A weekly ezine of news, commentary, health, humor and general interest

A weekly ezine of news, commentary, health, humor and general interest

Sunday, February 8, 2015                                                      Vol. 8 No. 19

“If your two brothers were fighting with sticks, would you give one of them a knife?”  Olha Bereza

Rusty Miller – Editor

Denny Steussy – Associate Editor

Olha Bereza – European Associate Editor

Looking across the Ship Canal

RAIN:  A Story of Love & War

They’d been married once.  Younger then, their lives had been a collage of rain dimpling a duck pond, wishing games in the high branches of the evergreens, intimate meals in the kitchen and nights that grew richer with familiarity.

Theirs was a strange, almost inarticulate love best captured in the mornings she’d fall asleep at her easel, exhausted over a night’s work, or the cold-coffee dawns he’d come home with a split lip and nothing to show for a week on the road with his combo.

“I like it.”

“You don’t think the trees are too green?”

“They’re beautiful.”

“I’m glad you’re home.”

“Me too.”

“How much do we owe the landlord?”

“I’m glad you’re home.  The landlord will keep.”

There were, as well, those funny/sad times when the edge cut so deep it blunted itself on midnight cornflake conversations.

“What are you doing still up?”

“Couldn’t sleep.  What’s your excuse?”

“I missed you.  Go for a walk?”

“Like this?”

“You look fine.”


And then they’d stroll the quiet streets, reaping a clear night star harvest, or stand alone on the levee, watching the moon play on the rolling glass river.  Sometimes it was back to the all-night coffee shop, where they would sit across from each other without talking, or needing to.  Theirs was the rule of no apology, and that gentle dictate blessed their lives for two years and a season.

Then time and an era caught up with them.

His best friend was killed in battle over Thanksgiving, and she sold two of her canvases, only to learn they’d been purchased for their frames.  She began her rage at one end of town, he his at the other, and they met in the heat of it all at the coffee shop.  She cursed him for something he said, and he slapped her.  In a moment of absolute terror, they told each other they were sorry.

He came back 18 months later with a limp and a double row of campaign ribbons.  They talked over coffee, and he whistled at the prices her paintings were bringing.  She reached out to touch the gaunt planes of his cheeks.  They dined together, then went walking.

Along dusty country lanes, they played in rainbow leaves, chased squirrels and waded in the Indian summer silt of bullfrog ponds.  They renamed the trees and called the southbound geese by the colors of the palette.  She memorized the gentle strength of his hands and heard the quiet joy of words a cordite-parched throat could barely speak.  Loves was theirs once more — and for an emerald instant — time and an era left them in peace.

When he returned to stay, she met him at the airport and saw him through the final mile home.  He never smiled or told her how glad he was to see her.  She never mentioned how much she had missed him.  When the final strains of epitaph faded into the eternal chill, she walked home and sat down on the living room couch.

Rain fell softly beyond her.

© 1990 Merritt Scott Miller


I am not sure skepticism is appropriate at this point.  Russia Details Plans to Bolster Its Economy, but Experts Scoff

Whew.  Jordan Returns Ambassador to Israel as Tensions Ease at Holy Site

If you want to beat America, do not engage her with a force of arms.  Conquer her with cute.  Puppy Emerges a Winner in Viewers’ Taste for Super Bowl Commercials


Slump in Oil Prices Brings Pressure, and Investment Opportunity

Naheed Nenshi Crowned World Mayor 2014

Your Winter Could Be A Lot Less Cold By The End Of The Century


South Africa Moves 100 Rhinos To Undisclosed Locations

Bassim Haidar On How Boko Haram Impacts Nigeria

Nigeria Postpones Elections, Saying Security Is a Concern

Illuminating a Central African Crisis, Photo by Photo

Five Reasons To Be ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Africa


Japan Will Not Give In To Terror, Says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Pro-Democracy Protesters Return to Streets of Hong Kong

North Korea Launches 5 Short-Range Missiles

Taiwan: Pilots Begin Tests

Bangladesh: Bombings Extend Political Violence

East Timor’s Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão, Resigns

Philippine President Accepts Police Chief’s Resignation After Deadly Raid

Open-Skies Agreements Challenged

Indonesian Economic Growth Falls to Its Lowest in 5 Years

TransAsia Airways Faces Scrutiny After 2nd Fatal Crash

Abe Is Said to Have Plans to Revise Pacifist Charter

South Korea Vows ‘Strong Crackdown’ on Uber

Arvind Kejriwal Aims to Reclaim the Poor in Delhi Vote

News Analysis: Sri Lanka’s New Government Hopes to Revisit Past on Its Own Terms


Egypt Releases And Deports Al Jazeera Journalist Peter Greste Of Australia

Tony Abbott, Australian Leader, Pledges to Abandon Unpopular Policies

Australia’s Leader Expedites Vote Threatening His Job

Queensland Election Result To Be Decided By Courts

Sydney Siege Hostages Share Their Ordeal In Television Interviews


2 Members of Sect Executed in China for Deadly Beating at McDonald’s

The Palace Of Shame That Makes China Angry

China to Crack Down on Tax Collection From Multinational Companies

China Moves to Free Up Money in Its Economy

Canadian Woman Detained In China On Spying Suspicions Released On Bail

Obama’s Public Encounter With the Dalai Lama Riles China

New Data Shows Apple’s Explosive Growth in China

China Purges a Party’s Rolls (and Tissues)


Court Rejects Balkan Genocide Claims

Suspect in Attack on French Soldiers Is Arrested

Man Who Stabbed 3 Near Jewish Center in France Had Been Held for Questioning

ECB Toughens Its Stance On Greece

NATO To Boost Eastern Europe Defense

Slovakia Vote On Gay Rights Fails


India: Christians Protest Attacks

India’s Slum Children Force Government To Take Action

Police Rescue Hundreds Of Child Workers In Southern India


US Expands Venezuela Visa Bans

Petrobras Executives Leaving Amid Brazilian Graft Scandal



Coming to Mourn Tahrir Square’s Dead, and Joining Them Instead

Iraq PM Orders End To Baghdad Curfew

Bloody Day In Baghdad As Blasts Kill Dozens

Saudis Unswayed by Houthis’ Overture

In Gaza and the West Bank, Love Struggles to Bridge the Separation


Russia’s New Army – In 90 Seconds


Breeding Ground Sought Of Small Thames Fish That Smells Of Cucumber

Devon Beavers Are To Stay Natural England Rules

GCHQ Intelligence Sharing ‘Unlawful’

Charles Alarmed By Radicalization

Prince Charles Arrives In Jordan

Is It Extreme To Make Universities Combat Extremists?


Crash Kills 7 In Worst Accident In History Of Metro-North

Secondhand Smoke Exposure Drops, C.D.C. Reports

Job And Wage Gains As Americans Rejoin The Work Force

Brian Williams, Under Scrutiny, Will Take Leave From ‘NBC Nightly News’


Pope Francis and Climate Change: A Catholic Tradition 



U.N. Weather Agency Confirms 2014 as Hottest Year

Carbon Intensity: The Foundation of Climate Diplomacy — New Delhi, India 

Obama’s National Security Strategy Lists Climate Change Among ‘Top Strategic Risks’ To U.S.

Global Climate Deal Shouldn’t Harm Economic Growth, France Says


Ebola Drug Aids Some in a Study in West Africa

A Photographer Documents Ebola’s Deadly Spread

Small Rise in New Cases Shows Ebola Hanging On


ISIS Video Shows Jordanian Pilot Being Burned To Death

Jordan Executes Convicted Jihadists

Arab World Unites in Anger After Burning of Jordanian Pilot

Jordan’s King Abdullah II Returns Home to Cheers After Swift Executions

Jordan’s ISIS Raids ‘Just The Start’

ISIS Claims U.S. Hostage, Kayla Mueller, Died in Jordanian Airstrikes

The Spreading Rage at ISIS


On Front Lines in Ukraine, Rebels Are Upbeat and Eager to Advance

Ukraine Rebels Upbeat After an Infusion of Aid

Cultural Life Goes On in Donetsk, War Permitting

Europe Leaders In Ukraine Peace Bid

U.S. Joins Europe in Efforts to End Fighting in Ukraine

Western Nations Split on Arming Kiev

Ukraine Insists Any Pact With Russia Must Adhere to Terms of September Accord

Shivering, Hungry and Tearful in Rebel-Held Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine Crisis: In-Depth Features And Background On Ukraine Conflict


Sometimes there doesn’t need to be a good reason.  It just needs to be there.  Daredevil Duo Scales Niagara Falls

This had to take maximum chutzpah.  Undercover RCMP Informant Infiltrated Suspected ISIS Recruiting Network

Way to go!  Canadian CF-18s Destroy ISIS Bomb Factory And Staging Area


Our cities need more leadership like this.  Naheed Nenshi crowned World Mayor 2014

Vive le you guys.  France Announces Suspension Of All Raw Ivory Exports And No Importation Of Elephants

Good.  US Watchdog To Defend Net Neutrality


She Could’ve Had A Sweet 16 Party, But Did Something Incredible Instead

Pizza Shop, Customers Give Away 8,400 Slices To Philly’s Homeless

Teacher Who Saved 38 Students From Burning Bus Recalls Heartfelt Moment Every Student Thanked Her


Henry Ford has to be rolling over in his grave now.  Cars With Faulty Airbags Are Recalled Second Time, but Fix May Take a Year

To me, this is NOT a good idea.  If you want to study wildlife, use the technology necessary to observe, rather than capture, test and analyze.  Video: How to Catch a Deer

I am not sure this is a good idea.  In Net Neutrality Plan, F.C.C. Chief Sees Internet Service Regulated as Public Utility


Silk Road Site’s Creator Found Guilty

The World’s Most-Trafficked Mammal – And The Scaliest

Defrocked Priest Sentenced For Sex Offenses Against Inuit Children


This seems a little obvious.  Study Finds One Of The Most Effective Ways To Fight Hunger In Developing World Is To Build Better Roads

This is reassuring.  British Data Echoes U.S. Climate Report

It’s because creatures like this are down there that I do not go there with them.  Fishermen Overseas Haul Up Strange ‘Living Fossil’


The 15 Most Amazing Landforms

Morocco, From Coast to Desert

Can We Reverse-Engineer the Environment?


Video: Out There | Raining Fire

A Sleepless Night’s Fancy Nears Space After 17 Years

28 Months On Mars


Hotel With Robot Staff Set To Open In Japan

Drones Spotted, But Not Halted, Raise Concerns

WATCH: Travel Through Our Solar System At The Speed Of Light


Smart Sensors for Power Grid Could Ease Disruptions

Easy Ways to Get Your Movie Idea Out of Your Head

WATCH: How SpaceX Will Reuse Its Rockets Is Pretty Remarkable


The Earth Observatory’s mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about climate and the environment that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and climate models.


Germans Protest That Modern Farming Methods Damage The Environment

Asking More of the Landscape

Helping An Island By Helping Hawks


What Causes Girls to Enter Puberty Early?

The Facts About Low Calorie Sweeteners

Bubonic Plague in the Subway System? Don’t Worry About It

New Study Suggests Marijuana May Be Effective Against Depression

6 Dangerous Anti-Vaccination Arguments That Need To Be Shut Down


By David B. Grinberg — Strategic Communications Advisor, Writer/Blogger/Editor, Former Journalist

NFL Fumbles on Patriots “Deflate-gate” Scandal

Did the New England Patriots cheat their way to the Super Bowl? This stubbornly persistent question remains unanswered despite their dramatic win over the Seattle Seahawks to claim the crown jewel of America’s National Football League (NFL).

The lingering doubts expressed by many sports fans and the media are due to serious allegations that the Patriots intentionally broke the rules to win the AFC championship game, the springboard to the Super Bowl.

To read the entire blog ~and we highly recommend it ~ please go here.


For The Prickliest Patients, A Desert Doctor Makes House Calls

Is Your First Grader College Ready?

Designing Distraction: Executive Toys

Why Are Danish People So Happy?

Gay Marriage Around The World

Where Is It Illegal To Be Gay?


We’ve collected what we consider the most wholesome, family-oriented and genuinely humorous comic strips we could find on the Net.  They include:  Adam@Home, Calvin & Hobbes, Emmylou, For Better or For Worse, Foxtrot Classics, Garfield, Get Fuzzy, and Peanuts.  Either click the banner or this link.


A Desert As You’ve Never Seen It

Rare African Golden Cat Captured On Film

This Woman Wants To Be First To Give Birth On Mars


Testament Ad Graphic


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

THE BACK COUNTRY GALLERY’S new monthly nature wallpaper is available here.  Steve Perry also has a newsletter offering a great deal of cool stuff for wildlife photographers, amateur and/or professional. 



Business Correspondence,  Communications Consulting, Classified And Other Advertising Copy Writing, Editing, Ghost Writing, Humor  Jokes & Monologues, Online Research, Online Writing Tutoring, Proofreading, Song Lyrics, Speeches, Special Projects




Here is a chance to succumb to cute.  Town Rabbits Downsize Homes

I totally loved this.  Sperm Whales Steal From Boats

And if they help us, will we do a better job of protecting them?  The Bee Solution to Winter

The SeaDoc Society’s February newsletter is now available.  Articles this month range from improving the welfare of individual animals such as the Steller sea lion we helped disentangle, to our work focused on animal populations like the tufted puffin.


Orphaned, Frost-Bitten Amur Tiger Cub Now Thriving In Russia’s Far East

The Bear, The Ant And The Yellow Flower – Scientist Discovers An Odd Relationship 

Marine Life At Risk As Number Of New Marine Conservation Zones Are Cut

New Research Could Help The Critically Endangered Saharan Cheetah Survive


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Amnesty International

Black Sea Agro: Agriculture In The Black Sea Region

Cream Magazine & Millennium Art Gallery

Grittv With Laura Flaunders

Help End World Hunger & Poverty | Heifer International® | Heifer.Org

No Camels – Weekly Israeli Innovation News

Outside Magazine

The SeaDoc Society: People & Science Healing The Sea

Sierra Club

Wildlife Extra magazine

World Wildlife Fund

Writing For Peace


Wisconsin’s Treasurer Wants to Cut Needless Workers, Starting With Himself

The Greatest Mistranslations Ever

‘Bigfoot’ Caught On Camera — Again

111714 ABOUT US

The Northstar Journal is a reader supported international non-profit news, commentary and general interest Internet magazine.  Founded as a monthly in 1999, it is the winner of two Hersh “Best Read on the Net Awards” for its coverage of Bosnia and of Washington State’s Nisqually Earthquake.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next, please go here  For more information, contact Rusty Miller at minstrel312@aol.com


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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