Cleveland cops caught having a snowball fight while on duty

Anyone that knows me or has any online interaction with me knows that I’m not fan of general police conduct. There are countless incidents where police have overstepped their bounds, killed family pets, beaten innocent people, killed suspects before they’ve had their day in court and have smashed cameras, confiscated cameras or arrested those filming these incidents. These are unforgivable acts and we need to publicly take control of our police and make them realize that they work for us.
With that being said, I want to introduce this video to those of you who have not seen it yet:
http://fox8.com/2013/12/12/officers-snowball-fight-caught-on-camera/
I’m sure that some of my readers will be outraged over this video. Officers throwing snow at each other while people could be getting robbed, stabbed, raped or shot? I mean, this is Cleveland, right? one of the more dangerous cities in America. Even if nothing is happening at that given moment, it’s unprofessional isn’t it? They shouldn’t be conducting themselves like this, should they?

I have to stop and ask – WHY THE FUCK NOT? Being a police officer in America is a hard job. They are constantly scrutinized by people like myself for their mistakes and misconduct and the truly righteous cops are unforgivably lumped into the same classification with all of the dirty cops. I don’t deny my part in this, nor do I apologise for it. When cops are out of line, they should be corrected by their peers and if that doesn’t happen, I call all of them guilty together.
In this instance, though – I simply won’t. As I already stated, being a cop in America is a hard job, but I’m sure being a cop in Cleveland can be quite a bit more taxing on the person in the uniform than being a cop in, let’s say, my current location – the Cleveland suburb of North Royalton.
So, they were out there blowing off a little steam. So what? Why is that so bad, really? Do none of us like to goof off for a few minutes here and there with co-workers? Do we not occasionally lose composure and act a little unprofessionally? Yes, we do. We all do and anyone that denies this is either lying or a rigid bastard that maybe needs to lighten up and have a snowball fight with their co-workers.
Point blank: leave these cops alone over this. They are constantly in hot water over so many other things and trust that I will be right here tomorrow calling them out on misconduct once again, but for once we get to see a video of them just being normal people. Frankly, I find it kind of refreshing. I have had personal dealings with several Cleveland police officers. Some weren’t quite so pleasant and a few were actual, fun conversations with the person – not the badge.
Honestly, I would LOVE IT if a cop would start a snowball fight with me. That kind of activity might make me think more of the person in the uniform than what the uniform has come to represent in today’s society. I say a little bit of child-like fun is a much better way to present themselves to the public than a constant image of rigid fear-mongering. I would have loved to see the days when people were on first-name terms with their local officers. There’s just not enough of that anymore and I think it fuels the fire.
So, leave them alone. Let them have their fun. Maybe one day they won’t arrest you over something that just got blown out of proportion when you were simply trying to blow off a little steam with your personal acquaintances and why? Because they won’t have to scrutinize your fun situation in the same way that we scrutinize theirs. And maybe one day we could actually get into a friendly snowball fight with a cop and not have to worry about being arrested for assault. What a beautiful world that could be. Snowballs

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Police brutality or bad parenting?

Just came across this video in my Facebook news feed and just wanted to share my thoughts on this. You can find the video and article I’m, referring to >>>here<<<
Now, I normally agree with the sentiment behind this kind of article, but on this one, not so much. All of the commentors claiming racism are simply mistaken. This cop was just trying to issue a speeding ticket and the mother was being irrational. With her kids in the car, she should’ve just taken the ticket and then argued it in court. That is how the system works. She was being argumentative and the 14yr old escalated the situation by getting out of the car. This wasn’t a case of out of control police, this was a case of an irrational person endangering her children. Maybe the cop who shot did so prematurely, without knowing the full scope of the situation, but it should have never even come to that and wouldn’t have if the woman had just taken care of the ticket by the proper mechanisms of our well-established court system.

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Forgotten Father

A few days ago, I picked up an old Sum 41 CD that I’d never heard from the library, ripped it and loaded it into the iPod. Since I was working late tonight, a few of those songs shuffled through and just as I expected, I really didn’t like alot of it, but there were a few decent ones that will stay in rotation the next time I delete stuff. There was one song in particular, though that grabbed my attention a bit more than the others. It was called Dear Father. It’s a song about an absentee father and it stopped me for a second. I kinda had a moment of “Oh yeah, I used to have one of those”, but not like the song explains. He wasn’t an absentee father, being that we lived with him, but I guess since he spent the majority of his time at the bar, he was a bit absentee. Anyway, that’s not really the point of this.

It was just sort of strange the way it hit me – as if it was some vague, surreal dream of something that almost applied to my life once upon a time. Even though the premise of the song didn’t really apply, just the fact that it reminded me of this long forgotten individual stopped my focus. It kind of made me happy the way this all played out in my head because it made me feel as if I’m in such a better place now and can be so happy with my life now, that the residue of this horrible man doesn’t even taint my daily thoughts anymore.

You see, I used to get so angry about so many things that I didn’t know about. I used to blame him for so many mistakes I would make because I never learned from him not to do them. A father is supposed to guide his children and teach them about life and how manage your way through it., but he didn’t. He abused us and got drunk and I held him accountable for it for many years.

But my life is so different and wonderful now that the darkness of him seems unreal. I wonder what he would think to know that I had a moment like this. A moment when his very own son stopped and realized how long I had forgotten that I even had a father. That he even exists. Who knows, maybe it would make him feel better to think that he is so distant from my mind that I barely remember what his face looked like when he would beat my mother and my sister. That I can’t even recall the lowest feelings I had when I would wonder why he wouldn’t leave them alone and just take it out on me instead. I wonder if he might come across this blog post and cry in solitude as he reads about how he will never meet my children or my wife and that my kids will never even hear his name enough to remember it.

Again, he might feel sanctified in a way, knowing that his atrocities have actually made me a better man. I have not and will not ever call my wife a bitch. I have not and will never beat her or my kids. I have learned how to be a man through trial and error and come out on top with good morals and anger control. So, if you are reading this, sleep well knowing that you actually did teach me things and you taught them well.

You taught me exactly what kind of man not to become. you taught me that focusing on negative memories is a waste of my time, so you have, in turn, taught me how to erase you from existence.

Maybe one day, I’ll happen past a grave stone and recognize a long forgotten name on it. If that happens, I will place my hands on the shoulders of my sons knowing that they are learning to be a man in a better way. I will know that I won’t be just a memory to them until I’m dead and that they will never forget me while I’m still alive.

 

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Frauds & Favorites: Multi-Strand Leather Charm Bracelets

FFbannerWelcome to the first edition of Frauds & Favorites, our attempt to help clean-up the Etsy marketplace.  Each week we’ll post a list of Etsy shops that we believe to be frauds – sellers who are misrepresenting their items as handmade – and encourage all our visitors to report these shops to Etsy.  At the same time, we’ll feature one shop who we believe is doing it right – an Etsy favorite.

Be sure to visit our Frauds & Favorites Etsy Team to join the effort and share your own frauds and favorites.

(For the full introduction, click here.)

This week we took a specific look at the popular leather charm bracelet.
(Please note:  We won’t link directly to the fraud shop sites to keep from feeding the googlebots, etc.  To find them, go to Etsy.com and search for the shop name.)

First, let’s look at someone who’s doing it right:

KesTDesigns_20130802KesTDesigns

Etsy Profile:  I am a graduate of Goldsmith’s craft and design college here in Israel and I have been designing and crafting jewelry and gifts for the last 13 years. I love to work with metal and leather, trying to bring my concept to the accessories that you see in my shop.

We agree that her background and combinations make for beautiful pieces that are trendy yet still unique.

Now, let’s see this week’s frauds:

jewleryofhome_201308021.  Shop Name:  Jewelryofhome
Shop Owner:  Mary Chen
Opened:  December 9, 2012
Sales to Date:  1,410
2Style_20130802 2.  Shop Name:  2Style
Shop Owner:  Brook Flyingbird
Opened:  March 25, 2013
Sales to Date:  421

fabuloustime_20130802

3.  Shop Name:  fabuloustime
Shop Owner: tracy
Opened:  April 18, 2012
Sales to Date:  10, 312

fashionhealthylife_20130802

4.  Shop Name:  fashionhealthylife
Shop Owner:  fashionhealthylife
Opened:  June 18, 2012
Sales to Date:  1,083

Gunrose_201308025.  Shop Name:  Gunrose
Shop Owner:  Taylor Spring
Opened:  March 25, 2012
Sales to Date: 2,109

Here’s a link to a simple aliexpress.com search that you can include in your report to help support the abuse claim.

http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=leather+charm+bracelet&catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20130802080931

Now…get reporting!  And thanks for your help!!

(Have suggestions or comments?  More shops to report?  Let us know in the comments section below!)

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Beginning of the end for Etsy?

I joined the Etsy community back in 2008.  Even at that time I felt like I was a little late to the party.  It’s hard for me to believe that my shop has been around for five years now and how much the marketplace has changed over the years

(take action to protect the Etsy community!  Scroll to the bottom and jump right to the point!)

Business ebbs and flows, mostly depending on how much attention I pay to it.  I exist in a niche and focus on making items that I would want to wear or have in my house myself.  My own geekgirl/fangirl tendencies have made me an eclectic seller with a unique supernatural defense line featuring vervain and wolfsbane jewelry.  So I go with it and seek out new options for monster and creature related pieces.  I make people happy by providing them subtle ways to express their inner geek – a way to be true to themselves throughout the day when they may be chained to a desk or cubicle or stuck behind a register.  (That’s why I wear a lot of the same pieces myself, after all.)

So why am I suddenly stopping to question the vitality of the Etsy marketplace?

On one hand, Etsy still appears to be going strong.  In April there were over 4 million items sold and almost 1 million new members signed up!  That’s an insane amount of volume and even though sales seem to be up and down from month to month the trend is steady.  From this perspective, Etsy isn’t going anywhere.

From a seller perspective, though, things feel different. 

Operating in a small niche like I do it’s sometimes difficult to break through the noise of such a huge marketplace.  Etsy’s roll-out of new features over the years, obviously built to capitalize on the social media obsession, has started to push the community more towards sharing (ala Pinterest) than buying.  Circles, now followers, and favorites have filled up my activity stream but severely reduced my close ratios.  Combine that with changes to the search functions over the years (a switch from most recently listed to most popular) and all this favorite and treasury activity makes it really difficult to show up in a search that ISN’T extremely targeted.  To combat this I’m trying to build up my base, come up with new items, and promote where/when I can.

It was through these efforts to find some new, cool things that I stumbled across the most disheartening aspect of the bubble that has become the Etsy marketplace.  The handmade marketplace that we knew and loved has had a HUGE influx of overseas wholesalers passing off cheap mass-produced items as “hand-crafted”.  What’s worse, is how easy they are to find and how frequently I’m seeing them pop up!

etsyscreenshot

Type in “harry potter bracelet” for example.  In the first page of search results there are 20+ Etsy shops all listing the same bracelet with only minor variation.  Do the same search on AliExpress.com and you’ll find…..the same bracelet with only minor variation.  I’ll guarantee you all of those sellers’ profiles have them listed from China or Hong Kong and each and everyone will mention their “handcrafts” in their shop description.

aliexpressscreenshot

When I discovered my first fraud I was beside myself.  They were selling huge, fashionable statement necklaces at an average cost of $20-$30.  The shop had over 2,000 followers, and I think 20,000+ sales.  At an average per item price of $35 they were bringing in enough revenue to replace one of my household incomes.  There were pieces designed to look like they were a collection of vintage brooches – but they had 10 for sale at a time!  Any handcraft jewelry designer would know that it would be next to impossible to create 10 of those same “unique” vintage pieces.  What’s worse?  They had been open for at least two years! 

I did what I was supposed to and I reported the shop.  I added links back to aliexpress with samples of the matching jewelry.  I actually took it a step further and contact Etsy directly to say, “HEY!  Are you monitoring this?!  Because if not, I’d love to help you do it!” and I got an obligatory reply saying thanks for supporting the community, just keep doing what you’re doing, blah, blah, blah.   They claim that they monitor their sellers but they must not spend much time on it.  This first shop had been open for years, had a ton of traffic and was showing up in the favorite feeds of people I follow regularly.

Since then I’ve been watching.  Each time I get to spend some time I’m Etsy browsing or looking through my activity stream I seem to come across at least 5 fraud shops.  It honestly takes less than 10 minutes.  And each time I find them I start reporting them.

The good news?  It worked.  The first shop I reported appears to have been removed (or at least suspended).  Yay, Etsy!

The bad news?  I can’t even begin to quantify how many are out there and how many more open each day.

What can I do?  I’m going to keep finding them, tracking them and reporting them.  On top of that, I’m reaching out to the rest of the Etsy community, sellers and users alike, to start doing the same.  I don’t want to watch Etsy turn into the next eBay.

FFbanner

Once a week I’ll be posting a list of “Etsy Frauds” here on the blog.  All I’m asking is for Etsy users and sellers to take a few minutes to report the shops and spread the word.  Since I don’t want to ONLY focus on the negative, I’m going to try to find new favorite sellers, too- shops that still feel true to what built Etsy.

On top of that I’ve created a team on Etsy for interested sellers to join to promote their favorites shops (including their own!) and help report abuse to Etsy.  To join the team, click here.  Then watch for the first frauds & favorites post later today!

Posted in Business, Community & Culture, Crafts & Style, Mama's a Mess, Odd Papa | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Treasured: While Going to the Dogs…

We were recently included in this GREAT, dark treasury on Etsy, created by Paula Mattson.   Paula is a unique mixed-media/watercolor artist from Chicago who must have a great eye to the darker side of life.

‘While Going to the Dogs Here in Dogtown’ by paulamattson

Inspiration is Harry Chapin’s song,” Dogtown” off the Heads and Tails album. My first Dark Beauty.” We had ten days together before he left my side…Farewell. my darling, I’m gonna leave you with my dog.”


large antique mourning photo…

$6

Fragment: Winter Walk III

$38

Shipwrecks on the Isle of Mu…

$15

5×7 Photograph – “Go Ah…

$8

Abstract Fine Art Photograph…

$25

Cemetery Photograph Black an…

$14.5

Spells and Bindings 2 – 8 X …

$30

Therapy

$8

Set of Three 8×10 Black & Wh…

$79

Tintype Photo Girl Mourning …

$59.99

Photography — Shipwrecked

$12

Landscape Photography: Sunbe…

$50

Ladies Mourning jacket and b…

$175

Piercing the Darkness

$35

12″ x 12″ original…

$21.95

Sponsored by send bulk email from excel.

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Yesterday I discovered a whole lot of hits coming from this referring link.  As it turns out, someone discovered a post of mine from back in November where I relayed my own sexting fail.  I wouldn’t have called it EPIC, but I have just joined the ranks of 13 other awkward, funny and somewhat uncomfortable sexting fails over at Yourtango.com.

Follow this link to read them all:  Reliving my sexting fail…

Continue reading here to view the original Blakow post from November.

text gone wrong

Another failed message….thankfully worse than mine.

 

B:  Oh, damn!  I forgot something at home this morning! I may have to come back home.

S:  Oh, no….what?

B:  Something I really need.

S:  Ok….is it important?  I can run it by on my way in to work.

B:  Nevermind. You’re no fun right now.

S:   oh damn.  what did I miss?

B:  I say I forgot something, that I really need it and you’re supposed to say “What?”, then I say [something naughty] or [something else naughty].

S:  shit.  I’m sorry.

–10 minutes later–

S:  Hey baby, you forgot something at home this morning…

Yes, we’ve been together almost four years which, in the grand scheme of things, is not really a long time.  Sometimes it feels like forever – sometimes it feels like yesterday.  A lot of times we’re like an old married couple (I guess because we kinda are).  But we still use our phones like a couple of horny teenagers – most of the time.  With the drone of the daily grind sometimes that’s all it takes to make the other smile or to make the rest of the day not feeling like it’s moving in slow motion.

(I won’t claim to be the perfect couple.  There’s no such thing as perfect 100% of the time.  I do believe we are about as close as you can get a lot of the time.  It takes effort to keep moving in the right direction.  These posts moving forward are just our little tidbits of how we try to keep it superawesome.)

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