Friday, January 31, 2014

Letters to Juliet (2010 Film) Review

While I don't watch every movie that Daisy chooses, I wasn't surprised to see Letters to Juliet. While I haven't really heard of the movie, it has Amanda Seyfried in the leading role. Daisy and I loved Seyfried in Veronica Mars and Les Miserables. I wasn't sure if I would even like Letters to Juliet but it really surprised me.

Fact of the Day: Pennsylvanian Dutch

 The founder of Hershey candy, Milton Hershey did not speak English as his first language. Due to his family, he grew up speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, a Germanic language founded in America. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Street Fighter Alpha (PS1) Review

When I was a kid Street Fighter II was one of the coolest games we had on SNES. The series had seen many editions, spin-offs, and sequels, but this is the first time I really played the Alpha series. Since PSN has classics for the original Playstation, I thought I'd start with first Street Fighter Alpha.

Fact of the Day: La Petite Roche

The capital of Arkansas, Little Rock is named after a landmark along the Arkansas River. Explorer Jean-Baptiste BĂ©nard de la Harpe named it La Petite Roche which literally means "Little Rock".

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cowboys & Aliens (2011 Film) Review

I remember when Cowboys & Aliens came out in 2011. I thought the concept was rather dumb, and I wasn't exactly motivated to go see it. However a few years later I decided it may be at least somewhat good. It has got James Bond actor Daniel Craig, the legendary Harrison Ford, and the lovely Olivia Wilde.

Fact of the Day: Canine

The Canine family of animals (e.g. dogs, wolves, foxes, etc.) gets its name from the Latin word "Canis" which means "dog". 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Recent Visits to the Dentist

As I mentioned earlier I recently went to the dentist for the first time in a decade and found a lot of unfortunate surprises. I had teeth fillings in two visits, and besides a little nervousness about needles (been many years) it was fine. Unlike the metal ones (amalgam) I got when I was a teenager the news ones are called composites. They are the same color as your teeth and after the first few days you can't even tell you have them. 

I was suppose to get a root canal and a crown but I later changed my mind. I first thought a crown was something made of metal but instead it's like a fake tooth that sits on the base on what's left of your real tooth. Since I was going to lose most of that tooth anyhow, I just got it pulled instead. Luckily it's far back enough not to be noticed and all my trips were painless.

Fact of the Day: Pacific America

In addition to Hawaii, many islands are part of the United States. The Northern Mariana Islands are an official commonwealth of the United States like Puerto Rico. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Atonement (2007 Film) Review

 Back in 2007 I had no idea that the movie Atonement even existed. I loved James McAvoy's portrayal of the young Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class. I also really like Keira Knightley as an actress. I had heard Atonement had done really well critically so all three factors made me want to see it.

Fact of the Day: Olympic Swimming

Olympic swimming events opened for women competitors in 1912, however zero of those athletes were from the United States. Officials at the time did not approve of women competing in such attire. Medals were instead won by Australia (with help from New Zealand), Great Britain, Germany, and Austria.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Christian Staff at Louisiana School Bully Buddhist Student

 I recently heard of this story the other day, and it beyond infuriated me. Even when I considered myself a Christian, I still considered America's freedom of religion and secularism as one of the nation's highest achievements. I live in the South, but in a rather urban area and my schools were very secular like they should be. However the staff at Negreet High School in a very rural spot in Louisiana have thought they were above the laws of the United States Constitution.

My Top Ten RPGs #1: Chrono Trigger

While SquareEnix might be one the biggest names when it comes to video game RPGs, I have to say I haven't found many of their games to be very compelling. I've tried many of the Final Fantasy games but none of them really kept me entertained. I heard of Chrono Trigger's epic reputation, and when it came out on the Nintendo DS I was hoping I would at least like it. I didn't just like it, I loved it!

Random Photo: Lego Space Needle

In December Daisy put together this Lego model of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington from Lego's architecture series. While it isn't as complex as some others in the series, it does look cool.

Fact of the Day: Ark Search

While the biblical story of Noah's Ark is often criticized for being scientifically impossible, this has never stopped people for searching for it. There has been many claims by various groups and individuals over the years saying they had "found" the mythical vessel with no evidence. The most credible person in modern times to look for the ark was astronaut James Irwin who was a devout Christian. He led two searches for Noah's Ark in modern-day Turkey and was disappointed to find nothing. He said "I've done all I possibly can, but the Ark continues to elude us."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Oklahoma Republican Tries to Prevent All Marriages

Recently a Federal judge ruled Oklahoma's marriage inequality law unconstitutional, and if the ruling stays it will be the first state in the deep South where marriage equality will be a reality. The reasoning for it being unconstitutional is that is contradicts the 14th amendment's equal protection clause. Now State Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond) has thrown out the idea of prohibiting all marriages to satisfy the equal protection clause requirement. Honestly I think it's pathetic that someone would resort to a bizarre idea like this to discriminate against the LGBT community, but I bet social-conservatives are now feeling a bit ironic as now someone (from their own party) is trying to infringe on their civil liberties. 

My Top Ten RPGs #2: Skies of Arcadia

I had remembered when Skies of Arcadia came out for Sega Dreamcast. Following the system's early demise, it was eventually released on the Nintendo Gamecube. I had given it a chance a few years later, and I have never regretted it.

Fact of the Day: Clark Gable

Clark Gable, an actor best known for his role as Rhett Butler in the film Gone with the Wind joined the Air Force (when it was still part of the U.S. Army) during World War II despite being one of the biggest actors in Hollywood. Gable was ironically Germany's tyrant leader's favorite actor and he promised his soldiers a impressive reward if they were able to bring in Clark Gable unharmed. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #3: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

 While most Star Wars games are based on either the prequel movies or the original trilogy, Knights of the Old Republic was set even before Yoda's time. About 4000 years before Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker during the days of the original Republic.

Fact of the Day: Christopher Ohio

The capital of Ohio, Columbus is named after the legendary explorer Christopher Columbus. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #4: Pokemon Red/Blue

While many of the sequels did improve many things, it's hard to compare to the nostalgia and awesomeness of the original Pokemon. In America we had the Red and Blue Versions (Japan had Green instead of Blue) where certain pokemon were only available in each version. While some criticize the series always having two versions, I admit it did make us more sociable as we had to rely on friends and siblings to make the game more fun.

Fact of the Day: Rose King

When the English War of the Roses was over, Henry VII became King and also founded the House of Tudor. Unlike many monarchs in English history, Henry VII did not obtain the throne through his family tree. Henry VII's forces managed to defeat King Richard III in battle, and he claimed the crown in victory. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #5: Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga

While Mario has had plenty of spin-offs, this was the first time Mario had two spin-offs of a similar game. While Paper Mario was a great game, in 2003 a new sub-series was born with Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga. Instead of graphical style that looks like artistic paper, the graphics were generally the same as any other 2D Mario game.

Fact of the Day: Sea-Monster Horsie

The Seahorse's scientific name is Hippocampus. It is derived from two Greek words meaning "sea monster" and "horse". 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #6: Paper Mario

For much I adore the Mario RPGs, Paper Mario was ironically one of the last ones I had played. I missed out on it when it came out on N64, but managed to play it when it came for the Wii's Virtual Console. While I thought the sequel The Thousand Year Door was a good game, this was beyond awesome.

Fact of the Day: Presidential Widow

When President William McKinley was murdered by the politically-enraged Leon Czolgosz, his wife Ida McKinley went into a deep depression. She was so upset by the loss of her husband, that she couldn't bear to go to his funeral.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #7: Pokemon Gold/Silver

In 2000, I had played Pokemon Blue so much, there wasn't much left to do. I don't ever remember exactly wishing for a sequel right away, but when I heard about it was a big deal. The original was a such a master-piece, and a sequel with new improvements and pokemon was a dream come true.

Fact of the Day: Drama King

When King Charles II of Spain died without an heir (he had no children), many nations in Europe eventually started the War of the Spanish Succession. The war was a bitter debate on who in Europe had the right to be King after Charles II. Many in Europe feared that if the new King Phillip V also gained the right to the French throne (which was possible) that it would upset the balance of power on the continent. In the end Phillip V remained King but with the compromise of denouncing any right to be King of France.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #8: Jade Empire

While Bioware received universal appraise for developing Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic, they had disappointed many by opting not to make a sequel themselves. I had heard that they found that making sure every character in the Star Wars universe (even little things like eye color) was correct was very tiresome. So in retrospect it wasn't terribly shocking to see them make a game based on ancient China and its mythology. That game would be Jade Empire.

Fact of the Day: Moon Mineral

The mineral Armalcolite was discovered on the Moon back in 1969. Its name is derived from the astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #9: Super Mario RPG

While generally over-looked by American gamers in the 90's, Super Mario RPG was the original RPG starring Nintendo's Mario. It was also developed by Square, the same guys behind the Final Fantasy series. It came out in 1996, and with the N64 and Super Mario 64 releasing later that year it wasn't hard to guess why it was "ignored". Despite that, it had quite the legacy among fans considering it to be a masterpiece. I was more than excited when it came out for the Wii's Virtual Console.

Fact of the Day: First Lady

While Jacqueline Kennedy was one of America's most memorable First Ladies, she actually disliked the title. She advised her secretary once "The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse."

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Top Ten RPGs #10: Star Wars: KOTOR II

 Far from my favorite genre of video games, I did have a lot of fun recalling my favorite RPGs. It is also a video game genre terribly hard to define (I certainly don't count the Zelda games as part of the genre), as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is not a typical one. While games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest made slow turn-based combat almost synonymous with the genre, the KOTOR series is in real-time.

Fact of the Day: Oxygen Discoverer

While Joseph Priestley had many scientific achievements, his greatest (though an honor he shares with Carl Wilhelm Scheele) would probably be the discovery of oxygen. He was even able to isolate it from other elements in the air. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Random Photo: Friendly Cat

One night I took Daisy home and we heard the sound of a bell in the distance. Being around Christmas I joked it was "Santa" but then this cat jumped right on the porch to say "hello".  Daisy told me she thinks the cat belongs to her neighbors, but the cat is pretty friendly. I took this photo the 2nd time I saw it, after he greeted me when I drove to Daisy's house. 

Fact of the Day: Indiana City

The capital of Indiana, Indianapolis gets its name from the Greek word "polis" which means city. Which literally makes Indianapolis translate as Indiana City.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Favorite Photos: UU Church 60th Anniversary

 Being agnostic, I loved finding the Unitarian Universalist Church which features members of many religious and non-religious viewpoints. Our local Unitarian Universalist church just celebrated their 60th anniversary (back when it was a traditional Unitarian church) this past Sunday. After the service, we had a little party to celebrate.

Fact of the Day: The Almost State

In the 19th century, President Ulysses S. Grant originally wanted the Dominican Republic (known then as Santo Domingo) to join the United States with promise of eventual statehood. He thought it would be a safe haven for African-Americans who were being oppressed in the Southern United States. The move failed to gain approval from Congress. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Five-Year Engagement (2012 Film) Review

 The Five-Year Engagement was something my fiancee Daisy picked out for us to watch. I don't think I recall hearing about it back in 2012, but I like Jason Segel as an actor. Being currently engaged, it seemed like a perfect movie anyways.

Fact of the Day: Iron Chancellor

Germany's first Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's political style and powerful rule earned him the nickname "Iron Chancellor".

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz's Polar Bear

 Due to work, I missed my niece Little Iz's first birthday party. So I gave my niece her birthday present a little later. She had adored Daisy's polar teddy-bear, so after that I made sure that's what she would get for her birthday.

Fact of the Day: Civil Rights Poet

Poet and author Carl Sandburg supported the civil rights movement, and was the first Caucasian man honored by the NAACP with an award and being dubbed a "major prophet of civil rights in our time."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Epic (2013 Film) Review

I heard of Epic last year, but never went to see it in theaters. I honestly didn't know much about the film, and I decided to wait awhile before I watched it. Fortunately it lives up to its name.

Fact of the Day: Washington Medal

One of the most famous military medals, the purple heart (given to soldiers wounded or killed while serving) originated back in the 18th century. When the modern medal was modernized in the 20th century, it featured a portrait of George Washington himself. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

King Dedede Confirmed For Super Smash Bros IV (WiiU/3DS)

While I'm not surprised since he was in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but Kirby's nemesis is set to be in the fourth Super Smash Bros. game. While he was never my favorite, I did respect that he was one of the few characters to play almost exactly how he is in his series. I'm glad to see him return. 

My Favorite Photos: Little K's New Pal

One of my niece's maternal cousins had a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, and Little K returned with Chuck himself. 

Fact of the Day: Thomas Edison Was Afraid of the Dark

Thomas Edison is known for creating the light-bulb (though he does share the honor with some other inventors), and that may have helped Edison with one of his fears. He admitted that he was afraid of the dark. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Alpha and Omega (2010 Film) Review

I few years ago I did remember hearing about Alpha and Omega. My fiancee Daisy loves husky dogs (though this movie is about wolves), and she decided she wanted to see it. I hadn't heard terribly awesome critical opinions, but I decided to see if it was at least half as good as a Pixar classic.

Fact of the Day: Congressional House Limit

While the U.S. Senate is represented by two Senators of each U.S. state, the House of Representatives are represented based on a state's population. The first congress had only 59 representatives, and grew along with the country's population. However Congress in 1911 prevented that number from going higher than 435 regardless of population.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Random Photo: Dentist Visit

I had some tooth pain that I couldn't stand so I went to the dentist for the first time in ages. Good news is that the first visit was complimentary, which included this electric toothbrush and some other stuff. The bad news is that I'll need to get a root canal and a crown.  

Fact of the Day: Coral Are Not Plants

While coral were widely believed to be plants, a man named William Herschel used a microscope to see that their cellular structure proved to be different. Coral had animal cells not plant cells.