February 25, 2004

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:

Right up front, let's get it straight, the Mekons have a new record out that's really a new look at their beginnings in the late 1970's. It's called Punk Rock, and the Mekons were right up there with the Sex Pistols, the Au Pairs, and the Gang of Four at its beginnings. In fact, back when they were just an idea and didn't know how to play they used to tour with the Gang of Four and borrow their instruments to go on stage. I picked up on the Mekons at the very end of that purely punk period, about 1981 or so, just around the time they began to learn how to play their instruments. Some of those early songs have a lot to say and it says a lot about the band that they've continued to play around with them and put them out in today's sterile music environment that desperately needs something like punk's energy and philosophy, something that's always been the essence of the Mekons. I don't have Punk Rock yet, but I've heard some samples and I know a lot of the songs from the original. I'm looking forward to this incredibly. You won't, but I will. This is still the greatest rock and roll band in the world, incredibly intriguing.

I'm not sure which subszines will make it in here. I know we have Michael Lowrey back, which is good, I always like Michael's editorials. Look inside and see what else made it in time.
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 has potential openings, you can start RIGHT NOW to play this year! We're in Spring Training now, even though Dicko (Martin) is still boycotting it as irrelevant. I got myself TORCHED in free agency and my team is pretty well decimated in hitting for average and power. I'll be lucky if I hit 100 homers and bat .240. Oh well, tank and wait for next year.... but then, I went 9-3 in the early spring games and some of those guys I picked up are really hitting, could I make a comeback? 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. That's just two more weeks! 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 just about over. I should have a report soon on where that sorted out.
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.
Stephen Agar has matched the Hasbro rule lists 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 -
We are back, Tim Haffey has agreed to be the Production Editor that I needed. We already have a pretty decent issue put together, but we always need more articles, either before the deadline for the next issue, which is March 1, 2004 for Issue #89; or afterward for Issue #90 or so on, we're going to try to achieve the quarterly operation that we haven't been able to do in recent years! If first impressions are anything, Tim Haffey is going to be an EXCELLENT nudge to keep things going! We WILL come out on time, we're all set for that. John Coffin and David Hertzman have taken over The Diplomatic Pouch as editors and I look forward to some nice friendly competition. The Pouch will continue to be entirely a Web Szine, primarily oriented toward the Judge hobby, preferring submissions in html (or plain text). Diplomacy World will continue to format itself into more of a "complete package" that can be printed, allowing submissions in any computer generated format, or even in text. We are going to be using a new technology under Tim in something called "ebook", we'll hear more about that as we get going, but Diplomacy World I hope will thrive along with the Pouch. Help us out, write an article!
Also, I'd be interested in hearing any Hobby Award Nominations for:
The 2004 Don Miller Award for Meritorious Service;
The 2004 Rod Walker Award for Literature;
The 2004 John Koning Award for Player Performance;
The 2004 Fred Hyatt Award for GM Performance;
A 2004 Kathy Byrne Caruso Award for Lifetime Achievement (if warranted).
The award ballot for this year will be publicized first in Diplomacy World #89, so that we can hand out awards at World DipCon at ManorCon in July.
Here's the announcement I've sent out and posted various places:

Return of Diplomacy World and Call for Hobby Awards Nominations
Diplomacy World is now officially resurrected and continuing with its four times a year publication schedule as a Web zine ( and is available as a postal zine: cost $3 per issue in North America, $2 per issue in the UK and $3 per issue in the rest of the world.
Tim Haffey will join Jim Burgess as an editor. Stephen Agar will continue to do upkeep on the Web site. Note all E-Mails below are in the spam friendly format "person of" where that translates into
North American postal subs should be sent to David Partridge, 15 Woodland Drive, Brookline, NH 03033, USA. Email: rebhuhn of
Rest of World postal subs should be sent to Stephen Agar, 4 Cedars Gardens, Brighton, UNITED KINGDOM BN1 6YD Email: stephen of
Contributions for the next issue should be sent to Tim Haffey by 1st March 2004: trhaffey of or Timothy R. Haffey, Sr., 810 53rd Ave., Oakland, CA 94601 USA.
Tim is going to be formatting the issues in the "Industry Standard" ebook format (for one example see and this is a major contribution that maintains Diplomacy World as a bridge between all of the Diplomacy Hobby mediums, since it will be easily available on the web and by post.
I (Jim Burgess) will continue to co-edit and contribute the popular Diplomacy World Interviews (I've already interviewed such luminaries as Richard Sharp, Edi Birsan, and Brandon Clarke). I am currently seeking a "quick turnaround" interview candidate for the next issue, Number 89, who can get me a paragraph Diplomacy bio in the next week or so. Please ask me (burgess of if you have any questions or want to volunteer to be interviewed.
We also would like volunteers for the next Diplomacy World Demo Game. The last demo game (recount, using the Modern Diplomacy variant) never was properly written up here in DW. I hope we can get that in the Pouch Showcase section and a write-up here in good time. Rick Desper (previous DW Demo Game GM and recount GM, rick_desper of, Tim Haffey, and myself will consider those requests and make a Demo Game determination of GM, location, and Variant (if any) to be announced in Issue Number 89. Also, any of the participants in recount who would like to contribute to an article or articles on this game, should contact me or Rick. I have all of your E-Mailed endgame statements.
Other articles of all types are welcome (we already have four articles in hand, so we're in good shape for the return issue): historical articles, convention write-ups and descriptions, strategy or tactics articles, personality profiles, descriptions of gaming environments, or anything else you can think of. If you aren't sure if it works, ask one of us.
Upcoming Issue Deadlines:
Deadline Spring 2004, Issue #89: March 1, 2004
Deadline Summer 2004, Issue #90: June 1, 2004
Deadline Fall 2004, Issue #91: September 1, 2004
Deadline Winter 2004, Issue #92: December 1, 2004
Other Highlights of Issue #89:
Updates on North American DipCon, April 23-25, 2004, Portland, OR, USA
Updates on World Dipcon XIV, July 16-19 2004, Birmingham, ENGLAND, UK (with pre-event the week before in Paris, FRANCE; post-event the week after in Dublin, IRELAND
Updates on European DipCon, September 23-26, 2004, Darmstadt, GERMANY
Final Hobby Awards Ballot for 2004, nominations now to: burgess of
The qualifications for the Kathy Byrne Caruso Lifetime Achievement Award are that the awardee must have been: (1) Active in the Diplomacy Hobby in at least Three Separate Decades; (2) Multidimensional in their Contributions to the Hobby (e.g. writing, playing, publishing); (3) Taking Retirement or Semi-Retirement from the Diplomacy Hobby; and (4) One of the Hobby’s Unique Personalities Worthy of Being Remembered as Long as THE Game Continues to be Played. This award need not be awarded each year, but only as worthy candidates are identified. The only past honoree is the late Richard Sharp.
The other award categories are self-explanatory:
Nominees for the 2004 Don Miller Award for Meritorious Service
Nominees for the 2004 Rod Walker Award for Literary Achievement
Nominees for the 2004 John Koning Award for Player Performance
Nominees for the 2004 Fred Hyatt Award for GM Performance
The Hobby Awards Committee is Jim Burgess (Chair and Treasurer), Fred Davis, Jr., Melinda Holley, Gary Behnen, Jamie Dreier, Paul Kenny, Mark Stretch, and Robert Lesco.
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Editorial Board for Diplomacy World:
Jim Burgess, 664 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02908-4327, USA; burgess of - Co-Editor
Tim Haffey, 810 53rd Ave., Oakland, CA 94601 USA; trhaffey of - Co-Editor, Demo Game GM, and ebook Publisher
Stephen Agar, 4 Cedars Gardens, Brighton, UNITED KINGDOM BN1 6YD; stephen of - Webmaster and Non-US Postal
Rick Desper, 5440 Marinelli Road, #204, Rockville, MD 20852, USA; rick_desper of - Demo Games
Dave Partridge, 15 Woodland Drive, Brookline, NH 03033, USA; rebhuhn of - US Postal
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And last, but not least, I wish John Coffin and David Hertzman the best of luck as they take on their new challenge of following up Manus Hand and Edward Hawthorne as editors of The Diplomatic Pouch. I fervently believe that having both DW and the Pouch active and vibrant creates better writing and better things for all of us in the hobby. I intentionally waited with this announcement until they hit the ground with two weeks running. But 2004 should be a fun year for the hobby.
Jim Burgess, Co-Editor, Diplomacy World

Mike Barno (Tue, 17 Feb 2004 21:39:35 -0500)
Hi, Jim; I got to see a lot of old gaming friends including your brother from Thursday midnight through Monday at KinderKon. It was a great time although Dave was just there for a day. I played 27 games of 21 titles; and better yet, I learned 14 new games. All kinds of them. Going to an all-Dip con or going to a big con and playing two or three games intensely can be fun, but playing a zillion different games in a skilled-but-silly spirit can be an absolute blast. The whole con played 93 games of 59 different titles, and both Bruce and Eric Brosius probably learned more games than I did. You could check with Bruce for the whole list. First let me get the games I'd played before out of the way: Manhattan (the only game I taught), Crokinole (the only I game I played with a physical-skill element), Taj Mahal, Scrabble, Empire Builder, Ra, and Durch die Wuste (Through the Desert). Now for the new games:
- Attika (Hans im Gluck in Germany, English version from Rio Grande Games in USA): Maybe the best game I learned all weekend, Attika is themed about Greece's classical age. When most of Europe and Britain were locally fought over by barbarian tribes, people in the Greek peninsulas and islands were building complex cities up as in Sid Meier's Civilization or various German games. Attika is partly a positional game (like Go with resources on the board), and partly a strategic game of using resource spaces and resource cards and affinity groups to build the tokens ("buildings" such as Vineyard and Vintner in the Winemaking group) which fight to connect two of the board's temples. A lot of blocking makes it a good screw-your-opponent game (even though you're basically adding building tokens) for two to four players. Short enough (an hour or so once you've played one time) to complete a game and still play something else. I'll buy it when I get my annual bonus from work.
- Balloon Cup (Rio Grande Games): Just a little two-player card game, something fun to do for half an hour. But it's a great theme: A rally of hot-air balloon races. Four races at a time, worth one through four colored wooden blocks. Cards numbered 1 through 13 in each of five colors matching the blocks. If the race is in the lowlands, you play low cards on your side to help you, and play high cards on your opponent's side so his total will be higher than yours and lose. If the race is in the hills, it's the opposite: high total wins so you play high cards for yourself and low cards on your opponent's side. But the cards on each side, regardless of who played them, must match the blocks' colors card-for-card. So you may not have the cards you need, and you may have to play a card that you really don't want to play to help your opponent. Some colors have fewer blocks but you need fewer to win that color's trophy; other colors have more blocks but you need more to win their trophy. Get the majority of the five trophies and you win the game. It sorta feels like the theme, like ballons floating along for various amounts of time, since you choose to play on any stack you legally can rather than being forced to "move" a specific balloon. It feels like you're being blown back and forth in each race as you and your opponent help yourselves and hurt each other. I know I'll play this enough on late-night and just-dropped-in sessions that I'll get my money's worth.
... The rest of the new games were all fun to play with these folks; the few people who weren't my old friends became new friends easily. I'd play any of these games again, some more eagerly than others. These are in the sequence that I learned them:
- Bean Counter (Amigo Games): Silly theme, and you gotta love any game with a "beanometer". There are eight kinds of beans, and you make money by collecting the right combination of beans for your demand cards and taking them to the space that wants them. A little like the "Volldampf"/"Age of Steam" pair of games, without track-building. Some beans start at random in each space, and they're replenished when certain cards are played from each player's cyclical hand. Prices vary as beans are collected from each space's beanometer and as beans get restocked (a few spaces per refill). When someone reaches 69 points, everyone sells their remaining beans, adds the money previously earned, and high score wins. Fun, and not just because I won.
- Mammoth Hunters (Ravensburger in Germany, Rio Grande in USA): It's packaged like the numbered Ravensburger featured-game-designer games like The Princes of Florence and The Traders of Genoa. If it had a 9 on the box, it would be the first one of that series from our friend Alan Moon, a big Diplomacy advocate at 1970s-80s Avalon Hill who hosts the annual Gathering of Friends invitational gamecon, and his collaborator Aaron Weissblum. ((Bruce Linsey writes "[Mammoth Hunters] is indeed #8 in the Alea series (not #9). For some reason the version we bought doesn't have the "8" on the box, which caused Krissi to not want to open it in the hope we could exchange it for a numbered copy someday.")) Alan sometimes comes to Bruce and Krissi's housecons, but missed this one having just gotten married. Mammoth Hunters is a keep-your-tokens-alive-when-spaces-only-support-a-few game rather like Trias, or Evo, or American Megafauna, or various other prehistoric games. The board doesn't grow as in Attika, or move as in Trias; glaciation removes part of it slowly and the rest is altered by players using cards such as moving the campfires around (each campfire adds an unknown 0-2 cavemen to the limit a space can support) or moving the mammoths around (cavemen who at scoring time are in spaces with mammoths count for double points, or triple points where there are more mammoths). Besides the cards, you can compete by throwing your cavemen into spaces other players wanted to keep, as in Age of Renaissance with smaller groups dying first. Fun game, and a legitimate challenge despite being rather quick. I'd buy it if I didn't already have Trias.
- Zendo (Looney Labs): This is both the best parlor game and the best puzzle game I've seen in a long time. It's so simple you could use it to diagnose autistic children, yet all our veteran gamers wanted to play it again. It uses Icehouse pieces, which are just translucent plastic pyramids of three sizes in four colors. Each piece can be upright, flat, or "weird" (neither upright nor flat); each can be touching the ground, or not (one can nest on top of another); each piece is pointing a certain way based on a ray out of its point, so pieces can point through other pieces in the group, or not. A "master" writes a certain rule (such as "The koan" [pyramid group] "has the Buddha nature if: there are more large pyramids than medium ones"), then constructs one group of one or more pyramids meeting the rule and another group of pyramids not meeting the rule, and marks them as such (signified by a black or white stone). Each player then in turn constructs another pyramid group, and either asks the master to mark it right or wrong, or challenges all players (self included) to predict its validity. In the latter case, those selecting correctly get a green stone that can be used to guess the rule. First player to correctly guess the rule wins. It plays very simple, and you don't even need to share a language with other players. ((Sounds a bit like a more complex spatial Mastermind....))
- Big Deal (Amigo Games): An economic game, where (as in Bean Trader) you need sets of resources of several colors. In this case you have no map, and instead of delivering to fulfill demand cards, you invest the bean-equivalents required on the stock shares to form corporations which pay you income. There are rules for hostile takeovers which are supposed to be important to the game, but I think we played a rule wrong which made takeover fights less of a priority. I liked this game less than most others I learned; it's too much like a lot of games I played only one time in a multi-game weekend like this where they all tend to blur together.
- Krone & Shwert (Queen Games): The name means "Crown & Sword", but for its play feel in a Diplomacy crowd, think of it as "Junta Lite" - in a revolt, players declare themselves loyalist or rebel and play cards to strengthen whichever side they take. But it plays in an hour, a fraction as much time as Junta, and it's for four players while Titan's best with 5-7 people. The boardgame part of the game is a fairly simple game of placing control markers and city tiles, and using cards to build castles and cathedrals which aid scoring. But only the player who is currently king can score each turn; others can score only by successfully rebelling (thus becoming the new king) or by supporting the winning side in an attempted revolt. Instead of many cards being worthless for a given problem, each card has three values: strength if used in combat, how many empty spaces you can expand into, and a special function such as Build a Castle for two coins, or Pope Visits (nobody can attack this player or revolt against this player for one turn). I think this will prove to be an excellent game, and it'll probably be the next "big" game I buy when I have room in the budget. With the reference sheet in English, I had no problem with the German cards, but for my local gamers' sake I'd rather have an English-language version.
- Industria (Queen Games): Another game of building technologies up from sawmills and coalmines to computers and robotics. Another game of getting objectives in preferred combinations for extra points, and keeping your opponents from getting stuff that would get them extra points. Another game that uses an auction to let players control who gets their choice of stuff. Another game where you need the right card plus its required resources to build the objective. But it all works together rather well; it's very competitive because you're all fighting over one chart (not filling separate charts as in Puerto Rico or Princes of Florence); and there's a lot of opportunity to keep other players from big scores, both by bidding high in auctions for what the opponent desires and by declining to build a factory that produces something that an opponent needs to build his newly-purchased stuff. I like this game and might buy the English-language set. Again, learning the game with the German set gave me only minor slowing, not much problem with comprehension.
- Mole In The Hole (Ravensburger): No translation needed here for anything except a page of rules. The goal is to get your mole into the final hole (it's like dating!). Players each have mole-movement markers numbered 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5. Players rotate placing moles on the hexagonal board one at a time, then one at a time they move their moles the amount on the marker and flip the marker to its blank side, so you have to use those six moves before getting a new set of those six numbers. You have to move straight, you have to move the exact number, you skip over holes but can't go through moles. There are a bunch of holes in the first level, but when they're filled, the top level is lifted off, removing the unholed moles. Those which made it to the second level do it over again, racing to get into a smaller number of holes. The second level survivors fight for three or four holes down to the final level, which has one hole. First player to get a mole in WINS the Golden Shovel! Then we played a variant in which you shuffle the move tokens face-down and play them off the top of your stack, as in "baseball" poker. The first way, it's basically a puzzle game, where you're choosing which mole to put into a hole (if your available move tokens gives you a choice) or where to block others and set up for your own next turn. The only real luck comes in not knowing where the second level's holes will be in relation to the moles suriving the first level. The second way, there's more luck in what you can play, but that's true for everybody, and there's a different skill in playing the probabilities when the set of tokens is known and uneven but you know only what you've played from the current set of six. Either way it's a rather clever game that people of various ages will like.
- The Yeti Slalom (Amigo Games, Rio Grande in USA): Another game with a funny theme but legitimately worth playing more than once. Each player has four snowboarders (alligators, or kangaroos, or beavers, etc.) trying to snowboard down a hill. However, each player also has four cards allowing him to have certain yetis (you know, the much-feared Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, yarrrrgh) throw snowballs trying to knock the opponents' snowboarders off their boards. Each yeti throws in one of the five rows down the hill, and each throws from either the left or right side, so a snowboarder in the left column is most likely to be hit by a yeti throwing from the left side of that row, but can't be hit by a yeti throwing from the right side. First snowboarders to make it to the bottom multiply a bonus by their rider value (1, 2, 3, 4) for victory points, but you can also score for later places by having your high-numbered riders wait at the top until your opponents have used up their yetis, then coming down whichever side has no yetis remaining that aren't in your hand. This game is good for both laughs and legit gameplay.
- Magna Grecia (Venice Connection): Another build-roads-and-cities game, a little like the 18xx family of games without money or stock shares, a little like the Java family of games. You want to have your cities be connected by roads to as many other cities as possible, both for their own endgame scoring and in order to attract the attention of the Oracles for bonus points. You also want to place a market (one of your colored little wooden blocks) in the other players' cities that you think will be most connected at the game's end. A random-but-balanced set of tiles controls order of play, how many roads and cities each player can build, and how many roads and cities they can bring into their ready-to-build queue. You know only the current turn's and upcoming turn's set of limits and turn order, so a good planner can use a limited amount of information without the game being flawed by over-predictability (like when order of play rotates) or imbalance (like when order of play changes randomly by die roll or card shuffle each turn). I might like this game a lot, but we were a little bit confused by the rules in our first game. Remind me to play it again this summer.
- Paris Paris: The theme is, uh, running tourist buses around Paris to make more money than the other players. (Where's Godzilla when you need tourists to be eaten?) There are four buslines across Paris; each bus station is on either one or two of the four lines. Each turn, players bid for which station they place control markers in, with the unselected station's line being scored for a Petit Tour. Stations at the junction of two lines can have two control markers. There are double control markers for each station, so you might own something early but get kicked out when it comes up again if you don't bid enough at auction. Each busline is scored for the Grand Tour when all markers have been auctioned, and each player secretly has one busline in which he scores double in the Grand Tour. The game's not bad, and the auction mechanism works pretty well. But it didn't seem to foster very competitive play that would make the auction more exciting. Still, not bad as auction games go.
- Finstere Flure (2F Games): Another silly-but-really-good game from this German designer who has his own little game company. I like almost every 2F game I've tried. In this one, which is best with many players (6 max), the players are running away from a horrid-but-dumb monster. Players each have a terrified innocent character who moves 1 and 6 on alternating turns (number is 1 on white-number side and 6 on black-number side), and one who moves 2-5-2-5-..., and one who moves 3-4-3-4-... Players move the distance on the top of the token, trying to get to the other end of the board and hiding behind stones and other characters, then flip the token, so each token is moved once. (I can't believe I'd like any game with a BLARF element!) Then the monster moves according to a fixed set of rules, but the distance varies and the players don't find out how far until after they've moved. At each step, the monster looks for the nearest victim straight forward/left/right, turns if needed, and steps one space that way, eating anyone in the space. It's a neat puzzle game, with a good screwiness factor as you set up a safe hiding place then someone pushes a stone that blocks the monster's view and makes it eat your poor guy instead.
- Das Erbe des Maloney (Ravensburger): The title means "Maloney's Inheritance". Sid Sackson (a longtime designer of simple but elegant games) came up with this game, sort of a travel game where the title is irrelevant to the game except as excuse-to-be-doing-this backstory. Each player has a handful of cards for the (18?) cities, each of which is worth 7 points if the train (ridden by all players to one city per day) goes there on some particular day of the week, then a point less each day until the next week comes around and the value returns to 7. This counts double on Tuesday or Friday. The cards vary so players will have different preferred days for visiting the same city. The strategy of the game is in the auction of who chooses where each day will be played. There's a "suitcase" for whoever actually selects each destination not previously visited, so there's a bonus adding (or subtracting if your luck is bad) victory points or auction money. The suitcase bonus is shared by all players on Sunday. There's a bonus for being first to get rid of all your cards, so you often must choose (when someone else takes the players to a city) between selling a card on a bad day for one or two points or instead holding it, hoping to return to that city on a better day. The game is rather clever and the auction works well, but I was left without a strong feeling of loving/hating/oneness-with the play experience. I might like it more after another try. It's currently out of print (both the English and the German language editions) according to Funagain's website.
... So I learned a LOT of new games and they weren't just forgettable reshufflings of the same rule systems with different names and pictures. This is one of the highlights of the year for me. Saw old friends, talked about other gamer friends and cons, talked about all kinds of things. Despite spending so much of my time in learning mode, I won a few games and got lots of second places out of 4 or 5 or 6. A couple of times I screwed up and, just trying to work out how to play, did something for my own best score without seeing how I could deny someone else many more points by sacrificing my play. On the last day I was hot, winning two games and coming within a card draw of winning the third, after earlier being blocked while a turn from winning. But I still had to come home, get my dog, and get ready for the non-holiday portion of the workweek. Overall, it was a ten-out-of-ten quality event.
- Mike, mpbarno of

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!!

Doug Kent (02-12-04)
Dear Jim, I'm enjoying Steve Langley's letters, especially the cat sections. I miss my two cats quite a bit - in fact I've had Tigger for 14 years now. I knew his writing style reminded me of someone, and I've finally realized who it was. Again, especially when writing about the cat, he makes me think of the most powerful man in the Universe in the Douglas Adams "Hitchhiker" books... the one who lives with a cat in the middle of nowhere. ((Yes, I see that, but I've been reading Steve's writing for so long, that he always comes across to me more uniquely as himself.))
Life in prison continues. I've had the pleasure of dealing with the medical care department twice recently, and I've decided it's just one more reason to avoid incarceration.
On the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day I woke with a sore throat, stuffed sinuses, a cough, headaches, and body aches. Normally, I'd take some sinus pills and be on my way. But not here! I can't take any medication unless I am given it by the medical staff (except for aspirin or tylenol). The problem is, I can't see the medical staff until Tuesday... there is no sick call on Fridays, nor on weekends, nor on holidays. Instead of popping a few pills and feeling much better, I have to wait until Tuesday morning, suffering through the entire three-day weekend. In fact, by the time Tuesday afternoon rolls around (pills aren't dispensed until 3:15 PM), I'm starting to feel better on my own. All that so I can get 5 Actifed and 5 Ibuprofin.
On a more serious medical note, a major concern for me is the monitoring of my skin for possible cancer. In the Spring of 2000 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, Clarke's level 3, in my left calf. I underwent surgery, and a biopsy of a lymph node showed the cancer had not spread beyond my leg. Since then I've had a number of skin lesions removed and biopsied. Fortunately, none have been cancerous, although many have been pre-cancerous displastic nevis. I was careful to make my history known to the Bureau of Prisons and the medical staff here. In late December I submitted a "cop-out" (inmate to prison staff communication form) to the Medical Department asking for an appointment with a doctor or an outside dermatologist for removal and biopsy of at least three lesions showing growth and color change. 10 days later I received my response - I had to come to sick call (6AM Monday-Thursday) to get an appointment with the Physician's Assistant, so he could evaluate my request. On January 5 I did so. The PA decided I needed to see any outside dermatologist. He guessed I'd see my name on the Call-Out list within two weeks (the Call-Out list has every inmate in the Camp with appointments for the following day for any reason - medical, education, or otherwise).
Four weeks went by. My name did not appear. Concerned, I sent another Cop-Out. No response. Finally, yesterday I went back to sick call. The PA had me come back an hour later, and when I did he informed me that yes, I do have an appointment scheduled... but it may not be as soon as I hope, and he is not permitted to tell me now when that appointment will be, for "security reasons." I actually understand that part - if I know well in advance, theoretically I could arrange a meeting there with an outside person or something. So, I'm hoping my appointment will be within 3 or 4 weeks. Meanwhile the skin lesions slowly grow and darken.
I only have one available course of action besides waiting, and that would be to fill out a BP-8 form (used to resolve inmate/Bureau personnel disputes). But there is my Catch-22. If I make a fuss and these lesions are fortunate enough NOT to be malignant, then next time I go through this process I'm bound to be told "you made a stink last time and it was nothing, so this time you'll have to wait extra long!" Sort of like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. So, for now, I've elected to wait but closely monitor the lesions I find most troublesome.
((Gosh, I really hope this works out OK, but I would suggest that this may not really be any direct incompetence. It could easily take them that long to get a dermatology appointment given the nature of their payment and contract (which I'm sure is not top dollar). If I were given an option to have a regular physician or even the PA just remove the lesions, especially the ones that look the worst, now and then wait to see the dermatologist when they let me, I might have gone for that. So even making a stink might not really help (unless you were doing the stink just to get someone to remove the lesions now!), if they can't force the dermatologist to see you sooner.))
That's it for this month. Stay in touch, and thanks again to those who sent letters (I responded to every letter I received).
My Best to You and Yours, Doug the Convict, see address below in Money

Jeff Hoffman (Tue, 17 Feb 2004 14:08:10 -0800 (PST))
Jim, I've been reading the mail of Doug Kent with some interest. The Allenwood minimum security prison is in central Pennsylvania, in Union County. Also in Union Co is the Lewisburg maximum security penitentiary. I grew up nearby and my elementary school was on a neighboring piece of property. I can remember being out on the school play yard for recess (so this was sometime in the mid 1960's) when a plane flew overhead trailing a banner that said "Happy Birthday Jimmy Hoffa." I'd never seen a plane pulling a banner before, and my parents had to explain to me that Jimmy Hoffa was a prisoner. All in all, a very memorable day.
Take care. Jeff Hoffman (jeffhoffman of

John Michalski (2/24/04)
Steve Langley spins a good story about building more planets in his previous issue of TAP. But, while gas and dust might accumulate at the Lagrange points - or even space stations or asteroids - building 5 simultaneous planets of approximately Earth mass would hardly go unnoticed in Sol's gravitational balancing act of the Solar System. Put 5 Earths into one orbit formerly occupied by just one, and I doubt the trapeze act would hold up longer than it took to build. With 6 Earths in one elliptical orbit, the start locations would hardly meet the old Lagrange definition anymore, I suspect.
John M., 10705 Cecilia Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73162-4324

Richard Weiss (Thu, 12 Feb 2004 23:48:26 -0500)
Jim; Lots of stuff of interest in your sine ((Hehehehe, yes, we're on the upside of the sine wave.)) this month, but come on, stop sending me the paper copy. I bought a Honda Insight as an anti-SUV and pro-energy conservation statement and now you are killing more trees to send me pulp fiction than I kill petroleum babies. ((Yeah, I'm thinking I might buy an Insight with my next car. My current car is up over 210,000 so it's only a matter of time, though I'm shooting for two or three more years and 300,000. My worry is that you guys don't read this if I don't mail to you. And I'll print this, but then I'll get some of the others who ***I*** enjoy mailing to probably making the same request. If anyone insists, I will drop them from the mailing list, but READ the E-Mail!!!))
Steve's ramblings are sometimes fascinating and sometimes too bloggy. ((I'm trying to trim the blogginess, see if I did a better job this issue. But I have to admit that I enjoy printing the cat bits, so I likely will continue to do so, maybe Steve will get a webcam for the cat.)) I had to give the cat I have been babysitting for the past 2 years back to my daughter. I have been reading the cat tails with enjoyment. Recently there has been a video making the internet spam joke rounds of cats being un-catlike. If Steve would have had a video of his cat breaking the window with his head, would have been on there, or America's Funniest Pet Video Show.
Clinton brought us HIPAA which was wonderful for creating the "P" part, Portability of one's insurance allowing one to change jobs/be fired without insurance ramifications. ((Do you get Tom Howell's szine? I found his HIPAA rants quite amusing. My wife still accuses me of being personally responsible for HIPAA just because I was on Federal workgroups that were codifying it, so I was telling her about it YEARS before it finally went into force. And as you say, it is fascinating that it was a Clinton initiative but because of that LONG delay, no one associates it with him.)) I also like the electronic standardization part that is being moaned about so severely now. ((Indeed, and we SHOULD be more cognizant of the security and privacy of our medical records.))
I feel more threatened now than I ever did before 9/1/1, and way more after unilaterally attacking a country and disposing of its government. I feel far less safe in other parts of the world and no safer here. ((Really. I still think precisely the opposite. Pete Gaughan and Mark Lew have been talking about some of the information coming out about what happened on that 9/11 day itself, including the actions of the bureaucracies at United and American as the hijackings were occuring. My lesson from that is that a lot of the things that happened that day as people "couldn't believe what was happening, it was too much outside their conceptualization" would not happen today. It just wouldn't. I was conceptualizing all sorts of even worse things before 9/11 that I'm still envisioning and don't care to post on the Web to give nuts ideas. You worry for good reason, and we all have to own our own preferences and feelings, but it's not where I am.))
I resent every single action taken that has thwarted freedom and done nothing to provide anything meaningful regarding protection. I know that within two weeks I could devise a way to blow up an airliner and get on an airplane with it. The true battle of the politics is very present and flamed by Bush's actions. I believe the true battle is one of information and with the information egalitarianism. Egalitarianism threatens everyone who has money and power. Sure they usually go together. In the USA the means to secure one's money and power has not come at the high expense that those with money and power in Islamic countries are creating. The statistic I'd follow most closely if I were you, worrying about Al Qaeda, would be the steadily increasing percentage of Chinese Muslims. ((And Indonesian Muslims. I don't think I would visit Indonesia at the moment. But you're absolutely right, about the freedom worries. But the information doesn't become tacit and embedded in everyone's minds. This is the tradeoff of egalitarianism (and don't worry, I do come down on your side eventually, but it is a worry), if you work with individual and free group decisions then the conversation and socialization of information becomes key. Having a piece of knowledge, making it "public" and calling it "known" are three very, very, very different things.))
L-Points?!? Building planets! The story was also a wonderful construct. ((Indeed, Steve is the coolest....))
Doug Kent and his ex-wife Mara. I have always counted Doug as a friend and gamer. I visited with he and Mara over parts of two days in Dallas once. ((Yes, I recall you writing about this!)) I remember Doug saying that Mara rarely agreed to see anyone and therefore may not have met anyone from the hobby. We went to dinner, returned home and played a pinball game they owned. I wouldn't be surprised if she won most games. I had a delightful visit. Each life that finishes that touched my life, I am thankful for the time and the friendship. Doug, I wish you the best with coping with the time on your hands. Kesey wrote "A Cuckoo's Nest." You could write a book about your prison experience. I would advise you to title it, "A Maniac's Paradise." ((Even cooler.... and I don't mean Klink's cooler.))
That's it my friend Jim. If you ever have to come to Phoenix please do let me know. ((I've actually never been to Phoenix, except for passing through the airport a few times, but I'll certainly keep it in mind.))
I have no earthly idea as to what step health care reform will take next. I am working to make the variability and the outcomes available information to all. Probably this summer, if I am not just being a manic thinker, I will start a Fantasy Health Care League. Like Rotisserie, there will be categories, pick a hospital that will have the lowest CABG mortality, a SNF with the least infections, a health plan with the highest HeDIS score for 2 year olds, etc. There will be URLs on my web site (I have another domain now, "Higher Quality Health Care" as well as HigherQuality) that link to all sites I can find that report true data. ((Ooooh, this is way cool. I wanna play!! I track all that stuff too. Since it is pretty much useless for any real purpose anyway (we can talk about that some time) since people designing systems congenitallly refuse to get specific about context and audience - what I want to know if I have cardiac valve disease and am considering a CABG is NOT the standard lowest risk adjusted CABG mortality, but I want to know what would a person with MY health history and MY health and socioeconomic and family characteristics expected CABG mortality be in this hospital? The system you want, if we could design it, would be a system where you plug in YOUR characteristics into a website and get back a tailored report oriented to you. But the current system is perfectly appropriate for a Fantasy Health Care League, that I could get into.))
This ties to growing my current work being the "National Quality Monitor" for TRICARE as well as being a quality oversight monitor via independent medical reviews. I doubt I will get anywhere, but wherever I am will be fun. ((Precisely, may you be in a fun place! I seem to be having much more fun these days in conversation and doing instead of studying and publishing, even though I do a lot of that too. As long as I always wish I had more time to do what I'm doing, I figure things are basically OK, if busy.))
Richard, rcweiss of

Richard Weiss (Thu, 12 Feb 2004 23:06:50 -0500)
Jim; Your sending me TAP is killing me with kindness that was neither requested nor desired. Come on, save a tree. I really do read your sine on line - sometimes.
((Yeah, but then I worry that you miss things...))
OK, last issue and this, John Schultz lives on in our memory. How did he die and when? John was my first draw partner and one of my hobby favorites. Not being a fuzzy bunny, probably the next game I stabbed him and we got on just as well. He even sent me his games from jail so that I could send them eventually to his son or have them when he got out.
Richard, rcweiss of
((And that's just the point. It happened in the Summer of 2002, in a motorcycle accident. We discussed it in TAP. That was also the same point in time that Kathy Byrne Caruso passed away, so did you miss that too?? By the way, dropping John Caruso a note now would not be out of place, he still needs all of our friendship and support! Check him out at commishjohn of

Richard Weiss (Sun, 15 Feb 2004 21:04:11 -0500)
Jim; I have a contract with the government now. Logic is irrelevant. I did not now about Kathy, either. Thanks for the hard copies that I read. ((But I will follow your wishes and stop sending them to you.))
I played a game of dictionary last night and was reminded about running/playing dictionary and Yahtzee as purely fun, purely for the interaction type activities. I always put Nuclear Yuppie dip in that category. I never could figure out why I could not organize one perfect turn of loss of each supply center. Mark Lew's face is rising up at me as too paranoid about my intentions.
Hopefully you enjoyed Valentine's Day. I spent it with my girlfriend from years ago, I'm sure you met her. Anyway, she told me that her Mother had celebrated St. Valentine's Day in Ukraina as a little girl. I will have to research this, since I always wanted to assume Hallmark had done this to me.
s'later, Richard, rcweiss of
((Correct, remember that I'm half Ukranian too, more properly Galician, to which I can only say to Diplomacy players, since only Diplomacy players know where Galicia is and think of the "right one" first and not the other Galicia in Iberia. Hey, O'Donnell's, that's my excuse for messing up the map last issue, I can't believe that Russia can avoid visiting and taking Galicia from Austria-Hungary, as happened in "real life". I always have mixed feelings about St. Valentine's Day, I'm not necessarily proud of my close relationship with Hallmark but it is a legitimate holiday that people did celebrate long in the past.))

Doug Beyerlein (Mon, 23 Feb 2004 10:47:35 -0800)
While cleaning up the pile of mail on the kitchen counter Saturday I came across the last two issues of TAP (#278 and 279). I generally read TAP fairly closely (looking for familiar names from the distant past), but I was surprised to read about Doug Kent's change of address and Steve Langley's retirement. I don't really know Doug, but he was the one who contacted me when I was the subject of TAP's search some years ago. I hope that he is doing okay in his new environment. I met Steve when he and Daf were living in Sacramento in the mid 70s. They had a Diplomacy get-together and I drove up from the Bay Area, where I was living at the time. I remember Larry Peery and Gary Coughlan attending also. I didn't know that Steve is now living in Seattle (I live just north of Seattle in Mill Creek). Small world. Of course Buz Eddy and Eric Ozog both live within a half an hour radius of my house, but I haven't seen either one of them in years either. I think that I last saw Buz (whom I introduced to Diplomacy in '67) was when I attended the DipCon in Seattle sometime in the 90s. My only purpose for going to the DipCon was to see Walt Buchanan (who was living in Klamath Falls, OR, at the time) and Edi Birsan (up from the Bay Area).
As you can probably gather from the above comments, I don't really have any interest in Diplomacy these days. I appreciate your invitation to attend this year's DipCon, but I think that I will pass. I am keeping plenty busy with numerous other activities.
To update the few TAP readers who know me (or care), here is a brief summary of what has been happening in my life in recent years. Marie (whom I met at the 1974 Chicago DipCon and married in '75) and I separated three years ago and divorced a year later. Last summer I married Joan in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Ecola State Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean, just north of Cannon Beach, OR. Joan and I met on the Internet (; she was living in Fresno, CA, and I was here in Mill Creek, WA. Joan and I both lived in the Bay Area (she in Berkeley and I in Menlo Park) in the '80s and knew the same people, but never met each other. We both competed in bicycle races back then and probably were at the same races. We are also both runners and now we run on the mountain trails surrounding Seattle on the weekends. I am still running marathons (I will be at Boston in April). Last year I finished third in my age group at Nashville's Country Music Marathon. My total marathon count is up to 78 and this April's Boston Marathon will be my third, having previously run it in 2001 and 2002.
For the past 12 years I have been managing the Pacific Northwest offices of AQUA TERRA Consultants. We are a small national engineering consulting firm specializing in hydrologic and water quality computer modeling. I currently have a big project for King County (which includes the Seattle metropolitan area) and am managing a project in San Antonio, TX. Fortunately we can do all of the work here in our Everett, WA, office, but I do fly down to San Antonio now and then for meetings. On the side I write freelance articles for local running and hiking magazines.
Joan is an RN (nothing like having your own private nurse) who has done everything (she worked the ER in Oakland, CA). Currently she is a hospice nurse working with dying patients and their families (the patients are fine, the families are a mess). Both Joan and I have been taking classes in life coaching at the Academy for Coach Training in Bellevue, WA. Joan is getting out of nursing and now is working part-time as a professional life coach. She is excellent, although admittedly I might be a little bit biased. She has a website ( where she discusses life coaching and what she offers potential clients.
I appreciate your sending me TAP. Thanks for keeping me informed of the hobby's happenings.
Doug, beyerlein of
((You're welcome, Doug, it's a big reason for me keeping this up in my own mind. If postal Diplomacy really is dead, I intend to be the last one standing. Since I'm still sending this to 140 people each issue, I'm surely WAY the largest postal szine around of the ones that are left, even considering the somewhat healthier Brit hobby. The coaching idea, of course, is superhot at the moment for good reasons. My step-son also is getting involved in the life coaching movement, his is, though he just got a new other job and I think the life coaching is being reassessed at the moment.))

Steve Langley (Wed, 28 Jan 2004 08:37:28 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #24
So, John Kerry is the Democratic front runner. He took Iowa, and now New Hampshire. Massachusetts senator, war veteran, moderate rather than liberal. He comes as a surprise to the pundits. He promises to stand up to special interest groups. I can't say I am impressed by any such promise. I'm not even sure what standing up would mean to tell the truth. He is for more jobs, more taxes for the rich, less taxes for the middle class, against the war, although that is only lately, he was for the war a year ago. Tough to say who he really is actually.
((What I find interesting is that I've always liked Kerry the man WAY better than Kerry the politician or the candidate. I really didn't want him to run or succeed, but now here we are. My experience with him as a person goes back 10 years when I was flying back and forth to Washington on a weekly basis and he and I were on the same flight about a dozen times over the space of four months. I talked to him a few times, and watched others talk to him, in a situation where he was the Senator from Massachusetts but wasn't explicitly running for anything. I liked him a lot as a person, just as a regular guy. And I find it amusing and scary how none of that comes through in the campaign, or seems relevant.))
One thing for sure, he has knocked Dean out of the front runner position. That just might work out better for Dean than not. As the identified front runner, Dean was the target for everyone. Now Kerry gets that attention. It will be interesting to see how he handles it. On the other hand, Kerry has won in two states now. Two is better than none. Still, being primaries, Dean has done well enough to capture a few delegates too, so he is not totally out of the race.
Late night talk show about the American intelligence services. Part of the people calling in think that the president was mis-served, part think that the administration listened to what they wanted to hear and ignored what they didn't want to hear. There are two UN weapons inspectors answering questions, one from Great Britain, one of our own. The Brit admits that he does not have the inside story of what was or was not said by our intelligence people, but that on his side of the water, Tony Blair pretty much told the intelligence services what he wanted them to find.
When they started looking for evidence of WMD they fully expected to find lots. As time passed they begin to think that there wasn't anything to be found. The British administration was not interested in those assessments.
The American is a lot less forthcoming. The woman who facilitates the show is asking lots harder questions than the people calling in. My mistake, the latest caller has asked about the war for oil scenario, naming lots of names and dates. The Brit does not agree that it was all about war for oil. At least it was not the case for Blair. The American had no comment.
((As I've said before, the thing I find totally insane that we should think, expect, or most importantly ACT on anything like this being ALL anything. Oil, WMD, Democracy, theocracies, and more, each of these factors are and were part of it. I understand the deficit and simplification, to be sure, but it is a path of insanity, and if it persists, we really will have the failure of democracy. Really, even as it seems unthinkable, we will lose democracy as a failed structure of government.))
I'm listening to the BBC now. They believe that Kerry has resoundingly trounced Dean in New Hampshire. I love their use of language. The next report was about the increase of piracy on the high seas. Now that's a news report I have not heard mentioned in the local (our) news. Most of the piracy takes place in the South Pacific and it is rising. More ships are being taken, more crew killed, and there is an increase in holding crews for ransom.
((See above, think Indonesia, think terrorism and Islamic extremism, and you would be surprised if it WASN'T happening.))
The final story is really bizarre, and heart wrenching. A British couple had four children. Their eldest died as an infant in his first year, then they had a daughter, and then twin sons. Both boys died in their first year. Their mother, based on evidence given by their pediatrician, was arrested and convicted of infanticide. Three years later she was finally exonerated. The doctor's evidence was discredited. After three years she has been returned to her family. Her daughter hardly knows her. Her husband went from a middle management position to out of work. Forensic DNA evidence indicates that all three boys had a genetic defect that caused their death.
The couple told the story with great restraint. The parents were taken by the police and questioned after the twins died. The woman was in shock when she was arrested. Not at being arrested but over the deaths of her sons. The questioning went on for several days. Their daughter, nearly three years old at the time, was taken by the British equivalent of Child Services. Once the husband was released he was not allowed to see his daughter until he could get a court order. That took him a month. His wife was being held for trial. He had his daughter back, but he was not allowed to bring her to see her mother. Her conviction came as a shock. They knew that there was no substance to the charge.
They sold their home to pay for a continuing investigation. Finally the investigators managed to uncover proof that the doctor gave fabricated evidence at her trial. Since it was his evidence that had chiefly convicted her, she got a new trial and was freed. Turns out she was the third woman convicted through this doctor's evidence in three different cases. The other two cases are being reinvestigated now.
Steve, steflan of
((So is widespread DNA testing and information systems a good thing or a bad thing, or does it depend.... an issue to ponder, isn't it. Thanks, Steve, for some of another side that I'd not been thinking about.))

Steve Langley (Mon, 2 Feb 2004 15:56:05 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #27
The cat is on the small side for cats. I'm guessing about eight pounds and slightly pear shaped. She is grey with white trim. She has three white feet, just the toes actually, and one white stocking on her rear left foot. She has a white patch between her front legs on her chest, another between her back legs, with a grey tummy in between. She has a white blaze on her neck that merges into the white on the right side of her jaw, the left side of her jaw is grey. Above her jaw, she has a white area on her left cheek and nose. Both eyes are dark and surrounded with grey. The grey is a dark dove grey and pretty much the same all over except for about the last six inches of her tail which has slightly darker grey one inch rings. You have to catch her in just the right light to see the rings. She is a short hair with about the thickest pelt I have petted. She feels very plush to the touch. On the grey side of her face she has a circular white beauty spot just about 3/4ths of an inch under her eye. It is about 1/8th inch in diameter and may be a scar or possibly a wart. That's the cat.
I have noticed something occurring in my life over the past several weeks. I know there is nothing to it but it makes me almost believe the Joseph Conrad proposition that the universe is totally neutral in all ways, but it is still out to get you. For the past several weeks I have taken mail to a post box. The trip to the post box is always in conjunction with a trip to the store. That's the closest post box. The mail has mostly been bills that I pay. I do this about once a week. Invariably the next mail that arrives contains more bills. Had I but waited another day I could have included them. Or not, the universe might just have held them back for one additional day.
Steve, steflan of
((I know, I know, a bit bloggy, but I do trim off some of this. If you do want to get Steve in the full bloggy extreme, you'll have to ask him to be on his mailing list. But I too want to keep the universe in neutral balance.... and note that I'm not publishing ALL of these.))

Steve Langley (Tue, 3 Feb 2004 13:38:34 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #28
I just listened to a rebuttal to a news piece on NPR a few days past that had warned about the dangers of the huge deficit budget being proposed by our current administration. The rebuttal was from the editor of a right wing political magazine. In short the editor said that this was a war budget, and that when you are in a war you can't wait for a better economy to spend what is needed to fight the war. In actual fact, the budget is not a war budget. The war budget part was not included in the current budget, it is being held back until after the election in November and will be revealed to us then. The current very huge deficit budget is for all of the non-war parts of government spending, the war budget is still to come. ((And they think they can get away with holding that back because when that gets "added" to the score it is not politically supportable to vote against it, since the men and women "need" our support. Another interesting issue IS those men and women and all of the deaths, physical injuries, and emotional trauma in that population and how it integrates back into the rest of us. What do you do when you see an Iraq amputee? The stories I hear is that most of us don't react "well", which is accepting, concerned, but not staring mouth agape.))
The deficit is needed to just keep the government running and to support the continued tax cuts that Bush feels is good for our economy. If the tax cuts become permanent, the upcoming administration, whoever they turn out to be, are going to have to spend a whole lot of money that we don't have. Replacing Bush and company with someone else won't make the deficit magically go away. At best it might keep the deficit from getting much worse. About the only positive thing that could be done would be to turn back the clock and restore the cut taxes. That is an unlikely turn of events. Electing a Democrat as president doesn't change Congress. And, politicians have never been very big on publically increasing taxes.
I've heard a couple of people lately trumpeting using hydrogen as car fuel. There are hydrogen burning automobile engines now. The result is water vapor added to the atmosphere instead of nitrogen compounds. It all sounds very nice. What no one has pointed out is that while this works very well on a small scale, if everyone who drives a car had a hydrogen car, there would not be enough hydrogen to go around.
Hydrogen is the most prevalent element in the universe, so there should be lots to go around, but it isn't as common in a pure form here on Earth as it is in the universe as a whole. Useful hydrogen comes from two sources. The primary source is as a byproduct of oil refining. If we start burning hydrogen instead of gasoline, then gasoline becomes the byproduct when we refine for hydrogen. ((I didn't know this, but the chemistry of it does make sense. Thanks for the info, does suggest a balance though where we use MORE hydrogen cars than we currently have, but not go all hydrogen. Part of the balance is more batteries too.))
The other source is electrolysis. Using electricity with pure water will release hydrogen and oxygen in gas form. The perfect way to go if we had a good source of electricity, and pure water. In the real world electricity is polluting to a great degree, and water isn't pure. Electrolysis in tap water releases hydrogen and oxygen mixed with chemical compounds that are extremely poisonous to all life. On a small scale the poisons can be ignored. Small scale being high school lab experiment level. On a scale large enough to fuel the world's automobiles, the poisons would kill everything on the planet within a week.
That would solve the fuel problem certainly, and all our other problems as well.
Until we develop a technology that can selectively break down water into hydrogen and oxygen using hydrogen as a fuel really isn't practical. Give us twenty years maybe. By then nanotechnology might very well be able to give us a usable hydrogen source. Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen that are then burned to give back the water is a very attractive looking scenario. Too bad we are not there yet.
Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Wed, 4 Feb 2004 15:54:23 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #29
The cat has been in a funny mood today. I was reading in the 'warm' room and she kept butting her head against my leg. I tried petting her but she pulled away from that and started mewing at me. I don't understand cat well enough to have any idea what was up with that. I tried explaining to her that I didn't understand, and then she would either mew more, or try the head butt routine again. This went on for what seems like a really long time but was probably only a few minutes. I tried opening the door for her, in case I was missing the signal, and she looked at me as if I was out of my head. I finally gave up on the reading and came into the 'cool' computer room to write this down before it escaped me.
The cat, of course, has stayed in the 'warm' room. She is taking advantage of her opportunity to curl up on my spot on the couch for a quick nap.
I've pretty much stopped watching CNN. So much for my wide objectivity. NPR is easier to follow, being radio. I can listen while sitting at the keyboard. NPR is far from objective. They present both right and left, but most of the news is about the left. Most of the opinion is from the left. CNN on the other hand loses my attention. Too much opinion that says nothing.
The right seems to be making good moves. The accusations about Bush's absentee record when he was in the National Guard is being used as a means to get contributions, saying that such personal attacks need to be countered. He has proposed a bi-partisan commission to examine the intelligence about Iraq. The commission is scheduled to still be studying the matter all the way through the November elections. A large part of the upcoming budget has been reserved until after the elections in November. Basically the White House is preempting or capitalizing on Democratic moves. Good politics. I wish they were a bit less clever about manipulating the public.
On the other side, there is more Democratic infighting going on. I actually think this is good for the party. The longer they fight amongst themselves the less time they will have to fight with the Republicans. Democrats don't fight very well. At least that has been my observation in the past. The less time they have to fight with the Republicans, the less time they have to self destruct.
I did like one quote from a Republican who plans to vote against Bush in November. Ï still own my guns but I can't afford the ammunition." Metaphor but apt. It really will be the economy that decides the election. The Republicans are telling us that the economy is going great and that it is the presidents tax initiatives that deserve the credit. Tough position to support. There are a lot of people who don't think that their personal economy is in all that great a shape. It isn't clear at all whether any of these people will vote. There was another quote about that. A woman who had just been laid off said that she wasn't going to her party caucus because she had to look for a job.
I'm finding myself looking forward to the end of this whole election thing. I observed decades ago that things change. Nothing lasts forever. That includes the government. Maybe especially the government. The world is far less than perfect. No matter how good people have it they want it better. They want lots of government services with no cost to themselves, and they want low taxes. The only way to do that of course is deficit spending, and no one wants that, either. So no matter who is in charge, after a while the people will trade them in for someone else, in hopes of getting more 'something for nothing' than they are getting now.
Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Fri, 6 Feb 2004 09:22:12 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #30
The cat left the house when I got home. I opened the door and she was through it at top speed. I have gone back to the door a couple of times to see if she wants back in. No sign of her. She hasn't been out of the house since Sunday. I give her the opportunity every day. Usually she stays well back from the door and just looks out when I open it. Sunday she went out when I opened it and was out for about an hour. I wonder what she is doing. I hope she keeps out of the street.
While I was walking home I was passed by a big black SUV going at about the speed limit. A big orange cat ran into the street right under the wheels of the SUV. I'm sure the driver couldn't even see it, the cat was so close to the car. I fully expected to see road kill before my eyes, but without a pause, the cat was suddenly running in the other direction, out from the wheels of the SUV. Cats may not have nine lives, but they act as if they do.
I just read an op-ed piece by a right wing columnist on Kerry and Vietnam. It was making the thesis that Kerry's use of his having been both a hero and anti-war activist over Vietnam could backfire on him. Sounded a lot like wishful thinking to me. I do not think that part of Kerry's background will cause him a problem. I'm not sure that it will cause Bush a problem either. The real issues of the coming election are going to be the economy and health care and education. The issues of warfare and security are going to be secondary. Too bad for the right wing that the American people are getting over being frightened by 9/11.
Steve, steflan of
((Maybe. I agree that the frightened middle do NOT agree with Richard and will back the Republicans if they are still frightened. I think part of the story this year will be the battle for the psychological center of the public mind.))

Steve Langley (Mon, 9 Feb 2004 08:35:54 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #31
I'm listening to the BBC on NPR. The BBC is undergoing a change of leadership. The recent inquiry headed by Lord Hutton found that the BBC was principally at fault in failing to verify the accuracy of its facts before publishing the story claiming bad intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. Old story, and since there have been no such weapons found you would think the BBC could point to those facts in their defense.
The British government appoints the head of the BBC. There is a very harsh interview asking how can the BBC be independent of the government if the leader is appointed by the government. The hard questions are being answered by a BBC editor in chief. He is the acting director now that the latest director resigned. He will probably be the next director, but that isn't a given. There is an open audition period as it were. Interviews are being done with people who want to become the next director.
The government committee that is holding the interviews will make the final decision as to who will be the next director. Given all that, he is the acting director and has years of experience working for the BBC. He is quite passionate about the BBC and its independence from government control. The interviewer is just a passionate and finds it hard to understand his position. How is the British government choosing the head of the BBC any different from any dictator doing the same to the news media of his country?
I can see that holding interviews with anyone who wants the job is different from just picking the head of the news service, but separation of news and state it is not. Still, the BBC is in this state of change over a resignation following an inquiry about the BBC story criticizing the government's going to war in Iraq. There would have been a good argument that the news and state were separate, except for the resignation. By the way, the results of the inquiry which led to the resignation are far from popular with the majority of the British people. They are asking for another inquiry to be held.
For all of that I really like listening to the BBC news. I get to hear stories and slants I don't get in this country from any other source.
((Yeah, I really like it too. That's where I get almost all of my "national" news since I don't have cable to see CNN and am always still at work when the network national news is on. And newspapers over here just don't have that much depth.))
The caucus is over. The story about Kerry and Dean is being rerun by all of the news talkers. None of them have been talking about what I consider to be the most important part of the story. Democrats have turned out in double normal volumes to vote, and they seem to be more concerned about a candidate that can defeat the sitting president than any other issue. That is truly remarkable to my mind. I see no reason to believe they won't all come out and vote in the presidential election as well. Al Gore had the popular vote in the previous election. If there are twice as many Democrat voters in the coming election the Republicans really have a big job ahead of them.
Steve, steflan of
((I know, Steve, the double normal volumes thing is still going on and still getting very little coverage. There still is some rumbling that some of those voters are Bush voters who are crossing over only temporarily to influence the primaries, but I think we'll have a larger turnout than usual in the general election this fall, from both sides.))

Steve Langley (Tue, 10 Feb 2004 13:36:29 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #32
I am observing that people see what they want to see. One of the many political pundits I have heard recently was talking about the primary process being flawed. He spoke about Kerry having a momentum thing going for him that was causing people to opt out of voting for their own candidates. He pointed to the poor turnout in the recent caucuses as evidence in support of his thesis. In fact, the turnout was double what was expected. One man's poor turn out is another man's record.
Now I am hardly arguing that the primary process is without flaw. For that matter, Kerry probably does have a momentum thing happening. I am just pointing out that the pundit expected to see a poor caucus turnout because such fit his thesis. He was seeing what he expected to see.
That probably explains a lot about why political pundits have such a poor track record predicting things. They look at the political situation and a thesis springs to mind. From that point forward they see clearly those things that support the thesis and do not see clearly those things that do not support their thesis. That is, assuming I am observing correctly and not just supporting my thesis. ((That doesn't just happen with political pundits....))
Personally I would like to see the primary process start much later in the year. There will be many months of running for office between the end of the primary process and the actual election. Back when the candidates had to travel around the country and make stump speeches to get their message out several months made a lot of sense. In this age of television and internet there is less need for the length of time between the selection of candidates and the final election. The electioneering process has become big business and several months of it can get to be pretty overwhelming to the consumer.
The cat doesn't know what to make of me these days. I start the day at the computer and she comes in with me and then almost immediately decides to leave. Later I spend a small amount of time in the warm room, changing clothes. She just starts getting comfortable there and I toss her out and leave the house. When I return she is curled up on my bed but more than ready for a return to the warm room. Instead I come back to the computer. She is outside the warm room now, mewing to be let in. If I were in the warm room I'd let her in, but such is not the case.
Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Thu, 12 Feb 2004 08:44:27 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #33
Medical Science took a forward step in Korea. They have cloned a human blastocyst to the point that embryonic stem cells can be harvested. The technique called for a really dedicated volunteer. One Korean woman had over two hundred eggs harvested before one was successfully cleansed of it's original genetic material and then had her genetic material inserted without destroying the egg. Essentially the mother was cloned and the stem cells are carrying her genetic markers. Stem cells grow up to be any other type of cell they contact. They are the beginning of healing many conditions that we have had to endure in the past. They can be used to replace diseased or damaged cells that are the root of many terminal illnesses.
Why bother to clone the blastocyst? Embryonic stem cells have to be your own in order to work best. Your body may reject alien stem cells. The cloning technique still requires an egg, so it is not something quite ready for mass production.
Steve, steflan of

Steve Langley (Fri, 13 Feb 2004 08:47:57 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #34
A new `buzz phrase' I have been hearing a lot lately is `in an ideal world'. It just came to mind because I just heard a military expert, discussing the low level warfare in Iraq, say "In an ideal world we would not need to rotate troops. We would have people in place who would be better trained and not need to be replaced." In an ideal world we would not need troops at all, or have I missed something?
((In a recognition that context is really, really important, they forget that that de-contextualizing risks irrelevance.))
I was just listening to Reverend Eugene Rivers, a black minister who is against same sex marriage. The interviewer tried to ask questions that would allow the reverend to make some sort of mistake. I'm willing to bet that the reverend was a star in his high school debating society. He not only made no mistakes, he made a very logical argument against same sex marriage. Not an argument that I accept, but he definitely came out ahead in the discussion.
His first position was that he was opposed to using the black experience in civil rights as an analogy to the gay position. He thinks that being gay is enough different from being black that there can be no comparison. The interviewer then played a tape of a speech given by a black woman Massachusetts state senator making that very comparison and speaking against treating gays as second class citizens. Reverend Rivers response was to say that it was truly a great country that could have a black woman doing a great job as a state senator, and she could still be wrong.
His second position was that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, and that precludes same sex marriage. He so deftly dodged all questions about gays being treated as second class citizens that you would have thought him a politician rather than a man of god.
I agree with the reverend on one point. It is a great country and it is a good thing that an educated man who has great debating skills can speak his piece, and still be wrong.
((Many of you are participating with other really extensive discussions on this with Mark Lew and Bruce Linsey, among others. As usual, I agree with Mark Lew's position on this, which is that government needs to be ALL THE WAY IN on contracts between two people being called marriage (any two people not already in an exclusive union contract...) or ALL THE WAY OUT (marriage goes back to being a religious and societal relationship exclusively). Before you say, how could we manage with taxes, health insurance, etc. etc. I would say that we could have a VERY nice political world treating everyone as an individual and abolishing concepts like family tax returns and family health insurance. But both Mark and I recognize that our positions are highly unlikely to sway anyone, at least I recognize it.))
I lost the cat for a bit today. I toss her from the warm room occasionally so that she can get food, water, or whatever. It suddenly came to me that she had not returned from the latest toss, and that was quite a while ago. I checked the computer room to make sure I hadn't let her in without noticing. Nope. Then I checked my bed, always a good chance with the cat. Nope. Then I checked her food and the living room. Nope. Then I noticed that there was a big ray of sunlight coming into the dining area next to the kitchen. Sure enough, in the middle of the sunbeam, there was the cat.
Steve, steflan of
((I'm très amused by the cat stories, so they stay in. Don't bother complaining about them, just ignore them if you want to.))

Steve Langley (Tue, 17 Feb 2004 05:40:58 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #35
Bush just spoke telling his audience that jobs are the big issue. I can not but agree with him about the problem. His solution is to convince some nameless people to take a chance and create new jobs. That sounds too much like wishful thinking rather than an actual program to me. He is intent on his tax cuts being good for the economy. I'm not as sure. I think that the deficits they have contributed to are lots worse than any good the tax cuts might do.
Some polls indicate that if the election for president were held today, Bush would lose. Of course lots can happen between now and November. Today's polls can only have the effect of getting a reaction from the Bush camp. He has been out campaigning for weeks now. Of course no one in his camp calls it campaigning, but when a president goes around making stump speeches right behind various Democrat state primary elections it is hard to think of it as anything other than campaigning.
The thing is, he is speaking mostly to confirmed Republican voters. It is hard to say whether his speeches are winning over any `undecided' minds. Traditionally it is the `undecided' voters who decide any election. ((You're right, but in election strategy terms, this is the time to "nail down your base", you worry about undecided people near the election when they actually will bother to think about how they are going to vote.))
This year there seems to be a much larger than usual unanimity amongst the Democrats than I have ever seen before. Usually Democrats are for something and vote accordingly. What they are for can be all over the map, dividing the Democratic vote. Many Democrats decide not to vote because the thing they were for didn't make it to the final ballot. This year they are against something, and it is the same thing for all of them. The `undecided' vote may not make the difference.
The latest Bush sound bite says that the tax cuts are creating new jobs. "Three jobs here, four jobs there, it all adds up to excitement." Yet the job growth is lagging behind the population growth. Unless we find a hundred and fifty thousand new jobs each month we are losing ground.
We are outsourcing technical service jobs to India, which is rapidly becoming a major economic power by working for us, at a faster rate than we are creating new jobs. This will continue until it costs more to out source than to do the work here at home. That is a decades size change, not something that is going to happen before the coming election, or even the one after that. It is unrealistic to expect business to spend more paying local workers to do jobs that distant workers can do cheaper. What we really need is a huge upsurge in the economy to drive the need for more manufacturing jobs. I'm not convinced reducing the tax cuts will make that happen. I think we are in for a fairly long bad spell and it will take just waiting it out to get past it.
((It's interesting how quickly this has become a MAJOR issue of thought and discussion for so many people. Even my staunchly Republican father is hepped up on this one. But Steve is not quite right, in my view. I think there are three issues to be resolved here, none of which will be resolved quickly: (1) How much do we value talking to Americans on those technical service calls, and what is the context and quality difference in the product? (you will soon see people advertising "all service operators are American" and the Indians, who are now building their own Western style shopping malls so they too can have cookie cutter materialism of the kind they're talking to at work, will get better at dealing with us. Which effect will dominate? That's the question; (2) Upsurges in "the economy" is way too simplistic an answer, how do we take the American economy to the next level of service - social networks and managing a knowledge economy - while continuing to outsource jobs that do not require this level of "Americanism"; and most importantly (3) Are we developing the workforce we need to compete in the economy we are creating (the answer so far is completely, disturbingly, and incomprehensibly NO)? And no, waiting it out will NOT do it, we need to find ways to embrace where we're going and figure out how to be successful there, or stop it. Bush and his crew are nowhere near there.))
There is no quick and easy way for us to get out of Iraq. That is an ongoing drain on our combined pocketbook. There is no quick and easy way for us to create a million new jobs. It really doesn't matter who wins the coming election with respect to those points. What does matter is the direction our leadership takes. It is my opinion that the Republicans are taking a more harmful direction than needs to be taken. I'm hoping the Democrats will take a better direction. I'm pretty sure neither of them have a workable solution to our problems.
Steve, steflan of
((Agreed, the Democrats are further there, but nowhere near there either.))

Steve Langley (Wed, 18 Feb 2004 09:36:51 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #36
On the political front I note that Edwards came in a close second to Kerry in the Wisconsin primary. Well, strong second then. What I found interesting was the demographic. It seems that Edwards appealed to Republicans voting in the primary. There are two possibilities in my mind. Republicans prefer the more liberal Edwards to the centrist Kerry, or Republicans were trying to scuttle the Kerry campaign. I'm leaning more to the second. Without the Republican vote, Edwards might have been running closer to Dean than to Kerry.
((I think the same thing. When they go back and analyze these primaries after the fact, this "strategic voting" will be the biggest story.))
At the same time, the Bush Cheney campaign has just pointed out that Kerry has accepted more money from special interests than any other Democratic candidate. What they failed to say was that Bush has accepted 28 times as much special interest money than Kerry. Smoke and mirrors.
((Don't worry, Kerry will point this out at the appropriate time.))
On another medical front the Italians have uncovered a whole new version of mad cow disease. They test every animal that is harvested, not just 'downer' cattle. They test healthy seeming animals. They have found 124 cases of mad cow disease in the animals they tested this year so far. Two of those cases are the new version of the disease, never seen before. The tests they use are faster and more inclusive and cheaper than the tests we use. I'm not sure why we are not using the same tests, unless there is a special interest involved. That part about cheaper would seem to be attractive to us.
What is really scary is that they have found 124 cases so far this year. Is that because they have such a lax policy of feeding animals contaminated feed? No, not really. They are as careful as we are. Well, as careful as we are supposed to be. What they do is test all the animals harvested. The ones with mad cow disease don't go to market. How many cases did we find this year? How many cases did we miss? I'm really glad I stopped eating red meat years ago.
Steve, steflan of
((I'm actually feeling the opposite, I'm less worried about mad cow disease, as I am about terrorism, now - after the publicity. I presume you're talking about Stanley Prusiner's research team? My understanding of their research was that they were not at all as conclusive as you are making them out to be. Part of the problem is that the prion diseases we're talking about here are very, very different from all the other diseases we know. These prion proteins, once created, tend to continue working their way around through the environment. There is some concern how some of these cattle are developing these diseases, acquiring the proteins other ways than eating them. Eventually, we may all have to adapt to work with prion proteins or die, and not just us, all animals. I'm probably talking about 10,000 years here. But I'm not sure I follow the biology of the point you're trying to make, other than expressing a personal feeling of fear.))

Steve Langley (Fri, 20 Feb 2004 09:49:38 -0800)
Retired Ramblings #37
I'm sure most of you are pretty bored with all the politics I have been subjecting you to. Assuming you even bother to read it. Problem is, I don't have a lot else to talk about. The cat was a real sweetheart today. She has been very loving all week. Lots of head butting and lots of snuggling.
I sort of had an epiphany today. Iran is holding an election where all of the candidates were selected by the ruling party. There has been nothing said about the lack of democratic process from US. It dawned on me that in Iraq we are pushing an election that is much the same. We are selecting all the candidates. Not much we can say about perverting the democratic process by the Iran leaders, is there?
That was funny. I am listening to the BBC and one of their political analysts was talking about the elections in Iran. He came up with the same observation about why the US is being so quiet about the lack of democratic process in Iran. Okay, so my epiphany turns out to be an obvious one.
Next day.
This morning was a 9:00 morning. Lately I have started marking the days by when I get up. Yesterday was 10:30, the day before was 5:00, all am. I'm not sure why some days I wake early and some later. I guess I can blame the cat. The cat sleeps on me. I am a fairly light sleeper. When I wake it is usually with the awareness that there is a cat sleeping on me. That awareness is what keeps me awake, whether at 5:00 or 10:00 am.
The cat and I have worked out a sort of arrangement about my being here and working with the computer. She has not asked to be let in lately. I have explained in the past that she doesn't get to do anything in this room except stay on the floor. She has a small bed I made for her but she has ignored it except for the first few days. She does occasionally come to the door and mew, but she is asking me to come out more than to let her in.
The room next door, which I have dubbed `the warm room' is a different story. I go there for reading, video games, DVD. She joins me there and spends the day next to me on the couch I have set up. She gets petted a lot there. I find that I pet her without actually thinking about it, while reading or whatever. It is a good thing she has a forbearing personality.
Steve, steflan of

Warren Goesle (Fri, 20 Feb 2004 23:58:41 -0600)
Jim-Bob, You can write the email that you knew that I'd write on the day that A-Rod went to the Yankees, and I can write the email that you'd write back to me telling me how many problems the Yankees have and how they'll be lucky to win 60 games this year.
Question: should we bother?
((Of course we should, since I think we should finally show how teams like THIS version of the Yankees (which is VERY different from the Jeter/Brosius/O'Neill/Martinez Yankees) will beat the Red Sox for the division and not win the WS again, and again, and again. And IF the Red Sox can finally beat the Yankees it will make it all the sweeter. I'm celebrating. But the Yankees will win between 90 and 105 games, of that you can be sure. And where we keep differing is that I'm not upset by that as long as they lose in the playoffs. ))
You, and apparently the entirety of Red Sox Nation, just don't get it. This isn't about just you and the Yankees. If it was we'd just start the ALCS now and have them play a best-of-11, with the winner to play the WS against the Braves/Dodgers winner in a best-of-15. MLB could be over by May 1st. Good riddance. We can use the airways for something important, like auto racing.
((Boo hiss, and besides, it IS all about the Red Sox and the Yankees, isn't it??))
The point of that is: who would care? If all we're doing is placating the fans of New York & Boston (and I'm sure you don't believe civilization exists beyond their geographical borders, but I invite you to open your eyes here) then let's contract everyone else and end this farce. Let's stop believing that any other team should matter.
((OK.... more seriously, you do recall that the Florida Marlins won the World Series last year, and the Arizona Diamondbacks before that, right?))
The strange things that Red Sox owner John Henry said earlier this week should spell it out. He, of all people, called for a salary cap after he couldn't hire A-Rod but the Yankees could, and in the process made himself, the Red Sox organization and all of its fans look completely idiotic (Consider that he was so stupid he made George look like the good guy. Do you have any idea how hard that is?!?). Do we cap it at $120M, since that's all he could afford (if he could have afforded $123M he'd have had A-Rod)? Maybe it should be just above the Dodger's $85M. Maybe the Devil Rays would have a different number, say $31M or so, since that's all that they can afford.
((John Henry is a genuine real guy dude. Really. He E-Mails fans directly. Admittedly he was being a bit obtuse with that quote, but you think all you want about him, he's assembled the team to turn the Red Sox whole approach around. I salute him.))
There are two points here. First at the top. I, for one, am not content to let the Yankees and Braves buy two of the 8 precious playoff spots every year. It is now 9 consecutive years that that has happened, and it is no coincidence that they have been in the top 5 in payroll every one of those years. Does it take more than money? Of course it does, otherwise the Orioles and Dodgers would have had better success over that time. Can you get to the playoffs without a big payroll? Of course you can, in fact the AL Central winner will have a payroll of less than $65M by default. But the system can't go on like this. The second point is at the bottom: fans are staying away in droves in places that can't buy players. The small-market owners have no incentive to make their teams better, since they get checks from George via the Commissioner's office that they can pocket instead of using on salaries. Year after year they don't have to put a decent product on the field, and it shows.
((I will note that the greatest screaming is in Milwaukee and I was serious that you should buy them. They have by far the best farm system in baseball and as it starts producing in a few years, whomever buys them will get a GREAT deal. I would expect the Brewers to win their shot at the World Series in 2007 or 2008. Given that Red Sox fans have been waiting since 1918, I do not think that's unreasonable.))
So we talk contraction. Where does it end? Fold the Expos, Brewers, Pirates and Royals. Cut off the Twins, Devil Rays, Marlins (yes, the Marlins), Reds, Padres, and Rockies. Now we're down to 10 in each league. Eventually we'll just get down to the Sox & Yanks, and you guys can settle it and let us know how it went.
((I'm perhaps in favor of contracting two teams so each league is even at 14, but I'm also fine keeping everyone and letting the current collective bargaining agreement work its way out.))
Ok, so let's assume that pitching wins in the playoffs. The lineup gets you there, and there are (count 'em) 17 all-stars that Joe Torre has on his bench (I'm willing to bet that he won't have to introduce himself to a lot of the starting lineup in this year's All-Star Game). I like my chances in the playoffs a lot more if I'm a lock to get there. What part of that don't you understand? Ink in the Yankees and Braves every year, and the other 28 teams play for the other 6 spots? Why bother playing the regular season?
((Because we don't know who will get those other six spots. Plus there are positive possibilities that BOTH the Yanks and Braves won't make the playoffs this year. If the Yanks don't make it to 95 wins (about a 20-25 % chance) they're in trouble and the Braves are in even more trouble.))
Maybe you aren't upset to see the Yankees lose in the playoffs. I am. It means they bought their way there again. Call me when it doesn't look like they'll make it.
Goz, wgoesle of
((That's enough of that, you're the one who keeps writing, let's talk basketball!! And though I'm intrigued by the possibilities of the Celtics who are in the middle of a free-fall that may just turn around like an arrow more quickly than people think, I mean COLLEGE basketball. Next issue will be the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament Issue - comments for print will be welcome, note that I time stamp them all, so people can see when they were made. Here, coming up shortly as I type this (perhaps a few days ago as you read), the two local teams are facing some season shaping college basketball contests. URI is facing undefeated St. Joe's on Saturday and they will will give them a great tussle here, though probably ultimately will fall a bit short. That could mean that both St. Joseph's and Stanford will enter the Tournament undefeated. Amazing, though both teams can be beaten (more on that next time). More promising is the path that Pittsburgh is following this weekend into next week. They face Syracuse on Leap Day and then our local Providence College team on Tuesday. Both Syracuse and PC play active 2-3 zones that are very tough (PC's is especially strong this year) and Pitt doesn't have enough outside shooters to break them. I expect Syracuse to give Pitt a VERY tough battle and they might well win, but PC is very likely to win. You know I'll be rooting for it. If it happens, PC will win the Big East and be well set up for the Tournament themselves. The teams leaving the Big East are MUCH worse than the ones joining it, those of you who are ACC fans, celebrate your last season on top. Va. Tech and Miami, and eventually Boston College will only hurt your standing. This is great fun for Big East basketball, I'm excited. It's also fun watching a flawed UConn Huskies Women's basketball team prepare for their Tournament. They REALLY miss Nicole Wolff, their star that can't stay off the injured list. It will be a nailbiter all the way there, though they still have an excellent chance.))
"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, Vern Parker, 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, and Eric 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
Summer 1901
AUSTRIA (Wiedemeyer): has a TRI, a SER, f ALB.
ENGLAND (Schmit): f NWG, f NTH, a YOR.
FRANCE (Jeff O'Donnell): has f PIC, a BUR, a MAR.
GERMANY (Sundstrom): has a RUH, a KIE, f DEN.
ITALY (Williams): has f ION, a APU, a TYO.
RUSSIA (Sean O'Donnell): has f GOB, f RUM, a SIL, a UKR.
TURKEY (Levinson): has f ANK, a CON, a BUL.

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) Note that we salute all Summer/Winter deadlines, even though there are no orders due. This is a press opportunity and ensures that you have enough negotiating time for Fall orders. See some of that press below!
2) As nearly all of you reminded me, the MAP in last issue (if you did manage to find it) was WRONG. This issue contains the corrected map. It almost always is the case (and this is in my house rules) that the orders are correct and the map is wrong when there is a discrepancy. That was the case here. I guess I couldn't believe what Russia was doing.... ;-) See the discussion in the letter col above.

(WILLIAMS to SUNDERING SUNDSTROM): Your comments last ish regarding Green Bay were cold-blooded and hard-hearted. I laughed, for what it's worth.
(HOFBRAUHAUS-WORLD): We're delighted everyone seems so interested in attending Oktoberfest 1901. Unfortunately, there might not be enough beer to go around.
(FIREBALL XL5 to ENTERPRISE): Come out and fight - I'll kick your saucer-shaped ass back into the black hole you crawled out of ...
(FIREBALL XL5 to BOOB): You remember me, don't you? "Oh, I wish I was a spaceman, the fastest guy alive, I'd fly around the universe in Fireball XL5 ... " You can google it if you want to know more.
(BOOB to FIREBALL XL5): All I remembered was Steve Zodiac and his blonde bobbing puppetmation head, but I'm nothing if not suggestible, so I followed instructions and recalled much more after looking at Gerry Anderson's web site.
(BERLIN-WORLD): Is there anyone who doesn't want Munich? And why didn't Fred get the memo?
(IMAGINARY FRIEND to GERMANY): Look at the bright side - you were over-extended with this game anyway!
(BERLIN-LONDON/CONSTANTINOPLE): Thank you for not attacking Munich. Never mind it's impossible...I really appreciate it. We'll send beer.
(IL DUCKY to SULTAN OF THE LEVANTINE-SON): Greetings, oh Wise One. We are awed by your presence, abashed by your munificence, dumbfounded by your gloriousity! We seek friendship, asking nothing in return. We hope you will see the truth of our words, and note that we seek Universal Truth ... and the destruction of those who would seek yours. Good luck, and please stay on your side of the pond.
(BERLIN-PARIS): I guess the DMZ in Burgundy didn't go over well.
(BERLIN-MOSCOW): Ditto the DMZ in Silesia.
(BERLIN-EVERYONE ELSE): Anyone see a pattern in the above? Fight it now or you'll be next.

I CAN'T FIND MY MONEY!: 2001F, Regular Diplomacy
Spring 1907
AUSTRIA (Lockheardt): a UKR S a mos, a pie-VEN, a TYO S a pie-ven, a MOS S a lvn-stp,
a TRI S a pie-ven, a RUM S TURKISH a sev, a lvn-STP, f GRE s TURKISH f bul(sc)-aeg (nso).
ENGLAND (Kinney): a LON h, a EDI h, f eng-NTH, f nth-NWG.
FRANCE (Kent): a MAR S a bur, a bur s a par-pic (d r:par,gas,otb), a par-PIC,
f bre-ENG, f MID S f bre-eng.
GERMANY (Wilson): f kie-HOL, a hol-BEL, a DEN h, a MUN S a bel-bur,
f SWE S RUSSIAN a stp-nwy, a RUH S a bel-bur, a bel-BUR.
ITALY (Gardner): a VEN s AUSTRIAN a tyo (d r:tus,rom,otb), f ION S f aeg,
f AEG s AUSTRIAN a rum-bul (nso), a APU S a ven.
RUSSIA (Desper): a stp-NWY.
TURKEY (Miller): f SMY-aeg, a ARM S a sev, a CON h, f BUL(SC) S f smy-aeg, a SEV S a arm.

Addresses of the Participants
AUSTRIA: New is Vern Parker, 337 Winter Hill Place, Powell, OH 43065, (614) 402-5139
VSParker 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 reproposed. Please vote with your summer orders. If you fail to vote it cannot pass. A GAFT draw also is proposed with the same comments.
2) Chris Lockheardt has to resign as Austria with this set of orders. I, for one, will miss his press immensely. Vern Parker has asked to join a game as a standby, and he probably didn't dream he'd get a position with so many centers. But Vern is hereby appointed. Welcome him and let's get this game moving again... OK? Unless, you're all going to agree on one of these draws. ;-)

(FRANCE-GERMANY): Can't we all just get along?
(FRANCE-ENGLAND): Don't even think of renaming French Fries to Freedom Fries at the Embassy cafeteria.
(FRANCE-AUSTRIA): Have any dots you can share?
(BOOB to FRANCE): You'll have to ask the new guy.

SOMETHING TO BE SCARED OF: 2001D, Regular Diplomacy
Fall 1908
ENGLAND (Sundstrom): f bar-STP(NC), f nth-NWG, f SWE s f nwy, f NWY S f bar-stp, f IRI-lvp.
FRANCE (Tretick): a BUR S a gas-mar, a BRE-gas, f eng-MID, a GAS-mar.
GERMANY (Williams): a ber-MUN, a DEN S ENGLISH f swe, a sil-WAR, a mun-TYO.
ITALY (Barno): f nap-TYH, a PIE S a mar, f GOL S f spa(sc), a MAR h, a VIE h,
f SPA(SC) s TURKISH f wes-mid (nso), f NAO-lvp, a TRI S a vie, f POR s TURKISH f wes-mid (nso).
RUSSIA (Rauterberg): a FIN S f gob-swe, a stp h (d ann), f GOB-swe.
TURKEY (O'Donnell): a bul-SER, a sev-RUM, f TUN h, a bud-GAL, a ser-BUD,
f WES s FRENCH a gas-spa (nso), a LVN S a war-mos, f con-AEG, a war-MOS.

Supply Center Chart
ENGLAND (Sundstrom): EDI,LVP,nwy,hol,stp,swe (has 5, bld 1)
FRANCE (Tretick): PAR,BRE,bel,lon (has 4, even)
GERMANY (Williams): KIE,BER,MUN,den,war (has 4, bld 1)
ITALY (Barno): ROM,VEN,NAP,tri,vie,por, (has 9, rem 1)
RUSSIA (Rauterberg): none (out!)
TURKEY (O'Donnell): ANK,SMY,CON,bul,gre,ser,bud, (has 9, bld 2)
Neutral: none (Total=34)

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) Paul, thanks for finishing up as Russia. You gave it a good shot. And now there are five, and lots of action on the board.

(GUNS, GERMANS AND STEEL to EUROPE): Under severe pressure from the SDS, the German government has just adopted a new foreign policy known as the Pre-Emptive And Beneviolent Regime Annexation of Irritating Neighbors (PEABRAIN) Doctrine. The PEABRAIN Doctine is the natural extension of the existing BOOBS (Belligerent Obsession Over Border Size) Plan adopted in the face of imminent boredom ... er, double digit unemployment in major industrial cities. PEABRAIN Inspectors have been unilaterally dispatched to Italy, where they will immediately conduct an extensive, exhaustive, and otherwise ethereal search for rumored caches of supplies produced by Italy's secret and illegal Woefully Misused Dots (WMDs) program. Failure by PEABRAIN Inspectors to find WMDs will trigger the "Just Cause We Can't Find Them Doesn't Mean You Don't Have Them" provisions of the PEABRAIN Doctrine (Section 4UR411-UR2B86D) and will result in the immediate invasion of Italy by disgruntled SDS volunteers wielding baseball bats and ballpeen hammers. Success at locating WMDs will pretty much do the same thing, but we'll feel better about ourselves.
(PARIS): The French army, inspired by bubbly during the New Year's celebration is now back on the offensive. They haven't bathed or brushed their teeth since the first of the year. This way the Italians might now know we are the enemy.
(DON to SEAN): Don't worry, Sean ... we'll eventually find a net big enough to capture you. Then getting a hold on you will not be the problem it currently is.
(GERMANY to ITALY): If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time I have crossed my national boundary since 1901. (Denmark doesn't count - we consider our presence there an act of beneviolent (new word I just coined, meaning "we're bloodying you for your own good") annexation, fomented by the Students for a Despotic Society which, as you may recall, stormed the gates of Copenhagen in protest over the lack of Starbucks and MP3 players on the open market.) In fact, only England and France in this game have ever witnessed me leave the country, and then only briefly. This is nothing to be scared of, sir - you should feel honored!
(MIKE to DON): "It seems to me that your antenna doesn't bring in too many stations anymore."
(DUCK to BARNO): Wanna waltz to the break of dawn?
(BOOB to THE PRESS GHODS): Hoooahhh!!! Amen!!!
(BERLIN to LONDON): Why do I feel so fatalistic turning my back to you? Some lessons are hard to shake.
(MUNICH to BURGUNDY): Same question and comment, but with a snivelling French accent.
(KAISER to SULTAN): Thanks for the loan ... if, indeed, escrow closed and I've taken the keys to the new place. If not, well, heck ... you'd be a lying liar, and no better than the rest of us.

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: 1999K, Regular Diplomacy
Five Way AEGRT Draw Declared!

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
melvin4852 of

Game Notes:
1) Draw passes. I'll have the SC counts next time, then print End Game Statements the issue after that. Thanks, everyone, I wish Buddy well in his illness motivated transitions. I hope you (through Jim and directly) will keep in touch. But given that Buddy was likely to have to resign, I think that pushed everyone over the edge into calling it a draw.


SECRETS: 1999D, Regular Diplomacy
Winter 1915
ENGLAND (Brosius): has 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 AEG, 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. Fall 1915 is one game year by that measure. PS I may do a GM judgment call that no "real" center movement has occurred if there are only small insignificant trades of centers that are done.
2) I forgot to put your deadline in last time, but this is one of our "soft" Winter turns with no changes. Please get your Spring orders in for next issue!


DR. EDWARD TELLER: 2002?rn42, Nuclear Yuppie Evil Empire Diplomacy - Black Hole Variant
Fall 1906
AUSTRIA (Muller): a VIE h, a bud-RUM, f TRI h; and withheld nukes;
owns vie,tri,bud,rum (4).
ENGLAND (Andruschak): a LVP h, f LON h, f EDI h; and withheld nukes;
owns lvp,lon,edi (3).
FRANCE (Kendter): f mid-WES, a pic-BEL, a gas-POR; and nuked BUL, BLA, SYR, ANK, ARM;
owns por,bel (2).
GERMANY (McHugh): a MUN h, a BER h, f KIE h; and withheld nukes;
owns mun,ber,kie (3).
ITALY (Kenny): a VEN h, a ROM h, f NAP h; and withheld nukes;
owns ven,rom,nap (3).
RUSSIA (Schultz): f STP(SC) h, a MOS h, a WAR h, f SEV h; and 4 nukes in their silos;
owns stp,mos,war,sev (4).
TURKEY (Rauterberg): has none; and nuked BRE, PAR, MAR, SPA, SER;
owns con,smy (2).

Current Standings
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 TOTAL
JOHN SCHULTZ  3  3  3  3  3  4     19
PAUL RAUTERBERG  6  1  6  3  5  2     23
KARL MULLER  2  3  3  4  3  4     19
HARRY ANDRUSCHAK  4  5  0  3  3  3     18
LEE KENDTER, JR.  1  6  2  4  5  2     20
JACK MCHUGH  5  0  3  3  2  3     16
SANDY KENNY  3  1  3  3  2  3     15
Black Holed  8 14  7  1  7  7     44
Neutral  2  1  7 10  4  6     30
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....
3) That turn coming up for April 3rd should pretty much decide things. We're in the last year now. The "excitement" for this game seems to have faded quite a bit. I usually like to have one game of this going and would be looking for a new group of players for next time. Perhaps I should just CHOOSE deadwood from the sub list and forcibly inject them into the game.... that would be fun, to see if I could get them to submit orders.... anyway, if there is interest in a game to follow this one, please let me know!! Note that there is a press spike this time and Karl Muller sneaked into a tie for third. The "active guys" Paul and Lee lead.

(LEE to JACK): Why did you ever give up that posh PA address? And stop thinking about bombing me.
(NEW ENGLAND to OLD ENGLAND): I've got my sailing shoes on, by George. And not Boy George. Mr. George. Mr. Lowell George of Lowell.
(DR. TELLER to YOU JIMBOOB): I have four complaints to make regarding this game: 1) My name was used for this Diplomacy variant last millenium, and I understood that to be used more than once I had to give permission or sell the rights; 2) I worked long and hard to earn my Ph.D. and like Dr. JimBoob, I want to be called that, posh on this Eddie stuff, that is for the birds and the birdsans; 3) Please write your congressman and have them vote to change the name of Lawrence Livermore Lab to Dr. Teller Lab silly birds and boobs; and 4) the press in this game is dreadfully boring. If y'all don't do better, I shall have to pull the name rights, whether or not you use my appropriate title.
(BOOB to THE LATE DR. TELLER): I'm sorry to have to inform you of this, but you are STILL dead. And unfortunately, like Mickey Mouse is hopefully about to do if the evil Disney Corp. can't bribe enough members of Congress, you are now in the public domain. Maybe you should get Disney behind you if you want respect. After all, if they can get a cartoon mouse to get attention in the halls of Congress think what they might be able to do with a real scientist? But even those in the public domain deserve respect. Though I will note that ***I*** get no respect. In the end, though, you own nothing once you're dead. Will, shmill! Like Ted Williams, who knows if your descendents didn't just have your head torn off and frozen at Nucor?
(JOHN to TWO MEMBERS OF THE BOARD): Now is the time to activate the plan I emailed you about and you agreed to.
(BOOB to JESUS): Heaven is wired, right? (There is this web site where you can ask Jesus questions in a Turing test attempt to AI Jesus, if I can find it I'll put it in here.... it's supposed to be, but I couldn't get it to work, probably overwhelmed these days... but it's not supposed to be that good anyway.)

FINDING THE COMMUNITY: Breaking Away, Designer's Rules


Turn 2
19 (replenish with a 3) Zedd
18 (no replenishment) Empty
17 (no replenishment) Empty
16 (no replenishment) Empty
15 (no replenishment) Empty
14 (no replenishment) Empty
13 (no replenishment) Empty
12 (no replenishment) Empty
11 (replenish with a 3) Franklin
10 (replenish with a 4) Paige
9 (replenish with a 5) Carl Sagan, Bart
8 (replenish with a 7) Frederick, El Vez
7 (replenish with a 9) Omega, Silt, Geri Lee Lewis, Edmond, Wade, Hearts, Spades
6 (replenish with a 16) Marge, Sand, Johnny Peso, Clay, Diamonds
5 (replenish with a 21) Homer, James, Pebble, Lisa, Clubs

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 (3) 15 8 5 21
B: Marge Simpson (3) 13 9 16
C: Bart Simpson (8) 10 9 5
D: Lisa Simpson (4) 11 8 21
Total Replenishments: 22+63 = 85
TEAM 2 (Bruce Edwards): kactusjak of (0 points)
Team Name: Last Again
A: Zedd (7) 15 3 3
B: Omega (3) 13 8 9
C: Paige (6) 10 3 4
D: James (3) 13 1 21
Total Replenishments: 16+37 = 53
TEAM 3 (Tom Howell): off-the-shelf of (0 points)
Team Name: The Soils; Manager: Boulder
A: Clay (5) 9 15 8 16
B: Silt (3) 8 13 9
C: Sand (3) 7 10 16
D: Pebble (3) 6 8 21
Total Replenishments: 17+62 = 79
TEAM 4 (Dennis Menear): dmenear of (0 points)
Team Name: The Firm
A: Edmond (5) 9 14 3 9
B: Franklin (8) 14 3 3
C: Frederick (3) 6 9 7
D: Wade (3) 5 7 9
Total Replenishments: 12+28 = 40
TEAM 5 (David Partridge): rebhuhn of (0 points)
Team Name: It's In The Cards; Manager: The Joker
A: Spades (6) 8 15 8 9
B: Hearts (3) 8 13 9
C: Diamonds (3) 8 9 16
D: Clubs (3) 6 8 21
Total Replenishments: 17+55 = 72
TEAM 6 (Karl Schmit): diplomacy of (0 points)
Team Name: 25 Dollar Quartet
A: Carl Sagan (6) 6 15 3 5
B: El Vez (3) 8 12 7
C: Geri Lee Lewis (3) 6 10 9
D: Johnny Peso (3) 1 12 16
Total Replenishments: 12+37 = 49

Game Notes:
1) The rules are 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. Be careful to note that the card you played (the one in parentheses) is not available for you, for next turn. 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. Of course, it is lining up to get across the sprint and final lines in the right places that really counts. I'm not setting up a separate scoring method.

(CLAY to PEBBLE): What a jam up!
(HOMER - FIELD): (*honks horn*) c'mon everybody, move it!
(JOHNNY PESO to HOMER): Homer, find your soul mate. I think she went the other way!
(MARGE - HOMER): Have a little patience, it's a traffic jam.
(LISA - HOMER, MARGE): Mom! Dad! Can we move?
(BART - FIELD): So long, suckers!
(TOM to RICK): Jump the field, why dontcha? You gonna beat us all to the first sprint line?
(CHIEF WIGGUM) Guatemalan Insanity Peppers for all!
(OFFICER - CHIEF WIGGUM): We have a massive traffic jam on Main St. What should we do?
(WIGGUM - OFFICER): I'll be there right away. (*clicks off*) Hmm...donuts.
(KARL): I hope you guys decide to chase Zedd this turn so I can replenish with something other than 3s!
(APU - ZEDD): Stop by the Kwik-E-Mart and get a tasty snack!
(TOM to DAVE): This your game to make the rest of us sweat? I figure you must have this game figured out by now!
(TOM to BOOB): Total replenishments by turn? Just to see I understand what you're doing, next turn, Rick's 22 points from this turn won't be included in his "Total Replenishments"? Or, am I misunderstanding, and you're really going to report total cumulative replacement points? ((I'm going to report turn by turn AND total points, you'll see as we go forward.)) Hmm, ... interesting. What are you trying to do? Give away ALL my secrets?

FEAR AND WHISKEY: 1998Ers31, Modern Diplomacy
Fall 2013
BRITAIN (K. Ozog): a SWE-nor, f NTH C a nor-lon, a liv-wal (d r:cly,edi,yor,otb),
f HEL S f hol, f DEN S f bhm-ham, a NOR-lon, f HOL s f nth, f bhm-HAM.
EGYPT (J. O'Donnell): f CAI S f syr-eme, f syr-EME, f ALE S f syr-eme, f ISR S f syr-eme,
f ROM S a tun-nap, a jor-SYR, a tun-NAP, a IRK S a jor-syr.
GERMANY (Rauterberg): a ham h (d r:fra,otb), a RUH S f bel-hol, f ber h (d r:bhm,otb),
f BEL-hol, f nao-IRE, a mil-aus (d ann), f iri-LIV, a SWI-mun, f ENG C SPANISH a por-lon.
SPAIN (S. O'Donnell): a auv-MAR, a POR-lon, f MAO C a por-lon, f TYS C EGYPTIAN a tun-nap,
f MAL S a tun-nap, a WAL S GERMAN f nao-liv, a bor-AUV, a mar-PIE,
f BIS S GERMAN f eng, f LBS S EGYPTIAN a tun-nap.
UKRAINE (Partridge): f wbs-IST, a bie-WAR, a rum-SER, a HUN-aus, f IZM-eme, a ADA-syr,
a nap throws stones at f tys (but the Egyptian troops still land and annihilate them),
a VEN S a tus-mil, a STP h, a CZE S a hun-aus, a LAT h, a SIL S a pru-ber, a SAX S a fra-mun,
f AEG S f alb-ion, f ANA S f izm-eme, a ura-MUR, a fra-MUN, a pru-BER, f ALB-ion,
a IRN S a arm-ada, a AUS-swi, a lit-GDA, f ION-tys, a gda-PRU, f APU S a nap,
a ARM-ada, a tus-MIL.

Supply Center Chart
BRITAIN (K. Ozog): EDI,LON,nor,swe,den,hol,ham (has 7 or 8, even(r:otb) or rem 1)
EGYPT (J. O'Donnell): ALE,ASW,CAI,isr,sau,lib, (has 8, bld 1)
GERMANY (Rauterberg): FRA,swi,par,bel,liv,ire (has 6 or 7 or 8, even(2 r:otb)
or rem 1(r:otb) or rem 2)
SPAIN (S. O'Donnell): SVE,MAD,BAR,gib,por,mar, (has 10, even)
UKRAINE (Partridge): KHA,KIE,ODE,SEV,ros,rum,bul, (has 26, bld 4(PLAYS TWO SHORT))
Neutral: none (Total=64)

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) Close, but the miscalculation/bad guess over Naples caused Ukraine to fall ONE center short of winning. So, we continue.

(THE MEKONS QUOTE OF THE MONTH): "Ooooh, the abyss is so close to home; There's an angel standing here at the end of this song, his eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread, his face is turned toward the past." is a quote from "Sorcerer" off of The Curse of the Mekons. This is about where this game is, isn't it??
(CAPTAIN'S LOG, STARDATE WHO CARES): We have achieved a minor victory in our battle with the Romulans. Per my orders, I had Mr. Spock and Mr. Kyle beam five photon torpedoes near a Romulan troop transport war bird. The plan worked "perfectly" with the destruction of the bird and all hands on board. This will slow down but not stop the Romulan advance. The bad news is that Romulans have taken one of our spaceports on the Ferengi homeworld and have the starship Excelsior almost completely surrounded. Our foothold on Ferengi is about to end.
K - Nice job beaming those photon torpedoes.
S - I'm not so sure you should thank me.
K - What do you mean?
S - One of the photon torpedoes detonated a microsecond too fast causing a massive overload in the transporter matrix (whatever that is). The explosion caused a dimension shift that temporarily enveloped the Enterprise for that microsecond. According to our readings we temporarily crossed into the threshold of the "Perpendicular Universe".
K - I did see a quick flash, and suddenly I have an urge for some Ferengi beetlejuice. I thought the perpendicular universe was just a theory.
S - It was just a theory until now. Our scans clearly picked up stable protomatter, which in theory could only exist where the two parallel universes intersect at the perpendicular universe. The existence of this matter at a dimensional shift in our scans is the proof.
K - Spock, I don't understand something. ((Just SOMETHING, is that all???)) If the Enterprise was forced into this dimension from our universe, shouldn't we have come out on the other side into the perpendicular universe?
S - Absolutely, Captain. I can't explain why we did not end up in the perpendicular universe or how we were reflected back to our universe. I don't even have a theory.
M - Hell must have just frozen over, Spock doesn't have a theory! Is "we were lucky" the best you can come up with?
S - We were luckier than you think, Doctor. The battle took place near Ferengi. If we had gone through to the other side we would have all been changed into Ferengi by the stable protomatter.
K - Mr. Spock, I'm ordering no more Photon Torpedo Transports.
(CAPTAIN'S LOG 2): The Cardassians and the Klingons have agreed to help us against the Romulans, but the Bajorans have refused. As a response to Bajoran resistance the Klingons and Cardassians have decided to invade Bajor. If you can't join 'em, beat 'em, Kirk out.
(JEFF O'DONNELL to KURT OZOG): I'd be interested in your reasoning for handing the game to Dave.
(JEFF to DAVE): Nice try in Iraq.

Personal Note to You:

File translated from TEX by TTH, version 3.35.
On 01 Mar 2004, 20:22.