Friday, August 16, 1996

What A Shame.

hen I think of all the things that upset me, make me angry and get me mad, there are really two that stand out: taking advantage of or abusing children or the elderly. Parents have a responsibility to watch out for their own children; but who watches out for our seasoned citizens? I'm a very mellow, level-headed person, so when I find an instance of the elderly being taken advantage of, I get real hot under the collar. In fact, I get downright mad.
In my travels to several landscape consultation meetings on Monday, I met with a 81 year-old widow in York, who'd had her trees and shrubs pruned (read butchered) by some piece-of-shit, pick-up-truck driving, scumbag-cretin who claimed to be an expert landscaper. He'd butchered all the shrubs in her once-beautiful yard with a chainsaw and gas-driven pruner to within an inch of their lives. Mutilated them very badly. So horribly in fact, they'll never grow out again in her lifetime and will now have to be removed. I called in a top quality tree service company that we use, to help further evaluate the situation for her.
She told me that he'd charged her $525 for the labor, and then he came back for an additional $175 for extra labor and hauling of debris. There was no written contract here, so she felt she had to pay the overage. Technically, she didn't have to pay at all if she wasn't satisfied, but being somewhat feeble and intimidated, she paid what he asked. What a sad state of affairs this is. I wish I could have been there when he asked for money for what he did; or better yet, when the lowlife butchered the first shrub. It would have been the last thing he ever touched with a chainsaw. And it would have been the very last time he did anything at all like that.
The Department of Agriculture, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, needs to license and regulate scum like this self-proclaimed landscaper, who probably is an unemployed, pick-up truck-driving, ex-child-molester who stole his neighbor's chainsaw, and went into business for himself after spending $15 for two cheapie magnetic "Landscape Expert" signs for the truck doors. Actually, this lowlife degenerate should be prosecuted for what he's done and continues to do to the unsuspecting elderly and others who don't know any better.
I hate any government interference in peoples' lives, but this is one instance where it is completely justified.
What's your feeling? What if this lady were your mother or grandmother? Would it piss you off as much as it does me? Send me some mail and I'll forward to the Department of Agriculture in Harrisburg and stuff it right up their noses.
I thought seriously about reporting this situation to the York Police and BBB (Better Business Bureau), but no. There are too many of these buffoons driving around the state doing damage. It's a regulatory problem and until a law or code is in place to specify, regulate and deal with them in the proper manner, the usually-useless Police and totally-useless Legal System are once again, worthless in this matter.
If I were governor, this kind of shit would never happen on my watch. Hey Tom Ridge, are you listening up there in Harrisburg? Wake the hell up! Quit thinking about being Dole's vice president and concern yourself with this state's citizens!
Okay, enough of this stuff: on to more pleasant things.

From Doggy Days To Soggy Days.

No sooner had I expected the Dog Days of Summer to stay through September and bake us, today a massive cold (64F) front and heavy rains settled right on in. We've had 2" of rain today alone with more storms and continuing rains forecast through Wednesday. Great.
The billion (yes, a billion each!) gallon-plus retention ponds are starting to fill again; a sign of the steady rain we've had since early morning. All 3 ponds finally emptied out over the past few days of hot, dry weather after overflowing on Saturday, August 3rd, when 6"+ rain fell and the garden center complex was under 1ft of running water. Luckily, we're on a hill and the water from the backside of the 20 acres runs by quickly. Still, it was unnerving to see billions and billions of gallons of water rush by in less than 30 minutes.
I sent the landscape crews home around noon after working in the rain and mud all morning. What a mess. I'd OKd three of the senior guys in for tomorrow, since there's some repair jobs needed inside the massive Production Greenhouses and Main Retail Greenhouse. Heck, there's always something needing attention in an operation this size.

More Magazine Interviews.

I just got off the phone with one of the editors from Greenhouse Grower Magazine, one of the industry's leading monthly trade magazines. I had a nice chat with Linda about our Website and how it was done, what it's done for us and several dozen other topics. The full interview will be out in November and I'll post it here.
Earlier this year, I was interviewed by several other industry magazines about basically the same topics, but I haven't seen the published copies yet. As soon as I have them, I'll post them for you to read.

The Calls Are Increasing.

The calls are coming in by the dozens now: people wanting landscape design and installation work done for the coming Fall.
Because of the mild and wet summer, people are coming in early to get on our list for landscape and water garden work. There are a few openings between now and October, but not many. Still, I'll work with them to accomodate their needs. I'm losing one full crew of 5 men to PennState again in a couple of weeks, so the work will proceed a little more slowly than usual.

More Memories.

On Wednesday evening, I again had a wonderful opportunity to go back in time. And my good friend, Jeff Horn of Aged Woods, Inc. had tickets to see another great concert at The Merriweather Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, just south of Baltimore. James Taylor. Row 3. Orchestra Pit Section. Dead center. Wow!
We left Pennsylvania at 5pm. Steve, Jeff's partner at Aged Woods and his girlfriend, Kelly were our compadres. I brought a bottle of 1984 Mouton Rothschild "Pauillac" for dinner. (Of my original 1,000 bottle collection of fine wines, I have perhaps 50 bottles remaining in my cellars. Time for a trip to NYC to reload.)
We stopped for dinner at the very nice Clyde's Inn in Columbia. I had smoked salmon on pumpernickel as an appetizer, then penne with tomatoes and basil as a warm antipasto. The '84 wine was perfect, as usual: robust, full, excellent nose and an awesome finish. Jeff correctly observed that these high-end Pauillac and Merdot wines can last and continue to improve for many decades if stored properly. Some very special Rothschild wines have sold for upwards of $30,000 per bottle to collectors; the 1927 vintages went for that at Christy's only a few years ago. Probably made great wine spritzers. Heh, heh, heh...
The concert began at 8:15 and the memories of those earlier times flooded back like gentle waves washing over well-worn boulders at the water's edge. Groovy. JT has lost nothing from his early days in the 60s and 70s; he simply gets better with time, as we all do. It was JTs birthday, and two ladies in front of us presented him with a sweet potato pie, which he sheepishly accepted.
For me this was a real treat; Jeff and his girlfriend, Denise, go to Merriweather Pavillion on a regular basis, so it's old hat to them. Jeff owns Aged Woods, Inc., but somehow manages to find time to do many extra things. What is his secret? Heck, I used to have time to do lots of things. Where did it all go?
Thanks again for the chance to go Jeff, and for once again prompting me to open that multi-level cache of 60s and 70s memories. The company and the concert was, in the phrase of a bygone (miss it) era: ...far out man!

Laptop Computers.

I read some amazing articles and reviews from c|net on laptop computers, previewed and unveiled at the recent Chicago Computer Electronics Show, back in May. It seems these things are getting more powerful with more features as they get smaller and lighter.
In order to get out of the office before midnight even when it's horrendously busy in the Spring and Fall, and still be able to do estimates and some HTML work, I'd like to get a small, powerful, lightweight machine to play on. I can use it when I'm on the road and easily send things to my 'puter at the office for further work and production. I definitely won't be using any of the Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator programs, just Microsoft's WFG 3.11 and Works and HotDog, plus the Internet client mix.
If you have read any other on-line reviews that are notable and remember the URL, please mail me so I can broaden my horizons about these things before making a purchase. IBM, Toshiba, Compaq, Gateway and dozens of other companies make hundreds of models, and I need to make an informed choice. Also, if anyone is currently using a laptop, let me know what you think of them in general and, specifically the one you're using.


Nineteen years ago tomorrow, the world learned that Elvis Aaron Presley died in a most inauillegal alienious way; face down while throwing-up in his toilet. Not a very fitting ending for The King of Rock 'n Roll. Here's the actual story:
Rock Idol Elvis Presley Dies at 42.
By Larry Rohter and Tom Zito
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 17, 1977

Elvis Presley, who revolutionized American popular music with his earthy singing style and became a hero to two generations of rock 'n' roll fans, died yesterday in Memphis, Tenn. He was 42.
Shelby County Medical Examiner Dr. Jerry Francisco said last night an autopsy indicated Presley died of "cardiac arrhythmia," which he described as a "severely irregular heartbeat" and "just another name for a form of heart attack." He said the three-hour autopsy uncovered no sign of any other diseases -- though Presley had in recent years been treated at Baptist Memorial Hospital for hypertension, pneumonia and an enlarged colon. There was no sign of any drug abuse.
Presley’s body was discovered at 2:30 p.m. Memphis time by his road manager, Jerry Esposito, in a bathroom in the singer’s multimillion-dollar Graceland Mansion. He was rushed to the Baptist Memorial, where he was met by his personal physician, Dr. George C. Nichopoulos, and pronounced dead.

Can you remember where you were, what you were doing when you heard the radio or TV announcement about Elvis' death? I was never a fan; even as a young kid in the 50s, I liked music other than the white blues he sang. But he was an American phenomenon who led the way for many others to follow.
A terribly paranoid and severly drug addicted (the coroner lied), grossly overweight recluse near the end of his life, he's still an American icon who deserves our recognition for who he was, regardless of the sad circumstances surrounding his life. Way too many people still idolize him; time for those folks to really get a life of their own.


The Republican National Convention is now over, with Bob Dole and Jack Kemp firmly entrenched as the presidential and vice-presidential nominees, respectively. A matching funds infusion of $62 million will soon help them bring their conservative message to America.
On the other side, the Democratic National Convention will soon begin in Chicago where, 28 years ago, riots broke out and thousands were gassed, beaten and jailed by Chicago Police, after peace protestors gathered to demonstrate. The evil and infamous Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley, a name synonomous with corruption and brutality, ran Cook County with an iron hand for over two decades and helped insure JFKs election by recording the dead vote of tens-of-thousands of deceased voters in Chicago; remarkably the almost exact margin that defeated the Nixon-Lodge Republican ticket in 1960.
Let us not forget the weirdo, head-case Ross Perot and the Reform Party's National Convention (also coming up next week), which he runs as a business with an iron hand. Former Colorado governor Richard Lamm is trying to unseat the mentally-unstable Perot from its helm, but Lamm's views on life and politics are equally disturbing as the paranoid Perot's theatrics. Both men are in need of some serious mental health counselling. Hopefully, Perot will draw disaffected democrats away from the criminal Clintons, and allow the conservatives to begin to cleanse America of the liberal filth and corruption of the past four years.
The next few months will indeed be interesting as momentum builds, negative ads appear and defame, skeletons are found in many closets, and the shameful and illegal activities of the Clintons are further exposed. This will be an interesting period for our country's future and will test the resolve of its citizens. We have to at last try to restore some semblance of honor and dignity to the Office of The President and to our two party political system.
These are interesting times we live in. Not exciting, but interesting.

J o h nS h e l l e y

Back To John's Journal

Let's Go Back To The Garden Center

Got something on your mind?

Send e-mail to: