Stray Thoughts That Stuck in Andy's Brain in 2000

Chrononauts has been nominated for Coolest Game Mechanic in the Games Unplugged Magazine GAMY Awards! The voting is going on right now till 12/31/00, so go to their site and vote for the TimeLine! I'm really enjoying this online comic adaptation of the Time Machine. Like my own Iceland, it moves along at an annoyingly sluggish pace, even for one who already knows the story; but he's doing a great job with it. I particularly love the way the language of the Eloi has gradually changed from meaningless symbols to vaguely readable English as the main character begins learning their language.

"Have a great kwaanzannukah-mas-stice!" -- Julia Tenney's all-purpose holiday greeting (which Alison thinks would be more smoothly pronounceable as "kwaanzannukah-stice-mas")
Fluxx hit #3 on the bestseller list this week! It's moved back down since then (because they've sold out of it), but it's up to 21 on the all-time bestseller list!!! And a bunch of nice reviews of our games have gone up there lately, too. Yay! Well, it looks like we're getting stuck with another President Bush. Hopefully his lack of mandate will make him weak, and this mess should end up driving a movement for Election Procedures Reform, if not a call to abolish the Electoral College itself. And certainly, people will take their votes far more seriously for a long time to come...

"I ordered a copy of Fluxx, so I'm not feeling as bad about ripping off the mechanics of the game. I'm on solid legal ground: game mechanics can be patented, but not trademarked or copywritten. The rules are copywritten, as are any other text on the card, but I made sure to not copy the text from the Fluxx cards. Still, part of me feels that this is unethical. If ever I 'publish' this (on the web, not for money), I'll make sure to give credit to Andrew Looney and Fluxx." -- LinuxNewbie's OpenDiary journal, 11/25/00

"My personal favorite is using Get There First on Videotape of the Creation of the Universe - exactly where did you get to, five minutes before the creation of the universe?" -- Chris Byler, in a message about Chrononauts posted on on 12/2/0

"My assistant, holding the ladder, was the annoying chubby skateboard-bully neighbor-kid, rendered meek with voice a-quaver by the blackout" -- the line that made me bust out laughing as I read of Rash's locked-out-during-a-power-outage adventure, in the 12/5/00 entry of his weblog

"The art on the cards is beautiful, but the game is a big snooze. Imagine dominos with any sense of strategy or skill sucked out of the game. That's Aquarius." -- Miranda's review of Aquarius at (where she also sums up her opinion of Fluxx with the word "Suxx"). Ouch! Well, at least she likes my artwork. [And hers is the only Aquarius review on their site! I hope someone posts an alternate viewpoint soon...]

"We really enjoy the 'IceTowers' variant of Icehouse. It plays quickly, has no turns and allows for a surprising amount of strategy." -- J. Scott Reeves, 9/21/00, responding to a request on for "Lunch Time Quickies", games you can play when you've only got 10 minutes left after lunch

"I have been anxiously awaiting for someone to ask about our 'award'. Thank you for being the first. 1) I voted DAO best game of the year. 2) for the year 2000. I did not put the year on the sticker since I plan on using them again next year when I will vote DAO best game of the year for 2001." - Dao company spokesman as quoted on the Seattle Cosmic Game Night's website, in response to queries about who exactly had given them the award they tout on their packaging

"Change history and save the world, all over lunch. [5 out of 5 stars]" -- Tim Seiger's review of Chrononauts, posted to     I'm happy to tip pizza delivery guys, because I ask them to do what I'm too lazy to do: drive back and forth between my house and the restaurant on a cold and rainy night. And I don't mind tipping waitrons, either, because again, I'm requesting their help in wrangling up a dinner. But I really hate tipping hotel bellhops, particularly the ones who just refuse to let you carry your own luggage. They remind me of those guys at NYC intersections, who wipe off your windshield while you yell for them not to, and then expect you to give them a tip.

"Have you ever thought about becoming a duck?" -- caption of a cartoon in this week's New Yorker, of a man standing in his doorway looking down at two earnest-looking ducks
When did we move from "To Err is Human, To Really Foul Things Up You Need A Computer" to this kind of unshakable faith in machines that Bush supporters now exhibit, even in the face of tens of thousands of screwed-up ballots? How can hand-counting be unconstitutional when it's obviously the only way vote tabulation was even possible in the days of our Founding Fathers?
Lemme get this straight: 19,000 ballots in Florida were thrown out because they were double-punched for Gore and Buchanan, a direct result of letting a bad graphic designer create the ballot. And now Bush is winning, by a mere 300 votes. Why not divide the dual vote ballots between the candidates affected, in percentages according to the national average? Oh yeah, because the national average doesn't count.

"When they talk to the manager, tell him to fire himself and leave me in charge." -- overheard waiter at the International House Of Pancakes
Research has shown there's a link between laughing and reduced risk of heart disease! Finally, proof for all the humor-impaired people in the world that comedy is important.

"I've been in the hospital for three weeks trying not to die and a friend dropped by his deck of Fluxx to entertain me. It renewed my will to live! What a fun game. Thanks!" -- Frank Giachino, in a comment accompanying an order

"Suppose you were a CEO of a large organization. Suppose your one corporate goal was to reduce the importation of a competitor's product. Your bonus is riding on this, so think hard. Suppose, in your first year, that your competitor's imports were up 50 percent. You go to your stockholders, hat in hand, and ask for another year and more money. Maybe they give you a year. But who would look at 20 years of wildly escalating imports and wildly escalating expenditures and conclude that next year, you ought to be given more money to do what you did last year? Well, if you are the drug czar, the answer is Congress." -- Heber Taylor, "War On Drugs High On List Of Stupid Things", Galveston County Daily News, 11/5/00

"Hmm, another broccoli-related death."
"But I thought broccoli was-"
"Oh, yes, one of the deadliest plants on earth. Why, it tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste." -- Dr. Hibbert and Marge Simpson, in the "G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad" segment of the recent Halloween episode

"Between them, Gore and Lieberman support or have supported Star Wars, the Gulf War, the Drug War, NAFTA, GATT, Social Security privatization, welfare reform, and the Death Penalty... and you're telling me this is the best choice we've got?" -- Sparky, This Modern World

"Halloween. It is undoubtedly the gamers' holiday. How can roleplayers not be excited about Halloween? Revelers wear costumes. Strangers hand out tiny chocolate bars. Orange marshmallow ghosts end up in microwaves as the butt of important scientific 'experiments.'" -- Emily Dresner-Thornber, "Lost in the Twilight Zone"
With sad hearts we note that Iron Crown Enterprises has moved into the final stages of bankruptcy, having abandoned hope of restructuring and returning to profitability. Pete Fenlon and the others at ICE were both our mentors and an inspiration to us, and their grim news is a big bummer. I was really hoping they would recover.

"The average drug trafficking organization, meaning from Medellin [a Colombian drug cartel] to the streets of New York or the streets of wherever, could afford to lose 90% of its product, and still be profitable." -- Robert Stutman, former DEA Special Agent, commenting on a 20 year old internal DEA study, in Frontline's "Drug Wars"
It's minor, but Mark Lentczner has discovered the first real mistake in Chrononauts: the Time Index on the 1986' Patch should be D-4, not D-3. This error was made on the earliest of prototypes and was carried forward, undetected, through the Beta edition and into the final product. Lots of people noticed that Avert Disaster had the wrong date for the Lusitania, but no one saw this until now. I guess that means it's not very noticeable...

"And God brought forth the potato, a vegetable naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fat fried them. And he created sour cream dip also." -- One of those humor emails that people circulate around, with the original author's name long ago lost in the deleted layers of header info...

"Looney Labs is a game company as well as a strange, on-going piece of Internet performance art." -- Brad Weier, who says of this page, "It's Like a Soap Opera That Doesn't Suck" on his fan webpage about us and our games

"Actually, when I say 'entirely different' I mean more than just different from one another. These games are different from anything else you've likely ever played. Never have I seen such a collection of convention-bending designs." -- Lester Smith, reviewing the Icehouse set for Shred Magazine, Issue #7, Sept 2000

"If you can look past the tree-huggin' hippie crap (and it really doesn't take much to do that), what you have here is a fast, simple, sometimes vicious beer-and-pretzels game with lots of back-and-forth double-crossing and bluffing potential. It's fast enough that it's easy to play again... and suddenly find that hours have gone by. Big fun. Score: 5/5." -- GX-Misuba commenting on Aquarius at

"There are times when the gap between reality and rhetoric, between what we know to be true and what our leaders say, becomes so outrageous as to feel positively surreal. And the war on drugs -- specifically, the campaign against marijuana use which makes up a major portion of that war -- has now gone beyond the tolerable Magritte phase and into full-blown, hideous, melted-watches Dali." -- Gary Kamiya, "Reefer Madness", 10/12/00
My copy of Time War arrived, and the rules are daunting; it's a classic chit-based war game of the sort that always makes my eyes glaze over. But I'm not disappointed, even considering the level of water-damage the supposedly mint (but admittedly never-opened) game had suffered. The board is great and the mission cards are very entertaining. (They're notched, like IBM punchcards!) And here's an interesting Plate of Shrimp: It was designed by Stephen Peek, author of Game Plan! (I must send him a copy of Chrononauts...)
It drives me crazy when politicians talk about ending Racial Profiling without mentioning the War on Drugs. Racial Profiling is a symptom -- the real disease is Prohibition. What do you think the cops are searching for when they stop young black men driving sportscars? That's right, drugs! The best way to end Racial Profiling is to abolish our insane Drug War, which is itself racially biased.
I got email from Mike Richberg regarding my article Creating Chrononauts, recommending a cool time travel board game I'd missed out on, called Time War, published in 1979. As I result, I've finally entered my first eBay auction, and I won! I can't wait to try it... it features a system of concentric rings, which looks quite intriguing.

"There's as much chance of repealing the Eighteenth Amendment [which enacted alcohol Prohibition] as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail." -- Prohibitionist "visionary" Senator Morris Shepard of Texas, 1930
I got a call from the Loss Reduction Officer at Six Flags: my missing credit card had been swiped by a cashier! They found it concealed on her person when she was fired and arrested, just a few minutes after bamboozling me with a supposedly accidental mischarge of $0.07 while purchasing my admission. And apparently it's all part of a larger conspiracy...
Last week, 11-year-old Alberto Sepulveda was shot and killed by a SWAT team during a drug raid in Modesto, CA. How many more innocent children will be murdered by Drug Warriors before this insanity can be abolished? I grow ever more outraged... what about you?

"What's karma? He said: You know on pies? The pie crust? It's the little wrinkles on pie crust. He inquired: It is? He clarified: Yeah. So there's good karma and bad karma. So if you go to a restaurant, and you don't like the crust of your pie, you can say, 'This pie has bad karma' and send it back." -- overheard and posted on the web

"There's a whole mystique around Icehouse, just as there is with Go, for example. People make and paint their own regulation-sized pieces. One of the authors of Icehouse even wrote a readable science fiction novel called The Empty City about it. I liked it. The Wunderland Toast Society subculture which the authors of Icehouse have helped build, and of which Icehouse is only a part, embodies the principles of the philosophy of Ludism admirably." -- The links page of the Center for Ludic Synergy

"Why are we wiping our asses on trees? Why are we cleaning up our spills and blowing our noses on trees that take decades to grow back instead of a weed that grows back in months? At the very least, all toilet paper, Kleenex, and paper towels should be made from hemp instead of wood." -- "Inanimate Objects" by Michael Dare

"At first, John Lennon's death may not seem to have a clear effect on the Challenger disaster or the Columbine tragedy, but Andrew Looney put quite a bit of thought into the alternate history of Chrononauts -- and the discovery of his take on events is part of the charm of the game." -- Brad Weier, reviewing Chrononauts for Pyramid magazine

"I hate the D.A.R.E. program... it has the exact opposite effect that it is trying to achieve. Sending policemen to schools to teach children about drugs is like sending nuns to schools to teach children about sex. Virgins shouldn't teach sex education classes and cops shouldn't be teaching drug education classes. If you want to teach children about drugs, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to send a pharmacist? How about a doctor, or even an ex-drug addict? Anyone but a law enforcement officer." -- "Inanimate Objects" by Michael Dare

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs. Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday. Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken. Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." -- selections from a list that's been circulating through the email lately, of responses by 4 to 8 year-olds to the question "What does love mean?"

"All casual drug users should be taken out and shot." -- Daryl Gates, former Los Angeles Chief of Police (seen quoted on page 567 of ANBIYD, by Peter McWilliams)

"Someday, the world will recognize the obvious -- the counterculture is a persecuted minority group. There's no difference between creating a gulag prison system for marijuana offenders and the Holocaust. The Drug War is an attempt to exterminate our culture. It's happening on a much more subtle level, but morally, it is the same." -- Steven Hager, High Times Editor-in-Chief

"The Constitution Party will uphold the right of states and localities to restrict access to drugs and to enforce such restrictions in appropriate cases with application of the death penalty." -- The Drug Abuse plank of the Constitution Party's Year 2000 Platform

"Prohibitionism is an ideology very similar to Communism and Nazism. It dehumanizes its opponents, suppresses the truth, justifies the use of deadly force against peaceful citizens, and in the process destroys the lives and freedom of those who are supposed to be its beneficiaries." -- Richard Cowan, of

"We are here to demand an end to the shockingly casual placement of dangerous blades in our places of work," -- Tomb Raider star Lara Croft, as quoted in the Onion article, "Video-Game Characters Denounce Randomly-Placed Swinging Blades"
It's disturbingly similar to professional wrestling, but even so I've really been enjoying watching radio-controlled robots duel to the death on Comedy Central's new show, "Battlebots". (And speaking of dueling robots, we heard this week that the ZoidCo guys we met at Toy Fair got the funding they needed!)

"No man has ever said 'no thanks, I had french fries with lunch.'" -- James Lileks

"Cash tells no tales and leaves no trails." -- Jorge Cervantes

"If you don't stand up for what you believe to be right, regardless of the consequences, you will quickly discover that there is nothing left to believe in." -- George Monbiot, "A Vote For Nader Is A Vote For Bush. So Be It."

"We had a coffee moment one day where we realized that our contemporaries are basically the biggest wealth-generating generation of all time and they're all tokers. These are not the slackers that everybody thought they were--and they're all forced to toke in their basement." -- Tim Freccia, one of the founders of iToke
Kristin has invented another Icehouse game, and I like it even more than Volcano! She's calling it Blockade, and it's kind of a cross between Backgammon, Volcano, and Peaceful Resistance. It's only for 2 players and you need Black Ice and dice. We'll try to get the rules up soon!

"Gene Roddenberry told me that while he was creating Star Trek, the network and the production company put enormous pressure on him to include cigarettes on the starship Enterprise. They tried to get Roddenberry enthused about how cigarettes might look in the twenty-third centry. Maybe they would be square instead of round; perhaps they would come in colors; perhaps cigarettes would light themselves!" -- Peter McWilliams, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, page 592 (Geez, can you imagine it? Sulu and Chekov looking like the flight controllers in Apollo 13, smoking like chimneys as they operate their consoles?)

"If the personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution inhibit the government's ability to govern the people, we should look to limit those guarantees." -- President Bill Clinton (seen quoted on
I think one of the best human qualities you can nurture in yourself is the ability to cheerfully change your attitudes and beliefs when confronted by evidence that you've been wrong about something.

"Bush and Gore Make Me Wanna Ralph." -- A Letter from Michael Moore to the Non-Voters of America
It's not as thick nor heavy as I'd like it to be, but I have to say, it's pretty neat finally having a gold coin mixed into the US currency. But if it's going to succeed, we need to abolish the paper equivalent. And now is the perfect time to do it, too, with the re-designed $5 and $10 paper bills now entering circulation. The question is, does the Treasury Department have the guts to drop the $1 bill and issue a re-designed $2 bill instead?
The new Fluxx decks arrived! 18,100 of them! And they look beautiful, inside and out. Moreover, the timing worked out perfectly... we've just finished selling the last of the ICE edition decks! (We still had about a hundred left when they arrived, the last of which shipped out today!)
Ontario's highest court has declared the law prohibiting the possession of marijuana unconstitutional!
We've had to raise a couple of our prices, notably Fluxx, which is now $10. (But at least all our prices are nice round numbers now!)
Portugal has decriminalized marijuana!
The Kahiki (the self-proclaimed "Most Beautiful Polynesian Supper Club in the World") is being torn down... to make room for a Walgreens! They plan to re-open in downtown Columbus, but I can't believe they'll ever be able to recapture the glory of this important historic landmark. And to think we couldn't get in on Sunday night because they were so crowded!
My dad checked into the hospital today, for tests that could have mandated an angioplasty; but his arteries are clearer than expected - he got to go home early!
LavaLogic, the standalone division of TSI-TelSys (where I was last officially employeed) has been bought by Xilinx!

"I am not a plain M&M. I am a Milk Chocolate M&M." -- Statement of Self-Affirmation by one of the new Politically Correct M&Ms
When I was a kid, one of my favorite playgrounds was the public library. Yet as an adult, I never seem to go there. I haven't been to one in years.
I really hate getting spam that starts off by saying "This is not spam."

"Are you gentlemen aware that shirts are being made from hemp, which are then being boiled down for the resin by teenagers who then mix the residue with alcohol to create marijuana?" -- Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, proving once again that he's either the stupidest or most dishonest man in America today

"The War on Drugs is probably the greatest domestic catastrophe that has ever struck the American republic." -- Libertarian Presidential Nominee Harry Browne

"If you can stomach the hypocrisy of government unlawfully exempting the two deadliest drugs, tobacco and alcohol, from every drug law, while refusing to allow cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes, vote for a Republican or Democrat. If you think it is OK that the government can throw people in jail for years or decades, steal their homes, cars, cash, and other assets, and even kill them, for growing plants, vote for a Republican or Democrat. On the other hand, you might consider voting for a candidate of some other party, such as: Libertarian, Green, or Natural Law." - "Major Parties Equally Dismal" by Tom Barrus

"Given the tens of billions of dollars that have been spent on the failed War on Drugs year after year, we are entitled to ask of the perpetrators, 'What is your standard of failure?'" - Green Party Presidential Nominee Ralph Nader

"Let's call the Drug War what it is: Ethnic Cleansing American Style." - Green Party Presidential Candidate Jello Biafra
Best-selling author, cancer/AIDS patient, and medical-marijuana advocate Peter McWilliams has died. Awaiting sentencing for the medical use of marijuana in a state where it's supposed to be legal, after a trial he lost because he was forbidden to explain how marijuana singularly helped his severe medical conditions, he had no choice but to stop using a vital medication that was helping him stay alive. He was forced into this by *daily* urine testing, any failure of which would not just send him back to jail, but would also allow the government to confiscate his mother's house. With nothing to effectively quell his intense nausea, he died, by choking on his own vomit. If this story doesn't make you question what our government is doing in this War on Drug Users, you have no soul.

"He was murdered by the United States Government as surely as if they shot him. If an individual did what the federal government did to Peter McWilliams, deliberately deprive him of medicine that would save his life, that person would be indicted for murder. And this was murder. Moreover, it was premeditated, and a part of a pattern of the criminal abuse of power. Consider the evidence." - Richard Cowan

"The Federal prosecutor personally called my mother to tell her that if I was found with even a trace of medical marijuana, her house would be taken away." - Peter McWilliams

"Did you re-smoothify yourself?" - Alison's way of asking me if I'd shaved

"It's good to want things." - Weird Al Yankovic's reaction to something I said once, when we were hanging out backstage with a mutual friend
I had a vision the other day of a detailed pen and ink drawing (in the style of Tenniel's Alice illustrations) of a group of rabbits in lab coats playing Icehouse at a little round table in a cozy underground den (like the Secret Hideout in the my first Sketchbook Harvest archive) but I don't know when I'll have the time to draw it. (It would make a great T-shirt design though...)
Since most of Alison's Uncles are color blind, we conducted a test and the Icehouse set got a perfect score! They had no trouble telling the colors apart.
Late one night we took chairs down to the edge of the ocean and watched the waves crashing in the darkness, and we noticed these tiny fluorescent specks in the sand at the very edge of the surf, like tiny aquatic fireflies. What were they?
In St. Augustine, we got to play with something new called the Toypedo (US patent #5,514,023). This heavy rubber pool toy is 9 or 10 inches long and looks like a tie-dyed zeppelin; the idea is to hold it just under the surface of the water and then throw it. It's really cool! Alison summed up the experience best by likening it to underwater frisbee...

"You know, a few months ago I found a table leg just like that in the driveway, and <gasp> IT WAS YOURS!" - Dale, just after I had announced that I'd been unable to find one of the legs for the spare coffee table we keep in our van, it having apparantly fallen out of an open door, without us realizing it, at some point. (Sadly, he'd tossed it out after none of his local friends recognized it...)
The business is taking over more and more of the house... Rapunzel is up and running again (better than ever after the repairs) on a new (well, used) desk that we've just installed in the living room. We're not exactly sure what's going to happen to the chair that used to be there, but at least now our gradually expanding staff has a little more room to work...
Wow, did you see the exciting cliffhanger season finale to "That 70's Show?" What a great ending! Poor Hyde!

"I am a *strong* rabbit!" - Eric Zuckerman, on the success of West Coast Icehouse Tournament #2, as recounted to me by Dr Cool
Last night Kristin made a great discovery about Chrononauts: It's actually 3 games in one! My design features action on a couple of different levels, and previously Kristin had thought of a way to play solitaire using only a portion of the card set. Turns out you can play a fast, simple, easy, and very fun (and Fluxx-like) multi-player game using the cards you set aside for solitaire!

"Featuring what can only be described as a 'classic simplicity,' this little game is a joy to play! This is one of those truly delightful discoveries that quite simply has NO real minuses! Way to go Looney Labs! Q-Turn is a winner!" - from the review by the San Fernando Valley Gamers
Marlene (aka Ember) and her husband Butch are splitting up. (She's decided that she wants to be a mom, and he doesn't want to be a dad.)
For Xmas, Alison gave me a novel by Daniel Quinn called Ishmael, an Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, and this week I finally finished reading it. It's an amazing book, full of insights that make you think about our world and our culture in totally new ways. You should read it.
On Monday, I held a Chrononauts card format design meeting with Kory and the girls, and we ending up changing from the 5x6 timeline layout we've been using to a 4x8 card layout, allowing me to add 2 years (1991 and 1999) to the timestream. We also decided to add an 11th character, and to drop the Impossible Objects Collection, which is kind of a shame; I liked the concept, but it just doesn't work well enough.
Admitting that you're wrong is one of the hardest things in the world for people to do, particularly if what you've been doing is basically stupid and you've been doing it for a really long time.
Icehouse was passed over in this year's Mensa Awards, which are supposed to judge new games based first and foremost on originality, in favor of several lightweight party games, including Time's Up, an admittedly fun game that's nothing more than a commercially packaged version of an existing no-equipment-needed party game called Celebrities.
I see that Rio Grande will soon be releasing a game by Alan Moon called Time Pirates. Fortunately, judging from the sound of the capsule description, my new time travel game will be better than his. :-) The entire action of Time Pirates seems to be similar to what is merely a subset of my game, plus it's only for 3-5 players (Chrononauts works great with 2, and even has a solitaire option). Lastly, since it'll have a price tag of $30, I'm guessing it's a board game, not a card game.

"I am still trying to figure out which Knizia Andrew Looney is and which Knizia games he did." - Richard Hutnik, in a follow-up to Chris Lawson's assertion that Reiner Knizia doesn't exist: "The truth is that there are approximately 17 people (at the last count) who create the illusion that 'Reiner Knizia', the German games designer, actually exists. How do you think 'he' can produce so many new games designs every year? It's impossible for one person to have had 80 games published over the last 10 years."

"Don't ask me though, I don't even have an icehouse set. I play Martian Go with graph paper and colored pencils in math class with my friends." - Ed, in a posting on the Icehouse list
No sooner do I mention that Britney Spears has great hair than she goes and gets it all hacked off!

"I am in the Big Chair! Do what I say!" - Alison, at the Pop-Tart Cafe

"Is that Mrs. Frank Cummings? Doesn't she look ghastly, I thought she was dead. I must get a closer look..." - Elwood Dowd's Aunt Ethel, in Harvey (recently portrayed on stage by Alison's Mom)

"Mr. Chairman, sadly, I don't believe that General McCaffrey can be trusted to give you an accurate appraisal of our drug situation. Deaths are up, high school kids can get drugs more easily than ever, drug use by junior high kids has tripled, drug prices are at historic lows, drug purity is as high as ever, and we are still not treating most of the millions of addicts desperate for help. How can General McCaffrey, with a straight face, tell you and the American people that we are winning our fight against drug abuse?" -- Eric E. Sterling, president, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, to the House Committee on Appropriations, March 23, 2000
Alison took a real beating on her taxes this year. Due to the strong stock market and an badly-timed IRA-to-Roth-IRA conversion, she ended having to pay income tax on investment money that she isn't allowed to touch... not even to pay off the tax bill it generated. As a result, the government just took away most of Alison's life savings (except for that theoretical IRA money...)
Today is 4/20, a day for asking this question: does it really make sense to put people in jail, just for smoking marijuana?

"Yellow is the color of freshly-made dough, and several bananas, all in a row..." - the only lines I now remember of the poem that provided my first thrill of publication, when it appeared in my elementary school newsletter
Just after I graduated from it, my elementary school was torn down, replaced by a new one built in the old school's ballfield. This week I heard the same thing's happening to my high school building this summer. I suppose it's every student's dream, to see their school destroyed... but I'm a sentimental fool.
I knew that we'd arrived, as a game company, when we got our first letter from a hopeful game inventor, asking us to consider publishing the Great New Game they'd created. But that was long ago; now we get an email like that, on average, every 6.78 days.
Have you seen this commercial where a woman puts an entire angel food cake into her dishwasher, and the dishwasher soap being advertised completely dissolves away the cake? Man, what a waste of cake!
We're starting to see images from the upcoming film adaptation of Battlefield Earth, and I have to say, I'm mighty disappointed with the humanlike appearance of Terl and the Psychlos. I suppose that was inevitable, with a big star driving the production and wanting to look like himself on the big screen, but man, it's a blow. Klingons look more like Psychlos than these guys will. So, I'm still excited about it, but I'm also filled with dread...

"HINT: The game space the game button is moved to should be the game space it is most advantageous to move the game button to." -- from the Rules for Pentagonia: The Board Game

"I was on one of my quarterly business trips to Nizhiny Novgorod, Russia (used to be called Gorky). We'd just finished our banana splits for dinner (Russian food is so high in fat that we decided that we'll only eat banana splits for dinner so at least the fat will taste good)." -- comments included with a recent order, explaining how he first encountered Fluxx
Well, I have one of the new $1 coins, and while it's certainly an improvement over the Susan B (it's gold in color and has a smooth edge) it's still a disappointment. The back is boring compared to the eagle on the moon motif, and it's still about the same weight as a quarter. So I still think it's gonna be a hard sell. (The Brits got it right when they made their coin super-thick, while also discontinuing the paper equivalent.)

"In any case, you are like a god among men. I will get people here to erect giant statues in your honor, and if that isn't enough, I'll make them put hats on the statues. You Rule!!!! (well, duh, you are the Emperor...)" -- Keith, in an email giving me all the credit for something cool that Kristin and Alison did (namely making a set of chess piece buttons)

"The Three Keys to Successful Leadership: 1) Delegate all the work, 2) Shift all the blame, and 3) Take all the credit" -- one of those things you read somewhere and just remember, which I read long ago
Over the long haul, writing a cartoon is like doing improv. When you start, you have no idea where you're going, you're just making up stuff as you go along. But as soon as you do, you start to establish facts and make decisions that will affect the storyline forever. So you learn to plant seeds and toss in hooks that you'll figure out how to use later on.
Target is currently running TV ads promoting a compilation of Top 40 Hits called "Positive Interference." The ads feature a very old Barney Fife getting agitated by the music, ending his rant by saying "and I gotta tell ya... I like it!" But as I remember it, nothing sours music faster for a young person than hearing an old person claim to enjoy it.

"There's nothing worse in life than being ordinary." -- Angela Hayes, "American Beauty"
A Guy named King reports that the ink on the Q-Turn nickels isn't permanent. They won't stand up to furniture polish!

"It's a plastic world. And because of plastic, it's a plastic world in a different sense, in the original sense of the word: it changes its shape easily. And when the shapes change regularly, which they do, we begin to *want* them to change regularly." -- James Burke, Connections, Episode 8
The new Hasbro edition of Diplomacy features metal pieces, and they're really neat. Monopoly experts will recognize the new army and navy markers as the artillery piece and battleship tokens that disappeared from Monopoly somewhere along the line, no doubt for being too warlike. Now you can get piles of them, in rainbow colors!
It's amazing how many productive hours you can cram into a day if you simply go without sleep. "The well-funded and powerfully persuasive view that marijuana is dangerous dominates every media outlet, except one: the Internet. Positive marijuana messages rule cyberspace, where it doesn't require millions to state your case, just a mere $20 a month. This, of course, infuriates anti-drug forces." -- Saul Rubin, of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, writing about the misleadingly named Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act, which seeks to make all "pro-drug" information illegal

"Ideas float freely in the air, waiting to be picked like fruit." - Stephen Peek's Irish Friend, in Game Plan, on the question of why everyone in the game inventing business is so paranoid
When I was a kid, any form you had to write the date onto helped out by providing the first 2 digits of the year, i.e. "19__". As Y2K approached, this analog version of the computer bug was gradually phased out, but now, we can use "20__" on forms, and it'll last *forever*!

"Since the Office of National Drug Control Policy was created in 1989, it has been headed by a moralist (William Bennett), an ex-governor of Florida (Bob Martinez), a police chief (Lee Brown) and a four-star general (Barry McCaffrey). Certainly it's time we had a drug czar who has a background in drug addiction, psychopharmacology or, at the very least, medicine." - Michael Massing, in an article at

"We get along best with kids who act like adults and adults who act like kids." - Alison

I can think of no better example of the cruelty and corruption resulting from marijuana prohibition than the case of Deborah Lynn Quinn, a woman born without arms or legs, who was just sentenced to a year in prison, at a cost to Arizona taxpayers of at least $126,000 (that's over $345 a day), for selling $20 worth of pot to a police informant. Is it any wonder we now have over 2 million of our citizens in jail?
"Boy, this wedding's gonna be pretty lame without a trampoline, huh?" - Kelso, on "That 70's Show"
On Valentine's Day, my parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! Congratulations, Mom and Dad! Bravo!
Why is a population that believes the government is hiding UFOs so willing to believe what that same government says about cannabis?

The York Buttercream Patty. It'd be just like a Peppermint Patty except with a gold wrapper, a milk chocolate coating, and a vanilla buttercream filling. Of course, it should taste like my favorite selection from the box of assorted chocolates; and while the Peppermint Patty's catchphrase is "Taste the Sensation," the Buttercream Patty, being non-low-fat, would probably have a slogan more like "Enjoy the Indulgence." We got email this week from a guy named Adam, who wants to buy customized origami icehouse sets, with no green pieces and extra red, yellow, and blue pieces instead. Oddly enough, it just so happens that we ran out of green prematurely, and therefore have a surplus of red, yellow, and blue origami icehouse cards!
"I hung around with those guys for seven or eight months before I put them all away." -- quote accompanying a pair of green platform shoes worn in the seventies by an undercover narc, now on display at the DEA Museum and Visitor Center

Man, System 9 sucks! I don't like the new "features", the ones I keep wishing for never show up (why can't I undo a cleanup of the desktop?), and worst of all, it's as buggy and crash-prone as a speeding car with a hornet's nest under the seat! Does anyone have a System 8 install disk we can borrow?
It seems really weird to me that we should be in favor of throwing a perfectly good space station into the ocean, just to get cash-strapped Russia to focus more energy on the construction of a new one. "I am going to live on and continue my lifes work in making yours miserable!!!!!!!!" - my sister, in an email to her four brothers, informing us that her tumor was benign
"As far as we know, the public has never been told about this research -- for example, the drug-reform movement seems not to have known about its existence. This work may have been hushed because its findings are not what the drug-war industry would want." -- John S. James, writing for AIDS TREATMENT NEWS about an unpublished two year old federal study which found that THC-treated rats lived longer and had less cancer "If you are unsure about taking a gamble but can't chuck the idea [of getting your game published] altogether, my advice is to go to Las Vegas, plunk down your ten thousand dollars on the color red at the roulette table, and take your chances there. The end will come a lot quicker and be a lot less painful. However, if you answered YES to all the questions [in the Prospective Game Creator's No-Win Quiz, then] get ready for the wildest ride of your life. All forewarnings aside, it may just be the most rewarding adventure you'll ever have." - Stephen Peek, in the preface to Game Plan: The Game Inventor's Handbook, which may just be the most influential book I've ever read
"Who needs sex and who needs food when you can have *shoes*? That's all I have to say." -- a contestant named Cynthia on the All New "3's a Crowd" game show
As a kid I really liked Pillsbury Orange Danish rolls (available in the refrigerator case). So why don't they make orange flavored Pop-Tarts?
Judging from the feedback we've been getting, it would seem that the Q-turn rules changes I posted last week will take care of the stalemate problem. And while I still want to encourage players to scrounge up their own playing tokens, I have to admit that I Iike the idea of including a set of clear, tinted tiddlywinks with the 16 wooden nickels.
"This makes work more like play, and play more like performance." - Leslie Burgoyne, describing (in the business plan she's been drafting for us) the way our business and personal lives are intertwined and made public over the internet
"They give the illusion of achievement without any sort of negative consequence in the event of failure." - An anonymously submitted response to our survey question, "Why do you play games?" For the past several weeks, three beautiful long-haired women have been living in my house, and no one has been driven crazy!
Tiki-Tour: Rash tells me that this is a New Zealander's term for a pointless excursion, as in "Let's just get in the car and drive around."
"Togas and whipped cream for all my subjects!" - the guy on the Life of the Party card, in the new Steve Jackson game, Chez Geek

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