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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

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I decided to write about two dogs whom I’ve gotten to know over the past month or so.

I’m currently working at a day job with a woman who works out of her home. She has two dogs. I recently took a photo of the two of them together.

The dog on the left is a male dog named Cue. He is the larger of the two and he has darker fur. The dog on the right is his sister, Sadie. Both dogs generally get along well together despite the fact that they seem to be polar opposites in personality. Sadie will stay outdoors in the backyard for hours while Cue prefers to be indoors. (He’ll go outside but he’s generally the first one who wants to go back in.) While Sadie likes to be petted, Cue is the one who wants the lion’s share of the attention. He frequently sports a sad face when he wants to be petted as if he’s trying to convey the message that he’s somehow attention-deprived.

I still remember the time when I was petting both dogs at once—one with each different hand. Cue saw what I was doing and he immediately pivoted his body to a position where he pushed Sadie out of the way so both of my hands would be petting Cue. Sadie seemed to take Cue’s pushiness in stride in that she didn’t seem angry or anything.

So being able to take breaks so I could pet dogs is a cool fringe benefit of my current gig, especially since owning a pet of my own is currently out of the question for financial reasons. (My last pet was Spike the Hedgehog, who passed away back in 2013.)

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Over the years I’ve written posts in this blog about Takoma Park, which is located directly on the Maryland-Washington, DC line. I’ve taken photos of all kinds of interesting landmarks on both sides of the border.

My latest day job is located on the Maryland side of Takoma Park so I have more opportunities to walk around this incredibly artsy funky town. Just when I thought I had photographed everything about that area, I always find something new to take a picture of. Here are some recent photos I took of some interesting eye candy.

Many of the houses in Takoma Park are historic and the vast majority of them were built from the time of its founding in 1893 through to around the 1950s. This house in the next two photos stood out to me to me because the left side looks like the typical historic house while the right side looks like a modern geometric building. Yet the two distinct sides seem to harmoniously co-exist side by side.

Sometimes I’ll see something that’s pretty odd and unusual in Takoma Park, such as this Buddha head that someone had placed next to a tree near the back entrance to the Takoma Metro station.

Some houses have original sculptures on the front lawns so pedestrians can enjoy them.

One of the houses had decorated one of the bare trees in the front yard with tiny Christmas balls. I thought it was a cute touch even though I took this photo in early February and Christmas has long since passed.

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I’m currently working a day job where I have to take government documents and make them accessible for people with various disabilities. The company is a home-based business so I have this nice window view of the backyard. As you can see in these photos that the area has had a few snow days.

The business owner has two dogs, one of whom is clearly enjoying the snow.

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A few weeks ago I was visiting The Space (the makerspace that’s located in Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Maryland) when I saw this bit of inspiration hanging on the walls: “Live life to the fullest. It’s not always about the ending. It’s about the story. Never stop dreaming. Remember you are extraordinary.”

The Space, January 19, 2018

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Earlier this month there was a formal inauguration ceremony for a new community minister at my Unitarian Universalist congregation. Basically the community minister would serve a part-time position where she would inaugurate new programs for nearby communities that our congregation would serve. I took a couple of photos during the ceremony (which took place during the Sunday service on January 6, 2019).

The minister, Rev. Rachel Christensen (left in the next photo) assisted in the inauguration of Rev. Karen Lee Scrivo in her new role as community minister.

Inauguration Ceremony

Rev. Karen Lee Scrivo gave her first speech as the newly minted community minister of Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland.

Inauguration Ceremony

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This past weekend a major snowstorm hit the Washington, DC area where I lived. The snowstorm started late Saturday then it stopped for a brief period on the following Sunday afternoon before it started up again and it didn’t stop for good until sometime in the middle of the night.

As a result, most of DC was even more shutdown than it was before (due to the ongoing federal government shutdown where Donald Trump is still refusing to budge on signing on this year’s budget until he gets his border wall).

Yesterday morning it was sunny with a bright blue sky. It was still cold outside but it wasn’t quite as bad as before the snowstorm. I managed to bring out my Elsa doll and placed her along a shoveled sidewalk area to give you an idea as to how deep the snow was in my area. (Elsa is about 11-12 inches tall, which makes her roughly the same height as Barbie.)

I also took a few photos of the wooded area that’s close to my home.

Later in the day I went to the local mall where I went to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts because I needed to buy some new patches for my jeans. When I was standing in the checkout line I saw these really cute stuffed animals for Valentine’s Day that had these groan-inducing puns.

Right next to the llama on the right-hand side is The Perfect Man chocolate, which I remember actually buying from that same store five years earlier then blogging about it. I ended up not buying The Perfect Man this time around but I managed to buy a pack of glue sticks because I had a coupon (through the Jo-Ann smartphone app). The store also had a sale on a bundle of two pairs of fuzzy Christmas slipper socks. Each bundle was originally priced at $9.99 but they were 90% off so each bundle now costs $1 each. (Which meant that each pair of slipper socks only cost 50 cents per pair. Sweet!) I purchased two bundles because I only wear slipper socks in bed these days so I really don’t care if I’m wearing green and red Christmas socks in—let’s say—early March since I only intend to sleep in them and not wear them out in public.

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Santa Claus

I went to a Winter Solstice party at the home of a couple of my friends. The party began with an outdoor Winter Solstice ritual around a bonfire.

The party began in earnest after the ritual ended as people socialized and ate the food that many of the guests provided. (It was a potluck party. I brought a couple bags of potato chips.)

The house kitten also enjoyed himself as well.

The last two photos show this festive chocolate cake that the hosts provided.

In some ways this party is poignant because it was the last party before my friends’ recent move to New Hampshire. They intend to hold on to their Maryland home as rental property but from now on they intend to spend the bulk of their time in New Hampshire. I’m Facebook friends with both of them but I’ll still miss not seeing them in person on a regular basis.

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Santa Claus

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How the decline of unions is fucking the Democratic Party.

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Santa Claus

Earlier this month I went to my church’s annual Holiday Warm-Up Party where I took these photos.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

A week before the party I took part in a local event where I made a Norwegian-style heart-shaped paper ornament. I ended up bringing that ornament to the party where I hung it on the Christmas tree.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

The festivities included trimming the Christmas tree.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

We had a singalong where we sang a variety of Hanukkah and Christmas music.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

We also played a few rounds of Charades.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Here is what the church’s Christmas Tree looked like by the end of the party.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 8, 2018

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