Monday, September 30, 2013

A Look Into Video Games: The Simpsons Wrestling (PS1)

 While the early 90's had plenty of games based on The Simpsons, I really think The Simpsons Wrestling in 2001 was the start of the modern era of their video games. While the older games featured mainly Bart, The Simpsons Wrestling featured most of the well-known characters.

Fact of the Day: Pocahontas Wilson

Woodrow Wilson's wife Edith Wilson was a direct descendant of the legendary Pocahontas and her husband John Rolfe. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Geese at the Park

This was another photo my mother took when my nephews and their mom spent some time in the park with us. My nephews enjoyed seeing the geese, and there sure were a lot of them. Though we did notice in the crowd, two different ducks as well blending in with the geese. 

Fact of the Day: Musical Swan

The bird Swan's name is ultimately derived from a Indo-European root word "swen" which means "to sound" or "sing". 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Nephews at Cleveland Park

My mother took this photo yesterday when my sister-in-law Amber took her two sons to visit a local park. They live in another city so we don't get to see them often, so most of the whole family showed up to meet them. Even Mr. K's and Mr. C's new baby cousins were there. This photo was taken shortly after we arrived to the park. There's a tiny lake in the park, and my nephews were looking at all the geese swimming around. 

Fact of the Day: Charles Town

The capital of West Virginia, Charleston is named after Charles Clendenin. His son Savannah was a colonel and along with his Virginia Rangers built the first permanent settlement, Fort Lee. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Incredible Hulk (2008 Film) Review

While The Hulk is one of Marvel's most famous heroes, he's never really been one of my favorites. I've never disliked him, but prefered Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, and other super-heroes much more. I had seen all the films in the Avengers-related movies except for Hulk. I really liked Mark Ruffalo's portrayal as Bruce Banner/Hulk in the Avengers, but I was a little hesitant to see The Incredible Hulk as Banner is portrayed by another actor.

Fact of the Day: Mother Fish

The Ocean Sunfish lays the most eggs of any fish known to man. They can produce as many as three hundred million eggs at a single time. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz With Her Grand-Donna

Grand-Donna is a nick-name my sister-in-law has for my mother (her name is Donna) when she comes to visit her grand-daughter Little Iz. She's apparently the only person my niece will fall asleep with while being held. This was the other day when she went over to visit, and Little Iz started snoozing right in her arms. 

Fact of the Day: Lincoln Doubts

During the 1864 presidential election, many prominent Republicans doubted that Abraham Lincoln could win re-election. Even Lincoln himself heavily doubted the potential outcome. Salmon P. Chase was the only major candidate to challenge Lincoln in the party-primary but only on the belief that the President could not win the general election. Lincoln later won the election in a landslide with 212 electoral votes to 21. Despite the challenge, Lincoln nominated Chase for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for which he served for over eight years.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Things I Like: Power-Level Scouter (Dragon Ball Z)

The power-level scouters were first introduced in Dragon Ball Z when Raditz arrived on Earth. They can tell how strong or weak a character was to the person wearing the eye-piece. I think almost everyone watching the show wanted one of their own in real-life.

Fact of the Day: Samurai Armor

While the armor of European knights were made of metal and limited mobility, the armor of the samurai in Japan was much different. They were generally made of leather and iron, and were designed to be as lightweight as possible. This allowed the samurai not only the protection of armor, but the mobility and speed to use a sword, a bow, or to ride a horse with ease.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Look Into Video Games: Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

While Mario Kart has been king of kart racing games since 1992, it has seen many imitators and rivals.  Diddy Kong Racing was the first kart racer (that I know of) that Nintendo had done outside the Mario series. Though technically Rare (who made the Donkey Kong Country series) were the real team behind it.

Fact of the Day: Goldfish Ancestor

Goldfish originated in ancient China by as early as the Jin Dynasty. Its ancestors were gray carps (with genetic evidence suggesting the Prussian carp) that were primarily kept for food. The carps eventually started to produce mutations with the colors red, yellow, orange on their scales. After this was discovered, the fish became popular in ornamental ponds and water-gardens. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Random Photos: Little Frog

While walking to Daisy's house, as soon I got to the steps I saw something jump out of the steps that was the same color as the brick. I took a closer look and it was a tiny frog.

Fact of the Day: Olympia Brown

The first female minister of a major church was Olympia Brown. Not only was she a minister of the Universalist church, but also one of the leading advocates for women's suffrage. She lived to see the passage of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote in America. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013 Film) Review

 While I've always enjoyed science-fiction, I never really seen the original Star Trek series nor it's later movies. I thought 2009's Star Trek would be a good place to give the series a try, and I thought it was an excellent movie. Afterwards I was more than eager to see its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.

Fact of the Day: Cold War Musician

In 1958 during the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union hosted an international music competition. While the event was designed to demonstrate Soviet cultural superiority, it was won by an American. Van Cliburn's piano talent led to the audience giving him an eight minute standing ovation. When he returned home he was treated to a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the only time one has been held for a musician of classical music. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Random Photos: Zelda Waiting at the Vet

 So yesterday morning, I had to take my dog Zelda to the vet for a re-examination after a skin problem. Two weeks ago was our first trip to this vet office, and even though she had never been there before she knew what it was. Unlike our old vet, I at least have room to give her some walking space as you she will pull as hard as she can to look around or try to leave.

Fact of the Day: President Grandfather

President John Tyler had many children during the course of his life. He had a son named Lyon when he was 63 years old. Lyon had two sons while he was in his 70s, and both of the brothers are still alive. Making Tyler the oldest president with living grand-children. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Sleepy Time

My brother took this photo of his daughter Little K catching some zzzs. Probably the most precious photo I've seen of my niece.  

Fact of the Day: Anne's Town

The capital of Maryland, Annapolis is named after the then-Princess Anne. She later became the English Queen Anne I, and later the first monarch of the United Kingdom. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Look Into Video Games: The Adventures of Gilligan's Island (NES)

Gilligan's Island is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Though it's hard to believe someone wanted to make a video game based off of it. Though Bandai had that idea and did so in 1990. The Adventures of Gilligans Island hit the NES about 23 years after the show ended.

Fact of the Day: United League

After World War I, the League of Nations was formed as a group of countries working together to maintain world peace. With many weaknesses, the League of Nations failed to maintain its peace as World War II began. The League was ultimately replaced by the United Nations. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Earth (2007 Film) Review

I remember hearing about Disneynature's Earth back in 2007. It had many recommendations, and I remember it being one of the first movies to really show what Blu-ray could do. I had never seen it, and just kinda forgot all about during the next five years or so. But I love nature, and seeing different kinds of animals so I was rather excited to give Earth a chance.

Fact of the Day: Qin Dynasty

Despite being China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang's Qin dynasty lasted only 15 years. After his death, power passed on to his son. Despite military strength, his son failed to keep power and lost it to the man who would found the Han Dynasty. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz and Blue

Now with Little Iz being almost nine months old, she's been interacting with her own little world a lot now. The family dog Blue is still a baby herself (in her mind anyway), but she has a lot of self-control and knows she has to be gentle. Though as an uncle, I'm a little relieved to hear that Blue is about to become an outside-dog when her fence and dog-house get finished. 

Fact of the Day: Abner Kneeland

Abner Kneeland was the last man in America to be convicted for blasphemy. He was raised a Baptist, but later converted to Universalism. His views later drifted away from the Universalist Church and his religious ideas later got him in trouble with the state government of Massachusetts back in the early 19th century.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Upstate Pride 2013

 Back in 2011, Daisy and I first went to Upstate Pride which was in it's third year. Last Saturday we went to it's fifth celebration which honors the LGBT community and it's allies. We went in 2011 with our Democratic youth group, last year to support our friend Deb Morrow's congressional run, and this year with our Unitarian Universalist Church. I chose to make my sign (with Daisy's a different color) based on the equality sign of the Human Rights Campaign. I thought I did a pretty good job with it.

Fact of the Day: Honor the Elderly Day

The third Monday in September is  敬老の日 (Keiro no Hi)  in Japan. It's a national holiday which its name means "Respect for the Aged Day". It honors all the elderly citizens in Japan. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Random Photo: September 2013 Bowling

This is my fiancee Daisy shortly before we left our monthly trip to the bowling alley. We actually had quite the competitive matches. I won both games by just two points the first time and three the second time. Daisy still had fun, no matter how good or bad she bowls.  

Fact of the Day: Ancient Fish-keepers

Keeping fish in ponds has occurred for thousands of years. One of the earliest known groups to practice it were the Sumerians. They kept wild fish in ponds, but mainly to add some time to prepare the fish for meals. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Enchanted (2007 Film) Review

 Back in 2007, I don't even recall Enchanted ever coming out. I really liked its star Amy Adams in The Muppets and Man of Steel so I wanted to give Enchanted a chance. Daisy was also excited to see it as she's always been a big fan of Disney movies.

Fact of the Day: Artistic Friend of Animals

Legendary inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci (with some debate) was believed to be a vegetarian. He was also a friend to animals, often obtaining caged birds and setting them free. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's 27th Birthday Cake

My mother was kind enough to bake Daisy two birthday cakes this year (Daisy's mom also made her a cheesecake) with one cake for our house and another for Daisy's house. They were small cakes, but tasted delicious. 

Fact of the Day: Harris Town

The capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg was named by John Harris Jr. in the 18th century. He made plans to build a town on his father's land which he named after his dad. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013 Film) Review

 Of all my favorite super-heroes, DC's The Flash is far from the top. I was a bit disappointed to learn that the new animated movie had him as the central character. Then I learned it's based on a popular comic book story-line that affected nearly all the people in the DC universe.

Fact of the Day: Roza Shanina

One of World War II's most notable soldiers was the Soviet Union's Roza Shanina. She personally took out 54 German soldiers, which earned her the nickname "the unseen terror of East Prussia". She died in 1945 shortly before the end of of the war by shielding a wounded officer.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's Birthday Dinner

 Daisy's 27th birthday is today, though we had to celebrate it this Monday.  We went to her favorite restaurant Longhorn Steakhouse.

Fact of the Day: President's Hat

Even though he was defeated by Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election, Stephen A Douglas did attend his inauguration. Before giving a speech Lincoln took off his hat, but had no place to put it. Douglas offered to hold it and remarked "If I can't be the President, at least I can hold his hat.".

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bolt (2008 Film) Review

I remember hearing about Bolt back in 2008, but I ignored it for a long time. For years I thought it was a Pixar film, but I was shocked to find out it wasn't. It actually was made by another animation studio under Disney.

Fact of the Day: Salmo

The fish salmon's name is derived from the Latin word "salmo". Salmo may of been derived itself from the word "salire" meaning "to leap". 

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Little K 2 Weeks Old

My brother took this photo of my niece Little K today. She's now two weeks old, and it's hard to believe how fast the time has gone by. She looks rather victorious about it too. 

Fact of the Day: Liberal Ken Jennings

While he's better known for his legendary run on the game-show Jeopardy!, Ken Jennings is also a member of the Democratic Party. Senators Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid had urged Jennings to run for a Senate seat representing Utah in 2004. Jennings declined to run, and the seat was re-won by Senator Bob Bennett.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Things I Like: Flying Nimbus Cloud (Dragon Ball)

The Nimbus Cloud first appeared in Dragon Ball shortly after Goku met Bulma. They save Turtle and meet Master Roshi for the first time. Roshi thanks Goku for saving Turtle by giving him a flying cloud. The only downside is that the rider has to be pure of heart. Which is no problem for Goku.

Fact of the Day: Faux Rodents

Though they are sometimes referred to as rodents, rabbits don't belong to the group. Though they are closely related which led to the confusion.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Favorite Photos: My New Niece and I

This is me holding my new niece Little K for the first time almost a week ago. I had gotten sick about two days before she was born, so I had to wait a few days before I could see her. She went to sleep most of the time, but she did open her eyes for a little while. 

Fact of the Day: Royal Advice

Despite not having any real power as monarch, Queen Elizabeth II (and eventually her successor) meets with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (usually) every week. While Elizabeth II remains politically neutral she does use these talks to express her opinions to the nation's leader. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Soul Calibur V (360) Review

 I remember back in the early 2000s when Soul Calibur II first hit the major consoles. I got the Gamecube version, and I loved how they included Link from the Legend of Zelda series. I went back and played the original (I also remember playing Soul Edge in the arcades), and I was very disappointed to see Soul Calibur III as a PS2 exclusive. I skipped the third game, and played Soul Calibur IV on my 360. While it was praised by critics, I just didn't really dig it that much. But I was willing to give Soul Calibur V a chance.

Fact of the Day: Tomato Origins

Tomatoes originated in present-day Mexico by at least 500 BC. Tomatoes were spread across the world when Spanish explorers arrived in the area.