Eternal Sunshine #143

April 2021

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


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Quote of The Month“We're something, aren't we? The only animals that shove things up their ass for survival.” - (Papillon in “Papillon”)


Welcome to Eternal Sunshine, the official dipzine of the lonely and solitary.  Brought to you from inside a hermit-like existence, with only dust and cat hair to break the monotony.  And lightly-flavored seltzer water.  (They call it “sparkling water” these days, but it’s all the same thing).


I’ll begin with an update on my ear.  The infection is gone.  What I’m left with seems to be an irregular case of TMJ irritation.  This would partly have been caused by the infection, and partly due to my slowly weaning off of benzodiazepines, which the Feds forced me to start taking when I came home in 2006.  (The clause in my Supervised Release papers said I must “follow all mental health recommendations” they gave me.)  Despite slowly tapering off them for almost a year, it appears the final bit of tapering – combined with the issues my sinus and ear infections were causing – led to increased irritation of the joint and attached nerves, and possibly more teeth grinding in my sleep than I’m used to.  I’ve been a teeth-grinder while sleeping for my entire adult life, but I’ve never needed anything like a mouth guard to combat this.  That may or may not change.  As a result of these TMJ problems, I’ve had to temporarily maintain my benzo dose instead of continuing with tapering.  I still get occasional vertigo, but massaging my TMJ area seems to keep it to minimum duration.  And the numbness or tingling in certain parts of my face is almost completely gone.


In the meantime, I had some Social Media fun this month on Facebook.  I got a friend request from some random woman, which isn’t surprising because scammers send requests like that all the time.  But this one had two differences.  First, her profile was a good three months old, with hundreds of friends, and dozens of posts.  Usually, scammers have profiles which were only created a week ago.  Second, she had one mutual friend with me already: Jack McHugh.  So, I asked Jack who she was.  He admitted he had no idea, and had accidentally accepted a friend request from her that same day, thinking he knew her.  That’s the other scammer sign: sending friend requests to a block of people.  I knew she had to be a scammer, but rather than delete her request, I decided to accept it and have some fun.


Jack and I both initiated conversation with her, and compared notes when necessary.  As far as scammers go, “she” was pretty good (I’ll just refer to her as if her online persona is real, for simplicity’s sake).  She didn’t jump right into aggressive personal questions, or ask for money because she was in crisis.  Instead, she tried slow, subtle questions about where I lived, what I did for a living, and who I lived with.  And sad details of her life; her fiancé had died, and then she was so upset she didn’t take proper care of her dog and the dog died too.  Terrible.  After a day or so she began to turn the topic to loneliness, commenting on how lonely I must be and asking how I handled it.  Her English was tolerable, but her use of tense was awful and any slang threw her for a loop.  Also, like many of the scammers Kitboga encounters on his Twitch and YouTube channel, she had a quick temper.  Scammers get very upset, very quickly.  If she asked me a question and I answered what she asked (instead of what she probably MEANT to ask), she’d respond with something line “what the fuck are you saying?”  I guess there’s a rough script they like to follow, and if you stray too far from the planned path, they don’t know how to handle it.


She told me she lived in Enid, OK.  I’ve been through Enid a few times when I used to drive for Amerifleet, and so I started using the scammer playbook: lie, but mix some truth in.  I mentioned how I used to drive through her town but never had the opportunity to stop and enjoy it.  “Do you spend much time at the Enid Canyon?” I asked her, knowing there was no such place.  She tried to ignore my question, but finally said that yes, she did.  I commented about how tourist season at the Enid Canyon must ruin it for locals like her, and she emptily tried to appease me by just agreeing with me.


After about three days, I was getting tied of just wasting her time.  So, I decided to me more aggressive.  “Hey, how about we get together for a cup of coffee or a drink this weekend?  I’d love t meet you in person, you’re so cute in your photos.”  She played it off very well, expressing surprise that I wanted to meet, but very pleasant surprise.  I told her I could drive up on Saturday, since she was only three hours away, but those comments were ignored.  Instead, she asked me what airport was near me (uh, I told you four times I live in Dallas) because she would buy a ticket and fly down here.  And then, as expected, the hook came.  “The flight is going to cost me $470 but I only have $200.  Could you possibly help me raise the rest?”


Of course I can help her!  I went into a loooong explanation about how I could send her money using this new thing I just discovered called Cash App (which, besides being an easy way to send or receive money for free, is also a preferred method for scammers).  I tried to warn her that I didn’t have a lot of experience with it, but that I had it installed on my phone (questions about what my phone number was went unanswered) and would be happy to send her the money.  She told me to send it to her Cash App code $abcqq (not the real code).  I looked the code up; it was tied to an unpronounceable African name.  When I queried her about the name, she just said “oh yes, my account is having problems so that’s my friend’s account.”  Perfect, just what I wanted to hear.  I tried playing around with codes close to hers, perhaps with two letters transposed, but I couldn’t find a valid account with similar letters.  But then I realized that if I started typing in her code, Cash App would suggest that I might be looking for $abc (the same code as hers but without the two q’s at the end).  That was a valid code for someone named Haley. 


So now I had all the information I needed for my net move.  I knew from experience that the only thing scammers hated more than having their time wasted was the knowledge that a victim lost money, but someone else would up with it.  She repeated her code numerous times, and cautioned that she needed a screen shot of the transaction from my phone.  That meant I had two lies I need to perpetuate.  The first was that I had USB cable that fit my phone at my office (where I told her I was).  If I transferred the money I could take the screen shot, but I wouldn’t be able to transfer that to my laptop and send it to her until I got home.  Should I send the money now, and the screenshot later?  Of course, she was thirsty as hell…send the money now!  Then I casually mentioned “oh cool, I didn’t even need to type your whole code in on Cash App.  After a few letters it showed me your code, your friend’s name is Haley, right?”  I waited a minute and typed “Okay, I sent $270 to $abc.”  And then I disconnected from Facebook, so she wouldn’t think I could see anything she said.


About five hours later I “came back” and she had sent me about twenty messages.  Who was Haley?  What did I mean I didn’t need her full code?  Had I set the money?  Did I have the screenshot?  What code did I use?  She hadn’t gotten any money yet.  “Yes, I told you, I sent the money to $abc just like you told me.”  Oh, the sparks started flying.  She called me stupid, asked me “what the fuck did you do?”  She started yelling (or that’s how it felt, in text) that she told me $abcqq, not $abc.  I feigned ignorance.  “What’s the difference?  I told you I didn’t even need the whole code.  It worked with $abc.”  In between demanding the screenshot, she tried to explain to me that $abc was someone else and I’d sent the money to the wrong person. 


Rather than apologize, I became indignant.  “I sent the money just like you told me to.  Now you’re pretending you didn’t get it?  I should have known better than to trust you!”  She pledged undying loyalty to me, and swore on her dead boyfriend’s life that she had never lied to me.  (That was a good one).  I pretended to still be angry, and said I was going to call Cash App and cancel the transfer.  She encouraged me to do so immediately, and promised to walk me through the steps to send me the money properly once I did.  She kept writing to me, reminding me that she’d TOLD me it was $abcqq and this was all my fault.  I told her to be quiet because I was trying to call Cash App.  After about thirty minutes I “angrily” returned and told her they said I couldn’t cancel the transfer because Haley had already transferred the money she received out of her account.  I accused her of being Haley and taking my money.  And then I was “too angry” to talk any more.


The next morning my message box was filled with about fifty messages from her.  She’d been sending them nearly all night, alternating between asking if I could get another $270 and telling me how stupid I was for not being able to follow simple directions.  At times she’d gone complete ballistic, infuriated that I was gullible enough to put $270 out there and yet it somehow escaped her clutches.  I didn’t think there was much more play to this game, so I did a reverse search on a few of her photos until I was able to figure out where she got them from.  All her pics were actually of a low-level Instagram personality, the kind of minor celebrity people would be unlikely to recognize.  I posted a message to her profile, warning every one of her friends that she was a liar and a scam artist pretending to be someone she wasn’t, and including a link to the web page of the real person so they could see for themselves.  I reported her profile to Facebook (as did Jack), and finally I sent her a private message saying “You lied about your photos.  They aren’t you.  Since you lied about that, you lied about everything.  You stole my $270.  I hate you.  You are an evil liar.”  After all, I still wanted her to believe that I’d sent the money, so she could continue to be angry about it winding up in someone else’s account. 


Ten minutes later she blocked me.  How rude!  After all I’d done for her?  Some people…  Oh well.  Another fairytale romance that passed me by.  After years of no success on dating sites, I thought I’d found my one true love.


In zine news, there’s nothing major to report.  Things plod onward.  The odd Friday deadline doesn’t seem to have been that much of a problem.  Tomorrow morning (Saturday) I’ll be getting slaughtered in the Virtual Whipping Diplomacy tournament.  I think a few people even signed up just to have the opportunity to ensure I am the first player eliminated in both rounds.  I’ll try to give you some of the sordid details next issue.  Wish me luck; I’d like to survive at least one of the games, just for experience.  If things go well, I might even sign up for this year’s virtual Dixiecon, which takes place around Memorial Day.


I guess that’s it from me for now.  See you in May!

Game Openings

Diplomacy (Black Press): Signed up:  Brad Wilson, Paul Milewski, needs five more.

Gunboat (No Press): Check out the opening in Andy York’s subzine.  Only one spot left!  Sign up through Andy York ONLY!

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

Where in the World is Kendo Nagasaki?: Ongoing.  Join in and play NOW!

Also in Andy York’s Subzine – You can find his ongoing “Hangman, By Definition” and Facts in Five, plus an opening for Breaking Away.

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


Meet Me in Montauk

The Eternal Sunshine Letter Column


Peter Sullivan: Is there another Peter Sullivan in the Diplomacy Hobby?  I'm fairly sure that I wasn't even entered in the DBN Invitational, so couldn't possibly have won it...(Actually, given my level of playing ability, even if I HAD been in the DBN Invitational, I don't think my chances of winning it would have been much better. There's a reason some people join the hobby and immediately gravitate to GM and pubber roles...)


[[I’m an idiot, I meant to type Peter McNamara. (I have since fixed it as I needed to make a minor Kendo correction too).  Typical me.  This is why I need a Co-Editor for Diplomacy World.  I agree with the GM and pubber roles.  I’ve never been a good player.  And I doubt I ever will be.]]


Sorry to hear about your eBay and medical issues. Here's for a better few weeks until your scheduled bump-back-to-earth in the Whipping tournament.


Just noticed that autocorrect has changed "pubber roles" to "rubber roles." If anyone has any rubber roles that need filling - don't bother to let me know!


Paul Milewski: I have had similar experience with inadequately trained and supervised CSRs.  I came to realize the hard way that the last person at United Healthcare I would ever speak to about my Medicare Advantage Plan was the person who signed me up for it, and of course, every person at every medical facility I've had the misfortune to deal with invariably assumes I don't know what I'm talking about.


[[I try, the best I can, to recognize that often these CSRs deal with people who truly don’t’ know what they’re talking about.  But sadly, they’re just as clueless themselves.]]


Andy York: First off, just did my usual scanning of DW - nice job, as always. I noted in your opening bit that you use the Co-Editor, in part, as a proof reader/sounding board. I certainly can fill in that role (presuming you're not sending an article at 10pm that needs to be proofed by 6am the next day). However, I likely won't have anything to print nor am I a good wheedler in attracting submissions. So, I wouldn't be a fit for the Co-Editor role. But, as noted, I can provide a set of eyes and feedback on what you're planning to print (if it has to have a title, the Silent Supporter?).


[[You never know, I may take you up on the offer if I can’t fill the Co-Editor role.]]


Now, to ES. I'm not surprised at the level-one help desk issues, it is my understanding that they are limited in what they can do beyond the pre-written scripts, when they can escalate and are dinged when they go much outside the bounds set for them. Plus, they are given a limited briefing on "how things work" which usually meets their needs, but when an advanced/experienced user is involved, they don't know what you know (and are told to follow the official line). They are definitely not in an enviable position, but neither does that help you with your issue. Oh, and as for the promised call backs, again they are responding with what they are told to say. They actually have no way of knowing whether anyone calls back, so I doubt they are by and large intentionally lying (had to say with the one that said they'd call you back personally - they may have fully intended to but were told not to afterwards). I prefer to take the tack of corporate indifference to the user/customer/client rather than intentional bad action by the call takers.


[[I think that while everything you say is correct, there is a corporate structure there designed to ensure CSRs only know the most basic information, and that they only know the basic information related to your particular department.  You’d think the people working those jobs would WANT to gain information, and would WANT to learn more about what they’re doing.  But I haven’t found that to be the case.  Even if you follow the script, more understanding of the setup and the issues the customers face would at the very least help you direct those problems to where they are most likely to be solved.  In the end, my main complaint remains: there is very little as irritating as being told things you know are not true.  That, and when talking to a CSR is like talking to a robot.  “I understand your concern” as the beginning to every sentence, followed by a scripted non-solution, is a very empty attempt at soothing a customer’s anger.]]


Sorry the continuing ear problem, and related issues. At least things are starting to turn around with the Clinic visit.


[[Thank you, improvement is slow but steady.  And now that things have cleared up somewhat, it’s a lot easier to figure out what pain is coming from what problem.]]


The Dining Dead – Eternal Sunshine Movie Reviews


As with last month, most of my movie watching time has been devoted to documentary screening for the documentary film festival.  I’m watching in submission order (watch the oldest submission first, working my way towards the most recent).  I’ve finally started to hit some well-done short and long documentaries, mixed in around the bad ones.  At least the occasional gem makes all this screening a bit more rewarding.  The festival is going to be half virtual, half in person (at least that is the plan at the moment) so once there is some official promotional material, I’ll reveal details in case you want to “attend.”


I Care a Lot (Netflix) – Marla (Rosamund Pike) runs a guardianship company, acting as court-appointed guardian for elderly people who are no longer able to care for themselves.  We soon learn that she, along with help from her girlfriend Fran (Eliza Gonzalez), selects victims based on their wealth and vulnerability, lying to the court during emergency sessions to take control over their lives and finances.  Through a doctor accomplice, she learns of Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), who is a “cherry”: an elderly person with plenty of money and no living relatives.  She swiftly becomes the next victim…only she turns out to be much more than what she appears.  Despite a terrific cast (including Peter Dinklage) and a very good start to the story, I found myself getting pissed off as things went along.  I actually sat here and yelled at my TV “give me a fucking break, you’ve got to be kidding me!”  The plot goes from well-crafted to outright stupidly ridiculous.  They can never decide what to do with the Marla character.  Am I supposed to be rooting for a heartless bitch who destroys the lives of old people?  That’s how the movie kind of carries itself, but the only way that could work would be with more effective, very dark humor.  With thirty minutes to go in this more-than-two-hour mess, I actually wanted to turn it off and instead just look the movie up on the internet to see how they wrapped it up.  Now I wish that’s exactly what I had done, because the finale was as badly conceived as the entire second half.  You can’t use an anti-hero as the protagonist of a film unless you make them interesting enough to root for, or straight-evil enough to root against.  I Care a Lot tries to have both at the same time, showing her cruel side next to her caring side, and it never works.  They started out with a strong cast and a great idea, but they should have spent more time refining and rewriting until they found a reasonable way to tie things together.  What a crock. 


Made You Look (Netflix) – A documentary about the largest case of art forgery and art fraud in U.S. history, revolving around Ann Friedman and the Knoedler Gallery in New York City, one of the oldest art galleries in the nation.  Ann Friedman, managing the gallery, is approached by a woman who supposedly runs a small gallery in Long Island and has been contacted by a private collector who wishes to sell a few paintings by famous American Modern artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.  Over the course of twenty years, Ann and the gallery purchase 70 paintings from this woman, which they proceed to sell with markups of 600% to 800% (versus the usual 100% galleries expect to make).  When the house of cards begins to crumble after all those years, and mega-rich collectors realize they’ve been duped, it becomes a scramble to determine who knew what, and when.  I kind of liked this documentary.  It was put together pretty well (despite having to sit here and listen to people lie through their teeth about to what extent they were involved).  But afterwards I started thinking about some of the documentaries I have really enjoyed.  I realize that as films like this go straight to streaming services and are aimed at general audiences, they are a couple of notches below the quality of documentary I used to go watch in theaters.  My Kid Could Paint That was a wonderful documentary about modern art and possible fraud, for example.  And terrific documentaries are still made all the time…do I need to mention Seniors: A Dogumentary and Pizza – A Love Story again?  I look forward to getting back to the movie theater, and possibly discovering new gems.  Oh, and the other takeaway from this film: once again, justice is not blind.  If you’ve got money, you’re got justice.  Spoiler alert: for perpetrating an $80 million art fraud scheme, one woman gets time served (five months in prison), and two other people leave the country and cannot be extradited.  The other folks who may or may not have been involved?  Never even charged.  Typical.


Older Movies Watched on DVD (that I’ve seen many times) – Not much, too many documentaries.

Octopus's Garden

Issue Ninety-Six

8th April 2021


HELLO, good evening and welcome to Octopus's Garden, the subzeen with its very own Railway Rivals game. It is a subzeen to Douglas Kent's Eternal Sunshine. It's produced by Peter Sullivan It's also available on the web at:


Round 3 (RR 2473 B) — "Garrett Hobart" — Railway Rivals Map "B" (Lon&Lpl)


JGL black (John David Galt)

3a) (J66) - Cambridge [+6] ; (Wolverhampton) - G18 [-5 B] ;
3b) (G18) - Shrewsbury [-7 B] ; (E7) - D6 - Preston [+6] ;
3c) (D4) - F3 - G4 - Burnley [+6] - J4 [-1 A]. 

AYUP yellow (Mark Firth)

3a) (C54) - Derby [+6] - N15 ; (Bradford) - J4 ;
3b) (J4) - I5 ; (C50) - D49 - Doncaster [+6] ; (Peterborough) - K61 [-8 H];
3c) (I5) - I6 - H6 - F7 [-1 J].

HJA red (Hank Alme)

3a) (Peterborough) - K63 - Cambridge ;
3b) (J20) - I21 - G20 - G18 - E17 [-7 J] [-7 B]; 
3c) (E17) - Shrewsbury [-1 B] [-1 J]- B15 - B12. 

BASH sky-blue (Bob Blanchett)

3a) (Wolverhampton) - Shrewsbury [+6] - D13 ;
3b) (L17) - A56 - Derby ; (A56) - Nottingham ;
3c) (Birmingham) - N21 - Coventry [-16 J] [-16 H]- C61 [-8 H]. 

Rolls for Round Four: 6, 7, 7. Orders to me, Peter Sullivan, at by WEDNESDAY, 5th MAY 2021.


EDITORIAL - Virtually Conventional

Over the Easter weekend, I 'attended' Eastercon, the British National Science Fiction Convention, being held as a 100% virtual event for the first time. The event was plagued by technical problems, especially with the programming and panel items. But since I'd gone primarily to chat to old friends, this didn't actually impact on me much. The social space was all organised via Gather Town, which pretty much did what it was meant to for me. That said, I do have a fairly powerful laptop - there was no phone or tablet client, and people with older laptops than me reported that their machines struggled with it.

Dixiecon will also be going ahead virtually again this year, and David Hood has all the details at I have volunteered to help out with managing some of the boards at the convention - probably somewhat less work than at a face-to-face event, in that the Backstabbr platform will take care of checking the players' orders and actually adjudicating. So the human GM's role is mainly focused around chivying the players up and (hopefully) helping them avoid NMR!s

Meanwhile, the grand-daddy of science fiction conventions, the Worldcon, has also just announced its revised arrangements for 2021. As well as pandemic problems, they also had problems with their main convention hotel going bust. They have now rescheduled from the usual August dates to December, and are basing themselves in what was originally intended to be their smaller, overspill hotel. This should work out, in that the 'in-prerspn' attendance is likely to be down on what it would have been in a normal year anyway. They have also launched a new 'virtual' membership, which will give you access to three streams of programme items (not clear if virtual only, or shared with the 'meat-space' side of the convention - possibly a mix of both) as well as all the usual rights of Supporting Membership. The committee have worked through problems they couldn't possibly have anticipated when they bid, and communicated and consulted well on the difficult decisions they have had to make, and hopefully things are now all set for a good convention - whether in-person or on those internet tubes...


That was Octopus's Garden #96, Startling Press production number 392.



Out of the WAY #32

by W. Andrew York

(wandrew88 of



Well, here in Texas Spring has definitely sprung with the attendant joys of pollen being spread around. But, Spring may be going out the window already. Today, we’re supposed to hit a record 99 degrees, with over 100 a possibility, so Summer is nearly here. If so, that’ll be a month earlier than normal. Quite a difference than what I wrote about last time, the record winter snows and cold. It could be a long, hot summer.

On the C-19 front, a week after I became eligible I had the first shot through Williamson County (where I live). Interestingly, it was a mass-vaccination site at Dell Diamond where I haunt the baseball field in the summer. Very smooth, in and out in about an hour (including mandatory wait time). I’ll receive my second shot the Monday after this comes out. So, even with the three-week window for us “older” folks, I’ll be ready for the start of the minor league baseball season on May 6.

Speaking of which, the Rangers made Dell Diamond their “Alternate Training Site” for April. So, as part of that program, six “home” games were scheduled, the first two last Wednesday and Thursday against the Astro’s equivalent team. They were keeping numbers very low for the initial run, so the first night there were maybe 200 or so besides staff in a stadium that has around a capacity of 12,000. So, plenty of room between occupied seats – which was good as the groups nearest me didn’t follow the masking policy (masks at all time except when eating/drinking). At least most folks wore masks when out of their seats. It was even smaller the following afternoon game – maybe 75 or so folks.

The games were played under “Spring Training” rules which I hadn’t really experienced. So, for example, the games were 10-innings long, a half-inning doesn’t have to last three outs (one each day was only 2 outs), and players (or just pitchers?) could leave a game and reenter. Though they kept score, it was more of a pro-forma exercise than a “real” score, exemplified by one of the 2 out half-innings ended with a player on third who may have scored.

It seemed the games were more of a “keep folks warmed up” exercise, so they were ready to be called up (the purpose of the Alternate Training Site squads). And, that they did (Rangers more for pitchers, Astros more for players). Over the course of the two games, Rangers had all 16 pitchers but one pitch at least one inning; while the Astros had 15 of 16 fielders bat at least once (using that as the metric as the DH was used). I’m not sure I’ll go to the other games, as they weren’t quite as enjoyable as regular games (though I had the chance to catch-up with several “regulars” that are acquaintances and long-time staffers. Much depends on the attendance levels and how I feel after C-19 shot #2.

The recipe I was intending to run, and of course didn’t look for until deadline day, isn’t where I expected it. I’m guessing, during my last move, it ended up in the pile of binders that didn’t migrate up from garage instead of with the cookbooks which did. [The recipe is a carbonara recipe handed on to me by my Senior History Advisor in college]. I had a yearning to cook it when I thought of it, so assuming I find it, I’ll enjoy it before running it next time. So, instead, I’ll run a recipe from the cookbook being reviewed this time around.

As for the rest of the column, I’ll have a review and discussion of Facts in Five prompted by some questions and feedback received and the usual book reviews and B5 quote. As a poor substitute for the Texas Talk I’m going to run at least a series of quotes from Ann Richards, Texas governor from 1991-1995, as part of the 30th year anniversary of her assuming the office.

On the game front, no new sign-ups on the open games. So, anyone want to jump in or should I offer something more of interest (and what would that be, I ask?)? In “Hangman, By Definition” a letter is revealed – will it be enough for someone to figure out the word? And, we have a winner in this game of “Facts in Five” with Kevin Wilson nosing out Doug Kent in the last round. New game starting this issue, feel free to join in.

That about covers it for now, hope you are well and it’s warming towards spring where you are (or if you’re on the flipside of the earth, enjoying the cooling autumn season)





Texas Talk


                While listening to NPR (local Texas Public Radio station, KUT in Austin), they had a brief spot on an installation art exhibit put up last month on Congress Avenue (& other streets?) with banners heralding quotes from Anne Richards, this being the 30th anniversary of her being sworn in as Texas Governor.

                In that vein, I’m going to feature one of her memorable quotes monthly for the next year (granted she was sworn in in January, but it’s the thought that counts). If you have a favorite one that hasn’t already run, feel free to submit it and help us determine the best of the best!

                Here’s the first one:


                “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels” from 1988

                                Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

                Note – variation appeared in a “Frank and Ernest” cartoon circa 1982 as “Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger

                                Rogers did everything that he did… backwards in high heels” (per



Letter Column

(always welcome, send them in!)

(if something shouldn’t be included here, clearly mark it as a personal comment)


[Richard Smith] – I’m not going to write a review of Doors of Sleep by Tim Pratt, just report that I very much enjoyed the book and finished it sooner than expected due to a delay when getting my car serviced. After three hours I’d just got to the slightly unsatisfying end of the book when my car was ready. I think it would make a great movie (the book, not the car) but would need a generous effects budget to portray its many weird and wonderful worlds. [WAY] – I’d say that’s a fine review, even if you weren’t going to write it. I will have to add that to my lengthy list of “books to acquire and read” (which is probably 500+ titles/series long already, let alone all those I have stacked about the apartment). But, on the plus side, I’m making a dent in the stacks and have resisted replenishing them (at least for the most part).





Random Review


                Facts in Five was originally published in 1964 by Advanced Ideas Co. Subsequent editions were by 3M (first edition in 1966, others in 1967, 1969, 1971), The Avalon Hill Company (1976, 1991 and 1998) and in 2007 University Games. There were also various foreign editions over the years (info from Personally, my copy appears to be the 1971 edition (certainly it wasn’t before that). The bookcase sleeve is copyright 1967, the interior box cover (with game rules/variants) is copyright 1969 and the standalone rules flyer (with updated/expanded rules) is copyright 1971). To add to the confusion, the paper scoresheets (two different sets) are copyright 1966. My guess is in 1971 they had stockpiles of partial games, so ordered just what was needed to created complete games. Thus, the slew of copyrights on the various parts. So, that’s what’s being reviewed.

                As mentioned, this version has a rules flyer plus two different score sheets pads (one to be used by the players to record answers, the other to track overall scores from multiple rounds by players or teams), a five-minute sand timer, a set of letter tile (presumably 26 letters, with two wildcards, though I didn’t verify) and a deck of cards (guesstimate around 50-60) to determine class/categories. All are housed in the old style slipcase sleeve with a removable game box. In the game box is a plastic tray to hold the tiles, cards and timer together, with a larger space for both pads to stack.

                The basic rules for the in-person game are classes/categories determined by drawing a card. Each of the five players draws one card and determines what of the options on that card will be in play (rules for fewer than 5 players are listed). As each card is pulled and announced folks write them down on their sheet. Next, the five letters (or wildcard) are drawn and recorded.

                Then, the timer is turned (the plastic tray has an indentation for the timer to hold it upright in place). Players then have five minutes to enter a word or phrase that fits each class/category with the key word starting with the indicated letter (this is done individually, no collaboration or research).

                When the timer ends, everyone stops writing (it is understood there will be a number of empty spaces on each persons’ sheet). In turn, each person reads their answers and, if at least one person agrees with the entry, it is accepted. If all the other players dispute it, whether to accept or not is determined by a majority vote excluding the person who wrote the entry and “the Director” (i.e. game master, who also may be a player; however, he’ll cast a deciding vote in the event of a tie).

                Once all entries have been reviewed, you put a check mark for each valid entry on a scoring table (5x5 grid) with class/category across the top. You fill in from top to bottom so if in one class/category you had five accepted answers you’d check all five boxes, if you only had one (even if it was the 5th letter) you’d put a check mark at top. Scoring is each columns’ and rows’ count squared (if you had five check boxes, you’d score 25; only two would be 4 points). Add the scores for all five rows together, as well as for all five columns, and combine for your score for the round. Highest score (individual or team) after five rounds is the winner.

                Several variations are listed, including how to adapt for kids, shorter/longer games, allowing entry verification using reference books (no Internet or Wikipedia!) and how to use at a party.

                Everything should be pretty straightforward, so the only component I’ll go into detail on is the class/category cards. The wildcard draw is self-explanatory. The rest of the cards are Class choice/Category choice cards, Class defined/Category choice or Class Choice only cards. Basically they are all the same in principle, you choose based on the listed options. For Class only, choose one of the classes listed (there is no category), with the Class choice you choose the class from one of the listed options, then a category from the defined options. For the Class defined cards, the class is prechosen and you chose a category that’s listed. For example (using cards recently picked);


                Class Only <choose between>: Philosophers, Inventors, Outlaws, Crime Fighters, Dictators, Explorers, Cartoon

                                Characters, Astronauts/Cosmonauts, Mythological Characters, Millionaires, Philanthropists, Comic Strip

                                Characters, Fashion Designers, Famous Couples


                Class Defined: Scientist

                Category: American, Foreign, European, Male, Female, Living, Past, Nobel Prize Winner, Biologist, Philosopher,

                                Physicist, Chemist, Nuclear, Medical, Astronomer, Psychologist, Mathematician, Space, Of <choose> Descent,

                                Of <choose> Nationality


                Class Choice (followed by Category Choice):

                                Units of Measure – American, Foreign, Scientific, Weight, Area, Length/Distance, Dry, Liquid

                                Plastics Names: Tradenames, Chemical Names

                                Chemicals: Mixture, Compound, Solid, Liquid

                                Minerals: Metallic, Nonmetallic, Solid, Liquid


                So, in translating that into a PBM game in the ‘90s, I had to revise the challenge system and the scoring system into what it is today. Basically, I’m the arbiter of what’s allowed and what isn’t – subject to clarification and rebuttal by the player (this sort of is a carryover as, for example in playing the game ftf, a person writes a last name for an biologist, in the acceptance phase the person could clarify that their answer Baer was Karl Baer not Max Baer the boxer).

As for the scoring, that couldn’t carry over in any reasonable fashion so I came up with the current system. Borrowing from BPD, matched answers score a bonus point to bring a little thinking into it (somewhat compensating for the time factor’s demise). Also, it helps prevent a blowout early in the game tanking other folk’s interest in later rounds.

In the ‘90s, when I first came up with this, the ability to do extensive research at your fingertips on the Internet wasn’t really a factor. So, in that sense, it was still what you knew plus a set of encyclopedias or other reference books in your library. I doubt anyone was truly going to take an afternoon to go to a public library to actually spend the time doing extensive research. Of course, the revival in the past few years has that paradigm upside down with answers at the beckon of a few moments typing. But, I don’t think it has harmed anything severely and it still has a solid play.

Of course, I have to tinker with the classes/categories to “modernize” them somewhat. For instance, instead of “Past” I use “Deceased” (at least when I remember) and try to update other language that is somewhat problematic. Also, I need to inject some more modern categories and refine others. For example, for the satellite one, in hindsight, I should have inserted “space” to eliminate correct answers that didn’t fit the intent of the original category (but, then if there was a letter “T” I suppose Tesla would have fit as one’s been sent to Mars).

I continue the original game’s mechanics regarding much of things. Letters are returned to the baggie for each round, though I might adjust a little bit here or there (I’ll pass on two wildcards in a round, and the third consecutive round with a “Q”). Cards are used and then placed upside down on the bottom of the deck. When the deck exhausted, I reshuffle and start over.

As always I’m open to questions on how things run, suggestions on how it might be improved or ideas for new games to adapt (presuming I have them or are familiar enough with them). Or, come up with your own PBM game and be a guest GM!






Mini-Book Reviews

(finished since last issue)


CookWise by Shirley O. Corriher (1997; 524 p).


                I had the fortune to sit in on a couple of her in-person cooking classes about a decade back. She is wonderful, kind and a wealth of wisdom – knowing cooking inside and out! You may have seen her on the original “Good Eats” program as the “Food Scientist” Alton Brown would bring in every so often – and a food scientist she is.

                If you want insight into all aspects of cooking, including basic baking, this is it (note – she has a separate, more detailed, inquiry into baking in her Bakewise volume, which I have not read). Each of the seven sections delve into an aspect of cooking, from breads, to sauces, to eggs, to desserts, etc. She writes about each, giving sample recipes and discussing various nuances. The best example of this is in the bread section where she shows the differences in your basic flour outcomes – which can vary based on where the wheat was grown, how it was processed and its intended use.

                At times she’ll have a sidebar getting into the actual science of things. For instance, next to the bread section, she discusses various items added by millers when processing wheat - sulfur in flour actually impairs the elasticity when kneading dough. Very informative and well worth reading as the information is presented in an easy to understand manner.

                The recipes themselves I’ve not tried. Some are quite simple (Sweet-Tart Fresh Strawberries), none seem to be too difficult for the home cook (though you might have to hunt for an ingredient or add a special tool (candy thermometer)). Many come with a background of the recipe and substitutions, or alterations, that could be made. The one I’m planning on tackling soon is the “Fish Fillets Under Dill Soufflé” – she notes her son used to make this in his college dorm using a toaster oven to rave reviews.

                Of course, this book is now nearing 25 years old. Since then, science has refined some of what it knows and the culinary field as changed some approaches and expectations. However, that doesn’t detract from the worthiness of the book for those interested in the “whys” of cooking alongside different recipes to try.

                Recommended! [March 2021]


Five Great Short Stories by Jack London (1992; 89p).


                I don’t recall ever reading/seeing any of Jack London’s writing in more than an excerpt form or from an adaptation (TV/movie primarily). In reading this I was very surprised at the engaging imagery, amazing command of the language to impart the region, time, lifestyle and experience of the story’s environments. I am definitely going to look for his books and other short stories (or, at least, when I come across them be sure to queue them into my reading pile).

                This is a collection of, surprise, five short stories he wrote over a 10-15 year period at the turn of the 20th century. Each story is a stand-alone, though a few characters make more than one appearance. They cover a wide scope of locations on the frontiers of Western civilization where explorers, adventures, revolutionaries and fortune-hunters were in their final years of living on the fringes.

                The first three stories are set in the northern territories, involving adventures in travelling the tundra with sleds and dogs, being isolated in a cabin during a long and cold winter and a native on a quest to redeem his love, while discovering the variety of life outside of a native community.

                The fourth is set in the South Pacific with a distressed ship trying to find a suitable haven to beach for repairs (or for a sanctuary). Stopping first at Pitcairn Island, they meet a guide and sail on a journey through the vagaries of the unpredictable winds and currents. Also, an insight in personal outlook and peace of mind.

                The last involves one of the bands involved in the many Mexican revolutionary movements of the time period. It centers around individuals’ expectations of others, mindfulness of purpose and higher callings. Also, as an aside, you learn a bit about how pugilism existed on the frontiers of society.

                I found this thoroughly engrossed, entertaining, well written and I’m very glad I pulled this one out of the stack. Highly recommended! [April 2021]


Overcoming Life’s Challenges by Bill Crowder (2007; 72p).


                A slim book that looks into the life of Biblical Joseph and how lessons can be drawn from it to apply to today’s lifestyles and challenges. Broken up into five actual lessons, there is also an introduction, an overview and a recap chapter to round it out.

The core lessons deal with handling treachery (him being sold by his brothers into slavery), temptation (the lure of Potiphar’s wife), disappointment (being remanded to prison unfairly), dealing with one’s past (his rise to power in Egypt) and, finally, his bitterness (when his brothers, unknowingly, come to him for aid). The overview and recap chapters give an umbrella look to the middle chapters to bring them into focus and how each step is part of a greater plan for his life.

                I read this in a “weekly” lesson approach, reading one chapter every Sunday. This was followed, during the week, with several glance-backs and skim reads followed by a period of reflection. I found this enhanced my understanding the what the author was trying to impart, as well as giving me time to see how, and what, to incorporate into my life.

While it can be read as a standalone book, it is definitely enhanced by looking for the complete text in a Bible reading referenced passages rather than relying solely on the excerpts or implied conclusions. And, while previously having an introduction to the story of Joseph would help, it doesn’t suffer if the reader doesn’t. Also, for the non-Christian there are some universal lessons that can be gleaned; however, it might be too distracting to wean them from the Christian point-of-view.

Of interest to the Christian trying to find overall purpose to life or to understand their circumstances (both present and past) to grow into a better and well-rounded person. Also, it works to help uplift those in their faith journey forward. [March 2021]


The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward FitzGerald (1990; 52p).


                This is a reprint of FitzGerald’s first and fifth translations of The Rubaiyat. The first translation was followed by three others, by different transcribers, with the fifth being a posthumous printing of FitzGerald’s corrections and updates to the others. This collects those two FitzGerald translations coupled with a short, final, section with a few notes and contextual clarifications for the reader.

                As noted previously, I am not a great lover of poetry and find it hard, at times, to understand what is being presented. This book was much more of the same with a lot of the imagery and illusionary references going over my head. I did appreciate some of the structure and rhyming of the verse, and a few times may have gotten an inkling of the greater vision of the piece.

However, what I found most interesting is that it is good look into how a translator may initially approach a document and, then, given additional experience, grounding and insight, revises their initial attempt into a more rounded and, hopefully, more accurate rendition. I tried to read this in a parallel manner, with the same verses in each translation being read together. This emphasized the changes in word choice between the two versions as well, in the latter translation, a better understanding of what was being said (the word changes brought more clarity to the references). Also, the latter translation added additional verses that weren’t in the first and, again, this helped with some of the overall understanding of the work.

I give a conditional recommendation to those who are interested in poetic verse, and for those in gaining some insight into the role of a translator in bringing a foreign language work into the English world. If you aren’t in either of those two categories, you may wish to skip this one. [March 2021]


The Second World War by Antony Beevor (2012; 863p).


                This is a one-volume overview of the entire Second World War, bringing additional insight and source material, to update the many similar texts written in the ‘60s and ‘70s. As such, it is worth reading to gain insight into the additional 40+ years of scholarship has brought to the field.

                The introduction grabs your interest immediately. It opens with the fingernail tale of, probably, the only soldier that fought in all the major theaters on both sides of the conflict. In short, a Korean conscript in the Japanese army is captured by the Russians after a battle in Manchuria. From a Soviet POW camp, he is drafted into their Army where he is captured by the Germans after one of the Kharkov engagements. He joins the Wehrmacht and was captured by the Americans in Normandy. He eventually passes after immigrating to the US after the war. I had never heard this, so it hooked me immediately. The rest of the introduction is the background to how the world powers evolved to where things stand in late 1939, with the early years of the Sino-Japanese War (post 1932) lightly covered.

                The book proper starts with setting the geo-political stage across the major flashpoints in Europe and Manchuria/China. Then, the next two chapters cover the Polish Campaign and its aftermath. The third chapter then brings in the situation in China, giving more detail to the period after 1937. After this the chapters go back and forth between the Pacific and Europe in a roughly parallel timeframe. The final chapter ends, a bit abruptly, with the Atomic Bombing of Japan and the surrender. Very little is spent on the post-WWII recovery and the slide into the Cold War.

                There are a few maps, of only general use, and a selection of photographs common to this type of effort. For the most part, the Notes section in the rear is limited to the source of the information footnoted, rather than adding additional material or explaining the importance.

                I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII, wants a refresher/update on what they learned years from now dated texts, or just wants to glean new nuggets of information. I found those hidden jewels especially welcome and have some ticklers for when I have time to do additional research (like that’ll happen). The one that immediately jumps to mind is regarding a Free French fighter group operating in Southern Russia for a time. [March 2021]


Sharpe’s Regiment by Bernard Cornwell (1986; 301p).


                The eighth book in the Sharpe series has the French thrown out of Spain, leaving the 2nd Essex woefully understaffed and needing replacements. Replacements from their depot and the 2nd Battalion in England have been long promised, but never arriving. As the British army was going into winter quarters, it was perfect time for Sharpe to return to London to sort out where the men were and when they could be expected.

                Taking his trusty right-hand Harper, and two other officers with him, they arrive to a strange place. Having served so many years on campaign, and with frequent deprivations, interacting within a society that reveres the military, but sees that the actual war/fighting is “somewhere over there” and is not part of their daily concern. He also has to deal with a military hierarchy who are more concerned with regulation, proper deportment and, more than anything, correct documentation.

                Detailing any more of the story would dampen the enjoyment of reading this volume. Needless to say, Sharpe finds corruption, chafes at strict chains of command (well, that isn’t new) and tries to find a way to send reinforcements to the unit in Spain defines the book’s arc. It is fast paced, with plenty of twists and turns, and even reveals a bit of his past while he lived on the streets of London.

                Recommended if you enjoy the Sharpe series. It can be read alone, but is more thoroughly enjoyed as part of the series. [April 2021]


Small Blessings, Dave Branon compiler (2013; 128p).


                A brief collection of quotes to bring “hope & encouragement” to the reader, from a Christian perspective. Designed to be read as a pick-me-up or opening “thought for the day”, each page (that isn’t just an illustration) contains an inspiration quote from writers under the “Our Daily Bread” publication umbrella (Christian publishing house). Every quote is coupled with an excerpt from the Bible to reinforce the idea put forward.

                Only recommended for the Christian who would like a focusing idea to start their day. [March 2021]


Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1992; 111p).


                Seven of Hawthorne’s shorter works are collected here. They are an enjoyable read (nearly as engaging as London’s tales above). Each has some mystical, eerie, supernatural or pseudo-scientific element to it, but also reflect on the human character and motivations such as to seek youth, a love or achievement. The tales also give an insight into the lifestyle of the era, and what was of interest to society.

                Recommended if only for the mastery of the tone and style of Hawthorne. [March 2021]





Babylon 5 Quote


In    Comes the Inquisitor” – Sebastian: “How do you tell the chosen ones? ‘No greater love hath a man than he lay down his

                                                                                life for his brother.’ Not for millions. Not for glory, not for fame. For one person. In

                                                                                the dark. Where no one will ever know, or see.”


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

                with specific preferences or allergies.


NOTE: As the recipe I’d planned on decided to hide itself, here’s one of the recipes from this month’s cookbook review that I

                plan on making myself next week.


Fish Fillets Under Dill Soufflé

                                                                                   (page 294, from Cookwise ©19979)


Here’s the recipe:


                                1 tbsp     Butter (to grease pan)

                                6 ea        Fish Fillets, skin removed (about 1-1.5 lbs)

                                1 clove   Garlic, minced

                                3 sprigs   Parsley, chopped

                                1 tsp       Fresh Dill, chopped

                                1 tbsp     Dijon Mustard

                                1 cup      Mayonnaise (a homemade recipe in the cookbook is referenced, with store-bought being acceptable)

                                1/3 cup   Parmesan, freshly grated


1)       Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Butter a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan

2)       Place the fillets on the pan. Stir together the garlic, parsley, dill, mustard, mayonnaise, and Parmesan in a mixing bowl. Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over each fillet. Bake in the top third of the oven until the topping puffs and starts to brown, about 20 minutes.


Notes (from Andy):


-          In the lead-in Shirley recommends using sole, flounder, orange roughy or any other mild-tasting fish

-          She recommends serving with two other recipes from the book, Sizzling Broiled Tomatoes with Herbs and Roasted Asparagus with Lemon-Chili Oil





Game Section


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


Game Openings: Breaking Away (Kent, Burgess, Smith; Firth, minimum 6 players needed)

No-Press Gunboat Diplomacy, sans preference lists (6 Players)

Standard Choice (Smith, minimum 4 players needed)


Possible Game Openings: Breaking Away Variants

Suggestions accepted for other games to offer.


Standbys: Breaking Away (x1); Gunboat Diplomacy (x1)


Rules for Breaking Away. Breaking Away Variants and Choice available on the Variable Pig website (




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 Three, Turn 3:


                Letter Votes: B – 1; F – 1; G – 1; R – 1; Y – 3                                              Revealed: Y


                Words Guessed:   (Firth) Weight; (Kent) Chippy; (Lischett) Steady; (Maslen) Aboard; (O’Hara) no entry;

(Smith) Codify; (Wilson) Ground




                Word:                     __ __ __ __ __ Y (6)


Definition:             __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (8); __ __ __ __ __ __ L Y (8); __ __ __ __ __ __ L __ (8).



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


    Game Words Correctly Guessed: Infinitesimal (David-Gardner, Firth, Kent, Smith, Wilson);

Triclinium (Firth, Maslen, Smith, Wilson)


Player Comments:                


[Walt O’Hara] – I’m hornswoggled. I don’t know enough to guess yet…





                                                                        FACTS IN FIVE


***Rules Revision in Bold below***


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. Please clearly identify which individual you are using as your answer if there are multiple potential people with a given name. For instance, if the category is American Presidents, answering Washington is fine as there is only one; however, if you decided to use Bush you need to indicate whether you are submitting the father or the son. Unclear answers will be matched to score the least points. Using the Bush example, if one person submitted “Bush” and three people submit “George W. Bush” the latter would score 2 points and the former 1.

                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.


Game Two, Round Five


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                               A                             B                             C                             I                              S             


Mythological Character

    Mark Firth                        Aphrodite              Bellerophon          Clio                         Icarus                    Slepnir

    John David Galt              No Entries Received

    Doug Kent                        Acephali                Banshee                Chimera                Ipotane                  Siren

    Andy Lischett                  Andromeda          Brunhilda              Cyclops                 Icarus                    Santa Claus

    Walt O’Hara                    Achilles                  Baldur                    Circe                       Icarus                    Saturn

    Kevin Wilson                   Ares                        Bacchus                Cassiopeia            Icarus                    Satan



    Mark Firth                        Arcanite                 Bohmite                Carnelian              Imogolite               Staurolite

    John David Galt              No Entries Received

    Doug Kent                        Adelite                   Beryl                     Cadmium              Iron                        Silver

    Andy Lischett                  Aluminum             Baryte                    Copper                   Iron                        Samsonite

    Walt O’Hara                    Aluminum             Borax                     Chalk                     Iron                        Sulfur

    Kevin Wilson                   Aluminum             Beryl                     Calcite                   Iron                        Sulfur



Board Game

    Mark Firth                        Acquire                 Boom Town          Chess                     Iron and Oak        Snakes and Ladders

    John David Galt              No Entries Received

    Doug Kent                        Acquire                 Battleship             Clue                        ??                            Stratego

    Andy Lischett                  Acquire                 Backgammon      Chess                     Incan Gold            Sopwith

    Walt O’Hara                    Axis and Allies     Battleship             Chess                     Illuminati              Stratego

    Kevin Wilson                   Acquire                 Battleship             Catan                     I’m the Boss         Stratego


Living American Philosopher

    Mark Firth                        GL Anderson        Peter Boghossian AN Chomsky       Peter van Inwagon            Tara Smith

    John David Galt              No Entries Received

    Doug Kent                        David Abram      Kent Bach             John Caputo         Peter van Inwagon            Sallis

    Andy Lischett                  David Abram      Babette Babich    Noam Chomsky  P. van Inwagon                   David Sanford

    Walt O’Hara                    David Abram      Robert Brandon   Noam Chomsky  Peter van Inwagon            Peter Singer

    Kevin Wilson                   Peter Achinstein   Dan Barker           Noam Chomsky  Peter van Inwagon            Tamler Sommers



    Mark Firth                        Sir GB Airy         SJB Burnell           N Copernicus      RTA Innes            Carl Edward Sagan

    John David Galt              No Entries Received

    Doug Kent                        Airy                       Bailly                     Cannon                 Israel                      Scotti

    Andy Lischett                  Marc Aaronson  Tycho Brahe       Copernicus           Icko Iben Jr.          Brian Skiff

    Walt O’Hara                    Marc Aaronson  Lewis Boss           Heather Couper   Robert Innes        Bernhard Schmidt

    Kevin Wilson                   Joseph Ashbrook Tycho Brahe       N Copernicus      Shigeru Inoda      Carl Sagan


Note – for allowed and disallowed answers, please feel free to correct me!


Notes on Mark’s Answers: GL Anderson is Gordon L. Anderson; AN Chomsky is Avram Noam Chomsky; Sir GB Airy is

                Sir George Biddell Airy; SJB Burnell is Dame Susan Joceyln Bell Burnell; N Copernicus is Nicolaus Copernicus;

                RTA Innes is Robert Thorburn Ayton Innes.

Notes on Andy’s Answers: Aluminum is not a mineral, it is an element that is found in other minerals such as diaspore. David

                Sanford is listed as Fred Sanford’s 2nd son, David (which I took as a joke, as there is a David Sanford who is a

                philosopher that appears to be a son of Fred Sanford (tv character who only had one son on the show, Lamont)).

Notes on Walt’s Answers: Aluminum is not a mineral, it is an element that is found in other minerals such as diaspore. Chalk is

                not a mineral in, and of, itself as it is a composite comprised of other minerals such as calcite. I was originally going to

                discount Illuminati as the only games with that title I knew of were card games and I couldn’t find a board game with

                that name; however, it did win an award in 1982 as “Best Science-Fiction Board Game” so it is allowed. Peter Singer                 appears to be Australian (at least the top results return for him and I wasn’t able to pull up an American by that name in

                philosophy). Bernhard Schmidt is discounted as it doesn’t appear he was an actual astronomer but an optician that

                worked on astronomical instruments and devices.

Notes on Kevin’s Answers: Aluminum is not a mineral, it is an element that is found in other minerals such as diaspore. Dan

                Barker is discounted as I can’t find any reference to him being a Philosopher, an evangelist, preacher, atheist, musician,

                author – yes, but philosopher – no. N Copernicus is Nicolaus Copernicus.


General Player Comments:


[Mark Firth] – Boom Town, by Ian Livingstone – a great family game (ie one that non-games can enjoy too). [WAY] – can’t

                say I’ve ever heard of it, but will take a look when I do the validations.

                [MF] – No fewer than three categories I could mostly do without research – and minerals I could have a fair stab at too!

[Andy Lischett] – (Regarding a correction listed last time for the 3rd round answers) – I object to you giving me points for

                Plymouth Satellite (3rd round category was “Artificial Satellites” and his answer was “Plymouth Satellite” which was

                originally discounted. He gave feedback that the “Plymouth Satellite” was a car in a Plymouth production line which

                does fit the category). I meant it as a joke and knew what kind of satellite you meant. [WAY] – However, it will stand

                as corrected as the answer, technically, fit the category. See this issue’s Review for some commentary on the game and

                how GMing this variant is a tad more difficult than when designed in the ‘90s (based on a ‘60s game). [Note – that’s

                presuming I get to it, I’m running somewhat behind in putting this together. If not, it’ll be in next issue.]

                [AL] – (he continues) Here is a photo of a Plymouth Philosopher. Nah, just kidding. This is a Plymouth Fury from the

                movie Christine. One of the silliest, yet coolest, car model names ever.  [WAY] – surprised they didn’t at least put one

                in as a cameo in Mad Max: Fury Road.

                [AL] – Is Samsonite luggage made of Samsonite? [WAY] – My guess (not being an area that I’m well versed in), that,

                if so, it would be very expensive and very fragile. So, I guess it’s possible but I wouldn’t want one – even as a gift. [AL]

                – My first C board game was Chutes & Ladders, then I changed to Candyland, then – duh- Chess. Surprisingly, I

                actually knew a famous living philosopher.

[Walt O’Hara] – do you reuse letters or eliminate them for subsequent turns? [WAY] – In general, I throw them back into the

                baggie after use and they could be drawn the next round (the baggie is well shaken before draws). However, I might do

                redraw if two Wildcards were drawn or if there was a slate of letters akin to J, Q, U, X, Z. But, that’s an idea I might do

                next Game (starting below) as there are 5 rounds of 5 letters and there are 26 letters and 2 wildcards in the draw pile.

                Let me think on that, but it really shouldn’t matter to the players as the pre-knowledge can’t skew play in a given round

                as future categories aren’t known ahead of time (if I’m wrong, let me know) and there is no limit on using answers

                between rounds.

[Kevin Wilson] – I actually found the board game topic tougher. Not for having games but for deciding, go with aged classics or

                more modern hobby games. Obviously I went with the classics. We’ll see. [WAY] – turned out well enough for you I

                expect. [KW] – Minerals were interesting too. Love the mythological characters too. Which pantheon will reign?

                Norse? Roman? Greek? Hindu? [WAY] – pretty mixed bag, with Greek/Roman leading the pack.



Game Three, Round One


Letters:                  D             L             O             S              Y

Categories:            Part of Ocean Sailing Vessel; Dog Breeds; Flowers; Types of Residences;

Deceased American Newspaper Writers


Current Standings


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

   Kevin Wilson                      6             7             8             6             8             35         +                134       =                169

   Doug Kent                           5             7             7             7             6             32         +                135       =                167

   Andy Lischett                     6             5             7             8             8             34         +                130       =                164

   Mark Firth                            6             5             7             7             9             34         +                128       =                162

   Walt O’Hara                       6             5             8             7             6             32         +               123       =                155

   John David Galt                                                                                                  *           +                120       =                152


*NMR, receives lowest score from this round



Deadline for the Next Issue of Out of the WAY:


May 5, 2021 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


Acquire – “Blind”



Kevin Wilson –; John David Galt; Mark Firth –; Andy; Tom Howell –


Turn Seven

Galt: Plays 2-G.


Firth: Plays 11-A.  Buys 3 Festival for $400 each.


Lischett: Plays 10-G.


Howell: Plays 1-F.


Wilson: Plays 12-E.  Buys 2 Continental for $600 each and 1 Tower for $500.


Galt: Plays 10-C.  Worldwide is merged into Festival.  Andy gets $4,000 and Tom gets $2,000.  Andy keeps his two shares of Worldwide, while Tom sells his share for $400.


Order for Turn Eight:

Firth, Lischett, Howell, Wilson, Galt, First




Deadline for Turn 8 is Friday May 7th at 7pm My Time (12 hours earlier than the standard zine deadline)

Diplomacy, “Indestructible Machine”, 2020A, W 06/S 07

Austria: Rick Davis – - Build A Vienna..A Bulgaria Supports F Greece (*Cut*),

 A Galicia – Budapest, F Greece Supports A Bulgaria (*Cut*), A Rumania Supports A Ukraine – Sevastopol,

 A Ukraine – Sevastopol, A Vienna Supports A Tyrolia (*Ordered to Move*).

England: Mark Firth – - F Spain(sc) Supports F Mid-Atlantic Ocean.

France: John David Galt - Remove F Gulf of Lyon..F Brest Hold, A Paris – Burgundy,

 A Tuscany - Piedmont (*Fails*), F Tyrrhenian Sea - Tunis.

Germany: Andy - Build A Munich..A Belgium – Picardy, A Gascony – Paris,

 F London - English Channel, A Munich – Bohemia, F North Sea Supports F London - English Channel,

 A Silesia Supports A Munich – Bohemia, A Tyrolia - Vienna (*Fails*).

Italy: Toby Harris - Remove A Rome..A Apulia - Venice (*Bounce*),

 F Mid-Atlantic Ocean Hold, F Naples - Ionian Sea (*Fails*), A Piedmont Supports A Vienna - Tyrolia (*Void*).

Russia: Bob Durf – playdiplomacymoderator@gmail.comBuild A St Petersburg..

 F English Channel - Mid-Atlantic Ocean (*Dislodged*, retreat to Belgium or Wales or OTB), A Moscow – Ukraine,

 A Norway Unordered, F Sevastopol - Rumania (*Dislodged*, retreat to Armenia or Black Sea or OTB),

 A St Petersburg – Moscow, F Wales - Irish Sea, A Warsaw - Galicia.

Turkey: Jack McHugh - Retreat F Bulgaria(sc) - Constantinople..

 F Aegean Sea - Greece (*Fails*), F Constantinople - Bulgaria(sc) (*Fails*),

 F Ionian Sea Supports F Aegean Sea - Greece (*Cut*), F Trieste - Venice (*Bounce*).



Turkey Winter 1907: Feelings of lethargy followed by bouts of wine drinking and binging on Netflix and Turkey Hill Ice Cream...


Deadline for F 07 is: May 8th at 7am My Time

Diplomacy, “Wine Lips”, 2020B, W 04

Seasons Separated By Player Request

Austria: Harold Reynolds –  - Build A Budapest..Has F Aegean Sea, A Berlin,

 A Bohemia, A Budapest, A Munich, A Serbia, A Silesia, A Vienna.

England: David Cohen – zendip18@optonline.netRetreat F Liverpool - Wales.. Remove F Wales,

 A Edinburgh..Has F English Channel, F North Sea, A Picardy.

France: David Burgess – burgesscd@roadrunner.comHas F Brest, A Clyde, F Liverpool,

 F North Atlantic Ocean, A Paris.

Germany: Mark Firth – - Has F Baltic Sea, A Kiel, A Ruhr, A Sweden.

Italy: George Atkins - GeorgeWrites@outlook.comBuild A Venice, F Naples..Has F Gulf of Lyon, F Naples,

 A Piedmont, A Smyrna, A Spain, A Venice, F Western Mediterranean.

Russia: Heath Davis-Gardner – heathdavisgardner@gmail.comRemove F Black Sea..Has A Burgundy,

 A Finland, F Gulf of Bothnia, A Norway, A Prussia, A Sevastopol, A Ukraine.


Now Proposed – A/I/R Draw

Please Vote.  NVR=No





Deadline for S 05 is May 8th at 7am My Time

Balkan Wars VI, “Bad Way to Go”, 2020Apb08, W 15/S 16

Albania: Mark Firth – mogcate@aol.comF Cyclades Supports A Athens, F Gulf of Corfu - South Adriatic Sea,

 F Montenegro Supports F North Adriatic Sea (*Cut*), A Mt Tara Supports F Montenegro,

 F North Adriatic Sea Supports F South Adriatic Sea – Trieste, A Skopje Supports A Sofia (*Cut*),

 F South Adriatic Sea – Trieste, A Tirana Supports A Skopje, A Valona Supports A Skopje.

Bulgaria: Jack McHugh - - A Athens Supports A Salonika,

 F North Black Sea Supports F Izmit - South Black Sea (*Void*), A Salonika Supports A Thrace,

 A Thrace Supports A Salonika (*Cut*).

Serbia: Andy York – wandrew88@gmail.comBuild A Bucharest..A Belgrade Supports A Nish – Montenegro,

 F Bosnia Supports A Croatia – Hercegovina, A Bucharest - Nish (*Fails*), A Constantsa Hold,

 A Croatia – Hercegovina, A Dubruja Supports A Sofia, A Macedonia - Skopje (*Fails*),

 A Nish - Montenegro (*Fails*), A Plovdiv - Thrace (*Fails*), A Sofia Supports A Bucharest - Nish (*Fails*),

 A Varna Supports A Plovdiv (*Ordered to Move*).

Turkey: Heath Davis-Gardner – heathdavisgardner@gmail.comF Aegean Sea - Thrace (*Fails*),

 A Constantinople Supports F Aegean Sea – Thrace, F Izmit - North Black Sea (*Fails*).


Now Proposed – A/B/S/T Draw

Please Vote – NVR=No



Turkey to Bulgaria: WTF is your deal?


Deadline for F 16 is May 8th at 7am My Time

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


John David Galt:

Donald Trump in Mar al Lago, FL


Tom Howell:

Kamala Harris in Majuro, Marshall Islands


Kevin Wilson:

Mata Hari in Nome Alaska


Andy Lischett:

Churchy LaFemme in Okefenokee Swamp Park at Waycross, GA


Richard Smith:

Alan Turing at Bletchley, UK


Brad Wilson:

H.H. Asquith in Biarritz, France


Simon Langley-Evans:

Melania Trump in Atlanta, Georgia


Dane Maslen:

Kamala Harris in Oakland, California


Jack McHugh:

Robert E. Lee in Omsk, Russia


Mark Firth:

William Tell in Llanelli, UK


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

We were born within 10 years of each other.  Wrong nationality…but correct chromosome.


Turn 2


John David Galt:

Marie Curie in San Francisco, CA


Kevin Wilson:

Shohreh Aghdashloo in Manila, Philippines


Andy Lischett:

Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI


Simon Langley-Evans:

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Dane Maslen:

Angela Merkel in Lhasa, Tibet


  Richard Smith:

Edson Arantes do Nascimento (a.k.a. Pele) in Três Corações, Brazil


Brad Wilson:

Marie Curie in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada


David Burgess:

Donald Trump Jr. in Rikers Island Prison, Bronx, NY


Mark Firth:

Buster Crabbe in Cork, Ireland


Tom Howell:

General Sir William Keir Grant in Bhuj, Gujarat, India


Jack McHugh:

Joan Jett in St. Louis, MO


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

Wrong nationality, wrong occupation…but correct chromosome.


Turn 3


Simon Langley-Evans:

Bernie Sanders is in Toronto, Canada


Kevin Wilson:

Whoopi Goldberg in Boise, Idaho


 John David Galt:

Amy Coney Barrett in Wuhan, China


Tom Howell:

Haakon V Magnusson in Reykjavik, Iceland


Andy Lischett:

Herman Melville in Cardiff, Wales


Richard Smith:

Pope John Paul II at Wadowice, Poland


David Burgess:

Jim Morrison in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France


Brad Wilson:

Margaret Thatcher in Rock Island, Illinois


Dane Maslen:

Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland


Jack McHugh:

Charles De Gaulle in Cleveland, Ohio


Mark Firth:

Kim Il Sung, in Gavle, Sweden

Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

Wrong occupation.  You survived what I did not.


Turn 4


Simon Langley-Evans:

Anne Frank in Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Tom Howell:

Erwin Rommel in Hamburg, Germany


Richard Smith:

Daniel David Palmer in Budapest, Hungary


Andy Lischett:

Glenn Miller in International Falls, Minnesota


Dane Maslen:

Michael Moore in Flint, Michigan


 Brad Wilson:

Henri Matisse in Prague, Czech Republic


John David Galt:

Kayleigh McEnany in Tromso, Norway


Jack McHugh:

Josef Stalin in Oslo, Norway


Kevin Wilson:

Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Geneva, Switzerland


David Burgess:

Captain Kangaroo in Esperanza Base, Antarctica


Mark Firth:

William McKinley in Brasov, Romania


Hint to Person Placed Closest to Me:

You died before I was born, although you lived a longer life than I did.  Different occupations.


Deadline for Turn 5 is May 8th 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 4 Categories:

1. A nation in southeast Asia.

2. A button on a television remote control.

3. Something you regret.

4. An amusement park food.

5. A Paul Newman movie.


Joker category shown in BOLD.  Most popular answer shown in italics (if I remember to do that part).

Carol Kay gets the high score of 31 for the round (out of a possible 34).  Paul Milewski gets the low score of 8. 


Comments by Category:


A nation in southeast Asia: Kevin Wilson – “SE Asian nation kind of tough, lots to choose from.  I’ve never been to Thailand and want to go so #1 on my list.”  John David Galt – “Myanmar, because of their recent coup.”  Mark Firth – “Laos first choice but surely Vietnam will score better?”


A button on a television remote control: Kevin Wilson – “Power button has to be #1.  First and last thing you push.”  John David Galt – “If you hadn't narrowed it to the TV I'd have said fast forward.”  Mark Firth – “Sky is the big one jumping out from next to me but I doubt that will score many!”


Something you regret: Andy Lischett – “How many pages do you want? Without getting personal and depressed, I'll go with a generic answer that others may also pick because it's generic. This is NOT my Joker.”  Simon Langley-Evans – “I didn’t know where to start to be honest. A lifetime of silly choices, awkward conversations, mistakes and missed opportunities seemed to be too long an entry for the round and maybe not specific enough.”  Kevin Wilson – “Regrets tough, too many to choose from.”  Brad Wilson – “That last shot of Scotch at 4:30 a.m.”   John David Galt – “I'm very tempted to put something that will be cut here such as a tranny operation.”  Mark Firth - “Edith Piaf.”


An amusement park food: Kevin Wilson – “Pizza, candy, nachos, popcorn, ugh.”  Mark Firth – “Candy floss and toffee apples? I’ll stick to savoury.”


A Paul Newman movie: Andy Lischett – “My first thought was Hud, although I may never have seen it. Somehow Paul Newman got in an H rut: Hud, Hombre, Harper, the Hustler, Cool Hand Luke. I can't come up with any Paul Newman movies that I really like. Cool Hand Luke may be the closest. The Sting and Butch Cassidy were big hits but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch either one. Okay, I've got one: Torn Curtain, but mostly for the scene where Newman and the farm woman kill the East German agent.”  [[My favorite is either Absence of Malice or The Verdict.  Never cared for Butch Cassidy.]]  Kevin Wilson – “So many but that’s the first one that popped into my head. Although The Sting was right behind it.”  Brad Wilson – “That is far from my favorite Newman movie, but my favorites are a bit obscure ("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", "Nobody's Fool", "Twilight") so ...”   Mark Firth – “Used to be on tv loads but haven’t seen in a while.”


General Comments: Paul Milewski – [Regarding last issue’s Dan Aykroyd answers] “Dan Aykroyd's Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom's cameo can be spotted when Indiana, Willie and Short Round arrive at Nang Tao Airport. Aykroyd plays Art Weber, the British Army officer who arranges a plane for the trio to escape on. He informs them they'll be traveling with live poultry, which was the best he could arrange on short notice. Indiana boards the plane and looks back with triumphant smugness at pursuing crime lord Lao Che, who in turn laughs when Jones closes the plane door, revealing the branding "Lao Che Air Freight;" this leads to trouble later for Jones and company.  You’re right about Groundhog Day; I don't believe Dan Aykroyd had anything to do with that movie as an actor or as a writer.”


Turn 5 Categories:

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


1. Something you find in a laundry room.

2. A Disney movie.

3. An insurance company.

4. A palindrome.

5. A poor nation.


Deadline for Turn 5 of By Popular Demand is: May 8 at 7am My Time

Deadline for the next issue of Eternal Sunshine is: Saturday May 8, 2021 at 7am My Time (U.S. central time) – some games and subzines earlier


See You Then!