Friday, September 30, 2016

Random Photo: A Snack For Crows

I recently saw this the other day. While it doesn't look so bad in the picture, the litter was disgusting and it ticks me off when people do this kind of stuff. The crows were grateful for the pieces of food left on the ground. The plastic and paper will take far more time to return to the earth from where it came. 

My September 2016 Favorites

 With the end of September comes the month of fall. So it will be Halloween. But here are my favorites for September.

Fact of the Day: American Rats

Like Caucasians born in America, many rat species we commonly know of are not indigenous to the Americas. They first arrived here on ships from Europe.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Random Photo: Wayback Burgers

Recently Daisy was whining about going out to eat, and I figured we'd stop at a place we'd never been before. A few years ago we got a Wayback Burgers which are all over the country now. It's located here where our old Blockbuster was and it was a bit surreal eating at a table which had been a section for all kinds of video games 15 years prior. As for the food it was alright, but I didn't think it was that special. Daisy had a burger and fries and while she rarely says any food is bad I don't expect her to be asking me to take her there in the future as a first choice that is. But I did like how clean the place was and how you can easily see the cooks preparing your food.  

Zootopia (2016 Film) Review

 It was either this year or last when I first heard of Zootopia. I saw the trailer and I was impressed but not that convinced. While I trust almost anything Pixar, most animated films don't drive me out to the movie theater. So I waited on Zootopia and over the months I did hear very good things about the movie, and I noticed Ginnifer Goodwin  had the lead role as the bunny. I really like her as Snow White/Mary Margaret on Once Upon a Time, so I knew she'd do well as a voice-actress as well. Zootopia did well at the box office, and extremely well with critics as well. Sounds like it could get the Oscar for Best Animated Picture (most if not all animated movies are ignored when it comes to Best Picture) for the year of 2016, but is it really that good?

Fact of the Day: Yalta Tehran

While the three biggest nations of World War II's Allied Powers's heads of state famously met at the Yalta Conference in 1945, they all had met previously at the same time before. This was at the Tehran Conference in Iran in 1943 with Joseph Stalin, FDR, and Winston Churchill. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Question: Which Hogwarts House Would You Be In?

We found this Sorting Hat at Barnes and Noble and it reminded me of the Hogwarts Houses in Harry Potter. Many say they'd be in Gryffindor just because that's the main house in the story. High-intelligence is the main core of a Ravenclaw which I think I would have been sorted into if Hogwarts was real. Hufflepuff is considered the dumbest house by fans, but it's core value is loyalty, fairness and hard-work. I think Daisy would have been a Slytherin for similar reasons Horace Slughorn was one. Not a bad person (not all Slytherins were bad and not all dark wizards came from Slytherin) but a little obsessed with material things and naturally self-centered. 

Which house do you think you'd fall into? 

Hail Caesar! (2016 Film) Review

 I don't remember exactly how I heard of Hail, Caesar! but I was interested in the movie. It seemed really nifty and unique. I'm also a big fan of Scarlett Johansson though I figured her role in the movie would be minor which its sort of is. The biggest characters are portrayed by Josh Brolin who I don't know as well as other actors, and George Clooney whom I don't like nearly as much as many women do. I also noticed Channing Tatum was in the film, and I don't really like him as an actor. So more or less while I was tempted to see it in theaters back in February of this year, I eventually passed on it. Now that I've had a chance to see it, is it any good. Critics seemed to have liked it a good bit but what about me?

Fact of the Day: Polar Night

A polar night refers to at least a 24 hour period in the polar regions where the sun doesn't rise at all. In some places in the world, the sun might not rise for months. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Random Photo: Tight Freezer

We had to grab some stuff from my mother's house recently that she told us about and I'm always curious to see how terrible her freezer is. My mother lives by herself and she can't stop getting food for the freezer. If she really wanted to, I bet it would take her at least 3 months to finish just the freezer without a single trip for new groceries. Or better yet it could feed many homeless people, and probably a lot of them too.  

Once Upon a Time (TV Series) Season 5 Review

 I first started Once Upon a Time about two years ago and it didn't take me long to catch up. I was able to see the fourth season as it came out, and my wife and I are still interested in the show. The show has never quite matched the excellence of some other shows, but it always remains interesting enough. At the end of season four we saw something nobody quite expected, which was Rumpelstiltskin losing his Dark One powers and falling into a coma. The pure darkness was unleashed and needed a new host. Emma Swan decided to sacrifice herself to it in order to save everyone else. Emma had hoped her family and friends will be able to save her, but they may need someone stronger than even the Dark One himself.

Fact of the Day: Queen Isabella

Isabella I was Queen of Castile and Leon and she was married to Ferdinand II of Aragon. Even though their kingdoms remained somewhat independent on paper during their marriage, their future generations would rule as monarchs of a united Spain. After a struggle to gain her throne, she mainly reformed and made her kingdom better after many bad moves by her brother Henry IV. She also oversaw Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World. Neither Isabella or her husband were much for religious freedom as they gave Jewish and Muslims residents the choice of conversion to Catholicism or exile during the Spanish Inquisition. 

Question: Who Won the First Presidential 2016 Debate?

Until the votes are cast in November, we won't know who will be president, but I was one of many interested to see Hillary Clinton face off against Donald Trump. Now most political debates will have people who say someone won because "I like what he/she says" but you can also see who took control and had the best lines. I was very curious to see how Donald Trump would act because he didn't have much he wouldn't say when it came to primary debates. He was far more cordial at first than I ever expected, but it didn't take long for him to lose his cool. I could really see him really starting to be upset when Hillary really got him on his tax forms issue. I'm a big liberal so you know what I'd say, but to be honest when Trump waited so long to shake Lester Holt's hand you know he knows he didn't do quite as well as he was hoping. And the funny thing is that many Trump fans are going to blame Lester Holt for being biased not knowing that Lester Holt is a registered Republican. 

Who do you think won the debate? 

Monday, September 26, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Grey Wind

As many of you know, Daisy has a love for stuffed animals, and like me she likes Game of Thrones too. I got her Ghost (my favorite direwolf) awhile back and she's begged for the rest of the direwolves. She found Grey Wind at Barnes and Noble and begged to get it. Grey Wind was Robb Stark's and he died with his master at the Red Wedding. I told Daisy that she couldn't have any of the ones that have met grim fates on the show. Which leaves only Nymeria. 

Bee Movie (2007 Film) Review

 I do remember when Bee Movie came out in 2007 though I didn't care about seeing it. I think I can even recall them making a video game based on it though I never played it. It was on my "watch later" list for almost an eternity until it finally had its chance. I did remember that the legendary Jerry Seinfeld was the bee, but I didn't know he also wrote this movie along with some other people. Of course Jerry Seinfeld's best work was with the TV show Seinfeld but the man has talent. Bee Movie was by Dreamworks and not Pixar, but with a man like Jerry Seinfeld they certainly had the talent to make a very good movie for everyone in the family to enjoy. This couldn't possibly go wrong right...right?

Fact of the Day: Warm Eggs

While Americans are used to seeing eggs in the dairy section under refrigeration, most countries in the world including many in Europe keep them under room temperature as if they were a can of green beans or a loaf of bread. They are many debates and reasons (for and against) eggs in the fridge, but the general rule of thumb seems be consistency. If eggs are refrigerated, it's best they stay that way from the farm all the way to the house. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Pumpkin Spice Frappe

My wife Daisy loves Starbucks and now that Halloween is around the corner, she's tried the Pumpkin Spice Frappe thing for the first time. She loves it!

Ask Me Anything! Answers Round Nine

 Quite some time ago I asked you'll to ask me anything you wanted. I suppose everyone had their chance so I this will be the final one until maybe next year. If you didn't see your question, either I somehow missed it or it was answered before which happened at least twice I think. The final ones all come from Martha except one at the end by The Happy Whisk.

Fact of the Day: Laughing Geb

Geb was the Egyptian god of the Earth. It was believed that his laughter was the cause of earthquakes. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Food Court September 2016

As part of her birthday wishes, I had to take Daisy to the better city's mall in Greenville, SC though we had to wait until a little after her birthday. We ate at the food court. I can tell she likes this place called Ruby Thai Kitchen because it's the 2nd time in a row she's eaten there before. I always think food courts are funny because there is always one place dying for people to eat there. Today it was a wings place, the guy behind the counter looked so lonely. 

Question: What Would the Wizard of Oz Give You?

 In the classic tale The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's three companions get new things from the Wizard. The Scarecrow got a new brain, the Tin Man a new heart, and the Cowardly Lion got some courage. Well at least in the metaphorical sense. But if you were were one of Dorothy's friends, what would you like the Wizard to give you? A new heart, a new brain, courage, or perhaps something else?

Ted Cruz Finally Endorses Donald Trump For President

Many of you know that I'm not a fan of Ted Cruz, but I was a little surprised when he refused to endorse Trump and tried to take away his nomination at the convention with telling delegates to vote their "conscience". I don't really blame Ted Cruz for the move back then, Trump did insult both his wife and his dad with such poor taste. Who knew Ted Cruz even had a conscience? And one so very easily broken. But now Trump has his blessing because you can degrade this man's family as long as you're aren't a Democrat. 

Fact of the Day: Helium Gas

Not long after Helium was formally discovered in 1895, in 1903 people had discovered large amounts of helium in natural gas fields. These fields are still the largest supplier of the gas today.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Random Photos: Driving with Miss Daisy


 With my car being repaired, I needed my wife to drive me to work. This was...scary or at least a little bit. Daisy doesn't have much experience behind the wheel as I do (her parents were bad at making sure she knew how to drive) but I can tell she was better then she used to be. I still had to tell her to slow down a bit and other comments. She says I was a backseat driver but I was sitting in the front so that doesn't' count right?

The Haunted Mansion (2003 Film) Review

 Back in the early 2000's Disney gained a bit of notability (and even more skepticism) for making two major movies based on theme park rides at their Disney parks. Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp was a huge success and is still getting sequels. The Haunted Mansion was rather...not a success. It didn't do bad at the box office but critics were not impressed. It also makes me wonder what happened to Eddie Murphy's career. Back in 2003 his name still meant a lot especially for movie comedies. But to be honest, how many recent movies have you seen with Eddie Murphy? Probably zero. I remember my brother Zach and my mother seeing this one back in 2003 but I didn't want to tag along and I think they liked it if I remember right. But now 13 years later, I finally got to see it for myself mainly because of my wife Daisy.

Fact of the Day: Presidential Vacations

While President Barack Obama's two-terms are not yet over, by the time the next president takes office his number of vacation days is one of the lowest of any modern president. Currently he's still under 200 which is less than half of his predecessor George W. Bush. All other recent two-term presidents could hover anywhere from 150-500 but between 300-400 was common. But even though records are not reliable from the 18th and 19th century, the worst offenders seemed to be much earlier presidents. The worst of the bunch seemed to be John Adams and James Madison who literally took months off in a row. Though for modern presidents, there isn't much of a day-off as they still have to be on-call for anything important that comes up and much of the president's staff comes along for the trip. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Random Photo: Waiting For Car

Recently my car's brake pads were pretty much done. The awful sound was pretty apparent. I drove down to Sears to get it fixed. I had to wait for Daisy to pick me up. The waiting room didn't have WiFi (which is annoying to say the least) so I had to watch the TV to pass the time. They had basic channels and the other guy in the waiting room walked out for several minutes. So I took control of the remote and there wasn't much on. I ended up watching Ghostbusters though I have seen it before many years ago. 

Ask Me Anything! Answers Round Eight

 Awhile back I asked you'll to ask me anything. As always you can still ask a question if you've missed out or you can ask again. Here are the newest answers.

Fact of the Day: Mister Alien

While it doesn't really matter, but the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong's name spelled backwards is Gnorts Mr. Alien. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's Birthday Lunch

During her birthday, I took Daisy to her favorite restaurant which is Longhorn Steakhouse. She got everything she wanted. She had a bigger (than usual) steak, side of fries, and a Wild West Shrimp appetizer. She obviously had to take some home. 

Funny Story: Frozen Anger

 During my time where my job was at a super-market, I worked in the frozen food and dairy section. They were sort of two departments but they were like two side of a coin and you had to do both most of the time. Well every once in awhile the power would go out whether we liked it or not. There is some back-up power but it doesn't support much. So while the lights and registers work, almost everything else doesn't. Which means frozen and dairy cases will no longer keep food at its right temperatures. That's where the fun begins as we scramble to save the food until the power will return.

Fact of the Day: First Indians

The first group of Native Americans (incorrectly named Indians) that Christopher Columbus encountered where the Taino people. They were the principal inhabitants of modern-day Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Lego Big Ben

One of the gifts I gave my wife for her birthday was the Lego Big Ben from the Lego Architecture series. This one was a little smaller than the others and looked fairly simple. It didn't take her long to put this one together. 

Ask Me Anything! Answers Round Seven

 Some time ago I asked you'll to ask me anything you'd like. It's not too late to ask or ask again if you have before. Here are the newest ones.

Fact of the Day: Big Ben

The famous clock tower known as Big Ben is just a nickname. It's official name is the Elizabeth Tower after Queen Elizabeth II though the name was changed in 2012 as it was just The Clock Tower beforehand. The Big Ben name is most likely named after Benjamin Hall, who was a Whig politician from the 19th century and a baron. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Favorite Photos; Daisy's 30th Birthday Cake

My wife recently turned 30 as her birthday was on the 11th of September. We don't eat enough cake to get a big one, so we ended up getting a small ice-cream cake from the super-market. It was a vanilla/chocolate mixture with cookie stuff in there too. I'm not a fan of the whipped cake frosting but I liked my half. Daisy got upset when we were finally out. 

Funny Story: No Power For Them

 When I used to live with my mother, there was always two houses down the street that would always have the worst of the worst people living in them. Most of the time, they'd keep to themselves and just cause noise issues. Because low-life people often are really bad in every aspect of life, one of these houses didn't take care of their power bill. How did I know? Well when you see an extension cord go from one house to the other it becomes rather obvious what's going on.

Fact of the Day: Lifelong Catholics

Like the Catholic Church's view on marriage, membership can be a difficult thing to get out of for Catholics. Even being excommunicated doesn't make one non-Catholic anymore in the eyes of the church. The Catholic Church doesn't "lock the door" on these people per se, and the church hopes they can return to be in full communion with the church in the future. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Planet Fitness Shirt

We've been quite busy this summer so we never had much chance to go to the gym. We had extremely briefly been with Gold's Gym until the local one was taken over by Planet Fitness. We officially became members there in August (even though we could always get in) and thus we were entitled to a t-shirt. Daisy loves new t-shirts so I let her have it. 

Favorite Quotes: Two Roads

"The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere."

-Xun Zi

Xun Zi was a Chinese Confucian philosopher and I really like this quote by him.We all try to do multiple things at one time, and honestly you might as well do one of them right instead of two of them wrong.  

Fact of the Day: Carroll O'Connor

Famous for playing Archie Bunker on All in the Family, the late Carroll O'Connor didn't use his full name while acting. His real name was John Carroll O'Connor. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Almost Halloween Time

My 2nd favorite holiday is Halloween and Spirit Halloween opened up in late August. Daisy and I stopped by to check things out. I always like going early as the later parts of October of unbearable due to all the people. I always think these motion-activated props are always pretty neat. I remember a few houses during my childhood with some that were pretty scary. 

Ask Me Anything! Answers Round Six

 Some time ago I asked you'll to ask me anything you wanted. It's not too late to ask or ask again. But for now here are new answers. And they all come from Miltarypugwife.

Fact of the Day: Barry Faith

Barry Goldwater was a Republican who ran against Lyndon Baines Johnson during the 1964 presidential election. Goldwater's grandfather was a Jewish-immigrant from Poland, making Goldwater the first major presidential candidate to be ethnically Jewish. Religiously Goldwater was a Christian belonging the Episcopal denomination.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Random Photo: Road Trip Arcade Game

While we weren't at the arcade (just about to get groceries) Daisy had the urge to play this game. You basically spin the wheel and try to get as many "miles" as possible. There's three prize levels and Daisy came short of even a small prize. Does seem to be a little more fair some of these crane games though. 

The Smurfs (2011 Film) Review

 The Smurfs is one cartoon from the 1980's I remember fondly as a child. I was born right before the original TV series ended but I do remember countless re-runs of the show growing up especially one cute Christmas episode they did. It may not have been the most clever show/cartoon but it was likable. It's been many years since I've seen the Smurfs and I had forgotten what the smurf was going on somewhat. I do remember Gargamel and his cat but not much else. I heard the 2011 movie was pretty bad, but Daisy eventually wanted to see it and the time had come. There is some talent here with Neil Patrick Harris and voice actors such as Katy Perry and Anton Yelchin. Now were critics wrong with this one, or is the one big piece of smurf of a film? 
The story begins with the evil wizard Gargamel trying to find the Smurf village. He is aided by his cat Azrael who honestly thinks his master is a bit annoying. But Azrael hates the smurfs and will not stop in trying to attack one. Things are fairly normal for the Smurf village until Papa Smurf gets a vision of doom and gloom. The reason of the doom and gloom seems to be Clumsy Smurf who is told to keep to himself and stay out of trouble. Clumsy doesn't listen and accidentally reveals where the Smurf village is to Gargamel. The evil wizard takes very little time to cause utter havoc on the village. And he has a bit of vengeance planned for both Papa Smurf and Smurfette, the latter was his own creation that was turned into a real smurf by Papa Smurf himself.  
With the village in ruins, the smurfs flee into the woods. Clumsy takes a wrong turn and a few smurfs follow him to save him from the evils lurking in the path he chose. Gargamel follows them and ends up in a cave. A portal opens and rather let themselves be captured by Gargamel, Papa Smurf decides to enter the portal with all the other smurfs. They land into New York City, and befriend Patrick Winslow and his wife Grace. Patrick works for a cosmetic company and is stressed out by his boss who is very demanding. Things will get even worse when the Smurfs will need his time and help which will makes things difficult at his work. To make matters worse, Gargamel entered the portal shortly after the Smurfs and is willing to search every inch of New York City to find his small blue foes.
I can actually see why The Smurfs was not considered a good movie. It's not horrible but the story is rather vanilla and the humor and jokes are all rather flat with very few laughs. I thought they did a poor job on explaining why Gargamel even wanted to capture Smurfs to begin with. I know Neil Patrick Harris got a big career boost after Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and it's a good thing The Smurfs was a few years after that because he's just plain boring in this one. So overall, The Smurfs might be likable enough for children but unlike Pixar movies the grown-ups are going to be bored by this one. I heard the sequel is even worse and Daisy still wants to see it, so I'm a lucky man...

Score: C-  

Fact of the Day: Mandrill Monkey

Mandrills are the world's largest species of monkeys.