Hello gold medalists, and happy Friday!

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

It’s Friday, I love it!

On Fridays, I present my Experts panel, followed by a plant puzzler. It’s good times! Let’s get the action started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You are 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 Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi. If the opening ceremonies are any indication, Russia will be putting on quite the show.

I wondered what the Experts thought about the Olympics, so I asked them to share their opinions:

Q. Please share your thoughts about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Expert Andy, start us off, will you please?

A. I’m happy to see the Olympics finally begin such that the media can focus on the athletic achievements of the participants instead of the threats and fear that they are tending to perpetuate.  Every Olympics in my lifetime have been plagued by the threats of terrorist organizations overcoming the spirit of competition and camaraderie in global athletics.  My bet is that Sochi and Russia do just fine and pull off a mighty achievement of holding the Games in such a remote, light Winter environment.  Granted their social policies are, and have always been harsh, but the Olympic Committee has ruled in their favor and I am sure they have their reasons for doing so.  I’m not going to get up in the politics or media aspects.  I enjoy watching stoners on snowboards, skis and other slippery machines flip and fly through the air.  These dudes and dudettes are just plain crazy and I respect their immortal attitudes.  I could do without the subjective competitions such as figure skating and all of the controversy that will stem from that.  I like races, speed and crazy things.  I could also do without the opening ceremony.  I won’t watch that.  Let’s get on with the competition and see who has the best or fastest performance or who scores the most goals.

A. I think the inherent hilarity of Russia hosting the Winter Olympics at a summer resort on the Black Sea could make this one of the most entertaining things ever done. $51 billion and nothing is ready, with all the snow having to be man-made…I mean, that’s just comedy gold. To say nothing of side-by-side toilets, Google the photos if you haven’t seen them yet.

On the other hand, the inherent tragedy and stupidity of Russia hosting the Winter Olympics at a summer resort on the Black Sea, 300 miles from Chechnya and all manner of extremists and terrorists, could make this one of the worst things ever done. That’s before you get into the anti-gay vigilantes, rampant corruption, and the absolutely monumental arrogance & brutality of Vladimir Putin.
Sidebar: does anyone else think Putin is trying too hard to be masculine? I’m getting a J. Edgar Hoover vibe from the guy.
So it will be either an epic farce or an epic tragedy. Or both, though I’m hoping fervently for farce.
Expert EZ Ed Johnson is normally up next, but he’s unavailable this week. Sad face! Let’s admire his adorableness:

And move on to the ever-charming Expert Dottie Correll:

A. I greatly admire the Olympic challenge for excellence and those that work so hard to achieve through “The Olympian spirit.”  I have always enjoyed watching all the participants.

However, this year, I find the venue tainted with Putin’s greed, corruption, and many other evils that creates a pall over the entire effort of so many fine participants.  I fear for the brave athletes who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to reach their pinnacle of success.  They deserve better than what they are being offered!

Even as I write this, I find that the Committee who chose the venue is being investigated for corruption, etc. that evidenced their decision. Sadly, too little, too late.

A. Olympics the gathering of the best athletes in the world in a spirit of competition, cooperation and unity.

The event the world goes to, to meet, the young compete and the young at heart cheer

Olympics are where we see the human spirit shine, and individuals show the world their best

Many times throughout recent history an individual or a group of individuals has shown the world that

Faith in self,

Giving all,

I think I can, I think I can,

Will carry the day and they will triumph

Greats that come to mind are

Jessie Owens  James ClevelandJesseOwens

He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals:

one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team.

He was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Summer Olympics.

He showed the world and Nazi Germany the power of the spirit and one man’s strength

Another great Olympic showing of spirit was the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics USA Ice Hockey Gold Medal team

Against all odds these young men showed the world that the belief in self and your teammates you cannot fail

I cheered and I don’t even like hockey mostly because I know it so little, but they were my hero’s

So as these athletes gather wish them the best,

May only good hearts and open mind greet them

May they soar, smile and hold their Gold high

Or their honor even higher

Very nice, very nice! Thank you for your thoughts. The Olympics mean different things to different people, and I appreciated hearing your take on this year’s games.

Personally, I echo Dottie’s sentiments about these particular Olympics. The intolerance, the corruption, the politics – all nauseating. But I can’t seem to bring myself to boycott them. I still love the athletes and the competitions. Like past Olympics, I’m sure I will find more reasons than not to watch.

That said, I hope everyone stays safe. Especially our gay brothers and sisters, whose mere existence puts them at risk for violence, which is bullshit.

Experts, thank you again for sharing your opinions. I appreciate your effort and your thoughtfulness. You’re the best!

That does it for this week’s Experts Panel. The Experts will return in one week, they hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants submitted this flower photo and asked if it was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Fake, but a pretty good fake. (The petal margins give it away.)”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “That’s a beautiful specimen of the North American “Fakeus Lily”!(B>{D)=”

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Pfft, not tricky at all. I knew it was fake before I even noticed the frayed edges of the petals.”

Steph from Indianapolis wrote, “Wannabe!!”

Liz from Jemez Springs, NM wrote, “Fake!”

Rozz from Singapore wrote, “fake”

That’s six votes fake, zero votes real.

What’s the correct answer?

I only had the one photo from Claude, but here’s a photo of a real Hippeastrum (mine):

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Claude’s flower isn’t horrible looking for a fake, but see how much prettier the real one is? The fake ones just can’t compete with the beauty of a real flower. But it was a heck of a good try, Claude. Too bad (for you) my readers are so dang smart!

mr_subjunctive, you were first with the correct answer, which makes you the best answerer. Well played! For being so speedy this week, you’ve earned the following epithet: I’M BRINGING HOME THE GOLD IN PLANT KNOWLEDGE, Y’ALLZ! Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by Olympic grandeur!

For submitting the puzzler, Claude, I’d like you to multiply all the prizes by Olympic glory.

Everyone’s a winner – good job! To show my gratitude for you playing, I’d like to award you each the following prizes (inspired by the opening ceremonies, my apologies): Five snowflakes, 18 glow-in-the-dark jellyfish, seven spirals, 1000 years, one cauldron, 99 red balloons, six stadium-sized compliments, white, a grip of references only Russians will understand, 14 ballerinas, athletic prowess, unlimited Putin hugs (from you to him – he needs them more than you), 50 weird costumes, many congratulatory tweets, international adulation, fireworks in your honor, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Congrats, and thanks so much for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Are these succulents real or fake?

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

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, February 13th, 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.