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The American Revolution’s greatest leader was openly gay.

The hidden problem of homelessness on college campuses.

Ex-KKK member denounces hate groups one year after rallying in Charlottesville.

The violence Central American migrants are fleeing was stoked by the U.S.

Monica Lewinski says unexpected headlines trigger her trauma. Here is how she copes with them.

Who needs Barbie? These high-tech dolls teach girls how to code.

Japanese-Americans imprisoned in internment camps in the 1940s watch the crisis stemming from the current detention of immigrants in camps with heavy hearts.

How America treats its own children makes it an outlier.

The Muslim World War II heroine that time forgot.

So we’re gonna pretend these refugees aren’t a result of our actions in Central America?

Study finds that most manufacturing jobs are dead ends.

There’s an obscure Monopoly game rule that changes the whole game—and you probably had no clue it existed.

A Holocaust survivor says that America feels like Germany before the Nazis took over.

Sex robot can now refuse to have sex if she’s not in the mood.

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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.

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
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
Part 9
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%.

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