Legal & Personal Dangers–The Internet & New Media World…A Coda

In this post, I offer several items for your consideration:

  • An article by Bill Keller in the New York Times Magazine.  Mr. Keller is quite a bit younger than yours truly, but he definitely hits the mark in The Twitter Trap . The sub-heading gives you a sense of the article: ” What thinking in 140 characters does to our brains.”
  • An update on Your Internet Posts Can Get You Sued For Defamation…or worse! is also in order. One of the stories covered in that post involved the Cleveland Plain Dealer and a judge. Briefly, there was a question of certain anonymous online posts on the newspaper’s web site that were alleged to have originated from the courthouse.  The newspaper decided to break the story and revealed the courthouse internet connection as the source.  The judge was removed from hearing the case in question due to the appearance of impropriety. However, the judge sued the newspaper alleging defamation and breach of the newspaper’s confidentiality agreement for commenters.  The suit was recently settled without going to trial and without disclosure of the rationale for the settlement.

Related links providing background on the Cleveland Plain Dealer lawsuit:

  1. On The Media Transcript
  2. She’s Out: Judge Shirley Strickland-Saffold Removed from Cleveland Strangler Case 
  3. Saffolds dismiss lawsuit against Plain Dealer   
  4. The Indiana Law Blog  

In closing…

There are many positive aspects of the new media world  but it is also adversely affecting many cultural norms of behavior.  Of course this is simply my opinion–an opinion based on the fact that I am 66 years old, out of date, and basically irrelevant.  Personally, this is not a bad state of affairs–in fact, I have been secretly working on achieving this status for quite some time…and intend to take full advantage of it.

Petaluma’s Salute To American Graffiti 2011

It was that time of year again last weekend when Petaluma reverted back to the early 60’s, at least in an automotive sense. Saturday might have been the end of the world for some; however, in Petaluma we simply stepped back in time for a day or so for the “Salute to American Graffiti.”

By way of background, Petaluma was the locale for the filming of George Lucas’ American Graffiti in 1972. The annual celebration of the movie by car buffs started six years ago and has turned into quite an event.  For two days the streets were filled with period cars. 

As one who “was of the period” covered in the movie, I was reminded of how different the cars sounded in “olden” times.  Hearing several large V-8’s starting up and driving away reminded me of a line from a song: “Listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar.” (Wabash Cannon Ball)

One other item from my memory banks–I don’t recall (back in the day) the cars looking as good as they do now.

In any event, nostalgia aside,I attempted to capture some of the activities with my cameras…


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Related Links:

Petaluma’s 4th of July…Behind the scenes with Jan Mandrell

On May 16, 2011, the City Council issued proclamations expressing appreciation to four major contributors who helped complete the funding requirements for this year’s July 4th celebration…

(Upper Left: Bill White, Basin Street Properties; Upper Right: Mitch Lind, Jerico Products; Lower Left: Mark Ferguson, Petaluma Kiwanis; Lower Right: Steve McCaffrey, Petaluma Refuse & Recycling)

The combined contributions from individuals, other businesses, and the donors above were sufficent to proceed with the show as in past years. 

But let’s go back a few months. 

Take note of the person who appears in the extreme right of each photo in the above collage–Jan Mandrell, Recreation Supervisor, Parks & Recreation.

One of Jan’s many responsibilities is Petaluma’s annual July 4th celebration. In carrying out this task, she must plan, organize, manage, negotiate, educate, communicate, and secure funding for the event. Sub tasks include negotiating with all vendors and fireworks show personnel, securing all required permits, and arranging for the necessary public safety support for the show. 

Preparation begins as early as January, if not the preceding December.  It is no secret that money is very tight this year and securing contributions was a challenge.  In addition to seeking support from the business community, Jan also ran a Buy A Star–Be A Star campaign to encourage contributions.

When I checked in with Jan on March 2, it was nip & tuck whether they were going to be able to have a show as planned. By March 17 they were getting close to goal but they were still short.

But Jan was still plugging away…

 The last frame in the collage bears repeating…

Jan’s hard work and the support of the community paid off…and it is more than evident in her face before the start of the Council meeting on May 16…

NOTE: Click on the collages and photo for a larger view. 

A New Media Report On Our Digital & Economic Health

Today’s media world is overwhelming and is often full of bad news. However, “news” has always been “bad” or at least alarming. The availability of “news” and social contacts online or via mobile devices entices many to devote every waking moment to monitoring the digital traffic on their glowing screens. 

Consider these numbers:

  • Google estimates there are over a trillion web pages
  • Facebook has more than 600 million users
  • Tweets on Twitter are countless.  

Those of a certain age might consider taking refuge from this media blitz by adhering to the lyrics of two songs from the last century:

  • “I get all the news I need on the weather report” Simon & Garfunkel: The Only Living Boy In New York
  • “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.” Bob Dylan: Subterranean Homesick Blues

Frankly, “I do declare, there were (are) times…I took (take) some comfort there” (in) these lyrics*

It is tempting to adopt the nihilist approach when it comes to the digital media information glut: “All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear And disregards the rest…”*

I, however, offer a simple way out of the media information ocean to an island of sweet clarity in this brief economic report consisting of two photographs and minimal text…


In Petaluma, as elsewhere in the nation, the price of gas is depressingly high…


Petaluma has certain characteristics that soften the blow of the high cost of fuel. It is still possible to clean your clothes and get a drink in one stop!

A very efficient use of your expensive gasoline…and an excellent way to forget about your troubles…

Wash your undies and have a martini!

Don’t forget to remove your clothes from the dryer before you leave!

* Simon & Garfunkel: The Boxer

Petaluma’s Plazarama…Car show!

Antique and period car shows are a delight for camera enthusiasts such as myself. The annual Plazarama Car Show in Petaluma is no exception. 

A brief glimpse of what was on display on Saturday…

By the bye, the couple standing in front of their 1961 Ford police car (Recall the movie, American Graffiti and the police car that lost its rear axle.) are Joetta & John Furrer. They are with Crusin’ The Boulevard, sponsors of the upcoming celebration of the movie made here in Petaluma.  “Where were you in 1962?”

Yes, I also know the people who own the T-Bird. I am hoping to do a photo feature on both cars (and their owners) in a few weeks.

For the moment, you may find these additional photos of the Plazarama Car Show of interest>>  Cars…Chrome…Symbols Of Our Past

Spring Has Sprung…

…and fortunately, my back has not!

A sure sign of the season is the inordinate amount of time I have been spending in our gardens and the garden shops.
Somehow, I managed to keep a camera handy during all of this activity and created a macro photo essay of a “mysterious” growth in our back garden…

For a complete slideshow and explanation of this “mysterious” (Did it really come from Mars?) object: See  Fotos…Humongus Fungus

Note that I resisted (although the temptation was strong) to call it “FujiFilm Fotos…Fungus Humongus.”