movement. They are very reflective of the mountains for whom they are named.
I like the spirit with which these folks pursue the task of protecting life on this planet. They’re engaging, interactive and educational without being preachy. They’ve learned early on the power of a good visual and a restrained narrative. Reading their newsletter is like talking to a naturalist.
This is an ambitious project which I think has an inestimable value to those learning about war. These weekly blogs are written by those who have experienced that particular horror. Because I’ve seen some of the more horrific things they write about, I don’t go there often. Anyone who still believes that war is better than peace should.
BERTHA IS STUCK
The embarrassing news is that the world’s biggest boring machine got stuck 60 feet down when it struck a 19th Century locomotive used as landfill during the Denny Regrades. The good news is that they’re working on getting it unstuck.
Since they’re just a ferry ride away, we thought our Western Washington and British Columbia readers might want to check out the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and what they’ve done to deserve the above headline. If any of you do decide to go, we’d love to hear from you.SEATTLE DIRECTORY SEATTLE FACTS & FIGURES MAP OF SEATTLE 10-DAY WEATHER FORECAST SEATTLE CITY CAMS KOMO 4 NEWS (ABC) KIRO 7 (CBS) KING 5 NEWS (NBC) SEATTLE TIMES THE TODAY FILE: “THE LATEST NEWS FROM SEATTLE & AROUND THE NORTHWEST” EARTHQUAKE WATCH WHAT’S GOING ON IN SEATTLE? SEATTLE RESTAURANT GUIDE
It is an America gone mad from the addiction to war and desperate for resources beyond her own borders. A military dictatorship controls the country and life is grim. The Republic is fighting for its very survival and for decades, especially with Latin America.
This is the world of the United States Coast Guard cutter Testament, a cybernetic patrol boat, and her six-person crew. Her mission, and those of her sister craft, is simple.
Quench the rebellion and stop the flow of Americans seeking refuge in Canada. Kill when expedient. Deliver the survivors to the Bellingham Re-Education Center.
A simple operational order and one which has served America well. Until Testament
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
To subscribe to Thought of the Day, contact Amy at SpringggRain@aol.com
Feature Magazine Articles
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
This is certainly good news. These little dudes are “cuters”. Good day for snowy owls: Delaware likes them, New York has decided not to shoot them
Check out what Outside Magazine considers the 20 best snow dogs in the world.
FROM OUR GOOD FRIENDS OUT THERE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Check out The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s December newsletter. As usual, it’s chock full of cool stuff not just for avian enthusiasts but for people who like “all creatures great and small.”
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
A FINAL WORD
The Northstar Journal is entirely reader-supported. If you enjoyed this edition and would like to help out with the next, please go here. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed. Rusty