Monday, February 25, 2013


A cross section of available titles in the New Pulp genre

For the first time since its inception, the Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention will be devoting a five hour block to the ever popular New Pulp Movement in what they have labeled New Pulp Sunday.

"Given the number of New Pulp creators and publishers that attend our convention, we felt devoting a day of programming to the energetic world of New Pulp was natural and would be fun for attendees.  Hopefully it will introduce some folks to the wide variety of material being published today under the New Pulp banner." explained Doug Ellis, co-founder and promoter of the Windy City Paper & Pulp Convention.

To that end Ellis reached to out to several of his New Pulp contacts, amongst them Ron Fortier, Managing Editor of Airship 27 Productions and Tommy Hancock, Managing Editor of Pro Se Productions.  With a list of their colleagues planning on attending this year’s convention, Fortier and Hancock put together a program schedule that would include three panels and eight authors’ readings.  Joining them in these events are noted New Pulp Creators Chris Bell, Rob Davis, Joe Bonadonna, David C. Smith, Wayne Reinagel, William Patrick Maynard, David White, and Terrence McCauley.

For the past four years the Windy City Convention has hosted the Pulp Factory Awards, given out by one of several New Pulp groups that celebrate the best in new pulp fiction and artwork.  “The creation of New Pulp Sunday is a logical expansion of the con’s support for all things pulp related,” said Fortier. “We are thrilled at this recognition of New Pulp and promise all attendees a five hour block of truly wonderful readings and panels that clearly demonstrate the continued evolution of pulp fiction from the old to the new.”

Hancock added, “Everyone involved in the New Pulp Movement knows where the roots of what we do lie, exactly in the fiction that the Windy City Pulp And Paper Convention has helped preserve and promote since its inception.  It’s an honor for those of us who feel like we’re walking in the shadows of giants to be welcomed into the Convention program in such a way.  It’s also an opportunity to let fans of Pulp of all kinds know that the sort of stories they enjoy in the classic Pulps are still being written today.”

The complete, detailed New Pulp Sunday schedule will appear in the convention’s program booklet.

Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention
April 12 – 14, 2013
Westin Lombard Yorktown Center
70 Yorktown Center
Lombard, IL 60148


Moonstone Books, 125 pages
While I am currently reading Monster Earth, I thought I should backtrack a bit and share my thoughts with everyone concerning the book I read before THE INTERCEPT BY DICK WOLF.

Got this book as a Christmas (2012) present and once I started, was surprised when I reached the end because it was such a fast-paced adventure.
Someone from the Lone Ranger's past is threatening his future by killing the few who truly know the man behind the mask.
The only clues the Ranger and Tonto have are a copper bullet and a trail of bodies that leads to Bryant's Gap, where the man he was died and the masked rider of the plains was born and might die again, after Tonto and the last living member of his family precede him to the grave.
Howard Hopkins was obviously a fan of the original radio and television programs, for I kept thinking of Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels throughout this adventure that should be considered canon, if it isn't already.
While sadly Howard Hopkins is no longer with us to write more Lone Ranger adventures beyond this book and the short story he contributed to THE LONE RANGER CHRONICLES, also from Moonstone that I hope to read someday, this book now has me on the trail of his long running western series for more good reading.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


"Well, if you question all the answers..."
Hello Everybody! Waxy Dragon here!
Now from time to time, I've posted here about the differences between Humans and Dragons, and my being a baby dragon still in Dragon School, and well...
A lot of Free Choice E-zine readers have e-mailed me about the stuff they don't understand in life.
And I thought I was having a tough time!
In any event, I thought it would be fun (for me at least) to share some of this stuff with everybody else.
It certainly makes writing this post easier.

Why are they called apartments when they're all stuck together?
That's easy. Look at any bee hive and think of all the wasted space you'd have if they were all apart.

If you have to be careful washing wool, how come sheep don't shrink when they get wet?
I honestly don't know, but it would be a nice revenge for them keeping me up all night when I have to count them in hopes of falling asleep!

Why do banks leave their vault doors open during the day and chain the pens to the desk?
Maybe the pens wrote some bad checks? I know the doors to the Bulgosia Dark Chocolate vaults are real heavy, which is why I... OOPS! My lawyer said not to talk about that, so let's go on to the next question.

Why do we buy hot dogs in packages of 10, but buns only come in packages of 8?
I have absolutely no idea why, but if you need someone to eat those extra hot dogs...

How come you never see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?
I don't know the answer to that either. But if they're so great about foreseeing such dire warnings about the future, how come they expect people to pay for the knowledge. No psychic helped me on my last Dragon School test. I failed that all on my own!

How come there is no mouse flavored cat food?
I know plenty of cats who ask the same question.

If con is the opposite of pro, is the opposite of progress Congress?
You might have something there. It would certainly explain the Republican party!

And on that note, have a great week everybody and please be back here next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!-wd.

Saturday, February 23, 2013



Amongst events happening around the world this past week...
*Iran claims to have found an internal, natural source for uranium as it plans new nuclear power plants and continued weapons' testing.
*Rafael Correa has been re-elected President of Ecuador, while Serzh Sargsyan has been re-elected President of Armenia.
*Food recalls and investigations continue in Europe after the confirmed discovery that products that were supposed to be 100% beef actually contained pork and horse meat!
*North Korea continues to threaten the "final destruction" of South Korea during the United Nations' recent disarmament discussions.
*NASA has confirmed the discovery of Kepler-37b, the smallest (known) extra-solar planet, orbiting Kebler 37 in the Lyra constellation.
*Sony has announced the PlayStation 4 will be available for purchase by Christmas 2013. Although final details and appearance have yet to be confirmed, the manufacturer has confirmed the new system WILL work with previous game discs.
*The Moody Investor Services has downgraded the United Kingdom's credit rating from AAA to AA1.
*The 33rd Annual Golden Raspberry Awards will be announced tonight, "honoring" the worst in last year's films, while the 85th annual Academy Awards will present the Oscars for the best in movies Sunday night.
*Australia defeated the West Indies team to win the 2013 Women's World Cricket championship.
*Sadly, country music star Mindy McCready decided to end her life at age 37 this week.
*Civil unrest continues in Iraq, 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.


Hello Everyone. It's not too warm in some parts of the world right now, but it's always nice and cozy in the Puzzle Corner. Case in point:

It's been ages since we last did one of these. Despite the fact this website unfortunately does not have a true interactive function; based upon the clues below, can you find the Roman numerals either backwards or forwards within the line?


01. A dozen
02. The unlucky number?
03. This century
04. The first appearance of H.A.L.
05. This year

What musical group is celebrating their 55th anniversary this year?

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX, and discover the results of our FAMOUS FIRSTS PRESIDENTIAL QUIZ from the February 16 Puzzle Corner.

Who was the first President of the United States...

01. To have previously served as Vice President?
Independent #3
John Adams, during the George Washington administration.
02. To serve without a Vice President?
James Madison, from April 10, 1812 to March 4, 1813.
03. To hold the office as an Independent? (And yes, it has been done.)
George Washington, for he never declared any political alliance, except to the fledgling United States of America itself. John Tyler has been the only other independent President (to date) resigning from the Whig party after disagreeing with their policies while in office.
04. To hold the office as a Democrat?
Andrew Jackson.
05. To hold the office as a Republican?
Abraham Lincoln.
The 1st Republican
06. To be born in the United States? (After it became an independent country.)
Martin Van Buren. While everyone before him was considered a citizen, he was the first born on American soil after the United States won its independence to be a country unto itself.
07. To not be born within the continental United States?
Our current President, Barack Obama, hails from Hawaii, although the Republican Party tries to convince people otherwise.
08. To be born in a hospital?
Jimmy Carter, because his mother was on duty working in one when she went into labor with the future President. Otherwise, Richard Nixon would have been the first.
08. To physically live in the White House?
This unfortunately is a trick question. While technically this honor might be considered John Adams’, for he and his family took occupancy while the White House was still under construction, officially Thomas Jefferson was the first to occupy the structure during his entire administration.
09. To work in the Oval Office? (The West Wing, where it resides, was a later addition.)
William Howard Taft.
10. To remarry while in office?
John Tyler
11. To ever have his photograph taken?
This is another trick question. John Quincy Adams was the very first, but it was as a former President. James Buchanan is the first to be photographed IN office.
12. To ever use a telephone?
Rutherford B. Hayes. But Calvin Coolidge was the first to actually have a phone at his desk. Hayes made and received his calls from the White House switchboard, before direct lines were established.
13. To ever speak on radio?
Woodrow Wilson, predating Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous weekly "fireside chat" radio addresses.
14. To ever appear on television?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during a demonstration of the device during the 1939 World's Fair.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Considering how much I love reading, I began to wonder why I had not been posting reviews of the books I've read, so without further ado...

Harper Collins, 387 pages

Let me start off by saying that I think it's fantastic that Dick Wolf has decided to start pursuing a literary career on top of his long standing television resume.
But considering his decades long association with the Law and Order franchise, one should not be surprised to see some similarities between that and his first novel.
The New York Police Department has its own Intelligence Division to discover and prevent terrorist threats before they occur. THE INTERCEPT is the fictitious first adventure of one of their investigators: Jeremy Fisk.
Fisk and his partner, Krina Gersten, are following a series of events from an attempted plane hijacking that had absolutely no chance of succeeding to a major assassination attempt at the re-dedication of the World Trade Center over the Fourth of July weekend.

As with any episode of any series within the Law and Order franchise, there are a couple of major plot twists before the climax that I will not give away, but will tell you that one of them I was completely surprised by!

Long time fans of Wolf's television work can easily draw parallels between his book's main cast and TV characters.

For myself, I can easily see Intel Division Captain Barry Dubin played by Jamey Sheridan, like he did James Deakins during the opening years of Criminal Intent. Jeremy Sisto (Detective Cyrus Lupo during the final seasons of Law and Order) could portray Jeremy Fisk, and Milena Govich seems perfectly cast to me as Krina Gersten, for the lady detective is akin to Nina Cassaday from that character's tenure on L&O.

Yet while Wolf was drawing upon familiar ground for his first novel, there is one quibble that I could not ignore, but does not spoil the overall story. When trying to figure out what the terrorist's target might be, a comment was made that thankfully "the Yankees were away", playing baseball on the west coast.

But what about the New York METS? Yankees fans generally ignore the "other" team, except for the latest installment of the infamous Subway Series. Yet one would think that the Intel Division of the NYPD would not ignore the National League baseball team in their fair city.

Otherwise, I give this novel a solid 'B', and wonder what Dick Wolf has planned for Jeremy Fisk next, for even the cover hints that this is only the first appearance of the character.

Now then, this feature has no name at present. I strongly considered THE BOOK NOOK, but that seems too pedestrian and cliched to me. If you can think of a better name than that, feel free to e-mail us at FreeChoiceEzine with your suggestion.
In any event, the next book review will be on Monster Earth from Mechanoid Press, as soon as I finish reading it.

Monday, February 18, 2013


The father of America

From George Washington to Abraham Lincoln
And even Richard M. Nixon too
From the present to the past
The great Emancipator

Barack Obama, our current President

Seriously folks, there are still some in this country who argue that George Washington's birthday and Abraham Lincoln's birthday should be separate federal holidays again so they get extra time off from work, but the more encompassing President's Day includes those that might not otherwise be as honored as the one's pictured.
So for all the fans of Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and all those other "minor" Presidents, enjoy the day!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


It's a 3 Dog Night!
Hello Everybody. Autumn the Puppy here, and I have to agree with the opening lyrics to the Red Dwarf theme song.

It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere...

Winter since the first of the year has been a lot colder and harsher than originally predicted. Even with my fur coat, I'm staying in as much as possible! Brrr...

With that in mind, let's see what I can dig up on the Internet...

Truth in advertising

No one wants to be outside unless absolutely necessary.

So I can't blame the poor employee who was working at the gas station when the image on the right was originally photographed.

Hopefully, this person either has an understanding supervisor or else, has found more gainful employment elsewhere since.

Aloha, paradise!

Now this time of year, I'm sure we would all love to be someplace warm and tropical, like this picture of Fernando de Noronha in Brazil on the left.

Of course if you already live south of the equator at this time of year, all I have to say is that you folks are very lucky!

Then again, if I was lucky enough to find myself on a beach right now, I'd probably run into the sign below.

Hope springs eternal

Somehow, The Free Choice E-zine always manages to post this image on the right at least once a year and personally, I never grow tired of looking at it.

On one hand, it is a symbol of eternal optimism, hoping that grass will grow at some point.

On the other paw, just think of all that warm sand to romp and play in.

Frosty can stay up north! My name's Sandy.

I've only built one snow person in my lifetime. Snow people may be fun to create, but that stuff is cold to work with! Maybe I just need a different medium, like whoever built the creation on the left.

In any event, stay warm folks! I'm going to throw some Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet on the CD player, and hope all those people trying to stand on my stereo equipment don't break anything.

Little Surfer, little one... You've got fins to the left, fins to the right, and you're the only girl in town!

Maybe I shouldn't try playing everything at once after all.

Have a great week, and please be back here next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!-AtP.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


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

*After presenting the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama is now taking his message directly to the people in hopes of putting additional pressure on Congress to take the appropriate action(s) on the issues facing this country. Case in point: Republicans have initiated a filibuster against approving Chuck Hagel as the new US Secretary of Defense.
*North Korea has conducted another nuclear test and now claims it is on the verge of having a viable weapon!
*Benedict the XVI has announced his resignation and will officially step down from the Papal Office February 28. No word on who will succeed him as Pope yet, but this is the first Papal resignation since Gregory XII in 1415.
*Apple cannot use the name iPhone in Brazil, where another company beat them to the trademark on a different product.
*The shock waves from a small meteor entering Russian airspace injured over 1000 people, mostly from broken glass encounters. The meteor was too small to be detected before entering Earth's atmosphere.
*Europe is reeling after an investigation discovered horse meat and pork in products that were supposed to be 100% pure beef!
*Former police officer and prime suspect in a series of California murders Christopher Dorner died in a shootout with authorities.
*The Large Hadron Collider will be shut down for two years for maintenance and upgrades.
*Among the 2013 Grammy Awards winners are Somebody That I Used To Know for Record of the Year by Goyte and Kimbra, Babel by Mumford & Sons for Album of the Year, and Best New Artist of the Year FUN's version of We Are Young for Song of the Year.
*As of the 2020, wrestling will no longer be a part of the Summer Olympics.
*Civil unrest continues in Bahraini, Northern Mali, Afghanistan, and Syria.


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.


"I'm honored to be amongst the answers."
Monday is President's Day here in the United States of America. In their honor, The Free Choice E-zine presents our FAMOUS FIRSTS: PRESIDENTIAL QUIZ.

Do you know who was the first President of the United States...

01. To have previously served as Vice President?
02. To serve without a Vice President?
03. To hold the office as an Independent? (And yes, it has been done.)
04. To hold the office as a Democrat?
05. To hold the office as a Republican?
06. To be born in the United States? (After it became an independent country.)
07. To not be born within the continental United States?
08. To be born in a hospital?
09. To physically live in the White House?
10. To work in the Oval Office? (The West Wing, where it resides, was a later addition.)
11. To remarry while in office?
12. To ever have his photograph taken?
13. To ever use a telephone?
14. To ever speak on radio?
15. To ever appear on television?

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results of the February 9, 2013 Puzzle Corner.

EXTREMESThe same term is great in one sport, but bad news in another. What is it?
STRIKE. Great in bowling, lousy in baseball, especially if you get three of them. Then you're out!
Filling in the blanks, using the same 5 letters to form 3 different words, the statement about the record blizzard snow fall last week should read:

I would REACT more calmly to just a TRACE of snow than the amount that has fallen. Wish I could CRATE it all up and ship it away!

Thursday, February 14, 2013



Today was (presumably) named after a priest named Valentinus, who opposed the Roman Emperor Claudius' edict not to marry couples because he thought unattached, single men fought better in the military than married ones.
Disagreeing with his belief, the priest was killed for defying the royal decree, but eventually gained posthumous sainthood.

Today, while flower growers, greeting card companies, chocolate manufacturers, and others have done their "best" to commercialize the holiday and accessorize romance; money can't buy you love.

There is no denying that love is one of, if not the most powerful of the positive emotions human beings can express.

Love makes the world go round.
It's all you need.
And thus, it is the humble belief of this E-zine that romance and love between two people should be celebrated twenty-four hours a day seven days a week; not just on special occasions.

So grab your significant other and tell them you love them more today than yesterday, but not half as much as tomorrow right now!

And may tonight, and every day with them, be special.

A somewhat sappy message from the hopeless romantics at the Free Choice E-zine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013



President Barack Obama

WE CAN FIX THIS, AND WE WILL, vowed United States President Barack Obama as he addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation via the media to deliver the annual State of the Union address Tuesday night.
During his speech, the President laid out an impressive plan covering four major areas of national concern: manufacturing, education, clean energy, and America's infrastructure to promote the country's recovery from the current recession at no additional cost to taxpayers.
Amongst the proposals:
*Raising the national minimum wage to $9 US dollars per hour
*Budgeting $65 billion USD towards road, bridge, and building repairs
*Calling for stronger gun control legislation, a matter Congress has yet to formally address
*Immigration reform, giving those already in the country who want to stay and be part of America a chance to do so
*Fairer voter registration laws than what the Republican party tried to enact at the state level before the November 2012 Presidential election to exclude eligible voters
*Giving home owners a chance to refinance their existing mortgage at a lower interest rate to prevent foreclosures and stimulate the economy
*The possibility of addressing Medicare reform before his second and final term in office ends

The President also addressed other issues, including:
*That most of the US troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of this calendar year as that country starts taking responsibility for its own security
*Congress needing to pass a balanced budget before the March 1 deadline of automatic cuts that would take efffect
*Improving the country's computer security on and off the Internet
*Congress needed to address the issue of climate change and improve the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, an organization that was weakened during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration and never restored

"The American people don't expect government to solve every problem," said the President. "They don't expect everyone within this chamber to agree upon everything. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before those of our respective party's, and to forge reasonable compromise where we can."

Another statement during his address summed up President Obama's position on the State of the Union as, "It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country. The idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead. No matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many and not just the few. That it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great land of ours."

Response to various points during the address was naturally divided amongst party lines, with the Democrats cheering and the Republicans remaining silent most of the time.

Giving the Republican response in both English and Spanish, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said that the country "needed more free enterprise and not government intervention."

It is comments like the above, and statements from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner that have many pundits and analysts fearing that in the months to come, the Republican Party will do nothing but more "stonewalling" and opposition to whatever the President and the Democratic Party hope to accomplish.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens folks, but let's hope for the best.


Sunday, February 10, 2013


For those of our readership who follow the ancient lunisolar calendar, today is the Chinese New Year. It is also the year of the Snake in the Chinese zodiac, a pantheon member who is considered intelligent, but somewhat unscrupulous.
Image courtesy of Google


Why do I have to study to be a dragon? I already am one!
Hello Everybody! Ms. Waxy Dragon here.
Taking a weekend break from Dragon School to bring you some school themed jokes.

What ten letter word starts with G-A-S?
(There's plenty of real one folks, check a dictionary.)

Teacher: Can anyone give me an example of a paradox?
Student: Donald and Daffy.

Why did the student always prefer to study during airplane flights?
Because he wanted a higher education.
(It's a good joke at dragon school, but not practical in real life, because you can't have your nose in a book when you have to watch where you're flying.)

The kindergarten teacher asked her class what shape the world was?
A little girl spoke up and said, "According to my Daddy, terrible."
(The correct answer is Round. Every dragon knows that!)

When the science teacher asked what the chemical formula was for water, one student replied "HIJKLMNO".
"What do you mean?" asked the teacher.
"Yesterday, you said the formula was H to O," said the student. (H2O)

The grammar teacher tried to explain to her class that 'I ain't going' isn't correct language.
"The proper phrases would be I am not going. He is not going. She is not going. We are not going. They are not going."
To that, one student replied, "Then I guess nobody ain't going anywhere."

And on that note, I'm out of space and have to go, so it's time for me to say goodbye.
Have a great week and please be back here next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!-wd.

Saturday, February 9, 2013



Amongst events happening around the world this past week:
*The Secret Service has entered the search for a hacker(s) known only as "Guccifer", after that entity has taken credit for breaking into the secured e-mails of the Bush family, including both former Presidents.
*The United States Postal Service has announced that as of August 5th, it will cut back Saturday deliveries to just priority mail, packages, and medical supplies for shut ins; despite the fact that Congress has yet to officially approve the measure.
*Remains recently found at a London, England construction site have been confirmed as those of former monarch Richard the III.
*North Korea claims to have successfully attacked and destroyed New York City after a recent nuclear bomb "test".
*The Dell Computer company is spending $24.4 billion US dollars in a leveraged buyout to go private to avoid the risk of being bought by a rival company.
*Parker Brothers has announced the results of their Monopoly changing poll. The flat iron token is being replaced by a cat token in the long running board game.
*The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl 47 on February 3.
*The 2013 Grammy Awards will be held tomorrow night, hosted by rapper/actor LL Cool J.
*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.


As some parts of the world experience more winter than they ever wanted to right now, let's fire up those little gray cells, as Hercule Poirot would say.

Our first outing with this new game got such rave reviews, we're having another round sooner than originally scheduled. Ready?

The same term is great in one sport, but bad news in another. What is it?

The current blizzard affecting the Upper East Coast of the United States has inspired the following. Just fill in the blanks, using the same 5 letters to form 3 different words. Ready?

I would _______ more calmly to just a _________ of snow than the amount that has fallen. Wish I could _______ it all up and ship it away!

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and reveal the results of the February 2, 2013 Puzzle Corner.

The musical duo who decided to use their first names instead of their surnames (Stuart and Clyde) are Chad and Jeremy.

The Blue Bird of Twitter is known as Larry, in honor of the famous professional basketball player Larry Byrd.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Cover art by Eric Johns
In December 2012, I posted a list of book recommendations as potential Christmas present reads. The ONLY reason this wasn't amongst them was because it hadn't been released yet.

For fans of Kaiju (giant/Japanese monster) movies, this is the anthology for you!

Monster Earth!, the first release from fledgling publisher Mechanoid Press, is based upon an interesting premise: what if all the major powers of the world had monsters at their bidding instead of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction?

It's a globe and decades spanning anthology featuring the talents of I. A. Watson, Nancy Hansen, Edward M. Erdelac, Jeff McGinnis, and Fraser Sherman; as well as editors Jim Beard and James Palmer.

These seven stories have already been producing a lot of positive buzz even amongst people who aren't fans of the Kaiju genre!

And if you think the Eric Johns cover looks familiar...

Have I mentioned, based upon some of the author essays posted on the company blog at that everyone involved are huge fans of the Kaiju/monster movie genre?

In any event, I personally have already ordered a print copy and when it does arrive (dang snail mail) will be promptly reading and reviewing it here. But the anthology is also available from Amazon dot com in both print and Kindle AND for the Nook at Barnes and Noble dot com.

So until then...

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Pass the dog biscuits, please.
Hello Everybody. Autumn the Puppy here.
By the time February 3, 2013 passes into history; either the San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens will have won Super Bowl XLVII.
Ooops. Sorry. I meant "The Big Game", since only entities authorized by the National Football League can call it by its official title. I think that rule mostly affects advertisers, but why take the risk of getting into trouble. After all, you drink from one toilet bowl when you're freshly weened and...
Hey! Don't look at me like that. I was much younger when that happened and thirsty too!
Despite my high canine intelligence, I just don't get the game of football. Two sides fight over a "pig skin" for about an hour while women in skimpy outfits work up the onlooking crowd into a greater frenzy than they might already be, and they don't even eat the darn thing afterwards!
I mean, I love pig ear treats and bacon, so I'm sure the pig skin is tasty too.
The one explanation of this "game" that I've ever heard that makes any sense to me was by Andy Griffith. The following YouTube video is Mr. Griffith performing his classic routine "What It Was, Was Football"; with illustrations by G. Woodbridge from when the story was adapted for Mad magazine.

But seriously, I love the fact that a lot of the football teams are named after animals, yet perhaps some of the other teams might seriously consider a name chance.
Like: The Washington Native Americans instead of the Redskins.

The New York Very Tall People instead of the Giants. I'm sure the players have heard that "How's the weather up there?" comment more times than they've ever wanted to.

Maybe the San Francisco Precious Metal Enthusiasts instead of the 49ers, because how many people outside of history buffs realize the name refers to the gold rush of 1849 at Sutter's Mill, California?
What do you folks think of the Kansas City Executives instead of the Chiefs?

Pittsburgh could be the Metal Workers, because who ever said they had to be limited to just Steelers? As much as they keep Charging in San Diego, I'm surprised that team hasn't run up a ton of debt by now. And what do they keep Packing in Green Bay anyway?

Oh well...
In any event, may the best team win, and please be back here next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!-AtP.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Punxsutawney Phil, the weather predicting groundhog of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; did not see his shadow in the annual ceremony this morning, which is supposed to mean six weeks of relatively mild winter weather and an early Spring.
Whether or not this comes to pass remains to be seen, especially since some parts of the country are preparing for a bad storm within the coming week.
In the meantime, The Free Choice E-zine is proud to present our annual Groundhog's Day routine.

"I have never claimed to possess a meteorology degree."
“Is this the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe?” asked the lady as she walked in my front door.
“Yes it is,” I replied. “I’m Howie Cheatum. And you are--?”
“Susan Woo,” she replied, “but you can call me Sue.”
“Okay Sue. And what can I do for you today?”
“I want to engage your services to represent myself as I initiate a law suit.”
“Well, you’ve come to the right place. Who do you want to sue?”
Punxsutawney Phil.”
“You want to sue who?” I asked in disbelief.
“Not myself silly. Punxsutawney Phil.”
“The groundhog?” I asked, trying to confirm what I heard the first time.
“Yes, that filthy animal,” replied Sue.
“Because this year he/it claimed we would have six weeks of relatively mild weather and an early spring. None of that came true. I couldn’t break out my spring wardrobe when I wanted to. I hurt my back shoveling the driveway myself because I dismissed the snow plow service early thinking I wouldn’t need them any more this season. Should I go on?”
“No, I get the idea. And on what grounds would you like to initiate this lawsuit?”
“Don’t you think at a courthouse would be best?” she asked.
“What I meant was, for what reasons did you want to sue?”
“I figured breach of promise at the very least, and whatever else is applicable,” she replied. “The late winter has just totally ruined spring, and who knows just how that is going to affect summer. The trees are barely beginning to bud as it is. Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if fall arrives on time anyway and cuts whatever is left of spring and summer short this year.”
“I see,” I said, pausing momentarily to wonder why I always got stuck with the live ones. “Let me look up some reference material on the subject,” I said, before turning to use my computer terminal. After a couple of minutes on Wikipedia, I said, “You do realize that this is all just traditional superstition dating back to at least the 1800s in America and at least the fifth century in Europe.”
“So, that means that Punxsutawney Phil should have been a lot more accurate in his prediction than he actually was, right?”
“Well, that’s one way of looking at it,” I agreed while reading the data some more. “While he only has a 39% accuracy rating, it says here that Punxsutawney Phil isn’t the only one who is used to predict the weather.”
“There’s Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; Holtsville Hall and Dunkirk Dave, wherever they reside, all said that there would be six more weeks of winter. Phil and a bunch of others on this list all predicted an early spring,” I said, showing her what it said on my computer monitor.
“Good. Let’s start a class action suit and go after all of them!”
“It just doesn’t quite work that way. The animals themselves never specifically said what the weather would be. Humans just interpreted the situational conditions as best they could.”
“Well let’s sue them,” said Sue.
“That doesn’t work either. None of them were trained professionals paid to do that job. It would be like me trying to predict the weather just by looking out the window.”
“Then are you suggesting that I should sue the weathermen?”
“Actually, you don’t have a case against anybody involved with Groundhog’s Day predictions. That’s all they were, just predictions. None were legally binding.”
“Then can I sue you?”
“For what?” I asked in disbelief.
“For not taking my case.”
While it would not actually get far in the court system, in this day and age, I’d be surprised if she didn’t find somebody willing to take the case.


Amongst events happening around the world this past week:
*Queen Beatrix has announced she will abdicate the Dutch throne at the end of April 2013 in favor of her son Prince Willem-Alexander assuming the crown.
*Hillary Clinton has been officially succeeded by John Kerry as Secretary of State.
*The New York Times claims that Chinese hackers have broken into their computer system, stealing passwords and personal information since their investigation into Premier Wen Jiabao and his family began.
*The Iranian Space Agency reports to have successfully launched a monkey into orbit and then safely returned the animal back to Earth.
*According to's "Wonder Wall": ex-Oprah Winfrey Network employee Carolyn Hommel is suing her former employer for discrimination. Originally on the fast track for promotion to a vice-presidency position within the company, her career plans were derailed after having a baby and discovering that she was permanently replaced by her 'temporary' substitute. No one representing Ms. Whitney or the Network has yet to publicly comment on the situation.
*Civil unrest continues in Northern Mali, Somalia, Syria, and Afghanistan.

*Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has passed away of congestive heart failure at age 88.
*Andre Cassagnes, the creator of the Etch-A-Sketch, is no longer with us.
*Barney, the pet terrier of former United States President George W. Bush has passed away of natural causes.

*Victoria Azarenka won the Women's Singles title and Novak Djokvic the Men's in the Australian Open Tennis Tournament.
*Spain defeated Denmark to win the 2013 World's Men Handball Championship.
*Super Bowl 48 (XLVIII) will be held between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night, February 3.

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.


Another weekend is upon us, and puzzle lovers know what that means!

A famous musical duo decided to work under their first names instead of their last names: Stuart and Clyde. Who are they?

Just like a regular Trivia Time question, only there are just two possible answers, so a fair chance of getting it right.
True/False or Yes/No, depending upon your preference: The iconic blue bird of Twitter has a name.

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results of January 26th's Puzzle Corner.

Within the letters of INAUGURATION, you can find the following words:
A, again, ago, air, airing, an, ant,art, art
Gain, gait, gin, gnat, gnu, go, got, grain, groan, grunt, gun, gut
I, in, inn, ion, iron, ironing, it
Nag, nit, no, nor, not, nun
Oar, oat, on, or, origin, out, outing
Rag, rain, raining, ran, rang, rant, rat, rig, ring, rot, rout, routing, rug, ruin, run, runt
Tag, tin, ton, tor, tour, touring, train, training, tug
Unit, uniting
More words than the 68 above might be possible. We acknowledge the several names that could be spelled out of the letters involved, but proper names do not count as regular words in this game.

As of February 1, 2013; the youngest performer ever to host NBC's Saturday Night Live was Drew Barrymore in 1982 at the tender age of 7. The oldest has been Betty White at 88 in May of 2010.