Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween tonight. Especially if you're walking with your little ones while they trick-or-treat. I'll be at my brother's handing out candy to trick-or-treaters tonight. 

See No Evil Hear No Evil (1989 Film) Review

Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder were some of the funniest guys to ever live, but I don't think I've ever seen See No Evil, Hear No Evil. I heard it was pretty hilarious, so watching it was inevitable for me. I also noticed a young Kevin Spacey in the movie in one of his earliest roles.

Fact of the Day: Vampire Frankenstein

Bela Lugosi was the first actor to portray Count Dracula in a major motion picture. Legend has it that he was also offered the original role of Frankenstein's monster, but turned it down. A decision he may have later regretted as his career declined greatly in his later years. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sweden Officially Recognizes Palestine

While things in the Middle East will never be perfect (a prime example why to never mix religion and government), I do admire Sweden's courage to be the first major European nation to recognize Palestine as an official country. I think it's silly for nations to officially ignore each other, but obviously top officials in Israel are furious. Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman told Sweden that Middle Eastern relations are more complicated than a piece of IKEA furniture. His Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom responded with quite the wit "I will be happy to send Israel FM Lieberman an Ikea flat pack to assemble. He'll see it requires a partner, cooperation and a good manual.".

The English Patient (1996 Film) Review

I had heard about The English Patient rather recently, but it wasn't until the other day that I heard it won the Oscar for Best Picture for the year of 1996. But to be honest, that wasn't the reason I wanted to see it. The reason was that Ralph Fiennes was in the leading role, and while you might not recognize him you know him better as Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies. The English Patient was also based on a novel of the same name.

Fact of the Day: Spiders Web

While spiders are synonymous with their webs, not all spider use them. Wolf spiders and jumping spiders use other talents to catch their prey.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Mr. C's Betta Fish

Like I mentioned earlier, my nephews recently got their very first pets and while Mr. K has a frog, his little brother Mr. C has a fish. I immediately thought of my old betta fish Yuki, and while I don't miss cleaning the fish-tank, I do miss my fish. My nephew isn't great with names though, as the blue male betta is called Blueredyellow. 

Fact of the Day: Candy Corn

Candy Corn is commonly associated with Halloween, and has been around for quite some time. A man named George Renninger invented candy corn in Pennsylvania in the 1880s. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Fisher King (1991 Film) Review

 As I mentioned since Robin William's death in August that I've been catching up on almost every film I missed with him in it. The Fisher King seemed like an easy choice considering one of my other favorite actors, Jeff Bridges is also in it. Other than that I had no idea what to expect, but no it isn't about fishing.

John Boehner Says George W. Bush Would Have Punched Putin

John Boehner never passes a chance to criticize President Obama, and at a recent event he asked a crowd if Vladimir Putin would have invaded Ukraine if George W. Bush had been president. Apparently the Speaker of House knows what Bush would have done by saying "Even Putin is smart enough to know that Bush would have punched him in the nose in about 10 seconds!". Except Bush did very little when Putin's Russian troops invaded Georgia in 2008 and won the Russo-Georgian War.  

Fact of the Day: Greek Pumpkin

The English word pumpkin comes from the Greek word Pepon which means "large melon". 

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Mr. K's Frog

During our time at my nephew's birthday party I got to see their new pets they had got fairly recently. My oldest nephew Mr. K has a frog (or maybe two) in his room. I wanted a frog when I was little, but never got one. 

Fact of the Day: Pumpkin Colors

While pumpkins are classically orange, they also can come in other colors naturally. Such as white, yellow, green, and red. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Emperor (2012 Film) Review

 As much as I love history, I often don't like movies about history as much as I think I should. Most often disappoint, yet I can't stop watching them. I never heard of Emperor until recently, and I thought it was going to be more about General Douglas MacArthur in Japan's post-World War II rebuilding but his importance is much less than I expected.

Fact of the Day: Hayride

The practice of hayrides are quite common in America in October, especially for haunted trails around Halloween. Hayrides are believed to have originated in Kansas. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Little Minion

My nephew Mr. C just recently had his fourth birthday, and like any kid his age he did get some clothes for presents. Some he tossed on the floor in disappointment, but he was excited for this jacket that was like a costume of the minions from the film Despicable Me. 

Fact of the Day: Pumpkin Squash

While pumpkins are commonly not considered to be a squash, they are very closely related to many other squashes. Including yellow squash and zucchini squash among many others. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Minion Cake

My nephew Mr. C turned four not long ago in October. My nephews are apparently big fans of the movie Despicable Me, because their cake was one of the minions from it. 

Fact of the Day: Candy Apple

While known as the toffee apple outside the United States, the candy apple was apparently invented by an American. That man's name was William W. Kolb, and he created the candy apple in 1908. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Question: Do You Listen to the Radio?

Like magazines, radio has taken quite a hit in the digital age. Though it has been a bit more stable since it's more convenient to listen to the car's radio than to bring music to your car. Though when I forget my mp3 player, I often get sick of the radio stations. Most of them play what's trendy, which is only a handful songs. Which is a good way to ruin a good song; hearing it over and over and over again. 

Fact of the Day: Earth Owl

While there are many species of owls, they all fall in the order of birds known as Strigiformes. Owls are found all over the world, with the only exception being Antarctica. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Pinata Candy

 During my nephew Mr. C's fourth birthday party, my brother Steven got a cupcake pinata. Except it was so tough that he eventually had to take a turn just to give them a honest chance of breaking the pinata. Once it was open it was poured onto the floor and Mr. C, his brother, and his cousins all had a chance to get as much candy as possible.

Never Ask Rep. Don Young To Speak to Your School

It isn't uncommon for schools to ask politicians to give speeches to their students, and typically most understand that they try to teach kids about government not political philosophy. Well Congressman Don Young (R-AK) apparently started using curse words during his speech, and started taking about two bulls mating when a question about marriage equality was asked. Then he makes an insensitive comment's about a student's recent suicide, which is even worse considering Alaska has many citizens who struggle with depression.  Young has been Alaska's only congressman since 1973, and I'd say it's time for him to retire or resign. 

Fact of the Day: Shelley's Monster

While we commonly think that Frankenstein is the main villain of the original novel, it isn't his true name. In the novel Frankenstein is the doctor's name, and he didn't give the monster any name. Making him more accurately Frankenstein's monster. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Florida to Become Two States?

You know sometimes Florida does so much weird stuff politically, you almost think they just want the attention. There's now a movement for the state to split, most likely being named North Florida and South Florida. It was even passed to a vote...by the city council of South Miami. Since they also need the approval of the State House and U.S. Congress I don't think it's going to work. Maybe when it snows in Orlando on a nice warm July day. 

Ratatouille (2007 Film) Review

 I really love Pixar, but I have to admit I don't really know why I haven't seen Ratatouille until now. It's been out for a long time, but I suppose the story of a mouse that cooks didn't sound too exciting. Boy was I wrong!

Fact of the Day: Lincoln Ghost

While stories of Lincoln's ghost in the White House have been numerous, there was even a story of a photo of his spirit. A man named William H. Mumler apparently took a picture of Mary Todd Lincoln with the ghost of her husband. However Mumler was quite well known for taking ghostly photos, but P.T. Barnum went after him and ruined his career after artificially making his own ghost pictures. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Halloween Patriot

 Last year I was Spider-Man for Halloween, so I decided to be Captain America this year. While it doesn't look as good as the regular costume, this is actually a jacket that transforms into a costume. I got it last year for Christmas, so all I needed this year was the shield.

Fact of the Day: Haunted White House

Ever since his death, Abe Lincoln's ghost has been "seen" in the White House numerous times. Eleanor Roosevelt said she could feel his presence often, and Theodore Roosevelt claims to have seen his ghost without a doubt. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill says he saw Lincoln's ghost before getting dressed after a bath. Churchill apparently took the encounter rather comically by saying "Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's Bow

Halloween is my 2nd favorite holiday, so we wanted to be prepared a little early. Daisy wanted to be someone that uses a bow and arrow, and I remembered an old green archery bow that my eldest brother had from probably twenty years ago. The green paint was faded, so I decided to repaint it black, and I had some old craft paint to go over the string.

Fact of the Day: Modern Witchcraft

While intelligent people in the modern day know that magic is pure myth, there are still plenty of people on present-day Earth that think witchcraft is real. Even to the point where they influence governments to make punishments for "witchcraft". For example, a woman named Fawza Falih was sentenced to capital punishment in 2006 for "sorcery" in Saudi Arabia. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Favorite Photos: First Pumpkin

My sister-in-law took this photo of my niece with her first Halloween pumpkin. She'll be two in December, so I believe this Halloween she'll kinda get an idea of what the holiday is about. 

Fact of the Day: William Town

 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is named after former Primer Minister of the United Kingdom William Pitt. He most notably led Britain in the Seven Years War against France. The war was a victory for Britain, and gave the British control over Canada. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Marriage Equality Comes to Arizona

With the Supreme Court refusing to hear appeals from conservative states has led many states to marriage equality rather quickly. From the deep south to the south west of America. Arizona's restrictions against marriage equality were recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, Arizona  also is the home-state of John McCain who ran for President in 2008. I also found it funny that his former running-mate Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska now has marriage equality too. I'm not sure who came up with the joke, but I just love this one "Sarah Palin can now see equal rights from her house".  

Godzilla (2014 Film) Review

 While I really haven't seen any Godzilla movies since I was little, I sure miss our favorite neo-dinosaur. Ironically for as the hero I remember Godzilla, he was the villain in the original Japanese movie from 1954 along with the first American Godzilla movie in 1998. So is Godzilla good or evil in this one? He's a hero, or at least on the likable side for humanity.

Fact of the Day: Tejas

Before becoming a U.S. state, Texas was also its own Republic. Before that Mexico, France, and Spain had control of what is now the State of Texas. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rick Scott Almost Leaves Gubernatorial Debate Over a Fan

While I don't live in Florida, I do wish Democrats luck in all fifty states. I couldn't help but laugh at Florida's Governor Rick Scott attempt to leave a debate over a fan. An electrical fan that is, as his opponent Democrat Charlie Crist had one to keep cool during the debate. Scott lost his cool and almost refused to speak in the debate as he thought that having a fan was against the rules. Staying off stage for about seven minutes until I guess someone convinced him or he realized that complaining about a fan was beyond stupid and petty. He might be the first person to lose a debate before getting a chance to speak. 

My Favorite Photos: Japan Honored in SC

 Like I mentioned, Daisy and I had a great time at the international festival, and Japan was the honored country for the year. The event was at a local park in the city, and like many events they decorated one of the statues. Except this time she's wearing a beautiful kimono and carrying the Japanese flag.

Fact of the Day: Fur Camouflage

The arctic hare has the neat ability to change fur color depending on the seasons. With it being white in winter, and with the fur changing to more of a brown in the summer. This gives it better camouflage regardless of what time of the year it is.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Funny Story: Dinosaur Denial

A few years ago I worked with a guy named Kendrick. He was one of the nicest people I ever knew, but the thing I remember the most about him was a question he asked me. One day he says "Hey man, do you like believe in dinosaurs?", and while knowledge of basic science is a little hard to ask for in South Carolina but how can you think dinosaurs didn't exist? He honestly thought dinosaur fossils weren't real, and it was all a lie. He also graduated from college that year, and his major certainly wasn't biology. 

Fact of the Day: Lego Denmark

Legos were invented by a Danish carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen and his family in the 1930s. The name came from the Danish words leg godt which translates as "play well". However the first "legos" were not the plastic bricks everyone knows, as they didn't come out for at least a decade.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Romans in Spartanburg

As I mentioned, Daisy and I went to the local international festival recently. Many nations were represented, including one that doesn't even exist anymore. In the middle of the park was a tent for the Roman Empire. Including a bunch of people dressed up like Roman soldiers. Reminds me of our trip to the Renaissance Festival in September. 

Fact of the Day: World War Effect

World War I saw many political changes across the world. At the end of the war, four once-mighty Empires no longer existed. The Russian Empire eventually became the Soviet Union. The German Empire became the Weimar Republic of Germany. The Austro-Hungarian Empire split as Austria and Hungary became two countries again. Finally the Ottoman Empire became Turkey with land going back other countries in Europe and the Middle East. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Game of Thrones (TV Series) Season 1 Review

You almost have to be living under a rock to have never heard of Game of Thrones. It's faithfully based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, taking the name from its first book A Game of Thrones. While I never read the books, I'm glad they have something like this rather than a movie since the novel apparently was a long-read. I heard nothing but good things about Game of Thrones, and the other reason I wanted to see it was because I have a bit of a crush on Emilia Clarke as her character Daenerys Targaryen.

Fact of the Day: Round Earth

For many years, most of the world's civilizations had believed the earth was flat. It wasn't until the classical period in Greece that many great minds like Aristotle thought to figure out that the world was more like a sphere. It took many centuries for most of the world to accept the fact that the Earth was not flat. A woman named Elizabeth Blount created a flat earth organization in the 19th century  which objected to a spherical globe as she found it contradictory to the Bible with passages like Daniel 4:10-11 and Isaiah 11:12. She firmly thought one could not be a Christian, and believe that the earth was round. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Abe and Sam

At the local international festival we went to, there was a lot of countries being represented including America. While it is a little silly to have one for America in the USA, at least they were a bit more fun about it. They had two guys dressed up as President Abraham Lincoln and Uncle Sam. 

Fact of the Day: Evil Petroleum

For many decades gasoline had a lead additive in it as an octane booster. While ethanol could have been used at the time, it was not chosen on purpose. Lead is very toxic, and it wasn't just affecting those who came in close contact with it. The lead was getting into the air as well, and causing a major public health concern. The EPA decided to crusade against it in 1976 with the total phase out completed in 1986.   

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Question: Do You Have Good or Bad Eye-Sight?

I unfortunately inherited my father's terrible eyesight. I remember him wearing those big bifocal glasses before he passed away. I used to see fine when I was little but by 9th grade I couldn't even see the board in school. I wore glasses for many years, until I got contacts about four years ago. I don't think I'll get that laser eye surgery stuff though. 

Fact of the Day: York Bison

The city of Buffalo, New York is named after the nearby Buffalo Creek. Nobody is certain why the creek was named Buffalo, but it is very likely it was named after the american bison that once roamed in the area. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Chess Battle

 Like the last time we visited the international festival, there was the big chess set. Luckily there was no wait. Chess is not my favorite game, but it's fun to play one game of this one. So it was me versus my fiancee Daisy.