south of the border

Friday, July 4, 1998

sgcts logo

I haven't been to the Deep South in a long time. And South Carolina is the deep south. I lived down there for a few years in Coral Gables, Florida, during the late-70s, and even after moving up to live in Princeton, NJ and working in New York City, used to drive down for the 24hrs of Daytona IMSA Endurance Race. Beyond that, I haven't ventured out of southern Pennsylvania or northern Maryland, much. I only remember the oppressive heat and humidity, as well as the very nice people. I guess one has to acclimate themself to that way of life. As soon as one crosses the Pennsylvania-Maryland Line, monuments quickly remind that you've just crossed the Mason-Dixon Line, drawn up to separate the North from the South during the Civil War. Watching for real Johnny Rebs behind the trees is a true art, especially if there's a Confederate flag license plate or decal onboard their pick-up truck. Right under the gun rack.

Way South of The Border.
Pennsylvania's, that is. Last Thursday, Lynetta and I drove to Greenville, SC, for the '98 SGCTS (Southeast Greenhouse Conference & Trade Show) and I gave a talk to about 90 people on Friday, the 26th. The text is now posted here.
It was a 1230 mile round-trip through Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Some really beautiful country, but also some very grinding poverty along the interstates and side roads. It was an eye opener at times: interstate highways with mile-long drifts of everbloomer daylillies at their peak, and shacks just feet away behind the catch fencing.
The accommodations The Phoenix Inn, Greenville, SC were outstanding, and so was The Palm Restaurant as well as The Pub, both part of the hotel complex. The staff was excellent, as were the thousands of shite myrtle and magnolia grandiflora in full bloom. Something we'll never see up north. The heat and humidity was stifling - a 109F index.
Lynetta brought her Micron Transport XKE Laptop along so I could keep up on email and other stuff, and I reconfigured the Win95 DialUp and Netscape preferences to accommodate my email load; or at least I thought I did. The Micron's (Motorola M1200) modem wouldn't accept my ISPs preferences, so I had to use her existing preferences. That meant logging on in Portland, OR, pointing the pref's to York, PA, and receiving email in Greenville, SC. It was a very expensive triangulation which cost me $218 for 81 emails (over 3 days) at checkout on Saturday morning. That's more than the room cost for 2 nights. Jeeeez, does Motorola's M1200 modem suck a pile of poop! Hey Motorola Corp: are you scumbags listening? Your products are shit! Get the heck out of the internet business and get back into something harmless, like shitpy car radios, where you belong!
Okay, okay, enough of that blood pressure raiser. Back to the fun things.
We went to a great Mexican restaurant after the speech and had enchiladas supremes with a whacker 48oz margarita. It was as large as a birdbath, plus the waiter carded me, as a joke. He got an extra $5 tip for that effort. Nice people everywhere we went.

The Speech.
After a great talk on Internet basics by Holly Cuny, editor of several horticultural trade publications, I went on and promptly threw the prepared 35-minute speech out after so many audience questions and several technical problems made it obsolete.
After highlighting and detailing my efforts and success with from its inception in January '96, I described the advocacy role I use the Net for. Instead of merely putting up product shots and prices, I've advocated many things of value in my ads which inform and advise gardeners and horticultural enthusiasts. The response has been most gratifying.
Of the approximate 90 people in the room, most had internet connections; a few had corporate websites from which they do business. Unfortunately, I didn't get their URLs to visit and, after the second round of applause, rather quickly cleared the way for the next speaker to set up and present.
Dr. Paul Thomas of The University of Georgia and SGCTS Board Member Emeritus was most accommodating and knowledgeable in getting everything set up and keeping it running smoothly. He is a great credit to the SGCTS and all it's members.

The Show.
Wholesale growers and hardgoods suppliers from seven states filled the convention center, much like the PANTS (Pennsylvania Area Nursery Trade Show) in July and the MANTS (Maryland Area Nursery Trade Show) in January, which I attend each year. This show was about 1/5th the size of either of those events, but very much worth attending.
I ran into the manufacturer of my Main Greenhouse structure, as well as several people I'd done business with over the years. They travel to 15-25 shows each year. That's a tough life; I know I couldn't do it.

Yellow Journalism. Part 2.
In what can only be described as The Decline & Fall of American Journalism, another debacle has occurred: CNNs so-called expose of a false event just to drum up readership.
Three other serious Journalism-fraud incidents have occured in the past month, giving my old profession The Fourth Estate a dirty face. There's been tons of shit swept under the rug, and much, much more will come out before the purge is completed. It's nice to see all those liberal rat bastards finally uncovered and dismissed.

Freedom vs July 4th.
On the 4th of July National Holiday, we as a Nation, are supposed to celebrate our collective freedom as a Nation. In fact, we continue to lose another few percentage points of freedom each year. Various Liberal and Conservative court rulings rock the legal system's pendulum left and right, removing a small portion of our collective liberties each time.
Fact #1: lowlife criminals proliferate; honest taxpayers lose. Fact #2: we can't change Fact #1.
Each year, the legislators, law enforcement and courts take a little more freedom away restrict our collective liberty from all of us, in the name of something: taxes, health, law enforcement, education, politics et al. Each year, we're a little less free than before. Many people don't even notice the erosion taking place. Pity.
There are those who rebel violently against the loss of freedom, while others don't notice the gradual passing of liberty.
Other than providing essential services, there's no need for all that government to interfere with and regulate our lives. There's no demonstrable need for all that government at all. Lib-dems be damned for creating it. No, I'm not a Libertarian.
Anyway, Happy 4th of July.
You off? Nah, I'm working all weekend, as usual.

The text of my June 26th speech on How To Do Business On The Web is available here.

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