Friday, February 28, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Nephews at Chuck E Cheese

When my mom visited my nephews recently, they all went to Chuck E Cheese. Brings back memories as we did the same when were little. I always remember the basketball game being one where you give your best effort for not many tickets in return.

Fact of the Day: American Rhino

About five million years ago, the last Rhinoceros species in North American went extinct. Unlike a modern rhinoceros, the teleoceras rhinoceros was a lot like a modern hippopotamus with it probably being semi-aquatic as well. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Valentine's Day (2010 Film) Review

While I had heard of the movie awhile back, my fiancee Daisy had originally wanted to see this on the actual day this year. For reasons we couldn't control, we had to wait a little bit. I'm not terribly interested in romantic comedies, and with so many people in this movie I wasn't too sure what it would even be like.

Fact of the Day: Original USA Flag

While most Americans think the first flag of our country was the 13 Star Betsy Ross flag is not correct. Before it there was the Grand Union (Continental Colors) flag. Looking a lot like the U.S. flag except with the British Union Jack instead of the blue background with stars.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Marriage Equality Coming to Texas?

While Texas is well known for being a red state, marriage equality may very well come to the Lone Star State. Like Utah, Virginia, and Oklahoma; a federal judge has ruled that the social-conservative law was unconstitutional though it won't take effect until further judicial review. I'm sure Republican Governor Rick Perry is pretty mad right now, but I have noticed his new pair of eyeglasses. Now that I know Rick Perry can see clearly, hopefully he can read that the 14th amendment states equal treatment for all people under the law. 

My Favorite Photos: Angry Birds Jenga

During our very late Christmas celebration, my nephews got an Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga game from their Uncle Zach. My brother stupidly got them something far above their age recommendation, as putting it together is actually quite challenging. Since Daisy is good at legos, we got her to do it.

Fact of the Day: Wyoming Ship

The largest wooden schooner ship ever built was the Wyoming in 1909. In 1924 she sadly sunk with all of the crewmen on board.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jan Brewer Must Veto Anti-LGBT Bill in Arizona

Typically a very conservative Governor, but Jan Brewer is expected (but not set in stone) to veto a new bill in Arizona that would give a business the right to refuse service to anyone in the LGBT community because it conflicts with religion. About a half a century ago, Christianity and the Bible was used as an excuse to oppress people in relationships/marriages of different races. It was discrimination then and it's discrimination now. Hopefully Governor Brewer will end this awful bill before it becomes law. 

Things I Hate: Flat Tires

Anyone with a car will eventually run into this problem. Sometimes you have an idea when your tire will be replaced but often it comes as a surprise. My first one was by far the worst as it literally fell apart while driving. I just had my latest one the other day, but luckily it never went completely flat. Had more than enough time to get where I needed to go without resorting to using a spare tire. 

Fact of the Day: Unitarian

While Joseph Priestly contributed to science, he also had rather progressive thinking in theology. While not in the first in Europe to have the idea, he was the founder of the Unitarian church in England. While modern Unitarian (and American Unitarian-Universliast) thought differs more than a bit, its original main drift from traditional Christian thought is the belief of God as one being instead of the Holy Trinity of God as three beings. Famous Unitarians (though some never officially joined the church) include poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, scientist Issac Newton, and presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, William Howard Taft, Millard Fillmore, and Thomas Jefferson. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Christmas in February

 Due to two people getting sick on both planned Christmas celebrations, it took until early February to celebrate it with my brother Steven's family. Though my nephews didn't mind, I bet they didn't expect a lot of presents at this time of year.

Fact of the Day: Ancient Tree

The Old Tjikko tree in Sweden is one of the oldest known trees of its type in the world. It's estimated to be at least 9,550 years old. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Seems Turmoil in Ukraine is Now Over

While I don't know a whole lot about Ukraine, I have noticed the violence in the news between President Viktor Yanukovych's government/supporters, and his opposition. Parliament has ousted the President and freed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from jail. While things seem far from normal on a political note, things should be rather peaceful. While we have our own political crybabies in America who whine about tyrants and the end of liberty; they don't have the merit to do so. Many countries in the former Soviet states, and the 3rd world still have tyrants and faux-elections, and it's quite disrespectful to them to compare even our worst politicians to real dictators. 

Life of Pi (2012 Film) Review

 Life of Pi is something I've been meaning to watch for awhile now. It did so well critically that many thought it was possible it would win an Oscar. Though the only thing I knew about the story was a young man sharing a boat with a tiger. Not exactly a thrilling plot from that limited perspective but the story is obviously way more than that.

Fact of the Day: Joseph Fitness

While the fitness system pilates has proven itself popular in recent years, it was actually originally developed in the early 20th century. A man from Germany named Joseph Pilates had used what worked for him when he wanted to improve his physical strength as he suffered from many health problems as a child. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Iowa Man Uses Forklift To Get Candy

In funnier news, a man in Iowa was frustrated (like many of us) when a candy bar got stuck in the snack-machine. While many of us would walk away, he had the bright idea to get on a forklift as he worked in a warehouse. He apparently picked up and dropped the machine several times with the forklift. Good news is that he got his Twix bar, but his bosses weren't very happy with the event and he no longer works there. 

My Favorite Photos: Little K at IHOP

My brother took this photo of my niece Little K and her mom at IHOP. First time I've seen her adorable bear bib. 

Fact of the Day: Computer Mouse

The name for the computer mouse comes from its inventor Douglas Engelbart, who thought it resembled an actual mouse with the cord looking like a tail. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Things I Hate: Raspberries

While it's one of my favorite artificial flavors, I never have liked the real thing. It looks delicious but I find it way too tart. It's such a shame. 

Fact of the Day: Civil Coincidence

The first land battle of the Civil War took place near the home of a man named Wilmer McLean. Because of this the McLean family moved about 120 miles away. At the end of the Civil War, McLean's home was reluctantly used when Robert E. Lee formally surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. McLean later remarked "The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Baby Cousins

This is my mom holding my nieces Little Iz and Little K. While they are cousins, I can tell they'll be close like sisters when they get older.  

Fact of the Day: Bee Cousin

While bees are indeed related to wasps and hornets, they also share close common ancestry with ants. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Random Photo: Hot Cocoa

 Shortly before Valentines Day, our Unitarian Universalist church had tables after the service where you could get chocolates for your Valentine. While the chocolate candy bars looked good, I got the hot cocoa mix instead. It's actually the first organic thing I've ever had as well.

Fact of the Day: Franklin Bell

The town of Franklin, Massachusetts is named in honor of Ben Franklin, as the townspeople were hoping to get his attention. They wanted Franklin to give them a bell for their church. Franklin thought knowledge was more useful than a church bell and gave them many books instead. So instead of improving a church, they started a library. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Valentines Day Party at UU Church

 As I mentioned before Daisy and I go to a Unitarian Universalist Church, and on Valentines Day they had a special event. It started with our minister offering commitment ceremonies for any LGBT couples (the UU church is very socially-liberal) who happened to be there as marriage equality has not reached South Carolina yet. After that there was songs and a sermon.

Fact of the Day: Buffalo Bowl

The Buffalo Bills are the only NFL team to play four consecutive (1991-1994) Super Bowl games. Unfortunately despite this achievement, they lost every single game. Losing by just one point to the New York Giants in 91, and losing two years in a row to the Dallas Cowboys. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Favorite Photos: Valentines Day 2014

 With another Valentines Day here, Daisy wanted another teddy-bear from the same series of bears she got from our first Valentines. At first I thought she'd be disappointed because she had every bear we'd have seen in previous years, but they did have a new color this year.

Fact of the Day: Hypatia

The first female mathematician might very well be the Greek astronomer and philosopher Hypatia. Despite being one of Alexandria's greatest minds, not everyone appreciated her. She was murdered by a group of Christians who were most likely led by Alexandria's Bishop Cyril. The reason why Cyril hated her is apparently that she caused some conflict between him and the Roman governor Orestes. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS) Review

The original New Super Mario Bros. was a good game for the original DS. Though it was a little plain and ridiculously easy. New Super Mario Bros. Wii was much better with challenging levels and plenty of innovative additions. As a Mario fan playing this was inevitable.

Fact of the Day: Baton Rouge

French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville gave the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge its name. The city's name comes from a land-mark tree they named le baton rouge which means "the red stick" in French. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Lego White House

Being a fan of history and politics, the first time I saw this I knew I had to have it. I got it last year for Christmas from my mom but it took some time to put it together. I thought it would be somewhat easy to build but it is quite complicated.

Fact of the Day: First Lady Eleanor

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the biggest known advocates for women's rights in the 20th century. She did everything she could as First Lady to help out gender equality. She often would only agree to interview with female reporters, essentially making sure that all the newspapers would have to have some female journalists.   

Friday, February 14, 2014

Superman: Unbound (2013 Film) Review

 Like I had mentioned many times before, DC has done an amazing job in the past couple of years with their original animated films. I've seen most of them, but Superman: Unbound is fairly recent. Unlike other Superman stories featuring Lex Luthor or General Zod, this one has the rather lesser-known villain Brainiac.

Fact of the Day: No Valentines

The Islamic country of Saudi Arabia has virtually stopped the celebration of Valentines Day despite its popularity with many younger Muslims. The official reason is that holiday is Christian, but it also is criticized for borrowing from pagan holidays. On the 14th of February, all things related to Valentines (e.g. roses, chocolates) are more than frowned upon. Even things that are red are considered part of Valentines.   

Ted Cruz Introduces Anti-Marriage Equality Bill in Senate

Senator Ted Cruz introduced a bill in Congress emphasizing that the individual states have the right to "regulate" marriage. The bill has no chance of being signed by President Obama, and it is unconstitutional due to the 14th amendment's equal protection clause. Knowing that conservatives now find themselves on the losing side of the marriage equality debate, they are doing everything they can to delay the inevitable. States' rights has long been an excuse for conservative politicians to keep their bigoted policies. Southern states used the reasoning to protect their racist policies decades ago, it was bigotry then and it's bigotry now. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Little Mac Confirmed for Super Smash Bros. IV

Little Mac is the star of the Punchout series, and I'm really glad he'll be joining the cast of the newest Super Smash Bros. game. His appearance in the 3DS version looks very cool and artistic.

My Favorite Photos: Nephew's First Snowman

Snow has graced our area in South Carolina recently, and apparently this is the first snowman my nephews helped build. I know their dad (my brother) did most of the work but I'm sure they had fun. 

Fact of the Day: Father of the Yellow Schoolbus

Educator Dr. Frank Cyr was the main man responsible for setting up the standards (from safety to paint color) for school-buses in America. Because of this, he's known as the Father of the Yellow School Bus. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Great Gatsby (2013 film) Review

I do recall when The Great Gatsby was in theaters last year. I've heard a lot of positive and negative opinions since then and I decided to wait. I loved the book when I read it in high school, so I eventually couldn't wait much longer. My fiancee Daisy is a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio and while she never read the book she also wanted to watch it with me.

Fact of the Day: The Great Fitzgerald

While F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby is considered by many to be his greatest work, originally the book had very disappointing success with critics and readers. Fitzgerald died in 1940, and he considered himself a failure in his last days. After World War II, The Great Gatsby became one of the most popular and cherished books in literature. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Random Photo: Valentine Husky Dog

With Valentines Day here before we know it, Daisy (who adores husky dogs) found this one near the teddy-bears. I had already gotten her a teddy-bear for the holiday, but I admit the pup is adorable. 

Fact of the Day: Liberia America

The African country Liberia's flag strongly resembles the flag of the United States of America. The reason why is that many of the people who founded the nation of Liberia were African-Americans.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Random Photo: Cat Mouse Pad

Daisy needed a new mouse-pad for her laptop and I got her this one with a cute cat on it. It reminds both of us of her cat Furball who passed away last year. 

Fact of the Day: Miss Sarah Taylor

Sarah Knox Taylor fell in love with a young soldier, but her father did not approve of the pair getting married. She married anyway, but died of malaria just three months into the marriage. Her father Zachary Taylor later became the 12th President of the United States. Her husband was Jefferson Davis, who later became the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Things I Hate: Sonic Unleashed (PS3)

 My local library has a video game section, and they had Sonic Unleashed. While Sonic hasn't had many great games since the Sega Genesis days, nostalgia for Sonic still gives me the motivation to give his new adventures a try. I wasn't too sure I would like Sonic Unleashed and I was right.

Fact of the Day: Wyoming Progress

When Wyoming was still a U.S. territory (instead of a state), under the leadership of Governor John Allen Campbell Wyoming became the first place in America to grant voting rights to women. About half a century before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Random Photo: Library Bingo

Recently my local library started their first ever bingo game. The librarian was expecting maybe 15 people at most but we actually ran out of space for some folks. I hate to see people get disappointed, but when you show up 15 minutes late I don't have too much pity. I think the event lasted maybe five games, and neither my fiancee Daisy and I won a game. But Daisy had a lot of fun, and she was cheerfully happy that she'll be able to go again soon.  

Fact of the Day: Portuguese Travelers

While Japan remained a rather isolated country for hundreds of years, they did see their first European visitors in the 16th century. Traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal were some of the first Europeans to visit Japan. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fact of the Day: President Ohio

While no president has been born in the state of Delaware, ironically President Rutherford B. Hayes was born in a Delaware. Hayes was born in the city of Delaware in the state of Ohio. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Clay Aiken is Running For Congress

My aunt was a huge fan of Clay Aiken after he became runner-up in the second season of American Idol. He's decided to run as a Democrat for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district which is currently represented by Republican Renee Ellmers. While some criticize famous people getting into politics, at least you can believe more that they get into politics because they believe in a cause; not just to better themselves. While I never listened to much of his music, I've always respected him as a person. If he manages to go to Washington, I hope he'll make us proud.