The Festive World of Pinatas

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For honoring Cinco de Mayo this year (or Mexican Saint Patrick’s Day as I call it), I’ve decided that instead of doing a craft and treat post for observing the holiday, I decided to mark the occasion through a post on something we associate with Mexico. That’s right pinatas. Of course, in the US, pinatas are commonly used for children’s birthday parties which they wear a blindfold and try to whack it down with a large stick before everyone scrambles to get candy coming out of it. However, despite its common association with Mexico, the pinata’s origins aren’t just reserved for that country. In fact, the word “pinata” is a Spanish deviation of the Italian word, “pignatta” meaning “earthenware cooking pot.” Not to mention, the idea of breaking a container with treats had existed in Europe since the 14th century. And it’s very likely that Europeans got the idea for it from China where it was used to celebrate the Chinese New Year and depicted as either a cow or ox and filled with seeds. In Europe, it was associated with the Christian observance of Lent. The first Lenten Sunday was called “Pinata Sunday” with a celebration called Dance of the Pinata. The pinata mostly consisted of a clay pottery container decorated with ribbons, tinsel, and colored paper.  Though to be fair, Mesoamerica did have similar traditions such as honoring  Huitzilopochtli’s birthday in mid-December. So the pinata tradition wasn’t quite imported though the Spanish used pinatas for catechism purposes as well to co-opt the Huitzilopochtli ceremony. And the Mayan tradition before that involved something similar to what you see at kids’ birthday parties. Still, in 16th century Mexican Catholicism, the pot represented man’s struggle against temptation. The pot symbolized evil with whatever’s in it the seasonal fruit within. The blindfolded person with the stick represents faith. Anyway, today, you’ll find pinatas in all different shapes and sizes. And it Mexico, you’ll find it used not just for kids’ birthday parties, but also for Christmas, weddings, and other occasions. Nevertheless, for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasure trove of these Mexican containers of goodies.

  1. No hair salon party should do without pinatas like these.

Includes scissors, a hairbrush, shampoo, and a hair dryer. Guess these are filled with shampoo and conditioner samples.

2. You can actually sit under this toadstool pinata.

Now that’s a big pinata you wouldn’t find at kids’ birthday party. Made from paper mache.

3. A cupcake pinata should always have a cherry on top.

And I see it has sprinkles and chocolate icing. Can’t wait to the get to the filling with candy.

4. I’m sure breaking this pinata you’re fishing for something.

Well, I’m sure this one doesn’t contain any fish. But you’d have to be a real angler to hit this one.

5. This pinata was brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Spider Man.

Here we see him in an upside down position before he’s about to be broken apart by a bunch of excited 5-year-olds. Made from paper mache.

6. A minion pinata can always make birthday parties fun.

Of course, regardless what people might think about minions, they might agree on this one. But not always for the same reason. Yes, I know there are some people who don’t like these guys.

7. A lobster pinata makes a rather classic party addition.

However, only rich people can afford to have a lobster pinata at their kids’ birthday parties. Though I do like its tuxedo.

8. A tiki pinata can bring paradise to anywhere.

Though this might be a remnant of Polynesian culture. Because those tiki figures depicted their gods.

9. Nobody could resist this Dalmatian pinata pup.

Great for any firehouse birthday party. Though a German Shepard can do just as nice but they’re more associated with police.

10. If you like Pirates of the Caribbean, then this pinata is for you.

This one even has flaming tissue paper torches. Yet, we have to understand that a pirate’s life wasn’t as cool as these movies show.

11. Wonder what’s in this mysterious box.

According to Super Mario Bros., it can be a spotted mushroom that makes you bigger, a blinking star that allows you to shoot fire balls, or gold coins. Still, this is a pretty simple pinata to make.

12. A disco ball pinata always makes things groovy.

Make sure to use very shiny paper on the outside. But it must be broken to the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever.

13. This lipstick pinata definitely leaves a mark.

Even has some kiss marks to emphasize. Hope it’s full of candy and not cosmetic samples.

14. A happy butterfly pinata always brings a smile.

This is so cute I’d hate to see it broken open by a bunch of kids. But that’s the crux of a pinata’s existence.

15. This Frida Kahlo pinata is an artistic masterpiece.

After all, I can’t do a pinata post without including one of her. Since she’s an especially iconic Mexican artist.

16. A teepee pinata should have a few floral touches.

Though let’s remember not all of the Native American tribes lived in these things. Yet, they’re often depicted as such.

17. A rocketship pinata can always reach for the stars.

Well, great for any space themed party. And it doesn’t seem hard to make either.

18. You can never go wrong with a sandal pinata.

But remember that the candy is mostly stored in the sole and heel. Love the purple straps though.

19. You can’t deny the chemistry on this pinata.

This one has a flask filled with a purple substance. Nevertheless, I’m sure there won’t be harmful chemicals in this.

20. This happy raindrop sure won’t rain on your parade.

Doesn’t hurt it’s decorated with flowers either. Though looking at it requires a temporary suspension of disbelief.

21. This house fly pinata will never be an ongoing pest.

Okay, this is one of the creepiest pinatas I’ve ever seen. Probably one you’d want to beat open with a stick since it inspires nightmares.

22. Nothing makes a party like a pinata of Mr. Potato Head.

Wonder if it comes with detachable features like the toy. Great for a Toy Story themed party.

23. With this pinata, you can almost see the whole world.

This is a pinata of the globe all right. And yes, it depicts all the continents.

24. Snoopy and Woodstock are always a delight.

Another pinata I wouldn’t want to break down. These two are so adorable with each other. Though I never understand what Woodstock says.

25. This sun pinata can always keep you on the sunny side.

Because nothing makes your day like a bright smiling burst of yellow. And I hear this pinata is filled with sunny delights.

26. You never know what you’d find in a Russian nesting doll pinata.

However, I’m sure there are several nesting doll pinatas inside. So it’ll be a while before you get to the candy.

27. This fish pinata’s proving to be a real angler.

Another great pinata for fishing enthusiasts. Wonder if it’s used for any parties for Field and Stream.

28. A wedding cake pinata should be hoisted on high.

Doesn’t hurt if it comes with white roses. By the way, wedding pinatas are a thing in Mexico.

29. There’s nothing like seeing a rainbow pinata on a spring day.

This one even has rainbow streamers attached to it. So lovely.

30. There’s nothing you can resist about a cute little pink elephant.

By the way, a pink elephant is a euphemism for a drunken hallucination. Though to be fair, this is perfectly acceptable for any little girl’s party.

31. This penguin pinata is all decorated for Christmas cheer.

Yes, pinatas are used for Christmas, too. Still, this little penguin with a Santa hat is adorable.

32. There’s always something magical about a unicorn pinata.

This one even has a glitter neck and hooves along with a rainbow mane and tail. I’m sure any little girl would love it.

33. Nothing makes an impression like a shiny golden lightning bolt.

If you’re throwing a Harry Potter themed party, this is perfect for you. Or a Thor one since he’s the Norse god of thunder.

34. I bet this pinata contains something explosive.

Well, it says TNT on the outside. But I don’t think you’ll find any dynamite in there. Unless the party’s for a pyromaniac.

35. For traditional Mexican pinatas, you can’t go wrong with a 9-pointed star.

Mexicans use this one for Christmas, by the way. And yes, it’s decked in all kinds of different colors.

36. This bee pinata will always keep you buzzing.

And it’s face make it seem as sweet as can be. Made with paper mache.

37. I don’t think this lamp contains a genie.

Sure it won’t contain a genie that could grant you 3 wishes. But, hey, candy is just as good.

38. This Batman pinata never fails to save the party.

This one just consists of the bat logo. Yet, I’m sure it’ll delight fans young and old.

39. A Stay Puft Marshmallow Man pinata always needs busted.

Of course, he’s what everyone remembers best about Ghostbusters. Still, he’s supposed to be a menace storming the city. Not a cute little ghost in a sailor suit.

40. No princess could resist a pinata of Rapunzel’s tower.

Well, it’s certainly a work of art. Love the flowers and roof tiles. Would be a shame to see it hacked open by a stick.

41. Not sure how you hoist up this mounted deer pinata.

But it sure makes a swell decoration on someone’s wall. Until someone breaks it open.

42. With this hanging deer pinata you’re in for a real treat.

Though I recommend it for kid parties for late November and early December. Still, this just cracks me up.

43. This little kitty pinata is certainly the cat’s meow.

Of course, I could include a crude pussy joke here. But I’m not going to even try. Still, this is adorable.

44. There’s nothing buzzing at a party like this little beehive.

Sure it’s perfectly safe for any child to whack open this beehive pinata. But when it comes to real hives and wasp nests, just tell them to stay the hell away.

45. It’s always time to party with a goldfish pinata.

Yet, I’d be deeply disappointed if it didn’t contain any goldfish crackers inside. Love the little thought bubble.

46. A dolphin pinata can always make a splash.

After all, who doesn’t like dolphins besides the food they eat? Great for any ocean themed party.

47. A mermaid pinata can always enchant under the sea.

Though this one is more or less used for a children’s party. But she’s so adorable with her starfish.

48. Bet you’ll find all kinds of candy inside this boat.

Helps if it’s in red, white, and blue. If you like nautical, you’ll certainly like this.

49. If you work at PennDOT, you might want to go with this.

Yes, it’s an orange traffic cone pinata. I’m sure it’s pretty easy to pull off. Though it’s not a pinata I’d have in mind.

50. A purse pinata can contain all kinds of things.

Just like a purse. But I’m sure a pinata purse won’t contain stuff you’d find in a regular one.

51. My Little Pony fans will adore this Rainbow Dash pinata.

Though let’s hope this is used at a little girl’s party. Because from what College Humor says, bronies can be kind of creepy.

52. A doughnut pinata should always come in assorted sprinkles.

Even has some pink frosting to match. Nevertheless, it’s not a hard one to pull off.

53. A crown pinata is always fit for a king or queen.

Helps if the crown is large with gold cardboard and jewels. Though this one almost seems to pretty to smash.

54. This diamond ring pinata seems like a real jewel.

Still, I think it’s definitely for a wedding. Because pinatas are bad places to hide a ring in a marriage proposal.

55. This little chicken pinata is almost impossible to resist.

I mean it’s so white and fluffy. Would be a shame to break this one open with a stick.

56. A cactus pinata can never dry up a party.

As you know, cactus are associated with Mexico and the American Southwest. But at least this one doesn’t have spiky needles.

57. A pinata bread slice should always have sprinkles.

Well, you can’t go wrong with that. Besides, sprinkles always seem to brighten anyone’s day.

58. Now this pinata is just an imitation of a real game controller.

Yet, it bears a rather striking resemblance to the real thing. Must’ve been made by someone with too much time on their hands.

59. This pink owl pinata is certainly a hoot.

Yes, I’ve posted a lot of owl stuff on my blog. But you have to admit, this little owl is simply adorable.

60. These bride and groom pinatas make a perfect match.

Nevertheless, they come in a set. However, chances are they’re probably too big to top a wedding cake.

61. There’s so much to love about this rainbow heart.

Well, everyone loves hearts and rainbows. So it’s understandable why I included this. So pretty.

62. I bet this lollipop pinata contains all the sweets.

Then again, a lollipop pinata seems quite appropriate for parties. Because we all know what they usually have inside.

63. This red high-heel can always be the life of the party.

And I’m sure this one is used for more fashionable occasions. Though I hope there’s candy inside.

64. A flower pinata can always blossom.

Still, don’t see a lot of flower pinatas around. Yet, this pink one is quite lovely.

65. Nobody could ever resist this panda pinata.

After all, pandas are irresistibly cute and cuddly. Yet, remember they’re bears that can kill you.

66. You’ll always know it’s spring with this Easter chick.

Yes, Easter pinatas exist, too. And yes, this little chick hatches from an Easter egg. But it’s so cute.

67. “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine…”

I guess this one is for a Beatles themed party. Made of paper mache.

68. If you don’t know what this pinata’s supposed to be, then you don’t know jack.

As you can see, it’s a bottle of Jack Daniels. And no, I don’t think it’s for kid parties. Please whack responsibly.

69. Now here’s a pinata of polish.

Well, it’s a bottle of nail polish, anyway. Any bet those words stand for “Oh, my God?”

70. This ice cream cone pinata comes in a festive flavor.

Doesn’t hurt if it comes with lots of decorations. Bet it has some tasty treats inside.

71. Would you want fries with this pinata?

And it seems to have all the toppings on it, too. Still, clever but not my thing.

72. A flamingo pinata will always have you tickled pink.

After all, flamingos are graceful pink birds. Though lawn sculptures of them make them an object of tackiness.

73. I guarantee a pinata like this will make your party yuge.

If not, then it will at least it would make great therapy. Because beating a Trump pinata with a stick should make anyone feel happy in this dark time.

74. A dazzling bull can always make a memorable impression.

This is another traditional Mexican pinata shape. And yes, the bull has stripes of many colors.

75. A frog pinata can always make you jump for joy.

Well, big eyed frogs with a smile, anyway. Nevertheless, you can’t resist it if you tried.

76. It’s always a party with a bucket of Corona.

Well, I like how it has gold bottles and tissue paper as ice. Yet, like the Jack Daniels, it’s not for kids.

77. A chocolate chip cookie pinata always has memorable delights.

It’s also a rather easy pinata to make. But if you use it, make sure you don’t invite Cookie Monster.

78. With this octopus, I’m sure nobody will be disappointed.

The blue octopus even has a sailor hat on and a smiley face. So cute.

79. There’s nothing more fashionable than a pinata of Chanel No. 5.

And I hear it’s quite expensive, too. Can only be used for rich girls’ parties.

80. This white moon pinata always has pleasant dreams.

Not sure if they pertain to being hacked open. But I’m sure that’s what will happen to it.

81. A graduation pinata always shows that you’ve made it.

If it’s for college graduation, make sure it contains checks and cash for paying student loans. Because grads will sure as hell need them.

82. There’s always something pleasant about a sundae pinata.

Even comes with a straw and cherry on top. Any money that’s it’s strawberry flavored.

83. I’m sure a shark pinata is a real bite at parties.

Sure they may be feared as killing swimmers. But sharks seem to have their fans.

84. There’s nothing that delights more than a popcorn pinata.

Yes, it resembles the kind of popcorn you’d see at the movies. But it’s quite charming.

85. Celebrate this Cinco de Mayo with a pinata of Jose Cuervo.

Because there’s no beer like it that’s associated with the holiday. Also, it’s not for kids.

86. This robot pinata’s special talent is melting hearts.

Leave it to the magic of cardboard to create this icon of cuteness. Love it.

87. A pirate ship pinata can always make an impressive entrance.

Yes, someone made this. And yes, it’s certainly a masterpiece. Hate to see it hacked to pieces.

88. Emoji pinatas are always expressive.

These are more used for party favors. But I had them up so you can see as many emoji faces as you can.

89. You can never see a pinata like one of a rainbow zebra.

And please take a look at those stripes. Seems like you can see them for miles.

90. A peacock pinata can always show its feathers.

Helps if it has peacock feathers in its colorful display. Love it.

91. This dinosaur pinata is always so endearing.

Though it’s shaped like a T-Rex, it has spikes on its back. But kids will love it.

92. You can bet this fighter jet pinata takes to the skies.

Though it might take a lot to hoist it up. But yes, pinatas can look cool.

93. A sugar skull pinata can’t just be used for any occasion.

Also, had to include a Day of the Dead pinata like this one. Use sugar skull pinatas at any other time, and it might as well be cultural appropriation.

94. This pinata has a certain spray to it.

That’s because it’s a hairspray can. And yes, it’s in shiny pink to sparkle.

95. There’s something fishy about this sushi pinata.

Well, this sushi contains a fish over it. But sushi doesn’t always have to. And the fish doesn’t always have to be raw.

96. A pencil pinata always has the write stuff.

Well, that’s a rather interesting concept. Best for teachers’ parties in the faculty lounge.

97. Nothing makes a fiesta a hit like a bottle of tequila.

Well, tequila is a Mexican drink. But it has a stronger alcohol content than beer.

98. A bunny pinata always keeps the party hopping.

Yes, look into its eyes. So sweet and innocent. Hate to beat it open with a stick, wouldn’t you?

99. A dragon pinata always sparks a good time.

Sure it may not blow fire. But it looks nonetheless awesome in paper mache.

100. How about trying to break open this Golden Snitch?

Well, golden snitches do contain stuff inside them. But good luck finding a Resurrection Stone in this one.

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Why Do You Still Support This Unrespectable Man?

As President Cheeto Head approaches his first 100 days of his term, it is increasingly alarmingly clear that he is as much a disaster for the United States as I surmised. Already he has supported, devised, and enacted policies that go against everything I stand for as well as in the interests of most Americans. He has surrounded himself with an entourage of sycophants, billionaire backers, racist extremists, lobbyists, crooks, family members, incompetents, and general degenerates of every stripe. He has shamelessly abused his power and his position to enrich himself, his family, and his allies. He has used public funded resources to support his lavish lifestyle which includes having his wife and son at Trump Tower and weekends golfing at his Mar-a-Lago resort. He has constantly misled the American people with promises he never intends to keep by inflicting populist rhetoric, racist dog whistles, nostalgia, and outright lies onto his supporters. He has viciously retaliated against anyone who’s criticized or challenged him whether they be the media, celebrities, government officials, experts, or federal judges. He has made ethnic and religious minorities objects of anxiety, disdain, and fear through fostering politics of resentment and encouraged scapegoating. He has constantly embarrassed our nation with his very unpresidential behavior as well as stripped the American presidency of its integrity. He has praised and defended dictators who’ve suppressed civil liberties and committed atrocities against their own people. He has put Americans constantly on edge every time he makes a decision, signs an executive order, or just opens his mouth. And he has displayed a stunning amount of disrespect for democratic norms and values, constitutional rights, civil liberties, knowledge, culture, history, the truth, and any sense of common decency as well as everything what America greatness stands for. Throughout these 100 days, Trump’s presidency has deprived Americans the democratic luxury of not following politics with nerve-wracked constancy as well as a demoralizing daily fixation for anyone concerned with global security, the vitality of the natural world, the national health, civil rights, constitutionalism, public education, a free press, science, and the distinction between fact and its opposite.

What Donald Trump has done during his presidency during his first 100 days doesn’t surprise me since I took the time to extensively research about him during the 2016 Election campaign and know what kind of despicable fraud he is. But even before I set out finding more about him to write those 3 blog posts, I knew I couldn’t give him a chance. I cringed when he experienced spikes in popularity during the GOP primaries, especially after he attacked John McCain for being a prisoner of war and called Mexicans rapists, drug mules, and criminals. I wasn’t happy at all when he clinched the GOP nomination while I felt deeply distressed seeing Trump signs in my neighborhood and community. And I was absolutely furious, devastated, and betrayed when he won the presidency that I could only sleep 5 hours on Election night. Sure I may have underestimated him and doubted his chances of winning. Yet, it was mostly because I thought many of my fellow Americans would know better than to elect a grossly unqualified, petty, greedy, dishonest and despicable piece of shit without any principles. But I knew that a Trump presidency would spell disaster for the nation. To this day, I have no reason to trust him and there is nothing about him I can ever respect. Having to acknowledge Trump as President of the United States goes beneath my dignity for I consider that reality as unacceptable. Even now, I cannot bring myself to even respect the presidential office as long as President Pussygrabber remains in the White House. And I vehemently refuse to support him, obey him, accept him, normalize him, or give him any recognition of legitimacy. Not because of my liberal politics. But because I refuse to bow down to an authoritarian demagogue who cares nothing for the United States nor has any respect for basic facts or liberal democratic values.

Having to witness the Trump presidency play out on the news is akin to watching a circus perform within the burning ruins of a recently derailed train. It’s a ridiculous sight to watch that’s nonetheless distressing but you can’t look away from it. Since Trump first announced his run for the presidency in 2015, he’s dominated the news cycle and has been a constant media presence. At least when he was a candidate, there was considerable hope he’d quit or lose and everything would return to normal. But Trump’s election shattered that prospect and now there seems to be no end in sight. Since Trump was sworn in, not one day seems to go by when you hear about another outrage or embarrassment. Sometimes there’s an urge to normalize his juvenile outbursts, his blatant dishonesty and incompetence just so you can go through a news cycle or two without hearing about it. But at the same time you dread what fresh hell might come next. And it’s no help that his casual policy reversals come with alarming regularity. The only saving grace is that Trump remains deeply unpopular and hasn’t accomplished much of anything other than getting a conservative justice on the Supreme Court. But that saving grace still doesn’t dissuade the dread Trump will inflict mass carnage on a whim.

But what outrages me most about Trump’s first 100 days isn’t the scandals, the infighting, the leaks, the shows of incompetence, or the unending dread that Trump will do something reckless or support disastrous GOP policy. Nor how the Trump administration can be so blatant about breaches of ethics or see nothing wrong with clear abuses of power. Nor how the news mainstream media allows Trump dominate the news cycle each and every day. Rather it’s that so many Americans for whatever reason see nothing wrong with having Trump in the White House, especially within his own party. Back during the GOP primary, many Republicans spoke out against Trump with very convincing arguments. Once Trump won the party nomination, the GOP establishment surrendered their dignity and got behind him, though holdouts still remained. But after Trump got elected, even many of them started playing nice for whatever possible gain. Despite that Trump has refused to release his tax returns, has refused to divest from his businesses, has appointed his daughter and son-in-law as high-ranking White House advisers, and is now under FBI investigation on his ties in Russia. It is abundantly clear that Trump and his family are currently profiting from his presidency as we speak as multiple reports confirm that no meaningful separation between Trump and his businesses exist. Hell, the Secret Service has rented golf carts at his Mar-a-Lago resort for $35,000 and $64,000 in elevator services at Trump Tower. Had a Democratic president entered office with even a fraction of such unprecedented political corruption, congressional Republicans would be immediately conducting investigative hearings with a vengeance. Perhaps they’d even start impeachment proceedings in the process. But under the Trump administration, congressional Republicans have made it clear that there will be no investigations into any potential scandals as long as they run the show. Such inaction is inexcusable since his conflicts of interest are no secret to the American public. Nor are his business ties to Russia and other nations with questionable human rights records. By refusing to investigate Trump’s business ties for whatever reason (like enacting partisan legislation to benefit corporate donors and win reelection), congressional Republicans are basically letting Trump get away with this shit, which is in flagrant violation of the Emoluments Clause in the US Constitution.

We need to be aware that corruption changes policy and not always for the better. Sure Ivanka can easily secure business deals with China and Japan which will improve their relations with the US. The Trump family has business interests in the Persian Gulf and Hamster Hair’s foreign policy puts the United States in much closer alignment with the Gulf monarchies, including deeper involvement in a disastrous war with Yemen and abandonment of any pretense giving a damn about human rights in Egypt. Yet, there’s an article from The Intercept has reported, “[a]ssociates of Donald Trump in Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in a campaign that ultimately aims to oust the country’s president.” This movement includes current and former army officers trying to evade accountability for past crimes during Indonesia’s time as a military dictatorship, but also “Hary Tanoe, Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who is building two Trump resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta.” Under any normal presidential administration, many would assume that American attitudes towards civil strife in Indonesia as primarily driven by policy considerations and not by the president’s personal financial interests. Under the Trump administration, we no longer have that assurance.

However, the fact Republican politicians haven’t been doing their job of adequately representing their constituents isn’t too surprising. After all, it was the Republican senators who threatened a government shutdown over Obamacare and refused to hold confirmation hearings for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland after the death of Antonin Scalia. Not to mention, the fact they’re in power means that we won’t see any meaningful federal legislation in the American people’s best interest anytime soon. Hell, they’re against policies many of their own voters support like Obamacare, raising the minimum wage, and net neutrality. But it’s amazingly disturbing how Republicans’ support for Trump has led them to abandon their values and standards. And it’s even more distressing how they’ve constantly excused his morally reprehensible behavior.

Yet, I’m also pissed off at the very people who supported him for whatever reason. To support Trump in any capacity means accepting the unacceptable, excusing the inexcusable, tolerating the intolerable, and justifying the unjustifiable. If you still think that Trump is doing a good job, then you think it’s perfectly fine for a US president to have ongoing conflicts of interests and a history of mind boggling corruption scandals. Or that overt racism and xenophobia, sexual assault allegations, pathological dishonesty, sociopathy, avoidance of responsibility, or a profound ignorance of how government works doesn’t disqualify one from the presidency. Yet, to support him regardless of what he does and what harm he brings to your life is simply pathetic. For the love of God, where the hell is your self-respect? Can’t you see that he’s conning you?  You may think he speaks the truth but in reality he just stokes your prejudice against minorities and appeals to your rose-tinted version of the past. You may think he deserves a chance to lead but I know you wouldn’t want him around in your neighborhood. And you know he sets a very poor example to children. But why support this unrespectable man when you have absolutely no good reason to? Why put your trust in a total fraud? You may not disapprove of him now, but you better start. And you better stop supporting him. Because a Trump presidency should never be acceptable to anyone in any capacity or under any circumstance. I don’t care if he abides by your politics or you think he can give you what you want. He’s an unrespectable man who deserves nothing but your contempt. Not to mention, his flagrant abuse of power, his disregard for facts, his disrespect for the Constitution and American values, his lack of moral principles, his gross incompetence, and his authoritarian demagoguery could pose a threat to American democracy as we know it. If you still approve of Trump after these 100 days, then I strongly urges you to come to your senses. To approve of Trump is to enable him and possibly embolden others to commit atrocities against their fellow countrymen. To give Trump any legitimacy is to let him walk all over you and your fellow Americans. And to entrust him to lead the nation just makes no sense. You have nothing to gain from supporting Trump who will bring you nothing but a string of disappointment, broken promises, and a world misery. You deserve a better president than this piece of shit who neither understands nor cares what you’re going through. And America deserves a leader who embodies America at its best, instead of at its worst.

The Culinary World of Kitchen Things

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Look in any kitchen and you’re bound to find an array of pots, pans, dishes, utensils, and other appliances kept in the cupboards. Of course, many of these exist for making various different kinds of food. Yes, I know cooking can be so complicated sometimes. But tune in to TV and you’ll find at least someone advertising the latest kitchen gadget to make preparing food easier. Same goes when you shop at a store. Nevertheless, whenever you need some kitchen gear, it’s best that you shop for stuff that can be used on as many kinds of food as possible. Or on food you cook the most. Because all that kitchen stuff takes up cupboard space as well as have to be washed. And some of that crap may just not be dishwasher safe. Still, among all those essential kitchen tools, gadgets, and appliances, you’ll come to some contraptions that seem to stand out. Some may be weird gadgets that might make your life easier. Some of them may look utterly ridiculous. And some may have a kind of novelty feel to them. But that’s where I come in. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a glimpse into the culinary world of kitchen crap. Enjoy.

  1. Keep track of your eggs with this egg minder.

This is an egg tray that syncs to your smart phone to tell you how many eggs you have and when they’re going bad. However, with this you’ll never be scrambled over your eggs again.

2. Why use a knife when you have the one-click butter cutter?

Just stick the butter in this contraption, press it over your bread, and you’re done. Easy.

3. With this toaster, you can now get your breakfast in one place.

This toaster is equipped with 4 slots and 2 sets of fryers for egg and ham. Now you don’t have to go between the toaster and stove.

4. Pasta knuckles can determine how much spaghetti you’ll need.

Yes, now you can use knuckles to measure pasta. However, these won’t help you in a fight.

5. There’s a Nessie in my soup.

This Loch Ness Monster soup ladle will create an unforgettable impression. And it even has feet to stand on.

6. In the future, even your liquid measuring cup will eventually go digital.

Includes a digital display to let you know how much is in it. Still, I hope this is waterproof so you can wash it.

7. A taco truck holder is a must for Taco Tuesday.

Now you don’t have to worry about falling tacos again. Though they’re likely to fall apart when you eat them.

8. Portion control pasta baskets only lets you cook with what you need.

Comes in a set of 4. Great for those who can’t seem to agree what kind of pasta to eat. Seriously, pasta is pasta. No matter its shape, its composition is always the same.

9. With this handle you can now pour milk straight from the carton.

Though buying milk by the gallon jug makes much more sense. Besides, they already have handles.

10. These clip on can drainers help get the water out of the can.

Such an amazingly simple device. Though it sometimes looks rather silly. Still, it’s probably essential for some.

11. A clip-on spoon rest will always come in handy.

Just put the clip on the pot and use it to hold your spoon, spatula, or other utensil. Available in many different colors.

12. With this corn scraper, you can have those kernels straight from the cob.

Though most of the time, eating the corn off the cob is preferable. Still, great if you have kids.

13. Never angst about removing strawberry stems and leaves with this huller.

Yeah, I know what it kind of looks like. But it is what it is. And in bright red, too.

14. A double dough rolling pin consists of two rollers for the price of one.

So how are we supposed to roll dough with this. At least a regular rolling pin has handles.

15. Making veggie pasta is always easy with this slicer cone.

Put the veggies in and turn it around until it’s all spirals. Wonder if it can do much else.

16. Be a badass in the kitchen with these shark oven mitts.

Because nothing makes you look badass like having a shark bite off your hand. Available in black and gray.

17. Now you can sharpen your carrots like you sharpen your pencil.

Yes, it’s a giant pencil sharpener for carrots. Don’t ask me why it exists. But it gets the job done.

18. A digital mixing bowl helps you make a cake in the future.

Interestingly, it’s called Smart Mix and comes with a spoon. Hope the timer tells me how long I need to stir and how many times.

19. This cherry chomper will be happy to take your pits.

Yes, I know these already exist. But come on, depicting a smiley face on one is kind of disturbing.

20. Always have ice nearby with this portable ice maker.

Though to be fair, a lot of refrigerators already come with ice makers built in them. So I don’t see why it’s necessary.

21. The juicer bottle is a 1-8 multifunctional kitchen tool.

Comes with all kinds of kitchen tools in a convenient storage arrangement. Wouldn’t mind having this.

22. Even a cutting board should come with a few drawers.

Well, at least that’s convenient. But it only seems to fit 3 at a time. Maybe it has 6 though I doubt it.

23. The oil butter baster makes spreading way easier.

Because it allows you to baste your food without having to dip a brush in something. Great for Thanksgiving.

24. With this pizza cutter, you no longer have to peddle around.

Yes, it’s a bike pizza cutter. Don’t ask me how it got made. But it looks kind of cool.

25. Why risk making a mess when you have these pouring spouts?

Man, these would be perfect for me. After all, though I usually try to avoid making a mess, I sometimes have the occasional accident.

26. A steamship lid always lets out the vapor in tip top shape.

And you can see one of these in action. Available in 3 different sizes and 3 different colors.

27. Mix Stix can always make music in the kitchen with the pots and pans.

They consist of wooden spoons on one end and drum sticks on the other. Great for any kitchen made drum set.

28. Trouble cutting bread? Might need a bread saw.

Because sawing bread should just be like sawing logs. Actually most knife sets come with a bread knife, anyway.

29. With these oven mitts, you’ll always be ready to rock when the timer rings.

Yes, these exist. I don’t know what gave someone the idea to make them. But it’s likely people will buy it.

30. Have your cans open in no time with this toucan can opener.

Or should I say a Toucan Opener? Well, the bird has a very long beak.

31. A knife rack should always create a heroic impression.

And that’s why this one has a guy wielding a sword with knives in his shield. Makes a great conversation piece.

32. In Japan, a man is a samurai in his own kitchen.

So why they treat their kitchen knives the same way as their katanas. Okay, I’m kidding but this samurai knife rack does exist.

33. With this device, coring a pineapple has never been easier.

And here you see the pineapple corer in action. And yes, it removes the core in a corkscrew motion.

34. An adjustable measuring cup will help you check the amount you need.

Because why use multiple cups when you can measure all your liquids at once? Made by Oxo.

35. This non-contact thermometer pen always gives the temperature.

Available in orange so you can see it. Another device I wouldn’t mind having.

36. I call this one the alli-grator.

You can grate cheese on this while holding it over the pizza. Its jaws even make a grippable handle.

37.  When making guacamole, you can’t go without this avocado slicer.

Of course, there are quite a few avocado slicers around. But this one peels it, takes the seed out, and cuts through the pulp.

38. A hollow knife set is just as good as any.

This knife set has layers akin to a nesting doll. But despite being made from silicon, they’re just as sharp.

39. Bear oven mitts are always essential in any den.

Though I guess real bear dens don’t have a kitchen. But these look awesome.

40. A citrus reamer will unleash any juice from the hardest fruits.

Kind of reminds me of some high class club. Still, looking at it alone, I wouldn’t really know what it’s for.

41. Funbite food cutters make any lunch time fun.

Now you can cut up any kiddie sandwich into delightfully bite size pieces. Comes in many configurations.

42. There’s nothing cuter in the kitchen than a duck can opener.

Yes, this is a can opener with a duck on it. Don’t ask me why it exists. Ducks should be more reserved for bath time.

43. Now this has to be a real pot holder.

If you know anyone who owns this, you might want to think twice before eating their brownies. Also, I don’t think their “tomato” plants have any tomatoes on them.

44. Your ice tongs should always contain mittens.

Sure the mittens may not serve such purpose. But they do have a certain charm to them.

45. A real lumberjack cuts pizza with an ax.

Well, this is a real ax to grind. Still, have to remind you it’s used for cutting pizza, not trees.

46. These gloves let you wash dishes like a real rocker.

Even better that they’re in pink depicting tattoos. Though one pair of gloves is as good as any.

47. A knife sharpener should always have some teeth to it.

Though I do think a shark knife sharpener is quite fitting. Hope it makes the kitchen knives razor sharp.

48. Now that’s an interesting kitchen knife holder.

Yes, it has a guy stuck to a knife throwing wheel. Yes, I know you’d have a sick mind to own that. And yes, I think it’s kind of funny.

49. A Pac-Man oven mitt can always stand the heat.

Great for anyone who likes baking and old-time video games from the 1980s. Though it won’t help you through a maze.

50. Some may need this knife rack like they need a hole in the head.

I know only Hannibal Lecter would own a knife rack like this. But I couldn’t pass this one up.

51. You can peel potatoes with the turn of a crank.

Well, that’s an ingenious way to peel veggies. Though perhaps a regular peeler can get the job done better.

52. Nothing starts your morning like a medieval coffee maker.

Okay, they didn’t have coffee in the Middle Ages. Yet, I think this will be perfect for any torture chamber or dungeon.

53. Cutting through pizza should be as simple as sawing wood.

So it’s no wonder there’s a power saw pizza cutter. Not sure if it’s safe to operate though.

54. Why roast marshmallows when you can use this in the microwave?

Yes, this is for smores. Still, wouldn’t mind having this. Wonder if you can use it with other sandwiches.

55. Bunny mixers always make cooking fun.

Each one comes with a digital display and bunny handles. Nevertheless, so cute.

56. Condiment guns are always handy at barbecues.

Comes with 2 canisters for ketchup and mustard. Wonder if they have ones for horse radish and mayonnaise.

57. With this ring, you can always know how much pasta you need.

Sure it’s not as fun as the knuckles. But it’s nonetheless convenient.

58. Store your dinner cutlery on this handy dinner boat.

Crazy enough, it resembles a boat. Though it might only hold enough for a setting or two.

59. This banana slicer seems rather appealing.

Though looking at this, you wouldn’t know it’s a banana slicer. Seems more like a large paper clip.

60. Presenting the ultimate vegetable slicer and dicer.

Comes with so many components for all your salad needs. Yet, you’re probably better off with a conventional mandolin.

61. It’s always easy to chop anything on a file folder.

Though the board is made from silicon. Still, think it’s kind of clever. Wouldn’t mind having this.

62. If you need to baste anything, this highlighter is all you need.

Though this one is using fruit at the moment. Still, don’t use it to highlight special passages in books. It’s a kitchen tool.

63. With this briefcase, grating is taking care of business.

Well, at least it has a nice handle to it that makes it easy to use. Also, its design is quite simple.

64. Your kitchen can’t go wrong with a bouquet of measuring spoons.

When you’re cooking these are used for measuring things. When not, they’re just for decoration.

65. There’s nothing more manly than a cutting board with a small ax.

Not sure if you can detach the ax. But at least it gives anyone in the kitchen a smooth surface.

66. Should you get a rolling pin, have one good at measuring dough.

Even has little adjusters in order to help you. Yet, I’m not sure how they fit on the pin.

67. Sometimes a serated knife can use a little bent.

This one is used to get certain things out of peppers. Still, sure wouldn’t want to wash that.

68. A smart coffee machine always has your brew when you need it.

A smart coffee maker, now I’ve seen everything. Even comes with an app you put on your smart phone.

69. With this spray top, you can now make a room smell like anything.

After all, why use chemicals to freshen up a room when you can use the fruit in your home? It’s cheaper.

70. Introducing Jumping Jack salad tongs.

Yes, it resembles a pair of legs sticking out of a salad. But it’s kind of the point. I know some will desire an explanation.

71. These kitchen tools make cooking fun.

I think these might be for kids. But they’re in bright colors with arms and legs. So strangely delightful.

72. Lid Sid can always hold it over the pot.

Yes, I know what it looks like. But you can basically use Lid Sid to hold up anything, especially in the kitchen.

73. This contraption sharpens knives like magic.

So what if it depicts a woman in a box being sawed in half? It’s just a magic trick illusion. Still, this is sick.

74. With this board, you can chop onions like a real psycho killer.

I’m sure Alfred Hitchcock will be quite pleased with this. Though best not use it in the shower.

75. You can make any kind of noodles with this pasta maker.

Well, you have to hand it to modern technology. Though I guess spaghetti is the easiest for this one.

76. You have the electric kettle and then there’s a smart kettle.

And you can monitor the water in it with your smart phone. Isn’t modern technology great?

77. Get your veggies cut with Spiral Flex.

You can just turn the crank and watch the cucumber be reduced to shreds. Seems quite handy.

78. You can show all the chopping moves with this DJ cutting board.

Well, it’s a different kind of counter top. Doesn’t play music but it’s good enough.

79. A pancake pen gives you loads of breakfast time fun.

Now you can create lots of shapes on the griddle with pancake batter. This one is shaped like a crayon.

80. This robot nutcracker is at your service.

Okay, it’s just a regular nutcracker that looks like a robot. But it’s nevertheless adorable.

81. Serve your dishes with this dustbin tray.

Yes, this is a tray. And yes, it’s for food. I know what you’d think of that.

82. Clothes pin chopsticks are great with Chinese food.

Wonder if it’s easier to hold than regular chopsticks. Because I’m not good eating with them.

83. This Swiss Army Knife set keeps all your measuring spoons in place.

Could really use this. Just flip through to get the spoon you need. Love it.

84. I’m sure a gnome timer will ring whenever your food is ready.

Well, it’s a gnome snow globe. Yes, I know it’s tacky. But garden gnomes have their fans.

85. The towel-a-matic dispenser is at your service.

Of course, a regular paper towel dispenser is just as good. Can’t see why that has to be automated.

86. With a robotic stirrer, you don’t need any hands.

So if you’re tired of stirring your food, this is for you. Wonder if this actually works.

87. Fork? Chopsticks? Or both?

Because why should you have to choose when you eat Chinese food? Though I’d usually go with fork.

88. Shave off corn of the cob with this donut device.

This one at least has a dish to catch the kernels. Yet, best to eat it off the cob.

89. Someone must’ve had a little accident.

Actually it’s a cutting board that resembles a pool of blood. But yes, I know why people would be freaked out.

90. This rocker makes pouring from jugs easier.

After all, a full jug is pretty heavy. So I hope this puts you at ease.

91. Nothing brings the party like a disco ball tumbler set.

No, these aren’t remnants from the 1970s. These are real. But they’re tacky nonetheless.

92. Keep your hands safe with farfalloni pot holders.

These are made from silicone by the way. Wouldn’t mind having them though.

93. Slicing pizza should be as easy as cutting with scissors.

Pizza cutters are normally round. But this one isn’t. Still, wouldn’t mind having this.

94. Now you can have literal beer goggles.

Well, these aren’t the beer goggles you’re thinking about. Sure they’re not useful but they’er quite funny.

95. You can always count on this cube timer.

Not sure how this work. But I kind of like it. Probably has some digital technology to it.

96. From what I see on the oven mitt, someone likes what’s in the oven.

It’s a Facebook Like mitt. Made possible by the impact of social media.

97. These dish gloves have memorable faces.

Well, hand puppet gloves. Handy for distracting yourself when doing the dishes.

98. These salad tongs seem really precise.

These tongs consist of large arrows. Great for grabbing salad and indicating where it is.

99. This pot comes with its own strainer.

These pots would be handy for cooking pasta. Comes in orange and purple.

100. Need to peel veggies? Try this rotary peeler.

Yes, they resemble paper weights. But they’re peelers. Keep them away from children.

The Public Menace That Is Breitbart

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There is no doubt that President Evil Cheeto Head’s unanticipated victory during the 2016 Election shook the foundations of American politics. And the media wasted no time trying to find an explanation for it such as Russian hacking and “fake news.” Both are major concerns but neither theories seem to explain the whole story. Some attribute to polarization through social media in which people choose which media outlets to follow. Yet, that doesn’t explain everything either. Nevertheless, if anything’s for certain, it’s that Trump could never have ended up in the White House without the help of Breitbart News. Founded in 2005 by the late Andrew Breitbart, this is a conservative website the New York has described as an organization with “ideologically driven journalists” that generates controversy “over material that has been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist.” And it has a reputation for publishing a number of falsehoods and conspiracy theories, incendiary headlines, as well as intentionally misleading stories. However, it’s a site that makes Fox News seem like the BBC and it’s for people who think the cable news network is too polite and restrained. Yet, thanks to the Trump campaign and the 2016 Election, Breitbart has stepped out from the fringes of American politics and became a leading voice in the conservative media. This March, Breitbart tried become a credentialed member of the Senate Daily Press Gallery alongside mainstream outlets like the New York Times and USA Today. Had it got its way, then they’d have access to the Capitol on par with congressional staff and a place in the White House press pools. So far the Standing Committee of Correspondents has denied their request, for good reason. Because Breitbart News shouldn’t have any press accreditation as mainstream news outlet for various reasons. But first, a bit of background.

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Tracking Facebook and Twitter shares of over 1.25 stories published during the 2016 Election from 25,000 sources, a study at Harvard and MIT showed an insulated right-wing media sphere anchored around Breitbart. This map depicts the Facebook shares though the Twitter scheme looks fairly identical.

This March, a Harvard and MIT study reported in the Columbia Journalism Review offers a less exotic and far more disturbing explanation. Yet, it’s one that makes far more sense. Their study consisted of tracking over 1.25 million online stories from 25,000 sources published between April 2015 and Election Day using an open-source platform for media ecosystems called Media Cloud. They also analyzed hyperlinking patterns, social media sharing patterns on Facebook and Twitter, and content topic and language patterns within the stories. Their work showed a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed a distinct and insulated media system. Harnessing social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective of the world, this pro-Trump media sphere seemed to not only successfully instill a right-wing media agenda, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, particularly in covering Hillary Clinton. Though political and media polarization existed online, the Harvard study suggests that it was asymmetric. According to them, Clinton supporters were highly attentive to traditional media outlets alongside more left-wing sources. By contrast, Trump supporters paid most of their attention polarized outlets catered to affirming their political worldviews. Since one of the right-wing media’s central themes is attacking the “opposing” media’s integrity and professionalism, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Or at least whenever the so-called “liberal” media published stories containing information the right-wing media didn’t like such as negative press about Trump. And their vehement attacks on traditional journalism usually convince their audience to only trust them as if it’s the mainstream media’s mission to deceive rather than inform.

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Here’s a diagram of Twitter shares from various media outlets across the political spectrum. On the left, you have an even distribution of traditional and left-wing media outlets. On the right, once the threshold of partisan-only attention is reached, the number of right-wing sites dramatically increases.

Although it’s often said that the internet can fragment public discourse and polarize opinions by allowing us to filter news suiting our views, the Harvard and MIT study challenged that simple narrative. They concluded that had technology been the most important driver towards a “post-truth” world, we’d expect to see symmetric patterns on the left and right. But instead, they found that different internal political dynamics within the left and right-wings leading to different patterns in reception and technology use. Sure Facebook and Twitter enabled right-wing media to circumvent the traditional media’s gatekeeping power. But the pattern wasn’t symmetric. And in a way, the Harvard and MIT study seemed to confirm what many of us knew all along. For one, right-wing media outlets like talk radio and Fox News have contributed to increasing political polarization way before Facebook and Twitter even existed. Second, another study by the National Bureau of Economic Research has found polarization increasing faster among those using social media the least: white senior citizens. Third, the fact the Harvard and MIT study found the same asymmetric patterns on Facebook and Twitter suggested that human choices, culture, and politics played more of a role.

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Though “fake news” was often to blame for Trump’s victory in the 2016 Election, it was less about wholly fabricated stories than disinformation. As you can see, Breitbart distinctly fits in the Conservative Utter Garbage category since it specializes in the latter.

Nor did the study find many of the most-shared stories qualifying as “fake news” in the context of wholly fabricated falsities created by politically disinterested parties out to make a buck on Facebook. Rather many of these most-shared stories would be more accurately understood as disinformation. For those who don’t know, disinformation is the deliberate combination of decontextualized truths, repeated falsehoods, and leaps of paranoid logic to create a fundamentally misleading view of the world. Again, this is no surprise since people are much more likely to believe in distorted news stories than fake ones altogether. Disinformation is a classic propaganda technique employed by authoritarian regimes and conspiracy theorists. Though partisan media use of disinformation is neither new nor limited to the right-wing, it is a much bigger problem than mere “fake news.” Nevertheless, over the course of the election, the right-wing media’s use of disinformation turned it into an internally coherent, relatively insulated knowledge community which reinforced their readers’ shared worldview and shielded them from the journalism challenging it. Through repetition, variation, and circulation, these right-wing media outlets made their claims familiar to their audiences. And their fluency with their core narrative gives credence to the incredible. The prevalence of such material created an environment where President Pussygrabber and his White House swamp cronies can tell their supporters anything and they’d still cheer for him. Yet, once again, since the right-wing media sphere has usually functioned this way well before the 2016 election as demonstrated by Fox News and Talk Radio.

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This Twitter share map from February 2016 shows less attention being placed at Fox News, thanks to Breitbart’s attacks of it. This effectively sidelined the cable news channel until after Trump won the GOP primary.

Nevertheless, when the folks at Harvard and MIT mapped their media sources through their methodology, they saw Breitbart as the center of a distinct right-wing media ecosystem, surrounded by Fox News, the Daily Caller, the Gateway Pundit, the Washington Examiner, Infowars, Conservative Treehouse, and Truthfeed. Their maps also show that the hyper-partisan attack pattern was set during the primary season within this right-wing media system. Not only did Breitbart and co. attack opposing candidates such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio but also media that didn’t support Trump’s candidacy like Fox News. In early 2016, Breitbart aimed to delegitimize Fox News as conservative media’s central arbiter through sustained attacks tying it to immigration, terrorism, Muslims, and corruption. As a result, Fox News was effectively sidelined only to revive and integrate more closely with Breitbart and the rest of the right-wing media sphere once the primaries ended. From then, their target became all traditional media, Hillary Clinton, and immigration.

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During the 2016 Election, Breitbart would alter not just the conservative media ecosystem, but the mainstream media’s agenda as well. And it was because of the right-wing website that media outlets paid disproportionate attention to Hillary Clinton’s scandals and Trump’s stance on immigration. Trump’s scandals received considerably less coverage than they should’ve and I think it was a real shame. And I’m happy that the Washington Post called out the media for portraying Clinton as the corrupt one while Trump’s corruption is absolutely mind-boggling. Check out my post about Trump’s corruption scandals and you’ll see what I mean. I even have source listings.

As Breitbart assumed its role of central arbiter of conservative news, the right-wing media was able to bring focus on immigration as well as Hillary’s e-mails and other scandals to a broader media environment. Trump’s heavily substantive agenda on immigration and his direct attacks on Hillary would dominate public discussions. Coverage of Clinton overwhelmingly focused on her e-mails, the Clinton Foundation, and Benghazi. Whereas, Trump’s stories centered on immigration along with arguments on jobs and trade received more attention than his far more mind-boggling corruption scandals (which the Washington Post appropriately called out). Such coverage gave many Americans impression that Hillary Clinton was corrupt and untrustworthy and that Donald Trump cared for struggling working class whites. But it was a highly misleading one at its core. It was one newspapers, magazines, and several online media outlets immediately saw through, especially if they were extremely familiar with Trump. Because a lot of them wasted no time covering his long record of dirty business practices. However, that false impression convinced enough voters in critical swing states to choose Trump, vote third party, or not vote at all. Why? Because many of these Americans usually get their news from mainstream outlets, TV, radio, and/or the local paper. And while they’ve been familiar with Hillary Clinton’s baggage for decades, they mainly saw Trump as a rich successful businessman and reality TV star instead of the sociopathic con artist and demagogue he truly is.

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During the 2016 Election, Breitbart devoted disproportionate attention to immigration which was framed in terms of terror, crime, and Islam. Seeing this graph, it’s very clear that most of Trump’s supporters were motivated by xenophobia and racism.

Nevertheless, while the mainstream media was often critical, it nonetheless revolved around where Trump and Breitbart had common cause: immigration. Trump’s campaign and Breitbart’s coverage on immigration have made overt racism and xenophobia more acceptable to mainstream conservatism. Breitbart and other right-wing outlets would frame it in terms of terror, crime, and Islam with their immigration stories were among the most widely shared on social media and the site devoted disproportionate attention to it. And it didn’t help that many of the immigration issues they brought up weren’t very well understood. Take sanctuary cities, for instance. According to right-wing media, they’re consistently vilified as criminal hellholes where undocumented immigrants are free to roam around the streets and can get away with murder. The 2015 shooting death of Kathyrn Steinle was a frequent feature in Republican campaign ads, particularly Senator Pat Toomey’s. Sure San Francisco released her shooter from prison who had 5 deportations. But Juan Lopez-Sanchez’s record mostly consisted of unauthorized reentry and drug possession and had no outstanding warrant for his arrest. There was no way San Francisco could foresee Lopez-Sanchez killing someone. Furthermore, it’s possible Lopez-Sanchez killed Steinle by accident, which might explain everything. Yet, when you hear about the Steinle case, you get the impression Lopez-Sanchez was a violent thug whom San Francisco should’ve handed over to ICE for deportation. Trump’s hardline position on immigration has deeply resonated with conservative voters that within a week of Steinle’s death, his poll numbers shot up which placed him as the GOP frontrunner. Along with Breitbart and the RNC, Trump has made “sanctuary cities” a scapegoat embodying injustices falling upon Americans out of a perceived laissez-faire approach to immigration enforcement. Trump would often illustrate this by parading grieving families onstage at his rallies and at the Republican National Convention. And it’s one he’s used to justify shutting the US-Mexican border and deporting America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.

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Though Breitbart is a popular conservative media website, it’s one that makes Fox News seem like the BBC. And recently, thanks to Steve Bannon, it’s shifted to more right-wing extremist ideas and has been identified with the alt-right. Today, you’ll find its comment section as former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro says, “a cesspool of white supremacist mememakers.”

The fact Breitbart has become one of the most popular news outlets on the right as well as played a critical role in the 2016 Election should be particularly troubling. Today, according to Alexa, it ranks as one of the top 1,000 most popular sites on the Internet as well as just outside the top 200 most popular sites in the US. As I’ve said before, Breitbart is a right-wing news website once run by now current Trump adviser Stephen Bannon who openly admitted the site as “the platform for the alt-right.” Under his watch, the outlet had undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing right-wing extremist ideas associated with the alt-right, Bannon’s target audience. I have written before that the alt-right is a loose set of far-right ideologies that share the core belief that “white identity” is under attack through policies prioritizing multiculturalism, political correctness, and social justice. And that white identity must be preserved, usually through white-identified online communities and physical ethno-states. Since 2015, Breitbart has openly promoted the Alt-Right’s core issues and introduced their racist ideas to its readership, much to white nationalists’ glee for they could never dream of reaching a vast audience. Breitbart’s comment section is filled with white nationalist and anti-Semitic language reflects this. Since Bannon took over after founder Andrew Breitbart’s death in 2012, Breitbart has cheered on white nationalist groups as an “electric mix of renegades,” accusing President Barack Obama of importing “more hating Muslims,” and waging a war against the so-called purveyors of “political correctness.” As Occidental Dissent’s Brad Griffin put it, “I think Breitbart has had a positive impact on our culture and politics. It is unwittingly engaging in what I call ‘discourse poisoning’. I assume the profit motive is at work here – anyway, it benefits us to erode taboos, so I don’t really care how much money they make. You could also say that we can look at Breitbart as a model that those of us who are further to the Right ought to be doing instead of writing history lectures or boring essays about obscure philosophers no one cares about.” Throughout the 2016 Election, outlinks to Breitbart steadily grew over the course of 2016 on the most prominent white supremacist websites. By late that year, the conservative website was topping media outlets like the UK’s sensationalist tabloid style Daily Mail and the neo-Nazi The Daily Stormer. It’s said the far-right boards of 4chan regularly linked Breitbart stories over 1,000 times a month.

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Here’s a sampling of inflammatory Breitbart headlines regarding Muslims and immigration. Though Islamophobia exists throughout the political spectrum, these are incredibly offensive. Though Islamic terrorism does exist, American Muslims are more likely to be terror victims than the terrorists they’re stereotyped as. These Anti-Muslim headlines only incite more hate.

Breitbart has always given a platform to some radical right movements even before Bannon took over. And this applied particularly those in the nativist and anti-Muslim set, which given the high rate of American Islamophobia isn’t completely unacceptable. Breitbart organized conferences featuring nativist speakers and published op-eds and interviews with movement leaders. Yet, since 2015, the right-wing news site started publishing more overtly racist diatribes about Muslims and immigrants. In May of that year, Breitbart published an article defending Pamela Geller for hosting a “Draw Mohammed Cartoon Contest” in Garland Texas. Geller’s drawing contest was a tactic many viewed as an act to incite and anger American Muslims. In fact, 2 armed men linked to ISIS targeted the event and were killed by police for attempting to storm the venue. Breitbart’s article was titled, “6 Reasons Pamela Geller’s Cartoon Contest is No Different from Selma” and it came with Geller’s photo alongside that of Martin Luther King Jr. in order to liken the notorious Muslim-basher with the great civil rights leader. Bannon has praised Geller as “one of the leading experts in the country, if not the world,” on Islam, while the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed her American Freedom Defense Initiative as an Anti-Muslim hate group. In February of 2016, Breitbart produced a 51-second anti-Muslim video about South Carolina introducing an anti-Shariah law bill depicting stoning executions and harsh punishments as warning that Shariah Law would undercut American justice. It was a claim echoing similar Anti-Muslim sentiments by activists fearing “creeping Shariah” will preempt the Constitution. A month earlier, Breitbart published an article by longtime anti-immigrant politician Tom Tancredo titled, “Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture” which almost resembled a white nationalist screed. In it, Tancredo warned about an “epidemic” or rape across Europe and concluded with, “The Muslim rape culture is not a ‘dirty little secret — it is widely recognized as integral to Islam as taught in the Koran and the Hadith. Like honor killings and other parts of Sharia, it will not be wished away. And like honor killings, with massive Muslim immigration on the horizon, it could be coming to a town near you all too soon.” And in September of 2015, Breitbart attacked Pope Francis for his comments about the US welcoming more refugees by invoking a popular Alt-Right novel Camp of the Saints and lauding it with a quote by Pat Buchanan. Now the book depicts an invasion of France and the white Western world by a fleet of dark skinned refugees, characterized as horrific and uncivilized “monsters” stopping at nothing to greedily and violently seize what rightfully belongs to the white man.

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Breitbart is also notoriously racist by likening blacks and Latinos as thugs committing crimes against whites at alarming rates. This headline appeared on Breitbart following the Charleston church shootings of 2015. If I had ever seen an extremely appalling response to a racially motivated mass shooting if there was one. Still, if you don’t think the Confederate flag is racist, then I have an entire article tearing that claim to shreds.

But Breitbart doesn’t just target Muslims and immigrants. Another popular racist conspiracy it propagates is the notion that African Americans are committing crimes against whites at alarming rates. Of course, linking blacks to crime isn’t unusual in right-wing media since Fox News does this all the time like calling Black Lives Matter protestors as a bunch of cop-killing lawless thugs. So does Breitbart which published a piece titled, “A SHORT LIST OF BLACK LIVES MATTER’S COP-KILLING HEROES.” Nor was Breitbart a stranger to this either. In 2009, the news outlet played a central role in promoting the ACORN undercover videos and had one of their reporters dressed as a prostitute, which led to the community organizing network’s demise. In 2010 released the edited Shirley Sherrod video titled “Proof NAACP Awards Racism” which got her fired from the Department of Agriculture. Oh, and in 2014, they reported that then Obama attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch served in Bill Clinton’s defense team during the Whitewater scandal when she didn’t. And they’ve also promoted Obama conspiracy theories like the often repeated falsehood that Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim.  In July 2015, following the Charleston church shooting, Breitbart published a piece entitled: “Hoist it high and proud: the Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage,” reeking of the white supremacist sentiment shooter Dylann Roof embraced. The next month, after the murder of a white journalist and cameraman live on air by a disgruntled African American former co-worker, Breitbart published the race-baiting headline, “Race Murder in Virginia: Black Reporter Suspected of Executing White Colleagues – On Live Television!” It is remarkably similar to ones seen on the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens’ website, which his dedicated to spreading falsehood to the public about the black crime “epidemic.” Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof credited the CCC website as being his gateway into white nationalism after stumbling upon it during a Google search on black on white crime. In addition, Bannon has credited now US Attorney General Jeff Sessions who’s referred to civil rights advocacy groups as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” And in July 2016, he accused the “Left” of a “plot to take down America,” by fixating on police shootings of black citizens and arguing that the 5 fallen police officers in Dallas were murdered “”by a #BlackLivesMatter-type activist-turned-sniper.” He even accused the mainstream media of an Orwellian “bait-and-switch as reporters and their Democratic allies and mentors seek to twist the subject from topics they don’t like to discuss—murderers with evil motives—to topics they do like to discuss, such as gun control.” He then added, “[H]ere’s a thought: What if the people getting shot by the cops did things to deserve it? There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent.”

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Though Breitbart doesn’t claim to be anti-Semitic as well as hired Jewish reporters and has a bureau in Israel, it hasn’t stopped the site from publishing articles with these headlines. Not to mention, Steve Bannon is a noted anti-Semite as well as a good chunk of Breitbart’s audience.

Though Breitbart editors have repeatedly attacked critics connecting their website to the alt-right’s anti-Semitic elements by pointing to Jewish writers on their staff and embrace for far-right Israeli politics, the comment section analysis shows they don’t have a zero tolerance policy for anti-Semitic views. Of course, this isn’t surprising since Bannon is a well-known anti-Semite. His ex-wife claimed he didn’t want their daughters attending a private girls’ school in Los Angeles because he didn’t want them going to attending a school with Jews. According to her from court documents, “He said he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’.” Bannon has denied these allegations. Nevertheless, anti-Semitic or not, far right extremists like what they see on there. A focus on “globalist elites” was a traditional anti-Semitic dog whistle used by the radical right to a core appeal embraced by American and European right-wing populists. And it’s been a “rolling narrative” Breitbart extensively covers. One of its London pieces attacked Washington Post writer Anne Applebaum referring to her as a “Polish, Jewish, American elitist” with “global media contacts.” It was roundly criticized as being anti-Semitic. Breitbart’s similar inflammatory coverage of the migrant crisis and terrorism resonates with the hard right which includes anti-Semitic fellow travelers. And by 2016, the phrase “Jewish” on the Breitbart comments section had morphed into an epithet used in similar contexts as “socialist” or “commie.”

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Though there are female reporters working for Breitbart, you still see a lot of these very sexist headlines on the site. This one about feminism is among many examples. Not to mention, Steve Bannon’s ex-wife has accused him of domestic violence.

Though right-wing media has a very terrible reputation for sexism, Breitbart has no shortage of deeply misogynistic stories and headlines with feminists regularly targeted. On a story about online harassment, Breitbart published a piece titled, “The Solution to Online ‘Harassment’ Is Simple: Women Should Log Off” which read, “Women are — and you won’t hear this anywhere else — screwing up the internet for men by invading every space we have online and ruining it with attention-seeking and a needy, demanding, touchy-feely form of modern feminism that quickly comes into conflict with men’s natural tendency to be boisterous, confrontational and delightfully autistic. Feminism never brings men and women together in equality. It drives the sexes apart through acrimony, constant suspicion and antagonism like ‘teach men not to rape’ and illogical generalities and conspiracy theories like the ‘patriarchy’.” Though to be fair, former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has gained notoriety for Gamergate. Nevertheless, this is typical garbage that’s basically blaming telling women to put up or shut up. Not to mention, blaming feminism for men’s conduct toward women that receive little to no consequences which is appalling. We should also account that Bannon’s ex-wife brought charges of domestic violence against him in 1996 as well as referred to feminists as “a bunch of dykes of the 7 Sisters schools.” Or how about birth control? In that case, a 2015 Breitbart article stated that “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy” which stated that, “your birth control injection will add on pounds that will prevent the injection you really want — of man meat.” On women in tech: “There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews.” Other headlines consist of, “Does Feminism Make Women Ugly?,” “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?,” “Lesbian bridezillas bully bridal shop owner over religious beliefs,” and “Teenage boys with tits: Here’s my problem with Ghostbusters.” LGBT people, the disabled, the overweight, and pretty much anyone who disagrees with Breitbart’s agenda are often targets as well.

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Milo Yiannopoulos is perhaps one of the most famous figures at Breitbart and the alt-right. He’s also known to incite mass trolling attacks on Twitter that he’s been suspended numerous times on there as well as eventually and permanently banned. Yet, for awhile, he seemed to be riding high until he started defending pedophiles.

However, Breitbart’s most disturbing piece to date was its Alt-Right primer published in March 2016. The piece ignores Alt-Right founders Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor, and others’ racist views and referred to them as the movement’s “intellectuals.” Though they do note that these men have been accused of racism. It’s a striking example of how the website has moved over since 2015 and how Breitbart has become the alt-right’s platform. But even to this day, Breitbart’s owners continue to deny their website has any connection to the Alt-Right or has ever supported racist or white supremacist views. Yet, you wouldn’t know from some of their journalists’ Twitter pages who support the Alt-Right’s core tenets. The most notable was former tech editor and star writer Milo Yiannopoulos who was permanently banned from Twitter for his online abuse of Leslie Jones and others. Though to be fair, this is a guy whose claim to fame was leading a massive troll war over misogyny in the video game world called Gamergate. And he was called by the Southern Poverty Law Center, “the person who propelled the alt-right movement into the mainstream.” When asked on how he, Breitbart, and other sites mobilized the alt-right community, Yiannopoloulos replied, “I don’t pander to anyone. I just gave the alt-right a fair hearing. That was considered heretical by the virtue-signaling leftist media, so now they call me a white nationalist and anti-Semite, despite the fact that I’m a gay Jew with a black boyfriend. To the American media, anyone who is not a far-left social justice activist is a racist and sexist. This has had a predictable consequence: no one cares about their name-calling and hysteria anymore.” He’s basically denying that the alt-right is nothing like the white nationalist extremism it certainly is. That’s just the leftist media talking. However, he then added, “Trump’s voters, and I would wager in fact most of America, are repulsed by the Lena Dunham, Black Lives Matter, third-wave feminist, communist, ‘kill all white men’ politics of the progressive left. Which is in large part why this election went the way it did. Some of us saw it coming a while ago. Most didn’t.” This is basically what you’d expect from Yiannopoulos. Yet, it’s disturbing to even imagine what kind of people would attend his campus talks during his “Dangerous Faggot” tour which coincided with a rise of hate crimes around the country following Trump’s victory. But tickets usually sold out fast though his events included security as well as angry protests. And for awhile, his star seemed on the rise since he signed a $250,000 book deal with Simon and Schuster as well as an invitation to speak at CPAC. But he would later suffer a massive fall from grace after his pedophilia comments and be forced to resign from Breitbart as well as have his deals with Simon and Schuster and CPAC cancelled.

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Now I know this Breitbart headline is certainly fake news since Trump is a sexist and racist sociopathic demagogue. Still, Breitbart has supported his candidacy since the beginning which has helped the site make inroads in the mainstream. Nevertheless, having Bannon in the White House gives the conservative website power and opportunities they never had before. And a premiere media outlet for white supremacists, alt-righters, and Neo-Nazis, it’s very troubling.

What’s also disconcerting is Breitbart’s unabashed support for Donald Trump whose campaign helped mobilize and mainstream racist activists online which had internal ramifications for the site. In March 2016, then Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski assaulted Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and site published an article questioning Fields’ account. Editor Ben Shapiro and a number of journalists including Fields quit as the New York Times said that, “Breitbart’s unabashed embrace of Mr. Trump, particularly at the expense of its own reporter, struck them as a betrayal of its mission.” Former employees accused Bannon of having, “turned a website founded on anti-authoritarian grounds into a de facto propaganda outlet for Mr. Trump.” However, we should know that Breitbart’s support for Trump was known since August 2015 when Buzzfeed reported that several anonymous staffers claimed he had paid for favorable coverage on the site, which management denied. Though Newsweek and The Washington Post have both reported that owners Robert and Rebekah Mercer have deep ties to Trump and were among his earliest and most generous backers as well as recommended Bannon to him. Nevertheless, the partnership was mutually beneficial. Trump would secure the support of Breitbart’s core readership as among his most steadfast supporters. Breitbart’s traffic would more than double while Trump would also appear on Steve Bannon’s Sirius XM radio show as well as cite Breitbart on his website more than any other source. As the Trump campaign’s propaganda machine, Breitbart provided positive coverage for him. They regularly featured opinion pieces by Trump supporter Ann Coulter. They covered his rallies and rarely questioned his policy proposals. They even published some articles bolstering Trump’s claims that independent fact-checkers rated as false. And in July 2016, Trump appointed Bannon to run his presidential campaign which eventually earned him a place in his administration. Having Trump and Bannon in the White House only legitimizes Breitbart’s agenda as well as gives them a direct conduit of power they’ve never had before. Inside the Trump administration, Breitbart is likely to be the most read publications inside the White House over the next 4 years, giving it even more legitimacy and policy. And Breitbart would continue publishing articles espousing the Trump White House views, making it a powerful messaging tool to influence conservatives who voted for him.

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Stephen Bannon may not be working at Breitbart. But his legacy there still remains. But to give this media arm of the alt-right any legitimacy whatsoever is deeply troubling since it’s a site peddling disinformation as well as caters to right-wing extremists. We can’t have that kind of media in the White House.

While Bannon may no longer be at Breitbart, his legacy remains. We must not forget that Bannon’s editorial vision has demonstrably mobilized a grassroots fighting for a white ethnostate and in many cases, another Holocaust. After all, if they consist of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, it’s not surprising. And longstanding far right leaders haven’t ignored Breitbart’s ascension made possible by the Trump campaign who’ve reacted with the shock at how their editorial bent resembles their own. We should understand that these extremists’ hate is real and thriving on Breitbart, which has helped expand their influence on the American political right. And for many their propensity to inflict terror on Americans is a real threat. As a media organization, Breitbart has absolutely no journalistic integrity and its influence in the mainstream press during the 2016 Election was an extremely negative one styles itself as a website catering to the worst in American conservatism. Having Trump appoint Bannon to his administration signals that white supremacists are represented at his White House. I have already written a post on the alt-right and highlighted how their influence might lead to more domestic terror attacks. And the fact the Trump administration has a terror policy focused solely on Islam sends a clear signal that would only embolden these radical right-wing degenerates. Though Breitbart has failed to gain legitimacy in Washington, Trump still uses it as a news source as it becomes the central arbiter in the American conservative media ecosystem and therefore, giving it some degree of mainstream legitimacy. And as long as both things are true, then Breitbart has every opportunity to rear its ugly head and permeate its toxic influence into White House policy.

The Cushiony World of Pillows

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Whether it is to support your head while sleeping or make the couch look good, pillows are a common feature in any home with a bed and living room furniture. Though the ones we see are normally comprised of fabric envelope containing soft stuffing, some cultures have pillows made from wood or stone. Of course, the latter is due to standards of comfort, affordability, material availability. For instance, old Chinese pillows could be made of bamboo, jade, porcelain, wood, ceramic, and bronze. And they mostly didn’t resemble the pillows we’re used to. Now pillows have been around since 7,000 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia. Yet, only the wealthy used pillows which also served as a status symbol. The richer someone was, the more they owned. Aside from providing comfort to the head, they were also used to keep insects out of people’s hair, mouth, nose, and ears while sleeping. In ancient Egypt, wooden and stone pillows were mainly used for the deceased. As for softer pillows, well, they could be stuffed with reeds, feathers, or straw. Today, you’re more likely to find fillers of cotton stuffing, foam, synthetic fibers, latex, or down. As you see above, pillows can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, especially the decorative variety. And that’s where I come in. Some of the ones you’ll see will have a decorative case. Others, a unique shape. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a glimpse into the diverse world of cushiony pillows.

  1. “Life without music would B flat.”

You can say the same for a pillow without stuffing. But who am I kidding?

2. A pillow with peacock feathers should always sparkle.

Well, this is certainly dazzling. Wouldn’t look great on a brown living room couch though.

3. This little unicorn pillow can always make you smile.

It’s even shaped like a unicorn head with a white mane. So adorable.

4. These cushions are perfect for an autumn sofa.

Includes 2 leaves, an acorn, and a pumpkin. Known to give a rustic touch.

5. Nothing gets your couch in the mood for movie night like these pillows.

Sure they may not be as colorful as some of the ones I show. But they’ll do when watching TCM.

6. There’s nothing more peaceful than a quaint country street.

You can tell it’s in the countryside since you find a few sheep near the tree. So lovely.

7. A desert house should always have cacti cushions.

Yet, don’t expect to find any flowers on these. But at least none of them have needles.

8. How about a few macaroons on your couch?

Well, at least they come in several different colors. Hope you’re into pastels.

9. These Oreo pillows are easily stackable.

Sure they may not have any creamy filling in between. But they don’t look half bad.

10. A pineapple pillow has a tropical flair.

And here is a pillow that actually resembles a pineapple. Yet, unlike the real thing, it won’t get rotten after a while.

11. Now that has to be a rather fancy trailer.

Yes, it’s another fancy pillow. Then again, this looks more like a camper than a trailer.

12. This couch cushion comes with all the jewels.

Kind of reminds me of the stuff you’d see on my jewelry post. Not sure if any of the decor is upcycled pieces though.

13. You wouldn’t want to have this pillow in the water.

Seems like sharks have become popular lately. Makes me wonder why. But I think this design is quite charming.

14. “You keep me searching for a heart of gold.”

I guess this is a perfect pillow for any fan of Neil Young. Though you’d be gettin’ old.

15. You’d almost swear this cushion came painted.

I guess it’s a copy of some famous painting. Nevertheless, seems to be a true masterpiece.

16. With these pillows, you can get lost under the sea.

Includes angel fish, starfish, and a sea turtle. And they all come finely painted.

17. Perfume bottle pillows are always high class.

The middle pillow has golden sequins and is made for a true queen. Though the bottle pillows also look nice.

18. Are your sure these are pillows?

Yes, these definitely are without a doubt. They just have a rather unconventional design.

19. With these pillows, the snow capped mountains are in the comforts of your home.

Even includes an evergreen tree. Nevertheless, each mountain pillow comes with 2 peaks to form a range.

20. Might want to check this handbook for the recently deceased.

I’m just kidding about that one. It’s actually a pillow with a book title making you scratch your head.

21. Nothing befits a boat cabin like this nautical cushion.

This one even comes with robe and a pink striped life preserver. Hope it makes guests feel welcome aboard.

22. Deer skin cushions are perfect for any hunting lodge.

Don’t tell me these are made by the skins of fawns shot out of season. Because that’s probably illegal under Pennsylvania state law.

23. Floral beadwork can always impress.

And here we have 3 beaded hibiscus flowers. Like the blue and white one the best.

24. With these floral pillows, the spring flowers are a work of art.

a lot of these appear painted. But each is quite lovely in its own way.

25. Now this little tree is teeming with beautiful red leaves.

Here we have another painted cushion. Not sure if it’s derived from a copy or an original. And in the end, it doesn’t matter much.

26. “Donut Worry. Be Happy.”

And I see that a fried pastry with sprinkles and icing can make anyone’s day. Still, this is clever.

27. It’s not a fiesta without some colorful saguaro cacti.

Come in 4 Mexican style patterns reminding you of the desert. All come with trim.

28. Painted posies always brighten one’s day.

Especially if you can rest your head on them. Still, these are pretty.

29. Starfish and sponges always go well on an easy chair.

Well, they seem quite quaint on a chair. Wouldn’t mind having these.

30. Looks like this pillow’s been out a few times.

Kind of reminds you of the due date list you find in a library book. Yet, this one seems to have all kinds of stamps.

31. How about a cushioned felt hydrangea?

These felt flowers are quite pretty. And love how the pillow is purple as well.

32. Hope you can smile for these cameras.

Still, the cameras may seem a bit old fashioned. But there’s something whimsical about them.

33. You see, bears can find love in the woods.

Yes, but when its all over, the male bear will leave. And the female will give birth during hibernation. Oh, and male bears can kill cubs.

34. A pair of antlers can always come with a few flowers.

Now this is a pillow of beauty. Love the flowers. Wouldn’t mind having this.

35. You’d almost take this pillow for a marble block.

However, you wouldn’t want to carve anything on it. Still, better suited for rain than actual marble.

36. If you liked Birds of North America, then get a hold of these pillow cushions.

They even come in several different colors, too. Though this mostly consists of flying birds on trees.

37. A Victorian pillow should be endowed with flowers and lace.

Though if it’s real, I’d be real delicate with it. Also, wouldn’t want to lay my head on it either.

38. Have one of those crocheted blankets? Well, here are some pillows to match.

Sure they may have smaller squares. But each is unique in its own way.

39. Who can’t resist these two otters holding hands?

Because who doesn’t love otters? Seriously, these animals are adorable.

40. Guess this pillow’s the real ticket.

Though it’s an old-fashioned movie ticket. Yet, hope you can enjoy the show.

41. Feast your eyes on this forest mountain scene.

Guess this is of someplace in the West. Given the tall evergreens and the majestic mountains.

42. A golden peacock always belongs on peacock blue.

Well, peacocks are resplendent creatures. And yes, gold surely suits this one.

43. With these heart pillows, what’s not to love?

After all, hearts can always bring smiles. But these seem more suited for Valentine’s Day.

44. As we all know, the blasters in Star Wars sound like this.

Though if a Storm Trooper is firing one, it won’t hit anything. Because they’re all terrible shots.

45. This smiling egg comes sunny side up.

Though this pillow belongs more on your couch than your plate. But it’s adorable.

46. A seahorse pillow always has its tail curled.

Well, on its back anyway. But I’m sure nobody could resist. So cute.

47. A striped cushion can always boast beautiful flowers.

Have to admire the flowers on this. Love the colors and how they go with the black and white stripes.

48. A fancy pillow should always have a painted flower bouquet.

Yes, it’s another one of those old-fashioned looking pillows. No, I don’t think it’s for your head.

49. These tie dye pillows are where it’s at.

Though owning one of these might lead people to believe you might possess a variant of brown acid. Also, possibly smoke pot.

50. Pancake and butter pillows are part of a complete breakfast.

Though they work well when one’s stacked on top of another. Though don’t put syrup on these.

51. A watermelon pillow can always refresh.

Though I think the slice should be smaller and the half should be bigger. Makes more sense that way.

52. “I donut care.”

Well, that’s pretty clever. Like how the donut has a bite in it. Yes, it’s another pun inspired donut pillow.

53. These princess pillows will bring you royal comfort.

Sure they’re kind of minimalistic with circles and a crown. But they’re adorable.

54. The honey badger is always king.

Because we all know that the honey badger don’t care. Yes, these are very tough animals who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

55. With lashes, you should always have a pair.

And you can say the same for these pillows. Make sure they’re the same thickness though.

56. These pillows go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Sure enough these are pillows of bread slices with peanut butter and jelly. Put them together and you have a sandwich.

57. Would you want fries with that?

Don’t think you can lay your head on these. But at least they come with their own case.

58. Apparently, Godzilla is older than I thought.

Yes, this is Godzilla in an old Japanese tidal wave painting. And yes, there’s a strange awesomeness behind it.

59. How about a smore?

Doesn’t hurt if it has a smile on its face. So adorable. I’m sure anyone would want to eat this one up.

60. Fuzzy pillows are always the best.

Each one comes in a different color. Seem like the outside was made from a truffle tree.

61. I suppose one can’t do without these Batman pillows.

Includes Batman, Robin, Alfred, and the Joker. A must have for any Batman fan.

62. “Come to the nerd side. We have π.”

Yes, they always try to hook you with the mathematics. And then it all comes downhill from there.

63. “I’m kind of a big dill.”

Well, it is a dill pickle. So in a way, it is a big dill. Nevertheless, it’s kind of clever.

64. Hope this pillow will give you direction.

Well, the compass rose is always a nice motif. Though it won’t be reliable if you’re lost in the woods.

65. A golden rose always shines.

Well, this golden rose is made from felt. But it’s nonetheless pretty.

66. “Hello, gorgeous!”

This one just consists of makeup. Nice to have at a salon. Though not sure if I’d buy it.

67. These ice cream pillows always come with a smile.

Come in 4 flavors apparently. Unfortunately, chocolate isn’t one of them.

68. With these pillows, you can come to a rather flowery couch.

These are rose pillows. They’re covered in felt to resemble roses. And yes, they’re quite pretty.

69. With this pillow, you can always rest easy on the world.

This one even has a route between Europe and Australia. So quaint and perfect for any traveler.

70. Apparently, this dog went all plaid.

Actually it’s a pillow depicting a dog. And yes, I’m sure some may find it adorable.

71. Let’s hope the moon, cloud, and star always sleep soundly.

Now these look quite adorable. Perfect for any young child’s bedroom.

72. With this pillow, you can see the wonders of the universe.

I guess Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson must have ones that look like these on his couch. If he doesn’t, I’d be very disappointed.

73. This ferocious shark just wants to say hi.

Well, it does seem to resemble the shark from Jaws. But it’s really friendly if you ignore the razor sharp teeth.

74. Sometimes Mexican pillow designs can get quite festive.

Well, each of these is intricate in its own way. Like the one with the colorful flowers the best.

75. Get a load of this forest scene.

This one includes all the forest creatures with the trees in nature’s splendor. So lovely.

76. Everyone needs a large set of kiss lips now and then.

Of course, you’ve probably seen this before. Yes, it’s a common pillow. But I find it quite tacky for my taste.

77. For your living room, how about cushions that match your antique porcelain?

You see this kind of scheme on old china. So why not have a pillow depicting it?

78. No one’s bed could be complete without some military cat cushions.

Here we have Colonel Whiskers, Captain Paw Paws, and Major Meowy. Yes, I know they’re a cat lover’s dream.

79. A donut pillow can always bring you comfort.

Well, this one is a donut with icing and sprinkles galore. Yet, don’t eat it since it’s just full of stuffing.

80. Cuddle up with this all seeing eye of the ocean.

Well, the eye is kind of like the sun in this. But I kind of think it’s pretty neat.

81. A distinguished Bill Murray will always make your day.

Yes, this is a Bill Murray portrait pillow. Yes, I know he doesn’t dress like that. But can I just have a little fun?

82. A deer pillow should always be on flannel.

Because plaid always mean flannel during hunting season. Though many stick to camo and bright orange.

83. Things can get really webby on your couch with these pillows.

Though these spider web pillows are much more suited for Halloween. Since they have a haunted look about them.

84. Put on the feline charm with these cat pillows.

Come in 3 colors and each is soft and cushy as the other. Sorry, if calico is unavailable.

85. There’s always something quaint about this rural set of pillows.

Well, it certainly seems that way. Though there’s a haunted look to it. Maybe it’s the yellow and white on a brown background.

86. Nothing brightens your day than curling up with some emoji pillows.

Each of theses flowers has rainbow petals, too. So you can enjoy them all you want.

87. This little cupcake pillow seems good enough to eat.

Doesn’t hurt if it’s chocolate either. Still, too bad it’s not even edible.

88. You can play with these video game pillows for hours and hours.

Each one has its own unique game controller. So press the buttons all you want.

89. With these map pillows, you can almost travel the world.

Yes, these contain maps of faraway places. Not sure if it’s best to use them to plan your vacation. But they sure look pretty.

90. Hope these raindrop pillows keep falling on your head.

Seems like they’re all smiling as always. So adorable. Love these.

91. Sometimes it helps to snuggle up with some animal crackers.

Yes, I know animal crackers are cookies. But these come in icing and sprinkles.

92. This little marshmallow will make you feel all toasty inside.

Though you wouldn’t want to make smores with this. Still, it’s so cute.

93. These superhero pillows can always save the day.

Includes heroes from both Marvel and DC. Though collateral damage causation may vary.

94. Stack enough of these pillows and you’ll have your own Christmas tree.

Yes, I know Christmas is months away. But c’mon this is a pretty nifty design. Love it.

95. Here is the world in all its floral glory.

Well, it always seems that flowers can make almost everything better. Even a world map. So pretty.

96. Emoji pillows come in all kinds of expressions.

These are quite popular, by the way. You can find ones of every face, too. Enjoy.

97. With this world map, you can explore anywhere.

This one is more for children. Yet, it gives them some idea what’s on each continent.

98. These sushi pillows will always make you smile.

Helps if they have some smiling faces. Nevertheless, you can’t help but love them. So cute.

99. Whether they are rocks or pillows is for you to decide.

Well, they’re actually pebble pillows. Yet, by looking at them, you wouldn’t want to put them against your head.

100. Nobody could resist a rainbow poop emoji pillow on the couch.

For some reason, it didn’t take me long to find it in a Google search. Must be quite a amusing and popular. But yes, it comes from a unicorn.

A Wreath for All Seasons

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A lot of my craft posts have featured wreaths at one point or another whether they be for holidays, for fandoms, or other kind of decor like shells or jewelry. Whenever I go on Pinterest, I seem to find wreaths for almost every occasion you can think of. Whatever it is, chances are you’ll find a wreath for it. Nevertheless, I also find a lot of wreaths which don’t seem to fit in any set box. Some may be seasonal. Some might reflect an interest or profession. Some might denote an occasion like a wedding, birthday, or graduation. Some might take on a particular theme. And some might just exist to make the place look pretty. In any case, a lot of these wreaths can be just as memorable as the ones I usually put on posts. Nevertheless, wreaths have a long history and much symbolism associated with them since ancient times, especially around the Mediterranean. Though the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans usually used them as prizes or crowns. Yet, other ancient Europeans used them as decoration, too. Today, wreaths can denote so many holidays and occasions or possibly none at all. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasure trove of wreath for all seasons.

  1. This garden wreath is quite potty.

Well, it has a lot of small flower pots with seeds, tools, and a nest. Great for any green thumb.

2. A peacock wreath should always come with sparkling flowers.

I guess this for a rather festive occasion. Love the flowers and feathers. So pretty.

3. A flower wreath should have a few home and garden touches.

This one includes a birdhouse, watering cans, and a key. Not sure what season this is for though.

4. Even a fall wreath can seem rather festive.

And you can tell since it has a bow in two plaid ribbons. Also, sunflowers usually come around late in the summer and early autumn.

5. A wreath with a pink butterfly can make quite an impression.

Doesn’t hurt if it covers the center wreath. Great for spring.

6. A nautical wreath should always include a lighthouse.

Though a lot of beaches may not have them. Yet, I think it goes great with the shells.

7. Whoever has this wreath shouldn’t return with a story of how the big one got away.

Well, “gone fishin'” is an expression denoting that someone’s gone on vacation. But this is quite clever.

8. Floral china always make a perfect wreath for a tea party.

Though I’m not sure whether the blue one fits in. Then again, sometimes you have to go with what you have.

9. This maritime wreath is well anchored.

Speaking of nautical wreaths, prepare to see quite a few of them. Since it’s a popular theme. Still, love this one.

10. Flowers always look delightful crocheted.

Wouldn’t mind having this on my door or wall. Still, would look out of place on a tombstone.

11. A wreath should be about as colorful as the flowers on them.

This yarn wreath has interesting flowers on it. Though the stripes aren’t bad either.

12. Fancy drink umbrellas can always celebrate the summer.

Let’s hope whoever made this wreath got the small umbrellas from a craft store. Because I know these are often served with drinks.

13. A crayon wreath makes a great present for the teacher.

I bet this is for an elementary school teacher since it consists of a lot of crayons. Like the tape measure ribbon.

14. You can always grow to love a garden hose wreath.

Though this gardener’s wreath doesn’t seem to have any patience. Also, let’s hope the hose used wasn’t stolen or anything.

15. Some flower wreaths can do with a few pearls.

I can see why someone would want to make a wreath more fancy. Yet, I’m not sure if it’s necessary.

16. Apparently, this wreath seems rather brushed off.

Okay, it’s made with paint brushes on it. Great for a garage. Not so much for a living room or front door.

17. You can’t go wrong with a wreath of red roses.

Floral wreaths like these are great for almost any holiday or season. And one with roses is no exception.

18. A lantern goes great with yellow flowers.

Another fall wreath, I believe. The lantern’s a bit rusty but rather fitting.

19. Nothing makes a better fall wreath like one of Indian corn.

Though you’ll probably see more of these in November for Thanksgiving. However, remember this kind of corn isn’t for eating.

20. Felt flowers should be all kinds of colors.

Yet, this one uses fake plastic foliage which I find odd. Nevertheless, I think the flowers are very pretty.

21. Sometimes a yarn flower wreath only has to be simple.

Well, this is rather quaint. Has only a few flowers but I really love the purple.

22. There’s always something sacred about pink flowers at a church.

Nevertheless, the church birdhouse does match the flowers. Love it.

23. The brighter the flowers, the more festive the wreath can be.

I guess this is a summer luau wreath from the looks of it. Still, great for outdoor parties.

24. A rose wreath can sometimes come with an appropriate birdhouse.

Though I’d love the wreath just as much without a bird and its domicile. So pretty.

25. Sunflowers and plaid always go together.

Seems like this was made for a more summery occasion. Perhaps an outdoor picnic or two?

26. You can even make an autumn wreath with purple.

Well, some of the autumn foliage does look a bit dead. But this is nevertheless lovely.

27. The garden tools on this look a bit rusty.

Well, if you’re decorating a rusty garden shed, this is the wreath for you. Otherwise, it doesn’t really bring out anything sunny.

28. There’s nothing to love more than heart of the lily of the valley.

Sure it’s a flower that’s often used at weddings which has a noxious poison that killed someone off Breaking Bad. But there’s nothing you can’t resist about this wreath.

29. Sometimes you’d wish you were sailing on the calm seas.

This maritime wreath is in crochet as you might see. Yet, I really like the lighthouse in the center.

30. Large white flowers always leave an impression.

Not sure what this flower is supposed to be. But it surely does blossom. Yes, I know the flowers on this are fake.

31. Perhaps a steering wheel off a ship can look good in your mess hall?

Not sure if this counts as a wreath. But since it’s listed on Pinterest as such, I’ll take it.

32. There’s something wild about this rose wreath.

Well, it has a few pine cones and foliage on it. Not sure if it’s suited for fall. But seems like it.

33. Nothing says spring like a butterfly and a bee.

And they’re even more quaint in crochet form. Still, the flowers are quite lovely.

34. With a wreath of rope, it’s anchors away on the high seas.

This looks pretty easy. Only has some starfish, a wooden anchor, and rope.

35. There’s nothing lovelier than a spring wreath of peonies.

Just remember these flowers come after the daffodils. And I’ve never really saw them in that color before.

36. A wagon wheel always makes a wreath of hospitality.

Given the cowboy boot, I guess this for a western themed home. Watch out for the spur those. There’s a reason why most cowboy outfits don’t include them.

37. Your flowers will always get a sprinkle on this garden wreath.

I have to admit, this is a rather clever wreath. Though that’s not real water coming from the spigot.

38. Shells and twigs make a great combination.

Well, that’s a colorful shell collection. Great for a beach house. So pretty.

39. There’s something woody about this wreath.

This one has some tree slices on it for a rustic touch. And includes flowers to match.

40. A wreath of feathers is meant for birds flocking together.

Wonder which birds these feathers are from. Because they seem like they could be real given the colors.

41. You can make a stunning flower wreath with a square picture frame.

Well, wreaths don’t always have to be round, you know. But I really love the purple flowers on this.

42. This wreath has swimsuits all on a line.

Goes without saying that it’s a summer wreath. Unless if you’re talking about the Polar Bear Club, then it’s a winter wreath.

43. Sometimes a metal wreath is better than none.

Sure it may not go as well with the flowers. But at least it holds up well.

44. No gardener should go without a wreath of a hose.

Now this is a real gardener’s wreath. Perfect for a spring greenhouse or garden shed.

45. A birdie can always feel at home among scraps.

Well, that’s kind of quaint. Great for any front door and then some. Love it.

46. Navy blue and white goes great on any yacht.

Even includes an anchor and some robe. Yet, if it’s on board, don’t use it as a flotation device.

47. A garden wreath can always include a few flowers.

Well, this seems like you’d see out of a catalog. And it even has a white picket fence.

48. For a great nautical wreath, use some rope and shells.

Now that’s a creative nautical wreath if I’ve ever seen one. And I’ve seen plenty. Yet, the rope is quite tough.

49. A wedding wreath should always match the bride’s dress.

Nice that it has white flowers to match. Though like the white tulle going down the best.

50. Curler wreaths look great at any salon.

Because nothing says, “I fix hair for a living” like this kind of wreath. Looks like a stylist’s dream.

51. A tulle peacock wreath should always contain a few feathers.

After all, you can’t have a peacock wreath without peacock feathers. So lovely.

52. Summer flowers shine in a gingham wreath.

Almost gives you an impression of a summer picnic. Because sunflowers usually bloom during that time of year.

53. Nothing says spring like a wreath of wildflowers.

Okay, maybe not quite. But it surely makes the bird seem right at home.

54. Large colorful flowers can brighten anyone’s day.

This one has lovely flowers of pink and purple. Wouldn’t mind having this on my door. Love it.

55. With a wreath like this, you can welcome anyone aboard.

The decomesh on this makes it seem like the boat’s rolling on the waves. Like how it matches the life preserver.

56. Nothing brings you back home like amber waves of grain.

Guess this is more of a fall wreath due to the color and air of harvest. Still, it’s rather inventive.

57. A rope nautical wreath should always include a few buoys.

Well, you’d find buoys while you’re in the ocean. Still, it’s quite impressive.

58. Butterflies should always be of rainbow colors.

Though nature doesn’t always see it that way. But this wreath really dazzles nonetheless.

59. How about some flowers on that large blue frame?

Doesn’t hurt if it’s fancy either. Brings out a rustic touch on anyone’s door.

60. A groom wreath should always look spiffy.

And here’s the bridal wreath’s companion. But I have to admit, the polka dot pattern gives it a little personality.

61. A wreath should have flowers representing all rainbow colors.

Well, pink’s included, too. But it’s hard not to exclude it if you’re decorating with flowers.

62. As you can see, you can decorate a wreath with anything.

This one is a collage of small stuff you can find anywhere. Quite interesting to look at even if it’s not in my taste.

63. A wine wreath must always have corks and grapes.

Yes, there’s a wreath for wine lovers. Let’s hope the corks used came from a craft store.

64. Sometimes a hose wreath can use its own watering can.

But gloves and flowers are always a must. Nevertheless, this is really pretty.

65. Sometimes a yarn wreath can do with a few decorations.

Well, it has a few flowers and flags on a string. But I think it’s sensational.

66. Nobody could resist a  shore bird decoration.

I know it’s not a sea gull. Might be a plover. Anyway, like the shells.

67. Nothing brings love like a heart of shell casings.

It’s a perfect wreath for gun shows and NRA conventions. Though if I saw someone with one of these, I wouldn’t want to go near them.

68. A wreath of lavender can always look so sweet.

This is especially when it’s in a heart like this one. But you won’t smell the lavender because it’s fake.

69. How about some crocheted flowers on a grapevine?

Not sure if it goes well. But I really can’t complain. I mean the flowers are pretty.

70. A moss wreath is perfect for doves.

After all, moss has a rather naturalistic look to it. And you can’t resist seeing a pair of doves.

71. With this wreath, everything is as easy as ABC.

Yes, it’s another teacher’s wreath. But this one is in decomesh and includes a school bus.

72. A large white center star is always welcoming.

This is more of a rustic wreath of gingham ribbon and burlap. Great for summer picnics.

73. A cowboy wreath like this makes you feel at home on the range.

Not very into cowboy culture. But I’m sure a cowboy boot and stars will enthrall some readers.

74. You can always enjoy a glass of wine with a flat cork wreath.

Yes, it’s another cork wreath with grapes. But this one has corks around the wreath in a neat and orderly fashion.

75. This wreath has an anchor that seems washed ashore.

At least this one has flowers matching it. Love the net.

76. A succulent wreath always looks fresh.

Great for desert and underwater themes. Because they seem like things from another world.

77. A summer wreath can always catch the breeze.

This one comes with a few flip flops and shades. Nice use of a straw hat.

78. You can always make something pretty with a few flops.

Well, this is for a summer occasion like a pool party. Like the flowers and colors.

79. Sometimes two crosses on a wreath are better than one.

After all, these go quite well with the flowers on them. Though this is more for a summer occasion.

80. A moss wreath should always contain a birdhouse.

This one looks pretty simple. Just have to tie down the moss and stick the birdhouse.

81. A spring wreath should always be made with love.

This one seems to be made from all kinds of things. Still, wouldn’t mind hanging it.

82. A corn husk wreath radiates like the sun.

This one is more for autumn with the harvest motifs. Nevertheless, it kind of does resemble a sunny disposition.

83. With this wreath, there’s nothing as pretty as an herb garden.

Though a lot of these flowers on here aren’t really herbs. But they sure are pretty.

84. Bright flowers always make a springtime day.

Yes, these are certainly what you’d see in the month of May. Love the festive colors.

85. You can always make a colorful wreath of dried flowers.

Note that there are only certain flowers that look good dried. Yet, this is incredibly beautiful.

86. There’s nothing prettier on a fall wreath than wild turkey feathers.

Wonder if my neighbors have one like this. I mean they hunt turkeys. So lovely.

87. How about some flowers on a peacock wreath?

This one has some blue roses. Goes well with the feathers. Love it.

88. With pine cones, you can make all kinds of flowers.

I had pine cone wreath for my Easter craft post this year. But this one has more festive flowers.

89. With this wreath, you’ll use antlers in all of your decorating.

Another rustic wreath to denote hunting season. Yes, you can make an antler wreath as seen on Pinterest.

90. Sometimes a peacock wreath should have a simple elegance.

This one might only have a few feathers to it. But it’s simply dazzling nonetheless.

91. With a nautical ship wreath, it’s always smooth sailing.

This one resembles a Chinese junk boat from what I can tell by the sails. And those ships were huge in their day.

92. This compass wreath will help you find your way.

Okay, maybe not. But at least it’s a rather original design for a nautical wreath.

93. There’s nothing you can resist about a wreath of dolphins.

Well, everyone likes dolphins swimming in the ocean. So pretty.

94. This little owl wreath is sure to be a real hoot.

Now this looks pretty doable. Just have some owl eyes, a beak, and a few touches. So cute.

95. This wild cotton wreath is rather fluffy.

Yet, wild cotton may not be as soft as these are. Because harvesting cotton is such hard work that we had such things like slavery.

96. Always pick the right flowers to go with the frame.

And as far as this wreath goes, these flowers are absolutely perfect. So pretty.

97. For this wreath, it’s always fun on the beach.

This one includes a pail with sunglasses and a shovel. Like the flowers though.

98. Sometimes it helps to do with a few shells.

As far as shell wreaths go, this is by far the most manageable for me. And sometimes there’s beauty in simplicity.

99. A heart wreath should always be bursting with flowers.

And I see this one has a colorful display. Great for spring or summer.

100. A dried flower wreath should contain all kinds of color.

Well, this is the kind of dried flower wreath I’d have at my door. Love this.

Hands Off My PBS and NPR: Why We Still Need Public Broadcasting

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Established by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has ensured universal access to non-commercial, high quality content, and telecommunications services. And does so by distributing more than 70% of its funding to more than 1,300 locally owned public radio and television stations along with the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. The CPB is part of our nation’s commitment to ensuring culture, learning, and the arts are available to all Americans.

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This cartoon from the Indianapolis Star shows Trump slashing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from the federal budget. And here we see horrified Sesame Street muppets look on.

This March, President Cheetohead unveiled his federal budget plan proposing to ax the federal funding from several government programs, including the CPB. The reason? According to Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney, “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” His justification to cut public broadcasting in order to increase defense spending by $54 billion makes absolutely no sense. The CPB receives about an annual $485 million from the federal government, consisting of about .00006% of the federal budget. By contrast, annual US defense spending is about $500-$600 billion, consisting of half the federal budget at least (estimated). Yet, Mulvaney also has the audacity and the stupidity to state that we can’t ask a West Virginia coal miner or a Detroit single mom whether we can keep funding public broadcasting programs. It’s like he thinks that public broadcasting plays no role in ordinary Americans’ day to day lives. Does he have any idea parents and children are a key demographic for shows like Sesame Street? Or that PBS Kids is the only educational resource for 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents can’t afford sending them to preschool? And that local public stations may be the only source of free local news and programming in many rural areas? Or when West Virginia’s governor proposed cutting state funding to its public media from its budget, only to change his mind afterwards? Besides, it only costs the average American $1.35 each year for it. People have paid more for overdue library books for God’s sake. And given PBS and NPR’s penchant to air quality program that have been on for years, I consider it an investment well spent. Thus, I think asking single moms and coal miners to pay for public broadcasting is fairly reasonable. Of course, I may be a little biased since I watch PBS on a regular basis because I’d rather watch intellectually stimulating shows than meaningless crap. And I will defend PBS and NPR with my life. But don’t take my word for it since 73% of all Americans oppose cutting federal funding for the CPB including 83% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans.

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On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood would testify before a US Senate committee to defend funding for public broadcasting. His words about how his show benefits young kids still echoes today. Since he’s from Latrobe and his show was based in WQED Pittsburgh, he holds a special place in my area as a local legend.

Critics of public broadcasting often view NPR as a liberal media hotbed and PBS as an obsolete relic of a bygone age. Republicans in particular, don’t think that the federal government should support public broadcasting even if it’s funding represents a miniscule fraction of the federal budget. They believe that we should let the market decide whether it wants science, arts, or music. Besides, if you want quality educational and cultural programming, then cable should be quite sufficient since you have whole channels devoted to education and culture. Or so they say. However, Americans should view their public broadcasting system as a national treasure since it provides a vital public service for local communities as well as the nation. As a media outlet, public broadcasting provides educational and high quality programming for all Americans. Without it, the United States would be a far worse off place. So much that disgraced four-star general Stanley McChrystal called cutting public media for increased military spending, “a false choice.” Nevertheless, American taxpayers pay only a small investment in public broadcasting that pays out big dividends in a way that’s indispensable to society. And as McChrystal said, it should be pitted against the spending more in improving our military. Not to mention, many viewers would miss out on all the intellectual and educational richness public media has to offer. Thus, if Trump should kill public broadcasting, America loses. Because public broadcasting is part of what makes America great. To eliminate federal funding for the CPB would be catastrophic to public broadcasting, especially where local stations rely on CPB funds. And I give you the following reasons why federal funding for PBS and NPR is worth protecting.

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A lot of these educational cable networks may have started off with high quality programming. But they later degenerated into airing crap in order to appeal to a larger 18-34 audience and sponsors. As you can see from these charts, it tells you what The Science Channel, National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel air nowadays.

Most attempts at providing quality educational and cultural programming to cable television have failed.– Out of all the cable stations providing quality educational and cultural programming, only Turner Classic Movies and the Smithsonian Channel continue to do so 24/7. Other channels like National Geographic and the Weather Channel can also have educational content. But they can also feature a lot of crap. Nevertheless, there was a time when cable had a real chance of replacing PBS, but that was back in the early days. We should remember that the Discovery Channel, A&E, The History Channel, and TLC were created to provide such programming. A&E stood for Arts and Entertainment as well as used to show content relating to arts, dance, theater, history, literature, and nature. TLC once stood for The Learning Channel which used to feature science and nature documentaries and was co-owned by NASA. The Discovery Channel also featured science programming while the History Channel broadcasted documentaries on history. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, conservatives could use networks like TLC, A&E, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel, to argue that we don’t need PBS anymore. Nowadays, try to argue that point and all you get is a room full of obnoxious laughter. Today you will find that A&E is best known for airing Duck Dynasty, Dog, the Bounty Hunter, and Love Prison. TLC’s programming centers around trashy reality shows exploiting toddler beauty pageants, obese people, people who need therapy, and families who don’t mind putting children in the spotlight. The Discovery Channel may still have Shark Week but they feature reality shows like Amish Mafia and Naked and Afraid. As for the History Channel, well, basically they’ve devoted timeslots to reality shows as well as programming featuring pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. PBS, meanwhile, still shows the same type of programming throughout its existence at the same quality. So why did these cable networks departed so far from their original programming concepts while PBS didn’t? Mostly because these cable networks are for-profit businesses that exist to make money. Many times a cable channel’s management might add shows they feel that a larger audience wants to see, leading to additional profits. And by producing irrelevant or low-quality programming, they can increase their ratings to a target audience, increase viewership, and increase revenues. This is a process known as Network Decay or Channel Drift. The degree of channel drift may vary with some nonconforming programming retaining some degree of association with the channel’s original purpose like Pawn Stars on the History Channel. Yet, other programming may have no association whatsoever such as whatever you see on TLC. PBS, by contrast, primarily exists to provide programming of social benefit to their viewers that may not be commercially viable to the mass market like public affairs shows, documentaries, and educational shows. Many have been on the air for years, if not decades. In fact, one of the principles of public broadcasting is to provide coverage for interests for which there are missing or small markets. Quality educational and cultural programming would usually fit the bill. PBS’s non-profit status allows them to do so while not being obligated to appeal to the lowest common denominator, advertisers, or profits. Furthermore, PBS relies on government and private funding sources because it strives for the kind of independence in order to fulfill its educational and cultural mission to the public.

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In 2013, WNET New York released a series of ads of fake reality shows both on posters and in commercials. This was at a time when reality shows were very popular. Nevertheless, Bayou Eskimos is probably as realistic as Duck Dynasty or Amish Mafia. But since a lot of cable networks many thought would replace PBS now have hours of reality shows, I think it shows a lot about our culture.

Just because a TV show is commercially viable, doesn’t mean it’s good.– As much as I hate reality shows, I have to concede that networks find them particularly attractive. They’re relatively cheap to produce than a scripted series as well as is often said to be more authentic and engaging to viewers. Reality shows were very popular among audiences during my adolescence with the primary demographic being teenagers and young adults. Sponsors like them since they provide an opportunity for product placement, giving more time to market their products. However, reality shows aren’t quality entertainment as well as be rather exploitative and offensive regardless of popularity. Nor do they reflect “reality” as we know it since such shows use a lot of behind the scenes trickery. Yet, popular reality shows seldom ever get cancelled. Nevertheless, we need to understand that popularity among the masses doesn’t translate into quality. As a writer who enjoys old movies, I understand this concept incredibly well. Not every bestseller becomes a literary classic. And not every box office hit will be held as a cinematic masterpiece. Trash culture has always existed whether it be porn, penny dreadfuls, pulp novels, exploitation films, B-movies, and reality shows. Each generation has its own form of mindless entertainment. Nevertheless, the fact channels like A&E, TLC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel switched from their educational programming to sleazy entertainment demonstrates how some good quality shows aren’t always commercially viable. Many of the shows PBS airs like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, NOVA, Nature, and others wouldn’t have a chance on other channels. Nor would they be able to otherwise compete what’s available on other channels if it weren’t for PBS. For example, when Fred Rogers addressed the US Senate in 1969, he’d say that he knew his haircut decision could excite kids once he was in front of them. But he also knew it would be hard to compete for their attention as on-screen violence and special effects became ever more present outside public media. He also talked about how watching two men working through their emotions is much more important, relevant, and dramatic than guns firing. Cable channels may air marketable content but it doesn’t mean such shows are good.

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While the federal government provides some of the CPB’s funding, most of it comes from private along with state and local government sources. And it is because public broadcasting receives money from a variety of public and private sources that it’s able to air quality programming and exist as an independent non-profit entity.

Public broadcasting is not beholden to anyone but its mission and its viewership.– While public broadcasters may receive some funding from state and local governments, most financial support comes from underwriting from foundations and businesses ranging from small shops to corporations, along with audience contributions via pledge drives. They may rely on advertisers, but not to the same degree as commercial broadcasters or at all. Nor are they owned or operated by the government either. Rather many owned by non-profit groups affiliated with a local school district, a college, a non-profit organization, or by state or local government agencies. Stations receiving CPB funds must meet certain requirements such as the maintenance or provision of open meetings, open financial records, a community advisory board, equal employment opportunity, and lists of donors and political activities. And most of PBS’s national programming is produced by member stations, particularly WPGH Boston, WNET New York, and WETA Washington providing most of them. Though my local PBS station WQED Pittsburgh produced the iconic Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. NPR also broadcasts content from national providers like Public Radio International or American Public Radio. Yet, they also can air from other stations as well. For instance, the celebrated “Car Talk” was produced by WBUR-FM Boston while Minnesota Public Radio brings “A Prairie Home Companion.” Nevertheless, PBS is a great station for those who would rather teach lessons and enrich minds than make money. As long as it’s quality programming benefitting the public, PBS doesn’t care much about ratings as it does about access and viewers like you.

Sesame-Street

Though kid shows exist on commercial networks, they often don’t alleviate parents’ and teachers’ worries since they may show violence, teach terrible lessons, and advertise junk food. PBS shows like Sesame Street have a great reputation since they aim to put kids’ interests first. And the fact parents and young children enjoy this show so much over the years has made it one of the most beloved on TV.

What’s good for the market isn’t always what people want.– Despite what public media opponents may say, there is a demand for educational and cultural programming no matter how small that may be. While networks like A&E, TLC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel weren’t as commercially viable while airing such programs, they did have an audience. When they embarked on the long road through network decay, that audience abandoned them. Nevertheless, a classic example of this is in children’s programming. Though commercial networks often air kid shows as well, parents and teachers have often expressed concern on what children watch on them. The fact cartoons can depict violence while sponsors air ads possibly promoting unhealthy eating habits doesn’t help. But above all parents and teachers worry whether kids are learning the right lessons from the stuff they watch. By contrast, PBS’s educational mission and commercial free programming earns a lot of trust from parents and teachers in regards to children’s TV in preparing them for lifelong learning. Not to mention, public broadcasting often puts kids’ best interests first. Of course, most of their kids’ programming aims for young children. But in a way it makes sense, since early childhood is a very vulnerable age where fostering a lifelong love of learning is vital. And a lot of them aren’t yet in school. Besides, most of PBS’s adult shows are usually appropriate for children anyway. Schools frequently show a lot of PBS documentaries and the network’s website often features lesson plans to go with them. After all, airing shows like Nova, Nature, and the occasional Ken Burns documentary should inspire kids to value learning and make a difference. PBS and NPR also provide news coverage from local events to international affairs and with as little bias as possible. Public radio stations even feature music like jazz, classical, and indie music you might not find on other radio channels. We should also account that PBS currently ranks #6 among all broadcast and cable networks for primetime household ratings, is watched by 82% of American households, and a monthly audience of over 95 million.

CPB Budget

This is a diagram of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s operating budget from 2014. As you can see most of it goes to supporting local TV and radio stations. Many of these are in impoverished rural areas and serve as the only source for local news and other services.

Local NPR and PBS affiliates put local audiences first.– As of 2015, PBS maintains current memberships of 354 stations across encompassing 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 4 US possessions. This gives PBS the distinction as the only TV broadcaster in the United States, commercial or non-commercial with station partners in every US state. By contrast, none of the 5 major commercial broadcast networks has affiliates in certain states where PBS has members with the most significant example being New Jersey. PBS’s estimated reach is 93.74% of all US households (or 292,926,047 Americans with at least one set). Along with national programming like Nova, Nature, Frontline, and Antiques Roadshow, local PBS stations also air a lot of locally produced content they probably wouldn’t see anywhere else. My local PBS station WQED Pittsburgh has aired locally produced documentaries, cooking shows, and film shorts. WQED has also hosted local forums on local issues as well as debates in important statewide election races. In rural areas, local PBS stations serve an important role in their communities that larger state and even national outlets can’t replace. For these residents, their PBS station might be the only place to see their county fair or their neighbors talking about their WWII service. They may also support local initiatives regarding education, adult literacy, and workplace development. In some areas, their public broadcast station might be the only source of news, entertainment, and emergency broadcast service available. And a lot of their poorer residents can’t even afford cable. Since many of these areas don’t have wealthy members like Pittsburgh’s WQED and WESA do, their rural stations rely on government funding for support. Even in the most conservative areas of the country, people usually have high esteem for their public broadcast stations which they might see as a neighbor or friend. And these stations often benefit their communities tremendously.

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From its debut in 1975, the PBS NewsHour has earned a reputation for excellence in its in-depth coverage on issues and current events. And it’s one of PBS most popular shows as one of the closest to a truly objective news source on the media landscape.

More people trust PBS and NPR than most government and media institutions. – In a nation where public trust in American institutions are on the decline such as the government and the media, PBS and NPR have consistently ranked as among the most trusted. Sure your local PBS and NPR stations won’t cover local sports, weather, and crime, but their commitment to viewers, listeners, and their mission has considerably helped their reputation. Not to mention, both PBS and NPR are among the only media outlets to have high public trust among Americans across all demographics as well as the political spectrum. Though both PBS and NPR have been criticized for showing liberal bias, most can at least name something they like about either. For instance, whenever conservatives criticize PBS and NPR, it usually has more with their national news content than anything. Though it’s not all they do. And there are plenty of conservatives who might think NPR is liberal but would certainly riot if you did anything to their public radio station. Parents and teachers trust PBS have consistently rated PBS as the #1 educational media brand for kids under 18 in the nation for very good reason. Hell, the American Academy of Pediatrics pointed to PBS Kids as a leading resource for educational programming. After all, PBS Kids puts greater emphasis on quality over quantity. As for news, PBS has highly acclaimed programs like the News Hour and Frontline. NPR is currently the most trusted news source in the nation with an audience that doesn’t just consist of white college educated liberals. Furthermore, PBS and NPR have been the only media outlets reporting on climate change during the 2016 election. PBS’s news programming has won 14 News and Documentary Emmys in 2016 which is more than any other organization. And Frontline took 7, which is more than any other individual series.

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PBS plays an especially critical role in educating young children, particularly those in low-income families unable to afford preschool. Without it, there would be no way for many children to prepare for kindergarten.

PBS is highly committed educating all children, especially those most at risk. – As a public station, PBS strives to make sure all Americans have access to free, evidence-based, high quality, and educational programming. Nowhere is their mission more important than in their kid shows that they added the PBS Kids channel available for everyone. As a result, PBS Kids reaches more young children and more kids from low-income families than any other children’s TV network. On air, PBS Kids attracts higher proportions of minority and low-income homes. Whereas more than 2/3 of children from 2-8 watch PBS. Not only that, but PBS also provides over 120,000 Pre-K-12 digital resources along with more than 1.8 million users with registered access to PBS Learning Media. Recent studies confirm that 9 out of 10 parents use PBS Kids resources for school preparedness while three-quarters say their kid engages in more positive behavior and higher critical thinking skills after engaging with the network. PBS Kids programming provides a vital service in school readiness to more than half of America’s 3-4 year-olds who don’t have the opportunity to attend preschool. For these children, PBS Kids is the only source of educational media content supporting school readiness which could boost their long-term educational opportunities. Such PBS Kids content supports a whole child ecosystem addressing core needs such as social-emotional learning, math, engineering, literacy, and science. And early childhood education is absolutely crucial in life that PBS understands. For older children, PBS and member stations have partnered for the “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” initiative. This program brings public media together with key community stakeholders to help students stay on the path to on-time high school graduation and future success. This partnership consist of PBS stations in over 30 states partnered with more than 1,400 community leaders, local organizations, and schools to help students succeed from Pre-K to high school graduation and beyond. Not to mention, PBS Learning Media includes content from award winning shows like Nova, Nature, American Experience, and Frontline that educators and parents could access at any time. PBS’s commitment to educating children of all ages has made the network absolutely essential.

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Cutting funding for PBS and NPR won’t free up a lot of money for military spending. But a United States without public broadcasting wouldn’t be a nice place to live. PBS and NPR have informed, educated, and inspired people as well s made our nation smarter, stronger, and safer. There are so many stories from viewers on how public media has made a positive impact in their lives. The fact Trump and his swamp cronies are willing to eliminate the CPB really illustrates how he values American greatness and values. Like not at all.

Public broadcasting creates makes Americans better citizens. – Though providing early childhood education and molding young children to be intellectually curious, empathetic, and prepared for school and life, it’s only one of the ways PBS enriches people’s lives. Unlike commercial TV stations, PBS treats its viewers as citizens instead of simply consumers as well as promote education, public trust in institutions, and civil discourse. Public broadcasting makes our country smarter, stronger, and safer. PBS and NPR both can inform, educate, and inspire people. And they both push us into elevating us and our sights. They both also encourage us to think and understand as well as bring us together. Today trust among Americans and for many national institutions is at its lowest in generations. Stereotyping, prejudice, and anti-intellectualism have proliferated that the US has elected a narcissistic sociopath as president who thinks little of America and embodies the country at its worst. Since PBS is ranked #1 in public trust, it can help build connections between different groups of people as well as promote a civil society. And we should note that most Americans oppose cutting federal funding for public television. Still, if Congress and Trump eliminate CPB funding, America would be a much more inhospitable place since PBS and NPR have played an essential role in millions of Americans’ everyday lives as well as benefited our country in so many ways. Even Fred Rogers realized this back in 1969 that he testified before Congress to defend PBS funding when Nixon wanted to cut it. More than ever we need a media outlets that value people over profits as well as enrich our lives. $1.35 a year is a small price to pay. Besides, the fact Trump is willing to cut PBS and NPR funding means he doesn’t value what’s great about America.

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