Stray Thoughts That Stuck in Andy's Brain in 2002


"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic." -- Dresden James (seen quoted at MAPinc.org) "As a former CEO, Dad was most comfortable making decisions -- okay, giving orders. As he spiraled deeper into the miasma of Alzheimer's, the staff let him sit in on their daily meetings. He was sure he was running them; they accepted that. There is a special knack to working with Alzheimer's patients: Treat them with respect and dignity. They may be confused, but they recognize fear or patronizing behavior." -- Barbara Geehan, on her experiences in a study of people with relatives who have AD (which Kristin's parents are also part of), "An Uncertain Inheritance", The Washington Post, 12/12/2
"If you're having trouble figuring out how to deal with a child in a game, try thinking of him as a stoned adult. It's not polite to draw attention to his being stoned, so just explain patiently and expect some weird lapses of judgment and the occasional flash of surprising insight." --'Becca Stallings, on the Origins planning mailing list, in a discussion about children at the Big Experiment "In a report to be published in the scientific journal Neuroscience Letters, Dr. Nathaniel Milton, a biochemist at London's Royal Free and University College London Medical School, will present research that suggests cannabinoids may help ward off the onset of Alzheimer's disease and lessen its effects in those who have it." -- High Times magazine, Feb 2003, page 13

I thought we'd fixed all the mistakes in Chrononauts in the recent Second Printing, but it turns out there's an error that's been hiding in every version since the Beta. Thanks to A Ross, I now realize that the 1918 Linchpin has the wrong month and year. The card currently has the date of June 28th, which is the date of the signing of the Treaty of Versaille, which brought the war to its official end -- in 1919. I had intended to use Nov 11th, 1918 (Armistice Day), the day when the hostilites ceased. "Judge Enichen again put Murphy on the spot: 'Even if this was your position, why didn't you respond in some way to the October 10th request for information, which forms the basis of their case for discovery violations? Warning: sanctions.' Again, Murphy failed to provide any sort of satisfactory explanation." -- Keith Baker's account of what will hopefully be Ellen's last appearance in court, having been outrageously punished for doing absolutely nothing wrong in a typical day at her difficult, important, and under-appreciated job

Here's a movie I'd like to see: a big budget remake (or should I say, authentic adaptation) of HG Wells' "The War of the Worlds" set (as it originally was) in Victorian, England. Naturally, the Martian war machines would be massive metal-legged tripods, not those flying stingrays seen in the George Pal version from the fifties. "Let's take a look at some of the rather serious contradictions the war on drugs creates for its Republican supporters. First, we Republicans are adamant defenders of the Constitution to the point of striving to appoint and elect judges who will respect that document.  Yet the war on drugs makes a mockery of many of our constitutionally protected rights." -- Darren O'Connor, "Confused About Drug War"

Kristin has lost 15 pounds over the course of the last 15 weeks! With the gift of funding from her father, she hired a totally great personal trainer named Elie, and so far, her program is working wonderfully! (Keep up the good work, you two! Thanks Dad!) "History has shown us that strength may be useless when it comes to terrorism." -- Captain Jean-Luc Picard (of the Starship Enterprise)
"I think my first encounter with Looney Labs games was when a friend of mine recounted her first Fluxx game: her friends said 'to start, there are no rules except what's on the cards', so she looked at her hand, saw a card that said 'if you have milk and cookies in front of you, you win', went to the kitchen, came back with some milk and cookies, then played the card and said 'I win!' Which I guess just goes to show that you still need to explain some things before you start playing Fluxx..." -- Doug Orleans' Rabbit Bio "For more than 30 years now, the nonstop refrain from a very large and very outspoken portion of the population has been that there is nothing more important in the life of American citizens than 'choice.' Of course, this is all aimed at allowing a woman, as it is euphemistically phrased, to 'control her own health-care decisions.' Still, average people start wondering after a while: If choice is so important, why should it only apply to women, and only for one thing? For about the same amount of time, we've been hearing the gospel of 'tolerance' -- that the only unpardonable sin in American life is intolerance.  No wonder people start to smirk when they hear about 'zero tolerance' for marijuana." -- Taylor Armerding, "Hypocrisy on Drugs Enables Our Real Threats", The Massachusetts Eagle-Tribune, Nov 12, 2002
"The way to deprive terrorists and other criminal gangs of sustenance is to legalize and regulate the drugs we have tried to eliminate. Instead, we keep pouring law enforcement dollars into efforts that won't put an end to drug use but will assure profits to traffickers, including people who are trying to kill us.  The drug war supports terrible things.  When our leaders persist in it, they do too." -- Steve Chapman, "The War On Drugs vs. The War On Terrorism", the Chicago Tribune, Nov 10, 2002

I enjoyed seeing what Googlism.com "knows" about me. Just now I got the following list:

  • andrew looney is going to be
  • andrew looney is many things
  • andrew looney is a genius
  • andrew looney is nearly legendary
  • andrew looney is buried next to him
  • andy looney is talking to me on the phone
"Please explain to me exactly what the difference is between the Democrats and the Republicans." -- something my mother says I asked her some twenty years ago, as a teenager struggling to understand our complex political system (it's a question that still puzzles me) "On an increasingly global basis, corrupt government officials are giving away power to large corporations for their own personal gain. Human rights, the environment, public health, the economy, and democracy are all at risk." -- Maco Collins (aka the Practical Hippie), "Beyond Protesting: The Ascending 'Anti-Globalization' Movement"

Why hasn't McDonald's taken a tip from the pizza industry and begun hiring delivery drivers? Why can I not get a burger and fries delivered to my door with a simple phone call (or better still, website click)? Why must I go to the drive thru for American food when I can stay home and have Chinese and Italian foods brought to me upon command?   "The pro-pot people feel that victory--even if it comes not this year and not in Nevada--is inevitable. Each year there are fewer members of the pre-boomer generation, who tend not to distinguish between heroin and pot. In 1983, only 31% of Americans surveyed had tried pot; the new Time/CNN poll puts the figure at 47%. And though pot use among teens is down from its '70s highs, parents sneaking joints when their kids are asleep is a fresh phenomenon. But the polls show that Americans still cling to pot's forbidden status, which is why the pro-pot people are working so hard." -- Time Magazine, November 4, 2002

This Emperor finally has a real crown. Well, actually, it's still just a temporary one... my real gold crown won't be installed by our dentist Linda for about 3 weeks. But at least I haven't had to endure a root canal yet...

I was delighted to see, by studying the most recent on-board DC subway map, that 3 new stations are actively being developed: one on the Red Line between Union Station and Rhode Island Ave. and two at the Maryland end of the Blue Line. I wonder if they'll ever make the additions I'd like to see (besides a purple line along the beltway), namely extending the Orange Line to Dulles airport, and our Green Line to BWI airport (via Beltsville, Laurel, and Columbia). (And I remain bitter about the fact that the Yellow Line doesn't extend all the way to Greenbelt as originally planned.)

"I don't know about you, but I find it profoundly disturbing that in a nominally free country this can't even come up for debate. If we taxed the estimated $32 billion crop (America's largest) instead of fruitlessly trying to eradicate it, we'd instantly raise billions for the war effort... and instantly free up thousands of well-trained cops and federal agents to help avert the next deadly attack. If another mad bomber slips through the net because the extra manpower we need is off busting some dude for smoking a joint after work, isn't that beyond obscene?" -- Keith Blanchard, Editor-in-chief of Maxim magazine, in the Editor's Letter of the October 2002 issue

Greykell Dutton, one of the nicest and coolest people I've met in the past 20 years, has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Read all about it on her pages...

America now has more black men in jail than in college.
(791,600 vs. 603,032 as of the year 2000. (Source: Justice Policy Institute.)]

I'm getting a patent for my birthday! I got notification this week that my third patent (for the method of simulating time travel in a card game) will be issued on Election day. Now if we can just get a democratic congress and a "Yes" on Nevada's Question 9, I'll get everything I want for my birthday!

We got a stereo upgrade this week (thanks toK!), moving from a single-cd player to a 100-cd jukebox! Needless to say, it's a huge improvement, and amazingly, I was able to make the much-larger unit fit on the same shelf as the old one!

Congrats and good luck to our friend Keith Baker! He's one of 3 finalists (chosen from 11,000 entrants) in WotC's "Fantasy Setting Search" and stands to receive a $100,000 prize (and instant name recognition in the RPG community) if he wins!

Icehouse Historian Eeyore Evans got a new scanner and put the OCR software to the test by scanning in Issues 1-13 of Hypothermia, as published by our predecessor company, Icehouse Games. Go admire his lovely archive, and see how far we've come since 1989!

Lately, I've really gotten obsessed with the events of November 22, 1963. I've decided that in a little over a year, I will make my own pilgrimage to Dallas, to inspect Dealey Plaza for myself. I've heard there's quite a gathering on the Grassy Knoll each year, and not only will 2003 be the 40th anniversary of the JFK shooting, but it even falls on a Saturday.

"If nothing else, Sept. 11 should have taught us that freedom has real enemies and that college kids sitting in their dorm room sharing a joint and listening to Pink Floyd aren't remotely among them." -- Bradley R. Gitz, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 2002

"The fastest way to kill a product is to advertise it and have consumers out there looking for it and not finding it." -- Larry Johns, who was head of sales at Hershey after first holding that position at Mars, as quoted on page 222 of The Emperors of Chocolate, by Joel Glenn Brenner

"I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on. And I said, well, there's one terrible pilot... ...Anyway, it was an interesting day." -- President Bush's reminiscences of September 11th, as quoted in "Is Bush a Liar (or is memory serving him badly)?" at VisualJournalism.com

"Beyond the human cost, this American drug gulag is expensive to operate. The federal Bureau of prisons is currently spending $3 billion a year just to incarcerate drug offenders." -- Doug McVay, "An American Gulag In The Making," the Orlando Sentinel, Sunday, 29 Sep 2002

"There are environmentally aware Americans - they mostly wear beads and live in Seattle. The rest of the nation drives past them hardly noticing their presence." -- Justin Webb, "Car Crazy America Reluctant to Change"

"Your enthusiasm inspires people." -- fortune cookie message I just got and really liked

"Federal drug policy now lies in the hands of those who might best be described as the John Birchers of the drug war. Today's drug war politicians are out of step with the public, but they don't care. They're on their own crusade, one in which marijuana is as sinful as miscegenation was to the Southern racists." -- Ethan Nadelmann

"What if Osama bin Laden sent squads of armed men into U.S. cities to attack medical facilities? What if those terror squads stormed clinics, stole confidential medical records and literally took medicine from the sick and dying? That is precisely what the Drug Enforcement Administration is doing in California." -- Target America: The DEA and You

This weekend I made a batch of fudge, as I often do... but instead of pouring it into a pan to cool as always, I first poured some of the steaming hot fudge onto vanilla ice cream, and it was great! (This may seem obvious, but for me it was a bold new experiment in dessert technology. I've been making this fudge for over 30 years, but I've never thought to try this until now.)

"The more I hear Bush speak, the more I think regime change is a good idea... within the USA." -- Dale Newfield, September 12, 2002

Now that George has passed on and can no longer veto Paul's plans, it looks like we'll finally get to hear the long-lost Beatles track "Carnival of Light", a 14-minute piece recorded in 1967 at the same time as "Penny Lane." Paul said in this interview that "It's very avant garde" and that George "didn't like it." How bad is it really? I can't wait to find out!

"The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure, while always arriving. It saves on introductions and goodbyes." -- Driver of the Boat-Car in "Waking Life"

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." -- Abraham Lincoln

Visiting DragonCon is rather like visiting an intergalactic spaceport, where all fictional universes intersect. Everywhere you look you see Storm-Troopers and Klingons and aliens of every sort, all milling about in a luxurious futuristic city.

"It's sad when literature becomes litter." -- Alison

"The stunning and overwhelming defeat of Bob Barr (R-GA) in the Georgia primaries yesterday bodes very well for those who are working towards more rational and sensible drug policies. For a drug war Zealot to be so soundly defeated may begin to send the message to the rest of Congress that supporting the drug war may result in more politicians becoming unemployed." -- DrugSense FOCUS Alert #253: "Good Riddance Bob Barr!"

"As a retired police officer, I know that every hour spent looking for an ounce under someone's front seat means another drunken driver smashing into some innocent person. Public safety is seriously diminished as we in law enforcement spend millions of hours nationwide chasing a drug that, though not harmless, has never, to my knowledge, killed anyone using it." -- Howard J. Wooldridge of Fort Worth, Letters page of USA Today, 9/3/2

Our biggest game distributor began shipping Nanofictionary at the wrong price! So if you find it for sale at only $14, please tell them it should be $17. (And if you managed to buy one at the wrong price, Alliance says "enjoy 3 extra dollars compliments of us :-)")

I see now that CBS is accepting applications for the Amazing Race 4, so even though we never received so much as a postcard back from them, I guess our AR-3 application was turned down.

The funniest new Fluxx goal idea I've heard in a while was suggested by Josh Berling: Zombies Eat Brains! The player who has Death on the table wins if the Brain is on the table.

"Good intentions are no justification for terrible results." -- Jerry Epstein, "Drug Prohibition Gone On Long Enough", Galveston County Daily News, Fri, 09 Aug 2002

During my entire career as a programmer, working both in government and the private sector, I always managed to weasel out of doing management work. But now, I have become the Project Manager of a huge software project which I'm not even doing any programming for. In fact, at this point, I haven't done any programming in years. I feel like Dilbert's bald pointy-haired boss.

I love meeting and greeting lots of people at the annual trade shows, but I hate the way I often come home from one with a cold...

They didn't cut up the Nanofictionary cards in the sequence I had been told to expect, so the award and bonus cards are mixed in with the rest of the deck instead of being sorted together at the top like I planned. But that's just whining really... otherwise, they're beautiful!

"What part of smoking marijuana is wrong? Is it using something from the earth? Certainly not. Nothing is wrong with using our natural resources in our everyday lives. Is it having a good time? That can't be it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying one's self. After all, our three most stressed rights are those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Marijuana makes millions of people in the United States happy. Do you want to infringe on someone's right to happiness? Think about this next time you applaud drug arrest numbers in this country." -- Asa Cooney, "Marijuana Laws Steal Liberty"

At first I felt ripped off by the so-called "new country" at Busch Gardens... "Ireland" isn't the totally new place I was expecting, but instead just a re-theming of an area once known as "Hastings." But although I felt mislead, I like the changes quite a bit. It's a nice improvement.

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." -- Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg Trials

The best new theme-park innovation I've seen in years is the "single-rider lane" they've added to the line for Apollo's Chariot. It allows singleton riders (or groups willing to divide up) to board immediately by filling in otherwise unfilled seats on the coaster. But when the lane was closed (as it often was) it became very aggravating having to wait, watching trains roll out with empty seats - particularly when they were in the front!

"They just sit there, sucking up the reader's life force." -- the review of Family Circus at Bob's Comics Reviews

Leslie informs me it was Dan Viets whose remarks at the most recent NORML conference inspired my desire to become a lawyer... for she too had the exact same reaction! In fact, she's way ahead of me... she's already taken the LSAT!

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr., seen quoted at LoveThatWorks.org

"The so-called war on drugs is creating violence, endangering children, clogging the criminal justice system, eroding civil liberties, and disproportionately punishing people of color. It's time for a cease-fire." -- Rev. William Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, which recently passed a "Statement of Conscience" calling for the decriminalization of drugs

"When pure pharmaceutical-grade Bayer heroin was legally sold in pharmacies for about the same price as aspirin, criminals and terrorists were not involved in the drug business. Criminals now are involved in the drug business for one reason: drug prohibition. Prohibition has corrupted all levels of government, from cops on the beat to heads of government, just as alcohol prohibition did during our grandfathers' generation. When alcohol prohibition ended in 1933, the U.S. murder rate declined for 10 consecutive years. Have we learned any lessons? Not yet." -- Kirk Muse of Mesa, Arizona

"I'm really angry that I, a superior human being in every way, have less money than my neighbor, whose wife I would love to nail, if only I weren't so busy sleeping and eating pork chops." -- George Carlin, commenting on the 7 Deadly Sins

"Trashing Fluxx for not having any strategy or its element of randomness is a bit like reviewing Hamlet and saying 'I didn't laugh once! What's the deal!'" -- D. Lopez from NM, reviewing Fluxx at FunAgain.com

I'll bet a well-funded, privately-run space program could eventually become profitable by sending robots to the moon to scoop up small rocks and send them back. When they come from the moon, ordinary pebbles become more precious than gemstones... cut them into tiny pieces, embed them in rings and necklaces, and auction them off! Moonstone Jewelry: The fashion craze of 2028.

"And for some reason, Cole adds, these extra-thrifty customers always steal chicken. Strangely, it's the same at HomeTown Buffet. Arlene Potter says she notices elderly women lining their purses with large, zip-loc bags to stash chicken for later. Cookies, Potter says, are also popular." -- from an article about buffet restaurants and the people who dine in them, entitled "All You Can Eat", by Tim Sullivan

Kristin spent a lot of time this week suffering from a really bad migraine. Normally, we would have given her a shot of DHE for one this bad, but tragically, we haven't been able to get any! In fact, we're afraid they might be discontinuing it! This would really suck... D.H.E. 45 (dihydroergotamine mesylate) is the only legal drug we know of that can really get rid of one of Kristin's migraines...

At a sumptuous Father's day dinner this weekend, my brother Jeff (who taught me everything I know about the joy of eating steak) came up with a great do-it-yourself alternative to the fine restaurant choice of Surf-N-Turf. For meat-lovers like us, steak vs. lobster isn't the difficult choice we need such a special for... instead it's steak vs. prime rib. Jeff's solution: dine with someone whose tastes are compatible, each order one, and share! He calls it Turf-N-Turf. Yum!

"The time lost to jury duty on drug cases by otherwise productive citizens is just one of a profusion of hidden costs of the drug war. When you begin to consider these hidden and ancillary costs, you come to realize the true magnitude of the waste. The official, on the books cost of this war is $609 a second. The real cost is much greater and, because the economic distortions are so large, not really determinable." -- Geoffrey Norman, "Put These Guys in Rehab", Playboy Magazine, July 2002

"Bravo! The UK is at last moving out of the US-led camp of hysterical moralists. Now it can start to think seriously. Sensible policies would provide treatment and hope for the drug-dependent, not punishment; they would deprive gangsters of their income, not try to push prices higher; they would provide honest information to potential users, not offer lies; they would reduce threats to public safety, not increase incentives for crime; and they would limit the spread of disease, not promote it. The UK debate is improving. In time, policy may even reduce the costs of drug abuse, not raise them." -- Martin Wolf, "The Folly of Prohibiting Drugs"

"If we discovered three drugs today and they were alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, there isn't an expert in the country who would recommend that marijuana be the one that is banned based on individual and societal harm." -- Dr. Patrick Smith, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, to Canada's Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, June 7, 2002

"... marihuana is not addictive, not a gateway, and reports of harms of marihuana are unfounded ... those who have been smoking marihuana for a period of years showed no mental or physical deterioration which may be attributed to the drug." -- The Marihuana Problem in the City of New York (The "LaGuardia Report") (U.S.A., 1944)

"Even after last week's highly touted reorganization, which included the reassignment of 400 narcotics agents to counterterrorism, there will still be 2,100 agents spending their invaluable time and energy fighting a fruitless drug war. This despite the fact that combating drugs didn't even make Director Mueller's official Top Ten list of priorities. According to high-ranking FBI officials, Mueller originally intended to pull the plug on his agency's involvement in the drug war but was talked out of it by drug war generals who can't admit defeat. He should have listened to his gut." -- Arianna Huffington, "Did the Drug War Elude Sept. 11 Threats?" (the Sacramento Bee, June 4 2002)

"In Star Wars: Episode II, the Khaminans tell the Council that they have 200,000 soldiers ready to go, and that another one million will be ready soon -- and that if they want more, it will take time to get them (they grow at twice the usual rate, so one assumes we are talking a decade here). Now, according to CNN, the Indian army is about 1.3 million people, and between the two, India and Pakistan have deployed over a million soldiers to Kashmir. So this immense clone army, which is going to bring tens of thousands of systems to heel, is only slightly larger than the force that is fighting over a tiny area between Pakistan and India." -- email from Keith Baker

"The question that Walters fails to address is why marijuana should be treated differently from the drugs mentioned above? We allow adults to buy cigarettes and alcohol, even though both are highly addictive and kill thousands every year. Experts may disagree, depending on definitions, over whether marijuana smoke is "addictive" or merely "habit-forming" but both sides are hard-pressed to find anyone who has died of a marijuana overdose." -- Clarence Page, in his excellent response to the Drug Czar's ironically myth-laden editorial, "The Myth of 'Harmless' Marijuana"

"Some pursue happiness; you create it." -- wonderfully accurate fortune cookie message Kristin recently received (Alison's was also really great: "Everyone around you is rooting for you. Don't give up!")

In the next printing of Chrononauts, should we change 1962 so that it turns on an "OR" instead of an "AND"? It would make it a lot easier to create (and maintain) World War III...

"I'm pretty frazzled -- lately I have these awful daydreams that he's secretly building a glider in the attic." -- John Cooper, describing his efforts to keep their dog Booda from continually escaping from their new yard

There's been a big shake-up and power shift at Kristin's old company, TSI-TelSys, and our old Fearless Leader Jim Chesney is back on the board of directors! Since we're still hanging onto a heap of devalued TSI stock, we're hopeful Jim can help get his old company back on the right track.

I really enjoy the Target TV ads. They're like little music videos. (Have you seen the new one, featuring "Orange You Glad It's Summer?" by the B-52s?) I think Target should collect them all together on a DVD and give 'em out free with a $25 purchase...

"A farmboy, a princess, and a swashbuckling renegade unite to lead a rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire." -- film description seen in the Washington Post TV guide (gosh, when you describe it that way, Star Wars somehow sounds really lame!)

"I ask that we all work hard to end the policy of caging humans for using a plant given to us by Christ God Our Father as described on the very first page of the Bible." -- Stan White, of Dillon, Colorado, in the Boulder Weekly, 10 May 2002

The question on the Amazing Race application that I was most pleased with my answer to was this one: "List three adjectives that best describe you." My answer:
1. Artistic
2. Enthusiastic
3. Comical
4. Non-Conformist

"Staggering mental insights more productive than staggering to the toilet." -- Reason #1 on Jeff & Tracy's List of Top Ten Reasons to Smoke Pot Instead of Drinking Alcohol

"Upon the Producers' request, all applicants and/or contestants agree to sign and abide by the terms of any additional releases or authorizations that the Producers, in their sole discretion, deem necessary." -- in other words, you have to agree to anything else we say (just one of the things we had to agree to in order to apply for the Amazing Race)

"I want my old dad back, the one who was yelling all the time, and... you know, I'm not really sure what I want." -- Lisa Simpson, in the recent, generally-lame medical marijuana episode of "The Simpsons," when the family confronted Homer about being a stoner

Before they started Apple, Steves Jobs and Woz invented the classic videogame Breakout! (So why isn't a version of the game included automatically on every iMac, like Solitaire on Windows?)

"You don't have to like drugs to hate prohibition." -- something I heard at the NORML conference

I'm stunned to learn that Landover Mall is closing its doors. I suppose it is kind of run down now, but I can still remember marveling at its opulence 3 decades ago, when it was new and I was a kid. (Two floors of indoor shopping! With fountains and sculptures and trees! And it's all indoors! We'd never seen the like.)

I received an Office Action from the PTO regarding my Chrononauts patent application, and although they had some complaints about the wording of my claims, they used the magic phrase "allowable subject matter," so it looks like I'm on my way to patent #3!

I've really gotten into the History channel. There's just so much good stuff on it! Never has history been so addictive...

We've been invited to attend Arisia '03 (a major sci-fi convention in Boston) as Special Guests of Honor! (As in, all expenses paid! Etc!)

Although in the eighties I was among the early pioneers of the LARP (Live Action Role Playing) game, I haven't been to one in years. However, I'd come out of retirement for a weekend-long game based on Survivor. (Man, I love that show.) Is anybody working on a game like that?

"You bet I did. And I enjoyed it." -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when asked if he'd ever tried smoking pot, in a quote which is now part of a major ad campaign in the Big Apple, paid for by the NORML Foundation

The only thing worse than making a mistake is continuing to make it.

"Monopoly Releases Scrabble-Themed Edition" -- my favorite recent fake headline at The Onion (still no match though for my all-time favorite, "Heston: 'We Must Arm Ourselves If We Are To Defeat The Apes'"

"No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth." -- Charlotte Aldebron, in an essay entitled "What the American Flag Stands For", which she wrote for a competition in her 6th grade English class

"We're in a different generation now. We don't want to spend time reading a 20-page rulebook. We want to learn the games fast, yes. But that doesn't mean we want them to be simple..." -- Ellen Osterhaus of Out of the Box games, during the same interview at Toy Fair '02 that featured Kristin

I'd love to visit the alternate universe where the Beatles really did make a movie based on the Lord of the Rings. With Paul and Ringo playing Frodo and Sam, George being Gandalf, and John as Gollum, that really would have been something. (But I can't say I blame Tolkien for saying no...)

I hate the Discovery-Health cable network. I call it the surgery channel. No matter how briefly I glimpse it on my way up or down the line, I always seem to catch an eyeful of someone being operated on, up close. Yuk!

"Rarely in the history of wars have so many achieved so little at such a high cost." -- Rowena Young, author of a new report on the failures of the drug war, issued by the Foreign Policy Centre (a British think-tank)

Alison came up with a tweak to the Nanofictionary rules that nicely solves a problem that sprang out of simultaneous turns, namely not being sure when everyone is ready to begin the next round. Henceforth, each player must place a finger on the draw pile when ready to draw a card for the next round.

Cosmic Coasters has been nominated for an Origins award! (It's in the Best Abstract Board Game category.)

Hearing that someone threw a grenade at the US embassy in Yemen is a lot more distressing when you know someone who's actually stationed at the US embassy in Yemen. (Fortunately, he's OK...)

"That some of these original fears were unfounded and that others were exaggerated has been clear for many years. Yet, many of these early beliefs continue to affect contemporary public attitudes and concerns." -- one of the findings of fact in the Shafer Commission report (officially known as "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding: The First Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse"), whose recommendation to decriminalize pot was ignored by congress when this report was released, 30 YEARS AGO!!!

"The only time you will hear me use terms such as 'War On Drugs' and 'Just Say No' is to denigrate them." -- Dr. Richard Simpson, Scotland's drugs minister, who declared last weekend that the 30-year war on drugs is now officially over in that country

We got a call this week from a company wanting to buy our mailing list, offering us a significant amount of money for it. You will be happy to know that Kristin turned them down and told them never to bother asking again.

"Dude, you're harshing my mellow." -- an old expression I picked up recently

Someone posted a Dvorak deck called "Time Machine" which is an obvious rip-off of Chrononauts, and didn't even give me any credit!
[Update: After I posted this, they gave me a link...]

"Before you try putting your best foot forward, make sure it hasn't been in your mouth recently." -- Liam Bryan, on the Rabbits mailing list, under "Tips for getting to playtest new games, #1: Don't be a nidgit."

The number for my new patent (for IceTowers) has finally been announced: it's 6,352,262!

"This week's saying: How will we know when drug laws are fair and equitable? When beer drinkers and cigarette smokers get prison sentences for possessing dangerous drugs." -- M.L. Simon, "Drug Related"

Kristin was on NPR! "All Things Considered" did a 5 minute spot on board games at Toy Fair, and they ended the segment with an interview of Kristin, talking about Fluxx!

Why do hotel maids throw away the barely-used li'l soaps each time they clean, even when the guest isn't checking out? Do we really need to put all that soap in the landfills?

Fata Morgana has posted translations into German of the rules to Aquarius, along with descriptions of all our games!

"I'm their dentist!" -- he's actually our dentist's associate, but he was very excited to overhear a store clerk in a magic store in California pitching Fluxx as a really great game (apparently the clerk wasn't impressed)

I'm digging the fact that every 13 months for the next ten years we will have a date that looks like this past Saturday's: 2/2/2. Do you think the Fundamentalist Christians will freak out in four years, when we get to 6/6/6? (It will be a Tuesday, in case you were wondering.)

"Consider the following axioms carefully: 'Everything's better when it sits on a Ritz,' and 'Everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it.' What happens when one spreads Blue Bonnet margarine on a Ritz cracker? The thought is frightening. Is this how God came into being? Try not to consider the fact that 'Things go better with Coke.'" -- Christopher Clark's email sig

We had an opportunity to pick up a really cool used literature rack, but it's huge, so to make room for it we've decided we need to get rid of one of our broken-down stand-up video-game machines. Anybody interested in buying a semi-functional Battlezone machine?

The Tick has been canceled, after only 5 episodes! But it was in a timeslot opposite Survivor, what did they expect? This is even more of a downer than when The Downer Channel was canceled after just 4 episodes...

It turns out that it was actually Travis Larchuk who thought of playing the writing phase of Nanofictionary without turns. It just took five months of Alison telling us to try it before we realized what a good idea it was. Thanks Travis!

"When a waiter says 'good choice' after I order, I feel especially good, even proud. And when he says it to someone else, but not me, I feel as though I've failed some sort of restaurant pop quiz." -- Amy Krouse Rosenthal (whose brother Joe says there are two food groups: meat, and "no thanks"), in The Book of Eleven (an itemized collection of brain lint)

Alison's snake Benji is a fussy eater. He seems to be insisting on store-bought white mice, despite our Little Cat's fine efforts to harvest locally-grown gray mice for him to eat. I can understand a snake not wanting pre-killed dinners, but of the 3 occasions (out of 11 so far) on which we've gotten a mouse away from the Little Cat while it was still alive, Benji's only been willing to eat one of them. What's with that?

Benji the snake and the mouse he didn't want to eat lived happily together for almost a week. At night, they'd curl up together under Benji's dishtowel, near the glass cage's heater. Then one day, the mouse just disappeared...

My local film developer now makes real photographic prints from digital media. I got my first batch of 5x7s back today, and they look great! For me, film is now officially dead.

When a show (such as, for example, "That 70's Show") does a bit re-creating the infamous "Happy Days" shark jump, and even acknowledges it as the moment a show becomes no-longer-watchable, does that mean the new show has, by association, also Jumped the Shark? (I guess time will tell...)

I finally got my first DVD player, and I'm loving its "Repeat A-B" option! It makes trivial the task of looping a segment of video, something I used a spend a lot of time doing the hard way with a couple of VCRs. Of course, I only have a couple of actual DVDs so far, but there are lots of great loopable moments in the animated version of the Lord of the Rings... The Anthrax thing has affected us in an indirect way... a payment we mailed to the U.S. Patent Office got stuck in quarantine, which means my IceTowers patent still hasn't issued yet, which means we won't have the patent number in time to include in Playing with Pyramids.

My hair's gotten quite long, and since she just got a rather drastic trim, I suddenly have longer hair than Gina!

"In terms of whether my body would be unhappy without it, I'm also 'addicted' to a number of other prescribed drugs and to food, water, oxygen, and my sweetie. Addiction is an overrated concept." -- Geov Parrish, "A Junkie's Confession"

"Be happy, optimistic, calm, because you are heading for a deed God loves and will accept. It will be the day, God willing, you spend with the women of paradise." -- Mohamed Atta, hijacker-pilot of the plane that hit the North Tower (who apparently despised both tall buildings and the women of earth), in a memo to himself entitled "The Last Night"

It seems like airport security is growing tighter before our eyes. Between going and returning to Texas they added a new restriction: no carrying-on of bottled water unless you took a swig of it to prove that's all it is.