Houdini Blues

Issue 3, May 2001

Welcome to this, the second issue of Houdini Blues, a subzine of TAP edited by Michael Lowrey, 6903 Kentucky Derby Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215. My email address is mlowrey@infi.net or call me nights at (704) 569-4269. Bonus points if you catch the music reference in the subzine name.

© 2001 by Michael Lowrey. All right reserved.

First of all, some administrative notes. Houdini Blues has a game opening in Regular Diplomacy. This is a continuation of the game opening I had in CCC, for which Matthew Matz, Saul Spiel, Brendan Mooney, Fred Wiedemeyer, Dan Gorham, and Frank Easton had signed up. If you're one of these folks, drop me a line and confirm that you're still interested. The game fee is $5 plus you must, of course, get TAP by one of the usual sources.

My e-mail address will work either as mlowrey@infi.net or mlowrey@charlotte.infi.net. I have taken to listing the shorter form in Houdini Blues; if you have the longer version in your address book, there's no reason to change as it works too. As for my work e-mail address, don't get too attached to that, as I'll be leaving my current position at the end of July.

If anyone is has any interest in take over an orphaned PBM Axis & Allies game please let Paul Kenny (paul.d.kenny@lmco.com) or myse lf know.

George Washington is set quite literally on the wrong side of the tracks, a world where slow decay has won out over the forces of progress and productive use. "This place is falling apart faster than we can do anything about it", notes one of a group of rail workers the kids hang out with. This is a world reminiscent of Faulkner and Slingblade. The people that inhabit it, be they kids between 10 and 13, their occasionally present parents and older siblings, or the railroad workers, are drawn from the working classes of a Southern backwater. The cinematography by Tim Orr, which owes much to the work of Terence Malick, has never made such decay and slow rot seem so naturally beautiful and alluring.

The visual imagery is a key element in the world brought forth by David Gordon Green, George Washington's writer and director. George Washington has very little plot per se. Like a rambling, seemingly endless summer it describes, the film is built around a series of events that standout in and of themselves and are not necessarily part of a larger unified whole. Besides aspiring to be the local superhero, George also acquires a dog, something that his violent-tempered uncle does not approve of. A character dies accidentally and the rest of the kids are forced to react to it, with each expressing his or her feelings through the filter of their own experiences.

For such a concept to as film it must be able to sell itself to viewers as some sort of dream or a recollection filtered through the passage of time. The believability of the characters is key. Green has assembled a cast made up mainly of people that are not actors by trade. The accents and mannerisms on screen are often how these individuals really talk in their ordinary lives. The scene to open the picture in which Nasia and Buddy break up reflects the end of a modest relationship between the two performs in real life. This sort of authenticity is rarely seen in movies, especially in films about or set in the South.

While much of George Washington works well, it is not without its fault. The occasional scene simply adds nothing to the proceedings. At times attempts at symbolism are too obvious. There are several jarring and obvious logical gaps in the movie, including a body left out in summer for a few weeks that shows no sign of decay. The lines the kids speak, while often right on target, also seem at times a bit too self aware, thought out, and deep for someone of 10 or 12 years of age.

Despite these flaws, George Washington is an effective motion picture, though not necessarily one which will appeal to all audiences. It very much highlight the talents of a number of individuals, none above their mid-20s, from North Carolina or that studied in North Carolina in the cast and crew that hopefully we will be see much more from and of in the future.

Deadline for all games is June 18.

Movie Review: George Washington

When one thinks of film making, North Carolina does not naturally come to mind. It comes as a major revelation then when a movie such as George Washington- made by a group of N.C. School of the Arts alumni in their mid-20s and filmed in the state received the critics' award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie also ranks among Roger Eberts', Elvis Mitchell of the New York Time's, and Time's top five films of 2000.

So what, then, is this film George Washington? The basic premise centers around the actions over a lazy June and July of a number of kids on the verge of adolescence in an unnamed North Carolina town. While most but not all are black, race is not an issue. Among these teens or near teens are George (Donald Holden), a sensitive kid with a skull deformity, which requires that he avoid physical contact and getting his head wet, his friend, the bespectacled Buddy (Curtis Cotton III), and Nasia (Candace Evanofski), the film's sometime narrator who dumps Buddy in the film's opening scene only to later go out with George. The film's title is a reference to George, who saves a child, becomes a hero, and very much enjoys playing the part. And Nasia hopes he'll do great things, become president (like a certain better known George), lead a parade, and live forever.

Harald Haarfager

Viking Dip, Fall 957

Pete Conrad (99I)

Diplomacy, Fall 1907 - Corrected

Denmark (6) dan, fla, fri, par, pol , sax, thu

England (7) ice, ire, lon, nmd, sco, str , wes, yor

Sweden (12) ark, bir, fnl, got, hed, nid, nov, nrl, pol, ski, str, zea Build three

Notes: Deadline for Winter 957/Spring 958 is June 18.

New proposals: S win, E win, ES, DES draws.

Please note Steve Mauris' new e-mail address.

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Denmark Steve Mauris (sjmauris@hotmail.com)

F Hel-Dan, A Jut-Hed, F Fri S A Sax, A Thu S A Pol-Meck, A Pol-Meck (d, ann), A Sax S A Jut-Hed

England Kevin Wilson (CKevinW@aol.com)

A Yor-Fio, F NoCh C A Yor-Fio, F NAt C A Yor-Fio, F Eng S F Nth, F Nth C A Lon-Ski, A Lon-Ski, F Nmd H

Sweden Pat Conlon (aparrotlaughsat40@msn.com)

F Str H, A Ski S F Str, A Hed-Sax, F Zea-Hed, F Kat S F Zea-Hed, A Mec-Pol, F SBS S A Mec-Pol, A Lit S A Mec-Pol, F Ska-Nth

Press: England-Sweden: So, did I guess right up north or did you get another 2 to put you 1 away from the win?

Sweden-England: You see where all his units are going. You see what could have happened had you believed me.

Swine-Dunce: Aye, your sister was a ripe one, not a day over twelve.

Austria (6) bud, gre, ser, tri, ven, vie Build 1

England (6) edi, lon, lpl, nwy, stp, swe Build 1

France (13) bel, ber, bre, den, hol, kie, mar, mun, nap, par, por, spa, tun Build 3

Germany (1) ber , kie , war Remove 1

Italy (1) nap , rom, ven Remove 1

Turkey (7) ank, bul, con, mos, rum, sev, smy, stp , war

Deadline for Winter 1907/Spring 1908 is June 18.

Turkey, Germany and Italy remove one.

Please note Steve Mauris' new e-mail address.

Fred didn't get HB/TAP through no fault of his own. As a result, I have decided to readjudicate with his orders

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Austria Harry Andurschak (Sarareichert@aol.com)

A Ven S Turkish F Ion-Apu (nso), A Tri S A Ven, A Vie S A Tri, A Bud-Gal, F Alb S Turkish F Aeg-Ion (nso)

England Paul Milewski (yellowpajamas@hotmail.com)

A Nwy-Stp, F Nth H, F Bar S A Nwy-Stp, F Fin S A Nwy-Stp,

A Stp-Mos

France Steve Mauris (sjmauris@hotmail.com)

A Pic-Bel, F Hol-Bel, A Kie-Ber, A Sil S A Kie-Ber, A Mun-Boh, A Tyl S A Mun-Boh, A Ruh-Kie, F Tyn-Nap, F Tun H, F Lvn U (H)

Germany Fred Wiedemeyer (wiedem@planet.eon.net)

A Gal-Ukr, A War S A Gal-Ukr

Italy Steve Cooley (scooley1@mediaone.net)

A Ven r Rom. A Apu-Ven, A Rom S A Apu-Ven, A Nap H (d, ann)

Turkey Pat Conlon (aparrotlaughsat40@msn.com)

A Pru-War, A Mos S A Pru-War, A Rum-Sev, A Bul-Rum, A Con-Bul, F Aeg S F Ion, F Adr S Austrian A Ven, F Ion S French F Tyn-Nap

Press: Turkey-England: Do you smell wine breath on the back of your neck yet? You should. Stand up for yourself, man. Insist on sharing equally in the spoils of the EF advance, instead of settling for the crumbs that fall off the edge of the table.

Turkey-France: I said I would. I'm always true to my word; you know that by now.

Turkey-Austria: Did you notice it? F Swe-Fin. Heaven forbid he should stand up for his right to defend his own s/c's.


Outpost, Turn 12

Bartertown Mark II (York) opens the bidding on and wins for 30 an Ecoplant (Ti9, Ti7, Ti7, Ti7).

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Deadline: Turn thirteen orders are due June 18.

Purchase Order: HICK, SARA, Little Green Men, Exploitation Unlimited, Bartertown Mark II, Major Miner, HBDC IV.

Upgrades available: (minimum bid in parentheses) Outpost (100), 2 Ecoplant (30), Laboratory (80), Orbital Lab (50), 2 Heavy Equipment (30)

Yet to be delivered: 3/4 Outposts, 0/1 Ecoplants, 1/2 Laboratories, 5/6 Robots, 1/2 Orbital Labs, 3/4 Scientists

Notes: The new deliveries were an Outpost, an Ecoplant, a Laboratory, and an Orbital Lab (i.e what just was bought). Exploitation Unlimited, HICK, Little Green Men, and SARA each take a MegaWater card. HICK discards Wa6 and Wa4; Little Green Men discards Wa4 and Or3.

HICK (Hood) opens the bidding on and wins for 82 a Laboratory (Ti11, Ti8, Ti8, Ti8, Ti8, MWa, Wa9). HICK then transfers population to man the bonus Research factory.

SARA (Andruschak) opens the bidding on the Outpost and wins it for 115 (NC24, Re11, MWa, Wa8, Wa8, Wa7, Wa7, Wa7, Wa5, Or5, Or3).

Little Green Men (Partridge) opens the bidding on the Orbital Lab and wins it for 63 (Ti9, Ti9, Ti9, MWa, Wa10).

Exploration Unlimited (Hassler) buys a New Chemicals Factory (MWa, Re16, Mi17) and population to man it (Or4, Wa7).

Major Miner (Conlon) buys a New Chemical Factory (Re17, Ti13, Ti10, Ti8, Wa7,Wa5) and transfers poulation to it.

HBDC IV (Wilson) buys a Research Factory (Wa9, Wa8, Wa8, Wa5) and transfers population to it.

Outpost Factories Upgrades VP

HICK OrF, OrF, WaF, 6 x WaF, 3 x TiF HE, No, No, EP, La 27

S.A.R.A. OrF, OrF, 9 x WaF, NC Wa, No, No, Sc, OP 24

Little Green Men OrF, OrF, 6 x WaF, 2 x TiF DL, HE, No, OL, EP 22

Exploitation U OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, WaF, WaF, NCF DL, Wa, No, Sc, OL, OL 21

Bartertown II OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, WaF, 5 x TiF Wa, HE, EP 17

Major Miner OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, TiF, TiF, NCF DL, Wa, HE, La 16

HBDC IV OrF, OrF, 3 x WaF, ReF DL, DL, DL, Wa, La 14

Houdini Blues Diplomacy Player Addresses

H. Andurschak 20805 Margaret, Carson CA 90745-1224

Pat Conlon P.O. Box 1413, Mammouth Lakes CA 93546

Steve Cooley 23927 Ranney House Ct,Valencia CA 91355

Steve Mauris HQ TFF, G2, Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, APO AE 09340

Paul Milewski 7 Mallard Dr, Amelia OH 45102

F. Wiedemeyer 975 Jordan Crescent, Edmonton AB

T6L - 7A6, Canada

Kevin Wilson 373 Gateford Dr, Ballwin MO 63021