Eternal Sunshine #35

December 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.

All Eternal Sunshine readers are encouraged to join the free Eternal Sunshine Yahoo group at to stay up-to-date on any subzine news or errata.  We also have our own Eternal Sunshine Twitter feed at

Quote Of The Month“NOW I wish I had stayed. I wish I had done a lot of things. I wish I had... I wish I had stayed. I do.” (Joel in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the only subzine in the universe which has made the commitment NOT to watch another New York Giants game until they’ve won two in a row.  The problem with the Giants is that a lot of the games the lose are lost in the last few minutes…so you have to suffer through excrutiating hours of football, all the while knowing they’ll find a way to lose in the end.  The San Diego game was a perfect example.  Near the end of the game, New York had to settle for a field goal and were up 6 points with about two minutes to go.  At that moment there was ZERO doubt in my mind that they would win.  6 points, two minutes, it HAD to finish with a San Diego touchdown.  That was as clear as the sky on a cloudless day.  So until they put together a two-game winning streak, I won’t watch them on television. 


This is a rather short month (with the following issue coming out after a LONG month, after Christmas but before New Year’s), so my comments will be short as well.  As I write this on Sunday afternoon, I’m still  missing a LOT of orders.  It is really in all players’ best interest to send in preliminary orders, especially when holidays are in the neighborhood.  You never know when personal stuff and real life is going to unexpectedly take up your time…so send in orders right away, then change them later if necessary.  That’s a lot better than an NMR!


Around our household, Heather continues to bash her brains against the wall with her classes.  I think this coming semester will have an even heavier workload!  She’s making terrific marks as usual, but some of the classes can REALLY stress her out.  And considering what a source of irritation I can be with my typical foolishness (and the fact that she’s not smoking despite how strong the temptation), once in a while I need to walk on eggshells.  But I don’t mind…she’s working hard and deserves all the support I can give her.  We enjoyed out anniversary, and Thanksgiving will consist not of turkey but of a tenderloin roast (at Heather’s request).  I made her one early in November and she liked it to much she decided that’s what she wanted for the holiday.  As usual I’ll get Thanksgiving off but have to work the day after…but one day off is better than none!


In zine news, I’m not sure what columns will show up for this issue.  Jack already sent his in, and Paul Milewski just sent his, but that may be it.  [[Late update – Andy York is taking this issue off, see the letter column.]] This issue also has the conclusion of “I’m No Edward Norton” as well as the first part of a new essay by me (after taking the last two issues off) called “Fire and Rain.”  In game stuff, I’m VERY happy to announce the start of the “Cronin Special” Diplomacy game at long last.  I’ve dropped the additional Deviant Dip opening and the Fog of War opening; if these games are to fill, they need to fill within two or three issues (and get at least two people signed up quickly).  I’ll put a new variant up next issue, since I figure with the holidays it’s better to leave things alone for the time being.


However, I have decided to start a new Movie Quote contest.  This time there will be only ten quotes per round, and ten rounds total.  You can join at any time, as in the By Popular Demand game, and begin with the lowest score.  So the best thing to do is to start THIS issue.  We’re using the honor system: research and web searching is NOT permitted, so try to avoid the temptation.  There will be prizes, as usual.


Oh, that reminds me, Jack McHugh has finally started his Adult’s-Only By Popular Demand game…check out his column for the first round’s categories!  I’m going to play, and I hope you do too!  That’s all for this issue, see you next month!


The Month’s Playlist: R.E.M. – Eponymous; The B52’s – Time Capsule: Songs for a Future Generation; Blood Sweat and Tears – Greatest Hits Re-mastered (but WHY do they only have the short single version of And When I Die on a re-mastered disc?); Flunk – Morning Star; Antonio Vivaldi – Guitar Concertos; Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition (Fritz Reiner).



Fire and Rain – Part One


Those of you who have been reading Eternal Sunshine for a while, or who first encountered me through my old zine Maniac’s Paradise, will probably remember that Heather is my second wife.  My first wife and I divorced in 2002, although we’d split up as a couple a few years before that.  Mara had been my High School sweetheart, my first (and only) love up to that point…and someone who saw her mental and physical state deteriorate year after year from the day I met her.  It has always seemed to me that Mara simply did not get a fair chance at life.  She suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of one of her grandparents, enjoyed little of the kind of support she longed for from her parents, and watched as her dreams passed her by to be replaced by lower and lower expectations.  Eventually her goals would be just to be able to go out to dinner without getting sick, or on a really good day go out to dinner.  When I met her Mara seemed like such a vibrant, strong, driven person who had incredible talent and promise.  When we split up she’d attempted suicide, weighed over 400 pounds, could only comfortable get around in a wheelchair, had been on SSI for years, took about 12 different medications a day (not including those she took on an as-needed basis), and would drift from reality to fantasy without warning.  Her bipolar disorder at its worst would have her up all night and asleep all day, weeks at a time.  And despite what her family might have thought, I had to handle this all on my own; they made every attempt to minimize her conditions, and interaction with them inevitably led to crying fits or throwing things like a child.


I’ve already written in Eternal Sunshine about her suicide attempt in 1998, and how at that point I was finally pushed over the edge, no longer willing or able to carry on the marriage.  Yet even then I couldn’t fully break free, and Mara clung to the hope that after she’d spent 6 months in various hospitals and another 4 or 5 months in New Jersey – living with her sister – that she could come home and we’d be able to rebuild the relationship.  I knew it was impossible, but I couldn’t find the strength to tell her so…although I did my best to lower her expectations.  But, being me, I still let my least favorite memories haunt me like ghosts passing through my body. 


I still feel like a complete piece of shit when I think of the day she realized it wasn’t going to work, that we were finished.  This was perhaps four months after she had returned to Texas, or maybe six…my memory of those days is very hazy now.  We were in the kitchen, and she’d decided to make us something for dinner.  I still loved her then – fuck, I still do today – but the bond between us had been shattered irreparably.  I like to say that it was when she truly attempted suicide that she gave up on life, and I gave up on the marriage.  But I don’t think that’s honest…I had given up on it months, if not years before, and was simply going through the motions waiting to see how the movie would end.  That hurts for me to admit, but I now believe it to be true.  Anyway, we were sitting there eating dinner, not saying much…maybe talking about the cats.  The fact that we were eating in the kitchen, at the table, rather than in bed is memorable in itself.  That didn’t happen very often; only when Mara was feeling well enough.  But all of a sudden she burst into tears and, through the gasps of misery, said “This isn’t fair.  You never even gave me a chance to prove that I could be your wife again.”  All I could do is sit there and let my own tears run down my face.  I had nothing to say which could make her feel better, and nothing to do to make any difference.  After all, she was right; I’d left very little room for the marriage to be saved, if any.  And considering I had based the last 13 years of my life to finding a way to save her from herself, her past, her family, her demons, and her illnesses, to face the fact that I’d given up on us as a couple made me feel as if I’d given up on her as well…and me too, if I hadn’t already done that years earlier.


So soon afterward, Mara moved back to New Jersey to live with her sister again.  We stayed in touch, speaking at least four times a week on the phone as well as by email.  Mara told me that in general she kept those communications secret from her family (although I believe her sister knew).  Apparently they blamed me for the failure of the marriage, as well as for Mara’s physical and mental state.  I think they also hated me for allowing Mara to become “their problem” again.  This was the daughter who had attempted suicide; who had stopped speaking to them for over a year; who accused her mother of knowingly sending her to spend summers with a man who was sexually molesting her.  I can only imagine that their hatred and anger at me was a convenient way to replace some of the guilt they might have felt.  Not once in all my time with Mara did I hear either of her parents admit they had made even the smallest mistake in the way they raised her, or in any of the parental decisions they had made (except, my implication, their decision to allow her to have a relationship with me and later to marry me).  Since I haven’t spoken to them in 10 over 10 years, I can’t ask them if they’ve changed their views.  And I don’t think I’d want to ask, because I am fairly certain none of their opinions have changed. 


While I tried to piece together my own life, Mara’s didn’t seem to be getting much better.  She gained even more weight, fought constantly with her sister and her parents (who were moving to Florida), and threatened suicide a number of times.  I know she really missed the support I had given her emotionally (I sent her money every month so the financial support was still there), even if I was a terrible enabler at the same time.  Still, she was now in a situation where she had to fight for herself, manage her own medication (a dizzying array of pills), and decide what was best for her life.  Her parents had been trying to get her to agree to gastric bypass surgery for a number of years; Mara was afraid of the complications from the surgery, and more afraid that if she was able to successfully lose weight she would uncover the reasons she kept herself so obese in the first place: her history of molestation and the sexual problems it had left behind, which she had never been able to overcome.  As I saw it, aside from the medical reasons she had gotten so heavy (years of prednisone, a bad back, no exercise, etc.) she had added the fat as a defense shield.  As long as she remained undesirable to men, no man would approach her.  This, for Mara, was the preferred scenario…because she seemed to have no ability to turn down sexual advances.  Whoever, whenever, however…if a man propositioned her Mara was willing to oblige.  She wanted desperately to be liked, to be loved, by everyone she met, and sexual favors was the way she had been taught by her abuser to show the most personal, special, true love and affection. 


When her weight started to approach close to 500 pounds, Mara finally decided to have the surgery.  She knew that at the rate she was going it was life or death anyway (I used to ask her “How many old but morbidly obese people do you know?  Not many, because they all die young.”), so the surgery was her only option.  Mara had a number of potential complications to worry about…aside from anesthesia on someone so large, she had Factor 11 deficiency in her blood which made it hard for her to clot properly.  And with so many medications, how to keep them balanced within her system was in question.  But the whole procedure went surprisingly well.  I had to wait until she could call or email me herself, since nobody in her family could be bothered to let me know if the woman I was still married to, and had dated since 1983, had died while under the knife.  There were no major complications, just some minor surface infection on the incisions which she’d have to deal with for a few weeks.


So now that the bypass was in place, Mara was ready to begin to lose weight.  It would be physically impossible for her to eat enough to sabotage herself THIS time.  Even if her stomach was to stretch out, it would a good deal of time.  And in the meantime, the pounds would simply drop off.  And that’s exactly what happened!  She looked forward to being able to walk more easily, to climb the stairs to and from her basement room, and one day to walk around a shopping mall again like a normal person.  There were so many things for Mara to look forward to once she continued to lose weight.


And, as she and I both knew, but everyone else seemed to ignore, plenty of pitfalls waiting in the path as well…


(I should have Part 2 written in time for Eternal Sunshine #36…and if anybody wants to send me some feedback to keep me motivated, that would be appreciated).



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.  There hasn’t been much feedback to this, so I will just assume you’re all happy to see it finally end.  Too bad, Heather loves the play, and did from the moment I gave it to her in 2004.  And re-reading it now reminds me of little things I may have forgotten.


I’m No Edward Norton

(An Anniversary Gift to Heather Taylor)

By Douglas Kent, © 2009

Part Five (Conclusion)



Stage Left it now dark.  Stage Right is the same apartment setting, with the addition of a refrigerator next to the coffee maker near center stage (the left side of the apartment).  Heather and Doug enter through her door.  Upon entry, Heather turns and locks the door.


Locking the door?  Trying to keep strangers out?


Maybe I'm just trying to keep you from leaving?


I don't think you need to worry about me running away any time soon, Heather.

Heather passes Doug, pausing for half a second as her face approaches his.  Doug leans in ever so slightly, as if drawn in, but not enough to move in for a kiss.


Well, this is my apartment.  I'm really sorry about the mess.  I was rushing around so much tonight that I didn't have a chance to straighten up.  I swear I'm usually a much better housekeeper than this.


If this is the apartment when its messy, I'd hate to see it when its clean!  Compared to my place, this is as clean as an operating room.  Besides, you didn't know that I was coming over tonight.


Well, I was hoping that you would - if you liked me after you met me, that is.


How could you possibly have been worried about that?  Is there something about you that anyone in their right mind would object to?


Stop it, you'll make me blush.

Heather walks over to the refrigerator.


Do you want some soda or anything?


Are you having any?

Heather opens the refrigerator door, looks in, and closes it.


I guess not, because there's nothing left but an empty bottle of Sprite.  I'm sorry, I guess I need to go to the grocery store.


It's fine really.  I don't need anything.

Heather points to pictures on the refrigerator door.


There are pictures of my little Bailey.

Doug walks over to see them.


She's beautiful.  And she has your eyes, and your hair!


Not my hair.  I color my hair.  Nobody knows where she got the red hair from, but I sure wish it was my color too!


Nobody on either side has red hair?


Not that I know of.  It's strange, though.  George's Nana told me when I was pregnant that she'd had a dream where our daughter would live in her house, and would have bright red hair.  She's always having visions like that, and they usually come true.


I hope she gives me her seal of approval.  I'll have to send her a present, or a bribe.

Heather walks over the couch.  Once again, as she passes Doug, he seems to be pulled in to her, but does not commit to attempt a kiss.


Why don't you come sit down for a few minutes?  I know you have a long drive but I hope you don't have to run off yet.


I wouldn't leave unless my car was being towed, and maybe not even then.

Doug follows and sits down on the couch, nervously holding his hands in his lap.


So is the date going as well as you expected?


Better; I haven't spilled anything on myself or fainted yet.

Doug sniffs his armpit.


And my deodorant is holding out so far.


I suppose that's a good thing.


It's supposed to keep on working no matter how nervous you get.


And what do you have to be nervous about?

For a few moments there is nervous silence, until Doug finally throws caution to the wind, slides next to Heather, leans in, and kisses her.  A few short kisses follow.  Their arms wrap around each other as the kisses become more passionate.


I'm sorry if I'm not a very good kisser.  I'm horrible, aren't I?


Shut up and kiss me.

The kisses resume, and then Doug pulls Heather close and begins to speak softly in her ear.


Heather.  I love the sound of your name.  I could say it over and over again.  Heather.  Heather.  Heather.  Heather.


Yes, oh kiss me.

After a few more kisses, Doug slides his mouth down Heather's neck.  Heather tilts her head back, offering herself.  Doug begins to kiss and bite it gently, while Heather moans receptively.


You don't mind that I'm biting your neck, do you?


Oh no, I love it!  Keep going!

Doug bites some more, and works down toward her shoulder.  He hesitates as he comes to the edge of her sweater.


I can't get to your shoulder and I don't want to stretch your sweater.  Do you want to take it off?

Heather straightens up suddenly.


Wait a second, what are you trying to do?


What do you mean?


I mean you made the first move and kissed me, and now you're asking if I want to take off my sweater?  What happened to you being insecure?  Maybe your whole insecurity routine was just an act to get into my pants.



Heather, on what planet would being an insecure, nervous wreck help a guy like me get into the pants of a beautiful woman like you?  Besides, I told you, no sex!  I just didn't want to stretch and ruin your sweater.  Believe me, I am sorry to say my insecurities are no act.


Okay then.


You convinced me.  Now less talking and more kissing.

Romantic kissing continues.  Hands roam over backs and fronts, eliciting aroused moans.  Finally the pace slows, and the couple separates slightly.


I think we need to stop now, before we go too far.


Are you sure?


Yes, I'm sure.  We agreed, no sex.  Besides, I want to savor this feeling, Heather.  I waited my whole life for this, I think I can wait a little while longer.


That's a beautiful thing to say, no matter how disappointed I am.

Heather stretches her arms and notices her watch.


Oh no, it’s after midnight!  You have to leave soon, don't you?


I'm afraid so, if I plan on keeping my job.

Heather stands and takes Doug's hand, leading him to the door.  There they kiss and embrace once again.


Promise me you'll call tomorrow.


No, Heather.

They kiss again.


I promise I'll call tonight when I get home, and then I will call tomorrow.

More kisses follow.


Okay, I really do need to go now.


I know Doug.  But can I ask you a personal question first?


I can't think of a single question from you that I wouldn't want to answer.  What is it?


How are you at painting toenails?

Stage Lights fade to black.

The End




Hypothetical of the Month


Last month, we gave you these two hypotheticals: #1. A friend has designs on a colleague of yours who is married.  He asks you to introduce them.  Do you?   #2.  Two of your friends have had a fight and are not speaking.  One regularly makes inquiries about the other.  Do you give information candidly?


Robin ap Cynan - #1.  No.  I am a divorce attorney and family mediator.  I don't help others break up committed relationships.  Once they are broken though, that's quite another thing.


#2.  Yes, of course.  Again from my professional background, I major in facilitating communications.


My professional morality and my personal morality are totally congruent, and inform each other.  Which drives which? Not sure, but I think personal experience drives the professional ethics, and they then reinforce each other.


So, some years ago I was in a warm and wonderful relationship.  I introduced an ex of mine (we had had a friendly mutual split-up) to my then partner.  Very shortly afterwards (weeks) they got together without my knowing, until I found out from a third party that they had commenced an intimate physical relationship one with another, with the result (to misquote Princess Diana) that I became the third party in their relationship. 


They are now living together, and have been for 12 years.  Enough said?


Melinda Holley - #1 – No, no, oh hell no!  I'd tell my friend this colleague is married.  And if this person is truly my friend, he/she will understand my feelings about marital monogamy.  If this person continues in trying to meet my colleague with the idea of seduction, that person is no longer my friend.


#2 – (Again) No, no, oh hell no!  Been there done that got smacked from both sides.  If two friends are arguing, that's their argument.  I'm not a part of it, and I don't play peacemaker.  I treat each of them as I've always done.  If one (or both) of them have a problem with that, it's their problem; not mine.


Per Westling - #1 - Yes, they're grown ups.


#2 - No. Don't like to spread kibosh (if that is the word?) about not present persons, especially friends.


Phil Murphy - #1 - Hell no! I'd know how I'd feel if someone did that to me! I'd tell my friend out straight that person was off limits. But since he or she is looking, I'd help out and suggest someone else I know who is hot,
looking for fun, and, more importantly, single. Of course, if the friend had a serious crush I'd be more tactful and try and bring him down gently.


#2 - Yes. Absolutely. Sooner or later they'll start speaking again and finding out how hurt the other person is speeds things up.


Don Williams - #1 – Of course not.


#2 – Probably, if I could determine that the motivation was right.


Heather Taylor - #1 – I guess I would introduce them, but that’s it.  He’d probably find a way to meet her anyway.  What they choose to do after that is their business, sordid or not.


#2 – I would give information, but not in detail and not really candidly….unless I was in a particularly gossipy mood that day, and the other friend had pissed me off!


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. You need work.  An employer whose workers are on strike offers you a job.  Do you take it?  #2. While a house guest, you accidentally crack an expensive china vase.  It is unlikely anyone will notice while you are there.  Do you remain silent?


The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


A Serious Man – Given the subject matter of A Serious Man, it isn’t surprising to me that it has received somewhat limited distribution.  Brought to us by the Coen brothers, those moviegoers expecting to find Fargo or O Brother Where Art Though should look elsewhere.  A Serious Man is clearly their most autobiographical movie so far, and treads in Coen style on some very simple topics: the meaning of life, how perspective decides how we feel about our lives, how God speaks to us (if at all), and how we know anything about anything.  In other words, A Serious Man is to popcorn movies as War and Peace is to some light reading.


The plot, a parable of sorts itself (and loosely based on the biblical tale of Job), centers on Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg).  Larry is a physics professor, about to receive tenure, married with two children.  He lives in a peaceful suburb area of Minneapolis in 1967 (which is beautifully recreated in detail; everything about the film carries the essence of the late 60’s).  To Larry, everything in his life seems to be on the right track.  His son is about to have his Bar Mitzvah, he enjoys his job, he loves his wife…even his nebbish brother (Richard Kind) who is staying with the family and sleeping on the couch manages not to break his stride.


Suddenly, though, cracks appear and Larry discovers his life is not what is seems to be (or is it simply that it has changed into something else?).  A disgruntled student attempts to bribe Larry for a passing grade (or does he?), and then threatens to sue him.  Larry’s wife Judith (Sari Lennick) announces she wants a divorce, as well as a Get (a ritualistic Jewish divorce) so she can marry friend of the family Sy (Fred Melamed).  His son smokes pot constantly, and owes a neighborhood tough $20; his only concern seems to be whether his father can fix the television antenna so he can watch F-Troop.  Judith and Sy eventually convince Larry to move into the local motel (the Jolly Rodger) with his brother.  Money pressures are surrounding him, and the divorce is simply icing on the cake.  Even the Columbia Record Club is hounding him for money.


At the urging of a few minor characters, Larry goes to “see the Rabbi.”  In this case there are three Rabbis, and Larry seeks advice from each of them.    What is God trying to tell him?  What is he supposed to do?  Why has his happy life been turned upside down?


A complex web of questions tie the film together.  Can we really know anything?  Is life simply a collection of surmises?  Are the coincidences and events of life messages from above, or simply the daily hassles of life as a human being?  What is faith, how do we keep it, and does it matter?  An opening scene in A Serious Man, spoken in Yiddish but subtitled in English, seems to have no connection to the rest of the film…but I believe it does.  Because A Serious Man is such a personal film to the Coens, it will likely have different meanings to different people.  It is also very heavy on Judaic references, which may be lost on some audience members.  And the final scene leaves as many questions as it answers. 


I won’t say that A Serious Man was the most enjoyable film the Coen brothers have given us, but it is to me the most thought provoking, the most meaningful, and the most detailed.  I really don’t feel able to give it a true full review, because there are still so many things I need to consider…what did this mean?  What did that mean?  What was the purpose of that exchange?


Walking out of the theatre, I was suddenly reminded of a page I printed in an old issue of Maniac’s Paradise explaining the differences in various religions using the term “Shit Happens.”  It ends with “Judaism: Why does shit always happen to us?”


Seen on DVD – The Silent Partner (C+, rather slow-moving 70’s-era Elliot Gould piece.  On the border between “wish it was better” and “wish it was worse so we could stop watching it).  The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made (B-, rather short and amusing documentary including minor clips and plot points of what the producers regard as the 50 worst films in history, from Ed Wood to Howard the Duck).  My Dog Skip (B+, corny but sweet, and any decent and honest movie about the bond between a human and a dog is usually worth it).  The Unborn and Who Could Kill a Child (Incomplete, two movies we got from Netflix which we simply could not fight our way through.  Terrible dialogue, plot holes you could drive a motor home through…just awful).

Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column

Kevin Wilson: Ouch, not that good of a performance last time in BPD.  I almost went with The Breakfast Club over Ferris Bueller but I liked Ferris Bueller more.  I also didn’t stop and think about the tennis player either.  I don’t follow the sport but had I just stopped might have come up with Federer instead of Sampras.  At least Federer is still playing.  Isn’t he?  I also completely forgot about the Joker and like many certainly would have chosen Nike as that was the most obvious.  Now, I’m in a hole probably too big to recover but we play on.


[[You never know, the right set of answers and smart Joker application could move you up quickly.]]


Melinda Holley: I took my 14-year old niece and her friend to the movie [Paranormal Activity].  My one qualification was I wasn't sitting between them.  I'll take abuse on one side of my body but not both *g*.  Throughout the first 3/4 of the movie, I was bored silly.  Frankly, I'd see much scarier stuff on prime time TV (A Haunting, for instance) and the 'suspense' just wasn't there for me.


[[We’ve watched all 4 seasons of A Haunting that are on DVD and as I think I mentioned in my review, the “rules” of activity from that show all seem to be applied here, as do many of the common mistakes.]]

However, the final 1/4 of the movie is much better.  Business picks up, so to speak.  Actual suspense builds, and I found myself mentally arguing with Micah about what to do.  IMHO, the final scene would have been TOTALLY AWESOME if it had been in 3D.  It would've dropped people to the floor in fright.


Overall, to be honest, I haven't a clue why people are leaving the movie before it's over saying it scared them.  Until the last 1/4, there's nothing frightening going on.


Is it worth the money?  If you're able to take advantage of matinee prices, yes.  Otherwise, it's debatable.


But if you want to really have fun, wait until it comes out on DVD and rent it.  Offer it up as a movie when your kids have friends over.  (But make sure they're at least of teenage years.  As non-frightening as I think this movie is, it's not a movie for small children.)  Turn out the lights and watch it in the dark.  Once the final scene is over, take a deep breath and scream "BOO!"  The ensuing panic is probably good for a couple of days' enjoyment.


And, no, I didn't do that to my niece and her friend.  I was sorely tempted, but there were a lot of people in the theater; and some of them had been scared.  Frankly, I wasn't close enough to the exit to pull it off.


Yes, I AM sadistic that way.  Ask my younger sister. 


[[By the way, I have read there are two alternate endings to the film, or three…and if you search Youtube you can find them.  One ending was never filmed…I guess it cost too much.]]


Per Westling: One movie I got to see part of (first part) at the latest local SF club meeting, was "FAQ about Time Travel". It seems to me that it is a movie suitable for nerds like me who like to read and discuss SF. It seems to be in line with a movie some years ago where some aliens appear at a SciFi con to ask the Star Trek crew for help to defeat their enemy. (Don't remember the name but it was funny.) "FAQ..." is a British movie.


[[Not sure, was that Galaxy Quest?  Never saw it though.]]

I was one of those with BBS experience, including the community style story. We had a story starting with a mechanical Santa in a glass box, hitting the wall with a cotton tipped stick, and ending with a chain-saw equipped mad Santa running around, killing people as in a gore movie...


[[The BBS time was a lot of fun, but also a LOT of work.  Mara and I had two BBS’s, plus our own international BBS echo-network.  As we saw usenet take hold, we knew it wouldn’t be long for the world.]]

A third cat? So you really are a cat-person. I regard myself as one as well, as I am not a herd animal.  But allergy made the choice fell on having a dog instead. I do think that having a pet is a good thing, good for your health etc, and having a dog is even better as you go out more.


[[I’ve had as many as five indoor cats at once, plus a number of outdoor strays (fixed).  In this apartment, two seems fine, as much as we’d like a third.  We’d love a dog too – or two – but that is not an option in this place.]]

My choice of dog race more than 10 years ago fell on Chihuahua, a race which has almost as much attitude as cats... And they are quite cute as well:

[[I’ve always preferred bigger dogs.  The only dogs that are even medium sized which I like are Welsh Corgis, Beagles, and perhaps the Basset Hound (undecided overall on that one).]]


Philip Murphy: I must say I'm really impressed with your play thus far and I hope there's plenty more where that came from.

[[Well, just one more act, which is in this issue…then it’s done.  Sorry!]]

I'm currently fuming at the fact that we were dumped out of the Soccer World Cup by France by such a blatant handball in the box. That goal should't have stood **Grrr** Monsieur Thierry 'le hand of God' Henry of Arsenal has a LOT to answer for! There's about 5 million angry Irish people who want to strangle the ref and his linesmen for not spotting what everyone else in the WORLD did...There.... now I feel better. Fair play to the French for actually saying it was a handball - still gutted about not going to South Africa but them's the breaks.

[[I thought it was a fair goal.  Looked good to me!  (hee hee)]]

Other than that - graduated so now I'm unemployed with an MA. Looking for a job and also applying for the Green Card lottery, just in case. Really rough jobs market here - I've never seen it so bad.  Hope Heather and the Great Balls of Furry DOOOOOMMMM!!!!! are doing well.


[[I thought it was a general rule that as soon as someone gets a degree they discover it is worthless in terms of employment?]]


Andy York: Doug - if you'd put in a short note that I've been busy and haven't had time to put together a new OotW for this month. I expect to return in December and the new deadline is December 26 for Oscar movies, Hangman and any letters or commentary folks would like to send in.



Why Do I Play Diplomacy?  Why Do You?

By Paul Milewski


Assuming that my choosing to play Diplomacy is the result of a rational decision on my part, the implication is that I consider myself better off playing Diplomacy than not.  Accountants tend to preach FMV and arms-length exchange of money for something else (two parties unrelated to each other, neither party under a compulsion to buy or sell, so the price they agree upon is “fair value” or “fair market value”).  Economists take the better view that if each party to the transaction didn’t think he would be better off after the exchange than before, the exchange wouldn’t occur.  Economists also traditionally assumed that you ration your money (and time and anything else that is scarce) so that your total happiness is maximized.  Introductory economics textbooks are full of this stuff, or they used to be when I studied the subject many, many years ago.  My decision to play implies that I think it’s worth the time and effort I expend (very little money is involved) or that I get out of it more than I put in.


What is it that I believe I gain from devoting the time to playing Diplomacy that I do?  I suspect that in my case some value comes from the act of being mentally absorbed.  A book I read years ago, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaymes, a book I would recommend for its discussion of what constitutes consciousness, if for nothing else, argues that when we are absorbed in some project (like one of these awful, enormous Excel spreadsheets I get into for my work, or some 500-piece jigsaw puzzle) we lose self-awareness, which is equivalent to losing consciousness—hence, time passes quickly for us.  Whether you buy that argument or not, and this bicameral mind idea can be carried into some wacko pop psychology without much trouble, it is plain that people engage in a complicated task like playing chess, for instance, simply to get their mind off things, which is, by definition, recreational.  I have lost myself just watching a baseball game.  It’s no accident that you find jigsaw puzzles in the waiting rooms of Intensive Care Units.


If it is a matter of just getting my mind off things, perhaps winning (or being included in a draw, etc.) isn’t that important to me as it is to someone else.  Although I am one of those people who feels very uncomfortable engaging in introspection, as I don’t trust myself to come to the correct conclusion, it seems reasonable to conclude that inasmuch as I continue playing Diplomacy, after playing Diplomacy all the years that I have and never having an 18-center win to my credit, perhaps an 18-center win isn’t all that important to me.  This isn’t so much a matter of me having my own, secret victory condition; it’s more a matter of my own attitude to a multiplicity of things, perhaps to the universe as a whole.  Maybe it’s my “personality type”—if anyone is interested, I’m an ISTP on the Briggs-Myers.  (I remember that because it sounds like an oil additive.)





In a real war, it pays to know as much about your enemy as you can.  A general on one side may have provided to him a fairly detail biography of the general he is facing on the other side.  It would make sense before starting a Diplomacy game in earnest to try to gain some understanding of what makes the other players tick.  This weekend my wife and I saw the latest George Clooney movie, Men Who Stare at Goats, two hours of our lives we’ll never get back, but at one point the Clooney character makes the joke about what’s the most often repeated phrase in French?  “I give up.”  I’ve heard this type of stereotype as the basis for a joke before, but I suspect the person telling it and the person hearing it may not take into consideration the human slaughter in WWI for a few hundred yards of ground that would be lost in the next counterattack.


Perhaps one of the worst aspects of a shrinking pool of players for postal Diplomacy is that we know (or think we know) each other too well.  Even worse, being social animals, people will sometimes behave a certain way because they think it’s the way they are expected to behave.  Maybe we’ve assigned each other to arbitrary categories or pigeonholed people erroneously. 




Back when the Boardman Number Custodian regularly published the results of the many games played since his last publication, the data was organized first by game, second within game by country, and I often felt the implication was that one country might be a stronger country than another (anybody would be more like to win with Country A than with Country B).  The data should have been organized all along first by person playing, perhaps second by who the other people were whom the person was playing against.  I believe the skills displayed by Kathy (Byrne) Caruso’s success playing Italy should have been transferable to her playing any of the 7 possible countries on the board.  She had no “secret weapon”—her armies and fleets worked just like anybody else’s, she played by the same rules.  It was her skill in dealing with the other people in the game that made the difference.  It may be that someone who seems to get wiped out fairly early may at the very least be repeatedly doing something that is counterproductive.  It’s like the guy who has been divorced 5 times: maybe his track record has something to do with him—is there a pattern?  Oddly enough, the most valuable piece of information about a Diplomacy player, literally how well he plays with others in general and with certain people in particular, has never been tabulated, so far as I know.


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

By Jack “Flapjack” McHugh –

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

Issue #13



I know you expected a big, long rant about the Phillies losing.  Nope.  Obviously I wanted the Phils to win, but they had a great year, and you can’t win every season no matter how much money you spend (you hear that Steinbrenner?).  In fact I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Philadelphia Phillies for another amazing season.  Thanks guys…any team that can have Chan Ho Park in the bullpen and still wins more than half their games is a miracle anyway.


But as for the Eagles…Andy Reid has got to go.  His coaching is worthless, his play calling is like a third-grader.  Look Reid, you’re not coaching a bunch of neighborhood kids tossing a Nerf ball around.  This is an NFL Football team….professional football, got it?  You can tell his mind is NOT on the game.  He hasn’t changed in years, he’s as predictable as Peanuts reruns in the comics section.  Geez, do you think Charlie Brown is gonna kick the ball this time? 


Check out this photo, and you tell me….is Reid thinking about what play to call, or about what kind of gravy to put on his two pounds of mashed potatoes at dinner.  The guy is useless. 


I can accept losing to the Cowboys, or some other professional team.  But to Oakland?  That should have been it.  After the loss to Oakland I wouldn’t have fired him, I would have brought him up on charges.  But week after week, there he stands on the sidelines.  I wish they’d leave one camera on Reid all game, because I am certain that he’s snacking when he holds that clipboard up to his mouth.  Oh well, with arteries like his he can’t live forever. 









Adult’s-Only By Popular Demand


Okay, I decided to go ahead and start this stupid thing.  If I don’t get at least 5 or 6 people playing I’m not going to do it.  So it is up to you.  The rules are the same as in Doug’s version, except no joker category.  The only real difference is I will be using categories that are directed toward the older (not necessarily more mature) reader.  Send all answers to which Doug was nice enough to set up for me.  He didn’t have a choice, I’d kick his ass if he didn’t do it, and when he offered me an email address from his Helpful Kitty domain I told him he could stuff it.  If you send answers to my regular email I will probably ignore them, depending on my mood.  I don’t want the answers getting stuck in Spam Hell by the Gmail filters, since many of them may be obscene.  10 rounds.  I can’t afford to give prizes, but Doug said he’s give the winner a DVD or an old porno VHS, or something.  It’s free, so take what you can get. 


The Round 1 categories will be:


  1. What age women lose their virginity.
  2. A curse besides Fuck.
  3. An animal people have been arrested for having sex with.
  4. A popular actress who has taken her top off in a movie.
  5. A porn magazine (past or current) besides Playboy or Penthouse.


Deadline will be the Friday before Doug’s deadline, which means this month (how fitting) December 25th at midnight.


Remember, I’m counting on some of you to play.  And you must be 21 or older to send in answers. 


Finally, here are a few photos (a set) that came to me via email this week.  Remember all those hot hippy chicks of the 60’s?  If you’re not old enough, you’ve seen their kind in movies and TV shows.  ß They usually looked like this.  Well, where are they now? 

Do you really want to know?








Folded Corner: Don’t think that I’ve forgotten about my “write your own punch line” contest.  It’s coming soon, I just wanted to get this new By Popular Demand game going.  And I’m still pretty depressed about work.  I really aced an interview this month, but didn’t get the job.  Sometimes I can’t even get up the energy to do my work-out, and instead I want to climb into bed and have a “fuck everything” nap in the middle of the day.  But I’m trying.  Plus it is really frustrating trying to deal with government agencies.  You never get a straight answer.  Nobody can tell me when unemployment will run out, or what’s going to happen with the house.  It really sucks.



Game Openings

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

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

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. 

Adult’s Only By Popular Demand: Game starting in Jack’s sub-subzine “Brain Farts.” Join now! 

Eternal Sunshine Movie Quote Quiz: 10 rounds, starts this issue, join now!  You can find it at the end of the zine.

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, Paul Milewski (Dip only), and whoever I beg into it in an emergency.

I may offer another Gunboat 7x7 soon, so keep your eyes open.  I’m also considering variants like Cline 9-Man (one player has shown interest so far), Youngstown, or Woolworth.  Does anybody have an interest in Kremlin?  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


White Press Diplomacy “Creepshow” 2009D, Game Start!

Good luck to the 3 Cronins (related), the 3 Wilsons (not related), and to Pat (related to Pat)


Austria (Brad Wilson - bwdolphin146 “of” Has A Bud, A Vie, F Tri.

England (Chuy Cronin – chuykdc_92 “of” Has F Edi, F Lon, A Lvp.

France (Michael Cronin – mfmcronin “of” Has F Bre, A Par, A Mar.

Germany (Pat Vogelsang – godawgsgo33 “of” Has F Kie, A Ber, A Mun.

Italy (Graham Wilson – grahamaw “of” Has F Nap, A Rom, A Ven.

Russia (Kevin Wilson - ckevinw “of” Has F StP(sc), F Sev, A War, A Mos.

Turkey (Larry Cronin – lcroninmd “of” Has F Ank, A Con, A Smy.


Remember, this is a White Press game (unlike many of the games in Eternal Sunshine) so any press you submit must be clearly from you…by name, nation, capital, historical figure, etc.


Spring 1901 Deadline is December 29th 2009 at 7:00am my time





Diplomacy “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” 2008A, F 08

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

 F Greece - Bulgaria(sc) (*Bounce*), F Ionian Sea - Greece (*Fails*),

 A Rumania Supports F Greece - Bulgaria(sc) (*Dislodged*, retreat Budapest, Ukraine, OTB),

 A Serbia Supports F Greece - Bulgaria(sc), A Silesia - Warsaw (*Fails*), A Vienna Hold,

 A Warsaw - Moscow (*Bounce*).

England (Jérémie LeFrançois - jeremie.lefrancois “of” F Belgium Hold,

 F Berlin Supports A Warsaw - Prussia (*Void*), F Helgoland Bight – Denmark,

 F Irish Sea Supports F North Atlantic Ocean - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Fails*), A Kiel Supports F Berlin,

 A Livonia - Moscow (*Bounce*), F Mid-Atlantic Ocean - Portugal (*Bounce*),

 F North Atlantic Ocean - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Fails*), F North Sea – Holland,

 A Sevastopol Supports F Bulgaria(ec) - Rumania.

France (William Wood – woodw “of” A Gascony Supports A Burgundy - Marseilles (*Void*),

 A Paris Supports A Gascony.

Germany (Graham Wilson – grahamaw “of” A Bohemia Unordered,

 A Burgundy Supports A Munich – Ruhr, A Munich – Ruhr, A Prussia - Munich (*Impossible*).

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

 F Spain(nc) - Portugal (*Bounce*), F Tyrrhenian Sea - Western Mediterranean,

 F Western Mediterranean - North Africa.

Turkey (Brad Wilson - bwdolphin146 “of” F Aegean Sea - Bulgaria(sc) (*Bounce*),

 F Black Sea Supports F Bulgaria(ec) – Rumania, F Bulgaria(ec) – Rumania,

 A Constantinople Supports F Aegean Sea - Bulgaria(sc).


Winter 08/Spring 09 Deadline is December 29th 2009 at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart

Austria:            Budapest, Greece, Serbia, Trieste, Tunis, Vienna, Warsaw=7, Even or Remove 1

England:          Belgium, Berlin, Denmark, Edinburgh, Holland, Kiel, Liverpool,

           London, Moscow, Norway, Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Sweden=13, Build 3

France:            Brest, Paris=2, Even

Germany:         Munich=1, Remove 3

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

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Rumania, Smyrna=5, Build 1




Con-Paris and Berlin: Nice job of resisting A/I. Well done all around. Not.


Ger->Eng: What? Wasn't I a good and loyal toady?



Diplomacy “Dulcinea” 2008C, Summer/Fall/Autumn 05

Austria (Stephen Agar – stephen “of” F Apulia - Adriatic Sea,

 A Bohemia Supports A Ukraine - Galicia (*Dislodged*, retreats to Vienna), A Trieste – Venice,

 A Tyrolia Supports A Venice – Piedmont, A Ukraine – Galicia, A Venice – Piedmont,

 A Warsaw Supports A Moscow (*Ordered to Move*).

England (Philip Murphy trekkypj “of” F English Channel Supports A Gascony – Brest,

 A Gascony – Brest, F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Supports A Gascony – Brest, F Norway - Norwegian Sea,

 F Norwegian Sea - North Atlantic Ocean, A St Petersburg Hold.

France (Brad Wilson – bwdolphin146 ”of” F Brest Supports A Picardy (*Disbanded*),

 A Paris Supports F Brest, A Picardy Supports F Brest (*Cut*), F Spain(sc) - Portugal.

Germany (William Wood – woodw “of” A Belgium - Picardy (*Fails*), A Kiel – Munich,

 A Munich – Bohemia, F Prussia – Livonia, A Ruhr Supports A Kiel – Munich,

 A Silesia Supports A Munich - Bohemia.

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

 A Marseilles Supports F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc), F Tunis - Western Mediterranean.

Russia (Jack McHugh – jwmchughjr “of” No Retreat Received, A Mos retreats OTB..No units.

Turkey (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” F Sevastopol Hold,

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

 F Ionian Sea – Naples, A Moscow - St Petersburg (*Fails*), F Naples – Rome, A Rome – Tuscany.


As Stephen Agar provided a retreat order for A Boh, I went ahead and used it (it was the only possible retreat anyway).


For those of you interested, a “duplicate” of this game now exists (but I am not printing it separately until necessary, which will be in ES #36).  You can see the details by checking out the game of Deviant Diplomacy II, and in particular reading Rule #31)


Winter 05/Spring 06 Deadline is December 29th 2009 at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart


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

England:          Brest, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Norway, St Petersburg, Sweden=7, Build 1

France:            Paris, Portugal=2, Remove 1

Germany:         Belgium, Berlin, Denmark, Holland, Kiel, Munich=6, Even

Italy:                Marseilles, Spain, Tunis=3, Even

Russia:             None=0, OUT!

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Greece, Moscow, Naples, Rome, Sevastopol, Smyrna=9, Build 2




Paris-Wandering Italian: Well done, take me down in your wreckage. Thanks.


IRELAND TO FRANCE: Tell 'le hand of gaul' that next time he tries a handball in an Irish penalty box, it'll be an ambulance he'll be bleedin' needin...

SMAUG THE MAGNIFICANT TO PRIME MINISTER: *So.... tell me... why haven't  you beaten the French into pulp yet? *snort flames* So disappointing to see such mediocrity in an English player...

PRIME MINISTER TO ALL: **tumbleweed* Um, is the telegraph supposed to be this quiet...... Hello? HELLLLLLLLOOOOOOO?




“Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse


Billy Ray Valentine: Missing in action.


Duke of York: No activity


Smaug the Dragon: Sells 500 Pounds.  Buys 1250 Rubles, 1000 Francs.


Rothschild: Sells 500 Francs.  Buys 343 Piastres.


Baron Wuffet: Chooses to continue the “embarrassing all hold.”


Wooden Nickel Enterprises: Sells 500 Crowns, 500 Lire, 500 Rubles.  Buys 324 Pounds, 325 Marks, and 500 Piastres.

VAIONT Enterprises: Sells 500 Lire, 300 Marks, 300 Piastres.  Buys 955 Pounds.


Insider Trading LLC: Sells 500 Lire.  Buys 370 Crowns.


Russia is eliminated from Dulcinea, so the Ruble becomes worthless immediately following the above transactions.


Next Bourse Deadline is December 28th 2009 at 7:00pm my time



Rothschild – Smaug: But the Pound went up – in our game as in reality!


Prime Minister to Smaug the Dragon: *My plans for the French are doing just fine, thanks.

Smaug the Dragon to Prime Minister: *Is that so? *snorts flames* So you won't mind me dumping Sterling and buying Francs then?


Diplomacy “Just a Taste” 2009C, W 01/S 02

Austria (William Wood – woodw “of” Build A Vienna, Build A Budapest.  A Albania – Greece,

 A Budapest Supports A Rumania (*Ordered to Move*), F Greece - Aegean Sea,

 A Serbia Supports A Albania – Greece, A Vienna Hold.

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

 Build A London.  F Barents Sea Supports A Norway - St Petersburg, A London – Norway,

 F North Sea Convoys A London – Norway, A Norway - St Petersburg.

France (Paraic Reddington - ): Build A Paris, Build F Brest,

 Build F Marseilles. A Belgium Hold, F Brest - Mid-Atlantic Ocean, F Marseilles - Gulf of Lyon, A Paris – Burgundy,

 A Portugal – Spain, F Spain(sc) - Western Mediterranean.

Germany (Philip Murphy trekkypj “of” Build A Kiel. A Galicia Supports A Bulgaria – Rumania,

 A Kiel - Denmark (*Bounce*), A Silesia – Prussia, F Sweden - Denmark (*Bounce*).

Italy (Ian Pringle - pringle.ian “of” Build F Naples. F Ionian Sea - Eastern Mediterranean,

 F Naples - Ionian Sea, A Tunis Hold, A Venice Hold.

Russia (Don Williams – dwilliam “of” Build A Moscow.

 F Baltic Sea Supports F North Sea - Denmark (*Void*), A Moscow - Ukraine (*Bounce*),

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

Turkey (Graham Wilson – grahamaw “of” Build F Constantinople. F Ankara - Black Sea,

 A Armenia - Sevastopol (*Fails*), A Bulgaria – Rumania, F Constantinople Supports F Ankara - Black Sea.


Fall 1902 Deadline is December 29th 2009 at 7:00am my time



Reuters: Russian authorities have lost contact with a freighter carrying lumber from St Petersburgh to Morocco. The ship was last seen heading South past Sweden. Rumours abound that the vessel has been hijacked by pirates. It's new destination is currently unknown.

F to RT: Time for you two to get some counselling and then kiss and make up.

Kaiser Wilhelm III to Drumknott, Personal Secretary to the Kaiser: *Some KLUTZ keeps mixing up my versmeggen messages! When I say zer damn Sultan is to be told something I don't Schengen well mean send it to the Tsar! FIX IT!

*TELEGRAM FROM THE KAISER TO REUTERS*: Ve are not lost! Ve bought those Michelin guides from the French in gutt faith! Zer Bradshaw's Guide was zu teuer.... too.... bambi? venison?... no... i mean deer.

F to G: I've got the mega-jumbo popcorn and am sitting back to enjoy the show.

F to all: The French high command has ordered its units to holiday in the South of France and Spain. The recent French military expansion was necessary to help quell farmers' protests. There are no further plans for expansion. The French continue to maintain a 'surrender first' military policy.

Greater Germany – Lesser Germany: Dear Neighbour.

On the direct orders of the Kaiser, I am hereby instructed to inform you that we are cancelling Christmas in Austria this year. Your antics in Rumania have displeased the Kaiser. In between bouts of pretending to be a tree, he is demanding that we divert all our coal supplies so that we can launch commando raids on your stockings, taking the presents from them and filling them with coal. After this he tried snorting sand up his nose with a straw, but that's neither here or there. He is our Kaiser and we do his bidding.

We are also forbidding all transport of beers, wines, spirits, cakes, mince pies, pastries, and toys between our borders as part of these utterly pointless measures. In short, as far as Germany is concerned there will be no Edelweiss sung in Austria this year, no puddings, no bratwurst, no happy playing children. Yodelling, however is perfectly fine; in fact we encourage it because we hope your horrible singing will trigger an avalanche or two to entomb your idiot generals in their silly wooden chalets in the mountains.

I know you may think that this is an act of war - but it is not. For we are brothers in culture, in language and in history.... our two nations. Of course we are the stronger Germans... but it is our duty to remind our younger, weaker brother that they are misbehaving, and pull them by the ear, hard, until they start behaving as good little boys should. Who knows, perhaps next year there will be strudel for everyone come Christmas-time!

So to sum up - stop your dalliance with the Russians who only want you for your money and your land. They are bold little boys who want to get you into trouble. The Kaiser is your friend. Trust him, he has your best interests at heart. And taxidermy, but that's just his special way.

Or will we have to talk about two little boys and their two little toys?

Yours etc.,

Baron Graf Von Schengen
Aide to the Kaiser

p.p. Kaiser Wilhelm III of Germany


*General Oggo Hellen-Mutt von Klingerhofen to All: *As zey say in Blackadder, with 40,000 men being butchered a week who's going to miss a few pigeons? Und it's not our fault zey keep flying into our tents, Ja?

*Kaiser to Russia: *That's *'*Kaiser' Birdbrain to you. KAISER! Just because you are in zer knife fight over zere, don't blame me! Und stop misleading our Brother! Franz ist a good little boy - he doesn't do zat sort of thing normally. Zis is all your fault for corrupting his mind wiz junk!


Diplomacy “Bellicus” from Strange Meeting, Spring/Summer 1906

England (Smiley McKinnon – Boltar35 “of” F Edinburgh no move received,

 A London no move received.

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

 A Burgundy Hold, A Clyde - Edinburgh (*Fails*), F English Channel - London (*Fails*), A Gascony Hold,

 F Irish Sea Hold, A Ruhr - Holland.

Germany (Beartla de Burca – beartlab “of” A Holland Hold (*Disbanded*).

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

 F Tunis - Ionian Sea (*Fails*), A Tyrolia – Bohemia, A Venice - Tyrolia (*Fails*).

Russia (Chris Babcock – cbabcock “of” F Baltic Sea – Denmark, A Berlin – Kiel,

 F Denmark - North Sea, A Kiel – Ruhr, A Moscow Hold, A Munich Supports A Vienna – Tyrolia,

 A Norway – Sweden, F Norwegian Sea - North Atlantic Ocean, A Silesia Supports A Munich,

 F St Petersburg(nc) – Norway, A Vienna - Tyrolia.

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

 F Albania Supports F Aegean Sea - Ionian Sea, A Budapest Supports A Trieste, F Constantinople - Aegean Sea,

 F Greece Supports F Aegean Sea - Ionian Sea, F Ionian Sea – Naples, A Serbia Supports A Trieste,

 A Trieste Hold, F Tyrrhenian Sea - Rome.


I am calling Jack McHugh (jwmchughjr “of” to standby for England

Fall/Winter 1906 Deadline is December 29th 2009 at 7:00am my time



None.  You guys suck.



Diplomacy “Chimaera” from Strange Meeting, Spring/Summer 1906

Austria (Tim Deacon – timdeacon1 “of” A Budapest Supports A Trieste – Serbia,

 A Greece Supports A Trieste – Serbia, A Trieste – Serbia, A Vienna Supports A Budapest.

England (Nigel Pepper – nepper “of” A Brest Hold,

 F English Channel Supports F Irish Sea - Mid-Atlantic Ocean, A Gascony Supports F Spain(sc),

 F Holland - Belgium (*Bounce*), F Irish Sea - Mid-Atlantic Ocean, F Kiel Hold, F Liverpool - North Atlantic Ocean,

 A Paris – Burgundy, F Picardy - Belgium (*Bounce*),

 F Spain(sc) Supports F Irish Sea - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Cut*), A Wales Hold.

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

 Build A Marseilles (Impossible, not a build season)..F Portugal - Spain(sc) (*Fails*), A Ruhr no move received,

 A Marseilles S F Portugal – Spain(sc) (No Such Unit).

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

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Supports F Portugal - Spain(sc) (*Dislodged*, retreats to Western Med),

 A Tyrolia Supports A Bohemia, A Venice no move received.

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

 F Berlin Hold, A Bohemia Supports A Vienna - Tyrolia (*Void*), A Bulgaria Supports A Greece,

 F Constantinople – Smyrna, A Munich Supports A Paris – Burgundy, A Rumania Supports A Warsaw – Galicia,

 F Sevastopol - Black Sea, A Silesia Supports A Munich, A Smyrna – Armenia, A Warsaw - Galicia.


The England/Russia Draw Proposal Fails


Fall/Winter 1906 Deadline is December 29th 2009 at 7:00am my time



None…you guys suck.



Diplomacy “Albion” from Strange Meeting, Fall/Winter 1905


I did not receive an adjudication from Stephen.  If I do I will make sure it is forwarded along to all players as soon as possible.  Watch the Eternal Sunshine Yehoo group for updates as well.


Remember: Orders go to Stephen Agar!!!




Deviant Dip II – “Black Licorice” – 2009Brc08 – Spring 1903

Drance (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” with Don Williams ordering units): StP H, Ser(1) H,

 Mun H, Ukr H, Cyp H, Lyo H.

England (Russell Blau – russblau “of” Wal S Nth-Lon, Bla(1) S Gal-Rum, Ank S Spa-Smy,

 Nth - Lon, Gal - Rum, Spa-Smy, Ion – Ice(ret Gre,Alb,Adr,Apu,Nap,Sic,Cre,OTB), Tri H.
Verminy (Pete Gaughan – raptormage “of” Mos – Mos Air, Bul(1) – Bul Air, Pic(1)-Bel,

 Naf(1) – Naf Air, Nat(1) - Ice.

Italy (John David Galt – jdg “of” Par disappears, Kie - Den, Bal S Syr - Swe,

 Syr(2) - Swe, Nwy(1) S Syr – Swe.
Austria (John Walker - jwalker150 “of” No moves received.  Sev (1) U, Por U, Nwg U. 

Nussia (Mark D Lew – markdlew “of” Gas (1) - Mar, Mid S Bud - Tri, Ruhr Air - Bud, Swe - Spa, War - Vie, Smy S Swe – Spa(ret Con, Arm, OTB), Bud - Tri, Tus - Ven.

Turkey (Jason Bergmann – jasonbergmann “of” Fin - Ech, Aeg - Ion, Rom S Wme - Tyn,

 Bre S Fin - Ech, Tunis S Aeg - Ion,  Wme – Tyn, Edi S Fin - Ech.



Drance: 6 Yes for #46, 6 Yes for #47.

England: 1 Yes for #36, 1 Yes for #39, 1 No for #40, 1 Yes for #41, 1 Yes for #42, 1 Yes for #43, 1 No for #44,

 1 No for #45, a No for #46, 1 No for #47, a No for #49.

Verminy: 2 Yes for #43, 1 Yes for #36, 1 Yes for #39, 1 Yes for #42, 1 Yes for #41, 1 Yes for #44,

 1 Yes for #45.

Italy: 1 Yes on #39, 1 Yes on #40, 1 No on #41, 1 No on #43, 1 No on #45, 1 No on #49.

Austria: No notes used.

Nussia: 1 No on #43, 1 No on #46, 1 No on #47, 1 No on #48, 1 Yes on #44, 2 Yes on #45, 5 Yes on #49.

Turkey: 1 No for #48, 1 No for #49, 3 Yes for #41, 5 Yes for #45.


New Unit Types and Positions after Spring 1903


Drance (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” with Don Williams ordering units): F StP(nc), A Ser(1),

 A Mun, A Ukr, F Cyp, F Lyo.

England (Russell Blau – russblau “of” A Wal, F Bla(1), F Ank, F Lon, A Rum, A Smy,

 F Ion in Retreat(ret Gre,Alb,Adr,Apu,Nap,Sic,Cre,OTB).
Verminy (Pete Gaughan – raptormage “of” M Mos Air, M Bul Air(1), F Bel(1), M Naf Air(1),

 F Nat(1).

Italy (John David Galt – jdg “of” Invisible Unit, F Den, F Bal, A Swe(2),

  F Nwy(1).
Austria (John Walker - jwalker150 “of” A Sev (1), F Por, F Nwg. 

Nussia (Mark D Lew – markdlew “of” A Mar(1), F Mid, A Bud, F Spa(sc), A Vie,

 A Smy in Retreat(ret Con, Arm, OTB), A Tri, F Ven.

Turkey (Jason Bergmann – jasonbergmann “of” F Ech, F Ion, A Rom, F Bre, A Tun,  F Tyn,

 A Edi.

New Supply Center Chart (as of Winter 1902), With Home Centers in Bold


Drance             Ankara, Warsaw, Belgium, Ireland, Crete, Brest, Portugal=7

England            Paris, Smyrna, Sevastopol, Munich, Norway, Iceland, Trieste, Rome=8

Verminy           Greece, Vienna, London, Liverpool, Moscow, Spain, Sicily=7

Italy                 Serbia, Budapest, Naples, Edinburgh, Denmark=5

Austria             Cyprus, Venice, Marseilles, Holland, Armenia=5

Nussia              Tyrolia, Sardinia, Rumania, Piedmont, Kiel, Wales, Livonia, Berlin=8

Turkey              Constantinople, Corsica, Prussia, Bulgaria, Sweden, Tunis, St. Petersburg=7


RP’s (Rule #21): John Walker/Jack McHugh - 1; Russell Blau - 3; Jim Burgess - 4; Pete Gaughan - 0; John David Galt - 2; Mark D Lew - 5; Jason Bergmann - 4.


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


I am calling Jack McHugh to stand by for Austria.

Fall 1903 Deadline is December 28th at 7:00pm my time

This turn will include moves and votes!


New Rule Proposals:


#50 - "Say the Secret Woid and Win a Hundred Dollars" (Proposed by Russell Blau):  In every issue of Eternal Sunshine, the GM will publish a secret word, somewhere _outside_ the Black Licorice game report.  The secret word will be clearly identified; for example, the zine may say "The secret word is zucchini"; but the GM can vary the exact phrasing so that players cannot easily find the answer with a simple text search. Each player who correctly repeats the secret word in their orders the following season can cast extra votes equal to one-half their current vote total, dropping any fractions. In Winter, if there is no voting [if Rule #39 does not pass], players who correctly repeat the secret word can make an extra rule proposal.


#51 - "Evening the Odds, Part 2" (Proposed by Russell Blau):  Every player whose last name contains an odd number of letters loses one RP immediately when this rule takes effect, and at the end of Fall 1903 loses one supply center, to be selected by the GM at random from among those supply centers owned by the player that are not occupied by any units (or if no vacant supply centers exist, then one that is occupied by that player's unit, in which case that unit is removed). Just in case anyone was wondering, the Drench player for purposes of this rule is Jim, not Don.


#52 - "Heat Death" (Proposed by John David Galt): At the end of each Spring, Fall, and Winter season, one supply center, chosen at random by the GM, permanently ceases to be a supply center.  If at any time there are no more supply centers, the game ends in a draw.

#53 - "Plunder" (Proposed by John David Galt): Any unit which is in a supply center during a spring or fall turn, and performs no other action in that turn except to hold, may plunder that supply center.  Barbarian Hordes may plunder.  Plundering fails only if the unit ordered to plunder is dislodged on that turn. A plundered space ceases to be a supply center for any purpose for two full game years beginning at the end of the turn in which it was plundered.  (Thus a space plundered in Spring 1904 would become a supply center again after Spring 1906.)

#54 – “I win! (but only by acclamation)” (Proposed by Mark D Lew): If this rule proposal is passed "by consent" under rule #49, Mark D Lew gets one billion Rule Points and thus wins the game. If #49 is not in effect and this proposal is passed in the usual way (ie, rule #1), it has no direct effect.

#55 – “Disappearing Spaces” (Proposed by Mark D Lew): Each spring or fall, after adjudication of moves, the least popular space will be removed from the game. GM will identify the unoccupied space which has gone unoccupied for the longest time. If there is a tie, GM will randomly choose from among them. This space will be annexed by one adjacent space, again chosen at random by the GM. Thenceforth, the disappearing space no longer exists, and the annexing space now occupies the entire area of the two spaces combined. The annexing space maintains all its original qualities, including name, land/sea, dot/non-dot, and occupying unit. For example, if the Tyrrhenian Sea is annexed by Tunis, then the new Tunis would become a large land space dot which now borders Lyo, Tus, Rom and Nap; it would have two coasts, and Rome would no longer have a coast.

#56 – “Titanic Terrain” (Proposed by Jason Bergmann): The GM will assign each passable space (both land and water) a terrain type from the game Titan (once published by Avalon Hill, now republished by some other company), in the following manner.

First, one of each player's home supply centers, chosen at random, will be a Tower.

Second, two Mountain spaces and two Tundra spaces will be chosen at random among the remaining spaces.  None of these four spaces may be adjacent to each other or to any Tower.

Third, the remaining spaces will be assigned terrain types in approximately the following ratios: 10% each of Desert, Swamp, Woods, Hills, and Jungle, 16 2/3% each of Marsh, Plains, and Brush.  The GM shall use the following criteria when assigning terrain types to spaces (in order from most to least important):

* No hills may be adjacent to a mountain space, and no woods may be adjacent to a tundra space.

* No spaces that are geographically adjacent may have the same terrain type.

* To the extent possible, the GM shall minimize geographical adjacencies between Brush and Jungle, between Plains and Desert, between Swamp and Marsh, between Plains and Woods, and between Marsh and Hills.

* To the extent possible, the GM should attempt to assign terrain types that match the spaces' real world terrain. (For example, Upper River should be Jungle, Syria should be Desert, etc.)

Subject to the above criteria, the GM shall disperse the various terrain types as widely as possible across the board.

With each game results, the GM shall publish an alphabetical list of all passable spaces, along with the terrain type assigned to each.

#57 – “Pineapple Upside Down Cake” (Proposed by Jason Bergmann): In future editions of Eternal Sunshine, the game map will be published upside down, but the units on the map shall still be printed right side up.  The GM will top the published up-side down map with pineapple slices, maraschino cherries, and caramel.  The GM will make a good faith effort to add pictures or images of these toppings to the published map.

#58 - Junior Birdman (Proposed by Pete Gaughan): An air attack automatically defeats any unit or movement on the ground.


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).  [[By rule #45 this rule is no longer in effect.]]


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  both “fleet” and “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 delivierance! 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.  [[By rule #45, this rule is no longer in effect.]]

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.  [[By rule #45, this rule is no longer in effect.]]

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.]][[By rule #45, this rule is winding out of use.  Once all Marine units are switched, the rule will no longer be in force.]]


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.]]  [[By rule #45, the adjacency aspects of this rule are no longer in effect.  Also, by Scrambled Eggs, the extra centers are not necessarily build centers.]]


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.  [[By Scrambled Eggs, these are not necessarily build centers.]]


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.]]  [[By Rule #45, this rule is no longer in effect.]]


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.  [[By Rule #45, this rule is no longer in effect.]]


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.  [[As the rule does not specify, a player MAY hit his own units with a snowball.  Also, once a snowball hits a unit, it stops its trajectory; so you can only hit one unit with each throw, and if you hit one along the path it never reaches the destination.  And to be clear, the chance for a hit is not variable; if you throw where N=5, the spaces along the way with units have a 1/5 chance of being hit, regardless of how far from the initial throwing space they are.]]

Rule #36 - In Democracy Flagrante (Reproposed by Russell Blau): After all other rules are resolved, the number of votes permitted by each player is doubled.


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 were Marines at the time, the changes from army to fleet and vice versa were ignored.]]


Rule #41 - Votes as Currency (Proposed by Jason Bergmann): During Spring and Fall turns, votes may be spent as follows:

(1) One vote to support a unit in place.
(2) Two votes to support any unit's move.
(3) Three votes to garrison a controlled supply center.  A garrisoned supply center has an intrinsic defensive strength of one if the area is unoccupied.  A garrison is destroyed if any other player's unit occupies the garrisoned space. 
(4) Five votes to buy one Rule Point.

These expenditures are in addition to those that are provided by other rules.

Rule #42 - Collapsing Wormholes (Proposed by Jason Bergmann): Each "wormhole" (i.e., adjacency between any two spaces that are not adjacent on the map published in Eternal Sunshine), immediately collapse after any unit successfully moves through it.  All other wormholes that touch either of those two spaces also immediately collapse.  No additional movement is allowed through a collapsed wormhole.  For each successful move that causes one ore more wormholes to collapse, the moving player will receive 0.5 Rule Points.  (Fractional rule points do not round up.)  The adjacencies created by Rules 14, 17 and 22 are non-geographic adjacencies and qualify as wormholes.  The adjacencies created by Rules 15 and 23 are geographic adjacencies and do not qualify as wormholes.  With each game result, the GM shall publish an alphabetical list of all non-collapsed wormholes.  This rule does not apply retroactively.  [[This rule currently only applies to the adjacencies to the Upper and Lower River, as Rule #45 eliminated the rest.]]


Rule #44 - It's 2 a.m., boys. Time to go home (Proposed by Mark D Lew): If at the end of the Fall 1910 turn no player has achieved victory, the game ends and Heather Taylor is declared the winner.

Rule #45 - Return to (Relative) Normalcy (Proposed by Mark D Lew): Now that we are completely scrambled, the board returns to normal and we try to regain our sanity:

Units, center ownership, and home centers remain as determined by the Egg Scrambling. Board adjacencies return to normal (reversing the effects of Continent-Wide Web, Habsburg Relocation, and Teleport Gates). The island spaces are still passable dots but with normal board adjacencies only (including Cor-Sar and Nap-Sic). Upper and Lower River still exist, treated as ordinary sea spaces adjacent to Belgium and London respectively and to each other.

Jim Burgess and Don Williams still control Drance's votes and moves as currently specified, but any other deviant business related to them is repealed, as are the rules extending Deviant influence to other games in the zeen (ie, #31 and #32).

All marines become armies or fleets (army if in a landlocked space, fleet if in a sea space, randomly chosen otherwise). Any marine currently in the air continues its flight as a marine but then reverts to army or fleet once it lands. No new marines may be built. Any barbarian horde currently existing continues as such until destroyed, but the rule is repealed with regard to new barbarians. Any unit currently invisible remains so until revealed, but the rule is repealed with regard to new invisibility. (That is, #8, #19, and #28 are no longer in effect once their current alterations expire.)

Other rules (ie, #1, #16, #21, #34) remain in effect.

In re-establishing normalcy, this rule does not override any new abnormalcies (eg, adjacencies) passed simultaneously.



The Ministry of Silly Press is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, which is particularly silly because European countries don't celebrate Thanksgiving.

Italy to England: Welcome to our new neighbors!

Lew to GM: I can't make any sense out of proposal #49. Is he saying that if #49 passes then everything we propose this round is automatically going to pass? What if they contradict, does that make them null and void under rule #1 paragraph 7? Or is it saying that they all pass even if they do contradict and damn the contradiction? (In which case does that mean #49 amends #1 and then under #1 p.9 it can only pass by getting the most votes?) I'm totally confused.

But since it's the day before the deadline and there's no time for a proper discussion, I'll just go with it. If #49 passes and no one else thinks to propose an "I win" proposal, will that make me win?  I can't tell, but what the heck, it's worth a try.


[[In short, if #49 passed then yes, your “I Win” rule would automatically pass next season, and you would then win.  #49 does not contradict the More Deviant Rule.  However, #39 and #43 do, and therefore can only pass under section 5 (most net votes).]]

Lew to Burgess: What's the deal with random alternation between "Dulcinea" and "Dulcinae" spellings? The one sounds like Quixote's lady, and the other sounds like some Greek plural. Are they the same thing?

Italy to Austria and Verminy: And you tourists, too!

Italy to Turkey: You might as well change your name to Club Med!


Black Press Gunboat, “Maple Sugar,” 2009Crb32, F 02


Austria: F Albania – Greece, A Budapest - Vienna (*Bounce*), A Serbia Supports F Albania – Greece,

 A Vienna - Trieste (*Bounce*).

England: F Barents Sea Supports A Norway - St Petersburg, F North Sea Supports F Wales – London,

 A Norway - St Petersburg (*Disbanded*), F Wales - London.

France: A Belgium Supports A Burgundy (*Cut*), F English Channel Supports A Belgium,

 A Burgundy Supports A Bohemia - Munich (*Dislodged*, retreat Picardy, Paris, Gascony, Marseilles, or OTB).

Germany: A Denmark – Kiel, F Helgoland Bight – Denmark, A Holland - Belgium (*Fails*),

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

Italy: A Bohemia - Vienna (*Bounce*), F Ionian Sea – Tunis, A Venice - Trieste (*Bounce*).

Russia: F Black Sea Supports F Sevastopol - Armenia (*Cut*), A Finland Supports A St Petersburg,

 A Rumania - Bulgaria (*Fails*), F Sevastopol – Armenia, A St Petersburg Supports F Sweden – Norway,

 F Sweden - Norway.

Turkey: F Aegean Sea - Greece (*Fails*), F Ankara - Black Sea (*Fails*),

 A Bulgaria Supports F Aegean Sea - Greece (*Cut*), A Constantinople Supports A Bulgaria.



W 02/S 03 Deadline is December 29th 2009 at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart


Austria:            Budapest, Greece, Serbia, Trieste, Vienna=5, Build 1

England:          Edinburgh, Liverpool, London=3, Even

France:            Belgium, Brest, Marseilles, Paris=4, Build 1 or 2, depending on retreat

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

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

Russia:             Moscow, Norway, Rumania, Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Sweden, Warsaw=7, Build 1

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

Unowned:        Portugal, Spain.




The Four Corner Report:  Paris - would be in good shape if a coup had not reduced military production. 

Her understaffed military may be able to hold on to Belgium thanks to England in the North and a rogue Italian unit in Bohemia. Paris and Rome are both engaged in standoff battles so for now their truce is holding up.  France has most to lose if situation changes.


London - If only the King had taken his Admiralty advice and sent the bulk of his fleets south.  France would have fallen quickly and England would be the worlds only great powerRussia is winning in the South and can continue to control events in the North.  Only German intervention could change English fortunes on this front.  The citizens of London are concerned that a French army could make a fall gamble and invade London. This is most unlikely but the London upper crust is not happy. English situation dangerous but manageable.


Ankara - On the defensive, has lost control of Black Sea, and may not be able to prevent Vienna from occupying Greece.  The Sultan needs F Constantinople but has F Aegean.  F Ionian could move to the Eastern, and to date Italy has not danced to the music as planned.  On the up side Vienna has declared war on Italy and can not be happy with A Rum. If Austria gets a build, Vienna may be more concerned about routing Russia and Italy than taking Bulgaria.  Ankara will have to out guess Russia.  Russia can move A Rum-Arm/Ank or have A Rum S F Bla-Bul. All can be countered with F Aeg S A Bul, F Arm-Ank, A Con-Ank.  The Turkish Situation is dangerous but not hopeless.


Russia-Austria: Since you are at war with italy im afraid im at a 1 on 1 with turkey. once im finished with turkey how do you wish for me to assisst you?

Russia-turkey: i dont know what to make of your press.

Austria is now at war with R/I, we could use some Turkish help!  Have no fear of F Gre and it will support A Bul in Spring.  If F Gre then expect Ser S Bud-Rum, a support from Bul and an attack on Bla could improve both our situations.   


T -> R: Without help from A or I - and these two countries seem to be busy with each other - you will have a hard time winning your war against me.


Russia -> All: England and Turkey have both screwed up.  France is asleep.  Italy is an idiot.  Austria is a twit, and Germany is blind. Is there no one to stop me?  You fools, you know nothing of the power of the dark side...

Italy -> Russia: I am not an idiot!  I am your remote toady!  Have a bit more respect those players who live vicariously through the victory of others...

T -> A: As you suggested, I tried to move a F instead of an A to Gre. After the R F moved into BLA, I do not see myself in a position to start hostilities against I.


Austria to E/G: I hear War and StP are full of treasure, perhaps a join effort might pay dividends!


French interim govt – England : You have much trouble up North. Please head that way and I’ll stay right away. We need to be friends, I think.


French interim govt – Italy : There’s friendly. No F(Mar).


Russia-Britain: I think it’s a steilmate until more wood is put on the fire.

Germany to France: I'm afraid France's incursion will be punished (whoever controls her).


FIG – Germany : I guess I’m in for a bit of defensive strategy: unless you have other aspirations?


FIG – Austria : No need for explanations.


Germany to Italy: I get a bit nervous when there is an Italian Army next to any of my centres. Hopefully he has moved on and neutrality can remain.

Russia-France: you didn't write your moves... I hope i can work with you.

Austria to Italy:  Wow! Spain, Port, Mars all there for the taking and your wondering about Bohemia.  Still the life style appeals to some.


Russia-Germany: We don't talk much together, you and I...




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 2 Categories

1. A type of spider.

2. An airline.

3. A movie with Edward Norton.

4. A vegetable.

5. Someone who died in 2009.


Congrats to Kevin Wilson for his round-high 92!


Selected Comments By Category:


Spider – Dane Maslen “The first spider I thought of was the tarantula, but I decided (perhaps incorrectly) that Americans would be more inclined to think of black widows.”  Paraic ReddingtonDespite the redback (black widow) being commonly found in Perth I think I'll go with this South American beastie.”  Don Williams “Black widow is obvious, but that might be a regional thing … they are everywhere out here in southern California.  We just changed out the carpet and had two in the house in a couple unused corners of an old bedroom.

AirlinePer Westling “Continental was my first thought, Southwest is the largest in the world (4 US lines in the top, followed by a Chinese), but Delta will be when they merge with Northwest.”  Jim Burgess “Not many people know that Southwest actually has more scheduled flight passengers than any airline in the world, but American flies the most passenger miles since their flights are longer.”  Paraic ReddingtonThis could be an interesting mix of domestic US and international carriers.”

Edward Norton – Rick Desper “I like Fight Club for Edward Norton.  I am a big fan, but I think Fight Club is his highest profile role.”  Michael Moulton “lots of great Edward Norton movies. My favorites are this one [American History X] along with Fight Club and Rounders. I don't see a lot of crossover between poker players and Dip players, or I'd be picking Rounders.”  Per Westling “Not sure I've seen any of his bigger ones. So I go for Fight club as it is #18 in the IMDB top 250 list.”  Dave Kleiman “I want to go with Italian Job, one I really enjoyed, but I think Fight Club is the popular answer, so Fight Club it is.”  Jim Burgess “I like American History X better, but everyone is going to say Fight Club.”  Robin ap Cynan “I very much preferred American History X.”  Paraic ReddingtonI'm a huge fan of anything Ed Norton does but X is my favorite.” Phil Murphy “Honestly, this one bamboozled me. Edward Norton's not on my radar at all. For a minute I thought you meant JEDWARD from X-Factor *shudders*.”

Vegetable – Rick Desper “No idea.  Going with the pumpkin as part of Halloween.”  Dane Maslen “I'm sure I've seen the vegetable category before in another zine (possibly even in DG!).  I'm also sure that I can't remember what won. Aha!  Some rummaging through back issues has revealed that it was indeed DG.  Even more remarkably the top answer was 'carrot', so evidently I had remembered, even though I couldn't remember remembering, if you see what I mean.”  Per Westling “In Swedish vegetable is "grönsak" which means "green thing", so cucumber would be the obvious choice. But it seems cucumber is number 2 and tomato is number 1.”   Dave Kleiman “Either Jim-Bob or Tomato.  Let’s stick with Tomato.”  Paraic ReddingtonAs an Irishman, there is only ONE vegetable (the rest are just garnishes).”  Don Williams “Tomato … I know it’s not a vegetable, but I don’t know that the rest of you know that …”

2009 Death – Rick Desper “South Park did an episode recently featuring many of the celebrities who died in 2009.  I was most creeped out by Billy May.  Hope somebody picks him.”  Pat Vogelsang “I will be shocked if someone picks something other than Fight Club for #3 or Michael Jackson for #5.”  Jim Burgess “What if someone new dies in the next week that grabs the attention??  As you know, lots of choices, dismiss the Dom DeLuise, Ed McMahon, Eunice Shriver, Farrah Fawcett, John Updike, Patrick McGoohan, Ricardo Montalban, Soupy Sales, Walter Cronkite, etc. all of the second echelon.   I like the idea of choosing David Carradine, but no. Michael Jackson or Edward Kennedy must be the answer, I would choose Kennedy, but Jackson was bigger and more people will choose him.”  Heather Taylor “I know Michael Jackson will be the most popular, but I refuse to use the pedophile’s name to score points.  I’d rather lose.” Phil Murphy “Kind of like Princess Di in a way - everyone's sorry he's gone but isn't really sure why it matters.”  Don Williams “Michael Jackson is, I think, the obvious choice for first pick.  BUT, in a different group I’d have gone with Wm. Safire or Walter Cronkite … or even Ed McMahon or Robert McNamara … all popular or political icons of my youth.  Farrah had the bad fortune to die the same day as Jackson .  Who else?  Hmm … Patrick Swayze and Henry Gibson and David Carradine all checked out and I enjoyed the work of each at one point or another.  Steve McNair was the biggest surprise after Jackson – guy was 35!  The one I will personally miss the most, though, was Larry Gelbart of M*A*S*H fame. “


Round 3 Categories – Deadline is December 29th, 2009 at 7:00am my time


1. Something you put on top of ice cream.

2. Something you put ice cream on top of.

3. A flavor of ice cream.

4. A brand of ice cream.

5. An ice cream product you can buy at the grocery store which is not solely ice cream.



Eternal Sunshine Movie Quote Contest


There are ten rounds of movie quotes, and each round consists of ten quotes.  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 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 – and it might be a very good prize!  Research is not permitted!  So please try to avoid the temptation to Google the quotes.  Im doing many of the quotes from memory anyway, so you won’t necessarily be able to find them by direct search…so don’t try!  Each round will also contain one bonus point, which is awarded if you can tell me what the ten movies being quoted have in common.


Round One


#1. Whoa, what are you doing?  You’ve got to make my bunk!


#2. I’ve just about reached the point where I willing to kill someone for the nicotine under their fingernails, you hear me Loretta?


#3. I wonder if she actually had an orgasm in the two years we were married, or did she fake it that night?


#4. What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.


#5. On the run from Johnny Law.  Ain’t no trip to Cleveland.


#6. Serpentine, Shel, serpentine!


#7. I’ve never seen anybody so shit-all stupid to drive off the road like that.  You musta got manure for your brains!


#8. Listen. In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?


#9. Excuse me, Stewardess?  I speak Jive.


#10. God? Lonely. But funny. He's got a great sense of humor. Take sex for example. There's nothing funnier than the ridiculous faces you people make mid-coitus.


Bonus: What do all these films have in common?


Deadline for your answers to Round 1: December 29th at 7:00am my time



General Deadline for the Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:  December 29th, 2009 at 7:00am my time - See You Then!