The Petaluma Mystery Sculpture(s)

In Petaluma Photo Musings…I raised a question as to the identity and origins of the metal ornamentals atop certain street poles downtown.

For a time, I thought they might be a new kind of Wi-Fi or cell phone antenna.

Several and repeated inquiries produced no answers. No one seemed to know; therefore, I considered the usual names for unidentified objects…

  • Petaluma Thingy
  • Theatre District Thingamabob
  • Downtown Doo-hickey
  • Butter & Eggs Thingamajig

But such pedestrian names are not sufficient for this unique downtown decoration…

I was perplexed! How will I identify it? Frankly, I was about ready to abandon the project until…I received an e-mail that, as it turns out, offered a most likely explanation: “The ‘sculptures’ are cleverly disguised antennae put up by me to connect to the Mothership.”

Is it possible?  Could it be?

Well, when I went to examine them again…sure enuf! OMG!

Case closed! Mystery Solved!

READER NOTE– For a corollary or companion set of photo musings also see Ski Petaluma!


Petaluma Photo Musings…

A random set of recent photos that inspired a question and three observations…

What is this?

Please note the metal sculpture on top of the sign. I have spotted two–one on Kentucky Street and one in the Theatre District.  I have some close-ups in excellent lighting but would like to correctly identify the sculpture before publishing them.  If anyone knows the background behind these ornamentals, please post a comment or send an e-mail to 

Remember, when  pruning trees…

…take care where you park your car!

Lost & Found Department–A bush in the side yard.

  After three days it was retrieved…by someone.

A sign in Sonoma introduced me to a new word…


Pronunciation can be tricky…and potentially embarrasing. So here is a guide– arti·san·al.

Petaluma…You Too Can Be A Star!

Public events and celebrations don’t happen by magic.  A considerable amount of planning and fund raising is required in advance. And so it is with Petaluma’s Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show.

As the photos indicate, Petaluma’s July 4th event is more than just a fireworks show.  

According to Jan Mandrell, Recreation Supervisor, Parks & Recreation: “Our efforts are focused on developing a family friendly event and to raise enough money to develop a program with fun filled activities for everyone,but how much we receive in contributions will determine what activities we can include.”

The goal is $50,000. 

Jan advises, “If we are unable to raise enough funds by the deadline of February 28, we will not be able to provide this event for the first time in more than 20 years. We are excited to announce that Petaluma Kiwanis has once again committed to donating $5,000 to the upcoming 2011 Annual Fireworks Display. In addition, a group of Kiwanis volunteers has also offered to work to help raise funds needed to make this happen because they feel strongly about keeping the event going in our community. We are hopeful that our past donors will see the value of community and make a financial commitment to the upcoming July 4th Fireworks Celebration.”

The City has also set up a link on its web page (Click Here) to enable you to “Buy A Star” to help meet the goal. So please Buy A Star and Be a Star!

Give it a go…It’s painless…

This Valentine’s Day…Buy Local!

Red roseRed lipsRed lipsRed heartRed heartRed heartRed lipsRed lipsRed rose

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, it is, of course, time to go shopping for the perfect Valentine.  Today, we are encouraged to Buy Local.

Always willing to support a good cause, I reflected on the Buy Local concept yesterday as I prepared to venture out to find the perfect gift…locally.


I showered, using a low flow shower head (Made in China)

I brushed my teeth using an electric toothbrush (Made in China)

I shaved with an electric razor (Made in China)

Next, I put on…

  • Clean underwear (Made in Honduras)
  • Clean Shirt (Made in India)
  • Pants (Made in Vietnam)
  • Shoes (Made in China)
  • My wristwatch (Made in China)
  • My glasses (Made in China) and
  • My jacket (Made in China)

In the kitchen, I made breakfast using my…

  • Coffee Pot (Made in China)
  • Toaster (Made in China) and 
  • Took my prescription drugs (Made in Singapore and Israel) 

Before leaving the house…

I checked the e-mail on the computer (Made in China) and the weather on my widescreen TV (Made in Japan).

Then, I…

  • Turned on my cellphone (Made in China)
  • Picked up my cameras (Made in China and Malaysia)
  • Went to the garage and decided to use the car (Made in Japan) instead of the bicycle (Made in China) So how did I do?

It was a very good day. When I got home there was a message on my answering machine (Made in China)! I was pleased to learn that the dental crown (from the laboratory in China) came in sooner than expected.  Good news indeed!

And…I can proudly report that my Buy Local trip produced the perfect Valentine’s Day gift (Made in…..)Sad smileWilted rose

I celebrated by watching a DVD (Made in Mexico) on my DVD player (Made in China).…Get Out There & Buy Local Every Day!

Cormorant…Hanging by a Monofilament

Last Thursday, I was having coffee on the patio at the Apple Box.  While engaged in conversation, I happened to notice a small white area in one of the tall evergreens across the river by Dempsey’s and took a few quick photos for future reference. I did not think of it again until I downloaded the photos from the day. It appeared to be a large bird of some kind. For purposes of identification, I made a few local inquiries and got no response. 

I then sent the photo to a friend in Atlanta, GA who is an accomplished avian photographer and bird watcher of the first order. Drawing from her many photo trips throughout the world, she has always come up with an answer in the past when I submitted a photo for her “forensic” examination. As an aside, I usually send photos to her thinking I have captured some exotic species by accident and am gently reminded that I did no such thing.  This time, her response really brought me up short.

From the photo I submitted, she could not tell for sure; however, she thought it might be a cormorant.  But the identity was not important…the bird was quite dead!

This response, plus the rest of her report, sent me back to the scene on Sunday morning for a closer look…a “look” that challenged the outer limits of my gear to capture. I could not see what she saw in the photo I sent her, therefore I pushed the limits of the camera and…sure enough, the bird was still there…slowly twisting in the wind…hanging from a monofilament line…just like she said it would be…

According to my Atlanta Bird Expert:”It got caught up in fishing monofilament and hung itself. If you look closely, you can see the monofilament between the highest point in the bird’s neck and the tree. I’ve seen this on a number of occasions and it makes me sad. No telling where the young bird picked up the monofilament, but when it got close to the tree, it probably snagged and hung the bird. I had assumed the bird was some sort of night-heron, who frequently hang themselves.”

Eventually, the body will decompose…the remains falling to the ground below.  The monofilament line, however, will still be there…waiting for the next bird.

The line will be there a long time—600 years according to the Texas Sea Grant College Program and the California Coastal Commission.

“Because it is thin and often clear, it is difficult for birds and other animals to see and they can easily brush up against it and become entangled. Once entangled, they may become injured, drown, or starve to death. Many animals also ingest fishing line. One recovered sea turtle was found to have consumed 560 feet of heavy-duty fishing line.” (Texas Sea Grant College)

Also see California Coastal Commission.

NOTE:  Photos in this article are available upon request.