Saturday, February 28, 2015

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009 Film) Review

 I wasn't exactly the biggest fan of the original Night at the Museum, but I thought it was okay. Not even close to Ben Stiller's best work though. I figured I'd eventually see the sequel, and I was delighted to learn that Amy Adams had a major role in it. But Amy Adams or not, I was hoping the movie would be funnier than its predecessor.

Fact of the Day: The Smithsonian

James Smithson was a English chemist who by the time he died, had a fortune. He passed it down to his nephew first, though his will said that if his nephew died without a proper heir then it would go to the United States of America. He wanted the Smithsonian Institution to be established, and it stands today as a famous group of museums and research centers in the Washington D.C. area. The odd thing is that nobody understood why he chose America, as he never once visited the country. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy Passes Away at 83

Leonard Nimoy who was best known for his portrayal Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek has passed away at 83. While I was too young for the original Star Trek, I've always respected him as an actor and I enjoyed seeing his cameos in the new Star Trek movies.  May he rest in peace. 

Sad Story: Wait Paranoia

From what my mom told me about my grandma, she was never the greatest mom in the world. She was never the best grandmother in the world either, though I never realized this until I got older. I remember her taking me to the mall when I was very little, and she told me to wait outside the bathroom at (I think) Belk. I know I was no older than three, and she took FOREVER to get out of the bathroom. So my little mind got a bit of a paranoia thinking somehow my grandmother left the mall and I was stuck by myself. I started crying really bad, and one of the clerks (and later my grandmother) was wondering what on earth happened. I was too embarrassed to tell them, though my grandmother should of never left me alone at that age. 

Fact of the Day: Wolf Babysitter

Since wolves almost always live in packs, it's common for one or two members of the pack to stay behind. They essentially "babysit" the puppies while their mothers and fathers are away. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Starship Troopers (1997 Film) Review

 I don't think I recall Starship Troopers when it came out in 1997, but I remember hearing about it over the years. I knew it was sci-fi movie about aliens or something but not much else. It sounded like it was a worthy rival to Star Wars and Star Trek, especially since it was based on a book. I sadly learned that it doesn't hold a candle to either.

Fact of the Day: Shining Star

Stars are said to "twinkle" in the night's sky but it's more of an optical illusion. The light hits large areas of moving air in the Earth's atmosphere which causes it to have the effect. If you were to see the stars from outer-space (or on a planet/moon without an atmosphere) they would not twinkle. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Ancestry Proven By DNA

 Families have stories, but unlike family, DNA never lies. Many places now offer a DNA test, and I was curious. I mainly wanted to know if I had any Native American ancestry as some family members claimed it. Turns out they were lying about that.

Fact of the Day: Four Letters

While DNA makes up every living thing on Earth, there are only four building blocks. Everything from animals, plants, and bacteria all have DNA which contains adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. They are commonly called "letters" and they combine together to form the double helix shape. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Game of Thrones (TV Series) Season 4 Review

 I may have been late to the game, but saying I love Game of Thrones would be an understatement. By the time I had finished the third season, I only had to wait a few months to see the fourth. I don't have HBO, so I had to wait for the Blu-Ray version. I don't know if I can wait a whole year for the next one though. All I can say is Valar Morghulis!

Fact of the Day: Smart Crow

Crows are one of the most intelligent birds in the world. Some crows in captivity have been known to give "names" to certain people they interact with. As they will make unique sounds around the person they would not otherwise make. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Australia (2008 Film) Review

Australia is a movie I had never heard of back in 2008. Though in the last year or two I had heard about it, and I was surprised to see Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman play in a movie where they play Australians like themselves. Except I later learned that Kidman's character is actually British in the movie. 

Fact of the Day: Darwin City

The city of Darwin, Australia is named after Charles Darwin. The name originally came from a port that was named in Darwin's honor by his former shipmate on the HMS Beagle, John Clements Wickham. There was a nearby settlement named Palmerston which was renamed Darwin in 1911. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Question: Who Was Your Favorite Children's Book Author?

My was and still is Dr. Seuss, as his books have stood the test of time. They were brilliant, and some of the most creative works in modern fiction. When I eventually have children of my own, they certainly will have a lot of his books.

Who was your favorite author? If you don't have one, you can say your favorite book from childhood. 

Fact of the Day: Sodium

The element sodium is known as Na on the periodic table. The abbreviation comes from a New Latin word natrium which refers to natron, which is a natural mineral salt. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

King Arthur (2004 Film) Review

 I remember loving the mini-series Merlin (though it is often called a movie) which starred Sam Neill over a decade ago. It was my first real look at the King Arthur story besides the 1963 Disney movie. I had heard about 2004's King Arthur for awhile, but I didn't have much of an idea that it was a drastic move from the legend. It's based on some guy in history that probably inspired the legend, though I suspect the movie's version of the guy is more myth than man.

Fact of the Day: Bird Parenting

Female puffins typically only lay one egg a year. Both the mother and father help raise the baby bird when it hatches. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Funny Story: Broken Window

My brother Zach and I never got along terribly well, and most of that is because he was a very mean child. I can't remember how old we were when this happened, but I know it was a good bit before I graduated high school. I went outside to do something and he locked me out. Then he looked through the window and laughed and laughed. This went on for about ten minutes or maybe more. I was pretty mad and after pounding my fist on the door for many minutes I made quite the misjudgment. In my rage, my fist went right through the window. Surprisingly my hand came out without a scratch, though my mom was pretty mad about the window.  

Fact of the Day: Oakland

Oakland, California get its name somewhat from a Spanish name for the lands that now make up the city. They called it encinal which means "oak grove". There was a large oak forest that surrounded the area. The oak forest eventually gave the city its name, but now in English. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Muppet Treasure Island (1996 Film) Review

 I've never read the original book, but I have seen Disney's Treasure Planet which is based on the book but set in futuristic space. I had really liked The Muppet Christmas Carol, so I really wanted to see this one. Though I would say you should see a more serious version of the story (or read the book) before you watch this one.

Fact of the Day: Curie Honor

Marie Curie was the first person to win a Nobel Prize twice. She's the only person to win it in two different fields of science. She had a Nobel Prize in both chemistry and physics. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Random Photo: Winter 2015

Winter has been rather warm for South Carolina this year. Though yesterday we saw our first real winter freeze. We mostly got a bunch of ice, and my car was frozen when I woke up. It didn't matter, I wasn't going to drive yesterday anyway. Though our city did get the road cleaned up very quickly, at least where I live. 

Fact of the Day: London Yard

The police agency known as Scotland Yard is commonly portrayed in fiction set in England. Despite it's name, Scotland Yard is located nowhere in Scotland or anywhere else besides London, England. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Freaks and Geeks (TV Series) Review

I don't think I even heard about Freaks and Geeks back in 1999, but it received quite the critical acclaim despite only lasting one season. While the show ended, it did not stop Judd Apatow from writing more comedies on TV and film. Some of the show's stars such as James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel went on to become some quite notable actors.

Mississippi Bill Would Allow Unskilled Drivers to Drive Church Buses

A new bill in Mississippi would allow anyone with a regular driver's license to drive (from what I read of it) almost any vehicle that would normally require a CDL from the driver. The only real rule is that they can't be driving more than 30 people at once. I know finding someone with a CDL who's willing to drive for a church can be tough, but I can just see a lot of potential trouble on the roads for the state if it passes. Religious freedom should not allow you to become a danger to other drivers on the road.  

Fact of the Day: Ultimate General

One of the highest ranks in the U.S. Army is the Five-Star General. However the last time anyone got it was during World War II. Only nine people ever received the honor, the last being Omar Bradley who served in World War II and the Korean War. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Valentines Day Cookies 2015

Daisy always begs me to get holiday-themed cookies every time a holiday comes around. I sometimes forget to get some of them, but we usually never miss the Valentines Day ones. These were new to us, as they were heart-shaped sugar cookies. 

Fact of the Day: Panda Raccoon

Despite its name, red pandas are not closely related to panda bears. They are more related to raccoons and weasels. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Question: What Do You Think of Pope Francis?

While I'm not a Catholic nor any kind of Christian, I do recognize the Papacy's influence and importance for over a billion Catholics.  While some of his stances on social issues have irked my fellow liberals, I admire his dedication to humbleness and the less fortunate. When Pope Benedict XVI stepped down, many noted the many struggles and problems the church faced. Now almost two years later, I can see Pope Francis making things (in my eyes) for the better. 

What do you think of Pope Francis? 

Fact of the Day: Freedom of Religion in Afghanistan

Despite the United States (and NATO forces) overthrowing a extremely religious government in Afghanistan, freedom of religion hasn't gotten much better since then. The country is still an Islamic Republic, and being an atheist or convert to another religion isn't tolerated. An Afghan atheist was granted asylum to the United Kingdom in 2014, and several converts to Christianity were saved when western nations put pressure on the Afghan government in previous years. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sad Story: Treehouse Climb

When my father was still alive, we were friends with the son of one of his co-workers. His son had a tree-house, which looked really cool when I was six. My brothers Zach and Brandon were there, and at the time they were seven and nine. He invited us to go the tree house so I was the last person to get on the ladder. About half-way up, my mother comes outside and screams at me for trying to climb up to the tree-house. Middle Children always complain that the baby of the family gets treated differently, and that's certainly true. But that's not always a good thing. 

Fact of the Day: Soviet Wall

While the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, Communist East Germany had wanted a wall since at least 1953. After two million citizens defected to the democratic West Germany, the Soviet Union finally granted their request. It would last until 1989, when the Cold War reached its end. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lucy (2014 Film) Review

 I had heard about Lucy when the trailer appeared right before I saw Captain America: The Winter Solider in the theater. Lucy seemed to be a promising film, and I have always been wowed by Scarlett Johansson's role as Black Widow in the Marvel films since Iron Man 2. I wasn't quite sure how I would like the movie, but I certainly wanted to see it by March.

Fact of the Day: Extinct Bear

The California grizzly gear appears in the state's flag, and is their official state mammal. Despite this, the California grizzly bear has been extinct since about 1924. Their demise was mostly the fault of European settlers. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Question: What Do You Call Soda?

I find some parts of languages to be fascinating, and English dialects are no different. I've always called drinks like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper "soda". But the most popular one I hear is "pop" which is obviously derived from soda-pop. I've always disliked that word for soda, just never sounded right to me.  

What do you call soda? 

Fact of the Day: Darwin's Last Moment

When Charles Darwin died, an evangelist known as Lady Hope claimed to have visited Darwin on his sick-bed who then converted to Christianity. When the story became known, the Darwin family denied any of it to be true, and Charles' son Leonard described it as "purely fictitious". His last moments were actually spent speaking to his wife Emma. 

"I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Valentines Day Glee

I took this photo of Daisy at one of her favorite times of the year. That's when places start to have their Valentine's Day stuff out already. While she loves the candy, her favorite part might be the stuffed animals. The funny thing is that if I asked Daisy which one she really wanted, she'd probably say "all of them". 

Fact of the Day: Basketball Club

While the NBA is synonymous with pro-basketball, it was originally called the Basketball Association of America. It became the National Basketball Association when it merged with its rival, the National Basketball League in 1949. 

Bobby Jindal Wants Supreme Court To Never Over-Turn State Law

Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal recently commented on Alabama's struggle in accepting a ruling that a federal court had done which brought marriage equality. Jindal urged that Congress needs to pass a constitutional amendment that would prevent even the Supreme Court from over-turning individual state laws. I hate to break it Jindal, but if your state law contradicts the Constitution, then it is not really a law. Besides the Supreme Court is the last defense against lunatic politicians that preach "small government" but try to pass laws that invade people's personal lives and deny their rights. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sad Story: Bicycle Fall

One of my most serious injuries came from my early days when I started to ride a bicycle. I would often ride my bike in the road around and near my house. Right in front of my house though, I turned too sharply and I went down on the pavement along with the bicycle. I didn't have to go to the doctor, but I was quite a bit of pain for a few hours. Left me with a black-eye, and a scar on the side of my head. When I cut my hair short, it often looks like a part of my head that's starting to bald. 

Fact of the Day: Seattle

The city of Seattle, Washington gets its name from a Native American tribe leader known as Chief Seattle. The city's founder, David Swinson Maynard was a personal friend of Chief Seattle. 

A Smile Has Been Found in Space

Outer Space is more vast than the human brain can imagine, so the Hubble Space Telescope has found some amazing things. Though this one isn't so much amazing, as it's just kind of funny. What happens when two galaxies and some gravitational lens are at the right place? It makes a rather crude smiley face. I'm just glad random parts of the cosmos can stay positive. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Family Resemblance

While they look much different now, in their toddler days, my brother Zach and my aunt Kelli looked a lot alike. She had mentioned this to him the other day, and I have to admit they do look pretty close. Which I find hilarious of course!

Kanye West Makes a Fool of Himself at the 2015 Grammys

At the Grammys last night, Beck won Album of the Year beating artists like Beyonce and Sam Smith. When going up on stage, Beck was followed by Kanye West who quickly u-turned back to the crowd. Everyone laughed it off as a joke, but after the show Kanye West seriously said "Beck needs to respect artistry and he should've given his award to Beyonce." This is not the first time Kanye has been a big baby about the results of an award show, and makes me wonder why he still gets invited to these things. 

Fact of the Day: Mayor Meow

The mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska has been in office since 1997. Except the mayor is actually a cat. The small town named him honorary mayor. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Judge Roy Moore Defies Federal Court on Marriage Equality

Alabama has never been the state in favor of civil rights, but a federal judge recently ruled that same-gender couples could marry in the very conservative state. Alabama's Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has ordered his probate judges not to issue marriages to such couples, which defies not only the federal court but the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Roy Moore has made no secret for his love of using his religious views to ignore the laws of our land, and he should do the moral thing and resign. He should just retire and go somewhere where he'd be more comfortable, like the Dark Ages. 

Things I Hate: How Southerners Treat Northerners in America

I've always been a rather liberal and urban person, but since I was born and raised in South Carolina I have known people who are very southern. Like anywhere in America, we have a few people around here that have lived in the Northeast. Some people joke about it, but I can't stand when other southerners call Northerners "yankee" with hatred. Guess what?  The Civil War is over and done with, get over it!

Fact of the Day: Corgi

The dogs known as corgis get their name from the Welsh words that mean "dwarf dog". Th corgi breed originated in Wales, which is now part of the United Kingdom.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Things I Like: Pickles

Pickles are one of my favorite snacks, ever since childhood. It doesn't matter what variety of how they are made, except the special flavors like the spicy ones. 

Fact of the Day: Bird Cousin

While birds are often called the last descendants of dinosaurs, crocodiles and alligators can also be considered the children of dinosaurs. They are bird's closest living relatives, as they both are the last remaining animals belonging to clade Archosaur. Unlike birds, crocodiles are considered living fossils as they have changed very little since they appeared in the Late Cretaceous period.