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Sunday, February 9, 2014
2007 – 2014
HAPPY FEMALE APPRECIATION DAY
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, Friday is St. Valentines Day, which some say was invented by the greeting card industry for decadent, greedy, capitalistic gain. Oookay. Actually, though, it was, in fact, inspired by a very brave cleric who married people at a time when these particular unions were against the law.
Sound familiar to any of you who were wedded to your same gender spouses by a minister, priest or rabbi in states where it was not legal to do that? Well, back when this very brave cleric lived, men of the cloth were executed for that, in the most painful of ways.
Maybe it’s just me, but it sure seems even a Person of the Cloth would have to love God and God’s Children a lot to risk martyrdom so that two people in love could have their union blessed by the Common Parent of us all.
I think, too, that St. Valentine’s Day should also be known as Female Appreciation Day or FAD for short. Just stop and think about it for a sec. Without the female of any species, no creature ~ no matter how great or small, gay or straight, liberal or conservative, Baptist, Buddhist or Bacchanalian ~ would be here. Propagation would go pffft and the Universe would probably turn its eyes to the Divine in profound gratitude.
Frankly, I think women have had it a lot rougher than they deserve. They are equal partners on this planet and yet that has not stopped them from being treated worse than most living creatures raised for slaughter and human consumption. And there is not a nation on this planet whose citizens are not culpable in the ongoing exploitation of that gender.
I’m a straight male and I’m ashamed of what my gender has done to women down history. People who tell me it has improved a lot in the last (fill in the blank) years would not contend that if they lived in India, for instance, or in parts of rural America, or among the Inuit and other Native Canadians of the extreme True North.
Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, just look at this whole approach to romance and sex. Most males are not suave and sophisticated in bed. The preponderance of what they know about romance and love making came from other men or from media scripted, directed and produced by other men.
Don’t believe me? Okay, take a half hour and drop into any tavern, coffee shop or online chatroom and listen to Homer, Rufus, Jethro and Big Bubba discuss their spouses or girlfriends. That brand of ignorance is a contagious cancer which invades male brain cells and either destroys them or makes them so toxic no self-respecting idea would want to get near them.
And while an entire industry is built around female insecurities, most women don’t need to drink, smoke or get adrenaline highs to get in the mood. They’re generally more aware of what’s going on than the mate who staggers through the door, belches a Budweiser cloud, then starts unbuckling while reminding his significant other of her “wifely duty.” A salute and a Sieg Heil later and the miracle of life begins anew.
Valentine’s Day is about the only day of the year when that approach is not considered studly. On this particular occasion, the average knuckle-dragger needs to pay homage to the one he allegedly loves. Romantically, he is virtually required to rise to the occasion and do his “husbandly duty.”
I personally think my gender ought to be required to do that more than one day a year. Hopefully for every macho moron with a slam, bam, thank you, ma’am approach to love, there are enough of us who recognize the humanity, the strength, the compassion, the wisdom and the dignity of those to whom St. Valentine gave his life to make every day a day of love.
Have a good week, gang.
IN OTHER NEWS
CVS Caremark, the largest retail drug chain in America by sales, will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October of this year, despite a projected loss of $2-billion revenue from this source.
Since I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to the problems Russia’s apparently been having getting the site ready and also since I am to Winter Olympic Games what the 12th Man is to my adopted city’s beloved ‘Hawks, I found this as inspirational as it is timeless. LIVE: The Sochi 2014 opening ceremony
It’s real encouraging to see that in India, they occasionally elect a total moron. Indian Politician Says Women Invite Rape With Their Clothes, Behavior
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
SOCHI WINTER GAMES
I thought this was real interesting. Canadian government buying land in Detroit to build new border bridge. Let’s hope Detroit doesn’t need it back anytime soon.
It was chilly in the West this past week too. Vancouver beats record low for the day set in 1948 with -8.3 temperatures
Quite frankly, I’m glad to read this. Majority of British Columbians oppose Northern Gateway pipeline: poll
Sam: Hey, Felina, wake up. I’ve got something special for you.
Felina: (yawn) Good morning, love of my three life times. You always have something special for me.
Sam: This is true. But this is like a very special something. And it isn’t illegal. I didn’t con anything out of it. And it didn’t follow me home.
Felina: It must indeed be special, then, eh? My nose has greeted the dawn and it smells like the Good Hereafter in here.
Sam: That’s because just like in This Place, in the Good Hereafter, every time a salmon gives itself up for a meal, it not only enjoys the experience but comes back an even cooler fish the next time.
Felina: And of course everyone knows how important it is for a salmon to be cool.
Sam: That would be a big “roger, good buddy,” Sweetheart.
Felina: And you know this how?
Sam: The Fonz never lies.
Felina: Of course not. This hoodlum in a black leather jacket who rides this loud, fume spewing machine to which he is apparently genetically connected and who inspires others of his species to recklessness by his own example, this Arthur Fonzarelli person told you that it is important to a salmon to be cool?
Sam: Well, yeah. Him and Charlie.
Felina: Charlie is a tuna fish.
Sam: This is a different Charlie.
Felina: Of course.
Sam: His name is actually Charles Angus Chinook aka Charlie the Shin.
Felina: Charlie the Shin also told you that it is important to salmon to be cool.
:Sam: Yep, oh sun and moon of my life.
Felina: Well, then it must be true.
Sam: You’re not buying any of this, are you, Sweetheart?
Felina: I am Canadian, my love, not stupid. But that roasting salmon is driving me into the Absolutely Famished Place.
Sam: Happy Valentine’s Day, Felina. From me and Charlie Angus Chinook.
Felina: Aka Charlie the Shin.
Sam: Yep, aka what you just said.
Felina: Then I must certainly thank you both. Roasting salmon is so romantic, my handsome mate, and so incredibly thoughtful. You are a rascal and a scoundrel beyond redemption, Samuel. And I love you very much.
Sam: Right back atcha, Lass. I mean, really, and stuff.
Felina: Then on that note, my rugged rapscallion?
Sam: On that note, then, have a good week, everybody. May the wind be always at your back.
Felina: And may the Creator keep you forever safe in the palm of Her paw.
Sometimes it just does not get any better than this. Courageous Teen Risks Life to Save Drowning Deer
This is long overdue. But appreciated nonetheless. Canadian Prime minister announces billions to retool First Nations education
This should outrage every civilized human on the face of Mother Earth. Wielding Whip and a Hard New Law, Nigeria Tries to ‘Sanitize’ Itself of Gays
This was so patently transparent it is an insult to every Scot ever born. Without Scotland, Premier Says, Britain Would Be Less ‘Great’
This is not good news. Unfortunately, perhaps, it is not surprising, either. Taliban and Government Imperil Gains for Afghan Women, Advocates Say
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
We found this extremely absorbing. Future near perfect: How humans can still save the day by 2050
We might just try this. Here’s how to travel the entire country (America) without ever getting in a car
Normally, I’d find the discovery of a 58-year-old bottle with a note in it really interesting. But that was before I found out that one American oceanographic institute released 300,000 of them to study the currents of the world’s oceans and seas. This one was redeemable for $.50 (fifty cents) in 1958. That would be worth $4.28 now. If the cost of recovery is the same, this cleanup bill would run to about a milion or so.
HERE ON EARTH
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about famous lovers?
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
This may be hard for some of us to read. Are men hardwired for addiction?
Cancer is expected to rise by 57 percent globally, according to the World Health Organization.
When children are dying of starvation in other parts of the world, we find this just a little hard to take. England: 2 out of 3 adults now overweight or obese
YOUTUBE “JUST TO FEEL GOOD” STUF
As blizzards ravaged most of the continental United States, temperatures in my part of the world plunged into the low teens (+/- -19C), with light winds but no precipitation. Most of you are altogether too familiar with cold weather to need much elaboration. Dress warm, be careful and stay out of shadows. Above all, if you do not need to be outside, do not go outside.
Around here, going outside is necessary. We established a mini-wildlife space in the backyard, which itself is part forest and part nursery. We’ve also put out several of these hummingbird feeders which look like they were made by chipmunks from outer space. So that means every day, it is sunflower seeds for the squirrels and a mix of oats, cornflakes and rice for the two species of bobolink and one of sparrow. Normally, the hummingbird feeders require nothing more than refilling monthly. I was watching out the window the other day when one of our little green avian helicopters tried refueling at one of said feeders and realized, to my horror, that the little guy was trying to drink ice. So now ~ and yes, in time for our little buddy to feed himself ~ another chore during sub-freezing weather is making sure that one feeder is thawed so that the half dozen hummingbirds who depend on us don’t starve to death.
In my experience, nature tends to speak to us proverbially so I’m definitely reflecting on what I have really learned from this. Sometimes, beside these hummingbirds, I feel extremely humble.
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.
As we “go to press,” it’s been snowing over much of our side of the state. For a video and detailed coverage, please go here. See also: Winter driving tips to avoid costly crashesadd to reading list
It is beginning to look like Bertha was not up to this particular task. More damage has been found than simply debris-clogged rotors. Bertha heated up when engineers tested it and it could be as serious as the main bearing. No one is openly speculating on how long it will be before the problems are resolved. But one this is very apparent. Bertha’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. For more, please go here.
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. Until Testament
Feature Magazine Articles
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
Here’s an opportunity to die of cute. We Can’t Get Enough Of This Video Of Young Seals Acting Like Puppies
How many species are there? The answer just might surprise you.
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
With absolutely no disrespect to our French readers in Canada and Europe, we STILL found this a little weird. Abandoned train tunnels in Paris could get new life as nightclubs or swimming pools
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