“How many times do you get to lie before you are a liar?” – Michael Josephson, 20th/21st- century American ethicist.
When you say you agree to a thing in principle you mean that you have not the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice." – Otto Von Bismark.
"Descended from the apes? Let us hope that it is not true. But if it is, let us pray that it may not become generally known." – FA Montagu.
2001 A Gaming ODYSSEY
OAustria (Andy Lischett) A BOH – gal, A SER S (ITA) A tri – BUD, F AEG S (TUR) F con – SMY,
F GRE S F AEG.
OEngland (Mike Mazzer) A bel – RUH, F mao – POR, F bre – ENG, F DEN H, F edi – NTH, F LPL – nao, F HOL S (RUS) A KIE.
OFrance (Woody Arnawoodian) F NAO - lpl.
OGermany (Jim O’Kelley) A lvn – STP, A mun – BER, F BAL S A mun – BER.
OItaly (Gary Coughlan) A tya – VIE, A pie – TYA, A bur – MUN, A tri – BUD, F ion – EAS, F naf – TUN, F wes – TYN.
ORussia (Bob Olsen?) NMR! A KIE u(H), A bud u(d;anhl), A GAL u(H), A SEV u(H), A SIL u(H), A UKR u(H), F smy u(d;r Syr,OTB), F SWE u(H).
OTurkey (Jim Burgess) A ank – ARM, A RUM S (ITA) A tri – BUD, F BUL(ec) S A RUM, F con – SMY.
ITALY to GERMANY AND AUSTRIA: I guess it was us three that our illustrious GM was calling "the timid ones" last season because he named everyone else. Oh, well, that comes naturally to us "stuck-in-the-middle-of-the-board-without-a-corner-for-our-back" central powers.
YOUR MAP HERE
GM to ITALY: Good luck trying to coax a word out of either of them. Strong, silent, emotionally unavailable … you know the type. They’re sort of …
ENGLAND to GM: If I ever do get back into the hobby – (and was I ever really in it? Only as a spear carrier to the hobby greats) it would be only one game at a time – I have to make sure everyone I screw in this game is dead before I start another.
GM to ITALY: … nothing like our motor-mouth Englishman, Mazzerman. And you thought the Brits were reserved.
ITALY to RUSSIA: On my ol' Diplomacy board, I've always found several of the colors hard to distinguish so, as our numbers winnow down, I've made France's sole fleet red like Austria's units and have decided that the cowardly yellow color of the Turkish pieces also fit Mazzer's England to a "T" as well. Since I've had a lot of time on my hands, pining away, waiting for you to write me, I found that if you arrange Mazzer's six yellow fleets just so, they look like the yellow rays of the sun, spiraling outward in every direction.
GM to ITALY: … much like your press, by the way. Pardon my butting in, but it is said that the sun never sets on the British Empire, che’ no, caro amico? By the way, I don’t mean to be difficult, but that sole French fleet isn’t red, but blue, and that’s mainly cause Woody’s been holding his breath since Mazzer stabbed him in Fall ’02.
ITALY to GM: Of course, if that "fleetish sun" is in the west, it means it's setting, doesn't it? Unless it's a John Wayne movie set in Vietnam.
GM to ITALY: Okay, you win another round in the “Obscure References to Movies the GM Has Not Seen Since His Early Teens”. (A couple more wins and you’ll be able to turn in your points for a great prize.) Now let’s get back to the Mazzer, er, matter at hand …
ENGLAND to FRANCE: All right, Woody, you win. I'm willing to forgive and forget, and we can be allies again. Now for this next season, I suggest we ... hmm? Wassat? Oh ... never mind.
GM to ENGLAND: That’s it? You crush the guy like Olsen’s proverbial insect, and all you can say is “Oh … never mind.” That’s so cold and cruel and calculating. Where’s the drama? The humanity? The story? Geesh, Mazzerman, used to be when you wasted someone, you told a story to celebrate. Give it a shot, eh?
LISBON: HMS Frogstomper arrived in this beautiful Iberian city today to pay a courtesy visit to the French Government-in-Exile. Alas, the new Ambassador to the Franco-Portuguese Commonwealth found the Governor General in the Government House (above the Seven-Eleven), dead of the Italian Pox. Making the best of the situation, the Ambassador claimed all of Portugal for His Majesty, and ordered a shipment of Bangers and Mash for all the natives.
GM to LISBON: Much better. I especially liked the “Italian pox” part. Perhaps a little subtle for the average player …
ITALY to ENGLAND: YOU'VE KILLED WOODY!!
GM to ITALY: You don’t miss much, eh? And so timely and compassionate and – somehow – sincere, too.
ITALY to FRANCE: O Ruler of the Western Waves, howst noble is thine passing and so envied by the heirs of the Roman Empire! Like the Vikings of Old, thy lightning raids have at last come to an end, and thou sailest to Valhalla upon thine glowing pyre, thy noble vessel far out in the Western Sea. Thy light will never truly be extinguished but will shine eternally in the memories of thine contemporaries.
GM to ITALY: You’re kidding, right? Let me remind you – we’re talking France here, right? Woody, the guy you stabbed only minutes before Mazzer offed him big time?. Remember that Woody? What have you to say to him?
ITALY to FRANCE: You are noble, just like Melanie, and I feel just like that rotten Scarlett O'Hara, taking the potatoes out of your mouth for my own survival. Why, I was barely able to gobble them down and don't know what I would have done without those chives I found in Paris. Or was it Spain?
ITALY to GM: Well, that's enough groveling. Did it sound sincere enough? Let me try again, maybe I can sound even more sincere.
GM to ITALY: Crowing about your sack of Paris (potatoes) and the theft of Spain is groveling??? Hmmm, a unique interpretation of the word, no doubt. I wouldn’t bother with sincerity at this point … I’m thinking eulogy here. Honoring what he did and what he left behind That kind of thing.
ITALY to GM: And what, in your view, has been Woody's greatest gift to civilization?
GM to ITALY: Well, apart from the fact that he was a nice, quiet boy who never wrote press or otherwise bothered me, his greatest gift would have to be that he isn’t Mazzer. And he was a great fable on why you shouldn’t trust anyone – even your friends – in this game. What do you think?
ROME: "A Sop's Fable" (Courtesy of www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/aesop/)
The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass – The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass entered into an agreement to assist each other in the chase. Having secured a large booty, the Lion on their return from the forest asked the Ass to allot his due portion to each of the three partners in the treaty. The Ass carefully divided the spoils into three equal shares and modestly requested the two others to make the first choice. The Lion, bursting out into a great rage, devoured the Ass. Then he requested the Fox to do him the favor to make a division. The Fox accumulated all that they had killed into one large heap and left to himself the smallest possible morsel. The Lion said, "Who has taught you, my very excellent fellow, the art of division? You are perfect to a fraction." He replied, "I learned it from the Ass, by witnessing his fate." Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others.
ITALY to GM: So, who's the ass?
GM to ITALY: What an unfair question … there are so many possible right answers. Here’s one of them now …
ENGLAND to GM: So, did you catch the US - Italy friendly? We still have a long way to go. No rightful person can root for Manchester United – they have infinite amounts of money to buy players – rooting for Man. U. is like rooting for the Yankees, which is like reading the Book of Job and rooting for God. No decent human being can do that.
GM to ITALY: … and here’s another.
SLIGHT TRASH to WHITE TRASH (There are seven of you and you know who I mean): Hi, after reading what passes for (shudder) press here, I have decided to do Williams a BIG favor.
GM to GAME: You ever notice whenever anyone says that, it always means the opposite? Hey, Slight, do your worst.
SLIGHT TRASH to WHITE TRASH – BORED WITH PRESS:
Three seasons for each year – sounds like SOMEones house rules.
Seven midgets – mental ones – where does Don dig up these fools?
Nine pounds of press or more – if the Jim-Boob writes some.
One Zine for the Duck when there is no land to Zone.
In the land of Southern Cal, where old dipsters go to die,
One zine to for them to trash. One zine to entomb them.
One zine, most dumpster-ish, with all their press engorge-ed.
In the land of Southern Cal, where all the dipsters go to die.
In the land of Southern Cal, where all the dipsters go to die.
GM to WHI … er, GAME: As I write this, I don’t know who wrote the press – e-mail now allows for submissions that are truly anonymous, even to the GM. I’m hoping the presser will come forth, though, otherwise s/he won’t see the work in print. And you know how some people love to see headlines.
ROME: Recent headlines from Italian newspapers
The Roman Recrudescence blares "Russia Faces Probable Fowl Attack From Big Bird & Turkey!"
The Venetian Verbophobe fulminates "Eastern Powers Struggle In Apparent Alcoholic Frenzy For Rum and Bud As Tsar Spirits Vodka Out of Path of Advancing Germans!"
The Pisan Paramnesiac prattles "The Barbarous English Lion Greedily Snuffs Out The Light of French Civilization!".
GM to ITALY: Still on that “Mazzer as World Beater” kick, are you? I mean, it’s not like he trashed France and Germany alone, you know. Let’s not tell fibs or fables, eh?
NAPLES: "Another Sop's Fable" (Courtesy of www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/aesop/)
The Scorpion and the Frog – A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too." The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?" Replies the scorpion, "Its my nature ... "
GM to GRIMME: So is he the frog or the scorpion?
KING BERTIE to GERMAN GOVERNMENT IN EXILE IN ST PETERSBURG: It seems to me that there are all kinds of family connections between the Kaiser and the Tsar, so that it's perfectly natural that a German should reign in St. Petersburg. Just as it is right that since all of you descend from me old mum, Queen Victoria, I should be the rightful sovereign of Holland and the Tsar should rule in Berlin. The royal houses of Europe were as in-bred as a Memphis family reunion.
SAUGUS to LA-LA-LAND: Hey, show a little class here, and try to have some fun. Aren’t you having fun?
ENGLAND to GM: When you keep asking me "Are you having fun?" it reminds me of Lawrence Olivier in “The Marathon Man” continually asking Dustin Hoffman "Is it safe?" while torturing him with a dentist's drill. Yes, I'm having fun, damn it!
GM to GRIMME: I vote “scorpion”.
ROME to MUNICH? to ST. PETERSBURG? to MOSCOW? to WARSAW?..Let's just say "to GERMANY": You are certainly on the move these days so it is hard to know where to send the kudos and congratulations for your magnificent, against-all-odds, highly successful convoy into Livonia. Bravo on a superb move which should elicit all of Europe's admiration if they are being honest!
ENGLAND to RUSSIA: Oh, I forgot to tell you, watch out for a German convoy to Livonia.
GM to ENGLAND: Why does this pronouncement of concern so lack conviction or the luster of truth?
ITALY to GM: It’s his nature …
ENGLAND to GERMANY: Your offer was tempting, but you are far too dangerous to be left alive – enjoy your stay in St Petersburg.
ITALY to GM: I think Mazzerman would be wise to see and heed the message of "The Count of Monte Cristo". I hear it is very popular in Germany and maybe in Italy as well. Is Steve's review of this movie in here?
GM to GRIMME: It would be, but Burgess has taken to printing them all in his zine, The Abyssinian Prince. As we are a sometime subzine there, it would be redundant. Steve gave it mixed marks, but decided overall it’s worth seeing.
VENICE: Who said "The future belongs to Russia, which grows and grows and grows, and which hangs over us like an increasingly horrible incubus?" A) Boob (B) Mazzerman (C) Grimme (D) Chum (E) Big Bird (F) World War I
German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg
ENGLAND to GM: So Dubyuh Bush is visiting Queen Elizabeth, and he says "Yo, queenie, I've always admired the way you are able to get the best people to administer your government, how do you do it?" Liz says, "I always give them an intelligence test – watch" and she summons PM Blair. When he arrives, the Queen says, "Tony, if he is your mother and father's son, but is not your brother, who is he?" "That's easy, Your Majesty, it's me." "Spot on, ducks!" says the Queen. "Wow," says Dubyuh "let me try that." And he pulls out his cell phone and calls VP Cheney. "Yo, Dick, if he is your mother and father's son but he's not your brother, who is he?" "Hmmm," says Cheney, "let me get back to you on that." He scurries all over executive Washington, but nobody can come up the answer until he bumps into Colin Powell and asks him the question. "That's easy," says Powell, "it's me." Cheney calls the President back -- "I've got it, Chief, it's Colin Powell." "No, no dummy," says Dub, "it's Tony Blair!"
GM to VENICE: There you have it – the answer is Tony Blair.
GM to GAME: And, because there’s no way to segue this, a non-sequitir for your enjoyment. Take it away, King Bertie in a can …
ENGLAND to TURKEY AND RUSSIA: Children, now play nice. No Balkan Bloodbaths today.
GM to ENGLAND: We have a confused and somewhat philosophical question here – If a bloodbath happens in the Balkans, but no one is there to hear it – and the parties involved seem to like each other – is anyone really bleeding to death?
ENGLAND to AUSTRIA: I'm glad that you and Gary are getting along, but I'm a bit confused, as usual. If Gary is to get Vienna and Trieste, what do you get? A plate of warmed over linguini?
GM to MAZZERMAN: How ‘bout a really cool series of nickname translations?
GRIMME to BIG BIRD: If you don't like your GM-inspired nickname, do like I did and translate it into another language to add a little class and a little luster. "Grimme" is "Ugly" in Danish (short for "Grimme aelling" or "Ugly Duckling" but that's another story). And "Big Bird" becomes exotically compelling in any number of languages. "Grande Uccello" in Italian, "Grand Oiseau" in French, "Grosser Vogel" in German or "Grande Pajaro" in Spanish.
GM to BIG BIRD: Exotically compelling, not to mention incredibly sincere. Sounds right up your alley
ITALY to GM: That's it, I'm all out of sincerity for this season.
GM to GRIMME: I wouldn’t have told him that yet. At least not until things with the Sultan have been settled.
PM to SULTAN: All things will be as you wish if you are patient, Inshallah.
ITALY to TURKEY: I cannot permit three non-Italian fleets to threaten the Ionian Sea, which is the only reason for my Eastern Mediterranean move which hopefully bounced. Just remember three important syllables: Le-pan-to (OH-MI-GOD!), I mean "Don't wor-ry".
GM to CHUM: Be happy? I wonder if that’s part of the Anthropic Principal Mazzerman was talking about last time?
ROME to LONDON: "Anthropic Principal"? I think I had one of them in high school once.
GM to CHUM: Though the principal was a little out of his class, Grimme was a real luster.
GRIMME to CHUM: And I'm known for my luster of little class.
GM to GRIMME (ASIDE): How’s that for writing into the press-line?
SLIGHT TRASH to WHITE TRASH – The Fellowship of the Zine:
The Unnecessary Game Start – This press deals exclusively with Dipsters and from it one can learn much of their perversions and little of their hard time. Further information will be found in old issues of Graustark under the title, "Friends(?) of Williams Too Smart To Play In That Sucker" That story was derived from an earlier subzine composed by Don Del Grande himself and called by him Da Bobbit, (John Wayne) and told the tale of his adventure to get some "special" surgery performed.
Many will hope that I stop right here because they can tell this tale will open old suitcases best left forgotten, or at least in need of checking by the bomb squad.
Dipsters are an obnoxious but disgusting sub-species, more visible once, but decomposing – finally. They write incessantly, with very bad penmanship, unless they have word processors and then, at least, their spelling gets better. They did not and do not like relationships more complicated than, "Get me a beer" or "Get me another beer." Wives are to keep the kids (or grand-kids) out of the room while press is being written. Even in the old days, before the concept of "having a life" was conceived, Dipsters were at the forefront of not having them. They possessed from the first the ability to spend days on end without writing anything more coherent than "Oh That Boob!" or "Gee, that was interesting press (any name but yours here) wrote last issue." But Dipsters never developed social skills beyond the simple request for the last slice of pizza or another roll of toilet paper. They are a little people, less numerous than sci-fi fandom. Their press is unfathomable, ranging from the drug-crazed to the typing-that-might-be-done-by-slightly-less-than-a-million-chimpanzees-on-crack. They seldom go to cons now, but when they do, they get drunk. According to the subzine Several Old-Farts Still Going At It, they organize cons, write theory articles and try to stay awake.
EL DONYO to SLIGHT TRASH: Got to say, you sound suspiciously like a certain Hobby Sex Ghod that used to reside in the Pacific Northwest. The rambling, senseless soliloquy, the vague and disillusioned references to the past, the evident self-loathing and projecting … tell me I’m wrong about that.
ENGLAND to ITALY: The Figure Skating Crisis – Day 4 – The World Held Hostage – I understand the UN is in emergency session, the US and Canada have put their armed forces on full alert, Jessie Jackson and Jimmy Carter are offering to mediate – sigh! My wife is a big figure skating fanatic but I'm a total swine about it. To me it's not a sport – more of a beauty contest with a national interest component. It's about on a par with WWF wrestling – you know who is supposed to win. My wife went to the national championships, which were in LA this year, and went to all the events. She already has tickets to the World Championships in March '03 in Washington. A real sequins junkie. I did see "The Nutcracker On Ice" starring Rudy Galindo as the Sugar Plum Fairy. (Sorry, Gary, I couldn't resist. As I said, I'm a swine.) Now curling ... that's more my speed.
GM to SLIGHT: Which isn’t to say you’re completely wrong about some things.
ENGLAND to GM: I like having winter separated – but there's no reason you can't have a minimal (say one week) winter season – you just send out bare bones adjustments by e-mail (and fax for the one primitive in our midst) but keep the four week spring and falls. Actually I don't mind now that things seem to be moving in a timely manner.
ITALY to ENGLAND: So I hear you now have, and I quote, "a large booty".
SYRIA: Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address.
Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are Just as Evil … in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. “Everybody knows we're the best evils … best at being evil … we're the best."
Diplomats from Syria denied they were jealous over being excluded, although they conceded they had asked if they could join the Axis of Evil.
"They told us it was full," said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "An Axis can't have more than three countries," explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So you can only have three. And a secret handshake. Ours is wicked cool. "
International reaction to Bush's Axis of Evil declaration was swift as, within minutes, France surrendered.
Elsewhere, peer-conscious nations rushed to gain triumvirate status in what became a game of geopolitical chairs. Cuba, Sudan, and Serbia said they had formed the “Axis of Somewhat Evil”, forcing Somalia to join with Uganda and Myanmar in the “Axis of Occasionally Evil”, while Bulgaria, Indonesia and Russia established the “Axis of Not So Much Evil Really As Just Generally Disagreeable”.
With the criteria suddenly expanded and all the desirable clubs filling up, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Rwanda applied to be called the “Axis of Countries That Aren't the Worst, But Certainly Won't Be Asked to Host the Olympics”. Canada, Mexico, and Australia formed the “Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice But Secretly Have Nasty Thoughts About America”, while Spain, Scotland, and New Zealand established the “Axis of Countries That Be Allowed to Ask Sheep to Wear Lipstick”. "That's not a threat, really, just something we like to do, " said Scottish Prime Minister Michael Mazzer.
While wondering if the other nations of the world weren't perhaps making fun of him, a cautious Bush granted approval for most axes, although he rejected the establishment of the “Axis of Countries Whose Names End in ‘guay’”, accusing one of its members of filing a false application. Officials from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Turkeyguay denied the charges. Said Sultan Jaime Burguay, “These allegations are malicious and without foundation.”
Tsar Olsen-Clark, meanwhile, insisted Russia didn't want to join any Axis but, privately, world leaders said that's only because no one had asked them.
OAustria (Ryan Wheeler) A vie – TYA, A bud – SER, F tri – ALB.
OEngland (Corky Clark) F lon – NTH, F edi -- NWG, A lpl – WAL.
OFrance (Scott Williams) A par – BUR, A MAR – pie, F bre – MAO.
OGermany (Greg Bond) A ber – SIL, A MUN S A ber – SIL, F kie – HOL.
OItaly (John Bovee) A VEN – pie, A ROM – ven, F nap – ION.
ORussia (Dave Peterson) A war – GAL, A mos – SEV, F stp(sc) – BOT, F sev – RUM.
OTurkey (Scott Wilk) A con – BUL, A smy – ARM, F ank – CON.
ENGLAND to EVERYBODY: Well friends, here we go. Somehow, I feel like it's my first day in Kindergarden. I hope there's no bullies out there and I can make a friend the first day.
Your Press Here
YOUR MAP HERE
And that’s about it for this issue of DE. Take care, and we’ll see you all here next month.