Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fact of the Day: Canadian Tennessee

The city of Bristol, Tennessee is technically closer to Canada than Memphis, Tennessee. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Photo: Old Glendale Mill

Near my house is what they use to call the Glendale Mill, mainly because it's not really there anymore. The mill was built from early planning in 1830 to finally shutting it's doors in the cotton industry in 1961. In 2004 even though it had been vacant, it caught fire and now it's in ruins. This tower and few other things is really the only things still standing for the mill. 

Question: Is Julia Roberts The World's Most Beautiful Woman?

I have to admit, I don't have anything against Julia Roberts, but People magazine recently dubbed her (for a fifth time but not in-a-row) the most beautiful woman in the world. Beauty can mean different things, but I could name quite a few other women off the top of my head with ease. I think Kate Beckinsale, Charlize Theron, and Scarlett Johansson easily outrank her there. 

What do you think? 

Fact of the Day: President Driving

One of the things that modern presidents cannot do once taking office is drive themselves on public roads. However Presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did drive on their own private property as they both had ranches. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Photos: Old Glendale Bridge

 I live very close to the Glendale Shoals Reserve in Spartanburg, SC. It's bascially an old bridge, mill, waterfall, and other things that have been "preserved" as a "park" which is located on the Pacolet River. I like going down here as the tiny waterfall is beautiful.

Things I Like: South Park The Movie

 South Park made big waves when it first landed on TVs but the movie was a pretty big deal for the time. I didn't get to see until a few years afterwards when I rented it at Blockbuster. I recently re-watched it the other day. 

Fact of the Day: Maginot Line

The Maginot Line was a series of fortifications and other defensive barriers along France's eastern border. It was built after World War I to deter another German invasion. To avoid causing conflict, the line did not extend to Belgium. When the Germans invaded Belgium and conquered France in early World War II, the Maginot Line proved to be rather useless.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Photo: Easter Egg Hunt 2017 For Little K

Unlike the previous year, Little K's easter egg hunt was just by herself. No cousins or anything. 

Question: Were You Worried Back During Y2K?

Unlike what Prince said, 1999 was more about being paranoid than partying. The Y2K bug was a big scare about every computer in the world was going to go insane because when the year rolled over it would have screwed up with some kind of stupid computer programming. I remember people buying massive amounts of stuff. To be honest, if the world ended in a nuclear apocalypse, a giant pack of toilet paper from Sam's Club ain't going to save you. I was more optimistic of the situation and skeptical about it was ever going to happen. Fear mongering rarely gets to me, but I'm quite a few IQ points above the general population. 

Were you scared of Y2K?

Fact of the Day: Devil Numbers

In Christian theology, 666 is commonly known as the "Devil's Number" or the "Mark of the Beast". But in some of the oldest translations, the number is actually 616. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Photo: Little Ks Easter Basket

This is what my niece Little K woke up to Easter Morning. A big Finding Dory theme it seems. Her birthday last year was Cinderella themed, so it seems she's got a new favorite thing which is also by Disney. Easter eggs are probably easier to find than Dory or Nemo though. 

The Hateful Eight (2015 Film) Review

Despite how much I like Quentin Tarantino's work, I haven't seen all of his films. I waited roughly two years for The Hateful Eight because I wasn't really sure what the film was about and I kind of forgot about it for awhile. This is considered his eighth film (written and directed) and features a lot actors from his previous films like Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell (though I haven't seen Death Proof yet), and Michael Madsen. Noticeably absent was the amazing Christoph Waltz who hasn't lost an Oscar in an Quentin Tarantino movie yet. It might be because it is lame when the same director uses the same people in EVERY movie of theirs, but I also don't think Waltz really had a role that was good for him here. 
The story starts in a snowy mountain area of Wyoming a few years after the end of the American Civil War. John Ruth is a bounty hunter who is notable for taking in prisoners alive just so he can see them hang personally. His prize today is Daisy Domergue who is a notable criminal who is worth an amazing bounty. Ruth has her tied to his wrist and is extremely paranoid. He offers (though not without resistance) a ride to another bounty hunter (and former military commander) named Major Marquis Warren. Before arriving to a remote lodge called Minnie's Haberdashery to wait out the intense snow storm, they see another man. His name is Chris Mannix and he claims to be the newly elected sheriff of the nearby Red Rock, Wyoming. Mannix is a former Confederate and he becomes the ire of both men especially Warren as he not only fought in the Union army but is African-American as well.  
When they get to the cabin, they meet several other folks. One of them is a feeble Confederate General named Sanford "Sandy" Smithers. Another is the British Oswaldo Mobray who claims to be the hangman of Redrock. A Mexican named Bob claims to be the newly hired-help for the lodge. And the one they trust least of all is Joe Gage, a very gruff looking man who claims he's going to visit his mother for the holiday. John Ruth believes that at least one of the men in this cabin (including Warren and Mannix) is out to set Daisy Domergue free as a bird. Most of everyone claims he's paranoid, but John Ruth is absolutely right. But who and how many against him are there in this awful lodge? 
To be honest, The Hateful Eight while being a good movie is a big utter disappointment. I will say it's my least favorite Tarantino so far. At over three hours long, there is a lot of dull moments and the twists aren't really that shocking. The cast is awesome especially for the characters with key moments but I think Jennifer Jason Leigh was certainly deserving of being the only person who got an Oscar nomination (though she lost to Alicia Vikander) for the film for her role as the despicable Daisy Domergue. Besides a script that seems like it's stuffed with filler, it also seems like a rip-off almost of Reservoir Dogs (also by Quentin Tarantino) but set in a different time and place except not nearly as wonderful and shocking. 

Score: B

Fact of the Day: DeVos Flip Flop

The highly controversial Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was nominated by Donald Trump, however she originally didn't support him. During the GOP primaries she backed Jeb Bush, then Carly Fiorna, and finally Marco Rubio. She originally called Trump an interloper and said that he "does not represent the Republican Party".

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Photo: Iz Favorite Cat

My mother asked my niece Little Iz what her favorite thing in the world was. She said Buster, which is their housecat. 

Question: Do You Think More Countries Like Taiwan Should Eliminate Pet Meat?

Taiwan became the first Asian country to make the use of dog or cat meat a criminal offense (through fines) for anyone caught. Except Japan and South Korea, most of the other Asian countries suffer often from extreme poverty and hunger, so I know dog and cat meat is more about survival than just choice. But it does disturb me, even though I'm a vegetarian it bugs me more as dogs and cats are not wild animals. They were bred from wild ancestors to be our friends, not food. 

Would like to see the end of dog and cat meat?  

Fact of the Day: Milk and Rickets

One of the reasons why Vitamin D was added to milk (and stays today) was because of the bone disease rickets which is caused by the lack of Vitamin D. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Photo: Candy Time

My nieces Little Iz and Little K are with my mother at my brother Brandon's house in this photo. I wasn't there but looks like someone has that ring pop candy. 

Beauty and the Beast (2017 Film) Review

 Beauty and the Beast is one of the most classic fairy tales and one of Disney's best animated features. Now that remaking them is cool and whatnot, it was time for Beauty and the Beast to get the same treatment. I knew this was coming at least a few years ago and I was a bit dubious on the casting of Emma Watson as Belle. I grew up seeing her as Hermione Granger (even though I didn't watch Harry Potter until much later on) and unlike other men my age (I'm about 2 years older than Watson) I never had a crush on her. She's certainly not a ugly woman by any means, but I always saw her like a little sister for some reason. Even with her in costume, she never wowed me as Belle as Lily James did as Cinderella. I was really excited about Dan Stevens as The Beast. I knew him as Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey and I was really upset when he left the show.

Fact of the Day: Puda Deer

Pudu deer are the world's smallest type of deer. They are native to South America. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Photo: Longhorn Steakhouse Supper

My wife managed to get her way (she was unusually desperate to go) and we went to Longhorn Steakhouse with my mother after my nephew Mr. K's birthday party. She was more than happy. It was on a busy Saturday but luckily the wait was far shorter than expected even with a packed parking lot. One of things that bugs me about these times though is that your waiter is so slammed that you'll never get perfect service. 

Things I Like: South Park (Season 2)

 While South Park made Comedy Central a real TV channel, the 2nd season sure did impress more than the first. Animation was a good bit better but the craziness was still strong. I recently re-watched it while my wife Daisy watched it for the first time.

Fact of the Day: Easter Pascha

The word for Easter comes from the Germanic pagan goddess Eostre, but another name for Easter is Pascha from Greek and Latin. While the Western concept of Easter often shares similarities to European spring festivals, Easter also shares a similar date and customs as the Jewish spring festival Passover. The holiday is known as Pesah in Hebrew and in many languages Easter and Passover are either very similarly spelled or identical. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Photos: Birthday Family Football

 My brother Steven organized a flag-football game during my nephew Mr. K's birthday party. Since there were only four boys (none of the girls wanted to play) the teams had to be filled with some grown-ups. Even though Mr. C insisted I be on his team, I got assigned with my brother Steven, my brother Zach, my nephew Mr. K, and one of his little cousins. Steven was quarterback, and it was more challenging than I'd imagine. We kind of equaled things out as you'd often counter someone of your own age level. My brother Steven's half-brother Micah was my bane that game as every pass had him right in front of me. It was so hard to shake them off given the space of the gym.

Question: Alabama Church Police?

The State of Alabama is seriously considering a bill that will let a local mega-church have it's own police force. That honestly scares me a lot as that sounds like something straight out of the Middle East. They claim it's for "security and safety" of church members, but why can't they hire private security? The U.S. Constitution prohibits religion and government mixing, so I really can't see this lasting long before a higher court knocks it down. It would be ironic for them to get a tax-payer funded police since churches don't pay taxes. 

Does an Alabama Christian police force concern you? 

Fact of the Day: Vladimir Komarov

Vladimir Komarov was the first person to die in a space-mission which happened as his space-craft crashed upon re-entry to the Earth. He was a Soviet Cosmonaut who was deemed medically unfit several times but his knowledge as a engineer kept him in the program. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Photo: Crying Time

My niece Little K is really people-phobic and when she saw her great-grandmother Jean try to give her attention, she started screaming and crying. Her shyness does concern me. She'll be going to school not too long from now and she'll won't have her parents to cry to every-time she is upset.

Sad Story: Great-Aunt Judy

When I hear older generations talk about how "moral" people were in the "good ol' days" I always roll my eyes. The amount of legal discrimination decades ago was appalling, girls who got pregnant had quick marriages or convenient "vacations", and "parenting" often meant abusive punishments. My mother's paternal grandfather Bill was one of the worst parents in the history of EVER. Mainly because of what he did to my great-aunt Judy. Both Bill and Judy are now deceased, but the horrors of what happened won't be forgotten for long. 

My great-grandfather Bill died long before I was born so I gladly never knew him. So what on Earth happened? Well Bill forced himself on Judy several times long before she grew up. My mother learned of this years after Bill died. I knew Judy briefly before her own death, but my mom was close to her growing up. She loved Judy but she learned that the experience really messed her up. The sad thing is that Bill (from what I understand) never went to prison or got divorced. Not many would claim descent from a monster, but how can a man do that to his own daughter?      

Fact of the Day: President Tastes

While never been made super-official, but tales from former Secret Service agents and Senators has confirmed that every President of the United States has a food taster when eating outside of the White House. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Photo: Twin Babies

My two nephews had some new cousins on their mother's side. They were twins which you only see maybe one pair per family, though I'm not related to them. 

Question: Are You Upset Over the United Airlines Incident?

Most people have heard by now of when United Airlines overbooked on one flight and tried to force a guy to leave his seat. Guy happened to be a doctor who needed to get back to work. Instead the police came and beat and dragged him out of the plane. There is a video and you can tell many of the passengers were deeply disturbed by what had happened and some of them did walk out afterwards on their own free will. What disturbs me most is this was a clear abuse of corporate and police power and we shouldn't tolerate that kind of violence from those two areas. This whole thing could had been avoided if they simply had asked for volunteers. Airlines typically compensate for having to do so, and out of plane with 70 folks, there had to been one person willing to take it. 

How do you feel about the United Airlines event? 

Fact of the Day: MLK Political Party

Some members of the Republican Party claim that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican when he was still alive, but this claim is false. Officially Martin Luther King Jr. was politically independent and rarely made even informal endorsements of political candidates. Before 1964 while political differences were crystal clear between Republicans and Democrats in the Northeast and West coast, in the American South (where MLK was from) the Democratic Party was the de facto party for both conservatives, moderates, and liberals as the Republican party didn't really exist on the state or local level. After the 1964 Civil Rights Act, conservative Democrats became Repulicans like Storm Thurmond and Jesse Helms and they urged their colleagues to switch party affiliation which slowly morphed and finalized around the mid 1990's.  

In his own words MLK said

"Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights"

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Photo: Clemson Birthday Cupcakes

 My nephew Mr. K had birthday cupakes instead of a huge cake this year.

Pete's Dragon (2016 Film) Review

 I can't recall if I ever remember hearing about Pete's Dragon last year. It came out around my birthday and that's certainly not a movie I would chosen as first pick unless there was a big drought in the movies. It's part of Disney's chain of live-action remakes based on earlier works. 1977's Pete's Dragon was a hybrid of the two, so it wasn't a pure cartoon. I also don't ever recall seeing it even though it came out about a decade before I was even born. I wouldn't suspect it would be one of Disney's best movies ever. Apparently it didn't do too awesome with critics back in the day, I hear they made the dragon turn invisible so they didn't have to bother animating him the whole time. It's a trait we see in this remake, but it's brief and makes sense to the plot.   
 The story starts off with a very young boy named Pete who was orphaned after the car his parents were driving flips over. Elliot escapes from the car ride fairly unhurt, but he is left alone in the middle of the woods. After almost being eaten by beasts in the forest, a large green dragon comes out of nowhere and befriends the young child. Several years pass and Pete has grown tougher and feral. A young girl named Natalie sees Pete and this causes people from the city to find Pete and take him to the hospital. Natalie's father Jack is dating a park ranger named Grace Meacham who pities young Pete and offers him a bit of foster care until they can decide what to do with Pete. All Pete wants to do is return "home" and see the dragon he named Elliot. 
 Elliot notices Pete going missing, and he tracks him down through scent. The dragon realizes that Pete may return to the "human world" and leave him alone. However Pete tells everyone about his dragon friend and Grace's father Mr. Meacham believes his story as the dragon is just like the one he saw as a young man. However a large dragon that can breath fire is not exactly something normal people can handle without fear and paranoia. Will Pete and Elliot reunite peacefully or will the horrible nature of mankind separate the two and possibly injure a creature that everyone believes to be just pure myth? 
I'd say Pete's Dragon is about what I had expected. I never truly saw the original so I can't really compare them but the remake did good with critics and fair at the box office. Even though the dragon Elliot was dumbly drawn in the original, I don't really like his design here too much in the whole 3D CGI treatment though I do like the character of the dragon. I also have a crush on Bryce Dallas Howard and while she hasn't had many notable roles as of yet, I enjoyed her in this film. The story does have some flaws but it's moderately enjoyable, but certainly weak compared to something like 2015's Cinderella. 

Score: B

Fact of the Day: Bonaparte Judaism

When Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in France, one of the groups that benefited the most were the Jewish population of France and other countries that Napoleon conquered. He lifted restrictions that kept them in ghettos and gave them equal rights on par with other French citizens. The Russian Orthodox Church (along with other Christian groups) were not very happy, and they even went far enough to formally condemn Napoleon as "Antichrist and the Enemy of God".

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Question: Does Sean Spicer Need to Resign?

Like most under Donald Trump's (liquor) cabinet and administration, Sean Spicer has his issues. The White House Press Secretary hasn't really been a political post that many really cared about. Most can't recall many formers ones by name as the position has been more boring than not. Sean Spicer certainly hasn't been boring, he's lied, exaggerated, and been polarizing; just like his president. Just today, he claimed Hilter never used chemcial weapons during WWII to defend actions against Syria. Holocaust victims were quick to remember, that's NOT true.  If Trump was smart, he'd ask Spicer to resign. I don't really care if he stays or goes. Trump's government is just as ludicrous and incompetent as we had suspected. 

Should Sean Spicer go? 

Photos: Basketball Birthday

 My nephew Mr. K's birthday party was at a church gym as it was the year before. His brother Mr. C was dressed in his basketball attire.

Fact of the Day: Hollywood

According to Hollywood's "founder" Hobart Johnstone Whitley, the name originated from a Chinese laborer saying he was "holly wood" which was bad English for "hauling wood".  The words hit him and sounded right for the new "town". 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Photo: Kitty Doorbell

My old dog Zelda loved hearing the doorbell as it meant people at the door. My mother's cat Danny likes the doorbell as it seems fun to mess with. I rang it a few times and ol' Danny figured out where the sound was coming from. Except he had no idea how to get to it. Cats might be agile as crazy, but he's going have to get some super-powers to reach this one.

My Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Impressions

 I waited a LONG time for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I originally thought it was going to be out of the WiiU, it really became a Nintendo Switch game. Granted there is a WiiU version, but like Twilight Princess, I got the better version on the more powerful system. It's been almost six years since we've had a real 3D Zelda adventure, and I will say that my hype was pretty much met. It does a lot changes you'd never thought you'd see in a Zelda game. It's even got some voice acting (though many lines are text-only) where you can obviously hear a woman (probably Princess Zelda) in a very lovely British accent. 
I heard the world map is huge, and even the initial Great Plateau area (which I'm not even done with) is larger in size than most Zelda games and sometimes put together. Now granted a lot of this is land with nothing going on. You have to stumble upon secrets and enemies before they stumble upon you that is.  
You also have an apparent lack of traditional dungeons. Kind of like Pokemon Sun/Moon for 3DS, you go through "trials" with shrines instead. All the shrines I've through go by very fast. I hear the game has about as many as there are stars in Super Mario 64. 
This Zelda actually feels a lot like the Fable series on the Xbox consoles. Except it's really good, I disliked Fable 2 and hated Fable 3. It's also a lot more realistic as your weapons and shields break and you have to replace them. Armor and shields mean much more here than any other game in the series. And you can't blindly charge into enemies either. You have think of how you're going to win every battle. And dying a lot is going to be very common place.  

Fact of the Day: George Washington Adams

Despite being named after America's first president, and being the son and grandson of U.S. Presidents, George Washington Adams had a somewhat troubled life with a certainly tragic end. He boarded a ship called the Benjamin Franklin and he demanded the captain to turn the ship around and claimed a conspiracy that the other passengers were out to get him. Most believe he intentionally jumped off the ship and committed suicide. His body did wash ashore eventually. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Photo: Library Kites

My local library had a similar kite display up last year. There is a few from last year with the rest being new. I thought they were beautiful.