Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Friday, May 18, 2018

Curse Of The Unwanted Relations


Royal Wedding Awaits; Bridal Family Members Fume

London (Reuters) The world awaits the wedding of Prince Harry, currently sixth in line to the throne, to American actress Meghan Markle this weekend. In what is being described as the wedding of the year, the couple, engaged since last fall, will exchange wedding vows at a ceremony at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Coverage of the event will be broadcast by worldwide media, as interest in the couple continues to build. Reporters- both of the actual sort and the paparazzi sort- have descended on the area in hordes. 


There have been some bumps in the road. Father of the bride Thomas Markle will not be attending after the news came out of arrangements with tabloids, now claiming he’s missing the event due to an upcoming heart surgery. Half-siblings have been noted in recent days to be fuming over being not invited to the ceremony, and have been mixing together lashing out and talking to anyone who will listen. The ceremony itself, happening on the same day of the FA Cup final (an event that would normally be attended by best man Prince William in his capacity as President of the Football Association, may compete for attention in the British isles with that game.


Royal watchers have been keen on the drama of Miss Markle’s family, particularly the estrangements that seem in place amongst some of them. “Well, it’s very simple,” Professor Clementine Harrington, an Oxford lecturer on British royalty, told this reporter this week. “If any of them happen to act out or crash the wedding, the Queen has the Tower of London at her disposal, and can feel free to have them put in the stocks for a few days until they learn to mind their manners.”


Americans, who founded their entire way of life on getting royalty out of their lives with the Revolution, seem particularly drawn to the event. “It’s fascinating, isn’t it?” Boston socialite Esmeralda LaCoeur noted this week. “All this history of liberty and being independent and booting the redcoats out, and here we are, salivating over heredity aristocracy and a wedding. I suppose you might wonder if it has to do with our current situation. You don’t suppose the Queen would let us back in, if we apologized and said we were really sorry?”


One American is profoundly disappointed by not being allowed to participate in the entire affair. Director Michael Bay, the explosion prone lunatic behind demented deafening films such as the Transformers franchise and Armageddon, was unhappy in a video rant made on the website for his company Digital Domain. “I had this big idea! Pyrotechnics and explosions and having Aerosmith do the theme song for the wedding- they even wrote it! It was called Royal Beheadings! Isn’t that a great name for a song? But no! I hear back from the Brits that I don’t have permission to set off explosions around Windsor Castle! What’s a wedding without explosions? Bottom line is, that cranky old bat Lizzie, or whoever actually wrote that message, told me to go **** myself and warned me that if I ever step on British soil again, I’ll be arrested and sent to the Tower where those ridiculous looking Beefeaters would knock my teeth out before deporting me. I thought these people were hospitable. I thought the Brits were polite.”


In Canada, the wedding is of great interest to the population. One Canadian is pleased for a different reason. Legendary RCMP Inspector and thorough grouch Lars Ulrich, known for saving the world on multiple occasions and kicking around entertainment reporters for sport, was found at his detachment in the Alberta foothills. Reassured by reporters that they knew he was not the drummer from Metallica, the Mountie was willing to speak and in fact quite cordial. “As far as I know, every single verminous dirtbag idiotic entertainment reporter on the planet is camped out in Britain right now. I’ve got an ocean between me and them. The British police can deal with their stupidity, as long as they want. I won’t complain if none of them come back.”


The last word belongs to a certain Scotland Yard inspector who shares two things in common with his Mountie counterpart: crankiness and a name in common with a musician. Chief Inspector Paul McCartney was reached by real reporters at the legendary police agency. The Inspector is in his mid thirties, half the age of the former Beatle, and in fact looks nothing like his famous namesake. He seemed exasperated while speaking with reporters. “How stupid are people? I’ve had reporters with Access Hollywood asking me if I’d be working with Ringo on something for the wedding! Damn it all, I had to give them a thorough thrashing and sent them to hospital. Well, a few less entertainment reporters at the wedding, who’s going to complain? Except of course for any of the bride’s estranged family.”


A paparazzi reporter had somehow infiltrated our ranks, and spoke up at that point. “Paul! Paul! Is it true that you and Ringo are going to work with Elton John and sing Twist And Shout at the wedding?”

McCartney glared at the man. “I am not that Paul McCartney.”

The paparazzi reporter seemed confused. “Are you sure?”

With that, McCartney broke through the ranks of reporters and started chasing the hapless reporter. When last heard from, the paparazzi reporter, working for the National Enquirer, was fished out of the Thames after McCartney threw him off Tower Bridge. He is reported to be in stable but stupid condition at a local hospital, blathering on about what John Lennon would have thought of a fellow Beatle resorting to violence.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Fandom Unleashed In The Capital

As I have just started a series in my photoblog on our Tulip Festival, I'm posting today here. Last weekend Ottawa saw its annual Comiccon, a three day event at the EY Centre for fans of comics, movies, television, sci fi, and much more. Celebrity guests and artists were on hand for meet and greet sessions and events over the weekend. Merchandise was on sale from exhibitors and craftspeople. And there were no shortage of those in costume, walking about. As for me, well, put me in a suit and I could get away with posing as Lex Luthor.

This Darth Vader was walking about with R2-D2. There was no sign of an annoying and worrisome protocol droid.


Among the exhibitors was a business called Sparx and Mace, which specializes in period cosplay clothing for women and men- corsets, lace, scarves, and items that might be considered a bit racy.


One of the cosplayers, with a zombie look. We'll see more of her in our final shot.


This sort of merchandise appealed to me. Among my purchases were comic book t-shirts and some prints from artist Geof Isherwood (an Avengers group shot, a solo Thor in stormy weather, and a dramatic Wonder Woman). I chatted with Mr. Isherwood, as well as Nick Bradshaw, another well established artist nearby.


I liked this formidable armour, though I have no idea who the character is supposed to be.


I took some perspective shots. The place was exceptionally busy, with people coming through. The EY Centre, located near the airport, is larger than our convention centre downtown, and someone I chatted with during the day noted that it's easier for exhibitors to load and unload here than it would be downtown. 


This vendor included some pillows in their wares. One guess as to why this drew my eye.


Among the cosplayers were plenty of Negans (including a woman) wielding barbed wire bats, a good many Deadpools and Spider-Men, more than a few Harley Quinns, and plenty of Star Wars related people. Ottawa has a local chapter of Star Wars cosplayers, the 501st Legion, and they had a specified area in the building.


I believe this is a Doctor Who villain, but the whole franchise gets me a bit dazed and confused, so perhaps someone can verify that.


I stopped by this booth, for Wasteland Artisan, which specializes in handcrafted masks and accessories.


This trio caught my eye during my wanderings. Here we have Colossus with the silver skin, Professor Xavier in the wheelchair, and a young woman playing the part of Negasonic Teenage Warhead, all from the X-Men franchise.


This wall caught my eye too. It was for a business specializing in makeup effects.


Two of our national museums here in the capital region had a shared booth, which makes sense as they are run together by the same organizational leadership. The Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum are presenting a pair of related exhibits beginning in June. Medieval Europe will be shown at the former, while the latter hosts an exhibit on Armour- from knights to superheroes. While the suit of armour in the background was stationary, the soldier and Iron Man were in fact cosplayers who were part of the booth. I'm looking forward to both of these exhibits and will be documenting them in the photoblog.


One of my favourite cosplayers of the event- this fellow was in costume as Groot, walking about on stilts, and when I caught him here, he had a t-shirt from the nearby shirt vendor with the only three words the character ever says in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.


More cosplayers. I find it fascinating how much attention to detail these people pay to their costumes, and the enthusiasm is infectious.


Out in the entry corridor, I photographed some more. The Dark Knight certainly fits the part. His companion... a bit of looking about suggests she was taking the part of She-Ra.


This robot costume really caught my eye. I had a chance to speak with the person in the costume a few minutes later and complimented her on the costume.


A zombie bride had quite a few onlookers gathered around.


I liked the costume of this woman, playing Cruella De Vil. Aside from the smile (unthinkable in the original character), she definitely looks the part. She graciously held a pose for me.


I finish off with this set of three women in different costumes posing for photographers. The last one includes our zombie from earlier in this post. If you get a chance to go to one of these conventions, take it. These are a whole lot of fun.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Death And The Grouchy Sedgwick

Today I have one in my occasional series of totally inappropriate eulogies. The ending came to me first.  This is why I can never be trusted with doing a public speech.


“Thank you, Reverend, for that kind introduction. And thank you all for coming out on this sad, somber day as we try to come to terms with the unfortunate passing of Andrew. A husband, father, son, brother, and dear friend to us. Alicia asked that I should do the eulogy. I can only hope I do justice for Andrew and see him off with what he would expect of us all. A few tears, perhaps some laughter, and good memories.

When we think of the manner of Andrew’s passing, we think of how unfair it all seems. Taken from us in the prime of life, and in such a way. But perhaps we should talk of the man himself as opposed to the way he died. That can wait, after all.

Andrew, Alicia, and I all met in college. We all were geared towards medical school, becoming doctors, establishing private practices sometime down the line. Andrew was already known by a nickname that many of us will always call him before we think of him as Andrew. A name that fits, given his chosen profession.

Doc.


There’s this old expression that comes to mind. Never play cards with a guy called Doc. I learned that one pretty fast with him. I always wondered afterwards if Andrew cheated during poker, so after four or five evenings of him cleaning me out hand after hand, I decided to refrain from playing cards with him again.

So, Andrew and I became friends. Despite his cheating at cards. He and Alicia met and fell in love and made plans for their future. We all went through medical school, somehow managed to survive residency and the endless long shifts and particularly that old bastard Doctor Sedgwick… let me assure you, if anyone deserved to go the way Andrew did, it was Clive Sedgwick… oh, hi! Sedgwick! You’re here! Good god, old man, how are you possibly alive? You must be ninety six by now.

I’m letting myself get off track. Sorry. That happens.

Well, we got through medical school. We got through residency. We did our time in the proverbial trenches of hospital life and the tensions of an emergency ward. And we all moved on with our lives. Private practice beckoned, because honestly, who wanted their life to turn out like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy?  Which, for the record, is an awful show.


Andrew and Alicia got married and settled into a private practice and a quiet life in the countryside. Had three wonderful kids. Katie, Michael, and Ella, your father loved you very much, and you made him very happy. He’d be proud of you.

In time I got married too. Josie and I have stayed friends with Andrew and Alicia, even though my private practice took me to another part of the province. We’d get together every once in awhile, keep in touch the rest of the time. Life was good. A good living, practices that were thriving, patients that kept us busy, but time to be had for the important things in life. Family and leisure and the occasional evening dining out.

Which I’m sure is better than can be said for Sedgwick and however he spends his days. Honestly, old man, tell me you finally retired, or are you still making life hell for every resident doctor you’ve ever met? Oh, don’t look at me like that.


I’m getting off track again. Sorry.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Life was good.

Until last week, that is.

It’s for the best that we have a closed casket.

It’s not as if open casket was an option, under the circumstances.

Andrew was off at a medical conference in Chicago. Everything went fine. He was on his way home. He just happened to pick the wrong flight.

If he’d flown Air Canada, maybe nothing would have gone wrong.

Instead, he flew United.


Well, from what we’ve been told by the other passengers, United continues to have problems with customer service. This, after more than a few incidents in the last couple of years.

They had a couple of their employees flying with the passengers, off duty, just heading for Toronto for some time off.

One of them wanted a seat to put their shopping bags on.

Now apparently shopping bags for an off duty pilot is more of a priority than a passenger.

Okay. So the plane was fully booked. Enough so that they had to turn people back at the gate who’d bought tickets in advance. Let it not be said that United has learned anything from their previous mistakes.


So they went looking for a volunteer.

Someone to give up his seat.

And they settled on Andrew.

They’re still not saying how it happened. I mean, I would have thought it was physically impossible to open a plane’s doors in flight. Sufficed to say there were unpleasantries said, according to the other passengers… and Andrew was removed from his seat.

And then kicked off the plane.

At cruising altitude.

Without a parachute.


They say the terminal velocity for someone falling through air is about 195 kilometres an hour. Before he hits the ground. Andrew hit the ground on a farm outside of Kitchener. Or the ground hit him. I guess it depends on how you see things.

Well, they say if you have to go, you might as well go fast. Better to go fast than to die slow and in agony. A little pain, but fast? Okay. A lot of pain, and horribly slow? No thanks. We’ll never know if Andrew passed out of this world before he hit the ground. But in those last moments, surely he must have been thinking of his beloved Alicia and their kids.

Strangling the chairman of United Airlines after suing the company into bankruptcy.”

Friday, May 11, 2018

Legend Of The Bloody Scammer


They never take a hint. The spammers and scammers, of course. They try to infest our posts with spam comments for crap that we wouldn't buy. Sometimes they make it past the spam filters and their comment is published. But not for long.

And of course they email us occasionally, along with hundreds of thousands of other people emailed at random, with variations on the businessman/ prince/ preacher/ widow scam with millions of dollars to offer some sucker who's dumb enough to buy into the scam. Such is the case with the following, emailed in the last few days. It turns out that this fellow's name has been used for quite some time in the realms of the typical Nigerian scammer, and a copy of this letter has been making the rounds for some time.


REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE - STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

I am Chiedu Boglo the son of a retired General in the Nigerian Army and a former minister. I came to know of you in my search for a reliable person to handle a very confidential transaction, which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account. There were series of contracts executed by a Consortium of Multinational for the ministry in which my father was minister in our country. The original values of these contracts were deliberately over-invoiced to the tune of forty-one Million United States Dollars (US$41,000,000.00). The over-invoiced sum he purposed to acquire for himself after retirement.

Unfortunately, things took another turn.I will explain more to you when you show your interest to assist me. Consequently, I am looking for someone who will help us ( my father and I) to receive the money on our behalf. Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20% of the total transferred sum. While we shall take 75% and the balance 5% has been set aside to take care of any expenses you shall incure in the process of the transfer of this fund.

You must however NOTE that this transaction is subject to the following terms and conditions; (i) Our conviction of your transparent honesty. (ii) That you wound treat this transaction with utmost secrecy and confidentiality. (iii) That the funds would be transferred to an account over which you have absolute control. Modalities have been worked out at the highest levels to make for the immediate transfer of the funds within 10 working days, subject to your satisfaction of the above stated terms. Our assurance is that your role is 100% risk-free. To accord this transaction the legality it deserves and for mutual security of the funds, the whole approval procedures will be officially and legally processed with your name or the name of your company you may nominate as the bonafide beneficiary. Kindly, respond to this mail with a view to my giving you more information. Please, do send your acceptance via my E-mail address. Also, include in your mail you private/confidential telephone and fax number to enable me reach you as soon as I get your response. Thank you very much as I anticipate your response.

Yours faithfully,

Prince Chiedu Boglo.


Where do we begin? Well, with the end- he signs off by calling himself a prince, which he doesn't remark about in his opening comments. Instead those opening comments say he's the son of a retired general in the Nigerian army and a former minister. 

He writes in that overly formal complete BS style of the typical scammer, capitalizing words that don't need to be capitalizing, omitting other words (Multinational what, dumbass?) He claims over-invoices were made to the tune of 41 million American bucks (writing it out, as usual, in both letters and numbers in case the gullible rube he's targeting isn't bright enough to notice it once). 


He claims Daddy wanted to set that aside for retirement, but ran into some difficulties and needs help getting that money out of the country on his behalf. Which means twenty percent for me from the total. The totally non existent total that this scamming scammer would have me believe is out there just waiting for me- to "wound treat this transaction with utmost secrecy and confidentiality." Wound? Is it that hard for you to spell would? Though to be honest, wounding you does come to mind.

Nice try, Prince Boglo. Totally fake Prince Boglo. Sorry to say that you're not scoring an invite to that big shindig with Prince Harry and his blushing bride, but we know you're not a real prince. You'll just have to find someone else to try to sucker. Perhaps someone on that list of 500 000 (five hundred thousand) email addresses is dumb enough for you to manage to scam.


The only thing you're good for me is to ridicule.

In an ideal world we could see to it that you'd meet the end you deserve.

If only a certain movie wasn't fiction.

We could introduce you to an old trail boss named Curly.

And let him use you for knife throwing practice.