Normally I would save links like this for my weekly Link-O-Rama page but I’m writing a separate rant just this once because I feel this asshole deserves special attention. Here are the details, as taken from the DIY Photography site.

If you were to take a screen shot of someone’s Instagram account and try selling it, two things would happen. The first is that you’d be told you’re violating the copyright of the photographer whose photo you’re selling, and secondly you’d be laughed at. Extensively.

It turns out, though, that if you’re famous enough you can take such a screen shot and not only bypass copyright but also make a fortune doing so.

The secret: slap some text on it.

Richard Prince has been using this method and some of his “artwork” is said to have been sold for $100,000.

This form of lazy “art” becomes even more infuriating when you realize that in addition to selling (if you’d say stealing, I’m not sure I’d disagree) photos that do not belong to him and without the knowledge or consent of the owners, Prince also removed the accompanying captions.

You can find the rest of the story here, along with one of the victims of this guy’s antics. Of course she’s not seeing a single dime in profit from her Instagram post being used like this without her prior knowledge or consent, even though that canvas based on her Instagram post has already been sold to an art collector for thousands of dollars.

I also found Richard Prince’s official website, which has no contact information posted anywhere on it. (He probably doesn’t want to get any hostile e-mails from the people whose Instagram photos he ripped off.) According to articles like the one in the Gothamist, this exhibition of so-called “original art” is currently on display at the Frieze Art Fair in New York City. And here is the Frieze Art Fair’s Contact page in case you want to let them know how you feel about them exhibiting Richard Prince’s work.

It’s been many months since I last wrote something on Medium.com. I finally published a new article on that site. It’s something that tends to kick around in my mind this time of the year as students on both the high school and university level graduate. I’ve long had this fantasy when someone would invite me to give a Commencement Speech at some graduation ceremony somewhere in the U.S. and my speech would basically consist of life lessons that I learned from what I experienced in my adult life (either directly or indirectly through my friends and family). Last night I was stricken with a bit of insomnia so I began to dwell on my fantasy speech. I finally decided to just type it in the computer just to get my fantasy speech out of my head. Once I finished typing, I went back to sleep.

I thought about making a new post in this blog about that speech until I remembered that it’s been a while since I wrote my first story on Medium.com so why not publish it there for a change. Besides, I feel that that post is better suited for Medium.com since it’s really off-topic from the main focus of this blog (which is on my arts, crafts, and photography). So I uploaded it there this morning and you can now read it. It’s called Advice I Would Give to Graduates in a Commencement Speech If I Ever Have the Chance.

Patriotic Peeps

I found this pack on the shelves a few weeks ago at a local Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Crafts store. I figured this visual should get my fellow Americans in the mood for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Benjamin Franklin

A Brother may not be a Friend, but a Friend will always be a Brother.

When The Guardian‘s app came through with this push notification on my smartphone earlier this evening, I had to restrain myself from doing my happy dance in public when I was eating dinner at the Market Cafe that’s located inside Wegmans just before I went to my weekly meeting of my support group for people who are separated or divorced.

All six Baltimore police officers in Freddie Gray case indicted by grand jury

At last a grand jury in Baltimore was able to do what similar grand juries in Ferguson and New York City failed to do: indict any police officers for police brutality against unarmed African American men. After spending weeks being ashamed that I was ever associated with the city of my birth, I can now say that I’m proud of being from Baltimore, even though I haven’t lived there since I was five (when my family moved to the nearby suburbs of Glen Burnie).

But I’m also cautious in my optimism because I remember what happened in Florida when a white police officer wannabe named George Zimmerman was indicted, his case went to trial, and he still managed to get away with murdering an unarmed African American teen named Trayvon Martin. (By the way, did you hear that George Zimmerman was recently involved in another shooting—this one stemming from a road rage incident? That man needs to be locked up before he kills again.) I’m hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself in Baltimore.

Here is the thirty-third video in a series of computer animations called The Unicorn With An Attitude that I started back in the 1990’s in an ill-fated attempt to show off my abilities as an artist and a computer whiz in the hopes of either 1) get famous or 2) get a higher paying job than the office administrative work that I was frequently offered.

I created this particular animation way back in 2000. By that time I had moved on to my own website called Twisted Unicorn (which is now defunct) and I basically focused on uploading my animations there on that site and less on BBS and CompuServe. I hoped to publicize that site so I would get someone to notice me. After all, the Dotcom Bubble was still in full swing (although it would finally burst by the end of the year) and I was reading about angel investors who were literally throwing money at sites that, in retrospect, seemed incredibly flimsy and poorly thought out (such as the notorious Boo.com). I told myself that at least I had an idea of being an entertainment site because I thought there was a need for a site which was too mature and sophisticated for children yet wasn’t a porn site. (Back then it seemed like most of the entertainment sites veered between two extremes: Either being exclusively for children or adult porn. I wanted to create a site that was in the middle of these two extremes. After all, TV shows like Saturday Night Live wasn’t a children’s show but it definitely didn’t do hard core porn. I aspired for my site to be an online equivalent of Saturday Night Live.)

This animation was called “The Leap Year is Coming and We Are All Going to Die!!!” which the original writeup described as:

The Unicorn With An Attitude sends a message to all of the paranoid Y2K fear mongers.

“The Leap Year is Coming and We are All Going to Die” is a parody of this doomsday hype that began in 1999. Basically some people became totally paranoid that the year 2000 will bring in all kinds of doom and it wasn’t because it was both the turn of the 21st century and the turn of a millennium. Apparently there was some kind of a date glitch going back to the early days of the computer industry where the year was commonly abbreviated with the last two digits so, let’s say, the year 1988 would be appreciated as 88 and people assumed that the computer meant 1988. Some people feared that, with the turn of the century, the year 2000 would be abbreviated as 00 and the computer wouldn’t know if it meant 1900 or 2000 and it led to all kinds of doomsday scenarios that’s documented for posterity on this Wikipedia page.

I remember even NBC tried to cash in on this mass hysteria by airing a made-for-TV movie called, naturally, Y2K.

What the doomsayers didn’t realize was that many programmers had already corrected that glitch so by the time New Year’s Day, 2000 rolled around, everything worked as normal. There were no power outages. The ATMs worked normally. Everything was fine. As this one article called it, The Y2K Disaster That Never Was.

But the doomsday people weren’t done yet. They began to become paranoid about a Leap Year Bug that was supposed to do the one thing that the programmers stopped the Y2K Bug from doing: End Civilization as We Know It. This article written at the time shows how paranoid people really were about the upcoming Leap Year and the supposed calamities that were going to come.

It turned out that the same programmers who corrected the Y2K Bug also corrected the Leap Year Bug and the doomsday people pretty much slinked back into obscurity (probably into their personal fortified bunkers) after February 29, 2000 came and went.

So, without further ado, here is “The Leap Year is Coming and We Are All Going to Die!!!”

Here’s something that showed up on my Facebook news feed.

Etsy investors sue for fraud over fears that millions of items sold through crafts site could violate trademarks

I’m not surprised that it’s come to this. It seems like ever since Etsy decided to go for an IPO on Wall Street, things with that site has gone downhill. It all started with the lifting of its requirements that all items sold through the site must be handmade and allowing the use of manufacturing, which resulted in a flood of cheap items manufactured in companies like China. I’ve heard about longtime Etsy shop owners who closed up shop because they just could not compete on price or their items literally got lost in the shuffle of the flood of cheap items.

Of course China has long been notorious for producing bootlegged products that infringe on copyrights and trademarks that are held by others. Etsy definitely opened a Pandora’s Box when it allowed manufactured items to be sold on its site. Had the powers-that-be at Etsy done a quick five minute Google search on Chinese bootlegging (like I did), they would’ve come across a solid argument against lifting that “handmade only” rule.

Etsy definitely has issues with how it is being run by upper management and, in my humble opinion, they should have never pursued an IPO to begin with until upper management made a sincere effort with reforming how things were operated at that company. The fact that Etsy has done nothing about a complaint I filed against a customer for nonpayment back in December speaks volumes on how it is managed these days. (This customer still has an active Etsy account, which means that he’s free to go to other Etsy sellers, make an order on an item, doesn’t pay for that item, and ignore all e-mails asking if and when they plan on paying for that item.)

Etsy had a great idea of providing a platform where people can sell their handmade wares at a fraction of the price that eBay was charging at the time. (Etsy charged 20 cents per item and the listing lasted three months. eBay listing prices started at $5—and that’s for a no-frills listing—and the listing lasted seven days.) But it seems like Etsy’s top executives are hellbent on shooting themselves in the foot over and over again. So bad, so sad.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to eventually do a proper blog post expressing my feelings and impressions of the day that I participated in the May Day protest in Baltimore (which is now known among some circles as the Baltimore Uprising). Since I didn’t originally start this blog as a news blog (other than news about what I’m doing regarding my arts, crafts, and photography), I decided to just link to the photos and videos I had taken in that previous entry while taking my time to digest what I had witnessed before writing this post for posterity.

That May Day protest was one of many that were called in the wake of the murder of Freddie Gray by six Baltimore City police officers. A few hours before the protest happened, the chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced that the six officers will be indicted. While that was good news, the protest still went on as scheduled because there was a 10 p.m. curfew that was still in effect (which was ultimately lifted on May 3) and there were still a bunch of issues that the protesters also wanted to focus on like police brutality against young African American men, and income disparity. Here is my own personal story of what I saw and photographed on May Day.

The night before the protest, I created a protest sign where I used this famous saying of Holocaust survivor Pastor Martin Niemöller.

Sign I Made for the Protest

Unfortunately I learned the hard way that it was hard for me to hold the sign while taking pictures at the same time. On top of it, my sign had a lot of words that required people to stop and read while the other protestors had signs with simple slogans that one could read in two or three seconds. Well, that’s a learning experience for me. (LOL!) I ultimately put that sign back in my recyclable Aldi shopping bag that I brought with me.

I drove my car to the North Linthicum light rail stop. The next photo shows the light rail pass I purchased. I decided against driving all the way into Baltimore because I feared that finding affordable parking would be a problem.

My Light Rail Pass for the May Day Baltimore Uprising Protest

Once I got off at the Baltimore Convention Center stop, I decided to take the Charm City Circulator bus towards the far end of the Inner Harbor. On my way to the nearby bus stop, I saw the first of many police officers wearing riot gear on the corner of South Eutaw and West Pratt Streets.

On the corner of S. Eutaw and W. Pratt Sts.

I ultimately got off at the stop closest to the Power Station. I originally intended to treat myself to a meal at Phillips Seafood Restaurant because I hadn’t eaten there since before my husband walked out on me in 2011. But then I saw that all the stores and restaurants in the Power Station were closed earlier than usual on a Friday.

A view of the Power Station in the Inner Harbor before the march.

I decided to walk back towards Harborplace. I passed the Baltimore World Trade Center where I saw more police officers in riot gear guarding that building.

Outside the Baltimore World Trade Center.

I shot the next two photos of these giant barriers next to the World Trade Center—which were erected to deter car bombs—that had flowers planted in them.

Giant Flower Pots

Giant Flower Pots

I eventually walked across the street where I found a Shake Shack that was one of the few businesses in the Inner Harbor area that was still opened. There was a sign posted on the door stating that it was going to close earlier than usual due to the 10 p.m. curfew that was put into effect just a few days earlier in the wake of the rioting following Freddie Gray’s funeral. At least I got to eat dinner (which was very good, by the way).

My meal at the Shake Shack in Baltimore before the march.

After dinner I walked back across the street towards Harborplace, where I saw more police officers in riot gear and police cars parked everywhere.

#blacklivesmatter #FreddieGray #Baltimore More security around the Inner Harbor.

More security around the Inner Harbor

More security around the Inner Harbor

More security around the Inner Harbor

Both pavilions in Harborplace were totally closed, which is very unusual for a Friday that didn’t fall around a major holiday (such as Christmas Day).

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

The whole area was totally fortified with a phalanx of Baltimore police officers, Maryland state troopers, and members of the Maryland National Guard. It was totally surreal.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

What was also surreal was the police from other parts of the state also helping out in Baltimore as well.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

One of the vests in the next photo said “Laurel Police.” I happened to live near Laurel so I know how far these particular officers had to travel in order to get to the Inner Harbor.

I've never seen anything like THIS at Harborplace or the Inner Harbor.

When I first arrived in Baltimore, I felt a little bit intimidated by all these armed police officers and National Guard people, some of whom had their guns out and looked like they were ready to fire their weapons at any moment. I initially took my photos from far away using the zoom function on my smartphone.

But then I took some minor risks where I took closer photos. Then I took photos that were closer. As I took the photos, nothing happened. The armed people basically ignored me as I took these pictures.

When I recounted this to an African American friend at my Unitarian Universalist church two days later she said that I was ignored because I am a white woman. Then I finally realized the full extent of white privilege. For the last few years there have been dedicated activists at my UU congregation—both black and white—making a dedicated effort to wipe out racism while examining the phenomenon of white privilege. For years I secretly protested the idea that I was even using white privilege in any way because I usually gone to great lengths not to have a ME! ME! ME! entitlement personality.

But after what happened in Baltimore, I realized that there’s more to white privilege than white people acting like they have a ME! ME! ME! entitlement personality and expecting special treatment because of being born with white skin color. It’s also how others react to your presence. Even though I tried not to act as if I was entitled while I took those photos, it was the people in those photos who decided to ignore me because I was a white female. If I was an African American man the same age as Freddie Gray, I think there’s a strong chance that the outcome would’ve been different. Ditto if I had been a Middle Eastern man with a bushy beard.

White privilege is multifaceted because while I can control myself in not acting in an entitled way, I can’t control the actions of others in how they perceive me anymore than Freddie Gray could control how the police officers decided to treat him because he was a poor young African American man. The only person I can control is myself.

I know it’s not fair that I managed to emerge from taking photos of people with weapons unscathed because of my race and gender while a male person of color wouldn’t be so lucky like I was. Unfortunately I don’t have any answers.

I finally found the protest rally that was gathered at McKeldin Square next to Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

#FreddieGray #BlackLivesMatter #BaltimoreUprising Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

At first the protest rally seemed relatively small until another contingent from other protest marches that were held elsewhere in the city earlier in the day arrived to McKeldin Square and the protest rally suddenly surged in number.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

#FreddieGray #BlackLivesMatter #BaltimoreUprising Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

At one point I even shot some video of the whole march. I ultimately spit the video into two short videos. This video focused on the phalanx of armed people guarding the Inner Harbor, the rally in McKeldin Square, and the initial march down East Pratt Street past Harborplace and the Inner Harbor. It’s raw footage with minimal editing.

Once everyone was gathered the march started. The protesters initially walked down East Pratt Street.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

#FreddieGray #BlackLivesMatter #BaltimoreUprising Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protest rally at McKeldin Square near Harborplace.

Protesters march past Harborplace and the Inner Harbor

Protesters march past Harborplace and the Inner Harbor.

Protesters march past Harborplace and the Inner Harbor.

At one point the protest march turned left on to Gay Street. I was in the back of the crowd, which wasn’t so bad because I found Britney Girl Dale, the same person whom I saw along Ritchie Highway during my massive day-long tour of Baltimore and Glen Burnie last summer. Since that time she had become the subject of a new short documentary. It was just pure luck and chance that I happened to come across Britney Girl Dale and her friend, Anthony (who’s also in the documentary), as they were flirting among the police officers who were watching the protesters while following the march route.

The Protesters March Along Gay Street

The Protesters March Along Gay Street

The Protesters March Along Gay Street

The Protesters March Along Gay Street

The Protesters March Along Gay Street

The protesters kept on walking along Gay Street while passing the outermost perimeter of Baltimore’s notorious red light district known as The Block.

The Protesters March Along Gay Street

The marchers kept on Gay Street until we reached City Hall, which was a mix of protesters, media people, and all kinds of security people with their guns drawn. For added measure, there were even cars passing by while the drivers were honking their horns. It was surreal to say the least.

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

May Day Protest in Baltimore

In case the still photos don’t do enough to convey how surreal the scene was, here’s the second of the two videos that I shot on that same day. Like the other video I posted earlier in this entry, this one also consists of raw footage with minimal editing. This video begins with Britney Girl Dale getting a photo with one of the police officers providing security during the march up Gay Street. Then there is the scene of City Hall that’s filled with a mix of protesters, Baltimore police officers, Maryland National Guard people, media people plus cars passing by while the drivers were honking their horns. The video ends with three musicians playing John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” while armed National Guard people are standing nearby.

Located just across the street from City Hall is the historic Zion Lutheran Church. I had only been there one other time and that was to check out the Christkindlemarkt that was held there last November.

May Day Protest in Baltimore

The gates were locked this time but there was a maypole with a little tree on top indicating that the church did the traditional May Day ritual of dancing around the maypole.

May Day Protest in Baltimore

There were a few dedicated protesters who wanted to continue farther north all the way to the intersection of North and Pennsylvania Avenues (which was Ground Zero for where the riots broke out after Freddie Gray’s death just a few days earlier). I briefly thought about it but I decided against it because I was already tired. I had already done a lot of walking—starting with that one block walk I made from the Baltimore Convention Center light rail stop to the Charm Circulator bus stop. From there I took the bus to the far end of the Inner Harbor. I walked over to the Power Plant, saw that it was closed, then opted to walk along the Inner Harbor back towards Harborplace and McKeldin Square. Once the march started, I walked along Pratt Street then followed the crowd up Gay Street until we reached City Hall.

There was also talk via Twitter of protesters staying out past 10 p.m. and defying that curfew. As for me, I decided to obey the curfew for two reasons: 1) I drove my car to the North Linthicum light rail station and took public transportation the rest of the way into the city because I was uncertain about available parking. I made the right decision since there were cop cars and military vehicles parked all over the place around the Inner Harbor and City Hall. But if I wanted to get back to my car, I had to take the light rail and I was afraid that service would’ve ended earlier than usual because of the curfew. 2) Money is pretty tight with me now and I’m not sure if I could even afford a decent lawyer to get any charges against me dismissed. (It turned out that 50 activists were later arrested that evening outside City Hall for defying the 10 p.m. curfew.)

Basically I ended my May Day protest by resting on one of the benches outside City Hall for a while then I started to walk along Fayette Street towards the nearest light rail stop (Lexington Market). In the process I walked past two Baltimore Metro stops, which I didn’t know too well compared to the light rail line. (I later learned that I could’ve saved myself some walking time had I simply taken one of the Baltimore Metro trains to the Lexington Market stop then transferred over to the Lexington Market light rail stop. D’OH!) All that walking made me tired and sore for the weekend and I didn’t feel fully recovered until Monday. But, on the other hand, thanks to my walking along Fayette Street, I managed to take a few more photos showing the effects of that 10 p.m. curfew and how bad Baltimore has gotten in terms of deteriorating buildings.

A scene from the crisis in Baltimore.

A look at Baltimore's crumbling infrastructure that has fueled the protests.

A look at Baltimore's crumbling infrastructure that has fueled the protests.

A look at Baltimore's crumbling infrastructure that has fueled the protests.

The last three shots show a coffee shop with a recently busted front window. I have no idea if that window was broken by looters in the wake of the Freddie Gray incident or if it was simply an unrelated robbery done by a criminal taking advantage of the situation in Baltimore to steal some money and valuables while the cops were busy dealing with violent protesters. I also don’t know why anyone hadn’t tried to clean up the debris from the broken window. Leaving broken glass on the ground like that is a potential health hazard.

A look at Baltimore's crumbling infrastructure that has fueled the protests.

A look at Baltimore's crumbling infrastructure that has fueled the protests.

A look at Baltimore's crumbling infrastructure that has fueled the protests.

A look at Baltimore's crumbling infrastructure that has fueled the protests.

I shot this video of the Chalice Dancers doing a dance to the song “Blue Boat Home” during the 10th annual dance service at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland on March 29, 2015.

Last weekend I happened to attend this wedding that took place on public property (namely Roosevelt Center located in Greenbelt, Maryland) of two friends of mine who perform together under the name The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. (Now that they are married, I wonder if that name will be altered in any way. <LOL!>) This wedding took place in the middle of the annual Crazy Quilt Music Festival and they exchanged their vows then performed on stage immediately afterwards. I took a few photos of that event using my smartphone and I uploaded them on my various social media accounts (namely Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Susan Harris, who runs the Greenbelt Live blog, asked if she could use some my photos and I gave her permission.

I’ll eventually get around with writing my own post in this blog on what it was like to attend such an event like that (while taking part in a Creating Your Own Fairy Gardens workshop at the nearby Makerspace 125 just before the wedding ceremony then returning after the ceremony ended to finish that project). In the meantime you can view my photos online along photos taken by other photographers and Susan Harris’ article right here.

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