You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Germany’ tag.

How to recognize Russian propaganda on social media.

Apple breaks new ground in squeezing locals for huge tax breaks while offering almost no jobs.

Why you should stop entering design competitions.

Networking is not just for the young.

Dictionary of the oldest written language, Akkadian (which was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia) is now available online for free.

22 of the best painted stones ideas that will raise your creativity.

Claude Taylor and Louise Mensch are cautionary tales on why you should stop believing Twitter’s “citizen journalists.”

Legacy isn’t going to save Marvel Comics.

Two women entrepreneurs create fake male co-founder to beat startup sexism.

Democracy in crisis: This ain’t the Summer of Love.

Six ways you didn’t realize Ronald Reagan ruined the country.

The 15 top art schools in the United States.

Why you shouldn’t submit your photographs to vanity magazines.

The solution to our housing crisis is to let communities own property.

Inside the summer camp for kids who are allergic to the sun.

30 photographs that will change your mind about tattoos.

Day of the Dead nesting dolls.

South Africa’s wealth divide analyzed through impressive aerial photographs.

Free download of hundreds of issues of Jugend, Germany’s pioneering art nouveau magazine that was published from 1896 to 1940.

Expert doubles down: robots still threaten 47% of U.S. jobs.

Skill, re-skill and re-skill again. How to keep up with the future of work.

17-year-old Stanley Kubrick’s photos of 1940s New York proves that he was born a genius.

Why the right is suddenly terrified of political violence.

What if Hillary Clinton had won the elections last year?


The Hillary Clinton obsession needs to end.

See images of unusual architecture (such as a restaurant in a building shaped like an airplane) through the Library of Congress’ John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive.

See Michelangelo’s handwritten 16th century grocery list, which includes some very detailed illustrations in the margins.

Germany confronts the forgotten story of its other genocide in Namibia.

Hōshi: a short film on the 1300-year-old hotel run by the same Japanese family for 46 generations.

When J.M. Coetzee secretly programmed computers to write poetry in the 1960s.

“Blasphemous” Brazilian artist under fire for turning religious figures into pop culture icons.

The obsessive art and great confession of Charlotte Salomon.

A feminist artist uses glitter, stickers, and other accessories as media for creating art that explores a typical girl’s adolescence.

Colorfully decorative storefronts reveal the story of Paris.

What’s the matter with Democrats? Thomas Frank explains.

Read tons and tons of amazing Golden/Silver age comic books for free.

This is Sinclair, ’the most dangerous US company you’ve never heard of.’

There are now LEGO kits focusing on recreating obsolete technology.

View tiny nightmarish illustrations drawn on sticky notes.

How the so-called “revolutions” around the world are manufactured by trained and privately funded political organizations to force regime change by overthrowing governments.

Bus seats mistaken for burqas by members of anti-immigrant group.

16 invasive species sold at garden centers you should never buy.

Queen’s Brian May and his homemade guitar.

Automakers got big tax breaks to build in the U.S. but used European labor to do the work.

If you’re not getting interviews, here’s how to fix your resume and cover letter.

What happened when 165 street artists took over an abandoned building in Berlin.

Hedge fund pushes online crafts retailer Etsy to explore sale because the company’s sales growth has slowed while costs has increased.

Google’s open source DIY kit turns a Raspberry Pi into an AI assistant.

How the Fyre Festival turned into a disaster when organizers blew all their money early on models, planes, and yachts.

Man who was suicidal runs marathon with the stranger who talked him down from a bridge.

Makeup bloggers turn against consumerism.

Over 10 years, Martha Stewart has quietly become the perfect blogger while other lifestyle bloggers have come and go.

Make the ultimate embroidery wall hanging with these free printable designs.

A woman who paints tiny masterpieces in an empty Altoids tin (including instructions on how to make your own tin painting kit).

Wendy’s mascot gets turned into a popular smug anime girl.

From sex trafficking survivor to restauranteur.

The next generation of robots will be remarkably human-like.

The Museum of Bad Art has been celebrating failure since 1993.

American Airlines gave its workers a raise. Wall Street freaked out.

Dig through the world’s largest sketchbook library.

Closing the gender gap in computer science begins in kindergarten.

How will low-wage workers survive in the age of the robots?

What photography can tell us about power and prejudice.

KFC has just published a ridiculously raunchy and bizarre romance novella starring a Casanova Colonel Sanders and you can now download it for free.

The definitive ranking of all 12 Star Wars movies.

Polish artist illustrates his fight against depression with these mysterious dark paintings.

A virtual holographic anime character named Azuma Hikari is a voice-powered virtual assistant who can also provide companionship for single men.

Happy Earth Day! Here are some links for you to enjoy! 🙂

Donald Trump’s modeling agency is on the verge of collapse, say industry insiders. It will be the latest in a line of failed ventures like the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Steaks, and Trump Vodka.

The original sculptor of the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street says that the Fearless Girl statue facing his statue distorts his work so much that he is considering filing a lawsuit.

Cannabis industry attracts more mainstream investors as business grows.

A mass-market shoe with 3D-printed midsoles is coming soon.

Eight-year-old boy learns to drive on YouTube then takes his little sister on a joyride to McDonald’s.

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities mean that no .doc is safe.

You’ll be working with robots sooner than you think.

Are you a photographer who needs a light box but you are currently short on cash? Here’s a video showing how you can make your own light box for less than $10.

Google’s new AutoDraw web-based drawing tool is a better artist than you.

It may be time to say farewell to the Pentax camera as Ricoh shrinks its camera business.

Chinese doctors use 3D printing to prepare for facial reconstruction surgery.

Microsoft to offer self-service refund for digital games.

How to stop Microsoft Office hackers from stealing your bank account.

12 ways to study a new programming language.

How Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet adhere to the Five-Hour Rule where they set aside at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) devoted to such practices as reading, reflection, and experimentation.

Exiles from the war-torn areas of Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan form a theater troupe in Germany.

Why Kickstarter decided to radically transform its business model.

How Steve Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions.

Microsoft will unveil the most powerful gaming console it has ever made on June 11.

Beware of “drive-by” computer scam.

Fake SEO plugin used in WordPress malware attacks.

Yes, some businesses still run Microsoft’s much-maligned Windows Vista.

Ohio inmates built and hid computers in prison using recycled electronic parts.

Dear Microsoft, stop blaming girls for not pursuing STEM careers.

Artist Hasan Elahi discusses racism in the digital art world.

Take a weirdly hypnotizing tour of America’s dying malls.

According to a recent survey, British women said that they prefer knitting to sex to help them relax from stress.

For photographers on a very tight budget, here’s a video showing how you can make your own DIY photography studio in your own home.

Disney files patents to bring humanoid robots to its theme parks.

Gizmodo reports on why people still use Microsoft Word.

Disney launching new animated Star Wars series on YouTube.

Black girls have been playing with white dolls for a long time.

Paper horror houses (including the Bates Motel) that you can download, print, and build for free.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

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Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Among my Christmas decorations are a few imported ones that I purchased at a couple of places.

My sister-in-law lives in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. Each year the town of Bethlehem has a multi-week arts and crafts festival known as Christkindlmarkt, which features handcrafted items from both local artisans and imported handmade items. I remember she took my then-husband and I to Christkindlmarkt a few times and I really enjoyed it very much. (The only reason why I haven’t come back is because of finances.) Among the items I purchased was this German-made nutcracker that’s shaped like a park ranger or a naturalist.


There’s a pretty funny story behind this one. Throughout my now-kaput marriage, my husband insisted on controlling all of the finances including the checkbook for the main checking account. He didn’t always take his checkbook with him because he didn’t always want to stuff his pockets with the checkbook and he wouldn’t carry a bag or purse or anything like that. That weekend he took the main checkbook with him. When we were going over to the Christkindlmarkt he asked me to hold the checkbook in my purse. When I started perusing some of the vendors, I saw a man who sold German-made nutcrackers and this fellow caught my eye. It turned out that he cost only $50, which is cheap compared to similar nutcrackers I’ve seen on sale in my area. (I’ve seen German nutcrackers the same size start at $125.) I didn’t have enough cash in my wallet and he didn’t take a credit card so I pulled out the main checkbook and wrote a check. At that moment I was writing a check, my husband showed up and caught me in the act. While he was okay with using it to buy the nutcracker, he insisted on taking the checkbook and keeping it with him. Strangely (LOL!) he never asked me to hold the main checkbook again after that incident. (LOL!)

I also purchased this wooden German-imported ornament at Christkindlmarkt. This one is shaped like a cuckoo clock.


Another place where I purchased imported ornaments was from SERRV, which has a store in New Windsor, Maryland but it also sells its items online. SERRV is run by the Church of the Brethren and it hires artisans from Third World countries to make items for its catalogue. SERRV makes an effort to pay these artisans a living wage and it also makes inspections of the places where these artisans work in order to ensure that they aren’t sweatshops. SERRV sells a variety of lovely products from all over the world. The next picture shows a wooden nativity ornament that was made in the occupied Palestinian territories.


The next couple of ornaments were made in El Salvador. These artisans work in wood and they paint in bright primary colors. There is such a cheerfulness to their work, such as these ornaments shaped like a llama and Santa Claus.



Most of the El Salvadoran ornaments are two-sided but are painted the same on both sides. The tree ornament in the next two photos was also made in El Salvador but the design is different on both sides.



I also bought this pair of clay doves, which were made in Guatemala.


The doves come packaged with this short paper explaining about the origins of these doves.


A disastrous earthquake in 1976 forced many Guatemalans to be uprooted. The Chanautla area was severely damaged at this time causing a number of residents to move to the northern edge of Guatemala City, a location now known as Nueva Chanautla. When ceramics are handcrafted by these artisans the “white clay” must be brought from the original Chanautla area.

Each fragile dove begins as a lump of clay dug up in Chanautla, a region of Guatemala. Because of each artisan’s individual fantasy, head and wing positions differ. Primitive firing is accomplished by covering the delicately formed bird with grass and igniting it. This method causes colors that vary from burnt black to orange to grey and white. Doves are packaged in an attractive basket for a safe flight. Due to the use of unrefined clay, small blemishes and chips sometimes occurs in the firing process.

These doves come in a nice woven basket that I also have on display under the Christmas tree because it is so lovely looking.


Part 8
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Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Recently I celebrated the Fourth of July and I enjoyed myself. It’s the occasion where people are encouraged to get all decked out in red, white, and blue clothes and jewelry while playing or listening patriotic music and watching fireworks at night. We display our patriotism while feeling proud of being Americans. Sure it sounds corny but, under the right circumstances, corny can be fun and relaxing. The Fourth of July is supposed to remind people about the best traits of the United States of America including its historical welcoming of immigrants, its historically dynamic innovations, and its long tradition of allowing people to express themselves (such as stating an opinion or being active in a certain religious faith) without fearing persecution by the government.

The rest of the year I find myself feeling less and less enthusiastic about the United States of America. I’m seeing disturbing things about this year’s presidential elections that don’t sit right with me. The more I hear the latest outrageous quote from the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump the more I’m starting to believe those persistent rumors that Trump is waging a false flag campaign in an effort to elect Hillary Clinton as president. I’ve seen the photos of the Clintons and the Trumps socializing with each other along with Hillary posing next to Trump and his two older sons, Bill and Donald playing golf togetherBill Clinton still having a locker at the Trump National Golf Club, and even Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump being seen as friendly in public. There are even the previous positive remarks Donald Trump has made about the Clintons. The evidence is all circumstantial but something tells me that there’s something fishy about all this. Technically Bernie Sanders is still in the race on the Democrat side and he says that he’ll remain in the race until the Democrat Convention in Philadelphia but Hillary Clinton has ignored him while focusing all of her attacks on The Donald and Trump has also said things against Clinton. But those back-and-forth attacks on each other seem to have a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more” feel about it that seems fake.

Worse the mainstream media has ignored Bernie Sanders and they have already acted as if the country is in the general election phase when it’s not the case because, as of this writing, neither the Republicans nor Democrats have had their conventions yet. I already wrote a previous rant about how the mainstream media seems to be more interested in controlling and influencing the story instead of just reporting on the news as an objective observer so I’m not going to delve into too much here.

Then there is the long decline in the U.S. economy, which started during the Reagan Administration when jobs were relocated from the U.S. to Third World countries so the workers there could be pay very low without having to deal with such things as unions or occupational safety regulations. If anyone has been repeatedly screwed by successive administrations since 1980—both Republican and Democrat—it’s the workers, especially among the middle class. Job security is now a thing of the past and it’s getting harder to find a job that pays a livable wage.

And then there is this disturbing trend of police officers killing African Americans, especially young men, for trivial reasons like a busted tail light or running a stop sign. I live 30 miles south of Baltimore, where an unarmed African American man named Freddie Gray was murdered by cops last year. This week has gotten really horrendous. Just Google the names Philander Castile and Alton Sterling to see news stories about their deaths at the hands of the police along with videos documenting their deaths.

This morning I woke up to news reports that someone had unleashed a mass shooting of cops in Dallas. I get it that the shooter wanted to exact revenge for the police killings of Castile and Sterling (as well as the previous police killings of people like Freddie Grey, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland) but the only problem is that the officers who were killed in Dallas had absolutely nothing to do with all those other killings. The police officers in Dallas had been monitoring the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest there just to make sure that the protests remained peaceful. In other words, they were just doing their jobs and they were senselessly murdered for it. Those Dallas killings aren’t going to bring back those African Americans who had already been killed by the police in other cities and, in fact, it brings a bad reputation for the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole.

I feel like the U.S. is just like the old Weimar Republic in Germany. Like the Weimar Republic the U.S. has been struggling with a broken economy where a lot of people are either unemployed or underemployed. Like the Weimar Republic the U.S. is seeing its share of street violence like the all-too-frequent mass shootings (such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando). Like the Weimar Republic you see the mainstream media manipulating public opinion so this year’s elections will boil down to a match between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in much the same way that Adolf Hitler charmed the mainstream media in the Weimar Republic so much that they did stories about him and influenced public opinion. Like the Weimar Republic you hear Latinos and Muslims in the U.S. being made into scapegoats of all of the existing problems in the same way that Jews and Gypsies were once made into scapegoats. Like the Weimar Republic there is extreme income inequality between the haves and the have nots complete with food insecurity and homelessness. Something is wrong when you have war veterans begging on the streets throughout many cities in the U.S. that echo this 1923 photo of a disabled World War I vet begging on the streets of Berlin.

The main difference between the U.S. and the Weimar Republic is that there hasn’t been hyperinflation—yet. But if current economic conditions continue in the U.S., who knows what will happen.

It’s no wonder that Donald Trump has gotten followers for invoking a nostalgia for America while bashing those who aren’t white heterosexual Christians men with no disabilities in the exact same way that Adolf Hitler got followers. The main difference is the strong possibility that Trump is running for president as a way of both stroking his huge ego and (probably) throwing the race to getting his friend Hillary Clinton elected. There are rumors that Trump doesn’t even want to do the day-to-day job as president, he just wants to be able to brag that, yes, he once ran for office and won. At least Hitler seriously wanted to rule Germany, which is one of the few positive things I can say about him.

Anyone who thinks that electing Hillary Clinton will usher in a new era of high employment full of well-paying middle class jobs with police no longer killing unarmed African Americans for trivial reasons is delusional. I’m old enough to remember when her husband was in office and he was the one who championed NAFTA, which resulted in hemorrhaging more jobs out of the U.S. along with “ending welfare as we know it” that didn’t provide well paying jobs to welfare recipients so they could support themselves but, instead, made the poverty situation even worse by fraying the social safety net. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton are closely tied to Wall Street and they are sympathetic to the corporations shifting jobs overseas. And that’s not to mention Hillary Clinton’s infamous quote that African Americans needed to be brought to heel, which resulted in this confrontation by a Black Lives Matter activist on the campaign trail a few months ago and Clinton not even attempting to engage her in any way.

And that’s not to mention how much people dislike Hillary Clinton in general. The late political blogger Steve Gilliard mentioned her as being among the most detested politicians back in 2007 and she is still disliked among the right wing, the left wing, and young people of all political persuasions. I still remember those bumper stickers from the 1990’s that said “Impeach Clinton—and Her Husband.” If she gets elected, I wouldn’t be surprised if those bumper stickers make a comeback.

Likewise anyone who thinks about voting for Donald Trump in an effort—to use his campaign’s slogan—“make America great again” is also delusional, especially if you’re a lower income person. I have long known about Trump ever since he published his first book, The Art of the Deal, and he has long bragged about how he’s rich, and therefore, better than most people simply because he is rich. Sure he was instrumental in creating Trump Tower and other Trump-branded properties throughout Manhattan but I don’t recall him ever being concerned about constructing affordable housing. I don’t recall him ever setting up any charitable foundations to help lower income people or did anything to indicate that he actually gives a damn about helping the less fortunate. I don’t see him starting to become concerned about the plight of—let’s say—the homeless if he does get elected. And that’s not to mention his history of multiple bankruptcies or his cringe-inducing comments about how he would’ve dated Ivanka Trump if she wasn’t his daughter.

I think that not only is the U.S. just like the Weimar Republic but it has been that way for the last few years. As for President Barack Obama, I voted for this guy twice but he mostly failed in his promise of bringing hope and change. To be fair, he had to deal with an obstructionist Republican majority in Congress who had it in for President Obama from day one of his administration because he was both a Democrat and an African American. But when you have a president who refused to prosecute those on Wall Street who tanked the economy back in 2008 so they are free to continue their corporate crimes and when you have a president who is currently trying to push adoption of both the TTP and the TTIP (which are both ultra-secret trade deals that are rumored to be “NAFTA on steroids” and the few leaked provisions call for corporations to actually overrule national sovereignty) against the will of the majority of Americans, I have to say that he is not blameless for the mostly unfavorable opinion I have of him. Not even his championing of legalizing same-sex marriage is enough for me to overcome the disappointment I have felt for him and his administration and I think history will eventually judge him harshly.

The U.S. is just like the Weimar Republic and unless we have a government that actually tries to do something about the situation, then our current system of government will be replaced by something far worse. After all, look at what ultimately happened in Germany when the Weimar Republic was replaced.

Black lives matter. Police lives matter. Everyone matters. We are the 99%.

Let’s take a look at these two videos. The first one is a vintage video of members of the German army raising their right arms and taking an oath of personal loyalty to Adolf Hitler in 1934.

Now here’s Donald Trump at a rally this past weekend in Florida, where he had attendees raise their right arms and take an oath that they will vote for Donald Trump.

Isn’t anyone alarmed by the similarities of the two videos?

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.

Today is the last day that I’ll be posting any of Google’s World Cup Doodles in this blog like this one that was put up before the U.S. vs. Belgium match.


The U.S. team made it to the Second Stage Round of 16 only to get defeated by Belgium. It was literally a repeat of the American team’s defeat four years ago where it was finally defeated during overtime when Belgium scored two goals. The U.S. team scored one goal during overtime but Belgium won 2-1. Damn, it does sound nearly identical to what I wrote four years ago. The big difference is that I was watching that match from my own home and not during an Ocean City vacation.

I remember writing about how I had lost interest in the World Cup and the only silver lining is that I would no longer have to hear those horrible vuvuzelas that people brought inside the stadiums in South Africa. I remember when my then-husband read that entry online after I had posted it and he laughed and suddenly blurted out “That’s what YOU think!” When I wrote that other entry, I forgot that my husband was so soccer-mad that he would watch games when the U.S. teams weren’t playing (while frequently chiding me by saying “You have no appreciation for the beautiful game!”). Sure enough, I heard more of those vuvuzelas as my husband watched the 2010 World Cup to the bitter end. I had thought about writing another entry where I said that I was wrong when I said that I would be spared those vuvuzelas but I never got around to it because I was too lazy. (Yeah, I can be lame at times. LOL!) In any case, until the day I die, I will always associate the first World Cup ever played on the African continent with this.

This year there are no vuvuzelas (it’s merciful that Brazilian culture don’t have anything as obnoxious sounding as those South African vuvuzelas) and I also no longer have a soccer-mad husband. So this year, when I’m writing that I’ve lost interest in the World Cup and I won’t be watching it anymore, I really mean it. I wish the best to whoever wins the World Cup but I don’t care who wins now that the U.S. is no longer in the tournament.

Ironically I was doing something novel during the U.S. team’s World Cup swan song. There’s a person on Flickr known as Wolfheinrich who was taking a series of photos of Volks Dollfie Dream dolls next to a TV screen showing World Cup matches, such as this one.

Dollfie Dream Erika Sendo

I decided to do something similar. Since the American team was playing, I decided to use American Girl dolls (get it?).


It was fitting that Julie Albright and Ivy Ling were chosen for that photo since, having read the Julie books, these two characters are sports-oriented. (Julie plays basketball while Ivy is into gymnastics.) At least I had the chance to take a photo like this while the U.S. team was still in the tournament.

I may be finished with watching the World Cup for this year but I’ll always have these Google Doodles to remember the U.S. team’s time in the tournament by.

U.S. vs. Ghana (June 16, 2014)




U.S. vs. Portugal (June 22, 2014)



U.S. vs. Germany (June 26, 2014)



U.S. vs. Belgium (July 1, 2014)


Today was the big U.S. vs. Germany World Cup Soccer game and I was horrified when Germany scored a goal. Even though the U.S. lost to Germany, the Americans can advance to the next stage of the World Cup because of a technicality. This game took place at the same time of another game between Ghana and Portugal and had Ghana won, the U.S. would’ve been eliminated. But because Portugal defeated Ghana 2-1, the U.S. gets to advance to the next round despite its defeat at the hands of the Germans today.

Soccer has got to be the only sport I know of where you can advance to the next round based on the outcome of a game that you didn’t even play in.

Unlike previous matches, Google only put up one doodle today in honor of the U.S.-Germany game.


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