Now, is that a social media fail, or a marketing fail, or a just plain tragic any-way-you-look-at-it fail? Whatever it is, you just stay classy, Zimbabwe, you stay classy!
That is not, contrary to appearances, a picture of my grandmother (known to all as “Gramma” and god help you if you didn’t call her that but tried something more formal, ooooh she wouldn’t be having any of that, now. But it certainly does appear to be a picture of Gramma, for verily it looks very much like her down to the too-short haircut, and I’m pretty sure she had that shirt as well. But that’s actually a picture of ‘Murrican mucky-muck John Kerry trying and failing to blend in at a dance ceremony in Bali.
That is most definitely NOT what my Gramma would have done.
At her eightieth birthday my Gramma got up on the table and danced to Patricia the Stripper, and if she’d been at this shindig with Kerry she’d have gotten those temple dancers to do the Dougie before you can say “Gramma, you’ll break a hip!”
Speaking of hips, my Gramma was pretty. Hip. Follow along!
I was over on Facebook the other day, having taken too many flu meds to do any decent work, and my friend Cassandra was in need of distraction (what is it with the #DramaSec these days? People deleting accounts left and right. Assange taking a family quarrel to Twitter in front of two million followers. Takedown notices, bogus and not, flying all over the digisphere. Enough already, the new moon is over!) so I told her the following story, for distraction purposes only. Do not operate heavy machinery under the influence of this story. Do not read if pregnant (because you have better things to do with your few remaining hours of freedom) or breastfeeding (because it’s really, really hard to handle a baby and a laptop at the same time and what if puke gets in the keyboard, eh? You’ll wish you’d listened to me then!).
Where was I?
Oh yes, on Facebook, telling Cassandra a story about Tennessee. You see, it’s considered quite exotic in Ottawa, where my Gramma lived. And here is the story about my Gramma‘s travels to exotic Tennessee just as I told it to Cassandra, for lo, I am very lazy and I just copy-pasted it.
Now, Gramma did not drink. In my family, this alone makes her somewhat legendary. But Gramma was not above knowing the value of an alcoholic comestible, or of taking advantage of that knowledge by running what amounted to an arbitrage on the celebratory beverage in question, by the simple means of purchasing it in one physical location and transporting it to another, where its selling price was higher. The ungenerous would call this “bootlegging,” and it has been the start of more than one great Canadian fortune.
Gramma would take bus tours of what she called “my old people”, ie they were like five years older than her, but not as lively, down to Tennessee and Missouri to do whatever it is old people do there. Tours. Watch the Osmonds. That sort of thing. And coming back she would get them all to smuggle bottles of Jack Daniels anywhere she could find a space. Under lumbago cushions. In big granny purses. In wig cases. Everywhere. Once, she struck gold because a guy had been in a cast from his waist down to his toes for a couple of months and his leg wasted away and she could fit four bottles in the space between his leg and the cast. When they got to the border, she would just yell at the border guard, “THESE ARE SENIORS, YOUNG LAD! THEY NEED TO GO HOME AND REST!” and never once were they searched. She gave the bottles as wedding and Christmas presents, and would supplement the punch at family parties with it, among other things.
I find, upon leafing through the ol’ raincoaster archives, that there is indeed an actual picture of my Gramma. At my cousin’s house. Legally blind. Shooting at a turkey from the deck, beside a stack of beer cases, with a tank of propane between the muzzle of the gun and the target.
You go, Gramma!
The question is prompted by this post on Gawker, where I suddenly can’t comment anymore. Interesting; is this banning #7? Well, if it is, that’s the LAST time I try to add value to one of Adrian‘s posts. Anyhoodle, here are my thoughts on whether this Silk Road user and extortionist FriendlyChemist is a neighbor of mine in White Rock, BC.
FriendlyChemist, according to the article, threatened to out a list of online drug exchange Silk Road’s users, although whether he had actual addresses and real names or just usernames and PO Boxes is unclear. In response, Dread Pirate Roberts, the head of Silk Road, hired another user to kill him; the user reportedly sent back photos proving the deed, although the RCMP say no way was there a gory drug murder in White Rock. Is he really dead? Probably not; he probably posed for some pix and then split the money with the guy DPR (allegedly) hired to kill him. No honour among thieves and all that. If they’re in the drug business and they’re not using, they’re in it because they’re greedy; this is too good an opportunity to cash in for a businessman to pass up.
That’s the US you’re looking at there, Point Roberts to be specific. So if you’re an athlete, you can actually SWIM to the US.
Some background: White Rock is walking distance to the US border. There’s a border crossing with guards and everything, but you walk not far east and you can just walk into the US with no problems. Blaine, on the other side of the border, does a HUGE business with mailboxes for Canadians, who like to order from US sites and get delivery to the US and thus avoid all kinds of taxes, duty, and shipping fees. It is a major, MAJOR smuggling point and also a lovely, upscale retirement community.
Does anything go in the other direction? You bet! The Bacon Brothers, Canada’s most notorious drug lords, are based out of Surrey, which is literally across the street from White Rock. Not too long ago they shut down a helicopter flight training school which was just a front for pot deliveries from nearby Harrison Hot Springs (also lovely: come for the views, stay for the contraband!). And the Guardian famously profiled a commercial truck driver who smuggled pot over the border at the official truck border crossing nearby.
Could a major drug manufacturer be based out of White Rock? Probably not, since it’s almost entirely housing and upscale retail, but out of Surrey or any of the nearby semi-rural areas? You bet. And don’t forget that at one point it was estimated that over 80% of the heroin in North America entered via the Port of Vancouver. It’s just a part of the culture of the region to be drug-positive or drug-neutral. You can thank the increasing violence relating to organized crime for a recent turn against it in the public’s view.
After three consecutive years of trying and failing to leave the city of Vancouver (to take a job in Yellowknife that didn’t work out, by dying of an undiagnosed bile duct condition which was discovered and cured by accident, by renting a paradise cottage in Penticton which was pulled out from under me at the last second), faithful readers might well ask, “So, what gives with that? How is it really so hard?”
Well, could you leave this easily?
Two words, people: No Filter.
Just a couple of jewel robbery anecdotes, the first from the Tatler magazine, which used to be the most breathtakingly glamorous and vaguely scandalous thing out there. Ah, that was a long time ago. Now it’s Town and Country, with worse teeth. Both posts inspired by this dazzling jewel robbery on the Riviera, where by tradition all dazzling jewel robberies take place.
You know, on the one hand crime=bad. On the other, COOOOOOOOL!
I don’t know why, but why not? Non-violent jewel robberies are beautiful, beautiful things. There are some great stories out of London; in one case, a big emerald stone went missing while a shifty, Arab-looking man had been looking at a tray of loose stones. They stopped him, locked the doors, called the police, and had him searched thoroughly. The entire time he loudly protested his innocence and outrage and threatened to sue them. They couldn’t find a thing, inside him or out, so they had to let him go. A week later the cleaning woman found a wad of gum under the counter where he’d been looking at the gems, with the outline of that emerald pressed into it. He had a conspirator come by later and retrieve the stone from its ingenious hiding place.
and the second story, more a piece of advice really. But thanks, Officer Friendly!
I was working at Starbucks, and one day the bank a few doors down was held up. The bank staff holed up at our store, drinking cocoa and shaking, and the cops holed up at another table to discuss the case. One went up and placed their order, and I was working bar, which gives you a chance to chat to people. The cop came up to me to pick up the drinks and he said, “Promise me something.” I said okay, because I have a thing for men in uniform, and he said, “Promise me you won’t rob a bank.”
I said OK, because that had not been in my plans anyway.
He said, “Promise me you’ll rob a grocery store instead.” All of a sudden this conversation had become MUCH more interesting. I asked him why a grocery store.
“Because if you rob a bank you’ll get, at most $1800 and a minimum of five years. If you rob one of the big grocery store chains on a Friday night, you’ll get $20,000 minimum, and a maximum of 18 months.”
Well, thank you Officer Friendly. Noted.
Make your career plans accordingly.