Saturday, September 30, 2017

My September 2017 Favorites

 I've been hard at work on other projects, so my free-time did seem to fizzle out in September. But anyways here are my favorites for the month.

Photo: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

At the Concord Mills mall there was a chocolate shoppe we spotted. Sadly it was very hot in August and I was afraid that anything we got would melt.

Fact of the Day: Pope Formosus

Pope Formosus was Pope briefly from 891 until his death in 896. Before his election to Pope and during his reign, he often gotten in trouble with politics within the church, Italy, and the Holy Roman Emperor. The next major pope Stephen VI had his body put on trial and he was found guilty of various things. There was even another posthumous trial with another guilty verdict. As such, virtually all of his actions as Pope were declared null and void.  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Photos: Sea Life Stuffed Animals

 At Sea-Life Aquarium there is a big gift shop. Daisy likes looking at all the stuffed animals.

Things I Like: General Grievous (Star Wars)

 General Grievous is one of the antagonists in the Star Wars prequels. Most fans know him as one of the main villains in Episode III; Revenge of the Sith but he made an earlier appearance than the movie.

Fact of the Day: Ronald Reagan Abortion Debate

Despite claiming to be pro-life later in his political career, as Governor of California Ronald Reagan signed a bill that legalized abortions in California as it was before Roe v. Wade. He later said it was a mistake to sign the bill, and blamed it on his "lack of experience" in government. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Photos: The Big Sea Life Aquarium Tank

 While it doesn't seem like it, but the majority of Sea Life Aquarium is really one big tank which includes this hallway walk.

Story: Loud Lady on the Phone

When I was a teenager I was working outside during a moment and there was a lady on the sidewalk on her phone. She was trying to call someone I assume was a customer service rep for some corporation. Well the person on the other side couldn't hear her due to a bad connection or something. So she tries screaming on the top of her voice and all everyone else could was her screeching stuff like  "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T HEAR ME. I AM TRYING TO TALK TO YOU!" to the rep. I really wanted to tell her to hang up, try again, and to dial down the crazy. 

Fact of the Day: Shark Bites

In order to mate for most shark species, male sharks have to bite parts of the female which do cause minor injury to the female shark. This is the reason why (due to natural selection) that female sharks have thicker skin than males.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Photo: Sea Life Aquarium Jellyfish

I don't know what it is about jellyfish, but they are so magical to look at. 

Things I Hate: Mayfield Cherry Brown Cows

I like Mayfield Ice Cream, but I wasn't a big fan of the new Cherry Brown Cows ice cream which replaced vanilla with cherry flavor. Just wasn't my cup of tea. 

Fact of the Day: King Richard Heart

King Richard I of England is better known as Richard the Lionheart. Strangely his heart was actually taken out of his body and preserved. Though today, his heart is nothing more than just dust. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Photos: Turtle Eggs

They had this turtle egg prop at Sea Life Aquarium. Daisy doesn't look like a baby turtle to me.

Story: A Boy and a Doctor Go Fishing Riddle

Personally I just love riddles, especially riddles that you have to use logic to figure out (with a simple answer you understand as soon as soon as you hear it) instead of dumb ones that are more jokes than anything or the ones are unbelievably complicated. My favorite one is one of the hardest ones as very very few people guess it right, and even I got this one wrong when I first heard it. But let's see if any of you all are smart enough to figure it out. And I'll give you a clue, once you hear the answer you will feel retarded, because it should be obvious but we often over-think things. But here's the riddle that stumps more than not. 

A boy and a doctor go fishing. The boy is the son of the doctor. HOWEVER the doctor is not the boy's father. How can this be? 

Fact of the Day: Empress Shoken

Born Masako Ichijo, Empress Shoken was a bit of a prodigy in arts and education when she was young. She was also of enough noble-birth to be a consort to an Emperor. However her biggest obstacle in marriage was that she was three years older than Emperor Meiji. The issue was "resolved" by changing her birth-date, but it only made it her only officially one year younger than reality but still older than her husband Emperor Meiji.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Photos: Sting Rays at Sea Life Aquarium

 They had a impressive tank at Sea Life which housed a few sting rays.

Anne With an E (TV Series) Season 1 Review

Anne With an E is a new remake of Anne of Green Gables with all works being based on the book series by author Lucy Maud Montgomery. I had never heard of the stories until I met Daisy who told me to watch the TV mini-series starring Megan Follows back in 2010. We also watched the TV series Road to Avonlea which isn't about Anne Shirley but those who live in the same community on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Anne With an E is called a Netflix Original but that's only for those outside Canada, as it's just called Anne on Canada's CBC Television. Now was this new Anne of Green Gables just as good as the one with Megan Follows? 

Fact of the Day: Snow on Venus

While it's way too hot for snow (864 F/462 C is the average temperature) on Venus, when it "snows" on Venus it's not made of water but rather metal. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Photo: Clownfish at Sea Life Aquarium

While I can see them any time at Petco, I still like seeing clownfish everywhere. Nemos are always fun to look at. 

Favorite Quotes: Fredrick Douglass Truth

"Under his rule (Abraham Lincoln), assisted by the greatest captain of our age (Ulysses S. Grant), and his inspiration, we saw the Confederate States, based upon the idea that our race must be slaves, and slaves forever, battered to pieces and scattered to the four winds."

-Fredrick Douglass

In the South, it's not uncommon for a racist to say that the American Civil War was not about slavery, and they will usually say it was economic-driven and about the federal government punishing the South. But here we have a quote from Fredrick Douglass who had lived during the Civil War, who was a former slave himself. So yes, the civil war was fought over slavery and its main key issue.  

Fact of the Day: Conrad Heyer

Conrad Heyer was a soldier in the American Revolution in his youth. He served under George Washington and he was there during the Crossing of the Delaware. At the age of 103, his photograph was taken and he became the earliest-born person who had been photograph that we know exists for certain.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Photos: Mom and Fish

As I mentioned before my mother came with us on our vacation. Here at the Sea Life Aquarium, she really did like looking at all the fish there. 

Donald Trump Criticizes NFL National Anthem Kneelers

Donald Trump, no stranger to speaking his mind, recently harshly criticized NFL players who kneel during the national anthem in an effort to protest racism in this country. Who knew a multiple-time draft dodger (who is currently being investigated for Russian-ties) cared so much about patriotism?  Trump has called these NFL players some nasty names, and (in a huge blow to free speech) insisted the NFL fire these players. Yet Trump wasn't so harsh on Nazis and other white supremacists at the Civil War protests. Is this really about patriotism? I doubt it. 

Fact of the Day: Bird Flu Paranoia

For some time, bird flu had caused mass hysteria in the Western World as many people were afraid to eat chicken. However eating a bird that had the bird flu would not give you the disease as the cooking process eliminates it. The only reasonable way someone could get bird flu was by coming into close-contact with a bird while they were in Asia.  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Photos: Sea Life Aquarium Starfish

 On day two we went to Sea Life Aquarium which is in a huge mall in Concord North Carolina which is really part of Charoltte as well. For being in a mall, the place is giant, but it is a little small in comparison to other aquairums I've been to. One of the first things I saw was the petting tank.

Things I Hate: Petyr Baelish (Game of Thrones)

 Petyr Baelish is a well-written character, but who honestly liked him as a person by the very end? He walked the fine line between villain and ...hero pretty well. He's also one of the few characters you notice their full importance from season one to near the end. By the start of the series, the minor lord (very little land and the lowest rank of lord) managed to make himself a wealthy man and a member of King Robert's Small Council as Master of Coin.

Fact of the Day: Emperor vs King

While certain kings in history had more power and/or lands than certain emperors, emperor is considered a higher-rank mainly due to the days of the Roman Empire. Roman Emperors would allow client kings to rule but they had to be subjects to the Emperor. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Photos: Hotel Pool

When we checked in at the hotel, there was a very large group in the hotel pool causing all kinds of chaos in their fun. By the time we finished eating and got relaxed, they were all gone. So we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Story: My Basketball at School

At our elementary school, they had basketball goals installed outside but I don't recall any teacher handing them out during any grade for us to play. So seeing an obstacle to fun, I decided to provide a solution, I brought my own. We had free time during school and I started playing with my basketball. It didn't take too long before two kids took it away from me and wouldn't let me have it back. Eventually a teacher made them stop, but I was advised to keep my basketball at home. It only takes one or two idiots to ruin everything for everybody else. 

Fact of the Day: Safe Quicksand

While many movies and tv shows have people stuck in quicksand in the plot, it's actually almost impossible (due to levels of density) for a person or an animal to be submerged in quicksand.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Photos: Hotel Pizza and Wings

 Walking into the hotel, we saw some group in the pool and some of them were eating Papa Johns pizza. That got me hungry about pizza and we originally wanted to go to Domino's (closest) but that location was closed for some kind of safety thing or something, so that was bizarre. So we found a Pizza Hut and I got a pan pizza and Daisy got wings. We just ate the food in the hotel room.

Favorite Quotes: Don't Detest a United Country

"Madam, don't bring up your sons to detest the United States government. Recollect that we form one country now. Abandon all these local animosities, and make your sons Americans."

-Robert E. Lee

One of the biggest ironies I see here in the South is a racist "rebel" carrying both a Confederate flag and a American flag together. The two flags could not hold any more different meanings from each other. While most southerners are proud to be Americans, the neo-confederates quickly forget that the Confederacy was all about leaving the United States. While the South as a whole sort-of took his advice here, the horrid traditions of racism and bigotry hiding under the excuse of "state's rights" still influence the current conservative politics of today. If only Robert E. Lee told them not to underachieve when becoming Americans. 

Fact of the Day: Coelacanth

Coelacanths are an order of fish that were first discovered as fossils. Since no living specimens were found, it was assumed that they had perished in the Late Cretaceous along with the dinosaurs. However in 1938, they were found to be alive off the coast of South Africa. The earliest fossils date back to the Devonian period (long before the dinosaurs emerged in the Triassic) which means Coelacanths have changed very little since their origins roughly 400 million years ago. Despite living as a species for so long, Coelacanths are still a very endangered species. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Photos: Kannapolis' Country Inn and Suites

I don't travel much but I also don't have any loyalty towards one hotel chain versus another. We decided to sleep the night after a long day at the NC State Zoo at the Country Inn and Suites in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Hotels outside the city limits of major cities (in our case Charlotte) are a little less expensive and parking is usually easier. I also liked how there weren't many floors. I saw some hotels in Atlanta that remind me that I am afraid of heights. 

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014 Film) Review

 To be honest, I was never too thrilled with the Night at the Museum movies. The original and the first sequel were okay, but there wasn't much plot as it was really about funny interactions between Ben Stiller's character Larry Daley and the magical exhibits. This movie came out about the time I started watching the original films. Since the original two movies had a lot of de ja vu between each other, I decided to wait a good while before watching the final movie. Because even if I hated the series, it was one of Robin William's last movie roles before his death, and you can't say no to that anyways.

Fact of the Day: Old Kites

The art of kite-flying most likely originated in China during the 5th Century BC. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Photo: Solar Eclipse Cakes

As I mentioned before, the day we went on vacation was during the solar eclipse. We had to run by the Walmart near our hotel in Kannapolis, NC (really close to Charlotte/Concord) to get one little thing, and I saw this table of cakes.  Were people really throwing parties over the solar eclipse? 

Story: Zach and the Strawberry Shortcakes

While many of you who have siblings know, they can be a real pain. My brother Zach was a horrid little creature for most of his life and he kept this practice even in his 20's. I remember I once got a package of strawberry shortcake rolls from a bakery and kept them in the refrigerator. I didn't even get the chance to eat one until he claimed he had licked them all in an effort to spite me. I was pretty sure he was messing with me (but not fully confident), but in an attempt to get revenge I outsmarted him. At the time, my mother had a list of bills we owed her for, so I demanded that the shortcakes were now his and that proper adjustments were due. That's what he got for playing jokes, I hope he thought those shortcakes were good. 

Fact of the Day: French King John II's Return Trip to England

During the Hundred Years' War, King John II of France was captured by the English. The English agreed to let him return to France to complete conditions stated in the Treaty of Bretigny but only if he let his son Louis be a hostage. However Louis escaped but John II felt bounded by honor to return to England since he made the promise. However John II died there in England before ever getting a chance to return to France. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Photos: Seeing the NC State Zoo Polar Bear One Last TIme

The only reason we really went all the way to the NC State Zoo was because of the polar bear. So we had to see him twice. Luckily he was in a much better spot than the first time we saw him earlier that day.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017 Film) Review

 While many like stories like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and many more, but long before almost every work of English-based fiction, there was the story of King Arthur. I was a big fan of the TV mini-series (often confused as a movie) Merlin with Sam Neill and I also liked the TV series Merlin with Colin Morgan. What wasn't so good was 2004's King Arthur with Clive Owen, which mixed fiction with "history" and created a Roman Empire story that wasn't very compelling but it wasn't horrible per se. I was actually pretty excited for this new King Arthur movie but not enough to see it in theaters. Critical opinion was in the dumps, but apparently regular folks liked it enough. Well not enough to keep it from being a fairly notable flop at the box office, though to be fair, it had a massive budget.

Fact of the Day: Sapa Inca

The Sapa Inca was a South America royal title that eventually rose to Emperor of the Incan Empire as well. The original founder claimed to be the son of the sun god Inti so every ruler afterward also claimed to be "son of the sun". 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Photo: NC State Zoo Misting Station

 At the NC State Zoo, there is a little misting station. And I'll tell you, in the August heat, it felt wonderful.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS) Review

To be honest, I've been ignoring my Nintendo 3DS for quite some time, and started to play a bit of catch-up. When I was little Kirby's Adventure was one of my favorite games on the NES, and I also really liked Kirby's Dreamland 2 on Gameboy and Canvas Curse on the original DS. Most of the other Kirby games I've played were good but those really stood out. Granted I've missed a lot of Kirby games especially on the hand-helds, but was this one really that good or did it fall into obscurity among the series?

Fact of the Day: Freedmen Voting

After the end of Reconstruction in a post-Civil War American South, those who supported the Confederacy eventually gained control back over the state governments. Though some southern states like South Carolina for example had more freedmen than white residents in the population. Knowing they could not out-vote African-Americans, white racists started organizations that stopped freedmen from voting with fear and violence and punished white people who supported the rights of freedmen and voted for (or ran-as) liberal politicians. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Photo: NC State Zoo Shuttle Bus

After we done walking the majority of the zoo, we took the shuttle bus back to the top. It's the world's largest zoo apparently (walk through), so even my feet were tired. 

Favorite Quotes: Education and Ignorance

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

-Original author disputed

I've seen this quote around a lot of places and can't seem to figure out who said it first, but everyone who has said it has said it correctly. Education doesn't mean showing up every day from Kindergarten onward, but having teachers actually teach you more than math problems and historical dates you won't remember. Earlier this year Betsy DeVos became U.S. Secretary of Education under Donald Trump and my heart aches for all those who are now under her thumb. They won't be teaching facts, they'll be teaching ignorance. 

Fact of the Day: Wilbur Glenn Voliva

Wilbur Glenn Voliva was an American Christian evangelist who owned his own radio station which had listeners world-wide in the early 20th century. Voliva was very against the fact the Earth was a globe and he was so confident the earth was flat that he offered a large reward to anyone who could prove the earth was round. He also preached against the "evils" of evolution and also thought the sun was about three thousand miles away from the Earth. He commented on the matter by saying "The idea of a sun millions of miles in diameter and 91,000,000 miles away is silly. The sun is only 32 miles across and not more than 3,000 miles from the earth. It stands to reason it must be so. God made the sun to light the earth, and therefore must have placed it close to the task it was designed to do. What would you think of a man who built a house in Zion and put the lamp to light it in Kenosha, Wisconsin?"

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Photo: NC State Zoo Safari

 This is the safari area to the NC State Zoo, though the safari only operates on certain days and since we came on Monday, we could only see it from far away. The zoo is pretty big on its own, but this huge area doesn't make me doubt why its considered the world's largest zoo (walk-through) even if there are less animals per square foot.

Question: Do You Have Great Respect For the Bald Eagle?

Now this probably only applies to my fellow American friends here, since it is our national bird. I recently read a story where a man admitted to gruesomely killing a bald eagle for taking fish out of his pond. It really upset me more than it had been another type of bird. I also remember when they were endangered when I was a kid, they really should be off-limits in all reasonable cases. If a bald eagle wants fish from your pond for example, let him take it. 

Do you have extra respect for bald eagles?