Eternal Sunshine #138

November 2020

By Douglas Kent - 911 Irene Drive, Mesquite, TX  75149


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Quote of The MonthOhhh, Mr. Policeman, don't you know a clown can get away with murder?” (John Wayne Gacy in “To Catch a Killer”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, a zine long-ago afflicted with “outrage burnout.”  For someone who has spent most of their adult life worrying about other people, and putting them first, I’m growing more introverted and – in some ways – thinking more of myself than before.  I suppose some would call that improvement, and some would say the opposite.  I don’t have a clue, and I also don’t know how long this feeling will last, if it will last at all.  I still try to make a difference in my small part of the universe, but I think they ways I can do that are very limited.  I’ll leave the big picture stuff to the rest of you.  Watching The Untamed Heart for the first time in many years, I was reminded that when you’re young and just starting out, your world is filled with dreams and ideas and hopes and ambitions.  Now, much later in my life, it’s devolved into just clawing at the time which continues to slip away, trying to grab hold of something and find a way to make it meaningful.


November 7th would have been Mara’s birthday.  I remember a lot of dates and anniversaries and things; the only set I’ve had real problems with are the birthdays of my siblings.  Those, I remember in general but not always in specifics.  Anyway, it was her birthday, which I “commemorated” by posting one of her favorite songs on Youtube.  Not much else I can do, or need to do. I truly hope that if there is anything after death, she is happy that I told her true story in Helplessly Hoping and also feels I did her justice. 


A few weeks ago, I spent most of my Saturday pulling our old Firepower pinball machine out of the sun room and shed.  Mara loved playing it, and was much better at it than me.  It was the first popular game that has lane change built into the flippers, and it combined that with a 3-ball “multi-ball” feature.   I think Mara also beat the pants off Andy York and Richard Weiss when they came to visit.  Heather never wanted it in the house and therefore it had been stuck in storage.  I wanted to see what kind of shape it was in, so for hours I struggled to get the game base and the head cleaned up and into the living room.  By the time I’d gotten things that far I could see the extreme temperatures had taken their toll on certain parts.  The wooden head was experiencing cracks in the corners, all the bumpers had the rubber rotted away, and I couldn’t be certain if the circuit boards would still operate or not.  The rubber was the easiest fix; repair kits with replacement rubber could be purchased off eBay for $30.  But if any chips had failed, that would mean a lot more work, with tools I don’t currently own.  And I could barely open the front panel; the key almost snapped off in the lock (the same key I needed to open the head and get to some of the circuit boards).  I had one spare key, but if I had issues with the head it was going to be a real mess.


I was tired, sweaty, dirty, and moving this monster around all by myself was not easy.  I was going to try and mount the head, but when trying to position it on the ground first, even more of the decorated wood layer cracked, and I lost my patience.  I realized I was probably only doing all this work for nostalgia’s sake, and even **if** I could get it running and fixed up, I’d probably rarely play it.  As a collectible it held very little value.  Mint restorations can sell for between $1,500 to $6,000 depending on condition (a photo of one I found for sale is included here) but my copy might only be good for parts; the playing surface was never in good condition even back when we bought the thing in New Jersey, and the base had a few holes drilled in it to accommodate lock bars, keeping vandals from stealing quarters when it was used in an arcade.  That’s why we got is for $250: because it was only good to play on, not to restore.  Since that was all we wanted to do with it, it didn’t matter to us.


If I properly assembled it, replaced the rubber, tested it, and found it generally worked, I could have maybe sold it for the same $250.  It isn’t like I couldn’t use that money, but the effort didn’t make it seem worth it.  Nd I’d have to deal with people and their stupid $75 offers and demands to try it out and everything else you get thrown at you when you offer something on Craigslist or somewhere else.  I knew we’d gotten way more than $250 worth of fun out of it over the years, both in New Jersey and Texas.  So, I decided to forget the whole thing.  Instead I moved the legs, base, and head out to the curb and posted an ad on Facebook in a group devoted just to Mesquite.  Free to the first person who comes and gets it.  A woman asked for directions and came out within an hour, picking it up sight unseen for a friend who she knew collected pinball machines.  I was promised photos for if he decided to retore it, but I doubt he will.  Best case, it’ll be cannibalized for parts, or get minimal repairs simply to get it operating.  Fine with me, I’ll miss it but as I hadn’t played it in twenty years, I can’t pretend it held a lot of importance in my life any longer.


If I could have one pinball game in great working condition, it would probably be the original Attack from Mars game.  I’ve seen two versions, but the older one is the one I loved playing.  During a period after we moved to Dallas, but when Mara was still able to go see a movie once a week or more, there was a laser tag place on the ground floor of the building that housed out favorite United Artists theater; most of the movies we saw were shown there or at an AMC location a block or two away.  In the laser tag place, they had a few video games and pinball machines, and we both quickly fell in love with the Attack from Mars table.  It had jumping rubber Martians, goofy voice exclamations with awful fake accents depending on what city you were defending at the time, and plenty of complicated challenges to complete.  Even better, a month or so after we first played it, I discovered a flaw in this particular machine: if you flipped both flippers furiously during a certain phase – a moment when actual game play was paused as it moved from one scene to the next – you’d magically accumulate three or four free games.  So, we rarely had to pay for more than a single two-person play.  It became our practice to arrive to movies at the United Artists an hour earlier than necessary so we could play Attack from Mars first.  Then we’d leave to go upstairs and see the movie, offering the machine with twenty or more accumulated free games to any lonely kid we saw hanging around.  Even when at her heaviest or when her back was at its worst, Mara could still enjoy pinball, as she’d play from her wheelchair.  Only a migraine or an attack of Crohn’s could ruin her fun.


In zine news, I dropped the Woolworth opening, as I said I would if nobody else signed up.  It remains uncertain how many games this zine can actually support given the small audience size.  But I’ll keep plugging along with whatever we actually fill up.  If you have friends who might like to give postal-speed deadlines a try – even if it is just By Popular Demand, Kendo, or Facts in Five – have them check out the zine.


Peter Sullivan’s game is almost filled, so he has a full subzine this issue.  And Andy York returns with his award-winning subzine (why aren’t YOU playing in his games?).  So there’s plenty more to read than my useless garbage.


Oh, just in case you were interested, I have a special E-Book sale going on from November 16th through the 20th.  Helplessly Hoping will be FREE to purchase in Kindle format during those days (I believe that’s the case on all Amazon sites, not just the U.S. one).  And you don’t need a Kindle to read it; there are many free apps and programs to allow you to read Kindle books on your phone, laptop, or almost any device.  The link to the book is here (but remember it is only free November 16th through the 20th):  .  And remember, if you read it and enjoy it, I’d appreciate a review posted to Amazon and to Goodreads ( ).  Spread the word about the free sale, if you feel so inclined.


That’s it from me for now.  See you in December!

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up:  Brad Wilson, Stan Johnson, needs five more.

Gunboat (No Press): Check out the opening in Andy York’s subzine.  Only one spot left!  Sign up through Andy York ONLY!

Railway Rivals: In Peter Sullivan’s subzine Octopus’s Garden.  Sign up through Peter Sullivan ONLY!

By Popular Demand: Ongoing.  Join in the fun!  You can join at any time.

Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?: Ongoing.  Join in and play NOW!

Kremlin: House rules in ES #135.  Would like four or five players.  Signed up: John David Galt, Kevin Wilson, Heath Davis-Gardner, would like two more but might start with one more.

Also in Andy York’s Subzine – You can find his ongoing “Hangman, By Definition” and Facts in Five, plus an opening for Breaking Away.

Coming Soon: Open to suggestions. 

Standby List: HELP!  I need standby players! – Current standby list: Andy York, Andy Lischett, Paul Milewski, Harold Reynolds, Jack McHugh.


Meet Me in Montauk

The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column


Heath Davis-Gardner: I have only read the first half of the zine. As a comedy nerd to my core, I have to speak up and agree with you (except I do think there was another funny SNL era -- late 80s/early 90s, when they had people like Bob Odenkirk writing the 'van down by the river' sketch and Al Franken/Jim Downey doing the political stuff).


It's been really interesting to see how the pandemic has exposed late-show 'humor' as being just even worse than I thought. Without the audience/laughs etc., you really get to see how lazy the jokes are. Trump's orange! Biden's elderly! But seriously folks, our norms are being demolished so we need to take a somber minute in this comedy monologue to talk about it.


The only comedians I remain actively excited about are those that push the envelope in some way. Usually with absurdity. Because you can't do topical humor anymore. but the absurd stuff has to reflect something about the world we're living in to remain relevant. So the good shit is kind of hard to find.


Tim Heidecker is at the top of the list. On Cinema at the Cinema is the most insane work of art ever created and the commitment he has to his ideas is something I really admire, a lot.


Jamie Loftus... I don't even know how to describe her... But she's amazing...


James Adomian, who plays Bernie in the Trump vs Bernie thing w/ the guy from the President show. The guy is an impressionist, which is like the corniest thing you can be, except he's A) so good at it and B) so fucking smart, just strapped with knowledge and improv chops. He has a podcast called the Underculture with James Adomian where, in each episode, he's doing a character and has someone else on doing another, and they improvise a crazy absurd scene.


Anyway, I recommend those folks, but maybe you won't like them either :)


Point is, I agree. Even as someone that doesn't have the "SNL was only good in the 70s" mentality, I think SNL is DONE. This whole deal of getting celebrities to play trump, comey, mueller, Biden, whoever else... it's garbage. Alec Baldwin's trump is one-note, and I gotta say, I expected Jim Carrey to at least be mildly amusing as Biden, but he really wasn't. (I did tune in to that one to see that bit and Chris Rock.)


Comedy rant over. thanks for the zine.


[[I will have to look into some of the names you mention, since I don’t pay any attention to who is out there now or what they’re doing.  As for SNL, I am reminded of the fight the show had with itself from inception: do we want originality or do we want recurring characters?  They tried to balance the two.  Then when Lorne Michaels – with nobody left to steal from Second City or National Lampoon – returned and realized a lot more money could be made turning out shit comedy films built around characters that had trouble holding their own in three-minute sketches than from the show itself, the die was cast.  The show quickly became everything it refused to be during the original series.  For example, it was verboten for the cast to laugh at their own jokes.  “That’s Carol Burnett” was what the writers and cast would say about such behavior.  Now the “best” moments from modern SNL are exactly that.  Oh did you see Pepper Boy?  It was great, they kept laughing at themselves!” 


Michael O’Donoghue was correct about two things relating to SNL.  First, when he returned briefly to the show in the 80’s he told the writers what was missing from the show was one word: DANGER.  In my opinion, it never returned.  Of course, in today’s world you can’t make a joke about ANYTHING (except Trump and anyone enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame like Carol Baskin), so it’s probably gone forever.  And after being fired from the show a second time, he told the NY Times watching SNL was like watching old men die.  I’d rather watch that.]]


Mark Nelson: It was pretty unusual for me to see The Blair Witch Project, because "horror" is a genre that I've never warmed to. Particularly the subgenres that focus more on the "gore" side. Also, I scare too easy.  So, why did I go? I don't know, but it must have been great reviews which iterated that it was not a traditional horror movie.


[[Blair Witch Project was the first really popular “guerilla filming” movie, and one of the first popular found footage films (which have since become an entire horror genre on their own).]]


I didn't watch "Blair Witch 2" and I no longer remember why.  Perhaps I thought that it would be the usual case that sequels are worse than the original. (Also, the reviews were not as good).


[[I never saw BW2 in the theaters.  I just watched it later on DVD.  It got very poor reviews, but those were unfair, expecting something similar to the first one instead of straight-ahead horror film.]]


I've not seen "Welcome to the Dollhouse", I'll try to remember to watch it if it's ever shown on TV over here.

Actually, I have not seen "Happiness" since I saw it at the movies.  I don't remember it ever being on TV - perhaps unsurprising give its subject matter.


[[I’d be surprised if either of them turn up on normal television.  Far too dark.]]


One thing that Patch Adams and Happiness have in common...Philip Seymour Hoffman. I remember that I watched Patch Adams with a couple of friends from work, and afterwards we all agreed that Hoffman would be type-cast for life after his role as the preppy conservative. How wrong we were!  I must have forgotten that I'd already seen him in Boogie Nights.


[[You can’t typecast someone from a role in a terrible and unpopular movie.  Of course I first saw him as one of the spoiled, lying rich kids in Scent of a Woman.]]


Regarding Adam Sandler, I think that I wrote in an earlier LoC that the only thing worse than an Adam Sandler movie was an Adam Sandler movie starring Jennifer Anniston...


[[Another movie I never saw, and never will.]]


I've not usually seen any of the movies that you have reviewed, but I have seen but I have seen L... hahah I was going to write some comments about Lucifer but reading page eight more closely I see that you wrote Luther. I've watched a few episodes, but for some reason never got into it. Most probably it was on the `wrong time' for me. I take the approach that if I don't have the time to watch something when it's broadcast then I won't have the time to watch it a recording at a latter date. (Also, since my wife disposed of my video player, I no longer have the `technology' to record programs!)


For some reason I thought that the first season of Luther was set in Manchester. He's under suspicion because his clear-up rate is much higher than anyone else's so there's a suggestion that something is not quite right. Is his misses doing something shady, gets killed, and it looks like he did it but framed someone else? But now I am thinking that I am mixing up another TV series with Luther. I watched this "unknown" series on one of my trips back to the UK c. 2010, which was about the time that the first Luther series was shown.


[[I’m afraid the series you describe does not sound at all familiar to me, but it certainly isn’t Luther.]]


Andy Lischett: Thanks for reminding me of Sherlock. Carol and I enjoyed it and then it disappeared. Wikipedia says, however, that there were 13 episodes, although I only remember seeing three or four (Carol remembers more). I will check with my local library.


[[Each season has three or four episodes I think.]]


I agree with your opinion of today's humor. When Zombieland came out I enjoyed it. Then Zombieland II came out recently and the "humor" is saying f--- in every third sentence. What creativity!


[[When you make a sequel, usually you’re just counting on a certain percentage of people who liked the first one to watch it, regardless of what garbage you stick in there.  I enjoy the Youtube series of Screen Rant Pitch Meetings (starring Ryan George).  Two of the best are his ones about “Cats” ( and about “Bohemian Rhapsody” (  – both perfectly explaining what makes those films so stupid.  But his ones exploring sequels – especially in the Twilight and the Tolkien adaptations – generally focus not just on the movies but also that no matter how bad they are, people are going to spend money to see them.]]


Do late-night talk show hosts have any pride? A bad electrician or insurance adjuster might continue doing something he's not good at in order to eat, but why do unfunny rich comedians continue? A bad plumber with 25 or 50 million dollars wouldn't keep working. Maybe "entertainers" need applause so much that they convince themselves they are talented.


[[In an age of declining network ratings, talk shows remain a low-cost option compared to scripted series shows.  Less people to pay, little rehearsal time, and only one major shooting location.]]


Mark Nelson: I think I mentioned in an email sometime ago that the only thing worse than an Adam Sandler movie is an Adam Sandler movie with Jennifer Aniston...


[[I think you said it here in this zine.]]


I agree with your regarding humour. I much prefer clever verbal humour.


I know quite a few Italian's at work - for some reason the School of Physics has an infestation of them! They all have strong views on what toppings are appropriate. The most hard-lined of them has a very short list, it might be less than five! They all agree on one thing, pineapple on pizza is an aberration. I did notice an obituary in the newspaper - must have been a couple of years ago - for the American who claimed to have been the first person to sell a pizza with pineapple. (I don't remember the name of the guy).  Anyway, when I told the Italians of his passing they celebrated!


[[Of course what is known across the U.S. as “pizza” is more of an American creation, a variant of Italian apizza.  New Haven style is its own variant, but much closer to the original.]]


Not being Italian I'm a bit more flexible in my toppings, though I do like the classics. A few years ago I seem to remember that bacon and eggs was a trending combination. I have to draw the line there!


·         Bacon and eggs - part of a fine breakfast. Pizza - a fine meal.

·         Bacon and eggs on pizza: a heresy.


I've enjoyed watching Sherlock, particularly the earlier episodes.  I’m not sure I've watched every episode. On the other hand, I've never taken to Elementary - I might not have even watched one complete episode. (Is that simply because I am English? Though as you say, despite being set in the 21st century it is true to the source material.) I agree with you about Professor Moriarty but for some reasons Holmes and Moriarty are now intertwined in the popular imagination so that it is seemingly impossible for producers - TV or film - to envisage Holmes without Moriarty. I think my favourite "Sherlock Holmes" endeavour of recent years is the 2015 movie "Mr Holmes".


[[Sherlock did get sillier and sillier as it went on, as you’d expect.  But it was still enjoyable.]]


The Dining Dead – Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


The Cleansing Hour (Shudder) – I sat through this movie partially out of boredom, and I suppose partially to see if it would take me somewhere, I didn’t expect.  Meh, it didn’t, although for whatever reason once or twice the tension build-up was effective.  “Father” Max (Ryan Guzman) and his best friend Drew (Kyle Gallner) have a streaming show called “The Cleansing Hour” where Max performs an exorcism each week.  Of course, they’re all fake.  Max wants to hit the big time and get more social media followers, while Drew is only staying with the show out of loyalty; his girlfriend Lane (Alix Angelis) is starting to get a few make-up jobs in real movies, and wants him to move into mainstream stuff too.  One night their planned subject is a no-show, so Lane agrees to play the possessed victim at the last minute.  But suddenly, she really is possessed, and a show full of hoaxes has to face a real demon.  Yeah, it’s a flimsy premise to begin with, and 90% of the movie is about at that level.  It feels like they’re reaching for some kind of bigger picture commentary – the quest for fame, the anonymous rudeness of social media – but if they are, they never come close to the target.  Can’t recommend this one.


Mortal Thoughts (DVD) – This is one of the movies I picked up used recently, as I had an urge to watch it and it’s not available anywhere online; I don’t even think the DVD is in print at the moment.  It’s kind of a film noir plot (but not shot in a noir style) where hair stylist Cynthia (Demi Moore) gets involved in the murder of her friend’s husband (Bruce Willis).  Harvey Keitel plays the police detective in charge of questioning her.  The story is told in flashback, as Cynthia answers questions and goes through the story of her friend’s marriage, what happened to the husband…and everything since.  Despite remembering how it all turns out, along with every surprise along the way, it still holds up pretty well.  The acting isn’t sensational or anything; neither is the script, but it’s decent.  The film takes place in Bayonne, NJ in the late 80’s/early 90’s and it has a very working-class New Jersey flavor to it, which is part of what made me like the movie when I first saw it.  Plus, at the time I loved seeing Demi Moore as a Jersey girl.  If it happens to show up streaming somewhere or on television, give it a whirl.


The Mortuary Collection (Shudder) – One of the anthology films like Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt, with a few stories wrapped by another story.  My personal favorites (besides both Creepshow films) are the Hammer and Atticus ones of the late 60’s and early 70’s; Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors has been a film I’ve never grown tired of since the first time I saw it as a kid on TV.  As you might expect, The Mortuary Collection doesn’t even approach those levels.  The wrapper involved Clancy Brown (Shawshank Redemption) as the mortician, telling “stories of the dead” to Sam (Caitlin Fisher), who is applying to work there.  It takes until the second story before you realize everything is taking place during the 50’s.  The sets are nice and everything looks really good, which is probably the best thing about the movie.  Some of the cast you’ll recognize as regulars on various commercials, which doesn’t mean they have no other credits to your name but if you see them on their ad spots that’s how you’ll see them in the movie, which can be a bit distracting.  None of the stories are very well-written, and the “twist” during the last story isn’t all that surprising.  And the way they finish up the wrapper is silly and confusing.  Still, the good décor and the tolerable acting makes this not a total waste of time…more of a complete time kill.  Take it or leave it.


The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) – I saw the trailer for this while looking for something to watch, and I knew I recognized the lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy, but couldn’t immediately place her.  As I’ve always had an interest in chess – yet another thing I wonder if I could have been any good at had I applied myself and been given some true encouragement (beyond the one-year subscription to Chess Life which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to young me) – I decided to give it a go.  By the time the first episode ended I knew a lot: I knew I recognized Taylor-Joy from her standout role in The Witch; I knew in a very threadbare way what the story arc was going to be for the entire miniseries (or “limited series” as they bill it these days); and I knew I’d be in until the end.  Taylor-Joy (and Isla Johnston when showing her during her youngest years) stars as Beth Harmon.  Orphaned, she’s sent to live at a girl’s Christian orphanage.  It is there that she develops a fascination with chess, after watching a janitor (Bill Camp) playing against himself in the basement.  He discovers that Beth has a rare mastery for the game, and helps foster and encourage her (first secretly, and then when he has taught her all he can, out in the open).  As a teenager Beth is adopted by an absent father and a lonely mother (Marielle Heller), and her mother discourages chess at first…until she realizes how good her new daughter is, and also recognizes that she can earn money playing.  Then it’s off to the races.


The child prodigy-turned-troubled-adult storyline is nothing new, but the 1960’s-era sets and the strong acting and directing lift this to a higher level than any recent attempts.  Flashbacks to Beth’s early childhood and the death of her mother give us clues to her genetic predisposition to math and abstract thinking, and to the mental illness her birth mother suffered from.  Beth’s own mental state, and how her mind works, are illustrated in very visual and eye-catching ways.  (I think of Little Man Tate as another example of using the visual medium to explain how a character’s brain works differently than a normal one).  And while this is a tour de force for Taylor-Joy, the secondary characters are generally given enough depth to make them interesting and relevant. 


While I was rooting for Beth, the tight script kept her character from being some kind of wonderful hero figure.  She has many flaws, and The Queen’s Gambit chooses to keep the emotional level of the series away from pulling at heartstrings.  Everything is slightly muted, and while the viewer is still absorbed in the story, they are more of an observer than an active participant.  I haven’t read Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel that the series is based on, so I don’t know how much of this was taken directly from the source.  (It’s worth noting that Tevis’s first novel was The Hustler, where we first meet Fast Eddie Felson and from which the film by the same name – and the sequel The Color of Money – came.  Beth and Eddie have some similar characteristics, although they are hardly mere copies of each other).  I do have a few minor quibbles with the series as a whole.  First, the opening; I don’t think it was necessary to start the way they did, with a scene from later in her life and then jumping back to the beginning.  All it did was give even more direct evidence that the storyline was going to follow the path you think it will.  And the 7th – and final – episode is a bit too Hollywood for my taste.  Too many problems were “resolved” in too short a time (or so it seems).  But I highly recommend The Queen’s Gambit, whether you have the slightest knowledge of chess or not.  I think someone with zero chess experience would enjoy this as much as someone who plays in weekly tournaments.


The Vast of Night (Amazon) – In 1950’s New Mexico, a teenage switchboard operator and a 20-something overnight DJ stumble across a strange audio noise over the telephone lines and the airwaves which may have a sinister, or even alien, origin.  I liked this movie, to a point.  The plot is the weakest part, as there a few directions and ideas left unexplored which could have made the ending more satisfying.  With that said, there was only a single glaring moment where I was left saying “that’s not what these characters would do in this moment.”


One strong point on the positive side were the sets.  Everything looks and feels like rural 1950’s, without it being forced…and clearly without a huge budget.  But the two biggest plusses in Vast of Night are the dialogue and the lead actors.  Sierra McCormick plays schoolgirl and switchboard operator Fay, and Jake Horowitz is the DJ Everett. Horowitz captures the rapid-fire self-assured banter of a young DJ with bigger places on his mind, and McCormick balances youth with an eager mind and small-town sensibilities…plus a clear crush on Everett.  Early on, before the story really gets going, we enjoy an energetic back-and-forth between the two as Everett helps Fay test her new tape recorder as they walk to their respective jobs.


As I mentioned, the ending is where it sort of fell apart for me.  I had hoped for a lot more, even if the resolution would have ended the same.  There were a couple of clever ideas introduced earlier in the film that were simply dropped.  The only other problem I had was the noise that starts all the fuss is nothing special, and it takes you adjusting your mindset for what life was like in the 50’s to appreciate that anyone would have any reaction other than a shrug of the shoulders.  The idea that it was strange enough to draw attention – and to be recognized by someone who might have heard it before – wasn’t supported by the design of the sound.  Something more unique, like the pulsing sounds Jodie Foster heard in Contact, would have been more appropriate.  With all that said, it’s a nice, quiet, low budget trip into the 50’s and I’d recommend it as long as you don’t let the ending ruin the enjoyment of the rest of the film.


Octopus's Garden

Issue Ninety-One

10th November 2020


HELLO, good evening and welcome to Octopus's Garden, the subzeen with its very own Railway Rivals openings. It is a subzeen to Douglas Kent's Eternal Sunshine. It's produced by Peter Sullivan It's also available on the web at:


We now need just one more name to fill our Railway Rivals waiting list. Could YOU be that name?

Railway Rivals Map “B” (London and Liverpool): John David Galt, Mark Firth, Hank Alme, Bob Blanchett. (One needed)

Map is at

To get on the waiting list, e-mail me, and (if you aren’t already) join the Eternal Sunshine mailing list at


What’s Opera, Doc?

You’ll be pleased to know, no doubt, that Jack McHugh and myself have been discussing the election back-and-forth on Facebook over the past two weeks to such an extent that, at the moment, I have absolutely nothing further to say on the subject. So you all have something to be grateful to Jack for. (I suspect this may be the first time those words have ever been written in this zine, so there you go.)

The other thing that has been taking up most of my free time over the past few weeks is my role as Treasurer and IT minion to Opera Sunderland, a community opera company local to me. We’d got the funding to have a piece specially written for us, called The Soldier’s Return, about the experiences of local veterans returning home from the various wars of the 20th Century.

But the UK-wide lockdown came in just after we’d done the kick-off meeting for this production, So no rehearsals, nor any prospect of doing a live production at our chosen venue in the near future. Instead, over the summer, our people worked really hard on developing an alternative way of doing the production as a film/video.

We rehearsed the chorus together over Zoom, and then got them to record their vocals individually at home to a piano “click track” and e-mail them in. For the main leads, and the 7-person orchestra, they recorded their parts separately in a studio, and we then found a technical wizard who could mix it all together.

For the visuals, we hired a film studio and got the singers to come in one by one and “mime” to their pre-recorded track. It was a fairly sparse set anyway, so social distancing was fairly easy to maintain – which wouldn’t have been the case if we’d been doing, say, Aida!

The whole experience was probably more like making a pop video than a conventional opera. No-one involved had ever really done anything like it before. But we are all very proud of the end result – it almost feels like it was meant to be a film all along!

The piece was premiered on Remembrance Sunday, at 11:02 am (i.e. just after the traditional Two Minutes Silence) and will be available on our website until the end of November if you want to take a look:

That was Octopus's Garden #91, Startling Press production number 387.

Out of the WAY #27


by W. Andrew York

(wandrew88 of



This is a mixed bag of things this time, and definitely not a whole cloth column. This has been an odd month for me with a number of distractions (for one, the election?!), concerns (C-19 effects to the community, I’m not personally infected), a touch of ennui while trying to refocus myself on my next steps and the future. Nothing for folks to worry about, I’m in a decent headspace, October is normally a time I take to reflect, look forward to the next year and map out my next steps. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do my usual “walk-about” and reset period, but I’m hoping to do that in the next week or two.

What that means for this is I didn’t spend my usual prep time over the month to write some of the research and review pieces I normally do. The games are adjudicated, there is a recipe, a lettercol, book reviews and maybe other bits. I fully expect all will return next time.

A little background on the recipe. Shopping at Sprouts (I usually do a quick stop after my weekly HEB run to see what they may have on sale). What did I find but farm-raised, 25-30 count, scallops for $7.99/lb! So, picked some up, had microwave pasta in the pantry, previously roasted broccoli and other ingredients to make a quick dinner to have after my nightly salad. Tasty! I do like to make these off-the-cuff meals with things I come across in my wanderings.

In the book reviews, you may wonder about one of the books I finished this month. I did finish the Qur’an which may strike some folks as odd. First, some background, when I originally went to college (Michigan State University) my program was a Major in History in Education, dual minor in Computers/Mathematics, and a Cognate of Religion. When I finished my degree many years later (University of Texas, San Antonio) it was a Major in History with a related field of Religion. So, I have a background in Religious Studies and have looked into all sorts of different religions while collecting a number of religious texts.

Since my retirement, I’ve been trying to add some reading to improve myself and my knowledge. So, several months ago, I started reading through the religious texts I’ve had for decades from other faiths (rather than only read a commentary, read the source document). The first was from Islam, I’m currently reading Buddhist material (Dhammapada) and will follow with Confucian writings then Hindu (The Rig Veda). I have a bevy of others on the shelf.

For those wondering, I have a Christian background. I grew up in a Presbyterian household and church. In high school, I joined the Reformed Churches of America (based on Dutch Reformed beliefs) over, at that time, due to viewpoints on predestination. Currently, I’m a non-denominational Christian, but fully open to all beliefs for others. As a daily practice, I do read the Bible (an annual read-through), various devotionals and other texts (from different aspects and viewpoints) – one of which I finished and is also in the book review section.

The one out-of-the-ordinary event did happen at the beginning of November (well, out-of-the-ordinary for these C-19 days). The Austin Film Society arranged an early screening of “Minari” at the Laguna Gloria Contemporary Art Museum’s outdoor amphitheater and I was one of the lucky ones to get an invite (most of the attendees apparently were on the Board of Directors or are high-level donors). Well organized, small tables with two or three chairs around each set roughly 6 feet from the next one. Snacks were prepackaged in a box for each attendee and drinks were bottled,

It was good to get out, enjoy a movie on a big screen (well, bigger screen than my TV – not quite the full size a theater screen is) and do something different for once in a long time. The movie was a good character piece, with several layers of nuance (Asian family moves into rural Arkansas in the ‘80s) to remake their lives with interfamily issues, cultural differences and the challenges of starting a farm. Well-acted all around, with hints of Yuen possibly being an Oscar contender. I also liked the performances by the young boy and the grandmother. For those that like action films, this isn’t for you.




Letter Column

(always welcome, send them in!)

(if something shouldn’t be included here, clearly mark it as a personal comment)


[Mark Nelson] - Since moving to Australia I've been lucky as the number of moves I've made is minimised. I lived in Canberra for 2.5 years in the same apartment. It was an unusual apartment in that it was fully furnished - a rarity. That suited me in May 2000 because I was on a three-year contract and anticipated moving back to the UK. When I moved to Wollongong I found a one-bedroom apartment just behind the city center. Ended up staying there for thirteen years! It would have been financially more sensible to buy, but I was happy renting. In the earlier years the rent did not move and even when I left the rent had only gone up AUD $65 over thirteen years. [WAY] That’s excellent pricewise. I can’t remember the rent not going up for a few times when it was unchanged (such as my last renewal). One year, during the housing bubble bursting, where I lived previously it went down about 33% (as memory serves), but there was a significant open occupancy rate and they were afraid of folks bailing. Unfortunately, with Austin’s hot housing market (even in today’s environment) I only see rents rising.

[MN] - The in January 2016 we moved to our `house'. (Technically, it is a single-storey unit in a strata complex, not a house). Although it has three bedrooms, it is too small for our needs. So we'll think about moving to somewhere bigger in a couple of years - will have to wait for the economy to settle down. There's been one round of early retirements, there's a round of voluntary redundancies coming up, and I suspect that's not the end of it. However, I am hoping that if we move again it will be the last move I make! Well, the last move I make until I make the final move into a cubicle at the local Buddhist temple... But when I make that move I won't need to worry about taking my possessions with me...

In recent years I've started buying LPs again. Well, first someone had to buy me a record player... when I had all my possessions shipped out to Australia (or at least those I wanted!) all my LPs came but no record players. There are a couple of local second-hand shops that have a surprisingly decent collection of Jazz LPs which are very reasonably priced. (I'll pay AUD $10 for an LP, perhaps upto $15 if it's something I really want.) In the past I've travelled over Australia and New Zealand for work and most of the larger cities have dedicated second-hand record shops. My least favourite city to buy in is Adelaide, because the shops there have a better idea on how to price their LPS. (Or perhaps people in Adelaide are simply willing to pay more). [WAY] – here my go to place for all music is Waterloo Records downtown (right across from my favorite bookstore – Bookpeople). Also, the chain of used book stores “Half-Price Books” also deals with used music in many formats. If there’s something I really want that I can’t find at Waterloo I might check there.

[MN] - A while ago I audited my collection, identified the gaps, and I've started filling them by searching on ebay. By filling the gaps I mean completing incomplete holdings. For instance, I had volumes 1 and 21 (the final one) in a famous series `The Piano Blues' (Magpie) so I tracked down volumes 2-20... I had volume one of "The Lester Young Story" (on CBS). I've now bought volumes two to four. Only volume five to get, sometime in the New Year. I've got to limit my LP buying! (Since we are supposed to saving up for a deposit...)

Personally, I think it's a big stretch to call Glenn Miller "the most famous trombonist ever". Of course, "famous" is not "best". I'd say that Glenn Miller is famous for the "Glenn Miller sound" - the reed section sound. If we take away his arranging skills and concentrate on his trombone playing, I don't think he'd be highly rated. I see that Gunther Schuller described him, as a trombone player, "as far from outstanding". But that just goes back to the difference between "famous" and "best". So perhaps it's true that he is the "most famous trombonist ever".  If we are looking for a white swing-era trombone player to call the greatest, then I think that Tommy Dorsey has a very strong claim. (though not a strong claim as a Jazz player, but as a technical trombone player)

Still, the thrust of Andy's letter is not who is the best trombone player of all time but rather that "young" people do not know any history! And on that I can agree. [WAY] – Sad, but true and it’s across the board, not just musicians.

[MN] - Since my last letter there has been an important development on the salad front! My wife wanted to have a Caesar salad and it's something that I just can't be bothered with - making the croutons just seems too much work. However, this time... this time I used the air-fryer to make the croutons! That removed the "faffle". Though the wife wasn't completely happy on to fronts. Firstly, she likes to have chicken in her Caesar Salad and this was a Caesar Salad. Secondly, I whipped in an uncooked egg (white and yoke) into the sauce. Further salad news. As we are moving into Summer and I can access some tasty tomatoes I've started to make a simply tomato salad in conjunction with a simple green salad. (It's always easy to find a tomato that looks red, but they don't always taste like a tomato should!) [WAY] – that’s excellent, enjoy! And, of course it is true about the tomato. Industrial level farms use tomato types that have been bred for a longer shelf life, resist bruising and keep their color. Unfortunately, taste is not important to them (but it is to the consumer!). Some of the smaller markets (Sprouts) and specialty markets (HEB’s Central Market chain) carry small farm tomatoes that include heirloom brands and other more delicate types that I’ll seek out for tomato salads and other dishes where the tomato is the primary ingredient. And, of course, farmers markets are a fine source.

[MN] - In Australia we used to have "straight party voting" for elections to the Senate. Perhaps I will go into the details of that in my next letter! [WAY] – Texas had straight-voting ever since I’d moved here, well at least until this election. The legislature in their last session did away with it. It’s interesting that they did, as the Republicans have held power in the state for a couple of decades and it was always my impression that it favored their party. For myself, I never used that option as I don’t vote based only on party politics. I try to make my decisions based on the candidate’s policies, priorities and positions – then choose the best candidate for the office. Party affiliation may be a factor if much of the rest is carbon-copy, but that is rarely the case.

[MN] - I used to have a large collection of Discworld novels, but for some reason I don't think they made the journey out to Australia. (I even had a signed copy of the first two, as Pratchett was Guest of Honour at the first SF convention I went to... 1988 I think!) I bought the last few that came out. i. At some time in the future I think I'll add the Discworld novels to the list of books that I'll buy when I come across them in second-hand bookshops. [WAY] –I’d recommend it as they are fun to read and distracting when you need it.

[MN] - I've never read the Sharp novels, but when I was much younger I collected the Hornblower novels. I must have received  Mr. Midshipman Hornblower as a birthday present when I was 12 or 13). Perhaps at a latter date I will relive my youth and start tracking those volumes down at second-hand bookshops... [WAY] – Ah, yes. I’ve read the full slate of Hornblower novels about 20 years ago. Another fine set of books that I liken as the naval compliment to Sharpe’s army ones.

[MN] - Going to New Orleans for a holiday as one of the few things that is on my "bucket list". Actually, it might be the only one. Originally, I was a big Jazz fan. But the more I learn about New Orleans music per se, the more I like it. So a musical pilgrimage is required. And I've really liked the small amount of Cajun food that I've eaten, or cooked myself. [WAY] –Was in New Orleans once in the ‘90s for a computer conference for work. Fortunately, was able to fly out the weekend before and, at my own expense, spend a couple of days beforehand enjoying the City. Great food (did have one hurricane, almost required), great music (Preservation Hall Jazz Band!) and a paddleboat tour down to the site of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 (technically after, as the peace treaty had been signed before the battle but news hadn’t yet arrived from Europe). Hope you get there and be sure to enjoy all it has to offer!

[Richard Smith] – I agree with you about “real” music recordings being more enjoyable than the ersatz output of DAWs such as Protools. Snap to grid, autotune, fake instruments and over-compression all squeeze the soul out of songs. Tiresome chord sequences (such as ubiquitous Bm-G-D-A) also contribute to the blandness. Fortunately whilst this afflicts most of the pop music you find in today’s Spotify top 20, there’s still plenty of good stuff “out there” to be discovered. [WAY] – absolutely there’s plenty of good stuff to find and enjoy, including many back catalogs that can be found on the internet. Recently I did see a perfectly valid and valuable use for those tools while watching an “Over the Shoulder” session with Ben Folds. He is isolated in Australia and has no real access to test out ideas for some of the songs he’s writing. So, by using these tools he’s able to get a good sense of what is working and what isn’t. Presumably most/all will have their formal, published, version using “the real things”.



Mini-Book Reviews

(finished since last issue)


Death of the Wehrmacht by Robert M. Citino


                A scholarly look into the German Wehrmacht, specifically the 1942 campaigns in North Africa and southern Russia. The crux of the author’s argument is that this was the zenith of the Prussian/German concept of war and, after the defeats at El Alamein and Stalingrad/Caucasus, it was no longer valid.

                The author does a fine job of analyzing how the Prussian traditions were successfully applied in the early WWII campaigns, with several references to historical personages and battles showing continuity. Then, as 1942 continued they slowly failed to address the changing reality of modern warfare.

                The book is copiously referenced (74 pages of notes on 309 pages of text) which are well worth reading and has an exhaustive bibliography (26 pages). There is even a favorable reference to an article and accompanying boardgame from Strategy & Tactics #68!

                Recommended to anyone interested in this period of WWII or with general interest in changes in military theory that occurred at the time. [November 2020]


Fire Power by Kirkman, Robert, et al (2020; 160p).


                This graphic novel is the precursor to a new comic series by the “Walking Dead” creator, currently on issue #5. My biggest gripe was I didn’t find out about the graphic novel, being issued in conjunction with the comic’s issue #1, until I had read it. Then, it took some time to order it in. Therefore I was several issues into the series before I had a chance to read the foundational novel. It turns out, it wasn’t as big a negative as I thought it might be, but still would have enjoyed it first.

                The origin of this story isn’t all that novel – an orphan travels the world to gain martial skills, seek information on his parents and find purpose. Ending up at an ancient temple in what I take is the Himalayas. The aged leader accepts him into the temple’s training program and, as he improves his skills, uncovers some of the secrets of the temple (i.e., the Fire Power), grows in maturity and, eventually, some clues to his parents and their connections to that very temple. The book’s climax is a major battle over the temple and its treasure. A short coda jumps 15 years and sets the stage for the comic series.

                Enjoyable book, but only for those who are also going to delve into the comic series. As a standalone story it is decent, but it’s worth is in creating the backstory of the comics. [November 2020]



Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories by J. Sheridan LeFanu (1993; 92p).


                The author wrote in the Victorian era, with this volume reportedly collecting four of his better ghost stories. I found them a mixed bag, though reading them gave me insight into English/Irish lifestyle of the times. The stories are Green Tea, Squire Toby’s Will, The Fortunes of Sir Robert Ardagh and Sir Dominick’s Bargain with the best, to me, last.

If this peaks your interest certainly pick it up and enjoy. However, if you’re looking for a scare or nail-biting tales you should look elsewhere. [October 2020]


Prince, The by Niccolo Machiavelli (1992; 72p).


                This was a surprising read, either it was much better written than I’d come to expect or the person doing the translation did a superb job in making the text eminently readable. As you’re probably aware this was written in the early 1500s while Italy was split into City States, a Papal State with neighboring countries such as France and Spain invading or controlling various of the smaller states. In it, Machiavelli discusses how to govern (or in some points, how not to govern), giving leaders a series of “best practices” in ruling as an authoritative reader. Many of the lessons that can be drawn are applicable to today’s standard business model, especially in establishing respect, gaining trust of the subordinates and in maintaining moral.

                Recommended for those in leadership positions or wanting to gain insight into power relationships. [November 2020]


Qur’an, The (1993; 572p).


                Though I won’t look into the religious thought behind the writing, I did find much of what is generally known and related in general American thought is incomplete and misunderstood. For instance, the roots of the religion (Judaism and Christianity) are well represented and strongly influence the material. For instance, the Patriarchs of the Biblical Old Testament are often referenced, as is Jesus and Mary of the New. It was an eye opening read, though with only one reading there is much I likely missed or did not grasp. However, I feel I have a more nuanced view of the belief and its followers.

                Conditionally recommended, only for those truly wanting to read it with an open mind seeking to become more knowledgeable of the religion. [October 2020]


30 Life Principles by Charles F. Stanley (2008; 156p).


                This is billed as “a study for growing in knowledge and understanding of God” and was compiled by a long time television preacher that heads In Touch Ministries. It is basically a 30-part Bible study that I read over the course of 30 weeks, referencing that week’s “Life Lessons” as part of my daily Quiet Time.

                The lessons are drawn from various Bible verses and cover topics such as adversity, Christian growth, listening and awareness. Each lesson consists of an introduction, various Bible readings with focus questions on the text, discussion on the meaning and closes with how to apply the principles in daily life.

                I found it good to have this deeper inquiry into the Bible, though certain principles are more applicable than others to where I’m at in my life. But, each had value and gave me ideas on how to improve myself.

                Conditionally recommended, it is a read that you must invest some time in to draw on what is being presented and determine how to utilize the material in your life. [October 2020]


Walking Dead, The: Miles Behind Us (vol. 2) by Kirkman, Robert, et al (2016; 136p).


                This collects the second six issues of the original comic series, taking the group from the outskirts of Atlanta through the farm and introduces the prison. It is much easier to see the deviations that the TV show took in this volume, mostly as the TV show had “more time” to fill and different character arcs that were necessary.

                Smartly written and well penciled, quite a joy to read. However, I bought this before Kirkman and company announced a new initiative. So, it’s the last of these I expect to buy. The announcement was that all of The Walking Dead comics are to be reissued, in full color with additional commentary and notes on how each issue was put together. Therefore, I’m going to collect the issues I never read that way so that I’ll see the additional material (the “color” aspect isn’t all that appealing to me). If you want to see the rerelease, start now. The second issue came out in early November and they are not supposed to be reprinted or collected into graphic novels – so it’s now or never to read/collect them.

                Oh, and this one has an afterword by Simon Pegg (the afterwords will be the only thing I’m missing by not buying the graphic novels from the original release, but I think it’s a fair trade).

                Recommended [November 2020]


Sandman Graphic Novels:


Endless Nights by Gaiman, Neil, et al (2003; 160p).


                This collection isn’t core to the Sandman narrative, but is a taste of each one of the Endless – one story focusing on each. It was good to look deeper into each aspect of Morpheus’s family and gain a fuller understanding of who each is and how they see things. However, the style is much different than previously and the stories are all told in a different manner.

                After you’ve read the original Sandman novels, this is a nice treat to have for a dessert (so to speak). [October 2020]


Dream Hunters, The by Gaiman, Neil, et al (2009; 144p).


                This is a single story, again independent of the core Sandman series. Written in the style of a Japanese morality play and drawing heavily from the Asian country’s history, lore, settings and mores, the story is again markedly different than the previous stories. That said, it is vintage Gaiman and a thoroughly haunting book that can be read entirely independent of the rest of the series; however, I still think it’s best as the last book as it’s written on a slightly higher level than the early Sandman ones and may undeservedly set one’s expectations for the core series.

                Recommended, as all of the Sandman series is. [October 2020]




Babylon 5 Quote


In “And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place” – Rev. Dexter: “Every day, here and at home, we are warned about the enemy.

But who is the enemy? Is it the alien? We are all aliens to one another. Is it the one who believes differently than we do?

No, not at all, my friends. The enemy is fear. The enemy is ignorance. The enemy is the one who tells you that you must

hate that which is different. Because in the end, that hate will turn on you. And that same hate will destroy you.”


Source: But In Purple...I’m Stunning! by J. Michael Straczynski, edited by Sara “Samm” Barnes, copyright 2008.





Recipe of the Month


Recipe Philosophy: Except for baking, recipes are only suggestions. I rarely precisely measure, eyeballing most everything. The

                listed measurements, for the most part, are estimates from the last time I made the recipe. Feel free to adjust to meet

                your personal tastes – and remember, it is easier to add “more” of something than to compensate when “too much” has

                been added.


For ingredients, if you don’t like raw onions, omit them or replace with celery to retain the crunchiness. If you like food with

                more spice, add an extra jalapeno or use habaneros instead. On the other hand, if you don’t like spicy food, replace the

                jalapeno with a bell pepper. Optional items are used when I’m looking for a variation or making it for individuals

                with specific preferences or allergies.



Quick Scallop Pasta

by W Andrew York

(last reviewed November 2020)



Ingredients from the only time I made this (serves 1-2, depending on salad/sides)


1/3 lb      25-30 count Scallops, cut into bite sized bits if needed (I used farm raised)

1 pkt       Microwave Pasta Bags (I used half-length spaghetti)

                Leftover Roasted Broccoli (including stems)

                Chopped Green Onions

                Olive Oil, both regular and lemon-infused





1)       Pre-heat toaster oven to 375 degrees

2)       Toss scallops with lemon-infused olive oil and place on baking sheet, dust scallops with salt and pepper

3)       Bake scallops until just cooked through, may take 5-10 minutes depending on size

4)       As the scallops finish baking, heat pasta in microwave

5)       Once the pasta is heated, heat up previously cooked broccoli

6)       Put pasta in a mixing bowl, toss with a bit of olive oil to coat

7)       Add scallops and broccoli, toss adding olive oil, lemon-infused olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

8)       Sprinkle with green onions and serve




-          See intro for background on this recipe

-          I’d previously roasted some broccoli, including chopped stems (no need to discard!), after tossing in olive oil and dusting with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Alternately, you could roast other veggies this way or use (heated) frozen corn, peas, etc.

-          Instead of microwave pasta, while scallops are cooking, boil regular pasta until al dente, drain

-          If no lemon-infused olive oil, adding lemon juice to taste in step #6 would also work

-          If you wish other flavors, you could add Old Bay, Cajun seasoning or other flavors to the scallops and/or while combining ingredients

-          If you don’t use the green onions, add some parsley flakes for color. Alternately, if you want a bit of heat, red pepper flakes

-          For a more substantial dish, you could saute diced onions or peppers, sliced mushrooms or whatever to add in







When I have updates to previous items, or corrections outside the games, they’ll be here. If there are none, this section won’t appear.


I did join in the GISH Halloween Hunt (was from Oct 30-Nov 1) with Unicef as their charitable partner. In the end, it was a busy weekend for me with two other conventions/events happening at the same time. Also, there wasn’t much I could do or wanted to do (not into costuming!), though I did enjoy a number of the Zoom sessions including one on Crytoids and a Haunted Mansion tour.




Game Section


Everyone Plays Games: Hangman, By Definition; Facts in Five


Game Openings: Breaking Away (Kent, Burgess, Smith; Firth, minimum 6 players needed)

No-Press Gunboat Diplomacy, sans preference lists (6 Players)

Standard Choice (Smith, minimum 4 players needed)


Possible Game Openings: Breaking Away Variants

Suggestions accepted for other games to offer.


Standbys: Breaking Away (x1); Gunboat Diplomacy (x1)


Rules for Breaking Away. Breaking Away Variants and Choice available on the Variable Pig website (





Hangman, By Definition


This is a five round game, with each round consisting of a variable number of turns. The winner will be the person who wins the most rounds, with a tie breaker being fewest total number of turns in those winning rounds. Second tie breaker will be the most number of letters guessed (by total count revealed, not by individual letter).


Each round will consist of identifying a word of at least six letters. Along with each word will be the first definition given. All words and definitions will be identified by blank spaces. Words and definitions are verified in a dictionary that was my high school graduation gift (slight hint to those who might want to find the edition).


The goal is to guess the word in as few turns as possible. Each turn, all players will submit one letter to be revealed. The letter submitted by the most players will be the letter revealed in the next turn. Ties will be broken by a randomized method. Additionally, each player should submit a guess for the word. Once the word is correctly identified (spelling is important), that round will end and a new round will begin. All players who guess the word in the same turn will share in the win for the round. If the word is not guessed by the end of six turns with no letter being revealed, no one will win the round.


Along with revealing letters in the word, letters will be revealed in the definition. There are no bonus points for guessing any part of the definition, it is only there to help players figure out the word. No guesses about parts of the definition will be confirmed or displayed except by the letter revealed in that round. The letters “E” and “S” can never be chosen as the letter to be revealed.


Game 1, Round Two, Turn 5:


                Letter Votes: A - 1; F - 1; L - 1; M - 1; R -1; T - 1                       Revealed: R (dice roll decision with d6)


                Words Guessed:   NMR (Davis-Gardner); (Firth) Occidential; (Kent) Bookbinder; (Lischett) Ceremonial;

                                                                 (Maslen) Dreariness; (Smith) Horizontal; (Wilson) Misogynist; (O’Hara) Challenges




                Word:                     __  R  __  __  __  __  N  __  __  __  (10)


Definition:             __  (1)    __  __  __  __  __  (5)    __  __  R  R  __  __  N  __  __  N  __  (11)   


__  __  R  __  __  (5)    __  __  __  __  __  (5)    __  __  (2)    __  (1)    __  __  __  __  __ , (5)


__  __  __  __  (4)    __  __  (2)    __  __  __  (3)    __  N  __  __  __  N  __  (7)


R  __  __  __  N  __  (6)    __  __  R  (3)    R  __  __  __  __  N  __  N  __  (9)


__  __  (2)    __  __  __  __  __  (5)


                Never Revealed:  E, S                         Already Revealed: N, P, R, W


    Game Words Correctly Guessed: Infinitesimal (David-Gardner, Firth, Kent, Smith, Wilson)


Player Comments: None





                                                                        FACTS IN FIVE


***Rules Revision in Bold below for the next game***


Rules:     There will be five rounds, the cumulative high score at the end of the fifth round will be the winner. Anyone may join anytime with a starting score matching the lowest total from the previous round. Anyone missing a round will add the lowest score of that round.

                Each round will consist of five categories and five letters.  Each player submit may an entry for each category which has a key word that starts with each of the letters (twenty-five total entries). Key words are generally the first word; however articles (the, a, etc.) and modifiers (“red” in red bicycle for “R” in “mode of transportation” or “general” in General Lee for “G” in “Military Leaders”) are not key words. A word in the category may not be the key word (“bank” in “Bank of America” for “B” in the category “Banks”). For given names, the last name is the key word, if married it will be their post-marriage last name. However, in the case of commonly used stage names, that name should be used (in a category of female singers, ”Q” could be “Queen Latifa” and “Cher” for “C”). An entry may only be used once per round. Please clearly identify which individual you are using as your answer if there are multiple potential people with a given name. For instance, if the category is American Presidents, answering Washington is fine as there is only one; however, if you decided to use Bush you need to indicate whether you are submitting the father or the son. Unclear answers will be matched to score the least points. Using the Bush example, if one person submitted “Bush” and three people submit “George W. Bush” the latter would score 2 points and the former 1.

                One point will be scored for each entry that unarguably meets the letter and category. An additional point will be added if anyone else also uses the same valid entry for the same category. Maximum possible score in a round is 50 with a lowest possible score of 25, presuming an individual submits a valid entry for each category and letter in that round.

                Research is allowed, collaboration between players is not.


Round Five


Bolded - Scores 2 points for matching another entry; Crossed Out - scores 0 points; otherwise scores 1 point.


Note (1): Game 1 is ended, congrats to Kevin for their win!

Note (2): Categories below are for the first round of game #2.

Note (3): See above rules addition for the second, and subsequent, games. Usually if a name isn’t identifiable by me, it can be corrected in the next round after a clarification (such as with the “D. Laszlo” answer below). However, in the Academy Award Winner section one person answered “Jackson”, one answered “Peter Jackson” and one answered “Glenda Jackson”. As I can’t properly match the unspecified Jackson to Peter or Glenda, I scored all as matching when, in actuality, one should have scored only 1 point (or all, if the unspecified Jackson was to a third person).


REMINDER - Last names are generally the key word, not first names.


  Players                                 E                             I                              L                             Q                             W


Military Figure in World War II

    Heath Davis-Gardner     NMR

    Mark Firth                        Essen                      Jellicoe                   Lawrence              Quigley                  Wilson

    Doug Kent                        Eisenhower          Juin                         Lagus                     --                             Wavell

    Andy Lischett                  Eisenhower          A. Jodl                  D. Laszlo               --                             A. Wavell

    Walt O’Hara                    Eddie Slovak        Alfred Jodl          LeClerc                  V. Quisling            Henri Winkleman

    Kevin Wilson                   Ike Eisenhower   Alphonse Juin       Leeb                       Quisling                  Archibald Wavell


English Noun with 6-10 Letters

    Heath Davis-Gardner     NMR

    Mark Firth                        Engagement         Juggernaut            Lumberjack          Quince                   Waterfall

    Doug Kent                        Editor                     Jersey                     Ladder                   Quartz                    Waffle

    Andy Lischett                  England                 Jungle                     Loudmouth          QANTAS               Wigwam

    Walt O’Hara                    Endearment          Jocularity              Literature              Quietude                Watercress

    Kevin Wilson                   Elephant                January                 Library                   Question                Weekend


Board Game

    Heath Davis-Gardner     NMR

    Mark Firth                        Escape from…     Jaipur                     Ludo                      Quarriors!              Walk the Plank

    Doug Kent                        Eldritch Horror     Jamaica                 Love Letter           Qwirkle                  WSIM

    Andy Lischett                  Elfquest                 Jeopardy               Luftwaffe             Quest                      War of the Worlds

    Walt O’Hara                    Elfenland              Junta                     Liar’s Dice            Quarto                   War of the Ring

    Kevin Wilson                   El Grande              Junta                     Life                         Quacks…              War of the Ring


Living Celebrated Businessperson

    Heath Davis-Gardner     NMR

    Mark Firth                        Ellison, Larry     Johnson, Magic    Lam, Gordo          Quant, Mary         Winfrey, Oprah

    Doug Kent                        Larry Ellison      Jelinek                  Lafley                    --                             Welch

    Andy Lischett                  M. Eisner               W. Jelinek            K. Langone           --                             Steve Wozniak

    Walt O’Hara                    Larry Ellison      Abigail Johnson   Vladimir Lisin      Stefan Quandt      Jim Walton

    Kevin Wilson                   Larry Ellison      Ajit Jain                 Kenneth Lewis     Roxanne Quimby Oprah Winfrey


Academy Award Winner

    Heath Davis-Gardner     NMR

    Mark Firth                        Eastwood, Clint  Jackson, Glenda Lancaster, Burt  Quinn, Anthony  Winters, Shelley

    Doug Kent                        Eastwood              Jackson                 Lancaster             --                             Wayne

    Andy Lischett                  C. Eastwood        Ben Johnson         J. Lemmon           A. Quinn               John Williams

    Walt O’Hara                    All About Eve      Emil Jannings       Charles Laughton Quiet Please!        Shape of Water

    Kevin Wilson                   Clint Eastwood   Peter Jackson     Jennifer Lawrence Anthony Quinn Reese Witherspoon


Note – for allowed and disallowed answers, please feel free to correct me!


Notes on Mark’s Answers: Note – all of Mark’s answers were disallowed as it appears he mistook this category as relating to

                WWI. I did check to see if there was something that could be tied to WWII, but all died before the war’s start. Essen is

                Admiral Nikolai Ottovich (von) Essen; Jellicoe is Admiral John Jellicoe; Lawrence is Col TE (of Arabia); Quigley is

                Capt. Francis Granger Quigley (DSO), a Canadian War Ace with 33 victories; Wilson is FM Sir Henry Hughes Wilson;

                Quarriors! is disallowed as it doesn’t appear to have a board as it is a deck-building game with dice as is Walk the Plank

                as it is a card game – please correct me if I’m wrong; Gordo Lam was disallowed as I can’t find such a person.

Notes on Doug’s Answers: WISM is Wooden Ships and Iron Men

Notes on Andy’s Answers: D. Laszlo was disallowed as I couldn’t find anyone that was a military figure in WWII in a search,

                if you’ll provide more information I’ll update your score;

Notes of Walt’s Answers: Eddie Slovak was disallowed as the last name is the key word to match; Quisling was disallowed as,

                though earlier in life he was in the Norwegian military, by the time of WWII he was solely a politician and, at most,

                encouraged his countrymen to join the military forces - he didn’t actually do anything overtly as a military figure.

Notes on Kevin’s Answers: Leeb is Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb; Quisling is Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonsson Quisling,

disallowed as, though earlier in life he was in the Norwegian military, by the time of WWII he was solely a politician

and, at most, encouraged his countrymen to join the military forces - he didn’t actually do anything overtly as a military

figure; Quacks… is Quacks of Quedlingburg



Game 2, Round One


Letters:                  F              O             P              R             T            

Categories:            Cartoon Characters; Languages; 2-3 Syllable English Verbs; Non-Profit Companies or Corporations;

                                                Medical Occupations



Current Standings


NOTE – Only one person caught that I forgot to match Auden and Marlowe last time (good eye Mark). Two points to Heath, one point to each Andy and Mark. The previous round scores below have been adjusted.


Scores by Category             1st           2nd         3rd          4th          5th          Now                        Previous                 Total     

   Kevin Wilson                      6             5             7             7             8             33         +              227         =                260

   Heath David-Gardner        -              -              -              -              -              27*       +              222         =                249

   Doug Kent                           6             5             5             6             7             29         +              219         =                248

   Andy Lischett                     6             5             5             5             7             28         +              198         =                226

   Mark Firth                            5             5             3             6             9             28         +              192         =                120

   Walt O’Hara                       4             5             7             6             5             27         +             191**    =                118


*NMR, receives lowest score from this round

**New player, lowest score from previous round


Player Comments:


Andy Lischett – I’m taking a stab that someone has produced a game based on War of the Worlds. [WAY] – Yup, more than one.


Kevin Wilson – J and Q were hard to work with. You’d think names like Johnson, Jones, etc. would pop up everywhere but none in the right categories. I don’t expect too many hits in the 6-10 letter nouns, just too many options. The board game may have a few hits, we’ll see. Too many WWII related games for “W” so I avoided them.





Deadline for the Next Issue of Out of the WAY:


December 9, 2020 at noon – See You Then!


Game entries, letters of comment and other material can be sent to:


                wandrew88 at; or by post to: W. Andrew York; POB 201117; Austin TX 78720-1117


Eternal Sunshine Game Section


Acquire – “Blind”



Kevin Wilson –; John David Galt; Mark Firth –; Andy; Tom Howell –


Turn Two


Galt: Plays 11-C.  Buys 3 American for $400 each.


Firth: Plays 7-F.  Buys 2 Worldwide and 1 Festival for $300 each.


Lischett: Plays 6-E and starts Tower.  Gets 1 free share and buys 3 more shares for $200 each.


Howell: Plays 2-I and starts Imperial.  Gets 1 free and buys 3 more shares for $400 each.


Wilson: Plays 6-F.  Buys 3 Tower for $400 each.


Galt: Plays 12-G.  Buys 1 Imperial for $400.




Order for Turn Three:


Firth, Lischett, Howell, Wilson, Galt, Firth


Deadline for Turn 3 is December 11th, 2020 at 7pm My Time (12 hours earlier than the standard zine deadline)

Diplomacy, “Indestructible Machine”, 2020A, W 04/S 05


Austria: Rick Davis – - A Budapest Supports A Galicia – Rumania,

 A Galicia - Rumania (*Fails*), F Greece Supports A Serbia – Bulgaria, A Serbia - Bulgaria (*Fails*),

 A Warsaw - Ukraine (*Bounce*).

England: Mark Firth – - F Belgium - North Sea (*Dislodged*, retreat to Holland or

 English Channel or OTB), F Helgoland Bight Supports F Belgium - North Sea (*Disbanded*),

 A Liverpool - Yorkshire.

France: John David Galt - F English Channel – Brest, F Gulf of Lyon - Piedmont (*Bounce*),

 A Paris Hold, A Piedmont – Venice, F Tyrrhenian Sea - Rome (*Bounce*).

Germany: Andy - Remove A Berlin..F Denmark Supports F Holland – Helgoland

 Bight, F Holland - Helgoland Bight, A Kiel Hold,  A Munich – Burgundy, A Picardy - Belgium.

Italy: Toby Harris - A Albania – Trieste, F Ionian Sea - Tyrrhenian Sea (*Dislodged*,

 retreat to Albania or Adriatic Sea or Apulia or Naples or Tunis or OTB),

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Supports A Picardy - Brest (*Void*), A Tuscany - Rome (*Bounce*),

 A Tyrolia - Piedmont (*Bounce*).

Russia: Bob Durf – - Build A Sevastopol..F Black Sea Supports

 A Rumania, F Clyde – Liverpool, A Edinburgh Supports F Clyde – Liverpool, A Moscow - Warsaw (*Fails*),

 F North Sea Supports A Picardy – Belgium, A Rumania Supports A Bulgaria (*Cut*),

 A Sevastopol - Ukraine (*Bounce*).

Turkey: Jack McHugh -   Build F Constantinople..F Aegean Sea Supports

 F Eastern Mediterranean - Ionian Sea, A Bulgaria Supports A Rumania (*Cut*),

 F Constantinople Supports A Bulgaria, F Eastern Mediterranean - Ionian Sea.







Deadline for F 05 is: December 12th, 2020 at 7am My Time

Diplomacy, “Wine Lips”, 2020B, W 02

Seasons Separated By Player Request


Austria: Harold Reynolds –  - Build A Budapest..Has A Bohemia, A Budapest,

 F Bulgaria(sc), A Serbia, A Tyrolia, A Vienna.

England: David Cohen – - Build F London..Has F Barents Sea, A Belgium, F London,

 F North Sea, A St Petersburg, F Wales.

France: David Burgess – - Has F English Channel, F Mid-Atlantic Ocean,

 A Picardy, A Portugal, F Spain(sc).

Germany: Mark Firth – - Retreat A Munich - Kiel..Remove F Holland..Has F Berlin,

 A Denmark, A Kiel, A Ruhr.

Italy: George Atkins - - Has F Ionian Sea, A Piedmont, A Tunis, F Tyrrhenian Sea.

Russia: Heath Davis-Gardner – - Build A Moscow..Has A Ankara, F Black Sea,

 A Livonia, A Moscow, A Munich, A Rumania, F Sweden.

Turkey: Paul Milewskipaul.milewski@hotmail.comDisband A Ankara.. Has F Aegean Sea,

 F Eastern Mediterranean.








"Bon jour, mon ami! This is your ally."

"Huh? Ally? Say, who IS this? This isn't Winston, is it? Your accent sucks, you know. Stop with the tricks!"

"No, no, no! It's your neighbor across the sea, of course. Remember? We have had so many pleasant conversations!"

"Hmmmm, not that many, as I recall. And you never SAY anything in these so-called conversations. How does THAT make an alliance?"

"You must trust me, I tell you."

"Are you kidding? You never confide in me. What's to trust?"

"Well, I never attacked you, as I promised..."

"That's not an alliance; that's just a negotiation tactic."

"Well, what's an alliance these days, anyway, if not a negotiation? An alliance is just a way to set somebody up for a surprise attack; what the Americans call 'the stab'."

"Ok, I'm glad we got THAT straightened out. Now, what do you want?"

"Why, to be your ally, of course."



Deadline for S 03 is December 12th, 2020 at 7am My Time

Balkan Wars VI, “Bad Way to Go”, 2020Apb08, F 13

Albania: Mark Firth – mogcate@aol.comA Epirus Supports A Athens – Sparta,

 F Gulf of Corfu - Valona (*Bounce*), A Montenegro – Tirana, F South Adriatic Sea - Valona (*Bounce*),

 F Southern Mediterranean Sea – Cyprus, F Trieste Hold.

Bulgaria: Jack McHugh - - A Arda - Constantinople (*Fails*), A Athens – Sparta,

 A Salonika Supports A Athens - Sparta (*Fails*), F South Black Sea - Izmit (*Fails*),

 A Thrace Supports A Arda - Constantinople.

Greece: Kevin Wilson – ckevinw@gmail.comA Athens – Sparta (No Such Unit),

 A Sparta Unordered (*Disbanded*).

Rumania: Brad Wilson - - Retreat A Bucharest - Constantsa..

 A Bithynia Supports A Constantsa – Izmit, A Constantsa – Izmit, F North Black Sea Convoys A Constantsa - Izmit.

Serbia: Andy York – - A Belgrade – Bucharest, F Bosnia Hold, A Bucharest – Dubruja,

 A Croatia – Transylvania, A Galati – Constantsa, A Nish - Sofia.

Turkey: Heath Davis-Gardner – - F Aegean Sea Supports A Sparta – Athens

 (*Void*), F Constantinople Supports A Bithynia - Varna (*Void*), A Izmit Supports F Constantinople

 (*Dislodged*, retreat to Cilicia or OTB), A Smyrna Supports F Constantinople.


Supply Center Chart


Albania:            Crete, Cyprus, Malta, Montenegro, Tirana, Trieste, Valona=7                Build 1

Bulgaria:          Athens, Plovdiv, Salonika, Sparta, Thrace=5                                         Even

Greece:            None=0                                                                                                OUT!!

Rumania:         Izmit=1                                                                                                Remove 2

Serbia:             Belgrade, Bucharest, Cluj, Constantsa, Croatia, Dubruja,

                        Galati, Nish, Skopje, Sofia=10                                                              Build 4 (Not enough room)

Turkey:            Constantinople, Rhodes, Smyrna, Varna=4                                           Even




NEAR CLUJ: The Serbian night descends on the peninsula...


BLACK SEA: Nyah-nyah Serbians, can't touch us!


Alb – Balkans: There! I think I’ve managed to honour every agreement made. Now for Chapter III…


ATHENS: Seems like A/B/S has to give at some point, right?


Deadline for W 13/S 14 is December 12th at 7am My Time


Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?


The Rules were in Eternal Sunshine #131, read them if you want a detailed explanation and examples.  Basically, this is a guessing game, trying to guess the mystery person and their location (both chosen by me before the game started).  Closest guess gets a public clue and notification they were the closest.  Everyone else sees the clue but has to figure out on their own who was the closest that turn.


Turn 1


Tom Howell:

Izumo no Okuni at the Grand Shrine of Izumo in Shimane Prefecture, Japan


Will Abbott:

Justin Welby in Atlanta, GA


Simon Langley-Evans:

Paul Ateriedes in Paris, France


John David Galt:

Hunter Biden in Nairobi, Kenya


Kevin Wilson:

Wayne LaPierre, Jr. in Lagos, Nigeria


Andy Lischett:

Dub Taylor in Gibsland, Louisiana


Richard Smith:

Anna Von Hausswolff in Gothenburg, Sweden


Dane Maslen:

Tedros Adhanom in Geneva, Switzerland


Heath Davis-Gardner:

Scottie Pippen in Mexico City, Mexico


Jack McHugh:

Barack Obama in Nairobi, Kenya


Mark Firth:

Cersei Lannister in Beni, DR Congo


David Burgess:

Elton John in London, England


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

I died before you were born.  Wrong nationality…but correct chromosome.


Turn 2


Will Abbott:

Henrik Ibsen in Edinburgh, Scotland


Simon Langley-Evans:

Ivanka Trump in Beijing, China


John David Galt:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Helsinki, Finland


Andy Lischett:

Little Richard in Macon, GA


Kevin Wilson:

Chaka Zulu in Nagasaki, Japan



Dane Maslen:

Christopher Columbus in Xining, Qinghai province, China


Heath Davis-Gardner:

Bessie Smith in Oslo, Norway


David Burgess:

Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia, PA


Tom Howell:

Billy Graham in St Petersburg, Russia


Jack McHugh:

Charlemagne in New Delhi, India


Richard Smith:

Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger at Catacamas, Honduras



Mark Firth:

Bonnie Prince Charlie (Prince Charles Edward Stuart), in Benidorm, Spain


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

I was born less than twenty years after you.  Correct chromosome.  Doubtful we ever met.


Turn 3


Will Abbott:

Albert Einstein in Sapporo, Japan


John David Galt:

Britney Spears in Nagasaki, Japan


Heath Davis-Gardner:

Elon Musk in Dubai, UAE


Simon Langley-Evans:

Kate Bush in Mexico City, Mexico


Andy Lischett:

U.S. Grant in Vicksburg, Mississippi


Richard Smith:

Marquis de Sade in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


Kevin Wilson:

Al-Mansur Ali the first, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire 


Tom Howell:

Pope Pius VII in Vatican City


Dane Maslen:

John Ashe in Minneapolis, MN


Jack McHugh:

Indira Gandhi in Moscow, Russia


David Burgess:

Robert Peary at the North Pole


Brad Wilson:

Walt Whitman in Riga, Latvia


Mark Firth:

Nicholas Aloysius Adamshock (a.k.a. Nick Adams) in Chernobyl, Ukraine


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

Our lifetimes overlapped for the most part.  We both had work published, but on different subjects.


Turn 4


Will Abbott:

Voltaire in Timbuktu, Mali


Kevin Wilson:

James Watt in Niamey, Niger 


Richard Smith:

John Wolcot at Nouackchott, Mauritania


David Burgess:

Ernest Hemingway in Zurich, Switzerland


Andy Lischett:

Marilyn Monroe in Monrovia, Liberia


Heath Davis-Gardner:

Voltaire in Monrovia, Liberia



Simon Langley-Evans:

Mark Twain in Seoul, South Korea


John David Galt:

Queen Victoria in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


Jack McHugh:

Boris Pasternak in Warsaw, Poland


Dane Maslen:

Walt Whitman in Anchorage, Alaska


Mark Firth:

Joseph Priestley in Marrakesh, Morocco


Tom Howell:

Thomas Paine in Accra, Ghana



Brad Wilson:

Joseph Conrad in Warsaw, Poland


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

You’re the closest in distance, and I have been correctly identified…just not by you.  We were born in the same country.


Turn 5


Will Abbott:

Joseph Priestley in Rabat, Morocco


Brad Wilson:

Thomas Paine in Dakar, Senegal


Tom Howell:

Thomas Paine in St. Louis, Senegal


Kevin Wilson:

James Watt in Dakar, Senegal


Simon Langley-Evans:

Walt Whitman in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


Andy Lischett:

Thomas Paine in Rabat, Morocco


Dane Maslen:

Joseph Priestly in Kano, Nigeria


Richard Smith:

James Watt in Dakar, Senegal


John David Galt:

Queen Victoria in Kinshasa, Congo


Heath Davis-Gardner:

Joseph Priestley in Lome, Togo


Jack McHugh:

Walt Whitman in Brest, France


Mark Firth:

Marquis de Sade in Bamako, Mali


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

I’ve been correctly identified, but not by you.  We were born within 10 years of each other, and died within 10 years of each other as well.


Turn 6:


Will Abbott:

Thomas Paine in Casablanca, Morocco


David Burgess:

Walt Whitman in Monrovia, Liberia


John David Galt:

Queen Victoria in Monrovia, Liberia


Tom Howell:

Joseph Priestly in Richard Toll, Senegal


Andy Lischett:

Thomas Paine in Las Palmas, Canary Islands


Richard Smith:

James Watt at Nouadhibou, Mauritania


Kevin Wilson:

James Watt in Kebemer, Senegal


Heath David-Gardner:

Joseph Priestley in Dakar, Senegal


Jack McHugh:

James Watt in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivory


Brad Wilson:

Joseph Conrad in Freetown, Sierra Leone


Simon Langley-Evans:

Walt Whitman in Lagos, Nigeria


Mark Firth:

Marquis de Sade in Cotonou, Benin


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

I’ve been correctly identified, but not by you.  We died in different countries.


Turn 7


Will Abbott:

Thomas Paine in Touba, Senegal



John David Galt:

Queen Victoria in Mecca, Saudi Arabia



Kevin Wilson:

Joseph Priestly in Mbaké, Senegal


Simon Langley-Evans:

Thomas Paine in Dakar, Senegal


Andy Lischett:

Thomas Paine in Tamale, Ghana


Richard Smith:

James Watt at Boutilimit, Mauritania


Dane Maslen:

Joseph Priestley in Dakhla, Western Sahara




Tom Howell:

Joseph Priestley in Chinguetti, Mauritania


Jack McHugh:

James Watt in Banjul, Gambia


Heath Davis-Gardner:

James Watt in Monrovia, Liberia


Brad Wilson:

Thomas Paine in Timbuktu, Mali


Mark Firth:

Joseph Priestley, in Niamey, Niger


David Burgess:

Walt Whitman in Cairo, Egypt


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

You know where I am, but not who I am.  Others know who I am, but not where I am.  We died in the same country.


Deadline for Turn 8 is December 12th at 7am My Time

By Popular Demand


I’ve run this game (or By Almost Popular Demand, a slight variant) a number of times in Eternal Sunshine.  The rules are simple: I supply you with five categories.  You send in what you think will be the most popular answer for each category.  Research IS permitted.  You get one point for each person who submitted the answer you gave.  So, if you and two other people send in the same answer that’s three points.  You also get to choose a Joker category, where the points are doubled.  So in the example I gave, you’d get six points in that category if you chose it as your Joker that round.  If you don’t specify a Joker, it gets applied to the first category listed (so you don’t “lose” the Joker).  Always answer for every category: any answer is legal, and will earn a point even if you’re the only person to give it.  High score after ten categories wins.  Any player who joins after the first round starts with the lowest score so far; if you join starting in Turn 3 and the person doing the worst has 27 points so far, that’s what you start with.  Also if you miss a turn, you get the lowest score that round rather than zero.  This makes the game more competitive and keeps you playing even if you arrive late or forget to play one turn.


Turn 9 Categories:

(Don’t forget to specify a Joker category, or it will be applied to Category 1)


1. A mean name kids call other kids.

2. A famous drummer.

3. Something found in or around an Egyptian pyramid.

4. A government department.

5. A Jack Nicholson movie.



Joker category shown in BOLD.  Most popular answer shown in italics (if I remember to do that part).

Simon Langley-Evans scored high this round with 33 (out of a possible 35).  Andy Lischett takes the bottom score with the minimum 6.  No answer for Category 1 matched (as I do not consider “Fat” and “Fatso” to be the same mean name). 


Comments by Category:


A mean name kids call other kids: Andy York – “I have no idea, not being around kids for any amount of time in decades. So, I'll go with Dummy?”  Richard Smith – “The phrase "girly swot" was recently used by Boris Johnson, a rather big kid.”  Mark Nelson – “I will look deep into my memory and pull out... "Four eyes", though at least where I grew up this was more commonly uttered in the refrain of "specky four eyes".”  Mark Firth – “First answer for #1 was “speccfy four-eyes” but this seems more generic.”


A famous drummer: Andy Lischett – “Probably Ringo will win.”  Kevin Wilson – “I’m not a huge music fan.  As in movies, my tastes are pretty pedestrian but at least I know I’ve heard his name before from one of my friends who is a huge music fan and he thinks he’s the best ever.”  Dane Malsen – “Well, you did say 'famous drummer' rather than 'good drummer'!”  Mark Nelson – “I'm not a fan of drum solos... I guess it's a question of going Jazz or Rock. Now, drummers are an essential part of a band.   But my views on drummers are epitomised in the old joke - Q. "What do you call someone who hands out with a group of musicians?"  A. "A drummer."   Now, I like the kind of driving hard-bop associated with Art Blakey... but I will go for Buddy Rich on the grounds that perhaps he is slightly better known.”


Something found in or around an Egyptian pyramid: Andy Lischett – “Tourists or camels, I can't decide which. Maybe tourists on camels. Okay, my answer is camels.”  Kevin Wilson – “Mummies, jewels, pots, etc. but lots and lots and lots of sand!”  Mark Firth – “#3’s wording prompts for “sand” but Mummy is what I think will be most chosen.”


A government department: Kevin Wilson – “Perhaps the most famous.  That or Treasury.  I think State was the first too.”  Richard Smith – “The US defense budget is a staggering $700bn (the UK spends around $50bn). Perhaps you could say that under a trillion is small change: The cost to fix global warming is estimated at $50tn (Morgan Stanley 2019), and the cost of the COVID outbreak on the global economy is estimated at $28tn (IMF 2020).”  Mark Firth – “- I know a lot of people care about tax.”


A Jack Nicholson movie: Andy Lischett – “My first thought was 5 Easy Pieces, which I have not seen since it was originally released (1970?). I didn't like it then, but maybe I should DVR it the next time it comes around.”  Kevin Wilson – “I’m not the biggest Jack fan but I have enjoyed many of his movies.  My favorites of his likely aren’t that popular as my tastes are pretty pedestrian.  So, I went with one he’s more famous for even if it’s not one of those cared much for.”  Mark Nelson – “A good category. I will go for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" as it is one of my favourite movies. I've never read the book, and perhaps one day I should.  I seem to remember that it was Kirk Douglas who originally wanted to bring it to the big screen but by the time the film was made he was considered too old for the main role.”  [[Kirk Douglas played the role on stage, and bought the film rights to the book.  After ten years he sold the rights to his son Michael Douglas, and the rest was history.]]  Brad Wilson – “There are other good ones but Chinatown is THE Nicholson movie, period.”  Mark Firth – “I actually knew a few potential winners, but this is a short title.”


General Comments: Kevin Wilson – “A tougher round.  Not too many (any) with an obvious answer so likely more dispersed.  May just have to get lucky this time to get many points.”  Dane Maslen – “I found the first category particularly difficult as I had no idea whether players will opt for current insults or ones that were current when they were at school, had little recollection of what were common insults when I was at school, and have absolutely no idea what insults might now be common.  To which of course had to be added the possibility of significant differences between the USA and the UK.  Even googling for possibilities proved difficult as most of the hits were advice to parents not to call their kids names.” More Dane Maslen – “I was surprised to see that I had NMRed last issue as I could remember doing my orders.  An examination of my outbox, however, revealed that I'd failed to send them to you!  You might be interested to see what comments I made on the BPD categories.  1. A city in Japan other than Tokyo.  HIROSHIMA.  2. A character in Peanuts.  CHARLIE BROWN.  3. A flavor of flavored water.  STRAWBERRY.  4. An adjective that begins with L.  LARGE.  5. A Henry Fonda film.  12 ANGRY MEN.  Joker on 1.  I think there are several plausible answers for 1 (e.g. Kyoto because of the protocol, Fukushima because of the nuclear reactor problems), but I hope people think back to 1945.  This and Nagasaki are surely the two Japanese cities (other than Tokyo) most famous around the world.  Should I have gone for SNOOPY in 2?  I could be making a big mistake with my choice for 4.  Or possibly a little one.  Given how little I know about films, I was somewhat surprised to be able to identify two Henry Fonda films instantly from memory.  The other was 'Fail-Safe'.  Alas it's not been shown on TV here for a long. long time.”  Mark Nelson – “Regarding the last round. Like Brad Wilson I was very tempted to pick "Once Upon A Time in the West".”  Mark Firth – “Not sure what happened last time with the low score - I was trying! The flavoured drink didn’t help clearly.”


Turn 10 Categories:

(Don’t forget to specify a Joker category, or it will be applied to Category 1)

Turn 10 is worth DOUBLE POINTS!


1.  A smartphone app.

2.  A World War II naval vessel.

3.  A Rolling Stones album.

4.  A type of tea.

5.  Something you crush.


Deadline for Turn 10 of By Popular Demand is: December 12 at 7am My Time

Deadline for the next issue of Eternal Sunshine is: December 12, 2020 at 7am My Time (U.S. central time) – some games and subzines earlier


See You Then!