Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bernie Sanders is Running For President

Bernie Sanders is one of the few people in Congress who is politically independent. He's serving as a Senator representing Vermont, and he's one of the most honest and passionate people in office. He's running as the first primary challenger for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. I honestly don't see him winning the primary or the general election because of his age, or that his political stances are more to the left than anyone in Congress would admit to the country. If Hillary doesn't see any more challengers, he's certainly has my vote though in the primary.  

Random Photos: Not So Ugly Fence

 There's been a lot of home improvement at my house recently, and I noticed how awful what's remaining of our old fence was. Some parts don't look so bad like the gate, however some look absolutely terrible.

Fact of the Day: Palace

The English word palace is derived from Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy. Palatine Hill was an ancient site where Emperors of the Roman Empire had lived. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

President Obama Speaks Truth on Baltimore Riots

The thing I hate about even the politicians I like is they often never tell things like they are. When a bad event happens, they express (not so convincing) condolences and prayers followed by a boring speech. The current wave of riots following news stories about the evils committed by a few police officers have gotten ludicrous. These events should be protested peacefully, but unfortunately in major cities there are too many people acting like they got no sense. I was glad to see President Obama tell the honest truth in response to the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore, Maryland. 

"When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they're not protesting, they're not making a statement, they're stealing," "When they burn down a building, they're committing arson. And they're destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities that rob jobs and opportunity from people in that area."

My Favorite Photos: Book Mover

Little Iz is now older than two years old, so now she's starting to run around and talk toddler-gibberish. When I saw her recently, she went to her mother's bookshelf, grabbed a book and gave it to whoever she wanted to. Over and over and over again. 

Fact of the Day: Jellyfish Lake

In the Republic of Palau, there is a body of water known as Jellyfish Lake. At any given time, there are millions of jellyfish inside its waters. Luckily for humans, the species of jellyfish that live there don't have powerful enough stings to cause much harm. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Grand Smiles

I took this photo the other week when I saw my niece Little Iz. My mother was also there, and Little Iz loves her grandma. She can always get her to smile and be happy... most of the time. 

Fact of the Day: Extinct Wren

The Stephens Island Wren was a flightless bird that (in modern times) was found only on a small island in New Zealand. Around the year 1900, they all perished when cats were introduced to the island. A popular (but false) story is that all the birds were eaten by a cat named Tibbles, who belonged to the Lighthouse keeper. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Funny Story: Age of Golf

When I was little, my parents used to take me and my brothers to the mini-golf courses. My dad was a talented liar but never the smartest man. I was standing right near by when he told the clerk my age, and in order to save some money he said I was younger than I was. When you're little you don't understand things like that, so I corrected my father as soon as he said it. I'm sure he was regretting it when I said "no daddy I'm three". 

Fact of the Day: Fossil Frog

While frogs might seem like many species, there are actually one biological order known as Anura. The first frogs emerged through evolution around the early Triassic period. Dinosaurs didn't make it to the world until the late Triassic. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Five Year Anniversary

This photo was taken earlier today at Daisy's favorite restaurant Longhorn Steakhouse. Today marks the five year anniversary of our first date. And if Daisy wasn't already excited enough, we'll be married on Friday. 

Into the Woods (2014 Film) Review

 I had heard of Into the Woods sometime in 2014 or maybe in 2013. It looked interesting, but not enough for me to see it theaters. I noticed it because it features a tale of fable characters meeting together in an original story, like one of my favorite TV shows Once Upon a Time. The only difference is that Once Upon a Time isn't bad.

Fact of the Day: Shark Bay

Shark Bay was a suburb in Melbourne, Australia, but the name was changed to Safety Beach to attract more tourists. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Story: Dog Fence

So recently we put up a new fence at our house as the old rusty one was destroyed to make room for a machine when some plumbing work under the house had to be done. Our dog Zelda has spent her time since then being walked out on a leash. She's mostly-blind with cataracts (it's genetic for her breed) so with a fence in a totally different place, she was thrown off-guard. She heard some kids down the street and got super-excited and wanted to run and bark at them. She ran right into the fence and bounced right off. I could hear one of the boys down the street say "that's a stupid dog" at her.  

Fact of the Day: Silver Wendy

A man named William Ernest Henley was friends with author Robert Louis Stevenson, and he served as the inspiration of the character Long John Silver in the book Treasure Island. His daughter Margaret interestingly enough inspired J.M. Barrie to create the character Wendy Darling in his Peter Pan series. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Crocodile Dundee (1986 Film) Review

I had heard of Crocodile Dundee for quite a few years. Back in 1986, it made a good enough impression to have some influence in popular culture. It also got an Oscar nomination back then for Best Original Screenplay.

Fact of the Day: Crocodile Manners

Like alligators, American crocodiles are far less aggressive than the crocodiles found in other parts of the world like Africa and Australia. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Things I Hate: Getting Up Early

I'm better staying awake at night than getting up in the morning. I have alarm clocks to get me up if I have to be somewhere, but I've gotten up as early as 4:00 a.m. before. No matter what time I go to bed the night before, waking up at a time like that is rough. It would be so easy to just close my eyes and drift back to sleep. 

Fact of the Day: Polar Swim

Polar bears are excellent swimmers. It isn't uncommon for researchers to study a polar bear to swim more than 30 miles without stopping. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Ping-Pong Pond

 One of our last carnival games was the pond where you try to throw table-tennis balls and hope it lands in one of the plastic lily pads. This one gave us plenty of tries so it seemed that luck was on our side.

Fact of the Day: John Wayne

In his personal life, the famous actor John Wayne was a very vocal anti-communist. Despite being a fan of his movies, Soviet Union's dictator Joesph Stalin actually wanted to have Wayne assassinated. This plan never happened, he outlived Stalin by many years and died in 1979 of stomach cancer. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Funny Story: Lost Dog

My dog Zelda used to be very bad about trying to escape the yard to have fun exploring the neighborhood when she was much younger. She'd find every single weakness in the gate, and pull a Houdini. One early morning my mother tells me she was gone. I groan, and then get dressed to find her. I was expecting a long search, but right as I opened the front door she was lying on the porch waiting for us to open the door to let her back inside. 

Fact of the Day: Poodle

Poodle dogs originated in Germany where they were called pudelhund in German. The German word pudel is related to the English word "puddle". Poodles were originally bred to be water-dogs, which are dogs that are used by hunters to retrieve game from water. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Norway To Be The First Country To End FM Radio

While countries in Europe and Southeast Asia are planning to have FM radio turned into a memory, Norway will be the first as it will be no longer running in 2017. Norway will use Digital Audio Broadcasting (aka DAB) for its radio stations, which is somewhat similar to HD Radio in America. Being a fan of newer and more advanced technology, I do like the idea. Though I don't know how radio has been in Europe, but in America it seems we may never wean ourselves away from outdated technology. Especially considering that DAB is much cheaper for radio stations than to keep their FM radio towers up. 

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's Basketball Throw

 While Daisy isn't nearly as good as I am at carnival games, she begged me to let her try this basketball game. It was a shorter throw than the one I had previously done about half-an-hour before. I figured if she didn't make it that I might be able to.

Fact of the Day: Biblical Paper

Menelik II was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889-1913, and became quite a hero for defending his lands from Italian invaders. He was said to have an odd habit though, apparently when he was feeling ill he would eat a few pages from the Bible.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Funny Story: Scooter Escape

My brother Zach got the not-so-bright idea to get one of those scooter motorcycles about eight years ago. He wanted to avoid constant trips to the gas station, but I guess he didn't feel too safe on it because I think he might of only driven it 500 miles at most. He used to leave it behind the front porch and one night he came home rather late in his car. He pulled up, and there was at least three or four guys carrying his scooter down the road. They dropped it and ran. After that he kept it in the backyard, and with a cable and lock. 

Fact of the Day: Rugby

The sport rugby gets its name from its birthplace, the Rugby School in England. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Elephant Turns the Tables on Ivory Hunter

Humans have done many unspeakable things to many animals in the world, and not many things are more sad than the hunting of elephants for their ivory. Recently a hunter named Ian Gibson was trampled to death by an African elephant he was hunting in Zimbabwe. I can tolerate people hunting animals for food, but for ivory or just "because" is just plain evil. I have little sympathy for the man, there are some lines people should not cross. 

My Favorite Photos: Ferris Wheel 2015

At the carnival, we didn't ride anything except the ferris wheel. It actually looked just like the one we rode in downtown Spartanburg back in August of 2013. The one they had two years before was a good bit taller from what I remember. Which is good because I'm a bit scared of heights.

Fact of the Day: Julias Caesar

Julius Caesar's parents may not have been the most creative people in Rome. Caesar had two sisters that were both named Julia. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Carnival Food

 While we didn't eat anything at the carnival the last two years we went, we got some food this year. Daisy was super-happy, I took her to the carnival right after work and she told me that she didn't eat yet when we got there. I think her smile is proof that her plan worked.

My Favorite Photos: Baseball at the Carnival

 For the last two years we've been to the local carnival, we never saw the baseball throw game. I at first though this one was the one where you guess the speed of your final throw. But no, you're graded on how fast you throw it.

Fact of the Day: World Baseball

The team with the most World Series championships in baseball is the New York Yankees. They've played in forty World Series, lost thirteen but won twenty-seven. The next team closest is the St. Louis Cardinals with eleven. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Insurgent (2015 Film) Review

 I saw the movie Divergent last year, and thought it was much better than what critics were saying. Critical opinion wasn't kind this time around either, but it doesn't matter to me. Insurgent wasn't something I wanted to rush to the theater to see, but I did. Mainly because my fiancee Daisy loved the first movie and she had to see this one.

Fact of the Day: Joanne Rowling

While Joanne Rowling is better known by her pen name, J.K. Rowling, she actually has no middle name. The author best known for the Harry Potter series chose the letter K after her grandmother Kathleen. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Another Carnival Game

Shortly after I played the basketball game at the local carnival, we found this game. They had a wiffle-ball that you had to bounce off the board and into the basket. The game seemed rather boring but easy enough. I actually wanted to get Daisy the giant Husky dog. Didn't even come close. 

Fact of the Day: Of Mice and Men

While John Steinbeck's book Of Mice and Men is considered one of the best books of the 20th century, it almost had one of the worst book titles of the 20th century. He orginally wanted to call it Something That Happened but changed it to Of Mice and Men

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Carnival Basketball

I like to play carnival games even though (especially at the smaller ones) they're nearly impossible to win. This basketball game was pretty much like that. I would like to see Michael Jordan take a try at this, or even one of those NBA players nobody cares about. 

Fact of the Day: Boston Basketball

The team to win the most championships in NBA history is the Boston Celtics, with seventeen of them. In the 1960s they won almost every year for almost the whole decade. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Our Idiot Brother (2011 Film) Review

 I don't think I watch comedies as much I used too many years ago. Back in 2011, I had never even heard of Our Idiot Brother even though I know who Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel are. Critical opinion seemed to be rather mixed, kind of a love-it or hate-it thing. It's actually a little better than I expected.

Fact of the Day: Shakespearean Football

The first player ever drafted to the Pittsburgh Steelers was named William Shakespeare. He previously played for Notre Dame in college, but ended up leaving the NFL shortly after joining the Steelers for a different career. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pope Francis Angers Turkey

In a recent speech, Pope Francis referred to an early 20th century event in the old Ottoman Empire as the Armenian Genocide. Turkey denies that it was so, declaring it was not the Ottoman Empire at fault but the fighting of Christians and Muslims. I'm not an expert and I don't know everything about the event, but it's hard to deny when 1.5 million were murdered that it wasn't as bad as it was. It happened a hundred years ago, before the Republic of Turkey even existed. It's a little hard to understand why people would lie about their land's past, but then again I live in the American South where people shamefully do that all the time. 

My Favorite Photos: Boiling Springs Springfest 2015

With spring here, I knew the local carinval was coming to the town Daisy lives in. We've been the last two years, and had a lot of fun. She was disappointed that the Ferris Wheel wasn't there last year, but I was glad to see it return this year. I would say you can't have a carnival without one but they did last year.

Fact of the Day: Mirror

While mirrors have changed over the centuries, most mirrors are made with a mixture of an aluminium coating over glass. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

About Time (2013 Film) Review

 I had heard about About Time awhile back, but the only reason I noticed it was because of Rachel McAdams. Ever since The Notebook, she's been the favorite person to place in romantic movies. Of course Daisy wanted to see this one, I also noticed that Rachel McAdams also played the wife of another time traveler in The Time Traveler's Wife.

Fact of the Day: W Keys

When George W. Bush's administration came into the White House in the early 2000's, they noticed a practical joke left by the Clinton administration. They removed the W keys from most of the keyboards that they were suppose to use. As "W" is the middle initial of the then-new president. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hillary Clinton Is Apparently Running For President in 2016

While it won't be "official" until Sunday, the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State will be running for the Democratic nomination in 2016. As a Democrat, I'm not that excited. I'd rather have her as president than anybody currently running on the Republican side. I'd like to see a woman be president in my life-time, but honestly I'd rather see Elizabeth Warren be that person. 

Sad Story: Two Dogs and a Cat

There once lived a family down the street from us a few years ago that had two pit bulls and they did the worst thing I've ever seen with my own eyes. While some people defend the breed, they often attract more bad owners than good owners. This family were not great members of society, and their dogs weren't fed well at all. They had a rather half-broken gate, so the dogs could get out if they wanted to. One day we saw both of them get out and they had cornered a cat. The cat did not evade the dogs and both dogs got the cat and started pulling from two directions. After I heard the cat scream about five seconds later, the dogs had torn it into two halves. 

Fact of the Day: Catholic Cats

Pope Innocent VIII was certainly not a cat-person, as he declared them demonic creatures in the 15th century. While cats survived in Europe, the Pope's superstition about them did not make some countries in Europe a safe place for felines.