Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 24, 2016

One Cranky Witness For The Prosecution

Author And Accused Murderer To Stand Trial; Grouchy Investigator Snarls At Media

Calgary (CP). She was once one of the most esteemed authors in the mystery novelist circuit. She was a fixture of the community wherever she went. She was seen as a kindly grandmotherly type who enjoyed sticking her nose into police investigations for no reason whatsoever. Now she stands accused of multiple counts of murder in what might well become the first of many murder trials for the accused, in multiple countries. As it turns out, it begins in Canada, where several recent cases of murder during her extended stay have been attributed to her.

Jessica Fletcher, the famous mystery novelist and most famed resident of the small town of Cabot Cove, Maine, was arrested in May, charged with ten counts of murder in the first degree, and has been held without bail ever since. Investigators across the world have been comparing murder cases to those found in a secret journal the author kept in her home, and the numbers of murders she’s been implicated in continue to rise.

She was arrested by Mounties during an author’s meet and greet event. The author had been living on a temporary basis in the Calgary area doing research for a new book, during a period in which a series of brutal slayings took place. The path led the RCMP, who had the lead on the case, to make that stunning arrest, which was personally carried out by the lead investigator in the case- the legendary RCMP Inspector Lars Ulrich.

The man himself, frequently the bane of many an entertainment reporter’s existence (or vice versa), has very little patience for reporters, even the real ones. As for the entertainment reporters, they have a tendency to wear down his proverbial last nerve, and he’s cut a swath of destruction and broken bones among their ranks over the years. That’s been more than offset by multiple acts of the grouchy Mountie saving the world- from mad scientists, murderous Muppets, super-villains, dark cabals, and Russian tyrants. He’s also shown a tendency to pick fights with thousands of Tea Party fanatics, or to make Godzilla run away in panic and fear.

Fletcher still has her supporters. Her legions of fans refuse to believe the allegations against her and have picketed courthouses in Calgary anytime there have been legal proceedings. The trial, set for next year, will no doubt attract many more of them. “This is a set up!” Alexandra McCoy of Des Moines, Iowa, told reporters outside the courthouse today. The suspect was inside, going through a preliminary hearing. “A total set-up! And those Mounties are in on it! Just because she writes plotlines about killing people doesn’t mean she’s a murderer! You’d have to be totally devious and without a conscience to go from writing to actually killing people, not to mention framing other people for her own acts! And that’s not our Jessica! She’s the grandma you wish you could have, baking cookies and brownies and always with a smile on her face! Free Jessica now! This is an outrage!”

More fans cheered what McCoy had to say. One of them, a long time fan later identified as Hugo Cavendish, took control of the crowd, yelling, “what do we want?”

The crowd roared back, “Jessica free and clear!”

Cavendish yelled, “When do we want it?”

“Now!” the Fletcherites yelled back.

This reporter wondered how many times a variation on that chant had been used. The crowd started singing Kumbayah and holding hands as they encircled the courthouse, leaving this reporter, among others, rolling his eyes and musing that the person who originally wrote that song should have ideally been a murder victim of the Deceptive Novelist, as some have been calling Fletcher since the arrest.

The case continues to build in places across the world, where convictions are being appealed, with many prosecutors wondering if the people they put behind bars because of Jessica Fletcher’s involvement in those cases are guilty or not. Names have been compared to what has become a very notorious secret journal, and police investigators in many jurisdictions are revisiting old case files. “We’ve never seen anything like it,” Detective Mallory Hudson, a member of the Bangor Police Homicide squad told reporters. “The numbers connected to this suspect just keep going up. Thousands of deaths, all connected to her. It might take years to sort out what she’s really done, and let’s face it, she’s an elderly woman, she could be gone long before it’s all figured out.”

Sheriff Angus Tupper, son of another Sheriff Tupper of Cabot Cove, both of whom had worked with Fletcher in an informal capacity over the years, has been quiet since the case broke, participating in the investigation, finding the journal in the author’s house. It’s been said that the Sheriff is fuming that he and his father had been hoodwinked for decades by a serial killer in their midst.

For now, possession is nine tenths of the law, and Fletcher is in Canadian hands, standing trial for Canadian murders. Any other proceedings will simply have to wait. This reporter attended the hearing, where Crown prosecutors were making arguments to the judge, countered by Fletcher’s attorney, Eve Simpson, a Cabot Cove resident. Fletcher’s baffled looking nephew Grady Fletcher was in attendance as well, sitting behind his aunt, who seemed bored.

There was someone else in attendance, sitting behind the prosecutors. Inspector Lars Ulrich, looking as gruff and annoyed as ever, was sitting in his work uniform, as opposed to the red serge so many people associate with Mounties. He is already expected to be one of the primary witnesses for the prosecution at the trial next year. This reporter, knowing well the mood and temperament of the brave but furiously dangerous Mountie, left him alone. Ulrich sat quietly through the proceedings. Late in the hearing, with attorneys arguing back and forth, the suspect looked his way, catching his eye. And then out of nowhere, she screeched, “Your head on a pike, Ulrich! Your head on a pike!”

Fletcher was taken out by officers of the court, ranting and roaring. Ulrich was completely calm and disregarding of the threat. He left the courtroom, followed by those reporters who had been attending the hearing. Out in the hall were more- real reporters and the entertainment reporters, who had come up because of Fletcher’s fame as an author. For a moment there was silence. It was followed by Ulrich’s sigh of exasperation and grumbles of irritation. And then it was followed by a roar of questions. Ulrich looked decidedly annoyed.

One of the entertainment reporters somehow made his voice heard over everyone else. “Lars! Lars! Brad Janson, Access Hollywood. What everyone wants to know, Lars, is will Metallica be doing a theme song for the murder trial, and will it be featured on the Burst Eardrums tour? And second, why aren’t you out on tour with the rest of the band?”

The real reporters backed up, eager to not be caught in the proverbial Wrath Of Lars. Ulrich glared at him. That made even more reporters back up- including Janson’s cameraman, who seemed smarter than the correspondent. The Inspector spoke in a low, threatening tone. “I am not that Lars Ulrich.”

Janson seemed confused; that is a common problem among entertainment reporters, it seems, in this reporter’s opinion. Perhaps they were dropped on their heads too many times as infants. Perhaps their mothers were fond of drinking during pregnancy. “Are you sure?”

Ulrich’s response was one hard punch to his face. It sent Janson hurtling down the hall and crashing down onto the floor. He didn’t have time to complain- the Inspector was already heading his way. Whatever sense of self preservation sent him to his feet, and Janson started running, the Inspector at his heels, both of them crashing right through the ring of Jessica Fletcher fans. At last report, Ulrich had chased Janson up into Dead Man’s Canyon, where panicked echoes could be heard ringing through the harsh and unforgiving landscape:  I thought you were the Metallica drummer!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

From A Football Field To Cannon Fodder

Town Bids Goodbye To Favourite Son With Dark Secret

Bedford, Iowa (AP) This quiet town is the county seat of Taylor County, a quiet place that seems to exude small town America. Norman Rockwell would have been at home here depicting scenes of domestic tranquility, rural occasions, and whimsy. Supposedly named after a rider of the short lived Pony Express in the 19th century, the townspeople seem content to let the world pass them by, living a life of apple pies cooling on the kitchen window sill, church on Sunday morning, and football games at the local high school in the fall.

And so it was a shock recently for one of their own to have been killed in what turned out to be a workplace incident- a shock made all the more perplexing by where he worked and secrets that have come out about him since. Timothy Lennox grew up in Taylor County, born in 1971 to Alan and Heather Lennox, their pride and joy as their only child. Lennox was by all counts a typical American boy growing up, blond haired and blue eyed, getting into the usual mischief, distinguishing himself in athletics, favouring baseball and football. In high school, he grew to lead his team to state championships in football. The boy who’d been a pride and joy to his parents became the pride and joy of a town and county. College scholarships and perhaps a career in the NFL were beckoning.

And then came the accident.

Three days after graduating from high school, Lennox was crossing the street to meet friends at Pop Tatum’s ice cream shop. He was run down by local resident Frank “Oz” Oswald, whose reputation in the county is that of a troublemaker, ne’er do well, and drunk. Oswald was arrested for drunk driving and hit and run, criminal charges that were just the latest in a long line of criminal charges. Twenty seven years later, that list of charges and convictions has continued to grow, and Oswald is currently a guest of the state at the Iowa State Penitentiary. “There was always something wrong about that boy,” local retiree and gossip Edgar Gaines told reporters recently when asked about Oswald. “You know how it is. Some people, they’re just messed up right from the start. Little did we know that the youngster we were all proud of, the one Oswald hurt... would end up... well, doing what he did."

Lennox was hurt in the incident, suffering a broken leg and other injuries that put an end to his football ambitions. He seemed to take it all in stride, heading off to college anyway, but friends noticed that he had seemed to withdraw in many ways. “He seemed to be mourning missed chances,” longtime friend and local farmer Alex Ridgeway told reporters this week. “He’d come home for breaks, but that spark seemed to be gone. Whatever you want to call it, it just wasn’t there anymore.”

Another more serious blow came in his final college year with the deaths of his parents- caused by drunk driver and local ne’er do well Frank “Oz” Oswald, who did ten years in prison for that particular offence for drunk driving causing death. At the trial, Oswald swore up and down that he was still capable of driving, even after consuming ten bottles of vodka in a single evening. “It wasn’t my fault! They got in my way! I was just defendin’ myself!” Oswald claimed in court in a trial that ended with a very quick jury decision.

Lennox was even more stunned and withdrawn after the deaths of his parents, listless and subdued through the trial. He graduated from college, came back to Bedford, and settled in quietly. He wouldn’t talk about work- his friends only knew he was a consultant, a job that kept him on the road frequently, and he wouldn’t talk shop. He wasn’t terribly social- there were the occasional girlfriends, but nothing serious. Still, he was engaged in the community, attending games, fall fairs, and the annual pie festival.

And then came the recent news of his death.

 Federal agents confirmed that Lennox was killed in a freak accident at his real workplace- a division headquarters of the outlaw anarchist organization known as SPITE, severed in half by what has been called an “Nukeifier 4000”, a field artillery weapon the organization had been developing to further its mission to “conquer the world, subject all to our will, and find out the secret of the Caramilk bar”. The terrorist group has operated from the shadows all over the world, led by the elusive individual known until recently only as Lord Nefarious.

How does an all around American boy end up being a henchman for a supervillain? That’s the question on many minds in Bedford these days, as locals wonder what might have drawn him to the organization. “All- American! Apple pie and football!” Gaines remarked, shaking his head with dismay. “And he ends up becoming some anarchist henchmen wearing an identical costume to every other anarchist henchman. It just doesn’t make sense.”

The organization itself has ended up on the run, with multiple intelligence agencies and military units across the world seeking them out- all as a result of the freak accident, which as it turns out couldn’t have been covered up. Even Lord Nefarious has been exposed; the founder of the organization has been identified as Geoffrey Walden, the bored third son of an Ivy League blue blood family from Boston. “This is an outrage!” his father, Godfrey Walden- the CEO of Walden Incorporated- told reporters who showed up at his mansion on Cape Cod. “You lowly vultures have no right to question the loyalties of a Walden! Leave or I’ll have my personal bodyguards beat you soundly!”

 The last word belongs to the deceased. Simon Cade, an attorney in Bedford, spoke to reporters who turned up at his office. As personal attorney to Lennox, the lawyer explained that a personal letter had been added to his will six months ago, a letter that helped identify Lord Nefarious. “It was three sentences,” Cade explained. While the letter itself is in the hands of the authorities, Cade wrote them down for his own reference. “And it was as follows: to the world at large, Lord Nefarious of SPITE is actually that snivelling little gutless coward Geoffrey Walden. And to Geoffrey Walden, if you’re wondering what happened to that three hundred million dollars the organization’s missing, I have just two things to say. First, you’ll never find it, and second.... nyah nyah nyah nyah!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Scammers Of The World, Just Die

Not long after getting the scam message that was the subject of my previous post, I got another one. It followed the more traditional rules of the infernal internet scammer's playbook, and seemed worthy to take apart and make fun of at my leisure. So here we have it.

Dear Sir/madam 

My name is Mrs. Elizabeth murphy I am 63 years old, I am a 

dying woman who have decided to donate what I have to 

you/churches/ mosque/ motherless babies/less privileged/widows.

I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago. 

I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited 

from my late husband to you for good work of God. 

Please if you are ready to assit me distribute my funds 

of Twenty million Dollars to charity .

kindly reply me to my private email:

Mrs Elizabeth murphy.

Where do we begin? Well, with the originating email, which is not that gmail account at all, but one, upon checking, that's aligned with Florida State University. That's one big red flag. As is the grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, which, as usual, is appalling. That's the standard tell tale of an internet scammer not terribly familiar with the nuances of the English language.

We can see it in things like spaces between a word and a period, or the lack of a comma or period where it would make sense. We can also see it in words that aren't capitalized when they should be- I mean honestly, if your name was Murphy, wouldn't you know how to capitalize the first letter of the word? Instead she doesn't. But of course, Murphy isn't her real name. And she capitalizes words like twenty, which don't need to be capitalized.

Spelling comes up too. Assit isn't the right way to spell assist. That's not a terribly difficult word to spell, but this scammer gets it wrong. That spreads to her (or his or its, because at this point, let's face it, this isn't anyone actually named Elizabeth Murphy) sentence structure. 

"I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago." Come on, scammer, at least try to write like an actual human being. It would be "I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago." But you weren't diagnosed. There is no cancer. There's no Widow Murphy either.

"I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to you for good work of God." And then she claims she's got twenty million to be given away to charity. Bull. If this was real (which it's not), someone who was actually that wealthy probably would have better grammar, and would have an attorney to handle the matters of their estate.

She uses the usual internet scammer sob story and the usual "work of God" crap to try to lure in the gullible. How does she know I'm not a follower of Loki? That would explain a lot about me, wouldn't it?

There is no Elizabeth Murphy. Well, there is- I mean, both first and surnames are common, after all, and there are probably a whole lot of them out there. But there's no Elizabeth Murphy, the widow with the sob story reaching out to complete strangers asking them to help the "good work of God". There's no cancer involved at all. The Florida email's no doubt a fake, one in a long line of decoys and false trails that eventually lead back to some hell hole of a country with little infrastructure and not much in the way of extradition treaties. Nigeria, I'm looking at you.

To the scammer who's trying to swindle people with this line of nonsense, nice try. Maybe you'll get lucky with some mouth breather named Jethro or Bubba Ray. Those of us who find you an obnoxious waste of oxygen can hope that someday a meteor streaks right down into the atmosphere... and collides with you. It's probably a faster death than you deserve, but it's a hell of a way to go.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Internet Scammers In War Zones

Of course they never give up. They don't take a hint, either. The internet scammers and spammers of the world are always out there, trying to find new ways to reach their target suckers and fleece them, either out of thousands of dollars outright, or for crap they weren't looking for in the first place.

Sometimes weeks can go by without a message from the scammers in junk email or blog junk message folders. While I get the odd spam junk mail for watches or sunglasses, I don't get the inevitable scammer messages for awhile. And then they seem to come out of nowhere. Such was the case with an email sent from one Mike Jones, with one email address in the header and another listed in the message itself, which I've removed, just copying and pasting below.

My name is Mike.
I've found your email address from the internet. I am sending you an private message because i dont know what to do.
We live in Syria, We are financial not in a good shape
My wife has no option to work because she has 3 little children at home.
We have no options to become any support or any help somehow.
If you can help us even with one dollar it will help us a lot and make us very happy.
Please help us.. My Paypal address is :

Yes, it's a scam. Some of the tell tales are there. One email address listed doesn't match up to the other. In fact, the listed email in the header was for someone at Which leads to spam for an exercise site. It's not a match for the email in the body of his message, which claims to be for Paypal.

There's also punctuation issues and grammar snafus. I mean, it's not "an private message", Mr. Jones, or whatever your real name is. And it's not "i dont know", it's "I don't know". If you're going to try to scam people, you might want to take some basic English lessons as opposed to reading out of a whatever the hell to English dictionary.

"We are financial not in a good shape." Oh, that's just wonderfully written. As is the case with "We have no options to become any support or any help somehow." You know, if you found my email from the internet, you could at least learn to structure sentences properly.

But let's face it, you're not actually Mike Jones. And if you're in Syria, which you're not, you're wasting time trying to scam people as opposed to running from Bashar al-Assad or Daesh, depending on who's around this week. But you're not in Syria. You're a scammer in some other third world hellhole hoping this time the scam might pay off. 

Nice try. Just for good measure, go to Syria. Go on up to Assad. Hit him in the nose. See what happens.

I'm thinking summary execution by firing squad at high noon.