Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fact of the Day: Communist Mongolia

While almost every communist nation (current or former) allied and/or was helped formed by the Soviet Union, Mongolia was one of the first. It operated as a Soviet puppet state from 1924 until it collapsed along with Eastern Europe in the early 1990's. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Photo: Longhorn Lunch Steak and Salad

My wife loves Longhorn steakhouse. This is her meal and a salad she had on a lunch in October. 

Things I Like: Pixel Pals Super Mario Bros. 3 Normal Mario

 I noticed these things at Gamestop, and they had many different versions of many different series. I wanted this regular Mario as it looks exactly like Mario does in Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. This otaku decor was really calling out to my inner nerd.

Fact of the Day: World's Oldest Restaurant

While contested, the world's oldest restaurant is probably Ma Yu Ching's Bucket Chicken House in Kaifeng, China. It opened in 1153 and survived many wars, invasions, and dynasty changes since then but did not continuously operate because of some of these conflicts. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Photos: First Round of Christmas for the Little Ones

 It seems like yesterday when I had no nieces or nephews, now I got A LOT of them. So I got half of them their Christmas presents already, though they won't get them until Santa is ready anyway. My baby niece Little R is getting this bunny here.

Ask Me Anything Zwei Round Three

 Here are the final answers, all questions came from Samantha.

Fact of the Day: Philippine-American War

As a result of the Spanish-American War, Spain lost control over the Philippines. Native Filipinos tried to establish a new republic but America defeated them in the Philippine–American War. The Philippines would remain a territory of the United States until 1946. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Photo: Disney Board Game

Even though they really don't need to, my brother and his wife often go into Goodwill to find things for my niece to entertain herself with. She found some kind of board game with Disney, so she was happy. 

My (Not So) Favorite Quotes: We're Saying Merry Christmas Again

"We're saying 'Merry Christmas' again."

-Donald Trump

It's hard to say who is the bigger fool, Trump himself or his flock of sheep who honestly believe he's a deeply religious man. He certainly can play the religious-right like a fiddle, as when he said this all the conservatives started to applaud. It's not against federal or state law to wish someone Merry Christmas, he also can't force private companies to do so either. People say "Happy Holidays" mainly to show respect to those who don't celebrate Christmas. But respect for others is not something Trump or his deplorables really know well. 

Fact of the Day: Patton Reincarnation

Controversial WWII general George S. Patton wasn't exactly known well for his faith in the Bible but he was a devout Christian man in his personal life. Ironically Patton also believed in reincarnation, and believed he lived many different lives, but always as a soldier. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Photos: Boo at the Greenville Zoo

 The nearest zoo to us has a Halloween event every year but it's always right before Halloween not on the actual day. My niece Little K got to go this year to have fun. I think she was dressed up as Anna from Frozen, she had a jacket on so it was hard to tell.

Pitch Pefect 2 (2015 Film) Review

 Not long ago, my wife and I watched the original Pitch Perfect. I thought it was good, but certainly nothing amazing in my book. However my wife Daisy LOVED IT and of course it didn't take long for her to beg me to let her see the sequel so quickly. I did hear the sequel wasn't quite as good (as sequels often are) as the original, but how much did quality drop here. Was I still going to like the 2nd Pitch Perfect?

Fact of the Day: Young Arthur

When King Richard I ruled England he had no legitimate heirs. King John was his successor, but there was a problem with the young Arthur who was the son of Richard's and John's brother Geoffrey who was older than John. Following rules of succession, Arthur should of been crowned king instead of John. However King Richard I feared that Arthur was too young and under too much influence of the French king, so he made John his heir instead. King John eventually had Arthur imprisoned, and he vanished after a certain point. Most believe that he was murdered on King John's orders. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Photo: Little Meow

I've known this cat for about a year and half now, he's very anti-people. His name is Meow and he belongs to my neighbors Mike and Peggy. This day he got fairly close as if he warmed up to me. He started to meow non-stop, but eventually walked away. 

Ask Me Anything Zwei Round Two

 Here are the answers to your questions.

Fact of the Day: United States of America Greenland

After World War II, America wanted Denmark to sell them Greenland. They wanted to use the huge landmass as a way to counter Soviets in the arctic with military bases and operations.  Denmark turned them down, however a NATO agreement allowed the U.S. to do what they originally wanted to anyway. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Photo: Big E Playground

This is my niece Little K at the playground at the Big E entertainment place in Gaffney, SC. These were one of my favorite things when I was her age. 

My Top Five Movie Sequels Better Than the Original

Many movies that are the first are usually the best. However some sequels ended up far surpassing or were at least a little better than the original. This is my list so it obviously only includes movies I've seen and ones that I think were better than the original. However I do disagree with some folks, for example I thought the original Terminator and the original Godfather were slightly better than their first sequels. This list is more about how much more the sequel impressed me than the original versus a ranking of the movies against each other.

Fact of the Day: Stalin Cult

While certainly not the first person in history to use the tactic, but the Soviet Union created a cult of personality for Joseph Stalin to increase his popularity and make his rule stronger. The Soviet propaganda had Stalin be "all knowing" and "all powerful" and virtually god-like.   

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Photos: Christmas Bears and Other Stuff

Daisy still loves stuffed animals but she already has this Christmas bear from a good number of years ago. But she always likes seeing the new versions of them.

Fact of the Day: Tesla Electron

While Nikola Tesla is a considered one of the greatest minds to ever live, he did get some things wrong about science. One of his biggest blunders is that he believed there was no such thing such as subatomic particles such as an electron for example. 

Things I Like: Calamity Ganon (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

 Calamity Ganon is a the final boss of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it's very obvious from the start of the game. You wake up to realize Ganon won 100 years ago and you got preserved to one day fight him again. All he does in "victory" is hover over Hyrule lame for a goal plan there. Certainly the most monstrous and inhuman Ganon in the series and obviously inspired by Demise from Skyward Sword on Wii.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Photo: Santa Yeti

This is an abominable snowman santa I saw on a trip to Kohl's. I can imagine this thing scares children more than it makes them smile. 

Pan's Labyrinth (2006 Film) Review

 Pan's Labyrinth is a movie I heard of for quite some time now, but honestly I didn't know it very well. I almost thought it was referring to Labyrinth from 1986 with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. Instead it was made over a decade ago by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, and unlike his Hellboy films and Pacific Rim, this movie was shot with Spanish actors in Spain and yes, they all speak Spanish and not English in the film. I've seen many movies (especially Japanese) in a foreign language and it doesn't bother me.

Fact of the Day: Muhammad XII of Granada

Not long before the discovery of the New World, most of present-day Spain and Portugal had been ruled by Muslims who had conquered the area for almost eight hundred years. The last ruler there was Muhammad XII who ruled the city of Granada. He eventually had to accept the rule of the new Catholic monarchs, however they soon forced him into exile until his death in Morocco. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Photo: Hobby Lobby Santas

These were the Santa statues I spotted at Hobby Lobby. The largest one (despite being a bit short) does almost look real himself. 

Ask Me Anything Zwei Answers Round One

 Not long ago I asked you guys to ask me anything you wanted. You can still do so here if you desire. For now, here are a few of the current questions.

Fact of the Day: Trump Racism

In 1927, the New York Times had written an article about a Ku Klux Klan rally that had their members "protest" against the "Catholic Police" of New York City. Many of their members were arrested in the event, and one of the names listed was Fred Trump. His son Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Photo: Niece and the Lightsaber

 My niece Little Iz loved the lightsaber that went along with my costume. She hasn't seen the Star Wars movies yet, but what's not to like about glowing laser sword?

Story: You Only Have One Match Riddle

I like this riddle a lot, I've heard it for many years and I can still recall it quite well. Let's see if you can figure it out? You're in a dark room and you must need light to survive the night. There is an oil lamp to your left, a furnace to your center, and a stove to your right. You only have one match, what do you light first? 

Fact of the Day: Lavrentiy Beria

Lavrentiy Beria was one of Joseph Stalin's top subordinates during his rule as his lead the security of the Soviet Union and the NKVD. Stalin introduced him to FDR and referred to him as "Our Himmler"  to the president. If fate had been a little different, Beria could have been the most powerful man in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death. However Nikita Khrushchev opposed him and had Beria executed for treason once he took power. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Photos: Kids Trick-or-Treat 2017

 My brother's neighborhood is rather weak on Halloween, but people still do it there. Not too bad for my nieces who are still too little to go out and about for long on Halloween night asking for candy.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017 Film) Review

 It's hard to believe it's been so many years since the original film back in 2003. I remember sitting in theaters and watching Curse of the Black Pearl and being amazed by how good it was. Unlike The Haunted Mansion, this movie based on a Disneyland ride actually was amazing and was good enough to have sequels. I thought the first sequel was good but unworthy of the original. I thought the third film was an embarrassment, but unlike some people I actually liked the fourth one quite a bit. Critics have always been rather unkind to the series while regular folks have liked them much better. Critics panned this one like most of the series (except the original) but was it that bad?

Paul Ryan Thinks Prayer Will Stop More Massacres

When a gun massacre takes place in a "gun-free zone" like a school or a mall, right-wingers will say it was the policy of the zone at fault, not the laws of our country. However when recently a domestic terrorist (who may or may not have been mentally ill) walked into a small Baptist church in Texas, the right wing came into an awkward position. House Speaker Paul Ryan insists that prayer "works" but does it really? I know prayer is an important part of life for Christians, but being extremely non-religious myself, I see it as a spiritual placebo of sorts. But let's bring up logic instead of faith, why didn't God stop this from happening? If prayer doesn't work to protect churches, then maybe it's time to fix our gun laws. Too bad the NRA has Congress in their back pocket and we will continue to lose more of our citizens because they lobby for the gun makers. 

Fact of the Day: King of England and France

King Henry VI of England was made King of France by the will of his grandfather Charles VI of France. King Henry VI inherited both thrones at a very young age (before he turned one) however there was more than one of those issues that conflicted where the Throne of France wasn't all his. The biggest issue was that Charles VI's son Charles the Dauphin was still alive and he was taken out of the royal line by his father. The French prince claimed that the agreement was null and void as his father was mentally unstable and was forced by King Henry V of England to do so. When England started to lose their side of the Hundred Years War, peace was established when Henry VI gave up the throne to France and married Charles' niece. Losing thrones would become another running theme for Henry VI as he lost his crown twice during England's War of the Roses.     

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Photos: Sith Lord Vs. Red Power Ranger

 Since we all don't dress in the same theme on Halloween, I think it's fun to "cross" series and have our characters "fight". Who would win against a Sith Lord and a Power Ranger? Probably the sith lord, force lightning does kind of ruin things.

My Super Mario Odyssey Impressions

 The WiiU never got a real 3D Mario game like the N64's Super Mario 64, Gamecube's Super Mario Sunshine, or the Wii's two Super Mario Galaxy games. It's been seven years since Super Mario Galaxy 2, so was Super Mario Odyssey the game we were all hoping for?

Fact of the Day: Columbus in Trouble

Christopher Columbus didn't quite meet praise back in Spain after his voyages to the New World. His governance of the native people was often tyrannical and genocidal. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella's court eventually learned of this and had him imprisoned though he was released weeks later. Columbus ultimately claimed he was always doing good as he was spreading Christianity to the region. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Photo: Our 2017 Halloween Costumes

 Like always, we celeberated Halloween as a family. My brother Zach was Jason Lee Scott who was the first Red Ranger from Power Rangers. My sister-in-law was Belle from Beauty in the Beast in her normal dress. My neice Little K was Shimmer from a Nickelodeon Jr. show called Shimmer and Shine. I don't know much about it, but the character is like a genie.

Ask Me Anything Part Zwei

I did this last year and I had a lot of fun with it. So you may ask me anything you want and I will later answer it in the future. So if you are curious about anything about me, or just want to have fun coming up with a question, please ask. 

Fact of the Day: Alessandra Mussolini

 Alessandra Mussolini is the granddaughter of the infamous WWII-era Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. She currently serves as a MP in European Parliament for Italy, and like her grandfather she is a right-winger. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Photos: Halloween Pumpkins at Work

 At my work there was a little Halloween pumpkin competition between our departments. They all were pretty good. First we have Cookie Monster and Crying Daughter.

Fact of the Day: Sun Car

While the sun is "close" to the Earth on an astronomical scale, it is still many millions of miles away from the Earth. If someone was able to drive a car to the Sun, if you were able to constantly keep a speed of 100 mph (160 kph) it you would take you over a hundred years to reach it. 

Things I Like: Blight Ganons (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

 The Blight Ganons are the four main bosses of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild once you get finished with each Divine Beast dungeon. They are kind of the game's version of Phantom Ganon. Waterblight Ganon was my first, his spear and use of rising water levels can prove tricky but at least he's easily paralyzed with ice arrows.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Photos: Panda Shark Daisy

 While looking at Target's Halloween candy before our spooky holiday, Daisy came out of nowhere with this panda head on.

Trolls (2016 Film) Review

When I hear the word troll or trolls, my mind immediately thinks of the mean people lurking all over the web. But I often forget that long before I was born (Trolls were created in 1959), trolls were dolls that were popular with girls (though they tried hard to make "boy" trolls) especially in the early 1990's. To be honest, I thought the troll dolls were stupid and kind of creepy. However Trolls from Dreamworks came out last year, and apparently was quite good. I heard it was one of the movies my young niece demanded her parents get for her.  So how good was this movie?

Fact of the Day: Holland

While most people think Holland means The Netherlands, the name is rather informal. Holland is really just its most popular region. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Photo: Connect Four Outside

My brother found this outside Connect Four game for my niece Little K to play. I can't remember playing the home version much when I was little as I can only recall one friend having it. 

Story: Thick Paint

When I first started working in a paint department, I had a lot to learn as it is was an area with a lot of different paints, stains, applicators, solvents, methods etc to it. So the first few months, you try to help people as best as you can. One guy came in asking for "thick paint" which is still one of the dumbest things I've ever heard for someone to want. A paint's thickness does not guarantee coverage or durability, some of the better paints I've known were sort of thin and rolled really smooth.  

I didn't know much at the time as a newbie, but I figured he wanted "thick paint" for a reason and I had guessed that maybe he wanted a porch paint. I tried to ask him what he was wanting it for and he yells "Can you get me someone who knows what they're talking about?" and this was the point where I wanted to tell the guy to go somewhere else and some other un-polite things. But you can't really do that in retail, so a co-worker named Joey who helped on weekends gave him some paint and he walked off happy. I recalled exactly what Joey gave him months later and it wasn't even a "thick" paint as I had rolled it myself.  

Fact of the Day: Northern Crusades

The Northern Crusades were a series of wars taken by the Catholic Church against the pagan communities of the Baltic, Finnish, and West Slavic people. They made the regions "Christian" through force.