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Photographs of the Taxpayers March on Washington [PART TWO]
|| 9/12/2009 || 10:44 pm || 3 Comments Rendered || ||

Photograph of a woman holding a sign that says: No thanks, I already have a Messiah
Photograph of a woman holding a sign that says: “No thanks, I already have a Messiah” and shows a modified Obama logo with a crescent moon to imply Barack Obama is a muslim.

In this portion of photographs from today’s Taxpayers March on Washington I am focusing on some of the random signs I found.

Photograph of a sign showing George Washinton saying WTF? with the caption: George addresses today's Congress
Photograph of a sign showing George Washinton saying WTF? with the caption: George addresses today’s Congress

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Photographs of the Taxpayers March on Washington [PART ONE]
|| || 8:57 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

A sign that says Bury Obamacare with Ted Kennedy covered in horse poop

This morning I got up early to attend the Taxpayers March on Washington. Being that I’ve attended nearly every major demonstration in Washington, DC over the last ten years, I was really curious about how this demonstration would go off. How many people would there be? What would be the demographics of those present? Would people bring guns? Are these people as crazy and brainwashed as they’ve come to appear on television? Instead of relying on YouTube videos and hearsay, I wanted to see for myself who consider themselves modern day patriots.

Before I left my house I turned on the TV to see if there was any coverage of the demonstration on the major cable television news channels. Sure enough, CNN was showing that an estimated 80,000 were present. I also opened up the Washington Post and was rather startled that they had an article on the front page about the march. Where was the same kind of coverage before the Iraq war started when there were hundreds of thousands of Americans marching? After reading the article, and questioning Washington Post’s motives, I put on my FREE DC hat, charged up my camera, and rode my bike down to Pennsylvania ave to take it all in.


Below is my first batch of photographs from the day.

Photo of a woman wearing a t-shirt that says: I want my gun
Photo of a woman wearing a t-shirt that says: I Want My Gun.
My question is, why do you need a gun at a peaceful demonstration?

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Photographs of Friday’s Opening Rally of the Taxpayers March on DC at CityCenterDC
|| 9/11/2009 || 11:15 am || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

A woman with fake over-sized ears with Obama's logo and the text: Pelosi Bullshit Reflector

Earlier this evening I noticed one of my friends had posted photos of the Tea Party Rally taking place at City Center DC on Facebook. I was planning on going that part of the city to attend a gallery opening, so I decided to stop by the event and take some photographs of people in the crowd.

Generally speaking, I’ve always felt this Taxpayer March on Washington reeks of astroturf— a term used for fake grassroots. With this weekend’s Taxpayer March on Washington being heavily promoted on Fox News and other conservative media outlets, it cannot be considered grassroots by any means. The concept of a grassroots movement is that it is organic and not promoted from the top down, but organized from the bottom up.

Upon arriving at City Center I was immediately aware that the “patriots” were actually standing on astroturf. I let out a hearty laugh at the irony many of those present were not aware of. Below are some of the photographs I took earlier this evening. In a couple days I hope to have the videos I recorded uploaded to YouTube.


Manipulated photo showing some of the Tea Party Patriors
Manipulated photo showing some of the demonstrators

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Signs of the Time: The Healthcare Hipster [OBAMA BRING BACK ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT]
|| 8/13/2009 || 12:04 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Photograph of a Hipster at a Healthcare Town Hall Meeting with a sign that says Obama Bring Back ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT from a somewhat anonymous Flickr user

Photograph from a first-time Flickr user named “granitepics”

The other day I was a asked by a friend who writes for a local DC blog called ReadySetDC to define the word “hipster.” There was recently light-hearted article in the Washington Post that used the term “quasi-hipster,” and few other blogs debated the merits of the story.

Before submitting my overtly wordy & somewhat absurd quote for his story, I sent him the link to Douglass Haddow’s Adbuster’s article that I had transcribed last summer. Basically I was implying that I’ve already offered my two cents on the topic, but I’ll still participate because I’m curious as to how other people will define the word in the entry. Visually, however….

Earlier today a friend posted this link on Facebook and after scrolling down to bottom, past the crazy signs, and the dude wearing a gun, I found the photo above and chuckled.

Oh how timely, there was a hipster…. Sporting tacky dark red sunglasses, a batman t-shirt, flip-flops, and an absurd sign: OBAMA BRING BACK ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

I immediately sent the photo to my high school friend Scott Thomas Towler because he used to work on the television show Arrested Development. I probably wouldn’t have even written this post had it not been for his work on the show—-

There has been such vitriol displayed at these dubiously titled “town hall” meetings by useful idiots, so seeing a hipster engaging in some type of contemporary culture jamming gave me some hope. The photograph shows that there is a societal buffer between for and against; evidence that people are not all left or right or wrong.

But then again, healthcare is a human right— something akin an inalienable right. Other countries know this very very well but there is far too much money to be made off of pain & suffering to transform health insurance corporations into non-profit entities. As such, it will continue to be a contentious issue that will be played out in the media for weeks to come.

Maybe we can begin to use a new term, like useful morons or useful morans, to describe the people being severely duped? Useful idiots needs to be modernized to describe the ignorance present in the American political landscape. Lucky for us, many of these useful morans will probably get distracted by a new television show come September. But unlike the show mentioned in sign the hipster is holding, the future health & well-being of Americans cannot be canceled.

Photograph of a Hipster at a Healthcare Town Hall Meeting with a sign that says Obama Bring Back ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT from Flickr user ccc photography

Photograph from Flickr user ccc photography



Charlie Chaplin’s speech in the The Great Dictator (1940)
|| 8/10/2009 || 4:15 pm || 8 Comments Rendered || ||

The Great Dictator is a comedy film directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. First released in October 1940, it was Chaplin’s first true talking picture, and more importantly was the only major film of its period to bitterly satirize Nazism and Adolf Hitler. In the film Chaplin plays two characters who look strikingly similar- a jewish barber and a dictator who looks like Adolf Hitler. Near the end of the film, after a series of far-flung mishaps, the dictator gets replaced by his look-alike, the barber, and is taken to the capital where he is asked to give a speech. The text below (via) is the transcription of the video above. I am posting it because I feel that it’s as relevant today as it was 69 years ago.


Hope… I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.

We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish…

Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written ” the kingdom of God is within man ” – not one man, nor a group of men – but in all men – in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers – in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”


For a cartographic bonus, here is another clip from the film where Charlie Chaplin, playing the role of Adenoid Hynkel (Adolf Hitler), dances with a globe balloon. If you look closely, you can see how the world was mapped in 1939 when the movie was filmed.



My own Coat of Arms, the Origin of the Stars & Stripes, and Hartburn, DC
|| 6/2/2009 || 1:57 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

Original image created in Chicago, 1894.
From the Library of Congress’ An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera.

Some time in the future I’d like to read more deeply into heraldry and come up with my own Coat of Arms. Today there is so much talk about name branding that I think it would be an interesting juxtaposition where my Coat of Arms could visually explain some subtle details about me. My motto would either be Socio Ditata Labore or Gloria Immortalis Labore Parta, but how would I go about designing the shield? That is where I am currently stuck at, but I imagine that if I were to dig deeper into the arcane traditions of heraldry, I would come up with something fitting.

About two months ago I was rummaging through the Library of Congress’ An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera and came across the image above. I knew that the DC flag was based off of George Washington’s family crest, but I didn’t know that it had been changed over the centuries prior to his family’s arrival in America. Moreover, I didn’t know that the city I currently live in, Washington, DC, might have been called something completely different…

From a New York Times’ Letter to the Editor published on April 8th, 1984:

Eberhartpence, Eberhart, Hartpence, Hart – what’s in a name? Indeed, had it not been for a change of name back in the 12th century, our nation’s capital might be Hartburn, D.C.

You see, when George Washington’s British ancestor William de Hartburn moved from Hartburn to Wessington in 1130, he changed his name to William de Wessington, which later became de Washington. The ”de” was dropped when the family arrived on these colonial shores around 1659.

Had William retained his original name, the father of our country would have been one ”George Hartburn.”

Imagine that– a gastrointestinal themed capital city. The people’s pyrosis!

I bet the George Hartburn University would have an even better medical school too! It makes me wonder if there would even be a Hart Senate office building, lest someone get the wild notion of burning it down. Or what about the lexical ramifications of when the British torched Washington in the War of 1812? Would this alternate history be called The Burning of Hartburn? I can only laugh and, of course, take some antacids.


A very long time ago, a couple weeks after the reelection of George W. Bush in November of 2004, I wrote that my most recent map looked similar to the gas mask I had purchased days prior:

Yet living in DC with 4 more years of Bush, I am expecting some acid reflux in the belly of the beast…

While there was only one case of acid reflux to hit Washington, DC during the subsequent 4 years, and a mild case at that, I can laugh again at this alternative history double entendre. Acid reflux in the belly of the beast? Only if George Washington’s ancestor didn’t change his name.



What! A Bicycle Rifle? Yes?
|| 3/3/2009 || 7:14 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Click to view a larger version of the advertisement

So with Congress possibly changing DC gun laws to give DC colonists a token vote in the House of Representatives, I found this advertisement for a bicycle rifle to be somewhat humorous. With this rifle, I can lock & load & cycle and I make sure no one knocks me off my bicycle! I could discharge the rifle at a car’s wheels in case I feel that the car is getting too close to me. Imagine how I’ll be able to proactively protect my life and save myself from getting into accidents with larger vehicles with this handy rifle. I’ll have the most formidable bicycle ever!! The constitution might say we have a right to bear arms, but it doesn’t say anything about the right to have bicycles with arms. I predict the bicycle rifle will become the new Cycle Chic accessory item of Washington, DC cyclists. Just remember, you read it here first.


When I wrote about my neighborhood last year, I mentioned that the League of American Wheelmen competed on May 20th, 1884 on the land that would eventually become my current residence over a hundred years later. The advertisement above is from the program of the competition on the Library of Congress website.


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The Geospatial Art FAIL Landing Page
|| 12/14/2008 || 2:20 pm || Comments Off on The Geospatial Art FAIL Landing Page || ||

In continuance of my previous entry related to finding and exploiting a flaw in search engine aggregation algorithms, I decided to modify the landing page slightly. So instead of displaying a random foreground graphic, like my splash page, it only displays the text FAIL. Its an attempt to poke fun at the humorous FAIL Blog by extending the meme to failed search results. The title of the page says “Nikolas Schiller thinks you should try searching again,” and when you hover your mouse over the FAIL text the title text says “You clicked on a bogus search result.”

To get the extent of how many visits this internet bait has been generated, look at a portion of this weekend’s search results:

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Found in the Grand Juxtaposition: I am not a terrorist in Tucson
|| 11/20/2008 || 5:09 pm || Comments Off on Found in the Grand Juxtaposition: I am not a terrorist in Tucson || ||

This screen grab from the Grand Juxtaposition and combines the arabic text “I am not a terrorist” with Tucson Quilt.

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You’re A Nation!
|| 10/23/2008 || 12:05 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

I was at a house party over the weekend and went to the bathroom to relieve myself. As I was unzipping my fly, I looked up and saw the map in magazine on top of the toilet and an old joke came into my mind: When you go into the bathroom you are an American. When you leave the bathroom, you are an American. What are you in the bathroom? Now the answer to the joke/riddle is funny (if you are in the 5th grade) and simple: European aka You’re a pee’in’ (get it?!)

I’ve been trying to take photographs of found maps with my camera and this one was too funny to pass up. By combining that lame humor with the fact that map in the magazine above shows most of the western hemisphere, I decided to switch out the word “‘peein” and add the word “nation,” hence, “Urination or You’re A Nation!” ….Rimshot…. Talk about taking the piss





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