Eternal Sunshine #31

August 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.  Or where women can learn all the secrets of how a man’s mind works, and why they act the way they do.

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.  We also have our own Eternal Sunshine Twitter feed at

Quote Of The Month“I ran back to the bonfire trying to outrun my humiliation, I think.” (Joel in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)


Front Page

Halfway Home at the Halfway House

I’m No Edward Norton

Football Prediction Contest

Hypothetical of the Month

Movie Reviews


Play Reviews by Larry Cronin

Jack McHugh’s Brain Farts

Paul Milewski

Andy York’s Out of the WAY

Game Openings




Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the only Diplomacy subzine which publishes more than twice as often as its parent zine, The Abyssinian Prince.   Granted, it will take quite a while for me to catch up in issue number, as Jim Burgess has gone past 300 issues (and counting).  I figure in about 40 years I’ll be there, unless I decided to publish weekly or something.  Oh, don’t worry, THAT’s not going to happen.  I like the monthly timeline, both as a publisher and a player.  Time to negotiate, communicate with new friends and old, change my orders a few times….and as a publisher, it means that even in a busy month and one where I seem to have a deficit of creative energy (as July has been on both counts), there’s still plenty of opportunities for me to sit down and put some words on the screen.  Sometimes I wish for more feedback of course, and more participation, but zines have always been that way.  When I was doing huge issues of Maniac’s Paradise in the 1990’s, copying them and stuffing envelopes and sending them out by mail, I wished for the same things.  That is truly a feeling I miss: going to the mailbox and finding a new issue of Perelandra or Victim’s Wanted or Vertigo or Absolute or Been There, Done That or any of a number of other zines waiting for me.  Good old days syndrome strikes again.  I wish there were more of these electronically-produced Diplomacy zines out there today.  I still get a few in the mail, some of which I mentioned earlier, and you can find a selection in the Pontevedria listings in the back of every Diplomacy World (courtesy of Andy York).  But nothing will ever compare, for me, to my early days in the postal hobby when I’d get a Zine Register from Ken Peel (and then Tom Nash), with this wide selection of Diplomacy zines I didn’t know anything about.  In some ways it could be compared to the first time I saw an issue of Factsheet 5 and realized what a huge world of zines was out there on every imaginable topic.  Most of them have now become more blog-based, but I still prefer to have more material collected into one less frequent publication.  That’s just me, of course.


Not surprisingly, the more I work on my Postal Diplomacy Zine Archive project ( the more appreciation I get for how much fun those zines could be.  Yes, personalities clashed like swords and shields in a gladiator ring, but that still goes on in most areas of the hobby today.  Heck, I can’t even announce on the internet the new progress Stephen Agar is making on getting his variant bank files scanned and posted to the variant bank without receiving negative feedback; half to the tune of “there are too many mistakes on there, he should fix that first” and the other half more like “that whole project should be abandoned because my version is better.”  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  I don’t know…I look at Diplomacy of Facebook and I just don’t see how I fit in there.  I feel like I’m 90 years old or something; people dropping games in S01 and signing up for new ones, games with multiple Spring 1901 NMR’s which continue instead of being halted for replacements, alias players with 3 or 4 spots in the same game…one thing about postal-speed games: if you’ve played monthly turns for 8 or 9 months you’ve invested time and energy in the game, and I think are less likely to disappear when things turn against you.  But who wants to play slower, thought-out games full of negotiation and personal discussions, or with funny or literary press, when you can join fourteen games today and drop the bad ones quickly, staying with the one you manage to win (10 days later)?


Then again, how many of you even care about any of that?


Let me reverse the normal order of things this month, by giving you some zine news first.  In the game openings, Fog of War and Gunboat both gained a bit of steam, or at least a minimum of attention, so those openings remain.  But the new opening this month is the “Cronin Special” Diplomacy game.  This is a white press standard game of Diplomacy, but one in which Larry Cronin and two of his sons are playing.  I don’t think Michael and Chuy have that much Diplomacy experience, so I’m anticipating this to be a more lighthearted fun game.  However, just because they’re all family doesn’t mean they’ll be allies! On the contrary, I’d expect some Cronin knives to be used on each other.  Anyway, we’ve got the three of them plus two more players signed up so far, so we just need three more.  And the constant opening in standard black press Diplomacy only needs one more player, so sign up quick!


Larry Cronin was also kind enough to submit a column for this issue, with reviews of some Broadway plays.  I don’t expect this column to be anything other than occasional, but I appreciate it just the same!  As I write this I am not sure what else will arrive at the least minute, but we’ve also got a new column by Paul Milewski, Jack McHugh’s normal subzine, and I expect Andy York will arrive as he always does (thankfully).  Other than that, it’s pot luck!


20090311b 009Heather and I have both continued to volunteer at the local Animal Orphanage, although her schoolwork has greatly limited her time this month.  (The photo to the left is of Hal, a medium-haired black cat who likes to hang out and stare out the winder.  He is so low maintenance!)  I just deal with the cats, stopping by to play with them and socialize them.  Sometimes the descriptions they have of the cats are a bit off, or they don’t understand the reasoning.  For example, there’s one cat Annabelle who is very friendly, purring and rubbing…but once she sees another cat she is angry, hisses, and swats at you.  Obviously, she needs to be the only cat in a household.  But this does not make her unadoptable.  So I had them change her chart to help people understand better.  Aside from the kittens, most of these cats were once owned and had to be given up due to illness, allergy, death, or moving.  PLEASE, if you want a cat, make it an adopted one.  In almost any area of the country you can find cats of any age, temperament, and breed. will also be helpful if there is a specific type you want.  Unless you want to have a Show Cat, I don’t see the importance of it being purebred.  Plus, shelter cats truly are extra loving and appreciative once they settle into their new home.  


In other zine news, later in this issue you’ll also find the Eternal Sunshine Football Contest.  Since training camps are soon to open, now is the time to make your predictions.  The contest is simple: you get one point for each correct division winner, and one point for correctly selecting the wild card teams.  Then you get two points for each team you correctly choose as conference championship (meaning they play in the Super Bowl), and three points for correctly picking the Super Bowl winner.  Any commentary you want to include with your picks is welcome.  And remember, like all Eternal Sunshine contests, there will actually be a REAL PRIZE for the winner!  In fact, if we get enough entries, I’ll give one to the runner-up too.


Speaking of contests, in the next issue or two I will being a 10-roound Movie Quote contest.  People told me that these long lists of movie quotes were just too hard for them.  So instead, I’ll list between 5 and 10 quotes per issue, and the winner after all ten rounds will get the prize.  Unlike the prior Movie Quote contests, I think I’ll be using multiple-line (or multiple character) quotes for this contest, which should make it a bit easier.  You never know, I may start it this issue, so keep your eyes open…as I write this I have yet to make my final decision!


Finally, it’s entirely possible that later in this issue you’ll find the first installment of the play I wrote for Heather while I was in prison about how we met and our first date.  It is 100% true, although some characters and names have been changed.  Besides that, this is the real story folks!  That’s about it for now; see you in September!


Playlist – Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos;  Dark Side of the Moon (Remastered) – Pink Floyd; Opium for the People – Gong; Greatest Hits – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; Sunshine on Leith – The Proclaimers.



Halfway Home at the Halfway House – Part Seven


It was only luck which found me a job while in the halfway house.  All my attempts to locate one on my own had failed.  I’d filled out applications anywhere I could think of, tried to get a job at the propane company next door to the halfway house (who often hired clients, but we’re getting tired of the process), and even asked if I could get a job at Goodwill (who was considered the “employer of last resort”).  None of those avenues were successful.  Heather had faxed my resume to about 100 places, none of whom seemed interested (or if they were, the messages never reached me).  Joe’s Crab Shack in the West End of Dallas had many clients working as servers, but they stopped hiring all of a sudden just as I was going to apply; a month later that location shut down, which explained the change.  Who knew it was so hard for a convicted felon to get a job?  I mean, besides as Mayor of Washington D.C.


It was my stepmother (I dislike using that term with Barbara, but I use it here just to differentiate from my birth mother) who indirectly hooked me up.  She found the phone number for the first boss I’d had after High School, a friend of my father named Vincent.  We’d moved to Dallas together to go work at the same firm, and while I’d lost touch with him, he was still in the area.  As it turned out, nobody had ever told him about my father’s passing, which he was sad to hear.  He did know all about my imprisonment, and in fact had heard the full story directly from the gentleman who had been my boss at the time of the incident; so Vince understood what I’d done, and how it had spun out of control.  He told Barbara he’d love to have me come work for him doing computer and IT work, and helping him with writing and editing (I’d helped edit his first book, and basically wrote much of his second myself, taking his ideas and turning them into chapters).  It looked like some luck had finally come my way.


Two days later I was sitting in one of his two offices, shaking hands and feeling like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  He offered me a modest salary, with a promise to give me a raise once I was out of the halfway house if my work was up to par.  I explained the approval process, and that the halfway house would be calling him to confirm this job was real and not some sham set up by a buddy.  I spent so long there that I realized I was going to miss my train back, and had to break the rules and get a ride to the station instead of taking the bus.


At the halfway house, I filled out the proper paperwork and turned it in to Miss Fosse for approval.  She called Vince, confirmed the job, and then handed me the paperwork back.  “You will just need to bring this to Mr. Korn for final approval.”  Mr. Korn was the head of the halfway house, and a very dry and corporate-inefficiency-type fellow.  I brought in the paperwork, and he started asking me questions about the company and Vince’s other business interests which I’d listed on the form.


“I don’t understand what kind of company you’ll be working for.  What does this company actually do?”


I tried to explain that this was an intellectual property company, which designed turnkey solutions for corporate clients and for some of his other companies.  My actual job would be the hardware and software IT stuff, writing and editing of letters and papers, and checking data and spreadsheet work by other people for inaccuracy and for illogical comparisons.


“But you say here that he owns part of a company which deals in commodity trading?”


Yes, I told him.  But that company was in another location, and I would not be working for them.


“You’re sentencing says you can’t do that kind of work.”


I left like I was talking to a bureaucrat from some huge government agency.  I pointed out that a) like I had just told him, I wasn’t working for that company; b) it was in another location (another city, actually); and c) technically I was not restricted from that work by the guidelines of my sentencing.  On that count he was simply wrong.


“Oh, yes you are!”  My. Korn pulled out my file and looked.  When he realized he was wrong, he took the next logical step for any mindless bureaucrat: he started using other roadblocks to get his way.


“You’d have access to the internet.  That isn’t allowed.”


I pointed out that more than half a dozen clients worked for a company in Plano which dispatched tow trucks, and their entire job required the use of the internet.


“You might gain access to personal financial information of other people.”


Again, between that Plano towing company, restaurants, car dealerships, and just about every other job, clients were doing everything from physical handling of credit cards to pulling up accounts on computer systems.


It was clear that for whatever reason, he just did not want to admit to being wrong, and did not want me to have this job.  I hadn’t forgotten: this was their house.  So I wasn’t about to fight him on this, or bring it to a higher level.  It wouldn’t be worth it, and I didn’t have the time to mess around.  This was the one point that he and I seemed to agree on, as he played his final card in this minor skirmish.


“I think that, in order to approve this job, I’d need to speak to Vince and do some investigation of my own.  With my workload here, that could take some time, a few weeks.  I’m afraid you simply don’t have the time left for me to do that properly, so it would be wasted effort.”


In other words, he had the power, he was going to win, and I should just accept it.  Which I did, in the most diplomatic way possible: “I understand and respect your concerns Mr. Korn, and I know you’re just doing your job.  I guess I’ll keep looking and find something else.  Thanks for your time.”


I called Vince back and let him know the situation.  He was pissed, especially since he’d gotten all excited after our meeting and was piling up work he wanted me to start on right away.  Vince is very anti-government-intrusion, and he started telling me to go back and make this argument and that argument.  I had to break it down for him: it wasn’t about right and wrong, this was simply the way it was.  The end.


“I’ll try to think of something,” he told me.  “Call me on Monday.”


My stomach pains were growing worse every night, as I felt the clock ticking.  How was it that all these other clients found work so easily?  In retrospect I realize that some of it was through personal connections, some were fake jobs they scammed past the process, and some was simply because the clients had very little legitimate work experience.  When you’re not qualified for better jobs, companies are more willing to hire you for menial positions, because they don’t need to worry about you quitting when something better comes along.  A guy like me?  Aside from the fact that I had been convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude” (fraud, meaning I was probably untrustworthy in many people’s eyes), I had a long history of solid and technical work experience.  Why should the grocery store train me to work at the deli counter when I was qualified to do so much more?  Catch-22 strikes again…they were everywhere!  In my mind I was already making

When I called Vince on Monday, he had big news.  “I found you a job!”  He’d been to the boutique in Uptown Dallas where he bought his suits, and mentioned my plight.  The owner there, an African gentleman named Nana, had suggested he could hire me for at least a while.  Nana was working this location of the boutique chain by himself (they had two other locations in north Dallas, and were opening another at the DFW airport’s international terminal).  They sold only very high-end Italian clothes and suits: Brioni, Ravazzolo, Belvest, Stefano Ricci, and the like.  If I was there, I could help clean the place up, straighten out the stock, offer customers beverages, pack up orders, cover the store for him when he stepped out for a few minutes, things like that.  And if he liked my work, he would train me to sell and let me work there as a salesperson.  He understood the limitations of my availability, and said he was willing to put up with the hassles involved: leaving early two days a week to go to mandatory counseling, phone calls from the halfway house to make sure I was at work when I said I was, and occasional visits from Miss Fosse to have him sign forms confirming I was performing my duties in a satisfactory manner.  I offered to work on Saturdays too, which he readily accepted (they were closed on Sunday) and took as a sign that I might be a hard worker.  There wasn’t any real interview process: Nana said he was taking me on as a favor to Vince (one of his better customers), and there was little risk on his part; if I didn’t show up, or didn’t work hard, he could fire me.  There was no real training involved; cleaning and organizing was simple, and he’d be directing me anyway.  I was just a body for now.  And that was fine with me.


Back at the halfway house, this job sailed through approval, and I was ready to go.  More than ever, this had made me believe that in so many cases, it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.  It was dumb luck, a loving mother, a former boss, and a favor called in that found me a job.  I knew I could do the work, so my only major obstacle to making it through the halfway house process was now effectively overcome.  If I did what I was supposed to, I’d get two and four hour passes, then a weekend pass, and then eventually be moved to home confinement: sleeping in my own bed with Heather in my arms every night.


It felt so odd to be on the side of good fortune for a change, but I wasn’t about to second guess or question it.  I was willing to let good things happen, despite my eternal negative nature.  I think having such a wonderful woman in love with me and supporting me had changed my attitude on life enough to the point that I had started to believe in myself in little ways.  If nothing else, it was a start!



Eternal Sunshine Playhouse


When I first went to prison in November of 2003, I wanted to find some way to give Heather a decent present for the first anniversary of when we met.  I couldn’t buy her anything, so the best I could hope to do was to make something.  Since I was honing my writing skills by sending her 10-page letters every single day, I decided that the best I could do would be to try and capture the story of how we met (and our eventual first date).  For whatever reason I chose to put it into the format of a stage play; at the time it may have been just so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time describing places like our apartments or a restaurant that she and I were thoroughly familiar with.    I’ve shown it to a few people since then, just to get their opinion and to fill them in on the details.  And now, in a multi-issue serial format, I am bringing it to you.  Obviously the stage directions are simplistic and could use a lot of work, but it was the story I was giving to her, not the set.  With work I did manage to finish it before March and it arrived in time, with instructions not to open it until the big day.   I doubt very highly that Heather knew what was in the envelope, nor whether she could have guessed it if I gave her 50 tries.  Since then I’ve enjoyed rereading it a few times, because it does remind my age-addled brain about things we said and did…you always think you’ll never forget, and then word by word certain sharp memories are partially erased, leaving them slightly faded.  So, in the end, this has been a present for me as much as for her.


So, without further ado, I present the first part of I’m No Edward Norton.  I’d love to hear some comments; but they’re not required, as I’m going to run the play all the way to the end over the next few issues even if nobody mentions that they’ve even read it!  I’m leaving it in script alignment format, if only because I’m thoroughly confused about how to remove it.  So enjoy, or hate, or skip it entirely…what di I care?


I’m No Edward Norton

(An Anniversary Gift to Heather Taylor)

By Douglas Kent, © 2009

Part One





DOUG sits at one of two desks, situated near each other.  Phones, computers, and papers clutter the area, and a coffee maker sits nearby.  DOUG sips coffee and works at the computer.


ANN enters the stage and deposits her purse on her desk, dropping into her chair with resignation.



Good morning.



Is it?



Is it what?



Is it a good morning?  Is that a statement, a prediction, or are you just conforming to society's prerequisite rules of greeting?



I hate you Doug.  Did you make coffee?



I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't.  It's half the reason I come to work in the morning.


ANN gets herself a cup of coffee and returns to her desk, half-heartedly looking at some papers.


Half the reason?  What's the other half?



Why to see your smiling face, Ann my dear, and to remind myself that other people's lives can be nearly as pathetic as my own.  Speaking of which, how was your weekend?



Oh, the usual.  Screaming children, dirty clothes, lazy future-ex-husband.  Plenty of Jack Daniel's and not enough sleep.  I'd rather hear about your weekend, Mister Laugh-a-Minute Bachelor Party Animal.



Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the fun never stops.  Friday...let's see, I went home, watched a movie, had a few drinks and fell asleep.  Saturday I cleaned the apartment and Saturday night I wandered off to The Pine Box to have a few drinks.



Damn, you should have called me.  I would have gotten a sitter and joined you.  Did you meet anybody?



A better question would be did I even speak to anybody.



Okay, I'll bite, did you speak to anybody?



Catherine the bartender.  Does she count?



No, you know she thinks you're gay.  Damn Doug, that place is usually packed on Saturdays.  Are you trying to tell me there wasn't one woman there worth talking to?



I never said that.  I said I didn't speak to anyone.  I saw plenty of attractive women.



You just didn't approach any of them, did you?  Why didn't you at least send a drink over to one of them?



What would be the point Ann?  If she didn't become physically ill when she looked over at me -



You're cute Doug, you're not ugly.



Face it Ann, I'm the Elephant Man in khakis.  But, if she was nearsighted or legally blind and was able to overlook my physical shortcomings, the best I would have hoped for would be a  conversation where I highlight all my failures and shortcomings.



And those would be?



Let's see: Hi, I'm Doug.  I'm thirty four years old.  My marriage was a failure -



No, it just ended in divorce, and it wasn't your fault -



I could tell her that it ended in attempted suicide, but that wouldn't exactly be accentuating the positive, would it?



Doug, you need therapy.  Serious, four-times-a-week intensive therapy.  And a complex program of medication.



Where was I?  Oh yes, my failures.  So, as I was saying Miss, I've only been with two women in my life.  I have a shitty job, oh no offense Ann.



None taken.  Being your boss isn't exactly my dream job either.



I've got no money, no fashion sense, an apartment with no furniture in the living room, and I drive a 1994 Plymouth Voyager van with a hundred-thousand miles on it, no air conditioning, and a driver's-side door that is tied closed and cannot be reopened.  Miss Universe, here I come, I'll pick you up at eight.



Doug, I let you drive the company Taurus.  It may be a hunk of junk, but it’s better than your heap.  Beyond that, you’re funny, you're intelligent, you're loving -



Great, funny, smart, loving...add in that I can lick my own balls and I could be a Cocker Spaniel.



Ha ha, very funny.  Okay buster, if you are such a toxic waste dump, how do you explain your relationships with Angie and Miriam?



Brain damage, something in the water, or pity dates.



I'm going to have to call bullshit on that answer my dear, sorry.



Okay then, for starters, they both made the first move.  And the second.  And the third.  And in Angie's case, the fourth, fifth, and sixth!



I remember; I've heard you tell the story enough times.  But couldn't you try approaching a woman just once?  What's the worth that could happen?



Good question.  It probably wouldn't result in an ending any worse than Saturday night did.



And that would be what?



Me waking up in my van in the Pine Box parking lot at 1am, my shirt all wet, smelling like sour milk and old cheese.  I guess I got sick and passed, out, or passed out and got sick.



Lovely picture you painted there Romeo.


DOUG gets up and pours himself more coffee and returns to his desk.



Well, the good news is, on Sunday I came up with a few ideas to help me meet more women.



Well, that sounds positively proactive and constructive.  And very unlike you I might add.



I just realized that I need to start dating and meeting new people.  The longer I mope around, the better the chance I'll wind up getting back with Angie again like every other time we break up.



If you get back with Angie again, you are officially fired.



Duly noted.  Anyway, on Sunday I went up to the mall in Frisco.



Why all the way out there.  Were they having some big sale?



No, I don't go there to shop.  I sit in Starbucks for hours and watch people walk by.



Staring at people and not speaking to a soul, I suppose.  And you call me pathetic?



I do speak to someone!  Just seven words though: "One Venti Caramel Macchiato please.  Thank you."



Caramel Macchiato?  Are you sure you're not gay?



I may as well be.  Anyway, I walked by a stand that stitches logos and sayings into t-shirts, and that gave me an idea to help me break the ice with women.



I can hardly wait to hear this.  What are you going to do, wear a shirt that says "I have a two foot cock"?



Close.  A custom-printed t-shirt.  On one side it says "Find Me a Girlfriend, Win Five Dollars."  On the back it says "See Official Rules for Details."



I'm afraid to admit this, but that's actually pretty original.  And it sounds just like something you would do.



I went ahead and ordered two shirts like that from an Internet site.  I should get them in a week or so.  Maybe it'll strike some woman's interest.  At least it might help me get over my shyness.



Okay, but you told me you had two ideas this weekend.  What was the other one?



Well, I'm a little embarrassed to tell you.



More embarrassing than throwing up on yourself in the Pine Box parking lot?



No, I guess not.  Okay, I put a few personal ads up on the Internet.




Oh this I have got to see.



Uh uh, no way, this is just between me and the women I will eventually be stalking.



So you put ads up, and now what?  You wait for people to see your info and email you?  What if nobody ever does?



Actually I spent some time emailing women myself, in response to their own ads.  And I've already gotten some replies back, so there!


(DOUG sticks his tongue out at Ann)



Really?  What did they say?



Oh, well, let me think.  One said "You're not tall enough."  And one said she just started dating someone else from the site, but thanks anyway.  That's all I've gotten so far.



Congratulations, you're really bowling them over.  How many ads did you respond to?



Six I think.  So I'm zero for two so far, with four no-shows.  Big deal.  But I only put my messages out there last night; you have to give it time.



These people could be total psycho freaks, you know.  Like Fatal Attraction.  Or like your mother.  Do you even know what they look like or anything about them?



They all give personal details in their ads.  Age, religion, the last good book they read, what you'd find in their bedroom, what they are looking for in a man, and why you should want to get to know them.  Not everybody answers all the questions though.  And most put up a photo or two of themselves as well.



So at least you know what they look like.  Unless they're using one of the sample photos you get when you buy a picture frame.



Hey, that's a good idea.  If I had tried that, I bet I would have gotten more positive responses by now.



Blah, blah, blah.



The ones I responded to were all cute, but in some of the photos you can't really tell one way or another.



At least they look human.  Doug, sweetie, do me a favor and don't sell yourself short, settling for the first woman you meet.  Play the field for a change.



That is exactly my plan.  I want to date four or five women at once, just as friends at first.  It’s something I've never tried.


ANN gets herself some more coffee and returns to her desk.



So they were all cute?



Yes, and all somewhat my type physically from what I could see.  Well, except for the one.



One what?



I did respond to one personal ad that had no photograph.  She said she looked like a chunky Nicole Kidman, so that's not bad.



No picture?  You know she's probably four hundred pounds or a burn victim.  Or maybe one half of a pair of Siamese twins.



We call them cojoined twins now sweetie.  Try to be more sensitive.



Sensitive my ass.  She could be a freak.



It's possible, but, I don't know, her ad stuck me and I had to respond.


ANN picks up a stapler and waves it at DOUG.



I'd like to strike you.  Strike some sense into you that is.  What was so compelling about her ad that you had to respond to this mystery women?



I can't really say specifically what it was.  It just intrigued me.  It probably doesn't matter, she hasn't responded yet.  Maybe I should have left my photo off of my profile too.  But I figure the women deserve to know the awful truth right off the bat.



You mean that you are a total idiot?


The phone rings, and DOUG answers it.



(in a fake accent)

Hello?  Who is this?  Yes?  Ann Richardson?  Who?  Hello?  Yes, who may I say is the person who is calling Mrs. Richardsonton?  Yes?  Can I help you?  No, she is not at the present here at the location of where I am speaking to you but she will be in the future returning to the location to which you have called.  Can I ask for to take from you a message of the reason for you to be calling at the location that - Hello?


DOUG hangs up the phone.



I hope that was a telemarketer and not a customer.



Yes, it was a telemarketer, and they won't be calling back any time soon, that's for sure.  An idiot, am I?


Stay tuned for part two of “I’m No Edward Norton” in Eternal Sunshine #32…if you dare!




MCj04417880000[1]MCj04125320000[1]The Eternal Sunshine Football Prediction Contest



Since training camps are soon to open, now is the time to make your predictions.  The contest is simple: you get one point for each correct division winner, and one point for correctly selecting the wild card teams (two per conference).  Then you get two points for each team you correctly choose as conference championship (meaning they play in the Super Bowl), and three points for correctly picking the Super Bowl winner.  We’re not picking winners for individual playoff games…just the division winners, wild card teams, and who goes to the Big Game.  Any commentary you want to include with your picks is welcome.  And remember, like all Eternal Sunshine contests, there will actually be a REAL PRIZE for the winner!  In fact, if we get enough entries, I’ll give one to the runner-up too.  If you’ve got any questions, just ask me. So send in an entry and join in the fun!  I think I’ll even give my own picks next issue.  All entries will be published next issue, so get them in by the deadline!  In case you need reminding (or if you are not a football fan and just want to see if you can guess the winners and embarrass theses so-called experts), the divisions and their member teams are as follows:


NFC East: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas, Cowboys, Washington Redskins.


NFC North: Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions.


NFC South: Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Bucs, New Orleans Saints


NFC West: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams.


AFC East: Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills.


AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns.


AFC South: Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars.


AFC West: San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders.


Deadline for Picks: August 24th at 7pm my time

Hypothetical of the Month

Last month, we gave you these two hypotheticals: 1) You come across your mate’s personal address book.  Do you glance through it?  2) A former lover sends you a charming gift.  You are involved with someone else.  Do you accept the gift?


Melinda Holley – #1 - No.  Either I trust my mate or he's not my mate.  #2 - That would depend.  Am I involved with someone else?  If I'm involved with someone else (or I wouldn't want to get back in touch with him), I'd return it with a nice note saying 'thanks, but I don't believe it's appropriate to accept this gift under the circumstances'.  If I'm not involved with someone else and I wouldn't mind being in contact with the ex, I'd probably call and thank him then ask why he sent it.


Andy York - #1 - Is there is a reason to look through it (needing a specific ddress/phone number, for instance)? Otherwise, why? It's their address book.  #2 - Why not, presuming you are still friends? The intimate relationship is over, the gift is "charming" not "intimate/overly personal" and you're still enjoying each other's friendship. However, if the person isn't a friend (i.e., pining for a return of the intimate relationship, stalking, etc), refusing it is appropriate.


Heather - #1 – Yes, because I am a nosy bitch.  #2 – Depends on what the gift is, and it depends on how we left it when we broke up.  It also depends on the status of the relationship I’m in now.  But I like presents!


Three responses?  Grrrr…..I hope we get more answers the next few issues, or I may drop this!


For Next Month (For the time being, I am selecting questions from the game “A Question of Scruples” which was published in 1984 by High Games Enterprises).  Remember you can make your answers as detailed as you wish.:


#1: A house painter asks why you didn’t hire him.  The only problem is his lack of personal hygiene.  Do you tell him? 


#2: Someone you don’t particularly like offers to treat you to a meal at an expensive restaurant that you’d love to try.  Do you go just for the meal?


The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


Public Enemies – As a story, Public Enemies has its shortcomings.  We all know how it’s going to end: John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Public Enemy #1, is going to be shot and killed after going to the movies.  It’s also a bit too long; I think they should have found a way to leave 30 minutes on the cutting room floor.  It isn’t that the film is self-indulgent in its length…it’s just that a tighter edit might have built up the climax more.


If you forgive those minor complaints, as a film it works very well.  To begin with, the cinematography is beautiful.  The pre-World War II architecture, the marble and wood…wonderful.  Those fantastic cars, the clothing, the music; for those with means, the fourth year of the Great Depression was still a time of fun and adventure.  We get glimpses into the misery of the miserable folks stuck in poverty, but most of the plot takes place within the walls of success.


Johnny Depp’s Dillinger is a somewhat quiet man, enjoying today and not worrying about tomorrow without being flashy.  He is daring and brave, and ruthless…the film does not hide the violence of the bank robbers of the era.  Tommy guns and sprays of bullets find their mark; cops and G-Men fall in bloody piles, as do criminals.  But this doesn’t mean he has no heart.  Dillinger meets and falls for a coat-check girl named Billie (Marion Cotillard), who is struggling to make her way in Chicago after leaving her poor family behind.  The film reminds us that the touch of money is an exceedingly alluring prospect in the depression, enough that it is easy to forgive the criminal lifestyle, not just for Billie but for the public as well.


Dillinger seems to understand this, and above all Public Enemies is a lesson in public relations.  As the film begins, Dillinger is a mythic hero; when he robs banks, he tells customers to put their money away.  “We’re here for the bank’s money, not yours.”  But soon he comes up against his match: J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup), who realizes the power of gaining the admiration of the public in order to build the prestige, power, and budget for the new F.B.I.  Assigning the newly popular Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) to head the Chicago office, Hoover announces that “the man who shot Pretty Boy Floyd” will now be in charge of the hunt for Dillinger.  Bale doesn’t bring much to his role, and that’s the real shortcoming of the movie.  It cannot decide whether this is a battle between Dillinger and Purvis or Dillinger and Hoover.  In reality, it is the latter.  Through his presence on movie newsreels and newspapers, and his mastery of public relations, Hoover soon turns the tables on Dillinger.  No longer are he and his fellow bank robbers heroes…now they are hinted men.  This is shown no more directly than in one scene when Dillinger and some associates meet in a movie theater to discuss an upcoming job.  After Hoover appears in a newsreel, pinning medals on “Junior G-Men,” the house light come up and the audience is asked to look to their left and their right to see if these “evil wrongdoers” are sitting in their row. 


Meanwhile, the criminal syndicate has expanded to new, national organized crime endeavors, and they too see Dillinger as a threat.  Hoover and his FBI are busy trying to get new Federal criminal laws passed to better fight the Dillinger types, but the syndicate sees these laws will eventually be aimed at their own schemes.  Local law enforcement can be bought, but the Federal branch is something else entirely.  In the days of national organized crime syndicates, Dillinger and his type have become old news and old hat. 


The relationship between Dillinger and Billie is sweet, and Cotillard does a good job of bringing out the human side of the most wanted man in America, but the time they share on screen is relatively short compared to the rest of the story.  Still Public Enemies is a good film, and a welcome reminder of how the Federal government can seize power in an area for the public good…and how quickly that power can be abused.  It’s worth seeing, and if you don’t want to spend the 2 hours and 20 minutes in the theater, get it on DVD.


Seen on DVD – Seven (B+, still has some real creepy moments, mixed with intellectual and literary thoughtfulness).   Contact (B+, so many of the characters in this film give off such terribly sleazy auras the more I watch it).  Brainstorm (B-, still a decent movie but the technology they were working on seems so dated now, even if it hasn’t been matched yet.  One of the few films where Christopher Walken seems normal).  The World According to Garp (B, still one of his best novels, and the film holds up well.  Funny how many things controversial within the film such as women having children without husbands, and sex change operations, are accepted and much more common now).  Carnal Knowledge (B, this is back when Jack Nicholson actually acted.  The blow-up scene between him and the beautiful Ann-Margaret is still a classic).  Play it Again Sam (A-, Heather had never seen this before, and after watching it declared “I never realized, I am married to Woody Allen.”)  Soldier’s Girl (B-, true story about the lack of tolerance for anything different.  Acting was generally sub-par but being a true story gives it more punch).  Six Feet Under, Season 2 (A-, and yes we’re way behind on this, but that’s the way television viewing goes in this household.  We’re generally two to three years behind everyone else, as the DVD’s become cheaper).  Arlington Road (B+, very well-done and well acted.  Joan Cusack in particular is both wholesome and creepy.)

Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column

Don Del Grande: Now that you're following me, you can learn the full story of my Twitter name:

When I got my first HDTV, I also got an HDTV TiVo that uses Cable Cards (if you're not familiar with those, they're like cards you can put into a laptop; they do most of the work of digital cable boxes so (a) you don't have to depend on a connection between the TiVo and a cable box to change the channel at the right time, and (b) you can record two different digital channels at once).  When the Comcast contractor showed up to install the cards, he discovered that he only had one that worked, so he would phone in a request for someone else to come out the next day (which someone did, and got everything working, but that's beside the point).  Anyway, I had requested that when the cards were installed, my cable box be taken away, and the contractor did - but did not leave me a receipt for the work, in part because the work had not been finished. For the next two months, the $12 charge for the box kept appearing on my bill.  To make things worse, I started getting mysterious charges on my bill - for porn.

After a number of calls to Comcast, they removed the box from my account.  Next month, the $12 charge is not there - but more porn charges are showing up, and Comcast claims they were charged on my remaining cable box (the one I have so I can watch OnDemand shows).

Eventually, I get the charges removed and tell Comcast to disable the ability to charge pay-per-view services through any of my boxes; I would have to call in any request to watch one (which is not a problem, as I have only watched two PPVs in the past 10 years).

Hence, "Pron Masta" Don - Pron Mastadon - Pron MastaDON.

(In fact, I use Pron MastaDON because my "usual" nickname, That Don Guy, was already taken.)


[[I think we need to find whoever is using That Don Guy and make him an offer he can’t refuse!  If we ever get cable TV again, I’ll need to get a Tivo box…but we’re pretty happy the way we watch stuff now, in collected DVD sets.  We’re so far out of the loop on current celebrity – and we have zero interest in the reality shows – there doesn’t seem to be the need to watch anything when everybody else is.  I keep trying to remind people about the reason for the communal experience of major shows years ago: we only had two or three channels to choose from, so large groups of people watched the same shows more often.  Admittedly, that has nothing to do with what you wrote.  Maybe I’m rambling to hide the fact that I’m the one who charged all that porn to your account. ]]


Jack McHugh: Just finished reading the zine.  A few points.  One: You said you were proud of DW but you don't think it’s something your Dad would be proud of? Are u cracked or just determined to feel bad????  


[[He had no interest in Diplomacy or gaming in general, except gin which we used to play all the time..thanks to him I am great at it.  But why would he be proud of Diplomacy World?]]


Two: You need to stop asking everyone's permission to write or publish stuff.....if you want to serialize a play you wrote about your first date with Heather, go ahead and do it if you feel strongly about it.  You shouldn't give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks about your writing but you.


[[Well I feel strongly about the play, but not necessarily about serializing it here.  If people were interested, I’d be happy to print it.  Nobody seems to care one way or the other…so I tossed a coin and decided to include it beginning in this issue.]]


Three: I appreciate a lot more, having read your piece about your dad (which I thought was quite good - and if I were your dad I'd be proud of that even if you never did anything else in your life), of being able to take my dad out every week or two to the track and spend some quality time with him.


[[Well that’s good, I’m glad it accomplished something for someone besides letting me get some emotion out.]]


So Hood is another "Hear I Stand" maniac?  The game is okay but it’s really three games in one: Eng/Fra/Haps,   Haps vs. Ottoman, and Protestant vs. Papacy.  It would be a better game if they were linked together.  There is also way too much luck regarding the new world discoveries than I like.  If one of the three new world powers (Eng/Fran/Haps) gets lucky with new world discoveries, it’s “game over.”


[[We’re all still waiting to hear about your recent playtest experiences!]]


Andy York: Sorry to be so long in getting with you about the latest ES. It came out while I was on vacation and I've been playing catch-up ever since I got back. But, in any case, here are my thoughts:

You shouldn't feel the need to apologize for what you're writing - write what you want and folks can read, scan or skip if they wish. As you note, the zine is free - so no one is paying for the content, whether they are interested in it or not.


[[True…I’m trying to adopt more of that attitude, as you and others have suggested it.  Actually Jim Burgess does pay for it, since he EVENTUALLY prints it and mails it as part of TAP.  But since he now owes me for finding two of his lost people, I’ll credit one versus the other.  Besides, TAP only comes out about twice a year.]]

I have the same mind-set to get over. When I was pubbing RW, I wanted to publish what folks wanted to read/play/enjoy. After all, they were paying for each issue and I had to subsidize the remaining costs. So, printing/mailing something that had no interest to the readership made no sense. However, with Web Publishing, the monetary concerns are moot (with rare exceptions for folks who have limited time/bandwidth/storage costs). I still want to write things that folks find interesting, enjoyable and worth reading; but, it isn't foremost in my mind - writing what I find worthwhile is.


[[Yes, it is so much easier to publish now that you don’t have to count pages, decide for or against something just because it will push you into an extra ounce of weight, and add up the printing expense in your mind.  The only real downside is I have no idea how many people READ this thing, and my “email me if you read this” experiment was a general failure, as expected.]]

Philip Murphy: For some reason, your latest installment of the halfway house tale in #ES30 did strike a deep chord with me. Heather's visit to the halfway house is something I definitely identify with. In a way Robin and I
are restricted in our freedom to spend time together by 4000 miles of sea and half of the North American continent.

Let me explain. I met Robin while she was over here in Ireland on a six month placement. She's from the mid-West. I won't stain your pages with the sappy side of things – that’s what MY zine is for – but suffice it to say that muggins here only found the courage to tell her how I felt ten days before she was due to leave for home. Pretty rushed, you might imagine. We had so little time to figure out how we could even make it work....

Letters followed, phone calls and MSN kept us sane. 6 months or so after she left, I went to see her in the U.S. for three weeks. Good times and happy memories; but like all good things, far too short a time. We've managed to keep things going though, which I'm truly thankful for considering the distances and my talent for inserting my
foot in my mouth on occasion.

It's deeply frustrating, not being able to spend time with those you love. I hope that, like you, I will be able to cast off the geographical restrictions which prevent me from spending much needed time with her.  As you have been able to with Heather, in the end.

I've said it before - but you're fortunate indeed to have her in your life. And I suspect she feels the same way about you.


[[Obviously phone access was limited, and I had no web access…so we made it work with letters.  She has saved every letter I wrote her from prison, which equals THOUSANDS of pages.  Really, I combined the letters with the phone calls; I’d listen on the calls, saying very little, and I’d write about what she told me in the letters.  It is amazing how much more enduring a postal letter is than an email.  Maybe Robin would appreciate some of those too!]]


Graham Wilson: Cline-9-man?  I'll play that!  I played in the Cline-9-Man game in TCD back in the 1980's and 90's.  I was Russia (and my brother Brian was Germany before he passed away in '90).  It took 5~7 real years for the game to finish.  I took it with a solo victory, at which point I was the only original player.  Victory in TCD games often went not to the best player, but to the most patient...


[[I actually miss zines which would arrive randomly, long and fun and with games that lasted forever…The Canadian Diplomat and Vertigo are the first two that pop into my head, but I am sure I am forgetting some.  Anybody else want to play Cline?  I’ll probably offer a game next issue.]]


Dane Maslen: This issue I read much of the zine as soon as it came out and then left it nearly three weeks before finishing it.  That meant I had to skim through much of what I'd already read to confirm that I had indeed already read it, and of course there's no chance of remembering whether any of it made me think "I must comment on this" at the time.  I can only comment on what I've belatedly read.  Worryingly I seem to be in urgent need of psychiatric attention - I found Paul's article on accounting interesting!


[[See Mr. Milewski, some people like your stuff!  Just because Dane considers that a sign of mental illness is no reason to fear; if he really was crazy he wouldn’t realize it.  I also enjoyed this issue’s column (as I hope you will), as I deal with cross-matrix tables and correlation tables quite a bit lately.]]




Play Reviews by Larry Cronin


I recently went to NYC with my youngest son, 12 years old Mickey, for his 13th birthday gift - a Broadway bar mitzvah, if you will. We helped stimulate  the economy by attending 7 plays within a week. I'm glad to have a chance to recount these before I forget them and before they disappear and you can't catch them.


august_osage_county_broadway_455Far and away the best was August Osage County, which we saw first. Mickey agrees it was awesome. The understudy played the main character, but she seemed to do great and an usher I talked to said she was doing just as well as the regular actress. The set and the three hour length made it really worth the money. I liked the teenage girl character best, but all the individual dysfunctional sisters were so strongly drawn, they felt very real. The redhead's new boyfriend and the aunt's husband were also very real and interesting. The entire theme, riding on the Native American girl's help and labor, made for a mythic theme which I liked. If you are in NYC - DO NOT MISS IT!


Next we saw Rock of Ages, which I knew would be stupid, but we were in the second row and that helped. It reminded me of going to a strip club, one dancer played by Katherine Tokarz was really hot, so I enjoyed myself immensely but all the while wondered why in the hell I brought my twelve year old son to this. The two leads Constantine Marsoulis and Amy Spangler were very great singers and likeable, and several characters were fun, but overall I wouldn't recommend it, unless you suffer interminable nostalgia for the 1980's. In general I do not like musicals unless my relatives are in them. The eighties music resonated only minimally with me as I was deeply into reggae and African music at the time in my life, and I really didn't even know the names of the songs, although they sounded familiar. I was happy to see "Kevin Cronin" credited for two of them - he was in REO Speedwagon. (another Kevin is my older son.)


Next we saw In The Heights which was a good story and I learned something cultural. I had no knowledge of that neighborhood and later that week we went there and walked through the area. The story was okay but the characters a bit weakly drawn - just caricatures, and the girl who goes to Stanford seemed a bit maudlin. I suppose she was somehow the one the playwright identified with.


After that we decided we needed to see more and got extravagant. The presence of Piper Perabo (blonde hottie from Coyote Ugly) made me buy tickets to Reasons to be Pretty which turned out to be a vehicle for using the F word a maximal number of times in the shortest period of time. Piper's bod was wasted in a cop's uniform the entire show. Shit. But the male characters were interesting, especially the narcissistic Kent. Piper was not so impressive an actress. The entire premise was not very intriguing, somehow somebody's comment on someone's looks creates entire life paths for these people, but the character of the playwright came through in the other male lead and, to me, he seemed a shallow loser. So... sort of a sitcom imitation and felt like a dumb TV show including the loud music during set changes. Great show if you're into losers.


carnageMike and I agreed we to see something better, something to satisfy the standard set by August Osage County, so we went to God of Carnage which heated things up again. The set was fantastic, framed by a huge white rectangle. The curtain comes up on a living room with red carpet and red walls and white couch. A gold wall slashes across the room in contrast and impels you to guess why that color was picked. James Gandolfini, the Tony Soprano guy was in it, so the presence of a famous actor made it fun, but all the other three characters held their own and were really intense, including Jeff Daniels and Marcia Gay Harden. As the story evolves it gets better and better. The emptiness of these people's lives and reasoning is pretty impressive and absolutely hilarious. The depth of emotion and strength of personality comes through quite memorably. Human foibles. Mickey loved it as much as I did.


2Next we saw Wicked which was packed with teenagers and Mickey loved it. I was intrigued by the story, rather subversive and an interesting flip side of one of my favorite all time movies. But honestly, I can't remember a single song from it and nothing hums around in my head. The lead could really belt the songs out, but the music felt so so. The staging, however, was fabulous.


So, during intermission at Wicked, Mickey went through the playbill and at the end said, "Dad I think I want to see Exit the King." Okay, the kid seemed to have pretty good taste and discrimination so far. The idea of seeing an absurd-like play appealed enough to me, but I feared it would go right over Mike's head. Nonetheless, I bought the tickets to this Eugene Ionescu absurdist classic. (BTW it was easiest for us to buy everything from I had to phone home to have the wife get the code online for each one and then I just used it to get about half off regular prices.) This play is still growing on me. Again, I liked seeing a famous actress, this time Susan Sarandon, but some others were even better. The king, Geofrey Rush, is excellent and the female assistant played by Andrea Martin provides superb wackiness. The knight, Brian Hutchison, was an unforgettable doofus. The second wife was a bit miscast to my liking and Sarandon did not do anything overwhelming. And the last character I almost forgot, the doctor - hardly even necessary, but that did not subtract from my enjoyment. IT WAS ALL THE STORY! A four hundred year old king pines away for life as he is told he will die. He almost is a metaphor for all humanity or even divinity. He walks about, even out into the audience, and you really feel he is you. By the end, life is stripped down to its essential nothingness and you feel a sense of dying right along with him. Very powerful. Definitely worth seeing. See it soon.



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 #9



I don’t have a lot of time this month for the column, because I’m spending the weekend before the deadline at HuskyCon, guaranteed to be a great time.  Maybe I’ll thrill you with some stories of my trip next time.  I also wanted to write some stuff about the playtesting I’ve been doing lately, but that will have to wait as well.  Instead I’m going to fill this issue with a couple of pages of fun, jokes, and photos.  First, I can safely write that the Phillies win streak is over, but boy that was fun while it lasted.  Great to have them playing so well.  And even Dougie’s Rangers are hanging in there, sweeping the Red Sox.  Okay, on to the one piece of correspondence I received this month: a different version of last month’s Fairy Tale:


The World's Shortest Fairy Tale (another point of view) – from Melinda Holley


Once upon a time, a man went down on both knees and asked a WOMAN, "Will you marry me?"


The woman said, "Oh, HELL NO!"


The woman then lived happily ever after, driving a new car every three years, went shopping whenever she pleased, traveled to exotic places (and shopped), had tons of money in the bank (because she wasn't helping to pay off golf fees, hunting/camping/fishing equipment, motorcycles, and boats), didn't have to explain her sex life to anyone, and lived longer because she wasn't constantly bitching at her insensitive, inconsiderate boor of a husband to put the toilet seat down and take medication for his incessant farting.


Thanks Melinda, I enjoyed that.  Now, how about a nice joke?


A man checks into a hotel on a business trip and was a bit lonely.  He thought, "I'll call one of those girls you see advertised in phone booths when you're calling for a cab."

He popped into a phone booth near the hotel and found an ad for a girl calling herself 'Erogonique', a lovely girl, bending over in the photo.  He copied the phone number and returned to his hotel.  When back in the room he figures, what the heck, I’ll give her a call.

"Hello," the woman says.  Oh, did she sound sexy.

"Hi, I hear you give a great massage and I'd like you to come to my room and give me one.  No, wait, I should be straight with you.  I'm in town all alone and what I really want is sex.  I want it hard, I want it hot, and I want it now.  Bring everything you've got in your bag of tricks.  We'll go hot and heavy all night; tie me up, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything you want!  Now, how does that sound?"

She says, "That sounds fantastic, but you need to press 9 for an outside line."


If I have to be honest, I’m willing to admit that isn’t so much a joke as a funny story which happened to me.  Boy did I feel like an idiot when I hung up the phone.  So I had to settle for some pay-per-view porn and a box of complimentary hotel tissues.  Some night.  Actually I never cheat on my darling wife, because I know what happens when a woman catches a guy cheating: she gets even.  Here are a few photos of how spiteful women got some “payback” on their men:




And no, that isn’t my boat Heather!  So stop saying it is!


I was going to do a quick contest where you get to send in a punchline to a really nasty joke, but I’ll save that for next month.  Now, off I go to HuskyCon!

A Matrix Algebra Approach to the Mechanics of a Diplomacy Bourse

By Paul Milewski


I was intrigued by the last item in the press of the “Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse in Eternal Sunshine #30:  “We also think it high time you amend and modernize this game with a rule change.  Effective immediately, all currency exchanges should be converted in[to] euros, not dollars…”  The odd thing about expressing the value of each of the 7 currencies in dollars is that the dollar is invoked as some sort of universal constant like gravity.  However, if the British pound “goes up in value” to $1.1602 what has happened is that the dollar has “gone down in value” relative to the pound by 1/1.1602 or to about 0.8619 dollars to the pound.  What you’re really doing is trading in 8 currencies, not 7.  The role the dollar plays in the bourse could be replaced by a dimensionless index of the current value of the particular currency relative to its starting value.  This works out nicely if all the currencies start out equal to one another in value (one pound being worth one franc, etc.).  The total value of any player’s portfolio could be expressed in any of the 7 currencies, or in all of them.  The bourse is fundamentally a competitive game in which the point is to accumulate more than the other players, regardless of how it is measured or denominated. 


If you have Microsoft Excel you can relatively easily reconstruct the results for the “Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse in Eternal Sunshine #30 using the MMULT worksheet function.  An example is below (I’ve inserted a Microsoft Excel worksheet into this Word document, so I’ve had to replicate the column and row headings—a little Microsoft quirk).  The “foreign” currency holdings of each player are shown in the matrix (rectangular array) B2:H9, the “prices” in J2:J8, and the resulting values as a result of matrix multiplication (using MMULT) in cells K2:K9, and to arrive at the totals (column M) I’ve added the “cash” amounts that were reported.  The whole point is to state the players’ positions in terms of dollars.  The mechanics of it are to key in MMULT(B2:H9,J2:J8) in cell K2, highlight cells K2:K9, press the F2 function key and then CTRL-SHIFT-ENTER.  This is using Excel to multiply a 9x7 matrix by a 7x1 matrix to get a 9x1 matrix.  (When you’re multiplying two matrices together, they have to have identical interior dimensions, in this case, the 7 columns by the 7 rows.)  If you’ve never worked with matrices before, this is going to seem pretty inscrutable.  What you’re really doing is using matrix notation to deal with a system of 9 linear equations with 7 independent variables (A,E,F,G,I,R,T) so that the values in the array B2:H9 are the coefficients of those independent variables and the values in K2:K9 are the dependent variables (the “unknowns”), the values of which “depend” on the values assigned to A,E,F,G,I,R,T in the array J2:J8.



In matrix algebra, this might be depicted as A8x7X7x1=Y8x1 where the subscripts are the rows x columns for each matrix.  The element in the first row, first column of Y (I know, Y only has one column) is the product of each element of the first row of A and the corresponding element in the first column of X, so the product of the two matrices A and X will always have the number of rows A had and the number of columns X had.  Exciting, isn’t it?


If you were looking at this article of mine in Word, you could “double click” on the inserted Excel worksheet and the menu at the top of your screen would change from the Word menu to the Excel menu and you would be in Excel.  It’s pretty cool, but I’m easily amused.


It should be obvious that if you take the column vector that represents the “prices” of the 7 currencies (ostensibly stated in dollars) and divide every element in that matrix by the $1.1602 “price” of a British pound, you get the “prices” of the 7 currencies stated in pounds.  Of course, the price of one pound would be one pound.  If we think of dividing as being the same as multiplying by the multiplicative inverse, in this case by 1.1602-1 (which is the same as 1/1.1602)—in matrix algebra, it is common to represent multiplying every element in a matrix by a constant (a “scalar”).  Do this with each of the 7 currencies and present the results as columns of a 7-column matrix and you end up with:



This is a square matrix (same number of rows and columns) with ones in the “main diagonal” (from upper left to lower right).  It is a conversion table to go from any one of the 7 currencies directly into any of the other 6 without first converting the currency you’re selling into dollars and then converting the dollars into the currency you’re buying. 


For instance, if you want to convert French francs (worth $1.0818 each) into British pounds (worth $1.1602 each), you’d need about 1.0725 francs to get 1 pound, which is the value in cell D3.  (You can check that:  to buy one pound you need $1.1602 and to get $1.1602 you need to sell 1.1602/1.0818 francs or about 1.0725 francs (I am rounding everything to 4 decimal places, which appears to be what Doug is doing).  The 0.9324 in cell C4 indicates you need about 0.9324 pounds to buy 1 franc.  (Checking that, 1.0818/1.1602 works to about 0.9324 pounds per franc.)


At this point in the game, all the other 6 currencies were worth less (per unit) than the Austrian “crown” (which was worth $1.2095 each), do every value below the 1.0000 in cell B2 is less than 1.0000 and represents the rate to convert whatever currency it is into crowns (or to put it another way, how many crowns a unit of each currency is worth).  The first row of numbers (to the right of cell B2) tells you how many units of each of the other 6 currencies you can get for one crown (or to put it another way, how many units of each currency a crown is worth).


With the 7x7 matrix of conversion values, you can figure out how much of any particular currency you need to sell to buy any particular amount of any of the other 6 currencies, without first having to calculate the transaction in dollars.  If everything were tracked in just the 7 currencies, you could avoid the anomaly of having “cash” left over (such as the $594.14 held by Smaug).  As an example, let’s suppose that Wuffet is considering “selling” his 200 French francs and “buying” as many British pounds as he can from the proceeds of the sale.  The long way to calculate it is to figure the dollars he’d get for the 200 francs (200 x $1.0818) = $216.36 and then how many pounds he could buy with that at $1.1602/pound: $216.36/$1.1602 = 186.485 (to 3 decimal places)—inasmuch as it appears it is not permitted for there to be fractional units of any of the currencies except dollars, round down to 186 pounds.  The conversion rate of francs into pounds (from cell C4) is 0.9324 so we multiply 200 francs by 0.9324 to get 186.48 (again, as there are no fractional units of francs or pounds, round down to 186).  I’m rounding down on the assumption that you are “buying” the currency you’re buying from someone else, so to speak, and whoever he is, he isn’t going to give you more pounds than your francs are worth, even though he agrees that you’re a wonderful person, so he’ll insist you round down. 


Alternatively, you could multiply a 1x7 matrix of what you’re considering “selling” (B11:H11) by the square 7x7 conversion rate matrix (B2:H8) to get the results for all 7 currencies in another 1x7 matrix (B14:H14), as shown below.  As you can see, you get the thoroughly uninteresting information that if you “sell” 200 francs you could buy 200 francs with the proceeds (cell D14).



It used to be that the plural of “index” was “indices.”  You don’t hear that much anymore, any more than you hear “stadia” as the plural of “stadium.”  Most people say “indexes.”  I had the unfortunate experience of being taught to use “matrices” as the plural of matrix, and I find that if I try to violate that rule, I get violent twitches, so I stick to “matrices.”

Out of the WAY #10


by W. Andrew York

(wandrew88 of






The big news is that the new Hangman word has been solved - and not by the person who did it last time! It looks like we’ve a strong field of word and puzzle experts, split between determining the word by analyzing the definition and the other concentrating on the word itself. The third round of the five round game begins below - jump in and give it a try!

I made it back from Pittsburgh after a thoroughly enjoyable visit and convention. The tours of two Frank Lloyd Wright houses and the Alleghany Observatory were high points. The City is very much visitor friendly, with plenty of sights easily accessible through the free mass transit (in the core area) and very pedestrian friendly streets. I also was able to take in two Pirates games, even thought one game had two rain delays.

Interestingly, Pittsburgh was hosting AnthroCon at the same time – a furry convention. The first time I’ve ever seen folks with this ?? (do you call it a hobby, a lifestyle choice, a fetish, a – heck I don’t know). There were folks walking around in full costumes dressed as dogs, cats, foxes and dragons. Others, wore just a tail and, maybe, ears. At one place I was eating, a cat-person had on ears, tail, foot/hand covers and was batting a grapefruit sized rubber band ball between her paws. Odd to see, but everyone around seemed to take it in stride. The only issue I happened to see was folks in full costume moving from their hotels to the convention center having problems with the heat – some having to take off some parts of their costume (such as the head) and drink lots of water.

The Mensa Gathering was a lot of fun - played games, chatted with folks and attended a number of presentations. Dr. Demento did a great Key Note speech, and the talk by a Jewish Holocaust survivor was sobering. I learned quite a bit about L Frank Baum (in fact, when I got back to Austin, I picked up a book with the first fifteen Oz stories - not even half of them) and “The Prisoner” TV show (so much so that I’m watching my old video tapes of the episodes).

Afterwards, back in Austin, I had plenty to catch up with - mail never seems to stop! I was able to relax a bit, do some reading and see a number of movies before returning to work. All in all, a good vacation - next year, Detroit! My next trip looks to be Chicago in late September - Armenian food, a trip to Springfield, gaming, setting in a college class and a White Sox game.

As a side note, the recently released 2008 Census estimates has Austin as the 15th largest city in the country (and the ninth fastest-growing city, in terms of numbers) with a population of 757,688. That makes it behind Houston (4th largest), San Antonio (7th largest) and Dallas (8th largest); but ahead of Ft. Worth (17th largest) and El Paso (21st largest). Austin tries to maintain its “small city” image; but, I don’t know how long it can last....





                OK, there won’t be much in the way of commentary this time (though I need to fill enough space to make an even five pages). Last night I started reading Robert Conroy’s novel 1945. It is an alternate history book, postulating that the military hardliners are able to prevent the airing of Hirohito’s radio address to the Japanese people and sequester him to avoid the unconditional surrender of Japan. So far, I’m about 2/3rd of the way through it and am finding it riveting and very readable.

                For the most part, Conroy focuses on individuals to represent the course of events – from the Japanese colonel who takes Hirohito into custody, to a Japanese-American infiltrated into Kyushu ahead of the invasion, to a shavetail shunted from occupation duty in Germany to a newly raised unit detailed as a corps reserve for the initial assault. He also delves into macro-issues – after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what targets really exist for an atomic weapon on the already pulverized Japanese home islands and what really are the aftereffects of a nuclear explosion. Also, the Soviet response to the continued war is touched upon – do they support the Allied campaign to defeat the remaining Axis power or do they concentrate on helping Mao against Chaing Kai-shek or help the Japanese bleed the Allies in the event of a “hot” Cold War?

                I’ve enjoyed two of Conroy’s books in the past – 1901 (a Kaiser led Germany invade America) and 1862 (the Trent affair brings the British into an uneasy alliance with the Confederates). 1901 is a stronger novel, with 1862 being a bit lackluster. However, 1945 has thoroughly grabbed my interest and I hope to finish it in the next day or two. Then, I’ve his latest 1942 waiting amongst the many other books in my “to read” pile (don’t ask, it’s a pretty big pile and growing all the time). That one has the Japanese being more effective in the Pearl Harbor attack (launching a second attack, at least) and following up with an invasion of the Hawaiian islands. I believe the book covers the American attempt to retake them; but, I’m waiting to discover that after I finish the current book – and, yes, it is very likely that it will jump to #1 on the reading pile. In fact, though I’m nearly done with Champion Hill, it has fallen by the wayside while I devour Conroy’s book.

                As a side note, since we’re talking about World War II in the Pacific, if you get the chance, pick up Hector Bywater’s 1931: The Great Pacific War. Written in 1925, it eerily predicts many of the early Japanese decisions that occurred in 1941. Decisions on where to expand, how to react, political decisions and where to concentrate their efforts makes the reader wonder if he had some type of crystal ball that could see into the future. The only thing I recall that he wasn’t close on (thankfully) was the transit of a Japanese merchant ship through the Panama Canal at the outbreak of war. The ship was to render the canal inoperative, requiring shipping moving between the Atlantic and the Pacific to go through the Straits of Magellan or detour around the Cape of Good Hope and transit the Indian Ocean. Also, the opening attack by the Japanese was more effective then actually occurred.

Letter Column

(always welcome, send them in!)


<<none received>>


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: If you’re given the opportunity to pick a cuisine for a night out (and everyone in your party is

            open to anything), what would you choose? And, what would you look to order from the menu?


<<no submissions received>>


[WAY] For me, I like and enjoy just about anything - and, in Austin, there is just about anything you could think of available. Unfortunately, I

                don’t have the time or the money to enjoy them all. The last time I went out with friends, I introduced them to a favorite Thai

                restaurant out near where we live - and, every week or two I eat lunch at another Thai place near where I work (Yum Nua - my

                standing order there). Recently, I’ve eaten the ubiquitous Texas BBQ, been to Korean and Mongolian BBQ places, a hole-in-the-wall

                (but excellent) Vietnamese spot and a new Chinese eatery near where I live. Of course, Mexican is always available as are

                steakhouses. My favorite fancy place to eat is a very upscale French bistro. Plus, with my experiences through the cooking school,

                I’ve tried all sorts of cuisines from around the world.

                But, to specifically answer the question, I’d try to pick something new to introduce to all of us, or some folks in the party, to

                something new.  My friends that I introduced to Thai want to take me to an Eritrean restaurant when they get back from vacation.

                Plus, we noticed a Persian place that neither of us have eaten at - so that may be the next one.



For next issue: What do you think of the different reactions of the public to the deaths of Walter Cronkite,

            Michael Jackson and Karl Maldon?





Babylon 5 Quote


In Moments of Fire and Shadow:

                Sheridan: “Don’t take any unnecessary risks.”

                Delenn: “People always say that. They want to find lives in which risk is unnecessary. There’s only one problem with that.

                                It’s impossible.”


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






The Month in History


August 15, 1939 - Indian troops arrive in Egypt to reinforce the British garrison.

August 19, 1939 - 14 U-boats leave port to take up positions in the North Atlantic.

August 21, 1939 - Panzerschiff (Pocket Battleship) Graf Spee sorties on its first, and last, combat cruise in the South Atlantic.

August 21, 1939 - Soviet-German economic agreement is reached, with additional, less public, meetings planned.

August 23-24, 1939 - Soviet-German Non-Aggression pact is signed, providing for spheres of influence in Eastern Europe and a partitioning of


August 24, 1939 - Panzerschiff (Pocket Battleship) Deutschland (later renamed Lutzow) leaves port for the North Atlantic.

August 25, 1939 - Hitler orders an attack on Poland to take place the following day. The order is later rescinded.

August 27, 1939 - The first jet powered flight, in an HE 178, occurs over Marienehe airfield in Germany.

August 31, 1939 - Hitler again orders that Poland be attacked on the following day. That evening a staged attack on a German border radio

                                station becomes the cause celebre for the opening campaign of the Second World War in Europe.

August 21, 1959 - Hawaii joins the union as the 50th state.


Sources include: current issue of Smithsonian; The World Almanac Book of World War II edited by Peter Young



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.


Pico de Gallo


version by W Andrew York

last modified July 2009




                3 -4 ea                     Plum Tomatoes (seeded and chopped)

                1 small                     Onion (chopped)

                1-3                           Jalapeno (seeded and diced)

                1/4-1/2     bunch      Cilantro (chopped)

                                                Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice from 1/2 a Lime

                                                Salt to taste


Combine and let set for at least 1/2 an hour.

Serve with chips, in chicken-tortilla soup, on top of a baked potato, mixed in scrambled eggs  or as a side with a Mexican-style dinner




                - for balance, the final quantities should be heaviest on Tomatoes, followed by the Onion with the Cilantro to add color and flavor

                - for more heat, leave ribs and/or seeds in Jalapeno or use Serrano peppers

                - if fresh, use any tomatoes, but remove as much of the pulp from the inside as possible

                - when chopping the Cilantro, keeping the stems along with the leaves is fine

                - additional lime juice can be added to balance flavors before serving

                - be light on the salt at the start, more can always be added before serving






Game Section


Hangman, By Definition


This is a five round game, with each round consisting of a variable number of turns. The winner will be the person who wins the most rounds, with a tie breaker being fewest total number of turns in those winning rounds. Second tie breaker will be the most number of letters guessed (by total count revealed, not by individual letter).


Each round will consist of identifying a word of at least six letters. Along with each word will be the first definition given. Both words and definitions will be identified by blank spaces. Words and definitions are verified in a dictionary that was my high school graduation gift (slight hint to those who might want to find the edition). [[Note – for the first round of this game, an online source was used]]


The goal is to guess the word in as few turns as possible. Each turn, all players will submit one letter to be revealed. The letter submitted by the most players will be the letter revealed in the next turn. Ties will be broken by a random method. Additionally, each player should submit a guess for the word. Once the word is correctly identified (spelling is important), that round will end and a new round will begin. All players who guess the word in the same turn will share in the win for the round. If the word is not guessed by the end of six turns with no letter revealed, no one will win the round.


Along with revealing letters in the word, letters will be revealed in the definition. There are no bonus points for guessing any part of the definition, it is only there to help players figure out the word. No guesses about parts of the definition will be confirmed or displayed except by the letter revealed in that round.


All rounds start with the letters “E” and “S” already revealed.




Round Two, Turn One:     


                Letter Votes: 1 - M, 1 - R, 2 - T, 1 - X                                              Revealed: N/A    

                Words Guessed:   Doug Kent - Balderdash; Mark Lew - Jiggermast; Dane Maslen - Mizzenmast;

                                                                Jim-Bob Burgess - Amateurish; Andy Lischett - <No Guess>




                Word:                     M I Z Z E N M A S T


Definition:             The third mast aft on sailing ships carrying three or more masts.


                Revealed:              E, S



Round Three, Turn Zero:


                Word:                     __  __  E  __  __  __  __  __  E  __  __  __  __  __  __


Definition:             __  __  __  E  S  __  E  __      __  __  __  __      __  __     


__  __  __  __  E  __  __  __  __  __      __  __  __  __      __  __  __  E  __  S.


                Revealed:              E, S


Words Guessed: Mark D Lew - 1, Dane Maslen - 1


Player Comments:


Mark Lew: (commenting on the initial reveal of “E” and “S”) I guess that depends on how you look at the game. If all us

                players are competing as a group against you the GM, then sure. But if we’re competing against each other, each of us                 wants to pick the letter that we think will help us more than it will help out competitors. Surely for at least some that

                will not be E or S. [WAY] OK, I’m willing to revise my take on this jump start. Anyone else want to weigh in on the


                [ML] The key to this next one is the lack of E’s. Not sure if there’s enough information yet. Probably need another

                letter. [WAY] OK, mea culpa time (again). I missed three of the danged E’s when setting this up. In the future, I’m

                going to have to do the game, give it a day or two, then revisit it to make sure I’m not making a mistake. Yes, send in

                those letters of vitriolic chastisement requesting that I be flogged. (Hmmm, can’t use those words in the future.....). And,

                maybe this is a good reason NOT to spot the players E and S. But, in this round, it doesn’t seem to have made a big

                difference in your deliberations (see below).

[ML] (next note) ...Hmmm, well I’m stumped for now on the definition. The first word is almost certainly “the”, which makes

                the answer a noun. I think the next step is to parse the grammar of the definition. I can’t figure if _S_ is the noun with a

                five-letter adjective in front, or if the five-letter word is the noun. I can’t get the _ _ to work in either case, but it has to

                somehow. Once I figure that out, it *might* give me a clue whether S_S is a generic word like “shows” or “suits” or it’s

                something specific like “ships” or “stars”, in which case maybe I can piece together a definition.

                In the meantime, I guess “Balderdash” for the simple reason that at the moment I can’t come up with any other plausible

                noun that fits the pattern. It’s hard to see what sort of definition could fit for that, though. I may update my guess later if

                something occurs to me.

[ML] (third note) Ha. I just looked up “balderdash” in my Merriam Webster and the definition is “nonsense”. Just one word. Not

                promising for my guess....

                I do, by the way, think there is enough information to solve the puzzle already. But it may require a lot of time and

                effort. On the other hand, it’s the sort of puzzle to lodge in your brain to think about while driving, in the shower, trying

                to sleep at night, etc, so maybe my subconscious will go to work and I’ll have a eureka moment.

[ML] (last note for the day) These are horribly addictive for me. I keep meaning to call it a night, but I just can’t stop.

                You seem to like to see my thought process. [WAY] Yep! [ML] OK, here’s what’s going through my head.

                S __ __ __ __ __ __  S __ __ __ S looks like “sailing ships” to me, but I still can’t get __ __ to fit grammar-wise.

                I’m looking for some sort of ship-related word now, like maybe something-mast, but not finding anything.

                The fact that the definition begins with “the” rather than “a” is actually very informative. It means it’s the sort of noun

                that would be definitely defined, not indefinitely defined. For example, if it were a something-fish, I would expect an

                “a” definition. (Assuming that’s really “the”, of course, but what else would it be?) Another example: something-ist

                would probably be an “a” definition, but something-ism would probably be “the”.

                I still think the grammar of the __ __ is the key.

                Ooh, breakthrough! The three-letter word can be “put”! So, the grammar is something like “the brown mush put on

                sailing ships variably burnt in many posts”. Yeah, OK, that’s nonsense, but it’s the only grammar that I can make work

                at all. Nothing else was working for that  __ __ combo.

                This looks like a very promising lead, but I really must pack it in for the night. I’ll bet I could get it tonight with Google,

                but I promised to refrain.

                For now my official guess is still balderdash, but hopefully I can crack this one sometime before the month is over.

[ML] (later note) Tonight I’m thinking about masts. Sailing ships have masts, and the answer word could be some compound

                ending in “mast”. It occurs to me that the third and/or last word in the definition might also be “mast”.

                I’m realizing how dependent I am on Google for everything. When I promised not to google I wasn’t thinking of basic

                research but right now I want to find a web page listing different sorts of masts. What did we do before the Internet? I

                guess I have encyclopedias here. Or maybe I can find my way around Wikipedia without using any search engine.

                I tried “mizzenmast” in my Merriam Webster and it says “the mast aft or next aft of the main mast on a ship.” I can’t

                make it fit your definition, though.

                It does make me wonder if the three-letter word is “aft”. If both those words in the definition are “mast” it could be

                something like “the third mast aft on sailing ships carrying three or more masts”. [WAY] Bingo!

                [ML] Same concept could apply if it’s not “mast” at all, but a compound ending with some other __ __ S __ word and

                those two in the definition still match.

                ... ooh, progress. I went to the Wikipedia page for “mast” where a few masts are listed. There’s one called “jigger-mast”

                labeled “typically, where it is the shortest, the aft-most mast on vessels with more than three masts”. That doesn’t quite

                match my tentative definition above, but it’s pretty close. The wiki page does say “(where the naming is less

                standardized)”, so maybe your definition doesn’t quite match. [WAY] The exact reason I’m using a printed dictionary,

                pre-Internet. As you showed last time, using an online definition can help with confirming the guess is correct; while,

                this way, there is still a bit of guess work in the final answer.

                [ML] Seems promising. I change my official guess to “jiggermast”. [WAY] Oh, so close. The second definition in my

                dictionary for mizzenmast is “a jigger mast”. Note, my dictionary has that as two words, not one.


Dane Maslen: The result of the first round was rather annoying as I considered ‘Carabiner’ as a guess and then discarded it for

                some (obviously incorrect!) reason.

                Let’s see if I can do any better with round 2....

                Guess: Mizzenmast (‘The middle mast --- on sailing ships’ etc perhaps?)

                If I’ve guessed correctly, then I suspect I ought to stop doing what I’m currently doing (see below) as otherwise I might

                make a mockery of the game. [WAY] Your choice, but as you comment and as Mark noted last time, using the power of

                desk top computers and the Internet can give a substantial advantage. In my opinion, that turns the fun of solving the

                game on  your own into a rote exercise of technological manipulation. I have the same sort of choice with the Military

                Quiz in Brad Martin’s Western Front (excellent e-zine, highly recommended if you don’t already get it). I answer using

                my personal knowledge and what I can find in the books in my library. I’m sure I could have a better score using the

                Internet to research; but I wouldn’t have the fun and challenge that I currently experience. And, yes, on occasion I do

                score at or near the top - just not lately. Wars of the 19th Century - besides the American Civil War - are not my forte.

                [DM] On my PC I have a SOWPODS word list, i.e. a list of valid Scrabble words. It’s easy for me to search it for words

                that match the pattern. There were only 27 this time and many of the (e.g. Latternmost, Unidealism) seemed inherently

                unlikely, so I confined myself to thinking about the more likely ones. Definitions for Amateurish and Amateurism

                didn’t seem to fit, and the definition for Fingerpost would surely have ‘- - - - e -’ (i.e. ‘finger’) in it somewhere. Then I

                got to Mizzenmast and ‘sailing’, ‘ships’, ‘mast’ and ‘middle’ rapidly leapt off the screen at me.


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

Suggestions accepted for other games to offer.




Deadline For The Next Issue of Out of the WAY:

August 22, 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 78720-111

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press – Permanent Opening in ES): Signed up: Philip Murphy, Ian Pringle, William Wood, Rick Davis, Robert Jewett, Graham Wilson, need one more to fill.  Get in on the fun now!

Diplomacy “Cronin Special” (White Press): A regular Diplomacy game with White Press, but with Larry Cronin and his two sons together in the same game.  If they’re anything like my family, that’s no guarantee they’ll be allies – more likely they’ll constantly stab each other.  But come sign up and help the two Cronin sons get some PBM experience!  Signed up: Larry Cronin, Michael Cronin, Chuy Cronin, Pat Vogelsang, Graham Wilson, need 2 more to fill. 

Gunboat Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: Six players, need one more to fill.  Sign up now!

Fog of War Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: Jack McHugh, Graham Wilson, Mark Firth, need four more to fill.  Rules can be found in ES #30.  The only portion of the game which will run here in the zine would be the press, as the maps and the supply center information is all private.  And, of course, the end-game statements and report would be run here.  But the game would run under the usual ES schedule.

Colonial Diplomacy: Hugh Polley has volunteered to guest GM this, with a bond game alongside (a Bourse-type game).  Signed up: Robert Jewett, Martin Burgdorf, Jack McHugh, Graham Wilson, need three more.

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 (one just joined this issue), and are then given 1000 units of every currency still in circulation.  The rules to Bourse can be found in ES #24.

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

Standby List: HELP!  I need standby players! – Current standby list: Graham Wilson, Jim Burgess (Dip only), and whoever I beg into it in an emergency.

I may offer another Gunboat 7x7 soon, so keep your eyes open.  I’m also considering variants like Cline 9-Man (one player has shown interest so far), Youngstown, or Woolworth.  Does anybody have an interest in Kremlin?  Or Stephen Agar’s Cannibalism?  And now that Deviant Dip II is starting, if the rest of you realize what a fun variant it is, I may offer another game of THAT (despite how many times I have been warned not to)!  If somebody wants to guest-GM a game of anything, just say the word.  If you have specific game requests please let me know.




Eternal Sunshine Game Section


Diplomacy “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” 2008A, W 06


Austria (Kevin Wilson - ckevinw “of” Build A Vienna..Has A Budapest, F Greece, F North Africa,

 A Serbia, A Trieste, A Vienna, A Warsaw.

England (Jérémie LeFrançois - jeremie.lefrancois “of” Build A London, F Edinburgh..

 Has F Baltic Sea, F Belgium, F Edinburgh, F English Channel, F Irish Sea, A London, F Mid-Atlantic Ocean,

 A Moscow, F North Atlantic Ocean, A Sevastopol.

France (William Wood – woodw “of”  Has A Brest, A Gascony.

Germany (Graham Wilson – grahamaw “of” Build A Kiel..Has A Berlin, A Kiel, A Munich.

Italy (Don Williams – dwilliam “of” Retreat A Brest – Picardy, Remove F Tyrrhenian Sea,

 A Venice.  Has F Gulf of Lyon, F Marseilles, A Picardy, A Piedmont, F Spain(nc), F Western Mediterranean.

Russia (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” Disbands A Berlin, A Serbia, A Sevastopol. 

 Has A Rumania.

Turkey (Brad Wilson - bwdolphin146 “of” Build F Smyrna..Has F Black Sea, F Bulgaria(ec),

 A Constantinople, F Smyrna.


wibn w06


Concession to England Fails.  Now Proposed – A/E/I Draw.  Please vote!


Seasons Separated By Player Request

Spring 1907 Deadline is August 25th 2009 at 7:00am my time




A to E: I think we could have made it through the possibilities this time without a separation of seasons.  While there were a lot of choices for retreats, the choices for adjustments, other than yours, were more limited.  What's done is done.




Diplomacy “Dulcinea” 2008C, Fall 1903


Austria (Stephen Agar – stephen “of” F Adriatic Sea Supports A Trieste – Venice,

 A Budapest - Trieste (*Bounce*), A Rumania – Ukraine, A Trieste – Venice, A Vienna - Trieste (*Bounce*).

England (Philip Murphy trekkypj “of” A London – Wales,

 F North Sea Supports F Sweden – Skagerrak, A Norway Hold, F St Petersburg(nc) Hold, F Sweden - Skagerrak.

France (Brad Wilson – bwdolphin146 ”of” Belgium Supports A London - Holland (*Void*),

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean - North Africa, A Paris - Burgundy (*Fails*), A Picardy Supports A Belgium,

 F Spain(sc) - Portugal.

Germany (William Wood – woodw “of” Retreat A Belgium - Ruhr..

 F Denmark Supports F Sweden – Skagerrak, A Holland - Belgium (*Fails*), A Kiel – Ruhr,

 A Munich Supports A Ruhr – Burgundy, A Ruhr - Burgundy.

Italy (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc),

 A Marseilles Supports F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc), A Tyrolia - Venice (*Fails*),

 F Western Mediterranean Supports F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc).

Russia (Jack McHugh – jwmchughjr “of” F Skagerrak - North Sea (*Disbanded*),

 A Ukraine – Moscow, A Warsaw Supports A Ukraine - Moscow.

Turkey (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” Aegean Sea - Ionian Sea,

 F Black Sea Supports A Sevastopol, F Bulgaria(ec) – Constantinople, A Greece Hold,

 A Sevastopol Supports A Rumania - Ukraine.


dulcinea f03


Supply Center Chart


Austria:            Budapest, Rumania, Serbia, Trieste, Venice, Vienna=6                                    Build 1

England:          Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Norway, St Petersburg, Sweden=6      Build 1

France:            Belgium, Brest, Paris, Portugal=4                                                         Remove 1

Germany:         Berlin, Denmark, Holland, Kiel, Munich=5                                             Even

Italy:                Marseilles, Naples, Rome, Spain, Tunis=5                                            Build 1

Russia:             Moscow, Warsaw=2                                                                             Even

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Greece, Sevastopol, Smyrna=6       Build 1


Winter 1903/Spring 1904 Deadline is August 25th 2009 at 7:00am my time




Smaug to the Wicked Witch of the East: Stop trying to goose the PM. Can't you see he's not interested in
Dorothy anymore? :P

Witch to Witch: Yeah, so what?

Prime Minister to Russia: My dear Tsar, you look positively ill. Do try these smelling salts, they're spiffing for when you're all congested like that. I do hope you're not coming down with swine flu.... I know what would help!. I have a case of good French Cognac, some excellent caviar and those Ryvita crackers you seem to like so much on my yacht in Petrograd harbour. Why not come down to the docks and join me for a short cruise? Fresh sea air will do you no end of good. You can even bring that lady friend of yours... *grin*


Diplomacy “Bellicus” from Strange Meeting, Spring/Summer 1904


bellicus su04

Austria (Terry Hayes – Telboy203 “of” A Vienna Hold (*Dislodged*, removed).

England (Smiley McKinnon – Boltar35 “of” F Edinburgh Supports F London - North Sea,

 F London - North Sea, A Yorkshire - London.

France (Pat Vogelsang – godawgsgo33 “of” A Belgium Hold, F Brest - English Channel,

 A Burgundy Supports A Belgium, F English Channel - Irish Sea, A Gascony Supports A Burgundy,

 A Picardy Supports A Belgium.

Germany (Beartla de Burca – beartlab “of” F Denmark Hold,

 A Holland Supports F North Sea – Belgium, A Munich Supports A Silesia,

 F North Sea - Belgium (*Dislodged*, NRR, removed), A Silesia Supports A Munich.

Italy (David Latimer – davidlatimeryork “of” F Adriatic Sea Supports F Tunis – Ionian Sea,

 F Tunis – Ionian Sea, A Tyrolia – Trieste, A Venice Supports A Tyrolia - Trieste.

Russia (Chris Babcock – cbabcock “of” A Bohemia Supports A Trieste – Vienna,

 A Moscow - St Petersburg, F Norway – Skagerrak, A Sevastopol – Ukraine, F Sweden - Denmark (*Fails*),

 A Trieste – Vienna, A Warsaw - Galicia.

Turkey (Phil Amos – p.v.a “of” F Albania Supports F Greece - Ionian Sea,

 F Black Sea – Constantinople, A Bulgaria – Serbia, F Constantinople - Aegean Sea, F Greece - Ionian Sea,

 F Rumania - Black Sea, A Serbia - Budapest.


I must apologize for an error last turn, which was only pointed out at the last minute.  Italy actually ordered F Adr S F Tun – Ion, and F Tun – Ion.  So the Turkish move to Ionian Sea bounced.  My mistake!  Orders on file for Fall 1904 will be used if you do not submit new ones (but I’d prefer it if you either submit new ones or email me to say “use the ones you have on file”).


Fall/Winter 1904 Deadline is August 25th 2009 at 7:00am my time



Diplomacy “Chimaera” from Strange Meeting, Spring/Summer 1904

chimaera s04

Austria (Tim Deacon – tim “of” A Budapest Supports A Vienna,

 A Serbia Supports A Greece – Bulgaria, A Vienna Supports A Silesia - Bohemia.

England (Nigel Pepper – nepper “of” A Belgium – Burgundy,

 F English Channel Convoys A Wales - North Africa, F Holland Supports F North Sea – Belgium,

 F Kiel Supports F Baltic Sea - Berlin (*Void*), F Liverpool - Irish Sea,

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Convoys A Wales - North Africa, F North Sea – Belgium, A Wales - North Africa.

France (Robert Jewett – Robert_Jewett “of” and robertjewett “of”

 A Brest Supports A Picardy, F Marseilles - Spain(sc), A Munich Supports A Ruhr, A Picardy Supports A Brest,

 F Mid-Atlantic Sea Hold (No Such Unit), F Portugal Unordered, A Ruhr Supports A Munich.

Italy (Jimmy Cowie – jcowie “of” F Adriatic Sea - Ionian Sea, F Albania Unordered,

 F Ionian Sea - Tyrrhenian Sea, A Trieste – Venice, A Tyrolia Supports A Munich.

Russia (Mike Oliveri – oliverima “of” F Ankara Supports A Bulgaria – Constantinople,

 F Baltic Sea Supports A Berlin, A Berlin Supports A Warsaw – Silesia,

 F Black Sea Supports A Bulgaria – Constantinople, A Bulgaria – Constantinople, A Moscow – Sevastopol,

 A Sevastopol – Rumania, A Silesia – Bohemia, A Warsaw - Silesia.

Turkey (Eric Knibb – eric_knibb “of” A Constantinople – Smyrna, A Greece – Bulgaria,

 F Smyrna - Aegean Sea.


Fall/Winter 1904 Deadline is August 25th 2009 at 7:00am my time



Austria – Italy : Hi, I considered all of your suggestions and decided that they were too risky, hence my support for Vie.  If you have moved as you have indicated then you will have restored some of my trust and we could, perhaps, work more harmoniously in the future.


Austria – Turkey ; Support for Gre, as agreed.  The question is what next?


Austria – Russia : I  decided to provide support for Sil – Boh, just to see if you were serious!



Diplomacy “Albion” from Strange Meeting, Spring 1904 Correction!!

Remember to send orders to Stephen Agar, NOT me!!!



AUSTRIA-HUNGARY (Douglas Kent): F(ION) - TYS (FAILED, DISLODGED TO Tun); A(Tyr) s A(Bud) - Tri;

 A(Bud) - Tri; A(Vie) - Boh (FAILED); A(Gal) - War; A(Rum) - Ser

ENGLAND (Jeremy Tullett): A(Yor) - Lpl; F(BAR) - NWG; F(NWG) - Edi

FRANCE (Mark Stretch): F(MAO) c A(Gas) - Wal; F(IRI) c A(Gas) - Wal; A(Mar) - Pie; A(Spa) - Gas;

 A(Gas) - Wal

GERMANY (Toby Harris): A(Den) - Swe; F(SKA) s A(Bel) - Nwy; F(NTH) c A(Bel) - Nwy; A(Lon) - Yor;

 A(Mun) - Boh (FAILED); A(Sil) - Gal; A(Bel) - Nwy

ITALY (Mog Firth): F(ADS) c A(Ven) - Alb; A(Rom) - Nap (FAILED); F(TYS) - Nap (FAILED); A(Ven) - Alb

RUSSIA (Robin ap Cynan): A(War) Stands (DISLODGED TO Lvn);

 F(Nwy) s A(Fin) - StP (CUT, DISLODGED - DISBANDED NRO); A(Fin) - StP

TURKEY (Ian Pringle): F(EMS) - ION; F(AEG) s F(EMS) - ION; F(Smy) - EMS; A(Sev) - Ukr; A(Bul) Stands;

 A(Mos) s AUSTRIAN A(Gal) - War


GM: Apologies for having to re-adjudicate - I misread one of Toby's orders - unfortunately a crucial one. He ordered F(SKA) S A(Bel)-Nwy - which means the attack succeeded. More apologies also needed, as some of you had not realized that the game report was being published here. Hopefully we are all sorted now.


Fall/Winter 1904 Deadline is August 22nd

Orders go to Stephen Agar!!!



“Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse


Billy Ray Valentine: Tries to explain that he was code name “Agent Orange” in the Vietnam War.


Duke of York: Sells 500 Marks and 500 Lira.  Buys 1024 Piastres.


Smaug the Dragon: Sells 500 Crowns, 500 Pounds, 500 Lire.  Buys 500 Rubles, 1000 Marks.


Rothschild: Sells 4 Crowns, 500 Francs, 156 Marks.  Buys 152 Pounds, 158 Lire, 166 Piastres.


Baron Wuffet: Under SEC investigation, the Baron declines to make any new transactions.


Wooden Nickel Enterprises: Stands pat, counting his wooden nickels.

VAIONT Enterprises: Sells 500 Crowns.  Buys 780 Rubles.


Insider Trading LLC: Sells 500 Pounds.  Buys 536 Francs.


Next Bourse Deadline is August 24th 2009 at 7:00pm my time





DUKE OF YORK to VAIONT ENTERPRISES: You, sir, are going in precisely the wrong direction, and I will take advantage of your particularly inopportune purchases to reorient MY portfolio out of Marks and Lira.  Thanks much for your assistance.


DUKE OF YORK to GM: But I very much do support the VAIONT's request to move to Euros; however, us Brits don't go in for anything but Pounds.  Since I don't see any reason to own the other ones, let's just make Pounds the trading currency.


Deviant Dip II – “Black Licorice” – 2009Brc08 - Winter 1901


Austria (John Walker - jwalker150 “of” Build A Vienna, A Budapest..Has A Budapest,

 F Greece, A Serbia, A Trieste, A Vienna.

England (Russell Blau – russblau “of” Build A London, F Edinburgh..Has A Belgium,

 F Edinburgh, A London, F North Sea, F Norway.

France (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” Build F Brest, F Marseilles, A Paris, plays 1 short..Has

 F Brest, F Marseilles, A Paris, F Portugal, A Spain.

Germany (Pete Gaughan – raptormage “of” Build A Berlin..Has A Berlin, F Denmark,

 A Holland, A Ruhr.

Italy (John David Galt – jdg “of” Build F Naples..Has F Ionian Sea, F Naples,

 A Rome, A Tunis.

Russia (Mark D Lew – markdlew “of” Build A Warsaw, A Moscow..Has F Constantinople,

 A Galicia, A Moscow, A Rumania, F Sweden, A Warsaw.

Turkey (Jason Bergmann – jasonbergmann “of” Build F Smyrna..Has F Aegean Sea,

 A Bulgaria, A Sevastopol, F Smyrna.


Barbarians have a unit in Munich.


Official Standby Players, as needed: Jack McHugh  (jwmchughjr “of”, Hugh Polley (hapolley “of”


Spring 1902 Deadline is August 24th at 7:00pm my time

This turn will include votes, proposals, and moves!


Proposed Rules:

Rule #14 - Duck Williams Heart of Darkness Rule (Proposed by Jim Burgess): While Don Williams may be "out of the game" one can never be OUT of this game. Two new Provinces in Africa are created by this rule, accessed from Belgium (for obvious reasons) and London.  Belgium now also is attached to the Upper River province, which in turn is attached to the Lower River Province, which in turn is attached to London.  Only Fleets may enter this "river pathway" between London and Belgium, convoys may be made through it if two fleets are in it.  The first fleet entering this pathway is forever afterward dubbed "Marlow's Steamship" (again for obvious reasons) and that player shall then document to the GM (via CC or other means) E-Mails, phone calls, text messages, Facebook/Twitter postings etc. to Don Williams where they say "The horror, the horror!"  Besides driving Don nuts, Marlow's Steamship shall never be able to be dislodged or removed in the game (regardless of whether it has a supporting supply center) as long as the GM (in his infinite wisdom of how to bug people) views that the owner of Marlow's Steamship has sufficiently bugged Don that month.


Rule #15 - Habsburg Relocation Act (Proposed by Mark D. Lew): Besieged by enemies on all sides, the Habsburg emperor pleads to Heaven for deliverance! Heaven answers, and the core of the empire is removed from Europe and transplanted to a paradise island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The four spaces of Vie, Bud, Tri, and Ser are transplanted: They are no longer adjacent to Boh, Gal, Rum, Bul, Gre, Alb, Adr, Ven, or Tyo. They are each adjacent to Mid (and thus have a coast now). They retain their normal adjacency with respect to each other. Any units currently occupying those spaces are transplanted with them. The area where those spaces used to be is now a large impassable void.

Rule #16 - Drench the Vermin! (Proposed by Mark D. Lew): France, Russia and Germany are renamed Drance, Nussia, and Verminy. Whenever reporting game results, GM must list countries in the following order: Drance, England, Verminy, Italy, Austria, Nussia, Turkey.

Rule #17 - "Teleport Gates" (Proposed by John David Galt): The North Atlantic becomes adjacent to the Eastern Med.  The Gulf of Bothnia becomes adjacent to the Western Med.  Galicia becomes adjacent to Burgundy.

Rule #18 - "Buying Your Vote II" (Proposed by John David Galt): Whenever a rule is enacted, the player who proposed it may build one extra unit, immediately, after the turn in which the vote takes place is adjudicated (but before any retreats).  This unit does not need supply until the end of the next Fall turn following the turn in which it is built.  The player may submit a preference list of possible builds; the first build on the list that is legally possible is performed.  (If a player proposed more than one rule that was enacted on the same turn, he gets an extra build for each such rule.)

All players who proposed rules that were enacted before this rule took effect may build units for them in Spring 1902 anyway.  Including this one.


Rule #19 – “Marines” (Proposed by John Walker): All units are made into units called Marines.   Marines can move on Land, Water or by Air.  Marines Have no movement restrictions if by air.  Air Movement takes 2 turns to complete, Either a spring-fall or a fall-spring.


Rule #20 – “Additional Players” (Proposed by John Walker): Spain, Portugal and Tunis are made into a country and given to Jack McHugh.  Sweden, Norway and Denmark are made into a country and given to Hugh Polly.  These 2 countries must act as one country and Jack and Hugh have to work as a team.  Proxy is not allowed by either player to the other.


Rule #21 - "It's All About the Rules" Rule (Proposed by Russell Blau):  Beginning with the season this rule goes into effect, each player (as defined in the More Deviant Rule) receives one Rule Point (RP) for each rule proposed by that player that goes into effect.  For every season in which voting takes place, each player receives one vote for each RP they hold, in addition to all votes provided for in other rules. Clause (9) of the Deviant Diplomacy II rules is repealed. The Victory Condition for this game is to control a majority of the awarded RPs, provided that no player can win the game until the total number of RPs awarded is greater than one-half the number of supply centers in existence.


Rule #22 - "Continent-Wide Web version 2.0" (Proposed by Russell Blau): Every passable space on the map is adjacent to the spaces immediately before and after it in alphabetical order. The list wraps around, so Yorkshire is adjacent to Adriatic Sea, and vice versa. All new coastlines created by this rule are considered to be contiguous to existing coastlines -- so, for example, a fleet that enters Yorkshire from the Adriatic can exist to the North Sea, and vice versa -- and new land boundaries created by this rule do not interrupt any existing coastlines. Each space's name is alphabetized based on how it is printed on the official map on the copy of The Game used by the GM. In addition, at the end of the Fall 1902 season, the GM will randomly select one land space for each power, from among all land spaces within that power's 1901 boundaries that is (a) not a supply center and (b) not occupied by any unit, which will immediately become a buildable home supply center for that power.


Rule #23 – “Island grabbing” (Proposed by Jason Bergmann): Effective immediately: Iceland is a German Home Center containing a German Fleet; Ireland is an English Home Center containing an English fleet; Corsica is an Austrian Home Center containing an Austrian Fleet; Sardinia is a French Home Center containing a French Fleet; Sicily is an Italian Home Center containing an Italian army; Crete is a Turkish Home Center Containing a Turkish Fleet; Cyprus is a Russian Home Center containing a Russian fleet.  All such spaces are now passable.  The Eternal Sunshine map shall be used to determine what other spaces to which they are adjacent.  In addition, Sicily and Naples are adjacent to each other, and Corsica and Sardinia are adjacent to each other.


Rule #24 – “The Pope” (Proposed by Jason Bergmann): (1) The Pope enters the game, effective immediately.  The Pope has one home supply center -- Vatican City.  Vatican City is adjacent to and surrounded entirely by Rome.  The Pope may not build armies or fleets; the Pope may only build cardinals.  The Pope begins play with a cardinal in Vatican City.  Vatican City is impassible to both armies and fleets.


(2) Cardinals may move on land (or be convoyed) as if they were armies.  Cardinals ignore enemy armies or fleets when moving, and Cardinals may coexist in a space with an enemy army or fleet.  Enemy armies or fleets do not effect cardinals.  If a cardinal ends a Fall turn in an unoccupied supply center, the Pope takes possession of the supply center.  Each Cardinal must be supported by a supply center every Winter turn, or be disbanded.


(3) In lieu of moving, cardinals may attempt to convert any army or fleet that coexists in the same space.  If a conversion attempt is successful, the army or fleet becomes an army or fleet belonging to the Pope.  Such converted units must be supported by a supply center every Winter turn, or be disbanded.


(4) For each conversion attempt, the GM rolls a six-sided die.  Italian units are particularly susceptible to a Catholic message and are converted on a roll of 1-5.  French units are converted on a roll of 1-4.  German and Austrian units are converted on a roll of 1-3.  English units are converted on a roll of 1-2.  Russian units are converted on a roll of 1.  Turkish units are never converted.  Any other nation's units are converted on a roll of 1-3.


(5) Every Winter and Spring season, the Pope may propose up to one rule change.  The Pope may choose to submit no rule proposals without consequence.
(6) Every Spring and Fall season, the Pope has a number of votes equal to the number of supply centers controlled at the end of the previous Fall season.


(7) All standby players who are not currently in the game will play rock-paper-scissors to determine which of them will play the Pope.


Rule #25 - The Boob Says Nay and Ducks (Proposed by Jim Burgess): Jim-Bob has NO interest in actually playing this game, so he gives control of all the units back to Don "The Duck" Williams.  So as to meet the criteria of the previously passed "unlucky" Rule 13, Don is NOT actually re-called into the game.  He just has to control all the units.  The Boob will retain all the voting and rule-proposing rights that are the only reason anyone would actually want to play this insane game and define who the actual players are.  If this rule passes, the Boob (aka Jim-Bob) can never push a piece, order a unit, or any other order writing construct that anyone cares to propose for any power for the rest of the game.


Rule #26 – “Legacy Band” (Proposed by Pete Gaughan): When, at the end of any Fall, Spring, or Winter turn, a player no longer controls a country -- whether by dropout, elimination, rule change, or any other means -- the GM begins a count of Spring and Fall seasons. When that count reaches 4, in the next turn or vote of any kind that player starts their "Comeback Tour": they are given a random non-SC passable land space as a home supply center, and their choice of a fleet or army in that space. That unit is double strength (counts as two units for all legal actions, but the unit may only be given one order--those two 'strengths' may not be split). This rule shall be considered retroactive in so far as necessary to include the departure of Don Williams.


Passed Rule Proposals:

Rule #1 - More Deviant Rule (Proposed by Jason Bergmann).  Paragraphs (5), (7), and (8) of the Deviant Diplomacy II variant rules are repealed and replaced with the following:


(1) Every Winter and Spring season, each starting player who controlled at least one supply center at the end of the previous Fall season may propose up to two rule changes.  Such players may choose to submit fewer than two rule proposals without consequence.


(2) Every Winter and Spring season, each starting player who controlled no supply centers at the end of the previous Fall season may propose up to one rule change.  Such players may choose to submit no rule proposals without consequence.


(3) Every Spring and Fall season, each starting player has a number of votes equal to one plus the number of supply centers the starting player controlled at the end of the previous Fall season. 


(4) Players may vote yes or no.  Players may cast all of their votes for or against any one rule proposal, or players can split yes and no votes among multiple rule proposals.  Players' votes are published.


(5) A no vote on any rule proposal cancels a yes vote.  The rule proposal receiving the most net yes votes goes into effect beginning the next season.  If more than one rule proposal tie for the most net yes votes, then all tied rules go into effect beginning the next season.  The rule proposal (or proposals) will go into effect even if the net yes votes are zero or negative.


(6) In addition to any rule proposals that go into effect under paragraph (5), additional rule proposals may also go into effect beginning the next season, if such proposals receive one or more net yes votes and if such proposals do not receive no votes from at least two different players.


(7) If two or more rule proposals would go into effect on the same turn but conflict explicitly or implicitly with each other, then both rules are null and void.


(8) The phrase "starting player" refers to the seven players who started this game, plus any standby player who succeeds the position of a starting player in this game.  The word "player" includes all starting players and all other persons who enter the game as a result of the passage of additional rules.


(9) This rule may be amended or repealed only by any rule proposal going into effect under paragraph (5).  Any rule proposal going into effect under paragraph (6) that amends or repeals this rule, or which conflicts explicitly or implicitly with the terms of this rule, will have no effect.


Rule #8 - "Barbarian Hordes, or the Excess Profits Tax." (Proposed by John David Galt).  When any power captures three or more supply centers (which he did not already own) in a single fall season, neutral armies known as "Barbarian Hordes" are immediately built in half of those centers (rounded down), selected at random by the GM.  This happens before the owner can build.

Once at least one Barbarian Horde exists on the board, player(s) may spend any or all of their rule votes to attempt to give an order to a Barbarian Horde.  Each Horde follows the order to it that gets the most votes.  If a Horde receives no orders, it is in disorder and holds.

If two or more orders to a Horde get the same number of votes, the tied orders are cancelled and Horde obeys the non-tied order with the most votes, even if that is a smaller number of votes than the tied orders got.

Barbarian Hordes are amphibious -- they can move to any land space as if they were armies, and to any water space as if they were fleets.  They cannot convoy or be convoyed.  They can support and be supported.  They cannot retreat, and are destroyed if dislodged -- but that is the only way to destroy them, because they do not need supply.

If a Barbarian Horde occupies a supply center after a Fall turn, that center becomes unowned.  However, a newly built Barbarian Horde does not affect the ownership of its starting location in the Fall turn in which it is built.

When a Barbarian Horde is built, the unit which captured that space is destroyed (thus allowing the owner to rebuild it normally in the Winter turn immediately afterward, if he holds enough centers).


Rule #13 – “The Duck Escapes Rule” (Proposed by Don Williams): Due to inept leadership, poor press writing, and insufficient cerebral bandwidth the French Republic under Don “Le Duc” Guillaume is swept away in a monstrously effective coup d’etat.  A new government and extremely popular government – to be headed by the extraordinarily handsome, exceptionally erudite, and press-prolific James “Le Burgess du L’Isle du Rhodes” Burgess – is immediately installed.  Tragically, as “Le Duc” is dragged straightforward to the guillotine for his just come-uppance, he is permanently unavailable to be re-called into this travesty of a dip game.



This is the all powerful EFGIATR - The Le Duc is really holed up in Switzerland and until a new rule can be proposed to dethrone Jim Burgess.

 Austria  - Turkey:  What happened to dropping the bombs???


Nuts -Anonymous:  If we are nuts then you are downright loony.


(London)  The Ministry of Silly Armaments has announced the development of a Diplomacy Bomb, which seeks out and destroys the leader of any country who fails to negotiate with other powers.  The Prime Minister immediately dismissed the Minister of Silly Armaments and ordered the destruction of all plans for this bomb, for obvious reasons.


BOOB to DUCK: We'll SEE who wins this duck and cover battle.  You may duck well, but he who ducks last, ducks best.


BOOB to EFGIATR: No biggie, I don't WANT to order any units here.  Isn't that the Edi Birsan dictum for how to win at Diplomacy?


Board to Everyone:  Can you please not walk so hard.  The shoes are scuffing up the floors.


DEVIANT to EFGIATR:  We shall see who is "all powerful" now!  Prepare to be extinguished, puny EFGIATR! The great DEVIANT defies you and laughs in your face.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!


(Berlin) No, you fools, this is the real German press! Don't listen to anything those fake Germans say.  Don't even listen to anything that comes in email claiming to be from me. In fact, your best bet is to ignore me entirely.


This is the all powerful EFGIATR: Surrender immediately.  I have flying monkeys, and I'm not afraid to use them.


BOOB to THE BOARD: Just checking, no one is really trying to play this like a Diplomacy game, are they??


GERMANY to FRANCE: Thank Ghod, now we can have some sanity here with YOU playing France!


The Crown to the English people:  Leave just leave.  I don't care.  I must find my marbles!!!!!!!


Switzerland to the Board:  When do I get to play????


The water to the land:  The flood is coming.  The flood is coming.


The Chicken to the Egg:  Which came first???



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 8 Categories

1. Type of apple (not just the color).

2. A day of the week.

3. A color of lipstick other than red.

4. A punishment for a child.

5. A Greek letter.


Selected Comments By Category:

AppleKevin Wilson “I'm more of a Braeburn or Fuji fan but the Red Delicious is the most popular apple in the US so it will likely get a lot of responses.”  Allison Kent “My favorite is Honeycrisp though!”

DayJohn Colledge “Now I’m retired, it really doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, but I used to look forward to Saturdays.”  Kevin Wilson “TGIF.  I also thought of Saturday, play day but decided to stick with Friday.  I expect Monday and Sunday to see little response.”  Dane Maslen “The only problem being that some people might consider Sunday the first day of the week (cf the Portuguese for Monday through Friday which literally translate as 'second day' through 'sixth day'; if I recall correctly the Icelandic for Tuesday and Friday are literally 'second day' and 'fifth day'; and German is just one of several languages for which the word for Wednesday translates as 'mid week'.”


Lipstick – Michael Moulton “Tough call between pink and black, but I don’t know how many Goths read dipzines so I went with the more traditional choice.”  Kevin Wilson “By "other than red" I wondered if you meant anything with "red" in the description or in the red family.  I decided to go safe and avoid the word at all.  Toughest this time I think.”

Punishment – Brendan Whyte “Drowning?   Or is this a trick question related to Mickey Jackson's recent demise?”  Kevin Wilson “Time outs work on 4-year olds.  You would think you we're sentencing them life instead of 2 minutes.  Even my 2-year old reacts as well.”  Allison Kent “1 minute per year of their age right?  PUNISH PUNISH!”

Greek Letter - Brendan Whyte “St Paul's Letter to the Corinthians. Or would you prefer I go with the Alpha male thing?”  Kevin Wilson “A toss-up between alpha, the first, or pi, the "scientific" one.  I guess omega and psi for the Bablyon 5 fans might be popular too.”  Philip Murphy “Can anybody say TOGA PARTY?”



Round 9 Categories – Deadline is August 25th, 2009 at 7:00am my time

1. A Diplomacy zine no longer being published.

2. A Winnie the Pooh character other than Winnie.

3. Something many people are scared of.

4. A Halloween costume.

5.  Something you keep in the glove compartment of a car.



General Deadline For The Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:

August 25th 2009 at 7:00am my time – See You Then!