Saturday, January 31, 2015

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: JANUARY 25-31, 2015

TODAY IS NAURU'S INDEPENDENCE DAY.
FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL HEART HEALTH MONTH
AND AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH.
IF IT WERE STILL IN PRODUCTION, FEBRUARY 5th WOULD MARK THE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMIC STRIP CATHY MARRYING IRVING.
FEBRUARY 6th MARKS THE 80th ANNIVERSARY
OF THE MONOPOLY BOARD GAME.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*The loss of Malaysia Flight 370 has been officially been declared an accident.
*North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has vowed his country will defend itself against "all" enemies.
*Edgar Lungu has been elected the new President of Zambia.
*Sergio Mattarella has been elected the new President of Italy.
*United States President Barack Obama met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a three day visit to India. Meanwhile, India honored Bill and Melinda Gates with the Padma Bhushan Award for their trying to improve health services in developing countries.
*Libby Lane has been officially ordained as the first female Bishop in England.
*Miss Columbia Paulina Vega is the new Miss Universe.
*Charles H. Townes, co-inventor of the Maser, is no longer with us.

BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE...
*The Standards and Poor Rating Agency has lowered Russia's credit rating to Junk Status.
*A new session of peace talks between Russia and the Ukraine were cancelled before they were held, while an artillery barrage in Donetsk killed at least 12 civilians.


TERRIBLE TERRORIST TRAGEDIES...
*Insurgency seems to be the weapon du jour this past week, as new fighting broke out in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
*ISIS/ISIL terrorists have released a video detailing the murder of a Japanese hostage after negotiations with his native land failed.




WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*President Barack Obama met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a three day visit to India.
*The Senate has approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, despite environmental issues and the project would result in less than 50 permanent jobs. Now both sides of Congress must agree on the wording of a joint bill to present the President for his approval.
*The Republican majority of the Senate has also gone on record, issuing a statement that climate change is a hoax, without any human being creating or contributing to the alleged situation.
*Since the new session began, the Republican dominated Congress has introduced 11 new bills in hopes of "amending" the Dodd-Frank Act in favor of banks and other financial institutions.
*Senator Rand Paul is considering introducing new bills that would address Social Security "issues".
*Speaker of the House John Boehner is considering yet another lawsuit against President Obama. This one on the grounds of using executive action to address immigration/illegal aliens issues. His current lawsuit against the President concerning the Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obama Care, is in its preliminary stages. All Boehner's legal actions against the President are federally funded with tax payer money.
*The Democratic National Committee is concerned that the Koch Brothers, through their various superpacs and other organizations, have allegedly already set aside almost $900 MILLION to support whoever wins the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential election.
*The Republican Party has discovered that the domain name "JebBushForPresident" is unavailable. It is currently owned by a same gender couple who are using it to positively promote LGBT issues while pointing out Jeb Bush's policy errors towards the LGBT community while he was Governor of Florida.
*Mitt Romney has decided NOT to run for President in 2016.
*A couple of companies in Connecticut are still trying to collect the debts the Republican Party owes them from the local 2014 mid-term collections for printing flyers and other campaign expenses.
ELSEWHERE...
*The northeastern coast was hit with a blizzard this past week, dumping over two feet of snow between Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
*There are conflicting reports as rapper Marion "Suge" Knight is being investigated on possible murder charges.
*The 49th Super Bowl will be held Sunday night between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

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.

THE PUZZLE CORNER: JANUARY 31, 2015

FUN FACT
Switzerland will only allow citizens to keep guinea pigs in pairs so the pets don't get lonely.

*NEW PUZZLE!* HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Before they became famous, can you tell us where these five celebrities were born?
01. Marlon Brando
02. Leslie Caron
03. Sean Connery
04. Tom Cruise
05. Sophia Loren

COMMON BONDS
The items within each subgroup below have at least one thing in common.
Do you know what it is?

01. {Golf Courses, Coffee Shops}
02. {Improper, mixed}

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the January 24, 2015 Puzzle Corner.


TRIVIA TIME
When not having (mis)adventures because he would never wear his eyeglasses, what was the classic cartoon character Mister Magoo's full name and occupation?


As seen on the left in this still from the holiday special Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol, Quincy Magoo was an actor.









REBUS

The familiar phrase represented by the image at right is "What goes up, must come down."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

SUNDAY FUNNIES: ARE YOU PONDERING WHAT I'M PONDERING?

Hello Everybody. Autumn the Puppy here. As you can see, I've got nothing but time and plenty of snow on my paws right now, as winter maintains its grip on my neck of the woods.
So let's see...

Would a chicken crossing the road be poultry in motion?

Would a backward poet write inverse?

If Jimmy cracks corn and nobody cares, why is there a song about it?

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Who spell checks the person responsible for making sure all the letters are present within a can of alphabet soup?

If they have such great power(s), how come you never see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

On a similar note, if they're so smart, how come you never see the headline "Genius Wins Lottery"?

If dog food is supposed to be "new and improved", who tested the claim first? It certainly wasn't any dog I know.

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor(s), but dish washing liquids are made with real lemons?

They say you're supposed to make lemonade when life hands you a bunch of lemons, but what if you don't like lemonade?

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

And for the intellectuals reading this...
If the answer to the ultimate question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is "42", then why is the question "What do you get when you multiply 6 x 9?"

Of course, there's always...



In any event folks, have a great week, stay safe and warm, and please be back here next weekend for more Sunday Funnies.—AtP.

Video courtesy of YouTube. Pinky and the Brain. Narf!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: JANUARY 18-24, 2015

JANUARY 27th IS THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF SOVIET FORCES LIBERATING PRISONERS FROM THE AUSCHWITZ AND BIRKENAU CONCENTRATION CAMPS DURING WORLD WAR TWO.
JANUARY 29th OBSERVES THE 170th ANNIVERSARY OF EDGAR ALLAN POE'S THE RAVEN AND THE 115th ANNIVERSARY OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CREATING THE AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*A cease fire has been declared in the Libyan Civil War.
*On behalf of her city, Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, France; is planning a lawsuit against Fox News, after the network claimed Paris was regulating where Muslims could travel after the Charlie Hebdo attack. Hidalgo said the comments were inaccurate, insulting, and prejudicial against Paris.
*With the passing of King Abdullah, his half brother Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the new ruler of Saudi Arabia.
*A coup d'├ętat in Yemen has resulted in the resignations of the current President, Prime Minister, and cabinet officials.
*A measles outbreak is affecting the area between Mexico and California. The disease allegedly gained a foothold from unvaccinated guests visiting Disneyland.
*A Hong Kong government conducted study reveals they have a higher pollution rate than first suspected.
*The Miss Universe Pageant is scheduled to be held this Sunday night, January 25th.
*NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on schedule to reach and begin orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres on March 6th.
*Microsoft claims there will be a holographic feature to their new Windows 10 operating system, scheduled for release sometime later this year.
*Sumo wrestler Hakuho Sho has won his 33rd makuuchi championship, a new record.

TERRIBLE TERRORIST TRAGEDIES...
*Apparently unconcerned about the current manhunt against them, Boko Haram have kidnapped an additional 80 people from villages in northern Cameroon after officially claiming responsibility for the massacre in Baga, Nigeria.

BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE...
*Gazprom, Russia's state owned gas company, plans to reroute its pipelines through other systems to avoid the Ukraine.
*The Ukraine claims Russia has sent over 9,000 additional troops to support the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
*Whether or not those new soldiers are participating, new fighting has broken out in and around Donbass.

PASSING PARADE...
*Dallas Taylor, the drummer for Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; has passed away.
*Jazz singer Cynthia Layne is no longer with us.
*Actress Anne Kirkbride (Coronation Street) has taken her last bow on life's stage.
*Actor Paul Campbell (The Fighter, American Hustle) is no longer with us.
*Actress Pauline Yates (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Bachelor Father, Keep It In The Family) has passed away.

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*As covered in greater detail earlier this week, President Barack Obama gave the annual State of the Union address.
*Since giving the official Republican response to the address, the Daily Kos has reported that the family of Iowa Senator Joni Ernst received over $400,000 in federal aid during the early days of their farming career. Besides calling into question statements about how tough Ernst allegedly had it growing up, contracts awarded her father's construction company while she was an auditor for Montgomery County Iowa are now being re-examined.
*In order to make the potential construction of the Keystone XL pipeline go smoother, the Republican controlled House of Representatives has announced that it will NOT be necessary to use American steel! The Senate is currently discussing the pipeline.
*Both Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin have announced they are considering bids for the Presidency in 2016!
ELSEWHERE...
*A measles outbreak is affecting the area between California, the surrounding states, and Mexico. The disease allegedly gained a foothold from unvaccinated guests visiting Disneyland.
*The National Football Conference's Seattle Seahawks will face the American Football Conference's New England Patriots in the 49th annual Super Bowl February 1.
*Jeff Gordon has announced that 2015 will be his last season as a full time NASCAR driver.
*While San Francisco still wants to demolish the old Candlestick Park, a method other than implosion must be found, due to health concerns over concrete dust and other pollution that would result from the activity.

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.

THE PUZZLE CORNER: JANUARY 24, 2015

FUN FACT
According to Dictionary.com, the English alphabet used to have 27 letters because our ancestors once included the ampersand (&)!

TRIVIA TIME
When not having (mis)adventures because he would never wear his eyeglasses, what was the classic cartoon character Mister Magoo's full name and occupation?

REBUS
A familiar saying is represented in the image below. Do you know what it is?


We'll reveal all next weekend.
But for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results of the January 17, 2015 Puzzle Corner.

THE LETTER SHUFFLE
Each word listed below could become a color just by changing one letter.
Were you up to the task?

01. Grab = graY
02. Block = blAck
03. Pick = piNk
04. Maude = mauVe

BONUS!
The 4 new letters, rearranged, spelled NAVY.


BEFORE AND AFTER
Two things shared at least one word in common, and so could be combined to make something new.
Based on the clue below, did you know what it was?

Mister Toad leaves Tara = Gone With The Wind in the Willows.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 2015

Since The Free Choice E-zine is based within the United States of America, we bring you the following coverage of the 2015 State of the Union address, as given by President Barack Obama on January 20th to a joint session of Congress and televised to the country.

President Obama
While there is no denying that America has seen better times, 2015 finds the country in the best shape it has been in since the start of the new millennium, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.

Amongst the President's hopes for the coming year...
*Improving the economy, especially giving a "fair shot" to the lower and middle classes, also known as the 99%. The President plans to soon sign an executive order guaranteeing workers 7 days of paid sick leave.
*Closing tax loopholes and restructuring finance laws so they no longer favor the 1%.
*The President still hopes that Congress will eventually raise the minimum wage, something that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has been postponing since the idea was first proposed in 2014.
*Seeing that women get equal pay for equal work, since currently a woman is estimated to receive only 78% of what a man earns in the exact same job.
*Continuing the fight against terrorism, whether it is a direct attack against America or an assault against any of the country's allies; citing the specific example of growing concern over ISIS/ISIL terrorists.
*The President hopes to initiate a new diplomatic plan with Cuba, and looks forward to Pope Francis' scheduled visit to America this coming fall.
*Expressed a continuing wish to improve the environment, especially in light of the fact that climate change is real, no matter how loudly the deniers protest otherwise.
*Improving the United States' infrastructure, both physically with new roads, bridges, protecting the Internet, etc; and personally by addressing the growing tensions of race and other social dividers.
*Obtaining comprehensive immigration reform, including the protection of the executive order he has already written initiating such plans.
*Hope for the overall future of this country and the world, and that politics will not interfere with improving things.

Behind the President during the speech sat Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Of course the Congressional Democrats, who now find themselves a minority within the House and Senate, cheered everything; but the Republicans didn't.
It was noticeable that there was no applause from Boehner's party during mention of such topics as the fact that economy is improving, that more Americans are obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Health Care Act (also known as Obama Care), any mention of developing alternate energy sources, equal pay for women, anything that would benefit the lower and middle class, a free and open Internet for all, the Cuba situation, acknowledging that climate change exists, not persecuting people who are not "straight", and making voting easier for all citizens of this country, since it is the inalienable right of every American to do so to begin with!

It is interesting to also note that there were FOUR different rebuttals to the President's address afterward.
Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa gave the "official" Republican one, while Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky both gave their own, individual opinions on the State of the Union.
Florida House of Representatives member Carlos Curbelo gave what was supposed to be the "official" Republican response to President Obama's speech in Spanish to people for who English is a second language, but a translation of his remarks revealed that there was no mention of the Republican Party's opinion on the issue of immigration reform.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALEXANDER S. BROWN

Okay folks, before we post this interview, The Free Choice E-zine must be honest and admit that we find ourselves with some serious egg on our faces.
This article has been waiting for publication; however, no one connected with the publisher ever notified us that the featured book: Traumatized: The Special Edition had ever been released.
Upon our recent discovery of this fact, with a few slight adjustments to reflect the passage of time, we have rushed this post to presentation.
Alexander S. Brown
Again, our sincerest apologies to the author.—tfce.


From Pro Se Press
The Free Choice E-zine is proud to have with us today Alexander S. Brown to talk about his latest work, Traumatized.

ALEXANDER S. BROWN: Pro Se Press published my short story collection as a special edition, with illustrations accompanying each story. Traumatized is a collection that begins with a PG rating and the further you read into the volume, the more grotesque each story becomes. There will be other volumes following the same presentation format, since each of them will have a New Pulp feel to the work.

TFCE: You are far from the first person to use that term, and definitions seem to vary, but what is New Pulp to you?
ALEX: New Pulp is modernizing pieces that masters such as H.P. Lovecraft originally gave us. Over time, I am seeing more and more pulp pieces evolve into greater extremes than what has previously been created.

TFCE: Since you’ve mentioned Lovecraft, I’m assuming you’re a horror fan, so why do you write it?
ALEX: It’s a release. I have always enjoyed the horror genre. A great deal of horror has a political message to it and that is something that I enjoy incorporating into my work. If you read my work as simply a story, you will enjoy the story. If you read it as something more, then you will likely catch the metaphor that the story represents.

TFCE: From what do you draw your inspiration to write?
ALEX: I am literally inspired by everything. From real life to folklore, I am inspired every day.

TFCE: And have there been any influences upon your style and technique?
ALEX: Definitely the authors that I read growing up—mostly Stephen King and Clive Barker.

TFCE: Every author has a dream project, so yours is…?
ALEX: To write a steam punk series based on my detective Xavier Hess. Hess has appeared in the Dreams of Steam books and Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells.




TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
ALEX: I see myself being a full-time author.
Dark Oak Press has published my novel Syrenthia Falls. Seventh Star Press has released my sequel to Southern Haunts; and Pro Se has published some of my vintage Halloween stories as single shots under the series title The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out. I also have stories in the anthologies Luna’s Children and Capes and Clockwork, both published by Dark Oak Press.




TFCE: Good luck with all of them and your future projects.
ALEX: Thanks for having me.









Alexander S. Brown maintains an author's page on Amazon, where all his creative works can be found.
http://www.amazon.com/Alexander-S. Brown/e/B002UN7ZHQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Monday, January 19, 2015

DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JUNIOR DAY 2015

The following is an editorial.

Here within the United States of America, we pause to
honor Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior.
A man with a dream, and a hope for everyone.

Sadly, social differences still exist today not only within this country, but the rest of the world.

Not only do some still judge others by their culture or the color of their skin, but also by their wealth or lack thereof.
There are even those who will take differences within religious viewpoints to the ultimate extreme.

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."



Let us pause to not only remember the man and his dream, 
"...that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
but his lessons as well.

Whatever our opinions, we all share the same planet. Let us work together to make it a more enjoyable world for ALL humanity, not just a "chosen" few.

The above was an editorial.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

THE SUNDAY FUNNIES: DOWN ON THE FARM

Hello Everybody! Waxy Dragon here!
Today, we get to celebrate The Free Choice E-zine 1400th Blogger post as I talk about my Christmas vacation down on the farm.

During the Christmas break, I flew down south to visit some of my relatives. My wings were tired from such a long flight, so not much got done that first day after I arrived.
But afterwards...

In all honesty, I didn't know farming was so much work!
You have to get up BEFORE sunrise to feed the animals, milk the cows, do all your chores, and everything else needed to keep a farm running!
For those thinking it's a lot simpler just to go to the grocery store and get the food you need, remember this:

Anyway, I learned a lot from my farming dragon cousins while I was there, and now I'm gonna share some of that wisdom with you.

*Country fences need to be horse high, pig tight, and bull strong.

*Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps.

*A bumble bee is faster than a tractor.

*To know how well farmers are doing, look at their barns, not their houses.

*Don't sell your mule to buy a plow.

*When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

So, the next time a grocery store claims they buy stuff from a local farm, ask
for the address so you can see for yourself!

Take care everyone. Have a great week, and we'll be back next weekend with more Sunday Funnies!=wd.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: JANUARY 11-17, 2015

IT'S NATIONAL DAY IN MINORCA!
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JUNIOR DAY IS JANUARY 19th.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*A Unity Rally in France honored those lost in the Charlie Hebdo attack, while the first post-attack issue of the satire magazine is a complete sell out.
*Pope Francis began a six day Asian tour, starting in Sri Lanka, but was appalled when he heard Manila authorities allegedly caged unwanted street children in anticipation of his stop there.
*The Franc is increasing in value because the Swiss National Bank has ended its cap on the Euro's exchange rate.
*Divers have recovered the black box from crashed Indonesia Air Asia Flight 8501.
*72 people have passed away after drinking contaminated beer in Mozambique. The source of the contamination is under investigation.
*Target has announced plans to close ALL of its Canadian outlets! This will automatically force that franchise branch of the retailer into bankruptcy.
*China has sent additional volunteers to help combat the Ebola Virus in West Africa.
*Both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agree that 2014 was the hottest year (to date) the world has ever experienced since record keeping began in 1880.
*The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found NASA's missing Beagle 2. The probe has faulty solar panels which kept it from working, but the craft did land safely on the Martian surface.

IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS...
*While his plans were previously reported here, Giorgio Napolitanio has officially resigned as the President of Italy.
*Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic won the election and will soon take office as the first female President of Croatia.

TERRIBLE TERRORIST TRAGEDIES...
*A passenger bus wishing to enter the Ukraine was attacked by unidentified assailants, killing at least 10 civilians.
*ISIS/ISIL computer hackers allegedly attacked the United States computers operating YouTube and Twitter. The matter is still under investigation.
*Chad military forces are attempting to track down Boko Haram terrorists in Cameroon.
*Suicide bombers still seem to be the weapon dujour this past week, including the Boko Haram convincing two ten year old girls to kill themselves in an Nigerian market explosion!

PASSING PARADE...
*Actress Anita Ekberg (La Dolce Vita, Paris Holiday, Back From Eternity) has taken her last bow on life's stage.
*Author Robert Gover (The $100 Misunderstanding, On The Run With Dick and Jane) is no longer with us.
*Director Francesco Rosi (The Mattei Affair, The Truce) has passed away.

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a letter from a homeowner to their bank seeking to rescind their mortgage is just as valid as a court-filed lawsuit.
*The Supreme Court will hear testimony in April on whether or not there is a constitutional right to same-gender marriages.
*Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been appointed to chair the Senate's Science Committee. The strong climate change denier is on record for believing NASA to be a huge waste of government funds. Ironic, considering NASA has some major facilities in the Lone Star State!
*Congressman Steve Scalise is being questioned about speaking to a known white supremacist group in 2002.
*The Republican Party is still hoping to "reform" Social Security, despite the fact that employees pay directly into the system, and it's the United States government that actually owes the program money, not the other way around!
*House Republicans have voted not to budget the required funds to support the President's executive action on immigration reform.
*President Barack Obama is scheduled to give the annual State of the Union address Tuesday, January 20th.
ELSEWHERE...
*Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have become the first to successfully free climb the "Dawn Wall" of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
*Both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agree that 2014 was the hottest year (to date) the world has ever experienced since record keeping began in 1880.
*The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found NASA's missing Beagle 2. The probe has faulty solar panels which kept it from working, but the craft did land safely on the Martian surface.
*Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel led the nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards. The Oscars will be presented in a live ceremony hosted by Neil Patrick Harris on February 22, 2015.
*Transformers: Age of Extinction led the nominations for the 35th annual Golden Raspberry Awards for the worst of the past movie year. Those honors will be presented in a live ceremony February 21, 2015.

THE JANUARY 18, 2015 INSTALLMENT OF THE SUNDAY FUNNIES WILL BE
THE FREE CHOICE E-ZINE'S 1400th BLOGGER POST!

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.

THE PUZZLE CORNER: JANUARY 17, 2015

FUN FACT
Despite the shape of their face and head, dolphins do not posses the sense of smell.

THE LETTER SHUFFLE
This time, each word listed below can become a color just by changing one letter. Are you up to the task?

01. Grab
02. Block
03. Pick
04. Maude
BONUS!
The four new letters you used can be rearranged to make a 5th color! Do you know what it is?

BEFORE AND AFTER
Two things share at least one word in common, and so can be combined to create something new.
Based on the clue below, do you know what it is?

Mister Toad leaves Tara.

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the January 10, 2015 Puzzle Corner.

FAMOUS FIRSTS
The beginning to the first line of a famous book is given below.
Do you know the title and author?

"The office of the university president looked like the front parlor of a successful Victorian..."

Those words opened The Godwulf Manuscript, the very first Spenser novel by Robert B. Parker

COMMON BONDS
The items within each subset below have something in common.
Do you know what it is?
01. {Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Junior} are both members of U2.
02. {Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood} are both members of The Rolling Stones.

Monday, January 12, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: THE LAST DRAGONLORD by Joanne Bertin

Tor, initially released in 1998
FROM MY LOCAL LIBRARY...
The Last Dragonlord is the opening book of a new fantasy series by Joanne Bertin.
Within its pages Linden Rathan, the title character because he is the last of his kind to appear in more than 600 years, joins a contingent of his fellow Dragonlords (very long lived humans who can change into dragons and back again) to decide who shall become the new Regent of Cassori when their Queen dies under mysterious circumstances.

There is more than just the standard political intrigue happening, for a group of pure/true humans seeks to eliminate the Dragonlords, starting with the group in Cassori.
Of course the fact that there might also finally be a new Dragonlord on the horizon, who is also a potential soul mate for Linden, further complicates matters.

In Bertin's debut novel, she wisely changed the name of the secretive group of humans from The Fellowship to The Fraternity. Unfortunately, someone along the way didn't make all the necessary changes, for there are still occurrences of the J.R.R. Tolkien inspired name used within the early pages and on the cover copy.
And despite how it is presented on the cover, Dragonlord is only one compound word.

Some might say the circumstances that keep Linden and his true love separate until the "proper" time are cliched, but you will find yourself rooting for everything to work out for both the new couple and everyone else involved.

Dragonlords/weredragons is definitely a new concept to me. When I came across this book at my local library, I decided to give it a try and found the novel an entertaining read. The characters were believable, although why some members of the Fraternity would want to master dark magic when they're proud of being true/pure humans seemed a contradiction to me.
Other than the title species and magic in general, there isn't many of the other fantasy trappings one might expect to find. Not that there's anything wrong in that per se, but your opinion might vary.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

SUNDAY FUNNIES: AUTUMN'S CELEBRITY SHINY NEW YEAR!

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..."
Hello Everybody!
Autumn the Puppy here with not only my first post of the new year, but also my first batch of celebrity quotes for 2015 too.
So this time, I'm going to have the celebrities comment on the new year and as usual, my comments are in italics.
Ready?

Winfrey, circa 2011
"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!"
Oprah Winfrey
Other than forgetting where I buried some of my bones, I thought I had a pretty good 2014 overall.

Gaiman, circa 2007
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something."
Author Neil Gaiman
I agree with the sentiment, and this year I resolve to make better notes on where I plan to hide my bones before I bury them.

O'Hara
"I know I'm lazy. But I made myself a New Year's Resolution that I would write myself something really special. Which means I have 'til December, right?"
Catherine O'Hara
Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?
Of course, until the weather improves, I can't go outside and look for my missing bones anyway.

The bard
"Come gentlemen. I hope we shall drink down all unkindness."
William Shakespeare
"I never worry about being driven to

Fields, circa 1919
drink. I just worry about being driven home."
W.C. Fields
Well, as long as the water in my water dish is fresh and clean, I'll certainly drink to both thoughts! Happiness in the new year and designated drivers.

Tennyson
"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier'."
Alfred Lord Tennyson
I sure hope so, because we can all use some happiness in our lives.

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

All images courtesy of Wikipedia via either public domain use,
their Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License,
or their GNU Free Documentation License.