Proudly serving North America and the International Community

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2007 – 2014

No. 368

Northstar Media Services

Rusty Miller – Editor

Seattle, Washington



Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  We like to start by wishing our readers and cousins Down Under a Happy Australia Day.  They date their nation back to 1788 when the first fleet of settlers arrived in Sydney Harbour.  For a most informative look at a fascinating country, yep, please go here.

Several of you have asked recently about chatrooms.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, think of it as a virtual coffeehouse where people who cannot see one another communicate by typing into a “room” that can have as many as 36 people in it (America Online).  Members have the option of creating profiles with their photos and some personal information and about 20 percent actually do that, me included.

Chatrooms are an interesting window on the world.  They are also a great place to study human behaviour.  And online, it ranges the same spectrum from the superlative to the mundane to the mentally ill to the spiritually, morally and ethically bankrupt.  Just as one can get a sense of an author, poet or lyricist’s personality from the works each creates, so it is that someone’s online personality emerges by the way they chat.

I am an advocate of chatrooms.  So are a significant number of you and when I go into one of the several I like, we “hang out,” as it were.  It’s not the same thing as being there in person but neither is talking on the cell.  Because they are populated by human beings (some of questionable breeding), chatrooms are also part of Shakespeare’s world stage.

If you’d like to learn more about AOL chatrooms and which ones I consider worthwhile experiences and good examples, email me.  Just remember that not all of us prefer the same restaurant, pub, tavern, coffee shop, etc.  My recommendations are not based on theme or content but on the behaviour I’ve witnessed.  FYI, America Online is free for high speed net users.  They can be found at this address:  www.aol.com

And finally, our hearts and our prayers go out to those of you east of the Rockies as this next and latest storm brings a new Ice Age to where you live.  Someone we know in Michigan is making snowballs and storing them in the big freezer.  In July, she and her husband are going to charge people to have a snowball fight.  Wolverines are some of our favourite people and that’s one good reason why.

Take care, then, and God speed.


Well, as of this week, it now costs $.49 to mail a letter first class in America.  That’s a three cent increase.  We ran a “real value” check on that using our inflation calculator.  We also found a site which lists first class rates from 1866 to 2013 in terms of today’s dollars and cents.  It doesn’t really look like it’s a huge increase, particularly considering surface mail (snail mail) is pretty much going the way of T. Rex and the sabre-toothed tiger.

I just watched something that will forever alter my perspective on both the significance and importance of our species in relation to the evolution of life on planet earth.  This is a trip!  WATCH: Life On Earth’s Five Billion Years Stuffed Into Two Minutes

I found it extremely interesting to note that the very troubled Central African Republic has chosen a woman to lead them out of imminent civil war.  Our prayers are with her.


AFRICA Woman Is Chosen to Lead Central African Republic Out of Mayhem

South Sudan Cease-Fire Signed After More Than a Month of Fighting

AUSTRALIA Australia Day: What They Said

Almost 18,000 People Take Australian Citizenship Pledge

Live: Australians Mark Australia Day

One-Hundred-Year-Old Iraqi Woman To Become Australian Citizen

Australians Honoured For Changing Lives

CHINA ‘China’s Web Junkies’

China Exports Pollution to U.S., Study Finds

Report Finds Elite Chinese Using Offshore Companies

Chinese Internet Traffic Redirected to Small Wyoming House

China Accuses Uighur Intellectual of Separatism for His Advocacy Work

EUROPEAN UNION Deutsche Loss Underlines European Economy’s Dependence on Banks
INDIA Beijing’s Bad Air Would Be Step Up for Smoggy Delhi
IRAN Temporary Nuclear Deal With Iran Takes Effect
IRAQ Iraq Again Uses Sunni Tribesman in Militant War
LATIN AMERICA Brazil’s Latest Clash With Its Urban Youth Takes Place at the Mall

Venezuela May Meet New Reality, and New Price, at the Pump

Argentina’s Currency Falls Sharply Against the Dollar, Stirring Inflation Fears

Argentina Eases Currency Controls, but Citizens Are Not Reassured

NEW ZEALAND Strong earthquake hits New Zealand’s North Island; ‘Hobbit’
PHILIPPINES Philippines and Rebels Agree on Peace Accord to End Insurgency
RUSSIA In Russia, Several Couriers Halt Delivery of Packages to Individuals
SOUTH KOREA Theft of Data Fuels Worries in South Korea
THAILAND Thai Leaders, Rocked by Protests, Declare Emergency Rule
Ghost Ship Full Of Cannibal Rats Floating Toward The U.K.: Reports

London Unveils World’s Largest Solar Powered Bridge


UNITED STATES Juveniles Facing Lifelong Terms Despite Rulings

Us Eases Iran Sanctions After Scaleback Of Nuclear Arms Program

States Cutting Weeks Of Aid To The Jobless

Getting It Right For The Arctic Ocean

In Speech, Brown Balances Good, And Bad, Facing California

Industry Awakens To Threat Of Climate Change

U.S. Pot Revolution Gathers Force As States Blunt Their War On Drugs

California’s drought is kind of staggering when seen from space


Alberta Premier To Discuss Oilsands, Climate Change With Al Gore In Switzerland

Last year was the fourth hottest on record, or the seventh

Watch the earth get hotter and hotter in NASA’s new animation

The madding cloud: When forecasting the future, scientists’ blind spot is above them

Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change

Poll finds that Latinos overwhelmingly support climate action


U.S. Offers Russia High-Tech Aid to Thwart Sochi Terror

U.S. and Russia Discuss Olympic Security

Putin’s Olympic Fever Dream


U.N. Invites Iran to Syria Talks, Raising Objections From the U.S.

Talks Over Syria Are Set to Begin, but Iran Is Not Invited

Human Rights Watch Criticizes Inaction on Syria

Photo Archive Is Said to Show Widespread Torture in Syria

Two Sides in Syria Talks Agree to Meet, Averting a Breakdown

Syria’s Shaky Peace Talks Move Toward Solid Ground in Effort to Aid Homs


In Ukraine Protests Over New Laws, Sticks and Stones Are Met With Tear Gas

Where Do We Go From Here? Police, Protesters Keep Clashing In Kyiv, Roadmap For Peace Unclear

Protesters in Ukraine Try to Block Government Offices

Police and Protesters in Ukraine Escalate Use of Force

Ukraine’s Opposition Accuses Government of Provoking Violence

For the First Time, Ukraine Protests Lead to Deaths

Claims of Police Brutality in Ukraine Amid Talks to Quell Unrest

Unrest Spreads to More Cities in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Offers Top Government Posts to Opposition Leaders

Opposition Says No to Ukraine on Power Share


I found this portrait of Canadians as fascinating as is is accurate.  My ‘train’ of thought: Canadians are inward-looking but quietly confident

As much as we abhor the need for it, we are glad this is succeeding.  Fund for Calgary animal abuse cases passes $50,000

This is not good news.  Canadians Now Among World’s Biggest Consumers Of Antidepressants


‘Always Fight’ For Indigenous Rights, Amazon Tribe’s Chief Says In Toronto

Harper Visits Ramallah And Offers $66 Million In New Aid To Palestinians

Newfoundland And Labrador Premier’s Exit An Early End To A Historic Victory

Canada’s Prison Service Faces ‘Serious Challenges’ Over Next 5 Years, Documents Show

Why Are Canadians Ignoring The ‘North Below The North’?

The Lessons From Fires At Seniors Residences Are Well Known

Vancouver Skyline To Gain Seven New Office Towers (With Video)

She’s Canadian.  He’s American.  Here’s what we look like from a puma’s perspective.

She’s Canadian. He’s American. Here’s what we look like from a puma’s perspective.

Felina:     Samuel, would you mind so terribly if I asked you something incredibly personal?

Sam:        Considering this is our third lifetime together, Felina, I’m real surprised there are any of those kinds of questions left, Sweetheart.

Felina:     Oh, but you do so underestimate your complexity, my love.  You are very enigmatic.

Sam:        Cool.

Felina:     You have no idea what the means, do you, Dear?

Sam:        Nope, not a clue.  But you’re not mad at me right now so I figured it wasn’t an insult.  You don’t make idle observations so by the process of elimination, it could only be a compliment.

Felina:     You are amazing, just like that one-eyed human detective with the raspy voice, Christopher Columbus.

Sam:        Ummm, Felina, Christopher Columbus is the one they claim discovered their country.

Felina:     He was indeed a human of some accomplishment then, was he not?

Sam:        Aye, Lass.  He was indeed; one eye, vulgar bird, raspy voice and all.  However, we digress.

Felina:     We are the Fred and Ginger of digression and the Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of the smooth segue.

Sam:        Yep, we are that too.  So your question was?

Felina:     Samuel, do you believe in the Snow Gods?

Sam:        Yep.  And the sun gods too.

Felina:     That is what I thought.  Can I ask you another question?

Sam:        You’re trying to get a roll going here, aren’t you, Sweetheart?

Felina:     You know me only too well, Dear.

Sam:        You’re going to make the great pounce from weather gods to this meteorological mess east of the mountains, aren’t you?

Felina:     Yes, the Great Pounce.  You do so make me smile sometimes, Samuel.

Sam:        That’s a good thing.  So you’re thinking?

Felina:     I am thinking that the snow gods and the sun gods have declared war on one another and the battlefield is most of the planet.

Sam:        That’s about the most rational explanation for climate change I’ve heard in some while, Lass.  Any predictions on the outcome of this epic contest?

Felina:     I suspect the hairiest of humans will have the easiest time of it.  The shaggiest generally do better among the igloos and the icicles.

Sam:        So your advice to them would be?

Felina:     Grow lots of hair and do not let bald humans procreate.  It will not help future generations.

Sam:        Words to live by, my love.  And on that note, Felina?

Felina:     And on that note, then, Gentle Readers, until next week, may the wind be always at your back.  And may the Creator keep you forever safe in the palm of Her paw.


We sure hope this works out for them.  Arkansas Town’s New Owner Has Visions of Its Renaissance

Sometimes I wish there were two of all of us so we could all stand up and cheer twice.  Getting It Right For the Arctic Ocean

Now THIS is how government should work.  Two Congressional Friends Reach Across the Aisle on Immigration


I hope these folks have plenty of sunscreen.  They’re going to need it in the Hereafter.  Hospital Chain Said to Scheme to Inflate Bills

This is something we should all be aware of, I suspect.  Swindlers Use Telephones, With Internet’s Tactics

We are sure glad the Pope is taking a proactive hard line on child abuse among the clergy.  I wish the Vatican had acted in time to save these kids from it.  Records of Abuse Complaints Against Priests in Chicago Archdiocese Are Released


Oil spillage from freight trains hit record high in 2013

A Loophole Allows Lawmakers to Reel In Trips and Donations

Doctors Abusing Medicare Face Fines and Expulsion


Check out what space looks like to kids.

Are we, in fact, headed for a “Mini Ice Age”?

11 things you might be afraid of, totally unnecessarily


Drones And Biofuels

Shark Repelling Devices Are Suddenly Popular In Hawaii, Batman Movies

WATCH: Life On Earth’s Five Billion Years Stuffed Into Two Minutes


‘China’s Web Junkies’

A Tiny Antenna Threatens the TV Networks’ Airspace

Sound Waves Make Droplets Dance in Midair


Mars Rover Marks an Unexpected Anniversary With a Mysterious Discovery

WATCH: UFO Sightings At The International Space Station On The Rise

Rosetta, the Comet Chasing Probe, Is Waking Up After A Long Sleep


Okay, gang.  How much do you know about Australia?

And for others so addicted, here is a 10-question daily trivia we have emailed to us.

Merriam-Webster Online offers a short battery of games to improve one’s spelling and vocabulary.  They are short, timed and the scores are ranked by age group.  These are also activities you can share with friends and family.  In my house, learning together is also considered cool.


Environment Groups Sue To Stop Production Of Genetically Modified Salmon Eggs

Alberta Premier To Discuss Oilsands, Climate Change With Al Gore In Switzerland

China Exports Pollution to U.S., Study Finds

Oil spillage from freight trains hit record high in 2013

Getting It Right For the Arctic Ocean

Fixing old water and gas pipelines would create far more jobs than building Keystone XL

Can clean energy replace a shuttered nuke plant in California?

Pipeline Fight Lifts Environmental Movement


Please ask your healthcare provider about this one.  People with the flu should not be taking medications containing Ibuprofen, acetaminophen or other fever-reducing drugs, according to a new study

This will absolutely inspire you.  Tamara Taggart: Cancer Cover Girl

The world’s oldest cancer is traced to its source.


Doctors find way to help patients with pancreatic cancer

Men Are More Forgetful Than Women, Study Shows

Brain Training Boosts Mental Skills In Older Adults


Highway To Heaven S2E17 The Last Assignment – Full Episode Guest Starring Ed Asner


Here Are 9 Pantry Items That Double As Cleaning Tools

World’s Richest Have Same Wealth As 3.5 Billion Poorest

You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Love A Kosher Prison Meal

Video: The Women In The Kitchen

Your Crappy Car Can Become A Down Payment On A New Vancouver Condo

Holocaust Told In One Word, 6 Million Times

A Harder Outlook For Today’s Cowboy


These photos of glowing beaches are seriously stunning

Mesmerizing Murmuration Over Ireland

What is officially the most beautiful sound in the world?


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 which 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.


Big Bertha the Boring Machine, with thanks to the Portland Oregonian

Big Bertha the Boring Machine, with thanks to the Portland Oregonian


Apparently there’s a 3 foot/.3 meter chunk of concrete or stone, among other things, stuck in Bertha’s spokes.  Investigators still have not determined why Bertha doesn’t want to dig any more.  For more, please go here.





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

For a preview:  Go Here

For the kindle book: ($3.99) at amazon.com 


Business Correspondence



Copy Writing


Feature Magazine Articles

Ghost Writing




Online Research





Song Lyrics

Special Projects


Travel Copy






We applaud any efforts to keep these four-legged panzers on the Hit Parade.  A Trophy Hunt That’s Good for Rhinos

Given the incredible intricacy of the web of life, this does not surprise us at all.  Microscopic Fungi Is Revealed As The Crucial Factor In Regulating Diversity In The World’s Rainforests

Here’s the kind of inter-species cooperation which brings out the best in ours.


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Is the world really ready for this?  Photo of twin toilets at Sochi Olympics ski centre goes viral

Framed Rusty  A FINAL WORD

The Northstar Journal is entirely reader-supported.  So 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 minstrel312@aol.com  Until next week, then, take care, stay well and Godspeed.  Rusty


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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