Eternal Sunshine #18

July 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, advice column, 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 MonthWell, she was beautiful and... I stole a pair of her panties as well. (Patrick in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, which is doing what it can to save the planet by heightening awareness of the pleasures of Diplomacy, cats, books, movies, naps, the Texas Rangers, cranberry juice, Joe Jackson music, and sarcasm.  So the next time somebody tells you that you need to do more for the betterment of mankind and the Earth, just let them know you read Eternal Sunshine, make a smug face, and walk away.  That’s what I do, anyway.


The deadline for this issue kind of crept up on me.  Between work (my co-worker is past her due date and about to give birth) and progress on the next issue of Diplomacy World (due out in early July) I’ve been rather busy lately, and haven’t been able to relax and focus the way I like to on what’s going on inside my head.  I haven’t completed any major writing projects, so this is going to be a shorter issue than recent ones.  Some of you might consider that a good thing, so hooray for you!  We do have the usual number of book and movie reviews, letters, and stuff like that.  You’ll also find a new game opening, for a Diplomacy variant called Treachery.  If you’re interested in playing, drop me an email and I’ll sign you up!  I’m thinking about minor variants to add to the next By Popular Demand game.  I think we’ll use one of the simpler joker systems next time, where you can select one of your answers each turn and receive double points for it.  Sometimes games require that your joker pick be the most popular in the category, or the most popular in the entire turn, but I won’t be doing that.  Instead, it will just be a way to add a touch more strategy to the game.  Let me know what you think.


I’ve added one more feature to each issue, starting with this one.  When we review books or DVD’s, I’m including a link to those items in case you want more information on them (price, availability, similar books or movies, or additional reviews).  I think those links will automatically export from this word document into both the html and pdf versions of Eternal Sunshine, but we’ll have to wait and see.  Of course, they won’t export to the text emailed version, but technology only goes so far!


So that’s about it for this month.  Those of you here in the US of A enjoy your 4th of July holiday, and I’ll see everybody at the end of the month.  Be careful with those fireworks!  I still remember the time a firecracker went off in my hand and I had to count to make sure all my fingers were there.  Damn, with all the stupid things I’ve done in my life – especially as a child and teenager – it really is a wonder that I’m still around.


The Unusual Suspects

Part One: Rudy


During the drive we took to prison on the morning I was surrender, my father suggested to me that in some ways I might find my time as an inmate interesting.  “It will probably be like my time in Basic Training during the Korean War,” he told me.  “You’ll meet some very unusual and different people.”


He was right about that.  I met some true characters in prison.  Some were absolute scumbags who would steal from their best friends.  Some were really nice guys.  Most, as you’d expect, fell somewhere in between.  But a select group was truly unforgettable.  I’ve introduced you to a few of them, like my first roommate…but there are a few more classic individuals which deserve honorable mention, if not their very own chapters.  So my next few essays will describe them one at a time.  I call this group my Unusual Suspects.


I’ll lead off with one of the oddest people I ever met in my life.  We’ll call him Rudy Silverton.  Rudy was a career criminal, although he preferred to refer to himself as an “outlaw.”  Well into his late 50’s, he’d spent the last decade or more behind bars after enjoying the high life as one of the nation’s premier marijuana smugglers and dealers during the 70’s.  He traveled extensively, spending a good deal of time in Europe and Southeast Asia.  Rudy’s tales of living next door to Mick Jagger, and the sexual perversion of 1980’s Bangkok were legendary within the prison.


Of course, simply having been some kind of anti-establishment drug dealer would not be enough to make my list of Unusual Suspects.  Rudy had a number of other unique traits.  Most obvious were his eating habits.  Rudy was very selective about what he ate from the mess hall, preferring to gorge on things like cornbread or fish, but avoiding many of the more popular dishes like chicken.  He ate all of his meals the same way: with a wet washcloth hanging from his neck like a bib, and with a pair of chopsticks that he had managed to procure at some earlier time during his incarceration.  By the way, that wet washcloth was the same one he blew his nose into during the day.  Very appetizing, don’t you think?


Rudy’s locker was stuffed with stolen or smuggled food.  Jars of wheat germ, spices, soy sauce, and horrible-smelling additives took up most of one shelf.  It was publically known that he had all this contraband, but the facility staff never tried to confiscate it.  I have always felt they preferred to look the other way simply to avoid having to deal with his other oddities.


My first experience with Rudy was when I got up to use the restroom at 3am and found him sprawled on the hallway floor, flailing and twisting around.  In my half-asleep state I thought I was dreaming.  Then, after shaking my head, I thought he was having a seizure or a heart attack.  It wasn’t until I got close that I could see he was practicing some sort of contortionist yoga moves…at three in the morning…in the dark.  I later learned he did this every morning, after the 3am bed check.  Some of the crab-like shapes he was able to bend himself into were straight out of a circus…or a freak show.  But that wasn’t the freakiest thing about him.


Rudy had one oddity even more drastic than those.  I’d heard rumors, but I chose not to believe them until I saw it with my own eyes.  You see, we didn’t have a lot of personal space in prison.  If you were drinking coffee or water or Tang you’d carry it around with you in a large plastic mug, complete with a lid to keep it warm or cold.  Everybody had one.  If you walked into the bathroom to use the urinal, for example, you’d leave it on top of the urinal, or on the sink counter next to you, relieve yourself, and pick it up again.  Simple enough.  So seeing somebody with a mug in the bathroom was not at all uncommon and no reason for alarm.


Because prison is such a dirty, germy place, you notice things.  Maybe more so in my case, since I worked as a plumber for my first year, and I was sensitive to how people used the bathroom.  Not flushing was a real pet peeve of mine.  Why the hell wouldn’t you flush the toilet or the urinal?  So one morning Rudy used the urinal next to me, and walked away without flushing, I was about to turn around and confront him…


…until I saw there was nothing in the urinal but clean water.  And that’s when I saw Rudy had his mug in his hand, and was putting the lid onto it.  But I didn’t remember him placing it on top of the urinal before relieving himself.  At that moment, I realized the rumors were true:


Rudy drank his first urine of the morning.


I never really asked for a full explanation from Rudy.  In conversations when the topic was lightly touched upon, I inferred that he “sterilized” it my microwaving it, or by mixing it with boiling water, or something.  And that it was always just his first urine of the day – no other.  I think he felt that was the one with the nutrients in it.  Rudy tried not to talk about it, for fear that if the staff learned about this particular quirk, he’d be sent to the hole, or a psychiatric unit, or who knows where.  But that never happened.  Rudy made it through his sentence through the Drug and Alcohol program, and back out into society, where he could eat with chopsticks or do yoga or drink his urine in privacy.


His freedom didn’t last very long, however, as Rudy’s “outlaw” tendencies continued to direct his actions.  The last I heard, he had been arrested for marijuana possession.  As the story went, he’d had a quantity in a box (with his name and address printed on it) hidden inside a storage locker.  The problem was, the locker was in a building adjacent to one which housed the offices of a local drug task force.  One of the agents walked by the lockers one day and recognized the unmistakable odor, and the rest was history. 


I hope he’s doing okay, because if nothing else he was a very funny and open person.  I just like to think he’s changed his eating and drinking habits.

The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews

BagheadOur favorite local theater had a free screening of Baghead, which Heather and I decided to attend at the last minute.  We were both pleasantly surprised to enjoy a decent, mildy scary, and occasionally funny film by the Duplass brothers (who did Puffy Chair, which we haven't seen). 

Baghead centers around four friends in Los Angeles.  Stuck in the fringe section of Hollywood, as extras in low-budget films which are shown at places like the fictional "Los Angeles Underground Film Festival", the pals (Matt, Chad, Michelle, and Catherine) decide to spend a weekend at Matt's uncle's cabin where they plan to brainstorm and write a movie.  This movie, which would star the four of them, would hopefully be their ticket to move on to greater things.

The early portion of the plot deals mostly with the inter-relationship conflicts.  Matt and Catherine (Ross Partridge and Elise Muller) are on-again-off-again romantic partners.  Matt's friend Chad (Steve Zissis) has the hots for  Michelle (Greta Gerwig), but she is more interested in Matt and views her friendship with Chad as platonic.

Unable to come up with any ideas, the couples bump heads and desires until Michelle has a dream that spawns Matt's idea for their movie: a killer who wears a bag over his head.  And the films (theirs and ours) are off to the races from there.

Some funny moments, usually intentional, are scattered throughout, along with a few old-style jump-in-your-seat-and-scream scares.  Shot on a very low budget, the eccentric camera angles and focus oddities are glaring for the first ten minutes, but by that point you've been sucked into the film, and they no longer matter.

Due to be released July 4, Baghead is one film you should look for.  It isn't Citizen Kane, but it's lengths above much of the typical summer film selections.  And, as the brothers pointed out in an after-screening Q&A session, the Hollywood horror picture has become nothing but blood and softcore porn and gore and torture.  Baghead is a treat by comparison.  Check it out!


Seen on DVD The Exorcist (A-, Heather had never seen this uncut version.  A few of the things which were so terribly shocking then remain shocking today, because of good acting and taut direction).  Lake of Fire (B+, very insightful documentary about abortion, generally balanced, revealing the danger of extremists and the awful emotion of the ordeal).  Dealing Dogs (A-, documentary of undercover footage of one of the most notorious “class B” dog dealers in the United States.  Horrific treatment of these poor dogs, many of whom may have been stolen pets).  Eraserhead (C+, I still hold some fondness for the dark, suffocating atmosphere of this David Lynch work, but Heather simply could not fight through it).


Books in Boxers
Eternal Sunshine Book Reviews


Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch AlbomHeather picked this book up for me, and I was generally pleased with it.  Certainly the message is one that I can relate to: the key to a successful life is to love and to give.  The drive for things is an empty endeavor, but one which today’s society is constantly trying to cram into your skull.  What gives the message more strength in this book is its source: college professor Morrie is dying of ALS, and former student Mitch Albom (now a successful sportswriter) has returned to allow Morrie to teach one final lesson, the result of which is the book itself.  I think, because of the difficulty the author has with open emotion and revealing himself honestly, the book lacks some emotional flavor I would have appreciated.  But it is still a good read, and I do recommend it.



MCj04362550000[1]MCj04362160000[1]Heather’s Tricks and Treats


Elephants on Acid by Alex Boese – Great bathroom book.  Loved reading about all the scientific experiments, even ones I didn’t agree with them doing.  Sickly fascinating.  4 pumpkins. MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


Dogwalker by Arthur Bradford – Ugh.  Wasn’t the worst book ever, but it definitely felt like it was a waste of time, and not in a good way.  1 ½ pumpkins.  MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


Never Change by Elizabeth Berg – Yes, this was a wonderful, sensitive, full-of-emotion chick-lit book.  But still with depth.  4 pumpkins.  MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde – I appreciate the message.  I was hesitant to read it, due to the fact that the movie was supposed to be terrible.  Fortunately, as usual, you should not even compare the two.  4 pumpkins.  MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


Shopgirl by Steve Martin – I was surprised that Steve Martin was able to describe the intricacies of the life of a nobody.  But the book wasn’t so great, really.  Just an okay little story.  2 ½ pumpkins.  MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


Full Moon by Rebecca York – Easy read by a very successful paranormal romance writer.  A spinoff of her other (better) book “Killer Moon.”  But this book was still an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.  3 ½ pumpkins. MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs by Cheryl Peck – Some parts were laugh-out-load funny, but they were too few and far between.  2 ½ pumpkins.  MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


The Deviant’s Pocket Guide by Dennis Diclaudio – Interesting subject matter, but dry.  I also didn’t like the construction and binding of the book, as it is too difficult to open and keep open on the page you are reading.  In addition, I did not appreciate the less-than-scientific opinions of the author.  2 ½ pumpkins.  MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko – A helpful way to learn how to make better, healthier choices when eating out or getting take-out.  My complaint with the book is that there are too many restaurants in it that I have never heard of or never been to.  3 pumpkins.  MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


The Husband by Dean Koontz – This was soooo good.  A very thrilling ride, with unexpected twists and turns.  4 ½ pumpkins. MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


The Taking by Dean Koontz – At first I thought it was going to be like Stephen King’s “The Mist”, but I am happy to say it wasn’t; but still just as exciting and unpredictable.  4 pumpkins. MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]


The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – The concept of every action of your life potentially being important appeals to me.  But I didn’t get the big fuss over this book.  2 pumpkins. MCj04363200000[1]MCj04363200000[1]



Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column

Richard Walkerdine: But you do have the 'bug'. You have to communicate with everyone you can about everything you can think of. That is not a criticism. I know (knew) the feeling only too well. Good luck to you.

Particularly enjoyed seeing the 'By Popular Demand' games (and yes, Ryk Downes was the inventor) and might even consider entering if you start a new one. But the most fascinating thing of all was to see the names of Dane Maslen and John Colledge in the games - they were both players in MAD POLICY from more than 20 years ago! Where did you dig them up from? In fact Dane was one of my 'MP All Stars' team that won the team diplomacy tournament at Manorcon in 1986 (see my DW article). Quite amazing.

Actually Melinda Holley rings a bell too, but I might be mistaken...


[[Dane and John are both still publishing: Dane with Dane’s Games, and John with The Blue Nose Special, respectively.  And, of course, Melinda “Rebel/Starwood” Holley is a true legend in the hobby.]] (I then forwarded the latest issues of DG and TBNS on to Richard – and I’d be happy to do the same for anyone else interested in joining in the fun they create.)


Richard Walkerdine: I am beginning to hate you. You are (slightly) dragging me back into THE ONE TRUE HOBBY and I really didn't want that. I am very happy with my multinational cigarette card trading empire (postal auctions every month, 12 eBay auctions every week), which not only keeps me away from Ulrika but it also actually makes a PROFIT. I really don't want all that hassle of backbiting and always trying to get one over on the other guy....but it is so tempting....(no....I WILL RESIST)

But Dane still has Simon Craddock and Mick Haytack playing? They were in MAD POLICY too! And Kath Collman...I was once once accused of snogging her at Manorcon (no, I didn't...just a friendly peck on the cheek...), but oh, happy memories....

I hate you Doug, you are almost as evil as me...


[[Ask Sack McHugh, ask Jim-Bob Burgess…hell, ask Garret Schenck, or the U.S. Federal Government for that matter….I am much MORE evil than you will ever be.  You are simply a legend in your own mind.]]


Richard Walkerdine: I have always believed it..where is Piggot?...where is Turnbull?....where is Sharp? (well, okay but that was Ulrika's fault...I really didn't mean her to waste the guy)...

...and as for you Yanks? Birsan hiding behind a screen of email pseudonyms...Conrad too fearful even to return my emails...the rest of them long since retired and just living on old memories...pah!!

There is only one remaining Secret Master from the First Age...

...and, although He is much older now, and a few grey hairs have appeared, He is still fit, He still has his old dreams, He still remembers his time of total Hobby domination, and He still wants REVENGE.....



[[While Richard continues his descent into delusion, insanity, and oblivion, let’s move on to a much saner hobbyist from across the pond…]]


Dane Maslen: It was good to see that both you and Berend thought the Hitchhiker film was awful.  I'd begun to think that there was something wrong with me.  It seemed to me that the film's approach was to identify all the funniest material in the book and then leave it out.

[[That’s actually a very perceptive way of describing it.  I always imagine all Hollywood meetings to be like something out of “The Big Picture.”]]

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: Melinda Holley, need six more to fill.

Treachery Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: None, needs seven more to fill.  Rules below.

I may offer another Gunboat 7x7 soon, so keep your eyes open.  Other options are a game of Youngstown or some other map variant.  If you have requests please let me know.


By Martin Janta-Polczynski

(rewritten by Doug Kent)


Treachery uses the same rules as normal Diplomacy, with the following changes:


1.    With each Spring and Fall season, each player may send one “treacherous order.”  This is an order for a unit of another power. 


2.    This treacherous order is followed in lieu of the original order the unit received (as if the commanding general has become a traitor).


3.    The Game Master does NOT reveal which orders were Treacherous, nor from which player they came from.


4.    In the case that any unit receives two or more different treacherous orders, these orders are not followed and the original “legal” order is used.  If, however, a unit receives multiple treacherous orders but they are identical (i.e. England’s F Nth receives treacherous orders from both Russia and Turkey to move to Yor, and no other treacherous orders) then the treacherous orders are used.  In this example, if a third treacherous order was submitted from France of F Nth-Hel, then no treacherous orders would be used.


Skilled players in this variant will try to take advantage of the treacherous aspect of the game, not just by planning for possible treachery against themselves, but by using the hidden aspect of the treacherous moves to explain away stabs or dot-grabs.  Also, coordinating treacherous orders adds a whole new dimension to the game, as allies can cooperate to effectively commandeer a powers entire armed forces. 

Eternal Sunshine Game Section

Diplomacy “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” 2008A, Fall 1902


Austria (Kevin Wilson):  A Budapest Supports A Galicia – Rumania, F Greece Supports A Rumania – Bulgaria,

 A Rumania – Bulgaria, A Serbia Supports A Rumania – Bulgaria, A Trieste - Vienna.

England (Jérémie LeFrançois): F English Channel – Belgium, F North Sea Supports A Ruhr – Holland,

 F Skagerrak – Denmark, A Yorkshire Hold.

France (Alexander Levinson):  A Gascony – Marseilles, A Paris - Burgundy (*Bounce*),

 A Picardy Supports F English Channel – Belgium, F Portugal - Spain(sc), A Ruhr - Holland.

Germany (Graham Wilson): A Belgium Supports F Holland (*Disbanded*), A Berlin – Kiel,

 F Holland Supports A Belgium (*Dislodged*, retreat to Helgoland Bight or OTB), A Kiel - Ruhr.

Italy (Don Williams): F Ionian Sea - Tyrrhenian Sea, A Munich - Burgundy (*Bounce*),

 A Piedmont - Gascony (*Fails*), F Tyrrhenian Sea - Gulf of Lyon, F Western Mediterranean - Mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Russia (Melinda Holley): A Galicia – Rumania, A Moscow - Sevastopol (*Fails*),

 F Sevastopol - Black Sea (*Fails*), F Sweden – Norway, A Ukraine Supports A Moscow - Sevastopol (*Fails*).

Turkey (Brad Wilson): A Armenia – Smyrna, F Black Sea Supports A Bulgaria - Rumania (*Cut*),

 A Bulgaria - Rumania (*Disbanded*), A Constantinople - Bulgaria (*Fails*).



Ownership of supply centers:


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

England:          Belgium, Denmark, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London.

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

Germany:         Berlin, Kiel.

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

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

Turkey:            Ankara, Constantinople, Smyrna.


Austria:            6 Supply centers,  5 Units:  Builds   1 unit.

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

France:            6 Supply centers,  5 Units:  Builds   1 unit.

Germany:         2 Supply centers,  2 or 3 Units:  Even or Removes  1 unit.

Italy:                5 Supply centers,  5 Units:  Builds   0 units.

Russia:             7 Supply centers,  5 Units:  Builds   2 units.

Turkey:            3 Supply centers,  3 Units:  Builds   0 units.


Autumn/Winter 1902 and Spring 1903 Deadline is July 29th 2008 at 7:00am

Autumn/Winter Will Be Separated From Spring on 3 Requests



Confused Wilson to the Narrator:  How many Wilson ’s is that?  I think I counted five:  Deadeye Wilson, Wandering Eye Wilson, Tried & True Wilson, Soul Brother Wilson and Tin Ear Wilson.  Do we get to choose our persona or will all be revealed at some appropriately dramatic moment?  If we get to choose, then I think I’ll go with Deadeye.  He may have been the least fantastic shot but he was good enough and he did get to go first.  If his targets had been his neighbors, they’d be gone before they could shoot back.


Con-Stp: Ai! Ai! Run from the A/I!!!!!


Somewhere West of the Hobby…Fallen Women (pick one up cheap) “Wouldn’t it be Nice if the beer was a nickel, and the women were hot?” asked the Maestro from the stage at the front of the Heart of Darkness. The cowpokes and city fellers hooted and hollered at that.  A couple of “yeah howdys”, from the back.  “Today during the Revue, it’s the other way around…the beer’s hot, and the women are cheap.”  More applause and catcalls, and the Revue was off to a good start.

Have Logan sweep


Miss Kitty peeked out from behind the curtain hung across the second floor landing for the occasion.  It was off to a good start, she thought, the men were rowdy, horny and thirsty.  She could practically see the money raining from their pockets.  She had originally wanted to called the Revue “Bimbos Akimbo”, but Logan and the Maestro, in a moment of rare agreement had convinced her that would have been over the heads of most of the clientele.  Many of them were just simple pig herders, and the others played Diplomacy, so she had relented and called it “Fallen Women”.


The lights on the stage went up, and the Maestro raised his arms to the crowd, “Gentlemen…and the rest of you…beware the floozies, harlots and hussies…Oh, my!”  With that the ladies of the Heart of Darkness danced up onto the stage in their bright splashes of breast and dress and cavorted through the Diplomacy Stab & Thrust.  The Maestro was pleased that it was going well, right up to the moment when the well endowed Patrice thrust with her tits, instead of her tush…he had coached them not to do that…and her wobblies sprung free of their pastel prison and made their “grand debut” into the limelight.  She was trying to keep in step with the other girls and at the same time stuff her breasts back into the tight satin top of her dress.  The cowpokes were hooting, figuring it was all part of the show.


“Patrice,” one cowpoke hollered from the back, “if you’re just gonna drown them puppies, kin I have one?”


After the dance number the girls put on a couple of skits.  The one named “This is a Brothel, You Can’t Lie Down Here” got the most laughs.  Then the Maestro held up a painted sign that read “The Trollop that Packs a Wallop” and Gabby came walking up onto the stage in red silk boxer shorts, boxing gloves and…not much else.


“Gentlemen, this luscious little lady has a challenge for you strong, burly men,” exclaimed the Maestro.  He looked into the front row at one of the frontiermen, and winked, “and some of you are more burly than others.  She’ll trade punchs with you,” he continued, “she goes first, you come later.”  Another wink.


“Which of you is brave enough to face these powerful guns?”  At that Gabby raised her arms and flexed, showing the muscles in her arms.  Hardly any of the men looked at her arms.  “Damn!” and “Howdy” were heard in the crowd.


“Which of you wants to receive a blow from this petite madame of mayhem?!!”    Several men jumped to their feet.  One scrambled up onto the stage and stood legs spread and hands on his hips.  The Maestro produced a plump little red silk pillow with dangling golden tassles.  He held it up behind the fellow’s head, then dramatically measured the arc to the stage and carefully placed the pillow on the floorboards five feet ten inchs behind him.


“Go on, give me yer best shot,” the cowpoke said, a smirk splayed across his face, “no woman I know kin trounce me!”


“You don’t know me,” said Gabby.  She melodramatically whirled her arm around in circles, making her breasts bounce and jiggle, to the appreciation of the crowd and delivered a haymaker that took the poke on the chin, his boots lifting from the stage toes north, and he landed on his back, his head coming to rest on the silken brocade pillow.  The cowpoke was out like the cat during mating season.  He didn’t know her.  Didn’t know that she’d been one of the girls that had worked on a farm before coming to the Heart, that she had milked fourteen cows a day and carried buckets of feed, or that she had four older brothers.


The roar of the crowd had been so loud, the applause so thunderous that she hadn’t even noticed Deadeye clambering up onto the stage.  She was turning, arms upraised, absorbing the applause when her turn brought her face to face with Deadeye.


“Do me next,” he drawled. 


“You’re a big ‘un,” replied Gabby.  The Maestro held up the pillow, sizing up Deadeye’s tall frame. He whistled appreciatively and paced off over six feet behind the cowpoke and set the pillow down.


“You should see when the lights go out.”  


“They’re about to,” said Gabby, going into her wind up.  He stood there and she delivered a resounding punch to his chin.  His jaw clicked shut audibly, his eyes crossed, his head wobbled loosely on his neck and he wavered as if in a wind.  But then he shook himself, snapped his head back and forth, and his eyes came back into focus.


“Damn girl.  You almost gave me my Vertigo back,” said Deadeye, rubbing one hand across his swelling jaw.  With his other hand he pushed his sleeve up his arm.


Gabby swallowed apprehensively, “you wouldn’t hit a girl, would you?”


“Wull,” drawled Deadeye, “I’ve lied to my mum, I’ve stabbed a man just to get a dot, I spit in Wandering Eye’s beer when he tweren’t lookin’, kicked the dog on my way in here and cussed an old lady on her way to church Sunday.  I am about the meanest damn galoot you ever met.  You’re the smart tart…you tell me.”


The Maestro, appalled at what was about to happen, started moving toward Deadeye; but he was too slow.  Deadeye’s arm uncoiled like a tightly wound spring; you could almost hear the air whistle as the punch sped toward Gabby.   The massive fist, almost as big as her face itself, came within a hair’s breadth of contact.  The swing whistled by and Gabby straightened back up.


“Hey!  You dodged,” yelled Deadeye.


“And you say I’m the smart one,” retorted Gabby, “my turn again.”


She brought up her gloved hands, but this time Deadeye raised his hands in guard.  Which is when she kicked him in the balls.  He slumped to his knees with an “oomph” sound, and slowly toppled over into a fetal position.


“Yeah, it didn’t feel that big,” said Gabby, but the noise was drowned out by the crowd, now on it’s feet, clapping and hollering.


Miss Kitty, looking down from the balcony, shook her head.  “We better start the finale before Gabby kills off the clientele.  Have Bruno start my music.”


HEART OF DARKNESS SALOON- Miss Kitty glared at the cowboy with the guitar who sat at the bar dreamily strumming his...instrument.  "Place is going to hell in a handbasket," she muttered as she stomped down the stairs.  There was silence except for the distant sound of a rhythmic drum and symbol. 


"Talk about faith moving mountains," S'ym muttered under his breath.


"Punk ass Garth Brooks wanna-be's dressed up like Elvis," Miss Kitty wrathfully grumbled.  "Like I don't have enough problems.  Wilson boys goin' loco and on sasparilla, no less!  Profit margin on that crap totally sucks!"  Hand on substantial hips, she glared at the back corner.  "And Ducky over there...yeah!  I SAID DUCKY!...trying to fleece that poor Frenchie in the bicycle pants.  Like he don't have enough problems!"


Suddenly there was silence as a shadow fell into the saloon...then picked itself up with a muttered "damn spurs!"


Miss Kitty's hand slapped her breasts in shock.


"Jello!  That's what I forgot to get at the general store!"  S'ym shook his head.


"You!" Miss Kitty screeched.  "I thought they hung you years ago!"


The tall lean cowboy slowly smiled, reminding more than one man of a hungry bobcat on the prowl.  "No, they just hung"


Miss Kitty gasped.  "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!  Not...not...Old Blue!"


"Yep," the green-eyed cowboy nodded.  "But he died with a smile on his face...and your name on his lips."


Miss Kitty's fan fluttered faster than a hummingbird's wings.  "S'ym!  Drinks on the house!  NOW!"

Somewhere West of the Hobby…With Apologies to Frank

            “Wouldn’t it be Nice, to have your life.

            That’s what all the people saaaaay,”


…Miss Kitty sang, her dulcet tones preceding her down the staircase.  She was in her best dress and finest jewelry.  As her dainty, stiletto heeled shoe hit the first step S’ym turned up the kerosene lamps and the lights in the saloon went up, glinting off her pearls, diamonds and large white breasts.  Every eye in the saloon turned upward.  Bruno played her song, and she sang as she slowly descended each step;


            “They see the glitz and glamour,

            Silken dresses, men enamoured.

            Draped in pearls, French perfume,

            Life’s a swirl, days start at noon.”


She had timed it so that she reached the landing and S’ym handed her a glass of champagne.


            “Champagne with bubbles,  and bath-tubs too,”  she toasted the crowd, and they eagerly smiled and nodded back.


            “That’s My Life.  That’s what all the people say.

            You’re riding Hugh in April,” she nodded toward Hugh and he smiled back.

(and Tom, and Dewey…oh, hi Earl) she said sotto voce, and the crowd chuckled.

            Even if its for pay.”


            “What a life, that’s what all the people say.

You get to set your own hours, (…as long as they’re after dark.)

and have it your own waaay.”


“That’s My Life, but that’s just what the people see.

They don’t see the drawbacks, what it’s really like to be meeee,”


She stopped by a well dressed man sitting at one of the tables, and took the cigarette he was smoking from his hand, and took a drag on it, then continued singing,


“You see a lot of ceilings, cracked plaster and peeled paint.

Try to think up new ways to say, you’re great…(when you ain’t)”, chuckles from the crowd.

“And you don’t go to socials, cause you are not a saint.”


“You know the Pastor, but not the church, (hi, Jedidiah.)”, she slowly draped one hand

over his shoulder as she passed by, dragging one finger against the white collar.


“And sleep with men that don’t bathe,” here she was looking at the group of pokes from the Whining Pig spread.  A couple of them were mouthing the word “whut?” in mock offense, while their compatriots laughed uproariously.  One of them reached out to grab Miss Kitty and she slapped down his hand,


“ (much less behave)”, she pushed him back into his chair.


“But I don’t let it get me down.

‘Cause this fine ol’ Hobby keeps spinning around,” she broke energetically into the chorus.

“I’ve been a strumpet, a trollop, a harlot,

A tramp, a tart on a swing.

I’ve been up and down, and up and down,

And up and down,” she sounded momentarily like a broken record, she winked at the boys at the Bourse table “(okay, I’ve been up and down a lot).”

“Bent over, hung up,” she leaned forward, exaggerating her rump, and bestowing vast cleavage into the face of another cowboy,

“my north to my south!”

“Hogtied, blindfolded, restrained, strange things in my mouth,

(and further south),”  the cowboys hooted and hollered.


“And I’ve learned one thing,  through all these years:

All those times I’ve had my ankles

up behind my ears,” she brought one hand up grazingly touching her pearl ear-rings.


“Each time I find myself, flat on my back.

(Some strange head in my rack)”,  she tousled the hair of one of her regulars.

“I pick myself up, I get myself off,

And I get back on the track.”


“That’s My Life…

That’s my life and I can’t deny it

            Many times I thought of cutting out

            But My Heart of Darkness won’t let me try it,

But I know I’m gonna change this tune.

When I’m back on top,”  she put one finger under a customer’s chin and lifted his head                      “(and I like it on top), 

“when the tables turn soon.” 


She hit the chorus again, as she moved to the stage…


“I’ve been a strumpet, a trollop, a harlot,

A tramp, a tart on a swing.


That was when the Ooompa music from outside became so loud you couldn’t make out her words any longer, except for the screech of “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?”




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 5 Categories

1. A sexual fetish.

2. A cartoon character.

3. A grain.

4. A type of drum.

5. Something found in a public bathroom.



Selected Comments By Category:

Sexual Fetish – Tom Swider “Twin Peaks had a nice scene with Piper Laurie (Catherine Martell) and Richard Beymer (Ben Horne) having a nooner, and Beymer kissing Laurie's feet. Was it a fetish? No, it was because Laurie didn't want her make-up ruined. It had the amusing side effect of a little kink in the storyline.”  Dane Maslen “Is number 1 an attempt to build a database of your subscribers' foibles for future use when you need to blackmail them into writing articles for Diplomacy World?  If so, I'm afraid I've just thwarted your plan as I'm not a foot fetishist.  I am of course pure as the driven snow and found it terribly difficult to think of any sexual fetishes at all.”

Cartoon Character Dane Maslen “I originally answered Donald Duck.  I hope my change of heart proves a good idea.”


GrainBrendan Whyte “Though rice is getting so expensive here, it's now being used as the prize for TV game shows. “


General Comments – Tom Swider “I can't believe Jack couldn't think of beer as his answer for "liquid other than water". Speaking of which, he did deliver the goods during the Whacking Day festivities. He also whined excessively while we were playing an economic game (Indonesia). The beer helped me survive the Jack Attack.”  Berend Renken “after "oil" won as a commodity in round 3, it also won as a liquid in round 4, by association or assumption of association in others. So maybe the most popular answers for swimming stroke and famous cat in round 4 will be repeated here.”

Round 6 Categories – Deadline is July 29th 2008 at 7:00am

1. A brand of camera.

2. A breed of cat.

3. A city in Greece other than Athens.

4. Something you misplace.

5. A dance.


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 9 Categories

1. Worst color for a necktie.

2. Best flavor or style of donut.

3. Worst family board game.

4. Best monthly magazine.

5. Best book by Stephen King.


Selected Comments By Category:

Necktie Brendan Whyte “Any colour... neckties are a feminist control device to prevent us showing the only part of the anatomy they can never have.  But my answer is Pink. “


DonutBrendan Whyte “Donuts here don't have flavour or style. They're just floppy white roof insulation with a sugar coating. “  Jérémie Lefrançois “I have never eaten a donut in my life – but I would feel so American to do so!”


Game – Tom Swider “The Game of LIfe really has no basis in reality. Now, "Freaky Friends" by Freidemann Friese does. You get dealt cards that establish your life up to just after puberty, and get dealt goal cards. A track shows your level of influence on your personality of knowledge, food, smoking, drugs, religion, etc. You bid for activities that give you tradeoffs on this scale, and when you've reached various levels on this scale (high, low or no points), you can claim completion of a goal. Oh, and you can have sex, either anonymously or with the other players, have kids, get divorced. I think in the game I played, I got married so I could get a kid and dump my wife, became a nihilist, and then wrote a book about it.”  Brendan Whyte “I'm tempted to say "Campaign for North Africa"! But will instead offer "Familyy Buisness", the sort of game that among immature children, turns into a fistfight and tear-fest, and not only when mum plays a Hit on dad...”


Magazine – Brendan Whyte – “In reality everyone knows DtC is best.”  Jérémie Lefrançois “Sorry but Eternal Sunshine is not monthly, otherwise I would have written it down of course!” [[Actually it *is* monthly!]]


King Book - Brendan Whyte “How can 'best' and 'airport paperback trash' be used together in the same sentence?“

Round 10 Categories – Deadline is July 29th, 2008 at 7:00am

1. The worst season.

2. The most useful English-language word.

3. The worst color for nail polish.

4. The worst breakfast cereal brand.

5. The biggest Hollywood “bomb” in history.

Deadline For The Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:

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