Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mario Kart 8 (WiiU) Review

 I've been a fan of Mario Kart even since the original on Super Nintendo. I played every game in the series except Super Circuit on GBA which I only played the demo version. I thought Mario Kart DS was really good, but I thought Mario Kart Wii, and Mario Kart 7 could have been better. Will Mario Kart 8 keep the series fresh again?

Fact of the Day: Madame President

When a president can no longer physically or mentally perform his duties, the Vice President assumes his role until he recovers. When Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke, First Lady Edith Wilson had to constantly help her husband. While she defended that she never made any real decisions on her own, many believe she had the real presidential power instead of Woodrow Wilson or his Vice President Thomas R. Marshall.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Downton Abbey (TV Series) Season 4 Review

 As many of you know, my wife Daisy and I have really been enjoying Downton Abbey lately. We started season one not long ago and we are already done with the fourth. This is the first season to not have the character Matthew Crawley in it as he died at the end of season three.

Fact of the Day: American Mothers

Among first world countries, the United States has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy (which often includes unintended or unwanted pregnancies) in the world. While rates have dropped in recent decades, the worst states are mostly in the American South, while the ones with much lower rates are in the Northeast. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Twins (1988 Film) Review

I don't think I ever heard of Twins until recently. It came out the year I was born so I obviously never saw it back then. But the idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito playing the roles of two oddly dissimilar twins was too good for me to ignore. Apparently critical opinion wasn't that great in 1988, but what did I think about it almost 30 years later?

Fact of the Day: Twin Difference

The reason some twins are identical is that because the original zygote cell split into two which formed two embryos. Fraternal twins are formed from two separate zygotes. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Pizza and Clemson Football

My sister-in-law took this photo of my brother Stephen, and my nephews Mr. K and Mr. C. She said this was the inevitable. The one point where all of her boys were interested in football. I assumed it was college football, they're all fans of the Clemson team. 

Fact of the Day: Pledge

The English word "wedding" is derived from the Germanic wed which means "pledge" in English. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Frozen Yogurt

I took this photo of my wife Daisy while we were at Twistys Frozen Yogurt. We had tried frozen yogurt at other places before, but it's been awhile. This one seemed to cater to those who wanted non-fat or frozen yogurt with no-added sugar. Even though it was more healthy, I thought mine tasted good. I think Daisy was tickled that she also got some maraschino cherries. 

Fact of the Day: Color Wheel

A color wheel is an invention that helps people understand the relationship and contrast of different kinds of colors. The color wheel was invented by Sir Isaac Newton though there would be later additions and improvements to his original color wheel.

Friday, September 25, 2015

John Boehner Resigns From Congress

In a bit of a surprise especially after the Pope visited Congress yesterday, Speaker of the House John Boehner says he will resign from Congress. This won't happen until late October of this year, but this has made the far-right Republicans very happy along with liberals like me who never liked John Boehner in the first place. He championed the Tea Party garbage in 2010 mid-terms elections of lies and fear, but lost their support when he didn't give into their insane ideas. He lead the House these recent years who stopped at nothing to undermine the President instead of reaching across the aisle. All I can say is good riddance!

Question: Can Bernie Sanders Defeat Hillary Clinton?

At the start of the 2016 election cycle, it was deemed that Jeb Bush would be the front-runner for the Republicans but now it's Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton seemed to be heir apparent of the Democratic nomination, but Bernie Sanders is now polling better than her in key states like Iowa and New Hampshire. I've been a fan of Bernie Sanders for years, but I was a little worried that his age and being more liberal than what Republicans think Obama is would hurt his chances. But now it seems that Bernie might be the front-runner. 

Do you think Bernie Sanders can win the Democratic nomination? 

Fact of the Day: Welfare Myth

Despite claims from conservative Americans, illegal immigrants do not get welfare benefits in the United States. Legal immigrants have a five-year waiting period before even they can get any kind of welfare. Children of immigrants born in the United States can get welfare like SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid because they are U.S. citizens via the 14th amendment. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Church Cake

 The minister who married Daisy and me recently moved to New York, so our Unitarian-Universalist church (which welcomes all kinds of religious and non-religious viewpoints) had to find a new one. We don't get to go every Sunday because of my work, but we managed to go during her first real sermon. After the service was over, there was a reception with a giant cake.

Fact of the Day: Number Place

While Sudoku had French origins, the modern version was created by Howard Garns who called the game Number Place in the 1970's. It later became known as Sudoku after a Japanese company made the game popular again. Sudoku is short for the Japanese words Suji wa dokushin ni kagiru which translate as "the digits must be single" in English. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Question: Do You Rise and Shine?

I have noticed something lately is that while I try to get as much sleep as possible, I also don't like waking up past 10 a.m. because (especially on a day off) it can seem like I have less time in the day. Now I try to be up by 8 a.m. to spend my time on something useful rather than getting more than eight hours of sleep. 

Do you get up early or stay asleep later in the day? 

Fact of the Day: Butler Act

In 1928, a Tennessee politician named John Butler came up with a law that was passed by the state legislature that forbade any public teacher (from grade school to university) from teaching evolution and denying Biblical creation myth. A teacher was arrested and his trial (known as the Scopes Trial) turned into a large debate between both sides of the argument. The act remained on the books until a fired teacher took his case to the courts saying it was his right to teach evolution due to free speech. The Tennessee state house repealed the Butler Act quickly before the court had time to judge the case.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Favorite Photos: The Annoying Cat

We spent the night at my wife's parents not long ago, and Daisy's brother's cat Johann was being cute, but also rather annoying. He's only a few months old, so he's very interested in all new things. He never gets much time to spend in Daisy's old room, so every time the door opened, he'd be right there. When we went to sleep, we could hear him clawing underneath the door trying to get in. The whole day he was sticking his nose in everything, but when he tried to eat my breakfast is when Johann realized that his behavior wasn't cool. But I'll forgive him. 

Fact of the Day: Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is famous for being a symbol of American Independence during the Revolutionary War. Except the bell didn't become well-known until after the 1830's. Abolitionists had tried associating the bell with the freedom of slaves. The false stories about it would follow later. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ben Carson Implies That No Muslim Should Be President

In a recent interview, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested that no Muslim should ever be elected to be President of the United States. He said that a person's faith should be consistent with the U.S. Constitution, and he believed that Islam was not. Except in a country where there is suppose to be separation of church and state, a person's faith should not matter. Maybe if Ben Carson actually read the Constitution he would have found the part that forbids religious tests for public office. The Islamophobia of conservatives in this country is downright shameful. 

Funny Story: Strawberry Girl

For quite a few years I used to work as a produce clerk at a supermarket. I played a joke on one of the front-end girls who was trying to put back some strawberries someone either returned and decided not to get. I saw her looking around for the strawberries so she could put them back and I said in my most serious tone of voice "those actually go in the meat department" and she paused and thought pretty hard about it. I told her I was kidding because I was honestly afraid she would have really gone over there to look like an idiot. 

Fact of the Day: Prince of Old Wales

The heir apparent of the British throne is typically called The Prince of Wales. Queen Victoria's son Albert Edward was the longest-serving Prince of Wales. After almost 60 years, he finally became King and ruled as Edward VII. The current holder Prince Charles will surpass the record if he remains Prince of Wales by September 10th, 2017.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fact of the Day: United Nations

The United Nations was founded after the end of World War II. In 1945 the UN had 51 members (countries), and now has 193 members today. There are 196 countries in the world though a few them are not fully recognized. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Peach Bowl Lanes

 One of my wife Daisy's favorite things to do is to go bowling. I had seen Peach Bowl Lanes on a trip to Greenville, and figured I'd take her when we went back to Greenville for her birthday. It's about halfway on the trip in a tiny city called Greer, so I figured it would also make the car ride easier though it's not bad either.

Fact of the Day: Wooden Bowling

Until the 20th century most bowling balls were made of wood. They later came out with bowling balls made of rubber, plastic, and urethane. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Crocodile Dundee II (1988 Film) Review

 Crocodile Dundee II came out the year I was born, so you can say I was certainly very late when it came to seeing the movie. I watched the original for the first time in April. It wasn't the greatest film, but I did really like it. I heard the sequel wasn't as good, but I knew I wouldn't watch the third film regardless as I hear it's horrid.

Fact of the Day: Crocodile Teeth

When crocodiles lose their second set of teeth, they don't remain toothless forever like humans. They come back quickly, and this process can happen hundreds of times for every spot for a tooth. This is also a trait for alligators too. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Little K at Restaurant

This was my brother with my niece Little K at Daisy's birthday dinner. She's still a very shy little girl, so she wasn't too happy seeing all these new faces at dinner. But she calmed down, and acted normal by the end of it. One of the waitresses saw her bow, and asked her if she liked Frozen. She can barley talk, but her parents answered that for her with "a...little bit". Little K apparently sings Let it Go the best she can at her house.  

Fact of the Day: King William

Despite most monarchies never considering illegitimate children as true heirs, William I's (also known as William the Conqueror) parents were never married which caused him some trouble in claiming his father's title of Duke of Normandy. He would later become King of England not by birth right, but by military conquest. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Downton Abbey (TV Series) Season 3 Review

 I often joke that Downton Abbey is what I watch to make me forget that Game of Thrones season six is still many months away. My wife Daisy and I have become big fans of Downton Abbey, and we love every minute of it. It can be a little hard to believe that a show based on British aristocrats could be so fascinating, but it is.

Fact of the Day: Roman Scotland

During the days of the Roman Empire, the Romans had conquered present-day England and Wales. Most of present-day Scotland however resisted Roman rule. They had minor success in the south, but Scotland was never conquered as a whole. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's 29th Birthday Dinner

I took this photo of my wife Daisy at her birthday dinner. We were at her favorite restaurant Longhorn Steakhouse. My mother, my brother Zach, my sister-in-law Tiffany, my niece Little K, and Daisy's brother Jeffrey all came to celebrate her birthday with her. 

Fact of the Day: Franklin Memory

President Franklin Pierce was noted for his excellent memory throughout his life. He was the first president to deliver his inaugural speech from memory alone. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Things I Like: Milka (Candy)

In my town a new (and very small) European grocery store opened up and I found Milka chocolate bars there. I've never had them before but I remember my friend Anna-Alina posting about them before. They're not as good as Kinder bars which I had a few years ago, but I do like them. I would certainly have Milka chocolate over a Hershey bar any day.  

Fact of the Day: Cow Sleep

The average human needs about eight hours of sleep per day. The average cow gets about four hours of sleep per day.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Stevi B's Pizza

 Daisy's birthday was on the 11th, so that day she wanted to spend most of our time in Greenville, SC. I had heard of Stevi B's Pizza only because there were plans to have one here in our nearby city but nothing ever happened, at least not yet. I was actually expecting it to be a stand-alone restaurant, even with GPS I got a little frustrated trying to find it.

Fact of the Day: Secretary Bryan

In the late 19th century to the early 20th century, William Jennings Bryan was one of the most notable leaders in the Democratic Party. He was nominated for president three times and never won. Despite his large role in the party, the only two notable offices he ever held was Congressman in Nebraska, and two years as Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Once Upon a Time (TV Series) Season 4 Review

At the end of season three, it was revealed that Queen Elsa of Frozen would be in the next season of Once Upon a Time. I heard the news despite never having seen the show. My mom mentioned she watched the first season and liked it so the news of Elsa made me want to watch the series. So I watched all the three previous seasons before the fourth came out. By this time, I had liked the series so much that it didn't matter if Elsa was in it or not.

Fact of the Day: Key West Cold

While most areas of the U.S. can get some snow at least once in a few decades, in some parts of Florida it has never happened. Key West, Florida for example has never had a recorded temperature below 41F (5C) in its history. Snow can only form at 32F (0C) degrees or below. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's Blueberry Lemonade

I took this photo of my wife Daisy at IHOP for a bit of a pre-brithday treat. This was her getting this new blueberry lemonade drink before our food was ready. She really liked it! Though she probably really likes that it's actually her birthday today. She is now 29 years old. 

Fact of the Day: Blueberry Maine

Maine is one of the largest producers of blueberries in the United States. As such blueberries are the state fruit and blueberry pie is the state dessert. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Java House

At our local mall, a new coffee place opened up and while I'm not a coffee drinker, I do enjoy ice-cream. We actually went in once before they had ice-cream to be disappointed, but now they had all kinds of flavors. It was ice-cream by Hershey, and we had two scoops of the cotton candy flavor. It was pretty darn good. 

Fact of the Day: Dog Food

While dogs belong to the biological order of Carnivora (which includes all canines, cats, bears, weasels, and others) despite the name they are not exclusively carnivores like wolves and cats. They can have a wide-range diet which often includes meat/animal-derived food but they also can healthily digest large amounts of vegetables and grains.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Funny Story: Scary Car

Radio-controlled (RC) cars were always fun to drive when I was little, but it was usually a friend's or relative's RC car. I eventually got one of my own, and my old dog Chip was a not a fan. While it never went in his direction, as soon as it moved in the room he ran under the bed and hid. I don't remember him getting the courage later to not care about the car, because I remember the car not working not long after. 

Fact of the Day: Royal Nephew

Despite being a hated enemy of Great Britain during World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm II was the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria. He craved the acceptance of his grandmother whom treated him with courtesy and respect. Other members of his maternal family thought he was arrogant and obnoxious. Not many relationships were as terrible than the one with his uncle Edward VII, as he treated him like another nephew instead of Emperor of the Germans. 

Elizabeth II Is Now the Longest Serving British Mornach

Today marks the date that Queen Elizabeth II has served longer than any other British monarch, which was previously held by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who was monarch for 63 years. While British monarchs have virtually no power anymore, I think most would agree that her reign has been very positive.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fact of the Day: Titan Ship

The doomed Titanic ship gets its name from the Titans of Greek myth. They were a race of gods who were overthrown by the Olympians led by Zeus. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Food Court in August 2015

This is my wife Daisy while we were at the local mall's food-court. I try to be frugal and not eat outside the house as much but I think Daisy intentionally delayed lunch until it was time to go to the mall. It wasn't suppose to be a long visit, but her plan worked because I got hungry enough. She usually goes to the Chinese restaurant, always making sure to get that extra eggroll. 

Fact of the Day: Spanish Flu

During 1918 a massive pandemic of Spanish Flu spread across the world. It killed millions, many of whom were healthy young adults. It was discovered that it had caused a deadly over-reaction of the immune system, which left those with a weaker immune system (children and the elderly) with a higher chance of surviving than usual. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Sum of All Fears (2002 Film) Review

 I somewhat remember The Sum of All Fears when it came out in 2002, but I never actually saw it. I later learned that is was part of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels/movies. I have actually just recently saw all the previous films The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger which all of them I have really liked. I figured I wouldn't like this one as much as I could obvious tell they had made Jack Ryan a lot younger with Ben Affleck replacing Harrison Ford despite the novel being a direct sequel to Clear and Present Danger.