Saturday, January 31, 2009


Let's face it folks, it was not a very good week.
Layoffs, layoffs, and more layoffs. Businesses are trying to cut corners, balance budgets and stay operational. Now many express the opinion that if all those decisions could be applied to the executives who make those decisions to begin with...

But just to give you some indication as to how things have been this past week, the United States Post Office is considering asking Congress if it can stop delivering mail on Saturdays. Of course some comedians are probably joking that we're still waiting for the post office to complete mail deliveries from any other day of the week. My father remembers in the past that if you lived in a bigger city, the post office used to deliver in-town mail TWICE a day during the week!

Even Mad magazine is planning to switch from a monthly to quarterly publication schedule after releasing its 500th issue this Spring. Remember when there never used to be any advertisements in Mad unless they were a parody? I can just imagine Alfred E. Newman saying: "Now, me worry!"

President Barack Obama is doing his best to keep his campaign promises and spent most of this past week addressing economic issues. Yet the Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, for whatever reason(s) seem determined to at least stonewall, if not outright oppose his efforts at every opportunity.
And Vice President Joseph Biden is now heading the Middle Class Task Force to try to help those in this category, when you come right down to it, is much of the United States!

Meanwhile Kathe Stam went from representing her home state of Indiana to be crowned the new Miss America and the Arizona Cardinals enter their first Super Bowl game tomorrow against the veteran Pittsburgh Steelers.
For more news and information, just visit the In Other News... box at the bottom of the screen.


Okay, it has not been a great week in the world at large. Maybe we can relax with a couple of mind teasers.

I got a lot of positive e-mails on this little ditty of a game, so I've decided to put it into the regular puzzle rotation.
This week's lyric quote is:

"When I kissed you girl I knew how sweet a kiss could be."

A simple picture puzzle where you guess what is represented by the picture.


The answers, as usual, will appear next weekend. But for now, here are the results from last week's puzzles.

The words, plus the healthy part missing from their diet, to form the new words are:
1. Right + BEAN = Breathing
2. Fin + BEET = Benefit

The ice cream mavens are Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Whatever game of chance you might play, whether it be low risk like Chutes and Ladders or high stakes like Texas Hold 'Em Poker, involves a certain amount of luck.
But luck was certainly an interesting phenomenon last week in the Nebraska State Lottery.
It is reported that last week the same "Pick 3" numbers were drawn TWO NIGHTS in a row, AND in the EXACT SAME SEQUENCE: 1-9-6.
While one person got the entire jackpot to themselves from Monday night's drawing, three lucky people shared Tuesday's.
Makes you wonder what all the people who lost during that 24 hour period have to say about the event.

Anyway, here is our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon with some appropriate jokes.
And if we're lucky, maybe they will actually be funny. -lhjr.

Thank you Lee.
I think.
Okay, here's an oldie but a goodie:
Why was 6 afraid of 7?
Because 7 8 9!
Seven ate nine. Get it? If you have to explain a joke...

What do you get if you cross a four leaf clover with poison ivy?
A rash of good luck!

Are superstitous people afraid to iron four leaf clovers because they don't want to press their luck?

And last but certainly not least:
Did you hear about the glowworm that won the lottery?
It was delighted beyond belief!

See you next weekend with more Sunday Funnies everyone! -wd.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Although The Free Choice e-zine unfortunately does not have the resources and staff of other websites, in our continuing efforts to report the news, we proudly present the first installment of THE WEEK IN REVIEW.

Of course the big story this past week is the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States and his actions since.
Although Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the recital of the oath of office during the official ceremony on Tuesday January 20th, which prompted Obama to have a more informal "do over" the following evening, the new President has not wasted any time going to work trying to keep his campaign promises as his administration started tackling the issues that affect the United States and the world.

Actions have been initiated to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within a year while moving prisoners to more appropriate venues of justice.
Meanwhile, work has begun on tackling the economy and it is hoped that an economic stimulus package will go before Congress for approval by mid-February.

And in other news, New York State Governor David Paterson, appointed Kirsten Gillibrand to serve the remaining Senate term of the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. This has not thrilled some citizens of the state, for allegedly Gillibrand is pro-NRA, having voted in favor of the National Rifle Organization in every issue that has involved them; although this has not had as much news coverage (yet?) as when the Illinois State Governor allegedly tried to sell the vacant Congressional seat when Obama was elected President last November.


Okay, you solvers out there know the drill, so let's get right to it!

Within our lives, we have all been told at one time or another that we need to eat more vegetables, but not everyone heeds that advice. Especially words.
The letters of a vegetable can be added to each of the words below to help spell out a new word.
Do you know what that will be?
2. FIN

Now that we have had a good dinner, it's time for desert.
What are the full names of ice cream moguls Ben and Jerry?

The answers will appear next weekend in place of the ones for January 17th below.

The quoted lyric came from Brandy by Looking Glass.

Cher's first solo release was "Ringo, I Love You" from Annette Records, recorded under the alias of Bonnie Jo Mason, circa 1964.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Barack Obama is now official sworn in as the (active) 44th President of the United States.
Many have noted this achievement from a perspective of race and equal rights stemming from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, if not from earlier circumstances of bigotry, segregation, and slavery.
While this is a historic event of note, your humble Editor-In-Chief: News would just like to point out that like I tried to express in my earlier post (MLKJR, OBAMA, and HISTORY) that I judged the candidate by the content of his character and strongly felt he was the best person for the job, hence casting my vote the way I did last November.
But there is no denying that there are tough times ahead not just for this country, but the world as well.
Yet as President Obama himself said in his Inauguration speech earlier today:

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of
purpose over conflict and discord.
...What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a
recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves,
our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather
seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the
spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. "

What lies ahead for all of us still remains shrouded in the mists of the unknown.
But I for one feel that the warmth and light of Hope are both stronger now than they were before.


As of noon today Eastern Standard Time, George W. Bush is no longer the active President of the United States.
Many have said a great deal about his time in the White House, with mostly negative comments.
The only positive remark I have heard in recent days, besides various statements about the fact that he was (finally) leaving, was Bruce Tinsley of Mallard Fillmore noting that the Bush Administration had succeed in keeping America safe from internal terrorist attacks for over six years.
Of course the clock on that achievement started ticking after September 11th, 2001; but anyway...
The fact that the responsibilities of being the President of the United States is a serious undertaking goes without saying.
A couple of generations from now, history might be a little more unbiased towards the man and judge his performance more fairly, but that remains to be seen.
In the meantime, it's just best to remember the old adage: "If you can't say something nice..."

Monday, January 19, 2009


The following is Editorial Commentary.

Some are looking at the observance of the Martin Luther King, Junior holiday quite differently this year because of the historic event that occurs at high noon, Eastern time tomorrow.
There is no doubt about the courage of the man as he stood by his beliefs and convictions in hope of seeing a better tomorrow, but have we reached that goal?

Within what may be his most famous speech, King said:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where
they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their
But have the objectives of that famous speech and King's dream been achieved?

Some will say yes, and point not only to the social advances within our society since that speech was first made, but also in the fact that Barack Obama will soon be sworn in as the first African-American President of the United States.
Yet there are several social classes, let alone a lot of individuals, just in this country alone, who are still not fairly judged in the eyes of others.
Women, children, the poor, the elderly, the handicapped, those that prefer the love and affection of their own gender, those who practice different religious beliefs, the obese, nerds...
Should I go on?
While most intolerances are officially illegal, or at least "politically incorrect", that does not mean they no longer occur.
When the previously stated groups and everyone else can live their lives without the fear of name calling, outright bigotry, or even being the subject of bad jokes, then I will believe that Martin Luther King, Junior's dream has at last been fully achieved.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


He is what he is and that's all that he is.

Popeye the Sailor first debuted within the January 17th, 1929 installment of Elzie Crisler Segar's Thimble Theatre, when two of the comic strips original cast: Castor Oyl and Harold Hamgravy, needed to hire a boat to continue an adventure they were in the midst of at the time of the then ten year old strip.
To say that the character stole the show and the rest is history is a serious understatement, although it did not happen overnight. After that adventure, the character did not return until readers' demand and the storyline needed him a few months later.
But the one eyed sailor (or at least he was actually was in the early days, now he just has a bad squint) was undoubtedly the star by the spring of 1931, even winning the love of Castor's sister Olive Oyl away from Harold; although the strip's name was not officially changed to Popeye until the 1970s.
The beloved, at least by his friends, sea man has been in numerous animation efforts, comic books, a 1940s radio show, video games, and even a major motion picture in 1980 with Robin Williams in the title role.

And now to celebrate Popeye's 80th anniversary this past week, here is Ms. Waxy Dragon with a few appropriate jokes.

If he worked in the garment industry, would that make him Popeye the Tailor Man?

What happens if you throw a blue rock into the Red Sea? It gets wet!

How did Popeye divide up the oceans? With a sea-saw.

Sea ya' next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!


Another weekend and time for more fun and games.
This time, to try and cheer everybody up somewhat because the winter weather is so bad across most of the country, let's have some music!

Below are lyrics from a popular tune. Do you know which one?

"...But he had always told the truth Lord, he was an honest man..."

What was Cher's first solo release?

The answers will appear next weekend, but for now, here are the results from January 10th's Puzzle Corner:

1. Could=CLOUD
2. Smite=ITEMS or MITES
3. Overt=VOTER
4. Antsy=NASTY
5. Rinse=SIREN

Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) first officially used the word within his 1950 book If I Ran The Zoo when young Gerald McGrew wanted to collect "a Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too."
However, the actual origin may stem from ventriloquist Edgar Bergen's partner Mortimer Snerd, the Northern Electric Research and Development labs of Ontario, Canada; or from early day college students who called some of their fellow classmates "Knurds" (drunk backwards) because they would rather study and party.
If the last was the only definition of the word, then I would proudly call myself a nerd/Knurd too!

See you in next weekend's Puzzle Corner.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


As we draw ever closer to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama January 20th, more problems arise in the final days of current President George Bush's term.
Case in point: the conversion to "direct TV".
Under the Bush administration, the Federal Communications Commission approved converting the standard broadcasting system to a digital system, with the switch over scheduled for February 17th.
Now if one already receives their television service from a cable provider or a dish network, all the viewer has to do is just sit back and continue to enjoy their favorite programs.
But if you have been watching TV via an antenna or rabbit ears the potential problems arise.
The government has been providing those in need with coupons that are valued to $40 off a new converter box to make the switch over.
Yet with all the other budget and economic problems right now, the government may not be able to assist everyone in need converting to the new system. Thus President-elect Obama is seriously considering asking for the switch over to be delayed until the situation can be addressed. Otherwise, over 7 million viewers might not have access to even local programing come February 17th.
How did this situation arise?
The Federal government took in over $19 billion dollars in fees reallocating the frequencies that regular television stations used to have over to emergency services and other telecommunications companies.
Yet less than $2 billion dollars was earmarked to cover the switch over expenses.
It makes one stop and wonder just how the mistake in under estimating the costs was made, let alone where the other $17 billion went.

ADDENDUM: The above was originally based upon a Reuters news service report, but since this was originally posted, even TV Guide has covered the story, although they state the funds allocated to cover the switch over costs at just $1.34 billion.

But in any event, what did happen to the rest?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I have two potential topics that could be used as a lead in for this week's installment and am torn between which one would be more appropriate.
On one hand, the BBC in England recently announced that actor Mark Smith would be assuming the role of the title character when David Tennant ends his tenure as everybody's favorite Time Lord on Doctor Who.
On the other, there is a doctor in New York State who has filed for divorce from his wife, but amongst the potential settlement, he is hoping to either be paid $1.5 million dollars or regain possession of the gall bladder that he once donated to save her life!
Whichever lead story you prefer, here is our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon with some Doctor jokes.

An angry duck with a very large beak walks into a doctor's office and the doctor says to him: "What are you mad about? You ain't seen my bill yet!"

A patient walks into the doctor's office claiming to be a bee. The doctor tells him, "Buzz off. I'm too busy to see you right now."

An emotionally insecure patient complained to her doctor she felt like she was invisible. The doctor asked, "Who said that?"

A patient walked into a doctor's office.
"Ouch!" said the patient, while slowly backing away from the wall.

Considering how good his (mal)practice is going, one would think we were discussing Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush*.
In any event, until next time, have fun everybody!

*Groucho Marx's role in A Day At The Races.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Another weekend, but who said you get the time off from solving some more of life's enigmas?

Another word can be made from each of the following just be rearranging the letters.
Do you know what the new words will be?

Although it has had both good and bad definitions, who actually first coined the word NERD?

The answers will appear next weekend.
But now, here are the results for January 3rd, 2009.

Mary Pickford was the first lady to be Grand Marshall of a Tournament of Roses Parade.
Although I did receive several guesses in regards to former child star Shirley Temple-Black, Ms. Pickford beat her by 6 years (1933 vs. 1939).

Believe it or not...
1. Crystal Gayle and Loretta Lynn are sisters.
2. Peter Graves and James Arness are brothers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Within these troubled economic times America (among other countries) faces, the fact that another industry has publicly announced that it is considering appealing to the Federal government for financial assistance (in other words: a bailout) is not surprising.
But which one did is.
Representing the Adult Entertainment industry, "Girls Gone Wild" CEO Joe Francis and "Hustler" founder Larry Flint have said that they will be asking for $5 billion in Federal assistance on behalf of themselves and fellow business associates within that industry. Citing declining revenues because consumers have been too depressed over the other problems they face in the world to spend money on what they offer, Flint and Francis believe that the Federal government should support Adult Entertainment just like the United States should/will support any other American industry despite the "moral outrage" of some non-consumers.

Now that I have managed to report this news item with a straight face without using the "P" word, it's time for some editorial commentary...

Flint and Francis admit that every market where their industry's offerings can be found are down except for Internet activities, which disproves their belief that people are not as interested in their enterprises' commodities as they once were. Just because the medium(s) has changed doesn't mean the consumers aren't still there.
Even if their financial figures are accurate, the Adult Entertainment industry is far from the only business that is experiencing economic problems right now.
I personally believe that while they might not be enjoying the successes of the past, that the Adult Entertainment industry will not cease to exist without government support.
After all, whether officially a part of it or not, there is one aspect of that industry that most do refer to as "the world's oldest profession."

Just one man's opinions folks.
Comments can be left here or at my G-mail address.

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

Sunday, January 4, 2009


As the avid Internet surfer behind our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon and other avatars takes the holiday weekend off to be with their family, I would like to take this opportunity to reminisce about one of the great comedic teams of filmdom: The Marx Brothers.

Although Gummo (Milton) did not make the transition from the vaudeville and Broadway stages to the big screen, for Brothers Groucho (Julius), Harpo (Arthur), Chico (Leonard), and Zeppo (Herbert) Marx; the comedic moments were always of more importance than the plot, with the Brothers known to improvise moments that were never in the original script. Especially when Groucho quipped one of his infamous ad libs.
Musical numbers were a prerequisite, with Chico tickling the ivories with his "shoot the piano" finger technique, and Harpo playing the instrument he was nicknamed for. Even Groucho sang an occasional number, such as "Hello, I Must Be Going" from Animal Crackers or "Sing While You Sell" from The Big Store.
Their first two movies: The Cocoanuts (from 1929, with the funny "Why A Duck?" sequence) and Animal Crackers (1930), were adapted from their stage plays. But with the aptly named Monkey Business in 1931, the hijinx began in earnest.
Gummo stayed with the group through Horse Feathers (1932), but left after the classic romp to save the tiny country of Freedonia in 1933's Duck Soup. Afterwards, the remaining trio were always joined by another actor playing the romantic interest that they inevitably ended up helping out.
Next came what some consider the best movies of their career: 1935's A Night At The Opera (Just how many people were in that room?) and A Day At The Races (1937), although the movies afterwards: Room Service (1938), At The Circus (1939), Go West (1940), and The Big Store (1941), have their funny moments.
Sadly, time passes for us all. In this case, A Night In Casablanca (1946) and 1949's Love Happy were the group's last outings together.

Now obviously there is no way this "short" post can do the Marx Brothers the justice they deserve. But if you happen to see one of their movies for rent or sale somewhere, or you come across one in a future TV schedule, do your funny bone a huge favor and watch it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


It's a brand new year and I've got a whole new batch of conundrums, for amongst other things, I received a couple of reference books for Christmas.
But let's get right to it for with the first enigmas of 2009!

Who was the first lady to ever be a Grand Marshall in the annual Tournament of Roses parade?

What, if anything, do the items in each of the following groups have in common?
1. {Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn}
2. {Peter Graves, James Arness}

As usual, the answers will appear at the end of next week's The Puzzle Corner.
But now, let's conclude our unfinished business from 2008 and reveal the answers to last week's history quiz.

01. The Messenger Space Probe will hopefully land on Mercury in 2011.
02. Raul Castro took over leadership of Cuba after his brother Fidel stepped down.
03./04. The Phoenix Space Probe has found frozen water at Mars' northern pole.
05. Bill Gates is now concentrating upon his philanthropic work.
06./09. Beijing, China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, and then the 2008 Paralympic Games that September, reusing many of the same venues.
07./08. Michael Phelps won 8 Gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, beating Mark Spitz previous record of 7.
10. Believe it or not, the Republican party was the first to decide upon a Presidential candidate and completed their slate because their convention was before the Democratic Party's in 2008.

Would you like the frequency of The Puzzle Corner
appearances to increase?
If so, either leave a comment on this post or
contact me at

Friday, January 2, 2009



As I post this, 2009 is less than forty-eight hours old. Pundits and analysts are appearing on every news program imaginable, looking back over where, when, and how things went wrong while discussing all the problems this world we live in is facing.
Now granted, the times ahead will not be easy. But instead of dwelling upon all the doom and gloom, I prefer to look ahead.
There will be a new President of the United States sworn in January 20th who is willing to tackle whatever he has to in order to try and get America back on track. Other countries around the world are attempting to overcome what issues they can while looking forward to working with the new administration in hopes of turning things around.
But what it all comes down to is one word... HOPE!
We still have a long road ahead of us, but people are finally starting to experience that emotion again.
Doesn't it feel good?