Did You Know? ~ Warrant

In today’s installment of “Did You Know?”, we’ll take a brief look at the definition of a warrant.

A warrant is a writ (a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction) issued by an authorized magistrate to an officer, requiring the officer to arrest the offender or named suspect, and bring them before a proper magistrate to be dealt with according to the law. 

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Now you know!

Word Of The Week~Circumlocution

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Circumlocution.

Wow, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? It means “talking in circles.” It’s when you want to discuss something, but don’t want to make any direct reference to it, so you create a way to get around the subject.

Why would anyone do that, you might be wondering. To avoid discussing a specific thing without actively looking like you’re avoiding it. To buy oneself time to come up with an answer. Out of guilt, a lack of education or any of a hundred reasons I suppose.

I see it as a great tool in fiction. It can be an indication of some serious stuff happening in a suspect’s mind, and thereby shape how an investigator chases down what they believe to be a lead in their case. It could work to muddy the case against someone, creating all kinds of trouble along the way. It could also be used to point suspicion at the wrong party.

It’s a great word.

Do you have a word you really like? Let me know in the comments below!

 

The Enduring Mystery of Tom Thompson’s Death

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I’ve mentioned Tom Thompson on this blog before and his connection to a near-ghost town in Algonquin Park. 

Tom was born in Claremont, Ontario in 1877 and by 1905 was working as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. His friends and co-workers encouraged him to explore a part of the province known as ‘New Ontario’, the part of the province lying between Georgian Bay and Ottawa, by canoe. He fell in love with the land and returned often to Algonquin Park to paint scenes he saw there. He also encouraged his friends to come and paint as well. 

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Tom Thompson, ‘Drowned Land’ 1912

Tom was an avid outdoorsman, despite being employed The Photo Engraving Co. in Toronto. Many artists during that time needed to have ‘day jobs’ to support them while they painted in their spare time. But in September of 1912, Tom and his friend W.S Broadhead spent two months in the wild region of ‘New Ontario’. A journalist interviewed them for an article in the Owen Sound Sun that was printed on Sept 27th of that year. What follows is an excerpt from the article that captures perfectly the wildness of the region back then.

‘Wolves are plentiful all through the Reserve and Mr. Broadhead was fortunate enough to be within about five feet of one, a splendid specimen of the Canadian timber wolf and of which he got a photograph. Deer and bear are also plentiful and ducks and partridge are in abundance. The fishing was not very good although the two young men got some fine speckled trout in Clear Lake. In the upper waters of the Hudson Bay only pike are to be caught and the trout and bass are a minus quality there.’

Thompson is recognized across Canada as an important artist, even though he was only active as a ‘creative’ painter for about five years. Although he had not sold many works by the time of his death, his reputation quickly began to grow soon thereafter. Is he more famous posthumously than he was alive? Many people believe so.

In the spring and summer of 1917, he was in Algonquin Park attempting to produce one sketch a day, so that he might show others the many faces of the park throughout the seasons. In a letter dated July 7th, 1912 mailed from Mowat, Ontario to Dr. James McCallum, he reported, 

I am still around Frasers and have not done any sketching since the flies started. The weather has been wet and cold all spring and the flies and mosquitos much worse than I have seen them any year and the fly dope doesnt have any effect on them. This however is the second warm day we have had this year and another day or so like this will finish them. Will send my winter sketches down in a day or two and have every intention of making some more but it has been almost impossible lately. […] Have done some guiding this spring and will have some other trips this month and next with probably sketching in between…’

On July 12th, mere days later another letter was written to Dr. McCallum by J.S Fraser.

Tom left here on sunday about one o’clock for a fishing trip down the lake and at three oclock his Canoe was found floating a short distance from my place with both paddles tied tight in the canoe also his provision were found packed in the canoe. The Canoe was up side down We can find no trace of where he landed or what happend to him Everything is being done that can be done his brother arrived this morning Will let you know at once if we find him.

Yours Truly

S. Fraser

What happened? That’s a blog post for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Show Me Your Ways! ~ A Review

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I enjoyed this book, not only for its anecdotal feel but the tips and suggestions for living lighter on the land.

We all need to leave less of a carbon footprint, but often, many of us have no idea just how to do that. The author provides suggestions for reducing one’s trash, being less reliant on plastic-based food preservation items (which is tough!) and how to think about the places we live in.
She also gives up intimate glimpses of her own life and how she changed her way of thinking so that she could be a positive role model for her grandchildren. She talks about cows, knowing her steak, and his dad. She talks about having a closer relationship with the trees that surround her home, and how intense the dark is out in the bush. She discusses the folly of expecting to be able to eat watermelon in January as well, something I didn’t give thought to until I read this book.

There are wonderful photos of the wild animals that visit her, drool-worthy recipes (many with photos) and guidance on how and why to cut white sugar out of our diets. There are so many pearls of wisdom, but this is one of my favourite lines,
Change scares the shit out of people

So true. So read this book, and the changes we all need to make in our lives will be less scary.

Can you name one way you might reduce your carbon/environmental footprint? Shout out in the comments section below!

Forensic Did You Know?

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Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

 

Precautionary acts involving physical evidence are behaviors committed by an offender before, during, or after an offense that are consciously intended to confuse, hamper, or defeat investigative or forensic efforts for the purposes of concealing the identity of the perpetrator and/or his connection to the crime, or even the crime itself. They include disposal of the body, clipping victim’s fingernails or removing their teeth or fingers to prevent identification, cleaning up the blood at the scene, picking up shell casings—essentially anything that changes the visibility, location, or nature of the evidence.

And now you and I have both learned something new today!

 

(Fact above attributed to the textbook, ‘Criminal Profiling, Fourth Edition’)

What Can Anthropology Teach Authors?

tourist attraction of a place

Photo by Kong Ruksiam on Pexels.com

Cultural Anthropology is the study of human cultures, beliefs, practices, values, ideas, technologies, economies and other domains of social and cognitive organization, and it has a lot to teach authors. This occurred to me the other day while I was knitting. To understand, you need a little background.

I, along with a friend, manage a group of crafters that have wonderful imaginations. We imagine that we are all students at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, a la Harry Potter and Hogwarts. Hogwarts creator, J.K Rowling, invented Ilvermorny, but she’s never said much about it, leaving us free to take our version of the school in wonderful new directions. On Ravelry (an enormous crafting-oriented website), there are other “schools” that are magic and crafting related, but we’ve taken our Ilvermorny in a direction that none of them have. We’re injecting a lot of realist education theories and practises into Ilvermorny. The one that concerns us today is the concept of “Majors”.

For those who may not know, a Major is simply a specific subject that students can specialize in while aspiring to a degree. At Ilvermorny, one of the five degrees that our students can pursue is a ‘Cultural Anthropologist Specialty’. The Majors program is a pet project of mine, so I’ve spent a lot of time putting it together. As I worked, anthropology began to look more and more interesting. So naturally, I fell down the internet rabbit hole, as we sometimes do. When I came up for air and coffee, I was struck with the realization that this field was what I could see myself doing in an alternate universe, you know if family dynamics, money, education and all kinds of other barriers weren’t in play. Friends, I honestly got chills.

So what does this have to do with my opening statement? I’m a writer, one stuck in countless edits and rewrites, but a writer all the same. So after I emerged from that rabbit hole, I got to wondering…what does the field have to offer writers? Further, can one study anthropology without the cost? The answer to my first question is easier than to the second. Writers, most especially in speculative fiction, create entire cultures. Those that are more easily visualized are the ones more developed in the writer’s mind, the ones with an economy, religion, social structure, and so on. Instead of relying on twenty or a hundred questions, we writers could learn a lot from anthropological studies already done. In my case, that means that my characters on New Olympus are currently in need of some more culture. Like, a lot more. It’s not really fair to compare a culture only developed within a few hundred years to an indigenous culture thousands of years in the making, but in a side by side comparison, I can see where my New Olympians are lacking. So I begin to get an idea of what I need to study in anthropology to bring my New Olympians more fully to life. To begin to bring them to the level of Tolkien’s ancient races of Elves and Hobbits. And isn’t that what many speculative fiction writers quest for? To create characters that will be remembered a hundred years from now alongside Tolkien’s? Well…it is for me.

 

Next time, what can I learn from comparison? Quite a lot apparently!