I’M SORRY, BUT SKYDIVING MAKES NO SENSE TO ME

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

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

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Pacem, Libertatem, Justitiam

March 22, 2015

Vol. 8 No. 26

Rusty Miller – Editor

Denny Steussy – Associate Editor

Olya Bereza – European Associate Editor

skydiver

I’M SORRY, BUT SKYDIVING MAKES NO SENSE TO ME

Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea  Now that better weather is here, at least where I live, I am getting invitations to go outside and play.  I am totally cool with that but just so we’re all on the same page here, there are certain sports/recreational activities in which I will not engage because they make absolutely no sense to me.

Skydiving:  Okay, why in the world would I want to go zooming into the wild blue yonder and then hurl myself from a perfectly good airplane, trusting the rest of my life to a couple of big nylon tablecloths?  My system does not deserve that.  My body doesn’t know we are going to probably land safely on Mother Earth.  It sees its life flashing before its eyes and for a stomach especially, that can be a pretty intense experience.  So we can forget that one.

Bungee Jumping.  There’s another dumb one.  It’s like what sane/rational individual leaps off a bridge into this deep, steep, rock-walled chasm and at almost the last minute, has their life saved by this elastic rope that has been mass produced by machines?  And rigged by strangers whose motives for providing such an experience are at least as suspect as those of their clientele.  Yeah, that’ll work.

Mountain climbing.  You mean for fun?  The pioneers pushed Conestoga wagons over the Cascades to get here but they did not do it for the exercise.  You want exercise?  Take the stairs and walk to anything within a half mile radius of your home and workplace.  Only one good reason I can think of to climb a mountain and it is NOT to get to the top.  It is to get to the other side.  And the only possible reason for doing that is because you cannot go around it.  Give me a break here.

SCUBA diving.  As in going into this huge world which looks nothing like mine and where to breathe, I have to wear a facemask and a couple of pressurized canisters with some weird plumbing attached?  And all this so I can essentially swim the highways and byways and backyards of creatures so alien to my daily existence on dry land that they might as well be extraterrestrial?  And where some of them are far more lethal than even the cobra, the tiger or the human?  Where I might get lashed by a sting ray, brush up against a Portuguese man of war, or have a limb removed by a shark?  And we’re talking about doing this recreationally?  Right.

Downhill skiing.  As a voluntary activity instead of just because you need to get to the bottom fast?

Contact sports.  As in recreationally going out in 21st Century body armor to slam myself into other so-clad human beings?  And be slammed into myself.  By buff dudes (and/or dudettes) who have been brainwashed into thinking this is fun?  That’s like charging up a hill when the enemy is shooting at you instead of keeping your butt down and waiting until they run out of bullets and go home.

And last on this list of insane forms of recreation is skeet shooting.  In the first place, I do not own a gun.  And second, what on earth did a skeet ever do to me?  On a more profound level (since I believe in reincarnation), what if I come back as a skeet?  What if the skeet comes back as me?  In terms of karmic implications, that might be the most dangerous one on the list.

I sometimes wonder if extreme sports are not Nature’s way of culling out the truly-reality challenged from those of us who just want to have a good time without risking life, limb and future incarnations.

Have a good week, gang.  And thanks for the ear.

P.S.  As most of you know, I have lived in the mountains and on the coast of the greater Pacific Northwest part of my growing up years and most of my adult life.  I’ve fished, hunted, camped, worked as a ranch hand, pulled green chain in a lumber mill, fought two forest fires and lived in a cabin in the Cascades of Southern Oregon without electricity or running water.  I’ve never had a negative encounter with any form of wildlife except humans.  I still enjoy nature.  But I respect it enough to walk lightly in the woods.

THE NEWS

If he follows through with this, he may do more for his country than any emperor in its history.  Chinese Premier Vows Tougher Regulation on Air Pollution

I am a fan of these Royals so I’ll personally be following this.  Charles And Camilla Begin US Visit

If this ever breaks down…The End Of Traffic?

WORLD

U.N. Opens New Investigation Into Crash That Killed Dag Hammarskjold

AFRICA

Tunis Gunman ‘Known To Authorities’

Nigerian Army Noticeably Absent in Town Taken From Boko Haram

Video Proof Of A Lion In Gabon For The First Time Since The 1950s

ASIA

Myanmar Is Issued Warning by Chinese Premier Over Bombing Deaths

Thai Ex-PM Yingluck To Stand Trial

Japan’s Recovery Is Complicated by a Decline in Household Savings

Bio-Diversity Hotspot In Vietnam Saved As Part Of Forests Of Hope Program

AUSTRALIA & OCEANA

‘Australia Is Nothing Like This’

Australia Becomes First Country To Ban Import Of Lion Hunting Trophies

Damage ‘Worse’ On Vanuatu Islands

CHINA

China Is Third Largest Arms Exporter

A Frenchman Takes China Global

Yahoo Pulls The Plug On China Office

EUROPE

As Cyprus Recovers From Banking Crisis, Deep Scars Remain

Spain Finds Tomb Of Writer Cervantes

Lufthansa Pilots To Go On Strike

Riot In Frankfurt Targets New CB HQ

Record Numbers Of Griffon Vultures Reported In Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains

EU Pledges Greek Humanitarian Funds 

INDIA

Video: Why Girls Clothing Is An Issue In India

India Arrests Over School Cheating

LATIN AMERICA

Haitian President Tightens Grip As Scandal Engulfs Circle Of Friends

Cuba Approves First Public Wi-Fi Hub

Three Lions Rescued In Circus Raid In Peru

Hundreds Protest Over Chile Bishop

Mexican Man Freed After 23 Years 

MIDDLE EAST

Iranian Court Sentences Son Of Former President To 15 Years In Prison

Suicide Attacks on Churches in Pakistan Kill at Least 15

Pakistan Carries Out Mass Hangings

Netanyahu In Surprise Election Win

Powerful Afghan Police Chief Killed in Kabul

RUSSIA

Putin ‘Orders Arctic Alert’

Vladimir Putin Returns After Absence and Dismisses Rumors

UNITED KINGDOM

UK Unemployment Falls To 1.86m

Britain’s National Bird Campaign Shortlist Announced

UNITED STATES

Bar Exam, The Standard To Become A Lawyer, Comes Under Fire

A Real-Time Peek At Traffic To U.S. Government Websites

Police Shoot Attacker At US Airport  

TOPICAL

CLIMATE CHANGE

How Does Climate Activism Differ In The U.S. And Germany?

Climate Change Is Baking Alaska

Here’s The Movie You Should Send Your Climate-Apathetic Friends To See

Global Warming’s Richest Victims

How Dry Is California? So Dry That Taps Might Actually Stop Running

Over-Pumping Groundwater Contributes To Rising Sea Levels

Obama Orders The Federal Government To Cut Carbon Emissions

TERRORISM & ESPIONAGE

The Kurds’ Heroic Stand Against ISIS

US Troops ‘Withdraw From Yemen’

US Airport Attacker ‘Had Molotovs’

UKRAINE

BBC NEWS INDEPTH REPORT

OH CANADA

This is good news.  Canada’s Rental Unit Landscape Witnessing A Resurgence

Good for you guys.  They deserve it, do they not?  Ottawa To Announce Better Benefits For Disabled Veterans

I’m not real sure I like what this says about our health care system.  More Canadians Go Beyond Border For Medical Treatment

SHORTS

Alberta Farmers Warn Of Destroyed Crops As Elk Population Grows Out Of Control

Historic NRU Reactor In Chalk River To Close In 2018

Huge Fire Destroys Montreal-Area Recycling Plant

GOOD EXAMPLES

A lot more needs to be done for these creatures.  I am firmly convinced that they and their larger cousins are our link to a web of life as incomprehensible to us as any extraterrestrial life we are soon to encounter.   Hope for Critically Endangered Porpoise

If this does not inspire you, you need to ask the Wiz for a heart.  ‘Life May Not Go As Planned’: Triplets Battle Through Eye Cancer

Way to go!  NYC Climate Campaigners Follow Up Blockbuster March With Push For City Action

SHORTS

Louisiana Parish Fights Plan To Burn Tons Of Propellant No One Wants

A New Effort to Rescue Runaways in Chicago

De-Paving Cities, Undamming Rivers—Here’s How We’re Undoing the Damage

BAD EXAMPLES

The behavior of these kids is starting to remind me of the novel Lord of the FliesUS Fraternity Ban Over Facebook Page

This just keeps getting better and better all the time, does it not?  Sigh.  Under Health Care Act, Tax Filers Find Costly Complications

This was a little scary.  11 Books About Obsessive Searches

OUR WORLD AND BEYOND

I thought this was cool.  She’s a heroine of mine.  Now I can look up into the Heavens and go, “Well, ma’am, it looks like you flew a lot higher even than LIndy.”    New Lunar Crater Named After Earhart

This places us back in the Garden.  I hope we do better the second time than we apparently did the first.  I do not think we will get a third chance.  Scientists Seek Ban on Method of Editing the Human Genome

I personally think this is total insanity; not the electric part but the computer driver aspect.  I think this is taking the slogan, “… and leave the driving to us,” just a bit too far.  Elon Musk Says Self-Driving Tesla Cars Will Be in the U.S. by Summer

HERE ON EARTH

Journey To The Center Of Earth

Now You Can Track Just How Crazy Spring Is In Your Region

Volcano Myths Are Often True

OUTER SPACE

‘Breathtaking’ Solar Eclipse Occurs

Will We Ever Speak Across Space?

Multimedia Feature: Rosetta Is Tailing A Warming Comet

FROM JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE

How to Make Landslides Less Deadly

My Quest for Atlantis

Newly Discovered Fish Named After ‘Star Wars’ Character

OTHER TECHNOLOGY

Facebook Revamps Removal Rules

US Approves Amazon Drone Trial

Revealed: What Love Looks Like In The Brain

NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY IMAGES

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.

THE GREEN AGENDA

Wind Could Power A Third Of America’s Electricity By 2050

This Ecologist Wants To Plant A “Pop-Up” Forest In Times Square

What’s The Greenest Way To Travel?

HEALTH

The Foods Most Likely to Make You Sick

Alcohol or Marijuana? A Pediatrician Faces the Question

The Most Painful Insect Sting

Faces of Breast Cancer: Find Your Story, Join the Conversation

The Tales Our Bacteria Tell

LIFESTYLE

I Ran Away With The Circus

Where Dirty Dancing Was Born  (We don’t happen to consider it “dirty,” btw.)

Inspired Life: A Stanford Neurosurgeon’s Parting Wisdom About Life And Time

The Metro Areas With the Largest, and Smallest, Gay Populations

NORTHSTAR COMICS

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.

BEST OF THE NET

Eerie Photos of Town Transformed Into Frozen Wonderland

Solar Eclipse As It Happens

Find Your Inner Animal

FROM NORTHSTAR

Testament Ad Graphic

WRATH OF THE TESTAMENT

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, please go here   To purchase the kindle book at amazon.com for $3.99, please go here.

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. 

NORTHSTAR MEDIA SERVICES

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NORTHSTAR MEDIA SERVICES

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ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL

Here’s something really cuddly (not).  Amazing Giant Chinese Salamanders

Here’s a chance for our Salish Sea readers to make a real difference.  Rock Seattle with Panda Nation

Here’s something interactive that we should all enjoy.  Trust Asks Public To Guess Osprey Arrival Time To Win A VIP Experience

SHORTS

Here’s What May Have Turned Dogs Into Man’s Best Friend

Bats Are Harmed Rather Than Helped By Street Lights

This Big Guy Ruled Way Before Dinos

RELATED LINKS:

Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals

THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL ENDORSES:

Amnesty International

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

YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP

Buildings Hidden From The World

High Society’s Secret Tattoos

Animals That Use Mind Control

ABOUT US

The Northstar Journal is a reader supported international non-profit news, commentary and general interest weekly Internet magazine.  Created in MS Word and copied into AOL’s Write mode, it goes out by direct email to its subscribers.  It also has a website linked to both Facebook and Link-In.  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 us at minstrel312@aol.com

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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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