Month: April 2018
Cock-Fighting in Scotland.
IT is highly probable that the Romans introduced cock-fighting into this country. It is generally believed that the sport was made popular by Themistocles. On one occasion he saw two cocks fighting, and their courage greatly impressed him, and he felt such exhibitions might teach a useful lesson of bravery to those who witnessed them. Periodical contests were exhibited, and were popular amongst the Greeks and Romans and with other nations, and were much appreciated by a large section of the inhabitants of this land. In “Bygone England,” by William Andrews, f.r.h.s. (London 1892), will be found a long account of “Fighting-Cocks in Schools.” One of the earliest accounts of the pastime in England, says Mr. Andrews, occurs in a “Description of the City of London,” by William Fitzstephen, who wrote in the reign of Henry II., and died in the year 1191. He records that it was the annual custom on Shrove Tuesday for the boys to bring their game cocks to the schools, to turn the schoolrooms into cockpits, the masters and pupils spending the morning witnessing the birds fighting.
Old town accounts contain many references to this custom, for example at Congleton, Cheshire, is the following item:—
|“1601.||Payd John Wagge for dressynge
the schoolhouse at the great
|£0 0s. 4d.|
Hugh Miller, the famous geologist, who was born in the year 1802, in his popular volume “My Schools and Schoolmasters,” gives a graphic account of that amusement in the Cromarty grammar school where he received his education. “The school,” says Miller, “like almost all other grammar schools of the period in Scotland, had its yearly cock-fight, preceded by two holidays and a half, during which the boys occupied themselves in collecting and bringing up the cocks. And such was the array of fighting birds mustered on the occasion, that the day of the festival from morning till night used to be spent in fighting out the battle. For weeks after it had passed, the school floor continued to retain its deeply stained blotches of blood, and the boys would be full of exciting narratives regarding the glories of gallant birds who had continued to fight until their eyes had been pecked out; or who in the moment of victory, had dropped dead in the middle of the cock-pit.” Miller at some length denounces the cruel sport.
In England cock-fighting is prohibited by statute 12 and 13 Vict. 3, 92, under which every person who shall in any manner encourage, aid, or assist at the fighting or baiting of any bull, bear, badger, dog, cock, or other animal, shall forfeit and pay a penalty not exceeding £5 for every such offence. In Scotland it was not illegal until quite recently. An act was passed in 1850 known as the “Cruelty to Animals (Scotland) Act,” but the wording of the statute was found not to include the game or fighting-cock. The sport became popular and the law could not touch those that took part in the cruel amusement. It was felt to be a national scandal, and to prevent it, a short statute was passed on 30th May, 1895, whereby the definition of the word animal in the 11th section was amended by adding at the end thereof the words “or any game or fighting-cock, or other domestic fowl or bird.”
Mr. Robert Bird, the genial and gifted author of “Law Lyrics,” a volume which has been warmly welcomed by the public and the press, has made cock-fighting the subject of a clever poem.
By Robert Bird.
In Full Court, Edinburgh, 23rd December, 1892.
Six legal wigs, like well-plumed tappit hens,
Sat brooding o’er a pair of fighting cocks;
While lesser wigs, begowned, and brief in hand,
Declaimed in flowing periods, of the fray,
Like ancient bards, that wanted but their harps,
Their wallets, ballad verse, and song, to make
The very goose quills, sleeping on the bench,
Awake! take sides and spill each other’s ink.
And as they spake, a legal fog dropt down
Upon the learned six, and each beheld,
In green mirage, born of the cloud of words,
Two cocks, Game cocks, crop-combed, erect, and slim,
With feathers dipped in crimson, gold, and blue,
Frill-necked, with trailing wings and spurs of steel,
That on each other flew and pecked and spurred,
And spurred and pecked again, until the Court
Reeked like a cock-pit, and the crowd of wigs,—
Of boyish idle wigs,—took bonnet shapes
That hooded scowling brows of cursing men,
Who laid their bets on this bird, and on that,
As, with quick panting breath and beaks agape,
They pranced, flew, fought, until the oaken bar
Seemed spattered o’er with feathers and cock blood.
At length one cock the other overthrew,
And struck quick spurs into his quivering breast
Until he died; then he, with croaking crow,
Fell, wounded, bleeding, dying by his side
Amid the applauding cheers of thirsty throats,
Soon to be slaked with liquid bets, and so
The battle ended, but the fog remained.
A rustling of silk plumes upon the bench,
Five wigs bent low, and thus great Solon spake—
“’Twas in Kilbarchan that this fight was fought,
And straight the men who prompted it were ta’en,
And jailed, and tried, and sentenced for the same;
But now they seek release, and this their plea,
That in the gracious Act which says that men
Shall not treat brutes and beasts with cruelty,
The name of “Cock” is absent; therefore they
Claim full exemption for their brutish deeds,
And we, vicegerents of our gentle Queen,
With spectacle on nose, must well explore
This vital point in Cockieleerie-law.
The illumined page of history reveals
Cock-fighting as an ancient royal sport.
The Early Greeks and Romans in their day
Found pastime sweet in setting cock on cock;
The sage Themistocles took keen delight
In battling fowls; while glorious Cæsar, too,
Loved much to back his bird; and, furthermore,
Marc Antony’s gamecocks did always lose
When pitted against Cæsar’s fiercer breed.
King Henry VIII., of sainted memory!
At Whitehall had a special cock-pit built,
Wherein his royal birds made lively sport
For gentle dames and all his merry knights.
The most accomplished scholar of his day,
Squire Roger Ascham, tutor to Queen Bess,
Much as he loved his books, loved cocks the more,
And loved them most when victors in the fight.
And last of all, that great and noble Duke,
The conqueror of Blenheim, in game birds
Found something that reminded him of self;
And thus we see the fighting instinct strong
In cocks, and other nobles of past time.
“Game cocks, we find, from earliest Cockereldom,
Delight in war, as dogs to bark and bite,
And raining blows upon each other’s ribs
Do best fulfil their part of nature’s plan,
Which built them slim and bade them love the fray;
And while we hope no preference here to show,—
’Tis open question, whether rearing fowls
To wring their necks, or match them in the pit,
Does more exalt the brute or sink the man.
“But here, the cocks were armed with spurs of steel,
And ’tis a subtle matter, whether they
With iron shod, or spurred with native horn,
Do deal the deadliest blows in angry fray;
And, while we have our own opinion strong!
’Tis not within our province to pronounce.
“If it be wrong with steel to prick a fowl,
What of the spurs with which hard riders goad
The bleeding sides of horses in the race,
Or in the steeplechase, or country hunt?
And what of hares in coursing run to death?
Of quivering foxes torn by yelling hounds?
Of wheeling pigeons slaughtered for a prize?
We make no mention of the common use,
Of otter hunting, grouse and pheasant drives.
And of the sport termed noble, where the stag
Is forced upon the guns that lay him low.
No doubt, two blacks can never make one white,
Nor multiplying blacks turn black to grey;
But if to brutalise mankind be thought amiss,
Then there are other ways, than fighting cocks.
“Still that’s beside our purpose, which is this—
To scan the statute, microscope in hand,
And note if in its sweep humane, we see
A roosting place for fighting chanticleer.
And there we find, or rather fail to find,
The name of “Cock” among the saving list
Of nineteen beasts protected by the law,
Though thus the list concludes, “and other kinds Of animals domestic,” or like words.
Are we to find Game Cocks, domestic fowls?
Are we to hold that birds, are animals?
Our view is quite the contrary, or else
There’s not a beast, bird, fish, or insect but
The term “domestic” would to them apply,
And make it penal e’en to slay a louse.
“And while, in other parts of this same Act,
We find “Cock” followed by the general phrase,
“Or other kind of animal,” we hold
It bears not on the matter now in hand,
But only serves to show that Parliament,
When brooding, clucking, hen-like, o’er this Act,
Had Cocks well in their eye, and plainly did,
Of purpose full, omit them from the list;
And while bear-fights, bull-fights, dog-fights, and all
Vile sports and brutish cruelty to beasts,
The spirit and the letter of the law
Do quite forbid, unanimous we hold Cock-fighting is a lawful use of Cocks, And finding so we liberate these men.
“It will be said, this Statute has been read
Reversely in our sister England, where
It is the Charter of proud Chanticleer;
But what of that? It alters not our mind!
But only shews, that they, of feebler clay,
Stick not at trifles, so the end be good,
And let the heart o’erbeat the legal mind;
While we, of sterner stuff, fail not to find
Motes in the sunshine of their simple wits,
And gnats to strain out of their cups of wine;
For in the nice accomplishment and use
Of splitting hairs, and weighing feathers small,
Of riddling wisdom from a peck of words,
We are more skilled, more subtle, more profound
Than our legal brethren of the South.”
Whereat five horse-hair wigs again bowed down
In low obeisance to the mighty sage,
And straight the Court was cleared of cocks and men.
Don't Ignore Legal Obligations of The CAN-SPAM Act
Most small business owners are not aware that they or an employee may be breaking the law regarding spam. The advice that follows is intended to help you avoid any financial or legal consequences.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was signed into law and became effective January 1, 2004. As a small business owner, you need to be aware of your obligations under this law to avoid serious problems that could cost you time and money. The law is very specific about the content you must provide in any commercial email advertising piece. Not surprisingly, many of us are victims of daily assaults with unsolicited junk mail from very obscure sources. What these spammers are doing is illegal. Taking time to complain is impractical for many small entrepreneurs, so in most cases we just delete the junk, and go about our business.
On the other hand as a small business owner you are in a different position when sending email to customers. Your credibility is at risk because you are not obscure, and may be easily identified for criminal prosecution or law suits. Understand your obligations and what you can or cannot do. In the US, the FTC, Federal Trade Commission, is the government entity for establishing and monitoring compliance with this law. Their rules are very specific as follows:
Requirements for Commercial Emailers
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them. The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site. A “transactional or relationship message” – email that facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship – may not contain false or misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.
FTC Facts for Business
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, is authorized to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act. CANSPAM also gives the Department of Justice (DOJ) the authority to enforce its criminal sanctions. Other federal and state agencies can enforce the law against organizations under their jurisdiction, and companies that provide Internet access may sue violators, as well. What the Law Requires Here’s a rundown of the law’s main provisions:
– It bans false or misleading header information. Your email’s “From,” “To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.
– It prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.
– It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a “menu” of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor’s email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it’s illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
– It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender’s valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.
Penalties May Be Severe
Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial email also is subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising. Additional fines are provided for commercial emailers who not only violate the rules described above, but also:
– “harvest” email addresses from Web sites or Web services that have published a notice prohibiting the transfer of email addresses for the purpose of sending email
– generate email addresses using a “dictionary attack” – combining names, letters, or numbers into multiple permutations
– use scripts or other automated ways to register for multiple email or user accounts to send commercial email
– relay emails through a computer or network without permission – for example, by taking advantage of open relays or open proxies without authorization.
Department of Justice Facts for Business
The law allows the DOJ to seek criminal penalties, including imprisonment, for commercial emailers who do – or conspire to:
– use another computer without authorization and send commercial email from or through it
– use a computer to relay or retransmit multiple commercial email messages to deceive or mislead recipients or an Internet access service about the origin of the message
– falsify header information in multiple email messages and initiate the transmission of such messages
– register for multiple email accounts or domain names using information that falsifies the identity of the actual registrant
– falsely represent themselves as owners of multiple Internet Protocol addresses that are used to send commercial email messages.
Fines up to $11,000 per violation should get your attention. Review your commercial email policies, and revise as necessary to make sure you include the 3 most frequently omitted features: identify advertising, your physical address, and an opt-out provision. Continue your review to confirm compliance with all requirements. Finally, visit the official FTC web site for information on additional rules and press releases that may have occurred since this report was written.
More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar
Best Small Business Idea – Overwhelm – Get It Out of Your Head
If you are like most businesses owners, you’ve experienced overwhelm in your business at one time or another. Maybe you experience it regularly and for good reason. Hundreds of things are pulling at you at one time. You’ve got marketing going, production to oversee, calls to return, employees that need your advice. It’s never ending right? How do you possibly handle it all?
Most of the small business owners that I talk to keep almost all of these things in their head. I ask them where their business plan is. It’s in their head. I ask where their employee training manual is. It’s in their head. About the only thing that’s written down is their calendar of appointments. Even a lot of their to-dos are in their head. Here’s one simple and powerful way to get out of overwhelmówrite it all down.
Your overwhelm is in your head because most of how you run your business is in your head. Start writing it down and you will start having less overwhelm. Start taking a little time each day to document your business processes. Make a list today of the processes that you haven’t recorded. Cover marketing, production, training, accounting, etc.
Then take one of these areas and document it in detail this week. Each week, for the next few weeks document another area. Within a fairly short period of time, you should have at least the basics of marketing procedures, production procedures, client follow up procedures, and employee training procedures in place. In other words, you’ve now got business processes. Processes that you can rely on. Processes you don’t have to think about. Processes that you will use to grow your business without all that overwhelm now that it’s not all in your head.
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Business Tools to Help You Run a Successful Business
Setting up a small business, whether web based or not, can be a very time consuming and difficult task. The increasing popularity of the Internet and the resources available has seen a massive increase in business tools to help you on your way.
When setting up a business, even the best prepared among us will struggle to do everything and remember everything. It is very unlikely that we will understand all of the financial and legal ramifications of a new business, especially when we need to concentrate on getting that elusive first sale or completing the first contract. It isn’t always feasible to employ an accountant and a solicitor as well as a secretary, a salesperson and any other workers needed in the daily running of the business. So, we need to be able to diversify when setting up a new business and the best piece of advice anyone can give you to help is to make the most of the widely available business tools on the market.
Financial Documents and Tools
An accountant is a very expensive commodity that many new businesses can afford full-time. It is down to us to undertake as much of the financial side of things as possible; a daunting task indeed. There is help at hand in the form of business tools.
Spreadsheets have become immensely powerful and can do much of the financial work that any business needs, even invoicing. The Internet is awash with free standard documents for almost any occasions; if you aren’t proficient at doing this yourself, you can find balance sheets, daily cash sheets and almost anything you could need.
The Legal Minefield
Mention legal documents to a new business owner and most will curse you. Again, paying for a lawyer to create all your contracts and other legal documents is a cost that new businesses may not be able to afford. Look at other contracts, get ideas off the internet and take a look at the standard contract and terms and conditions guidelines and when you’re ready, book a session with an affordable attorney and let them look over everything. This way you will only pay once and get all the information you need for an affordable price.
It is important that you get any legal documents checked at least once. A poorly written contract can cost you a lot more than the lawyer’s fees.
Human Resources, or personnel as it was once known, will become very important when you start to employ staff. There are a lot of rules and regulations to abide by as well as a lot of extra information to store that is both important and
You can get time and attendance software, standard contracts, standard terms and conditions and software to look after your payroll details.
These are just a few tools available to new business owners. To do a job right requires the right tools. It is better to spend time researching your options first to find the right tools, than to get yourself into a real bind attempting to do the job with the wrong (or no) tools. You will find that the time it takes to get the right tools will pay off time and time again.
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Computer Consultant 101: How to Build a Stable Business
Know How To Bill and What to Charge
Computer Consultant businesses need to implement good business practices. Make sure you implement the strategies in this article and you will become a successful computer consultant.
Without knowing how to bill and what to charge, youíre going to lose a lot of money thatís really yours. If you get your billing and pricing wrong as a computer consultant, you’ll send a bad message to people that youíre trying to quote for business.
You’ll be screaming that youíre a rank amateur rather than a skilled computer consultant. It could take you years to recover from this. A lot of times you would need to scrap existing clients and completely start over because certain clients you brought in at the wrong level.
Perform IT Audits
If you know how to do them right itís an incredibly powerful technique. You get paid to write proposals and do needs assessment work. If you donít know how to do this youíre going to wind up doing a lot of exploratory work for free. You can actually get paid for your initial consultation time for doing the technology assessments and the IT audits.
Build Local Partnerships
Youíll need partnerships as your computer consultant business evolves. These will get you some of your best clients along the way. If you donít have good local partnerships, you can almost guarantee that youíll lose clients along the way with this as well. You need to learn how to find these key players and how to negotiate with them.
Exceed Client Expectations
If you want to get paid the big bucks as a small business computer consultant, your clients will expect a lot from you. Your clients’ idea of perfection may be different from yours. You need to learn the magic words you need to know to avoid a lot of the stress and intense pressure. You want to come out smelling like a rose to exceed their expectations.
Maximize your Utilization Rate and Profitability
Making as much of your work-week billable as possible and eliminate a lot of the non billable, time-draining non revenue draining computer consultant activities. Itís all about delivering small business virtual IT services and how to build a stable business; how to get clients for life.
More info’s and free registrations (restricted to pros), please join our live seminar
By Ernest H. Rann.
A CONSIDERATION of the detection of crime brings forcibly to the mind the fact that officers of law have frequently to depend for success on the accidental discovery of the most trifling items and incidents. Conversely the criminal section of the community who prey on the weakness or folly of their neighbours have to fear not only a knowledge of their principal movements, but the discovery of the connecting link which shall complete the chain of evidence against them. The deepest laid plot, the most cunning scheme, contains a flaw which may be fatal to their operations, to their liberty, and even their life, a flaw which no amount of previous examination may detect, a weakness which can rarely be adequately guarded against. Justice and the vindication of the law, therefore, depend largely on a proper regard being paid to minor occurrences, which at first sight would seem to have no bearing whatever on the particular case under consideration. The history of crime contains numberless instances where the criminal has been brought to justice through one or other of these causes—the presence of particular hairs or threads on his clothing or on the weapon used, the direction of certain cuts on the body of his victim, the possession of trifling articles. At other times dreams have played no inconsiderable part in the vindication of the law, which has also been aided by supernatural visitants, or by the self-consciousness of the criminal.
It would be impossible in a short article like the present to offer a full list of cases of this description, but a few typical instances may be taken with the object of showing how crimes, long hidden, have been discovered in the most remarkable manner. Probably the best example occurred at Augsburg, in 1821. A woman named Maria Anna Holzmann lived in a house in the town belonging to one Sticht. Her means only permitted her to occupy a few of the rooms, and the remaining parts of the premises were let to lodgers, among whom were George Rauschmaier and Joseph Steiner. On Good Friday, April 20th, Holzmann disappeared. She had not given notice of her intended departure, and nothing was known of it until some days later when Rauschmaier and Steiner also left the premises, saying that their landlady had previously quitted the house, leaving them in possession of her keys. This information, however, was not given to the police until May 17th. In the meantime Holzmann’s relatives had become apprehensive of her safety, and being reluctantly forced to the conclusion that foul play had befallen her, they decided to take an inventory of her property, as it was known that, although in humble circumstances, the woman had managed by care and economy to amass considerable wealth. It was found, however, that the greater part of her money and other valuables were missing.
In spite of active enquiries no further action of importance in the matter was possible until the following January, when Theresa Belter, a washerwoman who also lived in the house, announced that she had found a thigh of a human body hidden in the loft. Further investigations revealed a leg and the other thigh in a heap of rubbish in a corner of the room, and between the chimney and the roof, a trunk without head or limbs was discovered. An old gown and a petticoat, identified as portions of the dress of Holzmann, were also brought to light, while search in Rauschmaier’s room disclosed other parts of a woman’s body. The head was missing, but when news of the unmistakeable crime was noised abroad, a neighbouring manufacturer stated that during the preceding year he had found a skull, still bearing portions of flesh and hair, in his factory weir, but had not considered the “find” worthy of preservation.
There could be no doubt that Maria Anna Holzmann had been murdered, and the whole machinery of the law was put in motion to bring the criminals to justice. Suspicion fastened itself strongly upon the two men, Rauschmaier and Steiner, but actual evidence against them, or indeed against anyone, was of the scantiest description until the separate pieces of the woman’s body were placed together. While the left arm was being examined, a brass ring fell out of the bend of the elbow, whence it had evidently slipped from the finger of the murderer. Whose was the ring? then became the all important question. Rauschmaier was arrested and confessed that he had stolen and pawned several articles of Holzmann’s property, but he sternly denied having committed the murder. The property, including a pair of ear-rings, had been recovered from the pawnbroker’s, and these, with the brass ring, were laid before the accused. He had not wit enough to discern the trap laid for him, and immediately on seeing the ornaments, he exclaimed “The ear-rings and the gold and brass rings are mine. The brass ring I always wore until within four or five weeks after Easter, since when I have worn gold ones. The brass ring fits the little finger of my left hand; it slips on and off with ease.” This foolish statement, and the place of the discovery of the ring, proved conclusively that Rauschmaier was the murderer of the unfortunate Holzmann. Subsequently he made full confession of the crime, stating that the brass ring must have slipped off while he was cutting up the body. He paid the penalty of his sins with death.
The “Greenacre” case, which occurred in 1836, was similar to the foregoing in many of its details. In that year, portions of the mutilated trunk of an old woman named Brown were found in a house in Edgeware Road, wrapped in old rags and sacking. Subsequently the head was discovered in Regent’s Canal, and the limbs in a drain in the neighbourhood of Camberwell. Comparison between the various portions left no doubt as to the identity of the deceased, and James Greenacre, whom Brown intended to marry, and to whose house she had gone with all her property, was accused of the murder. A woman named Gale with whom he lived was also charged with complicity in the deed. Once more suspicion, however strong, was insufficient to bring the crime right home to the accused, but the discovery, among Greenacre’s property, of some rags corresponding with the pieces covering the mutilated remains, together with a few articles belonging to Brown, turned suspicion into actual proof. Greenacre was condemned to death, and his companion sentenced to transportation for life.
The murder of William Begbie, at Edinburgh, is a remarkable case of the manner in which the author of a crime may remain long hidden, and only then be discovered by accident. Begbie was a bank porter, and on November 30th, 1806, he was employed to carry a parcel of notes, worth about £4,000, to one of the bank’s customers. On his way he had to pass through a narrow, dark, and tortuous entry, and there he was brutally murdered and the notes were stolen.
Although a knife, of a particular pattern, was left in the body, the murderer remained at large, and no clue to the terrible crime could be unearthed. Nine months later the bundle of notes, untouched, was found hidden in a wall, but long years passed before the mystery was completely solved. In 1822 a Bow Street runner named Denovan, while visiting Leith, chanced to fall into conversation with a sailor lately returned from captivity among the French. Speaking of old times the mariner accidentally mentioned that coming ashore one morning he had noticed a man like William Begbie, followed by a person dressed in black and of respectable demeanour. He lost sight of them for a few moments, but later on he was surprised to see the man in black rush out of the narrow entry with a bundle under his arm. On the next day he heard of the murder, and feeling confidant that he could throw light on the crime, he informed the mate of his vessel of what he had seen. Permission to go ashore was, however, refused. The vessel sailed, was captured by the French, and the sailor witness did not recover his liberty for fifteen years. Denovan set to work with this important clue, and enquiries proved that the man in black was no other than a notorious criminal named Mackoul, who had lived in Edinburgh in 1806. The law had claimed its own, however, previous to the sailor’s disclosures. In 1820 Mackoul had suffered death for robbery; still, though he was beyond punishment for his old crime in Edinburgh, it was satisfactory to know that the mystery of the bank porter’s death had at last been solved.
Probably the most notorious case in English annals of murder discovered by extraordinary means is that of the killing of Daniel Clarke by Eugene Aram. The main facts of the case are so well known that it is scarcely necessary to enter into them here. Aram, assisted by a man named Houseman, it may be remembered, murdered Clarke for the sake of his wealth, and hid the body in St Robert’s cave, near Knaresborough. There it remained from 1745 till 1759, when it was accidentally discovered by a labourer. Close examination led to the conclusion that the body, or rather the skeleton, was that of a murdered man, and when the mysterious and almost forgotten disappearance of Clarke was remembered, steps were taken to arrest his quondam companions Aram and Houseman. The latter turned king’s evidence, and on his testimony Aram was executed, leaving a shady memory to be invested with undeserved romance by a poet and a novelist of the following century.
Researches into modern criminal records also reveal a number of interesting cases similar to those cited above. A few years ago a Pole named Lipski was convicted in London of the murder of a woman. Strenuous efforts were made to obtain a pardon, on the ground that he had been wrongly convicted, but the solitary fact on which the Home Secretary decided to allow the law to take its course was that the door of the room had been locked in which the woman was found murdered, with Lipski himself hiding under the bed. And in tracing the Muswell Hill murder to its authors, the police were aided in their endeavours by the discovery of a common lantern which had been left on the scene of the crime. It was supposed to belong to a relative of one of the suspected men, and in order to verify this important link in the chain of evidence, a youthful agent of the detective force was employed to spin his top in front of the supposed owner’s house, engage him in conversation if possible, and obtain evidence of the ownership of the lantern. The result was completely satisfactory; the suspicions of the police were confirmed, and the murderers brought to justice, mainly, it may be said, through the lantern’s silent testimony.
Another case of murder, which occurred in 1806, was brought home in a singular and complete manner. A Deptford gentleman, named Blight, was killed by a pistol-shot, and Sir Astley Cooper, from an examination of the victim’s wounds and of the place of his murder, arrived at the opinion that none other than a left-handed man could have committed the crime. Acting on this conclusion the police arrested one Patch, who had been seen in the locality. When Patch was asked to hold up his hand to plead the indictment, he put up his left hand. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty, and before execution the criminal made full confession of his terrible deed.
Dreams also have played no inconsiderable part in the discovery of crime. We have not space in the present article to notice all trials where dream-evidence has been offered to the court; a brief notice of those cases in which it has had an important bearing must suffice. The most notorious instance, of course, is that of Maria Martin, the victim of the Red Barn tragedy. After her departure from home, in order, as was supposed, to many William Corder, nothing, either by way of letters, or otherwise, was heard of her, except brief mention in Corder’s communications. Nearly twelve months passed, when Mrs. Martin was startled and horrified by dreaming, on three successive nights, that Maria had been murdered and buried in the Red Barn. After much persuasion her husband and son consented to search the place, and there, in the exact spot indicated by Mrs. Martin as having been pointed out in her dreams, was found the body of her missing daughter, buried under the flooring in a sack.
Mention may also be made of the case of Ulick Maguire, an Irish farmer, whose wife dreamed that her husband had been murdered by a disappointed lover of hers, named O’Flanagan. A few days later an idiot boy, who lived in the house, was heard shrieking in terror: “Shanus dhu more O’Flanagan (big black James) has kilt Ulick, and buried him under the new ditch at the back of the garden. I dhramed it last night, evry wurrd av it.” The singular coincidence of the lad’s dream with her own excited Mrs. Maguire’s suspicions to the utmost, especially as her husband was away from home at the time. She ordered a search at the particular spot mentioned by the idiot boy, and there, to her horror, was found the body of Ulick, with the skull cleft in twain. Immediate request was made for “big black James.” He had absconded and enlisted in the army, but on being charged with the crime he admitted his guilt, and suffered the penalty of death.
In one instance, by far the most wonderful of its kind, the victim of a murder has appeared in successive dreams, and played the part of detective with admirable skill and effectiveness. A Grub Street victualler, named Stockton, was murdered towards the close of the seventeenth century. Three men were suspected of the crime, but neither of them could be discovered, and the affair seemed likely to become one of the mysteries of crime, when a Mrs. Greenwood dreamed that Stockton, who had been a neighbour during life, had taken her to a house in Thomas Street, telling her that his murderer was inside. On going to the house in person Mrs. Greenwood was told that Maynard, one of the suspected men, had gone abroad. The following night Stockton appeared and showed her the features of Maynard, and gave her such particulars of the man’s habits and resorts that he was captured within a few hours. From Maynard the names of his partners in guilt, Bevel and Marsh, were obtained, but again the authorities were at fault, until Stockton indicated the house where Marsh visited, and the yard (afterwards discovered to be the yard of Marshalsea Prison) in which Bevel would be found. From a crowd of other prisoners Mrs. Greenwood identified Bevel, and shortly afterwards, through her strange testimony, Marsh also was arrested. Then, as an old chronicle of the case affirms, Stockton appeared for the last time, and thanked her for her good offices. We have given the story as it has come down through two centuries; a whole body of clergymen attested its accuracy at the time, and present-day enquirers would have great difficulty, we imagine, in conclusively proving that the murder of Stockton was traced by other and less extraordinary means.
Closely allied to the evidence furnished by dreams, and indeed, as in the foregoing case of Stockton, sometimes barely distinguishable from it, is that offered by ghosts, actually seen by witnesses in a waking, but hallucinatory, state. Such evidence would scarcely be admissable in modern courts of law, but in past ages it was freely employed, and has served to bring criminals to the gallows. It must be admitted that the other testimony against the accused was strong, but in numerous instances ghosts have been instrumental in putting the officials on to a clue or track which they would most likely never have discovered by their own unaided efforts. In his “History of Durham,” Surtees mentions the case of Anne Walker, who lived in 1630, and had become engaged in an intrigue with a relative of the same name. The girl was placed for a time under the care of a friend in a neighbouring village, but one night she was removed from there by Walker and a man named Sharp. From that date no one saw her alive. A fortnight afterwards, Graime, a fuller, was terrified by the appearance in his mill of Anne Walker’s ghost, “dishevelled, blood-stained, and with five wounds in her head.” She told him the whole story of her murder; how Sharp had killed her with a collier’s pick, and then thrown her body down a shaft. Graime hesitated to use this strangely acquired information. Apparently incensed at his delay, Anne Walker repeatedly appeared, and in order to rid himself of these visitations, the frightened fuller at length acquainted the authorities with his story. Immediate enquiry confirmed his statements in every particular. Walker and Sharp were arrested, charged with the murder of the girl, found guilty, and executed, though to the last they maintained their innocence of the crime.
A case, somewhat similar, has occurred even in the present century, and in matter-of-fact, new world Australia, where visions might be expected to be few and far between. The friends of a well-to-do settler near Sydney were surprised to hear from his steward that he had been suddenly called to England on important legal business. Remembering the vast wealth of the man, and the necessity for precautions in regard to it, they accepted the statement, and also recognised the steward’s control of the estate during his master’s absence. What was the astonishment, however, of one of these friends, when on riding over the estate he saw the owner, whom he thought to be in England, sitting on a neighbouring stile? The figure looked at him silently and sorrowfully, then walked towards a pond and disappeared. Drags were procured and the water searched, when the body of the absent owner was brought to the surface. Confronted with the corpse the steward confessed that he had murdered his master at the identical stile on which the ghost had sat.
Pierre le Loyer, a French writer on law and the supernatural, mentions in his “Discours des Spectres,” the case of a man who mysteriously vanished, having, as was supposed, been murdered. A few weeks later the ghost of the absentee appeared to his brother, took him to a lonely spot, and there pointed out where he had been murdered and buried by his own wife and her lover. Enraged at this domestic perfidy and wickedness the brother denounced his sister-in-law, and on his testimony she was condemned to be strangled and her body afterwards burned.
About half a century ago a peculiar case of fraud was disclosed by remarkable means during the hearing of a law-suit in Tuscany. The decision of the court turned on the point whether a certain word had been erased from a particular document of importance. Chemical processes were alleged to have been employed, and acting on scientific knowledge one of the lawyers proposed that the document should be heated, as thereby a slight difference of shade or colouring between the paper and the letters supposed to have been removed might become visible. Permission was given to try the experiment, and on the application of heat the important word in question immediately appeared, and the court gave a verdict in accordance with this ingeniously devised testimony.
Since that time the progress and development of science have enabled criminal investigation to be conducted by methods which would otherwise be impossible, and with almost unerring certainty and decision. The microscope and the spectroscope have been employed in numerous cases of murder and forgery where less subtle means of discovery would have proved useless; chemical analysis has become an important agent of detection, while photography has also rendered signal service in the cause of justice. We may not have concerned ourselves with the numerous methods by which bank-note forgeries are detected; hitherto our references have been mainly to the more serious crime of murder, and with a few instances of this character brought to light through modern science our list must close.
Although, generally speaking, the microscope cannot discern any difference between the blood of man and that of other mammalia, yet the merest examination suffices to show the difference between mammalian blood and that of birds, reptiles, or fishes. In the one case the red blood corpuscles are round, and without a nucleus; in the other they are oval and nucleated. On this fact the evidence for a prisoner at Chelmsford charged with murder was completely rebutted. Blood stains had been found on his clothes, which, according to his counsel, had been caused by chicken’s blood. But the prosecution brought forward a microscopist, who stated that the blood stains were mammalian, and on this testimony the plea of the prisoner was rejected. In the following year, and at the same assizes, the testimony against a man charged with murder was strengthened by the microscopical discovery of cotton fibres on a certain weapon, which he was said to have used, while the murderers of a man who had been kicked to death were convicted on the evidence of two doctors, who found on the boots of the accused a number of hairs corresponding with the hair on the head of the victim. Evidence of this kind is becoming of extreme importance. Hardly a serious crime is investigated without the application of one or other of these scientific methods of detection, and with each success the career of the criminal becomes increasingly difficult and arduous, and his chances of success more remote. Of remarkable discoveries of crime the microscope, the camera, and the spectroscope furnish the most subtle instances, and it is quite possible that before long other methods of investigation, founded on the most recent scientific achievements, will also be brought into operation. The phonograph and the Röntgen rays are only waiting their turn to serve in the cause of justice.
Letter of the Law
by Alan E. Nourse
THE place was dark and damp, and smelled like moldy leaves. Meyerhoff followed the huge, bear-like Altairian guard down the slippery flagstones of the corridor, sniffing the dead, musty air with distaste. He drew his carefully tailored Terran-styled jacket closer about his shoulders, shivering as his eyes avoided the black, yawning cell-holes they were passing. His foot slipped on the slimy flags from time to time, and finally he paused to wipe the caked mud from his trouser leg. “How much farther is it?” he shouted angrily.
The guard waved a heavy paw vaguely into the blackness ahead. Quite suddenly the corridor took a sharp bend, and the Altairian stopped, producing a huge key ring from some obscure fold of his hairy hide. “I still don’t see any reason for all the fuss,” he grumbled in a wounded tone. “We’ve treated him like a brother.”
One of the huge steel doors clicked open. Meyerhoff peered into the blackness, catching a vaguely human outline against the back wall. “Harry?” he called sharply.
There was a startled gasp from within, and a skinny, gnarled little man suddenly appeared in the guard’s light, like a grotesque, twisted ghost out of the blackness. Wide blue eyes regarded Meyerhoff from beneath uneven black eyebrows, and then the little man’s face broke into a crafty grin. “Paul! So they sent you! I knew I could count on it!” He executed a deep, awkward bow, motioning Meyerhoff into the dark cubicle. “Not much to offer you,” he said slyly, “but it’s the best I can do under the circumstances.”
Meyerhoff scowled, and turned abruptly to the guard. “We’ll have some privacy now, if you please. Interplanetary ruling. And leave us the light.”
The guard grumbled, and started for the door. “It’s about time you showed up!” cried the little man in the cell. “Great day! Lucky they sent you, pal. Why, I’ve been in here for years—”
“Look, Zeckler, the name is Meyerhoff, and I’m not your pal,” Meyerhoff snapped. “And you’ve been here for two weeks, three days, and approximately four hours. You’re getting as bad as your gentle guards when it comes to bandying the truth around.” He peered through the dim light at the gaunt face of the prisoner. Zeckler’s face was dark with a week’s beard, and his bloodshot eyes belied the cocky grin on his lips. His clothes were smeared and sodden, streaked with great splotches of mud and moss. Meyerhoff’s face softened a little. “So Harry Zeckler’s in a jam again,” he said. “You look as if they’d treated you like a brother.”
The little man snorted. “These overgrown teddy-bears don’t know what brotherhood means, nor humanity, either. Bread and water I’ve been getting, nothing more, and then only if they feel like bringing it down.” He sank wearily down on the rock bench along the wall. “I thought you’d never get here! I sent an appeal to the Terran Consulate the first day I was arrested. What happened? I mean, all they had to do was get a man over here, get the extradition papers signed, and provide transportation off the planet for me. Why so much time? I’ve been sitting here rotting—” He broke off in mid-sentence and stared at Meyerhoff. “You brought the papers, didn’t you? I mean, we can leave now?”
Meyerhoff stared at the little man with a mixture of pity and disgust. “You are a prize fool,” he said finally. “Did you know that?”
Zeckler’s eyes widened. “What do you mean, fool? So I spend a couple of weeks in this pneumonia trap. The deal was worth it! I’ve got three million credits sitting in the Terran Consulate on Altair V, just waiting for me to walk in and pick them up. Three million credits—do you hear? That’s enough to set me up for life!”
Meyerhoff nodded grimly. “If you live long enough to walk in and pick them up, that is.”
“What do you mean, if?”
Meyerhoff sank down beside the man, his voice a tense whisper in the musty cell. “I mean that right now you are practically dead. You may not know it, but you are. You walk into a newly opened planet with your smart little bag of tricks, walk in here with a shaky passport and no permit, with no knowledge of the natives outside of two paragraphs of inaccuracies in the Explorer’s Guide, and even then you’re not content to come in and sell something legitimate, something the natives might conceivably be able to use. No, nothing so simple for you. You have to pull your usual high-pressure stuff. And this time, buddy, you’re paying the piper.”
“You mean I’m not being extradited?”
Meyerhoff grinned unpleasantly. “I mean precisely that. You’ve committed a crime here—a major crime. The Altairians are sore about it. And the Terran Consulate isn’t willing to sell all the trading possibilities here down the river just to get you out of a mess. You’re going to stand trial—and these natives are out to get you. Personally, I think they’re going to get you.”
Zeckler stood up shakily. “You can’t believe anything the natives say,” he said uneasily. “They’re pathological liars. Why, you should see what they tried to sell me! You’ve never seen such a pack of liars as these critters.” He glanced up at Meyerhoff. “They’ll probably drop a little fine on me and let me go.”
“A little fine of one Terran neck.” Meyerhoff grinned nastily. “You’ve committed the most heinous crime these creatures can imagine, and they’re going to get you for it if it’s the last thing they do. I’m afraid, my friend, that your con-man days are over.”
Zeckler fished in the other man’s pocket, extracted a cigarette, and lighted it with trembling fingers. “It’s bad, then,” he said finally.
“It’s bad, all right.”
Some shadow of the sly, elfin grin crept over the little con-man’s face. “Well, at any rate, I’m glad they sent you over,” he said weakly. “Nothing like a good lawyer to handle a trial.”
“Lawyer? Not me! Oh, no. Sorry, but no thanks.” Meyerhoff chuckled. “I’m your advisor, old boy. Nothing else. I’m here to keep you from botching things up still worse for the Trading Commission, that’s all. I wouldn’t get tangled up in a mess with those creatures for anything!” He shook his head. “You’re your own lawyer, Mr. Super-salesman. It’s all your show. And you’d better get your head out of the sand, or you’re going to lose a case like it’s never been lost before!”
Meyerhoff watched the man’s pale face, and shook his head. In a way, he thought, it was a pity to see such a change in the rosy-cheeked, dapper, cocksure little man who had talked his way glibly in and out of more jams than Meyerhoff could count. Trading brought scalpers; it was almost inevitable that where rich and unexploited trading ground was uncovered, it would first fall prey to the fast-trading boys. They spread out from Terra with the first wave of exploration—the slick, fast-talking con-men who could work new territories unfettered by the legal restrictions that soon closed down the more established planets. The first men in were the richest out, and through some curious quirk of the Terrestrial mind, they knew they could count on Terran protection, however crooked and underhand their methods.
But occasionally a situation arose where the civilization and social practices of the alien victims made it unwise to tamper with them. Altair I had been recognized at once by the Trading Commission as a commercial prize of tremendous value, but early reports had warned of the danger of wildcat trading on the little, musty, jungle-like planet with its shaggy, three-eyed inhabitants—warned specifically against the confidence tactics so frequently used—but there was always somebody, Meyerhoff reflected sourly, who just didn’t get the word.
Zeckler puffed nervously on his cigarette, his narrow face a study in troubled concentration. “But I didn’t do anything!” he exploded finally. “So I pulled an old con game. So what? Why should they get so excited? So I clipped a few thousand credits, pulled a little fast business.” He shrugged eloquently, spreading his hands. “Everybody’s doing it. They do it to each other without batting an eye. You should see these critters operate on each other. Why, my little scheme was peanuts by comparison.”
Meyerhoff pulled a pipe from his pocket, and began stuffing the bowl with infinite patience. “And precisely what sort of con game was it?” he asked quietly.
Zeckler shrugged again. “The simplest, tiredest, moldiest old racket that ever made a quick nickel. Remember the old Terran gag about the Brooklyn Bridge? The same thing. Only these critters didn’t want bridges. They wanted land—this gooey, slimy swamp they call ‘farm land.’ So I gave them what they wanted. I just sold them some land.”
Meyerhoff nodded fiercely. “You sure did. A hundred square kilos at a swipe. Only you sold the same hundred square kilos to a dozen different natives.” Suddenly he threw back his hands and roared. “Of all the things you shouldn’t have done—”
“But what’s a chunk of land?”
Meyerhoff shook his head hopelessly. “If you hadn’t been so greedy, you’d have found out what a chunk of land was to these natives before you started peddling it. You’d have found out other things about them, too. You’d have learned that in spite of all their bumbling and fussing and squabbling they’re not so dull. You’d have found out that they’re marsupials, and that two out of five of them get thrown out of their mother’s pouch before they’re old enough to survive. You’d have realized that they have to start fighting for individual rights almost as soon as they’re born. Anything goes, as long as it benefits them as individuals.”
Meyerhoff grinned at the little man’s horrified face. “Never heard of that, had you? And you’ve never heard of other things, too. You’ve probably never heard that there are just too many Altairians here for the food their planet can supply, and their diet is so finicky that they just can’t live on anything that doesn’t grow here. And consequently, land is the key factor in their economy, not money; nothing but land. To get land, it’s every man for himself, and the loser starves, and their entire legal and monetary system revolves on that principle. They’ve built up the most confusing and impossible system of barter and trade imaginable, aimed at individual survival, with land as the value behind the credit. That explains the lying—of course they’re liars, with an economy like that. They’ve completely missed the concept of truth. Pathological? You bet they’re pathological! Only a fool would tell the truth when his life depended on his being a better liar than the next guy! Lying is the time-honored tradition, with their entire legal system built around it.”
Zeckler snorted. “But how could they possibly have a legal system? I mean, if they don’t recognize the truth when it slaps them in the face?”
Meyerhoff shrugged. “As we understand legal systems, I suppose they don’t have one. They have only the haziest idea what truth represents, and they’ve shrugged off the idea as impossible and useless.” He chuckled maliciously. “So you went out and found a chunk of ground in the uplands, and sold it to a dozen separate, self-centered, half-starved natives! Encroachment on private property is legal grounds for murder on this planet, and twelve of them descended on the same chunk of land at the same time, all armed with title-deeds.” Meyerhoff sighed. “You’ve got twelve mad Altairians in your hair. You’ve got a mad planet in your hair. And in the meantime, Terra’s most valuable uranium source in five centuries is threatening to cut off supply unless they see your blood splattered liberally all the way from here to the equator.”
Zeckler was visibly shaken. “Look,” he said weakly, “so I wasn’t so smart. What am I going to do? I mean, are you going to sit quietly by and let them butcher me? How could I defend myself in a legal setup like this?”
Meyerhoff smiled coolly. “You’re going to get your sly little con-man brain to working, I think,” he said softly. “By Interplanetary Rules, they have to give you a trial in Terran legal form—judge, jury, court procedure, all that folderol. They think it’s a big joke—after all, what could a judicial oath mean to them?—but they agreed. Only thing is, they’re going to hang you, if they die trying. So you’d better get those stunted little wits of yours clicking—and if you try to implicate me, even a little bit, I’ll be out of there so fast you won’t know what happened.”
With that Meyerhoff walked to the door. He jerked it inward sharply, and spilled two guards over on their faces. “Privacy,” he grunted, and started back up the slippery corridor.
It certainly looked like a courtroom, at any rate. In the front of the long, damp stone room was a bench, with a seat behind it, and a small straight chair to the right. To the left was a stand with twelve chairs—larger chairs, with a railing running along the front. The rest of the room was filled almost to the door with seats facing the bench. Zeckler followed the shaggy-haired guard into the room, nodding approvingly. “Not such a bad arrangement,” he said. “They must have gotten the idea fast.”
Meyerhoff wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and shot the little con-man a stony glance. “At least you’ve got a courtroom, a judge, and a jury for this mess. Beyond that—” He shrugged eloquently. “I can’t make any promises.”
In the back of the room a door burst open with a bang. Loud, harsh voices were heard as half a dozen of the huge Altairians attempted to push through the door at once. Zeckler clamped on the headset to his translator unit, and watched the hubbub in the anteroom with growing alarm. Finally the question of precedent seemed to be settled, and a group of the Altairians filed in, in order of stature, stalking across the room in flowing black robes, pug-nosed faces glowering with self-importance. They descended upon the jury box, grunting and scrapping with each other for the first-row seats, and the judge took his place with obvious satisfaction behind the heavy wooden bench. Finally, the prosecuting attorney appeared, flanked by two clerks, who took their places beside him. The prosecutor eyed Zeckler with cold malevolence, then turned and delivered a sly wink at the judge.
In a moment the room was a hubbub as it filled with the huge, bumbling, bear-like creatures, jostling each other and fighting for seats, growling and complaining. Two small fights broke out in the rear, but were quickly subdued by the group of gendarmes guarding the entrance. Finally the judge glared down at Zeckler with all three eyes, and pounded the bench top with a wooden mallet until the roar of activity subsided. The jurymen wriggled uncomfortably in their seats, exchanging winks, and finally turned their attention to the front of the court.
“We are reading the case of the people of Altair I,” the judge’s voice roared out, “against one Harry Zeckler—” he paused for a long, impressive moment—”Terran.” The courtroom immediately burst into an angry growl, until the judge pounded the bench five or six times more. “This—creature—is hereby accused of the following crimes,” the judge bellowed. “Conspiracy to overthrow the government of Altair I. Brutal murder of seventeen law-abiding citizens of the village of Karzan at the third hour before dawn in the second period after his arrival. Desecration of the Temple of our beloved Goddess Zermat, Queen of the Harvest. Conspiracy with the lesser gods to cause the unprecedented drought in the Dermatti section of our fair globe. Obscene exposure of his pouch-marks in a public square. Four separate and distinct charges of jail-break and bribery—” The judge pounded the bench for order—”Espionage with the accursed scum of Altair II in preparation for interplanetary invasion.”
The little con-man’s jaw sagged lower and lower, the color draining from his face. He turned, wide-eyed, to Meyerhoff, then back to the judge.
“The Chairman of the Jury,” said the Judge succinctly, “will read the verdict.”
The little native in the front of the jury-box popped up like a puppet on a string. “Defendant found guilty on all counts,” he said.
“Defendant is guilty! The court will pronounce sentence—”
“Now wait a minute!” Zeckler was on his feet, wild-eyed. “What kind of railroad job—”
The judge blinked disappointedly at Paul Meyerhoff. “Not yet?” he asked, unhappily.
“No.” Meyerhoff’s hands twitched nervously. “Not yet, Your Honor. Later, Your Honor. The trial comes first.”
The judge looked as if his candy had been stolen. “But you said I should call for the verdict.”
“Later. You have to have the trial before you can have the verdict.”
The Altairian shrugged indifferently. “Now—later—” he muttered.
“Have the prosecutor call his first witness,” said Meyerhoff.
Zeckler leaned over, his face ashen. “These charges,” he whispered. “They’re insane!”
“Of course they are,” Meyerhoff whispered back.
“But what am I going to—”
“Sit tight. Let them set things up.”
“But those lies. They’re liars, the whole pack of them—” He broke off as the prosecutor roared a name.
The shaggy brute who took the stand was wearing a bright purple hat which sat rakishly over one ear. He grinned the Altairian equivalent of a hungry grin at the prosecutor. Then he cleared his throat and started. “This Terran riffraff—”
“The oath,” muttered the judge. “We’ve got to have the oath.”
The prosecutor nodded, and four natives moved forward, carrying huge inscribed marble slabs to the front of the court. One by one the chunks were reverently piled in a heap at the witness’s feet. The witness placed a huge, hairy paw on the cairn, and the prosecutor said, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you—” he paused to squint at the paper in his hand, and finished on a puzzled note, “—Goddess?”
The witness removed the paw from the rock pile long enough to scratch his ear. Then he replaced it, and replied, “Of course,” in an injured tone.
“Then tell this court what you have seen of the activities of this abominable wretch.”
The witness settled back into the chair, fixing one eye on Zeckler’s face, another on the prosecutor, and closing the third as if in meditation. “I think it happened on the fourth night of the seventh crossing of Altair II (may the Goddess cast a drought upon it)—or was it the seventh night of the fourth crossing?—” he grinned apologetically at the judge—”when I was making my way back through town toward my blessed land-plot, minding my own business, Your Honor, after weeks of bargaining for the crop I was harvesting. Suddenly from the shadow of the building, this creature—” he waved a paw at Zeckler—”stopped me in my tracks with a vicious cry. He had a weapon I’d never seen before, and before I could find my voice he forced me back against the wall. I could see by the cruel glint in his eyes that there was no warmth, no sympathy in his heart, that I was—”
“Objection!” Zeckler squealed plaintively, jumping to his feet. “This witness can’t even remember what night he’s talking about!”
The judge looked startled. Then he pawed feverishly through his bundle of notes. “Overruled,” he said abruptly. “Continue, please.”
The witness glowered at Zeckler. “As I was saying before this loutish interruption,” he muttered, “I could see that I was face to face with the most desperate of criminal types, even for Terrans. Note the shape of his head, the flabbiness of his ears. I was petrified with fear. And then, helpless as I was, this two-legged abomination began to shower me with threats of evil to my blessed home, dark threats of poisoning my land unless I would tell him where he could find the resting place of our blessed Goddess—”
“I never saw him before in my life,” Zeckler moaned to Meyerhoff. “Listen to him! Why should I care where their Goddess—”
Meyerhoff gave him a stony look. “The Goddess runs things around here. She makes it rain. If it doesn’t rain, somebody’s insulted her. It’s very simple.”
“But how can I fight testimony like that?”
“I doubt if you can fight it.”
“But they can’t prove a word of it—” He looked at the jury, who were listening enraptured to the second witness on the stand. This one was testifying regarding the butcherous slaughter of eighteen (or was it twenty-three? Oh, yes, twenty-three) women and children in the suburban village of Karzan. The pogrom, it seemed, had been accomplished by an energy weapon which ate great, gaping holes in the sides of buildings. A third witness took the stand, continuing the drone as the room grew hotter and muggier. Zeckler grew paler and paler, his eyes turning glassy as the testimony piled up. “But it’s not true,” he whispered to Meyerhoff.
“Of course it isn’t! Can’t you understand? These people have no regard for truth. It’s stupid, to them, silly, a mark of low intelligence. The only thing in the world they have any respect for is a liar bigger and more skillful than they are.”
Zeckler jerked around abruptly as he heard his name bellowed out. “Does the defendant have anything to say before the jury delivers the verdict?”
“Do I have—” Zeckler was across the room in a flash, his pale cheeks suddenly taking on a feverish glow. He sat down gingerly on the witness chair, facing the judge, his eyes bright with fear and excitement. “Your—Your Honor, I—I have a statement to make which will have a most important bearing on this case. You must listen with the greatest care.” He glanced quickly at Meyerhoff, and back to the judge. “Your Honor,” he said in a hushed voice. “You are in gravest of danger. All of you. Your lives—your very land is at stake.”
The judge blinked, and shuffled through his notes hurriedly as a murmur arose in the court. “Our land?”
“Your lives, your land, everything you hold dear,” Zeckler said quickly, licking his lips nervously. “You must try to understand me—” he glanced apprehensively over his shoulder “now, because I may not live long enough to repeat what I am about to tell you—”
The murmur quieted down, all ears straining in their headsets to hear his words. “These charges,” he continued, “all of them—they’re perfectly true. At least, they seem to be perfectly true. But in every instance, I was working with heart and soul, risking my life, for the welfare of your beautiful planet.”
There was a loud hiss from the back of the court. Zeckler frowned and rubbed his hands together. “It was my misfortune,” he said, “to go to the wrong planet when I first came to Altair from my homeland on Terra. I—I landed on Altair II, a grave mistake, but as it turned out, a very fortunate error. Because in attempting to arrange trading in that frightful place, I made certain contacts.” His voice trembled, and sank lower. “I learned the horrible thing which is about to happen to this planet, at the hands of those barbarians. The conspiracy is theirs, not mine. They have bribed your Goddess, flattered her and lied to her, coerced her all-powerful goodness to their own evil interests, preparing for the day when they could persuade her to cast your land into the fiery furnace of a ten-year-drought—”
Somebody in the middle of the court burst out laughing. One by one the natives nudged one another, and booed, and guffawed, until the rising tide of racket drowned out Zeckler’s words. “The defendant is obviously lying,” roared the prosecutor over the pandemonium. “Any fool knows that the Goddess can’t be bribed. How could she be a Goddess if she could?”
Zeckler grew paler. “But—perhaps they were very clever—”
“And how could they flatter her, when she knows, beyond doubt, that she is the most exquisitely radiant creature in all the Universe? And you dare to insult her, drag her name in the dirt.”
The hisses grew louder, more belligerent. Cries of “Butcher him!” and “Scald his bowels!” rose from the courtroom. The judge banged for silence, his eyes angry.
“Unless the defendant wishes to take up more of our precious time with these ridiculous lies, the jury—”
“Wait! Your Honor, I request a short recess before I present my final plea.”
“A few moments to collect my thoughts, to arrange my case.”
The judge settled back with a disgusted snarl. “Do I have to?” he asked Meyerhoff.
Meyerhoff nodded. The judge shrugged, pointing over his shoulder to the anteroom. “You can go in there,” he said.
Somehow, Zeckler managed to stumble from the witness stand, amid riotous boos and hisses, and tottered into the anteroom.
Zeckler puffed hungrily on a cigarette, and looked up at Meyerhoff with haunted eyes. “It—it doesn’t look so good,” he muttered.
Meyerhoff’s eyes were worried, too. For some reason, he felt a surge of pity and admiration for the haggard con-man. “It’s worse than I’d anticipated,” he admitted glumly. “That was a good try, but you just don’t know enough about them and their Goddess.” He sat down wearily. “I don’t see what you can do. They want your blood, and they’re going to have it. They just won’t believe you, no matter how big a lie you tell.”
Zeckler sat in silence for a moment. “This lying business,” he said finally, “exactly how does it work?”
“The biggest, most convincing liar wins. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter how outlandish a whopper you tell. Unless, of course, they’ve made up their minds that you just naturally aren’t as big a liar as they are. And it looks like that’s just what they’ve done. It wouldn’t make any difference to them what you say—unless, somehow, you could make them believe it.”
Zeckler frowned. “And how do they regard the—the biggest liar? I mean, how do they feel toward him?”
Meyerhoff shifted uneasily. “It’s hard to say. It’s been my experience that they respect him highly—maybe even fear him a little. After all, the most convincing liar always wins in any transaction, so he gets more land, more food, more power. Yes, I think the biggest liar could go where he pleased without any interference.”
Zeckler was on his feet, his eyes suddenly bright with excitement. “Wait a minute,” he said tensely. “To tell them a lie that they’d have to believe—a lie they simply couldn’t help but believe—” He turned on Meyerhoff, his hands trembling. “Do they think the way we do? I mean, with logic, cause and effect, examining evidence and drawing conclusions? Given certain evidence, would they have to draw the same conclusions that we have to draw?”
Meyerhoff blinked. “Well—yes. Oh, yes, they’re perfectly logical.”
Zeckler’s eyes flashed, and a huge grin broke out on his sallow face. His thin body fairly shook. He started hopping up and down on one foot, staring idiotically into space. “If I could only think—” he muttered. “Somebody—somewhere—something I read.”
“Whatever are you talking about?”
“It was a Greek, I think—”
Meyerhoff stared at him. “Oh, come now. Have you gone off your rocker completely? You’ve got a problem on your hands, man.”
“No, no, I’ve got a problem in the bag!” Zeckler’s cheeks flushed. “Let’s go back in there—I think I’ve got an answer!”
The courtroom quieted the moment they opened the door, and the judge banged the gavel for silence. As soon as Zeckler had taken his seat on the witness stand, the judge turned to the head juryman. “Now, then,” he said with happy finality. “The jury—”
“Hold on! Just one minute more.”
The judge stared down at Zeckler as if he were a bug on a rock. “Oh, yes. You had something else to say. Well, go ahead and say it.”
Zeckler looked sharply around the hushed room. “You want to convict me,” he said softly, “in the worst sort of way. Isn’t that right?”
Eyes swung toward him. The judge broke into an evil grin. “That’s right.”
“But you can’t really convict me until you’ve considered carefully any statement I make in my own defense. Isn’t that right?”
The judge looked uncomfortable. “If you’ve got something to say, go ahead and say it.”
“I’ve got just one statement to make. Short and sweet. But you’d better listen to it, and think it out carefully before you decide that you really want to convict me.” He paused, and glanced slyly at the judge. “You don’t think much of those who tell the truth, it seems. Well, put this statement in your record, then.” His voice was loud and clear in the still room. “All Earthmen are absolutely incapable of telling the truth.”
Puzzled frowns appeared on the jury’s faces. One or two exchanged startled glances, and the room was still as death. The judge stared at him, and then at Meyerhoff, then back. “But you”—he stammered. “You’re”—He stopped in mid-sentence, his jaw sagging.
One of the jurymen let out a little squeak, and fainted dead away. It took, all in all, about ten seconds for the statement to soak in.
And then pandemonium broke loose in the courtroom.
“Really,” said Harry Zeckler loftily, “it was so obvious I’m amazed that it didn’t occur to me first thing.” He settled himself down comfortably in the control cabin of the Interplanetary Rocket and grinned at the outline of Altair IV looming larger in the view screen.
Paul Meyerhoff stared stonily at the controls, his lips compressed angrily. “You might at least have told me what you were planning.”
“And take the chance of being overheard? Don’t be silly. It had to come as a bombshell. I had to establish myself as a liar—the prize liar of them all, but I had to tell the sort of lie that they simply could not cope with. Something that would throw them into such utter confusion that they wouldn’t dare convict me.” He grinned impishly at Meyerhoff. “The paradox of Epimenides the Cretan. It really stopped them cold. They knew I was an Earthmen, which meant that my statement that Earthmen were liars was a lie, which meant that maybe I wasn’t a liar, in which case—oh, it was tailor-made.”
“It sure was.” Meyerhoff’s voice was a snarl.
“Well, it made me out a liar in a class they couldn’t approach, didn’t it?”
Meyerhoff’s face was purple with anger. “Oh, indeed it did! And it put all Earthmen in exactly the same class, too.”
“So what’s honor among thieves? I got off, didn’t I?”
Meyerhoff turned on him fiercely. “Oh, you got off just fine. You scared the living daylights out of them. And in an eon of lying they never have run up against a short-circuit like that. You’ve also completely botched any hope of ever setting up a trading alliance with Altair I, and that includes uranium, too. Smart people don’t gamble with loaded dice. You scared them so badly they don’t want anything to do with us.”
Zeckler’s grin broadened, and he leaned back luxuriously. “Ah, well. After all, the Trading Alliance was your outlook, wasn’t it? What a pity!” He clucked his tongue sadly. “Me, I’ve got a fortune in credits sitting back at the consulate waiting for me—enough to keep me on silk for quite a while, I might say. I think I’ll just take a nice, long vacation.”
Meyerhoff turned to him, and a twinkle of malignant glee appeared in his eyes. “Yes, I think you will. I’m quite sure of it, in fact. Won’t cost you a cent, either.”
Meyerhoff grinned unpleasantly. He brushed an imaginary lint fleck from his lapel, and looked up at Zeckler slyly. “That—uh—jury trial. The Altairians weren’t any too happy to oblige. They wanted to execute you outright. Thought a trial was awfully silly—until they got their money back, of course. Not too much—just three million credits.”
Zeckler went white. “But that money was in banking custody!”
“Is that right? My goodness. You don’t suppose they could have lost those papers, do you?” Meyerhoff grinned at the little con-man. “And incidentally, you’re under arrest, you know.”
A choking sound came from Zeckler’s throat. “Arrest!”
“Oh, yes. Didn’t I tell you? Conspiring to undermine the authority of the Terran Trading Commission. Serious charge, you know. Yes, I think we’ll take a nice long vacation together, straight back to Terra. And there I think you’ll face a jury trial.”
Zeckler spluttered. “There’s no evidence—you’ve got nothing on me! What kind of a frame are you trying to pull?”
“A lovely frame. Airtight. A frame from the bottom up, and you’re right square in the middle. And this time—” Meyerhoff tapped a cigarette on his thumb with happy finality—”this time I don’t think you’ll get off.”
Advertisers Embrace 'Rich Media' Format
From ads that dance or sing to MTV-like commercials, online advertisers are now using a new type of technology called “rich media” to attract consumers.
U.S. Internet advertising revenue will have reached about $12 billion last year, up $3 billion from 2004. Of this, advertisers spent about $1 billion on rich media, up from $800 million in 2003, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
So what exactly is rich media? By definition, it is an online advertising technique that combines graphics with audio technologies, giving Internet users an interactive experience.
And with more than half of American households connected online and using high-speed connections like broadband and DSL, it means a potentially lucrative way for online advertisers to get consumers’ attention.
One company taking online advertising to a different level is Centale Inc. (OTCBB: CNTL), based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The online marketing and technology firm offers cutting-edge technology solutions to its clients.
Centale’s premier application, the Catalyst EV, is a software platform that allows companies to communicate directly to the desktop of their audience in rich media format.
The software also functions independent of e-mail. To date, studies have shown that e-mail campaigns may be decreasing in effectiveness because as the amount of e-mail increases, the likelihood of success of the solicitation or advertisement tends to decrease.
One reason that advertisers are embracing rich media is that it typically entertains and is compelling enough to capture the interest of consumers. It also allows a user a modicum of control by either stopping the ad entirely, or participating in it and clicking through to an advertiser’s Web site to get more information.
While rich media may not endear advertising to online consumers, most users are finding it less intrusive than traditional pop-up, banner and text-based ads. Centale says there is a favorable market for its product, as the industry shifts away from traditional advertising such as print and radio in favor of online advertising.
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8 Important Elements for Small Business Web Sites
Key visitors to your commercial pages include web robots that crawl the internet and catalog your content. Having proper HTML source code, plus the right combination of text and graphic presentation, is just one secret to success. Proper code may mean higher robot ratings, and the “look” is equally important. Once a new prospect finds your web site, you have 5 seconds to get them to stay.
As a small business web site owner, you may have asked “Why don’t we get any hits?”. Did you know web pages can load and appear correct with improper or deprecated HTML code? A browser may ignore your mistakes, and display what it thinks you meant, and it may look great. Web robots may not be as forgiving.
Following is a list of 8 basic elements for good search engine placement that need to be considered in your design and web site promotion. For details on code issues from the worldwide authority, visit the World Wide Web Consortium to view DOCTYPE and other quality standards.
1. DOCTYPE Statement
2. Page Title
3. Proper HTML Code
4. META Description
5. META Key Words
6. First Paragraph of the Home Page
7. An Extra Page of Just LINKS
8. Backlinks (Links to your pages)
These 8 key items are either missing or poorly designed in 85% of all web sites. Some search engines may only list the other 15% in their directories. In other words, as few as 15% of the 6 billion web pages online ever make it into some search engines. Even worse, there are mistakes that may result in your page being blacklisted, and the search engine web crawlers may never come back to see if it’s corrected. This could explain why you “never get any hits”.
Web sites can be simple and professional without using fancy software to create your pages. Veteran programmers hand code and many create the HTML in NotePad. Web authors who choose to use flash, frames, or the latest software may be losing a significant portion of new visitors (customers) because the visitor may lack the technology or newest version of browsers. If they are turned off and leave without giving your site a fair viewing, it could mean lost profits.
Most designers use prepackaged software to create web pages. If the software leaves out any of the key elements, the code is hidden, and you’ll never know your site was not optimized for search engines. The designer may not know, or care, about these items as long as the page looks attractive. Note: Search engine algorithms vary by company, so some elements such as “an extra page of links” may not be as important today with some search robots. Backlinks refer to marketing your site and getting other web sites to link to yours.
Finally, business visitors want information. They do not visit your home page to be entertained. Most have a need (problem) and want a fast answer (solution), so designs should be created to minimize the use of music or video unless that’s your core business. Anything that distracts from a positive first impression may violate my “5 Second Rule”.
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Advertising: Relationships vs Business Decisions
Successful businesses know the importance of building and maintaining good working relationships, whether it is with partners, employees, business or trade organizations, the government, media representatives, vendors, consumers, or the community at large. A business must carefully balance the benefits of these interpersonal relationships and should never allow these relationships to blind their judgment especially when it relates to what is in the best interest of the business’s continued success and growth
Buying advertising media based on interpersonal relationships is a common mistake made by many small businesses. This strategy throws the business’s strategic marketing plan into the winds of chance in exchange for the warm and fuzzy feelings that come with doing business among friends. However, when the smoke clears the business has made costly advertising expenditures with little or no results and the long term negative effects may not readily be seen. Simply, the marketing / advertising expenditures have been made, the budget may or may not be busted, and the results may be none to little measurable penetration into the business’s target demographic market segment.
Is buying media from a friend in the business always bad? No, however in order to choose the most effective media channels a business must first consider the audience or customer it is trying to reach. Developing a strong sense of the target demographics’ buying and shopping patterns, interests and hobbies, entertainment and media choices for example will lend itself a tremendous benefit to making informed media buying choices. Once the advertising business has developed a strong sense of what media channels may prove to be the most effective it should try each a little at a time carefully tracking the results of each. Once this is complete the business will be able to make an educated decision on where to invest its marketing dollars, prioritizing expenditures into the mediums that have proven results for the business.
It is true that strong interpersonal relationships skills and the ability to develop and maintain good working relationships with a variety of people, businesses, and other organizations are imperative in today’s business environments. However, the importance of a well designed and implemented strategic marketing plan can not be understated and is paramount to the business’s development and longevity never taking second seat to friendship.
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