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Sunday, February 2, 2014
2007 – 2014
HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. It’s been another interesting week, hasn’t it?
First, our prayers are with Dixie now as the American South reels under weather literally unprecedented in that part of the country. We hope that by the time this magazine goes to print, people finally get it that it’s not their mayor’s fault that Atlanta was unprepared.
One thing I absolutely detest about smug weather and climate analysis is that it misses important practical realities. “An inch of snow on the ground” does not mean a uniform carpet of white that thick. It is an average over a wide area.
What these condescending meteorologists also fail to explain is that an inch of snow on flat ground is not the same as an inch of snow on a steep street. If it is cold enough, traffic will thaw a very thin film of snow. As temperatures plunge, this turns into ice and freezes everything beneath it.
Additional falling snow hides that frozen mass so motorists don’t exercise as much caution as they would if their streets and rivers looked like the sheets of ice they have, in fact, become under those conditions.
Since I can’t stop it, I can only hope that Atlanta’s mayor is being vilified by the ignorant and not ~ because he is black and a Democrat ~ by racists or people who disagree with his politics.
In the wake of President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address, we came across an excellent essay in YES magazine very simply outlining eight things America needs to do to fully recover from the 2008 Recession. Our compliments to Sarah Van Gelder for the kind of analysis that clears muddy water rather than stirring it further.
We would also like to wish all of you a Happy Groundhog Day. Whatever would we do without Punxsutawney Phil and his buddies? I think it is quite remarkable that with all the weather satellites in orbit and all the young men and women in colleges and universities around the world training to be forecasters, when it comes right down to it, we seek the counsel of a rodent in these regards.
Sometimes I think American humourist Mark Twain was not so far wrong when he places on species on the evolutionary scale somewhere between apes and the French.
Have a good week, gang.
IN OTHER NEWS
One of the cornerstones of this weekly is the equality of all creatures great and small. We are therefore absolutely delighted to report that the State of Idaho has stopped exterminating wolves.
We join several generations of folk music lovers in mourning the passing of Pete Seegar. My favorite song of his is this one. Waist Deep in the Big Muddy – YouTube For an outstanding tribute to a genuine American hero, please go here.
Since our Canadian co-founder succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2001, we are profoundly glad to share this. God forgive me for wishing it had come in time to help Shannon. Ottawa researchers herald combo cancer therapy as breakthrough
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
The commercial fishing rights of five bands of Native Canadians on Vancouver Island have been reaffirmed and these folks are resuming a way of life that was old when Moses set sail in a wee reed boat.
Is Canada ready for Russia’s hardball approach to the North Pole? We better be. They’re coming.
Sam: Hi, Sweetheart. Happy breakfast. What’s with the good silver? We having company?
Felina: I have invited George to share our morning meal. I did not think you would mind so much, mate of my three life times.
Sam: Nope, I don’t mind at all. Any friend of yours is a … well, never mind. It’s a little early for clichés. We know several Georges and they’re all pretty cool. Which one’s coming for the shredded wheat, beaver milk, bagels and lox?
Felina: Today is Groundhog Day, Samuel.
Sam: Gotcha. One of the more important human holidays.
Felina: One which has been kind to the species for which it is named as well.
Sam: Yep. Humans don’t generally commemorate a critter they’ve extinctified, only the attempts they made to do it to themselves.
Felina: Groundhogs are very important to them, Dear. Without these woodchucks, as they are also known, human beings would not know for sure when winter will end and spring will come.
Sam: This is true. It would be tragic if they had to just wait, like the rest of us.
Felina: They are a busy species. They need all the help they can get.
Sam: Absolutely and totally no argument there. They make fun of a big baby duck that runs into things all the time, without realizing they are the parents of said Baby Huey.
Felina: Quite so, Samuel. We must remember, however, that the loon we are speaking of has not only matured into a very handsome drake but has become one of Canada’s national symbols.
Sam: Yep, right along with beavers, humans with hockey puck gaps in their smile and the Quebecois, whose pronunciation of their mother tongue would get them the guillotine in Gascony.
Felina: Samuel, you make me smile.
Sam: That’s because you weren’t born in…
Felina: Samuel, mate of my three lifetimes and father of all our kittens, be very careful.
Sam: Gotcha. When in Tel Aviv, do NOT order a ham sandwich.
Felina: Precisely and simply because many of our Gallic humans are in profound denial about it does not make them any less Canadian.
Sam: Yep, you guys accept everybody. It’s like they should move the Statue of Liberty to the mouth of the St. Lawrence.
Felina: Yes and so eloquently expressed.
Sam: Hey, that wasn’t nice.
Felina: I am not the one whose sense of humour caused me to be the first mountain lion banned by the province you were about to name.
Sam: This is true. Thank the Creator I’m on your health insurance plan. And that the CMA recognizes paw in mouth
Felina: And that the Canadian Medical Association recognises paw in mouth removal as a legitimate surgical process.
Sam: Yep, I am indeed blessed. And on that note, Felina?
Felina: And on that note, then, Gentle Readers, Happy Groundhog Day. And 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 will miss you. Waxman poetic: Climate hawk leaves an impressive green legacy
As long as there is any disparity in the treatment of women in America, their century and a half struggle for full emancipation has not ended. And until it ends, there will be a critical need for women like this. “So My Daughter Won’t Have To”: Why Kelly Sue DeConnick Fights to Make Women Welcome in Comics
These students designed what might just possibly be the most beautiful small home on the planet. Once again, we’re reminded to NEVER underestimate Kid Power.
Do not ever wonder why a Jew says, “Never again.” Shedding Light on a Vast Toll of Jews Killed Away From the Death Camps
This is something that concerns everyone with access to the Internet. Why internet abuse matters more than ever
To deny the humanity of the few is to deny humanity to all. Gay Play Closes After Homophobic Backlash
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Lest we get too high off the fragrance of our own cork, it appears we may owe more than we think to our Neanderthal ancestors.
Here’s something we’ve been expecting and are glad to see. Icelandic Drilling Project Opens Door to Volcano-Powered Electricity
HERE ON EARTH
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about the history of the Olympic Games?
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
If you are going to follow-up with this one, please do so after consultation with your family healthcare provider. Want to get the flu? Volunteers paid $3,000 to sneeze for science
Chubby babies may be cute but what the extra weight could mean later is not cute at all. Obesity Is Found to Gain Its Hold in Earliest Years
It turns out that if you are not getting enough sleep, you’re really letting your country down too. Get Some Sleep, and Wake Up the G.D.P.
YOUTUBE “JUST TO FEEL GOOD” STUF
Someone close to us who enjoys hearing how other people live creatively asked us the other day why we don’t talk about that in here. In lieu of no good answer, we’re going to start.
I think I might have invented something that can get kids or truculent adults to eat their greens. I got some coleslaw mix on sale and blended in a 16 ounce can of store-brand chili and another of refried beans, topped it with chopped onions and shredded cheese, mooshed everything together and nuked it for like five minutes. A 100 yard dash of Tabasco sauce and a couple sprinkles of Cayenne pepper later and viola! It made three adult servings at a cost of about $1.00 per. Taco Bell, eat your flipping heart out.
Okay, that’s an example. We’re looking for simple everyday things that save money, are good for the individual and the planet. And are fun. As most of you know, we’re at firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s hear from you.
BEST OF THE NET
NEW ADDITION ALERT: We were asked to give this new online dictionary a try. We already use Merriam-Webster and have that on our browser’s tool bar. M-W is linked to a medical dictionary and an encyclopedia. When we need to cite the source for a definition, etc., M-W also packs the gear. That having been said, this new dictionary is great for everyday writing, editing and email correspondence. It is simple, extremely user friendly and was obviously designed by people who use these tools themselves. Yep, check it out here.
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 BIGGEST EARTH DRILLING MACHINE IN THE WORLD AND THE MOST RELUCTANT: The Saga Continues
BUILD A POND OR TWO AND THEY WILL COME
Who will come? Yep, to find out, 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
The American Kennel Club has just published its list of 2013’s most popular canines. Did your pooch “make the cut”? Find out here.
Starfish along the North American coastline need your help. For more, please go here.
Squirrels are the true threat to America’s infrastructure We suggest that if the infrastructure is that vulnerable, the problem is NOT rodent control but technological upgrading.
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Besides the fact that I think it is tampering with a complex plan about which we are Grand Canyon-abysmally ignorant, another reason genetic engineering is that a disgruntled brilliant scientist or several could take some of these dudes Sexual Cannibal Spiders May Have Poor Impulse Control, make them as big as grizzly bear cubs, reprogram them to eat everything carbon-based and then use them as a form of “green” population control.
A FINAL WORD
Since several of you have asked, yes, the Northstar Journal is non-profit and entirely supported by its readership. It costs about 25¢ (twenty-five cents) U.S. per reader to produce. If you would like to toss a quarter in the can, please go here
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Until next week, then, take care, stay well and Godspeed. Rusty