Friday, May 25, 2018

Photo: National Zoo Conservation Carousel

My wife usually likes to ride the merry-go-round, but she didn't ask this time. But it seems the Smithsonian National Zoo has a nice one. 

Fact of the Day: Barber Beard

The word barber is derived from the Latin word barba which means "beard" in English. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Photo: Turtle Haven at the National Zoo

Saw this big pond with turtles at the National Zoo. None of these turtle guys and gals are lonely. 

Question: Should The NFL Keep Kneeling Players Off the Field?

Now most protests accomplish very little short-term and when they go on forever, people often lose interest or become de-sensitized to it. While the NFL kneeling protests (which started as sitting) have never been a movement free from criticism, it does sadden me to see the NFL pretty much rule that all players who want to kneel will be kept in the locker room during the anthem. While the NFL is not a government organization, Donald Trump added fuel to the fire by using his influence to alter public opinion including that of the team owners and other NFL bigwigs. While it doesn't technically violate the First Amendment, it's a huge spit in the face to free-thought and free-speech in the cultural sense. 

What do you think? 

Fact of the Day: Not So Fast Turtles

Turtles are infamously known for their sluggish speeds. Even swimming, the fastest turtles on the Earth can't go more than 22mph (35.4 kph). 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Photo: Giant Triceratops at the National Zoo

I saw this statue of a triceratops at the National Zoo. It's a shame we are 65 million years too late to have living dinosaurs at the zoo, unless you count birds. 

Question: Did You Watch The Prince Harry-Meghan Markle Royal Wedding?

I only saw a little bit as I had to work Saturday and those royal weddings take forever apparently. The London time also threw me off, but I managed to stumble upon this part. See those eyes? That's the look of love right there, no doubt about it. While she's technically a duchess (only the wife of the Prince of Wales gets the honor of princess, unless you're Camilla), not many American girls really get to be the wife of a prince. I'm really happy for them both. But I was ashamed to see fellow Americans on social media badmouthing her, 99% of those losers only hate her because she's half-black. 

Did you watch it?  

Fact of the Day: American Chestnut

A once plentiful tree in the Eastern United States, the American chestnut tree was almost wiped out entirely by a blight (fungus) in the 20th century. While the trees are not technically extinct, very few remain in comparison to how many existed. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Things I Like: Spider Mobile (Sonic Mania)

I liked this battle a lot mainly as it's pretty hard not to notice and I always admire stuff you never expect. I can't ever recall another Sonic game where Dr. Eggman wants to fight in giant spider machine. 

Things I Like: The Big Squeeze (Sonic Mania)

 This is the first boss of the Flying Battery Zone. Dr. Eggman traps Sonic into a big trash compactor.

Photos: Smithsonian National Zoo Farm

 Most zoos have some type of barnyard section, the National Zoo wasn't that large I thought. You had some donkeys here.

Fact of the Day: Lionheart Sons

Since Richard I of England had no legitimate children, his brother took the throne as King John. However Richard had two illegitimate sons named Fulk and Phillip, though little is known about their lives and fates.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Photos: I Spot a Clownfish at the National Zoo

 The Smithsonian National Zoo doesn't have much in aquatic animals but near the coral was the clownfish.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018 Film) Review

 Like almost everyone, I am a big fan of the MCU. I still can remember the hype of the original Avengers film and for the most part, it met the hype. I didn't care so much for the 2nd Avengers movie with Ultron. But most films in the MCU were really good, and I had high hopes for this 3rd movie.

Fact of the Day: Soviet China

Before the Chinese Civil War was over, communists under Mao Zedong established a very small section of China as its own country called the Chinese Soviet Republic, modeling itself very much after the Soviet Union. However after a few years, the country collapsed right at the start of the World War II (for China) and China would be at a various state of civil war until 1949.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Photos: The Smithsonian National Zoo Office Room

 We stumbled upon this room near some of the tank animals. It was open and easy to walk into. There was nobody there, but as soon I saw it, I had an idea.

Question: Do You Think Dumb People Are More Happy?

I think this goes hand-in-hand with the term "blissfully ignorant". It does seem like dumber people are happier on average than smarter people. When your mind isn't quite as capable of thinking about life's problems, it does seem to be better to be (mood wise) in the dark than certainly worried over the harsh reality. 

What do you think? 

Fact of the Day: Nice Pacu Fish

A close relative to piranhas, pacu fish share a similar shape but different teeth (almost human like) than their vicious cousins. They also differ in diet, as they feast mainly on plant material, not flesh or scales. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Things I Like: Weather Globe (Sonic Mania)

 At the end of the Studiopolis Zone in Sonic Mania, Dr. Eggman uses his new weather robot machine to challenge you.

Things I Like: Heavy Gunner (Sonic Mania)

 While the Hard Boiled Heavy robot, Heavy Gunner is the technical boss of this stage in the Studiopolis Zone, I actually thought I was fighting just the helicopter in this one until I was pointed out the robot trying to kill our favorite blue hedgehog.

Photos: Smithsonian National Zoo Fishes

 The most notable collection of fish are pretty much in this area. This strange guy in the center is an arapaima.

Question: Truth From Historical Figures?

If you could ask any figure in history and question and get a truthful answer, who would it be and what would be the question? Mine is actually is a bit wider and little flawed considering I know the answer. I wouldn't just want one person, my wish would have every single founder of a religion (considering they were actually real and not legend themselves) upon a world stage and ask them the truth of their religion. I think a flaw of humanity is to think that the question is just "which religion is right?" without coming up with the possibility that maybe just maybe, they're all wrong. 

What would you ask? 

Fact of the Day: Tennis Doom

A group of assassins were able to murder King James I of Scotland when he tried to escape through a sewer. It had been sealed off due to its connection to a tennis court, leaving him unable to flee. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Things I Like: Mean Bean Machine Boss Battle (Sonic Mania)

 I think the reason I liked this boss battle so much is that I didn't expect it to ever happen. Sega used some super-fans for the game's design, and you can tell this wouldn't be something Sega would have thought of doing organically.

Things I Hate: Amoeba Droid (Sonic Mania)

 The thing about the Amoeba Droid boss in the Chemcial Plant Zone is that it's not very interesting or challenging to defeat. It does kind of remind me of Giant Aquatic Amoeba Morpha from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time but robotic and generically annoying.

Photo: Sting Ray Pool at the Smithsonian National Zoo

 In one of the indoor sections, there's this pretty (and super clear) tank that mainly houses the freshwater sting-rays.

Question: Chinese Dress Controversy?

Not too long ago, a Utah Caucasian student wore a cheognsam dress to her prom causing quite a stir of controversy. I will say, I always found the cheognsam to be very pretty and I can see why she would want to wear one. Though given America's bad track record for racism, it does become at least awkward when we see non-Asian women wear them because it is a very cultural dress. But some people in China were asked what they thought since the story made enough of a splash to make a waves internationally, and since the student wore it as she liked the dress, they were okay with it because they thought it was cool that she loved something about their culture. And if you think about it that way, it does sound a lot better. 

What do you think?   

Fact of the Day: Ray Sharks

Sting rays and other ray fish belong to a superorder called Batoidea. They were descended from sharks, but the split happened around the early Triassic. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Things I Like: Death Egg Robot (Sonic Mania)

Figures as much that Dr. Eggman would be at the end of the Green Hill Zone in Sonic Mania. He uses quite a bit of heavy machinery to try to stop our favorite blue hedgehog. 

Things I Hate: DD Wrecker (Sonic Mania)

I was never too much of a fan of this boss in Sonic Mania because it's not very challenging or exciting. Green Hill Zone is basically a Sonic level for babies, so the bosses usually won't ever defeat you.

Photos: Sea Lion Show at the Smithsonian National Zoo

 Sea lions aren't really my favorite animals, but I thought this little "show" was neat the National Zoo. The trainer called one of the sea lions over and the sea lion obeyed quite well.

Marie Antoinette (2006 Film) Review

 I've never been the biggest fan of Kristen Dunst or French history, though I can enjoy both from time to time. But Marie Antoinette is a name that lives in infamy within France and throughout the world. While the Monarchs of England/Great Britain had slowly lost their powers from King John to the rise of the House of Hanover, the Kings of France actually became more autocratic as time went on. So when the world started to modernize, the common people finally were able to figure out that things weren't so good for them. So what happened to King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, was worthy enough to base major movies off of.

Fact of the Day: Marie and Louis Cousins

Close cousin relationships were common in both the House of Habsburg and the House of Bourbon, as such King Louis XVI and Marie Antionette were second-cousins-once-removed via Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. Marie was also descended more distantly to Louis XIII of France. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Things I Like: Thomas More (The Tudors)

 A flawed man in history and in the show, but overall I liked Sir Thomas More. At the start of the series, the two are good friends, but King Henry VIII slowly drifts away from his friend in the realm of politics and religion.

Photos: Smithsonian Zoo Elephants

 There were plenty of elephants at the National Zoo in D.C.

Fact of the Day: Ivory Elephant

The English word elephant is ultimately derived (though it went through Old French and Latin) from the Greek word elephas which meant "ivory". 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Things I Like: Anne Boleyn (The Tudors)

 Before she was Queen Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones, Natalie Dormer was Anne Boleyn on The Tudors. I did like her take on King Henry VIII's most "interesting" bride of all. After her sister failed to impress the King, Anne was pressured by her father to become King Henry VIII's newest obsession.

Photo: Us at the Smithsonian National Zoo

Daisy and I have different tastes on many things, but we both love zoos. 

Fact of the Day: Finished Land

For about 700 years, Finland was part of Sweden. When the lands were first conquered, virtually all the Finnish nobles lost their lands to either Swedes, Germans, or to the Catholic Church. Swedish nobility often viewed Finland as inferior and Kings of Sweden would rarely visit. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Photo: Smithsonian Zoo Lawn Crew

I saw this guy along with another person at a closed exhibit while we were at the Smithsonian Zoo. You have to figure they always have to take care of their "lawns" but I had never seen it personally. It looks like they do the whole thing with just a string trimmer. 

Shameless (TV Series) Season 2 Review

 I had heard the TV series Shameless was pretty good, and when I saw the original season, I was quite impressed. I haven't really seen a good TV comedy (it's a dark comedy by the way) in quite some time, and I had quite a few laughs with this one. It's based on a popular UK TV series of the same name, so the chances of the second season being excellent was also pretty good. But did it meet my expectations?

Fact of the Day: American Lawn

When colonists first started to come to America, it didn't take them much time to notice that the grass was a bit different than it was in Europe. One reason is that it didn't nourish their livestock very well. So in time, a lot of it was replaced with seeds from Europe. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Photos: Red Pandas at Smithsonian's National Zoo

 When we went to Zoo Atlanta last year, Daisy fell in love with red pandas. She was excited to learn that they were at the DC Zoo as well.

Story: Obama vs Trump in DC

 My mom's co-worker Angel works as a tour guide in DC during the school spring months. She's done it for years as well. My wife mentioned about what does it take to visit the White House. Angel had done tours there as well with schools so she knew how it worked. She said it was different now because under Obama, the demand to got the White House was so large, that it was about a two year waiting list.

Fact of the Day: Few Red Pandas

With a declining population, it will take red pandas quite some time to recover. One reason is because mothers can only give birth to 1-2 babies a year. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Photos: Giant Panda Bears at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

 Since the Smithsonian is one the largest, oldest, and most notable zoos in the country, they certainly have panda bears. I saw this collection of stuff here, apparently it was to honor the day they got panda bears decades ago when China agreed to let American zoos have pandas.

Question: Can You Go Without Snacks at the Movies?

I certainly can, but my wife Daisy cannot, so we always get some. Luckily we always can share a drink, so that helps. They are pretty reasonable on popcorn, but things like boxes of candy are ridiculous.  

Do you get snacks at the movies? 

Fact of the Day: Panda Twins

Panda mothers give birth to twins about 50% of the time. However, the grim part of this is that the weaker twin will most likely die, as mother pandas in the wild only seem to be able to raise one cub at a time. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Things I Like: Cardinal Wolsey (The Tudors)

Flawed morally as he was, I did like Cardinal Thomas Wolsey on The Tudors. The 2nd highest ranking Catholic, Wolsey was pretty much King Henry VIII's right-hand man on many issues of state. 
Unlike many Catholics, Wolsey was deeply loyal to the King and ignored many of his faults. 
But part of that stemmed from his personal life improving greatly, by being so valued by the King. 
One of the few Catholics also to advocate for King Henry VIII's divorce without any hesitations. 
But he failed to convince his peers (especially in Rome), so he more-or-less got blamed. And his whole life was ruined. 
Such a sad downfall really. I was glad to see King Henry VIII express some pity over his demise after the fact.