Hello tiny dancers, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Today we’ve got an all-new Panel of Experts for you, as well as a some puzzler action.

Let’s start by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

So the election is over but the divisiveness in this country isn’t. I went round and round last week on whether or not to say how I felt, I deleted the content about 50 times. In the end, I said my peace. And I think I alienated some people, even some very close to me. I apologize for that. It was not my intent to focus on our differences. I should’ve done a better job focusing on our similarities.

Because the bottom line is, we’re all in this together. And I mean that for my readers in other countries – we all share this big, beautiful planet.

Here’s to hoping we can get along.

In that spirit, this week I asked my Experts the following question:

Q. What are your thoughts on nation building?

Expert Andy, we’ll start with you:

A. A nation is no better than the sum of its citizens and legal residents.  This great nation was once built upon a defined immigration process.  From 1892 to 1954 Ellis Island was the business single immigration inspection station in the USA.  (Wikipedia)  Ellis Island is the home of the Statue of Liberty.  People would leave Europe, largely in search of new opportunity, fear of religious or ethnic bias, and to escape the taxation being burdened them by the kings, queens, aristocrats and politicians of their native countries of England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and others.  My suspicion is that in these times, there was another process behind the scenes in what could be described as “illegal immigration”.  My point is that the USA was built upon immigration, and unfortunately at the cost of repressing the locals.  The locals from the 1400s to 1800s were Indians and Mexicans.  That’s right, I said “Indians” and “Mexicans”.  For God’s sake!  “Native Americans” and “Hispanics” is better?!?!  Anyway, my bet is that if persons were found to be illegally immigrating into the USA during prior periods they faced a similar fate of deportation and rules to get their documents in order.  There is a process today that by definition is Immigration.  It is a rule and it should be followed.  Period.  And if someone isn’t following it they should be forced to follow it.  And once you are legal residents, FOLLOW THE RULES!  Don’t like the rules?  Then we have a process for that too, so go knock yourself out.

The process of nation building is often harsh.  With it comes death, despair and anger;  all sacrifices made in the pursuit of a dream or vision of the existing citizens.  It is still happening all over the world, especially in the Middle East in places such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc….  For that matter, it is still happening here.  You just witnessed it again on Tuesday night.  The USA is still nation building as well.  Into what, time will tell.  But it appears to me we are following the same trajectory as European countries and previously dominant empires.  Before a nation must come together it must fracture into segments.  If you do not believe this nation is fractured, I invite you to go to any on-line news source and review the demographics of Tuesday’s Presidential vote.  Some, such as FoxNews.com have the ability for you to click down to the county level to see the % to each candidate.  But you need not go that far to see that the citizens in major cities and major college towns across the country overwhelmingly went to Obama.  Reportedly, in the 18 – 29 demographic, he won by 23%.  College towns.  Go look for yourself.  I guess they are happy with 40% underemployment below their degrees over the last 4 years and want some more of that.  At a minimum, they do not like the way things are and they have the “Hope” and share the vision for “Change” that the President speaks of.  I hope, for their sake, it works out for them.  For I too wish to see change.

A government is not a profit center.  It takes in $ (taxes) and it pays bills (interest, social programs, national security, etc…).  To stay solvent your income must at a minimum balance to your outflow.  That is a non-profit.  Losing money because the outflow >>> inflow is not a good model.  Therefore the current model needs to be changed.  This week’s vote was proof that people are tired of the outflow recklessness not being addressed.  The answer is not always raising taxes.  This unhappiness almost swung the vote.  Yet that is what YOUR leaders are doing.  The tax increases proposed by the current administration will take approximately 152 years to pay off the nation’s debt.  And that is if they all go through 100% as proposed.  If the bills are lowered by the same amount then logic tells me we will be down to 76 years to pay off the debt.  For sake of clarity 76 + 18 = 94.  So today’s college freshman and high school seniors have a shot at seeing the debt = $0 in this model if their life expectancy rises another 10 years over their lifetime.  Of course, I don’t buy into this model and propose that real job creation tactics are put into place.  The only way to get 76 years down to 20 years is to put rules in place which stimulate job creation which will increase the tax basis.  More people working vs. sitting on their ass or trying to use their food-stamps for cigarettes, alcohol or Starbucks = more revenue.

Ahhhh, it is all part of nation building.  And interestingly enough, the Statue of Liberty just underwent a renovation and was just reopened.  Actually Hurricane Sandy pushed back the reopening.  Coincidence?

A. I am all in favor of it domestically, and think it’s naive to try and do internationally. It would be nice to rebuild New Orleans and Detroit before Kabul and Baghdad.

A. I think we can lend a hand, but rebuilding has to come from within. Cultures matter. History matters. Approach with respect and not fear, with calm and not force.

A. First of all I would like to comment on my colleagues last week contribution.  I am so proud to be associated with such erudite, self-thinking individuals – they are awesome and a special tribute to our esteemed leader, Liza, whose observations and comments were “right on”!  To me the future lies in the ability of our congress to truly serve the interests of the people of this great nation and stop all the posturing and self-aggrandizing and to brush up on their “arithmetic”.  Boehner is a real stumbling block.  He appears to lack the guts to do what is right and is so fearful to do what is right lest he displease the “Tea party”!  This is all “Junior High” behavior and nonsense one would expect of children that age.  Hopefully, he will mature in his attitude and learn how important compromise is.  The people have spoken and D.C must listen and act accordingly.  I have faith that the people in this great country will have a meeting of the minds and make the necessary compromises to allow us to move forward and continue to be the land of the free and the brave exemplifying The World leader of Peace and Justice.

A. I am the lonely one, my journeys have taken me to distance point far beyond the setting sun

I am the lonely one, trial and tribulation have I met as I go… forth  yonder the rising moon

I am the lonely one, no coin weight my pocket, no feast graced my plate

I am the lonely one, no words deterred my path, no fear  stilled my heart

I am the lonely one, difficulty’s  abound, obstacles obscure, anxiety flourishes

I am the lonely one, disheartened I be not, comforted I be many

I am the lonely one, disorder, chaos and ruin, and now cold,  greets me like a dagger to the heart, but I am not chilled

I am the lonely one, but I am not alone, though I am just one

I am the lonely one of many who come to smile, comfort, hug and handshake, speak a word of hope, offer a gift of help

I am the lonely one of many who come from far and wide with cheer in the hearts, and love in their souls

I am the lonely one no more, I am the American Red Cross

I help rebuild disaster’s loss, disperses anguish, instill courage,

Rebuild a distressed nation, yes for a new day is upon us

Wow. Very interesting answers. You’re certainly passionate about this country, and you’re each your own person. I enjoyed reading all of those.

So thank you once again for gracing this site with your presence. I appreciate the time and energy you spend each week to be here. I’m sure my readers do, too.

Readers, if you ever have any questions (or compliments) for the Experts, you’re welcome to leave them in the comments section or shoot me an email and I’ll pass them along.

That does it for this week’s panel of Experts – well done, everyone. The Experts will return in exactly one week. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to last week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these flowers were real or fake:

Let’s see how you answered:

Joesph Brenner wrote, “Absolutely real. And gorgeous!”

He added, “Thanks for the part about Presidential disrespect. My sister, a Texas schoolteacher, has noted that the classrooms STILL display portraits of Bush/Cheney above the flag. 4 years after America chose Obama, the GOP is still in denial of the truth.”

Ginny Burton, Optician to the Stars, wrote, “Died laughing! Nearly cracked a rib!”

Alissa wrote, “I love this blog!! Cheers!!

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Going to say real, on the new photo.

If you think elections last a long time for you in New Mexico, consider: in Iowa, the 2012 election started roughly 18-21 months ago. We’ve been getting pollsters calling us during dinner at least once a week for about the last three months. In the last month, it’s been closer to three times a week. Plus the calls asking us to vote one way or another on ballot initiatives (which are wasting some poor robot’s time, because we’ve both already voted) or encouraging us to volunteer to help get out the vote, or etc.”

Tom from The Midwestern Jungle wrote, “I’ll say real. My favorite reason for living in Illinois (aside from this balmy zone 5b climate of course) is that we’re not a swing state. I saw my very first presidential ad YESTERDAY and I haven’t seen once since.”

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Real.

Sending good luck wishes to your country – I do so hope enough people make the right choice!”

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “I’m going to vote real. We had an abundance of news about your election up in Canada, so I can just imagine how overwhelming it was for you. You must all be glad it’s over.”

Mary wrote, “Real!”

That’s seven votes real,  zero votes fake. (Ginny cracked jokes, not guesses – funny lady, that one.)

What’s the correct answer? Let’s take a wider view:


Sorry about the poor photo quality. I took this with my phone at the grocery store and didn’t realize it was a little blurry until now.

The flowers are real, and I can’t believe no one was fooled. I thought those green centers would throw you for sure. I should’ve known you guys are too smart for that.

Joseph, you were first with the correct answer, which makes you the best answerer. For being so speedy, this week you’ve earned the title of Premier, Finest, Of High Moral Regard, Swiftest, Firstest, Bestest Grandest Champion of the Houseplant Blog Universe and Beyond. Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by three caramel apples.

You’re all winners in my book, so for playing this week, I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: Unity, 14 bragging rights, a platter of fish sticks, a pretend bouquet of fall flowers, 2+2, a hungry hungry hippo, 16 bonus points, two decks of playing cards, one chocolate milkshake and a hearty round of applause. Well played! Congrats everyone!

Up next, the new puzzler.

???Real or Fake???

Is this plant real or fake (also taken with my phone)?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, November 15th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.