Saturday, December 31, 2016


Memorable Images of the Year in Review

2016: A year that marked a striking repudiation of the status-quo... 

There were a number of unpredictable celebrity deaths—Fidel Castro, David Bowie, Mohammed Ali, Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fisher & her mom, Debbie Reynolds, among others. History was also made—The Chicago Cubs won the World Series after a 108-year drought, Donald Trump defied polls, party establishments, and the mainstream media to become the 45th president of the United States, Britain voted to leave the European Union, a young African American gymnast and first-time Olympian, Simone Biles, won 
Ieshia Evans protesting in Baton Rouge
four gold medals after a spectacular performance in Rio. There were some iconic happenings too—from the soaring of Vienna waltzes at the New York City Ballet to “Hamilton,” a Broadway hit about the American Revolution. Female empowerment was dealt a mighty blow—the defeat of Hillary Clinton (the first ever female
In Remembrance Celebrity Deaths in 2016
 presidential candidate of any major political party in the US) at the presidential polls, the shocking impeachment and removal from office of two female presidents, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil & Park Geun-hye of South Korea. And, of course, the familiar tragedies—the barefaced killing of unarmed African American men by white policemen in many American cities and getting away with it, multiple terrorist attacks in continental Europe, and massive earthquakes in Italy.

President Obama
January: A mosquito-borne Zika virus introduced itself to the world as Brazil saw a surge in birth defects related to the virus. In Washington D.C., President Obama had tears in his eyes while speaking at the White House in condemnation of gun violence. On the 10th day of the month, David Bowie died at age 69.

Beyoncé channeled the Black Panther
February: During the Super Bowl halftime show, singer Beyoncé introduced a controversial element into her performance when she and her dancers appeared on stage with outfits reminiscent of the Black Panther movement. On the 13th of that month, Justice Antonin Scalia died and his seat was draped in black at the Supreme Court.

March: A bomb blast at the Brussels Airport killed 15 people and two suicide bombers. Islamic State extremists claimed responsibility for the
Aftermath of Brussels bomb attack
disaster. An agreement signed between the European Union and Turkey was broadly successful in reducing the refugee and migrant flow into Europe. And, with the closing of the main route to Germany, more than 40,000 migrants were stranded near Indomeni in Greece.

Prom queen Zarifeh Shalabi
April: Music legend, Prince, died from an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl. In California, a 17-year-old Muslim girl, Zarifeh Shalabi, was elected prom queen at her high school (a few miles from the site of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino in December 2015). Her non-Muslim friends campaigned for her by wearing hijabs in solidarity.

May: The warming effects of Climate Change shocked many
Bolivia's second largest lake dried up 
when a picture was published of Felix Condori, mayor of Llapallapani and a former fisherman, standing in the dry bed that was once Bolivia’s second-largest lake, Poopò. With the vanishing of Lake Poopò, the Uru-Murato people (the oldest indigenous group in the area) lost their livelihoods.

June: Boxing legend, Mohammed Ali, died. Nine days later, violence struck in Orlando, Florida when a
Demonstration in the UK for Brexit
29-year-old security guard, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others inside Pulse, a gay nightclub that was hosting Latin night festivities. Shot and killed by the Orlando police after a three-hour standoff, Omar’s act was the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the worst incident of violence against LGBT people in US history. That same month, contrary to every hope and prayer, Brexit happened, and with it, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigned.

Philando Castile shot by police
July: Images from a Facebook live video showed the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile during a traffic stop by a police officer. Later, during an organized protest over police injustice against African American men, five officers were killed. 

In Turkey, a military coup was staged against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which failed spectacularly. 
Aftermath of Turkey's failed coup
On the 14th day of the month, Mohammed Lahouaje-Bouhlel, a Tunisian man (residing in France) deliberately drove a 19-tonne cargo truck into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The terrorist was shot and killed by the French police following an exchange of gunfire. As if that wasn’t painful enough, about two weeks later, two terrorists attacked the Saint-Ėtienne-du-Rouvray church in the French region of Normandy during a mass, killing an 86-year-old priest. ISIS claimed responsibility.

Omran Daqneesh
Dilma Rousseff 
August: A 5-year-old Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, was rescued after a devastating airstrike in Aleppo, and the image of his dust and blood-covered face not only captured the imagination of the world, it also became a symbol of the havoc caused by the Aleppo airstrikes. In Brazil, just before the Rio Olympics began, President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office after a bitter fight following accusations of corruption.
Simon Biles at the Rio Olympics
Luckily, it didn’t derail the Games, where Simone Biles, an American gymnast, and first-time Olympian, delighted her country with graceful performances on the uneven bars at the gymnastics arena, winning four gold medals. As the month edged slowly to an end, a 6.2 m earthquake hit the Lazio, Umbria and Marche regions of Italy, killing nearly 300 people.

September: For the umpteenth time, a rather scandalous eventa recurring nightmare in the African American community—played out when protests in 
Presidential debate: Clinton/Trump
Charlotte, North Carolina, set off by the police killing of a black man, Keith L. Scott, spiraled into violence, with gunfire leaving a 26-year-old man, Justin Carr, fatally wounded. 

Later that month, the first of three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took place at the Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, with millions of people glued to the television for 95 minutes.

San Francisco 49ers players protested police injustice
October: People noticed when San Francisco 49ers players, Eli Harold, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, protesting racial injustice, knelt during the national anthem. The second & third presidential debates between Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump took place on the 9th and the 19th.  Clinton was believed to have won all three debates.
Effect of Duterte’s war on drugs

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless antidrug-campaign led to overcrowded prisons. In one city jail, inmates took turns sleeping in any available space, including a basketball court. 

And in Italy, earthquakes ranging from 5.5m to 6.6m hit the regions of Umbria and Marche between the 26th and 30th of the month.

Chicago Cubs won the World Series
Trump & Obama at the oval
November: Donald Trump won more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to clinch the presidency. Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, “This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” Two days after the election, President Obama met the President-elect at the Oval office. In Havana, the Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, died at 90. Chicago Cubs made history by winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years.

Gunman killed Russian envoy
December: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after losing a major referendum on constitutional reform on which he had staked his premiership. In South Korea, President Park Geun-hye was impeached after a political scandal involving the level of access to the presidency by an aide. And in Ankara, a gunman (who was identified as a police officer) shot and killed Andrey G. Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art exhibition in the full glare of television cameras, shouting, “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”
Park Geun-hye of South Korea

Just days before Christmas, a 24-year-old Tunisian, Anis Amri, who had earlier pledged allegiance to ISIS, hijacked a truck and drove into crowds at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin, killing twelve people. He then fled Germany and was later shot and killed by the Italian police in Milan. On Christmas Day, sadly, George Michael died. Two days later, Carrie Fisher died, and the next day, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, joined her.  


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Democratic Boomerang

The Electoral College voted December 19, 2016, finalizing Donald Trump's election as the 45th President of the US. The following day, in the supposedly greatest democracy on earth, the hypocrisy of many caught up with them in the form of a trending hashtag, #NeverMyPresident. 

In a democracy, the will of the people supersedes everything else. Therefore the hashtag was as stupid as the call for the abolition of the #ElectoralCollege and as divisive as the #CrookedHillary hashtag (that unfairly demonized one flawed candidate over an equally flawed opponent), given that elections are won by a majority of votes no matter how people feel about a particular candidate. 

In the US, its the electoral college vote that counts, so even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million ballots, it did not change anything. Fact is, for the Democrats, the numbers just didnt add up this time, but that’s no reason to devalue the electoral college.

By calling for its abolition and continuing an unhealthy obsession with Trump (which, by the way, is the reason he won in the first place), Clinton fans and the Democratic Party are unwittingly impeding the unraveling of Donald Trump. The campaign is over, now its time to assess him on his policy, not his campaign antics. 

Therefore criticizing him for every triviality will erode the power of  any serious critique on things that actually matter. And since his supporters, like him, take all criticism personally, they instinctively respond to every attack by defending him, which leaves them no time to actually evaluate him. It is important for them to evaluate him because they voted him for a purpose.

It goes without saying that dwelling on trivialities simply repeats the mistakes made during the campaign, which is, steering attention away from issues.  It is now clear, of course, that disparaging Trump just “for being Trump,” is tantamount to celebrating Trump.

It might be time for the country to move on. It might also be time for Democrats to look beyond the email hacking as a reason for their loss though a bipartisan investigation is crucial for the sake of the country. 

Clinton & Obama
The truth of the matter is that if the contents of those emails were not damaging to Mrs. Clinton, the hacking would not have made any difference at all, after all, as many have said, the Russians didn’t write the emails. 

One interesting point many ignore is that if a majority of American voters wanted Hillary Clinton to be president, the hacked emails, even with their damaging contents, would not have made any difference. And there is no greater proof of that than Donald Trump himself. 

He refused to release his tax records, they still voted for him. He mocked a disabled person on national television, they still voted for him. He called Mexicans rapists, they still voted for him. He made utterances in public that no other presidential candidate would dare make in private, they still voted for him. In short, Donald Trump broke every rule of the game but because the majority wanted him, they voted for him anyway.

Maybe it’s time for America to finally "silence the guns" and seek instead to understand the meaning behind that choice.   

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The December Event

Welcome to the Decadent Decem-brr Reads

Kindle Giveaway! 
As the month of December rolls in, some of your favorite authors have come together to offer readers a special giveaway

The prizes are as follows:

·GRAND PRIZE – Kindle eReader + $15 Amazon gift card
·1st PRIZE – $50 Amazon gift card (1 winner)
·2nd PRIZE – $25 Amazon gift card (1 winner)
·3rd PRIZE – $10 Amazon gift card (1 winner)
·4th PRIZE – $5 Amazon gift card  (1 winner)
·5th Various swag items (3 winners – US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


AuthorSuite Books, 

also available on Kindle Unlimited

“It’s the possibility of having 
a dream come true that makes 
life interesting.” 

- Paulo Coelho

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hollywood Squares

The Celebrity Tic-Tac-Toe Game Show


Peter Marshall
The original Hollywood Squares was a legitimate game show [running from 1966 to 2004], though, interestingly, the game acted largely as a background for the show’s comedy in the form of ‘joke’ answers (called ‘Zingers’), often given by the stars prior to their real answer. The following questions and answers are from the days when responses from the celebrity guests were spontaneous and witty. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions. Enjoy!

Q. Do female frogs croak? 
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Celebrity Squares behind the scene
Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be? 
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.
A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think
Dennis Weaver | Gene Rayburn | Michael Landon
Match Game 1964
that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?
A. Rose Marie: No; wait until morning.

Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?
A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"?
A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Late George Gobel - panelist
Q. What are “Do It,” “I Can Help,” and “I Can’t Get Enough”?
A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.

Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?
A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I’ll
give you a gesture you’ll never forget.

Q. Paul, why do Hell’s Angels wear leather?
A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Q. Charley, you’ve just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I’m too busy growing strawberries.

Q. In bowling, what’s a perfect score?
Late Cliff Arquette as Charley Weaver 
A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy. 

Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?
A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?
A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I’m always safe in the bedroom.

Q. Can boys join the Campfire Girls?
A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?
A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?

Late Paul Lynde ("center square")
Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?
A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn’t neglected.

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant? 

Q. When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex?
A. Charley Weaver: I’ll lend him the car, the rest is up to him. 

Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
A. Charley Weaver: His feet. 

Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
A. Paul Lynde: Point and Laugh