Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015

My mother took this photo of our family Halloween gathering at my brother Brandon's house. Brandon had to work, and so did my wife Daisy so they could not be there. I was Homer Simpson, my brother Zach is Superman, my niece Little K is Princess Anna from Frozen, my niece Little Iz is Spider-Girl, and I'm not quite sure what her mother was suppose to be. I figured it was something more original. 

The Monster Squad (1987 Film) Review

 For about 27 years I have never heard of The Monster Squad before. It's a movie perfect for Halloween time that critics did not care for back in the late 1980's. It apparently made some fans years later which has kept it from being truly forgotten. I figured since it was late October that I needed another movie that fits the holiday.

Fact of the Day: Irish Halloween

Due to its Celtic origins, Halloween became a major American holiday after Irish immigrants came to the United States when the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840's caused them to leave their homeland. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Shanghai Noon (2000 Film) Review

I don't remember when I first heard about Shanghai Noon, but I don't think it was back in 2000. It apparently did well with critics, and even got its own sequel. The concept of East meets West has been done before, but it seemed like it could be a good comedy for me.

Fact of the Day: Jack The Lantern

Jack-o-lanterns have a popular mythology about them. While the folk tale varies, a man named Jack tricked the Devil into not taking his soul. He was not a good man so when he died he could not go to heaven, and the deal he made kept him out of hell. So with nowhere to go, he stays on the Earth with a light that can never go out. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Paul Ryan is Officially Speaker of the House

John Boehner has now officially resigned, and House Republicans have put Paul Ryan in power. I would say that I hope he'll work with President Obama and Democrats with compromises, but seeing how Boehner was "less conservative" I really doubt that will happen. I can see his House being much like the previous Houses of the 2010's, and that's a chamber of Congress that gets almost nothing accomplished. 

Sad Story: Trick or Treating Age

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I remember going to the mall one year with my (now) wife Daisy. It was the same time all the kids went to the mall for the trick-or-treat. It was pretty amazing to see the crowds of costumes, but we went into one of the stores to look around and I overheard one of the clerks there talking to another person about two girls that I had just walked out. She said "that girl is TOO OLD to trick-or-treat" in one of the most hateful tones of voice I've ever heard. She might of been in 9th grade or 10th at most. Does it really irk you to see someone who's mom still has to drive them everywhere to have fun on Halloween? 

Fact of the Day: Halloween City

Both Salem, Massachusetts and Anoka, Minnesota claim to be the Halloween capital of the world. Salem was well-known for historical witch trials while Anoka was one of the first cities that discouraged pranks on Halloween. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dutch (1991 Film) Review

 I never heard of Dutch until recently even though I really liked Ed O'Neil as Al Bundy on Married with Children. I learned after I watched it that it was not a successful comedy with critics. Though to be fair, a lot of fan-favorite comedies from the early 1990's were not either. Is it any good twenty four years later?

Fact of the Day: Spider Spin

The word spider is derived from the Old English spinnan which is realted to the modern word spin

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lenin Statue Changed Into Darth Vader

Ukraine recently passed a law to remove all symbols of communism/Soviet Union from the country in response to Russian aggression. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union so there was a statue of Vladimir Lenin. Instead of tearing down the statue, they transformed it into Darth Vader from Star Wars. While I think the story is a little silly, I still think it's also cool that they changed into a Sith Lord. 

Question: Do You Ever Eat the Halloween Candy Early?

Obviously this is only for those who give out the candy. I got two big bags of candy this year for the trick-or-treaters and I told myself I would not open it until Halloween night. Now I've already taken quite a few pieces along with my wife Daisy. Now I'm thinking in my head which pieces of candy I want to keep to myself. 

Do you ever eat the Halloween candy before Halloween? 

Fact of the Day: Water Spider

The water spider (also known as the diving bell spider) is the only species of spider known to live its life underwater. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Underworld (2003 Film) Review

Underworld is a series I had heard a little about but never really gave much attention to until now. I didn't know much about it, and I think this may be the first movie I've seen that has Kate Beckinsale in it.  I didn't know what to really expect, but I was a little shocked to learn that this movie had been a critical failure back in 2003.

Fact of the Day: Bat World

Bats are found across most of the world. The only places where they don't live are the polar regions and some deserts. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show (TV Show) Season 1 Review

 I remember liking the original shorts of Mr. Peabody & Sherman during re-runs of Rocky & Bullwinkle. They came back with a new movie last year which was actually pretty darn good. Now Netflix has a new series which all about the talking genius dog, his adopted son, and their wacky time traveling adventures.

Fact of the Day: Pumpkin Freckles

Pumpkins were actually once used to "cure" freckles. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Things I Like: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (WiiU)

 I remember before The Wind Waker came out on Gamecube and it's original back-lash for its cartoony graphics. After it came out, most eventually liked the art-style and thought it was one of the best Zelda games ever made. My local library had the new HD version for WiiU, and since I had played Wind Waker at least three times I figured that would be my better option on playing the game.

My Favorite Photos: Zach's JROTC Success

Both my brothers Brandon and Zach and myself were in our high school's JROTC program. Zach did quite well from 9th grade to 12th in JROTC. I didn't take it my final year as I was fed up on how unethical (for high school) cadet leadership could be. Zach was not innocent of how mean and terrible the upper cadets could be, but he sure got a lot of awards. I was never happy for him because of that, but looking at this over a decade later I did realize how proud my mother was of him. 

Fact of the Day: 2nd Bill of Rights

In 1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a 2nd Bill of Rights for Americans. Some of the things he wanted to be included was a right to be employed with a living wage, a right to education, a right to food/clothing, a right to health care, a right to social security, and freedom from monopolies. FDR died in 1945 before any of these could be considered by Congress. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Question: Do You Go By Your Middle Name?

Daisy's parents are from Laos, so her first name is actually Ratsamy though Daisy is not a nick-name but her given middle name when she was born in Minnesota. I was always called Adam, but my middle name is Blair after my grandfather. I have a cousin named Blair, so that would have made things confusing. My brother Brandon goes by his middle name, as his first name is William. I never liked the idea of going by your middle name as it belittles your first. Sometimes it can't be helped but some people (like my parents with Brandon) do this with intention when they name their children. I let Daisy know early on that any children we may have would not have a Laotian name first, but rather it be their middle name. 

Do you go by your first name or your middle name? 

Lincoln Chafee Drops out of Democratic Presidential Race

Lincoln Chafee never had much of a campaign to begin with and is the 2nd Democrat to drop out of the race after Jim Webb. The first debate was a bad night as he arguably did the worst of all five candidates. Now he's ended his campaign and I don't think anyone is really sad about it except maybe Lincoln Chafee of course. 

Fact of the Day: Alexander Wives

Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia and eventually took his throne. Alexander treated the daughters of his enemy well and married one of them. Stateira became his 2nd wife, but she was murdered by his first wife Roxana after Alexander's death in a power struggle. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Downton Abbey (TV Series) Season 5 Review

 My wife and I started watching the Downton Abbey not long ago and now we're all caught up so to speak. I know the final season is still being shown in Great Britain but it's not over yet. We've quite enjoyed the series so far obviously, and my wife was quite upset when the last epsiode was over since it will be a few months until we can watch the sixth season.

Paul Ryan Wants More Family Time if Elected Speaker

House Republicans are in a leadership crisis as there is no clear candidate for the next Speaker of the House. Paul Ryan (who ran as the VP nominee in 2012) seems to have the support needed but has been hesitant about becoming Speaker of the House as the new job would give him less time to spend with his family. Which is quite ironic because Ryan has never really supported bills that would give maternity leave or paternity leave to working families. So he supports family values, but only for the elite eh? 

Fact of the Day: Betsy Ross Flag

When most Americans hear of Betsy Ross, they think of the woman who sewed the first American flag. Except that may not have been true. The only claim about Betsy Ross making the flag came from her grandson who said it happened almost a century after the fact in 1870. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Funny Story: Nap Time

My wife Daisy has a bad habit of staying up too late, especially before we were married. I once drove to her house around 8 am, and took her to my house. She looked sleepy and I asked her what time she went to bed that night. She said "I didn't" and she fell asleep in the car. When I took her to my house, she climbed in my bed and did not get up for several hours. 

Fact of the Day: Navy Webb

Former 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Jim Webb was once Secretary of the Navy for Ronald Reagan while he was still officially a Republican. He resigned less than year later after he refused to reduce the size of the Navy. President Ronald Reagan wrote "I don't think Navy was sorry to see him go." on the matter. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Funny Story: Kitchen Joke

One night my brother Zach comes over to the house along with my mother's boyfriend Jimmy. We watch something on TV about pranks and Zach is the brother I don't get along with very well. After making me mad, I was reminded of the prank where you take a rubber band to a kitchen sink hose so the next person who turns on the water will get soaked. I waited and waited but I could not think of a reason for him to go to the sink without giving it away. After he left, I forgot all about it and Jimmy got soaked instead. He honestly thought it was Zach, and said he would have poured water all over him if he was still at the house. 

Fact of the Day: Peach State

While both Georgia and South Carolina are well-known for their peaches, neither of them are the leading producer of peaches in the United States. That honor belongs to the state of California. 

Canadians Elect a New Prime Minister

While I'd rather not state any opinion on Canadian politics, I do notice what goes on there as they are one of the greatest friends to the United States. Their political system is a little different as the Prime Minster is never really directly voted into office but rather his party in parliament. The Liberal Party's leader Justin Trudeau (son of Pierre Trudeau) will be Prime Minister very soon as his party won a landslide victory against Stephen Harper's Conservative Party. I wish our Canadian friends the best of luck with their new leadership. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Joe Biden Running For President?

While there's nothing "official" yet, it does seem that strong reports are saying the Vice President will run for the Democratic nomination. I think it's all rather puzzling. I don't think he really has a real fan base, and I don't think he'll take serious numbers from Clinton or Sanders. He also waited until after the first debate to run which makes it seem like it's too little too late. 

Amelie (2001 Film) Review

 I don't remember how I originally heard of Amelie, but it had almost universal acclaim by critics. I wanted to watch it with my wife Daisy, but she didn't like the fact that the movie was in French instead of English. Foreign movies are not something I typically watch but an awesome story is good in any language. But subtitles do help a lot!

Fact of the Day: Anne Children

Despite seventeen pregnancies in her life, Queen Anne of Great Britain died without any surviving children. She suffered through many miscarriages and stillbirths. The children that lived past birth, did not live very long lives. Thus she was the last monarch from the House of Stuart. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sad Story: Fish Hook

When we got my dog Zelda, she would often hang out in our old storage building which was about the size of a garage. We kept an old tackle-box out there because it was my dad's and he had passed away. My dog Zelda was awful about getting into trouble and managed to get inside a closed tackle-box. She ran back to the door to the house with biggest look of shame on her face. She had a fish hook in her mouth. I felt really bad for her, though the vet took it out not long after. He mentioned to me that kind of thing happens all the time with dogs. 

Fact of the Day: Rainbow

The reason we see a rainbow after rain is because at a certain angle raindrops basically "separate" the colors that make up a "white" beam of sunlight. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991 Film) Review

I think everyone has heard of at least one tale of Robin Hood. I don't think I ever saw Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in the 1990's. I had heard of it some years back but I couldn't remember if this was the one everyone really liked or everyone really hated. Either way I was going to watch it regardless of opinion.

Fact of the Day: Vice President

While the Vice President of the United States is the first-in-line to the presidency if something happens to the President, most Vice Presidents have failed to gain the presidency after their President's term(s) had been completed. George H.W. Bush was the first Vice President to be elected President while his President was still in office since Martin Van Buren in 1836.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sad Story: Unfair Boss

 For quite a few years I worked at a supermarket. I eventually became a produce clerk which I liked for the most part. I moved to another company, and when our original manager got transferred we got a new one. He was absolutely dreadful, and nobody liked working for him. One year we had too many people working, so I managed to get some hours over in the meat department to make up for what I lost That's quite ironic for a vegetarian, but I also figured I would be extra careful not to produce much waste.

Fact of the Day: Shark Cancer

There's a myth that sharks are immune to cancer. Though it is true that they are far less likely to get cancer than most other creatures. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Wedding Singer (1998 Film) Review

 When I was little, movies with Adam Sandler were some of my favorites like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. But I realized the more I get older, the less I find Adam Sandler funny. I actually remember when The Wedding Singer was new, but for some reason I just never saw it. It's now kind of weird because it's been 17 years since then. The movie is set in 1985 and there is less of gap between 1985 and 1998 than there is 1998 and 2015.

Fact of the Day: Tying the Knot

"Tying the knot" is a common phrase that means "to get married". The origin is debated but the most likely case would be the days of Celtic paganism. The wedding ceremony would typically include a hand-fasting where the couple's hands would be tied together to symbolize the union of the couple. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Question: Do You Use Reusable Grocery Bags?

I suppose it's my liberal conscience getting to me, but I've been starting to use reusable grocery bags way more than I ever did. I still get a few things bagged in plastic as they make good bags for small trash cans, but this cuts down on having just too many bags you'll never use. I also like how some of them keep things hot/cold so there's not a big rush to make it back to the house. 

Do you use eco-friendly bags often?

Fact of the Day: Prince Henry Fredrick

Prince of Wales Henry Frederick died at the age of 18 of typhoid fever. He was considered by many to be a bright and promising heir to his father King James I. The nation considered his death a tragedy, and were especially mournful in comparison to other previous heirs who died too soon. His younger brother became King after his father's death as King Charles I. His brother was eventually overthrown and executed during a Civil War.  

My Thoughts on the First 2016 Democratic Presidential Debate

So far most of the 2016 Presidential Race has been talk about Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican party. Many Democrats had criticized the DNC for not setting up enough debates and I think that is true because I think most Democrats wanted a real debate between the candidates by now. Like I expected, it turned out to be mostly a debate between front-runner Hillary Clinton and the serious challenger Senator Bernie Sanders.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Emilia Clarke Dubbed Hottest Woman Alive

While I have never read Esquire magazine, they had essentially said actress Emilia Clarke was the most beautiful woman alive. While I think lists like this are often silly, but I'm really glad Clarke got it this year. Ironically I think in her natural (I assume) brunette hair she isn't nearly as beautiful and gorgeous as she is when she's acting as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones. There's not many straight men who watch the show who don't have a major crush on her. 

Random Photos: Childhood McDonalds

Traveling down the road recently I saw a local McDonald's being demolished. My mother said they're building a new one, but that was the McDonalds that I grew up with. I remember the playground, and countless Happy Meals. I rarely ever went there in recent years because it has some of the worst staff of any McDonald's I've ever seen, but it was sad seeing it bulldozed.  

Fact of the Day: Britannic

The Titanic had a sister ship known as the Britannic. She did not hit a iceberg, but she did sink. Though it was after the Titanic sinking, and an underwater mine during World War I caused her to sink. Though only about 30 people died, as the ship was far more prepared than the Titanic about safety and evacuating. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

House of Flying Daggers (2004 Film) Review

 While most American movies (even the minor ones) get a worldwide release, films from outside of the United States are usually ignored for the most part in America. I had heard of House of Flying Daggers about ten years ago, but I didn't know much about it other than being a Chinese film. I remember watching Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon a few years ago and I noticed Ziyi Zhang was also in this movie too.

Fact of the Day: Cave House

Extreme poverty is still a big issue for many of those living in China. It's estimated that about 30-35 million people in China live in some type of cave.