why did I think that 1998 would be any different from 1997? Silly me. The other personal or professional transitional years haven't been. Since very little changes from year to year, the difference comes in one's attitude toward the same things. Most everything is just a carry-over and continuation of what has gone before. The New Year thing is just a mental barrier; problems don't drop away magically at midnight on Dec 31st. Major issues don't just go away; they still require some sort of active resolution, not passive neglect. And the nitty-gritty details seemingly stay around forever. It's the devil in the details which can make you crazy.
Another Year Older.
I did it again: slept right through the New Year celebrations around the world. Damn, I missed it all. I used to celebrate and party 'till the wee hours, years ago, but it's sort of lost its meaning now. I'm just glad to make it through another year. Why tempt fate by drinking champagne and partying all night long? Heck, that'd be too much fun.
Although it's New Year's Day, I have to go to work, as usual. There's many things at the complex to be checked and tended to. Pickles needs to be fed. Plants need to be watered, both in the Main Retail Greenhouse and in Productions Greenhouses #1-6. Heaters must be checked and temperature sensors re-set. And there's always mail to go through and tons of paperwork to work on. Plus, I'm working on a secret re-design of the entire website and am playing around with some new technology and graphics in html and graphics editors. Sure wish I knew what I was doing, though.
This entry begins the 3rd year for The Journal. There's been a lot of the proverbial water under the old bridge, and as far as I can see, the stream's still running and rising.
Deciding where to go with this 20-acre garden center and nursery is paramount this year. A host of opportunities have been laid before me. A crossroads, of sorts. It's the transitional year where something major will happen.
Sorting out which will benefit the corporation in the long term is the most difficult; some of the short term alternatives are very lucrative, but potentially dangerous. I've seen what happens to greedy business owners who choose that seemingly-monied path; I've also never been one to take short term gain in favor of long term growth. My customers know that I'll be around for a long time, unlike many of the pick-up truck buffoons and fly-by-nighters who (illegally) frequent this industry.
Numerous people have pressed me to open a second location, identical to what I have now. They say I can own the region. In a sense, we already do. Many of the other garden centers and nurserys are barely eeking out a living. We've taken huge amounts of the upscale business away from all of them. So why would I want to open another place just like what I already have? It would hurt the original location's ambience. I draw from both southern York County and as far down south as Baltimore, on a regular basis. Besides, I don't want to be a chain store operation (two or more stores) and encounter twice the problems I have now. Case closed on that issue.
But slowly expanding the current business into previously untapped markets is what I've been doing since day one. Innovate. Such as Alpine Trough Gardens, Hardy Cactus, Alpine Perennials, a Collector's Nursery for ultra-high quality stock, and a few more new things coming up soon. Original thought by others is sadly lacking here: the other garden centers and nurserys soon mimic my marketing moves, and usually fail since they're not driven by an original vision of what it really takes to get there, nor the expertise to get it done correctly. I feel sorry that others can't enjoy their own visions; they need to co-opt mine and ultimately, fail, wondering what happened to all the money they'd invested and received no return on.
Talk about details. The mountains of paper that pass through this place is staggering. I'd naively thought that computers would help to eliminate paperwork. Wrong. Hard copies in files are needed, as well as tape back-ups. Just in case.
I now get an average of 30lbs of mail each week. It was 3x that in NYC. Multiply that by 365,000 businesses in the US alone, with an average of five 30ft x 2ft trees per ton of paper, and it suddenly becomes whole forests being cut to fuel the paper flow. Packaging is another matter.
It's daunting how much paper we still really use in this so-called electronic age.
Since we first went online in January 96, this site, built by Adam & Sara Viener of Cyberia Communications in York, my gracious ISPs, has received a lot of local, regional and national attention. About 10 months later, I put this site through another iteration with the expert help of Jeffrey Zeldman, around September of 96. Except for me adding several hundred additional pages, features, animations, photos, horticulture links, PhotoShop work and much more, the site has stayed relatively intact. Now it's time for a another change. Hmmm, maybe something in a pinstripe? Nah.
I'm not content with anything the way it is; I can always find room for improvement in the change, providing it is for the better. Change for change's sake alone is wasteful, futile and requires more work to correct the imbalances wrought by a lack of direction and overuse of emerging technology.
The old addage, if it ain't broke, don't fix it applies in most cases, but not mine.
The second big storm also turned out to be a dud around this area, while other areas got blasted with up to 38" of snow. The paltry 2-4" we got is diddly. We've had worse.
I always worry about big storms coming through the area; if the electricity goes out, my whole complex can suffer as almost it did once before. I'm seriously looking into independent, automatic generators to run the place, just in case. Several on the market are powerful enough, but cost around $7,500; well worth it considering the potential losses that could occur if the complex froze from lack of electric-powered gas heat.
Still, the morons were out in force, buying up all the bread, eggs and milk plus reloading gas and kerosene. All the convenience stores were clogged again, supplies vanished in an hour or two. f*ck em: I'd been to the PA State Liquor Store (now that's a rich one!) and stocked up on three cases of '94 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon for me and plenty of catfood for my two rug-rats at home. I had a half cord of wood in the garage, a carton of Marlboro. I was ready for anything.
Classic Americana Eateries.
I remember the classic 50s & 60s diners well. The US invented the category back then and they've become an important part of the American landscape. They were a phenomenon endemic to New Jersey initially, but are found all around the US during that period. As a kid growing up in the Chicago suburbs, I never saw their likes until my family moved to New Jersey in the mid-60s. By then, I was off to college in Des Moines at Drake University and during those wonderfully-nostalgic Hippie Years, we took advantage of the singular diner experience too.
The ones I specifically remember were like one of those stainless steel, Airstream trailers; sleek, large stainless steel letters spelling out their name right on the front, vinyl-seated booths, a counter with in-place stools, little jukebox players at every booth and counter seat, well air-conditioned for Summer use and always smelling good inside. They were, inevitably always crowded too, because there was huge amounts of home-cooking, all rather reasonably priced.
In the Summers between college, when I was back at my parent's and not attending a rock festival and working a construction job to earn spending money, I always frequented those places with some local friends. We ate like kings for a pittance. Apparently out hearts and arteries survived too.
I read not too long ago that one of the diners I used to visit on Rt 22 in the Somerville, NJ area, had indeed been sold, carefully dismantled and transported to The Smithsonian as a permanent exhibit on 50s and 60s diners. Someday, I'll get by to visit it again. A huge shopping center now stands on the ground where it once lived. American nostalgia at its peak was a colorful time in our rapidly disappearing history.
The American Psyche.
Slick Willie The Bubba and Hitlery were cited as the most Most Admired Man and Most Admired Woman (dis)respectively, by Americans in a ludicrous poll. I just can't f*cking believe that either of those two lowlifes would be mentioned as anything but criminals, scumbags, morons, lowlifes, cretins, cheats, liars, thieves or degenerates.
This is further proof of the f*cked up state of the American psyche, rating criminal scum and filth ahead of ethics and morals. No wonder Baywatch and Oprah are hit shows; the lowest common mentality surely prevails among pollsters' target audiences.
Judicial Recall Needed.
As I get ready to go to work this morning — New Year's Eve Day — I just read perhaps the most amazing story of 1997. Amazing because it's true: "D.C. Woman Who whacked Daughter Is Awarded Custody of Young Son." The black woman, despite having been convicted of smothering her infant daughter in 1992 to stop her from crying, and who is still in prison after violating her sentence of probation (!) by engaging in credit card fraud, was nonetheless awarded custody by a liberal judge citing the need of a child for his biological mother and his belief that because the boy is black, he'd better off with his black mother than with the white woman who filed papers to adopt him. This is why judicial recall procedures were invented.
Sometimes the world is a truly f*cked up place.
An Honest Judge.
Finally, here's an honest judge who caught Clinton's big lie and those of his criminal cronies, and really put it to them for trying to cover-it-up. Just reprimands and fines. Prison would have been nice, too.
It's truly a rarity when the truth prevails and honesty is the cause. It's also a joy to behold. I don't care what the judge's politics are; he's done his job and that's what counts. If only the rest of the crooked judges, attorneys, politicians could heed the lesson.
Apparently some other people are too. They're finally wising-up to the lying Clinton moron and withdrawing financial donations to his so-called legal defense fund. Based upon the crimes that he and Hitlery have committed, the so-called liberal democratic gravy train is now over, Bubba.
Music To My Ears.
Good news! So far, 74 of the 3,200 subhuman filth that are lingering on death row were executed in 97; still far below what should have happened to all those thousands of pieces of garbage.
At an average cost of $42,000 per inmate per year, it's costing you and I about $13,444,000 to house, feed and clothe murderers and other assorted scum. By halving that to $21,000 per family, 6,400 selected needy families would be lifted well above the federal minimum poverty level and could become productive citizens again, instead of allowing criminal filth to live for 15-20 years waiting for endless, bullshit appeals. The US Gov't doles out $23 billion to 21 million needy people; surely the $13+ million used to keep murderers alive can be put to better use if they're all executed and the money is re-distributed.
My quick and final solution: one appeal, then terminate with extreme prejudice. Quick, clean, simple and very effective. Avoids the lingering that goes on now due to excessive appeals. One and they're done.
The old idiom (from idiots) of letting 10 guilty go free instead of executing 1 innocent man is f*cking bullshit. Execute them all. There's no salient reason to keep them alive. Plus, add in the rapists and child molesters as capital crimes, and let's clean America back up. f*ck the ACLU whiners; if they get in the way, jail the scumbags too. Suspend the Constitution and Bill of Rights for 72 hours, and clean out the prisons and jails.
Liberal scum have held up executions for years by claiming that the electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment. Well, f*cking duh! And so was the way all those poor victims died, you stupid sons-of-bitches! Should we have mercy on whackers just because the electric chair form of execution is over 130 years old. Hell no. Give them lethal injections, hang 'em, shoot 'em; whatever it takes, but whack the stinking murderers at all costs. Rid society of this subhuman filth.
I have no damned tolerance for society's lowlifes and filth; the true measure of a society's progress is how we protect our citizens, not how we treat criminals. They deserve to be used as medical experiments and then be terminated with extreme prejudice.
It's an amazingly reverse racist-bigot story I just read in the week after Christmas: blacks want no whites to sell any merchandise related to their so-called demi-holiday of Kwanzaa, an obvious Christmas and Hanukkah rip-off. These folks seem to feel that white businesses will profit from the holiday. Well, duh. That is what this capitalistic society is based upon, folks. To the tune of $160 billion. Wake up.
Okay, let's play that little scenario out with these scummy bigots: no black-owned businesses will then sell liquor or food or gifts for either Christmas or Hanukkah, both of which are white holidays. None. That's $160 billion you folks are missing out on. Thousands of black-owned business would immediately go bankrupt. Can you folks say, Chapter 11?
Just when it looked like racism and bigotry in America were finally starting to wane just a little, a new group (The International Black Buyers and Manufacturers Expo and Conference) of racist-bigots reared their ugly heads. The DOJ (Dept of Justice) needs to investigate this anti-trust situation quickly, and put an end to the black merchandiser association of racist-bigots. I hate racist-bigots of any color, and these people are worse than the original southern rednecks, many of whom have now seen the distinct error of their former ways. These people know better, yet they play the race card to distinct advantage (Can you say Al "Pass Dem Donuts" Sharpton? or Johnnie "The Cockroach" Cochran?). Two of the worst f*cking scum alive in this country today. Where is James Earl Ray when the country really needs him?
These African American bigots seem to have forgotten just one small thing: the free market will determine what happens, not insignificant, racist scum such as them.
The commies are officially on the Net: China's brand of heavily-censored and controlled internet access starting sucking valuable bandwidth just today. Prior to this entree, they'd be an intranet within the commie world, testing everything out, so no free speech could be leaked. It's an interesting visit; like the fabled Land of Oz, everything's just peachy in there. But we all know the truth, don't we?
China issued new restrictions on political speech over the Internet. The rules forbid defamation of the government, transmission of state secrets, and promotion of Tibetan and Taiwanese independence. Skeptics point out that enforcing the restrictions on Web sites is Sisyphean, and enforcing them on e-mail is virtually impossible. The only way to squelch subversive messages is to block the Internet entirely, which would cripple economic growth. The optimist's moral: This is how capitalism will destroy Chinese totalitarianism.
This story is why I don't ski; I ice skate. Back in the early 60s, I did try skiing once, and also hit a tree. I was unconscious for 3 hours with a huge lump on my head, but somehow survived. Never again.
A terrible way to ring in 1998 for the perpetually-troubled Kennedy clan, possible the most unlucky family in America.
Of course I don't, but based upon what happened in 1997, it's probably safe to say that this year won't be dull either. Here's someone who makes a lot of sense. I agree with most of what he predicts.
Lots of so-called know-it-alls are making their predictions; I'll just wait until the recap next year at this time.
It was an interesting year all the way around in politics.
The Real White House.
Finally, here's a virtual tour of the slimy, criminal Clinton abode that you can safely take your family on. They're away on a so-called vacation, spending the taxpayers money and having a good time. Typical liberal shit, isn't it?