Powerball Jackpot

Cone Flowers and Insect Pollinators

Cone Flowers and Insect Pollinators

For the past couple of days it rained at work.
For the past couple of days there was no rain at home.
I don’t know about Spain,
But here the rain does fall mainly on the planes.
– an airport joke

All righty then, as I was trundling into work this morning, I noticed that the Powerball jackpot had crept up to $400 million. I pass a Powerball billboard everyday on my way into work. $400M is a sizable pot and I definitely considered purchasing a ticket after work. I never really expect to win. I can do the math well enough that I know that lotteries are just a tax on those who can’t. Still, how else am I expected to join the 1%?

On those occasions that I do purchase a lottery ticket, I am most rewarded when I pass that billboard. I’m still ten minutes out from work, which is just the right amount of time to spin out a day-dream. I typically fantasize about what I would do with my mythical millions. If I had one wish, it would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. Otherwise, I dream about what I would buy with the money.

A discussion at work about winning this lottery was the genesis for this post. Pat advised me that the first things that you need to do is, “Change your phone number and then hire a lawyer.” Pat is a frequent lottery participant. Jeff offered a unique perspective. Jeff is a bit of a big spoon, he likes to stir things up. Jeff’s idea was along the lines of a good offense makes for a good defense. Instead of following Pat’s approach of hunkering down and trying to hide, Jeff enjoys fighting back. Jeff plans on hiring someone to pester back his former co-workers and acquaintances. This individual would contact these prospective money hounds, lead them on, interrogate them and generally just mess with them. As I’ve said, Jeff is a big spoon. Jeff’s employee would monthly summarize all contacts, which Jeff might or might not read. I think that he is better qualified to be a member of the 1% than I am. I tried buying a ticket tonight, but ahead of me in line was an elderly man, who was trying to pay a $243.39 utility bill. His real world problems trumped my dream world ones. I left then and maintained my stature in good stead as a member of the 99%.

Signs of Spring

I bicycled all day today. I didn’t end up with all that many miles for such an all day effort, but at least I was out and about. I rode around Forest Park by myself, once in the morning. This is the weekend of the Saint Louis marathon, which actually isn’t until tomorrow, but today they held a 5K run in the park. The place was mobbed with all the people who will not be doing the full marathon or even the half marathon tomorrow.

I returned home and rousted Anne out of the house. We launched towards the park again, by this time the 5K crowd had dissipated, only to be replaced by the usual weekend mob, their numbers swelled by today’s beautiful springtime weather. We passed through the park and headed towards Tower Grove Park. They’ve dropped a couple of bridges over Forty, so we tried a different route than usual. This took us through parts of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood that we don’t usually pass through. There is a lot of construction going on in this area, revitalizing the neighborhood.

We did a turn through half of Tower Grove, and then decided to bail to Morganford, Local Harvest and lunch. We ate on the patio, which is now enclosed, so we were quite comfortable. After lunch, we completed our circuit of Tower Grove Park. Kickball season was in full swing. We passed a couple of guys who were practicing their knife fighting skills in the middle of the road. I think that they were only practicing and not really fighting, because there was an instructional aspect to their conversation. After we passed them, Anne advised me to never bring a bicycle to a knife fight.

On our way back from Tower Grove, we stopped off at the Botanical Gardens. All of the pictures with this post were taken in the garden. It was crowded there too. There were an awful lot of weddings being held there today. Brides were popping out from behind every tree. On the way home from there, we enjoyed the tailwind when we had it and endured the headwind when we had to.

Orchid Show

Saturday, was another cold dreary day, at the end of a cold dreary week. February seems to have extended itself into March and last Ground Hog’s Day promise of an early spring is fast becoming a bad joke. Anne had a school activity that maybe we’ll hear about? I know that she has some great graphics to share. I decided to use my free time to visit the garden and see this year’s orchid show.

The orchid show was crowded with photographers of all stripes. Madagascar was the theme for this year’s show. With the crowd, I couldn’t find my rhythm there, so I soon fled. I went next to the Mediterranean House and then the Climatron. Most of these photos are from the Climatron.

Its warm and humid environment is a welcomed respite from the cold and dreary weather that has over stayed its welcome. Unfortunately, its warmth and humidity all too easily fogs camera lenses that have been out in the cold. Fortunately, I had also brought Anne’s pocket camera and had kept it close to my chest. It was quite up to the task. What follows is some expository text, intended to add a little back story to these photographs.

The screw pine is actually not a pine, but a tropical tree. Native to the Philippines, it gets the name because of its spiral growth habit. The aerial roots act as props to stabilize the tree as it becomes top-heavy. These trees produce male and female flowers on different plants (dioecious). The tree pictured here is a male and will not produce fruit.

Commonly called the traveler’s tree or traveler’s palm, it is not a true palm. The common name may come from its similarity to palms and its ability to hold up to a quart of water at each leaf base. If you were lost and thirsty in its native Madagascar, this tree could act as a one plant oasis and provide a much-needed drink of water.

The Chenille plant, is a flowering shrub and is native to Hawaii and Oceania. This plant is also known as the Philippines Medusa, red-hot cat’s tail and fox tail. It is a fast grower and will bring months of continuous bloom.

Heliconia, derived from Greek, is a genus of flowering plants native to the tropical Americas and the Pacific Ocean islands west to Indonesia. Many species of Heliconia are found in rainforests or tropical wet forests of these regions. Common names for the genus include lobster-claws, wild plantains or false bird-of-paradise. The last term refers to their close similarity to the bird-of-paradise flowers.

Calliandra is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family. It contains species that are native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The flowers have numerous long slender stamens that are arranged spherically. These stamens give rise to the common names of powder-puff or fairy duster. These plants flower all year round, but the best blooming is in spring and summer.

Witch-hazel is a genus of flowering plants. North American species are occasionally called winter bloom. It blooms here in Saint Louis in late winter and is a welcomed herald of spring. The fruit is a capsule that splits explosively at maturity in the autumn about 8 months after flowering. The ejected seeds fly with sufficient force to travel up to 30 feet, thus another alternative name, snapping hazel.