Showing posts with label Leigh Lundin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leigh Lundin. Show all posts

19 September 2021

How to Speak American


This one’s for you, Anne!

When our Dutch colleague Anne van Doorn visited SleuthSayers, we discussed English competency in general, and American English in particular. Following is my own contribution, but I’ll mention Wikipedia contains a surprisingly good article on the topic.

Grammar

The primary thing that’s driven me mad is the concept of mass versus collective nouns and subject-verb agreement. For example:

  • US: “Tottenham FC is expected to win.”
  • UK: “Tottenham FC are expected to win.”

When I asked a British instructor to explain, all he imparted was, “You aren’t wrong.” If you figure this one out, let me know. (Wikipedia makes a decent stab of kinda, sorta explaining it.)

In parts of Britain, articles (a, an, the) seem to disappear. In Yorkshire you might hear a construct something like, “She dropped pudding on floor.” The tendency appears occasionally in phrases such as, “I took her to hospital,” where an American would say, “I took her to the hospital.”

For some reason, North Americans don’t have a similar problem with school: “I went to school today.” To be clear, that means attending classes, whereas, “I went to the school today,” more likely implies visiting the campus or schoolhouse. We might say, “I attended college,” but also confusingly say, “I attended the university.”

fanny covering (girl in shorts)
fanny
covering
fanny covering (girl in shorts)
also fanny
covering

In the US, bath is strictly a noun and bathe is the corresponding verb. In the UK, bath can be both. My ears still aren’t used to someone saying, “I’ll bath this evening,” (where it’s pronounced bawth). When I try to say it, I sound like a smartass. Er, smartarse.

Meaning

Thanks to internationalism, Americanisms have filtered into the UK and vice versa. However, a few words differ in meaning.

In North America, corn means a particular type of maize. The British use a broader sense of a cereal crop including oats, wheat, and barley.

North Americans tend to use the adjective ‘mad’ when they mean angry. The British limit the word to mean insane.

How do I put this delicately: Never, ever, pat an Englishwoman on the fanny. Bad enough in America, but just… don’t… do it. In the UK, it’s probably not what you think it is.

And…

We come to one of my least favorite (least favourite) words. Feel free to skip to the next topic. I wouldn’t go into this at all, except the English insist upon inserting some derivation of the word piss in every third paragraph– more often if they’re watching a football match in their local pub. North Americans lean toward two meanings, urinate and anger, but the British have come up with many, many more, confusing us poor Americans. These include:

Someone who’s ‘on the piss’ is engaging in a heavy drinking bout until they’re thoroughly ‘pissed’, i.e, drunk. ‘Taking a piss’ can refer to misleading someone, but ‘taking the piss out of’ someone is mocking them. A ‘piece of piss’ refers to something easy to do. A ‘pisser’ is someone or something funny. Telling someone to ‘piss off’ means leave immediately. ‘Piss about’ is to waste time and resources on something foolish. ‘Piss up’ means to ruin something, but plain ‘piss’ means something that tastes bad. Finally the English exploit the word’s versatility with ‘piss on’ implying great contempt and ‘piss in one’s pocket’ meaning virtually its opposite, to ingratiate oneself.

I’m convinced a writer could invent his or her own combination in the form of piss+preposition, and people on that side of the English Channel would intuit exactly what was meant. A wiser choice might be to avoid it altogether. Now excuse me whilst I bath.

French Influence

Despite time and distance, some French spellings and pronunciations have survived in the US. When I was a child, my mother pronounced pot-pourri the French way, ‘POH-puhREE’, but thanks to dumbing down by television and radio, the pronunciation is shifting to ‘pot-porry’. Ugh.

We still pronounce filet mignon as ‘FEElay MIN-yon’ whereas the British say fillet (‘fill-it’) steak. We retain other words the French either seldom use (derrière, double entendre) or the meaning has altered (brassiere). In some cases, North Americans have retained French spelling, such as valor versus valour.

maths symbols

baseball, soccer ball, basketball, football

tyre by the kerb, tire by the curb

Canadians still use serviette but Americans seem to be losing this elegant and useful word in favor (favour) of table napkin.

Spelling

Math in the US, maths in the UK. Sports in the US, sport in the UK. Consistent, right? And of course US soccer = UK football.

British contrast certain nouns ending in -ce with their corresponding verb forms ending in -se. For example: licence/license, practice/practise. Americans (but less so Canadians) often narrow the spelling of noun and verb to -ce endings. Outside US borders, my memory aid associates the ‘c’ ending with ‘concrete noun’.

Then we have variant spellings: kerb/curb, tyre/tire, gaol/jail. If I could get away with it, I’d use kerb and tyre, being unambiguous with their homonyms. We see a precedent in the word clew that retains its spelling for maritime use, but evolved to clue in the crime and mystery world.

A few authors have proposed we Americans adopt British spellings regarding two ‘writerly’ words. One is cosy (instead of cozy), which one SleuthSayer or another uses. The other is storey (instead of story) when referring to the floor of a building. For example, “She was reading a cosy on her second storey balcony.” Your choice.

Finally, the dot at the end of a sentence… the British refer to it as fullstop whereas Americans usually call it a period. That’s a clue to wrap up.

Good luck, Anne!

05 September 2021

7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle


7½ (7.5)

weeks ago, Rob wrote about Stuart Turton’s 2018 novel, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. He mentioned the ‘½’ had been added to the North American edition and I agree it’s an improvement on the original title. And, speaking of titles, one might notice this one could have more than one meaning.

Rob’s article prompted me to order the book. After finishing, I faced the problem of how to write about it without giving too much away. Don’t worry– Rob has done an excellent job of just that, so I refer you to his review without repeating it here.

When I think of experimental novels, Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow or the ‘constrained writing’ of L’Oulipo comes to mind. In a very real way, Turton’s non-linear book is as experimental as they come.

Consider the overarching premise, being careful to distinguish premise from plot. I emphasize overarching for a reason. The novel’s premise is as solid as quarried stone, precisely congruent with the property line of the set, but a larger concept remains hidden, nebulous at best.

Imagine walking outside your house in a dense fog. You can see a few feet before you and perhaps distinguish the sidewalk, but anything beyond that– if there is anything– curls away into nothingness. is like a Twilight Zone island– we sense something came before and, unless the author releases a prequel or sequel, we don’t have a clue what might come after.

The murder mystery isn’t difficult to solve. Whoops, I should specify the first homicide, because passes out of the cosy realm in the early chapters. Solving the first murder opens a Pandora’s box of murders that stack up like cordwood.

Stuart Turton must have created one hell of a Gantt chart to track the timelines. Rob said he’d give a shiny new dime for a peek at his templates.

As it turns out, Turton didn’t employ a Gantt chart at all, but said he used an Excel spreadsheet. He said fitting in a missing piece bejiggered the entire thing apart, requiring him to rebuild many parts from scratch. (Hint to writers: computerized Gantt charts can adjust to changes automatically.)

7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The inside covers display a chart in the nautical sense, a map of the estate, which I referred to many times. I’m willing to bet the author worked from a detailed floor plan of the house, but editors refused to include it. “Now Stu, nobody looks at those mappy things.”

Hey! I do! And I appreciate the cast of characters as well. Why is it English novels still include maps and dramatis personae, while North American publishers have done away with them? Bless you, Lindsey Davis, bless you.

Besides a twisty mind, the author brings two gifts to the table. For such an intricately plotted story, he manages to make us care about characters, some nice, some not, some nasty, and several disappointing. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes is taken literally in Hardcastle.

Turton isn’t merely a good wordsmith, he’s a terrific phrasesmith, able to pop visual metaphors off the page. Yes, it slowed my reading as I savored them, appreciating the artist in him.

That made it jarring when I came across an occasional error, gremlins that apparently escaped a battalion of British editors and an American editor. Examples: nauseous⇐nauseated, there’s⇐there’re, and flounder⇐founder. Small stuff, but c’mon, editors!

My recommendation is almost as unusual as the plot. If you don’t understand all this ADD Detective nonsense, by all means do not read this book. You may think the manuscript fell scattered on the floor and a panicked copyeditor slapped the chapters back in the box out of order so it now plays like a Stravinsky symphony attacked by the Kronos Quartet.

But if you might enjoy a surreal, slightly psychedelic Edwardian journey, grab a copy. You now have two SleuthSayers recommending it.

22 August 2021

Certifiable – Arizona Elections Corrections 202


Previous   PREV Arizona ‘fraudit’ Conspiracy Theories         

Arizona election fraudit recount, Doug Ducey, Mark Brnovich, Karen Fann, Wendy Rogers, Kelli Ward, Katie Hobbs, Amy B. Chan, Stephen Richer, Jack Sellers, Clint Hickman, Allister Adel, Benny White, Ken Bennett, Randy Pullen, Doug Logan, Ben Cotton, Bryan Blehm, Larry Moore, Tim Halvorsen, Christina Bobb
convenient list of political players

Hello once again from Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. This is Blanca Mujer, OAN reporter. It’s exciting end times amid threats to arrest RINOs of the Maricopa Election Board as we wait breathlessly for Cyber Nunchucks to release their report that the fraud conspiracy was so huge, people couldn’t see it because of its sheer size.

Liberal Republican judges have forced the audit to reveal its secret funding. So yes, I blushingly admit your One-America Network has pumped more than $600 000 into this beautiful experiment to overturn the election. You too can continue to donate as we near $6-million given to that darling one- or two-man company, Cyber Ninjas to ensure the answer we want.

A shout-out today to my mother. Mom, you said I’d never amount to anything as a journalist, so look where I am now! OAN! Bet you’re sorry now!

This has been Blanca Mujer, OAN News.

When Dem Cotton Balls Get Rotten

In May, the so-called auditors raised a very public stink that files had been deleted (an accusation repeatedly mentioned in fund-raising rallies). This was put forth by Ben Cotton, another fraud theorist, a subcontractor with precious little election experience, when the grown-ups went out to lunch.

The County Recorder famously said about the files, “I’m looking at them now.” Maricopa election officials gently suggested they look in the folder labelled something like Election 2020, where the ‘missing’ SQL files magically appeared. The recorder may also have suggested they hire an average 13-year-old to help with their computers.

As Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella might say, “Never mind.” Stung by the Maricopa Recorder’s suggestion of ineptitude, Ben Cotton insisted he had to ‘recover’ the data, letting implications of erased files remain in the public’s mind.

But wait, there’s more. From the US Department of Justice, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan sent a letter to the Arizona Senate expressing concerns about (a) the door-to-door interrogations and voter intimidation and (b) serious breaks in the chain of custody and security of ballots, which should always remain in the control of election managers. At the time, a defiant Senate President Karen Fann told Federal Election officials to ƒ off, Arizona would do things her way.

Cabin Fervor

Ignoring local and federal concerns, subcontractor Ben Cotton disappeared out of state while ‘trucking’ election material to a ‘secret lab’ 18 hours and 1300 miles (2100km) distant from Phoenix. The involvement of a truck suggests something seriously large and heavy was removed far from the jurisdiction of auditors, the Arizona legislature, and law enforcement.

Bizarrely, outside of Salon and an Anderson Cooper 360 clip, this has received little press. No one supposedly in charge in Arizona seems certain of what, where, when, and why. Audit Director Ken Bennett and Cyber Ninja Doug Logan vaguely ‘thought’ unspecified election items were taken to a CyTech ‘secure laboratory’ in Montana. If any of this is true, it strongly suggests Arizona has lost the last remnant of control of the situation.

Being the curious sort in a criminally curious blog, I dug into the secret lab location, coming up with a cabin– a very fancy cabin to be sure– in the middle of the woods in Montana. If by chance I’m right, this is what it looks like:

Definitely legit. Notice the high tech secret lab equipment, the scientific secret laboratory ion proteolyser barbecue grills, the secret laboratory grade vertabrazier lounge recliners on the secret lab veranda, and the NASA-approved secret laboratory Adirondack chairs. Yep, looks like a hi-tech lab should look.

Minutes Instead of Months

Meanwhile, back in Pima County, a gentleman named Benny White ran for Pima County Recorder on the Republican ticket and unfortunately lost. His loss became our gain.

Curious about the statistics of his race, he accessed the public records database (like the one the ‘auditors’ claimed was deleted) for analysis. Once he had the statistics in hand, he realized he could extrapolate the larger federal election.

Clear Ballot logo

He reached out to a pair of retired federally certified election auditors, Tim Halvorsen and Larry Moore. Their federally credentialed firm, Clear Ballot, had bid to handle the Arizona re-audit. Unlike Cyber Ninja’s juvenile web site, Clear Ballot laid out their experience, summarizing with the lede, ‘Clear Ballot Completes Successful, Transparent Elections Nationwide’. Um, transparent… successful… complete… Not what Arizona was looking for.

Halvorsen and Moore said their firm could do in minutes what Cyber Ninjas and CyFIR were taking months to complete. They offered a challenge: Give them any still sealed box of ballots, and within five minutes they could tell exactly what was in it.

White, Moore, and Halvorsen determined 60,000 Republicans in Maricopa County and 15,000 in Pima County did not vote for the presidential incumbent. These are the ballots Cyber Ninjas and CyTech have desperately perused with ultraviolet lamps, alternate angle lighting, DNA analysis, ink/toner inspection, and psychic readings, hoping to prove the votes fraudulent or at least too suspicious to use.

Mr White shared Moore and Halvorsen’s conclusions with Senate audit director and liaison, former Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett. Bennett confirmed the Maricopa audit results were nearly identical to Clear Ballot’s, both significantly different from Cyber Ninjas.

Sharing professional opinions enraged Ninja’s Doug Logan who called it ‘sharing data’ (albeit public data), and demanded the Senate remove Bennett. Logan later said Fann made the decision to terminate him on her own. Thus we saw Bennett fired and then unfired, quit and then unquit, and after considerable gnashing of teeth, reinstated to oversee what little can be seen.

Maricopa isolated election schema
Maricopa isolated election schema

Stripping in Public

Among the plethora of ‘R’s in the list of involved political personnel, you’ll notice a single ‘D’, Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Secretary of State. The Arizona legislature has moved to strip her of powers and limit her access to legal advice and finances, so that the audit may speak with one voice. You know, one party, one voice, like fascist and communist countries. Those powers of the Secretary of State will be turned over to Attorney General Mark Brnovich who has lobbied hard against Hobbs and has himself been accused of improprieties.

Brnovich, who’s a few vowels shy of a pronounceable name, should have questioned the legitimacy of a secretive, partisan, opaque Roman spectacle to set aside the careful and considered approval of the Maricopa election by members of his own party who’d already held three (or four) recounts and audits, coming up with nothing but a pristine election. Instead, he became part of the legal genius successfully persuading a judge to allow the magic show to proceed.

It’s worth wondering if Brnovich, the subject of ethics complaints as recently as a year ago, seized upon the ‘fraudit’, as locals on both sides say, as a legal distraction. Instead of backing the Secretary of State, he has opposed Katie Hobbs at every turn, maneuvering for control over the election process. As one observer noted, Brnovich is giddy with the prospect of subsuming the Secretary of State’s powers and budget.

It’s BOGO– Buy one office, get a second one free. From there, it’s a small step to the governor’s seat.

The Price is Ripe

Arizona Senate President Fann and Doug Logan have fought hard against revealing how Cyber Ninjas was funded for the immensely secretive process. The Senate’s donations agreement with Cyber Ninjas calls for no limits, no restrictions, no accountability. A judge rebuked Karen Fann for attempting to evade Arizona transparency regulations, and ordered funding information to be released. Among the larger contributions were:

group founded by J Patrick Byrne   $3 250 000
group founded by foreign agent Mike Flynn   $1 000 000
group founded by OAN’s Christina Bobb   $600 000
group founded by lawyer Sydney Powell   $550 000
group founded by lawyer Matthew DePerno   $280 000
group founded by lawyer L Lin Wood   $50 000
donations by My Pillow’s Mike Lindell   unknown
Arizona taxpayers, courtesy of Legislature   $150 000
other (approximately)   $250 000

Karat and Schtick

Big money is riding on one outcome. Here is a key question: If you were paid $6-million by backers expecting one answer, how would you respond?

This spurious, secretive, and frankly bizarre recount befuddles professionals. Experts point out a true and valid recount and audit could have been conducted in hours, not months. Further, ballots should not be dismissed if they’re folded the wrong way or smudged with Cheetos dust.

Senate Presient Karen Fann deliberately dodged federally certified audit firms and backed a conspiracy theorist. No fraud hypothesis was too wild not to be taken seriously.

Sellers letter to Senate

Meanwhile, Maricopa Board of Elections supervisors have received orange jumpsuits along with messages that they, individually, and their family members will be executed. One voice indeed.

Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers sent a sharply worded letter to the Arizona Senate telling them to get this farce done and be prepared to defend it in court.

The Six-Million Dollar Man

True investigations, whether criminal or scientific, begin with an open mind. Never should an investigation lead with an unchallenged premise fraud had occurred, but here, Cyber Ninja’s job was to prove the premise.

From the beginning, this so-called ‘fraudit’ has never been about proving if the election was in doubt, but how doubt could be cast upon it. As Katie Hobbs pointed out, real audits are conducted under three unbreakable rules. The Senate and Cyber Ninjas have broken all of them.

Maricopa Republicans deserve admiration and credit for withstanding often brutal attacks upon their hard work, integrity, and physical safety, resisting the slide toward a one-party state. It’s a pity the rest of the state can’t learn from them.

Cyber Ninjas has promised to release their report tomorrow (Monday). Considering Doug Logan revealed the results before the ‘audit’ commenced and he’s been paid $6 000 000 to take his conspiracy theories mainstream, the outcome probably won’t be surprising.

15 August 2021

Certifiable – Arizona Elections Corrections 201


Previous   PREV Arizona ‘fraudit’ Conspiracy Theories NEXT   Next

Arizona election fraudit recount, Doug Ducey, Mark Brnovich, Karen Fann, Wendy Rogers, Kelli Ward, Katie Hobbs, Amy B. Chan, Stephen Richer, Jack Sellers, Clint Hickman, Allister Adel, Benny White, Ken Bennett, Randy Pullen, Doug Logan, Ben Cotton, Bryan Blehm, Larry Moore, Tim Halvorsen, Christina Bobb
convenient list of political players

Back with you now, this is OAN’s Blanca Mujer reporting from Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Faces are lit with ultraviolet expectations, waiting for our amazing and wonderful Cyber Nunchucks to issue their final report, without doubt declaring the election void.

Later today, we’ll interview all six Democrats in the state of Arizona to get their views. Right now, I’ll take a moment to answer viewers’ questions. Miss Sylvia Plait of Long Island, New York tweets, questioning how I pronounce my name. It’s moo-jer, Sylvia, rhymes with stooger. Why on earth would you think otherwise?

The probe continues as our Senate subpoenas the swivel chairs at the Maricopa County Elections Board’s nearly empty office, threatening arrests for refusal. Last week, Senate Leader Karen Fann asked a judge for arrest warrants when election officials balked at turning over wifi staplers.

If by chance something goes wrong as happened on January 6th, white supremacist fangirl State Senator Wendy Rogers, the Leona Helmsley of Arizona politics, has declared the election so hopelessly compromised and corrupt that the Senate must decertify the 2020 election, recall electors, and hold the election again.

To paraphrase Wendy, “Deep, deep fraud must have occurred, buried so far down, it can’t be discerned, necessitating we negate the election.”

Aren’t recounts exciting! Stay tuned. This has been Blanca Mujer on OAN…

Arizona world interference conspiracy map

Conspiracies 201

Math and logic aren’t Arizona’s strong points. But wait, you say, OAN and Fox have been rife with stories about discovering 74,243 mail-in votes more than were mailed out.

You heard that and it’s wrong. In fact, of 2,364,426 requests for mail-in ballots, 1,918,024 were returned. Turns out the inexperienced Cyber Ninjas (which perhaps should be called Cyber Ninja) confused early voting numbers with mail-in numbers. Confusion has happened a lot during this odd recount of the recount of the recount of the recount.

Despite a glaring lack of election experience, Cyber Ninjas has asked the legislature and courts to keep secret their super-secret trade secrets for detecting secret fraud. While failing to keep doors locked and preventing unauthorized people off the counting floor, Cyber Ninjas has restricted independent observers.

not a genuine ballot
messy ballot

Also, Cyber Ninjas sought to disqualify ballots that were folded, those with smudges or stains, and one with a suspicious Cheetos dust fingerprint. Arizona election professionals explained people do human things and some may be a little grubbier than others. A coffee ring or a booger on a ballot shouldn’t invalidate the entire ballot.

More than 75,000 Maricopa and Pima Republicans did not vote for Mr. Trump, and officials want to know why. The Arizona Senate debated and Cyber Ninjas demanded door-to-door ‘verifications’ of citizens voting. Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward threatened jail for ‘obstruction’, saying, “There could be arrests of people who are refusing to comply.” Perhaps fearing lawsuits, the Senate has held off, but it’s indicative of the lengths they are willing to take.

Conspiracy 202

I’d expected to update the previous article about the Arizona recount x 4, but I hadn’t anticipated the boatloads of new conspiracy theories. The updated map hints at new wrinkles.

blue thermostat
Thermostat (D)

red thermostat
Thermostat (R)

Odd Bedfellows

In addition to China, South Korea allegedly shipped freshly marked ballots directly to Arizona. Supposedly China, coordinating with Iran, targeted Maricopa and Pima Counties. South Korean ballots are particularly sought after because Seoul developed offset printing capable of filling in circles with genuine graphite, making them particularly difficult to detect except, presumably, for the absence of the secret watermark.

News of yet another European operation is attributed to disgraced Michael Flynn. Italian operatives altered Arizona tabulation in real time via satellite. Belgian Deep Fake video altered Fox News coverage, misreporting that Biden was winning.

When Maricopa officials denied voting machines were connected to the internet, conspiracy businessman J Patrick Byrne, attorney L Lin Wood, and others argued they linked wirelessly through Nest™ thermostats. Cyber Ninjas argues they can prove connectivity when Maricopa turns over their routers and remaining servers.

Chickens Come Home to Roost

With millions of excess ballots floating around the country and the Colonial Pipeline clogged like a Soho apartment toilet, operatives desperately needed to dispose of genuine ballots, those imprinted with the telltale watermark. To date, not one secret watermark has appeared in the 2.1-million ballots, proving the scale of the scam.

The CIA, working against interests of the American people, flew military transports loaded with planeloads of real ballots into Abu Dhabi. There they arrested Inaugural Chair Tom Barrack as he bravely attempted to videorecord election shenanigans. From United Arab Emirates, ballots were trucked into the Saudi Arabian desert and dumped, where the evidence remains today.

For those taking notes, Riyadh openly admits disposal trucks journeyed into the Saudi wasteland, but claim they were discarding carcasses of frozen chickens possibly tainted with salmonella processed and packaged during the coronavirus outbreak. Pallets of ballots or sickened chickens? You be the judge.

But chickens weren’t yet off the meathook. On 6 March, gazillions of shredded ballots were reported in dumpsters behind the Maricopa Tabulation Center. Two hours after the ballots disappeared, a suspicious fire broke out at the state’s largest poultry farm owned by Maricopa County’s District 4 Supervisor. The origin of the mysterious fire remains unknown, but it incinerated 166,000 hens out of four million chickens. According to multiple web sites, an investigation into this ‘convenient’ fire will prove the birds were stuffed with ballots.

Disqualification

Election workers are trained to look for a voter’s intention based on America’s vision that every citizen has a constitutional right to vote and have their vote count. Arizona and Cyber Ninjas have taken the position that only the clearest, unambiguous, absolutely certain vote should be tallied. Only a fully, filled-in circle, firm enough to indent pristine paper unsullied with grubby hands should count… if it doesn’t violate their predetermined mathematical model.

Extremist web sites including ProWhiteParty, FrankSpeech, and InTheMatrixxx podcasts leaked that the powers that be propose disqualifying up to half of Maricopa’s 2.1-million ‘counterfeit’ ballots, arguing Maricopa election clerks were far too lenient accepting ‘suspicious’ and ‘spurious’ votes. Various technologies brought to bear on the challenge include alternate source UV light, quantum physics side-scanning, and Commander Jovan Hutton Pulitzer’s proprietary particle kinematic artifact detector™ (PKAD), effectively a 21st Century update of dowsing technology.

Whatever the ultimate count, proponents say suspect and counterfeit ballots should be discarded based upon ballot characteristics. Their rejection mechanism has been compared to a vending machine spitting out a worn dollar bill.

Reasons for rejection may include:

  • ballots containing bamboo fibres
  • ballots containing rice paper
  • ballots containing improper ‘feel’
  • ballots containing stains
  • ballots with improper Q-codes
  • ballots with personal identifying info
  • ballots with incorrect color luminosity
  • ballots with incorrect moisture content
  • ballots with torn or missing corners
  • ballots with ‘kinematic artifacts’
  • ballots failing UV-A/UV-B examination
  • ballots of suspect thickness
  • ballots of suspect weight
  • ballots mailed in unfolded
  • ballots folded the ‘wrong way’
  • ballots folded (non-mail-in)
  • ovals partially filled in
  • ovals filled in with toner
  • ovals without depressions or indentations
  • ovals not filled in by human hand
  • precinct-printed offset registration marks
  • inconsistency between national, local votes
faux watermark
watermark
Proponents consider this last item especially critical as it mathematically ‘proves’ fraud, according to a number of sources. The idea questions split tickets– cases where the bulk of a ballot’s votes go to one party, but the presidential vote was either for the other party or absent altogether. In other words, if down-ballot votes went Republican, then a vote for Biden must be erroneous. Exposing this fraud is a primary reason Cyber Ninjas fought to conduct door-to-door investigations.

Note that no ballots have been found bearing the secret FEC watermark.

Note this is an opinion piece and it contains i-r-o-n-y. Don’t shoot the messenger– I just report it.

01 August 2021

Sports Build Character


women's soccer

Why yes, I watch women’s soccer. No, I don’t watch men’s. Why do you ask?

I started watching women’s soccer (‘futbol’ in other parts of the world) three or four years ago. Women’s bodies in motion… What’s not to like? it’s wonderful. Except for Sweden in the Olympics opening game.

Lord Jesus

If you’ve seen international men’s soccer, you’ve met the drama queens, that star player from Italy or India or Indonesia who collapses on the field (the pitch), gasping, groaning, giving a grand performance as he prays to Saint Sebastian he may walk again. Once the referee flashes a yellow or red card, suddenly he hops to his feet, all fit and well once again. Lord Jesus, it’s a miracle.

When one of the women is knocked down, she gets up, perhaps given a hand by an opponent, and keeps  on playing. Not to say it couldn’t happen, but I’ve never yet seen a drama play.

US-UK soccer

Meanwhile on ESPN…

Yes, I know the rumors (definitely exaggerated) that the majority audience ‘plays for the other team’, but it doesn’t matter. When buying season tickets for the Orlando Magic, my friend Thrush also bought season tickets for the Orlando Miracles, the women’s counterpart of the Magic. At some WNBA games, we were about the only guys present, but no one cared. We weren’t looking for dates.

Ted Lasso
Ted Lasso

Now, Back to the Game

I have a reason for bringing up soccer. Apple TV offers an original comedy series that improbably grew out of adverts for NBC Sports.

Check out Ted Lasso. Two Americans are hired to coach a British football club, a sport they know nothing about. We’ve seen the fish-out-of-water premise before– mix-ups, screw-ups, bust-ups, dust-ups, and usually happy fix-ups. This show delivers more than you expect.

Ted Lasso is not about the sport, but about the people. It’s funny– Melodie Campbell funny– but the best aspect is the characterization. Several cast members carve out three-dimensional spaces for themselves. It keeps heart, a big heart. And characterization… Did I mention characterization?

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a soccer/football fan or don't like sports at all. Athletics doesn’t matter because the action occurs in the boss’s office, in the locker room, in the showers, in restaurants, and especially the local pub. A few moments happen in bed. The first season took ten episodes before we saw a play on the pitch (field). That was simply a build-up for an easy-to-miss key moment between egotistical player Jamie Tartt and…

You had to be there. It’s about characterization. We can learn from it.

Apple TV. Season 2 commences now.

Coaches Beard and Lasso
Coach Beard — Coach Lasso

18 July 2021

Spycraft, Old School


Zoo Station

Usually SleuthSayers learn spycraft from the invisible-ink pen of David Edgerley Gates. A month ago, Janice Law slipped past the yet-to-be-built Berlin Wall to recall David Downing. I depend heavily on my SleuthSayers colleagues for reading material, and I ordered up Zoo Station.

The tale has a much older ‘golden age’ feel of the 1960s and I had to double-check the copyright of the first in the series, 2007. The initial half of the book is slow paced but it builds tension out of proportion to pages turned. I wondered how the author accomplished that, and I’m not the only one. One critic’s comment on the back cover says, “Downing has shown that he can produce that creepy sense of paranoia along with the best of them.”

Furthermore, the book contains a feature I’ve rarely encountered outside a school textbook, a ‘Reading Group Guide’. Question 9 reads: “Given the relative lack of overt violence, how does Downing create the novel’s sense of menace?”

Yeah. How did he do that?

I have a few notions, but other readers will surely come up with better insights. Mostly I credit the immersive nature of the story where the author puts us in the scene with the perfect serving of detail.

The story’s set as the 1930s draw to a close. Perceptive people smell war on the horizon, but live in hope it doesn’t come. Kristallnacht has left its mark. Kindertransport is under way. Jews aren’t permitted to work, travel, or dine in restaurants. While the word ‘ghetto’ hasn’t yet arisen, Jewry are evermore isolated in restricted parts of cities.

The author has allowed history to do much of the heavy lifting. Much of life seems normal, ordinary, but it won’t remain so. We know the horrors that are coming; we want to warn the innocent, tell them to flee for their lives.

Whereas trains and train stations appear in backdrops and settings, mentions of government buildings feel eerily ominous. Downing mentions 15-foot high doors, evoking the architecture envisioned by Albert Speer.

No worthy espionage story would be complete without Soviet spies. One Russian spymaster isn’t so bad, but woe be he who crosses the path of Stalinist spymistress Irina Borskaya. She eats her young.

The novel’s protagonist, British journalist John Russell, advances through a character arc from somnambulance to getting his rear into gear, helping to get the word out while saving a life or two. His actress girlfriend suggests a hint of Cabaret, but with far more gravitas than Sally Bowles.

A minor note jarred me. Russell is virtually broke when we first meet him. He lives simply, but he drinks goldwasser. It seems a pretension more in line with 007 than our impecunious reporter. I excused the gold-flecked drink on the grounds it was a product of Gdańsk (Danzig), but the affectation seemed peculiar.

Along the line, our hero obtains a ten-year-old motorcar, a Hanomag. I thought myself reasonably familiar with cars of bygone eras, and those of the late 1920s are the peak of design– the Mercedes SSK, the Cord, the Packard, the Dusenberg, the Bugatti, and the gorgeous Auburn.

1928 Hanomag
1928 Hanomag © Bonhams Auction

I hadn’t heard of Hanomag. I had to stop to look it up. It turned out to be one of the homeliest automobiles ever made. Easiest way to tell the front from the back is to look for the single, motorcycle-style headlight, on the left in this photo. Oh well, our hero’s Hanomag ran most of the time and many folks had no cars at all.

As Janice suggests, Zoo Station reads as old style spycraft with luggage storage and postal drops, suitcases with false bottoms, and shadowy men who make others disappear. Downing’s novels aren’t nearly as gloomy as those of, say, John Le Carré.

When you’re bored with the current digital library on your Kindle or Kobo, stop in a musty used book store and pick up a dog-eared copy of Zoo Station. Go old school.

04 July 2021

Dinner and Death


Last Saturday evening, I dined in a real restaurant for the first time since the coronavirus broke upon our shores. That same evening at the same restaurant in the heart of Orlando’s International Drive tourist center, a man was murdered.

It didn’t particularly surprise anyone. Most attendees expected something of the sort because homicides occur frequently at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show.

Squire's Inn cast
Our show, not our cast

The occasion was Haboob’s birthday party arranged by her daughter who invited me (thanks, Kathy). I’d never attended a mystery show and looked forward to it.

Murder 1

The first mystery involved parking. The car lot was full. Shops and restaurants surrounding the theatre share a garage with Icon Park, a 20-acre entertainment complex, which includes a Madame Tussaud’s and a London Eye-type ride called The Wheel, approximately 122m (~400ft) in diameter.

Here, developers confused ‘arcade’ and ‘parkade’. The garage is loaded with exit signs, none of them useful. This results in cars milling like microbes, trying to decipher a way out. One unfortunate Hyundai has been circling since 2017. Family members rope up buckets from below and tote gasoline up stairs to refuel it. My friend Geri and I could have happily murdered the garage’s architect, but mayhem was supposed to occur in a dining establishment, not a garage.

a Constable Connie
A constable Connie, not our
scare-your-pants-off Connie

Murder 2

Sleuths operates two theatres and we found ourselves led to slaughter in Theatre II, a surprisingly large hall with a shallow stage along one side. There, a couple of dozen round tables accommodated up to ten guests. Real tablecloths, cloth serviettes, and real butter provided nice touches.

Let it be said, visitors don’t come for the dining experience. Chicken and vegetarian options were available, but our entire party ordered prime rib, a $6 extra disappointment. I could offer two or three smartass comments, but the less said, the better. Our neighbors ordered lasagna and voiced no complaint. Desserts were tasty and the wine was unexpectedly drinkable.

Waitress Nicole supplied us with tea and soda, and as far as I could discern, took no notes when doling out drinks and desserts to the correct parties. While I’m in a complimenting mood, thanks to Miss DeSantis (no relation to our dreadful governor) for help, kindness, and patience making reservations.

Staging a Death

In interactive murder mysteries, guests participate in the experience. They mingle with victims and suspects, and handle and inspect clues. This was not those.

Rather we are presented with one of five abbreviated plays, a comedy where four actors play five rôles. The skit takes place in an English Inn, placing the actors at risk of murdering the mother tongue worse than I. Fortunately, the cast treats dialect with a light touch.

the real Constable Connie
Late update! @ Chris Sowers
The REAL Constable Connie
who owned the rôle

We meet the characters. Murder ensues. The law makes her entrance.

Holy Chautauqua!

The clear star of the show is Constable Connie Crabtree, whose actor also plays the crotchety murder victim. This doesn’t tell half of it and the masculine noun is not an affectation. Although the victim is male, the constable is female and… no, wait. See, the heavily made-up and considerably frightening Constable Connie is played in drag by an actor I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

But funny, hilariously funny. Political correctness has robbed our society of so much humor, it’s refreshing to let down our guard and enjoy witty innuendo and double entendres without clubbing us with correctness. God save the Queen.

On With the Show

The play draws to a close. The cast invites the audience to help solve the mystery by formulating questions– one per table– of the characters, mostly concerning conversational threads left dangling.

The audience was paying attention; several queries were highly pertinent. Despite my great renown as a world famous SleuthSayer, my question about parentage wasn’t chosen by my table, although it turned out to be the heart of the mystery. (So there!) Constable Connie’s acidic tongue kept questions moving, especially when a couple of tables had enjoyed a bit too much of the not-too-bad wine.

mystery worksheets for notes
mystery worksheet

WhoDunWhat?

The play is not The Mousetrap. I found two chinks in the mystery itself, both unexplained gaps– or sudden leaps. Actors abruptly drop a comment that the victim fathered another character without us being previously presented with that fact. In the free-wheeling delivery of the play, was it overlooked?

Likewise, the audience had almost universally settled upon one cast member as the murderer, but the constable informed us it was quite another without linking evidence. Unless another clue had been left out, the choice of perpetrator seemed almost random. Perhaps we missed hearing a hint, but if we did, so did our half of the room.

I haven’t seen the script, but possibly a bit or two was inadvertently omitted. Still, we figured out the key to the plot and motive, and besides, the real point was the comedy. You don’t read Janet Evanovich for the plot, you read her stories for the laughter. Same with this play, Squires Inn.

Mouths of Babes

A number of young children sat near the front and loved it. Although one character in the play had paid heavily and labored for years to purchase the inn, the play’s sole woman (not counting Connie) inherited it, leaving the man with nothing. The constable asked the kids if the woman should share the inn with the man and they– almost entirely girls– shouted out a resounding No!

Oh sheesh. They’ve been listening to their mothers.

The theatre awarded birthday gifts and door prizes of a surprisingly useful magnifying glass. That was a superb touch.

At nearly 10:30 that night, I helped Geri find her car in the garage. I am not in the least kidding– cars were still queued snailing on the third level, trying to find their way out.

Verdict

From the viewpoint of a professional crime reader and writer, Squires Inn didn’t come off as a fair-play mystery with clues that pointed unambiguously to a single perpetrator. But as Hamlet said, “The play’s the thing.” It is a lot of fun and definitely worth the trip. You might not solve a mystery, you could die laughing.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

20 June 2021

Wicked Plots


Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot book cover

I’ve been reading Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot, recommended by my friend/editor/teacher Sharon. The title, of course, is a double entendre as is its book-withn-a-book, Crib.

One of the characters confides she’s the type who, five minutes into a movie, figures out the plot. Mind racing ahead, I often do the same. Unlike her character, I generally keep it to myself until the show is over.

The same technique may work on The Plot. The author plays fair sprinkling numerous clues. By the halfway point, I grew certain where the story was headed, and every passing page convinces me I’m on the right track. We shall see.

Jacob Finch Bonner

Korelitz raises issues about plagiarism and ‘stealing’ stories. Her protagonist agonizes the unique plot of his bestseller was glommed from someone who managed to get himself killed, although characters and setting and words are all the author’s. The plot, however, is so unusual, it defies categorization within the seven basic plot lines we constantly hear about. Hence the accusation of stealing from a dead man who, it turns out, acquired the plot elsewhere. In today’s tender sensitivities atmosphere, the protagonist committed the ultimate appropriation sin.

Frey, Glass, and Mortenson

Korelitz’s beset author isn’t in the same league as a half dozen infamous authors she mentions who either plagiarized or falsified narratives. Some such as James Frey and Greg Mortenson bounced back, barely affected, and to a lesser degree, Stephen Glass at least arrested his descent into infamy.

Kosiński and Rosenblat

Jerzy Kosiński (The Painted Bird) is a different matter for me. Like Herman Rosenblat (Angel at the Fence), he was a Polish WW-II survivor. Also like Rosenblat, he combined fiction with reality, sometimes difficult to tell which was which. It would be fairer to describe their books as embellished memoirs or fictionalized biographies.

Jerzy Kosiński

Zbigniew Brzezinski, among others, believes the taint of scandal brought about Kosiński’s death. His suicide note read, “I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual.”

Demidenko and Hegemann

Occasionally writers who falsify (e.g, Helen Darville a.k.a Helen Demidenko) or plagiarize (e.g, Helene Hegemann) are rewarded for their deceit. How they win prizes after their false narratives are exposed and Laura Ingalls Wilder falls victim to #CancelCulture escapes me.

Konrad Kujau

The Hitler Diaries took hubris, but Konrad Kujau was pretty certain Adolf wasn’t likely to pop up in Buenos Aires, Brasília, or São Paulo and say, “Hallo? Entschuldigung…”

Clifford Irving

For sheer audacity, it’s hard to beat Clifford Irving, because Howard Hughes, as far as anyone knew, was very much alive. And he did indeed pop up in Acapulco or Houston or somewhere and say, “Hello? Excuse me,” not that anyone believed him at first. And then… And then after he wrote a 1981 explication called The Hoax, Irving sued the movie company because the resulting film was too, well, hoaxy. Damn, that took nerve.

Charrière Castaneda

Please excuse me. I must return to writing my fictionalized memoir. Kindly ignore any perceived exaggerations, embellishments, or inconsistencies you may notice about my life amongst the Goajira and Yaqui…

06 June 2021

Bootstraps


Why do we ‘boot’ computers?

At the risk of breaking toes, we’ve all wanted to boot a computer into the next county, but where did this start-up term ‘boot’ originate?

Boot is half of a compound word ‘bootstrap’, and that in turn derives from a children’s joke at least two centuries old.

2½ Centuries Ago

“Consider the lowly boot,” as the walrus might say, along with ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings. (Yes, it’s going to be that kind of article.)

bootjack

Well-fitted boots can be devilishly difficult to pull on and pull off, the latter sometimes a two-person job, as attested by many a cartoon of the era. In the Americas, cabins and houses in frontier times kept a ‘bootjack’ by the door, an angled board with a V-notch where one could wedge in the heel and lever off the boot off the foot, which raises the question of why boot and foot don’t rhyme. (I said it’s going to be that kind of article!)

bootstraps

Riding boots, both Eastern and Western, feature tabs on either side for grasping and tugging them on. Work boots often sport a single strap at the back where one can hook a finger, although on many boots, the strip has shrunk to little more than a decorative spot to show off the shoemaker’s logo.

2 Centuries Ago

Therein lies the joke when a character in children’s stories needs to climb without a ladder or cross the sea without wetting the feet: said character might pull himself up by his bootstraps. This impossibility represents a perfect example of a figure of speech called an adynaton. (Yikes! Wandering off into that kind of article again.)

Steele's Popular Physics
1834, The Workingman's Advocate:
“It is conjectured that Mr. Murphee will now be enabled to hand himself over the Cumberland river or a barn yard fence by the straps of his boots.”
1860, an unsourced comment on philosophy of mind:
“The attempt of the mind to analyze itself [is] an effort analogous to one who would lift himself by his own bootstraps.”
1888, Popular Physics; Steele, Joel Dorman (1836-1886):
“Why can not a man lift himself by pulling up on his boot-straps?”

1 Century Ago

By the early 1900s, the word acquired a Horatio Alger meaning. It referred to improving one’s station in life by their own initiative, that is, starting with nothing to build their fortune in America.

1918-1920, Ulysses, part XIV; Joyce, James (1882-1941):
“Ladies who like distinctive underclothing should, and every well-tailored man must, trying to make the gap wider between them by innuendo and give more of a genuine filip to acts of impropriety between the two, she unbuttoned his and then he untied her, mind the pin, whereas savages in the cannibal islands, say, at ninety degrees in the shade not caring a continental. However, reverting to the original, there were on the other hand others who had forced their way to the top from the lowest rung by the aid of their bootstraps. Sheer force of natural genius, that. With brains, sir.”
(Granted, I could have omitted the first two-thirds, but why miss the good parts for which the American publishers were imprisoned?)

½ Century Ago

What does any of this have to do with computers? The answer, grasshopper, is why your computer takes so long to start up.

When they’re turned on, must computers have less intelligence than planaria. Their sole mission at that point is to gobble up a piece of a program that gobbles up larger segment and perhaps yet another larger gulp until it begins to look and act like the computer we expect.

For many, many decades, most computers have worked pretty much this way:

  1. The computer blindly looks for a strip of code at a specific place in a solid-state drive, a hard disc drive, or at one time a magnetic tape, punched cards, or even paper tape. Earlier in the 1950s, this data was entered by hand.
  2. Those few bytes load a larger chunk of program code, one that knows where the operating system is located, and how to load it.
  3. Finally, the operating system loads, coughs when it’s spanked to life, and becomes the computer you love… or hate.

At one time, IBM called this ‘IPL’ for initial program load. Other terms have co-existed, but ‘bootstrap’ became the term of choice, eventually shortened to simply ‘boot’, where it’s origins have been forgotten.

I can’t explain why at one time you had to click the Start button on a Windows machine to stop it, but now you know why you ‘boot’ it.

Outside the Compound

More than anything else, English betrays Germanic roots with its use of compound words. Ever wonder where hopscotch, cobweb, kidnap, scapegoat, doughnut, wedlock, honeymoon, hodgepodge, earmark, eggplant, hogwash, or piecemeal derived? Bah, humbug, you did wonder! Mental Floss Magazine editor Lucas Reilly can entertainingly tell you all about them.


1 Unexpected Footnote

In researching sources for the article, I came upon an unexpected recent reference from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I won’t address the divided politics, but she tweeted, “It’s a physical impossibility to lift yourself up by a bootstrap,” and followed up with remarks during a House committee meeting, “This metaphor of a bootstrap started as a joke because it is a physical impossibility.”

2 Acknowledgements

Thanks to Sharon for the Compound Words and AOC additions to the article.

23 May 2021

Asian Aversion


Crime writers Eve Fisher and Mary Fernando have written about bigotry and touched upon prejudice against Asians. A farmer in rural Minnesota demonstrated one way to mitigate the problem.

I lived in a state forest near Big Lake, Minnesota, one of many villages near the upper Mississippi River, all grown up now into a city. Not many eateries fed travellers along Hiway 10, and it didn’t help the main diner closed and was sold to an Asian family.

Lake in Big Lake, Minnesota
Big Lake, Minnesota © Wikipedia

In town one day, my neighbor Bud announced several of us must go to lunch at the newly reopened diner. One bigmouth said he wasn’t gonna et no Viet Congo victuals.

Bud said, “They’re Korean and it’s damn good food.”

“Don’t care. Who knows what they put in it?”

At that point I suggested, “Garlic, ginger, onion…”

Bigmouth sneered.

Neighbor Bud wasn’t a fragile flower. He said, “Way I figure it, you got a choice between stupid and hungry, or well-fed and wise. Whizzit gonna be?”

Bigmouth grudgingly came along with a group of us, grumbling the whole way.

“Order steaks,” Bud suggested.

Bigmouth stared at everything suspiciously, mumbling under his breath. When the steaks arrived, he sniffed it. He poked at it with his fork in case it wasn’t dead. To be sure, he stabbed it with a knife.

Then he took a bite. He chewed. And another bite. He stopped grumbling. He ate everything, everything on his plate.

Leaning back, he patted his stomach and said, “God-blessed-durn, that was the best steak I ever et. I wonder what they put in it?”

Bud said, “Garlic, ginger…”

Bigmouth not only became a fan of the diner, he became friends with the family.

Every town needs a Bud. And a great Oriental restaurant.


As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Big Lake is all grown up into a city, one I wouldn’t recognize nor find my way around. But a local web site demonstrates a decided hostility I can’t account for.

Searching for a picture of the town, I came across BigLake.com where, at the bottom of the home page, I found one of the weirdest legal statements ever, complete with a fat, yellow acknowledgement button:

Due to GDPR, residents of the EU are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN from using this site.
18 USC § 1030 (a)(2)(C)

Why should a burg in Minnesota care, let alone disapprove, that Europe values the privacy of its citizens? Clearly the programming muggle has no understanding of Europe’s data protection regulations or United States Criminal Code or United States Uniform Commercial Code regarding fraud. How very, very peculiar.

But if that Asian restaurant is still around, try the Steak Korean.

16 May 2021

Certifiable – Arizona Elections Connections


Previous   PREV Arizona ‘fraudit’ Conspiracy Theories NEXT   Next

hacker in winter ninja gear
Florida Cyber Ninja™
comes with winter gloves,
woollies, and balaclava toque

In an OAN exclusive, this is Blanca Mujer reporting from the Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, where faces are lit with ultraviolet wonder. We’re proud to witness elation and, dare I say, vindication sweep among the ballot tabulators recounting the recount of the recount of the recount of the audited, ultra-secure 2020 election. The arena hasn’t seen this much excitement since the 1973 upset of the never-to-be-forgotten Scottsdale Hamsters over the Pima Prickly Pears.

Kept from the public, Arizona election officials had secretly watermarked official ballots discernible through UV-light. Florida’s determinedly inexperienced Cyber Nunchucks has discovered not one of Maricopa County’s ballots thus far examined carries the distinctive watermark. Random samples pulled from the remaining 2.1-million ballots have also proved counterfeit.

Florida’s Cypher Numnuts is rushing to analyze ballot DNA, certain to be loaded with rice paper and bamboo fibres. Some 40 000 Chinese manufactured counterfeit ballots are known to have been airlifted into remote southwest Arizona, even as Chinese submarines smuggled ashore hundreds of thousands of premarked ballots on America’s Eastern Seaboard to co-opt elections in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Georgia.

Detecting the lack of official watermarks makes this historic day one of… Just a minute, my producer is signalling me… (taps earphone) OAN interrupts this broadcast with a message from My Pillow. This has been Blanca Mujer, OAN News.

Arizona-world election connections

The above scenario is not as outrageous as you might imagine. All of the above-mentioned are among lesser conspiracy theories pursued by stolen-election proponents of Arizona’s challenge to democracy.

The Chinese-British-Venezuelan Connection

Popular theory contends Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez discovered Chairman Mao Zedong had set in motion a blueprint to take over the United States government without firing a shot. Chávez realized the plan could only succeed by seizing control of a Spanish election specialist company, Scytl. In a multi-prong plan, Chávez and the Chinese government sabotaged the US elections with a combination of rigged voting machines and counterfeit ballots.

faux watermark
genuine Federal Election watermark

As Venezuela infected, infested, and injected Smartmatic election machines with a voting virus, China launched a submarine to land prefilled ballots along the Eastern Seaboard. Simultaneously, a low-flying Chinese stealth cargo jet hooked around Cabo San Lucas, flew up the Sea of Cortez and airdropped 40 000 ersatz ballots into Yuma or Pima counties. The Chinese operatives didn’t realize the administration was way ahead of the wily Asians and had imbued official balloting paper with watermarks detectable under ultraviolet lamps.

The amateurish and error-ridden web site of Cyber Ninjas led some (including me) to underestimate the genius of stolen election proponents. The only reason I could think of to explain UV lights shipped into the Coliseum was to seek chemical alterations. Instead, the clever Ninjas first used UV to look for those exclusive but elusive watermarks.

Not finding them implied every single ballot was fraudulent.

The Chinese Disruption

Knowing opponents tended to be obsessed with facts caused the Cyber Ninjas to dig ever deeper. They deployed indirect lighting to examine the infilled ovals on the theory vigorous voters would dent the paper under Nº 2 pencils contrasted with mass ‘xeroxed’ (presumably photocopied) ballots shipped into the state. Unfortunately, the preferred Sharpie pens left little or no dent.

Not trusting microscopic analysis, Cyber Ninjas used indirect UV and DNA testing to detect rice paper and bamboo fibres, an absolute indication of Chinese rather than Russian interference.

Another obstacle arose. China depends upon its numerous pulp mills to manufacture paper. Conversely, the USA also makes rice paper and grows bamboo right there in Arizona. Tucson’s Bamboo Ranch operates seventy-five bamboo groves.

The Russian-Canadian Connection

That resurrected an earlier theory regarding the Keystone Pipeline that ran from Communist Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, suspiciously not delivering oil to the states over which it ran. The pipeline was actually a giant pneumatic tube devised to distribute paper ballots from the great forests of our northern neighbour to Putin Russian-Ukrainian allies in the States. Remember these tubes… we’ll return to them momentarily.

To solve this international mystery, we turn to Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert, supported by Arizona dentist Paul Gosar, DDS, and famed attorney, Sydney Powell, esq. Bear with me, as reported by NewsMax, OANN, and InfoWars, this is convoluted.

putative election map
Gohmert/Gosar/Powell Army Intel map

The Spanish-German Connection

Shortly after the election, feelers put out by a dejected, desperate, but determined Sydney Powell returned intel of electronic voting irregularities involving British Smartmatic SGO machines in Venezuela, but also Scytl SA devices built in Barcelona, Spain. Scytl computers in Frankfurt were pre-programmed to manipulate election results while hiding the true election map at the direction of US Army Intelligence, the NSA, and particularly the CIA.

It’s unclear if Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney notified Powell or if Sydney Powell contacted him, but she organized an assault team to confiscate Scytl computers. She brought in disgraced former Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who’d confessed working for Russia and Turkey, and lied to Vice President Pence and the FBI. Powell called upon Flynn to redeem himself by hand-picking USEUCOM US Army loyalists from the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion (the Kraken) for an assault in Frankfurt to seize the servers. When Secretary of Defence Mark Esper balked at the operation, Flynn and Powell ordered him fired and replaced by Christopher Miller.

According to on-the-ground German tweets, the raid was a partial success, although one woman and five or six (the record is unclear) Army Special Forces men lost their lives in the attempt. How Cyber Ninjas became involved is also unclear.

not a genuine ballot
possibly not a genuine Arizona ballot

The Straight Poop

The Arizona investigation has triggered a disastrous side result. The unexpected ballot examination ordered by the Arizona Senate has aroused panic amongst Deep State forces in Georgia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. They couldn’t call back a Chinese submarine to retrieve the bogus ballots, so instead, they flushed them down the Colonial Pipeline.

Unlike the Keystone Pipeline, this one actually carried petroleum. Similar to your home’s sewage lines, those millions of dumped ballots hopelessly constipated the Colonial’s series of tubes. A naïve press blamed the clog upon innocent Russian hackers.

To Provoke and Serve

While naysayers mock the partisan efforts as theatre and compare the recount to the Crazy Times Carnival and Clown Show taking place next door to the counting house, Arizona treats each conspiracy contention seriously. Cyber Ninjas reportedly hired a local private militia called the Arizona Rangers to provide security. Although these fake ‘rangers’ have neither police nor security training, they reportedly look and act like aggressive cops chasing away nosy reporters. They manifest more interest in deterring scrutiny than protecting the voting equipment chain of evidence.

Arizona election fraudit recount, Doug Ducey, Mark Brnovich, Karen Fann, Wendy Rogers, Kelli Ward, Katie Hobbs, Amy B. Chan, Stephen Richer, Jack Sellers, Clint Hickman, Allister Adel, Benny White, Ken Bennett, Randy Pullen, Doug Logan, Ben Cotton, Bryan Blehm, Larry Moore, Tim Halvorsen, Christina Bobb
convenient list of political players

Meanwhile, Cyber Ninjas has demanded the Maricopa Sheriff’s office turn over county routers to them. The sheriff has refused, raising the threat of a subpoena from the Arizona Legislature. To date, web sites aligned with Q-Anon appear relatively silent whether the Arizona Rangers militia or the National Guard should seize the routers.

Thinking they must mean servers (which Cyber Ninjas claim have been tampered with), not routers, I discussed this with my friend and colleague Thrush, a founder of MagicNet and one of the top network experts in the Southeast. Between the two of us, a networking guru and a fraud forensics specialist, we cannot conceive of any useful information that could be gleaned from a router. We’re convinced Cyber Ninjas don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

We also discussed wifi routers discovered on the ballot counting floor by alarmed observers. Cyber Ninjas claimed the routers were turned off, never mind their very presence and the blinky-blinky bits. I suspect they had shut off the SSID display and not the wifi radios, meaning they were very much active but invisible to the outside world.

As We Speak

This has been a particularly difficult article due to the fluid nature of the madcap Arizona recount. Conspiracy theories rapidly rise and fall and rise again with renewed life, without regard to the writer trying to capture competing hypotheses.

Haboob (an Arizona desert girl, hence her name) remarked the presumption of conspiracies cause believers to create realities around them. I might add to that never-ending conspiracies. I can hardly believe the election occurred half a year ago.

Right now, the voting equipment and pallets of ballots have moved into non-air-conditioned storage in a fairgrounds building too hot to work in. Experts and the US Department of Justice complain that in addition to breaks in the chain of custody and UV damage, the intense Arizona heat (well in excess of 50ºC, 122ºF) causes ballot paper to break down. Arizona Senate President Karen Fann told them to mind their own business, which of course they were.

A dismayed viewer can’t help but wonder if the heat also causes brain damage.