Eternal Sunshine #72

gdalogoJanuary 2013

By Douglas Kent 911 Irene Drive, Mesquite, TX  75149

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Quote Of The Month – “I mean shouldn’t the good times out-number the shit times?” (Clementine in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the only Diplomacy zine with a Richard Walkerdine Memorial Diplomacy Game.  And that game starts this issue.  Makes sure you take a peek, as even though it is just Winter 1900 we already have some very amusing press releases.  As a matter of fact, our game openings for the Diplomacy game AFTER that one and our current Gunboat opening each only have one or two spots left.  So grab them quick!


While you’re in the Game Openings area, check out the “Coming Soon” list.  This is where I will be posting the various games (mostly Diplomacy variants) that I am considering offering in the near future.  If you are interested in any of those variants, or have others you’d like to see, let me know.  The ones that generate even a bit of pre-offer interest are the most likely to show up as available.


It’s been a rather depressing and draining month all around, and I know that doesn’t just go for me.  So since the world didn’t come to an end on December 21st, maybe we can somehow turn things around and shine a little more light.  Maybe just try to do one nice thing for one person every day, however small.  A kind word, a compliment, some tiny courtesy which could make the difference in their day without you even realizing it.  I know, coming from me this sounds stupid…but if we all tried it, that would make the world at least SLIGHTLY more tolerable.


Now if I could just get some writing done, and conquer this self-loathing problem.


Speaking of writing, I’ve included a short story of mine in this issue.  I’d tried to get it published elsewhere, but to no avail.  I have a slight, nagging feeling that I’ve printed it in ES before, but can find no record of that, so you’ll find it here.


No new interviews, but I’ve got a number of potential subjects lined up for future issues.  We do have columns from Paul Mikewski and Jack McHugh, Richard Weiss’ NCAA Bowl contest (check that out NOW because the deadline is in a few days), a travelogue by Barbara Kent from her trip to Greece and Turkey, and more of the usual crap.  So, enjoy or not…and send some feedback in on this (and every) issue when you can find something to comment on.  Not only does it remind me that SOMEONE still reads this zine (aside from flipping to their own games), but it makes for a livelier letter column.  Speaking of which, if you’d like to write your own monthly (or simple occasional) column, go for it!  Sports, politics, your tireless efforts to build a model of the Starship Enterprise…the topics are up to you.


Don’t forget the next issue of Diplomacy World is sue out right after the New Year.  Find it at Every three months I wonder how much longer I’ll last as Lead Editor, but so far I’m hanging on.  I also need to get more of these old zines for the Postal Diplomacy Zine Archive, but finding time is the real problem.  Well, and energy.


That’s it for now.  See you next year!


Playlist: CA TX NY Volume 1 – Elliot, Rose, daCosta; Dulcinea – Toad the Wet Sprocket; Live – Joe Jackson; Tune Tramp – Erynn Marshall and Friends; Circus Heart – Rebecca Loebe.



[[Editor’s Note: This is a story I wrote for Heather back in prison, probably 2004.  Since then I’ve edited it numerous times, entered it in a number of short story contests, and submitted it to maybe a dozen literary journals.  No results, so I figure I’ll just put it here for now.  If you have some comments or critique to give, whether simple or detailed, send them on and let me know if I can print them in the letter col or not.]]


Have a Heart by Doug Kent


I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve led a selfish and pointless life.  A month ago, if I had bent over to change the CD in my car while driving on Interstate 30, lost control, and plowed into a semi, nobody would have shed a single tear.  As a matter of fact, there are plenty of people who would have found quite a bit of happiness and satisfaction if they’d heard I’d had my neck snapped in an accident.  I imagine they would have savored every gruesome detail: shards of windshield glass splintering into my face, my jaw cracked in half from the sudden airbag deployment, the broken ribs from where my seatbelt tried to restrain my torso.  Oh yes, back in Jersey you can be certain the champagne corks would have been popping, and the crystal glasses clinking.


Even today, as I slip through my last hours alive, I can’t think of a single person who will be sorry to see me go.  No relatives, no friends worth sweetheart either; not anymore.


But that was my choice.  It’s easier this way, for both of us.  If she knew the truth, she’d try to stop me.  And I’ve gone too far to stop now.  I’ve been over it and over it in my head.  This is the only way.


After all, I had my shot at life.  Yet time and time again, I’ve blown it.  Almost without exception, when it really mattered, I’ve done the wrong thing.  Honestly, that knowledge has never bothered me before now.


Call it Jerry Maguire Syndrome or something.  Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention, I developed a conscience of sorts.  And unfortunately for me, it knows all about my past….and now I need to balance the scales.  All it will take is my life.  Not much to give up; one life for another.


I used to shake my head and laugh at the suckers who line up to do things for the “greater good.”  I just didn’t get it.  You’ve all read the headlines: “Volunteer Firefighter Killed When Roof Collapses.”  The schmuck is always survived by two children and a pregnant wife.  And the family is proud of him.  For what?  For risking his life for people he didn’t even know?  For leaving his wife a widow and his kids without a father?


Not me, chum.  No way.  “Gator” Gaiser always looked out for himself; first, last, and everywhere in between.  If I had to step on a few toes along the way, crack a few heads to get where I needed to go, so be it.  I didn’t just want my piece of the pie…I wanted the whole damn thing, pan and all.


Who am I kidding?  That doesn’t even sound authentic anymore.  My lifelong mantra has become cheap B-movie Hollywood cliché; hollow, empty, trite.


What time is it?  Okay, still over an hour left before the car arrives and I take that final drive.


I could use a drink, or ten.  But they asked that I refrain from using any drugs or alcohol.  Need to keep everything clean, you know.  Not even a single glass of wine for medicinal purposes.  Ha, “medicinal.”  Not bad.


If I’m going to tell this story before I run out of time, I’d better step on the gas.  I’m no writer, even though I’ve lied for a living most of my adult life.  I’m not even sure where to begin.  Maybe I should start at Margie.  No…a little further back.  Moving to Dallas.


I had lived in Jersey about eight years.  Doesn’t much matter where I was before then.  The story was always the same:  fake Drivers License, fake Social Security number, fake identity.  Harder to do now, easier to do then.  But no matter who I was pretending to be, I always had a hunger for money.  Nothing fake about that.


The key is to keep moving.  Three months in one town is enough.  Then you set up your advance operation in your next location, find a new place to live, and abandon the old office.  Never pack the place up; one of your more suspicious victims might be getting wise and keeping an eye on the place.  If you’ve planned ahead and gone by the book, there isn’t anything incriminating there anyway.  A drawer full of take-out menus, a pile of telephone directories that keeps getting taller, a phone that hasn’t been paid for, some loose change in an ashtray…leave it all behind.


Of course, some of your work is seasonal.  In April and May, as the tax refunds are arriving, I’m “Quality Foundation and Home Repair.”  Yes Ma’am, we’re fully bonded, and members of the Better Business Bureau.  Would you like a free foundation inspection?  Hmmm, I’m afraid you’ve developed some problems here.  Deposit?  Oh no, Ma’am.  We don’t accept any payment until we’re ready to begin work, and our materials have been delivered.  We should be able to get started in about two days; just have a cashier’s check ready by then. 


You see?  A good con man has his little tricks to ease your mind and earn your trust.  But in the end, they serve my purposes.  Who cares that I might have to blow $400 on bags of Quickcrete and some cinder blocks?  As long as I have those materials, I can show I intended to do the work.  And as long as I intended to do the work, it isn’t criminal fraud.  The most they can do is sue me.  And since they don’t even know my real name, and I’ll have disappeared in a few weeks, that’s not much of a deterrent.


Thank you Ma’am.  I’ll run down to the bank and deposit this check so I don’t lose it.  The boys should be here in about 45 minutes to start the repairs, and I’ll be back after lunch to see how things are going and to make sure everything is in order.  I think we can finish the job up by tomorrow, easy.


Oh no Ma’am.  Thank you!


Foundation repair, fence building, masonry…that season can make your year.  I had a partner on that racket for about a ten months named Jesse.  He would canvas the neighborhood first, warning the old folks about those nasty con artists preying on their addled minds.  It was like shooting fish in a barrel.  You just tell them never to trust a service that charges for inspection, or who wants payment before the materials are delivered.  Oh, and that for their own protection, always pay with a cashier’s check, so none of their account information is compromised.


This isn’t supposed to be a primer on how to con people though.  And the clock is ticking.  Always ticking.


The heat in Jersey had gotten a few degrees higher than I liked it.  If I’d stuck to those repair scams I would probably have been okay.  But then I came up with the idea of counterfeit stock certificates:  internet or biotech companies; restricted shares, available from me at a “big discount.”


See, there are really three kinds of scams.  First you’ve got those that prey on the weak or defenseless – the elderly, for example.  Then there are the scams that you use on the desperate: easy loan rip-offs, fake credit card offers with up-front fees…anything that attracts people fighting to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy.  And finally, there are scams designed to take advantage of people’s greed; scams such as counterfeit stock certificates. 


The premise is simple.  You pose as an insider in the company, or maybe a relative of an executive.  You’re in a cash crunch, and you’ve got these restricted shares which can’t be legally sold on the exchange for six months or so.  But because you are in such dire straits, you’re willing to do an under-the-table cash transaction at a steep discount to the stock value.  Of course the stock certificates are phony, but the sucker can’t check them out because he can’t make the purchase public until the restriction period ends.  Besides, he’s so busy rushing the deal through he wouldn’t check the certificates even if he could…because in his mind, he’s taking advantage of you. 


Foolproof!  Well, not exactly.  Somehow one of the marks on this con did check out the certificates.  He must have known someone else inside the company.  And, as it turned out, he had gone partners with some real money people on the deal…the kind of people that don’t turn the other cheek, if you catch my drift.


So it was time to get the hell out of Jersey, and fast.  Whatever wasn’t in liquid asset form I left behind, except for two suitcases and two cardboard boxes.  I even left my car…like it mattered, since it was just a lease.  Besides, I picked up a beautifully restored Datsun 280 ZX before I’d even crossed the state line.


I had a few options open to me.  Vegas, maybe…but it probably wasn’t safe.  Word gets around fast there.  Seattle was too wet and too pricey.  In the end, I decided on Dallas, almost randomly.  Nice town.  Mix of new money and old.  Friendly folks, the kind a little too willing to give a smiling face the benefit of the doubt.  Hot summers, but mild winters.  Good Mexican food, cheap gas, and a Starbucks on every corner. 


Two days later I crossed the state line from Arkansas into Texas.  I was looking forward to getting there.  It was sort of a new beginning.  New town, new people, new nightlife, and loads of new possibilities.  It was late afternoon when I finally reached the city limits.  I’d forgotten how cities like Dallas can be seen from far away…surrounded by flat land and little suburbs.  Rush hour was still in full swing, and I was in need of a tank of gas and a bottle or two to help my first night pass quietly.  I found both at a little gas station/liquor store combo a block off the interstate.


And that, friends, is where my life changed in an instant.


I’d seen it a thousand times before: a nice looking woman, mascara running down her face, trying to stifle her sobs while she walks from her junky old car to the payphone and drops some coins in before she realizes she doesn’t have anyone to call.  It’s usually a lost purse, an abusive boyfriend, keys locked in the car, or she can’t find her way out of the bad part of town.  This kind of lady was always looking for her White Knight to save her from the dramatic nightmare.  That’s not a sales pitch I fall for.


But then, walking towards the door of the station, I saw the face of an angel in the back seat of the junky old Ford Contour.  Sweet smile of just barely crooked teeth, bright red hair, freckles…she couldn’t have been older than four.  Our eyes locked just for an instant, and she waved at me, tiny fingers opening and closing.


I guess if I was sorry about the way things have turned out, I’d look at that moment as the beginning of my downfall.  Instead, as corny as it sounds, I think of that instant as my redemption.  Thirty-eight years of lying, stealing, and selfish acts…all atoned for in less than four weeks.


I walked up to the damsel in distress and offered my services.  She introduced herself as Margie Donohue…the little Munchkin was her daughter Lisa.  You know, when I think about it, Margie wasn’t the typical damsel in distress.  She wasn’t a born victim, and she wasn’t naïve enough to be too trusting.  But somehow, she just knew….she knew I meant no harm.  All it took for her was one look in my eyes, and she’d seen all she needed.  She knew more about me then I did, it seemed.


The crisis turned out to be simple car trouble.  Not serious: a busted radiator hose, but she had no cash for a tow, and she’d meant to join the auto club a few months back but…you know how it is.  And for whatever reason, I did know.  When Margie spoke to me, what she said seemed to make perfect sense.  When she smiled at me I felt like I was back in High School. 


But in the end, my mental instincts took command; I had gotten involved, but I didn’t have to become deeply involved.  I solved her minor crisis, making the car roadworthy after some temporary repairs with extra water and duct tape until she could get the hose properly replaced.  I refused any real thanks or reward, and politely pocketed her phone number when she offered it to me.  I wasn’t going to call, though.  She wasn’t really my type.  Too sweet, too kind, too giving, and a bit too insightful.  I could feel her looking right through my walls, and it made me uncomfortable.  Naked, actually.  Exposed.


So there I was, saying goodbye, shaking her hand, waving goodbye to little Lisa, and climbing back into my Datsun.  I was about to pull out of the parking lot when Margie motioned for me to roll down my window.  I did, and somehow – again – she saw through me and said the one thing that would make me change my mind and give her a ring: she dared me to call her.  In retrospect, I don’t think anything else would have worked.  But that did.


Damn it, they’ll be here soon.  I’d better skip ahead.


To make a long story short, I called the next day, and found myself asking her to dinner.  I picked her up at her place, located in a semi-suburban but unfashionable part of town.  I could have followed my usual mating ritual – expensive dinner in a trendy eatery followed by too many drinks at a yuppified hot spot – but I couldn’t.  I was hooked already, and for the first time ever my heart was taking charge of the rest of my body.  Even though this kind of response was foreign to me, I guess my recessive romantic genes knew what to do.  We enjoyed a quiet dinner, with pleasant conversation.  She was a divorcee, working as a cashier in a local supermarket and hoping to go back to school one day.  I didn’t know what to say about myself, so I stuck to the semi-truth: I was new in town, and had worked in sales.  Margie was more interested in me as a person than in my life story, so that was about as far as I had to go.  We were clicking, and in a major way.


I took her home after dinner, and she didn’t invite me inside.  I didn’t press the issue either.  It wouldn’t have felt “right.”  Instead I heard myself asking if she and Lisa would like to do something that weekend, like visit the zoo.  The zoo for Chrissakes!  What was a guy like me doing taking this woman and her little girl to a freaking zoo?  For all I knew I’d be taking them to Sesame Street on Ice next.


But the Dallas Zoo it was.  Margie looked gorgeous in a short – but tasteful – skirt, and a frilly top.  Lisa was a bundle of energy, bouncing from one exhibit to another.  That kid was a real charmer, and smart as hell too.  She knew more about the animals than I did, that’s for sure.  Every time we approached one that she recognized, Lisa would proudly announce what it was called, followed up with her adorable toothy grin.  I could barely keep up with her.


Margie seemed to have a good time, but to my way of thinking she was a bit too focused on getting Lisa to slow down and take it easy.  “Don’t tire yourself out sweetie,” she said more than once.  I wasn’t going to say anything about it – who the hell am I to criticize somebody’s parenting skills?  But I guess Margie saw the look on my face at some point.  So, while Lisa amused herself trying to get some silent tropical bird to talk like a parrot, Margie and I sat on a bench, and she filled me in.


 I never got too far in school, so some of the details went a bit over my head.  I understood the important parts though.  Lisa had a bad heart.  Some sort of defect which hadn’t been detected until she’d suffered a few fainting spells at the age of two.  Poor kid had been on the transplant list ever since, and nobody knew how long she would be able to wait.  She might have six months, or she might have six years.  There was no way to be sure. 


I felt like my world had been turned upside-down.  I never thought about the why’s before.  But now…why does a terrific bundle of love like Lisa get dealt such a lousy hand?  She was so young, so full of life and promise, but she was living on borrowed time.  And here was her mother Margie…a wonderful, beautiful woman, keeping a brave face on, doing whatever she could to make sure Lisa felt happy, loved, and fulfilled at every moment, no matter how much time she might or might not have left.


Start thinking about the why’s, and you can’t stop.  Why had I always been such a bastard?  Why was I such a taker, and never a giver?  There had always been a choice of direction, at each crossroads, and mine was inevitably the wrong one.  What had it ever gotten me?  Money, excitement, and an empty, lonely, pointless life were the only things I could come up with.


That night I broke one of the cardinal rules and called an associate of mine back in Jersey.  It was curiosity more than anything…I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t wrong.  But I wasn’t: a heart for Lisa on the black market was far beyond my financial means.  There wasn’t anything I could do to help.


I spent as much time as I could with Margie and Lisa.  If I was hooked before, by now I had been reeled in and caught in the net.  Every date or visit would include little gifts for Lisa, and often for Margie too.  Nothing too expensive or flamboyant…just enough to show how I felt.  I don’t know why, but it was very important for me to make them both know how special they were to me.  It wasn’t pity, and it wasn’t charity; the only aspect that could even be attributed to Lisa’s illness was the constant sense of urgency in my chest.  There was no time to waste.  I had to take advantage of every opportunity that I could find.


Then I received a cryptic message from another former associate, telling me to be careful and to watch my back.  As near as I could figure, those Jersey boys had tracked me down to Dallas.  Whether my phone call had blown my cover or not, I don’t know for sure.  It didn’t matter.  My course of action was clear.  I needed to pack up and leave town before I found myself on the wrong end of some of the Quickcrete I used to dump on old ladies’ lawns.


But something held me back.  And it wasn’t just the knowledge that they’d probably find me eventually, no matter how far I ran.  And it wasn’t just the realization that if I left, I would never see Margie and Lisa again.


It was the idea, or the beginning of the idea.  Maybe I had developed a conscience.  Maybe I wanted to make up for all those years I’d spent taking advantage of people.  Or maybe, just maybe, I finally realized why those volunteer firefighters keep risking their lives for people they don’t know: so that maybe someone would do the same for their loved ones in a time of need.


Surprisingly, it only took me about 36 hours to broker the deal.  Legit or not, I was a good salesman, and I simply had to highlight the advantages of my offer.  I’m under 40 years old, in good health, no chronic illness.  I don’t smoke.  I’m physically fit, mentally aware, and I have a slightly uncommon blood type.  In all respects, I am a highly desirable organ donor.  There’s nothing wrong with me at all, except for the sudden development of a conscience…and that wouldn’t present any kind of a problem to them.


I’ve been promised that Margie should get the phone call within 72 hours.  “We’ve located a heart, bring Lisa in so we can prepare her for surgery.”  And I’m hopeful the letter I mailed her this morning will let Margie down easy.  “Not really ready for a commitment, things are moving too fast, I need to tend to pressing matters back in Jersey.”  That kind of thing.


That’s the doorbell.  Time to go.  In the end, I think both sides of this deal walk away happy.  A little girl gets the heart she needs; in exchange, the black market gets mine.  And they get my kidneys, liver, corneas, and anything else they can use.  They’re welcome to it all.  I never seemed to make use of them in any way that mattered.


But now, perhaps my life will have meant something after all.




Hypothetical of the Month


Last month, we gave you these hypothetical questions or situations: #1 – On the street you meet a couple who have recently arrived from South America and want to remain in the country illegally.  They are destitute.  Do you help them?  #2 – A fellow nurse and close friend is neglecting her work and endangering the patients.  Do you speak to a supervisor, knowing it may jeopardize your friend’s career?


Heather Taylor - #1 –No, I do not help them to remain in the country illegally since I do not want to get put in jail.  I  would maybe try and help them find information on how to remain in the country legally or get temporary asylum (or whatever it is called) or direct them to someplace or person that could help.


#2 - If people would die as a result of her neglecting her work then the answer is yes, I would speak to her supervisor. If not then it depends on what she is neglecting and how.


#3 – Leave it on the fence for the rightful owner to claim or someone else that doesn’t have a conscience-if I really really had to have it then I would tell my significant other that since they guilted me into leaving it (which obviously they didn’t-I did it to myself) they have to find and buy me one just like it!


Andy York - #1 - If I knew where to direct them for help (church, etc.), I would.


#2 - I'd talk with her first, possibly recommending to take some time off or ask for a temporary reassignment to other duties; but, ultimately the safety of the patients is paramount.


Melinda Holley - #1 - No.  But I do all I can to steer them to sympathetic people who will help them remain in this country legally.


#2 - Duh...yep!  One of those neglected patients may someday be a family member or someone else I care about.


Heath Gardner - #1 - Absolutely, I help them however I can. Scientifically, I'm an agnostic, but ethically, I consider myself a Christian. (Doesn't always mix well with Dip, but since I don't believe in eternal hellfire, I figure I can get away with lying and cheating my way to glory in board games.) I always try to help people who are in need, often by offering yard work or odd jobs for a reasonable hourly wage, volunteering in various capacities, etc. Of course, there are limits to what I can do. I don't care about the border issues. These people are in our country and we should treat them with compassion.


#2 - Here's one where I say "of course I'd tell on the friend to save lives," but frankly, it would be really, really hard to do. Knowing my friend would probably have their career destroyed would weigh heavily on my mind. Ultimately, I think I would go to a higher-up. But that's one of those situations where you feel damned if you do, damned if you don't.


Marc Ellinger - #1 - This depends upon what the people from SAmerica are doing.   If they are productive persons (educated, skilled OR want to start a new business) then I would help them.   We need immigrants that want to go to work and make our nation a better, stronger place.    However, if they are just looking for a handout and want to get on the dole, then INS should be called and send them home.


#2 - I would report the person.   Patient safety is a life or death issue and nobody’s career is more important than the life of a person.


Jack McHugh - #1 - I know them very well--I'd have to know more about their situation--why they are here and what kind of help do they need. I really don't have the resources to help someone open ended like that.


#2 –I’d probably go to her coworkers to find out if she really was endangering patients and to get their take on it as her peers.


Tom Howell - #1 - probably not.  But probably not turn them in, either.


#2 - Talk to her first, but if she doesn't turn around quickly, yes!


Andy Lischett - #1 - No. If they are destitute, like starving, I may buy thm a meal at McDonald's. Then, since I wouldn't know where else to send them for assistance, I'd direct them to the nearest police station. The police may or may not call immigration.


#2 - Yes, assuming I've already talked to the friend and it's made no difference.


Don Williams - #1 - Yes, I do if they’re desperate.  Legal status notwithstanding, they need and deserve humanitarian aid.  That said, I don’t give them a job and might report their status to “la Migra”.


#2 - Yes, I report her.  This assumes I’ve confronted her first on a previous occasion as that isn’t an option listed here.  She’s my friend, which mean if she harms or kills someone, my friend is going to be in much worse trouble than just a career setback.  If she implicates me it could also be personally damaging.  But that all misses the point – reporting her is the right thing to do.


Phil Murphy - #1 - Yes I would. I would not help them stay illegally because I do believe that the practice makes it harder for other people to legally immigrate to the US -  and I'd encourage them to legalize their status through one of the various programs on offer. I would, however, assist them with finding shelter and financial help while they were in the country. A person's status shouldn't matter if the people in question are genuinely in need. Part of that is that I could be in that situation someday, whether I wanted to or not.


#2 – Friendship is one thing - but if lives are endangered then I have to put their interests above those of my friend. It would be unethical and wrong for me not to speak to the supervisor outlining my concerns.


For Next Month (For the time being, I am usually 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 agree to buy a friend’s piano.  Later, you discover that the agreed price is too high.  Considering that your friend has told other buyers that it is sold, do you try to renegotiate?  #2 – You own a struggling seafood restaurant.  A small supplier contracts with you to provide you with shrimp cheaply, at a set price for the next 6 months.  The cost of shrimp increases significantly.  Do you insist on your price even if it means potentially putting him out of business?



The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


Hitchcock – I’m a fan of a number of Alfred Hitchcock’s films.  A few I really LOVE, some I think are good, and some I can take or leave.  Despite being a film love, I haven’t really learned enough about his early career to develop a true appreciation for how he changed and influenced the movie business.


There are some allusions to that in Hitchcock, but that’s not at all what the film is about.  In this movie, Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) has decided that his next movie project after North by Northwest will be an adaptation of Robert Bloch’s “Psycho.”  The movie studio does not want to back this project, but Hitch (as his wife Alma Reville played by Helen Mirren calls him) is convinced this is the film he needs to make.  So with her slightly-reluctant backing, Hitchcock decides to finance the film himself, mortgaging his house and putting their livelihood at stake.


Hitchcock does a very good job of exploring the struggles Hitch went through to make the film that everybody told him he shouldn’t (or couldn’t).  Without the smart script, enveloping scenery and tight performances it would be hard to transport you back to a day when horror movies were frowned on as nothing but trash, and where no film had ever shown a toilet on screen. 


As s subplot we have the strain both the film and the years of Alma standing in the shadows take on their marriage.  There is also some keen insight into what makes Hitchcock tick, what motivated him, what haunted him.  As with most Hollywood types, insecurity is a major force in Hitch’s psyche.


I won’t say this is a GREAT film.  Watching the screen I often saw Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and Toni Collette instead of Alfred Hitchcock, his wife, and his assistant.  But that wasn’t enough to really tarnish the experience.  Hopkins did not overplay the role, or turn Hitchcock into a satire of himself, and that’s what makes the rest work.  It may not be a great film, but it is a very good one, well worth seeing…especially if you love or appreciate the history of film.


Seen on DVD – The Double Hour (B, the plot twists were well done and not over-the-top, the questions of reality were understated, and the dialogue was exceptional). Underworld: Awakenings (C-, I will never get tired of watching Kate Breckinridge running around in black leather, but these just get sillier every time).  They Live (B, always good fun…silly, but with that creepy feeling that what if it was true?)


Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column


Jim Burgess: By the way, I got top score on By Popular Demand sending orders from my phone sitting at a gas station with almost no thought at all..... when I remembered I had forgotten to send them.


[[I am guessing this shows you overthink things.]]


Brendan Whyte: That photo of the Cowboys footballers in your zine. I hope that was them coming onto the field. Because if they are coming off, they weren't trying very hard... there's not a single grass stain or sweat mark on them. Pussies!


[[It is either at halftime or after a game…and they lost the game in question either way.]]


Per Westling: In '88 or  '89 I travelled to my first game convention in Denmark, VikingCon in Copenhagen. One of the games there was "Midnight Hotel". Interesting, I thought, and joined up for this midnight game session. It turned out to be a tournament in Acquire!  So that was my introduction to this game.  A couple of years later I ordered some games from Avalon Hill and of course Acquire was one of them.


I usually bring this copy when I go to game conventions (which has been very infrequent during since year 2000) but few know this game.


[[I was introduced to the game in the 70’s and always liked it.  That was when I learned The Stock Market Game, Twixt, Feudal, and a few others I have always loved.]]


Sounded like a nice Thanksgiving celebrating. Heather is sure lucky to have you.




Here we do not celebrate Thanksgiving. Actually we do luck any good "party holidays" between mid-summer and Yule. Halloween has never managed to establish itself except maybe among the children; All Hallows Eve has too solid grip, and that is definitely no "party" weekend. So, there really should be something to light up in the darkness.


Marc Ellinger in Hyphotetical of the Month wrote about saving ozone layer / stopping global warming: "As for Buenos Aires, when the Chinese start cutting back on the ozone emissions, we can discuss the piddling of pollution of the car." This attitude is part of the problem we are facing. "I wont do anything before they do anything." I would say as Gandhi says "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". The Chinese has more than 3 times the population as USA so you should not compare the total pollution that China emits to the one USA emits. In the ongoing climate change discussions in Doha I get the impressions that USA (and Canada) refuse to implement any restrictions. The presidental election also illuminated that this issue is not of any importance in the US. So, no wonder people are getting pesimistic.


I see that Flap Jack seems to be a diehard republican. At least he thinks that George Bush is going to hell, that might be something is one believes in hell ;-)


[[I think he is more middle of the road than his subzine shows…he just likes to piss people off.]]


The Twisting Tale

This is a rotating story, with a different author every issue, and a chapter of 500 words.  If you’d like to participate, please email me and let me know, and I’ll let you know when your turn comes up.  We need more particpants!  Email me at if you’d like to participate!


Chapter 17 – by Don Williams


            “It’s about to get complicated,” he said to Mel.  “Very complicated.”

            “Damn it, Steven!  When are you going to stop running and start doing something?  You’ve been running since San Diego and all you’ve done so far is lose the Healey and get deeper into something you’re not even part of.  I’m amazed you’re still free.”

            “And not dead.  Yet.  I consider that a major accomplishment at this point.”

            “Have you given any more thought about turning yourself in?  Woode was pretty bloody and the forensics … “

            “Too late.  The redhead is serious business.  I can tell.  Dangerous.  You know what they say about redheads being either funny or dangerous?  She’s not funny.  She says Joe has eyes and ears everywhere.  And Ed’s due up from New Mexico tomorrow, whoever he really is.  They’re watching me, Mel.  I think I have to go through with it.  I have no choice.  I don’t want to, but …”

            “What is it, Steve?  What does she want from you?  From us?”

            “You don’t want to know.  I don’t want you to know.  I shouldn’t even be talking to you.  Joe’s going to miss his phone by now.”

            “It’s time to call Frank, Steven.  He’ll know how to help.  Would call him, please?  For me?”

            “Yeah, alright.  Look, I got to go.  I love you, Mel”

            “Don’t say that.”

            “Yeah, sorry.  You know what I mean.  I’ll call him.  I’ll call him now.  Bye.”  He buttoned the phone off, then thumbed in a number he’d not called in years.



            “Frank?  Frank, that you?  It’s Steve.  I told Mel I’d call you.”

            “How’s Mel these days, Steven?  She left a message a few days ago.  Haven’t called her back yet.”

            “She’s fine.  Fine.  Look, Frank, I’m sorry to call.  I know it’s been a while but I have a problem.  Things have been crazy with me for a week or so now, and they’re getting crazier.  I need some help.  Some advice.  I’m into something deep and I don’t even know what it is.”

            “Go ahead.”

            “I’m being watched.  I’m in Seattle, not San Diego, and I’ve got dangerous people telling me I got to do something I don’t want to do.”

            “And?” said Frank, slipping into a jacket as he held the phone to his ear.  Steven sounded scared.  “What are you supposed to do, Steve?”

            “I’d rather not say over the phone, Frank, you know?  Not my cell and I’d rather not let them know I’m talking.  Can you come up here, up to Seattle?”  There was silence on the phone, then -

            “Sure, Steven.  Be there tomorrow.  You sit tight.  Call me tomorrow night and we’ll  

hook up then.”

            “God, Frank, that’s the best news I’ve had since this started.  Thanks.  See you then,” he said as he ended the call.

            Frank smiled as he punched a number into his cell from memory.  The answering phone rang once, twice.  A female voice answered before the third ring.

            “LeSeuer.  Homicide.  Who’s calling?”

            “Hello, Baby.  It’s Bob.  You asked me to call if I heard anything from your boy.”

            “Hello, Bob, thanks.”  Over the phone he heard her shout to someone named Axel.  She returned to him.  “Where is he, Bob?”

            “Well,” said the man with two names, “It’s about to get complicated.”


Next up – Chapter 18 by Paraic Reddington



A game of survival, bad breath, and fish odor…


This is the simple game of Lifeboat.  Everyone plays this, whether you participate or not.  Each turn everyone still alive in the lifeboat may make a single vote to throw someone off the lifeboat, or a single vote to remove one vote from yourself (a defensive measure).  The high vote getter is thrown overboard, as well as any player getting 2 or more net votes (due to the damage caused when Sanka was tossed overboard).  In a tie, everyone with that score is thrown over.  Last one in the boat wins.  I’ll probably give a prize, as usual.  Press is encouraged.  Note that the votes themselves are NOT revealed.  I just simply announce who is thrown overboard.  If you’re not listed as in the lifeboat right now but want to be, email me and I will add you next issue.  If you are listed and don’t’ want to be…well, too bad.  There is no suicide in this game; you just can ignore it if you want to. 


Currently in the lifeboat:


Allison Kent

Amber Smith

Brendan Whyte

Carol Kay

David Burgess

David Latimer

Geoff Kemp

Heather Taylor

Hugh Polley

John Biehl

Marc Ellinger

Martin Burgdorf

Michael Moulton

Paul Milewski



The sharks keep circling the lifeboat.   Nerves are getting frayed.   Burgdorf spouts off to Burgess, ugly words are exchanged, punches are thrown.   As everyone tries to keep themselves in the bobbing boat, David McCrumb puts himself between Burgdorf and Burgess, “Guys we have to calm down or we’ll all go overboard!!” he yells.   Martin tells him to shut up, David tells him to butt out.   David refuses to shut up (typical Allison mutters under her breath).   Martin and David, grab David and throw him overboard saying “that’ll serve you for interfering in our friendly disagreement.”   The Sharks swarm and all that remains are crumbs…David McCrumbs!


In the meantime, Lance Anderson simply falls asleep and falls overboard.  Crunch!


Thrown Into the Shark Infested Waters: Douglas Kent, Jack McHugh, Chris Babcock, Paraic Reddington, Sanka the Cat (safely made it to land), Andy York, Toby the Helpful Kitty (safely made it to land), Phil Murphy, Fred Wiedemeyer, Don Williams, Kayza the Dog (safely made it to land), Michael Quirk, Dane Maslen, Larry Cronin, Chuy Cronin, Richard Weiss. Tom Howell, Jeremie Lefrancois, Harley Jordan, Cal White, Andy Lischett, Rick Desper, William Wood, Jim Burgess, Hank Alme, Kevin Tighe, Per Westling, Kevin Wilson, Jeff O’Donnell, Graham Wilson, Melinda Holley, Michael Cronin, Pat Vogelsang, Robin ap Cynan, Lance Anderson, David McCrumb, and Tom Swider.




Anonymous: mum always told


Shark to boaters:  A fifth of anyone isn't enough!  Throw some more in!


Hungry Shark to Boaters:  And put some Whyte sauce in with the rest.


BOOB CONTINUES TO TREAD WATER WHERE OTHERS FEAR TO GO: I hope you got my brother to join me by now, he's a scuba diver, so he can go under.  How about Amber Smith and Michael Moulton, those would be more good deadwood targets.


BOOB to ANONYMOUS: Why should we listen to those of you hiding behind anonymity?  Pshaw, you're toast.


Anonymous: Hey, what's a dangerous name like 'Lance' doing still aboard?  He might easily poke a hole in an inflation chamber.


Anonymous: Getting close to the British Isles? Warm Beer? We better start paddling back if we want a cold one.


Deadline for your vote and any press is January 29th at 7:00am my time




MP900406784[1]Eternal Sunshine Index – ESI

A Scientific Measure of Zine Health

Current Index: 57.00 +0.85%





The Eternal Sunshine Index is a stock-market-like index of the zine. You don’t do anything in this game, except write press or commentary on price movements (or why you think your stock should have gone up or down).  I move the prices beginning with next issue based on my own private formula of quantity and quality zine participation (NMR’s, press, columns, etc.).  Any new zine participants become new issues valued at at 50, but the stock for anyone who disappears will remain listed.  The average of all listed stocks will result in the ESI closing value each month, which will be charted issue to issue after we have a few months’ worth of data.  If you don’t like the stock symbol I have assigned you, you may petition the exchange to change it.  Blame Phil Murphy for suggesting this section to me.


Market Commentary: Some NMRs and a new issue juggle the index a bit, but overall the trend remains surprisingly higher.  We all know it won’t last, but who will get the blame when the index plummets?




% +/-

AJK - Allison Kent



ALM - Hank Alme



AMB - Amber Smith



AND - Lance Anderson



BAB - Chris Babcock



BIE - John Biehl



BRG - Martin Burgdorf



BWD - Brad Wilson



CAK - Andy Lischett



CAL - Cal White



CHC - Chuy Cronin



CIA - Tom Swider



CKW - Kevin Wilson



CKY - Carol Kay



DAN - Dane Maslen



DBG - David Burgess



DGR - David Grabar



DTC - Brendan Whyte



DUK - Don Williams



FRD - Fred Wiedemeyer



FRG - Jeremie Lefrancois



FRT - Mark Firth



GAR - Heath Gardner



GRA - Graham Wilson



HAP - Hugh Polley



HDT - Heather Taylor



HLJ - Harley Jordan



JOD - Jeff O'Donnell



KMP - Geoff Kemp



KVT - Kevin Tighe



LAT - David Latimer



LCR - Larry Cronin



MRK - Mark Nelson



MCC - David McCrumb



MCR - Michael Cronin



MIM - Michael Moulton



MRC - Marc Ellinger



OTS - Tom Howell



PER - Per Westling



PJM - Phil Murphy



QUI - Michael Quirk



RAC - Robin ap Cynan



RDP - Rick Desper



REB - Melinda Holley



RED - Paraic Reddington



RWE - Richard Weiss



SAK - Jack McHugh



TAP - Jim Burgess



VOG - Pat Vogelsang



WAY - W. Andrew York



WLK - Richard Walkerdine



WWW - William Wood



YLP - Paul Milewski








Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?


Rules in ES #58.  Send in your guesses.  I’ve played this in Brandon Whyte’s Damn the Consequences a few times and it’s fun, takes only a minute or two each turn, and helps you work your brain!  As soon as this one ends, a new one will begin.




Kevin Wilson:


Mitt Romney in Washington DC


Jim Burgess:


Che Guevara in Vallegrande Bolivia


Dane Maslen:


Archimedes in Tripoli, Libya


Paraic Reddington:


Charlie Chaplin in Rochester NY


Brendan Whyte:


Erasmus in Anchorage


Richard Weiss:


George Washington Carver in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Tom Howell:


Pontias Pilate in Jerusalem


Rick Desper:


Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri


John Biehl:


Ramesses II in Istanbul


Andy Lischett:


Cheech Marin in Chillicothe, Ohio


Per Westling:


Winston Churchill in Buenos Aires


Robin ap Cynan:


Conrad von Metzke in San Diego


Marc Ellinger:


Barack Obama in Chicago


Mark Firth:


Mamie Eisenhower in Bogota


Hint to Player with Closest Geographic Guess: “You died before I was born”




Richard Weiss:


Steven Jobs in Nairobi


Brendan Whyte:


Mark Twain in Bethlehem (Palestine)


Dane Maslen:


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Lhasa, Tibet


Heath Gardner:


Oliver Cromwell in Iowa City


Marc Ellinger:


King Midas in Damascus


Rick Desper:


William S Burroughs in Mexico City, Mexico


Jim Burgess:


George Washington in Heraklion, Crete


Tom Howell:


Machiavelli in Timbuktu


Andy Lischett:


Cheech Martin in Lima, Peru


Paraic Reddington:


Bob Hope in Chicago


Kevin Wilson:


Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" nee Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge in Santiago Chile


John Biehl:


Napoleon Bonaparte in Valletta (Malta)


Mark Firth:


Rod Steiger in Waterloo


Phil Murphy:


Kim Philby in Dublin, Ireland


Hint to Player with Closest Geographic Guess: “Aside from our chromosomes we have absolutely nothing in common; not place, not time, not profession, probably not even favorite food.”



Deadline for Round 3 is January 29th at 7:00am my time








MCj03243400000[1]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 #50




My job is going pretty well, even though I didn’t get a logon for two weeks or more.  I had to shave my beard, and get new dress shirts (apparently my old ones weren’t dressy enough).  My supervisors are decent too, which is a great change for me.  But I won’t let this affect my attitude, and it won’t make me hate any of you less.  You still suck.


Here it is, my 50th issue…do I get any congratulations or presents or ANYTHING?  Nope.  Eat me.



A union captain walks into a bar next door to the factory and is about to order a drink to celebrate Obama's victory when he sees a guy close by wearing a Romney for President button and two beers in front of him. He doesn't have to be an Einstein to know that this guy is a Republican. So, he shouts over to the bartender so loudly that everyone can hear, "Drinks for everyone in here, bartender, but not for the Republican."

Soon after the drinks have been handed out, the Republican gives him a big smile, waves at him, then says, "Thank you!" in an equally loud voice. This infuriates the union captain.

The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"
The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"
The union captain asks the bartender, "What the hell is the matter with that Republican? I've ordered three rounds of drinks for everyone in the bar but him, and all the silly ass does is smile and thanks me. Is he nuts?"
"Nope," replies the bartender. "He owns the place."
The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"

The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"

The union captain asks the bartender, "What the hell is the matter with that Republican? I've ordered three rounds of drinks for everyone in the bar but him, and all the silly ass does is smile and thanks me. Is he nuts?"

"Nope," replies the bartender. "He owns the place."

The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"

The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"

The union captain asks the bartender, "What the hell is the matter with that Republican? I've ordered three rounds of drinks for everyone in the bar but him, and all the silly ass does is smile and thanks me. Is he nuts?"

"Nope," replies the bartender. "He owns the place."The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"

The union captain once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Republican. As before, this does not seem to bother the Republican. He continues to smile, and again yells, "Thank you!"

The union captain asks the bartender, "What the hell is the matter with that Republican? I've ordered three rounds of drinks for everyone in the bar but him, and all the silly ass does is smile and thanks me. Is he nuts?"

"Nope," replies the bartender. "He owns the place."





Excerpts from “The Founders on the Founders”

by Paul Milewski


Page references given are from the book edited by John P. Kaminski ©2008, ISBN 978-0-8139-2757-2.

[Page 62] John Adams to Abigail Adams concerning Samuel Adams (September 16, 1774): When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing made a Motion, that it should be opened with a Prayer.  It was opposed by Mr. Jay of N. York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, because we were so divided in religious Sentiments, some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterian and some Congregationalists, so that We could not join in the same Act of Worship.  Mr. S[amuel] Adams arose and said he was no Bigot, and could hear a prayer from a Gentleman of Piety and Virtue, who was at the same Time a Friend to his Country.  He was a Stranger in Philadelphia, but had heard that Mr. Duche (Dushay they pronounce it) deserved that Character, therefore he moved that Mr. Duchè, an Episcopal Clergyman, might be desired to read Prayers to the Congress.

[Page 303] Alexander Hamilton to John Jay concerning Thomas Jefferson (May 7, 1800): [Hamilton was asking Governor John Jay to call a special session of the New York legislature to change the procedure for electing presidential electors that would eliminate the winner-take-all method in exchange for a district system.  Such a change would have reelected John Adams president.]  In observing this, I shall not be supposed to mean that any thing ought to be done which integrity will forbid—but merely that the scruples of delicacy and propriety, as relative to a common course of things, ought to yield to the extraordinary nature of the crisis.  They ought not to hinder the taking of a legal and constitutional step, to prevent an Atheist in Religion and a Fanatic in politics from getting possession of the helm of the State.

[Page 147] John Adams, Autobiography (May 10, 1779) on Benjamin Franklin:

[Rev. Hezekiah Ford told me] He has very moderate Abilities.  He knows nothing of Philosophy, but his few Experiments in Electricity; He is an Atheist, he don’t believe any future State; Yet he is terribly afraid of dying.

[Page 455] Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, Part I (1794):

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

[Page 453] Elkanah Watson, Memoirs (1781) concerning Thomas Paine:

On his arrival being announced, the Mayor, and some of the most distinguished citizens of Nantes, called upon him to render their homage of respect.  I often officiated as interpreter, although humbled and mortified at his filthy appearance, and awkward and unseemly dress…  He was soon rid of his respectable visitors, who left the room with marks of astonishment and disgust.  I took the liberty, on his asking for the loan of a clean shirt, of speaking to him frankly of his dirty appearance and his brimstone odor, and prevailed upon him to stew for an hour in a hot bath.  This, however, was not done without much entreaty, and I did not succeed, until receiving a file of English newspapers, I promised, after he was in the bath, he should have the reading of them, and not before.  He at once consented, and accompanied me to the bath, where I instructed the keeper in French (which Paine did not understand) to gradually increase the heat of the water, until “le Monsier etait bien bouilli.”  He became so much absorbed in reading that he was nearly par-boiled before leaving the bath, much to his improvement and my satisfaction.

[Page 457] Manasseh Cutler to Joseph Torrey (January 3, 1803) concerning Thomas Paine: He lies at Lovell’s hotel [in Washington, D.C.], who has many lodgers.  The members who are there are not willing to acknowledge they have any society with him.  He dines at the public table, and as a show, is as profitable to Lovell as an Ourang Outang, for many strangers who come to the city feel a curiosity to see the creature.  They go to Lovell’s and call for the show—even some members of Congress have done it.   I have not yet seen him, nor shall I go out of my way for the sight.

[Page 458] John Adams to Benjamin Waterhouse (October 29, 1809) concerning Thomas Paine: I am willing you call this the Age of Frivolity…and would not object if you had named it the Age of Folly, Vice, Frenzy, Brutality, Daemons, Buonaparte, Tom Paine, or the Burning Brand from the Bottomless Pit, or anything but the Age of Reason.  I know not whether any man in the world had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine.  There can be no severer Satyr on the Age.  For such a Mongrel between Pigg and Puyppy, begotten by a wild Boar on a Bitch Wolf, never before in any Age of the World has suffered by the Poltroonery of Mankind, to run through such a Career of Mischief.  Call it then the Age of Paine.

[Page 411] Aaron Burr to Joseph Alston (November 15, 1815) concerning the expected nomination of James Monroe for President of the U.S.:

Independently of the Manner & of the location of the Candidate, the Man himself is one of the most improper & incompetent that could have been selected—Naturally dull & stupid—extremely illiterate—indecisive to a degree that would be incredible to one who did not know him—pusillanimous & of course hypocritical—has no opinion on any subject & will be always under the Government of the worst Men—pretends as I am told, to some Knowledge of Military Matters, but never commanded a platoon nor was ever fit to command one—“He se3rved in the revolutionary War”—that is, he acted a short time as aide de camp to Lord Stirling who was regularly drunk from Morning to Morning—Monroe’s whole duty was to fill his Lordship’s Tankard and hear with indications of admiration his Lordship’s long stories about himself—Such is Monroe’s Military experience.  I was with my regiment in the same division at the time—As a Lawyer, Monroe was far below Mediocrity—He never rose to the Honor o trying a Cause of the3 Value of an hundred pounds;  This is a character exactly suited to the Views of the Virginia Junto—


ZERO SUM, Subzine to Eternal Sunshine, Issue 9  December 16, 2012



Everyone was free to join Kim Philby but not any longer.  Time is up.  Sufffffer. 


Yoshira of Frankenstorm Variant Yahtzee is also closed now.  No one entered.  Guess it wasn’t as much fun as boring basic math. 


Rules for regular Yahtzee published in Eternal Sunshine #65.  Scoring and play modified from Milton Bradley’s Yahtzee Game copyrighted 1982.  Hasbro lists the official rules at:


GM Musings:  As an atheist, I don’t celebrate the supernatural part of Xmas.  As a haole, I don’t celebrate Kwanza.  As anti-Semitic, I don’t celebrate Hannakah.  As a not so big fan of Dickens, I don’t bah-humbug it either.  Tis a great reason to go to the mall and see so many people smiling and dashing about, hopefully hearing carolers.  Tis a great reason to call gifts those things I want to give to people anyway, or in the case of my kids, probably did already despite not wanting to, so called it a future present.  I am considering buying some candy cane posts to line our front walkway with.  I hope I don’t have to save the tree from falling over, if GF buys one.  Once in a while I go to some church for midnight services Xmas eve to sing songs and think of my Mother – that was her favorite event of the year. 


I have a 40+ hour a week, year-long consulting agreement now, being a Project Director for the State of California Worker’s Compensation Reform effort to make medical necessity decisions similar to other parts of health care, with independent, on record not in-office, expert decisions that are binding on all parties.  With 90 days from date a worker is told a procedure the worker’s doctor wanted to do is not medically necessary by the insurance company.  90 days instead of the 1-2 years now and sans the litigation.  Steady work, ah.  And only 4 miles from my house.  Super cool. 


I am a lapsed Cowboys (NFL) fan and shocked to see that such a scraggly team can be a division champion if they win the last game of the year.  And then the wild and unpredictable playoffs come along.   Hmmm, I may watch some football before the League Championship games this year.


Game Offerings:  NCAA Football Bowl Pool (special due date and time).  See below.


Potential Game Offerings:  None.  However, if someone reminded me of the rules, and there was INTEREST), I’d consider running Snowball Fighting.  If there was interest in a game of Nuclear Evil Yuppie Diplomacy (Professor Burgess may have to send the real name), I’d consider that also.  Both are pure fun.


Orders Due:  48 hours before Doug’s deadline.

Need to include:           


Round 4 Roll 2 (Round 4:2)  I know what dice you kept.  Below are the dice for Roll 3 of Round 4.  Let me know what dice you want to keep and how to score them.


Round 5 Roll 2 (Round 5:2)  I know what dice you kept.  Below are the dice for Roll 3 of Round 5.  Let me know what dice you want to keep and how to score them.


Round 6.2: I posted the dice for Roll 2.  Let me know which of those you wish to keep.


Round 7.1:  The five dice for Roll 1 of Round 7 are below.


Deadline remains two days before Doug’s Eternal Sunshine deadline.  Kevin has notified me he’s gone and may be without internet.  He did provide Round 6:1 orders. If he does not meet the deadline, I will delay reporting.


Yahtzee Game:  Kim Philby



Round 4, Roll 2:          1,1,3

Players:                        Kept

Doug Kent                    1,2,3,4   

Kevin Wilson                1,1,1

Geoff Kemp                  1,1,2,3     

Dane Maslen                1,2,3,4    


Round 5, Roll 2:          6,2,2

Players:                        Kept

Doug Kent                    4,5,6,6

Kevin Wilson                6,6,6,2,2 (has stated he will score as a full house)

Geoff Kemp                  6,6,6

Dane Maslen                6,6,6


Round 6, Roll 1:          2,2,2,5,6

Players:                        Kept

Doug Kent                    2,2,2

Kevin Wilson                2,2,2

Geoff Kemp                  2,2,2

Dane Maslen                2,2,2


Round 7, Roll 1            Held until next month



Doug Kent

Kevin Wilson

Geoff Kemp

Dane Maslen

Ace  = 1





Twos = 2





Threes = 3




Fours = 4





Fives = 5

 15 (Rd3)

 15 (Rd3)



Sixes = 6










Bonus +35 if >63





Total Upper










3 of a Kind



24 (Rd3)


4 of a Kind





Full House = 25


 25 (Rd4)


25 (Rd3)

Sm Straight = 30





Lg Straight = 40















Yahtzee Bonus





Total Lower












Zero Sum is proud to announce the next in an annual tradition of NCAAFB Bowl Contests.  Below are ten bowl games – the ones I think are better teams and more likely to be known and won.  I almost left out the Rose Bowl, because no 8-5 team should be in one of the BCS bowls, how-some-ever, The Cardinal is one of the teams I root for in college football. Your job is to pick the most winners and stay within the allotted total positive point spread.  


The table below lists the ten games, starting on New Year’s Eve and going through the next Monday night.  Ugh.  What happened to all in one night and the next day pig-out?  Each row lists the day, date, Bowl name, Visitor, Home team and then the line on the game from the USA Today paper of Tuesday 12/4/12, which I picked up on an empty airport waiting room seat.  Then comes a space for your pick – if you choose to use the table.  The last column is for the +/- of your team.  You cannot have a + score total greater than 19.5 when finished.  If you picked all the favorites, you’d have a +74. 


So, can’t pick all the favorites.


Example:  I pick LSU (+3.5), South Carolina (+5), Georgia (+8.5), Stanford (+6), the Northern Illinois Huskies (-13.5), Florida (+14.5), Kansas State (-8), Oklahoma (-4), Kent State (-2), and Alabama (+9).  My total plus is 44.5.   My total minus is 27.5.  That leaves my total plus at 17.


My GF also gave me her picks and will be a contestant.  I’m neither looking at them nor publishing them.


Winner gets eternal bragging rights.


Send me your picks before my 8 AM, Monday, New Year’s Eve Day, the 31st of December 2012.


My childhood college football favorites were Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, and Norwich.  Norwich University was in my home town and played the likes of Coast Guard, Colby, RPI, and Bates.  They have since gone on to be a power house in college hockey, at their level.  I stopped rooting for Notre Dame when I fired my least favorite employee of all time, as she and her husband were huge Irish fans. 


I attended college at Tulane – nicknamed the Green Wave - our arch enemy was LSU.  Later I moved to North Carolina, but still favored the same teams.  When I moved to San Francisco, it became easy to like The Cardinal.  My daughter graduated from Berkeley, so I have a soft spot for them also.  Basically Alabama, LSU, and Stanford are the teams I root for in football.  Add UNC, Vermont, UNC-Wilmington, Oregon, and Southern Alabama in basketball (all schools I attended) and you have my basketball favorites.


College Football Factoids:  I’ve seen the Golden Dome.  I sold beer at both the Sugar Bowl/Tulane Stadium and the Super Dome.  I’ve been to a Sugar Bowl (big Nebraska upset defeat).  The only nicknames I had to look up in the bowl games in the contest were both in the same game – the Golden Flashes versus the Red Wolves. I snuck into a Super Bowl free, sitting a couple of rows in front of Howard Cosell, but the rest of that story will have to wait for the NFL Playoff Pool, if no one else does one in the zine. 








Your Pick







Tigers +3.5







South Carolina

Gamecocks +5





Capital One



Bulldogs +8.5








The Cardinal +6






Florida State

Northern Illinois

Seminoles +13.5








Gators +14.5






Kansas State


Ducks +8






Texas A&M


Aggies +4






Kent State

Arkansas State

Red Wolves +2





BCS Title

Notre Dame


Crimson Tide +9









Your Total +/-



Greece and Turkey

A Travelogue by Barbara Kent



[[Editor’s note…I’m sadly not sure what each photo was taken of, so photos are inserted rather randomly.]]


Day One:  Landed safely.  The man next to me was very nice for the first half of the trip, but kept on drinking straight vodka from his flask and then directly from the bottle.  He became so drunk and so he became so obnoxious.  Could not sit straight.  Wanted to use my screen.  Could not walk off the plane.  Anyway, I got here.  We went to the Astir Palace.  A beautiful seaside resort outside of Athens and went to sleep.  Then a little before 5, we were taken to the Grande Bretagne--our original hotel.  Very beautiful and elegant.  Elyse and I rushed off to the synagogue for the last 90 minutes or so of Yom Kippur.  The synagogue was half conservative and half orthodox.  Women sit upstairs but bring pocket books and wear sleeveless outfits.  The service was all in Hebrew.  The prayer book is all in Greek and Hebrew.  But I was very glad to be there.   87% of Jewish Greeks were killed by the Nazis and so the remaining Jewish population is quite small.  This is the only synagogue in Athens.  Yet everyone was very joyous.  


P1020379 Today we hired a car and a driver/guide.  He was terrific.  He knew everything.  We went to Corrnth to see ruins; to the Monastery of the Cave--beautiful and built into the side of a mountain; a war memorial to the men that the Nazis killed; and the Cave of the Lakes.  Everything was awesome.  The Nazis went into many towns where the Resistance was active and killed all the males in the town.  So this was a memorial to the men of one particular village.  The cave was beautiful and huge and there were huge stalactites and even a few bats.  The walls of the cave have been carved out by the water and were so unusual.  Then we had lunch at an outdoor cafe and then the driver took us to a train that went through a forest and picked us up an hour later at the end of the train ride.  Very beautiful and certainly not the typical train ride.  We had dinner at a restaurant up high overlooking Athens which is all lit up.  Last night we had dinner on the roof of our hotel with a view of the Acropolis. 


Tomorrow we go to Delfi--famous ruins. 


So far the trip is great. 



Today was another amazing day.


First we stopped at another, larger monument to the men who were killed by the Nazis in a particular town.  Then we went to the War Remembrance museum.  The people opened it up just for us.  It is in the center of a town where the Nazis killed everyone--women, children and men.  It was so sad.  I wrote “To the wonderful Greek people--may you only know peace".  And made a donation.  The museum people made me feel as if I walked on water.  But the sadness was terrible.  I do not know how the people live in the town.  On a percentage basis, the Greeks lost the most people of any nation in WWII.  Then we went to Delfi.  It was wonderful to learn again all the Greek mythology.  And to see the ruins.  But it was very, very hot, especially since we were there around 12-1.  I was glad to go into the museum part and to see the antiquities.  Then lunch and walk through a quaint town.  Then we returned to the hotel just in time for the welcoming reception and dinner.  So now the official tour is on.  We go to the Acropolis tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. to avoid the heat and the crowds.   


Observations, etc.


P10203381.  Our driver is superb.  He is fluent in Greek and English and knows everything about the history and mythology and current situation and where to go and how to get there.  We are so lucky to have him.  He has made this trip so much better.  I am glad we came on the trip early because Tauck is doing very little in and around Athens--mostly on the Greek Islands.  He certainly thinks that the government of Greece is totally corrupt but he has hope for the new Prime Minister.  Also that the public sector workers do not deserve the benefits they get but that the private sector workers work very hard and are the backbone of Greece.


2.  The drunk believes that Goldman Sacks and George Soros got together between 50 and 60 years ago to create Obama so that he could destroy the US and create a kind of religiously fanatic state and this was while he was sober!!!


3.  The coast line is just beautiful.  Athens is a mixture--lots of graffiti but also upscale areas that are absolutely lovely.


4.  The Wednesday demonstration drew about 80,000 people.  Totally peaceful until the end when several hundred anarchists showed up and acted violently. 


5.  Main industries are shipping, tourism and agriculture in that order. 


6.  No gangs.


7.  Decreased manufacturing base.


8.  Country has 12 million people--half are in Athens.  Mostly apartment living in Athens.


9.  Longest coastline in Europe and largest port in Europe. 


10.  The people on the tour are very friendly and seem to be a very nice crowd.



P1020263Before telling you what we did, let me tell you that Germany was supposed to pay to Greece 60 billion dollars at the end of WWII and never did.  So you would think the Germans might be a little less bitchy about Greece's situation now.  And I have to tell you that I love this country.  Stray dogs are given a collar and a tag by the city; they are fed, neutered, vaccinated and bathed.  A city and a country like that have my utmost regard. 


So today we started by leaving the hotel at 7:30 to go to the Acropolis and the Parthenon which is the largest temple at the Acropolis.  We went early to avoid the heat and have lesser crowding.  It was fantastic.  We learned all about the wars with Persia and the wars between the Greek city states.  And of course we learned about Greece in the 500's BC being the birthplace of democracy.   At the Acropolis is a smaller temple to Athena who battled another God for this city.  She offered olive trees which represent peace, health and wealth.  The other God offered control of the seas.  The people chose the olive trees and the city is named for her.  The Parthenon is very large but is not so large as to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  The archeological digs at the Acropolis started in the 1950's and the reconstruction in the 1990's.  It is the largest such project in the world.  But I must say there are ruins everywhere you look.  In about 1943, the Nazis came up to the Acropolis and demanded the Greek flag that flies there.  The guard took down the flag but instead of giving it to the Nazis, he wrapped himself in it and jumped to his death. 


But I must say it is a wonder that I did not kill myself.  The walking is very difficult--uneven slippery marble stones.  Climbing us and down and no railings!!!


(Later in the day, we saw buildings in Athens with the bullet holes from the street fighting that took place in Athens against the Nazis.) 


Then we went on a brief bus tour of Athens and then to the Archeological museum.  After that we met Aki, our guide, and he took us to Zeus's Temple, the Plaka (old city) (where I bought one painting which is being shipped), the Greek and Roman Agoras (commercial centers of olden days) and the Acropolis Museum.  At the museum, there are glass floors over the archeological digs just like in Israel at the Western Wall and Old City. 


At this point, touring ended and Babs and Elyse went to walk around on their own and get a drink and I P1020360returned to the hotel.


Tomorrow we leave Athens for southern Greece and the Greek islands. 






I am emailing you from the island of Mikonos.  It is the party island.  People sun bath during the day and then eat supper and then party (drink) all night at the beach.  It is so physically beautiful.  I would love you to come here. 


Remember that Greece is a small country--not like the US.  Sixty billion dollars would make everything more than OK.  After all, they do not owe that much in total to their lenders.


Anyway, to fill in the last two days.  We left Athens and went to the Corinth Canal again.  Then we went to a several thousand year old Greek theater and medical theater/sanctuary.  People came from all over Greece for medical treatment by the "doctors" and priests.  They made an offering to the extent they could to pay for the treatment.  They bathed, received a special diet and explained their ailment to the priest who returned with the "cure".  They came on foot, on donkey or in a cart if really sick.  The Christians closed down these various medical sanctuaries--I think there were six of them.  Then after lunch we went to this very beautiful seaside town.  It was just beautiful.  After a nap, we had a drink watching the sunset and then dinner in the town. 


The next day (yesterday), we went to Mycenae which dates back to the Bronze Age (1200-1600 BC).  Homer in the 9th Century BC allegedly wrote all about this in the Iliad and Ulysses (or P1020233whatever his other famous book was).   The place is famous for the palace and the tombs of the royals.  Nine such tombs.  Built with pulleys and rope and oxen with marble brought from a nearby quarry.  The biggest stone weighs 150 tons.  They are bee hive tombs because they are built like gigantic bee hives. They used stone and bronze--no iron yet.  When you go in, there are two lionesses hugging.  This outraged the Nazis.  Also a large triangle which is a primitive arch.  Plain people lived nearby in Argos--not in Mycenae which eventually fell apart from internal family feuds and cheating and killing.  Times never change, I guess. 


A really steep climb.  Once again, I am surprised I am alive and in one piece.


Then we boarded our boat last night.  What a beautiful boat. 


And we woke up in Mikonos (see above).



P1020217I am sending this e mail from Rhodes, a beautiful walled city.  But with a very sad past.  Wars and wars and changing rulers and changing religions and then the Nazis came in 1944 and took all 2,500 Jews and sent them to Birkenbau (spelling?). Only 151 survived.  We met the only one who lives on Rhodes currently an 81 year old man whose Americanized name is Sammy.  He told us of his experiences and those of his family at the Jewish synagogue. Only after WW 2 did Rhodes become part of Greece.  There is a memorial to the victims in a square in the old town.


The Colossus, one of the original wonders of the ancient world, was destroyed around 200 BC by an earthquake. Many years later an Egyptian took all the pieces to Egypt and sold them as scrap metal. So nothing is left.  The central palace was destroyed by an earthquake in 1857 and was rebuilt in 1939. Nothing of the palace that exists today is original.  Anyway, it is a beautiful island. 


Yesterday was Santorini.  Also a beautiful island as I texted you already. We saw many Chinese and Vietnamese getting married there.   The island has been hurt badly by numerous volcanoes and then especially by an earthquake in 1956.  The roads are really winding as they go up the mountain. Santori is supposedly the world's most creative place for jewelry design.  I bought a necklace which everyone loves.  The sales lady told me the price and I said OK and she said to me that she could do better and did do better!  Supposedly Atlantis is off the coast of Santorini.  It is the birthplace of Homer.  Jack Nicholson and Angelia Jolie have homes here.  Many many olive trees. Took the cable car down. Still surprised I am alive and in one piece.  


Two facts about Greece:  taxes are not paid on homes until they are complete.  So people build what they can afford and then save more money to build more of the house.  The Greek dictatorship from 1967-74 was backed by US causing a great deal of resentment of US.


Today is my last day in Greece. Kind of sad.  I have really enjoyed this country.  I hope things get better for it soon. 



The tour has a larger than usual Jewısh contıngent, but the Nazı related ıtems come from our tıme wıth Akı, our prıvate Greek guıde whom we used prıor to the start of the Tauck tour.  Rhodes was constantly beıng taken over by other countrıes untıl approximately 1947 when ıt became part of Greece and ıt remaıns part of Greece to thıs day. 

P1020204 Anyway, we arrıved ın Istanbul yesterday (Monday) mornıng and leave on Frıday for Cappadocıa, Turkey and then I come home on Tuesday.  Istanbul ıs a vıbrant metropolıs located mostly both ın Asıa and Europe.  Turkey ıs mostly ın Asıa wıth about 3% ın Europe.  Loads of hıstory (the relationship with the Catholic Church, the Byzantıne Empire, the Ottoman Empıre, the Crımean War, and World War Two) and traffıc jams and mınarets for mosques.  It ıs a very unusual skylıne for me.  But havıng saıd all thıs, I much prefer Greece.  It ıs a warm frıendly natıon wıth a heart despıte all of ıts current fınancıal troubles.  Turks are all busıness.  On the other hand, Turkey has a big government stımulus program goıng on which I think is great.  There are two brıdges across the Bosporus and the government ıs buıldıng two more and an underwater metro.  They are very proud of themselves and they adamantly deny that the country ıs gettıng more Islamıc even whıle theır Prıme Mınıster says that Turkey ıs an Islamıst democracy.  Anyway. ıt ıs much cooler ın Turkey than ıt was ın Greece for which I am thankful


Anyway, what follows ıs a summary of the last few days.  


Fırst we docked ın Bodrum, Turkey.  As I texted you I slept ın that day and took a short prıvate tour later ın the day.  I saw the Mausoleum whıch ıs the second wonder of the ancıent world that we have seen.  There are some of the buıldıng ruıns left.  I heard the calls to prayer and was able to stand outsıde a mosque and hear eıther prayer or a lecture ınsıde.   As I also noted to you earlıer, there are no polıce around ın Greece and there were none ın Bodrum.


The next day we went to Ephesus.   We saw the Temple of Artemus, the lıbrary, the theater, and resıdentıal terrace homes.  The ancıent cıty ıs beıng excavated. Once agaın, I could not belıeve that I survıved the walkıng ın one pıece.  Rocky slıppery stone streets to walk on.  We also saw the toılets whıch the men used.  Women and slaves had to use bushes.  Also the slaves had to warm up the marble before the men sat down.  There was also a brothel.  The cıty exısted from 500 BC to 500AD when the Chrıstıans destroyed ıt because of ıts pagan belıefs.  Then we had lunch and a carpet demonstratıon and I bought a very small Turkısh carpet for the entry foyer.


I also bought a scarf ın the mornıng whıch was the seller's fırst sale of the day.  He rubbed the money on the ground and kıssed ıt.  


The next day was a day at sea and we saıled through the Bosporus wıth Europe on one sıde and Asıa on the other sıde.  Turkey according to some treaty has to allow free passage to shıps goıng through the Bosporus.  On Monday mornıng we landed ın Istanbul and there was tremendous port securıty.  And throughout Istanbul there are polıce everywhere.  And our hotel ıs lıke an armed fort.  You have to go P1020194through a metal detector to enter the hotel.   There are apparently many foreign dıgnıtarıes at thıs hotel ıncludıng a sheık.  We went to Topkapı Palace and saw the crown jewels and then to Sehzade mosque.  Then on our own we went to Suleymaneye Mosque.  We learned that Muslıms pray fıve tımes a day, men can marry up to four tımes, neıther men nor women can kıll, commıt adultery, gamble, drınk, etc.  Only Muslıms go to Heaven.  A Muslım must belıeve ın Allah, Mohammed, angels, devıls and destıny.  The Imam ıs appoınted by the government and told whıch mosque to lead. 


Hıstory:  Byzentınes headquartered ın what was then Constantınople from 300s to 1400s; Ottoman Empıre from 1400s to WW One; Ataturk who was the founder of modern Turkey arrıved around 94 years ago.  The Byzantine Empıre actually started when Rome sent Constantıne east from Rome to establısh a Rome East because the Roman empıre had gotten so large.   So now there ıs the Catholıc church and the Greek Orthodox Church. 


Today we went to Sophıa Church buılt ın 500 AD.  Huge and beautıful.  Bıgger than St. Peters buılt ın 1500s.  Fırst a church, then a mosque and now a museum.  Then to the Cıstern whıch ıs the old water reservoır.  It ıs now a museum and ıs just beautıful and so unusual.  Then on to the Spıce Market whıch consısts of many stores and pushy pushy sellers.  Quıte an experıence. 


Then we had lunch ın Asıa and took a boat down the Bosporus to return to the European sıde.  Then on our own we went to Doma palace.    The Sultan had been to Versaılles and decıded that Topkapı palace was not grand enough.  So thıs palace (the Doma) was buılt.  It ıs so beautıful and ımpressıve. 


Tomorrow we go to the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar whıch has 4200 shops.  The afternoon ıs free and we are goıng to the maın synagogue ın Istanbul.  Thursday mornıng the tour ends and we were goıng to take a ferry to a specıal spa but we have decıded to rest ın the hotel and get a spa here.  Then Frıday we leave Istanbul.


Thıs has been a wonderful trıp.  I am very glad that I took ıt but I am very tıred and can't waıt to get home.  Also I have a cold. 


With regard to Greece, I mısspoke about one thing.  The hıstory of Rhodes wıth the Nazıs was covered by Tauck and not Akı (our prıvate guıde).


So yesterday we went to the Blue Mosque and perhaps saw a mınor rebellıon.  The men pray up front and the women behınd a raılıng.  However, a woman stood at the back of the men’s part ın front of the raılıng and prayed and no one saıd anythıng.  Our guide said she did it because she did not know the proper place to stand.  But I disagree.  At all the mosques all the women knew where to stand.  I think she did it on purpose.  The young women ın Turkey seem to have all taken to the ıdea of wearıng a scarf and long skırts.  It ıs very ınterestıng to see.  What ıt means for the future of Turkey I don't know.  Then we went to the Grand Bazaar--4200 hundred shops.  An amazıng place.  You must bargaın whıch ıs not normally my style.  I got a bracelet for one hundred dollars down from 250.  In the afternoon on our own we went to a Jewısh synagogue whıch ıs located ın what was once a Jewish neıghborhood.  Now ıt ıs ın a lıghtıng dıstrıct much like the Bowery.  The securıty ın Istanbul ıs all over but thıs was amazıngly tıght securıty.  The guard could have been a prıson guard.  We needed our passports and stıll had to argue our way ın.  The taxı drıver had to vouch that he pıcked us up at the Internatıonal Hotel whıch ıs very fancy.  Then we went to the mausoleum for a Sultan.  The tombstones ın the cemetery are huge and all face east.  Very nıce.  Then tea ın the lobby and fınally a fınal dınner for the whole group at a restaurant on the Bosporus whıch was preceded by a ceremony by the Whırlıng Dervıshes.  It ıs a ceremony and not a performance--no clappıng.  They brıng musıc, calligraphy and poetry to Islam and try to end ıgnorance.  They made me dızzy.  They are Sufıs and the fundamentalısts don’t lıke them.  Surprısed aren’t you?


I told you there ıs a major stimulus program goıng on for ınfrastructure.  The unemployment rate ıs 9.9%.  The taxes are ıncome tax of 30-40% and capıtal gaıns tax of 30% and a VAT. There ıs a natıonal ıdentıfıcatıon number to make sure everyone pays taxes.


Istanbul ıs a throbbıng extremely large metropolis.  It is a very dramatıc. Large cıty--16 million people.  You can't belıeve the traffıc.  The skylıne at nıght ıs beautıful--the mosques are lıt up and the brıdge over the Bosporus ıs lıt up ın constantly dıfferent changıng colors.  Very beautıful and very dramatıc and very dıfferent.   Two last thıngs: 1. The Imams--the topıc of theır sermons ıs decıded upon by the government.   2. Death--no caskets.  That's ıt for now.  I am feelıng a tıny bıt better but I have to decıde whether to come home or go on wıth the trıp. 



P1020198So I just want to finish up my trip.  Istanbul is very noisy--between the car horns blowing (people cross everywhere and not just at the corners) and the calls to prayer, it is never quiet.  By the way, on the way to the synagogue, the driver as all other drivers was terrible.  But he was extra terrible.  He went up a wrong way street the wrong way and when a police car came the right way, it did not even stop the taxi.  I just covered my eyes at some points.  At the synagogue, there is a helmet under each seat.  There are so many earthquakes in Istanbul, that the synagogue does this as a precaution. 


The next day, we were going to take a ferry to a fancy spa.  But we decided to stay and do a spa at our very fancy hotel and get some rest.  Then I had my hair done and then I was really feeling awful.  So the hotel arranged to take me to an ENT specialist who prescribed an antibiotic and cough medicine and a decongestant and said I should go to Cappadocia and not go home which is what I have decided to do.  In the evening, the hotel sent up a beautiful plant and then sweets and candy and fruit all because I was sick.  Also, I think because I was polite to them and really thanked them for their help while I get the distinct feeling that some guests here (not from my tour) are very haughty to them. 


The next day we flew on Turkish Airlines to Cappadocia.  I rested the rest of the day and the second day while Babs and Elyse went out.  Elyse fell and hurt but did not break her wrist and hand.  She had to go to the emergency room at a local hospital for X-rays. 


I am much better and we spent two days going all around.  Cappadocia is geographically extraordinary.  It was formed by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and then water washed away the loose dirt and lava.  It is so beautiful.   Everywhere you turn are more breathtaking scenes.  The last day we went through the old cave cities where the Christians hid from the Romans during the third century.  We did not have to crawl, but we had to bend over from the waist down and go through very narrow passageways.  Once again, I am surprised I did not break a bone as some of the walkways were very slippery.    


The hotel we stayed at was very beautiful and very odd.  It was a cave about a thousand years ago.  I have never stayed in a five star cave before, but the room was very stuffy.  I actually wanted to sleep with the room door open, but Babs and Elyse did not so I dropped the subject.  The steps were steep and uneven with no railing.  Elyse says she counted and it was 92 steps from the entrance level to our room level.  The hotel only served breakfast, but on the first night when Elyse and Babs were out for supper, they made me chicken soup and a salad and brought it to me in my room.  The people of Turkey have been so very nice to me.  The society as a whole is harsher than in Greece as shown by the people sleeping in the park and the way that the stray animals are not cared for.  You don't see these problems in Greece (at least not yet).  But on a personal level, they could not have been nicer.


So tonight we fly back to Istanbul.  Tomorrow, Elyse and Babs go to Croatia and I return to the USA.  I can't wait to get home.     



Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press – Permanent Opening in ES): Signed up: Fred Wiedemeyer, Melinda Holley, Heath Gardner, Chris Babcock, Jack McHugh.  Needs two more.

Gunboat Diplomacy (Black Press): Six signed up, needs one more.

Everybody Plays Diplomacy (Black Press): An ongoing everyone-plays variant.  Rules are in ES #47.  Join in at any time!

By Popular Demand: Join at any time.  When this current game ends next issue I think we’ll try By Almost Popular Demand again, where the top choice in every category gets 0.

Eternal Sunshine Movie Photo Quiz: Join anytime.  When this is over the next quiz will either be quotes again, or maybe overly-simple plot descriptions.

Lifeboat: Everybody plays, whether you actually do anything or not. 

Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?: Rules in ES #58.  Join anytime!

Coming Soon?: Youngstown IV, Woolworth II-B, 1898.  If you’re interested in one of these variants, let me know.

Standby List: HELP!  I need standby players! – Current standby list: Richard Weiss, Jim Burgess (Dip only), Hank Alme, Martin Burgdorf, Paul Milewski (Dip only), Brad Wilson, Kevin Tighe (Dip only), Chris Babcock, Don Williams, Marc Ellinger, Heath Gardner, and whoever I beg into it in an emergency.

I’m going to continue to go through my files and seeing what other variants I can offer, until I find one that gets enough interest to fill.  When I offer a variant I’ll give it an issue or two, but if nobody signs up I’ll drop the opening and replace it.  If somebody wants to guest-GM a game of anything, just get in touch.  If you have specific game requests please let me know.



Eternal Sunshine Game Section


Diplomacy “Walkerdine” 2012D, Gamestart!


This will be a standard, Black Press Diplomacy game, with the players and nations listed below. If any player fails to submit orders for Spring 1901 by the deadline, the game will be halted while a replacement is found. Good luck!


Austria (Jeff O’Donnell – unclestaush “of” Has F Tri, A Vie, A Bud.

England (Marc Ellinger - mellinger “of” Has F Lon, A Lvp, F Edi.

France (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” Has F Bre, A Par, A Mar.

Germany (Steve Cooley – tmssteve “of” Has F Kie, A Ber, A Mun.

Italy (Harold Zarr - skip1955 “of” Has A Ven, A Rom, F Nap.

Russia (Hank Alme – almehj “of” Has F StP(sc), A War, A Mos, F Sev.

Turkey (Don Williams – dwilliams “of” Has F Ank, A Con, A Smy.


Deadline for Spring 1901 Will Be January 29th at 7am My Time




Russia – England: (sung to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America”, with apologies)


Let us be allies, we’ll marry our forces together.

I’ve got some strategies here in my head.

So we got a stack of conference maps,

And little pencil stubs,

And walked off to work on a two-way draw….


“England,” I said as you convoyed your army to Norway,

“You didn’t move into the Channel at all.

Instead you moved your fleet from North Sea to Skagerrak!

I thought we were planning a two-way draw?”


Fighting with the Turk; blank looks from the Frenchman.

Italy says he is busy with Tunis and Greece.
I said “Be careful, once France falls you’ll be in his gunsights.”


Soon we were down to four nations and things looked so gloomy.

I knew that soon we would be helpless and lost.

So I pulled aside Austria; he looked down at his map,

And a light bulb lit up above his head….


“England, I’m in,” I said, though I knew I was lying.

“I’m willing to play second fiddle to you.”

Instead I forced my army into Tyrolia.

We’ve all fought to get us a stalemate line.

All fought to build up a stalemate line….






Gamestart harkens, counting down the hours --

Heart-felt urge to be-tray allied powers

Foolishly the senseless abandon their defenses

Helpless to resist the moves we’ll write

As we delight in using our sharp knives …


Stabbing smoothly, we’ll submit our orders -

With no warning armies will cross borders.

Treachery you say?  Hey, it’s just the way we play.

Turn your back away and - oops - there goes your life.

Cause we can’t help but stab you with our knives.


Pledge your trust and surrender to our lying schemes

Lose all thoughts of avoiding all out war!

In the zine you can watch the moves unfold –

They are never the moves that you’ve been told …


First stab’s England’s, he’s moved on the Channel

France got suckered, her defense is scrambled

The Kaiser moved – Oh, Hell! – he’s got DEN and HOL and BEL!

‘Tween Italy and Austria it’s on …

And in the Black fleets bounced from SEV and CON.


Take your trust and just shove it where the sun don’t shine,

Lie each turn with a grin upon your face.

Let your dark side just run amok all game –

Not accepting shame … or guilt … or blame …


We so love it, stabbing one another –

Screaming out loud, “Why, you dirty mother … “

Let the schemes begin, the most treacherous will win

With a solo we will show that might makes right

And eighteen dots is such a heady sight.


Dip is just a game we play for fun

And knives are so much sweeter one on one.


(*Sung to the tune of “The Music of the Night”)


Italy – Turkey: (Sung to the tune of “Dulcinea” from Man of LaMancha)


I have dreamed this so long

Never given the chance to

But hoped for with all of my heart


I will grow, not too strong

I will follow your orders

Like we are two halves of one part


Ducky’s toady, Ducky’s toady

I have always hoped to play as Ducky’s toady

I will gladly cede to any of your wishes

Ducky’s toady, Ducky’s toady


If I build two or three

Do not tremble and worry that my knife is aimed at your head

Watch each turn and you’ll see

Thou art moving my arms and my legs just by pulling your threads


Ducky’s toady, Ducky’s toady

I have dreamed about when I’d be Ducky’s toady

Now I'll gladly die to ensure that you solo

Ducky’s toady, Ducky’s toady…..


Turkey the Red Faced Traitor (To the Tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer):


You know England and Italy and La France and Russia,

Deutschland and our GM and the Swiss and Austria,

But do you recall, the most stabbingest nation of all….


Turkey the Red Faced Traitor has a very fork-ed tongue,

And if you ever heard it, you should drop allies and run;

All of the other countries, used to in good faith talk,

They always trusted Turkey, not to get up and walk;


Then one spring or fall 04, Czar said to the Turk,

“Sultan with your army yellow, won’t you hit Greece fellow;”

Then the Sultan crossed the Black Sea and hit Rumania,

The Russian never saw him coming and fled from Serbia.


Turkey the Red Faced Traitor has a very fork-ed tongue,

And if you ever hear it, you should get out and run;

All of the other countries know never trust a Turk,

Because in this game, the Sultan is truly a jerk!!!


Merry Christmas!!!


London Times:   Christmas Reigns Supreme…As does the Royal navy!


(Whitehall)   The Prime Minister issued a pledge to all nations on this Christmas Eve, 1900.  “We peace and freedom loving citizens of Her Majesty, look forward to a prosperous and peaceful holiday season and a bountiful New Year.    As Prime Minister, I pledge our nations forces to the protection of peace and freedom across Europe.   Only those aggressive war-mongering nations should be concerned with our fleets and armies stationed solely in their ports and forts in our home isles.    We shall only sally forth for protection and freedom.   May the peace of the Lord be on you and, if you desire war, recall the vengeance of the Lord….carried out through Her Majesty’s fleets and troops.”


In other news, bars in London, Edinburgh and Liverpool were full of sailors and soldiers this weekend.   More so than normal, barkeepers noted.    “It appears that our sailors are spending their wages as if there is no tomorrow,” one waitress said.   A shopkeeper in Liverpool added, “with the spending this holiday it will be our Merriest Christmas…but I worry for our boys…are they going somewhere soon?”





            “It’s about to get complicated,” said the Major.  The words seemed to echo back from somewhere else in the Multiverse.  Very complicated.”  Major John Fiasco looked straight into the dark eyes of the glowering Director of Continuity Policing of Continuity Prime Command.  In this strand of the Multiverse Continuum, the CPC was headquartered aboard the Nuclear Subtext Joseph Conrad, a “Novel Class” subtext due for drafting and editing in a few short chapters.  The last thing needed on this mission was a distraction.


“Sir, the Citations and Verifications Council just went into emergency session.  They demand a command briefing on the aberrant singularity emanating from Strandverse 22.  That’s out in the Chaos Cloud, Vector Six, Sir.  With all respect, it’s a mess and they want answers.  I think they’re scared shitless.  Please sit down and hold your questions until the end if you could, Sir.”

“Report, Major,” said Director Verloc as he lowered himself heavily.

“Yes sir.  I’ve assembled the various CPC Sections and can give you an overview in the next four pages words or so.”

“Proceed, Major Fiasco.  What fresh Hell is going on?” said Verloc.  The Major motioned more with his eyes than his head at the uniformed teams arrayed around the central plot.  Silently, a middle-aged captain arose from the plot and walked to the middle of the page.  With a remote in his hand, he began the briefing as he referenced the wall-sized screen in the CPC Situation Room.


“Director, I’m Captain Word.  We are now at RetCon 4, upgraded from RetCon 3 approximately two issues ago.  As you know, RetCon denotes the severity of a retroactive continuity episodic breakdown in storyline time-scheme elements.  In fiction, consistency of the characteristics of persons, plot, point of view, voice, objects, and places provided to the reader over some increment of time or space is key to the ‘Critical Suspension of Disbelief Factor,’ what we call CSDF.  CSDF is of relevance to all literary media, including zines.

“We’ve been tracking for some chapters now an anomalous singularity in a zine being published in Strandverse 22.  There’s been a slow but steady decline in the continuity of a certain literary event, a CLE if you will, currently unfolding in that zine.  It began with a few contextual irregularities and minor plot infarcts that the Continuity Semantics Monitors barely detected, but has seriously degraded over the past 2000 words or so and is now in a pre-critical mass phase.  In fact, we haven’t been at RetCon 4 since the mid-1980s.  Do recall the Magus Incident, Director?  It’s a textbook case about total CSDF dissolution.  Its taught at the Prime Command Academy.  The Magus Incident came out of Strandverse 22, as well ... bad neighborhood.”

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” said the Director.  “It was a Rondeau-based text toxin.  Pestilential.  Took us pages and pages to edit that out and silence the publisher.  We lost some good people on that mission.  Langley … Langley was his name.  It’s not him again, is it?”

“We doubt it, Director.  Langley hasn’t published anything in years, though we believe he lives near some of the storyline.  I believe that part’s coincidental, but we’ve got a team deep in the pages looking around.”

“Continue, Captain.  What else?”

“It’s a shifting virofictional antigen, Director.  VFA … nasty stuff.  Probably bioengineered as it also exhibits traces of inter-CLE crossover and software app deflection.  It causes sudden major shifts in autothemicity in fictional storylines resulting from the errant recombination of plot lines and character development.  The VFA carrier is probably one of the characters in the CLE storyline.  We haven’t seen anything like it in thirty volumes of zines.  Fact is, the CLE in question is being dangerously retconned with systemic alteration of previously established facts in a fictional work.  Hard to say if they’re DCEs or not.”

“Captain Word?”

“Sorry sir.  Deliberate Continuity Errors.  That would imply a certain level of skill on the part of the author or authors.”

“You’re saying this crap is being written … on purpose?”  The momentary silence gave Major Fiasco the opportunity to interrupt.

“Hard to say for sure, Director, but we don’t think so.  It’s highly randomized and … Sir, the retconning makes no sense.  The metrics we’ve probbed suggest this whole CLE is all hackwork, all 17 chapters so far.  The worst kind of hackwork, Director.  Chapter Nine’s POV and voice were totally fucked up.  Chapter 13 was completely unreadable.  Chapter 15 seems to be from another CLE plotline completely.  The discontinuity is rapidly escalating and the zine is becoming more unstable, worse and worse by the issue.  If I may, Director, I’d like Captain Phrase of the Thematic Forensic Team to walk you through some of the semantics.  It’s pretty dense.”


“Thanks, Major.  Thank you, Director Verloc” said Captain Phrase as he walked to the next paragraph.

“Sir, the Thematic Forensic Team, that’s the THEFT unit, Sir, has read the entire CLE and completed a forensic analysis of content.  Ugly.  We’ve listed the retconned aspects and deconstructed the continuity breakdowns.  I’ll have to say now that we agree completely with Captain Word’s assessment and yours, Sir.  It does seem to be crap.  Twenty-four karat crap.”

“The CLE is currently divided into 17 chapters.  Seventeen and a half  if you include the one we’re actually being written into as I speak, though I’ll give you more info on that later.  Since the CLE’s inception, there have been well over 20 characters plotted sequentially into the storyline, most of them poorly developed and transitory.  Two of them, including the main protagonist and a professional killer, have yet to be given proper names.  The team has taken to calling the killer the ‘assassination character’ ... a poor attempt at humor.  There have been three major plot location shifts from San Diego to New Mexico to the Pacific Northwest.  Four if we count the continued references to ‘Chicago.’


“Worse still, there have been multiple violent POV shifts, voice discalibrations and – as Captain Word stated earlier in the briefing – some inter-CLE crossover.  For example, there are references to the Wizard of Oz and Twin Peaks and fictional characters who inhabited those CLEs, all with no literary value or interest to the reader.

“Captain, give me a rundown.  A summary, if you will.  The Council will want to know.”

“Well, Sir.  As I said, the main protagonist is nameless and has been so for 16 chapters.  We call him John Doe One … JD1.  There’s ‘Frank’, who is JD1’s friend, or at least an acquaintance.  He’s referenced in three chapters so far but we’re clueless as to why he’s in the CLE at all.  He’s never said a word, or even been present.  He’s a total IBR plot device, Sir, Incorporated By Reference.  JD1 has a sister named Mel.  She’s the second best drawn and most sympathetic character so far, and she also knows Frank.  There are two detectives, one named Susan ‘Baby’ LaSeuer and one named Brody.  LaSeuer’s good but Brody’s a nothing, a throw away, almost another IBR device.  We’ve got a transvestite named Joe who’s hooked on Jeopardy, a guy named Ed, someone named Bo Diddley, and a floater named Euan.  He’s the sister’s dead husband.  None have helped move the CLE along so far as we can discern.  We have a character named Les who morphed into a ‘Lee’ a chapter later with no explanation … the authors seemed to catch that anomaly and nearly killed Les/Lee off immediately without a single bit of description or character development.  Tough way to be retconned but he surived and is still in the CLE plot line for some reason.  We’ve got a Wilbur Woode, that’s Woode with an ‘e’, as well as Laura Palmer minus her, uh, liver … they’re a couple of corpses, both dead before they started.  Woode’s only interesting because his corpse was found dead behind a bar in Chapter One, dead next to a car in front of the bar in Chapter Four, then dead behind some bushes in Chapter Six.  That’s a lot of moving around for a dead guy.  Chapter Five team thinks he might be a new kind of undead “zine zombie,” but that’s a whole other plot line.  Then there’s the Wizard of Oz, Bob and Emily who are connected to the nearly-dead but still breathing Les/Lee, and Summer Glau, who is mentioned in the Jeopardy chapter by Joe the Transvestite but who may also be an alias for ‘Summer’, a teenager in Chapter 10, with two other teens named Clover and Mead.  There’s a Beethoven and a host of other dead composers.  I already briefed you on the unnamed killer, John Doe 2.  But he, JD2 I mean, was killed in Chapter 16 by a character called Lloyd.  We’re not sure that’s his name due to the author’s use of quote marks.  Might be a “Call me Ishmael” sort of plot device.  We’re checking it out.  They both worked for another anonymous character, this one a redhead with an English accent.  That may or may not be a tie-in with the protagonist, who spoke with the accent of an Irish racketeer until he was told he was a German immigrant from San Diego in Chapter Two.  The most interesting character so far, and the one giving THEFT the toughest time, is an unnamed mousy-haired Wendy’s waitress from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, introduced in Chapter Three.”

            “What’s so interesting about her?”

            “You ever seen a waitress in a Wendy’s, Director?  She’s a fictional character of interest, Sir, and our Chapter Three investigators are trying to locate her in the continuum for interrogation.  She’s an anachronous narrative device and we want to know why.”

            “I understand, Captain, thank you,” said Director Verloc.  “Major Fiasco, bring this to a close.  What are the takeaways for Council?”

            “Under the circumstances, I think we’d best not apprise them of our darkest fears quite yet, Director.  We’re at RetCon 4.  Staff recommends that’s all we tell them for now.  Give them the sizzle but hold back the steak.  Sir. ”

            “Why?” said Verloc.

            “Director, you know how serious this is … it goes back to Pannenberg’s Conception of space-time continuum mechanics.  Excessive retroactive continuity means that as a CLE continues, future chapters of plot development – narratives which are inconsistent with the facts of the previously written CLE chapters – will need to be corrected in future, yet unwritten chapters of the CLE.  That’s a very serious problem, Sir.  Pannenberg’s Conception of retroactive continuity ultimately posits that, if retconning continues unabated, history will flow fundamentally from the future into the past but that, paradoxically, the future cannot be a time construct based on the past.  That is counter-indicated by the laws of space-time physics and … ”

            “Jesus Christ, Major!  Are you saying that if we don’t stop this CLE singularity that the future and past will start rewriting each other?  That would be … ‘

            “The end of the Multiverse as we know it.  Yes, Sir.  In a nutshell.”  For the first time the Director’s glower dimmed as he looked around at the men and women of the Joseph Conrad’s CPC crew.  At this moment, they were all that stood between fiction and non-fiction.

            “Sir?” said Major Fiasco.  “There is one more issue you should be aware of.  It’s a little thing but it may make all the difference.”

            “Yes, Major?”

            Major Fiasco walked over to a remote part of the wall screen to where a green light softly blipped.  He waved his hand near the screen and a portion enlarged and resolved at a higher magnitude as it brightened with enhanced illumination.

            “Sir, this is the Chaos Cloud, Vector Six.  The zine generating the RetCon 4 anomaly is located there and has been identified as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  The Joseph Conrad is on a parenthetic course to that zine now.  Our text processor has already started pinging the zine.  We chose to come in through an open wormhole for press just a few pages over from where the CLE singularity is located.  It’s coded in and will appear as ‘RWM Press’.  It’s as close as we dare come without disturbing the CLE.  To check our range and abilities we text-pinged into Chapter 17 and actually named the JD1 character as a test.  It worked.  JD1 has been named ‘Steven’.  Anyway, the Jay Cee will arrive in close orbit to the zine in approximately six chapters.  For an exfiltration, Director.”

            “An exfil of whom or what, Fiasco?” said the Director, suddenly refocused on the man in front of him.

            “Well, when the Chapter Investigation Techs compared notes from the scans of the CLE’s paragraphs and pages they determined JD1, the main protagonist, and JD2, the professional killer, had crossed and transferred plot narratives at the end of Chapter Nine and start of Ten.  It appears one of the authors was attempting to merge the JD1 character into the JD2 character.  It’s very confusing, Sir, and the personal pronouns are all screwed up.  But a close read of the CLE narrative – and I’d advise against doing that unless you have to, Sir – indicates that it’s impossible.”

“Why is that, Major?”

“Because, Director, in Chapter 11 the authors have JD2 speaking to the Boss RedHead and JD1 is identified on JD2’s list of victims!  There’s no way to retcon that discontinuity back into place.  We think it’s why ‘Lloyd’ was written in Chapter 16 to kill JD2.  And JD1 hasn’t been seen since Chapter Ten, seven chapters ago.  We think he’s the likely the carrier of shifting VFA.  He’s the key to ending this discontinuity hole and getting the Multiverse back out of danger.  We’ve got to get him back into the narrative of the CLE so we can track him.”  Major Fiasco, lowered his voice unconsciously.  “Sir, we’ve sent in a forward operative, a between the lines agent.  She’s the one we’re going to exfiltrate.  She’ll hopefully have had the time to find and expose JD1 by the time we reach Eternal Sunshine

“Anyone I know, Major?”

“Yes, Sir.  I mentioned earlier that Sister Mel was the second best character narrative in the CLE.  Sympathetic, smart, well-developed … she’s helped to move the narrative along.  The best drawn character, though, went into the CLE storyline in Chapter Two, immediately after we’d determined the discontinuity was growing.  That San Diego detective, Sir?  Susan ‘Baby’ LaSeuer?  She’s one of ours.  We’ve text-pinged her into the CLE.  We’ve got to give her time to find JD1, stop this plot from blowing through the space-time fabric.  Then we’ve got to get her out.”

“You sent my daughter, Major?  You sent my daughter  into that mess?”  The Director’s eyes went wide with anger and surprise.

“Yes, Sir, we did.  Like I said before, it’s about to get complicated.”




Acquire – “Winterbloom”


Players: Tom Howell, Hank Alme, Per Westling, and Martin Burgdorf.


Turn 1


Martin Burgdorf plays 6-D.

Tom Howell Plays 2-D.  He forms Worldwide, gets 1 free share, and buys 3 more shares for $300 each.

Hank Alme plays 11-H.  He buys 3 shares of Worldwide for $300 each.

Per Westling plays 8-I.  He buys 3 shares of Worldwide for $300 each.

Martin Burgdorf plays 4-D.


Turn Order for Turn 2: Tom Howell, Hank Alme, Per Westling, Martin Burgdorf, Tom Howell.




Deadline for Turn 2 is January 28th at 7pm my time.



Kremlin – “Four Stitches”


Players: Jack McHugh - Communist Party Against Reform (CRAP), Rick Desper - The Rusty Curtain (RUST), Jim Burgess - Chylak's Galicians (CG), Mark Firth - Trixci (TRI), and Geoff Kemp - Refuseniks (REF).


Turn 2-A


Starting Politburo:


Party Chief: L, Igor Doberman, 67, CRAP 9
KGB: Y, Ulan Putschnik, 53, (Strong), CRAP 10

Foreign: Q, Tigran Zenjarplan, 60, (Strong) CRAP 6, RUST 5

Defense: C, Alexej Goferbrok, 74, +, (Strong) CRAP 2

Ideology: U, Wassily Protzky, 57, (Weak), CRAP 6

Industry: D, Petr Niewitko, 73 (Strong).

Economy: W, Leonid Bungaloff, 54, RUST 4, CRAP 3

Sport: E, Karel Krakemheds 72.

Candidates:, B 75, F 71, H 69, S 58, T 57

People: G 70, I 68, J 67, K 66, N 63, O 62, P 61, R 59, V 55, X 53, Z 50.

Siberia: A 82 +

Waves: CRAP has 1.


Phase 1 – Cure Phase: Trixci declares 1 on E.  Chylak’s Galicians declares 5 on W, 2 on E, and 2 on D.  L ages 1 to 68.  U ages 1 to 58.


Phase 2 – Purge Phase: No activity.


Phase 3 – Spy Investigation Phase: No activity.


Phase 4 – Health Phase: C recovers and is now Healthy.  E becomes Sick (+).


Ending Politburo:


Party Chief: L, Igor Doberman, 68, CRAP 9
KGB: Y, Ulan Putschnik, 53, (Strong), CRAP 10

Foreign: Q, Tigran Zenjarplan, 60, (Strong) CRAP 6, RUST 5

Defense: C, Alexej Goferbrok, 74, (Strong) CRAP 2

Ideology: U, Wassily Protzky, 58, (Weak), CRAP 6

Industry: D, Petr Niewitko, 73 (Strong), CG 2.

Economy: W, Leonid Bungaloff, 54, CG 5, RUST 4, CRAP 3

Sport: E, Karel Krakemheds 72, +, CG 2, TRI 1.

Candidates:, B 75, F 71, H 69, S 58, T 57

People: G 70, I 68, J 67, K 66, N 63, O 62, P 61, R 59, V 55, X 53, Z 50.

Siberia: A 82 +

Waves: CRAP has 1.





(GALICIANS MAKE THEIR MOVE):  This game is probably over, but I'll see if I can take over the bottom of the Politburo and take these jokers out, Jack, come out and fight like a man!!!


Deadline for Turn 2 through Parade Phase is January 28th at 7pm my time.


Diplomacy “Dulcinea” 2008C, S 21


Austria (Martin Burgdorf – martin_burgdorf “of” A Belgium Supports A Holland,

 F Brest Hold, A Budapest Supports F Venice - Trieste (*Cut*), A Gascony Supports A Marseilles,

 A Holland Supports A Belgium, A Kiel Supports A Sweden – Denmark, A Marseilles Hold,

 A Moscow - St Petersburg, A Norway Supports A Moscow - St Petersburg, A Picardy Supports F Brest,

 A Ruhr Supports A Kiel, A Sweden – Denmark, A Trieste – Tyrolia, A Ukraine - Rumania (*Bounce*),

 F Venice – Trieste, A Vienna Supports F Venice – Trieste, A Warsaw - Moscow.

England (Kevin Tighe – tigheman “of” A Denmark - Kiel (*Disbanded*),

 F Edinburgh - Norwegian Sea, F Helgoland Bight Supports A Denmark – Kiel, A London - Brest (*Fails*).

Turkey (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” F Adriatic Sea Supports F Apulia – Venice,

 F Albania - Trieste (*Fails*), F Apulia – Venice, F Black Sea Supports A Sevastopol,

 A Bulgaria Supports A Serbia - Rumania (*Fails*), F English Channel Convoys A London – Brest,

 F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc), F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Supports F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc), F North Sea – Skagerrak,

 F Piedmont - Marseilles (*Fails*), A Rumania - Budapest (*Fails*), A Serbia - Rumania (*Bounce*),

 A Sevastopol Supports A Serbia - Rumania (*Fails*).




F 21 Deadline is January 29th at 7:00am my time




(BOOB to MARTIN): These have been great tactical exercises. This was another one. Note how I used the Beleaguered Garrison to my advantage. I look forward to more interesting tactical exercises in the next ten game years or so.


A => E: Very funny, Mr. Tighe.  Now Burgess will win the game, unless he wants to wait all these years you would need to get 17 scs...


“Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse


Billy Ray Valentine: Probably in his limousine.


Duke of York: Meeting with the Duke of Earl.


Smaug the Dragon: Buys 500 Piastres.


Rothschild: Sells 500 Piastres.  Buys 743 Pounds.


Baron Wuffet: Looking into a legal change of name.


Wooden Nickel Enterprises: Sells 143 Piastres.  Buys 136 Crowns.


VAIONT Enterprises: Sells 500 Crowns and 194 Pounds.  Buys 654 Piastres.


Insider Trading LLC: At a Grand Jury session.


Bourse Master: In the loo.





(DUKE OF YORK to the BOURSERS): I think you haven't quite figured out what's happening yet.....  but just remember, it's all Doug's fault.


PIKER to YORK:  Rid of accursed Crowns?  How so?  And the rest of those Crowns in your portfolio are what, non-accursed?  Good luck with that assertion on the currency exchange market.


VAIONT to SMAUG:  Recently got a peak at your work in the movie The Hobbit …even got a peak at one of your peepers there at the end.  Wow!  Talk about a makeover -- you’ve had some work done, haven’t you?  Can’t wait to see your start turn on the next installment of the franchise!


SMAUG TO ALL: Thief! Baggins!!!


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



Graustark Diplomacy Game 2006A, W 19/S 20


Austria (Don Williams – dwilliams “of” F Trieste Considers Shelling A Venice for Practice

 (Holds), A Budapest Supports F Trieste, A Vienna Supports A Budapest.

England (Fred Wiedemeyer – wiedem “of” Build F Edinburgh, F London.. F Belgium Hold,

 F Bulgaria(sc) Hold, F Constantinople Supports A Armenia - Ankara (*Cut*), F Edinburgh Hold,

 F London - English Channel, F Mid-Atlantic Ocean - Western Mediterranean, A Moscow Hold, F Naples Hold,

 F Norway Hold, A Paris Hold, A Picardy Supports F Belgium, F Smyrna Hold, F Spain(sc) Hold,

 A St Petersburg Supports A Moscow, A Yorkshire - London.

France (Hank Alme – almehj “of” No units.

Germany (Harley Jordanharleyj “of” A Armenia – Ankara,

 A Burgundy Supports A Marseilles, F Denmark Hold, A Greece Hold, F Holland Hold,

 A Marseilles Supports A Burgundy, A Rome Supports A Venice, A Rumania Hold, A Serbia Hold,

 A Sevastopol Supports A Syria – Armenia, F Sweden Hold, A Syria – Armenia, A Venice Supports A Rome,

 A Warsaw Hold.

Russia (John Biehl – jerbil “of” F Black Sea - Constantinople (*Fails*).


F 20 Deadline is January 29th at 7:00am my time





(BOOB to DUCK): Yeah, well, I was eliminated, but I'm glad I was eliminated opposing those who were evil in this game (that of course does not include you).  I understand why you're back at Ground Zero, but you can't possibly squelch the evil in this world from there.


DUCK to BOOB: All ooziness aside, pal, I’m still in this and ready to launch by big comeback drive with a huge stab of … ah, I’ll send that under separate correspondence. Anyway, it’ll be Austria RESURGENT any second now.


DON to GM: “Even” in Winter 1919. Sweeter words were ne’er writ by a GM to a player so far out of the running.


GM – Don: I assure you, it was a typo.


Diplomacy “Dublin Boys” 2010D, W 11/S 12


Austria (Paul Milewski – paul.milewski “of” A Bohemia Supports A Munich,

 A Finland Supports A St Petersburg – Norway, A Livonia - St Petersburg,

 A Moscow Supports A Livonia - St Petersburg, A Piedmont – Marseilles, A Prussia Supports A Berlin,

 A Silesia Supports A Berlin, A St Petersburg – Norway, A Tyrolia Supports A Munich, A Venice - Piedmont.

England (Kevin Tighe – tigheman “of” NMR!  F Barents Sea Hold, F Helgoland Bight Hold,

 F Kiel Hold, F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Hold, F North Africa Hold, F Norway Hold (*Dislodged*, retreat to

 Norwegian Sea or North Sea or Skagerrak or OTB), F Sweden Hold, F Western Mediterranean Hold.

France (Jeff O’Donnell – unclestaush “of” NMR!  Plays 1 short..A Burgundy Hold,

 A Gascony Hold, A Marseilles Hold (*Disbanded*), A Ruhr Hold, F Spain(sc) Hold.

Germany (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” A Berlin Supports A Munich,

 A Munich Supports A Berlin.


Turkey (Brad Wilson - bwdolphin146 “of” F Aegean Sea Supports F Ionian Sea, A Apulia Hold,

 F Gulf of Lyon Supports A Piedmont – Marseilles, F Ionian Sea Supports A Tunis,

 F Rome Supports F Tyrrhenian Sea, A Tunis Hold, F Tuscany Supports F Gulf of Lyon,

 F Tyrrhenian Sea Supports F Gulf of Lyon.


Now Proposed – A/E/T, A/E/F/T.  Please vote, NVR=No

Would Heath Gardner (heath.gardner “of” standby for England?

Would Richard Weiss (richardweiss “of” for France?


F 12 Deadline is January 29th at 7:00am my time






Constantinople: Been here, and there, before.


Everybody Plays Diplomacy “Dandelion” 2010Cvj08, F 12

Player Names or Handles will be shown for any power they commanded each season.

Remember, in some seasons if we get enough players you may not wind up commanding any nations.  All press submitted will be printed.


Austria (Tom Howell): F Adriatic Sea - Ionian Sea, A Albania – Serbia, A Budapest Supports A Rumania,

 A Burgundy – Belgium, A Galicia Supports A Rumania, A Greece - Bulgaria (*Bounce*),

 F Gulf of Lyon Supports A Marseilles – Spain, F Ionian Sea - Eastern Mediterranean, A Kiel - Berlin (*Bounce*),

 A Marseilles – Spain, A Munich - Berlin (*Bounce*), A North Africa Hold,

 A Rumania Supports A Greece – Bulgaria, F Syria Supports F Ionian Sea - Eastern Mediterranean.

England (Brad Wilson): A Brest Hold, F English Channel – Wales, F Finland - St Petersburg(sc) (*Fails*),

 F North Atlantic Ocean – Liverpool, F Norway - Barents Sea, A Picardy Supports A Burgundy – Belgium,

 F Spain(nc) – Gascony, A St Petersburg - Moscow (*Fails*).

France (John Biehl): A Paris Hold, F Portugal - Spain(sc) (*Fails*).

Russia (Italy Must Win): F Black Sea Supports A Bulgaria – Rumania, A Bulgaria - Rumania (*Fails*),

 A Moscow Holds, A Sevastopol Supports A Bulgaria – Rumania, A Silesia - Berlin (*Bounce*).

Turkey (Italy Must Win): F Aegean Sea Supports F Constantinople - Bulgaria(sc),

 F Constantinople - Bulgaria(sc) (*Bounce*), F Smyrna - Constantinople (*Fails*).




W 12/S 13 Deadline is January 29th at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart


Austria:            Belgium, Berlin, Budapest, Greece, Kiel, Marseilles, Munich, Naples,

                        Rome, Rumania, Serbia, Spain, Trieste, Tunis, Venice, Vienna=16, Build 2

England:          Brest, Denmark, Edinburgh, Holland, Liverpool, London, Norway, St Petersburg=8, Even

France:            Paris, Portugal, Sweden=3, Plays 1 short

Russia:             Bulgaria, Moscow, Sevastopol, Warsaw=4, Remove 1

Turkey:            Ankara, Constantinople, Smyrna=3, Even




Austria Must Not Win: Maybe, just maybe, I'll get Austria again, hahahahahahah!


ITALY MUST WIN to VIENNA: Ding dong, Ding Dong, Ding Dong, Ding Dong....


ITALY MUST WIN to DOUG: How come MY orders never get chosen??


Doug – Italy Must Elect a New Government Every 3rd Week: Well, it helps when you actually SUBMIT orders, jackass!


Diplomacy - “Lighthouse” – 2011A – S 07


Austria (Don Williams – dwilliams “of” A Trieste Supports A Apulia - Venice.

England (Paul Milewski – paul.milewski “of” A Liverpool – Yorkshire, F Wales - Irish Sea.

France (Kevin Wilson – ckevinw “of” A Belgium – Holland, F Brest - Mid-Atlantic Ocean,

 A Burgundy – Munich, F English Channel - North Sea (*Bounce*),

 F Gulf of Lyon Supports A Marseilles – Piedmont, A Kiel Supports A Burgundy – Munich, A Marseilles – Piedmont,

 F Rome Hold, F Western Mediterranean - Tunis.

Germany (Brad Wilson - bwdolphin146 “of” F Helgoland Bight Supports F North Sea,

 A Holland – Edinburgh, F North Sea Convoys A Holland - Edinburgh.

Italy (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” A Budapest Supports A Vienna - Galicia (*Cut*),

 A Rumania – Ukraine, A Tyrolia - Vienna (*Bounce*),

 A Venice - Apulia (*Dislodged*, retreat to Tuscany or OTB), A Vienna - Galicia (*Fails*).

Russia (Fred Wiedemeyer – wiedem “of” A Apulia – Venice, F Black Sea – Constantinople,

 A Bulgaria Hold, F Denmark - North Sea (*Bounce*), A Galicia - Vienna (*Bounce*), F Greece – Albania,

 F Ionian Sea - Adriatic Sea, F London - North Sea (*Bounce*), A Norway – Sweden, A Prussia – Berlin,

 A Serbia - Budapest (*Fails*), A Sevastopol – Rumania, A Silesia – Bohemia, F St Petersburg(nc) - Norway.


Concession to Russia Fails.  Now proposed: F/R Draw.  Please vote, NVR=No

F 07 Deadline is January 29th at 7:00am my time




REPUBLIC of TRIESTE to ITALY: Somewhere along the path to glory things went horribly, terribly, inexplicably, luridly, decidedly, wickedly wrong …


REPUBLIC of TRIESTE to TSAR: Call this my swan song … one gallant rush to the front and then … oblivion … the abyss shall be mu grave, eternity my guardian, infinity my redemption …


REPUBLIC of TRIESTE to GM: … at least until the next game start, hein?


GM – Republic of Trieste: I am sure your doom is being plotted there as I write this.  The only faster demise is Harold Zarr in any game where Paul Milewski plays.


Diplomacy “Jerusalem” 2012A, F 03


Austria (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” Retreat F Greece - Albania..

 F Albania - Greece (*Fails*), A Budapest Supports A Serbia – Rumania, A Galicia Supports A Serbia – Rumania,

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

England (John Biehl – jerbil “of” F Barents Sea Supports A Finland - St Petersburg,

 F Denmark - North Sea, A Finland - St Petersburg (*Fails*), F Irish Sea - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Bounce*),

 F London Supports F English Channel (*Ordered to Move*), F Sweden - Norway.

France (Jack McHugh jwmchughjr “of” F Brest Hold, A Gascony Hold,

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Hold, A Paris Hold, A Spain Hold.

Germany (Don Williams – dwilliams “of” A Belgium – Picardy,

 A Burgundy Supports A Belgium – Picardy, F English Channel - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Bounce*),

 A Munich Supports A Burgundy, A Silesia - Warsaw (*Fails*).

Italy (Mark Firth – mark.r.firth “of” A Apulia – Venice, F Ionian Sea - Adriatic Sea,

 F Tyrrhenian Sea - Ionian Sea, A Venice - Tyrolia.

Russia (Richard Weiss – richardweiss “of” A Moscow Supports A St Petersburg,

 F Sevastopol Supports A Rumania, A St Petersburg Supports A Finland - Livonia (*Void*),

 A Warsaw Supports A Galicia - Silesia (*Void*).

Turkey (Geoff Kemp - ggeoff510 “of” F Aegean Sea Supports A Bulgaria,

 F Black Sea Supports A Rumania, A Bulgaria Supports A Rumania, A Greece Hold,

 A Rumania Supports A Bulgaria (*Cut*).


W 03/S 04 Deadline is January 29th at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart


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

England:   Denmark, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Norway, Sweden=6, Even

France:    Brest, Marseilles, Paris, Portugal, Spain=5, Even

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

Italy:     Naples, Rome, Tunis, Venice=4, Even

Russia:    Moscow, Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Warsaw=4, Even

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




france-germany; fine take all of my centers  i don't  give a rats ass anymore, obviously britain perfers an uncommunicative liar to so me so take it all


france-britian: you deserve the ally you've earned, good luck, you'll need it


france-russia: sorry i couldn't do more for you but, as rod steward says, there is no point in talking when no one is listening...


Ita (Govt) – Board: Please note change of contact to < >.




LOWERQUALITY to HIGHER QUALITY: How would I know, sir, give me a measure?  And if not a measure, a composite!


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!


Note – This is the regular By Popular Demand, not the By ALMOST Popular Demand we did last time (and will likely do next time).


Round 9 Categories

1. A brand of bottled water.

2. A product sold by Apple.

3. A former British Prime Minister.

4. Another word for “friend”

5. Something a plumber uses.


Selected Comments By Category:


Water – Rick Desper “Could be Evian or whatever that tap water that Coca Cola sells is called.”  Dane Maslen “At one time PERRIER would certainly have been a good answer, but is it still?  (No, it's carbonated.  Ha, ha!) “  Marc Ellinger “This is the consummate name in bottled water and the name that set off the rage in America.  And to think, until Obama took office, bottled water was more expensive than gas!!”  Jim Burgess “So this one is a mess, Aquafina and Dasani are engineered to be "best" while Poland Spring is more natural.  Then there are all the more "European" brands like Vittel and Evian.  I can't BEAR to choose Aquafina or Dasani, and we don't have many Europeans here, so I choose Poland Spring.”


Apple – Dane Maslen “I've gone for iPAD because it's the Apple product that currently generates most discussion, but iPOD and iPHONE must surely be strong contenders too.“  Heath Gardner “Probably should use the joker on this one, but there are too damn many iProducts out there!”  Marc Ellinger “Apple was dying…then the iPhone…now the most valuable company in the world…go figure.”  Jim Burgess “iPod is the OLD answer, then iPhone (the one of these I own), and the iPad is coming up fast and passing the iPhone to be most popular.  Take the middle one....”

Congrats to Carol Key for the high score of 77 this round (out of a possible 83).  And sad face for my poor wife Heather who only scored 35. L


Prime Minister – Richard Weiss “Trivia fact: First was Sir Robert Walpole and current is David Cameron.  I think only Disraeli had a rock album named after him.”  Dane Maslen “Originally I thought THATCHER would be a pretty good choice in a US zine, but subsequently it's occurred to me that maybe BLAIR will score well because of his role as George W's poodle.”  Marc Ellinger “This was tough, between Churchill and Thatcher.   But the old Bulldog really was Britain for the war years, so he has to be the pick.”  Phil Murphy “Though I'm tempted to say Jim Hacker, just because.”


Friend – Dane Maslen “Over here MATE would probably be a better answer than PAL, but what word do you guys most use as an alternative to 'friend'?”  Jim Burgess “I first thought of Pal and Buddy, and those are the first two answers on Wiki.Answers. And Pal is first, so...”


Plumber – Dane Maslen “Although PIPE WRENCH is a plausible answer, it's quite possible that some people will just answer WRENCH and then everything will depend on whether you are treating them as separate answers or not.  Perhaps I should gone for the answer I first thought of, namely AN ARMOURED CAR TO TRANSPORT THE PAYMENT FOR THEIR SERVICES.”  Heath Gardner “I almost said "Plunger", but that's generally what *I* use before I call the plumber. J  Jim Burgess “Plumbers need an array of wrenches, so I think wrench is the best answer.  Plungers are more used by homeowners.  Snake is another good answer, and then there are lots of other non-specific items, so I think wrench is it.”


Round 10 Categories – Double Points!

1. A denomination of paper money.

2. A song by The Kinks.

3. An actor who has played or plays Dr. Who

4. Another word for “junk”

5. Something a chef uses.


Deadline for Round 10 is January 29th at 7:00am my time


Eternal Sunshine Movie Photo Contest


There are ten rounds of movie photos, and each round consists of ten photos.  Identify the film each photo is from.  Anyone may enter at any point. 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!  That means NO RESEARCH OF ANY KIND, not just no searches for the photos themselves.  The only legal “research” is watching movies to try and locate the scenes.  Each round will also contain one bonus question, asking what the ten movies being quoted have in common.  The player with the most correct answers each round gets 3 points, 2nd place gets 2 points, and 3rd place gets 1 point.  In the event of ties, multiple players get the points (if three players tie for first, they EACH get 3 points).  High score at the end of ten rounds wins the game, and a prize (unless you cheated).  If there’s enough participation I may give a prize for 2nd and maybe even 3rd place overall too.  The final round will be worth double points.



Round 4


1.    elizabeth_rogers

The Towering Inferno.  Correct – RD, AY, KW, HA.  The Postman – JM.

2.    high-noon-01

High Noon.  Correct – RD, AY, JM, AL.

3.    norma-rae-1979-06-g

Norma Rae.  Correct – RD, AY, JM, AL, KW, JB.

4.    protectedimage

Papa’s Delicate Condition.  Atlantic City – RD.  It’s a Mad Mad Mad World – AY.  The Sting II – JM, JB, KW.  Annie – AL.

5.    the-man-who-knew-too-much

The Man Who Knew Too Much.  Harvey – RD.  Call Northside 777 – JM, AL.  Vertigo – HA.

6.    elizabethtaylorthesandpiper

The Sand Piper.  Correct- JB.  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – RD, KW.  Night of the Iguana – AL.

7.    joker-is-wild-1

The Joker is Wild.  Guys and Dolls – RD.

8.    philadelphia-1993-08-g

Philadelphia.  Correct – RD, AY, AL, KW, HA.

9.    returnoftheking

Return of the King.  Correct – AY, KW, HA.  Braveheart – JM.  Joan of Arc – AL.  Troy – JB.

10. Wonder_Boysmovie_wallpaper_pictures_photo_pics_posterwonder-boys-3

Wonder Boys.  Correct - KW.  It’s My Turn – RD.  Solitary Man – JM.


Bonus – What do these films all have in common?  Films Which Won Best Original Song Oscar.  Films about Dying Gay Lawyers in Burning Buildings Fighting for Union Rights – RD.


Points This Round: Andy York [AY] – 5; Kevin Wilson [KW] – 5; Rick Desper [RD] – 4; Hank Alme [HA] – 3; Andy Lischett [ AL] – 3; Jim Burgess [JB] – 2; Jack McHugh [JM] - 2.


Scores So Far: Rick Desper [RD] – 11; Kevin Wilson [KW] – 6; Paraic Reddington [PR] – 3; Kevin Tighe [KT] – 3; Andy York [AY] – 3; Andy Lischett [AL] – 2; Don Williams [DW] – 1; Hank Alme [HA] - 1.



Burgess: They say a picture is worth a thousand words.... well, these pictures, none of them really, just don't speak to me.  I'd do backflips for a single word to replace a thousand pictures...

Round 5


1.    the-big-picture-1


2.    house-of-games


3.    qvs4SzKfXeeuBxQN69Dm467RXZY


4.    tin-men-880784l


5.    Copy_of_Pleasantville


6.    silent-fall-1


7.    good-morning-vietnam-4121069


8.    sling-03


9.    the-last-seduction-1


10. ss3359330_-_photograph_of_annette_bening_as_myra_langtry_from_the_grifters_available_in_4_sizes_framed_or_unframed_buy_now_at_starstills__72747_std

Bonus – What do these films all have in common?


Deadline for Round 4 is January 29th at 7:00am my time


General Deadline for the Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:  January 29th, 2013 at 7:00am my time. See You Then!