Monday, February 25, 2008

Physically fittest lawn business owners ever?

Robert Johnson and his wife, Cia, started up their own lawn mowing business this year in Columbia, MO. The name of the company is "The Green Team". They advertise an "environmentally friendly" brand of lawn service.

I'll say.

They transport their mowing equipment to job sites via a bicycle pulling an 8-t. cargo trailer. They charge a flat rate of $25 per lawn within their marketing area, which I'm thinking is probably as far as they feel like peddling a bicycle with a trailer behind it.

I'm also thinking these are very young and VERY fit individuals. They mow lawns with reel push mowers, no engines, no fuel, very little noise.

Wow, would I love for them to mow my neighbor's yard. He doesn't think a thing about cranking up his mower at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings in the summer. The hell with the neighbors. The hell with the noise is this guy's philosophy

Clicking on the headline will take you to the couple's lawn business Web site. — Ron Hall

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"The Tea Leaf", one of my favorite enewsletters

Check out Jeff Thredgold’s enewsletter on his Web site Jeff is an economist and also one of the most entertaining speakers you’ll ever get a chance to hear. (I’ve heard him speak on two occasions.) He also produces a fun enewsletter entitled “The Tea Leaf” (it’s free) that provides a weekly look at the state of the ever-changing American economy. Who would think that discussions about GNP could be enjoyable, right? You’ll find yourself looking forward to seeing The Tea Leaf turn up in your email in-box each week. I do. Click on the headline and it’ll take you to Jeff’s Web site. Check it out my friends. — Ron Hall

Friday, February 15, 2008

While cruising YouTube I found Ruppert clips

Under the category of “No Good Deed Should Go Unpunished . . .oops, make that Unappreciated”, I inform you of some good work being done by folks many of us know, or know of — Craig Ruppert and longtime associate Chris Davitt, both of Maryland-based Ruppert Nurseries.

I found out about these deeds while cruising YouTube, two neat videos. Who would have thought? One 8-minute clip shows Craig and Chris Davitt. The shorter of the two, entitled “Easter Seals Philanthropist of the Year 2007”, features Craig praising the Easter Seals for the help it provided his Down Syndrome younger sister who is now 43, gainfully employed and living a relatively independent life. (This one really hit home for me in that it’s been almost exactly a year ago that Jeffrey Johnson, son of my wife’s best friend, Sandy, died suddenly, Jeff, a Down Syndrome individual, was an incredibly kind, gentle and responsible person and was voted “Employee of the Year” — and it was no gimme — for almost every year he worked at the local Pizza Hut, and he worked there 17 or 18 years. Damn Jeff, we should have played a lot more golf together. When it came to golf carts you were definitely hell on wheels!)

The second YouTube clip is about 8 minutes long and starts with Chris and Craig telling viewers about Food for the Poor, the third largest charity in the United States that provides a multitude of help, materials and support to the West Indies and Latin America. Every year the two landscape executives plan and promote a trip to Jamaica with family members and friends and help build houses and schools for families there.

Unfortunately, I came across the YouTube clip too late for this year. This year they went Feb. 15-18. Craig, on the videa, says the two men got involved with Food for the Poor in 1999, so it’s a good bet they’ll be returning again in 2009. You might want to google Food for the Poor to see what kind of work that group is doing. That charity says 96% of what it receives gets passed on to the needy.

Here are the urls for the two YouTube clips:

The Easter Seals one is;
The Food for the Poor One is:

Check’em out. Cool stuff. — Ron Hall

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Is this any way to treat a granny?

Bizarre (but real) news from the whacky world of lawns.

This past Monday, Feb. 12, grandmother Betty Perry agreed to a last-minute deal with the City of Orem, UT, resulting from her arrest in July 2007. It seems the city was unhappy with Grandma Perry because she hadn't kept her lawn up to its standards. During the process of letting the 70-year-old grandma know just how unhappy it was on that nice day this past July, she and an Orem police officer had some sort of misunderstanding.

Well, uhmmm, maybe it was more than a mere misunderstanding in that it didn't take long for things to get very unpleasant for Grandma Perry who ended up bruised, bloodied, handcuffed and eventually put into a holding cell. She even had to call her son to bail her out. Hey I'm not making this stuff up.

OK, so I wasn't there to see how exactly what went on, but I gotta tell you I don't see any reason in the world why a simple matter such as a brown lawn (so what if it had a few weeds in it?) could have led to this whole silly episode. For heaven sakes folks, let's lighten up on the lawn patrol.

You can read Grandma Perry's side of the story by clicking on the headline above or going to

By the way — Go granny go! — Ron Hall

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Cabaret candidate of Super Tuesday

While I’m sure there’s many of you out there who are interested in the upcoming presidential election, I realize many of you weren’t able to stay up late last night to watch returns coming in from the Super Tuesday Republican and Democratic primaries. Since I have no life and did, I figured I’d give you a few quick impressions from all the hours and hours of fun.

John McCain pulled ahead as the clear front-runner for the Republican nomination, winning the majority of states, including New York, California, Illinois and more. While I view myself as a conservative, I’m not one of the hard-core McCain haters out there, like Ann Coulter, who said she’d vote for Hillary over McCain.

What I am is fascinated by McCain’s political rise and fall over this past year. I wrote him off months ago, as his campaign was based on the support of a war that is now incredibly unpopular even with Republicans. I really wrote him off during the backlash he took for his stance on immigration, even though I personally supported it, especially for the sake fo the landscape industry. And you’d think we’d be writing him off now because voters are tired of politics as usual in Washington, and the economy has become the number one issue. McCain, meanwhile, has been a Washington insider for decades, and still has not articulated any type of plan or leadership on the economic front.

While all of this is fascinating, it’s also moot. There’s a 99.99 percent chance that the Democrats win this election. Like Bob Dole in 1996, McCain is old. I figure Republicans are going to let him have his chance and then try to come out strong four years from now.

Now when I say the Democrats have a 99.99 percent chance of winning, that other .01 percent comes into play only if they elect Hillary Clinton, which they may be well on their way to doing. And if there’s one thing Democrats are known for, it’s pulling defeat from the jaws of victory.

Watching Hillary speak last night, I came to the realization that, believe it or not, she is actually a worse public speaker, in terms of prepared speeches, than George W. Bush. Now I should mention that without a teleprompter, most 9th grade students in speech class will do better extemporaneously than Bush.

From the very beginning of her speech when she actually seemed annoyed that the crowd wouldn’t stop cheering to the point where she started recycling old John Kerry talking points, Hillary was just awful. Here’s a tip for Hillary: If you want to sound sincere — which we know you are not, but you should at least try to act like you are — you can start by pronouncing the word “a” as “uh,” rather than “ay.” You are not the Fonz. It makes you sound stilted, pretentious and disingenuous.

Seriously, how can Democrats be considering making Hillary their nominee? They’ve spent the last eight years complaining about how the Republicans have divided the country, how they won’t work together to fix those problems facing the people of the nation. And then they are going to nominate Hillary? For eight more years of exactly the same kind of politics in Washington? Seriously?

This would be like the Republicans coming out and saying, “OK, George Bush said he was a uniter and not a divider. He didn’t really come through on that front. We can do better. We’re going to clean up Washington. We’re going to make this nation one again.” And then they elect Dick Cheney as president.

Even though I don’t necessarily agree with his politics, I do respect Barack Obama. He is a fantastic speaker. He inspires people. And he wouldn’t bring the baggage of eight years of scandal and a publicity-seeking ex-president with him into the White House.

Now my favorite part of Obama’s speech from last night was when he said, “Maybe this year, we don’t have to settle for politics where scoring points is more important than solving problems. Maybe this year, we can finally start doing something about health care we can’t afford. Maybe this year we can start doing something about mortgages we can’t pay. Maybe this year, this time, can be different.”

At this point, I pictured the lights going out, and a spotlight highlighting a silhouette of Obama, alone of the stage. And slowly, behind him, the music rises and he begins to sing:

Maybe this time, I'll be lucky
Maybe this time, he'll stay
Maybe this time
For the first time
Love won't hurry away

He will hold me fast
I'll be home at last
Not a loser anymore
Like the last time
And the time before

Everybody loves a winner
So nobody loved me;
'Lady Peaceful,' 'Lady Happy,'
That's what I long to be
All the odds are in my favor
Something's bound to begin
It's got to happen, happen sometime
Maybe this time I'll win.

(Cut to Obama’s left (camera right), and the woman behind him would be weeping uncontrollably like that girl on "American Idol" last year when Sanjaya was on.)

Did anyone else picture that, or was it just me? Maybe I’m just weird.

— Mike Seuffert (E-mail comments to