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I did a digital art piece that’s now hanging in my church as part of the Seven UU Principals art show. Here’s the art.

I did the piece entirely in Adobe Photoshop. It’s the image of the flaming chalice being surrounded by a circle, which is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith. I decided to try using words to create a picture instead of just doing a regular drawing. The flame is the only part where I did a regular digital drawing instead of using words (although I drew a red heart in the center of the flame).

As for the color scheme I used the traditional yellow and red for the flame. For everywhere else I used a rainbow color scheme to symbolize both the UU and Poor People’s Campaign acceptance of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity), class, age, physical health, mental health, and other categories that people in power like to categorize people in.

As for the words I used lyrics from two songs that are among the official songs of the Poor People’s Campaign. The circle uses lyrics from this song, “Everybody’s Got a Right to Live.”

The chalice itself has the words from “A New Unsettling Force.”

With this art I attempted to do a Unitarian Universalist variation on the Poor People’s Campaign and I think I succeeded.

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Yesterday I saw the entire Internet explode in grief because Aretha Franklin died. She was an amazing talent and she will be missed. I’m not going to write too extensively about her since so much has already been posted online. Instead I’m just going to post this clip from the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers where Aretha made this memorable appearance as the sassy diner owner who also sang her song “Think.”

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An artist has been accused of plagiarizing Japanese artists and using others’ work without credit.

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How movie stars conquered the “gig economy.”

The delights of parsing The Beatles’ most nonsensical song, “I am the Walrus.”

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How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about.

The Brady Bunch house is for sale.

The Hitler family is alive and well—but they are determined to end the bloodline.

This woman had the perfect response when ICE agents boarded her bus.

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Last month I shot this photo of Emma G performing at The Campfire Sessions that was held at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland. I found her to be such a phenomenal performer on stage. Here’s a photo I shot of her on stage.

Here’s a video I shot of her, where you can get an idea of how she is a fierce performer on stage.

If you like that video I shot, you can check Emma G out right here.

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I was in Takoma Park, Maryland last month where I saw a friend of mine, Phil Shapiro, dance with this really cute red-headed toddler girl. It was so cute to see that I whipped out my phone and filmed it.

By the way, if you want to see more video footage of Phil Shapiro dancing, check out this video.

By the way, he has his own YouTube channel where he dances, plays his guitar, and bloviates on a variety of topics.

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I shot this brief footage of the annual Crazy Quilt Festival that was held in Greenbelt, Maryland on June 9, 2018. Usually that festival is held outdoors but it was moved indoors to the New Deal Cafe due to the rainy weather. I shot this brief footage of one of the bands onstage while people in the audience were dancing.

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Last month I shot a maypole dance in my Unitarian Universalist church after the Sunday service on June 3, 2018. It was originally supposed to be held outside but it rained heavily that day so it was moved indoors. Here is my footage.

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On Memorial Day I happened to be in a local shopping mall parking lot (Beltway Plaza in Greenbelt, Maryland) when I saw something unusual. A violinist was playing outside in the parking lot while his wife or significant other was holding a sign and their three children were sitting outside nearby. Here’s the photo I took.

The woman held a sign that said “Please! I need help! I don’t have job. I have kids. I don’t have money. God bless.”

I don’t know if the family is homeless or not but it’s a really bad situation where the father has to play the violin because it’s the only way the family can raise any kind of money. I have to admit that he is quite talented and he’s still able to play despite the constant stress of not having enough money (which I can identify with because nothing kills creativity more than being constantly worried about where my next paycheck will come from and if I will even get a paycheck for that week. I shot a short video of the violinist so you can hear for yourself how talented he is.

I haven’t seen this family since that day. I hope everything is well with them.

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Mother’s Day Weekend 2018 was a big deal for me. First, there was the annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival but it wasn’t the reason why it was a big deal for me. Just a few days before the festival I decided to ditch both my Droid Ultra smartphone and Verizon. My five-year-old smartphone was literally on its last legs. The camera feature had died first (which was why I ended up using the Canon PowerShot camera for photography and videography) but the last few months I had to deal with a phone that constantly kept on crashing and rebooting. This even happened when I was on the phone with someone.

And then there was Verizon, who was increasingly price-gouging me. It got to the point where it started to charge me $125 per month for just the cell phone. I asked someone at Verizon what can I do to lower my cell phone bill and I was told to just get one of those pay-as-you-go phones. The downside is that I wouldn’t be able to transfer my current phone number to that pay-as-you-go phone so I would’ve had to deal with the hassle of telling all of my friends, family, and various business associates that I have a new phone number.

I settled on Consumer Cellular, with monthly plans starting at $25 per month. So far I’ve been very pleased with that company. As for my new phone, it’s actually a used phone that I got from a friend of mine but it’s new to me. (LOL!) It’s a Samsung Galaxy J3. It’s not exactly the top-of-the-line phone but it’s good enough for my purposes.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival was the first place where I tried the camera part of my new smartphone. This selfie I took is officially the first photo I’ve ever taken with my new smartphone camera.

My Selfie at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival

This video, featuring the band Kiva and a bunch of people dancing is officially the first video I shot with my new smartphone.

On the first day of the Greenbelt Green Man Festival I took a bunch of shots of the festival itself. There were a couple of people playing with hand puppets shaped like a cricket and a praying mantis.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The theme for this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival was soil, which was reflected in the official t-shirts that were for sale.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a local beekeeper who showed off his beehive.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a hands-on activity where people of all ages were encouraged to build their own fairy garden.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a community art event where people were encouraged to paint on a canvas that was shaped like a peace sign.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a small pool with rubber ducks that kids could play with.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There were plenty of handcrafted items made by local artisans on sale at that festival throughout the weekend.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Some people offered their services, such as Gwen Vaccaro, who runs her own spa known as Pleasant Touch.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Some people staffed information booths that promoted local environmental organizations and local environmental issues.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

There were musical acts who performed throughout the entire two-day festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

A local Girl Scout Troop did a food and toiletry drive for a local homeless shelter on the first day of the festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

People basically hung out with each other and had a good time.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

May 12 was also Scratch Day. The Greenbelt Makerspace had put out a bunch of laptops in anticipation of people coming in and try their hand at coding in Scratch. However, the festival was simultaneously being held right outside its doors so very few people took advantage of this opportunity.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The second day of the festival was not only Mother’s Day but it was also the first day of the new season of the Greenbelt Farmers Market (which had been on its usual winter hiatus). A new Lebanese restaurant was in the process of opening its doors but there was still more work to be done in the restaurant before it could be properly opened to the general pubic. The restaurant decided to offer Lebanese Zaatar bread on a carryout basis, which I found to be very tasty.)

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The biggest downer about the second day of the festival was the rain, which resulted in fewer people at the festival.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many people opted to go indoors instead. Some of them went to the Greenbelt Makerspace.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many of the performing acts moved indoors to the New Deal Cafe where they were still able to perform despite the rain.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The band Global Warming performed its indoor set.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here’s a short video I shot of this band in action.

I shot some more footage of the band Tower Green, whose set officially closed the Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The one thing about getting a new phone with a working camera is that I was able to play with an app for the first time in 2018. I took a photo of Hatsune Miku at the very end of the festival when a truck had arrived to take down the stage.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here is what I purchased at this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. I purchased this nice vegan cupcake that I ate soon after I took these photos.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I purchased this bar of jasmine soap from Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I was also given a free soap sample by Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Last, but not least, I purchased another bar of soap from Mystic Water Soap.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

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Ramadan

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Watch the illustrated version of “Alice’s Restaurant,” Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Counterculture Classic.

The bots that are changing politics.

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