Thursday, September 12, 2013

Detective Special: the Case of Potiphar’s Wife


We all recall the story of Joseph in the Torah, retold (or told independently, depending on your theological point of view) in Surah XII of the Koran:  how Potiphar’s wife did lust in her heart after the shapely, youthful, clean-limbed body of Joseph (his rich Semitic chevelure glistening brilliantly as sapphire);  how she (her heated breath coming in snatches now), her matronly breast heaving -- enfin bref, you know the story.  She made a pass at him, he refused her advances and ran from the room;  she clutched at his cloak as he fled.

(Me, I woulda been tempted.  But that's me.)

Later she accused him of having assaulted her (the only instance in recorded history of a woman falsely accusing a man of impropriety).  Things begin to look grim for our virile young Hebrew, whose powerful loins and unslaked stallion energies -- but no need to repeat what we all learned long ago in Hebrew school (bzw. Sunday school bzw madrasa).  

(Notice the little doggie, taking it all in.  Nice touch.)


 Anyhow:  He was about to be lynched, when a courtier, one Thutmose Holmes, cannily observed:

“If his cloak be torn at the front, he is guilty;
 if torn at the back  -- she lies.”

(Dayy-um!  Mrs. Potiphar is a MILF ! )


[ ©God, 3000 BC.  All Rights Reserved for the movie version, 
 y compris en URSS, and in Taliban-controled regions of Afghanistan.]

Nay, prithee, unhand me!
(A little lower, please.)

~

Such Bible memories  thronged anew to my mind, as I read the reports of the notorious case of the recent French train derailment, in which many were injured and seven died.   An éclisse (a splicebar or fishplate that joins sections of rails)  had somehow broke loose from its moorings despite four strong bolts.  

Many suspect the cause as being sabotage;  alert readers comment:

Une éclisse bien conçue est capable du service normal avec un boulon cassé le temps entre deux inspections et supporter le passage de nombreux trains.
Pour que les différents boulons d'une éclisse cassent ensemble il faut bien qu'il y ait une cause extérieure.
Il y a deux possibilités :
- tassements du sol
- sabotage

Marion Delgado -- "Live Like Him!" (-- the Weathermen)

---
Pour moi il est évident que c'est un sabotage.
Ayant personnellement travaillé au démontage de rails à une époque ou tout juste sorti
d'apprentissage je travaillais pour une société de montage ou nous démontions des voies désaffectées afin de récupérer les traverses de chemin de fer,
il fallait pour parvenir à démonter les éclisses chauffer les écrous pour les desserrer et parfois même les découper au chalumeau.
Il est impossible que quatre écrous d'éclisse ce soit desserrer tout seul et soient sortis de leur logement simultanément.
----
Les rails de la gare de Brétigny ont été vérifiés le 4 juillet.
Neuf jours après, quatre gros boulons de 35 mm, boulonnés très fort sur d'énormes rondelles anti desserrage grower se dévissent tout seuls et l'éclisse qui pèse plus de 10KG vient par malchance se loger dans l'aiguillage qui est plus loin.
Des boulons derviches-tourneurs, une éclisse sauteuse : c'est nouveau,
ça vient de sortir.

All this should have been cleared up in the subsequent investigation.   Yet it looks to be a whitewash -- a cover-up:

Scène du drame non protégée, scellés judiciaires non conformes, pièces à conviction égarées… Dans des documents, que Le Figaro a consultés, les juges d'instruction déplorent un certain nombre d'anomalies au cours de l'enquête préliminaire menée par le parquet d'Évry après l'accident du train Paris-Limoges le 12 juillet.
l'accident qui a coûté la vie à sept personnes
«constatons que sur l'un des rails (observations réalisées après le débâchage de l'aiguillage, NDLR) une fiche cartonnée plastifiée de scellé judiciaire a été fixée par des scotchs portant la mention “Police nationale. Scellé. Ne pas ouvrir”». Exemple encore: la numérotation SNCF des wagons accidentés «ne correspond pas à la numérotation des scellés».

Sabotage would be bad enough;  but the government claims it was all an accident, allez circulez nothing to see here;  yet its “investigation” is a farce.   And it is left to a Reader’s Comment to ask the crucial, Thutmose-Holmesian question:

Le saut de l'éclisse vers la pointe de l'aiguillage s'est-il fait :
dans le sens de la marche ?
ou en arrière ?
Si quelqu'un sait, merci.

Was the splicebar found forward, or aft of the train ?  Voilà le hic!

At once the air’s aswarm with urgent questions:

* Who was behind the dastardly attack?
* Who was behind the attackers?
* Whom is the government trying to protect?
* When will an outraged public begin demanding answers?
* Which shadowy tycoon made drastic last-minute changes to his investment portfolio, just minutes prior to the “accident”?
* Why would the préfecture be so tight-lipped -- are they hiding something, or are they just scared?
* What does the Prime Minister know, that he’s not telling?
* And is al-Qaeda involved -- or is that just what they want you to think ???

If these questions and others yet darker  are causing your cortex to broil in its brainpan,  , then you are ready to begin the Adventure.  Click here -- if you dare !!

(La conspiration Riemann)

There’s got to be a connection here somewhere.

*
Si cela vous parle,
savourez la série noire
en argot authentique d’Amérique :

*

[Update]  Since this disjointed series of thinkings-aloud  seems to lack any central point (other than the covert one of selling more Murphy books), I might as well free-associate some more.
The Joseph-and-Potiphar’s-wife scenario reappears in the picaresque novel of Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews (1742), whose eponymous hero flees the erotic attentions of Mrs. Booby.  But more than recalling that Biblical prototype and homonym, Joseph Andrews is intending as a parody of Pamela in Richardson’s wildly successful sugary-weepy novel of the same name.


-- Well.  I’d better cut my fancy short, lest it wander ever farther afield -- on this blog, all roads lead to hamsters.  (By the way, did you ever notice that they are remarkably cute?)


Cute.  QED.
~



Ah!  Another.
Joseph managed to dodge the bullet, thanks to some clever detectival reasoning;  it went less well with chaste Hippolytus, slain by the wiles of a woman scorned.

Je le vis, je rougis, je pâlis à sa vue

[Update May 2016]  And now this, from the American Bar Association:

Wise-cracking, hard-boiled Supreme Court Justice  cracks the case !!!
http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/mag_article/solving_mysteries_lawyers_play_detective_in_legal_writing

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