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The new female dragon in “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” illustrates a sexist trend in children’s animation.

How Donald Trump got his inspiration for his new border policy from Australia.

How upcycling can enhance your life.

Puerto Rico is a “Playground for the Privileged”: Investors move in as homes foreclose and schools close.

Native Americans remember the trauma of children taken from their parents.

Murder with impunity: Where killings go unsolved.

Lavender lemonade is the best and most natural way to get rid of headaches and anxiety.

Immigrants describe the horrors that made them flee Latin America for the U.S.

The origins of America’s unique and spectacular cruelty.

Five reasons why Linda McCartney is a fierce role model.

Why the face of immigrant family separation is a white woman.

Woman’s obituary takes a dark turn over a long-ago extramarital affair.

Six of the worst “work for exposure instead of money” stories seen online.

Remembering the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy 50 years later.

Study estimates Hurricane Maria killed nearly 5,000 people but barely makes the news.

This German children’s book is the creepiest thing you’ll see today.

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Santa Claus

Here’s a free recipe and tutorial on how to create a gingerbread replica of the Millennial Falcon starship from Star Wars.

19 baffling vintage Christmas cards.

The 25 most popular passwords that people used in 2017 that you definitely do NOT want to use for yourself.

Check out the bizarre Christmas cards of comedian John Cessna.

All 19 fun, festive, utterly bizarre Rankin/Bass Christmas specials ranked from worst to best.

Chilling images of German Christmas decorations inspired by the Nazis.

Need a new Christmas tree topper? Here are free instructions on how to make one that resembles the house from the Disney/Pixar film Up.

27 completely tacky and hilarious Christmas displays.

Want to display ornaments without getting a Christmas tree? Here is a free tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree consisting entirely of ornaments.

29 viral posts and GIFs from 2017 that were totally fake.

Like I wrote in my previous post, I decided to go to Baltimore on November 25 because I wanted to check out the Christkindlesmarkt at the Zion Lutheran Church. But I got stuck in horrible northbound traffic then I waited a long time for both the light rail and the Metro subway. By the time I arrived at the church I only had 45 minutes left until the event ended for the day. (They would continue it on the next day but that day was Sunday and I wasn’t able to make it at all due to commitments I had with my own church that took up most of the day.) I eventually made it to the church, where I saw this statue outside of the church that’s dedicated to all of the Baltimore City firefighters both past and future.

Outside of the church were these trees that produced wonderful red colored autumn leaves.

Despite finally making it to the event so late in day before closing, there were still plenty of things to see and do.

There were a lot of stuff I would’ve loved to buy but I couldn’t due to tight finances. I purchased two German-imported Santa Claus chocolates that were more patterned after the original bishop, Saint Nicholas, than after the fat jolly man who hangs around with elves and reindeer. I kept one for myself and I plan on giving the other one to my mother for Christmas.

I also purchased a pack of Haribo gummy candies that were all cherry flavored and they were even shaped like cherries.

I was bummed that I arrived at the Christkindlesmarkt event so late in the day. It was still daylight outside so I decided to just take the Charm City Circulator bus to the Inner Harbor where I checked out the Christmas Village in Baltimore and the Inner Harbor itself.

Microsoft Paint avoids brush with death.

Tutorials—some free—on how to make doll clothes for any size or shape of your doll.

Why the death of malls is about more than shopping.

How to get your Instagram marketing off the ground.

After a century of dispute, the German alphabet just got a new character.

In her first act as a Disney Legend, Whoopi Goldberg tells Disney to stop hiding its history.

Artist Leticia Santos finds geometric inspiration in D.C.’s row houses.

Black Southern Baptist minister renounces church over its Trump support in a scathing open letter.

An open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “small church” pastor.

Download 200+ Belle Époque art posters from 1880-1918 for free.

A new low: “Photo community” asks for (and gets) free commercial license to photos.

Growing paper clothes in rural Japan.

The extraordinary reason exceptional people avoid mediocre friends. (They rewire your brain.)

Colorizing an early 1900s photo of New York brings it to life.

12 tips to being a better photo blogger.

A history of why the U.S. is the only rich country without universal health care.

The best worst reactions to the news that the next Doctor Who will be a woman.

Honda debuts a one-of-a-kind “Minnie Van.”

This untouched 70s home is the grooviest thing you’ll see all year.

An attempt at a world record for the most Frida Kahlo lookalikes in one place.

Here are some photos of vintage German dollhouses that were based on a typical home in the German Democratic Republic (a.k.a. GDR and East Germany) prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Here’s a fascinating page on The Fairy Faith: An Ancient Indigenous European Religion, including some lovely art.

Lego is moving away from using plastic to make its bricks in favor of making them from more sustainable materials.

Last summer, when I checked out the German Festival that was held in Timonium, I picked up quite a few flyers that were all advertising upcoming events that were of interest to the German-American community. While I was doing some tidying up at home, I came across one of those flyers that were advertising a Christkindlemarkt that was being held at Zion Lutheran Church in Baltimore. I was intrigued enough by the brochure that I decided to check it out in person this year.

I parked my car at the North Linthicum Light Rail station and took the light rail train to Lexington Market then walked for a few minutes. The next photo shows the remains of the old Hutzler’s department store. One can still see the name and logo etched over what was the main entrance.


While there are the occasional chain stores that one can also find in the suburbs (such as the Rainbow store in the next photograph), the vast majority of stores are locally owned.


Baltimore is such an economic mix, even on the same street. In some areas if you look on one side of the street, you’d see locked up stores that have definitely gone out of business a long time ago. But then you look across the street and you see what looks like a nicer area. It gets pretty surreal at times.







I eventually reached my destination, Zion Lutheran Church. It is a large brick building that’s totally rich in history dating all the way back to 1755.




Living in the DC area that has a lot of immigrants from Central America, I have long grown used to hearing people speaking Spanish among each other and seeing bilingual English-Spanish signs. It’s just so novel to go to a place where people talk to each other in a different language and seeing bilingual signs and it’s not in Spanish but in German.


The church has this library that’s filled with wooden shelves and wooden furniture and it’s loaded with German language books, many of which are very old. This church has so many old German books that this library can’t contain them all. I saw bookcases in other parts of the church where the overflow German books were stored.




Everywhere you went in that church there were all kinds of things relating to German American history and culture. And the architecture of this building was amazing.











According to the Wikipedia, Zion Lutheran Church is the last church in Maryland that still offers weekly Sunday services in German. I would love to sit in on such a service except I live about 30 miles away and the German services are held at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings. If I really wanted to go, I would have to wake up between 6-7 a.m. and be out the door no later than 8 a.m. Since the light rail trains don’t start on Sunday mornings until after 10:30, I would have to drive into the city and deal with the hassle of finding parking. Maybe I’ll make the effort one Sunday in the future, I just don’t know when I would do this.


As for the Christkindlmarkt itself, it was excellent. There were three floors full of things to see, do, and eat. The most crowded room was the one that contained a train garden as many children crowded around watching the toy trains go by. I heard a few tantrums as parents tried to tell their children that it was time to go and the kids didn’t want to leave because they were completely mesmerized.







There was an amazing array of German imported crafts that one could buy. The only thing I purchased (besides the lunch that I ate there) was a pound of German coffee as a Christmas present for my mother. When I was buying the coffee, there was a couple near me that were buying a whole box full of German coffee and they ended up paying $70. I guess this couple loved their German coffee so much that they needed to have enough to last them for most of 2015. (LOL!)











Despite the German crafts and food, I found that not even the Christkindlemarkt at Zion Lutheran Church is immune from the onslaught of Anna and Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen. (LOL!)


Zion Lutheran Church is literally located across the street from City Hall.


I walked back to the Lexington Market Light Rail Stop using a slightly different route. I came across this memorial to former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., who was also the father of former House Speaker (and current House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi.





I ended my visit to Baltimore by walking past these interesting looking Christmas decorations before boarding the light rail back to where my car was parked.


One Saturday evening I decided to check out this Oktoberfest dinner that was held at St. Hugh’s Catholic Church in Greenbelt, Maryland because I was in the mood for some German food. The event began at 4 p.m. but I decided to wait until after 6:30 p.m. because there was the usual Saturday evening mass scheduled at 5 p.m. and I wanted some of the mass crowd to leave before I arrived. That turned out to be a big mistake because by the time I arrived, some of the dishes and all of the pretzels and deserts were sold out. Fortunately there were still a few dinner dishes left so I still was able to eat German food for dinner.

I also took a few pictures of the event, starting with the various German flags.




It was a very festive event with the decorations, the accordion player, and the German dancers.







I took this last photo of the menu because I liked the names of some of the platters (such as the pork roast platter named after Pope Francis).


For the record, I ordered the Nurenberger Wurst with a side order of sauerkraut. The sausage was good. As for the sauerkraut, I received such a big portion that I took part of it home to eat at a later date.

I managed to socialize with this older couple who have been members of the church for years. (I was sitting there eating dinner when they were sitting at the same table as I was and they started talking to me.) They were quite friendly while talking about their children and grandchildren (including one grandson who has just started attending the University of Maryland). They also told me that they have recently moved to a retirement community in Beltsville but still attended St. Hugh’s in Greenbelt because they have been members for so long and most of their friends are still with that church.

They reminded me of an elderly couple who were longtime active members of my Unitarian Universalist congregation until they both passed away about five years ago or so. (I remembered the husband passed away first then his wife passed away just six months later. The couple were married 64 years when the husband died first.) That couple were among those who reached out to my future ex-husband and I when we first started to attend that church and they even continued to attend Sunday services at the same church after they moved to a nearby retirement community just a few years before their deaths.

Eventually that couple decided to leave and I decided to go as well because I wanted to get home in time to watch the latest episode of Doctor Who on BBC America. As I left the church, I heard the accordion player starting to play Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. I thought that was so hilarious that I attempted to shoot a video of that performance but I couldn’t because I was running very low on battery power and my smartphone simply refused to let me turn the videocamera on. Oh well.

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