The latest left turn is the Chinese cyber espionage. I thank CNN for featuring this blog and how I detailed below the Chinese hacking attempts on our servers. I have been getting undo attention and a lot of hits from China.
I have come to the conclusion that my servers do not need any access from the Chinese, so I am putting in firewall rules against Chinese IP addresses. For the benefit of all, I am documenting my starting points -- ie. the IP addresses that I am blocking. Here is a partial list:
IP Range: 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
Entities: Chengdu Institute Of Meteorology, Tsinghua University
IP Range: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124
Entities: Central China Regional Network of CEInet, The State Information Center of P.R.China (sounds like Intelligence Agency to me), China Economic Information Network Corporation
IP Range: 126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52
Entities: CNCGROUP Beijing province network, China Network Communications Group Corporation
IP Range: 184.108.40.206
Entities: Nanjing University, www.nju.edu
IP Range: 220.127.116.11 - 18.104.22.168
Entities: CNC Group CHINA169 Liaoning Province Network, China Network Communications Group Corporation
IP Range: 22.214.171.124
IP Range: 126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52
Entities: CHINANET Guangdong province network
IP Range: 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
Entities: CNCGROUP Liaoning Province Network
IP Range: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124
Entities: However, Teng Information Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
IP Range: 126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52
Entities: NEW WAVE IN PEKING INFORMATION TECHNIQUE LIMITED COMPANY SHENZHEN OFFICE
IP Range: 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
Entities: Ocean University of China
I realise that this list is pathetically small, and if they were really serious about hacking, they would do it in some of their satellites, but the gesture is symbolic. The Chinese state has engaged in break and enter with attempt to steal my intellectual property, and we must curb the Red Digital Menace anyway that we can.
There is buzz in the world media today on how a Canadian Security firm called SecDev discovered that the Chinese have hacked into the Dalai Lama's computer and thousands of other in the world.
You may read about the news at the BBC site here:
or on the CNN site here:
The Chinese government officially denies that they are responsible, but they are not to be believed.
This of course is no news to me. Since our micro-payment computers went online last June, we have been under constant attack by the Chinese. The other agencies say that they do not know where the attacks came from. I know where the attacks on my machines came from. I traced the IP addresses of the attacking machines, and this is what I got:
Here are the names addresses and telephone numbers of the technical contacts that attacked my servers:
inetnum: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124
descr: Chengdu Institute Of Meteorology
descr: Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China
CER-APremarks: origin AS4538
changed: firstname.lastname@example.org 19970908
ASSIGNED NON-PORTABLEsource: APNIC
Helpdeskaddress: Room 224, Main Building
address: Tsinghua University
address: Beijing 100084, China
CNphone: +86-10-6278-4049fax-no: +86-10-6278-5933
Point of Contact for admin-cmnt-by:
MAINT-CERNET-APchanged: email@example.com 20010903
person: Dingwen Zhou
address: Chengdu Institute Of Meteorology
address: Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China
phone: +86-28-5553295 ext. 2235
changed: firstname.lastname@example.org 19970908
person: Yi Zhu
address: Chengdu Institute Of Meteorology
address: Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China
phone: +86-28-5553295 ext. 2274
changed: email@example.com 19970908
I am publishing these names and this information because the attacks are coming from a state institution and it proves that the government is behind the attacks. Hacking in the meteorlogical institute HAS to be state-sanctioned. This is criminal action that should be exposed.
These people have tried SQL injection attacks. They have scanned our ports. They have scripted attacks that last over 48 hours in duration, but they are careful enough to time them to prevent denial of service. They have tried to get into our databases, admin functions and into our ftp server.
This is a complete outrage.
I wondered what was up, and then I saw the squad car leading the prison bus.
I thought to myself that .. aha ... the Roman circus is over for another week. It was the prison bus taking the prisoners from court to her Majesty's Prison at Fox Hill, or as it is known in these parts as Fox Hell.
Prisoners here are humiliated in a public medieval fashion. They are made to wear prison stripes remniscent of a bad 1950's movie. They are herded like cattle with police officers carrying swagger sticks. In the high security wing, there are no toilets and the prisoners must carry their own slop buckets of human waste.
During rush hour, the cars are forced to the side of the road as the prison bus rips down the middle at a high rate of speed, taking its human cargo back to hell.
I caught her in the act of selling some pastries, and fed the pic into photoshop. I may paint this as well in acrylics or oil paints.
The Lovely One sometimes misses home, and buying a croissant from Julie makes her feel at home. Julie also bakes some marvelous pain chocolat or chocolate croissants. She paid the highest possible compliment to the bread lady by bursting into tears upon eating one. The pain chocolat reminded The Lovely One so much of home, that it overwhelmed her.
Julie has opened a cafe, bakery, shop and deli called Le Petit Gourmet, and we usually end up there after market for coffee and brioches for breakfast.
His diet consists almost entirely of coconut. He walks the street pushing his shopping cart full of found glass bottles, trash and coconuts. He stops by a dumpster to chop up and eat the coconuts and drink the coconut water. It is how he survives.
The other day, I decided to test out a "Good Morning" on him. He half-smiled showing a set of intensely yellow teeth, and in an erudite, polished voice remniscent of James Earl Jones, he said a hearty good morning back.
You can never judge a book by its cover.
Phone cards have saved the economy of this island nation. Tourism accounts for 75% of the economy. Tourism has fallen away since the US economic recession because 90% of all visitors that come to these shores, come from the United States. Just recently, Atlantis shed 1,500 jobs dropping from a payroll of 9,500 to 8,000 workers.
There is no social safety net, so the people are left to fend for themselves. One of the ways of making money, is to sell phone cards. Here in a developing nation, almost everyone has a cell phone. But 70% of the people do not qualify for a bank account, never mind a credit card. So the majority of cell phones are pre-paid. You buy a phone card for $5, $10, or $20 and scratch to reveal the PIN number. Enter that into your phone, and you are topped up for minutes.
The telecommunications company has a network of phonecard distributors. However they will also wholesale them to anyone who wants them. There are discounts involved, and that is how the people make money selling phone cards. They buy a $5 phone card for $3.80 and sell it for $5, making a $1.20 on each sale. The vendors stand at a busy street corner. If they can sell 4 per hour in an 8 hour day, then they make the take home pay of a maid or a gardener.
Many people who have lost their jobs, have resorted to selling phone cards. They are almost on every street corner. Even kids are selling phone cards. They stand in the center of the road at a stoplight and hold up a fistful of the cards.
The rasta pictured above has a twist. (A rasta is a Jamaican follower of the Rastafarian religion). He had a shirt embroidered with his logo. His shirt is his advertising. He also has a prime location. He stands at the stoplight at the terminus of the bridge from Atlantis. He stands there at the 4:00 PM shift change, when the 8,000 Atlantis workers change shift. On the other side of the road is the rasta peanut vendor. They probably make about $600 a day. I am thinking of growing dreadlocks and buying some phonecards.
So I eat at Subway. They have the chain here in the tropics. With Subway, you can control the amount of calories that you eat for lunch. For example, my lunch, when I choose to dine at Subway consists of roast chicken, no cheese, just veggies, salt, pepper and hot sauce.
The roast chicken is a bit dubious. It is a flat pancake like thing about 5 and a half inches long. It has fake barbeque grill marks on it. I wonder if it is pure chicken, or some concoction like I saw on the Simpsons, where a cow goes into a plant, gets melted in a blast furnace --bones, hide and all, and then mixed with stuff and molded into a meatlet. I choose the chicken bricklet because it looks like the most bang for the buck in terms of meat volume.
However, I am willing to bet that whatever the rubber chicken patty is, it isn't fattening. They have a new life-sized cardboard mockup of Jared, the super-successful dieter poster boy who ate just Subway for a year and lost 800 pounds. He is holding a pair of jeans big enough to use as a sail on the Titanic, and the caption reads "Congratulations. Keeping it off after ten years".
So when I go into Subway and order the chicken sandwich, inevitably you come to the additional items salad bar. The lettuce in the tropics, is an inferior grade of iceberg lettuce (what irony) that is shredded, browned to a colour and consistency of limp cardboard. They pile it on first, and when you ask for other good stuff, there isn't much room for the premium stuff like tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper.
Here in the tropics, the price of fresh vegetables is out of this world. Super expensive. There is no reason why it should be, because tomato and cucumber and such can be grown all year around. Just a few days ago, we had fresh corn on the cob grown in Abaco. But alas, everything is imported, expensive and past its prime as it cooks in a hot container on the docks.
So I discovered a life hack -- how to get more expensive stuff on your Subway sandwiches. What you do, is not ask for lettuce. They seem ready to plaster a pile of it on, but when they ask you what you want, start with tomato. That way you get good coverage. Go to the cucumber next. Then put the green pepper on. Green pepper is expensive here, so I tell them that I want lots. Then I go for the jalepenos, and banana peppers and black olives. Just as an afterthought, if the lettuce doesn't look too limp or too brown, I ask them to throw some on top. Finish off with salt, pepper and hot sauce, and you have a low calorie sandwich stuffed with expensive trimmings.
The nationally advertised $5 foot long is $7 here in the tropics, so I feel justified in getting my money's worth.
Next week, the life hack is how to get a lifetime supply of Splenda by going to Starbucks.
Recession? What recession?
On Sunday, an easterly blew in at 27 knots. The surf on Cabbage Beach was over five feet high. The waves were tinged with whitecaps far out into the ocean. All the while the sun was shining brightly.
I am a fan of big waves. I decided to chance the surf on my daily swim. A wave crashed into me, and I felt the undertow as I walked into the water. I dove at the next big wave. As soon as it passed me, I could feel bottom, even though at the same spot, the water is usually over my head. The next minute I was swamped as a huge roller broke over my head. It held me underwater. It almost ripped my bathing suit off. Another roller crashed as I was coming up for air. I became aware of my body going end over end and moving laterally at an amazing clip.
I gingerly tried for air, and for the moment I got some before another breaker crashed over me and lifted me up. It carried me to the shore, and I did a face plant into the beach. As I was pulling myself up, another breaker crashed, and the undertow pulled me back. The rip tipe caught me and started pulling me back to sea. Until another huge breaker spit me back on the beach.
I groggily pulled myself out of the surf. I was covered with sand. Even a dip in the pool didn't clear my scalp and hair of sand.
The ocean was an angry beast on Sunday. That same Sunday, a pair of boys, aged 9 and 10 were fishing for their supper. Many of the street urchins go hungry unless they beg or catch their own food. The fishing wasn't that good from the beach.
The boys "borrowed" a paddleboat belonging to someone else who left it tied up at the beach. Hunger makes people do desperate things. They ventured into the ocean with the 27 knot easterly blowing.
The defense force didn't find their bodies until yesterday, blown far from the safety of the beach that they left to better their luck at fishing. In pace requiescat.
Now it is time for me to do interesting inventions. The first one that I want to do, is a kiosk where you swipe your card, and it tells you how much money that you have in your account. The application would also have a banner with advertising on it, and it would be another revenue stream.
The same kiosk would also be used to transfer funds from the account portion of the card, to the tap-'n-go or RFID portion. The cards are hybrid. Not only do they have the swiperoo, but they also have the near field communication chip and antenna built in. That portion of the card actually carries electronic cash, and if you lose the card, you lose the cash.
So needless to say, I needed the software hack to read the cards. First I sent out for a magnetic stripe reader. In the civilised world, they sell for about $30, but because this is the Caribbean, we paid over $100 for it. It is pictured above.
When it came, I was pleased that it came with a USB cable, and very little else. The installation/instruction manual was about the size of a single sheet of toilet paper, and all it said was to plug it in, let Windows do its thing for a minute or two, and then open a windows command prompt (the black window thingie where you type in archaic DOS commands). Then you swipe your card, and the info automagically shows up. Sure enough, it worked according to plan, and I let out a minor Hallelujah.
So now came the part about me writing software to get the card number into my system. I wrongly surmised that there was some sort of a Serial>USB>Serial thingie going on, where the card number would come in on a COM port like a USB modem. I sweated blood and tears trying to get the so 1990's technology of modems working in this tropical paradise.
So tried googling some source code to read the com ports. The C# .Net stuff had some Serial Port software hooks, so I tried that, but my computer suddenly turned autistic and would not read a single thing.
Then I tried Googling "Magnetic Stripe Card Reader Source Code". I did get a couple of hits where one had to marshall memory bits from unmanaged dll code, converting byte streams to hex strings, and having to declare delegates and structures and all of that stuff. It sounded like a lot of mental exertion.
When I tried to compile it, I got 500 errors and I thought there has to be a better way. I was looking for a painless, quick fix, instead of having to learn first principle crap starting with the epitaxial deposition of the gallium arside on the CMOS memory chip to make a junction for the embedded transistor that switched the memory. (This is a hilariously funny geek joke. Laugh now.)
So in major desperation, I decided to find a manual online for my card reader. When you hit the brick wall, it is time for the manual, but not a second before. After all, any reasonably trained monkey should be able to figure anything out in the technical milieu.
I idly looked at the pdf manual, searching for the miracle section, where it says "Do exactly this to get to where you want to go". I almost never find those sections in manuals, but I always look for them. As I scanned the manual, I saw the words USB-HID and I kept going looking for the magical bullet. I found nothing, so I decided to actually read the manual. Nada. Sadly I closed it realising that the road to success would be largely uphill.
Then it struck me. The words USB - HID. HID stands for Human Interface Device. These are things like a mouse, joy stick and a keyboard. If this thing were truly a HID, then it would behave as if I were typing the card number from the keyboard.
I opened up Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and created a blank form. I dragged a text box from the menu, stretched it a bit, and put it on the blank form. Without writing a line of code, I ran the project, connected up the reader and swiped my magnetic stripe gift card from a major book chain box store. Here is what I got:
The number appeared automagically in the text box without a single line of code being written.
I had actually found the magic bullet miracle bit without writing a line of code. And that is how to hack magnetic stripe cards.
The US Embassy here in the islands donated some go-fasts -- cigarette racer type boats so that the police would not be outrun on the ocean when it come to drug smuggling. Drug smuggling has a long history here.
During the 1970's and 1980's, the first prime minister of these islands, Lynden Oscar Pindling, a Jamaican born national of Haitian descent who rose to head the Bahamas under the banner of the PLP party, sold out the country and the government to the Columbian cocaine cartels. The cartels, under the patronage of the government ran their private fiefdom in the Exumas -- on an island called Norman's Cay. The Pindling government colluded in the racketeering and was on the take and got rich on the dirty money.
While the PLP have been trying to reform the image of the first prime minister (to no avail) the US has gone about trying to shut down the smuggling that continues to this day. Operation OPBAT uses BlackHawk helicopters to interdict the drug runners, and they donated this fast boat to aid in the operation.
This boat is also used to prevent Haitian refugees from landing in the Bahamas. Haiti is a failed state whose denizens are starving. It is a living hell.
The boat pictured above has two stickers. The first is kind of amusing -- the "No Marijuana" symbol. The second one is both politically incorrect and highly disturbing. It is a direct slam against the Haitians. Haitians in these islands are considered subhuman by the unenlightened, and this label is in very poor taste. Unfortunately, many of the islanders here do not think so. There is very little empathy for their poorer Black brethren.
So I was walking home the other night, and there is a rubbish bin just in front of the cop shoppe. I casually glance into it as I pass by and see a police statement form. It appears to be blank:
The find becomes more sinister. There are actual notes on the back of it. One is the complete identity info on a 28 year old male. The second scrawl at the bottom says "Ulric H.... (I blurred the name) ... security check for The Cove". The Cove is the ritziest hotel in the archipelago. It is filled with celebrities. Just yesterday, the entire Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad was there, but usually, the A-List who comes to the Bahamas stays at the Cove. One of the suites goes for $20,000 per night.
I can't believe that police record blotters end up in the trash outside the police station. In a first world country, somebody's rear end on the force would be in the frying pan. Here, you get a shrug of the shoulders and a "... so what ???". Then Lieutenant Curly, Sergeant Larry and Constable Moe of the Royal Police Force go throwing pies at each other and poking each other in the eyes while walking the beat.
I post this in the event that iguana afficionados or teachers may want to participate without actually coming to the Bahamas (too bad). Click on the poster for a larger image.
Let me add some more grist for the mill. Pictured above is a Black, French-speaking lawyer named Sylvie Bordelais from Montreal Canada. She was Karla's lawyer when Karla got out of jail after serving her abbreviated sentence in a deal with the devil to convict her ex-husband. Madame Bordelais (the lawyer) has gone on to defend pedophiles and porn kings. She also denies knowing a more famous Bordelais, a Thierry Bordelais, a fellow Montrealler who happens to be married to Karla Homolka and is the putative father of her child. This is a major co-incidence of names, that most armchair detectives are not willing to brand as a coincidence.
There is some evidence to back up the fact that it is not a coincidence. Bordelais is an uncommon name. In all of Quebec, there are only three Bordelais, and one Bordelais-Moutou. Sylvie is unlisted. Of the three Bordelais in all of the Quebec phone book, one is a Renee Bordelais who lived in the Montreal suburb of Longueil where Thierry Bordelais lived.
So, making the big assumption that Sylvie Bordelais the lawyer is related to Thierry Bordelais, Karla's husband, knowing where she came from might give a clue to where Karla might be. This is where a social anthropology experiment came into play.
I live, work and play in the Caribbean. I asked my Black colleagues if just by looking at a face, they would have a clue as to where the person came from. After all, as a general rule (so they tell me, Haitians have high cheekbones), they say that they can get an idea of origin in a general sense.
I realise that this experiment is totally unscientific, but highly interesting. I asked my Black colleagues who claimed to be able to identify island of origin by looking at the face, to look at the above composites of Sylvie Bordelais. Then I asked them which island they thought that she came from. The majority said Guadeloupe, one said Martinique, and one said Haiti.
This was highly interesting because an earlier look at Caribbean telephone books (see my blog entry on "Where in the world is Karla Homolka?"), I concluded that the highest probability of a Bordelais coming from any island in the French Antilles, would be Guadeloupe.
So there you have it. Two experiments pointing to Guadeloupe.
I read how one Sun reporter tracked down Karla to Longueil. Maybe its time for him to catch a plane to Guadeloupe.
The sloop is loaded to the rafters. There is insulation atop the wheelhouse. The deck is full. There is a pile of lumber on the shore, still to be loaded. If you look carefully, the load is making the boat cant to starboard. From the rear, I could see into the cabin and galley. The galley is full of boxes. I wish them luck.
I love travelling and friends of ours are travelling. One of our island friends sent us this email:
Hope everything is just grand with all of you!!! Shelley and I sang our guts out yesterday at karaoke...we may have made total asses out of ourselves, but man-o-man, we did have a great time. Missed you there.....lots of people....lots of fun!!
Off to Rose Island tomorrow for three-four days of pure serenity.Books, swimming, walking, eating sleeping.....a real vacation and I amreally looking forward to it.
If you guys can somehow make it out onSaturday or something, although I don't know how, then we could do allof the aforesaid together!!!!!
Otherwise I see that the weather has shifted once again. I'll do a 'sun dance' in hopes of change okay??
We gotta get together plan a little for our tentative Cat Island trip!!!
Imagine spending a week on a private secluded island in the stream. Sighhhhhhhhhh.
And other friend travelling in Australia sent this:
SCENE: Andre and Jack in a Tourist Information office. Andre is watching a TV monitor showing an Aussie travelogue. Jack is doing something else.
Andre: "Gee, what a nice bird!"
Jack: (incredulously) "Iceberg? What iceberg? (true story)
So we drove on northwards through more sugar cane, some pineapple fields and mango orchards, to our most northerly destination, Cairns. Checked in and organized our trip for the next day which was to a place called Kuranda up in the rain forest.
We were to travel there via an old railway, and back by a "skyrail" which was a gondola that brought us back over the top of the tree canopy. An interesting train ride of about 1.5 hours through rain forest, past spectacular waterfalls, to Kuranda, which in its present form at least seems to exist only to service the train and skyrail pax with boutiques of aboriginal art, jewellry, Aussie hats and T shirts etc. A bit of a tourist trap you might say.
Oppressive heat and humidity didn't enhance the experience. Available walks were not that great either, but the trip back to Cairns over the top of the forest was spectacular, with two stops at interpretive centres to tell you something about what you were seeing. Nonetheless, faced with this huge diversity of beautiful trees, one felt somewhat inept at not being able to identify them.
We arrived back at Cairns to torrential rains, and learned the downside of our campground being situated so close to the RAIN forest. Dugh! In a dry period we did spot a flying fox bat which came to feed at a tree next to our camper.
Next morning we headed off to join our vessel for an 8am departure for the Great Barrier Reef. This was a a catamaran motor boat carrying 30 pax and 6 or so crew. Luckily the weather was good. After coffee and muffins en route we arrived at our first site on the reef which was a small sandy Cay with a large population of boobies! - feathered ones, honest. They nest there, and we watched a big frigate bird harassing them.
I have to explain here that this crew put an entirely different light on the risks associated with diving in the "stinger" season. They said that sure you might get little stings from little jelly fish, but the odds of getting a dangerous sting (based on historical stats) were so remote that it was not worth worring about. ( our previous crew said nothing like that) Hundreds of people swim over the reef every day in stinger season without coming to any harm.
Nonetheless they did provide better suits than the previous crew in the Whitsundays, covering both your head and your hands. They also said that if we were lucky! we might encounter a white tip reef shark which grow to about 2.5 metres but were totally harmless. (Oh sure)The first swim, over the coral around this Cay turned out to be a kind of practice dive for first time scuba divers and snorkellers.
Beginners could start out in the shallows off the beach. Coral life was great but at our next stop on the outer reef (no above water land) it was truly spectacular, without doubt the experience of a lifetime. Words are inadequate to describe the incredible beauty and diversity of the reef.
Teeming with fish of all shapes and colours, in a seascape of beautiful living corals of all kinds and colours, including huge giant clams. And indeed, while exploring one gully through the coral, a white tip shark did show up for mutual inspection. After the crew's briefing I was not a bit nervous. At one point, a school of very large blue fish about a metre long (maybe a bow headed parrot fish?) blew by me chomping on the reef and crapping as they went. Most other fish moved with less obvious purpose. All you had to do was lay still and watch. It was simply amazing.
We packed up the next morning after another night of heavy rain and headed south. Not much to report on the trip to Townsville, but the day after, we stopped at a park in a place called Hillsborough National Park on the coast. A bit of a tired old park (maybe Hamish did a job on it) but beautifully situated above a beach and bay between two headlands. And a nice swimming pool to cool off in what was still hot and humid weather. Lots of rock formations that resembled what once was molten lava, with other rocks embedded in it.
We stayed the next day to do a couple of hikes - through a mangrove swamp and through the forest. Saw lizards and crabs, and in the forest a lot of beautiful (I'm using that word a lot) butterlies. To be honest there were also a number of very interesting spiders which we were careful not to become too friendly with, given their reputation.
Also in the campground we saw a a green tree snake ( well it was in a tree and it was green). There was also a large resident population of kangaroos, kookaburras and brush turkeys.
Tonight we are back in Rockhampton, and tomorrow will head for Hervey Bay and a planned overnight excursion to Fraser Island. It has been a nice sunny day and already blessedly a bit cooler and less humid. I'll write more after Fraser Island and points south as we head for Brisbane.
Sighhhhh. Even living in paradise, its kind of hard to read this while I have to work.
The trouble with the sloops, is that they are coming from an extremely poor country and a failed state. Not only do they carry trade items such as mango, cassava, bananas and anything else that they can trade for hard currency, but they have been known to carry illicit cargo as well. Illicit cargo includes humans and drugs.
So I was at the Haitian pier, and I saw this motorboat with a cargo. The cargo was all tightly bound up in bags, and it piqued my curiosity. Some of the cargo appears to be round and fruit-like, but some of it does not.
One thing was for certain, was that I was not appreciated for being there and taking pictures.
This little wooden skiff is moored to a buoy in the harbour. It's owners who are away fishing in a bigger boat, use this skiff to get to shore after coming in from a day's fishing. The wooden boat is staying afloat. Staying afloat is the theme today.
For one, tourism rose by over 8% in January. That is huge good news. This is reflected by sales of the Lovely One's photo CD. If you click on the tag "unique screensaver", you will see the blog entry on the Lovely One's business venture. She assembled a photo CD/Screensaver/ picture album of 101 stunning souvenir photos of these islands. They have now started to sell.
We are making good progress in our micropayments company, and all in all, everything and everybody is staying afloat. Life is good.
Here we are in spring break, and THEY are here. The hordes. The multitudes of party animals, or as the locals call them, the breakers. For them it is party, party, party. The beaches are full of them. Nubile young bodies abound. Older pathetic thirty-year old bodies abound. Desperate ones of both sexes with the best of youth past them are desperate for a hookup. Those who are in the prime of their youth are wasting it.
Cheap booze galore flows as fast as the urine. Drunkeness is a sacrament. The locals see them as a cash cow or as a chance to have sex with drunken young girls. I don't mind them being here because it is good for the economy. What I do hate is that it interferes with my sleep.
The Booze and Cruise boats cruise the harbour at night, late into the night. I can hear the music through the closed doors and the air conditioner running. They used to end at 9:00PM, but now they run until there are no more passengers.
I have a fantasy that I got from a Bruce Cockburn song ... "If I had a rocket launcher". I fantasize about mounting the weapon on my shoulder and blowing the Booze and Cruise out of the water at midnight. I even re-wrote the words to the Bruce Cockburn song:
I want to silence every speaker -- at least I've got to try
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, ear drums echo and fry,
If I had a rocket launcher...Some son of a bitch would die
Just recently, it was pointed out that this is the house that John Steinbeck used when he came to the Bahamas to write in the 1950's. This house is on the corner of Moseley Lane, the same lane where my office is located.
I hope that some of the powers of writing magic rubs off on me as I pass this house.
Crabs are scavengers. They have a way of finding dead things and eating them. What what you do if you saw this land crab trying to get into your garbage?
You would almost need a gun!
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So today, the best newspaper in the Bahamas, the Tribune had a very short article on the arrest of Howard K Stern. The article is brief enough to quote. This is the text:
MEDIA REPORTS last night alleged that Howard K Stern would be turning himself over to police in connection with allegations he illegally obtained prescription drugs for the late Anna Nicole Smith.. Stern has reportedly denied any wrongdoing.
Smith, who made headlines in the Bahamas after the death of her son in Doctors Hospital and photos of her with then Cabinet Minister Shane Gibson appeared in the Tribune, died in February 2007, after being found unresponsive in a Florida hotel. She was 39.
In April that year, the Bahamas was again the center stage as her former boyfriend Larry Birkhead was granted custody of her daughter Dannielyn.
Since the Tribune had little time to prepare for this, I would imagine that there will be more coverage tomorrow.
Interestingly enough, here in the Bahamas we have a gossip tabloid called "The Punch" and they were reporting last week that the disputed mansion "Horizons" that Stern and Anna Nicole Smith were squatting in, was $7,000 in arrears for the electricity bill, and the bill was sent to the estate of Nicole Smith for payment.
The circus never ends.
My problems were all solved in a flash yesterday. We had added "hunt group" to our phone lines. That means that if a line is busy, it goes to the next free line. It is done at the exchange level at the telephone company headquarters.
It turns out that after the first ring, they were forwarding all of our lines to some imaginary number. After the call forward was taken off, everything worked perfectly.
Now I am getting excited. You will read about us in the newspaper. It is all systems go for our major launch.
Walking to work over the harbour bridge is now hot work, and I generally arrive at work in a sweat. When I swim the buoy line at Cabbage Beach, although the water is coolish, I warm up as the swim the length of the beach. Flowers have exploded everywhere, and even the bouganvillea is blooming like mad again.
The biggest single change is that on some nights, we turn on the air conditioner so that we have a comfortable sleep. However the evenings are still the perfect weather, and tonight, like last night, the Lovely One and I had a magnificent meal under the moonlight with our patio laterns burning bright. It won't be long before it will be too hot to do this. To every season, turn, turn, turn.
This reminded of the time when I used to read Russian Literature. As far as I am concerned two unsung literary giants of Russian literature are the twins Arkady and Boris Strugatski. Their best work in my opinion, is "Monday Begins on Saturday". In one of their stories, the hero is travelling through Russia and he is stopped by the police and does not have his travel papers. The cops want to know where he lives, and he doesn't want trouble down the road, so he is going to tell a geographical lie. He names the village where his grandmother was born in Siberia. The cop asks him what street, and he replied Lenin Street, because every town in Russia usually had a Lenin Street. It is much the same in Cuba. One could get away with a geography lie by citing Jose Marti Street.
This got me to thinking of other possible geography lies. In the US of A, the geographical lie would be Main Street. Almost every town has a Main Street. In Canada, almost every city and town has a Terry Fox Drive named after the Canadian hero. In the Caribbean here, you can never go wrong with Bay Street. In Latin America, everywhere you go, you get an Avenida Cinco de Mayo, or the Fifth of May Avenue.
The only geographic lie that I want to tell, is that I live "on the beach".
According to Wikipedia, the venom in the bites of this creature ranges from mild discomfort to life threatening. In the Amazon basin, centipedes grow big enough to hunt bats.
The Lovely One asked me to get rid of this dead one on the patio. It was covered with a million ants who were having a huge al fresco luau on the carcass.
The Lovely One hates butt ugly things (but has a tolerance for me).
Abaco (the island in this archipelago where it is grown) Neem Oil. To help the body heal. For Healthy Skin.
Neem Oil: Our superior quality neem oil is pressed by us from the seed of the fruit grown on our own certified organic farm on Abaco Island.
Neem oil quickly penetrates the skin to help retain needed moisture, soothe skin, protects against irritants and germs and helps reduce inflammation. Traditionally it has been used for treating skin conditions such as (the heartbreak of ) psoriasis and eczema, dry itchy skin, scabies and rashes. As a natural antibacterial and antifungal it proves effective in treating skin imbalances like athletes foot, toe fungi, and ring worm. Regular applications of Neem Oil helps restore and maintain healthy vibrant skin.
Then they go on with a list of their soaps, creams, salves and lotions and how to use them. On the back they talk some more about Neem.
The Healing Powers of Neem. The Neem tree, a botanical cousin of mahogany, is native to India and Burma. It has almost a magical effective on chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, scabies, acne, wrinkles, skin cancer (huh?), herpes (huh again?) and dermatitis. As well as doing wonders for chronic skin conditions, it is just as beneficial for the treatment of burns, diaper rash, sunburns as well as helping to heal simple cuts and abrasions.
So I read all of this, and decide voila -- here is the magic bullet for my skin condition. I have a chronic red patch of skin near my nose, as well as a zit that keeps recurring. Here is the before picture:
As you can see, the disease is highly debilitating, and it affects my ability to go out in public. I have become a zit and patchy skin hermit, afraid to show my horribly disfigured face to the public. I was thinking of getting a face transplant. However I bought the Neem Oil instead. It came in a bottle like this that held exactly one ounce:
Neem oil is incredibly viscous and bright bright yellow. Here is a shot of what the oil looks like:
I put a copious amount on my face. It has a rather strange odour -- sort of a cross between freshly harvested hay mixed with rotten wombat urine. My oily smelly face totally enamoured me to the Lovely One.
As you can see, the thirty dollars per ounce treatment was a huge success. The patchy red area is a little redder than before and the zit is less pronounced. The woman who sold it to me says that it increases the blood flow and the healing process has begun. I should be cured by the time that I reach the age of 80.
I have not given up on all natural cures though. I am sure that I can cure my horrible skin condition. Next week I am going to try an application of organic battery acid.
This particular one says "Divine Favour". The religious theme is big. I often see "Chosen One", "Washed by the Blood", "Lamb of God", "With God" and such. There was a real interesting religious phrase that I have never heard before -- "Jehovah Shammah -- Never Shall you desert or leave me." It is the Hebrew transliteration for "The Lord is there".
And then we have the macho ones like: "Stone Cold" (presumably named after the wrestler), "Just Business","Goatman", "Trilogy of Fitness", "Aint Skeered" and "Hands Off".
The ladies get in on it as well. Today, I saw "Mystery Lady", "Nubian Princess" and "No Weapon".
The absolute funniest one that I saw was "Respect the Sentra" -- on a piddly little Nissan Sentra.
I guess that one of the reasons why we do not see these up north, is that the windshield ice scrapers would take them off.
What blew me away with this boat, is that she can turn on a dime. When I snapped her pic, she was pirouetting on her midline axis.
We took the Bo Hengy to Harbour Island, an out island on the Atlantic rim and it only took an hour and a half as she flew over the waves. In spite of her size, she has an amazing shallow draft, so she had no trouble getting into Spanish Wells and around Devil's Backbone around the north end of Eleuthera. I rode most of the trip on the deck with the wind in my hair and it was fabulous.
Until I moved to the tropics, I used to get itchy feet around airports. Now not so much, however whenever I see the Bo Hengy, I get the urge to island hop in this archipelago of seven hundred islands in the sun.
- "Potcake Says: Haitains gat all the Dope"
Cryptically, he is adding marginalia to the shopping cart ... er mobile business signs. For example on the top of this sign he has "F. Block", and his addendum at the bottom reads "Better Dis at Home". I am not sure what Better Dis at Home means, but it could mean, it would be better if the Haitians were home -- and that is where I get the xenophobia from.
Here is a canonical list of the Potcake epigrams that I have observed:
- "Potcake Says: Yes We Can !"
- "Potcake Says: You here what happen A? I here you broke."
- "Potcake Says: How is your Bank Book?"
- "Potcake Says: Erryone know dat you broke."
- "Potcake Says: What's Cooking? Got-Layoff?"
- "Blue Pills -- What-Ever!"
- "Potcake Says: This Sweet Christmas make Love, not War. Make a baby."
- "Potcake Says: The Ants have more sense an you this Christmas"
- "Potcake Says: It's Christmas Time. Try to be nice."
- "Potcake Says: You broke for Christmas too?"
- "Potcake says: Even though you broke, keep on smiling!"
- "Potcake Says: Not To Day."
- "Potcake says: Everyone want to ga a tip (Money, money, Money)"
- "Potcake says: Who gat you broke?"
- "Potcake says: Alcohal made from Love and War (Sex and Fight)."
- "Potcake says: Smart People Feed Dumb People"
- "Potcake says: You were made by Sweet-talk."
- "Potcake says: Cheap People work you for nothing."
- "Potcake says: Who is your daddy?"
- "Potcake says: The debil is here!"
- "Potcake Says: I Am Mad as Hell and Not going to take it".
After speaking to the reporter, my guess is that the newspaper was just regurgitating rumours from the internet that go back to 2006.
After getting emails from interested parties, I am convinced that Luka Magnotta story , the bi-sexual porn star being her boyfriend is a red herring.
I also tend to believe that Thierry Bordelais (pictured above), the putative father of her boy child could have spirited her away to the Caribbean to live a quiet life. After all, Karla speaks French almost flawlessly after 12 years of incarceration in a French Canadian prison.
So where in the world is Karla Homolka? The press say that she has moved to the Antilles with Bordelais. In a previous blog entry, I had speculated that Bordelais might have been Haitian. The sole reason is that Haiti is a exporter of people, and there are huge numbers (6 figures) of Haitians in Canada. That theory may be wrong.
Many of my hits come from a web sleuth forum. I can see the referring pages and it is a Google search term. Usually the search terms are "Karla Homolka Antilles", "Thierry Bordelais" Antilles", "Leane Teale French Island" etc etc.
I mentioned that the Antilles is a diverse place, and as a Caribbean resident, I don't even hear the word Antilles. It is always the name of the specific island like Saint Martin, or Martinique. So the trick is to narrow down where Thierry Bordelais came from, and Karla might be there.
As luck would have it, the other day, I found myself sitting in a room full of Caribbean phone books. I immediately went to all of the Antilles islands and looked up Bordelais, Teale, Homolka and any other permutation and combination. Here are the results:
In the Antilles island of Martinique, there were 16 Bordelais listed, no Teales and no Homolka. On the Antilles island of Saint Martin, there was one Bordelais, no Teales and no Homolka. On the Antilles island of Guadeloupe, there were 80 Bordelais. There are other scattered Bordelais, for a total of about 120 entries througout the French Caribbean.
Presuming that Bordelais and Homolka went back to live near his folks in a friendly country that he knows, and numerically the Bordelais are really prevalent in Guadeloupe, if I were a detective, I would start a search for Karla in Guadeloupe.
If you want to see all of the postings about Karla Homolka on this blog, please click on this link:
As I was swimming, I saw my friend Evan approach. He and I usually swim on golf ball beach at Snorkellers Reef, but since I have taken to distance swimming, I go along the long beach. Evan waved me over, and gave me two golf balls for my collection that he had found in the ocean.
One of them was above, and marked with the word "NAMASTE". It was an incredible omen, and it lifted my spirits. Namaste is a yoga term, and it can be translated in the following ways:
- "The light in me honors the light in you.
- "I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me."
- "I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace.
- When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."
- "I salute the God within you."
- "Your spirit and my spirit are ONE."
- "That which is of the Divine in me greets that which is of the Divine in you."
- "The Divinity within me perceives and adores the Divinity within you."
- "All that is best and highest in me greets/salutes all that is best and highest in you."
- "I greet the God within."
So the message to me was delivered by a golf ball. The problem with all of this is karma. The message was good karma for me, but bad karma for the golfer. His golf ball was in the ocean. Oh the ying and yang irony!
It appears that roots grow out of the trunk as the trunk grows higher, creating a dense mat of branches that are actually roots. I have never seen this before.
This is my Sunday night wrap up.
Item 1. As I write this, my armpits are in excruciating pain. They have been burned by the combination of seawater and Axe Deodorant.
The Lovely One likes the aroma of Axe deodorant on me. I haven't shaved for a couple of days, and this morning I cleaned up and put the stuff on. Usually I put on Old Spice Sport deodorant, mainly because I can get a brick of it the size of a cement block for a couple of bucks. However, when I kissed the Lovely One, she said that I smelled nice, and that is essentially why I did it.
A little later in the afternoon after we got back from the yacht (see entry below), she went for a siesta, and I went to swim Cabbage Beach. About a quarter of the way down the beach, my armpits started to burn, and I remembered the wierd chemical reaction between Axe deodorant and seawater. By the time that I finished the swim, it felt like someone had sandpapered my armpits. The feeling was a little alleviated by dunking in chlorine water in the pool, but the pits still ache and are raw.
Item 2: The parafychologist update (see blog entry a couple down). This spiritual reader who calls himself a parafychologist advertised that he could solve all of my troubles. I sent him an email asking what a parafychologist was. I got no answer. I tried phoning all of the numbers including the cell phone number. They all kicked over to a voice mail system. How can a parafychologist have answers to life, when he doesn't answer a phone. Answers indeed. Try the phone!!!!
Item 3: I am starting a charitable foundation. This all came from this morning's breakfast conversation with the Lovely One. We were talking about the difference between men and women and how it is still a man's world. I pointed out to the Lovely One, that women held the power, because men chase feminine pulchritude. I mentioned casually that women should hold men hostage in exchange for what men want. She said that woman do not operate that way. As a matter of fact, she stated that that is the way that men operate.
I casually pointed out that almost everything that men do in regards to how they treat women, can all be traced back to the fragile male ego. Then it struck me, that this in fact is a worldwide epidemic -- men with fragile male egos. Hence the foundation. I will call it BOFF ME. It stands for Benevolent Organisation For Fragile Male Egos. The Lovely One thinks that the only people that will send money are women. Please leave a comment if you want to make a donation. I can't issue a tax receipt because we live in a tax haven, but I promise that I will spend the money wisely to compensate for fragile male egos .... mostly mine ....
And so it goes. Back to work Monday tomorrow. I am kind of spoiled with the super yacht thing, and I find myself wanting to reach for the brass ring so that I can live that lifestyle. Unfortunately, when can't reach for the brass ring yet -- my armpits are on fire.
This shot below is of the main deck and planking:
It has three bedrooms below, a master bedroom on the main deck and a mate's quarters with its own bathroom on the main deck as well. It has a spacious galley, and each bedroom has its own shower. The master has a jacuzzi and a sauna. The rear deck has a hot tub which you can see covered up in the pic above. She makes her own fresh water with reverse osmosis.
for operating costs, it is about 10% of the original value of the boat. So this thing costs about $700,000 a year to operate which includes fuel, staff, dockage, repairs, insurance, registration etc, etc, etc. During the high fuel prices, it cost $30,000 to fill the diesel tank.
The Lovely One thinks that these things leave too high a carbon footprint. Me -- I'd like to have a shot at the lifestyle for a while. Except that the owner of the boat has spent exactly five days on her in the last year.
Destiny's webpage with more photos is here: