Thursday, May 31, 2018

Photos: Smithsonian Zoo Stuffed Animals

Daisy is still big into stuffed animals, and while I can't fit all the ones she wants into the known universe, I do let her at least hold them. She really loves red pandas.

My May 2018 Favorites

 I will say, it did seem like May lasted a long time for me. Either way, here are my favorites for the month.

Fact of the Day: Sloth Cousins

The closest living creatures to sloths are anteaters. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

New Pokemon Switch Game is a Remake of Red/Blue

While many gamers thought the Switch was going to get a real sequel, it seems the first Pokemon Nintendo Switch game would be a remake of the Kanto region in Red/Blue. There will be two versions, Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee, obviously showing who your starter pokemon will be. 

Photos: Panda Grill at the Smithsonian National Zoo

 By the end of our time at the National Zoo, we were all hungry. Not knowing anything around us (we were first time guests to the city), I thought we'd try our luck here at the Panda Grill.

Bill Nye Saves the World (TV Series) Season 2 Review

Bill Nye Saves the World's original season wasn't quite what I had hoped it would be. I loved his show as a kid, but his transition to a more evolved format did get lost in translation. While Bill was good and all the science he was teaching was correct, he relied too heavily on stupid assistants and celebrities to make the show appealing, which backfired. I still liked the original season, but I was hopeful that season two would fix the wrongs of the original.   

Fact of the Day: Yellowjacket Family

A single yellowjacket nest can produce up to 5,000 workers each season. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Photos: Various Mammals at the Smithsonian National Zoo

 One of the ones I remember most of is the lemur here.

Favorite Quotes: Religious Coincidence

"Isn't it a remarkable coincidence almost everyone has the same religion as their parents? And it always just happens to be the right religion. Religions run in families. If we’d been brought up in ancient Greece we would all be worshiping Zeus and Apollo. If we had been born Vikings we would be worshiping Wotan (Odin) and Thor. How does this come about? Through childhood indoctrination."

-Richard Dawkins

As one of the "bigwigs" of modern atheism, Richard Dawkins has said a lot of stuff that I agree with, and this is difficult for even religious people to argue with. I remember my mother claiming she saw "visions" of Jesus when she was a child. And yes, in the visions he was the classic "White Jesus" and not what someone from the Middle East would have looked like. It's funny that all these Americans have these supposed visions but you really have to doubt this happens much in say Pakistan, China, India, or Japan. So if I found a Hindu in New Delhi who claimed to have seen Ganesha, would they be right as well? 

Fact of the Day: Lemur

The word for the animal lemur was derived from the Latin word lemures which meant "spirits of the dead". 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Photos: Smithsonian National Zoo Big Cats

What's a zoo without lions and tigers right? Too bad they're naturally nocturnal. I'm not shocked to see the tiger here snoozing.

Story: JROTC Flag Day Task

 I'm pretty sure we did this for veterans day back when I was in 9th grade, but our JROTC class (basically a high-school military-subject class) spent a Saturday afternoon decorating a graveyard with mini-flags on all veterans graves.

Fact of the Day: King James Artillery

King James II of Scotland was an early adopter of artillery. But it would be his doom as he stood too close to a cannon and the force ended his life.  

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Things I Like: Metal Sonic (Sonic Mania)

 This is my favorite boss battle of the whole game as it brought back the ol' Sonic CD memories. You have to chase Metal Sonic until you reach an end.

Things I Like: Hotaru Hi-Watt (Sonic Mania)

 This robotic firefly wannabe is a semi-memorable boss to me in the Sonic Mania game.

Photos: National Zoo Reptiles

 Saw most of these guys in the same area. Pretty sure this was the Philippine crocodile.

Fact of the Day: William

The given name William is of Germanic origin. It became much more popular in England after the Norman invasion due to William the Conqueror taking the throne. An Irish variation of the name is Liam. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Photos: Smithsonian National Zoo Orangutans

 One of the most interesting sights we saw that day at the National Zoo were the orangutans. We saw this mama with her baby. And the baby sure wanted to climb.

Question: Do Your Socks Ever Go Missing?

I have to imagine we all go through this. We put socks in the laundry, but some go MIA for no apparent reason. But hey maybe I'm wrong? 

Does anyone have all their socks accounted for? (I doubt it)  

Fact of the Day: Plantagenet Alliance

A small group of people calling themselves the Plantagenet Alliance claimed to be descendants of the House of Plantagenet, and when Richard III's remains were found, they advocated as his "relatives", they would know his wishes on where to relocate his remains. In reality virtually any English person today (and a large number of Americans) are descended from at least King Henry II of England, who was the first king from the House of Plantagenet. Richard III was the last via the House of York cadet branch. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Things I Like: Heavy Shinobi (Sonic Mania)

 Heavy Shinobi is the main boss of the Press Garden Zone of Sonic Mania and a member of the super robots team with the stupid name.

Things I Hate: Shiversaw (Sonic Mania)

 Shiversaw is the first boss in the Press Garden Zone in Sonic Mania. Most phase 1 bosses are weak and this guy sure is.

Photo: National Zoo Conservation Carousel

My wife usually likes to ride the merry-go-round, but she didn't ask this time. But it seems the Smithsonian National Zoo has a nice one. 

Fact of the Day: Barber Beard

The word barber is derived from the Latin word barba which means "beard" in English. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Photo: Turtle Haven at the National Zoo

Saw this big pond with turtles at the National Zoo. None of these turtle guys and gals are lonely. 

Question: Should The NFL Keep Kneeling Players Off the Field?

Now most protests accomplish very little short-term and when they go on forever, people often lose interest or become de-sensitized to it. While the NFL kneeling protests (which started as sitting) have never been a movement free from criticism, it does sadden me to see the NFL pretty much rule that all players who want to kneel will be kept in the locker room during the anthem. While the NFL is not a government organization, Donald Trump added fuel to the fire by using his influence to alter public opinion including that of the team owners and other NFL bigwigs. While it doesn't technically violate the First Amendment, it's a huge spit in the face to free-thought and free-speech in the cultural sense. 

What do you think? 

Fact of the Day: Not So Fast Turtles

Turtles are infamously known for their sluggish speeds. Even swimming, the fastest turtles on the Earth can't go more than 22mph (35.4 kph). 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Photo: Giant Triceratops at the National Zoo

I saw this statue of a triceratops at the National Zoo. It's a shame we are 65 million years too late to have living dinosaurs at the zoo, unless you count birds. 

Question: Did You Watch The Prince Harry-Meghan Markle Royal Wedding?

I only saw a little bit as I had to work Saturday and those royal weddings take forever apparently. The London time also threw me off, but I managed to stumble upon this part. See those eyes? That's the look of love right there, no doubt about it. While she's technically a duchess (only the wife of the Prince of Wales gets the honor of princess, unless you're Camilla), not many American girls really get to be the wife of a prince. I'm really happy for them both. But I was ashamed to see fellow Americans on social media badmouthing her, 99% of those losers only hate her because she's half-black. 

Did you watch it?  

Fact of the Day: American Chestnut

A once plentiful tree in the Eastern United States, the American chestnut tree was almost wiped out entirely by a blight (fungus) in the 20th century. While the trees are not technically extinct, very few remain in comparison to how many existed. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Things I Like: Spider Mobile (Sonic Mania)

I liked this battle a lot mainly as it's pretty hard not to notice and I always admire stuff you never expect. I can't ever recall another Sonic game where Dr. Eggman wants to fight in giant spider machine. 

Things I Like: The Big Squeeze (Sonic Mania)

 This is the first boss of the Flying Battery Zone. Dr. Eggman traps Sonic into a big trash compactor.

Photos: Smithsonian National Zoo Farm

 Most zoos have some type of barnyard section, the National Zoo wasn't that large I thought. You had some donkeys here.

Fact of the Day: Lionheart Sons

Since Richard I of England had no legitimate children, his brother took the throne as King John. However Richard had two illegitimate sons named Fulk and Phillip, though little is known about their lives and fates.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Photos: I Spot a Clownfish at the National Zoo

 The Smithsonian National Zoo doesn't have much in aquatic animals but near the coral was the clownfish.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018 Film) Review

 Like almost everyone, I am a big fan of the MCU. I still can remember the hype of the original Avengers film and for the most part, it met the hype. I didn't care so much for the 2nd Avengers movie with Ultron. But most films in the MCU were really good, and I had high hopes for this 3rd movie.

Fact of the Day: Soviet China

Before the Chinese Civil War was over, communists under Mao Zedong established a very small section of China as its own country called the Chinese Soviet Republic, modeling itself very much after the Soviet Union. However after a few years, the country collapsed right at the start of the World War II (for China) and China would be at a various state of civil war until 1949.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Photos: The Smithsonian National Zoo Office Room

 We stumbled upon this room near some of the tank animals. It was open and easy to walk into. There was nobody there, but as soon I saw it, I had an idea.

Question: Do You Think Dumb People Are More Happy?

I think this goes hand-in-hand with the term "blissfully ignorant". It does seem like dumber people are happier on average than smarter people. When your mind isn't quite as capable of thinking about life's problems, it does seem to be better to be (mood wise) in the dark than certainly worried over the harsh reality. 

What do you think? 

Fact of the Day: Nice Pacu Fish

A close relative to piranhas, pacu fish share a similar shape but different teeth (almost human like) than their vicious cousins. They also differ in diet, as they feast mainly on plant material, not flesh or scales. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Things I Like: Weather Globe (Sonic Mania)

 At the end of the Studiopolis Zone in Sonic Mania, Dr. Eggman uses his new weather robot machine to challenge you.

Things I Like: Heavy Gunner (Sonic Mania)

 While the Hard Boiled Heavy robot, Heavy Gunner is the technical boss of this stage in the Studiopolis Zone, I actually thought I was fighting just the helicopter in this one until I was pointed out the robot trying to kill our favorite blue hedgehog.

Photos: Smithsonian National Zoo Fishes

 The most notable collection of fish are pretty much in this area. This strange guy in the center is an arapaima.

Question: Truth From Historical Figures?

If you could ask any figure in history and question and get a truthful answer, who would it be and what would be the question? Mine is actually is a bit wider and little flawed considering I know the answer. I wouldn't just want one person, my wish would have every single founder of a religion (considering they were actually real and not legend themselves) upon a world stage and ask them the truth of their religion. I think a flaw of humanity is to think that the question is just "which religion is right?" without coming up with the possibility that maybe just maybe, they're all wrong. 

What would you ask? 

Fact of the Day: Tennis Doom

A group of assassins were able to murder King James I of Scotland when he tried to escape through a sewer. It had been sealed off due to its connection to a tennis court, leaving him unable to flee. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Things I Like: Mean Bean Machine Boss Battle (Sonic Mania)

 I think the reason I liked this boss battle so much is that I didn't expect it to ever happen. Sega used some super-fans for the game's design, and you can tell this wouldn't be something Sega would have thought of doing organically.

Things I Hate: Amoeba Droid (Sonic Mania)

 The thing about the Amoeba Droid boss in the Chemcial Plant Zone is that it's not very interesting or challenging to defeat. It does kind of remind me of Giant Aquatic Amoeba Morpha from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time but robotic and generically annoying.

Photo: Sting Ray Pool at the Smithsonian National Zoo

 In one of the indoor sections, there's this pretty (and super clear) tank that mainly houses the freshwater sting-rays.

Question: Chinese Dress Controversy?

Not too long ago, a Utah Caucasian student wore a cheognsam dress to her prom causing quite a stir of controversy. I will say, I always found the cheognsam to be very pretty and I can see why she would want to wear one. Though given America's bad track record for racism, it does become at least awkward when we see non-Asian women wear them because it is a very cultural dress. But some people in China were asked what they thought since the story made enough of a splash to make a waves internationally, and since the student wore it as she liked the dress, they were okay with it because they thought it was cool that she loved something about their culture. And if you think about it that way, it does sound a lot better. 

What do you think?   

Fact of the Day: Ray Sharks

Sting rays and other ray fish belong to a superorder called Batoidea. They were descended from sharks, but the split happened around the early Triassic.