March 14th, 2008

Way back on February 1st, when I wrote "My CSS Adventure", I had no idea of what I was getting into. After 12 years of competently-handling HTML (Hyper Text MarkUp Language), I figured there would be a "learning curve", but I could also handle that too, with some concerted effort on my part.

My good and long-time friend, D•••• — the CSS-xHTML Wizardess — whom I'd met 13 years ago, when she and her husband lived in the York area, and who was now living in Western PA, graciously-volunteered to help me with it. She'd learned it in a matter of a few days, and I thought that I couldn't be all that far behind her learning curve. So, I bought the top-rated CSS-xHTML Editor, TopStyle v3.5 and (sort of) learned how to use it. She did a "yeoman's job" with 13 "hybridized" templates for my weekly Journal, to help get me started. She's a sweetheart, and a dear friend. Since the end of January, I've struggled trying to "get my arms around the mechanics" of CSS-xHTML, though I grasped the basic concept very quickly. Hand-coding was much more difficult than I'd expected. Almost everytime I tried something new, I messed it up, and had to start over. There are many things I like about CSS, and many other things I just plain hate. Same with xHTML and JavaScript. Too many rules, too many conventions, too many this and too many that. I probably should have just let the TopStyle editor do all the "mechanics" for me, and just written the "content" portion, now that I reflect back on it all. But that's just not me. I like to "open the hood" and tinker with things myself, instead of letting others do all the work. Somehow, I feel cheated if I don't get some "HTML grease and dirt" under my fingernails.

After talking to some friends at dinner the other night, about my dilemma, they suggested that I use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, like MS' Expression Web v3.5 or the venerable Net Objects Fusion v10. But those apps aren't "me", either. Now that I'm musing about it, I'm not sure what I wanted.

I had a "personal/professional Epiphany" last Thursday evening around 10pm, when D•••• found an obvious mistake which I'd made, and emailed it back to me. I did a "slow burn", right then. I'd spent around 3hrs on two previous days, looking for it, and I didn't solve the simple formatting problem. I reasoned that if I couldn't handle something as simple as that, it was a lost cause, and I was "beaten like a rented mule". It was and I am.

After what I've been through in my life, and all that I've done, I know I shouldn't let something as trivial as this bother me, but it does. It bothers me that I feel beaten by it. I'm PO'd at myself for not grasping the basic mechanics sooner, and PO'd at myself for letting it beat me down. And most of all, I'm PO'd at myself for not taking this CSS-xHTML stuff seriously enough to spend the proper time with the TopStyle v3.5 Tutorial, and learn it the correct way, instead of jumping into the middle of it, helter-skelter, as I did. I tried some shortcuts, as I successfully did in HTML, but they failed. I got distracted by a shiny object — the end result — and lost sight of the important steps along the way. Mea culpa.

Net net: I've had enough, and I'm done with it.

There are enough of Wizardess D••••'s templates left for the next 9-10 weeks, but I'll only need two. And on Friday April 4th, I will go back to Simple, Reliable, Basic, Easy-to-Use, "Old HTML". I've also scratched the plans to revamp with CSS-xHTML, and will just spend what time is necessary to discard old pages, consolidate/eliminate links, and repair the creaky, aging HTML. In fact, I've already started on that extensive project, as of this writing.

So much for this old dog and new tricks.

Around The Garden Center™.

The *Flood Watches* and *Flood Warnings* were everywhere on Thursday night and Friday morning; in fact, they were up all weekend long. The little Weather Channel icon in my computers' trays was getting "chapped pixels" from blinking red, so hard, and so often. The hard rain started early Friday afternoon, and continued thru the night, into Saturday. We got 2¼" of rain, by noon, and the flooded areas just got worse. More and more side roads were barricaded from any travel, due to extensive flooding. I left the GC&N Complex at 5:50pm, and had to hurry home, since I was the DD (designated driver) for the evening's coming dinner, and had to pick-up two friends at 6:30pm for 7pm reservations.

I went out to dinner with J&D, at The Blue Heron Restaurant, on South Queen Street in York, on Friday evening. My dinner wasn't such wonderful cuisine or the atmosphere so great after all, and no, I didn't partake of the vino. I drank ice water. It's a shame that I had a mediocre meal, but I'll go back later and have another and see if they've improved at all. My review is here. And they're now rated on my Restaurant Reviews Page.

Signs of Spring? Y-E-S! The crocus are up 1-2" and showing signs of color; the daffodils are up 5-6" and the buds are swelling; and the various tulips are up 1-2" with buds also swelling. The frost is officially out of the ground in the sunny areas, and I'm seeing earthworms migrating to the surface, apparently finished hibernating and lured out of the saturated ground, by the warm Spring rains. These are all good signs, but the calendar quickly reminds me that it's only March 8th, and that "Mother Nature's in charge; we're only along for the ride"(© 2002 John D.M. Shelley II, York, PA). Everything happens in its own time, as they say. I think there's still some Winter weather to come.

Getting into the Office by 8am Saturday, there were some chores to do, more paperwork and a serious website decision needing to be made. Some people stopped by for LSCP Design help, and I forwarded one of the requests to my staff designer. I stayed and worked on paperwork and website changes until almost 5pm, as the deadly thunderstorm winds blew through at 65-70mph. Power went off-and-on several times, but amazingly the wireless broadband Net connection held. Temps quickly dropped almost 30° into the low-20s, small hail rained-down but the snow flurries didn't stick, due to warm ground temps. With several large trees down and blocking main roads, what started out as a 25min trip, turned into almost 2hrs of stop-and-go driving. The *Flood Watches* and *Flood Warnings* were soon replaced with *High Wind Advisories*, which is Nature's way of pruning weak trees. Compared to what Ohio got, we were darned lucky. I watched The Bourne Supremacy on Saturday evening; one of the best thrillers I've seen in years. Catch it if you can.

I set my clocks ahead 1hr late Saturday night, for the onset of DST. I hate losing an hour of sleep, but since we're doing it 4 weeks early this year, I guess there's a reason for it. BTW, how are your Natural Circadian Rhythms doing? Mine are doing just fine, thankyouverymuch. Just before drifting off to sleep Saturday night, I remember hearing the howling 40-50mph winds rattling the condo's windows, and the wind's roar was almost deafening at times. With the loss of an hour, of precious sleep time, the cats and I slept-in until 8. Then coffee, breakfast and off to do some food shopping, and down to the Office to sign and fax radio advertising contracts, fill-out credit apps for new media buys, work on some of the website pages (in HTML, not CSS), clean the toilet, sweep floors, empty garbage etc — boss stuff. Temps were around 26°F, and wind chill was around 8°F. Typical March weather.

My superfast home RAID 0+1 computer didn't make the DST time change on Sunday morning (but the 3 GC&N computers did), and I'm still puzzled as to why it didn't. So I downloaded this neat little tool, which fixes both Spring/Fall time changes in the Windows O/S, and installed it at home. The time is also easily fixable in the Control Panel, too.

Signs of Spring? Y-E-S! The crocus are up 1-2" and showing signs of color; the daffodils are up 5-6" and the buds are swelling; and the various tulips are up 1-2" with buds also swelling. The frost is officially out of the ground in the sunny areas, and I'm seeing earthworms migrating to the surface, apparently finished hibernating and lured out of the saturated ground, by the warm Spring rains. These are all good signs, but the calendar quickly reminds me that it's only March 8th, and that "Mother Nature's in charge; we're only along for the ride"(© 2002 John D.M. Shelley II, York, PA). Everything happens in its own time, as they say. I think there's still some Winter weather to come.

My nursery brokers are now notifying me of impending delivery dates, for their Spring shipments: west coast — two of the McHutchinson Group will be in on the 24-25th; Iseli will arrive week of April 1st, and the 8-9 others should be confirmed this week. That leaves several others scattered around the southeast and northeast, and they should be notifying me very soon after arranging for transportation. With the 19th Open House on Sat, April 12th, the preceeding weeks are always hectic. Tens-of-thousands of leftover 2007 plants must be cleaned-up, pruned, fertilized and brought out for retail display, while the newly-arriving nursery stock must be integrated into the existing mix. Because of the "Unending Drought From Hell" in 2007, and resulting moribund 3rd qtr retail sales, we have a lot of leftovers to work with, this year.

Monday was a busy day, with several employees in to do various projects; 10-12 of phone calls from various customers needing clean-up from the violent storm; nursery stock broker availability faxes to scan and react to; customers' special Spring orders to track down, calls to the ARL (Animal Rescue League) about borrowing their "harmless trap" for the mystery "stray dog" on the GC&N Complex; reformatting and rewriting some additional retail customer hand-out sheets; re-pricing mulch, topsoil and compost in the front counter computers; revising's main pages around a kitchen table-sketched design; answering scores of business-related email inquiries about our Open House and plant availability; moving lots of empty boxes from the Main GH to the burn pile, and on and on it goes.

I guess I'm in the 60% of nationwide employers who won't be hiring any new employees, until I see how far the economy tanks, from this point in time. I'd rather hire new workers as we move into an improving work season, than lay-off workers I'd hired in the beginning, hoping things would improve, but didn't or got worse, with both scenarios economy-driven.

Wow, gas prices just jumped 6¢/gal on Tuesday. Unleaded Regular (87oct) is now $3.25/gal, Unleaded Premium (89oct) is at $3.35/gal, and Unleaded Super Premium (92oct) is now at $3.55/gal — even with crude rising to $110/bbl. I can see $4/gal for Unleaded Regular coming by July.

I had several employees in on Wednesday, doing various projects, as well as the company who installed our well pump systems many years ago, to repair a pump which went down last Fall. They'd "forgotten" about my call, and were just getting around to it. Luckily, it was one of the "backfeed" weels and the 2 main wells (I have 8 total), were working just fine. Figures. Some boxes of bareroot plants are startimg to arrive (UPS), and are being potted-up and stored in GH-1 to protect their emerging tender leaves, until danger of frost is past. Signs of Spring are everywhere, now. The 10-day forecast is for upper-40s, 50s and 60s; no signs of snow or freezing rain, and that's a good thing. The 7,000 Open House Postcard mailers went out Thursday, in plenty of time for notification of the upcoming Sat, April 12th event. The Open House Ad will run in Maryland papers, on schedule. And the 60 x :20sec radio spots will run in York/Lancaster Counties, also on schedule. I have to go to the radio station on Wed, March 26th, to do the several voiceovers, and that'll be fun.

After last Friday's violent t-storms shutting down the GC&N Complex and almost zapping my Office computer, I installed the APC Power Back-Up unit, Line Conditioner unit and 4 Power Surge Strips. The two front counter machines already have this protective hardware installed, but I'd gotten new batteries for my Office units last Fall, and hadn't installed them. Now, it's well-protected, as my condo's RAID 0+1 unit is.

Mark My Words™.

Why is it that the older many of us get, the more we think about "doing less harm" to people, animals and the earth?

Hear me out. By "harm to people", I mean less death penalties handed-down by courts, other than those who directly threaten ourselves, our families or our nation. By "harm to animals", I mean killing fewer of them, eating less meat, spaying/neutering pets, helping the SPCA and ARL organizations with time and money, taking unusual care of stray animals. And by "harm to the earth", I mean more recycling, less pollution, less waste and more thoughtful conservation.

Eighteen years ago, when I founded and built my business, I'd think nothing of shooting groundhogs and rabbits, both of which I considered "pests". I still do, but I'd rather destroy their dens and run them off the property, than hunt them down and mercilessly kill them. I guess I've had enough killing for one lifetime. Now, I open my Office window screen and let flies out, rather than squash or spray them with pesticide. I don't step on earthworms anymore. Yes, I'd not think twice about killing a deadly scorpion or poisonous snake if either were in the immediate area.

What changes many of us as we grow older? A more complete understanding of how Nature works? Of how all creatures can interact and co-exist, on this one-of-a-kind Blue Planet? Thoughts of mortality and death, and "what" comes next? Perhaps.

Some would claim that it's the conversion from the sickness of liberalism to Reality of Conservatism — which I experienced personally, in the mid-70s — that changes one's self-picture and then, worldview. I'd agree with that, but I'd add that it's a growing respect for all of the things — animal, vegetable, mineral — which inhabit this Blue Orb with us, over time.

Ahhh, screw that crap; where's my gun?

Things Which Make Your Head Explode™.

The shit-for-brains IRS is spending $42 million to mail 130 million of us Taxpayers a f*cking letter, telling us that the idiotic "economic stimulus" rebate from el Presidente Jorge Bushero, is in the mail. I need some duct take; my head is exploding! Send a f*cking press release and the newspapers will run it for free, you incompetent, moronic IRS assholes! There; I just saved us hardworking US Taxpayers $42 million!

I hate to agree with the treasonous likes of Sens Carl Levin and John Warner, but yes I do on this point: where is all the money from Iraq's oil revenue going? They have hundreds of billions in banks, worldwide, and haven't paid us back a thin damned dime, for the war or reconstruction! WHERE THE FUCK IS IT ALL GOING?

The family of a middle school student — Donald Miller III, 14 — who was given detention for wearing a T-shirt bearing the image of a gun has filed a federal freedom of speech lawsuit against the school district. 1st Amendment issue, Mr Principal-Idiot!

Yes, affirmative action is discriminatory and racist, against White People, and I hope Ward Connerly, who heads the American Civil Rights Coalition — a nonprofit organization working to end racial and gender preferences, is successful at ending it, once and for all. The EEOC is dogshit.

Hmmmmmmm; Southwest Airlines is reason #5 why I don't fly anymore.

Election 2008™.

Lowlife muslim filth, Osama-Barack-Hussein-Obama-Lama-Ding-Dong is "building a religion". Won't you join their cult? Seriously, if you're not worried after watching that, you're dead from the neck up.

Here's why muslim-islamist filth, Barack Huessein Obama-Osama will be assassinated if he's ever elected, and will never set foot in The White House.

Here's everything you need to know about Nigga® Hussein-Osama-Obama-Lama-Ding-Dong boy. He's an enemy of America, a druggie and a faggot, and his wife is an ungrateful nigga bitch, IMO. Where's James Earl Ray when the country really needs him?

I don't agree with much of anything that rabid liberal-demokkkRAT, Geraldine Ferrarro (BITCH-NY) has said over the years, but when she said that "Obama's campaign was successful because he was black", she was 100% right. Hussein-Osama-Obama-Lama-Ding-Dong's an empty-suit, lowlife, criminal, corrupt, brainless Nigga® piece-of-dogshit, IMO, and if he weren't black, he'd be nowhere. He's an EEOC candidate, IMO. You go, Geraldine!

And here's Osama-Barack-Hussein-Obama-Lama-Ding-Dong's racist, hate-Whitey, hate-America, bigoted, marxist, leftist, liberal-demokkkRAT, subhuman piece-of-shit, Irrev Jeremiah Wright, telling his racist filth. Where's James Earl Ray when the country really needs him? IMO, the dirtbag racist needs immediate hanging, as do 99% of the subhuman filth in that "church".

Global Warming BS™.

Have you seen this video: "BBC: The Great Global Warming Swindle"? It was outright-banned from leftist, hate-filled, dirtbag lowlife scumbags,'s and's websites, by the mentally-ill, left-wing, global warming idiot wackos, but I've preserved it, for posterity, aka you, me and *ours*. Watch, be informed and download it for others to see. It's on my corporate server, and will stay there, BTW.

Lowlife, Subhuman Filth™.

Lowlife dirtbag, NY gov Eliot Spitzer (ASSHOLE-NY) is a laughable piece of liberal-demokkkRAT white trash: he's involved in an expensive prostitution ring, because he can't "get any at home", with his impotent ½" weenie, as officially-measured by the NY Bureau of Standards and Weights. His wife laughs uncontrollably when he drops his drawers, and she has to use a magnifying glass and tweezers to find it. Hung like a fly, Spitzer is a corrupt, incompetent, lowlife, constantly-lying, piece-of-shit. He could easily be replaced by a Bowery alcoholic and the bum would do better work. Hey, Eliot: hang a cinderblock from it, wimp! I am enjoying Spitzer's misery! Here's the grand jury complaint. Don't forget to say bye bye, Spitzer-shithead, and good riddance, asshole!

Sooooooooo, more ELF terrorists are in the news and the fat, bloated, leftwing extremist-loving wacko bitch, Carol "ELF is cute" Miller, an infantile EEOC-mandated writer, who called me an extremist in the green industry, is eating her lying words. Hey, Miller pig: fuck you, sweathog bitch! Want some cheese with your whine, Miller skank-assed scumbag?

Lowlife dirtbag, corrupt Nigga© sambo, porch-monkey asshole, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (CRIMINAL-MI), decried the "lynch mob mentality" of people actually finding out what the jungle bunny scumbag did to fuck Detroit, once again. Corrupt, incompetent Niggas© like Coleman Young and Kilpatrick have ruined Detroit since the 70s, and all should be summarily tried and shot, IMO. He's garbage/shit/trash/filth, and I wouldn't waste a rope on him. Where's James Earl Ray when Detroit really needs him?

Another subhuman piece-of-shit, corrupt, incompetent, blind, worthless, liberal-socialist-commie asshole filth, NY State Lt Gov David "Fuck New York!" Paterson (SAMBO-NY), took over for corrupt piece-of-shit, disgraced asshole, Eliot "I can't-get-any-pussy" Spitzer (ASSHOLE-NY) on Wednesday. Paterson is the son of corrupt, criminal, disgraced Basil Paterson-of-a-bitch, who wet his beak at the political money trough many times, at NY Taxpayers' expense.

Oooooooooooo, the drug-addicted, alcoholic, scumbag-fucking, slut-skank, washed-up, has-been, untalented greaseball, "Madonna" whore, got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Shame. Her WOP mamma should have been sterilized long before her birth. Fucking untalented, sleazoid bitch pig! Hopefully, she'll die from AIDS, real soon. Madonna's the best argument for abortion I can think of.

The lowlife, subhuman piece-of-shit, filth in Indiana's 7th Congressional District, elected a black muslim scumbag, Andre "Fuck America!" Carson (SAMBO-IN), grandson of the thankfully-dead, liberal-demokkkRAT Rep Julia "corrupt sambette" Carson (FILTH-IN), to serve the balance of her corrupted term in the US House of Representatives, in a special election. IMO, all black muslims should be summarily tried and shot, for treason, sedition and sabotage.

Ooooooooo, white trash whorebag, slut-skank, alcoholic, drug-addict, fuck-anything-with-money, sleazoid pigshit, untalented bitch, filthy fuck-bag, bloated fat pig, Lisa Marie Presley, the "STD Queen", is pregnant. She is a good argument for abortion, and should have been sterilized years ago, so she couldn't breed. Filthy, dirty skank whore.

Some People Just Need Killing™.

It's not my intention to be Judge here — that God's job — but rather to "hasten the meeting" so that He can send the following subhuman filth to the Fires of Hell, River or Lake of Sulphur, or whatever. I'd volunteer, at no cost to any Hard-Working Taxpayer, to headshoot these murderous, lowlife dirtbags and rid American Society's innocents (children, the elderly) of them, once and for all. And yes, I'd rather see one innocent man convicted and executed, than 10 guilty freed, to rob, rape and murder again.

Police have arrested a subhuman in the killing of Auburn University freshman Lauren Burk, who died was raped and murdered this week, by a lowlife piece-of-dogshit, Courtney Larrell Lockhart, 23, of Smiths, Alabama, is charged with capital murder during a kidnapping, capital murder during a robbery, and capital murder during an attempted rape. IMO, the subhuman needs a .45cal in his murderous head. Kill him!

My, my, my, another murderous — subhuman lowlife DeMario James Atwater — has murdered a student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill — Eve Carson, 22, of Athens, Georgia — and the subhuman filth needs summary trial and killing. And they got another subhuman, piece-of-shit, dirtbag murderer — Lawrence Alvin Lovett Jr —, in the heinous crime. Kill both of them, right after trial.

Good heavens, another subhuman, murderous piece-of-shit, who slaughtered his brother and five others? Convicted murderer, Jessie L. Dotson, a lowlife who truly needs killing, IMO. Headshoot the subhuman filth!

All of the above murderous, subhuman thugs are black. Do you think they go to Barack Hussein Obama-Osama-Lama-Ding-Dong's racist Church?

Starship Dimensions.

Hollywood has given us all sorts of mock starships, but if they were really built to scale, how large would they actually be? Jeff Russell rescues sci-fi fans by creating a site that uses a pixel-to-meter gauge for over 200 ships from "Star Trek," "Babylon 5," "Star Wars," and more. An enormous Boeing 747 dominates the 10x page — even the giant Plasma Bug from Starship Troopers is dwarfed by it. On the 1x page, you can drag down Star Trek's Galaxy class starship and place it next to the "Trek" Constitution class to compare the ships captained by Picard and Kirk, respectively. Things start to get really big at the -10x page. The Island Two space colony (a proposed NASA project) overwhelms even the giant Super Star Destroyer and the Borg cube. In the background of the -2000x page is the Earth's Moon. Only the Zentraedi Fulbtzs Berrentzs-class Home Base from the Robotech cartoon series can compare. The painstaking research behind this site certainly puts things like a Klingon Bird of Prey in its proper perspective.