Brown River Queen cover art

Friday, April 1, 2011

Belfast Buffoonery: Judges Sans Judgement

The case of Lennox, the dog who was seized in Belfast for being a pit bull despite a DNA test which confirmed he was NOT a pit bull, has taken a sudden tragic turn for the worse.  Scroll down to see my earlier posts about this travesty.

The Belfast City Council Dog Wardens, more commonly known locally as 'sheep fanciers,' kept Lennox locked away in a tiny tiny cage for a year before a judge finally heard the case.

Not that the Wardens had much of a case.  They identified Lennox as a pit bull, a breed prohibited by local law. The Wardens came to this conclusion after engaging in a stunning bit of police work.

They measured Lennox's back legs.  With a cloth tape measure.

Yeah.  That's "CSI: Belfast."  A couple of quasi-literate bumpkins and their mum's old sewing tape.

Anyway, after a lengthy round of finger-counting and open-mouthed division, these paragons of law enforcement declared Lennox a pit bull and carried him off.  Lennox then spent a year in the tiny cage I just mentioned, surrounded by his own feces.

I was appalled at that, until a friend who's been to Belfast assured me that sleeping in a bed of one's own droppings is quite commonplace there.  Oh, a few rich society Belfasters do use fancy outdoor toilets, but they are in the minority.

But back to the case.  This judge, a District Judge we'll call Stupid McStupidson, heard the evidence, wiped drool from his bottom six chins, and declared that Lennox was a menace to public safety, and must therefore be put down.

Unless Lennox's owners can win an appeal, Lennox the not-pit-bull is doomed.

Doomed for the crime of being large and black.

Public safety, Judge Mac MacStupid O'Shaunesy?  Yes, yes, I can see your point.  This dog, which has never harmed anyone, could secretly be procuring anti-tank weapons from North African arms dealers, and burying these weapons in his backyard, just waiting to strike.  You are very wise, District Judge Stupid McStupidson .  Most of us were completely fooled by Lennox's lack of opposable thumbs and speech or writing abilities.

But that makes him the perfect terrorist!

And since Lennox has a spotless record, and since he isn't a pit bull, why else would he have spent a year in solitary confinement?  He must be guilty!

It's all so clear now.  All so obvious.

And all I had to do to understand District Judge  Stupid McStupidson's reasoning was apply a little common sense.  Well, apply a little common sense and huff five cans of cheap gold spray paint.  That knocked my IQ down several hundred points, and now I'm in a perfectly Belfast state of mind!

If I huff another half a dozen cans, thus reducing myself to a mental level somewhere between that of carrots and sand, I might even be qualified to run against District Judge Stupid McStupidson in the next next election!

Wait, wait.  I'd need to move to Belfast to do that.

And even after picking up a drug habit and rendering myself Belfastish, I'm not stupid enough to do that.

PS --

I hope someone will forward this blog post  to the judge.  Then I hope someone else will read it to him, slowly, explaining the big words as they go.  I know that will take time, but I've heard if you keep a bucket of fish handy he'll sit still as long as you keep feeding him.  Try, won't you?

UPDATE 9-30-2011:

In a stunning display of judicial incompetence and profound stupidity, Judge Dereck Rodgers just decreed that Poor Lennox, after spending 18 months locked up, is to be put down.

I am appalled beyond words at the thuggish, brutal cretins who run Belfast.  From the Dog Wardens to the bloated, ham-faced dog 'experts' to the witless judges, Belfast is nothing but a blight upon the Earth.  I wish everyone involved with the prosecution nothing but misery and misfortune.


Lennox was not put down in September of 2011. Instead, he was held in legal limbo, with no visits allowed, while the Belfast legal community struggled with weighty matters including but not limited to 'how to read without sounding out the words aloud' and 'what kind of rash is this.'

Lennox remains on Death Row.

Banned from Belfast!

I knew it was coming.

The Belfast City Council has blocked me from posting on their Facebook page and has deleted all my previous posts.  It seems they do not love having their penchant for murdering dogs spoken about in public.  Or maybe they were simply intimidated at the sight of two-syllable words.  Most of the posts created by residents of Belfast were of the 'wher i gits beere?' variety.  Several were open solicitations for intimate relations with underage donkeys.  And people claim Belfast has no night life!

Honestly, I was surprised to find a Facebook page for Belfast at all.  Setting up any sort of web page seems beyond the grasp of that mob of raging alcoholic leprechaun-molesters -- but wait, they probably paid a human to set them up.  Yes.  I should have realized that immediately, since the Belfast page lacked any references to bestiality, inbreeding, or public urination, which are all time-honored civic traditions in quaint little Belfast.

A judge ruled on Lennox's case a couple of days ago.  Now, let's take a quick look at the facts.  The Belfast City Council Dog Wardens, hereafter referred to as 'Child Molesting Guinness-Swilling Sheep-Buggering Fascist Drooling Inbred Morons,' grabbed Lennox the not-pit-bull after going to the wrong house.  That's right.  The warrant wasn't even for the address at which poor Lennox lived.

Why anyone would have the Child Molesting Guinness-Swilling Sheep-Buggering Fascist Drooling Inbred Morons of the Belfast City Council a written warrant is quite beyond me.  That's like sending my dogs to the grocery store with a shopping list written up in a 32-bit cipher code.  Good things are simply not going to happen.

And they didn't.  The Child Molesting Guinness-Swilling Sheep-Buggering Fascist Drooling Inbred Morons showed up at the wrong house.  Deep in the recesses of their dim little minds, they knew they were sent after a pit bull dog.

I can almost hear the stunted synapses in their miniscule brains struggling to connect.  Pit. Bull. Dog.  Lennox. Dog.  Lennox. Black Dog.

A pair of neurons managed a single brief connection.

Lennox pit bull dog!

And thus poor Lennox was led away.

Led away to languish in a tiny cage filled with his own feces.  Photos prove this.  Worse, Lennox remained in this cage for a year.

A year?  Really, people.  I know the Belfast City Dog Wardens -- pardon me, the Child Molesting Guinness-Swilling Sheep-Buggering Fascist Drooling Inbred Morons -- have a lot to do.  They have to remember what shoes are for.  Every morning for them is a struggle with door-knobs and buttons and a dozen other fiendishly complicated devices.

Just stumbling from the alley beside the pub and down to the Dog Warden office probably occupies most of their morning.

Finally, though, Lennox's case was presented to a judge.

One would think that a judge would posses certain mental qualities.  Detectable brain activity, for a start.  Some meager command of language.  The ability to relieve oneself without soiling one's robes.

That's what one would think.

But remember, this is Belfast.  Belfast, often referred to as the open, running sore of the United Kingdom.  Belfast, land of enchantment, if by enchantment you mean buggery, outdoor lavatories, and frequent encounters with piles of human feces.  That Belfast.

And so, in keeping with a millennia-old tradition of making the kinds of legal decisions that leave mollusks gasping in open disbelief, this Belfast judge decreed that Lennox the dog should be put to death, for the crime of being not-a-pit-bull, having black fur, and not living at the address listed on the warrant.

Way to go, Your Honor.  High-fives and dark skunky beers all around.  Keep up that level of stellar legal work, and you'll be Lord High Mayor of the malodorous trash-heap that is Belfast before you can say 'let's go club some baby seals.'

I don't know what's going to happen to poor Lennox.  I hope that the recent outpouring of rage aimed at Belfast might convince them to relent.  Understand I'm not expecting an appeal to their better natures to work. I don't think anyone on the Belfast City Council has a better nature.  But even a band of bloodthirsty goat-fanciers understands economic loss, and the whole 'Hey, let's kill some black dogs, just for the lulz' attitude isn't helping draw tourists toward the cloud of black flies that hangs like a noisy cloud over Belfast.

If you're angry about the treatment of this dog, let the mouth-breathers on the Belfast City Council know it.

Hit them here on Facebook.  Email the toothless beer-swilling gits here.

And then let's all hope that someone in Belfast grows an extra brain cell or three.

Yeah, it's a faint hope, but that's about all Lennox has right now.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, A Dog is Probably Dying: Lennox Part Deux

If you're new to my blog, you might want to scroll down and read yesterday's entry before you dive into this one.  

To recap, yesterday I learned about the sad case of Lennox, a mixed breed dog who was seized by the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens in Belfast last year on suspicion of....well, who knows?  Lennox spent five years living peacefully with his family.  There were no complaints about Lennox, from anyone.  He'd never displayed aggression, overturned a tour bus, or even barked all night.  He might have chewed on a rubber ball as a puppy.  Accounts vary.

Perhaps, though, Lennox's incarceration has nothing to do with him at all.  Maybe the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens ran out of kittens to drown.  Maybe the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens were in a foul mood because they woke up and realized all the cool people fled during the Potato Famine.  Maybe the only woman in Belfast lost her razor.

In any case, the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens seized Lennox after determining his back legs were 'pit-bullish.'  Poor Lennox is now on Death Row, crammed in a tiny cage and surrounded by his own feces, because that's the way they roll in leprechaun-infested Belfast.

This makes me angry.  I love dogs.  Unlike the people of Belfast, dogs are loyal, trustworthy, intelligent creatures. Creatures who for some reason love humans.  I've known quite a few humans in my time, dear readers, and 'lovable' isn't the first word that leaps to mind when attempting to describe them.  Mainly because it's only a few brief interludes of inbreeding that separates humans from the drooling primates that reside in scenic Belfast.

I wrote the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens and expressed my views on their policies, their practices, the parentage, and their overall lack of personal hygiene.  A reply may be a long time in coming, since I used words like 'hygiene' and the combined efforts of the entire Belfast City Council may be required to open a dictionary, much less read from it.

Which leads me to wonder -- just what sort of people make up the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens?  Internet sleuth that I am, I soon stumbled across a document which each applicant for the office of Dog Warden must complete.  I'll share it with you, since I believe it explains much about the reasons behind Lennox's sad imprisonment.


Minimum Physical Position Requirements:

Applicant MUST be able to lift 20 Kg club high enough to deliver lethal blow to puppies.  Ability to stomp kittens and goose-step preferred but not required (will train on the job). 


Applicant must rise from their crypt promptly at sunset.  Some Sunday work may be required, if Puppy Croquet games run over.


The successful Applicant may be paid in Euros or with the blood of infants, as requested.


1) You spot a puppy approximately eight weeks old playing with a pair of children in a private yard.  When you decapitate the puppy, to which screaming child do you present the severed head, the lad or the lass?

2) While on patrol, you receive reports of a tabby cat resting quietly on a sunny window-sill.  After fining the owner and dispatching the feline with a cricket bat in the name of Public Safety, do you also charge the owner remove the cat's remains, and if so, how much?  Be specific.

3) Select which of the following attributes identifies a dangerous dog: 
A) Four legs   
B) Three legs      
C) Any legs, or none    
D) Eyes    
E) A detectable pulse    
F) A tail

4) Tail-wagging by a dog is a sure sign of:  
A) Cannabalism     
B) Allegiance to Satan, the Dark Lord 
C) Both of the above

5) In your tenure as a Dog Warden for the Belfast City Council, you may encounter members of the press who see the tortured carcasses strapped to your Vespa and offer disparaging remarks about your work.  How will you respond to these persons? 
A) Club to forehead     
B) By eating their young
C) Will claim to be Belgian      
D) With blank, vacant stare

Thank you for your interest in this position.  The selected Applicant will receive the corpse of a small terrier as a token of our esteem.

There you have it.  I understand a little better now why our hump-backed brethren across the sea feel compelled to keep poor Lennox locked up for so long and for no apparent reason.

They don't need a reason.  Lennox is a dog.

To the good people of the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens, just being a dog is reason enough.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ire at the Irish

Who am I mad at tonight?


No, they didn't blow up my favorite pub in the 1970s.  I'm angry with Belfast; specifically, with the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens.  I'm mad because last year, these Dog Wardens (spelled 'goose-stepping Nazi bastards') seized a five year old pet named Lennox from his home.

What misdeed led to Lennox's removal?  Had he bitten a toddler, chased a mailman, growled at a neighbor?

No.  Lennox never did any of these things.  In fact, if Lennox ever so much as befouled a flowerbed no record of this act exists.  He had all his shots and licenses.  He lived indoors with a respectable family.  He was, by all accounts, every bit as dangerous as a damp sponge.  A damp sponge stored in a box.  A box put away and forgotten in the attic.  In your saintly old grandmother's house.  We're talking a Threat Level of Fluffy Pillow here.

But enter the Belfast City Dog Wardens!  Undeceived by Lennox's spotless record of good behavior or the glowing reports from friends and family, these feckless experts in the field of canine sleeper-cells whipped out a tape measure, performed a bit of on-site necromancy, and declared Lennox a slavering, rampaging beast just waiting for the right moment before tearing his way through a nursery school, Cujo-style.

And so they took Lennox away.  Now, I'm not entirely familiar with the laws in Belfast.  I do find it mildly disturbing that beloved family pets can be seized by the approximate equivalent of Wal-Mart greeters after being charged with, um, nothing at all.  Except for being black.  And looking a bit pit-bullish, if one sticks one's head in a bucket of oil and squints just so.

Once the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens had Lennox, the dog's family was kept in the dark.  Again, I find this puzzling -- were the Dog Wardens fearful that Lennox might somehow pass state secrets in and out of his cage?  Was Lennox being held of suspicion of espionage, as well as being somewhat big-boned?

Were the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens trying to break Lennox, convinced he was in fact the notorious Belfast Bank and Vault Robber ("They're always after me lucky charms!")?

We'll probably never know that.  But what we do know is gleaned from a photo of poor Lennox which was leaked to his family.

It shows Lennox in a tiny, tiny metal cage, surrounded by his own feces.  Food or water?

I suppose the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens consider food and water to be luxury items.  Or maybe they lost the recipe for water.

I've written a letter to the Belfast City Council Dog Wardens.  I don't expect a reply, mainly because A) literacy may be a bit of a stretch for people who can't tell pit bulls from mutts, and B) I doubt they like me very much.  Which is fine, because I don't like them either.

The text of my letter is below:

My name is Frank Tuttle.  I am an author and blogger from the USA.

By now you've realized why I'm writing, and you're correct -- this is indeed about Lennox, the dog seized a year ago and held since then on suspicion of possibly resembling something that from a considerable distance and in a dim light might look like a pit bull breed.

I've also seen the photographs of poor Lennox in what passes for acceptable quarters in merry old Belfast.  Tell, me, mister or miss Dog Warden, is it customary for the citizens of Belfast to sleep in small cages surrounded by their own feces?  That certainly doesn't fit with the tourist brochures which depict Belfast.  Or is it only small harmless dogs that are housed in this manner?

Seriously.  You people storm in to a private home, haul away a harmless pet, keep it confined on ludicrous grounds and in deplorable conditions, and you call yourselves 'dog wardens' and 'public servants?'  What's the matter, you couldn't  find openings as bull-stabbers for Spanish matadors?

I'd always thought the Irish were a kind and compassionate folk.  I suppose all those brochures were in error as well.  Note to Self: Call travel agent, cancel any plans to visit Belfast.  I don't do well in cages, feces or not.

I feel certain I'll never receive a reply to this email.  After all, with your busy schedules of goose-stepping through quiet neighborhoods looking for puppies to snatch and inspecting your cages to ensure they are small and filthy, you probably have little time left over to reply to the emails of foreigners.  

But that's okay.  I'm posting this on my blog, for all the world to see.  Hopefully I can educate others as to the attitudes of dog wardens in Belfast.

May a leprechaun piddle in your beer,

Frank Tuttle

I never said I was a very nice person.

I encourage all my readers to visit the SAVE LENNOX website and read the story for yourself.  Oh, and if you'd like to drop the good people of the Belfast City Council and/or Dog Wardens a few lines, here are the addresses.  Tell 'em Frank sent you!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Pointless Animal Cruelty

Spain, Spain, Spain.

What am I going to do with you?

First you insist on not only retaining but celebrating the barbaric spectacle (I am not going to call it a sport) that is bullfighting.  Frankly, that's bad enough.  Some nights, when I have trouble sleeping, I stroll down to my secret subterranean lair, pull up a world map on the UberComputer, and put the crosshairs on Spain while I fiddle with the ANTIMATTER ANNIHILATE button.

I haven't pushed the button.  Yet.  Mainly because of Penelope Cruz.  She's Spanish, and up until now that was reason enough to sway me from pushing the button.

But now I see this. Be warned, the link is quite gruesome.  Allow me to summarize for the tender-hearted -- horse abuse is now rampant in Spain, as the economic calamity there renders droves of the newly rich suddenly poor.  Which means thousands of horses are being abandoned at stables, left to starve, or left to suffer any number of other cruel and undeserved fates.

I'd probably have skipped over the story with a shake of the head had a Spanish vet not remarked that she'd seen numerous cases of horses with untreated gunshot wounds to their legs.

Gunshot wounds received when revelers fired shotguns close to the horses' hooves in order to make then dance.

Let that sink in.  There are people out there who find it not only acceptable but amusing to wound horses just to make them dance.

Elsewhere in the article, someone theorizes that the horses are being abused in response to some sort of repressed rage on the part of the formerly wealthy owners.

So again I ask -- Spain, what is your freaking problem?

Spanish crowds mob stadiums to watch some latex-clad jackass prance around and stab a bull until the poor thing bleeds to death. The crowds throw flowers.  Despite dressing like Pee Wee Herman, Spanish matadors have somehow achieved rock star status in Spanish culture, all while performing acts that result in swift arrest in civilized parts of the world.

I'm not sure who disgusts me more -- the crowds or the matadors.

I'm sure you'll all seen those videos of bulls managing to skewer some slipper-clad twit of a matador.  Or videos of an enraged bull leaping into the stands and trampling a few 'spectators.'

I cheer at both.  The video I really want to see is the one in which a bull gives a bovine colonoscopy to a matador before flinging him into the crowd and then leaping atop the shrieking mob until blood and cheap wine run down the stands.  Followed by a rushing inferno that roasts each and every 'fan' while they crush each other in a vain attempt to escape.  And then maybe a news helicopter crashes into the fire, just to make absolutely sure there isn't one single survivor.

I'd get the Blu-Ray of that.  And laugh for the full length of it.

I know full well Spain doesn't have a monopoly on animal cruelty.  Americans fight dogs to the death every day.  But at least we arrest them when we catch them, and we don't set the dogfights in arenas and praise the courage of the idiots running the shows.

I think I've had it with Spain.

I think the next time I have trouble sleeping, I'm not only going to press the ANTIMATTER ANNIHILATE button but hold it down until all those geologists who've spent years wondering what Earth's mantle looks like can stroll over to the edge of the smoking crater and have themselves a look.

Yes, Spain, even Penelope Cruz can't save you from my wrath now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

MidSouthCon 29 Roundup, With Pics and Darrell Award Goodness

It's a cold windy day in Mississippi, and the travelling Tuttles are home after enjoying the many sights and sounds of MidSouthCon 29.

I've got pics!  They're below.  I'm using them a bribe, hoping you'll stick around for the text too.

My big news from the Con is of course the Darrell Awards for 2010.  The Cadaver Client won the 2010 Darrell Award for Best Novella.  And much to my surprise, The Banshee's Walk won the award for Best Novel.

First of all, I need to thank my editor at Samhain Publishing.  Without Bethany Morgan and her patient, wise editing, the Markhat stories and books would all still be languishing on my hard drive.  So Beth, a huge thanks to you!

And of course a huge Elvis thank-you-very-much to the hard-working Darrell Awards folks, who read huge stacks of entries every year with little or no thanks.  So thanks, all!

Now, about the Con.  I had a great time, met some gracious and fascinating people, talked to a zombie or two, got to rub elbows with other writers and publishers, and sat in on some great panels.  I was reassured to hear that no matter our places in the publishing food chain, we writers all seem to struggle with the same issues and jump much the same hurdles.  At least that hasn't changed.

I was surprised to see so many publishers walking around above the ground.  To hear the news coming out of the Big Six, you'd think the publishing industry was nearly as decomposed as the zombie pictured below.  But the small presses at the Con appeared to be doing just fine.  They're selling new books and signing new writers.  That's good news indeed.  Check out Yard Dog Press for a great example of a small press doing big things (wave to Selena!).

I'd need a kick in the head if I didn't also mention the artists.  Look, I've got a couple of Michael Whelans, a signed Vincent Di Fate, some pretty good stuff.  But the Art Room at the Con was a real eye-opener this year.  There are some fantastic artists out there, doing incredible work.  We grabbed a piece and even got to meet the artist, which as a blast.  You should check out Nene Thomas online.  Wow.  Just wow.

Pictures, I promised you pictures, didn't I?  Okay.  Here they come, in no particular order...

Fig. 1, A Zombie.  

He was cool.  He followed people around the lobby until they noticed he was behind them.  The Con-goers would smile and laugh.  The insurance salesmen from Duluth stood there wide-eyed, which is why the only people who will survive the coming zombie apocalypse are are science fiction and fantasy fans.  We know better than to stand s;till when the zombie closes in.

Kids and R2

There were a lot of kids at this Con.  Normally, I'm not all that enthused when I see a nunch of kids areound, but these kids weren't the yelling-shrieking-running-amuck sort.  They were well behaved and having fun, and R2 was a big draw.  I talked to the guy running R2; it took him three full years to build the little droid.  And believe me, it was movie-quality.  R2 moved, reacted, had all the right lights and sounds.  Heck, I doubt anything actually used in the movies was half as cool.

Steampunk Cowboy

Okay, you all know I've made some Steampunk stuff myself.  But sheesh.  These guys are artists.  Look at that gun.  It's [powered and lighted.  The vacuum tubes glow.  All made by hand, just because it's cool.

The Power Pack

Above is the backpack for the guns.  It lights up too.  The awesome generated by this piece cannot be measured by the instruments of Man.  And this wasn't the only piece of hand-made art roaming the halls -- no, it's just one I managed to get a picture of.  There are some insanely talented people out there.  


Who you gonna call?  Well, if you're me, you'd call Room Service for another pizza, but these guys are handy if you've got haunts.  All their gear was movie-quality or better.  All handmade.  I wanted so bad to steal the PKE Meter, but they kept a sharp eye out for potential thieves, darn their hides.

Fig. 3B, Serious Business

Of course it wasn't all Steampunk and robots.  Above are the authors who presented the Different Flavors of Fantasy panel -- Stephen Zimmer, Jeannie Holmes, Ruth Souther, and Violette Reid.  I was hiding in a crawlspace to the right of the table.

You Really Need a Caption Here?

Above is Wonder Woman, and why not?   Pssst -- she told me Supergirl dyes her hair...

Storm Troopers.

No SF/F Con is complete without the diligent presence of the hard-working minions of the evil Galactic Empire.  And we had quite a few Storm Troopers, all arrayed in brilliant white.  They help out with crowd control at the Masquerade, and there's nothing more fun that being told to 'Move along' by a Storm Trooper's crackly little helmet radio.  

Darth Vader Searches for the Men's Room

I times are tough for the Empire too, because Darth was poking around without a single minion.  I saw him slip into a bathroom.  I'm not sure he heard me say 'Look out, it's a trap!'  but maybe that's for the best.

Finally, there's this guy.  No, that's not a photo from the Con.  We ran into him in a Chevron gas station just off I-240 in Memphis.  Lucky for us, he was almost immediately brought down by stray small-arms fire from a  club across the street.  Stay away from the airport frontage roads, kids!  

I had a blast at the Con.  The people are fantastic, the programs and panels are worth their weight in Unobtanium, and here's a big huge thank you to all the people who worked hard to make MidSouthCon 29 another complete and total success!

And thanks again to Beth!