This is one of a series of articles written in celebration of XENOGOGIC’S (my personal Diplomacy magazine published from 1966-1985, and occasionally since) 50th anniversary. PASS IN REVIEW was the reviews section of the ‘zine and normally featured book, magazine, event, movie, music, and game reviews along with whatever else interested me at the moment. Much of the content was devoted to Diplomacy related material but I often dared to go where even Gene Roddenberry had never gone. After all was it not I who attended the famous first performance of Star Trek: The Musical at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles in 1966 and told people that it was a project that would never fly? And was I not the one who debated the relative merits of science and fiction with Harland Ellison shortly afterwards at some Sci-Fi Con. And did I not help teach Issac Asimov and Ray Bradbury how to play Diplomacy, and capped off a memorable evening by falling off a balcony and rolling down the side of a Berkeley hill? And did I not turn down a chance to invest $1,000 in an obscure new game designed by an ex-Dipper named Gary Gygax in return for 10% of the rights because I thought “it’s a dumb idea?” So, the lesson is, read my reviews with a grain of salt or, better yet, a nice margarita to go with them.
BOUNCED (suggested by Toby Harris)
Basic Online Utility for Network Computerized Electronic Diplomacy (aka BOUNCED) was recommended by Toby Harris on one or another of the Facebook websites and everyone in the hobby knows that when Toby writes, we all read. BOUNCED was constructed in 1999 to allow play of Diplomacy purely from the web. Although similar to PBEM (play-by-email systems), all of the software was written from scratch and all information about a game (maps, history, judging and press) is displayed on the web site with a single (simple) interface. Judging is automatic with a game master overseeing each game. The copyright (1999-2011) is held by Christian R. Shelton.
The website is www.dipbounced.com
Nathan and Eric have created a webcast site devoted to the game and hobby of Diplomacy. It has a loyal and vocal following including most of the big mouths in the hobby — its most recent broadcast was in September and devoted to a somewhat controversial interview article with David Hill, who writes for Grantland and This American Life. The post publication and broadcast created more of an uproar than the original item. Some people will love. Some won’t. It’s all about freedom of speech and freedom of the press. How can you be against those unless your name is Xi or Koch?
Diplomacy: The Movie
First, the book Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger is 20 years old this year. I hope you bought a few dozen autographed copies when they first came out. It would have been a good investment, especially if you got them inscribed by The Master dipper himself. For those of you who have been waiting for the movie (Meryl Streep turned down the role because she couldn’t use her own wig maker and all the Jewish, under 5/5, over 250, and at least 85 Hollywood actors were on assignment.) the movie is finally out!
Hobby Old Farts may remember the first telling of the story of how Paris was saved by destruction by the Germans in WWII, IS PARIS BURNING? The 1966 American made movie:
Here’s a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is_Paris_Burning%3F
I remember the original because 1966 was not only a good year for movies but also the year of my first PBM Diplomacy game (1966O).
Early reviews from the New York Film Forum are good, but not great for DIPLOMACY, a Franco-German movie based on a play by a Frenchman featuring a cast few Americans will recognize. In this version it’s the German general, von Choltitz, vs. a Swedish diplomat who is trying to stop him from blowing up Paris on Hitler’s orders. The two key actors, Niels Arestrup as Choltitz and Andre Dussollier as the Swedish diplomat both played their same role in the original stage play. Since we already know the ending of the story it becomes a tale of a contest between two strong-willed men --- something any Dipper will recognize. The scene stealer in the movie was the Hotel Meurice, where much of it was filmed. The Old Grande Dame still looks good. I suggest doing a bit of research on both movies and then watching them both back-to-back.
Warning: Do NOT confuse this movie with the movie PARIS IS BURNING which you can and should read about on Wikipedia, etc. It is well worth watching.
Citizenfour: The Movie
CITIZENFOUR premiered at the NY Film Festival and jolted the film world and got more attention than most documentaries would, partially because of the work of Laura Poit and partially because of the literati’s fascination with the subject, Edward Snowden, the infant terrible of the NSA. The movie runs on two tracks, the first an excellent analysis of how the NSA and other intelligence agencies do their work and the second an intimate personal story of one man’s struggle with right and wrong vs. legal and illegal. Eric Snowden and Julian Assage were both excellent as themselves, something you don’t always seem in documentaries.
Those at the premier loved it, giving it a standing ovation, a rarity for a documentary.
“Putin orders troops away from Ukraine border”
Have you noticed how the Ukrainian story dropped off the charts as soon as ISIS went nuts in Iraq and Syria? It’s interesting that Russian behavior in this area has improved remarkably (including this unconfirmed troop withdrawal which has been promised many times but never accomplished) as the price of oil on the international market has dropped nearly 20% and Russia’s increasing dependence on Chinese economic support and goodwill (in return for, finally, the sale of some advanced weapons systems the Chinese have wanted for years) has increased steadily. Call him what you will, Putin is an opportunist. I think he’d make a great Dipper.
“Kim Jong in Dying in Agony in Chinese Hospital Surrounded by Female Security Guards”
Same story in a different venue. As soon as Baby Fat Cheeks reappeared he fell off the front pages of the tabloids, CNN and USA TODAY. Yet another case where , in spite of all the efforts of the NSA, CIA, and 15 other major intelligence agencies we don’t have a clue as to what’s going on. Perhaps that’s the biggest story here. When Washington says “We don’t know…” it isn’t because they do know but they don’t want us to know that, it’s because they real y don’t know. One of my agents in North Korea tells me that the best source of information on what’s going on in North Korea is a small noddle shop next to the Dancong Bridge construction site linking the PRC and North Korea.
“Arma Akimbo Replaces Psy’s Gangnam Style as #1 in K-Pop Hits!!”
This one you’ll have to research for yourself. Time, and Charles’ patience, is up! Thanx.
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