People Are Strange.

Friday, March 7, 1997

The Herd Mentality

'm always amazed at what people say and especially, do. For years, I've seen lines or queues form for almost no discernable reason, except that there are people waiting and others just join the line. I wonder if they'd all jump off a building if the first guy did.
Back in '69, there was Woodstock and 500,000+ people wallowed in mud and stood in lines for days to party. I was one of them. In New York City midtown Manhattan, specifically people queue up for everything and accept it. I hated all the lines and queues for the 17+ years I was working in The City
I remember a stunt I pulled in midtown Manhattan years ago in Spring while walking to lunch at The 21 Club with some clients and other ad agency people. I stood looking up in the air for almost 5 minutes before several hundred others stopped and joined-in. It was a very large impromptu gathering. One of the oldest gags in the book. The sidewalk and part of 5th Avenue & 59th Street in the area of Central Park South were blocked. Very soon, a herd of 15 police cars arrived at the scene, thinking there was someone up on the building ready to jump. At the point where SWAT Teams and Life Support and Rescue Units arrived, and the TV news crews were in hot pursuit, we quickly left for our luncheon. The hardest part was keeping a straight face until enough of a crowd gathered so that I could fade away gradually. Suddenly, no one remembers what they're doing this for. The immediate vicinity is blast zone for the embarassment factor. Heat from nervous laughs, red faces and cursewords radiates 100m in every direction, affecting everyone. Just sublime. But don't ever yell fire in a crowded movie theater.
And at The 5th Annual York Flower & Garden Show last week, there were lines of thousands of people, from Thursday to Sunday, waiting for something or another. Our double-sized display space was mobbed; we're right inside the main entrance, so everyone stops when they first enter. It can get real hectic and congested in a minutes or less. The final attendance was just over 11,000; up 48% from last year. (The rule of thumb is that if a trade or public show is showing 10%+ attendance in it's 5th year, then it's a success.) I think that right now, only the Philly Flower Show is larger. The great grandaddy of them all, the Chelsea Flower Show in England, doesn't publish it's attendance figures but bills itself as the world's oldest and largest flower and garden show.
I've never fully understood the lemmings concept; waiting with the herd and then doing exactly what they do, when they do it. You've probably seen the disturbing films of herds of stampeding horses pouring over a cliff; blindly following their leaders to their collective death. Often, it's best to do something else. The chutes or gates inside the admissions door funnelled everyone to us first. Often the aisle got so clogged, I considered using the electric cattle prod to open up a path. I've asked the show management to consider re-directing the flow just one more set of doors down than this year.

The Flower Show

It was a good one. By all accounts, attendance was up 80% over last year and that was a good one. I was impressed with the quality of the crowds and their interest in what we displayed: hardy cactus and succulents, along with an unusual array of herbs and tropical houseplants.
The exhibits were way up in quality this year too. Since this was the 5th year for the show, everyone who has been here from the beginning as we have has had plenty of time to refine their act. The newbies were obvious and somewhat awkward in their demeanor, but will learn the ropes as time goes by. We all have.

Winter Isn't Finished Yet

Just when everyone thought it was safe to go outside and plant annuals, bedding plants and tender herbs, the local WGAL-TV8 weather forecast said a resounding no.
A major Winter Storm (predicted 6-12" snowfall) is heading our way this Monday morning, just as we're dismantling our display from the The 5th Annual York Flower & Garden Show. My crew is on their way over to the site to begin the teardown and transport of materials back to the Garden Center; I won't be along for that task, as I have things to do back at the office since being on-duty for four days at the Show. I'm sure there's tons of messages and checklists on my desk.
The sleet and ice is falling at a furious rate now. We may actually get part of what the weather forecasters are calling for by tomorrow morning. We're at 4" (I'm at home by now) of wet, heavy snow and still coming down, then changing over to sleet and ice. Almost any amount of snow is manageable; ice is a very different story.
True to form, the storm petered-out and we didn't get the major amount of snow we were supposed to. That's as it has been with the last four storms that have tried to roll through. But I did get...

The Flu

Jeeez, it had to happen once more before Spring: after talking to all those people and shaking an endless numbers of hands in the 4 days of the York Flower & Garden Show last week and all weekend, a full-blown case of the flu hit me last night. What better place to contract the air of formerly-sick, currently-sick and soon-to-be-same, than a flower show where all the gardeners, penned-up for months, would flock to such a mecca despite any normal, rational health concerns. Never occured to me that an infectious respiratory diseases unit at York Memorial Hospital would be a safer place to spend four days.
My landscape foreman, Alan Miller, is also down sick with the flu and missed the last day of the show. He looked pretty wobbly the last time I saw him. A business associate that helped staff our new Pro-Gro Greenhouse 812 Series backyard greenhouse exhibit came through it unscathed.
Having a day off even three sick days now is something that I'm not used to. If I wasn't in such a state, I'd spend the day doing something constructive. But with 102+ fever, sleep is about all I can manage for now. In seven years, I've only had 8 days off: 1 day to get married; 1 day to get divorced; and 6 days with other brands of flu.
I'd forgotten how exquisite the muscle and joint pain from the flu can be as the virus itself visciously- attacks muscles, cartiledge, tendons and joints throughout the entire body. It's subtle pain, but it's everywhere all at once. Everything hurts, including my hair. Sweats, chills, coughing et al. Water, orange and apple juices, aspirin, the InterNet and time will facilitate the cure. Maybe.

What A Ride.

Today was my first day back at work since getting the flu. It's not completely gone, but it's winding down and it's time for me to get back at it. Spring is three weeks away, I'm in desperate straits for qualified landscape crew workers, and there's previous records to be improved upon.
As we drove in Thursday morning, the north-to-northwest winds were clocked at 50-60mph, with gusts up to 75mph. And I believe it. The prototype Pro-Gro Greenhouse 812 Series was missing from where the crews had set it up just three days before. Actually, it had just gone for a 1/2 mile airborne ride into the neighbors maple trees. No damage to the maples; sure totalled the greenhouse frame. Must have been quite an impact, as it was a very well-designed and solidly-built unit for the backyard gardener. We'll have to build another quickly for the 7th Annual Open House, Saturday, April 12th.
In collaboration with an outside sourcing vendor, Alan Miller and I worked with her to design, build and retail sell a long-lived, weekender greenhouse with better construction than anyother comparable 8'x12' for $999. In an actual installation, four supplied duckbill anchors keep it on the ground, no problem. My crews didn't set the anchors, merely unloaded it. It flew away once before, sustaining no damage itself, but afflicting the Main Retail Greenhouse and Greenhouse-1/ Propagation with some large gashes in the 2-layer poly film. We patched the damage and recovered the small unit. The frame had withstood it's first fierce test, and survived. The second time wasn't a charm. All bets are also off with tornadoes, cyclones and 90+mph winds. Only my large main and four production greenhouses are rated to over 140mph winds. The 6mil poly tears away at 85mph, plants and equipment starting to move around, and if you did the right job with your anchoring and footers, the frame will still be viable and eminently functional. Though I don't want to be in the area after that point.

They're At It Again

Just last week, as Clinton was publically decrying campaign funding abuses regarding soft money, he hosted another fundraiser in New York City that raised well over $1million in soft money. A perfect example of the two-faced, pervasive attitude: NIMBY (not in my back yard), when it comes to cleaning up the DNCs act.
Is Slick Willie really just stupid or is he a true criminal? I can't figure it out. Just when I think that stupid hillbilly has learned the hard way what's right and what's wrong, we either find out he's already done something really dumb, or he actually goes ahead and commits another crime. Read Charles Krauthammer's expose on Clinton's abject and blatant stupidity.
For an eastern establishment newspaper with a decidedly liberal slant, The Washington Post has certainly been telling it like it is. It's very troubling when the government is for sale as it has been with Clinton's regime. Especially The Lincoln Bedroom at Motel 1600.
The problem is: Americans don't give a shit about the criminal activities of these Clinton liberals. A recent poll found that there are very few American citizens who care about ethics and morals anymore. We've been exposed to too much illegal shit from the most corrupt and investigated president and administration in our short 200+ years Nixon and his crooked cronies were nothing compared to Clinton.
Fortunately, there are some who disapprove of his and his underlings' illegal activities.
And these stupid, moronic liberal democrats still can't add numbers. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) still estimates that, left unchanged, Clinton's so-called balanced budget will produce a $69billion deficit, and not the surplus he claims. Are these people for real? I'm afraid so.
Here's an ironic note: read about the scummy fundraisers that Clinton used to shovel in millions in illegal campaign contributions, who listed dead people as contributors. By law, that money has to be returned to the donor, but not one of the Clinton crooks knows how to contact the dead, with the possible exception of the psychic fraud whom Hillarious used to chat with Eleanor Roosevelt several years ago. Very sad but true.
Even the VP, AlGore illegitimate, half-breed bastard son of the infamous Igor movie character who acted opposite Bela Lugosi in Dracula films raised tens of millions in illegal contributions like his master, Slick Willie. It appears that his sleazy role will now begin to unfold as more stories of his strong-arm tactics are presented in the press accounts during the ongoing investigation. Hopefully, his chances of being elected in 2000 will be greatly diminished as many realize that it was indeed he as well as Clinton who further messed-up this country's ethics and morals in the 1996 general election and beyond.
A very clear synopsis of the whole sordid mess was published by CNN Online. Here's another excellent chronology of Clinton's continuing sins.
Of course, Attorney General Janet Reno continues to stonewall the appointment of another special counsel I believe that would make two now because "that's her job", says Bubba.
Current special counsel Kenneth Starr is finally getting around to probing the illegal connection with the Indonesian criminal scum Lippo Group in the fund raising probe.
Until this week, the whole fund-raising mess was Bill Clinton's; now it's Clinton-Gore's mess. Both Clinton and Gore have said the reason they were so aggressive in fund-raising, is that, "we were facing the Republican juggernaut and had to do it to save the ideological direction of the country." Wow, does that ever sound like the Nuremberg Defense of the Nazis in 1949. Al, the Boy Scout Gore is not so squeaky clean afterall. (None of them are.) He may now step out of his master's shadow and take his own personal degree of heat. How much, if any damage is done to Gore's expected presidential bid in 2000? Who knows? My, how things change with time.
No matter what the issue or size of the problem, Clinton is always ready with an excuse that points the problem back to others, portrays him & co as the annointed saviours of democracy, and says that they haven't done anything wrong, but that they won't do it again. They just can't seem to understand that the truth wins out eventually, no matter the degree of lying and stonewalling.

Another One Is Gone

On Wednesday, The Washington Post abruptly cancelled its much-vaunted PoliticsNow Website. It was one of the best sources of information and opinion about the political arena anywhere. The likes of Bob Woodward and George Will wrote for that site, in additon to their other duties. I spent much time there reading about the criminal Clinton scum and their ilegal activities, plus such famous quotes as, "We didn't do anything wrong, and we'll never do it again."
Many online webzines have now come and gone; one or two have been resurrected and are surviving somehow. The reason given for the exodus by most is that, "No one makes any money on the Web; certainly not enough to justify that kind of involvement with staff and equipment." Makes sense.
I for one, will miss their acerbic, pointed commentary and clear-headed, classy journalism.

How To Keep Bubba Entertained

If you've run out of women to sexually harass, coffee, twinkies and overnighters for a fee or a room full of bimbos, here's something to challenge the pitiful minds of Clinton and Gore. Set a time limit, though, for those two idiots, or they'll be messing with this thing until 2000; neither is bright enough to know it's un-winnable.

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: