Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Thanksgiving Bonding

During Thanksgiving, my nephew Mr. C wanted to hold his new cousin Little K. It wasn't terribly long ago that Mr. C was her size, and everybody wanted to see him. 

Fact of the Day: Sea-Horse Swimmers

Despite being one of the most unique under-water animals, sea-horses are considered rather awful swimmers. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Two Turkeys

On Thanksgiving yesterday, my nephew Mr. K was so excited that the turkey cake I had gotten for the family gathering matched his shirt. 

Fact of the Day: America del Sur

Due to it's history of being colonized by the British, the country Guyana is the only South American nation with English as its official language. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Random Photo: Popcorn Machine

 The other day my mother used her popcorn machine for the first time. Before we had mainly eaten just microwaved popcorn, though I remember when I was younger we did make it the old fashioned way.

Fact of the Day: Plymouth Thanksgiving

While not exactly the first Thanksgiving, the earliest date for Thanksgiving observed by most Americans was in 1621 by the Plymouth Pilgrims in Massachusetts. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013 Film) Review

 Last year I initially ignored the original The Hunger Games movie, but later gave it a chance. While I thought it was a great movie, my fiancee Daisy fell in love with the series. She soon read all the books, and couldn't wait for the movie sequel. While I didn't read the books (though I knew some of the story), I was also excited for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Fact of the Day: Presidential Thanksgiving

Since 1947, it has become a tradition for the President of the United States to "pardon" a turkey from the holiday. The fortunate turkey lives the rest of its days on a historic farm. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Baby Blue Snoozing

This is a photo of my brother's dog Blue when she was still a puppy. Though she still takes naps exactly like this, she was more adorable back in her puppy days. 

Fact of the Day: Thanksgiving Lamb

During the 19th century, Sarah Josepha Hale wrote to President Lincoln and convinced him to support making Thanksgiving a national holiday. Before it had only been celebrated in New England. Hale is also known for being the author of the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Things I Like: Grandpa Gohan (Dragon Ball)

 While Goku's son Gohan would be more famous, Goku's "grandfather" (which he obviously named his son after) was one of my favorite characters in the original Dragon Ball. Though ironically from the beginning on the story he already passed away. But he found Goku as a baby, and raised him as his own.

Fact of the Day: Harvest Thanksgiving

While most Americans root Thanksgiving back to the days of the pilgrims, but the holiday's true origins go back even further. Centuries ago in Europe it wasn't uncommon to see civil or religious celebrations of being thankful especially after a harvest. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Senator John Cornyn Makes Bizarre Statement About Iran Compromise

While most of America got to see Ted Cruz's embarrassing behavior during the government shutdown earlier this year, I also see that Texas' other Republican Senator John Cornyn could rival Cruz in political stupidity. American diplomats recently struck a compromise with Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons. Most would say the deal overall is progress, but Senator Cornyn made a statement saying that it was all just a ploy by the White House to distract attention from Obamacare.  You know what would be a real distraction? Another pointless war in the Middle East. 

Fact of the Day: Booth Irony

In late 1864 or early 1865, actor Edwin Booth saved a young man who had fell off a train platform. While the young man knew Edwin due to being a notable actor, Edwin Booth did not know the name of the person he saved. Months later, he found out that the young man was the President's son Robert Todd Lincoln. Which brought Edwin Booth some comfort, as he was ashamed that his brother John Wilkes Booth had assassinated President Lincoln shortly before he learned the news. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fact of the Day: Little Iz's New Tiger

While my niece had Winnie the Pooh's orange friend already, my brother got her a larger version the other day. She really seemed to like her new pal. 

Fact of the Day: Koi Fish

The ornamental pond fish known as Koi originated in Japan. Their ancestors were common carp who were normally raised as a food source in places like Europe and China. Like the origin of goldfish, they realized some carps would produce mutations of different colors on their scales. So they would separate the unique carp from the normal carp, which eventually led to the many beautiful varieties of the Koi fish we often see in ponds. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fact of the Day: Mother Churchill

While Winston Churchill's mother is known as Lady Randolph Churchill, she was actually born Jeanette Jerome. Despite having a son that would become one of Great Britain's most famous Prime Ministers, she was born and raised in America. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Harry Reid Passes Filibuster Reform

Today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led the Senate in passing a reform to essentially end the filibuster (which is not in the Constitution but rather a "tradition" of the Senate) as we know it. Most Republicans are very angry over it, but I would like to point out the irony in both the Democrats and Republicans as in 2005 the Senate Republican failed to pass filibuster reform to Democratic opposition.

Fact of the Day: The Unknown Civil Rights Leader

Bayard Rustin was one of most influential people in the Civil Rights Movement, but remains rather unknown today. Most credit this due to the fact that he was openly gay. He continued to campaign for civil rights in the 70s and the 80s for the LGBT community. He passed away in 1987, but was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things I Hate: Tie Fighter (Star Wars)

 The Tie Fighters were the most common star-ships used by the Imperial Army in the Star Wars films. While I enjoyed all the scenes with them in it, I have to admit the basic Tie Fighters (not Darth Vader's cooler model) are pretty lame.

Fact of the Day: Rock of Language

In 1799 the French army discovered the Rosetta Stone, which had words written in both two forms of Egyptian and Ancient Greek. Its discovery led to a modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monsters University (2013 Film) Review

I remember watching the original Monsters Inc in my German class in high school, and then watching the English version later on. While it wasn't my favorite Pixar film, I did like it a lot. It is also one of my nephews' favorite movies so far. I wasn't terribly sure what to expect out of Monsters University as it is a prequel, and you always have to be cautious with those.

Fact of the Day: Edwin Telescope

NASA's powerful Hubble Space Telescope is named in the honor of the legendary astronomer Edwin Hubble. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz's Book

My sister-in-law took this photo of my niece Little Iz "reading" the other day. I recognized the book as it was the first one I read to her many weeks ago. 

Fact of the Day: Cabinet Anger

While John Tyler had been the Vice President of William Henry Harrison of the Whig Party, when Tyler became President (after Harrison's death) he found himself in constant disagreement with many in his party. One presidential veto angered his own cabinet (which had been part of Harrison's) so much that they resigned in protest except for Secretary of State Daniel Webster. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Things I Like: X-Wing (Star Wars)

 The X-Wing is one of the star-fighter ships of the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars films. It is easily one of the most popular ships in the series, and one of mine as well. It was almost hard not to notice them as it was usually the choice of ship for Luke Skywalker.

Fact of the Day: Ancient Evolution

The ancient Greek philosopher Anaximander may have lived many centuries before Charles Darwin, but he gave the world the earliest known thoughts on evolution. While most of his ideas were later proven inaccurate by modern evolutionary studies, he is admired for being the first known person to use evidence and logic to explain mankind's origin rather than through super-natural creation myths. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random Photo: Cafeteria Lunch

When my mom had her hysterectomy operation, we had to wait quite a bit of time. Luckily they were done just around 11 in the morning, but there would still be about an hour for her to be moved to her room. Which gave us a chance to get some lunch. I had never been to any hospital's cafeteria, so I didn't know what to expect. It was actually pretty good, and Daisy enjoyed the food as well. 

Fact of the Day: First Lady Grace

Before becoming First Lady, the wife of President Calvin Coolidge was originally a teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf. Grace Coolidge remained devoted to helping the deaf in her later years as well. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Metal Gear Solid V to Feature Nostalgia Mission

While Metal Gear Solid V will feature new game-play and gorgeous graphics, for those playing it on either PS3 or PS4 will get a mission where you can play as MGS1's Snake with him exactly how he looked on the original PlayStation.

Fact of the Day: Royal Oak Tree

When the English monarchy was abolished (for a time) after the reign of Charles I, his son (the eventual King Charles II) was pursued by Oliver Cromwell's forces in England's Civil War. He managed to evade them by hiding in an oak tree.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz and the Teddy-Bear

The other day my brother and his wife visited my mother who's recovering from her hysterectomy operation. My niece Little Iz was there as well, and she looked rather bored. My fiancee Daisy keeps her favorite teddy-bear (which is her most beloved gift from me) over my house, so we decided to let Little Iz borrow it until she left. She adored it! 

Fact of the Day: Wendy

Before the 20th century, the name Wendy was quite uncommon. The name became popular after James Matthew Barrie's book Peter Pan which featured a character named Wendy Darling. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hawaii Says Aloha to Marriage Equality

Very proud of Hawaii today as Governor Neil Abercrombie has signed a marriage equality bill. I'm honestly surprised it's taken this long as the Hawaiian State House has a very large Democratic majority (the Senate only has one Republican), but despite a few Democrats who voted "no" it passed both chambers by a good margin. Hawaii was also the place where President Barack Obama was born, and coincidentally his "home" state of Illinois (where he started his career and served as a Senator) is very close to their own Governor signing their own marriage equality bill.  

Things I Hate: Emperor Pilaf (Dragon Ball)

 At the end of Dragon Ball Z, Goku and his friends had defeated Majin Buu, Cell, and Frieza but looking back it's hard to believe Goku's original nemesis was a blue imp. Pilaf was a self-proclaimed Emperor who wished to use the Dragon Balls (which can grant any wish) to rule the world.

Fact of the Day: Utah Suffrage

During the 19th century before it was a state, Utah granted women the right to vote. Ironically when Utah became an official U.S. state, Utah women could not vote until the passage of the 19th amendment. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Mr. C's 3rd Birthday

This is at our little celebration for my youngest nephew Mr. C's birthday back in early October. His party happened on a day where I was sick, so we didn't get to go. So we brought over his presents a few days later. I think their favorite was the Scooby-Doo pillow my mom gave them.  

Fact of the Day: Sons of Mars

Mars has 2 moons named Phobos and Deimos which are derived from Greek mythology. Phobos and Deimos were both brothers, and their father was Ares, God of War. In Roman mythology, Ares is known as Mars. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Look Into Video Games: Mario's Fundamentals

Previously known as Mario's Game Gallery, Mario's Fundamentals was a game for PC and Mac that featured Mario and classic games like checkers and backgammon. It was also the first game to feature Mario's voice actor Charles Martinet.

Fact of the Day: Richard Montgomery

The capital of Alabama, Montgomery is named after Richard Montgomery who was a Irish-born American general in the Revolutionary War. He was best known for leading American forces in Canada, but later died in 1775 during the Battle of Quebec. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Little K Wishes Grandma Well

My brother took this photo of his daughter Little K the other day when my mother went through her hysterectomy operation. Everything went fine, and she's already back home.Won't be terribly long (roughly a month) until she's fully recovered, and she'll be back to babysitting her grandchildren again. 

Fact of the Day: Finland Independence

Before the 19th century, Finland was officially part of Sweden. However Finland eventually became part of the Russian Empire during the 19th century. When the Russian Empire fell in the early 20th century, Finland finally became an independent nation. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hyde Park on Hudson (2012 Film) Review

 I don't exactly recall how I stumbled upon Hyde Park on Hudson, but I was intrigued as the movie featured President Franklin Roosevelt and the British monarch King George VI. FDR was one of my favorite presidents and I enjoyed The King's Speech film which told the story about George VI's struggles as a monarch.

Fact of the Day: Time

In the 12-hour clock system, there is an AM and a PM. AM stands for ante meridiem which is Latin for "before mid-day" and PM stands for post meridiem which means "after mid-day". 

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz's Smile

My sister-in-law took this photo of my niece Little Iz smiling next to the family dog Blue. Though it's a bit difficult to see, this is apparently the first photo of Little Iz since she got her baby-teeth. 

Fact of the Day: Conservative Clinton

While Hilary Clinton is the wife of Democratic President Bill Clinton and was one of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential elections, she was originally a Republican. She was raised in a conservative family, and volunteered for Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign in 1964. Her views shifted more liberal after the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. She left the party for good in 1968 after being appalled by the campaign of Richard Nixon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Mini-Bowling

While at the fun park last month, Daisy saw their little bowling alley in the arcade section. She loves to bowl, and couldn't resist trying this version. It was ironically tougher than real bowling for me at least. Daisy had fun so that's all that matters. 

Fact of the Day: Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson was a Navy officer (who eventually became an Admiral) known for his leadership in the British Navy. His leadership caused notable defeats for Napoleon Bonaparte and the French. Despite his legendary service, he suffered from sea-sickness. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ted (2012 Film) Review

 Last year I remember when Ted hit theaters. It was one of the biggest comedies of the year, though I wasn't terribly sure if I wanted to see it immediately. I also (for some odd reason) though that Ted was the creative idea of Seth Rogen (who also wrote Superbad) but instead it was by Seth MacFarlane the creator of Family Guy. Which becomes pretty obvious as Ted sounds almost identical to Peter Griffin.

Thoughts on the 2013 Elections

With a rather odd election year, there weren't many elections going on outside ones for certain city and county offices. Two states did have elections for Governor which were Virginia and New Jersey. Virginia was considered a battle-ground state for the 2012 presidential election with President Obama barely defeating Mitt Romney. In the end, Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli.