Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 207

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 207

the Illinois speed traps were sneakily placed, while the unlucky deer was spending his evening hours chasing after a doe.

Speed Trap

“We will race back to see how things are shaking in Chi Town,” Race rhymes with Ace.

Constance rhymes with constant, “Let’s get back in one piece.”Deer Crossing

This time Highway 20 will see them back to home base, but not before acquiring two unwanted speeding tickets and colliding with an amorous White Tail buck; the Illinois speed traps were sneakily placed, while the deer was spending his evening hours chasing after a doe. The Buick Roadmaster is a 4415 pound vehicle so the deer barely leaves a mark, but the traffic violations mean that Ace will be making June trips, back to Jo Daviess and Boone counties.

 

When they do gain the expansive Cook County, a new morning has dawned. The roads and streets leading to the U of C are welcoming and more familiar than those of the past two weeks.Libby Dead or Alive-001

Homecomings, even to temporary homes, give the sojourners great comfort. 6137 Kimbark is just as they had left it, with the noticeable remixing of Willard Libby, who is hidden no more and basking in the positive reviews from Graham crusaders, longtime colleagues and educated citizenry. He has rekindled the national debate surrounding the divergent issues of creation and evolution.

Libbyites-001The man, who spawned the people known as the Libbyites, admits to being a changed man, like a new incarnation of his former self. From inside the Graham Crusades, this scientist has bridged the intellectual gap that has always existed between science and religion, a not small task in the face of prejudicial professional bias.

Without intentionally searching for it, Willard knows what it’s like to be a part of revival.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 173

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 206

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 206

…We are going back to Chicago and finish what old Satan has started…

Mark LLanuza on flickr

outdoor guy photography

outdoor guy photography

Connie and Ace are able to leave a message (about the Holy Scroll) (by Carrier Pigeon-Word of Mouth-Rumor) for Graham to wait  a bit before boarding the American Queen paddle wheel riverboat; so he is waiting, very curious as to what the fuss is about. He should trust Constance’s expressions of urgency by now.

When he gets his hands on their special delivery and briefly looking it over, he drops directly to his knees, raising both hands skyward, speechless.

“A local Wisconsin historian hinted that this was probably of divine origin,” relates Constance, “and you would not believe where we found it. Is it possible that it was intentionally placed in our path?”

Nothing should surprise her anymore. Graham certainly is not.

“Nothing is impossible for God and I truly believe that He has had His hand on you all through this entire year. This is a direct message from the Lord,” Billy concludes after consulting his on-staff Biblical scholar, “and we cannot ignore it.We are going back to Chicago and finish what old Satan has started.

“Written by hand on Holy paper, with Holy ink, wholly Holy; what a way for the Lord to communicate with us. I was fully expecting an angelic visit or God’s strong voice telling me what to do.

“There is Revival spirit spreading throughout this land and we must put on the show of our lives!” Graham has never been more convinced.

Comiskey Park Card“It is warm enough for an outdoor event, Billy,” Samuel Goldwyn is in on the meeting and still with the Crusade, even into mid-April. His keen business sense has proven invaluable. “I took the time to check with the Chicago White Sox and they are in Detroit on Saturday April 28th; why don’t we do a Comiskey Park blowout meeting?”

Goldwyn Jr. has dedicated himself to see the Crusades through and until they go back to California. He has also become the venue guru for Graham, freeing the good young Reverend to tailor his messages to each new audience.

“We will race back to see how things are shaking in Chi Town,” Race rhymes with Ace.

Constance rhymes with constant, “Let’s get back in one piece.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Billy Graham-001

Forever Mastadon


page 173

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 205

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 205

…Constance interrupts the frisky librarian’s fantasy before it can get out from behind the research desk…

Interrupted

Ace’s hitherto humble homebody aficionada takes a closer look at Constance’s intensity, conveniently ignoring exactly what she means.

Man ‘O Meter Art by Bill Frymire

“They are leaving Cedar Rapids and are headed to the Mississippi River. Then, they are to catch a paddle wheeler to the Twin Cities.” He sees the two women in a private discussion, accidentally stepping all over his own territorial rights. “Do you have any suggestions about how to intercept them on the way to Minnesota? Can we get there from here?”

“My family is from Mankato (MN),” Sarah’s man-o-meter is spiking into the red. “I could show you the way Mr. Bannion. I have some time off scheduled for next week. The crocuses should be blooming right now and I need to help plan a family reunion… let me get a road atlas, the new 1951 Edition…”

Constance interrupts that fantasy before it can get out from behind the research desk.

We have our reliable State Farm road map and we really must be going! We need to pick up our things in Eagle and check out of ­our motel and bid Polly Pabst farewell…”

Can’t a librarian dream a little?

Leaving Cooney is exactly what they (Ace & Constance) do, by heading due west to Prairie du Chien, with intent to deliver a radical religious recipe for demonic demotion, in the form of a lambskin scroll, to Billy Graham. Just how far the preacher will go to put the ancient script into action remains to be seen, but for the two temporary Wisconsin citizens, the end justifies the means, even if it meant braving a lusting librarian.

—United States interregional highways are improving, albeit slowly, but the need for a nationwide roadway plan is recognized and in the works. The issue of national defense is the driving force behind these logistical studies—

They could use a superhighway about now.

US Highway 18 will take away from Oconomowoc and provide them a concrete pathway, through the rolling hills, past the Wisconsin state capitol of Madison and out to the mouth of the Wisconsin River, where it empties into the Mighty Mississippi.


Constance Caraway P.I.

long road2

Forever Mastadon


page 172

American Oddities – WIF Fun Facts

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Facts About

America

That Make

No Sense

to Foreigners

America. It’s one of the biggest countries on Earth, both in terms of population and sheer size. It’s the planet dominating superpower; the heaviest hitter where culture is concerned; a place known by nearly every single human on the planet… and, to all but the 4-5% of humanity who live there, it makes absolutely no gosh darn sense.

 See, despite its cultural clout, America still seems deeply weird to foreigners. And we don’t just mean people who come from repressive kingdoms and tin-pot dictatorships. Europeans, people from Southeast Asia, Australians and Brits all find yuge chunks of life in the good ol’ US-of-A beyond comprehension. If you were born stateside, the following might not seem super crazy to you. But trust us, every single foreigner is reading this with their jaw dangling open and their eyeballs popping out.

10. US Toddlers Shoot One Person a Week

Americans sure love guns. The US has the highest rate of gun-ownership on planet Earth, and the least-restrictive gun laws (only Switzerland comes close). That’s all thanks to the 2nd Amendment, which has been the subject of near-constant debate since being written.

But it’s not the sheer number of guns in America that really astounds foreigners. It’s the crazy things that leads to. Things like US toddlers shooting one person a week.

There’s literally no other country on Earth you could write that sentence about. Even countries that are swimming in guns, like Serbia, Norway, and Switzerland, don’t have toddlers blowing one another away. To be fair, they have tiny populations, but, to be even fairer, c’mon buddy. US toddlers have shot on average one person a week (including themselves) for the past two years. Even war zones don’t have numbers like that.

More bizarre still, America keeps on arming its toddlers. In 2016, Iowa made it legal for babies to handle loaded guns. That’s right. The guys in the Hawkeye State elected to arm the very babies that are trying to shoot them. How’s that for hubris?

9. Bestiality is Still Legal in 9 US States (but premarital sex is outlawed)

Despite this being 2017, plenty of US States still have sex laws on the books that are… unenlightened, to say the least. And by that, we mean they were seemingly written by two guys named Festus and Bubba while necking with their pet hog Clancy.

Incredible as it may seem, there are nearly ten US States where it is still legal to have sexual intercourse with animals. We say ‘nearly’ ten, because one’s the District of Columbia (not a state, kids!). The other nine are Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. In addition, plenty of states still only consider bestiality a misdemeanor.

This would be odd enough if the US was a spectacularly licentious place, but it’s not. In addition to allowing you to marry your best-est sow, four states still outlaw either premarital or extramarital sex, or co-habiting with your partner prior to marriage. While the laws are effectively never enforced, the fact they’re still on the statute books attests to America’s unique mix of religious piety and deep-seated desire to mimic the guys from Deliverance.

8. The Highest Paid Public Employee in 39 States is a Sports Coach

Go to any other country in the Western world – Canada, Germany, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, wherever – and the highest-paid public employee will be someone working in a selfless capacity. They’ll be the guys and gals running universities, or public hospitals, or the local council. America, though, laughs in the face of such devotion to the public good. Instead of rewarding headmasters or doctors or teachers, the highest public pay package in 39 states goes to sports coaches. Specifically, guys coaching football or men’s basketball.

We’re not talking comparatively small sums, either. The salaries involved would be enviable in the private sector. University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, for example, rakes in over $7 million, plus bonuses, likely making him one of the highest-paid public employees not living in a corrupt dictatorship. For those from outside the states, this seems less extravagant, and more like an absolute inability to get priorities right.

Only Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New York, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont and both Dakotas refuse to award their highest public pay packet to a football or men’s basketball coach. Interestingly, both Hawaii and Vermont, as you’ll remember from a second ago, still technically allow bestiality. We’re really not sure what to make of that.

7. Over Half of All Americans Don’t Hold a Valid Passport

In 2014, polling company YouGov revealed only 8% of Britons had never left their country of birth to travel abroad. While this is maybe not all that super-impressive (Britain is tiny and France is close), it puts the US to shame. The same poll found only 50% of Americans would admit to ever having left the country. That’s nearly 160 million people who have never been to Canada or Mexico, let alone Europe or Asia.

For people who were born in Europe, that’s almost like saying you’ve never seen a glass of water. The idea of not going abroad from time to time is alien. In places like Germany, over 90% of the population hold a valid passport, and you better believe they use it.

But that’s Europe, we hear you cry, it’s a small continent with, like, a bazillion countries. Well, first, we’re pretty sure you’re exaggerating there, bud. Secondly, look at Australia, a country nearly as big as the US, and more cut-off from the rest of the world. According to official data, one third of the population goes abroad every single year. That compares to 50% of Americans over their entire lifetimes. Clearly, the US is a travel-averse country.

6. 30% of Americans Prefer Saving Money to Vital Medical Treatment

Compared to other developed nations, healthcare in the US is expensive. You can blame that on too much Obamacare, or not enough of it, but the fact remains that public systems, private systems, and public-private systems elsewhere in the world all deliver better service at lower cost. This alone can seem staggering to foreigners. Then there’s the American attitude to health. Faced with a serious illness or injury, around 30 percent of Americans would rather walk it off than pay for treatment.

 This… simply doesn’t happen elsewhere. Norway has the second most-expensive healthcare in the world, and pretty much no-one there avoids necessary treatment. Japan has an insurance-based, private system with payments often covered by employers, just like the US, and people don’t skip out on medical care. To find other people choosing money over hospitalization, you have to leave the developed world behind and start poking around in poorer countries where wages are low and healthcare unaffordable.

We’re not trying to rag on American healthcare here. America has some of the best doctors and hospitals going. But the idea that you’d choose money over health (or that you’d have to choose)? To non-Americans, that’s insane.

5. 7 States Have Custody Rights for Rapists

OK, let’s turn to some really, really dark stuff now. There exists a certain subsection of guys who like to rape women. Occasionally, this results in their victims getting pregnant. Depending on where they live and their religious convictions, the women may then decide to carry the baby to term. Now, here’s where it gets creepy. In around 7 states, it’s perfectly legal for the rapist-father to sue for custody of his newborn child.

Imagine that for a second. You’ve been violently assaulted, gone through the hell of guilt and self-recrimination, been courageous enough to bring the resulting baby into the world… and now you’re forced to watch as the D-bag who hurt you decides he wants to be a father to your son/daughter. Well, if you live in Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wyoming or Minnesota, that can totally happen.

In addition, there are 20 more states where it might be legal. In Indiana, for example, you can only block the rapist from seeking custody if you remember to do so within 3 months of your baby being born. This is some seriously dark stuff, and we guarantee that if you mention it to anyone from elsewhere in the developed world, their jaws will drop so low they hit the ground. Sure, some Middle East states may have even-worse laws, but that’s not really a benchmark to aspire to.

4. America Has More Self-Identified Patriots than Anywhere Else on Earth

In July 2016, Gallup released the results of their yearly patriotism poll. They found 52% of Americans call themselves “extremely patriotic”, the lowest level in polling history. The news triggered a slew of introspective articles by American writers, wondering what had gone wrong. For those reading elsewhere in the world, it felt like stepping through the looking glass. 52% is such a good score it leaves other countries eating the USA’s dust.

Such levels of patriotism simply don’t exist in the rest of the developed world. In a similar survey by YouGov, only 13% of Brits thought their country was “the best in the world.” That was the highest score in the EU. Germany and France got only 5% each. The second and third highest-ranking countries globally, India and Australia, scored 34% and 36%. But the US? The US busted through the 40% mark, with an additional 32% claiming America was at the very least “better than most other countries.”

For the majority of foreigners, the idea of showing US-levels of patriotism is simply alien. You will never see a flag in every yard in any other country on Earth. But that’s the US public for you: optimistic to a tee. Even if they’re unhappy with their current government, folks still believe that the idea of America itself is worth believing in.

3. Americans are More Likely to Get Bitten by Other Americans than Rats

The stereotype is that Americans likes three things: football, fast food, and violence (often all at once). It’s true that America’s murder rate is crazy-high. It’s also true that the national sport is getting drunk and starting bar-fights. But surely it’s not as bad as all that?

Well, we hate to break it to you, but this arresting statistic says otherwise. If you live in America, you are more likely to be bitten by another American than you are by a rat.

To be clear, this isn’t because US rats are particularly docile or rare on the ground. Cities like New York are completely infested, and people get bitten all the freakin’ time. There are over 40,000 rat bites recorded in America each year. The only trouble is, there are at least 45,000 human bites recorded right alongside them.

Again, this is a freaky fact for Americans, too. But, also again, it’s just something that doesn’t happen in most other countries. Sure, drunks in Britain like to hit each other, and Italian soccer hooligans are violent as heck, but biting enough people to outstrip rats? It’s something we can’t imagine happening anywhere else.

2. Americans Take ‘Fast Food’ Extremely Literally

The US is the birthplace of fast food. It’s the nation that brought the world the drive-thru, perfected the snack, and coined the phrase “lunch is for wimps.” Foreigners know all this intellectually. But confront them with a statistic like the following, and it’ll still blow their minds. Americans, you see, are the 3rd fastest eaters on Earth. On an average day, Americans spend only 74 minutes eating, nearly the lowest in the world.

That’s only slightly over 20 minutes each for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and far less if you include time put aside for eating snacks. If you live in the USA, this probably doesn’t seem so weird to you (the working lunch is an American specialty), but if you live elsewhere… man, you’re probably wondering how the heck they do it. In France, the average eating time is 135 minutes a day. In Turkey, it’s 162 minutes. Even in Japan, where people work far longer hours than in the US, they still manage to put aside 117 minutes a day for chow. The only other countries to spend as little time eating are Canada (72 minutes) and Mexico (under 70 minutes).

This is probably to do with both the American hard work ethic and fast food culture, which prioritizes productivity over relaxation. The same can be seen in a related statistic on cooking times. Nowhere else on Earth do people spend as little time cooking each day as in America.

1. Government Departments Have Official Advice for Reporting Elvis Sightings

One of the things foreigners know about the US is that it’s full of wackos seeing wacko things. There’s a reason The X-Files was so popular 20 years ago. But it’s one thing to hear about guys filming shaky footage of Bigfoot on their cell phone. It’s another entirely to hear that actual US government departments have official advice for reporting Elvis sightings.

Here, for example, is a link to the Federal government’s official website for copyright. Hover your mouse over the link. See that it ends .gov? It’s impossible for anyone not representing a government entity to register a .gov address. This site is legit. It’s part of the Federal government, and paid for by taxpayers’ money. And it includes official advice on how to copyright your sighting of Elvis.

 This isn’t a joke section put up by some lighthearted bureaucrat indulging a whim. It’s completely, mind-bogglingly serious. Which means the government was getting deluged with enough requests about Elvis sightings that they went to the trouble to post official advice about it. OK, say it with me now, altogether: only in America.

American Oddities

wif-fun-facts-001

– WIF Fun Facts

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 204

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 204

…I don’t suppose Ace is a single man???

Scroll-Spells

This adventure has a Harry Potter feel to it

“This parchment is so pristine, so refined, that it is almost beyond human means to produce it.”

Sarah the librarian is exhausted by the sheer depth of this experience.

“We appreciate your expertise, Miss Sauer,” Constance retrieves the scroll from her hot little hands and begs their departure.

“Keep it sealed tightly and out of direct sunlight. I don’t know where you are going with this, but you must be on a mission of some sort.”

“You could say that. We are part of a battle right now,” stating the simple truth. “If you’re interested, and you seem to be, keep your eye on the Billy Graham Crusade, he is touring the Midwest and may be coming this way.”

She hands the librarian a CCPI business card, “If you flash this around, it will open some doors, seeing that we have more than a few friends involved in behind the scenes stuff, in fact, we are going to meet up with the Crusade to deliver this,” she raises the scroll, “to Mr. Graham himself. May we use your telephone, my dear?” she motions at Ace to call the Graham Telephone Switchboard. “Find out where they are and where they’re headed.”

“You’ve got it CC!” he responds mockingly-joyfully. The exact status of their relationship is not in plain sight.

While Ace is on the other side of the long front desk, Miss Sauer mentions, “He sure is dashing, in an Errol Flynn sort of way. Is he in the movies?”

“He is dashing, is he not? He flies airplanes, is an explosives expert, drives an Alpha Romeo convertible and has stared down the devil in person.”

“I don’t suppose he is a single man?”

“He is, but given the chance, there is more than one woman who would fight you over his hand (inferred: including me).”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 172

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 203

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 203

…The librarian attempts to explain the inexplicable…

Oconomowoc Public Library

CC and AB thank their Danforth host and take to the back roads into Oconomowoc proper. Hwy 16 bisects the city from east to west, so once you locate that, informational signage will guide you to schools, hospital, or in this case, the library. Their concrete friend, Hwy 67, will take them 3 blocks north to the Oconomowoc Public Library.

Lodged between lakes Labelle and Fowler, the two-story wooden structure is full of books (duh) and one dedicated librarian named Sarah Sauer. Whatever the need, from Dewey D. to F. Scott, she is the go-to gal.

Aramaic

Once given, twice careful, Miss Sauer unfurls the mystery scroll, exposing what she identifies as Aramaic in nature.

“This is a script for exorcising demons. I believe the literal translation would be banishment. There is a reference to Jesus the Christ then the passage, ‘I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations…’.”

Sarah’s delivery surely would cause Doctor Faust to hurtle itself from the shelves of OPL.

“From there, there seems to be a formula as a guide to handle Satan.”

Constance and even the hyperactive Ace are transfixed.

“The medium is lambskin vellum and I would estimate that it is only a few days old, the ink is barely dry.” Sarah was educated at the University of Haifa and is amazed at what she is reading. “Where did you get this? This is ancient text on brand new material. I don’t know why I’m sorry, but I’m sorry, this type of manuscript hasn’t been produced for 800 years.”

She is kilig, in explaining the inexplicable…

“Papyrus replaced this type of parchment around 500 A.D. Chopping down a water plant is easier than killing a lamb. Eventually, mass papermaking started in China and spread from there.”

But the fact remains…

“This parchment is so pristine, so refined, that it is almost beyond human means to produce it.”

The librarian is exhausted by the sheer depth of this experience.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 171

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 202

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 202

When We Last Left

…Oconomowoc has a splendid public library, perhaps they can help you…

… Connie and Ace’s Wisconsin expedition is morphing into something more.

“Get rid of that slave woman and her son”

question markThe rooms natural light is short and outside noises are squelched by heavy drapery, yet there is single shaft of light, seemingly without origin, streaming onto a large book. HOLY BIBLE,” Constance brushes the dust away from the yellowed pages. “There is a passage underlined Genesis 21: 10, and Sarah said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

“The story of Isaac and Ishmael, huummm, I wonder if she was troubled by the fact that Mr. Valentine left his stepchildren, hers by Mr. Armour, out of his will.” this distant relative and the whole House of Armour is well acquainted with the financial ins and outs of the considerable estate dealings of both men, with Mary Lester as a common wife.

“You would know about that sordid mess, but there are some old documents rolled up next to the Bible binding, having the feel of animal skin,” she opens the fragile papers, sealed with gold and scented with perfume. “I couldn’t read this if my life depended on it.”

“Why isn’t it covered in dust like everything else… and what happened to that light?” Ace points the obvious, just in case no one else sees the same things.

“Where can I take this to be read maybe Greek or Hebrew, I’m guessing?” she taps into Armour’s local knowledge.

“I live back in Wauwatosa, but I know Oconomowoc has a splendid public library, perhaps they can help you.”

After checking out the rest of the main house, they go down by the boathouse,Valentine Estate cross the Valentine Bridge to Valentine Island and get a close up view of the lake. The water is steadily reclaiming its liquid form, the ice, once a foot or more thick, retreating rapidly from shore.

But, as sure as time passes, things must change and a house that was built 50 years ago, before modern mechanicals, it will be torn down and replaced by a dozen inferiorly framed substitutions.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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