Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Downfall Of A Fugitive

World's Most Notorious Fugitive Captured, World Breathes Sigh Of Relief

Calgary (CP). The long nightmare is over. People across North America and around the world feel a bit safer tonight. A feared fugitive who escaped from custody several weeks ago was successfully brought to justice and captured, returning to incarceration in the maximum security Stormhaven Women's Prison outside Calgary, Alberta on the weekend.

We refer, of course, to the one time murder mystery novelist and world's most prolific serial killer, Jessica Fletcher.

Fletcher, a longtime resident of Cabot Cove, Maine, often called the murder capital of the world for an average of twelve murders a year in a village of some three thousand people, was arrested for a series of murders in Canada and put on trial. In the wake of her arrests, secret journals were recovered from her home boasting of committing thousands of murders, often framing an innocent person for the crime. To this date law enforcement in multiple jurisdictions across the world continue to come to grips with her involvement in crimes. The true number of victims killed by Fletcher may never truly be known.

Fletcher escaped prison in late September, killing 47 people in a daring escape and fleeing into the Alberta countryside. In the weeks that followed, another 112 more people were murdered, some on camera, others witnessed by third parties. Some crimes were thought to be spur of the moment, others involved methodical uses of torture or poison. All appear to have been caused by Fletcher, who from time to time would make brief calls to local radio stations, boasting of her crimes.

"I just don't understand," Grady Fletcher, the dimwitted nephew of the murderer said when reached at home in Cabot Cove, where he's writing his memoirs, titled She Wasn't That Bad: Life With My Aunt. "Aunt Jessica was always such a nice lady. I know what they're saying about her, and even though I've personally seen her go ballistic in court, I still can't believe she'd do all that."

Fletcher was known in her brief calls to make taunting remarks towards the lawman who brought her down in the first place, the legendary Mountie Inspector Lars Ulrich, the world's crankiest lawman. She had been fixated on him during the trial, making multiple threats all throughout the proceedings involving his graphic torture and death, and cannibalizing him. She would repeat some of the same before hanging up on radio hosts, vowing bloody revenge against the man she blamed for ending her reign of terror.

Or at least putting it on hold. As mentioned, 112 people on either side of the Alberta- British Columbia border were murdered, an astonishing death rate for a killer whose average kills in a year fluctuated. Other bodies might yet be found. Authorities all along the western border in the United States were watchful, wondering if the infamous serial killer might try to get back into her homeland. 

In the end, the worry was all for nothing, as she never made it to the American border.

A spokesperson for Alberta's minister of justice spoke with reporters on Sunday, confirming that the arrest had been made. "Mrs. Fletcher was brought back into custody on Sunday afternoon," Kelly Landon told reporters. "She was brought back to Stormhaven after being arrested by the very lawman she wanted to settle scores with. Inspector Lars Ulrich of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police."

The world's crankiest lawman was not available for comment, but Landon went into detail about the thrilling end of the manhunt for the serial killer, which took place in a place well known to the lawman, and one fitting for the subject of the murderer's choice of writing genre: Tombstone Canyon in the Rockies.

It was there, in a place where Ulrich has often been known to chase down entertainment reporters mistaking him for the other Lars Ulrich, that the two adversaries had a confrontation on a footbridge spamming the chasm. It ended with Fletcher trying to destroy the bridge in an attempt to take Ulrich to his death with her, but was thwarted by Ulrich successfully knocking her out and disarming the explosives she had planted. 

"That's just the sort of thing the Inspector would do," one of the Mounties at his detachment in the Alberta foothills said. "Sure, it might have been tempting to end her right then and there. But we Mounties always get our man. Or woman in this case."

Ulrich cuffed Fletcher and delivered her to Stormhaven, where she was taken into custody and put in an improved cell on 24 hour watch. At last report she was heard screaming bloody murder in a 12 hour long temper tantrum, and vowing to eat Ulrich's heart while it was still beating.

The world at large is somewhat better at ease today now that the world's most dangerous fugitive has been brought back into custody. The world's greatest and grouchiest lawman has once again come through.

Elsewhere, at Menard Correctional Centre in Illinois, a convict who has been incarcerated since 1994 is trying to gain freedom by suggesting Fletcher is responsible for his crimes. Frederick Sykes, a former police officer, ex-corporate security specialist, and one armed man jailed for three murders and other various crimes, insists he was framed, despite the case being deemed air-tight by prosecutors. "Jessica Fletcher wasn't near Chicago during the times of the murders Sykes and his accomplice were convicted for," Chicago Deputy District Attorney Alan Winninger insisted. "She was killing three people in Seattle on the night of the first murder, framing one person in London on the night of the second murder, and killing another person in Cabot Cove on the night of the last murder. Frederick Sykes and Charles Nichols framed Doctor Richard Kimble, an innocent man, for a murder they committed. For which we've been really, really sorry for for a long time."

Sykes remains defiant. "Look at me! I'm a one armed man! Isn't that enough to get me a bit of sympathy? Who could I possibly have bludgeoned and shot with my one good hand?"

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It Is Time For Turkey Comas

 Once again it is time this week for our southern neighbours to engage in that grandiose, over the top festive occasion that they call Thanksgiving, which at this point should just be called Thanksgistmas since they stretch it all the way until Christmas with holiday greetings, football games, shopping frenzies otherwise called Black Friday, get togethers, and eating enough to stuff a horse. To our American friends, Canada had Thanksgiving over a month ago at harvest time when it actually makes sense, and we don't go crazy about it.

Here's an image blog for the occasion.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Behold, The Walking Wounded

You think you had a lousy weekend?

Sit down, sport.

So I was out on Friday night with friends, walking along. What I didn't see, and what I should have seen, was what turned out to be a tripping hazard.

Face, meet pavement. 

I broke my nose, and did some damage to my right knee. 

No, I was not drinking.

I went down, my face met the pavement, and I started bleeding. And cursing. A lot of language, that, well, the Sisters Of Little Or No Mercy would not approve of.

 My friends, one of whom doesn't do well with blood, took care of me. I did have the presence of mind to realize I was in shock, hence all the shivering and trembling, and I did curse a lot more when I saw a photograph, taken at my request, of myself with blood running all down my face. No, that photograph is not included in this post and never will be. 

And so I was off to the hospital, courtesy of said friends, having had left behind pavement that looked, well, like a crime scene.

What can I say? I'm a bleeder. I'm still wondering precisely how much I lost. Suffice it to say it'll be awhile before I'm giving blood again.

A hospital emergency ward is no place to come into at any hour of the day, and it's been years since I've been in one. Last year I had a bit of an injury courtesy of a left turning driver oblivious to the rules of the road and the fact that pedestrians have right of way. His driver's mirror gave my arm a glancing hit as he passed right in front of me. I was pissed at him, as you can imagine. But this being the height of Covid, a hospital was not the sort of place I wanted to be in. And that turned out to be nothing more than a bruise, but this was the sort of thing that I couldn't just tough out.

So I ended up in emergency.

The nose was bleeding, both knees felt uncomfortable, with the right flaring up, and I had a low grade headache. The sort of thing you'd expect. Now anyone who's been in an emergency ward knows you're triaged according to your condition. If you're having a heart attack, they're seeing you right now. If you're the idiot who stumbles over and breaks his nose, it's going to be awhile. I was in for the night. For the record, the staff were great. They're already in a stressful job, and the last year and a half have made it all the more stressful. 

The doctor had lots of questions, checked off areas of concern that he had. No, there was nothing wrong with my neck. He had me go through x-rays for the knee, and a CT scan for my head. The X-ray tech was a pro about it, and I had just the one moment where a leg adjustment really hurt. As for the CT scan? The tech was also a pro about it. I can see how that machine can be a problem for someone with claustrophobia, but this was my first experience with it. I found it quite relaxing, actually.

Diagnosis: possible mild concussion, with a list of things to look out for and things to do. None of which have yet shown themselves. Hairline fracture in the nose, which has been numb ever since, and a strained leg, which explains why it feels more painful.

The doctor gave his recommendations upon releasing me, and I asked about the chances of arthritis in that knee. I've already got it in the other one, thanks to an accident a few years back.  

Saturday I got home, slept a lot, ate very little, and generally felt awful. Sunday involved sleeping off and on most of the day, keeping my leg elevated, and making a whole lot of use of a cold compress acquired from the hospital on both my leg and my face. Incidentally it's a weird feeling to have that cold against your nose and eyes and just lie there. But the sleeping has helped. The headache faded away after Saturday, and none of the signs typical of concussions have shown themselves. As of yet. And as weak as a kitten as I felt on Saturday, that's improved as well. My appetite is slowly returning too.

I was lucky. A slightly different fall would have broken my neck and my last word in this life would have been fuck. 

I've got time off from work to rest and recover; colleagues are handling what I would be doing. Benefits of doing the same when they're sick or have personal days. Also benefits of being able to bank your sick days. 

Generally speaking I'm taking it very easy, sleeping a whole lot, and spending way too much time staring at my ceilings, which are uniformly blank.

Two days make a difference: this was me on Saturday late in the afternoon, looking dazed. Blood was still caking parts of my facial hair.

I took this on Monday afternoon after shaving most of it off. The scar at the top of my nose would be where I broke it. Most of the tip of my nose is scar tissue, as it wouldn't wash off like the rest of the caked blood. I look like I got punched by Rocky Balboa. 

I'm mending.

And I'm absolutely sure my friends will never let me hear the end of this one.

Monday, November 8, 2021

And The Guns Have Fallen Silent

The guns across Europe fell silent at the eleventh hour of November 11th, 1917. The Great War, supposedly the war to end all wars, came to an end. The occasion is marked in Canada as Remembrance Day, a day to commemorate the dead of war and honour the veterans who survived. Other places mark it as Veterans Day or Armistice Day. Ceremonies are held in big cities and small villages. Wreaths are laid at memorials. Prayers are offered up. The Last Post is played. And people remember.

The following are monuments and memorials taken by me over the last year at various times in Ottawa and published on my photoblog. 

This first one is the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument, set in Confederation Park and taken on a winter day. It features four figures of Indigenous backgrounds, mounted among animals: the wolf, the bear, the bison, the elk, and the eagle at the top.

In the same park are other war memorials, and here are two, the oldest and the newest. The South African War Memorial was erected by locals to commemorate the Boer War of 1899-1902, in which Canadians took part. The Animals In War Memorial was erected several years ago, and includes three plaques telling the story of animal service in war, as well as a life sized sculpture of a dog.

This spring view was taken on Green Island in Ottawa, where the Rideau River meets the Ottawa River. There are several military monuments here, including this one. The Canadian doctor, soldier, and poet John McCrae is known to the world for his poem In Flanders Fields. He served in the South African War and the Great War, and died in France. This is one of two statues of McCrae; its double lies in his home town of Guelph, Ontario.

The Canadian War Museum tells the story of Canada's military history at home and abroad. Among its most haunting set of artifacts are the half scale plaster casts created by Walter Allward, who designed and oversaw the building of the monumental Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. Canadian soldiers won an astonishing victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War, and Allward's sculptures done in preparation for the work have their home here. They are allegorical in nature, and deeply mournful, entirely appropriate of the Memorial itself.

The national service of remembrance is held at the National War Memorial, built first to commemorate the dead of the First World War and dedicated in 1939. It has since been dedicated in memory of the dead of all wars and military service for the country. 22 figures march forward through an arch, which is topped by two allegorical figures. This dramatic night view was taken in the winter.

While this was taken in spring. Those actively serving in the military stand post as guards at the base each day, two per hour, at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier, from each branch of the military.

This is the last resting place of a Canadian soldier who fell at Vimy Ridge, and was placed here in 2000. At the time I took this shot, it was around the time of VE Day.

And I finish with a shot of it taken not so long after, but on a brighter day, with tulips in the foreground.