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.

The return of Joseph

With the pandemic seeming to monopolize the news I haven’t written anything yet this year. The frequent reporting of case count and death totals, internationally, nationally and locally has me to the point where I now watch one newscast a day. I am aware of the American election and the circus and insurrection that followed (and still goes on) but as someone who isn’t American, I saw no reason to comment.

My regular followers and readers may recall “Joseph”, whom I took to task on several occasions over his comments on some of my “Bring him to justice” postings. Well, he’s back with more inane comments and ad hominem attacks. This time, on a posting, “Bring him to justice – where are the words?” from April 2019 lamenting the lack of news coverage over the George Flowers incident, his comment was “100%”. What the hell does that mean? Does he agree there should have been more coverage, or is he indicating his pleasure with the lack of coverage?

The other two comments were ad hominem attacks that don’t bear repeating here. I will say that they both refer to the fact I’m a transwoman. In one, he obviously didn’t read the post correctly where I said the Court ordered Flowers to serve two years less a day in a federal facility, because he states that length of term is served in a provincial jail. Joseph, read my words again “The Court imposed a sentence of time served plus two years less a day in a federal penitentiary.” (Bold face added. C) The other comment made some weird reference to my chin.

Joseph, three things: first, as I’m sure you know, the word “tranny” is very offensive unless you’re referring to an automotive transmission. Second, I didn’t you know had some strange chin fetish. And finally, my being transgender didn’t seem to bother you when you accused me of just being bitter because Flowers rejected me. What changed?
Cat.

Miscellaneous musings

1 – I’ve come to the conclusions that people in my neighbourhood either can’t read, can’t count, or both. There is a small convenience store down the street from me. This is a long, narrow shop with limited space. On the front door, taking up most of the width of the glass, at eye level, is a sign that reads “2 people at one time only” in large red characters on a white background. As you may be aware, many levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, have imposed restrictions designed to slow or prevent the spread of COVID 19 and one of these is a restriction on the number of people allowed into an establishment at any one time. As I wrote above, this is a small store, so the maximum number of customers is set at two. I don’t know how many times, I’ve been in that store with one other customer and watched two or three more people walk in, completely ignoring the capacity sign they’ve been staring at. C’mon people, those restrictions are for your and my safety. Learn to read and count. It should be easy: one, two.

2 – Maybe I should change my surname to “Scrooge”, but doesn’t it seem to you that broadcasters started their Christmas programming earlier than usual this year? One radio station in Toronto began playing 24 hour Christmas music on November 2! And some of the cable stations I have access to (note “have access to” not watch”) have been showing Christmas themed movies since late November. By the time the actual holiday arrives, we won’t care because we’ll have been so inundated in the previous two months.

3 – I’ve been reading many comments over Jill Biden using “Doctor”. These comments are usually along the lines of “she isn’t a medical doctor, so she shouldn’t use the title.” Excuse me, but by that logic, a dentist shouldn’t be called “Doctor” either, but I’ll be you do use that title even though by the logic you’ve used against Dr Biden, the dentist wouldn’t be entitled to is. I have to disagree with this viewpoint. Any doctorate requires many years of study and great effort. Doctorates aren’t handed out the way presidential pardons seem to be recently. Anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort of earn a doctorate, in any field, deserves the right to use the honorific. I suspect the party affiliation of the people condemning her use of the title plays a part in their comments.

Stay safe,
Cat.

Bring him to justice – writer’s comments

I began writing the “Bring him to justice” series of blogs in 2012. Over the intervening years I have received many comments. Some have been encouragement to keep writing of that matter. Some have been thanks for bringing and keeping it before the public. Others have been questions regarding the state of the situation and still others provided me with links to Jamaican news coverage of his attempts to avoid extradition.

Then there are the others. I’ve read, and often approved, comments defending George Flowers or offering excuses for his actions. And in cases where the person offering the comment could neither defend nor excuse him, they chose instead to attack the writer.

On September 23, 2020 I published “Bring him to justice – justice served” outlining Flowers’s guilty plea and the resulting sentence. In that blog I said “And to supporters of him I’d like to point out that his guilty plea is an admission that he did in fact do what he was accused of doing. Spare me your bullshit excuses for his actions. You’ve wasted enough of my time already.” I guess those last two sentences worked for I’ve heard nothing from those who previously defended or excused him or launched personal attacks on me. And honestly I’m not surprised his so-called supporters were so quick to abandon him once he entered his plea. Something about rats and sinking ships comes to mind.

I can understand not hearing from those people who encouraged and supported me, for September 23, 2020 marked an end to one part of their ordeal. I sincerely hope the guilty plea and the imposed sentence gives you some relief.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – justice served

On September 9, 2020, George Flowers,aka Mr Flowas, entered a plea of guilty to three charges of aggravated sexual assault filed against him. The Court accepted that plea. This plea saves his victims the ordeal of having their carefully rebuilt lives torn apart again by his lawyers. Victim impact statements and sentencing followed on September 23, 2020. The Court imposed a sentence of time served plus two years less a day in a federal penitentiary. He also received three years probation and must register as a sex offender. There is to be no contact with any of his victims. Upon completion of his sentence ,a deportation hearing will be held. It is my fervent hope that upon completion of that hearing, representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada escort him to the nearest international airport and put him on the next plane to Jamaica.

In late June of 2020, the Toronto Police Service relayed a request from the Crown that I remove two postings that Flowers and his lawyer felt jeopardized their case. I followed that request. Now that this matter is settled, I can put those postings back up, so here they are along with comments that had been posted to those two blogs. Of everything I’ve written over the past eight years, these are the only two I’ve been asked to remove. I can understand the second one since it outlines, in less than five hundred words, everything that’s happened since the Toronto Police Service issued their Public Safety Alert in the summer of 2012, but the other one is a mystery.

DATE: May 8

TITLE: Bring him to justice – further update

I have been informed that George Flowers requested bail using the current coronavirus pandemic as his reason. His claim centred around the fact his current HIV status placed him at additional risk of contracting COVID 19 as long as he was in close contact with other prisoners.

Earlier in the social distancing/social isolation period we are currently enduring, the issue of community infection in jails and prisons was raised, so that he tried to use this isn’t too surprising.

The judge wasn’t sympathetic to his plea and denied his request. So Flowers will remain in custody pending the resumption of trials, currently estimated to be September 2020.

If you, or someone you know has been or is the victim of assault of any kind, please contact your local police. They can help you.

Cat.
Comment on Bring him to justice – further update
reggaeairways on May 9, 2020 at 2:31 am said:
Thanks for keeping us updated, Cat.
Poor lamb must be feeling all vulnerable and threatened by infection he knows he might be exposed to. Unlike his victims.
Not a jot of sympathy from me, I’m afraid…

jonnymacneal on May 11, 2020 at 5:50 am said:
Thank you for keeping us updated it is truly appreciated to people following the story in victims and their families and their friends stay safe and keep up the great work

And the second one:

DATE: June 8

TITLE: Why? Part of Bring him to justice

I have never responded well to demands, especially demands from strangers, and the older I get, the more obstinate in my refusal to act I become. Demands that come with no apparent reason attached really bring out my stubborn side.

Over the weekend I received such a demand referring to my April 18 post “Bring him to justice – on hold”. This post was simply to advise my followers and readers the Ontario court system wasn’t holding trials until the COVID 19 pandemic was over or at least better controlled. Nothing controversial, just updating the situation.

Here is the demand I received, from someone named Latoya: Leave him alone. No “please”, no “why don’t you just…”, just the three words. Why should I leave him alone? Maybe if you’d given me reasons I wouldn’t be writing this right now. And had you not been so terse in your message, I may have approved the comment.

“Him” is George Flowers, aka “Mister Flowas” and when he learned the Toronto Police Service wanted him for several counts of aggravated sexual assault, he fled the country for Jamaica. That was in 2012. Once apprehended at the request of Canadian officials, he spent five years, FIVE YEARS, fighting Canada’s extradition request through the Jamaican court system. Finally in June 2017, he was returned to Canadian custody.

Those charges stemmed from the fact that despite being HIV positive and knowing he was, he neglected to tell any of his partners he was positive. At the time of the offences failure to do so was illegal and the charges could have been attempted murder (and I still think that would have been the appropriate charge), but in the years between his actions and the charges, medical knowledge and the law both changed, so the best TPS could do was aggravated sexual assault.

I have been following and writing about this for all these years because I know several people he dated, some of whom have tested HIV positive themselves. Other than a brief flurry when Toronto Police Service first issued their Public Safety Alert, the media hasn’t covered this. There was some coverage in the Jamaican press during his fight to avoid being returned to Canada, but the main source for both his victims (and supporters) seems to be my postings.

“Leave him alone.” Had he followed the legal requirements to tell his partners of his status, they would have had the option to leave him alone or not. But he didn’t. The result of his inaction is that people had their lives destroyed and have had to carefully rebuild them, or start new lives. For some this has not been easy. Jobs have been lost; old friends have drifted away and all because he couldn’t say “I’m HIV positive”.

So no Latoya, I won’t leave him alone until he faces justice in a Canadian court.

Cat.

I have been writing this Bring him to justice series since 2012. I started for two main reasons – I know people he dated, some of whom have tested HIV positive, and the mainstream media wasn’t covering this. During my various writings, I broke down and cried several times while working on this series while trying to maintain a degree of detachment. That hasn’t always been easy as I know people he dated as I wrote above. When I have strayed from that detachment it has usually been in response to ad hominem attacks from his supporters.

To those who took the time to write thanking me for my efforts and encouraging me to continue, I appreciate your words. I may not have posted your comment, especially if I felt it may compromise you, but I did read it. To those who provided me with links to Jamaican news coverage of his attempts to fight extradition, and other information from Jamaica, thank you. You made my job easier.

And to supporters of him I’d like to point out that his guilty plea is an admission that he did in fact do what he was accused of doing. Spare me your bullshit excuses for his actions. You’ve wasted enough of my time already.

And lastly, I have spoken with one of his victims and her final message to him is:

FUCK YOU!

Cat.

 

Bring him to justice – on hold

Following is an excerpt from The St Catharines Standard of March 13, 2020:

Upcoming criminal and civil jury trials in Niagara and across Ontario have been suspended as a precaution to keep the public and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice announced.

In a statement issued late Thursday, Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz said anyone who has received a summons for jury duty for an upcoming trial does not need to attend court.

“The safety of all who use and rely upon the court is essential,” the statement reads. “Equally important is continued access to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice should COVID-19 disrupt court operations.”

Officials said small claims court cases have also been temporarily halted.

So it appears George Flowers will be staying in jail while the Province of Ontario finds a way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

If or when there is a change in this status, I’ll write more.

Cat.

 

 

 

Another phone scam

Today, within the span of five minutes, I received two phone calls – one on my cell, from the Ottawa area code – and one on my landline from a toll-free number.

Both calls had the same message – they had detected “fraudulent activity” involving my Social Insurance Number and threatening me with arrest and prosecution. Both calls are scams, designed to get you to give up personal information starting with your SIN number.

From the website for Employment and Social Services Canada, a government agency:

Jun 28, 2019 – The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. A SIN is issued to one person only and it cannot legally be used by anyone else. You are responsible for protecting your SIN.

The only time you would use this number is when dealing with federal government departments, or when you get a new job. Even then, the employer doesn’t need it until you are hired.

If you get one of these calls, know they are looking for your information, probably in order to set up false identities, which could leave you, the actual holder of the card, is serious debt or trouble. My suggestion is hang up, or if you’ve let an unknown number go to voicemail, delete it.

Cat.