Sunday, December 21, 2014

SUNDAY FUNNIES: DEAR SANTA (Autumn and Waxy's letters)

The following is our Sunday Funnies crew's annual letters to the North Pole.
The Free Choice E-zine has permission to reprint both them
and the responses from Mister Claus himself.

Dear Santa:
First and foremost, let me apologize once again for mistaking you for a burglar when you visited my house last Christmas. I was just doing my nightly job of guarding my people when you arrived to leave their presents and I honestly didn't know it was you.

Now then, what would I like for Christmas?
That's a good question.

My people take care of my health. Except for potty runs, I'm indoors during the worst weather times, and I'm certainly fed and loved.

So personally, I don't really need anything; although if you could please explain why I'm not allowed in libraries, despite the fact that I love (TO READ!) books, or why I'm not allowed to drive my people's vehicles despite the fact that I have a (dog) license, I really would appreciate it.

I guess if I were to ask for anything, it would be to make sure that every dog, cat, goldfish, etc; is as lucky to have a good home like I am.

That is a pretty big request, so I'll understand if it isn't possible to fulfill it in one night, but hopefully in time all Humans will be as kind to animals as my people are to me.

In any event, I also promise not to use the Christmas Tree as indoor plumbing, nor will I eat your cookies/snack before you get a chance to enjoy it.
But if there are any crumbs leftover after you're done...

MERRY CHRISTMAS and take care.
Love, Autumn the Puppy


Dear Autumn:
All is forgiven. You're a good dog.
I will do what I can in regards to helping strays find new homes after the holidays, but even if I didn't already have an important year-round job, I can't do it alone.
I hope anyone looking for a pet for either themselves or their children consider adopting from their local shelter instead of buying one from a pet store.
Love is a precious commodity as it is. There never seems to be enough to go around, considering how many are in need of experiencing it.
One person can't do everything, but if we all do something...
Santa.


A good little dragon
Dear Santa:
How's it going?
I've been a good baby dragon all year.
Or at least, I've tried to.

I've been thinking long and hard about what I want for Christmas, although why you never gave me as much Belgosian Dark Chocolate as I asked for last year is beyond me.

Anyway, while the rest of my Christmas list is on the next page (the toys, the Belgosian Dark Chocolate, crayons, Belgosian Dark Chocolate, new coloring books, Belgosian Dark Chocolate); there is something more important that I need to talk to you about right now.
Rudolph drawing by Waxy herself

I thought we cleared this up in my letter to you last year, but why is Olive the other reindeer still picking on poor Names; I mean, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

Didn't she learn her lesson already?
I know that a red nose is unusual for a reindeer, but like I said before, there is nothing wrong with being different.
EVERYBODY IS!

Anyway, please don't be scared when I try to wait up for you again this Christmas Eve. I don't know what the problem was on your end. I just wanted to say hello and meet the sleigh team, but you never came until after I fell asleep. Considering everywhere you go and all you do, I can't believe you're shy too.
Well, here's hoping I get to see you Christmas Eve, and please don't forget the Belgosian Dark Chocolate.
Love, Waxy Dragon

Dear Waxy:
Rudolph and friends
I understand and deeply appreciate your concern, but that song plays every year because it's an important lesson that needs to be learned and never forgotten.
Everyone IS different, and it is those differences that not only need to be respected, but helps make the world the special place it is.
As for your list, wait and see how things go Christmas morning.
Santa.

AND TO THE FREE CHOICE E-ZINE AND ITS READERSHIP...


S.C.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: DECEMBER 14-20, 2014

THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WINTER SOLSTICE IS DECEMBER 21st.
MEANWHILE, THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE WILL BE
EXPERIENCING ITS SUMMER SOLSTICE.
CHRISTMAS IS DECEMBER 25th.
BOXING DAY IS DECEMBER 26th.
KWANZA BEGINS DECEMBER 26th.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*Laurent Lamothe has resigned as Prime Minister of Haiti in the wake of violent protests there. No word on when a new election will be scheduled yet.
*The Liberal Democratic Party has won a majority in the Japanese general election.
*The Parliament of Greece failed to elect a new President in the first round of voting.
*Hong Kong authorities report there are no longer any protest camps in existence following students wanting voting reform from the Chinese government.
*Known Ebola Virus deaths have risen over 7000 victims for 2014, according to the World Health Organization.
*Denmark has filed a claim with the United Nations for sovereign ownership of the North Pole.
*The United Nations is taking steps to address the issue of climate change.
*Same gender marriages are now legal in Scotland.
*Rolene Strauss of South Africa is the new Miss World, 2014.

CONCERNING NORTH KOREA...
*North Korea has forced Sony Pictures to pull The Interview (about a fictitious attempt on the life of current leader Kim Jong-un) from theaters before its debut, or have movie houses targeted for attacks "that would rival 9-11".
*Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures will not allow theaters to show Team America: World Police in The Interview's place. That comedy featured former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as a villain.
*North Korea also denies all allegations of involvement in the hacker attacks against Sony Studios, and claims there will be "serious repercussions" if America refuses the country's offer to help with the ongoing investigation. Meanwhile, America has not accepted their offer and has requested China's help in tracking down the foreign based hackers.

TERRORISM UPDATE...
*Taliban gunmen stormed a school in Peshawar, Pakistan; killing over 140 people, mostly students. In the aftermath of this attack, Pakistan has reestablished the death penalty for guilty terrorists.
*India has declared a ban on ISIS/ISIL after some of their members were found responsible for violent acts in that country.
*Yemen has been the target for a rash of car bombs.
*Members of Boko Haram reportedly have stormed the village of Gumsuri, Nigeria; killing over 30 people while kidnapping roughly 200 hostages.


BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE...
*Russia is trying to stop the rapid decline of the ruble.
*The European Union and the United States have imposed new sanctions against Russian occupied Crimea.
*Donetsk, Ukraine is still occupied by pro-Russian separatists at this time.

PASSING PARADE...
*Robert Simpson, co-creator of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale, is no longer with us.
*Actor Booth Colman (The original Planet of the Apes franchise, Norma Rae, etc) has taken his last bow on life's stage.
*Arthur Gardner (Film/TV producer/actor) is no longer with us.

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
*President Barack Obama has announced efforts to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba. America is scheduled to reestablish an embassy in Havana in 2015.
*In its last week of work before the 2014 Winter Break, while still having a Democratic majority, the Senate approved Vivek Murthy as the new Surgeon General.
*The national average for a gallon of gasoline has fallen below $2.75; but nobody is thanking or blaming President Obama for it.
*America has imposed new sanctions against Russian occupied Crimea.
*Pending any last minute legal challenges, Florida will officially recognize same gender marriages come January 2015.

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

THE PUZZLE CORNER: DECEMBER 20, 2014

FUN FACT
Despite the fact that most businesses already close on December 25th, Christmas didn't officially become a Federal holiday in the United States until June 1970!

TRIVIA TIME
If you've been following The Puzzle Corner this holiday season, you know there are 4 animated specials that have been continuously shown on TV annually since their debut.
Besides listing what the 4 are, can you also name the year each one debuted?

FAMOUS FIRSTS
Although it unfortunately hasn't gained the renown of the quartet above, there is one animated TV special that debuted before all the others. Do you know when and what it is?

We'll reveal all next weekend.
Now, let's open the festive holiday ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the December 13th, 2014 Puzzle Corner.

TRIVIA TIME
What does "Mele Kalikimaha" mean in English?
That is the closest Hawaiian translation for Merry Christmas, as first sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters in 1950.


Video courtesy of YouTube.

REBUS
We've decorated The Puzzle Corner Christmas Tree for the season, but something is missing. Or is it?

There is No L for Noel.


We'll be back next weekend. In the meantime, keep your wits sharp and MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

HAPPY HANUKKAH 2014

To those within our vast readership who will be lighting
the Menorah as part of the annual Festival of Light


HAPPY HANUKKAH

from The Free Choice E-zine

Sunday, December 14, 2014

SUNDAY FUNNIES: JOKING AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Getting into the holiday

Hello Everybody! Waxy Dragon here, getting ready for Christmas. I've a lot to do as I put up and decorate my tree. Should I go with the traditional Draconian ornaments or just drape the limbs with empty Belgosian Dark Chocolate wrappers? Decisions, decisions...
Anyway, while I work and listen to some Christmas Carols to get me in the holiday mood. First, let me put on I Wanna Hippopotamus For Christmas by Gayla Peevey.
Now then, on to the jokes.

I Wanna Hippopotamus For Christmas?

Who is Santa Claus' wife?
MARY Christmas Claus.
What? You've never heard Santa call for her before. Geez, have you been living in a cave like some of my dragon friends or what?

If they did a survey in the Arctic, would it be a North Poll?

More funny Christmas songs!
Hmm... I don't want to use Great-Grandma Dragon's lights, because they're just a bunch of colored candles. But where did I put that box of ornaments? Anyway, time to change the record to one of my all time favorite Christmas albums.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Frostbite.









Why does Santa like to go down the chimney?
Because it soots him.

What do elves do after school?
Their gnome work.

What is a parent's favorite Christmas carol?
Silent Night.

What is Tarzan's favorite Christmas carol?
Jungle Bells.





Time to get a little serious with the mood music.
OOPS! Time to change records again.

What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Frosted Flakes.

What do reindeer always say before telling a joke?
"This one will sleigh you!"

Why does Autumn the Puppy hang up her Christmas stocking?
Because she's waiting for Santa Paws.

(Depending upon where you live...)
Why is it so cold on Christmas?
Because it's Decembrrrrrr.....

What do reindeer have that no other animal does?
Baby reindeer!

Waxy's tree
OKAY! ALL DONE! WANNA SEE IT?
TA-DAH!
Now, there's so much more to do like hanging up my stocking, making sure the place is clean, etc.; etc.; etc....

It's those et ceteras that will get you every time!
Okay, so while I try to decide between Alvin and the Chipmunks or Bing Crosby for my next album to play before I get back to work, have a great week everyone and please be back here next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!--wd.











Saturday, December 13, 2014

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: DECEMBER 7-13, 2014

TODAY IS SAINT LUCY'S DAY IN ITALY AND SCANDINAVIA.
THE GEMINIDS METEOR SHOWER REACHES ITS PEAK THIS WEEKEND.
HANUKKAH BEGINS AT SUNSET DECEMBER 16th.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK....
*Hong Kong authorities are cracking down on protesters who are calling for better campaign reforms and voting rights in the Chinese government ruled country.
*Time magazine has named The Ebola Fighters their 2014 Person(s) of the Year.
*Workers in 50 Italian cities paused to protest impending new labor laws.
*Microsoft will preview the consumer version of Windows 10 on January 21, 2015.
*Merck has agreed to buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals for $9.5 BILLION U.S. Dollars.
*The last American operated detention center has been closed in Afghanistan.
*Suicide bombings still continue in the Middle East as the death toll from jihadist attacks was over 5000 victims in November 2014!
*A late report claims that Atiqullah Rawoofi of Afghanistan's Supreme Court has been assassinated.
*Today, December 13, 2014; is the last sequential date (12-13-14) to be found in this century!

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has released a report condemning the George W. Bush Administration's interrogation policies post 9-11, 2001. Fearing possible retaliation, America has put all its foreign embassies on high alert.
*Congress is allegedly close to a 2015 budget/spending bill that may get passed and await Presidential approval before they go on their Winter Holiday break next week, thus possibly preventing a government shutdown threat.
*The Obama Administration has released new guidelines on racial profiling, to update and replace the ones that have been in effect since 2003.
ELSEWHERE...
*The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that any employees are NOT eligible to be paid for the time necessary to go through a work related security screening.
*Protests over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner continue across the country.
*The last American operated detention center has been closed in Afghanistan.
*Sony Pictures is reportedly still having computer problems following a severe hacker attack recently.
*The oldest (known) time capsule has been unearthed at the Massachusetts State House. It was originally buried in the building's cornerstone by Samuel Adams in 1795.
*Bill Cosby has broken his silence in a recent New York Post interview, sort of; only saying that his wife is standing by him, as he now faces civil lawsuits stemming from recent allegations against him.
*Ken Weatherwax, who originated the role of Pugsley Addams on TV's The Addams Family, has taken his last bow on life's stage.
*Mary Ann Mobley, former Miss America (1959) and actress, is no longer with us.

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: DECEMBER 13, 2014

FUN FACT
Until technological improvements cut down the necessary lead time, new Christmas songs and albums were usually written and recorded over the summer for a seasonal release.

TRIVIA TIME
What does "Mele Kalikimaha" mean in English?

REBUS
We're decorating the Puzzle Corner Christmas tree here in The Free Choice E-zine offices, but something is off. Or is it?

We'll reveal all next weekend.
But for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and reveal the results from the December 6, 2014 Puzzle Corner and our special quiz celebrating the milestones of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

01. When did Rudolph first appear, making 2014 a major anniversary milestone? In 1939, making 2014 the
75th anniversary of the character!

Early book cover
02. Although he has far outlasted the business, what retailer was Rudolph originally created for, and by whom? Robert L. May for Montgomery Ward. Legend has it the retailer was tired of giving out other company's coloring books as presents to customers' children and wanted a character of their own.
03. The classic song came AFTER the event covered in questions 1 and 2, but BEFORE the TV special. When was it written, allowing Rudolph to celebrate yet another milestone anniversary this year? 1949, making 2014 the tune's 65th anniversary!
04. Who wrote the Rudolph song, and who was the very first artist to record it?
Gene Autry first recorded the Johnny Marks song. Allegedly, Autry was one song short of completing his Christmas album, and his wife kept lobbying for "the baby reindeer song" to be included. Whether or not that's true, the rest is history.
Ad for Rudolph's debut
05. When did the TV special first air, making
2014 DVD cover
2014 yet another major anniversary for Rudolph?
On December 6, 1964, making 2014 Rudolph's 50th anniversary!
06. Everyone knows what network Rudolph has aired on since the early 1970s (here in the United States), but who originally debuted the special?
The NBC Television network, where it aired from 1964-1971. CBS has had it ever since. And as reported in last week's FUN FACT, Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman are the only animated Christmas specials to air annually since their debut.
07. Who are Rudolph's parents?
Mr. and Mrs. Donner, according to the TV special.
08. True or False: Sam the Snowman and Rudolph meet during the course of
the TV special.
FALSE! Their only meeting is staged on the CD cover to the show's soundtrack.
09. When shown with one, what is Sam the Snowman's musical instrument of choice? A banjo.
10. Besides the obvious edition of more commercials over the years, how has every showing of Rudolph on TV differed from the very first one?
The audience flooded NBC with protests that at the end of the special, Santa didn't keep his promise to collect the toys on Misfit Island and find them new homes. To correct the mistake, a new ending was created that has aired every year since 1965, but to make room, some dialogue and song reprises had to be cut. Most of those have returned over the years to some extent, but Yukon Cornelius' final scene of discovering a Peppermint Mine (instead of Silver and/or Gold) near Santa's Workshop and being set for life has NEVER aired on TV since 1964!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer images courtesy of Wikipedia's Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and company (c) whoever owns them now, since Montgomery Ward has been out of business since 2000.