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Why most people will remain in mediocrity.

Undoing the New Deal: Bill Clinton rolled back the New Deal and Barack Obama blew an FDR moment.

Is revolution brewing in the US?

The $1.80 Instagram strategy to build your business or brand.

Yes, America, there is a class war and you just lost it.

How the baby boomers—not millennials—screwed America.

Elon Musk doesn’t really like the mass transit system he’s trying to build.

Struggling with your career? Here’s how to maximize the happiness in your life.

China will collect the DNA of every adult in Xinjiang province, where Uyghur people are systematically oppressed.

The post office can offer financial services that private banks won’t. In fact, it’s been done before.

It’s time to make life hard for the rich.

A video featuring a master craftsman working on a Japanese teapot from the beginning until the startling end.

Wyoming is a poor state that exports talent. Will that ever change?

Sex slavery, ISIS, and the illegal arms trade: Libya plunges into failed state after US invasion.

Confederacy of Dunces: Neoliberals jump the shark in The New York Times.

This person photographed women in 60 countries in order change the way that we all see beauty.

The Trumpdroid at Disney’s Hall of Presidents looks an awful lot like a hastily modded Hillarybot.

The truth behind “The Macarena” will leave your jaw on the floor.

Behold this one of a kind Krampus nativity set.

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Santa Claus

On Christmas Day I drove to Lanham to see if a certain house was still continuing its overdecorated tradition despite the fact that that the family member who was responsible for the lights had passed away. I found out that not only were the family not carrying on that tradition but the house has been put up for sale.

But there are a few houses who have willingly picked up the mantel of trying to be the most decorated Christmas house. The house in Glen Burnie that I wrote about for has pretty much surpassed what the house in Lanham did.

But there’s another house located on Lastner Lane in Greenbelt that has the potential to one day be as decorated as the house in Lanham was (although it still has a ways to go before it could even begin to match that house in Glen Burnie). Each year the owners seem to add more Christmas lights. You can compare the photos I took in 2012, 2014, and 2016 with these recent photos I took in December, 2017.

Santa Claus

I wasn’t able to get to Behnke’s Nurseries before Christmas so I decided to spend the day after checking out the post-holiday sales. There were still plenty of Christmas and Hanukkah decorations that were available for sale at discounted prices.

I made only one purchase. It was a cute Ginger Cottage that I purchased for 25% off.

Here are a few reasons why I prefer Ginger Cottages over Department 56: 1) They are smaller, which means they take up less space in my modest house. 2) They are more affordable for my budget than Department 56. 3) They are actually made in the USA while Department 56 cottages are made overseas in countries like China.

Santa Claus

Since Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, my church did a special all-ages Christmas pageant for the Sunday morning service where people re-enacted the nativity scene. Here are my photos from that day.

People did some socializing after the service ended.

Here’s a photo of the Christmas tree and poinsettias.

I had volunteered to stay after the service to help with the clean-up chores. While I was in the kitchen I noticed an Ouija board. You know you’re in a Unitarian Universalist church when you see an Ouija board out and no one raises a peep about it. (I can only imagine how a fundamentalist evangelical Christian church would react if one of its members brought an Ouija board to its facilities. LOL!)

Santa Claus Baby New Year

I decided to check out the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind-Up Space when I decided to go to the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms in Cockeysville as well. When I used to have a pet hedgehog I would sometimes schedule buying more hedgehog food where I would go to the original pet store where I got Spike, buy his food, then drive south along I-83 into Baltimore where I would go to Dr. Sketchy’s. (The pet store in question was located about 3-5 miles away from Valley View Farms. That store has since gone out of business.)

So I had a similar idea regarding Valley View Farms. I left home a few hours early in order to leave myself with plenty of commuting time. I figured that I could leisurely walk through Valley View Farms then head on into Baltimore where I can check out Dr. Sketchy’s. But then I encountered a horrendous accident followed by extremely slow traffic on the Baltimore Beltway. What should have been an hour-long commute turned into a nearly two-hour commute. By the time I arrived at Valley View Farms I only had 45 minutes to browse the store before I had to leave in order to make the start of Dr. Sketchy’s on time. I was kind of peeved that my plans went awry but what else could I do? I decided to make the most of the limited time I had. I also managed to take a few pictures.

The next two pictures show mistletoe, which brings back memories of the years when I used to buy mistletoe for the house when I was married. I haven’t purchased any since my husband left me because it seems useless and silly to buy it since I live alone these days.

I only purchased one thing at Valley View Farms and it was a tub of Fisher’s Popcorn. I used to buy it whenever my then-husband and I went to Ocean City. I haven’t had too many chances to buy it because I haven’t gone anywhere in the Delmarva region since my husband left. I know I can buy it online through their website but I haven’t gotten around to doing it. So I literally leapt at the chance to buy it when I saw that Valley View Farms had it in stock. The popcorn tasted just as good as I remembered it.

I took so many pictures in this post that I’m going to do a separate post about Dr. Sketchy’s. (Link is definitely NSFW.)

Santa Claus

One early Thursday evening I decided to make a stop at Homestead Gardens on the way to attending my weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced. They had their Christmas shop open and they decorated the grounds with all kinds of gorgeous lights. That store sold a variety of Christmas decorations along with plants like poinsettias. Here are the pictures I took.

Once again Homestead Gardens had its giant train layout where one can see toy trains travel past the various Department 56 ceramic buildings.

After I went to Homestead Gardens I went to Wegman’s where I purchased dinner to eat before I headed to my meeting. I also took some photos of interesting Christmas display, which I’ll write about in my next post.

Happy Holidays! Retailers are still destroying unsold clothes and blankets instead of donating them. 

What’s wrong with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? It’s not what you think!

Here is the Nobel prize winning physicist’s theory on what is the root cause of all evil in the world.

50+ epic Christmas design fails that you will find hard to believe actually happened. 

Everyone can’t stop laughing after this grumpy cat crashed a nativity scene in New York City. 

Racy vintage postcards from Germany of Krampus cavorting with sexy chicks and she-devils. 

Family sends the most awkward Christmas cards for the past 15 years and the results are funny.

 A free tutorial on how to make hot chocolate on a stick.

 Dad turns his baby into a real-life Elf on the Shelf and the results are adorable.

Atheist group trolls small towns with “Church is Fake News” billboards.

Here’s a look at Woolworth’s Christmas catalog from 1954.

Here’s a hilarious look at 27 hipsters ruining Christmas.

A rant on why ugly Christmas sweater parties need to end.

Was Julian Assange attempting something far more damaging than putting Trump in office?

There’s a book of “beautiful” (but strictly unauthorized) poetry by Donald Trump and it’s a hoot.

Reckoning with Bill Clinton’s sex crimes.

It was the Democrats’ embrace of neoliberalism that won the election for Donald Trump.

This half Christmas tree is half absurd, half genius.

Media blackout as millions of Muslims march against ISIS in Iraq. 

Why poor whites are so angry.

Big Data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens.

How the Fingerling caught on as the Hot Toy of 2017.

Looking for something unique to buy this winter holiday season? There are two places where you can shop for my products—both online and in real life.

I currently have this image in my Red Bubble store that’s a digitized version of my watercolor depicting the infamous Christmas demon Krampus stealing the Christ child from the nativity scene while Mary and Joseph are expressing outrage available on a variety of products ranging from t-shirts to smartphone cases to coffee mugs to prints.

You can order online right here.

As for real life, you can find one of my art pieces at this show, which is currently being held at Trinacria Ristorante & Bar through January 8, 2018. Here is the address:

Trinacria Ristorante & Bar
111 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
(443) 759-4082
Trinacria’s Facebook page

Trinacria is located just a block from the Centre Street light rail stop.

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An obscure copyright law is letting the Internet Archive distribute books published between 1923-1941.

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109-year-old woman says that the secret to long life is avoiding men.

How a narcissistic brand of nationalism is taking over the United States.

Why would Tesla lay off hundreds of workers when it’s ramping up production?

Stop everything and check out these killer needleworks.

Five books to make you less stupid about the Civil War.

Facebook is facing a class-action lawsuit for trying to avoid paying its workers overtime.

3D carving is more than just a tool. It’s also a community and a book.

How colonialism destroyed cultures and shaped the world.

Donald and Ivanka Trump’s brands are tanking due to his pathetic presidency.

Artists are frequently asked to do work for free. As an experiment, an artist walked through a town asking other type of workers (such as barbers and a florist) if they would be willing to work for free.

Click here to learn more.

On the first Saturday in November I went to two different events that were held on the same day at two different churches. Fortunately both churches were located just a few miles from each other so getting to both of them was no problem.

The first thing in the morning I went to the Christmas Bazaar that was held at St. Hugh of Grenoble Catholic Church in Greenbelt, Maryland. They had some nice things on sale along with some nice Christmas decorations.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

There were all kinds of handcrafted wares available for sale along with a sale on used books and DVDs and a booth that sold fair trade items such as crafts from Third World countries and ethically sourced foods.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

There was even a table and chair set that was on sale for $160. I had no idea if the tablecloth, china, cloth napkins, and the centerpiece were included in that sale or not.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

The next two photos show what I bought at the Christmas Bazaar. I purchased this small nativity set that was made in Peru yet it has an African theme to it. (I found it charming that a leopard replaced the usual sheep, donkeys, camels, and cows that one usually find in a traditional nativity set.)

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

Here are the two other items I also purchased at the Christmas Bazaar. One is a used DVD of the movie The Producers, which is well-known for the one where Mel Brooks made his film directorial debut and it was also one of Gene Wilder’s early film roles. It was later turned into a Broadway musical then was remade as a film that featured the music from that Broadway show. I only paid $1 for that DVD, which was a great deal since I found that film to be hilarious. The other is a fair trade dark chocolate candy bar that was made from ethically sourced ingredients and it was made in a factory where the workers there were paid fair wages.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

After spending an hour or so shopping at the Christmas Bazaar I decided to head over to a different Catholic church for lunch that was located a few towns over from the other one. The main difference between the two churches is that St. Hugh of Grenoble is a Roman Catholic church while the other is an Eastern Orthodox church. St. Gregory of Nyssa Byzantine Catholic Church in Beltsville, Maryland was the setting for that church’s annual Slavic Festival, which focuses on all kinds of homemade Slavic food. Here’s a photo of the front of the church building.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

As I was walking to the entrance to the Slavic Festival, I couldn’t help but notice the church’s charming gazebo that is located near that entrance.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

That Slavic Festival was very well-attended for a good reason: The food is excellent. I purchased the Sampler Platter for lunch, which included holupki (cabbage stuffed with beef and pork in a tomato sauce), kolbasi (homemade smoked sausage), pirohi (pirogi), haluski (dumplings with chopped onions and cabbage), and sauerkraut. It was all so delicious.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

The Slavic Festival took place in a large room that was off to the side from the room where weekly Sunday worship takes place. That room had all kinds of appropriate fall decorations including pumpkins and autumn leaves in shades of red, yellow, and orange.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

The room where the weekly religious services takes place was open for visitors to take a look. I took the majority of the pictures in that room because there was all kinds of interesting Eastern Orthodox Christian art everywhere.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

A church member was around to provide information about the church facilities. The one thing I learned is that this church was originally founded by immigrants from Czechoslovakia, which I found quite fascinating for personal reasons. One of my ancestors came from that same country (back when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) but he was an ethnic Czech while the people who founded St. Gregory were Slovaks. Czechoslovakia has since split further into two separate nations. My ancestor came from the state of Bohemia, which is one of the two areas known as the Czech lands (the other is Moravia), and that state is now in the Czech Republic. The other nation is Slovakia, where the Slovaks live.

Another cool thing about the Slavic Festival is that they also offered takeout food that could be frozen and eaten later. I purchased a bunch of carry-out home cooked meals to put in my freezer. I’ve defrosted and eaten a few of those meals since that day but, as of this writing, I still have some Slavic food in my freezer just waiting for me to defrost, heat, and eat. It’s nice to eat a special home cooked meal made from scratch where I don’t have to do any of the making.

In addition to checking out the two different events at two different churches, I did one other activity that day. After I left the Slavic Festival I went to nearby Laurel where I visited Dinosaur Park, which I’ll write about in my next blog post.

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