Eternal Sunshine #84

January 2014

By Douglas Kent 911 Irene Drive, Mesquite, TX  75149

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Quote Of The Month“How can you watch this crap?  I’m fucking crawling out of my skin!” (Clementine in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the only Diplomacy zine with so many subzines and columns that we’re spilling past the 50 page mark this issue.  Obviously if you skip over anything *I* had to do with, you’ll be missing nothing.  So focus on the columns and subzines, they’re much more fun.


To begin with we have a brand new subzine to add to the list: Equinox by Heath Gardner.  Heath has a fistful of game openings, only SOME of which I added to the main Game Opening page, so be sure to check through his subzine for specific games available.  I’m signed up for a few already.  (Note that Heath is going to attempt to run a game of Deviant Dip II, which I ran here in ES previously.  That variant is a ton of fun and a MESS, so I’m glad to have the chance to play).  Heath is also doing his own Kendo Nagasaki game, so now we’ll have two running in the zine at once.


Speaking of game openings, there are two more I want to point out to you.  First is Peter Sullivan’s 7x7 Gunboat Tourney.  In case you don’t understand what that means, you play seven games of Gunboat at once, and in each you play a different power.  So seven games, each power once.  Then the results are combined into a final tabulation and someone wins the whole thing.  Peter only has two spots left, so check out his subzine Octopus’s Garden and sign up directly with him.


The other game opening I want to point out is African Diplomacy, the Phil Reynolds variant I ran a few times back in my old zine Maniac’s Paradise.  I’m offering a game of that now, and have included the map and rules elsewhere in this issue.  It’s a fun variant and mainly only a map variant so it takes no special rules.


And to the person who asked: no, sorry, I have no idea what is going on with Brad Wilson’s Balkan Wars game.  I’ve asked him numerous times but he won’t reply to that question.  And remember, I’m playing in that too!


Plenty of other reading material in this issue, including a travelogue from my stepmom Barbara Kent on her trip to Europe, plenty of Peeriblah from Larry Peery, Jack McHugh’s subzine, another entry from Per Westling, twelve pages of The Abyssinian Prince, and…uh….the usual crap.  So enjoy it.  Or not, whatever.


December has been a rather subdued month here at home.  Heather got sick with the flu or a bad cold, but I can’t remember if it was once or twice.  She’s also focused on lots of reading (I gave her a huge stack of books for Xmas) and her spiritual journey towards her religious beliefs.  I’ve been SLOWLY getting through edits on my prison book (many courtesy of the talented Lisa Gitlin, author of I Came Out for This?) and I think when this round is over there may be one final attempt before I try to approach potential publishers.  We shall see.


Work is busy for me, but slow for the company.  At least I still have a job and it appears secure for a minimum of the next six months.  Can’t really ask for a more long-term outlook these days.  Miss Piggy and the cats are doing well, although both Heather and I worry about Miss Piggy having serious health issues crop up at any moment.  We’ll deal with those if and when they happen, but when you adopt a senior dog and immediately discover she has cancer you sort of mentally prepare yourself for the likelihood that she won’t be a part of your family for as long as you had originally planned.


Oh, speaking of books, Diplomacy World Strategy and Tactics Editor Joshua Danker-Dake has his new book out.  Check out Amazon or your favorite retailer for details on “The Spare Room and Other Stories.”  See you in February!


Playlist: From Croydon to Cuba – Kirsty MacColl; Icon – War; Rag and Bone – 3 Penny Acre; Beethoven Symphony #9 – Ferenc Fricsay and the Berlin Philharmonic; New Constellation – Toad the Wet Sproket.


21 of the Best TV Series Ever

An Eternal Sunshine List Challenge


The late – and much missed – Richard Walkerdine is the one who suggested this topic for the next Eternal Sunshine list challenge. The basis is simple: you submit three TV series per month, over the next seven months, along with any commentary you would like to attach to your choices.  In the end you’ll have 21 selections!  There is not mean t to be a specific order to your choices; you’re not ranking them from best to 21st best.  Also, the category of “best” in this instance should mean something like “most enjoyable” rather than “most influential.”  Finally, you should consider within the context of your choices whether the series holds up in any way…in other words, if you are listing it as one of the 21 best, could you sit down and watch episodes now and enjoy them?  


Non-U.S. television series are – of course – welcome.  (Many modern American series were reworked versions of English series anyway).  To qualify as a “series” the show must have aired at least six episodes.  All genres are welcome: comedy, horror, suspense, detective, science fiction…anything you like.  Oh, and if the series has multiple incarnations (as many of the more popular science fiction series do, for example) specify which one you mean.  You can list multiples, but they each take up a spot on your list…and you only get 21!  I am offering prizes: two of the respondents who submit a full complement of 21 TV series will be selected at random for prizes.  So to win, all you have to do is play.


Next issue: The next set of three TV series from each of you (plus 3 more for each round you have missed), and from me.  Remember: These are not meant to be placed in order by you, from top to bottom, unless you want to do that for some reason.  And since you only have to submit three series per issue, I hope you’ll give some explanation of why you chose each one.


Jim Burgess: ITC Entertainment Shows.  They made some GREAT shows.  Here are three of them:


The Champions: Two guys and a woman who were secret agents with super powers. Hey, it was fun!


The Prisoner: Probably the most famous ITC show, it really was special, but I can't recall if I already included it, Doug will have to remind me.


The Saint: Roger Moore was this spy and always was well put together with smart dialogue and worldwide locations.


Andy Lischett: 16. The Jack Benny Show - Jack Benny was probably my favorite comedian.


17. The World at War - Heath Gardner and Dane Maslen are right. Real drama, even knowing the outcome. I also liked the PBS series on The Civil War, but not as much.


18. Miami Vice - I agree with Dick Martin, and - as I said in 27 Tunes - I used to watch this just for the opening credits and music. Even though Crockett was so obviously meant to be cool he WAS cool! And a Ferrari Daytona, to boot!


Heather Taylor: Hoarders, Roseanne, Firefly.


Andy York: The Big Bang Theory, Home Improvement, M*A*S*H.


John Wilman: Everyone has a favourite classic cartoon, and mine is Top Cat. It is supposedly based on the Phil Silvers show, but I never really bought into that. Sgt Bilko was a bald, bespectaled sweaty guy, a disgrace to his profession and anything but cool. Whereas Top Cat was the epitome of cool, long before the Fonz came along.


I would also like to nominate a British cartoon from the eighties which appealed to adults as well as kids, despite being broadcast at tea-time and containing no sex or bad language.  "Dangermouse" was a spoof of the James Bond style of thriller, which incorporated surreal, Beatles style graphics with rapid fire verbal dexterity, complete with atrocious puns.


I can't justify three cartoons, so I'll close with a sketch show. These are, I think, more prevalent in the UK than the US.


"Smack the Pony", another show from the eighties,  showcased the talents of three female performers.  Two of them were only marginally funny, but the 3rd was Sally Philips, who is a comic genius. She is blessed with a goofy and totally infectious smile, which would only be inappropriate at a  very solemn funeral.


Comedy being such a cruel vehicle, she has herself been upstaged recently in the latest series of "Miranda" by the evergreen and scene-stealing Patricia Hodge. But that show is still ongoing, so it is too early to judge. As Chou En Lai replied when he was asked to comment on the French Revolution


Deadpan as ever.


Heath Gardner: 16. Freaks and Geeks. Probably the "realest" (I use the quote marks because I generally hate that used as an adjective in this way) show about high school I've ever seen. Also introduced the world to a number of great actors and writers, Judd Apatow, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini (who I had a massive crush on in high school thanks to this show).


17. The Wonder Years. Has a lot in common with Freaks and Geeks, though it's more on the nose, less edgy and cool, and more syrupy nostalgic. I have a sweet spot for it because I was obsessed with it as a kid. Daniel Stern's narration was really what made it great IMO.


18. Dragon's Den (CA/UK/JP)/ Shark Tank (US). This quasi-reality show, where inventors present their ideas to a group of wealthy potential investors, is one of the biggest train wrecks on television, and it's also hugely popular. It's essentially the SAME thing every time... person presents idea... person values their company/idea too high... gets berated for it... either gets an offer or doesn't... either blows the offer or doesn't. It's sort of oddly mesmerizing in the way of the aforementioned train wreck, which is probably why I've gotten into watching it while stuck recuperating from a broken leg and an effed-up arthritic hip and lower back.


Douglas Kent: My three for this month…..starting with Millennium.  Chris Carter’s pseudo-spinoff from The X-Files, starring the greatness of Lance Henricksen.  It only lasted three seasons, but there is a current movement afoot to try and get some closure on the series with a final episode, TV movie, or cinematic film.  Instead of the government conspiracy base of The X-Files, in this show the Millennium Group goes back centuries.  Are they a force for good, evil, or neither?


M*A*S*H is a show which I almost left off the list because I am no longer drawn towards watching it.  But I think that’s because I’ve seen every episode soooo many times in reruns that I’ve just been overexposed.  Some of the episodes get preachy or repetitive (how many Christmas episodes can you have for the Korean War?  How many times can you use the phrase “meatball surgery”?)…but none of the episodes from start to finish were BORING, and many were wonderfully entertaining.  Not an easy feat.


While Law and Order and its many versions are all decent, Law and Order: SVU is without question the best (as well as the first of the spinoffs).  Better ensemble, better acting, better stories, and the greatness of Mariska Hargitay (daughter of Jayne Mansfield but so different from her in many ways).  I’ve seen many of these episodes too many times too, but at least there are still new ones.


Marc Ellinger: Here are 9 to catch me up…


Dark Skies – Conspiracy and Aliens…what can get better than that?!?


V (the original one) – See above!


Babylon 5 – Aliens and space (and lots of conspiracy plots over the seasons)   Great stuff, I miss this show a lot!


Battlestar Galactica – What is worse than aliens…why Robots of course!   I think this is one of the few shows where the “re-run” (on SciFi) was nearly as good as the original version.   Lorne Greene was a better Adama than Edward Olmos, but what a great series.


Hawaii 5-0 – Speaking of “re-runs”, I never missed an episode of this as a kid and now my whole family sits down to watch the new version.   I hate that they moved it to Friday night (from Monday), since it conflicts with my sons’ football…thank god for DVR!!!


Dallas – Once again, what a great series (then and now).   I hope it stays good now that JR (Larry Hagman) has passed away.    He was one character that you hated so much, you missed him from week to week.


60 Minutes – I’m not a CBS news fan, but I really do enjoy this show.


The Amazing Race – Speaking of CBS, I don’t like any of the “reality” shows, except this one.   I really enjoy Sunday evenings watching the various nations they visit and the cool things they do.  I would love to play on that show!


The Mentalist – Finally (CBS Sunday night), this is my favorite show on TV right now.   Simon Baker is one of my favorite modern actors and this show is prefect for him.  (Check him out in Sex and Death 101, which is a fantastic movie!)  If CBS would flush the Good Wife, Sunday’s would be a perfect night to sit in front of the TV and enjoy.   But that hour of awful TV does allow one to clean up from dinner, make beds, get ready for work in the morning.


Jack McHugh:Let's go with some old time series here:


Dragnet..Jack Webb's classic TV series based on his research for a police movie...the series spawned a whole family of series that Webb produced...Webb's classically underplayed Sgt. Joe Friday is still referred today in popular reference in spite of the series being off the air since 1974 and Webb's death in 1982...


Adam-12...the most famous of Webb's Dragnet spinoffs...two patrolman in a police car answering calls...known for webb's commitment to realism...interesting time capsule of the 1970's attitudes as well, for example drunk driving is seen as a "minor" offense almost to be laughed off by the patrolman...


Third Watch...loved this series when it was on in the early 2000's...haven't seen it syndication..a shame as it was a well-written and acted series which actually had closure at the end as the series creator decided to shut it down after about five years while it was still well done...


Kevin Wilson: A theme for this cycle, classic sci fi.  Sci fi is my first, best love for TV.  There are others I like, but sci fi is the best.  There are three classics that I've not mentioned yet so I'm going to now.


1.  Space 1999.  This one was kind of cheesy in the concept with the Moon thrown out of earth orbit then traveling around the universe taking the survivors on adventures.  None of this is even remotely feasible but I guess it worked in its day.  While the premise may have failed the ships, especially the Eagle, were great and worth the show.  It didn't last long but I enjoyed it when I could see it when I was younger.  Now, I own the entire series on DVD and have watched it a couple of times.


2.  UFO:  Another cheesy sci fi classic but again, while the premise may have been weak, the ships and sets were fun and made the show interesting.


3.  The Prisoner:  I remember the first episode I saw, "Checkmate" with the large chessboard and people playing the pieces.  As a kid, I didn't understand the show.  I just knew it was different and fun.  I'm not sure I still fully understand the show.  For a show that ran for a limited number of episodes (17) it was interesting and at times intense.


Per Westling: 16. Some series works nicely if you Watch an episode now and then, and some works better if you watch them side by side. I Believe "Babylon 5" is one of the latter.  I spent one week vacation watching a couple of seasons of this so I might have gotten a Babylon 5 overload but it was great. At least as long a the main story continued. When that finished, and the series was still a success it did continue for another season which is usually a Bad Thing (TM). And so it was.


But Babylon 5 is my favorit SF series. One of the reason for this is probably the similarities to the one of the albums in the French SF comics series, "Valérian et Laureline", which had the intercultural space station Point Central. Very interesting alians in B5. The main story does appear now and then, and you collect clues what is happening, but each episode can be watched as is.


I am pretty sure this would be worth watching again, although I have not done so. Have some friends that do rewatching weekends and they did watch B5 this summer. (They have done Blake 7, The Prisoner and some other series as well. Maybe I'll join them next time around.)


17. I am not really a fan of Vampire stories but it seems to be hard to avoid them.  One series that does manage to combine the high school theme with vampires, and steering away from the ridicolous is "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". I have still just managed to watch 3 seasons, and I cringe at times, but on the whole I like it. Have not decided if I should continue, though.


Not sure I would rewatch this, although I did so one season 1 which I did watch maybe 10 years ago, and did rewatch that and some more last year or so.


Speaking of Vampires there is a new NBC steam punk style series about Dracula, that takes place around 1890 in London. After watching all episodes (all 6 of them) I have not decided if I like it or not, but it might be worth trying it. Episode 7 will be broadcasted early January 2014.


18. I had put down my 20-21 selections in advance, but I decided to put in this one, namely "Pure Humans". This is actually a Swedish parallel world SF, where androids are used in the homes as advanced machines. Is thought provoking as it makes you think about issues like what makes a human human? Could a machine with self-instinct become a human? What if an andoid would be a better version, would they take over? Similar questions posed by a Movie like "Blade Runner". The series take place in the city and suburbs of some Swedish town (Stockholm, most likely), more or less present time, with just introduction of some elements.


Series is now run in its second season. It has been a success in many countries, especially France, so it might be available.


Hugh Polley: 16. On Netflix during periods when I have had power and INTERNET I have been watching THE KILLING the murder mystery is almost a side bar to the smaller dramas around the main plot.


17. Also on NETFLIX I have been watching CHUCK a fun GET SMART type series with girl/boy tension, and centered around BEST BUY, opps BUY MORE.


18. THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW; a Sunday night staple during those one TV per family years, do not know what its competition was as there was never any conflict over tuning into something else.  Yes, I saw the airing of the Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Rolling stones ; did I see the Monkeys on that show?


Dane Maslen: Soap (US)


Andy Bate got there before me and I can do little other than echo his comments and ask why no one else has mentioned it.


Spitting Image (UK)


I don't think anyone has mentioned this at all and I must admit that I had overlooked it until fairly recently.  The image I remember for most of the people satirised by this series is that of the puppet, not that of the real person.


Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister (UK)


Despite the two titles this was really only one series as it followed Jim Hacker's rise from being Minister for Administrative Affairs to Prime Minister, always 'helped' by Sir Humphrey Appleby of course.  This comedy reinforced the Brits' belief that it's the civil servants, not the politicians, that are in control.  It most definitely stands up to rewatching.


Andy Bate: Right, fifteen down, only six to go, and still loads to choose from.


Let’s start with an old school cop show, The Sweeney.  John Thaw and Denis Waterman as coppers who weren’t afraid to knock people about to get the answers that they needed to nab the latest villain.  Garfield Morgan played their world-weary boss who was always having to bail them out of trouble with the higher ups.  The series revolutionized cop shows on TV, introducing the viewer at home to gritty realism that had previously only been seen in the cinema.  I catch the odd repeat but it does look a little dated these days, but still enjoyable nonetheless.


A cop show of an entirely different sort next, in the rather more laid back style of New Tricks.  Denis Waterman again, as one of three retired policemen working in the cold case unit (UCOS), with Amanda Redman as their boss (and a serving policewoman).  A cold case is solved each episode in a pleasing mix of comedy and drama.  Entering Season11 next year, only Denis Waterman remains of the original foursome, but the series continues to engage me, and I watch repeats on a regular basis as easy but entertaining TV.


Finally for this penultimate selection, Not The Nine O’Clock News, starring Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Pamela Anderson.  So far as I remember, this took the anarchic comedy of Monty Python and put it into a more mainstream show.  It was shown on BBC2 at the same time as the news on BBC1, at, surprise, surprise, nine o’clock.  It featured comedic takes on current news stories, plus comedy songs and other sketches.  As an impressionable teen I have fond memories of Pamela Anderson in the American Express sketch, which was quite daring for mainstream TV at the time, but tame by today’s standards.  Still worth a look on YouTube though!  Other highlights that have remained lodged in the brain are Gob On You and I’ve Never Met A Nice South African.  Ah, happy days!


Geoff Kemp: 1] Jonathan Creek - Unusual Magician/Detective show which is different enough and interesting. Also new specials on TV over holiday period.


2] Avengers - 60's secret agent double act - excellent for action sequences (esp Mrs Peel) downside spin-off unfortunate attempt at a chart hit (groan!)


3] Open All Hours - underrated comedy series featuring immortals Ronnie Barker and David Jason - a Classic


Rick Desper: CSI: a groundbreaking series for its embrace of evidence and the scientific method.  A huge, huge change from shows like Perry Mason, which relied on absurd intuitive leaps.  The show has probably gone a few series too long.  Its peak years were with William Petersen. 


Justified: a very enjoyable show based on the writings of Elmore Leonard.  Timothy Olyphant has found a perfect role in Raylan Givens, a US Marshal working in his family's stomping grounds in Appalachia. 


Murder, She Wrote: a fairly light-hearted show that just happened to have a murder mystery every week.  Angela Lansbury showed that an older woman could carry a prime time television show. (BTW: I highly recommend her earlier work in films such as Gaslight and The Manchurian Candidate.)


Monty Python's Flying Circus: Ground-breaking humor that still works just as well today.


Jeopardy!: the top quiz game show for decades. 


The X-Files: a bit of a guilty pleasure.  The show had some great years as it fed on American paranoia.  In later seasons, the show lost its way a bit, as the "conspiracy" just kept developing layers within layers within layers.  Also, the show didn't know what to do with the "unresolved sexual tension" angle.


Curiously, the show spun off a series called "The Lone Gunmen" which had an episode early in 2001 featuring terrorists flying a jet liner into the World Trade Center.  Made the whole "Nobody could have thought of this!" excuse seem rather weak.


Dick Martin: lie to me - a very entertaining recent detective-ish show featuring tim roth as an expert at lie detection. ironically, he often solves the case by lying his head off.


cisco kid - a very early cowboy show, from the 50s. cisco and his wacky sidekick pancho ride through the west, righting wrongs yet always misunderstood. enjoyable for its datedness and generally good humor.


rowan & martin's laugh-in - absurd american comedy at its finest. haven't seen it since it was originally on, i wonder if it's still as funny today (i kinda doubt it). it did make me sick of hearing "how's dan rowan?" though!


Martin Burgdorf: Crime series are very popular in Germany. Here are three milestones in the history of TV.


16. Der Kommissar (The Police Inspector)

It was about a group of detectives of the Munich homicide squad (Mordkommission). At the center of each story there was usually a bourgeois and decadent person: the middle-aged wife of an academic who started an affair with a young waiter, the wealthy entrepreneur who spent the nights with the attractive wife of his butler, or the teenage son of another wealthy entrepreneur who killed the man who had run over his dog. A young girl who leaves her parents and moves from the country to the big city—Munich—becomes first a drug addict, then a whore, and finally a murder victim. "She must have followed her own kind of philosophy" the Police Inspector was muttering away to himself at the end. The original run was from 1969 thru 1976, the bizarre plots reflected the shifting moral standards of these years.


17. Derrick

The successor series of "Der Komissar", which ran for almost a quarter of a century. There were also many reruns, until they found out earlier this year that Horst Tappert, the actor playing the title character, had served in the SS during WWII. This series was on TV in more than one hundred countries and was particularly popular in China. Horst Tappert was the only German actor with fan clubs abroad. The sentence "Harry, hol schon mal den Wagen" ("Harry, bring the car 'round"; implying "we're done here") was allegedly spoken at least once in every episode.


18.   Tatort (Scene of the Crime)

The answer of the ARD to "Der Kommissar" in the ZDF (ARD and ZDF are the two biggest public broadcasters in Germany). Unlike "Der Kommissar" and "Derrick" the police inspectors changed here from one episode to the next. This series is running since 1970, more than 800 episodes have been produced. Two of the Tatort episodes featured songs that became hits: and


Hank Alme: This month, my theme is "Netflix is Evil". I followed the same pattern with all three: watch one episode to see about it, then lose a bunch of hours streaming the rest in my spare moments. My phone with the Netflix app has cost me more sleep that way...


Bones: Good murder mysteries. I found it difficult to suspend disbelief after a while: nobody is as brilliant and luck as that team. I liked the characters and the sexual tension---unresolved sexual tension (UST, the best kind)---between Brennan and Booth worked. The portrayal of science-minded people as arrogant pricks gets a little old.


How I Met Your Mother: A fun sitcom. Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant as womanizer Barney Stinson. I got spoiled watching all but the last season on Netflix, being able to immediately answer the question "then what happened?"  Waiting a week between episodes is tiring.


Scrubs: I watched the last of this over the Christmas holiday. This series is a combination of hospital drama elements (cancer, death, and similar) and slapstick humor that seemed to work for me. The show successfully humanizes its characters, allowing even the jerks to have moments of sympathetic treatment.


Richard Weiss: I have three current shows, in addition to the Mentalist which I already listed, that I watch every week.  Each has some character development, feel good camaraderie, and tension that is not necessarily related to violence.  Two have intergenerational love.  Those ingredients with a reasonable story line hit my TV sweet spot. 



The Good Wife

Blue Bloods




Hypothetical of the Month


Last month, we gave you these hypothetical questions or situations: #1 - Your agent helped you get established when you were a struggling actor. Now a large agency wants to sign you. Do you dump your agent?  #2 – In snowy weather, your car skids and slides.  The rear of your car hits a city street sign, knocking it over and damaging it when it crashes to the ground.  Your car is an old model, and there is no visible sign of damage to your rear bumper.  What do you do?


Heather Taylor – #1 – I would probably sign with the larger agency but would try to find a way to reward the original agent for their efforts and belief in me from the start.


#2 – Take down the address of where the sign is and call the city to let them know that it is down because I would not want an accident to occur. I would have to think about whether or not I would tell them that I am the one that knocked it down. I would like to believe I would automatically tell them, but I would probably end up mostly doing out of guilt.


Richard Weiss - #1 - 1.  The information is insufficient.  I want to assume that I've made it.  If that is the case, then I keep the agent.  If I'm stale, didn't get as high as I wanted, losing roles and money, I change.  Can't say. Loyalty counts for a lot, but only if successful partnership and loyalty.  If I'm an actor, I'm egotistic, self-centered, beautiful, and can move any one facial muscle I want, whenever I want.  I can also smile, sincerely, on demand.


#2 - I don't understand the question.  I hit a sign in a snow slide.  What is the question?  I drive home, carefully.  I didn't create a flowing water main.  I didn't hit an old lady crossing a street with a guide dog and have to adopt the dog, before you get to save it as a rescue dog.  I didn't do a lot of things.  I grew up in Vermont.  I know snow and slides.  What was the question?  What is the issue?  What do I do?  Drive home?  Drive to the movies?  Buy a bottle of good wine?  Go to work?


Melinda Holley - #1 - No.  Where was this large agency when I was struggling?  I stick with my agent.


#2 - I report it to the city.  I also point out that the city streets weren't being property maintained for safety standards and suggest we call it even.  With my luck, the entire incident was recorded on those security cameras mounted everywhere.


Andy Lischett - #1 - This is hard to answer since I've never been an actor, agent or producer and don't know how the system works. Do, for example, some producers have contracts with certain agencies which would preclude me from getting a job unless I was with that agency? I don't know.


However, I would try to stick with the first agent out of loyalty and because he had worked for me largely on speculation. Also, if  I am now "established" producers will know who I am and will accept my agent's calls if there is a part I want. Maybe he won't have the negotiating power of a big agency ("If you use Andy for Movie A, I'll get you Jennifer Lawrence for Movie B") but if he was good enough to get me established maybe he could get around that. But, again, all I know of how the acting industry operates is what I've seen in Tootsie.


#2 - If I could just go to City Hall and hand them $50 for the sign I would, but knowing that government bureaucracies and red tape and screw-ups would probably consume the next six months of my life, I would probably drive away. (If it was a Stop or Yield sign I would first straighten it enough to provide its intended function.) If there were witnesses I would have them assassinated.


Andy York - #1 - Depends on the relationship and how much of my success is from their efforts. If we're working in a partnership, both striving and working for the end, likely not. If it is a business relationship (say a contract for a set period of time) with him meeting the expected effort, then at the end of the contract, the relationship should be re-evaluated.


#2 - When I get to a phone, likely call in and report it (of particular importance if it is a stop sign or other traffic control sign that could cause an accident by being missing).


Heath Gardner - #1 - Probably. I've seen a smaller scale version of this with my mom being a novelist. She attained a certain level of success with her 3rd novel (including having it on display in places like Target and B&N) that she had not had up until that point, and there are certain agents that are better with the university press/try to sell to bigger press tactic, while other agents handle people that already have some sort of built in audience. I would thank the first agent for getting me where I was, get a nice gift basket or something, keep playing racquetball or whatever on the reg with him or her, but it's just a business thing.


#2 - If I'm late for work, I drive on. I'm not getting fired over that shit.


Jack McHugh - #1 – Yes but I will still give 15% to my old agent.


#2 - Leave but call it in later--that's what I pay taxes for.


Robin ap Cynan - #1 – Yes I do.


#2 – Drive home!


Dick Martin - #1 - assuming i'm no longer a struggling actor, but now a gainfully employed one, no


#2 - drive on, hopefully with better luck. i'm part owner of the sign anyways


Steve Cooley - #1 - I’m presuming the larger agency necessarily means more money? If so, then I would do whatever I could to “be fair” with my current agent before moving on. If not, then no, why would I dump the guy?


#2 –The right thing. Even though I would report it anyway, one has to be mindful these days that almost everything seems to wind up on video or in a picture. Whatever savings there might be are not worth the risk.


Rick Desper - #1 - Not enough information to make a decision.  It's implied that my agent is a bit of a low-rent guy.  But not said explicitly.


#2 - I'm supposed to stand by a downed sign in the middle of a snowstorm to make sure I take the blame for knocking over a street sign?  Yeah, as if. 


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 are an unmarried woman who wants a child.  Do you try to get pregnant by a casual lover without getting his permission?  #2 – You have an acquaintance who owns a great swimming pool.  You don’t much care for this person.  Do you act friendly for the sake of use of the pool?



The Dining Dead -
The Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


American Hustle – This semi-factual film based in part on the Abscam operation during the 1970’s has been praised by audiences and critics alike.  Often when you get that kind of universal adoration of a movie, you’re bound to be a bit disappointed by the time you see it yourself.  For the first five minutes of American Hustle I was afraid that was what I was in store for.  But once the story took hold, the firm script, tight dialogue and terrific performances pulled me in and I was ready to enjoy the ride I’d heard plenty about.


Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) owns a few dry cleaning stores and a window repair business.  But his major source of income is small-time fraud, mainly forged art and preying on desperate businessmen in search of loans.  At a pool party he meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), and they fall quickly in love.  Prosser joins Rosenfeld in his schemes and in bed, despite knowing that he is married to Jennifer Lawrence, whose son Irving has also adopted.  After a string of successes as a team, tragedy strikes when they are arrested by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper).  Richie has dreams of moving up pin the bureau, and so he offers to let the pair off if they help land him four more convictions, teaching him how a good con works in the process.


Irving is the man with vision, and he comes up with the idea of making the “honey pot” of their scam an Arab Sheik with lots of money.  The original plan is simply to land some people selling fake securities and CD’s, but as new and bigger opportunities present themselves DiMaso continues to apply pressure for a bigger score.  He is strongly attracted to Sydney, and the two become more of a couple, leaving Irving out in the cold dealing with his nutty wife.  Soon they’re targeting the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey who is trying to get funds to build up Atlantic City (where gambling has just become legal).  And even bigger victims appear on the horizon.


Christian Bale is the glue that holds the whole movie together, and Amy Adams is the soul; you never know where her allegiance lies and how many layers are hidden beneath the surface.  Jennifer Lawrence is mainly comic relief, but she plays her role right to the edge or wackiness without going too far.  The relationship between her and Bale is wonderful banter, where Lawrence twists logic to turn her mistakes into victories (like when she blows up their microwave “scientific” oven).


The film runs a bit long, but it’s hard to know what might have been cut.  Robert DeNiro’s cameo as a mob bigwig and former enforcer is probably goes a bit longer than necessary.  Louie C.K.’s appearances as DiMaso’s direct supervisor may not be important but they are quite funny, especially the back and forth about an ice-fishing story.  Despite any minor flaws, American Hustle is a winner.  And it has a great soundtrack too!


Seen on DVD and Netflix – Ghost Story (C-, the Straub tale was cool when I was younger, now it is just long and boring).  Rear Window (A-, the original, never gets old).  Talhotblond (B-, very odd documentary about an internet relationship leading to murder; sort of like Catfish but not fake); The Invitation (C, tries to get too deep and the time and detail just isn’t there); Blackfish (A-, if you watch this film and still want to go to Sea World you must hate animals); The Iceman (B-, Ray Liotta was supposed to be “great” in this, but that was a major oversell); Silent Hill – Revelation (C+, nothing really makes any sense, but a lot of the images were cool); Bukowski: Born Into This (B+, very revealing documentary of the writer).  The Haunting in Connecticut 2 (C+, not bad for your typical ghosty fare).


Couldn’t Fight Our Way Through: An Invisible Sign; Bartelby; I Sell the Dead; Sadako; The Devil Within Her; 13/13/13; Anneilese – The Exorcist Tapes.



Meet Me In Montauk
The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column


Jim Burgess: You might have I am COMPLETELY amazed that I guessed right on Iron Man 3, I haven't even seen ANY of the three.  Once I figured out Mickey and Mallory, though, I logically ended up with Downey.  It really couldn't be Oliver Stone, might have been Tarantino, but unlikely.


I now am pissed about choosing bananas, I pretty much knew that was wrong, but thought I had no chance to catch Dick!


[[You suck.]]


Cal White: “More Peery and McHugh than you can shake a stick at”


You write this like it’s a good thing?  ;-)


[[THAT is something I never claimed…]]


John Wilman: By way of a change, I checked out Diplomacy World, and found some great stuff by Cyrille  Sevin about how he won the latest WDC. ahead of Toby Harris (whose reports I had already read). I may have spelt his name wrong - the chain-smoking Frenchie, not the dope-smoking Brit, but I will never forget the only game I played in his august presence.


As Germany, he allowed Toby (Russia) to convoy an army from StP to Sweden in A01, leaving the Russian fleet in GOB free to move to BAL whenever it felt like it. Not content with that, he let the French into Bel for 3 builds! When the moves were read out, he turned a whiter shade of pale .... France quickly raced to 15 centres.


Anyone, even a world champion, can have a bad day. But my luck was even worse - I was England!


I fared even worse in the only US event I played in (David Hood won that one).


But with all that spare time, I played a lot of railway games instead - no wins, but less stressful on the blood pressure.


My last ever appearance in a ftf dip game was a creditable performance as England, in alliance with Germany, but it was spoilt by the petulant attitude of the player of the French pieces, who played a weak game and was eliiminated., that caused me to give up the game. I had played a blinder - he had played like a klutz -= but I felt like the guilty party!


You need a lot of money and a lot of holiday time, even to play in these events. On the Continent, they play C-Diplo, which is an abomination to me. Nobody wins, nobody loses - you just have to top the board after 5/6 years


I was about to come up with some TV suggestions, but with only 6 left I have totally blown it.


Per Westling: I am not sure overeating is really good for the economy. Not in the long run, anyway ;-)


One competition that would be fun to see in ES is something based on the World Cup in Brazil. Do you have any plans for that? It could be a simple "predict #1-4" or something, up to a full fledged "Fantasy Football" variant.

Right now this tournament is really building up interest and is likely to be THE BIG ONE during 2014, much larger than the Winter Olympics anyway or any of the finals in the US sports.


[[I’ll consider it.  I’ve even offered to run a United league before, but had no interest from readers.]]


On the subject of TV series I could be interesting to know what the readers think about the quality of series today, compared to e.g. the 80s. I discussed this with Don Del Grande and we did not agree. I believe that the quality of the series during the last 10 years might be the best in the history of TV. Why? Well, as someone said "TV series is the new black". The TV media gets much bigger attention now, it gets much more resources, the actors do not shun the media now as they did maybe 20 years ago. I would not have much trouble making a 10-must-see list of series broadcasted during the 2001-2010 but would have bigger trouble making it for 1981-1990, and I Believe that is not only because the latter is 30 years ago.  So, should not this period be called "The Golden Age of TV series"?


[[I think the stigma of television is the most correct difference you’ve pointed out.  Actors who would have avoided television like the plague twenty years ago are now more than willing to participate in a well-written series, especially on cable television where the old restrictions are gone.  In the meantime, general network fare is in my opinion at its lowest quality level since the 1970’s.]]



Eternal Sunshine Index – ESI

A Scientific Measure of Zine Health

Current Index: 65.34 +1.44%





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: The heavy load of subzines and columns added momentum to the index, as it once again reached a new high.  Participation levels remain solid.  We all know it can’t last forever, but the trend is your friend.




% +/-

AJK - Allison Kent



ALM - Hank Alme



AMB - Amber Smith



AND - Lance Anderson



BAB - Chris Babcock



BAT - Andy Bate



BIE - John Biehl



BLA - Larry Peery



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.




John Biehl:


Copernicus in Istanbul, Turkey


Mark Firth:


Mario Andretti in Daytona, Florida


Jamie McQuinn:


Harry Shearer in Quito, Ecuador


Kevin Wilson:


Isaac Asimov in Lagos, Nigeria


Andy Lischett:


James Brown (the singer) in Brownsville, Texas


Andy Bate:


Martina Navratilova in Anchorage, Alaska


Brendan Whyte:


Diana Rigg in Anchorage, Alaska


Heath Gardner:


Terry Gilliam in London, England


Paraic Reddington:


Charles Manson in Nashville, Tennessee


Tom Howell:


Martin Luther in Antananarivo, Madagascar


Richard Weiss:


Oliver Cromwell in Lusaka, Zambia


Hank Alme:


Charles Dickens in Kabul, Afghanistan


Jim Burgess:


Thomas Jefferson in Monrovia, Liberia


Marc Ellinger:


Sir Isaac Newton in Brasilia, Brazil


Jack McHugh:


Benito Mussolini in Rio de Janeiro


Hint to the Person in the Closest Geographical Guess: I was in the same overall industry as you, but a different part of it.




Jim Burgess:


Frank Sinatra in Mesquite, TX


Brendan Whyte:


Pope Francis in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil


Tom Howell:


Bishop Desmond Tutu in Alice Springs, Australia


Andy Lischett:


Paul Revere in Chihuahua, Mexico


Heath Gardner:


Rick Rubin in Raleigh, North Carolina


Marc Ellinger:


Luciano Pavarotti in Seoul, South Korea


Jack McHugh:


Jim Henson in Dallas, Texas


Kevin Wilson:


Luciano Pavarotti in El Paso, TX


Andy Bate:


Michelle Shocked in Amsterdam, Netherlands


Hank Alme:


Ulysses S. Grant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Rick Desper:


Albert Einstein in Buenos Aires, Argentina


John Biehl:


Nelson Mandela in Istabul


Richard Weiss:


Nelson Mandela in Durban, South Africa


Mark Firth:


Sam Goldwyn in Birmingham, UK


Hint to the Person in the Closest Geographical Guess: We both had distinctive voices, but mine was quirkier, and I gained fame without it.




Mark Firth: What’s all this with Emma Peel and Navratilova chilling in Anchorage?


Deadline for Turn 3 is: January 28th at 7am my time



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 #62




Well I didn’t pass my high-level Security Clearance, so looks like I am unemployed again.  I moved to the city to live in an apartment I can no longer afford for a job I no longer have.  Screw it.  And screw all of you.


Homeland’s Theory of History


I have to say I’m completely impressed with Showtime series “Homeland”, although it reminds me superficially of Fox’s “24”, Homeland is a much deeper and better written series. Unlike 24 it does not reduce international relations to good guys versus the bad guys where the good guys are constantly trying to stop the bad guys from destroying things and are forced to shred the US constitution and bill of rights in a desperate attempt to stave of the “collapse of civilization” as we know it week after week. While I initially enjoyed the first few seasons I watched 24, the constant need to suspend belief—terrorist are easily able to take over a Russian nuclear missile sub which docks at an unprotected dock in Los Angles—in fact it was practically deserted, I’ve seen better protected long term parking lots—and are able to take it over by easily killing the crew AND know how to run said submarine—although the real whoopers were generally reserved for the show’s main character, Jack Bauer. Bauer never needed to go the bathroom or eat, was able to get cell phone service at all times—even underground (!), he was able to drive across LA in 20 minutes—in rush hour (!!!). Clearer Bauer’s talents were wasted as a secret agent; he should have been a traffic planner for the state of California or a cell phone engineer for Verizon or Sprint.


Homeland by contrast concentrates on the day to day details of the agents and their lives as well as the bureaucratic maneuvering that takes place within the CIA. Unlike 24 where the entire government apparatus was seen mostly as an impediment to Bauer and his team—“Cloey, get me into that server, we can’t wait on the higher up’s to put down their after dinner sherri—I need access NOW!!!”—Homeland’s characters recognize they are part of the government—even with they don’t agree with it, they readily acknowledge they part of the system and don’t fall back on the “great man” clichés like most shows of this ilk do, e.g.. “If only the President knew, he’d help us out….” In fact 24 even went so far as to have Bauer constantly appealing to the President on screen who would then actively intervene to get Bauer what he wanted or needed. Homeland has kept the President off camera for this series which is a much more likely outcome as the President would likely deal with most people through his staff or cabinet and the President can’t afford to undercut his staff/cabinet by constantly intervening and by passing them.


While Homeland is nominally about Claire Daines character, CIA case agent, Carrie Mathison, and her target/lover Nicholas Brody, played by Damien Lewis, I think the character of Saul Bernstein, Carrie’s mentor and boss, played with wonderful understatement by Mandy Patinkin, is the most interesting. What is so fascinating about his character is unlike your typical intelligent type he is not concerned with day-to-day intelligence. Most spy novels/stories/series are usually very dependent on this type of information to keep the plot moving as well as to provide constant cliff hangers, not so in Homeland.


Homeland is about Bernstein’s attempt to use the number two man of Iranian intelligence to try and change the policy of Iran and the US to force some type of peace. Bernstein is trying to use an “asset”, in this case the turned Director of Iranian intelligence, to convince that asset that he will be able to influence Iranian policy so that US and Iran can finally broker a peace to the cold war between the Islamic Republic and the US that has been going on ever since the overthrow of the Shah back in 1978.


It’s a fascinating premise that rests on a few assumptions, one, history is made more by people than by events—it is more important who is in charge of a government rather than the events surrounding who is in charge. This first point is more of a variation of the “great man” theory I spoke of earlier. Two, people will generally try and do what leaves them the biggest mark in history books—the whole premise of series is deputies and assistants on both sides are dying to reverse policy if not for their stubborn superiors.

I have lot more trouble with the second premise than the first. Most governments can’t be changed by simply changing the person in charge—most government policies don’t stop with the President or the Secretary of State, policies tend to percolate up through a bureaucracy which water down and reduce most polices to the thin gruel like “consensus”. 


Expecting that you can remove one leader and change the policy is not something I find supported by most of history—leaders have less to do with historical events themselves but rather the timing of the historical events. For example, while the military and organizational genius of specific historical leaders like Bonaparte or Hitler trigger specific historical events like the Napoleonic Wars or World War II, I would argue that those nations would eventually have fought those wars eventually, or at least serious disturbed the international equilibrium,  at some point as they are less the personal ambition of one man then the an attempt by a nation or a people to gain more power among other nations due to the advances of their nations. If nations outlaw wars they would be freezing the international status quo at the moment—for example, if you outlaw wars before 1776 there is no United States.


I also find Homeland interesting in that it stands the traditional relationship of intelligence communities to political leaders on its head in so far as that it is not political leaders who already have the answers seeking to force their conception of reality on to the intelligence, e.g., the Bush administration run up to its invasion of Iraq in 2003, but rather the other way around. The CIA has its own policy that it is attempting to implement by moving up an asset and then essentially counting on that person, once in power and under limited US control, to willing go along with the policy as in Iran’s, as well as the US’s, best interest.

I find the prospect of this working both comforting and disquieting at the same time. I find it comforting that the US would have intelligence analysis this deep and this clever. On the other hand they are not elected by the people, and despite the flaws of our political process, that is ultimately what confirms all political legitimacy in the US system. Without the stamp of the ballot box, the US government is just a banana republic with a well written constitution.





I’m running a new game.  Each of you send me $100.  I will let you know who wins.



Octopus’s Garden

Issue Eighty-Five

29th December 2013



HELLO, good evening and welcome to Octopus’s Garden, the subzeen with its very own waiting list for a 7 x 7 Gunboat Diplomacy tournament. It is a subzeen to Jim Burgess’ The Abyssinian Prince, which is now a subzeen to Douglas Kent's Eternal Sunshine. It's produced by Peter Sullivan, It's also available on the web at:


Convention News

Now that the long winter nights are beginning to lighten up again, it's time to start thinking about games-playing events for 2014. One of the longer-running British games events is Baycon. I actually remember attending at least one of the first of these, back in the days when it was held in Torbay.

I did hear a scurrilous rumour some years ago that the move away from Torbay was demanded by a group of senior gamers, who had brought their wives along to the convention, enticed with the lure of a weekend down at the seaside. Said wives had disappeared off for a collective shopping session in Torbay town centre on the Saturday afternoon, whilst their husbands were playing a short game of Empires of the Middle Ages, or some such. The husbands didn't discover quite the scale or size of the aforesaid shopping session until a month later, when the credit card bills arrived. Allegedly, a deputation was sent to the convention committee to ask them to move the event to a less attractive venue for the “Diplomacy widows”   or at any rate, one with fewer expensive shops nearby.

All of which is entirely anecdotal, and I have no idea if it is true or not. As it is, Baycon has been settled down at the Exeter Court Hotel, Kennford, Exeter, for a good number of years now. It's right at the southern tip of the A38, the road nicknamed “the longest country lane in Britain.” It stretches from here, just south of Exeter, through Birmingham (where it briefly becomes motorway in the run-up to the infamous Spaghetti Junction interchange), then on to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. Ending a total of over 292 miles north of where it started. I know that Americans won't be that impressed by the concept of a 292-mile road. But trust me, in Britain, that's A LONG WAY.

The dates for Baycon in 2014 are 24th to 27th April, and the convention fee is £15 for the whole weekend, or £5 a day (in both cases, payable on the door). Accommodation should be booked directly with the hotel, but mention Baycon to get the special convention rate. More details (together with some distinctly dodgy mugshots of the convention committee!) can be found on the Baycon website at

Meanwhile, in local news, we still have two more slots in our 7 x 7 Gunboat Diplomacy tournament:



7 x 7 Gunboat Diplomacy: Five signed up. (2 wanted)


That was Octopus's Garden #85, Startling Press production 372.











Not Lepanto 4-ever LXII #4

by Per Westling (LHCper AT


Time for another sporadic contribution. As always reactions are welcome, to Doug or to me at the address above.

Last time I tried to run some Bridge problems. Did not get any reaction to that so I guess I can skip that. So time for something different.


This time of year it is common that you reflect of the year that just have passed and to look ahead of the year to come. Let's start with the latter.


I both look forward and not to the year to come. One of the things that I fear is the upcoming elections, both for our national parliament here in Sweden and also the European Parliament in EU. The latter election takes place some time before the former. The reason I do fear this is the growing “right-wing” wind that is blowing around Europe. The extreme right-wing movements have similar traits in different countries and have made big advancement of their cause in countries like Greece, Hungary, Netherlands and Norway. The movements have some things in common; they are often conservative, nationalistic, anti Islam, anti imigration, rastistic and fascistic. Sometimes even nazistic with fallback to argumentation heard during the 1930s. Even if not all of these traits can be found in their officiall standing you can find it among their supporters.


I do read quite a lot of this trash on the Internet and try to do what I can to fight against it (with words only, of course). I do believe that the major problem is the increasing economic chasms. Increasing unemployment, youngsters without hope for the future, increasing poverty – all these, and more, causes the “right-wing” to gain in strength. So, 1930s is back and maybe here to stay. How will this end?


Another trend is the increasing surveillance, mainly powered by the US and the UK. It sure looks bothersome if that trend is combined with the above. Can you say 1984...? So, the future does not look that bright.


But on a more positive note there are things I do look forward to. Some of these are related to sports. It is not long to go before the Winter Olympics take place, but there is one event that I regard as much more interest and that is the World Cup taking place in Brazil. Together with Summer Olympics this are the BIG event when it comes to worldwide interest. Football (or Soccer, if you must) is the #1 sport in so many countries around the world.

For my part I have been interested in the world cup since a was a child. I have also read quite a lot about it as it has an interesting history. And it has always been a big interest for it here in Sweden. Ever since the World Cup in Sweden 1958 I believe Brazil (which beat Sweden in the final, 5-2) has been held in high regard. BTW, Brazil-Sweden is the nations that have met the most times during the history of the World Cup, that is 7 times! So, with world cup coming “home” to Brazil this year I believe it will be a great show.


Text Box: Illustration 1: The Meandros flag that is the symbol of the Greece Golden DawnI do know there have been quite a lot protests in Brazil. It is a highly corrupted country, and they have spent LOTS of money to built, and repair extering, stadiums. But I still hope this will be a great party. And party is something the Brazilians love...


I did suggest to Doug that maybe we should run some kind of competition based on the World Cup? If he wont I can run it in this 'zine. Have some ideas on how it can be run. As it is run during a month doing a “Fantasy Football” wont work, but some kind a prediction on the final standings should be possible. If you think it is a good idea let me, or Doug, know.


Looking backwards 2013 have been an intersting year in many aspects. Some things might take years before the significance becomes clear. I wont go into those things but instead I will just do a trivial walk through of some of the great songs of 2013; either because they are great, or had have some significance of my year. This list is in no way complete and is not ordered. I have tried to keep to songs that the rest of you can understand as well.

1.                One of the lists for 2012 put Solange “Losing you” on the top. This was a song that came rather late during 2012 but it stayed with me for some time during 2013 and is still good. Someone described this as Seagull R'n'b and that is very appropriate.

2.                Imagine Dragons is a Vegas band that has made success on the net. They have also made music for the Hunger Game movie. From their 2012 album Night Vision there are two songs that I played a lot during 2013: “Radioactive” and “On Top Of The World”.

3.                Synth pop was a musical style that was very strong in the 80s. Nowadays the electronic component can be found natural in many songs. But there are still synth pop groups. One of them that had a hugh hit during 2013 is the Scottish band Chvrches (pronounces as churches) with their “The Mother We Share”.

4.                Hip-hop is a style that many have a hard time with. I believe there are good songs and bad songs in any style. In Sweden we have had a great hip-hop year. One of the best new artists are Elliphant. For this list I have choosen two songs, “Music Is Life” and “Could It Be”.

5.                One song that was different, almost a capella style, is “Royals” by Lorde, fron New Zealand. Minimal electronica might be the right name for this style.

6.                Covers might be the greatest praise of a song or an artist. Sometimes even big artist with a great number of songs do this. An example of this is Ellie Goulding which had a great year in 2013. But the song that might have made the greatest impression was her version of the 1990 “How Long Will I Love You” by The Waterboys.

7.                Speaking of Ellie she has done some acts together with Skrillex and Calvin Harris, that brings me to another genere, namely house. In 2013 there were several swedish acts that did make great success. One of those was Swedish House Maffia that made their last appearance in 2013 before split and going solo. From their production I choose “Don't You Worry Child”.

8.                Text Box:  Illustration 2: Zara LarssonSo, can you mix House with any other genre? Maybe not but the Swede Avicii did show that you can mix it with Country & Western in the song “Wake Me Up”.

9.                Another Swede is the just 16 year old Zara Larsson that had a monster hit with her “Uncover”. She did perform this during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies which is a good indication on how big she became in main stream.

10.             Bastille made a great mash-up cover but their song I did enjoy most was “Pompei”. I think they would be intersting to watch live.

11.             What is the best album 2013? Have not yet decided which but “Random Access Memories” sure made a great impression. Disco revival, sort of, of which “Get Lucky” is a good selection, with song by Pharell Williams.

12.             On Swedish wikipedia Lana Del Rey some of the genres she is connected with is barock pop and sadcore... Don't know about that but I select “Summer Time Sadness” as a good representative for 2013.

13.             Another Swedish hip-hop artist that have made a great song for 2013 is Mapei with her “Don't Wait”. What can I say?

14.             Let's add some drum-based-band with “We Are Young” by Fun.

15.             I'll end with another artist that I had never heard of when 2013 started but which have made another great song, and that is Seinabo Sey with her “Younger”.


I am sure that all our lists would look very different but this is my current top music list for 2013, even though it contains some 2012 songs...


If you want to listen to the above, I have made a playlist in Spotify. You can try


So, that was all for today.

A New York Times Trip to Western Europe: Travelogue

By Barbara Kent, Roving Reporter and Globetrotter


This is my log of my recent NY Times trip to Western Europe.  I had an absolutely fantastic time and I am so glad that I went.  The speakers were terrific and the people on the trip were so well informed and so friendly.  The places we visited were not my first choice, but I went on this trip for the NY Times speakers and I could not have asked for more or better.  It was just an amazing experience. 


I started by flying to London two days before the trip officially began.  In London, I saw Macbeth at the Globe and it was the theatrical experience of a lifetime.  Before the play, I went to a lecture by a world famous scholar on Macbeth.  I learned so much, especially with regard to Macbeth's total lack of remorse or redemption.  I am always impressed with how much I don't know.  Then the next night I saw From Here to Eternity.  While I usually do not like musicals, this one was quite good and conveyed the brutality and sadness and frustration clearly.  Taking a taxi back to the hotel after the shows was beautiful.  The city was lit up, especially the London Eye and the bridges as well as the Buckingham Palace and surrounding area.  After the Olympics, apparently London just took off.  The city is bustling and bursting with tourists.  Businesses are booming.  Restaurants and traffic (despite congestion pricing) galore. The cabs are all modern and equipped with a microphone system between driver and passenger.     It is very similar to NYC in the liveliness.


A big difference is that there is virtually no construction.  


What is very disturbing is that the Red Cross, for the first time since the end of WWII, has declared a hunger emergency in England.  At the end of November, it will go into food stores and ask shoppers for donations which will be given to food banks.  And there are politicians who are saying awful things about the hungry.  And there is a growing homeless problem.  And the government sold the Royal Mail to private investors for a giveaway price!!!

When I left Macbeth, there were no taxis.  We (about 300 of us--mostly young) all had to take about a ten minute walk to a main street where I got a cab.  There was not a single policeman along the entire walk.  For that matter, I never saw any police in London.    Also, no dogs or cats.  

London is really expensive.  $180.00 including tip to go by taxi from the airport to my hotel.  I am glad I don't live here.  My hotel was very nice and the staff was delightful.  They made a real effort to remember each guest personally.  

Yesterday, Saturday, we drove from London to Harwich which is the port from which we departed.  Drove through farmland and small towns.  Saw horses and many cows.  The houses were primarily attached with no lawns.  The front areas are bricked over so that the cars can park there instead of on the street.    Saw three dogs.  Then in the evening we went to a cocktail party with the Times columnists.  It was just amazing to talk informally with them.  And then dinner.  As I have already told you, I have met some really nice women so far--two named Barbara, one Sue (from Australia) and one Diane from Brooklyn.   It makes the trip a real pleasure.  


Also, the dinners are so great.  I just love the conversations.  Everything from theater to WWII.  The people are so pleasant and nice and really bright.  


After leaving London, we docked in Le Havre and drove from Le Havre to Paris.  We passed through a lot of lush farm land and some nice villages.  Again we saw horses and cows.  Le Havre was the last city to be liberated from the Nazis, but the liberation involved destroying the city via bombing.  But it was all re built.  We arrived in Paris where it was chilly, but very sunny and I had on the proper clothes.  We drove around and saw (spelling and order not correct) the Arch de Triomphe, La Place De Concorde, the Champs Elysee, Latin Quarter, Paris Opera House, Ministry of Justice, Hotel des Invalides, Luxembourg Gardens, Pantheon, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre.  Rousseau, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie and the leader of the Resistance are buried at the Pantheon, among others.  The Louvre was once a royal palace, but Louis the 14th was insecure there due to a childhood assassination attempt and so he had Versailles built as his palace.    Due to his insecurity, he also did not want any trees planted on the various boulevards.  Both Louis the 14th and Napoleon were big supporters of the Hotel des Invalides since both fought many wars and had many wounded soldiers in need of care.  Napoleon is buried at the Hotel des Invalides and that as you probably know, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame are under the Arch de Triomphe.  


Paris is absolutely beautiful to behold.  All the gold and wide streets and trees in the sunshine.  But along with all of this, I saw an awful lot of homeless men sleeping on the sidewalks.  But not on the Champs Elysee.  I also saw five dogs.  The Paris Marathon was being run today.  There was a large police presence.  But as soon as the marathon was over, the police disappeared.  


After the bus tour, we were dropped at the Eiffel Tower for two hours during which time I had lunch at an outdoor cafe.  And I got to watch a woman change her top with no bra right on the plaza at the Tower. Would this be done in NYC?  Living in SI and coming in just for plays, etc. I really don't know.  There was not enough time to go up the Tower.  This was the one real glitch.  Either we should have only stayed one hour or stayed two and a half hours which is the time needed to go up the Tower.  The Tower was built in 1889 for the World's Fair to celebrate the French Revolution of 1789.  There are 1789 steps to the top.  The Eiffel Tower has been sold to a private person for one Euro as the government does not have the money to maintain it.  Why not just raise the admission prices, I do not know.  

Then we took a cruise on the Seine River which was beautiful especially as the sun was shining on the water and the bridges. We supposedly went under 22 bridges (but I think we went under fewer) and there are 36 bridges in Paris all together.  

City Isle which was the original Paris and houses Notre Dame is just beautiful.  The Cathedral in the sun is magnificent.  I should say that my pictures are sorely lacking due to the camera and to my lack of skill.  

My companion for most of the day was Sue from Australia.  She is doing the 42 day trip.  

Anyway, I had a wonderful day.  I am so enjoying myself.  Tomorrow on to Normandy.  The next day will be talks by the NY Times columnists.  


Normandy was disappointing.  Rain and mud and the American cemetery is closed due to the government shut down.  Also, the guide talked mostly about the Norman invasion from five or six hundred years ago. 


Had my hair done on the ship.  The hair dresser is from Australia.  There are a group of 120 people on the ship from Australia all doing the 42 day tour.  Sue is one of them.  According to the hairdresser many of the staff are from Australia and they are mostly young and seeing the world.  This is very different from the staff on the Princess line cruise that Millie and I took where the staff were mostly Philippine and were all doing it for a life time and really missed their families, but needed to send money to their families.  This assumes that the hair dresser was telling the truth as to his motivation and not doing this because he could not get a job at home.


By the way, the day after I went to the Eiffel Tower, there was a bomb scare there and it had to close and there were police with machine guns etc. all over the place.  Those on our trip who went to Paris on the second day (I did it on the first day) were apparently quite frightened.  

Also, in France, stores are closed on Sunday.  But both workers and customers apparently want to have stores such as home improvement stores open on Sunday.  Given the 14% unemployment rate, many people think the stores should be opened, but the courts have ruled that they must be closed under the current law.  Furthermore, some legislators maintain that Sunday is a day of rest and is the French way of life.  Were they to open, it would be the American way of life.    


I love the dinners.  We have discussed Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, mortgages, financial meltdown etc. all from a liberal point of view.  It is great fun for me.  


Our next day was at sea and we started the actual Times lectures and this is everything I hoped it would be.  The first speaker was Elizabeth Bumiller who spoke about General Mayhem which was about the misbehavior sexually of the generals and how this is replicated at the lower levels.  The sense of entitlement, the large homes, the large staffs enjoyed by the generals, etc.  The proposed legislation in the Senate and the possible effect of having more women in the armed services.  


The second speaker was Tim Egan who spoke about the Dust Bowl and how it was created and how it was somewhat ended.  The government want the plains to be settled and the railroads wanted farmers to live in the plains and use the railroads that were being built.  So the government doubled the Homestead Act and the railroads went to Europe and encouraged people to come to the plains in the US.  All the green grass in the prairie that took millennium to develop was destroyed by the farmers turning up the grass and planting wheat but the market for wheat collapsed when Russia re-entered the export market for wheat after the end of WW1.  Then the farmers turned up more land and planted more wheat to cover bank notes but the oversupply just finally really collapsed the prices for wheat and the land was then left turned up with no planting and then came the dust bowl.  There had always been great winds and drought in the prairie, but now the dirt had been loosened as well.  So it was a man-made instance of climate change.  He is a real raconteur and he made the tragedy and poverty come alive as the winds blew the dirt so hard that you could not see in front of you.  Many people died of dirt pneumonia.  One third of the population left the plains, but two thirds (two million) stayed and suffered.  But for many, many of them, it was the first time they owned anything and they were not giving it up.  It is an amazing historical story.  


Our third speaker, David Sanger, discussed leaks and when and how the Times decides to publish something.  He started with the Cuban missile crisis.  The intelligence that Moscow was going to put nuclear weapons in Cuba was wrong.  The weapons were already there.  The choices that Kennedy had were either to attack or to blockade.   Anyway, for thirteen days, in secret, they worked out a face saving deal with the Soviets.  The secrecy allowed this deal to be worked out.  In comparison, with Syria, Obama basically negotiated with himself in public.  No secrecy at all.  Probably the right decision was reached ultimately, but it was all done in public.  


With regard to wrong intelligence, the CIA was wrong regarding Russia and then China's nuclear capabilities.  As a matter of funny fact, the CIA gave Truman a memo saying Russia was at least a year away on the same day that Russia exploded a test nuclear weapon in 1949.  Apparently, Truman was not amused.  So when asked regarding Iraq, the CIA was determined not to make the same mistake again and be too cautious.  So it extrapolated from 1998 when the inspectors left and give its wrong opinion in 2003, but wrong the other way this time.   


With regard to when to publish, these are the guidelines:  it will not publish if there may be a loss of life or the event is on-going.  It will publish if the material is historical or the only reason the government wants to withhold it is to prevent itself from being embarrassed.   Pentagon Papers and Wiki Leaks were histories.  But they withheld a story on our cooperation with Pakistan to secure its nuclear weapons for three years.  Snowden contained operational details which the Times did not publish though other publications did publish.  


DOJ is investigating Sanger regarding his book on the computer virus war created with Israel against Iran.  DOJ has settled the leak by a former FBI agent to the AP regarding the Saudi double agent in Yemen and the terror plot.  


Wendy Schiller is a Brown professor and has been for the last 19 years.  Her topic was whether the Constitution is outdated and whether issues transcend time.  She is a real live wire disagreeing with Republicans and Democrats, Obama and Hillary.  Extremely lively to listen to.  Quotes from the founding fathers.   Given the quotes, I would have to say that many of the old issues and compromises are still relevant today.  But not all.  For example, Jefferson's opinions regarding slaves and what should be done with them (send them all back to Africa) when they are freed is pretty outdated today.  He really thought black people are as stupid as the day is long.  But public debt and the need to curtail it, along with a limited federal government, are certainly current topics.  When does debt end?  What kind of country could the US be if it had less debt?  What about social and religious diversity?  Should it be equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?  These are just some examples. 


On the next day, we went to the Bordeaux region--not the city of Bordeaux and some people are going nuts complaining.  They are angry that Le Hare was far from Paris and now we are not actually in Bordeaux.  They feel that Celebrity Lines did not properly advertise the trip.   I thought one man would just break down and cry.  


What we did was see several places in the Bordeaux region with more places tomorrow.  We started in La Rochelle.  Apparently, Le Havre was the last town freed in conjunction with the Normandy invasion.  La Rochelle was the last town in France that was freed.  My ignorance!!  It is a commercial port for imports such as timber from Africa and flowers from So. America and an export port for French products such as salt.  It was formed in 976 and for a long time many Huguenots lived there.  But they are Protestants and the rulers wanted this to be a Catholic country and so they finally agreed to leave.  They went all over the world including the US where they formed New Rochelle.  

Then we went to Rochefort which was formed in 1666 by Louis the 14th (Sun King) because he wanted to maritime security for his country and himself.  On the drive there and back, I notices that the overwhelming number of autos are French--Citroen, Peugeot or Renault.  Very few from other countries.  Also, there are traffic circles every two-three minutes unless you are on a super highway.   We went to Chateau de la Roche Courbon.  It was built in the 15th Century and it was apparently being neglected when in 1908 a man named Pierre Loti wrote a column in the newspaper asking someone to come to its rescue and buy and maintain it.  Someone did and owned it in his family for 100 years.  Then about five years ago, a father bought it for his daughter and son in law to live in and they really do live in this huge castle.  If you own a castle and open it to the public, you get a tax break.  And in this case, (and I assume other castles as well) you also get to charge for tours and have  a small gift shop.  There was a copper collection in the kitchen that Dick would have died for.  It was just magnificent.  

We were supposed to go to a great outdoor market.  But it poured.  So we went to the maritime museum and library which was a complete dud.  Everyone was very annoyed.  It was a disappointment, but the castle was very nice.  Rochefort is an old city but the surrounding area is either farmland or suburbs with very nice albeit small new homes mostly in developments.  Homes that we used to consider to be starter homes when that concept existed.

The weather has not been great to  say the least.  It was pouring when I left, but by the first stop, the sun was out.  Then it poured again.  I really don't care.  I am having a great time. 


 On the second day in this region there was no rain and it was even somewhat sunny.  I went to the Isle of Re. 


First, we went past the prison on the Isle of Re.  Until 1952, France used penal colonies.  Since then, it uses domestic prisons.  The walls surround a wide open area, so they have to put thin wire in the air above the walls to prevent helicopters from landing and freeing the prisoners!!  This is in the village of La Flotte.  The homes are made of limestone and are very nice in the suburbs of Flotte and the village has been voted one of France's best villages.  But in the village, the homes are much older.  The homes have walls or bamboo trees around them to protect them from the winds (and maybe the tourists).


Then we went to Ars where we saw the only remaining Romanesque church left on the island.  In the past, people would put pictures of their ships beneath pictures of the Virgin Mary to ask her to protect the ship when it was out at sea.  


Between the villages is marsh land where birds flying between Scandinavia and Africa land to rest and eat, donkeys that allegedly are very sweet and have long hair.  We saw Egrets.  Also, between the villages on the roads and highways are huge crosses with Jesus Christ being crucified.  It is amazing.  You could never have such statues on public lands in the US.  But here in France, you can have statutes on public lands but can't wear a cross or face covering to class in a public school while you can in the US. 


Every village has a town hall and some amount of graffiti.  


Finally, we went to the village of St. Marteen.  Saw a great old church from the 16th and 17th and 18th centuries.  Many wars between France and England and so the church kept getting destroyed and rebuilt.  Sometimes, the French destroyed the church to prevent the English from using it.  Very smart.    During the French revolution, about 1000 priests were held in this area and eventually killed or died of disease.  


In WWII, the Germans built five submarine bases on the French coast, one of which is in La Rochelle and one on the Island.  

Napoleon's last three days on French soil before the British exiled him were on a very small island off this island.  

I finished up by having a glass of wine at an outdoor cafe as I did in Paris.  


BTW, in St. Marteen, I bout you some liquor that the island is famous for.  Who knows if it is any good.  If you don't like it, you can just throw it out.  But I am bringing it with me, not shipping it.  


Now about Bilbao, our next port  about 45% of the population speaks Basque as opposed to or in addition to Spanish.  The island is beautiful.  There is a funicular (spelling) to the top of the mountains.  


In WWII, the Basque region did not support Franco.  So Franco with the aid of the Germans bombed Balbao and surroundings and killed approximately 20,000 civilians.  


They are very proud of their hanging/suspension bridge.  It is made of iron and designed by the same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower.  It was built from 1890-93 and is the first such bridge in this area.  


The city of Bilbao is divided into two banks by a river.  There used to be 19 bridges over the river--now only 13.  Three are 9 Michelin stars in Spain--7 are in the Basque region.  But the Basque region has only 6% of the Spanish population.  Balbao has the largest indoor market in Europe and is surrounded by mountains.  In the 1980's it was totally flooded and much had to be rebuilt.  In this regard, the national theater which is similar to the Paris opera was building the early 18th century but has been remodeled many times.  The first bank was built in the early 19th century because there was so much money in the city.  But it too has been rebuilt many times.  A beautiful library was built in 1888 and still is in use as built.  The trolley still runs and there is a very tall (WOW) building in the center of town which has 41 stories!!


Typical workers take lunch from 2-4 but work until 8 at night.  


Execution bridge dates way back to when guilty people were thrown off the bridge in front of large crowds--not the method used now!!


Finally, we finished up at the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao which was built in 1997.  It is an amazing structure made of Russian titanium.  Everything that comprises the structure is curved.  There are exhibits outside and inside.  Across from the museum is a university and a beautiful convent which is now a school  Apparently, nuns do not live in convents anymore in Spain although there are crosses in public areas.  It was designed by Frank Gehry.  The NY Guggenheim was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  


Some of the inside exhibits are a Warhol silk screen of Marilyn Monroe; a Gilbert and George silk screen of the London scene in the 1960's; a huge copper exhibition; and Alex Katz's Smiles.  Outside are exhibits depicting a huge dog, flowers, fog, water on fire and a massive spider.  It is all interesting and unusual to say the least, but certainly not my kind of art.  


The boat did not rock last night since we were in port, but now we are on our way to Vigo and the boat is already rocking.  This morning, I just relaxed and had my hair done again.    This afternoon we listened to Elizabeth Bumiller and David Sanger.  Later, we hear David again and then it is a formal night.  


Elizabeth spoke about the world of drone pilots.  I think I have become a fan of drone strikes.  Three purposes:  obviously to kill the enemy, but also to provide intelligence and to provide protection for American or Allied ground troops.  She spoke about the fact that when she was finally given permission to interview Pentagon drone pilots, she asked them if they suffered any regret or if they become attached to their targets in the instances in which they monitor a compound for weeks or months before launching a missile.  After all, in the compounds are mothers, fathers, children playing soccer, etc.  They said they had no regrets or remorse, but yes they do get attached to the people they monitor.  They are doing their duty.  But chaplains and counselors are being moved into and/or near drone bases.  Also, a drone strike though launched from far away requires a spotter who by definition must be nearby.  In Afghanistan, this is a member of our armed forces.  But allegedly in Waziristan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, are they local informants or Americans?  The plan in a few years is to have drones flying all over the world 24/7.  She also spoke of the time she was at an army camp when it was attacked and that a drone was called in to attack the attackers.


So this raises the question--do you support drone warfare?  Fewer unintended consequences (albeit not none) and safety for our troops versus so lowering the bar that we may enter a war too cavalierly. 


One more thing about drones--In addition to us, China, Israel and Hezbollah have drones.  Maybe other countries also.  Once Bibi was in a helicopter and had to make an emergency landing because a drone operated by Hezbollah was over Israeli airspace and the Israeli military had to destroy it before Bibi could return to the air.


Sanger's presentation was on Iran: Iran, will it have a deal, a bomb or be bombed in a year.  The audience seems to think it will have a deal.  I think it will have a bomb.  He would not give his opinion.  He explained to us the stages of bomb development and how you need to get the fuel (uranium or plutonium) and spin it in centrifuges to 95% enrichment and then design the bomb and the delivery system (missile, airplane or donkey cart).  At 5 % enrichment you need three times as long as at 20% enrichment to get to 95%.  Apparently, the US and Israel disagree on the time line but only by months.  The real disagreement is what is the breaking point--capability to make a bomb (Israel) or getting a bomb (US).  


Sanger explained how he originally thought the sanctions would never lead to serious negotiations but now obviously he thinks he has been proved incorrect.  The inflation rate is 45%, the Rial has collapsed, fuel exports have collapsed and Iran is cut off from the international banking system.   The population is two thirds urban and is hurting.  So one question is whether the Iranians are rational and what is the minimum they would accept in a deal? 


Next question is Bibi rational and what level of risk can Israel safely sustain?  This is a problem.  Iran has disbursed its various nuclear facilities.  Not just one site as in Syria and Iraq in 1981.  So can Israel wage an effective campaign again Iran's nuclear facilities.  Israel practices this over the Mediterranean all the time and says it can.  However, the newest known facility at Qom is 250-300 meters underground.  The best Israel can destroy is 75 meters underground.  The US has a MOP (Massive Operational Penetration) bomb which is delivered by a B-2 which can bomb to this depth.  But to the best we know, Israel does not have this ability.  But Israel is trying to get this ability.   Both Bush and Obama denied Israel's request to be given this bomb. It would be worse to bomb badly then not to bomb.  There is also a heavy water facility in the Iranian desert which is supposed to be completed by the end of 2014.  There is no nuclear fuel there now. Israel says it will not let fuel be placed there.  We apparently believe Israel on this despite other red lines that have be crossed without an Israeli reaction.  Especially because bombing a nuclear facility that has nuclear fuel will cause a wasteland.  That is another risk factor for Israel.  Even if Israel could bomb Iran 200 times and Iran could only bomb Israel once, once would be enough given how little Israel is.  


Another question--has another country such as Pakistan or N. Korea already given Iran the design for a nuclear bomb and/or miniaturization?


Final question--what will Obama accept?  


On Sunday, I went to Baiona and Viga, Spain which form an area fairly near the Portuguese border.  About a five hour drive to Madrid and one hour drive to Portugal.  


In Baiona, we climbed to the top of a beautiful old fort which overlooked the beautiful bay of Viona.  Originally, this area was a fishing village and was taken over by the Romans, then the Moors and then the British and The French attacked.  Now it is primarily residential with beautiful homes around a beautiful water front.  Many homes are second homes, but nowadays with higher taxes and higher unemployment, people can't buy them and so the prices have come down.  All the stores were closed and even the Church was empty.  But all the bars and restaurants, of which there were many, were busy.  The one noticeable difference from NYC is that the adults are at the tables and babies are with them in strollers.  The older children are playing in the plazas nearby. There is no traffic and no one is looking after the children.  The children seem to have such freedom.    


Same graffiti and same work hours as in Bilbao.  Also, they have their own language in addition to Spanish.


Then we went to Vigo on the gulf of Vigo.  We went to the top of the city which is also a fort, but mostly demolished to see a panoramic view of Vigo.  Many nice homes.  Vigo is a huge commercial port.  After the tour ended, I went to the Old City of Vigo by myself and walked around.  Beautiful old streets and buildings.  Most stores other than restaurants were closed.  Due to the rain, many of the restaurants were also closed.  Can't imagine all the stores being closed in NY due to rain.  Spoke to one store owner who was open.  He is struggling.  I bought a table cloth and three tiny vases.  He was a really nice man.  The Church was open.  When the rain took a break, I saw a beautiful rainbow.  A new big indoor market place was open and there was a flea market going on.  I went in there for a while and had ice cream and bought a painting from a local artist.   


There is a lot of security at the ports in Spain and a lot of cars from other European countries--maybe because there is no Spanish car industry.  I do not know  Also, Vigo has a lot of greenery.  And another difference with the US is the way elderly people in the street are helped.  It is amazing.  


Sunday evening, I had dinner with Elizabeth Bumiller, her husband, David Sanger and his wife.  What a conversation and not just political although they all think Hillary is running.  They think that is a fact and not an opinion.  We also discussed what we did in our lives before retirement and they told what they did before joining and since joining the Times.   I loved it.  The boat is really rocking on our way to Portugal.   


Two points that I neglected to include in my last e mail about the speakers:  Cheney wanted to give the buster bomb to Israel and Bush would repeat his points in the same exact language 150 times while Obama just does not seem to get it that he has to explain things over and over again if he wants to get people to pay attention and understand him. 


Before going out site seeing, this morning David Sanger discussed the Arab spring/revolutions.  First in Tunisia, we were totally unaware what was brewing there.  Apparently, the level of government corruption was extraordinary.  The government was planning shopping sprees in Paris while people were starving and then the fruit vendor lit himself on fire.  The cables from our embassy were very perceptive, but were only read by the Tunisia desk and no one higher up.  


Then in Egypt, we were caught unaware.  Biden and Hillary said to Obama that he should support Mubarak since we do not know who would come after the street protestors dislodged him.  Younger staff people were on the side of the protestors from the beginning.  Hillary went to Cairo and met the protestors and they said right out that they did not care who came next.  Their job was not to govern but to get rid of the dictator.  Which they did.  Then the Muslim Brotherhood won the election, but they did not know how to govern.  Now the military is back in power.  


Then came Libya.  We prevented a massacre and Obama spoke about a duty to protect innocent civilians provided we could do it at basically no cost  So in Syria where the cost would be very high, we are turning our backs on the civilian casualties although we are helping the refugees in Turkey and Jordan.  So it is a duty to protect as long as we can do it on the cheap.  If Assad goes and Al Qaeda assumes control, we can always drone them.    


Our final stop was Porto on Monday.  I bought some Port. 


Porto started as a fishing village and is now the second largest commercial port in Portugal.  It is surrounded by rich suburbs with lovely homes overlooking the shore.  But Porto is a working class city with many poor or abandoned homes and many homes in poor condition.  The minimum and usual salary is 400 Euros a month.  There is some renovation and some nice stores, but not much.  There is some greenery, but not as much as in Vigo.  Our first stop was at a Cathedral, where a beggar approached me and yes, I gave him some money.    There is graffiti as there was in Spain, but here there are a significant number of homes with laundry hanging out to dry.  The port has basically no security.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site.  Along the river, (our second stop was a cruise on the river), are many signs trying to say "cruise" phonetically and they are "Cruz".  Made me laugh.


Then we went to the Port cellars where port aged and bottled.  I tested while and tawny port, but not any ruby port.  There are blends of years in any bottle.  Port is aged from 3-20 years in vats.  The longer the grapes are aged, the drier the port is.  Further aging, if any, is done in bottles and there is only a particular year's grapes in those ports.  They are the reserve ports and are supposedly the best.  


Some history:  in the 15th Century, Portugal was the poorest country in Europe.  In the 18th Century, Portugal obtained Brazil with all its gold and became the richest country in Europe if not the world.  But it dissipated its wealth and went into debt.  In 1927, Salazar became dictator.  He balanced the economy on the back of the poor.  In the 1960s, he engaged in wars with Angola, Mozambique and West Timor to prevent those countries from obtaining independence.  This caused the economy to go bad again and demoralized the youth because they were conscripted at 17 years old.  The wars ended and the military removed Salazar in 1974.  It was called the Carnation Revolution because the military did not fire a single shot at any civilian.   Things got better, but then with the worldwide recession, they have gotten very bad again.  The loans by the IMF and the EU have to be repaid and there is no money.  Income tax is 55%.  Youth unemployment is 50% and many young people are leaving for Angola and Mozambique!!! 


So the country went from a fishing village to a commercial port to an industrial center to currently a port dependent on tourism for its economic survival.  


Why do you think that some militaries, such as Portugal in the Carnation Revolution or Czechoslovakia in the Velvet Revolution, do not kill civilians and others such as in Egypt or China do not hesitate to kill civilians? 


Being here, I have begun to really appreciate how far away the US is from all of this.  The economies are much worse than ours is.  Every tour guide was in a different sector of employment before becoming a tour guide.  Tourism is the only industry that is maintaining itself.  Also, they are closer to Africa both in terms of trade and the tragedies of the African immigrants who are trying to get to Europe by boat.    Boats with immigrants capsizing in the Mediterranean make the news constantly. 

At dinner on Monday night, I had dinner with Wendy and her husband.  We spoke mostly about the need for democrats not only to take on entitlements but also the issue of unwed mothers.  Wendy especially believes that a child born to a typical uneducated unwed mother is at such a disadvantage in life, almost nothing can make up for it. She believes that the democrats are loath to take these issues on, but that the republicans right now are so totally out of control and want not to govern but to destroy government that they give the democrats a pass from addressing entitlements in a serious manner. 


We left Porto about 4 a.m. instead of 6 p.m. due to the very heavy wind.  We are assured that we will make up the time.  The sea is really, really rough and I am glad that I do not get sea sick.  


Today, (Tuesday) Tim Egan spoke about the photos of Edward Curtis.  He did 40,000 photos of American Indians in their native life.  I am always so impressed by my own ignorance.  I had never heard of him.  There is just so much I do not know and never will learn.  His work comprises 20 volumes and is in the Library of Congress.  He almost was not able to complete this work, but JP Morgan lent him $5,000.  Of course the deal was so one sided, that Curtis lost all rights to his own work and never made money from the photographs.  The sea is still very rough. 


Wendy Schiller spoke about Congress and how it works (or doesn't).  It was very technical.  Good for studious Brown students.  She believes that the Constitution should be amended so that House terms are 3 years instead of 2.  A major focus was the difference between the House and the Senate and that it is a mark of our democracy that one person in the Senate can bring things to a halt to prevent an injustice.    However, she believes that the way the filibuster is being used is without precedent .


Then Elisabeth Bumiller spoke about the how a story is put together and gets on the front page of the Times vs. the Times web site.  It really takes time to get on the front page assuming it is not a breaking story.  On the web, the emphasis is on speed.  She also spoke about her life story and the difference between the Washington Post and the NY Times.  I have to say I am impressed with how she traveled to Japan and India with a husband and small child/toddler in her early professional days.  I would never have had the courage to do that. 


Had dinner tonight with Tim Egan and his wife who is of Russian Jewish extraction.  Told them the stories of how grandma and grandpa got to America.  They could not believe that I am a first generation American.  It was a lovely evening.


On the last day, (Wednesday) our sessions were Equality in America:  What Really Constitutes the American Dream with Wendy; Demography as Destiny: the New Political Map of the United States with Tim; Women on the Front Lines with Elisabeth; and the Obama Presidency in Historical Perspective with Wendy.  The sea is calm again. 


The most fascinating was about Women on the Front Lines.  Elisabeth made three trips to Afghanistan.  The first was with the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and she felt thoroughly safe.  However, on the other two, she just went with a female photographer.  On the first of these two trips, she was at a marine camp when they were attacked.  She hit the dirt and was very scared.  But the marines took it all in stride and called in a drone strike.  When she was writing her article, they were worried she might write against the use of drones.  But she assured them she was very favorably disposed to drones after being attacked.  On the second, she and this reporter were trying to interview women attached to all male infantry units and especially the women in the "female engagement teams".  Since male members of the military can't speak to Afghan women, these female service women were to speak to the Afghan women and find out what was needed.  The idea at that time was to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans.  But no one seemed to know where the women were and eventually, Elisabeth and the photographer were just dropped off in the middle of nowhere at a very small base.  They lucked out that a marine from another camp happened to come by and had such teams operating out of his base.  So he took them there. 


According to Wendy, Equality in America and what constitutes the American dream revolve around economic mobility, education opportunity, equal political influence, social and civil equality and religious freedom.  If you look at the gender gap in earnings and the different high school and college graduation rates by race and ethnicity, it appears that we do not yet have equality in America. 


Again, according to Wendy, the Obama Presidency will be judged by the following:  a clear policy vision, communication skills, negotiating skills, and the maximum use of Presidential powers.  At the time of the lecture, the government shutdown was going on, but the health care rollout disaster had not yet occurred.  So it appeared then that the Obama Presidency might be judged as very successful even if he did not rate highly on these four criteria. 


It is hard for me to summarize Wendy's discussions because they are so dense.  But she has forwarded to all of us her power points slides.  So if you want to go back to school--just let me know and I will forward them to you. 


Tim spoke about demography.  He does tremendous research--both via documents and meeting the people and getting their story. 


That's the end.  We had our final cocktail party and dinner tonight and tomorrow, I get off the boat really early.  Since I do not fly out until 4 p.m., I am taking a bus tour of London before being dropped off at the airport.  This has been a truly magnificent trip.  I am so glad I did it. 














An Eternal Sunshine subzine by Heath Gardner



Welcome, one and all, to my second attempt at Diplomacy publication. On the first go-round, I was only 15 years old and dumping all my allowance money into printing costs. Now I’m 30 and I make a whole $30,000 more than I used to make back then – and yet I feel far poorer. Funny how that works.


Luckily for me, I won’t have to pay any printing costs, because the Internet is killing my bread and butter: the printed word. I still make my living off of words, though (check out if you would like to browse my services… shameless plug) and this subzine will feature lots of word games AND A PRESS COMPETITION IN EVERY GAME. In keeping with my word-nerd-ism, I will actually score your press (privately) based on volume and creativity … and the winner of this contest will get a choice from a few different used books on my shelf. It’s all about paying words forward!


This subzine comes thanks to a broken femur and a 6-month recovery period – I’ve got a lot of time, and I am watching too much daytime TV instead of staying sharp with my writing. This is for me as much as it is for you. J


Generally, this opening section will be used to air whatever is on my mind at the time, but since time is short and the deadline is soon, I just wanted to get you used to seeing this stuff so you can sign up.

I’m Reading: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark, Europe: A History by Norman Davies, Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker. All recommended. I generally have 5 or 6 books going at a time and the Kindle has ruined me even more in this respect.


Most recently finished book(s): Game Change: Double Down by the political reporters that wrote “Game Change” about the 2008 campaign. It was a cracking read, I just couldn’t understand how they were able to get the access to hear these politicians being so foul-mouthed and vindictive. Fun read, no matter your side of the aisle. And Budding Prospects: A Pastoral by T.C. Boyle. Boyle is my favorite living writer of fiction, just about – this, an older of his, dealing with some rogue marijuana growers, a cast of weirdo characters and a lot of suspense, is “highly” recommended. It’s serious fiction, don’t let the jokey title and jokey review throw you off. But it’s a pretty freakin’ hilarious book as well.


Listening to: Run the Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike), 10/10, the perfect hip-hop album. Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. Elgar Cello Concerto (Yo-Yo Ma).  Long Live A$AP (A$AP Rocky). Trap Lord (A$AP Ferg). Kendrick Lamar’s album. Frank Zappa – discography. (A friend of mine sent me the ENTIRE Zappa catalog on CD – 90-some albums – after he digitized his library. It’s good to have friends!)


Recently Watched and Liked: Alpha House (Amazon Prime TV series), The Conjuring, The Long Goodbye (Altman’s version starring Eliot Gould), Prisoners, Homeland (Showtime), Frost/Nixon (courtesy of Doug Kent when I won a side game in ES), and Orson Welles’ “The Stranger”. Haven’t seen a movie in theatres since before I broke my leg but it was Gravity, and despite the obvious scientific errors, I loved it.


Playing: Twilight Struggle (board), Texas Hold’em (card, perpetual), NBA 2K14 (PS3), The Last of Us (PS3), Ni No Kuni (PS3 JRPG), X-Com: Enemy Unknown (PC), Shadowrun Returns (PC), Junta (board, re-released for some reason).






Gunboat Diplomacy – signed up: none. Needs 7.


DEVIANT DIPLOMACY II. YES, WE WILL BE GOING DOWN THIS INSANE ROAD. Please see variant rules below. It’s a nerdgasm to be sure. Signed up, Doug Kent, Mike Ruttinger, need 5 more.


Modern Diplomacy (no stinkin’ Wings!) – signed up: Doug Kent, need 9 more. Variant info:


Stonehenge Diplomacy – Signed up: Doug Kent. Needs 8 more.  Variant info here:


Nuclear Yuppie Evil Empire Diplomacy – signed up: Mike Ruttinger, but Jim Burgess better play. Variant info here:




1) Unless stated otherwise, the 1976 Rules for Diplomacy are in effect.


2) Abstract: The basic idea of Deviant Diplomacy II is that players can propose and vote into effect both new rules and rule changes.


3) Seasons: The game is run using three separate seasons: Winter, Spring, and Fall.


For Winter seasons, players will submit Winter orders and proposed Spring rules.


For Spring seasons, players will submit Spring orders, votes on the proposed Spring rules, and proposed Fall rules.


For Fall seasons, players will submit Fall orders and votes on the proposed Fall rules.


4) Beginning the Game: Players will be asked to submit only proposed Spring rules. In the subsequent game report, the GM will publish the proposed Spring rules and request the things needed for the first Spring season, and so the process begins.


5) Proposing Rules: Every Winter and Spring season, a player may propose a rule change or a new rule. If a player fails to propose a rule, then his last proposed rule will be reproposed, unless it has been voted into effect already, in which case the rule's negation is proposed.


6) Restrictions on Proposed Rules: The GM reserves the right to edit or withhold proposed rules, but this should be done only in the most extreme cases which render the game too complex, unplayable, or pointless.


7) Voting on Proposed Rules: Every Spring and Fall season, a player is given a number of votes equal to the number of supply centers he controlled at the end of the previous Fall season. A player can cast all of his votes for one rule, or he can split his votes among multiple rules. Players' votes are published.


8) Resolving Votes: The rule receiving the most votes goes into effect beginning the next season. If there is a tie, then all tied rules go into effect beginning the next season.


9) Victory Condition: To control a majority of the existing supply centers.


10) Notes to GM: When running this variant, the GM will need to make a special effort to keep notes carefully, provide correct information in a clear manner, and so on. It is recommended that the GM prefix proposed rules with the first letter of the proposing power. For example, "(A) Fleets may not convoy." To vote, players would order, for example, "3 votes for Rule A." Vote totals can be reponed like so: "A = 9, E = 3, F = 0, G = 0, I = 3, R = 7, T = 0." A list of rules voted into acceptance will need to be kept and published. These rules can be prefixed by a brief headline. For example, "No Convoy Rule: Fleets may not convoy." Using these methods will result in easier reference for players and GM alike.





FACTS IN FIVE: Need 3-5 players to start, will start with 3. Signed up: Doug Kent. Rules at the bottom of the subzine.  


WOULD YOU RATHER?!: An everybody plays game. It’s like the classic boring game of drawing a card and choosing between two scenarios about which you’d rather do. But in my variant, scoring is assigned based on two factors: CREATIVITY and HUMOR in the response. You may end up way far away from the original thing you’d “rather” do in your response, but if it draws a chuckle, you get points. Each player can get a max of 10 points per turn.

First round: WOULD YOU RATHER have to spoonfeed soft cafeteria food to an aging former President Bush (43, in the future) OR be tasked with cleaning black mold out of the entire Carter Center in Atlanta, GA?


WHERE IN THE WORLD IS KENDO NAGASAKI: I’ve got a person and location in mind. This game is too much fun to only have ONE instance of it running in the zine.

This subzine needs your participation to take off! Please sign up for games, play WYR?! and Kendo...  And if there’s a variant or word game you’re jonesing for, I will run it for you. Just drop me a line.


Facts in Five rules (Stolen from Andy York in a previous ES issue):


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


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


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













Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press – Permanent Opening in ES): Signed up: Paul Milewski, Arthur Shulman, Brad Wilson, Mark Firth, needs three more.

African Dip: Phil Reynolds’ fun map variant.  Needs 6 players.  Rules and map in this issue.  Sign up now!

Gunboat 7x7 Tournament: In Peter Sullivan’s “Octopus’s Garden” subzine.  7x7’s always fill quickly, so email him at to sign up now!  Only 2 spots left!

The following indented listings are just SOME of the games now offered in Heath Gardner’s new subzine Equinox.  Make sure you sign up with him directly for these, not with me.  And check out his subzine to see what other games are offered, including his own game of Kendo Nagasaki.

Modern Diplomacy: A 10-player variant including powers like Poland, Egypt, and Ukraine.  Run by Heath Gardner in his new subzine Equinox.  Contact him at to sign up or to ask for rules and a map.  Signed up: Douglas Kent, needs 9 more.

Gunboat: Also GM’d by Heat in his subzine Equinox.  Contact him at to sign up.

Stonehenge Dip: A 9-player variant, also GM’d by Heat in his subzine Equinox.  Contact him at to sign up.  Signed up: Douglas Kent, needs 8 more.

Deviant Dip: Also GM’d by Heat in his subzine Equinox.  Contact him at to sign up.  Signed up: Douglas Kent, Pete Ruttinger, needs 5 more.

Facts in Five: Also GM’d by Heat in his subzine Equinox.  Needs between 3 and 5 players.  Contact him at to sign up.

Acquire: Can take up to six players.  Signed up: Hank Alme, can take up to five more.

By Popular Demand: New game starts this issue; back to the regular BPD instead of BAPD.  Join at any time. 

Eternal Sunshine Movie Quote Quiz: Join anytime. 

Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?: Rules in ES #58.  Join anytime!  Also a SECOND game being run by Heath Gardner in his subzine Equinox!

Coming Soon?: 1898, Middle Eastern Diplomacy, Balkan Wars VI, Colonia VII-B.  If you’re interested in one of these variants, or have a suggestion, 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 (including Woolworth), Chris Babcock, Marc Ellinger, Heath Gardner, Jack McHugh, and whoever I beg into it in an emergency.










Eternal Sunshine Game Section


Acquire – “Winterbloom”


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



Turn 13


Martin Burgdorf: Plays 9-G and buys three Tower.


Tom Howell: Plays 7-B and buys one Tower (the final available Tower share).


Hank Alme: Plays 1-E.


Per Westling: Swaps one tile (tried to play 7-G which cannot be played).


Martin Burgdorf: Plays 4-H and merges Tower into American.  Martin gets $2,000 while Hank and Per each get $1,000.  Everyone sells their Tower shares. 


Turn 14


Tom Howell has already declared his wish to declare the game over (remember the game does not end until someone declares it over), so since he goes first on Turn 14 I assume he does so.  Hank gets $10,000 for American and Per gets $5,000.  Martin gets $10,000 for Imperial and Per gets $5,000.  All shares are sold to the bank (for $1,000 each by coincidence).  Tom wins!


If you want to write any sort of EOG statement please feel free!  A new game is listed in the Game Opening section if you feel so inclined.  I know this method of rotating turns gets some people a bit irritated at times…I might be willing to try doing one play at a time and emailing results to players as we go, but I’m not sure about that.



Deadline for EOG’s is January 28th at 7am my time.


Diplomacy “Dulcinea” 2008C, W 26/S 27

Austria (Martin Burgdorf – martin_burgdorf “of” Retreat A St Petersburg - Moscow..

 Remove A Moscow, A Finland.. A Belgium - Holland (*Dislodged*, retreat to Picardy or OTB),

 F Gascony - Brest (*Disbanded*), A Paris Supports F Gascony - Brest (*Cut*), A Picardy – Burgundy,

 A Ruhr Supports A Picardy – Burgundy, A Silesia - Munich (*Dislodged*, retreat to Berlin or OTB).

England (Hank Alme – almehj “of” Build A London, F Edinburgh.. F Barents Sea – Norway,

 A Berlin – Munich, A Brest Supports F Mid-Atlantic Ocean – Gascony, F Edinburgh - Norwegian Sea,

 A Holland Supports A London – Belgium, F Kiel Supports A Holland, A London – Belgium,

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

 A Sweden - Finland.

Turkey (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” Build F Smyrna.. F Adriatic Sea - Ionian Sea,

 F Black Sea – Constantinople, A Bohemia Supports A Berlin – Munich, A Burgundy - Paris (*Disbanded*),

 F English Channel Supports A Brest, A Galicia Supports A Warsaw – Silesia,

 F Gulf of Bothnia Supports A Norway - St Petersburg, A Livonia – Prussia, F Mid-Atlantic Ocean – Gascony,

 F Piedmont - Marseilles (*Bounce*), A Sevastopol Supports A St Petersburg – Moscow, F Smyrna - Aegean Sea,

 F Spain(sc) - Marseilles (*Bounce*), A Trieste – Tyrolia, F Tyrrhenian Sea Supports F Adriatic Sea - Ionian Sea,

 F Venice - Adriatic Sea, A Warsaw - Silesia.


F 27 Deadline is January 28th at 7:00am my time




The Emperor to the Sultan: Now you suggest I propose a two way draw A/T and you still "have to decide if you would vote for it"! It is really a great alliance that you and the King have.


“Dulcinea” Diplomacy Bourse



Billy Ray Valentine: Probably in his limousine.


Duke of York: Sells 500 Piastres.  Buys 835 Pounds.


Smaug the Dragon: Snore.


Rothschild: Sells 500 Piastres.  Buys 836 Pounds.


Baron Wuffet: Zip.


Wooden Nickel Enterprises: Still carving on 50 Pound notes.


VAIONT Enterprises: Resting his eyes.


Insider Trading LLC: Grand Jury hearing.


Bourse Master: Stands pat.




Bourse Master: Keep up the good work Turkey!


Rothschild to the Duke of Earl: Bourse Master will finish ahead of you (I predict)


DUKE OF YORK to ROTHSCHILD: Yes, you're right, but being right won't help you, you're still in second place.


DUKE OF YORK to MARKET MAKER GM: That still leaves me just a bit short of 10,000 units of currency.  Still, I may sit on this for a bit, we'll see.


DUKE OF YORK to LAME GM:  You, sir, have no couth!  You couldn't do just that little bit of press reordering to put my very appropriate "So very sorry" comment AFTER Rothschild's comment?  Sorry, but you suck.  Do you even read what you're doing? Of course, we suck even more.  Let's try again.


GM – Duke of York: If you were the Duke of Earl I would do it….


Next Bourse Deadline is January 27th at 7:00pm my time


Diplomacy “Jerusalem” 2012A, F 08

Austria (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” A Tyrolia Supports A Bohemia – Munich,

 A Venice Supports F Tuscany (*Ordered to Move*).

England (John Biehl – jerbil “of” F Baltic Sea Supports A Kiel – Berlin,

 A Belgium Supports A Brest – Picardy, A Brest – Picardy, F English Channel Supports A Spain – Brest,

 F Helgoland Bight Hold, A Kiel - Berlin (*Fails*), F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Convoys A Spain – Brest,

 F North Atlantic Ocean Hold, F Portugal - Spain(sc) (*Fails*), A Ruhr - Kiel (*Fails*), A Spain – Brest,
 F St Petersburg(nc) - Norway.

Germany (Heath Gardner - heath.gardner “of” A Berlin Supports A Bohemia - Munich (*Cut*),

 A Gascony Supports A Marseilles – Spain, A Paris - Brest (*Fails*).

Italy (Mark Firth – mark.r.firth “of” F Adriatic Sea – Trieste,

 A Burgundy - Marseilles (*Bounce*), F Gulf of Lyon Supports A Marseilles – Spain, A Marseilles – Spain,

 F Tunis - North Africa, F Western Mediterranean Supports A Marseilles - Spain.

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

 A Sevastopol Supports F Black Sea - Rumania (*Void*), A Warsaw - Prussia.

Turkey (Geoff Kemp - ggeoff510 “of” F Aegean Sea Hold, F Black Sea Hold, A Bohemia – Munich,

 A Galicia – Bohemia, A Piedmont - Marseilles (*Bounce*), A Rumania – Budapest, A Silesia Supports A Berlin,

 F Tuscany - Piedmont (*Fails*).


W 08/S 09 Deadline is January 28th at 7:00am my time


Supply Center Chart


Austria:            Venice, Vienna=2, Even

England:          Belgium, Brest, Denmark, Edinburgh, Holland, Kiel, Liverpool, London, Norway,

Portugal, Sweden=11, Remove 1

Germany:         Berlin, Paris=2, Remove 1

Italy:                Marseilles, Naples, Rome, Spain, Trieste, Tunis=6, Even

Russia:             Moscow, Sevastopol, St Petersburg, Warsaw=4, Build 1

Turkey:            Ankara, Budapest, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Greece, Munich, Rumania, Serbia,

Smyrna=9, Build 1




(Vienna) Undead? Undead? Someone check that man's pulse!!



Diplomacy “Walkerdine” 2012D, F 04

Austria (paul.milewski “of” A Budapest - Trieste (*Bounce*).

England (Marc Ellinger - mellinger “of”  F Barents Sea Supports A Norway - St Petersburg,

 F Finland Supports A Norway - St Petersburg, A Livonia Supports A St Petersburg - Moscow (*Cut*),

 F North Sea Hold, A Norway - St Petersburg, A St Petersburg - Moscow.

France (Jim Burgess – jfburgess “of” A Belgium Hold, F Brest - Mid-Atlantic Ocean,

 F Rome - Naples (*Fails*), F Tunis - Ionian Sea (*Fails*), A Tyrolia Supports A Bohemia – Vienna,

 F Tyrrhenian Sea Supports F Rome – Naples, F Western Mediterranean Supports F Tyrrhenian Sea.

Germany (Steve Cooley – tmssteve “of” F Baltic Sea - Gulf of Bothnia, A Bohemia – Vienna,

 A Silesia Supports A Warsaw, F Sweden Supports F Baltic Sea - Gulf of Bothnia, A Venice - Trieste (*Bounce*),

 A Warsaw Supports A St Petersburg - Moscow.

Italy (Harold Zarr - skip1955 “of” F Naples Supports F Ionian Sea - Tyrrhenian Sea (*Void*).

Russia (Hank Alme – almehj “of” F Adriatic Sea Supports F Apulia - Venice (*Void*),

 F Gulf of Bothnia - Livonia (*Disbanded*), A Moscow - Warsaw (*Dislodged*, retreat to Sevastopol or OTB),

 A Ukraine Supports A Moscow – Warsaw, A Vienna Supports A Trieste (*Dislodged*, retreat to Galicia or OTB).

Turkey(Chris Babcock - cbabcock “of” F Aegean Sea Supports F Ionian Sea,

 F Apulia Supports F Naples, A Galicia – Bohemia, F Greece Supports F Ionian Sea,

 F Ionian Sea Supports F Naples (*Cut*), A Trieste Supports A Vienna (*Cut*).


Deadline for W 04/S 05 is January 28th at 7am my time


Supply Center Chart


Austria:            Budapest=1, Even

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

France:            Belgium, Brest, Marseilles, Paris, Portugal, Rome, Spain, Tunis=8, Build 1

Germany:         Berlin, Denmark, Holland, Kiel, Munich, Sweden, Venice, Vienna, Warsaw=9, Build 3

Italy:                Naples=1, Even

Russia:             Constantinople, Rumania, Sevastopol?=2 or 3, Even or Remove 1

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Sevastopol?, Smyrna, Trieste=6 or 7, Even or Build 1




Italy to GM: Bite me!


France: We suck!



Black Press Gunboat, “Fred Noonan”, 2013Arb32, F 05

England: F Edinburgh - North Sea, F London Hold.

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

 F Irish Sea – Wales, F Liverpool Supports F Irish Sea – Wales, A Picardy - Belgium.

Germany: A Belgium Hold (*Dislodged*, retreat to Ruhr or Holland or OTB), A Berlin Supports A Kiel – Munich,

 A Kiel - Munich (*Bounce*), F Norway Supports F Skagerrak, F Skagerrak Supports F Norway,

 F Sweden - Gulf of Bothnia.

Italy: F Adriatic Sea Supports F Ionian Sea, A Budapest Hold, A Galicia - Warsaw (*Dislodged*, retreat

 to Bohemia or Vienna or OTB), F Ionian Sea Hold, A Silesia Supports A Tyrolia – Munich,

 A Tyrolia - Munich (*Bounce*), A Vienna - Trieste.

Russia: A Moscow Supports A Warsaw, A Munich - Silesia (*Fails*), F Norwegian Sea - North Atlantic Ocean,

 A St Petersburg Supports A Moscow, A Warsaw Supports A Munich - Silesia (*Cut*).

Turkey: F Aegean Sea – Greece, F Black Sea – Constantinople, A Bulgaria – Rumania, F Greece – Albania,

 A Rumania – Galicia, A Serbia Supports A Bulgaria – Rumania, A Sevastopol Supports A Ukraine,

 A Ukraine Supports A Rumania - Galicia.


Deadline for W 05/S 06 Will Be January 28th at 7am My Time


Supply Center Chart


England:          Edinburgh, London=2, Even

France:            Belgium, Brest, Liverpool, Marseilles, Paris, Portugal, Spain=7, Build 2

Germany:         Berlin, Denmark, Holland, Kiel, Norway, Sweden=6, Even

Italy:                Budapest, Naples, Rome, Trieste, Tunis, Venice, Vienna=7, Even or Build 1

Russia:             Moscow, Munich, St Petersburg, Warsaw=4, Remove 1

Turkey:            Ankara, Bulgaria, Constantinople, Greece, Rumania, Serbia, Sevastopol, Smyrna=8, Even




France to Germany: I recognize the danger to you.  French armies are moving to support you and put a stop to the threat from Russia!


France to GM: Across Europe the cry has come up to put an end to the threat to peace posed by England! French fleets are moving to fulfill the wish of the peace-loving peoples of Europe and restore the blessing of peace to the tortured peasants in England.  The Normal Conquest returns!


Ger-Rus: I AM being nice.  Don't you wish you'd been nicer to me?


Rome-Constantinople: That's it, if we work together, we can crush Russia.


Con => Rom: THE ARMIES OF TURKEY are marching north, as you suggested.


Rome-Moscow: Sorry, your press is just annoying, we need to send you to join Austria on the sidelines.


RUSSIA - TURKEY: Come on, pretty please with sugar on top?  Italy is so much easier to attack.


RUSSIA - ITALY: I don't care, I'm going to give everything to Turkey before I help you!


GERMANY - FRANCE: It is time for you to attack Italy before it is too late!


ENGLAND to RUSSIA: Can't we work together somehow, no one seems to want to help us!


Diplomacy “Sweet Spot” 2013A, W 04/S 05


England (Harold Zarr - skip1955 “of” Build A Liverpool..

 A Liverpool Supports A London – Yorkshire, A London - Yorkshire.

France (Melinda Holley – genea5613 “of” Remove A Yorkshire..

 F Belgium Supports A Ruhr – Holland, A Gascony - Spain (*Bounce*),

 A Kiel Supports F North Sea - Denmark (*Cut*), A Marseilles Supports A Gascony – Spain,

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Supports A Gascony - Spain (*Cut*), F North Sea - Denmark (*Fails*), A Ruhr - Holland.

Germany (Jack McHugh jwmchughjr “of” Retreat A Kiel – Berlin, F Sweden - Skagerrak..

 Remove F Skagerrak.. A Berlin Supports A Holland - Kiel (*Disbanded*),

 A Denmark Supports A Holland - Kiel (*Cut*), A Holland - Kiel (*Disbanded*).

Italy (Heath Gardner - heath.gardner “of” Build A Venice.. A Budapest – Vienna,

 F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc) (*Bounce*), F Ionian Sea Hold, A Munich Supports A Prussia – Berlin,

 F North Africa - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Fails*), A Spain – Portugal, A Tyrolia Supports A Munich,

 A Venice – Piedmont, F Western Mediterranean Supports F Gulf of Lyon - Spain(sc).

Russia (Chris Babcock – cbabcock “of” ): Build A Warsaw, F St Petersburg(nc),

 plays 1 short.. A Norway – Sweden, A Prussia – Berlin, A Silesia Supports A Prussia – Berlin,

 F St Petersburg(nc) – Norway, F Sweden – Skagerrak, A Warsaw - Prussia.

Turkey (Larry Peery – peery “of” F Aegean Sea Convoys A Constantinople – Greece,

 A Bulgaria – Rumania, A Constantinople – Greece, A Galicia Supports A Serbia – Budapest, A Greece – Serbia,

 A Serbia - Budapest.



Deadline for F 05 Will Be January 28th at 7am My Time




Eng to Fra: How sad it is to see the misfortunes which have befallen you.  Had you but kept faith with me your lands would not be troubled with invasion and we would be positioned to control the destiny of Europe.


Rus to GM: All Europe now begins to see the spectacle of the death of France.  We hope the death shall be slow and full of pain.  Russia stands ready to assist the Pope in his efforts to bring the heretic in Paris to final justice!


(Versailles) - "What do I want to CHRISTMAS?  Are you freakin' kidding me?"  The Woman eyed her Aide with contempt.


"Well, Madam, the staff..."


"The staff, huh?  Well, what do I want?  I want what everybody else wants!  A cure for the common cold!  An end to world hunger!  A decent affordable quarter-pounder!"


"Yes, Madam."  The Aide began backing towards the door.


"And plenty of Dove dark chocolate!"





By Larry Peery






Looking back at 2013 and ahead to 2014 this report looks at Turkey’s domestic and foreign affairs in the last year, four hot spots to keep an eye on in 2014, and reviews some of the highlights of the 2013 turkey season, all good reasons for solemn reflection and a bon appetite!




A lot of people, including yours truly, had high hopes for Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he took over as prime minister of Turkey in 2003. The man known as “the Teflon Turk” seemed like a good choice to deal with Turkey’s many domestic and foreign problems. And in fact, Turkey’s economy has done well, very well, although how much of that is due to Mr. Erdogan’s efforts cannot be known. What is known is that in other areas Turkey’s problems have grown worse, much worse.


Erdogan has a problem, he not only wants to run Turkey’s government and economy, he wants to run the private lives of its people. While this is popular with a majority of the population who follow his Islamic/Ottomanist ways; it is not popular with a majority of Turkey’s urban population in Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara; and therein lies the rub.


A sampling of media headlines from the last month or so tells the story in brief. It’s a story that has repeated itself time and again over the past few years, each time getting a bit worse with more people arrested, more people hurt by violence, and more property damaged or destroyed. See for yourself: “After a Break, Turkey’s Prime Minister Again Courts Controversy” (NY Times, 11/8/2013), “Turkey Inaugurates 36 Dams to Improve Water Storage, Aid Farmers” (BusinessWeek, 12/11/2013), “Turkey PM Erdogan Challenges Rivals Over Massive Graft Probe,” (AFP, 12/12/2013), “Turkey Spends Big on Innovation,” (, 12/12/2013), “Turkey’s Political Civil War,” (, 12/18/2013), “Turkish Prime Minister Faces Biggest Threat of His Rule,” (Reuters, 12/20/2013), “More Arrests as Power Struggle Racks Erdogan Government in Turkey,” (CNN, 12/21/2013) “Turkish PM Says Foreign Plot Behind Graft Probe,” (Washington Post, 12/21/2013), “Turkey Vows No Cover-Up Despite Purge of Graft Investigators,” (Reuters, 12/24/2013), “Turkey Premier Under Pressure as 3 Cabinet Ministers Resign, PM Erdogan Condemns Corruption Probe,” (Wall Street Journal, 12/25/2013), “Turkey Resignations: Corruption or Power Struggle With Islamic Cleric in US?” (CNN, 12/25/2013), “Hit by Scandal and Resignations, Turk PM Names New Ministers,” (Reuters, 12/25/2013), “Turkish Leader Denounces Graft Investigation,” (NY Times, 12/26/2013), “Turkish Court Delivers Rebuff to Embattled Erdogan,” (Reuters, 12/27/2013), “Turkish Riot Police Clash With Demonstrators,” (AP, 12/27/2013),”Turkey Corruption Crisis Pushes Lira to Record Low,” (CNN, 12/27/2013), “Turkey’s Erdogan Will Probably Hang In There. The Economy May Not,” (BusinessWeek, 12/27/2013), “Turkey’s Newly Minted Interior Minister Stands Out in Cabinet,” (Ayla Albayrak, 12/27/2013).


This last story is very important, even though it hasn’t gotten much play in the western press. Normally Erdogan fills his cabinet with cronies from his nearly all-powerful AKP political organization. But this time, for the important position of Interior Minister which will oversee the investigators and police involved in the graft scandal Mr. Erdogan went outside the AKP crony structure and picked one of his personal friends who has no legal or police experience for the job. However, Mr. Ala, 48 years old, has a proven track record of absolute loyalty to Erdogan. The only equivalent act I can recall was in 1961 when President John Kennedy named his brother, Robert, as his Attorney General.


So, what are we to make of all this upheaval? One of two things will happen: Erdogan will shuffle elections but ultimately remain in power as PM because of the strength of his AKP organization outside the big cities, and things will continue to get worse on the domestic front; or Erdogan will be toppled by an alliance of the courts, military and opposition politicians, and things will continue to get worse on the domestic front. If the economy worsens because of Erdogan’s problems, the secular minority in the big cities will become increasingly restless and the number and size of demonstrations will grow. As that happens you will see Erdogan trying to maintain and increase his popularity with his poor, rural Islamic power base.




A year ago, even some months ago Turkey was riding on a foreign affairs boom. Its views were sought throughout the Balkans, Mediterranean, and Middle East and even beyond. Erdogan jetted to and fro in support of other Islamic leaders including Mursi in Egypt proclaiming his policy of “The New Ottomanism” or “Orientalism” as ways to increase Turkey’s influence in the region. It even appeared that he might be to resolve Turkey’s long standing feud with the Kurds, play peacemaker in Syria, and serve as a power-broker between various Islamic factions in the Middle East. There was even talk of Erdogan winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.  It was a heady time for Erdogan. But somewhere, somehow things went wrong, badly wrong.


Erdogan’s domestic politics and policies have upset the EU, which once again has moved Turkey’s application for membership to a back burner. Fortunately Erdogan and Turkey don’t really need the EU, although if the economy continues to weaken and the lira continues its free fall in value, Turkey’s major investors from the EU countries are going to get nervous and start bailing out.


However, the Turkish (e.g. read Erdogan) decision to buy a missile defense system from China, even as it was asking the US and its NATO allies to continue their Patriot missile support along the Turkish-Syrian border, did not sit well with Turkey’s NATO’s allies. He’s done the same thing before, using weapons contracts, present and future, as bargaining chips to make points with his allies, and punish his critics, domestic and foreign. Although the EU doesn’t need Turkey and vice versa, NATO does need Turkey and vice versa. As for the rest of Turkey’s foreign adventures, it may have gotten in over its head in trying to position itself as the “Well Man of Europe.”


Again, some headlines hint at the story behind the goings on. “Turkey Adrift,” (NY Times, 10/23/2013), “Turkey Plays the ‘Orientalism’ Card,” (Bloomberg, 12/11/2013), “The EU Needs Turkey,” (Soner Cagaptay op-ed piece in NY Times, 12/21/2013), “NATO-US-Turkey War Games Off the Syrian Coastline,” (A Conservative Edge, 12/8/2013), “Turkey a Battleground for Asia Arms Exports,” (, 12/13/2013), “Turkey Rejects More for Gallipol 100th,” (The Australian, 10/22/2013), “The US-Turkey Alliance Isn’t Going Anywhere,” (Forbes, 12/6/2013), “Growing Mistrust Between US and Turkey Is Playing Out in Public,” (NY Times, 12/24/2013).


There are two keys to Turkey’s success or failure in foreign affairs in the coming year: 1) the economy, and 2) Syria. If either one gets worse, and it’s hard to see how things can get much worse in Syria, Turkey will suffer.




As usual this article started off headed in one direction, then made a couple of detours, and then finally backed up and took a whole different approach. Starting with Turkey, then comparing Turkey with Egypt, then contrasting both with Syria; and finally offering Southern California as a mixed metaphor.


The situation in the Eastern Mediterranean (e.g. Turkey, Egypt and Syria) is dangerous, volatile, explosive, and even critical (although I think critical is a word that is used too much in discussing international affairs these days). In other words a true Molotov cocktail with a Kalashnikov for a swizzle stick. To be honest I find little reason for optimism in the Eastern Mediterranean. Things have gotten worse in the last year and I fully expect them to get worse in the coming year. Why?


What do Turkey, Egypt and Syria have in common? How are they different? The similarities appear obvious. The differences are more subtle. For example, neither Turks nor Egyptians consider themselves Arabs, which Syrians are. Turkey and Egypt are defined by their people (e.g. Turks are Turkey, Egyptians are Egypt). Syria, a modern name for the Levant, is defined by its location. All three are Muslim states but of different branches of Islam (and the rivalries between Sunni and Shite Muslim states today reminds me very much of the religious wars between Protestants and Catholics during the 1500s). Big cities are important in Turkey (Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara) and Egypt (Cairo and Alexandria), not quite so much in Syria (Damascus is or was basically just a large caravan stop.). The leaders tend to be men riding a white horse in fear that the horse might bolt at any moment, as in fact it has in Egypt and Syria. The importance of the secular vs. religious balance, competition, struggle, and ultimately conflict is paramount, and this plays out in the struggle for control of education and social morality. It’s a war between burqas and ipods, and so far the burqas seem to be winning. Still, the most important issues are financial and economic. Turkey was until a few days ago reasonably stable financially and doing quite well. Egypt is not a beggar nation, but it depends heavily on outside help. Syria is definitely a beggar state. One thing Syria, Turkey and Egypt do share with California is the helplessness and vulnerability of their common people. I’ll explain that in a bit.


A few stats may help put our four problem children into peerispective: Syria has 72,000 square miles with 22 million people. California has 164,000 square miles with 38 million people. Turkey has 302,000 square miles with 79 million people. Egypt has 387,000 square miles with 82 million people. In all four large areas of the country are desert or arid regions. Populations tend to be concentrated along the coasts or a few big cities. Syria, California and Turkey share a coastal Mediterranean climate in some areas. And, as I’ve pointed out there’s a big difference between their urban and rural populations. Most of the recent unrest in the Eastern Mediterranean countries has been in their urban areas, especially the big cities. Syria has suffered over 120,000 killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and millions of refugees, as well as billions in damage. Egypt has suffered between 643 and 2,000? killed, some thousands injured, and perhaps a few tens of millions in damage. Turkey has suffered 5 killed in the Istanbul riots, where 3.5 million out of a population of 80,000,000 joined the demonstrators, and the loss of a much loved urban park. What we have seen in the Eastern Mediterranean has been a growing trend for the problems to escalate from civil unrest to civil disobedience, to civil rebellion/revolt, and finally civil war. Syria is definitely in the civil war stage, Egypt somewhere between civil disobedience and civil rebellion, and Turkey is in the civil unrest level.


It is never pleasant to see a beautiful country go up in flames, whether man made or naturally caused, but that’s the situation we are seeing in the Eastern Mediterranean. But what of California, and how did it get into this discussion?


Just as the Eastern Mediterranean countries have a long history of conflicts resulting in gun fire, so too has Southern California had a long history of conflicts with its worst enemy – wild fires! And just as the rest of the country accepts the dangers of hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes; so Californians have come to accept the real and present danger of wild fires, whether caused by nature or man. An article in USA Today this week reminded us that California is now in the third year of a drought (nothing new there), that this year’s rainfall may set an all-time record low mark, that the reservoirs are at record low levels, that the ground is dry, and the vegetation is dying for lack of water. It’s all a tinderbox waiting to burst into flames.


Historically, San Diego County (area of 7,000 square miles and population of 3 million) has had some 25 major fires in the last one hundred years.  In the early years most of those fires occurred in the north, east and south of the County ---all areas of low population and development---and losses of life and property were relatively low. Most fires burned less than 60,000 acres and were accepted as part of the price for living in this sun blessed paradise.


Things began to change in 1960 when two Atlas missiles (Remember the Atlas, our first ICBM and proudly built in and by San Diegans?) exploded at their test site in Sycamore Canyon, causing an estimated $27 million in damage. Explosive, yes, but locals considered it part of their sacrifice toward fighting the Cold War.


The real wake-up call came in 1970 when, for a week The Laguna fire, the county’s largest fire until recent times, burned 175,425 acres, killed eight people and destroyed 382 homes. In 24 hours the fire burned from Mount Laguna into the outskirts of El Cajon and Spring Valley. The wild fires of the backwoods were knocking on the city’s door.


Fires kicked in that door in 1978 when a PSA jet crashed after a mid-air collision over North Park. I remember that one well because one of the jet’s engines landed in the alley behind my apartment building. It was a shock, but it was an accident, right? And then eight years later, in 1985, I sat in my living room just a few blocks away and watched a fire sweep out of a canyon in minutes and burn 116 houses because there wasn’t enough water pressure in the old water pipes to fight the fire. Well, pundits said, you have to expect things like that in the city’s older areas. After all, we can’t replace all the water pipes, can we?


Then, for almost 20 years the fires seemed to be smaller and less frequent Sure a few homes were burned, a few fire fighters killed, and damages were in the millions, but things didn’t seem to be out of hand. But during those years the city and county urban areas expanded into those same areas that had been burned or almost burned over the last eighty or ninety years. The population of San Diego City grew from 337,000 just after WWII to 1.3 million today and the County passed the 3 million mark.  And still little was done to prepare for what was to come. The combined NIMBY and “It isn’t going to happen here” attitudes laid the way for what was to happen.


In the summer of 2002 the Pines Fire (Vulcan Mountain and Julian area) burned over 61,000 acres, destroyed 37 homes, 116 buildings and 165 vehicles in and around Julian, one of San Diego’s most beloved rural communities. The fire was caused when a National Guard helicopter hit a power line.


San Diego fire officials were still dithering about what do (Whether to set up a central firefighting command authority and, if so, who should command it, were the big topics of discussion) when a year later three fires totaling 373,000 acres hit San Diego at once. The fires killed 16 people and burned down 2427 homes. Fire fighters blamed “a perfect fire storm” and 120 years of fire suppression techniques for the blazes devastation.


I remember the Cedar, Paradise, and Otay fires vividly because I saw them from the air for an extended period of time. I was flying back from Europe and had heard nothing about the fires raging in Southern California. Then, when I changed planes in Chicago, I first heard about the fires but didn’t pay much attention to the news since, after all, those things happen in Southern California. It’s part of the price you pay for living in paradise, remember? By the time we got over the Rockies, which was just about sunset, you could see this beautiful red tint to the sky in the west as we flew down the Rockies. At first I didn’t realize it was caused by all the soot and smoke in the sky, even at 35,000 feet, from the fires. Then as we passed over Las Vegas and headed into Southern California you could begin to smell the smoke and looking out the plane windows you could see the thick haze and smoke. Heading south from Los Angeles you could suddenly see red areas glowing through the clouds of smoke. It was so surrealistic it was almost beautiful until you realized what was burning. Turning inland we flew east of San Diego almost to the Mexican border and then turned west to approach the city. Below us it looked like something from Dante’s Inferno. The smoke was everywhere and the flames were easily seen as we dropped to around 12,000 feet. You could see giant explosions of fire rising hundreds of feet into the air as hot spots exploded. It looked like a chain of fire was surrounding San Diego and it went on and on and on, and it got closer and closer and closer.  We flew right over the Otay fire (45,000 acres) and then turned north over San Diego Bay and approached the airport. The pilot was flying strictly on instruments because none of us could see out the windows. When I got home, and I lived about 10 miles from the western limits of one of the fires, I discovered a half-inch of ash on top of my car and it took days before the ash stopped falling. It was a huge disaster and the good guys had lost.


(From what I’ve seen in the media videos of the conflicts in Syria and Egypt, and to a lesser degree in Turkey, the situations there must look much like they did during the Cedar, Paradise and Otay fires ---at least from the air.)


You would think that after all that the County and City fire officials, and the state and federal governments which control so much of the county’s land would have sprung into action to fix the problems the fire had shown. Hah! More committees, more plans, more talk; but precious little action.


By now Mother Nature had apparently had enough. Four years later four major fires broke out at once in different areas of the County. 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) burned, 1,350 homes were destroyed or damaged, 100 businesses were lost, and 250,000 people had to be evacuated. Over 8,000 firefighters were deployed, over a thousand pieces of equipment, and dozens of planes and helicopters pressed into use to combat the fires. One of them started in the foothills to the east of San Diego and moved straight west toward the Ocean reaching as far as La Costa, only 3 miles from the Pacific and location of some of the most expensive homes in Southern California. Only a change in wind force and direction saved hundreds of homes worth many hundreds of millions of dollars. Once again the fires had started in predictable areas and followed well-established paths toward the City’s urban areas.


Will it happen again this year? Perhaps. Next year? Likely. The year after? Almost certainly if not sooner. Ponder that while I review the forces Southern California has to fight its own “hot spots from Hell” wars: Los Angeles County has 10,000,000 people and 327 fire stations, of which 3,800,000 people and 72 fire stations are in Los Angeles City. San Diego County has 3,200,000 people and 173 fire stations, of which 1,300,000 people and 51 fire stations are in San Diego City. San Bernardino County has 90 fire stations. Orange County has 21 fire stations. Imperial County has 10 fire stations, but there’s not much to burn out there.


The more I thought what is happening in the Eastern Mediterranean (Syria, Egypt and Turkey) and in Southern California the more I realized how similar they are although it isn’t obvious at first glance. Still, the key ingredients in both are the same: 1) The Threat, 2) The Spark, 3) The Real Danger of Many Small, but Growing “fires” Threatening to Merge into One Cataclysmic Event, a True Holocaust, 4) The Resources Available vs. the Resources Needed, 5) The Damage Done, and 6) The Clean Required.


So what lesson we can draw from this: Whether it’s Syria, Egypt, Turkey or Southern California; and whether the fighters are carrying a Molotov cocktail and a Kalashnikov, or a fire hose it’s still a hot spot to be in, and it’s only going to get hotter. Trust me.




Even though the 2013 turkey season is about over (Over ninety percent of Americans dine on turkey on Thanksgiving. By New Year’s that’s down to two percent.) There are still some interesting and even fun stories in the media about the latest in turkey trots. Here are a few samples:


“The Turkey’s Turkey Connection,” (Mark Forsyth, New York Times, 27 November 2013). While it doesn’t come up to Art Buchwald’s story standard either, Forsyth does a good job of explaining why the link between turkey and Turkey runs through Madagascar and bears the scientific name Numida meleagris.


The latest numbers are in and turkey production and consumption was down this year. Perhaps those vegans are winning after all? The number of turkeys produced this year was down 12 million from last year, a fact that made turkey farmers happy because the decline in corn prices meant the price of feeding turkeys was less, so profits per bird were higher. In addition with fewer turkeys left over, so to speak, that means farmers have fewer to freeze and store for the coming year.


Mr. Butterballs Man turned out to be a hit this year with, according to Huffington’s Report, no known cases of a caller to the Butterball hotline refusing to talk to a “man,” and at least one confirmed case where a Mr. Butterballs man was hit on by a customer. It isn’t clear if the caller was a female, male or perhaps even a turkey.


England produced an organically-reared turkey that was destined for the Royal Family’s dinner table on Christmas but the turkey escaped from the truck on the way to the abattoir 70 miles away. The bird-brained turkey picked his way to freedom by pecking on the door of the mother-in-law of the farmer who had raised him. The farmer rushed over to retrieve his bird, but was so impressed with his courage, if not his brains, that he decided to spare him from slaughter and named him Colditz, in honor of the father of Lord Newborough, the owner of Rhug Estate, which raised the turkey. Apparently his father had been a POW in Colditz prison camp during WWII but had escaped. Great story with pix at


A wild turkey in Cresskill, N.J. likes to attack police cars and FedEx trucks. Apparently the turkey shows up at odd times setting off car alarms, stopping traffic and hounding FedEx deliverymen and police. Police say the gutsy gobbler has gone after some officers and their cruisers. Authorities say the bird mysteriously disappeared around Thanksgiving, but appeared as soon as it was over. While it may be a nuisance, police say the turkey’s “crimes” are not enough to label him a feathered fugitive.


The NSA wrote turkey-day talking points, because of course it did, according to a story by Brian Fung in the Washington Post on 2 December.


The Paris Review published an article on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE CRACK-UP edited by Edmund Wilson. The article contains a list of 13 things to do with your leftover turkey. My favorite recipe was for a Turkey Cocktail: To one large turkey add one gallon of vermouth and a demijohn of angostura bitters. Shake.


Turkey Tetrazzini recipes always show up this year filled with enough calories, fat, and cholesterol to make the fattest of us jiggle, but it is oh, so yummy.


But my favorite story of the year comes from a LA Times report (you can find a video on You Tube) about a guy cooking a turkey with a Lamborghini Aventador LP760, so if oven roasting, grilling or deep frying are too passé for you, buy one of these $400,000 cars and cook your turkey with it. The story appeared in the LA Times of 27 December.


Finally, a note to Melinda (After all, this bit of press does have to have something to do with the game, right?). Melinda, dear. If you’re going to invite the Turkish ambassador for dinner for Allah’s sake don’t serve stuffed turkey, particularly when the stuffing has Italian sausage in it!


Woolworth II-D “Coney Island” 2013Bcb19, F 04


Austria (Secret): A Swi – Mar, A Vie – Gal (ret Tyt, Boh, OTB).

Balkans (Secret): F Alb S F Ion, A Tri S A Bud-Vie, A Bud-Vie.

England (Secret): F NAO – Ice, A Wal – Lpl, F Lon H.

France (Heath Gardner - heath.gardner “of” A Hol H, A Bre – Par, F Eng – Bre, F Tys – Rom.

Germany (Marc Ellinger - mellinger “of” A Gas –Par, A Bur S A Mun-Ruh, A Mun – Ruh,

 A Kie – Hol, A Sil – Ber

Italy (Secret): F Tun S Tys-Wms (NSO), F Tus – Gol, A  Pie-Mar, A Nap-Rom, A Ven-Rom.

Russia (Jim Burgess - jfburgess “of” F Gob-Bal, A Gal-Sil, A War S A Gal-Sil, A Pru S A Gal-Sil,

 A Ukr-Gal.

Scandinavia (Geoff Kemp - ggeoff510 “of” F Edi H, F Nth H, A Den H.
Spain (Secret): A Ruh
– Bel, F Mao – Mad, F Wms-Gol, F Nwg – Ice.
Turkey (Hugh Polley – hapolley “of” F Bla S A Rum, A Rum S A Gal (OTM), A Bul S A Rum,

 F Ion S F Tun, F Aeg – Ems.



Deadline for W 04/S 05 is January 28th at 7am My Time


Supply Center Chart


Austria             Swi=1                                                  Remove 1

Balkans                        Ser, Gre, Bud, Vie, Tri=5                       Build 2

England           Lon, Lpl=2                                            Remove 1

France              Bre, Par, Hol=4                                     Remove 1

Germany          Kie, Mun, Ber, Mar=4                            Remove 1

Italy                 Nap, Ven, Rom, Tun, Cre=5                  Even

Russia              Mos, War, Sev, Stp, Gal=5                    Even

Scand.              Nwy, Swe, Den, Edi=4                          Build 1

Spain                Por, Mor, Mad, Ice, Bel=5                      Build 1

Turkey              Ank, Con, Smy, Bul, Rum=5                  Even




(BOOBISH RUSSIAN to GEOFF): See, you could trust me!  Maybe now we can do even more?  Let's actually talk soon!!


By Popular Demand


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, with the 10th round being worth double points.  A prize will be awarded to the winner.  Research is permitted, but cooperation or collusion between players is not!


Round 1 Categories


1.    A specific denomination within Christianity.

2.    Any Tolkien character other than Gandalf.

3.    Any character from the “Dune” series other than Paul/Maud’Dib.

4.    A former of current performer on Saturday Night Live.

5.    A city in Germany other than Berlin.


Selected Comments By Category


Dick Martin does it again, starting with the top score.  Andy Lischett gets the top category in Denomination but still finished with the lowest overall score.


Denomination – Marc Ellinger “So many options, especially in the US.   But 1.2 BILLION Catholics (including myself) can’t be all wrong!”  Kevin Wilson “I may have described this a "sect" instead of denomination.  A bit more specific with a hint of skepticism.”  Dane Maslen “I'm not sure what you intended with number 1, and even more importantly I've no idea what other players will assume you intended.  Consulting the Wikipedia article 'List of Christian denominations' only served to muddy the water.”


Tolkien – Andy York “Since you listed Galdalf, I almost went with Gandalf!”  Kevin Wilson “I guess Frodo or Sauron or Aragorn or Legolas or Gimli may be popular too but Bilbo just seems right.”  Andy Bate “Hope everyone is watching The Hobbit…”  Jim Burgess “Hey, you can't even spell Gandalf right, so that COULD be a



Dune – Marc Ellinger “Not a great movie, but at least I recall something of it.   (Now I’m trying to forget it again!)”  Kevin Wilson “I guess one of the three "companions" Halleck, Idaho or Hawat might do well too.  As might Lady Jessica, Stilgar or Chani but it seems the nemesis might be the best choice behind Paul himself.”


SNL – Andy York “Hopefully he'll score better than he did last round.”  Marc Ellinger “Super Bass-o-matic and Richard Nixon all in one!   The original cast is still the best!!”  Kevin Wilson “For no other reason than he was my favorite.”  Jim Burgess “This is an impossible choice, I'm going with Tina Fey, but that

probably won't score that well.”


Germany – Marc Ellinger “Ah, Oktoberfest, Hofbrauhaus, AugisteinerBrau, Englischer Garten, MarienPlatz, memories!!  If Oktoberfest isn’t on your bucket list….GET A LIFE!!!”  Kevin Wilson “If you can't pick the politics follow the money!”  Jim Burgess “Hamburg is the second largest city and really what is Kiel on the

Diplomacy map, and then Munich is the third largest city.... so, you have a tough coin flip.”  Dane Maslen “I was torn between BONN (former capital) and MUNICH on number 5.  I've probably made the wrong decision.”


Round 2 Categories


1.    A U.S. President from the 1900’s.

2.    A film featuring Gene Hackman.

3.    A Ford car model.

4.    A type of drum.

5.    A Native American tribe.


Deadline for Round 2 is January 28th at 7:00am my time





Eternal Sunshine Movie Quote Contest



There are ten rounds of movie quotes, and each round consists of ten quotes.  Identify the film each quote 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 quotes themselves.  The only legal “research” is watching movies to try and locate the scenes.  I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO DISQUALIFY ANY PLAYER I BELIEVE IS CHEATING.  I ALSO RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THE QUOTES SLIGHTLY (ALTHOUGH SOMETIMES I DO A FEW FROM MEMORY SO THEY COULD BE OFF ANYWAY).  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).  The final round will be worth double points.



Round 6


1.    You're sad enough; you're beautiful. Let's have sex.  Logan’s Run.  Blue Velvet – AL.  Circle of Friends – JB.  Zardoz – RD.


2.    Ever since the dark days before Pearl Harbor, I have been proud to wear this uniform.  M*A*S*H.  MacArthur – AL.  1941 – AY, JM.  The Longest Day – RD.


3.    Everything you do irritates me. And when you're not here, the things I know you're going to do when you come in irritate me.  The Odd Couple.  Correct – RD, JM.  War of the Roses – AL.  Lethal Weapon – JB.  Ruthless People – HA.


4.    I could lay under you, eat fried chicken and do a crossword puzzle at the same time.  That's how much you bother me!  Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  Brazil – JB.  Medicine Man – RD.


5.    Excuse me for not knowing about El Salvador.  Like I'm ever going to Spain anyway.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Die Hard – JB.  Dumb and Dumber – RD.


6.    You look at bodies all the time in Philadelphia. Why can't you look at this one?  In the Heat of the Night.  Correct – AL.  Trading Places – JM.  The Philadelphia Story – RD.


7.    His emotions must rule his brain! He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself.  Planet of the Apes.  Correct – JM, KW.  Star Trek: Into Darkness – AY.  Robin Hood Prince of Thieves – JB. 300 – RD.


8.    Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex.  Clueless.  For the Boys – JM.  Cabaret – RD.


9.    My whole life is have to!  Parenthood.  Correct – JM, HA.  Mr. Holland’s Opus – JB.  Finding Forrester – RD.


10.  I was born 2437 years ago. In that time I've had three wives.  Highlander.  Correct – RD, AY, KW, JB.  Interview with the Vampire – AL.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – JM.


Bonus – What do these films all have in common?  All became TV shows.  All used in previous quizzes – AL.  All feature Michael Kamen soundtracks – JB.  Sean Connery films – RD.


Score This Round: Jack McHugh [JM] – 3; Kevin Wilson [KW] – 2; Rick Desper [RD] – 2; Andy Lischett [AL] – 1; Andy York [AY] – 1; Jim Burgess [JB] – 1; Hank Alme [HA] - 1.


Points So Far: Jim Burgess [JB] – 13; Kevin Wilson [KW] – 12; Rick Desper [RD] – 10; Jack Mcugh [JM] – 7; Andy Lischett [AL] – 6; Hank Alme [HA] – 6; Andy York [AY] – 6; Paraic Reddington [PR] – 2.


Round 7


1.    I used to call it stroking the salami.  You know, pounding the old pud.


2.    He's been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.


3.    Did you know his old man died in the nuthouse? Max didn't want to end up the same way, so he put the idea in our heads to tip off the cops.


4.    He'll buy that boat from that stupid boat catalog he's been making me look at for the last two months, and he will crash that boat off Catalina Island, and he will drown and die and seals will eat him.


5.    Davenport runs the Senate prayer group. With a guy like that you don't bring up the subject of blow jobs. You wait for him to bring it up.


6.    I'm the most dangerous man in this prison. You know why?  Because I control the underwear.


7.    The royal penis is clean, your Highness.


8.    Remember those posters that said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"? Well, that's true of every day but one: the day you die.


9.    I loaned the country $400 Billion. And I want my $400 Billion back. Does that make me a bad guy?


10.  What movie could be worth driving 260 miles round trip for?


Bonus – What do these films all have in common? 


Deadline for Round 7 is January 28th at 7:00am my time


General Deadline for the Next Issue of Eternal Sunshine:  January 28th, 2014 at 7:00am my time.   See You Then!