Sunday, March 17, 2024

Flowers. Folks. Forever.

     Sometimes I wonder whether media professionals really think about their audience. The other day on the morning news, WBBM AM 780 ran a notice that the orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden had opened. Why would that go out over the air in Chicago? Without any hint of an extenuating detail that might be of interest to a listenership who were, one and all, not hurrying to the Bronx to see it. What purpose does that serve other than to fill dead air? The item seemed doubly strange, since they'd never mentioned the one at the Chicago Botanic Garden, at least not in my hearing.
    Then again, neither had I, even though my wife and I went a few weeks ago. Maybe because I had nothing particularly noteworthy to say about it. "The flowers are pretty?" Stop the presses. The only mildly substantive observation would be a criticism — last year's orchid show, built around the idea of lens magnifying the unearthly blooms, was packed with information about orchids. While this one, maintaining a circus theme, was mere fun. Not a fact in sight. 
     I just didn't feel like carping about a flower show. (Last year, circumstances dictated that I attend the show three times — squiring people through — and my post, "Orchids — Like sex dolls for bees," was built around a visceral disgust for orchids).   For me — and this might be telling — the prettiest sight wasn't the flowers at all, but a plate in a book on orchids on display in the library. The Chicago Botanic Garden has a considerable library, even though not one visitor in a hundred steps in. I am that one visitor.  
     The Orchid Show of Wonders opened Feb. 10, and runs until March 24. Tickets are $21, but that includes admission to the garden, which has changed its logo — this weekend, in fact. Inspired by the center of a coneflower, it is a colorful seal that well encapsulates the beauty of the place. As for the tagline "Plants. People. Planet." Hmmm.... Again, I wonder whether the audience was considered. "Plants." Not a very enticing word, is it? With that adenoidal "a" sound. Plaaaaaaaants. How long would you drive to see "plants"? And "people." Even worse. Generally considered a negative, particularly among earth-hugging sorts. People are what's causing the problem. Nobody says, "There's a crowd, let's go!" And "planet," well, huff some patchouli oil, transport me to the 1970s and let's all start saving the planet. 
     Since I never criticize another writer's word choice without coming up with an alternate myself, I'd prefer ... oh ... "Flowers. Folks. Forever." An improvement, right? That'll be $10,000 please.
A circus theme throughout.


  1. I went to the Botanical Garden's library a few years ago, it was amazing. They even have a room with some really old books, several hundred years old.

  2. Words matter and I love yours!

  3. A bit O/T, but according to Tony Ortega's daily Substack email on $cientology, the Chicago Ideal Morgue they just opened, is empty, as all of us who follow that vile cult knew would happen.

  4. The Chicago Botanical Garden is a treasure-thanks for the mention. Walking there is not only healthy, but lifts the spirits too-in any season.

  5. I will never look at orchids the same way! In the Miller Beach section of Gary, there are patches of wild orchids and an occasional clump of low lying cactus that blooms in early June. More variety of orchids in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore than in Hawaii. It’s unbelievable that this ecosystem continues to exist in a heavy industry environment. Maybe they’re steel orchids. ­čśé

  6. Orchids used to be something of a BFD, back in the day. They were more rare, and more expensive. The big spenders gave their ladies orchids. Bill Veeck had a planeload flown in for an important weekend series, back when he owned the Indians in the late 40s, and he gave one to every female fan who passed through the turnstiles. About 40,000 of them. Cost him a nice chunk of change.

    The 70s weren't all that bad, Mr. S. There was still a lot of fun left over from the 60s, only without all the hippie-dippie goofiness, and the politics and the marching and the rioting. That decade was a lot more laid-back. Lots of easy and casual sex, plenty of weed, and good rock and was the decade of Steely Dan, doncha know. Wasn't your fault that you were a youngster then.

    Hell, I felt the same way about the Fifties. My uncle was an honest-to-Buddah beatnik in the Village, and I desperately wanted to be one. And I was, for one night. On Halloween. So were a lot of other wanna-be-cool kids. But I never could snap my fingers.

    1. Hey, I loved Steely Dan. "Deacon Blues" was my personal theme song. There was, for me, the overarching sense that everything significant had already happened. I consider our present daily apocolypse a karmic punishment for wanting Something to Happen. Now it never stops.

    2. America has always had a bumper-crop of home-grown fascists, even before the Red Scare of a century ago, and our wannabe Nazis, and McCarthyism. But the shit really hit the fan over Vietnam, and the political and cultural wars of the Sixties and early Seventies have continued for another half-century. In a sense, the Vietnam Era has never really ended. It just keeps on keeping on.

  7. It is such a beautiful event in winter. I took bus from downtown on a trip quite a few years ago and just to be in a warm humid atmosphere in winter-let alone full of such beauty takes your breath away! Hey locals-go! You don't even have to take a 250 mile train ride!


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