Eternal Sunshine #33

October 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 official Diplomacy World website which can be found at  Also remember to check out for official Toby the Helpful Kitty news, advice column, blog, and links to all his available merchandise!  Links to many 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 go to where women can learn all the secrets of how a man’s mind works, and why they act the way they do.

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Quote Of The MonthYou don't tell me things, Joel. I'm an open book. I tell you everything, every damn, embarrassing thing.” (Clementine in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the only Diplomacy zine that has an editor crazy enough to run a game of Deviant Diplomacy II and offer a second game at the same time.  Actually I’m much crazier than that, but it is the example I chose to use.  We crazy people can be a bit picky at times.


This has been a very long month, for reasons I can’t exactly explain.  It is my first month as an officially free person, as my Supervised Release period of three years has finally ended.  But I don’t’ feel any different really.  Work has been a constant list of projects, and Heather is bashing her head against the wall both from her classes and from the struggles of getting the college to actually SET UP and TEACH the classes eh has been enrolled in, and attending, for a month or longer.  One class she signed up for was actually cancelled because zero people enrolled – despite the fact that she and a few other people enrolled and paid for it far in advance.  This was one of those self-paced courses, so even if one person had “signed up” they would have offered it.  But I guess they are all non-human or something?  The teachers certainly seem to be, or at least one.  Heather started writing to the Dean of the department last week, so we’ll see if that produces and results…and if it makes her even less popular with certain faculty members.


The debate rages over Obamacare, which does nothing but give me tired-head.  Since nobody even knows what the bill is going to look like after reconciliation, all these claims of one side or the other exaggerating (or outright lying) cannot be confirmed.  The President can say whatever he wants, but he doesn’t write the bills.  I did find it ironic that one weekend he said there would be no coverage for illegal aliens, and then two days later at a conference he expressed support for the idea of giving amnesty for those in the nation illegally.  In effect, that’s not a contradiction, but it is a typical back-door way of politicians on either side saying one thing and meaning another.  The truth is, all these issues are so complex and have so many levels, anything you do will affect other areas in ways never anticipated.  So my belief is slow steps are best.  But that’s not going to happen, because Congress and the Senate fear the results of the 2010 election, so they want to cram a bill through as quickly as possible.  And any sane person knows that once a government bureaucracy starts, it never ends.  Does anyone remember the “victory tax”?  It was a temporary tax to support the costs of World War I.  Something like ¼ of it’s known as the Federal Income Tax.  And the complaints of “petty bickering” are a joke…the Democrats can pass this without a single Republican vote, they just don’t WANT to.  And bi-partisanship?  President Obama has not had Republican leaders to the White House for discussions since early April.  In the end though, I always find myself shrugging my shoulders and thinking “This is what the nation voted for, so now they’ll get it.”  That’s despite the fact that there was no “mandate” election when Obama became President ( a term I despise anyway).  Ugh, my head hurts.  Forget it.

I was very happy to see the Cowboys lose their home opener against my New York Football Giants.  Jerryworld (or the Death Star as some around here call it) may be the most modern football stadium in the universe, but I still loathe the Cowboys and Jerry Jones.  Maybe the Football powers will smile on me Monday night and allow the winless Carolina Panthers to come in and make Dallas a delicious 0-2 at home?  There’s always a chance, since the Cowboys secondary seems TERRIBLE.


As for the poor Texas Rangers, in a few days their season will be over.  Of course there is always that sliver of hope…they’ve won their last two, Boston and the LA Angels have lost a few, and I think we have 3 games left head-to-head with the Angels.  5 games back, maybe 8 games to go?  Terrible odds, and I’m not paying much attention.  But…you never know.  That would be sooooo sweet to finish string, even if it just meant the last game or two of the season meant something.  It has been a long long time since that happened.  The Tom Hicks financial situation isn’t helping things though; the sooner we get this team sold the better.  As things stand, I don’t think we’ll be able to make a single decent free agent signing during the off-season.  Oh well, the Rangers continue to be the most desolate franchise in the universe…and I’ll keep rooting for them anyway.  Some of these young players are really exciting to watch.  Neftali Feliz is like a monster on the mound!


Okay, let’s finish with zine news.  I’ve offered a new game of Deviant Dip II if anybody is crazy enough to sign up for it.  The “Cronin Special” White Press Diplomacy game has only one spot left.  Come ON folks, grab the spot so we can get that game started!  And a new round of By Popular Demand begins this issue, so if you’ve been kind of holding back because you felt it was too late to get involved, now is your change to start on a level playing field…remember, the winner DOES get a prize!


As of this moment (Sunday afternoon) I am not sure if there will be a new prison or personal essay.  I’ve started work on one (which is not a continuation of the Halfway House theme) but whether I find the motivation to finish it in time (or to reach a natural stopping point) remains to be seen.  But do not despair, as there’ splenty of other reading material.  For example, part 3 of “I’m No Edward Norton” is here, as well as columns from Andy York, Jack McHugh and Paul Milewski.  And, lo and behold, a newcomer (or old-comer, take your choice) in the shape of the legendary UK Dipper Craig Nye.  Be sure to let me know what you think, and I’ll pass all your feedback on to him directly (since I’m not sure if he wants his email public or not). 


Don’t forget that both my birthday and our anniversary come up in October.  However, Eternal Sunshine #34 should actually be out before either of those.  That’s it for this month.  See you in late October!  Happy Halloween!


Playlist – The Who – Tommy; Billy Joel - Songs in the Attic; The Sundays – Blind; Nancy Wilson – Live at McCabes Guitar Shop; Shawn Colvin – A Few Small Repairs; Wilson Phillips – Shadows and Light.




Eternal Sunshine Playhouse

Just a reminder…the events are basically all a true account of how Heather and I met, and our first date.  I wrote the play longhand from prison for the anniversary of our first date.  Some names have been changed for reasons I forget at the time I typed it in (even Heather’s daughter’s name), but otherwise this is very close to how it went.


I’m No Edward Norton

(An Anniversary Gift to Heather Taylor)

By Douglas Kent, © 2009

Part Three




DOUG sits at the computer, sipping coffee, wearing just a t-shirt and boxer shorts.


This is pathetic!  Ten in the morning on a Saturday, and all I have to do is stare at my computer screen, waiting for someone to chat with.  I've got one...two...three...four different chat programs running at once, and there isn't a single person in the entire universe who wants to talk to me!


Maybe I should take a shower.  I could always drive to the mall, buy a cup of coffee, and watch all the normal people walk around.

DOUG's attention is suddenly attracted by the computer screen.


Hello, what's this?  Somebody from the personal ad site actually wants to talk to me!  She's paging me to join her in chat.  Briget Jones?  I think that's the one with no photo who I responded to.


(speaking as he types into the computer for the rest of this conversation)

Hello, how are you?

The lights now come up on the far end of the stage showing HEATHER at a small cubicle-style desk, a computer in front of her.  She is in the computer lab at school.


(speaking aloud as she types into the computer, the same as Doug)

Fine.  This is Briget Jones.


Hi!  I remember your ad.  I guess you got the response I posted last weekend.


Yes I did.  My computer at home isn't working right now, so I'm at the computer lab at school checking my email.  I saw you were on-line and I figured why not take a chance and page you?


I'm glad you did.  You just caught me, I was thinking about logging off the computer.  Did you get a chance to read my profile?


Yes, I looked it over.  Your picture was really cute.  I also read the email you sent me.  You said you were intrigued by my profile.  What exactly intrigued you?



I think it was the answer you gave to "My Most Humbling Moment."  You said yours was when you realized your ex-husband was a better parent than you.  I figured that kind of honest answer deserved a reply of some sort.


So that's all it takes to get you to respond to a personal ad?


Well, that and the fact that you listed your vibrator as one of the five things I'd find in your bedroom.



Anything else?


Not specifically.  It just felt like an ad I needed to respond to for some reason.  Oh, and comparing yourself to Nicole Kidman didn't hurt.


I said a chunky Nicole Kidman.


I know, that's even better, I prefer a more voluptuous woman.  And your on-line name was another plus in your favor.


Briget Jones?  Why, because you admire her strong, independent nature?


Mum, well, I do admire those traits in her.  But to be perfectly honest I was thinking more about the site of Renee Zellweger in a bunny outfit with sexy fishnet stocking.  Any other questions?


What would be an ideal date to you?


Hmm, I guess I'd take you to a black tie affair of some sort.  We'd crash the party of course, making it both elegant and economical.  Then we could stuff our pockets with caviar and filet mignon, fill up empty water bottles with champagne, and adjourn to a private party in the car.


Sounds like a good time.


Well that's me, Mister High Society.


I'd love to chat some more, but I need to get off the computer now.  You know, I never do this, but I really enjoyed our conversation.  So I dare you to call me.  My number is 972-555-3076.  I hope you call.  Bye!

The area where Heather sits darkens, and she leaves the stage.  Doug stops typing, gets up, and starts to pace.


Oh great.  What am I supposed to do now?  I must have sounded like a total creep.  And still somehow I fooled her into giving me her phone number!  "I dare you to call me"?  Does she mean call her now?  I thought you were supposed to wait two days, isn't that the accepted social practice?  I'm going to end up just like that loser in "Swingers."  She'll probably file a restraining order on me, or at the very least change to an unlisted number.  She didn't say if that was her home number or her cell number.  She said she wasn't home, maybe I should wait a while.  Hell, I still don't even know her real name!  I should forget the whole thing.  But...after all, she did dare me.  Doesn't that give me some wiggle room from whatever the rules are supposed to be?  Why did I have to be born without the gene that tells people these things?

DOUG refills his coffee, takes a long drink, and returns to pacing.


Okay, that's it, I am going to call.  For once in my life I'm going to do the brave thing instead of chickening out.  If she doesn't answer I can always leave a message.  Or hang up like a freak.

DOUG walks back to the computer and, looking at the screen, writes down the number on a scrap of paper.


Nine seven two, five five five, three zero seven six.  Got it.

DOUG walks to the phone and picks it up.


Okay this is it.

(He takes a deep breath)

You can do this.

Looking at the scrap of paper, DOUG starts to dial the phone.  He hangs up once, shaking his head, after dialing a couple of numbers as he makes an error on the third digit.  Starting again, he dials successfully.

As Heather's phone starts to ring, the lights brighten on the half of the stage containing her apartment.  Nobody is there.


Don't be home, don't be home, don't be home.

After five rings, Heather's answering machine picks up.



Hi, it's me.  Leave me a message and I'll call you back.  Okay, thanks.  Au revoir!

The machine beeps.


(into phone)

Hello, this is Doug, calling in response to your dare.  I hope you realize how dangerous that was, giving your number to a complete stranger you met on the Internet.  I could be some kind of stalker, or a serial killer!  Fortunately for you, I've been taking my medication, seeing my therapist, and reporting regularly to my parole officer.  So at the moment I think you are safe.  Anyway, sorry I missed you.  Give me a call back when you have time.  The number is 214-555-8342.  Bye!

DOUG hangs up the phone, stands motionless for a moment, and starts to pace again.


Give me a break, I sounded like a complete idiot.  Medication?  Parole office?  Where did I get my sense of humor, the clearance aisle at K-Mart?  There should be a way to delete an answering machine message within five minutes after you leave it.  There should be a law, some kind of jackass escape clause.  I sounded like some nervous teenager.  She's a sophisticated woman, and I'm this schmuck she probably already regrets giving her phone number to!  I'm sure she'll change it by tomorrow.  Damn, one chance to make an impression and I blew it.  Heck.  I'm going to take a shower...and then get drunk.  Nothing wrong with a few dozen drinks before noon.

DOUG exits the stage by his side.  A few moments later, Heather enters by the opposite side.  She drops her keys, purse, and backpack on the sofa and races over to her answering machine.


One new message!  I bet he called!  Okay, Heather, calm down, get a cup of coffee, listen to the message.  It's nothing to get excited about.

HEATHER makes some coffee quickly, and pours herself a cup.  While she makes it, she plays the message.  She smiles and laughs quietly as she listens to it.


Hello, this is Doug, calling in response to your dare.  I hope you realize how dangerous that was, giving your number to a complete stranger you met on the Internet.  I could be some kind of stalker, or a serial killer!  Fortunately for you, I've been taking my medication, seeing my therapist, and reporting regularly to my parole officer.  So at the moment I think you are safe.  Anyway, sorry I missed you.  Give me a call back when you have time.  The number is 214-555-8342.  Bye!

As the messages finished HEATHER writes the phone number down on a pad.


Okay, what do I do now?  He sounds cute, even cuter than his picture.  He couldn't have called more than ten or fifteen minutes ago.  I should call him back right away so I don't get an answering machine.  I hate leaving messages!  Okay, deep breath, you can do this.

HEATHER picks up the phone and dials.  DOUG's phone rings on stage left.


Come on, be home, be home, be home.

DOUG's answering machine picks up on the fifth ring.


(on answering machine)

Hi, I'm not home right now, or else I don't feel like answering.




(on answering machine)

Leave a message and I'll call you back later.

The answering machine beeps.  HEATHER paces as she talks.


Hello, this is Heather, a.k.a. Bridget Jones, and thank you for reminding me of all of et trouble I can get in for giving you my phone number.  Thanks ­a lot "Mom", I'm glad you're looking out for me.  And I'm happy to hear that you've been taking your medication, that's good.  So, umm...I don't know what else to say, I'm pacing around my living room.  So.  I'm glad you called, and call me back if you want.  Or if you've got other things to do, that's cool too.  So.  I hope to talk to you soon.  Okay, bye.

HEATHER hangs up her phone.


Oh my God, what a dork I am.  "I'm pacing around my living room"?  What am I, twelve years old?  "If you've got other things to do, that's cool too"?  I may as well have "desperate" tattooed on my forehead.  Way to go Heather, he will never return that phone call!

DOUG returns to his room, a towel wrapped around his waist.  He walks up to his answering machine.


A message already?  It's probably the police calling to tell me a restraining order has been filed against me.

DOUG plays the message (it plays aloud).


Wow, she sounds so cute, and half as nervous as I am!  At least that's a little reassuring.  Heather - that's about the most beautiful name in the world.  Why would she call me back to quickly?  She must have gotten my profile confused with Brad Pitt's or something.

DOUG starts to pace again.


Crap, now how long am I supposed to wait before I call her back?  She didn't say!  Maybe there's a web site that explains all of these relationship rules.  I hate this!  Okay, I'll get dressed, grab a cup of coffee, and call Heather back.  I'm sure I'll end up sounding like some desperate loser though.

HEATHER begins to pace too.


This is horrible.  I hate leaving messages.  Why couldn't he have been home?  I should have just hung up and called back later.  But if he has Caller ID he would have seen that I called.  What am I supposed to do?  There has got to be a way to let him know I am not as stupid as the message I left.  It's been ten minutes already, why hasn't he called?  You know why Heather, because he heard your message and found out what an idiot you are!  That's not fair, he didn't even give me a chance.  Okay, there's only one thing to do.  I'll just have to call him back and leave a better message.  I'm going to sound like such a desperate loser though.

DOUG walks toward his door, as HEATHER picks up her phone and dials.  DOUG's phone rings, and he turns and goes back to answer it.




Hello, is this Doug?


Yes, and this is Heather, isn't it?



Yes it is.


Wow, you don't give a guy much of a chance to return your call, do you?  I just listened to your message a few minutes ago.


Well, I was just really hoping to talk to you, and I figured there was no way I could sit around and wait for you to call again after that stupid message I left.


Why?  I thought it was totally cute!  I'm glad you called though, it saves me from pulling my hair out trying to figure out how long a normal person waits before returning a call.


A normal person?  So you're not normal?


Not likely.  I'm about as abnormal as a person can get.  Oh, not in a dangerous way though.


Hmmm, sounds mysterious.


Hardly.  I'm not very mysterious.  I'm just confused.  And insecure.




Oh yeah.  I'm about as insecure as they come.  Insecure and clueless.


Can you give me an example?


Okay.  You have a beautiful voice by the way.


Thank you.


Where was I?


Insecure and clueless.


Right, okay, let's see.  How about when my last girlfriend decided to seduce me.


Sounds steamy.


I guess it would have been to a normal person.  She was a girl from work, much younger than me.


How old are you by the way?


Thirty-four.  You?


Thirty-one.  And how old was this youthful seductress?


She was twenty-one at the time.


Shame on you, cradle robber!


Hey, I didn't rob anything.  I was the victim here!  More like she was a coffin robber.


You're not dead at thirty-four.


You don't know me well enough to make that judgment.  Actually, I was only thirty then.  But I'm getting off-topic.  Angie and I had been out for drinks a number of times.  Just Happy Hour stuff, as friends.  Sometimes with other people, sometimes alone.  But I had no idea she was interested in me sexually.


But you were interested in her?


You would have to know me better to understand this, but it had been so long since I had even considered a woman showing interest in me that I no longer bothered thinking of women I knew in a sexual way.  I guess I had become sort of non-sexual.


You mean a sexual hermit?


Maybe just in sexual hibernation, I guess.


For the winter?


For three and a half years.


You couldn't find a woman for three and a half years?


No, I didn't say that.  I said no sex for three and a half years.  I was married at the time.


Wow, the longest I've ever gone is six or seven months and I thought I'd dry out and shrivel up like an old piece of fruit.  So were you and your wife separated or something?




No, she had simply lost all interest in sex.  She had a lot of mental and physical problems.  It's a long story.


So is this one, if it even has an end!


Okay, okay.  So one weekend Angie invites me over to her friend's apartment, which she was watching for the weekend.  I was supposed to bring Chinese food and a few bottles of Boone Hill Sangria.


Oooh, the kind with a screw top?  Classy.


Yup, two-ninety-nine a bottle.


So she invites you to an apartment, asks you to bring alcohol, and you don't realize she's putting the moves on you?


Nope, but it gets worse.  I show up, we eat, and I drink too much.  Then Angie starts talking about back scratches and asks if I'm any good at them.


Oh please.


I know, I'm an idiot.  So I start to scratch her back, but she suggests that if she took her shirt off I'd have an easier time of it.  Off comes her top, but I still had no clue.


You're kidding me.


I'm deathly serious.  Next Angie complains about the couch being too uncomfortable, and has us move into the bedroom.  Still, I am convinced it is all innocent.


When did you finally figure out what was going on, when she put your dick in her mouth?


Not quite, but I'll fast forward.  She's lying under the covers, facing me, wearing nothing but a pair of silky panties, silent, and batting her eyelashes in front of seductive bedroom eyes.  It was at that moment when I suddenly thought to myself "Gee, there might be something going on here."


You romantic Casanova, you.


Okay, enough about my failed love life.  Tell me something about you.  Something embarrassing, preferably.


Embarrassing?  Okay, I have a huge butt, how's that?


It depends, how huge is huge?  Do you mean huge as in pleasantly large, or as in Saturday Night Live can't-fit-through-a-revolving-door massive huge?


Onion butt.


Onion butt?  What's that?


That's what this black guy I used to work with at Kroger told me, that I have onion butt.


Which means what?


Which means it's white, round, and so fine it makes you cry.



I don't think I would have much of a problem with that.


Okay, well I can be a real bitch sometimes, and bossy.  I'm a high maintenance drama queen who likes to be boss.  That's me.


Mmm, keep going.  You're turning me on!




A bitch can be a good thing.  I like a woman who takes charge.


And who wears black boots, according to your profile.


Yes, a bitchy woman in black boots.  Sounds great to me.


That's your ideal woman?  What about looks?


People don't usually like my answer to that question.


Why not?


Because I don't know how to describe what I like.  I just know it when I see it.  When I see the look, I recognize it.


The look?


Right, the Look.  I think I see women different than most guys.  Howard Stern has women on his show all the time that he drools all over, like Sting's wife.  But when I see them in photos or on TV, I think they're ugly.  Some of them are actually the Anti-Look.


The Anti-Look?  You mean the opposite of The Look?


Exactly.  I always look at the face first.  The eyes, the nose, the mouth.  A woman's hair.  Then her shape.  I like a more voluptuous woman with a little meat on her, not an anorexic.  And how she dresses is important.  I don't mean the price tags on her clothes.  I just mean she needs to dress with a style that matches her personality.


As long as she wears black boots?


Yes, but what bitchy woman doesn't?


Well what famous women have the "look?"


It's hard to say.  None of the usual names.  Not fashion models, that's for sure.  And not most of the big stars, although Nicole Kidman is sexy.


That doesn't count, I already mentioned her.  Cheater.


Okay, here's an example.  Did you see "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"?


Yes.  So Uma Thurman has the "look?"



No!  She has the "Anti-Look!"  She was a hideous, anorexic hag in that film.  Why would any sane man choose her over Janeane Garafolo?  Janeane was smarter, funnier, more interesting, and so much better looking!


I can't believe someone else saw that the same way I did.  I thought every man found Uma Thurman sexy.


Not me.  Ewww.  But then again, I'm not really a normal man.  It's just like when Titanic came out.


I loved Titanic.  It was so romantic.  I'm a sucker for tragic romances.


Me too.  I cry every time I Watch one.


You cry at movies?


All the time.  Some movies make me bawl like a baby.  Why, is that a deal-breaker or something?


Not at all; I like a man who can show his feelings.


I'm not afraid to cry.  I cry every time I look in the mirror.


Oh stop.  Your pictures were cute.


I'm the Elephant Man.  But anyway, I was talking about Titanic.  What was the deal with Hollywood saying that fox Kate Winslet was fat?  I couldn't figure it out.


Oh wow, I couldn't either.  She was so beautiful, but because she doesn't wear a size zero she is considered overweight.


You shouldn't be considered fat just because your arms don't snap off in a strong wind.


So she had "The Look" in Titanic?


Pretty close, yes.  At least she was beautiful, even if it wasn't completely "The Look."


You set high standards for women.


Hardly!  I just know what I like when I see it.  Besides, you can't really tell if someone has "The Look" until you've talked to them.  It's a package deal.


So as long as I am as beautiful as Nicole Kidman or Kate Winslet I'm in, is that it?


Don't make it sound so cold.  I'm just pointing out that I don't follow society's rules when it comes to judging what is beautiful.  Besides, so far I'd say you are well on the way to winning me over.  I can't remember the last time I've enjoyed a conversation more.


Thank you.


Trust me, if anybody needs to worry about being rejected it's me!  So don't take this as a rejection, but I need to refill my coffee cup.  Can I put the phone down for a minute?


You're a big coffee drinker?


At least a pot every day.  Is that a good thing?  Or bad?


I guess it's a good thing, because I could use a refill myself.


Okay then, let's put the phone down for a minute.  Do you promise to come back?


Yes, silly, I promise.


Good.  I'll be right back.

DOUG and HEATHER put their respective phones down and walk to their coffee makers, refilling their cups.  Doug is back in less than 60 seconds, while Heather takes a bit longer.  Doug is left listening to the silence until Heather returns.




I thought maybe you had changed your mind and weren't coming back.


Sorry, was I gone that long?


It seemed like an hour.  Or maybe two.


Oh stop it!


Alright now, everybody calm down.  Heather.  That's a beautiful name.  Tell me something about yourself that hardly anybody knows.


Let me think.  Okay, I'm not sure if this is going to make any sense, but sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and find my right arm stuck up in the air, with my left hand lighting running up and down, tickling it.  It might feral some people out.



I can't believe you just told me that.


Why, is it too weird?  A deal-breaker?


Well you may not believe this Heather, but I do the exact same thing, only it's my left arm I stick up in the air.  My ex-wife used to complain about it.


That is too eerie!  I didn't think anybody else did that.


We must be meant for each other.  Wither that, or we're matter and anti-matter, and when we meet the world will explode.


Well then?


Well then what?


Are you going to make me be the one to ask?


To ask what?  Remember you are dealing with someone who never knows what's going on.



Would you like to go out to dinner tomorrow night?  With me?



I can't.  I'd love to, but I have plans.




I'm going to a Joe Jackson concert in Deep Ellum.  I've been waiting almost ten years for him to come to Dallas.  I'd love it if you wanted to go with me, if you're a fan of his.  But it will be hard to have any conversation with the music playing.


I don't even think I know who he is.


Well don't sound so rejected.


Heather, would you like to have dinner with me Monday night?


Yes, I'd love to.  Thank you.


Don't thank me yet, you might be sorry that you've agreed.  Who knows what kind of person I am?  I might chew with my mouth open, or exude a horrendous and foul odor.


Hmm, you're right.  Maybe I should get to know you better first.


As long as you know me well enough by the end of this phone call.  You'll break my heart if you change your mind now.


Hmm.  Tell me some more of your favorite movies.


Okay.  Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks, probably one of the best movies ever made.  A whole pile of John Hughes movies: The Breakfast Club, She's Having a Baby, Plains Trans and Automobiles.


I loved those.  I don't think I've seen that last one though.


With John Candy and Steve Martin?  It kills me.  Of course that was back when John Hughes was still funny.  I'll make sure you see it someday.


It's a date.



I could go on forever.  Drop Dead Gorgeous.  Ghost World.  American Beauty.  The Usual Suspects.  A Few Good Men.  Oh, does it bother you when someone quotes TV shows or movies?


I don't think so.  Should it?


It annoys some people.  A lot of my cultural references seem to come out of movies.  Or Seinfeld or The Simpsons.


So refined!  Welcome to the MTV generation.


I know, it's awful.  But my brain just soaks up that stuff.  I could probably recite most of those movies line for line, along with a lot of Simpsons and Seinfeld episodes.  If only I could harness that brain power for good instead of evil.


You could be a super hero.


Yeah, Worthless Trivia Man.  Is there a job for that?


You could go on a game show and win a million dollars.


I tried out for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  I passed all their tests but I think they had already met their "geeky white guy in glasses" quota.


Too bad that "insecure freak" isn't a recognized minority class.


I'll organize a march on Washington D.C. posthaste.


Any other movies you want to list before I make my final decision on this date?  The clock is ticking.


Hmmm.  Dark City.  I'm not sure if you know that movie.


Are you kidding?  I loved it.


Okay, Fight Club is another movie I don't get tired of.



I loved that too.  He was so sexy in that movie.


I know, I know, every woman goes wild over him.  How am I supposed to compete with Brad Pitt?


No you dope, not Brad Pitt.  Edward Norton.


Edward Norton?  You think Edward Norton is sexy?


Yes!  He's got "The Look"!


Is that better?  Do you feel less threatened now?


I've got some bad news for you Heather.


What's that, Douglas?



I'm no Edward Norton.


Oh stop it!


More like Norton from the Honeymooners.


Ugh.  You don't like to watch shows like that do you?  Or I Love Lucy?  Andy Griffith?


That's not on the top of my "to do" list, no.  I think I had my fill of those shows by the time I was twelve.  Why?


My ex-husband watched them constantly.  And made me watch them too.


Made you watch them?  You don't have to worry about that with me.  Just wear your black boots.  You're the boss.



I think I like that idea.


So do I.

Doug glances at his watch.



Wow, look at how long we've been talking!

Heather looks at her watch.


I hope I didn't keep you from anything important.

Doug looks down at the towel he's wearing and shakes his head.


Well, I did have a plan for today, but it's shot now.


What was the plan?


I was going to the Frisco mall.


I'm sorry, you had a lot of shopping to do?


No.  I was going to sit in Starbucks and watch people walk around.


Seriously?  For how long?


All afternoon.  I didn't have anything else to do today.  I did want to buy a little notebook while I was there, so I could write down any ideas or observations I came up with.


You're also a writer then?


Not really.  I'm more like a person who talks about writing but never gets anything on paper.  Someday, though.


Well what are you waiting for?


What do you mean?  I have no time to write.  Sunday I go to a concert, and Monday I go to dinner with you.  My life it booked solid!


If I haven't changed my mind about dinner, you mean.


Well have you?



Of course not.  Where do you want to meet?


I live in Arlington right now, are you in Dallas?


Yes, right next to the Garland border.


Let's meet somewhere close to you, so you'll be able to make a quick getaway if you need to.


You're being silly, but, okay.  There's an El Chico's on Saturn near 635.  Can you find that okay?


It shouldn't be a problem.  I look it up on the internet and print out directions just in case.  Is 7 o'clock too early?


No, that should be fine.  How will you recognize me?


I won't, but you'll recognize me since you saw my photo.  That way if you have second thoughts you can turn and run without me following you.


Stop it!


Are you sure seven isn't too early?


It's fine, I live right down the street.


Whoa, hold on there!  If you live so close, I need to lay some ground rules.  No sex on the first date.  I'm not that easy!



No sex?


Exactly!  I'm not some cheap tramp, you know.  I need to be sure that you respect me as a person first, not just as a piece of meat.


Okay, okay, you win.  No sex.  This time.


You better believe it!


Well Heather, I can promise you that I will be thinking about you constantly until Monday night.


I will too.


You'll be thinking about yourself?  How vain.


No, goofy.  I'll be thinking about you!


Oh, that's better then.  And one thing you can count on.


What's that?


I don't promise things unless I mean them.




Well, I guess this is good night then.  I hate to go, but after all this coffee I bet you need a break as much as I do.


So I'll see you Monday night then?


Yes you will.  Count on it.


Do you promise?


Yes, Heather.  I promise.


Okay.  Good night Douglas.


Good night Heather.

Both Doug and Heather hang up their phones.


(long pause)

Damn.  That was better than sex!

The stage lights fade to black.


Hypothetical of the Month


Last month, we gave you these two hypotheticals: #1 - You don’t have enough money to finish college, and don’t want to stop.  Your uncle, who made his fortune gouging low income tenants, offers to fund you.  Do you take his money?  #2 - You attend a wedding distinguished by poor food, boring speeches, and bad music.  Later, the bride asks if you enjoyed yourself.  Do you tell the truth?


Melinda Holley - #1 - If I have a problem with my uncle's business practices, no I don't take the money.  There are grants, scholarships, and even student loans.  If necessary, attend classes as you have money for them.  There are ways to continue schooling if you want to do so.


#2 - Why ruin her day?  I'd simply laugh and tell her that I love weddings and more importantly, is SHE having a good time? 


Don Del Grande - #1.  Yes, I would - if my conscience bothered me that much, I would try to find a way to make it up to people like the ones my uncle took advantage of.  (In a way, this actually happened to me - I got a sizable scholarship from a company that makes liquor.)

#2.  Yes.  I wouldn't be particularly aggressive about it, but I would tell her how I really felt about it.


Robin ap Cynan - Hypothetical #1:Yes.  Finishing college will put me in a better position to use my skills and knowledge to "do good" ethically to redress Uncle's "bad" deeds.


Hypothetical #2: First, I'd want to find out whether the bride had had a wonderful day, and if she had, then no, I would not tell her the truth, since I would not want to colour or distort her memory of her special day.  However, If she didn't enjoy it, then I'll share her disappointment and confirm just how awful it was.


Andy York - #1 - No. There are many ways to fund schooling, I'd use one of those routes.


#2 - I'd turn the question back, pointing out that it was more important that she enjoyed herself and had a memorable time than myself. And, I'd point out anything positive "wasn't it special when...".


Heather – #1 – It would all depend on what I was doing with my college education.  If I was following courses to eventually get a job like Nurse or Social Worker, where I’d be able to give back and maybe help more people than he’d screwed over, then yes.  Otherwise no, because it woulnd’t make sense from a karma perspective.


#2 – Hell, no!  That’s her big day.  I tell her I enjoyed it.  But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make fun of her wedding later with friends, behind her back.


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 – As a magazine publisher, you buy ALL rights to a story for $500.  Unexpectedly the story inspires a movie and nets you $500,000.  So you share any of your windfall with the author? 


#2 – During lunch, a valued client makes some offensive racist remarks.  Do you make an issue of it?


The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


Inglorious Basterds – Although I love many Tarantino movies, I can’t say he is one of my favorite directors.  Reservoir Dogs is a favorite, but Kill Bill and other recent films left me cold.  Still, I was intrigued by the idea of QT giving his take on World War II.  Brad Pitt can be great or can mail a role in, and I wasn’t sure what to expect…was this going to be a bloody shoot-em-up action film or something where the dialogue drives the plot?  I’d sort of decided to skip Inglorious Bastedrs and wait for the DVD, until someone who I share a good deal of film taste with told me I *HAD* to see it.  Since was the same fellow who made sure I didn’t miss Whatever Works, I felt obliged to take his advice.  A bit of arm twisting was all I needed to convince Heather to give it a try.


Don’t let the trailers fool you.  The opening scene lets you know that this is not going to be a QT take on The Dirty Dozen.  Sure, you have Brad Pitt and his gang of Jewish GI’s, who have been dropped behind enemy lines in France and are terrorizing the Nazi’s.  But that is only a secondary part of the film.  As usually, Tarantino has multiple storylines, which he toes together later.  As the film opens, you have 20 minutes of dialogue between a Nazi Colonel (Christoph Waltz) and a farmer who he suspects of hiding Jews.  The tension is heavy, but also lies underneath the innocuous conversation.  You keep waiting for the bullets to fly, or the body to drop, but brilliantly each moment where a lesser film might do this comes and goes.  The man lights his pipe.  The Colonel drinks some milk.  It is, in a way, similar to the Hitchcock theory on the bomb in the drawer.  But in this case, there is no bomb that we can see…we just suspect one.


From here we meet Brad Pitt, who plays Lt. Aldo Rain.  A combination of a hillbilly, an Apache, and a few drops of a satire on Lee Marvin, Rain and his crew travel to France to kill (and literally scalp) Nazis.  They gain quite a reputation and attain legendary status among the common Nazi soldier.  Hitler is beyond himself at his army’s inability to track them down and kill them.  Admittedly, from this point forward, we’ve entered an alternate history of the war, but it doesn’t matter.  You’re having too much fun to care, and Tarantino is able to bring you into this world without a struggle.


Two more storylines are developed and brought together: a Jewish woman named Shosanna (Melanie Laurent) who escaped from the Nazi Colonel (known as the “Jew Hunter”) and now runs a cinema, and a British Intelligence plot to assassinate a number of high-ranking Nazis.  Eventually everything comes to a combined volcanic eruption, as you’d expect in a QT film, but again he manages to do this with plot twists that play against the obvious and expected.  Thus the magic of his touch is his ability to lead you towards the cliché of World War II films, and then deftly reveal that the pea is not under the cup that you expected it to be. 


As always there are some showdowns, some shoot-outs, and a pile of delicious dialogue.  I worry that many moviegoers will skip Inglorious Basterds because of the trailers and the generally poor promotion the studio provided.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t miss it, and I hope you don’t either!


Seen on DVD – When a Stranger Calls (C, doesn’t really hold up, except for the first scene).  The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (B+, finally Heather knows where “We don’t need to steekin badges!” comes from).  Dogtown – New Beginnings (A-, in particular the episode on the attempts to rehabilitate the Michael Vick dogs is a very moving piece of work).  Dexter Season 3 (B+, started slow and ended a bit rished, but it got much better during the middle stages).

Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column

Tom Swider: I list Eraserhead in BPD as gaming the poll results; most David Lynch movie are to be viewed as art rather than "to be understood" as he described himself as an artist who wanted to see pictures move. Exactly what is the "plot" of the Mona Lisa, a Marcel Duchamp box, or a Jackson Pollack? So Doug, do you believe that Erasehead had a "happy" or a "sad" ending?


[[If I had to choose, I’ll say sad.  But I don’t see why a choice has to be made.]]


Mike Oliveri: OK, you shamed me into reading more than just my game. I just don't understand the power you have over me. It has something to do with that first Diplomacy game I ever played online. So, what do I pick up on? Your Halfway House series. I started reading and had to go back to my prior issues, which brought me back to Chapter 5. Now I just finished downloading the issues I missed because my game wasn't being published until issue 29. I'll let you know when I have read them all, starting with Chapter 1. You are an interesting person Doug, very open to your readers. Needless to say, you are also one hell of a storyteller. I think I would like to read that book you wrote for Victor. I have no idea what it is about, but somehow, with it being your spin on his ideas, I think it would probably be good.


[[It’s all boring financial stuff, nothing fun.  My real writing appears here.  But I appreciate the compliments.  I’m in the process now of slowly editing each chapter of the proposed “Prison” book so I can submit it to a publisher or agent.]]


PS. I do not have any interest in playing Top Ten, which is the question you asked to get me to read beyond my limited little world. Don't deny it. You're a master at shaming people. That would explain your claim that you cannot win at Diplomacy. To be able to shame someone means they have already done you bad. In Diplomacy that is one move too late.


[[Shaming and whining and begging is most of the reason I am still able to get people to write articles for Diplomacy World.]]


Robin ap Cynan: District 9: best new SF film for a while.  Hang the gaps in the plot- how did we get to understand their language; how come they didn’t use their weapons to get back at their oppression by humans.  And an absolute avoidance of excess and/or flakey CGI.


[[…which is a major plus for me.  I just can’t enjoy a movie with tons of CGI.  My mind doesn’t process what the heck is going on.]]


Andy York: I agree with you that "District 9" is a movie worth seeing. Quite a few plot twists and surprises, and one that makes you think.


[[…hmmm, sounds unanimous!]]


Hugh Polley: I enjoy reading your zine, you are a good writer although I am more of a science fiction crime drama type reader.  There you go how about a good mystery serial?


[[I haven’t written any fiction in some time, except for a short story that Heather quite enjoyed that I mean to find and rewrite.  But I really should try some soon.  Perhaps a mystery may be just the thing?]]





By Paul Milewski


For purposes of illustration, I will start with the “Dr. Pepper” game in Andy Lischett’s Cheesecake in which I am playing Turkey.  The preference lists in that game, as published in issue #287, were:



In Andy’s usual manner, the country on the left is the first choice (for example, Doug’s first choice was Germany), and the countries are listed from left to right in order of decreasing preference, and the country assigned is shown in upper case; players are listed in alphabetical order of position awarded: AEFGIRT.  As you can see, in “Dr. Pepper” 5 players got their first choice.  There is the impression that Doug got the short end of the stick because he got his fifth choice; Andy added the comment, “Sorry, Doug.”  Compare this to the situation in Andy’s game “Wotan” (issue #270):



Fred got Austria and is an example of how Andy handles a player who states no preference: he gets what’s left.


In Cheesecake you also see examples of someone expressing his least preferred, as in “Campbell Chibougamau” (issue #255):



Listed in the usual AEFGIRT order, Andy York plays Russia, Harold Zarr plays Turkey.


In “Faith” (issue #216), we see someone expressing only his highest 4 preferences:



In “Hope” (also issue #216), we see another variation, listing only highest and lowest preference:



Again, the results are listed in AEFGIRT order, Rick playing Germany, Robert playing Russia.


A problem with a preference list is that it is a rank ordering and does not indicate or take into account in any way how much the person prefers one country to another.  An example would be if we were ranking flavors of ice cream in order of preference and the four flavors were vanilla, chocolate, asparagus, and vomit.  Also, one person may feel much more strongly about his first choice than another person feels about his first choice.  Of course, if each person has an uncontested first choice, the implication is that each person is happier with what he ends up with than he would be with any of the other 6 positions on the board, so we have optimization by definition.  Anything else is not so simple.  Suffice it to say, two people both having the same preference list (for example, GERFAIT), may be feel very differently about getting stuck with France instead of Russia and certainly about getting stuck with France compared to their first choice of Germany.  All you can confidently say about a conventional preference list is that is a rank ordering, and one that doesn’t permit the expression of equal preference for any two or more positions.


Going back to the “Dr. Pepper” example, it is possible that the difference between how much Doug preferred each of his first 5 choices is extremely small, but Russia may have been a “distant” second choice in Craig’s case.  There is no way to tell from the preference lists themselves, the lists being simple rank orderings, as there is no measure or quantification of the difference in preference (1.) between the nth choice of all the players and (2.) in the case of any one player, between any 2 his 7 choices.


To the best of my knowledge, no GM has ever conducted an auction per se for positions, the classic way of resolving how much different people want the same thing.  However, the way in which Andy uses preference lists to match 7 players to the 7 positions is a de facto sealed-bid auction with each player conditionally bidding on each of the 7 positions on the board, everybody bidding the same amount on a first choice, some lesser amount on the second (but everybody bidding the same amount on whatever his second choice happens to be), etc.  It is as if the GM were trying to maximize his revenue, subject to giving everyone his first choice if possible.  To keep things simple, we can say that you bid 6 something (dollars, Swiss francs, cans of sardines, or whatever) on your first choice, 5 on your second, and so on, bidding 0 on your last choice.  In the case of “Dr. Pepper” Andy’s revenue is 5 first choices x 6 + 1 second choice x 5 + one fifth choice x 2 = 37 total.  The 4 uncontested first choices (E, G, I, T) are obvious.  France is a contested first choice: Cary and Craig each had France listed as his first choice.  The second choice of Cary and Craig was Russia.  Andy maximizes his revenue by giving one of the two players France and the other player Russia; it doesn’t make any difference to Andy which player gets France and which gets Russia: Andy’s revenue will be 6 + 5 = 11 in either case.  Andy only picks up 2 from Doug, which is the best Andy can do at that stage of the bidding. 


Let’s take an alternative approach: all 7 positions are either the first or second choice of one or more of the 7 players.  Of all the first two choices of all the 7 players, Turkey is listed only by Paul Milewski (yes, me), so I play Turkey and my second choice of Russia is forgotten, Andy’s revenue from me is 6.  Austria only appears once, as Ken’s second choice, so Ken gets Austria.  That is 5 more for Andy.  Ken’s first choice of Italy is forgotten.  That leaves Italy only showing up as Stan’s second choice, so Stan gets Italy, Andy gets 5 from that, and Stan’s first choice of England is forgotten.  Now England only shows up as Doug’s second choice; forget his first choice of Germany; and Andy gets 5 more.  This leaves 3 countries to distribute (France, Germany, and Russia) among Cary, Brendan, and Craig.  Germany only appears as Brendan’s first choice, so Brendan gets Germany, Andy gets 6, and Brendan’s second choice of France is forgotten.  Once again, we find Cary and Craig each with France as his first choice and Russia as his second, so Andy picks one at random, taking in his final 6 + 5 = 11. 



Andy’s total take in this approach is 6 + 5 + 5 + 5 +6 + 6 + 5 = 38 and, based on the admittedly questionable valuation of first and second choices, yields a better result for Andy.  From the players’  viewpoints, it may be an improvement, as everyone got his first or second choice (3 first choices, 4 second choices) compared to the result using Andy’s approach in which six got their first choices, one got his second choice, but one only got his fifth choice. 


Someone with no preference list, as in the examples of “Faith” or “Hope” shown above is effectively offering to bid zero for any of the 7 positions, so Andy gives him whatever is left. 


Another way to go might be to attach a semantic differential to the rankings and permit some choices to be valued equally.  An arbitrary example of this would be for each person to group the 7 positions according to whether (1.) he’d like to get one of the positions in his first grouping, (2.) he doesn’t care much one way or the other about the countries in his second grouping, and (3.) he’d rather not get one of the ones in his third grouping.  It does not necessarily follow that each person would have to have at least “one choice” in each of the 3 categories and no preference list would be tantamount to listing all 7 positions in the second grouping.  


The GM would then go about giving each player a country from his first grouping if possible (two players with the same position and only that position in his first grouping would prevent that).  It’s not an approach without its faults, but it at least attempts to take into account how each player feels about the prospect of playing the various countries and does not make the plainly dubious implicit assumption that each person values his nth choice as much all other players values their nth choices and that he prefers his nth choice over his nth – 1 choice by the same difference he prefers his nth + 1 choice over his nth choice—in other words, that there is a linear preference function of startling uniformity.


Still another variation would be to permit a player to downright refuse to take one or more positions (for example, “I won’t play Austria under any circumstances”).  One could imagine a situation in which a GM would not be able to start a game with the first 7 people who step up to play and keep adding potential players to the pool until he is able, following this approach, to just come up with 7 players for the 7 positions on the board.  With the postal hobby being kept alive by a breathing machine, this may not be a viable alternative.


A still different approach would be to somehow raffle off the order in which players choose their positions, somewhat along the lines of an NFL draft pick, so by lot or otherwise the first person gets his choice of any of the 7 positions, the next person gets his choice of any of the remaining 6, and so on, until the last person literally gets what’s left.  This could also be done with each player submitting a preference list of the usual sort, but the first person gets the first choice on his list, the second player gets the first or second choice on his list (depending on whether the first person chose the second person’s first choice), and so on, until the last person gets what’s left.  This approach combines an element of chance while still allowing preference lists to affect the results.  Of course, if the players know in advance the order in which they will be allowed to choose (who will be first, who will be second, and so forth), the possibilities for two people conspiring to go for a 2-way draw right off the bat are obvious.  I might suggest going a little further and allowing players in this situation to trade their positions before they become final and certainly before spring 1901 orders are accepted.  Anyone who ever faced playing Austria against Kathy Caruso playing Italy could appreciate the attractiveness of getting yourself out of that mess ASAP (and the probably difficulty of getting someone to trade you for your Austria).  I can easily imagine having to pay someone on the side to accept the swap.  It reminds of flying back from Chicago on a business trip and having my boss offer me a twenty dollar bill to switch seats with him on the plane—his seat on the flight back was next to our Finance Director Joan the Terrible.  (I told him twenty bucks wasn’t enough.)


Why do people submit the preference lists that they do?  Take a look at the lists submitted by Cary Nichols in the first 3 games above:



He didn’t use the same preference list twice, although there is a pattern indicating a certain preference for France and an apparent desire to avoid playing Italy (and he doesn’t appear to be very fond of playing England, either).  Compare to Craig Cowley’s lists in the same 3 games:



In Craig’s case, we see more variety in his first and second preferences than in Cary’s case, and we see an apparent desire to avoid playing England.  Then look at Ken Iverson’s lists in those 3 games:



There are all the signs of guy who really likes playing Italy and doesn’t care much for playing Turkey.  If these 3 people in these 3 games are any indication, one might conclude that people submit preference lists to increase the likelihood of their getting certain positions and to decrease the likelihood of getting certain other positions.  In other words, the lists are being used for their nominal purpose: to express a preference and hoping to see it come to be.  If that’s the whole idea, maybe in the case of “Dr. Pepper” it would have been better to give everyone his first or second choice rather than see someone stuck with his fifth choice.  In any case, it seems to me that to come up with a preference list that will result in the most desirable outcome possible, a person needs to understand how the GM is going to use the preferences lists to assign positions.  For instance, if you really want to play England, list it as your first choice and then list as your next few choices positions that you think will show up on at least one other person’s list higher up on the list.  An example would be listing France second and Germany third—in the 4 of the 5 games above, at least one person listed France as his first choice.  If you know who the other 6 players are going to be and you have some basis for guessing their favorites, your odds with this strategy improve.


The apparent fact that a particular player may want one of the 7 positions and definitely not want another one of the 7 raises questions.  Is Diplomacy a game with very poor play balance?  Why would a person keep trying to play Italy, for instance?  Is he honing his skills to become the preeminent Italy?  Is that possible to do?  Did Kathy Caruso do so well playing Italy because she was Kathy Caruso or because she was playing Italy?  I’ve never had an 18-center win in all the years I’ve played.  Am I just a mediocre player?  Am I just a warm and fuzzy guy with no killer instinct?  Do I just ask a lot of silly questions because I like to put a question mark at the end of a sentence?

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 #11



The lack of letters and comments I get in this column is staggering.  At least Doug has finally given me a more readable font.  I kept asking him “who do I have to sleep with around here to get a font people can actually understand?”  Then I found out…ooh, I do not want to relive that experience.


Despite some late problems, the Phillies have their division just about locked up.  I don’t feel especially confident about our chances to go all the way, but we’ll make it to the League Championship.  Meanwhile, the Eagles lose McNabb for at least a week with a broken rib.  What a wuss….I’ve been hurt far worse and still performed at my job.  Of course my job involves a lot of sitting, and when I say “hurt” I mean hurt feelings, but it still applies.


Maybe what I need to do is run a game here.  Then I’d get more responses.  Hmmm…I could either do some kind of Diplomacy variant, or maybe an adult-oriented word game.  That might be best.  I could do XXX By Popular Demand.  If you think you might want to play that, let me know and I can start it next issue.


I don’t have any good news on the job front.  All the jobs I have a chance of getting for a decent wage are do far away from where I live that the benefit of the pay would be outweighed by my poor car falling apart in the middle of rush hour.  I need to ask Doogie to start some kind of Eternal Sunshine charity fund: “Buy Jack a Decent Car.”  Or if anybody has one they want to get rid of for $50, let me know.  Except I might need to pay in installments at this point.


Since I have no games to run, no real news to report, and no letters this month, I’ll just give you a few jokes and humorous photos or diagrams.  I’m too depressed to think of anything more entertaining.  Oh, and Swider, SCREW YOU for standing me up on playing wargames.  You can see your mother anytime.  I hope you stub your big toe on the leg of your coffee table.


First, a math lesson on the “cash for clunkers” program…..A vehicle at 15 mpg which goes 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline.  A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year.  So, the average clunker transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

They claim 700,000 vehicles were turned in (although that’s still up in the air as many are still being processed, and some denied) – so that's 224 million gallons / year saved.  That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.  5 million barrels of oil is about ¼ of one day's US consumption.  And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $375 million dollars at $75/bbl.  So, we all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $375 million.  How good a deal was that?

They'll probably do a great job with health care though…


Now, a joke….

A small zoo obtained a very rare species of gorilla... Within a few weeks the gorilla, a female, became

very difficult to handle.  Upon examination, the veterinarian determined the problem.  The gorilla was in heat.  To make matters worse, there was no male gorilla available.
Thinking about their problem, the Zoo Keeper thought of Bobby Lee, a redneck part-time worker responsible for cleaning the animal cages. Bobby Lee, like most rednecks, had little sense but possessed ample ability to satisfy a female of any species.
The Zoo Keeper thought they might have a solution. Bobby Lee was approached with a proposition. Would he be willing to mate with the gorilla for $500.00?
Bobby Lee showed some interest, but said he would have to think the matter over carefully. The following day, he announced that he would accept their offer, but only under five conditions:
"First", Bobby Lee said, "I ain't gonna kiss her on the lips." The Keeper quickly agreed to this condition..
"Second", he said, "She must wear a 'Dale Earnhardt Forever' T-Shirt." The keeper again readily agreed to this condition.
"Third", he said, "You can't never tell no one about this." The keeper again readily agreed to this condition.
"Fourth", Bobby Lee said, "I want all the offspring raised Southern Baptist." Once again it was agreed.
"And last," Bobby Lee said, "I'll need another week to come up with the $500.00"!


The End is Nye #1 - By Craig Nye


Editor’s Note: Craig Nye was one of the former publishers I suggested might like to contribute an occasional column to Eternal Sunshine.  Below you will find this month’s glimmer of genius, but first, here is what Craig submitted as a mini-bio and request for topics.


I have been around for some time now.  My relationship with the Diplomacy game is really a consequence of US involvement in Vietnam:  During the late 60s/early 70s I was acquainted with an American who was in the UK to avoid being sent to SE Asia to kill or be killed.  He introduced me to the game.  So Bob Roe, formerly of Ithaca NY, if you’re still out there somewhere, hello.  As finding 6 other nutters who actually wanted to play a board game somewhat more demanding than monopoly ftf was not easy I gravitated to the postal hobby in the UK.  I even published my own zine “Retief” in the mid 70s; copies of which are rumoured to exist in certain obscure archives.  The library at Miskatonic certainly has copies.  Real world events caused me to fold publication after about a year but I remained in contact with friends from the hobby for some years after.  Then the real world struck again and I was virtually out of contact until recently. 


That seems a fair summation of my relevant history.  Looking at ES I think your readership is largely North American; so my problem is going to be references that will be reasonably comprehensible to your readers.  I would appreciate some feedback as to topics that might be of interest.  All I can think of at the moment is expansion of my alien chefs notion to include all ‘reality tv’; a format I largely hold in contempt.  An assault on the absurd notion that Michael Jackson is actually dead but is now resident in area 51 Nevada along with Elvis and others, (MJ is running the theme park as the management, [Majestic 12],  felt it not appropriate for him to run the children’s crèche).  ....and now, on with the fun.


When Douglas was silly enough to ask me to contribute to ES I had a bit of a problem:  What to gibber on about?  After all a largely North American readership will not be that interested in the politics and history of the UK.  However the recent meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations has solved the problem as it provides the opportunity for, shall we say, some of the more eccentric leaders of member countries to speak.


 Among these was Libyan President Gaddafi who gave the meeting and the world the benefits of his wit and wisdom for 90 minutes.  His dissertation included castigating the UN, bemoaning jet lag and ruminations on the assassination of President Kennedy.  He was also quite nice about the current US chief executive; this is not the normal tone of the Libyan President about his US counterpart.  However if the palaeontologists are correct, I should point out to him that if you go back far enough we all originated in Africa.


Then we had Iranian President Ammadinejad.  I have to confess that I have a problem with his name:  Owing to some defective wiring in my brain I cannot stop thinking his name is “Imadinnerjacket”, sorry about that.  Anyway he did offer to ‘warmly shake the hand’ of other countries.  This makes a change from his previous speeches in which he seems more inclined to warmly shake the throat of other countries.  Whatever will be next?  Perhaps Bin Laden will send him a Christmas card?  


Then it was President Chavez of Venezuela’s turn in the pulpit.  In comparison with his comments about George W Bush, he’s being nice to Obama too.  Like Gaddafi he seems to have a bit of and obsession about the Kennedy assassination.  There’s even been a report about Fidel Castro approving of Obama on climate change, although this remains to be verified.


So what is with this Obamamania?  Even in Europe where we tend to regard, with good reason, politicians as one of the lowest forms of life he receives adulation.  The last time I can remember the world reacting like this to a US President was in the early 1960s.  Oh yes, so maybe Barack you should reconsider that trip to Dallas?   

Out of the WAY #12


by W. Andrew York

(wandrew88 of



This is coming to you (mostly) from Chicago.  I’m up for to spend a weekend with some friends, eat good food and do some sightseeing with them. Last year, I came up in November, saw the “House on the Rock”, ate at a Brazilian steakhouse and played some games. This year the slate of activities included dinners at Greek, Armenian and Czech restaurants, a trip to Springfield for a Lincoln themed day (with a side trip involving Frank Lloyd Wright), the Chicago History Museum and their bus tour around The Devil and the White City book (primarily about the 1893 Columbus Exposition in Chicago, along with a story about a mass murderer on the loose at the same time) and a White Sox game.

All in all, a great time had by all and, in Pandemic, we did almost save the world <- I need to do that one of these days! And, the division leading Tigers were put in their place (though it won’t make a difference in the end). Heading back in the morning on Southwest.

Below, the usual – including another spot on guess by Mark Lew about the word in “Hangman by Definition”. Once this last word is discovered, I’ll start a new five round game. And, I’m very strongly leaning towards leaving out ALL “E” and “S” revelations and guesses. If anyone objects to that change, now is the time to speak up.

                And, please send in any letters to the editor, poll question responses or other material to include. I’m always looking at ways to improve the newsletter and give you want you want to see (well, within reason). You feedback and thoughts are the only way I can do improve this bit and make it more interesting to you!

Have a great October!


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: Did the “Cash for Clunkers” program reach the goals set for it? Were those goals         appropriate for the Federal government to promote?


[WAY] In some ways it helped for the immediate future (uptick in sales, increased production to replace sold vehicles); but it only benefited a small part of the economy and the select group of individuals who were in a position to take advantage of the offer. I had friends who had literal “clunkers” (barely running, damaged exhaust systems) but that originally were too economical to qualify. On the other hand, folks with cars meeting the requirements, in some cases, turned theirs in and bought one that barely meet the upgrade requirements – in some cases only a few miles per gallon more than previously. A wider net would have been better, as would have been stricter upgrade requirements. However, in this case, it probably was better than not doing it at all.


For next issue: Football, baseball, soccer (OK non-American football), golf – what is the one sport you couldn’t do without and why is it so important to you?


The Month in History


October 2, 1869 - Ghandi is born.

October 3, 1939 - The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) takes position on the French border with Belgium while the last major Polish military

                forces surrender.

October 14, 1939 - U-47 slips into the primary British naval port at Scapa Flow and sinks the battleship Royal Oak.

October 17, 1859 - John Brown launches the raid at Harper’s Ferry to capture the armoury there and arm the slaves who would rise up in

                support of his action. In the end, he is captured by Robert E. Lee and a small contingent of Marines.

October 29, 1929 - 16.4 million shares are traded on Wall Street as the country slides into the Great Depression.


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



Letter Column

(always welcome, send them in!)


none this month


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.


Egg Drop Soup


version by W Andrew York

(last revised September 2009)


Ingredients (per serving):


                1                              egg, lightly beaten

                1 cup                       chicken stock          

                small knob               ginger, lightly crushed

                2 cloves                   garlic, lightly crushed

                1                              green onion (green stem only, cut into fine rings from bulb side up; avoid any tough part)

                                                Toasted Sesame Oil

                                                Salt and White Pepper to taste



                1) Put chicken stock into a pot, add garlic and ginger

                2) Bring to a simmer, leave for 10 minutes

                3) Remove ginger and garlic (may need to strain through a fine strainer/cheese cloth if ginger or garlic break up)

                4) Taste for salt and pepper

                5) While simmering, lightly whisk in beaten egg

                6) Serve, topped with a dollop of sesame oil and a scattering of onion greens




                 - Can substitute whites from two eggs for the whole egg

                 - Use homemade stock, if available, if not use canned low sodium chicken stock




                Food supplies and current farming methods in North America is a difficult topic to write about. At first, I was leaning towards a fully realized “buy local, organic” as the best option and knocking the factory farm system. However, in reflection and thinking about the ways and wherefores, quite a few exceptions and caveats jumped out and made me rethink what I was going to say. Thus, I skipped the column last time.

In general, I do agree with that philosophy – buy local and organic; avoid the products of the factory farm system; skip the items on the store shelves that involve high carbon investment to deliver. What I mean by each of this is:


-       local products, for the most part, have low carbon investment to put onto the shelves by not requiring shipment from overseas (especially by plane) or trucking/railing across the country. The fuel consumed to bring the item to you can be quite significant. However, being local does not automatically mean low carbon – if it is assembled from ingredients that require extensive shipping, the carbon investment can be hidden while being greater than that from a something produced elsewhere and shipped in. So, this isn’t an easy choice without extensive research or full disclosure by the producer.

-       organic products are not always what they seem. On the face of it, organic produce doesn’t use commercial fertilizer which has been shown to run off and pollute streams and rivers (see the bloom off of the mouth of the Mississippi where fertilizer run-off has seriously depleted the seafood supply in the area). However, what may be labeled isn’t necessarily 100% organic. The term is relatively flexible and may not reflect that the entire contents are organic (only a percentage). So, again, someone has to be careful and take the time to ensure that they are getting what they expect.

-       as a side note, buying from a farmers’ market doesn’t always mean you are getting food from the farmer. Check with the folks organizing the event to ensure that the people selling the food are the ones actually producing it. Otherwise, you may be getting “farm” food; but which is being offered by a reseller (in some cases, buying the food from a wholesaler, just as a supermarket would, and then up charging to match the costs of the true farmers at the market). Another way is to talk to the seller, ask where their farm is specifically, their yields and such. Those who are resellers will usually hedge or offer evasive answers.

-       factory farms, in many instances, may not be as careful as a local farmer growing/selling their products.  The chances of getting inferior or contaminated food increases each time another set of hands handles/packages/transports/stocks it. Also, many factory farms provide their food into an aggregation system where the products of farm A are combined with similar products from farm B, C, D, etc. In the end, you get the average of the food’s quality and the lowest common denominator for contamination. So, an excellent output from one farm (highest quality and absolutely no contamination) will be degraded by the other farm’s product. In the end, you can’t lump each factory-style farm into one category, but you can say the aggregate, in general, is a poor substitute for fresh, local, organic quality offerings.


Also, in this discussion, there is the cost factor. With rare exceptions, the local/organic foods cost more than the output of the factory food system. That system uses advantages of quantity acquisition/production/distribution, lower costs of production and the “muscle” of their size to leverage cost controls. This can be a serious hindrance to those with limited incomes or high fixed costs:


-       subsidized crops skew what is available in stores, and mostly profits the factory farms rather than the independent farmer. For example, corn receives a significant influx of federal funds and corn syrup is a major ingredient in a fair number of “junk” foods available to the consumer. If, instead of subsidizing the farmer, the government increases the allotment of food stamps to those in need, the food prices can rise to a more natural level and the consumer can make more informed, and hopefully more nutritious choices in their food purchases.

-       organic food does cost more, and consumers have to make the best choices they can. At the store yesterday, organic tomatoes were around $2.60/lb while other tomatoes were at 94¢/lb and slightly better quality. No one can fault a shopper for getting the better bargain or taking the better produce.

-       organic foods aren’t always available, especially if you’re trying to make a special recipe with specific ingredients. This is especially the case if you’re trying use out of season produce or something that isn’t grown locally. A prime example of this is folks living far from the coast and wanting to use fresh seafood - you can only buy what is available.


In the end, each person must make the best choices for themselves and their families. Myself, I still plan to collect my weekly box of fresh veggies from the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm and pick other finds when I go to a real farmer’s market. I won’t always use everything; but I’ll share what my neighbors want and enjoy what I can. At the grocery store, I’ll buy what I need to fill out the rest of my week’s needs, balancing the purchase of organics with other quality veggies.


Now, with prepared foods, that’s a whole ‘nother story…..



Babylon 5 Quote


In A Voice in the Wilderness, Part 2:


                Rowdy #1: “Nuke ‘em ‘till they glow, then shoot ‘em in the dark”


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



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 Four, Turn One:     


                Letter Votes: None - 2, T - 2                                              Revealed: N/A    

                Words Guessed:   Mark Lew - ACRID; Dane Maslan - Aroma; Brendan Whyte - no guess; Doug Kent - Cliff





                Word:                     A  C  R  I  D


Definition:             Harsh to the taste or smell.


                Revealed:              E, S


Round Five, Turn Zero:


                Word:                     __  __  __  __  S  __


Definition:             E  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __;    __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __


                Revealed:              E, S


Words Guessed: Mark D Lew - 3, Dane Maslen - 1, Jim-Bob - 1


Player Comments:


[Mark Lew] Ah, now this is much more interesting. You can’t pin down a five-letter word with no letters revealed. That means we have to attack the definition.

                The key word is the middle one. I don’t think there’s much it can be besides paste/waste/taste/haste. The question is which of those takes a short word in front that looks suspiciously like “the” and can take a 2-5 after it which is likely prepositional (to, of, in), but might also be an “or” to another noun.

                I’m thinking the rod is an adjective, and the definition goes [adj] [prep] the [noun] [prep]/or [noun]. The final word is much more flexible than the middle one, but it’s still narrowed down quite a ways. Taste pairs nicely with smell or scent. So maybe something like “crisp to the taste or smell”? That still sounds too clumsy, but it’s the best I’ve got. Even if that were a definition, what could it define? Tangy?

                [Later] OK, now I’ve got it. It’s gotta be ACRID.

                It bothered me that something doesn’t really smell tangy. Acrid works for both taste or smell, in which case the first word is probably harsh.

                So, change my official guess to ACRID.


[Dane Maslen] It seems that last issue I intended writing you a letter discussing the issue of ‘assisted solutions’ but never got round to it - and in the process also never got round to submitting a vote or a guess, not that it mattered as I’m now forsaking the use of my SOWPODS list so I wouldn’t have got the word.

                I think your choice of a short word this round is a good idea as it will probably force the players to work to solve the definition rather than the word itself....let’s see if I can remember to send you some orders this time!

                Never revealing E’s and S’s might be a good idea. [WAY] I’m very much leaning towards that for the next game.

                [Later] This is very frustrating. I’m currently working on the hypothesis that the definition is something along the lines:


                                something1 OF/IN THE something2 OF/TO/OR something3


                I think the ‘something2’ is the key. I can only think of seven words that fit, of which two or three seem somewhat unlikely. Nonetheless I can’t come up with anything sensible, possibly because I’m obsessed with ‘TASTE OR SMELL’ (which is why I’ve guessed at ‘AROMA’, even though I can’t work out a suitable definition). I have the nasty suspicion that I must be overlooking a word that would fit.


[Doug Kent] I suck at this game, but my guess is CLIFF.


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:

October 24, 2009 at 7:00am – See You Then!


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

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

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press – Permanent Opening in ES): Signed up: None, needs seven to fill.

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, Brad Wilson, need 1 more to fill.  Let’s get this filled up THIS issue!

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

Fog of War Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: Jack McHugh, Graham Wilson, Mark Firth, Paraic Reddington, need three 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.

Deviant Diplomacy II (Black Press): Signed up: None, needs seven to fill.  Crazy game, completely out of its mind.  Rules were in Eternal Sunshine #23.  Check out the game currently running if you want to see what this is like! 

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.  There is talk of merging this with a similar opening in Paul Bolduc’s Boris the Spider.  If so I’ll alert the players.

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.  New game starts this issue!

Standby List: HELP!  I need standby players! – Current standby list: Graham Wilson, Jim Burgess (Dip only), Jeremie Lefrancois (Dip only), Lance Anderson (Dip only), Martin Burgdorf, 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?  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, Fall 07


Austria (Kevin Wilson - ckevinw “of” A Budapest Supports A Galicia - Rumania (*Fails*),

 A Galicia - Rumania (*Fails*), F Greece Supports A Rumania – Bulgaria, F North Africa – Tunis,

 A Rumania - Bulgaria (*Fails*), A Serbia Supports A Rumania – Bulgaria. A Warsaw Hold.

England (Jérémie LeFrançois - jeremie.lefrancois “of” F Baltic Sea - Livonia (*Bounce*),

 F Belgium – Picardy, F English Channel Convoys A Picardy – Denmark,

 F Irish Sea - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Bounce*), F Mid-Atlantic Ocean - Portugal (*Bounce*),

 A Moscow - Livonia (*Bounce*), F North Atlantic Ocean Supports F Irish Sea - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Fails*),

 F North Sea Convoys A Picardy – Denmark, A Picardy – Denmark,

 A Sevastopol Supports F Bulgaria(ec) - Rumania (*Void*).

France (William Wood – woodw “of”  A Brest Supports A Paris, A Paris Supports A Brest.

Germany (Graham Wilson – grahamaw “of” A Berlin – Prussia,

 A Burgundy - Gascony (*Bounce*), A Silesia Supports A Berlin - Prussia.

Italy (Don Williams – dwilliam “of” F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc) (*Fails*),

 A Marseilles - Gascony (*Bounce*), F Piedmont no move received, F Spain(nc) - Portugal (*Bounce*),

 F Western Mediterranean - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Bounce*).

Russia (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” Retreat A Rumania – Ukraine..A Ukraine utters a primal

 scream (Holds).

Turkey (Brad Wilson - bwdolphin146 “of” F Black Sea Supports F Bulgaria(ec),

 F Bulgaria(ec) Supports A Ukraine - Rumania (*Void*), A Constantinople Supports F Bulgaria(ec),

 F Smyrna - Aegean Sea.



Winter 1907/Spring 1908 Deadline is October 27th 2009 at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart

Austria:            Budapest, Greece, Rumania, Serbia, Trieste, Tunis, Vienna, Warsaw=8, Build 1

England:          Belgium, Denmark, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Moscow, Norway,

                        Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Sweden=10, Even

France:            Brest, Paris=2, Even

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

Italy:                Marseilles, Naples, Portugal, Rome, Spain, Venice=6, Build 1

Russia:             None=0, OUT!!!

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Smyrna=4, Even




CONSTANTINOPLE: Will anyone save us from the Hapsburg Empire? We don't want to all have long chins!! Help!!!


Diplomacy “Dulcinea” 2008C,Summer/Fall 04

Austria (Stephen Agar – stephen “of” F Adriatic Sea – Apulia, A Galicia – Warsaw,

 A Tyrolia Supports A Vienna - Bohemia (*Dislodged*, ret to Trieste, Vienna, OTB),

 A Ukraine Supports A Galicia – Warsaw, A Venice Supports A Apulia – Rome, A Vienna - Bohemia.

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

 F Irish Sea - Mid-Atlantic Ocean, F Norway - North Sea, F St Petersburg(nc) Hold, A Sweden – Livonia,

 A Wales - Brest (*Bounce*).

France (Brad Wilson – bwdolphin146 ”of” A Belgium - Burgundy (*Disbanded*),

 A Paris Supports A Belgium – Burgundy, A Picardy - Brest (*Bounce*), F Spain(sc) - Marseilles.

Germany (William Wood – woodw “of” F Baltic Sea Convoys A Sweden – Livonia,

 A Burgundy – Belgium, A Holland Supports A Burgundy – Belgium, A Munich Supports A Bohemia – Tyrolia,

 A Ruhr Supports A Burgundy - Belgium.

Italy (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” Retreat A Tyrolia – Bohemia..A Bohemia – Tyrolia,

 F Gulf of Lyon - Tyrrhenian Sea (*Bounce*), F Naples - Rome (*Fails*),

 A Piedmont Supports A Bohemia – Tyrolia, F Tunis - Ionian Sea (*Bounce*).

Russia (Jack McHugh – jwmchughjr “of” A Moscow Supports A Warsaw (*Cut*),

 A Warsaw Supports A Moscow (*Dislodged*, ret to Prussia, Silesia, OTB).

Turkey (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” F Aegean Sea Supports F Eastern Mediterranean - Ionian

 Sea (*Fails*), A Apulia – Rome, F Black Sea - Sevastopol (*Fails*),

 F Eastern Mediterranean - Ionian Sea (*Bounce*), F Ionian Sea - Tyrrhenian Sea (*Bounce*),

 A Sevastopol - Moscow (*Fails*).


Winter 1904/Spring 1905 Deadline is October 27th 2009 at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart

Austria:            Budapest, Rumania, Serbia, Trieste, Venice, Vienna, Warsaw=7, Build 1

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

France:            Brest, Marseilles, Paris, Portugal=4, Build 1

Germany:         Belgium, Berlin, Denmark, Holland, Kiel, Munich=6, Build 1

Italy:                Naples, Spain, Tunis=3, Remove 2

Russia:             Moscow=1, Remove 1

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Greece, Rome, Sevastopol, Smyrna=7, Build 1


Prime Minister to Smaug: Goose?


PARIS: C'est fini ici.


G to F: Have you tried the strudel?


GM – G: Wait for the cream, my dear.


Diplomacy “Just a Taste” 2009C, Spring 1901

Austria (William Wood – woodw “of” A Budapest – Serbia, F Trieste – Albania,

 A Vienna - Trieste.

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

 F Edinburgh - Norwegian Sea, A Liverpool – Yorkshire, F London - North Sea.

France (Paraic Reddington - ): F Brest - Mid-Atlantic Ocean,

 A Marseilles – Spain, A Paris - Burgundy.

Germany (Philip Murphy trekkypj “of” A Berlin – Silesia, F Kiel – Denmark,

 A Munich - Bohemia.

Italy (Ian Pringle - pringle.ian “of” F Naples - Ionian Sea, A Rome – Apulia, A Venice Hold.

Russia (Don Williams – dwilliam “of” A Moscow - Sevastopol (*Fails*),

 F Sevastopol - Black Sea (*Bounce*), F St Petersburg(sc) - Gulf of Bothnia, A Warsaw - Ukraine.

Turkey (Graham Wilson – grahamaw “of” F Ankara - Black Sea (*Bounce*),

 A Constantinople – Bulgaria, A Smyrna - Armenia.


Fall 1901 Deadline is October 27th 2009 at 7:00am my time




A to R: “No No No… I know what it looks like but I thought you meant you were okay with me moving East.  I would never attempt to take advantage a small misunderstanding.  Anyway, the move is done.  Let’s try and work out what’s best given the unfortunate positions of our armies.  You might consider moving North, your armies look pretty threatening from my perspective and it’s best to avoid unnecessary conflict.  After all, it was just a small misunderstanding.”




Diplomacy “Bellicus” from Strange Meeting, Spring/Summer 1905


England (Smiley McKinnon – Boltar35 “of” F Clyde – Edinburgh,

 A London - Yorkshire (*Bounce*), F Norway - North Sea.

France (Pat Vogelsang – godawgsgo33 “of” A Belgium Supports A Burgundy – Ruhr,

 A Burgundy – Ruhr, F English Channel - London (*Fails*), A Gascony Hold, F Irish Sea Hold,

 A Liverpool - Yorkshire (*Bounce*), A Paris - Burgundy.

Germany (Beartla de Burca – beartlab “of” A Holland Supports A Kiel,

 A Kiel Supports A Silesia – Munich, A Silesia - Munich.

Italy (David Latimer – davidlatimeryork “of” F Adriatic Sea Supports A Tyrolia - Trieste 

 (*Cut*), F Tunis - Tyrrhenian Sea, A Tyrolia - Trieste (*Fails*), A Venice Supports A Tyrolia - Trieste.

Russia (Chris Babcock – cbabcock “of” F Denmark Supports A Munich – Kiel,

 A Finland – Sweden, A Galicia – Silesia, A Moscow – Livonia, A Munich - Kiel (*Dislodged*, retreats to Berlin),

 F St Petersburg(nc) – Norway, F Sweden - Baltic Sea, A Vienna Supports A Trieste – Tyrolia,

 A Warsaw Supports A Galicia - Silesia.

Turkey (Phil Amos – p.v.a “of” F Aegean Sea Supports F Eastern Mediterranean - Ionian Sea, F Albania - Adriatic Sea (*Fails*), F Ankara – Constantinople, A Constantinople – Bulgaria,

 F Eastern Mediterranean - Ionian Sea, F Greece Supports F Eastern Mediterranean - Ionian Sea,

 A Serbia - Trieste (*Fails*), A Trieste - Tyrolia (*Fails*).



No press?  You guys suck!


Fall/Winter 1905 Deadline is October 27th 2009 at 7:00am my time



Diplomacy “Chimaera” from Strange Meeting, Spring/Summer 1905

Austria (Tim Deacon – unknown email, see below): A Budapest – Trieste, A Serbia – Greece,

 A Vienna Supports A Budapest - Trieste.

England (Nigel Pepper – nepper “of” A Brest Supports A London - Gascony (*Cut*),

 F English Channel Convoys A London – Gascony, F Holland - Belgium (*Bounce*),

 F Irish Sea Supports F Mid-Atlantic Ocean, F Kiel Hold, A Liverpool Hold, A London – Gascony,

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Convoys A London – Gascony, A Munich – Burgundy, F Picardy - Belgium (*Bounce*).

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

 F Marseilles - Spain(sc), A Paris - Brest (*Fails*), F Portugal - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Fails*),

 A Ruhr - Munich (*Bounce*).

Italy (Jimmy Cowie – jcowie “of” F Ionian Sea - Aegean Sea (*Fails*),

 F Tunis - North Africa, A Tyrolia Supports A Ruhr - Munich (*Cut*), A Venice Supports A Tyrolia,

 F Western Mediterranean Supports F Tunis - North Africa.

Russia (Mike Oliveri – oliverima “of” F Ankara Supports A Sevastopol – Armenia,

 F Baltic Sea - Berlin (*Fails*), A Berlin - Munich (*Bounce*), F Black Sea Supports A Constantinople,

 A Bohemia - Tyrolia (*Fails*), A Bulgaria Supports A Serbia – Greece, A Constantinople Supports A Bulgaria,

 A Sevastopol – Armenia, A Silesia - Bohemia (*Fails*), A Warsaw - Ukraine.

Turkey (Eric Knibb – eric_knibb “of” F Aegean Sea - Greece (*Fails*),

 A Smyrna - Armenia (*Fails*).


Tim’s orders were submitted by proxy by Russia, at Tim’s request.  I am still hoping to get a new email address for him shortly.  But in the meantime, Jim Burgess (jfburgess “of” remains the designated standby who will submit orders should Tim fail to do so or fail to approve a proxy for the season.


Fall/Winter 1905 Deadline is October 27th 2009 at 7:00am my time




No press?  You all suck.


Diplomacy “Albion” from Strange Meeting, Fall/Winter 1904

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY (Douglas Kent): F(Tun) s TURKISH F(ION) - TYS (MISORDER); A(Tyr) - Ven; A(Tri) s A(Tyr) - Ven; A(Ser) s A(Tri); A(Vie) s A(Tri) (CUT); A(War) Stands u/o


ENGLAND (Jeremy Tullett): F(NWG) - NTH (FAILED); A(Lpl) - Yor; F(Edi) s A(Lpl) - Yor


FRANCE (Mark Stretch): F(IRI) s A(Wal) - Lpl; A(Wal) - Lpl; F(MAO) - WMS; A(Gas) - Spa; A(Pie) s GERMAN A(Mun) - Tyr


GERMANY (Toby Harris): A(Swe) s A(Nwy); A(Nwy) s RUSSIAN A(StP); F(SKA) s F(NTH); F(NTH) Stands; A(Yor) - Lon; A(Mun) - Tyr; A(Gal) - Vie (FAILED)


ITALY (Mog Firth): F(TYS) - Nap (FAILED); A(Rom) - Nap (FAILED); F(ADS) c A(Ven) - Alb (MISORDER); A(Alb) Stands u/o


RUSSIA (Robin ap Cynan): A(Lvn) - Mos (FAILED); A(StP) s A(Lvn) - Mos


TURKEY (Ian Pringle): F(ION) - Gre; F(AEG) s F(ION) - Gre; F(EMS) - ION; A(Mos) s AUSTRIAN A(War) (CUT); A(Bul) Stands; A(Ukr) s A(Mos)


Autumn 1904 Adjustments:

A: +Tun, +Ven, Tri, Ser, Vie, +War, Rum, Bud, -Gre = 8; Gains 2.

E: Edi -StP, -Lpl = 1; Loses 2.

F: +Lpl, Spa, Mar, Por, Bre, Par = 6; Gains 1.

G: +Swe, +Nwy, Lon, Bel, Den, Hol, Mun, Ber, Kie = 9; Gains 2.

I: Rom, Nap -Ven, -Tun = 2; Loses 2.

R: +StP -Nwy, -War, -Swe = 1; Loses 2.

T: +Gre, Mos, Bul, Sev, Con, Ank, Smy = 7; Gains 1.



A: Builds A(Bud). 1 Build centre short.

E: Removes F(NWG), A(Yor).

F: Builds F(Mar).

G: Builds A(Mun), A(Ber).

I: Removes A(Alb), F(TYS).

R: Removes A(Lvn).

T: Builds F(Con).



Russia-World: Goodbye cruel monsters… early bath for me!


Troy: Priam looked at the large wooden horse standing in the early morning light. “Hmmm”, he thought, “I always fear tobys bearing gifts”.


Deadline is October 23 - Remember: Orders go to Stephen Agar!!!



“Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse


Billy Ray Valentine: Still in lockup.


Duke of York: Sells 300 Marks, 500 Lira.  Buys 691 Crowns.


Smaug the Dragon: Sell 500 Crowns, 500 Pounds.  Buy 500 Lire, 500 Francs.


Rothschild: Sells 333 Lire.  Buys 159 Marks and 128 Piastre.


Baron Wuffet: Lost in a labyrinth.


Wooden Nickel Enterprises: Sells 500 Pounds, 500 Rubles.  Buys 1161 Lire.

VAIONT Enterprises: Busy, busy, busy.


Insider Trading LLC: Under indictment.



Next Bourse Deadline is October 26th 2009 at 7:00pm my time




No press?  You guys suck.


Deviant Dip II – “Black Licorice” – 2009Brc08 – Fall 1902

Drance (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” with Don Williams ordering units): Picardy H,

 Gulf of Lyon H, Burgundy H, Spain H, Marseilles H, Sardinia H.

England (Russell Blau – russblau “of” Belgium s North Sea – Holland, North Sea – Holland,

 Wales – Irish Sea, English Channel S Belgium, Norway S Sweden(OTM), Ireland – Ionian Sea.

Vermany (Pete Gaughan – raptormage “of” BerlinBelgium, Munich – Moscow,

 Ruhr – Rome, Kiel s M Berlin – Belgium (Impossible), Iceland - North Atlantic

Italy (John David Galt – jdg “of” Apulia - Adriatic Sea, Venice – Tuscany,

 Naples - Tyrrhenian Sea, Ionian Sea H, Sicily supports Ionian Sea.
Austria (John Walker - jwalker150 “of”

 Serbia – Saint Petersburg (Impossible and ordered twice), Greece Unordered (ret Albania, Gulf of Bothina, OTB)

 Galacia – Moscow (Impossible, retreat Bohemia, Silesia, Finland, OTB),

 Serbia   Edinburgh (Impossible and ordered twice), Budapest – London (Impossible),

 Trieste – Liverpool (Impossible), Corsica Unordered (destroyed, no retreat possible).

Nussia (Mark D Lew – markdlew “of” Galicia retreats to Gascony..

 Gascony S  Bulgaria – Greece, Cyprus - Cyprus Air, Sweden – Spain, Rumania – Galicia,

 Warsaw  S Rumania – Galicia, Ukraine – Sevastopol, Constantinople - Corsica.

Turkey (Jason Bergmann – jasonbergmann “of” BulgariaGreece,

 Aegean S Bulgaria – Greece, Crete S Constantinople – Corsica, Sevastopol – Rumania, Eastern Med – Ionian.

RP’s (Rule #21): John Walker - 1; Russell Blau - 2; Jim Burgess - 4; Pete Gaughan - 0; John David Galt - 2; Mark D Lew - 3; Jason Bergmann - 2.


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


Initial Supply Center Chart

Drance             Brest, Marseilles, Munich, Paris, Portugal, Spain, Sardinia=7                Build 1

England            Belgium, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Norway, Holland, Ireland=7   Build 1

Vermany          Berlin, Denmark, Kiel, Moscow, Rome, Iceland=6                                Build 1

Italy                 Naples, Tunis, Venice, Sicily=4                                                             Remove 1

Austria             Budapest, Serbia, Trieste, Vienna=4                                                    Even

Nussia              Constantinople, St Petersburg, Sweden, Warsaw, Sevastopol,

Corsica, Cyprus=7                                                                                Even

Turkey              Ankara, Bulgaria, Smyrna, Greece, Crete, Rumania=6                          Build 1


Votes by Nation:

Drance: 4 Yes on #31, 5 Yes on #32.

England: 1 Yes on #29, 1 No on #33, 1 Yes on #38, 1 Yes on #28, 1 No on #31, 1 No on #34, 1 No on #36, 1 No on #37.

Vermany: 2 Yes for #34, 1 Yes for #35, 1 Yes for #36, 1 Yes for #38.

Italy: 1 Yes on #27, 1 Yes on #28, 1 No on #33, 1 No on #38, 1 Yes on #34.

Austria: 7 Yes for #38.

Nussia: 1 No on #27, 1 No on #28, 2 No on #29, 1 No on #35, 3 Yes on #34, 1 No on #38.

Turkey: 1 No on #29, 1 No on #33, 1 No on #35, 1 Yes on #37, 2 Yes on #38.





Net Votes

# of Players Voting No


#27 - Secret Ballot






#28 - Invisibility Spells






#29 - Musical Chairs






#30 - British Naval Dominance



#31 - Take Over the Dulcinea






#32 - Take Over Eternal Sunshine




#33 - Muzzle the Lawyers





#34 - Snowball Fighting!






#35 - Too Sirius






#36 - In Democracy Flagrante






#37 - Strict Construction Good, Judicial Activism Bad






#38 - Scrambled Eggs







Winter 1902 Deadline is October 26th at 7:00pm my time

This turn will include proposals, builds/removals, and scrambles!


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.


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.  [[For the basis of this rule “fleet” now refers to “marine unit.”]]


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.  [[Vie, Bud, Tri, and Ser will each have only one coast, and will still be known by their original names.]]

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 #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.  [[By this rule, there are no longer convoys.  Coasts are no longer necessary to specify, as the Marine units may move by land and sea.  Movements by air must be specified as “by air” or “via air.”  Destinations of air movements will not be revealed to the rest of the board until the 2nd turn, although the player MUST specify the destination with the original order; if you order Moscow – Paris via air, the first adjudication will merely state Moscow – Moscow Air.  The next adjudication will report Moscow Air – Paris.  If the landing fails due to a bounce or other interference, the unit returns to the original location the following movement season.  However, if unable to land at the location of origin because of a bounce or because it is occupied, the Marine which had attempted the air movement is destroyed, crashing due to lack of fuel.  Once a unit is in the air, the space it used to occupy can be immediately occupied.  In the above example, Moscow would be considered unoccupied immediately, so an uncontested move of Ukraine – Moscow would succeed even if ordered in the same season as Moscow – Moscow Air.]]


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.  [[In effect, the new adjacencies are “worm hole” passages, because they do not change any other aspects of the board.  St. Petersburg is considered to be spelled out as Saint.  I haven’t found any, but if someone discovers before next turn that this rule contradicts Rule #15 by making Vie, Tri, Ser, or  Bud adjacent again to any of their original neighbors, then both rules are null and void by Rule #1 clause 7.  As I mentioned, I haven’t found that to be the case, but I could be wrong.  If no such contradiction is pointed out to me by the next deadline, both rules stand regardless.]]


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.  [[“Fleet” now refers to “Mariine.”]]


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.  [[Don Williams will now be called on to submit movement orders for French units.]]


Rule #28 - Invisibility Spells (Proposed by John David Galt): Each Spring or Fall turn, each player may spend one of his rule votes to cause one of his units to become invisible.  The unit will act normally in all respects, but its location, and any orders to it, will be known only to its owner and the GM.  Invisibility takes effect immediately -- before the adjudication of orders on the same turn in which it is cast -- and only ends if the unit, at the end of any turn, is in a supply center which did not belong to the unit's owner at the beginning of that turn.  (On that turn its location is revealed but the order, if any, it received that turn is not.)  Neighboring units affected by the invisible unit will know whether their orders succeeded or not, but will not be told why.


Rule #31 - Take over the Dulcinea (Proposed by Jim Burgess): As soon as this is passed (i.e. in the same issue), a "Dulcinae II" board is created with all the players and unit positions of the Dulcinae game.  All of the Dulcinae players control their units on the Dulcinae II board as well as the original board, but initially (until modified by future rules in this game) cannot issue orders any differently from in Dulcinae I, their submitted orders are also executed on Dulcinae II.  Every Fall turn, each player on the Black Licorice board randomly will have one of its units cloned onto the Dulcinae II board in the same location and it annihilates any existing Dulcinae II unit in that space.  If the randomly chosen unit is in a "new space", the entire rule creating that space will also be transferred to the Dulcinae II board -- otherwise all rules on the Dulcinae board are as in Standard Diplomacy (at least for now).  These units have one free game year, the unit does not have to be in a supply center to stay on the Dulcinae II board, but after that must support themselves by taking centers on the Dulcinae II board, centers are counted separately on each board.  [[This rule doesn’t actually take effect until ES #34, but since this rule does not do anything to the “Dulcinae II” game until the Fall turn (which I have decided to rule refers to the Fall turn in Black Licorice since Jim was not specific) it makes no difference whether it starts right now or not.]]


Rule #32 - Take over Eternal Sunshine (Proposed by Jim Burgess): Rules proposed in Black Licorice can have real effects on other games in Eternal Sunshine.  If this rule passes and subsequent Black Licorice rules pass that affect other games, the GM/Publisher shall poll players in those games as to whether the Deviant rule shall take effect.  Any veto by any player in the "real" Eternal Sunshine game invalidates the Black Licorice rule for that game (rules proposed to affect multiple ES games can thus actually only affect a subset of those games).  These rules can be re-proposed, but can cause the GM to poll players in any given Eternal Sunshine game no more than once per Eternal Sunshine issue.


Rule #34 - Snowball fighting! (Proposed by Mark D. Lew): During each winter season, each unit on the board may throw a snowball at any other unit on the board. When ordering throws, the player should specify a path of adjacent spaces, starting with the space occupied by the thrower and ending with the space of the target. (For snowball purposes, use adjacencies per the original map, ignoring any changes in game geography due to deviant rules. A snowball's path may include an impassable space such as Switzerland.) The path must be reasonably straight, as if drawing a straight line from somewhere in the one space to somewhere in the other, but will be judged generously if it seems close enough. If a path is clearly not straight, GM may either designate a new path with the same start and end space or else disqualify the throw as too preposterous.

Each snowball throw has a 1/N chance of hitting its target, where N is the length of the path including start and end spaces. It also has 1/N chance of hitting any unit in an intervening space along the path. Snowball throws are ordered with winter builds, but they are resolved after builds. Newly built units may neither throw nor be targeted, but they might be hit if they end up in an intervening path along a throw. Units about to be disbanded may throw or be targeted before they go, but they won't be around to get hit.

For each successful throw of length N=3 or more, the throwing player scores N style points. No style points are scored for hitting a unit other than the target, and no style points are scored for a throw of N=2. A player who scores eight or more style points in a turn gets one additional vote on rule proposals the following season. (Style points are not cumulative, and any number less than eight garners no voting benefit.)

Snowball hits taken by a unit are cumulative and tracked from year to year. During the winter season, any unit may, instead of throwing a snowball, be ordered to go inside and dry off. It takes no hits that winter and its cumulative total of hits is restored to zero. For each unit ordered to go inside and dry off, a player gets -5 style points that winter.

Any unit which suffers 20 snowball hits is considered pummeled and is treated as if in civil disorder for the rest of the game. It may not move or support during spring and fall turns. It also may not throw snowballs nor go inside during winter.

Rule #38 - Scrambled Eggs (Proposed by Jason Bergmann):  At the end of Winter 1902, after builds, all units will be redistributed randomly among all passable spaces.  Armies landing in water will become fleets.  Fleets landing in non-coastal land spaces will become armies.  In addition, supply centers will be redistributed among all players.  After such redistribution, each player will have the same number of supply centers, but such centers will be randomly chosen.  In Spring 1903, each player may designate three of his supply centers to be home centers.  (Russia may designate four) [[All units are now Marines, so the changes from army to fleet and vice versa are to be ignored.]]




VERMINY to RUSSIA: Damn, Mark. Proposing Snowball Fighting within a Deviant game? I think you just won any award that might be given for meta-dipping.


This is the all powerful EFGIATR:  Is it time for milk and cookies yet?


The Navy to the Air Force:  What happened to your jets?


From everyone to everyone:  Can we declare a draw yet?


Germany to Austria: Can we rename you Atlantis?


St Petersburg to Stockholm:  The Kremlin has received grave news regarding the political situation in France. Although Russia's loyal ally, Jacques-Robert de Bourgesse, remains the true and lawful ruler of the French Republic, control of France's military forces has been seized by a pretender masquerading as Le Duc Guillaume, the tyrant who was publicly guillotined last fall. As you know, our treaty with France pledges Russian forces to help preserve France against all enemies. We therefore authorize you to mount an expeditionary force to invade France by way of Spain. Your orders are to regain control of France from the pretender and hold French lands in trust for the lawful government of Bourgesse.


Boob to the All Powerful EFGIATR: We are about to become VERY deviant and by thinking we are toast will make us more powerful than you can imagine -- this makes you decidedly NOT all powerful any more.


Switzerland to Turkey:  Go take a shower, you smell.


Austria to England:  Can we surrender to you at the same time you surrender to us?


This is the TARDIS:  We shall conquer all.


Boob to Germany: I'd be pleased to get you a Guinness. Aren't you coming to TempleCon (( in Providence in February?  Why not??  I'll buy you as many Guinness as you can handle.  We've not seen each other in far too long!!


VERMINY to Deviants: I like Russ's attitude, with "all about the rules", that in the end it's proposing and passing rules that should matter. The problem with the rule is that now the folks who are Too Sirius about the board will become Too Sirius about the rules, messing up the messing-up process for those of us who have our priorities straight. The question is, can we take the game seriously enough long enough to repeal #21?


(Berlin) to (Germany): You dork.


England to everyone:  On second thought, we don't surrender to Austria after all. Instead, we surrender to Italy.  Please have your emissaries bring pasta and Chianti, especially the Chianti, for the signing ceremony, and
maybe some Limoncello for after.


(Germany) to (Berlin): I've never dorked in my life!!




Black Press Gunboat, “Maple Sugar,” 2009Crb32, Fall 1901


Austria: A Galicia - Vienna (*Bounce*), A Serbia - Bulgaria (*Bounce*), F Trieste - Venice (*Bounce*).

England: A Edinburgh – Norway, F North Sea Convoys A Edinburgh – Norway,

 F Norwegian Sea Supports A Edinburgh - Norway.

France: A Burgundy – Ruhr, F English Channel Supports A Picardy – Belgium, A Picardy - Belgium.

Germany: F Holland - Helgoland Bight, A Kiel – Denmark, A Ruhr - Kiel.

Italy: F Ionian Sea - Greece (*Bounce*), A Rome - Venice (*Bounce*), A Tyrolia - Vienna (*Bounce*).

Russia: F Gulf of Bothnia – Sweden, F Rumania - Sevastopol (*Bounce*), A St Petersburg - Norway (*Fails*),

 A Ukraine - Sevastopol (*Bounce*).

Turkey: F Black Sea - Sevastopol (*Bounce*), A Bulgaria - Greece (*Bounce*),

 A Constantinople - Bulgaria (*Bounce*).


Supply Center Chart:


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

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

France:    Belgium, Brest, Marseilles, Paris=4, Build 1

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

Italy:     Naples, Rome, Venice=3, Even

Russia:    Moscow, Rumania, Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Sweden, Warsaw=6, Build 2

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

Unowned:   Greece, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Tunis.


Winter 1901/Spring 1902 Deadline is October 27th 2009 at 7:00am my time




Sou - England/Germany: I realized I couldn't satisfy both of you this time (tant pis), so rather than upset one of my petits garçons, I chasséed in from Picardy. xx

Sou - English lover: Hope you pressed on and didn't come back to London: I was telling the truth. x

Turkey - Austria: You are quite quick in declaring war.  Frankly speaking, I cannot see why I need your support for my A Bul.  And A War - Mos in 1901 would be suicide for R.

T - F: Je ne comprends pas ce que vous voulez dire. 

Sou - German Liebling: If I'm in Ruhr, I'll soon be gone. x

Russia to Turkey: nothing will be built in Sevastopol if your fleet has retreated from the black sea. in gratitude and kindness, Russia

Germany to France: I figured that it would be unreasonable for me to go for Belgium so i decided to not contest it.  I presume you made it!  I would like to suggest that Bel,Bur form the border between France and Germany.  I shall have to take any attempted move to Hol,Ruhr,Mun as an act of war.


AustriaRussia moved to Rum with a fleet so ser-bul may cut support.  Italy is now at war with Austria so long as Tyr is occupied. Turkey: take Greece with Fleet and I will support same.  Germany lets unite to kick Italy out of Tyr in SpringFrance want Rome Napl, move to pie, then tus or support me into Ven.  I will then support you into Rome, nap.  AH moves ser-bul, gal-vie, tri-ven.


England - Austria / Turkey: I shall go no farther than Moscow.  You two know what you have to do...

Austrian aristocracy to Charles: We are quite put out by your recent letter to the neighboring nations. we simply do not have the man power to do as you have threatened. those barbarous  Italians have already ransacked our Tyrolean banks. I fear that the Italians alone could butcher us not to mention the aggressive move toward Russia which may, as the commoners say, have "pissed 'em off royally!" As my wise father would say "you don't fit your unterhossen!"

Russia to Italy: I believe we both have common thoughts about the Austrians, THEY NEED A SPANKY!
Shall we join in the fun?

Sou to Depressed British Officer: Oui! O! How funny, I believe we have caught you with your pants down!


Germany to World: I shall take any intrusion into German territory as an act of war.

Sou - Italian amore: Building in Marseilles but heading west, do not fret (do you like Munchy too?). x

Italy to Austria: You sir are no gentleman

Sou - Russian Rou
é: Your free spirit sets me all a-slither. Let's get together and discuss...caviar, gravlax, jellied eels! X

England - France: I'm going on faith here; hopefully my faith is not misplaced.

Germany - France: Back OFF!

France -> Italy: Munich! Munich! Munich!

Sou - Austrian martinet: My, but you are so domineering. I could soften your steel, peut-être? k


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.  Research is permitted!


Round 10 Categories


1. A brand of coffee you can buy at the grocery store.

2. Someone who appeared during the first season of Saturday Night Live.

3. A comic book hero.

4. A film that is too strange or complicated to be understood.

5.  A type of wood.



Congratulations to Melinda Holley for the high score of Round 10….but the BIG news is Bill Brown and Heather tied for the win overall, with poor Phil dropping from first place.  I’ll be in touch with Bill about his prize.  As for Heather, well, her prize is being married to me.  Sorta.



Selected Comments By Category:


Coffee – Dane Maslen “I don't have a great deal of confidence in these answers!  I had been going to answer 'NESCAFE' for the coffee on the grounds (pun intended) that it's probably the best selling coffee in Europe, but I've just tracked down a 'top 10' of American coffee brands and Nescafe is nowhere to be seen, so I've gone for its number 1, even though I've never heard of it.  Its number 2, Maxwell House, is also a well-known brand here in the UK, though I don't know about the rest of Europe.”  Kevin Wilson “I’m not a coffee drinker so this one wasn’t as easy for me as it probably should be.  I picked Folgers only because I think that’s what my parents drink.”  Paraic Reddington “Difficult seeing as I live in Australia (and therefore can probably NOT buy it at the grocery store) but hey - Folgers. I'll play my joker on this one too. Incidentally I'm just returned from Seattle so I'm tempted to say 'Seattle's Best'. But the trouble is - if that's Seattle's Best then the rest must REALLY be bad. In fact, for all the consumption, coffee in the US is generally very average. “


Saturday Night LiveKevin Wilson “Another tough one, there were so many, and so many good ones.  I always liked Belushi and since he’s dead, maybe that will get sympathy vote too.”  Phil Murphy “Not something I would know to be honest – but then we only had two telly stations in 1970’s Ireland with mostly homebrewed shows *shudder*.”


Comic Book Hero Kevin Wilson “Wow, another tough one, there are so many to pick from.  While he wasn’t one of my favorites, I was an X-Men fan, it seemed to me it would either be Superman, Batman or Spider-Man as the top and I picked the Marvel one.”  Andy York “Batman would be my close second choice.”


Complicated Film – Brendan Whyte “The Big Sleep was cool, btu the constant complications confused even the film’s director.”  Michael Moulton “Can I just answer Any Charlie Kaufman Film?”  Andy York “Also, Inland Empire came to mind.”  Phil Murphy “Memento was bloody brilliant.”

Wood – Michael Moulton “This is just a crapshoot.  I doubt we’ll see a dominant answer here.”  Paraic Reddington “Better be careful here. I'm tempted to say 'Natalie', 'Ed' or 'Morning' but I'll go with Pine even though it's boring and West Australia has the best hard woods on the planet.”  Andy York “Balsa was the first thing that popped into my mind, but could be Oak, Elm, Ply, Drift, Worm....”


New Game Starts NOW.  Same rules as last time, so remember to specify your joker each turn.  And, as always, the winner of the game will be offered their choice of prizes.


Round 1 Categories – Deadline is October 27th, 2009 at 7:00am my time

1. A zoo animal.

2. A brand of sneakers.

3. A John Hughes movie.

4. Something bitter.

5. A professional tennis player.


General Deadline for The Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:

October 27th 2009 at 7:00am my time – See You Then!