Eternal Sunshine #15

April 2008

By Douglas Kent, 11111 Woodmeadow Pkwy #2327, Dallas, TX 75228

Email: doug of or diplomacyworld of

On the web at – or go directly to the Diplomacy section at  Also be sure to visit the Diplomacy World website at  Check out for official Toby the Helpful Kitty news, blog, and links to all his available merchandise!

All Eternal Sunshine readers are encouraged to join the free Eternal Sunshine Yahoo group at to stay up-to-date on any subzine news or errata. 

Quote Of The Month“Open your goddamn mouth when you speak!  Fucking ventriloquist. (Clementine in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the only Diplomacy subzone you need if you’re lost in the wilderness.  Use it to start a fire, roll it up and flog a small animal to death for food, and when nature calls you can use a few pages as toilet paper.  You might consider reading it first, but that’s a matter of personal taste (or lack thereof).


There’s a bunch of stuff in this issue, so let’s get down to business.  The 7x7 Gunboat Tournament, run outside of the subzone, is in full swing.  I plan to offer another one when this one nears completion, so keep your eyes open.  Our first Diplomacy game chugs along nicely with some awesome old-style press, and the By Popular Demand and By Popular Opinion games continue as well.  By the way: anyone is welcome to submit press to the Diplomacy game, as it uses a Black Press format; it doesn’t matter whether you actually play in the game or not!  Anyway, as I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself, the only things we’re really light on are book and movie reviews.  Heather started a new “fast track” math class this month, and with close to three hours of homework every night that’s really eaten into our reading and watching schedule.  Plus there have been very few new movie releases that we wanted to see, so it’s been a lot more of Netflix and a lot less of AMC and the Angelika.  Send some positive thoughts in her direction – some of this math stuff, crammed into such a short period, can be a bit overwhelming.  But she needs to get through this and one more math class so she’ll be able to apply for the Veterinary Technician program she wants to get into so badly, which starts in the fall.


Speaking of animals, most of the news in this issue is cat-related, so let me start by plugging our new web site and merchandise.  Toby now has his own line of products, his own blog, and his own web presence.  Visit for links to all of that.  If you want to see the products directly, as well as a few special Whining Kent Pig bonus items, you can see them at, although the Helpful Kitty site has a links to all of that anyway.  I’m even considering adding some Eternal Sunshine or Diplomacy World products…it doesn’t cost anything to add more junk to the item list, after all!  Now, on with the cat updates.


As I’ve mentioned here a few times over the past year, our sweet little girl Tigger was of quite advanced age: almost 21 years old.  She is the only cat I ever adopted as a kitten, as both Mara and Heather agreed that kittens were more work and (most importantly) easier to find families for.  So instead I always tried t stick with adults.  But from what I remember, Tigger was nearing the end of her allotted time when Mara and I saw her, so we decided she’d make a good potential friend for our favorite cat at the time, Ubber.


Two decades later, Tigger has finally had to leave us.  About seven months ago we thought we were losing her, as Tigger had experienced some noticeable weight loss and increased vomiting.  But that was diagnosed as hyperthyroidism, and treating that was not a difficult procedure.  Well, it was actually difficult for a few weeks, having to force the pills down her throat when she didn’t feel like licking up some Cheez Whiz where we’d try hiding the pills…Tigger became quite angry with me about that, since I was the one giving the pills, and she would hiss and run away if I tried to do anything except for petting her on the head.  Once we’d discovered the miracle of Pill Pockets, however, everything got better and life quieted down.  A few minor tweaks of the medication level were all that was required.  Tigger gained a touch of weight, stopped howling at night, and while she was no longer quite as affectionate as she once was, she seemed to have settled in to a grumpy- old-person-style of living (or old cat).  Whether it was getting old or a grudge from the pills, Tigger stopped climbing onto my lap each morning for a petting and love session, but I couldn’t blame her.  Instead I just did my best to accept her various eccentricities…like not wanting to be petted, running to her cat bed, and then whining to have you come pet her there.  A small price to pay for such a long period of companionship.  But then, the bottom fell out.


Really we’re rather fortunate; Friday the 7th she was fine.  Saturday the 8th she started drooling a bit more than usual, not eating much, and her breath stunk.  I thought maybe she had another dental problem.  She was willing to eat some chicken and sliced turkey, but no cat food.  Then Saturday night she threw all of that up, and would not eat again.  Drinking was no problem; in fact she drank more than usual.  We could tell she was sick, and my guesses were either heart disease or a dental mess of some kind.


Monday morning I dropped her off at the vet on the way to work, and asked that they call me when they had some idea what was wrong.  Heather and I both said goodbye to her Sunday night, as they way things looked, it would take a miracle for her to get better.  Even if she was suffering from something treatable, there was then the quality of life question we would have to face.  How much more deterioration could a cat of her age handle?


About an hour later the vet called me at work.  There wasn’t much to talk about.  She had suffered acute renal failure.  Her kidneys were no longer functioning properly.  Water went through her like a faucet, but the toxins were building up rapidly in her system.  They’d already gotten so high that they were beyond the testing limits in the lab.  The vet said this had to have come on suddenly, especially since we’d checked her toxin levels only a few months ago.  She offered the possibility of trying to put her on subcutaneous fluids full-time for two or three days there at the vet’s office, but didn’t think even that would be successful in lowering her levels.  But we knew Tigger had simply had enough.  It was time to say goodbye for good.  The photo above is the last I took of her, the night before.  She was still walking around, and a bit affectionate, but the decision was obvious even then.


They gave Tigger a shot to control her nausea, and kept her comfortable until I could get back there in the afternoon.  I spent some time with her, and even got her to eat a few crumbs of her all-time favorite treat: blueberry donut.  Then it was time.  The vet had already put a line in her leg, so there wouldn’t be any fussing at the last minute.  I kissed her goodbye, told her how much I would miss her, and how much she had meant and would always mean to me.  Then it was a simple process: inject some saline to make sure the line was clear, then a thick-looking white substance which was an anesthetic, literally putting her to sleep (she laid her head down immediately), and finally the lethal shot, stopping her heart less than 20 seconds later.  Then she was gone.  Her eyes were open, and she made a bit of a noise twice as air escaped her lungs, but the spark of life had departed her body.  Still, I was left alone with her for a good five minutes to cry my eyes out, and retelling the story I am crying again.  As I go through my day I have no problem, but when I stop to think about the sweet little fuzz-ball, who whined way too much and who remembered me the moment I walked back in the door after 2 ½ years away…well, my heart aches for her.  I petted her soft fur, kissed the top of her head, cried, talked to her some, and then left.  Goodbye Tigger, I’ll never forget you.


And, in a way, that’s a goodbye one of the last true ties to my old life, my time with Mara.  Whatever else might be left is still sitting in my storage unit in Palmer, which I am slowly digging through and disposing of things whenever I get a chance.  Out with the old, in with the new, I guess.


which leads us to Sanka, the new addition to our household.  The fact is, we had been talking for quite some time about how Toby needed a friend and playmate.  Tigger was never up to the task, and wasn’t at all interested in the first place.  By the time Toby entered her life, she was more than 20 years old and had just recently stopped playing altogether.  Not even the “red dot” (the laser pointer light) could get her moving.  So all of Toby’s attempts to incite her into friendly play, or even simple chasing each other, were met with hisses, growls, or general disinterest.  But we didn’t want to consider bringing another cat into the apartment until Tigger was gone.  She deserved better treatment in her last months than to deal with a new intruder.  Just deciding to adopt Toby took quite a bit of thought and consideration, albeit in a short time, but he seemed so perfect and friendly and loving (which he was, and is) that we couldn’t pass him up.


Even while Tigger was still with us, Heather made regular trips to to see what kind of cats were available from local rescue groups.  We knew a kitten was out of the question, not just for the reasons I mentioned earlier but also because Toby needed an adult cat to deal with, or at least fully grown.  So Heather had been focusing on any local cat who caught her eye from the photo or personal story.  There was one “plus size” black female she liked, but I pointed out to her that she’d been on for over two years…that suggested either she had behavior problems or (more likely) that she’d been adopted or passed away and never removed.  So now Heather had narrowed it down to two cats she wanted us to look at, Khali and Sanka, each being cared for by a different rescue group.  Personally I was ready to accept whatever cat Heather decided on, as long as she was different enough from Tigger for me to not mentally consider her a replacement.  We weren’t replacing Tigger; we were just looking to get Toby the friend he needed.


Khali’s foster family was out of town for a week, but in the meantime after a couple of days we did hear from Sanka’s foster mother.  She actually lived right down the street from Heather’s job.  Eileen (the foster mother) had been caring for Sanka for maybe 10 months, and since she was only about one year old that was a good percentage of her lifetime.  Eileen said that Sanka was sweet and affectionate, and that her main drawback was her tendency to be underfoot…like what cat isn’t?  Heather went by and met Sanka, and I am sure it took about 90 seconds for them to bond completely.  That afternoon I drove over and picked the little fuzzball up, taking Sanka back to her new forever home.


In many ways, she is a little Toby.  She’s terribly loving, purrs like a motorboat (Toby has a very quiet purr by comparison), plays all the time, likes to be held, and gets into mischief.  Sanka even likes to have her tummy rubbed, which most cats hate (but which Toby loves too).  The two of them are getting along pretty well, although Toby plays a bit rough with her sometimes, and gets jealous when Sanka takes his favorite resting places (like next to Heather in the middle of the night).  But I doubt there is going to be any trouble…as you can see in this photo (Sanka is the one to the left) the love to watch the birds out our patio window together.  And Toby was completely exhausted by Sanka, as they chased each other around the apartment for hours.  Sanka has never had this much space before (and remember we live in a tiny 3 room apartment) and living with a foster family this is the first time she’s had to share attention with only one other cat.  It seems to be a perfect match!


As for Khali…well, we never did get over there to see her, since we can’t add another cat to the household right now.  Two is plenty…for the moment.  You never know what the future holds!






For Christmas, one of the things I bought Heather was the just-released DVD set of the complete “My So-Called Life.”  If you’re unfamiliar with it, the series was a 1980’s-era drama starring a young Claire Danes as a 15-year-old High School student, trying to make it through a difficult age.  Highly regarded by those who watched it, the series did not last very long.  I suppose a semi-accurate portrayal of teenage life isn’t particularly escapist, which most successful television seems to be.  Besides, the show lacked some of the truly dark and achingly cruel truth of, say, “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” 


So we started watching a few episodes recently, and it got me thinking more about my time in public school, and my experience with girls, and the fact that I don’t think I had the same outlook on them as other guys (or the same point of view towards guys that most girls had).  Or perhaps I simply think I’m different, when I’m not.  There’s always a lot of that going around too.


I never had that period as a youngster where I thought girls were gross.  In fact, long before puberty, I would think about girls in a romantic sense.  Not a sexual sense – I’d simply imagine some girl I liked in my class being my “girlfriend,  with no real specific idea of what that meant except that we both liked each other and wanted to spend time together.  I can remember having a few declared “girlfriend” in the 2nd or 3rd grade: Wendy O’Connell being the first that comes to mind.  But there were others I’d think about a lot: Annie Williams, Sara Briggs, Sandy Sullivan, April, Tracy…and there was always the unattainable Patty Shepherd.  Even at this young age, I realized certain girls were out of my league.  Whether it was that they were from a very wealthy family, or simply that they openly demonstrated disdain for me (or my family), some girls were beyond me even as simply friends.  Of course, at this age I didn’t know what a mess my family was, and obviously without that realization I couldn’t have possibly known how some of the down looked at us with a combination of pity, trepidation, and repulsion. 


During those years, girls were generally a part of everything we did.  Oh, they wouldn’t play baseball with us during recess, but they were always invited to birthday parties.  In my elementary school classes, we had a seeming peculiar habit of gently scratching each other’s backs when we sat on the school floor watching movies or filmstrips.  There was no hesitation of doing that to a girl, or having her do it to you…you just asked, and they did it.  If someone asked you, you did it.  “Sex” was a foreign concept, so it wasn’t sexual.  It was basic, friendly, comforting human contact.  I sometimes wonder how that changes the development process, now that we live in an age where children can’t even hug or hold hands or any of the other things we did on a regular basis.  Then again, I only did those things in school…at home, we NEVER touched each other.  Touching meant someone was hurting you, or about to do something nasty like drop a bug down your shirt or stick a piece of skunk cabbage under your nose.


I’ve tried my best to figure out when my point of view on girls changed.  Probably around 6th grade, when we moved to New Jersey.  There I could actually fantasize about girls in a sexual way.  Maybe I didn’t consider the idea of having SEX, but instead kissing and holding and being affectionate.  I know there were a few females I lusted after.  Margie was the main one.  I thought she was the cutest, most wonderful being on earth.  At this age I still talked to other boys ABOUT girls, and I remember myself and Ed swapping desires: me for Margie, him for Lisa.  We found the strength of the infatuations we had to be amazing, like a whole new world had opened up to us.  My happiest moments were when she and I were on crossing guard patrol together for a week or two.  She talked to me, laughed with me…but in typical Kent fashion I never told her that I “like liked” her.  At the end of the school year she transferred to a private school (I think) and that was that.  I saw her somewhere – some school function – a year or two later, and realized whatever attraction I’d held for her was completely erased.  I guess I had moved on.


Somewhere between 6th and 7th grade, as I moved from Elementary School to Junior High School (referred to as Middle School in some places), I changed.  I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I don’t know what caused it.  I suppose puberty had started full force, although the awful plague of acne I’d do battle with for years didn’t really start right at this point.  Perhaps it was just going to a school with so many more people…I have no idea.  But it all changed.  Girls were no longer attainable.  And they never would be.  Oh, I could still think about them, list after them, fantasize about them like all heterosexual boys did…but it was the same as fantasizing about a movie star or a rock star.  The odds of me connecting with any girl I went to school with were about as likely as me finding myself in a romantic encounter with Jodie Foster or Olivia Newton John or Chrissie Hynde or one of the Go-Go’s or Patty Smyth or Claire Grogan or that woman from “Buck Rogers.”  In other words, zero.


Maybe I just realized how utterly out of step with the rest of the world I felt.  Even with my friends, I felt like an outsider, or being included seemed to be done out of pity or social obligation more than anything else.  Or, even with good friends like Fritz or McDougal or Richard Rives Howe Jr., I always (rightly or wrongly) sensed the attitude that while my being around was fine, they’d be equally as happy if I wasn’t.   They could take it or leave it.   The only time I didn’t feel that way, some of the time, was with my wargaming buddy Steve.  Aside from occasional arguments, we could spend nearly unlimited time playing games and ringing doorbells or talking.  Like everything else, that would change over time, but for a couple of years it was good to have.


So, while I’d fantasize about some of the marvelous, magical, mystical females in my world – Patrice, Synda, Beth, Ashley, Elana, and especially Helen – there was never the slightest hope that I could do more than pass them in the hall.  Even when a female seemed less other-worldly because they were openly friendly and sweet – Caroline, Gabby, the other Beth – I wouldn’t allow myself the luxury of thinking they could be anything but friends.  I did, in fact, find myself developing a few close friendships with females.  Ayla comes to mind – I loved talking to her, listening to her, discussing life and relationships and anything else with her – but that was a true friendship.  It was completely non-sexual, and was different and wonderful in its own way.  In the years to come I’d find myself forming similar friendships with other women, but that was the first of its kind for me.


Even later, when I met Mara and started dating her, the idea of any of the other women around me being attainable seemed ludicrous.  In fact, I don’t know if that has ever truly changed.  I’ve jokingly complained to Heather that I wish women would hit on me once in a while…but the fact is, women could hit on me day in and day out; I wouldn’t have the slightest idea that anything was going on.  With me, a woman needs to make the first, second, third, and maybe the fourth move.  Not that I need women making moves on me anymore; Heather might take issue with that!


So what is wrong with me?  Was I simply born without the gene to recognize a female’s interest in me?  Or do I think so little of myself that the idea anybody wants to be with me is laughable?  I used to think it was the latter.  But now, as I’ve gotten a bit older, I really think it’s the former.  It is one of my many genetic birth defects.  But as to the history of fantasizing about females, I am curious how different my experience is from everyone else’s.

The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews

Funny Games – Naomi Watts and Tim Roth star in this remake of Michael Haneke’s 1997 Austrian-language version.  Haneke is at the helm again, in a tale of a wealthy family at their vacation home being held captive and terrorized by two young adults who seem determined to kill them.  It’s hard for me to go into more detail without giving portions of the plot away.  But I found the entire process to be somewhat generic and obvious.  There are some attempts by Haneke to comment on the violent world we live in, and on the way some believe a generation raised on violent movies, games, and television cannot distinguish between reality and fiction.  Or, to put it another way, some violent criminals (especially younger ones) live their lives as if they are “the star of their own movie” with dangerously egocentric attitudes towards the wel-being of others.  I imagine his earlier version may have succeeded, but this one fails in almost every regard.  I never felt the terror of the family despite the accomplished cast (although Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet were rather good as the psychopaths).  And the major “gimmicks” did nothing for me.  I’m not even sure I recommend this movie as a DVD film…unless you want to discuss the way the film missed the mark, and the overall big-picture topics it did nothing to enlighten you about.  Skip it.


Seen on DVD – Street Trash (C+, as far as Troma films go this one is rather weak, but the “shoplifting” and “keep-away” scenes make it worth watching ever 10 years).  Paris Je T’aime (C-, a series of unconnected Paris vignettes written and directed separately.  A few moments but generally just not very engaging).  Witness for the Prosecution (B+, after seeing this butchered by a local theater, it was great to watch the classic screen version, with Charles Laughton in all his glory).  28 Weeks Later (A-, about as good as the first film, with the high level of chaos and the freakish cinematography of the Rage sufferers keeping the movie a fast-paced thrill ride).  North By Northwest (A-, got a DVD to replace my old VHS copy, still a terrific movie and always will be).  Miss Potter (B, decent story about Beatrix Potter and her entry into publishing.  I’m not sure what was wrong with it, but perhaps a different actress would have pulled it off more powerfully).  Waitress (D, the woman who made this film was murdered in NYC just before it was released.  I could make some bad jokes here, but I won’t bother).  Waking Ned Devine (B+, cute and low-key Irish comedy, finally got around to seeing it).


Books in Boxers
Eternal Sunshine Book Reviews

Suburban Legends – Sam Stall – “True Tales of Murder, Mayhem, and Minivans.”  A fun and fast collection of stories of the “urban legend” type, but all taking place in the suburbs.  Actually, most of the stories are more about ghosts, paranormal experiences, and a few murders thrown in for good measure.  A great bathroom book if nothing else.  I give it a B+, and I think Heather liked it too.


God is Dead – Ron Currie, Jr. – Some interesting fiction, all short stories.  A few stand on their own, but the rest are all tied to the premise that God assumed human form, doed on Earth, and the world has since become aware of that in a very strange way.  The stories aren’t really haunting, as they don’t stay with you for that long, but they are interesting and sometime unsettling.  I’ll give it a B, maybe a B+.


The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other StoriesTim Burton – Burton can do a hell of a job as a director, building an entirely new world around a script and transporting you into it.  But as a poet, in the vein of Lewis Carroll or Edward Gorey, he is a bust.  A few of the drawings are cute but the prose is useless.  The only thing it did was make me want to find a copy of Beastly Boys & Ghastly Girls so I can read that again.  I’m off to look on eBay right now.  Give it a D.



Heather’s Tricks and Treats


Chosen by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast – The third in the House of Night series.  Exciting and suspenseful.  I finished it in one day because I couldn’t put it down.  Now I’ve already pre-ordered the next book in the series!  Okay, this is really a “teenage” book, but for lighter reading I love this kind of stuff.  4 ½ pumpkins.   


Animal Friends by Christina Jirak O’Donnell – A sweet collection of short stories about rescued animals, and the joy they bring to the people who bring them into their lives.  The people rescue the animals, but in many ways it is the animals who rescue the people!  3 ½ pumpkins.  



Cinematic Catacombs


Creepy old people.  Dark humor.  Sabotage.  Deteriorating neighborhoods.  Murder.  What could be more fun?


“Homebodies” was one of those 1970’s movies which HBO ran over and over again just as cable TV was making its way into suburbia.  I must have watched it over 40 times as a kid, and it was only recently that I was able to procure an old VHS copy to enjoy all over again.  Heather didn’t care for it – there’s no accounting for taste – but I still found it very amusing.


The plot is rather simple.  A neighborhood is being demolished, building by building, to make room for new high-rise development.  The movie focuses on one particular building.  The residents simply do not want to leave.  And they are willing to do anything it takes to get what they want. 


There are plenty of laughs along the way.  Some of it is slapstick, like when Maddie tries to drive a car for the first time in decades.  And some of it is simply nasty fun, like when they chop a developer’s foot off to fit him in a construction form. 


The stars are all creepy, and will ne unrecognizable to most of you.  Ruth McDevitt had a recurring role on Kolchak The Night Stalker, and appeared in The Birds.  But it’s Paula Trueman as Maddie who steals the show, and while she has screen credits in films like Paint Your Wagon or Annie Hall, I don’t remember her in anything but this.  This is, without question, a dark comedy…but I love it just the same.  I think I heard it may be on DVD again soon, so keep your eyes open! 



Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column

Andy York: I enjoyed the latest ES, great job as always. Regarding the David Lynch for President campaign, where are the rabbits? I'm sure they're "hopping" for a victory in November!


I think they left the campaign over a disagreement about how much coffee must be provided, and of what caliber.


The story about the run-up to your "mandatory extended vacation" was interesting. I was surprised you have to pay your way to the prison. I figured you'd turn yourself into the local Marshall's office who would, in turn, make "the arrangements" to get you to your final destination. Did you have an option, or was the only choice you were given was to appear at the front door?


I was lucky to have the option, believe me.  Otherwise you get the Federal transportation treatment, including holdovers for weeks at a time (like 4th class mailbags), terrible conditions, no family contact, and the nightmare of the methods of transportation.  Often you stand out on the tarmac for an hour at rifle-point while inmates of all security levels are loaded into a plane.  Ever see Con Air?  A prison pal nearly had a nervous breakdown in his trip…he was standing on the tarmac during a less-serious transfer, mainly of low-security inmates.  He’d been stuck in one spot for a few weeks, and had spent a lot of time talking to one of the guards.  He noticed some fluid dripping from the tail section of the plane he was about to board, and asked the guard what it was.


“Oh, that’s hydraulic fluid.  It always drips like that on this plane, it has a leak somewhere.”


“But how do they know when they’ve lost too much fluid?” he asked.


“Easy,” the guard replied.  “When it stops dripping.”


Not the kind of experience you volunteer for.  Anyway, since I was on pre-trial release for a non-violent crime, I wasn’t a flight risk.  If I was going to run I would have done it long before then!


I agree, Juno was a good movie (gave it a B+). I'm glad it got at least one Oscar, well deserved!


I've not read any of the books Heather's reviewed. Is she into horror, gothic, vampire or ?? I don't really read much in those genres, but there are a couple of Straczynski horror books that I've read based on the author. Quite good, and disturbing.


She likes gothic, vampire, supernatural romance, and especially any of the teenage-marketed books.  She says they’re great for a quick, fun, semi-mindless read.  And like a soap opera or television drama, they often put cliffhangers at the end of one book, helping her to look forward to the next one that much more.  The more serious, bloody vampire books are good too.  But she reads lots of other things as well: animal books, humor, fiction, biography, historical books when of a subject she is interested in…it’s just that she gets on her little kicks, and right now it’s a vampire kick again.


I can't help with the two movies, they don't ring a bell at all.


I am not surprised!


Robert Lesco: Zoot Allures was my first Zappa LP.  I bought it shortly after it was released and a couple of the guitar solos are still favorites.  I am stuck for an answer as to which is my favorite album.  Maybe the Shut Up And Play Your Guitar series but I'm not certain.


Hearing some of the songs redone in the Thing Fish project was interesting.  I believe Black Napkins and The Torture Never Stops were two of my favorites off Zoot Allures.  Lately I’ve been sticking with the same CD’s over and over: Rain (the new Joe Jackson), Dulcinea by Toad the Wet Sprocket, Popular Favorites by The Talking Heads, the Once soundtrack, and old standby CD’s like Conjure One’s Extraordinary Ways, Choirgirl Hotel by Tori Amos, and Van Morrison’s Saint Dominic’s Preview.  I don’t buy new CD’s all that much, so I have always hesitated in adding a brief “playlist” section in this rag.

Game Openings

Balkan Wars VI (Black Press): Signed up: Jack McHugh, Graham Wilson, Brad Wilson, Brendan Whyte, needs two more.  Rules and map on request.

I may offer a new game of Diplomacy or another Gunboat 7x7 soon, so keep your eyes open.  Other options are a game of Youngstown or some other map variant.

Eternal Sunshine Game Section

Diplomacy “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” 2008A, Fall 1901

Austria (Kevin Wilson):  A Ser S F Alb-Gre, A Tri-Vie, F Alb-Gre.


England (Jeremie LeFrancois): .F Nth C A Yor-Den, F Nwg-Nwy, A Yor-Den (Bounce).


France (Alexander Levinson):  F Mid-Por, A Gas-Spa, A Mar-Bur.


Germany (Graham Wilson): F Hol S A Ruh-Bel, A Ruh-Bel, A Kie-Den (Bounce).


Italy (Don Williams): F Ion-Tun, A Apu-Ven, A Tyr-Mun.


Russia (Melinda Holley): A Mos-Sev (Fails), F Sev-Rum (Bounce), A Ukr S F Sev-Rum, F Gob-Swe.


Turkey (Brad Wilson): A Smy-Arm, F Bla-Rum (Bounce), A Bul S F Bla-Rum.

Ownership of supply centers:


Austria:            Budapest, Greece, Serbia, Trieste, Vienna.

England:          Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Norway.

France:            Brest, Marseilles, Paris, Portugal, Spain.

Germany:         Belgium, Berlin, Holland, Kiel.

Italy:                Munich, Naples, Rome, Tunis, Venice.

Russia:             Moscow, Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Sweden, Warsaw.

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Smyrna.

Unowned:        Denmark, Rumania.


Austria:            5 Supply centers,  3 Units:  Builds   2 units.

England:          4 Supply centers,  3 Units:  Builds   1 unit.

France:            5 Supply centers,  3 Units:  Builds   2 units.

Germany:         4 Supply centers,  3 Units:  Builds   1 unit.

Italy:                5 Supply centers,  3 Units:  Builds   2 units.

Russia:             5 Supply centers,  4 Units:  Builds   1 unit.

Turkey:            4 Supply centers,  3 Units:  Builds   1 unit.


Winter 1901/Spring 1902 Deadline is April 29th 2008 at 7:00am

Winter will be separated on two requests.



Heart of Darkness Saloon: The woman behind the bar snorted as she loaded sasparillas onto a platter.  "Here!" she ordered a server.  "Take these to those three guys sitting by the west window.  And watch out for that Frenchman, Robert."


"What about that group on the other side of the room?"


There was an evil cackle.  "Oh, I'll take care of them, sonny boy."


Rome to Vienna :  Sorry, friend, but rumor has it you were looking for a little canal-joy-riding and we couldn’t have any of that.  If we bounced, consider yourself lucky that I’m so forgiving by nature and understanding by education.  If we didn’t bounce, well, then I’m thinking I’m lucky that you are so forgiving as well.


Somewhere West of the Hobby: Too long.  Way too long, he thought.  He’d been riding a three weeks now and the desert was winning the war of man against nature.    Eternal sunshine, be damned, it was hot out here, the kind of hot that could make a man go crazy in the head.  The sun blazed nearly straight overhead, causing a fata morgana mirage on the eastern edge of the desert.  Dry hot winds blew up from that direction.  Even his shadow seemed to be searching for someplace to avoid the blazing sun.  He squinted hard at the east, his destination.  Somewhere across this forsaken and blasted desert plain was his destination, his desire and his damnation, all rolled up into one.  The heart of Darkness Saloon.  And the infernal woman who ran the place.  He spurred his horse and moved out further into the shifting sands of the desert.


 WILLIAMS to WILSONS :  Best two allies out of three?  (Sorry Graham.)


Wilson to Williams:  OK, I’ll ally with you.


FLEET STREET: We regret to inform you that we neglected to inform you that we meant to inform you that the information regarding the fleet flotilla formation formed to formulate a foreign foster state in Denmark was misinformed in its malformation.  Put laconically and with less bombast – but tragically lacking the ability to show off our command of the mother tongue – Ooops!  Jutland revenged!  Hail Britannia!


Somewhere West of the Hobby: Wouldn’t it be Nice if you could see it?  But you couldn’t.  It was just out of sight, off in the distance, almost…if the light was right and the sky not too cloudy.  If the paper was a bright white, not the beige recycled stuff some people were using, and if the fonts weren’t too big…yeah, you could almost see it.  There to the east, always to the east.  The Hobby, swelling up with its history, its pride, its grand tradition of games…and gamesmanship.  Just always over the horizon, unseen, but you knew it was there, always to the east.    But, we were off to the west here…not exactly sure where.  Somewhere West of the Hobby…


S’ym!,” the high pitched screech declared, “there must be an inch of dust on this piano!”


“Well, yes’m,” replied the fur clad bartender stoically, “we haven’t been open for business in nigh on twenty years…”  As soon as he said it, he knew it was the wrong thing to say.  His head swiveled slowly in the pervasive, temperature dropping silence.  It seemed the only thing moving in a suddenly still tableau.  Moving his head, dreading, slowly around brought his field of vision into a panascopic visual inventory of the bar…the deer head and antlers above the bar, the cracked mirror behind the bar, and the single spigot to the keg at the back.  It also brought into view his boss, Miss Kitty Holley, the voluptuous and wanton proprietress of the saloon.


“What…exactly…are you trying to say,” she asked.  She fixed him with the gaze of her amethyst blue eyes as surely as you could bayonet a bug on a fencepost.  She leaned forward in her intensity, practically unaware of bringing her vast cleavage to bear on the situation.


“I’m just thinking that the beer we put up would be appropriately aged.  Even that scotch we had going in the bathtub last time we printed should be good to go by now.”


“Oh,   Miss Kitty smiled, “good thinking.  Scrounge up some bottles then.  Twenty year old scotch should give this place a little class.”


She went back to cleaning the window, polishing the gold gilt lettering …Heart of Darkness Saloon…picked out in curly script, gold on black on the thick paned windows…and through the window, past the dusty, tumbleweed littered streets, past the horse troughs, and the low gables of the Austrian Arms Hotel & General Store, past all of it and off to the east…just beyond sight…


“Do ya ever miss it?” intoned S’ym, who had come up quietly behind her.


She looked back over her shoulder at him and smiled brashly…”Hon, I was never gone.”


CORRIERE DELLA SERA TELAGRAMMA POSTALE: to MUN: I know what I told you STOP  Had way too many people suggesting it  STOP  Couldn’t help taking a shot STOP  Had to give it a go STOP  Stop  STOP


TURKEY to TURKEY :  I have a great idea.  I think I’ll write to you and only you and then I won’t have to lie to anyone.


Somewhere West of the Hobby…Wrote Hard and Put Up Wet: *ching* ching * ching*


You could hear the ching with each step the dust covered boots took, as they slowly trod down the street. The steps, sure and measured, moving unperturbed past the tumbleweeds and horse flop.  Past the horses tied up at the rail with the WP brand.


*ching* ching * chi----


---and pausing, slowly turning.  The turn took a moment, because it was also slow and measured, and because he was tall, okay and broad, the shirts maybe fitting a little too snug nowadays, but he still cast a long shadow…especially at twilight.  Now, no reason to go and get melancholy.


His slow measured turn brought him around facing the building. The Heart of Darkness Saloon, and a smile crept across his slightly pudgy, ill-shaven face.  Unbelievably, he had never actually been in this town before, never set a dust covered boot step within its city limits before, yet he knew it like the back of his hand, almost like he had wrote it…or at least five to ten percent of it.  His steely gaze swept the building front and he could make out the bullet holes from past gunfights, and the memories came back; there on the boardwalk where they had just painted over the blood stains, there the water trough where the water only went so high because that was where the Judge had been pinned down and no one had ever patched the holes.  There, where you could see where the new panes of glass in the window front didn’t quite match up with some of the older panes…a chair through the window if he recalled correctly.  Yeah, he felt like he was practically at home.  He Flicked his Wrist a little, working out a cramp…maybe a little arthritis; he was getting too old for this shit.  But a job was a job.


As he perused the front of the building he saw a petite alabaster hand reach up in the window and pull on a chain.  The delicate fingers with their fire engine red nails released the chain and it went skittering back up…abruptly the red and blue “Brothel Open” sign lit up. He stepped toward the Saloon…


*ching* ching * ching*


and up the steps, and his big meaty hands pushed the swinging doors aside and he stepped into the darkened saloon.


Hmmmm, hhmmmm,” the sound of throat clearing, “it’s the Heart of Darkness Saloon.”


“What?  Pardon me?” the tall dusty stranger (yet also somehow familiar) said.


“Your monolog…you said you stepped into the darkened saloon, it’s the Heart of Darkness Saloon.”


He looked at the speaker, apparently the bartender, only because he was standing behind the bar with a bucket and a Scotch bottle with a funnel stuck in the top.


“I was only trying to say it was dark in here, y’know not so well lit,” he explained, “I was pausing at the door.  Letting my eyes adjust, actually its quite a tried and true western story entrance.  I thought I did it quite well.”


The bartender looked at him, “So.  Have your eyes adjusted?”


“Are you covered in blue fur?”


“Except for a bald patch on my ass…yeah,” replied S’ym.


“In that case, yeah, they’re adjusted.”


He walked toward the bar…


*ching* ching * ching*


The big blue bartender squinted at him, “You know you’re not wearing spurs, right?”


He looked down at the boots that had dust, but no metal on them. “Yeah, I know.  It’s…”


for effect,” finished S’ym.  “A tried and true cliché of the old west.”


“Exactly!” beamed the gunslinger.


“So, ya’ want some Redeye,” he jiggled the funnel out of the bottle of scotch and tapped the last few remaining drops in.


The gunslinger waved his hand in the negative.  S’ym reached under the counter and picked up the placards and walked to the single spigot on the wall.  He shuffled the placards…Miller, Stroh’s, Bud, Coors…


Ya want a brew?”


“Nah, I’m on the wagon,” replied the gunslinger.


S’ym peered out the front window and into the street, “I thought you walked here?”


“Just a glass of water would be fine.  Maybe with a lime in it.”


Ya want me to find the little umbrellas first?”


The gunslinger was about to retort when his keen senses heard the swish of silk, the distinctive whisp it makes as it slides over chiffon.  His nose, the famous nose that could detect a Taco stand miles away perked at the musky scent of perfume…expensive French perfume, Chateau le Bimbeaux, if he guessed correctly.  A smile crept over his face, yes, almost like he’d been here before.


He turned, slowly, measuredly (measuredly?) and took in the view.  He started at the perfect coiffure and worked his way down; the keen, alluring blue eyes, the rouged cheeks and perfect makeup, the luscious, full pouty lips glossy with rich, red lipstick…slightly parted so you could see the perfect pearly whites and just the tip of her tongue.  The long stem of her alabaster neck, the shoulders begging to be caressed revealed by the off-the-shoulder gown (a Versace?), and the…wow! Hubbeda, hubbeda…the décolletage that heaved almost out of the plunging neckline, huge, smooth, and pressed together to make a truly stupendous cleavage, this the famed “Grand Canyon of the Press.”


She looked him dead in the eye, “If you like the Grand Canyon, maybe you’d like to shoot the rapids?”


He stopped abruptly, and looked at her sheepishly. “Was I monologging again?”


“Just a little,” she pulled a perfumed handkerchief from her sleeve and wiped at the drool running from the corner of his mouth.  S’ym set down his drink on the bar and walked off, shaking his head.


“Miss Kitty, it’s a pleasure to see you...I mean, really….a pleasure.”


“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage stranger…though you do seem oddly familiar.  You are a long, tall drink of…” her gaze fell on his glass, “…water?”


She stepped back to look at him, her gaze running an assay of him like a revenuer going over your books.  She started at the dusty spurless boots and worked her way up…you could tell a lot by a man’s shoes and his were….big.  She smiled; she might have something to work with here.  The pants were dusty as was the Mississippi gambler jacket that did little to hide the two low slung six guns strapped to his thighs.  A button strained a little at his midsection, but she didn’t hold that against him, she’d strained a button or two in her time, and he might be packing a derringer by the looks of that bulge…she hoped it was a double shot.  The bump of his back pocket, just barely visible because of the coat belied he was carrying a wallet, by its size she figured two tens, a twenty and three ones.  She squinted…no four ones.  She worked her way up to his ruggedly handsome face, and noted the lines around the eyes.  Eyes that had seen a lot of death, looked into the depths of shallow characterizations; read a lot of bad press. (Hey, what are you trying to say?)  She kinda liked that look, like he’d been wrote hard and put up wet.   Up past the pudgy nose to the wide brim gambler’s hat with a feather stuck rakishly in the band.  Was that a duck feather?


That’s when it hit her…the duck feather.


“You’re the Duck of Death!”


He blushed, “that’s Duke, mam.  The Duke of Death, and that’s just a nome de guerre that my writer made up.  The name’s Williams.”


“Don Williams…” finished Miss Kitty, she fanned herself with the kerchief, “but what could possibly bring you out here, west of the Hobby?  There’s been no trouble since the gold rush played out years ago.  The Judge cleaned up the town; all the soldiers of fortune are gone.”


“You saw the WP brand on them horses outside?”


She nodded her head, “Yeah, that’s the Whining Pig spread just outside of town.  He’s bought up all the pages around here, this whole town’s in his szine now.”


The Duke of Death nodded solemnly, took a swig of water, and adjusted his derringer, “yeah, and I heard the Wilson boys are riding for him.”


Miss Kitty’s eyes widened, she recalled the old days…the gunfights in the street, body parts flying like some bloody child’s toy, horses hung from the gallows, cattle raped and women rustled, the barfights every night, the violence and death…


S’ym!” she screeched, “order up some more glassware, finish bottling that scotch, and get ready for business.  This is gonna be fun!”


She smiled a really chilling, yet beautiful smile.


Wilson to Wilson:  Why don’t you write any more?


Somewhere West of the Hobby…A Damsel in dis’ dress: Wouldn’t it Be Nice if dollars were donuts? And quarters were those thin mint chocolates like the ones the swanky hotels put on your pillow at night?  And taffy…wouldn’t it be nice if taffy came oozing from the faucet like hot and cold water.  Make that saltwater.  He smiled at his tasty bon mot.  Jeremie teetered back in his swivel chair and, pushing with his toes on the big desk, spun around.




Wouldn’t it be nice if you spent candy and ate money?  He pivoted about, visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.


“You called, Yer Bankership?” asked Marlow from the door to the office.


Jeremie sat up, bringing his spin to an abrupt halt.  His head spinned a little longer.


Er, no …no, ahem, I didn’t ... I mean yes, Marlow.  I did.  Is my four thirty here?”


Yer four thirty is in the lobby, Yer Bankership.”


“Ah, the four thirty.  Excellent!”  He rubbed his hands together, “Most excellent!”  His eyebrows went up expectantly, “And did she bring, ahem, muffins, Marlow?”  Her muffins were extravagantly large, round and warm … he could hardly wait.


A brief smile crossed Marlow’s face before he answered, “Yessir, I reckon she did at that.”


“Well, then show her in, Marlow, show her in.”


The lobby of the bank was stereotypically western (ya’ think?) with its scarred hardwood floors, a black pot belly stove in the corner, and a short counter of three bank windows with little bars separating the tellers from the customers.  The only remarkable thing in the lobby was the beautiful woman in the flamboyant backless, practically frontless, strapless gown.  It was a rich, vibrant blue.  Two of the town’s ladies huddled as far away from her as they could get in the small lobby, making quiet clucking noises.  The clichéd kind of clucking noises you find in a story like this.


Miss Kitty took a last calculated look at her attire.  She approved.  She had prepared for this meeting with the banker; she had applied the right amount of make up for office lighting, she had plucked and primped, she had rouged her cheeks and her nipples, she had sprayed on just the right amount of the pricey French perfume, Chateau le Bimbeaux (imported from Paris the muleskinner had said), and she had chosen her favorite blue dress, because it brought out her spectacular … eyes.  (Yeah, that’s it.)   S’ym called it her ‘Salute to the Fleet’ dress because when she leaned forward you could see her navel.  The slits up the sides of the gown revealed petticoat all the way up to your thigh, if you chose to wear a petticoat. If you were going to talk to a man about money, she thought, it didn’t do to have all his blood flowing to his brain.  She flipped closed her compact as she saw Marlow retreating from the office in back toward her.


“Well, Marlow, we miss you over at the Heart,” said Miss Kitty.


“Shucks, thanks Yer Busomousity,” said Marlow, “but it was time to move on.  When I worked at the Heart of Darkness I was always being told what to do … Marlow wash the glasses, Marlow empty the spittoon, Marlow mop up that puke, Marlow turn on the Brothel Open sign, Marlow drag that body out back ... you know, like that.  But here, Miss Kitty, I’m the teller … and I get to tell people.”


“I don’t think that’s what it actually means, Mar …”


“See?  Like now, where I’m telling you His Bankership is ready to see ya’.”

Marlow showed her the way to the office which brought them by the two town women.  Miss Kitty smiled and nodded, “Mrs. Peabody, you give my best to Earl.  Oh, and be a dear and tell him I found his lucky rabbit’s foot.  He was so distressed when he, ah, when he misplaced it.  He can pick it up as soon as it dries out.”   The woman blanched and Miss Kitty continued on her way.


Yer Bankership,” said Marlow from the door, “Miss Kitty is here.”


Jeremie Lefrancois, President, owner and operator of the Chacol Noire First Trust, the only bank in town, stood up to greet his guest.  He stopped in mid-stride, a look of puzzlement on his face.


“You’re not the lady from the bakery?”


Hmmmmm, hark, spoit,” Marlow cleared his throat and spit into the spittoon in way of interjection, “Mrs. Babcock canceled, Yer Bankership, so I let Miss Kitty here have the four thirty.”


“But … but … I thought there were going to be muffins … large, round, warm muffins.”

Miss Kitty wriggled her body to emphasize her ... her point.


“She brings them in, and they’re bulging out of the top of the box…”


Miss Kitty inhaled.


“And it’s like you can barely keep your hands off of them, they look so plump, so tasty, so soft.  You just want to grab them.  They’re quite impressive muffins,” he shook his head sadly.


“Are you blind?” she asked the banker.


“No, no … it’s okay.  Just a little, ahem, disappointed.”


“Disappointed?”  Her eyebrows went up in surprise.  She needed to kick this up a notch.  Now.  She leaned forward, just the right amount … the old salute to the fleet would do the trick.


“Oh, does your back hurt?  I’m sure it must.  Here let me get you a chair…”


He moved to the front of his desk and pulled aside an elegantly padded armchair for her.


Now we’re getting somewhere she thought.  She would make sure to move close to him, to let him inhale the intoxicating scent of le Bimbeaux.  She moved in with tiger like smoothness, going for the kill, gliding to the chair so that it brought her body into contact with his for the briefest, yet lingering moment, and just as she did so she tilted her neck away, just so, to expose the alabaster curve of the skin and give an optimum sniff zone.  She anticipated a reaction…


His nose wrinkled and his eyes squinted.  He gave a little cough in his throat and backed up a step.


Not the reaction she anticipated.  Things were not going well.


“So, Miss Kitty, is it?,” said Jeremie, taking his seat behind the impressively large desk, “what services can the Chacol Noire First Trust offer you?”


“I own the Heart of Darkness, and we’re expecting an up tic in business.  So I wanted to expand, buy more glassware, some new sheets, more mirrors would be nice, add a few paragraphs, maybe a page.  I was thinking of a loan…”


“OH, the Heart of Darkness,” exclaimed Jeremie, “that’s the little bistro down the street.”  His eyes were bright again.


“Well, it’s not actually a bistro…” again the crestfallen look, what was with this guy, then it clicked and she leaned forward, “but we do have a menu of sorts.”


Reeeaalllly?” and he leaned in to listen.


Somewhere West of the Hobby…Prospects are Bleak: “Wouldn’t it be Nice to get a cold beer and a fat steak?”


Mosey, the old prospector, licked his lips at the thought.  A cold beer and a fat steak.  He looked at the rising sun through one squinted eye as it broke over the header of the previous page; it brought out the stark contrast of white and black, the letters casting long shadows on the page, and bringing out the eye hurting whiteness of the paper.  Soon it would be up in the sky, one…two paragraphs and the desert would heat up, turning the knob on the boilerplate from simmer to hot, and then to broil.  The gunslinger Flicked his Wrist and a gold coin somersaulted into the air.  Mosey watched it rise and fall, the twinkling intermittent gleam as it ascended into the morning sun and descended back to the palm of the gunslinger’s hand.


“All you have to do is tell me where I can find Greedy Wilson,” continued the gunslinger.


Mosey weighed his options.  He eyed the man with the gold coin and the duck feather stuck rakishly in his hat, he thought about another day out in the dust and the dirt, and he thought about that cold beer and that fat steak that he could get in town.  What could it hurt?


“Yeah, I was partnered up with Greedy,” he admitted, “we was working the wash outaMazzer Gulch.  There’s them that thought it was played out from the old days, the old Fiat Bellum strike come and gone. But Greedy, he had a hunch…and he’d always been good on them hunches.  Hell, that’s how he got his name.”  The old prospector pulled off his begrimed hat, contemplatively rubbed its brim.  He spit towards the mule as he reconstructed his memory.


Heehawh!!!” brayed the mule.


“Sorry, Jasper,” said Mosey, and continued, “well, sir, we wushavin’ a good day.  We’d got two bags o’ dust, coupla’ good nuggets. As an erudite friend of mine once said, “if you get into this...there was some gold to be mined.”  He wasn’t far wrong, but Greedy, true to his name…he wanted more.  Well, there was a backwash up the gulch, all deep in the brambles and the scrub. Ol’ Greedy was deep in it, one foot on a rock in the stream and the other on a fallen tree log.  He was spread wide like one of those high falootin’ whores at the Heart o’ Darkness that yagotta spend yer hard earned nickel fer.  That’s when it happened…”


The gunslinger leaned in, “he fell?”


“Aw, hell no,” replied Mosey, “ that cuss had better footin’ than a mountain goat. Better than ol’ Jasper here…”


Heehawh,” brayed the mule.


“No offense Jasper, Ah’m just sayin’.  Anyways, no some damn rattler that’d been sunning itself gets takin’ aback at Greedy’s pomposity.  Movin’ into his territory and all, so he just jumps up and bites Greedy in the dick.”


The gunslinger self consciously adjusted his derringer, “really?”


“Oh, hell yeah.  When I come up on him he was caterwauling sumpin’ awful and holding his crotch.  He said to me, Mosey, go get Doc Jenkins.  Ah’m dying Mosey, get the doc!  So, I got on ol’ Jasper here and tore ass into town.”


Heehawh,” wailed the mule.


“No, offense Jasper.  Moved rapidly that is,” he amended to the gunslinger.  “Anyways, when I get ta’ town the Doc is elbows up in Mama Babcock’s hootie.  Apparently, Mister Babcock doesn’t plow all his furrows off the plantation, if ya’ get my drift.  This one here’s her third bambino…”


Heehawh, Heehawh, Heehawh, Heehawh,” brayed the mule.


“No, Jasper, yer’ right.  It’s her fourth blessed event, but it’s all cattywampus…a breach that is, and the Doc, he can’t leave her and I got my best friend mortally fanged in the desert.  The Doc looks me dead in the eyes and he seys to me, Mosey, you got a knife?  I whups out my bowie and shows him shore enough I do.  He says you get yourself some alcohol, some whiskey or such and pour over the blade, or toast it up over a camp fire.  Then, he says, you gotta use the knife to make an ‘in-ci-sion’, turns out that’s like a cut.  He says to me, make a cut over the bite like an “X”, like when you signed your will the Judge drew up fer ya’.  Then he says you gotta suck the snake’s poison outta the wound. He says to bandage it up and bring him back in. He tells me ride, ride back to the gulch and get there quick like my friend’s life depended on it. So I did, I jumped on Jasper and we tore ass back to the gulch.”


Heehawh,” brayed the mule.


“No offense, Jasper, but we was movin’ awful fast.  So I gets there and get down next to Greedy and I kneel down next to him, and I take off this here hat, and he looks up at me with those grief-ful, pain filled eyes and he says, “what’d the doc say?”


“He said you’re gonna die.”


“And…”, said the gunslinger.


“What do you mean, ‘And’?  That’s it, end of story.  You want to know where you kin find Greedy, I buried him off behind that cactus there,  he held up his hand, palm up, for the gold coin.


……After he had paid off the prospector and was heading back to town the gunslinger pulled a rumpled piece of paper from his vest pocket.  It seemed to be a list of names, some had hashmarks through them, some didn’t, but what they all had in common was that they all ended in “Wilson”.  He pulled a pencil from his pocket and struck through the name ‘Greedy Wilson’ on the page.  He refolded the paper, put it back in his pocket and continued into the rising sun.  His steps, sure and measured, carried him toward the next chapter.


*ching* ching * ching*


By Popular Demand

Credit goes to Ryk Downes, I believe, for inventing this game (although his original version had the GM supply the starting letter as well).  The goal is to pick something that fits the category and will be the "most popular" answer. You score points based on the number of entries that match yours. For example, if the category is "Cats" and the responses were 7 for Persian, 3 for Calico and 1 for Siamese, everyone who said Persian would get 7 points, Calico 3 and the lone Siamese would score 1 point. The cumulative total over 10 rounds will determine the overall winner. Anyone may enter at any point, starting with an equivalent point total of the lowest cumulative score from the previous round. If a person misses a round, they'll receive the minimum score from the round added to their cumulative total. And, if you want to submit some commentary with your answers, feel free to.  The game will consist of 10 rounds.  A prize will be awarded to the winner.

Round 2 Categories

1. An English monarch.

2. A candy bar other than Hershey’s

3. Something you generally only eat at a restaurant.

4. A long, boring book.

5. A “one-hit-wonder” band.



Selected Comments By Category:


Monarch -  Kevin Wilson “I know there are a lot of others out there and I suspect QEII won't be a unanimous vote, but she's the one on the throne now so I'll go with her.  I guess some wartime monarch could come get a response or two since one of the things the readers of ES have in common is Dip and maybe wargames, but I doubt it. “


Candy Bar Kevin Wilson “This one should have a wider spread of responses.  There are a lot of favorites out there just in the U.S. market:  Snickers, Butterfinger, Milky Way; not to mention the variants of each.  But I think Snickers will be popular having been around a long time and, in my opinion, the best of the bunch to boot.   Dane MaslenApparently Snickers is the world's top-selling bar.  You must presumably have it - I can't imagine it being the best seller if it weren't sold in the US - and we certainly do, so I've gone for that.”


Restaurant Food – Andy York “Yes, I've made sushi at home, but it is rare (pun intended); lobster would be a second choice.”  Kevin Wilson “A tough one too.  As I go through the list of entrees I eat in restaurants, I couldn't think of any we do not also have at home:  various meats, salad, a variety of vegetables etc.  So I turned to starters and desserts.  I guess the responses could include certain desserts but when I thought of starters, the first one I thought of was calamari and we've NEVER had that at home so that's what I went with.  I predict almost as many answers as players but we'll see.”   Berend Renken “No idea what would be a popular answer for this one... It has to be something that (1) tastes good, (2) is hard to prepare right at home, and (3) isn't very suitable for delivery, as you're asking for something eaten at (not from) a restaurant.”

BookKevin Wilson “This one was tough for me.  If I start a book and find it boring, long or short, I put it down and move on, removing it from my memory.  Any book I actually remember is because I read it in full and if I read it in full, I probably didn't find it boring.  But, there is one book that I find exceedingly boring despite the fact I have not read it in full and that's my answer.   Berend Renken “I hope people won't go for "Moby Dick", which I think is a great story.”  Tom Swider “The Russians certainly have a virtual monopoly on boring books. I may have to try reading Anna Karenina, as I've tried watching the movie several times and fell asleep. Dave Foley's (KitH)  Doctor Suess' Bible is much more interesting and amusing.”  Dane MaslenI've no idea whether 'War and Peace' is boring, but it's certainly long so I'll settle for it for 4. “

One Hit Wonder – Andy York(Oh, great, I have to try to remember a band on one of those VH1 specials I had on as background noise a decade ago or so) DeMarco Family (?) - a song that went "Love, a...." that I distantly recall on the radio in the mid-70s while I was in my basement playing the original games in the Europa series (Drang Nach Osten and Unetscheiden (spelling??)). That song also resonates with a book I read about that time, "The City of Gold and Lead".   Kevin Wilson “My best friend is a one-hit-wonder fan.  He could probably rattle off a list of 50 responses without looking at a list.  I think he told me once he has downloaded (from the days when sharing wouldn't get you sued) dozens, perhaps hundreds, of one- and two-hit-wonder songs.  Me, I can't think of any so I cheated and turned to the web.  I was ASTOUNDED at the response to goggling "one hit wonder"; 4.5 million hits!!  Anyway, Nena showed up on the U.S. and U.K. top 10s so I went with her.  I guess there is some risk as Nena is more of an "artist" than a "band" but I'll take my changes.  Some of the responses might be interesting.  I'll have to send the list to my friend just to make sure he hasn't missed any.  :-)”  Berend Renken "Macarena, a tapeworm in the form of sound”  Dane MaslenI expect answers for 5 to be all over the place - though again maybe there's something obvious I'm missing - so I'll settle for 1 point for the duo that gave us the excellent 'In the year 2525' way back in the 60s.”

[[In regards to Andy’s question, I think that was “Heartbeat, It’s a Lovebeat” wasn’t it?  I’m too lazy to look it up.]]

Round 3 Categories – Deadline is April 29th 2008 at 7:00am

1. A city in Idaho besides Boise.

2. A commodity.

3. A chess piece.

4. An acronym.

5. A mountain range.


By Popular Opinion

In this By Popular Demand variant invested by Allan Stagg, the questions are subjective, e.g. "Who is or was the best rock guitarist of all time?"  The goal is to pick something that fits the category and will be the "most popular" answer. You score points based on the number of entries that match yours. For example, if the category is “What breed of cats are the friendliest?" and the responses were 7 for Persian, 3 for Calico and 1 for Siamese, everyone who said Persian would get 7 points, Calico 3 and the lone Siamese would score 1 point. The cumulative total over 10 rounds will determine the overall winner. Anyone may enter at any point, starting with an equivalent point total of the lowest cumulative score from the previous round. If a person misses a round, they'll receive the minimum score from the round added to their cumulative total. And, if you want to submit some commentary with your answers, feel free to; players are encouraged to submit press justifying their choices.  The game will consist of 10 rounds.  A prize will be awarded to the winner.


Round 6 Categories

1. Sexiest piece of lingerie.

2. Worst Jim Carrey movie.

3. Best song of the last year.

4. Smartest U.S. President.

5. Most forgettable African nation.



Selected Comments By Category:


Lingerie Joakim Spangberg “I’m a leg man.”


Carrey Movie Jeremie Lefrancois “The Mask is the only one I can think of except Might Bruce which was not bad and Eternal Sunshine that I am ashamed to say I have not seen.” Gina Teh “I think he should stick to comedy.  Ace Ventura is my all-time favorite.”


Song – Andy York “OK, have to go with the Oscar winner as I don't listen to a wide enough variety of music to choose a "best song" plus, it was pretty good - even if I would have chosen the song from "August Rush" in the

Oscar race  Brad Wilson “Good Lord, I am not sure I know any.”

President – Andy York “(I'm tempted to say G. Bush, but....) Woodrow Wilson has the academic credits to back up the "smartest" moniker; but, depending on how you define "smartest", it could mean a lot of things. Lincoln was very smart in his handling of the Civil War and the issues involved with it, FDR was smart in his manipulation of the world prior to the US's involvement in WWII, JFK and Reagan were smart in their handling of communist nations and the threat to the "free world". I'll stand with Wilson.”


African Nation – Andy York “Again, open to wide choices. Is Rwanda or Sudan (Darfur) "forgotten" due to the genocide that the world didn't acknowledge, is Somalia forgotten as it doesn't have a functioning national

government, is any number of former nation names/defunct countries the "most forgettable"? Or, is one of the existing nations the least visible to the world.? Based on the current world situation and the African nation needing the most international attention and not receiving it, Sudan.”


Round 7 Categories – Deadline is April 29, 2008 at 7:00am

1. Worst “musical” movie ever.

2. Most important sense.

3. Best color for an automobile.

4.Worst-smelling food.

5. Most fun amusement park ride.



Deadline For The Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:

April 29th, 2008 at 7:00am – See You Then!