Eternal Sunshine #139

December 2020

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


On Facebook at or on the web at  Follow on Twitter at @EternalSunshDip.  Also be sure to visit the official Diplomacy World website at 

Sign up for the Eternal Sunshine Mailing List at

Check out my eBay store at


Quote of The Month“Wentworth?  May I remind you, dear boy, that I have the gun?” – (Richard Vickers in “Creepshow”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the centerpiece of the Surly Creep Publishing empire.  I’m not going to suggest that I have resurrected my metadip strategies to take control of the entire Diplomacy hobby and run it as I see fit.  After all, to admit that would also be admitting that I ever put those plans to bed in the first place.  Perhaps my strategy all along was to lull you into a false sense of security, allowing you to adopt a position of complacency and atrophy before consolidating my power base.  Eternal Sunshine, Diplomacy World, the Postal Diplomacy Zine Archive today…tomorrow, the world.


Speaking of Diplomacy World, remember the next issue is due out just after the New Year.  Be sure to send me all your articles, letters, ideas, columns, requests, and whatever else as soon as possible, but certainly no later than January 1st.  As I’ve said many times in there, it’s gotten harder to keep things going since the passing of Jim Burgess, but somehow each issue manages to take some kind of shape, and I publish whatever I have on schedule the best I can manage.  If nothing else, sticking to schedule is one positive I’ve been able to accomplish.  It’s my position that doing so encourages both article submissions and steady readership.  It’s when months pass after a deadline, and no issue appears, that people are most likely to drift away and find other ways to spend their time.


Here in the real world, life trudges along.  Thanksgiving was me and Sanka sitting around while I ate a frozen dinner.  I didn’t bother cooking this year.  I enjoy making a turkey, stuffing, and rolls every year, but this year my enthusiasm was kind of gone after Toby died.  I’d really hoped he’d make it to the holiday; he loved turkey and had a tremendous appetite for a cat.  Sanka barely bothers with “people food” and it simply didn’t seem worth the bother to cook all that food for one person.  I might decide to make one over Christmas, but that remains to be seen.  Don’t feel bad abut the “frozen dinner” part though; it wasn’t like the Fonz eating cold soup from a can.  I’ve been working on losing weight the last six or seven months, and part of that has been lighter dinners when I’m not in the mood for anything in particular.  With better eating, less nighttime snacking, and a small daily exercise regimen I’ve managed to lose over 30 pounds.  I’m probably very close to whatever weight I was going for; I hadn’t really thought out my goal beforehand other than “in better shape” and “shrink my spare tire.”  If I do lose another ten pounds or so, that would likely be as far as I could push things.  It’s not like I can return to the skin-and-bones physique I sported from infancy through High School.  


Around the house, I finally decided to bite the bullet and fix a problem this place has been facing since I first moved in: a lack of proper drain line cleanouts.  It wasn’t something I thought about when looking at the house initially, and the inspector we used never asked about it either.  But in what turns out to be a not uncommon problem in my neighborhood, the main drain lines were installed without cleanouts.  Instead, if you had a clog in your sewer line you were expected to access it from the roof vent.  Now, in this case, there was a cleanout in the front yard that I found pretty easily the first time we had a clogging issue (which happened only a month or two after we moved in, since the lines hadn’t been used for months).  Whatever service I called for that – probably Roto Rooter, as that was the most popular service up north – rooted the line via that cleanout without incident.  But that was because the clog (and root encroachment) was between the cleanout and the city sewer connection, which was the direction the cleanout pointed towards.  A few years later when there were minor root issues further up the line, either just under the house or closer to the bathroom connection, is when I discovered there was no cleanout pointed back to the house. 


My first assumption had been that there would be one, but that it had been covered up by the front yard.  I tried searching for it with a stick, a screwdriver, and even a two-foot rod, but there was simply nothing there.  That’s when I realized the outbound cleanout appeared to be newer than the house, suggesting it had been added later, probably when the previous owners had installed a French drain by the driveway.  There was a cleanout in the rear wall of the house near the kitchen sink, but unscrewing that cap revealed that it was just a small side cleanout, meant to clear problems between the sink and wherever that line connected to the main drain line.  The largest access point was roof vent, and that was the only usable one for an auger.


I didn’t have a major problem with that, until early 2019 when I needed the drain line to be rooted again.  I’d used a variety of root killer products through the years, and while all of them have some effectiveness, eventually the lines have to cleaned out.  The roots I have trouble with aren’t huge thick tree roots, but instead thin black wiry ones that look more like tangled fishing line.  I’m not sure if they’re at the end of the tree root system (I have a pecan tree in the front yard) or if they come from the bushes or some other growth.  But they get longer over time and create a bigger and bigger tangle until whatever paper, fabric, and waste matter they snag fully clogs the main line.  At that point, there’s nothing you can do but root the line.  The only downside of the roof vent is that it doesn’t easily allow the use of a full-size sewer auger.  It can be done with some difficulty – assuming you run the auger line through a long segment of PVC pipe to prevent twisting – but it takes way more work than its worth.  Instead, most plumbers bring the smaller auger up by hand, climbing a ladder and placing it right on the roof before sending it through and snagging as much of the root system as possible.


But when I called around in 2019, I discovered that none of the services I had used in the past were willing to come out.  Apparently, they’d all decided that accessing lines through roof vents was “too dangerous” for their employees.  I’m guessing it has to do with some industry-standard insurance riders, because I could think of another reason all the major companies would adopt this position at the same time.  Fortunately, I was able to find a local company that would still do the work.  But I realized I couldn’t count on this forever.  Besides, the line would be better cleaned with proper cleanouts than it ever could be with the roof vent.



So this month I finally had the front yard dug up and that old one-direction cleanout replaced with new, wider cleanouts, properly positioned to allow the line to be fully rooted in either direction.  So far I haven’t needed the line rooted again (knock on wood), probably because I found a very nice foaming root killer that seems to have done a much better job that the products I was using previously.  If I ever win the lottery or something and can have a house custom built, there are two things I know I’ll demand that wouldn’t normally be included: extra cleanout access points along major drains, and extra shut off valves all along the water lines.  I should be so lucky.


In zine news, Kendo Nagasaki and By Popular Demand both end this issue; Kendo because the correct location and person has been identified, and By Popular Demand because Turn 10 has been reached.  But don’t fret: new games start this issue too!  I’m thinking about running By Almost Popular Demand when this new game of BPD ends.  In the past I switched off to BAPD every few games for a change of pace.  The only difference between the two is that in BAPD the most popular answer in every category scores zero, so your goal changes from finding the most popular answer to finding the second most popular one.  But because everyone knows that, sometimes the “obvious” answer doesn’t turn out to be the most popular, which leads to a lot of overthinking and plenty of enjoyable confusion.  Let me know which you’d prefer.  And if you haven’t been playing By Popular Demand or Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki, why not?  Now is the perfect time to join in both games, since they’re both starting fresh.  Send in your orders before the next deadline!


Andy York and Peter Sullivan return with their prized subzines.  Each of them have a game opening waiting on just one more player: Andy has Gunboat and Peter has Railway Rivals (although Andy has other openings as well).  If you want to play, better sign up quick before the spots are gone!


That’s it from me for now.  See you next year!

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up:  Brad Wilson, needs six 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, new game starting.  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


Richard Smith: I was interested to read about your pinball machine and was briefly fooled by the picture, thinking "ooh that looks in great nick". A friend of mine has a "Centaur", a superbly designed and very addictive Bally machine from the 80s. Being both rare and sought after it wasn't cheap to buy and maintenance costs are high, but he thinks it's worth it, and having very much enjoyed playing it I can understand why.


[[The body of my game wasn’t in awful shape – just some nicks and wear, and with all the lights on and stuff it was pretty.  But the playing surface and the back glass both had damage (the playing surface much more so), and any collector would have turned their nose up at it.]]


Andy York: Clearing the 'zine deck so I can turn to OOTW. Hopefully I'll finish that tomorrow and can start putting my bit together. As for your "award-winning" comment in this issue, I seriously doubt that it could win anything even if I was interested in it doing so.


[[Is there even anything to win at this stage in the hobby?  Hard to do a Marco or Runestone poll with only a few zines in the American hobby.  Couldn’t even bring back the anti-award Rusty Bolts that I took over from Tom Nash.]]


Haven't seen any of the movies/shows you mention in your review. Most I'd likely skip, though the "Queen's Gambit" is of interest (played on the Chess Team in high school).


[[You would likely enjoy Queens Gambit, and possibly Mortal Thoughts.  But I bet you saw Mortal Thoughts long ago.  As of this writing, I doubt you would like any of the things I review this issue (but there are still a few weeks left).  Perhaps you’d enjoy Mank, but even that I think is not entirely up your alley.]]


How am I still in the lead in BPD? I normally inhabit the bottom 3rd of players....


[[That’s funny, my impression is you always wind up in the top three scores.  But I did no checking of prior games to see if that is true.  You’d likely know better than me, since you are you.]]


The Dining Dead – Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


Blood and Flesh – The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson (Shudder) – This is a documentary about Al Adamson, who was a Director of low-budget horror and exploitation films in the 1960’s and the 1970’s, back when B-Movies still ruled the grindhouse circuit, the drive-ins, and the budget theaters.  Adamson was renowned in his day for his ability to make a movie on a shoestring budget, and to change titles and re-edit films so they could be marketed again and again.  He also made it a point to include at least one “name” star in most of his films, often actors who were near the end of their careers or who had gone into semi-retirement.  Lon Chaney, Jr., John Carradine, J. Carrol Naish, and the Ritz Brothers all appeared in one or more of his films, and Russ Tamblyn (of West Side Story fame) made a number of movies with Adamson when he needed the money (long before his “Rebirth” as Dr. Jacoby in Twin Peaks). 


The first two-thirds of the documentary cover Adamson’s entry into the business, and how his efforts eventually led to a successful career.  Despite being considered garbage at the time, some of his films have built a large cult following over the decades, with fans including Quentin Tarantino.  And while some flopped, many of them were very successful and turned large profits.  After the death of his wife (and star of many of his films) Regina Carrol, Adamson became a bit of a recluse and stopped making films.  The death of the drive-in industry and major studio focus on budget cinemas also hastened his departure.  It wasn’t until his business partner suggested a docudrama on UFOs that Adamson returned to work, spending a few years on that topic and – in some people’s opinions – delving into “dangerous” areas of investigation that the government would not be pleased with.


The last portion of the film deals with what gave Adamson his most recent publicity: his murder in 1995, and his body being buried under a concrete slab in his ranch house.  His handyman was eventually convicted of the murder, in what appears to be a cut-and-dry case of murder to avoid arrest for embezzlement…but despite that, a few of his friends and associates appear to leave open the possibility that Adamson was murdered for vague reasons connected to his unfinished UFO film.


To me, the murder was less interesting than the details about his career.  His famous cheapness, use of washed-up former names, repackaging films again and again, and the way he was willing to add any random element to a film if it meant making it more sellable to an audience were all fascinating.  I mean, here’s a guy who had his stockbroker play Count Dracula in a film just because he could get to do it for almost no money.  In some ways Adamson was a “normal” Ed Wood, albeit with more skill and an ability to surround himself with a very capable crew.  Some of his cinematographers went on to great fame doing big feature films.  I can’t recommend you search out any of Adamson’s movies unless you’re a fan of grindhouse or 70’s exploitation films, but this documentary is worth a watch if my description sounds at all interesting.  If you’re determined to sample his work, and don’t want to buy the recent Limited Edition boxed set, I’d suggest Satan’s Sadists if you want a better example, or Dracula Versus Frankenstein if you want the full level of foolishness.


Blood Pi (DVD but you can find it on Tubi) – I backed this movie on Indiegogo years ago, and like a lot of small budget indie projects, real life (and scarce funds) got in the way of Writer and Director Jordan Pacheco finishing things until recently.  Some of the gang that worked on this I know from their work on Scorpio Films Releasing projects like the great Seven Dorms of Death (the greatest parody of low budget 80’s horror ever made) and a long-time guilty pleasure The Disco Exorcist.  Jordan did special effects on both, and some of the cast members appeared in one or the other.


In this film we have Sarah Nicklin as Agnis, a nerdy college student who would love nothing more than to be accepted into sorority society.  Anna Rizzo plays Amber, a more self-assured social outcast who tries to be friends with Agnis and help her feel better about herself.  But Amber is little too psycho, and possessive, while Agnis would rather spend time with the mean Pi sorority sisters who are suddenly including her in their parties (for darker motives she is unaware of).


For a low budget movie, following a generally formulaic path (with a twist or two), Blood Pi is pretty fun.  Anna Rizzo is a delight, swinging back and forth from powerful and self-assured to self-loathing and psychotic.  Sarah Nicklin gets to play against type this time around, as she’s usually the bombshell type in these kinds of movies.  And while the supporting cast is mostly given cookie-cutter roles to fill, there are a few subplots which at least keep the story moving and provide some minor depth.  If you like low budget horror with a few jokes, and can appreciate films that try to go as far as they can on a shoestring, give Blood Pi a go.  If nothing else you’ll enjoy some blood, some sexy costumes, and a bloody castration.


In the Electric Mist (Amazon) – I stumbled across this when looking for something to watch.  I remember hearing good things about the novel it is based on, “In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead,” and considering the cast I was surprised the film had gone unnoticed by me in 2009.  Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Mary Steenburgen, Ned Beatty…what could go wrong?  Sadly, the whole thing was a boring mess.  Tommy Lee Jones plays Detective Dave Robicheaux, working for a parish outside of New Orleans after Katrina.  There’s a dead teenage prostitute, a rich gangster-type that he believes in involved (John Goodman) who has also helped bring a $40 million film project to the area, a heavy-drinking lead actor (Peter Sarsgaard), the bones of a lynching victim Robicheaux saw killed when he was 17, ghosts of Confederate soldiers (Levon Helm and others) who keep talking to him…just too many story lines, none of which were very interesting or compelling.  As a matter of fact, I never for one moment felt Tommy Lee Jones’ character really cared about anything.  There’s a whole “too cool for the room” attitude that every character carries.  This failed adaptation does make me think this story might make a good novel, so perhaps I’ll go back and read it.  Director Bertrand Tavernier has made some great films in his day, with The Clockmaker of St. Paul and Death Watch two favorites of mine, but this one feels like a constant attempt to be deep and profound, while far too self-aware to ever stray into such territory.  Okay, out of curiosity I just went and looked up a bit of history on the film.  No wonder I never saw it; it was never theatrically released.  The version I saw was released straight to DVD (which shows you the studio had zero confidence in the finished product).  The film was in ways a sequel to Heaven’s Prisoners, a box-office flop with Alec Baldwin playing the same Robicheaux character but at a much younger age.  Perhaps it’s not possible to translate a James Lee Burke novel onto film successfully?  A longer “Director’s cut” of Electric Mist (only ten minutes longer) was an award winner at a French festival when it premiered there.  But after this mess I have zero interest in learning how much better that cut might be.


The Girl on the Third Floor (Netflix) – Searching the internet for more “best horror films you haven’t seen” lists, I saw this one mentioned.  The blurb mentioned this was directed by the guy who brought us the great Starry Eyes, an independent horror film I happen to think is terrific (about a wannabe actress and what’s she’s willing to sacrifice for fame).  The name of the director – Travis Stevens - didn’t ring a bell, but no matter.  If I’d looked into it further, I might have skipped this.  The plot starts out straightforward; Don (Philip Brooks a.k.a. C.M. Punk, who is apparently a well-known figure in the professional wrestling WWE world) has arrived at a Victorian house with his dog, planning to renovate it so he and his pregnant wife (Trieste Kelly Dunne) can move in and raise their future child.  The house is a former brothel (which it seems they knew when they bought it), and as you might expect, some strange things start to happen as Don begins to work on it.  Then a neighborhood college-age girl named Sarah (Sarah Brooks) appears, and Don, being the screw-up that he is, can’t resist a one-night fling with her.  I could tell you more, but it isn’t worth my time or yours.  This movie has aspirations, but it doesn’t succeed.  I never felt an atmosphere of menace or anything else, just a touch of the Fatal Attraction vibe in a couple of spots.  The supernatural parts were completely swing-and-miss for me.  Afterwards I couldn’t believe this was the same guy who did Starry Eyes, and I discovered it wasn’t.  Travis Stevens produced that film, but this was his first feature-length attempt at directing anything.  He didn’t do a terrible job, but it wasn’t really worth the time I spent with it.  (Incidentally, he also produced the terrific documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, telling the story of the famed director’s failed attempt to adapt the Frank Herbert novel for the big screen).  I can’t believe the internet lied to me.


Porno (Shudder) – I’m pretty close to cancelling Shudder, because most of the movies on there are just not very good.  The only reason I keep it is because I watch movies on there and realize I don’t need to buy a physical copy (Pizza Panic was a recent example, as was Fade to Black which was just remastered and released by Vinegar Syndrome).  Porno, for all its faults, is still better than average for this streaming service.


Quick recap: four religious teens and a long-haired religious projectionist work in a movie theater run by a religious owner/manager.  Left alone by the owner for their “Friday night movie night” where they get to watch a movie after closing, they stumble across a hidden storage area of the theater, and uncover a strange film canister.  Deciding to watch that instead of Encino Man or A League of Their Own, it summons a succubus and chaos ensues as they try to survive and dispatch her back to her realm.  There are a few funny gore bits, and while the plot and dialogue are generally stale and cliche, the acting isn’t too bad, which is what pulls it just above the low “average” Shudder bar.  If you like low budget horror with more tame humor, you might think this is decent.  Otherwise, like most of the Shudder catalog, you aren’t missing too much.  But you could do a lot worse.


Meanwhile, I see Shudder just added a bunch of Mario Bava-directed movies, which I either haven’t seen in forever or never saw.  So even they stumble into decent material now and then.


Leap of Faith – William Friedkin on the Exorcist (Shudder) – This documentary is a two-camera shot of director William Friedkin talking about his influences, his thoughts on faith and fate, his process for directing a film, and the many little things he feels were serendipitous gifts from the Film Gods that enabled him to make The Exorcist.  If you’re looking for details on how various special effects were made, or recounting some of the societal fascination and backlash from the film’s release, this isn’t the documentary for you (and both have been covered elsewhere).  But if you are a lover of the film, or a film lover in general, you should really enjoy this documentary.


Friedkin talks about how he was friends with Exorcist author William Blatty, and despite the fact that they hadn’t talked in some time, Blatty sent him a copy of the novel, which he immediately knew he wanted to direct.  The studio had no interest in Friedkin getting the job, and instead offered it to Stanley Kubrick among others.  But when Friedkin (not even an Academy member at the time) won the Best Director Oscar for The French Connection, he found he had the power and position to make the movie, and to make it the way he wanted to make it, the way he pictured it in his head when first reading the novel.


I won’t go over all the details discussed and stories he reveals, but you get some very illuminating perspective on how certain choices were made, on what films and painters influenced his shot composition, and most of all how Friedkin sees film in the way a conductor sees an orchestra playing a symphony.  (By the way, the stories of how he put the score together, and how he lost at least one long-time friendship in the process, is just one example of how he stuck with his vision).  The whole process of how the Father Karras role was cast is another highlight.  As a film buff, his views on the “rough edges” and the “grace notes” he wanted left in the film (and how that vision can be seen in his other movies) were very interesting to me.  I imagine this will be available elsewhere in the near future, and it’s worth a watch.


Mank (Netflix) – I need to get this out of the way first: the modern tendency seems to be that today’s viewers watch a movie based on a true story and walk away believing they’ve seen the true story.  Bohemian Rhapsody was a recent example (and the hilarious Screen Rant Youtube “Pitch Meeting” for it illustrated only some of the falsehoods that movie dropped on unsuspecting audiences).  So, know this going in: Mank is not the “true” story.  There’s been raging debates about Citizen Kane for over half a century, and the archives of the script drafts show fairly clearly who is responsible for what.  The movie could never have been written without either Orson Welles or Herman Mankiewicz, that much is clear, and while Mankiewicz is responsible for the outline of the plot, Welles clearly reshaped what he was given in crucial ways.  I’ve heard it described as “Welles adapted the Maniewicz draft into a different movie.”  If you don’t care about accuracy or film history, there’s no need to worry.  If you do, enjoy this movie and – if necessary – investigate later to learn more about how things truly developed.


Pardon the interruption…


Mank stars Gary Oldman as Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz.  A raging alcoholic, a persona non-grata in Hollywood late in his career, and sporting a broken leg from a car accident, Mankiewicz is set up at a cabin by Orson Welles where he is meant to recuperate, dry out, and write the script that would eventually be developed into Citizen Kane.  He is primarily assisted by secretary Rita (Lily Collins) and watched over by Welles regular John Houseman (Sam Troughton).  Along the way we’re shown flashbacks to explain how Mank first met William Randolph Hurst (Charles Dance) and his actress girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried), and why he came to loathe Hurst and studio head Louis Mayer (Arliss Howard).  We get a front row seat to his self-destructive behavior, mostly drinking and gambling and alienating anyone in power.  As says in the first flashback: “I won’t work with half the directors in this town, and the other half won’t work with me.”


Late in the movie we’re finally introduced to the question of credit for the screenplay (Mank was under contract to Welles’ Mercury Company and had signed off on receiving no screen credit).  There’s not much resolved there, as this movie makes no bones about who is the (flawed) hero and who is the villain in that debate.  We also get a heavily melodramatic sub-plot regarding the failed attempt of Upton Sinclair (shown only once, inexplicably played by Bill Nye the Science Guy) to become governor of California. 


Oldman is – as usual – wonderful, making the character his own to where within five minutes you forget he is Gary Oldman at all.  The rest of the cast is serviceable, but none of them stand out.  Director David Fincher brings his typically self-aware style to the film.  It’s presented in black and white to give the proper air of the era, and much of that works, but none of the opulence of the Hurst household catches the eye.  I guess Fincher was doing his best to mimic some of the Kane shot construction at times, and thereby lend support to the idea that Mank was the true architect of the finished product.


If I had paid $12 for a ticket and watched this in the theater, I think I would have enjoyed it less; perhaps a lot less…it’s possible I would have been bored out of my mind.  But at home on my television, the flaws didn’t bother me as much as they otherwise would.  It’s still about ten minutes too long, but I liked it enough to recommend it, for Oldman’s performance if nothing else.


Anything for Jackson (Shudder) – I didn’t expect much from this movie, but it turned out to be worth my time.  It’s not a horror movie in the current sense of the term; it’s more of a paranormal suspense.  Think Rosemary’s Baby with much less humor, both in terms of subject matter (broad strokes only) and tone.  The film centers on Audrey and Henry Walsh (Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings, both excellent in their roles) as grandparents still grieving the death of their grandson Jackson.  As we quickly learn, they hope to use an ancient book of demonic spells to ask an entity to bring their grandson back and put his soul into the unborn fetus carried by one of Henry’s patients (he is a doctor).  The victim is played by Konstantina Mantelos, and while she is serviceable in her role, I think my indifference to her character is mostly because writer Keith Cooper didn’t give her that much to work with. 


The plot gets darker as things move along, with complications and unplanned outcomes.  McCarthy and Richings play their roles wonderfully.  They’re both very believable as loving, caring, normal grandparents who just want their grandson back.  They believe they’ve got all their bases covered, and considered every variable.  Instead of the humorous, sinister character Ruth Gordon played in Rosemary’s Baby, Audrey is full of love and compassion, but she’s on a mission and nothing will distract her from her goal.  In the meantime, Henry has a little of Fargo’s Jerry Lundergaard in him: passive, nervous, and easily frustrated when any curve ball is thrown in his direction.  Director Justin G. Dyck handles the action very well.  This film is a major change of pace for him, as I see his history is mostly sappy TV movies with a heavy dose of Christmas (no joke, I see 16 Christmas-themed movies directed by him in the last six years).  Perhaps that experience was valuable, allowing him to mix the Hallmark formula as contrast for a minute or two at a time.  Regardless, while Anything for Jackson is far from perfect, it’s well-acted and generally interesting, and has a surprise or two up its sleeve.  Worth a watch if you stumble across it.


Older Movies Watched on DVD (that I’ve seen many times) – Time After Time, Moulin Rouge, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, The Dead Zone.

Octopus's Garden

Issue Ninety-Two

11th December 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:


It’s almost Christmas time. You know what would be a great Christmas present – both for yourself, and to the four dudes patiently waiting for this game-start? Sign up for the last place now! Not only can we a get a game-start for the new year, if everything goes to schedule, you have a one-in-five chance of getting a win in a Railway Rivals game for your Christmas present NEXT year!

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


EDITORIAL – Virtually Getting There

So 2020 was the year that both my main interests – board gaming and science fiction – discovered the virtual convention as the solution to the question “How do we get together when we can’t get together?” With vaccines just beginning to come through now, and the process of getting enough of the whole population vaccinated likely to take longer than it should or could, virtual conventions are likely to be just as important in 2021, for much of the year at least.

Inevitably, virtual conventions for both games and science fiction have tried different ways of becoming virtual, in the usual mixture of learning best practice from other conventions’ early attempts, and having competing visions of what makes a “good” convention in the first place, both virtually and in meat-space. There has been a certain amount of coalescence around core technologies. Zoom has dominating the video-conferencing sphere (with the previous 800-pound gorilla in this area, Skype, coming nowhere – probably even behind in-house rival Microsoft Teams). In the text-based persistent group chat arena, there are multiple solutions champing at the bit with free (as in “free beer”) solutions, all with very similar feature sets.  But the one that seems to have gained the most traction is Discord. I like to feel that this is due to its comparatively benign monetisation policy:

·         Cisco Webex – free, because we want you to recommend the paid version to your boss for work.

·         Microsoft Teams – free, because we want you to recommend the paid version to your boss for work.

·         Facebook Live – free, because Mark Zukerberg wants ALL YOUR DATA BWAH BWAH BWAH!

·         Discord – free, because we want to sell you some custom emoji of cute animals.

I feel that both games and SF cons fairly quickly adapted to replicating the “hard” side of conventions – playing games, running panels, doing presentations and so on. What was harder to crack was the “soft” side of conventions – the social space, which is probably at least as important as the stated purpose of the convention to a lot of attendees. This was not so much a technical problem – Zoom works well and, critically, is easy even for numpties like me to install on a laptop as long as it has a built-in webcam and microphone/speakers. But the process of “curating” the social space has taken some getting used to. “Meat-space” conventions have long ago solved the problem of getting attendees together outside of the formal programme. Virtual conventions are still feeling their way on this – although some have done so more successfully than others. I’d like to give a shout-out here to the science fiction con Punctuation in November, which really tried to move the state of the art forwards in terms of “social spaces,” and was, I feel, largely successful in doing so.

I’d also like to plead the case of virtual conventions going forwards. For 2020 they have been, and for (much of) 2021 they are likely to be, the only option. But, for some things, they actually work better than the meat-space conventions that they currently substitute for. They are much cheaper to run and attend. They are much more accessible for those who can’t travel, whether for financial or accessibility/disability reasons. And they can bend space and time in ways that meat-space conventions can’t. At Punctuation con, I woke up on the Saturday morning to find that the Australians were still having a drinking session in the “virtual bar.” My initial thought was “that’s a bit clichéd, guys” – until I realised that it was already the evening for them!

In other words, the virtual conventions may have started out as a necessity – perceived even by their organisers as a very second-place option compared to “the real thing.” But, in the coming years, it has the potential to add another dimension of activity, both for the games hobby and science fiction. An annual schedule of virtual events, running alongside (and sometimes crossing over with) the non-virtual events once we get them back, opens up a whole new opportunity for us all to do what we love – whether it’s gaming, discussing science fiction, or just trying to beat the Aussies in a drinking competition!

That was Octopus's Garden #92, Startling Press production number 388.


Out of the WAY #28


by W. Andrew York

(wandrew88 of




All is well around here, just much of the same day in and day out. I didn’t quite get to all I’d hoped for, nor reduce some of the backlog, since the last issue – but at least the backlog isn’t increasing as much as before. I know I’ll have some more time in the next few months as winter brings in chillier and wetter weather keeping me inside more (note - we are tipping into a mild draught condition, so rain is needed). I’m still going to stay out of the gym as long as I’m able to squeeze at least a few walks a week, but might be tempted if there’s a long period where it isn’t possible to get outside (that is if the community C-19 spread isn’t trending upward!).

I did vote in a run-off election for Austin City Council. Unfortunately, the early voting center I could walk to wasn’t open, so had to drive over to one that was. The parking lot was packed, so was worried I’d have a long wait (if so, I would have left and tried another time). As it was, I zoomed through the line and used the last open machine. So, it was quick in and out which I much appreciated. The poll staffers did say it was much busier earlier in the day.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much time to pre-prep this month’s subzine by getting some of the bits written that aren’t time constrained (i.e., the games just have to wait). So, what’s here is a bit less filled out than I like to do and no monthly review. That said, I do have an idea how to restructure my approach to putting this together that I expect to implement this month. I’m hoping that should make it easier to put together the parts of each subzine to reduce the amount of time I need to invest between the deadline and when the material needs to be in Doug’s hands. As always, suggestions, ideas and requests are welcome.

Everyone enjoy your holidays! I know I’m looking forward to a vastly improved 2021!





WAYward Thoughts


It took longer than I expected for the first individual I personally know to come down with C-19. The Monday after Thanksgiving a close friend’s mother started feeling under the weather (no Turkey Day gatherings, just the folks in that household). She went to her physician mid-morning, who ran C-19 and regular flu tests then sent her home with the usual guidance for a case of the flu. By early afternoon, she started having body aches and by mid-afternoon her fever was nearing 103.

After a phone consultation, the doctor sent her to the hospital – to occupy the last C-19 bed in the area. If that wasn’t available (rural area of west Texas), the next open beds were hundreds of miles away in New Mexico or, if in-state, in San Antonio. After oxygen therapy and a therapeutics regimen, she was released on Saturday. Bed rest and quarantine for another week with take-home oxygen, then a follow-up with her personal physician before resuming normal activities. So far, fortunately, no further issues beyond an understandable bit of low energy and sleeping more.  Luckily, she had only a mild bout of the infection and, though still having no smell or taste, survived it with no apparent long-term effects. And, of now, no one else in her close contacts have symptoms twelve days after her diagnosis.

That said, the contact tracers finally contacted my friend yesterday (eleven days after diagnosis). They are now wanting to do daily checks for the next fourteen days while he is in quarantine. Shouldn’t that have been initiated nine or ten days ago? The end of his quarantine period is in two days. He’s tried explaining that to the caller, but apparently they are adamantly sticking to their script.

Previously, my perspective on C-19 and keeping vigilant was a bit abstract, but this brought it into direct focus. I’ve known her since the mid-80s and she’s been part of regular conversations and discussions ever since. Though I didn’t often see her face-to-face, she’s in my circle of people I care about and am concerned about their welfare. So, this incident reinforced my diligence on being as safe as is reasonable (cleared the fog of Covid Fatigue in my mind, so to speak).

I’m very glad to see that the first US vaccine may be approved in the next few days, and fully support the tiered approach to giving it. On the other hand, I’ll likely have to wait until late spring at the earliest to have mine (not old enough, in a critical field of work, living in close quarters with others and mostly free from the comorbidity conditions (or under control)). That likely means I won’t be going to cons, gaming events or movies for another six-eight months. Though I’d hope it wouldn’t take that long, I accept it and am willing to let most of my community get the protection they need to safely return to a semblance of normality without undo risk.




Texas Talk


For those who follow baseball, the shake-up of the Minor League system arrived Wednesday with some significant changes to the Texas team line-up. Of course, we still have the two MLB teams in Houston and (the Rangers) in Arlington, a suburb situated between Dallas and Fort Worth. However, the MiLB scene has shifted with the overall gain of an AA team.

Here in Round Rock (Austin), the local Express franchise lost the Astros AAA team to Sugarland outside Houston. The Astros bought a majority interest in that team, the Skeeters, previously part of the independent Atlantic Coast League. So, the Rangers who’d moved their team from Round Rock to Nashville a couple years ago when the Astros returned will be coming back (Rangers had been here from 2010 to 2018). It actually is a bit better for me that it’s the Rangers for a couple of reasons. First, historically, the Rangers have been a bit more active with their minor league teams in the Spring caravans and such. Secondly, the major cable TV carrier in the area carries the Rangers MLB games while the Astros are only on a smaller service that doesn’t cover where I live.

I’m very glad that we retained an AAA team as a number of places had major changes. For instance, the Marlin’s AAA franchise had moved from New Orleans with 2020 being their opening in Wichita as the Wind Surge. As there was no MiLB season, not a game was played there and, with the reorganization, that franchise is moving on to Jacksonville FL (previously the Jumbo Shrimp hosted a class A team). An AA team is replacing them in Wichita and will debut the new stadium. The Fresno Grizzlies only had the option between dropping from AAA to Low-A ball or in not having a team at all!

                Other changes to MiLB in Texas include San Antonio moving back to hosting AA team from the AAA level (had only been AAA for a couple of years). It was a big win when they brought in the AAA team to be the Missions, while the existing AA franchise moved to Armadillo. However, there were some disagreements about building a new stadium at AAA standards and its location. So, I’m not surprised that it happened as one of the big pushes by MLB was that stadiums need to meet higher standards and amenities for the teams. So the Padres are moving their AA team back from Amarillo.

                This resulted in the Amarillo AA team, the Sod Poodles, moving from being a Padres affiliate to the Diamondbacks. I’m sure they’re glad to have a team in that nearly brand new stadium which had gained rave reviews.

                Three other MiLB teams in Texas remained pat. The Padres AAA team in El Paso isn’t moving. Interestingly, as I recall, two years ago Chihuahua related sports clothing/merchandise topped the MiLB teams in sales – especially in international sales. The Astros AA team is staying as the Corpus Christi Hooks and the Rangers AA team will still be in Frisco as the Rough Riders.

Here’s hoping that there is a MiLB season in 2021.


Sources: bits and pieces from press releases, news articles/commentary columns, television news reports, etc. The primary one on the specific changes is a Sporting News article published at



Letter Column

(always welcome, send them in!)

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


[Richard Smith] – Awhile back I nerdily mentioned zine pdfs and bookmarks. As I am one of the few that actually uses Edge I was pleased to see Mircosoft have at last added support for bookmarks to its pdf viewer. Of course they have a way to go to match the features of Acrobat Reader DC, for example when checking the layout of Variable Pig I go into 2-page mode then press CTRL-SHIFT-H (using the up and down arrow keys to control the speed and direction of movement). Also, “Read out Loud” copes surprisingly well with zine content with the nice American lady not missing a beat. [WAY] – I don’t usually read .pdfs in my browser, instead downloading and reading in Acrobat off-line (there are times it does happen though). Plus, I don’t do anything too advanced as I don’t mind using the arrows, up/down keys and search function. Hopefully your tips will help out others using Edge that are reading this!





Mini-Book Reviews

(finished since last issue)


[[Comment – Only one book finished this month, though a couple are nearly done. I’m also delving into a few longer reading efforts – a book on the Popes is being tackled by reading the summary of one Pope/day. As there are 262 Popes in the book (through John Paul II), plus a number of essays on the topic it’ll take months to finish. By next issue, I should be finished with Beowulf and one on spies in the American Revolution operating around the Continental capitol locations.]]


Lost Arts: A Celebration of Culinary Traditions by Lynn Alley (2000; 200p.)


                I saw this author teaching a cooking class beck in 2001 and was intrigued by some of her ideas. I bought the book afterwards and read it at the time but, beyond tagging some things to try, never ended up doing anything with it. So, I decided to tackle it again.

                In the book, she delves into a number of techniques for home chefs to get to the basics of culinary arts. Some of the areas include making your own wine, mustards and preserves while others address the use of fresh herbs and creating flavored butters and oils. Each section starts out with background of the technique, how to approach it, where to obtain ingredients/substitutes and step by step instructions. Then, there are recipes where the results are used.

                For example, in the section on making your own olives, starts with a bit of historical background on olives and how they were used through the years. It is followed with sourcing ideas for fresh olives (there also is a section of mail resources in the book of the book, but it is a bit suspect after 20 years) and then jumps in how to cure the olives at home and determine when they are done. She does take the extra step of letting you know of color changes, solution changes, smells you might detect so that you won’t be concerned when they occur that something went south.

                Next are serving suggestions and six recipes. They include a Green Olive Tapenade (looks tasty!), a Greek Stifado (Greek stew variant made with chicken and olives) and a Green Olive Bread (actually included in the bread section). The recipes don’t require that you use your own olives, commercially available olives from the grocery store are acceptable.

                Be advised, some of the techniques require a bit of work – especially the wine making. That one requires some specialized equipment, but that you may be able to borrow or rent from suppliers or fellow enthusiasts, and space (she uses her guest bathroom’s bathtub for the early steps and the closet for aging). And, the time to get results can be extensive (the wine racking step takes multiple iterations at 2-3 month intervals, until the last carboy is clear at the bottom). On the other hand, the preserves section really only requires the chosen fruit, a wide shallow pan, sugar and lemon juice. Plus, if you’re making enough that it won’t immediately be used, some method of canning is also needed (both the standard canning method and paraffin sealing are detailed).

                Overall this is a very approachable cookbook that I’d recommend if it is at all intriguing to you. I’ve already tried some of the ideas about mustards (Coleman’s mustard powder) and am looking into making my own once I verify a local sources of mustard seed. I have all the rest needed to make it (not that there is that much). I’ve also dabbled in flavored oils, but now have some better ideas how to approach it and plan on doing that as I’ve discovered a number of the commercial ones are “flavored” synthetically rather than by the actual herb.

                See this issues “Recipe” for an easy one from the book, looks very tasty (me being a garlic fan, that is).





Babylon 5 Quote


In “A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 2” - Londo: “Landing   thrusters…landing   thrusters…Hmm…If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be…?”


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.


[[begin excerpt, slightly edited]]


Garlic Mayonnaise

(page 53, from Lost Arts: A Celebration of Culinary Traditions ©2000)

by Lynn Alley


1 tbsp     white wine or tarragon vinegar

1 large    egg*

1 tsp       Dijon mustard

1½ cups oil

4+           cloves garlic

                salt and pepper


  * Caution: Due to the overuse of antibiotics and inhume and unsanitary conditions in the poultry industry, some chickens have developed highly resistant strains of salmonella bacteria that infest even the uncracked eggs. For this reason the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cautioned consumers to avoid eating raw eggs or products made with raw eggs. If you are concerned about salmonella, you may wish to use a commercial brand of mayonnaise for your potato salad. [[WAY: this was a subrecipe for a Tarragon Potato Salad with Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise recipe]]




1)       Place vinegar, egg, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic cloves in the workbowl of a food processer. Mush ‘em up.

2)       With machine running slowly, drizzle oil in through feed tube. Correct seasonings. Makes about 2 cups.




-          This stuff is deadly. You can vary the garlic content according to taste—6 to 10 cloves make a smashing fresh aioli. Using fresh raw garlic gives the mayo a real “bite.”


[[end excerpt]]







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’ve already signed up for next summer’s GISH Hunt. If others that read this are interested in forming an OOTW or ES team, let me know (we’d need 9-15 to ensure we wouldn’t potentially be broken up and added to other groups). We’d be playing “just for the fun of it” not “in it to win it”. The dates are July 31 through August 7. Early registration is now closed, but if you let me know your interest I’ll let you know when it opens (or proactively make your GISH account and/or download the app to be notified directly).


In the Beer-Braised Cajun Sausage Bake recipe, I’d put in a warning about using fresh sausage. I recently made the recipe using a fine ground, tightly packed, bratwurst from my local Sprouts (I believe the sausage is made in-store). It held up during the cooking well, though I probably should have cut the pieces larger – a couple came close to splitting and falling apart.





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; D – 1; H – 1; I – 1; L – 2; P – 1                   Revealed: L


                Words Guessed:   (Davis-Gardner) NMR; (Firth) Brightness; (Kent) Crazedness; (Lischett) Crescendos;

                                                                 (Maslen) Brahmanism; (Smith) fragmented; (Wilson) Proscenium; (O’Hara) Transgression




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


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


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


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


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


__  __  (2)    __  __  __  L  __  (5)


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


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


Player Comments: Held until the word guessed.






                                                                        FACTS IN FIVE


***Rules Revision in Bold below for the this 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.


Game Two, Round One


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


Note (1): Andy L provided the reference for his Laszlo answer last time being a Hungarian general in WWII. His score increases

                by 1 to 227, but the 4th place finish stands.

Note(2): While reviewing the adjustment above, realized I’d mis-added two totals (and one previous score wasn’t adjusted when

                I changed the source of it). So, Mark had 220 and Walt was 219. No change in final rankings happened

Note(3): Mark provided the source of his Gordo Lam (given name Alfonso Lam Liu) entry, a Mexican drug lord and high

                ranking member of the Gulf Drug Cartel, in the Living Celebrated Businessman category. I’m going to classify Drug

                Cartels as business as they, are, in fact run much like one (though with being called to HR being entirely different

                experience). They often have offshoots into legitimate businesses and other investments much like corporations with

                multiple holdings and subsidiaries. Few criminal enterprises would fit under this umbrella term, so don’t count on using

                this as a blanket approval for these types of activities to fall under more mainstream categories. So, Mark’s score ticks

                up one more to 221 but it doesn’t change the final rankings.

Note(4): It was pointed out that Kevin’s “Alphonse Juin” and Doug’s “Juin” matched and I failed to give them each the extra

                point for matching (note – hopefully with the rule change instituted about identifying names in answers will reduce the

                number of mismatching events). Adding the point to Kevin and Doug extends Kevin’s winning total to 261, Doug’s

                score rises to 249 and brings him into a tie for second with Heath in the last game!


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


   Players                               F                              O                             P                              R                             T


Cartoon Characters

    Mark Firth                        Fog Leghorn       Olive Oyl              Prof Pat Pending  Robin Hood          Tom (rival to Jerry)

    John David Galt              Felix the Cat         Oswald…              Porky Pig               Ricochet Rabbit  Tom (of Tom & Jerry)

    Doug Kent                        Fred Flintstone   Olive Oyl              Popeye                   Rick…                   Tom (Tom & Jerry)

    Andy Lischett                  Fred Flintstone   Olive Oyl!            Pogo Possum        Ricochet Rabbit  Top Cat

    Walt O’Hara                    Ferd… the Bull    Olive Oyl              Peter Potomus      Roadrunner          Tinkerbell

    Kevin Wilson                   Fog Leghorn       Odie…                   Peppermint Patty Rocky…                Tintin



    Mark Firth                        French                   Occitan                  Pascal                    Russian                 Tamil

    John David Galt              French                   Otto… Turkish     Portuguese           Russian                 Tagalog

    Doug Kent                        French                   Ormuri                   Portuguese           Russian                 Turkish

    Andy Lischett                  French                   Old English           Polish                     Russian                 Turkish

    Walt O’Hara                    French                   Ojibwe                   Portuguese           Russian                 Tagalog

    Kevin Wilson                   French                   Odia                       Portuguese           Russian                 Turkish


2-3 Syllable English Verbs                **crossed out words in this category are not verbs**

    Mark Firth                        Fornicate              Overact                  Pressure                 Regulate                Teleport

    John David Galt              Fasten                    Obfuscate             Perplex                   Rewind                  Tinker

    Doug Kent                        Friendly                 Orange                   Purple                     Restful                   Telephone

    Andy Lischett                  Fumble                  Obligate                 Propel                     Rumble                  Tumble

    Walt O’Hara                    Falling                    Opening                 Pressing                  Running                 Throwing

    Kevin Wilson                   Fornicate              Obfuscate             Pardon                   Return                    Terminate


Non-Profit Companies or Corporations

    Mark Firth                        Feed Child           Oxfam                   PETA                     Red Cross             Trees for Cities

    John David Galt              Fin Plan Ass          Oral Hist Assc      Pub Rel Soc…      Red Cross             Toastmasters International

    Doug Kent                        Feed Child           Oxfam America   Para Vet                 Ron McD House  Teach for America

    Andy Lischett                  Ford Foundation Opec Fund            PBS                        Red Cross             TED

    Walt O’Hara                    Feed Amer           Open Water          Plan Parent          Red Cross             Teach for America

    Kevin Wilson                   Feed Amer           Oceana                  Plan Parent          Rotary International           TED


Medical Occupations

    Mark Firth                        Forensic Path       Optician                 Pharmacologists  Radiographer       Therapist

    John David Galt              Family Practice    Ophthalmologist  Psychiatist            Rheumatologist   Thoracic Surgeon

    Doug Kent                        Flight Nurse          Oncologist            Pulmonologist      Radiologist          Therapist

    Andy Lischett                  Foot Doctor          Obstetrician         Psychiatrist          Radiologist          Transcriptionist

    Walt O’Hara                    Family Doctor      Obstetrician         Physician               Radiologist          Therapist

    Kevin Wilson                   Fam Nurse Pr        Oncologist            Pediatrician           Radiologist          Ther Mass Tech


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


Notes on Mark’s Answers: Fog Leghorn is Foghorn Leghorn; Feed Child is Feed the Children; Regarding OxFam and OxFam

                America answers, they are completely separate organizations and thus don’t match; Forensic Path is a Forensic


[MF] – Tried to spread the cartoons around the studios, have different word formats in languages (but felt Russian need


Notes on John’s Answers: Oswald is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (Disney, 1920s); Otto…Turkish is Ottoman Turkish, which

                being a predecessor language to modern Turkish is distinct from it; Fin Plan Ass is Financial Planning Association; Oral

                Hist Assc is the Oral History Association; Pub Rel Soc… is the Public Relations Society of America; Family Practice is

                the old term for the medical specialty currently called Family Medicine

Notes on Doug’s Answers: Rick… is Rick from Rick & Morty; Feed Child is Feed the Children; Regarding OxFam and OxFam

                America answers, they are completely separate organizations and thus don’t match; Para Vet is Paralyzed Veterans of

                America; Ron McD House is the Ronald McDonald House

Notes on Andy’s Answers: Regarding Old English, much like the Ottoman Turkish situation above, Old English is distinct from

              modern English

[AL] – I was going to put Rocky for the R cartoon character, but Rocky (Rocket) is his first name. [WAY] I did not know that, but likely would have discovered it while doing the checks. However, “Rocky” is allowable as that is the name by which they are commonly known and called – much like Cher (should I refer to this as the “Cher” execption?); [AL] – I don’t expect you to accept Foot Doctor but I hate to leave it blank. [WAY] – and, you are correct, in that it is a nickname for the medical podiatry profession. [AL] – The bold answers (Red Cross, TED and transcriptionist) are DuckDuckGo answers. I should have thought of Red Cross & my sister-in-law is a transcriptionist.        

Notes of Walt’s Answers: Ferd… the Bull is Ferdinand the Bull; Feed Amer is Feeding America; Plan Parent is Planned

                Parenthood; Family Doctors are more often called Family Physicians

Notes on Kevin’s Answers: Fog Leghorn is Foghorn Leghorn; Odie… is Odie (from Garfield); Rocky is Rocky (of Rocky &

                Bullwinkle fame); Feed Amer is Feeding America; Plan Parent is Planned Parenthood; Fam Nurse Pr is a Family Nurse

                Practitioner; Ther Mass Tech is a Therapeutic Massage Technician.

[KW] – Actually some tough topics this time. I wasn’t sure if Non-profit Companies/Corps was intended to be just non-

profit businesses or included most any non-profit. I went with the later as some that’s all I could think of. Showing my

age probably with my cartoon characters, which I interpreted to exclude charactors from super hero comics, That may

have hurt me as I can think of many of those having collected comics in my past. Verbs, meh, languages too. Med

occupations were tough. I had to cheat to fine “f” and “t” as I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head. I predict

most matches in the language category. [WAY] – and you are correct!





Game Two, Round Two


Letters:                  L             M            N             R             V

Categories:            Famous American Criminal; Title of Famous Painting; Comedy Movie Title; Hockey Player; Mammal



Current Standings


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

   Kevin Wilson                      6             9             7             8             7             37         +              0              =                37

   Andy Lischett                     8             8             5             7             7             35         +              0              =                35

   Mark Firth                            8             7             6             7             6             34         +              0              =                34

   John David Galt                  7             9             6             6             6             34         +              0              =                34

   Doug Kent                           8             9             2             7             8             34         +              0              =                34

   Walt O’Hara                       6             9             0             9             8             32         +             0              =                32





Deadline for the Next Issue of Out of the WAY:


January 6, 2021 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 Lischett –; Tom Howell –


Turn Three


Firth: Plays 12-H, forming Luxor.  Receives one free share and buys 3 more for $200 each.


Lischett: Plays 7-C, forming Continental.  Receives one free share and buys 3 more for $400 each.


Howell: Plays 5-A.  Buys 3 Imperial for $400 each.


Wilson: Plays 8-B.  Buys 3 Worldwide for $300 each.


Galt: Plays 3-F.  Buys 1 Imperial for $400 and 1 Luxor for $200.


Firth: Plays 7-A.  Buys 2 Festival for $300 each and 1 Luxor for $200.




Order for Turn Four:


Lischett, Howell, Wilson, Galt, Firth, Lischett


Deadline for Turn 4 is January 8th, 2020 at 7pm My Time (12 hours earlier than the standard zine deadline)

Diplomacy, “Indestructible Machine”, 2020A, F 05


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

 F Greece - Bulgaria(sc) (*Dislodged*, retreat to Albania or OTB), A Serbia Supports A Budapest – Rumania,

 A Warsaw Hold.

England: Mark Firth – - Retreat F Belgium - English Channel..F English Channel

 - Mid-Atlantic Ocean, A Yorkshire - London.

France: John David Galt - F Brest - English Channel,

 F Gulf of Lyon Supports A Venice – Piedmont, A Paris Hold, F Tyrrhenian Sea – Tunis, A Venice - Piedmont.

Germany: Andy Lischett – - A Belgium Hold, A Burgundy - Paris (*Fails*),

 F Denmark Supports F Helgoland Bight - North Sea, F Helgoland Bight - North Sea, A Kiel - Munich.

Italy: Toby Harris - Retreat F Ionian Sea - Naples..F Mid-Atlantic Ocean – Portugal,

 F Naples Supports A Tuscany - Rome (*Cut*), A Trieste – Venice, A Tuscany – Rome,

 A Tyrolia Supports A Trieste - Venice.

Russia: Bob Durf – - F Black Sea Supports A Rumania,

 A Edinburgh Supports F North Sea – Yorkshire, F Liverpool Hold, A Moscow - Warsaw (*Fails*),

 F North Sea – Yorkshire, A Rumania Supports A Bulgaria (*Dislodged*, retreat to Bulgaria or Sevastopol or OTB),

 A Sevastopol - Ukraine.

Turkey: Jack McHugh -  F Aegean Sea Supports A Bulgaria – Greece,

 A Bulgaria – Greece, F Constantinople - Aegean Sea (*Fails*), F Ionian Sea - Naples (*Fails*).


Supply Center Chart


Austria:           Budapest, Rumania, Serbia, Vienna, Warsaw=5                        Even or Build 1

England:         London=1                                                                                Remove 1

France:           Brest, Marseilles, Paris, Spain, Tunis=5                                    Even

Germany:       Belgium, Berlin, Denmark, Holland, Kiel, Munich=6                   Build 1

Italy:               Naples, Portugal, Rome, Trieste, Venice=5                               Even

Russia:           Edinburgh, Liverpool, Moscow, Norway, Sevastopol,

St Petersburg, Sweden, Bulgaria?=7 or 8                                  Build 1 or 2

Turkey:           Ankara, Bulgaria?, Constantinople, Greece, Smyrna=4 or 5      Even or Build 1






Deadline for W 05/S 06 is: January 9th, 2020 at 7am My Time

Diplomacy, “Wine Lips”, 2020B, S 03


Austria: Harold Reynolds –  - A Bohemia – Silesia, A Budapest – Vienna,

 F Bulgaria(sc) - Greece (*Bounce*), A Serbia - Greece (*Bounce*), A Tyrolia Supports A Munich,

 A Vienna - Bohemia.

England: David Cohen – – NMR! F Barents Sea Unordered, A Belgium Unordered,

 F London Unordered, F North Sea Unordered, A St Petersburg Unordered (*Dislodged*, retreat to Norway

 or Finland or OTB), F Wales Unordered.

France: David Burgess – - F English Channel - Irish Sea,

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean - North Atlantic Ocean, A Picardy - Belgium (*Fails*), A Portugal – Spain,

 F Spain(sc) - Mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Germany: Mark Firth – - F Berlin - Baltic Sea, A Denmark - Kiel (*Fails*),

 A Kiel - Munich (*Fails*), A Ruhr Supports A Kiel - Munich.

Italy: George Atkins - - F Ionian Sea Convoys A Tunis – Greece,

 A Piedmont Hold, A Tunis - Greece (*Bounce*), F Tyrrhenian Sea Supports F Ionian Sea.

Russia: Heath Davis-Gardner – - A Ankara Supports

 F Bulgaria(sc) - Constantinople (*Void*), F Black Sea Convoys A Rumania – Armenia, A Livonia - St Petersburg,

 A Moscow Supports A Livonia - St Petersburg, A Munich Hold, A Rumania – Armenia, F Sweden Hold.

Turkey: Paul Milewski – paul.milewski@hotmail.comF Aegean Sea Hold, F Eastern Mediterranean

 Supports F Aegean Sea.


Would Andy York ( Please Standby for England?




Turkey: After giving some thought to my situation, I expect that Turkey will be eliminated in 1903.  Austria-Hungary has played well.  Russia has acted in his own best interest.  Italy I can't figure out.  I blame this outcome on my abysmal negotiating skills and hold no grudges.


Roma: President Victor Emmanuel III sat on a sturdy 18thcentury chair in the Quirinale Palace as he leaned over to inspect a wall tapestry. His afternoon coffee mellowed on a silver tray atop a hand-carved tableside him, filling the room with a pleasing aroma. The room was known as The Bronzino Room, because it was filled with tapestries woven from drawings by one of the President’s favorite Mannerist artists. As he was inspecting thread deterioration in the hanging, a distinct knock on the door to his left surprised the President, causing him to jerk upwards, accidentally knocking his coffee off the table.“ Dannazione!” exclaimed the President, as he looked sadly down at his coffee ruination, now pooling on the marble floor amid the broken china.  


Emmanuel stood up and reluctantly responded Prego, accomdati!acknowledging the knock. The door opened and in strutted his new Prime Minister, bedecked in his sash of office (“These ministers seem to come and go so frequently,” the President thought to himself. “Well, he looks a bit flamboyant, certainly….”). “Minister Fortis, how are you settling in? I understand you are a fan of railroad travel?” The President was remarking upon Fortis’ ongoing efforts to nationalize rail service and prevent further rail strikes. Yes, my President! We expect to have nationalization of all railways and services completed by this summer” “Splendid!” replied the President, pressing a hidden button to call for more coffee. “Now, update me on our foreign affairs. I presume you have kept in touch with the Foreign Secretary and the military?”  


Naturalmente, President Emmanuel. The French, from what we can tell, are still upset over the survey teams we have sent to the Piedmont. We told them that they are stuck there because of the current railway strike, but we expect it to be resolved any time now. And it’s not as if the French never have long strikes of their own. Anyway, they are also giving us grief because they claim we have soldiers in the Piedmont. We explained, once again, that they are just the Carabinieri, and they are supposed to carry rifles, machine guns, and small howitzers. Foreign Minister Corrotto also informed them that these misunderstandings would not happen if they bothered to keep in touch more often.”  


President Emmanuel replied “Why would we want to get involved with the Frogs, er, Frenchies, when the damned Arch-Duke has his soldiers causing trouble in Tyrolia? I’ve already heard reports of pretzel-benders sneaking into Venetian brothels. Not that Venice can’t use the extra income, but still…!”  


Minister Fortis went on, “Presidente, we’ve tried to talk sense into the French, but they have quit replying to us.”  


“I think you better hurry up and get that railroad situation resolved, Minister.” Chuffed the Italian President, who kept peeking around the corpulent Prime Minster, growing more anxious for his coffee. The Prime Minister had a one-track mind, but was keen enough to add two and two. He noted the President’s actions, having already seen the spilled coffee when he entered. “My President, perhaps you could order a transport ship to carry enough extra Carabinierito Piedmont to put down the resistance more quickly? I’ll get the paperwork started right away. In addition, I’ll stop by the kitchen and see that your coffee service is on the way! And maybe they will throw in a few cannoli, as well?”  


“Ah, Minister Fortis,” President Emmanuel replied in a more calm and positive manner, “I agree! And I appreciate your personal assistance. Perhaps you will last longer as Prime Minister than your predecessors, so we can become better acquainted!”  

“It would be a pleasant change of pace, would it not?” responded Minister Fortis, as he bowed and reverse-stepped out of the room, only to collide with a servant just now coming in through the open door, with the President's coffee As the President dolefully watched the catastrophe play out, he thought to himself “Then again, maybe not….”  




In Prussia the city of Posen

In winter does tend to get frozen.

Some folks like to frolic

In places bucolic,

But that's not the place I'd have chosen.


Silesia's an important spot,

Despite its not having a dot.

It's time to move in

When you want Berlin,

According to tactics we're taught.


In Sweden the city of Stockholm

Is a really good place to walk home.

On one starry night

I saw a strange sight:

A teacher was taking her chalk home.


Some immature players say Brest

Is featured on a woman's chest.

A convoy to Naples

Is one of the staples

Of these lame losers' weak jests.


In Bavaria you will find Munich

Where you can buy a quality tunic.

It costs more than a shirt

But less than a skirt

And is embroidered with patterns runic.


In Gascony's city of Bordeaux,

You will find an impressive chateau

Where wine can be tasted

Until you are wasted

And under the table you lie low.


Deadline for F 03 is January 9th, 2020 at 7am My Time

Balkan Wars VI, “Bad Way to Go”, 2020Apb08, W 13/S 14


Albania: Mark Firth – mogcate@aol.comBuild A Montenegro..F Cyprus - Southern Mediterranean Sea,

 A Epirus – Valona, F Gulf of Corfu Supports A Epirus – Valona, A Montenegro Supports A Tirana,

 F South Adriatic Sea Supports F Trieste - North Adriatic Sea, A Tirana Supports A Montenegro,

 F Trieste - North Adriatic Sea.

Bulgaria: Jack McHugh - - A Arda – Varna, A Salonika - Skopje (*Bounce*),

 F South Black Sea Supports A Arda – Varna, A Sparta – Athens, A Thrace - Plovdiv.

Rumania: Brad Wilson - - Remove A Bithynia, F North Black Sea..

 A Izmit - Constantinople (*Dislodged*, retreat to Cilicia or Bithynia or OTB).

Serbia: Andy York – wandrew88@gmail.comBuild A Belgrade, A Nish, A Skopje, A Galati..

 A Belgrade - Nish (*Fails*), F Bosnia Hold, A Bucharest Supports A Galati – Constantsa, A Constantsa – Dubruja,

 A Dubruja – Kolarovo, A Nish - Skopje (*Bounce*), A Skopje – Macedonia, A Sofia Supports A Dubruja – Kolarovo,

 A Transylvania Hold, A Galati - Constantsa.

Turkey: Heath Davis-Gardner – heathdavisgardner@gmail.comRetreat A Izmit-OTB, Build A Varna..

 F Aegean Sea – Constantinople, F Constantinople – Izmit, A Smyrna Supports F Constantinople – Izmit,

 A Varna Supports F Aegean Sea - Constantinople (*Disbanded*).



Now Proposed – Albania/Serbia Draw

Vote with your next orders.  NVR=No




Turkey to world: I really would have thought I might have heard back from Bulgaria by NOW, at least.


Deadline for F 14 is January 9th 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.


Turn 8


Will Abbott:

Joseph Priestly in Touba, Senegal


John David Galt:

Walt Whitman in Timbuktu, Mali


Kevin Wilson:

Joseph Priestly in Touba, Senegal


Simon Langley-Evans:

Walt Whitman is in Lilongwe, Malawi


Andy Lischett:

Thomas Paine in Mbake, Senegal


Richard Smith:

Joseph Priestly in Touba, Senegal


Dane Maslen:

Joseph Priestly in Touba, Senegal


Jack McHugh:

James Priestly in Nouakchott, Maurtania


Tom Howell:

Joseph Priestly in Touba, Senegal


Brad Wilson:

Walt Whitman in Dakar, Senegal


David Burgess:

Thomas Paine in Cairo, Egypt


Mark Firth:

Joseph Priestley in Dakar, Senegal

Will Abbott, Tom Howell, Richard Smith, Dane Maslen, and Kevin Wilson have all won the game by identifying both who and where Kendo is.  I’ve gone back and made the closest guess in each round Bold, Underlined, and Italics so you can follow along between guesses and clues.  I have to admit surprise that nobody selected Touba prior to Turn 7, instead choosing some very obscure locations (instead of the second-largest city in Senegal).  Clearly though, once Will hit on the location, a bunch of people solved the puzzle.


Time to start the next game.  I’ve got a new person and place for Kendo, so send in your Turn 1 guesses!

Deadline for Turn 1 is January 9th 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 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.


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

Andy York takes the win, also getting the high score of 56 for the round (out of a possible 64).  Carol Key joins in this round and gets the low score of 24. 


Comments by Category:


A smartphone app: Kevin Wilson – “Other than the Podcast app and Audible, it’s where I seem to be most on my phone.”  Andy York – “Tik-Tok (don't have it, not interested).”  Dane Maslen – “At times it feels like I'm the only person in the world without it on my smartphone.  Maybe I should have played my joker here.”  [[I refuse to install it, or its Messenger app, on my phone.  I use Facebook solely on my laptop.]]  Mark Firth – “ Not sure if this is looking for “news” or “CBS news” sort of thing.”


A World War II naval vessel: Kevin Wilson – “I thought about Enterprise given it’s better known name from TV etc. but while it was a key ship in the navy in the war, it wasn’t as famous until after.  The Missouri had the critical distinction of the surrender site so maybe it will do well.  It’s also worth the visit if you find your self in Honolulu, touring the Arizona, check out the Missouri too.”  Andy York – “Bismarck (the other ones that came immediately to mind were the Missouri and the Yorktown (obviously)).”  Dane Maslen – “My natural inclination was to go for BISMARCK or SCHARNHORST, but presumably an American ship will prove most popular, in which case this answer also fits nicely with the fourth category.”  Mark Firth – “Nearly went with USS Missouri.”


A Rolling Stones album: Andy Lischett – “So many great albums up to and including Let It Bleed. Beggars' Banquet has Sympathy For the Devil, one of my favorite rock songs by anyone, Let It Bleed is just wonderful, but Aftermath has Paint It Black, Under My Thumb, Flight 505 and more. I can't decide, I can't decide. Okay, because of Merry Clayton on Gimme Shelter I choose Let It Bleed. I know that the object is to pick the most popular answer (Sticky Fingers?) but it's too late to win anyway.”  Kevin Wilson – “I’m not that big of a music buff so these categories always are tougher for me.  But, just recently I happen to read an article in Esquire talking about popular/key albums and it mentioned this one so it must have been pretty good.  Maybe I’ll get lucky.”  Dane Maslen – “An obvious choice for a Brit, but it was released with a different title in the US, so won't be as popular a choice as I might otherwise have hoped.”  Mark Firth – “Don’t have any but have at least heard of some.”


A type of tea: Kevin Wilson – “I’m a black tea fan but I wonder if green is more popular.  I didn’t go for brands since the question said “type” which I think limits the options a bit more so maybe better hits.”  Dane Maslen – “All teas are disgusting, so I'll let Jean Luc Picard make the choice.”  Mark Firth – “Oolong first to mind, so hope changing wasn’t silly.”


Something you crush: Kevin Wilson – “I guess there are many items to fit this category but this was the first to pop into my mind.”  Simon Langley-Evans – “I couldn’t resist crushing enemies- one of my favourite activities, but probably not big on points.”  Dane Maslen – “Though maybe NUTS would be a better, though much more painful, answer.”  Mark Firth – “Left this in – one from BBC children’s TV show Crackerjack!”


General Comments: Andy Lischett – “First, some comments on Round 9: 6 points! I would have improved my score by NMRing. Brad is correct about Chinatown but I didn't think of it. I can't argue with Paul that "Air" is found around the pyramids, and he outscored me.”  Simon Langley-Evans – “I was very surprised to have a good round last time. This one looks to be a lot more difficult and I have low confidence, which is of course only right and proper when we have double points. No idea where to play the joker this time.”  Andy York – “Almost went with candy.”


New Game of BPD Starts Next Issue!  (Should we do “By ALMOST Popular Demand” in the game after this one?  Where the top answer scores zero?  Let me know what you think.)


Turn 1 Categories:

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


1.  A U.S. State beginning with the letter A

2.  A type of lingerie

3.  A brand of pen

4.  Someone who played in the game of By Popular Demand that just ended

5.  A Jimmy Stewart film


Deadline for Turn 1 of By Popular Demand is: January 9 at 7am My Time

Deadline for the next issue of Eternal Sunshine is: January 9, 2021 at 7am My Time (U.S. central time) – some games and subzines earlier


See You Then!