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Designed Two New Shirts
|| 10/20/2010 || 5:30 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Screen grab of the two t-shirts I designed

Earlier this month as a birthday present to myself I decided to design two new shirts for myself. The shirt design on top contains the emblem from the 1622 edition of Kepler’s Mysterium cosmographicum which says Gloria Immortalis Labore Parta. The other shirt design is of a little girl from a random newspaper advertisement from 1905 who kind of look like the Morton Salt girl. I think a present for Christmas is in the works :-)



An Appeal To The Americanism of Visiting Governors & Mayors – The Washington Times, March 4, 1919
|| 10/2/2010 || 10:31 am || + Render A Comment || ||

As previously mentioned, this advertisement was published in every newspaper in the District of Columbia on Tuesday, March 4th, 1919.


 An Appeal To The Americanism of Visiting Governors & Mayors - The Washington Times, March 4, 1919

TEXT:

An Appeal To The Americanism
Of the Visiting
Governors & Mayors

400,000 residents of the District of Columbia pay Federal taxes, obey Federal laws, go to war to defend the Federal government! But these 400,000 have no representation in Congress, no Presidential vote.

Will you help us effect the Constitutional Amendment, which will give us this right, to which we, as American citizens, are entitled?

“Taxation Without Representation Is Tyranny!”

This appeal is made by men of the District of Columbia, men deeply interested in its Americanization.


This newspaper advertisement is from a scan of the original newspaper on Chronicling America. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Mentioned Today On The Huffington Post Concerning Facebook’s Censorship of Advertisements Related To Cannabis
|| 8/24/2010 || 11:49 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Animated GIF featuring 3 iterations of the Huffington Post’s front page

This morning after reading the article on the Huffington Post about how Facebook banned certain ads related to cannabis, I contacted my friend who knows the author about how Facebook also banned a bunch of ads I created earlier this year, and was subsequently included at the end of the article.

Text and screen grab below:

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Advertisement for the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West at Athletic Park in Washington, DC – National Republican, June 20th, 1885
|| 3/21/2010 || 2:08 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Advertisement for the Buffalo Bill's Wild West at Athletic Park in Washington, DC - National Republican, June 20th, 1885

Following up on the previous two advertisements for events at Athletic Park, is this advertisement for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. I first learned of William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody when I was a child as we drove through the town he founded, Cody, Wyoming, while en route to Yellowstone National Park. I bet this show would be have been a lot of fun to watch.



Advertisement for Adam Forepaugh’s Circus in Athletic Park, Washington, DC – The National Republican, April 11, 1885
|| 3/20/2010 || 11:19 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Advertisement for Adam Forepaugh's Circus in Athletic Park, Washington, DC - The National Republican, April 11, 1885

Following up on yesterday’s advertisement for the Barnum and London Circus, is this advertisement for Adam Forepaugh’s circus appeared in the same newspaper about one year later.

According to Wikipedia:

Forepaugh was different from most of his fellow circus operators at the time. Already independently wealthy when he entered the circus business, he was much less a showman and much more a businessman — a stark contrast to P. T. Barnum and the Ringling Brothers. He was intimately involved in all aspects of the circus business. He would regularly seat himself at the main entrance into the circus, making sure his face was seen by all. Through the 1870’s and into the 1880’s, Forepaugh and P. T. Barnum had the two largest circuses in the nation. Forepaugh actually had more animals than Barnum and generally paid higher salaries to the much-favored European talent. The two men constantly fought each other over rights to perform in the most-favored venues.

They signed truces in 1882, 1884, and 1887, dividing the country into exclusive territories to avoid disputes. But at least twice, they decided to pool their resources and perform together. In 1880, Forepaugh and Barnum combined their shows for a Philadelphia engagement. In 1887, Forepaugh obtained permission to perform in Madison Square Garden, a venue that Barnum considered to be exclusively his. A compromise was negotiated, and once again the two circuses presented a combined performance.

In 1889, Forepaugh sold his circus acts to James A. Bailey and James E. Cooper and he sold his railroad cars to the Ringling Brothers. The Ringlings used the equipment to transform their circus from a small animal-powered production to a huge rail-powered behemoth, which later purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Thus, in liquidating his circus assets, he indirectly contributed to the demise of his arch-rival.

Its probably safe to assume that they also competed to secure the use of Athletic Park in Washington, DC as well.



Advertisement for the Barnum and London Circus in Athletic Park, Washington, DC – The National Republican, May 3rd, 1884
|| 3/19/2010 || 10:55 am || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Over the years I’ve attempted to document bits and pieces of my neighborhood’s 100+ year history on this digital scrapbook. From a bird’s eye view of my neighborhood in 1885 to a map of my neighborhood in 1921, I’ve tried to learn as much about where I’ve been living as possible. Its hard not to when you realize that long after we are gone, the houses in this neighborhood will probably still remain.

The educational starting point was this article about my neighborhood history, which I pretty much copied in my first entry, and now that I have access to the thousands upon thousands of newspaper articles that were published around the time of the neighborhood’s development, I’m able to find some rather new and unique facets of my neighborhood’s history.

In time, I hope more old newspapers come on-line that show what happened on the land prior to 1884, but in the meantime, I’ll post more unique items that I find.

+ Read more about White Elephants
+ Read more about Jumbo the Elephant



A Holiday Present From Google: My First AdSense Check
|| 12/27/2009 || 5:10 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Last February I added Google AdSense to my website:


I’ve gone back and forth about having these visual intrusions on my website.

But this came in the mail last week:

Scan of My Holiday Present From Google: My First AdSense Check

And now my website’s hosting next year has been paid for.

I think I’ll keep them around for now.



HOME RULE FOR THE DISTRICT! GRAND MASS-MEETING OF CITIZENS AT ODD-FELLOWS’ HALL [The Washington Times, 1/20/1880]
|| 11/1/2009 || 1:21 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Scan of a Suffrage Meeting notice from the National Republican Newspaper from 1880

HOME RULE FOR THE DISTRICT!

GRAND MASS-MEETING OF CITIZENS AT ODD-FELLOWS’ HALL

“No taxation without representation.”
“All governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” – Declaration of Independence
“No man is good enough to govern another without his consent” – President Hayes

A GRAND MASS MEETING OF CITIZENS, IRRESPECTIVE OF PARTY
Will be held at
ODD-FELLOWS’ HALL
Seventh street, between D and E, on
Friday Evening, Jan.23, 1880, at 7:30 o’clock.

Addresses in favor of SUFFRAGE will be made by ROBERT G. INGERSOLL, THOMAS J. DURANT, J.F. KLINGLE and others.

All invited. Reserved seats for ladies. Members of Congress, you who have established this despotic appointive government over us, are respectfully invited to be present.

LOOK ON THIS PICTURE:
Debt of the District of Columbia in 1871, after 70 years under an elected government…….. $3,000,000
THEN ON THIS:
Debt of the District of Columbia in 1880, after 9 years under an appointive government……… $24,000,000

FIVE HUNDRED of our best citizens are houseless and homeless to-day in consequence of excessive taxation imposed upon them by this anti-American government.


This advertisement was obtained from the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America collection and was originally published on January 20th, 1880 in Washington, DC. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Randle Highlands VS Fort Dupont [Antique Overlay of an Anacostia Alternative Future]
|| 10/29/2009 || 4:07 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Screen grab from Google Earth showing the location of Randle Highlands

Image links to the KMZ file for Google Earth

The other day I was canvassing the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper collection and came across this advertisement that was published on May 27th, 1910 in the Washington Times. It shows development plans for Randle Highlands, a neighborhood in Southeast, Washington, DC. I was curious about the results of the newspaper ad. As in, how much has the map changed in the last 99 years? Surprisingly, not too much. Most of the land was developed to plan, except for one large chunk of the land that remains “undeveloped” to this day: Fort Dupont Park.

The National Park Service website says:

This particular fort had six sides, each 100 feet long, protected by a deep moat and trees felled side-by-side with branches pointing outward. It was named for Flag Officer Samuel F. du Pont, who commanded the naval victory at Port Royal, South Carolina, in November 1861.

Although its garrison and guns never saw battle, Fort Dupont served as a lifeline of freedom. Runaway slaves found safety here before moving on to join the growing community of “contrabands” in Washington. The barracks and guns are gone, but the fort’s earthworks can still be traced near the picnic area on Alabama Avenue.

In the 1930s, the National Capital Planning Commission acquired the old fort and surrounding land for recreation. An 18-hole golf course was constructed. As the city grew, golf gave way in 1970 to the sports complex along Ely Place that now includes tennis and basketball courts, athletic fields, and a softball diamond. An indoor ice rink offers skating all winter. Where once the Civil War fort looked out over farmlands, city dwellers now grow vegetables in community garden plots.

This advertisement was printed 20 years before the National Capital Planning Commission changed the future of this neighborhood. I wonder what it would be like today if it wasn’t a park? Umm, I mean golf course. I was able to line up the old map with the contemporary imagery and by adjusting the transparency in Google Earth you can see how much has been developed. Click here to download the KMZ file for Google Earth


Screen grab from Google Earth showing the location of present day Fort Dupont Park

Image links to Google Maps


Transcription below:

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A Digital Dérive Through On-Line Advertising
|| 9/18/2009 || 2:57 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

A screen grab from my entry titled: You Are Probably Not Here, which is a different type of Dérive

A dérive is defined as an attempt at analyze the totality of everyday life, through the passive movement through space. In the late 1950’s French writer Guy Debord first theorized this concept in his studies of architecture. Combined with another Debord term, psychogeography, which is “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals,” the dérive is a means for people to haphazardly explore and learn about their environment through random or pseudo-random methods. Examples of a dérives include exploring the urban environment with a predefined set of arbitrary rules, such as strolling down the street (a Flâneur) and taking only right turns when you see someone a walking a dog or making left hand turns only when you pass by houses that are painted white.

As Guy DeBord wrote in “Theory of the Dérive” in 1958, “In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.” In essence, the dérive is both an objective and subjective means to view the urban environment.

Fast forward to the present day. The urban environments still exist, and in most cases, these cities have grown substantially over the last 50 years, but there is also a new type of environment that exists today that did not fully exist in DeBord’s time: the digital environment.

Today computer users conduct their own strolls on the internet. They are loosely guided by search strings and mouse clicks. They surf through webpage after webpage seeking knowledge, entertainment, and connections through a medium that is not defined or limited to the physical space in which they live. Buildings become blogs and flâneurs become link lemmings, following the hyperlinks of their blind curiosity.

While some still myopically place the dérive as a strictly urban activity, the digital environment, both manifesting itself on the internet and in computer games, are akin to megalopolises, cities, towns, and villages in their own right. Examples would be the vast digital expanse of games like The Sims, World of Warcraft, or Second Life, which feature digital environments where thousands upon thousands of people from around the world interact within the constructs of the respective games, while never needing to physically meet each other in person. Another example would be those that comment on blog posts or message boards, where the website itself becomes the city, and the articles, blog postings and forum topics become the streets, and the users are the flâneurs, strolling and trolling through ever-increasing content.

However, combined together these participants do not always take part in a de-facto dérive, but rather are merely present within this complex digital environment and may take it upon themselves to conduct a dérive. And that is what I am writing about today.

For quite a few years I eschewed the presence of advertisements on websites. I found them to be visual clutter, like an architectural eye sore of a blighted city. Over time, however, I grew bored of my blog’s layout and I felt that my little digital city (errr, scrapbook) needed some urban planning and ideally, more citizens (visitors, errr, I guess they’d technically be immigrants?). So on a whim, I decided to start serving Google AdSense ads on my website. At first I reverted back to my original reaction, where I thought that my new urban design was tacky and had failed, but then something changed.

As a god of this alternative reality, I was only seeing that which I had coded and created myself. Like looking at a vast sea of sameness, day in & day out, I began to warm up towards these visual invasions that were created in someone else’s digital environment. I began to see that they offered a welcomed distraction. In fact, it is this very type of distraction from the spectacle of reality that first Debord spoke of many years ago. Why does this spectacle exist? What website lies beyond that ad? What is at this animated exit on my digital highway? And why was it so important that someone is actually paying money for the ad to be shown?

Thus began my own digital dérive into on-line advertising.

Since I cannot legally click on my own ads (Google considers that fraud), I went to my friend’s blog, which has a small text ad at the top. Out of genuine curiosity, I clicked on that ad. The resulting page also had an advertisement on it. I clicked on that ad, whereupon I discovered that the resulting page also had ads on it. So click on that ad as well…

The premise of this digital dérive through on-line advertising is quite simple. Explore the internet only through pages with advertisements. Where do you end up? How many ads do you click on before you hit the dead end of the digital alley? Before you jackknife on the information superhighway? What observations can be made through this type of stroll through the internet? Do you end up in digital city or a dark alley of get-rich-quick schemes?

To many people, time is money. But to many others, so are clicks on ads. Depending on where this digital dérive begins and ends someone is making money and someone is also theoretically losing money (unless of course, the act of taking part in the dérive benefits the person paying for the ad, as in, you discover something meaningful on the website of the ad you clicked on). Like the construction costs of the buildings (not to mention their monthly rent) in Paris that Debord strolled through, few things are really free. It takes time to click on ads, just like it takes time to walk down the street looking for houses that are painted white. But unlike construction costs or rent in a building, a digital dérive can be conducted in the comfort of one’s own home and with minimal resources- without the need for shoes or even clothes- only a computer connected to the internet, which over the last decade has become extremely inexpensive. Or completely free if you go to the library.

In essence, a digital dérive can be done in private, while the dérive of Debord’s day was done in public. But if no one sees you walking down the street and you don’t write about it or share the experience with others, did the dérive actually take place? Paradoxically, while a digital dérive can be experienced in private, where no one sees you in person, your journey does leave a trace– in the form of the websites logs. Your IP address will show up on each of your stops in your digital dérive and while it does not leave an exact size 10 shoe footprint, it contains its own geographic markers of where your IP address resolves to. But its a footprint that is scattered across the internet instead of sequentially left in the dust & mud of city streets. It’s a solitary footprint that webmasters cannot immediately tell that a dérive had even taken place. Similarly, people walking down the street participating in a dérive do not nessesarilly have signs saying “we are conducting a dérive,” but they can be see by others in the urban environment.

On-line advertisers want you to see them. They want you to purchase their product & services or be influenced by their very existence. But the digital dérive outlined in this entry is not for them to exploit. It’s for you. Its a means of self-discovery through external stimulation. A method to understand the vastness of the digital environment through a single conduit: advertisements. It doesn’t have to be solitary- two people can sit in front of a computer and choose which ads they think will beget more ads. Moreover, this dérive doesn’t have to be as I directed above, instead you can take turns clicking on ads and clicking on regular links simply to see where the path leads you. The rules are not hard and fast, but rather they are up to the flâneur. Its merely a form of digital exploration that might yield it’s own rewards for you, while paradoxically adding a couple cents to someone’s coffers and removing a couple cents from someone else’s coffers. In essence its a postmodern example of psychogeographical exploration, but without predefined borders; where the environment is wholly located on your computer screen, at a specific location on the surface of the earth, and you are the flâneur strolling from one disparate location to another, without a passport or a map, just strolling, strolling, strolling.


The image at the beginning of this entry is from my entry titled “ Postmodern Cartography: You Are Probably Not Here.”





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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