Monthly Archive for December, 2005

Recycle that Christmas tree

Residents of Albemarle County will want to take advantage of the tree recycling program to avoid other less desirable outcomes, such as filling the landfill or lobbing branches into the neighbor’s yard. Maybe next year they will accept Festivus poles as well. One can hope.

Progress on Blogging Milestone

At the risk of the universe collapsing in on itself through recursion, I must acknowledge Liesel Nowak’s piece in today’s Daily Progress about Charlottesville blogs. The hook of the story is the recent 100-blog milestone, but Liesel talked with Rick Sincere and Jim Duncan (each of whom have already written up their reactions to the piece, naturally) about the impact and importance of Charlottesville blogs.

I can talk about blogs on until I’m blue in the face, but I’m preaching to the choir here. My thanks to Liesel Nowak for spreading the word off-line.

Will The Real Geoffrey Creator Please Stand Up?

I got an interesting e-mail in response to the piece about Mike Edgett, creator of Geoffrey the Giraffe. “North Lake Drive” writes:

I read the Daily Progress story noted in cvillenews about the creator of Geoffrey the Giraffe. While the man in the story no doubt created the ads for Toys R Us, there is some controversy (as always!!) about the real “creators” of the beloved character. You see, my friend, Mary Ritts, and her husband, Paul, created Sir Geoffrey the Giraffe in the 1950’s as a puppet. Sir Geoffrey and his other puppet pals (including Magnolia the Ostrich) are probably best known as the stars of several Better Business Bureau public service announcements that aired during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Toys R Us has never acknowledged the existence of the Ritts Puppets and their Geoffrey, as far as I know, so it may just be a coincidence. To be sure, Geoffrey is an easily-given name for a giraffe.

At any rate, here’s a photo of an album that the Ritts Puppets did long ago. It features Sir Geoffrey the Giraffe. I think the similarities are remarkable. Judge for yourself!

Small world.

Class Action Suit Over DNA Testing

In early 2004, hundreds of black men were persuaded to submit to DNA testing in the years-old hunt for the serial rapist, told that they could eliminate themselves from the suspect pool (which consisted of all black men in Charlottesville) if they did so. The ensuing controversy made national news in April, leading to the suspension of the dragnet by Chief Timothy Longo. All of this resulted in Larry Monroe filing a $15,000 lawsuit against Detective James Mooney in July of last year, citing harassment. Monroe looks absolutely nothing like the description of the rapist, other than being a black man. The suit was dismissed.

Now Monroe has filed a class-action lawsuit against the detective, the police department, and the city, John Yellig writes in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Monroe alleges violations of his constitutional rights, including the 14th (equal protection) and 4th (unlawful search and seizure) amendments. Once again, only $15,000 in damages is sought. A particularly interesting bit of the lawsuit is the allegation that a report was filed within the police department regarding anybody who refused to submit to the DNA test — it’s not known what the purpose of those reports were, or what’s become of them.

Geoffrey the Giraffe Creator? Local.

Remember how Thomas Rogers, creator of Charlie the Tuna, the Keebler Elves, and Morris the Cat, lived here? It seems we’ve got another mascot creator living in the area — Mike Edgett, creator of Geoffrey the Giraffe, lives in Buckingham. David Maurer profiles Edgett in today’s Daily Progress.

The oddest bunch of folks live around here.



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