Saturday, February 11, 2017

THE TELEPHONE NUMBER - Happy Valentine's Day!



MIKE frantically fingers the contents of his wallet.

Where is that business card?

He holds his wallet upside down, watching the waterfall of its contents cascade to his unmade bed.

It was blue.

For the next half hour he inspects each item, discarding the unnecessary. Still, no blue business card. Despondent, he falls onto his bed; the loss of the card summing up his chaotic life.

Think, Mike. Think.

He closes his eyes and concentrates. The first three numbers lept before him as he'd studied her telephone number countless times. But the last a child repeats the alphabet to reach an elusive letter, so he tried with numbers.

One, two, three... Three!

Scrambling for a notepad, he proceeds until seven digits stared back at him; the telephone number he could swear he'd had all along. His digital clock blares eleven o'clock.

It's pretty late.
(pumping himself)
It's now or never!

As he dials, he visualizes the tall, slender blonde in her slinky, red dress, flirting over a martini.

But I'm not in her league.

While the phone rings, he reminds himself that he wasn't half bad looking, and women even commented on how his glasses made him look just as adorable as Clark Kent.

Just as clumsy, too.

A woman answers the phone.


Hello? Danielle?


Um. This is Mike. You may not remember...

I didn't think you'd ever call, Mike.

(spirits soaring)
Would you like to go out for dinner?
You would? I mean, Saturday? Seven thirty?
Sure, I know where it is. Terrific! See you
then. Good night, Danielle.

He dances victoriously around the bedroom, then collapses onto his bed, soon falling asleep.


Mike rushes haphazardly, changing his Hanes underwear at least a dozen times. He would be late if he didn't step up his already frenetic pace.


Mike follows the maitre d' who escorts him to a cozy table in the dimly lit corner at which sits a lovely, bespectacled young woman.

(adjusting her glasses)

(mimics her)

While the excitement and anticipation hisses from his ego, Danielle grins.

Seems there's been a little mistake.

Her embracing smile emphasizes her gentleness and sweet face.

It doesn't mean we can't make the best of it.
What do you think?

(grins sheepishly)

After ordering, then pouring the wine, he slowly shares what had happened. Danielle's LAUGHTER, both comforting and lilting, eases his self-consciousness. The hours fly by. When they realize they're the last couple in the restaurant, they exchange warm glances.

I'd love to see you again.

I would too, Mike, but under one condition.

What's that?

(holding his hands)
You give me your telephone number.



As they walk into the crisp spring night, DANIELLE's tresses bounce in sync with Mike's newfound spring in his step.

(to himself, glancing at the stars)
Am I glad I lost that business card!


**written by petra michelle (2/16/08)**

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

5 Things That Can't Be Copyrighted

Modern copyright law can feel extremely broad at times. Every creative work made, whether it is a doodle on a napkin, a photograph or a poem, once it is fixed into a tangible medium of expression, the creator holds the copyright to it. No notice nor any further action is required (though registration with the U.S. Copyright Office has many added benefits).
Still, there are many things that can not be copyrighted. They either don’t fall under the jurisdiction of copyright or don’t qualify for its protection. There are also exemptions and that place some content immediately into the public domain.
So if you’ve ever wondered about the things you can’t copyright, here is a short list of five of the more important ones.

1. Titles and Names

Copyright protection does not extend to titles, names, slogans or short phrases, the Copyright Office has made that much very clear. You can not copyright your name, the title of your post or any short phrase that you use to identify a work.
The reason is that copyright is designed to protect works of creative authorship, it is not designed to protect how that work is identified in the marketplace, the same goes for people and places. Furthermore, such short phrases rarely meet the requisite level of creativity to be considered for copyright protection.
Caveat: Titles may not be copyrighted, but if they are used to identify a business, good or service in the marketplace, they can be given trademark protection. If you use a title in a way that might cause confusion in the marketplace, there could be trademark issues. However, if you want to make a post entitled “5 Things That Can’t Be Copyrighted”, you are free to do so.

2. Ideas

Ideas can not be copyrighted because they are not fixed into a tangible medium of expression. For a work to be copyrighted, it has to be written down, saved to a hard drive or somehow otherwise fixed.
For example, if you give a speech but fail to write it down first and it isn’t recorded, there is no copyright protection. Likewise, if you tell an idea to a friend, you don’t receive copyright protection if they run with it and use it for themselves, that is, unless you write it down.
However, even ideas that are fixed do not receive protection in and of themselves. Rather, it is the expression of the idea that is protected. My “5 Things That Can’t Be Copyrighted” post is fixed, but you can certainly write your own post with the same title and idea. However, you can not use my exact words, unless, of course, you follow my CC license.
Caveat: When it comes to derivative works, there can be a lot of gray area between an uncopyrightable idea and an infringing derivative. You can, for example, write your own book about a boy wizard and a wizard school, but you can’t use any of the characters from Harry Potter. Where the line is drawn is often murky and usually decided on a case-by-case basis. Also, in many cases ideas can be patented, such as inventions, but that enters into another area of intellectual property.

3. Works By the U.S. Federal Government

Works by the U.S. Government are placed directly into the public domain as the Federal government is barred from holding copyright in its work. This is why NASA’s images, which are very popular on the Web, can be freely copied and shared and also why laws and statutes can be posted anywhere online.
There are many reasons for this, the first being that taxpayer money is spent on creating the works so it is fair they should be given back to the populace. Also, it’s a freedom of speech issue as the government can not use copyright to stifle criticism.
Caveat: This is not true in all countries. Australia, Canada and the UK all have crown copyright, that enables the government to hold copyright protection to certain works. Also, the U.S. government can hold copyrights in works if they transferred to it, for example by contractors. Also, the government has other laws, such as state secrecy laws, to prevent the distribution of information.

4. Works Without Authorship/Facts

Though the photos that come with your calendar are probably copyright-protected, the calendar itself is not. Likewise, you can’t copyright the lines on a notebook-ruled paper or, sadly for the phone companies, even telephone directories are not protected.
The reason is that a work has to have a requisite level of creativity in order to qualify for copyright protection and if a work is just a repetition of facts without any creativity, it isn’t protected. This is true even if a great deal of effort went into making the product, as with a phone book.
Likewise, facts and information can’t be copyrighted though the expression of those facts often can be.
Caveat: The level of requisite creativity is actually fairly low. A phone book may not be copyright protected, but a top ten list of the funniest names in the phone book might be. Also, other countries, including the UK and Australia, follow a “sweat of the brow” doctrine that says a collection of facts can be copyrighted if the collector underwent a great deal of effort to compile them (and didn’t merely copy from another source).

5. Fashion

This may surprise many, but fashion designers, currently, enjoy no copyright protection in their work. Their designs are not covered under the current code even though architectural and even vessel hulls are protected.
The reason is because fahion pieces are considered useful articles and, as such, only enjoy copyright protection for certain elements and “only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”
In short, a pattern on a shirt might be copyrightable, but the shirt itself is not. Likewise, an intricate belt buckle design might qualify for protection but not the belt itself.
However, the overall cut, colors and style do not enjoy any protection at all.
Caveat: Fashion designers can, if they wish to go through the time and expense, paten their designs. Also, as mentioned above, elements of a useful article may qualify for copyright protection separate from the work itself. Finally, this is not universally true and legislation is almost constantly being circulated to weigh the possibility of expanding copyright protection to cover fashion. Finally, do note that trademark still protects the names of the companies that make and distribute the clothing.

Bottom Line

Copyright is everywhere. Every video, every picture, every written piece, every audio file, every sculpture, every building design created this year will be copyright protected, at least initially and at least to some degree.
However, there are places that copyright’s protection does not reach and those places are worth noting just as strongly as what it does protect.
Regardless, the next time someone says that everything is copyrighted these days, here are five examples of things that aren’t and, in most cases, likely never will be.
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sharing Popcorn with God -- Dedicated to Paul Newman

   (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008)



GOD and a male ANGEL are relaxing and sharing a bowl of popcorn; enjoying film images on a row of small clouds before them.

This is my favorite part.

INSERT IMAGE: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are on their horses jumping off the cliff into a river.

My favorite too.
(reads the cloud guide)
Looks like there's a marathon today.

What's next?

The Sting.

Engrossed, CRUNCHING popcorn and gun SHOTS break the silence.

They had a full-proof code which helped them get away with the heist.


A sublime sunset engulfs them; they, too absorbed to notice it and the time.

You've seen it all, haven't you?

Not Hombre.

The Angel smiles.

The hypocricies and prejudices!

A fair protrait.

As they begin to reveal themselves, the Angel savors the stars' brilliance, then returns to the guide.

There's a few more in the marathon?
Do you have the time?

I sure could use the day off.
Elizabeth Taylor.

A Cat on the Hot Tin Roof.
(turns to God)
Are you sure you should be watching these?

Are you suggesting I watch PG-13?

No, of course not.
(returns to images)
The Verdict!

I haven't seen it.

It's about a heavy drinking, down-on-his luck lawyer who makes a come back.

Good for him.
(glancing at the next cloud)

The man with the barbed wire soul.

I see we're out of popcorn. I'll make dinner.

The Angel watches the serene figure admiringly as He carefully prepares their meal. Upon His return,

God, thanks for having given me a such a blessed life.

I'd say it was the other way around, Paul.
What's next?

Absence of Malice.


Originally published 10/03/08

**written by petra michelle**


Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Pocket Full Of Miracles

from my e-book "Whose Role Is It Anyway?"


On a brisk December day, hurrying holiday SHOPPERS rush in and out of Macy's. Near its entrance stands a MAN CALLING OUT to anyone who will listen.

A pocket full of miracles! Get your miracle here!

PASSERSBY look upon him queerly as he continues to chant.

A pocket full of miracles! Get your miracle here!

Adjusting his iPod, a TEENAGER stops in curiosity.

How much?

It's free.

Nothing's free.

Then walks away. Untethered,

A pocket full of miracles! Get your miracle!

A young COUPLE stops and exchanges glances.

What kind of miracles?

You name it.

My boyfriend and I want to get married but
we can't afford a ring.

As her boyfriend tugs at her arm, the man searches for and pulls from his pocket a brilliant engagement ring. He hands it to the woman who excitedly shows it to her boyfriend.

How much does it cost?


It's a fake. Let's go.

As they walk away, the woman gleans the ring then smiles at the man appreciatively.

A hunched OLD MAN steps out of the crowds and faces the miracle man.

I bet you don't have anything in your pocket for me.

Try me.

I remember when I was twenty. I was as strong
as Hercules. Played lots of sports.

The miracle man listens patiently.

My wife was my biggest fan. We were high school

Not saying a word, the man begins walking; the old man in step beside him.

We were married over fifty years.
She died last year.

I'm very sorry.

As they continue to walk together,

I live around the corner. Would you join me
for dinner?

I'd be honored.

written by "petra michelle"

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nobel Prize Winner Bob Dylan Opens New Art Exhibit in London Associated Press

Bettmann/Getty Images
Bob Dylan
The timing couldn't be better for Saturday's opening of "The Beaten Path," a major exhibit of Bob Dylan's artworks at the Halcyon Gallery on London's pricey New Bond Street.
Worldwide interest in the veteran American troubadour has soared after his surprising choice as this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in literature and the show is one of the most extensive displays ever mounted of his drawings, watercolors, acrylics and ironworks.

The 75-year-old singer has said he will accept the Nobel in person in Stockholm if he can fit it into his demanding tour schedule -- and the gallery hopes he will stop off in London to visit the show.
"He obviously comes whenever he decides," said gallery president Paul Green, who knows it would be fruitless to press the elusive Dylan for a certain date. "We don't know whether he will come. We hope he will. He's been deeply involved in every aspect of this exhibition."
The extensive exhibit reflects growing appreciation for Dylan's art, which has been featured in gallery and museum shows in a number of countries in recent years.
The paintings at the London gallery reflect Dylan's nearly constant travels throughout the United States on the "never ending tour" that has consumed the last two decades of his life. The choice of subject matter reflects a deep affinity for the American scene, an abiding affection for its curious roadside attractions and respect for its industrial might.
Railways, skyscrapers, and suspension bridges vie with deserted side streets and overgrown motels for his attention. This is an America of fairgrounds and circuses, forgotten crossroads and neglected cityscapes. The streets are filled with the bulky behemoths that were late 1950s automobiles — including a depiction of the Ford Edsel, a famous automotive failure.

Dylan writes in a preface that he chose to ignore corporate America: "The common theme of these works having something to do with the American landscape — how you see it while crisscrossing the land and seeing it for what it's worth. Staying out of the mainstream and traveling the back roads, free born style."
Dylan paints the Wigwam Motel in Arizona -- guests can sleep in purported native-American style lodging -- the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City and the "Harem Slave" carnival sideshow in Alabama. There is a painting of the Paradise Motel looking anything but, its grounds in Florida overgrown and its buildings neglected.
It's a panoramic view of America similar to the one described in his kaleidoscopic 1975 song "Tangled Up in Blue." The sense is of Dylan as a solitary figure with a sketchbook, looking at the country from odd angles.
"Dylan was born in small town America," said Green. "He's done hundreds of tour dates for many, many years, and often played in the small towns. He takes the hot dog stand, or the motel, whether it's open or closed. It's his view of America. It harks back to the '50s and '60s -- Jack Kerouac, the road -- and how important the road is for all Americans. It shows really his love for America and all things American."