(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:43 am
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[personal profile] mamculuna
 A very happy birthday to [personal profile] cactuswatcher !

STORY: Justice Ch. 9

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:10 pm
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[personal profile] moxie_man
NINE

“The Government’s next witness is unable to travel here, but is in a court room in her home region,” stated the lemur representing the Government’s case against Enhray. She tapped a button on her flat panel. A three-dimensional hologram materialized in the witness circle showing a good rendition of Aouphril. Aldin was fascinated with the technology as he looked on. The image of Aouphril looked about. She looked off slightly to one side and stifled a yawn.

“This appears to be working at my end, but the flat panel in this room is to one side. So, when asked a question, I’ll be looking to one side. I’ll do my best to remember to look at the camera when answering questions, Counsel,” Aouphril stated. “My apologies if I look sleepy. It is the middle of the night in my time zone.”

The lemur nodded. She then started. “Please state who you are, where you are from, and your occupation.”

“I am Aouphril, mate of Orlan. I live in the Northeast Hills Region. I am a student in my final year at Nadowahoc College.”

“How long have you known the victim, Ms. Aouphril.”

“Since his arrival in our world approximately three months ago. I was the first citizen he encountered.”

“According to the records you spent time in quarantine with him.”

“That is correct, Counsel. Orlan and I both spent time in quarantine with Aldin. So did the doctor who tended to his broken arm and two orderlies who came into contact with him that first evening at the clinic.”

“While in quarantine, you watched the proceedings of Parliament?”

“Yes. Aldin was preparing to be questioned by Parliament. So, we watched the proceedings in preparation.”

“What did he say to you about that upcoming meeting?”

“Seeing some of the factions in the chamber, he feared he would be attacked. He warned me when it happened to be brave and do what I felt was necessary. I didn’t believe it would come to that, but it did.”

“There is video documentation of the resulting encounter,” the lemur stated. “However, I want to know what was going through your mind when the accused charged down on the floor.”

Aouphril lashed her tail back and forth. The tip blinked in and out of existence as it lashed out past the hologram sensors. “When Representative Enhray charged down on the floor and called Aldin a ‘Tree Rodent’, I was highly insulted. I was raised to give proper respect to other species. If I had used a similar term for another species in the hearing of my mother, she’d have twerked my ear so hard it would be sore for a week.”

“How did the victim react?”

“He didn’t react, which surprised me, for I knew he knew what the two words by themselves were. Then he said it back to Representative Enhray as part of his name. Enhray snarled calling Aldin a ‘talking lunch’ and leapt at him. Aldin rolled backwards, kicked-upwards with his hind paws and Enhray crashed into the Chancellor’s podium. It happened so quickly that the fight was over as soon as it had begun. I was too shocked to react at that moment.”

“But you did react afterward, correct?”

“Yes. Aldin surrendered the visitor’s circle and was escorted out of the chamber. I immediately stepped into it recalling Aldin’s instructions to do what I felt needed to be done after the fight. Not if there was a fight in his words, but after the fight.”

“And what did you say to Parliament?”

“I called shame on them for their failure to stop Enhray. I told them how we’d now be at war with Aldin’s people if he had been an official representative sent by them to us.”

“Thank you. No further questions, your Honor.”

Judge Perraul looked to the ferret. “Your witness.”

The ferret did not pace in front of the hologram as he had done with face-to-face witnesses. “Ms. Aouphril, you’ve known the victim since his arrival on Earth, correct?”

“Yes.”

“And you assisted him in preparing to face Parliament?”

“Yes. I now know more about Parliamentary procedures then I’ll ever need to know unless my name comes up in the Lottery.”

“And he was one of the witnesses to your marriage to your mate…” the ferret glanced at his flatpanel a moment, “Orlan?”

“Yes.”

“And the victim has continued to live with you and your mate since that time until the present?”

“Yes.”

The ferret turned to the jury. “Please take note that this witness is very close to the victim and as such, her testimony may be influenced by that closeness.”

Aouphril’s fur bristled. The ferret raised his free hand briefly. “My apologies, Ms. Aouphril. I do not mean to insult you. But it is a fact you have been very close to the victim since his arrival and the jury needs to know that.” The ferret brushed a finger upward on the flat panel, looking for something a moment and then nodded. “While in quarantine, what exactly did the victim say to you in regards to a potential fight in the Parliament chamber?”

“That he expected there would be a fight.”

“Regardless of what he did?”

“Yes?”

“Did he make any indication that he might start said fight?”

Aouphril hesitated a moment and then answered softly, “yes.”

“A little louder please.”

“Yes. Aldin said he believed the only way to get the faction of Parliament that believed he was just a wild cousin who was taught a few tricks to see he was more than that would be if there was a fight. He believed one of them would attack him, but if necessary, he’d start a fight to prove his point.”

“Per your testimony to Government Counsel, the victim knew what the terms ‘Tree’ and ‘Rodent’ where. Yet, he didn’t seem to react to them as every other squirrel in the chamber did when they were said in combination.”

“That is correct.”

“Yet he did understand the term. Per his own testimony here and in the video documentation,” the ferret tapped an icon on his flat panel and Aldin appeared on screen:

“I was fully aware he was trying to insult me with the term ‘tree ro-dent’ or as we say in English, ‘tree rat’. I knew he wood leap for me if I tossed the insult back at him in the way I did, playing in-no-sent and assuming the insult was part of his name.”

“Members of the jury, the victim started the fight per his own testimony and that of Ms. Aouphril. He wanted the accused to attack him.” He turned back to the holograph of Aouphril. “Thank you, Ms. Aouphril. I have no further questions.

But I don't feel afraid

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

We explored some of the arcades along Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. Mostly we were looking for pinball, which we didn't find. I had a faint recollection of some Seaside Heights location being on the Pinside map, but was dumb and didn't write down where, so we instead had to spend time wandering around amusing places without any particular goal in mind looking at what was interesting. Don't know how we were supposed to survive that. One thing we did discover and like was this ``Grand Piano Keys'' game, which we thought was a piano-themed rhythm game. It's actually just hitting the right sequence of lit keys in order, with rhythm irrelevant, and once we realized that our scores went way up. Still, twice was about enough times to play that.

We also located the new Berkeley Sweet Shop. Or Berkeley Candy, as it's named now. We're not sure what connection it has to the older shop. It's a much smaller storefront, without the taffy-making machinery on display. And with far fewer candies overall. We figured to get a box for ourselves, and another for [profile] bunny_hugger's parents as gift for watching Columbo. But we also realized it was barely into the afternoon, and salt water taffy would melt into an unpleasant goo left in the car. We left, promising to come back, and the clerks nodded, probably suspecting we were lying. We did come back, in the cool of evening, before leaving for home and got what we hoped for. We were eating taffy from the box we got as recently as this week.

We prowled around the pier, looking for rides we had been on, or decorations we knew. The Mighty Mouse figure that had been next to our Wild Mouse coaster was there again, standing next to the Pirate's Hideaway roller coaster. The Yogi Bear statue was there too, as were some other, less-copyright-infringey statues like the giant chicken holding a can of Coke. They had a bench with a clown statue sitting on it, and I got some pictures of [profile] bunny_hugger beside that. This would help further an ongoing joke with some of our friends, who've taken our furriness to be a cover story for our being Juggalos. (See, [profile] bunny_hugger had let slip how the soft drink of Further Connection North/Motor City Furry Con was Faygo, and MWS combined that and the whole dressing-up and acting-strangely aspects of our behavior to draw the obvious conclusion.)

And we circled the Floyd Moreland Carousel, which we'd so feared we would never see again, and later supposed we would never see again in that spot. It barely seemed different; the only real change has been that the pier switched from tickets and tokens for rides over to swipe cards.

And the roller coaster. Hydrus. Brand-new. Beautiful, really, with bright green track and blue supports and a three-dimensional dragon head peering over the sign. A vertical lift hill and first drop, too, reminiscent of the Untamed roller coaster at Canobie Lake Park. It had only been open a few weeks. [profile] bunny_hugger and I would enjoy, briefly, tenure on the front page of Coaster-Count.com's ``Rare Coasters'' riders for being on it. More people have had in on the fun since then, so it's not nearly as rare anymore.

One disappointment, and something we couldn't resolve without giving up on our anniversary as the day for our trip there. They had pay-one-price rides for other days of the week. For evenings, some days of the week. Not for our day, Friday. They did have a wristband to purchase, but for only two hours' unlimited riding time. After that it'd have to be buying a new wristband, or buying a swipe card for a la carte rides. Best deal we could find was to get the wristband, and two hours' of power-riding in, and then see what made sense afterwards.

Sunday, I think, we would notice coupons at the Wawa for discounts on Casino Pier ride wristbands. Nothing that would make them, like, all-evening or even four-hour wristbands, but things that would have made them a bit cheaper. We should've thought to check. All I can say is I was out of practice for this sort of attraction.

Trivia: Technicians at the University of North Carolina's Morehead Planetarium constructed a wooden mockup of the Gemini spacecraft, mounted on a barber's chair, to train astronauts in star-sighting techniques in 1964. Source: Moon Bound: Choosing and Preparing NASA's Lunar Astronauts, Colin Burgess.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.


PS: Let's step up the photo-clearing backlog with stuff from Cedar Point at the end of last year.

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Halloweekends! The parking lot of the Breakers Hotel, at Cedar Point, with the Top Thrill Dragster the only prominent roller coaster. Almost washed out in the afternoon sun on the left there is Magnum XL-200, which from the name you'd never have guessed opened in the early May of 1989.


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Cleared grounds! This used to be a miniature golf course that we always figured we'd play sometime when we had a couple free hours during a Cedar Point visit. But they were expanding the Breakers hotel --- a couple years after demolishing a wing they had renovated two years before --- and this was one of the casualties.


SAM_7591.jpg

Also obliterated over winter last season: this version of the hotel entrance, convenient for Breakers guests to get into the back of the park. The line is caused by the x-ray scanners operated by teams from what they named ``Tenable Security Systems'', just as if a hipster novelist was trying a little too hard to give them a name that sounded off.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Volume Forms, an interesting dynamical systems thing.

moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
Jose with winds around 85mph (136kmph) is looking less like a hurricane and more like a nor'easter on satellite photos this morning. The current forecast models still keep it off shore, but threatening Cape Cod before wobbling eastward and then south, possible doing another loop before fizzling out. Southern New England could still see a couple of inches (5cm) of rain out of it starting tomorrow into Wednesday. Less rain up here in the Maine Wilderness.

Folks on the East coast need to keep an eye on Maria. It'll slam through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this Wed. as a major hurricane, possibly with winds as strong as 140mph (225kmph), 'cause they need a second major hurricane to hit them this month. After that, long range has Maria taking a similar tour as Jose, without the loop-de-loop and stay just off the Eastern Seaboard and threaten Cape Cod next Tues/Wed. As the forecast models have a difficult time with tropical systems, that means Maria could strike anywhere along the east cost from sometime this coming weekend through early next week.

Reminder: both my degrees were in general meteorology. Tropical was not my specialty and I usually only pay attention to the tropics if something major happens or if there is a storm of potential local interest to Maine. Our hurricane shield (MA's Cape Cod) usually protects us pretty well from the brunt of storms.
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Let me first give you some more pictures from the Lansing Pinball League costume contest last Halloween:

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And who's that fine-looking peacock? It's my dear bride, in her kigurumi, plus some gloves and a mask that she decorated herself to complete the look.


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Winners of the Lansing Pinball League costume contest. League president WVL is in the center doing, I think he said, something or other from Stranger Things, a media product I know not a thing about. Note that [profile] bunny_hugger made use of some old bird-foot slippers to add to her look


Nice, huh? Well, here's my mathematics blog's activity the past week.

Also, What's Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? Besides my discovery that I wasn't scheduled to be writing about Gil Thorp this week?

And now some of our pumpkin-carving from last year. Enjoy, I hope!

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[profile] bunny_hugger hard at work carving out her pumpkin. My pumpkin's at the far end of the table and much more rushed through, really. On the left is her father's jack-o-lantern.


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[profile] bunny_hugger's jack-o-lantern, which last year was giving something reminiscent of a Popeye squint, along with the electric candle inside to test out how it looks illuminated.


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[profile] bunny_hugger's parents got a pack of (reprinted) Halloween cutouts like the kind they saw when they were kids. We estimate the art style to be mostly 1930s. [profile] bunny_hugger got a similar pack of (reprinted) cutouts from when she and I were kids. They're more 60s-styled.


SAM_7573.jpg

Our pumpkins set up outside [profile] bunny_hugger's parents' house. Her father's is on the left, and her mother's next to that. Mine is the tall, wide-smiling thing and you know [profile] bunny_hugger's already. I needed so many test shots to get one where there would be lens flare from two jack-o-lanterns.


Trivia: A Pittsburgh paper boy was arrested for shouting out the (accurate) news that trading firm Jay Cooke & Company had failed on 18 September 1873. Source: Devil Take the Hindmost, Edward Chancellor.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.

Jose, go home, your drunk!

Sep. 17th, 2017 04:57 pm
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
Jose has completed it's loop-da-loop in the Atlantic, restrengthened to a Cat 1 hurricane despite some serious wind shear aloft, and may threaten Cape Code Monday night into Tuesday per one model and actually hit Long Island/Southern New England Monday night and make second landfall in Eastern Maine according to another model.

The first model goes out longer and shows Jose making ANOTHER loop and then brushing along Nova Scotia's southern coast early the following week (around the 25th or so). Said model also has Maria slamming into NC at about the same time.

All we can do is wait and see what happens.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:18 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Tough stuff: Spider silk enhanced with graphene-based materials

The Most Inspiring Hot Air Balloon Ride Ever

Scientists use light to purge defects from solar cells

Every childhood vaccine may eventually go into a single jab (Though it does seem that the UK doesn't have as many childhood vaccines as the US, judging by the list)

Mathematicians Measure Infinities, and Find They're Equal (Mind. Blown.)

Can American soil be brought back to life?

Quotas bring wave of Nepalese women into office. What they need next.

Judge: Sessions can’t deny grant money for sanctuary cities

Disability Fraud: You know what?

For Chinese millennials, despondency has a brand name

A Son’s Race to Give His Dying Father Artificial Immortality

Research Shows Spanish Speakers Take Longer To Learn English. Why?

Catalan mayors defy Spanish courts ahead of independence vote

Survey suggests nobody actually watches those Emmy-nominated cable or streaming shows

Suicide among veterans highest in western US, rural areas

Viruses Would Rather Jump to New Hosts Than Evolve With Them

Your Childhood Experiences Can Permanently Change Your DNA

Third-Hand Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Can Still Damage Your Organs

Protesters march through St. Louis after policeman's acquittal

Attorneys Suspect Motel 6 Calling ICE on Undocumented Guests

Since Trump’s Big Photo Op With Black College Leaders, He’s Delivered on Nothing, They Say (Surprise, surprise.)

Homeless And In College. Then Harvey Struck

Hurricanes may be getting bigger, but death toll is shrinking

Irma's 'forgotten' evacuees struggle to find housing

Hurricane Irma Unleashes the Forces of Privatization in Puerto Rico

Philippines' Duterte asks head of human rights agency: 'Are you a pedophile?' (Because, you know, that's the only reason to care about minors being straight-up murdered)

Entire Philippine city police force fired over killings

The Window Is Closing to Avoid Dangerous Global Warming

U.S.-backed Syrian fighters say will not let government forces cross Euphrates

Rohingya crisis: Bangladesh to restrict movement of migrants

Overnight exodus: Rohingya use cover of darkness to reach Bangladesh
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

We walked to the Seaside Heights boardwalk. It was changed from our last visit, and changed almost unrecognizably from our first. FunTown Pier, destroyed by Sandy and by the fire a year later, still wasn't there. But something was being built around its location. Maybe all the talk from the owners about how sure, they were going to put up something eventually turned into positive action. Last I had heard (from [profile] bunny_hugger, who checks the news more rigorously than I do) they had applied for permission to build a Ludicrously Huge Something Or Other that nobody in their right mind thinks they would ever build, which I'd taken as an attempt to look busy rather that writing the place off. But now there were new boards being laid down, construction vehicles moving sand around, the suggestion that maybe something was, five years on, being built.

Casino Pier, our pier, was different. It was open, and running. It was shorter, no longer going out over the (normal-level) water. It was wider, taking up more of the beachfront, part of a trade with Seaside Heights to swap land for the historic carousel. The carousel is still where it was when we first saw it, that magical night. Seaside Heights hopes to put build a new housing for it, and there's moving of it to be done, and none of that's ready yet. For this visit the carousel was, anticlimactically, exactly where it had been when we took our Casino Pier Farewell Tour several years ago.

The pier was changed, besides being shorter. Many of the rides were gone: Stillwalk Manor, its great dark-house ride, was dropped into the Atlantic by Sandy. Star Jet was iconically dropped into the ocean. The Wild Mouse that was our first roller coaster has gone to what we'd like to think is a better place. (It's Sacramento.) The only roller coasters left from our first visit are the Hot Tamales kiddie coaster that I guess isn't a copyright violation and the Pirates Hideaway miniature ride.

They have new rides. A giant Ferris wheel. The new Hydrus roller coaster, which loomed over the pier --- while huddling up as far from the water as it could get --- and looked fantastic. A pendulum claw ride called Superstorm that had been running when we last visited. The rooftop minigolf had been renovated, and the statues looked new and fresh. There was also a new pirate-themed miniature golf opposite the Casino, toward the water park area of the pier. (Yeah, the water park area isn't on the beach, because ... just ... you know. Things and stuff.) Also we knew that the Berkeley Sweet Shop, closed after the fire destroyed its antique taffy-pulling machine, had somehow found the ability to reopen. It would be north of the old location, somewhere in Seaside Heights, but it was somewhere there.

We were changed too. The most important change was something we didn't consciously notice at the time. When we first visited, someone noticed us and asked if we'd want a picture taken. It's one of the best pictures of us. This time, we weren't approached by anyone. I suppose it's impossible to radiate new-relationship energy forever and to seem always open to strangers asking if we wanted photographs. I suppose also nine years ago selfies weren't a thing we just assumed people would take, though. Maybe folks of today were just respecting our privacy.

Trivia: Johns Hopkins died in 1873, with a trust of $3.5 million bequeathed to found a university and hospital. The university opened in 1876; the medical school in 1893. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.


PS: Halloween came to the pinball league ... uh ... right before Halloween last year. Let's watch.

IMG_0668.jpg

Getting ready for Halloween! I paint the lily by putting on a raccoon mask.


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Trophies that [profile] bunny_hugger bought for the Lansing Pinball League costume contest last year.


STORY: Justice Ch. 7

Sep. 16th, 2017 05:51 pm
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
SEVEN

“Court is now in session. All rise for the honorable Justice Stepin Perraul.”

A black bear in black robes entered the court room and sat behind the judge’s bench. Even sitting, he towered over all present. After he sat, everyone else sat. He looked at the dossier on his flat panel and then looked up. “Bring in the perpetrator.”

Enhray was escorted in by two security guards. The bear looked down at the pine marten.

“You’ve submitted a request to change your plea to ‘Not Guilty’ and receive a trial by jury. Your request is denied. Once a perpetrator confesses guilt he cannot uncon…”

The bear stopped in mid-sentence as the doors to the viewing gallery opened and closed. He watched a small gray squirrel find a seat. The squirrel noticed the bear looking at him.

“My apologies, your Honor, for my lateness. I hope that is the correct term. Like Mr. On-ray’s original trial date, I did not receive proper notification about this hearing.”

Judge Perraul closed his eyes a moment, took deep slow breath that was almost a sigh, and then reopened them.

“Then you will be happy to know, Em-bass-ah-der, that I was in the process of denying the perpetrator’s request for a retrial.”

Aldin briefly drooped his tail. “Forgive me, your Honor, I have not had time to read-up on the proper procedure. However, if you deny his request, I will file whatever forms are necessary for a retrial as is my right as the victim.”

There were hushed mumblings among the few in the courtroom as again, Judge Perraul closed his eyes and this time sighed. He looked up again. “Em-bass-ah-der, please approach the bench.” He glanced at the ferret sitting next to Enhray and a lemur off to one side. “The perpetrator’s and government’s counsels will do likewise.”

Aldin made his way down to the bench and stood next to the ferret and lemur. Both of them towered over Aldin. The judge towered far above all three of them. “You may come up here. This sidebar conversation is off the record for now.” All three climbed up. Aldin had all he could do to suppress his wild cousin instincts telling him to flee from such a large predator. The judge was larger than any bear he had ever seen back home. The bear quietly spoke so only the three of them could hear him. “Em-bass-ah-der, the perpetrator has already confessed his guilt. He cannot request a new trial.”

“My client plea bargained, your honor, while still recovering from a head injury,” the ferret interjected.

Judge Perraul glared at the ferret. “You’ll only address me when addressed. You and the government counsel are only up here to hear what I say to the victim.” He turned back to Aldin. “This is not your Terra or whatever you call your home. Our laws are different here.”

Aldin nodded. “Yes, I understand that, your Honor. I have also briefly read through your laws/rules regarding trials. If the victim is not satisfied with the sentence, the victim can request a new trial. If you will not grant the perpetrator his request to a new trial, then I will file for one on his behalf. I am not satisfied with the sentence. It is too harsh. Parliament charged him with fighting on the floor, not attempted murder.”

All three stared at him. The ferret tried hard not to grin.

“The perpetrator or his family hasn’t threatened you in any way have they?” Judge Perraul asked.

“No, your Honor. In fact, I gave the perpetrator a chance to rip me apart in his jail cell two days ago. He had me by the scruff of my neck, but he did no harm to me. He simply removed me from his cell. I would guess you can find a report on it in there.” Aldin pointed to the judge’s flat panel with his tail. “You will also find there is no way for him or his family to bribe me. Parliament has yet to decide if I am allowed to work or not, so I have no account in your world banking system. No account, no way to get paid. All I have is the embassy ‘charge account’, but I’ve already tried to receive payments for speaking engagements through that with no success.

“As I said, I will file for a retrial as I object to the length of the sentence. He should have served a maximum of two months per Parliament rules. I understand the rules are different here. It would be much easier back at Nahmakanta. Back home, all I would need to do is request the charges be dropped and that would be the end of it.”

All three stared at him.

“Please repeat that,” Judge Perraul requested.

“Among my people if the victim requests the charges be reduced or dropped against the perpetrator, they are dropped or reduced accordingly. Of course we do not jail those found guilty as we are at war and cannot spare any paws to watch someone in prison as our numbers are small. I do understand the prison thing as humans use it back home. Among my people, the punishment meets the crime. A fight like ours would have resulted in several klicks to several hundred klicks of community service. Attempted murder would mean banishment from the colony. I could go on, your Honor. However, I will do whatever it takes to get Enhray’s attempted murder charge dropped. If simply requesting to do so does not work here, so be it. If that means I need to submit a request for a new trial, then that is what I will do.”

Now the ferret was smiling.

Once again, Judge Perraul closed his eyes a moment in thought. “Please go back to your seats, I need to do some research.” He stood up.

“Due to who the victim is, I need to do some research in my chamber. Court will reconvene in one klick.”

“All rise!” a security guard cried out as Judge Perraul departed through a door behind the bench.

Immediately, the lemur went over to Aldin. “Have you lost your mind, Em-bass-ah-der? He tried to kill you and you’re trying to have him released?”

“Counsel, as I explained to Mr. On-ray in his jail cell, I started that fight intentionally. It would not have mattered who it was that charged down on the floor to challenge me, I would have picked a fight with them to prove the point I am not just some wild cousin who was trained to speak a few words. Any sentence longer than he has already served is unjust and I will do whatever it takes to get him released.”

“You are crazy!” the lemur threw up her paws and stormed back to her table knowing she was going to have a difficult trial ahead if the judge granted his request.

The ferret then approached him. “I must look out for my client’s interests, Em-bass-ah-der. Is what you said up there and to my client genuine?”

“Yes.”

The ferret’s grin was extra wide.

-----------------

A klick later, the door to the far chamber opened again.

“All rise!” a security guard called out. All did so as Judge Perraul reentered the chamber and sat down. Everyone else did likewise.

“I did some research and found that long before we were a united world, when the various regions were independent countries, most sent official representatives, what we call ‘Foreign Representative’ or as among the Embassahder’s people ‘Embassahder’, to those countries they had friendly ties with. If that foreign representative became victim of a crime, they had the right to have the perpetrator extradited to their home country to face trial under their laws rather than in the country the crime originated in.

“Technically, at the time the crime was committed, Al-den Bush-E-tail of Terra was not yet appointed, Embassahder of the Terran Nah-mah-kant-ah Free Squirrels. However, I will ignore that as he was appointed to that position soon after. Per our sidebar conversation, the Embassahder has made a request that the accused perpetrator be tried under the rules of his home country. Unfortunately, there is no way to extradite the accused perpetrator to Terra as we do not know where it is nor have any way of making contact with Terra at this time. Our laws do not allow a charge of this magnitude to simply be dropped as the Embassahder has indicated would be allowed in his country if the victim requests it. As a compromise, I shall allow the accused to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial. That trial shall commence in one week. Counsels, prepare your arguments accordingly. The accused perpetrator is, hereby, transferred from the region prison to house arrest until said trial.” He then looked directly at Aldin. “There is to be no further contact between the victim and the accused until the trial. If contact is made between the two, this compromise is void, the guilty plea will be reinstated, and the perpetrator will return to prison to continue serving his five-year sentence.” Judge Perraul picked-up the gavel on his bench and hammered it once.

Oh, yay!

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:23 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
NYC Kettle Corn will be right by my sister's office on Friday.

So I can totally ask her to pick some up for me! I love, love, love cheddar caramel, and the best I can get at stores is bags where half is cheddar and half is caramel.
thewayne: (Default)
[personal profile] thewayne
A proof of concept of this was revealed some months ago when a Burger King TV commercial said "Siri, tell me about the Whopper". Maybe it was Hey Google, I don't remember. Anyway, it was rapidly blocked, then BK came out with another commercial and they had a little war back and forth. And BBC apparently tries it with "Hey Siri, remind me to watch Doctor Who on BBC America." I was particularly amused at "Hey Siri, remind me to watch Broadchurch on BBC America" during the final episode of the series. I burst out laughing when that ad aired and had to explain it to the spousal unit. And as Sam Clemens said, or is alleged to have said, 'Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog: you can do it, but the frog isn't good for much afterwards.'

Well, the Chinese have found another way: pitch the audio above the range of human hearing. The microphones can still catch it, and the command works. Now, I don't have voice-activated Siri on my iPhone, I have to hold down the button because I find that, for me, for the most part Siri is garbage. I don't think it's my enunciation, but maybe it is.

Makes me wonder if they'll put in a filter to cap mic input to 18-20 kHz or so to prevent this sort of abuse.

I read about this last week, perhaps on the day that I went down to help out that medical practice with their ransomware attack. The clinic was handling their last patients of the day, and the office manager was running the front desk, and was using his iPhone with Siri voice commands. He looked a little shocked when I told him about this attack.

https://apple.slashdot.org/story/17/09/06/2026247/hackers-can-take-control-of-siri-and-alexa-by-whispering-to-them-in-frequencies-humans-cant-hear

Here's the Slashdot summary:

Chinese researchers have discovered a vulnerability in voice assistants from Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Huawei. It affects every iPhone and Macbook running Siri, any Galaxy phone, any PC running Windows 10, and even Amazon's Alexa assistant. From a report:

Using a technique called the DolphinAttack, a team from Zhejiang University translated typical vocal commands into ultrasonic frequencies that are too high for the human ear to hear, but perfectly decipherable by the microphones and software powering our always-on voice assistants. This relatively simple translation process lets them take control of gadgets with just a few words uttered in frequencies none of us can hear. The researchers didn't just activate basic commands like "Hey Siri" or "Okay Google," though. They could also tell an iPhone to "call 1234567890" or tell an iPad to FaceTime the number. They could force a Macbook or a Nexus 7 to open a malicious website. They could order an Amazon Echo to "open the backdoor." Even an Audi Q3 could have its navigation system redirected to a new location. "Inaudible voice commands question the common design assumption that adversaries may at most try to manipulate a [voice assistant] vocally and can be detected by an alert user," the research team writes in a paper just accepted to the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.
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[personal profile] thewayne
and apparently did not have an IT background. Her LinkedIn profile has been deleted, and apparently an effort is being made to purge her from the internet. It won't be entirely successful, but it'll slow information retrieval down. The article mentions that she spent 14 years in industry, we don't know in what industry, which means she could have picked up a fair amount of IT knowledge, but not as much as if she'd studied IT and gotten a degree and a CISSP cert.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/equifax-ceo-hired-a-music-major-as-the-companys-chief-security-officer-2017-09-15

https://it.slashdot.org/story/17/09/16/0244211/equifax-cso-retires-known-bug-was-left-unpatched-for-nearly-five-months


Also, scammers are calling people at random, claiming to be Equifax, wanting to verify your information. Obviously Equifax has better things to do right now than call you. Just hang up, don't give them your name or the time of day.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/09/ftc-opens-equifax-investigation-says-beware-of-equifax-calling-scams/


ETA:Apparently the Internet Archive Wayback Machine never cached her LinkedIn page, more's the pity. It says it has a page from September 9, but nothing is retrieved when you click on it.
frith: White cartoon pony on a couch; record player (FIM Rarity music)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
In the interest of Being Excellent and considerate of those who plan to watch this episode, all references to the content of this episode are stashed under the cut and will remain so hidden for at least a month. Someponies like to watch MLP:FIM in herds and it can be a while before they get all their ponies together. 8^) As spoilers are also likely to be in any comments: don't read if you haven't yet seen the episode unless you like being spoiled. When you're ready, drop in a comment and say what you thought of this episode!

After a month, I hope Episode Discuss posts will be so far off the top page that it'll probably take the tag to find them, so about a month after posting the cut will be removed. 8^) Sometimes I go back and drop in little extras into the posts, like comics and links to the music.

Broadcast starts at 11:30 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time, which should work out to 4:30 pm UTC, 8:30 am PST and maybe about 11:30 PM Down Under. Confused? Look at the PonyCountdown widget on the community page! At the moment there are just 45 minutes left to go.

Written by Josh Haber.

For those of you following Twitter, you can follow writers Nick Confalone (Hearthbreakers), Mike and Will Fox (The Gift of the Maud Pie), Joanna and Kristine (Gauntlet of Fire), Dave Polsky (Rarity Takes Manehattan) and Jennifer Skelly (Buckball Season). Other twits in the early morning chorus may include the likes of Meghan McCarthy, Jayson Thiessen (Supervising Director of MLP:FIM), Andrea Libman , the voice of Dragon Lord Ember Ali Milner, Big Jim (storyboard work, voice of Troubleshoes and Director of MLP:FIM), Mike Vogel and Josh Haber. The hashtag to watch should be #MLPseason7.

Review for episode 19, It Isn't the Mane Thing About You, below the cut. )


Catch the show and throw in your two bits in the comments! Copy/paste your reviews into the comments, spread the wealth!

Watch It Isn't the Mane Thing About You on DailyMotion in 1080p here. It appears that DailyMotion has a new look. It also failed twice while I was watching it. At least I was able to go back to where I'd left off after refreshing the page.

Download links for It Isn't the Mane Thing About You: (I'll fill in the blanks as soon as I find them)
As seen on Discovery Family in 1080p: broadcast version.
In 1080p without logos: logoless.
In 1080p, without logos and colour corrected: a href="">colourful.
They're all mkv format files.

Read all the transcripts, including that of It Isn't the Mane Thing About You over here on the MLP wiki of transcripts.

Clear, free, logoless screengrabs from the entire episode get uploaded to the episode wiki within days of broadcast on the MLP Wikia Gallery pages, here.

The links to official channels and purchasing DVD's and episodes are now in the community sticky.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
As recently as 20 years ago, the logo was of an Indian chief with a headdress, but apparently somebody clued them in and now it's a knight's helmet, so that was an easy change. I wonder when they did that?

****************


Turn-of-the-Century Kid’s Books Taught Wealthy, White Boys the Virtues of Playing Football

At Bug-Eating Festival, Kids Crunch Down On The Food Of The Future (It's a kid-eat-bug world out there, guys.)

Wolves understand cause and effect better than dogs

A Women’s Circus School Is Growing in Gaza

A Story About Singapore’s Urban Development, In Six Parts

How Park(ing) Day Went Global

How to trick your brain into thinking a small animal is hopping up your arm

This Legal Rebel Takes the Cases of the World's Most Vulnerable

Mayor de Blasio: NYC Will Be First City to Mandate that Existing Buildings Dramatically Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Byssus, or sea silk, is one of the most coveted materials in the world – but after more than 1,000 years in the same matrilineal family tree, this ancient thread may soon unravel.

Why Koreans Shun the Suburbs

The Really Weird Link Between College and Brain Cancer

Echolocation and Its Discontents

Focusing on soccer may have a troubling effect on teenage girls

The Case Against Civilization

The Secret History of FEMA

Why We Can’t Stop Hurricanes and All the Ways We’ve Tried

Caribbean families separate to rebuild lives after storm

When Disaster Strikes, the Zoo Must Go On

When Europeans Killed Others to Kill Themselves

Why American Workers Pay Twice as Much in Taxes as Wealthy Investors

Why Trump Sees Moral Clarity in London and Complexity in Charlottesville

UN: Global hunger rising with conflicts, climate shocks

Starting from scratch in Uganda

The Girl Gangs of El Salvador

Is flying coach too cramped to be safe?

Some Syrian schools erase Assad but tensions rise over Kurdish

North Korea fires second ballistic missile over Japan

Fun little time waster

Sep. 18th, 2017 01:15 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
When you click a button, the top right left* square and any same-colored squares contiguous with it turn to that color. The goal is to turn the whole board the same color.

* Once again, I forgot to make the L before talking about left and right.
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

The next day was Friday. The 30th. Our fifth anniversary.

We had brought presents for each other, hidden away by being put on completely different ends of the suitcase. It's a big suitcase. [profile] bunny_hugger gave to me a small wooden keepsake box, the sort that could hold a small treasured item. She was respecting the traditional fifth-anniversary gift material. I somehow had the idea the fifth-anniversary gift was silverware; possibly we were looking at different lists. But I was true to my list: I'd found commemorative spoons, one for Michigan's Adventure and one for Sandusky, Ohio. It was the closest I could get to Cedar Point, and it does feature the Breakers Hotel from Cedar Point on it. It also features some of the notable architecture of early-20th-century Sandusky. They're small things, naturally, since we wanted things we could easily carry to New Jersey and back again. But things meaningful to each other.

We eventually set out for the day. I don't think we missed housekeeping another day in a row, but it's possible. This was the really the only day we had specific plans to be a specific place for.

Something I discovered before we quite got on the road: if I had the key fob in my pocket I could unlock the rental car just by tugging on the door handle. I knew this was a strange, wondrous property of new cars that [profile] bunny_hugger would hate. She objected, on definition grounds if nothing else, to the `key' being something that just had to be in the car somewhere for the ignition to work. For the key to not even need to be touched to unlock the door would be too far. I would keep it, for a couple days, a weird little magic touch that I knew about.

For lunch we went to a Jersey Mike's. We always used to go to one at least once every one of her visits. Jersey Mike's sub sandwich shops have reached into Lansing; there's two in our area. We never eat there. I think I've picked up sandwiches from them to bring to our home two or three times, and I've eaten there sometimes when I was out for the afternoon. But we've never made it part of our regular life back home, and so it remains something special for trips like this.

One disappointment about the place: the Coffee News thing. It's this one-page kind-of placemat with human-interest stories of dubious reality and trivia of dubious plausibility and all that. It's supposed to get a new issue Wednesdays, but they had the same issue we'd read at the Crystal Diner our first night in town. On leaving I discovered they had some more issues, including the most current. The place just leaves old issues around because I guess it's not like a document talking about weird-news from Ukraine a year ago is timely or anything.

From lunch we drove east, for the destination closest to our hotel, and the site of our first real, important, perfect date: Casino Pier. Or, more generally, to Seaside Heights.

I chose to park at this public municipal lot just at the western border of the town. It's a good, easy-to-find spot, the kind that would keep us from losing where the car was. The unsettling thing is that the lot was empty. I wasn't sure it was still open to the public. But they had a pay station, and that accepted my credit card, so we just accepted the weirdness that it was a lovely, warm, sunny Friday afternoon at the Jersey Shore, just before the fourth of July, and here were hundreds of parking spots that nobody wanted. Unsettling. Bizarre.

Trivia: In 1866 Joseph Dixon patented a wood-planing machine which could process enough wood for 132 pencils per minute; his Dixon Crucible Company of Jersey City would become one of the first mass-producers of pencils. Source: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.


PS: Some miscellaneous Halloween-era stuff before I get into Halloweekends pictures.

IMG_0636.jpg

From about Halloween last year: Blind Squirrel Tavern decorated for the horrors of the season with, like, Road Show one of the games to play. The alcove for the majority of the games isn't very large and arguably isn't the entrance to the tavern, but it's enough space for the league nights and they did dress it up for the season.


IMG_0637.jpg

So here's what a selfie-type-league pinball league looks like. Write down your scores on the slips of paper provided and drop them in the box. [profile] bunny_hugger also won a gift card from one of the raffles, just a couple months ago. The creepy demonic head guy left after Halloween.


PPS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Ulam's Spiral, with something tossed in to make sure [profile] chefmongoose reads.

Let's talk about the Equifax hack

Sep. 15th, 2017 04:37 pm
thewayne: (Default)
[personal profile] thewayne
It is indeed a doozy, perhaps the largest data privacy leak in history. Equifax has been collecting information on people for decades, and they do it without our express permission. But at the same time, they are used for credit scores and to generate bank decisions for our getting loans and such. Yet I never signed a contract with Equifax allowing them to collect information on me.

And they have, through zero fault of my own, personally screwed me over.

A couple of years ago my wife and I decided to shop car insurance. Our current insurer was doing some corporate shenanigans that we didn't care for, and it should have been possible to shave some bucks off our premiums, and it never hurts to shop. I called the car club AAA, we ran through my information, and they told me that they couldn't take me because I had three accidents on my record. I'm accident-free. Equifax had taken three accidents OF MY FATHER, whose name is Andrew Donald, and put them on my record, where my name is Donald Wayne. We lived at the same address some years back, but I was living in New Mexico at the time of the accidents and have never owned a Buick. As it happens, we were born in the same month, but not on the day and clearly not in the same year. No two digits in our birth date or year are the same. There's no reason to conflate us and put the accidents on to my record, except for pure sloppy processes.

So I have a pretty poor opinion of these credit bureaus.

What happened to Equifax is pretty simple. They built their data framework on an open source software package called Apache Struts. Like virtually all software packages, bugs are found and patches are issued. A particularly big problem with Struts was first patched in March, but the intruders were in Equifax's system from mid-March through July - approx 2.5 months. Thus it is perfectly reasonable for Equifax to blame open source software for its breach. [sarcasm off] Struts is a framework for Java programs to run either on servers or web browsers, and after updating the framework you have to recompile literally hundreds of programs, and doing that would be a tremendous PITA, but it MUST be done, otherwise shit like this happens. Apparently some management at Equifax didn't like to pay overtime, and now they have to cope with a tremendous amount of shit.

In some late-breaking news from this afternoon, Equifax's Chief Information Officer and Chief Security Officer are both "retiring", proving that for once, shit started at the top. In "there is occasionally some justice, or perhaps there will be" news, the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the breech. It will be interesting to find out what they learn, assuming they ever issue a report. I wonder if Congress will hold public hearings. The breech is being compared by some news agencies to Enron. According to the Reuter's story, "Shares of Equifax fell 2.4 percent on Thursday and trading volume hit a record high. The shares have lost 32 percent since the company disclosed the hack on Sept. 7.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer compared Equifax to Enron, the U.S. energy company that filed for bankruptcy in 2001 after revelations of a widespread accounting fraud."


But you see, this is not just a problem for people in the USA. Equifax holds information for people in Canada and Mexico. And Argentine, and possibly other Latin American countries. And the BBC is reporting that 400,000 UKians have information that was compromised in the theft, but their information exposure was minimal and should not lead to identity theft. Well, we'll see about that! In Argentine, apparently Equifax's software used the highly-[in]secure account/password combination of admin/admin.

This is one of my favorite stories, and it may be behind a paywall since it's from the Wall Street Journal. Here's the Slashdot summary:

Equifax was lobbying lawmakers and federal agencies to ease up on regulation of credit-reporting companies in the months before its massive data breach. Equifax spent at least $500,000 on lobbying Congress and federal regulators in the first half of 2017, according to its congressional lobbying-disclosure reports. Among the issues on which it lobbied was limiting the legal liability of credit-reporting companies. That issue is the subject of a bill that a panel of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the industry, discussed the same day Equifax disclosed the cyberattack that exposed personal financial data of as many as 143 million Americans. Equifax has also lobbied Congress and regulatory agencies on issues around "data security and breach notification" and "cybersecurity threat information sharing," according to its lobbying disclosures. The amount Equifax spent in the first half of this year appears to be in line with previous spending. In 2016 and 2015, the company's reports show it spent $1.1 million and $1.02 million, respectively, on lobbying activities. While the company had broadly similar lobbying issues in those years, the liability matter was new in 2017.

The title of the story is "Equifax Lobbied for Easier Regulation Before Data Breach", it's by Michael Rapoport and AnnaMaria Andriotis. f you do a little searching, you might be able to find a copy.

Now, the breech itself is extremely bad. If you were compromised, and there's a very good chance that you were, then the information that was stolen includes: your full name, social security number, previous addresses, list of jobs, all sorts of amazing things. Information about you that never changes. Information about you that you use to apply for credit cards, loans, mortgages, JOBS. The best thing you can do is to approach all four credit bureaus and put a FREEZE, not monitor, but FREEZE your credit. That means that no credit can be taken out in your name without postal correspondence going back and forth with your house. No credit reports can be pulled. It's about the best that you can do. Brian Krebs has an excellent post that he has to pull out a few times every year to discuss this. Definitely worth a read. Me? I'm unemployed. Banks would have to be idiots to issue credit under my information, still, I plan on freezing my accounts.

But that's not the worst.

For reasons unknown, Equifax had credit card transaction information, 200,000 transactions worth dating back to last November, sitting on their servers, apparently unencrypted. Massive violation of PCI compliance rules.

And who knows, there may be more yet to come.

I won't bother providing links to the stories about your surrendering your right to sue if you signed up for their monitoring service, that's been rescinded. There were at least two class-action law suits in development, along with a couple of States Attorneys General beginning investigation.

One more thing to mention: an op ed piece by Bruce Schneier, a very well-known and respected expert on encryption and privacy. He has some facts wrong, I think he wasn't as well-versed on the scope of the breech as perhaps he should have been when he wrote it. But at the beginning of the piece he talks about how the public are not customers of Equifax, we are what is being sold, and we have no say in the matter. And there are THOUSANDS of data brokers out there that we can't come close to naming all of them.

Equifax's feet will be in the fire for some time, I imagine.

STORY: Justice Ch. 6

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:02 pm
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
SIX

“PUT THE EMBASSAHDER DOWN!”

“So, On-ray,” Aldin looked at him from where he dangled in the pine marten’s grasp, “last time we met, you tried to attack this ‘Talking meal,’ which did not turn out all that well, did it? You got five years in prison thanks to me. Here’s your chance for revenge if you prefer to stay in prison. And if you’re quick enough you might even gulp me down in four or five mouthfuls before they can do anything about it. At least then you’d have committed the crime for which you’re trying to serve the time. Of course, if you choose revenge, then you will not go home to your family anytime soon. Are you interested in freedom or staying here in prison?”

“PUT THE EMBASSAHDER DOWN!”

Enhray held Aldin there a moment in thought. Just one quick slash with his free hand just like the suicidal tree rat suggested. It was SO tempting. He then shook the thought from his head recalling how his last encounter with this small tree rat ended. And last time the tree rat had one arm in a cast. That wasn’t the case now. Enhray cussed again and then replied, “I’m not that stupid.” He turned to the guards. “I’ll bring the Em-bass-ah-der to you. Don’t fire. You might hit him!”

He carried the squirrel to the cell door. He dangled him near the lock until the light turned green. He opened it enough to set Aldin down and then locked himself back in the cell and held his hands in the air again. He mumbled another cuss word under his breath, which like the others, Aldin couldn’t quite catch. The guards rushed forward with their weapons drawn and put the Aldin behind them. Immediately, the indicator lights on their weapons turned green. No one noticed the wet paw prints Aldin left on the floor.

“Please do not shoot him,” Aldin calmly requested. “As you can see, no harm came to me.”

After some hesitation, the guards slowly lowered their weapons.

“Crazy tree rat,” Enhray mumbled. “Not happy seeing me in prison, you’re trying to get me killed!”

“Maybe I am crazy, but you are now talking more than just ‘go away’.” Aldin waved his arms at the guards. “Please put your weapons away. They are not needed. Now that I have gotten his attention, may I have some privacy with the prisoner so we can continue our conversation?”

All of security but the raccoon slowly filed back out after glancing at the coon, who nodded. Once alone, the coon thrashed his tail back and forth as he glared at Aldin, pointing a finger close to his chest. “I’m only allowing you to stay because you are the Embassahder. But I don’t care what your title is. Even if you were suddenly made Chancellor. If you pull a stunt like that a second time you’ll find your tail out that door,” he pointed at the door behind him, “so fast the rest of you will have a hard time keeping up with it!”

Aldin nodded. “I understand, officer.”

The raccoon stepped back out, except this time, he didn’t secure the outer door.

Aldin made himself comfortable again on the sitting cushion. “Now where were we before that interruption?” He pondered a moment. “Oh, yes, I was asking you why you are in there and not home with your family where you belong.”

Enhray sighed as he paced in the cell. “Obviously you won’t leave me be until I answer your questions. I pled guilty to attempted murder.”

“Now why would you do that?” Aldin briefly held his tail up in a curl. (curiousflick)

“BECAUSE I [PG-13] TRIED TO KILL YOU!” Enhray bellowed as he glared at Aldin through the bars. He threw his hands up in the air. “There, I’ve confessed to you now! Are you happy? Are you here to gloat at me, Em-bass-ah-der Tree Rat?” He added the title in a sarcastic tone.

“No, I am not happy,” Aldin replied calmly. “Nor am I here to gloat at you. If all I was going to do was gloat, I would not have put my life in your paws just now. Instead, I’d have just sat here and taunted you until I got a reaction. However, that’s not my way, On-ray.”

“Uh huh, right. You’d have just let me rip your throat out. If so, you’re crazier than I thought.”

“Now, there, you’re correct. I’d have tried to stop you, but by holding me by the scruff of my neck, I’d have been hard pressed to avoid serious injury. A squirrel’s reflexes are quick, but that’s one position that is difficult to defend from. Our combat training does not cover it ‘cause the enemy we face back home is not large enough to lift us by our scruff.” Aldin flicked his tail back and forth slowly a couple times.

“Anyway, back to our first encounter where you believed you tried to kill me. Did you really try?” He looked down at himself brushing at his fur and felt behind at the scruff of his neck with a hind paw. “You did not do a very good job of it. I came out of it unscathed. And I just gave you another chance. You had me in your grasp at your mercy and you did not even pierce my skin. After talking to your wife, I knew you would not, On-ray. You are not that bad a person the way she told it. Or she is a really good actress, and you just blew your chance at a tree rat snack.” Aldin (gigglechittered) trying to lighten the mood up. Enhray simply stared at him.

“Look, On-ray, maybe all you really did was pick a fight, huh? And then some over-zealous judge or,” he used the English word for the next word, “lawyer, or whatever it is you have in your justice system decided to press bigger charges, because of who you fought with despite Parliament’s charge of fighting-only. That was the only charge they wanted pressed. And for some reason you chose to plead guilty to the larger charge anyway. Sounds like you did not have a lawyer to advise you.”

“I leapt at you with the intention of killing you.”

“And you think I was not expecting that nor prepared for it? Back home some wild cousin predators tend to make that mistake from time to time with my people. They do not tend to make it more than once.” Aldin started tapping away on his small flat panel. “According to Parliamentary Rules,” he held the flat panel where the marten could read the text if he chose and paused a moment and (gigglechittered). “Yes, the very rules I had offered to let you reread just before I tossed your insult back at you and you jumped at me. Anyway, according to those rules, the maximum punishment for fighting on the floor of Parliament is 2 months prison time. It’s been a little over 2 months now. You have more than served an ‘appropriate’ punishment for that crime. So, why not fight the new charge?”

“Is this a trick? I got off easy at five years by pleading guilty. If I go to trial, it could be twenty.”

Aldin tapped his flat panel again read something, put an earbud to his ear and listened to ensure he was reading it right and then tapped something else. “According to this,” he motioned at the text on his flat panel, “provided I am reading and hearing this right as my ability to read Common is not that great yet, but it improves every day. Anyway, as the ‘victim’ of this crime, if the per-pah-tray-ter is found guilty, and I am not satisfied with the punishment, I can request a new trial, with the understanding that the…per-pah-tray-ter may get a reduced sentence or be found not guilty and set free.” He looked up at Enhray. “I suggest you withdraw your guilty plea and request a new trial. Otherwise, I will as I am not satisfied with the sentence you received.”

Enhray bristled. “This has to be a trick. You want to see me serve twenty years don’t you?”

“No, Eh-ray,” Aldin responded calmly, “I want to see you go home to your family, leave this behind you, and get on with your life. I hold no ill will towards you. Live and let live. If your wife had not called me, I would not have known you were still in prison. Someone neglected to notify the ‘victim’ of your court date where you plead guilty.” Aldin again pointed out this was not normal based on the laws he called up on his flat panel. “If I had known about it, I would have tried to stop you from doing so then and maybe you would already be home now.”

“My wife is better off divorcing me and finding a new mate,” Enray added dejectedly. “I lost my job. I can’t support them. Who would hire me after everyone in the world saw that fight?”

“She loves you and is ready to take you back. Why else would she call me and ask for help? I also had a muzzle-to-muzzle talk with your employer just before coming to see you. He is willing to give you a second chance, but you’ll be on probation for 5 months. Yes, I have been a very busy squirrel these past few days.”

The pine marten stared at Aldin in disbelief. “Why would you do this?”

“Look, On-ray, what really happened that day is that you,” he pointed at the pine marten with his tail, “were the victim, not me,” Aldin pointed at himself with his tail. “It was my intention all along to pick a fight with the first representative to storm down on the floor in objection to my being there. And I planned on it with the understanding I would probably spend two months in prison. I figured it was worth it to quickly prove that I am more than just a wild cousin who learned to imitate a few words of Common and,” Aldin shrugged, “it would have given me a couple extra months to polish my Common before addressing Parliament. My accent, at least to me, is not as strong as it was two months back on the floor of Parliament.

“It takes two to fight. You just happened to ‘volunteer’ to be the other fighter. Of as some of our human-Fudd allies would say back home, you were ‘voluntold’.” Aldin trailed off as he looked over Enhray’s shoulder rather than directly at him a moment as his eyes seemed to briefly go out of focus. “You do not know how close you came to dying that day, On-ray. While I was ready to leap or dodge aside from whoever charged me, I had not anticipated someone leaping directly at me. I had all I could do to pull back on the killing blow. My people have been at war longer than I’ve been alive. The combat training I went through was intense. It is more or less ingrained into me. It has to be. The most common attack by the enemy is to leap at us with claws extended. When the enemy leaps at you, it’s kill or be killed. You hesitate, you die. It is fortunate for you I hesitated because you do not look like a devilbunny. In some ways, it is also fortunate that you slammed into the podium and got a concussion. If you had landed in the clear, turned around and leapt at me again, I do not think I could have held back a second time.

“If anyone should be serving time for attempted murder over that fight, is should be me, not you. Parliament chose not to punish me. Instead only you got punished. And,” Aldin shook his head, “you received five years for being made a fool of in front of a watching world audience. Now that right there is not fair and I am sorry it has come to this. That is why I am here to do what I can. I want to set things right. I have already declared your family wards of Nahmakanta so they are covered financially while we fight this. Provided, you would like to go home to them rather than continue to sit here and feel sorry for yourself.”

Enhray stared at Aldin and was silent for a while. Finally, he asked, “If I request a new trial, what exactly would you do?”

Aldin explained what he planned to do step-by-step.

“And if all that fails and I am right back here, possibly for twenty years.”

Aldin sighed. “I doubt you will wind-up back here. However, if you do, I am going to walk into that cell again, but this time I will spend the entire sentence with you or however long it takes until the charges are dropped. You saw how the guards reacted just now. Imagine what they’d do then.”

“You’re truly serious, aren’t you? Creator as my witness, you are beyond crazy.”

“Yes, On-ray, I am serious,” Aldin replied. “Crazy or not, we got started on the wrong paw. I do not expect you to respect me anymore now than that first day on the floor of Parliament. If you still consider me some trained wild cousin who learned a few words in Common so be it. But that does not mean I hold a grudge against you or anyone in the ‘wild cousin’ faction of that Parliament. Nor do I want to see anyone punished for something they did not do. Do we have a deal? Will you withdraw your guilty plea and go to trial?” Aldin held out his forepaw through the bars. Enhray hesitated a moment and then accepted it, shaking it once.

“So be it, Em-bass-ah-der Tree Rat.”

“I would not tolerate that name from anyone else but you, On-ray. However, you may want to be more respectful in court.”

Do better than our parents did

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Wrapped up another week on my humor blog. If you aren't reading this on your favorite RSS reader or already, here's a helpful reminder:

Some more puttering around from the reunion weekend last year:


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The main fountain in the Richmond (Indiana) rose garden. Just a really splendid example of making water fall, I thought.


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And a detail of the water fountain: that art deco-y eagle(?) perched on the inside of the fountain. I like the style.


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And then here's a bit of chainsaw sculpture by the Richmond rose garden.


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At the Glen Miller park on US 40 --- the former National Road --- is one of a dozen Madonnas of the Trail, monuments to ``the spirit of pioneer women'' erected in the 1920s by the Daughters of the American Revolution. It also happens to be near the spot of the first toll gate in Indiana, marked on the base of the statue as well as on a historical marker nearby. No, it's not named for the missing bandleader. It's a glen named for original owner John Miller.


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[profile] bunny_hugger spots someone as she tries taking a photograph of the Madonna of the Trail.


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Really interesting pile of late-Victorian house that's seen better days but maybe is being renovated? It's across the street, to the west of the Madonna of the Trail, right where she can glower at it.


Trivia: In 1842 London had eighteen public gasworks and twelve public gas companies, burning about 180,000 tons of coal annually to supply gas to about 134,300 private burners and 30,000 public or street customers. Source: The Age of Paradox: A Biography of England, 1841 - 1851, John W Dodds.

Currently Reading: Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America, Josh Lauer.

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