Eternal Sunshine #158
By Douglas Kent - 911 Irene Drive, Mesquite, TX 75149
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/270968112943024/ or on the web at http://www.whiningkentpigs.com/DW/. Follow on Twitter at @EternalSunshDip. Also be sure to visit the official Diplomacy World website at http://www.diplomacyworld.net.
Sign up for the Eternal Sunshine Mailing List at https://mailchi.mp/45376bbd05df/eternalsunshine
Check out my eBay store at http://stores.ebay.com/dougsrarebooksandmore
Quote of The Month – “In another million years, there'll be no men, no women. There'll just be people. Just a whole world full of wankers.” - (Eric in “Gregory’s Girl”)
Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the zine for dangerous, evil, ostracized criminal types. Like me. And, it seems, like you, since you’re here.
I used to collect stamps, subscribed to Linn’s Stamp News, and even ran a small business selling topical stamps (cats, dogs, birds, butterflies, and animals) with Mara. We never made much money but we were able to turn a small profit, and it helped Mara feel like she was doing something to contribute to the household. My stamp collecting days started at a very young age, which fit in well with my interest in geography and flags. It didn’t matter that nearly ever stamp I owned was technically worthless. I loved the different designs, the remote lands, the odd currencies. Later I moved from general worldwide collecting to focusing on U.S. releases, from the earlier examples on to specializing in various U.S. plate number coil strips. I also collected a number of Nova Scotia releases, back when I was just beginning to do genealogical work and realized half my mother’s family came from there (and had been there for quite some time). Eventually I sold my small collection off piece by piece, and liquidated the remaining topical business stock, until I barely owned anything.
In my time dealing with stamps, and in the decade that I’ve been running a side hustle of selling books on eBay, I’ve dealt quite a bit with the U.S. Postal Service. It’s rare for me to have problems with them. On occasion something I ship gets lost or damaged, and when that happens my insurance claims have been handled quickly and professionally. But for the most part, the USPS gets what I send to where it is supposed to go, sooner or later. Of course, the prices have gone up quite a bit in the last few years, but that’s the way of the world. And during the early months of the pandemic there was quite a backlog of mail. Again, that’s the way of the world.
However, sometimes things go terribly awry. And usually, it’s at the least opportune moment.
As many of you know, part of my sentence in 2003 included the payment of monthly restitution once I was released. The amount was negotiated between my public defender and the prosecutor to be $200 a month. Each month I have sent US Postal Money Orders to the Federal Courthouse in Dallas, along with a payment slip. I’ve never missed a payment, and because I send these Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested, I have proof of each being sent. (It was suggested to me long ago that US Postal Money Orders were the best way to pay, because a personal check could easily bounce if I was overdrawn or if there was a sudden issue with the bank account. In more recent years, I’m told they don’t accept personal checks any longer; money order or certified checks only).
After making every payment without exception for ten years, in 2016 the Feds demanded I pay them nearly everything I had saved during that period in a lump sum. This was despite the $200 a month agreement that had been negotiated. I went and saw a lawyer, who agreed to fight them on this demand. That is, until she discovered that a few months earlier the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled on a case involving a man with almost the exact same repayment language in their plea. The appeals court had decided that agreements of this type are unenforceable. In effect, the Feds can take whatever they want (with the only limit appearing to be a guideline of 25% of take-home pay) regardless of what had bene negotiated years earlier. In my case, years of working two or three jobs and trying to live a frugal life turned into money I had to turn over to the government anyway. I would have been better off spending whatever I’d earned and not trying to save anything. Or maybe not, who knows what would have happened in that instance?
Since then, I’ve been paying a much higher amount every month (basically that 25% of take-home), and live with frequent anxiety about the Feds doing the same thing to me again someday. I still try very hard to live frugally, especially as I live alone now (I was still married to Heather when they approached me last time). The only person I have to spend my money on is myself, and seeing how poorly I treat me, why would I want to do that?
As I usually do, I purchased a money order in late May (I try to go on particular afternoons when the post office lines aren’t too long) and sent my certified letter on June 2. Because of how concerned about this, I always make it a point to get email and text updated about the letter’s tracking information. I watch closely, and don’t move on until it shows as delivered and – a few days later – until the money order shows it has been cashed. At that point I relax until it’s time to buy another money order.
As is common, the letter made its way from Mesquite to a local sorting station (in this case, Coppell), and then was listed as leaving the facility on June 6. And then…nothing. USPS tracking continued to send me emails for a week listing it as “in transit.” Then on the 15th, even that stopped. I couldn’t understand how a certified letter could just disappear into thin air. But this one had. I opened a “missing mail” case online, and all I got was a terse “the letter has not yet arrived at the delivering post office.” Uh, yeah, I know that…that’s why I opened the case in the first place!
While I dealt with trying to trace the missing letter, I was left with no other option but to purchase another money order and send that to the courthouse. This time, I sent it Priority Mail (but still certified with return receipt). I knew that should be delivered within two days, and while the payment would be later than normal it would still be made within the month of June. This time the letter went from Mesquite, to a regional center in Coppell, to a regional center in Dallas. And then…nothing. Again, nothing.
You can’t even fill out a missing mail request until seven days after mailing, so there was nothing I could do. I waited over the weekend to see if it would scan and move again (or if the original one would magically surface). Neither happened. So now I had to buy a third money order. As it was just a week from the end of the month, I went ahead and bought one for July too. I took the third money order and sent it overnight to the courthouse. That was supposed to arrive the following day, which would give me two days leeway. My emergency plan was to go in person if the overnight letter didn’t show up, which would mean taking half a day off of work.
Meanwhile I contacted the Customer Advocate for the Dallas area to ask if there was anything I could do about the two lost letters. According to her, the first letter has never actually been scanned leaving the Coppell facility. The “has left the destination” scan is not a physical scan of the item, but instead an assumption that it has, because it was placed on a sorting machine which is supposed to lead to the departure area. She sent an email to the Coppell facility to ask them to walk the area, looking for things on the floor or stuck in machinery. She was also able to override the seven-day requirement for opening a missing mail case on the second letter. As you might expect, all that did was get me another useless “the letter has not arrived at the delivery post office” email. Useless. The advocate also said there are no reported regional issues with mail processing. This is just my bad luck, piled on top of bad luck.
In the end, the overnight letter took two days to move twenty miles, but it did arrive (after spending a day missing in action). And the money order was cashed on June 30th, so the payment was made in June. I’m going to need to send all my payments overnight for the time being, until I feel comfortable sending it any other way. Wasted money, but it’s better than dealing with all this crap. As for the other two letters, nobody knows. And that puts me in another difficult position. I’ve got two certified letters lost in the mail system. It isn’t just that I’ve paid a total of $25 to send them…it’s that I’ve paid for the money orders already. That’s a lot of money, money I could really use (especially considering that my work situation is terrible tenuous at the moment. I may be looking for a new job in the next month or two, which isn’t an easy thing to find for someone in my position).
Normally I could just put a money order trace on each of these, which costs about $6. After the USPS officially decided that they haven’t been cashed and have been lost, they would then provide me a refund on both. But in this case, that’s a major problem. Because let’s just say – for argument’s sake – that I get those refunds. Now the money orders are no good. What happens if the USPS, at some point in the future, finds and delivers these letters? The court will try to deposit the money orders. And they’ll bounce, because they had been cancelled in the refund process. And there’s no way that can be a good thing in the Fed’s eyes. There’s no way to know what the repercussions would be. And I don’t want to find out. So, I’ll just wait, with the money spent. It’s all I can do. Wait and wait until I am 100% sure they will never be found. (Likewise, if one or both of them is found and delivered without being cancelled, I have the secondary problem of the court won’t accept a second payment in a month and just “count it towards the next one.” They’ll apply it to my restitution, yes, but I’ll still need to make another payment the following month). It’s a complicated mess of problems, all stemming form the unexplained loss of TWO certified letters sent 10 days apart, that went to different locations before disappearing.
Sometimes it is hard not to feel like the world is conspiring against me.
In zine news, we have Andy York and Conrad von Metzke here to make this issue readable instead of just garbage. By Almost Popular Demand has only this last round to go, and then a new game of normal By Popular Demand will start.
I guess that’s it from me for now. See you in August!
Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: Kevin Wilson, Gavin Begbie, Rick Davis, Graham Wilson, need three more to start.
By Almost Popular Demand: Ongoing. Join in and play NOW! Next will be normal By Popular Demand.
Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?: Ongoing. Join in and play NOW!
Also in Andy York’s Subzine – You can find his ongoing “Hangman, By Definition” and Facts in Five, plus openings for Breaking Away and Gunboat.
Standby List: HELP! I need standby players! – Current standby list: Andy York, Andy Lischett, Paul Milewski, Harold Reynolds, Jack McHugh, Brad Wilson, Graham Wilson.
Meet Me in Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column
Andy Lischett: The movies The Stylist and May look interesting, while Maniac may be too gory. The trouble is that Carol doesn't like unusual movies. Oddly, she won't go for slasher movies but likes monster movies and super-hero stuff where (usually) a planet, or at least Manhattan, gets destroyed. I, on the other hand, fall asleep during comic-book movies, even the endless explosions.
[[I think the killing in the movies Carol enjoys is a lot less personal, and much like Daffy Duck getting his bill blown off, if it’s done in an over-the-top fashion it doesn’t feel like a real death. Besides, nobody stays dead in superhero movies. Characters ger resurrected there more than soap operas.]]
But Carol likes some film noir, too. We recently watched Pickup on South Street, which is very good and which I hadn't seen for probably fifteen years.
[[I generally check TCM to see what’s playing at 11pm my time on Saturday night. That’s Noir Alley. If I don’t want to stay up for it they replay it Sunday morning, or I can DVR it.]]
Mark Nelson: My first Doctor was John Pertwee, though I don't have strong memories of particular stories except
for the Green Death (which was way ahead of its time). I have much stronger memories of Tom Baker,
including the thought that I preferred John Pertwee. I've got a quite a few boxes of VHS videos in the
garrage, but no video machine to play them on as the misses made me through it away. I suppose some
time in the future I will have to bin the tapes, but at the moment I am too loathed to do so. My collection
of the original Dr Who series is quite small. Though I do have Genesis of the Daleks on VHS and DVD.
That's actually the only Dr Who that I have on VHS. Must have bought it some time in the early 1990s.
One of my favourite episodes- I only wish that they had NOT brought back Davros into the new series.
They should have left him in the past.
[[Genesis of the Daleks and Revenge of the Cybermen were among the first episodes I saw, and both hooked me. I get the feeling most people’s favorite Doctor is whoever they discovered the series with. In the NEW York City area, one of my brothers and I would watch the show on Channel 9 on Sunday afternoons, where they would show two episodes in a row (meaning there were a lot of cliffhangers). Then I also found the paperback books at a comic shop in the mall. I still own those too.]]
Andy York: Regarding Hypotheticals, you have to have some perspective or experience to answer something that wouldn't happen to you. Otherwise, the response would be at best be imaginative, as you noted, but of no basis in reality. Regarding you pregnant with twins example. Though I know the process of pregnancy, I have virtually no personal experience of it - emotions, difficulties, discussions, etc. (I've seen more in the media than in real life). So, to me, answering that question would be in the same realm if the question was: "As a blue-skinned, not red, Sniggle you see a Bofto. What would you think or do?". Any answer would be pure speculation without any substance of realiy in it.
[[True, but because of human experience and time spent with friends and family and coworkers, it is not that difficult to try to put yourself in the place of a person pregnant with twins. Besides, it all depends on the question. In your example there’s no real hypothetical. But if I asked “You learn you are pregnant with twins. Your spouse is very anxious about the expense of raising just one child. Do you tell your spouse about the twins, or do you feign ignorance and wait until the birth?” it’s not difficult to either imagine being the pregnant one (or having to break the news about an upcoming long-term expense to someone anxious about such things) or, in order to answer the question, to put yourself in the spouse’s position if necessary and ask yourself “what would I prefer I be told?” and then use that as the basis for an answer. However, I don’t really remember how much context my old question had, as I haven’t looked at the Scruples game since the last time I listed hypothetical questions.]]
The Dining Dead – Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews
Kolobos (DVD) – A horror film released in 1999 which I’d never heard of, but which owes a lot to the Giallo film genre. Amy Weber stars as Kyra. Bleeding and seriously injured, Kyra is found by a couple who nearly run her over in the rain. Treated at a hospital, we’re shown flashbacks of Kyra before her injuries. She and four other twenty-somethings have signed on to participate in an experiment where they stay in a luxury home for three months, while everything is recorded. (Remember this film was released a year before the television show Big Brother premiered). But things quickly go from good to bad, and soon the contestants are fighting for their lives. There’s a lot to like in Kolobos, and a lot to be disappointed in. It’s still generally interesting, and in retrospect was much more original than it seems twenty years later. From what I’ve read after seeing the film, a lot of people felt let down by the ending, but the biggest fans of the movie thought it was the best part. You can decide for yourself if you ever watch this.
A Lonely Place to Die (Shudder) – Not a horror movie, but a definite thriller and suspense. Written and directed by Julian Gibley (co-written by Will Gibley), the story centers around a group of mountaineers. Alison (Melissa George) and Ed (Ed Speelers) are the youngest of the five, with Rob (Alec Newman) the professional lead climber. On a trip to climb in the mountains of Scotland, the group hear a voice deep coming from in the woods. Investigating, they discover a young girl buried in a crate the middle of nowhere, with a pipe to let air in. And…then things get complicated. The plot begins to become slightly confusing closer to the end, but not so much that you can’t sort out what’s happening. Pretty good performances and some high-tension moments without getting too ridiculous. I like it, give it a try if you come across it. I think it’s about ten years old but I’ve never heard it mentioned before as far as I can recall. (Although a little voice in the back of my head kept telling me I’d watched the whole movie before, despite not knowing what was going to happen).
The Freakmaker (Shudder) – A semi-forgotten horror film from the 1974, made in the U.K. Consider it a cross between Freaks and The Island of Dr, Moreau. Donald Pleasance stars as Dr. Nolter, a college professor who has been experimenting with crossing plant and animal life. Tom Baker (of Dr. Who fame) is Lynch, the “ugliest man in the world” who is part of a carnival sideshow. Lynch procures human subjects for Nolter to experiment on in his quest to create a new superhuman plant-animal race. In exchange, Nolter promises to find a way to cure Lynch’s glandular problems and make him normal. There are some subplots involving a group of Nolter’s students, and the other sideshow performers. Tom Baker is the only actual character in the film, bringing some humanity to a cruel and generally evil individual. Everybody else is a cardboard cutout stereotype. Still, there are a few moments of fun for camp’s sake if nothing else, including some bad costumes that Dr. Who producers would be proud of. It was an interesting look at low budget sci-fi horror of the period, if nothing else.
The Long Night (Shudder) – Grace (Scout Taylor-Compton) has no idea who her parents are. Now, after ten years pf searching, she has her first read lead. She and her well-off boyfriend Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk) leave New York and travel “down south” (no specific place is mentioned) to meet the man who says he has information Grace desires. Instead, they find themselves battling a cult of sorts looking to fulfill an apocalyptic prophesy. The acting was pretty good, especially early on, and the cinematography and cult costumes are terrific (the film was directed by Rich Ragsdale). Sadly, the story is a bit of a mess (written by Robert Sheppe and Mark Young). And the “mystery” was pretty heavily telegraphed very early on. And by the time a new character is introduced, the cohesion falls apart. On hour in (with thirty minutes to go) I was just wishing it would hurry up and be over.
Older Movies Watched (that I’ve seen many times) – The Others, Dead of Winter, Audrey Rose, Big Fish, The Big Short, Gregory’s Girl, Sinister, Gettysburg, Nightwatch.
NOT TONIGHT, DEAR,
I HAVE A DEADLINE (7)
By Conrad von Metzke
And At The End
Conrad von Metzke
And at the end, when you have played your last game and stabbed your last “ally,” you will be assigned a new home: Either the fluffy one in the sky or the rather warmer one in the earth.
And at the end, if you go to the Good Place, you will doubtless discover many – though not all – of your former fellow Dip players. And someone will discover that nobody remembered to bring a Diplomacy board,, so one of you will craft one – the board from the cloud, the pieces from bits of the rainbow; and you will have a game. And you will talk and bicker and whisper and chuckle in glee, and then gather ‘round the board to read the orders and move the pieces and add new units (or sometimes remove them, but obviously since you are where you are, it must have been all in fun), and afterward, over tea and crumpets or coffee and chocolates or maybe a great big slosh of Scotch, you’ll relive your former glory days with your Dip mates, and snicker about the ones who are not there but instead went Somewhere Else; and finally you will pick a time in a place where there is no time, and have another game.
And at the end, more and more of your old Dip acquaintances will join you – and more and more won’t – and eventually you’ll be able to have Tournaments, and DipCons, and name Best Russias and Best Turkeys and so forth, and print ‘zines from the stardust you gather as you circle the cosmos. Oh it will be so much fun – and, since all of those bastards who kept stabbing you won’t be there of course, you’ll have a better chance at a high place in the ratings. And maybe someone will start a stardust ‘zine named “Diplomacy Cosmos,” for which you can write articles and see your name in astral lights for which others herald your sharp knowledge and trenchant wit, and beg for more and more to the point where you may actually become Assistant Editor or maybe Chief Mercurian Correspondent or some other flashy title. And all goes just swimmingly...you think…until….
At the end of the “swimmingly” portion of this discourse, there arrives in your new home another person you know from prior days, only not as fondly as the others you’ve met. This is the creep (your word) who was your chief gaming nemesis, pretending to ally over and over and invariably ruining your day with a stab, and for whatever reason you never did learn until afterward….
“How the whatever did HE get in here?” you wonder. Later, you learn the answer: A donation of 500 billion shares of Bitcoin to the appropriate charity, which gained him provisional entry. But if the ‘how’ didn’t really matter, the ‘what’ sure did, because his first act on arrival was to zero in on the Diplomacy group. And once you heard that, had you been able to eat in your non-corporeal state, you’d have thrown up every meal you still had in you.
Well. “Time” – or whatever it was in your new form – passed, and the inevitable came in due course: You got stuck in a game with him. Too bad the usual excuses of old – dental appointment, upset stomach, you name it – were no longer relevant. So you steeled yourself and you showed up and you drew a country and you played. And you also had a little light bulb go off in your ethereal brain: What if I stab him?
So you played three or four turns, until a good opportunity appeared, and you rammed the knife good and proper into the bastard’s equivalent of a rear end, and BOY DID HE HOWL to shake the heavens. And you thought, ‘bout damned time….
But he was of course not amused, and so he immediately resigned and left and went to the Honcho of Honchos and filed a complaint concerning Behavior Unbecoming A Resident Of The Good Place. And to his complaint of course, he attached a photocopy of his receipt for the Bitcoin….
And at the end, the Honcho was reluctantly persuaded (mortgage was due). He upheld the grievance and ruled that the True Bad Guy was right and you – much to the horror of everybody else, but especially you of course, were the unclean one, the one with the fatal flaw, the one who had plunked a mere $20 into a Salvation Army kettle moments before your demise….
And at the end, therefore, he was admitted to full status.
And at the end, guess where YOU got to go….
Out of the WAY #46
by W. Andrew York
(wandrew88 of gmail.com)
This is going to be a summer of breaking records here in Austin. I teased the heat last time, and it’s only getting hotter. So far we’ve had:
Hottest May on record
Hottest June on record
Hottest Summer, to this date, on record (by over ½ degree)
28 days over 100 degrees (2011, with 90 100-degree days, was at 22-24 at this time)
27 of the last 32 days over 100 degrees
Longest string of consecutive 100-degree days in June (12 or 13)
Coupled with little rain has Austin already in water restrictions and our lake levels are below where they should be. Unfortunately, Austin’s primary water source is those surface lakes. Also, a fair number of grassfires have broken out, fortunately contained without much damage. Here’s hoping we don’t have another one like the Bastrop fire of 2011 that burned over 34,000 acres, 1600 homes and killed four people.
As for me, nothing much new on the plate. Did get my apartment renewal rate, only up $70/month so not too bad. The increase could have been much more, from news reports (as I recall), some downtown apartments are going up by $800 or more coupled with tax assessments in Travis County for residential property averaging a 57% increase in value (that’s the initial rate, prior to protests and reevaluations. There are limits to how much they can rise for actual taxation each year, but it does portend maximum increases for the next 5 to 6 years for those owners. I’m very glad to not have to move again, I’m going through things much slower than I’d hoped for and still have plenty of boxes, bins and such to sort through to downsize.
In this subzine, the usual game reports, a couple book reviews and not much else. A new Hangman game starts, everyone is welcome to join in. There is one slight modification to the rules, suggested by Dane, and it’s discussed in the “WAYward Thoughts” bit below and incorporated into the game rules.
On the Express front, they have slid into the middle of the pack of our division, though still in the top half of all Pacific Coast League games. Seeing some good play, with a number of folks already up in Arlington and contributing regularly to the Rangers. One outfielder, Bubba Thompson, is a speedster having already stolen 38 bases in 40 attempts with 10 homers.
In mid-May, we moved to the automatic ball/strike system where a computer determines what each pitch is, relays it to the home plate umpire, who announces the call. Lots of folks in the stands are giving the umpire flak for the calls, even though they have no discretion if the batter doesn’t swing, or in a few other anomalous cases. So, starting Wednesday the scoreboard now displays the ball placement on one of those grid graphics you often see on televised games. Hopefully that’ll reduce the chirping and educate the fans on what is really happening.
Also, the pitch clock is an amazing success. Though it hasn’t always sped up the game, it certainly has an effect on some. We’ve had one 9-inning game completed in 1 hour 56 minutes while another, that had a combined 16 runs scored, came in just under 3 hours. In my opinion, overall, these two changes are making for snappier games and a more even ball/strike call regardless of the umpire behind the plate.
Not too many movies this time, baseball takes up many evenings. Did catch a screening of the old Mickey Rooney flick “The Black Stallion” and, on Tuesday, a showing of a newly restored copy of David Lynch’s “Lost Highway”. For the restoration, Lynch filmed a short intro that is hilarious!
Until August, be safe and keep cool in the summer sun (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, so likely should say to you keep warm).
Last time, at the end of the first game of Hangman, I asked if anyone had ideas or recommendations to change up the game. I received three responses:
[Andy Lischett] – No recommendations for changes to Hangman. I enjoy trying to figure them out without a computer
but that’s just me.
[Mark Firth] – “Hangman, by Definition”: would definitely play again. It’s guessing the clue bit I particularly like.
[Dane Maslen] – If each player were to nominate (say) three letters each round rather than just one, it might reduce
how often the letter to be revealed has to be determined randomly from a large field of equally nominated ones.
Glad that folks are enjoying the game and, yes, I do plan on continuing offering it in the future. Dane’s suggestion is certainly a good one, as when I set this up I expected there to be more players, maybe a dozen, thus reducing the chances of having to randomly determine the letter. However, with just a handful, it does seem to happen more often than not.
Therefore, I’m going to alter the rules slightly to allow players to submit up to three different letters each turn (you can’t say “X” three times). You should still submit one letter, but can add up two more if you are so inclined. As before, the letter with the most nominations will be the chosen letter with tied outcomes determined randomly.
I don’t expect any pushback on this, but if there is significant opposition, it can easily be rescinded. So, in the event of that happening, I’ll take the first letter listed in each players’ orders and disregard any others.
Other feedback or suggestions are always welcome.
(always welcome, send them in!)
(if something shouldn’t be included here, clearly mark it as a personal comment)
[Mark Nelson] – I wrote to you a while ago that for the last but one Xmas I bought myself the first two seasons of
ST: Discovery. I didn't like the basic premises of the story and haven't bought season three... yet! Because I will buy
season three eventually... because I have to! [WAY] – They actually ran season 1 of Discovery on CBS during the
pandemic (lack of new, original, programming). Mostly liked it, but haven’t sought out the remainder of the seasons. There is much more I’d rather watch, but I’m sure at some point I’ll pick them up (or join the streaming service).
[MN] - The misses bought me Picard Season one for the most recent Xmas. It was almost not only one of the best seasons of
any ST show but one of the best seasons of any SF show. If only Picard had truly died at the end of it then it would have
been masterful. Fancy having a new ST show that only lasted one season, not because it was cancelled but because that
was the end of the story. Having Picard reborn into the golem might have been tenable had he body been effectively
immortal and with the same `powers' that Data had. But having him born into a golem with no enhanced life-span or
abilities... (though I'm not sure that there are no enhanced abilities). Just a bit of a cop-out that ruined what would have
been a most excellent season. [WAY] – Watched the first episode on my phone (free, teaser, stream). Looked good and
definitely something I want to see.
[MN] - To my mind the best ST series since ST:ToS is Orville. Now, I know it's not technically part of the ST universe but
it's heavily inspired by ST and in the first two seasons they seem to take the best features of ST without any of the
idiocy. Season three has just started showing in Australia – three episodes have shown. It does seem to have a different
tone to the first two seasons, much more serious. [WAY] – I did thoroughly enjoy the first two seasons, and I agree it
has parallels to the structure of ST. However, I think they are a bit more edgy (though the newer ST shows may also
have gained this aspect). It was disappointing that FOX dropped it, yet another streaming service to watch a show or
two – no thanks. I’ll wait (and, especially, based on the poorly received first episode of the season in the reviews)
(finished since last issue)
Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett (1991; 343p).
The powers that be have decided it’s Death’s time to retire. However, their plans for replacing him weren’t well planned. While Death, who now has a sand timer indicating his shrinking life span, plans to spend his remaining days enjoying life on Discworld. Meanwhile, those that are dying are in a state of limbo.
Depending on the individual, this limbo can take forms such as reentering the recently deceased body to being energy without any real purpose (but the side effects…).
Excellent as always by Pratchett, though this one is not as virtually a standalone as many others. This, and to some extent the previous volume, are enhanced by already knowing the background of the world and some of its characters. I think, from now on with the series, it wouldn’t be the best to jump here but read the previous books before enjoying this one.
As with the rest, definitely recommended. [June 2022]
Sharpe’s Fortress by Bernard Cornwell (1999; 294p).
The middle of the five prequel books is actually the last one set in India (I mistakenly thought all five were set there). This one deals with the siege of an all but unassailable Gawilghur mountain fortress, as well as the set-piece battle that immediately precedes it. It will be the crown of Wellesley’s campaign against the native states.
Sharpe, adjusting to his recent rise into the officer corps, is like a fish out of water. He doesn’t fit in with the gentlemanly backgrounds of many of the other officers and is now not to fraternize with his former mates from the ranks. Not fitting in with the Scottish unit he is first attached to, he is relegated to handling supply issues. As usual, with Sharpe, things happen and he gets involved in greater and wider issues and in the final assault on the fortress.
Two questions are partially answered in this book regarding where he started in the original book. The first is how he will transition from his initial redcoat status to the greencoat that he wore during the Napoleonic campaigns is teased. Additionally, the origin of the telescope he carried, gifted by Wellesley, is revealed. However, more to come on both these bits are likely in the final two books.
As always, well and compellingly written. Highly Recommended. [July 2022]
In “In the Kingdom of the Blind” – G’Kar: “Everyone knows the true source of pain is neither the hand nor the heart…it is the
mouth. Is it not, Minister?”
Source: But In Purple...I’m Stunning! by J. Michael Straczynski, edited by Sara “Samm” Barnes, copyright 2008.
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 realized last week that I had one glaring error in my “Random Review” last time...and no one commented on it. In the review of
the movie, I completely failed to name it! If you are interested in viewing it, it’s “Deep in the Heart”.
Everyone Plays Games: Hangman, By Definition; Facts in Five
Game Openings: Breaking Away (Kent, Burgess, Smith; Firth - minimum 6 players needed)
Standard Choice (Smith, Maslen, Firth - minimum 4 players needed)
Grey-Press Gunboat – countries, and their capital cities, restricted to each player (no preference lists) (2 of 7)
Possible Game Openings: Breaking Away Variants; Suggestions accepted for other games to offer.
Standbys: Breaking Away (x1); Gunboat Diplomacy (x2)
Rules for Breaking Away. Breaking Away Variants and Choice available on the Variable Pig website (variablepig.org)
“Round Rock Express”
(No-Press Gunboat, Game #1)
Austria: F GRE-aeg, A BUL-con, A tri-TYL, A BUD s a rum, A RUM s ger a mos-sev (nso), A VIE s a tri-tyl
England: F NTH c a yor-nwy, F SPA(NC) s ger a bur-gas (nso), F POR s f spa(nc), A yor-NWY, F ENG c a wal-pic, A wal-PIC
France: A MAR-bur, A pic-BRE, A gas-PAR
Germany: F DEN s rus a sev (imp), A BUR s a ruh-bel, A mun-BOH, A MOS s a war, F swe-BOT, A WAR s a sil-gal,
A ruh-BEL, A sil-GAL
Italy: F EME s a syr-smy, A syr-SMY, A PIE-mar, F ION-aeg
Russia: F BLA s a sev-rum, A SEV-rum
Turkey: A smy s f con (r-ank/arm/otb), F CON s a smy, F AEG s f con
Supply Center Count
Austria: Bud, Tri, Vie, Ser, Gre, Bul, RUM,
7 Even, but build 1 due to
England: Edi, Lpl, Lon, Nwy, Por, Spa = 6 Even
France: Mar, Par, Bre = 3 Even
Germany: Ber, Kie, Mun, Den, Hol, Swe, War, Bel, Mos = 9 Even, but build 1 due to playing short
Italy: Nap, Rom, Ven, Tun , SMY = 5 Build 1
2 Remove 1 or Even, depending on
Next Due Autumn/Winter 1904 and Spring 1905
Note – Split seasons are granted when 2 or more requests are received if 4+ players; 3 or less requires only 1.
Hangman, By Definition
**See Rule Change in bold below**
See discussion in “WAYWord Thoughts” bit
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 up to three different letters 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 2, Round One, Turn 0:
Letter Votes: send in up to three different letters Revealed: n/a
Word: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (13)
Definition: __ (1) __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (14) , __ __ (2)
__ __ (2) __ __ __ __ __ (5) __ __ (2) __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (7)
Never Revealed: E, S Already Revealed: None Yet
FACTS IN FIVE
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 Five, Round Three
Bolded - Scores 2 points for matching another entry; Crossed Out - scores 0 points; otherwise scores 1 point.
REMINDER - Last names are generally the key word, not first names.
Players A D K U W
American Mountain Peak
Mark Firth Antero Denali Keith University Peak White Mountain Peak
Doug Kent Antora Denali King’s University Whitney
Andy Lischett Adams Denali
McKinley U Peak Washington
Walt O’Hara Augusta Denali King’s Peak U Peak Whitney
Kevin Wilson Alverstone Denali Keith University Peak Washington
Book of the Old Testament (Christian Bible)
Mark Firth Amos Daniel Kings 1 <> Wisdom
Doug Kent Amos Deuteronomy Kings (1) <> <>
Andy Lischett Amos Deuteronomy 1st Kings <> Wisdom
O’Hara Amos Deuteronomy Kings (1st or 2nd)
Kevin Wilson Amos Deuteronomy Kings (I and II) <> <>
Mark Firth Adjuter Damien Kinga Ulrich Wenceslas
Doug Kent Anthony Dismas Kateri Ursula Wolfgang
Andy Lischett Andrew Dominic K Drexel <> Wenceslas
Walt O’Hara Anthony Dismas Kalufa Urban Walter
Kevin Wilson Anthony Dominic Killian Urban Wenceslas
Animated Cartoon Character
Mark Firth Asterix the Gaul Donald Duck Krusty the Klown Ultron Wiley E. Coyote
Doug Kent Aladdin Donald Duck Kermit the Frog Underdog Woody Woodpecker
Andy Lischett Albert Alligator Daffy Duck Krazy Kat Underdog Wonder Woman
Walt O’Hara Alvin Duck, Donald Kanga Ursula Wall-E
Kevin Wilson Aladdin Donald
Mr. Krabs Ultraman Wiley E. Coyote
21st Century Noted Military Figure
Mark Firth JC
Dickinson Kim Tao-Young
Doug Kent Adraee Dannatt Tim Keating Utkin Wigston
Andy Lischett Lloyd Austin III A Dvornikov <> <> <>
Walt O’Hara J
Abizaid S Desjardins R Kehler
D Usenov W Wallace
Kevin Wilson Lloyd J Austin III JH Dickinson M Kurilla <> D Williams
Note – for allowed and disallowed answers, please feel free to correct me!
General Notes – I left off “Mount” and “Mt” for the Mountain Peak answers; for the “Kings” (and variations) included in the
Books of the Old Testament I accepted as I Kings and II Kings were originally one book known as Kings; Wisdom, aka
The Book of Wisdom, is included in some Christian Bibles as an Apocryphal book; I left off the “Saint” and “St” in the Catholic Saint category
Notes on Mark’s Answers: Mark notes: I learn from this that Mt McKinley is now known as Denali; Mark adds: St. Adjutor,
@12th, Swimming/boaters, drowning, topical here with the ongoing crossings of the Channel; Mark adds: St Damien of
Molokai, @19th, missionary in leper colony (seems the kind of sainthood that’s deserved); Mark adds: St Kinga of
Poland, @13th, ceded position as Grand Duchess of Poland to help the poor; Mark adds: St Ulrich of Augsburg, @10th,
many patronages but the one that appealed was “against mice and moles (except those in holes)”!; Mark adds: St
Wenceslaus, @10th, great Christmas carol advocating wintry exercise; Mark adds: Ultron appears in animated series
such as “The Avengers: United They Stand”; JC Aquiliuno is Adm JC Aquilino (USA); JH Dickinson is Gen JH
Dickinson (USA); Kim Tao-young is Kim Tao-young (Kor); “U” – the figure being the number of civilian casualties in
Ukraine, wonderful sentiment but disallowed; RW Woodhouse is Let Gen RW Woodhouse (UK), however it is
disallowed as I can’t find a reference to the individual.
Notes on Doug’s Answers: Doug notes Kermit the Frog was animated in the cartoon “Muppet Babies”
Notes on Andy’s Answers: McKinley is disallowed as it starts with “M” not “K”; U Peak is Uncompahgue Peak; K Drexel is
Katherine Drexel, and it is accepted under “K” as her saintly name always includes her first name so the “K” is the first
letter (at least I couldn’t find a Saint Drexel reference); A Dvornikov is Alexander Dvornikov
Notes on Walt’s Answers: Walt adds: Augusta (Alaska), Denali (Alaska), King’s Peak (Utah); U Peak is Uncompahgue Peak
(Colorado); Walt adds: Whitney (California); Uphaz is disallowed as I can find no reference that it is a name for a book
of the Christian Bible only that it may be an alternative name for the Biblical location of Ophir; Wohehiv is disallowed
and I can’t even find a connection from the word to the Bible; Walt adds: Saint Dismas (aka the “Good thief” crucified
with Christ), Saint Kalufa (African), Saint Walter (of course! Benedictine hermit, abbot, and the founder and first abbot
of the monastery of Serviliano in the Marches of Ancona, Italy); Walt adds: Alvin (chipmunk), Duck, Donald (do you
have to ask), Kanga (mom of Roo in Winnie the Pooh), Ursula (antagonist, Little Mermaid), Wall-E (robot, Pixar); J
Abizaid is John P Abizaid (US), S Desjardins is Susan Y Desjardins (US), R Kehler is C Robert Kehler (US); D Usenov
is Daniar Usenov, Kyrgyzstan, but is disallowed as his only military service seems to be a two-year stint in the
1980s, his activity in the 21st century seems limited to banking and politics; Walt adds: W Wallace is William S.
Notes on Kevin’s Answers: Mr. Krabs is disallowed is his character name is just that, I could find no reference to him as just
General Player Comments:
[Andy Lischett] – I found no Bible books or saints for U, and no military figures for K, U or W. There probably are some but
they’re hard to dig up. My first W animated character was Wilma, but her last name is Flintstone.
[Kevin Wilson] – I always wondered why Denali isn’t shown with a “Mt.” before the name. When the name was changed (back)
from Mt McKinley you would have through it would have been Anglicized to include a Mt. I like that it doesn’t but
wondered. [WAY] – I suspect that in the renaming they didn’t want to do the Anglicization to honor the native roots of
the original name.
[KW] – When I was a kid, we attended vacation Bible school at my grandmother’s local Baptist church. We
learned/memorized the books of the Bible. I can still spout off the books of the Old Testament but not the New. I
wonder why that is? The first to pop into my head for “A” was The Acts but when I recited the books in my head, it wasn’t there! I went through that mental list 4 times for the U and W but didn’t come up with any so looked them up to be sure there weren’t any, and there weren’t, at least not spelled in English.
Even though not Catholic, I had 4 of the 5 saints. Probably read something somewhere along the way. Enough history books with saint names maybe. But I had to research for the “U” and there weren’t too many to choose from.
Game Five, Round Four
Letters: C E S T X
Categories: Living Playwright; Shakespearean Play; Greek Letter; Gaseous Substance (Room Temperature);
3-6 Letter Spanish Word
Scores by Category 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Now Previous Total
Doug Kent 9 6 7 8 5 35 + 71 = 106
Kevin Wilson 9 6 9 7 6 37 + 64 = 101
Andy Lischett 7 8 6 6 3 30 + 69 = 99
Mark Firth 8 7 6 7 4 32 + 61 = 93
Walt O’Hara 9 6 8 6 4 33 + 60 = 93
Deadline for the Next Issue of Out of the WAY:
August 10, 2022 at noon Central US Time Zone
See You Then!
Game entries, letters of comment and other material can be sent to:
wandrew88 at gmail.com; or by post to: W. Andrew York; POB 201117; Austin TX 78720-1117
Eternal Sunshine Game Section
Austria: Andy Lischett – firstname.lastname@example.org - Build A Budapest, plays one short.. F Albania - Ionian Sea,
F Apulia Supports F Albania - Ionian Sea, A Budapest Hold, A Constantinople Supports A Serbia – Bulgaria,
A Rome – Naples, A Serbia – Bulgaria, F Tyrrhenian Sea Supports A Rome – Naples, A Venice - Piedmont.
England: Paul Milewski – email@example.com – Remove A Liverpool, F Wales..
F Irish Sea - Liverpool (*Bounce*).
France: Brad Wilson - firstname.lastname@example.org - F Brest - Picardy (*Fails*),
F English Channel
Supports F Brest - Picardy (*Dislodged*, ret Wales, OTB), A Marseilles –
F Mid-Atlantic Ocean - Irish Sea (*Fails*), A Paris Supports A Marseilles - Burgundy.
Germany: Heath Davis-Gardner – email@example.com - Build A Kiel..A Belgium Supports A Picardy,
A Burgundy – Gascony, A Kiel Hold, F London - English Channel,
F North Sea Supports F London - English Channel, A Picardy Supports A Ruhr - Burgundy (*Cut*),
A Ruhr - Burgundy (*Fails*).
Italy: John David Galt – firstname.lastname@example.org -
F Naples - Rome (*Disbanded*), A
Russia: Simon Langley-Evans - email@example.com - Build F St Petersburg(nc), A Moscow, A Warsaw..
A Ankara Hold, F Black Sea Supports F Rumania, A Clyde - Liverpool (*Bounce*),
F Edinburgh Supports F Norway - Norwegian Sea, A Moscow – Ukraine, F Norway - Norwegian Sea,
F Rumania Hold, A Smyrna Hold, F St Petersburg(nc) – Norway, A Warsaw Hold.
Now Proposed – A/G/R, A/F/G/R
Please Vote. NVR = No.
What's Left of England: Inasmuch as RAG between them control 26 centers and unless one or more of them want to slug it out to the bitter end, it's over.
Livonia – World: How peaceful. Not a unit within two provinces.
GM – Livonia: Usedta.
Deadline for F 04 is August 13th 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.
Ralph Waldo Emerson in Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan, Canada
Theodore Roosevelt in Cork, Ireland
Alice Cooper in Alice Springs, Australia
Vladimir Putin in Hell, Michigan
John David Galt:
Elon Musk in Kourou, French Guiana
Lee Van Cleef in Fairbanks, Alaska
Nathaniel Parker in New Scotland Yard, London
Josh Hawley in Antwerp, Belgium
Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine
David Koresh in Wako, Texas
Mortimer Mouse, in Hoboken. New Jersey
Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:
I’m dead, you’re not. Right chromosome.
John David Galt:
George Herbert Walker Bush in Mar-a-Lago, Florida
William Ewart Gladstone in Yerevan, Armenia
Genghis Khan in Sidney, Australia
Neil Armstrong in Hanoi, Vietnam
Che Guevara in La Paz, Bolivia
Charles Darwin is in Berlin, Germany
Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov in Balkanabat, Turkmenistan
James Monroe in Oslo, Norway
Alexander Graham Bell in Munich, Germany
Albert Einstein in Perth, Australia
Christian Bale, in Vejle, Denmark.
Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:
We were born in the same country. I died nearly 400 years before you were born.
John David Galt:
Sir Francis Drake in Sebastopol, California
King John of England in Warsaw, Poland
John Burley in Rumbek, Lakes State, South Sudan
Humayun in Kabul, Afghanistan
Sir John Donne in Akkystau, Kazakhstan
William de Greystoke in St. Petersburg, Russia
William Shakespeare in Hiroshima, Japan
Richard II in Tbilisi, Georgia
Richard of York in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Chaucer in Teheran, Iran
Galileo Galilei in Guangzhou, China
Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:
Right country. I knew relatives of yours, but died before your 20th year.
John David Galt:
Pope Pius XI in Shanghai, China
Charles V of France is in Kyiv, Ukraine
William Courtenay (former Archbishop of Canterbury) in Elazig, Turkey
Henry Bolingbroke (aka Henry IV) in Tsarevo, Bulgaria
Phyllis Diller in Tabriz, Iran
Alice Cooper in Oslo, Norway
Richard Whittington in Varna, Bulgaria
Chaucer in Tbilisi, Georgia
Joan of Arc in Bucharest, Romania
William Caxton in Budapest, Hungary
Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:
I was born before you and died after you. I worked with you, and for you.
Deadline for Turn 5 is August 13th at 7am My Time
By Almost Popular Demand
I’ve run this game (or By Popular Demand, of which this is a variant) a number of times in Eternal Sunshine. The rules are simple: I supply you with five categories. You send in an answer, trying to choose the answer which will match with other people’s but NOT be the most popular. Research IS permitted. You get one point for each person who submitted the answer you gave, including yourself. However, the most popular answer in every category scores ZERO. 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. 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 is worth double points.
Turn 9 Categories:
1. Something a landscaper uses.
2. A type of makeup (not a brand name).
3. A button on a calculator.
4. Something you flip.
5. A Dustin Hoffman movie.
Joker category shown in BOLD. Most popular answer shown in
Andy Lischett scored the top score of 9 this round (out of a possible 11). Paul Milewski gets the low score of 2.
Comments by Category:
Something a landscaper uses: None.
A type of makeup (not a brand name): None.
A button on a calculator: [[I chose to treat Power, On/Off, and Off as different answers. Some calculators – like the HP 12c I have – have both an on and an off button. And while On/Off and Power may do the same thing, they are different buttons because they say different things.]]
Something you flip: None.
A Dustin Hoffman movie: Richard Smith – “Marathon Man was quoted in a recent episode of the brilliant UK comedy drama Outlaws (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11646832/ ). Whilst posing as an FBI officer Christopher Walken sidles up to his mark and asks him "is it safe?"” Brad Wilson – “I can't say I am a huge Dustin Hoffman fan, but at least I know 4-5 or his films.”
General Comments: None.
Turn 10 Categories – DOUBLE POINTS - Remember to Specify a Joker Category
3. A room.
4. A version of Microsoft Windows.
5. A Jack Nicholson movie.
Deadline for Turn 10 is August 13th at 7am My Time
When this game ends, the next will be normal BPD again
Deadline for the next issue of Eternal Sunshine is: Saturday August 13, 2022 at 7am My Time (U.S. central time) – some games and subzines earlier