Lake Fred

Lake Fred is an actual lake located in the flat pinelands of southern New Jersey. It is also one of my knicknames acquired while I was at college. There is (or was) a Lake Fred Folk Festival in the springtime.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hibiscus Time Of Year

I'm back in the New Orleans area and last night was the first time I was able to do anything substantial with my hibiscus as I repotted eight of my 2005 seedlings into slightly bigger pots. There is much I need to do around the house as Katrina's effects have lasted much longer than imagined and will last a long long time. This weekend we drove into the Ninth Ward and viewed the damage from the Industrial Canal levee breech. It was horrible. The destruction was beyond one's worst nightmare. We drove into St. Bernard Parish, where we saw houses still attached to their foundations now resting in the middle of streets. The scope of this disaster is overwhelming. The New Orleans area we remember will never be back fully. Areas may rebuild and individual homeowners may rebuild, but many will never come back and I fear the damaged houses will remain behind for years and years.

Back to hibiscus: my tinkering in the garden may help me psychologically to escape to a peaceful activity that rewards me with beautiful flowers. The photo is of the 2004 Hibiscus of the Year winner Royal Treasure. It is a beautiful cup and saucer bloom. This particular photo was taken on June 4, 2005, one day before the New Orleans Hibiscus Show. It bloomed one day too early, as it could have won a head table ribbon. This shot is taken from above with the potted plant sitting on a park bench. The next local show this year is May 7th in Baton Rouge. My potted plants have been mostly ignored since Katrina and are not blooming. My bushes in the ground are blooming nicely, but I think they would enjoy some rain as we are in a drought right now. I hope to have some blooms to enter in Baton Rouge in a few weeks.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Baseball Predictions for 2006

As a Lifetime Phillies Phan transplanted to New Orleans many years ago, now working in Houston due to Katrina, but returning to New Orleans after Easter, I have bought into a lot of NFL Saints preseason hype for years, only to be disappointed. I feel less optimistic right now about the Phillies than I normally due for a mediocre Saints team. Here’s why: Preseason games mean nothing. If the Phillies come out of the gate strong like they did in 1993, I’ll jump on the Magic Carpet. If they start bad like Phillies teams of recent years, it’ll just be heartbreak all summer as they try to get back to .500. If Floyd and Madson are the best two pitchers, why are they 4th and 5th in the rotation? The fifth guy never pitches as much and it appears that Gavin Floyd is the best pitcher right now. Lieber and Lidle don’t excite me. The bullpen has really dropped off from last year. Do we have a closer? Who knows? Will the old man, 38 year old closer Tom Gordon, ride a wheelchair from the bullpen and use a cane while on the mound? Offensively, we still have the black hole in the lineup. (the black hole is third baseman David Bell and catcher Mike Lieberthal who bat 7th and 8th in the lineup and rarely provide any offense.)
Before a season starts we always see our favorite team in its most favorable light. We always view the opposition in less than glowing terms. I think we’re wearing Phillies Pink eyeglasses when we look at this team. The Phillies broke my heart as a boy in 1964 and always let me down with those great teams under Danny Ozark that couldn’t win in the playoffs in the mid 70s. I see the Phillies as a team on the downslide in the beginning of the rebuilding process. I don’t see them in the playoffs let alone the World Series. I fully expect a third place division finish and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they finish higher. However, saying that, in baseball anything can happen as attested by a humorous shirt I saw this week sporting an Apollo 13 theme. The shirt read, “Houston...We have a World Series.” I see a Red World Series, a rematch from 2004, with the Cardinals winning over the Red Sox.