December 31, 2003

Produced by Jim Burgess, 664 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02908-4327 USA, (401)351-0287

Accessible through Internet at burgess of (all E-Mail addresses are reported in this format, replace the " of " with "@"; if you bounce try sending to me from another account or FAX to (401) 277-9904. For Faxing, most of the time you have to call me to tell me it's coming so I can set up the FAX.
Web Page Address:

This is the Merry Christmas and Happy New Year issue! I hope you all have one. I thought I would take advantage of the power of the purse and the keyboard this time to make a few comments.
HEALTH OF THE DIPLOMACY HOBBY: Stupendous, great! In just the Judge (automated adjudication) part of the E-Mail hobby alone there were nearly 2000 (yes, 2000!) completed games in 2003. My rough guess is that might be about half of the games in total around the world that were completed last year, something like four or five thousand games in total. How can't you think that is great? Only if you think postal games are essential to hobby health. I do think that a postal hobby is important, since it generates more of the literary and personality side of the hobby. Currently, both the Diplomatic Pouch and Diplomacy World editorships are in some flux, I hope both will be resolved shortly. We could do better promoting good literary writing in and about the hobby and the game, and I most definitely include me in the we. The personality side of the hobby in the E-Mail world is pulsing up and down. Included in the ups is the larger and larger groups of people getting together to play FTF and traveling to FTF games and tournaments. Buz Eddy and his North American Diplomacy Federation site ( describes much of the FTF activity in the US, which is in turn also less than half of the world activity. The frequency of FTF get-togethers is so large now that we're near having an event of some kind every weekend of the year. In the Boston area group that I'm part of alone, there are four events on three weekends in January coming up and we're averaging well over an event a month. I personally can't make all of these, but many of them have three boards or more. The other growing tendency in the worldwide hobby is to generate E-Mail tournaments of three or four rounds, lasting a year or more, and fielding hundreds of players each. There are at least four of these large tournaments going on at the present time, including the WorldMasters tournament that I publicize here. All of these things are generating "personality", but I still admit that it is the case that personality development and comradery in the Hobby grow in fits and starts through these activities and that those of you who are old fart postal types can still do your "whinging" (intentionally using the Brit spelling) with some justification. But volume and people make up for a lot and the trends are all up. Lots of you, who grew up in the Postal Hobby, are now quite active in various parts of these hobbies. Soon after the first of the year, I'm going to start soliciting Hobby Awards nominations again, and believe me it gets harder and harder to choose every year.....

The postal version of the szine is going to be somewhat delayed, since I've got to take a weeklong business trip this upcoming week. But hang on to this one for awhile. There is a LOT to read in it. If anyone gets vastly inconvenienced for getting orders in for the January 17th deadline, I'll just delay your game until February. The postal sub price is still $1.50 per issue in the US and Canada, with double that for other foreign subbers (or $3.00 per issue sent airmail). Players in current games and standbys will continue to get the issues for free, and future game starts (except for Nuclear Yuppie Evil Empire Diplomacy, which is free) cost $20.00 ($15.00 for a life of the game subscription and $5 for the NMR Insurance. Or you can play in subszines for free and just jack up the issue page count. See the revised game start announcements below!
Check out the connections in the Diplomatic Pouch with all of the information you need to play Diplomacy on the Internet at:
I also have taken over the Postal portion of the Pouch:
and TAP on the web is there at:
where the szine resides in html format. Presently, issues from #190 to the current issue are there, and I will be updating the back issues gradually someday. Also, check out Stephen Agar's more extensive efforts at: and
David Wang still has the HIGHLY prized name:!! BUT, the site has not been updated in recent times. If you want to follow me and others in John Caruso's Baseball League, THE place to follow the league now is DICKIE-P Martin's website: where in the "files" section, "baseball" sub-section, you can see all of the individual and team level stats. Use the Telnet button in the upper left corner, that's the easiest way to do it these days. You need to sign up as a "member" to see all of the files. You, too, can chat with John Caruso there, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Really, you can. John's E-Mail address also is commishjohn of if you want to send him E-Mail after all that. John still at least one opening, you can start RIGHT NOW to play next year! Milwaukee won the World Series, something that can NEVER happen in real life. It isn't like a regular fantasy league, it's completely unique. We're now bidding on free agents, one of the most fun times of the year. They're trying to steal all my players, help!!! Contact John at commishjohn of if you're interested in joining us or ask me for more details, this REALLY IS THE most fun thing I do in the hobby at the moment, find out why!!!
Peter Sullivan's subszine remains "in stasis", although all the back issues can be accessed via :
Peter was saying that he would be unlikely to be starting any new games in the Octopus until "at least the start of 2002." He is now hereby declared to be in official indeterminate stasis and that date is now a "whenever". In the meantime, Rip Gooch and Dave Partridge are picking up the choo-choo game slack in TAP. Contact Rip at xyropedes of or Dave at rebhuhn of for more info.
By electronic mail, through the Internet, subs are free and can be obtained automatically by sending the message: subscribe tap
to majordomo of and messages can be sent to the entire electronic mailing list by mailing them to tap of which will forward your message to all of the people currently on the list. The message:
unsubscribe tap
sent to majordomo of gets you off the list. Please make careful note of that as well since you generally can get yourself off the list a lot easier than I can, and NOBODY likes to see unsubscribe messages sent to the entire list. A big, big thank you for David Kovar for setting this all up!!

LOTS of people have contacted Steve, but he hasn't contacted ME yet.... You have until issue #280 to find him for the fifty buck prize. This makes TWO missing ex-Boardman Number Custodians that we're trying to find. The key to this is you need to get him to write me a letter (or send me an E-Mail, contrary to my belief, he might have an E-Mail address...).
Feel free to spend the time looking for some of the backlog. Let's get Ed, Tom, Bill, Gregory, and ESPECIALLY Kevin found too!!! This is a regular continuing feature of the szine and I will be introducing a new "search for" every five issues. Moreover, you can win a $25 prize for finding some previous target who went unfound in the original $50 period. That means that if Ed Henry or Tom Hurst or Bill Quinn or Gregory Stewart or Kevin Tighe is "found" from now on it is worth $25.
Winners will receive credit for Dip hobby activities that I will pay out as requested by the winner. Subscribe to szines here or abroad, run your own contests, publish a szine, finance a web page, GO TO A DIPLOMACY CONVENTION or whatever. Spend it all right away or use me as a bank to cover hobby activities for years. What must you do to win? Get me a letter to the editor for TAP from the person we're searching for.
This is very important, just finding them doesn't do it. They have to write me a letter. The final judge as to the winner of any contest will be the target himself and I reserve the right to investigate the winning entry. When you find someone I'm looking for, you should ask him to send me a letter for print that includes a verification of who "found" him.

The British representative is the editor of Mission From God, John Harrington. John may be contacted at 1 Churchbury Close, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 3UW, UK.
E-Mail: fiendish of, John.Harrington of
Please include the full name and address of the foreign publisher with your order, if possible, as well as the szine title. Make your check in US dollars out to me personally or in GBP to John if you're doing things from that end. I will conduct business for Canadians as well, if I can, but prefer to deal in US dollars with them if possible, or Canadian dollars cash. To subscribe to American szines, the system works in reverse.
We have added a European continental representative, most of this traffic likely will occur between Ronald Camstra (in the Netherlands) and John Harrington, but if anyone here in the US wants to get money into Euros, we'll try to help you out. Ronald Camstra can be contacted at siedler of and his home address is: Wielingenplein 48, 3522 PE Utrecht, the Netherlands. But in Holland it is most common not to send checks but to transfer money by bank. Dutch people can pay directly to Postbankaccount 4652247 of Ronald Camstra in Utrecht. Since he can see the name and address of the sender in his bankreceipt, people only have to mention the name of the zine and the editorial address along with their bank order. Ronald is obviously a huge Settlers of Catan fan. If you're interested in playing that game internationally by mail, I think Ronald can help you out.
We also have reopened a branch office of the International Subscription Exchange in Australia!! Brendan Whyte, the publisher of the excellent szine Damn the Consequences will be doing the honors, taking over in some sense from John Cain, who was the Australian rep for many years. You can contact Brendan to sub to Australian szines from the US or to sub to US szines from Australia, converting Australian dollars into American ones. We are now maneuvering deals to Europe from the other reps as well. You can find Brendan Whyte at bwhyte of (note that this is a new E-Mail address for Brendan) or by mail to send checks at: Geography Dept., University of Melbourne, Vic 3010, AUSTRALIA. This should help out my Australian subbers!!

WorldMasters 2002 Email Diplomacy Tournament Round 2 is nearing a close. I should have a report soon on where that sorted out. The game that had Toby Harris and the Egg in it.... well, Egbert laid an egg. Go Tobyster!!
See for full details. Since I didn't get sufficient interest to get a team in, I am back on the WorldMasters Tournament Management Committee again.

DIPDOM NEWS SECTION (with letters)
Obscure and not-so-obscure ramblings on the state of the hobby and its publications, custodians, events, and individuals with no guarantee of relevance from the fertile keyboard of Jim-Bob, the E-Mail Dip world, and the rest of the postal hobby. My comments are in italics and ((double quotation marks)) like this. Bold face is used to set off each individual speaker. I should also make a note that I do edit for syntax and spelling on occasion.
The game Diplomacy is a copyrighted product owned by Hasbro and all reproductions or other use of that material in this szine is intended to be personal use and not infringe on those rights in any way. All reproductions are done at a heavy financial loss to the editor and thus are without the remotest possibility of commercial intent, except to promote THE game, the Game of Diplomacy, which you all should purchase from Hasbro or other duly licensed distributors.
In what I believe is a RECENT change, Hasbro also has been putting the rules to Diplomacy up on their web page along with rules for most of their other games. Not only that, but they have the "current" as well as an older version of the rules there. Stephen Agar has matched that and more with some of the even older rulebooks. Check these out if you like:
Nice of them to make BOTH of these available. And all seven different US rulebooks for Diplomacy can now be found here courtesy of Stephen Agar (relatively new address for this):

Check out back issues of Diplomacy World -
As we tried to get together the last issue, it became clear to all of us that the current editorial structure has failed. The new issue is almost put together, but needs a new lead editor. Stephen is backing away, I'm not at all prepared to go it alone, and certainly Dave Partridge isn't ready to take it over. But the framework is there. There is a lot of action on this front now. Enough that I think I can ask, is anyone else willing to participate in getting DW back up and running?? If so, contact me NOW!

cyarno57 (10 Dec 2003 18:34:36 -0800)
I would like to get a copy of Lew Pulsipher's Solo Diplomacy in any shape or form willing to pay for reproduction and mailing. The cite I have is as follows:
SOLO DIPLOMACY (1) < MB:Mar82 > Lew Pulsipher's variant for one person, which has an algorithm for determining moves of the enemy. Details in DW 26. See Variant (KW).
cyarno57 of (cyarno57)
((I printed this partly to note that people are consulting the Diplomacy A to Z and partly to note that it would be great if Stephen Agar can complete the effort of getting the entire DW backlog on line and partly to see if anyone feels like contacting him and help him out. But WHY do people want to play this game without the personal interaction. THAT's the fun of the game.... as another hobby service, it seems that I should share this from Steve Koehler....))

Steve Koehler (Mon, 8 Dec 2003 16:29:22 -0500)
Guys, There doesn't seem to be much chance of me getting another issue out of Diplodocus. Unless someone wants to take over, I intend to fold the 'zine. In that case, I will try to house the existing games in other zines and refund any unused subscriptions. In the mean time, I encourage the guest GMs to communicate directly with their players to continue their games by e-mail or other method.
Steve, sdk of
((While I'm certainly not necessarily looking for more subszines, I am willing to be approached if I can help in some way. If any of Steve's guest GMs wants to go solo and get some publicity, they also should just let me know. Just as ONE small example of the local groups starting up, here's an announcement from Jamie. I'm playing in a game with Dan Miller by E-Mail at the moment.))

Jamie McQuinn (Sat, 13 Dec 2003 17:28:29)
Dan Miller, of Cincinnati, is trying to organize some FtF Diplomacy action in the OH/IN/KY area. He has formed a Yahoo Group:
Send an email to CincinnatiDiplomacy-subscribe of or go to:
If you are in the area, let us know. If you know someone in the area, please let them know. Thanks!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all! Jamie, jamie4home of
((I think Jamie and Dan should grab Dan Stafford out of retirement to play.... ;-) Isn't that a good idea?))

David Cohen (Fri, 02 Jan 2004 21:34:08 EST)
Maharajiad 1 is the first Tournament for and is designed to showcase the Maharajah's Diplomacy variant. The rules and organization of the Maharajiad are somewhat similar to the Worldmasters Tournament, but there are several significant differences.
Rules and information about the variant can be found at the variant homepage:, or in the files section of the maharajahsdiplomacy yahoogroup.
Here is a summary of some of the most important Tournament information:
1. To register as a player or GM, or if you wish to help out in some other way, please contact me at zendip18 of, and give your full name. You may submit a preference list if you wish to enter as a player. Registration to the yahoogroup is highly advisable, since that is where tournament-wide announcements will be made.
2. It is anticipated that board assignments will be completed within one week after a full roster of GMs and players is set.
3. The Tournament is individual only, with no team aspect.
4. It is a two round, top-and-advance tournament, with the first round lasting until 1910, and the second round having no time limit.
5. This is a "full press" Tournament.
6. GMs may adjudicate "by hand", with Realpolitik, or if a judge keeper permits, by adapting a judge for adjudication, but no player will be required to submit orders directly to a judge.
7. NMRs will be allowed, and the Tournament will run on a 5 turn basis, at a pace of approximately 1 game year every two weeks.
8. Each GM will publish results of his or her particular game both in the maharajahsdiplomacy yahoogroup, and in one of his or her usual forums, so as to help publicize the variant.
David, zendip18 of
((I highly recommend David's tournament and his variant. It's one of the coolest new variants out there. Check it out and play in his tournament!))

Tell me anything you like about the recent past in music. List a top two, a top ten, or a top 100, I don't care, just tell me something!!

Pete Gaughan (Fri, 12 Dec 2003 23:01:54 -0800)
Jim, I need some musical advice. I'm a fan of what I think of as `quirk' bands-like Crash Test Dummies ("How come all my body parts so nicely fit together?"), They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies. So who else should I try out that writes along these lines? (Perhaps a more appropriate way to ask would be, who else scribbles just outside of the lines?)
((Sigh, Jon Pareles, one of the pop music writers for the New York Times has been identifying for me the general malaise in the music business lately. I've seen him say this more than once, most recently and eloquently, I think, in this year's New York Times yearend review: "I don't think there has to be an opposition between songwriting and innovation. Have all the ways to present the song been exhausted? I don't want a commentary on how all the good ideas have been used. I want a new idea."))
((This is a huge problem, as I survey things too. When you ask me to find you a good idea, I'm not completely stumped, but I'm challenged. They Might Be Giants are still doing interesting things, by the way. But most songwriting these days is so heavily derivative as to generate big yawns. There are two types of ways to go and I will offer one suggestion in each area - and then more on music as a whole down below.))
((One idea is to go look at some of the singers who are inventively reinterpreting some of the great songs that have been written over the years. One of those whom I like is jazzy Diana Krall. But I'm going to suggest you pick up the new release from Eva Cassidy, Imagine. This is a dangerous suggestion because, as I've written here before, this stunningly original voice is now deceased of cancer. But she has recorded an amazing array of music, which is why she could never get any attention or record contracts in life. On Imagine, in addition to taking on John of course, she zeroes in on Sandy Denny and does a version of "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" that just makes you wonder why you ever thought Sandy Denny was a gorgeous singer. Eva Cassidy chooses songs and expresses them beautifully, and there's something to be said for scribbling outside the lines that way as well. Probably some of it is generated by the knowledge that this songstress is silenced, but even the hackneyed "Danny Boy" sounds tremendously fresh in her hands.))
((More in line with what you're really talking about, is asking you if you've paid attention to me talking about Erin McKeown's Grand. Erin scribbles outside the lines in quirky musical juxtapositions, but also in lyrics. "Slung-Lo" is one of the singles that's gotten some alternative radio play and goes "I was slung-lo and so gung ho for anything to get me to start; I had my rock, I had my roll, but I couldn't find my spark." This is just such hyperbolic nonsense as Erin has tons of spark. In the more present type war vein, "Civilians" goes like, "They are just civilians, we are barely civil to them, and only at times and we are your citizens burrowing beneath your skin, and crawling up your spine." And finally, probably best of all "Vera" has "Oh Vera my cough is silent, and Sunset is setting up fine; there's work for me here, and here is my work; while we wait for my lungs to dry." But if you like Grand, Erin's earlier albums are scribbled even farther outside the lines.))
Saw Ig Lew's notes about the A's, and frankly I think they're having a terrific off-season. Among many other things, Steve "sucky owner" Schott turned out to be a brilliant prophet. Last March, he refused to give Tejada the 8- to 10-year deal Tejada wanted; on Opening Day, Schott said that he still thought the A's would have a chance to sign him this winter, and everyone on the planet, including Tejada, laughed... Now look: Tejada had a year that depressed his dollar value (he's being told he's a $9-million player, not $11M or $12M as most of us thought last winter; he can't get an offer longer than 3 years; and he says he's trying to stay in Oakland, which offered him arbitration just to keep open the possibility of signing him. Damn, could Oakland actually keep an MVP? ((No, since this, of course, he did sign up with Baltimore at those higher amounts since Mr. Angelos feels the need to "overpay" in order to buy some improvements for the Orioles. Though on paper, his signings look good, I don't expect they'll turn out well, sorry Dicko, but I don't....))
Add that to a brilliant move at pitching coach-Curt Young-and the A's are already doing better than they had a right to expect. ((I do agree with that and hope they continue to chew up the West!))
If my Dodgers get Nomar, and they're smart enough to give second base to Joe Thurston full-time, they rise to a mediocre offensive team. When they trade away Kevin Brown, it might appear they're losing pitching but what they're really losing are DL days; I don't think Brown has another 30 starts in his arm's career. Right now I think that, swapping Brown for Weaver, the Dodgers' pitching will still be more than 90% of what it was last season. (Weaver is a jerk personally, but he's a better set-up for Gagne than Mota or Quantrill.) That balance-getting a "C" in hitting and an "A-" in pitching-would have given them the NL wild card this year.
((I completely agree about Kevin Brown. I think that trade was more than a little bit nutty. But George is being George. And Weaver really could be a damned good pitcher once he gets out of the NY nuthouse - and it is the fact that he's just such a jerk that made him unable to put up with New York. There always are those pitchers that just can't pitch in NY and I could tell Weaver was one of them when he was with the Tigers. At least Brown shouldn't have that problem, his ego is just fine, but he's not such a jerk. And, of course, they're going to have to find hitting someplace else. I expect the Giants to continue to beat the pants off the Dodgers, sorry, but that's the way it's going to go.))
Thanks to, I know that of all the men to ever play major-league baseball, the ones whose careers are most like Nomar's are Miguel Tejada and Derek Jeter. I think we are seeing a redefinition of shortstop that will change historical baseball stats the way that the DH did. (I also know now that Anthony Nomar Garciaparra was born in Whittier in 1973, a year in which I helped run my dad's camera store at the east end of Whittier Blvd.)
As long as I was writing all this, I leafed through the last few TAPs again. And my eye fell upon a line in a Mr. Langley summer movie review...
"[Pirates of the Caribbean] is the first movie based on a theme park ride. The second is on the way."
Well, yes, in the narrow meaning of "ride." But there was an earlier movie based on a Disney theme park attraction: The Country Bears, which my children have made me watch about a dozen times. That's 13 more times than the plot deserves; but the songs are good, most of them are sung by John Hiatt, and even the Bonnie Raitt/Don Henley duet is listenable.
And so I bring this full-circle back to music. Proud of me?
Stay well, my friend. - Pete Gaughan, RaptorMage of
((I'm quite proud of you, and always pleased to get a letter from you! I always wait too long to talk about end of the year music, so I'm going to wrap myself back around it again too. I don't think this is a "complete" list, but here are the special records that I've been listening to that are new in the last year, in addition to Eve Cassidy's Imagine and Erin McKeown's Grand. First, continuing in the discussion of "updating the past", the other big recent trend has been in doing some really hard work on taking old analog albums and properly putting them into CD digital formats, so their sound is alive and clear. To the good, these efforts have been done well and effectively, but if you bought the "first versions" of these you are sort of out of luck. The latest in this series is the Yes catalog from the 1970's. And I've really been enjoying the new versions of "Close to the Edge" and "And You and I"! After not listening to that music in awhile, it sounds amazingly fresh and inventive, even though I know every Howe riff and Wakeman flourish by heart. This just cements my difficulties with so much of what I hear that's new. I may end up continuing to explore backwards at this rate. The same thing is happening in the Broadway musical world, where most of the hot recent musicals are about music ranging from Abba to big band jaZZ. The Strokes are one of the hot new bands (and their record Room on Fire is that) but they also aggressively look backward. Then, you have Jack Black and the School of Rock. This movie was an amazingly fun time, and the soundtrack is a must hit everywhere except that Stevie Nicks song "Edge of Seventeen", which is just grating - but hey, Joan Cusack's turn on Nicks was incredible, so I guess it had to be there. But, again, that's just more mining of the past, in many cases the LONG past. And the best rock movie in the last year or so is "24 Hour Party People" going away, but that's about the late 70's punk life of the developers of the scene that sparked the Happy Mondays and Joy Division. The soundtrack is as great as the movie, but it also looks back. One can't help but think that we're getting ready for some kind of huge breakout in some new direction when people mine tried and true and the past so aggressively. Anyone see the sign of what that will be? I sure don't. The only hints I have, and they may just be more "back to the past" moves, are some of the growing interest in the mandolin and banjo, and the American roots music that came from that. T-Bone Burnett has been one of those producing and pushing this music. But I don't think that has any chance to be THE way to go.))
((Given all that, there are some records that I've been listening to a lot that were produced last year (or close enough to it). Most of these are new releases from people I've loved for a long time, they aren't necessarily breaking out in some stunning new direction, but they are tried and true for me and I love these records. Some of them are 2002, I think, but I bought them in 2003. Well, except for the Mekons' Ooohh, but hey, for my favorite band with their best album in some time, I'm going to make an exception for that. Los Lobos' Good Morning Aztlan continues their dominance of the Mexican crossover, and Melissa Ferrick hooks up with an old favorite bassist, Sara Lee, and makes me listen hard to Listen Hard. And no one feels and sings from the heart better than Lucinda Williams and World Without Tears - and of course it really isn't. Blur stays on top and continues to bury its British rock competition with more intense lyrics on Think Tank, as they pick up some Afro-beat sensibility. Radiohead is still worth listening to with Hail to the Thief in the angrier moments as they still ratchet up the intensity. And Warren Zevon ends his life with grace and dignity on The Wind. All of these records are well worth it.))
((What about newer stuff? Jack White and the White Stripes (sorry, again, Dicko, write me a letter!!) just don't do it for me. White is going to be a neat "personality" and he has been called something like "the best derivative songwriter of his generation" but his guitar riffs are all derivative of the great metal guitarists, and he ain't nearly as good as any of them. And besides, I just don't like metal that much. I'd like to like the Flaming Lips enough to really recommend them to y'all, but I can't quite do it. They have a song called "Thank you, Jack White" that is more amusing than anything on the White Stripes though.... Fight Test is their latest record, but it is 2002, so it's a year old now. They supposedly have another record coming out soon called Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell and I likely will pick it up to continue my effort to understand if Wayne Coyne is a genius or a jerk. He does keep me buying his records, so that must be something.... As for the other "popular bands", I don't like Outkast or 50 Cent at all, please murder rap and put it out of its misery, please?? I'm sure I'm missing some of the newer adventurous bands, please feel free to talk at me about some of them, especially since I got this out on time, this year! Oh, yes, one last thing, I meant to mention Fountains of Wayne and their Welcome Interstate Managers, who aren't really adventurous, but they scribble in some lines between power pop and folk that always get me up. They're a lot of fun, and might be my last suggestion to you, Pete. But overall, it still seems to me that young bands really are just George Bush conservatives at heart, probably the Bush twins really like them for their party animal froth.))

Mark D. Lew (Thu, 18 Dec 2003 16:37:16 -0800)
((Responding to this comment from Mark's mother Karen:)) "I do follow baseball. Edgar has signed for another year with the M's, but we lost Mike Cameron to the Mets. However, we got Raul Ibanez back (not sure I'm spelling his name right). I always liked him. We also signed Scott Spiezio. I don't recall where he has been most recently, but he was an A when I first started going to games in Oakland!"
Spiezio was in Anaheim not too long ago. I think maybe that was 02, when they won. He wasn't starting every day, but he was a frequent substitution.
A's lost Keith Foulke. Of the star free agents, he's the one that we made a serious offer to keep. But Boston came up with enough money to persuade him to go. (Seems like they've been buying up a lot of our guys lately....) Beane's pattern in recent years has been to trade for a good but underrated closer, but it looks like that might not happen this year. Probably the A's will do a sort of committee thing with the bullpen and maybe convert someone. ((Note Mark builds off this in his next note.))
Another Beane pattern is to collect a whole messload of medium-good relief pitchers during the off-season. Basically, the idea is to pick up anyone decent who can be had for cheap, and then let them sort themselves out early in the season. Usually one or two are worth keeping and the rest get released or traded. That's happening again this year. A's also picked up a decent veteran starter (Redman). Not sure what the plan is with him. At the moment, he's slotted as fourth starter, with Harden bumped down to fifth, but I don't know about that. (You generally don't like such a young guy in the 5th spot, since he won't get regular work.) Makes me wonder if someone is going to get traded.
Tejada is officially gone now, which the press didn't even pretend was a surprise. He signed with the Orioles, the team that way back in July I predicted he'd go to, so I guessed that one right. Not a real daring guess, really. There are half a dozen teams with a whole lot of money to throw around, and there are half a dozen teams where Miguel's talent would be a really good fit; Baltimore was the only team that was both. Most of the big money teams already have a star shortstop - Texas, Yankees, Boston.
I already saw a story about hanging on to Eric Chavez, who will be the big free agent after 04. There's one every year. I think Hudson's contract runs out after 05. My guess is that they make him an offer early in the season (or pre-season) for moderately big money but not superstar money, and with flexibility for the team to trade him if they decide to. Then it's up to Eric to decide if he wants to take the safe contract or take his chances on having a good enough year to get superstar money. That's standard practice for the A's. Some say yes to the extension. Giambi and Tejada said no and got a better deal out of it. Some say no and don't get a better deal.
I think the only free agent we actually kept was Rincon, our main LH reliever. I heard a speculation that he'd be converted to closer, but I don't think so. The stat where Rincon always scores really well is in not allowing inherited runners to score, so that makes him really valuable as a guy to bring in in the middle of the inning when the previous guy got in a jam.
The team did state clearly that Harden would not be put in the bullpen, and presumably neither would Hudson, Mulder or Zito. I don't know enough about Redman to say whether he's a possibility.
I no longer think (as I did for a long time) that Dye might be traded. Presumptive outfield is now Kielty-Kotsay-Dye, with Kotsay leading off and Dye hitting 3 or 4 with Chavez. Byrnes will be on the team but I don't think he'll start. They like him on the bench, because he can play all three positions and he subs well as a pinch runner. He'll get some spot starts, though; a lot more than Menechino used to get as the backup utility infielder (ie, almost none).
mdl, markdlew of

Mark D. Lew (Sun, 21 Dec 2003 17:41:02 -0800)
((See paragraph above on Foulke and closers.)) D'oh! Less than a day after sending this, I heard that the A's were getting Arthur Rhodes. Apparently this was already rumored in the news, but I had missed it.
I always liked Rhodes, so I'm glad we'll have him. This sort of fits the pattern, too, since he's someone who has a history of having been good, but seems to be coming off an off year. I think Foulke and Koch were both like that.
A's got Damian Miller as catcher. I don't keep track of the NL. I think I remember his name from Arizona, but we got him from Chicago. Looking back on the old stories, you can see that it was a sort of delayed-action three-way deal. The A's got some other catcher (somebody Barrett) from Montreal in exchange for ä player to be named later", and only a day later sent him on to the Cubs for ä player to be named later", who now turns out to be Miller. During the Barrett deal, Billy Beane made some cryptic comments which suggest this was the plan all along, pending various contingencies that hadn't been worked out yet.
Redman has been signed, presumably as the 4th starter, which pretty much completes the A's team for the year. A few second-stringers remain unsigned (including Chad Bradford), but it sounds like that's just salary negotiation.
ubs, markdlew of

Mark D. Lew (Thu, 1 Jan 2004 14:44:33 -0800)
Hi Jim-Bob,
Reading my own A's commentary in TAP. The sentence about staying an A's fan at least as long as Beane is around makes a lot more sense to those who know I recently moved from Oakland to Seattle. I had always liked the Mariners OK as a second-favorite team. But the more I get to know them, the less I like them. Maybe I'm just spoiled from following Beane, and having Sabean next door in SF, but it sure seems like the M's management makes a lot of stupid deals - trading good players for bad, wasting money, etc. There was a lot of talk in the local media about how bad the former GM was, and now the new guy seems to be just as bad. It makes you wonder if someone higher up isn't pulling some strings. I do hear whispers about how such Japanese component in the ownership keeps pushing them to pay a lot of money for Japanese stars.
And yet, it seems to work OK. The Mariners do win a lot, after all. There are other teams with equally large budgets that do a lot worse. I still think the whole division is going to be weaker than last year. That's why I still think the A's have the best shot at winning the division again, in spite of their own decline. I think the AL West in 04 will be what the AL Central has been for the past few years: the one where the division championship is easier to achieve than the wild card.
You're right about Ramon Hernandez. As a player, he's no better or worse than he always was. The difference is that in the past he was underrated and now he's overrated, so trading him was a buy-low-sell-high kind of deal. I've already forgotten the name of the new catcher the A's got (I never know NL players, though this guy I had at least heard of: Damian something) but I read a story on him and his reputation is as a so-so hitter who works well with pitchers and calls a smart game. (Also, he blocks the plate well, which is important with Hudson, who is notoriously hard to catch.) That suggests that A's philosophy on catchers hasn't changed at all, just personnel.
I think catchers like that is another A's pattern. It's easy enough to measure a catcher's hitting stats, and there's also a basic stat that gets his defense in terms of throwing people out (ie, what Pudge scores well on). What's a lot harder to measure is how well the catcher calls the game and helps the pitcher to do better, even though that's a very important part of how a catcher contributes to the team. Since it's hard to measure, a GM who can judge it well can get a good deal against someone else who doesn't. I think a few other teams are on to this idea, too. For all I know, some of them have a complicated SABR that tries to quantify it. It also might be one of those things that values differently in the AL vs the NL. I don't know the game well enough to have a good grasp on the subtle effects of the DH rule, but obviously it affects how pitchers are used, so presumably the two leagues require slightly different skills from the catcher in managing them.
Speaking of SABRs, on one of those wonky baseball blogs I saw an interesting analysis of Ted Lilly. Basically, the guy was looking at how well Lilly has pitched against opponents of various caliber. In short, the conclusion was that Lilly's stats make him look better than he is because he can eat up bad teams but he chokes against good teams, and that in turn is supposed to be an indicator of a pitcher on the decline. If that's true, maybe Beane saw something that Ricciardi didn't, and the trade was an old-fashioned "unload the junk on an unsuspecting sucker" trades that Beane was once notorious for, as opposed to the win-win arbitrage type that he's been doing more recently. Beane and Ricciardi are friends, but that wouldn't stop either one from screwing over the other one if he could pull it off - just like we game players are happy to viciously stab a friend in the back, so long as it's legit and all in the game.
mdl, markdlew of
((Indeed, sorry for the lack of commentary on your commentary, but this issue is shaping up to be huge and so I'm going to focus my comments elsewhere, but that doesn't mean I didn't really appreciate your comments, including that YOU were right about Beane and catchers!))

Rick Desper (Wed, 31 Dec 2003 13:55:27 -0800 (PST))
21 grams and Russian Ark
Saw two movies recently that require comment. Very disparate in terms of their approach to filmmaking. In both cases, perhaps the film's "gimmick" either got in the way, or distracted from the point of the film.
First, "Russian Ark", which is on DVD these days. It's a 90 minute movie filmed in one take at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. (By the South Coast, I believe.) ((St. Petersburg is where the dot is on the map on the South Coast...)) The narrator and a French marquis are walking through the museum, and encountering ghosts of various periods in Russian history. They meet Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Tsar Nicholas I, Anastasia, etc. The movie has a lovely flow to it. It's apparently focusing on the richness of Russian history and the relative snobbery of Europeans. To be honest, it's hard to figure what the film is about, but it's enjoyable to watch for the costumes, music, and technical achievements.
21 Grams is a Must-See. Sean Penn, Benicio del Toro, and Naomi Watts are all at the top of their games. This movie is about three people tied together by a car accident where BdT runs over NW's husband and two daughters. When her husband sinks into a vegetative state, NW agrees to organ donation, which gives a new heart to SP, a mathematician (yay!) who has been battling heart disease.
That's about enough of the plot to summarize - it's covered in most of the reviews and doesn't give much away. The trick of this movie is the jumbling of the chronological order of the scenes. The scenes are jumping back and forth from flashback to flash-forward, and all over the place. There is a general direction to the movie - most of the early scenes in the movie world are shown early in the film, and the later scenes in the the movie world are shown towards the end of the film. But there's a lot of jumbling. It's really quite fun to try to keep pace with what's happening. I don't think there are any major plot discontinuities of the sort that brought Memento down.
Some reviewers wonder if the film material was strong enough to not require the kind of temporal tricks that the director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, uses. I think the movie could have stood alone fairly well with a simple order to the scenes, without the time gimmickry. But I don't know if that's the point. It's sort of like going to the art museum and saying "nice painting, but couldn't Monet have made this a bit less blurry?" The constant time shifting has the effect of taking the events out of time completely.
I'm on the cusp of a real clever observation, but I'm not smart enough to figure out what it is. :(
Anyway, if you haven't seen the film, you should. It's Naomi Watts' finest performance to date. Finally, while leaving the cinema it occurred to me that there was a pattern in her films. Namely: characters romantically involved with her characters tend to meet with grisly ends. The dark-haired mystery woman in "Mulholland Drive", the ex-husband in "The Ring", the husband in "21 grams", and even the French husband in "Le Divorce" (bit of a spoiler there, but I think that movie could stand spoiling). Something to think about.
Rick, rick_desper of
((You clearly haven't seen "The OUtsider".... she gets shot in that... I won't say more to avoid spoiling that one, which is marginally worth seeing.... well, it's better than "Le Divorce". And it DOES break the pattern. I also was shown there that I've got only two or three Degrees of Separation from Naomi Watts, and you only have three or four. Tim Daly is Naomi's co-star and I've met Tim Daly a couple of times, my wife has met him a bit more and good friends of mine are friends of his. Tim Daly used to live here in Providence. I will see both of these, but haven't yet as of this point.))
((Let me take this point to make some general comments about movies in 2003, not having seen yet all of the end of the year movies. Once I sat back and thought about it in the past few weeks, this has been an amazingly good year for moviemaking. Amazing not because the movies have been amazingly good, but amazing since in August I would have told you that this was THE worst year for moviemaking ever!! For the first half of the year, the only decent movie released (and which thus will probably be overlooked unfairly in the Oscars and other awards) was the "Life of David Gale" (or was that an end of 2002 movie? Can't recall, but I saw it in 2003). And even there, the movie starts very poorly as Kate Winslet is gorgeous and I love her, but she has trouble getting into her part, and Kevin Spacey does some scene stealing, but the person who DESERVES a Best Supporting Actress nod for the year is Laura Linney. I have NOT been a huge Linney fan in the past, but for nothing else she should get at least a nomination for the range she displayed from "Life of David Gale" to "Mystic River" to "Love Actually". If you haven't seen Gale yet, go rent it, but you don't want to know too much more than what I just told you, since I can't tell you how brilliant Linney was without MAJOR spoilers. Just keep your eye on her. And in "Mystic River" she has some of the same level of seriousness, but that is another movie best seen knowing as little as possible about it. But she is every bit the equal and more of Sean Penn, who seems to get all the buzz for acting in the movie. In "Love Actually" she is giddy and in love, actually! I probably shouldn't admit it, but I loved that movie and the only part I thought was over the top was the part where Hugh Grant was going door to door looking for his love, as the Prime Minister with only ONE security guard. Really.... but it did lead to some funny bits. Linney and Keira Knightley both played their love parts with sensitivity and depth. One of the other good movies in the first half of the year (but I didn't see it until just recently) starred Knightley, and that was of course "Pirates of the Caribbean", which was preposterously funny too. Knightley is going to find herself a great career very quickly. The only other movie in the early part of the year that I can remember that was worth anything was "A Mighty Wind". This is the latest Christopher Guest movie, and I talked about Catherine O'Hara in an issue earlier this year. I think this is the best movie in this series, though "Best in Show" has more pure hilarity.))
((But the prevailing feeling in the first half of the year to me was expressed by Ang Lee's excesses in "The Hulk". That movie was amazingly bad. But then, the movie I recall that turned the trend around was "Matchstick Men". I usually see twists like this coming, at least to some degree, but somehow I was totally floored by this one. Nicolas Cage led a great ensemble task and all of those ticks and things that Cage did were amazing. Then came the fall, and it seemed like good movies were opening every week, led by "Master and Commander" and "Mystic River". I even liked "Elf" and "Love Actually" on the more fluffy side. Then you came to December's overload, which I still haven't caught up on. Tom Cruise's "The Last Samurai" didn't get especially good reviews, but I really enjoyed it. The consistency and seriousness of the path that Cruise's character took was much stronger than I expected. I am a huge Toshiro Mifune fan, so the samurai behavior codes and character was well known to me and WAS the point of the movie, NOT the action. Though it had more than its share of violence, the characters all were drawn carefully. I still haven't seen "Lord of the Rings" since Charlotte and I wanted to review the other two films again first and hadn't had the time to do it. I also expect there are three or four other films at the end of the year like "21 Grams", "Cold Mountain" and "In America" that will impress me a lot. On the fun side RI native Farrelly brothers continue to make sweet and deep comedies with "Stuck On You", be sure you stay for ALL the credits. "Calendar Girls" was more fun than I expected and even "Paycheck" had some more ummph than reviews led me to expect. Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman had a lot of chemistry. Now we have our news on this issue from Steve, and a positive other side to his announcement.))

Fredric Langley (Fri, 12 Dec 2003 18:57:03 -0800)
Sorry about that... Not a movie review...
It doesn't look like I will be doing movie reviews any time soon. I retired the beginning of this month and have not felt the need for a movie since. I used to go see movies as a way to combine comfort food (popcorn) with a way to remove myself from myself. It was a means of relaxation that relieved a lot of the week's tensions.
Since retiring, I sleep when I feel like it, eat when I feel like it, talk to the cat when she feels like a conversation, and little at all that causes tension. I used to be up to three acid reduction pills a day. Doctor directed mind you. I'm now taking a pill when I feel a bit acidy. Once every day or so. I may stop using them all together.
Anyway, I don't seem to be interested in going to the movies any more. Sorry about that.
If you would be interested in hearing short anecdotes about my cat, or any other thing that strikes me as interesting, respond to this and I'll put you on a new mailing list. The retired guy's ramblings mailing list.
Best, Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Sun, 14 Dec 2003 18:48:51 -0800)
Not a movie review, revisited...
The first time I did this my mailing profile used my legal name, Fredric. It only much later came to my attention that this was the case. I don't see what name the mail I send goes out under. After a couple of you asked about my name change I finally figured it out. There was no name change, just a change of ISP and the confusion that seems to cluster around having more than a single name to work with.
Anyway, if you tossed the first e-mail because you didn't know the sender, you missed the part where I told you that I don't go to movies anymore, and so there will no more reviews. That isn't actually totally true. The occasional movie that really needs a big screen will still pull me in. I just will not be going to see as many movies as I used to.
The part about no more reviews is pretty solid though. What I have decided to do instead, just because I like to write about things that I see and think, is to send out a irregular e-mail message which I have decided to call `Retired Ramblings'. I have started a new mailing list and will add your name to it only if you want me to do so. I see no reason why you should have to see ramblings if all you are interested in is movies.
I expect that I will be writing some about teaching kid's to be better readers, some about my cat, some about politics, and some about all the rest of the things that go on in the world around me. Let me know if you want to see it.
Best, Steve, steflan of
((I asked Steve about it and he didn't mind continuing to be quoted here in TAP. Steve is being pretty "loquacious" though, and I'm picking and choosing a bit in which of his bits to print. If you want to be sure to get all of his ramblings, in real time, I'm sure you can E-Mail him and ask to be on his regular E-Mailing list.))

Steve Langley (Thu, 18 Dec 2003 07:46:08 -0800)
Retired Ramblings
I have had a couple of comments about my being retired and wanting to hear about being retired. Being retired is good. One of the things I wanted to do was determine my actual sleep cycle. I suspected that it was going to be up all night and sleep during the early day. Much to my surprise I discovered that I am not on a 24 hour cycle. I seem to stay awake for 16 to 17 hours and then sleep for 4 to 5 hours. My sleep times are daytime, nighttime, whatever. About all I make an effort to do is watch two or three hours of television in the evening. That, and go to school once a week.
In case you are out of that loop, I am a volunteer at my local school. I mentor six fourth grade students to try to get them to develop better reading strategies. I'll go into more detail after a few weeks, when I have a better feel for what it is that I really do.
Most of my time has been spent surfing the net. Speaking on which...
The Republican National Committee has brought out a new game called `Democratic Debate Bingo'. Essentially it is the old `Buzz-Word Bingo' game using some of the Democrats favorite phrases. The proposed game is to make the `protests, pessimism, and personal attacks' featured in the Democratic Parties debates a little more entertaining for the people watching the debates. Clever idea, indirectly undermining any serious position the opposition might take by poking fun at it through the game. No Republican can be quoted as harassing the Dems, but the job gets done anyway. Of course the assumption is that people are watching the debates for entertainment. I'm not sure that is the case.
You can find out more about the game by going to the Republican National Committee web-site.
The Committee has a three plank position. Republicans say they are for a strong economy, protecting the environment, and national defense. I'm for all of those. So why am I not a Republican? I think it's because I think Republicans use too much double-speak. `Strong Economy' seems to mean less regulation and public oversight of corporations. `Protecting the Environment' seems to mean weakening the laws that protect the environment in favor of big business, and National Defense seems to mean putting American kids in harm's way with little real justification.
I have a specific `protecting the environment' example. Existing emissions laws for mercury have set a cap of 5 tons annually by 2007. The EPA has a new plan to cap mercury emissions to 34 tons annually by 2010, and then to reduce that to 15 tons annually by 2018. Mercury causes birth defects and child death. But as the Republican spokesperson for the EPA has pointed out, capping the emissions with the existing law would create a hardship for the power industry. Any power system that burns fossil fuel emits Mercury. Power industry vs kids. Guess which group makes larger political contributions. I guess I'm glad I live in the Pacific Northwest. Mercury stays pretty close to where it is emitted and we do not burn fossil fuel for power all that much up here. I feel a little guilty about being glad though.
According to our president, the economy is getting better. Is that your personal observation? Does the economy seem healthy to you? We have lots of people out of work, and more being laid off all the time. The government says production is up and maybe it is, but is the economy up? You know, when Saddam was captured the expectation was that the stock market would take a big jump. Instead it took a loss. The same day, the dollar took a loss. To me, those are indications that the economy is not really very healthy. Good news is supposed to lift the economy, and if the economy were healthy, I think it would have.
One thing is for sure. If through some miracle we were able to bring our kids home from Iraq there would be no jobs for them here.
Side by side as it were, there is an outfit called Rep America which touts itself as representing the very best of the Republican Party. It makes it immediately clear that it is not associated with the Republican National Committee. It also takes a strong pro environmental position towards the development of alternative power sources, curtailing development in national lands, doing something more than study about global warming, developing a better energy policy. All good things. These are good people. I wish them well.
Of course, the Republican National Committee is right about one thing. If you visit the Democratic National Committee website all you will find is stuff about stopping the Republicans attempts to destroy jobs, the environment, and so forth. The Democrats seem to be so busy trying to keep the Republicans from passing bills that they don't actually have a plan of their own for the country. That doesn't make me feel all that comfortable with being a Democrat, either.
What they do have are Presidential Candidate Bios, and links to their web-sites. I'm guessing there is only going to be one Republican candidate, so, no bios and no links there.
I'll write more about this, I'm sure.
Best, Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Fri, 19 Dec 2003 01:29:15 -0800)
Retired Ramblings
Now this is not meant to be a joke. My mouse squeaks. It is a brand new mouse. When I move it, it squeaks. The sound reminds me more of a squeaky door than anything else. It is not very loud but when I am concentrating on something and hear the squeak, it is very distracting. Just wanted to let you know that being retired has its problems, too.
((Indeed, the earth shakes....))
There were two news stories that excited me today. The first was about two medical breakthroughs that get around the limitations on the stem cell research that were set a couple of years ago. Using cloning techniques human embryo tissue is being developed to the point where stem cells can be harvested, and similarly, infertile eggs are being pushed to the point where stem cells can be harvested. The ethical considerations about human life being traded for stem cells doesn't really apply. The cloning is not to create life, just tissue, and the eggs, while human, are infertile and so have no potential for life. The stem cells may possibly be used to develop cures for almost any organ degenerative disease.
The second story had to do with a test flight. A private company is developing a spaceship. They did a test flight on the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother's Kitty Hawk flight. The guy who designed the spaceship is the same guy who designed Voyager, the plane that flew non-stop around the world. The spaceship is rocket propelled and is still in the prototype stages, but it did fly. The plan is to make private spaceships available to anyone who wants to own his or her own spaceship. The first flight fell well short of orbiting, but still...
Now, on to politics again...
I have been visiting a lot of political sites from both parties. I have been reading op-ed pieces, and listening to NPR, CNN, and Fox. I have then a wide spectrum of input. What I gather from this is that we may very well have four more years of Republican rule in this country. Howard Dean looks like the most likely Democratic contender. I gather this from the large number of people not in his campaign making op-ed suggestions as to what he needs to do. There do not seem to be suggestions for any of the other Dems, just Dean.
Then too, his is the name on most of the Republican lips. Of course they seem to want him to run, which might help sink him. Either way works for them actually. Dean seems to be the best contender the Dems have. If the Republicans get their publically preferred way he runs, if not, someone even weaker runs. Win win as they say.
So, Dean. So far as I can tell, he is a New England almost Liberal governor who is very against the war in Iraq. Not all wars, but certainly that one. I find I have a lot of positions in common with him. I figure, based on that, that his chances for election are pretty nil. His biggest problem seems to be that the south doesn't ever vote for New England almost Liberals. Considering that Bush is a southern conservative of a most compassionate nature he looks solid in the south. That is a huge head start for the Republicans.
But then, maybe Dean will charm his way into southern hearts. That's what it will take. People no longer vote for the better man, they vote for the one that is more charming. You just have to hope that the man that gets elected has more going for him than charm. Speaking of which, wasn't that a cool deal for Bush to spend Thanksgiving with the troops? That may be the best thing he has done as our president.
It would be nice if he were to apply himself to getting the kids back home to where they belong. Yeah, that would be even cooler.
By the way, Dean's stated national security positions are:
Strengthen our military and intelligence capabilities so we are best prepared to defend America and our interests.
Rebuild our global alliances and partnerships, so critical to our nation and so badly damaged by the present administration.
Bring to bear these resources and alliances on our nation's most critical and urgent national security priority: defeating the terrorists who have attacked America, continue to attack our friends, and are working to acquire the most dangerous weapons to attack us again.
Please note, there is nothing there about making war on other countries.
I'm not clear what can really be done to defeat terrorists. The current technique of arresting Muslims may even work. It sounds like a really offensively bad idea, but it may work. If you accept that most of the terrorists are Muslims then if you lock up all the Muslims you lock up most of the terrorists. Too bad for all of the decent law abiding citizens who just happen to belong to the wrong religion.
One suggestion I've heard discussed, make friends in the Arab world, doesn't really take into account the realities that we control most of the wealth of the world. Unless we can somehow lift the rest of the world to our level of affluence, we are not going to make friends. Until we can resolve the Israeli/Arab conflict we are not going to make friends. I'm thinking the former is less of a challenge than the latter.
Best, Steve, steflan of
((One thing that you have to remember about the voting dynamics is that Dean has somewhere between 1-2 million supporters who generally do NOT vote in elections. Eventually, I'm convinced that the "Max Headroom" world of politics will come forth where the Internet will really be where politics are conducted. One could even argue that the progress on this front has been very slow. For this election, it is uncertain whether this 1-2 million voter block (a) actually comes out to vote for Dean, (b) can be transferred to any other Dem if Dean isn't nominated (answer almost surely no), (c) whether this matters at the margin (given the close vote three years ago, the answer should be yes).))
((To me, one has to weigh risks and properly value the loss of freedom that accrues to society from trying to lock up anyone who "might be a terrorist". I'm pretty sure where that equation balances out in the sense that it is to the "left" of the current administration. It would be a good idea to me if Dean and others stated how far they would move that detention equation. The question I always ask people is: "do you walk out the door in the morning and drive your car?" Then if you do, you are showing a capability of managing a lot more risk than Ashcroft rhetoric would suggest. On the other hand, a capability does not equal a reality. I recognize very well that in fact few people recognize how much danger they put themselves in every day in cars and how they drastically overrate their susceptibility to terrorists. As I've said here before, I was much more worried about my safety from terrorist attack BEFORE Sept. 11 than I have been at any time since.))

Steve Langley (Mon, 22 Dec 2003 13:23:48 -0800)
Retired Ramblings
I watched two news conferences and noted some interesting ineptitude.
Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense was interviewed following the capture of Saddam Hussein in which he stated that Saddam would be treated under the Accords of the Geneva Convention. This at the same time Saddam's picture was being sent to every newspaper on the planet. Personally I think that the man who is filling the role of Secretary of Defense ought to at least be familiar with the Accords, or keep his mouth shut about them.
((Ah, but that wasn't the Dept. of Defense that was faxing/transmitting all those pictures around, these were just "embedded journalists"...... just kidding, you're right of course.))
Cheney, our Vice-President was asked about the Haliburton overcharge that was recently uncovered. Cheney said that Haliburton had apologized. He went on to say that there was no proof that their was anything wrong in the way the contract had been given to Haliburton. Since when does a criminal act get corrected through apology? And, especially interesting, why would he say there was no proof rather than no impropriety?
((Perception is reality. If people perceive this is sufficient then it is politically sufficient. And be assured Vice President Cheney understands that completely. I hope he wouldn't be angry at those of us who subject this situation to more logic, but one cannot be sure of that.))
Maybe in the world of today it is about what can be proved rather than what is ethical. I hope not.
((What is proof? Again, though, I'm being rhetorical. But not completely so, that's part of the problem.))
I wrote the following quite a bit earlier, meaning to send it before now....
I have been spending a lot of time surfing the net. Back when I was first resisting getting an ISP my reasons were simple. I am somewhat compulsive. Well, maybe more than somewhat. My fear was that if I got into net surfing I might not come back out. So, despite getting an ISP several years ago I did not really use the net for more than e-mail and some shopping. No chat rooms, no news groups, no online gaming (with one externally influenced exception), no finding cool sites and linking to others.
Well, I have more time now, and guess what. I was right. For the first two weeks or so of retirement, I spent all of my time exploring the net. I have touched upon chat rooms. I have not yet figured out news groups. I have discovered Blogs. I have been visiting various political sites, both parties. I have clicked on lots of links.
I doubt I will ever get into chat rooms. I don't type fast enough. I found it difficult to even follow conversations. But then, I wasn't in a chat room that actually interested me. I went to a retired persons chat room. Strangely enough it seemed to mostly be about sex. You know, I have long wondered what was the point of sex on-line. Chatting about it with a group of over 60's bewilders me even more. I tried to get into a gamer's chat, but all the ones I found were password protected.
Blogs now. Some are fascinating. Some are a waste of time for both reader and writer. There are way too many to read. I couldn't possibly even keep up with the updates. I may find a few that I will want to keep up with though. Dave Barry doesn't really amuse me all that much, but the guy who wrote the latest insert into the Dave Barry Blog was really funny.
Despite the movie moratorium I went to the Lord of the Rings Flic. That was a 3.5 hour movie that really went by fast. I am amazed at how really great the sets, the animation, the whole thing really was. Funny aside, I have not taken an acid blocker for nearly a week. Today, the first day that I had scheduled like a work week, I woke up needing a blocker, and about 10 hours later I needed one again. Maybe the going to the movies reminded my stomach to pump out extra acid.
Even yet another reason not go to the movies. Although I have to admit there were some seriously tempting trailers that came with LOTR. I will go to the Harry Potter flic at least.
Best, Steve, steflan of
((Movie mayhem is stress inducing. I can't believe that it is the concept of movies, but it must be related to the content. I admit that I like stress reducing flicks at least as much as stress creating ones.))

Steve Langley (Tue, 23 Dec 2003 12:43:21 -0800)
Retired Ramblings # 6
Quite a few years ago when I was living in Alaska in an apartment without television, I spent even more time than usual reading. I was there on a contract and since the idea of a social life is a somewhat alien concept to me, I spent all of my off hours in the apartment. Okay, I spent some in movie theaters, and some in the bookstore at the mall, but mostly I read.
In the book store I came across some really fat fantasy books by Robert Jordan. I think there were two or three in a series called 'The Wheel of Time'. The clerk at the bookstore was a Jordan fan. He told me that he had heard that the series was supposed to go for ten books. We both marveled. The very concept of writing that many words is somewhat daunting to me. Then I read the first of the books and became a Robert Jordan fan, too. Great characters, intricate plot, complex universe, lots of detail, just the sort of book I prefer. I just now read the tenth in the series. I was about half way into it and I started to wonder how he was going to manage to complete the series in the four hundred or so pages left. I did say they were fat books, didn't I? Well, I am very pleased to say that he didn't manage to wind thing up. There is more to come, and, according to the blurb on the back cover, a prequel has just been published.
If you have a lot of time to read fantasy fiction, and want a really complex fantasy to read, you could do a lot worse than Robert Jordan and `The Wheel of Time'.
((I'd generally agree, I am NOT a fiction reader, but we do own the whole Jordan series and I've read part of it - I don't spend enough time reading fiction to get that far, so it's probably another ten years of reading for me - Charlotte is more like Steve and she's gone through the whole thing. We both find the stupendous length of the whole set of ten books - the tenth is JUST out in paperback - to be somewhat repetitive and tedious at times. But I can put books down easily, while Charlotte tends to doggedly stick with them to the end. Oh, yes, and like much of fantasy, there is a lot of blood and guts and violence, slightly more than I prefer, I find that I like the softer style of Harry Potter, for example. But it is fiction that I read, and that's a lot to say for me.))
I have a lot of such time just now, so I went to my bookcase to retrieve the first nine books. I only found eight of them. The eighth volume, which I have already purchased twice, is missing. I bought it twice because I was looking for a good book to read on a visit to Sacramento, and when I saw it the second time it had been so long since I bought a Jordan book that I thought it must be new. I figured it out fairly quickly when I started reading the story and recognizing events. So, I then had two copies. Somehow I have managed to misplace both of them. Typical.
Of course there is always the chance I'll find one of them by the time I've re-read the first seven books. If not, I can buy it for the third time.
The books are even better on the re-read. The first time through, some of the names meant nothing to me. The story moved so fast that I lost track of them by the time I ran into them again in later books. This time, I recognize them upon first meeting. I don't remember all the details of who they are but I do recognize them, and can only marvel again at how complex a story Jordan wove, even from the beginning.
Best, Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Wed, 24 Dec 2003 08:06:49 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #7
Merry Christmas...
I was asked about nanotech. I did some research. But first...
Nanotechnology started in 1959 when Richard Feinman presented a paper "There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom" to the American Physical Society (published February of 1960) suggesting that the next big (albeit very small) frontier in physics was analogous to writing the Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin. Feinman suggested ways that such a feat could be accomplished, and suggested further that pursuing the problem would bring the same sort of academic precedence as had fallen to the people who pioneered low temperature, high pressure, and high vacuum physics.
Some forty plus years later the field is wide open and being actively pursued. There are sub-fields of nanoelectronics, nanocybernetics, nanochemistry, nanobiology, and probably a few others that are not being openly talked about.
The tools of the nanoscientists include the Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscope (STM) and Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). The STM focuses a beam of electrons that can be used to manipulate atoms. In its earlier incarnation the STM was used as an observational tool for looking at molecular structure. It was powerfully useful in mapping the human genome, for instance. However in nanotechnology rather than just being a tool for observation, it is a tool for manipulating nanotech atomic building blocks. Of course it is a ponderously huge machine compared to the things it is working on, and so it moves very slowly and builds very slowly.
The AFM brings a scanning head very close (just over 10 angstroms) to the material being observed and measures the atomic forces binding the material together as it scans. It is an observational tool. However, it should be noted that while the atomic forces of the material are affecting the AFM, the atomic forces that hold the AFM scanning head together are affecting the material. Heisenberg will not be cheated.
The kind of successes that are being felt today include: nanowires, molecular wires that have been demonstrated to conduct electric charges; molecular electronic circuit arrays; quantum dots, nanometer devices that have wireless on-off qualities; quantum corrals, structures of atoms on a surface that can surround and hold an electrical charge; nanofabrication through `printing' of nanostructures using self-assembling molecular monolayers; manipulation at room temperature of individual molecules using the STM; experiments with arrays of micro-STM and micro-AFM devices.
The kinds of problems that are being faced include: building a nanorectifier or transistor; fabricating nanodevices from nanoparts; manufacture of nanoscale silicon structures to contain nanodevices; ((Once you design these nanoscale silicon structures, you also will have an engineering problem to fix or bond the nanodevices to the silicon structures, though the summary statement that Steve is drawing from might just account for this in the thinking. Silicon is of course required because it is the "best" inert substance that doesn't conduct electricity and interfere with the structures you're attaching to them. It also makes it kinda difficult to attach things to it, so I can't imagine that is a trivial part of the problem.)) actually building devices to use the quantum dots mentioned above; developing interconnects with the theoretically possible terabit (that's a 1 with 12 zeros) memory chips; parallel manufacture of nanodevices using arrays of the micro-STM and micro-AFM devices mentioned above; development of `virtual' controls to allow computer simulated nanodevices to be constructed through feeding the simulation directly to the nanoconstruction controls.
The above discussion was limited to nanoelectronics, which is one of the nanofields where the most advancement has been made. The other is nanobiology, which I'll get to in a minute. Nanocybernetics depends upon nanoelectronics. In fact most of the nanoelectronic development being done is being done in suppport of future nanocybernetics. However there is no theoretical reason why there could not be nanodevices that are more like small machines than like small computers. Imagine if you will small robots in a small factory turning out very small nanotech devices.
You may be asking yourself, what is the point of nanocybernetics, other than to support nanocybernetics construction. The smaller the distances traveled in a computation, the faster the computation. Nanocomputers will be capable of billions times as many computations per second as their macro versions. They will have megaterabyte storage, allowing them to contain for example all of the movies ever filmed in a size smaller than a dust mote. Tiny devices won't have the heat generating problems their larger relatives suffer either. No need for heat sinks and cooling fans. The amounts of energy required to run a nanocomputer are nearly too small to measure. Small size and incredible capacity make them worth developing.
Nanochemistry is the study of the possibilities in building molecules one atom at a time. Materials that are first synthesized in computer models can then be constructed using nanochemical techniques to build incredibly long monomolecular threads with enough strength to hold their own weight when hung from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. Cables formed from twisting such threads together would open up the possibility of riding a cable car to near space.
Feinman suggested some of these ideas back when he invented the whole concept. What he did not mention, except in passing, is nanobiology..
Most of nanobiology today is the observation at the nano level of existing biological structures. Viruses are looked at down to their molecular structure and chemical interaction. Bacteria are observed along with their reaction to various conditions, including drugs and auto-immune antibodies. STMs are being used to modify viruses and bacteria to create alternate forms that can theoretically be used to attack disease vectors, or just clean up the environment. At the same time, nanocapsules are being developed to deliver measured amounts of drugs with astounding precision.
One of the lines of investigation is developing nanodevices to correct DNA breakdown. Our bodies replicate themselves on a regular basis, replacing old cells with new cells. Our DNA controls that replication. However, as time passes, the DNA matrix develops small flaws. Pieces that should connect come apart. There is enough redundancy built into the system that it takes a lot of deterioration before cells stop being replicated properly. But, it does happen. We all age as our DNA deteriorates. The plan is to develop nanodevices which will be able to go into our bodies and correct the DNA breaks by rebuilding the disconnects. If this can be developed, there is no reason why a human being could not remain youthful and healthy for thousands of years. Of course we had better do some serious space development between now and then or there just will not be room for all of us.
It has been suggested that nanotechnology will be the next really big developing science. I see no reason to believe otherwise. There are amazing things that have already been done, and there are amazing breakthroughs right on the horizon.
Best, Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Fri, 26 Dec 2003 07:45:13 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #8
I was just listening to NPR which was giving a list of `Science' unusual things. The announcer was most impressed by the news about `dark matter' and `dark energy'. Most of the universe is made up of stuff that we can't see. We have only lately begun to infer its existence. The 'dark side' of the universe is estimated to be 96% of the whole. That is, we can see and measure a guessed 4% and the rest of it is still a mystery. For me, the fact that we can put a number on it (I hesitate to guess how close a number) means that we are well along the way to measuring it.
The item I was most impressed with was the story about some college kids who tied 100 Apple Macs together and built the world's third most powerful computer. They did it at less than 100th the cost of the big machines. Never underestimate the power of a young mind. Kids who don't know the way it has always been done can do some pretty amazing things.
One followup item. Last week I mentioned the EPA's plans to change the legal Mercury level upwards. The same government that is raising the limit on how much Mercury pollution will be allowed has just released a warning to pregnant women telling them to stop eating fish. The fish in our oceans have Mercury levels that are higher than is healthy for a fetus. I guess the government decided to make it the citizen's responsibility to keep from being contaminated. I'm just as happy that I don't care for fish all that much. Mercury is deadly to fetuses and infants. It is just harmful to older children and adults.
((It would be interesting if the government applied the same attitude toward environmental risk that they adopt toward terrorist risk....))
You remember hearing that fish is brain food? I heard it a lot when I was growing up. The irony is that Mercury poisoning kills brain cells. What it comes down to is that there is lots of poison out there and it is up to you to be aware of it and avoid it, because the government which is supposed to be protecting you is too busy protecting its political contributors instead.
The dangers of nanotechnology have been expressed as `grey goo'. Website (courtesy of Brad Blair)
The basic idea is that nanobots will be self replicating, and will end up eating the world and reducing it to nothing more than a grey goo of nanobots. Scary scenario. But self replicating? Give me a break. Who is going to sell you a self replicating nanobot when they can sell you non-self replicating nanobots over and over again for the rest of your very long life. Self replication causes bad cash flow.
((Note the direct similarity to your note about about the kids linking the Apple computers together.
Apple expressly did NOT build a self replicating or self-supercomputer creating capability into their computers, and neither does anyone else. It's basically the same idea and nanobots will have the same "limitations" as they develop as mainframe computers had and PC's have now.))
The other scenario is that a nanobot assembler runs amok and eats the world while building a huge supply of grey goo. That's slightly more likely. Someone might very well design in a self repair function to a nanobot assembler as being a cost effective move thus allowing it the capability of running forever. But he would also have to build in the raw material fetching mechanism to allow the assembler to eat the world. Going out and getting its own raw material isn't especially cost effective and way too hard to direct. After all, you would not want to be sued for eating other people's raw materials. So while a nanobot assembler might lose its off switch, I don't think it will be able to run much past the point where the raw materials stop flowing.
Behind the fear is the underlying assumption that machines are alive. I knew people in the 60's (who worked in the computer field) who were seriously afraid that computers were going to become self aware. A whole series of `Terminator' movies were based on the idea. The same underlying fear, that nanobots will start directing themselves is what we really have here. I personally do not believe that we are smart enough to build self awareness into a machine. I'm pretty sure that it is a way too complicated function to be arrived at accidently through self programming.
Self programming is something that we have developed. That doesn't mean that the self programmer will start inventing new code. What it means is that we can talk to the program at a meta level, where we do not have to be quite as precise as we do when we talk to it in its own language, and it will develop code that meets our meta level requests. This is an iterative process. Much the way users and programmers work today. We ask the machine to solve a problem. It takes a cut at it. We look at the result, and ask it to refine parts. The machine is doing the actual programming. But it is limited to doing the sort of programming that we have told it how to do. And, as I indicated above, we are not smart enough to tell it how to be self aware.
Routers are self programming. Routers are the interconnects in the cybernetworks that decide which messages get priority when two or more arrive at the same time. Essentially they decide that the messages that arrive more often are the ones that should get priority. Routers keep track of message packet headers and change priorities based on the number of messages encountered. Several months ago there was a virus that flooded the net with bogus messages. It brought the net to its knees, slowing it to a near standstill because there were so many bogus packets moving that the real packets were being blocked. The routers were busy reprogramming themselves to give the bogus messages top priority. Even after the virus was destroyed, and the bogus packets stopped moving, many routers were still inefficient, because the real flow priorities had all been rewritten.
Routers also decide where to send the packets (there are always alternate routes to consider) based on traffic weight. That too is constantly being updated and changes as the traffic flow changes. That's self programming in action. Any chance a router is going to suddenly become self aware?
Nano computers have the potential to be much more computationally powerful than any computer we have today (even more than 100 Macs tied together) but computational power is not the same as self aware intelligence. Maybe some day we will be smart enough. I'm guessing that if we get that smart, we will be smart enough to deal with any problems that might arise, too.
Our Homeland Security competence is being challenged. Just before Christmas we published a `terrorist watch list' and gave it to France. The French shut down flights from Paris to Los Angeles based on a Homeland Security advice. After investigating the passengers identified as potential terrorists the French discovered a diplomat, a professional athlete, and a man who wasn't traveling. The non-traveler was on the list because he has an Arab sounding name and a pilot licence. Turns out he is a pilot for a French airline who was taking Christmas off to be with his family.
Since no terrorists showed up in France, Homeland Security has asked that the people who didn't show up for the flight be investigated. Missing the flight looks suspicious. The people who didn't show up might be terrorists who had second thoughts. Possibly they might be people who heard the announcements that the flights were cancelled. Tough call. On television we would have all of the information about the people on the list at our fingertips. We would have done a computer search on each of the 'terrorist suspects' and have known who they were. In real life apparently having a suspicious sounding name is sufficient to get you on the list, without benefit of any further Homeland Security investigation.
Appearing incompetent only works in favor of any terrorists we may be trying to stop. Crying wolf gets attention once or twice but after a while, the people crying wolf only separate themselves out as being people that can be ignored. `Being ignored' is not an effective tool.
Best, Steve, steflan of
((It also annoys me that all of these basic facts on things like this and on mad cow disease are so incompetently communicated by the Media. Some more flight cancellations are happening as I type this around New Year's with similar stories, I'm sure. But, we certainly will be giving terrorists pause about using this method. Now, Doug Kent has some tales to tell that I think many of you want to hear, so here he is unedited by me - I think it reads better with no interruptions.))

Doug Kent (12-05-03)
Greetings from the wonderful world of Federal Prison! I thought that some people might find a description of life here interesting. Feel free to toss this letter if you don't agree.
I left home on November 3, taking Amtrak from Dallas, TX to New York City. The trip was generally uneventful, but long (45 hours). I prefer travelling by train as I hate to fly, and it was much cheaper ($118 for the ticket). I spent the evening of November 5 at my father's house in New York, and Thursday at 6AM we left home for the three hour journey to this place.
At about 10AM we arrived, after taking one wrong turn that led us to the Medium Security compound down the road. Happily we were directed here to the Minimum Security Camp. I am what's known as a "self-surrender", meaning I brought myself to this camp as opposed to transferring from a higher security location or being remanded in custody until sentencing. Around 10:30, the R and D officers (Receiving and Departure) took me inside for processing. They asked my father to wait outside in the car so they could bring him my clothes.
I filled out some basic personal and medical information, had my photo taken for my Bureau of Prisons ID, and then stripped for inspection. All my clothes were sent back to my father, along with my watch and driver's license. The only items I was permitted to keep were my eyeglasses (which I badly need) and the $200 or so I had in cash, which was then deposited in my inmate account for use on the phone or buying necessary items at the commissary. No cash is used here - all monies are spent electronically through your ID card (or transferred by phone to your telephone account).
The inspection itself is brief and not as bad as it could be. Open your mouth, lift up your tongue, lift up your arms, show the bottomes of your feet, lift your nuts, gently spread your butt cheeks. Then you are given your clothes for the first night. Blue canvas slip-on sneakers, tube socks with holes in the heels, undershirt, old pair of briefs, khaki pants and shirt which are too big for you. You also get one roll of toilet paper, a toothbrush, and a jar of tooth powder, plus a bedroll (2 sheets, one pillowcase, 2 thin wool blankets).
A physician's assistant takes your medical info again, checks your vital signs, and off you go. I was then directed to find an officer in "B" unit up the hill from R and D. The officer there gave me soem quick lectures on the rules, showed me my bunk, and told me to ask if I had any questions.
This particular Federal Prison is a minimum security camp. There are no gates, no armed perimeter guards. Anyone deemed a security or flight risk is never sent here to begin with. The camp has three dorm buildings, but only one is currently in use (the other two are empty). At one time in 2003 this facility housed over 800 inmates, but currently we have about 280, just enough to fill the single dorm building.
The dorm itself has four dorm units, A and B are for inmates currently in the Residential Drug and Alcohol Program (RDAP), C does not exist, while D and E are for everyone else. I live in Dorm BE (the E section of dorm building B). The living space for each inmate starts with a metal frame bunkbed. I am on the top bunk, since beds are assigned by seniority. The mattress is thin, the pillow hard, but you get used to it. Next to the bed is a walkway of six feet by 2.5 feet - enough room to stand in when you dress. Each inmate also has a locker on the other side of the walkway, and a writing shelf ("desk") the two bunkmates share. That is the full content of a cubicle... there are 14 or so 2-person cubicles along two walls. In addition, the center of the room has 20 or so one or two inmate cubicles. It's cramped, but tolerable.
The rest of the building contains various offices and classrooms for staff or RDAP lessons, two TV rooms (one for RDAP and one for everyone else), a front hall with four telephones per half-building. and a bathroom with stalls, urinals, and an open shower area. The TV room has seven sets, each capable of showing two or three different channels, giving about 18 channel options overall. The sound for the televisions is muted, with the sound broadcast over FM band. This makes a walkman radio a necessity if you want to watch any TV.
Most of the inmates are here for various Federal drug offenses. Some, but less, are white collar felons. Almost everyone at this camp is here either to eventually participate in the RDAP program or to work in the CADRE program at the camp's Unicor plant manufacturing furniture for the government to sell. Some worked their way through the system from higher security facilities down to the camp.
My schedule here is fairly set on weekdays. Up at 5:40 to get dressed, wash my face, and brush my teeth. At 6AM breakfast is served. Usually it's an egg or a biscuit, but generally I just go for a cup or two of coffee. The food at the camp is tolerable, cafeteria-type fare that some inmates call garbage, but I find ranges from tasteless filler to moderately tasty.
At 6:30 I return to my cubicle to sweep and mop it. Then I watch TV until 7 when I go to work. My current work assignment is at the Paint Shop. We paint various parts of the camp or the nearby "complex" (the low and medium security facilities). Right now we're repainting the inside of a house that a counselor from the medium security prison is moving into in two weeks. We work until about 11AM, then go to lunch. After lunch it's back to work until 3PM. At 4PM we have "standing count" when all inmates must be standing in their cubicles. Then it's mail call, dinner, and we can spend the rest of the evening as we see fit, until around 10PM when we have our next count.
The biggest trick to prison, especially this one, is finding ways to occupy your time. I usually read, write letters, and watch videos on occasion in the library. I also listen to the radio quite a bit. There are ACE classes, taught by inmates on various subjects, but I missed signup on them and have to wait until January. Working helps kill the week, even though wages are about 12 cents an hour.
Surprisingly the bathrooms have stalls, so life's most intimate moments have some privacy. The shower can hold six but inmates generally only use two at a time. When you want to shower you yell out "how many?" into the shower area. If they say "one" or there is no response, you proceed. If they say "two" that means two people are already in there, so you wait in line until someone comes out.
Phone calls are available, but you must submit any number you wish to call on a form to the Bureau of Prisons so they can approve it. Each inmate is allowed 300 minutes a month, if they can afford it... calls are 20 cents a minute unless you call collect. When you place a call, the system alerts the person answering that it is a call from a Federal Prison, announces who is calling, and gives them a number to push to accept the call, another to block ALL future calls, and if no response is received the call simply ends (for example, if an answering machine picks up). A call can only last 15 minutes (it cuts off automatically at that point) and every five minutes a voice reminds the people on the line "This call is from a Federal Prison."
Mail is distributed weekdays. All incoming mail must include both the inmate name and his ID number. Every envelope is opened beforehand to look for contraband. Outgoing mail must include the full name, number, address, and prison on the return address. Inmates can receive letters, cards, non-polaroid photos, magazines, newspapers, and softcover books. Hardcover books can only be received if sent directly from a book club or bookseller ( or Barnes and Noble, for example).
Rules are pretty straightforward. Keep your bed made and area clean. Do not possess any contraband, and keep your items on hand to the allowable limits (10 pair of underwear, 2 sets of sweatpants and sweatshirts, 4 batteries, etc.). Be where you are supposed to be. Never miss a count. Do not bring food out of the mess hall. All easy to follow if you concentrate. Random breath and urine tests occasionally find inmates drinking or using drugs. Those caught are thrown in the hole and later transferred out of the camp.
For recreation, the camp has a gym and weight room, 1/2 mile walking trail, and the usual assortment of board games. Gambling is not allowed but likely exists, both on sporting events and card or domino games. Organized basketball, soccer, and softball teams play in season. I've met some decent folks, but in many ways the camp is reminiscent of a college dorm. Loud yelling, stupid fights, cramped quarters, and rude immature males farting and belching constantly, leaving messes and showing absolutely no consideration for other people. What do you expect? Even as a generally safe camp, it's still prison.
That's about it for now. If you have any questions let me know. I've been forwarded my Maniac's Paradise Lost material and will run these games by handwritten flyer to their conclusion.
See you in the funny papers! Doug, #30694-177,
Federal Prison Camp Allenwood, PO Box 1000, Montgomery, PA 17752
"So I called up George and he called up Jim, I said let's make a deal.
He said he'd talk to him. Gonna start a church where you can save yourself,
You can make some noise, When you've got no choice...
You told me useful things, what people think of me, I guess I should thank you.
It's true, then I agree... I'm all alone, I've got no choice,
I'm all alone, I've got no choice."
From "Got No Choice" by the incomparable Mark Cutler, from the CD Mark Cutler and Useful Things.
If you want to submit orders, press, or letters by E-Mail, you can find me through the Internet system at "burgess of". If anyone has an interest in having an E-Mail address listed so people can negotiate with you by computer, just let me know. FAX orders to (401) 277-9904 if you let me know in advance to be sure the fax machine is set up.
I am continuing to note cut or failed support orders with a small "s" instead of a capital "S". This will make it easier on the E-Mailed version of the szine to see what happened, since the italics don't show there. The italics DO show on the web page just fine.
Standby lists:
Mike Barno, Dick Martin, Brad Wilson, Jack McHugh, Glenn Petroski, Steve Emmert, Mark Kinney, Vince Lutterbie, Eric Brosius, Paul Rauterberg, Bob Osuch, Doug Kent, Sean O'Donnell, Kevin Wilson, Heath Gardner, Phil Reynolds, Paul Kenny, and Dan Gorham stand by for regular Diplomacy.
Brad Wilson and Jack McHugh stand by for the Modern Diplomacy game.
Let me know if you want on or off these lists, especially OFF. Standbies get the szine for free and receive my personal thanks.

We've got lots of openings in the subszines, check them out!!! Especially, contact Rip Gooch for Railway Rivals, see Rip's subszine elsewhere in most issues of TAP. Come on, help me out!!! Contact Rip Gooch directly at xyropedes of
I also am starting a game of the variant I designed, Spy Diplomacy. Signups for that are now open. I'll publish the rules shortly or you can look at them at Bruce Edwards is signed up.
John Harrington is offering to guest GM a game of Office Politics. Any interest in that?? Let me or John know! Jody McCullough and Bruce Edwards are interested, anyone else?
Harold Reynolds has started the game of Colonia (see elsewhere in this issue) and is interested in guest-GMing a game of Aberration. Sean O'Donnell and Brendan Whyte are interested in Aberration. Brendan and Sean BOTH need rules from Harold Reynolds.
Also, I am going to design some postal rules for Devil Take the Hindmost, and Chris Lockheardt is pulling out of that opening too, so I need three players. Bruce Edwards and Eoghan Barry is signed up. Postal rules from me will be forthcoming shortly, on my never ending to-do list. I will get them in SOON! I'm more likely to get these things started if I see some interest..... it takes four and Eoghan is getting tired of waiting....
Right now, the other thing I am contemplating getting going is the Modern Diplomacy game with Wings. Rick Desper, Alexander Woo, Dave Partridge, Eric Ozog, and Kurt Ozog are signed up for that. I will start it when I get a full complement of players, and may not wait until the other Modern game finishes.
Mike Barno and Edi Birsan run a great web site at! Please check it out!

FLIP FLOP: 2003G, Regular Diplomacy
Winter 1900
AUSTRIA (Wiedemeyer): has a VIE, a BUD, f TRI.
ENGLAND (Schmit): has f EDI, f LON, a LVP.
FRANCE (Jeff O'Donnell): has f BRE, a PAR, a MAR.
GERMANY (Sundstrom): has a MUN, a BER, f KIE.
ITALY (Williams): has f NAP, a ROM, a VEN.
RUSSIA (Sean O'Donnell): has f STP(SC), f SEV, a WAR, a MOS.
TURKEY (Levinson): has f ANK, a SMY, a CON.

Addresses of the Participants
AUSTRIA: Fred Wiedemeyer, Box 92010-Meadowbrook RPO, Edmonton, ALBERTA CANADA T6T 1N1,
PHONE NUMBER??, wiedem of
ENGLAND: Karl Schmit, 1452 Seville Dr. #3, Green Bay, WI 54302-5559, PHONE NUMBER??,
diplomacy of ($5)
FRANCE: Jeff O'Donnell, 402 Middle Ave., Elyria, OH 44035-5728,
(440) 322-2920 or (440) 225-9203 (cell)
GERMANY: Matt Sundstrom, 1760 Robincrest Lane South, Glenview, IL 60025, (847) 729-1882,
Matt.Sundstrom of or mattandzoe of
ITALY: Don Williams, 27505 Artine Drive, Saugus, CA 91350, (661) 297-3947,
wllmsfmly of or dwilliams of
RUSSIA: Sean O'Donnell, 1044 Wellfleet Drive, Grafton, OH 44044, (440) 926-0230,
sean_o_donnell of
TURKEY: Alexandre Levinson, 1, allee des Marniquets, 78430 Louveciennes FRANCE, don't need phone,
levinson7 of ($5)

Game Notes:
1) Thanks to Tom Howell for our Boardman Number, 2003G. Note what I said at the top of the szine, and then we have just seven BN games (a bit more than John Boardman noted in his last issue, with a surge at the end of the year).

(SEAN-STOSH): no stosh maneuveurs!!!!!!!!!!
(SEAN-BOARD): Let's have a great game and as my other GM Ed would say "Stab hard and Stab fast!"
(SEAN-BOARD PART 2): Warning, during this game you feel as if you have been abducted from the game and to a Star Trek function, so please for your own safety do not operate heavy machinery while playing this game, Caution, press may cause drowsiness and disorientation; active use may cause seizures if any of these problems persists please consult your doctor.
(STAR TREK SPIN OFF SHOW "7 OF 9 OR BUST!" - EPISODE ONE, PARALLEL THIS!): Captain's log unknown, during the battle with the Romulans, the Enterprise and her crew have mysteriously been transformed into Ferengi, a Ferengi ship called "Cheatem", and are now in what appears to be Breen space. While the location of our ship appears to be Breen, this area of space clearly is controlled by the Ferengi. An hour ago, we were fighting wtih our Klingon "allies" for the survival of the Federation. Now we are in a freighter apparently designed for selling and transport of tulaberry wine.
Kirk (K) - Hey Bones! How come starships always are called "Her"?
McCoy (M) - Damnit, Jim! I'm a Doctor, not a philosopher!
K - Actually, you're a corpse!
Spock (S) - Is it possible they are called "Her" because we never really have control over them?
K - Never mind that, where are we?
S - I cannot say for certain, but I do have a theory.
M - Damnit, Jim, he always has a theory!
S - You know, Doctor, you are even more irrational now that you are dead than when you were alive.
K - What is your theory, Spock?
S - I believe we have been transported to the perpendicular to the perpendicular universe.
M - Am I dead there too?
K - You're gonna be! How did we get here?
S - Per your orders, we transported 5 proton torpedoes to a location near the Romulan advance.
M - Damnit, Jim! You can't transport a semi-active proton torpedo thru a transporter matrix!
S - Actually, Doctor, the transport was successful.
M - Successful! You call everyone getting changed into Ferengi successful?!
K - Everyone except Mr. Spock, you mean.
M - Yeah, Spock! Why is that? Why are you still a green blooded, pointy eared Vulcan?
K - I think I know why!
M - Thrill me with "your" theory.
K - It's because of Roddenberry!
M - Gene Roddenberry?
K - Yeah, Gene Roddenberry, he never liked me and he always favored Mr. (Ears up Roddenberry's ass!) Spock. ((Just to interject a note of reality, Gene DID conceive of Spock's character and introduce Spock first, remember the first pilot, "The Cage", first come, first served....)) Every time we get changed into something, the effect never changes Spock.
M - He's dead, Jim!
K - Excuse me!
M - Roddenberry! Gene Roddenberry! He's dead, Jim!
K - Could that explain why the shows "Voyager" and "Enterprise" suck so bad? I mean it's like the writers of the show have never seen Star Trek before. So now I have to live this episode as a Ferengi! Yuk!
S - I'm afraid our situation is much worse than that, Captain.
K - What do you mean?
S - According to the Enterprise scans before the change, one of the imported proton torpedoes ignited a micro-second too fast, causing a massive power surge in the Enterprise transporter beam.
M - Imported proton torpedo?
S - Yes. Starfleet refuses to pay union scale to Earth proton torpedo manufacturers so they import them from slave labor sweat shops on Orion. ((Another reality note, I generally try to standardize Star Trek spellings to the official ones used in the books and scripts, but I'm leaving pRoton torpedo, which is a Star WARS invention, since this may be an intentional move on the part of the unknown writer - recall that all TAP press is black - we'll just have to see, if it wasn't intentional, perhaps in the next episode it will migrate back to the Star TREK pHoton torpedo.... back to your regularly scheduled programming...))
M - So I have to be a Ferengi in this episode because Starfleet bought proton torpedoes from the lowest bidder?!
K - Spock, can you pinch his neck or something!?
S - Nerve pinches don't work on Ferengi.
K - Or corpses!
S - In any event, the surge in the transporter probably caused a dimensional shift. According to Starfleet science, in theory, a perpendicular universe would have to exist in subspace in order to anchor the two parallel universes. The point of intersection in subspace would, in theory, be stable protomatter, like the matter used in the "Genesis device", only stable. This matter and the fact that the battle took place near Ferengi space left us with a Ferengi signature. I'm also pretty sure that the Klingons got transported too, and to make matters even worse, the transporter matrix also showed a duplication signature similar to that really lame episode when Commander Riker got duplicated.
K - You mean there is a duplicate Captain Kirk and crew in our universe with our same memories and past?
S - Yes, Captain, I would suggest that since they stayed in our universe they would not have been exposed to the protomatter and would thus remain intact. Furthermore, it is unlikely that they are even aware of our existence.
M - What about the Romulans? Did the torpedoes destroy them?
S - I don't think so, they reinforced their shields when they detected the transport.
K - Scotty! Is there any Romulan Ale on board?
Scotty (SC) - I dun think so, Captain, it's all been transformed into Ferengi Spotted Beetle Juice, and the entire cafeteria inventory has turned into 109 varieties of edible insects.
K - Damn! So let me get this straight, as a result of a battle transporter accident, me and the crew and the ship (except for Mr. Spock) have been turned into Ferengi, our identical twins in our universe have been unaffected, are still in our universe and are unaware of our existence, we don't have any knowledge of the strength or disposition of the aliens in the perpendicular universe, we command a freighter that doesn't have a fraction of the power necessary to send us home and even if we did, our universe is unaware of our existence, and wouldn't really have a place for us anyway because of the duplication, and the Klingons, led by the evil Commander Worf from the parallel universe are here!
S - That is essentially correct, Captain.
K - What about the Klingons? Do you think they were changed into Ferengi?
M - I'd buy a ticket to that!
S - Unlikely, Doctor. Roddenberry also favored the Klingons, just like the Vulcans. There is some good news. First, the Federation in our universe is dying. Because the Bajorans, Cardassians, and Commander Worf could never work together, the Romulans have been basically handed the Universe without any major battles. I would also like to point out that Lt. Uhura, Yeoman Rand, and 7 of 9 are on board.
K - So what?
M - Jim, Ferengi women have to go around naked.
K - 7 of 9 as a naked Ferengi, I'll pass.... (Hey, Jim, you want me to write Kim Cattrall into this?) ((Hey, your choice, I'm not going to impose writing constraints on you, whoever it is that "you" are..... )) (At that moment, 7 of 9 walked into the conference room, she was a 4'2" naked Ferengi female.
K - Scotty!
SC - Aye Captain!
K - Beam me directly into space!...
S - At least Uhura isn't singing....
((Hey, if Janice and Uhura are there, I'd take your place, Captain Kirk! My, my, get started with a bang, eh? We ain't done yet, and we still haven't had Spring 1901 moves.))
(SEAN-MEKONS): So, we meet again!!!! Be happy the GM is on your side personally I would rather quote say rap, rock, pop-rock, and now a little heavy metal. Jim, no offense intended just not my preference, lol. Been here done that, might as well have fun with it though.
(BOOB to SEAN): Might as well...
(SEAN-JIM): I can't believe I'm asking this; Where would I look to listen to a CD of the Mekons if nothing else you sparked my curiosity..........WHAT IN SAM HILL AM I THINKING!
(BOOB to SEAN): You really should pick up OOOOH! Out of their Heads. It's their latest CD and it should be in any decent sized record store. If you're talking about listening on the Web, I don't do that sort of thing, so I can't help you, though I think you can find some samples on But the Mekons are more than a rock band, they are quite simply a way of life, an attitude, and a community. They have idealism and humor and a realistic attitude about what is. There simply is nothing else like them. And who else pulls their biggest fans up on stage to dance with the band during live concerts? I can tell you from experience that if you stand in the front row and scream the lyrics (on key) back at them for a whole concert, that is what will happen.
(JEFF to ALEXANDRE): I just want to formally thank you guys for the really cool statue. New York Harbor wouldn't look the same without it!
(SEAN-BOARD PART 3): Can't we all just get along??.................where would the fun be then????
(SEAN-BOARD ESPECIALLY JIM-BOB): It's Uncle Jeffy Pooh not Uncle Jeffy! Here we go again.
(JEFF-BOARD): No, no, no. It's Jeff the OH GREAT ONE. Also I'm not the King or Prime Minister or President of France. I am the Petty Dictator of France.

I CAN'T FIND MY MONEY!: 2001F, Regular Diplomacy
Winter 1906
AUSTRIA (Lockheardt): has a UKR, a PIE, a TYO, a MOS, a TRI, a RUM, a LVN, f GRE.
ENGLAND (Kinney): has a LON, a EDI, f ENG, f NTH.
FRANCE (Kent): has a MAR, a BUR, a PAR, f BRE, f MID.
GERMANY (Wilson): bld f kie; has f KIE, a HOL, a DEN, a MUN, f SWE,
a RUH, a BEL.
ITALY (Gardner): has a VEN, f ION, f AEG, a APU.
RUSSIA (Desper): has a STP.
TURKEY (Miller): has f SMY, a ARM, a CON, f BUL(SC), a SEV.

Addresses of the Participants
AUSTRIA: Chris Lockheardt, 54 Butler Avenue, Maynard, MA 01754, +1 978-897-1547
clockheardt of
ENGLAND: Mark Kinney, 4830 Westport Road, Apt D, Louisville KY 40222
alberich of
FRANCE: Douglas Kent, #30694-177, Federal Prison Camp Allenwood, PO Box 1000,
Montgomery, PA 17752
GERMANY: Kevin Wilson, 373 Gateford Drive, Ballwin, MO 63021
ckevinw of
ITALY: Heath Gardner, 1627 Abbotts Creek Circle, Kernersville, NC, 27284
hdgardne of
RUSSIA: Rick Desper, 5440 Marinelli Road, #204, Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 977-7691, rick_desper of
TURKEY: Tim Miller, 5421 S. Ellis Ave. #1-E, Chicago, IL 60615, +1 773-834-4597
btmiller of
GM: Jim-Bob Burgess, 664 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02908-4327, +1 401-351-0287
burgess of

Game Notes:
1) The FITAGE draw is rejected, presuming that we have not reached a FIT AGE for this game and that we should NOT end it.

(RUSSIA): The Tsar announces his lingering contempt for the Austrian hordes ravaging the homeland. And for the Turkish running dog lackey who sits useless in the corner while his "ally" gets all the dots. A hard rain is going to fall, my friend Tim!
(FRANCE - ALL): Note my new address. Mail is always welcome, mail call gets lonely when I don't hear my name called! I'll send a long letter to Jim-Bob to fill you all in on the 5-star accomodations!

SOMETHING TO BE SCARED OF: 2001D, Regular Diplomacy
Summer 1908
ENGLAND (Sundstrom): R f stp(nc)-BAR; has f BAR, f NTH, f SWE, f NWY, f IRI.
FRANCE (Tretick): has a BUR, a BRE, f ENG, a GAS.
GERMANY (Williams): has a BER, a DEN, a SIL, a MUN.
ITALY (Barno): has f NAP, a PIE, f GOL, a MAR, a VIE, f SPA(SC), f NAO,
a TRI, f POR.
RUSSIA (Rauterberg): R f swe-GOB; has a FIN, a STP, f GOB.
TURKEY (O'Donnell): has a BUL, a SEV, f TUN, a BUD, a SER, f WES, a LVN, f CON, a WAR.

Addresses of the Participants
AUSTRIA: Doug Kent
ENGLAND: Matt Sundstrom, 1760 Robincrest Lane South, Glenview, IL 60025, (847) 729-1882 ($5)
Matt.Sundstrom of or mattandzoe of
FRANCE: James Alan (Jim) Tretick, 1383 Canterbury Way Potomac, MD 20854, (301) 279-0803 ($4)
JTretickGames of
GERMANY: Don Williams, 27505 Artine Drive, Saugus, CA 91350, (661) 297-3947 ($3)
wllmsfmly of or dwilliams of
ITALY: Mike Barno, 634 Dawson Hill Road, Spencer, NY 14883
mpbarno of
RUSSIA: Paul Rauterberg, 3116 W. American Dr., Greenfield, WI 53221,
(414) 281-2339 (E-Mail) trauterberg of
TURKEY: Sean O'Donnell, 1044 Wellfleet Drive, Grafton, OH 44044, (440) 926-0230
sean_o_donnell of or seanfodonnell of

Game Notes:
1) Don reminds me that he doesn't mind getting Dip mail at his work address when his home account overflows. I've added that to the list above.

(SCOTLAND SINGING): Williams on my shoulder makes me frightened. But I hope we continue to get along. Fleet Sweden waves to unruly new neighbors in Denmark.
(TSAR to KAISER): Get all the freaking spam out of your mailbox so that important letters like DipStuff can get through in a timely manner. (Filters are available to get rid of Penis Enlargement offers, and sales pitches for Viagra and Paris Hilton's sex tape.)
(EDINBURGH-TURKEY): Bucharest is lovely in the fall and I've paid many people to entertain you when you arrive. Don't let this offer expire!
(EDINBURGH-TURKEY 2): Do you feel like a cat just waiting to swat the Romanian mouse?

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: 1999K, Regular Diplomacy
Summer 1913
AUSTRIA (Rauterberg): has a VEN, a NAP, a ROM.
ENGLAND (Biehl): has f BAR.
GERMANY (Osuch): has a SIL, f BAL, a BOH, a PRU, f SKA, a SWE, a PIE, a GAL, a VIE,
a KIE, f NAO, a BEL, a SPA.
RUSSIA (Tretick): has f HEL, a LVN, f EDI, a YOR, a UKR, f LVP, a FIN.
TURKEY (Lutterbie): R a sil-BER; has a SER, f APU, f AEG, a BER, f TUS,
a TRI, f IRI, a BUD, a RUM, f TYH.

Addresses of the Participants
AUSTRIA: Paul Rauterberg, 3116 W. American Dr., Greenfield, WI 53221, (414) 281-2339 (E-Mail)
trauterberg of
ENGLAND: John Biehl, #8 - 11530 84th Avenue, Delta, BRITISH COLUMBIA, V4C 2M1 CANADA,
(604) 591-1832 ($7); jrb of
FRANCE: Rick Davis, 2420 West Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407, (707) 544-5201,
redavis914 of
GERMANY: Bob Osuch, 19137 Midland Avenue, Mokena, IL 60448, (708) 478-3885
ROsuch4082 of
ITALY: Terry Tallman, PO Box 782, Clinton, WA 98236, (360) 710 9613, cell (360) 710-9613 ($2)
terryt of
RUSSIA: Buddy Tretick, 9607 Conaty Circle, Spotsylvania, VA 22553, (540) 582-2356 (E-Mail)
batretick of
TURKEY: Vince Lutterbie, 1021 Stonehaven, Marshall, MO 65340-2837, (660) 886-7354
melvin of

Game Notes:
1) Even less action on the board for Summer, but that retreat is a bit.... aggressive.


SECRETS: 1999D, Regular Diplomacy
Summer 1915
ENGLAND (Brosius): f LON, a GAS, f NAO, a KIE, f MID, f ENG, f HOL, f POR.
FRANCE (Sasseville): has f MAR, f SPA(SC), a MUN, a BUR.
GERMANY (Barno): has a GRE.
RUSSIA (Reynolds): has a MOS, a LVN, a BER, f BAL, a STP, a PRU.
TURKEY (Linsey): has a BUL, f ALB, a UKR, a WAR, f WES, a SEV, f GOL, a SIL, a GAL,
f NAF, f ION, a TYO, f PIE, a SER, a BOH.

Addresses of the Participants
ENGLAND: Eric Brosius, 53 Bird Street, Needham, MA 02492
eric.brosius of
FRANCE: Roland Sasseville, Jr., 38 Bucklin Street, Pawtucket, RI 02861, (401) 481-4280 ($0)
roland6 of and ICQ: 40565030
GERMANY: Mike Barno, 634 Dawson Hill Road, Spencer, NY 14883
mpbarno of
RUSSIA: Phil Reynolds, 2896 Oak Street, Sarasota, FL 34237, (813) 953-6952
preyno of
TURKEY: Bruce Linsey, PO Box 234, Kinderhook, NY 12106
GonzoHQ of

Game Notes:
1) The FREGT draw is rejected and then reproposed. I had no complaint, so I've granted a request that we go back to where we were on the voting, which was this: (1) Some of you have "perpetual draw votes on this proposal on file", those are still in force; (2) Some of you do not and have been voting every season, for you if you FAIL to vote it counts as a yes vote for this proposal. If we get to a situation where no centers change hands for three game years, then we can go to the next step, which will require everyone to vote every season, no perpetual draw votes. And failure to vote would be a yes. This next turn will be one game year by that measure.


EDWARD TELLER: 2002?rn42, Nuclear Yuppie Evil Empire Diplomacy - Black Hole Variant
Summer 1906
AUSTRIA (Muller): has a VIE, a BUD, f TRI; and withheld nukes.
ENGLAND (Andruschak): has a LVP, f LON, f EDI; and withheld nukes.
FRANCE (Kendter): has f MID, a PIC, a GAS; and nuked BUL, BLA, SYR, ANK, ARM.
GERMANY (McHugh): has a MUN, a BER, f KIE; and withheld nukes.
ITALY (Kenny): has a VEN, a ROM, f NAP; and withheld nukes.
RUSSIA (Schultz): has f STP(SC), a MOS, a WAR, f SEV; and 4 nukes in their silos.
TURKEY (Rauterberg): has none; and nuked BRE, PAR, MAR, SPA, SER.

Current Standings
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 TOTAL
JOHN SCHULTZ  3  3  3  3  3        15
PAUL RAUTERBERG  6  1  6  3  5        21
KARL MULLER  2  3  3  4  3        15
HARRY ANDRUSCHAK  4  5  0  3  3        15
LEE KENDTER, JR.  1  6  2  4  5        18
JACK MCHUGH  5  0  3  3  2        13
SANDY KENNY  3  1  3  3  2        12
Black Holed  8 14  7  1  7  7     37
Neutral  2  1  7 10  4        20
Totals(eventually) 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 238
Times GM Nuked  0  1  1  0  0  0   2
Whole Frelling Game  0  0  1  0  1  0   2

Addresses of the Participants
John Schultz plays on in our memories....
Paul Rauterberg, 3116 W. American Dr., Greenfield, WI 53221, (414) 281-2339
trauterberg of
Karl Muller, 3154 East Lydius Street, Schenectady, NY 12303-5035
karlmuller of or pegandkarl of
Harry Andruschak, 734 West 214th Street, Apartment 12-A Torrance, CA 90502-1907
(310) 533-8945, harryandruschak of
Lee Kendter, Jr., 1503 Pilgrim Lane, Quakertown, PA 18951
lkendter of
Jack McHugh, P.O. Box 427, Claymont, DE 19703, (302) 792-1998
flapjack of
Sandy Kenny, 23 East Coulter Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108-1208 (609) 869-3160
KennyShire of or possibly sakenny of

Game Notes:
1) A couple of adjudication notes.... when you guys nuke the same province more than once, I put in parentheses the number of nukes that hit that spot. Also, if your move to a space succeeds and THEN you are annihilated, I capitalize the first letter of that space where you are annihilated. The reverse happens if your move bounces where I capitalize the first letter of the place you started.
2) The rules I have been using for this game have been that there are no replacements or standbies. Nukes for the positions John has will remain unfired in their silos. None of his units will move or support anything. They can be attacked and dislodged and his centers can be nuked. John could win the game this way, conceivably, but likely would not. The two man race among those who actually are playing is winding down....

(PAUL to LEE JR): It appears that we are at war.

FINDING THE COMMUNITY: Breaking Away, Designer's Rules


Turn 1
12 (replenish with a 7) Zedd(BREAKING AWAY!)
11 (no replenishment) Empty
10 (no replenishment) Empty
9 (no replenishment) Empty
8 (no replenishment) Empty
7 (no replenishment) Empty
6 (no replenishment) Empty
5 (replenish with a 3) Frederick, El Vez
4 (replenish with a 3) Omega, Paige, Silt, Wade, Hearts, Geri Lee Lewis
3 (replenish with a 3) Marge, Sand, Franklin, Diamonds, Johnny Peso, Carl Sagan
2 (replenish with a 3) Homer, James, Pebble, Edmond, Clubs
1 (replenish with a 8) Bart, Lisa, Clay, Spades

Addresses of the Participants - Their Team and Their Cards
TEAM 1 (Rick Desper): rick_desper of (0 points)
Team Name: Team Springfield
A: Homer Simpson (2) 15 8 5 3
B: Marge Simpson (3) 13 9 3
C: Bart Simpson (1) 10 9 8
D: Lisa Simpson (1) 11 4 8
Total Replenishments: 22
TEAM 2 (Bruce Edwards): kactusjak of (0 points)
Team Name: Last Again
A: Zedd (12) 15 3 7
B: Omega (4) 13 8 3
C: Paige (4) 10 6 3
D: James (2) 13 1 3
Total Replenishments: 16
TEAM 3 (Tom Howell): off-the-shelf of (0 points)
Team Name: The Soils; Manager: Boulder
A: Clay (1) 5 9 15 8
B: Silt (4) 8 13 3
C: Sand (3) 7 10 3
D: Pebble (2) 6 8 3
Total Replenishments: 17
TEAM 4 (Dennis Menear): dmenear of (0 points)
Team Name: The Firm
A: Edmond (2) 5 9 14 3
B: Franklin (3) 8 14 3
C: Frederick (5) 6 9 3
D: Wade (4) 5 7 3
Total Replenishments: 12
TEAM 5 (David Partridge): rebhuhn of (0 points)
Team Name: It's In The Cards; Manager: The Joker
A: Spades (1) 6 8 15 8
B: Hearts (4) 8 13 3
C: Diamonds (3) 8 9 3
D: Clubs (2) 6 8 3
Total Replenishments: 17
TEAM 6 (Karl Schmit): diplomacy of (0 points)
Team Name: 25 Dollar Quartet
A: Carl Sagan (3) 6 6 15 3
B: El Vez (5) 8 12 3
C: Geri Lee Lewis (4) 6 10 3
D: Johnny Peso (3) 1 12 3
Total Replenishments: 12

Game Notes:
1) You all have the rules, don't you? They're on the TAP website in the Tinamou section. Ask if you have any questions. Press is VERY welcome!!!
2) Up above in parentheses is the card you played to get to where you are in the field. The replenishment card is the last card in your list. Just for fun, I'm going to keep track of total replenishment, by turn, which is a rough measure of how the teams are doing.
3) Spaces 2, 3, and 4 are overcrowded, which keeps almost everyone's replenishment schedule pretty condensed. Should be a lot of fun for the next turn, since we also had a breaking away cyclist from Bruce.

(BART - > MOE): I'm calling for Ms. Holdme, first name Amanda.
(MOE - > BAR): I'm looking for Amanda Holdme. Amanda Holdme! Why can't I find Amanda Holdme!
(BARNEY): Maybe your standards are too high?
(THE FIRM to THE FIELD): Greetings and good luck to all!
(CHIEF WIGGUM - > PLAYERS): OK, I'll be maintaining security for this bicycle race. We'll keep focus on the roads and crowds at all times.
(WIGGUM - > FELLOW POLICE): I'll be right back, off to the donut shop.
(THE FIRM to THE SOILS): Hope it doesn't rain!
(FLANDERS - > HOMER): Do you think you'll be able to beat the Howells this time? He's racing a bunch of rocks. Shouldn't be hard, dontcha think?
(BOULDER to RACE REFEREE): What's with that Partridge? He's got another Diamond on his team... I suppose he thinks he can cut through to a win with hard riding...?
(THE FIRM to IT'S IN THE CARDS): Your team suits you! Hope you haven't stacked the deck.
(HOMER - > FLANDERS): Shut up.
(FLANDERS): Okalee dokalee!
(BOULDER to EVERYONE BUT DESPER): Geez, Rick must be getting Desperate: he's employed a rider who'll throw caltrops on the track. Better keep a sharp eye on THAT Joker!
(MR. BURNS - > FRANKLIN): I knew a Franklin in my youth. Name of Benjamin. I wonder what happened to him?
(BOOB to BURNS): Hmmm, you must retire early....
(LISA - > WORLD): I'm going to dedicate this game to the memory of Snowball the Cat. Ahem.
I had a cat named Snowball -
She died! She died!
Mom said she was sleeping -
She lied! She lied!
Why oh why is my cat dead?
Couldn't that Chrysler hit me instead?

FEAR AND WHISKEY: 1998Ers31, Modern Diplomacy
Spring 2013
BRITAIN (K. Ozog): a SWE S f den, f lon-NTH, a yor-LIV, f HEL S f nth-hol,
f DEN S f bal-bhm, a NOR h, f nth-HOL, f bal-BHM.
EGYPT (J. O'Donnell): f CAI S f ale-eme, f eme-SYR, f ALE-eme, f ISR S f eme-syr,
f nap-ROM, a JOR S f eme-syr, a TUN h, a sau-IRK.
GERMANY (Rauterberg): a HAM S f bhm-ber, a als-RUH, f BER h (unordered),
f hol-nth (d r:bel,otb), f bhm-ber (d ann), f mao-NAO, a pie-MIL, f IRI S f mao-nao,
a SWI-mun, f ENG C SPANISH a bri-wal.
SPAIN (S. O'Donnell): a bor-AUV, a POR h, f sao-MAO, f wme-TYS, f MAL-ion,
a bri-WAL, a nav-BOR, a auv-MAR, f BIS S GERMAN f eng, f LBS S f mal-ion.
UKRAINE (Partridge): f sev-BLA, a kie-BIE, a ode-RUM, a HUN-aus, f IZM-eme,
a ADA s EGYPTIAN a jor-irk (nso), a gre-NAP, a cro-VEN, a gor-STP, a kra-CZE, a stp-LAT,
a SIL S a pru-ber, a cze-SAX, f AEG S f ion, f ANA S f izm-eme, a URA h, a sax-FRA, a PRU-ber,
f ALB S f ion, a syr-jor (d ann), a kaz-IRN, a AUS-mun, a LIT-gda, f ION C a gre-nap,
a GDA-pru, f adr-APU, a irn-ARM, a ven-TUS.

Addresses of the Participants
BRITAIN: Kurt Ozog, 391 Wilmington Drive, Bartlett, IL 60103, (630) 837-2813
heyday6 of
EGYPT: Jeff O'Donnell, 402 Middle Ave., Elyria, OH 44035-5728, (440) 322-2920
or (440) 225-9203 (cell) ($2)
FRANCE: Harry Andruschak ($5) Tapmdfrance of
GERMANY: Paul Rauterberg, 3116 W. American Dr., Greenfield, WI 53221, (414) 281-2339 (E-Mail)
trauterberg of
ITALY: Eric Ozog, PO Box 1138, Granite Falls, WA 98252-1138, (360) 691-4264 ($3)
ElfEric of
POLAND: Roland Sasseville, Jr., 38 Bucklin Street, Pawtucket, RI 02861, (401) 481-4280 ($5)
roland6 of and ICQ: 40565030
RUSSIA: Randy Ellis
SPAIN: Sean O'Donnell, 1044 Wellfleet Drive, Grafton, OH 44044, (440) 926-0230 ($3)
sean_o_donnell of or seanfodonnell of
TURKEY: Kent Pollard, 1541 W. San Jose, Fresno, CA 93711, (209) 225-0957 ($10)
UKRAINE: Dave Partridge, 15 Woodland Drive, Brookline, NH 03033 ($8)
rebhuhn of

Game Notes:
1) I'm keeping only one list for the new game now up above. This is scary, the game has gone on for six years now, hasn't it.
2) The end is starting to look close too.... Germany forgot about one of his units, or seemed to. And while Egypt made a great play to annihilate Syria, that isn't a supply center, and the Italian peninsula is overrun. I was tempted to put a game exclamation point on that convoy to Naples. The Mekons quote below is intended also to refer to this move and how it might have been accomplished. We'll see what happens next.

(THE MEKONS QUOTE OF THE MONTH): "Continuing on our way through Sicily; We came upon the site, where now stands the city of Syracuse, there we made our sacrifice; And Heracles cried; At the scene of the crime." Off "Myth", the lead cut on Journey to the End of the Night.
(SPAIN-GERMANY): I hope this helps you out. May I suggest Pie-Tus, this way next year we can put a force there to attack Ukraine in Italy, or is Pie needed elsewhere?
(EGYPT to JIM): I don't think anything can stop Ukraine with the infighting between Germany, England, and Spain inexplicably still going on. I won't quit, but I do have an idea for my Star Trek "season finale". Please let me know when the last press is when you declare Dave (the evil Romulan Peator) the winner. ((Don't worry, it will be clear, and I've got the Miller Number Custodian on my back to wrap up these things quickly.))
(SEAN-UKRAINE): Ummm maybe next month I'll be on your side or maybe not.
(SEAN to PAUL AND JIM): Long story. ((Indeed, let's finish up with one more baseball comment. What an issue, eh? Sorry it's late, but I think it's a keeper.))
(JEFF to JIM): Hey Jim, I think it's a conspiracy, the networks want you guys to win. If healthy, the Red Sox may win 125 games, I'm lovin' it. ((Well, since the other teams in the lower part of the division have improved, I think this will balance out. We'll see, and I hope your optimism is well founded.))
PS I still hate Pedro and Manny!
PPS How come you guys didn't interview Mike Hargrove? ((Because he never managed Schilling?))

Personal Note to You:

File translated from TEX by TTH, version 3.35.
On 05 Jan 2004, 22:33.