accurate account

So in lore, vampires have this trait that I’ve almost never seen used, and that’s the fact that vampires are OBSESSED with counting things. Like, the Count on Sesame Street was almost certainly created specifically as a vampire because of this piece of lore.

Like, I read this vampire book years and years ago that explained that a surefire way to protect yourself from vampires getting into your house was to spread a ton of seeds on your doorstep–poppy and mustard seeds were particularly recommended for the purpose. Basically, if you suspected someone to be a vampire, all you had to do was drop a sackful of seeds on the ground in front of them.

If they didn’t immediately start counting them, they were not a vampire. However, if they WERE a vampire, they’d be seized with the urge to count all the seeds and they would not budge from that spot until they knew how many seeds there were in total. The point was to keep them there until the sun came up and killed them, because if they hadn’t counted all the seeds by sunrise they wouldn’t be able to leave. Presumably you could just go about the rest of your evening as normal, though no word on whether it’s possible to make them lose count and start over.

Having remembered this piece of lore, I want fewer stories about brooding tortured Edward Cullen-esque vampires. I want to start seeing more stories about math nerd vampires.

Vampire accountants who are an honest company’s best asset and a corrupt company’s bane because they are frighteningly accurate with the accounts and will not hesitate to blow the whistle on a CEO scamming money because fuck you for making the numbers wrong.

Vampire cashiers that don’t need to look at the register screen because they already mentally calculated your total. 10-items-or-less vampires who know goddamn well you have 20 items in that basket and NO, you cannot just slip in with the rest.

Vampire math tutors who are constantly in high demand and have to hold lotteries to see who gets to be tutored by them.

MATH NERD VAMPIRES

I begin this letter by, ironically, apologizing.  I am not the best writer, nor the best historian. I will do my best to convey the most accurate account possible, but know that I am, of course, biased and grieved. It has obviously deeply affected my state of mind, and every day I can barely bring myself out of the downward spiral of endless thought. Forgive me.

A lot of people might tell you that it was entertaining at first, amusing even. When it happened everyone didn’t really know how to react – but eventually we all figured out how.  Our melting pot of emotional reaction rapidly churned into a thick, hot rage that no one dared try to simmer.  We were united, all of us, for the first time in history.  But it was a slow start.

It was early September when it got there, right above one of the Galapagos Islands. A group of Spanish scientists were the lucky few to get the first look.  It was small, dark, swirling, and sporadic.  The media liked to say it was about a tenth the size of Rhode Island, which was not a very helpful benchmark for anyone not familiar with Rhode Island. It floated, or rather simply existed, 1.44 miles in the sky, and occasionally dropped down a few yards, much to everyone’s horror.  The color of it was like staring into a black sun; mosaic waves of darkness swirled around and sparked. It smelled strongly of ammonia and sulfur according to anyone who went close, and one scientist liked to say it felt like staring death in the face.

I can’t begin to describe to you all that happened in the first few days.  Scientists from every corner of the globe, every backwoods nation and fringe group, demanded access to the newest Ecuadorian landmark, whose government was not too willing to comply.  At first, select small teams were permitted admission, closely monitored by the Ecuadorians.  But when a U.S. carrier strike group shows up at your door, all international law and decorum goes out the window.

They figured out pretty fast what it was, a wormhole of some sort.  A very, very weak one. Helicopters and planes could fly within a couple hundred yards from it and only barely feel a pull.  That pull increased almost exponentially as anything went closer to it, as several birds were the unknowing producers of that knowledge. Electronic systems worked fine, and other than the small gravitational interruption, nothing was horribly wrong with the gigantic black blob in the sky.  Yet.

About a month or so after it had gotten there, when the media was just beginning to start covering anything else, a black cube the size of a truck spurted out from the center of the hole with incredible force, slowed down to terminal velocity, and then sunk into the South Pacific. Of course this was all captured on film; by now thousands of cameras and satellites were aimed at it, and a city of yachters had gathered beneath, despite the smell.  The whole world was shocked that the silent, putrid, black sun had actually done something other than suck up the occasional bird.  I was horrified. I thought we were going to be invaded.  That cube was not natural.  It wasn’t a meteorite or a speck of dust or anything you’d expect to be on the other end of the line. It implied, practically proved, that something intelligent was over there.  

People thought the box might be to communicate, that perhaps it was a sort of radio or beacon.  We soon found out what it was.  Before we even had time to get divers down there, it burst. Most of the blast was held in by the ocean’s depths but still a colossal geyser of water sprang up, almost touching the blob itself.  The explosion seemed nuclear, but we were assured it wasn’t.  Some sort of conventional explosives, several times stronger than any nuke we owned, had created the largest crater on Earth’s floor in the span of a second.  The waves flushed rapidly in every direction, toppling the yacht city and swamping the coasts of the islands. Hundreds died instantly.  

The fallout spawned itself in the form of rage and panic.  Were we being invaded?  What next horror would fall through the sky? How can we stop this thing, how can we turn it off?  The second question was soon answered, as a day later thousands more boxes fell through, each in succession, each various sizes.  A quarantine zone was declared, as everyone expected the worst.  But these cubes never exploded like their precursor.  They sank to the bottom, fell on top of each other, and slowly but surely piled up towards the surface.  

Weeks later, when the dilapidated pyramid of boxes had begun to pierce the waterline, whoever was in charge had concluded that the threat was low enough to send someone in to investigate.  The team that went in noted that the cubes were coarse to the touch despite the sea water, the edges were perfectly formed and sharp, and there were no markings to give any hint to their purpose.  Taking a box back with them to the continent, the collective effort to open it began. As time ticked down, pressure mounted.  Debate raged over whether it was wise to even open it at all. Pandora, Pandora, Pandora, rose the cries from the streets. But it wasn’t the people’s call to make.  The boxes were soon opened, the answer revealed, and the questions began.  

Garbage. Millions of boxes of garbage had been streaming from the black mass.  Information trickled in, but people begged for more. It was alien, from a civilized culture.  Bipeds, more advanced than us, larger, omnivores. It was amazing what we could tell from their trash.  It was an instant view into some other part of our universe.  When more boxes were opened we continued to learn.  But there were no photos, no paintings, no art or culture of any kind.  The clothing, or at least what we assumed to be clothing, was uniform and exact. Everything was bland, simple, and spartan.  Soon, discoveries became rarer and rarer, as the items became just copies of the ones found prior.  Finally, nothing new was opened; just a hundred or so items of compressed waste had formed their gift to us.

The pile on the other hand, had become a problem.  It, combined with the blast, had devastated most of the area’s ecology.  The boxes had also slowly bled a red slime, likely a coating of some sort, which had dyed the ocean for miles. All fish in the area were floating to the surface, dead and cancerous. The birds stopped flying anywhere near.  The tortoises crouched down in their shells and gave in.  The Galapagos were dead.

It didn’t stop. The dye and waste had slowly began to affect every drop of water on Earth. There was no one who did not feel its terror. It was biological, ecological, and psychological warfare.  It was an unending barrage of terror.  It was death.

So I hope this letter reaches you, whoever you are, and I hope you learn how to comprehend it. You have destroyed our planet. You have defied our attempts at reconciliation and communication, and you have been a brutal, silent antagonist for too long. It is time for you to understand. My letter to you is just one part of the millions to be sent through the rabbit hole tomorrow.  Know that it is just a fraction of what you have sent us.

my inner wolf -jimin

TED BUNDY: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In 2008 Ann Rule published one final chapter to her book “The Stranger Beside Me” (originally published in 1980). In this chapter she answers commonly asked questions to the best of her ability with the knowledge she has obtained over the years. 

 Who was Ted’s biological father? 

This has never been absolutely established. His mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, said simply that Ted’s father was a “sailor.” His birth certificate listed his father as Lloyd Marshall, thirty, an Air Force veteran, a graduate of penn state university. Jack Worthington was another name listed as his father. Born at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont, on November 24, 1946, Ted had “illegitimate” stamped on his birth certificate. Many feel that he was a child of incest, fathered by his mother’s father, a man known for his violent temper. To the best of my knowledge, blood samples were never taken to establish or refute this. DNA testing was fifty years in the future. Ted had many names: Cowell, Nelson, Bundy, and all the names he stole from other men to protect his identity when he was on the run. 

 Did Ted Bundy really father a child in prison? 

Yes, I believe he did. A frequent visitor to Raiders Prison in Starke, Florida, told me that prisoners in the early 1980s pooled their money to bribe guards to allow them intimate time alone with their female visitors. Whoever won that lottery did have enough privacy and time to impregnate a wife or girlfriend. Furthermore, the baby girl born to Carole Ann Boone is said to resemble Ted a great deal. 

 Where are Carole Ann Boone and her daughter now?

 I have always tried not to know anything about Ted’s ex-wife (who divorced him before he was executed) and child, feeling that if I had no information, I could never accidentally tell anyone in the media details that would invade their privacy. I have heard that Ted’s daughter is a kind and intelligent young woman– but I have no idea where she and her mother may live. They have been through enough pain. 

 Where are Meg Anders and her daughter, the child who looked upon Ted as a father figure back in the seventies? 

I have also attempted to know very little about Meg and her daughter, who is now around forty. Meg wrote a book, using the pseudonym “Elizabeth Kendall” many years ago. Entitled “The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy” and published by a small Seattle press that no longer exists, it has been out of print for years. I was surprised recently to receive a phone call from Liane Anders, Meg’s daughter. Ted had hurt her emotionally, too. In the tangled way humans respond to trauma, Liane said she felt a lingering guilt about the young women Ted killed– as if there might have been some way she could have stopped him from killing. I pointed out that she should have no responsibility whatsoever for what Ted did. She was only a little girl when it all happened, a child who once loved and trusted him. Perhaps one day, she will write about her feelings, and I hope that “Elizabeth Kendall” will see that her book is reissued. 

 Was Ted Bundy ever cleared of homicides he was suspected of? 

Perhaps once or twice– officially. I believed that he had killed Katherine Merry Devine after picking her up in the University District in December 1973– and so did her parents and many detectives. But there was a “sleeper” suspect that Thurston County, Washington, sheriff’s detectives were also watching over the twenty-eight years her murder went unsolved. His name was William E. Cosden and he had a record for rape and a doubtful acquittal on rape and murder charges back in Maryland. In March 2002, DNA retrieved from Katherine Merry’s body and clothing was compared to Cosden’s and it was a definite match. Cosden had believed he skated away clear. He had been visiting relatives who owned a service station in Olympia when the fourteen-year-old hopped down from the ride she had gotten from Seattle. He met her there in the gas station/truckers’ stop, and she trusted him. Cosden is now safely locked away in prison. 

 Wasn’t Ted Bundy really nice…. underneath? 

No. 

 Were you ever afraid when you were with Ted Bundy– especially all alone at the crisis clinic all night long? 

Again, the answer is no. I had always prided myself on my ability to detect aberrance in other humans– both because I had that innate skill and through experience and training. And I have berated myself silently for a long time because I saw nothing threatening or disturbing in Ted’s façade. He was very kind to me, solicitous of my safety, and seemingly empathetic. 

 The only clue I had was that my dog– who liked everyone– didn’t like Ted at all. Whenever he bent over my desk at the crisis clinic, she growled and the hackles on her neck stood up. The lesson is clear: pay attention to your dog! 

 Don’t you think that Ted Bundy should have been kept alive– and studied by psychiatrists while he served life in prison? 

No, I don’t. Ted would have found a way to escape again, and he would have been more dangerous than ever. He fooled any number of intelligent, experienced people– including myself– and he was fully capable of doing it again and again. That was too big a risk to take. 

 What was Ted’s I.Q.? 

It was 124 on the Standard Wechsler-Bellevue. Enough to graduate from college and obtain further degrees. However, he never tested at the genius level. 

 Where is Ted Bundy buried? 

No one but those closest to him knows. His body was cremated, and he had asked to have his ashes scattered in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. This was probably a wise choice, as a recognizable grave would be in danger of being desecrated. 

 I have read in numerous print (that) in July 1986, Bundy’s execution was stayed just fifteen minutes before it was to take place. And then again in October, his execution was stayed just seven hours before. Are these accounts accurate or just media sensation? And equally important, if Ted Bundy had only fifteen minutes or seven hours to live, why did he not confess until January 1989? Did his attorneys assure him that he would not be executed? Why did he wait and not pull this card in 1986? How did he know he wouldn’t be executed then? 

First of all, he did not come within fifteen minutes of execution in July 1986; it was fifteen hours. He did come within seven hours of dying in November that year. His attorneys had filed eighteen appeals. I think he had begun to feel invincible– that there would always be another chance. He could not have known absolutely, however, that he wouldn’t sit in Old Sparky on each date set. He took a chance, and he won again. However, neither I nor anyone else could say then– or now–what Ted was thinking. And this brings us to the most omnipresent question of all: What was Ted Bundy really like? I don’t know. He was so many things to different people. He was an actor, a liar, a thief, a killer, a schemer, a stalker, a charmer, intelligent but not brilliant, and doomed. I don’t think even Ted knew what he was really like. 

 -Ann Rule September 2008 from “The Stranger Beside Me”

You know, sometimes I think about astrology and the origins of astrology, and how everything came to be the way that it is. I wonder how or why the people who first discovered the study of astrology associated certain events or circumstances with the positions of celestial bodies, and I wonder how they correlated specific behaviors with the signs. It just reminds me of the weirdness and eccentricities of the world. Everything we know to be true are concepts constructed by people we don’t even know, these are customs and ideals that have been alive for many years and have become relatively normal. Long ago, someone or some group decided that the value of a 100 dollar bill equates to 100 dollars even though it is merely a rectangular piece of paper, and that’s still the way it is now. Someone with the same exact piece of paper is considered poorer because their bill says that it equates to only 5 dollars while the other person is richer because their bill says that it amounts to 100 dollars. It is very bizarre to me, very absurd, I almost can’t comprehend what we all consider to be reasonable and typical. Words - the English language - this was made up by people in the past and we just decided to give each word random meanings and it’s stayed that way because somebody said so, these are the rules, this is the way it needs to be structured. But why? How did this happen? And back to the topic of astrology…. These things we believe to be correct are merely the convictions of several individuals, maybe they never had any real merit to begin with, whatever that may be; perhaps their original thoughts have even been altered and adjusted through the years, who knows, we don’t have the accurate accounts of history, perhaps a lot of things that the first astrologers professed are not the same things we are familiar with now. Human beings are constantly coming up with new concepts, new ideas, and the facts are the facts - but are they? I don’t follow facts, I don’t think facts exist, what are facts? Who can prove it? What logic did they use to prove it? Why did they apply that logic? Logic is nonsensical. We don’t have any answers in this universe.

anonymous asked:

I am interested in the Sicilian and Italian traditions! Can you direct me as to where to learn more about this/explain the basics of this practice? Thank you so much- your blog is great:)

Italian Witchcraft and Folklore

Hey! That’s wonderful! They’re surprisingly difficult to find any accurate information on!
My best resources are the article by Sabina Magliocco titled Witchcraft, healing, and vernacular magic in Italy, a less reliable article (that mixes witch-lore and folk magic all together) by J.B. Andrews called Neapolitan Witchcraft, and Carlo Ginzburg’s book The Night Battles about the benandanti in Friuli (Northeastern region of Italy).

If anyone knows any other sources feel free to list them!

Italian witch lore is very old, as there have been legends of witches in this region for a very long, accountable period. The word strega (witch) most likely comes from the Latin strix (screech owl) which witches were thought to take the shape of in the night. The practice of witchcraft is called stregoneria, a male witch is a stregone, and a female witch is a strega.
There are more legends of Italian witches in the south (particularly near Naples). One of the most famous is the story of the witches of Benevento, who convened beneath a walnut tree on a hill therein, and danced and worshiped the Devil. This tree was supposedly cut down.


There is a popular image of a witch who arises among Christian tradition in Italy, even still today. This witch is called Old Befana or Bella Befana(Bruta BefanaBella Befana or Vecchia Befana) who is a good witch who lived alone in a small cottage. One day, three wise men knocked on her door. “Behold! The child of God is born, (yada yada) we’re going to find him and bring him gifts! Will you join us Old Befana?” Now, Old Befana was glad to hear the news and excited to meet the new babe and give it what gifts she could. However, she was not one to shuck her responsibilities so she said she would have to wait until her chores were completed. They agreed and she saw them off, before finishing her cleaning. Once her duties were completed, she packed up her presents for the babe, hopped promptly onto the broom she had just finished sweeping with, and flew out the chimney into the cold night. However, they had not told her how to find them again! Not wanting to deny the boy his gifts, she decided to give some to all the little children she passed on her way, as any might be the new born child of God. Every year on that same night, Old Befana rides out on her broom and deposits gifts for little children, in hopes that one day she will finally find the baby Jesus and give him the presents she has been holding all this time.

In southern Italy, many of the tales of witches (streghe) and folk healers (fattucchiere, or ‘fixers’) tell of the songs they sing to work their magic. Unfortunately, this seems to be all anyone knows on the subject, and I can’t find any references or information on these songs!
In lore, the witches of both benevolent and malefic natures are closely related or interchangeable with more faerie-like spirits. The Janare of Naples/Janas of Sardinia (lit. followers of Diana) are magical women said to live in Neolithic shaft tombs and are expert weavers and spinners. They sometimes intermarry with humans, but are very different from the cogas  (or little cooks) of Sardinia, who are malefic witches that cook and eat their victims.


Most folk magic in Italy has died out, even in many of the rural areas. What is documented and what remains is all, unsurprisingly, Catholic magic. Much of it draws to saints, prayers, and Catholic holy tools. One name for this form of magic is benedicaria. However, much of it seems more agricultural or magical and less religious in nature. There is no point assuming this other source is pagan, because we could never prove where almost of any of it originated.



Most witchcraft you will find today in Italy, especially in urbanized areas, is of a New Age or Neo-pagan persuasion. Neo-Wicca is about the best you can hope to find, and even that is comparatively rare to that found in Great Britain, Australia, and the U.S.

In conversations about Italian magic and witchcraft, Raven Grimassi’s book Italian Witchcraft tends to come up. THIS BOOK IS UTTER BULLSHIT. HOGWASH. STUFF AND NONSENSE. It’s almost literally just Neo-Wicca with different names and some made up information. I’m not exaggerating. If you have this book, it’s better off as kindling than on your bookshelf. Just saying.
Charles Leland’s book Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches is a pretty piece of poetry, and perhaps has some truths in it, but it can never be relied upon. His source is not credible, and the information doesn’t add up well. It is a beautiful book, but not an accurate account of Italian magic or witchcraft.

Here are a few blog posts I have made relating to Italian witchcraft and folk magic:

The Curse of the Lemon and Pins

Neapolitan Flying Ointment

The Use of Stones in Italian Folk Magic

Charm Against the Evil Eye

To Cure Jaundice

To Cure Worms

To Bind an Eagle from your Flock

To Keep Birds from the Crops

anonymous asked:

I just read your unreliable narrators + mental illness post and I'm honestly a bit confused?? I thought unreliable narrators were unreliable bc their version of events is contrary to what's really happening, regardless of mental illness. For the Moth Diaries example, we know she's unreliable even if we don't know what the truth is, because we DO know something's up. Could you clarify this maybe?

Referring to [THIS POST]

An unreliable narrator is a character that is misleading the reader.

We’ll use The Moth Diaries as an example here.

The story of The Moth Diaries is about a young girl experiencing a confusing and traumatic incident. The narrative follows her private attempts to understand and deal with what is happening around her. It is framed through the device of the diary being divulged as a part of therapeutic treatment later in the character’s life.

Whether or not the vampire is a real monster, in the sense of it being a supernatural creature, is largely irrelevant to the story. The narrative is concerned with how the protagonist deals with trauma and loss, and with how she deals with (or doesn’t deal with) the issues that arise out of her conflict with her school peers and her dawning mental health problems.

The question of the ‘truth’ of events as they are presented is not important, because the story isn’t about whether or not Ernessa was really a vampire. The story is about the internal struggle of the protagonist.

Think of it this way; this is a personal story from the perspective of an individual who has mental health problems, detailing her personal experiences at the time, and how she perceived events.

If you had the same story told from someone else’s perspective, where this hypothetical person said “No, Ernessa was completely normal, but [unnamed protagonist] was going off the rails when we were in school,” then BOTH of these narratives can be true, so far as the story is concerned. Because they are both differing perspectives on the same events.

Essentially, the story is not about Ernessa, or vampirism, it’s about the protagonist’s perception of the events. As long as the protagonist in this story is attempting honestly to convey her own experiences, in a story that is entirely about those personal experiences, then she’s a completely reliable narrator.

Let’s say that in the world of the story, that is, the ‘reality’ of the story that the protagonist inhabits, there are no vampires. Ernessa is completely normal and there are completely rational explanations for everything that the protagonist experienced or saw. 

The story is still about her personal perception of reality.

A flawed analogy would be putting an apple in front of someone who’s red-green colour blind and asking them what colour it is. They could say ‘brown’, which is correct from their perspective. They could guess, and say ‘red’ which might or might not be correct, but would NOT be an accurate account of their perception of reality. 

The colour blind protagonist who describes the apple as red is unreliable. They’re willing to guess to fill in details, or outright make them up to try and get as close as possible to a believable story. They are lying about their experience.

The colour blind protagonist who describes the apple as brown is objectively wrong – the apple is red or green, right? The reader will say “Apples aren’t brown! That apple is green!” 

But how can a colour blind protagonist know that? Unless someone else tells them what colour the apple ‘really’ is, or they guess? 

To tell the truth as they know and perceive it, the colour blind protagonist says the apple is brown.

This is something that is difficult to juggle when using a first person perspective or a very closely focalised third person perspective. Yes, as the author, you may know that the FACTS in your fictional world are XY & Z. But how much information does your focalising character have access to?

  • What if your character only knows about Y? 
  • What if they’ve never even considered X, and there’s a social taboo in their culture about even mentioning Z?
  • What if your character instead perceives AB & C? Are AB & C necessarily false? Or are they partial truths? or is B really X from a different perspective?
  • If your character KNOWS X, but they tell their audience/ the reader that they don’t, or if they mislead the audience/ reader about the nature of X, then they become unreliable.
  • If the character only knows what they’ve been told about X (and that’s ‘factually’ incorrect), or if they only have knowledge of X through their own (biased, flawed, mentally ill, etc) and they try to convey X to the extent of their own knowledge, then they’re attempting to give an honest account. The information they’ve got is flawed, but the intent is to tell the story as truthfully as they are able to.

And, of course, there are going to be characters who’s mental illness does contribute to them being unreliable. There are going to be characters who are too paranoid to tell the truth, who will invent details, who lie to make themselves look better, who lie to try to convince the reader of something. A character doing these things may or may not be doing it as a part of their mental illness, but mental illness in itself doesn’t make the character unreliable.

Especially when, as with The Moth Diaries, the point of the narrative is to show the subjective experience of that person, including whatever paranoias, delusions, false realities, etc, they experience. 

The key is: did the character experience the thing that they’re telling you they experienced, whether or not it was ‘just in their head’?

If yes, they are reliable. Reliable does not mean that what they are saying is absolutely ‘true’, it only means that the character is relating events as they experienced them.

reuters.com
U.S. Army fudged its accounts by trillions of dollars, auditor finds
The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced.

The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.

As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”

Disclosure of the Army’s manipulation of numbers is the latest example of the severe accounting problems plaguing the Defense Department for decades.

The report affirms a 2013 Reuters series revealing how the Defense Department falsified accounting on a large scale as it scrambled to close its books. As a result, there has been no way to know how the Defense Department – far and away the biggest chunk of Congress’ annual budget – spends the public’s money.

The new report focused on the Army’s General Fund, the bigger of its two main accounts, with assets of $282.6 billion in 2015. The Army lost or didn’t keep required data, and much of the data it had was inaccurate, the IG said.

“Where is the money going? Nobody knows,” said Franklin Spinney, a retired military analyst for the Pentagon and critic of Defense Department planning.

The significance of the accounting problem goes beyond mere concern for balancing books, Spinney said. Both presidential candidates have called for increasing defense spending amid current global tension.

An accurate accounting could reveal deeper problems in how the Defense Department spends its money. Its 2016 budget is $573 billion, more than half of the annual budget appropriated by Congress.

The Army account’s errors will likely carry consequences for the entire Defense Department.

Congress set a September 30, 2017 deadline for the department to be prepared to undergo an audit. The Army accounting problems raise doubts about whether it can meet the deadline – a black mark for Defense, as every other federal agency undergoes an audit annually.

For years, the Inspector General – the Defense Department’s official auditor – has inserted a disclaimer on all military annual reports. The accounting is so unreliable that “the basic financial statements may have undetected misstatements that are both material and pervasive.”

In an e-mailed statement, a spokesman said the Army “remains committed to asserting audit readiness” by the deadline and is taking steps to root out the problems.

The spokesman downplayed the significance of the improper changes, which he said net out to $62.4 billion. “Though there is a high number of adjustments, we believe the financial statement information is more accurate than implied in this report,” he said…

Some employees of the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS), which handles a wide range of Defense Department accounting services, referred sardonically to preparation of the Army’s year-end statements as “the grand plug,” Armstrong said. “Plug” is accounting jargon for inserting made-up numbers.

At first glance adjustments totaling trillions may seem impossible. The amounts dwarf the Defense Department’s entire budget. Making changes to one account also require making changes to multiple levels of sub-accounts, however. That created a domino effect where, essentially, falsifications kept falling down the line. In many instances this daisy-chain was repeated multiple times for the same accounting item.

The IG report also blamed DFAS, saying it too made unjustified changes to numbers. For example, two DFAS computer systems showed different values of supplies for missiles and ammunition, the report noted – but rather than solving the disparity, DFAS personnel inserted a false “correction” to make the numbers match.

DFAS also could not make accurate year-end Army financial statements because more than 16,000 financial data files had vanished from its computer system. Faulty computer programming and employees’ inability to detect the flaw were at fault, the IG said.

DFAS is studying the report “and has no comment at this time,” a spokesman said.

to keep it

*sidles up*  So, it’s been…quite a rough few months for me, in general, but also writing-wise.  I’ve been struggling with writer’s block for MONTHS. It’s been awful, because I LOVE writing, and I couldn’t get anything to come out that I actually enjoyed writing.

UNTIL NOW.

I finished FFXV two days ago and I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS, AND I JUST WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY, OKAY.  So, my first offer to the fandom, an incredibly indulgent, Prompto/Noctis fic.  It can be read as platonic or as early slash, takes place around Brotherhood times.  If you’d be so kind as to comment and reblob if you like it, I would appreciate it!

to keep it (also on AO3)

Prompto couldn’t sleep.

It wasn’t unusual. Sometimes it was a restless, anxious energy that he couldn’t shake, nerves alight and waiting for-he wasn’t sure what, but it was like something hard-wired into him, to be ready to react at a moment’s notice.

Other times, it was nightmares, the ones that made him claustrophobic and panicky, and caused him to start awake. He didn’t remember much of those, except that they made his stomach clench, and in their aftermath he always clasped his left hand over his right wrist, inexplicably terrified that someone would notice the mark there, that he would be snatched away, to never escape a hell he only had vague impressions of.

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