Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crazy Lawsuit Over a Cat is Over!

The crazy lawsuit over a cat legally adopted from the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is finally over! My daughter and her boyfriend have won! The plaintiff-appellant in the case has withdrawn her appeal!

In the mail today, we received a copy of a letter from the lawyer of the plaintiff-appellant in the case to the clerk of the court which states:

"This office represents the Plaintiff-Appellant in the above captioned Rensselaer County Supreme Court action, which is currently pending appeal. Please be advised that my clients are withdrawing their appeal in this matter."

The way I understand it, that means Judge Zwack's original decision in favour of my daughter and her boyfriend stands. The original decision read thus (this is just the last bit, the nitty-gritty, as it were):

"...Here, mindful of the public policy purposes of A&M Section 347(2), which affords companion animals the benefits of adoption and placement in homes as an alternative to euthanization when found lost or abandoned, the Court declines to allow plaintiffs to have return of the cat and thereby set aside the defendants' adoption of the cat from the Society. 
Accordingly, it is  
ORDERED, that plaintiffs motion for summary judgement is denied, and it is further 
ORDERED, that  defendants are granted reverse summary judgement and the complaint is dismissed. 
This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court..." 
Of course, my favourite part of the judge's decision remains the section that touches on the idea of being responsible for the consequences of your own actions or inactions:

"Plaintiffs own actions, or inactions as the case may be, directly caused their loss - the cat had no collar or microchip for identification - and the cat was allowed to roam the neighborhood freely. While plaintiffs never imagined this scenario, and the Court surely appreciates that it is indeed heartbreaking event, it was an inevitable consequence of their inattention to their cat."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Pillow? In Hohokus? What?

I made an interesting sale through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. Well, the customer's location has a rather interesting-sounding name, one that almost sounds made up. Plus, the item sold is not numbered amongst my best-sellers (though the design is). I sold a Red Dragon of Wales Pillow to a customer in Hohokus (or Ho-Ho-Kus), New Jersey. Yes, I said "pillow". Yes, I said Hohokus. It's a real place; I looked it up.

It all sounds a bit too odd to be believed, but as long as there's no funny business with the sale clearing in the end,  I'm a believer!

The Battle of Stamford Bridge Article

One more dip into my article-writing past prior to diving into my article in progress: my first article to appear anywhere was a piece I did about the battle of Stamford Bridge for the web site:
The Battle of Stamford Bridge: An article by Richard H. Fay

The Alp and the Schrattl

 According to traditional Germanic lore, strange creatures haunted the craggy peaks and shadowed vales of the European Alps. Some of these beings delighted in troubling humankind, using supernatural powers to harass and even prey upon vulnerable mortals. Certain examples of Alpine bogey, such as the Alp and its more dangerous and ghoulish sub-type the Schrattl, combined the traits of fairy, vampire, and sorcerer to become feared threats to those living in the shadows of the snow-capped mountains of central Europe. A few even exhibited a taste for blood reminiscent of the Slavic vampire.

Several different folkloric threads seem to have been woven together by Alpine storytellers in the creation of the tapestry of Alp lore. Originally, Alpe were conceived as magical metal-working dwarves, inhabitants of the dark places deep within the mountains (Rose, 1998). Later, Alpe evolved into bringers of nightmares and disease, beings with a penchant for sitting on the chests of unsuspecting sleepers to cause breathing troubles and bad dreams (Franklin, 2002). At times, Alpe sexually assaulted humans in the manner of incubi, and were even known to suck blood from the nipples of both sexes (Guiley, 2005). In addition to blood, Alpe also consumed milk and semen (Curran, 2005). In a motif echoed in the fairy lore of Europe’s Celtic fringe, Alpe occasionally knotted the hair of sleeping mortals and took nighttime joyrides on the backs of unprotected horses (Franklin, 2002).

The exact nature of the Alp often depended upon location, varying from place to place. In parts of Germany and Austria, the Alp manifested as a malignant revenant (Curran, 2005). In other parts of Germany, Alpe remained living dwarfs, albeit ones imbued with elemental powers (Curran, 2005). Certain tales told of Alpe appearing as vampiric butterflies released by the breath of the demonic horerczy (Guiley, 2005). In the Brocken and Herz Mountains, Alpe served witches, often spreading evil in the form of cats or voles (Curran, 2005). Under certain circumstances, living mortals could become Alpe, either through sinister sorcery or through a mother’s unforgiven sins (Curran, 2005). Regardless of appearance, whether it be pig, bird, cat, vole, or lecherous dog, each Alp in animal form typically wore a magical hat which granted it the ability to shape-shift and to render itself invisible (Guiley, 2005).

While some variations of the Alp undoubtedly displayed vampiric tendencies amongst their diverse range of disturbing traits, the Austrian Schrattl was a vampire in the truest sense, a revenant roaming Alpine nights in search of blood. Roused to a semblance of life while still interred in the grave, the animated corpse of the Schrattl would tear and gnaw at its funeral shroud until it devoured the winding cloths (Curran, 2005). The Schrattl then turned its hunger toward the bodies of those buried in nearby graves and launched attacks against its former family and friends (Curran, 2005). Not content with assaults against humans alone, the Schrattl assailed animals and property as well (Curran, 2005). Possessed of fearsome mental powers, the Schrattl could drive its potential victims and those it wished to control insane (Curran, 2005). Typical of vampires worldwide, the Schrattl also spread disease in its dreadful wake (Curran, 2005).

Germanic tellers of dark tales threw various strains of ancient belief into the pot to create the potentially deadly stew that was Alp lore. Witches, demons, sorcerers, dwarfs, fairies, and vampires all lent different attributes to the Alp hodge-podge. No matter the form the Alp took, dangerous dwarf or vampiric butterfly, ghoulish revenant or shape-shifting sorcerer, it could be a potent threat to human life and well-being. Although various Alpe may have thirsted for blood and other bodily fluids, the vampiric nature of these creatures expressed itself most strongly in the shroud-eating Schrattl. Powerful and extremely malignant, the Schrattl troubled all mortals it encountered during its nocturnal forays across the Alpine countryside.


Curran, Dr. Bob. (2005). Vampires: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Stalk the Night. Franklin Lakes, New Jersey: New Page Books.

Franklin, Anna. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Fairies. London: Anova Books.

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York: Checkmark Books.

Rose, Carol. (1998). Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

(Article originally published in Hungur, Issue 10, Walpurgisnacht 2010.)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Poem and Illustration in Issue 1 of FrostFire Worlds

Since I received my contributor's copy today, I can now verify that both my fantasy poem "The Brownie" and its accompanying illustration have been published in Issue 1 of FrostFire Worlds. The poem took a rather convoluted path to publication, but it has now been published, alongside one of my own drawings.

I love those combo publications of my written and illustrative works.  Each one tells the world "hey, look, this guy can draw as well as write!" Or, maybe at this point, it's the other way around.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two Illustrations in the Current Issue of SORCEROUS SIGNALS

My illustration for Edward Ahern's story "Blood Will Out" appears in the current issue of the fantasy e-zine SORCEROUS SIGNALS. This illustration was a bit of work. It took me a while to draw those blasted briars, but I was quite happy with the end result of that extra effort.

Note that, as is typical with my fantasy art, I drew both the princess and the crone in reasonable garb. I just thought I would point that out.

Also in the current issue of SORCEROUS SIGNALS is a fun image, my illustration for Anna Sykora's story "The Oak Witch's Helper". This one proved to be easier work than the one I did for Edward Ahern's "Blood Will Out", and it was a joy to draw. Bats freak me out, but I'm also fascinated by them, so I had a great time gathering a handful of bat images for reference. As long as bats aren't flying about my head, I'm okay with them!