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November 29, 1996

The TLF Strikes!

Thanksgiving turned into a bloodbath!

[You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Stuffing] Today, a frightening secret force unveiled itself to the eyes of the public. The Turkey Liberation Front, or TLF, is an organization whose secret ranks have been swelling for years, drawing upon enslaved and downtrodden domestic turkeys. Dedicated to the eradication of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner and the liberation of farm turkeys everywhere, the TLF appears to be willing to use any means necessary to achieve their goals.

At 1 pm, November 28, 1996, the TLF launched a coordinated attack across the United States. All damage reports are not yet in, but we have scenes of factories and farms burning, of innocent Thanksgiving feasters pecked down in cold blood, and, perhaps the most disturbing of all, a group of turkeys giving thanks over and consuming the cooling corpse of a policeman.

At 3 pm, November 28, 1996, the President of the United States declared martial law until this situation can be resolved. Please stay inside. You may wish to arm yourself with a carving knife and a basting brush. We thank you for your cooperation.

This news update brought to you by Matthew D. Grau, our man in the coop.

November 28, 1996

Spam-A-Rama Ding Dong! (Part II)

First, to Germany to see Axel Boldt's fine Blacklist of Internet Advertisers. It focuses primarily on Usenet posts but much is applicable to bulk email as well.

Then to British Columbia, where Brian Edmonds has built the lovely for filtering spam while browsing the Usenet. Brian also has pointers to two very important sites:

If you know your way around procmail (and really, who does?), here are a couple fun sites for learning how to get the most out of this unix mail preprocessor:

Or, if you have and account on IO, check IO revealed on how you can set up your very own killfile.

-- Bob MAKE MONEY FAST!!! Apthorpe

November 27, 1996

Spam-A-Rama Ding Dong! (Part I)

Foreword: I was bored and I absolutely loathe junk mail. Getting 300kb email headers (no message body) sent to accounts that I pay for from incompetent boobs trying to MAKE.MONEY.FAST tends to tick me off. Just a tad. So after hearing about the AOL lawsuit, I thought it would be amusing (in a stomach-turning sort of way) to see what kind of economic hookworms inhabit the Information Alimentary Canal.

Tip: If you're using Netscape v3, go to Options | Network Preferences | Protocols and check Show Alert Before Accepting A Cookie. Why? Some of these sites try to track your usage by giving your browser the equivalent of the radio tag as seen on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom without the benefits of anaesthetic and wrestling Jim Fowler. Send me $5 and I'll tell you how to turn the alert messages off again...

First on our list of Unrepentant Spam Jockeys is - premier online whiners and e-mailbox stuffers. Take a look at their Silent Majority page - 'tis truly a hoot. Don't just sit there; voice your opinion and send them a 60MB web server log today!

Can you tell the twin with the Tony?

Zen bulk email: Repeat the mantra...

Beware the animating glop on MarkeTech's© page - it made me queasy (as if spam hunting wasn't nauseating enough). Here you get some tips on how They get your mail address so watch out for those chat rooms...
(PS: Isn't scanning US currency illegal?)

Smutty bulk email: Here's a fun game you can play! Simply buy this mailing list and look for people you know. Especially co-workers, employers, employees, relatives, members of the clergy, etc. Then blackmail them into giving you cash and fabulous prizes! Offer not good in states that have laws against such things.

We next visit scenic Montreal home of Vicious Twerps on the Loose. Nasty, nasty, nasty little people. And having thousands of cookies rammed down your throat doesn't help much.

Our whirlwind spam tour takes us next to Austria, home of A mailing we did yesterday generated a response rate of 15%!! - This is amusing on two accounts: 1) How many of those responses were 'TAKE ME OFF YOUR @#%$&! LIST!', and 2) the page was last updated on November 15th. I guess 'yesterday' means something different to amateur online marketing yobbos. More WebKruft™ is available off their home page

If you have to remember one acronym this year, it would be TANSTAAFL.So kids, stay in school, work hard, and stay creative lest you wind up selling this.

Tomorrow we show you defenses against the scourge of bulk email.

-- Bob "Exactly what are Christian Hair and Skin Products?" Apthorpe

November 26, 1996

Steve Returns From Philly Empty-Handed!

Our Fearless Leader returned from his sojourn at PhilCon today just in time for what passes for winter in Austin. Luckily, he didn't have a lot of stuff with him. Turns out that the piles of Dino Hunt and Knightmare Chess that he took with him were snapped up by the purchase-crazy attendees of PhilCon.

Otherwise, Steve had a pretty good time.

-- Bob Apthorpe

November 25, 1996

Grind, Grind, Grind

Sorry - no fun Illuminator today. All you get is a simple web status update. Yours truly has been hard at work on a special treat for our distributors that will be revealed shortly, assuming all goes well. I can't say much more about it, other than it truly is special...

What else? Well, the ADQ archives got freshened up recently. Before the die-hard Car Wars fans jump down my throat for my admittedly sub-optimal handling of the ADQ HTMLization project, let me just say that yes, we're still doing it and (assuming some time frees itself up) we'll do a relaunch sometime very soon. I've still got most of the mail that people have sent me with regards to ADQ and as soon as I get the templates and some guidelines reformulated, I'll contact the lot of you and we can get this show on the road, pardon the pun.

Oh, one more thing before I forget: If you have some free time, check out the new and improved graphically-enhanced processed INWO substitute website and let me know what you think. Beware the subliminals, though.

-- Pope Bath Orb

November 22, 1996

Roadkill R Us™

Are you bored? I mean really bored. Really, really bored? Then hop on over to Roadkills-R-Us There's not much in the way of roadkill though.

-- Pope Bath Orb

November 21, 1996

Pig Leg He Lost Is On Yon TV!

Well, not exactly. Actually the headline was supposed to read Steve's Going To Philly but we had an accident. Well, not so much an accident as an anagram. You guessed it - we've found a couple anagram generators and have been playing with them mightily.

One nice one is from Eli Burke at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg (I wonder if he knows anyone at BTRC?). Eli even posts source code so you can see how his mystery device works.

Another generator can be found at, home of A.Word.A.Day.

Anyway, Steve will be at Philcon from November 22nd through the 24th so if you're in the Philly area, stop by and ask him about In Nomine...

-- Pope Bath Orb

November 20, 1996

Zen Stories To Tell Your Neighbors




-- Bob Apthorpe

November 19, 1996

Non adamare non possum

Where's Elvis? Yes, the headline is in Latin. And yes, it translates to Can't Help Falling in Love. Where does one find such oddments? Why, on the Elvis in Latin FAQ page of course!

Don't act so shocked - the King truly is timeless...

(With special thanks to Secret Illuminator Newshound Mark Bassett!)

-- Bob "Sounds Great In Any Language" Apthorpe

November 18, 1996

Aftermath of 1996 German INWO Finals

INWO We just received a quick report from the Spiel96 games fair in Essen, Germany, which hosted the second INWO national championships of Germany

It's a long story of backstabbing, intrigue, dealmaking, and good, old-fashioned betrayal. But you wouldn't expect anything less...

-- Bob Apthorpe

November 15, 1996

Not An Indoor Toy!

[Berets in Fashion This Year] Those wacky scientists at Sandia National Labs have done it again - Explosives as Indoor Toys. Apparently the neighbors were complaining about the noise, so America's premier weird scientists have moved the explosives testing indoors.

But that's not all they're up to:

-- Bob "No User-Serviceable Parts" Apthorpe

November 14, 1996

Fun Stories For Sick People...

Found by the ill people in our Sales & Marketing Department, these bedtime stories are not for the young or young-at-heart. They are, in a word, black.

They could be construed as funny, but not that we'd ever let on. So don't read them.

And all you little kids out there, go someplace else.

[Curious George and the High-Tension Power Line]

Thanks Kevin! You should seek professional help.

-- Bob "That's Not Funny, That's Sick" Apthorpe

November 13, 1996

E-Post ist jetzt <<wonky>>

Oops. Sorry about that. What I'm really trying to say is that our e-mail service is seriously wonky right now. That means that if you haven't received a reply from us, it's because we haven't received your message, not because we're ignoring you (we'll be ignoring you later...). This condition is expected to persist for a couple more days. It turns out that Those Darned Elves had reconfigured our mailserver from Speedy Delivery to Top Brown Only. Jim nearly caught one of the little bastards, but the pint-sized terrorist hauled out a can of Pam and sprayed Jim right in the eyes. Jim's doing okay but has sworn that if he ever catches that little SOB, he's going to light him up with a can of WD-40 and a Zippo.

In the meantime, feel free to amuse yourself with LegoWars II.

-- Bob Apthorpe

November 12, 1996



If you're in the Austin, TX area, plug in, press on, and wipe out at NerdStock, a big benefit for EFF-Austin and the Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network.

Many bands, cool T-shirts and a good time can be had at La Zona Rosa on November 13th, 1996. The show starts at 5:30 pm and goes until something like 1 am.

-- Bob Apthorpe

November 11, 1996

AADA News Online!

[AADA] This just in - we've brought AADA News to the web! AADA News columns from issues #10 through #21 of Pyramid have been posted and the rest are soon to come.

Other news: We've got a convention volunteer page set up for PhilCon (11/22 -11/24) so if you're in the area and you're interested in helping us out, take a look.

-- Bob Apthorpe

November 8, 1996

New GURPS Utilities Now Available!

We've just posted several new utilities for GURPS - here's a brief description of each:

-- Bob Apthorpe

November 7, 1996

Chat With The Stars!

Did you know that Steve Jackson Games hosts a monthly chat on America Online? Well, we do -- actually, we've been doing it for years. It's the first Thursday of every month (that would be Nov. 7), at 10pm Eastern, 9pm Central, 7pm Pacific.

We talk about the latest industry gossip, upcoming SJ Games releases, long-term plans, answer rules questions -- just about anything the audience cares to talk about. We're in the Online Gaming Forum (Keyword: OGF), so if you've got an AOL account, dial us up on Thursday night and join in.

We also maintain two message folders in the Gaming Company Support section of AOL (Keyword: GCS), one for Pyramid magazine (under Publications) and one for SJ Games (under Game Company Messages). You can post questions there anytime, and I or somebody else will get you an answer.

-- Scott Haring

November 6, 1996

Men in Black Needed In Philly

I'll be going to Philcon, Nov. 22-24. This is a big, good science fiction con with some gaming. In addition to the usual round of events and demos (Dino Hunt, Knightmare Chess, whatever), they've offered me booth space. Sounds like fun (and a way to sell some games). But I'll need help.

If you're interested in working our booth at Philcon, please check out our convention volunteer page and drop mail to Matthew Grau ( You need to be able to smile at people, even SF fans, and to know enough about our games to answer questions. I'll be there with you a lot of the time, but not all the time.

We pay semi-generously in loot - if you are building a collection of INWO or Dino Hunt, here's your chance to grab a lot of boosters. If you're going to work a lot of hours, we can try to get your convention registration covered. And, of course, we (fnord) all booth help.

-- Steve Jackson

November 5, 1996

Vote - Or Else!

[Vote or Else!] Once again, it's Constitutionally-sanctioned revolution time in America and it's every able-bodied (if addle-minded) citizen's duty to get off their duff and select the candidate of their choice.

Or something.

So, if you haven't already cast your vote (assuming you're legal to vote in the U.S.), there's still time to check out the League of Women Voters to get a fairly cogent, non-partisan view of who's running for what, at least in the Austin, TX area.

So get out and vote. Otherwise you've got no business complaining when some unpleasant weirdo gets elected...

-- Bob Apthorpe

November 4, 1996

SJ Games Salutes the Rocket Sled!

[Rocket Sled!] All hail the mighty Rocket Sled!

(chant, in unison)

-- Bob (Super-Genius) Apthorpe

November 1, 1996

Knightmare Chess Official Rulings Now Online!

[Knightmare Chess] Can a Pacifist piece be captured by Fireball, Hostage, Revenge, Toll, or Split Knight? Can it be killed (made Dead) by Betrayal or Disintegration?

Does anyone know? In order to keep the conflict on the chessboard, we've posted the Knightmare Chess Official Rulings online.

Play nice,

-- Bob Apthorpe