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American Flag

When I read about the origins of Labor Day I started to feel that it’s such a shame that the holiday had devolved into just an excuse to go shopping and do some last-minute outdoor summer activity before fall kicks in. We really should think about the men and women who literally risked their lives and livelihoods so the workers can enjoy such benefits as being able to take weekends off. Especially in this day and age when there seems to be a trend towards going back to the way things used to be during the Industrial Revolution where workers were essentially expendable and they frequently weren’t even looked upon as human beings.

It was this attitude that resulted in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911. I was at the original site of that fire in New York City back in 2011, just a few days after the observance of the 100th anniversary of that tragedy. The original building still stands but it’s now known as the Brown Building and it’s part of the New York University campus.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Centennial Anniversary

You can look at other pictures I took in New York City on the same day right here.

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Beauty blogger and her new husband ruined their wedding photographer’s reputation over a $125 fee, so a jury told them to pay her $1 million.

Sorry, Google memo man: women were in tech long before you.

How a Maryland town is turning its New Deal past into a new economy present.

An Indian woman was born into the Dalit caste, which made her “untouchable” by society. Despite the odds, she managed to immigrate to America where she became the first Indian woman to be employed as a conductor on the New York Subway.

Adobe to (finally) pull the plug on Flash, for real this time.

She encouraged a girl she babysat to continue with her interest in art. Eleven years later she got this letter.

The Italian highlanders who may have Scottish roots.

World’s oldest smiley face found on a jug from 1700 B.C.E.

Meet Anatomic Anna and Andy, dolls with removable organs.

Extinguished, a stunning animated short, will positively melt your heart.

Interactive art center Meow Wolf is forging a new business model for artists.

11 women who did groundbreaking things that men got the credit for.

The British Museum creates 3D models of the Rosetta Stone and 200+ other historic artifacts for free download or view in virtual reality. 

How the plastic pink flamingo became an icon.

A free tutorial on how to make a cardboard geodesic dome den.

An entire Manhattan village owned by African Americans was destroyed to build Central Park.

Why the myth of meritocracy hurts children of color.

Comic Parchment, the ultimate font.

Play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video game, which was designed by author Douglas Adams in 1984, for free online.

Microsoft Paint avoids brush with death.

Tutorials—some free—on how to make doll clothes for any size or shape of your doll.

Why the death of malls is about more than shopping.

How to get your Instagram marketing off the ground.

After a century of dispute, the German alphabet just got a new character.

In her first act as a Disney Legend, Whoopi Goldberg tells Disney to stop hiding its history.

Artist Leticia Santos finds geometric inspiration in D.C.’s row houses.

Black Southern Baptist minister renounces church over its Trump support in a scathing open letter.

An open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “small church” pastor.

Download 200+ Belle Époque art posters from 1880-1918 for free.

A new low: “Photo community” asks for (and gets) free commercial license to photos.

Growing paper clothes in rural Japan.

The extraordinary reason exceptional people avoid mediocre friends. (They rewire your brain.)

Colorizing an early 1900s photo of New York brings it to life.

12 tips to being a better photo blogger.

A history of why the U.S. is the only rich country without universal health care.

The best worst reactions to the news that the next Doctor Who will be a woman.

Honda debuts a one-of-a-kind “Minnie Van.”

This untouched 70s home is the grooviest thing you’ll see all year.

An attempt at a world record for the most Frida Kahlo lookalikes in one place.

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?

Ramadan

The Gig Economy won’t last because it’s being sued to death.

Fourteen artists proving that Black Americana is real.

How a British artist visualizes the microbiome through handmade embroidery.

Adorable robot friend Kuri can now find its way home to charge.

Hell on wheels: New York City’s subway system as seen in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Patches available at a jean jacket decorating party hosted by Harper’s Bazaar included ones that were made without permission from the original artists.

What an apple-picking robot means for the future of farm workers.

Meet Valkyrie, NASA’s space robot.

Independent retailers are struggling to survive in Washington, DC.

A look at a 2,000 year old computer called the Antikythera Mechanism.

Five obscure anime you should definitely check out.

San Francisco tries to ban delivery robots before they become a public safety hazard.

49 photography blogs worth following.

Man who struggled with Photoshop decided to spend 10 years mastering Microsoft Paint to illustrate his book.

FilmNation ventures into animation with sci-fi reimagining of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.

This open source AI voice assistant is challenging Siri and Alexa for market superiority.

Why open source AI voice assistants pose little threat to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

10 photography tricks you can do at home without having to use expensive camera equipment.

Plush sports-doll maker Bleacher Creatures files for bankruptcy.

The Internet isn’t killing shopping malls—other malls are.

NBCUniversal is buying the DIY craft tutorial site Craftsy.

Phony WordPress domain steals cookies to fool web admins.

Infertile mice with 3D-printed ovaries successfully give birth.

The last couple of days I’ve been seeing news feeds on my Facebook speculating on whether Hillary Clinton will make a run for Mayor of New York City. This speculation has come down two months after she was defeated by Donald Trump. (Yes, I know she got more of the popular vote but Donald Trump clinched the Electoral College delegates and that is what matters, unfortunately. I would love to see the Electoral College be eliminated but that’s another story altogether.)

This reminds me of back when I still had cable TV and I used to frequently watch MSNBC. One of the talk shows had Democratic Party insider Bob Schrum as a guest and I remember when he said that there is no reason why Hillary Clinton won’t become the next President of the United States. This interview took place in 2013, one year after the 2012 elections and I rolled my eyes because the previous presidential elections had been barely over last year and MSNBC was already speculating about the 2016 elections.

I’m so damned tired of the mainstream media and the Democrat Party pushing Hillary Clinton down the public’s throats like this. Hillary Clinton was rejected as president not once, but twice (surely you remember her 2008 Democratic primary loss to Barack Obama) by the voters and now they are trying to pump her up as the next Mayor of New York City. As this link puts it:

The bigger problem is that the return of Clinton fan fiction, so soon, seems impossibly cruel. I’d bet that no one has been told as many times that she should be president, and has not become president, as Hillary Clinton. Few, if any, have tried for the job and learned, in the media, that they never should have tried, because — oops — they were terrible at running for it.

Continuing further…

But the most basic problem is how it erases recent history. The theory of Hillary Clinton, candidate, entranced Democrats and media for a generation. She could do no wrong, until she began running for president, and then she could do no right. If you are not a member of the media, this seems deeply strange and phony. If it looks like the media’s going to lionize Clinton in defeat only so it can piñata her as a candidate, it seems not just strange, not just phony, but like the behavior of people who are more interested in entertainment than in the politics of peoples’ lives.

What’s even more galling is that they are doing this despite the Wikileaks revelations detailing how both the Democratic Party and the mainstream media colluded to push Hillary Clinton at the expense of other Democratic candidates who ran last time, especially Bernie Sanders. I find it rich that Russia is being blamed for the Wikipedia hacks yet no one has ever said that those revelations were false or the evidence had been fabricated. I’m not saying that Vladimir Putin is a great leader or he would never feel tempted to fix the elections of another country. I am saying that it’s so convenient that, rather than look at the substance of those Wikileaks hacked emails and other documents, the mainstream media is instead echoing the Democrat Party in saying that it’s all Vladimir Putin’s fault. With a mindset like that, Richard Nixon would’ve served out the rest of his second term had the media of that era decided to just blame the USSR for the Watergate burglary instead of investigating any links to the Nixon Administration.

How would an establishment neoliberal Democrat like Hillary Clinton govern New York City? To get an idea, New Yorkers should just look at the record of former Obama Administration official/establishment neoliberal Democrat/Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. I have friends who live in Chicago who are absolutely livid over the way Rahm Emmanuel has run their city (into the ground) and these people are very liberal. All I know is that I’m glad I don’t live in New York City because I’d hate to have to face the possibility of living under a Mayor Clinton.

Bill and Hillary Clinton need to just retire from politics and spend their golden years spoiling their grandchildren and traveling to nice resorts around the world. Seriously, just go away!

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

Ever since I did some serious downsizing in the wake of my husband’s sudden walkout on me five years ago, I’ve been making do with limiting most of my Christmas decorations to a coffee table in my living room. I basically celebrate something I call a Tabletop Christmas. Here’s a picture of my setup that I took in 2012 but it’s still the same this year so I have no problem with reposting it.

Christmas tree in 2012

I’ve written previous blog posts about some of my decorations that I’ve put up, which you can read about at these links below:

Angel Christmas Tree Topper

Christmas angel treetopper

Hippie Merman Ornament

Ginger Cottages Incense Burner

Behnke's Nurseries, December 14, 2012

A Small One-Piece Peruvian Nativity Set

Nativity made in Peru

A Small One-Piece Wooden Nativity Set

My new nativity scene I purchased from Valley View Farms

Two Hedgehog Ornaments That I Originally Purchased When I Owned Spike, My Late Pet Hedgehog

My new hedgehog ornaments I purchased from Valley View Farms

Befana the Witch Glass Ornament

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Ornament Resembling a Stuffed Teddy Bear in a Traditional German Outfit

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A Snowman Bell

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A Robot Nutcracker

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A Fused Glass Gingerbread Man That I Made in a Workshop

Christmas-Ornament,-December-16,-2013

A Fused Glass Tree-Shaped Ornament That I Made in a Workshop

Fused Glass Christmas Ornament

A Vintage Elf That I’ve Owned Long Before the Elf on the Shelf Became This Annual Big Marketing Juggernaut

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Animatronic Mickey’s Clock Shop

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Tangled Reindeer Which I Customized Myself

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Tangled Reindeer

Steampunk Snowman Which I Customized Myself

Steampunk Snowman

Macy’s Christmas Ornament Featuring a Mickey Mouse Balloon and the World Trade Center

2000 Macy's Christmas Ornament

Lace Moose Ornament

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Owl Made From a Tiny Gourd

Owl Gourd Christmas Ornament

A Delftware Style Ornament

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There’s only one other place where I also make a token observation to Christmas besides my living room coffee table. I have a wooden Santa Mickey Mouse puppet that hangs outside throughout the holiday season. That’s my only outdoor decoration I have and it’s one that I previously wrote about back in 2014.

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And now, for the first time in this blog, here’s a selfie of me wearing a Santa Mickey hat and a red Christmas sweater posting next to my Santa Mickey puppet.

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For added measure, here’s another selfie.

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This morning I went to church (Christmas fell on a Sunday this year) then I went to a local Chinese restaurant where I ate lunch at its usual special-priced weekend buffet. Here is what I got in my fortune cookie: A message that said “You will pass a difficult test that will make you happier.”

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Hmmmm. I’ll see about that. It would be cool if that fortune came true because I can use some happy times right about now.

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This year is the fifth anniversary of this blog. For the first year I was unsure about how many photos I could actually upload because of the free WordPress.com blogging account has a space limit. So I kept photo uploads limited to just my arts and crafts along with any photographs that I actually exhibited in a show. Over time I learned such things as graphic optimization so I was able to upload more photos that way than I thought I could. So for the rest of the year I’m going to devote Throwback Thursday to photos from previous blog entries (along with links to the original posts) that I should’ve uploaded five years earlier but I didn’t.

In mid-June, 2010 my then-husband and I went to New York City to visit his father and step-mother. That trip was momentous because soon after I went there, I wrote this rant called I Don’t Love New York Anymore. I had an epiphany on that trip because I saw so many chain stores in Manhattan that it was unreal. I still have memories of an earlier time when there were more locally owned businesses than chain stores and these local businesses offered a more diverse array of items for sale.

Here are just a few of my photos from that weekend trip, which led me to write that rant.

I remembered I roamed the streets of New York City mostly by myself because my in-laws were busy with observing the Sabbath (my ex’s step-mother is an Orthodox Jew and his father converted to her faith shortly before they were married) while my then-husband was busy with watching the World Cup soccer matches.

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Day 1 (June 13, 2010) I walked along the city streets while I took these photos.

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I ran into the annual Puerto Rican parade where I saw people waving Puerto Rican flags while floats were driving along the streets.

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I shot a short video that featured just a small portion of that parade.

The parade was pretty crowded so I decided to head over to the nearest subway stop and take the next subway train to Greenwich Village. I found that the nearest stop was Rockefeller Center. I ended up at Radio City Music Hall, where workers were in the process of preparing for the Tony Awards that would be broadcast on CBS that very evening.

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Here’s a shot of Rockefeller Center from a upward angle.

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I made a brief stop at the MSNBC.com Cafe inside Rockefeller Center before I went into the subway station.

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I took a couple of shots of some interesting wall etchings on my way to the subway station.

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Once I reached Greenwich Village, I found this statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

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Here are a few more photos of the Village.

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On June 14, 2010, I began the second day of my solo wandering through New York City by making a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar, a place that’s best described as a candy store on steroids.

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Then I took some photos of what I saw on the streets of New York City.

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I visited FAO Schwartz when it was still located on Fifth Avenue. (Sadly that store closed its doors for good just a few months ago.) I took photos of this life-sized statue of Chewbacca made from Legos and this line of environmentally friendly stuffed animals that were sold exclusively at FAO Schwartz.

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I made a return visit to Rockefeller Center where I took some more external photos.

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At that time there were signs in one of the empty storefronts announcing the opening of a new Lego store located right in the heart of Rockefeller Center. (I would actually visit that store on a subsequent trip to New York City the following year.)

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The last few photos were taken at the MSNBC.com Cafe that’s located right inside the NBC Store in Rockefeller Center. That cafe had some pretty funky decor.

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I remember that the NBC Store sold bobblehead dolls of its biggest stars—Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann, and Jay Leno of NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Of those three bobblehead dolls that were on sale back in 2010, Jim Cramer is the only one whose show is still on the air at CNBC. Keith Olbermann’s show has long since been cancelled on MSNBC while Jay Leno has retired from his show and has since been replaced by Jimmy Fallon.

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Normally I would save links like this for my weekly Link-O-Rama page but I’m writing a separate rant just this once because I feel this asshole deserves special attention. Here are the details, as taken from the DIY Photography site.

If you were to take a screen shot of someone’s Instagram account and try selling it, two things would happen. The first is that you’d be told you’re violating the copyright of the photographer whose photo you’re selling, and secondly you’d be laughed at. Extensively.

It turns out, though, that if you’re famous enough you can take such a screen shot and not only bypass copyright but also make a fortune doing so.

The secret: slap some text on it.

Richard Prince has been using this method and some of his “artwork” is said to have been sold for $100,000.

This form of lazy “art” becomes even more infuriating when you realize that in addition to selling (if you’d say stealing, I’m not sure I’d disagree) photos that do not belong to him and without the knowledge or consent of the owners, Prince also removed the accompanying captions.

You can find the rest of the story here, along with one of the victims of this guy’s antics. Of course she’s not seeing a single dime in profit from her Instagram post being used like this without her prior knowledge or consent, even though that canvas based on her Instagram post has already been sold to an art collector for thousands of dollars.

I also found Richard Prince’s official website, which has no contact information posted anywhere on it. (He probably doesn’t want to get any hostile e-mails from the people whose Instagram photos he ripped off.) According to articles like the one in the Gothamist, this exhibition of so-called “original art” is currently on display at the Frieze Art Fair in New York City. And here is the Frieze Art Fair’s Contact page in case you want to let them know how you feel about them exhibiting Richard Prince’s work.

UPDATE (May 23, 2015): Richard Prince is trending on Facebook as of this writing. One artist named Lynn Cartia has announced that she has appropriated one of Prince’s own paintings, did some digital alterations of it, and she plans to put it on sale both online and in her gallery as well. There has been no response from Richard Prince yet on the appropriation of his art for someone else’s financial gain (which is what he’s doing to a few Instagram users).

UPDATE (May 30, 2015): Among Richard Prince’s victims is Missy Suicide, whose Instagram photo was appropriated with new captions added then printed out and put on sale for $90,000. Missy Suicide has announced that she’s selling the same print as Prince (which was based on her photo), in the same size (67 x 55 inches), with the same materials (inkjet on canvas). The difference is that she’s charging only $90 instead of Prince’s $90,000 asking price. She is also donating the proceeds to the Electronic Freedom Foundation. You can purchase the $90 print right here.

When The Guardian‘s app came through with this push notification on my smartphone earlier this evening, I had to restrain myself from doing my happy dance in public when I was eating dinner at the Market Cafe that’s located inside Wegmans just before I went to my weekly meeting of my support group for people who are separated or divorced.

All six Baltimore police officers in Freddie Gray case indicted by grand jury

At last a grand jury in Baltimore was able to do what similar grand juries in Ferguson and New York City failed to do: indict any police officers for police brutality against unarmed African American men. After spending weeks being ashamed that I was ever associated with the city of my birth, I can now say that I’m proud of being from Baltimore, even though I haven’t lived there since I was five (when my family moved to the nearby suburbs of Glen Burnie).

But I’m also cautious in my optimism because I remember what happened in Florida when a white police officer wannabe named George Zimmerman was indicted, his case went to trial, and he still managed to get away with murdering an unarmed African American teen named Trayvon Martin. (By the way, did you hear that George Zimmerman was recently involved in another shooting—this one stemming from a road rage incident? That man needs to be locked up before he kills again.) I’m hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself in Baltimore.

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