Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Random Photo: Blue's Clues

I remember Blue's Clues when it came out when I was eight. My brain power was a bit above it at the time but limited cable as a kid often left me watching stuff I'd never watch otherwise. Now my niece Little K apparently has this as one of her new favorite shows. Ol' Steve in the show left a few years into it because he was going bald., kind of sad to be honest. 

Ender's Game (2013 Film) Review

Back in 2013 I largely ignored Ender's Game. While I generally like sci-fi, the whole genre can kind of feel...well generic. It didn't seem that interesting even with Harrison Ford obviously displayed as a major character. Ender's Game is actually based on a book of the same name from 1985. The movie itself didn't do well in theaters, and critics raved about other stuff that year. I later learned that the movie was "boycotted" by those who opposed the book's author Orson Scott Card's extreme right-wing political views. Being very liberal myself, I do think it's rather stupid when conservatives bash liberal entertainers, so I'd be a hypocrite if I did the same. After-all I really like Clint Eastwood's movies and Walker Texas Ranger (Chuck Norris) despite being the opposite side of the political spectrum from those two. Ender's Games should truly be judged on if it's a good movie or not.

Fact of the Day: David Rizzio

David Rizzio was the personal secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots. Queen Mary's second husband Lord Darnley (Henry Stuart) was quite jealous of him. Mary and Rizzio had a close friendship and there was rumors that he got Mary pregnant. Lord Darnley along with supporters asked for Rizzio to be handed over during a dinner while Queen Mary was heavily pregnant. The Queen refused but the men eventually got a hold of Rizzio soon after and stabbed him 56 times with Queen Mary as a witness. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Random Photo: Library Box

While they are not new to our libraries, I do love these return boxes they have at our local ones. It's got a belt that returns them but it also lets the system know you returned them as well at that same instant. Out of all the time they've had them, the system hasn't made a mistake once with me. 

Star Trek Beyond (2016 Film) Review

 Since I was not even remotely close to being born in 1966, I was not old enough to enjoy the original Star Trek TV show nor even the first sequel TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. In 2009 they decided to reboot the series as a string of movies introducing an alternate timeline (that makes a lot of sense) so people can know the characters if they didn't watch a lot of episodes of the old TV series. I had known very well of Star Trek and its impact on pop culture, but I decided the 2009 Star Trek film would be how I knew the series. I really liked it and I loved the sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness even more so. This is the first Star Trek film of the new sub-series to not be directed by J.J. Abrams so while I was looking forward to Star Trek Beyond I had my doubts.

Fact of the Day: Fatherland Front

The Fatherland Front was a political party (which claimed to be a unifying non-partisan movement) that was fascist and eventually took control of the Austrian government. The Nazis of Germany eventually came into conflict with the Fatherland Front. While they were both right-wing fascists parties/states, the Fatherland Front strongly opposed absorption into Germany. Austria lost its independence in 1938 and remained annexed until 1945. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Choo-Choo Mall Train

My mother took this photo of my brother Brandon with my neice Little Iz at the train ride at the Westgate Mall. I'm sure she had a blast. 

Lost in Space (1998 Film) Review

 Lost in Space is certainly not a TV series I can fondly remember. Mainly because I can't really remember it at all. I vaguely remember some re-runs, the space family, and that robot thing. I don't even recall this movie coming out in 1998. The 1990's had many things, but bad ideas were certainly among them. Despite the stupid idea of taking a beloved TV series and turning it into a movie, the cast is quite impressive. I noticed most of the cast from other roles. I remember Heather Graham from Austin Powers, Matt LeBlanc as Joey from Friends, Gary Oldman in many great ones, and Lacey Chabert who has done a lot of voice-acting (like Eliza in The Wild Thornberries) and she grew up to be incredibly beautiful.

Fact of the Day: London Fog

The Great Smog of London happened in 1952 which killed about 12,000 people who were mostly young, elderly, or sickly. Bad pollution had plagued London for centuries so smog was common and often ignored. Bad weather mixed with the burning of coal caused a severe fog that deeply impacted the city. This event led to better regulations for cleaner air. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Niece Winter

This is my niece Little Iz last month during our snow storm. This is probably her first real "fun" in the snow. She'll like it even more when it gets her out of school in a few years. 

Clueless (1995 Film) Review

Since I was just a kid in 1995, I probably didn't hear about Clueless until a few years later. For many years I had assumed the movie was just one "for girls" as if someone was trying to create a Barbie movie or something along the lines of that. But it was pretty well received critically and became a cult classic that has a loyal fanbase. It's actually based on Jane Austen's novel Emma and has pretty sharp (and dark) humor. Most of its main stars I remember from works that typically came after that like Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. What brought the memory up was Stacey Dash whom I never heard of before, but she became a clueless voice for the right-wingers a few years back but people mentioned she was in Clueless. I did know of Alicia Silverstone as she was Batgirl in the horrible Batman and Robin movie.

Fact of the Day: Nixon Racism

As part of the "Southern Strategy" of the Republican Party, President Richard Nixon deliberately did things to slow down the the enforcement of desegregation of public schools in order to win over conservative voters in the American South.  

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Young Mother

This is my mother at only a few years old. She gave birth to no girls, but she does remind me a little of my niece Little K. 

Hugo (2011 Film) Review

I had somewhat heard of Hugo close to the year of 2011. It's rather odd to believe it's been that many years since then. As I've mentioned before, I think Chole Grace Moretz is one of the most talented actresses ever. So while she is now a woman, she's had a healthy career since she was just a little girl. By the time Hugo came out she already was quite well known. I think why I was so hesitant to see Hugo was becuase I had no idea what it was even about. I expected something more on the realm of fantasy but this one is actually more based on history and it's set in France during the year 1931 which was between World War I and World War II. 
The story's hero is Hugo Cabret, who is a young orphan boy who lives in a clock tower at a train station. Hugo once had a loving father but he died in a terrible fire. He then lived with his horrible uncle who was a notable drunk. He luckily taught Hugo how to run the clocks, and when Claude dies Hugo takes over his job so nobody notices Claude is missing. If Hugo is discovered to be an orphan, then he'll go into a rather horrible orphanage system.  So he often has to hide from the police and other grown-ups. But as a penniless orphans, it's difficult to do as he often has to take things to survive. 
Hugo wants to rebuild an invention his father was trying to fix before his death. He ends up taking small mechanical parts from Georges Melies who runs a toy booth. The old man catches Hugo and makes him face justice. But he doesn't call the notorious Inspector Gustave Daste, but rather takes his beloved notebook. Hugo doesn't out-right say why he wants the notebook back so badly, but Melies stands his ground. Hugo tries to get Melies' adopted daughter Isabelle to get his notebook back. Isabelle doesn't try to do anything sneaky, so if Hugo wants the notebook back then he'll have to do things Isabelle's way. 
Hugo did really well with critics, and even earned quite a few Oscar nominations including Best Picture but lost to The Artist. I will say I didn't quite think the movie was that Oscar worthy. It's very well-done but I didn't think the story moved very much until about half-way. I did really like the friendship between Hugo and Isabelle. I was also pleased to see the movie go into the early era of movie making (with the focus about French movies) as that's an era that is hardly known by many today.

Score: B+ 

Fact of the Day: Barber Surgeons

While barbers are well known for cutting hair, in the middle ages they were also expected to perform surgery. They were not doctors, as physicians mainly kept to the roles of academia. When it came to making people better, they would often be consultants. Most doctors during the Middle Ages considered that surgery was beneath them. The mortality rate from surgery in the Middle Ages was quite severe. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Random Photo: Daisy's New Shoes

We went to Shoe Carnival after our pre-Valentines lunch to get Daisy some new shoes. Daisy always has been a big fan of Skechers (I'm more of a Nike person) so she got some pure black ones with the memory foam. 

Super Monkey Ball 3D (3DS) Review

One of my favorite times in video game history was in the early 2000's because I was a big fan of the Nintendo Gamecube. Sega's literal first game on the Nintendo console was Super Monkey Ball. It debuted in arcades, and was probably going to be a title for the Sega Dreamcast. However the Dreamcast had failed by the time so Sega decided to make it a launch title for the Gamecube. I enjoyed both the original game and Super Monkey Ball 2 which was also on Gamecube. The only other one I played was Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz on the Nintendo Wii. The problem with that game was that the motion controls (there was no option for an analog stick) made the game even more difficult than usual. It's been quite a few years since I had some time with a Super Monkey Ball game and even though this 3DS game is rather old now it's about time I gave it a chance.

Fact of the Day: Blackbeard Wives

While most details about the life of Blackbeard are debated (including his birthplace and real name), historians figured it was possible that Blackbeard had been married to as many as fourteen women. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Pre-Valentines Day Lunch

 While Daisy has a difficult time accepting my answer, but I always tell her we either go to Valentines day lunch/supper on the 13th or the 15th. Everybody has the idea to go on the 14th and I'm not waiting hours to eat in a crowded restaurant. We went to Longhorn Steakhouse (her favorite) right after noon on the 13th and the crowd wasn't bad at all. They sat us at a huge table despite us only having two people. It felt a little strange. Daisy got her Wild West Shrimp.

Tin Man (TV Mini-Series) Review

 While the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz is not the only work based on the classic books by L. Frank Baum, it is by far the best. From one of the most classic movies ever made, it's a bit of a shame how other works just didn't hold a candle to it. I actually liked Oz the Great and Powerful quite a bit, but I can't remember any other Oz work I liked besides that. I had been debating on whether I should watch Tin Man which is a mini-series done ten years ago in 2007. I think the main reason I wanted to see it was because of Zooey Deschanel being the main star. Even though I haven't seen much of her work, I do have a mild crush on her. When I started Tin Man I was quite shocked to see how much different this Land of Oz really is.

Fact of the Day: Green Broadbill

The Green Broadbill is a small bird native to parts of Southeast Asia. While most birds have notable beaks, they have very weak ones that are almost hidden from the rest of the face. Their green feathers however prove to be excellent camouflage.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Library Bingo February 2017

 Daisy loves bingo and as such she brings me to the local library whenever they play it. The room had about seventy something people in it. I always hate that because your odds decrease when that happens. 

Question: Do You Drink Pickle Juice?

While some don't care for them, I think most people like pickles. The juice on the other hand has a small amount of fans who will chug it with joy. I like to sip it every now and then but I don't really like drinking more than that. 

Do you like pickle juice? 

Fact of the Day: Ring Heart

Vena amoris is Latin for "vein of love" which refers to the vein in your ring finger of your left hand. It runs all the way to the heart. This is a reason given of why the left ring finger is where you're suppose to wear a engagement/wedding ring. However this actually a bit deceiving as all fingers have veins that go directly to the heart.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Random Photo: Chicken Time

While I'm a vegetarian, my wife Daisy is not. I don't try to enforce my views upon her, and frankly I stopped caring what others eat a long time ago. She really likes getting a small rotisserie chicken  from the deli at the supermarket. I like that she can get several meals out of it. 

Ghostbusters (2016 Film) Review

 It's been well over thirty years since the original Ghostbusters film and despite the popularity it only got one sequel...until this reboot that is. The main gimmick to the film was that the main cast would be all female this time. I remember a lot of people hating on the movie before it even came out which was pretty misogynistic to be honest. The concept was interesting enough for me, it sounded more original than a remake with guys who could never fill the boots of the original Ghostbusters crew. I knew Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy were in it but I was pleased to see Kate McKinnon (and her SNL co-star Cecily Strong in a smaller role) as I enjoyed her roles (especially politcal impressions) on Saturday Night Live. My wife also didn't realize Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was in the movie until I pointed him out to her.

Fact of the Day: Vasili Arkhipov

If anyone could claim to have "saved the world" it would be Vasili Arkhipov. He was a Soviet Navy officer who played a vital role in the Cuban Missile Crisis.  His submarine was believed by its captain to be under attack from the U.S. Navy however the captain needed votes from all 3 senior staff members to fire a nuclear torpedo. Arkhipov was the only one sensible enough to vote no on the ship. If he had voted yes, then it was very likely that the Cold War would have turned nuclear and probably would have wiped humanity off of the earth.  

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Valentine Donuts

Daisy and I went to our local Krispy Kreme. She got a hot chocolate and we both got the heart-shaped donuts. I couldn't resist strawberry frosting. 

Funny Story: Dog Mess?

At one of my first jobs at a supermarket I remember seeing this old guy walk past the restrooms. The people that would visit there were very low-par but I just had a funny feeling about him. A few moments later I see something on the floor which I assumed was a little bit of dog poo that fell off a person's shoe. Then I went into the bathroom, and the whole toilet was not white anymore to put it nicely. I don't know how he did it but he made it to the bathroom but still made a mess of himself. We needed a new mop that's for sure. 

Fact of the Day: Lennon Humor

While The Beatles are one of the most respected musical groups of all-time, they did have their naysayers when they first started playing. Someone asked the Beatles about people who thought their haircuts were un-American. John Lennon responded with his own humor. 

"Well, it was very observant of them because we aren't American, actually."

Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Favorites: Niece and Lamb

This is my niece Little K and her lamb doll. This is a side of my niece I rarely get to see. She's very anti-social so she rarely ever laughs and smiles around people that aren't her parents. 

Question: Do You Often Carry an Umbrella?

To be honest, I rarely ever do. It doesn't rain that often in South Carolina so I usually just rely on a jacket and fast legs. And I hate trying to figure out where to put an umbrella once I go somewhere inside that's not my house. I also get a little paranoid about umbrellas made of metal (because of lightning) so I only use ones made of wood. 

Do you carry an umbrella? 

Fact of the Day: Goober Peanut

While not very commonly used today, but other names for the legume called peanuts are groundnuts and goobers. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Random Photo: Simba Venom

Daisy got this shirt at JCPenney. We never really talked about it, but this is how I found out how much she liked The Lion King.

Funny Story: Tim's Girlfriend

Unlike most males in the human species, I've never been a man interested in younger women. All the women I've been with romantically in my life have been around my age or somewhat older. My wife Daisy is about two years older than I am. I remember being in JROTC and there was a senior (when I was a junior) there named Tim. Right before Tim graduated in 2005 he mentioned that he got a girlfriend...in 9th grade. Once summer was over Tim would be (presumably) in college and his girlfriend in 10th grade. I'm sure she felt really cool around her friends, I looked at Tim like he was the next Michael Jackson, and not in musical talent. 

Fact of the Day: Old Toboggan

While snow sled toboggans are a common source of fun in winter time, they originated as a legitimate source of transportation by the native Innu and Cree of Northern Canada.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Rita's Italian Ice

 Until the other day I had never heard of Rita's Italian Ice. They also make some other frozen treats, but Italian Ice is their specialty. Since I'm one of the few people who doesn't feel weird eating ice cream in winter, we stopped by to check it out in Greenville, SC.

The Station Agent (2003 Film) Review

The Station Agent is a movie I didn't know about until a few months ago. Peter Dinklage wasn't much of a name back in 2003, but a lot of people know of him now. One of my co-workers mentioned the movie to another co-worker and mentioned he was "the guy from Game of Thrones". Of course Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. The Station Agent wasn't Peter Dinklage's first movie (that was Living in Oblivion) but his first major role that gained him a lot of attention. The Station Agent was a big hit when it came out at the Sundance Film Festival which garnered a few awards there. The Station Agent is certainly a Independent Movie which is something I rarely ever see, but was it as good as I heard.

Fact of the Day: Tom Thumb Train

The first major American train was the steam locomotive known as Tom Thumb. It was built by Peter Cooper in 1820. It was noted to have been in a race against a horse-drawn car and lost due to a mechanical failure. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Random Photo: Hanging Gardens

At the mall in Greenville, SC we saw these hanging globe gardens. I personally wouldn't know where to put it in my house but they were neat. 

Question: The Robot Economy?

Since the days of feudalism, economic philosophies have emerged and everyone claims to have the ultimate one. But I think the future of mankind is going to have a 100% robot economy.  Now granted I don't ever expect to ever see this day even as a very old man. I do think one day robots will eventually do everything for us that it will be almost like the idea of communism is except there will be no human workers. They'll farm, make houses, drive us everywhere, and do practically anything a human can do. Now I can imagine that would make a lot of people feel like life has no purpose, but laziness usually wins out here. 

Do you think the future will be robots? 

Elizabeth Warren Silenced by Republican Senate

Like many of Donald Trump's nominees, Jeff Sessions for the post of Attorney General is controversial mainly for his history of racism. Senator Elizabeth Warren read aloud a letter written by Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow Coretta Scott King who strongly opposed Jeff Sessions for a judicial role back in the 1980's. Now Mitch McConnell and Republican Senators voted to silence her on the matter of Jeff Sessions. Republicans claim it's because you can't "bad mouth" a sitting U.S. Senator on the floor, but he's a nominee for the Trump Administration. If he's got a dark history, you can't expect senators to just talk about gumdrops and lollipops. 

Fact of the Day: Sneezing Heart

Despite the myth, your heart doesn't stop beating when you sneeze. It would actually be cardiac arrest if it was. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Favorite Photos: Salad and Parfait

 On our small trip to Greenville, SC Daisy and I ate at their mall like usual. She had a salad at Chikfila. She has one of their calendars which entitles you to something every month. I asked if salad was this months because it was listed as a "mystery".

Mulan (1998 Film) Review

The 1998 movie Mulan came out when I was just ten years old and I don't know why I never saw it. Its Disney's take on the classic tale from China, with their own twists of course. Mulan did very well for Disney which made them make a sequel and Mulan is considered a Disney Princess. Which is ironic since she isn't a princess by birth or marriage,  but you know...Disney logic. My wife Daisy brought up the idea of seeing it since she saw it a long time ago on VHS and wanted to re-watch it again. How does Mulan hold up after almost twenty years? Is it a Disney classic or an over-hyped story?

Fact of the Day: Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree is the tallest struture in Japan, and at 634 meters (2,080 feet) it's about twice as tall as the previous record holder Tokyo Tower. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Random Photo: Where's the Doors?

We saw this while driving back home one day as we stopped at a red light. I thought my doors were in poor shape but at least my car has all of them!