Sunday, January 31, 2016

Question: Which Candidates Will Win Iowa?

Voting for the 2016 Presidential election will start officially tomorrow as both parties will have voters in Iowa picking which candidates they want for President. Iowa is always a big deal as they are the first state to vote in a primary race. Now this question is not who you want to win, but who you think will win. On the Republican side, I'm pretty sure Donald Trump will get Iowa. It's apparently going to be a close race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, but I think Bernie will win Iowa. I'd also like to hear opinions from our friends in other countries who are keeping a watch on our elections. 

Who do you think will win Iowa? 

My January 2016 Favorites

 It seems like yesterday that we were celebrating the new year of 2016. Now the first month is almost over. Here are my favorite things from January.

Fact of the Day: Ancient Jewerly

Humans have been wearing jewelry for at least 100,000 years. One of (if not the first) types of jewelry were made from sea-shells. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Random Photo: Daisy Food

My wife Daisy's family came from Laos before she was born in Minnesota. Her family are friends with the people who run one of the Asian grocery stores around here. We hadn't been to it since we've been married, but Daisy looked like she was in heaven getting all kinds of snacks and nice things to eat that I never knew existed. 

Fact of the Day: Wine Monk

In the 17th century there lived a French monk named Dom Perignon. Many believe he invented sparkling champagne, but this is not true. Though his techniques for wine-making led his champagnes to become famous.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Funny Story: New Girl

When I worked in a produce department we had a co-worker guy named Jun who stupidly suggested that management should hire a girl because he might could date her. Funny enough, the new person was a girl named Naomi, and boy did he have a crush on her. Naomi however was not too fond of Jun, and often would call him names and make fun of him. Naomi had injured her hand which caused her to be transferred to the bakery, so I suggested to Jun for him to ask her out because they no longer worked together just to see what he'd say. His response was "she's not my type".

Fact of the Day: King Gustav III

King Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771-1792. During his reign, he dismissed parliament and ruled as an absolute monarch. That combined with a unpopular was against Russia, had led many to hate the King. He was shot during a masquerade ball, but survived for about 13 days. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015 Film) Review

 Like many people of my generation, I really like SpongeBob Squarepants. It's really amazing how long it's been on TV as it first came out in 1999. I remember watching the first major movie back in 2004 and thought it was pretty good. I was surprised it took over a decade for another movie to come out, but while I didn't watch it in theaters, I knew I'd eventually see it.

Fact of the Day: Truman College

While many of the earliest presidents lacked an advanced formal education, Harry Truman was the last U.S. President who never had a single college degree. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Random Photo: Bamboo Drive-way

We have two driveways in my yard, and I was trying to drive on the farthest one until I saw something on it. It was a big piece of bamboo. The people in my neighborhood are a bunch of weirdos. 

Fact of the Day: Orca Baby

Orca whales are considered apex predators, but they can be vulnerable to a cruel Earth. About 37-50% of orca calves never live past the age of seven months.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hamlet (1990 Film) Review

 William Shakespeare wrote many plays, one of which is Hamlet. I saw The Simpsons do a parody once, but I didn't know the whole story. Also I heard The Lion King's story was mostly based on the plot of Hamlet. I also thought it was weird to see Mel Gibson in a movie based on Shakespeare's work. He never struck me as a thespian actor, and it's odd to see an American actor in a role usually portrayed by British actors and other Europeans.

Fact of the Day: Brazil Soccer

The biggest soccer championship in the world is the World Cup where each country sends one team to compete for glory. Brazil has won the most World Cups with five wins, Germany and Italy are behind Brazil with four each. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Parks and Recreation (TV Series) Season 7 Review

 Last year my wife and I watched most of the Parks and Recreation series. We just got finished watching this season, which is the last one. I'll admit that while it is a very funny show, it certainly needed to finish. Luckily they knew this would be the last season, so there wouldn't be any cliff-hangers or unanswered questions. Leaving fans to say goodbye to the crazy characters of Pawnee, Indiana.

Fact of the Day: Leaning Bell Tower

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is most famous for it leaning at an angle (by accident), but it's traditional purpose is to serve as a bell tower for a local Italian cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Charlotte's Web (2006 Film) Review

Like many people, I read Charlotte's Web when I was a child and I also remember watching the cartoon movie version that was made in 1973. Decades later, Nickelodeon decided to make a new major movie which wasn't animated. I didn't care to see it in theaters almost ten years ago, but I figured I'd see it now to see how it compares to the wonderful 1973 version.

Fact of the Day: Franz Reichelt

Franz Reichelt was a Austrian-French inventor and tailor who tried to make a parachute suit to save the lives of pilots. After successes and disappointments, he decided to do a grand test by testing his parachute suit from the Eiffel Tower. His suit did not work and he died as a result. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Random Photo: Winter Storm 2016

 Like many of you know, the east coast had gotten hit by a huge storm of winter weather. Granted I'm glad I'm in South Carolina right now instead of like New York. We probably got the least amount of winter harshness. But we got enough to freeze the roads that most of the county was stuck in their homes, and only a few were foolish to go out and drive.

My Favorite Photos: Valentines Puppy 2016

My wife Daisy is a big fan of stuffed animals, and she always likes looking at the new ones for Valentines Day. This husky dog was one of her favorites. 

Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS) Review

 Like most American gamers, I had no idea who Marth and Roy were once I unlocked them in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Nintendo originally planned to leave them out of the American version of Melee, but let them stay. A move that sparked interest for Americans (and Europeans) to get a Fire Emblem outside of Japan. They did so with Fire Emblem: Sword of Flame (known just as Fire Emblem in the USA) for GBA, and the series had decent enough American support. I decided to make the newest (until Fates arrives in Feburary) Fire Emblem my first in the series, especially as Lucina and Robin (who are in Super Smash Bros. IV) are important characters in this one.

Fact of the Day: Theobromine Chocolate

While it's common knowledge that chocolate can be lethal to dogs, it's really the theobromine in the chocolate that's the reason. A normal human's metabolism is fast enough to take the theobromine without a harmful effect, though in certain animals (such as a dog) that have slower metabolism it can prove disastrous to their health. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Random Photo: Cat on the Porch

I went outside the other night, and I saw an animal run off the porch. It went so fast, I didn't see much of it before it ran under my wife Daisy's car. I figured it was either a cat or a raccoon, but I was hoping it was a feline. Daisy heard the cat meowing about 20 minutes later and we got to see the cat hanging out near the steps. He looked at us from the glass screen door for about 30 seconds and walked away. 

The Secret of Kells (2009 Film) Review

 Last December I watched Song of the Sea and loved it. I wanted to watch The Secret of Kells (which I had sort of heard about for a few years) because its director/writer Tomm Moore also did Song of the Sea. Like Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells did very well with critics. It was even nominated for an Oscar under Best Animated Feature but lost to Pixar's Up.

Fact of the Day: Civil War Distance

Most of the Americna Civil War took place on the eastern coast but they did reach further out. Some battles/events took place in the southwest. A naval battle like the Battle of Cherbourg took place off the coast of France. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Funny Story: Dishes Debate

My most hated chore is washing dishes, and when I was younger my mom made either me or my brother dry the dishes she washed. I always complained about it too. I asked her "why not just let it air-dry" and she complained saying something that didn't make sense to me at the time. Now when my mother does dishes, she does them in turns. She washes them and lets them air-dry...

Fact of the Day: Red Algae Sea

The Red Sea get its name from the effects of a type of algae in its waters. When the algae dies, they turn the blue-green waters into a reddish-brown color.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz Birthday 2015

My niece's birthday is on New Year's Eve, and now she's three years old. Seemed like yesterday when she was born. 

Knights of Sidonia (TV Series) Season 2 Review

 Knights of Sidonia is a rather recent anime that debuted in Japan. Anime usually takes a few years to make it here to America. Netflix got an English dub as a Netflix Original, and I watched the first season about a year ago. It wasn't quite as good as I imagined, but I was still interested enough in the story to see the next season.  

Fact of the Day: George Kings

The British king George II disliked his own son Prince Frederick so much that he didn't spend much time with his own grandchildren. When the Prince of Wales died before the King, he took far more greater interest in his grandson who he quickly made the new Prince of Wales. He would take the throne as King George III when George II died. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mourning Without Faith

 There's very few people who ever live on this Earth without suffering a great loss. Many turn to their faith to help them keep strong in times of despair. Though when you're non-religious like me, that's not much of an option. Some people can't imagine going through grief without their faith, but I can tell you it is manageable.

Fact of the Day: Henry Ford Fast

While Henry Ford is most famous for his car company, he also broke the land-speed record himself. He drove one his cars 91.37 mph (147.05 km/h) which had never been done before in 1904. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Super Luigi U (WiiU) Review

It's sometimes hard being Luigi, who's often just the character little brothers had to play as since their older brothers would always choose Mario. I had heard of New Super Luigi U. which is like an expansion of New Super Mario Bros. U for WiiU. I got the game years late, so New Super Luigi U was included on the same disc.

Bernie Sanders Advocates Medicare For All Plan

While it's not the first time he's talked about, it seems to be the first time in the presidential campaign that he's made it a major issue. Every 1st world country except the United States has universal health care, and Medicare For All would put us on par with the rest of the free world. Conservatives have gone back to the argument of "I don't want higher taxes", but our government spending is far more than countries that do have universal health care because we let things get out of control in the health care industry. I remember hearing Bill O'Reilly claim he'd move to Ireland if Sanders becomes president. I hope ol' Bill enjoys his universal health care there. 

Fact of the Day: Orca Wolf

Orca whales were once believed by the Siberian Yupik people to appear as wolves during the winter and transform back into orcas during the summer. Like wolves, orca whales do hunt in packs. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Little K's 2nd Birthday

This was taken by my mother at my niece Little K's 2nd birthday party back in August of 2015. Most of the family was there, but I think they tried to get all her cousins to back away for a few moments with the cake. Little K is a very shy child, and too much attention makes her upset. 

Fact of the Day: Garfield Election

In 1880, James Garfield faced Winfield Scott Hancock in the presidential election. Garfield defeated him by a large margin with 214 electoral votes to 155. However the popular vote was the closest in American history. Less than 1900 votes made up the gap, though Garfield won the popular vote as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Question: Do You Sing in the Car?

You don't have to be talented to sing, but even though I have a terrible voice I do often sing along to the music in the car on a long-drive. Though pretty much only when I'm the only person in the car. And I usually stop if I'm at a red light. 

Do you sing in the car? 

Fact of the Day: Yankee Football

From the years 1956-1973, the football team The New York Giants had played in Yankee Stadium which is home to the MLB team the New York Yankees. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Election (1999 Film) Review

 Since I was eleven when it came out, I don't remember when Election hit theaters. I had heard about it awhile back, but procrastinated about seeing it. Despite the name, it has nothing to do with Democrats vs. Republicans which is all too common to hear about in 2016. It's about a race for a high school's class president, and a teacher who meddles in the campaign.

Fact of the Day: Early Texas Oil

Spindletop hill is located near Beaumont, Texas where in 1901 someone found a large amount of crude oil. It produced about a 100,000 barrels of oil per day for nine days. The grand find created the rise of the Texas oil industry, and the United States of America eventually became the world's leader in oil production

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Zoo Giraffes 2015

This was taken by my mother back in the summer of 2015 at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina. This is my favorite place of the zoo as the giraffes are very interesting. Especially as the female giraffe was pregnant and had a baby. But I think the baby giraffe grew up and got sent to another zoo by now. 

Alan Rickman Passed Away

I'm very sad to hear Alan Rickman had lost a short battle with cancer just a month before his 70th birthday. He was most famous for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films which he was perfect in. He was a talented actor no matter what role or movie he was in. 

Fact of the Day: Hindu Peace

Leaving one's religion (apostasy) is generally shunned in a religion and its culture especially within the Abrahamic faiths. However Hinduism is typically very accepting about members leaving. Since many Hindus believe all spiritual paths lead to the same god.  

Nikki Haley Makes Terrible Gaffe About American History

The governor of my state (SC) Nikki Haley is apparently trying to become the running mate for the GOP nominee, as she can't be governor again but wanted to give the official Republican response to President Obama's state of the union address. At a recent event, she was quoted in saying "We've never, in the history of this country, passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion" and you don't have to be a history major to realize how laughably inaccurate that is. She's governor of South Carolina for crying out loud, did she think Jim Crow laws were made for the welfare of ravens? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U) Review

 Super Mario Bros. has been one of my favorite games ever since our dad got us a NES when I was about two years old. The series had seen its ups and downs, but none of them have bad games. Though some of the Mario spin-offs could not say the same. The portable New Super Mario Bros have been too easy, but I loved New Super Mario Bros Wii. So I was looking forward to its true sequel very much.

Fact of the Day: Bobcat Lynx

The bobcat is native to most of North America. They are believed to have evolved from the Eurasian lynxes which had traveled across the Bering Land Bridge which had existed in modern-day Russia and Alaska. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Stillborn Nephew's Funeral Was Today

Today wasn't as sad as I had expected, but most everyone had plenty of time to mourn. My brother did a lot better than I expected, but I think part of it was staying strong in front of my niece Little K. My sister-in-law Tiffany (the mother) took it hardest obviously, sobbing and looking like she never wanted to let Evan go. I think what made this death especially difficult is that Evan never got to experience life at all, no first breath, no first day of school, no learning how to ride a bike, no anything really. But he did get to experience one thing that nobody who reads this can claim. He left this world how he came into it; innocent and perfect. 

My Favorite Photos: Lion Nephew

This was my nephew Mr. C back in summer of 2015 at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina. This is a lion statue that people often take pictures with. Much safer than the real deal too.

Fact of the Day: Peter III

Peter III was Emperor of Russia for only six months in 1762. His aunt Elizabeth I was his predecessor, and despite being monarch for Russia he was really German. He spoke very little Russian, and had a pro-Prussian (which was a Germanic country) policy. This made him a very unpopular ruler. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

President Obama Declines to Endorse a 2016 Candidate

In the presidential primaries, it's not uncommon for governors, senators, and congressmen to endorse their favorites in their own party. I'm glad President Obama just recently decided to stay neutral for the Democratic primaries to let democrats decide if they want Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Martin O'Malley as their party's nominee. Especially as many democrats like me believe that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has controlled the DNC to practically crowned Hillary Clinton as the nominee before a single democrat has voted.