Eternal Sunshine #132

May 2020

By Douglas Kent - 911 Irene Drive, Mesquite, TX  75149


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Quote of The Month“You know, the worst ain't so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it'll be before it's happened.” (Curtin in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the only Dipzine published by a world-renowned surly creep.


Despite the pandemic lockdowns, I had to take Toby in to the vet early in May for his annual shots and the senior bloodwork I have them do once a year.  He’s been in apparent good health, although I admit he’s been sleeping a little more and doesn’t like to jump quite as high or as far as he used to.  We all get older, one day at a time, and like weight gain it’s harder to notice any changes when you’re up close and personal.  To be honest, I don’t even know if he sleeps more than he used to; it’s just that with my working from home for the last six weeks, I’ve spent all day, every day with Toby and Sanka.  Since Toby likes to curl up on the couch next to me while I’m working, I see him sleeping most of the day.  He might have done that all along…or maybe he used to have a crazy party life in his youth.  He isn’t very forthcoming with those details.


The vet trip itself was a little different, for two reasons.  First of all, there’s my vet’s office.  Late in 2019 a few destructive tornadoes moved through Dallas, especially in the neighborhood with I first lived when I relocated here in 1994.  That’s how I found this vet to begin with: they were in the shopping center down the street from the house I rented.  As it turned out, they were exceptional veterinarians, and so I’ve continued to use them despite a few owner changes and staff retirements.  They attract a sort of haughty clientele, high maintenance and demanding.  I’ve always felt they sort of appreciated having me as a client, being as I am much easier to deal with and still am very attentive to my pets and their needs.  Anyway, those tornadoes hit the shopping center their offices were in, damaging them to the point that they need to be completely rebuilt.  And that rebuilding is not complete yet (as it has to be done in conjunction with the rest of the stores; they were all connected rather than free-standing structures), so for the time being they’ve been “sharing” space with another vet further north in Dallas.


While that’s been going on, they’ve sent me a number of emails updating me on their status.  They were unable to port their old phone number temporarily to the new location, so updated contact information was the first priority.  And then there have been a lot of short-notice emails warning about how they would be closed for a day due to electrical issues, or more frequently plumbing problems.  It sounded like the vet office they moved to had plumbing that was woefully unprepared for the additional water usage of a second clinic.  It general it just seemed like they were getting gut-punched over and over again. 


There’s one vet in the clinic that knows Toby and Sanka better than the others, so I scheduled the appointment on a Sunday morning when she’d be working.  I had the address and knew the cross streets, but because I hadn’t been to that location before I left home early enough to allow for a bit of “my sense of direction sucks” search time.  And it’s a good thing I did, because I drove up and down the block four times before I figured out where this office was.  And once I found it, I understood better why they’d been having electrical and plumbing problems.  I swear, this was the saddest little shopping center I’ve ever seen.  The anchor store – a Minyard’s grocery – looked like it had been closed for a year.  And so did every other store there; they were all vacant.  I finally found the vet’s office tucked into a corner behind the Minyard’s, next to some kind of salon which was the only other store in the center that was still in business (although I’m assuming it’s been closed during the lockdown).  Most of the parking lot was torn up too.  I couldn’t tell if they were ripping everything to pieces, or trying to repair things.  Either way, there was no signage for the vet, and no way to see it from the street.  It’s obviously a sad state of affairs.

The other thing which was different was the non-contact visit.  As you’d expect, I normally bring the cat or cats inside, wait in the waiting room, carry them to the exam room, and stand there while everything is done.  Not this time.  Instead, they have a new procedure where you wait on your car.  A vet tech comes out and gets the pet while you stay outside.  The vet or vet tech calls you to go over history, complaints, etc. and the receptionist calls to get payment information.  And then they bring your pet back outside to you when it’s all over.  I’m not a fan; I don’t like having my pet go inside without me there, more for their sake than mine.  But Toby got through it okay, and now he’s home dealing with Sanka’s post-vet bitchiness.  Whether Sanka accompanies Toby to the vet or not, when we’re home, if she smells the vet on Toby, she hisses at him mercilessly.  Toby is clearly unnerved by this treatment, and it always makes me feel sad.  He’s such a loving cat, and he doesn’t understand why someone who supposedly loves him and sometimes runs around the house with him is instantly aggressive. 


Then the next afternoon the vet called to go over Toby’s blood work.  Senior blood work is not cheap, and every time I do it I start to wonder about pet insurance and whether it would truly defray the cost.  But anyway, she said there were some things in Toby’s results that had her concerned.  He had an elevated calcium level, elevated globulin level, and elevated protein level.  Her diagnosis is that Toby has early stage GI leukemia (that’s the most likely culprit, although it could be in a slightly different part of the body).  He has no outward sings of disease presently: no sores, no loss of hair, no mass in the abdomen.  And he is still acting normally: no diarrhea, no loss of appetite or anything of that sort.  But the outlook is bad. 


The biggest concern for me is Toby is 17 ½ years old, effective in his 90’s.  If I wanted to be aggressive in treating this, first Toby would need to go to a specialist for x-rays and an ultrasound.  Then they’d want to try to do a biopsy if they located the mass, which could be a skinny needle biopsy (best case) or require putting him under anesthesia to open him and get a direct biopsy.  And all that would do is give a better idea of how sick he is, and how long he has left.  At that point it would be time to consider chemotherapy (which is done orally for cats).  While usually felines handle chemo better than humans, it’s still not an easy experience.  Some of the side effects are similar in nature to the side effects of the leukemia itself.  Best case, Toby would feel lethargic, eat less, possibly have diarrhea, and who knows what else?  Then, if treatment was successful, a typical result is giving him an extra six months.  It’s possible to put the leukemia into remission for a time, but at his advanced age he’s just as likely to develop additional problems in the meantime.  When you get that old, illnesses creep up, and his immune system would be weakened by the treatment.


To me, Toby’s quality of life is the most valuable asset he has.  Hypothetically he may have six months left if I forego all this aggressive treatment.  So, which is better for him: six months of mostly normal life, or a year of feeling sick or lethargic or just not right?  I just can’t justify the vet and specialist trips (which he hates, and which, as I mentioned, result in Sanka treating him like an evil stranger), and the less-than-stellar way he’ll feel, to lengthen his life an extra six months.  And that’s very hard for me to accept, because for all intents and purposes Toby is my best friend in the world, and has been since the divorce.  He’s a very affectionate cat, and highly intelligent.  When I’m home he prefers to be by my side, or on my lap, as much as possible.  In general, he’s lying on or between my legs when I go to sleep, wake up, or both.  In many ways I would give almost anything to keep Toby around as long as possible. 


But I can’t be selfish when it comes to something this serious.  I have to consider what is best for Toby.  That’s a job I signed on for when he was first adopted.  It’s a binding contract, sealed with years of love and affection.


For the time being I am going to do nothing.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on him, obviously, and trying not to read too much into his every move or action.  And when he does begin to show other symptoms (most likely the loss of appetite and diarrhea before anything else), I’ll work out the next treatment options with my vet.  Right now the most likely course of action would be oral steroids, which often work for a few weeks to a few months…until it stops working.  And after that, keep him as comfortable as possible until I am forced to conclude that he’s feeling ill enough to make his quality of life undesirable.  And then…I’ll have to say goodbye, which will shatter the heart which is now already broken.


This morning he’s been very playful, chasing a cat wand around in the cool air since I have the windows open.  Watching him happy and kitten-like is a wonderful sight, and it reminds me what a good day feels like.  There’s no easily definable line between sick an too sick, so I’ll just have to do my best to decide for him that which he cannot decide for himself.  It’s a tremendous weight to have on your shoulders, as any pet lover knows.  But I owe it to Toby. 

In “good” news, or I suppose more productive news, my new book has now been released and is available for purchase on Amazon in Kindle and paperback format.  You should also be able to order the paperback copy from any book retailer any day now.  Bits and pieces of certain chapters have appeared in these pages over the last ten years, in different formats, so some of you may be familiar with the subject matter.  It tells the story of my relationship with Mara, who was my High School sweetheart and my first wife, from the day we met until the very end of the line.  More than just the story of the relationship, it is also the story of her struggles with mental illness and with a number of physical ailments, and the strain that put on both of us, our marriage, and our world. 


Readers of my first dipzine Maniac’s Paradise may remember some of the subzines Mara did through the years, among them You’re the One and Oasis.  She had no interest in Diplomacy, but she loved games in general…and she also drew the ire of many people who played Kremlin in the zine back then, as she demanded I allow her to roll the 20-sided die when I adjudicated.  She had a real knack for killing your most prized Politburo member at exactly the wrong time. 


The cover incorporates a portrait which was drawn of Mara as a child that I still have.  Shawn Burkett of Concept Media (who did the film Trespassing which I reviewed briefly last issue) helped take that drawing an incorporate it into a usable cover.  I should also mention Heath Davis-Gardner and especially W. Andrew York for their suggestions when it came to edits (plus Mr. York’s LONG list of typo corrections).  They’re properly thanked in the book a well.


The book can be found here:


If you read the book, I would be soooooooo appreciative if you could find the time to put a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other book review website you’re familiar with.  Word-of-mouth is the only real exposure a book like this gets.  In general, memoirs are the bane of the publishing industry, and independent ones written by non-celebrities are the dirt beneath the dirt.  Just as important, if you discover you do enjoy the book, try to tell a few friends about it.  And any sharing of my social media posts (or writing ones of your own) can only help expose more people to the title.


In zine news, there was no interest in the East Indies opening (I didn’t exactly expect any), but I have added the promised Woolworth opening instead.  By coincidence, Mark Nelson requested the rules and maps this issue (I was going to include them anyway).  Brilliant minds think alike.  The latest Diplomacy game has filled, and a new one is open.  See my Game Openings section for other things I am considering.  And remember Andy York has openings in Gunboat and Breaking Away in his subzine.


That’s about it from me.  On to the zine, and I’ll see you in June!

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up: None, needs seven.

Woolworth II-D (Black Press): Rules and map found at the end of this issue.  Signed up: None, needs five.

Gunboat (No Press): Check out the opening in Any York’s subzine.  Sign up for this opening ONLY through him at

By Popular Demand: Ongoing.  Join in the fun!  You can join at any time.

Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?: Turn 1 this issue.  Join in and play NOW!

Also In Andy York’s Subzine – You can find his ongoing “Hangman, By Definition” and Facts in Five, plus openings in Gunboat (listed above) and Breaking Away.

Coming Soon: Open to suggestions.  Anybody want to play Acquire?

Standby List: HELP!  I need standby players! – Current standby list: Andy York, Andy Lischett, Paul Milewski, Harold Reynolds.


Meet Me in Montauk

The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column


Andy Lischett: My guess is Dub Taylor in Gibsland, Louisiana. Do I win?  Can you guess which of my favorite movies I watched lately?


[[Did you watch that on TCM this weekend?  I re-watched Network and saw most of an interview with Faye I'm guessing they showed Bonnie & Clyde too...]]


No, Bonnie & Clyde was on another station. I don't remember which. Unfortunately, our cable company, Comcast, chopped TCM about six months ago unless we want to pay an extra $10 a month. TCM was my favorite station, but $120 a year for one station is too much, especially since I've seen most of the movies multiple times. Maybe if I get energetic I'll see if Comcast will cut out all the sports stations I don't watch (especially now, with no baseball) and give me TCM.


[[That sucks.  I probably watch way too many movies on TCM….sue me.]]


Dane Maslen: My belief that I might catch up on some of the episodes of Columbo waiting to be watched has proved very wide of the mark.  One reason is that I was introduced to, a website that allows a wide variety of games to be played asynchronously.  I have a nasty suspicion that by the time lockdown ends I shall no longer be able to understand how I ever had time to go out the house.


[[I’m just not informed when it comes to more modern games; I don’t think I recognized more than one or two games available on that site.  I’m sure other people would know a lot more of them.]]


I don't think Columbo episodes ever suffered inappropriate editing when shown over here.  these days I'm certain that they don't as they're shown on channels that want to fill as much airtime as possible.


On the subject of European detectives with personal issues, have you seen any of the series of The Bridge (I thought the third and fourth series were the best) or Trapped?  The former is a joint Danish-Swedish effort, while the latter is Icelandic, so features scenery that you would presumably enjoy.  About 25-30 years ago I had a series of holidays in Iceland.  I enjoyed the scenery, though not necessarily the weather, a great deal.  Maybe one day I'll go again, but only if they stop whaling.  Alas Iceland is currently on my boycott list.


[[I looked both up on IMDB, and while The Bridge sounds vaguely familiar, I don’t think I’ve seen either.  My choices are limited by what I can find on streaming services.  Netflix seems to put up a decent quantity of these shows, one or two at a time, but they never stay up there too long.]]


Paul Mikewski: If this COVID-19 emergency keeps up, I may have to look into some other way to access the internet than going to the library.  I hear our library won’t be open until May, and I’m not sure what the computer access there will be like if they implement “social” distancing.  All the equipment was close together before.


[[As it turned out, Paul bit the bullet so to speak and bought a smart phone, so he’s able to email again and is now in the new Diplomacy game!]]


Mark Nelson: Colombo is being broadcast on one of our free-to-air channels. I’m not watching it, but after receiving the last issue I noticed it was on and caught the last few minutes of a show. A lady "shot" her husband and was about to be taken away by the police as they found the murder weapon in her clothes closet. Colombo was in the house of a business associate of her husband (I assume) talking about some plant - I think the business associate grew orchids at home. Turned out that Colombo found a bullet that had been fired by the murder weapon in a flower bed inside the house. It had been fired at a burglar about a year ago.  That poor account should be enough for you to identify the episode!


[[Of course, although you butchered the plot a bit.  It’s “The Greenhouse Jungle” from the second season, starring Ray Milland.  It’s not a favorite episode of mine, mostly because Milland’s performance comes off as far too overbearing and loud.  The basic plot is Milland’s character is the uncle to a fellow named Tony.  Tony is in love with his wife, but his wife is no longer in love with him.  He’s convinced that he can win back his wife with money and expensive presents, so he and his uncle concoct a phony kidnapping scheme to break his trust fund.  Then when the ransom is collected, Milland kills his nephew and takes the money for himself.  Actually, that’s another reason I don’t rank it up there among my favorites: the motive is weak.  Milland supposedly wants the money to continue his expensive orchid collection, but it just doesn’t seem reasonable to me.  Anyway, he swaps the murder weapon with the identical one owned by Tony’s wife, and then the rest progresses as you described.  The other notable aspect to this episode was the appearance of Bob Dishy as Sgt. Wilson.  The network had long begged for a sort of sidekick for Columbo, and Sgt. Wilson serves that function in this episode, following all the obvious clues Milland’s character lays out for him while Columbo focuses on the hidden facts.  The two are a nice change of pace, but I don’t see how having him as a regular character would have been a positive influence on the series.  Sgt. Wilson did return four years later, in a late-season episode during Season 5, “Now You See Him” which was a great episode starring Jack Cassidy in his final Columbo appearance (Cassidy was the murderer in the first “episode” of Columbo, if you don’t count the two movies of the week that ran prior to it becoming a series, as well as in a Season 3 episode.]]


The last time that we flew international, my wife suggested that we watch Good Omens. Don't know how she knew about it, as I wouldn't have guessed it would be her cup of tea. Anyhow, we both enjoyed it!  Like you, I am a big fan of Sandman and the Death spinoff - or at least I was when I was into comics. I kicked that addiction in 1997 - when I went off to work in New Zealand.


[[It was mostly financial reasons – overwhelming medical bills from Mara’s illnesses and lack of insurance – that made me eventually drop comics entirely.  Then in the years that followed I sold almost every comic I had, except for a few JLA/JSA Justice League crossovers that I loved as a kid..and except for some independent more mature comics like Jeff Levine’s No Hope.  I included a couple of Jeff Levine’s mini-comics with issues of Maniac’s Paradise.]]


The Rockford Files... dimly remember that as a 1970s TV series, but doesn't ring any bells.


[[Like everything else, you either watched it or you didn’t.  The only difference between then and now is the far greater selection of things to watch.  Most of the episodes I watched I saw in syndication as reruns.]]


I wonder if anyone has a complete set of Bushwacker...I would be interesting in seeing a complete list of the all the games that Fred Davis, Jr. ran... for most of the time I think he had a  3-game limit, so despite the 231 issues (?) there wouldn't be  that many of them.


[[I doubt anyone does.  His widow Inge sent me two binders of his zines when he passed away, and the Bushwacker one started with Issue #160, so I don’t think even Fred still had a full run in his possession (and that binder also had mailing lists going back to the 70’s, suggesting he’d disposed of the earlier issues.]]


Mark Firth: We finished watching the second After Life last night, having spaced the episodes out. Enjoyed this one too; apparently there’s a third to come.


[[Yes, he announced that he’ll write another season.  I’m apprehensive, but I was apprehensive when he said he’d do a Season 2 too, and he delivered fully.]]


The Dining Dead – Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana (Amazon) – The story of 18-year-old Mike Diana, the only cartoonist (actually, the only artist, period) in U.S. history to be found guilty of obscenity just for his art, in this case a comic zine he did in the early 90’ss called Boiled Angels.  A shy kid living in rural Florida, his mail-order comic zine – with a readership of between 80 and 300 – fell into the hands of law enforcement who saw similarities between one of his drawings and recent serial killing crime scene.  Eliminating him as the killer in that crime (although the local press forever referred to him as a “suspect”), they decided to go after him for distributing obscene material instead.   Be warned: if strange cartoonish drawings of graphic violence, incest, rape, and other taboo subjects are too much for you, don’t’ want this documentary.  I only knew vaguely about this case, mainly because of all the mini-comics and zines I would read at the time, and the alternative comics I was buying.  Those of you who have been around long enough to receive my first zine Maniac’s Paradise might remember some of the mini-comics and zines I’d include in the envelope now and then.  I do remember reading about this case in the Comics Journal and discussions about how the Comic Legal Defense Fund paid for his lawyer.  Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys does the narration and voice-over reading of a few stories from Mike Diana’s work.  I never bought a copy of Boiled Angels but some of the zines and mini-comics shown in a few scenes are ones I had or have in my collection.  If you are interested in the First Amendment this is a good documentary to watch, although I could have done without some of the comic stories being read and displayed slowly and deliberately.  Peter Bagge (Hate comics) and Neil Gaiman are among the comic book luminaries interviewed.  The early 90’s were a strange time, and a lot has changed since then.  Hopefully this kind of local justice is a thing of the past.


Dead Man’s Line (Amazon) – This documentary recounts the story of Tony Kiritsis, who in 1977 walked into the office of his mortgage banker in Indianapolis, wired a shotgun to the back of Richard Hall’s head, and then called 911 to inform the police of what he was doing (and to try and explain why).  What followed was one of the world’s first live-broadcasted crimes.  Not only did local (and soon national) television networks carry the 3-day crisis with constant updates, but Kiritsis also got much of his information from radio and news reports.  About 75% of the documentary is selections from those reports, or radio interviews with Kiritsis, edited together.  The rest of the film is built out of modern-day interviews with police, media members, and other involved individuals.  Only one year removed from the release of the film Network, television news was already starting to focus more on action (“if it bleeds, it leads”) rather than straight information.  Satire was becoming truth.  And the documentary does a very good job of showing how television was struggling with that new reality, from live feeds where the reporters really had nothing to report to episodes where comments from authorities or second-hand information would be broadcast and then Kiritsis would respond in real-time, sometimes with frightening anger.  Television was no longer just reporting the news, it was affecting the outcome and shaping the story, an active participant on the ground.  I thought the film started a bit jagged and confused, but pretty quickly the tension begins to build.  It’s a good watch, especially if you like true crime or if you’re interested in television history.


Voice from the Stone (Shudder) – Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) stars as Verena, an English woman serving families as a private nurse in rural Italy.  She arrives at the ancient estate of Klaus (Marton Csokas) to care for his son Jakob, who has not spoken since the death of his mother seven months earlier.  The beautiful gothic house and surrounding lands bring a very eerie atmosphere to the film, and Clarke does an admirable job as Verena.  While I enjoyed Voice from the Stone, the plot seemed painfully obvious from the very beginning.  I suppose the only real question was whether they’d hold to that storyline or whether it was a red herring from which they would strategically deviate.  I’m still glad I gave it a watch, as in a way it is a homage to the old suspenseful Hammer titles with the old homes and gothic atmosphere.


After Life Season 2 (Netflix) – As you might recall, I completely fell in love with this series when it first was released, and watched Season 1 again a few weeks back to prepare for Season 2.  Not really to prepare in terms of the story, but more to get into the proper emotional rhythm.  Season 1 made me laugh my ass off and cry uncontrollably, because I so closely identify with Ricky Gervais’ character Tony.  Season 2 wasn’t quite as brilliant as Season 1, but it was still great and better than 95% of anything you’ll find out there.  I couldn’t help myself, burning through all six episodes in one evening.  It’s the same crew as Season 1.  Tony is still desperately missing his late wife, but his growth during Season 1 wasn’t thrown away.  While he is still abrasive and blunt, it isn’t being used as a “superpower” any longer.  Instead he starts trying to find ways to help those who were there for him when he was at his lowest.  He also realizes – partially through the advice of his graveyard friend Anne (Penelope Wilton) – that one of the reasons he gets so angry about things is that he actually goes out of his way to do things for people, and feels shitty when he gets burned for that time and again…and then feels guilty for getting angry.  Still plenty of big laughs, and plenty of moments that brought me to tears.  One line summed up a lot of why Tony and I are so in synch: “I have a problem with kindness.  I don’t feel like I deserve it.”  That’s the story of my life.  I’m working on it, always a work in progress.


Cursed Films (Shudder) – This is a five-episode series, each one focusing on a different “cursed” film: The Exorcist, The Omen, Poltergeist, The Crow, and Twilight Zone: The Movie.  I honestly hoped for a lot more than I got here.  The first two episodes just recount a few things that happened on set, and spend the rest of the time pondering whether a film can actually be cursed or not.  There was more detail in the last three episodes, or maybe there was simply more story to tell.  But regardless, I knew almost everything they mentioned in here (although I’d forgotten the details of Bruce Lee’s death, or how his character’s death in a movie paralleled how his son would later die).  And a few of the things they mentioned were stretches; they mention how Julian Beck died of stomach cancer after Poltergeist II came out, but he knew he was terminal before he agreed to make the movie.  That’s hardly a “curse.”  The last two episodes offer some good details, especially from the set designer on Twilight Zone.  Overall, I think people will less knowledge of the films in question might enjoy this more than I did.


Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Shudder) – A mockumentary in which Taylor (Angela Goethals) and her crew follow Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) as he prepares for his big reappearance, twenty years after his supposed death at the hands of townsfolk.  Set in an alternate reality where killers like Freddie Kreuger and Michael Myers actually exist, Leslie explains the motivations for certain actions and the preparation for his big night of slaughtering teenagers at his family’s abandoned farmhouse.  This film has its moments, reminiscent of Scream and A Cabin in the Woods (although those two movies are superior to this one).  Most of the dark humor is directed at the slasher movie canon: why people make terrible decisions, hide instead of running away, etc.  Behind the Mask actually starts rather slow, and the uneven acting in the first five minutes almost made me turn it off.  But it grows on you, not to the extent that the others films mentioned do, but at least enough to become entertaining.  There are a few recognizable horror icons in the film, with Robert Englund appearing as a “Dr. Loomis” character and Zelda Rubenstein (Poltergeist) as a librarian.  Director and co-writer Scott Glosserman does a lot with a small budget, and while it’s nothing sensational, I’d have to call it a success overall.


Out of the WAY #21

by W. Andrew York

(wandrew88 of




Another month mostly still inside except for walking for exercise (weather permitting), picking up mail and going grocery shopping. We’ve opened up a bit, I was able to pick up my last comic pull curbside (an Austin comic book writer paid for the entire backlog in the store’s pending pick-up files so it was free!) and will order some books from BookPeople to pick up curbside on Monday. Restaurants have the option of opening (25% capacity), but many aren’t or are remaining solely with take-out/delivery. So, I have cut back quite a bit on my “eat out” spending and have been trying out new dishes to make at home. Barber shops did open this week in a limited manner, but had picked up clippers and cut it myself (keep it very short, without any attempt at styling, so not a big stretch). So, not sure when I’ll go back to that. My gym opens on Monday, but I’ll likely give them some time to work out their routine before I had back – haven’t gotten to Texas summer heat yet, so walking in the morning is still doable (as long as it isn’t raining).

We’ve only two spots left in the No-Press Gunboat game, with plenty of participation in Facts in Five and Hangman, By Definition. So, feel free to jump into either at any time. Also, if you’re willing to be a standby in the No-Press Gunboat game, please let me know – hopefully one won’t be needed, but you never know.

I did download the rules for Breaking Away, but haven’t fully processed them. I should have that done by next issue. There was a suggestion to consider Fragments and Choice, of which I’ve also obtained the rules. I’m still pondering how I might want to implement them here. Hopefully I’ll have made a decision by next issue. Anything else folks would like to see?







                After watching many of the late night shows, I whittled it down to three that I generally record to watch the following day (if more than a day, I usually delete them unless a guest is someone I want to hear). They are “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers”. I generally watch the monologues and may listen to the guests if they are someone that interests me (not often)). Each has their own brand of humor that I like, and I especially enjoy their focused commentaries on what is going on in the world. I don’t necessarily like everything that they do, However, Colbert’s “Meanwhile” segment (redubbed “Quarantinewhile” for the time being) is one I can do without (though it has a rare gem). And, I will tape and watch other late night shows if I happen to notice a guest that is of interest.

                It is interesting to see how they’ve transitioned from doing their show in a theater with a live audience to a home location, supported by family members (and pets!). Overall that has gone well, especially once the initial hurdles were dealt with and a routine worked out. But, I do miss their interaction with an audience which provides a spontaneity that adding color and unexpected bits that can be quite entertaining.

                I really don’t want to add another show, but is there one of your favorites you think I should take a second look at or might have missed?




Spotlight on Texas


As most folks know, Austin is the Capital of the State of Texas. However, that wasn’t always the case. Unlike most states which, once they establish a capital, that’s where it remains. Some states have had a single, or even two, relocations. Texas, of course, can’t be part of the crowd. As a Republic, it had seven capitals in just four years – not counting national and pre-revolution territorial capitals.

Technically, before Texas became a Republic, its capital was the capital of the country that controlled (or claimed) the area. That formally includes France, Spain and Mexico. Once Texas gained independence, unlike most states, the capital was established at a surprising number of places before ending up in Austin (even though that almost changed again!).

                The first “capital” of the Republic was at San Felipe de Austin, the key, and central, settlement in Stephen F. Austin’s colony/land grant in the territory. It was here the original declaration was created and a provisional government chosen (1835-March 1836). For the frontier area, it was actually a fairly successful town with a hotel, stores, taverns and a post office. However, today it is solely an uninhabited historical site.

                Next, Washington-on-the Brazos was the center of the efforts to separate from Mexico (March 1836-April 1936). It was here that the first state formal declaration of independence was produced and a constitution was written, with the provisional government replaced with a new governmental structure for the Republic and a formal organization of the military drafted.

                Unfortunately, the location became untenable after the fall of the Alamo and Goliad with the government moving to Harrisburg to avoid capture by the Mexican army under Santa Anna (it was part of the “Runaway Scrape”, a potential topic for a future spotlight). The government’s time in Harrisburg (April 1836) was brief, moving next to Galveston Island (April 1836-??) under pressure of the advancing Mexican army which torched the Harrisburg. From Galveston, government then moved for a time to Velasco (?? – October 1836), where Santa Anna signed the Treaty of Velsaco giving Texas its independence.

                Once Texas became a republic, the capital was next established in Columbia (October 1836-April 1837). There, a clapboard house was the governmental complex. There were no accommodations with legislators sleeping in sheds or even under the stars. The stay was necessarily a fairly show one.

Next, it was moved to a new settlement near Harrisburg, named Houston (April 1837-October 1839), but it wasn’t not much of a town at the time. Accommodations weren’t much better than in Columbia with the executive mansion being a one-room, dirt floored, shack.

After searching for a better location, the town of Waterloo was chosen – renamed Austin. The government moved there in October 1839 for the last official relocation. It has remained there since; however, not everyone was happy with that decision.

During Sam Houston’s second, non-consecutive, term as the President of the Republic, his actions resulted in what is called the Texas Archive War in 1842. Ostensibly worried about the threat of an Indian raid or Mexican invasion, he called the Texas government into session back in Washington-on-the-Brazos. He also sent agents with a wagon to move the State Archives. However, the citizens of Austin ran them out of town – even showing their displeasure by shaving one of the horses. Houston ultimately wanted to move the official capital to Houston and had been trying to obtain support to do so.

A couple months later, in the middle of the night, Houston sent another, larger, team to gather and secure the records. However, Angelina Eberly, owner of a local boardinghouse, discovered the operation. She went where the town cannon was stored (for defense against Indians) and fired a shot blowing a hole into the side of the Land Office (where the men were loading the records). The men escaped with the wagons and records, but Austin citizens followed them eventually stopping them about 20 miles away (near Round Rock’s Dell Diamond), reclaimed the records which have remained in Austin since. Eberly is commemorated with a statue, including a replica cannon, and plaque at 6th and Congress Avenue (ostensibly where the cannon was originally located), about five blocks south of the capital building (and the nearby Land Office).

Meanwhile, Houston and the legislature stayed in Washington-on-the-Brazos for several more years until returning to Austin late in 1841, a few months before the Republic joined the United States as a state.

                And, of course, the national capital of Texas is currently Washington DC and, while a member of the Confederate States, the capital was first in Montgomery AL and then Richmond VA.


Note – I did not try to fully track the pre-Republic “state”/”territorial” government locations which included Saltillo, San Antonio, Nacogdoches, Los Adaes and Moncola while under the Spanish and Mexican governments.


Sources: American History Desk Reference edited by The New York Public Library (1997); big wonderful thing by Stephen Harrigan (2019); Capital Areas Statues, Inc. website (; Family Encyclopedia of American History published by Reader’s Digest (1975); personal visits to a statue of Angelina Eberly in Austin and historical plaques in the area; Texas Almanac website (; Texas Almanac 2010-2011 published by Texas State Historical Association (2010)





Letter Column

(always welcome, send them in!)


[Mark Nelson] – It was gratifying to read that the run-on-toilet-paper is a worldwide phenomenon and not just an Australian thing! When people went crazy over here the first thing they went crazy for toilet paper! There was even an incident that got into the TV news of people getting into a fight at the supermarket over toilet paper (this was before the supermarkets start rationing what you could buy). [WAY} there was one news report here of a person going to a Dollar General store and buying out the entire paper product supply. They had clips of them loading pallets of product into their full-sized pickup. I guess they won’t have to buy any more for a couple of years (or else they were planning their Christmas gifts early!).


[John David Galt] – It’s been a mixed spring here in Sacramento. The shutdown came as a surprise; there have been visible outbreaks of you-know-what in the Bay Area but not here. And I can’t wait to be allowed out again.

                I’m a tax professional, and started this year with a mom-and-pop operation that does some quite technical business returns, so I’ve been working at home since January (and yes, we have secure e-mail, I’d be happy to advise anyone who wants help to set it up for themselves). So the virus hasn’t changed my work situation except to extend the season to the new July 15 deadline, but it does mean I can’t go out walking or shopping. At least the Walmart delivers. And I’ve put on some weight I’ll have to deal with when it’s over.

                [WAY] – John has a number of thoughts on the media and the impact of the virus on healthcare. If you’re interested in seeing them, contact him via “jdgalt at” and he’s said he’s happy to exchange thoughts.

                [JDG] - Update: It’s been two weeks since I wrote the above, and Governor Newsom just announced that he will be sending out mail ballots to the whole state for November!!! [WAY] that’s a prudent decision, we’ll see if other states take the hint and do something similar. Here the initiative to expand mail-in voting (but not to the extent of mailing all votes ballots, just allow more reasons to be allowed to request one) is very contentious at the state level with multiple lawsuits being decided ahead of the July 14th runoff election..

                [WAY] – in a later note, in response to my follow-up to him about the above. [JDG] - They’re giving a few businesses permission to open. So I can see my dentist after June 1, but I still can’t visit the barber or get the gardener in to pull the weeds (as I normally do every year in late March, and the landlord is getting annoyed about it).


[Richard Smith] – Did you notice that in the PDF version of ES 131 your subzine has some bookmarks but not the rest of zine? [WAY] – er, no. I don’t see them in my copy and I’m not even sure how to look for them. [RS] – I guess it depends on how the merge is done and how the PDF is created. Variable Pig is merged in MS Word from multiple documents and if I tell it to use headings to make bookmarks when saving to PDF, I get a horrible mess. So I have to use the manually-created Word bookmarks option, but these can’t have spaces in the name and can’t be hierarchical. To be honest I don’t think many people use the bookmarks these days, it’s all a bit 1990s. [WAY] – sounds like something that’s done on Doug’s side, hey Doug. [Doug Kent] – I rarely if ever have bookmarks enabled in Adobe so I’ve never noticed if they’re there or not. It’s an easy thing for me to remove after making the pdf since I have full Acrobat, so if I remember I’ll remove them before each issue. For a few issues I used to manually insert ones in Diplomacy World but nobody said they ever noticed or made use of them… I’ll wager Richard is the only person to have noticed these even exist. [WAY] – thanks Doug, sounds like a plan. No one else has mentioned them, so you might be right!




Random Review


                Terraforming Mars is a game released in 2016 that puts the players in charge of one of the efforts working to, not surprisingly, terraform Mars. It is a quasi-cooperative game as to end the game three goals must be reached – placing nine ocean tiles, raise the temperature from -30 to +8 degrees and raise the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere to 14%. Once those three goals are met the remainder of that turn is completed, then the board and cards scored with the person with the greatest final Terraform Rating (TR) (aka score) being the winner.

                A turn consists of identifying the new first player (next person clockwise), a research phase to potentially seed new cards to each player (cards may be optionally purchased for future use), an action phase consists of each player taking one or two actions in order going around the table until no one has any further actions. Once everyone has completed their actions a resource production phase is conducted. Actions may include initiating a standard project (pay money for raising various productions, placing oceans, etc.), activating a reoccurring card, claiming a milestone, funding an award, paying the cost of a card (money, discounts, resources may be used to cover it) and implementing any immediate effects, etc.

                The original game has three playing options, the basic game with a standard start for all players, the Corporate Era with variety of corporations (each gives a “jump start” for each player, as well as potentially some unique advantage in the game) and the solo game. I found the basic game a good way to introduce folks to game play and let them learn the mechanics without initial overload from the variety of cards used. Once they are familiar with that, usually one play, definitely move to the Corporate Era version as each player will start out with different production levels and have different abilities.

                The solo game plays significantly differently and uses a different game end. The skills gained, though they can be useful in learning cards and some strategies, are not a good way to become used to the multi-player game. The solo game has a goal of beating the system and terraforming Mars within fourteen turns. So, you don’t have the need to use cards that give extra points at the end of the game, only cards that build up production, or otherwise directly change the planet, will be used. The multitude of cards that provide abilities to gain victory points at the end of the game (scored as increases in the TR) providing no utility to actually terraform the planet – only as immediate discards or, if brought into your hand without cost, to be sold for an additional credit to spend.

                Since the original game was released a number of expansions have been released. Each may add some actions, more cards/corporations, playing areas, etc. They include:


                Prelude – adds additional start-up corporations and introduces pregame cards that give boosts to initial production or

                                                inventory levels

                Venus Next – adds an additional set of actions to alter Venus (not required to max out to end the game) and the World


                Colonies – adds moons for trade and placing colonies

                Hellas & Elysium – two additional map options

                Turmoil – adds Global Events and a Terraforming Committee board with parties and delegates.


I’ve played several solo games, a handful of times face-to-face (mostly teaching people the game) and several via Email. Overall, I’m very impressed with the game, its variety and replayability. Especially with the expansions there are enough cards to ensure that the game retains its freshness (only once did we go through an entire deck and have to reshuffle). The two maps in the original game, coupled with the expansion, give plenty of variety in the gameboards. As for the expansions, some I like more than others – Prelude is almost a given, Colonies I’m still deciding about, Venus Next is OK, but I don’t miss it and Turmoil I’m in my first game using it so really don’t have a fair opinion yet.

                If you’re looking for a good game to spend an afternoon or evening playing with friends, without worries about the game play becoming stale, Terraforming Mars is a definite winner. Highly Recommended.

                To give it a preview there are several tutorials on the web so you can see it for yourself and decide if it is for you.




Mini-Book Reviews

(finished since last issue)


Gotterdammerung: The Last Days of the Wehrmacht in the East edited by Bob Carruthers (2012; 140p).


                This is one of the books in his “Eastern Front from Primary Sources” series (he has other series, such as the “Hitler’s War Machine”). The book has an introduction, setting the premise of the book, followed by a series of compilations from primary sources, such as documents written at the time, interviews afterwards or other recollections from those directly involved. Then, there are additional short pieces of associated material.

                In this book, billing it as “The Last Days of the Wehrmacht in the East,” is a bit of a stretch. It is actually a focused look on the Battle of Berlin in April/May 1945. First, the run up to the battle sets the scene, followed by overviews of the fragmented command structure, planning, supply and the civilian population. The minutia of the battle are not detailed, however the general flow is given. Following the main part of the book, there are bits on Soviet tanks in city fighting, a look at the Panzerhandmine 3, the background of the Volkssturm and others.

                Generally well done, it gives decent coverage of the topic. It is not for the casual reader, or the serious researcher trying to nail down specifics for a scholarly article. However, I found it good to refresh my memory, fill in some gaps and leave some things I’d like to look into further. Also, it included some photographs that I don’t recall seeing before and some maps/sketches that added to my understanding of the topic, such as a map of the city subway system and which sections had been flooded.

Well worth buying and reading it this is something of interest. I do have two more of his books in the “to read” pile and likely will keep an eye out for more of them. [April 2020]


Omega City by Diana Peterfreund (2015; 324p).


                This is a YA novel set in the present time centered on two 12 year old siblings living with their disgraced father. He had written a factual book about an, apparently, fringe scientist but, after publication, all of his research and notes were destroyed when their home flooded. Therefore, unable to back up the claims in his book, he was also deemed a fringe conspiracy theorist.

                His kids, along with their friends and an older teen, start following some clues that lead to a major discovery (hint, the title of the book), adventures and danger. Their adventures continue in the next books of the trilogy.

                Overall, a solid story that should engage most tweens and younger teenagers. It does require an adult to have some suspension of belief as there are several points where you’d go “could this happen.” However, I’ll likely pick up the other volumes when they come out in paperback. [May 2020]


Sharpe’s Enemy by Bernard Cornwell (1984/2001; 351p).


                The sixth book (publishing order) in Cornwell’s Sharpe series. It is set during the Napoleonic War, on the Iberian Peninsula. The series follows Richard Sharpe, originally an enlisted soldier who was promoted to the officers’ ranks, due to merit during military actions in India, instead of through the more usual purchase. It is historical fiction, but based on the life, times and events that actually occurred. You may be more familiar with the BBC series based on the books.

                In this installment, it is 1812 with Sharpe and his unit in northern Portugal. Asked to oversee the first trials in the peninsula of the Congreve rocket units, he is diverted to a rescue mission and, inevitably, the potential to meet French forces on a field of battle.

                Well written, the book moves along and keeps the reader engaged while not skimping on the feel of the time period and the grittiness its military conflict. You don’t need to start at the beginning of the series, but I certainly would recommend it. Can’t wait for the next volume to percolate to the top of the fiction pile (which, as I look, I don’t have the next one – I do have eight other Sharpe books that I was given, but not the next one….time to order it, off to BookPeople!). [April 2020]



Babylon 5 Quote


G’Kar in “The Hour of the World”:  “Our thoughts form the universe, they always matter.”


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





Recipe of the Month


Recipe Philosophy: Except for baking, recipes are only suggestions. I rarely precisely measure, eyeballing most everything. The

                listed measurements, for the most part, are estimates from the last time I made the recipe. Feel free to adjust to meet

                your personal tastes – and remember, it is easier to add “more” of something than to compensate when “too much” has

                been added.


For ingredients, if you don’t like raw onions, omit them or replace with celery to retain the crunchiness. If you like food with

                more spice, add an extra jalapeno or use habaneros instead. On the other hand, if you don’t like spicy food, replace the

                jalapeno with half a bell pepper. Optional items are used when I’m looking for a variation or making it for individuals

                with specific preferences or allergies.



Packet Dinner

by W Andrew York

(last reviewed May 2020)


Ingredients (serves 1 each):


                Note – this is what I used the last time I made this recipe. It is extremely variable, see notes for other ideas


                                                4-6oz      Pork Tenderloin Piece (mine came from the store with a BBQ seasoning, if not

season with salt and pepper or other spices as desired)

                                                ½             Large Sweet Onion sliced into four sections

                                                ½             Large Idaho Potato sliced into eight wedges

                                                5-8          Carrots sticks

                                                5-8          Celery sticks

                                                4-8          Garlic Cloves

                                                                Olive Oil

                                                                Tony Chachere’s  (aka Tony C’s) Cajun Seasoning




1)       Toss to coat all the veggies in olive  oil, then add the Tony C’s seasoning to taste

2)       Pour the veggies into the middle of a generous square of foil, prepped with no-stick spray, on a half-sheet pan

3)       Place the meat on top of the veggies, making sure some aromatics (garlic, onion) are under the meat

4)       Seal tightly on all sides and top (use additional foil as needed) to create a packet around the veggies/meat

5)       Cook the packet in a 350 degree toaster oven for @40 minutes or until the meat and veggies are cooked through.

6)       Remove from oven, carefully open (watch for escaping steam) and transfer the veggies/meat to a dinner plate




-          This makes plenty of extra veggies, cut back to avoid leftovers or add more for even more extras

-          Feel free to add or substitute 1-2” green onion slices, rutabaga, parsnips, radishes, corn on the cob, etc.

(key thing is all veggies should be prepared to be done at, or about, the same time. I’ve had potato wedges

                too thick so undercooked when the rest were ready, etc.)

-          I’ve used other types and cuts, chicken thighs, pork chops, slice of roast. I wouldn’t use a fine cut of beef though.

For seafood, use peeled/deveined shrimp or firm white fish, with lemon/lime slices or juice added to the

                aromatics. As the fish usually cooks faster, prep the veggies into smaller pieces. Note - I’ve not tried it

                with tuna or salmon though they’ll take a bit longer to cook than a white fish filet

-          If you’re making more than two packets, use a regular oven

-          Packets can be prepped in the morning and stored in the fridge. Remove about 1/2–hour ahead of time to come to near room temperature





Game Section


Everyone Plays Games: Hangman, By Definition; Facts in Five


Game Openings: Breaking Away (Kent, Burgess); No-Press Gunboat Diplomacy (5 players, 2 openings)


Possible Game Openings: Fragments (under consideration), Choices (under consideration)

Suggestions accepted for other games to offer.


Standbys: Breaking Away (none); Gunboat Diplomacy (none)





Hangman, By Definition


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


Each round will consist of identifying a word of at least six letters. Along with each word will be the first definition given. All words and definitions will be identified by blank spaces. Words and definitions are verified in a dictionary that was my high school graduation gift (slight hint to those who might want to find the edition).


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


Along with revealing letters in the word, letters will be revealed in the definition. There are no bonus points for guessing any part of the definition, it is only there to help players figure out the word. No guesses about parts of the definition will be confirmed or displayed except by the letter revealed in that round. The letters “E” and “S” can never be chosen as the letter to be revealed.


Game 1, Round One, Turn Two:


                Letter Votes: C x1, I x1, L x2, N x1, R x1, U x1                          Revealed: L


                Words Guessed:   [Doug Kent]: Brainstorming; [Kevin Wilson]: Callisthentics [sic]; [Dane Maslen]: Unquestioning;

                                [Richard Smith}: Conceptualism; [Andy Lischett]: No Guess; [Heath Davis-Gardner]: Woolgathering;

                                [Mark Firth]: Unquestioning





                Word:                     __  __  __  __  __  __  T  __  __  __  __  __  L (13)


Definition:             __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  L  __ (12)     __  __ (2)    


                                __  __  __  __  L  __  __  L  __  __  L  __ (12)     __  __  __  __  T  __ (6)


                Never Revealed:  E, S                         Already Revealed:  L, T


    Game Words Correctly Guessed: None, yet


Player Comments: <<all received held for the end of the round>>





                                                                        FACTS IN FIVE


Rules:     There will be five rounds, the cumulative high score at the end of the fifth round will be the winner. Anyone may join anytime with a starting score matching the lowest total 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 submit may 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 given names, the last name is the key word, if married it will be their post-marriage last name. However, in the case of commonly used stage names, that name should be used (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.

                Research is allowed, collaboration between players is not.


Round One


Bolded - Scores 2 points for matching another entry; Crossed Out - scores 0 points; otherwise scores 1 point.


REMINDER - Last names are generally the key word, not first names.


  Players                                 M                            P                              O                             L                             B


Female World Leader/Ruler

    Heath Davis-Gardner     Merkel                  Park                        Otunbayeva         Liliuokalani          Bhutto  

    Mark Firth                        Merkel                  Patil                        Oprah                     Leda                       Bhutto

    Doug Kent                        Merkel                  Payette                  Otunbayeva         Lynch                    Bachelet

    Andy Lischett                  Merkel                  ?                              Olive Oyl               ?                              Bhutto

    Kevin Wilson                   Merkel                  Rosa Parks            Obama                  Lagarde                 Bhutto



    Heath Davis-Gardner     Mensa                    PETA                     Order of the Coif Legal Aid Soc      Bohemian Club

    Mark Firth                        Mob, The              PLO                        Orient L&M          Lady Bl Mam      Beer Lovers Party

    Doug Kent                        Mensa                    Plym Hist Soc      Order of F& P      LA Hist Soc          Brook His Soc

    Andy Lischett                  MLB                      PGA                        OAS                        LPGA                     BSA

    Kevin Wilson                   MSF                       Planetary Soc       OPEC                     League/Nations   Bot Soc of Am


Famous Structures

    Heath Davis-Gardner     Monticello             Parthenon            O Wor Tra Ctr   Leaning Tower   Big Ben

    Mark Firth                        Maracana Stad    Pyramid (Giza)   Octagon House    London Bridge     Brooklyn Bridge

    Doug Kent                        Machu Picchu     Pyramids              O Wor Tra Ctr   Louvre                  Burj Khalifa

    Andy Lischett                  Met Life Bldg       Parthenon            Orchestra Hall      Louvre                  Brooklyn Bridge

    Kevin Wilson                   Machu Picchu     Parthenon            O Wor Tra Ctr   Leaning Tower   Big Ben


Professional Magazines/Periodicals

    Heath Davis-Gardner     Music Trades       Pub Weekly          OPI                         Loc Gov Chron    Billboard

    Mark Firth                        Math Circular       Proctologist Ins    Ophtha                  Lib News Digest  Bomb Gazette

    Doug Kent                        Mari Prof               Photographer        Op Today             Legal Week          Biotech Week

    Andy Lischett                  Mad                       People                    Oui                          Lancet                   Better Homes & Gardens

    Kevin Wilson                   Money                   Pro Photographer Outside                  LIFE                       BusinessWeek


Science Fiction Authors

    Heath Davis-Gardner     Mieville                  Pohl                       Orwell                   Le Guin                 Bradbury

    Mark Firth                        Moorcock             Pournelle              Orwell                   Lewis, C. S.          Banks

    Doug Kent                        Martin                    Pohl                       Orwell                   Lovecraft              Bradbury

    Andy Lischett                  McCaffrey           ?                              ?                              ?                              Bradbury

    Kevin Wilson                   McCaffrey           Pournelle              Orwell                   Le Guin                 Bradbury


Heath’s Notes: Park Geun-Hye (in Korea, surname comes first); O Wor Tra Ctr = One World Trade Center;

                Pub Weekly - Publishers Weekly; OPI = Office Products Intl; Loc Gov Chron = Local Government Chronicle (UK)

Mark’s Notes: Leda – Queen of Sparta; Mob – I was initially inclined to disallow as a generic term for a criminal gang; however,

                research shows it is a an acceptable alternative name for the Mafia/La Costa Nostra; PLO – Palestinian Liberation

                Organization; Orient L&M – Oriental Light & Magic, disallowed as the only references I can find to it are as a

                commercial film/animation studio rather than a society or organization; Lady Bl Mam – Ladysmith Black Mambazo;

                Beer Lovers Party (of Belarus); Math Circular – Mathemeatics Circular; Proctologist Ins – Proctologist Insider,

                disallowed as I can’t find any reference to it existing, send me a reference and I’ll update the scores; Ophtha

                – Ophthalmology; Lib News Digest – Librarian News Digest; Bomb Gazette – Bombardier Gazette, disallowed, see

                note with Proctologist Insider

Doug’s Notes: Plym Hist Soc = Plymouth Historical Society; Order of F&P = Order of the Founders and Patriots;

LA Hist Soc = Louisiana Historical Society; Brook His Soc = Brooklyn Historical Society; O Wor Tra Ctr =

                One World Trade Center; Mari Prof = Maritime Professional; Op Today = Optometry Today

Andy’s Notes: Olive Oyl – disallowed as the only reference I can find is to a cartoon character, not a world leader/ruler

Kevin’s Notes: MBS – Medicines Sans Frontiers; League/Nations - League of Nation; Bot Soc of Am – Botanical Society of

                America; O Wor Tra Ctr = One World Trade Center; Prof Photographer – Professional Photographer



Round Two


Letters:                  D             F              B             O             S             

Categories:            Liquid Edible Products; Popular Music Title; Past Religious Leader/Figure; No. American Port City;

                                                7+ Letter German Word


Current Standings


Scores by Category             1st           2nd         3rd          4th          5th          Previous                 Now                        Total     

   Heath David-Gardner      8              6                9           5                9           0              +              37           =              37

   Kevin Wilson                    7              5              10           5              10           0              +              37           =              37

   Doug Kent                         7              6                9           5                9           0              +              35           =              35

   Mark Firth                          7              4                7           3                7           0              +              28           =              28

   Andy Lischett                   4              5                8           5                4           0              +              26           =              26


Player Comments:


[WAY] – well, not a player comment but something germane to the game. I’ve added two clarifications to the rules that I want to make sure everyone was aware – “research is allowed, collaboration between players is not.” Also, as a help when I adjudicate the game, if you’re using an obscure reference or something that might have multiple meanings, a bit of explanation would be helpful. But, if something is disallowed and you provide the reference later I’ll correct the score.


[Andy Lischett] – Not sure if by “professional” magazine you mean professionally produced or for specific professions, but I’m going with the first. [WAY} – The card I drew for the category wasn’t specific, and to be honest the second option hadn’t even occurred to me, so I’d expected professionally produced magazines instead of fan-produced. But, as in “By Popular Demand” it is up to the person playing to decide how they’ll answer. [AL] – If an answer is incorrect yet a lot of people give it, does it count? [WAY] – Unfortunately, no. If the category is major league baseball teams and five people choose Detroit Lions, they’ll be discounted (unless one of the submitters gives a good reason why they chose it). [AL] – For structures, how about “Opry, Grand Old”? [WAY] – Nope, the name it is usually called should be how it is submitted. [AL] - Or, “Old Faithful” because it has a fence around it. [WAY] – If it was submitted as “Old Faithful’s Fence”, with a clarification note, it would be accepted. If you just submitted “Old Faithful” without any clarification it wouldn’t be allowed. [AL] – OPEC will probably beat OAS, but maybe not. [WAY} – We’ll see, so far (with two entries) it hasn’t come up.




Deadline for the Next Issue of Out of the WAY:


June 10, 2020 at noon – See You Then!


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


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



Eternal Sunshine Game Section




Diplomacy, “Wine Lips”, 2020B


The Players:


Austria: Harold Reynolds –  

England: David Cohen –

France: David Burgess –  

Germany: Mark Firth –

Italy: George Atkins -

Russia: Heath Davis-Gardner –

Turkey: Paul Milewski –


Black Press is permitted in this game (you may write press from any location, as may any other player or non-player).  Seasons separated on three requests, but Winter 1901 only requires two requests.


This is American-style, which means no predictive adjustments needed.  You submit Autumn and Winter with Spring, and Summer with Fall, unless separations are granted.


Draws must include all survivors, and they must pass unanimously.  Voting is secret.  NVR = Yes.


ALL Players Must Be Signed Up to the ES Mailchimp List at


Deadline for Spring 1901 Moves and Press is: June 13, 2020 at 7am My Time (U.S. central time)

Diplomacy, “Indestructible Machine”, 2020A, Fall 1902


Austria: Rick Davis – - A Bulgaria Supports A Rumania (*Ordered to Move*),

 F Greece Supports A Bulgaria, A Vienna - Budapest (*Bounce*).

England: Mark Firth – - F London - North Sea, F North Sea – Denmark,

 F Skagerrak Supports F North Sea – Denmark, A Yorkshire Hold.

France: John David Galt – - F Brest - English Channel, A Gascony – Marseilles,

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Supports F Brest - English Channel, A Picardy – Paris,

 F Spain(sc) Supports A Gascony - Marseilles.

Germany: Tim Haffey – - F Baltic Sea - Denmark (*Fails*),

 A Belgium Supports F Holland, A Burgundy - Munich (*Bounce*), F Holland Supports A Belgium,

 A Kiel Supports F Baltic Sea - Denmark.

Italy: Toby Harris – - A Apulia – Venice, F Ionian Sea - Aegean Sea (*Fails*),

 A Piedmont - Tyrolia (*Fails*), A Trieste - Budapest (*Bounce*), F Tyrrhenian Sea Hold.

Russia: Bob Durf – - Retreat A Vienna - Tyrolia..

 F Black Sea Supports A Galicia – Rumania, A Finland Supports F Norway, A Galicia – Rumania, F Norway Hold,

 F Sweden Supports F North Sea – Denmark, A Tyrolia - Munich (*Bounce*).

Turkey: Jack McHugh - - Retreat A Bulgaria - Rumania..

 F Aegean Sea Supports A Rumania - Bulgaria (*Cut*), F Ankara Hold,

 A Constantinople Supports A Rumania – Bulgaria, A Rumania - Bulgaria (*Dislodged*,

 retreat to Sevastopol or Ukraine or Serbia or OTB).


Tim Haffey has resigned as Germany (he’s having email problems, and just before the deadline reported he’s having major eyesight problems which he fears may not be treatable).  Will Andy Lischett ( please take over?



Supply Center Chart


Austria:           Budapest, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia?, Vienna=4 or 5                                          Build 1

England:         Denmark, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London=4                                                       Even

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

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

Italy:               Naples, Rome, Trieste, Tunis, Venice=5                                                            Even

Russia:           Moscow, Norway, Rumania, Sevastopol?, St Petersburg,

Sweden, Warsaw=6 or 7                                                                                   Even or Build 1

Turkey:           Ankara, Constantinople, Smyrna, Sevastopol?, Serbia?=3 or 4                          Even or Build 1




Lord Haw-Haw to Berlin: No, the *other* left!


Bob Durf: Czar Bob Reflecting on Pope 'I won the World Championship, lets have some Tea and Biscuits' Toby of Italy.

disclaimer: Czar Bob has nothing but respect and love for his friend in Italy.


Associated Press of St. Petersburg: Russian Troops Leaving Vienna


Deadline for W 02/S 03 is: June 13th at 7am My Time

Balkan Wars VI, “Bad Way to Go”, 2020Apb08, Fall 1910


Albania: Mark Firth – – A Tir–MON, F Nas-TRI, F VAL-Epi.

Bulgaria: Jack McHugh - -  F VAR-Con, A Sof-PLO, A Mac-SAL, A THR S A Mac-Sal.

Greece: Kevin Wilson – ckevinw@gmail.comA EPI-Val, A Sal s A Epi-Val (Dis – ret Ath, OTB), F Spa – GOC.

Rumania: Brad Wilson – - F NBS-Izm , A Bes-CLUJ, A DUB H.

Serbia: Andy York – - A Cro-BOS, A Bel-CRO, A SKO S A Mac-Sal.

Turkey: Heath Davis-Gardner – - F IZM s A Con,

 A CON S Rumanian F Nbs– Var (Impossible), F Ems-RHO.


Supply Center Chart


Albania:                      Mon, Tir, Val, Tri=4                                                                   Build 1

Bulgaria:                     Sof, Var, Plo, Thr, Sal=5                                                          Build 1

Greece:                       Ath, Spa=2                                                                               Remove 1

Rumania:                    Buc, Gal, Cnsta, Cluj, Dub=5                                                    Build 2

Serbia:                        Bel, Nis, Sko, Bos=4                                                                Build 1

Turkey:                       Con, Izm, Smy, Rho=4                                                             Build 1

Neutral:                      Mal, Cre, Cyp




Turkey to Rumania - All this for one or two dots? Shoot me an email, let's figure out how to make Bulgaria truly suffer. Turks know the Janissary position quite well and are happy to be on the other end of it for once. You made this variant, so I'm sure you are aware of advantages to taking me out that I'm not seeing, but from where I'm sitting, it looks like either Bulgaria is a sucker, in which case good for you, or you think Bulgaria is a sucker but he isn't, in which case good for him. Of all the people on this board, I bet you anything I care the least about winning and the most about having some fun. Why be such a party pooper? Are you convinced yet? :)


RUM-ALB: Smart opening builds.


WORLD to BULGARIA: Ugly haircut!


Turkey to Bulgaria - Did you not get my email at the start of this game? Was this in the bag from the beginning? At least Rumania responded to me literally the day of the deadline after my moves were in and stuff. But yeah, if he broke my support and you got into Con, congrats.


Turkey to Greece - If Rum/Bul press the attack, you know I'm going to support you as much as I can in taking my dots. You at least exchanged a bunch of emails with me, even if they were all setup for some sort of misorder :)


Greece, Albania, and Serbia, If you're listening, release the Rumanian/Bulgarian emails. What have they been saying to each of you? Compare notes.


FRANZ FERDINAND SAYS: Look out Serbian creeps, here I come!


Deadline for W 1910/S 1911: June 13th at 7am My Time

Remember, there are NO SEPARATIONS allowed in Balkan Wars


Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?


The Rules were in Eternal Sunshine #131, read them if you want a detailed explanation and examples.  Basically, this is a guessing game, trying to guess the mystery person and their location (both chosen by me before the game started).  Closest guess gets a public clue and notification they were the closest.  Everyone else sees the clue but has to figure out on their own who was the closest that turn.


Turn 1


Tom Howell:

Izumo no Okuni at the Grand Shrine of Izumo in Shimane Prefecture, Japan


Will Abbott:

Justin Welby in Atlanta, GA


Simon Langley-Evans:

Paul Ateriedes in Paris, France


John David Galt:

Hunter Biden in Nairobi, Kenya


Kevin Wilson:

Wayne LaPierre, Jr. in Lagos, Nigeria


Andy Lischett:

Dub Taylor in Gibsland, Louisiana


Richard Smith:

Anna Von Hausswolff in Gothenburg, Sweden


Dane Maslen:

Tedros Adhanom in Geneva, Switzerland


Heath Davis-Gardner:

Scottie Pippen in Mexico City, Mexico


Jack McHugh:

Barack Obama in Nairobi, Kenya


Mark Firth:

Cersei Lannister in Beni, DR Congo


David Burgess:

Elton John in London, England


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

I died before you were born.  Wrong nationality…but correct chromosome.


Deadline for Round 2 is June 13th at 7am My Time

By Popular Demand


I’ve run this game (or By Almost Popular Demand, a slight variant) a number of times in Eternal Sunshine.  The rules are simple: I supply you with five categories.  You send in what you think will be the most popular answer for each category.  Research IS permitted.  You get one point for each person who submitted the answer you gave.  So, if you and two other people send in the same answer that’s three points.  You also get to choose a Joker category, where the points are doubled.  So in the example I gave, you’d get six points in that category if you chose it as your Joker that round.  If you don’t specify a Joker, it gets applied to the first category listed (so you don’t “lose” the Joker).  Always answer for every category: any answer is legal, and will earn a point even if you’re the only person to give it.  High score after ten categories wins.  Any player who joins after the first round starts with the lowest score so far; if you join starting in Turn 3 and the person doing the worst has 27 points so far, that’s what you start with.  Also if you miss a turn, you get the lowest score that round rather than zero.  This makes the game more competitive and keeps you playing even if you arrive late or forget to play one turn.


Turn 3 Categories:

(Don’t forget to specify a Joker category, or it will be applied to Category 1)


1.    A former talk show host

2.    A former cast member of Saturday Night Live

3.    A baseball team that no longer exists (has changed names, moved cities, or folded entirely)

4.    An electronic item that was once popular, but people rarely if ever buy any longer

5.    A chain of stores that no longer exists


Joker category shown in BOLD.  Most popular answer shown in italics.

Andy York scores 29, the highest possible score for the round.  Richard Smith brings up the rear this time around with 7 points.


Comments by Category:


A former talk show host: Kevin Wilson – “I started with Johnny Carson but since that would date me too much, went at least one generation younger.”  Andy Lischett – “I usually go with my first responses and don't care about winning, as I enjoy this more. For instance, I know that Johnny Carson will be the most popular for #1, but my first thought was Dick Cavett.”  Andy York – “I'd say Carson, but figure folks will say Leno.”  Heath Davis-Gardner – “Johnny Carson. this seems like an obvious choice and I almost used the joker, but then realized there's a big old list of really good former talk show hosts, and I don't know this zine's target demo enough to suss out a better guess than the late, great, apparently dickish Johnny Carson.”  Mark Nelson – “Given that most of the players are American I will go for... David Letterman.   I used to sometimes watch his show if I was up late.”


A former vast member of Saturday Night Live: Kevin Wilson – “My favorite is Aykroyd but I suspect Belushi could be quite popular too.”  Andy Lischett – “Chevy was my first choice but Lorraine Newman was much cuter.”  Heath Davis-Gardner – “Chevy Chase - the first-ever 'former' cast member, right? tempted to say Will Farrell or Dana Carvey, but that might be my age bias.”  Mark Nelson – “   Never ever watched it! But there's so many people who used SNL as a springboard to greater fame that the vote could split! As it has been running for such a long time it will be interesting to see how the vote splits, will the more recent members of the show get more votes because more people remember then as being on SNL?  I did do some research for this question (since I've never watched it) but I'm going to go with the person I would have nominated without doing any research: Bill Murray (just because I like him).”


A baseball team that no longer exists: Kevin Wilson – “As my joker, seemed reasonable as it was the last move/fold 15 years ago and the last before that was more than 30 years before that.  I guess someone could go with a truly historic team, like the Brooklyn Dodgers becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers but it was even longer ago.  I’ll bet though if it isn’t Montreal it is the Dodgers.”  Richard Smith – “I can watch most sports but Baseball is just too dull. Futurama may have the answer  Mark Nelson – “   Hmm... another American centric question!  However, I have watch one baseball game in person! There is an American mathematics conference that I've attended once, MathFest. In August 2011 it was held in Lexington (Kentucky)   and the only delegate at the conference that I knew took me out one evening with a couple of his mates to watch... I don't know, I guess the local team play someone else. Don't remember who won!  OK... after some research... I am going to go for the... The Kentucky Colonels... not because I expect anyone else to go for them (a 1 pointer for sure) but because there is a Kentucky connection!


An electronic item that was once popular, but people rarely if ever buy any longer: Kevin Wilson – “I thought about an iPod.  While there is still a version made I suspect most use smartphones now or something similar.”  Heath Davis-Gardner – “Calculator. It's all on the phone now.”  Mark Nelson – “   I am going to go for calculator. It's not true that people rarely "if ever" buy them... because students buy them! But there can't be many non-students buying them. I suppose that "video machine" could be a popular answer. [[If by video machine you mean a VCR, those are still sold, although it is getting harder to find combo DVD/Video machines.]]


A chain store that no longer exists: Kevin Wilson – “#5 was the hardest but given we’re all camping out at home and bingeing Netflix (season 3 of Ozark) something Netflix killed seem appropriate.”  Heath Davis-Gardner – “Circuit City, where legend says service was once state-of-the-art. “


General Comments: Simon Langley-Evans – “I am assuming that the players are mostly from the US, and so am a bit out of my comfort zone here. I'd choose different answers for a UK group who were considering talk show hosts or defunct chain stores and baseball and Saturday Night Live are things I know nothing about.”  Andy York – “Joske's came to mind first, but that was a regional chain. How about Woolworths.”  Dane Maslen – “This is a tough round for a non-American!  Only the fourth category lacks a cultural bias, but I'm far from confident that I've identified the most sensible answer for even it.  So, where do I play my joker?  Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...”  Mark Nelson – “Hm... I suppose I had better go for an American chain of stores...but then I don't many that no longer exist. I suppose the book shop "Borders" is the only one I can think of.  You know... oh, that's funny. I knew that there was a US chainstore called "Woolworth" - which I learnt about through the rules of the diplomacy variant (Woolworth IID). I see that it has gone out of business.  Therefore because it has a diplomacy connection I go for    Woolworth.  And I guess that this issue's diplomacy variant request is that you print the rules of this famous variant!”  [[Which I have, at the end of this issue, mostly because I mentioned possibly offering a game opening last issue (and I am doing so now.]]


Turn 4 Categories:

(Don’t forget to specify a Joker category, or it will be applied to Category 1)


1. A type of drum

2. An island

3. A streaming service other than Netflix

4. A Clint Eastwood movie

5. A serial killer


Deadline for Turn 4 of By Popular Demand is: June 13th at 7am My Time

Deadline for the next issue of Eternal Sunshine is: June 13, 2020 at 7am My Time (U.S. central time)


See You Then!


Woolworth II-D (cb19)

by Glen Overby & Fred C. Davis Jr., 1981


Rules re-written and map drawn by Andrew Poole for Ten Best Diplomacy Variants (a.k.a UKVB Package 2).


All the usual rules of Diplomacy (1971 rulebook) apply, except where amended below.


Woolworth Diplomacy is a five-player variant. There are ten Great Powers in the game, each player controls two of these : a 'public' power which is known to all players, and a 'secret' power known only to the controlling player and the g.m.


Three Great Powers (Balkans, Scandinavia and Spain) are added to the regular seven. The initial set up for all the powers is as follows :












A or F (Lpl).




A or F (Mar).








A or F (Rome).




F(Sevastapol), A or F(StP).








A or F (Mad).




A or F (Smy).


All 'choice' set-ups need not be announced until the Spring '01 orders are revealed. Either an army or a fleet may start in these spaces; if the space has two coasts, the fleet may start on either.


Woolworth uses a version of the regular board with significant modifications.


The Powers are assigned to players using the following procedure :


a. Each player submits a list of the ten Great Powers in order of their preferences. Ties are not permitted.


b. Control of the 'public' powers is decided first. Players' first choices are compared : unique first choices are granted, lots are drawn between players where their first choices are identical.


c. Once a player is assigned a power, it is removed from all the players' preference lists.


d. For players who failed to gain their first choices, the process as outlined in b. above is repeated, using the highest choices still available, continuing until all the players have a public power.


e. When there are only five powers remaining, the process is repeated so as to assign the 'secret' powers.


The control of secret powers is never revealed by the g.m, though NMR's may make the relationships apparent. Players may do as they like in this regard, telling or not telling as they please.


As the game is not historically based, it begins in Spring '01 rather than the year 1901.


There are 39 supply centres on the board. The victory condition is 24 centres, which may be reached by a combination of the strength of the public and secret powers belonging to a player. Adjustments are always separately counted for each power, however.


There is a 'Direct Passage' link between Sicily and Naples. This allows units to move directly from one of these provinces to the other without in any way affecting fleet movement between TYS and ION.


New Province Abbreviations :







Bay of Biscay


Crete (s.c.)


High Atlantic Ocean


Iceland (s.c.)










Madrid (s.c.)


Morocco (s.c.)






Switzerland (s.c.)




West Atlantic Ocean


Notes by Andrew Poole : Woolworth Diplomacy gains its title from the shops of the same name, which originally sold all their goods at prices of 5c and 10c and were commonly called 'fives and tens'. The idea of Woolworth is for each player to be able to control both one 'public' and one 'secret' power. To allow this, the number of Great Powers was increased to ten. The three extra powers were created from groups of neutral supply centres in Scandinavia, the Balkans and Iberia.


However, with the ten Great Powers, from the start of the game there is conflict. The Secret powers make it easier to start wars, whilst each player starting the game with six units make it also more necessary. The Secret powers must do all of their diplomacy through press releases, producing some interesting press. The Secret powers need careful play so as to avoid the identity of their owner being revealed, too much co-ordination between a public and a secret power may give the game away (literally !). There are sudden shifts of alliances as players try to find out who their opponents are. There have been mock wars, and a player may have his public power deliberately eliminated so as to continue the war with just the secret power !