Monday, December 31, 2012


While best and worst of everything lists are compiled by others as another year draws to a close, The Free Choice E-zine continues it annual tradition of pausing to briefly look back and remember those that are sadly no longer with us.
While unfortunately we cannot post the whole list; amongst the innocents who died needlessly at the hands of others; our family, friends, and loved ones; as well as those within law enforcement, medical/emergency services, and the military who lost their lives helping and/or protecting others during 2012, we have also lost...

Norman Alden (Back to the Future, Ed Wood)
R. G. Armstrong (El Dorado, Dick Tracy, Predator)
Ernest Borgnine (McHale’s Navy, Marty)
Frank Cady (Green Acres, Petticoat Junction)
Richard Dawson (Hogan’s Heroes, Family Feud’s first host, The Running Man)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, The Finder)
Charles Durning (The Sting, Tootsie, Dog Day Afternoon)
Chad Everett (Medical Center, Airplane 2: The Sequel)
Steve Franken (Bewitched, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Party)
Jonathan Frid (Dark Shadows)
Ben Gazzara (Anatomy of a Murder, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof)
Don Grady (the very first Mickey Mouse Club, My Three Sons)
Andy Griffith (The Andy Griffith Show, Salvage 1, Matlock)
Larry Hagman (I Dream of Jeanie, Dallas)
Robert Hegyes (Welcome Back Kotter)
Sherman Hemsley (All In The Family, The Jeffersons)
Geoffrey Hughes (Keeping Up Appearances, voiced “Paul McCartney” in Yellow Submarine)
John Ingle (General Hospital, Days of Our Lives)
David Kelly (Waking Ned Devine)
George Lindsey (The Andy Griffith Show, Hee Haw)
Herbert Lom (the original Pink Panther movie franchise)
Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple, Quincy M.E., helped get the 1982 “Orphan” Drug Act passed)
Michael O’hare (Babylon 5)
Ron Palillo (Welcome Back Kotter)
Sage Stallone (Rocky V, Daylight)
William Windom (My World and Welcome To It)

Peggy Ahern (Our Gang/The Little Rascals shorts)
Bonnie Lynn Fields (the original Mickey Mouse Club; Bye, Bye, Birdie; Funny Girl)
Ruth Foster (Little House on the Prairie)
Celeste Holm (Gentlemen’s Agreement, All About Eve)
Carolyn John (Doctor Who as Liz Shaw)
Kathryn Joosten (The West Wing, Desperate Housewives)
Susan Luckey (The Music Man, Carousel)
Deborah Raffin (Forty Carats, Once Is Not Enough)
Joan Roberts (Oklahoma!)
Ann Rutherford (Gone With The Wind, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
Doris Singleton (I Love Lucy, My Three Sons)
Mary Tamm (first Romana on Doctor Who, Brookside, Eastenders)
Phyllis Thaxter (The Adventures of Superman, 30 Seconds Over Tokyo)

Boxing legend Jimmy Bivins
Baseball player Boyd Bartley of the Brooklyn Dodgers
Boxer Hector Camacho
Bowling legend Don Carter, who helped form the Professional Bowlers’ Association
Tennis great Margaret Osborne DuPont
Jockey Peter Fuller
Alex Karras (Football player turned actor: Webster, Blazing Saddles)
Basketball great Slater Martin
Marvin Miller (Former baseball player who helped form the players’ union)
Johnny Pesky (Famous Boston Red Sox baseball player for whom the right field foul pole at Fenway Park is named after)
Darrell Royal (long time and most decorated coach of Texas Longhorns college football)
Carroll Shelby (Creator of the Shelby Cobra racer cars)
Skier Bjorn Sieber
Bob Smith (Invented ski goggles)
Boxer Emanuel Steward
Football great Steve Van Buren
Colleen Walker (Nine time winner on the LPGA tour)

Gerry Anderson (Developer of Supermarionation and producer: Thunderbirds, Space 1999)
Jan Berenstain (Co-creator of the Berenstain Bears)
Lucille Bliss (Voice actress: Crusader Rabbit, The Smurfs)
Author Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles)
Helen Gurley Brown (Feminist, publisher of Cosmopolitan)
Don Cornelius (Creator and first host of Soul Train)
Josie DeCarlo (French model and widow of Dan DeCarlo, who created Josie and the Pussycats, basing Josie upon his wife)
Nora Ephron (Screenwriter/director: Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail)
Marvin Hamlisch (Composer: The Sting, The Way We Were)
Author Howard Hopkins (The Lone Ranger: Vendetta)
Painter Thomas Kinkade
Legendary comic book artist Joe Kubert
Bernard Lansky (Men’s fashion designer, clothier to Elvis Presley)
Ralph McQuarrie (Designer: Cocoon, the original Star Wars trilogy: Episodes 4-6)
Jeff Millar (writer, co-creator of the Tank McNamara comic strip)
Muppeteer Jerry Nelson
Mark O’Donnell (Tony Award winning Broadway writer: Hair Spray, Cry Baby)
Frank Pierson (Screenwriter: Dog Day Afternoon, Cool Hand Luke)
Vidal Sassoon (Noted hair stylist)
Tony Scott (Director: Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop 2)
Maurice Sendak (Author: Where the Wild Things Are)
Mel Shaw (Artist: Fantasia, Bambi, The Lion King)
Robert B. Sherman (Composer: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, It’s A Small World)
Science fiction writer Josepha Sherman (The Shining Falcon, numerous Star Trek books)
Mystery writer Donald J. Sobol (Encyclopedia Brown)
Emily Squires (Producer/director: Sesame Street, As the World Turns, Guiding Light)
Mel Stuart (Director: Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium)
Gore Vidal (Writer/actor; Suddenly Last Summer, With Honors)
Mike Wallace (Reporter/anchor: 60 Minutes)
Animator Bill White
TV writer Digby Wolfe (The Monkees, The Munsters, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In)
Richard Zanuck (Movie producer: Jaws, Driving Miss Daisy)
Ray Zone (Noted film and 3D expert)

Fontella Bass (Singer: Rescue Me)
Dick Clark (Host of American Bandstand and $25,000 Pyramid)
Gary Collins (Host of Hour Magazine and The Miss America Pageant)
Phyllis Diller (pioneering comedian)
Robin Gibb (The Bee Gees, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Movie)
Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard, How Will I Know?)
Singer Etta James (At Last, Trust In Me)
Davy Jones (Oliver!, The Monkees)
Dorothy McGuire of the McGuire Sisters
Scott McKenzie (Singer: If You’re Going To San Francisco, and songwriter: Kokomo)
Martin Richards (Broadway producer)
Billy Scott (Rhythm and Blues singer)
Donna Summer (Bad Girls, She Works Hard For the Money)
Dick Tufeld (Voice actor, Robot B-9 on Lost In Space)
Andy Williams (Moon River and other hits)

Astronaut Neil Armstrong (First Human to set foot on the moon)
Rodney King (Victim of excessive force that sparked riots in Los Angeles, California)
US Politician George McGovern
Sir Patrick Moore (Noted astronomer)
Retired US General Norman Schwarzkopf (the Gulf War)
Shlomo Venezia (World War 2 Holocaust survivor)
Violet Wood (passing at 112, was the oldest person in Great Britain, if not the world)

Dave Brubeck (Jazz composer and pianist)
Donald “Duck” Dunn (The Blues Brothers, Booker T and the MGs)
Levon Helm of The Band
Jon Lord (Deep Purple’s keyboardist)
Earl Scruggs (Legendary banjo player: Foggy Mountain Breakdown, The Ballad of Jed Clampett)
Ravi Shankar (Internationally known sitar player, composer)
Big Jim Sullivan (Highly demanded session guitarist who participated in over 1000 charting records in his career)
Doc Watson (Country/blue grass guitar legend)

The gunmen responsible for the shoot outs at the Aurora, Colorado theater; the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; and anyone else who would take another’s life without moral or legal justification.

NOTE: All categories and the names within them are alphabetical, except the last.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Those were the days.
Hello Everybody. Your humble Editor-In-Chief Lee Houston, Junior here. Autumn the Puppy and Waxy Dragon have the holiday weekend off, so it's up to me to entertain you for a few minutes.

With New Year's Eve drawing near, it's easy to let your mind wander and reminisce.

I was born in 1962, and grew up with some great television. Captain Kangaroo, Cadet Don, Kitirik, Jonny Quest, Herculoids, Space Ghost... I think you get the idea.
Local favorites Kitirik & Cadet Don
Television started out in glorious black and white, and while color sets were available in the 1960s, they were kind of expensive for the average person until the 1970s. So imagine seeing the original Star Trek or the Adam West version of Batman in black and white. For some reason, it seemed like a big deal when your family was able to make the switch. Yet today color is common place and seeing something like Casablanca or The Three Stooges in black and white is the "oddity".

From Star Trek to this!
Pay phones inside phone booths were common place until the early 1980s, and then started getting phased out as cellphones caught on. Yet the first cellphones were larger than a paperback book size wise!

Computers were HUMONGOUS machines that filled whole rooms, while using punch cards and magnetic tape to store data. Now they're smaller than books and use flash cards and more internal memory than even the Human brain might have!

I could go on about how, unless they have family that remember those "ancient" times, today's generation(s) have no idea what a manual typewriter is, realize that CDs replaced vinyl records, photographs were not always digital, and a whole host of other things.

1 + 1 = 2 regardless of the device used.
Now don't get me wrong. A lot of today's technical marvels are fantastic compared to what they replaced. But progress seems to come with a loss.

Once upon a time, my generation could play on the sidewalk or walk to the corner convenience store without worry of being kidnapped or shot at.

Once stamps were just edited to reflect price increase instead of creating new ones!
We used regular "snail mail" to communicate with each other long distance, and the post office was run a LOT more efficiently than it is today. In the past, it was scandalous when the cost of mailing a letter went from six to eight cents! Yet now the cost of the stamp may rise as high as fifty cents, and the post office is still considering doing away with Saturday deliveries to save money! And this is considering that once, depending upon where you lived, you might have gotten both a morning AND afternoon delivery if you were within the inner city limits.

Were things ever THAT inexpensive?
And then there is the price on just about everything.
When I was a kid, a comic book would cost you twenty cents for twenty pages of story and art, usually two tales per issue, with a letters column too, so you could see what other readers thought about past issues. Nowadays that same comic book is at least $2.99 for the same twenty pages, although most no longer have a letters column and the story usually ends with those dreaded words: TO BE CONTINUED.
And have you noticed how the prices on some things might be staying the same, but you are no longer getting the same amount you used to?

Maybe I'm just feeling my age today with the end of another year approaching,  a foot of snow on the ground, and a howling wind blowing the dust around while I stay safe and warm inside.

But this is the Sunday Funnies, although you folks can see why I prefer to leave the comedy to the puppy and the dragon. So let me end this column on a high note.

The more things change...

You can never go wrong with a funny cat picture!

Here's hoping your 2013 is filled with happiness and a bright warm future.

And don't worry folks, the ladies will be resuming their regular duties next weekend, for more Sunday Funnies.


Lee Houston, Junior
Editor-In-Chief, The Free Choice E-zine.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


*For the first time in our history, the Free Choice E-zine has been honored with over 2000 page views (readers' visits), within a single month! December 2012 is also the fourth consecutive month of this establishment having more than 1000 page views and the fifth overall within this e-zine's career!

Amongst events that have happened around the world this past week...
*The "fiscal cliff" grows near for the United States government. If Congress cannot agree on a new budget by the last second of 2012, preprogramed budget cuts and an automatic tax hike of up to $2500 for the average citizen take effect. The problem? Republicans still want to preserve the George W. Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy, a position Democrats have been opposed to since Day 1.
*A 17 year old India girl committed suicide after being raped instead of giving into pressure by local police to marry her attacker! Meanwhile another lady in India, who was gang raped on a bus in Delhi, has passed away from injuries sustained during that attack.
*China has officially opened a high speed rail route between Beijing and Guangzhou.
*Park Geun-hye has been elected as the first female President of South Korea. Meanwhile, that country's Defense Ministry claims North Korea's recent satellite launch was actually a missile test in disguise.
*Technically Egypt has adopted a new constitution, but those opposed to it are raising questions of voter fraud and violations that need to be investigated.
*Former US President George H.W. Bush is recovering from his recent hospital stay.
*Former South African President Nelson Mandela is receiving at home care after a recent hospital visit.
*NASA hopes to turn an asteroid into a space station for future astronauts traveling between the Earth and Mars by 2025.
*Civil unrest continues in Syria, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, and Northern Mali.

This past week, the world has lost actor Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple, Quincy, M.E.), actor Charles Durning (The Sting, Dog Day Afternoon), Gerry Anderson (executive producer Thunderbirds, Space: 1999), and retired US General Norman Schwarzkopf (the Gulf War).
On New Year's Eve, the Free Choice E-zine will be presenting its annual IN MEMORIUM list of those who have left us this past year.

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


Well folks, the end of the year is upon us, meaning this is the last Puzzle Corner of 2012.
But don't worry, we got a lot of new enigmas planned for 2013 and beyond!
In the meantime, let's finish out the year with these puzzles.

The items within each group have something in common. Do you know what it is?
01. {Alistair Sims, Patrick Stewart}
02. {Jim Backus, Alan Young}
03. {Both groups}

Last week we sought out words in CHRISTMAS (answers below). Now let's see how many words can be found within NEW YEAR.

We'll reveal all the first weekend of 2013, which is just a week away folks!
Meanwhile, let's peek inside the remains of the unwrapped ANSWERS BOX and discover the results of the December 22 Puzzle Corner.



Our tree may be decorated, but there is NO L!

Amongst the letters within CHRISTMAS, you can find the following words:

A, act(s), ah(s), aim(s), air(s), am, arc(s), arch, arm(s), art(s), as, ash, ass, at
Cam(s), car(s), cart(s), cash, cast(s) cat(s), char(s), chair(s), charm(s), chart(s), chasm(s), chat(s), cram(s)
Ha, hair, ham(s), harm(s), has, hat(s), hi, him, his, hiss, hit(s)
I, I’m, is, it, its, itch
Ma, mach, march, mart(s), mash, mass, mast(s), mat(s), match, math, mint(s),mirth, miss, mist(s)
Racism, racist(s), ram(s), rash, rat(s), rich, rim(s)
Sash, sat, scam(s), scar(s), scat, sham(s), shirt(s), Sir, sis, sit(s), smash, smart(s), stair(s), star(s), starch, stash, stir(s)
Tar(s), this, trash, tram(s), trim(s), Tsar

Besides the 132 words listed above, Chris, Christ, and Sam might be eligible, depending upon your position of counting names in a game like this. Other words might be possible.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


For those of our readership who celebrate the

From The Free Choice E-zine and its staff.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Welcome Christmas, bring your cheer
Welcome all whos(e) far and near
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.

Dr. Seuss, from How The Grinch Stole Christmas animated special


Sunday, December 23, 2012


I do not "bark" Jingle Bells!
Hello Everybody. Autumn the Puppy here, along with Ms. Waxy Dragon and our Editor-In-Chief Lee Houston, Junior for The Free Choice E-zine's annual Christmas office party.

AUTUMN: Hey, Waxy. Why are there lots of uncooked eggs all over the food table? I thought I asked you to get egg nog for the party.
Wants Dark Chocolate for Christmas, what else?
WAXY: I tried Autumn. I could find eggs in every store, but I could never find any nog.

LEE: Waxy, egg nog is actually a dairy based beverage consisting of--
AUTUMN: Hey chief. This is supposed to be a party. Let's just kick back and relax for once. Okay?
LEE: Okay. I'll try. But I do have one question. Why am I hearing The Chipmunk Song for like the 22nd time since this party started?
Nobody knows the troubles he's seen
WAXY: I thought you loved the song.
LEE: I do. It's a pleasant memory from my childhood.
WAXY: That's why I have it playing on a continuous loop.
LEE: Waxy, I appreciate the gesture, but let's go on to some other Christmas tunes. Okay.
AUTUMN: So while we kick back and relax a bit, here are some Christmas themed jokes.

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

Would a survey conducted in the Arctic be a North Poll?

"I am NOT a mutant!"
Where does Santa find his reindeer?              
It depends upon where he left them last.

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

What do Santa's elves do after school?
Their gnomework.

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

LEE: Say Autumn, do you write a letter to Santa Claus or Santa Paws?
AUTUMN: Being a smart dog, both. I figure it's best not to bite any hand that might feed me.
WAXY: Wish I could say the same thing. If that hand is holding dark chocolate, especially Bulgosian dark chocolate...

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

Why does Santa Claus go down chimneys?
Because it soots him.

What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Frosted Flakes.

Why is Christmas always cold?
Because it's Decembrrr....

LEE: Well, it's time to wish everybody a Merry Christmas.
WAXY: Wait. What does Santa Claus' wife have to do with this?
AUTUMN: What do you mean Waxy.
WAXY: Mrs. Claus. Merry Christmas!
AUTUMN: Season's Greetings!
LEE: Joyous Noel. Feliz Navidad. Mele Kalikimaha--
AUTUMN & WAXY (together): Just say good night Lee.
LEE: Good night Lee.


Saturday, December 22, 2012


For those unaware of the outcome, the final score from yesterday's potential end of the world prediction is WORLD = 1, MAYANS = 0. 

Amongst events that have happened around the world this past week...

*Memorial services and funerals have been held for all the innocent victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.
*Park Geun-hye has been elected the first female President of South Korea.
*Shinzo Abe has been elected the new Prime Minister of Japan.
*Egyptian citizens are voting upon ratifying a new constitution.
*Time magazine has named United States President Barack Obama as its 2012 Person of the Year.
*Meanwhile, President Obama has nominated Senator John Kerry to replace Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton has said that she would resign in January 2013, regardless of who won the US Presidential Election in November 2012.
*The cancellation of any professional hockey games held by the National Hockey League has been extended to mid-January 2013, due to the ongoing lockout; although fans are not holding out hope for the remainder of the season.
*Civil unrest continues in Syria and Afghanistan.

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


This is the last weekend BEFORE Christmas, so let's break out some classic enigmas.

How many new words can you form out of the letters in the word CHRISTMAS?

Something quite timely is represented by the image below. Do you know what it is?

We'll reveal all next weekend.
But for now, let's open the gift wrapped ANSWERS BOX, and discover the results of December 15's Puzzle Corner.

Scrooge McDuck's first ANIMATED appearance was actually in an educational short entitled Scrooge McDuck and Money, released in 1967.
In all honesty, I thought it was playing his namesake in the 1983 release Mickey's Christmas Carol.

Requires at least 3 weeks for shipping on time.

I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas, as originally sung by Gayla Peevey.
Contrary to urban legend, the song was NOT originally recorded as a means for a local zoo to raise money to acquire a hippopotamus, but has been used in that capacity since its 1953 release.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Since the tragedy that befell those innocents at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, there have been many conflicting reports of just what happened, and why.

At first the gunman's motive was to kill his mother in a vendetta to wipe out his family before taking his own life. Now, while the mother was still a potential target, she was killed in her home and his motives for targeting the school are uncertain as I post this.

Originally, the gunman was allegedly buzzed in before his true motives were known. Now, it has been revealed that he physically forced his way into the school before his tour of violence began.

Authorities are still investigating the situation, trying to get the details and motivations exact. The mother's background is now being investigated, for she was in possession of several weapons herself.

The Free Choice E-zine will NOT be posting the names of any of the victims, for their families need their privacy to grieve and mourn their tragic losses; but we do salute and honor the heroic efforts of the teachers who managed to save lives, in some cases at the cost of their own.
Also, this establishment will NOT be posting the name of the gunman, for we do not see the point in glorifying villains.

Lee Houston, Junior
Editor-In-Chief: The Free Choice E-zine

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Ms. Waxy Dragon
Autumn the Puppy
Here we are once more, Ms. Waxy Dragon and Autumn the Puppy, to discuss more fun Christmas Carols.

WAXY: So, I'm Getting Nothing For Christmas?
AUTUMN: WHAT? Since when?
WAXY: No, that's a Christmas song originally recorded by a group known as The Peter Pan Players.
AUTUMN: Oh. Well then, we definitely have to include All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth by Spike Jones and His City Slickers.
Special Delivery Charges May Apply.
WAXY: Then, I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas.
AUTUMN: Be reasonable. It would never fit down the chimney.
WAXY: No. That's a song first recorded by Gayla Peevey.
AUTUMN: I was just kidding. But I wonder how the song would sound if it was recorded by Pauley Perrette?
WAXY: You mean the actress who plays Abby on NCIS? That would be interesting, since her character has a stuffed hippo named Bert on the show.
AUTUMN: Well, All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey should definitely be on the list.
WAXY: Oh? Is there a special someone in your life?
AUTUMN: There could be, if Snoopy ever returns any of my e-mails. Meanwhile, there are so many more songs to consider.
WAXY: I know. Like the whole soundtrack to How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
AUTUMN: Definitely the original animated special. All the song lyrics were written by Dr. Seuss himself and sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.
WAXY: The original voice of Tony the Tiger for Kellogs.
AUTUMN: "You're A Mean One, Mister Grinch!"
WAXY: "Christmas Time is within our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp."
AUTUMN: That reminds me. We also have to include the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
WAXY:  I have the Vince Guaraldi Trio CD and play it every December.
AUTUMN: Me too. Especially the Peanuts theme: Linus and Lucy.
WAXY: What else should we plan to play?
AUTUMN: Like you said last week. There's just so much good Christmas music. Like White Christmas by Bing Crosby. The Little Drummer Boy by the Vienna Boys Choir.
WAXY: Santa Baby.
AUTUMN: Definitely the Eartha Kitt original for that one.
WAXY: Agreed.
AUTUMN: Let's just grab all our Christmas CDs and take them to the party.
WAXY: Okay.
AUTUMN: So join us here next Sunday folks for The Free Choice E-zine's annual Christmas Party, right here on The Sunday Funnies!
WAXY: Have a great week everyone, and don't get run over by any reindeer!

If you have never heard any of the songs mentioned in this column, just go to You Tube and enter the song title in the site's search box.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


The details of exactly what happened are still unfolding, but seven adults and twenty students were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut December 14th. A lone gunman broke into the school to kill his mother as part of a vendetta to wipe out his family before killing himself.

As the country deals with the traumatic aftermath, our resident poet Nancy A. Hansen has written the following...

SANDY HOOK 12-13-12

I have no tender words
To comfort those
Who have lost loved ones
To senseless violence
I wouldn't know what to say
That could convey the aching, oppressive feeling
Weighing down my spirit 
With long chains of lead
Nothing seems appropriate
Except to cry out, “WHY???”
Knowing there are no simple answers

How can you say to someone
Who’s had everything that matters
Torn asunder in a few horrific moments,
“I’m so sorry for your loss?”
It seems hackneyed and trite
And markedly overused
In an antiseptic way
Separating us who still have our lives intact
From what has happened to innocent strangers
Via some careworn expression 
Of clinical consolation
Tossed about like macabre confetti
It doesn't lighten my soul
And does nothing for their sorrow
We all know I came home
To a world still unmarred
Yet they’ll never feel safe or peaceful again

I can’t imagine what it would be like
To have my life so abruptly changed 
At the hands of another
I hope I never have to find out
Because I’m not sure I could bear it
And I’ll readily admit
Today I was glad my boys are grown
That my grandchild is safe
And my family remains unharmed
On my side of the state
Because I can’t forget
This could have happened anywhere
To any one of us
In this world of violent decisions
Long planned in remorseless hatred
Fueled by bitter divisiveness
In a society too busy to notice
Some of us are struggling far too hard 
Just trying to cope
With what we have been dealt
Had the time and place been different
It could have been any of us
In the news tonight

So solemnizing this day
When terror struck
At a place called Sandy Hook
I’m simply writing 
Whatever came to mind…
Today I found myself praying 
Ever so fervently
This never has to happen
To anyone


The thoughts and prayers of The Free Choice E-zine's staff go out to everyone affected by events at the Sandy Hook Elementary School December 14, 2012.

Amongst events happening around the world this past week...
* Seven adults and 20 students at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut lost their lives when a lone gunman broke into the school to kill his mother as part of a vendetta to wipe out his family before taking his own life.
*The musical group Los Lobos celebrates their 40th anniversary this month.
*"The Tallow Candle" an until now unknown early work of author Hans Christen Anderson, has been found in Denmark.
*The National Hockey League has officially canceled all events for the remainder of 2012, due to the unsettled players/owners lockout.
*Sitar artist and classical composer Ravi Shankar, has passed away.
*For those interested, it has been revealed that Sir Paul McCarntey's performance fee for the 2012 Olympics in London, England was just One Pound. He originally offered to perform for free, but legal regulations would not allow him to do so, hence the token gratuity.
*Civil unrest continues in Afghanistan and Syria.

The Free Choice E-zine would like to thank its readership for we have broken 1000 forum views for the fourth straight month!

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


This week as part of our annual Christmas season enigmas, we have not one, but TWO new puzzles for you!

A Christmas song is represented by the image below. Do you know what it is?

Long time comic book and Disney fans know that Scrooge McDuck's first comic book appearance was in the Christmas classic "Christmas on Bear Mountain" by Carl Barks.
But do you know what Scrooge's first ANIMATED appearance was?
HINT: It was EARLIER than the Duck Tales TV series!

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside the gift wrapped ANSWERS BOX, and discover the results from our December 8 Songwriter's quiz! The number in parenthesis was if more than one person was involved.

01. The Christmas Song (2) = Mel Torme and Robert Wells
02. White Christmas = Irving Berlin
03. Silver Bells (2) = Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
04. Jingle Bell Rock (2) = Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe
05. Feliz Navidad Jose Feliciano
06. Happy Xmas (War Is Over!) (2) = John Lennon and Yoko Ono
07. Wonderful Christmas Time = Paul McCartney
08. Here Comes Santa Claus (2) = Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman
09. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Tommie Connor
10. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Rockin' Round The Christmas Tree, AND A Holly Jolly Christmas = Johnny Marks wrote all three!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


For those amongst our readership who celebrate the Festival of Lights, HAPPY HANUKKAH!


Hello Everybody, Autumn the Puppy AND Ms. Waxy Dragon here to share with you some of our favorite Carols of the Christmas season.

NOT a brown noser!
WAXY: Right you are Autumn, and one of my favorites is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The comeback story of Names, a poor little reindeer who makes good despite how Olive always picked on him.
AUTUMN: Waxy, what are you talking about?
WAXY: Well, it's right there in the song. "Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him Names."
AUTUMN: Well, at least it's not Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.
WAXY: What? When did that happen?
AUTUMN: No Waxy, it's a comedic carol by Elmo and Patsy.
WAXY: The cute, red furred Muppet?
AUTUMN: No Waxy. A different Elmo. Anyway, the video clearly shows Grandma safe and sound at the end. But a lot of people got upset when the song first started playing on the radio.
WAXY: I have no idea why. After all, Santa would never do such a thing. Anyway, another of my personal favorites is The Chipmunk Song.
AUTUMN: A perennial favorite for young and old alike.
WAXY: Do you think Alvin ever got his hula hoop?
AUTUMN: I'm sure he has by now. I know he loves his harmonica. And I also know of Yogi Yorgesson.
WAXY: Who?

AUTUMN: Yogi was one of the many characters portrayed by a comedian named Harry Stewart, who was big back in the 1940s and 1950s. Two of his best holiday routines were Yingle Bells and I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas.
WAXY: Sounds like fun.
AUTUMN: Yes, they are. I'll play them for you after we're done here.
WAXY: But there's just so many great Christmas songs. Like Rosemary Clooney singing Suzy Snowflake. Captain Kangaroo reading the story of The Littlest Snowman With The Candy Cane Heart.
AUTUMN: A personal favorite of mine.
WAXY: But my point is that I hope everyone comes back next weekend when we talk about more Christmas songs.
AUTUMN: Take care everybody!

For those unfortunate to have never heard any of the songs mentioned in this column, visit YouTube and just enter the song title in the site's search box.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


December 7th marked the 225th anniversary of Delaware becoming a member of the United States, while Pennsylvania will celebrate their 225th December 12th. Meanwhile, Mississippi celebrates its 195th anniversary of statehood December 10th.

Amongst events that have happened around the world this past week...
*The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that they are expecting their first child, who would be third in line for the throne of England after Prince Charles and Prince William.
*Republicans in the United States Senate voted against and have kept America from accepting the United Nations Rights of Persons with Disabilities Treaty, thus casting shame upon this country!
*Google+ has confirmed it now has over 500 million registered users and will soon open new "communities" features within the system.
*Civil unrest continues in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Syria.

*NASA's Curiosity rover has found signs of carbon based elements that compose organic life on Mars, but has yet to determine the samples origins or prove life (in any form) has ever been on the red planet.
*Meanwhile, the success of Curiosity has spurred NASA to plan a sequel Martian probe, with a tentative launch projection of 2020.
*The twin GRAIL probes mapping the moon have revealed deep cracks, additional craters, and tectonic structures previously unknown to scientists.
*Originally launched in 1977, the Voyager 1 space probe is on the outer edge of our solar system and prepared to go further into interstellar space.

*The 2012 inductees into the Kennedy Center Hall of Fame are late night talk show host David Letterman, the group Led Zeppelin, blues musician Buddy Guy, and ballerina Natalia Makarova.
*Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck has passed away at age 91.

*The New Orleans Hornets will officially change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans, in honor of the Louisiana state bird as of the 2013-14 professional basketball season.
*Professional basketball player Kobe Bryant scored his 30,000th career point earlier this week.

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


Welcome back everybody, as we continue our annual Christmas enigma tradition here at the Puzzle Corner.
Now, everybody has their favorite Christmas carols, and we can debate until the egg nog turns warm and the  Christmas cookies crumble as to who performed the best version of a specific tune.
Several are listed below, but do you know who WROTE your favorite Christmas carol?
(In the spirit of the season, if more than one person was involved, the number is listed after the song.)

01. The Christmas Song (2)
02. White Christmas
03. Silver Bells (2)
04. Jingle Bell Rock (2)
05. Feliz Navidad
06. Happy Xmas (War Is Over!) (2)
07. Wonderful Christmas Time
08. Here Comes Santa Claus (2)
09. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
10. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Rockin' Round The Christmas Tree, AND A Holly Jolly Christmas (SAME PERSON wrote all three!)

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's open THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the December 1st Puzzle Corner.

01. (Pardon Me) Pete Groundhoug (voiced by Buddy Hackett) Jack Frost
02. Spieltoe (Roger Miller) Nestor: The Long Eared Christmas Donkey
03. Sam, a snowman (Burl Ives) Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
04. S(pecial) D(elivery) Kluger (Fred Astaire) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
05. Mrs. Claus (Shirley Booth) The Year Without A Santa Claus

All of the above were stop-motion animated Christmas Specials produced by Rankin-Bass.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


With the Christmas season upon us, people everywhere are scrambling to not only find the "perfect" gift(s) for their loved one(s), but presents that they can afford as well.
To me, there is nothing more interesting than a good book, so lets look at some of the offerings within the New Pulp genre.
NOTE: These suggestions are just based simply upon my own personal tastes as an avid reader. I have either already read the books below or want to read them, as noted within the individual listings.

From Radio Archives

Radio Archives has released an impressive anthology featuring Night Beat, an old time radio series about Randy Stone, a reporter who worked the graveyard shift for The Chicago Star.
Featuring the talents of the late Howard Hopkins, Will Murray, Paul Bishop, Bobby Nash, Tommy Hancock, and Mark Squirek to create six interesting short stories that are available in both print, e-book, AND audio format!

My status: want it.
From Moonstone Books

Also by the late Mister Hopkins is The Lone Ranger: Vendetta a novel featuring the masked rider of the plains and his faithful Indian companion that is more true to the legend and what has come before than that movie Disney is filming with Johnny Depp as Tonto is rumored to be.

My status: want to read it.

From Airship 27

Sinbad: The New Voyages is an anthology featuring the Arabian Nights sailor with a new crew in stories that harken back to the days of Ray Harryhausen's talented special effects long before computer generated graphics.
Featuring the talents of Nancy Hansen, Ian Watson, and Derrick Ferguson.

My status: read and loved it! When will volume 2 be released?

From Pulp Work Press

Derrick Ferguson's Dillon and the Pirates of Xonira, the latest book in this series, has the soldier of fortune going to check on an old friend who might be up to no good now, provided Dillion lives long enough to discover the truth.

My status: want to read it.
From Airship 27

I have read and loved the first two books within Ian Watson's Robin Hood trilogy: King of Sherwood and Arrow of Justice.
While the conclusion is not due until 2013, I am seriously looking forward to it and wonder if the rumors that Watson's next project will be exploring the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are true?

My status: read and recommended!
From Pro Se Press

Meanwhile, the second book in Chuck Miller's Black Centipede series was recently released, and Blood of the Centipede has been earning rave reviews! While I will be the first to admit that it is difficult to describe the title character and what happens to between this volume and the previous book: Creeping Dawn: The Rise of the Black Centipede; that adds to the charm of the series!

My status>Creeping Dawn: read and recommended!
Blood of the Centipede: want to read it.
From Airship 27

Bobby Nash is a prolific New Pulp writer with a lot of material available. Two of his more recent releases are The Ruby Files, a hard boiled detective in the Great Depression that he co-created with Sean Taylor and
From BEN Books
Earthstrike Agenda, a science fiction adventure about our
planet decades after Humanity has reached for the stars. Now the last of mankind must fight an alien race for ownership of the world.

My status: want to read both.

From Solstice

Another hard boiled detective novel is Ten A Week Steale, by Stephen Jared. A veteran of World War 1 comes home to Hollywood and the fledgling movie industry, only to get caught in political intrigue and the love of a rising starlet he might lose, if he isn't killed first.

My status: read and recommended.

From Airship 27
For those who remember such series as Tom Corbet: Space Cadet, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers and company, comes Three Against the Stars by Joe Bonadonna. A trio of space marines are the only thing that stand between an evil empire wanting to overthrow a peaceful regime to achieve their own agenda.

My status: want to read it.

From White Rocket Books

The Golden Age by Jeff Deischer unites all the Standard/Better/Nedor comic book characters in a new prose adventure set during World War 2.
For fans of either the original Justice Society of America, or the work of Roy Thomas between DC's All Star Squadron and/or Marvel's Invaders, this is the novel for you!

My status: want to read it.

Occurring while Sherlock Holmes was presumed dead after that fateful encounter with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, Doctor Watson's American Adventure by Erwin K. Roberts finds Holmes' friend exploring a new (to him) land and discovering himself as well.

My status: want to read it.

Of course, there are all kinds of books within the New Pulp genre, which is reviving the fast paced, action/adventure format of the past with new tales of both classic characters and brand new creations.
From Pro Se Press
Also from Pro Se Press
A couple of other releases that you might have heard about this past year are Tales of the Vagabond Bards and The Huntress of Greenwood by Nancy Hansen, and another superhero adventure: Project Alpha by yours truly.

But please remember, the above are only the suggestions of an avid reader.