Bring him to justice – where are the words?

I’m upset with the media. For over six years I’ve been writing of the case against George Flowers, aka Mister Flowas. To recap, Flowers was wanted by the Toronto Police Service on several counts of aggravated sexual assault. He fled to Jamaica and was eventually extradited to Canada to face justice.

Other than a brief flurry of coverage when the initial Public Safety Alert was issued by the police and an interview with one of his victims, there has been nothing in the local media. The Jamaican media did publish a couple of articles related to his various and seemingly never-ending attempts to avoid being returned to Toronto. But from the Toronto media – silence. He was returned to Canada, as I wrote above and entered a plea of guilty when the case came to trial. Silence from the media for both his return and the guilty plea. His sentencing hearing has not yet taken place for various legal reasons, but I expect the same response from our media.

The tagline on this site is”a lone voice calling in the wilderness”. When I wrote those words I never envisioned the time would come when I would indeed become the sole voice talking about something this major. For over 20 years, George Flowers neglected to tell his sexual partners he was HIV positive, hence the charges of aggravated sexual assault. Since August of 2012 I have been urging his victims to come forward, but I’m only one small website. More and better coverage by the mainstream media would have reached far more people.

I’ve had messages of thanks, support and links to other news sites for these blogs from my readers, which have helped me carry on. I thank those people who took the time to write. To those who provided me with links to the Jamaican coverage, and the Court’s final ruling, I also offer my thanks. As for the Toronto media, as I said, I’m pissed.

Nice try, but wrong target

I found the following in my spam of an email I rarely use:

I am aware watson is your passphrases. Lets get right to the purpose. absolutely no one has paid me to check you. You don’t know me and you’re probably wondering why you are getting this e mail?

Well, i actually installed a malware on the X videos (porn material) web site and guess what, you visited this site to have fun (you know what i mean). When you were watching video clips, your web browser began working as a Remote control Desktop with a keylogger which gave me accessibility to your display screen as well as web camera. Right after that, my software program collected all your contacts from your Messenger, social networks, and e-mailaccount. Next i made a double video. First part displays the video you were watching (you have a good taste lmao), and second part shows the recording of your webcam, yea it is you.

You actually have just two possibilities. Shall we read each one of these choices in particulars:
Very first alternative is to neglect this message. in that case, i will send your very own video clip to almost all of your contacts and then just imagine about the humiliation you will definitely get. Moreover if you are in a committed relationship, just how it would affect?

Latter choice would be to give me USD 888. We are going to regard it as a donation. in this case, i most certainly will right away erase your videotape. You can carry on your way of life like this never happened and you are never going to hear back again from me.

You will make the payment through Bi tco in (if you don’t know this, search for ‘how to buy b itcoi n’ in Google).

B T C ad dre ss: (I removed the address to keep myself out of trouble with WordPress.)

if you are thinking of going to the law, okay, this e mail can not be traced back to me. I have taken care of my actions. i am just not attempting to ask you for money very much, i prefer to be paid. message if i do not receive the bi tco in , i will send out your video recording to all of your contacts including membe rs of your family, colleagues, and so forth. Nevertheless, if i do get paid, i will destroy the video immediately. If you really want proof, reply with Yea! then i will send out your video recording to your 7 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, so please do not waste mine time and yours by replying to this email message.

Where do I start? First, the “passphrases” is nowhere near to anything I use so right there I could tell this was nothing more than an attempt to extort money – $888 to be exact – from me. Next, the grammar and syntax is absolutely horrid. (I’m a writer so know how proper English should scan.) The typing itself shows no regard for the rules of writing and that the writer(?) uses a lower case letter “i” when referring to themselves indicates, to me at least, they have a low opinion of themselves. Also, the way this person has turned “bitcoin” into three words seems to show they have no idea what they’re talking about. The part that really tells me this is a scam … is which gave me accessibility to your display screen as well as web camera since I don’t have a webcam.

As for tracing it back, somehow this person made it appear as if the message had come from my own email address. I would not have to attempt to blackmail myself because – well, I already know I don’t have an extra 888 dollars. Don’t you think that’s a rather odd amount to ask for, by the way?

Finally, even if I were gullible enough to believe the sender has incriminating video of me I’d really have to be a fool to believe the (non-existent) video would be deleted.

If you get something like this even if you do visit those sites, don’t panic, just delete it.

Cat – and no, I don’t visit those sites.

Je suis Charlie

The horrific terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today was an attack on free speech everywhere. Why so? Can you honestly believe the vicious nature of this attack won’t make journalists everywhere consider what they write, or in the case of editorial cartoonists draw, before submitting it for publication?

Those of us who write blogs here on WordPress or other sites are usually anonymous unless we choose to reveal our identities. Some of us use that anonymity to take shots at various institutions that others may consider sacrostant. We rely on our avatars and screen names to keep us safe from retribution and use filters to prevent adverse or threatening comments from appearing following our offerings.

The journalists and artists at Charlie Hebdo didn’t have that privilege. When you publish a newspaper, of any type, your name appears on your copy. I understand from news reports that Charlie Hebdo made a habit of aggravating the Muslim community to the extent the office was firebombed in 2011. Today’s massacre seems to have been the culmination of that aggravation, especially considering the murderers were heard yelling (in French) “we have avenged the Prophet Mohammed” and, in Arabic, “Allahu akbar”.

Like it or not, or accept it or not, we bloggers are journalists reporting on the vagaries of life around us. Sometimes we talk about major events – in my case I had great fun ripping into the former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford and I have received much praise for my on-going series “Bring him to justice” – and sometimes it’s just the little things that irk us personally. But in any case, we are reporting on news for the benefit of others.

There have been many vigils around the world tonight in honour of the staff of Charlie Hebdo. Many people are holding up pens and signs reading “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). Take a few moments after you read this to honour the memory of these people, our fellow journalists, who paid the ultimate price for freedom of speech.


You never got beyond the picture

This morning I received a notification in my email that there was a message for me on MySpace.  You do remember MySpace don’t you?  The social network until they tried to fix what wasn’t broken and drove all the artists and writers to other sites; and before Justin Timberlake tried to turn it into a music site?  Yeah, that MySpace.  Actually the only reason I still have an account is that, despite having tried on at least three occasions, MySpace won’t let me delete it.  I tend to ignore it unless it is to delete friend requests and messages.

This was the message I was told of this morning:

Morris says

Hello ,
    How are you doing ? Hope all good ..
I am so sorry if i have intrude to your privacy ..
I am actually new on the  site ..
Just browsing through i saw your profile  ..I viewed and read through your profile already  ..
 I will love to know more about you , hope you don’t mind ..huh !!
Telling you little about me –
I am a father of a 5yrs old boy ( Luis ) … i consider myself caring , loving , honest , loyal , calm
and flexible in heart , with good heart and sense of humor ..this is just little about me ..okay ..
  I wait to read back from you ..alright ..and hope for a chat with you ..
You can live me your mail address or just write to mine..okay
Take care now and have a great day …

Doesn’t sound too bad until you read the following, which is in a section on my profile titled “about me”. Then you understand why I chose that particular title for this posting.

If you wish to contact me personally, I will only do so through the MySpace messaging facility. Please DO NOT ask for my personal e-mail address, IM address or telephone number, or give me yours, because I will delete your message. If I consider your message offensive, or especially dumb, I will write a blog about it and help you make yourself look foolish – and yes, I’ll include your MySpace profile name. If you present me with what is obviously a scam, not only will I post a blog about it, I will report it to MySpace and the appropriate authorities.

I added the bold to this excerpt.  Seems pretty straightforward doesn’t it?  Very easy to understand?  I thought so.  So why on earth would this man give me his email address?  The answer must be that he never got beyond the name and “interesting” profile photo.  One more thing.  Had he truly read my profile, he’d have noticed a little section headed “Details” wherein I mention that I’m a lesbian.

So Morris, everything I’ll willing to share is on my profile and oh yes, here’s the blog I said I’d write.  And just to make sure he reads it, I’ll respond to his message with a link to this.

To my followers and readers, enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and honesty) too.


It just isn’t in me

I’ve been told I’m a good, some say great, photographer.  I’ll agree with the “good”, but not the “great”.  No, this isn’t false modesty on my part.  Let me explain by telling of something that happened this past Saturday.

I was in the lobby of my building, waiting for a taxi, when one of my neighbours, a friend, came from the other building to go to her car.  This young lady is beautiful by any definition of the word and I have wanted to take her picture for years.  She doesn’t like having her photo taken, so I’ve not pursued the matter. I don’t know where she was going Saturday, but she was absolutely stunning, so much so that I was tempted to take her photo despite knowing her feelings.

I didn’t, but the reason wasn’t just to accede to her wishes, but because I don’t like candid photos.  I don’t like taking them and I definitely do not like having them taken of me.  It has been my experience that candid photos are rarely flattering. I don’t care if you look like Angelina Jolie, chances are a candid photograph is not going to flatter you.  Think about it.  When was the last time someone took a candid shot of you that you actually liked?  Honestly?  It was that long ago?

I’ll do portrait photography.  I’ll do nature photography, in fact I’ll admit a weakness for extreme closeups of flowers.  I’ve done boudoir photography – from both sides of the camera – and no, you can’t see them; in fact a friend and I have set up a company, C and C Exotic Photography for the boudoir photos (website coming soon).

But candid shots, or the kind of photos seen in newspapers, are just not the kind of work I’m willing to do.  As I wrote above, candids are rarely flattering, so why bother.  The subject probably won’t like it anyway.  As for news photos, well, those are usually scenes of someone suffering some disaster or loss and I just can’t see myself intruding into their problems by sticking a camera in their faces.  I don’t even like people in my scenic shots unless they are necessary for scale.

Maybe it’s the way I was raised.  I was born before the half-way point of the last century, at a time when people respected the privacy and personal space of others more than they seem to today.  I was taught to stay out of other people’s affairs and I consider both candid photos and news photos to be examples of meddling.  Perhaps only subtly and momentarily, but still I consider it meddling.

So, unless and until I can overcome this aversion to taking candid photos, I don’t think I can honestly consider myself a “great” photographer.  And since that willingness to intrude into others’ lives just isn’t in me, I’ll have to settle for “good”, which is fine by me. So if you see me near you with a camera, don’t worry, I won’t take your photo without permission.

Enjoy your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


Not very impressive

I have a Statutory Declaration that requires the services of a Commissioner of Oaths  before I can present it to the government of Ontario.  Not knowing where I might find one, I went onto Google and typed in my criteria “commissioner of oaths Ajax Ont” and clicked on “search”.

Among the results were two adverts for Red Seal Notaries.  The second one actually read “Red Seal Notaries – Commissioners of Oaths”.  Great.  The blurb said they had a local office, so “click”. Found the “locations” tab and that was when I decided that I wouldn’t be using Red Seal.  They showed four locations (actually 3 – one was a duplicate) in my area.  Unfortunately, the information left much to be desired.

The first was as far as it is possible to get from my home and still be in Ajax. And from what I can find from the bus schedules, if you’re using transit, you can’t get there from here.  There was no telephone number listed and only a street corner for an address.

The next two – the duplicates – were just as unhelpful. One showed “Pickering Village” for  a location, and the other “Kingston Road West”, again with no telephone number or street address. I live in Pickering Village and I’ve never seen anything resembling a sign advertising someone’s services as a Commissioner of Oaths.  And on the map for these two, someone, and this is probably the fault of Google maps, has Duffin’s Creek labelled as “Lake Ontario.”  Sorry, the lake is about two miles south of this location.

To my mind, the most blatant example of not checking for accuracy is the final location, which they have listed as “Old Kingston Road”.  In this case, they show the intersection as  “Kingston Road W and Brock Road, Ajax.  The real problem with that is that the intersection of Kingston and Brock, as shown on the map, is at least a mile inside the City of Pickering, not in the Town of Ajax.  And it is “Kingston Road”, not “Old Kingston Road” I live on OKR, and it is a relatively quiet side street.

When I look at the website I note a little box that says “call for an appointment” and an “888″ number.  I don’t think I’ll be calling.  If they can’t ensure their website is complete and accurate; if they aren’t willing to give potential clients sufficient information upon which to reach a decision, how can I be certain they are truly qualified to administer an oath swearing the information I’ve presented is correct?  Fortunately for me, the listings also showed that the Town of Ajax has on staff a Commissioner of Oaths.  And the Town gives its telephone number and address and  shows its prices as well. So Friday morning, I’ll be paying a visit to Town Hall.

Enjoy your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.