Friday, January 3, 1997


hen there are days that even a simple tune like Chopsticks is difficult to master, it's important to put things into proper perspective: Beethoven and Vivaldi had their bad days too.
For me, Christmas Day and New Year's Day are tough: there's nothing to do. I spend time with my parents — and if I'm at that point in time — with my latest girlfriend and probably her parents. When all that is over with, I go to work.
During the Winter months, LPG supplies and heaters have to be checked daily in the greenhouses, Pickles needs to be fed — though he can easily handle that on his own — and the water kept dripping in the Office's bathroom sink, so it doesn't freeze. The water lines come into the Office Complex on the north side of the Main Building through a small utilities shed, so it's exceptionally cold there.
Even if I had an "immediate family", I would still have to go through that routine. Easter, Columbus Day, 4th of July; you name it: I've got to go the Garden Center to check on things and do some work. Sweep floors, clean toilets — boss stuff — load mulch, work on landscape spreadsheet estimates, finalize daily billing, correspondence, some html too. Sure, but I can do that at home, too.
PhotoShop and Illustrator, HotDogPro v3.0, GifCon Set, a dozen Microsoft programs and whatever else I need to work are on both computers. I never used to bring work home when I worked for others; little did I realize the number of staff people involved. Since I do 90% of it now, I realize what it takes. Seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year isn't enough time to get it all done.

Well, he really put his foot in it this time. Newt Gingrich, the Republican House Speaker, finally admitted after two years of stonewalling (and outright lying), that he did use the GOPAC funds and did deceive the House Ethics Committee in doing so. As if all the other irritatingly-stupid things Newt has done while he's been there aren't enough, the new revelation comes to light last week that he's been cited seven times for ethics violations. Geeez, he's almost as bad as the criminal ex-Speaker of The House, Jim Wright (D-Texas), that he unseated in 1989 and forced to resign because of almost the same f*cking violations Newt's now admitting to. Talk about a professional hose job!
It's going to be very tough to take anything Newt says again as the truth. He's put himself on the same level as the scumbag liberals he's targeted for ciminal activity in the past. Newt will now have to step aside and let someone take over who doesn't have the shady record he now does. Or at least that we know about so far...
Newt just played Santa to the Democrats: he gave liberal scum — like that loudmouth, moron Minority Whip David Bonior — all the ammo he needs to call for public ethic hearings, soon to be on a par with some of the Clinton criminal activities.
What a waste. The Conservatives finally get someone who can get things done and who doesn't mind being a point man, with all its dangers, and we find out that his character is sadly lacking too. I really don't know why I'm so surprised, at this point in time. Gingrich gave the impression that he had morals and ethics, which we've now found out he doesn't, at all. I also believe that much more is going to come out about Newt in 1997, which will make him a liability to Conservatives and to Republicans in Congress. He'll have to go. It's time for a change. More words...
Step aside, Newt.


When I arrived at work this morning at 6:30am, it was 14F and very, very windy. We'd had only a few inches of snow which had turned into ice overnight as a result of the rain, and all locks had frozen shut. I'm guessing that, with windchill, it was probably in the -35F range. A good way to tell is to spit: if it freezes before it hits the ground, it's damned cold! Trying to heat up the appropriate keys with my lighter and thaw out the locks in this wind and cold sucks. I finally found some WD-40 and got them all open.
Instead of waiting in the main Greenhouse, where it's nice and warm, Pickles was sitting on the front porch bench waiting for me to arrive. Of course, he wears a helluva fur coat and is now 19lbs, so not much bothers him.
While the excavations were going on, I tried to shoot some pictures. My eyes teared so badly that I couldn't even see; the camera's film began to freeze and, if I'd continued shooting pictures, the film would have torn and I would have lost all the previous images as well.
A more sensible approach was to get the hell back inside and warm up as quickly as possible. Frosty words...


With the subzero windchill, we'll take it a little slower than usual. As long as the ground stays semi-frozen, we can work on it. But once it begins to thaw out, it'll turn back into a sea of mud and we'll be working in it. And that's when machinery gets stuck, people struggle against the mud fruitlessly, and then we quit, for the time being, at least until things dry out.
In addition to the regrading effort, additional irrigation system water and sewage lines, we'll install extra pairs of phone cables to the existing — and soon to be Landscape Headquarters — storage building. Wire will also be run to the new 30'x60' storage building's site. Just in case we need the capability, the lines are in. Water and electricity will also deadend at the new building. In the coming years, we'll be developing the rear acreage, so controls and capacity for expansion are important to have in place during an excavation like this. Heck, as long as there's a trench open, add some wire and pipe for future use. Makes emminent sense.
Over the weekend, I'll do some cleanup work on the job site; the bulldozer operator will be back in today, Saturday, to finish as much as he can. The crew will return on Monday to complete this and begin many additional projects. We still have 3 landscape jobs pending. New ones that just came in the office. And after I'd promised the crew we were finished for the year. Why do they wait so long to get this stuff done?
We got almost all of the several hundred trees and shrubs replanted, after lifting them from the display areas and growing fields, root-pruning them and reordering their positions, based upon genus, variety and size. It important to have trees and shrubs planted — or at the very least heeled-in — when extreme cold arrives. The cold rapidly dries out the tree's root system; and remember, that's where all the life-sustaining sap is right now. When you lose the sap and the rootball, the tree follows quickly. Bingo: firewood and compost.
The new 30' x 60' Storage Building will be constructed next Monday, January 6th, by a company from Maryland. We've done all the excavation and site prep work; it's up to their crews next. The temperatures are now — well, it's New Year's Eve outside — in the 50s and it feels like Spring. What a difference a few days make. The nice weather won't last long, so work fast is the key phrase that everyone is operating under right now. With the Left Coast — Northern California, Oregon and Washington — getting the shit beat out of them by snow and ice storms, we'll certainly get ours soon. The jetstream won't hold that course forever.


For almost a year, I've had a Website on the InterNet; a vast and rich site with good graphics, specified type, Java applets, animated gifs, and lots more.
This past weekend, I set up the Front Counter computer — it's an old 386 running Windows v3.111111, but mainly DOS Point-Of-Sale programs with a deathly-slow, 14.4bps modem — with AOL for my Dad to play with. shitty AOL proprietary garbage software. What a nightmare! The downloads are so slow, graphics look like shit and AOL so damned slow that I couldn't believe it. What a f*cking visual nightmare!
Last year, I saw a demonstration of the original Mosaic browser that Marc Andreeseen and some buddies had invented at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Campus NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications). Technically, that event was the start of Netscape. It was so primitive that rubbing sticks together would be not far behind. You'd think (duh) that with AOLs size and clout, they could bundle-in a decent browser. The Front Counter's monitor wasn't all that great; I'll bring mine down from home in early Spring with the Pentium drive to swap out the existing 386 for a 586 and a new Windows-based, POS (Point-Of-Sale) application.
I make it a point to see my Web site on as many other people's machines as possible, just for comparison and my own edification. The results are sometimes scary. After taking the precious time to insure the quality results, what I've seen often looks nothing like what I've designed. There should be a law against shitpy browsers and more specifically, a law against an entity like AOL who promulgate the use of those things, at the expense of their viewers pleasure. AOL really sucks.


A few weeks ago, I received an email from a regular reader saying that I should join a group called, WebRing - Open Pages. Curious, I went for a short visit to the Webring Pages.
There are hundreds of WebRings; gardening, motorcycles, sports, well, you name it, they've got it. I applied for Gardening and Open Pages. Gardening politely turned me down, saying that commercial Web Sites are excluded from their organization. Okay, that's their rule. But Open Pages accepted me and added me to their list the next day.
At the bottom of my Journal, there's a WebRing logo certifying that this is indeed a WebRing site and giving you options of random visits to any of the 66 registered members' journals, diaries etc. Spend some time there on a rainy day and enjoy the reading. Maybe it will help you to decide to begin one of these literary adventures: a journal or diary. More words...

Why Indeed?

As a kid, there were always things I wanted to know, like "Why is the sky blue?" or "Why does the dog always pee on your shoes?" My parents always seemed to be able find the answers, but more importantly, helped me find them myself.
Now, just a tittle later in life, a friend (thanks, Dolly!) emails me a list of other things she found somewhere, more in keeping with adult, important questions. There's a few there that actually make some sense. Others come close. These sound like the comedian Stephen Wright, don't they? I think I saw these once before too. Amazing what a life stuff takes on when it's on The Web.


Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?
Do you need a silencer to shoot a mime?
If a cow laughs, does milk come out its nose?
Why is brassiere singular and panties plural?
Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
Why do you need a driver’s license to buy liquor when you can’t drink and drive?
Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?
Why are cigarettes sold in gas stations when smoking is prohibited there?
Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?
How does the guy who drives the snowplow get to work?
If 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors?
If nothing ever sticks to TEFLON, how do they make TEFLON stick to the pan?
If assered toast always lands asser side down and a cat always lands on it’s feet, what would happen if you taped a piece of assered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it?
If you are driving at the speed of light and you turn on your headlights, what happens?
Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of the drive-up ATM?
Why do we drive on parkways when we park on driveways?
You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes; why can’t they make the whole plane out of the same substance?
Why is it that when you transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship it’s called cargo?
Why is it that when you are driving and looking for an address you turn the radio down?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

whacker Chili and A Safe New Year.

Just in time for New Year's Eve — which I slept right through — I made a 15gal batch of 3-Alarm Chili. I'd forgotten about the parties, and when I awoke at 1:30am on the couch, they'd forgotten about me. I heard the next day about the deathtoll on the roads, both nationwide and locally, and once again was glad to have stayed at home. New Year's Eve, Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor day are the four holidays that I avoid road travel. More people are whacked on those four holidays in one year than were whacked in ten years of the War in Vietnam. Over 57,000 automobile-related deaths. What a needless waste of humanity and resources.
Now there's plenty of chili and me around to help eat it. I can easily change that 3-Alarm to 5-Alarm if you'd care to live dangerously...

Crystal Ball.

Sorry, I don't have one.
If you stopped by and read some of the online major-metro daily newspapers and news-oriented 'zines this past week, you'd have found all had their prognostications and predictions sections pretty well on line, on time, so they took the week off. Only skeleton crews — just barely enough personnel to make the html and graphics changes to the websites' Front Page — and the rest boogied for parts unknown and unreachable. A few of them from different media are regular readers here, and emailed me that it was a nightmare when a large story broke. I can only imagine.
I'm stll hoping to go to San Francisco to visit my sister, and Oregon on business, maybe in mid-February. Despite the horrendous snow, ice, floods and rain storms, and widespread devastation, I hope the nurserys I'd planned to visit are surviving allright. I'll know more next week after I can get a call through. Even their Websites are down tonite, New Year's Eve; email is being returned by their host server. The real determining factor will be secondary and back-road transportation; airports should be back to semi-normal by then. The weather rules all, doesn't it.
Also, this and next month begin new sessions of six-week Photoshop and Illustrator classes each at The Bradley Academy of The Visual Arts, here in York, PA. I'll have to check on the schedule again, but this is something else that may interrupt and postpone my business vacaiton as well.
Everyone who writes — in diaries, on the Web, for TV and the papers — is making predictions and prognostications for 1997 from their personal or corporate crystal ball. I don't know enough of what's going on with the Web politically to espouse any truisms or anecdotes. And it would be very presumptuous of me to "foretell" the events of 1997 and beyond. I'm basically clueless.
And since the Web isn't my livelihood, I make no pretenses about knowing its future direction. Only people who are intimately acquainted with this phenomenon can do that. And I just happen to know someone who is well enough connected to make such predictions: David Siegel.
After you're finished here, spend some time at Dave's December 19th Journal Entry and gain some insight into his insight on the "future of things" on the Web and related areas, as he sees it. It's an interesting read. He's a major player in the industry, so his opinions are based in a modicum of fact, as well as his own subjective opinions. A great mix!
I also wrote a piece for his Journal a few weeks back about Live Trees vs Dead Trees. It's good food for thought and action, not only at Christmas, but all year long.
With this Journal entry, I begin Volume II, after a year of writing business and (not too) personal logs on what's happened, happening and about-to-happen. I almost bagged the whole thing a couple of times, when things went wrong, but kept at it. I guess I'll work on it some more in '97 as well. It should be an interesting year for everyone. Again.
Murphy, one of my two housecats at the condo, is again playing with the cursor and images on the 'puter screen. Besides paw prints on the screen and fur on the mousepad, there are hundreds of cat lip prints, where he tried to bite the little arrow. Heh, heh, heh. Silly boy. I need to distract him again; I guess another trip to the pet store is in order. I'll buy a couple of little white lab mice and let Murphy and Mama have at 'em. Fun stuff, huh? It's like the lions and the Christians, back in the good old Roman Empire times. Good times. Fair fights. Yeah. Just

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