Saturday, April 30, 2016

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: APRIL 24-30, 2016

TODAY MARKS THE 45th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST LUNAR ROVER
IN USE (DURING THE APOLLO 15 MISSION)
MAY IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!
MAY 1st MARKS THE 75th ANNIVERSARY OF CITIZEN KANE.
MAY 4th IS STAR WARS DAY, ACCORDING TO ITS FANS.
MAY 5th IS THE 125th ANNIVERSARY OF CARNEGIE HALL OPENING.
MAY 5th IS MAY DAY.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*NISSAN IS RECALLING ALMOST 3.5 MILLION VEHICLES BECAUSE OF FAULTY AIRBAGS!
*PILGRIM'S PRIDE IS ISSUING A RECALL OF OVER 4.5 MILLION POUNDS OF PRE-COOKED CHICKEN NUGGET PRODUCTS FOR THE INDUSTRIAL FOOD INDUSTRY!

*New Dehli, India's National Museum of Natural History and its entire contents has been destroyed completely destroyed by fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
*Contaminated milk has been found outside the cordoned off area surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
*The Japanese government announced that it will start testing mileage figures of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles following recent company revelations that testing data had been manipulated over a 25-year period.
*Serbia now has a new parliament.
*Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been re-elected President of Equatorial Guinea.
*The United States has promised Syria to send up to 250 more ground troops to help that country defeat ISIL forces.
*Eliud Kipchoge won the men's and Jemima Sumgong the women's divisions of the London Marathon.
*Same gender marriages are now legal in Colombia.
*An art detective believes Leonardo DaVinci might have used TWO models to create the Mona Lisa.
*Pero the Sheepdog didn't like his new job so went back to his old home, 240 miles away!

IN NORTH KOREA...
*North Korea has allegedly strengthened their defenses along the demilitarized zone with South Korea by deploying 300 multiple rocket launchers. Meanwhile, China has announced concerns over all of North Korea's "missile tests", hoping to keep peace between North and South Korea.
*North Korea may also soon be facing a food shortage.
*While he hopes an accord can be eventually reached, United States President Barack Obama said the current offer from North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong to halt nuclear activity isn't serious enough.


TERRIBLE TERRORIST ACTIVITIES...
*Missiles and suicide bombers seem to be the weapons du jour for this past week.
*Although they ARE terrorists, things may not be that peaceful amongst the ISIL forces!

PASSING PARADE...
*R&B singer Billy Paul ("Me and Mrs. Jones") has passed away.
*Tommy Kono, former Olympic weight lifting champion, is no longer with us.
*Actress Madeleine Sherwood (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Flying Nun) has taken her last bow on life's stage.

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*Between Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Delaware Tuesday, Donald Trump swept the Republican Primaries in those states. Hilary Clinton won 4 out of 5, with Bernie Sanders claiming victory in Rhode Island.
*Although his chances of actually winning the Republican Presidential nomination are slim, Ted Cruz has named Carly Fiorina as his Vice Presidential running mate.
*Ted Cruz and John Kasich are allegedly coordinating efforts to make sure Donald Trump isn't named the Republican Presidential candidate the the GOP's summer convention.
*Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan allegedly hopes that cancer
patients will start dying quicker to help save health care expenses!

*While he hopes an accord can be eventually reached, President Barack Obama said the current offer from North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong to halt nuclear activity isn't serious enough.
ELSEWHERE...
*Cleveland, Ohio, has agreed to pay $6 million to settle a wrongful death civil rights lawsuit brought by the family of 12 year old Tamir Rice.
*Would you believe those responsible for ruining the water in and around Flint,Michigan tried to get the town to pay their legal bills!
*Would you believe that a weasel is responsible for taking the Large Hadron Collider off line?

*NBCUniversal has acquired Dreamworks Animation for $3.8 billion.

Because of a Blogger System Update, our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your screen is now ELSEWHERE: BBC BREAKING NEWS.

THE PUZZLE CORNER: APRIL 30, 2016

FUN FACT
Baby porcupines are called Porcupettes.

COMMON BONDS
For this edition, the SONGS in each subset below have something in common.
Do you know what it is?

01. {"Beat It" by Michael Jackson, "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus}
02. {"Manic Monday" by the Bangles, "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor}

TRIVIA TIME
Believe it or not, there used to be a 27TH letter in the English alphabet!
Do you know what it was?

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the April 23, 2016 Puzzle Corner's One Hit Wonder Quiz. (Songs and musical acts were originally listed alphabetically.)

♪ THE SONGS ♫
A.) Afternoon Delight = Starland Vocal Band (#9)
B.) Disco Duck = Rick Dees (#4)
C.) Don't Worry, Be Happy = Bobby McFerrin (#8)
D.) Funky Town = Lipps, Inc. (#6)
E.) King Tut = Steve Martin (#7)
F.) Puttin' On The Ritz = Taco (#10)
G.) Video Killed The Radio Star = The Buggles (#2)
H.) Walking In Memphis = Mark Cohn (#3)
I.) Walking On Sunshine = Katrina and the Waves (#5)
J.) Who Let The Dogs Out? = Baha Men (#1)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: GAME OF THRONES BY GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

Even if you're like me and don't have access to the premium cable channels, most everyone is at least aware of Game of Thrones, the HBO series based upon the books by George R. R. Martin.

However, Game is actually just the first title in the overall series A Song of Ice and Fire. Five have been released, a sixth is long overdue, and the entire story is supposed to go at least seven novels in length.

Originally released in 1996, the three principal story lines feature Lord Eddard Stark being appointed the King's new Hand of Justice after the previous one was murdered; Eddard's illegitimate son Jon Snow being forced to join The Night Watch that guards The Wall to protect the land from a mysterious threat on the other side, since there is no future for him in his father's holdings at Winterfell; and a young girl named Daenerys Targaryen being forced to marry against her will in hopes that her abusive older brother can eventually usurp and claim the crown that he believes is rightfully his.

The above paragraph does not do the novel justice, for there is much political intrigue, drama, and adventure across the land of Westeros on a planet with an unique orbital path that results in years of summer and very extended winters. By the time you have read the final sentence of Game, only two of the ongoing plots have been resolved to any degree, but Martin is such a good writer that you're anxious to start the next novel to discover what happens.

Readers discovering the series today have the advantage of enjoying the first five novels without the long wait between releases, but be warned that there are many twists and turns in the story along the way, and not every character at the beginning will still be alive by the end of the book. As a reader, it's hard not to develop favorites only to see them suffer their literary demise, but such is the way of life and war even in a fantasy series.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the novel as much as I did.

Reviewed by Lee Houston, Junior

Sunday, April 24, 2016

SUNDAY FUNNIES: THE CHICKEN GETS POLITICAL (satire)

Hello Everybody! Autumn the Puppy here!

Now usually, I don't like getting my paws dirty in this mess, but there is no denying that the 2016 Presidential campaign here in America is seriously heating up.

It's more than likely going to come down to the political conventions this summer to determine who the Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates will be.

With that in mind, it would be a major shirking of my responsibilities to my readers and The Free Choice E-zine if I didn't interview the candidates concerning a major issue facing both this country and the world.

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?

NOTE: All celebrity responses below are humorously impersonated with no actual political endorsements implied or given.

So, alphabetically...

"HILLARY CLINTON": What difference at this point does it make why the chicken crossed the road? The chicken exercised its constitutional right to cross a road, regardless of gender, and that's all that matters.

"BILL CLINTON": Define chicken. Define road. Regardless of your answers, I did not cross anything with one. I can't believe I'm still being asked this long after I've left office.


"CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS": Please come back and ask your chicken question again in late January 2017, after we've finished snubbing and ignoring the lame duck currently in office.

"TED CRUZ": As long as it was a legal American chicken who was not playing
with anything that could be inserted into a bodily orifice or breaking any other laws...

"BARACK OBAMA": Let me be perfectly clear here on this point. If the chickens like their eggs, they can keep their eggs.

"BERNIE SANDERS": All the eggs this chicken laid on the other side of the road, need to be shared equally with all other chickens, even if they didn't lay those eggs. The wealthier chickens need to pay their fair share, regardless of what side of the road they are on.

"DONALD TRUMP": We will build a big wall to keep the chickens from crossing the road, and we will make the chickens pay for it out of their egg money.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well folks, there you have it. Have a great week and please be back next weekend for more Sunday Funnies.—AtP.

NOTE: All celebrity responses above were humorously impersonated with no actual political endorsements implied or given.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: APRIL 17-23, 2016

TODAY IS SAINT GEORGE (OF THE DRAGON SLAYING) DAY.
TODAY ALSO MARKS THE 400th ANNIVERSARIES OF
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND MIGUEL DE CERVANTES (DON QUIXOTE)
APRIL 26th MARKS THE 30th ANNIVERSARY
OF THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER.
WHETHER OR NOT YOU CARE TO CELEBRATE IT,
APRIL 27th IS ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT'S DAY.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu swears his country will always own and control the (contested) Golan Heights, despite it being officially part of Syria.
*Despite allegations of fraud, Idriss Deby has been elected to a fifth term as President of Chad.
*The United Kingdom's Foreign Office is warning European members of the LGTBQ community about the "potential dangers" of traveling to the United States in light of anti-gay action in North Carolina, Mississippi, and other southern states.
*China hopes to have its own space probe on Mars by 2020.
*The Olympic flame (torch) has started its journey to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
*Never complain about "snail mail" after a message in a bottle was finally delivered after 108 years!

THE 2016 (JOSEPH) PULITZER PRIZES
Amongst the winners...
*The Associated Press won the Public Service award for documenting slave labor in Southeast Asia's seafood industry.
*The Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune shared the Investigative Reporting award for revealing violence and neglect in Florida's mental institutions.
*The Los Angeles Times staff won the Breaking News Coverage award for their work reporting on the San Bernardino, California shootings.
*Jack Ohman won the Editorial Cartooning award.
*Lin-Manuel Miranda won the Drama award for the musical Hamilton, based on the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton.
*The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen won the Fiction award.
*The Ozone Journal by Peter Balakian won the Poetry award.

TERRIBLE TERRORIST ACTIVITIES...
*Taliban forces have been trying to retake the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan.
*Taliban forces have also attacked the Afghanistan capital of Kabul, an act already condemned by the United Nations' Security Council.
*Israeli military officials announced they found an infiltration tunnel, dug by Hamas forces, from the Gaza Strip into their territory.

PASSING PARADE...
*Noted rock guitarist Lonnie Mack (McIntosh) is no longer with us.
*Actress Doris Roberts (Remington Steele, Everybody Loves Raymond) has taken her last bow on life's stage.
*Former professional wrestler and actress Joanie "Chyna" Laurer has passed away.
*Musician/actor Prince (Rogers Nelson) is no longer with us.
*Actress/comedienne Victoria Wood (Dinner Ladies) has taken her last bow on life's stage.
*Writer/producer Scott Nimerfro (Hannibal, Once Upon A Time, X-men) has passed away.
*Director Guy Hamilton (4 James Bond films, Force 10 From Navarone, Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd) is no longer with us.

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*Donald Trump won the Republican side, while Hilary Clinton was the Democratic Choice in the New York State primary this past week. Meanwhile, the New York State Attorney General has opened an investigation into "irregularities" concerning the primaries.
*It has been reported that Trump's private jet is allegedly not registered to fly!
*While not definitive, the "nonbinding loophole" of the Pennsylvania primary may cost Donald Trump the Republican Presidential nomination.
*Congress still has yet to act on President Barack Obama's nomination to the Supreme Court!
*North Carolina's troubles continue over their "Bathroom Law". The United States Commission on Civil Rights has declared it "...jeopardizes not only the dignity, but also the actual physical safety, of transgender people." Meanwhile, add Pearl Jam to the list of canceled concerts, and even Stephen Colbert has commented on the situation.
*But while the new "law" was only supposed to have people use the public bathroom of their birth gender, regardless of what they might be now, a North Carolina couple is suing the state for their rights to use a fertility clinic's services.
*While she doesn't expect it to become law, South Carolina state representative Mia McLeod's bill requiring a 24 waiting period on Viagra for men and other restrictions on erectile dysfunction medicine is gaining momentum!
ELSEWHERE...
*Several students were arrested by Tennessee police for failure to stop a fight AT THEIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!

*While other establishments were already doing it, McDonald's CEO received a 368% raise for coming up with the concept of serving breakfast all day!

*Harriet Tubman is scheduled to replace former President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill in 2020. Jackson will remain on the rear of the currency.
*Staples and Office Depot have been told they can NOT merge.
*The annual Boston Marathon was won by two Ethiopians. Lemi Berhanu Hayle in the Mens division and Atsede Baysa the ladies. The race was successfully held with no violence.
*Actor Harrison Ford has auctioned off an original Han Solo jacket to raise funds to fight epilepsy, since his daughter Georgia suffers from it.

For more news at any time, either scroll down to our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your screen or visit any other reputable news source.

THE PUZZLE CORNER: APRIL 23, 2016

FUN FACT
Swans and foxes mate for life, and if one precedes the other sadly, there is a good chance the survivor will pass away from a broken heart.

We've all heard them before. One hit wonders. A great song by a musical act that unfortunately never achieves another hit tune.
Listed below are ten artists, followed by ten songs. All are one hit wonders but can you match the act to their lone hit?
NOTE: the entries in both columns are alphabetical.

THE ACTS
01. Baha Men
02. The Buggles
03. Marc Cohn
04. Rick Dees
05. Katrina and the Waves
06. Lipps, Inc.
07. Steve Martin
08. Bobby McFerrin
09. Starland Vocal Band
10. Taco

♪ THE SONGS ♫
A.) Afternoon Delight
B.) Disco Duck
C.) Don't Worry, Be Happy
D.) Funky Town
E.) King Tut
F.) Puttin' On The Ritz
G.) Video Killed The Radio Star
H.) Walking In Memphis
I.) Walking On Sunshine
J.) Who Let The Dogs Out?

We'll reveal all next weekend, but for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the April 16, 2016 Puzzle Corner.

COMMON BONDS
The items in each subset below have something in common. Do you know what it is?

NOTE: For this specific game, we already know everybody listed is an actor.
01. {Tom Selleck, Harrison Ford}
Selleck auditioned for the role of Indiana Jones, but it eventually went to Ford.
02. {Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith}
Cumberbatch auditioned for Doctor Who, but Smith eventually became the eleventh actor in that role. However both will be on screen doctors once Marvel's Doctor Strange movie (staring Cumberbatch) comes out this fall.

TRIVIA TIME
What is the longest English word you can make using only 1 (one) vowel?
Depending upon your feelings on proper names in a game like this, the answer is either MISSISSIPPI or STRENGTH.

Friday, April 22, 2016

EARTH DAY 2016


TODAY WE CELEBRATE EARTH DAY!

YET WE SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE STATE OF OUR PLANET, OUR HOME,
EVERY DAY!

DESPITE THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF TOMORROW TO REACH THE STARS AND BEYOND, THIS WORLD IS THE ONLY HOME WE MAY KNOW FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.

THE EARTH HAS PROVIDED US WITH FOOD, SHELTER, NATURAL RESOURCES GIVEN FREELY, AND OTHERS TAKEN ARTIFICIALLY...

THE POINT IS THAT THE GROUP COLLECTIVELY KNOWN AS HUMANITY NEEDS TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF OUR SURROUNDINGS.

POLLUTION, THE GROWING THREAT OF CLIMATE CHANGE, FRACKING,
THE DWINDLING BEE POPULATION...

SO MUCH IN A DELICATE BALANCE THAT GETS EASILY UPSET BY
CARELESSNESS AND GREED.

YOU'VE ALL HEARD THE BUZZ WORDS BEFORE.

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, CONSERVE, ALTERNATE ENERGY SOURCES, ETC.

YET THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO THIS WORLD THAT WE COULD HAVE PREVENTED, THERE WILL BE NO ONE TO BLAME BUT OURSELVES.

IF THE EARTH DIES, SO DOES ALL ITS INHABITANTS, INCLUDING US!

NOW, EVEN MORE THAN EVER, IT'S IMPORTANT DO YOUR PART
TO HELP TAKE CARE OF AND PROTECT THE ONLY PLANET
WE HAVE TO LIVE ON!

PLEASE DO WHAT YOU CAN TO HELP THIS WORLD, NOT ONLY FOR TODAY, BUT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS AS WELL!