I agree that the swap seemed a bit off, probably because we ARE getting older/heavier and trendier. By the end of the day it was all my spandex could do to hold in the extra 40 pounds of extra weight and I know I wasn't the only one in the room!
As for your comment about the extra gear...well it does makes things easier and more interesting to look at the play with. The mini Phil Spector look-alike was "top o' the heap" when it came to the extra stuff.
I do recall Cheech and Chong at 4 o'clock in the room. I also inquired about bikes and parts that were not for sale at the "swap meet". I chalked it up to good drugs as well. I don't get it. Why bring stuff if it's not for sale or for votes?
As for the little hats and wool...Some guys just love to display their wears no matter how silly they may look to you or others. Live and let live, I always say.
As for your comments in points 6 and 7, all I can say is OFF TOPIC! I got called out for inquiring about a Selle Storika on a KOF restoration, so I know this qualifies.
Finally, as for the Cali boys, I can assure you that the energy costs are hitting them the hardest on a show that is on the East Coast. It cost me $75 up and back from Richmond, so figure the math for them.
I am doing a restoration on a Raleigh that will have all of the bells and whistles including a few extra brake levers and gear shifters. After reading your post, I have decided not to replace the decals, but instead rename the bike under a new builders logo. So don't be surprised when you get to Cirque next year and see a bike in the 1980's corral looking for some votes by the yet to be famous builder "Ron Donneur".