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Ramadan

Not too long ago someone made a comment on one of my posts on my Instagram account telling me that he/she really liked my work and he/she asked me to submit my recent art to this publication called 1340 Art Magazine while providing a link to a webpage where I can send a sample of my work. I looked at the magazine’s Instagram account, where I learned that they also have a print publication version that’s released quarterly. So I figured what the hell and I sent a picture of one of my paintings. Not long afterwards I receive an email from Lisa Harris informing me that I was selected to be among the finalists whose work would be featured in an upcoming issue of that magazine. She said that in order to qualify for having my work possibly being selected for publication, I had to follow this link and fill out the online form.

When I went to that form I saw that they charged $20 for one submission and $30 for four submissions with a message saying that paying the higher fee and submitting four pictures would increase my chances of being selected for their print publication. I began to lose my enthusiasm for submitting anything, especially since I’m dealing with major financial problems at the moment.

A couple of days ago Lisa Harris sent me another email urging me to get my submission in before the May 31 deadline if I want to have a shot at getting any of my art published in the online quarterly publication.

It seemed like an awesome opportunity but I was leery about paying a submission fee, especially since I had never heard of 1340 Art Magazine before. I did a Google search on that publication and I saw that the word “scam” came up after I typed in the name of the publication. Here are some links about 1340 Art Magazine that made me change my mind about submitting anything to them.

Reddit thread: 1340 art magazine – Is it a scam?

Wet Canvas thread: 1340art magazine, possible scam?

How’s My Dealing? 2.0 thread: 1340 ART MAGAZINE

Plus there are YouTube videos on 1340 Art Magazine being a scam operation by impaired00Visions,  panda shy, and heather macdonald.

This whole thing reminds me of a similar Instagram encounter I had with Boho Queen Jewelry late last year. Thanks to doing a quick Google search, I decided that I’m going to save my money and not bother with submitting anything to 1340 Art Magazine. By the way, I came across this article on the Agora Advice Blog on How to Recognize An Art Scam that’s worth reading.

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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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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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Passover

Why most people will remain in mediocrity.

Undoing the New Deal: Bill Clinton rolled back the New Deal and Barack Obama blew an FDR moment.

Is revolution brewing in the US?

The $1.80 Instagram strategy to build your business or brand.

Yes, America, there is a class war and you just lost it.

How the baby boomers—not millennials—screwed America.

Elon Musk doesn’t really like the mass transit system he’s trying to build.

Struggling with your career? Here’s how to maximize the happiness in your life.

China will collect the DNA of every adult in Xinjiang province, where Uyghur people are systematically oppressed.

The post office can offer financial services that private banks won’t. In fact, it’s been done before.

It’s time to make life hard for the rich.

A video featuring a master craftsman working on a Japanese teapot from the beginning until the startling end.

Wyoming is a poor state that exports talent. Will that ever change?

Sex slavery, ISIS, and the illegal arms trade: Libya plunges into failed state after US invasion.

Confederacy of Dunces: Neoliberals jump the shark in The New York Times.

This person photographed women in 60 countries in order change the way that we all see beauty.

The Trumpdroid at Disney’s Hall of Presidents looks an awful lot like a hastily modded Hillarybot.

The truth behind “The Macarena” will leave your jaw on the floor.

Behold this one of a kind Krampus nativity set.

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Woman sews a handmade kimono to honor her Japanese and Scottish ancestry.

Virtually no economists believes the GOP tax bill will generate much growth.

Depression steals your soul then it takes your friends.

The things that dogs do and what they’re trying to tell you when they do them.

A list of the 100 best anime movies of all time.

White women keep on fucking us over.

Ex-Facebook President Sean Parker says that the social media site was made to exploit human vulnerability.

14 delicate and offensive teacups to insult your guests with class.

This 11-year-old girl invented a device that detects lead in water.

Amazing online hoax welcomes the “Washington RedHawks” to the NFL.

Medical pot is our best hope to fight the opioid epidemic.

Donald Trump’s contempt for American political institutions is only the latest chapter in a history of opportunistic attacks against them.

Where Internet orders mean real jobs and new life for communities.

This is no country for older men and women.

Nazi Hitler Pony goes viral after Chicago teacher uses him for an assignment.

A look at the NSFW vintage erotica of Chéri Hérouard.

For around $250 a company offers photo shoots on grounded Gulfstream jets on an airstrip in Moscow to impress your Instagram followers.

These adorable cartoons are dark as fuck.

Why a pill that’s 4 cents in Tanzania costs up to $400 in the U.S.

Who are the poor Americans?

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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

Hi,

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.

Instructions:
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

Regards,

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 kimstark61@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

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

Bill

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.

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.

I recently dodged a financial bullet. That near-miss started during the recent Christmas/Kwanzaa/New Year’s holiday week when I was uploading a bunch of new holiday photos on my Instagram account. One night I saw a comment posted to one of my Instagram photos from a company known as Boho Queen Jewelry. The comment basically said that they liked the photos I had posted under my own account and the company invited me to apply to become on of its brand ambassadors.

My immediate reaction was that I was thrilled to receive such an invite. I had heard about some people becoming Instagram influencers where companies will either pay or give free samples of a product to Instagram influencers in exchange for posting a photo of themselves actually modeling a product. I thought this invitation from Boho Queen Jewelry could potentially be the first step for me to eventually become an Instagram influencer myself and it may lead to a new career path for myself.

I was very flattered to receive such an invite mainly because most of the pictures of jewelry I’ve posted in my Instagram account were either of my own creations or they were ones I had shot of other people’s jewelry during craft shows, art shows, and trips to the various shopping malls. I hadn’t done any kind of professional modeling before nor had I ever done any jewelry reviews. I thought it was cool that someone thought of me as being a potential online marketer of some really cool looking funky jewelry whose photos I saw posted on Boho Queen Jewelry’s website.

I decided to sleep on it since I had received that invitation so late in the evening. The following morning my immediate thrilled reaction had chilled and I wanted to proceed with this proposed brand ambassador gig with caution because I had never heard of the company before. I decided to do a quick Google search on Boho Queen Jewelry to learn about how others view that company. I immediately came up with a bunch of links that alarmed me.

Boho Queen Jewelry was previously known under two different names—Mirina Collections and Nora NYC—which became notorious for the way it conducts its business using this pattern.

First the company searches the Internet for photos of jewelry created by talented jewelry artisans. Then the company creates knockoffs using the cheapest materials they could find. The company lists a knockoff on its own website with a retail price that’s two or three times higher than what the talented jewelry artisan charges for his/her original work. Sometimes the company will list its knockoff product using the photo of the original jewelry that it swiped off of another website.

The company trolls various blogs and Instagram accounts by leaving comments inviting people to become its online brand ambassador while providing a link to a page where the person can apply. The person applies and is always accepted into the brand ambassador program. The newly appointed brand ambassador is then required to buy the jewelry but at a special lower discount than the retail price.

Here’s where the fun begins. While sometimes the person receives the jewelry in one piece and writes a good online review of the product (such as this one), usually the new brand ambassador encounters one of two scenarios.

1. The person never receives the jewelry. The person contacts the company via emails only to have them ignored.

2. The person receives the jewelry but it’s broken or damaged. The person contacts the company asking for a replacement or refund only to be ignored.

If the dissatisfied brand ambassador tries to contact the company through its Instagram page, the company will block that person. There have been cases where the company has threatened to sue the brand ambassador for writing a less-than-glowing review about that person’s interactions with the company on his/her blog or Instagram account. There have even been a few cases where the company went back into the brand ambassador’s bank or charge accounts at a later date and took out even more money.

Even though the company has changed its name for the third time, the way it conducts its business still remains the same.

After I read the accounts of people getting ripped off I decided against applying to become Boho Queen Jewelry’s brand ambassador and I immediately deleted that company’s comment on my Instagram photo.

The one thing that most raised my suspicion is the company’s requirement that you purchase its products (even at a discount) in order to do an online review. I know from my days working for the school newspaper during my college years that most legitimate companies never charged for a product that it wanted someone at the newspaper to review. Instead these companies would frequently send free samples of a product in exchange for a review. In the case of something like a movie, the film’s distributor would either provide free tickets or would set up a special free screening at a local theater that’s limited to reviewers only prior to the film’s official release.

Additionally when I worked in the corporate office of a now-defunct computer reseller, I saw that the various computer and/or software companies that wanted the reseller to sell its products would either send free samples or send a sales rep to do a free demo of a product. None of those companies ever charged the computer reseller money for reviewing the product before deciding on whether it would sell that product.

The one big lesson I can impart here is this: If you get an invitation from any company to be its online brand ambassador, always do a quick Google search about the company first before accepting that invitation. Just typing in “NAME OF COMPANY reviews” in the search box (without the quotation marks while replacing the all caps with the company’s name) will do the trick. If the number of negative reviews outnumber the positive ones, do NOT deal with that company. Your banking and credit card accounts (as well as your online reputation) will thank you.

I’ll end this post with a list of links to blog posts about other people’s less-than-thrilling interactions with Mirina Collections/Nora NYC/Boho Queen Jewelry.

Boho Queen Jewelry: A Review

Product Review: Boho Queen Jewelry

Boho Queen Jewelry Storytime/Honest Review

Retraction: Mirina Collections & Nora NYC (Updated)

“Mirina Collections” LIES

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Guatemalan artisans are going after 64,000+ Etsy products for copyright infringement.

Someone made an “inspirational” Instagram account for people who hate inspirational quotes and it’s hilarious.

Why is finding a job so hard and frustrating these days?

Mary and the Witch Flower was made with free OpenToonz animation software.

How artists are bypassing dealers and selling directly to collectors.

These tiny Drawbots put unique doodles on coasters.

Say goodbye to The Pizza Time Players: Chuck E. Cheese retires its animatronic band.

How Young Adult novel fans uncovered a huge scam on The New York Times bestseller list.

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Morph your fridge into a massive Game Boy with these awesome magnets.

Five pieces of good news about the recent surge of Nazis.

Why the media should carry some of the blame for the rise of Trump.

Why med schools are requiring art classes.

Photos of abandoned Olympics venues from around the world.

Inside Celebration, Florida: The depressing crime-ridden city built by the Walt Disney Company.

Hear what Shakespeare sounded like in the original pronunciation.

Trump is shedding supporters like no other president in modern history.

Meet Pepper, Japan’s robot priest that can now conduct funerals.

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