Tuesday, December 31, 2013


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 2013, we have also lost...

Michael Ansara (Broken Arrow, various Star Trek appearances and other guest starring roles)
Allan Arbus (M*A*S*H, Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Conrad Bain (Different Strokes, Maude)
Frank Bank (Leave It To Beaver)
Dennis Farina (Law and Order, Crime Story, Midnight Run, Get Shorty)
Brian Forbes (The Stepford Wives)
James Gandolfini (The Sopranos)
Richard Griffiths (the Harry Potter franchise)
Larry Hagman (I Dream of Jeanie, Dallas)
Bernard Horsfall (Doctor Who, Braveheart, Gandhi)
Jim Kelly (Enter The Dragon)
Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple; Quincy, M.E.)
Tom Laughlin (The Billy Jack film franchise)
Tony Lip (Goodfellas, The Sopranos)
Paul Mantee (Robinson Crusoe on Mars)
Cory Montieth (Glee)
Lou Myers (A Different World)
Michael O’Hare (Babylon 5)
Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year)
Harry Reems (Deep Throat)
Dale Robertson (Tales of Wells Fargo, Death Valley Days, Dynasty)
August Schellenberg (Free Willy)
Frank Thornton (Are You Being Served?)
Malachi Throne (versatile guest star of television in 1960s-1970s)
Ned Wertimer (Car 54, Where Are You?; The Jeffersons)
Lee Thompson Young (The Famous Jett Jackson, Rizzoli & Isles)
Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious franchise)

Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces, Easy Rider, Nashville)
Eileen Brennan (Private Benjamin)
Jeanne Cooper (long term role on The Young And The Restless)
Bonnie Franklin (One Day At A Time, various Broadway productions)
Annette Funicello (Founding member of the original Mickey Mouse Club and beach movies)
Julie Harris
Marta Helfin (A Perfect Couple)
Lisa Robin Kelly (That 70s Show)
Patsy May (Our Gang/The Little Rascals)
Marlangela Melato (The original Swept Away)
Margaret Pellegrini (Munchkin, 1939’s The Wizard of Oz)
Jean Stapleton (All In The Family, various Broadway productions)
Marcia Wallace (The Bob Newhart Show, The Simpsons)
Esther Williams (Neptune’s Daughter, Dangerous When Wet)

Stan Musial (Major League Baseball great)
Paul Rice (Cricketer)
Bill Roost (European footballer)
Earl Weaver (Manager: Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball)

Tom Clancy (Author, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games)
A. C. Crispin (noted science fiction author)
Ray Cusick (Designed the original Daleks and other aliens for Doctor Who)
Ray Dolby (Sound Pioneer)
Roger Ebert (Famous movie critic)
Richard E. Geis (Science Fiction author)
Ray Harryhausen (Special Effects pioneer)
William Harrison (science fiction author: Rollerball)
Carmine Infantino (noted comic book artist from the 1940s to late 1990s)
Elmore Leonard (Author, Get Shorty)
Richard Matheson (noted science fiction author: I am Legend, episodes of the original Twilight Zone)
Claude Nobs (Founder of the Montreaux Jazz Festival)
Andrew J. Offutt (science fiction/fantasy author)
Pauline Phillips (“Dear Abby”)
Frederik Pohl (noted science fiction author)
Maxine Powell (Motown Records)
Steven Utley (Science Fiction writer)

Patty Andrews (Last surviving member of The Andrew Sisters)
Bobby “Blue” Bland (“Turn On Your Love Light”, “Further On Up The Road”)
Eydie Gorme
Otis Harris (of The Temptations)
Jane Harvey (Jazz vocalist)
Rick Huxley (of The Dave Clark Five)
Bobby Mansfield (of The Wrens)
Patti Page (“The Tennessee Waltz”)
Bobby Rogers (of The Miracles)
Bobby Smith (of The Spinners)
Cleotha Staples (of The Staple Singers)
Jonathan Winters (Legendary comedian; It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; Mork and Mindy)

Robert Ashton (Noted historian)
Doctor Joyce Brothers (Psychologist)
Scott Carpenter (Original member of the Mercury space program, second Human to orbit the earth)
Hugo Chavez (President of Venezuela from 1999 until his death)
David Frost (Famous journalist)
Donald Hornig (Member of The Manhattan Project, former President of Brown University)
Ed Koch (Mayor of New York City from 1978-1989)
Doctor C. Everett Koop (United States Surgeon General during President Ronald Reagan's administration)Nelson Mandela (Anti-apartheid leader, peaceful activist)
Sir Patrick Moore (Famous Astronomer, The Sky At Night)
Margaret Thatcher (Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979-1990)
Derek Yalden (Zoologist)

Peter Banks (Guitarist, Yes)
Leroy Bonner (Member of the Ohio Players)
Cedric Brooks (Reggae artist)
Donald Byrd (Jazz musician)
Van Cliburn (Pianist)
Joey Covington (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna)
George Duke (jazz musician)
“T-Model Ford” (aka James Lewis Carter, blues artist)
Jack Greene (Country Western artist)
Rick Huxley (of The Dave Clark Five)
Sammy Johns (Singer, “Chevy Van”, “America”)
George Jones (Country Western artist)
Alvin Lee (Guitarist, Ten Years After)
“Magic Slim” (Blues guitarist)
Ray Manzarek (of The Doors)
Marian McPartland (jazz pianist)
Alan Myers (Drummer for Devo)
Reg Presley (of The Troggs “Wild Thing”)
Lou Reed (Musician, Velvet Underground)
Paul Tanner (Trombonist, last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra)
Derek Watkins (Trumpeter, played on EVERY James Bond movie soundtrack <from Doctor No to Skyfall>until his death!)
Slim Whitman (Country western artist)

Anyone who would take another’s life without moral and legal justification.

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

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Hello Everybody. Your Editor-In-Chief Lee Houston, Junior here, for Autumn the Puppy and Waxy Dragon have the holiday weekend off.

I have been sitting here at my keyboard, wondering what to post for today's Sunday Funnies. Doing so, my mind wandered (and yes, it's old enough to be out on its own) over Christmas' past.

From my childhood to early adult years, one constant has always been the holiday specials. But it seems the further we go in time and the older I get, the less they air.

Now, while I know such great entertainers from yesteryear like Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, and Dean Martin are sadly no longer with us; what about the type of wholesome, family entertainment they used to present each winter? Sometimes I feel that Christmas is not only getting too commercial, but that it is getting lost amongst the growing concern to be "politically correct".

You still can see a few perennial favorites on the major networks like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and It's A Wonderful Life. But the rest? Rankin-Bass produced specials of the past like The Year Without A Santa Claus and The Little Drummer Boy have been regulated to cable, provided they are still shown at all.

Case in point: the 1974 special 'Twas The Night Before Christmas not only adapted the classic Clement Clarke Moore poem, but gave an entertaining explanation about events leading up to it featuring an inquisitive mouse that almost ruined Christmas for everyone in Junctionville. And as with any animated holiday special, there was also musical numbers. In this case, three great songs: "Give Your Heart A Try", "Even A Miracle Needs A Hand", and "Christmas Chimes Are Calling".

While I could not find a good video spotlighting any of the individual tunes, here is the first half of the special, courtesy of You Tube.

Yet this far from the only special that is apparently just regulated to fond, but distant memories now.
Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol first aired the year I was born (1962) but has not been seen on TV for many years in its entirety. Even the DVD is missing at least one scene from edits to squeeze in more commercials over the years.
Although still near-sighted, the title character, as voiced by Jim Backus, started out life as a thespian, and the special presents a theater company's stage production of the Charles Dickens' story, with Magoo as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Also courtesy of You Tube are two of the major tunes from that special. First, "Ringle, Ringle".

And then, "All Alone In The World", which makes one wonder how Ebenezer's life would have been if things were different long before the ghostly intervention on that fateful Christmas Eve.

If you've ever seen the special before, then I'm sure you're longing for some razzleberry dressing and a woofle jelly cake right about now.

In any event, I wish everyone a bright and shiny new year, so we'll close with a more upbeat tune and appropriate tune from another holiday special, the closing minutes of 1976's Rudolph's Shiny New Year, which should air within the next day or so, if it hasn't already.

All videos linked from You Tube via Google. Each special copyrighted by whoever does currently own the rights.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Today, Western Christianity celebrates The Day of Holy Innocents.
Besides being the start of 2014, New Year's Day marks the 125th anniversary of the Tournament of Roses Parade.

As 2013 draws to a close, amongst events that have happened around the world this past week...

*Pope Francis celebrated his first Christmas Mass.
*Fearing a potential civil war, the United Nations is sending more soldiers to South Sudan.
*Russia is supplying transport vehicles to help with the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.
*Authorities are tracking down the illegal sales of personal information stolen from the recent Target stores data breach of November 29, 2013.
*The American Express Corporation has been ordered to pay fines for billing card holders for services never used or rendered.
*The European Space Agency has launched the GAIA Observatory to catalog spacial objects.
*After being convicted and chemically castrated for homosexual acts in 1952, Great Britain has issued computer pioneer Alan Turing a posthumous royal pardon.
*Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47 assault rifle, has passed away.
*Civil unrest continues in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iran.


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.


As we near the end of 2013, let us look back and see how much of it you actually remember with this quiz.

01. We lost this actor, who was nominated EIGHT times for an Oscar, but never once won! He was given an honorary Oscar before his passing. Who was this person?

02. The next time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will occur within the same 24 hour period is not until what year?

03. Author Tom Clancy passed away this year. Can you name his last book, published posthumously?

04. What accomplishment can trumpeter Derek Watkins claim that no one else can?
05. Who won the 2013 World Series?
06. Who won the 2013 Super Bowl?
07. What makes the annual Tournament of Roses Parade so unique?
08. What famous science fiction series celebrated its 50th anniversary this year?
09. 2013 is allegedly the year the X-men have to worry about mutant hunting Sentinels taking over the world in the acclaimed "Days of Future Past" story line that is being made into a movie. But when was this comic book tale first published?
10. Who did Time magazine name their 2013 Person of the Year?

We'll reveal all next weekend in our first Puzzle Corner of 2014.
But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results of December 21, 2013's enigmas.

Based upon the clues, our Christmas Carols were...
01. ...and some homemade pumpkin pie.
There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays
02. Where the love light gleams...

I'll Be Home For Christmas
03. Christmas bells, ringing through the land...

Snoopy's Christmas (The holiday sequel to Snoopy Versus The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen)
04. ...some corn for popping...

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
05. ...unwashed socks

(You're A Mean One) Mister Grinch, from the original/animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas


It's a gingerbread house!

And The Puzzle Corner wishes all its readers and players a safe and happy 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Depending upon where you live and what you care to celebrate, today is either the start of Kwanzaa (celebrating the seven principles of African tradition/reason: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith)


Boxing Day, when servants and tradesmen usually received gifts from their employers.

            Of course, whatever your preferences, retailers also hope that you will frequent the start of their post-Christmas sales and spend more money, too.

In any event, The Free Choice E-zine wishes you the best of the holidays.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013



Sunday, December 22, 2013


Autumn the Puppy
Waxy Dragon
Puzzle Corner Christmas Tree

Editor-In-Chief Lee Houston, Junior

You have the whole gang here, gathered around the Christmas Tree The Puzzle Corner supplied to
celebrate some (non-alcoholic) good cheer as the staff attends The Free Choice E-zine's annual Christmas Party. Of course, this wouldn't be the Sunday Funnies without some humor, so please enjoy the following holiday themed jokes...

Do vegetarians wish everyone peas on Earth?

"Well Bobby," asked his aunt, "did you see Santa Claus this year?"
"No," admitted her nephew. "But I heard him yell when he stubbed his toe against the living room sofa in the dark."

Santa and his team
"We had an electric Christmas," one kid bragged to another. "I got an electric train, mom got an all new electric kitchen, and dad was shocked when he got the bill."

One woman asked another what she got in her Christmas stocking.
"Unfortunately, nothing but a run," she replied.

"Say, does Santa sleep with his beard under or above the cover?" asked Waxy.
"How should I know," replied Autumn. "I've never been to the North Pole when he's asleep."

At Christmas, everyone wants their past forgotten and their present(s) remembered.

And speaking of which, we have debated long and hard (when we weren't laughing our heads off) over what song to include with this post. So as our gift to you, take it away Gayla Peevey...

We'd like to thank You Tube for the video and our loyal readership for letting us entertain them all this time.
So whether it be Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, or whatever; enjoy the season and someone will be here next weekend with more Sunday Funnies!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today marks the 100th anniversary of the very first crossword puzzle being published.

Amongst events happening around the world this past week...
*The United Nations has condemned Syria, North Korea, and Iran for Human rights violations.
*Michelle Bachelet has been re-elected President of Chile.
*Angela Merkel has won a third term as Chancellor of Germany.
*The European Space Agency has launched the Gaia Observatory.
*Philippine representative Bea Rose Santiago has won the 2013 Miss International competition.
*The existence of a new species of tapir has been confirmed in the Amazon region.
*Vandal(s) have once again torched the Yule Goat <a straw effigy, not a real animal> of Galve, Sweden.
*Actor Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year) has passed away.
*Actress Joan Fontaine (Rebecca, Suspicion) is no longer with us.
*Civil unrest continues in Syria, Sinai, Israel, Iran, and Afghanistan.

*Investigations into the security breaches that occurred during the 2013
holiday shopping season at Target stores reveal that over 40 million credit and debit cards may be compromised! Because of this, Chase has put a (temporary?) spending limit on their debit cards.
*Same gender marriage has become legal within New Mexico, while Utah will start allowing such unions after their state laws concerning this practice were deemed unconstitutional in Federal court.
*Cat Stevens, (Daryl) Hall and (John) Oates, KISS, Linda Rondstat, and Nirvana are the 2014 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
*Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty has been suspended from the show for anti-homosexual remarks made during an interview for GQ magazine.


The Week In Review would like to wish its readership a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Blessful Boxing Day, or whatever you celebrate.

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.


It's the last weekend before Christmas and Kwanza, so let's pause to relax with a few enigmas.

Can you identify the tune just from the item/line listed below?

01. ...and some homemade pumpkin pie.
02. Where the love light gleams...
03. Christmas bells, ringing through the land...
04. ...some corn for popping...
05. ...unwashed socks

Depending upon how you celebrate the holiday(s), do you know what the image below is supposed to represent?

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the December 14, 2013 Puzzle Corner.

Crossword #1!
Although we celebrated a bit early, December 21st is the 100th anniversary of the first crossword puzzle. It was created by Arthur Wynne and printed in The New York World.
Although The Free Choice E-zine sadly still lacks the technology to produce interactive grids, we had a diagramless crossword puzzle to celebrate the occasion.
The grid was four squares by four squares.

01. Bag sack            
05. Persia, today  Iran
06. A Monkee, informally 

Pete(r Tork)
07. Letter necessity?
(a Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope)

01. Drinks slowly sips    S A C K

02. Zone area                  I R A N
03. Feline pets cats       P E T E
04. Body part knee        S A S E

And The Puzzle Corner wishes all of its fans a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, a Blessful Boxing Day, or whatever you celebrate!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

THE SUNDAY FUNNIES: DEAR SANTA... (Waxy defends Rudolph and being different)

I HAVE been a good dragon!
Dear Santa Claus:

My name is Waxy Dragon. I am 4 years old and in my second year of Dragon School; which I have been told is like a Human child in first grade.

I have been thinking long and hard about what I want for Christmas, although why you have not sent me as much Belgosian Dark Chocolate as I have asked for in the past is a mystery to me.

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

I just heard the song about your sleigh and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,
and I don't understand why Olive (the other reindeer) is picking on poor Names, I mean: Rudolph. Just in case you haven't heard it for yourself, the line goes "Olive the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him Names."

Now, I hope that "used to" means Olive is no longer picking on Rudolph; but why was she teasing him to begin with? Because he's different? I know that a red nose is unusual for a reindeer, but there is nothing wrong with being different. EVERYBODY IS!

Looking forward to seeing you Christmas eve.
Love, Waxy.
P.S.: Please don't forget the Belgosian Dark Chocolate!

Dear Waxy:

As you can see by the team photo I have enclosed with this letter, I can assure you that Rudolph and all of the other reindeer are getting along fine. Any problems of the past have long since been resolved.

Take care, and be good.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


This year marks the 60th anniversary of Matchbox toy cars.

Amongst events happening around the world this past week...
*South Korea, concerned by China's recent military exercises, has expanded its air defense zone.
*Jang Sung-taek, uncle to current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and supporter of his late father, has been expelled from office and executed!
*The Association of Southeast Asian Nations held an emergency summit to discuss China's recent military activity.
*Chang'e 3, with the Chinese rover Yutu, has landed on the moon.
*After an international memorial service December 10, the coffin of Nelson Mandela has been flown back to Qunu in preparation for his state funeral December 15.
*As clean up and relief efforts continue, the death toll in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan has now been officially confirmed at 6000+!
*Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's Man of the Year for 2013.
*The United Nations has announced that the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay is a violation of international law.
*Australia's High (Supreme) Court declares that same-gender marriages held within that country are invalid.
*The Bali Package has been adopted by the World Trade Organization in hopes of improving international commerce.
*Civil unrest continues in Iraq, Syria, the Central African Republic, and Afghanistan.

*The National Security Agency has admitted to playing games online that feature live chat in an attempt to discover possible terrorist activity. They have also been tracking Internet Cookies to identify potential hacking targets.
*The Federal government will enforce sanctions against American companies that assisted Iran with its nuclear program.
*The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has shut down 52 bus lines for safety violations.
*Congress is attempting to develop a bi-partisan budget by the January 2014 deadline.
*The US Airways Group and the AMR Corporation have merged to form the American Airlines Group.
*Voting has begun for the 71st Golden Globes awards. The winners will be announced January 12, 2014.


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.


Puzzle Number 1!
December 21st is the 100th anniversary of the first crossword puzzle. It was created by Arthur Wynne and printed in The New York World.
Although The Free Choice E-zine sadly still lacks the technology to produce interactive grids, we CAN have a diagramless crossword puzzle to celebrate the occasion.
The grid will be four squares by four squares. Can you solve the puzzle, based upon the clues below?

01. Bag
05. Persia, today
06. A Monkee, informally
07. Letter necessity?

01. Drinks slowly
02. Zone
03. Feline pets
04. Body part

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results of the December 7, 2013 Puzzle Corner.

It's time to put up the holiday tree, but we cannot resist having a little fun doing so.
A familiar word and/or phrase is represented by our decorating.
Do you know what it is?

NOEL! For there is NO L amongst the decorations!

While we were decorating, Christmas music was playing on the radio.
Do you know what the most (re)recorded song of all time is?

Irving Berlin's White Christmas. While Bing Crosby's rendition remains the most popular, there are over 500 versions of the song!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Hello Everybody. I'll be the first to admit that it has been quite a while since I last posted a book review. That doesn't mean I haven't been reading books, just that I haven't had much time to write reviews too on top of my other creative responsibilities.
But let's take care of both situations right now with a fresh review of a recently (re)released book.

Mulholland Books/Little, Brown & Co.
The Cuckoo's Calling was originally released as the first book by a new mystery writer named Robert Galbraith. As such, it received decent reviews and some reader interest. Then came the spilling of the beans when the author's real identity was revealed. But we'll get to that in a moment.

First book or not, The Cuckoo's Calling is a good mystery, with plenty of suspects when private detective Cormoran Strike is hired to investigate whether or not high-fashion model Lula Landry really committed suicide or was murdered. The reader follows Strike as he sets out on the trail, at first believing his time is being wasted but in need of the money to continue investigating. However, when things begin to add up towards proving that Landry did not shuffle off this mortal coil willingly, greed and grief seem to go hand in hand as Strike deals with his own problems while trying to discover the identity of the killer and prevent any more deaths in the process.

I must admit, that while the solution made sense, the ultimate culprit was not who I thought it would be at all. The author does play fair in regards to letting the reader discover the clues as Strike does. There is no deus ex machina, whether it be specialized knowledge in a particular subject that only the detective knows or something totally out of left field that would have made absolutely no sense otherwise.

My only quibble with this novel is that the author seemed to overuse semi-colons ( ; ) when a period would have been more appropriate to create separate sentences. Otherwise I would love to read further adventures/cases of Cormoran Strike, provided they are done in the same quality of this debut novel by author Robert Galbraith.

But therein lies the rub. While the book did well enough in its initial release that it probably would have earned a sequel on its own merits in time, over the late summer of 2013 it was revealed that Robert Galbraith is (allegedly) author J. K. Rowling; creator/writer of the Harry Potter series as well as her first stand alone novel: The Casual Vacancy.

You can imagine the public's reaction and book sales since then. A couple of reprintings, with at least one bragging about the big reveal right on the cover. Since then, the information is more subdued and limited to the proper places: the inside cover flap and the "About the Author" page.

Now then, the big question (to me at least) is this: is J. K. Rowling really Robert Galbraith?
In all honesty, I don't know.
The initial release/first edition was honest and admitted that Galbraith was a pseudonym, but allegedly for more professional reasons, to keep the real author's military/law enforcement background discreet if I understand the situation correctly.

ALSO: Rowling had already released The Causal Vacancy under her own name, so why use a pseudonym now?

I have read the entire Potter series, although not The Casual Vacancy, yet. Based upon that, I can honestly say that in my humble opinion, The Cuckoo's Calling just does not read like a J. K. Rowling's novel to me.
I don't have any explanation as to why this is so, just that it is my personal perspective on the matter.

But whether Rowling or Galbraith, I repeat my earlier position: to see more mysteries featuring Cormoran Strike, provided future volumes maintain the quality of Cuckoo.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Hello Everybody. Editor-In-Chief Lee Houston, Junior with you once again, and a day late at that!
For that, we must apologize, but it was not the fault of any member of The Free Choice E-zine.
NOT our old computer system. It just seemed like it.
The issue was that Tech Support (a friend, for most of the staff "works" here on a volunteer basis) had been promising to upgrade the E-zine's software when they got the chance.
We had the files backed up for weeks, but Tech Support was a no show, until yesterday.
The good news?
Everything is running great now, as the TFCE office system is up to the latest and greatest software wise, so there is no risk of our computer ever becoming like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey on us and trying to take over the ship, let alone the universe. 
However, with the unannounced arrival of Tech Support, by the time we were able to get back to using our PC again, it was discovered that what would have been December 8's Sunday Funnies was lost, and it was way too late to contact either of our contributors and ask for a replacement column.
The fact that we were up till 3am overseeing all the updates didn't help.

With that in mind, and considering everything we've been through to get to this point, The Free Choice E-zine would like to run one of our perennial images to illustrate our theme.

This is either a representation of law enforcement on its toes or the ultimate in eternal optimism.
Either way, have a great week folks and please be back here next weekend when the Sunday Funnies returns in all their glory!
Until then.... lh,jr.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base being attacked, the event which catapulted the United States of America into World War 2.

Amongst events that have happened around the world this past week...
Nelson Mandela, circa 2008
*The world mourns the passing of anti-apartheid activist and former South African President Nelson Mandela. Many world leaders are expected to attend the memorial service Tuesday, December 10.
*Because of recent events in that country and their consequences, the United Nations has passed resolution #2127; an International Support Mission to the Central African Republic in hopes of stabilizing that region.
*The tallying from Typhoon Haiyan continues, with 5800 confirmed dead, over 26,000 injured, and 1700+ still missing.
*A previously unknown island in the Laptev Sea has been named Yaya.
*Comet ISON broke up after skimming the sun.
*Actor Paul Walker has passed away following an auto accident.
*The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the debate over whether or not software can be patented.
*Civil unrest continues in Iran, Thai, 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.


In all honesty, there are a lot of topics we could cover this weekend. The passing of Nelson Mandela, the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle December 13th (although unfortunately, this forum still cannot produce interactive grids), today marking the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which catapulted the United States of America into World War 2.
But instead, let's take a break and start getting ready for Christmas.

It's time to put up the holiday tree, but we cannot resist having a little fun doing so.
A familiar word and/or phrase is represented by our decorating.
Do you know what it is?

While we were decorating, Christmas music was playing on the radio.
Do you know what the most (re)recorded song of all time is?

We'll reveal all next weekend, but for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX that somebody left under the tree and discover the results of the November 30th Puzzle Corner.

Based upon our clue: "A team up between Jan Eliot and Rick Stromoski might be interesting, but would not create an edible menu choice" is STONE SOUP TO NUTZ, a combination of their respective comic strips Stone Soup and Soup to Nutz.

Out of the letters in the word THANKSGIVING, you can spell the following words:
A, aging, ah, akin, an, angst, as, at
gag(s), gain(s), giant(s), gas, gat(s) <old 1930's slang for guns>, gig(s), gin(s), gist, git(s) <Hillbilly slang for scram/get>, giving
hag(s), haggis <a Scottish delicacy>, hang(s), has, hat(s), having, hi <short form of "hello">, hiking, hint(s), hit(s)
I,  ink(s), in(s), inn(s), is, it, its
kin, king(s), kit(s), knight(s), knit(s), nag(s), nigh, night(s)
sag, saint, sank, sat, saving, shag <a type of carpeting>, sight, sighting, sign, signing, sink, sinking, sin, shin, shining, sit, skin, skit, snag, snit, stag, staging, stain, staining, stank, sting, stinging, stink, stinking
tag(s), tan(s), tank(s), than, thank(s), thin(s), thing(s), think(s), this, tin
vain, vat(s), visit, Viking(s), (AND) vista.
Other words besides the 117 above might be possible. But IV (the medical term) didn’t count because it’s an abbreviation. The Roman numerals II and IV are debatable, but the cuss word for human waste was not listed since this is a family oriented E-zine.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


An old photo, but it's still me.
Hi folks! Editor-In-Chief Lee Houston, Junior here with you today, because both Autumn the Puppy and Waxy Dragon have the Thanksgiving holiday weekend off.

Now, when my turn comes to host this feature, I'm usually at a loss in regards to figuring out what to present. But not this time!

One of the many features of our Puzzle Corner (which appears every Saturday on this website) is called The Letter Shuffle, where you take the letters of one specific word or phrase and see how many new words you can make out of it.

Not every potential candidate is viable for this game, but I have been saving some of the more humorous ones for a special occasion, and there's no time like the present!

Amongst the stars, an ASTRONOMER is also a MOON STARER!
(Astronomer = Moon Starer. Get it? Got it? Good, because if you have to explain a bit, then it might not be funny. Let's continue...)

What do THE EYES do? THEY SEE.

What was the major accomplishment of GEORGE BUSH in the 2000 United States Presidential election?
HE BUGS GORE! (A reference to the massive recount and the hanging chads in Florida.) So that makes ELECTION RESULTS... LIES, LET'S RECOUNT!

When the message is in THE MORSE CODE, HERE COME DOTS.

To some students, a DORMITORY is just a DIRTY ROOM away from home.

What does the main function of a SLOT MACHINE seem to be? CASH LOST IN ME.

Any way you do the math...

When trying to rest, SNOOZE ALARMS actually mean ALAS, NO MORE Z'S.

When THE EARTH QUAKES, you feel THAT QUEER SHAKE in the ground.


What does A DECIMAL POINT think of its position in a number? "I'M A DOT IN PLACE."

Well, I got through another one folks! But I'll have to do one more Sunday Funnies fill-in the weekend between Christmas and New Year's 2014. See you then!

Thankfully, our regular comediennes return next week for more Sunday Funnies.--lth,jr.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Today is SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY here in the United States, where consumers are urged to support smaller retailers, which is actually something everyone should do every chance they get!

Amongst events happening around the world this past week...

*Iran has signed a temporary agreement for limiting its nuclear program in exchange for reduced sanctions.
*Vietnam has passed a new constitution that reaffirms the power of the Communist Party in that country.
*Angola has denied any allegations of banning Islam in that country.
*Archaeologists might have discovered the earliest known Buddhist shrine at the Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, Nepal.
*Three unpublished short stories by J. D. Salinger (The Catcher In The Rye) have been leaked online, against the wishes of the late author and his estate.
*An official, but preliminary final report regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012 in Connecticut, USA has revealed no clear motive for suspect Adam Lanza to do what he did, but confirmed that he DID plan the shooting in advance!
*France has announced plans to intervene in the current Central African Republic conflict.
*Civil unrest continues in Syria, Iran, Thai, and Afghanistan.

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