Monday, March 31, 2014

Frozen (2013 Film) Review

I had heard of Frozen for a good while but I missed it in theaters. I heard many positive opinions, and my mother really enjoyed the movie. My fiancee Daisy also really wanted to watch it, so I'm glad to see it meet my expectations.

Fact of the Day: Mountain Anthony

Before Mt. Rushmore was completed, there was an idea to put Susan B. Anthony with the four U.S. Presidents. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt supported the idea, but Congress failed to approve it. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

American Hustle (2013 Film) Review

I had heard of American Hustle last year but never got to see it in theaters. While the film did very well critically, I also wanted to see it because the main cast have had notable roles in super-hero movies. Christian Bale was Batman, Amy Adams was Lois Lane, Jennifer Lawrence was Mystique, Jeremy Renner was Hawkeye, and Bradley Cooper will have a voice-only role later this year in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Fact of the Day: Arctic Penguin

The English word "penguin" began as a synonym for the bird known as the Great Auk. Unlike penguins, the Great Auk lived in the arctic regions instead of Antarctica. Despite the resemblance, they are not closely related to penguins. They went extinct in the 19th century. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Religious SC State Senator Stops Official State Fossil Bill

An elementary school student wrote to her state senator and representative saying it would be cool to make the Woolly Mammoth the state fossil of South Carolina. One of the first North American fossils was the mammoth found in SC in 1725. Makes sense to make it the official state fossil, and why on Earth would there be an opposition to something than honors our history and negativity effects nobody?

My Fish Yuki Passed Away This Morning

This morning I went to feed my betta fish and I found her in the betta-log lifeless. She was my first real fish and while I'm not too upset (nothing like losing a family dog) I hated seeing her like that. What's even worse is that I think this is because of yesterday. My mom had the bright idea to tap her on the head, and her behavior for the rest of the day was bizarre.  

Fact of the Day: Only President

The Whig Party convinced General Zachary Taylor to be their nominee for president despite having very little interest in politics. Taylor became president later despite never serving a role in Congress or in a state legislature.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Old Tennis Match

This is a photo I took of my brother Zach and my fiancee Daisy playing tennis in 2012.  Hard to believe it's been so long since we last played the sport. I do miss it as I do quite well at it.   

Fact of the Day: Football Father

While he was a student at Yale, Walter Camp also played on the school's football team. He suggested new basic rules to the game that modernized and set it apart from it's rugby roots. Because of this, he's known as the Father of American Football. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Adorable Niece

My soon-to-be sister-in-law Tiffany took this photo of my niece Little K the other day. She called it her "I'm not going to sleep face", and said she was laughing a lot about it. 

Fact of the Day: Sid Monster

While the Cookie Monster is one of the most popular Sesame Street characters, his real name wasn't known until 2004. In a song, he admits that before he ate his first cookie, his name was Sid. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gravity (2013 Film) Review

 While I knew of Gravity last year, I sadly never got to see it in theaters. My fiancee Daisy had suggested we watch it as she was fascinated that it was about astronauts. I heard the superb praise from critics, and saw how close it was from getting the Oscar for Best Picture. I have to say Gravity is one of the 2013's best films.

Fact of the Day: Monk River

The capital of Iowa, Des Moines is named after a fort that was named after the Des Moines River. The French called the river La Riviere des Moines which literally means "river of the monks". 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why Evolution Is More Than "Just a Theory"

As many of you know, I've taken quite the interest in science, especially biology. It's been well over 150 years since Charles Darwin gave the world the first scientific evidence and explanations for evolution. Yet there is considerable number of Americans who deny it or just don't understand it. While I don't consider myself a evolutionary expert, I'd like to explain the process in my own way.

Fact of the Day: Jefferson Epitaph

When Thomas Jefferson passed away, he had left instructions for the epitaph on his gravestone. Despite many notable roles in our nation's history (e.g. President, Vice President, Secretary of State), his final resting place makes no mention of it. Instead it mentions that he was the author of the Declaration of Independence, stood for religious liberty, and was the founder of the University of Virginia. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Things I Like: Kinder Chocolate

Despite the German name, I hear Kinder chocolate originated in Italy. I have only been able to get the basic chocolate candy-bars, but I love them. A good bit different than typical American chocolates. 

Fact of the Day: Bees Should Be Proud

If kept pure and in proper storage, honey can last for a very long time, even centuries. Though they can lose some coloring and flavor with time.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 2014 Bowling

We hadn't been in a few months, but we went back to the bowling lanes. I did a lot better than I expected. Our first game was rather mediocre, but the 2nd game was one of my best. Ended up with 165 (Daisy unfortunately was just 65), and I would have done better if I hadn't made mistakes during the last two frames. A big bowling group of obnoxious people were two lanes over and they slowly came over and took over the table behind us. So I blame them, and I'm glad our game was over by the time they did that. I was about to request a new lane. 

Fact of the Day: Friend of Johnny Carson

Famous Tonight Show host Johnny Carson was a good friend of the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan. Carson was also very interested in astronomy and had many advanced telescopes. When Sagan passed away in 1996, Carson was the first person to speak to his widow with condolences. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fact of the Day: Laura Equality

While her husband and former president George W. Bush was well known for his social-conservative views on marriage equality, his wife Laura Bush is much more liberal on the subject. During an interview with Larry King she acknowledged that all committed couples should have the same rights, and saying the passage of marriage equality is inevitable. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hotel Transylvania (2012 Film) Review

 I don't exactly remember hearing about Hotel Transylvania when it came out in theaters in 2012. I heard it was a fairly decent film, and my nephews seemed to have a positive opinion of it as well. After my fiancee Daisy wanted to see it, I suppose it was inevitable that I would watch it.

Fact of the Day: Cleopatra of Greece

While the famous Cleopatra was born in Egypt and its rightful Pharaoh, her family were mostly of Greek origin. Most of the pharaohs in her dynasty did not learn the Egyptian language on purpose, though she did speak it. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pokemon X/Y (3DS) Review

Back in the late 90's, Pokemon Red/Blue were one of the most popular games out there. All of us were wishing they made a Pokemon game for N64 as the rather basic 2D graphics (with no color either) were a little lame. They had Pokemon Stadium but it just wasn't the same, and the DS games sadly looked more like GBA than N64. Now with X/Y, the series is finally in real 3D.

Fact of the Day: The Three Bears

While the fable of Goldilocks visiting the three bears' house is commonly referred to as Goldilocks and the Three Bears; the story's true title is The Story of the Three Bears. As Goldilocks was never in the original story. Instead the unwanted visitor the bears' home was an elderly woman or in some variations a fox. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Our 2nd Library Bingo Trip

 While the main library started it's own bingo games, the one near Daisy's house followed soon after. Unlike our previous visit, there wasn't much diversity in the people who came to play bingo. Pretty much all elderly Caucasian women. I went because Daisy wanted to go as she does better with things based on luck than skill.

Fact of the Day: French Guiana

While French Guiana might seem to be it's own country in South America, but it's technically still part of France. Similar to how Hawaii is part of the United States. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Not-So Cool Things About My Family Tree

Because she was very old when I was born (73 years) I did not know my paternal grandmother very well. We used to call her Granny Dot as her name was Dorothy, but I never really pictured her as my grandmother. I don't even remember her even speaking to me at family gatherings. Both sides of my dad's family had a long history in the Carolinas, and I wasn't terribly shocked to learn that my grandmother was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

Fact of the Day: Reagan Difference

While former President Ronald Reagan is a hero to many conservative Christians, his son Ron Reagan is not only liberal but also an atheist. While Ron has endorsed many members of the Democratic Party, he has refused to run for office. Mainly because he believes that people would vote against him for his non-religious views. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Cool Things I Found Out About My Family Tree

Like many people, most of what I originally knew about my ancestors was limited to just a few generations. But now I have been able to go pretty far back, and coincidentally the oldest ancestor I know of so far is the one of the same last name. I don't know much about him but he (and another ancestor) was apparently from Ireland in the 18th century. I learned long ago that my surname originated in Scotland and Ireland but this is the first time I knew for sure.

Fact of the Day: Patrick and the Serpents

While legend says Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, in reality it is pure myth. The story was used to explain why there are no species of snake native to the country in a time where nobody knew the scientific reason. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Random Photo: Irish Frog

I saw this Irish frog while at the library near my fiancee Daisy's house. He's ready for St. Patrick's Day!

Fact of the Day: Rey Frances

When Phillip V became King of Spain, he could not understand most of the speeches made in his honor. Phillip was originally from France, and learned to speak Spanish later. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Things I Like: Peeps (Candy)

I remember when I was younger, my mom would get a ton of peeps candy after Easter was over. Though there were a few years I had eaten so much that I was rather sick of them. Now I enjoy them every now and then. While they do have them for most holidays I always get the classic Easter ones. I always prefer the little bird version to the bunnies though. 

Fact of the Day: Unitarian Darwin

While Charles Darwin's scientific research conflicted with the stories of the Abrahamic creation-myth, his family were mostly Unitarians. The classical Unitarian church in a 19th century England basically rejected the idea of the Holy Trinity among other views. His grandfather Erasmus Darwin doubted much of the Bible, and joked that Unitarianism was "a feather-bed to catch a falling Christian."

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Little Bunny

My brother took this photo of my niece Little K the other day. She's already ready for Easter. When our father was alive, he'd tell us to wake up and hurry so we could see the Easter Bunny at the house. By the time we got there, we were too late. Looking back that was a rather cruel joke. 

Fact of the Day: Ancient Japan

While Japan is known today as 日本 (Nihon) in the modern Japanese language, it wasn't the first name of the country. The earliest known name was 倭国 (Wakoku) which literally means the county of the Wa people. More commonly known today as the Yamato people, it refers to the original residents of Japan (and their descendants) who lived on the mainland instead of one of the smaller islands.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013 Film) Review

While my brother read the books, I have not. I have seen the first movie, but didn't pay much attention to the sequel last year. I kinda forgot they were making one, though I knew I'd eventually see it. The original was clever and funny, but this one is a bit of a disappointment.

Fact of the Day: Cold Planet

While the planet Mercury is the closest to the Sun, it does get cold on the planet. While during the day it can reach 800°F, at night it can get as cold as -280°F. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Things I Like: Ox-King (Dragon Ball)

The Ox-King makes his appearance in Dragon Ball very early in the series. He is the ruler of Fire Mountain, and despite that he can no longer go back to his castle as it covered by flames. So he lives nearby though is paranoid that anybody going nearby is just after the treasure in his castle. So he tries to fight Goku, where Goku doesn't have much luck hurting the mighty giant. I have to admit that his first appearance makes him out to be pretty mean.

Fact of the Day: First Lady Remorse

Shortly before he was officially President, Franklin Pierce was on a train with his wife Jane and their son Benjamin. During the trip, an accident occurred and the President-elect and his wife weren't seriously injured. However Benjamin was dead when his father found him after the wreck. His wife Jane never wanted to be First Lady, and losing her last child made her a recluse for the rest of her life. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fact of the Day: Deutsch Kanada

During the 19th century, a town in Ontario, Canada was named Berlin because of the townspeople's German heritage. The name later changed because of World War I to Kitchener; after the British Army officer Herbert Kitchener, who died during the conflict. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Random Photo: Two Clownfish

I saw these two clownfish while looking for stuff my betta fish. I don't know if it's because I like Finding Nemo so much, but clownfish are too cool. I wish I could take them home but being salt-water fish, they need more care than fresh-water fish. 

Fact of the Day: Civil Taylors

While President Zachary Taylor died before the Civil War happened, two of his relatives were generals during the war. His son Richard Taylor was a General in the Confederate Army. While his younger brother Joseph Taylor served as a General in the Union army. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sarah Palin Makes Green Eggs and Ham Parody at CPAC

While I typically ignore the after-math of the Republican CPAC convention as it's more or less an ego boost to America's far-right politicians, I couldn't help to laugh at Sarah Palin's speech where she gives a parody version of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. Basically using the style and speech of the book to criticize Obama and Health Care Reform.

Thor: The Dark World (2013 Film) Review

 Even though I'm a big fan of Marvel, I never really knew much about Thor until the 2011 movie came out. I liked it, though I though it was tad disappointing that Thor was powerless for a good bit of the story. Now the 2nd film in Phase Two of the Avengers films, takes place soon after Thor takes Loki back to Asgard to be judged by their father Odin.  

Fact of the Day: James Reeb

During the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965, a Caucasian Unitarian-Universalist minister from Boston named James Reeb was beaten by white segregationists for marching for civil rights. He passed away from his injuries two days later, and the men responsible escaped justice. After his death, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these kind words "James Reeb, symbolizes the forces of good will in our nation. He demonstrated the conscience of the nation. He was an attorney for the defense of the innocent in the court of world opinion. He was a witness to the truth that men of different races and classes might live, eat, and work together as brothers". 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tomorrow Clocks Go Back An Hour

While some places don't observe the change, here in South Carolina (and most of the U.S.) we lose one hour of sleep. I'm just glad I don't have to work at all this Sunday. But it will be nice for it stay brighter later in the day.  

Dalai Lama Supports Marriage Equality

The Dalai Lama (kinda like the Pope of Tibetan Buddhism) has recently expressed his support of marriage equality and condemned bullies who pick on those in the LGBT community. It's wonderful to see a religious leader on the right side of history. 

Fact of the Day: Thomas Jefferson City

The capital of Missouri, Jefferson City is named after President and Founding Father Thomas Jefferson. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4/XboxOne) Unveiled

In rather surprising news, Batman: Arkham Knight was announced to be coming out later this year. The story is set after Arkham City with Scarecrow returning to Gotham to unite all of Batman's enemies against him. The really cool thing is that the Batmobile will now be drive-able!