true confessions:
an interview with myself

Friday, November 6, 1998

the following interview was conducted on November 5th, 1998 at Joe's Cafe & Seafood Grille restaurant in Winterstown, PA. (The subject was known to "hang out" there on a regular basis.) I had been forewarned that in the past, the subject had denied all requests for interviews; moreover, he had even been known to "attack" interviewers, particularly if they were carrying cameras. As I did not have a camera, I approached him ... tentatively. To my surprise, he agreed.

Basically, the subject was polite, well-mannered and relatively respectful throughout the interview. At times, however, his demeanor would change, whereupon he would become visibly hostile for no apparent reason. However, the subject also has a well-earned reputation for "putting interviewers on." As he has mastered the art of the poker-face it's impossible to tell whether he's being "serious" or if you're being toyed with. The interview is transcribed in its entirety, except for long stretches of rather unpleasant banter between the subject and the waitress (an elderly woman with a beehive hairdo and a hearing aid), who apparently wasn't refilling the subject's coffee cup quickly enough to suit him.

Q: Isn't this highly unusual ... conducting an interview with yourself? A: Well, I was hoping for some better company at the table, but I guess you'll do for now.

Q: Soooo, how did you arrive at the name, John Shelley's Garden Center & Nursery, for your business venture?
A: Microsoft and IBM were already taken, and I was running out of time. What's the point here?

Q: You've gained quite a reputation for outspokenness in the past eight years with your highly unusual advertising. What made you take that tack?
A: Prior to entering the industry, I was in the advertising business in NYC and noticed a huge credibility and creative gap in this industry's marketing. Our ads fill that void. We have customers from 11 states who shop here, as well as millions who visit the website each year. Thousands of people collect the ads because of their informational value and advocacy position. (Ignore the page counter; it crashes every week, no fail, and resets to 0. We don't have an accurate clue as to how many people have been here.)

Q: Not many people know much about you personally. Is that on purpose, or a mere omission?
A: With the exception of John's Journal, I prefer to keep very personal items off of the website, except for a brief resume & bio, and out of my Garden Center's Office. I don't talk about my marriage or divorce, bimbo eruptions or losing weight. I meet several thousand people each week through my business and only a select few friends know much about my personal life.

Q: Your in-the-face, weekly, personal John's Journal draws a lot of criticism as well as praise. Does the criticism bother you?
A: Not at all. I thrive on it; honest debate of pertinent issues is healthy. I bait liberals to come forth and email me with any kind of diatribe and dozens do on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, most of them can't held an intelligent conversation for more than a few sentences. Lib-Dems just hit-and-run; they can't stay around for serious and intelligent discourse. They'd get slaughtered by anyone with a rational thought process.

Q: I believe one of your past Journal entries describes you as a reformed liberal from the 60s and 70s. What made you change so far to the Right?
A: Why don't you read it and find out? I thought you did your homework for this interview.

Q: Okay. How are you voting next week?
A: If you've read any of my Journal entries, you would know that being either a full-time liberal or conservative in either party is too narrow, myopic and unrealistic. A convergence of views is essential to realistically survive in such a fast-changing world. I abhor labels, yet am pegged as a Moderate, with an attitude. Fine and dandy.

Q: Jeeez, you're cranky.
A: No, inane questions about the obvious bother me. I don't do well at small talk.

Q: What's next on your marketing plan for John Shelley's Garden Center & Nursery?
A: I'm always thinking up something new to level the playing field and raise the bar for the industry. There's a need for innovation instead of constant repetition.

Q: Be specific.
A: Four years ago, we introduced Hardy Alpine Trough Gardens and make quite a splash in the region and nation. Three years ago, we also introduced Hardy Cactus. Another first. Two years ago, we introduced Hardy Alpine Perennials to the East Coast. Ditto on another first. We also introduced Water Features, which compete with the more traditional water garden. They have yet to catch on, but are making progress.

Q: So, your thing is innovation?
A: Same-o, same-o is boring from year to year. I guess I have a relatively short attention span, I like new things on a regular basis. I'm looking for that special something which will become a craze or fad at first, then settle down into a staple of the gardening industry. It's extremely difficult to predict consumer behavior; they're such a fickle lot.

Q: I'd like to get back to some more personal things, if you will.
A: Careful there, sonny.

Q: Okay, we'll let that ride for now. You really hate liberals and Democrats, don't you?
A: Yes; they're without ethics, morals, mores and, with few exceptions, devoid of any responsibility for their own actions. They enslave the masses with their responsibility-crippling welfare programs and want everyone to pay for it. They put criminals rights over victims and the public, and have a very cavalier attitude toward morality. All politicians are the lowest form of life on the planet, right next to murderers, rapists and child molesters. Totally irresponsible scumbags. Devoted exclusively to f*cking you and me through fiscal irresponsibility. I hate what they stand for: nothing.

Q: Have you ever met anyone who's voted for Clinton?
A: Only once, and I verbally ripped him a new moron. No one else will admit to voting for the Clintonite scumbags. Since '92, no one has the guts to tell me that they've voted for the Clinton-Gore filth. If no one voted for Slick Willie, how the hell did he get in? Will you tell me that you voted for them?

Q: Uhhh, nope. Hey; you know I didn't.
A: Damned right, you are. Liberals and Democrats don't have the guts or conviction to stand up for what they've done. They like to blame it on other people. They're afraid to take personal responsibility for their actions.

Q: You aren't all that militant, are you?
A: Only on certain issues. Murder, rape, child molestation are some primary topics which, I believe, require summary execution. The death penalty. I'd have no problem executing their sorry asses with my fully-automatic M16, 9mm or .357 Magnum. None. Try me.

Q: Why are you so pro death penalty?
A: Because liberal-Democrats are very adept at feeling a subhuman criminal's pain, but what about the victim and their family? Who the hell feels their pain and exacts justice for them? This shitty legal system we now have preserves and protects the stinking criminal's rights. What rights? Criminals have no f*cking rights! Except to a speedy execution! Why can't society get this right: protect the innocent citizens from the evil criminals!!!

Q: Oooooo; three exclamation points on that answer.
A: Yeah, I have to mellow out a bit; I'm getting chest pains.

Q: Do you remember John Glenn's first space venture?
A: I was 13 in 1962 and remember watching the then-heroes Shepard, Grissom and Glenn do things in space which made this Nation proud. Since then, Glenn has become a traitor: a sleazy, liberal Democrat politician who has subverted justice at every opportunity to protect Clinton and has now gotten his payback from the Clintonoids at NASA for those illegal efforts. He deserves to die in space and be remembered as the first autopsy performed in orbit. That would be just and fitting for the old, washed up scumbag.

Q: What is your view on abortion?
A: I differ greatly from Conservatives in that I believe life begins at the moment of birth; until then, the fetus is a mere parasite, feeding upon the host's body. A tumor or tapeworm come to mind. A harsh analogy, maybe. Technically and scientifically, that is correct. Religiously or morally, according to some wacked-out zealots, that's a sin. Birth control and education are far more preferable to abortion, but medically, the need does exist. Likewise, there are many people who should be forcibly sterilized so that children and abortion is not an option.

Q: Forcibly sterilized?
A: Yes. After one abortion unless it was done for a lifesaving medical reason, or because of rape or incest the woman and her sperm donor buddy should both be sterilized. There are also tens-of-thousands of lowlifes out there having way too many kids; they need to be restricted medically. Genetically defective people should also be pre-empted from breeding, as well.

Q: What bothers you about the whole impeachment scenario?
A: What Clinton did was bad enough; what's worse is that the American public doesn't give a flying rat's ass, as long as their pocketbooks are full. America has lost its sense of morality and justice. Clinton crimes are repairable; we can impeach and imprison him. America's soul may not be fixable.

Q: Since you started John's Journal, it's evolved graphically into quite a nice weekly piece. But the rants and philosophy have stayed along the same lines for quite some time now. Do you plan to change it further?
A: It merely reflects what I'm thinking about topical issues at the time. It evolves on its own schedule with very little assistance from me.

Q: The traffic each week to read your Journal is amazing: something over 5,000 people come by on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to read and stay for 18-26 minutes on average, according to your ISPs crunchlogs. That's a real crowd.
A: They're kindred souls who are disenfranchised American Voters, disgusted at what is happening in society and what isn't happening in our so-called government. From viewing the stats, many are government and corporate people who probably can't speak out as I do in the Journal forum. I don't pretend to be anyone's voice except my own.

Q: Isn't Fall one of your favorite seasons?
A: Yes and Spring is the other. Fall is especially attractive here in Pennsylvania. I don't have much use for either Summer or Winter anymore. They're too extreme. Guess I'm just getting older.

Q: What do you do over the Winter?
A: I spend the Winter getting ready for Spring. There's a misperception of most in the Horticulture Industry simply jetting to Florida or a Caribbean island and lounging around over the cold months. Actually, it's all we can do to recover from the previous season and get things in top shape for Spring. It's a lot of work to get a 20 acre site like mine ready for the thousands of people who visit every weekend in the Spring.

Q: I've heard about your legendary pesto sauce; are you going commercial with it?
A: For now, no. I enjoy growing and processing the basil with extra virgin olive oil, pignoli (pine) nuts, garlic and oinions into a world-class dressing for pasta. Several local chefs have asked me to supply them year 'round, but right now it's just something I enjoy doing for myself and friends. I am exploring volume growing and processing, with InterNet marketing and distribution. If I can find a reasonable profit point, I'll consider the commercial option.

Q: What's next for
A: The current format has served me well and has been wildly-successful for over two years; the original, basic site lasted eight months and was completely overhauled by my friend, Jeffrey Zeldman in September '96. The old addage, if it ain't broke, don't fix it sort of applies here. I hate to tamper with success, but I feel it's time for a change.

Q: A completely new site?
A: Maybe. I'll get into it with both feet over the Winter and construct a prototype for testing.

Q: What are some other things which get you angry?
A: Medical scams. Last week, the whole shark cartilage scam was exposed; now it's massage therapy curing cancer. What rampant shit! When is the shit gonna end? There are so many gullible and feeble minded people who fall for that stuff. Caveat emptor, baby.

Q: What's your opinion on DOJ v Microsoft?
A: I'm outraged that the f*cked-up US Gov't, who doesn't prosecute/ execute real criminals and can't even balance its own budget, would side with a bunch of whining crybaby morons like Netscape, AOL, Apple, Oracle, Sun etc and go after MS. I've used MS products since '83 and have no complaints. They've bettered the world of software and high tech, while the fumbling, moronic DOJ & Co are clearly out to recover their lost egos. These crybaby scumbag companies made huge erroneous business decisions which cost them market share; now they want the US Gov't to reclaim it for them, so they don't have to spend the legal fees. The American Taxpayer is footing the legal bill to prosecute a company which makes all of our lives better. It's worse than un-American; it's Clintonian.

Q: Did you vote this week?
A: You bet. Turnout here in mid-state Pennsylvania was typical: 38% in a mid-term election. Anyone who doesn't vote and then complains about anything, shouldn't. Goes for either party. People of character and conscience always vote their conscience, regardless of the situation. These mid-term elections are not a referendum on the Clintonites; he's a known perjurer and conspirator who should be impeached, according to the US Constitution. Rather, these elections are my way of making sure the filthy liberals don't once again control Congress. The GOP-controlled 105th Congress was virtually worthless when when compared to the 104th. Nothing of any consequence was accomplished in the past few years. The so-called Balanced Budget Surplus is a sham, done with smoke and mirrors. Newt and his cronies caved to the Clintonoids on just about everything important. I despise sleazy politics over real progress.

Q: What's your assessment of the mid-term elections?
A: It's a disaster, once again. The GOP tanked and the lib-Dems gained. Pretty simple stuff. Conservatives stayed away in droves and gave a pass to a pile of Democratic scum. After caving on the so-called Budget, the lying idiot, shit-for-brains, agenda-challenged Gingrich and redneck Lott once again ran away and hid. I truly believe this is the beginning of the end for the GOP, as we used to know it. I'm disgusted and disillusioned with the whole process, but will continue to exercise my right to vote, as I have since 1968, regardless of the shameful outcome. Oh, people like Rush Limbaugh will try to put a positive spin on it, but the results speak volumes. But the key is to get rid of lying, moron buffoons like Gingrich.

Q: How about trying to end this interview on a positive note?
A: Sure...

At this point the subject got up, and without saying goodbye exited the restaurant (leaving the interviewer with the bill). Fortunately, the subject had only ordered a glass of lime Kool-Aid with strips of baloney floating in it (which he never actually ate, but constantly picked at throughout the course of the interview). As I got up to leave, I noticed that the subject had left a tip of $5 tucked underneath the napkin.

Something for nothing? Sure, at Hey, why not?

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