Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Although we lost our past archives moving to our present web host this past September; long time readers of The Free Choice e-zine know that at the close of each year, we take a brief look back to remember once more those we have lost within the past year.

The men and women of the world’s armed forces and emergency response services who gave up their lives to protect others.
Our friends, family, and loved ones whose presence are sorely missed.

And amongst the more notable names are Edmund Hillary: the first mountain climber officially recognized for reaching the top of Mount Everest in 1953.
Actors Don S. Davis (Stargate: SG-1), Ivan Dixon, Charlton Heston, Van Johnson, Heath Ledger , Paul Newman, Roy Schieder, Paul Scofield, and Richard Widmark.
Actor/director/producers Mel Ferrer and Sydney Pollack.
Actresses Estelle Getty (The Golden Girls), Beverly Garland, Evelyn Keyes, Anita Page, Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show), and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who needs no introduction to Star Trek fans.
Actress/dancer Cyd Charisse.
Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist accredited for discovering the drug commonly known as LSD.
Famed pin-up model Bettie Page and artist Dave Stevens, who helped revive her popularity within his creation The Rocketeer.
Animator Bill Melendez, who oversaw all the Peanuts animated productions.
Artists Michael Turner (Witchblade, Fathom) and Edd Cartier, who painted a lot of magazine covers, amongst other things. For examples of his work, just look at the reprints of The Shadow and Doc Savage from Nostalgia Press.
Author and commentator William F. Buckley, Junior.
Authors Robert Asprin (of the Myth Adventures), Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Crichton, and Studs Turkel.
Betty James of Slinky toy fame.
Cabaret star and actress Eartha Kitt, a class act.
Chess masters Karen Asrian and Bobby Fischer.
Classic Disney animator Ollie Johnson, the last of the original “Nine Old Men”.
Comedian, author, and actor George Carlin.
Comedian/actors Harvey Korman, Dick Martin, and Bernie Mac.
Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Forest J. Ackerman, the man who, among other things, is accredited with coining the term “sci-fi”, short for science fiction.
Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons.
Irvine Robbins, the co-founder of Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream.
Jerry Wexler, the music journalist who coined the term “rhythm and blues”.
Johnny Podres, Major League Baseball’s first World Series Most Valuable Player.
Journalist Tim Russert.
Larry Harmon, not the original, but perhaps the most famous Bozo the Clown.
Maila Numri, known to her fans as Vampira.
Medical pioneer Michael DeBakey and Doctor Adrian Kantrowitz, who actually performed the first human heart transplant in the United States.
Musicians Eddy Arnold, Bo Diddley, Johnny Griffin, Isaac Hayes, Jerry Reed, Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops, and founding Pink Floyd member Richard Wright.
Politician Jesse Helms.
Richard Knerr, the co-founder of Wham-O Toys, responsible for the hula hoop, the Frisbee, and a lot of other fun stuff.
Special effects and make up artist Stan Winston.
Sportscaster Jim McKay.
The multi-talented Odetta.
Voice actor Don LaFontaine, mostly known as the narrator for a lot of movie promos.
And last, but certainly not least since this list tried to be alphabetical...
W. Mark Felt, the former Watergate informant known as “Deep Throat”.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


While some are still in the holiday spirit, let's take a look at some Christmas novelty songs.

Of course the most notable of these Christmas melodies is The Chipmunk Song: Please Christmas Don't Be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Originally recorded in 1958, David Seville (the stage name of Ross Bagdasarian, Senior) reused the technique of speeding up his own vocals, which created the voice of the title character in his earlier hit Witch Doctor; to bring to life three cute characters who have gone on to achieve a fame all their own. The recent stars of a 2007 movie, the trio are scheduled to return to the big screen next winter in Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakel.

But running it a very close second is You're A Mean One, Mister Grinch. The tune, whose verses were heard during the 1966 Christmas special How The Grinch Stole Christmas, was sang by an unaccredited at the time voice actor named Thurl Ravenscroft, who among other roles was the original voice of Tony the Tiger.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, a child's plea for an obvious Christmas present, was first recorded by Spike Jones and His City Slickers in 1948, although artists as diverse as Nat King Cole and George Strait have recorded their own versions since then.

Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, in character as Bob and Doug McKenzie of Second City Television fame, did their own version of The Twelve Days of Christmas in 1982; while Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady routine from 1971 is an annual tradition on some radio stations.

But while there are way too many to Christmas novelty songs to name in this "short" column, in my humble opinion, perhaps the funniest is I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas. Recorded by Gayla Peevey in 1953 when she was 10 years old, it was a local favorite in her native Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. But as the urban legend goes, when the song eventually went on to a national audience, some thought it was recorded as a fund raiser for the local city zoo and somehow, somewhere along the way, someone got the bright idea to actually present Peevey with a real hippopotamus for Christmas the following year, which she in turn donated to the Oklahoma City zoo. Matilda the Hippo went on to entertain children and adults alike for fifty years until she passed away from natural causes.

The person behind Ms. Waxy Dragon and other Internet avatars wanted the
weekend off to be with their family. The Sunday Funnies will resume next weekend
to kick off 2009.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


It's the last weekend of 2008.
So for our fun this Saturday, The Puzzle Corner features a quiz about the past year in chronological order.
How well were you paying attention?

01. What is the name of the space probe NASA launched that should land on Mercury in 2011?
02. When Fidel Castro resigned his position due to health problems, who became President of Cuba?
03. What is the name of the latest space probe that landed on Mars?
04. What did it find there?
05. When Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of Microsoft, what did he plan to do next?
06. Who hosted the Summer Olympics?
07. What individual athlete won the most gold medals?
08. Whose record did the answer to the previous question beat?
09. What event did the answer to question 6 host next?
10. We all know who won the 2008 Presidential election in the United States. But which side had their slate of candidates ready first?

The results will appear in the first week of 2009.
Meanwhile, here are the answers from last week when we asked what artist(s) sang each of the following famous Christmas carols first.

01. Frosty the Snowman was first sung by Gene Autry in a 1950 recording.
02. Judy Garland was the first to sing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas during the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me In Saint Louis.
03. Here Comes Santa Claus was first sung by its co-writer Gene Autry in 1947, although the radio version is actually of a later recording.
04. The Jingle Bell Rock was first performed by Bobby Helms in 1957.
05. Vaughn Monroe first pleaded Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow in 1946.
06. Believe it or not, there are two possible answers for this one!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first shined in 1948 when Harry Brannon sang it live on various New York City radio programs, but Gene Autry was the first to actually record the song the following year.
07. Eartha Kitt first purred Santa Baby in 1953.
08. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is actually the oldest song on our list. Eddie Cantor was the first to sing it in a 1934 recording, although I personally like the rendition by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
09. Silver Bells was first performed in the 1951 Paramount Picture The Lemon Drop Kid by its star Bob Hope, who continued to perform it on every TV Christmas special he did until his passing.
10. The two versions of Sleigh Ride.
The Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler performed the first instrumental version of this tune in 1949, although the popular radio version is actually of one of their later performances.
Meanwhile, the Andrews Sisters were the first to sing the lyrics to the song in a 1950 recording.

See you in 2009!

Friday, December 26, 2008


For those of our readership who acknowledge the seven principles of life between today and January 1st, HAPPY KWANZAA.


Although it has never had a nickname like "Black Friday" or "Cyber Monday", December 26th is when retailers keep their fingers crossed and hope things go well.
This is the dreaded return day, when people hope to exchange that ill-fitting sweater or inappropriate Christmas gift for something better. Meanwhile, other consumers hope to find something special to use whatever gift cards/certificates they might have acquired over the holiday upon.
And of course everyone hopes to find bargains amongst all the prices retailers slashed in hopes of selling the merchandise that did not sell before December 25th.
But while the sales normally would outweigh the returns, this year is different with the current economic situation leading consumers to not spend nearly as much as retailers hoped.
Yet only time will tell whether or not all the checks and minuses balance out for any business to report a profit for the final quarter of 2008, let alone how the results will affect the spring of 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


To our readership that celebrate a special birth that occurred lo these many years ago.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Even if the world was not facing the economic troubles it is at the moment, please remember:
It is not the actual gift or the amount that you spend upon someone.
The most important thing you can give those you care about at Christmas, or any other time of year, is your love. YY

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I've posted the following in the past as a humorous illustration of the eternal optimist.
But with the long, cold winter some parts of North America and the rest of the world are experiencing right now, I thought some of you might enjoy seeing this image again for another reason.
In any event, enjoy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


For those in our readership who honor and celebrate the Festival of Lights, may the week ahead be only the beginning of brightness and happiness within your lives.


On a cold winter's day, isn't it nice to just stay home, keep warm, and tell jokes?
With that attempt at a segue out of the way, here's our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon.

Dear Santa:
I have been a good girl all year long, whether you believe me or not, and...
OOPS! Sorry, wrong notes!
Well folks, with Christmas just a few short days away, I thought you would all enjoy some holiday themed jokes.
At least, I hope you appreciate the ones I do have.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Dexter who?
Dexter halls with bows of holly.

Okay, so it's not Walt Kelly's famous "Deck us all with Boston Charlie" from the classic Pogo comic strip, but at least I'm trying!
Here's another:

Why are there only 25 letters in the alphabet instead of 26?
Because the angels said "Noel!"

Noel. No L. Get it?
Wait... What do you mean "No L" was used as the answer for the last Rebus in the weekly Puzzle Corner feature?
Give a girl a break! I'm only a three year old baby dragon avatar.
Let's try this one...

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

Oh come on. That was at least worth a chuckle. I'm just getting warmed up.
Warmed up. Get it? This avatar of an avid Internet surfer is supposed to be a three year old baby dragon and...
Okay. Okay. I'll try another one.
No, don't groan. At least not until after I tell the joke.

How did Darth Vader know what Luke Skywalker was getting for Christmas?
He used the Force and felt his presents.

YEAH! I hear you laughing out there!
Now for the big finish!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Mary who?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Once again, another Saturday and more puzzles for you to ponder the solutions to.

Being deep into the holiday season with Christmas next Thursday, this week I thought we would try something a little different with our "reindeer games".
Listed below are ten famous Christmas carols.
Now there have been many recordings of these classics and much debate can be made over whose version is the best.
But your challenge is to name the VERY FIRST recording artist(s) for each song.

01. Frosty the Snowman
02. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas e
03. Here Comes Santa Claus
04. Jingle Bell Rock
05. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
06. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
07. Santa Baby
08. Santa Claus is Coming to Town K
09. Silver Bells
...and for an extra challenge:
10. Sleigh Ride P
This tune has been recorded as both an instrumental and with lyrics.
Can you name the first artist(s) for each version?

Of course, the answers will appear next weekend. But for now, here are the results from December 13th.

Although he has since transcended his retail roots and become part of the Christmas iconic folklore, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started life as part of the Montgomery Wards Department Stores annual Christmas sales campaign when he was created by Wards employee Robert L. May in 1939.

And for an extra special Christmas treat. The answer will be provided by guest commentator BradW8 courtsey of

The Christmas carol in question is The First Noel.
All three lines are missing the letter L. So when said, or sang, aloud:
Noel. Noel. Noel. (Born is the King of Israel.)
I live in Arlington, Texas; and would you believe that with a population of over 300K we are the largest city in America without any sort of mass transit. In other words, unlike Chicago, all year 'round we have no "el."

See you folks next Saturday for more Puzzle Corner!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Snow in winter is as common as cold air and less hours of daylight.
But snow in Las Vegas, Nevada?
That is what citizens of the Sagebrush State experienced earlier this week as a very strong Arctic cold front came down from Alaska and swept through the North American continent.
Snow in areas that do not usually experience the seasonal white stuff like Los Angeles, California and Houston, Texas were coupled with higher snowfalls and colder temperatures in the states that traditionally experience such classic winter conditions.
Of course The Free Choice e-zine hopes that everyone in the affected areas stays in, stays warm, and keeps off the roads unless it is absolutely necessary for you to travel.


With the recent release of the twenty five cent piece commemorating Hawaii becoming one of the United States of America, the commemorative State Quarter program that began in 1999 has come to a close.
But while the quarter will return to its traditional sides of George Washington on the front and an American Bald eagle on the reverse for 2009, we may not be saying "Aloha" to specialty coins just yet.
A bill is pending that, if passed, will allow the United States mint to start a similar commemorative program honoring America's National Parks beginning in 2010.
More details on this as the story develops.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Our resident comedienne, Ms. Waxy Dragon, Waxy Dragona self-professed three year old baby dragon, was last seen trying to track down every representative of Santa Claus she could find to convince Mr. Kringle that she had been a good enough girl to merit receiving a "Sesame Street Elmo Live Stand-Up Comic" doll on Christmas morning. It remains a mystery however as to why every copy of the annual naughty list has been reduced to a pile of ashes.

In 'real' life, the avid Internet surfer behind this and other avatars, had to take care of a sick relative and could not spare the time to provide jokes for this week's episode.
Hopefully the Sunday Funnies will be back on schedule next weekend.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


To try and get everyone a little more into the holiday spirit, I thought we would try some themed puzzles over the next couple of weeks.

What famous Christmas icon actually started out life as a department store sales campaign?

The images below will hopefully inspire you to remember a famous holiday tune.

1. Q, W, E, R, T, Y, U, I, O, P, A, S, D, F, G, H, J, K, Z, X, C, V, B, N, M.
2. B, V, C, X, Z, H, G, F, D, S, A, Y, T, R, E, W, Q, N, M, K, J, I, O, U, P.
3. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.

The answers will appear next weekend, but now here are the results from December 6th, 2008.

Although not on the same episode or with the events in relation to each other, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin's Laugh-In was the first program to actually predict the Presidency of Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Berlin Wall as part of their weekly "News of the Future" segment.

The letters O, P, S, and T can be used to form all the answers.
1. Chooses = OPTS
2. Stain = SPOT
3. Lids = TOPS
4. Mail = POST
5. Cookware = POTS
6. Halt! = STOP

Friday, December 12, 2008


We all know how the economy is going right now. Bailouts, cut-backs, lay offs, etc.
But one industry that has not had much press of late, although affected just as much as any other by the current economic situation, is the retail industry.
It is no surprise that sales are down, with consumers buying little more than what is absolutely necessary, and certainly shying away from the higher priced items, looking for bargains and trying to spend as little as possible.
There have been no reports of any notable Christmas hires this season outside of the traditional Santa Claus representatives and their photo taking associates.
The results of the annual Black Friday sales push starting the holiday season for retailers were nowhere near expectations. The crowds were out and about, but for the reasons stated above, a physical presence did not always translate into revenue.
Cyber Monday the following week was better, with less overhead for businesses since all transactions of the day were conducted on line, but then again the end results were not as spectacular as hoped for.
Retailers are closing less profitable outlets and cutting back staff in others, which will put more people out of work.
Other businesses are following suit, as well as cutting back hours. There have been a lot of companies that are now only giving full time employees 32 hours a week instead of 40.

Personally, I cannot blame any of the above for doing what they must to stay open. It is better to operate a business at a reduced capacity than to close outright.
Although I must point out that there are some companies that do not think of those affected by the "cost cutting measures" and others that go out of their way to minimize the impact of those actions upon their employees. If any of this involves you dear reader, hopefully you work(ed) for one of the latter.
The best news for the consumer in all of this is that right now retailers are doing everything they can to earn your business. Sale discounts are the highest they have been in a long time. Most stores have even gone ahead and left their discount areas open and even added additional stock to those shelves instead of putting it all away for the holidays.

But while the bottom line is the ultimate objective for both retailers and consumers alike, only time will reveal the results of this annual contest between the need to buy and the need to save.


The following is a news editorial.

I'm sure by now everyone has heard the latest on what hopefully the soon to be ex- Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, tried to do while searching for a candidate to fill out the the remainder of President-elect Barack Obama current term as an United States Senator.

It is bad enough to try obtaining personal advantage(s) from a public position, and Blagojevich is far from the first politician to do so. But as the Federal investigation continues, with the possibility of even more charges to be filed pending the inquiry results, let us take a brief look at the damage thus far, starting at the bottom of the scale and working our way up.

Jesse Jackson, Junior and who knows how many more legitimate/viable candidates have been completely ignored because they did not want to "play ball" and enter the potential bidding war for the vacant Senate position.
The people of the fine state of Illinois are shaking their heads in disbelief, no longer knowing who to trust, let alone what will happen to them now.
The financially troubled Chicago Tribune is making their own accusations against Blagojevich, claiming that although some of the Tribune's dealings are international in scope, he would not help them on the state level unless they honored his "requests".

But perhaps the biggest potential damage might be to the fledgling Obama Presidency.
While the President-elect is innocent of any wrong doing in the matters currently before the courts, the Republican party is having a field day wondering about what skeletons might still be hiding in the closets of the past as investigators continue to look into Blagojevich's entire public service history.

In June 1858, then Illinois Senator Abraham Lincoln said:
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

PEOPLE: If this country, let alone the world, is to get better, WE ALL NEED TO WORK TOGETHER!

Don't let the Blagojeviches of the world cast out whatever hope remains.

"We shall not fail -- if we stand firm, we shall not fail."

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Would you believe...
There really is a WKRP in Cincinnati?
A low power/small signal independent television station within the city has started using the call letters on air and in advertising to promote their recent transition to digital broadcasting. Although the channel is still officially known as WBQC-CA, the station's corporate owners, Block Broadcasting, have filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for formal use of the call letters, because WKRP-LP is currently a low power television station operating in Nashville, Tennessee.
Other radio stations have used the call letters off and on throughout their broadcast history. For more information, visit
The classic 1978-1982 sitcom can currently be seen on WGN America Sunday nights and on the American Life Cable Channel Monday nights. It featured an ensemble cast of characters working for the fictitious radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to the show's creator Hugh Wilson, the call letters were supposed to reflect the status of the station (C-R-A-P) before the arrival of new programming director Andy Travis, played by Gary Sandy, who converted the format from easy listening to rock and roll in hopes of boosting listener ratings.
But on television the letters stood for K-A-R-P, because station manager Arthur Carlson, played by Gordon Jump, was the latest relative in the family owned business who loved to fish.
So with that in mind, our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon has provided us with some fish themed jokes this week.

Two fish are in a tank and one says to the other, “Do you know how to drive this thing?”

Why do some fish swim together? For the halibut on porpoise.

What is a fish's favorite romantic song? Salmon-chanted Evening.

And remember, you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish!

See you next weekend for more Sunday Funnies.


Another weekend, and new puzzles to ponder.
Aren't you lucky.

But before we begin, I must admit that I am an avid viewer of the television game show Jeopardy, and I also play along as I watch. But within one game this past week, I was totally surprised that none of the contestants even attempted a response to the last clue ($2000) in the Double Jeopardy round category: Before and After.
Basically, "Feegle and Bingo's grammatical error" is a Banana Splits Infinitive.
Am I the only one to remember that Hanna-Barbera group from the late 1960's?
Anyway, on with our games...

What television program was the first to accurately predict Ronald Reagan as President of the United States and the Fall of the Berlin Wall?

The same four letters can be arranged to form the answers for all of the following clues.
1. Chooses
2. Stain
3. Lids
4. Mail
5. Cookware
6. HALT!

The answers will appear at the end of next week's Puzzle Corner.
But now, here are the results of November 29th.

Okay, I tried to be a bit sneaky with this one. In honor of Noel Neill's recent birthday, every lady listed have all portrayed Lois Lane.
Group 1 were the more recent TV actresses. Teri Hatcher had the role on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman while Erica Durance is currently the Daily Planet reporter on Smallville.
But Group 2 was trickier. While Ms. Neill was the first actress to appear visually as Lois in the 1948 Superman theatrical serial, these ladies were the first within their respective mediums. Rollie Bester originated the role vocally for the 1940's radio drama The Adventures of Superman, although others have followed her since, mostly in animation. Meanwhile Patricia Marand was the first to portray Ms. Lane on Broadway in the 1966 musical It's a bird, It's a plane, It's Superman!

Pictured were images to invoke the phrase: Bedtime Fairy Tales.

Monday, December 1, 2008


-Today, the world unites once again in hopes of increasing humanity's awareness and help in the fight to stop the spread of AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome; the disease that eventually develops within most suffering from HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
-It is estimated that this pandemic has claimed the lives of over 26 million victims since its formal discovery in 1981 and that at least that many, if not more, are known to be living with HIV even as you read these words!
-While this is the one day out of the year that one will see more red-ribbons- than any other, that does not mean the end is in sight yet.
-Only with time and effort can scientists hope to discover a cure.
-Only by common sense can one hope to prevent from being exposed to the HIV virus.
-If you think you might be carrying the disease, get tested.
-If you're not, don't take the risk of becoming another statistic.

A public service message of the Free Choice e-zine.-


To say that the Internet has advanced both technologically and in popularity over the last decade would be a serious understatement.
A recent development of its increased use is what some business analysts have come to call Cyber Monday. Akin to Black Friday, this is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the Christmas season for retailers on the world wide web. Whether it is a business that also happens to have a website or strictly an Internet entity like; with just a click of a mouse, consumers can purchase items from the comfort of their PCs without the hassles of crowded stores and hopefully have their merchandise delivered in time for the holidays.
Meanwhile, reactions to this past Black Friday have been mixed. The crowds were definitely out in abundance, and in some cases out of hand, like at the Wal*Mart in New York where a store employee was trampled to death as shoppers rushed in hoping to get bargains. But yet a customer's physical presence within any establishment did not always translate into sales, for reports of the final results for November 28th are mixed.
The Free Choice e-zine will be looking further into the 2008 retail economic scene in a future article.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


On November 24th of this past week, the comic strip Gasoline Alley celebrated its 90th anniversary.
Under creator Frank King, the strip began on that date in 1918 as part of a Sunday feature in the Chicago Tribune called The Rectangle, a weekly collection of one panel cartoons. In time, Gasoline Alley became popular enough to stand on its own.
This award winning comic is noted for being the first to acknowledge the passage of time and aging its characters accordingly, although not every story sequence has dealt with cars or their maintance. King continued producing the strip until his assistant Bill Perry took over the Sunday edition and Dick Moores assumed responsiblity for the dailys in the 1950s. Moores' former assistant Jim Scancarelli has produced both editions since 1986.

And in honor of Gasoline Alley's anniversary, our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon, the 3 year old baby dragon avatar that is one amongst many of a very avid Internet surfer, has provided us some appropriately themed jokes.

Any time you see a young man open a car door for his girlfriend, either the car is new or the girlfriend is.

Where do dogs leave their cars? In the barking lot!

What happened when the frog’s car broke down? It got toad away!

When is a car not a car? When it turns into a garage.

Sign at car mechanic: Bring your car to us. You'll never go anywhere else!

And finally...
What kind of car does Luke Skywalker drive? A Toy-Yoda!

See you next weekend for more Sunday Funnies.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This may be a holiday weekend, but did you really think you could escape The Puzzle Corner?

What do the items in each of the following groups have in common?
1. {Teri Hatcher, Erica Durance}
2. {Rollie Bester, Patricia Marand}

This is a brand new feature joining our puzzle rotation!
Just study the image and see if you can figure out what it represents.
And of course, the answers will appear next weekend, just like the ones from November 22nd are now.

1. (Quote) + (Linen) = Ineloquent
2. (Offer) + (Heart) = Forefather

It sounds worse than it actually is, but Hexadectylism is just the scientific term for having extra fingers and/or toes.

Friday, November 28, 2008


The term comes not from some politically incorrect reference, but has acquired a double meaning over the years. Some believe it is derived from the fact that it is still well before dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving when some stores open way before their normally scheduled hours in hopes of acquiring extra revenue from holiday shoppers. Others believe the designation is because this is the one day that is a guaranteed success for retailers. A chance to be "in the black", or profitable, from an accounting perspective.
Some stores are advertising that they will be open as early as 4 a.m., with potential customers already camped out on their doorsteps in hopes of getting some good bargains.
Yet those people are standing outside braving the late night/pre-dawn weather voluntarily. Imagine what time the employees scheduled to open that morning have to be there!
In any event, I wish those either brave or foolhardy enough to venture out the best of luck, but please remember to be polite to each other. There were some bad incidents reported last year concerning the abundance of customers versus the limited quantities of selected items at various retail locations.

As for myself, I will be warm and snug in my bed fast asleep.
I'll leave it up to you, the reader, to decide who is following the wiser course of action.


A safe and Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers!
But amongst the food, sporting events, and planning the holiday shopping, please remember to at least take a moment to think about just what you are thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The following is a news report with editorial commentary afterwards.

Because the Fox network and 4Kids Entertainment are unable to work out a contractual dispute about revenues stemming from how many stations are or are not carrying the current Saturday morning animated programming that 4KE provides, Fox has decided to end their business relationship with the children's entertainment supplier and cancel their Saturday morning programming affected January 2009.
While no replacement programming has been officially announced, a statement from the Fox network representative leaves most to believe that Saturday mornings will become a gigantic block of infomercials both on the national and local station level.

Now I have never hidden the fact that I am a fan of the animation genre. Granted, I am watching no where near as much as I used to in my much younger years because most people consider the art form "just for kids" and create such shows accordingly, but I seriously think that this development is a huge step in a growing trend that needs to be addressed.
The major networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) used to program their entire Saturday morning air time block towards the younger viewers. Even before the content of these shows became more educational than adventurous, the networks still provided good wholesome entertainment.

But things have changed.
Now the Big Three, as they are collectively known, all present weekend editions of their daily morning news programs (Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and Today respectively) and allow the affiliates to present local versions of the same, before using the remaining airtime of Saturday mornings for children's programming.
And then they wonder why their ratings and ad revenues for this part of their overall schedule are not what they used to be.

Granted, there are now a lot more options (The WB/CW on Saturday mornings, Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network, etc.) for the younger viewers and their parents than there used to be, but just because other competitors have entered the competition doesn't mean that one should just quit playing.
NBC is now presenting children's programming from the Discovery Channel, while the other two re-air shows from the affiliated networks of their respective owners (CBS/Paramount: Nickelodeon of Viacom, ABC: Disney Channel).

Not only do children need educational programming and entertaining shows, they also need variety!
While no one can or should spend all their free time watching television, if the number of options when the viewers do want to watch dwindle down to just a select few who always show the same types of series over and over again, then children and their parents will tune out even more than they are now from "the Big Three" networks; and for an industry that lives and dies by audience ratings and ad revenues, that is certainly not a good thing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Today is momumental anniversary within the annals of the science-fiction genre. The longest running SF television program, Doctor Who, is 45 years old today.
But this historic anniversary almost never came to pass.
When originally scheduled to air on Saturday November 23rd, 1963; England's BBC Television seriously delayed broadcasting the first episode (part one to the first adventure: "An Unearthly Child", starring the late William Hartnell as the Doctor) because of all the news coverage surrounding the assassination of then President John F. Kennedy the day before.
But supporters of the program within the network's administration reshowed the first episode the following Saturday at its regular time, and the rest as they say, is history.
Yet because of this, some have linked the two events together even to the point of creating a non-canonical fan fiction whereupon the Doctor investigates the assassination. More information upon this subject can be found at:

But the story of what at first was apparently an eccentric grandfather who just happened to have invented a working, if not completely functional, time machine has grown to include vast cultures, numerous adventures, and a plausible explaination for other actors to assume the role, starting when William Hartnell took ill and had to step down.

For more information on the program itself, you can visit and while there, visit to take a closer look at the genesis of this great program.


This past week, the Disney Studios celebrated the 80th anniversary of Mickey Mouse starring within Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon complete with voices, sound effects, and music.
While a monumental event when it first debuted on November 18th, 1928; somehow over the years this cartoon has become designated as Mickey and Minne Mouse's "birth" day/anniversary premiere.
But it should be noted that two previous Mickey Mouse cartoons were produced and shown as silent features PRIOR to Steamboat Willie 's release.
Plane Crazy, with Mickey dreaming of being an aviator like Charles Lindbergh, was released on May 15th of that year and is the true first animated feature starring what has become the Disney Studios' spokes-character, while The Gallopin' Gaucho was released on August 7th, 1928. Both were later re-released after Steamboat Willie with soundtrack of their own.
Yet while how, let alone why, this mistake was made and persists over the decades since can be debated, there is no denying that Mickey and Company have certainly done their best to entertain numerous generations in the years since.

Meanwhile, here is our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon with this week's jokes...

Is Good Mousekeeping a cat's favorite magazine?

My uncle the genetics scientist tried crossing a mouse with an elephant, but all he got was something that left great big holes in the wall.

What is small, furry, and brilliant at sword fights? A mouseketeer!

And on that note... "M-I-C, see you real soon." Next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


It was upon this date exactly 45 years ago that we lost then President John F. Kennedy to an assassin's bullet.
It does surprise me that even today, some speculation still remains as to whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin or the patsy in an even bigger scheme.
Unfortunately we may never know the final answer to this enigma to everyone's satisifaction, but the loss to the United States and the world at that time will never be forgotten.


Another weekend, and another chance to kick back and exercise our mental muscles a bit.

It sounds worse that it actually is, but what is hexadectylism?

Combine each of the words below to make a bigger word out of their letters.
1. (Quote) + (Linen) = ?
2. (Offer) + (Heart) = ?

The answers will appear at the bottom of next weekend's Puzzle Corner.
And now here are the ones from November 15th's conundrums.

What is at the beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
The beginning of every end
And at the end of every place?

The letter E!

All the letters within the subset {B, C, D, G, I, J, K, O, P, Q, R, T, U, V, Y} sound like words!

B= be, bee, Bea (a lady's name); C= sea, see; D= Dee (a lady's nickname); G= gee, as in gee whiz!; I= eye; J= Jay as in either blue jay or a man's name; K= Kay, a lady's name; O= oh; R= are; T= tea, tee; U= you; V= vee, a type of intersection; and Y as in why not?


Automakers are applying for financial assistance from the United States government akin to other recent bailouts that Congress has overseen.
Now I am not against saving them, along with other major industries, but you would think that the representatives who appeared before a Congressional committee earlier this week to state their case would have known better than to each fly to Washington in their individual private jets!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ANOTHER FALL by Nancy A. Hansen

Amongst the objectives of this e-zine is to bring you features that other news sources do not.
To that end, here is a poem written, submitted, and (c) by Nancy A. Hansen.


Come fall, come frost
When summer bows her head
To the inevitable
And the fading flowers
Adorning her dress
In every field and roadside
Looking tattered
And timeworn
In sepia tones
Wan and well-aged
They speak of endings
But to brighten my mood
The trees color up
Crimson and ocher
Scarlet and gold
Nut brown and raw sienna
One last fling
Before they drift down
To carpet the grass
In Persian splendor
Squirrels now hustle
Along stone walls
Cheek pouches bulging
With spring’s largesse
Now autumn’s harvest
And crickets chirp
Long into the dusk
My symphony for free
I will walk a ways
To feel the sun still
Warm on my back
Through a sweater
That keeps out the chill
While the wind stirs
Whirlwinds of leaves
Dancing down the road
Ahead of me
The promise of winter
Is in its bite
I care not
If the evenings are cold
And the daylight shorter
For the apples are sweet
And the pumpkins plump
And orange
On rotting vines
In all the fields
Fall is welcome
Here in the country
It is time for rest
And restlessness
As birds flock away
And deer bolt by
And geese cry in the night
In chevron flight
That the frost is coming
That the cold is near
How bitter, yet how sweet
Is this time of year
To savor
For one who
Loves the
Change of seasons

If you would like to submit a poem or something else for this e-zine to consider for publication, feel free to contact me at

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Would you believe...

That a town in Turkey is trying to sue the Dark Knight?
Mayor Hüseyin Kalkan of Batman, Turkey (yes, that is a real place, check it out for yourself here:,_Turkey) has started looking into the possibility of legal proceedings against Warner Brother Pictures and Christopher Nolan over "improper" use of the town's name between the recent movies Batman Begins and Batman: The Dark Knight.
Now personally, I am not an attorney, so someone more versed in the law than myself will have to decide whether or not the town's case has any merit; but even if I was not a long time comic book fan, I do wonder why such a long delay before investigating legal options? Is anyone involved with this situation unaware that Batman began within the pages of Detective Comics' 27th issue way back in 1938?

Meanwhile, our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon (one of many avatars for an avid Internet user) has provided us with some legal themed jokes this week.

What did the judge say when a skunk walked in to the courtroom? Odor in the court.

A man visiting a graveyard saw a tombstone that read: “Here lies John Smith, a lawyer and an honest man.” “How about that!” he exclaimed. “They’ve got three people buried in one grave.”

Why did the dog go to court? Because he got a barking ticket!

And finally...

A defendant appearing in court asked about the judge's odd behavior.
'Your honor, why do you keep leaping up and down?'
The judge said, 'Why do you think? It's a kangaroo court.'

See you next week for more Sunday Funnies!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


It's another weekend, and since bad weather is keeping most of us indoors anyway, here are some conundrums to keep you company.

What is at the beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
The beginning of every end
And at the end of every place?

The members of the following group all have something in common.
What is it?
{B, C, D, G, I, J, K, O, P, Q, R, T, U, V, Y}

The answers will be revealed next weekend, just like November 8th's are now.

On the TV show Punky Brewster, the title character's legal first name was Penelope.

Take the last name of a famous poet: John KEATS
and you also acquire a vampire killer: STAKE
a means of seizure: TAKES
a piece of sporting equipment: SKATE
and a hearty meal: STEAK

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today has been set aside to annually honor the men and woman who currently are or have served, and at times died, defending this country.
One day is definitely not enough, but the recognition bestowed upon them today has been more than well earned.
While some do not always agree with the circumstances of events that these brave people are sent into, there is no denying their courage and dedication to what they believe in not only on behalf of defending the United States of America, but everyone around the world who has ever felt the threat of evil's shadow being cast upon them.
The Free Choice e-zine takes this moment to not only remember and honor the men and women who have or are currently serving within the Armed Forces of the United States, but also those within the military units of the United Nations and its allies, defending those truths that we all hold dear: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


DEAR READERS: Ms. Waxy Dragon is unavailable this weekend, so alas there will not be any Sunday Funnies tomorrow. Our most sincerest apologies for any inconvenience.

Meanwhile, it's a new weekend, and that means new puzzles, so let's get right to it!

The title character of this television series hated her legal first name and insisted on being called Punky Brewster instead. But what was her legal first name?

Start with:
1. A famous poet
Then rearrange the letters in his last name to also find:
2. A vampire killer
3. A means of seizure
4. A piece of sporting equipment, and
5. A hearty meal.

The answers will appear at the end of next week's Puzzle Corner like the answers for November 1st appear now.

Believe it or not, that rascally rabbit HAS had a bowl of Trix, twice!
As a result of campaigns concurrent with the 1976 and 1980 Presidential elections, kids got to vote on the issue of whether or not to grant the rabbit a bowl of Trix.
After winning in 1976, the rabbit greedily gulped down his bowl, but then was told any more bowls were depended upon the results of the next election, with the rabbit resuming his on going quest to acquire more the way he had in previous commercials up to that point in time.
But in 1980, the children of the day were nice enough to reward the rabbit with a second bowl of the cereal.
However the issue has not come up for another vote, and the rabbit has been unsuccessful in every commercial since to acquire more.
And for the record, the rabbit has NEVER been given a formal name!

In the sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ___?
The next number would be 34, for each number comes from adding the previous two together.
1 + 2 = 3
2 + 3 = 5
3 + 5 = 8
5 + 8 = 13
8 + 13 = 21, so 13 + 21 = 34.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The following is an editorial.

Dear Reader:

I’m sure everyone knows by now who won the 2008 Presidential Election.
But I have remained silent on the outcome not because I disagree with the results, but because I wanted the time to try and judge everyone’s initial reactions to Barack Obama being elected the 44th President of the United States as objectively as possible.

To say that there is mixed reaction would be an understatement.

While others have joked and speculated upon such events as the Inauguration parties and what breed the “first puppy” will be; President-elect Obama and his future Vice-President Joe Biden are already hard at work on the preparations necessary for the transition between administrations come January 2009, and are serious about addressing and trying to solve all the problems that this country faces.
Rahm Emanuel has already been selected as the future White House Chief of Staff, and other appointments and announcements can be followed at as they occur.
If you want to, you can even voice your opinion and suggestions about the future of this country at this website!
(As an aside, it must be noted that while it is doubtful that he is doing all the IT work himself, Barack Obama is definitely the most Internet savvy President elected to date.)

But the Republicans and their supporters?
I personally have overheard one lady comment that ‘Washington will look like Bagdad within six months!’ Meanwhile in the news: a volunteer teacher’s assistant at a Connecticut elementary school has already been censored for discussing the possibilities of Obama being assassinated with a group of second graders!
Do I really have to tell anyone how badly these comments make us look?

Let’s be serious here folks.
This election saw the highest voter turnout in decades. Barack Obama won over John McCain by 7.6million votes in the popular ballot, and 186 votes within the Electoral College that will meet in December to make these results official.
I could start pointing fingers as well as the next person as to who did what wrong, but it is time to move onward!

What I am afraid of most is that the Republicans in Congress come 2009 will repeat their actions of the Clinton administration and try to do their dangest to find some way to at least make the future President look bad if they cannot oust him from office outright.
That would be a serious waste of time in light of all that needs to be done.
All I am asking is for everyone to just actually give Obama the chance to do the job he was elected for in the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship that everyone bemoaned the lack of over the months leading to this historic November election.

Lee Houston, Junior
Editor-In-Chief: News of The Free Choice e-zine

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It's up to you now Dear Readers.
The polls are open.
It's your right and Free Choice!

To GO VOTE intelligently.
To GO VOTE your conscious.
To GO VOTE for whoever you feel will lead this country the best.

A public service message of the Free Choice e-zine, who urges everyone to GO VOTE today!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Berekeley Breathed ended his Sunday feature Opus November 2nd so he can concentrate upon his growing literary career and other creative endeavors.
The weekly appearance of the penguin from Bloom County began November 23rd, 2003. Before that, he was the star of Outland, a Sunday only strip that ran from September 3rd, 1989 to March 26, 1995.
While the first weekly ended with Opus being reunited with his biological mother, the conclusion of yesterday's installment was actually at; with the Humane Society hosting a contest where readers could guess the final(?) fate of the beloved penguin in hopes of winning either a complete Opus book collection or $10,000 for their local animal shelter.
Unfortunately, repeated attempts to access Breathed's website at where the winners list can be found, have failed for whatever reason(s), thus the inadvertent delay in posting this week's Sunday Funnies.

Meanwhile, in Opus' honor, Ms. Waxy Dragon (one of many avatars used by an avid Internet Surfer, which is kind of funny when you think about it: one imaginary character joking about another!) has supplied some penguin themed jokes:

What’s black and white and goes round and around?
A Penguin in a revolving door.

Why don’t you see Penguins in Great Britain?
Because they’re afraid of Wales.

How do Penguins prefer their drinks?
On the rocks.

Is Seal a Penguin’s favorite pop star?

Do Penguins dislike rock music because they perfer sole?

Why are Penguins only invited to formal events?

What kind of fish do Penguins catch at night?

What do you call a Penguin in the desert?

And finally...

What is black, white, and red all over?
A sun burnt Penguin!

See you next weekend with more Sunday Funnies, Dear Reader.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Tonight those who were doing so end their observance of Daylight Savings Time by setting their clocks back one hour to resume Standard Time.
Don't forget to adjust your chronometers accordingly.

A public service message of the Free Choice e-zine.


The end of another week. The start of a new month. And more puzzles!
What more can you ask for Dear Reader?

Has that infamous Rabbit of the cereal commericals ever gotten to eat a bowl of Trix?

Can you name the next number in the following sequence?
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, __?

The answers will appear next week as we now present the answers for the final weekend of October's Puzzle corner.

Group 1. {oven, treat, unlce} = Dutch (Dutch oven, Dutch Treat, Dutch Uncle)
Group 2. {A. A. Fair}was another pen name of {Perry Mason} creator Earl Stanley Gardner.

A crook could find a good fence and an alibi this by rearranging the letters in the right words.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Although once again Linus Van Pelt will be sitting in a pumpkin patch awaiting the Great Pumpkin, upon this night, most boys and girls everywhere will be going out Trick or Treating.
Even older children and adults will be dressing up in costumes to attend parties and other Halloween themed events.
The Free Choice e-zine urges everyone to have a SAFE as well as fun Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Upon this night in 1938, audiences gathered around their radios to hear the latest installment of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) series Mercury Theatre of the Air. The cast, led by Orson Welles, performed what they believed to be their humble adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds, not knowing that there would be listeners unaware that this was a fictionalized drama of Martians launching an invasion of Earth.
While it is far easier to look back in hindsight upon this, the seventieth anniversary of that broadcast, that event has been refered to by some as "The Night That Paniced America". Between the poor domestic economy of the times and the impending world war beginning in Europe, it is kind of unstandable that some might not have realized it was just another program within a medium that overcame the obstacle of only being able to use sound to provide us such great shows like The Shadow, Fibber McGee and Molly, and so many more.
For more information, there are plenty of resources available including a wonderful volume from Sourcebooks, Inc. ( which includes the script to the 1938 radio broadcast, the original H.G. Wells novel, and a CD of the Mercury Theatre performance and other bonus tracks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A lot of people are rejoicing over the fact that gas prices have steadily fallen over the last month.
The national average in the United States for a gallon of gasoline as I post this article is currently about $2.45 a gallon.
Some claim this is because the economy is finally starting to get better. Other critics say that this is just a tactic by the "powers that be" to lull us into a false sense of security in hopes that voters will choose Republican candidates next week, a scheme that susposedly helped to get President Bush reelected in 2004.
Is this true or false? If I knew the answer I would certainly tell you Dear Reader.

Meanwhile, I have received more spam within the last few days than I have over the last month combined, all from concerned "friends" that I have never heard of or even remember having to begin with, all warning me against voting for Barack Obama, let alone any Democrats in general next Tuesday.
Now whether or not this is because I happened to mention my own personal political beliefs during the course of the Free Choice's October 9th article "So Where Do We Editorially Stand" or if my e-address is unfortunately on some mass mailing list, I cannot say.
I can say that I have never seen so much rhetoric, false information, and general pleading since the 2004 Presidential election.
A quick visit to,,, or any of the other national news websites (United Press International, Associated Press, USA Today, etc.) available will set the record straight on any issue you need to find information on.

While the editorial/creative staff has their own personal opinions, the Free Choice e-zine as an Internet entity shall remain neutral in chosing a political side, but once again urges everyone to
REMEMBER: The Presidential election IS next Tuesday, November 4th.
Now more than ever, your vote is important!
Know the issues. Know the candidates and their platforms. Know the facts!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Would you believe The Smurfs are now 50 years old?

Cartoonist Pierre Culliford, who signed his work Peyo, was working in his native Belgium on the feature "Johan et Pirlouit" ("Johan and Peewit") for the Le Journal de Spirou when he first introduced them to a group called "Les Schtroumpfs" on October 23, 1958.
Those loveable blue characters no taller than the average apple gained their own feature in 1959, although it wasn't until Hanna-Barbera Productions began animating a Smurfs series for NBC's 1981 Saturday Morning season that the characters became popular in America, let alone gained a wider International audience.

When asked to contribute jokes to this week's Sunday Funnies, the only one Ms. Waxy Dragon could come up with was:
Q. Why did the Smurf cross the road?
A. To Smurf to the other side.

Considering the background of the characters, I thought that was quite appropriate and thus we conclude this week's installment of the Sunday Funnies.


And just when you thought you had reached the weekend, so your mind could kick back and relax without having to do too much thinking for 48 hours, you entered The Puzzle Corner!

What do the members of each subset have in common?
1. {Oven, treat, uncle}
2. {A. A. Fair (and) Perry Mason}

A crook could find a fence and a good alibi this, by rearranging the letters in the right words.

The answers will appear next week, just like the solutions to last week's puzzles appear now...

1. A stain is SPOT
2. Lids are TOPS
3. Chooses is OPTS
4. A possible answer for e-mail is POST
5. Amongst kitchenware are POTS, and
6. Halt! is to STOP, with all the answers formed by rearranging T, P, S, and O.

The ice cream moguls are Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Democrat Barack Obama met Republican John McCain in the final Presidential debate October 22nd. While pundits say that this was McCain's strongest appearance within the debates, most analysts agree that although once again hardly any new ground was covered, Obama won the debate.

Meanwhile, after being satirized for weeks by Tina Fey, Republican Vice-Presidential running mate Sarah Palin went on NBC's Saturday Night Live October 25th, hoping it would do for her what appearing on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In did for Richard Nixon.

In what has to be the most important announcement yet, former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell official endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for President, citing among other reasons his ability to inspire and be a "transformational figure." Powell was also bothered by all the attempts to link Obama to terrorists and the Muslim religion when the facts do not support those allegations.

As mentioned previously within this e-zine, if you are in doubt of any information, especially with the November election looming on the horizon, there are plently of websites such as where you can check out the facts for yourself.

REMEMBER: The Presidential election IS Tuesday, November4th!
The Free Choice e-zine urges everyone to go vote that day! ?

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Last weekend I reported upon the coincidence of two comic strips running installments based upon the same gag on the same day.
Well guess what folks...
On Friday, October 17th, both B.C., now done by the late Johnny Hart's daughter Perri Hart and his grandson Mason Mastroianni; along with Hillary Price's Rhymes with Orange both ran strips featuring the Bat-signal of DC Comics' Batman.
In my humble opinion, while Price's gag was funnier, B.C.'s was definitely the more poignant of the two.

And now, here is Ms. Waxy Dragon with some appropriately themed jokes...

How many Batmen does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They like the dark knight.

How many psychoanalysts does it take to change a light bulb?
One, but the light bulb must want to change.

How many Congressmen does it take to change a light bulb?
Nobody knows. The issue is still under debate.

See you next weekend with more Sunday Funnies!


Okay, a new weekend and new puzzles!

The answers to the following clues all use the same 4 letters. What are they?
1. A stain
2. Lids
3. Chooses
4. E-mail?
5. Kitchenware
6. Halt!

Everyone knows Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame. But what are their last names?

The answers will appear next week.
And now, the answers to last week's enigmas.
Hidden within Floridahohiowarkansas were: Florida, Idaho, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, (and) Kansas.

A cheese made backwards is EDAM! (made=edam)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


And now, the return of the feature you have been waiting for with baited breath...
...and if you do have baited breath, might we humbly suggest finding another way to go fishing?

Did anyone notice that on Monday October 6th, both Off the Mark by Mark Parisi and Mike Peters' Mother Goose and Grimm comic strips basically featured the same gag, presenting the canine version of the website Facebook, or should I say TAILbook?
While an interesting idea, I'm sure it will be a lot more technologically possible once scientists figure out how to perfect smell-o-vision.
Of course, consider the quality of some of the network shows for the new fall television season, maybe they already have.

Anyway, and now here is Ms. Waxy Dragon with some canine themed jokes.

Did you hear about the dog who went to the flea circus?
It stole the show!

What do you call a beagle in an igloo?
A chilly dog.

If a dog parks his car in a barking lot, does that mean they also use barking meters?
Of course, if a dog did own a car, how would it ever drive properly when dogs are always sticking their heads out the open windows?

And finally...
If someone told you they were as "sick as a dog", should you take them to a doctor or a vet?

See you next week folks!


With everything else that has been happening of late weighing on our minds, let's try to take a short break and ponder something a little easier.

How many of the United States can you find in the following line:


What kind of cheese is made backwards?

The answers will appear next weekend. Meanwhile, from last week:

The member of the United States bordered by the most water is Hawaii!

CHAIN=China, LAITY=Italy, ERECT=Crete and they are all countries.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


So Dear Reader, with so much going on within the last couple of days, let’s try to get up to date.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama met Republican John McCain for round two of the Presidential debates Tuesday night. Most analysts concur that Obama won that debate despite the Town Hall format allegedly being one of McCain’s strong public campaigning assets.

And on the economic front…

Because of Wall Street’s “free fall” over the last few days, a couple of foreign stock markets are actually suspending operations until Monday, October 13th. This action has led some to call for a summit of the global powers. When and where this historic meeting might occur were unknown as I post this.
Meanwhile even OPEC is planning to discuss the current global economic situation amongst their members since crude oil prices have dropped 40% since their historic benchmark barrel price in July 2008. This leaves many consumers yet in further doubt as to what gasoline and home heating oil prices will be in the coming months.

AIG has just been granted another 38 BILLION dollars in bailout funds, despite the fact that $400,000 of the previous grant was spent on a CEO retreat!

Announcements of third quarter results for most major companies are pending, but a lot of nervous investors do not expect good news.

And in case anyone is interested, the names of John McCain lobbyists that Mark Slackmeyer is currently reading within this week’s Doonesbury is supposed to be as accurate as humanly possible.

But with everything going on in the world right now, does anyone actually know where Dick Cheney has been of late?


Dear Readers:

Lately, I have a received a few e-mails at asking me what, if any position the Free Choice e-zine is taking in this critical election year.
In all honesty, I feel that any news media should try to remain neutral and just report the news, not become a part of it.
In the past, I have seen newspapers run recommendations about who to vote for upon their editorial pages. That is their right. You may not agree with their opinions, but they are entitled to them.
However I vividly remember one political season where my local newspaper ran their list as an actual news story upon the front page that day. That can never be considered excercising journalistic integrity in my humble opinion.
The Free Choice e-zine, as stated in our WELCOME READERS side-bar, has and will remain a platform to express a wide variety of viewpoints within the editorial guidelines stated.
If you would like to contribute, either leave a comment at the end of the appropriate article or send me an e-mail at the address stated above.
But unless otherwise requested by our readership, the Free Choice e-zine will not officially endorse any political candidate within any race, but takes this opportunity to remind you once again that
Election Day IS Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 and we urge you to excercise your right to vote that day!
The remainder of the editorial and creative staff have their own opinions and are entitled to express them accordingly.
But for the record, since it is my byline and "signature" at the bottom of this editorial post, I personally will be voting that day, but most definitely not for the lame duck's party!

Lee Houston, Junior
Editor-In-Chief: News, the Free Choice e-zine


Due to post-Hurricane Ike communication problems, Ms. Waxy Dragon was unable to contribute to the Sunday Funnies this week.
The feature will resume this coming Sunday.
The Free Choice e-zine apologizes for any inconvience.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


As we contemplate trying to enjoy a hopefully relaxing weekend, let us also contemplate these enigmas.

Which of the United States is bordered by the most water?

The letters in each of the following words can be rearranged to form another word, and all the new words have something in common.
Do you know what?

The answers will appear in next week's Puzzle Corner.
And now, here are the results of our September 27th conundrums...

Hexadectylism is a medical term meaning you possess either an extra finger or toe.

The Paul Newman movies were:
A bee attack=The Sting (1973)
Departure=Exodus (1960)
Award=The Prize (1963)
Court Decision=The Verdict (1982) and
Sunset=Twilight (1998)


In what unfortunately was the lone Vice-Presidential debate of the 2008 political campaign season, Senator Joe Biden debated Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, Thursday over a wide range of issues.

Palin, the Republican Vice-Presidential running mate to Arizona Senator John McCain, has faced criticism from her actions as both the current governor of Alaska and the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska; including allegedly being unaware of the Wasilla Police Department charging rape victims’ insurance companies for the cost of rape kits and the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere”.

Biden, the Democratic Vice-Presidential running mate to Illinois Senator Barack Obama, has been a Senator representing Delaware since 1973, and campaigned unsuccessfully for the Presidency himself in 1988 and earlier this year.

While the majority of post debate analysts declared Biden “the winner”, pundits will admit that despite her inexperienced in regards to the national and international scenes, Palin did better during the debate than expected.

Meanwhile, the next Presidential debate between Obama and McCain is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7th, and the national election is Tuesday November 4th.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


There has been a lot of stories connected with the 2008 Presidential campaign that have been reportetd and relayed across the nation and the Internet thus far, and I'm sure there will be a lot more the closer we get to the November election.
But how do you know what is and is not factual?
One place you can check out the details of anything is at
There you will find all kinds of factual, confirmed data from a number of reliable sources concerning current events and other matters.
Accurate knowledge of any subject is a good asset to have, ESPECIALLY with all the mud and innuendoes circulating around right now concerning the current campaign.

A public service message of The Free Choice e-zine.

Election Day IS Tuesday, November 4th!

Monday, September 29, 2008


For those that as of sundown this evening will be observing Rosh Hashanah and the forthcoming Yom Kippur, may the forthcoming year be even better than the last.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


As Americans ponder what course the nation will take in the coming months, Free Choice e-zine reader Roger Stegman sent me the following image to "give us some indication of where we might be at the moment."
If you would like to contribute to the Free Choice e-zine, just leave a comment here or e-mail me at

Meanwhile, here's Ms. Waxy Dragon with this week's travel themed "jokes".

If all the automobiles in this country were pink, would that make us a pink car nation?

If everyone has such trouble folding up a road map after they've used it, how do the publishers ever manage to fold it up to begin with?

If a spider owned a car would he take it out for a spin?

And finally: WHY do they call it rush hour when nothing moves that fast on the freeway?

See you next week folks for more Sunday Funnies!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


And now, let us kick back, relax, and contemplate this week's enigmas.

It sounds a lot worse than it is, but what is hexadectylism?

In honor of Paul Newman, can you name his movies that have been summarized differently than their actual titles?
1. A Bee attack
2. Departure
3. Award
4. Court Decision
5. Sunset

The answers will appear next week, just like the ones for the week of September 20th appear below.

In Post Office, one will find, alphabetically...
Aft, Cope(s), Copse, Fist, Foist, I, Ice, If, Is, It, It’s, Its, Off, Office(s), Oft, Opt(s), Optic(s), Poise, Post, Pot(s), Scoff, Scoop, Scoot, Scope, Sit, Soft, Spice, Spiff, Spite, Spoof, Spot, Staff, Stoic, Stoop, Stop, Stop, Tic(s), Tie(s), Tip(s), Tis, Top(s), and Topic(s).
Plural(s) are noted accordingly, and other words besides the 52 listed above are possible.

That Time And Relative Dimemsions In Space traveller Doctor Who has been to Castrovalva and explored the Pyramids of Mars, amongst a plethora of other adventures.

PAUL NEWMAN: 1925-2008

It is my sad duty to report that Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe winning actor Paul Newman passed away after a private fight against cancer.
The actor of stage of screen is remembered for such classic films as The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Slap Shot, amongst a host of others.
His motion picture debut was 1954's The Silver Chalice, while unfortunately his last was providing the narrtation for the documentary Dale in 2007.
But while the actor has also directed and/or produced a number of works over the course of his professional career, Newman is also widely known for his philanthropic work, establishing the Hole In The Wall Gang summer camps for seriously ill children, the Scott Newman Center for drug abuse prevention, and the Newman's Own organization, producing various food products that after taxes, donates the "profits" to various charities.
Paul Newman is survived by his wife of fifty years, actress Joanne Woodward and children.


The Internet search engine Google is celebrating its tenth anniversary!
Founded in 1998 by Stanford University students Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the organization is known for their vast applications and services within the Communications industry, although some may be more familiar with their ever altering logo, depending upon events of the day.


There has been a lot happening of late on the political scene, so the following is a brief recap of events thus far.

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain was scheduled to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday night, but bowed out of the taping, citing that it was more important to be in Washington as the discussion over the big bailout continues.
However, what was he doing talking live to Katie Curic on The CBS Evening News in the studio across the street from where The Late Show tapes at the same time he could not appear on Letterman's show?

Both McCain and Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama met Friday night in the first of three scheduled debates. But until late Friday afternoon, there was a strong possiblity that McCain, citing basically the same reason(s) for not appearing on the Letterman show, might not appear.
The candidates discussed foreign policy as it applies to America both domestically and internationally.
While some analysists feel that McCain was just parroting Obama, even to the point of copying his "America needs change" position, other pundits feel that Obama did not take command of the debate as he should have, and let McCain "run" things.
There are two more debates planned between Obama and McCain covering other issues, and one between the Vice-Presidential running mates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin scheduled for the month of October.

Meanwhile, discussions on the estimated 700 BILLION (United States) dollars bailout of financial institutions continues apace, with the finer details of such a measure the main points to be worked out.

While the Free Choice e-zine tries to stay neutral when covering situations such as this, comments are welcomed, regardless of political viewpoint(s), provided they follow the guidelines posted on the right hand side of our front page.
The staff and management of this e-zine urges everyone to be aware of the political scene and take stock of what is happening in the world around them.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I ain't lion.
Amongst all the stories to be reported since Hurricane Ike's passing is one about how a lioness took refuge with others in the First Baptist Church of Crystal Beach, Texas.
Michael Ray Kujawa was caught in the flooding as Ike came ashore and sought shelter with the lioness at the church.
Those already using the church for shelter from the storm gave Shackle the lioness a wide berth after locking her in the church's sanctuary. Despite her presence in the building, Shackles in turn miraclously did nothing to bother the humans around her. Kujawa theorizes that it was her fear of the hurricane that kept her docile during their stay.
But while the lioness has gone on to her temporary(?) new home, officials of an exotic animal exhibit at this time are still unable to account for their missing tiger.

Meanwhile, here is Ms. Waxy Dragon with some hopefully funny animal jokes.

Is it true animals are lousy dancers because they have two left feet?

When a duck charges a purchase, do they just put it on their bill?

And finally:
Why did the cowboy buy a dachshund?
Because somebody told him to get a long little doggie!


In Houston:
Area schools will hopefully reopen on Monday.
Phone service has been restored, the Houston Chronicle newspaper has resumed residential delivery, but most of the city and the surrounding area is still without electricity.

In Galveston:
Local residents expect to be let back on to the island this Wednesday: September 24th, but will be under a dusk to dawn curfew.
Although utilities have yet to be restored, one area hospital has managed to reopen.
Most residents who had beach front property will probably not be allowed to rebuild as the state will have to rezone the affected areas to adjust for the erosion caused by Hurricane Ike.

If you can: PLEASE give to the American Red Cross to help those less fortunate than yourself.


Another weekend and more conundrums....

Okay folks, let's play post office. No, not that way! Just contemplate how many words you can form just using the letters in the words POST OFFICE.

What famous adventurer has been to Castrovalva and explored the Pyramids of Mars?

The answers will appear at the bottom of next week's Puzzle Corner.
And now, here are the resolutions of last week's installment of this feature...

Group 1. {Lois Lane (and) Della Street}
Both surnames are travel routes.
Group 2. {Tommy by The Who (and) You Don't Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce}
Both title characters have the surname Walker.

In 1967, THE MONKEES sold the most records, beating both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have been in contact with family and friends back in the Houston area, and the following are their first hand comments in regards to the current state of affairs in Texas.

Electrical power has yet to be restored to their residential area(s) and phone service, including cells, is sporadic.
Food retailers are just now starting to reopen, although there are limitations on both supplies and personnel, so long lines are expected at local grocery stores.
Local schools were tenatively scheduled to reopen Thursday, but as I post this report, there has been no official word of this occurring as scheduled, mostly due to the lack of electrical service.
Cleanup proceeds apace, with anything north of downtown Houston experiencing mostly broken windows, damage from fallen trees, and debris from street flooding.

The death toll from Hurricane Ike is standing at 51 as of 4pm Eastern Daylight Time September 17th, 2008. The majority of these lost are being attributed to those not heeding the evacuation warnings and staying within the affected areas, especially in Galveston and along the Texas coastline.

I have lived in Texas for the first 44 years of my young life, and I can tell everyone from first hand experience that a hurricane is nothing to take chances with.
The Gulf Coast has been "spared" so far this year, with Hurricanes Gustav and Ike not being as strong as predicted/feared when they made land fall; and the state of Texas itself has not been the target of a major storm for a mighty long time, which might be the reason a lot of people decided to hunker down in their personal residences and "ride the storm out".
However, as the destructive force of Hurricane Katrina and others have shown, this is NOT a good idea!

PLEASE! When warned to evacuate because of an approaching hurricane: DO SO!

News, Editorial Commentary, and a Public Service message courtsey of the Free Choice e-zine.


Dear Readers:
May I offer my humblest apologies for not being able to post this week's installment of the Sunday Funnies.
Unfortunately, because of Hurricane Ike, I have only recently been able to reestablish contact with the avid Internet user that posts as Ms. Waxy Dragon, amongst other avatars.
Everything is about as all right as can be on their end post hurricane, and the Sunday Funnies WILL return this coming weekend.
Until then...

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The eye of the category 2 hurricane officially made landfall on Galveston Island in the wee hours of Saturday morning, before following a similar path taken by Hurricane Alicia in 1984 by moving up Interstate 45 northward and ravaging the mainland on its way to Houston, Texas.
According to friends and family that I finally managed to contact late this afternoon, they are still without regular phone service or electricity at this time although at least cell phone service has been restored. While Southwestern Bell had no immediate estimate on the restoration of land lines for phone calls, Reliant Energy was saying it could be as late as the end of September to restore electricity to everyone affected.
Severe street flood is common, especially in areas where the roads are now of lower elevations from redevelopment over the last decade. Water levels are expected to crest in most areas by Sunday with drainage proceeding accordingly.
Downtown Houston and other parts of the city report lots of broken window panes from damaged skyscrapers. There is not a current estimate available for the conclusion of cleanup operations.
Relief and rescue efforts are underway for those in need and President Bush has declared the affected areas a disaster area, paving the way for state and federal aid to become available.

More on this when details become available.


Another week has come and gone, and while our collective hearts go out to those in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, let's pause for a few moments of stress free conundrums.

The contents of each set have something in common. The question is: "What?"
Group 1. {Lois Lane (and) Della Street}
Group 2. {Tommy by The Who (and) You Don't Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce}

In 1967, what musical act sold the most records?

The answers will appear next week in place of the results of our Puzzle Corner from September 6th, 2008.

Although more commonly known as the Peanuts theme, Vince Guaraldi's memorable tune is officially entitled "Linus and Lucy".

The two five letter words within the ten letter words are:
1. Vaudeville= Devil (and) Value
2. Receptacle= Cleat (and) Creep.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Hurrican Ike is currently a category 2 hurricane with sustained winds over 100mph.
Evacuations are already underway as forecasters fear Ike regaining category 3 status with a projected landfall currently estimated between Port Lavaca and Galveston Island sometime Saturday.
Regardless of its actual landfall site and time, the city of Houston and the surrounding area will be on the "dirty" side of the storm and is expecting fierce winds and rain. All schools are closed with a projected reopenning of Monday morning and except for emergency supply retailers and emergency services, most businesses are closed.

The Free Choice e-zine urges anyone currently or potentially along the hurricane's path to take ALL necessary precautions!

More on this situation as the story develops.


The scars are still relatively fresh for most with some direct link to that fateful morning seven years ago.
The fallen are remembered. The heroes honored, and in time hopefully ALL the villains involved will be punished.
While this is something that will never, and should never be fogotten, let us hope in time that the old adage about "time heals all wounds" proves true.

An Editorial Commentary...

Sunday, September 7, 2008


In this regular feature, the Free Choice e-zine presents stories featuring the lighter side of the news, if not human interest stories or commentary about something happenning within the realm of the comic strips, comic books, animation, or some other related media.
However, I unfortunately have no story of that nature to post this week, so we shall move on and give the rest of this missive to our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon who always concludes each column by telling a few (hopefully) funny jokes.

Hello everybody.Waxy Dragon Most people believe me to be one amongst many avatars of an avid Internet user. I am a three-year old baby dragon who loves chocolate. I just flew in to tell a few jokes and boy are my wings tired!
I love to fly. Being a dragon, think of all the money I save on airfare! And I'm always on time, unless I stop somewhere for a chocolate break, which is one reason why I'm no longer allowed in Hershey, Pennsylvania. *sigh* :(
Sometimes I wonder if “air traffic control” is just a game with no rules that nobody knows how to play, but the goal always seems to be keeping flights from arriving in time for passengers to make connecting flights.

I knew of an airline that was so bad at losing your luggage that they hung mistletoe over the baggage check-in area so you could kiss your luggage goodbye.

There once was a fashion designer who refused to fly because he thought the airline vehicles were plain.

Did you hear about the inexperienced pilot who wanted to go to flight school? If he ever finds the airport…

Well, that's it for this week folks.
Yeah, NOW you applaud.
I'll be back for next week's installment of The Sunday Funnies.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Hello and welcome to the first of your FREE CHOICE e-zine's existing features: the PUZZLE CORNER!
Every Saturday there will be a couple of conundrums posted to stretch your intelligence and give your brain a brief mental workout.
Although being unable to post interactive grids prevents us from presenting the more popular favorites such as crossword puzzles and sudokus, that doesn't mean we can't have some fun.
So without further adieu...

Everyone should be familiar with the Vince Guaraldi composition commonly known as the Peanuts theme. But what is the actual title of this song?

Within the following ten letter words are two five letter words. What are they?
1. Vaudeville
2. Receptacle

The answers will appear at the bottom of next week's THE PUZZLE CORNER.


A political analysis by Editor-In-Chief: News Lee Houston, Junior

On Thursday night, Senator John McCain officially accepted the Republican Party nomination to run for President of the United States with Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice-Presidential running mate.
During his acceptance speech, which was short on specifics, McCain said that he, not the Democratic Presidential candidate Barak Obama, was the instrument/symbol of (positive) change that this country needed for the future, while apparently distancing himself from the current administration by never once mentioning current President George W. Bush by name.
There were several times in his address when McCain referenced his past military service during the Viet Nam war. It should be noted that while the Republican candidate has every right to be proud of his service record, the day has arrived in this country that not every candidate for a (major) office has served within the United States military, and that depending upon the reason why, is not something that can be held against them.

A report on Barak Obama's acceptance speech can be found at our alternate site: and the Free Choice e-zine's next political analysis will be of the Vice Presidental candidates.
MEANWHILE: Don't forget to vote in regards to what editorial direction you feel the Free Choice should choose in this heated Presidential election year.
After all, this IS YOUR e-zine. I just "work" here.-lhjr.