Eternal Sunshine #121

February 2017

By Douglas Kent 911 Irene Drive, Mesquite, TX  75149

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Welcome to the latest issue of Eternal Sunshine, as we continue to run down to a fold.  I wrote up a little thing on online dating which I’ll likely include to buffer all the Peeriblah in this issue.  Larry seems to want to get as much as he can in these pages before the zine ends.  See you in March.


A Vague and Confused Essay About Online Dating


I know this essay will be a bit rambling.  More rambling than most of the stuff I put in here.  That’s okay.  I just wanted to vent.


The point of this essay is just to try and explain that I don't understand the rules of the game so I don't see how I can play. I don't pretend to be anyone else; I'm myself. I am open and honest. I disclose fully the major objections someone might have to a relationship with me (at the top of the list would be I haven't filed for divorce yet, and I spent time in Federal prison over 10 years ago for a non-violent crime).


I am very introspective. I understand my feelings and my experiences and my fears. I express them well. I listen and pay attention to what the other person says. And I REMEMBER what they say. I'm not into one night stands or hook-ups.


In response, I get a lot of positive reaction from some women. They love having a man who will talk about feelings, and understands how important it is to avoid invalidating the feelings of someone else. They express great happiness in venting to someone who doesn't think every complaint or story or problem is an invitation for me to fix it; I know the difference. I know listening and understanding and showing that I truly DO understand is crucial. And I ask questions, so I can understand better. I am engaged in the conversations.


Most of the women I talk to on these sites have been through painful relationships. Men cheated on them. Men lied to them. Sometimes men hurt them physically. They were taken for granted, ignored, stolen from...or they have simply never found someone who makes them feel treasured and special. I try to be that person, not just because they want it but because that's the kind of person I am. When I can afford to be I am generous: with my time, my emotions, my love, and if possible with money or small gifts.


Quite often I listen to a woman tell me about a previous relationship, and she explains to me some of the things she is especially sensitive to because of those experiences. Perhaps they need special treatment because of a lack of trust. Maybe they don't want to be asked questions about where they have been or what they are doing. Certain words that otherwise seem innocent might have a great deal of negative weight in their mind or heart. I accept that. I don't pick and choose the parts of someone to leave and try to change the rest. I accept someone in whole, or I move on.


But I don't understand why I express my own insecurities, which are a product of MY past relationships, I so often am told "sorry, insecurity is a turn off." It's as if they want me to be myself, show myself, make myself vulnerable in every way, EXCEPT when it comes to the fact that I don't ever feel like the most desirable or eye-catching or interesting person in a room. Sometimes I need a woman to be a little obvious about her attraction to me; otherwise I might mistake it for just being friendly (which seems to be the opposite of many men, who think if you don't stab them with a pen knife you want to have sex with them).


Yes, I don't have the greatest self-image. But I remain a work in progress, and this is just about the MOST positive I have been about myself in 30 years. It still isn't good enough.


…which is why I feel like I don't understand the rules of the game. And that's why I believe I'm simply going to quit trying to play. If something magical falls in my lap one day, I hope I notice and grab hold. But I don't think I can spend time and energy and emotion looking any longer. The pain and the disappointment FAR outweigh the rest.


I suppose I've had more than my share of love in one lifetime. Just because it always blows up in my face doesn't mean it was a failure all along...even if the last year or two of each were nothing but lies and deceit. My turn is over; time to let other people have theirs.


And as a quick postscript, I’ve decided it is better not to be understood than it is to be misunderstood.  By that I mean I find it much easier to deal with a person who simply doesn’t “get” me (yet) than someone who THINKS they do.  The latter takes their misunderstanding and then uses that perception to explain my words and actions, read between the lines when nothing is written there, and basically try to tell me what I’m thinking and feeling but be completely off the mark.  And then, when I to counter their statements with my actual position I am accused of pushing away or not being ready or any of a long list of self-fulfilling prophecies.  It becomes tiresome quickly, and all I’m left with is the response of “see, I knew this was coming.” 


XENOGOGIC Winter 2017

By Larry Peery




OK, it’s time to bite the bullet and consider where and when WWIII might happen.


For months and in at least one case over a year I’ve been studying what I consider to be the most probable and possible locations for the beginning of the next World War. Note that I’m not talking about the Cold War II that some think is going on right now but a real fighting war. As for when it might start, dare I suggest it already has? 


I’ve picked five hot spots where such a conflict could happen and, in at least some cases, it has already started.








In thinking about this I’ve looked at geographical factors, demographics, historical events, economic situations, as well as current and projected military capabilities among other things. I’ve considered but avoided making judgments on domestic political, international diplomatic and ideological elements because they are so susceptible  to subjective analysis. I’ve also tried to avoid type-casting either individual leaders or stereo-typing entire national populations. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t predict or anticipate how the “crazy factor” will effect a leader or how “mob psychology” will effect crowds gathered in public places, whether they are Tiananmen Square, the Washington Mall or the internet.




I believe Korea is the most probable starting place for WWIII. It has been a battleground since the beginning of time as it sought to become a single nation. Today it is surrounded by three large neighbors who all have, at one time or another, tried to control, if not outright annex, it. Today, the peninsula is divided in two parts, North and South, with the North controlling two-thirds of the land and one-third of the population, and the South controlling one-third of the land and two-thirds of the population. These two sides, one poor and one prosperous, sit on either side of a two hundred-plus mile armistice line with a million men and tens of thousands of weapons just a few miles apart. It is tinder box waiting to explode.


Unfortunately, there are many lit matches close to that tinder. The North is quantitatively and qualitatively improving its nuclear force regardless of external pressures. The South is deploying a THAAD defense system that might work against the Northern missiles but which is surely upsetting the Chinese and Russians. Not as well-known is a major expansion at Camp Humphreys in central South Korea which will move an entire US Army division and the joint USA/ROK command structure to a single, convenient target site for those missiles.  Ironically, this sitting duck target will cost in the area of USD 13.4B paid for by South Korea. At the same time, the US is finally finishing construction of a new aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, this time a moving duck, which will also cost about USD 13.4B paid for by the USA.




For several months I’ve been watching the comings and goings of the US and Russian navies in the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean and the domestic turmoil within Syria and Turkey as autocratic rulers (MDS or Modern Day Sultans as I like to call them.) duke it out The war, because that is what it is, in Syria and the war, because that is also what it is, in Turkey have been well-covered in the international media. Syria is in ruins. Turkey is in chaos. Both are also tinder boxes waiting to explode beyond their borders.


Less attention has been paid in the media to what’s going on in the Black Sea but military professionals have watched with growing alarm the increasingly tense and close confrontations between US and Russian naval forces. NATO, with the US Navy at the forefront, has pretty much decided to establish a permanent presence in the Black Sea as part of its effort to support Ukraine. That concerns the Russians but even more concerning to them is a little noted recent event in which Turkey, the treaty-given guardian of the Dardanelles and Bosporus Strait (a treaty of which Russia is a signatory by the way), shut down the passage to Russian naval forces. Even more disturbing would be a closing of that passage to Russian commercial shipping. The reason for that is simple. Novorossiysk is a major commercial  port on the east side of the Black Sea from which most of Russia’s grain and oil are exported to foreign markets through, you guessed it, the Bosporus. To protect themselves the Russian navy has added new surface warships and has announced it will be building six new advanced conventional –powered subs to its Black Sea fleet.


The international media gave considerable publicity to the recent cruise of a Russian aircraft carrier battle group to the Eastern Mediterranean from its home base on the Barents Sea. The western press laughed at the smoking, old Russian carrier and the fact that it lost two of its planes in the first two weeks it participated in the Syrian conflict. Now the Russian fleet is heading home and, as I write this, is preparing to re-enter the English Channel with an honor guard of NATO warships. It might have seemed like a futile gesture on the part of the Russians to undertake this adventurous cruise which, at first, reminded me of the Russian’s Baltic Fleet dashing (over a period months) to take part in the Russo-Japanese War which ended in a disastrous defeat in just thirty minutes at the Battle of Tsushima Strait. However, the Russians, for their loss of two planes, gained much from their effort: a “showing the flag” cruise of considerable propaganda value; training of personnel and testing of equipment under real combat conditions; a new major base for their naval forces in Syria; and, perhaps most importantly, a boost in their effort to gain more of the pie in the division of the shrinking Russian military budget. Not bad.


So, in summary, the situation in this area is bad and the trends are getting worse. Not good.




It’s hard not to see the continuous press reports coming out of China, the USA, and the various countries that border on the SCS. As much as anything I think it’s a fascination that the Chinese could and did build all those little coral island aircraft carriers that individually don’t amount to much but collectively which fulfill multiple purposes: they show they will have a permanent presence in the area; they put themselves in the middle of one of the world’s most important trade routes, they tweak the nose of the US Navy; and, most importantly, they secure the southern approaches to their new SLBM base at Sanya Bay on Hainan Island. How important is that last one?  Imagine if one morning the US Navy woke up to find four Russian bases on four little islets in the Strait of Juan de Fuca or Salish Sea? Could it happen? With the history of USA-Canadian disputes over the boundary and the local Indians to stir the pot it just might happen. Not likely, but to the US Navy SLBM base at Kitsap, the mere possibility of such a threat must rank right up there with the high tides that virtually shut down the operations at the base.


The situation is bad enough that even the small countries in the area are starting to take an interest in it and beef up their naval forces. Almost every one of them has ordered new submarines and patrol aircraft for use in the area. Billions of dollars that could better be used at home are pouring into the coffers of sub builders in Korea, Japan, Sweden, Germany and France. Oh, did I mention the Russians?




It took me years of effort to finally get people to pay attention to the importance of Hainan Island and Sanya Bay. Now with that battle won I’m turning to a new priority target, the Suwalki Gap. If you’re not familiar with it check it out on wiki, Google maps and YouTube videos. As you can see it’s a small strip of land measuring about 30-35 miles wide and 70-200 miles long (depending on how much of the border you include) in northeast Poland that connects the Russian territory of Kaliningrad and Byleorussia. To the south is Poland and to the north is Lithuania. Suwalki and Augustow are the two main towns and all the roads in the area go through one or the other of them. There are no railroads, I think, and it’s mostly a flat land of pine tree forests and small lakes.


Historically it has been a pathway for German, Russian and Polish armies advancing and retreating in turn. Today the area has regained the strategic importance it lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Without the buffer zone provided by the WTO and USSR Russia feels insecure and, frankly, I probably would too if I were a Russian. And that little enclave of Kaliningrad, how a formal part of Russia, is surrounded by the three Baltic Republics and Poland.  Always a strong Soviet base the Russians have continued to pour their latest and best equipment and personnel into Kaliningrad, making its weaker neighbors more and more insecure.

In an effort to prop them up NATO shifted more of its multi-national forces into the area creating some weird basing situations. Today the entire region is dotted with bits and pieces of NATO units scattered about: a company or battalion here, a few fighters there, an AWACS patrol plane here, and a destroyer or frigate there. Most recently the USA army has moved an entire brigade to the area via Germany and Poland. It will be split up into various battalion size pieces scattered throughout NATO Eastern Europe. The idea is that their presence will deter the Russians from attacking their neighbors because that trip-wire would draw the USA into the conflict in a big way. Frankly, I don’t think that’s going to work.




For years I thought if a major war happened involving the USA it would start in the Pentagon, probably by accident. Since the last election I’ve come to the conclusion that a major war involving the USA is more likely to start in the White House, probably not by design or accident, but through bad decision-making or sheer stupidity. The same kind of bad decision-making that caused WW II, the Vietnam War and any number of wars in the Near and Middle East.  The same kind of stupidity that started WWI and some of the Arab-Israeli Wars.


In my view the root cause of all this probable potential possibility for a WWIII in near time lies with one simple trend that is prevalent in all these areas and all their players. I’m referring to the breakdown in the separation of powers between the diplomats and the military and the decline of strong leadership able to use both wisely. Both the peacekeepers and the warfighters have become mercenaries fighting for their own gain. As Madeleine Albright so infamously asked Clinton Powell during the 1990s Bosnian conflict,” What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?” Today the question is not what but where and when?


A Response from Baron Powell….




A disclaimer up front...  I was a commissioned officer in the US Army for twenty years.  I served as a logistician with primary responsibilities in supply, services, maintenance, and planning.  After ten years away from the Army, I came back as a Department of the Army civilian.  I still hold this position today.  My experience with the service tells me that it has many of the problems you would expect to find in a large, in this case extremely large, government agency.  One really does not have to dig very hard to find instances of stifling bureaucracy, waste, fraud, cronyism, incompetence, corruption, and a host of ills with which critics associate the military.  At the same time, it is obvious that the military has its share of absolutely brilliant people, genuine patriots, innovators, problem solvers, reformers, and efficient organizations.  In short, if you are looking for problems, you can find them in the military and if you are looking for something to rally behind, you find that in the military too.


My own attitude towards the military shows my ambivalence.  I often find myself highly critical of military culture, trends, decisions, and practices.  At the same time, I find my first reaction is to bristle when someone starts blasting the military, particularly someone who has no real experience with it.  Please know that I understand that you do have experience and that I do not believe you are "blasting the military" at all.  In fact, I appreciated your mention of the conversation between Madeleine Albright and Colin [sic] Powell, as it paints the latter in a favorable light, at least in my mind.  I do, however, detect your cynicism.  It is no doubt well justified.  Certainly the current world situation is precarious enough to give us all pause.


Now that I have given you my preamble, I will get to the bottom line: trying to predict where WWIII will start is an exercise in pessimism.  “This could lead to this could lead to this…” scenarios almost always sound alarmist to me.  If I am honest, however, I will confess my pessimism when it comes to human nature.  I do not believe in Gene Roddenberry’s ideas of human evolution and utopia.  I tend to view humanity as more of a cancer which will someday consume Terra.  Humans being humans, I feel we can count on another great war occurring.  Given the nature of today's weapons, we can almost certainly guarantee that the next great war will be destructive to a magnitude that will make all the horrors of the world's past conflicts pale in comparison.


Any one of the scenarios you came up with could be the match that lights the fuse.  I tend to view the area surrounding the Black Sea as the most dangerous currently with the area that used to be the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as number two, but with so many "good" choices, it is hard to narrow the selection down to only one.  The key in my mind is looking at those nations that want to change the status quo the most.  It is this aspect that makes me believe North Korea is not the number one hot spot, though we certainly cannot dismiss it as long as the mercurial Kim Jong-un pulls the strings.  Instead, it seems to me that Russia is the most dangerous nation at this time.  Russia most certainly wants the status quo to change.  For all of its saber rattling, I am less sanguine about China.


Curiously, I think Trump's election "might" mitigate the risk of a conflict between Russia and the United States.  For as long as Trump remains a fan of Putin and his leadership style, I think he is unlikely to favor involving the US in a war with Russia should the Russians strive to "take back that which was once ours."  Sadly, Trump too often displays the temperament and judgement of a adolescent.  Indeed, Trump himself seems to embrace the role of provocateur.  Should Putin misplay his hand so that Trump feels personally slighted, then who knows if Trump will show restraint.  His seeming willingness to use our nuclear arsenal as a first resort genuinely alarms me.


I know little about Trumps selection for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.  I will have to learn more quickly.  My initial impressions of Trump's selection for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, are not favorable at all.  I am putting considerable faith in James Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense.  My hope is that he is the next George Marshall, not the next Robert McNamara.


We do indeed live in interesting times.  My hope, as grim as it sounds, is that I am not longer around when the Dooms Day Clock hits midnight.


By Larry Peery

The legendary “Poltava Opening” came about in one of my first postal Diplomacy games back in 1966. I was playing France. For some reason Russia upset me in the Winter 1900 negotiations and press, so I announced in a press release to all the players that it was my intention to attack Russia.

Gales of laughter greeted that announcement.

Then, in the Fall of 1901, I picked up three supply centers: Spain, Portugal and Belgium. Suddenly I was the biggest power on the board. Still no one was overly concerned at first, until in Winter 1901 I built three armies.

That got some attention, especially from Germany

I immediately wrote long (yes, even in those days peeriblah tended to be overly verbose) letters (real letters, we had no internet, email or computers, etc. in those days) to England, Germany, Italy and Austria that carefully laid out my plan to attack Russia!

God knows what they said to each other but the replies I got were agreeable, although it took a bit of persuading to get Germany and Austria to go along with my plan.

I proposed to them that they allow me to move through Munich, in the spring of course, and then Silesia, at the same time I would be moving via Tyrolia and Bohemia into Galicia. From there I would attack the Ukraine. Along the way I would be supporting them (Germany and Austria) in their attacks on Warsaw and Rumania. More importantly I would guarantee the peace between them. All I asked for was a clear shot at Moscow.

So how did it go?

Swimmingly. While England and Turkey watched in horror, my armies moved east until I had a string of armies that occupied Munich, Tyrolia, Bohemia, Galicia and the Ukraine. It was time for Operation Poltava.
I don’t know if it was Germany or Austria that got cold feet but they couldn’t accept the idea that I would do as I had said in my press (A very novel concept in 1960s Diplomacy.) and,  as my orders showed afterwards,  that’s precisely what I did.

Simultaneously I was attacked on three sides by Italy, Austria, Russia and Germany. I had three units, or was it four, annihilated in one turn.

I was dead meat.

Still, it wasn’t a total loss, just a peericratic defeat. Within a year France was gone as I made no effort to prevent England from picking up my centers as best she could.

When the game ended a few years later, England was the winner and the Poltava Opening was a hobby legend and my reputation as “the worst player in hobby history” was born.




Game Openings

No openings at present.

Eternal Sunshine Game Section


Diplomacy, “Milk and Trash”, 2015A, F 10

Austria (Jack McHugh – jwmchughjr “of” A Armenia Hold, A Bohemia - Munich (*Fails*),

 F Eastern Mediterranean Supports F Ionian Sea, A Rumania – Bulgaria, A Sevastopol - Galicia (*Fails*),

 A Silesia Supports A Bohemia – Munich, A Smyrna Hold, A Trieste Supports A Venice,

 A Tyrolia Supports A Bohemia - Munich.

England (Mark Firth – mogcate “of” Retreat A Armenia - Syria… F Denmark Hold, F Holland Hold,

 A Norway Hold, F Rome Supports F Tyrrhenian Sea, A Syria - Smyrna (*Fails*), F Tunis - Ionian Sea (*Fails*),

 F Tuscany Supports F Rome, F Tyrrhenian Sea Supports F Tunis - Ionian Sea,

 F Western Mediterranean - Spain(sc).

Germany (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” A Burgundy Supports A Munich,

 F Gulf of Bothnia - St Petersburg(sc) (*Bounce*), A Kiel – Berlin, A Marseilles - Piedmont (*Fails*),

 A Munich Supports A Kiel - Berlin (*Cut*), A Piedmont - Venice (*Fails*), A Prussia – Livonia,

 A Ruhr Supports A Munich.

Italy (John Biehljerbil “of” NMR! F Apulia Hold, F Ionian Sea Hold, F Naples Hold, A Venice Hold.

Russia (Kevin Wilson – ckevinw “of” A Moscow - St Petersburg (*Bounce*),

 A Warsaw - Prussia.


Deadline for W 10/S 11 is February 27th at 7am my time


Supply Center Chart


Austria:                        Ankara, Budapest, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Rumania, Serbia,

Sevastopol, Smyrna, Trieste, Vienna=10, Build 1

England:          Brest, Denmark, Edinburgh, Holland, Liverpool, London, Norway, Rome,

                        Spain, Tunis=10, Build 1

Germany:         Belgium, Berlin, Kiel, Marseilles, Munich, Paris, Portugal, St Petersburg, Sweden=9, Build 1

Italy:                Greece, Naples, Venice=3, Remove 1

Russia:             Moscow, Warsaw=2, Even




BERLIN to ROME: You have to send orders in, or we just think it is Flap Jack writing press....


BOOB to FLAP JACK: Maybe you should write your ally instead of writing useless press, but we know Doug prefers press and NMRs.


BOOB to FLAP JACK'S BLACK PRESS: You really were entertaining, I think even John will have to admit that Pope Fluvius resembles that remark!


GERMANY to ENGLAND: I'm not sure whether I hope there are more NMRs or not.  It's pretty pathetic when Flap Jack is the one paying attention!!


Black Press Gunboat, “Noah’s Titanic”, 2015Arb32, End Game

A/F/G/I Draw in F 1910



David Latimer (Austria): An odd game but rather pleased to draw as Austria.  Especially having fought with all 4 of my neighbours!  Did make up with Italy to our mutual benefit (had to ignore a lot of ignorant sniping!).

Thanks to Doug for running Dip games in ES.  Cheerio...


Harold Zarr (Germany): Beginning a “gunboat” game is always a matter of guessing and hoping that your initial strategy plays out.  To be honest, I think that I prefer them to regular Diplomacy games.  In beginning this game, I decided to try a strategy that I had never used previously, going after Russia.  My hope that either Austria or Turkey (or both) would see my moves as an opportunity to attack Russia, and that they could do the “heavy lifting” of tying down Russian units while I picked up the easy supply centers and positioned my units for the next few turns.


I got lucky in that France moved completely away from my border and headed to the south, and England moved into the English Channel, signaling to me that I might just get very lucky and England and France would go to war.  I immediately decided to do nothing against France, as that would tie English units down as they headed south, and that France would (hopefully) see me as an ally.  It would also give me a prime opportunity to take both Belgium and Holland, and possibly Norway as well.


Italy moved to Tyrolia, but I hoped for a war between Italy and Austria, giving me a nearly completely free hand.  But that was not to be, as Italy tried to take Munich, which I successfully bounced.  An understandable move on his part as he no doubt expected me to try for Warsaw.


Turkey moved against Russia and England moved into Belgium and against France.  Good so far, but I made the mistake of leaving Silesia and heading south into Bohemia.  That was a very poor move on my part.  My move to Silesia really upset Russia and he decided to go after me with all guns blazing.  In the next year I grabbed Sweden from Russia while he lost Romania to Turkey.  Italy took Trieste and appeared to go to war with Austria while England and France focused their attention on each other.  So far, luck was with me as Russia lost all his builds, and I had no threats from the west or south.


Turkey overplayed his hand against Russia and left his southern flank wide open for an assault from Italy Austria.  He should have easily seen that coming giving that Italy was moving all his fleets to the east.  As a result, he was unable to hold them off and his home territories began to fall to Italy.  A timely NMR by Russia did nothing to help his cause, and while he screamed for help against me, Turkey continued to attack him from the south, along with an opportunistic England stealing St. Petersburg as well.  To be honest, Russia was absolutely correct to be worried about me, but I was merely using him (as he correctly pointed out) to position myself for a subsequent assault on England.


Still, looking at the situation from the perspective of Turkey and England, it made sense for them to take Russia’s supply centers as they needed builds to fight their own wars.  These wars, merely helped me as they prevented any of the other powers from concentrating on me when I was in no position to resist them had they combined their forces against me.  But with England and France at war, and Italy and Austria focusing on Turkey, and Turkey focused on Russia, I was sitting pretty in pretty good shape.  If nothing else, reading the press from Russia was quite entertaining!


Russia fell completely apart by the end of 1903 and I was in position to attack England with three fleets bordering the North Sea.  France had driven England out of Brest, and I picked up Belgium as well, giving me another build of a fleet.


I had hoped that France would see me as an ally, not a threat and would cooperate in the destruction of England and attack Italy as well, who was in no position to resist an attack from the west, but it was not to be.  France decided to attack both Germany and Italy at the same time, leaving his west coast wide-open to England.  An unbelievable blunder that almost upset my plans.  France was able to take Munich in the spring (which did him no good), and was pushed out by me in the fall so that I did not lose any supply centers.  Italy built armies to hold him off and began moving fleets to the west.


I started my assault on England and with four fleets to his three (one of which had to stay in the west to protect Liverpool), I had both position and numbers on my side.  Now, it was just a matter of time before England fell.  I kept hoping that Italy and Austria would go to war, but despite many times when Italy took supply centers from Austria he never seemed to get upset about it.  I tried on numerous occasions to get Austria to attack Italy and indicated that I would ally with him, all to no avail.  That was one of the great mysteries of the game to me.  With Russia, Turkey, Austria and Italy still fighting each other, it gave me the time I needed to take on England to obtain new supply centers for armies.


If France has focused his attention on either (or both) England and Italy, he could have grown at their expense.  I was willing to support France into Liverpool, but he never seemed to understand what I was trying to do to support him.  France never seemed to have any kind of coherent policy that I could follow.  I tried, both through the press and by my actions, to demonstrate that I would not attack him, but he never seemed to get the hint.  That was as big a puzzle to me as the relationship between Italy and Austria.


Italy meanwhile, took up Russia’s chant against me, and did all that he could to get Austria to attack me.  Italy was out of position to attack me, so he did all he could to goad Austria or France into doing it for him.  Fortunately for me, until Austria could eliminate Turkey in Russia, I had some time to complete my conquest of England.  If only France would have moved his armies away from my border, I could have transferred units to the east to attack Austria and go after Warsaw and/or Vienna.


As England fell, I tried to get France to attack Italy, but he would not do it.  I probably could have, and should have looking back, launched a preemptive attack against Austria in 1907 and it probably would have succeeded, particularly with Italy taking Bulgaria from Austria, but I hoped that this assault by Italy would finally get Austria to attack Italy.  But it never happened and to this day, I can’t understand why.  I should have pressed home my assault on Austria in 1907, but my failure to do so probably cost me the win in the game.


France, as feckless as ever, even began to help England a little bit, but it was too little, too late to save England and over the next couple of years I eliminated England from the game.  That was even more satisfying than seeing Russia get carved up and eliminated years earlier.  My greatest hope at this point was that Austria and Italy would finally go to war, at which point I would be in position to both hold off Austria in the east, and launch a full scale assault on France in the west.  Getting to eighteen centers would have been difficult, but I thought that I could get all five of Frances centers with the units that I had, and with a little luck could pick up one more from either Austria or Italy. 


The only problem was that Italy had moved enough units into the west that if I did launch the attack, Italy would benefit almost as much as I would, and I could expect France to throw whatever centers he could to Italy.  Not a good outcome so far as I could see.


Austria still refused to attack Italy, and was now finally moving sufficient units to the west that at best, I could construct only a stalemate line.  This would have been the prime time for Italy to hit France, yet now he refused to do so, even though he would have easily gained Spain and Marseilles, and possibly even broken out into the Atlantic.  Yet he never did, which was another inexplicable thing to me.


At the end, I voted for the draw but did not expect it to pass, so I was completely surprised when it did.  All in all, surviving as the “first among equals” is not so bad, although it is not quite as sweet as a win.  I am pretty sure that Jack Garret played as Italy (his favorite country) and think he figured out that I played Germany (my favorite).  For some reason that I do not know, Jack has had in for me in every game we have played for quite a few years.  Perhaps now, with this game (and I fear this hobby) seeming to close down, I will find out why.  If not, well, it really won’t matter I guess.


The one thing that I really enjoyed in this game was the press.  I spent a fair amount of time writing up the press that I submitted, and I tried to let my “creative juices” flow as much as I could.  I also tried to use it to send messages to other countries, but in that, I was not as successful as I had hoped.  Press from Austria was virtually non-existent and only Italy tried to match me in the press communications, but he fell quite a bit short.  I do hope that the other players (including Russia) appreciated the time I spent putting my press reports together.


Looking back, luck definitely played a factor in the game, and for a long time Italy, France and England were my best allies all due to their moves in the game.  I was able to profit by their actions at little risk to myself, and that is as fortunate set of circumstances that a player often hopes for, but so seldom receives.  Many thanks to Doug for performing as GM for the game.  It is a true loss to the hobby that he will be closing down Eternal Sunshine.  I will miss it greatly.


By Almost Popular Demand


The goal is to pick something that fits the category and will be the "second most popular" answer. You score points based on the number of entries that match yours. For example, if the category is "Cats" and the responses were 7 for Persian, 3 for Calico and 1 for Siamese, everyone who said Persian would get 7 points, Calico 3 and the lone Siamese would score 1 point. However, the most popular answer in each category scores zero points!  The cumulative total over 10 rounds will determine the overall winner. Anyone may enter at any point, starting with an equivalent point total of the lowest cumulative score from the previous round. If a person misses a round, they'll receive the minimum score from the round added to their cumulative total. In each round you may specify one of your answers as your Joker answer.  Your score for this answer will be doubled.  In other words, if you apply your Joker to category 3 on a given turn, and 4 other people give the same answer as you, you get 10 points instead of 5.  Players who fail to submit a Joker for any specific turn will have their Joker automatically applied to the first category. And, if you want to submit some commentary with your answers, feel free to.  The game will consist of 10 rounds, with the 10th round being worth double points.  A prize will be awarded to the winner.  Research is permitted, but cooperation or collusion between players is not!


Round 9 Categories

1.    A “spaghetti” Western.

2.    A member of U2.

3.    Something associated with camping.

4.    Another term for testicle.

5.    A book by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


Allison Kent kicks butt with a high score of 18 (out of a possible score of 20).  Dane Maslen strikes out and gets 0, which also kills the NMRing players.


Comments By Category


Spaghetti Western – Richard Martin “one of my all time favorites.”  Andy Lischett “After picking my own answers I asked Carol, so this doesn't bode well for being second favorite.”  Mark Firth “Fiddled around with loads but just went with my favourite.”


U2 – Richard Martin “going counter-counter-intuitive on this one and picking the most likely answer.”  Rick Desper “Bassist - because I didn't want to pick Bono (too obvious) or The Edge (obvious alternative).”  Andy Lischett “The only one I've heard of is Bono, so I had to look up another. I don't like looking up answers but since I may still have a chance to win I've got to try.”  Mark Firth “Bah! Picked as also the name of an ex-Leeds soccer player.”


Camping – Brendan Whyte “Rain. (tempted to say Kenneth Williams (oooh, Matron!)).”  Richard Martin “did you hear about the fire at the campground? the heat was in tents.”  Mark Firth “First thought, bizarrely.”


Testicle – Melinda Holley “Mr. Happy (seriously, I HAVE heard this reference *facepalm*).”   Richard Martin “again with the counter-counter-intuitive.”  Mark Firth “Yorkshire.”


Vonnegut – Richard Martin “three times with the most popular likely guess. maybe it's a charm.”  Mark Firth “Researched - Hugo nominee.”


Round 10 Categories – DOUBLE POINTS

For this round you may NOT use the same answer in more than one category.  Each answer must be different.


1.    A vowel.

2.    A different vowel.

3.    A different vowel.

4.    A different vowel.

5.    A different vowel.


Deadline for Round 10 of By Almost Popular Demand is February 27th 2017 at 7am my time.


General Deadline for the Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:  February 27th, 2017 at 7:00am my time.  That’s a Monday!! Hope to See You Then!