Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Valentines Cuteness

Every year around mid January, my wife Daisy gets real excited. As that's when all the Valentine Day stuffed animals are out. She'd have them all if she had the chance. 

The White Queen (TV Series) Review

 When it comes to movies/tv shows about the lives of English royalty, War of the Roses ironically doesn't get as many as tributes like King Henry VIII or Queen Victoria does. The War of the Roses was a rather long and violent civil war struggle for the throne of England. This is what George R.R. Martin got his main inspiration for Game of Thrones from. The White Queen is focused on the life of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen-consort to King Edward IV. The "White" part refers to the House of York (White Rose) opposed to the "Red" royalty of the House of Lancaster whose symbol was a red rose.

Fact of the Day: Beauty Queen

Elizabeth Woodville was a English noblewoman who caught the eye of King Edward IV. She was said to been so beautiful that King Edward IV was infatuated enough to marry her without thinking of the political consequences as kings often married foreign princesses. She proved to be fertile enough to give Edward IV many heirs. But the most important of them was neither of their sons but the eldest daughter Elizabeth of York who married Henry Tudor (giving birth to many children including Henry VIII) and united the houses of York and Lancaster. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Ticket Blaster

In the party room there is this Ticket Blaster machine. Little Iz was too chicken to get in it so my nephews took the turn. It blows air to get the tickets in the machine flying around and they have to catch them. They weren't prepared at all. Mr. C did okay, his older brother Mr. K not so much.  

Question: Super Bowl 51?

Super Bowl LI is this upcoming Sunday and I think the New England Patriots are going to win it. However I hate the Patriots so I'm hoping the Atlanta Falcons upset them and pull out a victory. 

Who do you think will win? 

Fact of the Day: Lemming Rat

While lemmings are related to normal rats, they're more closely related to voles and muskrats. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz Fourth Birthday Presents

Since her actual party was delayed due to bad weather, her pile of presents was small due to just being from aunts, uncles, and a grandma. Little Iz liked it and her cousin Little K loved seeing what she got. 

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016 Film) Review

Batman: The Killing Joke is based on the graphic novel comic of the same name from 1988. It's been almost 30 years since the comic impacted the world of Batman. Some one-story bits are non-canon but there is a moment that changed one character almost permanently in the future of Batman fiction. It was quite legendary with how well Batman fans liked the story which was written by Alan Moore who also wrote V for Vendetta and The Watchmen. Unlike some of Alan Moore's works, this was made into a animated cartoon as DC often does a lot of them like it. Did this graphic novel masterpiece translate well here?

Trump's Executive Order on Muslims Traveling is Deeply Troubling

Not long into his new position, Donald Trump has signed quite a few (and notable) executive orders to please his fans that were fed up with executive over-reach going over congress...well when a black guy was president. Most of them are awfully happy with Trump even when he restricted travel from many countries (except the ones that are tied with his business interests) that have a Muslim majority and most likely has ended the acceptance of Syrian refugees. He also said Christians would have top priority in the "vetting process". I'm not a fan of the religion of Islam but playing favorites is unconstitutional and spits on the idea of religious freedom. Besides bad men can just pretend to be Christian. Republicans do it all the time.     

Fact of the Day: Domestic Crazy

Like any country, mental illness is a big problem in America. It's estimated that one in five Americans suffer from some type of mental illness from small to severe. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz Fourth Birthday Cake

My sister-in-law Terry might have went overboard on the cake. It was My Little Pony (I think) and it was huge. Not even a quarter of it was eaten. But Little Iz didn't care. She was excited.

Question: Food Stamps and Junk Food

A state lawmaker in Tennessee recently tried to change policy on food stamps to stop them being used for "junk food" like soda, ice cream, chips, etc. but since it's a federal program the bill idea was moot. But if Congress was to decide, I'd say no. I worked in the grocery industry and the bureaucracy is a constant headache there. That's a lot of stuff to filter out. I remember seeing people with the WIC vouchers and they just hold up lines because their items weren't approved by the program. Also the anti-welfare people are often very disillusioned on what it's like to be poor, like some think you can't be poor if you own a TV. I've never been on welfare myself, but if someone wants cookies, chips, or ice-cream then whatever. 

What do you think?  

Fact of the Day: Holy Rooster

Roosters have been part of religious customs in almost every world religion. In Zoroastrianism (of the ancient Middle East) the rooster was consider a symbol of light. Which helped make the rooster one of the holiest animals in Iran from 2000 BC to 700 BC. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

My Favorite Photos: The Big Mouse Himself

 Since my sister-in-law Terry made this Chuck E Cheese birthday party an real party instead of a "just show up with presents" event, There was an official visit by Chuck E. Cheese himself. My niece Little K cried, she doesn't like mascots or anyone really. I'm guessing she doesn't want Mr. Cheese at her birthday party in August.

Pokemon Sun/Moon (3DS) Review

 Pokemon Sun and Moon are the newest Pokemon games in the main series. So far the 3DS has gotten 3 sets of main Pokemon games. There was X and Y, and then Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. I never played the original Ruby and Sapphire on Gameboy Advance so I just skipped it. I had almost skipped Sun and Moon until the craze of Pokemon Go came along. I never really played Pokemon Go but it revived my enthusiasm for the series. Nintendo has fallen on some more difficult times lately so they are pumping out more of their series staples than they usually do. Can Sun and Moon impress being the 3rd pokemon game in a handheld generation?

Fact of the Day: Japanese Hawaii

Hawaii's population of Japanese immigrants (and future generations) is huge and vastly important in the history of the state even back when Hawaii was still its own country. At one time (1920) Japanese immigrants made up 43% of Hawaii's population. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Birthday Girl Pizza

My niece Little Iz really did seem to like her birthday party. She was all over the place though. She played in their arcade and came back for pizza. She also has her own Chuck E Cheese cup. 

Favorite Quotes: All Gods Are the Same

"Seven gods, drowned gods, tree gods—it's all the same"

-Ser Davos Seaworth (Game of Thrones) 

Like many I just love the Game of Thrones TV series and I remember the character Davos Seaworth saying this quote this past season. While the gods on the show are fictional they are based on the real life religions that existed thousands of years ago. There isn't really an atheist character on the show as very few atheists existed in the medieval times of history, but Davos is certainly the closest. It's silly to think that all religions are right, but it's certainly proves hard to convince others that perhaps none of them are right. Religion has been used to explain the history of the unknown, and a faith is often used to control people and leech from their incomes. If there is some amazing god or gods out there, they sure are awfully silent. When I look at the details of any religion, it's all about the same. Just a bunch of stuff that someone made up. 

Fact of the Day: Greek Egypt

Ptolemy I Soter was a major general under Alexander The Great, and he ruled as Pharaoh of Egypt after Alexander's death. He established the Ptolemaic Dynasty while was mostly Greek genetically blended with the culture of Egypt. The dynasty lasted for three centuries until the fall of Cleopatra and her son Caesarion. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Random Photo: Chuck E Cheese Pizza and Tater Tots

Since it's been well over twenty years since I've been to a Chuck E Cheese, I can't even remember their pizza. I love trying all different kinds, and theirs was pretty good but not my favorite. My wife Daisy got wings (they didn't get there until a few minutes later) and tater tots. I will say their food is crazy expensive, I much rather have done a buffet thing. Good thing not every birthday party my nieces and nephews have is at Chuck E Cheese. 

Funny Story: Jessica at Work

 I work at a place where I mix paint for folks who will soon be rolling and brushing new colors in their house. I really do like it and even though there are other departments at work it often feels like my own little bubble. Not much of the politics and gossip of work falls inside the bubble. But the other day my co-workers Devan and Jeff (who are not paint people) called me over to their area to ask me a question. About maybe two to three months ago, the place hired a woman named Jessica who is on a "team" that is suppose to help out all areas of the place. This team usually never does much, instead of being good at one thing they're terrible at everything. The day before they call me over  to talk, Jessica worked in paint for the first time. I only had talked to her maybe three times at best before then but I trained her to mix paint like I do all my newbies.

Fact of the Day; Queen Victoria Mary

King George V of Great Britian's wife often used the name Victoria Mary. After becoming King he insisted she drop one of the names. Seeing how having her as "Queen Victoria" (same name as his grandmother) was in questionable taste, they both agreed she should be known as Queen Mary instead.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Robot Mouse

I took this photo shortly after we got to my niece's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. I haven't been to one of these restaurants since I was about her age. This one in Spartanburg didn't even exist back then. This is "party central" and nobody else had a birthday party at that time. Little Iz saw the robot Chuck E Cheese far away and she got a little scared. Wait until she sees The Terminator one day, now that's a scary robot. 

Question: What Did You Think Of Michelle Obama?

Now that she is currently a former First Lady, we can reflect better upon her. It's hard to be critical on First Ladies as their roles aren't really crucial and it's rather sexist that we make them some kind of glorified mansion hostess. Most First Ladies have a few projects, the one that comes to my mind was her involvement in making school lunches healthier. While any kid can bring a bagged lunch as an alternative, it really ticked off the hillbillies here. Funny how healthier eating didn't go so well in a country synonymous with obesity and fat people who rely on motor scooters because walking is too much effort.

Fact of the Day: Women in Space

In 1961 a young girl wrote to NASA asking what it would take for her to be an astronaut. NASA responded saying that women were not being considered for the program. It took 22 years (1983) after that until the first female astronaut went into space. The little girl who wrote the letter was Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Heart Wolf

Daisy spotted this little guy at Target in their Valentines Day section. We are fairly sure it's a wolf. It was her favorite of the bunch. 

Ratchet and Clank (2016 Film) Review

 Back in the early 2000's I fondly remembered the Ratchet and Clank video games. They were some of the best on the Playstation 2 and they were made by the same folks that created Spyro the Dragon on Playstation 1. But I had no idea that a literal movie based on the video games hit theaters last year. I don't think anyone else did either as it flopped big at the box office even against a very modest budget. The games had a decent story but the characters and humor were really good. If this was one series to make a movie on, it wasn't such a bad idea. So why did nobody even care to see it in theaters?

Fact of the Day: High Heels

High heels were most likely invented in Ancient Egypt. But their use didn't become a status symbol (for women and men) until the Renaissance in Europe. In France King Louis XIV decreed that only nobles and royals could wear high heels. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Random Photo: Merry Mess

I saw this at our local Hobby Lobby as Daisy wanted to see what they had. They had a small amount of Christmas stuff left over on markdown and I saw this broken sign where the M and S on the end of Merry Christmas was broken. Even if it was nothing, I'd wouldn't want that. 

Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016 Film) Review

 Disney's newest take on Alice Through the Looking Glass is something I've been kind of looking forward to and kind of not. This is based on the book that served as the sequel to the original Alice in Wonderland tale. Except I heard early on that this was going to be a loose adaptation at best. Last year I saw a movie (that was made for TV) from 1998 starring Kate Beckinsale and it was apparently more true to the book.. And I absolutely hated the film as it was nothing more than boring and mindless dribble. As far as I know, this is the first major film based on Through the Looking Glass and if the book really is just like the 1998 version I can see why. The 2016 Disney version did awful with critics, even worse than the "original" film with Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp. But could it be that terrible?

Fact of the Day: Napoleon in Great Britain

Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to invade Great Britain in the early 19th century but this invasion was not carried out for other plans. The planned invasion was not a secret as Napoleon was severely mocked by those in Great Britain. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Lunch at Zaxbys

Zaxby's is a restaurant chain that's all over the South but rare elsewhere. The food is quite good though. Daisy loves their Wings and Things plate. We ate there after seeing the movie Moana not long ago. I think they have the best french fries in fast food. 

Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell (2016 Film) Review

 Twenty years ago, superhero movies were hit or miss. But that all changed with Marvel's Iron Man in 2008 and the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now there have been bad superhero films after 2008, but the majority of them have been excellent whether it's been from the works of Marvel or DC comics. Smaller made-for-Blu-ray animated movies have come out since then and DC has been better than Marvel here. Though I did really like Planet Hulk and this held some promise. I don't know everything about Doctor Strange (who is more of the hero of the story) so I figured this would help me there.

Fact of the Day: Julian and Jupiter

Emperor Julian was the last pagan Emperor of the Roman Empire. He restored Roman paganism as the state religion from Christianity as he was deeply concerned that the old religion was the only way to restore Rome's former glory. The Roman Empire fell 104 years after his death. The Eastern Half of the Empire remained as the Byzantine Empire. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

To Donald Trump and His Conservative Fans

For the majority of Americans (literally but no thanks to the electoral college) we did not get who we voted for and the actual runner up ended up being the big man in Washington D.C. and the rest of the United States. The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN folks are calling for unity but would they honestly be saying that if Hillary Clinton was president now? They demonized her character so much that is was despicable and it wasn't even on truths but "what ifs". We had literal proof of Donald Trump making fun of a disabled reporter, him boasting about taking advantage of women, and rallying his fan base to hate on other Americans and immigrants because they're different. Here's what Trump needs to do before I'll give him respect because I can't stand for what the right-wingers advocate.

Random Photo: First Ice Storm of 2017

 Snow doesn't occur all the time in the Southern United States but it's not that uncommon. We usually get it once a year. My new house's front yard seemed to be very resistant to snow and ice. 
The roads not so much and the cars were frozen over. It wasn't very snowy either, it was more like ice than snow. Which makes it extremely difficult to get off your car. The city or county had trucks come by to take care of the roads, They actually did a fairly good job too. 

Sailor Moon Crystal (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 While anime has existed since the 1960's, it never really made an impression for American audiences (except maybe Speed Racer) until my generation grew up in the 1990's. I remember two of the most popular earliest ones being Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. Dragon Ball Z got some talented voice actors for the most part, the Americans behind the English dub of Sailor Moon did not and committed the sin of drastically changing character's names from the original Japanese. I knew very well of the series (it was quite a blessing for cosplay) but never really watched it until my wife begged me to back in 2011. We watched it in Japanese as there was no good English dub we could find. Not long after we watched it, I heard of Sailor Moon Crystal which was a remake for Japan. I'm not sure of when but a decent English dub is out and my wife got around to making me watch it yet again.

Fact of the Day: Victorian Victory

The name Victoria is derived from the Latin word for "victory". 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Pickachu Sweater

Daisy found this sweater at JCPenney, it matches the Pikachu doll I won for her at Carowinds a few years ago. I know Pokemon had a surge last year when Pokemon Go hit mobile phones. But just months later, I can tell its popularity has gone downhill. I never played Pokemon Go myself, I feel that mobile games usually make regular video games worse. 

The Angry Birds Movie (2016 Film) Review

 Angry Birds made their first splash on mobile phones (originally iOS) back in the year 2009. It quickly grew into a mad craze that was like the Pokemon of mobile phone games. Everyone was playing it earlier this decade. I think this was mainly because most mobile games are garbage but they made this one fun and the controls worked well. I remember them announcing this movie a few years back and then I kind of forgot about it. The Angry Bird series never had much of a story besides birds vs. green pigs. But was this one a dud or a success as a movie?  

Fact of the Day: Hoover Deaths

The construction of the Hoover Dam took many lives. The first was a man named J. G. Tierney who was looking for an ideal spot for the dam. The last death was his son Patrick Tierney who fell from a tower. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Downtown Deli and Donuts

 Downtown Deli & Donuts is a new place in our city's downtown in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I heard it was near out library so we walked around to find it. We almost missed it as it's just one of several places in this building. On the opposite side is Hub City Scoops which is the newest ice cream place that opened last year.

TMNT: Out of the Shadows (2016 Film) Review

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a sequel I wasn't really looking forward to. My local library had it on the racks so I decided to give it a try. I thought the "original" reboot back in 2014 was better than I feared but not really that good. While Michael Bay is just the producer (not his typical role of directing) he does like to make movies based on beloved franchises far more goofy and stupid than they need to be. He often works with Megan Fox (who is April O'Neil in the story) and she's often criticized as a "bad actress" but it makes me wonder if that's true or just she accepts roles in terrible movies. She was at least far more attractive than the previous movie April O"Neils Judith Hoag and Paige Turco though the two previous actresses looked far more like the original comic incarnation of the character. Either way, I didn't think it'd be very good. Was I right?

Fact of the Day: Father Warthogs

Common warthogs are not very territorial but among their groups occupy certain ranges. Females and their young will live in their own groups. While grown male warthogs will typically live alone. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Random Photo: Sweet Strawberry Candle

This was Daisy's present during the Santa game at our family gathering. It was from Yankee Candle and the scent is Sweet Strawberry. Women loves these candles but I just don't get it personally. Unless I'm right next to it, I can't smell anything. And it's not just this candle, my mom has had them for countless years too. I suppose my nose isn't as sensitive.  

Sherlock (TV Series) Season 4 Review

Back in 2014 I started the British TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for the first time. The show started in 2010 but it's filmed in the free-time of the actors, so we don't get a season every year. But the last three seasons have been absolutely brilliant and are worth the wait. Luckily they did a one-time special last year that brought the modern characters in  the classic Victorian setting and it was a decent episode to make the wait more bearable.. The 3rd season ended on a really WTF moment, so it was quite interesting to see what the answer to those questions were.

Fact of the Day: Irish Setters

Irish Setters are dogs that do quite well with families with children and other dogs. However they tend to be unpredictable with smaller animals like cats and birds as they were bred in Ireland to be a hunting dog. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Random Photo: Cat Tree

My in-laws got this for their cat for Christmas. Even though their cat Johann is young, he's not very active. I haven't seen him on it once. But everyone says he loves it. 

Funny Story: Kaitlin Walking

I went to my wife's aunt's wedding a few years back and afterwards we hung out at the mall with her cousins all in our formal wear. The bride's daughter Kaitlin was walking in her high heels and got frustrated of how uncomfortable they were. So she took her shoes off and tried walking barefoot. She didn't get far before a security guard told her to put them back on. 

Her older cousin Bethany asked what the security guard said. 

Kaitlin said "I told him to shut the F up,"

I was the only one near enough to actually hear the conversation. She really said

"Yes, sir."