The good news is that Net Neutrality isn’t dead yet and the above graphic is only an animated gif. If the Trump Administration has its way, then you’ll really be encountering graphics like this whenever you’re visiting this blog or other sites that don’t have the backing of the big telecommunications corporations (i.e., Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T) while waiting unusually long times to access whatever you want online. For more details, visit Battle for Net Neutrality or the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

On the Saturday during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I decided to check out this toy show that was being held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

It was such a feast for the eyes as the toys and various other vintage items were displayed at various vendor tables. The whole show took on the air of a flea market with an emphasis on vintage stuff dating anywhere from the 1900s to the 1990s.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Someone had a jukebox for sale, which reminded me of my childhood when many of the local restaurants had them and people could choose songs to play for about a quarter each.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The jukebox played music during the entire event. (Which proved that it definitely still worked.) I couldn’t help taking pictures of the songs that were available on the jukebox. The majority of them were hits when I was a kid.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

And speaking of music players, here’s a vintage 8-track player with an Elvis Presley 8-track tape. I once had a stereo system that included an 8-track player but I never owned one like that. But I could’ve sworn that one of my friends or maybe one of my cousins had a player just like that but I don’t know for sure. (Memory is one of those funny things where you remember something but you don’t remember when, where, or how you remember it.)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Late last year I did a series of blog posts with accompanying photos known as A Tabletop Christmas (so-named because I limit my Christmas decorating to just a single tabletop in my living room). Among the items I showed off was a small plastic Santa Claus puppet that I’ve had since I was a child. I didn’t know anything about the origins of this puppet. It wasn’t until I went to the toy show when I saw a tiny plastic Santa puppet on sale that’s identical to mine.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The only difference between the two is that this Santa still had its label at the base while mine doesn’t have any labels at all. (I suspect that whatever label it had must’ve fallen off a long time ago.) My Santa puppet is currently stored in a box with the other Christmas decorations in the attic but here’s a picture of my Santa puppet that I took last December.

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At first I thought the animal in the next picture was a stuffed animal until I saw the dog move his eyes around. He laid there the entire time I was at that show.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

This show also had examples of how the mighty had fallen. I found this book by disgraced former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly on sale for only $1 at one of the tables. (LOL!)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

There was one token of something new that I found. Someone was selling glow-in-the-dark versions of the hottest toy of 2017: Fidget Spinners.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

By the way, you can check out a video I shot recently where I unboxed and played with one of those Fidget Spinners for the first time (and, no, the one I bought didn’t glow in the dark).

Everywhere there were visual treats, many of which harkened back to my own youth.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

As I was walking back to the light rail stop I shot this photo of The Cow Palace building because it had a nice small garden.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I didn’t buy a lot of stuff at that toy show due mainly to tight finances. But I managed to snag a couple of things at bargain rates. I found the second season of The Simpsons DVD set for only $6.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I bought a Monster High doll for only $5. I was attracted to her pretty winter-themed clothes. At first I thought I may have purchased a relative of The Snow Queen until I did an online search and I was able to make a definite identification. Based on this web page, her name is Abbey Bominable and she’s described as the 16-year-old daughter of the Yeti.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Here’s a closeup of her hair, which looks like it has glittery plastic pellets weaved throughout the strands. It gives a really cool ice/snow effect, especially when the light reflects off of her hair.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

On the Saturday during the Fourth of July holiday weekend I decided to attend a toy show that was held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. (Which I’ll write about in my next post.) Rather than make the long arduous drive, I decided to drive part of the way to the North Linthicum light rail stop and take the light rail train the rest of the way. It was way easier for me because the light rail stop was right at the back gates to the fairgrounds and I only had to walk a few extra minutes to the building where the toy show took place.

I was treated to something extra when I went to the North Linthicum light rail stop. This art truck was parked there and it was really a sight to behold.

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

Art Truck

I’ve recently published another article on OpenSource.com, which I not only wrote but I also took the photographs as well. Here’s the link:

How Linux and maker spaces can strengthen our social fabric

I have to thank Phil Shapiro for his suggestion that I write something for that website. I previously wrote a tutorial on tracing photos in Inkscape back in 2014 but I didn’t get much response to that one. Phil basically encouraged me to try again and he feels that this story might result in gaining a few new contacts that may help me find a new day job to help me pay the bills. Only time will tell whether Phil is right about this or not.

My article is about this event that was held one Saturday afternoon in May at the STEM center Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland. It was a workshop titled “Build a PC and Install Linux.” Basically the attendees got hands-on experience in building a PC using donated used computer parts and installing the Ubuntu operating system. Once the attendees finished, they were allowed to take their new PC’s home free of charge. I took a bunch of photos that I uploaded on to Flickr and I showed Phil, who then urged me to write the OpenSource.com article.

But I’m going to show something from that workshop that’s exclusive only to readers of this blog. Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I took the pictures that are in that article. However, OpenSource.com only printed a few of the photos I took. So, as a treat to you readers, I’m going to post the outtakes from that article right here. All of them were taken during that workshop.

Here’s one of the Brood X cicadas that had hatched back in May who was crawling around in Roosevelt Center just a few feet away from Makerspace 125. Those bugs were not only big but they made this loud mating call that sounded like a car alarm and they were really noisy between sunrise and sunset.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

The rest of the photos outtakes were taken inside Makerspace 125 during the workshop.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

An automated knitting look at Makerspace 125.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

If you want to see the photos that actually accompanied my article, click here.

Tired of the same old cheap paperclip? For $185 you can buy this special Prada paperclip to help make your life organized.

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Forgotten art deco marvels of a lost 1920’s Copacabana.

Girl Scouts will soon offer badges in cybersecurity.

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An opinion piece by Douglas Rushkoff explaining why it’s time to break up Amazon.

Samsung’s classy new TV moonlights as a work of art.

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Download and read up to 6,000 vintage children’s book for free.

Jeff Koons radically downsizes his studio, laying off half his painting staff.

Artist Lucy Sparrow opens an entire convenience store full of handmade felt products in Manhattan.

Photographer spent six months traveling to Siberia to take pictures of indigenous people.

Click here to learn about the origins of this.

Benjamin Franklin

Lawyers, preachers, and tomtit’s eggs, there are more of them hatched than come to perfection.

Shortly after I visited the dinosaur-themed Laurel Public Library, I happened to be shopping at a local Target when I saw these really cute dinosaur greeting cards.

Dinosaur Greeting Cards

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, a national U.S. holiday that was originally created to honor the creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence. NPR decided to issue a series of tweets on Twitter using text that was directly taken from that document. Sounds pretty innocuous and very appropriate for the occasion, no?

Except plenty of Trump supporters actually protested this on Twitter. These links show just a fraction of the angry tweets from Trump supporters protesting the Declaration of Independence being posted on Twitter.

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/calling-for-a-revolution-trump-fans-triggered-after-npr-tweets-out-the-declaration-of-independence/

https://gizmodo.com/trump-supporters-cry-bias-after-npr-tweets-the-declarat-1796633566

http://www.newsweek.com/anti-trump-resistance-ready-rise-after-reading-declaration-independence-tweets-631942

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/npr-declaration-of-independence_us_595c6525e4b0da2c7325bd50?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliareinstein/we-hold-these-alternative-truths-to-be-self-evident?bffbmain&ref=bffbmain&utm_term=.loaR8Em7a#.vdxgLXlNG

http://www.salon.com/2017/07/05/nprs-declaration-of-independence-tweetstorm-angered-some-trump-supporters/

I’m just going to say that if you are against the Declaration of Independence and the ideas that are in that document (such as “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”) then you are anti-American.

I’m old enough to remember when those who were against the anti-Vietnam War protesters used to say “America—Love It or Leave It.” I would say the same thing to those Trump supporters who have protested against the Declaration of Independence on Twitter. Protesting that document is the same as hating America. Protesting that document is just like burning the American flag and they’re the same as hating America. If you hate America that much, then maybe it’s time for you to move to a country that’s more to your liking in terms of having less freedom and more dictatorship. You could move to Russia, where Trump’s buddy Vladimir Putin rules that nation. You could move to Saudi Arabia where you can lose a limb or even your head if you toe the line way too often. You could even move to North Korea where the people there worship Kim Jong Eun just as much as you worship Donald Trump.

But you Declaration of Independence-hating Trump supporters need to decide just one thing: America—Love It or Leave It.

Ted Adelman’s name may not mean much to people who live outside the Washington, DC area but to the locals he produced Christmas magic. Yesterday I learned that he had died just a few weeks ago. In a way it’s fitting that his family waited until another major holiday weekend (Fourth of July) to announce his death because Ted Adelman celebrated Christmas in a really big way. Boy, did he ever celebrate that holiday! Each December his home would look like this.

photo13


photo14

photo48

photo36

You can see more photos I took of that house in my blog posts that I wrote in 2012 and 2014.

I also shot a video in 2010 of both that house and another home located across the street that was also decorating in a big way. That video shows how the house had Christmas lights that flashed in synchronicity to cheerful Christmas music that was piped outside.

That tradition abruptly ended last December when the family decided not to decorate their home for the holidays. It was when NBC4 investigated and learned the reason why: Ted Adelman had been battling cancer and he simply didn’t feel up to it. His neighbors decided to organize a group of Christmas carolers that came over to his home on Christmas night singing Christmas carols as a way of thanking him for all the years that he brought cheer to neighbors and strangers alike.

As of this writing it’s not known whether his family plans to continue with this tradition or not and we probably won’t know until December. If there’s a Heaven, I can imagine Ted Adelman trying to overdecorate it at Christmas so much that even Jesus will tell him “You don’t have to do this for me. Really. Oh, well, I’m very flattered that you care this much about me.”

I attended a workshop on how to use social media to get a job at the Maryland Workforce Exchange office in Laurel. A nasty storm was about to get started when the workshop ended. Rather than make a potentially perilous journey home I decided to head to the nearby Laurel Library so I could wait out the storm. I brought my laptop with me plus there are plenty of books in that library so I had no problem with waiting there. (Besides it’s not like I have anyone waiting at home for me to return these days.)

I last visited that library back in December. It had recently opened and I was curious to see what it was like and I found it interesting, especially with the dinosaur motif. On this trip I found some more dinosaur motifs scattered around the place.

That giant dinosaur skeleton is still buried under a plexiglass floor.

This little girl was walking on the floor above the dinosaur skeleton while taking a look at it.

I noticed that there were gardens outside the last time I was there but everything was dead since it was in December. This time everything was lush and growing with all kinds of pretty flowers blooming.

I last saw the glass obelisk outside the library at night, when it was lit up. It was still daylight when I saw it again but it’s still interesting to see it with the sun out.

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