7 Categories of Cursed Objects You Can Buy From West Elm

What is a cursed object? In this case, these are objects meant to be art, but dutifully failing while following around a generation of people to remind them of their economic and aesthetic mistakes. Capitalism demands more objects with no utility be mass produced, therefore defeating the purpose of art, so have a bunch of stuff that looks as dystopian as this entire sentence!

While I am not strictly a utilitarian, there are certain decorative trends that rely on the fossil fuel industry and destruction of natural resources in ways that should haunt people when our planet has regions that are on their way to being uninhabitable to human populations.

Don’t worry, this post contains no affiliate links and is not sponsored in anyway by anyone. I’m embarrassing myself all on my own here.

1. Round Objects For Occult Purposes

In global sometimes ancient religions and superstitions on every continent there is the act of gazing through a hole, arch or other round thing. Why not bring these objects into your home to make it a nonspecific religious sacred space without the actual history and significance of any one religion?

If wood isn’t your style, you could get a marble disc instead! Made in Indonesia, these are reminiscent of Chinese Bi Discs and may subconsciously support that paleo diet you keep going for. Plus, it matches your all greige interior decorating. These will cost you $66-170 USD and aren’t even made of jade!

If you’d prefer something made of metal and wood, then the River Rock and Metal Sculptural Objects may be more of your cup of tea, especially if you like tossing objects through hoops! Made in Honduras, these rocks had metal shapes bent and then placed inside of them after a hole for the rod or loop had been created. There’s likely an adhesive helping as well, but I wouldn’t know since I haven’t seen one of these in person. These will set you back $30-70 USD depending on your choice of sculpture.

Objects with holes in the centers also come in ceramic varieties that could match your decorating taste while setting you back $40-90 USD.

Why buy something made by an artisan here in the US from a website like Etsy when you can buy this from West Elm?

2. Blood Stones

The gem stone trade is fraught with problems and under even the best conditions the earth is being damaged, sometimes in the significant places of other people. Because of this, almost all gem stones could be called blood stones due to the cost to people and planet. But don’t you want pretty shiny sparkly objects?! Yes. Don’t we all?

Petrified Wood Object On Stand

Sourced from Indonesia, this petrified wood tells a story of long forgotten ecosystems that collapsed during times of climate change, with the remaining wood fossilizing. This fossilized wood is then collected and cut by hand with no confirmation of the ethics associated with this consumable object other than the obscure label of “hand crafted.”

Perhaps you are more inclined toward paperweight style rocks.

These paperweights come in varieties such as Lemurian, Smoky Quartz, Citrine, Amethyst and Rose Quartz. Each will set you back about $50 USD for something harvested from another country under unsubstantiated claims of sustainability. As an example, the lemurian is clear quartz crystal sourced from South America (in this case, Brazil). Does this make it different from other clear quartz crystals also composed of silicon dioxide? Only in that it used extensive fossil fuels to get to the United States even though we source crystals of this same quality domestically. This means that the citrine, smoky quartz, and lemurian are all foreign sourced materials domestically produced in the United States under stricter labor law conditions. And that rose quartz? It’s sourced from “Africa” – this is the only information available. They do not provide the country of origin, only the continent, raising concerns about how ethical these sourcing claims are when, again, this is a stone that can be sourced domestically within the United States.

But what if you want “natural quartz” with no specific label sourced from another country? They have you covered! There’s an entire nondescript “natural stone on stand“product that derives quartz of a variety of colors from India. Yet again, we could source stones domestically from within the United States, but instead we are sourcing them internationally relying on fossil fuels and imports.

3. Lying Tomes

Do you want to look like you read, but can’t actually read a book? Do you want to impress people without being able to carry on a conversation about the books on your shelf? Do you want a secret set of books for pressing flowers, herbs and dollar bills? Lucky you!

Try to ingratiate yourself with others dishonestly by purchasing bundles of books you’ve never read and likely have no intention of reading! Why curate your own book collection when you can have someone else color coordinate the covers as decorative objects, completely devaluing the words inside. Good for you!

4. Sticks and Other Dead Nature

Do you like collecting sticks while outside? No? Do you like the look of a stick with all of its bark sanded off? Yes? Well I have great news for you! For a little over $50 you too can look like you enjoy nature! Why bother going outside and touching grass?

Are you more interested in something wooden and dead that shows off the damage humans can do? You’re in luck there too! Instead of learning how to use a saw, sandpaper, and lacquer to achieve the same result, you can simply buy a slice of wood.

Gaze through the hole in the center of this piece of wood or count the rings to see how old it was. Even though we have trees in the United States this has been sourced from Indonesia and they won’t even tell you what kind of wood it is. It makes one wonder if these slabs of wood are derived from Indonesia’s rainforests. So why not contribute to ecological destruction for the sake of your taste and sensibilities?

5. Scrying Orbs

Shiny or translucent glass balls are sometimes used for scrying, especially if mirror like or otherwise interesting. Are you interested in buying an orb from West Elm? Some light up, which may help those worried about eye strain while scrying. Others look more like bubbles and will let someone relive some of their favorite bubble scenes while playing and trying not to break them.

But that sheen could still be useful. And besides, if we’re already having a recycling crisis in the United States, why not import other countries’ recycled glass products instead of replicating these and making them our own? Why not waste fossil fuels when domestic companies like Glass Now (not sponsored) is already going out of their way to produce beautiful, high quality products out of recycled glass?

6. Lying Fruit

How do you feel about bananas? Do you need to add a banana to your measuring device selection, but worry about the natural processes of reality? Do you think grocery store bananas are beautiful? Do you want to duct tape one to your wall?

Guess what?! You’re in luck!

Offered in both ripe and overripe coloring, these faux fruits will set you back $45 USD each. They will not provide any food or sustenance to anyone, and given bananas can be $0.19 each, you could buy around 237 bananas that could sit on your kitchen counter until eaten, providing you with food and achieving the same aesthetic for around a year assuming you buy 1 banana at a time.

That said, if you really want to look like you have a $120,000 USD banana duct taped to your wall, this is likely an ideal solution. Plus, Pretti.Cool (not sponsored) is based domestically in Houston, Texas. If you like unique objects, I do recommend checking them out.

7. Useless Knots and Metaphorical Chains

Do you feel trapped by your life and want to surround yourself with reminders? Are you into kinky stuff? Do you want subtle reminders to threaten family members and guests? Guess what, you special lovely person – these chains and knots will only bind you financially! As an example, the Five Linked Blackened Wood Object will set you back anywhere between $100-389 USD.

Alternatively, you may prefer stone.

Setting you back only $50, if you prefer a heavy stone chain this may be for you!

But what about those knots? Well, luckily they are very fragile.

Each is made of glass and could run you as much as $150 USD. They also come in black and other colors. It’s good that these knots are easy to break if necessary, but not so great if you are hoping to have a home not full of broken glass. These glass knots are made in China and imported to the United States. Alternatively, a vintage glass knot on Etsy will put you back $50, and an artisan made one will cost around $30.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it please like, share, and subscribe!


5 Houses For Your Friends Only Escape Compound

Photo by Soroush Bahramian on Unsplash

Does anyone else remember the talks among friends about setting up a compound and escaping the world completely ignoring how you’d all hate each other if you lived together? Well, now you can put your friendships on the line to realize that dream! Each of these houses is currently listed on Zillow for under $500,000 USD, has at least 1 acre of land, a minimum of 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, and some could even potentially get you on a watchlist!

1. The Elm Tree Inn

The front of the home has ample parking while trees provide privacy to the second floor. Image Source

While established in 1796, the current building was constructed in 1975. This bed and breakfast style location offers a lot of space dedicated to eating and cooking. With 5 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms you can fit all of your cult leaders in one place and run a bar/restaurant to help finance it! Currently listed at $344,900, it is an affordable distance to Cornell University for all of your prime cult recruiting activities!

And if you’re wondering what you can do in Cortland, NY, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Cortland.

2. Riverbank Ave.

Your grand entrance to this waterfront property! Image Source

If you can survive the 20 minutes to get to Philadelphia from Beverly, New Jersey this may be the house for you! This waterfront property provides expansive views of the Delaware River for $374,900 and includes 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. While that might not seem like quite enough space for you and all of your friends to learn how to hate each other, keep in mind that this house needs updating and if anyone happens to be the do-it-yourself type then this is the property for you! While it might not be ideal for a full on cult compound situation, it will certainly provide some ideal shenanigan opportunities with plenty of places under the porch to check for raccoons and surprise cat colonies.

If you’re wondering what people do in Beverly, New Jersey be sure to check out the Beverly National Cemetery to learn some history and respect our veterans. Also, be sure to grab a slice at Riccardo’s Pizza. If you’re more interested in animal friendly dining, be sure to check out Las Lus Vegan Cafe. If you need something to do that’s artsy and fun for the whole family, be sure to stop by Haaff Family Arts. And remember, Philadelphia is only 20 minutes away.

3. State Highway 3

Drive up to see your incredible compound! Image Source

Are you looking for the kind of estate that could fit your entire MLM’s leadership team and their families? Have you always wanted to live in a hotel? Then this massive estate off of State Highway 3 in the beautiful Adirondacks of New York is for you! With windows on all sides, you can see everything going on from your 8,000 square foot home sitting on a secluded 1.5 acre lot across the street from state land. Expect to see plenty of wildlife! If you’re looking to get out of the house, head on down to Silver Lake or travel a tiny bit farther to get to Cranberry Lake where you’ll find amenities like The Lakeside General Store and Boat Rentals, or drive 30 minutes to get to Jrek’s Subs for a sandwich. While there may not be a lot of options in terms of dining out or socializing, you’ll be sure to do all of your cooking and socializing here right? All of this for $350,000.

4. Padgett Switch Rd

A large enough driveway for everyone! Image Source

Are you hoping to gather everyone to live somewhere with sunny, hot weather? Would you like enough land that you could easily farm (USDA grant eligible) produce, a full chicken coop, and maybe have a small herd of livestock? Then this small Alabama ranch is for you! Situated on over 6 acres, this 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom, 2 home compound boasts a swimming pool and plenty of land. All of this for $399,430. Plus, be sure to keep your eyes open for those old out buildings that tell the history of the property and give ample opportunity for exploration. This home offers plenty of opportunity as an accessible property, it’s ready to go with ramps instead of steps. While not ideal for a cult, unless all rituals can be carried out on property, this may definitely be ideal for a compound that may result in friends staying friends given the space!

What does one do in Irvington, Alabama? Go to the Mobile International Speedway of course! When you’re not spending your time farming or heading down to the local Feed and Seed, you can watch vehicles of all shapes and sizes make left turns at high speed! This is a great opportunity for car enthusiasts to cheer their neighbors on as they risk their lives in homebuilt creations or celebrate young racers attempting to get picked up by NASCAR. See, there’s already at least one cult in the area.

5. Nesbit Ave (Formerly ‘Farwell Arms’)

Plenty of curb appeal for those looking to impress! Image Source

Have you dreamt of living somewhere with mirrors on the ceiling? If so, then this 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom former Bed and Breakfast may be for you! This unique property features unique architecture that maximizes the use of space while providing fantastic conversation pieces. You can easily fit your whole group of friends into this facility and enjoy the 2 acres boasting outbuildings and 5 garage spaces. Inside you’ll find a large dining room, and multiple bathtubs built for 2. The land is so flat here that you could even built additional houses on the property. Currently listed at $419,000 USD it’s cheaper than houses a quarter its size in many parts of the country.

What does one do in Farwell, Nebraska? Get a drink at the Back 40 of course! If pub fare isn’t quite your thing, you can strike up conversations with the locals about why the “Danish cemetery” and the “Czechoslovakian cemetery” are on opposite sides of town. In nearby Ashton check out the Polish Heritage Center. If you’re interested in dining out, check out nearby St Paul for a variety of restaurants and unique stores such as Runza, Loup River Distilling, Casey’s Pizza, The Sweet Shoppe, Bed Head Coffee Company and Twin Loops Quality Meats. Be sure to also play a game or two at the Riverview Lanes Bowling Alley.

Thank you for taking the time to read! If you would like me to do more posts like this, please like and subscribe 🙂

Three black candles in three black candle holders of varying heights.

2023 Edition: 10 Dark Aesthetic items You Can Buy From Ikea

It’s that time of year again! After skipping 2022 (apologies), here are 10 Dark Aesthetic items to feed our spooky souls. Each of these items is available from Ikea US (not sponsored) and will complement the previous collection.

1. OBEGRÄNSAD Black Fur Rug

Source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/obegraensad-rug-black-50525345/

What says, “I’ve got issues I’m not willing to speak about so you have to make assumptions” like a black faux fur rug? This unique item, designed in a collab with Swedish House Mafia, will be soft on your feet until the faux fur mats together or you decide to try and put it through the washing machine and dryer. For maintenance of this spooky item, please consider having a brush set aside to keep it looking freshly shorn from the goth muppet from whence it came.

2. Koldby

Source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/koldby-cowhide-black-60222932/

What says, “I have issues I am absolutely willing to talk about so I can clear up your assumptions” like a real fur rug? This cowhide rug, available in both Black Angus and Jersey varieties says that you’re willing to walk on the skins of the slaughtered like the power hungry dark warlord you are. And think, every time you’re walking on it, you can hear a faint “moo.” Because really, what has a darker aesthetic than literal death?

3. Vonsbäk

Source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/vonsbaek-rug-low-pile-dark-blue-40528882/

Are you looking for a bit more sophisticated and mature floor covering that says, “I’ve either resolved or repressed my issues enough, but still like to keep it dark”? Ikea was thinking of you with the Vonsbäk rug. It manages to keep the general motif of the thousands of years traditional rugs that have existed while improving upon the buyers guilt that sets in around the time your black cat, Persephone, vomits all over it.

With an easy to vacuum low pile, this is perfect for the individual with the low maintenance dark aesthetic that likes cooler blacks (as opposed to warmer). If you don’t understand the difference, please seek a Gen X Elder Goth to explain, dear Baby Bat.

4. Klokhet

Source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/klokhet-unscented-candle-black-20519925/

Regardless of your choice of candlestick holder, few things are more essential than the black candle to put in it. These unscented black candles accentuate the flame atop them, and provide a level of sophistication to your carefully curated home. Even if it’s not a virgin lighting them, these candles will provide you with a spooky ambiance that is sure to make guests question your purity.

As for the potential candle holders? The ones pictured are the Fulltalig line. And if you need a way to snuff out those candles should you have limited desire for summoning a smoke monster, take a look at the Körsbästräd snuffer.

5. Lindrande

source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/lindrande-decoration-leaf-black-70431138/

Do you have a desire to have something minimally plant like, but still black in your space? Do you want to make sure no one confuses you for having a green thumb and would rather mount a fake leaf like a hunting trophy to display? Then the Lindrande is for you! This black display leaf will add that cold huntress of plants vibe to any space and may provide an appropriate threat to other plants in your living space should you have them. If you’re looking to fool people into thinking you have a green thumb may I recommend the Åkerbär display case that looks enough like a greenhouse you can fill it with fake plants and no one will be the wiser… unless they pick up your ceramic cactus.

If you like the concept of the Lindrande but want something wall mountable, check out the Vättlösa.

6. Chilistrån

Source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/chilistran-hanging-planter-indoor-outdoor-black-20511825/

Do you want your plants to look like medieval prisoners hanging in your windows or from your ceiling? Then Ikea has a great option for you! Perfect for forcing any plant to subject to your will by depriving it of access to the mycelium networks of the world, this hanging planter is sure to be a show stopper at your next gathering! Not only will you isolate your plant from being able to use chemo-physical communication methods, you will also keep it up out of reach of Persephone as to not upset her tummy. Don’t be surprised if she tries to play with it like a pendulum though!

7. Pjätteryd

source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/pjaetteryd-picture-low-flying-cloud-60533175/

Do you have a problem with being stalked by mysterious clouds, but every time you bring up this problem someone calls you crazy? Do you need a way to subtly communicate that you are being stalked by sentient collections of water vapor that may or may not be controlled by some unseeable force? Do you want to make sure your communication method matches your decor as to not tip off any stalking clouds that you’re on to them? Ikea has a solution for you! Captured by photographer Tom Fabia, a victim like yourself, you now can display proof that you too are being stalked by clouds. Are these a cry for help or simply a conversation piece for your support group for other cloud stalking victims? The choice is yours!

8. ädelsten

source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/aedelsten-mortar-and-pestel-marble-black-60201251/

Do you need a mortar and pestle for your various potions (or everyday cooking)? Do you want it to look nothing like the generic white marble and ceramic ones everyone else has? Well you’re in luck! Ikea was thinking of your spooky soul when designing this double sided, versatile piece great for witches and chefs alike. Whether you’re eating children or simply making a nice catnip seasoned pate for Persephone, this is the mortar and pestle for you!

9. Bild

source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/bild-poster-3d-scanning-30533105/

Are you or someone you love trying to find ways to show off your cyber goth edge? Do you believe that everything is a simulation? Well, Ikea has some wall art for you! Images by Fari Strachan, these posters provide the perfect backdrop to your conversations about the Matrix and existence of parallel universes due to a digital metaverse with less than benevolent overlords. The nondescript features of this digital head that lacks cohesive eyes with which to watch everyone at your party will be a perfect edition to your spooky home if you want more of that tech vibe.

10. Obegränsad Clock

source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/obegraensad-clock-usb-black-70526589/

Do you want something on your wall that vaguely moves with the time of day, but is not actually useful as a clock? Do you want to impress your friends with a strangely moving art piece that cannot help you get to work on time? Do you want your home to exist in a strange time dilation compared to the rest of the world because no one will ever actually know what time it is? Then Ikea has the clock for you! This insult to clocks everywhere, better known as a vaguely clock like wall art piece, will offend anyone who cares what time it is. If you want to compose a real world mysterious, mind-bending atmosphere that will support your spooky soul, then this is definitely the piece for you! According to reviews, be sure to check on the adhesive associated with the front glass panel as this could be a regular part of maintenance, much like the rest of our darkly aesthetic lives.

Did you enjoy this take on Ikea products? Would you like to see a different aesthetic examined? Leave a comment and I will produce a similar piece accordingly.

Public School Pre-Vaccine Public Health Class Circa 1932 – Part 1: Good Citizenship

This post is dedicated to my teacher friends still dealing with this global pandemic 2 years on currently dealing with teaching full classrooms.

Be sure to thank a teacher today!

What did we do to prevent diseases and still carry on with daily life before vaccines existed? Vulnerable populations still existed. Public health measures still existed, even under President Herbert Hoover. So let’s take a gander into the archives of historical texts:

It should be noted, as we are reading a historic text in its context, that this book was owned by a young white woman born in 1925 in Birmingham, Alabama to a doctor that made a point of treating people of all colors. This did occur with discrimination and I will never know the full story without speculation. She attended an all white school called “Edgewood” according to her distinctive cursive handwriting on the inside cover. I do not know if this is the same textbook that was used at other schools in the Birmingham area.

Controlling Disease

One distinct aspect of this textbook is the emphasis on good citizenship skills being a necessary requirement for preventing disease. But what is “good citizenship” and how does a health textbook from the 1930s define this?

Earlier in the text, good citizenship is defined as including everything from behavioral expectations and good hygiene to looking out for your fellow man in your daily activities. One prohibition era example of this being moderating consumption of anything that may dull or alter perception, such as alcohol containing medicines. There is an emphasis on “knowing thyself” and having awareness as being an important philosophical concept necessary for good health (see below).

Part of good citizenship seems to be a willingness to understand the concept of doing what is best for the common good, or what is best for maintaining the health and wellbeing of the population at large. This included some rather drastic measures, such as “sanitariums.” I will get to how tuberculosis sanitariums are described in the book in part 2 when we discuss the concept of the common good.

Good Citizenship

What did good citizenship mean? This is discussed throughout the textbook and I have attempted to summarize the concept here. It meant:

  • Not going out in public if you were sick, caring for a sick person at home, or were exposed to someone you later found out was sick until after the isolation period was over. In fact, make a special room in your house that can be converted to a “sick room” to isolate a person if they get sick – make sure it has plenty of windows you can open to keep the room “well-aired” with lots of daylight while it is shut off from the rest of the house.
  • Participating in volunteer groups, such as community service and church groups, that provide resources to keep others from feeling like they can not maintain the actions associated with good citizenship.
  • Keeping yourself clean and encouraging those around you to do the same through regular bathing, hand washing, and laundering of garments. This also included the wearing of aprons and work clothes that would be changed upon entering the home. By changing outfits regularly you kept the “germs” associated with the different parts of your life compartmentalized.
  • During certain times of the year, such as the winter, keep a wash basin by the front door with lye soap for guests and occupants of the home or building.
  • Wearing gloves to keep the hands clean while you are out and about and changing gloves between activities. These should be laundered regularly.
  • Using a handkerchief that is not to be shared for crying, coughing, sneezing, and all other expulsions of bodily fluids from the face. This should be laundered regularly with a disinfectant.
  • Eating healthy, home-cooked food from a clean kitchen, and bringing food of this kind to events. Practicing good hygiene in the kitchen is a must. (There is no mention of hand washing or gloves in the kitchen interestingly, but there is mention of washing vegetables, utensils, plates, and the management of food waste.)
  • Having home activities that keep your family fit and healthy, while bonded together. Suggested sports include examples such as tennis and chopping wood. (I’m not kidding about the chopping wood bit – that’s a sport for family bonding.)
  • Listening to the directions of your public health officials to prevent outbreaks. At the time only one vaccine was available (pertussis), but there were other prevention methods no longer used today.
Chart with information on incubation period and isolation requirements post exposure.

If you were exposed to someone with one of these diseases you had to isolate at home. If you didn’t do that, your parents were being bad citizens.

What is a bad citizen? That’s a more complicated subject and is where we start to delve into problematic areas with how this advice was given. In more modern terms that strip away the problematic content of the past, if you’re actively not helping to keep everyone around you safe and out of harm’s way, you’re a bad citizen.

It’s fascinating how times change. These methods were used to keep schools safe and in session before vaccines (not perfectly – outbreaks definitely still happened).

Up next: Health Studies – Home and Community: the origins and organization of the Class Department of Health in the United States (c.1930s)

If you would like to see more posts like this one, please be sure to like, comment, and/or share this post. This helps me know which posts my readers like the most so I can try and cater my content. As always, thank you for taking the time out of your day to join me.