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Sunday, December 22, 2013
Vol. 6, No. 52
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BROTHER JESUS
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, this Wednesday, a third of the people on the planet celebrate the birth of one of the most mystical and widely published human beings in history. What do we really know about him, though, and what can be reasonably inferred?
By all accounts, he was a gentle individual but not a weak one. Large and strong for his size, we know that he was a good carpenter and very likely, an outstanding student, particularly of the Torah. Jesus was born a Jew and would have received a good education in this regard.
We know that he had tremendous charisma and a voice that carried well in the natural amphitheatres in which he spoke. From what we know of his sermons, he was an astute observer of the human condition. He sought less the triumph of good over evil as the demystification of it. He made people realize that sin is a personal choice, not the work of the Dark One or the Divine One having a bad hair day.
In humanizing the Divine and in making Heaven a place to which all could reasonably aspire, he coincidentally robbed not only his own religion but others as well of the power they held over their believers.
People who do that ~ regardless of their motives ~ usually do not die of old age. I’ve never understood this pantheon of martyrs. When I look at the way some of these people died, I’m going, like, “Well, if it takes being a lion’s lunch to be a Christian, I think maybe I’m better off worshipping the lion.”
We know, as well, that while he lived, he was the subject of a lot of gossip that has since petrified into religious lore. So we can tell by the amount of press that he got that he was considered a celebrity ~ if not a legend ~ in his own time. Again, not a plus factor on the longevity scale.
Was he the son of the Divine? According to the Scriptures, are all human beings not “children of God?” And is not the Divine one portrayed as male and called “Father?”
Was this carpenter with the good voice any greater a child of God than your own children? And wasn’t that ~ after all ~ the point of it all?
Happy Birthday, Brother Jesus.
IN OTHER NEWS
This is what can happen when neighbours get organized. Water & oil: How natives & neighbors of the Sacred Headwaters battled drillers and won
This needs a much closer look. Not just bad for bees: Neonic pesticides could damage babies’ brains
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
WAR ON TERROR
Am I the only one who thinks this is more than a little lame? Canada Post CEO defends delivery cuts, says seniors will get more exercise
I once said that the day Rob Ford apologised for anything, my bacon would be flying into the kitchen on its own. Looks like I better build a landing pad. Reporter drops lawsuit after Rob Ford apologizes, retracts comments
Only in Canada and in American movies directed by Frank Capra does something like this happen. Scruffy Vancouver panhandler’s random acts of kindness
Felina: Samuel, I do so hate to awaken you but it would seem the arrival of our visitor is imminent.
Sam: (yawn) Not a problem, Sweetheart. I was only sleeping.
Felina: Something you do so admirably, mate of my three lives.
Sam: It’s a gift.
Felina: Quite so. “The weather outside is frightful…”
Sam: “But in our own little cave, it’s so delightful…”
Felina: “And since we have no place else to go…”
Sam: “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” However, we digress.
Felina: We are the Rob and Laura Petrie of digression. And the Bonnie and Clyde of the smooth segue, which is to say…
Sam: So we’ve got hay out for the caribou. Cool.
Felina: That was easy. If the beaver was not our national creature, the reindeer would most certainly hold that honour.
Sam: Kind of like the turkey in my country. And in some ways…
Felina: Samuel, please, oh sun and moon of my life, not tonight. Besides, I need your advice.
Sam: Gotcha and go for it.
Felina: What, exactly, does one serve a magical human being capable of manipulating time and space so that he and his flying reindeer can deliver presents ranging from a diamond ring to a political election to an estimated six billion people on the planet?
Sam: You took a deep breath behind that one, didn’t you?
Felina: I did indeed.
Sam: St. Nicholas is Greek. So he probably likes gyros and ouzo from one of those skin bags
Felina: Those skin bags that are made from the bladder of a goat.
Sam: Those ones, yep.
Felina: Of which we have several on hand, of course.
Sam: We might have to improvise a little.
Felina: We might have to improvise a lot. I did not see any of this…this ouzo in the pantry either. And I am certainly not romping down the mountain looking for a delicatessen open on Christmas Eve. What do American humans feed this jolly rotund flying philanthropist?
Sam: Cookies and milk, if memory serves.
Felina: Sugar and the juice of a cow. And if all of them serve him this, the carbohydrates alone would account for his incredible hyperactivity.
Sam: That would be as good an explanation as any I’ve heard, Lass. So I’m guessing if we put a Canadian spin on this, pancakes and maple syrup. And snow water to wash it down.
Felina: You know us only too well, my love.
Sam: But not too much water. I don’t think his sleigh has like, you know…
Felina: A ‘loo less sleigh? I will certainly take that under advisement.
Sam: And maybe could we like, you know, class it up a little and tell him they’re crepes?
Felina: Excuse me?
Sam: Never mind. Probably not one of my better ideas.
Felina: No, by all means, continue. I just wanted to make sure I heard this correctly. You are suggesting we lie to a man who keeps more detailed records on human behaviour than J. Edgar Hoover and the NSA combined? Please tell me that you are not proposing that we try to scam Santa Claus.
Sam: Well, when you look at it that way…
Felina: There is no other way to look at it, Dear. “He knows if you have been bad or good.”
Sam: “So be good for goodness sake.”
Felina: Quite so, my darling mountain lion.
Sam: So on that note then, Felina?
Felina: On that note, Gentle Readers, from those of us here at Cougars Corner and the Northstar Journal, may you and yours enjoy the best the season has to offer. And until next week, may the Creator keep you safe in the palm of Her paw.
For those of us who love the outdoors even (especially) in winter, this is definite “must read”. 5 Things a Family Did Right to Survive While Being Stranded in Sub-Zero Temperatures
South Portland, Maine has imposed a six-month moratorium on the shipping of tar sands oil through its port. There is a good chance this ban could become permanent.
For anyone interested in successful urban planning ~ by the street, the neighborhood or the community ~ will definitely enjoy this. A before-and-after guide to safe streets
This does not surprise us but it certainly must stop. Study: Dolphins Suffer After Oil Spill
We could not agree with this more. There’s More to Renisha McBride’s Shooting Than Racism: It’s About Our Culture of Gun Violence
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Is this electric wheel made in Washington state destined to be a global person carrier? It’s beginning to look like, “yep, probably.”
As a student of industrial history, I found this extremely interesting. No-Frills Car With Soviet Lineage Is Hottest in Europe
Biofuels Created From Algae in Minutes is the kind of headline I love to see. But algae too is a resource, albeit an easily renewable one. I hope we manage it better than we have some others in the past.
HERE ON EARTH
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ
THE GREEN AGENDA
We cannot all be Olympic athletes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t eat like some of them.
The benefits of drinking red wine have been known almost since the dawn of history. For an update on responsible imbibing, please go here.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Sometimes, the battle against cancer is also won by being inspired by others who are making war on it. I contend this is such a case. Janet D. Rowley, Who Discovered That Cancer Can Be Genetic, Dies at 88
Video: Holiday Feast: Ham (For Those Whose Religions Permit)
BEST OF THE NET
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 a ten, OM is an eight.
THE SEADOC SOCIETY: PEOPLE & SCIENCE HEALING THE SEA — 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.
SIERRA CLUB — 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.
WORLD WILDLIFE FUND — 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.
WRITING FOR PEACE — 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.
NOT ENOUGH SNOW FOR SNOQUALMIE PASS RESORT TO OPEN
Despite the inconvenience to commuters from Olympia to Blaine and from Long Beach to Issaquah, the first storm of the winter was a disappointment to the ski tourism industry. Having observed that, it would not surprise me if the next time Seattle gets the white stuff, I might very well be posting this from an igloo.
SHE’S STILL DOWN THERE
I make fun of Seattle because that’s part of what I do. But if I didn’t love it here, I would not write a word. So I come neither to praise the Emerald City nor to bury it. But Bertha (the Biggest Boring Machine in the World) is still at the end of the 60 foot tunnel she dug and her inability to extricate herself is making national headlines, much to my personal embarrassment.CHECK OUT What’s blocking Bertha won’t be known until 2014 Bertha’s problems compared to Brightwater Treatment Plant Work on wells around ‘Bertha’ will go into next week
KOMO 4 NEWS (ABC)
KIRO 7 (CBS)
KING 5 NEWS (NBC)
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.
Feature Magazine Articles
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
If you want to make sure your cat or dog has a good holiday, check out this list of human food we should NOT be sharing with our pets.
My wife, GRHS, used to call these dudes “bugs that crawl around on the bottom of the ocean”. She was from Boston and her seafood bib had a hamburger and fries on it. Massive Lobster Caught In Southern California
Well, in over 50 years of studying all creatures great and small, I still felt this was weird. Video: ScienceTake: The Physics of Ants
FROM OUR GOOD FRIENDS OUT THERE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The Great Backyard Bird Count’s monthly newsletter is a lark. The GBBC is a coalition which includes Bird Studies Canada and the Audubon Society. They’ve got a beautiful poster you can download and print or use as wallpaper. Their photos are ~ as always ~ outstanding and their articles this time range from finches to snowy owls. Yep, this is a five star Northstar recommendation.RELATED LINKS: Living With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
We sure hope this works for them. Shamans Recruited To Make Snow For Socchi Winter Olympics
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