America Curtailed Drunk Driving. We Can Do the Same with Gun Violence

I have no desire for my blog to become a political site, but I’m posting my thoughts on the subject so I can link to it when needed. 

Gun control is a very difficult problem with a vast array of variables & situations to consider. But so was drunk driving. We haven’t eliminated drunk driving, but we handled it as thoughtful, caring American adults. This article draws a parallel between gun violence vs. gun control and drunk-driving tragedy and alcohol regulation.

Before My Time

In the 1950s my wife’s uncle, age 3, was crossing the road with his siblings. He was struck by a drunk driver, breaking his leg and pinning him under the car. The woman driving was too drunk to realize she needed to move her car to free a child. There obviously was a lot of confusion, and I only heard this story decades later after marrying into the family. But here is the key detail. The police helped the drunk lady back into her car, and sent her home. This was the attitude towards drunk driving in Eisenhower’s America.

The 1980s

By the time I was a child thirty years later in the 1980s it was common to have a few town drunks. I distinctly remember following one home through my rural county, along a winding state highway, and watching him narrowly swerve past oncoming cars. I can also remember looking over to see adults coolly driving around town with a beer in hand or a glass bottle poking out of a paper bag.

On May 14, 1988 I was just 11 years old, and certainly didn’t pay much attention to the news. But that year there was one story that was unavoidable in Kentucky, the Carrollton Bus Crash. On a spring night a group of mostly teenagers were returning via school bus after a church-sponsored day at King’s Island, an amusement park about 2 hours from their home. They were struck by a drunk driver. The bus became a fireball in minutes and 27 people died, 34 injured, and only 6 were unharmed (physically). They didn’t die from the crash. Only the two drivers were directly injured from the crash. 24 children and 3 adults were burned alive.

That same night our local high school band had also been to King’s Island, and was returning when the crash occurred. King’s Island was also about two hours from our home town. I wasn’t there this night, but I had been up there two or three times including once on a church trip. Everyone went to King’s Island in the spring. Years later my band director recited that story, and the importance of telling your parents where you will be. When you’ll be home. And that you love them.

To say they were met at the school with concerned parents was an understatement. In the days before the internet and cell phones even the police were in the dark. Reports had made it onto the 11pm news that a bus had crashed on the interstate, multiple fatalities. Carrollton was about 1.5 hours away and down I-71 after splitting from I-75 (our way).


Twenty-seven of 67 people on board a Radcliff Assembly of God bus died in a fiery crash after a drunken driver hit the bus on Interstate 71 in Carroll County on May 14, 1988. – AP

As I said above, this story was inescapable in central Kentucky that year. It quickly went national.

A Nation Responds, Calmly

The Carrollton Bush Crash didn’t change things overnight, but it changed attitudes. National papers ran stories daily for weeks. The story was on ABC’s 20/20, the prime-time TV news magazine leader at the time. Communities took a serious look at not just drunk driving, but bus safety, road design, auto manufacturing, alcohol sales, etc.

It was found that the bus that crashed had been pushed through approvals to beat new regulations by just a few days. All sorts of new bus regulations were put in place. At school we practiced exiting the bus in an emergency twice per year. New buses had side doors, pop-out windows, roof hatches. Fuel tanks were redesigned.

Laws were passed that could put blame back on alcohol retailers that sold to clearly intoxicated people. Police were trained to detect drunk-drivers better, and it was made easier to detain them.

But this is what mattered most. We started cracking down on drunk drivers. DUIs were strictly enforced. DUI checkpoints became common. And DUI sentences became longer. Mothers Against Drunk Driving  became a nationally known program, and they created Students Against Drunk Driving.

Drunk Driving Accidents Still Occur

Yes drunk driving still happens daily. However the United States got responsible towards a complex issue. Today you can still buy a car, but it must be properly registered and insured. Also that car is much safer.

You can still buy alcohol, but expect to be carded. Expect to be reported and pulled over if you drive drunk.

But no one lost any rights or freedoms.

Sound Bites Solve Nothing

There are a collection of sound bites that are repeated constantly, and do nothing but waste time. A little thought easily dispels them.

Guns don’t kill people. Neither do cars, buses, or a bottle of alcohol. None of the three produce, transport, advertise, sell, or regulate themselves either. Adults do that. We can still easily purchase all of these, but only one goes virtually unchecked. That one is the problem.

Gun bans don’t work. And that’s why less than half of Americans talk about banning guns as a solution. Even assault weapons bans only has 48% support.

Gun control is a failure in cities like Chicago. There is almost no gun control in surrounding Illinois or Indiana. Gun control works much better in Hawaii and the northeast. Hawaii doesn’t have borders, and states in the northeast have similarly enforced laws. Guns are far too easily purchased and transported.

Gun violence is just the price we pay for…. The largest database on all deaths, including gun deaths, is maintained by the Center for Disease Control. For some reason this data is no longer able to be researched by the federal government for gun violence studies. That change made no sense to any sensible American (gun-owner or not), but it made sense to the NRA, who pushed for it. Imagine no one researching drunk driving because the National Distillers of America didn’t like it.


Today another school shooting happened. This time in Kentucky. It’s amazing that it is a challenge to count all the US mass shootings. But since 1999 we’ve had over 30 school shootings and dozens more mass shootings at churches, homes, and businesses. Something that occurs at a much, much lower rate in similar nations.

I can post gun violence stats all day, and anyone with a Facebook account can go visit any pro-gun page to get counterpoints. My point here is simple. Complex issues are solvable if we work on them.

Putting a drunk driver back in her car to drive home was finally found to be inexcusable. Putting groups of children on buses without enough exits was found to be inexcusable.
Tolerating town drunks is no longer quaint. It is inexcusable.
Doing nothing on gun violence is not American.
It is simply inexcusable.



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Posted by on January 24, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Pandemic S1G6-11: Apologies

Wow! It’s really been a year since I updated this!?

As much as we loved the game we got distracted and didn’t play for 5-6 months.
Just as fast we blew through 5 game months in 2 weeks (Summer vacation).
Then things got really busy. One player went to college, and we bought a house.
We just finished December in game in late December (reality). I’ll make a post for that game soon.

Finally we just started Pandemic Season 2! The plan is to post every two weeks this year.

No Pics but here is what happened.
First it had been so long since we played that we forgot how to play. It took awhile to get rolling. We had to back up and restart once….and we lost.

The game started to get really tough in May. So tough that one of the summer months took exactly 6 turns to play (1.5 times around the board). Eight outbreaks in six turns.

Another game took awhile to play because we just sat staring at the board for twenty minutes. We knew it was an inevitable loss, and it was.

But another game we beat in six turns! HAHA! Take that Pandemic Zhambees!
I also started calling the little C0dA infected dude ‘zhambees’ for some reason. (A play on the word zombies because I’m clever like that.)

I went back and found the pics I did take. I’ll add posts about last year’s game.

Thanks loyal readers. It’s going to be another fun year of fighting C0dA!


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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in Uncategorized


Pandemic Legacy S1G5 – OH MY GOD!

Pandemic Legacy S1G5 – OH MY GOD!
For Christmas 2016 I bought my kids Pandemic Legacy. 
This is our story. 
There will be game spoilers in this post.

We decided to play a weeknight game of Pandemic since the game only takes an hour or so at most. This did NOT take an hour.


The Legacy Deck didn’t have much for April. “Carry on.” Achieve 2 of 3 objectives.

Our funding was at zero so no bonus cards to pick out.

I decided to go with the Operations Expert though. We’ve picked a bunch of bonuses to aid in moving around the board. So the dispatcher has gotten less important. We were going to go after the achievement to build 6 military bases around the world.

Our March win bonus was placing a military base anywhere in the world. We chose Beijing since it’s in a ‘corner’. It’s hard to get there since only 2 cities link to it, and it’s far from our research centers.

Lastly we had to set the reminder token on epidemic #2. Cool! I like things changing mid-game.


The pre-game infection was bad. Yellow Super Ebola showed up again. A hot spots showed up in Beijing & San Francisco.  Europe & the mid-east were barely touched this game.

We decided to start at the People’s Center for Very Much Good Research in Ho Chi Minh City.

It Begins…

Megan was playing the medic, and with the medic’s upgrades she cleaned up Asia.
Alex took the researcher to San Francisco to handle it.
Carson shuttled to Algiers to prepare a defense in Africa. He peaked into the Infection Deck (character upgrade) and saw Sao Paulo coming up. He placed a quarantine token there. This was a mistake.

Carson drew the first Epidemic next. (He always gets the first one.) So Sao Paulo got buried in the deck. Worse yet Khartoum came up as the city. So now we had Khartoum with three cubes, linked to Johannesburg with two cubes, and both linked to Kinshasa with three cubes. And no quarantine tokens down to help absorb anything.

Finally Carson finished his Infection step and BOOM! He drew Kinshasa. OUTBREAK #1.
Kinshasa sent Johannesburg its third cube. Plus the fourth to Khartoum. OUTBREAK #2.
Khartoum sent a fourth cube to Johannesburg. OUTBREAK #3.
Not to mention Lagos had collected two cubes.

Half a continent of un-treatable, incurable Super Ebola all linked up!

One Round Complete!

Okay so we made one trip around the table and had three outbreaks.

I built a military base. The medic got to Europe. Alex traded some cards….aaaand Epidemic.

Buenos Aires came up, which had one cube already. OUTBREAK #4
That sent a cube to Johannesburg. OUTBREAK #5.
That sent cubes to Kinshasa and Khartoum. OUTBREAK #6 and #7.
Khartoum sent a cube to Kinshasa via another path. OUTBREAK #8.
MISTAKE: I just realized that a city can only outbreak once per turn, even if the cubes come from different directions. We would’ve lost anyway since we would’ve been drawing through the same yellow cards.
We’ll pull the Fallen sticker from Kinshash. 

The game took about 10 minutes and 6 player turns. Also the Quarantine Specialist was stuck in Khartoum during an outbreak. So she was scarred. Damn, Pandemic! You scary!



Because this was the second epidemic a game event triggered. We got to open ten dossier items and box #3.

All the rules revolved around C0da-403b muting to its next strain. It makes people into monsters/zombies,  simply called The Faded.


Since we didn’t get to play them, I’m not getting into their rules. But the biggest problem with them is they can scar your characters much easier.


We decided to give Mo E’sha the Exhausted scar. From now on she can only move twice per turn between cities. This isn’t much of a deal since she almost always uses one action to place a quarantine token anywhere on the board, and then a second in a city she’s in. 

For end-game upgrades we decided to make the military base in Beijing permanent (a new upgrade option). And then we gave the Operations Expert the ability to quarantine into a neighboring city if he’s in a city with a military base. He’ll be moving around building bases so he should always start a turn in a military base.

Our funding goes back to two next game. We now have multiple cities rioting, and one close to falling. Maybe we can win April next time.

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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Boardgames, Pandemic


Pandemic Legacy: S1G4 – March

Pandemic Legacy: S1G4 – March
For Christmas 2016 I bought my kids Pandemic Legacy. 
This is our story. 
There will be game spoilers in this post.


We had a quick game to finally win February, so we decided to have a go at March.

March is the first month to require to objectives to win. Not sure how that would play we started turning up cards and got two new objectives to add to the ‘Cure 3 Diseases’ objective: ‘Eradicate 1 disease’ and ‘Get a military base in each region of the world.  So in some ways it’s a bit easier to win. You can choose your path.

A dossier door told us to open box #2, and there were our Military Bases. Eight little green buildings.

We had noticed in previous months that the Quarantine Specialist had a different symbol on her sheet. It looked like a little alien. Actually it’s a set of dog tags. She’s para-military which the March briefing card discussed.

The world is now officially falling apart. The government has partnered with para-military to maintain infrastructure. A new character has joined the game: the Operations Expert. He can build a structure for free in a city, and once per turn may move into ANY city including the rioting/falling cities by discarding any card. We named him Dave.

The para-military people can move between the cities with military bases as well. It’s a new action like shuttling between research centers.

Pre-Game (It’s been a few days, so details are sparse.)

With all the new parts out we infected the cities, and finally yellow Super Ebola showed up. Four yellow cities were drawn, and AGAIN Europe got hit with e. coli. Essen had 3 cubes, and both St. Petersburg & Milan got two. ARGH!!! Only two cubes of black Monkey Pox were on the board, and just one Asian city had red SARS.

We decided to go after black and eradicate it. Then just cure the other two. The Ops. Expert would have to wait to build bases in a later game.

Again our funding was down to two. So we chose a the card that allowed us to pull two cubes off the board to help with Super Ebola. Then we took the card to eliminate a city from the infection deck.

Last we put our February bonus, a quarantine marker, on a yellow city.

Game Begins: It’s a Race Against Time

We immediately realized that we would not be able to handle yellow for long. We had to win fast. Get Europe under control, and kill black fast. Letting an outbreak go here or there would be fine….right?

An outbreak in Essen made us focus on Europe. 

After a couple trips around the board we had three outbreaks in cities. Northern Europe was giving us fits, but we got this. Essen was unavoidable, but a Panic Level of 1 has no effect. Everything is fine.

The yellow sticker on Tokyo was mistake. 

Nothing to worry about in Europe.

or North America.

Even South America is fine.

Australia? Where is that?

Africa is okay.

What am I missing?


Shit, Meet Fan

Remember that ONE city that had red SARS in it? We didn’t.

Lesson learned. Never take anything for granted in Pandemic. There are no quiet areas of the board. We had three outbreaks in two trips around the board. We had FOUR outbreaks at once!

The yellow stickers on Taipei and Osaka are NOT mistakes. 

He had to be extremely careful from here on out.

8 Outbreaks = Loss

We pulled out all the special cards we had. Luckily we had drawn both, as well as the city card we upgraded last game. It allowed us to remove a cube if we discarded a card up to three times.

We relied heavily on the Quarantine Specialist’s ability to place a quarantine token anywhere on the board. Also she had the ability to peak at the two upcoming Infection cards (an upgrade from February).

The dispatcher was barely moved since I spent my turn moving other people around the board. Primarily moving the Medic with his ability to treat disease in a neighboring city once per turn. This got Asia cleaned up quick since he treats all disease in a city with one action by default.

The Researcher got good cards and was able to collect color groups quickly.

We narrowly won, but we won! TWO STRAIGHT!

We almost ran out of blue and yellow cubes too. Another way to lose. 

Post-Game Upgrades

Hooray!!! Zero-funding next game!…wait….WHAT!?
Yeah that’s your reward for doing good. Better make these upgrades count.


We decided to use on the Positive Mutations since we eradicated black Monkey Pox. Now we do not have to move to a research center to cure it in future games.

Since we’ve been using the Researcher so much she has hit the hand limit of 7 several times. We gave her an upgrade to hold 8 cards.

New Rules

We were rewarded with the ability to put a military base anywhere in the world in April.

Also we received the ability to make a military base permanent. As well we received a new sticker sheet of 3 Character Upgrades & a sheet of 3 Character Scars. The scars are applied if a character is stuck in a city where an outbreak occurs. This has not happened to us.

Can’t wait to play April!

Kenzie has dutifully recorded our wins & losses. 3-1

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Posted by on January 10, 2017 in Boardgames, Pandemic


Pandemic Legacy: S1G3 – Late February

Pandemic Legacy: S1G3 – Late February
For Christmas 2016 I bought my kids Pandemic Legacy. 
This is our story.
There will be game spoilers in this post.


Well last game was a disaster. So we get another shot at February with increased funding. Back up to 4 Event Cards to help us out. I honestly don’t remember what we chose.

Also we now had 3 Research Stations: Atlanta, Algiers, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Alex decided to play the Researcher this time through. That character can give/take cards by simply being in the same city as another player. My wife joined this game, playing as the medic. I was the dispatcher, and Carson stuck with the Quarantine Specialist.

We started at the El ala Carte Research Center in Algiers because once again Europe was slammed with e. coli. There was one hot spot in Asia, but it was next to the People’s Center for Very Much Good Research in Ho Chi Minh City.

And finally we got to use the January win bonus again, removing 1 disease cube from the board. Again we chose yellow since we can’t do a thing with it.

Game Begins. Game Ends.

I didn’t take any pics of this game. One: I kinda forgot. Two: The game was over in less than 30 minutes. We went around 2.5 times. BOOM! Done.

Again yellow Super Ebola wasn’t much of a factor. Then we got lucky on card draws. Everyone got pairs of colors. I just used my dispatcher to put people together, and the medic flew around covering the hot spots. Carson also used his quarantine ability to good effect.

This is one of the best things about Pandemic. It can be played so quickly.


Well January’s win bonus is now gone, but we get to open up all sorts of new stuff.

First any March game we get to place a quarantine token anywhere on the board. Nice for keeping one triple-cubed hot spot quiet.

Next we got 4 new Event Cards. This gives us 10 to choose from, but next game we only get two of them since we won again.

Also we got more character upgrades to choose from. One of these was an ability to look at the top two Infection cards at the start of that character’s turn. This seemed like a great option for the Quarantine Specialist. Since that character can place a quarantine token anywhere on the board once per turn, she can easily negate an infection every turn. Handy for blocking an incurable yellow cube.

We didn’t eradicate a disease so those upgrade options were out. We also didn’t build a new research center so that option was out. We were down to another character upgrade or upgrading a city card into an Event Card. We decided to gamble and make the Bogata card into a card that allows the discarding of up to three other city cards to remove disease cubes of that color. Again that will help with yellow. And since Bogota is a yellow card we don’t need it to cure anything. The only down side would be if it ends up at the bottom of the player deck, and we never get to it.

So that was it for February.
But Kenzie came home, and she wanted to open more stuff. On to March!

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Boardgames, Pandemic


Pandemic Legacy: S1G2 February

Pandemic Legacy: S1G2 February
For Christmas 2016 I bought my kids Pandemic Legacy. 
This is our story
There will be game spoilers in this post.


The legacy deck told us to draw a card before the game setup started. We were told to open several items from the dossier. Several things happened, and the game really started to deviate from standard Pandemic.

First C0da-403a mutated!!! C0da-403b is now not treatable and incurable! We named it Super Ebola. This is the yellow disease in our game. So part of Africa, South America, Central America, plus Miami & Los Angeles can become huge problems. Also drawing yellow city cards from the player deck are kind of useless now.

Second we got to open one of those black numbered boxes. Inside there was our first stickers to add to the rule book, Relationships and Quarantine. 

Quarantine is a new action that prevents disease cubes from being added to a city. A token is placed when quarantined, and then removed when that city is to be infected. Players must be in that city to quarantine. NEAT!

Also in the Legacy Deck was a new player sheet, the Quarantine Specialist. She has the ability to place a Quarantine token anywhere on the board once per turn. And if she is in a quarantined city its token is not removed if it is to be infected. DOUBLE NEAT!!


Since we won January the government decided our funding should go down. (It’s a game mechanic.) So we only get 2 Event Cards. We chose Resilient  Population. That allows us to remove an infection card from the deck. Then we chose the Quiet Night card. For one turn we can skip drawing the infection cards.

We still had the People’s Center for Very Much Good Research in Ho Chi Minh City.

The infection setup blew up in Europe. London & St. Petersburg got a triple dose of blue e. coli along with one for Milan. Manilla was full of red SARS. Black death was spread throughout the mid-east & India. A double dose of yellow Super Ebola hit the board in Johannesburg. We were happy to see so little yellow.

February begins.

A win in January gave us the bonus to remove a cube from the board before the game started. We removed a yellow since we can’t even treat it.

Finally we chose our roles, assigned relationships, and decided to start in Atlanta.
Me – Dispatcher (again) – Family with Medic
Kenzie – Medic (again) – Co-worker with Medic
Alex – Generalist (again) – Friend with Quarantine Specialist
Carson – Quarantine Specialist (new)  – Rival with Generalist

Relationships are little bonuses that we get to chose to put on our characters in pairs. Family gives you an extra action if you start in the same city.
Co-workers can share a city card if only one of them is in the city.
Friends  ….which I can’t remember right now
Rivals can discard two cards to pick up a card discarded by their rival. REMEMBER THIS.

The Game Begins….and Blows Up!

We were really worried about yellow. But e. coli had other plans.
Again we hit an epidemic early. Algiers got hit, but worse the reset infection deck immediately brought up Milan putting another cube there. Not much later a second epidemic came along & hit Paris.

I can’t remember exactly how it happened now, but Milan got slammed. In short order we went from calm to two outbreaks in the same city! So Milan was rioting. No flights into or out of that city. Istanbul had two major disease infections in it, and Europe was awash in blue e. coli.

Northern Italy burns.

We ran all over the board putting out hot spots, and had a few more outbreaks. Then I noticed a major problem. With half the player deck gone. No one had more than two cards of any color group. We were spread out, and hadn’t cured a thing.

Loss is Inevitable Even if You Cheat

We didn’t cheat, but it felt like it. We found a good strategy for exploiting the Resilient Population card. This card allowed us to remove a city from the infection deck. Event cards can be played at ANY time, even out of turn. Alex & Carson had made their characters Rivals. That ability means a player can immediately discard two cards to pick up a card that was just discarded. They went back & forth playing the card, then discarding two cards, three times to get rid of three cities!
Did we cheat?

The advantage  was obvious. Yellow Super Ebola was starting to get out of hand, and we certainly didn’t have time to deal with it. Two yellow neighboring cities were on the brink of outbreak. We pulled two yellow cities from the deck, and then Beijing because it was far away from any of us. This gave us a chance. It cost 6 cards, but 4 of the cards were yellow and two were black which we had just cured.

We spent a lot of time strategizing, but it was too late. We just couldn’t get together, and get lucky draws to get five cards of one color together three times. The player deck ran out.

We played it out, and had there been 3 more cards in the deck we would’ve won. BAH!

It is amazing how close the game comes to going either way on the final moves. Our first game ever finished on the last possible turn before the Player deck ran out.


The game basically ended like this. 

The game dragged on for awhile, but only because we didn’t want to lose. If we don’t play we can’t lose, right? RIGHT!? …

The Legacy Deck left us with another victory card to scratch off. But we lost. So we just sat there and stared at it in shame. ( ._.)

Next game we’re back to four on funding, and we’ll get to use the January win bonus again since it will still be February.


We forgot to pick out game upgrades. (Win or lose you get two.)
Alex got the game back out, and I told him to just choose two. He decided to build the El ala Carte Center for Disease Research in old Algiers. He also gave the medic the ability to fly to a city without discarding that city card. Very handy!

We’ve played two more games. Come back soon for updates.



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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Boardgames, Gaming, Pandemic


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Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 – Game 1

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 – Game 1
For Christmas I bought the kids a copy of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.
I intend to keep a running blog on our progress through the game.
There will be spoilers.


Pandemic is a collaborative game (everyone versus the game itself) where you work to keep deadly diseases at bay & find cures. If you haven’t played Pandemic you can still enjoy this blog series. A single turn is relatively simple, and I’ll explain things as I go along. But I won’t explain every little nuance. One: This would be boring. Two: It would mean spoilers.

Base Rule: Everyone gets 4 actions, draws two Player cards (these are cities or special things you can do), and then draws to infect cities with Infection Deck.

Image result for pandemic legacy  infection deckPandemic Legacy: Season 1 is a sequel to the base game where each game permanently alters
the future games. The base turn mechanics are the same, but
throughout the game you will trigger events. In this version of the game a Legacy Deck has been added. You start on card one, and are told how to proceed through this deck. Each card may be a new rule or game objective.

Image result for pandemic legacy season 1

Cleverly themed like a file folder.

There is a dossier that works like an advent calendar. Sealed tabs are opened, stickers are added to the rulebook, player sheets, cards, and board. There are also 8 sealed boxes that we’ve shaken. The only thing we know is that if you lose 4 times in a row you open box 8. I think they have extra disease cubes in some of them. IT’S LIKE CHRISTMAS!!!!…with deadly disease.


Finally there is a sticker sheet that houses markers for character upgrades, board changes, etc. Obviously you are free to read these.

Game one begins in January (game calendar). If you win you proceed to February, but lose funding (Remove 2 good cards from the player deck.) If you lose you have one more shot to win that month, and you get to increase your funding (Add 2 good cards to the player deck.)

Okay. Let’s get to eradicating disease!


Player (age) role: ability
Me (39) Dispatcher: Move a pawn like it’s mine. Move any pawn to any city with a pawn.
Kenzie (18) Medic: Cures all disease in a city for 1 action. Disease cannot spread to city where the Medic
Alex (14) Generalist: Gets 1 extra action.
Carson (8) Scientist: Needs 4 cards to cure a disease (normally 5).

Funding level starts at 4. This means you get 4 out of 8 Funded Events (good cards) in the player deck. Players choose. We went with: a free research station in any city, move anyone anywhere, look at the top 6 infection cards & rearrange them, don’t draw infection cards for 1 turn.
Everyone gets 2 player cards. Alex happened to draw the free research station card. The rest of us just got city cards.

Image result for pandemic legacy  infection deck

The Player Deck: City cards are like currency of the game. Spend for immediate benefits, but you must save five of one color to cure a disease. EPIDEMICS are bad. EVENTS are good.

Base game setup does not change. Disease cubes are placed by drawing 9 city infection cards in sets of three. Disease cubes are in the standard colors: red, blue, yellow, black. Certain regions of the board get certain colors. We drew these (umm…I think.)
3 disease cubes: Washington, Atlanta, and Ho Chi Minh City.
2 disease cubes: Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris
1 disease cube: Chennai & Delhi and one in Lima. 

For fun we said that Chipotle’ has given the US a bad e coli infection. SARS is in the Pacific. Black Death in India and Yellow Fever  in South America is pretty safe.

Turn One

Pandemic Legacy has objectives. The only objective in January is to cure the 4 diseases. This is the basic game. No real spoiler there.

Carson was randomly chosen to go first. Everyone starts in Atlanta. The Center for Disease Control is there in real life. So a research center is there in the game. You must move to a research center to cure a disease.

With two of the three hot spots (3 disease cubes) in the US it was easy to get a hold on disease. However Carson drew the first EPIDEMIC card immediately.

Epidemics are part of the game, but getting one this early is probably bad. This is only our second Pandemic game ever. So who knows?

A city is drawn from the BOTTOM of the Infection Deck and gets 3 disease cubes. Reshuffle the Infection cards you’ve already drawn, and put them on top of the deck. So now we have Moscow full of black death. The Infection Rate Tracker moves forward. And we’ll be drawing the same cities again.

All in all we get the board cleaned up pretty well.

Our First Triggered Event

After just 2 turns we’re spread out in a relatively clean world, but we drew our second EPIDEMIC!
When we started a purple reminder token was placed on the Infection Rate Tracker in the third spot. We now draw cards in the Legacy Deck.

I won’t say how anything works or reveal too much text. But it is well-themed in the form of notes from the CDC in Atlanta that shit is hitting the fan.
[BEGIN SPOILER click & drag your mouse to highlight this text] Ebola (yellow) is now incurable in our game. It’s treatable, but takes two actions to remove one cube. This will remain for all future games.
The CDC has changed our objective to curing three diseases. [END]

Image result for pandemic legacy season 1

Yes, you are instructed to do this. For now I’m putting my destroyed cards in an envelope.


The game progressed pretty smooth. We got two more event cards, so we were in a good spot. However we had two OUTBREAKS. Outbreaks occur when a city with 3 disease cubes would get a fourth cube either via being drawn in the Infection Deck or from another outbreak. Instead of a fourth cube being placed all neighboring cities get a disease cube. 8 outbreaks means losing.

In Pandemic Legacy an outbreak also destabilizes a city. So Moscow & Tokyo are now on the brink. No problems now, but one more outbreak in either and they start rioting. This is marked by permanently affixing a sticker to the board to mark their panic level.
Serious game is serious. 

We built a research facility in Ho Chi Minh City, and got SARS (red disease) cured.

End Game

Diseases stayed pretty well spread out in this game. And we collected city cards pretty easily. Not much trading was needed. This is the biggest difficulty of the game. You have to get two people into the same city to trade that city’s card. So it’s a number of actions to get there. Wait for the next player to get there, and use an action to trade a card. The Researcher can trade cards easier, but we didn’t play her. The dispatcher’s (Me) ability to move people around was used heavily.

The Scientist’s (Carson) ability to cure with only 4 city cards was only used once. The dispatcher (Me) cured a disease, and the Medic (Kenzie) got the last two.


Because we won the government decides that less funding is needed. So next game we only get two funded events (good cards). Got-danged Gubmint!! WELCOME TO TRUMP’S ‘MURICA!

Image result for pandemic research station The Legacy Deck left off with card stating ‘Draw before you pick end game upgrades.’ We flipped the card and found a scratch off spot that is scratched if we won, which we had. It gave us the option to [BEGIN SPOILER]  remove a disease cube at the start of the next game. [END]
Win or lose you get two upgrades for the next game. We chose to build the People’s Center for Very Much Good Research in Ho Chi Minh City. (We get to keep the research facility there.) Then we gave the medic the ability to treat disease from a neighboring city. This saves an action by not needing to move into a city to treat it.

On to February….

This was really fun, and the best part was my two teenagers LOVED IT! Alex (14) said we should just make the table the Pandemic Table. Kenzie said the game is like Christmas. She wanted to open more boxes. Carson being only 8 enjoys it, but gets a little bored. He gets talked over a lot.

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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Boardgames, Gaming, Pandemic


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Westworld Mines Deep

[This post is SPOILER FREE!]
Westworld a good show, but almost impossible to binge watch. It’s digging deep into drama, rather than building a huge world.
I was into other series when it debuted, so I purposefully put off watching it. I’m about 6-7 episodes in now, and I find it hard to watch 2 episodes in a row.
This is a very good thing. 

Did Wes Anderson frame this shot?

Let’s Compare

Game of Thrones I want to watch & re-watch because the world is so expansive. Characters talks of going beyond where the map ends. Oceans are crossed. Even climates are colliding. This world is huge.

Westworld is the opposite. You know it’s a contained theme-park. You know the violence and gore are purposefully fake, without stakes. This isn’t a “world” you want to see. You want to zip past that stuff, like the first souvenir stands at a theme park. Get past the crowds and first time visitors, and head straight for the big rides.

But this is where Westworld differs. There is no big ride. There’s a long, dark mine shaft, and the drama is on a slow fuse. It’s like old western prospecting. The plot is slowly digging deeper while tension burns like a fuse. And once or twice per episode the fuse ends, EXPLODES, and you’re left with emotional rubble. You sort the characters like debris. “Oh that character was just a useless plot device after all.” And you’re left with a new nugget of gold. So you want to dig deeper. Wondering if the next blast will expose a larger nugget of truth, and increasing the tension that the whole mine could collapse.

What Have We Found (No spoilers I promise)

It’s early, so the nuggets are small, and we know the whole thing isn’t caving in soon. But there’s still some great themes to make the wide-open ‘world’ seem claustrophobic.

  • The world fits on a control table that is looked-down upon by controllers, staff, executives. The smallest details are micro-managed.
  • The company itself is feeling outside pressure from its own executive board, and what looks to be an upcoming hostile takeover. Bandits are casing the place.
  • The benevolent creator is past his prime. Vultures are circling.
  • The ‘benevolent’ creator may control the vultures, bandits, and who knows what else.
  • The inner workings? It’s down an 83-floor elevator to a dank, humid, room crowded with ‘people’.
  • There are constant shots looking down endless floors of a corporation, and employees walking among crisscrossing escalators.

Even with scenes like this you feel contained.

All of this puts pressure on the characters. There’s tension. People are maneuvering and preparing for battle, but unlike GoT where characters scheme in different countries & regions. This is all taking place inside of a single building or theme-park. And since all of the day-to-day action is repeating in all the park the characters that matter are concentrating on each other. Gathering strength, intelligence, and allies.


But is it a Great Show?

I’m hesitant to call this a great show just yet, but HBO has delivered another compelling show. The slow burn style of the show makes it tough to sit through long stretches of the show. But I love catching tiny details and playing Name That Tune with the player-piano when I review an episode. It is a brilliant show.

Some people have reported they couldn’t get through the first 15 minutes of the first episode. I can understand that. E1 is basically explaining how the park/plot works, and there’s not enough characters to create drama. It seems odd that HBO didn’t debut the show in a two-episode premier like Band of Brothers. Both shows with lots of characters to introduce and no real stakes in the training episode.

It reminds me of a personal favorite, Carnivale, which only lasted two seasons. I still remember three words that summed up that show: “Frustratingly dense mythology”.  It made you feel trapped & confused. Westworld seems to have solved that problem by slowly revealing bits as it mines deeper.

I started by saying I put off watching it. Now I feel compelled to catch up, and wanting more even though it can feel like work to absorb it all.

Mechanics, Ratings, and Numbers

4 stars out of 5….so far.
I don’t care about show budgets, actors/directors getting paid, or Nielsen ratings. Go somewhere else for that.


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Posted by on November 30, 2016 in Live Action, TV


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Beer Math – Pies & Pints, Lexington, KY

Beer Math – Pies & Pints, Lexington, KY

Hey look! A post about REAL BEER on the internet’s only Fictional Beer site.
==> Download the Excel file for Beer Math – P&P <==

A Pies & Pints opened here not too long ago, and I’ve heard some great reviews. I’ve yet to visit so I checked their online menu and found a wonderful table of their 85 beer offerings (plus 2 non-alcoholic brews). So I threw it all into Excel………aaaaand that’s the story of my Tax Day. I spent almost all of Wednesday 2015 April 15 working on beer prices versus ABV. Plus an hour on Thursday, and now this post on Friday. (My job is cool, and has lots of free time.)

The Goal
Find the best ratio of alcohol to cost. This ratio is referred to as Crunk Factor 9000 or Total Cost per Ounce of Alcohol. A lower number is better on this scale.

How to do Drunk Math
Most of the math is straightforward, but I did need to come up with a method. To me a good trip to a bar is going to be about 4 beers over a 2-4 hour period. I’m counting ‘a beer’ as 12 ounces, which is how most beers are sold. So I used 48 ounces as the target amount to be drank. This was easy for 12 & 16 ounce beers, but there were a few beers sold in 22 or 25 ounce sizes. Using some Excel wizardry I found the number of  servings of a beer to not go over 50 ounces.

From that point I figured out how much alcohol you would drink total and the cost. Total cost divided by total alcohol is the Crunk Factor 9000.

In the spreadsheet this is colored from green (cheap) to expensive (red). Sorting by this was a much better determination of how to get a good buzz on good beer.

There’s some more info on the methods and reasoning at the end, but let’s get to the beer.

And the winner is….No. Not That!

The choice of Grover Cleveland (2nd term only)

Voted America’s Best during a time when America was so screwed up at voting we gave the Oval Office back to the guy we kicked out 4 years earlier.

Unlike the Oscars I won’t make you wait until the end. The best beer is clearly Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Okay. PBR is only two bucks at P&P. A great price that is so low it throws off the numbers. The next cheapest beer is twice as expensive. It didn’t take a spreadsheet to figure this out. However at only $6 for 48 oz. of beer you only get a paltry 2.25 ounces of alcohol. Wallet friendly, but not gut/bladder friendly.

Money is dumb.

Money is dumb.

There’s a beer at the other end of the spectrum that is a statistical outlier too. Avery Uncle Jacob’s Stout 2015 is currently one of four featured beers at P&P. At a whopping $18 and 16.9% ABV it’s definitely gonna wallop something. (The little blurb on P&P’s site says 17.4% ABV, but the beer list said 16.9%. Math is based on 16.9%)

But to show why the CF9k score matters this beer comes in at 8.88. Not far from the average of 7.57. This is still a lot of money, but not as bad comparatively to the rest of the menu as that $18 price tag suggests. Four of these will set you back $72, but you’ll also be in a coma with over 8 ounces of alcohol in you. Only 2 of these (24 ounces) would be over 4 ounces of alcohol which would beat out any 48 ounces worth of 70 other beers on this list.

And the Winner REALLY is….
Brooklyn Monster

It's not like your liver was helping with rent anyway. (10.8% ABV)

It’s not like your liver was helping with rent anyway. (10.8% ABV)

At a whopping 10.8% ABV, but a budget friendly $5.50 for 12 ounces Brooklyn Monster scores a healthy 4.24 CF9k. Four of these ales will set you back $22, and you’ll be on the floor with 5.184 ounces of alcohol charging through your liver.

I’ve wondered about this one for awhile. Will try!

The runner up is Dark Horse Scotty Karate which wins the name contest by a landslide. (Say it like Spongebob. Scot-TAY KA-RA-TAY!!!) You save $2, but lose half an ounce of alcohol.
I really want to try this one.

You Chose Poorly Award
Not everyone is looking to get hammered or buzzed even, but love that feeling of a huge bar tab. Look no further than Lindeman’s Framboise. A sweet, tart lambic that costs a ten bucks a bottle. $40 yields only 1.2 ounces of alcohol. A CF9k score of 33.33, which is almost double it’s brother brew, Lindeman’s Faro (17.54 CF9k).

The Five Ouncers Club
There are five beers that offer over five Ounces of alcohol in a four beer drinking session. The bottom three in this list are excellent bang for your buck beers. New Holland’s Dragon Milk is a personal favorite. I even gave it as a special groom’s gift at a friend’s wedding. Very much worth the price in my opinion. (About $16 for a 4-pack in stores.)

Name Price ABV Crunk Factor 9000
Avery Uncle Jacob’s Stout 2015 $18.00 16.9% 8.88
New Holland’s Dragon Milk $9.00 11.0% 6.82
Brooklyn Monster $5.50 10.8% 4.24
Founders Imperial Stout $6.50 10.5% 5.16
Gulden Draak 9000 $8.00 10.5% 6.35

Beer Snobbery Disclaimer
This post has little to nothing to do with taste. It’s simply some math & stats on costs to get buzzed. If you don’t like stouts or ciders or IPAs and won’t drink one of them regardless of cost that’s cool. Personally I don’t like IPAs or ales in general. I prefer stouts & lagers. I’ve got a few simple comments about my tastes, but stats are stats. After the first hour I didn’t even look at the names anymore.
So find what you like & use this as a price guide….or don’t.
Also the two non-alcoholic brews aren’t counted for averages, etc.

How this got started….
Pies & Pints (P&P) listed their beers, price, ounces per serving, ABV, and how they are served. I included all of this info in the first five columns.

First I figured up Price per Oz. What a single ounce of this beer would cost. That was simple but with beers at different sizes and ABV it didn’t tell the whole story. So I color-coded the two columns (Excel feature).High ABV was blue decreasing to red for low ABV. Low cost was blue increasing to red.

Still not clear, but if a beer had two blue cells next to each other. It was probably a good value, but there weren’t many of them.

To be continued…..

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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Macro Brews, Micro Brews, Reviews


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‘Twas the Night Before Tuesday – A Poem about Ferguson

‘Twas the Night Before Tuesday – A Poem about Ferguson

Twas the night before Tuesday
and all through the streets,
every news network was stirring
with smartphones, and iPads, and pointless Tweets.

My white children were all settled in bed.
While visions of actual justice danced in their heads.
My wife in the bed & I on the sofa
had just turned on CNN because Monday Night Football was ovah.

Out in the midwest there arose such a clatter.
I sat on my ass and watched the whole matter.
Away to the internet I alt-tabbed in a flash.
I threw open the Facebook, the Twitter, new ‪#‎hash‬.

The floodlights on the haze of new fallen smoke
gave the lustre of Bill Maher or Snoop Dog taking a toke.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear!?
Nothing but reporters talking right out of their rear.

A looter, a runner,
Anderson Cooper and Blitzer.
Things burning, on fire
It’s all in the shitter!
From the voice of the SWAT team
To the warning from cops.
Dash away! Dash away!
You’re gonna get shot!

Then in an update I thought was a spoof.
The auto parts store had gone up in a poof!
As I went to the fridge and was turning around
down the street came cops in armored vehicles abound!

They were all dressed in body armor from head to foot.
I heard the stomping and tromping of each little boot.
A bundle of surplus military gear on their back
they looked like soldiers prepared to attack.

Their guns how they twinkled. The violence so scary.
The blue lights were merry. The reds like a cherry.
Anderson’s stoic mouth drawn up like a bow.
The hair on his head as white as the snow.
The fires did burn and spat out the ash.
But the news still had commercials ’cause “We gotta earn cash.”

The chief of police was a jolly old elf.
All callous and righteous and sure of himself.
A wink of his eye & a nod of his head
is all you would see when ‘klansman’ was said.

They spoke not a word and went right to work.
The armored cars tore down the street with a jerk.
And laying their fingers aside of the triggers
They were gonna have to shoot a whole bunch of [PEACE-LOVING RESIDENTS OF FERGUSON, MISSOURI]

They sprang into action and fired a flash.
The people did scatter from a can of tear gas.
But I heard them exclaim as they ran out of sight.
“I’m against violence, but I’m LOOTIN’ TONIGHT!”

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Journal


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