Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Great Wall of Wailea

I was thrilled when the bulldozers and giant backhoes finally arrived. Bambi and his pals had been getting on my nerves for about two years. When I read in the paper that the property had sold and new condos would be built I knew this herd’s fate was sealed. Once this parcel was developed they would be forced back up the mountain and off the golf course.

It is a bit sad to see wild land turned into condos, but when this land no longer resembles in any way its original form due to two centuries of human improvements it is a little hard to get upset about it. The deer were another major insult to an already tortured land. They had bred so prolifically that they were now moving into upscale suburbia with impunity and this did not seem to register at all with those who should be in the know about invasive species in the Hawaiian Islands.

The state and county prodded by realtors foaming at the mouth and with pockets full of money were focused on the Coqui Frog because it sang at night and might cause harm to property values. I guess they missed hearing about the 911 call from the panicked person watching two bucks dueling in the neighbor’s front yard. None of them had to clean up the battered shrubs after it was over either.

So I did not mind so much that I had to put in a lot of extra work to pull landscapes and irrigation systems back within the confines of property lines. In the course of 25 years some gardens had moved from 5 to 40 feet over the line and it was time to give that borrowed space back. After talking with some of the worried owners, the site managers were a bit taken aback when I met with them and pretty much said rip the sh*t out except for this one thing or that thing. Please just dig that up and set it over there. That bougainvillea there is on our side but if you accidentally take it out, that will be just great.

Stuff grows really fast here. There isn’t much that is worth the effort to save, especially when you have no place to put it in a fully landscaped yard. Landscaping the front of a temporary twelve foot tall dust fence in a construction zone isn’t my idea of wise either. The owners would forget about it soon enough. Something big was coming their way that would make the loss of a bit of shrubbery seem manini.

Over the phone the project and site managers made it clear it was their desire to be as accommodating as possible. I had even heard the owners in the neighborhood association had been offered first rights to buy in a market where lotteries for home purchases are common. They did not want any bad feelings leading to law suits and delays. When I met with them to determine the exact property lines and what needed to go I also learned what they had in mind for the setback requirements. They were going to build a wall. Nothing was unusual about that. Then they said it was going to be fourteen feet tall and I started to ask questions.

This wall was going to be made of huge stacked boulders, starting a foot in from the property line and leaning back into the development at an angle and rising fourteen feet over a ten foot distance. They said it would have landscaped pockets to mitigate the impact.

“Who is going to landscape this I asked?” The new condo association they said.

“I can see the old Filipino gardeners now, rappelling down this boulder wall to tend these landscape pockets. You must be kidding.” A puzzled look appears on their faces.

“Are you going to make paths along this wall?” Again I get this puzzled look.

The super sized backhoes came and with a couple of scoops the new development had all their property back. The dust fence went up right on the line and fifteen feet away from the back of the house. I went back to my regular chores. The deer herd was long gone.

The rumbling of the machines and the whistles before the explosions began in earnest. The dry kiawe forest disappeared. The land was molded and sculpted to start the creation of another piece of Maui that is sold in brochures and passed off as the real thing. Behind the black dust fence curtain the wall started to grow.

I know what a stacked boulder wall looks like, but as this thing grew it began to take on a look and feel that was completely new to me. The size of it alone moved it out of the category of wall and into the concept of earth works. It ran the entire length of the neighborhood about a quarter of a mile. The back sides of the boulders were being filled with concrete poured in like sand just to find the puka’s. Four inch diameter pipe was randomly laced throughout the wall. Then soil and dirt was backfilled in. The promoted landscape pockets were no where to be seen. This was not a wall. This was a fourteen foot rise in elevation from the natural grade that rose gently but steadily on its own.

I guess condos with a ground floor ocean views are worth more. An entire neighborhood directly below was no obstacle that could not be surmounted.

The Great Wall of Wailea was being born. Still unfinished and rising higher it calls to mind medieval fortress ramparts. The kind of thing archeologists and engineers try to figure out how humans could have accomplished such a feat with limited technology. Today these machines are picking up ten by eight boulders like dented jellybeans and stacking them at a pace hard to fathom. The new castles looming in the sky above are yet to come and will tower even further into the air. The poor houses below were not fortunate enough to get inside the protected zone.

My new job will soon be to landscape this behemoth, to try and hide it from view or make it blend in. There is five to ten feet of space left between existing decks, landscaping and natural rock grades to the base of the Great Wall for planting and the back of the houses are fifteen to thirty feet from the property line. This is not your ordinary pile of rocks. Forever more these folks will sit by their pool or on the back lanai and look up at this monolith with the golden condos above.

I will need to make some magical transformation occur. Somehow I will need to turn this wall into a landscape feature that soothes the soul. Somehow I will need to turn greed and folly into art. When the black dust curtain comes down I sure hope I have thought of something good.

On the way home today I saw the deer again. They had only moved above this development and not across the highway and up the mountain. Native Americans in some areas used to drive buffalo to the edge and then over cliffs when hunting them. These Axis deer hold their spots into adulthood for that sweet Bambi look and now I can see them raining from the sky above and bouncing off the roofs below. Is it Christmas already?

Saturday, February 18, 2006


It had been almost five years since Alex had been to the Whitney’s house. His banana patches had gotten infected with the Banana Bunchy Top Virus and had to be destroyed. Alex was out looking for some clean plants to start some new patches. The Whitney place was one of many fine homes he had once cared for and remembered that there had been bananas in the landscape.

The house looked quiet as he peddled his bike into the driveway. In the past he had enjoyed that. The Whitney’s had never told him when they were coming to stay or ready to leave. They just came and went unannounced. Pleasant and undemanding, their requests were few and they generally seemed pleased with the way he kept the grounds maintained. Still the total of two months or so that they stayed at this house each year, the presence of people while he gardened was a disruption to his normally solitary and unobstructed routine.

The quiet look of the house now did not have the same comforting effect. It was a disturbing reminder of how much things can change so very quickly.

The house and grounds had been designed, built and planted during the real estate boom that began with the demise of the investment bubble. It was a studied rendition to pleasure and prestige, optimism that the power base had only shifted markets. Every detail was the best that money could buy. Not privy to much of the interior of the 5000 square foot house, Alex knew every nook and cranny of the luxuriant grounds.

The house was one of those California style McMansions, a combination of Spanish and Mediterranean architecture that was super sized for American tastes. Its one nod to its actual location was the use of green tile for the roof. The front garden was small because the structure was placed at the top of the sloping lot. It was a lush and elegant framing that helped ground the house and served mainly as an entry way to the larger splendor that lay within.

The back gardens consisted of four wide terraces that descended the ten foot elevation change of the lower portion of the property. Each terrace was its own themed garden that flowed seamlessly from one to the next. The upper terrace directly off the house held the pool and a large and diverse collection of palms under planted with bold textured and colored tropicals.

A courtyard garden with an inspired modern Moroccan theme was below the pool level. The courtyard was created by a ten foot tall L shaped wall on two sides topped with a vine covered pergola that created complete privacy from the pool and served as an outdoor kitchen and dining area. This garden contained a succulent collection, fragrant and cooking herbs, and several citrus and small flowering trees.

The next level was devoted to a cutting garden of the tropical gingers and heliconia and below that was a tranquil pond filled with magnificent water lilies and surrounded by more exotic tropicals.

Each terrace was connected by a water feature that seemed to flow from the pool but was two separate systems. The pool and courtyard gardens had formal fountains and a water rill that seemed to flow from the pool down to the courtyard. The second system actually began at the pool level under the walkway over the rill and ended at the lower pond. As it descended into the tropical flower garden it converted to a natural stream feature.

Alex had designed and installed the plantings for the landscape and had been there from the beginning. The paved surfaces of the pool and Moroccan garden were both tiled in imported 24 inch Turkish ceramic tile. The courtyard also had a detailed inlaid pattern of smaller tile. Alex had always gotten this haunted feeling seeing all this expensive tile work. It always seemed to remind him of archeological excavations of Greek and Roman civilizations. Even the older properties where he worked had been covering all their old cement surfaces in tile in an effort it seemed to keep up with the newer and grander homes. The expensive tile work kept whispering to him that the end was near.

When the Saudi terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the President told everyone to go shopping and not to let the terrorists destroy our economy too. He would handle all this. Most people it seemed had listened. Afghanistan was invaded and the Taliban and Al Qaeda were run off. The President wasn’t done and next he invaded Iraq. Shopping was still very important as a show of strength and the only people asked to make any sacrifices for a war were the military and their families and China, who was asked to loan us all the money we needed.

The president still wasn’t done and he starting talking up the grave nuclear threat from Iran. Iran had other plans. It started slowly at first but picked up momentum and the Oil Bourse that sold oil for Euros gathered a big share of the global market. Then came the crash and the dollar came tumbling down.

It wasn’t a surprise to Alex when he got the short note with his last payment from the Whitney’s thanking him for everything but they would no longer need his services. He had already begun to make his own adjustments to the new reality.

The Whitney’s house was in a gated community and though the neighborhood association was disbanded, many people had managed to keep their homes and stay in the neighborhood. Peddling up the short drive Alex could see the house was intact but quite forlorn and in need of a good bath.

Five years is a very long time for a tropical landscape to grow unattended. Nature is not demure under optimum conditions. Years of experience let Alex know that the garden had at best received an annual removal of rubbish. Most of the smaller under story plants had disappeared or were barely clinging to life. The stronger dominant plants and heavy seeders had taken control and the place looked more like a forest habitat.

Alex walked slowly through the grounds looking to see who and what had survived. He knocked at the door just to be sure and no one answered so he continued through the side yard like he had done so many times in the past.
The pool was a surprise in that not only was it full of water but the Papyrus from the River Nile in a nearby bed had leaned into the pool and rooted. The pool now had a floating mat of Papyrus. He looked closer and saw that the pool also contained many small fish. Someone must have put them in to eat the mosquito larva.

The banana patch was on the lowest level down by the Lily Pond and he continued his slow descent through the terraced gardens. The succulent garden had been taken over by weeds and seedling trees and the cutting garden was just a tangled mess. The gingers and heliconia were still full of blooms despite their lack of care and he thought he would collect a nice bunch of flowers before he left. Alex had removed most of the tropical flowers in his garden to make room for more food crops. These flowers would be a nice treat.

The Lily Pond Garden was just as much of a mess as the rest of the place, but the bananas were still there and looked healthy. With the shovel and clippers he had brought he began to cut the smaller keiki bananas away from the main clump and clean them for transplanting. It would take several trips to carry all the starts he had collected back up to the drive and put them in the little trailer he had behind his bike.

With each pass up and down the property Alex noticed more and more detail of the changes that nature creates when left to her own design. The once manicured and mostly silent garden was teeming with new life. He had never seen so many small lizards and geckos in this garden or heard so many birds chattering as they went about their business. The clean swept paths and properly mulched beds were covered in a natural leaf litter that smothered out most of the smaller plants where it had collected and where there was not enough sun for weeds or grass.

One thing that was missing was the sound of the flowing water and the delicate splash of the fountain as it fell gently into the Lily Pond. The fountain for this pond was a strikingly beautiful blue ceramic pot. It was five feet high and plumbed to act as a fountain. It stood silent in the center of the pond. There were three other matching blue pots that helped tie this whole garden together, two on the pool terrace and on in the Moroccan courtyard.

These large and very heavy vases had been imported from Bali. They were caressed by an intricate inlaid gold colored design that accentuated their sky blue color. The tribal Indonesian pattern that was etched into the vases circled the pots as five narrow bands from top to bottom leaving most of the surface the vibrant blue color. Alex realized he had not noticed the pots on the upper terraces. As he had made his trips with the bananas he had been captivated by the changes in the living aspects of the garden.

On his way back up this time he looked. The blue ceramic pot in the courtyard had always been a problem to clean around. It sat on the tiled patio surface near the base of the steps close to the wall and under the edge of the pergola. This spot was a natural wind eddy and always collected the dust and debris that came in on the wind and was generated by the ample foliage of the landscape. The blue pot was completely buried by the flame vine that had draped all the way to the ground. Alex tugged at the vine to look in and found that the vines tendrils had attached themselves to the pot and it was buried inside with almost a foot and a half of debris piled up at its base. An archeological process had begun.

The magnificent blue pots had acted as sculpture on the lower side of the deck at each end of the pool terrace. They both barely peeked out from the Areca palms that had once been their backdrop. The fallen fronds were scattered in great clumps on the deck and the green fronds had reached out to surround them. That haunted feeling he remembered from the past was now very real and it momentarily gripped him with dread.

The dread passed quickly. The last five years had been some of the happiest and most rewarding of his life. Having been forced by the downturn of the economy to let go of a lot of his basic and taken for granted consumption habits, Alex had also been freed from the work like a dog just to pay the bills routine that he had always hated so much. He turned his gardening skills to growing food in his own garden and most of his neighbors. Together they produced enough for themselves and more to sell. He no longer worked for other people caring for their showy landscapes, but was now sought out to show people how to grow food for them selves. He refused, mostly from a resentment of how things had been to lift a finger in any garden but his own and the nursery where he grew plants to sell. Instead Alex was happy to act as a teacher and consultant for many. Now his life moved more to the rhythms of nature and less to the frantic pace set by Citibank. His free time was free to just be and to create in ways he had never imagined. It was the kind of life many want to retire to.

Some of us will always be there at the end of an Empire and some of us will make the best of it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

iVillage for Sale

Hard to imagine but I have been banned from GardenWeb. I did not get a single polite or threatening e-mail to either of my personas. They just kept deleting my comments and removing whole threads. They did not take into account a stubborn, inquisitive, brat who has learned computer stuff fairly easily.

iVillage is for sale and the bidding closes on February 22, 2006. That explains a lot about the new TOS that went into effect on January 24, 2006. They knew it was going to be sold and by restating copyright and claiming the same copyright privileges as content submitters it increased the value of the data base being sold. It also explains the numerous comments and entire threads that have been disappearing of late. You can not have a revolt of the users of the site going on while prospective buyers are fondling the merchandise.

Congratulations folks, your useless ramblings and crummy photos about your favorite pastimes that had absolutely no value has been coupled with some other forums and a page of links to garden blogs and is on the market for 350 to 700 million dollars.

God Bless the unfettered free enterprise capitalist system that can turn useless junk into a hot property. You the user are just a dot in cyberspace to target for advertising and marketing. Do not complain because as a living human being you do not have the same extensive rights as corporate persons.

I expect that if this thread heats up it too will disappear. I noticed today that the “No one will post photos anymore” thread is also gone. I will save this one too just in case. Another Missing Thread

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Hat From Iraq

My friend just got back
For a two week vacation
From her tour of duty
Over there in Iraq

She brought me this green hat
That says
Camp Echo Iraq

I love and admire my friend
And I trust her decision to go
Now I have to make one
About this cap from Camp Echo

What will this hat say?
As I go through my day
To people who read
My Iraqi Chapeau

From the very beginning
I thought no
We should not go

But what am I to do with this hat
From my friend who I love
Who could not say no
And had to pack up and go

Christiane shows up
Where ever there is an attack
She got kinda miffed
At the start of the war

She said
It is not I…… rack
It is not I…… ran
And it is not KIY……HE

It is KeeHay (Kihei)
It is E…Rock
And it is E…Raan
Just to throw up some sand

Performed live October 30th 2005 at Maui Booksellers, Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii by Christopher C.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Censored Thread from Gardenweb

This entire thread was removed February 10th from the Suggestions and Comments forum of the Gardenweb after it had been there for 15 days. Something must have happened after Trudi d 7 had the last few comments removed on the 9th.

This I think is the beginning of what is to be expected as large media corporations begin to take control of the internet. Anything that may interfere with their role as advertising platforms will be subject to legalese Terms of Service and out right banning.

A Moral Question
Posted by ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Thu, Jan 26, 06 at 20:19
A Moral Question
Let’s say that I as an individual start a web site and forum called Widget World. People from all over the planet post comments, thoughts, pictures, processes, anything and everything to do with Widgets because they just love everything about them. I as an individual claim copyright to all material submitted on my forum. I also collect all the e-mail addresses of everyone who participates. Now I have a vast treasure trove of addresses and Widget info and photographs. Now I start selling it all without acknowledgment, notification or payment to the original content provider to Widget Digest and other publications and other businesses. Would you consider this ethical behavior?
I realize that GardenWeb’s terms of service are not very different in any way from other sites. The suggestion is that this legalize language is to protect themselves and people who post to the forums. There really is no intent to sell or derive profit from content provided. I also realize that most content submitted may not have much real value as a stand alone item for sale. However most content found in any other site, magazine or other forms of media that is sold to the public is far from original or unique. The internet is also uncharted territory as far as copyright law is concerned
My question is not an attempt to single out GW as heinous in its behavior. My true question is why are we as a society allowing corporations and business to engage in behavior that would be deemed unacceptable for an individual? What ethical standards should corporations be held to?
These questions may belong in another place but I would like spewey and Josh particularly to answer this. What do the rest of you think about this subject?


Follow-Up Postings:
RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Fri, Jan 27, 06 at 6:16
As was stated in another post, the Terms of service are very clear about any POSSIBLE intentions Ivillage has.
why are we as a society allowing corporations and business to engage in behavior that would be deemed unacceptable for an individual?
Because it is called capitalism and the majority will decide how Ivillage conducts itself. If Ivillage loses viewers, click thrus, posters etc. - all things that control their advertisiing revenue - hopefully they will change their ways. On the other hand if they increase click thrus, revenue dollars etc., it will stay the same.
If you are truly worried about Ivillage being able to use something of yours, then it's probably wise not to post it. If you are truly concerned about Ivillage's TOS and moral standards, then you should not be viewing or posting here - PERIOD. You can't have it both ways, to say that their TOS is unacceptable to you, but still post/view this site.
Unfortunately, I think Ivillage's advertising techniques will drive away people and discourage new people, more than anything else. The vast majority of computer users, use some variation of Internet Explorer as their browser and if I had to deal with all the ads as many complaints have been about, I KNOW I would not return to this site. In your face advertising just annoys people, and hardly sells the product.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Fri, Jan 27, 06 at 12:05
Since you asked ME, I would say that the GW site does not parallel your hypothetical Widget World, as they are upfront in acknowledging in their TOS about their right to use your work and email addresses. There's nothing deceptive here.
I take issue with your statement that the internet is uncharted territory as far as copyright goes. The US Copyright Office has clear policies that state that almost any work is protected regardless of how it is published (whether in print, on film or tape, or posted online). Of course, by posting to a site whose policies claim the right to use any posted material, one grants non-exclusive use to the site owner to use the material. IF THIS BOTHERS YOU, DON'T POST. Simple.
As minibim noted, if the GW TOS concerns you, or if you are worried about your work or email being used, don't post here and don't share your email address. I'd take that a step further and recommend not posting either anywhere on the internet.
Some people may not like the terms and may leave or stay away, but I am still seeing lots of excellent content being posted in the forums, and see new faces quite often.
Everyone has a choice whether or not they view ads. If the majority of people persist in using IE, they'll be subject to ads here, and they'll faces ads, spyware and other annoyances in many other places on the internet.
I don't see any real moral or ethical issues being raised here, as iVillage/GW has made their policies clear and hasn't acted in a deceptive manner. I have no connection to them other than as a poster, but their policies are no different than those on many other sites, and hardly different than the policies in effect here under the previous owner.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: seatofmypants99 (My Page) on Fri, Jan 27, 06 at 21:33
You vote with your clicks. The more you click, the more they get paid, the more power they get over you.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 17:37
I think we really need to ask iVillage to create a Histrionics Forum. I suggest a picture of Henny Penny for the header.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bob_z9_ca (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 19:22
LOL Trudi.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: agnespuffin (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 20:33
Now, if they had said that they would never, ever share our information, and then did it anyway.....that would be unethical. But we have been told, warned and advised. We are even warned when we go from a secure to non-secure site where our information will be shown for all to see. I don't know how much "moral" you would want it.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 20:38
I have heeded your admonitions and warnings not to post if I do not like the TOS or the morals of Ivillage or any other internet site for that matter. I do not view my contributions of such value that I should worry about it much. I am new to computers and the internet forums and blogs so I ask for my own edification. Again this is not an attempt to single out GW and IVillage. The situation I am describing does exist here though and you cannot deny the chilling effect it has had on many people whether you consider them right or wrong.
minibim was the only one who seemed to get the jist of my question. Her answer and others appears to be that Capitalism and the pursuit of money trumps all other ethical considerations. A while back someone said that it was just best to let IVillage be what it is, which is an advertising platform and protect yourself from all the ads on your end. The same would apply to content. That is a rational and common sense approach, but will this lead to a dumbing down of content caused by the chilling effect of the generous rights IVillage gives itself?
You tell me my only right here as a consumer is not to view or post. Is that the only option we as consumers have while corporations every where grant them selves unlimited rights in contracts and terms of service? Shouldn't we as consumers have the right to speak up and challenge business in how they conduct their affairs?
With this kind of value that the pursuit of money is primary and takes precedence in regards to intellectual property and copyright, then we as a nation have no business admonishing the Chinese for intellectual property infringement. Does China have a law that says if you do any business in this country we have rights to all your processes, patents, ect? Does a library have the same rights because books are stored in their space? What will happen when Google digitizes the Library of Congress? Will Google then grant themselves this same extensive list of unfettered access and use of all material hosted by their system? You don't see any ethical or moral questions involved here spewey?
Bit by bit we rollover to corporations and grant them rights no person is allowed. Is this the path you suggest we all follow? Again I ask "What ethical standards should corporations be held to?"
Trudi D may I suggest you stick Henny Penny up where the sun don't shine.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:18
As a consumer it is a very powerful "right" not to, view or post to these forums. If everyone exercised this "right", Ivillage's advertising dollars dry up. What stronger message can you possibly send?
The rest of your arguments frankly don't make any sense to me. I can choose to start a for profit corporation tomorrow and do the same exact thing Ivillage is doing, so can you. Which is another wonderful "right" about capitalism, if you don't like it, invent something better.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:25
End of Story, The Pursuit of Money trumps all other values and considerations. Period.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:28
Since you ask ME again (and I have no idea why you single me out twice in this thread), no, I see no ethical issues involved here. iVillage has been perfectly open about its policies.
You clearly are confused about copyright issues. Both China and the US are signatories of the Berne Convention. Libraries may contain copyrighted works, but mere possession does not equate transfer of copyright. [Nor does posting here mean you would lose your copyright rights over your own work, but by voluntarily posting you agree to the Terms of Service of the site and thereby assign rights to the site to use your work as well.
Google has no plans to digitize the Library of Congress, and even if it wished, it is doubtful Congress would grant unrestricted access. You are clearly confusing the LOC with Google's Library initiative, which has been limited mostly to certain content in academic libraries. Google has a clear policy on copyright use, and will remove illegally posted content when evidence of copyright violation is presented, replacing the search engine link with a notice of said copyright violation.
Despite your rude and childish retort to Trudi, you are dealing in paranoid histronics rather than reality. No one is forced to post anything here.
Shouldn't we as consumers have the right to speak up and challenge business in how they conduct their affairs?
That would require a change to the Constitution, which, while it provides for freedom of speech, applies that only to public speech, and does not require private companies to extend free speech to others. That's why you may write letters to the editor of your newspaper, but they have no obligation to publish them. What you are asking for is government control over private enterprise, which would be required to force private publishers and website owners to allow unfettered free access.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:33
I'd like to know the names of the coroporations you brought down to their knee's to give you a free computer and free internet access.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 21:57
I wish that you had stated before that you were new to both computing and the internet, and had asked questions for starting a dialogue where we all can learn. A give and take dialogue between posters can provide insight on a lot more than its subject, it will provide insight about the posters themselves. However, (im)posing morality as a basis for your concern, and then lashing out at those who oppose your view cannot help you, but instead has frustrated you even further and backed you into a corner.
You have a clear opportunity now to turn things around and become the hero here. Have your lawyer look at the iVillage disclaimer and give you a definitive and unchallengable regulation or law. Have the lawyer provide the exact numerations for verification and post them here. We will be grateful to you for setting the record straight regardless of the outcome, and all of us will sleep better through the night knowing the exact issues we should or should not be concerned with.
You can help us.

For those who might look--
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 22:12
I'll paste in the link to
Here is a link that might be useful:

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 23:35
You asked and pointed in the right direction and I went and looked. What I found may not mean a thing, since I am not a lawyer and this is an 18 page law from 1998, but it is on their site.
Title II of this is most pertinant here it seems. Here is some of what I read.
In order to qualify for this limitation, the service provider’s activities must meet
the following conditions:
! The transmission must be initiated by a person other than the provider.
! The transmission, routing, provision of connections, or copying must
be carried out by an automatic technical process without selection of
material by the service provider.
! The service provider must not determine the recipients of the material.
! Any intermediate copies must not ordinarily be accessible to anyone
other than anticipated recipients, and must not be retained for longer
than reasonably necessary.
! The material must be transmitted with no modification to its content.
Section 512(c) limits the liability of service providers for infringing material on
websites (or other information repositories) hosted on their systems. It applies to
storage at the direction of a user. In order to be eligible for the limitation, the
following conditions must be met:
! The provider must not have the requisite level of knowledge of the
infringing activity, as described below.
! If the provider has the right and ability to control the infringing activity,
it must not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the
infringing activity.
! Upon receiving proper notification of claimed infringement, the
provider must expeditiously take down or block access to the material.
So you decide, do the new TOS seem compatible with these condidtions from the law? Or by continued participation do you give these rights away?
Here is a link that might be useful: THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: seatofmypants99 (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 23:42
Well, if they can't modify it's content, then I'm thinking a watermark would be the way to go if you didn't want them using your pictures.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sat, Jan 28, 06 at 23:57
Since by posting you agree to the terms of the TOS, you agree to grant the site non-exclusive rights to the use of your work. That is 100% compatible with US copyright law, and really no change from the earlier copyright policy of this site.
As has been noted many times, if you don't like the terms of the TOS, you shouldn't post any material here of concern to you. No one is compelled to post, but if they do, they do so under clearly defined terms.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 0:03
ilima you are no Denny Crane.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 0:36
So you are saying then spewey that a corporations TOS can supercede the law and we grant them special rights above the law by posting? Is that correct?
I understand completely what is going on here. It is not about me and my pictures, thoughts or stories. It is not a question of what, it is a question of is it right that we allow business and corporations these special rights?
Now here is a little Histrionics for you, I am from the South so embellishment is a second nature art form: As a gardener who finds solace and a spiritual comfort in my connection to nature, The Pursuit of Money Trumps All demeanor of our hosts here feels a bit like having the money changers lined up in front of the temple, demanding their fee before access.
Don't tell me again. I heard it the first five times. I know this is not the only temple. It was merely a thought for the rest of you to consider before I decide if I should go.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 0:47
I did not say that nor infer that. It is not a question of the law being superceded at all. By agreeing to the Terms of Service, you in essence enter into a totally voluntary agreement with GW that assigns non-exclusive rights to the site. You are in no one way compelled to post anything, and have the complete right not to post anything for which you have concerns or for which you wish to retain exclusive copyright. Note that this policy predates iVillage, in that the previous site owners also reserved all rights to posted material. In fact, the iVillage TOS does not claim "all rights reserved," but only non-exclusive rights, meaning your own rights to use your material on your own are retained.
As for fees, no fees are being charged us. In fact, there is at present no longer any option to pay a membership fee.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: poohbear2767 Dunlap Tn USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 3:21
The legalese you posted applies only to Internet Service Providers.
The section has to do with situations such as if I wrote a book and emailed it to a publisher. The email would first be transmitted and stored on a mail server at my ISP. At this point my ISP would have a copy of my book but this section of the DMCA explains that this is not a copyright violation because the mail server is only storing it temporarily, only a limited number of people have access to it and only for technical reasons, and the email containing the book will be forwarded toward where it is going without being modified.
The section also deals with automated indexing tools that index websites for search engines. A portion of the text of a website might contain copyrighted material that would get indexed and portions of it copyed to the search engine database. Without this section of the dmca the search engine owner would be committing a violation of copyright.
Title 2 of the DMCA doesn't apply to this site.
Pooh Bear

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 6:07
The King Tut exhibit is currently in town. I would really enjoy seeing this exhibit, but the money changers have lined up in front of the temple with their hands out charging $40 a ticket.
Apparently it is not important enough to me to pay $40 for a ticket. I haven't tried to convince them yet that morally they should let me in anyway so I can see this interesting bit of Egyptian history. I mean how can the pursuit of money trump ancient history?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 8:57
I have to admit ignorance here as I hardly watch the tube anymore 'cept CSPAN and CSI reruns during dinner. I had to google Denny Crane (gee whilikers!)
Here is a link that might be useful: who is Denny Crane

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minnie_tx (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 11:42
Thanks trudi, I didn't know who he was either.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 12:29
Tee hee.
I figured since the person made a tv reference in another thread about "Darpa&Greg" they'd appreciate the Boston Legal reference.
Denny Crane is William Shatner's best character ever. My favorite part is how he shouts his name whenever he wants to get attention.
"Denny Crane!"

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 13:01
Admittedly I thought (at first) that is was either a type of sandbox toy for digging or a type of fishing bird.
T--who, as a child, wasn't allowed to play with her brother's tonkas and adored Marlin Perkins.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: harper 8 (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 14:08
I love Denny Crane!
and wasn't it Darma & Greg?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: malonanddonna z7 NC (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 14:54
mbt - you appear to be mixed up in your recollection of posters.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 15:45
Yes it is/was Darma&Greg but malonanddonna turned it into "Darpa&Greg" after Trudi mentioned DARPA in the other thread about nobody wanting to post pictures.
I'm osrry MD that I gave credit to someone else for your joke. But yall (the angry ivillagers) just sort of melt into one after a while. Kinda like the Borg ;0)
"Denny Crane"

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: kmickleson z9 CA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 15:48
...why are we as a society allowing corporations and business to engage in behavior that would be deemed unacceptable for an individual?
The heart of ilima's point concerns the broader question of how, from the time the colonists arrived protesting control and exploitation by English corporations, American corporations evolved. At first they were entities granted the privilege of citizen-governed charters to conduct activity beneficial for public need. An early capitalism based on civic responsibility to the citizenry was incrementally supplanted by one where self-serving businessmen gradually bought influence to promote legal changes to the constitution which favored profiteering over projects for the good of the people. They used the 14th Amendment, originally enacted to protect rights of freed slaves, to grant corporations the same rights as individuals. These changes have been so thoroughly imbedded in our current assumptions of "how things are" that views favoring policies for public good over the sanctity of profits are scoffed at. (A helpful summary of this history is linked below.)
Given our current environment, in which "data mining" and the freedom to spy on our phone calls or internet records can all be summarily recast as "fighting the war on terror", without telling us what they're really doing because it would "give information to the enemy", it hardly seems paranoid to wonder what any corporation might do with whatever information it collects from us. Sure, we have the "right" not to participate in iVillage. But so do we also have the right to question whether the laws governing such businesses encourage them to serve our public interests as vigorously as they do the corporations' interests.
You can't have it both ways, to say that their TOS is unacceptable to you, but still post/view this site.
That's like saying that people against the war should go live in some other country if they don't like it here. Or, that real patriots don't question their Commander in Chief. are dealing in paranoid histronics rather than reality.
This brings to mind the oft seen contemptuous dismissal of any spirited, emotional response to perceived illegal or unethical policies of our administration as "too angry", "over the top" or "losing it"--as if highly rational human beings cannot also be angry, and for good reason! I'm angry that iV changes here have caused participants I enjoyed and respected to depart to other sites. Too often, feeling angry is met with, "Well, then do something about it!"--In this case, take your clicks somewhere else! Discussing one's disappointment and anger about the changes doesn't always have to have an action end point. Ilima or I may or may not leave, but can still value opening discussion of the broader issues involved and members' feelings about them.
Many will think, "But GW is not a political vehicle". True, but ilima's question here raises the moral questions implicit in iV's business policies, much as the colonists might have questioned whether those policies served the public good--a question no longer even asked in civic discourse. The morals of business practices are inevitably political.
P.S. I highly recommend the 2004 documentary, The Corporation, which examines the evolution of corporate ethics in a most powerful and balanced way.
Here is a link that might be useful: History of Corporations

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 16:06
iVillage and GW are .com, not .org.
This is a profit making machine, it wasn't built for anyone's personal pleasure, it was built as a business for profit.
WHERE did that truth get lost?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mrbrownthumb z5 Chicago (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 16:43
I see what you're saying but that's a bit of a stretch. It's not like telling someone to move to another country. You don't have to give up your job, home, family, friend's and all the other things you've collected, or learn a new language just to stop posting on a site where you don't agree with the pracitices.
You can go to another site or start your own without ever leaving the comfort of your home if you don't agree.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 16:46
Excellent post, kmickleson. It was starting to read like a transcript from 'Crossfire'.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: gina_w CA-10 (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 17:28
ilma, if you are new to the internet, then fasten your seatbelt for a bumpy ride. You have issues regarding the ethics of companies on the internet taking possession of your posts and pictures?
Try this on for size - now every page on the web is "archived" by Google and others, so that you can search and find any page with any content ever posted to the web (since the archiving began). So what you post here today, whether it's opinions, recipes, addresses, names or pictures of your children, will be archived to be found by anyone who searches whenever they please.
So what one company does with their freely-submitted users posts is a small consideration when compared to the new issues at hand.
Recently a local newspaper reporter emailed me after finding me on one of these forums to ask about a local new store opening. After chatting, she asked for my name. I politely declined and she asked why. I told her that if my name is included in a story printed by the newspaper and duplicated in their online edition, my name will be online, archived and searchable forever and ever. She had no idea about this.
Things are changing and happening on the web far faster than any laws can keep up with.
So, you see, it doesn't matter what site you post to or publish on your own - it's going to be out there for everyone to use, steal, learn from, etc., and there's nothing you can do about it, except not participate.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 18:01
Yes and no, Gina. If you publish your own site, you can set code in the message headers that prevent search engine 'bots from scanning the page. Since you mention Google, they recognize the robots.txt coding, and they provide a mechanism to disable page caching, as do other search engines.
I have a few sites and they do not show up in search engines because of simple coding; others I do not mind being listed, and some of them are.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 18:03
Identity theft is costing Americans 53 billion dollars per year. That's the main thing to watch, as far as I am concerned--if iVillage does something that might expose me to that, then I will have to take measures. And that's why when I left for awhile I asked them to delete my member page, so it wasn't sitting there waiting for spambots for nothing.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: minibim (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 19:13
Wow, I had no clue America was founded because of corporate abuses. Wonder why such an important issue was left out of the Bill of Rights?
BBoy, you just need to get rid of your internet access altogether. Your ISP knows more about you that Ivillage ever will.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: inkognito (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 19:37
A moral question, or is it? Is it a question of decency afterall. If I knowingly engage in gossip then the rules of gossip apply and what I tell may come back and bite me in the arse. When I talk to someone I am not primarily concerned with how this might be written later in my biography but with something I feel is far more organic. Decency is a genuine notion of shared confidence. If this does not exist and denying this in fact becomes a statement of intent then decent people recoil. What then remains is a choice between avoiding that situation or trying, as illima is doing, to explain that the pursuit of money may not be the only option. I don't want intrusion into my life, hence the name but I do want to talk with people about gardens and gardening. If there has to be a commercial angle to this then explain to me what that is and i can agree or move on.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 19:52
Another good post (>A moral question, or...<). Glad to see some meat on the old carcass.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 20:17
The commercial angle, I am guessing, is that this site's founder sold the site for a considerable sum, and the new owners, which are part of the Hearst publishing group, bought it as an investment with the hopes that they might not only recoup their investment, but eventually generate revenue to pay their shareholders.
As a gardener, you have a site to post in and discuss issues of that interest you. You can accept it on that level alone, or move on if you indeed wish to.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: tally (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 20:19
"If there has to be a commercial angle to this then explain to me what that is and i can agree or move on."
Well, who's going to pay for the programmers, the salespeople, the servers, the utilties, the office space, the xerox machine, the postage, the insurance, the legal advice, the office staff, the accountants, the taxes and the coffemaker that it takes to provide you the opportunity to talk with other gardners?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Sun, Jan 29, 06 at 20:20
We are all free to start our own sites and make them into what we want them to be. If we want to be competitive with other sites we need to promote our own site and should it grow large we'll need to support it. We can pay out of pocket, get grants (if possible) or we can have advertising to defray or completely cover the cost.
We can be controlled or we can be the controller. Our frustrations, time, passions and desires will be our impetus for site development. We have many choices and they are ours to dismiss or use to our advantage.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 1:33
Yes I am new to the internet and forums and blogs. I have been both shocked and amazed by the power of this medium and what it can do. I have also been learning to use that power to my own advantage as well.
I may possibly be a little naive, but I am not uninformed or unwilling to search out and find answers to my questions. Pooh Bear was correct in his evaluation of the legaleze I posted above. It applies to ISP's not websites. I went looking again briefly and didn't find anything directly for websites. The closest I found was about the Napster file sharing deal in which the website was held liable by enabling its users to infringe copyrighted works.
A valid question though is, "Should a website be held to the same standards as an ISP?"
The bottom line here for me is that the content provided by us, the users of the website is what gives it value as a money making advertising platform. Whether or not the content is common knowledge or something new and unique does not matter. The content we provide for free creates the value.
I understand the need for ANY website or forum to protect itself from copyright liability. They need that in order to function so they must claim copyright. That was not enough for iVillage and GW and they have gone a step further and claimed a non-exclusive right (including any moral rights) to all content submitted ect, ect, just in case right? In other words they will have the exact same rights as the author of any form of work submitted. They can license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, sublicense, assign, derive revenue or other remuneration from, communicate to the public, perform and display the content (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. They do not need this to function. They want more money if they can get it.
You can call it Capitalism and wrap it with lawyers and make it voluntary but it still amounts to a taking they are not entitled to or need. That is called theft in some places. Do you want to allow business and corporations to behave in this manner?
If it was just a question of Decency then they would not have included this (including any moral rights) in the TOS. They know it is a MORAL QUESTION.
If you still don't get it perhaps a gardening metaphor will work for you. It is time to divide your daylilies so you dig up the clump, clean and separate them and make many new plants. The manufacturer of the shovel now tells you that you need to give them a portion of your new plants because you used his shovel to dig them up. You say I already paid for the shovel and helped your company and he says to bad, without my shovel you wouldn't have new plants so you owe me more.
If you still don't get it, follow this link for a discussion of the bigger question I ask you to ponder as you roll over and submit.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Bigger Question

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 8:25
The guy with the shovel forgot that I can also use anyone else's shovel or just a plain stick and work the clump out of the ground. He can be savvy and offer me a coupon on an another shovel or the sharpening tools and storage hooks for the shovel or he can be an idiot and lose his business for ridiculous business practices.
Can you PLEASE offer us something less ridiculous. Right now, I'm tempted to order that guy's shovel 'cause in your post there's a LOT to shovel.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: josh_ivillage 6 (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 11:59
This seems to be a great opportunity to let you know about the new HotTopics forum we've just created on GardenWeb. The description of the forum is: "If you have an opinion on today's current events or other hot topics, feel free to discuss it here. These topics tend to appeal to articulate people with strong opinions and often these debates are sometimes heated. You may challenge another's point of view or opinion, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully, without insult and personal attack. You are responsible for your own behavior and if you cannot follow these rules, your posts may be removed and your membership privileges may be revoked." So Marquis of Queensbury rules apply.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: wellspring (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 15:13
I'm going to tilt at windmills for a moment … so I hope you'll bear with me.
Conflict in every realm of human life is inevitable. It is, in fact, helpful, even enjoyable, when at its lowest level. At that level we would probably give it a different name, like "problem solving". Most posts begin at GW-IV with someone stating their problem, i.e. "Which tree / shrub / perennial would you …?" or "What would you recommend planting in my 100' x 2' shade border" or "How would you landscape my front yard (pics inside)" or "Is design essential to the garden?" etc.
When it comes to group dynamics, the whole has the potential to be greater than the sum of its parts. That may be why we seek the group for answers in the first place. For more on that, I hear that the book The Wisdom of Crowds" is interesting. When the discourse remains in the healthy, positive range of the conflict spectrum, the result is heightened energy, creativity, multiple options proposed, greater clarity of the original issue or issues that emerge.
This powerful level of working the energy of conflict (or problem solving) happens when people remain committed to being hard on issues / soft on people. Experience and habit has taught us to do the opposite. We tend to be soft on issues and hard on people. The more we perceive to have at stake, the more likely we are to respond in negative ways.
Ilima's post expresses an issue that's been on many of our minds. She's put it out there when anxieties and feelings are high anyway, so it's that much easier to move into the "hard on people" mode.
So … in an effort to be hard on the issue, I'm needing help with the basic definition of moral here.
I think I'm hearing … from various posters …
1. What GW is doing is moral because everyone else is doing it.
2. What GW is doing is moral because they have not deceived anyone; they have told us that they are doing it.
3. What GW is doing is moral because if you don't like it you can leave.
4. What GW is doing is moral because they must make a profit for their investors.
5. What GW is doing is immoral because they are staking a claim to something in perpetuity that they do not need to have in order to do business and which is not theirs by right.
6. What GW is doing is immoral because they are placing profit as the highest priority rather than the benefit and welfare of the community.
Am I getting it correctly?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 16:21
There is no theft or deceit here. However one feels about iVillage, they did post the Terms of Service well before placing them in effect, giving fair warning of the changes, and allowing time for any who did not agree to them to cease posting.
No one has since been forced to agree to post. Every one who has posted has done so voluntarily under the terms of the TOS.
To use that absurd shovel metaphor, if you read the label on the shovel and don't like the terms of use, don't buy the shovel. Find another shovel. No one is forcing you to buy that shovel, any more than anyone is forcing you to post here.
As for the commercial aspects of the web, I take it some of you would like to see the government privatize the web and offer a state-controlled garden forum, rather than one provided by private enterprise. If that's not the case, and you simply don't like this company's management, I see nothing preventing you from going off and starting your own competing site. Just don't let the door slap you in the as you leave.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: mwoods (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 18:14
so much fuss over a freebie. We are using their web space to post our pictures,converse and for some,to strut their stuff without paying a dime for any of it. If I had a photo which I didn't want the world to see,I sure as heck wouldn't post in on the local grocery store bulletin board anymore than I would here. Of course profit is their motive,they are a business. What do some of you think this is....a social service of some kind?

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: inkognito (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 18:19
I think you summed it up well wellspring, I wonder is spewey read it?
Ilima (a person of the male persuasion btw) has a valid concern closer to what we thought the internet was to be than yet another vehicle to get us to buy stuff so can we listen without giving a knee jerk reaction to an opinion some see as anti American or some such nonsense.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 19:13
Exactly, inkognito. Concern about corporations overreaching is not rare in today's America, asking about something of this nature is not coming from a radical viewpoint.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: wellspring (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 20:11
Ooooops. Just shows that you can learn something if you pay attention. Sorry, Ilima. It's that "a" on the end that persuaded me, but perhaps that's not reliably a feminine ending in the islands.
Inc, you can lead ahorse to water … Thanks for the affirming word.
Spewey - government controlled GW? Wouldn't that be fun! I'm afraid, however, that I don't think that would improve the moral landscape.
I agree that it was good practice for GW to inform members about recent changes in policy, but I do not remember receiving an e-mail to that effect. I heard about it on the grapevine.
My stake here is as a long-time lurker / occasional poster who deeply appreciates the intellectual stimuli and good, helpful advice I've received on my favorite pasttime. I wasn't around much in the first half of 2005, and when I came back, after IV had bought the store, I could no longer log on with my old name. Sure … I know I can leave it if I like … but that hardly seems to be the point of this virtual environment.
And, what if … what if … there are ways to make the environment better, more fun, more creative, more morally responsible and, perhaps, even more financially lucrative?
So what if the new policy isn't remarkably different from the old one. Perhaps we should praise the new management for putting the issue on the table, and somehow get to work to make it better.
I went digging in my files for a couple of references to share. The first is from an article by Colman McCarthy, When college graduates put ideals before dollars, The Washington Post, June 5, 2000, C4, which describes a new meaning that graduating seniors are giving to the acronym GPA. It means "Graduate Pledge Alliance". McCarthy writes:
"Coordinated as a national campaign since 1996 by Prof. Neil Wollman of Manchester College, a Church of the Brethren school in Indiana, the pledge is taken by graduating seniors who are conscientiously selective about which companies or organizations they will work for. Ideals before dollars.
"The voluntary pledge reads: I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve those aspects of any organization for which I work."
And, it isn't outside the realm of possibility for a corporation to step outside the box of "business as usual" and begin to think and act more ethically. One such company is the natural-toothpaste company, Tom's of Maine, led by CEO Tom Chappell. His story was featured in Linda Tischler's article entitled "God and Mammon at Harvard," Fast Company, May 2005, 80-83.
Chappell spent his mid-life crisis, after agressively growing his company, at the Harvard Divinity School. Four years later, he asked one of his professors to meet with his company board and help them draft a mission statement and business strategy based on moral and ethical principles, concepts that are the bread and butter of religion. As a result, Tom’s of Maine promised to honor its commitments to all of its stakeholders, including employees, owners, vendors, consumers, the community and the environment. The company also adopted a plan that committed the business to start a series of three partnerships each year that promote the common good, such as saving America’s rivers, community gardening and support of a local dental clinic for the poor.
I believe that "moral" can mean something more than simply what is standard operating practice or what is legal.
I believe that it is at least possible that GW could be better, more creative, more ethically responsive, and, yes, more profitable than it is … What might that look like?
Wellspring, a.k.a. Don Quixote

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: spewey z7 TN (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 20:43
I agree that it was good practice for GW to inform members about recent changes in policy, but I do not remember receiving an e-mail to that effect. I heard about it on the grapevine.
The notice was posted, in duplicate, at the top of every forum page for weeks before the new TOS was placed into effect.
Maybe those with moral qualms about this site might like to start a new one that is more in line with their own sanctimonious ideals.
For my part, I think GW is rather socially responsible, particularly through its provision of NatureNet and the environmental forums there, forums on THS regarding renewable energy, vegetarian lifestyles and old house conservation, as well as many forums on GardenWeb proper regarding conservation-minded garden practices.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima Kihei, HI. Z11 (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 21:07
Thank you so much wellspring.
I remember one of your posts from a few months back. It was so well written just like the above. Maybe we will bump into each other somewhere else out there.
It is best not to admit
That I knew all along
I was tilting at windmills
Until near the end of your song

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: wellspring (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 22:03
Not leaving, Spewey, unless there's no one left here to knit together a worthy discussion. And, I'll be the judge of where my moral qualms lay.
Don't care how great GW may or may not be, there's always room for improvement. I suppose that's why this forum is here, unless it's just for show. Who knows? The powers-that-be might actually like to see something substantive here.
Good point about the links that you mentioned. Nope, I didn't see the notices about policy changes … sort of difficult from my perspective.
The approach is still pretty "soft on task / hard on people", but a few options have been offered … jammed … our way:
1. Leave if you don't like it here.
2. Live with it.
3. Get your own website.
4. Work on changing things so that needs of all stakeholders are adequately met.
5. Tell really, really good jokes until all of us are falling all over each other with brotherly and sisterly affection.
O.k. that one hadn't been mentioned. I just threw it in there.
Wellspring, A Tiltin' & A Singin'

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: malonanddonna z7 NC (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 22:35
The notice was posted, in duplicate, at the top of every forum page for weeks before the new TOS was placed into effect.
Oops, not quite correct Spewey. It was posted in duplicate for some reason on the Home Forums but not on the GardenWeb forums. So not quite "every forum page".

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: dublinbay z6 KS (My Page) on Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 22:41
It was posted for weeks on the Roses Forum and Antique Roses Forum--but whether in duplicate I don't remember.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: baci z10Ca (My Page) on Tue, Feb 7, 06 at 5:10
In terms of this issue, I side with ivillage. I get sick and tired of posters that constantly use this forum to promote their own site. iVillage has to pay for their promotion – why should the free GW users get free advertising for their site? If they want to promote their site then they should go through the proper channels & pay for it – just like iVillage.
Maybe this post should not be one disguised under "morality" but entitled "I am angry because I can not promote my web site for free on GW any more."

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: little_dani 9, S. Tex Coast (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 0:42
I understand the deal with iVillage and the choice to post or not to post and all that.
I am a little confused about one thing tho.
Does Trudi d work for iVillage? I seem to see her everywhere on the GW, and lately she is rather nasty and rude to just about everybody. I have actually defended Trudi in the past, but I am thinking that I must have made a mistake.
I am not singling her out for criticism, but I am wondering why she is immune from the rule about being nice to each other? I have seen several posts lately that I would be surprised if the recipients of her mean attitude ever posts again.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 4:50
She either has clout or has whining and complaining perfected to a T who has posts and whole threads removed on a regular basis.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: trudi_d 7, Long Island (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 18:17

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: little_dani 9, S. Tex Coast (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 20:33
My mother always taught us that good manners were a mark of good breeding. She wanted us to always be known to be of good character.
I guess character, good or bad, always shows.

RE: A Moral Question
• Posted by: ilima (My Page) on Wed, Feb 8, 06 at 21:12
Yawn is a sign that you have hit a hot button and the cavernous Pit is about to open. Janie you can expect this whole thread or the last few comments to fall into the void shortly.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

How Long Will it Take

My maternal grandparents lived on 3 acres of land in the house my grandfather built in Orange Park Florida. Across the street was the St. Johns River. The entire property was devoted to my grandmother’s garden. The place was filled with azaleas, camellias, dogwood and redbuds. Easter lilies and amaryllis grew kind of wild. Day lilies were everywhere. All this was topped by a mature native Florida forest of Oak, Pine, Maple, Holly and Magnolia. The trees were all draped in Spanish Moss. Spring time in this garden was a profusion of bloom.

They lived an hour away by back country roads and as kids we went to visit for all the holidays and special occasions. This garden was where I hunted for Easter eggs and played with all my cousins. I took walks with my parents and grandparents to see everything that was there and to hear the stories of the different plants.

The garden was also filled with wildlife. There were raccoons, armadillos, tons of cranky squirrels, gopher tortoises and birds of all kinds. The most magical thing there was my grandmother’s favorite, a flock of rare pure white morning doves.

When I was in kindergarten we moved into the house where I grew up. It was a typical ranch style suburban house on a 1/4 acre, maybe, lot in Gainesville Florida. When we first moved in all that was there was a big swath of lawn with the beginnings of a ligustrum hedge on the property line and about five tall pines left on the land from the original building of the subdivision. That was not enough for my parents so we began to build a garden of our own from scratch.

My parents did not just go out and buy a bunch of plants and put them in the ground. There were four children at that point and I do not think it was in the budget. My paternal grandmother also had about an acre of land further up the river. It was just as lushly planted. Bit by bit over time we would dig up small seedling plants and trees or divide clumps of flowers from my grandparents and bring them home to our garden according to how the design was going in my fathers head and what would fit in a station wagon full of kids.

North Florida is in the temperate zone with definite seasons so there were specific times during the seasons when you could or could not move different kinds of plants if you wanted them to live. Of course we had to have Dogwood trees. Their large white blossoms in great masses on leafless stems are the first sign of spring. These had to be dug and transplanted in the fall after they had shed their leaves but before it got too cold.

When my fathers design found a spot where he wanted a Dogwood we had to wait until fall, Thanksgiving usually, before we could bring a tree home to fill the spot. Over the summer we would walk my grandmother’s garden looking for the right size tree, not too big and not too small with a nice shape and in a spot where it would be easy to dig and get a good root ball. When the time was right we would dig up the tree we had decided on and bring it home. Because it had to be small enough to survive being transplanted and to fit in the station wagon with all us kids we usually ended up with a tree about 3 to 4 feet tall.

When we got home we planted the tree and watered it. Now we had to wait until spring to see if it would survive the winter and send out new leaves. Usually they did because we had followed all the directions handed down through the generations. The first year in its new home and we now had a very small Dogwood tree. All we had to do now was wait for it to grow into a tree.

I don't remember precisely how but one of those trees became my tree. It was on the left side of the steps up to the pool that was built many years after the tree had been planted. Its companion Dogwood on the right side of the steps belonged to one of my sisters I think. I watched that tree grow. In three years it was maybe ten feet tall and ready for its first limbing up to begin shaping it into a tree. It scared me to watch so many big branches being cut off its trunk. The tree didn't seem to mind and it kept growing. Every spring it had more and more flowers. By the time I was in high school it was indeed a tree about twenty feet tall. I wasn't afraid anymore when some of the branches needed to be trimmed to give it a good shape and to be able to walk under it. It now shaded the large brick patio that had been added between the pool and the back door.

I moved to Colorado for six years but came back home to finish the last two years of college. My parents had moved to Orange Park to care for my grandfather and left my two younger brothers, now adults still living at home. My Dogwood tree was still there shading the deck with a very large crown. I used its shade to grow potted plants and dug up some of its offspring to try growing them as bonsai. When I graduated college I had a party before I left for Maui. There is a picture of me from that day on the pool deck next to and under that tree. My sister bought the house from my parents and lived there with her husband and daughter for another ten years at least. When I would go home to visit, the garden my family had built from scratch was as much a part of the place as the actual house. Even though it was a small suburban yard I could walk the grounds and hear the stories from the different plants.

My Dogwood tree never had to be moved again or cut down as the pool was built and a new living room added on to the house and a patio built. My dad's design had seen into the future. I got to help plant a tree that was mine when I was a little kid and I watched it grow as I grew. It bloomed in the spring each year with a snowy white profusion that promised abundance in life. It gave my home a sense of place and permanence, something that only seems to come with time.

As a landscaper and nursery owner one of the most frequent questions I get is "How long will this take to get big." The answer which varies is never soon enough it seems from the responses I see. Underneath my irritation with that question is the sadness I feel for them because they are missing the best part, the time to be and to become a part of a place, the time to watch something grow and change and the joy you can get from saying I planted that when it / I was just a small little thing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Queen of the Pits an Ode to Trudi_d 7

This is a copy of my last post to the Gardenweb. It was deleted from the Hot Topics and Garden Writers forums. I frequented and participated at this forum until the new owners succeeded in turning a high traffic and popular site into a dancing, blinking video arcade of cheesy advertisement. They then claimed in a new Terms of Service policy the same Copyright privileges as the authors of all submitted work. The mother company is Hearst Publishing and I questioned the morality of their extensive taking in this matter.

You would have to know all the characters in this whole drama to get the drift of this entry. I post it here in case some of those from Gardenweb would like to see what was deleted. A link to the last thread about the issue is here.

A Moral Question

The Queen of the Pits

It is True
De lights are set
An audience has begun to gather
The Queen of the Pits prepares
For a one Whoa Man show

A connoisseur of shovels
Our Pit Queen demurs
Forever shoveling forever
Most of the time
Looking ridiculous
Yet feeling sublime

A sense of superiority
Is maintained intact
The Pit Queen is too dense
To deal with real facts

Instead the show is performed
As a rabid attack
Withdraw and Deflect
A Dance around act

One can’t help from lurking
It has to be seen
Just exactly how wide
To In Trude
Can she open that Thing?

( [] )

The stage has been set
For the Pit Queen’s last chance
To have the last word
With ilima the pest

So shovel and dig
Look really deep in your pit
Find something of worth
Please…. no ridiculous outbursts
You must
Make it your best