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Back in late January I made a great effort to take pictures of a Toys R Us store that was located in Annapolis, Maryland. It was after Toys R Us had announced that it was closing 200-300 of its stores in the wake of its bankruptcy filing late last year. I wanted to take pictures of a store that was NOT on its list of closing stores because I wanted to have documentation of what a typical Toys R Us was like during its regular business hours. I embarked on this project because I had heard rumors that Toys R Us may eventually close all of its stores and I wanted to take pictures of a Toys R Us store for posterity before it was too late.

I’m glad I did this because today Toys R Us announced that it is now closing all 800 of its stores in the United States, including the Annapolis store. This comes of the heels of Toys R Us closing all of its stores in the United Kingdom.

Ironically I was encouraged to sign up for the Toys R Us frequent rewards program during my last visit to the Annapolis store, where I was given this colorful card.

The sticker on that card said that I was supposed to complete that registration by going online to a page on Toys R Us’ site. I never got around to doing this because I wasn’t sure when I would make another trip to Toys R Us since these days all of the Toys R Us stores in my area require at least a half hour’s drive. It was just as well that I procrastinated since it would’ve been all for naught had I actually registered my card.

I wonder if my Rewards R Us card will become a collector’s item? (LOL!) Oh well. R.I.P. Toys R Us and thanks for all of the memories! At least I have these pictures to remember that store by.

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Women are calling to an end to sexual harassment in the animation industry. 

To save Net Neutrality, we must build our own Internet.

When blue chips fall like dominoes.

The deranged Twitter thread that proves that establishment liberals have lost their minds.

Why we need to appreciate the talents and abilities of the quiet introverted ones.

The mainstream media quietly erases the role NATO played in bringing slave markets to Libya.

Here’s the line-up of liars you can thank when the economy crashes.

Four WTF lessons the world teaches us about sexualizing teens.

An Internet entrepreneur makes a video expressing how shocked he is that he was sued for stealing a copyright owner’s work.

The myth that college graduates make the best employees.

Medicare for all is not socialized medicine.

Most of America’s terrorists are white and not Muslim.

Facebook’s security chief says that his company’s security is like a college campus but they face threats like a defense contractor.

All of these women of color are badder than Taylor Swift.

Punks and metalheads are infiltrating the system by winning political office.

Walt Disney World is anything but magical for its employees.

Here’s an online trove of historic sewing patterns and costumes.

An essay on being biracial without identity issues.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

“Protest Matters” museum shows what resistance looks like.

There’s this story that’s currently trending on Buzzfeed that’s pretty bizarre. The gist is that Lisa Palmer was a student at Hunter College in New York City until two years ago when she said that the school forced her to drop out just a semester before she was scheduled to graduate because she couldn’t pay her student fees. She claimed that Hunter College said that she could remain in her dorm room as long as she paid off her course fees and re-enroll in classes. Since that time she has remained in her dorm room while not paying any room and board fees nor paying off her past debts to the college. She currently works two jobs but she has yet to re-enroll in any classes.

Hunter College has spent the past two years sending her notices of owed residency fees as well as repeated eviction notices only to have Palmer ignore them. Hunter College has sued Palmer asking her to not only leave the dormitory but to pay back a staggering $94,000 dollars that she has owed them for the two years she has lived in that dorm. Palmer has said that she hasn’t paid anything over the last two years because she can’t afford to pay so, therefore, she shouldn’t have to pay anything yet she should still be able to remain in her dorm room. She also said that she’s currently looking for legal representation but, according to her, “none have met my expectations in terms of their deduction ability.”

I stayed in a dormitory during my undergraduate years at the University of Maryland at College Park and this story has me shaking my head at both sides of this dispute.

Lisa Palmer is 32 years old and I don’t even know why she wants to continue her fight to remain in a dormitory, especially at her age. A typical college dorm tends to be cramped. I once lived in a dorm room with two beds, two bureaus, two desks, two chairs, and a large closet but I had to share it with a roommate. Based on a photo of one of Hunter College’s dorm rooms that I saw posted on the Buzzfeed site, it looks like Lisa Palmer had a room to herself but it still looks very cramped with a bed, a desk, a chair, a closet, and a small bureau. She can’t really own too many clothes or other things because her room is so small. Dorm life was barely tolerable for me when I was in my early 20’s and I’m not exactly pining for that experience again because living in one can be a total hassle—which only gets even more annoying the older you get.

If you need to use a toilet, brush your teeth, or take a shower, you have to frequently leave your dorm room to go to one of the communal bathrooms that are located on each floor. If you need to eat a meal, you have to leave the dorm and walk to the nearest dining hall. The dining hall was only opened during certain hours of the day so if you were hungry at—let’s say—2 a.m. you had to stay hungry (or come up with an alternate way to satisfy that hunger) because the dining hall was closed. Unless you’re lucky enough to own a tiny refrigerator that’s suitable for a dorm room (which I never had due to tight finances) you have to leave your room and go somewhere else if you’re in the mood for a soda or a glass of wine or even a drink of water.

I remember during my time living in a dorm I wasn’t allowed to have a hot plate or a portable stove in my dorm room due to fire regulations. This was also back in the day when microwave ovens were very big, bulky, and expensive so they weren’t practical for a dorm room at all. There were a couple of kitchen ovens that were located in the basement of my dorm near the laundry room. I only used one of the ovens once and that was to bake a birthday cake using one of those boxed cake mixes and pre-made frosting for my then-boyfriend’s 25th birthday. (He later became my ex-husband.) It was such a hassle having to leave my upper level dorm room, take an elevator to go to the basement, whip up the cake (which I recall had its own disposable pan that you can bake and serve in and it only required adding water then stirring the mix with a plastic spoon that I swiped from the dining hall), pop it in the oven, then wait around for the oven to finish baking because there was a rule where we had to stick around whenever we used one of the ovens because the dormitory wanted to avoid oven-related fires. It was easier to just go to a dining hall for meals than to try to cook your own meal using one of the dormitory ovens.

As for Hunter College, I don’t know why they didn’t move to evict her sooner instead of filing a lawsuit after two years. I know that during my undergraduate days the dormitories at the University of Maryland were only available to students who were 1) single, 2) childless, 3) pet-free, and 4) enrolled for a minimum of nine credit hours per semester, which generally equalled to three courses. If, for whatever reason, a student had to completely withdraw from all of his/her classes before the semester ended, he/she was expected to move out of the dorm soon afterwards. A dorm resident could also be kicked out before the semester ended if he/she engaged in acts of violence against another student or did something extremely destructive (such as setting a bed on fire). Each dorm resident had to sign a contract acknowledging that he/she would abide by all of the rules as long as he/she wanted to stay in a dorm.

I assume that Hunter College has those same standards. They could’ve evicted Lisa Palmer the moment they found out that she hadn’t enrolled in any classes in a semester. All they had to do was to send a notice saying that she would have to leave by a certain date or else she would be evicted then stick to that schedule if she ignored that notice. They could have gotten the campus police to remove her from the room while hiring some movers to place her belongings on a nearby street corner. For added measure, they could’ve hired a locksmith to change the lock to that room so she couldn’t sneak back in. That’s no different than what I occasionally see at a local apartment complex that’s located near my home where someone’s furniture, clothes, and other belongings suddenly appear in a giant pile near the curb because a tenant has just been evicted. I just don’t understand why Hunter College dragged its feet on this.

There is so much weirdness on both sides that it resulted in the escalation of something that should have been resolved with very little drama two years ago.

A few years ago I was on the mailing list of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) mainly because my then-husband and I used to donate to various Democratic candidates (which I haven’t done since my marriage broke up) and I had volunteered a few times for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Generally if you’re devoted enough to the Democratic Party, you’ll end up on the DCCC’s mailing list even if you didn’t sign up with that group since they tend to get names from other Democratic groups. I finally managed to get rid of the DCCC when I switched email addresses and I never bothered to notify them of my new address.

This year is the mid-term elections where people will be voting in various congressional races as well as various state and local offices. Many people are hoping for a turnover in Congress in terms of voting for new representatives and senators who would be more willing to stand up to President Donald Trump. There are people who are willing to vote for a Democrat in these mid-terms.

However the DCCC seems to be into sabotage to the point where they would rather lose an election than support a progressive Democrat. Here are a few headlines showing how messed up the DCCC really is.

DCCC Advised Candidates Not To Discuss Gun Control Policy Right After Vegas Shooting

Greg Edwards says national Democrats tried to push him from Pennsylvania 7th congressional race

Grassroots Groups Petition DCCC To ‘Stop Attacking Progressives’

This last headline says it all about how fucked up the DCCC really is:

Don’t give a dime to the DCCC, they’ll just use it to front DINOs and smear Justice Democrats

I’m well aware of the DCCC because, like I wrote at the beginning of this post, I used to be on their mailing list. I remember eight years ago when I received an email from that group asking for volunteers who are graphic artists, photographers, videographers, web designers, and people who are savvy with social networks to help with the that year’s mid-term elections. The email said that the work would mostly be volunteer (there were also a few paid positions available but, for the most part, they were looking more for unpaid volunteers than paid employees) and it would entail no more than 10-20 hours per month.

So I decided to sign up and checked off which work I was willing to volunteer for as well as listing the URL’s where they can view work that I’ve previously done only to get to the last page where I discovered that these people wanted me to also submit a resume. A resume for an unpaid volunteer position that would entail no more than 10-20 hours per month. I thought that was pretty screwy so I ignored that request and just closed that window. The next day I received an email from one of the organizers asking me to submit my resume, which really peeved me even more. I responded by sending a .pdf version of my online Artist Resume while emphasizing that I was looking for volunteer work since I had responded to that email that they had sent.

Out of frustration I also wrote this rant on Why Do Some Organizations Ask For Volunteers Then Put Up Roadblocks When People Actually Step Forward? I didn’t name the organization in that rant because I was still a loyal Democrat overall at the time and I just wanted to publicly give feedback on how that organization is making it hard for people to actually participate as volunteers. I naively hoped that the DCCC would somehow come across my rant and change their procedures of getting more volunteers involved with their organization.

I never heard from the DCCC regarding my application to volunteer with them so I ended up doing no work of any kind for them. The 2010 midterms were a complete disaster for the Democrats as the Republicans, who were bolstered by the Tea Party movement, gained a majority in the House and the Senate.

In the years since I’ve learned that the DCCC is made up of the same Centrist Democrats who also permeated Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated presidential campaign last year and were also instrumental in fixing the elections so a man (Bernie Sanders) who was even more popular than Clinton and who stood the best chance of defeating Donald Trump in the general elections would not get the nomination. My previous ill-fated effort to volunteer with the DCCC in 2010 only showed that the DCCC only cares about catering to big donors (such as Wall Street) and not about average people like you and me. I became so alienated from the Democrats that I joined the #DEMEXIT movement and changed my affiliation from Democrat to Independent.

If the Democrats really want to get disaffected people like me to rejoin the Democrat Party and start supporting Democratic candidates for political office once again, they need to stop supporting Centrist Democrats who only care about catering to the very wealthy 1% (such as supporting free trade deals like NAFTA that has hurt working people) and start supporting average people who are having a hard time getting jobs that paid a living wage, finding affordable housing, and having access to affordable health care.

Otherwise, I’ll stay an independent and so will a bunch of other people who feel the same way that I do.

UPDATE (March 9, 2018): The DCCC’s interference against one primary campaign in Texas has resulted in this backlash where Laura Moser, a progressive candidate that the DCCC actively campaigned against, won the primary.

When I was growing up I used to frequently hear the saying that one should never put his/her eggs into one basket. The basic meaning is that you should never rely on just one or two things in life and one should always have a backup plan in case something unexpected happens. I had a harsh lesson in that just a few years ago when my husband abruptly walked out on me without ever indicating that he was the least bit unhappy and I later learned that there was another woman involved. Luckily I had friends and family I could rely on because had I totally concentrated only on my relationship with my husband to the exclusion of everything else, I would’ve been worse off when he left.

This saying applies to business as well. Last week a popular website known as had abruptly shut down. originally started as an e-commerce site selling pet supplies when it decided to branch out into posting uplifting stories about pets. frequently used Facebook to promote its stories and it found a huge response to those stories in terms of clicks and likes. In time morphed into a full-fledged media company that specialized in posting uplifting stories with happy endings along with DIY tips that provided a contrast with the stories involving politics and celebrities that usually get shared around Facebook. Here are just a few samples of the stories that used to cover:

99-Year-Old Grandma Held Hostage By Teen Keeps Him Calm Until He Eventually Surrenders

More Than 30 Pets Left Behind During Hurricane Marie Reunite With Their Families 6 Months Later

Stranger Spots Single Dad’s 11 Missing Teeth During TV Interview And Offers Him a New Smile

Before You Toss That Toilet Paper Roll, Make a Beautiful DIY Kaleidoscope With Your Kids

Dryer Sheets: 14 Brilliant Ways To Use These Everyday Laundry Items

Mom Of 4 Fires Back At Stranger Who Ridiculed Her For Wearing ‘Inappropriate’ Ripped Jeans

The only thing major criticism I’ve ever read about was that it was basically a content news aggregation site, which means that it would conduct Internet searches looking for those lighthearted uplifting stories that would fit in with’s brand. Here’s an example. Let’s say that there was an incident where some burglars broke into a home in Des Moines, Iowa while a teen boy was home alone with his family’s German shepherd dog. The dog confronted the burglars only to be beaten and shot. Despite his injuries the dog continued to defend the teen against the burglars while the teen called 911. The teen was unharmed and the dog survived his injuries. This story was originally reported in the local media. A staffer on would search the Internet until she came upon the original story as reported by the local media. That staffer would then write her own story about the incident based on what was reported in the local media and that story would sometimes include an embedded video from a local TV station that covered that story.

The issue of content news aggregation is a pretty controversial one and there are some nations (such as Spain) that have sought to regulate this in some way. But there’s no doubt that was able to become initially successful without having to hire a team of reporters who would roam the streets looking for anything that was both newsworthy and fit in with’s brand.’s popularity rose when people started using Facebook and they would share links to that site’s uplifting stories. Over time relied exclusively on Facebook’s algorithms to help publicize its content. On top of it, unlike other digital media companies, didn’t use venture capital (VC) money and it opted for self-funding instead. Those two factors helped propelled to popularity but they were also the roots of its ultimate downfall.

What happened was that Facebook changed its algorithms so that posts generated from a user’s friends and family would be emphasized more than posts from web publishers like That algorithmic change resulted in quickly losing 75% of its viewers who visited that site from Facebook. apparently didn’t consider diversifying its content on to other social media sites (such as Twitter and Instagram) so it was almost totally dependent on Facebook for its business. Since didn’t have VC money it had almost no financial cushion to help it weather the lean times. On top of it, faced competition from larger, more established media companies.

Had focused on other social media sites in addition to Facebook, it would be still around. Instead had put nearly all of its eggs into one basket [Facebook] and it has gone out of business as a result. It’s too bad that it had to happen because I used to sometimes share stories from that site on Facebook and there were times when I shared the occasional link in this blog. Oh well. Too bad, so sad.

As I’m typing this my area has literally been shut down due to this massive wind storm. In fact I had my scheduled job interview get postponed until next Thursday, which is probably just as well since I’m hearing the wind howling outside of my home and the National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning urging people to stay home unless it’s an emergency. In fact the federal government has shut down today along with the public schools. I’m definitely not going to drive today since my car can be pretty difficult to handle in very windy weather but I might take a walk later on this afternoon.

As some of you may know, I have an Instagram account that I tend to update on a regular basis. This morning, while I was hearing the howling winds outside my home, I was leisurely checking my email when I came across this doozy:

Subject: project on Instagram for women photographers: Women’s Month Theme: Women’s Art


I hope you will consider participating in our women’s photography Instagram project.  As a women’s photography community we run an Instagram project for women photographers of all levels to encourage, inspire and promote women’s passion and accomplishments in photography. The project postings are at: @womeninphotography.

The projects are to increase awareness and we do these projects in our spare time voluntarily. There is no commercialization by us of your image. So If you would like to join and help promote women’s work and passion in photography it is easy to participate. If you do not want to receive project notices like this just let me know and I will take you off our list.

Any woman photographer can participate or you can help us spread the word to women photographers who may want to.

Our project theme for this month is: ‘Women’s Art’.

What do we mean by this theme?

It is open to your interpretation so just send us your best to show.  I will curate the submissions and I or my husband bill will post up to 12 a day on Instagram until we are done.
There is no rush as we will post images until we stop getting them for this theme. We will email you when yours is posted.

Email your image to me:

  1. Attach one or more of your photos.  It is easier if it is a .jpg
  2. Your full name and your Instagram id if you have one so we can post and tag your image
  3. One web site link that you want posted with your image: (your website, facebook, other if you have one)
  4. Your note about the image to be included with it on Instagram
  5. Any additional hashtags you want posted with your image


Gittel and Bill Price

In a nutshell, instead of me uploading my own photographs to my own Instagram account, they want me to send my own photographs to them, wait for them to decide whether they want to include it in their uploading just 12 pictures per day to their Instagram account, and, if they decide to choose whatever I send them, they will do this in exchange for no financial compensation but I will get credit.

So I can send my pictures to these people (whom I’ve never met nor communicated with before) for their Instagram account (which I had never heard of before I received that email) where I won’t get any kind of compensation other than credit (providing that they are actually honorable enough to give me credit). Or I can continue to upload my own photos to my own Instagram account where I won’t get financial compensation but I can at least ensure that I’m getting full credit for my own pictures that I shot and I can completely control such things as captions, hashtags, and tagging locations.

Well, that’s a no-brainer. Since I wouldn’t be getting paid either way, I’ll just keep my photos for my own Instagram account.

However I decided to play with these two freeloaders a little bit. I did a little bit of research on pricing and I decided that I would base my regular fee on the low-end of the amateur photographer scale per picture while cutting a further discount since they claim to be “non-commercial.” Here’s my reply email that I sent to them:

Dear Gittel and Bill Price,

Thank you for your interest in my work. Since I usually charge $25 per shot, I would be willing to cut you a discount of $10 per shot since you say that you’re a non-profit. I really can’t afford to give my work away for free since I’m financially struggling to pay my bills so I hope you would understand. You can pay me via PayPal at


Kimberly Keyes

I haven’t heard back from them and I seriously doubt that I ever will. LOL!

It’s annoying that these people are looking for free pictures for their Instagram account under the guise of “feminism” and “women photographers.” It’s just as annoying as Ivanka Trump claiming to be a “feminist” who wrote her book Women Who Work while the women who work in those factories in Third World countries making her clothes and shoes for her fashion line are being paid very little while working in poor conditions with little occupational safety and they are frequently separated from their own children. She was also very reluctant to give maternity leave to her own female employees working in her U.S. offices. And that’s not to mention her own father, whom she has continued to serve in his administration despite being recorded bragging about how he grabs women by their pussies. (It’s no wonder that Ivanka Trump’s recent tweet honoring the fact that this month is Women’s History Month went over as well as a lead balloon or a submarine with screen doors.)

By the way, if Gittel and Bill Price want photos of women accomplishing great things for their Instagram account, I suggest that they get a smartphone and start shooting their own pictures of women doing amazing things instead of begging other photographers for freebies.

I know it may sound tempting for others to submit photos to someone else’s Instagram account in exchange for exposure but take my advice. The best way of promoting yourself as a photographer is to take out your own social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and upload your own photos on to your social media accounts a minimum of one picture once a week. (Don’t forget to use hashtags in order to increase the chances of someone else discovering your work.) For added measure, start a blog or website and post your pictures there. Don’t rely on someone else to post your photos online for you because not everyone has your best interest at heart. There are plenty of free tutorials online that you can access by doing a simple Google search on “how to promote yourself as a photographer.”

UPDATE (March 4, 2018): I got an email response from Bill Price when I sent back a response asking for payment in exchange for them to use my photos on their Instagram account (which, as the previous paragraphs indicated, I would have to manually email each photo to them and hope that it makes the cut among their 12 posts per day limit). Here is what he wrote:

Hi Kimberly,

We understand. We do not own the images we only post them as part of a promotion of women’s photography.
We put in hundreds of hours on each project as volunteers with no pay. We do not monetize the effort in any way.

So the artists support each other and hopefully get more visibility from participating as well.

Best wishes


Yeah it sounds nice and stuff. But I’m still leery about participating, especially since they require that you manually email each photograph to them then hope that they choose your photo among their own 12 posts per day limit all for credit only. If they had asked me to tag them in the captions to my own Instagram photos on my account I might have considered doing it since it’s pretty easy. (I’ve done it for others in the past.) But I’m not about to give away my photos to them for free so they can upload it on to their own Instagram account, especially since it looks like they are relying on other photographers to supply them with content for free.

I said it before a few paragraphs ago and I’ll say it again: If Bill and Gittel Price need content for their Instagram account, they should grab a smartphone, take their own pictures of women doing extraordinary things, and upload it to their own account themselves instead of relying on other photographers to supply their content for them for no payment. Stop being freeloaders with other people’s photographs.

This February was probably the worst February for me in recent memory. It was like everything that could have gone wrong for me did.

First I learned that my ex-husband had stopped sending me alimony payments. I knew it was going to run out at some point but I always thought that it would be sometime in June (when it would’ve been the anniversary of the judge handing down the decision that the divorce was final) but my ex decided to stop sending further payments after late December. Of course he didn’t notify me of this. In fact he has pretty much avoided speaking to me as much as possible since the day he walked out on me back in late 2011, which has made the entire divorce process far worse than it was. (Ideally I would’ve loved for the two of us to meet together somewhere in person to hammer out a few things and communicate about such things as payment schedules and similar matters but, with him, everything can only be done via email or text—and that is only if he feels like responding.) As a result I only learned about this when the alimony check has stopped arriving. I sent a polite email asking about the payments while stating that I have had a run of bad luck (which I’ll get into in a bit). I didn’t resort to name calling or making accusations. It was basically a short polite email where I asked about the payments while explaining my current situation. I even expressed my sympathy for the death of his father back in October. He responded with this businesslike tone where he said that he had fulfilled his obligations and thanked me for my kind words regarding his father. The whole thing had the tone of a business transaction instead of two people who used to be married to each other.

Unfortunately consulting a lawyer was out of the question because I really can’t afford to launch any kind of lawsuits at the moment due to extremely tight finances. On top of it, my original divorce lawyer passed away back in 2016 so I would have to hire a brand new lawyer if I wanted to launch any kind of legal challenges regarding the original separation and divorce agreement.

Then there was that church service that I attended on the last Sunday in January, where I ended up experiencing raw emotions that carried through February. Here’s some background. When I was still married my husband and I used to attend that church together. When we separated, I tried attending Sunday service only to see my estranged husband there and I found it to be a major distraction and I couldn’t focus on any part of the Sunday service. I stopped attending church for a while because I just couldn’t stand attending with my ex. There were times when I arrived at church only to see his car parked there and I would immediately turn around and drive back home. I even contemplated quitting church altogether or switching to a different church, which wouldn’t be unusual because over the years I’ve seen other members’ marriages or longterm relationships end and one or both former partners would end up quitting. I had members of my support group for people who are separated or divorced tell me that they ended up either switching churches or stop attending in order to avoid seeing their ex on a weekly basis.

But then I had friends from my church tell me that my ex had eventually stopped going to Sunday service so I felt comfortable enough to attend on my own. I attended one service on the last Sunday in January where I didn’t even look up what the topic of the service was. It was also the same Sunday where I was scheduled to attend the 90th birthday party of a fellow church member that was held at a retirement community near my church so it made sense for me to go to church then go to the birthday party afterwards. It turned out that it was a lay-led service where it was being put on by members of the Men’s Group at our congregation. I found out that my ex was not only involved in the Men’s Group but he was among the speakers.

But then it got worse. My ex mentioned at the beginning of his speech “My marriage fell apart…” That had me livid because that statement implied that either I had left him or our marriage had broken down over a long period of time because we were arguing and not getting along so we both made the mutual decision to separate. In reality he didn’t even let on that he was the least bit unhappy until one night, three days after Christmas (and three months after I underwent hip surgery), he came home, announced that he was moving out, left behind two handwritten letters and the first alimony check, then bolted out the door. In fact, I wrote this post on the night he abruptly left indicating my hope that he would return soon. The following month I learned from friends that he had hooked up with a friend of ours who has long been suffering from severe mental health issues and he married her just two months after our divorce was final. For him to say “My marriage fell apart…” implying that it was something that happened to him is totally disingenuous and dishonest. If he had simply said “I got divorced” I probably would not have been as angry and upset.

I’m the one who had more right to say “My marriage fell apart…” than he did because he was the one who left me for a woman with severe mental health problems, insisted on a divorce, refused to consider marriage counseling, demanded that we separate all of our finances according to this schedule that he worked out in his head or else he would sue me, got engaged to the other woman eight months after he left me (while he was still legally married to me), sent divorce papers in a .pdf format that was attached to an email that was sent on Christmas Eve, and married the other woman just two months after our divorce was final.

As it turned out I ended up tuning out the rest of the service because I was fuming and I focused on perusing Facebook on my smartphone instead. I bolted out of the church as soon as I could, headed to a Starbucks that’s located inside of a Target that’s located near the venue where the birthday party was scheduled to be held, and just sat there drinking a soda I had purchased until it was time for the party to begin.

My biggest lesson is that from now on I’m going to look up the topic of a Sunday service before going to church. That way I can avoid hearing any future talks from my ex-husband.

On top of that there is my ongoing job search for a new day job. I’ve gone to various networking events and job search seminars and job fairs only to come up empty. I could write a separate post about how broken the job search process has become—complete with emailing resumes to various websites with no responses, people not returning phone calls when I did follow-up calls on job applications and left messages, and things like that. Even temp agencies have gotten completely dysfunctional where recruiters now tell you to go to their website, look at all of the jobs that are posted there and if you see a job that you like, you should send a resume and if the recruiters think you’re qualified, they will call you. Years ago I used to be able to easily find work through temp agencies simply by calling for an appointment and taking a series of tests (which measured typing speed, the ability to solve simple math problems, and knowledge of basic English grammar) but now most of them no longer give any kind of tests and they aren’t even into seeing you in person any more. I can’t even recommend temp agencies to anyone. And I’m not the only one. I have a friend who was let go from her job, which she had originally gotten after working there as a temp. She tried the temp agencies herself and she has gotten the same runaround as I did.

My car brakes started to make a grinding noise every time I used the brake pedal, which freaked me out. I initially decided not to drive the car to any place that was more than 10 miles away from home. Then the grinding noise got worse and I became too afraid to even drive my car because I was scared of not having any brakes at all. I couldn’t afford to get them repaired because of my money situation so I was left with no other alternative other than to leave my car parked while running the engine for a few minutes once a week so the car engine wouldn’t deteriorate from disuse. (I’ve know someone whose car stopped working after she didn’t use it at all for about a month or longer so she had to get it towed and repaired.) I started walking or using public transportation, which definitely put a crimp in my job search because I was limited to applying only to places that I could get to by Metrobus or Metrorail or some other form of public transportation.

I had to call my own mother telling her about my car situation while telling her that I didn’t know when I would ever be able to visit her in person again because she lives in a part of the state that has no public transportation whatsoever.

My Sagittarius Dolly channel was let go from the YouTube Partner program this month because I didn’t get enough subscribers or watch hours. I never earned any money from that program (that’s because of YouTube’s policy of not issuing payment until it reached the minimum $100 threshold and I never earned more than about $10 or $20 total) but I was still peeved because I was among the hundreds of less popular channels who were essentially paying the price for what Logan Paul did in Japan last month, which I already went into once, twice, and three times.

My PlayStation 2 console stopped working and today I found out that my Wii remote has stopped working even though I’ve been putting in new batteries with the same result. Those two console problems are nothing compared to what I’m going through but they seemed to be part of a continuum of how horrible February has gotten for me.

If all that weren’t enough, it had been raining most of February, which made me feel even more depressed. There was the occasional sunny day but it was mostly gloomy clouds and rain.

And I’m not even about to go into the constant news about President Donald Trump’s latest antics other than I find it so draining learning that we have a totally immature man-child in the White House. I’m also not even going to bother with the Parkland shooting in Florida on Valentine’s Day other than to say that I’m totally pissed that nothing has been done to enact gun safety over the past several years and this latest shooting would have never happened had some common sense gun laws been passed years ago. I’m glad that the kids who survived that shooting are starting to agitate for change and other students from around the country are also starting to launch their own protests as well.

So I was down and out. But then a few things happened that made me less down and out. I had one friend loan me the money to repair the brakes on my car (which came to a whopping $560). I made arrangements with my co-op regarding being able to pay my co-op fees. By the end of the month I got my car back. I also had friends who were very kind to me, especially when they learned about my situation. One friend gave me $100 out of the blue when she learned about my car situation. I will always remember that act of kindness. I have a friend who wants my help in making a documentary about someone who is going to celebrate her 100th birthday this year and she said she will pay me. I have another friend who needs my help regarding computers and there may be money in it as well.

Plus I’m expected to pay off that loan from my friend by helping him with putting various things for sale on eBay while giving him the proceeds from each sale. I told him I can’t guarantee that any of those eBay listings will lead to actual sales. I’ve had mixed results with eBay and Etsy over the years where I seemed to have more unsold stuff than stuff that actually sold. I’ve generally done better with selling things at street fairs and I think it’s because people are more likely to make an impulse buy if they see something in person than some picture that’s on a computer screen. Maybe I can do a big yard sale if the eBay thing doesn’t work out. But in any case I’m going to give the eBay thing a try first so I would have more time waiting for the weather to improve so I can put on a yard sale if I need to do so.

The biggest lesson about my story is that it always helps to have friends who are supportive because you’ll never know when you’ll need to rely on them. In any case I’m ready to put February behind me starting tomorrow.

Here’s the story so far. A YouTube star named Logan Paul flew to Japan with a few of his buddies where he made a series of vlogs that basically dissed both the Japanese and their culture and they went to great effort to be the epitome of the Ugly American stereotype. If that weren’t enough, Logan Paul and his friends went to a park in Japan that’s known as the Suicide Forest because many people frequently travel there to commit suicide. Logan Paul and pals went off of the marked trails and went further into the woods where they found a guy who had recently hanged himself. Logan Paul then filmed the dead body in nauseating detail while he and his pals laugh and cracked tasteless jokes.

Logan Paul uploaded that video online where it experienced a nasty backlash. Many people flagged that Suicide Forest video yet YouTube kept it online and it even listed that video on its Trending list along with a thumbnail of Logan Paul wearing that goofy Toy Story hat and that hanged body. The video was taken offline by Logan Paul himself and not YouTube after it had received so many views and so much backlash.

In the wake of that debacle, YouTube decided to remove Logan Paul from its very lucrative YouTube Red and Preferred Partner programs while keeping him on the regular Partner program. At the same time YouTube decided to notify a bunch of smaller YouTube channels (including my own Sagittarius Dolly channel) that they will be removed from the Partner program on February 20 unless they get a huge amount of both subscribers and watch hours. YouTube said that it was being done in the wake of the Logan Paul Suicide Forest debacle even though thousands of innocent people are being unfairly penalized for what Logan Paul did. I did a video on the subject titled Dear YouTube, Why Should Small Content Creators Like Myself Pay the Price for Logan Paul?

A few weeks after that video, Logan Paul attempted to show remorse for his actions by putting out a video titled Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow, which is a very nicely done PSA that seeks to raise awareness of suicide. Many people on the Internet were crowing that it’s a new chapter in Logan Paul’s life as he has learned his lesson. I didn’t join the crowd initially because I wanted to see what he does next after releasing that video. Basically he did a few things that led me to conclude that Logan Paul’s suicide prevention video was little more than a PR stunt and he hasn’t really gained any new sense of empathy for suicide victims or anyone else. I did a second video where I recorded my reaction to seeing Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow while blasting Logan Paul for his post video antics titled Why Logan Paul can take his “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” Video and Shove It.

I thought I was done with making videos blasting Logan Paul. But then something else happened today. Logan Paul made yet another video that has gotten the Internet in a tizzy. As The Guardian puts it:

In a video uploaded on Monday, he tasered two dead rats and removed a live fish from water and “performed CPR” on it. YouTube responded by suspending all advertising on his channel.

Basically YouTube has removed Logan Paul from its regular Partner program so he can no longer collect any kind of ad revenue on any of his videos. But the BBC has a further detail about Logan Paul’s latest punishment:

This time it has decided to temporarily suspend all advertising on his channels.

That’s right, the suspension is just temporary and YouTube could easily reinstate Logan Paul to that program at a later date when this newest round of outrage dies down.

Personally I think it’s not enough. Logan Paul has been given so many chances and has screwed them all. I’ve seen other YouTubers get their videos yanked off-line and even thrown off the platform for lesser violations that what Logan Paul has done. I know that Logan Paul is YouTube’s cash cow but this is a time when that cash cow has too much of a dark side that will affect YouTube’s reputation.

Meanwhile thousands of other channels like myself will soon be demonetized due to Logan Paul and other YouTubers who’ve done wrong (such as DaddyOFive). I made a short video expressing my outrage that Logan Paul is getting as what amounts to a slap on the wrists. It’s the shortest of my Logan Paul rants because I’ve already gone over so much material in my previous two videos. Here is Another Open Letter to YouTube Regarding Logan Paul and Demonetizing Smaller Channels Like My Own.

I promise that this will be the last video I’ll make about Logan Paul and YouTube because I have too many other things to worry about at the moment.

Not too long ago I made a video that’s an open letter to YouTube where my channel (also called Sagittarius Dolly just like this blog) is in danger of being demonetized. YouTube decided to do this in the wake of Logan Paul’s Suicide Forest video except YouTube is penalizing the wrong people.

This past week Logan Paul uploaded the first new video he made since both the Suicide Forest video and his subsequent apology video. It’s a nicely done PSA called “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” and it included an interview with a man who attempted suicide by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge and he miraculously survived. Here’s the video:

The video seemed promising even though there was one thing that had bothered me. Had Logan Paul simply made that Suicide Forest video then I would say that this new video is sufficient enough to prove that Logan Paul has learned a lesson from this incident. However, prior to the Suicide Forest video, Logan Paul made other videos where he and his pals essentially made fun of the Japanese and their culture while visiting their country. As of this writing he has yet to issue any kind of apology to Japan for his awful behavior. Here are the lowlights of those videos that were compiled by We The Unicorns.

I didn’t immediately jump on the “Logan Paul has learned his lesson” bandwagon because of that lack of apology to Japan. I’m glad I sat out that bandwagon because there were two recent incidents that had me question the sincerity of Logan Paul’s “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” video. One was an inappropriate comment he made on a picture that was posted on rapper Cardi B’s Instagram account. The other was this interview he made on ABC’s Good Morning America where he basically said that the guy committed suicide in the Suicide Forest as a way for him to make that Suicide Forest video and raise awareness of suicide prevention. You can watch this interview in its entirety—if you can stomach it.

In response I made this video titled “Why Logan Paul Can Take His ‘Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow’ Video and Shove It.” In that video I briefly mention the earliest suicide that affected me when my Great Uncle Jack killed himself when I was seven or eight years old. Feel free to share it with everyone you know.

Writing off Logan Paul is no big loss for me and I definitely won’t regret making my latest video. Here’s a video I found which goes over previous outrageous things Logan Paul has done in the U.S. prior to his fateful Japanese trip that will have your blood boiling.

Ever since Donald Trump has gotten into office there have been so many incidents of ICE agents cracking down on immigrants and deporting them along with so many stories about families who have literally been torn apart. To be fair, Barack Obama’s administration did a lot of deportations as well but those flew under the radar because President Obama was the first African American president and there were plenty of people leery about criticizing him although one could easily criticize President Obama’s policies without resorting to racism. Since Donald Trump is an old white guy who ran his campaign based on his racist imagery of Mexican drug dealers and rapists and building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, there is now more media attention on those deportations—most of which affect immigrants with black or brown skin. (And that’s not to mention President Trump’s recent descriptions of Haiti and Africa as “shithole countries.”)

Recently a white immigrant was rounded up by ICE agents and they are trying to deport him as well. Lukasz Niec was a guy who was born in Poland and he was brought to the U.S. with his parents back in 1979 when he was only five years old. (At that time Poland was a communist country that was aligned with the Soviet Union and it did the usual communist repression against its own citizens so it was understandable why his parents wanted to leave.) When he was a teenager he got into some minor troubles with the law. He got a green card and he decided to straighten out his life by going to college then to medical school. He became a doctor and he eventually got married and had two children. His most recent offense was an arrest on a domestic violence charge in 2013 but he was later found not guilty by a jury.

Those brief brushes with the law were enough to provide an excuse for ICE agents to round up this guy and begin proceedings to have him deported back to Poland. This is a country that this guy had not even lived in since he was five years old. He has long since forgotten how to speak Polish and he has no immediate family ties in that nation.

When I saw this story blow up on social media I read social media posts from people acting surprised that the Trump Administration would focus on a white man. As I think back to my childhood, I have to say that I’m far less surprised that his ICE agents would pick on a Pole than most people.

Let me give you a brief history lesson here. There was a time prior to the Industrial Revolution where most Americans considered themselves to be WASPs—White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution there were plenty of immigrants from many European nations, including Poland. While many Polish immigrants had white skin, they were not Anglo-Saxons so, according to attitudes of the time, they didn’t count as being real white people. On top of it, most Poles were either Roman Catholics or Jews, which made them be seen more as outsiders by the WASPs. Given that attitude, it was no wonder that hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan considered Jews and Roman Catholics to be just as bad as African Americans.

Even though Poles gradually were assimilated into the melting pot, there were stereotypes that still persisted. I was born in Baltimore, where many Polish immigrants settled, and I grew up in nearby Glen Burnie. Even though my family lived next door to a Polish American family and there were plenty of people of Polish descent, I still grew up hearing Poles being described as “Dumb Pollocks.” I heard a lot of Dumb Pollock jokes being told on the playground while I grew up. Here’s one such example, which was among the milder Dumb Pollock jokes I heard:

Q: Take Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Smart Pollock, and the Dumb Pollock. Put them all into a single room together. Place a $5 bill in the middle of that room. Who would get that $5 bill?

A: The Dumb Pollock because there is no such thing as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or a Smart Pollock.

The Dumb Pollock stereotype didn’t end with just jokes. There was a liquor store that I used to go with my parents when they made an occasional trip there. That was because that store had a shelf that sold novelty gag gifts and I loved looking at them. Among the gag gifts sold was a box marked “Polish Gun.” When you open the lid, you see a gun with the barrel bent backwards making it look like you would get struck with a bullet when you pull the trigger.

But that’s not all. When my family used to make its annual summer vacation to Ocean City, I remember the raunchy t-shirts. Among the t-shirts I remembered was an illustration of a guy looking down his own pants with the slogan “Polish Peeping Tom.” Another shirt had an illustration of a guy in a boat holding a fishing rod where the hook was on the back of the guy’s pants that had the slogan “Polish Fisherman.”

Even though I lived next door to a Polish American family and grew up attending a Roman Catholic parish that had Polish Americans among its membership, I still heard those Dumb Pollock jokes. Given that Donald Trump spent his entire life in New York City, which was another place where Polish Immigrants settled in large numbers during the Industrial Revolution, I’m sure that he heard those Dumb Pollock jokes as well. Except he was more insulated from actually knowing any person of Polish descent than I was because he grew up in a wealthy neighborhood in a WASP family (two of his grandparents were German immigrants and his mother was from Scotland) and his father was arrested back in the 1920s for attending a Ku Klux Klan rally. (Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, the KKK hated Roman Catholics and Jews just as much as it hated African Americans.)

Growing up I used to love telling Dumb Pollock jokes as much as the other kids on the playground. But it has been many years since I told those jokes because I don’t find them funny anymore. What happened? I can’t say for sure but there were a few factors. First of all I grew up and I became exposed to more sophisticated adult humor (especially from watching TV shows like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Saturday Night Live) that made those Dumb Pollock jokes seem stupid and childish by comparison. Then I went away to college at the University of Maryland at College Park where I met a variety of people and there was sort of an unsaid social thing against telling ethnic jokes of any kind. (At least that was the case among the groups of people I socialized with.)

What finally got me to quit telling Dumb Pollock jokes for good was when I converted to Unitarian Universalism a year after I graduated from college but shortly before I got married. That faith has seven principles, the first of which is this:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

In a nutshell every person is entitled to being respected no matter what that person’s background is. Telling Dumb Pollock jokes—or any other type of ethnic jokes—dehumanizes a certain category of people simply because they were born that way and it’s not something that one can control.

While I managed to let go of the Dumb Pollock stereotype, it’s obvious that President Trump has not. In fact back in the 1980’s it was said that he broke the law by hiring illegal Polish immigrants to work on building his Trump Tower without even providing the proper safety equipment necessary to do the job. He paid them $4 per hour, which is far less than the minimum wage at that time. Of course that was when he even bothered to pay them. Many of these workers weren’t paid at all yet they were forced to continue working on that building project because they were threatened with being reported to authorities and deported. If that weren’t bad enough, here is what one Polish worker said about his time working on the Trump Tower project:

Trump also hired a smaller crew of unionized demolition workers who teased their nonunion Polish counterparts. “They told me and my friends that we are stupid Poles and we are working for such low money,” Adam Mrowiec, one of the Polish workers, later testified.

So here is a man who was probably exposed to the same Dumb Pollock jokes that I was, except he grew up in a more insulated environment than I was so he never learned to consider Polish people as being anything other than Dumb Pollocks to be used and discarded for his own purposes just like inanimate objects. And if these Dumb Pollocks aren’t useful to him, then they should just go away.

With a mindset like that, it’s no wonder the Trump Administration has sent ICE agents after a Polish American man to be deported from the only country he has ever known to a nation that he hasn’t seen since he was five years old.

If you’re a Polish American who voted for Donald Trump back in 2016 expecting that he will—to quote his campaign slogan—Make America Great Again, then the joke’s on you since he’s basically a con artist who could care less for anyone who isn’t a wealthy WASP like he is and who basically looks down on people like you.

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