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Ramadan

Last month I went to Baltimore so I could check out Light City for the third year in a row. (You can read about my previous visits in 2016 and 2017.) The first year I went I basically just took the Charm City Circulator bus as far as the Shake Shack (which is located across from Harborplace) and I underestimated how big this festival was. The second year I had an animation that was showing at Light City so I took the Charm City Circulator until I got to a stop that was as close to the On Demand area (where my animation was being shown along with other film shorts) and I still have memories of sitting outside for two hours waiting for my animation to show up on screen as the temperature kept on getting colder and colder as time went on.

This year I decided not to submit anything to Light City so I could begin my tour anywhere. I also ended up going on the last night of Light City. I couldn’t get there earlier in the month due to scheduling conflicts so the final night was my first and last time that I visited Light City 2018.

I had the idea of taking the Charm City Circulator all the way over to the other side of the Inner Harbor near where Little Italy is located. When I arrived I found that this area has been heavily built up. There’s a new complex called Harbor East and I took some photos there along with some photos of Little Italy. I took so many photos that day that I decided to break up this year’s Baltimore/Light City entry into two separate posts. First I’m going to show the photos I took when I first arrived in Baltimore before I showed up at Light City.

I drove my car to Linthicum and stopped at a Royal Farms store so I could pick up a chicken dinner and a diet soda for only $7. (I know from previous years that many of the restaurants, fast food outlets, and food tents tend to draw very long lines during Light City. It was easier to bring my own food to Light City.) I parked my car at the North Linthicum light rail station and took the train to the Camden Yards station. When I arrived at the front gates of Camden Yards on my way to the nearest Charm City Circulator bus stop I saw that a Baltimore Orioles baseball game was already underway.

Camden Yards

Camden Yards

Camden Yards

I took the Charm City Circulator’s Orange Line bus to the Little Italy stop. I didn’t do much exploring in Little Italy other than the peripheral area, where I shot these photos.

Little Italy

Little Italy

Little Italy

When I was younger and I still lived with my parents, my family used to periodically eat at a restaurant in Little Italy. (We used to alternate between Sabatino’s and Chipparelli’s—both of which are still in business.) I have never dined inside of La Tavola restaurant but I found their exterior wall murals to be charming.

Little Italy

This restaurant features some cool trompe l’oeil in its fake “windows.”

Little Italy

Little Italy

La Tavola isn’t the only place with colorful wall murals. Mo’s Fisherman’s Wharf also has some cool exterior touches.

Mo's Fisherman's Wharf, Baltimore, Maryland

Mo's Fisherman's Wharf, Baltimore, Maryland

I came across Columbus Piazza where this statue of Christopher Columbus stands. I know that in recent years Columbus has become such an increasingly polarizing figure that some places in the U.S. have renamed “Columbus Day” as “Indigenous People’s Day.”

Columbus Piazza, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

I also walked past the President Street Station, which is the oldest surviving big-city railroad terminal but it now houses the Baltimore Civil War Museum.

Baltimore Civil War Museum

Baltimore Civil War Museum

I would’ve loved to have gone inside but it had already closed for the day when I arrived.

Baltimore Civil War Museum

Baltimore Civil War Museum

Here’s a jarring juxtaposition between the older President Street Station (foreground) and the newer Harbor East complex (background).

Baltimore Civil War Museum

I remember when that area near Little Italy had a lot of construction going on over the past few years. It was the first time I came upon the result of all of that construction: Harbor East. This place is a mix of upscale restaurants and shops and upscale apartments and condos.

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

This place has security, which uses vehicles that looks like a cross between a scooter and a Segway.

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Some of the buildings in Harbor East is waterfront property, complete with its own marina. There are also some available activities for the people ranging from sitting at an outdoor bar and/or restaurant to playing with a giant chess set.

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

A major high point of my visit to Harbor East was finding out that Charm City Cakes has opened a second bakery there.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Charm City Cakes’ original location on Remington Avenue was the setting for the Food Network’s reality series Ace of Cakes. That was one of the few reality shows I watched on a regular basis because the focus was more on the cake making process with very little of the hysteric drama that frequently plague most reality TV shows. I remember being sad when that show was cancelled because I really enjoyed seeing the employees create those unique one-of-a-kind cakes that were gorgeous to look at.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

The baked goods that were on sale that day looked delicious.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

I was a bit on the broke side so I could only afford to purchase a small bag of chocolate chocolate chip cookies for $2. I found them to be very tasty.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Located in the center of Harbor East is the National Katyń Memorial, which is dedicated to the Poles who were brutally mass-slaughtered by the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) during World War II.

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

I would’ve loved to have explored more in both Little Italy and Harbor East but I had come late in the day because I wanted to check out Light City. I will have to make a return trip to that area at a later date because I have a feeling that there is more to check out in that area.

I moved on to Light City, which I’m going to write about in a future post.

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Ramadan

CDs and vinyl are outselling digital downloads for the first time since 2011.

Here who isn’t winning from denuclearization talks and friendlier North Korea-South Korea relations.

This delightful magpie puppet is carved from wood.

Our president ignores an American hero: Trump’s silence on the Waffle House murders is deafening.

One pro-Trump avatar troll hacked the Instagram account of another avatar.

An abandoned radio station is an untouched time capsule from the 1940s.

Workers at Chinese factory for Ivanka Trump’s clothing paid $62 a week.

Secretly taped audio reveals Democratic leadership pressuring progressives to leave the primary race.

Global clothing company Patagonia donated its entire $10 million Black Friday sales to environmental organizations.

Meet the man who wrote “Conjunction Junction” and other Schoolhouse Rock songs that stick in your head.

Ancient Rome’s systems of roads visualized in the style of modern subway maps.

This writer explains the downside of writing for The Huffington Post for exposure instead of money.

A look at a new memorial for the victims of lynching.

That creepy abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park in North Carolina is reopening this summer.

Why we need to get over our obsession with the Joker.

Back in 1933 Frida Kahlo wrote a personal letter to Georgia O’Keeffe after O’Keeffe’s nervous breakdown.

Hackers can freeze the camera that lets you know whether your Amazon Key equipped door is locked and who is using it.

A visual guide to the potential ecological disaster of Trump’s proposed border wall.

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Ramadan

When I got involved with some of the trainings associated with the Maryland Poor People’s Campaign, I thought that my role would be limited to support and logistics for the next six weeks. That’s because nearly all of the rallies and direct actions were scheduled for Mondays (with the exception of Memorial Day weekend, when the event is scheduled for the following Tuesday). I recently started a new day job a little over a month ago and I really don’t have the luxury to ask my boss for a day off just yet.

But then a few things happened. Last week I ended up staying home because the boss, who’s currently the executor of his late aunt’s estate, had to fly to India (where his family is originally from) to deal with estate-related issues. I assumed that I would have to come in to work this Monday. But then I got a text from the boss saying that he was sick so he’s not going to have me come in until the following Monday.

So the good news is that I was able to attend the first event of the Maryland Poor People’s Campaign in person. The bad news is that I’m not getting paid for the days that I don’t work. Right now my work hours are pretty erratic because there have been days when I haven’t come in at all or a work session is cut short. If this keeps up I’m going to have to look for either a second part-time job with more reliable hours or a steady, reliable full-time job. I don’t relish the prospect of job hunting again because it took me nearly two years to find a new job after my previous stint with a startup went nowhere after two weeks.

Well, anyway, when I got the text from my boss telling me not to show up this week, I got in my car and drove to Annapolis. I found space in a nearby parking garage and walked to the State House. While I was on my way I found something that was really appropriate for the occasion—a tree that was dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018


Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Martin Luther King had started the original Poor People’s Campaign when he decided to shift his focus from civil rights to the larger issues of economic justice and income inequality. At the time of King’s assassination 50 years ago last month, he was in Memphis to help out with sanitation workers who were on strike there. So, yeah, it was a cool coincidence to find that tree dedicated to MLK.

I arrived at Lawyers Mall for the rally, which kicked off this protest. Since it happened on the day after Mother’s Day, the theme of this protest was how poverty have affected women and children.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Okay, I’ll admit that it was a pretty small turnout. I later learned that the majority of people living in the Washington, DC area had opted to go to the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol building. I had thought about going to the one in DC since I live closer to DC but I opted to go to Annapolis instead since I’m a Maryland resident. I’m glad I went because that contingent needed as many people as possible.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

There was even a voter registration table that day in an attempt to sign up new voters for the upcoming Mid-Term Elections in Maryland.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

A few people from The Real News Network interviewed one of the rally participants. Here’s the resulting story.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Another reason why I’m glad I went to Annapolis is that I ran into an old friend of mine, Ann, who came from her current home in Frederick for this event. We took pictures of each other. Here’s Ann.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

And here’s me.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

After the rally we marched over to nearby College Avenue. A small contingent of direct action volunteers proceeded to stop traffic. They were arrested by the police and released a few hours later.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

I remember when I underwent training I was told to be prepared for potential counter-demonstrators, especially from alt-right groups. Fortunately there were no counter-protests and everything was very peaceful with no injuries or property destruction. After the direct action, those of us who weren’t arrested went back to the Lawyers Mall where we had a closing circle where we held hands as people said prayers. I saw a cop with a bomb-sniffing dog that was sniffing around in the bushes on the perimeter of Lawyers Mall but the dog turned up nothing. (We were told during training not to bring anything that could be used as a weapon.) I did experience sticker shock when I got back to the parking garage and found that I had to pay $8 even though I was parked for only three hours. (There is another garage near St. John’s College that has free parking but that’s only available after 6 p.m. on weekdays and all day weekends.)

I not only took photos at the protest but I also shot some video footage as well.

I was glad that I was able to witness the first in a series of protests from the Poor People’s Campaign. I learned that the Maryland group will have a rally next week that focuses on immigration and the mistreatment of Native Americans but there will be no civil disobedience mainly because, given the Trump Administration’s current hostility towards immigrants (especially if they aren’t white), the organizers don’t want to risk someone being deported just for doing nonviolent civil disobedience. Given my current job, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to go to another protest unless the boss decides that he doesn’t need me on a particular day. I’ll just stick to doing whatever behind the scenes support work needs to be done.

When I got home from Annapolis I learned about the crazy drama in Jerusalem that also happened while I was in Annapolis, which has given me yet another reason why I despise Donald Trump.

Despite being overshadowed by the bigger protest in Washington, DC, this protest in Annapolis did garner some local media coverage.

The Capital Gazette

The Real News Network

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I had decided to attend a meeting of my support group for people who are separated or divorced while checking out the cherry blossom trees that were blooming on Crofton Parkway. I remember a few years back I saw something online that had a list of less crowded alternatives to the cherry blossoms in the Tidal Basin and these trees on Crofton Parkway were on the list.

But first I decided to go to Wegman’s where I ate dinner. When I pulled into the parking lot I saw this bumper sticker that said “Pro-America Anti-Trump.”

While I was in Wegman’s, I saw that not only did that store have the Fingerlings on sale but it also had larger plush versions of the Fingerlings monkeys. When you pressed their chests they made the same noises that the robot Fingerlings monkeys make.

After eating dinner at Wegman’s but before I went to my meeting I took a few brief pictures of the cherry blossom trees on Crofton Parkway while sunset was beginning.

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Last month I attended my first Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School session of 2018. There have been other Dr. Sketchy’s events in Baltimore and Washington since the New Year but, for a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to make one until last month.

Even though it was April and the cherry blossom trees in the entire metropolitan area were starting to bloom, winter was still holding on. I remember it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit so I wore my winter coat while going to downtown DC. When I arrived at the Greenbelt Metro station I saw a group of cosplayers in winter coats who were obviously going to the Tidal Basin (where many of the cherry blossom trees are located and it gets a huge share of the tourists this time of the year).

One of them had this clear backpack that had all kinds of Donald Duck charms, buttons, and pins.

I arrived at Dupont Circle where I noticed that the fountain had been turned on with the water coming in at at a trickle.

A pair of ducks were swimming in the fountain despite the winter-like cold weather.

I saw a group of people near the fountain who took off their coats and started swing dancing in public. I have no idea if they were a flash mob or if they were heavy swing dance enthusiasts. I shot a short video of these people in action.

I shot a few more photos of Dupont Circle.

Like I wrote earlier, many of the cherry blossom trees are further downtown at the Tidal Basin. However, I saw a couple of blooming cherry blossoms planted outside of a building at the intersection of Dupont Circle and New Hampshire Ave., NW so I was able to take a few cherry blossom pictures.

I went to Kramerbooks & Afterwords where I browsed through a few books while noticing all of the Donald Trump-related books that are now available for sale, many of which are less-than-flattering towards The Donald.

As I was walking down P Street, NW, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before on previous trips. There is a restaurant called Tiki Taco, which serves a fusion of Mexican and Polynesian food. (Seriously!) If I wasn’t financially struggling I might have tried eating there. (I had just started a new day job and, at that point, I was only working around 15 hours per week.)

I made a brief stop at Fantom Comics where I took pictures of the various posters and wall murals.

I noticed this Batgirl costume on display, which reminded me of the costume that Batgirl wore in this graphic novel that I checked out of the library last year called Batgirl of Burnside (which I enjoyed, by the way). One of the employees told me that the Batgirl costume was on display because one of the writers of Batgirl of Burnside had stopped by the store the day before signing autographs. There were plenty of signed graphic novels that the person had written that were still available for sale that not only included Batgirl of Burnside but also other books he wrote, such as Black Canary and Gotham Academy. (I also checked out one of the Gotham Academy books out of the public library recently. I hadn’t read Black Canary mainly because it has yet to arrive at the library.) They were all laid out on the table. I felt tempted but if I had purchased one of those signed books, I would not have been able to afford to go to Dr. Sketchy’s, which was the main reason why I even commuted to Dupont Circle on a cold April Sunday afternoon. So I had to just content myself with taking a picture of the Batgirl costume.

I finally arrived at The Bier Baron, where I took a couple of colorful beer signs on display.

Here’s a shot of the stage where the model posed.

The model for this event was Sally Cinch, who is a sideshow performer and dancer. Since she’s not a burlesque performer, all of the drawings in this post are definitely safe to view unless you are someone who gets offended at seeing a bare midriff.

Sally Cinch’s big talent is the ability to squeeze herself into tight spaces. She did a brief performance where she squeezed herself into a couple of hangers, which inspired this contest: Incorporate Joan Crawford into that drawing. I remember when I read that notorious book Mommie Dearest as a teenager and I even saw the movie featuring Fay Dunaway as Joan Crawford.

As it turned out, I was one of only two people who actually took part in the contest. I think it was because the majority of the people who were there were either not born or were too young to remember Mommy Dearest. The two of us were declared the winners and our prize was a drink of our choice from the bar. (I chose a hard cider that I really liked. I’m sorry I didn’t write down the name of what I drank.)

I did another sketch of Sally showing why her last name is Cinch using a belt that was pulled very tight around her waist.

I drew one last sketch of Sally before the event ended.

The event was cut relatively short compared to previous Dr. Sketchy’s events because of some kind of a scheduling snafu with a comedy show that was following Dr. Sketchy’s. I managed to talk briefly with Sally Cinch and the emcee, Reverend Valentine. I found out that Sally Cinch has performed in my neck of the woods. Not only did she once performed at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland but she’s also friends with two friends of mine, which was ironic and it goes to show that it’s a small world after all.

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Cinco de Mayo

The haunting photography of a serial killer.

Martin Luther King’s friend and photographer was also an informant for the FBI.

Amazon Key flaw lets couriers stay in your home unnoticed.

This clever new font, Braille Neue, combines braille with Latin and Japanese alphabets.

To solve America’s housing crisis, build public housing.

The labor of bringing a baby into Appalachia.

How to spot a fake Instagram influencer.

Restricting abortion access is class warfare.

Here’s a reminder that Donald Trump is a sociopath.

Three-year-old scrawls on furniture cushions, mom embroiders them.

Soon you’ll be able to make anything. It’ll change politics forever.

Childfree is a legitimate choice.

Southern California has the resources to solve homelessness. It chooses not to.

A Superman super fan is “obsessed” with buying memorabilia.

Segregation’s constant gardeners: How white women kept Jim Crow alive.

Transgender World War II veteran comes out as a woman at age 90.

Gigs are no longer just for musicians: How the Gig Economy is creating a society of starving artists.

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Many adults of a certain age will recall seeing a particular print ad in a magazine or comic book or even on the inside cover of a matchbook. It tends to depict the head of a cartoon turtle wearing a cap and a turtle-neck sweater (LOL!) with the ad line: “Draw Me!” Here’s a typical vintage print ad where Tippy was one of three characters one could draw (along with Tiny the Mouse and a pirate who’s simply known as Pirate).

Many of those ads were dressed up as contests where people could win money but they also served as a way of enticing people to take correspondence art courses through the mail from the Minneapolis-based Art Instruction Schools. This school was founded in 1914 as a way of training illustrators for the growing print industry. The most famous alumni was Charles M. Schultz, who managed to finish his studies during the Great Depression even though his parents had to literally struggle in order to afford the classes. Schultz would later become an instructor at the Art Instruction Schools, where he used his fellow instructors Charlie Brown, Linus Maurer, and Frida Rich as inspirations for characters in a new comic strip that he was working on called Peanuts and the rest is history.

For some reason I never tried my hand at drawing Tippy the Turtle or any of his other cohorts (like Tiny the Mouse, Spunky the Donkey, and Cubby the Bear). I think the main reason why I never tried was because I feared rejection (it was around the same time that I endured years of kids calling me “mentally retarded”). But I knew a girl who I’ll call “Rita” (not her real name) who actually tried drawing Tippy the Turtle and she sent her submission in. Rita was a girl who attended my high school but I knew her more from the local chapter of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) that we were both members of because we didn’t share too many high school classes together. Rita was someone who was into drugs and I still remember the time when the CYO went on a trip to Kings Dominion and she mentioned that she dropped acid before we boarded the bus for Virginia. I saw her during our time at that theme park and she looked totally stoned complete with glassy eyes. I never quite understood why she felt the need to drop acid because Kings Dominion provided tons of visual and mental stimulation between the thrill rides and the numerous music and dancing shows that were performed throughout the day.

Rita used to tell me that her big ambition was to become either a writer or an artist. One day Rita told me that she drew Tippy the Turtle and mailed her submission in. A couple of weeks later a salesman arrived at her family’s house and he proceeded to show a slideshow to Rita and her parents about the Art Instruction Schools and why Rita would be a natural for that school. He told them that Rita could schedule her correspondence art lessons around her high school classes. Her parents gave their permission and the Art Instruction Schools sent its first correspondence lessons. Rita told me that she enjoyed the classes but she never spoke any further about her lessons.

I lost contact with Rita when she dropped out of high school and stopped attending the CYO meetings. I don’t know if Rita ever finished her Art Instruction Schools classes.

I wanted to study art in college but I was persuaded not to do so. I ended up getting my Bachelor’s in Journalism with a minor in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and I had long regretted not studying art. I made an attempt to take part-time classes at a now-defunct art school that didn’t work too well for me for reasons that I went into when I wrote a blog post about a sculpture I did during my time at that school. (I have two other surviving art pieces that I also did during my time there—You’re Fired! and Thanksgiving Revenge.) A few years later I considered taking classes with the Art Institute when it was opening its campus in Arlington until I checked out its open house and there was something about that school that didn’t sit right with me so I decided against going. (It turned out to be the right decision on my part.) I ended up taking a few classes at a local community college that I initially enjoyed until I began to burn out from constantly taking three-hour classes twice a week. The last straw was when I took a Commercial Illustration class with an instructor who really glommed on to me and my work in a way that really made me feel uncomfortable and which I described in full detail in this post (which also includes an illustration that’s NSFW).

In the years since my last stab at art school I took a couple of arts and crafts-related short classes and workshops but they were more for fun rather than working towards getting an art degree. I began to remember those “Draw Tippy the Turtle” ads from my youth and I began to think that maybe doing a correspondence art school would be the thing for me. After doing a few Google searches I found that the Art Instructor Schools had a website but I also learned that doing the entire curriculum would cost me around $3,000. Granted it’s cheaper than what the Art Institute was charging but it was still more than what I could afford. I’ve always felt that one day I would give Art Instructor Schools a try once I straighten out my precarious finances.

Today I decided to do some web surfing and, once again, I did a Google search on the Art Instructor Schools. I looked on the Wikipedia page and found this sad fact:

In 2016, the school announced it would not be enrolling new students.

Oh no! I went to the school’s website and it still looked like it was in business. I clicked on the Program link and was taken to this page, which said:

While Art Instruction Schools has helped many students develop their artistic talents, the School has determined that it is no longer feasible to continue offering the Fundamentals of Art program and serving its student population after December 31, 2018. Art Instruction Schools remains committed to enabling students who are currently enrolled to complete the program. Effective immediately the School will no longer accept new enrollments.

Currently, enrolled students who desire to complete the Fundamentals of Art program prior to December 31, 2018 are encouraged to call Art Instruction Schools to speak with a representative about your progress in the program. While Art Instruction Schools is prepared to provide students with academic guidance, it is the students’ responsibility to complete all program requirements by December 31, 2018.

Going to the FAQ page is pretty interesting. Here are a few choice excerpts:

Is Art Instruction Schools closing?

Art Instruction Schools will remain open. We are no longer offering the Fundamentals of Art program for new enrollment.

Do you have any other programs or courses available?

At this time we do not.

What will you be offering after the Fundamentals of Art program has ended?

We are only focusing on teaching-out current students at this time.

It looks like the Art Instruction Schools is only open to focus on getting the current students to finish their lessons by the end of the year and that’s it. After 104 years in business, the Art Instruction Schools will no longer offer classes to anyone who draws Tippy the Turtle and mails it to them. That’s too bad. It figures this had to happen just as when I was about seriously considering sending in my own Tippy the Turtle drawing so I could try my hand at their correspondence art classes.

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Can we fix it? The repair cafes are waging war on throwaway culture.

The REAL reason behind Toys R Us shutting down.

Baltimore spends billions on corporate subsidies but can’t heat its schools.

The missing link: why disabled people can’t afford to #DeleteFacebook.

Corruption, not Russia, is Trump’s greatest political liability.

Parkland student Emma González opens up about her fight for gun control.

What’s driving Republican retirements from Congress?

Why everyone should work a shit job at least once in his/her life.

The DCCC’s long, ugly history of sabotaging progressives. 

It’s time to boycott Amazon.

100 years ago a German-American was lynched by a self-proclaimed patriots. 

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez might be the most under-appreciated superhero artist of all time.

America’s youth are rejecting capitalism. What do they want instead?

This high school student said she learned nothing at one of New York City’s elite high schools.

A white mob wiped this all-black Florida town off the map. 60 years later their story was finally told.

Watch the world’s oldest board game, The Royal Game of Ur, being played.

New studies show that legal marijuana states have lower opiate use.

What is the Donald Trump vs. Jeff Bezos feud really about?

What black voters lost by aligning with the Democratic party.

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20 highly inspirational rules of life a Japanese Buddhist wrote four centuries ago that may change your life.

A new study suggests that the lower your social class, the “wiser” you are.

Cards Against Humanity buys area of the U.S. border in an effort to prevent Donald Trump from building his wall.

Beautiful color photos of Paris taken 100 years ago—at the beginning of World War I and the end of La Belle Époque.

A 15-point guide to surviving authoritarianism.

How the residents of a wealthy Bristol district have managed to ban birds from the trees.

A look at the first translation of The Odyssey made by a woman classicist.

San Francisco animal shelter hires a robot to force out homeless people.

You think your job sucks? Take a look at some real conversations from the clients from hell.

Black leaders in Memphis buy city parks and remove Confederate statues.

Inside the library that holds the world’s rarest colors.

A video showing the dark past of Sea Monkeys.

I am buried alive in a Michigan prison.

How 12 teens invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless.

The Disney version of Donald Trump is 100 percent less awful than the real thing.

When life gives you a divorce, get drunk and set your dress on fire.

10 reasons to visit the only country where North Koreans can take a permanent vacation.

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