Eternal Sunshine #26

March 2009

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!  Links to all of the books and DVDs reviewed can be found by clicking on the Amazon Store button in the main menu of the Whining Kent Pigs website.

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“So I'm not gonna tip-toe around your marriage or whatever it is ya got goin' on there.” (Clementine in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, which was once again rudely ignored at the Academy Awards.  Just wait until one of my screenplays that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet gets finished, optioned, produced, released, and nominated.  Then you’ll see who laughs last!  Assuming California hasn’t fallen into the ocean by then, and Hollywood with it.


Thanks to all of you for your well-wishes for Heather and her knee.  It isn’t back to full strength yet, but she can walk on it and has been able to stop wearing the smaller brace (which I bought her to replace the giant blue monster they gave her at the emergency room).  With Heather’s luck, she’ll need to have surgery someday, but with how graceful we both are, she may as well wait and collect a few more injuries and scars before that day arrives.  Heather also bruises very easily, so it is a rare week when I don’t point out some big mark on her arm or hip or wherever her body had contact with the outside world. 


Speaking of the wonderful Heather, she’s decided to open up a bit this issue, and instead of any book or television reviews, her column is filled with some personal details of a recent issue she’s been faced with.  Please let us know if you found it interesting and/or revealing; she’s got a number of other things to talk about in the coming months, but I wouldn’t expect her to continue if nobody sends some feedback!


The best thing about this zine for me, aside from the games and the fun and the people, is it helps force me to write something every month.  Finding time to sit down and concentrate on my writing projects is always a battle, especially as I find myself bringing more work home with me week after week.  The minute I get home I boot up the laptop and finish up things I couldn’t do at the office.  But with a deadline approaching at the end of the month, I know in the back of my mind that I *need* to do the next chapter in whatever saga I’m involved in.  Consequently, it actually gets done!  With that in mind, you’ll find the second chapter of Halfway Home at the Halfway House later on in this issue.  I hope you enjoy it – there are probably at least two more chapters before that one is over.


Life was rather quiet this month.  Heather built up the strength in her knee, and has started looking online for a part-time job.  I got sick for a week or so – either the flu or a bad chest cold – and then Heather inevitably caught some version of it too.  She didn’t seem to stay sick as long as I did, but that’s probably because she did the smart thing and hibernated for two days, passed out on Thera-Flu, while when I got sick I didn’t even take a day off of work.  Relaxing is not a skill I’ve learned much about yet.


Valentine’s Day came and went.  As usual we exchanged a few gifts, mostly DVDs or books.  Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal holiday in our household, possibly because we try to express our love and affection for each other many times a day.  I know I’m a romantic and a big softy at heart, and it doesn’t bother me that some might consider that a bit less than masculine.  Hmm, that reminds me that I was considering doing a serial of the play I wrote for Heather about how we met.  Maybe I’ll include a portion of that this issue?  I’m not sure how long things are going to be yet, but Valentine’s Day would seem a good time to begin.  Still as I see this zine has already reached almost 20 pages, maybe I’ll take pity on poor Jim Burgess and wait until the next issue?

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, Valentine’s Day.  I do try to get Heather something romantic to go along with the books and DVDs and comics (yeah, I got her some Firefly comics, which she goes crazy for; and she’s been enjoying the Angel: After the Fall comic series lately).  If nothing else, I send her some flowers to surprise her – but always a few days before Valentine’s Day.  The photo is of the arrangement I gave her this year.  Stargazer Lilies are a must when sending Heather flowers.  Despite putting these up high, we still caught Sanka trying to enjoy a vegetarian meal a few times; bad girl!  You never want to let your cat eat flowers, because they can make her terribly sick (both from the plants themselves and the chemicals which might be on them).  I remember when I used to bring Mara flowers from the train station about once a week, and our Persian cat Biff was getting sick all the time.  It wasn’t until one day (after multiple vet visits and wasting lots of money on blood tests), when we found a piece of a green leaf from the flowers in his latest vomit, that we figured out what the problem was!  Some cats simply cannot resist the allure…that was the end of the flowers!


We did manage to get out and see a few movies this month, and I’ve continued work on scanning and posting zines for my Postal Diplomacy Zine Archive.  The only other thing I’ve done of note is I have done is I finally started added some new designs to our Cafepress store (  We had plenty of Diplomacy-related designs posted, and lots of Helpful Kitty stuff.  But now I created two new sections: Evil Pets and Haters.  They’ll have designs of a much more sarcastic nature, and a bit darker in tone.  Here are two







It isn’t like we sell much on there, maybe a couple of items a month, and we only mark them up $1 from cost, but it’s a fun little creative outlet with very little cost to us overall.  When they have a storekeepers sale we buy a few items for ourselves at a discount, which we wear, give as gifts, or (in the case of some Diplomacy shirts) donate to Diplomacy events to give away as prizes.  Suggestions for more designs are welcome; Jack McHugh helped come up with many of the Diplomacy World slogans.


In game news, I’m happy to report that the Deviant Diplomacy II game is almost full.  Only one spot left!  I’ve also added new openings in Gunboat (with Black Press) and a four-player Round Robin of Intimate Dip.  If you’ve got interest in any of those openings, let me know.  And, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m happy to listen to any requests.  I guess that’s about it for now.  See you next month!


Playlist: The Best of the Cars; Nine Tonight – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band; The Very Best of Maria Callas; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Original Soundtrack; 11-17-70 – Elton John; Primavera Anticipada - Laura Pausini; From the Choirgirl Hotel – Tori Amos; Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive.


Halfway Home at the Halfway House – Part Two


When you’re in prison, time passes slowly whenever you bother to think about it.  But when you simply use it as a schedule - breakfast at six, work at eight, count at four – instead of a measure of hours, you can find the hours have turned into days and the days into weeks faster than you’d imagine.  A regular schedule helps with that, especially if it is one which keeps you busy enough.


On the other hand, when you travel by bus time passes slower than when you’re in “the hole” sleeping on a paper-thin mattress on a cold concrete floor.  I think that’s because when you’re serving your prison sentence, the “destination” seems so far away that you lose all sense of it.  When you’re down to a month or less left, this changes, but the routine helps to minimize the angst.  But on the bus, the destination is clearly mapped out, and you can’t help but watch and wait for it.  Every second is measured out like drips from a leaky faucet. 


I spent the first few hours of the bus trip trying to get comfortable.  As we were still in the general area of the prison, it didn’t seem all that different to me.  I tried to soften my anxiety by listening to the portable walkman-style radio which had kept me company throughout my incarceration.  I could get most of the same stations, so if I closed my eyes I could almost pretend I was still in my bunk…except the seat was slightly more comfortable.  The bus was nearly empty except for myself and the other two inmates, and aside from pleasantries we were keeping to ourselves.  The stops in this part of Pennsylvania were shirt and quiet, with one or two people getting on or off.  DuBois was the first semi-important bus station we’d be reaching, where the regional bus line we were riding would hook up with another (Greyhound “licenses” certain routes to other companies, so you can go all over the place using the Greyhound system without actually riding in a true Greyhound bus).  When we reached it, the landscape was depressingly familiar; the station seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, deep in the woods, just like McKean had been.  I didn’t really feel free yet.


This was also the location of our first transfer, so I grabbed my blue overnight bag and walked out into the cold March air.  The six passengers and I shuffled our way into the bus station, where we waited for our connection.  The two inmates made their way to the vending machines, but I made do with the water fountain and some of the Peanut M&Ms I’d brought along.  With two hours to kill in Pittsburgh later that night, I figured I’d grab something there.  If their grill was open, great, but if not I knew there would be vending machines with snacks and sandwiches at the very least.


As you might expect, the connection at DuBois arrived late, and was held up even a bit longer because of another connecting bus which had not yet arrived.  This type of consideration for late passengers is something you only see on the regional lines.  With Greyhound proper, the bus will simply leave; if your connection arrived late, tough.  I wasn’t concerned when it came to my schedule, because if we arrived in Pittsburgh later than expected, it simply meant a shorter layover before my transfer.  As we pulled out of DuBois around 8pm, I settled in and tried to catch a nap when I could.


The problem with that strategy, aside from how foreign the environment seemed after all those months in prison, was that this bus route included minor stops every twenty minutes or so.  That meant that by the time things on the bus calmed down, we’d pull in somewhere else and stop.  Each stop would include fidgety children, confused passengers, and a cadre of cigarette smokers who would beg the driver to let them hop off and light one up.  Then, when the bus would start again, inevitably some jackass would drop their empty beverage bottle on the floor.  The bottle would roll back and forth along the floor of the bus, bumping your feet, until the driver would turn on all the lights and threaten to pull over unless the “guilty party” would pick it up.  Obviously whoever picked up the bottle was rarely the one who dropped it, but it mattered little.  Suffice to say that I’d gotten no real rest by the time we pulled into Pittsburgh, more than half an hour behind schedule.


Unfortunately for me, the grill was already closed in the bus station, so I bought some chips and a bottle of water in the vending machine and started figuring out where my connecting bus would depart from.  This is one of the tricks I had learned from my time riding Greyhound while working for AmeriFleet: don’t sit around waiting for your bus to be announced; find out what gate it is going to load at, and stand there immediately.  Because the bus system involves so many lines, so many passengers, and so many tickets, nobody knows how many people are supposed to be on any bus at any particular time.  A ticket for a 2pm bus can actually be used on any bus going to that same location, so if you miss a connection you simply get on the next bus.  If there is a major change in your itinerary because of this, you can ask for the ticket agent to re-ticket you (so you have a hard copy of where you are going and what changes you need to make), but often most passengers just get on the bus and worry about it later.


With all that uncertainty and all that confusion, it is not infrequent to be told that the bus you want to get on has no room.  The station agents will talk to the bus driver, find out how many seats they have, and only allow that many people on the bus.  The front seats are supposed to be reserved for bus employees (for security reasons), but sometimes a driver will allow a passenger to sit there.  And likewise, if there’s a stop less than 30 minutes down the road, and the driver has some passengers getting off there, he might allow passengers to stand in the aisle between stops…the catch being that if somebody wants to board at that stop, the driver has the same problem all over again.  So while it makes for a much more tiring journey, especially on your feet (unless you have a large suitcase to sit on), you do yourself a favor moving to the gate right away (unless you have a layover of over 2 hours; in that case, when there are under two hours left, you move to the gate).  As insane as this might sound, if you’re on a schedule that you really want to keep, it is the only way…and usually you’ll find someone else is already waiting at the same gate for the same bus, so you won’t be starting the line, you’ll be joining it.  Since I had it drilled into my head that I either had to arrive at the halfway house on schedule, or have proof of why I was late, I couldn’t afford to take any chances.


This time urgency is really unique to long-distance inmate travelers.  For inmates with less distance to cover, the opposite is true; they have ways of taking advantage of the layovers.  If you’re going to New York, for example, the bus route takes you a round-about way.  So if you are able to arrange it through letters or pay-phone calls, many inmates would have relatives, friends, or significant others meet them along the way.  If you traveled by car, you could make the trip in much less time, which then allowed you to enjoy some food – or stop by a motel for some physical contact – before you arrived at your final bus destination.  Officially this was the same as escape; the inmates were legally bound not to leave the bus or the bus stations…and supposedly some BOP personnel were known to check arriving busses to see if inmates were disembarking when they were supposed to.  But to the criminal mind, those risks were small compared to the instant gratification of the steak or burger or intimate encounter.  For me, though, this was not an option.  I had too far to go, too many miles to cover, and I had no interest in doing ANYTHING which could endanger my status.  Some inmates might say that was overly-cautious, and others would say I simply had no balls, but to me it was long-term thinking.  There would be time for everything I wanted to experience, but my job now was to get to the halfway house in one piece, and preferably on time.


I managed to get some sleep after we left Pittsburgh, where I said goodbye to the other two inmates (they headed off in a different direction).  I rested an hour or two anyway, as there were no stops until Columbus.  But once the bus pulled in there, despite it being almost 4am, I had to stay awake.  The driver had us all get off the bus for a while, even though we’d be leaving on the same bus again.  I thought about calling Heather, but with more than three hours to kill during a layover in Dayton, that seemed to be a better plan…it would be a more reasonable hour then as well.  Instead I shuffled around until I collapsed back in my seat.  We left, and pulled into Dayton, Ohio only a few minutes behind schedule.  I was exhausted, punchy, and hungry, but otherwise I’d survived the trip without any major damage.


The little grill in the bus station was opening at 6am, so I blew eight dollars and had some real eggs and toast and a carton of juice.  There was even a place to sit while I ate, which I considered a minor miracle.  Then I made my way into the main bus terminal area, in search of a payphone.  But I’d forgotten about the time difference (Ohio is still in the eastern time zone, while Texas is in the central time zone), so by the time I called Heather had already left for work.  Shit!  I didn’t have her work phone number with me, so I figured I’d just have to wait until my layover in Nashville or Memphis to get in touch with her.  Typical bad luck and bad planning on my part!


I was lucky that once we left Dayton, despite layovers in Cincinnati and Louisville, I was able to stay on the bus uninterrupted until Nashville.  We arrived there a bit late, so I got back on the bus as quickly as possible, figuring to call Heather from Memphis.  At every available stop I’d buy one or two bottles of water, and a granola bar or some other vended food item, so between those and ¾ of my big bag of peanut M&Ms I was keeping any real hunger at bay.  Finally we pulled into Nashville, and I stumbled off the bus and into the station, which was a madhouse of noisy activity.  First things first; I needed to hear a friendly, loving voice in the worst way.  So I called Heather, and she and I finally made contact on the phone.


Unfortunately for me, her voice didn’t sound quite so friendly.  In fact it was very cold…until I asked her what was wrong, which is when she went off like a grenade.  As I explained earlier, I had asked Barbara to send me my blue overnight bag and a set of clothes to the prison (along with my drivers license and Social Security card, which had since gone missing).  Everything else that was in the bag she had tossed into a box and mailed off to Heather.  That included my portable CD players and some CD’s I’d listened to on the train ride from Dallas to New York a few years earlier, extra clothes, books, my watch, and miscellaneous junk.  I hadn’t bothered cleaning out the bag before my trip to prison…I didn’t know what was in there, and it didn’t really matter.  This was my only overnight bag, and it was the same one I’d used when travelling on the road for AmeriFleet, and when going back and forth from my apartment in Arlington to Heather’s in Dallas (a drive of 30 miles or so).


So, when I say it didn’t matter what else was in the bag, I mean it didn’t matter to me.  It seemed to matter quite a bit to Heather, who had received the package only a few days before.  And despite more than 30 months alone in prison, she’d decided to get very angry and jealous over some of the contents, regardless of their innocent placement there.  And she chose this phone call, my first time speaking to her since the day before leaving prison (they cut off your phone access the day before, so you can’t arrange anything you’re not supposed to), to start an argument.


“What the hell were these things doing in your bag, huh?  Maybe you don’t love me.  Have you been lying to me all along?”


I had no idea what she was talking about…especially since I had no idea what had been in the bag.


“Barbara sent me everything that was in there.  What the hell were condoms doing in your bag?  Were you fucking somebody behind my back?”


I was shaking my head in disbelief.  It felt like I had stepped into a Twilight Zone episode.  Here I was, in a packed bus station, on a payphone which was hard to hear on, surrounded by loudspeaker announcements, screaming children, and grumpy travelers, and I’d suddenly found myself in an argument with a crazy person.


“Well, Heather, I don’t see how I could have been cheating on you when I’ve been in prison since 2003!  But if you’re talking about the Trojans that were in my bag, I’d think it was obvious that they were the ones *we* used to use, which I carried in my overnight bag when I’d come to spend the weekend.  Remember?  Aren’t they the right brand and the right style that we used to use?”


“Okay, well, then, what about your wedding ring, huh?  Why is your wedding ring in here?  Huh?”


She was referring to the ring from my marriage to Mara…Mara, my first wife, who I’d been divorced to since 2002, and who had committed suicide while I was in prison.  I couldn’t believe that Heather was acting jealous towards a dead woman.  So I tried to remain calm, and explained quietly that the ring was on my old keychain (not the one with my keys to the apartment, but the one with old keys like the one to the house in Dallas I once rented but hadn’t lived in for a long time, plus some miscellaneous keys which I didn’t even know what they were for)…and that the reason it was on there was that I’d had it resized twice during our marriage, and then when I lost weight I didn’t bother resizing it a third time, instead carrying it on the chain until my weight stabilized.  By the time that happened, we were divorced, and since that wasn’t my primary keychain I don’t think I even remembered it was there.  (As a matter of fact, I found myself surprised that I had any idea what she was talking about…but I did).


“Well I just understand this.  I mean, what if you’re lying to me?  What if you lied to me all along, and you really love someone else?  How do I know I can trust you?”


This was the woman I had written to EVERY DAY while I was away, a minimum of ten pages per day.  I didn’t know what was going on, or why it was happening; I had to assume she was just nervous that we wouldn’t be able to recapture the relationship we’d enjoyed before; maybe she was feeling insecure, I don’t know.  All I did know was that I had to end this call before my head exploded or before I went completely insane.  So I did the only thing I could do, given the circumstances.  I ended it abruptly.


“I don’t know what’s the matter Heather, but I can’t handle this right now.  I’ve been riding on a bus for 36 hours with almost no sleep, and I still have move than 12 more hours to go.  I love you and I will call you when I’m in Dallas.  Goodbye.”


And I hung up.


I could end this chapter right here, and normally I would, but I don’t think it is fair to Heather.  So allow me to jump ahead and out of sequence for a moment.  While I was in prison, I had my wonderful and supportive friend Lisa monitor my email address on Yahoo for me.  She’d check it every week or two, to see if anyone was trying to get in touch with me that didn’t have my prison mailing address, and to keep the address active so I could use it when I got home.  Once or twice Lisa printed out email messages and sent them to me, and a few times she sent emails to people in my email address book, asking them to write me.  Anyway, with no other way to reach me, Heather sent an apology email to that address the following day (after missing my next attempt at calling her).  The apology was rather forceful and blunt – at least as blunt as my abrupt end to our phone call – and I still have it.  Here is what she wrote in the email, under the subject line Attention anyone and everyone!!!! I am sorry I was a BITCH!:






If you are able to read this or if Linda? is able to read this, I know she checks your email sometimes, I want you and everyone to know that I am sorry I was such a Bitch to you on the phone! I was being very insensitive and I over reacted!  Can you imagine!!!!! I love you so much and I can't wait for you to come home and be able to see you again at last! I was just terrible accusing you or as you so nicely put it, inferring, and asking why your wedding ring was in the stuff Barbara sent! You have never given me any reason to be suspicious of anything like that! I am on my pseudo-period and while that is NO excuse, I hope you and the universe will take that in to consideration and forgive me! This morning I waited to wash my hair until 7am and then you called at 7:02!!! I put the cordless by the tub but it hadn't been charged and I guess didn't ring! I started sobbing when I heard that I had missed your call! I didn't get a chance to tell you again how stupid and sorry I was! What if you are in Hutchins thinking that I deliberately did not answer the phone and I don't love you anymore?!!!  I hope you are not thinking that! I worry that you are because that is what I WOULD BE THINKING! You and I are TOO much alike in that aspect!! You' re my best friend and my soul mate and I want to share the rest of my life or lives w/ you!  Maybe Linda can get a carrier pigeon and attach this note to it & it would get to you and then you would know how I feel! I had to write this because everyone at work is sick of me obsessing and crying at different points in the day and do not want to talk to me about it anymore!  I love you and wish you could be home now!!! Ok! Maybe not! I still need to shave my legs!! and [[other personal grooming items, removed for Heather’s sake]]!

I 'm a JERK! Love, Heather


She really is the sweetest thing, and the day I met Heather remains the most wonderful day of my life.  I love her BECAUSE she can be this way sometimes, not in spite of it.  Yes, I am a bit odd in that regard…but we’re a perfect match.  She truly is my soul mate.  I love to tease her about this phone call now, and the email apology.  It’s just Heather being Heather, which is all I ever wanted her to be.




Hypothetical of the Month

Last month, we gave you the following: You live in a small rent house on a generally quiet street.  You’ve lived there perhaps six months, and you haven’t been formally introduced to any of your neighbors.  You simply know them in such a way as to wave at them in a friendly fashion when you see each other.  However, you have grown to learn their tendencies and habits.  One couple next door to you seems to have no children.  The female works for an airline as a pilot or flight attendant; you’ve seen her in uniform getting into or out of her car.  From what you can tell, she leaves town for three or four days at a time.  Now, in the past few weeks, you’ve seen another female arriving and departing the house, only when the female of the household is away.  She’s somewhat younger, very attractive, and dresses in a very alluring and seductive manner.  You suspect infidelity is afoot.  What do you do, if anything?  And why?  Your options are wide open in this hypothetical.


Melinda Holley - In this day and age, you have to be awfully careful with your sexual partner.  In this case, I would wait until the 'other woman' was in the house then go over and bang on the door, ring the doorbell, and shout the wife's name.  If nothing happened, I'd go home and keep an eye out.  When I knew the husband was home, I'd do a repeat performance.  If confronted by the man, I'd tell him that I saw an unknown woman go into the house earlier in the day.  Had he been burglarized?  Was anything stolen?  Should I call the police?  So sorry for not calling them earlier but perhaps she was an old family friend and wouldn't his wife be upset to have missed her visit?  He would know that I knew something was going on and that I would probably spill the beans as soon as he wife got home.  He'd have one chance to confess.  For me, it's not so much a matter of morals but a matter of safe health.


Tom Swider - The hypothetical situation is pretty simple ... do nothing. None of my business, full stop.


Andy York - None of my business unless there was substantive (rather than suspected) criminal activity. Why? Well, what goes on in that couple's private lives regarding relationships is solely their business, even presuming there is a relationship situation involved. If your relationship with the couple (assuming they are even a couple, and not roommates, etc), is more than passing, this stance might change somewhat. However, you'd still need more than a suspicion.

David Burgess - I would take pictures and blackmail the hell out of the guy!!!!  Honestly, I would do nothing.  I don't know the person well enough.  If I knew the person better and I was POSITIVE there was infidelity.  I would tell the cheating spouse/significant other that they had to stop or I would tell on them.  I actually did this 20 years ago.  One of my best friends was being cheated on and I was dating his wife's best friend.  The 4 of us did everything together.  He was confiding in me that the marriage wasn't going well and he thought she was cheating.  I had to try to not react!  I knew she was cheating!  It was tearing me up so bad that I could barely be in the same room with the two of them!  So, I had a little talk with my best friend’s wife (it didn't go over very well).  I told her to stop or I would reveal her secret.  She dumped my friend and took off with her new lover.  I felt horrible, but I would hope someone would do the same for me.


Heather - If I was not on a speaking basis with my neighbors, then I would not probably say anything. Who knows maybe this is an "arrangement" the couple has? If I was on a speaking basis then I would definitely say something but in a round-about-way.


My answer would be – I’d keep an eye on the house, in case some really cute women started visiting.  But otherwise I’d simply wave at the neighbor and say things like “Was that your daughter I saw last night?”


This month, your new hypothetical: You work for a mid-sized company.  Your work for the IT department takes you throughout the building, in and out of every department.  In an executive’s office one afternoon, you are busy updating some software on his desktop when you spill some coffee.  Quickly wiping it up the mess, you find yourself holding his American Express corporate bill.  Your eyes are drawn to it, and you are astonished at the amount of money this executive is spending.  You also see what appear to be a number of personal charges on the corporate account.  What do you say about this revelation, if anything?  And to whom?  Or what other action do you take?




Eternal Sunshine Movie Quote Contest

The rules to the contest were simple.  I gave a list of 50 quotes, all from movies you can find in our apartment.  As usual, the response was underwhelming, but that won’t stop me from doing this again in a month or two.  Next time I’ll only put about 20 quotes.  Anyway, Stephanie Rogers was the big winner, and she will receive a brand new DVD of my choosing (with a frown L since I believe she researched the quotes; but as I said in the rules, research was permitted but frowned upon).  Nobody was able to get all 50, so the $25 gift card will be put away until the next contest.  Here are the answers, along with the players who got them right or who guessed wrong.  If you’d like to discuss the quotes, who said them, when they were said, the movies, or anything else, just send in a letter!


1.    I discovered that Cook’s Chicken used to be called Coon’s Chicken – Ghost World (Correct: DW)

2.    And may their first child be a masculine child – The Godfather (Correct: DW, SR)

3.    The king will be dead in a month, and his son is a weakling.  Who do you think will rule this kingdom? – Braveheart (Correct: DW, SR)

4.    How’s that working out for you, being clever? – Fight Club (Correct: DW)

5.    PC Load Letter?  What the fuck does that mean? – Office Space (Correct: DW, SR)

6.    You can’t be ugly!  Be pretty! – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Correct: SR; Incorrect: DW – Juno)

7.    You take a perfect situation, and you piss all over it. – Prelude to a Kiss (Correct: SR; Incorrect: DW – Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

8.    Goody two shoes makes me wanna barf. – Grease (Incorrect: DW – Bring it On)

9.    I like what you’ve got.  I guess it’s okay if you want to show it. – Grease 2 (Incorrect: DW – Tootsie)

10.  Now go home and get your shine box! - Goodfellas(Correct: DW, SR)

11.  That’s where I want to live the rest of my life: a warm place with no memory. – Shawshank Redemption (Correct: DW, SR)

12.  Do it soon, or be a baboon. – Cotton Candy

13.  I don’t tip. – Reservoir Dogs (Incorrect: DW – The Cheap Detective)

14.  It’s so insane that someone you’ve never met and never talked to can be your enemy. – Pretty in Pink (Correct: DW, SR)

15.  So I’m on trial for being afraid? – Defending Your Life

16.  These aren’t…credit cards. – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Correct: SR)

17.  It’s in the loft!  It’s in the loft! – Shallow Grave

18.  So, you were having sex with the funny-looking one then? – Fargo (Correct: DW)

19.  Well, we have two children, and we’ve had sex twice! – The Meaning of Life (Correct: SR)

20.  Not funny ha ha, funny queer. – Sling Blade (Correct: DW, SR)

21.  That means you get to drink from the fire hose! – UHF (Correct: SR; Incorrect: DW - VHF)

22.  I like killing people because it’s so much fun. – Zodiac (Correct: DW)

23.  Wait…was she a great big fat person? – The Silence of the Lambs (Correct: DW, SR)

24.  There was no way I was gonna walk around this place with my dork hanging out! – Heavy Metal (Correct: DW, SR)

25.  Practice your piano, go to hell. – Over the Edge

26.  I don’t want his cigarettes, or his cigarettes, I want MY cigarettes. – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Correct: DW)

27.  Get your ass to Mars. – Total Recall (Correct: DW, SR)

28.  Fresh breath is the priority of my life. – Sixteen Candles (Correct: DW, SR)

29.  That’s means you get to drive us to the Food King! – Animal House (Correct: DW, SR)

30.  If she had kept on going that way, she’d have gone straight to that castle! – Labyrinth (Correct: DW, SR)

31.  Pork bellies, which are used to make bacon, as you might find in a bacon and lettuce and tomato sandwich. – Trading Places (Correct: DW)

32.  Pistachio nut.  White pistachio nut.  Red pistachio nut. – Best in Show (Correct: SR)

33.  Yes, I always carry this much shit in my bag.   – Breakfast Club (Correct: DW, SR)

34.  Fully medicated, babe. – My Life (Incorrect: DW – Girl, Interrupted)

35.  After this Nitsu thing, I got a little curious…and apart from your Social Security number, there isn’t one piece of information on your resume that is true. – She’s Having a Baby (Incorrect: Casino Royale)

36.  Sorry folks, park’s closed, moose outside shoulda told ya. – Vacation (Correct: AY, DW, SR)

37.  Harmony…the way you talk! – Daddy’s Dyin’, Who’s Got the Will? (Incorrect: DW – Ten Things I Hate About You)

38.  I’m an idea man, Chuck. – Night Shift (Correct: DW, SR)

39.  It’s me, Maddie. – Homebodies (Incorrect: DW – Moonlighting)

40.  The man of my dreams has almost faded now. – Somewhere in Time (Correct: DW, SR)

41.  Screw the goddam passengers.  What the hell did they expect for their lousy 35 cents, to live forever? – The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (Correct: DW, SR)

42.  I’m flesh and blood, but not human.  I haven’t been human for 200 years. – Interview With the Vampire (Correct: DW, SR)

43.  Yes, I consider myself a nerd.  And this movie has uplifted me. – American Splendor (Correct: SR; Incorrect: DW – Revenge of the Nerds, although he was talking about ROTN at the time)

44.  From now on we’re going to have alternate dinner music because frankly – and I don’t think I’m alone here – I’m tired of the Lawrence Welk shit. – American Beauty (Correct: DW, JB, TH, SR)

45.  Schreck, that’s a German word isn’t it?  Means fear or horror. – Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (Correct: SR; Incorrect: TH – Schreck; DW – Shadow of the Vampire)

46.  It was a really awful day.  I know, I made sure of it.  So pick up the cookie, dip it in the milk, and eat it! – Stranger Than Fiction (Correct: DW, SR)

47.  The light concealing cream goes on first, then you blend, and blend, and blend.  Blending is the secret. – Edward Scissorhands (Correct: DW, SR)

48.  My uncle told me there are only 8 trustworthy people in the world.  There were 12, but four were assassinated. – Unstrung Heroes (Correct: DW, SR)

49.  Shut it down.  Shut it down, forever! – Dark City (Correct: DW, SR)

50.  This stupid, wagon wheel, Roy Rogers, garage sale coffee table! – When Harry Met Sally (Correct: DW, SR)

Players’ Scores: Stephanie Rogers (SR) – 33; Don Williams (DW) - 31; Jim Burgess (JB) – 1; Tom Howell (TH) – 1; Andy York (AY) – 1.

The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews

Doubt – Directed by John Patrick Shaney, and based on his award-winning play, Doubt was the first in this season’s long list of Oscar-hopeful films to arrive.  It was only a combination of factors that made it take us so long to go see it.  Built around a very strong cast (Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman star), Doubt, when broken down to its essence, looks at how we decide what is true and what is false.  How much of our judgments are based on fact, how much on intuition, and how much on falsehoods which we have convinced ourselves are true?


Hoffman plays Father Flynn, who is the priest for a Bronx Catholic church.  Attached to the church is a private school, where Sister Aloysius (Streep) serves as the principal.  One of the newer, less experienced teachers is Sister Marie James (Amy Adams), who has been put in charge of 8th grade.  She is kindhearted and runs her classroom with friendliness and affection, in sharp contrast to the much older (in age and in manner) Sister Aloysius.  Aloysius tries to harden Sister Marie James, as she sees her somewhat naïve.  “Hang up something framed on your chalkboard, so you can see the reflection in the glass.  They need to think they’ve got eyes in the back of your head.”  The entire student body lives in fear of Sister Aloysius, and she feels that’s exactly the way it should be.


Friendly and approachable Father Flynn, who also coaches the basketball team, believes that the church needs to be more open, and that the priests and nuns should view themselves as on the same level as the parents and children.  In particular, he’s taken an interest in trying to help and protect the school’s first black student.  That’s where the trouble starts; Sister Marie James becomes concerned that there may be something inappropriate in that relationship, and she brings her suspicions to Sister Aloysius.  Aloysius becomes immediately convinced that Flynn is a pedophile.


It is the basis of that conviction which forms the remainder of the film.  Acting on her own, outside the proper channels of the church, Sister Aloysius wants to prove his guilt to those around him, or at the very least drive Flynn to leave the church.  Sister Marie James, who is much more like-minded with Flynn when it comes to dealing with the students, isn’t sure what to believe…in a way, Aloysius’ steadfast certainty makes it harder for Sister Marie James to believe that Flynn has done anything wrong.  After all, there is no proof, only suspicion.


Doubt serves as a useful title, because the idea of doubt is spread throughout the film.  We hear it as a topic in Father Flynn’s sermon, and we see it in every character; they doubt their certainty, they doubt their father, they doubt their eyes, they doubt their decisions.  Only Sister Aloysius shows no doubt…but is she as strong as she seems?  While Hoffman and Adams do justice to their characters, it is Meryl Streep’s acting which really sparkles.  Only an actress of her caliber could take what is written on the surface as a one-dimensional oppressive principal, and allow all the detail and depth to come forth.  A change in tone, a tightening of her mouth, a raised eyebrow…each move carries great meaning.  Streep’s portrayal gives all the other actors something to build on and play off of.  As it stands, it is a very good film – albeit not quite a terrific as I had been led to believe.  But it is worth seeing.


Frost/Nixon – In today’s world of CNN, microwaves, instant messaging, and the post-“USA Today”-ing of the nation, news has been reduced to 30-second sound bites.  If the public can’t learn about it in less time than it takes to brush your teeth, they don’t want to bother.  So to many people, the concept of six hours of one-on-one interviews between a reporter and an ex-President sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry, and about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.  But in 1977, the David Frost interviews with Richard Nixon (broadcast in four 90-minute installments) were the most watched news program in history.  Frost/Nixon has Peter Morgan adapt his stage play for the big screen, bringing to life not just the interviews themselves but the process of how they came together, how they almost fell apart, and how the outcome was in question until the very end.


Occupying the chairs opposite each other, like boxers ready for a title fight, are David Frost (Michael Sheen) and Richard Nixon (Frank Langella, both having played the same characters in the stage version). Nixon is trying to repair his shattered image after becoming the first sitting U.S. President to resign.  He and his inner circle (such as Kevin Bacon as Col. Jack Brennan) are attempting to use the interviews as a way to “set the record straight,” to highlight his accomplishments, and to position Nixon as a sympathetic character who did what he thought was best for the country.  That, and the hefty $600,000 fee he is being paid, is all the motivation they need.  If things go well, he hopes to leave his near-exile in California and somehow begin a new political career in some capacity.


His opponent, David Frost, is the least likely champion for the people.  Regarded as a successful but vapid and generally talentless talk show host, Frost is dying to find success in the United States again.  His idea for the Nixon interviews originates simply with the publicity; “think of the numbers it will draw.”  Despite a lack of financial backing and resistance from the networks, Frost rolls the dice and arranges the interviews, hoping it will all come together in the end.  He hires two investigators to help him prepare, played by Sam Rockwell and Oliver Platt.  Pretty soon Frost figures out he may have bitten off more than he can chew; advertisers are disappearing and the press looks upon the entire interview as a big joke.  Between the realization that in order to succeed he must deliver a hard, solid, difficult interview, and the warnings of his team (especially Rockwell’s James Reston Jr.) that if handled wrong, the man they consider one of the most corrupt politicians in history could actually become sympathetic, Frost struggles to defy all his critics and, optimally, to get Nixon to admit wrongdoing or apologize to the American people.


Ron Howard does an adequate job of directing, as usual, and sprinkles the film with documentary-style interview clips with the “actual” participants (Rockwell, Platt, and Bacon mainly).  And Peter Morgan’s script helps draw the similarity between Frost and Nixon to the forefront of the battle: both are making an all-or-nothing go at getting back on top and winning the admiration and respect of the public.  The difference seems to be that one of them wants to prove that the critics are wrong, while the other secretly believes that they are right.


Without question, Frank Langella makes the film.  His Nixon appears both lost and razor sharp.  He is the master of all things, but moments later a terribly unhappy and lonely man.  Outside of the politics, he delivers a self-loathing Nixon who has no idea what it feels like to be happy, comfortable, or feel even a moment of ease.  For me, the ultimate Nixon moment of the film is after the final interview session; Nixon and his team walk to their cars, but he stops to admire a dog held by a woman in the crowd.  But when Nixon approaches the friendly dog to pet it, he taps it on the head and gently tugs at one of its ears…the dog would have gladly accepted some love, but Nixon simply didn’t know how to do that naturally. 


All in all, Frost/Nixon is a very good film, and whether you enjoy it on the big screen or at home, it makes the journey back to the 1970’s a worthwhile one.  And, fortunately, you only need two hours this time, not six.


Wendy and Lucy – I’ve heard it said that Wendy and Lucy is a film which, although filmed over a year ago, brings to light the struggles of those caught in the current economic downturn.  While I suppose in some ways that could be true, I don’t think the move is one of such heightened measure and importance.  Rather, it is a slow and quiet character study of a woman who is struggling to build a life with no outside assistance, but who also isn’t experienced enough to have a Plan B.


Michelle Williams stars as Wendy, who is traveling by car from Indiana to Alaska because she “hears they need people there.”  Along for the ride is her best friend and companion Lucy, a 40-pound golden-colored floppy-eared sweetie.  Sleeping in her car in a Walgreen’s parking lot while passing through a small Oregon town, she awakens to find her car will no longer run.  Soon she loses Lucy, and she spends the rest of the film trying to find her.


Williams does a decent job of playing a woman who is struggling to show no weakness, and to not rely on anybody.  Clearly her character is somewhat distrustful and unsure how to handle it when somebody is kind to her.  But Wendy is hardly a downtrodden character meant to be a hero to working-class folks, and the other travelers she meets along the way seem to signify the victimization often expressed by people in her circumstances.  One fellow gives her advice on where to look for work in Alaska, then follows it up with the story of how he destroyed $100,000 worth of equipment there without a thought of consequence.  Another creepy man finds Wendy sleeping in the woods at night, rifles through her belongings, and explains that he is tired of people treating him like trash.  Wendy seems to see no problem with shoplifting food for herself and her dog when she has over $500 cash on hand.  She seems to be a product of the slacker generation.  And maybe that is the significance of her character: she wants to work, to save money, to build a life, but the circumstances of her situation are pulling her down into the underbelly of society.  But through her experiences in this small town, and watching how some struggling people are still willing to help each other (even if it is just the use of a cell phone or a few dollars), brings Wendy face to face with life lessons she had not expected.


If there is a message in Wendy and Lucy, ignoring the idealized moral some reviewers have inserted about how society has failed so many, it is that if you want to be a responsible adult, you need to act like one.  Nothing is more adult than putting the needs of someone you love, and someone who depends on you, ahead of your own.


Overall I think the film lacks some of the appeal of other quiet character studies; The Station Agent comes to mind as a superior film of the style I mean.  Michelle Williams does her best to carry the picture, but there isn’t enough emotion and consistent mood within the film to make it fully worthwhile.


Seen on DVD – The Exorcism of Emily Rose (B+, decent script, pretty good acting and a somewhat spooky feel throughout makes this a rather effective film).   The Hand (C-, Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay and directed this, and it’s about as useless as the rest of his work.  I remembered it being really creepy; clearly I remembered incorrectly.)  To Catch a Killer (B+, Brian Dennehy plays an excellent John Wayne Gacy.  A real bastard).  Middle Sexes (B-, documentary about transgendered and intersex [what we used to call hermaphrodite] individuals.  Kinda boring at times, but I did learn some things, and the anatomy stuff and brain studies were quite interesting).  The Game (B, the movie has a very nice feel to it, although having seen it before I knew all the surprises.  But why does Michael Douglas come off as stick-up-his-ass-my-shit-don’t-stink whether in a role like this one [where it fits] and a role where it doesn’t?).

Books in Boxers
Eternal Sunshine Book Reviews

More Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest – John J. Kohut & Roland Sweet – An amusing little bathroom-style book, filled with paragraph-long news-style blurbs detailing people acting stupid.  Dumb quotes, dumb criminals, dumb ideas, dumb politics, dumb justice systems…you get the idea.  Most are of the innocuous variety, so you don’t have a hard time believing them.  This type of book doesn’t interest me if I spend most of the time trying to suspend my disbelief.  Overall decently done, and if you can find it for cheap it will give you a few chuckles.  I think Heather got it for me on super-clearance.


Heather’s Tricks and Treats


My mother and I are not speaking to each other. We had a big argument about 4 weeks ago when she asked me to do something for her. Her request was both immoral and unethical. To make matters worse, it had the potential to be criminal and fraudulent! I told her that I was sorry but I could not do her this favor. I placed the blame on Doug (at his request) and on the fact that the government watches our affairs. Doug thought that this would help diffuse any negative backlash I would get from telling my mother no. (My mother loves Doug; who can blame her? He is always nice to her, generous, and has the unique ability to hide from her how he really feels. Doug also cooks us both Christmas dinners. What’s not to love?)  Unfortunately, that plan did not work.


When I was visiting my daughter Bailey, my mother called and left us a message on our answering machine.  During her message she speaks specifically to Doug, at one point, and tells him that he doesn’t understand all that she and I have gone through together. My mother then proceeds to tell him two tragic events which happened in my life, (don’t worry…for you folks that just love dirty laundry, they’re coming up). It was as if she was exposing him to a side of me which he didn’t already know, and in the process getting off on it! (I don’t know about any other people’s relationships but Doug and I are not just married to each other; we are best friends as well. He knows me - lumps, bumps and all!) After spilling her sordid “secrets,” she then pointedly says to Doug that it just must be all about him now (Duh). At the end of her tirade she decides to leave us with a gem of a farewell by saying (direct quote here) “so...fuck y’all!” and hanging up!


A few days later my mother calls back, acting as if nothing had happened. This is typically how she handles things when she is the one at fault. I have to admit, it usually works. I want the conflict to end too, and just dismiss it. But not this time!  I told her that she owed both Doug and I an apology, but especially to him. We are still waiting. I even wrote her a letter again explaining my point of view, reiterating that she owed us an apology…not one word from her in response, although I know that she has received the letter.


A couple of days ago I was getting some presents ready for Valentine’s Day. I had one for my mother (I shop way in advance for holidays) and did not know if I should send it. I know we are fighting and not talking, but does that mean I don’t send a gift? I have never been in this situation before. I do not know the proper protocol.  Before I sent the gift I decided to review “The List”. (I’m sure you are asking yourself….what list?). I have a list that I started (at the urging of a previous therapist) of things my mother has done in my life that were hurtful; things which she won’t admit or own up to. The point was to write them down and help get the anger out in a productive manner.  I have kept the list ever since then, because I have a tendency to forget such things. Whether my forgetfulness is due to the ECT treatments (electro-shock therapy for you newbies) I had years ago, or that my brain wants to forget, I don’t know. I think it is a combination of both (I think I think that….but I forget). I have also kept the list to help me when I have an argument with my mother. She never fights fair, never stays on topic and ALWAYS pulls out the guilt cards! (You know what I am talking about. Those damn guilt cards will have you folding in no time!) I don’t use “The List” on her during the arguments; I just keep it in my arsenal to be (or feel) strong.


Ok, onto “The List”!!! It doesn’t really have a title beyond, “The List”; you could say it is a list of the reasons I am angry at my mother, or reasons why we are not close, or things I resent my mother for….I don’t know; you pick one. Here it goes (Dum-da-Dum-dum-Dummmm!)


·         I have felt guilty all my life for being born, and holding my mother back from whatever her life could have been if she hadn’t had me. This is most likely due to her repeatedly telling me that she never got to have a life because she had a child so young (me), and that I was a burden on her.


·         My mother has always made me feel as if my crying when I was mad, sad or frustrated was a sign of weakness. She always looked at me with such disgust when I cried.


·         When I was 8 years old, I told her I was different from other children. I told her I had too many problems and that I needed help because all I wanted to do was die. I remember we were at a cafeteria that we went to every two weeks. We sat in the booth below this painting of a castle perched upon a cliff, and the beautiful ocean was below. I chose that spot to tell her because I thought the painting was magical and would in some way help protect me from her anger when I told her. It did not. Instead, my mother told me she would take me to Parkland (a hospital in the area) to the burn unit and show me children that had real problems!  That was her solution to my mental problems.


·         She brought men in and out of my life as a child.  I would get attached to them, and then they would always leave. I grew up with the idea that men always leave; they weren’t to be trusted or relied upon.


·         My maternal grandmother was close-minded and didn’t talk to my mother about things, especially sex.  My mother took the extreme opposite course. When I was 5 she told me all about sex. When I was 7 and had learned how to read, she let me read her Playgirl magazines. She let me read whatever I wanted to. I grew up with an overabundant knowledge of sex. She was too open and carefree about it to the point that I resolved to be her opposite. I told myself I would be a virgin and wait to have sex until I was married. I wanted a family. I wanted to be the PTA Mom, the nurturing type of mother that I never had.


·         When I was 13 years old my mom met and married her third husband, Michael. They were together until I was 17, and in that time I grew to love him and trust him. My grandfather (Gramps) had been my male role model up until he died when I was 15. We had been the best of friends, and losing him was horrible. I think that it helped me to have Michael in my life, to fill in and provide a buffer between Mom and me. One day she told him it was over and made him leave without any warning to me, perpetuating my belief that all men leave!


·         When I got pregnant at 19 (that damn “waiting until marriage” thing just did not happen!) my mother insisted I have an abortion. She told me that I would not be allowed to stay in her house if I kept the baby. She also informed me that she would not help or support me in any way if that was my decision. The ironic thing about these scathing words was….they were basically the same ones her mother had told her when she got pregnant with me! My mother was mad and resentful all of my life towards her mother for this and other reasons (which she won’t say) and has not spoken to my grandmother since I was 13. I am now 38, so it has been 25 years!


·         I had the abortion the day before leaving for college. At college, due to the guilt of the abortion, tremendous stress, and it being the most opportune time for it (between late teens and early twenties), I developed obsessive compulsive disorder and had a breakdown. My mother basically said I was nuts (ok, so she was right about that part) and did not try to understand or sympathize with the effect this was having on me. She acted ashamed that I had developed a mental disorder, as if I’d had a choice in the matter.  (I’m sorry! I should have ordered the life without the side of mental problems. Is it too late to change my mind?)


·         When I was in my early 20’s, I tried to kill myself for the first time (I can’t believe that I had lasted that long without attempting it). My mother took me to a psychiatrist and he said that I should not be left alone for at least the next week. Well, that did not sit very well with my mother! She had a vacation planned; she was tired; she needed a rest and she was not going to miss it on account of me! Instead she arranged with one of my friend’s parents for me to stay at their house for the next week.


·         After the previous incident, my mother told me that if I ever tried to kill myself again, I should tell the ambulance that was called to take me to Parkland (a public hospital) so that she wouldn’t end up paying the bill. How sweet!


·         When I met and became involved with Joe (my first husband) she didn’t want to get to know him as a person. The only time if seemed she even wanted to see or talk to him was when she needed him to fix something, move something or hook up something for her. My mother always made Joe nervous and by that time she made me nervous as well. When I was young, Mom used to develop hives before she would go visit her own mother. Now the same thing was happening to me; I would get so nervous around her that I could not be in her presence for long. Joe’s family always asked her over for family meals, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. I wanted to be a part of their family day, and they wanted to include her, but she never came.


·         When Joe and I split up for 6 weeks (I won’t go into details, that story is for another column. Short version = he cheated on me!), I ended up having to have Thanksgiving with my friend Amie, because I got into an argument with my mom on the phone and she told me she didn’t want to see me (although she gladly took the plates of food I prepared for her and brought out to her car, but she did not want to see me).


·         Christmas Eve the year prior to that, she didn’t want to see me on Christmas because we had gotten into another argument on the phone.  I was at work in the cosmetics department of a local grocery store. We were always very busy on Christmas Eve, with last minute shoppers - and that year especially because of an unexpected ice storm! (If you know anything about Texas, you know we do not have ice storms very often, but when we do people FREAK out!) My mother called and asked if I could go after work to her old apartment complex because a package for Joe had been mistakenly delivered there to the mailbox. She said that she did not want to go get it because of the ice storm. I told her it was unnecessary because: one, it could wait; and two, because I found out the present was the wrong size anyway.  I also told her that I did not know when I would get off of work, and that we were very busy and could not leave until every customer was out of the store. With that, she yelled and hung up on me! It made me feel as if my mom had no concern for my safety at all. The only thing she cared about was getting her way, and when she didn’t she wanted to punish me.


·         When my mother had brain surgery, and at another time a heart attack, I came and took care of her. Instead of thanking me (the way some people might), she told me that my taking care of her would be good for a few years if I did something wrong, and that she would forgive me in exchange. It was as if she was always keeping score.


·         When my daughter Bailey was about to be born, we were told there was only supposed to be one other person allowed in the delivery room besides Joe and me. Together we decided that it should be Joe’s grandmother, Nana.  That way we would not have to choose between our mothers, and leave one out. My mother insisted, despite our wishes, to stay along and told his mother to also. During a very dangerous time when the cord was wrapped around Bailey’s neck and shoulder, the doctor was trying to concentrate, and my mother started yelling for me to push! If I had listened to her, who knows what could or would have happened to Bailey! The doctor yelled at me not to push. My mother’s insistence on staying might have done something to drastically alter Bailey’s life.


·         The night I checked myself into the mental hospital suffering from severe PPD (Post Partum Depression for all of you that are not “up” on the mental health lingo) I spoke with my mother on the phone. The first thing she told me was that they (Joe, Nana, Pop and her) were all  sitting down as a family and discussing what was to happen with Bailey. She implied that Bailey was going to be taken away from me because of this. More than ever before, at that moment, I desperately needed her to be a Mom to me. I was so scared and felt all alone. Instead, she made me feel even worse, like she has done all my life. I needed her to be proud that I was trying to get help…and that even though I wanted to, I had not tried to kill myself. I wanted to get better and be there for my daughter.


·         My mom never came to see me in the hospital (I was in there off and on for 4 months). She told me later when I got out that Bailey could be taken away from me because I had been in such a place. My mom said she wouldn’t call the authorities but that if my neighbors did I better watch out!


·         From the night I went into the hospital she wanted Nana and Pop to take Bailey, never thinking that I could get better, never having any faith in me. When I asked my mother later why she thought I wasn’t able to handle having Bailey, she told me I wouldn’t like what she had to say. She said that I was selfish and that I had not suffered enough in my life. This was after I went through being in the hospital for four months, taking all different kinds of drugs, different therapies, and at the end even resorting to electroshock therapy to see if it would help. When I told her earlier that I was thinking of giving Bailey to Nana and Joe to raise because I thought it would be the best for her, she said I was being a good mother and selfless, and that it would be the right thing to do. But then she makes a 180 degree turn and says a thing like that!


·         The day Joe moved his and Bailey’s things out of our apartment, I called my mother on the phone crying. It was a Sunday around 10am. I got the answering machine and left a message.  Around noon she called me back. The first thing my mother said was that she knows I was having a crisis, but she doesn’t like to get calls before noon on Sunday.  (My whole life was falling apart, but I really should have checked her schedule first and timed it better!)


·         Just to let you know, the thought of being in a mental hospital someday was one of my greatest fears. I was about 21, and my mother finally told me that the man whom I thought was my biological father all my life wasn’t. My biological father was an IV drug user and ended up being institutionalized for Schizophrenia. (Woo-Hoo! And here I thought it was bad that the guy I thought was my dad hadn’t been around since I was two!) My biggest fear, deep inside, was that I was going to end up that way…and I sort of did. There I was, in the mental hospital, facing one of my greatest fears (the other being memory loss; don’t worry you’ll hear about that one in a future issue!), trying to get home to take care of my daughter, and my mother just stabs a knife into me. And yet she wonders why we do not have a good relationship (really, she has asked that question many times) and why we do not talk. Whenever I open up and become vulnerable to her, it seems like those are the times she hurts me the most. 


·         I tried to kill myself again in 2001 (I know what you are thinking…No! Not again! Can’t this girl do anything right?).  It was on Saturday May 12th.  I had spent all day at an outdoor rock concert, sitting in the blistering heat, drinking beer with friends…way too much beer.  Then I went home, alone…to my two bedroom apartment, that until recently had been the home I shared with my husband and my daughter.  I sat there, drunk, dwelling on my life, and agonizing about Mother’s Day being the next day. This would be my first Mother’s Day I was to experience as a mother, but I’d be doing it without my daughter.  I took some pills, trying to kill myself, but at the last minute I changed my mind and made myself throw them back up. I didn’t tell my mom what I had tried to do, but I told Nana (I cannot remember why now, but I did). I begged her not to tell my mother but she (or Joe) did. My mother called me on the phone and yelled at me. How could I have done that on her birthday (May12th) and the next day being Mother’s Day?! (Okay, she kind of did have a point there, my timing was awful!) She said acts such as these would get my visitation I had with Bailey taken away, and that I wouldn’t ever be able to see her again (some truth there also, but I don’t think it was what I needed to hear at that moment) My mother also told me I was being a burden on Joe’s family. (OK,OK, Here is where it gets good).  Then she proceeds to tell me that she didn’t have money saved for her retirement and if I killed myself what was she going to do?! (Well fuck, now that you put it that way).  She told me that she didn’t have time for all my problems, and that until I got my shit together I shouldn’t call her…and hung up the phone. Just what I needed in the way of support and understanding!


·         I feel that for all of my life I have tried to be the exact opposite of my mother. I wanted the family I never had, and the marriage that lasted. It is now gone (remember, I wrote this before I met Doug so now there is hope!) and I feel as if I am so much more like her than I want to ever admit. Sometimes I think that maybe she is jealous. Maybe she thinks that I am getting off easy in the situation with Bailey. Maybe she is angry that I am not going through what she did with raising me. I am going through my own struggle and pain, even though the situation is different. Maybe she wishes she had done something similar, I don’t know. Perhaps it makes her mad because she feels I took the “easy way out”. A lot of my decision, to give Bailey to Joe and Nana, came as a result of my relationship with my mother. I never want Bailey to feel the way I did growing up (and still do), that I was an unwanted burden. I want her to have a stable environment. I don’t want her to turn out like me, because I have turned out like my mother. I want Bailey to grow up with a family, and to have Nana as a loving and nurturing example to follow. I failed to be this example for her (at least full time). I can do (and did) the next best thing, by giving it to her some other way, and doing whatever I could to be a positive influence on her life.


After thoroughly reading “The List” over, I decided NOT to send the Valentine’s Day present! I think I made the right choice.

Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column

Tom Swider: For a prisoner based Dip variant, I suppose you could come up with an anarchy-style game with players representing different gangs. Each player starts with three units, one of which represents the player personally. Any unit that it attacks and dislodges is destroyed. If your personal unit is eliminated, you're out of the game. You win by getting out of prison, legally (certain tasks or resources can reduce your sentence) or by escape. You could have resources that can be captured that give you a game advantage as long as it's held by you. A GM would help in keeping this information limited so that a part of the game is information sharing amongst allies and nasty surprises for your enemy.

Because inmates could move, if unrestricted, to anywhere in the facility within an hour or so, the pieces should have infinite movement but that their moves can get blocked if certain things happen (a gate is secured, a surprise roll-call is held, a bribe isn't sufficient), and that player pieces just move to certain locales. In a single turn, players would submit orders for "morning", "work", "dinner", "evening" and "lights out", where inmates move and actions/conflicts are resolved.

The game "Escape from Colditz" is actually pretty fun. It's based upon a WWII prison break. Remember it was referred to once or twice in "The League of Gentlemen"? Probably the game enjoys a popularity similar to Careers or Stratego in the UK.

Probably could look at "Godfather" types of games like "The Brotherhood" for other ideas. It also occurs to me that the game may work better with mechanics similar to Kremlin, as there's an element of secret point allocations to the politicians and that you can never be certain if you really control a politician or if an other player is just dogging you until it makes sense to announce greater influence and wrest away control.


[[I pointed out to Tom that I was referring to a variant based on The Prisoner, not simply prison.  He followed up with some other ideas below.]]


I originally thought about choosing "blue" as my answer for the "non-Christmas" color until I thought of Elvis Presley's song "Blue Christmas." Shouldn't those answers be disqualified?

Black isn't a color, and shouldn't count either.

And why is Green considered a non-Christmas color, that being the color of Christmas trees? That answer should get the buzzer as well.

You can tell I put a lot of thought into making my decision to go Orange.


[[I know you’re just giving me a hard time, but my logic in BPD is ANY answer is okay for ANY category, since there’s no way you couldn’t come up with an answer for each category.]]


As I was scanning more than reading, I missed that and the tie-in with McGoohan.  Not too familiar with The Prisoner but see it's about spies. Will have to check it out on Netflix, and I think I recall the Simpsons episode where Homer gets a number and is trapped as a prisoner on a fancy estate.

[[The Prisoner is not necessarily about spies; just government people who have valuable or secret knowledge.  Much of it can be technical in nature, rather than political.]]

Seems like some of the ideas from Escape from Colditz might apply. I also liked the game "Conspiracy" (a/k/a The Sigma File) that has an order writing system and discussion element that plays a lot like Diplomacy but only take 10-30 minutes to play.

Even some of the ideas in my last letter might still apply, but the goal becomes to escape or become Number One. Players could be given their numeric identity secretly and the locals on the board change to meet that of the village. It could even become a type of "reader participation game" that could generate some press and trash talk, and another way of tossing Jack overboard.


[[Sea of Despair…another great game…]]


Tom Howell: Regarding those reminders:  They are a bit of overkill.  I wouldn't mind repeated reminders for something I'm playing in and still haven't submitted orders.  But for games I'm not participating in?  One encouragement reminder for the all-player join-any-time games, maybe.  The rest are just noise.  And, I don't need more noise.

I set up a reminder system for off-the-shelf games which only sent reminders to players who had not yet submitted orders for the current turn.  No, it wasn't automated: I had to remember to start it myself at the proper time (though I could have set it up to go on its own, I suppose).


[[I’ve changed it to a single Yahoo Group reminder for all games.  Better, I hope?]]


Halfway Home at the Halfway House Part One: I like it!  On the face of it, this ought to be a good news story; but, you've added enough foreshadowing to give us the feeling anything might go wrong at any time.  So, there's good tension right through it so far.


[[Hope you enjoy Part 2 as well…and additional chapters are coming!]]


Andy York: Nice bit on checking out of the Federal hotel you were visiting. I don't know that I'd have the patience to ride that far on a bus unless it was sparsely populated.

As for The Reader, it is the only one of the films up for Best Picture Oscar I still have to see. Due to circumstances, the times I've planned to see it, other things have intruded. However, I hope to get to it in the next couple of weeks. Slumdog Millionaire has my vote!


[[For whatever reason, I simply cannot get interested in seeing Slumdog Millionaire.  I’m not even sure I’ll be adding it to our Netflix list.]]

Allison - I'll be in PA at the end of June/early July. However, I'll be on the wrong end of the state, being in Pittsburgh. No other plans to hit the east coast at this time.


Philip Murphy: Long email this; am relishing being back in college and having real internet back. Dialup is worse than the rack for torture!

I'll have the next issue of Th' Edge of Th' Abyss released by the 8th  February (Sorry for the delay, all) -  I figured with the essays due for my course and all (now done thankfully) I should hold off till the end of the month. I best not make it a habit though....

[[It has now been released, and you can see it (and all future issues, I would imagine) at]]

How's Heather doing? Just read ES and I'm sorry to hear about her injury. Say hi to her and the cats-in-residence for me. Speaking of which, you said in your letter that my zine needs more cats. I've taken that on board and I shall proactively remedy this deficiency at once!

[[Yes, I was pleased to see that.  Heather’s knee is much better.  It isn’t back to full strength yet, but she is now able to walk without the brace.  That’s a big step.  So since the semester is a lost cause, she’s going to start looking for part-time work at a Vet’s office in the meantime.]]

Oh and you asked how I ended up in Kansas last summer – that’s a tale in itself! All I'll say for now is that I'm writing it up for the zine and you'll get first look.
J Suffice it to say that Robin and I had a very enjoyable time for three weeks and I got to visit some awesome places. Ended too soon sadly - and I miss her. But that’s long distance for you... and 5000 miles must qualify as long distance, surely. If you want to know the whole story (well almost all), it'll be in the next issue of TEOTA. (plug plug)


[[Long distance sucks, but as it is the opposite of today’s world of instant gratification, in some ways it can help build a relationship through stronger bonds than you’d get in person.]]

I enjoyed the piece you did on the halfway house and I'm looking forward to part two to see what it was actually like. And that bus journey -I thought I was bad flying over to Kansas from Dublin.... even a spell in Heathrow both directions doesn't compare! All I can say is bloody 'ell!

[[Nothing compares to long-distance bus travel.  Except maybe a Turkish prison.]]

I don't know if Heather would be into fantasy epics but I got into reading G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series a while back. Highly worth a look. Just wish the author would write a bit faster but you can't rush genius I suppose


[[I showed it to her…she prefers books without so much history or geography – so she says, anyway.]]

Keep up the good work - regular as clockwork is Eternal Sunshine!

P.S. Any chance you could give 2009A Black Adder a plug in ES and/or Diplomacy World? I need five/six more people and a standby would be good as well. Email trekkypj (of) for details.

P.P.S Please send me some press people!


[[Please see the link above, check out Philip’s zine and sign up for his game opening!]]


Brain Farts: The Only Subsubzine With It’s Own Fragrance

By Jack “Flapjack” McHugh – jwmchughjr “of”

(or just email Doug and he’ll send it to me)

Issue #4



First of all, I decided that other font was too hard to read, so I made Doug change it to this thing.  Let me know if you like it better.  And if you don’t think it’s an improvement you can screw yourself silly.  Considering the garbage that’s on television or the radio these days, most people have absolutely zero taste.  You wouldn’t know quality if it came up behind you with a greased strap-on.


I’m happy to report that Brain Farts has its very first letter!  This arrived in my email box a day or two after #3 hit the newsstands, and I was surprised to see it was from Allison Kent, Doug’s youngest sister.  I thought she had a real life, but instead apparently she spends time reading Doug’s self-involved crybaby drivel.


Dear Jack:
I am writing in response to your column in my favorite brother's monthly dipzine (who you refer to as an idiot) because you are such a crybaby that NO ONE responds to you... 
First of all, people probably don't email you because you don't know how to type your own email address.
Secondly, people probably don't read your column because you start off by calling them "brainless zombies" and the person who wrote the issue that your column is in, "Idiot".
Thirdly, why would you want your sweatshirt ironed anyway?  Who irons a sweatshirt?  Do you iron your jeans too?  Or you probably call them dungarees.  Anyway, you shouldn't blame the Eagles' losing season on Andy Reed.  Do you maybe think the players on the team have anything to do with it?  If he gets fired, he will have to focus on the fact that his children are drug addict losers rather than what he can eat to make him even fatter. 
Finally, you just happened to get lucky with your superbowl prediction.  I will give you credit, but don't get too high on yourself because I can guarantee that you won't ever be even close ever again.
PS:  If you really are a friend of Doug's (which I think is strange since he says he has no friends since everyone finds him repulsive), then you will know that I am not serious that I am offended by what you wrote.  Also, I figure that if you are a friend of Doug's then you don't really think he is an idiot or that we are brainless zombies, but you need attention.  So even negative attention is still attention.
Allison (Doug's favorite sister)


Thanks for the letter Allison.  Let me address your points one at a time, even though your assertion that Doug is not an idiot pretty much invalidates everything else you said.  You must be Doug’s sister, because you are as clueless as he is.


“…you don’t know how to type your own email address.”  If you are referring to how I list it in the mast head, that is to keep the internet spiders from adding my email address to their mass-mailing spam lists.  Maybe your boyfriend needs to get twenty “enlarge your penis” emails a day, but I don’t.  Carol can verify that on request.  Listing the email address in such a fashion is what is known as protocol.  Can you say that word?  Sound it out…protocol.  Now go look it up.  I bet you only have a picture dictionary at home, so just use the internet.  See what it means?  Now let’s use it in a sentence boys and girls.  “It is protocol for Allison to always walk three steps behind her boyfriend, and to keep her eyes averted downward.”


“People don’t read your column…” Well, sweet cheeks, they do read it.  They are just afraid to engage in a battle of wits with the likes of me.  My rapier-sharp intellect would cut them to ribbons in a matter of seconds, as I am doing to you right now.  How does it feel?


I’ll give you some points for that good Andy Reid line, but it’s none of your business why I wanted my sweatshirt ironed.  Now go back to the kitchen where you belong and make dinner.


As for my accuracy with football predictions, you show your brainless zombie mentality because you seem to think picking winners is “luck.”  That’s what all losers think.  When they lose money gambling, they think they were just unlucky.  This takes skill and intelligence, not guesswork.  You probably spend all your money on scratch tickets.


Finally, I noticed you did not include a recent photo with your email.  I suggest you do so next time, so I can decide if Carol and I should meet you for an evening of partner swapping.  I’ll do things to you that you never thought were possible.  And I don’t need to worry about getting jealous of Carol and your little guy being together…Carol could never replace me, and anyway she’s likely just to dress up in leather and use his mouth for an ashtray.  Let me know what weekend you’re available, but send a photo first just in case.  Thanks for the letter.


Speaking of Carol, the other night we were lying in bed and I started rubbing her arm and nibbling on her earlobe.  But she rolled over the other way and told me “Sorry Jack, but I have a gynecologist appointment tomorrow morning and I want to stay fresh.”  So I walked over to her side of the bed and started taking my pajamas off.  She looked at me with surprise and said “What are you doing?  I told you I have a gynecologist appointment tomorrow!”  “That’s okay,” I told her.  “As long as you don’t have a dentist appointment, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.”  Yeah, I’m a romantic at heart.


So I mentioned last issue about how I lost one of my jobs.  Well I took a part time job in a pickle factory in Camden to help make ends meet.  I didn’t really like the place, but we needed the money.  So one day I came home and admitted to Carol that I had a problem.  All day at work I had a terrible compulsion to stick my ine-eyed snake into the pickle slicer.   Carol suggested that I should see a therapist to talk about it, but we couldn’t afford it and I would have been too embarrassed to talk about it with a stranger.  So last week when I got home Carol could see at once that something was seriously wrong.  “What's wrong, Jack?” she asked.   So I told her, “Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my penis into the pickle slicer?  Well I couldn’t stop myself.  Today, I finally did it.”Oh, Jack, you didn't!” she exclaimed.My God, Jack, what happened?” “I got fired.” I said.”No, Jack.  I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?”


Oh...she got fired too.”


Next issue I’ll give you my baseball predictions for the upcoming season.  Based on my amazing accuracy, I strongly suggest that you pay attention, and if you’re one of those people who bets on baseball, don’t forget to send me a share of the winnings.  I’ve got some good job prospects lined up, but I can always use some extra do-re-mi.  Now stop bothering me, I’ve got internet porn to watch.


Out of the WAY #5


by W. Andrew York

(wandrew88 of






                Five issues into this already, and the last round of the Facts in Five game is below [[Note – There will be an update to those scores, as a late entry was received after this column was prepared and submitted]]. Along with your entries, please let me know what you thought of the game and what you like/disliked about it - and comments are welcome even if you didn’t play, especially, what changes would make you want to join in. For future issues, I’ll have to decide if I’m going to run another Fi5 (or a modified version of it) or if I should look for another “everybody plays” game. Let me know your thoughts and interests! And, for those of you who’ve already commented, I’m holding them to include next issue, unless you let me know otherwise.

                For this month’s Recipe, a friend let me use one of her recipes. By the title, you might wonder whether a bacon themed dessert really works. For the record, it does and has received positive feedback from those who’ve had it. Also, it may look like a lot of ingredients and steps; but, it is really pretty easy to make. Let me know what you think of it!





                Aging, growing older, maturing or just plain heading over the hill is something we all face. When we’re young, we look forward to adding a few years - gaining freedom from parents’ rules, making your own decisions (both for good, and for bad), finding a career path (of whatever direction) and being responsible for yourself. As you move into adulthood, you generally become stronger, more educated and, hopefully, wiser. For the most part, you have your entire life ahead of you.

                However, once you’ve been part of that world for a time, routine can set in - get up, go to work, come home, go to bed - repeated five days a week. Weekends are spent doing household chores, chauffeuring your own kids around and getting ready for the next work week. And, now, your worries aren’t so much about what you’ll do with your life but your quality of life when (or if) you can retire. On top of that, you have to worry whether you have brought your children up so they will be ready for the world themselves.

                As you move into the latter half of your work career, the effects of growing older start being a concern. Strength wanes while the waist gains, joints stiffen and hair thins, memory can be both problematic and nostalgic. You become more aware that lifetimes are really finite and that you are moving ever closer to the undetermined finish line.

                Yes, I’m closer to 50 than 45 years old and, recently, the realization that my remaining years to reach out and experience the world are rapidly passing. Coupled with that are regrets for the times I chose not to spend time with friends for no good reason or declining to take a day trip, instead staying home for routine housekeeping. Then, there were the trips or conventions I could have attended if I’d managed my time or money differently.

                With that realization, recently I’ve taken a different tack with my attitude towards life and how I live it. I’m accepting more invitations to go out, looking for opportunities to enjoy local events, attending more cons and trying to travel a bit more. As a part of that, I’m working on spending more time with friends - keeping up over lunches, chatting on the phone and just plain enjoying whatever time I can share with them.

                And, yes, that means I need to go outside my shell a little bit, put off a routine chore for another day (or next week!) or tape a “must see” TV show rather than watch it when broadcast. A bit more dust on a bookshelf or unswept floor is a small price to pay compared to experiencing a new restaurant with friends, seeing the latest blockbuster movie, going to a local cultural event or just setting at the pool enjoying the company of your neighbors.


Letter Column

(always welcome, send them in!)


[David Burgess] Last month’s responses [to the poll question] were a riot! Obama expectations! Nothing! I couldn’t stop laughing! [WAY] An interesting way to look at that! And, in retrospect, is a pretty humorous non-commentary on the next four years! But, the question is, will those expectations be met?


Babylon 5 Quote


Draal in A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 1: “The third principle of sentient life is the capacity for self-sacrifice, the conscious ability to override evolution and self-preservation for a cause, a loved one or a friend.”


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


The Month in History


March 2, 1949 - The Lucky Lady II (a B-50 Superfortress) returns to Carswell AFB in Texas after the first nonstop flight around the world,

                                lasting ninety-four hours.

March 4, 1789 - The first US Congress convenes under the new US Constitution (replacing the Articles of Confederation). One of the first

                                orders of business is debate over the first ten amendments to that Constitution (eventually known, collectively, as the Bill

                                of Rights).

March 15, 1939 - Hitler’s troops finish the occupation of Czechoslovakian territory, ostensibly at the request of the government.

March 22, 1939 - Lithuania agrees to German demands to turn over Memel. Troops from East Prussia occupy the port.

March 23, 1939 - Rumania signs an economic pact with Germany over access to that country’s oil resources.


Sources include: Current issue of “Smithsonian” , The World Almanac Book of World War II



Poll Question


Each month a question will be posed to the readership. Your thoughts and commentary are solicited for the next issue. Also, any response to

                what folks have submitted for the previous question are very welcome.


This issue: Space exploration, should it be curtailed, remain solely in Earth orbit or head to Mars?



[Doug Kent] Because I was born in the late 1960’s, I missed the great social and political drive to land on the moon. By the time I was old enough to be interested in space exploration, it was already losing its favor with the population. I grew up through the shuttle period, watching the Columbia disaster live on television. And now, as we’re finally learning about the possibility of life (past or current) on Mars, I’ve reached the age where fascination with science has sort of passed me by.

                I hear about all these important experiments conducting during shuttle flights or on Mir, but I don’t read up on them, and I might not understand them if I did. From a purely knee-jerk position, I don’t see exploration as a high priority.

                However, in a big-picture aspect, I know instinctively that it is important, and that we may learn and discover things which could eventually change the way we live...or the places we live. So I guess I want to see it continue, especially as technology has made progress to the point that we can achieve things we once deemed impossible. The cost is always the stumbling block; but when we’re talking about $2 trillion to form a nationalized bank to buy toxic assets, what’s a billion here and a billion there?


[David Burgess] It would be cool as hell to explore Mars. While the money spent would employ thousands of people, I just think now is not the right time. The current economic situation just doesn’t mesh with that large of a project.


[WAY] For me, this is a no-brainer. The money should be spent to expand humanity’s reach beyond this one little mudball that we currently occupy. As David said, thousands of people would be employed. Plus, the economic spin-offs reap rewards far in excess of any amount spent in reaching into space. Granted, the economic situation is a mess and federal money needs to be spent wisely.

However, Doug, makes a good point - how much have we spent to bail out the banks, let alone the automobile industry? Just a fraction of that bailout would fund the equivalent of a new Apollo program to return to the moon, replace the space shuttle, complete the International Space Station as originally envisioned and lay the groundwork for interplanetary flight. Also, a reinvigorated space program would generate positive press that could lead to more youngsters taking an interest in science and technology, reversing a decline in American college students seeking degrees in those fields.

In my opinion, money spent by NASA if (for the most part) a win-win situation for the country and for the human race.



For next issue: Nuclear power, is now the time for revived interest in this alternative to oil/coal/natural gas?

            Do the negative effects to the environment by the oil/coal/natural gas power plants outweigh the

            concerns about storing spent nuclear fuel?



Recipe of the Month


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

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

                and remember, it is easier to add “more” of something than to compensate when “too much” has been added.

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

                an extra jalapeno or use habenaros instead. On the other hand, if you don’t like spicy food, replace the jalapeno with half a bell

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

Bacon Baklava


Compliments of Cindy Haenel, Central Market Cooking School Chef




                3 1/2 cups                Sugar, divided

                2 1/2 cups                Water

                2 tbl                         Honey

                2 tsp                        Fresh Lemon Juice (note, does not come in a green bottle)

                1 stick                      Cinnamon

                3                              Whole Cloves

                1/2 lb                       Walnuts, finely chopped

                1/2 lb                       Blanched Almonds, finely chopped

                2 tsp                        Ground Cinnamon

                1/2 tsp                     Ground Cloves

                1 box                       Filo Pastry, thawed

                1/2 lb                       Cooked Bacon, chopped

                3/4 lb (3 sticks)       Unsalted Butter, melted




01 - In a saucepan, make the syrup by combining 3 cups Sugar, the Water, Honey, Lemon Juice, Cinnamon Stick and Whole Cloves. Bring to a

                boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves, let cool.

02 - In a large bowl, make the nut mixture by combining Walnuts, Almonds, remaining 1/2 cup Sugar, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Cloves and

                Bacon. Set aside.

03 - Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

04 - Unroll the Filo Pastry on a flat surface (keep it covered with wax paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out or become brittle). Remove

                8 filo sheets, fold, cover and refrigerate (for the top layer).

05 - Using a pastry brush, coat a 15 1/2” by 11 1/2” by 3” backing pan with some of the melted butter. Lay a filo sheet on the bottom of the

                pan, brush with butter and repeat using a total of 8 sheets.

06 - Sprinkle a handful of the nut mixture over the top filo sheet.

07 - Layer 3 more filo sheets , brushing each sheet with butter, and sprinkle again with a handful of the nut mixture. Continue until all the filo

                sheets and nut mixture are used, being sure to brush each sheet with butter.

08 - Finally, use the 8 reserved sheets of filo pastry from the refrigerator for the last, top, layer.

09 - Using a long, very sharp, knife, cut the baklava into small diamonds. For example, make 6 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts by cutting

                straight down until the tip of the knife touches the bottom of the pan and, keeping the knife straight, cut in a straight line all the way

                across the pan. Next, cut diagonally across the lengthwise cuts to form diamonds, staring in one corner and making cuts until you

                reach the opposite corner.

10 - Reheat the remaining butter until it bubbles and pour it over the top of the pastry.

11 - Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until evenly golden and flaky.

12 - Remove pan to a rack and spoon the cooled syrup over the entire pastry.

13 - Cool the baklava in the pan, then serve pieces individually, placing them in decorative paper cups if desired.





Game Section


Facts in Five


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

                Each round will consist of five categories and five letters.  Each player submits an entry for each category which has a key word that starts with each of the letters (twenty-five total entries). Key words are generally the first word; however articles (the, a, etc) and modifiers (“red” in red bicycle for “R” in “mode of transportation” or “general” in General Lee for “G” in “Military Leaders”) are not key words. A word in the category may not be the key word (“bank” in “Bank of America” for “B” in the category “Banks”). For names, the last name is the key word except in the case of commonly used stage names (in a category of female singers, ”Q” could be “Queen Latifa” and “Cher” for “C”). An entry may only be used once per round.

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



UPDATE: Last turn, Jack McHugh’s orders were received in the same Email session I sent the new column to Doug. I credited him with the

                                submission and the corrected totals are below. All active players were notified of the update.


Round Four Results


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


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


Players - Bill Brown (BB), Doug Kent (DK), Jack McHugh (JMH), Jamie McQuinn (JMQ), Brendan Whyte (BW), Kevin Wilson (KW)


                T                              S                              D                                             L                              C

Christmas Song Title

   BB        12 Days of Xmas   Silent Night            Deck the Halls                       Let It Snow            Chestnuts Roasting

   DK       12 Days of Xmas   Santa is Coming      Do You Hear What I Hear      Little Drum Boy      Christmas is Coming

   JMQ     12 Days of Xmas   Silver Bells              Deck the Halls                       Let It Snow            Christmas Song

   BW       12 Days of Xmas   Silent Night            Deck the Halls                       Little Donkey          Coventry Carol


Female Religious Leader

   BB        Mary V. Taylor       Becky L Savage      no entry                                   Anne G Lotz           no entry                  

   DK       Mother Theresa     Mother Seton          Diana                                       Lois (Rodin)            Mother Cabrini

   JMQ     Mother Theresa     no entry                   no entry                                   no entry                   no entry                  

   BW       The Queen               no entry                   no entry                                   no entry                   no entry                  


Nobel Prize Winning Scientist

   BB        Roger Tsien             Osamu Shimomura Otto Diels                                Willard Libby          Martin Chalfie

   DK       no entry                   (Frederich) Sanger  (Raymond) Davis, Jr.              no entry                   Marie Curie

   JMQ     no entry                   no entry                   no entry                                   no entry                   no entry  

   BW       J. J. Thompson        F Soddy                  F Dalen                                   P Lenard                  Marie Curie


Living American Nonfiction Book Writer

   BB        Teller                       Andrew Smith         Kenneth C Davis                     Erik Larson             Alex Constantine

   DK       Joe Torre                 David Sedaris          Tony Dungy                            Denis Leary             Ann Coulter

   JMQ     no entry                   no entry                   no entry                                   no entry                   no entry  

   BW       S. Thompson           J. Smith                   Jared Diamond                        Rush Limbaugh       Bill Clinton


Musical Instrument

   BB        Trumpet                   Saxophone             Drum                                      Lute                        Clarinet

   DK       Trombone                Saxophone             Drum                                      Lute                        Clarinet

   JMQ     Triangle                   Saw                         Drum                                      Lute                        Coronet

   BW       Tuba                        Snare Drum             Drums                                    Lute                        Cello


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

   BB                                        9              3              5              5              9              84            +              31            =              115

   DK                                       6              5              4              5              9              104          +              29            =              133

   JMH                                     no entries received                                                   93            +              17            =              110

   JMQ                                     8              2              0              0              7              95            +              17            =              112

   BW                                       8              0              5              5              7              84            +              25            =              109

   KW                                      no entries received                                                   90            +              17            =              107



Round Five


Letters:                    W            G             C             U             E             

Categories:              Awards; Mixed Drinks; Weapons; Geometric Forms; Norse Gods/Goddesses


Possible future game openings - Railway Rivals, Empire Builder, Liftoff!

Suggestions accepted for other games to offer.






Deadline For The Next Issue of Out of the WAY:

March 21st, 2009 at 7:00am – See You Then!


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

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

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: Philip Murphy, Ian Pringle, William Wood, need four more to fill.  Get in on the fun now!

Gunboat Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: One player, need six more to fill. 

Deviant Diplomacy II (Black Press): Signed up: Jonathan Nichol, Pete Gaughan, Jason Bergmann, John Walker, Mark Lew, Jim Burgess, need one more to fill.  Rules in ES #23, or by request.  A classic variant which can become as insane as a Charles Manson interview.

Diplomacy Bourse (Black Press): Buy and sell the currencies of the Diplomacy nations.  This Bourse is using the new game “Dulcinea” as its basis.  Players may join at any time, and are then given 1000 units of every currency still in circulation.  The rules to Bourse can be found in ES #24.

Intimate Diplomacy Round Robin (Black Press): Signed up: Tom Swider, needs three more.  Four players, each playing in 3 games at once (one game against each of the other three players).  The rules to Intimate Diplomacy can be found below.

By Popular Demand: Game currently underway, join any time.

Standby List: HELP!  I need standby players!

I may offer another Gunboat 7x7 soon, so keep your eyes open.  I’m also thinking about a game of Final Conflict, and Colonia VII-B remains a favorite.  Does anybody have an interest in Kremlin?  Or Cannibalism?  And once Deviant Dip II starts, if the rest of you realize what a fun variant it is, I may offer another game of THAT!  If somebody wants to guest-GM a game of anything, just say the word.  If you have specific game requests please let me know.



Intimate Diplomacy Ia Rules

by Adrien Baird and Steve Doubleday


Introduction (By Steve Doubleday): Unlike most variants, this game has been widely played, even having had its own tournament with a cash prize.  It is widely acclaimed as far superior to the two player game described in the official rules.  It is, however, not suitable for players who are just getting to know Diplomacy, and two people wishing to learn the rules by playing should stick to the official version. 


ID (Intimate Diplomacy) is a two-player variant.  Each player controls one country (his "Home" country) for the entire game.  The remaining five countries are known as "mercenaries". 


The official rules of Diplomacy apply except where amended below. 


1)    To determine home countries, each player submits a preference list of seven countries. If their first choices are different, both players get their first choice. If their first choices are the same, but their second choices are different, then both players get their second choice. If the second choices are identical then each gets their third choice etc. If both preference lists are identical then the players draw lots with the winner getting their first choice and the loser their second choice. 


2)    Control of the five mercenary countries is determined each game year by bids. The bidding seasons occur before Spring 1901, and thereafter between each Winter and Spring season. Bids are written down and both players reveal them simultaneously.  The highest bidder for each country has the size of their bid deducted from their reserve and gains control of that country for the following year --- including the winter adjustments. 


3)    Credits used for bidding are awarded following each Fall season. Each player is given one credit for each SC owned by his home country. (E.g., If your home country controls 10 SCs, 10 credits are added to your credit balance.) At the start of the game, countries have the following credit levels: E, F, R & T are given 20 credits, G 22, A & I 24. The difference in starting credits is to even out the relative strengths of the countries. 


4)    Players are permitted to bid more than their credit will cover. However, if a player's successfully bids more credits than they hold, they lose all their reserve and their opponent then gains control of all countries they bid for at half price, rounded up. 


5)    When bids for a country are equal, neither player controls it, and it is treated as if in Anarchy for the year. 


6)    Play is carried out exactly as in regular Diplomacy with each player submitting orders and retreats for the countries which they control. In the winter season, all builds due to neutral countries must be taken where they are possible.  The sequence of play during one game-year is Bids, Spring moves and retreats, Autumn moves and retreats, Winter builds and disbandments. 


7)    Mercenary Builds: If the player controlling a Mercenary country fails to order builds which that country is due, the GM will builds armies alphabetically in home centers (fleets for England). 


8)    Victory Criterion: The game ends when one player occupies one of their opponent’s home centers with one of their home country's units in any season. If this happens to both players simultaneously, then the player occupying the most home SCs of his opponent wins, with the exception that occupying 4 Russian home centers counts as no better than owning 3. If a tie remains, the game is won by the player with the largest credit balance (counting credits won during the season in which the home centers were invaded). If a tie still remains, the game continues until the next Fall, when all of the above are reconsidered. 


A game may develop into a stalemate situation once all neutral countries have been eliminated with neither player being able to break through a defensive line to meet the standard victory conditions.  In this case the winner is the player with the most supply centers.  Note that unlike Diplomacy, a game does not end just because one country reaches 18 Supply centers.



Eternal Sunshine Game Section


Diplomacy “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” 2008A, Spring 1905


Austria (Kevin Wilson - ckevinw “of” F Aegean Sea - Constantinople (*Bounce*),

 F Ionian Sea Supports F Rome - Tyrrhenian Sea, A Serbia Supports A Rumania - Bulgaria (*Void*),

 A Trieste - Budapest (*Bounce*), A Warsaw - Moscow (*Bounce*).

England (Jérémie LeFrançois - jeremie.lefrancois “of” F Baltic Sea Supports A Kiel – Berlin

 (*Void*), F Barents Sea - Norwegian Sea, F Liverpool - Irish Sea, A Livonia - Moscow (*Bounce*),

 F North Sea - English Channel, F St Petersburg(nc) - Barents Sea, A Sweden - Finland.

France (Alexander Levinson - al “of”  A Burgundy - Munich (*Bounce*),

 A Marseilles - Piedmont (*Bounce*), A Paris - Brest (*Fails*), A Spain - Gascony (*Disbanded*),

 F Tunis - Tyrrhenian Sea (*Fails*).

Germany (Graham Wilson – grahamaw “of” A Holland - Kiel (*Fails*),

 A Kiel - Munich (*Bounce*).

Italy (Don Williams – dwilliam “of” A Brest - Gascony (*Bounce*),

 F Gulf of Lyon - Marseilles (*Fails*), F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Supports F Portugal - Spain(sc),

 F Portugal - Spain(sc), F Rome - Tyrrhenian Sea, A Venice - Piedmont (*Bounce*).

Russia (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” A Berlin Hold, A Budapest - Rumania (*Fails*),

 F Gulf of Bothnia - Livonia (*Fails*), A Rumania - Budapest (*Bounce*), A Sevastopol - Moscow (*Bounce*).

Turkey (Brad Wilson - bwdolphin146 “of” F Ankara - Black Sea,

 F Bulgaria(ec) - Constantinople (*Bounce*), A Constantinople – Smyrna, A Smyrna - Armenia.


Fall 1905 Deadline is March 30th 2009 at 7:00am my time




Somewhere West of the Hobby…Guest Writers of the Purple Page –  “It shore would be nice to get another installment of Somewhere West of the Hobby, haruch, spoit,” emphasized Marlowe, punctuating with the spit.  He stood gazing into the harsh emptiness of the narrative, leaning up against a post on the boardwalk, watching the wind herd tumbleweeds through the streets of Darkness.


“Yep, yep, yep,” nodded Cyril, “I got that.  Spoit” his large gobbit of spit splattered into the dry dust of the page in front of him.


“I am sore and it rankles me within that we have to wait on his punctilious pompositiness to get along with this here story,” spat Marlowe.  He casually lifted his shoe and observed the sole to see if it were littered with any horseflop.


“It seems to me if he was punctilious he’d be hitting his deadlines,” observed Cyril, from his place on the dusty steps of the boardwalk.  He put the long straw in his lips and looked non-plussed into the street.


Marlowe archly raised one eyebrow and eyed his companion suspiciously, “You been reading now, hain’t you?”


Cyril sat unperturbed and said nothing.  He punctuated his silence with another spit into the dust.


“Don’t hold much with reading,” said Marlowe.  He pushed his hat up a little as he gazed down the street, seemed the big wagon was moving…but they had the oompa thinga-majiggy turned off.


“Ya don’t?”


“Now, writin’, that’s a horse of a different color,” said Marlowe, it sure seemed that the wagon was picking up speed.


“I figgered you had to read in order to write,” said Cyril.


“Lotta people make that mistake,” nodded Marlowe sagely. “Take the guy that writes us…you think he reads.  Hell, he kin hardly spell, and that’s words going out.  That’s easy.  A baby could do it, between the caterwaulin’ and shitting their pants, and all.”


“That sorta makes sense,” replied Cyril, a notion of surprise creeping into his voice.


“I’m just saying.  Words coming out…easy,” repeated Marlowe, “it’s the words going in that’s the tough part.”


“That’s jes’ listening,” riposted Cyril.


“Naw, I’m not talking about listening.  Talking about reading,” said Marlowe.  “Do I need to talk slower?”


“Now why would it be easier to get the words inside with listening, than reading?”


“Cuss, your ears have holes in ‘em.”


“Yep, yep, yep,” nodded Cyril, having seen the logic of the whole matter, “there is that.”


“So, Ah’m figgerin…why wait on him?  We could get into this writing game ourselves,” said Marlowe.  He closed one eye and puckered his lips in thought, “it cain’t be that hard.”


“We could sorta be ghost writers,” nodded Cyril.


“Yeah, Guest Writers of the Purple Page…,” Marlowe smiled.  “I like it.”  He pulled a short stub of a pencil from his vest pocket and stuck it in mouth to wet it, then pulled a dusty pad of paper from his back pocket.  It was a little grimy and besmudged.  Cyril looked at it askance.


“Whut?  I use it to organize my day at the bank.”


“Yeah, I see Stephen Covey all over you,” muttered Cyril.




“Nuthin’.  Hoik, spoit.”


“Okay, anybody kin do this…” said Marlowe, and stuck the tip of his tongue between his teeth in concentration, and he wrote…


Miss Kitty was a good looking prostitute with large boobies, hoo-haas, melons.  The Duck of Death is a gun fighter and does not have spurs on his feet.  He is an odd duck.


“Odd duck…heh, heh.  That’s good,” nodded Marlowe to himself.  Cyril, intrigued, got up from the steps and stood next to Marlowe, crooking his head to read over his shoulder.

“Well, hello Miss Kitty,” says the gun fighter with no spurs.

“Well, hello Ducky,” says the prostitute with big boobies.

“It is shore a nice day, if it does not rain,” says the gun fighter with no spurs.


“Get it, hmmm.  It’s a joke.  This here being the desert and all, it don’t rain much.”


“Yep, yep, yep,” nodded Cyril, “that and it would get the pages wet.”


 Marlowe continued;


“I shorely do not think it will rain today,” says the big boobied prostitute. 


“I changed up the description there to keep it…fresh,” explained Marlowe.


“It do focus yer attention on the important plot points,” nodded Cyril, “Hey!  Make him do that ching thing.”


            “Ching” said the gunfighter with no spurs.


“Heh, heh, heh,” laughed Cyril, “that kills me ever’ time.”  Marlowe laughed too.  “Y’know,” continued Cyril, “yer a natural at this.”

So engrossed in their work, neither one noticed as the wagon sped by.


Somewhere West of the Hobby…A Brief Intermission –  Wouldn’t It Be Nice




The gunslinger paused in the dim interior duskiness of the Heart of Darkness saloon, his step faltered.  He backed out of the saloon, backing through the swinging wing doors.  He paused momentarily on the boardwalk outside, and then re-entered the saloon.




“That’s odd.”


“What’s that,” asked S’ym from behind the bar.


“When you autoformat, the first ching is capitalized…so it sounds louder than the other chings.”


“They did bring a lot of chings in when they built the railroad,” commented S’ym.


“No, chings…not chinks.  I’m talking about the sound spurs make when you walk with them,” answered the Duke of Death.


“You’re not wearing spurs,” answered S’ym from the bar.


“Yes, I know, but if I were why would the first ching sound louder than the next two chings?”


“What makes you think it sounds louder?”

”Because it’s capitalized.  Y’know, I’M SHOUTING NOW,” bellowed the gunslinger.


“Yeah, I hear ya’, “ grimaced S’ym, “keep it down.”


“I’m just saying….all the chings should be the same.”


“You’ve got way too much free time,” muttered S’ym, “aren’t you supposed to be killing someone?”   He took his cloth from the glass he was cleaning and poured the gunslinger a cool glass of water.


“DAGNABBIT!” came across the saloon from the corner table where the boys were playing cards.


“See,” said the gunfighter, “that’s yelling.”


“Ah am not playing cards with you cheaters,” declared Deadeye, loudly and with emphasis. He had thrown down his cards on the table in disgust and abruptly stood up, toppling his chair over backwards.  Hands edged nervously, or cautiously, to holsters…depending on who it was.  Deadeye fixed Tried and True Wilson with a steely gaze.  “Don’t even be pulling that hog-leg.  With that barrel, you’d be three sentences getting it drawn,” snarled Deadeye, “I’ll shoot you right between the syllables, jes’ you try.”


Tried and True moved his hands up and away from his buntline.  “Look Deadeye, we don’ want this misery.  Yer just on a run of bad luck…”


“Bout three years worth,” chuckled Cookie from behind his grizzled beard.


“Cookie!” said Deadeye sternly.  Cookie puckered his lips in consternation, but said nothing more.


“Look,” spoke up Wandering Eye Wilson, “why don’t you go down to the Emporium and check with Grampus on the supplies…we got to be headin’  back to the Whining Pig pert soon.   It’d get something done other than all this jawboning.”


Deadeye looked as if he were about to say something, but just turned and stormed out of the saloon.


Across the street, on the boardwalk in front of the First Trust, Marlowe and Cyril were still intent on their pad of paper.   Marlowe again popped the pencil into his mouth for a minute in brief thought.


“Okay, there’s that Deadeye feller…we could have a chicken fall off the roof and hit him in the head…”


Cyril spit disgustedly into the dust.  “Son, ya cain’t jes mess the continuity like that…sides what would a chicken be doing on the roof of a whorehouse?”


“Getting laid?” retorted Marlowe.


“That would be the egg,” replied Cyril.


“I got it..” said Marlowe and put pencil to paper.


Deadeye was anger filled and not to be mollified.  He stomped into the street not awatchin’ whar he was going and stepped into a large pile of horse flop…                     




Marlowe’s and Cyril’s heads both popped up at the yelled profanity.  Sure enough, Deadeye stood in the middle of the dusty street, with one leg crooked up so that he could see the sole of his boot.  Large clumps of horse-flop clung to it with a hearty enthusiasm of one who really enjoys his job.

Cyril chuckled, “yep, yep, yep.  That’s better than getting hit in the head with a chicken…”


That was when the wagon, which had been picking up speed for almost three pages now, hit Deadeye.



Diplomacy “Dulcinea” 2008C, Fall 1901


Austria (Stephen Agar – stephen “of” A Rumania Supports A Armenia - Sevastopol

 (*Cut*), F Trieste Hold, A Vienna - Galicia.

England (Philip Murphy trekkypj “of” F English Channel Convoys A Wales – Picardy,

 F North Sea – Norway, A Wales - Picardy.

France (Brad Wilson – bwdolphin146 ”of” A Burgundy – Belgium,

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean - Spain(sc), A Picardy - Brest.

Germany (Lee Self – leeself “of” F Denmark, A Kiel, A Ruhr, no move received.

Italy (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” A Apulia – Venice, F Ionian Sea – Tunis,

 A Venice - Tyrolia.

Russia (Jack McHugh – jwmchughjr “of” F Gulf of Bothnia – Sweden,

 F Sevastopol - Black Sea (*Bounce*), A Ukraine - Rumania (*Fails*), A Warsaw - Ukraine (*Fails*).

Turkey (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” F Ankara - Black Sea (*Bounce*),

 A Armenia - Sevastopol (*Fails*), A Bulgaria Supports A Rumania.


I am calling William Wood (


Winter 1901 (and possible Spring 1902) Deadline is March 30th 2009 at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart:


Austria:            Budapest, Rumania, Trieste, Vienna=4                                    Build 1

England:   Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Norway=4                           Build 1

France:    Belgium, Brest, Marseilles, Paris, Spain=5                            Build 2

Germany:   Berlin, Denmark, Kiel, Munich=4                                        Build 1

Italy:     Naples, Rome, Tunis, Venice=4                                              Build 1

Russia:    Moscow, Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Sweden, Warsaw=5     Build 1

Turkey:    Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Smyrna=4                                    Build 1

Unowned:   Greece, Holland, Portugal, Serbia.




PRIME MINISTER TO GORDAN BROWNE - You one-eyed Scottish moron! Where did you leave the tea bags?

London: The prime minister sat in his office, his grey wool overcoat pulled tightly across his body to keep the freezing air out. Reaching out, he rang a bell.

An aide entered from the sidedoor.

"No response to our telegraph signals?", he asked.

"No sir...." the aide replied. "We've tested the telegraph several times, and we're receiving all the usual signals from the continent, but nothing from any of the other powers. Well.... "

The aide shuffled his feet nervously.

"Except for the King of Norway, Prime Minister. Sir, he reminds us that we have not settled our accounts for the armaments we purchased off him to force the malinger from office."

The prime minister scowled.

"What on earth is going on, Drumknott!  It's been six weeks since I took office. We should have received their envoys long before this! And you can tell that Norwegian ass that we don't pay for defective goods. If he wants them back he's welcome to them, seeing as none of the rifles were in servicable condition. "

"Yes sir."

The aide scuttled out, leaving the prime minister to his gloomy solitude.


Rus - Aus:  Now that we've butted heads, can we get down to business?


Duke of York to Swain Murphy, Late of the Hebrides: We never discussed this STOP You have your orders STOP Swain Gwilliam will meet the Traveler and accompany her off the stage STOP We never discussed this STOP


Swain Murphy to Family of the Late Swain Gwilliam: Quid per Lutherum, Calvinum, perque Socinum, funditus eversam Babylona putas?  Och! I'm a wee bit of a blether!  Never mind.


Fra - Eng: WTF?!?

Duke of York to the Hebrides: Calling all Murphies, calling all Murphies.  Come serve your Duke, send me your Swain!


Flap Jack Protesteth: This isn't me, this isn't me!!!  Please, please take me out of my misery and eliminate me as quickly as you can!!!  I can't take it a moment longer.


Ger - Rus: What is Sweden worth to you?


Duke of York to Family of the Late Swain Gwilliam: We are heartily sorry for your loss.  We do not know how your late Swain ended up impaled on a bridge post in Babylon.  If there is anything I can do to help your poor struggling family, please let me know.



 “Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse



Billy Ray Valentine: Sells 500 Rubles, 500 Francs, and 200 Crowns.  Buys 500 Piastres and 477 Pounds.


Duke of York: Sells 500 Rubles, 500 Pounds.  Buys 900 Crowns.


Smaug the Dragon: Sells 500 Rubles, 500 Piastres, 500 Francs, and 500 Lira.  Buys 1273 Pounds and 1071 Marks.


Rothschild: Decides to hold with what he has for the moment.


Baron Wuffet: Sells 500 France, 500 Rubles, and 500 Piastres.  Buys 1186 Crowns.


Wooden Nickel Enterprises: Sells 500 Piastres, 500 Lira, and 500 Francs.  Buys 1326 Pounds, 548 Rubles.


VAIONT Enterprises: Sells 500 Rubles and 500 Francs.  Buys 750 Pounds and 285 Marks. 



VAIONT Enterprises to MC HUGH:  We believe you can place a bet on you.  We also believe you will lose that bet.  Good luck, sir.


Duke of York to the Bourse Regulators: That's right, speak to my lawyer, I had nothing to do with the kidnapping and slaying of the Swain Gwilliam.  How can you even suspect me of such a thing?  Still, let's sell some more Pounds.


SMAUG to ALL: The Franc is Debased! Debased I Tell you! There's more gold in my nail clippings than in those coins!


VAIONT Enterprises to DULCINEA:  Someone please place a tourniquet on Mr. Burgess.  Preferably around his mouth.


VAIONT Enterprises to ROTHSCHILD:  Bold play, Baron, bold play.  But really – all the marbles on an enterprise solely under the control of Mr. Burgess?  That Mr. Burgess?  A leap of faith made -- no doubt -- against your better judgment.  Diversify, Baron, diversify.


Next Bourse Deadline is March 29th 2009 at 7:00pm my time



By Popular Demand

Credit goes to Ryk Downes, I believe, for inventing this.  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. In each round you may specify one of your answers as your Joker answer.  Your score for this answer will be doubled.  In other words, if you apply your Joker to category 3 on a given turn, and 4 other people give the same answer as you, you get 10 points instead of 5.  Players who fail to submit a Joker for any specific turn will have their Joker automatically applied to the first category. 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 3 Categories

1. A method of execution.

2. Any song by The Beatles on which Paul McCartney does NOT sing lead.

3. A famous poet.

4. A movie that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

5. Something you cut.



William Wood beats out Jack McHugh for the high score of the turn!


Selected Comments By Category:

ExecutionAndy York “Hangin' was a close second.”  Dane Maslen “The natural answer to number 1 for me would be 'hanging', but I'd probably better go for an American method instead.”  Kevin Wilson “I was tempted to try something more gruesome, hanging, the guillotine, burning at the stake or even the electric chair but I decided to go with current practice.  I guess we'll see how demented of a group we have here with the responses to this one.”


Beatles SongJohn Colledge “I think it was Ringo who sang Yellow Submarine, but this is pure guess-work. I was more of a Stones man myself. It’s the Blues you see!”  Andy York “I have no bloody clue and I have no Beatles albums to even try and check. I'll just take a stab with the first song that comes to mind, Yellow Submarine.”   Philip Murphy “I'm gonna go oddball with this one.... Ringo Starr singing Octopus's Garden.Sesame Street version is excellent! Wilson “I've never been that big a fan of The Beatles.  Just slightly too much before my time.  Growing up in a small town, you didn't really get exposed to pop/rock music until we were older so that added a few years too.  I didn't realize how many songs the Beatles had and how many Paul sang.  But the list was long and I saw several that were good candidates but I like this one so I'll take it.”

Poet John Colledge “As a Scot I should be saying Robert Burns AND we have just been celebrating his 250th anniversary, but how many other players would vote for him?”  Andy York “The current one I'm reading is Robert Penn Warren, who I actually like, but I don't think a single other person will choose him. Rimbaud is the next that comes to mind; but, again, I don't think it is likely anyone else will put him down. So, there's Frost, Whitman, Longfellow, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Dante and.....I'll take Walt Whitman for $100.”  Kevin Wilson “I have to admit I'm not much into poetry and I really couldn't think of that many names.  I know there are some popular living poets but I read a lot of military fiction and military science fiction and Kipling seems to be popular with them so that's good enough for me.”  Philip Murphy: “Though I recommend Seamus Heaney and John Keats. My favourite is /This Be The Verse/ by Philip Larkin - its wickedly funny and irreverent and has a grain of truth.

Philip Larkin <> - This Be The Verse

 They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
   They may not mean to, but they do.
 They fill you with the faults they had
   And add some extra, just for you.
 But they were fucked up in their turn
   By fools in old-style hats and coats,
 Who half the time were soppy-stern
   And half at one another's throats.
 Man hands on misery to man.
   It deepens like a coastal shelf.
 Get out as early as you can,
   And don't have any kids yourself.”

Best Picture WinnerJohn Colledge “Current holder. You could drive yourself nuts trying to think of which one is the best of the previous 80”  Philip Murphy “I refuse to say Casablanca - and it should have been The Shawshank Redemption. I guess I'll go for Braveheart, since it was filmed in Ireland. J  David Burgess “I had to look up what won in the last few years.  I have never even heard of the last three? Crash, The Departed, No Country for Old Men? Where have I been?  So, I'll go with an old classic.”  Allison Kent “I have no idea how I can figure out what others will say for this one.  I almost said Gone with the Wind.”   Kevin Wilson “I thought about going with something else since Slumdog Millionaire just won but anyone who sent their answers in before this weekend wouldn't have known that but I'm betting there are several who will send in answers at the last minute, just like me, and we could all go with that.  If I had gone with something before, I probably would have said Crash, which I thought was the best of the winners of the last few years.  Granted, I haven't seen No Country for Old Men yet (I have it right now from Netflix but just haven't watched it yet) so maybe it was better than Crash.”

Cut – Brendan Whyte “Support; this is a Dip zine isn’t it?”  “Also could be salaries, a rug, cards, corners, the cheese....”  Philip Murphy “Wood - I should know; I spent a week in January cutting down Leyland Cypresses which had been let grow 30 feet. Into power lines.”   David Burgess “You've stumped me on this one!  There are just toooo many ways to go with it.  I'll be really pissed if "the cheese" is #1. “  Allison Kent “I would have said paper, but who does that anymore?  I almost said myself as well, as I cut myself with paper every day!  I also cut the cheese.......”   Kevin Wilson “Having just gone through all the red tape hassles of changing jobs, getting ready to move, etc. this one is fresh on my mind.  I guess things like umbilical cords etc will show up too but I like this one even if I don't match a lot.”


Round 4 Categories – Deadline is March 30th, 2009 at 7:00am my time

1. A type of pasta other than spaghetti.

2. A type of knife.

3. A fabric other than cotton.

4. A type of shark other than Great White.

5. A brand of cosmetics.


Deadline For The Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:

March 30th 2009 at 7:00am my time – See You Then!