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Ramadan

For all the times I’ve been to Dupont Circle, I’ve never went there during DC Pride Weekend, even though I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for years. The only reason why I went this year was because Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was held at the Bier Baron that day. I originally planned on writing one post until I looked through the pictures and realized that I had taken so many that it really warranted writing two separate blog posts about my one day in Dupont Circle during DC Pride Weekend. This post will focus on the photographs I took that day while the Dr. Sketchy’s post will have to wait until the next one.

DC Pride Weekend had a big parade and party that took place in Dupont Circle the previous day. I wasn’t able to make it because of tight finances (the Metro system is not only getting more expensive but yet another fare increase is set to take place by the end of this month) and this heatwave has settled in the area so the temperature reached a high of around 95 degrees F.

The following day it was still very hot and humid with highs reaching 95 once again. At least the Metro trains are air conditioned and I spent as much time in the various air conditioned stores as possible. While Saturday was the big party and parade in Dupont Circle, Sunday was slated as a day of protest on the Mall. I wasn’t able to make it to that protest mainly because I attended church in the morning and Dr. Sketchy’s started at 3 p.m. so there was literally no way I could squeeze going to the National Mall in between (especially given Metro’s flaky weekend schedule where you could wait anywhere from 15 minutes to a half-an-hour or even longer depending on which stop you’re at and if Metro is doing any kind of maintenance work on a certain line at a certain station). I saw this couple who were clearly on their way to the Mall march.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle Metro station, which was definitely decorative for the occasion by having its list of scheduled trains arranged like the rainbow flag.

It was also fitting that the same station had this banner ad for Cher’s upcoming concert at the MGM casino in nearby National Harbor.

I didn’t mind missing the big march on the Mall, especially when I stepped outside and felt the high heat and high humidity smack me in the face. There were people milling around in Dupont Circle but I suspect that there were far more people protesting at the Mall. The first thing I did was head over to Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe where I saw these LGBTQ-friendly signs.

There was also this excellent sign that made fun of Donald Trump’s notorious “covfefe” tweet by announcing a new Covfefe cocktail featuring White Russian while providing quotes from former FBI director James Comey’s recent testimony that introduced the phrase “honest loyalty” into the English language.

I browsed among the books at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe while noticing this prominent shelf towards the front of the store featuring LGBTQ books.

I also saw rainbow flags and store patrons who were all decked out in rainbow and/or LGBTQ-themed attire .

After Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe I walked along the streets of Dupont Circle where I noticed rainbow flags everywhere and people dressed in rainbows. I took the bulk of these pictures before and after Dr. Sketchy’s. (Hooray for longer daylight hours!)

I eventually made my way to the Bier Baron, where Dr. Sketchy’s took place. Even that place was decked out in rainbows.

I even got into the rainbow festivities by taking pictures of my colored pencils all lined up in a loose Roy G Biv rainbow pattern (which also included colors one usually don’t see in a rainbow like brown and white) before Dr. Sketchy’s began.

Like I wrote earlier, I’ll devote my next post to what I drew at Dr. Sketchy’s.

While there were rainbow colored palettes everywhere in Dupont Circle, I found this one interesting non-rainbow thing that I photographed. This is a tiny statue (which reaches no higher than my calf) of a baby sleeping on top of a baby elephant. How cute!

I ended my time at the fountain that’s located right in the middle of Dupont Circle. There were a few people chilling out even though it was dinnertime and the temperature was very hot and humid. Strangely the fountain was turned off that day plus the basin had no water in it. (I honestly don’t know what is going on with that fountain.)

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for my next post on attending Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at the Bier Baron during DC Pride Weekend. 🙂

Ramadan

Right now the big scandal is whether President Donald Trump was elected with a little help from his friend, Russian Premiere Vladimir Putin. Then-FBI Director James Comey was investigating the matter until President Trump abruptly fired him.

I could write a long separate blog post about this scandal except for the fact that there have already been so much written about this matter that anything I write here would be redundant. I’ll keep this post short by saying that James Comey was subpoenaed to testify before the Senate on his investigation, which began at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2017. I live outside of Washington, DC so naturally this scheduled testimony became the big talk of the town. In fact, some of the local bars decided to open way earlier than usual so people can watch the proceedings live on the TV screens while drinking alcohol. (Only in DC would the bars do something like this for a Senate hearing.)

The Greenbelt Theater decided to get in on the action by opening at 10 a.m. so it can broadcast the proceedings on the big screen. (The big difference is that the theater doesn’t serve alcohol.) I wasn’t able to get to the theater right at 10 because I was busy getting ready for another job hunting-related event at the state-run Maryland Workforce Exchange that was being held at the Laurel office that afternoon. I managed to arrive around noon. I set the alarm on my smartphone because I could only devote a half-an-hour to watching this because I had to get to Laurel. It turned out that I arrived at the tail end of the proceeding and it ended after I was there for 20 minutes. I managed to take a few token pictures to give you an idea of what it’s like to see something like this on the big screen.

In case you’ve missed it, you can read a summary of Comey’s testimony right here.

Ramadan

At the dawn of recorded sound, no one cared.

How to make alien cake balls at home for the science fiction nerds in your life.

These high school teens invented a straw that could detect common date rape drugs.

How to access a million stunning copyright-free antique illustrations released by the British Library.

Confessions of an ad agency employee, who admits that the rise of digital media has resulted in modern day ad agencies that tend to encourage workaholism and intense competition among coworkers.

As a photographer I have no sympathy for former Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers. She was wrong to take nude photos of another woman changing in the gym locker room (without her consent) so she can make fun of her body online. She definitely violated that woman’s right to privacy.

IBM commits cultural and creative suicide.

How real estate people (including future President Donald Trump), violence, and public protests destroyed these iconic New York artworks.

Here’s a guide to where artists can sell their works online.

Doctors could soon make 3D prints of your various body parts, which could make your next surgery safer.

Tesla factory workers reveal pain, injury, and stress on the job.

Veselka Bulkan makes felted vegetables that cling to embroidery hoops.

How creative industries freelancers are exploited.

Animated film about a gay boy’s crush is so cute it hurts.

How brewery buy-outs hurt the craft beer industry overall.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands moonlights as a pilot on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

An AI invented a bunch of new paint colors with hilariously-sounding names.

What if other professions were treated like photographers?

I was a kid when Watergate happened but even that one was a highly-refined tea party compared to the constant fuckery that is the Trump Administration. MotherJones.com has an article about what went on this week with a headline that says it all:

It’s Not Just You: This Week Was Bonkers. Here Are All the Big Trump Scoops.

I found this headline on PasteMagazine.com that says it all about Donald Trump’s first four months in the White House: Trump’s Presidency is the Dumbest Thing That Has Ever Happened.

On Inauguration Day, I made this post predicting that President Trump will not last past the end of his first term. One of the reasons I cited in that post is this:

9. There is the speculation about Donald Trump’s very cozy relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Recently BuzzFeed posted this report claiming that the Russians have some embarrassing evidence about The Donald that they could potentially use against him. This could cause Americans to wonder if Donald Trump really has the interests of the United States in mind and would his relationship with Russia be construed as treason.

Well this Trump-Russian connection is like an ugly boil that comes closer to coming to a head. I’ve read both sides of the debate on whether Donald Trump is really cozy with the Russians and, if so, how much? I tried to keep an open mind even though I have a personal fantasy where The Donald’s sleazy past (including allegations that he raped a 13-year-old girl and the fallout from his ill-fated Trump University) catches up with him so much that he gets taken away in handcuffs.

I’ll admit that I’m leery about seeing Russia as the enemy because I grew up with that mindset thanks to the Cold War. Not only did that Cold War led to military buildups in both nations at the expense of social programs for its citizens but both nations interfered in the internal affairs of smaller countries like El Salvador, Hungary, Honduras, Czechoslovakia, Iraq, Poland, etc. The best benefit of seeing the Iron Curtain fall back int the 1990’s was that I could openly say that I like certain Russian foods or other aspects of Russian culture without having some knee-jerk asshole accuse me of being a communist.

But given all the revelations of the issue regarding Donald Trump and the Russians, I really can’t ignore this. Golf writer James Dodson said that three years ago Eric Trump told him that his father’s company had all the funding it needs to open new golf courses thanks to the Russians. That’s on top of the alleged existence of the FSB video that shows Donald Trump and some local prostitutes partying in a Russian hotel room, the FBI wiretapping Russian gambling ring headquartered at Trump Tower in New York City, and all that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last night Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey while he was investigating the alleged Trump-Russian ties. This firing happened just as Comey sought more funds so he could continue his investigation. This is definitely a throwback to my childhood when Watergate was the big scandal. This firing is similar to Richard Nixon’s firing of independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox while Cox was investigating Watergate. That incident is now known in history as the Saturday Night Massacre.

Nixon’s firing of Cox happened on October 20, 1973. That firing didn’t damper the ongoing Watergate scandal one bit and it led to Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974—nearly 10 months later.

When I learned about Trump’s firing of Comey, Archibald Cox was the first name that popped in my mind. Last night I was posting on Facebook trying to calm down my younger friends who were freaked out over this firing by providing my own memories of Cox’s firing and Nixon’s subsequent resignation, especially since they either weren’t born or they were babies when Watergate happened.

And speaking of Watergate, here is what former Nixon White House counsel John Dean had to say about this on Twitter:

Been so busy talking I haven’t tweeted. Two options explain Trump’s Comey action & both troubling: 1) STUPID and/or 2) EVIL. I think both!

When you have a former Nixon official tweeting this, you know President Trump is in very hot water.

And the Trump-Russia connection gets even more blatant today.

In what was supposed to be a closed-door Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, pictures have emerged of meetings between President Trump, Mr Lavrov and Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak via Russian media and Russian government social media accounts.

The Russian-sourced pictures are the only public record of the meetings as of this writing, largely because members of the White House press pool — who are charged to report on the president’s whereabouts and what happens inside the White House — were not allowed into the meeting Wednesday morning. No photos were taken by the White House press of the president’s meeting with Lavrov and with Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak.

Right now Washington is in an uproar over this abrupt firing but, given what I know from Watergate, this firing will only intensify the accusations against President Trump just like Cox’s firing intensified the Watergate accusations against President Nixon. All we have to do is bide our time and let the experts continue to investigate Trump’s alleged connections with the Russians. If history is any guide, it may get to the point where President Trump resigns or he gets impeached and imprisoned.

In the meantime, I’m laughing over this story of press secretary Sean Spicer hiding in a bush so he could avoid the reporters who want to question him regarding President Trump’s firing of James Comey. What a coward! (LOL!)

I was going through my hard drive when I found some photos I took in Takoma Park last summer. They focused on some of the newer art installations that were set up around town recently. I found them to be quite creative and imaginative.

There’s this S & A Beads store window, which had its own commentary on last year’s presidential campaign.

I’m heartened to see that a couple of European countries are rejecting the right-wing extremism that catapulted Donald Trump to the White House last November. First it was the Dutch who rejected such a candidate last month. Today the French did the same by jettisoning openly fascist candidate Marine Le Pen.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the voters in both countries took one look at what happened in the U.S. and decided to use their own elections to say “OH, HELL NO!!!” at the ballot box to their own far-right extremist candidates.

Happy Earth Day! Here are some links for you to enjoy! 🙂

Donald Trump’s modeling agency is on the verge of collapse, say industry insiders. It will be the latest in a line of failed ventures like the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Steaks, and Trump Vodka.

The original sculptor of the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street says that the Fearless Girl statue facing his statue distorts his work so much that he is considering filing a lawsuit.

Cannabis industry attracts more mainstream investors as business grows.

A mass-market shoe with 3D-printed midsoles is coming soon.

Eight-year-old boy learns to drive on YouTube then takes his little sister on a joyride to McDonald’s.

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities mean that no .doc is safe.

You’ll be working with robots sooner than you think.

Are you a photographer who needs a light box but you are currently short on cash? Here’s a video showing how you can make your own light box for less than $10.

Google’s new AutoDraw web-based drawing tool is a better artist than you.

It may be time to say farewell to the Pentax camera as Ricoh shrinks its camera business.

Chinese doctors use 3D printing to prepare for facial reconstruction surgery.

Microsoft to offer self-service refund for digital games.

How to stop Microsoft Office hackers from stealing your bank account.

12 ways to study a new programming language.

How Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet adhere to the Five-Hour Rule where they set aside at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) devoted to such practices as reading, reflection, and experimentation.

Exiles from the war-torn areas of Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan form a theater troupe in Germany.

Why Kickstarter decided to radically transform its business model.

How Steve Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions.

Microsoft will unveil the most powerful gaming console it has ever made on June 11.

Beware of “drive-by” computer scam.

Fake SEO plugin used in WordPress malware attacks.

Yes, some businesses still run Microsoft’s much-maligned Windows Vista.

Ohio inmates built and hid computers in prison using recycled electronic parts.

Dear Microsoft, stop blaming girls for not pursuing STEM careers.

Artist Hasan Elahi discusses racism in the digital art world.

Take a weirdly hypnotizing tour of America’s dying malls.

According to a recent survey, British women said that they prefer knitting to sex to help them relax from stress.

For photographers on a very tight budget, here’s a video showing how you can make your own DIY photography studio in your own home.

Disney files patents to bring humanoid robots to its theme parks.

Gizmodo reports on why people still use Microsoft Word.

Disney launching new animated Star Wars series on YouTube.

Black girls have been playing with white dolls for a long time.

Paper horror houses (including the Bates Motel) that you can download, print, and build for free.

I was driving through Mount Rainier, Maryland when I noticed a house located just a few doors away from ReCreative Spaces. Like most of the homes in Mount Rainier, this house is an older Victorian-style home with a picket fence. However, instead of this fence being painted white, this one is painted like the colors of a rainbow.

In addition, this rainbow fence also sports a sign indicating that everyone is welcomed in Spanish, English, and Arabic.

This house is an example of some of the subtle yet creative ways of resistance that has taken place since Donald Trump became president. Last week his second attempt to institute a second travel ban against Muslims from certain countries has been overturned by a federal judge. Of course he has banned Muslims from countries where he does not currently have any business ties.

But that’s not all, folks. Trump is also considering breaking up asylum-seeking families at the Mexican border on the rationale that it will “deter more movement.” That means that children can be separated from their parents.

I’m currently living in some dark times in the United States. At least that home in Mount Rainier is trying to do something that’s colorful yet still indicates that the occupants in that home are resisting the Trump Administration.

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