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Sunday, January 26, 2014
2007 – 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AUSTRALIA
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.
IN OTHER NEWS
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
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
SOCHI WINTER OLYMPICS
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
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.
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.
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
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
HERE ON EARTH
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about Australia?
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.
THE GREEN AGENDA
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
YOUTUBE “JUST TO FEEL GOOD” STUFF
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 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.
BERTHA THE STUCK EARTH BORING MACHINE: The Saga Continues
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.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
Feature Magazine Articles
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
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
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Is the world really ready for this? Photo of twin toilets at Sochi Olympics ski centre goes viral
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 email@example.com Until next week, then, take care, stay well and Godspeed. Rusty