Bring him to justice – followup

George Flowers, also known as Mr Flowas, has served his time and is now free and still in Canada. It is believed he is somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, but I’m unable to confirm this.

Ladies, please be safe.

Cat.

Blame someone else

in April a woman was pushed onto the tracks at the Yonge/Bloor subway station in Toronto. She was able to get herself off the tracks before a train entered the station but suffered several injuries including a broken rib. The person who pushed her has been charged with attempted murder.

From a Vice News article of today’s date: “… (she) is also suing the TTC for $1 million because she says the agency didn’t do enough to prevent and respond to the incident.

Her statement of claim lists several alleged TTC failures, including the failure to implement adequate safety measures, respond to the emergency promptly, stop the subway train from driving onto the platform, and give emergency services access to the tracks to save her.”

Her claim is that it took about 30 minutes for the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) to move the train to give emergency personnel room to rescue her.

I use the subway system frequently and am familiar with the Yonge/Bloor station. This is a two-level station, being a transfer point between the north/south Yonge line and the east/west Bloor line. From the fact the article states Yonge/Bloor as opposed to Bloor/Yonge, it appears this lady was on the Bloor or east/west line. That station has a central platform with trains arriving on either side depending upon direction of travel. The platform is quite wide for this is a very busy station. Along the edge of the platform – and this is true for all stations on the system – is a yellow strip about 12 inches or so wide with raised bumps on the surface, a “rumble strip” for pedestrians kind of thing. It is common for people to stand at the inner edge of this strip while waiting for the train. For the record, I usually stand well back, against a wall if I can.

‘“… adequate safety measures”’, which she claimed were lacking. I know that some subway systems, Tokyo comes to mind, have a wall along the edge of the platform with sliding doors in this wall. The idea is the train stops in a certain spot and activating the car doors also activates the doors in the wall. I’m obviously not privy to discussions within the TTC’s boardroom so can’t say whether they have examined such a possibility for Toronto, but I believe that at one time they did consider it and dismissed it because of the cost involved.

Another of her claims was “…stop the subway train from driving onto the platform,” I feel that last part is reaching. A subway train isn’t a Honda Civic. You just can’t stop it that quickly. The subway platforms are 500 feet long and the trains only slightly shorter than that. I have my doubts that a train, moving at speed is going to be able to stop within its own length.

It is the defence filed by the TTC that really has me worked up. Again from the Vice article:

‘In its statement of defence, the TTC maintains that the woman is herself responsible, at least in part, in addition to the assailant.

According to the TTC’s statement, the woman “failed to take reasonable steps and precautions for her own safety and protection.” The statement says “she chose to stand close to the edge of the platform,” “failed to pay due care and attention to her surroundings,” and “was travelling alone and unassisted on public transit when she knew or ought to have known that it was unsafe for her to do so.”

Her lawyer disputed the claims.

“There is video evidence she wasn’t standing that close to the tracks,” the lawyer said, adding, “How can you claim to be doing everything you can safety-wise and then in the same breath say she wasn’t taking proper precautions—and proper precautions would have been travelling with somebody?”’

In response to that last part, the lawyer also said ‘ “If she was a child that’d be a more viable argument but she’s not. She’s a grown woman,”.

So, according to the lawyer for the TTC this woman, who was in her twenties, should have had a minder. This makes no sense at all. Perhaps the 45 year old woman who pushed her should have had a minder. And what does that “she shouldn’t have been alone” statement mean for me? I don’t live in Toronto but make frequent trips to the city on transit and use that station often. I’m three times the age of this woman who was pushed. Does the TTC’s logic mean that I should also have a companion when travelling on the subway? Or should I avoid the subway all together?

The TTC’s actions here of blaming the victim for her misfortune reminded me of something that happened years ago when I worked for an automotive importer. At one point the Montreal parts depot sent a shipment of parts to a dealer located, I believe somewhere on the Gaspe Peninsula, by common carrier. Also on this truck was a shipment of tobacco products. The truck was hijacked mainly for the smokes and the auto parts were a nice bonus. Naturally we filed claim against the carrier for the loss of our goods. This time their lawyer didn’t blame us for the hijacking, or blame the company responsible for the tobacco. Oh no. Their lawyer claimed the hijacking was “an act of God”. The letter had been written in French. Once it was translated and returned to me (I’ve forgotten most of the French I learned in school) I showed it to my boss and said to him “I don’t know if we should consult a lawyer or a priest”.

I know lawyers have to defend their clients in cases like these, but there are times their defence arguments give the term “grasping at straws” a whole other meaning.

Cat.

Here’s the link to the Vice article:
https://www.vice.com/en/article/k7be5a/toronto-woman-pushed-onto-ttc-subway?utm_medium=social+&utm_source=VICEWorldNews_Facebook

Invisible

I am among the forgotten. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those “poor me” rants.

On June 2, Ontario is holding a provincial election, which naturally means the leaders of the four parties presently represented in the legislature are making all kinds of promises. Those four parties are the Progressive Conservatives, the current ruling party; the New Democratic Party, the official opposition; the Liberal Party (third party status) and the Green Party, who have one representative, Mike Schreiner who is the leader of the party.

I am a senior, living on my own. I have heard nothing from any of these four parties that will significantly affect my life.

The Conservatives have been talking mainly of highways. One such project, which has been approved, is for a bypass north of Toronto. One already exists, but it’s a toll road and not that well used, so the Conservatives want to build another one. In other words, a bypass for the bypass. The problems with that are that not many of the communities along the projected route want the damn thing. And this proposed route will destroy some of the best agricultural land in southern Ontario. Holland Marsh provides much of the produce we have available in supermarkets in and around Toronto and this proposed route, Highway 413, will apparently run through this area. As the leader, Doug Ford, keeps harping on how this will save commuters 30 minutes a day, I haven’t heard much more of the party platform. Fine, but I don’t drive and I don’t live anywhere close to the proposed route. And I’d much rather have access to a greater selection of produce.

Based on news reports, this Highway 413 project sounds like a vanity project for the Premier. It starts west of Toronto, but rather than span the entire width of Toronto, it stops about two-thirds of the way. That will funnel traffic onto the already crowded north/south Highway 404, which in turn leads to possible the busiest highway in the country, Highway 401. So other than Doug for getting to say “I built this road”, it doesn’t really do much. That fifteen minutes saved each way will rapidly dissolve when drivers get to the existing packed roadways.

The New Democratic Party, led by Andrea Horwath, is talking about making long term care homes non-profit. She also wants to hire more nurses, which the province could certainly use. News reports state that long term care homes are terribly understaffed, so that is a good proposal. The only thing she’s said that has any appeal for me is the proposal to start a provincial dental care programme. This would be similar to the current health plan, but would be a temporary measure as the feds are apparently starting one in about two years.

Steven Del Duca and the Liberal Party are also making promises but … Both he and Andrea Horwath would cancel the Conservatives Highway 413, which is good. Del Duca said, in one of his campaign speeches he would reduce transit fares on all transit systems in the province to $1 a ride. The additional deficits to the various transit authorities would be offset by using funds from the cancelled 413. (Keep this in mind – that money is discussed again later). The catch to his dollar a ride is that it’s only for three months. He has also taken aim at the education system and promises to hire more teachers and give additional funding to school boards. Guess where the funding for this will come from? That’s right, the cancelled 413.

The Green Party have been talking about the environment – naturally – and creating affordable housing. While the environment is of concern, at my age, I’m not buying a house.

In all the campaign rhetoric and from what I can find on the websites for the four parties, I can find nothing that will have an impact on my life. Well, other than the dental proposal. The transit proposal would have a minor effect as I rarely use transit. As for the rest, well, I don’t drive so the highway proposals – yes there was more than one – are meaningless to me and I don’t live anywhere close to where these projects are planned. I live on my own so while I care whether or not residents of long term care homes receive proper care, there is no direct impact on my life.

So it appears that I and many others in my situation have been forgotten by the politicians of this province. We are in essence invisible.

Cat.

Whose freedom?

For the past three weeks I’ve seen news footage of the protests in Ottawa and elsewhere in Canada. These protests originally began against the federal government’s vaccination mandates for truckers who cross the border, but seem to have been hijacked by other causes.

Yesterday the Ottawa Police, aided by members from other forces across Canada, began disbanding the protest in front of Parliament Hill. The late news reported over 100 arrests and over 20 vehicles towed. In the news footage, some people can be seen and heard shouting “freedom!” as the police are leading them away.

My question is this: Whose freedom are you talking about here?

Nobody is denying you the choice not to get innoculated against COVID or wear a mask. That is a personal decision. But making that choice does not free you from consequences resulting from that. Other people have the freedom to deny you entry to their establishments. Governments have the freedom to deny you entry to the country if you fail to meet their health and safety requirements. Companies may have policies in place that state “you must be vaccinated to work here”.

Or is it your contention that your freedom is more important than the freedom of others? Do you mean you want to be free of any and all consequences of your actions?

Doesn’t work like that. Just because you’ve done something many people consider stupid doesn’t mean others have to abide by your decision. That especially applies when your actions can or may directly affect others. One of the common comparisons I’ve seen used is the combination of alcohol and operation of a motor vehicle. We all know (or should by now) that driving under the influence can result in a collision that would affect the lives of others. Under your definition of “freedom”, does that mean you should be able to drive drunk anytime you want and if anybody objects, well, too bad for them it’s my decision? Or is that different? And if so, explain to me why and how that is different?

As I wrote, you are free to decide not to get vaccinated. But others are also free not to associate with you.

Cat.

Get the damn shot

DATE: Dec 31

TITLE: Get the damn shot

You say you don’t want the COVID shots because you don’t know what’s in them.

Look at it this way: when you were young your parents had you vaccinated against various things such as measles and smallpox. Neither you nor they knew what was in them. I remember lining up in school to get a Salk polio vaccine. I doubt strongly whether my parents of teachers knew what was in that needle. They just knew it would cure polio. If you were in the military there were various odd things jabbed into your arms and you had no idea exactly what the hell was being injected into you. Therefore your “I don’t know what’s in the COVID shot” doesn’t hold water. You’ve had mystery substances put into you since you were a child and you’re still here.

Let’s look at what you’ve heard is in the serum: microchips. Each vial contains about five adult shots so the chances of you getting the shot with the chip are one in five. In order to ensue that every dose would contain a chip there would need to be enough chips in the vial to be visible to the naked eye. And since every vial I’ve seen, either in person or on the news, is clear I doubt there are microchips in the serum. I also doubt you’re important enough to be tracked.

If you’re throwing up these smokescreens then you are afraid to admit you’re scared of needles or you’ve been misled by scaremongers.

This pandemic is real and COVID 19 is killing people. Get the damn shot.

Cat.

Thanks to my son for the comments on the microchips.

Not your decision

DATE: Nov 11

TITLE: Not your decision

Yesterday was beautiful in southern Ontario – sunny, 13 degrees (about 55F) – so I decided to get the cameras out and get some final photos of the fall colours. One of my favourite spots is a pedestrian bridge over a creek near my home. This bridge approximates the route of the original highway, so the original abutments are still there and, as with most man-made surfaces in an urban area, have been used by graffiti artists. One in particular caught my eye, so with some careful gymnastics, I took this photo.

I was hanging off the side of the bridge trying not to drop my cameras into the creek which accounts for the angle. If you’re having trouble reading it, it says “We don’t want your kids to be trans”. First of all, who exactly are the anonymous “we”? And why in hell is my kid’s status any of their concern?

Should any of my children or grandchildren be trans, how exactly will that impact the life of the person who painted this comment? Oh, I know some people are offended by trans people for no reason other than someone being trans doesn’t fit with their view of the world and “the way things should be”. Well, tough!

The gender identity or sexual orientation of someone isn’t the decision of anyone other than the person involved. As a parent of course I’d like to have a discussion about the choice with the child involved, but in the end, it’s still the child’s decision and I would support that decision. It isn’t and never will be, the decision of some anonymous graffiti artist.

I have lived in this area for a little over seventeen years and there have been very few incidents of anti-trans actions. I’ve been called names from a distance and never to my face, but nothing more. The only other indication of anything related to trans I can recall was this: one day I noticed that someone had taken a broad-tipped felt marker and printed the words “I wish I was a girl” on the back of a bus stop. Other than that, it has been a quiet and picturesque little village.

According to an article I read on the CBC News website this past weekend, there has been a significant increase in transphobic activity in Canada in the past couple of years. The article mentions that this seems to be seepage (my word) from similar activities taking place in the UK and US over the past few years. At face value, this sign would appear to be a clue it has struck my quiet little corner of Ontario.

So to the unknown paint can artist, that is none of your business and not your decision.

Cat.

I think not

I got the following email this morning:

Payment Confirmation

Order Invoice <smithfre9642@

09:28 (3 hours ago)

to ewanherbalmagic, bcc: me

Thank You For Your Recent Purchase With iCloud by Apple Inc
This is an auto-generated confirmation email for the purchase that you have done.
You will receive another email with the invoice shortly.
This charge may appear in your account in the next 24 hours of purchase.
If you want to cancel or modify your order, visit iTunes/apple. store or call at xxx-9348
Please find your order information below:
Order Number: FNJ DCC NM2M
Order Date: 23-Sep-2021
Order Name: 12 TB iCloud Space
Amount: USD 1499.99
Paid via iTunes
We hope you shop with us again soon.
Apple Inc.
Helpdesk : xxx-9348

There is so much wrong with this message.

First, it was sent from a gmail address. I somehow doubt Apple is using gmail. Next, notice that it wasn’t sent directly to me, but to someone else with a bcc to me. I suppose the hope is that I won’t notice that and no, I have no idea who “ewanherbalmagic” is.
This was sent to an email address that I set up for a specific purpose and isn’t one I use as a matter of course, so is not attached to my iTunes account.

Now that I’ve disposed of the obvious errors, let’s look at the rest: According to the message I purchased 12 Terrabytes of iCloud storage at a price of $1,499.99 USD. That price is the equivalent today, September 23, 2021, of $1,889.99 CAD but there is no guarantee Apple would process it today, so that Canadian amount could be different from my calculation. And, I have a 1 Tb drive that still has 884 Gb free, so such a purchase would have been completely frivolous as well as far too expensive.

My feeling is that they expect you to have questions/suspicions about this message and you will either call them or use the email provided. I’ll save you the trouble and tell you that the address provided is not the way the real iTunes site shows up in your browser. This is a scam or phishing so, if you get such an email, I suggest you just delete it.

Cat.

Not this year

Today is June 29. On this date I usually change my profile picture on Facebook to a Canadian flag, or a photo of a maple leaf and leave it up until July 5 because that brackets both Canada Day, July 1 and Independence Day in the US, July 4. But not this year.

I’m still a proud Canadian, but this doesn’t seem like the year to celebrate this country. Here are three numbers to help explain why: 215 – 104 – 751. If you’re among my followers and readers from other countries you might not grasp the meaning of these numbers, but if you’re Canadian, I’m quite certain you understand at least the first and last of these.

For those who for various reasons – COVID 19 takes up much of most newscasts – aren’t aware, those three sets of numbers represent the numbers of unmarked graves recently located by various means, including ground penetrating radar, at the sites of now defunct residential schools.

215, Kamloops B C at a school run by the Roman Catholic Church.

104, southwestern Manitoba. None of the news articles I can locate mention which church ran this school. This didn’t seem to receive the same amount of national coverage as the other two.

751, southeastern Saskatchewan at a school run by the Roman Catholic Church.

Following is an abridged definition and history of the residential school system from The Canadian Encyclopaedia:

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in New France, the term usually refers to schools established after 1880. Residential schools were created by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to assimilate them into Canadian society. However, the schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples.

… residential schools became part of government and church policy from the 1830s on, with the creation of Anglican, Methodist, and Roman Catholic institutions in Upper Canada (Ontario). The oldest continually operating residential school in Canada was the Mohawk Institute in what is now Brantford, Ontario. This began as a day school for Six Nations boys, but in 1831 it started to accept boarding students.

Survivors of these schools speak of harsh conditions: forbidden to speak their native languages upon threat of punishment; the boys forcibly having their hair cut, and physical and sexual abuse. A survivor from the Kamloops school, in an interview, said that if a child suddenly vanished overnight, it was assumed they had simply run away, and the schools would encourage that assumption. The overall aim of these schools, in the words of one survivor interviewed, was “to take the Indian out of the child”.

The Roman Catholic order than ran the Kamloops school has announced they will provide whatever documentation they still have to aid in the identification of these 215 poor unfortunate children. I’ve not read or heard of any such offers regarding the Manitoba and Saskatchewan sites. Both the Ontario and federal government have announced they will make funds available to help in the search for unmarked graves and identification of the remains.

I realize that now, in 2021,society’s attitudes have changed greatly since these schools were introduced, but I can think of nothing at any time in history, not just the history of Canada but the history of the world, to justify such treatment of children.

I can’t say if the news of these discoveries in Canada had any bearing on it, but Deb Haaland, the American Secretary of the Interior this past week announced an investigation into the American version of residential schools. I’d like to be optimistic, but I fear that investigation will reveal similar events in the US.

As a result of these sad and tragic announcements, many cities and towns are cancelling their planned Canada Day celebrations. They too find it hard to celebrate this nation’s birthday.

We as a nation have failed these children and I personally don’t think we have anything to celebrate this year. Maybe next year.

Cat.

They are persistent

I checked an email account for the first time since late last week. In it I found the following two emails:

Geek-Squ Renewal (actual address: adammuche1959@)
May 29,2021

Dear Customer,
Thank you for subscribing Defender Firewall Protection From us .
Today the Service Will Renewed Automatically with $349.89 on the same account provided to us.
Order ID: DFP1476608 Date: 29-05-2021

Description Amount

Geek Protection $349.89

(Inclusive Tax)

Total $ 349.89

Note :- Charges will appear on your statement after 8 hours once debited.
If you want to cancel the charges for $349.89 Auto Renew This time.
Get in touch with us :- +1 (800) (674)

Thanks Regards,
Account Dept.
Defender Firewall Protection
+1 (800) (674) Geek Squad (actual address: felixdolphin060@)
May 31. 2021

We Are Renewing It For You

Dear Customer,
Thank you for choosing Geek Squad Pc Support with us.
Today Subscription Will Be Auto Renewed automatically
with $ 399.99 on the same account provided to us.

Customer Support- +1(800) 274
Order #16589GS-59856
Details are giving below –
Account Type:- Personal Home Subscription
Product :- Geek Squad PC Protection
Quantity :- 1
Tenure :- 3 Years
Payment Mode:- Auto Debit
Renewal Amount – $ 399.99

This Email Confirms That You’ve Renewed Your 1 Year Subscription To Geek Squad For $ 399.99 On May 31 2021

To Cancel The Subscription You Can reach Us at +1(800) 274
Regards
Geek Squad Team
Contact +1(800) 274

To keep myself out of trouble with WordPress (again) I’ve left off part of both the actual email addresses and the phone numbers.
I believe Geek Squad is the tech support team at Best Buy, which presents the scammers with their first problem. The last thing I bought from Best Buy was about 3 years ago, and that was a copy of TurboTax. I paid $20 cash for it, so there is no reason I’d have signed up for tech support. If I can’t put a disk in the drive and follow instructions, I shouldn’t be allowed near a computer. And since I paid cash, there is no record of either a debit or credit card number.

These emails came from different addresses, both gmail and both phone numbers are different. Note also the amounts differ. The first is for $349.89 tax included and the second for 399.99 with no mention of taxes. If the scammers are working together, and I find it hard to believe two separate people came up with the idea of a Geek Squad scam at the same time, you’d think they’d at least stick with the same price. Also notice the awkward sentence structure.

One other possibility just came to mind. Somewhere in western Canada is a woman who seems unable to remember her email address and frequently gives out mine in error. I say “in error” because I’ve received family newsletters and vacation plans from her friends. I’ve also received emails regarding orders from legitimate businesses in western Canada. I know because I’ve phoned a couple of these firms upon receipt of their messages.

If you have bought goods from Best Buy and signed up for support, if you get one of these emails, check with Best Buy then delete the message.

Summer is almost here. Stay safe, wear a mask when and where required and remember to give an artist a socially distant hug – we need love too.

Cat.

Thoughts from isolation

1 – I don’t know about you, but to me it seems the pandemic and resulting restrictions and social distancing measures have changed the way I shop. For years economists and others have been talking about moving to a cashless society. It seems COVID may be hastening that eventuality. Other than for cab fare, I can’t recall the last time I used anything other than credit or debit cars to pay for anything.

2 – I’m upset with one of the cable channels I get – AMC. Last year they ran a series called “A Discovery of Witches”, which really captured my interest. About a month ago, they showed the complete first season. This was good as I’d somehow missed a couple of episodes. Among the various commercials were some advertising season two and those are the reason for my upset. Season two will be shown on their streaming service, not the regular cable channel. For some reason I am unable to access American streaming services (I’ve tried several times.) This show is set in modern times and involves witches, vampires and others of the fae realm. (Random thought: I find it somewhat ironic that this centuries old vampire drives a Tesla.) Brief synopsis: young woman discovers she’s a powerful witch and gets involved with the above mentioned vampire. Other discover her power and try to capture her for various nefarious purposes. In the final episode of season one, she and the vampire escape through time – she has the ability to do what the show calls “time walking” – to 1590. But since it’s on the streaming service, I’ll never know how and when they return to today. Oh well, perhaps it’ll turn up as a box set on Amazon one of these days.

3 – When I drove taxi, I kept a crossword book with me to pass the time between calls. It was a way to stave off boredom. After a year of COVID isolation I’ve started solving them again because yelling at the television isn’t working any longer. It has been several years since I bought a crossword book and well, I still see the same clues recurring.

The creators of these things still use “Hilo honker”, or “goose that frequents crosswords” when after “NENE”. And they all seem to think the only native tribe in Canada is “CREE”. These are but two examples of clues and responses I recall from my cab days fifteen years ago. They are also fond of using proper names – Esai Morales in various forms is a common choice, as is Ava Gardner. Just once I’d like to see a puzzle that doesn’t involve proper names at all.

Every so often someone will come up with something that is so wrong it infuriates me, such as this one. The clue was “Renee Zellweger faked this for ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’”. The logical answer would be “ENGLISH ACCENT”, but that would be incorrect. For reasons known only to themselves, the creator decided the correct response was “ENGLISH ACCIDENT”! I’ve seen the movie and I have no idea where that came from.

Okay, I’ve ranted and must admit this feels better than screaming at the television. Stay safe and remember to give an artist a virtual hug – we need love (and social distancing) too.

Cat.