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April 8 was a pretty busy night. The local theater in Greenbelt, Maryland was among the numerous theaters nationwide who held a simultaneous screening of the film 1984. Before the movie began a group of local activists held a reading of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” in honor of the 50th anniversary of that speech. (Ironically MLK gave that speech exactly one year before his assassination.)

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

By the way, if you’re curious about the speech itself, you can read the text or you can hear Rev. King actually give that speech himself.

As everybody knows, today is Inauguration Day where Donald Trump gets officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Rather than focus on that event, I’d rather talk about dolls instead.

First of all, I want to announce that I no longer own the Talking Donald Trump Action Figure.

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I sold it last month on eBay. When I first purchased it years ago (which was sometime during either the first or second season of The Apprentice), I bought it as a gag gift for my then-husband. We both became hooked on that show because it was so hilarious and campy to watch. (This was a guy who was giving business advice on that show despite the fact that he had gone through multiple bankruptcies.) I figured that it was no big deal to buy a doll/action figure based on someone who was basically a buffoon but was essentially harmless as far as I was concerned. (Granted he wasn’t harmless to anyone who actually did business with him but to everyone else who had nothing to do with that guy, he was harmless.)

When my husband left me, he left the doll behind. It was no big deal because he was only 12 inches tall so I kept him among the other small dolls I own (such as Barbie, Volks Dollie Plus, Monster High and, Ever After High).

But then there was the initial flirtation of running for president back in 2011 and he did so by catering to the birthers who were questioning President Obama’s U.S. citizenship and contending that he was really born in Kenya. I felt that what he did was so reprehensible that I no longer could stand to watch his reality show after he decided against running and just continue with his reality TV career. I also began to ignore the doll. I would press the button in his back to hear him speak every now and then but I basically didn’t bother with it much.

When Trump decided to really run in the 2016 elections while saying horrible things that were racist, sexist, and anti-Islamic, I began to rue the day I actually bought that action figure as a gag gift. I finally decided to sell the doll on eBay because I just didn’t want it around my house anymore. I like dolls that make me feel happy and put me in a good mood and that Donald Trump action figure made me feel the opposite. I didn’t get a lot of money for the doll (I only had one bidder who was willing to pay the $20 minimum bid and I didn’t get that bid until the third and final week that I ran the auction) but I felt relieved to finally get it out of my house.

At least I’ll have these two videos to remember the doll by. The first is my “Trump” poem that I wrote for a local poetry reading event in 2011 and I later made a video featuring the Donald Trump doll. The other is my demonstration video of the Donald Trump doll that I made when I was preparing to sell it on eBay.

Now I’m going to switch gears a bit and talk some more about some other dolls that I have.

I recently came across this campaign on Instagram, known as #westandwithalldolls, where American Girl doll owners were urged to post pictures of their dolls (especially dolls of color) in solidarity with all women and minorities who are currently being maligned and even attacked by Donald Trump and his supporters. I chipped in with the cause by uploading pictures of my three American Girl dolls.

First, here’s Addy Walker holding a sign this quote from Martin Luther King.

“Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.”

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Here’s Ivy Ling holding a sign with this quote from Confucius.

“To put the world right in order, we must put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”

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Even though the #westandwithalldolls campaign specifically requested that everyone post pictures of dolls of color, I decided to use my one white American Girl doll, Julie Albright, because I found this one quote from the late Frank Zappa that pretty much says it all about race relations, especially among whites who aren’t bigoted towards people of color or anyone else who’s different from them.

“Hey, you know something people? I’m not black. But there’s a whole lots of times I wish I could say I’m not white.”

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I got that quote from the lyrics to the song “Trouble Every Day,” whose video you can watch below.

Here’s one group photo of all three of my dolls with their signs.

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If you want to contribute to that Instagram campaign, or see all the photos that have been uploaded so far, check out the hashtag #westandwithalldolls.

Here is my first Throwback Thursday post of 2017. Since tomorrow is Inauguration Day where Donald Trump will be formally sworn-in as President of the United States, I’m going to feature this photostory that I created back in 2013.

I originally created a series of short photostories for a contest that was co-sponsored by Makies and SlickFlick.com. As I detailed in this blog post at the time, the gist was that we had to create an all-ages friendly photostory using at least one Makies doll and upload it on to SlickFlick.com using the SlickFlick app for iOS.

I took the photographs using my Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera and downloaded them on my MacBook. I did some editing in Photoshop and saved the photos in iPhoto. Then I synced the photos on my iPad, uploaded them online using the SlickFlick app, and wrote captions for the photos while I was still in that app.

Since both Makies and SlickFlick.com were located in London at the time, I thought they would like seeing Victoria giving a humorous tour of my current hometown of Washington, DC. I photographed Victoria at the National Theatre (which was hosting performances of the hit Broadway show Monty Python’s Spamalot, which was another way I reached out to whoever was doing the judging in London), the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Tidal Basin. Since the contest was held in the spring, I had the extra opportunity of photographing Victoria among the blooming cherry blossom trees.

I remember the Grand Prize was a free Makies doll. I entered it because I thought it would be cool to create a second Makies doll as a companion to Victoria. It was a pain that the deadline was just a few days before Tax Day in the U.S. but I managed to get both done in time. I didn’t win but I wasn’t super disappointed because, in a sad irony, the contest winner was announced on the same day as the Boston Marathon bombing. (Of course that bombing took place on Tax Day.)

I originally wanted to create one photostory but I had problems uploading it with the SlickFlick app because it kept on crashing. I ended up editing the photostory into shorter segments and uploading the separate segments. (Despite my efforts I still had to deal with frequent app crashes. It took me four attempts to upload one of the photostories online because it was crashing so much.)

Recently I decided to visit SlickFlick.com for old time’s sake only to discover that the site no longer exists. I haven’t used the SlickFlick app since 2013 so I have no idea if it still works or not. I still have the original photos on my hard drive but I didn’t have the captions I wrote using the SlickFlick app. Fortunately I was able to recover my photostories thanks to the Internet Archive. I updated the original links that I posted in that blog post announcing my photostories but I decided to re-upload my photostory on social media for wider exposure since I worked hard on that photostory and I know that not everyone likes to visit the Internet Archive.

I imported the photostories into iMovie and combined them into one photostory (which is what I originally wanted in the first place) then uploaded it on both YouTube and Facebook. The only thing I added was background music, which I got for free from YouTube. I also edited that video into shorter segments so I could upload them separately on Instagram since Instagram has that one minute limit on each video.

As for the original contest sponsors, SlickFlick.com is now off-line (the URL redirects to a blank page where, if you click on this button, you get redirected to Heroku.com). Makies announced that it was relocating from its original location in London to the U.S. but it has been a year since Makies made that announcement with no new updates about that move. I have a feeling that they were waiting out the results of the election before making the move and it’s possible that Makies may have had a change of heart with the incoming arrival of President Donald Trump starting tomorrow. Personally I wouldn’t blame Makies for having cold feet and ultimately deciding to nix the idea of moving to the U.S. I wish the site was back up because it was kind of fun designing avatars, even if only one of my avatars actually became a real-life doll.**

So, without further ado, here is my 2013 photostory Victoria the Makies Doll Goes to Washington.

**UPDATE (February 27, 2017): Makies has recently announced that it’s going out of business, which you can read about in full detail right here.

A couple of years ago I took a photo of the outside glass mural that graces one of the walls of the Takoma Park Public Library but I took that picture when it was cloudy outside. I’ve been back to that particular library numerous times for a variety of reasons but I haven’t gotten around to taking a picture of that same mural when it’s sunny outside until recently.

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Below is a closeup of a portion of that mural.

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The library is surrounded with trees, which were producing some nice looking late fall foliage.

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The foliage on this tree was pretty striking to look at.

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Underneath this particular tree is a small memorial dedicated to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Gracing one of the walls of the library are four book-shaped wire statues which has the word “read” written in four different languages.

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The library is pretty cozy itself, especially in the book area.

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Currently there are plans being drawn where the library would undergo renovation. One of two options are being considered, with both options displayed for the general public to look at. A friend of mine who works at this library told me that they probably won’t begin renovations for at least two years.

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I had a rough few days with getting my taxes done on time. I managed to get them in the mail at 3 p.m. on April 15 just two hours before the local post office makes the final collection of the day. The next day I felt really burned out so I decided to spend the late afternoon doing something fun. I decided to check out the cherry blossom trees in the Tidal Basin for the first time in two years. (During that last time I was working on a photostory involving my Makies doll for a contest.) At times I also played around with that Hatsune Miku photo app so you’ll see those photos as well.

The gates at the Smithsonian Metro Station were decorated with pink cherry blossom decals.

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It was the fourth and final week of the National Cherry Blossom Festival but the only event scheduled that week was an 11-mile bike ride through downtown DC that was scheduled on April 18 (just two days after my Tidal Basin visit). The cherry blossoms were past their peak bloom but there were still plenty of flowers to admire along with tiny green leaves that were budding next to the flowers. They still made pretty pictures, such as the next two photos, (one of which includes the Washington Memorial).

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Many of the petals had fallen to the ground, which resembled a light dusting of pink snow.

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While the cherry blossoms were past their peak, the flowers in the nearby Tulip Library were just starting to bloom. There were a wide variety of tulips and daffodils in a variety of shapes and colors, providing such a feast for the eyes!

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I shot Hatsune Miku sitting among the tulips.

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

Many of the cherry blossom trees provided nice photography in various places, such as one place where the Jefferson Memorial can be seen in the far horizon.

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I took a couple of photos of Hatsune Miku with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

The Stone Lantern can be seen in the next photo along with some nicely landscaped boulders complimenting it.

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 Here’s Hatsune Miku next to the Stone Lantern.

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

The newest of the Tidal Basin memorials, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, can be seen in the next photo.

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Here’s Hatsune Miku at the MLK Memorial.

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

The MLK Memorial is so big that one can see it from a distance. (Yes, the white speck along the Tidal Basin is the memorial.)

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The Washington Memorial is another one that can be seen from a great distance.

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The next photo below shows the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. On this last visit I noticed one thing about that statue of FDR.

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His one finger seems shiner than the rest of the statue. It seems like visitors have been playing a variation of “Pull My Finger” for some weird reason.

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Parts of Fala’s ears and nose also seem very shiny compared to the rest of the statue. It seems like people have been petting the statue as if he were a real living dog.

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I had Hatsune Miku pose next to FDR and Fala giving a peace sign. The big irony is that Hatsune Miku originated in Japan and, well, FDR had that notorious policy that were aimed at American citizens who happened to be of Japanese descent even though none of them had anything to do with Pearl Harbor.

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

Just beyond the FDR Memorial is the Stone Pagoda. Of course I took a couple of photos of Hatsune Miku next to that one as well.

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

As I walked away from the Stone Pagoda I crossed the pedestrian bridge that’s over the inlet (which connects the Tidal Basin to the Potomac River), which features this hidden charm. It’s a fountain (which hasn’t worked in years) which has a creature that has the head of a grown man and the body of a fish-like creature. Underneath is a clamshell-shaped sink that would catch excess water if the fountain was working. This fountain never gets mentioned in any of the official guide books but it’s worth searching for while you’re crossing that pedestrian bridge.

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I eventually made it to the grounds of the Jefferson Memorial where I saw people taking photos of a member of the Park Police on horseback.

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I took my last photo of Hatsune Miku on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.

Hatsune Miku Goes to Washington

Unlike previous trips, I didn’t bother going up the steps to visit the statue of Thomas Jefferson this time because I felt really tired. Between getting the taxes done and preparing for the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, I was more tired than usual and I was happy just skipping the walk up those steps.

As I walked past the Bureau of Engraving and Printing building on my way back to the Smithsonian Metro Station, I saw this charming cherry blossom banner that I couldn’t resist photographing.

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On my way back to the Metro station, I noticed a sign signifying that I was on a portion of the East Coast Greenway. This is the third such sign I’ve seen after seeing others in Baltimore and at Lake Artemesia in Berwyn Heights, Maryland.

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Last week I alluded to the fact that I walked around the Tidal Basin amid the budding and blooming cherry blossoms because I was working on a project. Now you can see the results of that project. As some of you may know, last year I checked out this UK-based website called Makies where you can create your own avatar for free. (And you can create as many avatars as you want.) If you want to have a real-life version of any of your avatars, you can press a button online, pay via PayPal or a credit card, and—voila—you get a doll (or action figure) version of your avatar. The doll/action figure is created using the new 3D printer technology that has gotten plenty of attention in the media in recent months. So I tried it last year and I now have a cute blue-haired elf doll that I named Victoria.

I recently took Victoria with me to Washington, DC where I took photos of her among the various famous tourist attractions (including the cherry blossom trees in the Tidal Basin). I edited the photos when I got home and created a series of short photostories for this contest whose deadline was today. (Ironically it’s the same day as Tax Day. I had quite a week where I simultaneously worked on my both my contest entries and my own taxes while seeing my divorce become final. One day I’ll look back on all this and wonder how I managed to do it all without suffering a nervous breakdown. LOL!)

I had to download this app on my iPad called SlickFlick, which wasn’t so bad since it’s a free app. I downloaded the photos on my MacBook computer, did the initial editing in Photoshop, transferred them over to iPhoto, synched them over to iPad, imported them into SlickFlick where I added the captions, put the photos in a certain order, then uploaded them online. SlickFlick is easy to use. The only downside is that SlickFlick is very buggy and it crashed a few times on my iPad. There were other times when something happened during the uploading process and the photostory wasn’t posted so I had to re-upload it. (There was one story that I finally got online after four tries.) I think SlickFlick has potential but the app definitely needs more work.

I originally thought about doing one long photostory titled “Victoria Goes to Washington” but I ended up breaking the photostory down into shorter ones because it not only made the work easier (since I only dealt with one bite-sized piece at a time) but I was also dealing with a buggy app and it was easier to do shorter photostories with it.

You can view them online right now either through the SlickFlick app or, if you don’t have that app, you can simply click on the links below. The photostories could be read in any order since it’s more of a travelogue than a linear story.

Victoria Outside the National Theatre (Where it’s Currently Holding a Production of Monty Python’s Spamalot)

Victoria Outside the FBI Building

Victoria at the White House

Victoria at the Washington Monument

Victoria Climbing Around the Cherry Blossom Trees in the Tidal Basin

Victoria Viewing the Monuments at the Tidal Basin

I won’t find out about the contest outcome for a while but I’ll keep you posted, especially if I win anything.

UPDATE (April 15, 2013): I just went to this post on the Makies site and I found out that I didn’t win. Compared to what happened in Boston today, my loss in a contest seems totally insignificant.

UPDATE (January 16, 2017): One day I decided to visit my old photostories on SlickFlick.com for old time’s sake only to discover that the site doesn’t exist anymore. (I guess that means that the SlickFlick app doesn’t work anymore but I haven’t tried it mainly because I haven’t used it at all since I entered that Makies-sponsored contest back in 2013.) The good news is that I found my old photostories on the Internet Archive so I updated the links to reflect that.

Lights, Sound, and Interactivity at Artomatic 2009-Part 2: This video focuses on the exhibits that a regular still camera can’t do justice to them because they feature either movement, sound, lights, or interactivity. The fourth and fifth floors of the Artomatic 2009 building are highlighted here, which includes the following artists and exhibits:

Bono Tom Studios, Inc. (which included giant puppet versions of Sarah Palin and the Obama family)
Heron GIbran
Tracey Salaway
Silence is Betrayal (which included an animated neon light version of Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Last Saturday there were two demonstrations that came through my hometown of Washington, DC just in time for the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous March on Washington that culminated in his classic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Several months ago that really loony right-wing pundit Glenn Beck announced that he was going to have a special rally to "Restore America’s Honor". He kept on saying stuff like God told him to have this rally in DC and he just happened to pick August 28 . He later said that he didn’t realize until later that it was the MLK anniversary and he thought it was a great idea to hold his own rally. <sarcasm> Yeah, right. I guess he didn’t have any access to the Wikipedia so he could research that date quickly </sarcasm>. I could provide more background on both Glenn Beck and this occasion but last Thursday’s The Daily Show did such a great job that there is no way I could match that so I highly recommend that you see the video.

In the meantime there was some kind of organizing going on via Twitter under the #p828 discussion of people who were pretty pissed that a man who once described himself as being an entertainer is attempting to lead a march and rally that would elevate him as Martin Luther King’s successor. There were talks about counter-demonstrations against Glenn Beck’s delusions of himself as the next Martin Luther King. I was pretty annoyed myself since I think he’s a lunatic kook. (To learn more about how crazy and paranoid he can be, I highly recommend that you check out Lewis Black’s rant on The Daily Show from a few months ago about how Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourettes.)

Normally I’m not much on counter-demonstrations. I’m a big believer in people having the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble together in order to petition the government to express grievances–even if I am personally opposed for the reason behind such a demonstration in the first place. Counter-demonstrations tend to draw a very small group of people (100 or less) whose message gets lost in a sea of the main demonstration, they arouse the ire of the main demonstrators and it breaks out into arguments that sometimes lead to arrests, and I just feel that they are a waste of time.

Well this isn’t just some usual demonstration. This is a giant rally that was being organized by a television personality whose sanity I question at times yet has managed to attract a following. Not long ago I finally did a Google search to find out why Keith Olbermann keeps on referring to the guy as "Lonesome Rhodes Beck" and I learned about a 1950’s movie called A Face in the Crowd. I put it in my Netflix queue. That movie is such a revelation on many levels (for example it’s one of the rare instances where Andy Griffith plays someone other than a comical easy-going good ol’ Southern guy and he did a convincing job of it in that film) and I felt like the movie somehow made a future prediciton about people like Glenn Beck.

If he had done his rally on any other weekend, I would’ve just ignored him because people like him do have the right to organize a peaceful rally and march even if I don’t personally agree with the message. But holding it on the anniversary of MLK’s "I Have a Dream" speech held a darker meaning for me. Glenn Beck is attempting to fashion himself as the next MLK complete with his own movement–never mind the fact that Beck opposes some of MLK’s stands. (For example, King was a big believer in social justice and Beck has used his show to urge people to quit any churches that are big on social justice because social justice is just a smokescreen for socialism–which is the one thing that, Beck said, the Nazis and Communists have in common.)

Even though Glenn Beck has expressed fear of Nazism, I feel that he is using some of Adolf Hitler’s same tactics to gain fame and power for himself. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, where he outlined his policies, while Beck has written many books where he has done the same. I’m becoming more and more alarmed at Glenn Beck’s antics to the point where I’m starting to feel that he has the potential to become a threat to democracy in the United States. I’ve never felt that way towards any other political pundit of any political stripe until Glenn Beck came along.

I eventually learned that the Rev. Al Sharpton was planning his own rally and demonstration in honor of MLK. At first I thought it was a counter-demonstration until I learned that this is something that Sharpton’s organization does every year around the King anniversary. With the Beck event, this year’s event has also taken on an air of a counter-protest.

I was sitting on the fence about actually participating in it. I sent a link about the Twitter discussion on the counter-protest to some of my Facebook friends, many of whom are also involved in my Unitarian Universalist congregation, and two of them expressed concerns about it turning into a violent slugfest. Those concerns faded away when I learned about the Sharpton march and provided a link about it. Other than that, I didn’t really talk to too many people about it. That’s because I still have less than fond memories about the time when, as a very young adult, I went with a few friends to the 20th anniversary of the King march in 1983 and it was high heat (I remembered that it was in the upper 90’s that day) and high humidity. I was so parched that when we took the Metro back to the Takoma station (where one of my friends’ car was parked), we headed to a nearby 7-11 where I ordered a Big Gulp Coke. I drank that Big Gulp in one sitting, which is something I normally can’t do. Until this year I stayed away from any more King commemoration marches because August in Washington, DC can get really hot outside.

Well this past week was relatively balmy by DC standards. It was hot but the humidity was low. I waited until the a few days before the march before I finally made a decision to check out DC. That was because I happened to catch The Ed Show on MSNBC and found out that Ed Schultz was speaking at the Sharpton march. As you may have known, I had a chance to check out Ed Schultz in person when I was volunteering at the Free Health Clinics event in DC a few weeks ago but I was so exhausted and drained from my shift that I ended up going home where I caught the broadcast on television. Well imagine my surprise when I learned that I had a second chance to check him out in person again. It wasn’t like I was praying to God asking for a second chance or anything like that. It just happened. So I decided to go for it.

Another motivation for me to go to this rally was that I was totally pissed at the type of people who currently follow Glenn Beck like he’s some kind of American Messiah or something. Someone posted this visitor’s guide to DC that urged people to avoid riding the Yellow and Green Lines on the Metro system because they are "dangerous". Look, I’m willing to admit that crime is a problem in DC but avoiding entire subway lines is NOT the way to avoid being a crime victim. Besides, I live just a few miles away from a couple of the stops on the so-called "dangerous" Green Line and it’s definitely NOT some criminal war zone.

My husband is still in Florida, as of this writing, and I didn’t get around to contacting many of my friends. I decided to just go in the hopes that I would run into someone I know and hang around with him/her/them.

My original plan was to go to the Sharpton rally and march until it ended at the Tidal Basin at the site where the Martin Luther King Memorial will be erected, do some filming with my portable video camera, then cut over to the Lincoln Memorial where the Glenn Beck rally was taking place, do some more filming, then get out of DC because I had purchased tickets to attend a special locavore dinner that my Unitarian Universalist congregation had planned for that evening. (My congregation is trying to get certified by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a "Green Sanctuary" and holding a locavore dinner featuring locally acquired food is one of the requirements.)

Things didn’t really go off as planned. I was late arriving to Dunbar High School because the Metro was crowded as all hell so it took forever to add money to my Smart Trip farecard plus the subway train was doing track maintenance work so it was moving slowly. So the rally started when I got ther by 11:30 a.m.. But it turned out I had nothing to worry about because the march wasn’t going to start until 1 p.m. So I was able to sit on the football field made out of plastic astroturf, eat the lunch I had brought with me, and listened to the speeches. I caught Ed Schultz’s short yet uplifting speech on video.

I had hoped to run into someone I knew but I didn’t know anyone at that event. People were nice and friendly to me but I felt like kicking myself for not contacting someone I know about coming to this event.

I was glad that I had the foresight to bring the water bottle/fan hybrid that I purchased during my recent trip to Walt Disney World because the high heat and high humidity came back with a total vengeance. (I later learned that the temperature reached around 88 degrees Farenheit.) It was so hot that the water inside that water bottle/fan hybrid had turned warm so I was left with warm water. (At least the fan part worked so I was able to get some cool breezes coming my way.) It was so hot that the frozen ice pack I brought with me melted really fast and failed to keep the three cans of Diet Pepsi I brought with me cold so I ended up drinking warm soda.

I listened to a few other speeches. DC Mayor Adrian Fenty got a mixed response since he’s been a running a pretty controversial reelction campaign this year. NAACP Ben Jealous got a bigger round of applause but one guy near me gave a big boo and started to yell out Shirley Sherrod’s name indicating that there are still hard feelings over how Ben Jealous reacted to the whole Sherrod incident. Then Rev. Al Sharpton came to the podium where he gave a 17-minute speech. I’ve filmed it and put it online in its entirety so that anyone can see it without any kind of media filtering or editing. The sole editing I did was to break the video up into two parts but I didn’t omit any sentences from that video.

So we began the march at 1 p.m. and it was such a bottleneck getting out of Dunbar High School that it was unreal. By the time we were on the street, there were at least two people who were loaded on to ambulances. I guess the heat had gotten to them. I began to shoot a lot of miscellaneous footage of the march, which I’ve cobbled together and uploaded online. It’s not a slick professional job but it should give you an idea of what the march was like.

Things were fine once the march got going even though it was totally hot. Even though there were a lot of African-Americans marching I also saw plenty of whites and an occasional Asian in that crowd. We marched for a while until we hit Chinatown. I started to feel extremely hot by that point. The march went past the Verizon Center and I remembered that there is a Metro stop there. The closer we got to the Metro stop, the more tempted I felt to just head home. I looked down on my watch and realized that it was 2:30 and I had a dinner to go to that started at 5:30. I gave in to temptation, went to that Metro stop, boarded the next subway, and headed home.

When I got home over an hour later and saw the route published in the Metro section of The Washington Post, I realized that I had only marched a 1/2 mile from Dunbar High School to the Verizon Center. I was sort of peeved at myself for being such a heat wimp and missing out on something that could potentially be a turning point in this nation’s history but I just couldn’t help myself. Besides I really didn’t want to miss that dinner.

The next day I read The Washington Post and came across this story that made it seem like the Beck and Sharpton events were racially segregated with whites going to the Beck event and the blacks going to the Sharpton event. Since I didn’t make it to the Beck event, I can’t say that it was all-white (although the published photos didn’t show any non-white faces in that crowd) but it was a misnomer so say that the Sharpton event was all-black. The videos I posted in this blog should show that.

What really got me was that the story said that the Sharpton event drew a much smaller crowd, which floored me because I remember the bottleneck getting out of Dunbar High School. I’ve seen small protests in DC over the years featuring crowds of less than 500 people but the Sharpton event could not be considered a small protest with low turnout.

In addition, I saw photos showing large number of people at the Lincoln Memorial. I felt despair that many of my fellow Americans seemed to be glomming on to Glenn Beck and there were enough of them to cover the Lincoln Memorial grounds and the reflecting pool. My husband is still in Florida as of this writing so I couldn’t talk to him about it. I began to think that maybe millions of people had turned out for Glenn Beck and he really does have a major movement going that could change the course of U.S. history, which made me more depressed.

I did some miscellaneous web surfing in an attempt to cheer myself up and I needed a cheap laugh so I went over to Keith Olbermann’s Twitter feed to see if he had done his usual hilarious bashing of the right-wing trolls who send crazy stuff to him, hurl all kinds of sick accusations that you can think of, and call him "Keithie". I found this link he had posted to a CBS News article about Glenn Beck’s rally. CBS had used an outside company called AirPhotosLive.com to come up with estimates and it came up with an estimate of between 78,000-96,000 people in attendance. Beck’s original rally had planned for 300,000 attendees.

The company used aerial shots taken during the rally’s high point at noon and based its estimates on that. I know that there are right-wingers who will claim that it’s not accurate at all and that millions of people had turned out but at least someone attempted some kind of scientific data. Then again, there are plenty of right-wingers who show such a disdain for science–look at how worked up they get over the issue of teaching evolution in science class in the public schools.

Here are a few more stories about both the Beck and Sharpton events:

Huffington Post

BBC News

Clusterfuck Nation

I felt better knowing that Beck’s movement haven’t reached all Americans yet or whipped up most Americans into following him the way that the Nazis whipped up most Germans into following Hitler. But I’m going to be watching the election polls for the mid-terms this November to see what the hell will happen.

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