Human Flower Project

Secular Customs

Friday, October 15, 2004

Daffodils May Raise Politician’s Profile

An Oakland city council member announces he’s in the race for mayor and mails coupons for daffodils to 9100 voters.

Ignacio De La Fuente came in fourth in his last race for mayor of Oakland. He’s running again, and to brighten his chances, he’s mailed a flyer to 9100 residents urging them to pick up free daffodil bulbs and plant them across the city.

According to an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, De La Fuente’s engages in some direct-mail rhapsody: “‘Imagine 25,000 daffodils blooming all over Oakland this spring,’ the color brochure suggests, with a picture of the yellow flowers next to a photo of a smiling De La Fuente.” The article notes that Councilman De La Fuente hasn’t been exactly a ray of sunshine on the city governing board; now the gruff, non-nonsense administrator is quoting William Wordsworth’s poetry.

While some constituents have criticized De La Fuente’s using his council fund for self-promotion just a week after announcing his mayoral candidacy, the flower flyer never mentions his campaign. Reporter Chip Johnson quotes Bob Stern, director of the Center for Government Studies in Los Angeles, about the ethics of the bulb giveaway. “That’s what those accounts are designed to do…. They exist to enhance the image of the officeholder.”

Posted by Julie on 10/15 at 01:05 PM
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Permian Girls Steal Friday Night Lights


Students at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, observed a riotous custom Friday, sporting gargantuan mums for the homecoming game September 17 vs. Amarillo.

Homecoming mums used to be fresh flowers but since the mid-1980s, fabric flowers have taken over, turning the once-ephemeral corsage into a trophy of one’s adolescence. These status symbols range in price from $25 up to more than $200, some bearing battery-operated lights and music boxes.

Permian High was the subject of H.G. Bissinger’s best seller Friday Night Lights. The movie version, starring Billy Bob Thornton, will be released in October. The real-life Permain Panthers, 3-0 for the season, beat Amarillo’s Sandies 41-17. but the real winners last Friday were the girls fortunate, bold and crazed enough to wear mums big enough to beat both football teams and both bands.

Posted by Julie on 09/22 at 02:19 PM
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