Stray Thoughts That Stuck in Andy's Brain in 1999

"Failure should never lead to despair, for despair looks only to the past, in business, and in love. The Future is NOW." - Waring Hudsucker's final Blue Letter
The new Tomb Raider game ("The Last Revelation") is great! They just keep getting better and better. The new game's introductory tutorial is wonderfully immersive, and is fun even if you already know how to play. It features Lara as a teenager in pigtails, training in the field with her mentor, Professor Werner Von Croy.
"You can't buy the necessities of life with cookies." - Bill Boggs, "Edward Scissorhands"
There've been some great discussions on the Fluxx mailing list this week - people have been discussing their favorite custom card ideas. Lots of neat ideas have been kicked around, but the ones sticking in my brain tonight are Ryan McGuire Unifying Goal series (Coffee Break, The Desert, The Bakery, and Nuclear War, designed to tie together the under-utilized keepers) and Dan Isaac's 3 Keeper set: Paper, Scissors, and a Rock (the exact implementation of which has been the subject of much debate).
"This game from respected small-press designer Andrew Looney is nearly legendary." -'s review of Fluxx
Another printing of Fluxx was just completed - in Belgium - and while they've finally managed to get our URL placed on the box, the "I'm terribly sorry" error (see FAQ #5) has mysteriously re-occurred. Grrr.
While doing some Xmas shopping, we finally got to see how this site looks on WebTV... and it's really not bad! It actually seems like a pretty nice way to surf the internet. (I wonder if any of our regular readers are WebTV users...)
The Nineties really have been like the Sixties upside down. The fashions then and now were far out and groovy; both eras had presidential impeachment hearings, riots and Woodstocks (or rioting AT Woodstock as the case may be); and in the late sixties we all watched together as 3 men explored outer space, while today we're exploring cyberspace, and we're all out there doing it together.
A couple of years ago, NASA lost the Mars Observer, and now both the Polar Lander and the Climate Orbiter have been damaged or destroyed. I think it's clear the Martians are shooting down our robots, to keep us from discovering their secrets. It's time we sent some people up there, to get to the bottom of it all. If you agree, sign the Mars Petition!
I finally got to try out the new Heathcoop Icehouse game, called Zagami, and it's totally cool! If you've got an Icehouse set, get psyched for a really cool addition to the e-library, coming soon!
Although government officials often claim to be in favor of conducting more research regarding medical marijuana, Dr. Ethan Russo's FDA-approved study of marijuana's effectiveness in the treatment of migraines was rejected earlier this week. No explanation was given by NIDA, the government agency that is blocking his research. (Meanwhile, the Class Action suit involving 160 seriously-ill medpot patients in Philadelphia was also summarily dismissed.)
"There was no Blockbuster the first Thanksgiving, so the pilgrims watched the stone. And at one point, an older pilgrim said, 'I can't hear it, turn it up' and the young pilgrims just rolled their eyes and thought 'Geez, old pilgrims are annoying.'" - recent Blockbuster Video commercial
"A culture is not healthy when it is built upon a foundation of lies and when it then preserves itself by systematically punishing the expression of truths that all can see but are afraid to acknowledge. All of this comes to mind when considering the tortured manner in which our own society attempts to deal with the question of drugs and past drug usage." - Bradley R. Gitz, from an editorial appearing in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 11/26/99
"I saw a truck that said 'Gilligan and MacGonnigal, Construction', and I thought 'Yeah, like I'm gonna let Gilligan do my construction'." - Frank Kanach
"All those scientists... they're all alike! They say they're working for us, but what they really want is to rule the world!" - Angry villager, - Young Frankenstein
"I'm so glad you're not dead!" - something I routinely say to the bird nowadays
"Do you ever read the books you burn?" - Clarisse to Montag, Fahrenheit 451
Advanced Martian Chess: A variation designed to make use of a fifth stash, of black icehouse pieces (but playable with a regular set, too - mix 3 colors, use the 4th as the blacks). Each time a piece makes a capture, a trophy point (marked with a stacked black piece) is assigned to the surviving piece, increasing its value accordingly.
Those programming geniuses at Fox totally hosed us this week. Contrary to tradition (and the TV guide), they showed the new episode of "That 70's Show" at 8:00, instead of 8:30. It was ending just as we tuned in! Luckily, Gina tuned in earlier than we did, and taped it.
Anyway, we've tried for 8 years to make Icehouse fly, and we now find ourselves at the end of the runway, still on the ground. And we don't even have an airplane. So, we're going to call it quits." - me, in November 1996, commenting on the disbanding of Icehouse Games, Inc., in the final issue of the Hypothermia newsletter
"How can this happen in America? I can't tell a jury why I used medical marijuana? I am stunned; speechless... I now face ten mandatory years in federal prison. I will die there. My life is over because I tried to save my life doing something my doctor recommended in a state where it is legal." - Peter McWilliams, regarding Judge George King's astonishing decision to bar the use of a medical necessity defense by a cancer/AIDS patient in a medical marijuana trial in California
Maine's Medical Marijuana ballot initiative passed, by 62%! Meanwhile, their anti-abortion bill was rejected with a narrower margin (55%), revealing greater support for cannabis freedom than for women's reproductive rights. If you count DC as a state, this makes 8 states that have voted to legalize medpot in the past 3 years, and zero that haven't. (So why are the politicians still so afraid to take the position of the people on this issue?)
"It doesn't matter if they say, 'I'm doing this to save my life.' It's illegal to manufacture or cultivate marijuana under federal law." - Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the US Attorney's Office, explaining why California's laws are being ignored by the feds, who are aggressively prosecuting medical marijuana users like Peter McWilliams (best-selling author and AIDS/cancer patient), who credits marijuana with having saved his life
"I'll do everything in my power to help you, as long as it's convenient for me." - Gina Mai Denn
"I love... cake!" - Eric Foreman's on-the-spot response to Donna's declaration of love on "That 70's Show"
One of the nice things about all the waiting you have to do while serving on a jury is the chance you get to catch up on your reading. Last week I read The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert. (It was good, too!)
Our local government, like all governments it seems, is filled with idiots. Apparently, it has been decreed that trick or treating will take place in PG county on Saturday evening, 6-8 PM, instead of on Sunday, like it is everywhere else.
"Its appearance was unusually silvery. It was the most silvery spaceship of all the spaceships that we ever produced and launched into space." - Alexei Leonov, first man to walk in space, commenting on the Vostock spacecraft
Our games are starting to show up in mail order catalogs! Fluxx is the Turn Off The TV catalog (page 31), The 3 Trolls are now carrying Aquarius (page 22), and both games are featured on the inside back cover of the Terrific Toys catalog.
I designed the cover art for the 3 Icehouse books intending that they would have full bleed (that is, artwork that goes all the way out to the edges of the page). But in the 11th hour, we discovered that this would require a hefty added expense, and we decided we couldn't afford it. So instead, the artwork will have a thin white border.
Over 100 Barnes and Noble outlets are now carrying Fluxx!
"I'll write that down on the back of my forehead," I said, "so I don't forget." Alison looked at me quizzically. "The back of your forehead..." she said. "Does that mean you're going to write it directly on your brain?"
"An estimated 1.2 million people in the state [of Florida] use marijuana. That is more than the number who consume the soft drink Sprite." - Former Drug Czar Bob Martinez
The next to last segment of the Washington DC subway system has finally been opened! Yay! At last our end of the green line is connected with the other half. But unfortunately, even though it would now be possible, they haven't extended the range of the yellow line trains up to our neighborhood, as was depicted on planning maps circa 1979.
Most of the time, when Lara Croft kills an enemy in Tomb Raider 3, the body lies there, crumpled on the ground, littering up the place for the remainder of the level. But during her adventures in London, bodies vanish as soon as you look away. It's kind of creepy.
The times are definitely changing. For several years now, there's been a "hippie store" in downtown College Park, called Rerun. However, they only sold fashions, decorations, and accessories. But now another hippie store has opened, right next door, which crossed the line towards what many would call a "head shop", something there hasn't been one of in this town since the 70's (when there were several). But of course, they've also already been busted...
Meanwhile, right around the corner, Howie's has closed down. This local dive was the last great greasy spoon video arcade in the area. For many, it was an institution; its closing marks the greatest loss to the neighborhood since Hungry Herman closed its doors, some years back. (On a related note, the place that replaced Planet X has already gone under...)
It has taken Tirade and his geometric pals a little more than a year to make the space voyage from Iceland to planet Zorn.
"You know what's beautiful? Fruitcake. All the different colored little fruits, living together in one cake." - Kitty Foreman, after accidentally eating one of Hyde's "special" brownies, on "That 70's Show"
"The Road to Enlightenment is Long and Difficult (so bring snacks and a magazine)" - seen on a t-shirt at the Freedom Festival in Boston
After almost a year of suppression by congress, the votes have finally been counted, and DC's medical marijuana initiative passed, by 69%! Now the question is, what else will congress do to thwart the will of the voters?
Alison was telling us that in Amherst, she lived within the delivery radius of a freshly-baked cookie delivery service. Wow.... I wish we had that. All we can get delivered is Chinese food and pizza. (Oh yeah, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.)
"And please, Mr. Spock, if you won't join me, don't disapprove of me - at least not until you've tried it, huh?" - Dr. McCoy, after offering Spock a drink in the "Conscience of the King"
Hasbro (which already owns Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, MicroProse, Avalon Hill, Tonka, Kenner, Oddzon, Playskool, Tiger and Galoob) is buying Wizards of the Coast (which itself owns TSR, the Game Keeper, and Andon Unlimited) for $325 million. It's like I keep saying: in 50 years, everything will be owned by about six mega-corporations.
The latest round of tax-dollar-funded anti-drug propaganda includes messages aimed at those of us with friends who use drugs, encouraging us to intervene somehow in their vices. I think a better way to help my pot-smoking friends is to seek the same freedoms for them that my beer-drinking friends won in 1933, the last time prohibition was repealed.
Ron Toomer, the undisputed king of roller coaster design, doesn't care for such rides himself and hasn't ridden one in years.
"Satisfaction Guaranteed or You Are One Picky Bastard" - title banner
If smoking pot makes you lazy and stupid, then why didn't that happen to Carl Sagan? It was revealed this week that the late astronomer was secretly an avid marijuana smoker, who credited it (in anonymously published writings) with inspiring some of his intellectual work and scientific insights.
"Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men." - message from a fortune cookie
The most difficult problem to solve is the one you don't know about.
"I hope that time [when cannabis is legalized] isn't too distant; the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." - Carl Sagan, writing under the pseudonym "Mr. X".
"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." - Carl Sagan
"What did you do before you came to Alaska?" - the one question it's verboten to ask of people who live in Alaska
The Kansas Board of Education voted yesterday to eliminate the teaching of evolution from public school curricula. Ouch.
"Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like 'plate' or 'shrimp' or 'plate of shrimp', out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either; it's all part of the cosmic unconsciousness." - Miller, Repo Man
Everyone knows that the surest way to make it rain is to wash your car... so why, when we're in the middle of a drought, are we forbidden to wash our automobiles? Shouldn't we instead be instructed to wash them, so that it'll rain?
Mark Fitzsimmons sent in the best new Fluxx card idea I've heard in a long time: it's a Goal, called Food Fight. You need War and one food item, plus some other player must have a food item on the table.
Remember Captain 20? When I was a kid, he was the host of Channel 20's line up of syndicated reruns. He wore a star trek jumpsuit and pointy ears, and gave the Spock salute whenever he recited his memorable catchphrase: "May you live long and win lots of prizes."
Have you seen the video for "Let Forever Be" by the Chemical Brothers? It's incredible.. I haven't been this impressed by a video since "Take On Me" by A-ha.
"These folks know the art of creating fun." - Kate Jones, from the description of us and our site that appears on her links page
Everyone hates Jar Jar Binks... but I dislike even more the geeky fan-boy alien in the recent series of Star Wars themed Pepsi commercials. Will this ad campaign never end?
"You know you've been on the web too much when you find yourself wishing you had a search engine for your house." - Alison
Gus Grissom's mercury space capsule has been finally been recovered, after 38 years on the ocean floor!
Meanwhile, mad scientists in New York are working on a device that could, theoretically, destroy the world. Aren't there any superheroes around to prevent stuff like this?
I'm getting worried about cheese escalation. First, there were 3-cheese sauces, then 4-cheese pizzas... now I'm seeing ads for 5-cheese and 6-cheese products, and I know a place in Baltimore that has a 7-cheese pizza... where will it all end? 20 cheese? 50 cheese? 100 different cheeses?
"Welcome to Loserville... Population: You" -- anti-smoking billboard in downtown Columbus
There's a show about the internet on the Bravo Network called ".com", hosted by Luke Skywalker. This week they contacted us about doing a 3 or 4 minute spot about Contagious Dreams on a future episode. It sounded great until they told us we'd have a shell out $33,000 in "pre-production" fees in order to be included. Yeah, right!
One of the bad things about wars is that they are staggeringly expensive. The recent war in Yugoslavia cost us approximately $4 billion -- currently an issue for federal budget makers. Meanwhile, we spend $18 billion each year fighting the War on Drugs.
"America has parallel universes now, a situation akin to science fiction... At the center of the second universe is a new elite - geeks and nerds, hackers, scientists and engineers, technocrats and creators of various stripes - hammering together a culture that daily lays siege to the first." - Jon Katz
"More important than [the drug war's financial drain on the taxpayers], however, has been the erosion of the freedoms for which this nation's founders revolted from English rule, the freedoms they sought to enshrine in the Constitution. Unlawful searches, abnormal prison sentences and illicit property seizures are tolerated-even endorsed-as necessary for a war the government is no closer to winning than it was 30 years ago." - Salt Lake Tribune, June 25, 1999
"An embarrassment to any neighborhood" - slogan of a beach bar called Kokomo Joe's
"I hate you... and I vote!" - bumper sticker seen in New Jersey by Judy
The informal attitude at the beach is great for someone like Kristin, who has a perfume allergy, since hardly anyone there seems to wear it!
"He's dead, Jim." I've always figured that Scotty would be the first member of the original Enterprise crew to beam out for good, but this week, the Star Trek reunion movie industry suffered a major setback when Dr. McCoy took the ultimate journey into the Final Frontier. So long, Bones.
Attempting to predict the future is a key element in the inventing process.
We Americans just have too much stuff. We don't know where to put it all. I can tell because everywhere I look I see a new Self Storage Center being built. We all seem to need an extra storage space to stick some of our junk in.
Ads for a new drug called Cellasene assert that it's been "Clinically Studied to Help Reduce Cellulite." What does THAT mean? Not clinically proven, determined, or shown... merely "studied." Huh?
Birth Control pills have been legalized in Japan!
Kristin's perfume allergy seems to be getting gradually worse. This weekend she got a migraine simply by riding past a cologne-soaked individual on her bicycle, and the theory that scented shampoos pose no threat was proven wrong a few days ago, when I switched to a new conditioner.
I'm a big believer in the value and importance of change: changing your mind, changing plans, changing your habits and beliefs, changing who you are. Change can be scary sometimes, but it always has its rewards. Don't fear it.
The cheapness of Cracker Jack prizes has sunk to a new low since my most recent Cracker Jack consuming experience, several years ago.
"Would you excuse me? I cut my foot before, and my shoe is filling up with blood." - Romy White, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
Drug Czar Barry McCaffery recently announced that "the most dangerous drug in America today is still alcohol." So why are the dealers of our nation's most dangerous drug allowed to advertise on TV, while people who smoke pot are being sent to jail every day, in record numbers?
There are things, like highway wrecks and half-healed scrapes, that are so awful you feel compelled to take a good hard look at them. I feel this same urge whenever I see one of those ads for Old Navy brand clothing on TV. (On the other hand, I really dig the groovy new ads for toaster pastries that use the slogan "As you go through life, don't forget to stop and taste the Pop Tarts.")
I hear they're making a new Spiderman movie. I hope they can get Elton John to play Doc Oc... he looks just like him!
"It is against the grain of modern education to teach children to program. What fun is there in making plans, acquiring discipline in organizing thoughts, devoting attention to detail, and learning to be self-critical?" -- Alan Perlis
"The most precious things I brought back with me were the same things I left with: My 2 best friends. And I realized, when you go through any endeavor, any journey, whether across town or to the moon and back, all that matters is that you share the experience with people that you love. That's what makes life special, 'cause ultimately, that's all there is. That's really all there is." - Alan Bean, fourth man on the moon
I hate the phrase "all 4 Star Trek series". What about the animated series, from the mid-seventies? Why doesn't it count? Do they consider it an extension of the original, or is it just ignored because it was lame?
"Ideas go BOINK when they bounce off of other people." - Alison
A pet peeve of mine is the phrase "software program." It's redundant! All computer programs are software. That's what software is: a computer program. So referring to a piece of software as a "software program" is like calling a refrigerator a "refrigerator icebox".
Drive is a double edged sword. It brings success, but it also interferes with your ability to relax. People without drive goof off a lot; people with drive feel guilty whenever they aren't being productive.
There's currently an ad on TV for the new soft drink Citra, which features a gangster named "Cotton Mouth." Is the Coca-Cola company unaware that this is a term used by thirsty pot-smokers, or is this a subtle attempt on their part to appeal to that segment of the beverage-consuming market?
"I was born to be a cashier." - someone in a recent Home Depot ad
In normal stores, you can only buy that which is currently in fashion. But in thrift stores, you can buy anything from the history of commercial manufacturing (albeit a random sample of that span).
The most amazing thing about the fact that a bill was introduced this week in the Illinois state House of Representatives that would make it a crime to transmit information about marijuana over the internet, is that it passed, 114 to zero.
I can remember first hearing about the escape and gradual approach of the Killer Bees, back when I was in grade school. It was scary, but only distantly so... they wouldn't arrive for a really, really long time. Now I'm 35, and Los Angeles is officially colonized.
"Once you've had Extra Krispy, you'll never go back again." - Mono Puff, "It's Fun to Steal Stuff", track 7
"The world's getting awfully big in the window" - Apollo 13 (this has for me become a general expression meaning "we're running out of time")
The system works! My car overheated in rush hour traffic on Tuesday, and within just a few minutes, a cop stopped by to see what was wrong. He called up a truck that came out to help me, and with fresh water in my radiator, I was quickly back on the road, all at no charge!
This new series called "Futurama" is great! I think I'm gonna like it even more than the Simpsons. (But did you notice how similar that green spaceship was to the rocket I drew for Aquarius?)
"People don't buy products, they buy solutions to problems." - Sarah White, The Complete Idiots Guide to Marketing Basics
There's something oddly satisfying about watching footage of anti-American protesters in Yugoslavia as they smash up a McDonald's.
Who really invented pause acting: William Shatner (Cap'n Kirk) or Adam West (Batman)? Both shows debuted in 1966.
"'I like your little joke', I said. 'I like it very much, more than I can possibly tell you.' Very softly I added, 'When does it stop being a joke?'" - "Of Missing Persons", by Jack Finney (a sci-fi story from 1957 that would have made a great episode of the Twilight Zone)
"Familiarity is half of popularity." - Alison Frane
"You've been targeted for termination." - Reese to Sarah Conner, "The Terminator" (Now there's a string of 5 words you don't ever want to hear...)
"When Andy and James Ernest have their final showdown, I want to be there selling popcorn." - ICE President Pete Fenlon
"Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and refracted the light from Venus." - K, Men in Black
"The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next." - wisdom from a recently consumed fortune cookie
Ghostarianism: The belief that the only afterlife is the spectral haunting of wherever your physical body ends up.
"When I was a little kid, maybe 5 years old in the old country, my mother used to say to me, she'd warn me, she'd say 'Don't get too close to people; you might catch their dreams.' Years later, I realized I'd misunderstood her - germs, she said, not dreams, you'll catch their germs." - Abe Karatz, "Tucker"
I've been reading about the current controversy in the Magic player's community over the rules simplifications in the new Sixth Edition, notably treating interrupts as instants. It reminds me of when we dropped the wall rules from Icehouse, only on a much larger scale. (I've never been able to remember the difference between instants and interrupts anyway...)
"Nothing I've been told about these people is correct. They are not beggars and thieves. They are not the bogeymen they've been made out to be. On the contrary, they are polite guests and have a familiar humor I enjoy." - Lt. John Dunbar, Dances With Wolves Riddle me this: How are vegetables like ballroom dancing? Answer: Despite genuine attempts to enjoy both of these things over the years, they just don't appeal to me the way they do to others.
There are times when what seems like a step backwards is actually a step forwards.
"The difference between you and James Ernest is that he's surrounded by guys and you're surrounded by long haired women." - Some guy from the Microsoft Network that I met at Toy Fair
An early experience I vividly recall was the exhibit on cryogenic suspension at Expo '67 in Montreal. The image of bodies wrapped in aluminum foil is etched in one of the deepest lobes of my brain.
It's depressing watching these old Dragnet reruns on TV Land, and hearing intelligent characters argue for marijuana legalization, with the prediction that, within 10 years, 15 at the most, it would be taxed and sold just like liquor. Those shows are now over 30 years old... what went wrong?
Someday, when I'm an eccentric oldster on my deathbed, I hope to have the money (and the opportunity) to be frozen a little early, in hopes of pursuing a Man-Made Afterlife in the distant future (when the revival process is perfected and there's a cure for whatever ails me).
"Mopping the floor while the faucet is running" - Dutch expression used to describe the folly of America's War on Drugs
"You can't very well enjoy the moment if you spend all your time worrying about how it's going to turn out." -- Carla
"Who'd want to escape in the middle of a basket weaving contest?" -- Colonel Robert Hogan
The only thing more frustrating that waiting for a computer to finish doing something you didn't really want it to do is clicking then on the cancel button and being ignored. Why give me a cancel button if you aren't going to listen to me when I click on it?
I've heard the first reports of Fluxx being banned from schools for causing too much commotion!
Children's cookbooks are great places for the lazy chef to find recipes.
I like the cable network TV Land, but what I want now is Public TV Land. There we could see classic shows like HodgePodgeLodge, the Electric Company, Zoom, and the first few seasons of Sesame Street.
The pressures of being a fighter pilot on active duty must be pretty intense. Each time you fire a missile, not only is there a chance you'll be taking a human life, but you're also costing the taxpayers $1.2 million just by pulling the trigger.
The one time when orange juice doesn't taste delicious is immediately after brushing your teeth. So why is it only served at breakfast?

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