Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Jack The Ripper... Is the Case Really Closed?

I'm not sure why my curiosity pulls my interests to such macabre subjects, but the horrific crimes of Jack the Ripper have never been solved as to who actually was the Ripper.

Until now. Or, at least we're to believe.

I bought this book about a week ago and I've been reading it with avid curiosity and interest.
Patricia Cornwell is the author of the internationally acclaimed Dr. Kay Scarpetta crime series. In this book she has revealed who she feels is Jack the Ripper, using all her knowledge and spending $$ on bringing in other experts in various fields.

I have to admit she has done a wonderful job of eliminating all of the other possible people who were thought of as suspects. Either they weren't in the area at the time of certain murders, or, in the case of The Duke of Clarence, he was--well, to me sounds as though he was slightly mentally challenged.

These murders all happened in the most disgusting places in London, the "East End" where just about anything happened and did. Murder wasn't new to this area of Whitechapel, however, these murders were unheard of. They were horrific and disfiguring. It's as if a lunatic had struck these women of ill repute.

Cornwell contends that Jack the Ripper was an artist named Walter Sickert was behind these murders, and she puts for quite a theory. Other than the artwork, she points to various Ripper letters with more doodlings than you'd think would be, or should be on a Ripper letter. In solving the cases, there is very little to go on. However, I'll say the jury is out on this for me. I have yet to finish the book, and for other reasons I'm not going to say I agree or disagree with her finger pointing at an artist. Much of the evidence could point to him, since he kept a lot of "secret" rooms, and he disappeared for long periods, where no one knew where he was. Not even his wife, or friends.

Let's examine the art

Cornwell points to the art of Sickert to make the suggestion that these paintings are oddly similar to the murdered victims. Just for the record, Sickert was quite an impressionist. Bold colors and lines are part of the impressionist's form. Below is just one of many paintings he did. He was quite good, for impressionism--not exactly my cup of tea, but then again each his own. As an artist I can understand it better than Cornwell, who began writing as a reporter, then worked in a Chief Medical Examiner's office of Virginia and then published "Postmortem" and the rest is history, as they say.

Walter Sickert’s painting Sickert’s Nuit d’ete – or Summer Night – evokes victim Mary Kelly’s death bed scene

The above is a strange angle for the pose. But possibly that was the artist being quirky. But do note that around the neck there is a string of pearls. Is it merely a string of pearls? Or does it hide the slash at the neck? This is The Ripper's "ha-ha", taunting, states Cornwell. Cornwell has explained the Ripper cut the throats of his victims from behind, first, in order to kill them, and to keep from getting blood all over himself. Then he went to town on other parts of the body. Police records have shown that he would disembowel the woman, and take a souvenir--usually her uterus.

She has learned that Sickert also suffered from some sort of deformity of his penis (you'd have to read about this for yourself), which may have given him pretty much grist for the mill, so to speak.

Sickert’s painting Putana a Casa shows a prostitute with bizarre black brush strokes on her face, which are eerily similar to the savage cuts on the postmortem picture of Catherine Eddowes’ face

The above painting, Cornwell claims she finds the black slashes on this woman's face somewhat disturbingly not unlike those slashes to a Ripper victim named Catherine Eddows. I've seen the pictures of both this one and the victim in the book. Above I only see the artist using black as the shadow. Very dramatic, and somewhat dreary. I'm not seeing what she's seeing.

More if you have interest in this:

Here is an article from The Sun about Cornwell's investigation into these murders. WARNING about some of the photos--there's one that particularly gruesome. Plus there's a video--not gruesome, but interesting as well.

There is another interesting article and this is for her newest writing about her investigations into Sickert (hah, what an appropriate name for a sick murderer such as the Ripper). This is called "A New Ripper Mystery: Why Patricia Cornwell won't stop hunting him"

I'm not quite finished with this book, "Portrait of a Killer", which was written in 2002. I must say she does a very thorough job of giving you the facts, and gives a good description of London and the times during 1888. The police, of course, were baffled, and she points out that forensic and crime labs and so forth were not even a dream. They were only just getting to fingerprints at the time. But this guy was clever, he knew how not to get caught.

As for me, I'm only partially convinced by some of the things she's brought up. I hope to get my hands on her second book, which was published this year. There was also one called "Chasing the Ripper" prior to all these.

Product DetailsRipper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert [Kindle in Motion] by [Cornwell, Patricia]

So, if this is of any interest to you, go for it. Like I've said, I just have a morbid curiosity. My murder mysteries will always have something to do with murder. I just won't put the gruesome parts on the page.

One of my books, Trill, did deal with a mother and son psychopath team, and I nearly forget about this, until this morning when it came up in my editing the 7th book in the series, Interlude.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Because I Can

Hi, all. Well, I've begun my second week off from work for the summer. Feels like longer, somehow. Maybe because I've gotten a lot done. I worked on the garden, and hard to believe it was 80's last week and we put in the window air conditioner, but had to take it out again as it got cold. We had highs in 40's last 2 days!

Since the weather turned bad, I turned to my novel(s), and got the sixth one in Sabrina Strong series finished! (Yay), and because this one has such a cliff-hanger, every time I finish it, I have to read on to the next one, and I do believe others who are fans of the series will HAVE to have the next one. So, I'm going to try and get the 7th one done this year as well, because I think it will be a one-two punch in sales. I don't see any reason I shouldn't get it ready for my publisher now, rather than waiting. Wait for what?

I've got so many interests, gardening and writing are just two. The garden is an extension of my need to be with nature. Maybe because I'm a Virgo? That's an Earth sign. But my writing is that creative side where my fantasies and intellect are both explored and allowed to become something I can visualize--if only on paper.

I'm not one of those people who sits at their computer or I-phone and go on-line to try and drum up sales at facebook sites. I find that to be a waste of time. I don't know how those people [who do] get anything done in a day. I mean is this gadget in their hands all the time? I've got a house to clean a husband to feed, and a dozen other little things that need my attentions throughout the day. [I had to stop here and take care of laundry, breakfast and dishes] Not only that I find the use of gadgets somewhat annoying. People aren't communicating with their mouths any more. They expect you to text them. I told Dennis, when we heard that his sister's children won't call her and expected her to text them, instead, I'd never put up with that. They don't want to speak to me, then fine (a good thing I have no children). I see it on the NIU campus all day long. When someone makes that phone so important to them that they can't look up and see a 12 ton bus coming at them, and I have to step on the breaks, that's really ridiculous.

So. No. I refuse to be part of this technology era. I'm not bending and if my sales suffer, so be it. I'd rather enjoy life to the fullest on this planet filled with animals and birds, flowers and such.

One of many toads that live in my gardens, eating bugs
You never know what you might find if you just open your eyes!
Deer that come grazing through our yard. If you aren't looking out the window while they're here, you'll miss them!
Well, that's all for now. Hope you remember to look out at the birds or flowers today. Just sit outside and enjoy nature in a park or if you have a nice backyard. Try to just not be on your devices for five minutes you might be surprised what you hear or see!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Garden

This spring has been, to put in mildly, putting a damper on activities of clean-up and working the ground for plants. But things have dried off nicely this week. It was good to also be free of the job (for the summer months), and direct my energies toward a couple of new flower gardens.

The above is an area that my husband and I cleaned up last year. We cut out a lot of trees and brush, leaving the older trees in place. So, now I'm working on this spot, and have gotten what I want in for now.

Above is a lupine, very mature and it wanted to go into the ground, but alas, I became sick in between having dug this one up and what with rain and really cold temps, it didn't get done. More on that later.

Above is a "zero turn" mower made by X-Mark. This one has a smaller deck, I believe it's 5 feet wide. My husband uses one like this for "trimming" around borders etc. in the park. His larger mower--70" deck--he does the larger areas, which the largest one will take him two days to mow. 
Anyway, he showed me how to drive this one. Note the nice little wagon on the back. It carries a lot more than my wheelbarrow.

About two weeks ago my aim was to work on this area underneath the pines out back.

I need to tell you about this incredible looking tool. It is what you use to pop dandelions up, instead of trying to get the whole root, which now they've discovered you only need to get just underneath the ground. And this tool is definitely a wonderful invention and gets up ANY hard to pull weed.

Here are my other tools which I used to cut away branches of the pine trees (and others, when I need to).

And here is a faster way of getting the job done. Unfortunately this saw didn't want to work.
Back to the hand tools.

This area took me most of the day to dig out these annoying weeds beneath the trees. The deer have no interest in them, unfortunately.

That's me. See weeds to the right? Those are the ones I was after.
Below you can see a better picture of how large they were.

Once we were done, we decided, since it was cool, to build a fire and...
 Cook some 'dogs. Note my husband's firebuilding technique is not your typical "tee-pee" style. He calls it "log cabin". This sort of fire will last through rain, snow and hail. I've seen it when we camped in the Rockies. I kid you not, this is the very best way to build a long lasting fire.
My next objective, and one of the spots which you see from our kitchen window, and made me cringe every time I looked at it. The water tower has been here as long as the house--over 100 years. Maybe longer, but I don't know. It's the only one of its kind in our county.

You can see how it needs attention. A mulberry keeps growing up around the grape vine--that's that large snake-like thing growing up on right hand side of the base. Grape vines grow very quickly. My husband happens to like it, so it stayed.

More on this clean-up in a later post.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Snot isn't Sexy

Hey, guys. I've been sick. Actually last week I was down with the mother-of-all colds. My husband got it and gave it to me. His work mates had it, and I've traced it back to one of their wives who goes to a gym regularly (and knew she'd gotten it from the sick people coughing all over the equipment). The worst breeding grounds for germs are a gym and a day care. After that it's other schools, and should you think you'd like to enjoy a buffet, may I remind you that EVERYONE just touched those spoons, etc.

This cold goes like this. You get a sore throat, and it might last 1-2 days. You have an accompanying cough which has a signiture of a long, drawn out first cough and then just coughing. You may split a gut coughing. Fortunate for me, I was doing core and ab tightening training, so I had no adverse reactions.

The second week, you are not out of the woods, yet. You are still coughing. I'm at the end of my second week, and have the lovely snot thing going on. You know, where you think you've got it all and it's like somewhere a mile deep. (sorry if that grosses some people out).

My husband had it start about 3 weeks ago, and still has a cough, as do the other guys and the man's wife had it for a month, went to a doctor and still had the cough. There's nothing you can do. It is the COLD FROM HELL.

And I've got this voice that sounds like I've been a chain smoker for life. I said to my driving pal, "Thanks, you mean I sound like a bar fly?" har har har.

And, in the mean time, spring is here and I've only begun working on the transplanting and so forth. We saw some asparagus plants in containers about 3 weeks ago, and decided to get them. Little did we know both the sickness and the stupid rain (and frigging cold!), would keep us from doing any digging out there. This week we began on the bed, which I want raised and get the soil just right. These new plants, I've read, don't tolerate any sort of weeds, so we've gotta get this just right if we want asparagus in the spring, after next year. I had to transplant these into larger pots, meanwhile. But they are putting up little thin sprouts all the time, so they don't mind being on the porch for now.

When time, I'll post a little bit more and maybe with some pictures of what I'm up to.

All for now.

Chickens lay eggs, and so do Turtles

For those of you who don't know my husband is park ranger and one of his main jobs is mowing. He has a large deck (72") Toro Zero T...