Monday, September 24, 2018

Fact of the Day: The Final Last Meal in Texas

Like most states, Texas honored the last food requests of death-row inmates by providing them with a last meal of almost anything they wanted. In 2011 Lawrence Russell Brewer requested a large and complicated meal. When the meal was served, he claimed he wasn't hungry and didn't eat any of it. This led to Texas abolishing last meals.  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Things I Like; Evie (Paladins)

While Paladins doesn't have much of a plot, the champion Evie is dubbed "The Winter Witch". Her ice powers and sci-fi "broomstick" make that obvious. 

Photo: Spartanburg Police Taxi

While walking around downtown, I easily spotted this "police taxi" which is a clever way for the city to deter DUIs. Though anyone with sense to notice it probably wouldn't drink and drive anyway. 

Fact of the Day: Author

The English word author comes from the Latin word augere which means "to originate". 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Things I Like: Lady Kenna (Reign)

During the first season, Kenna is arguably the most notable of Mary's close friends. While she is a Lady for Mary, she ends up being in a unofficial relationship with Mary's soon-to-be father-in-law King Henry II of France. Kenna really likes the king but when he starts to go mad, they have a falling out. 

Photo: Social Relevance Light Bulb Spartanburg

My city of Spartanburg has these light bulbs everywhere as a large art project. This one I hadn't seen before, it was downtown near the library and the ice cream places. It's called Social Relevance by a local artist named Page Davis. I don't get the point of the colors, but they are pretty. 

Fact of the Day: Taoism Birth

According to some factions of Taoism, its founder Laozi was conceived when his mother gazed upon a falling star.  Even more odd is that he was supposed to have remained in the womb for 62 years. If Laozi was actually historical in any shape or form, he would have lived in the 6th or 4th century B.C.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Things I Like: Cassie (Paladins)

 One of the starting champions for new players, Cassie is actually my personal favorite of the whole game's roster.

Photo: Airport Park Spartanburg South Carolina

During one of my Sundays volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, I took my Little Brother Mr. B here so he could enjoy something outdoors. The first time we came, the place was littered with people all over the place. This particular Sunday, there was nobody but us. He likes to play tag on this playground, but he doesn't do it fairly. He will tell me to wait at the bottom while he's on the top level before I can "go". Making it nearly impossible for him to lose. The big blue slide of the left that you can see (there's another one behind it but you can't really see it) Mr. B discovered that some kid barfed in it and it dried out. And nobody from the park system came to clean that one up...gross. 

Fact of the Day: Frank Hayes

In 1923, a jockey named Frank Hayes won the last race of his life. People discovered that he actually died mid-race of a heart attack but his body stayed on the saddle of his horse until the end. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Things I Like: King Henry II of France (Reign)

 Based on the actual King Henry II of France, Reign's incarnation of the Valois king is more antagonistic overall than he probably was in real life. As the most powerful person in France, he hopes to see his son marry Mary, Queen of Scots so that France can have an edge over the Tudors in England. 

Photo: Old Spartanburg Peach Monument

Saw this next to my local library. I'm guessing they were either tearing it down or restoring it as they had barriers around it. It's pretty darn old, it's from back in 1947. While California makes the most peaches, the peach is an important crop to South Carolina (and Georgia) and its history. While the words are a little hard to read in person, this is what it says. 

This monument is erected out of respect for the peach. Delectable fruit of a friendly soil and beneficent Sun. Upon a pedestal we place it as a symbol of God's Bounty and man's enterprise. Spartanburg County has the honor of the richest peach harvest in the nation, and we are grateful for this favor. 

Fact of the Day: Lenin's Brother

Like his younger brother Vladimir Lenin, Aleksandr Ulyanov was also a revolutionary in the Russian Empire. He attempted and failed to assassinate Tsar Alexander III, for which he was hanged. While his brother was deeply into the communist cause at the time, his brother's death enraged him and he vowed to get revenge.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rime (Nintendo Switch) Review

Rime was one of the games I knew of, but didn't know much about it. I remember seeing this cover quite a few times, but I'd basically just glance over at something else. My local library lends out Nintendo Switch games, so while I would have never probably gotten the game on my own, I was willing to give it a try now.

Photos: Spartanburg Glendale Shoals Park Tadpoles and RC Cars

 As I've said before, I volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I've been a Big Brother for almost a year now. I took my Little Brother Mr. B to the park near my house as he had never been before and it was good-ish weather that day. He wanted to get near the water and look for salamanders.

Fact of the Day: Battle of Flodden

While King Henry VII made peace with Scotland with marriage of his daughter Margaret Tudor to King James IV, eventually English-Scottish relations would turn sour again especially with reign of the second Tudor king Henry VIII. Henry VIII angered King James IV and most Scots by claiming (as many English kings did) that he was their overlord. King James IV tried to take advantage by invading England with his brother-in-law absent fighting another battle. However at the Battle of Flodden, Scotland suffered one of its worst defeats in its history. Not only did they lose so many men and suffered deep political consequences, but their popular and capable king was killed in battle as well. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Things I Like: Lord Fredrik (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze)

 Lord Fredrick, King of the Snowmads was the mastermind behind the takeover of Donkey Kong's island. You face him at the very end as he's obviously the final boss of the game.

Photos: Breakfast at Hardees in Cedar Springs Spartanburg

To my friends on the west coast, you may know this restaurant better as Carl's Jr. They used to be separate, but they're one in the same now. I heard they had some Fruit Loop mini-donuts and I wanted to give them a try. They were out which really ticks me off. 

Fact of the Day: Barnum and Congress

P.T. Barnum did more than create his own circus, he also ran for Congress. Ironically he lost the general election against his own 3rd cousin William Henry Barnum. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Things I Like: Bashmaster the Unbreakable (Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze)

 One of the few bosses to actually be an arctic animal, this mean polar bear was one of my favorites.

Photo: September 2018 Bingo at Spartanburg Main Library

Daisy was tickled that they were doing bingo again at the main library and that we both had the day off. That being said, neither us got a bingo. I blame the massive amounts of old people. 

Fact of the Day: Microwave Food Nutrients

The belief that microwave ovens deplete or eliminate all nutrients is a bit of a half-truth. Virtually all cooking methods can harm nutrients in food (typically by heat), and it all depends on what you're cooking and how long it's being cooked for. In most cases, microwave or more traditional cooking, the good majority of vitamins in food remain when ready to eat. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Paladins (Nintendo Switch) Review

 When I first heard of Paladins not long ago, Nintendo recommended it to me and I noticed like Fortnite, it's a digital game that doesn't take a penny to enjoy. Usually I'm pretty darn skeptical, but Fortnite proved that games like that, actually can be good or even great. So did Paladins hold its own weight?

Photos: New Starbucks and ICEEs at Spartanburg Target

 Our local Target went through a remodel which meant they turned their little cafe area into a Starbucks. Daisy really liked their popcorn and sodas, so she was a bit mad that she can no longer get them.

Favorite Quotes: Obama Calling Out Trump's Love For Far-Right Extremists

"We are Americans. We're supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We're supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we're sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, to say that Nazis are bad?"

-Barack Obama

Former President Obama said these words not long ago ahead of the mid-term elections, calling Donald Trump out on his refusal to condemn far-right lunatics who committed violence and intimidation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump campaigned on racism, and constantly does racist things as President. Trump supporters shouldn't exactly be shocked on Trump's consistency of being a bigot. But it sure says a lot of about their own character when they can support such a man each and every day.  

Fact of the Day: Elizabethan California

While most of the middle to western part of the present-day United States belonged eventually to Spain as New Spain, present-day California was also claimed by Sir Francis Drake for Queen Elizabeth I of England, though no real control ever came of it.   

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Things I Hate: Fugu the Frightening (Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze)

 Looking a lot like Flounder from The Little Mermaid, Fugu is really a pufferfish. Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish.

Photos: Doomed Temple Mini-Golf Big E Gaffney South Carolina

After my niece's birthday party was pretty much over, we played mini-golf outside. Their course is based obviously on Indiana Jones, especially the second movie The Temple of Doom. 

Ourselves and The Mighty Hurricane Florence

Being 3 hours away from the beach, hurricanes rarely do much here in the Upstate (Northwest) of South Carolina. Today, there was no rain here, Sunday is our expected storm day of rain and wind. I'm not sure how rainy it's suppose to be, but winds will reach a high of 30mph (48.2kph) which is quite nothing compared to what Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, North Carolina got earlier yesterday. It's now downgraded as a tropical storm, and will be further weakened by the time it gets here. So to answer anyone's question, we're alright.  

Fact of the Day: Helene Mayer

Helene Mayer was a German woman who had a Jewish father and a Lutheran mother. She was an Olympic fencer who won the gold medal in the 1928 Summer Games in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Due to the anti-semitic laws in Germany during the 1930's, she left Germany and settled in the United States. She oddly accepted Germany's request to compete on behalf of her birth-nation in the 1936 Berlin games as long as she appeared to be "German" and her half-Jewish ancestry was kept a "secret". She won silver that year, and claimed that she did so to protect family that remained in Germany. After World War II, she moved to West Germany and kept pretty quiet on the matter until her death in 1953. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Things I Like: Ba-Boom The Boisterous (Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze)

One of the major bosses in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Ba-Boom is really three bosses in one. 

Christopher Robin (2018 Film) Review

 To be honest, Winnie the Pooh was something I never saw much as a child. I knew the characters and the whole gist of the series but I never was a real "fan" of it, for whatever reason. My wife Daisy was a fan of the Pooh bear, and I thought I would take her to see the movie Christopher Robin on her birthday. I had some strong interest in the movie, as it seemed to be a very similar twist on the story like Hook (1991) with Robin Williams was with the Peter Pan stories.

Photos: Painting the Kitchen French White

 The kitchen was the last room in my house that I painted. I actually liked the color chosen from the previous owners (the only time in this house) but I painted the living room beige, so a blue kitchen didn't exactly go with it. Plus the paint was a cheap contractor grade and I could easily tell it wasn't holding up, and that's in a kitchen where we don't do much fancy cooking.

Fact of the Day: Corn Digestion

Fans of the food corn have noticed that it doesn't seem to digest well by the time it makes it to the toilet. This is an misconception, the internal parts of the kernels are easily digested by the human body. However we lack the necessary bacteria to digest almost any of the outer skin (pericarp) of the corn. Which is reason why eaters of popcorn don't really notice anything. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Things I Like: Skowl The Startling (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze)

 One of the earliest bosses of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, he proved to give me my first real challenge.

Photos: Arcade Fun at Big E in Gaffney South Carolina

 Near the end of my niece Little K's birthday party, we played a little in the arcade. We got some cards to play mini-golf outside, but we also had extra to use inside on arcade games. Daisy stuck to mainly ones that give out tickets. She loves this game, she has to play it at every arcade she ever goes to.

Fact of the Day: Yellow Emperor

The Yellow Emperor is a deity in Chinese mythology and possibly historic though his reign would have been around 2700 B.C. if he actually was real. In some versions of the fables, he was said to have been born to a woman named Fubao, who convinced him without a father but a lightning bolt from the Big Dipper. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Things I Like: Pompy, The Presumptuous (Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze)

 This evil big seal is first boss in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on WiiU/Nintendo Switch. I didn't quite know what to expect with this battle.

Photos: Little K 5th Birthday Gifts

 My niece Little K loves present time when it's birthday and Christmas.

Favorite Quotes: War and Politics

"Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed."

-Mao Zedong 

Despite being a despot and someone who spoke very limited English (some quotes in foreign languages don't sound that great), Chairman Mao had some pretty memorable quotes. This quote is very true in a democratic society, however when it came to tyrants with absolute power such as Mao, Stalin, Muammar Gaddafi, and Francisco Franco; the bloodshed didn't stop at the end of the war. So I do enjoy the irony here as well. 

Fact of the Day: Jumbo the Elephant

Jumbo the elephant was a popular elephant who originally went all over Europe, and also gave rise to the modern meaning to the English word "jumbo". Eventually Jumbo was owned by P.T. Barnum and his circus. However, a tragic accident mortally wounded Jumbo after a train hit him. P.T. Barnum made up a story that Jumbo died trying to lead a younger elephant to safety. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Fact of the Day: Soviet Paralympics

For most of the 20th century, the Soviet Union was very notable at the Olympic games as they often did well and hosted the Summer Games in 1980. However when they were asked to also host the Paralympics (the Olympics for those with disabilities) they declined as Soviet leadership claimed they had no such athletes.  

Monday, September 10, 2018

My Rime (Nintendo Switch) Impressions

 I didn't know much about Rime until the other day. I saw the cover a good number of times, but mostly ignored it. My local library lends out Nintendo Switch games, so I decided to give it a try at least. Unlike many games, Rime just starts with no clues, no dialogue, and no story. You see a kid washed up on the beach and you have to figure out what to do next. 

Photos: Cake and Pizza at Little K's 5th Birthday Party

 Cake and pizza was always a birthday tradition in our family, and most probably a lot of American families. Little K's maternal cousins weren't interested in eating food that much, which was bizarre to me. I remember when I was my niece's age, birthdays was one of the few times where my parents would actually get everyone pizza from a good place, and not from the freezer.

Question: Should There Be an Oscar Category for Popular Films?

The folks behind the Academy Awards recently proposed the idea and quickly backpedaled on it. I still take the Oscars seriously, but the Academy Awards have slowly drifted to giving out no honors to almost anything mainstream especially after the 1990's. The recent notable films that made top honors at this year's Oscars, were stranger and dumber than years before. The idea of a separate category kind of makes a statement that almost no mainstream films (unless they really are "artistic") are even being considered for the real categories that matter. 

Should mainstream films get back into the Oscars? 

Fact of the Day: Coconut Fruit

Despite the name, coconuts are not really nuts. A coconut is a drupe botanically. Other kinds of drupes are peaches, nectarines, coffee, mangoes, and olives. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Things I Like: Void Termina (Kirby Star Allies)

 Given "life" by a dying Hyness, Void Termina is arguably the most powerful foe Kirby has ever faced.

Photos: Painting The Office Room Stratford Blue

 This is a really old picture of the office. My smartphone died during my "before" picture, so I lost it. But the room was painted originally in an ugly cheap flat white paint. It was impossible to clean and I didn't like it. 

Story: Paint Pete at Work

At my job as a paint mixer, one of our best part-timers was an old guy named Pete. He used to be an electrician, but "retired" to something I assume was less stressful. When he was first hired, one of the managers there gave me the wrong impression that Pete wasn't going to work out. Something about his attitude, but that manager eventually got fired and he was a giant douchebag, so never take anyone's word for anything.   

Fact of the Day: Den Fujita of McDonalds Japan

While making McDonald's a success in a foreign country is no easy task, Den Fujita did so during the 1970's in Japan. But Den Fujita had a odd way of making it more "popular". Whether or not he believed it himself, he was bold enough to make a bizarre claim that food like McDonald's would eventually make Japanese people taller and blonde.