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I briefly stepped inside of a Mardi Gras party (which actually took place on the Saturday before the actual day itself) that was held at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland. When I arrived I saw that the bartenders were dressed for the occasion (even though it doesn’t seem to show in the photographs I took because it was dark inside).

Little Red & the Renegades performed on stage that night and they got a lot of people dancing.

I even shot a short video of the band, which should give you an idea of what they sound like.

I didn’t stay too long because it was crowded inside. My car was parked over by the Co-Op Supermarket (which is located across from The New Deal Cafe). As I was walking past the doors, I saw a dog tied to a tree nearby wearing a lit necklace. That canine looked like he was ready to do some Mardi Gras partying himself.

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I arrived at the monthly Campfire Sessions, a musician showcase that is held at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland on the last Wednesday of each month. The Campfire Sessions is hosted by Joey Campfire, who is part of the duo The Bachelor and The Bad Actress. Here he is introducing the next act that night.

I arrived late so I missed the first act, Jer Swaby. I saw him at a previous Campfire Sessions last year where I even shot a video of his performance.

I managed to arrive in the middle of this performance by Matt Severson. At one point he switched his acoustic guitar for a bass guitar.

The final act on the bill was a keyboard player known as Jacqueline Pie Francis.

Here’s a short video I shot of Matt Severson and Jacqueline Pie Francis performing their music. Enjoy!

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Interest in warehousing jobs growing quickly.

Portrait of a fake news troll and the racist retiree who believes everything he writes.

Apprenticeships or college? How about both?

“Satanic Panic” era televangelist had the hippest alternative rock record collection.

A look at Lee Godie, the homeless woman who made photo-booth art.

Mark Twain’s modest proposal for ending lynching in the American South.

Stop supporting child slavery by avoiding these six companies.

Chocolate from the Boer War survives for over 100 years.

Neo-Nazis are organizing secretive paramilitary training across America.

Study finds female Uber drives make seven percent less than their male counterparts.

In praise of “scruffy hospitality.”

How a small black-owned newspaper fought a racist establishment and won.

Bill Clinton’s Stone Mountain moment.

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Today is another Throwback Thursday where I periodically highlight something from the past in this blog. Now that it’s official that Bernie Sanders is running for President of the United States for the second time, it’s time for me to bring this animation I did out of the YouTube archives and feature it in this blog once again.

I originally did that animation as part of a short course of Adobe AfterEffects that I took at the Takoma Park Public Library back in 2015.

I also was a volunteer phone banker at Bernie Sanders’ campaign office in College Park, Maryland until that office closed soon after the Maryland primary elections came and went. Here is one of the photos I shot during my time there of my fellow volunteers working hard on behalf of Bernie.

picture27

You can see other photos I shot during my time there in this post I wrote on April 26, 2016.

While I’m at it, I might as well also feature a Bernie Sanders music video that I appeared in. The song is called “Be a Believer” by The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. I’m the one in the flying pig hat who appeared at the 7 second, 46 second, and 56 second marks.

You can see some behind-the-scenes photos I took on the day that the video was shot in 2016 right here.

That video actually got attention from a few media outlets like Mashable. It also led to this ludicrous rant on Fox News from one-time MTV VJ Kennedy, who somehow saw threats of Soviet-style communism invading the U.S. in that video that no one else saw. (LOL!)

Right now it’s too early in the campaign process for me to decide whom I’ll support. (I’m torn between Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Tulsi Gabbard.) But if any of the three end up being the front-runner, I may even re-register as a Democrat so I can vote in the primaries once again. (I had left the Democrats and registered as an Independent back in 2016 because I was so disgusted with the great lengths that the DNC under Debbie Wasserman Schultz had gone in order to make sure that Hillary Clinton ended getting the nomination even though Bernie Sanders not only outdrew Clinton in the polls but he was also polled as being the only candidate who could take down Trump. That disaster was one of the main reasons why Donald Trump now occupies the White House.)

I’m hoping that Donald Trump gets defeated in 2020, assuming that he doesn’t get removed from office beforehand (whether it’s through being impeached as a result of the Mueller investigation or Congress finally getting its act together and invoking the 25th Amendment). It’s past time for the U.S. to start heading in a new direction where it doesn’t get dominated by Wall Street oligarchs who only care about making more money (even though many of these people are already millionaires and billionaires). I have spent my entire adult life seeing the U.S. being increasingly dominated by the wealthy who have waged class warfare against the middle, lower, and poor classes in this country. I have never known an earlier era where we had such things as interstate highways, a space program, and a secure social safety net where the elderly and most vulnerable could still survive without worrying about being homeless and hungry. All of these things were made possible through a heavy tax on the wealthiest in this society.

By the time I became an adult, Ronald Reagan was president and everything was upended and reversed for the worse and it has continued through a succession of presidents—both Republican and Democrat. And it’s the average American who has been getting increasingly screwed as a result.

Here’s one such example and it comes from my own background. My mother was able to rise out of a childhood spent in poverty in Baltimore by working as a secretary and she and my dad were a two-income family back in an era where women were expected to stay home. Nowadays poor people who had a similar childhood to my mother’s have a much harder time working their way out of poverty.

I could rant further about how the U.S. is the only developed nation who does not provide health care for all of its citizens or how there are politicians who are dedicated to declaring that life begins at conception and go through great lengths to restrict access to abortion and birth control yet refuse to do anything about the rise in mass shootings in recent years. (The cynic in me says that these politicians will only do something about the gun situation if someone breaks into the obstetrics ward of a hospital or birthing clinic and starts mass-shooting pregnant women in the stomach resulting in dead fetuses.) But I’m running out of time and I have other pressing things that I need to do at the moment so I’ll just end this post right now.

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Breathtaking portraits capture ballets’s finest dancing on the streets of New York.

The last surviving Basque soldier from the Spanish Civil War turns 100 and speaks about his experiences during that war.

How to fight the alt-right.

What happens when a musician plays Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy” on a $25 kids’ guitar at Walmart.

White-washing white supremacy: How the mainstream media rushed to excuse the Covington Catholic High School students.

The “feel-good” horror of late-stage capitalism.

After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, the U.S. needs more tradespeople.

New study shows Silicon Valley’s elite are not as liberal as they think.

11 things you wouldn’t have without black women.

Iranian video game, Engare, explores the elegant geometry of Islamic art.

Liberals aren’t stupid. Conservatives aren’t racists. The people we disagree with are not our enemies.

The life and secrets of Melania Trump.

Between worlds: The art of Bill Traylor.

“Lean In” has been discredited for good.

When Native Americans were slaughtered in the name of “civilization.”

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Valentine's Day

Yesterday morning I stopped off at a local Giant supermarket on my way to work where I saw a huge amount of heart-shaped balloons on sale. That’s not unusual since Valentine’s Day was the following day. But I saw some balloons that said “I Sing. Tap Me to Play!” So I did just that and found that these balloons were musical balloons that played brief snippets from popular love songs. I had never seen anything like that before. To give you a general idea of what this balloon is like, I shot this short video of one of the musical balloons playing Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

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I was visiting The Space (a makerspace located in Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Maryland) when I saw that a local dance school known as the D’Amour School of Dance was giving a dance recital on that very day. So I hung around and checked it out.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space was decorated just for the holidays.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The young dancers were gathered before the recital began.

The Space, December 8, 2018

There was also a toy drive for underprivileged children where people could donate toys on a Giving Blanket.

The Space, December 8, 2018

As the day went on, the Giving Blanket became more filled with toys.

The Space, December 8, 2018

Here are some photos from the dance recital itself.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

I shot a video showing the highlights of that dance recital.

There was a spread of food for the planned reception after the dance recital ended.

The Space, December 8, 2018

The Space, December 8, 2018

The participants and those who were in the audience participated in the reception.

The Space, December 8, 2018

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This year I decided to check out the opening ceremony of the Festival of Lights that was held at Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. As you can see from the photographs, it was a well-attended event. The weather was cold but it was pretty clear with no rain or snow. (My area has been getting tons of rain this year and it gets pretty tiresome after a while. Thanks for nothing, global warming!)

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Here is what the official Festival of Lights tree looked like before it was lit for the first time. The box that held the tree had Santa Claus decorated on all sides.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

The local orchestra played a variety of winter holiday tunes.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Santa Claus arrived on the back of a fire truck.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Once Santa arrived the tree was lit up. Here is what it looked like with its lights on.

Festival of Lights Opening Ceremony, November 30, 2018

Here’s a short video I shot of the opening ceremony.

After the opening ceremony I walked over to the nearby Greenbelt Museum, which opened its door to the public for free as part of the opening ceremony festivities.

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

I shot photos of that same museum during Labor Day weekend so I decided to focus on its special exhibit on how people celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah during the Great Depression. It included vintage decorations of the period. I found it very interesting.

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

Festival of Lights Opening Night, November 30, 2018

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I arrived at yet another Campfire Sessions, which is a monthly series of special performances that are held at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland. Basically the performers play a set lasting around 15-20 minutes then take questions from the audience about their work. I arrived a bit late because earlier I was taking part in a weekly crafting event known as Fiber Fans (where people can bring their knitting, crocheting, or sewing and socialize while working on their latest piece) that’s held at the Greenbelt Makerspace. The Campfire Sessions are hosted by Joey Campfire, who’s known as one-half of The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. This month he decided to do his emcee duties wearing an American flag long johns.

I arrived just in time for the last act of the evening. They are known as The Chromatics and they are an a cappella group consisting of people who are all employees at the nearby NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. They sing songs about science and space. I found them to be a bit quirky. I shot a video of The Chromatics singing some of their songs.

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I thought I said everything that needed to be said when I wrote my original post on the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse. What I didn’t realize is that the photos I posted of various anniversary stuff (ranging from cookies to waffle irons) was just the beginning. I went back to Target last week and I saw that the store had more 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse stuff that I hadn’t seen before, starting with this 90th anniversary remote control Mickey car.

Target had a special box of small Mickey Mouse plushes that depict him in the various stages of his long and distinguished career.

The box even had a cute handle shaped like Mickey Mouse heads.

There were small vinyl 90th anniversary Mickeys that I hadn’t seen before.

Plus there were 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse Christmas ornaments.

There’s one surprise I found out about a Mickey item I had previously blogged about. I saw Mickey Mouse Steamboat Willie plushes at Target. What I didn’t realize is that this particular plush is also animatronic. If you press one of his hands, he’ll rock side to side and sing Steamboat Willie‘s opening theme song. I shot a short video showing this.

I wouldn’t be surprised if more 90th anniversary Mickey items will arrive in stores in the near future. In any case, I’m not going to write any more posts about the 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse unless I see something that’s incredibly unique and interesting. One could easily spend 40 hours a week trying to keep track of all of the 90th anniversary Mickey items that are out there and I just don’t have the time to do that at the moment.

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