Sunday, July 27, 2008

Plant Peeps- For Your Eyes Only

I need your help.

I have know idea what this plant is.

Actually, that's not true. I know it's a lily.

"Now, now, now...Lilly."

Down, boy, Herman.

There's a simple reason I don't know. I didn't plant it. And, it has never bloomed until this year.

The blooming thing is not necessarily my fault. You see, after we moved into this house 5 years ago, the plant was already here. But Lucy kept cutting it down. She thought it was a weed, I guess.

Last year I convinced her to let it grow. The foliage was kind of cool, and you could tell it was not a weed, but it never produced a single bud. I thought whatever magic it had left in its bulbs must have been spent.

"Darn, darn, darn, darn!"

This year we got a lot of spring and summer rain, so it took off growing at a tremendous rate compared to last year. I might have given it a bulb boosting fertilizer last year, too, but I can't remember.

I was extremely grateful when I saw the first bud in late spring. Then more came. I waited patiently while they grew.

Now the anticipation turned to what color blooms I would have. At first it was yellow. Then a bright orange-red.

When it finally bloomed, I was stunned. It was so cool. The petals completely opened up, so much so that the tips stretched curvily all the way back to the proximal bud. Like little orange parachutes. They were peppered with black spots.

I had to turn the camera completely up to get a good shot of the center of the flower.

When I took the upside down picture, my hand got littered with pollen.

Now I need your help- what is this thing called?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Speaking Of Names

Who started the trend (long ago) to name sports teams after articles of clothing? And why did it die out before we made our way through the whole wardrobe.

There are plenty of Socks (Sox). We have Knickerbockers. But what happened after this?

We just abandoned the idea. And in favor of what? The Heat? The Magic? The Wild? The Thrashers? What kind of names are these?

What about the Columbus Blue Jackets? Was this an attempt to make clothing names fashionable again? Or were they named for this guy?

Sports team names we should have but don't:

Hush Puppies.
Crew Necks.
Bath Robes.


Heck, I'd even settle for Pantaloons.

Just bring back the garment names, please. The possibilities are endless, and far more appealing than the current trend in abstract nicknames.

Ballpark Update

Doubtfully in response to my post last week, there is a new deal going forward to build the ballpark village.

By the way, Google maps provides a close up view of the hole, who some have dubbed "Lake DeWitt", after the team's principal owner. Zoom in to downtown St. Louis, street level view, and see it for yourself in all of its glory.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What If...

I've tried to remain quiet about the Cardinals' success so far this year. Somewhat out of fear of "jinxing" the team (as if my actions had any role in the team's outcome), but mostly because I didn't want to praise the team and then look stupid when it went in the tank.

I was quite excited going into this season due to the new faces and lowered expectations everyone else had. Although it received little love from the pundits, I liked this team a lot. It had gotten a lot younger and hungrier over the winter.

Now with the season past the half-way point, I have to say this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons to watch. Because the expectations were lower than past years, there has been no great frustration those few times when the team hasn't played well.

The opposite effect is also most certainly true- there is nothing more aggravating than seeing a team with supposedly great players struggling, like we've seen occur in past seasons.

This season kind of reminds me of the 2006 post-season. What made that whole thing so enjoyable was not just the ultimate victory that resulted, but the way the team played so loosely under little expectation of triumph. We just sat back in awe and enjoyed the ride. Let some other team grip while we just have fun.

To be only 4 games in back of the Cubs and leading the wildcard with the starting rotation stitched together like it is is simply a gift. It has been enjoyable.

IF things go according to plan, this team is about to get a lot better in the next month. I see no need to make a trade.

Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, the two best pitchers the Cardinals have, are set to return within the month. Carpenter hasn't pitched a meaningful game since Opening Night 2007, the game in which he was injured. But apparently all systems are go for his return as he has been sent out for a rehab assignment that could take up to 30 days.

Injuries are always the joker in the deck, so the outcome of a season is always in doubt. However, this season has to be labeled an unqualified success, regardless of what happens here on out.

Do I think we're going to see a repeat of 2006? No, not likely. Could it happen? Yes, absolutely. And to be able to say that heading toward August and September is good enough.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

All Star Game

St. Louis gets the All Star Game next year. A chance to highlight the city's new ballpark, just like Yankee Stadium in New York this year, and all the new stadiums in recent memory.

So what's the problem?

This is season three of the new stadium. The new stadium also promised a new "ballpark village" over the remaining site of the former Busch Stadium, immediately north of the new one.

Problem is, there remains no ballpark village.

So, when everyone gathers for the All Star Game fun next year, what are they going to say about this eyesore? (Photo courtesy of St. Louis Daily Photo Blog)

Another view (originally found here)

Still another view (courtesy of Urban Review STL)

At least this guy has the answer! Merchandise the St. Louis mudhole!

Since they had nothing better to put here, they should have listened to the Sklar brothers and made the gigantic Busch Stadium they proposed back in 2005.

Such an embarrassment.

Questions In Search Of Answers

Aren't libraries just giant file-sharing administrators? The "files" being books, magazines, videos, CDs, newspapers, etc.

Why don't publishers of these particular articles of information "go after" libraries for distributing their materials? Don't these lending institutions cut into the potential profits of these giant producing corporations? I don't have to go buy a book- I can just check it out, read it, and return it. Same with music, periodicals or newspapers.

And yet if I do the same thing on the internet, I might potentially be breaking the law.

There must be a reason. I don't get it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Things I Learned From PTI

Did you know July 9th was the birthday of OJ Simpson, Courtney Love...and John Tesh?

I learned of this strange trio from PTI, my favorite ESPN weekday informant. I verified it at this nifty website, where I also learned Ed Ames was a member of this club.

At the NNDB site you can look up any date to see who you share a birthday with, but I digress.

Does anyone else think this is the most bizarre arrangement of celebrities born on the same date that I do?

Here you have a multiple murderer who can't stay out of trouble, a drug addicted rock and roll singer who can't stay out of trouble...and John Tesh? Where does he fit in to this melting pot of mayhem?

Makes you wonder what Tesh is hiding under his rug, doesn't it?

That group just doesn't fit together. The fact that those three are linked together by anything at all is just-this-side of crazy.

But then I looked at who was born on my birthday, just to see if there was an even weirder group I could come up with.

Try this on for size- November 7th, my birthday, claims the bizarre triumvirate of Judy Tenuta, Dana Plato and Billy Graham.

Not too shabby, huh?

So my question for you all is this- do you think you can mix together a weirder combination of 3 people born on your birthday that beats July 9th or November 7th?

Friday, July 04, 2008

World's Strongest Man

That's one of my favorite competitions on ESPN.

But how about a new competition, ESPN- World's Toughest Man?

I have my first nominee- Chris Snyder, Arizona Diamondbacks catcher.

In fact, I'm not even tough enough to type up a post about what happened to this cat. So I'll let Jim Rome's 'take' suffice. It was even better on the radio- I almost spit spit.

From his website:
This next ‘take’ is extreme graphic in nature! And, horrifying! And that’s why I’m going to tell it to you. Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder just suffered the worst injury in the history of major league baseball…a fractured testicle!

Insane! A foul ball off the face without a mask would have felt good by comparison. Given the choice between getting shot in the face and that…I’m taking the lead.

The D-Backs immediately put Snyder on the 15 day D.L.

Never mind the 15 day D.L., how is the guy not dead? If it were me, I would have asked the groundskeeper to break out a shovel, bury me right there behind the dish and I’m calling it a day.

If that guy bounces back from that in two weeks, he’s the toughest “cat” ever!

Aron Ralston, who was trapped under a boulder, broke his own arm and then sawed it off with a pocket knife in order to walk down the side of a mountain to safety...can’t believe how tough Snyder is.

Stay strong bro! I’m already in the process of designing you a “kevlar cup”! Get well…every dude on the face of the earth is pulling for you. Seriously!"

15 day DL? How about 15 year DL?

Okay, Aron Ralston, Chris Snyder, and that dude from the X-games last year who fell from the sky from his skateboard are my first 3 nominees for Toughest Man. Any other nominees?