Friday, February 24, 2017

Orcas Not Yet Seen In Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

No, that is not an artist's rendering of the latest imaginary addition to the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, adding a pod of Orcas to the newly designated "Houseboat District" of America's Biggest Boondoggle, which can't even manage to build a simple little bridge over dry land.

I was going through my library of photos last  night and came upon this picture I took earlier this century on a trip back to my old home zone of Washington.

The pod of Orcas you see here are part of the entry to the Tulalip Resort Casino complex. The Tulalip Resort Casino complex is in Marysville, a town north of Seattle, about 40 miles south of my place of residence prior to moving to Texas, that being the town of Mount Vernon.

Texas evicted most Indians and their tribes way back in the 1800s. So, Texas only has a couple Indian reservations with small casinos.

When I was a young lad going to Nevada was a novel experience, to Reno or Las Vegas, or any other town in Nevada, due to the legalized gambling, with slot machines ubiquitous, not just in casinos.

And then the native tribes of the west coast won legal battle after legal battle establishing their right to operate casinos. Eventually this rendered going to Nevada not nearly the unique experience it once was.

My old home county of Skagit has two big casino complexes. The Skagit Casino Resort is the location of one of my all time favorite buffets, of which I  partook frequently when I lived in the valley. The other casino complex in Skagit County is the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, which is the location of my all time favorite seafood buffet.

Today if I wanted to partake of a buffet in a casino I could drive about 20 miles north, crossing the Red  River into Oklahoma, to go to the Morning Star Buffet in the Kiowa Red River Casino.

The buffet may be good at the Kiowa Red River Casino, but I have not partaken, I know from personal experience  the buffet at Oklahoma's WinStar World Casino Resort is real tasty, with the best coffee I have had in all my years in the South.

I am about 100% certain I will not be going to a casino today.  I am also about 100% certain I will not be seeing any Orca pods today playing in Lake Wichita, or any other Texas location.

Well, maybe Sea World in San Antonio. Or have the captive Orcas been freed?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Record Breaking Temperature Has Me Thinking About Being Stuck On An Imaginary Fort Worth Island

Does that view looking north from the Wichita Falls Circle Trail look HOT to you?

I heard via the radio, a few minutes ago, we may be heating up to a record high today.

Currently, barely past noon, the outer world at my location is not quite HOT, but is merely extra warm at 77 degrees.

I do not know if I will be able to resist turning on the air conditioning today.

If I do turn on the A/C I believe  this will be my first time doing such a thing in February.

I remember a February day a couple decades ago, when I lived in the Puget Sound zone of the Pacific Northwest, a rare winter heat wave struck with temperatures in the 70s. Or was it 80s? I don't remember. What I do remember is Washingtonians by the thousands  flocked to the beach. I recollect my beach of choice that day was the one at Camano Island State Park.

I had not thought of it before, til typing Camano Island,  that my old home zone actually has one thing in common with Fort Worth.

Imaginary islands.

There were two islands which were not islands a short distance from my Washington abode. The aforementioned Camano Island and Samish Island.

Fort Worth's imaginary island is called Panther Island.  Currently Fort Worth is stuck trying to figure out how to build three simple little  bridges over dry land to connect to the imaginary island.

A key difference between those two Washington islands, which are not islands, and Fort Worth's island, which is not an island, is the Washington islands were actual islands before farmers built dikes to hold back the saltwater.

Now that you are making me think about, Camano Island may actually still be an island. It has been years since I drove to that island, but I am sort of remembering a bridge crossing to the island, which would seem to indicate Camano Island is still an actual island.

Even if Fort Worth ever manages to dig a ditch under those three non-existent bridges, and fill that ditch with water, I don't think any sane person would consider the result to be an island.

When I starting writing this blogging about it being HOT I sure did not think I would somehow end up on an island...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Country Road Detour While Helicopter Rescues Jackie, Fancy & Clancy

Well, I have had myself an exhausting day.

Up early to drive to the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro mess.

This particular morning commute was pleasant, no traffic woes, not even in the congested construction zone one comes to when one reaches Fort Worth's version of I-35.

The return to Wichita Falls commute this afternoon had a bit of a problem. I will get to that later.

But first, yesterday, after receiving a cautionary email from my Favorite Nephew Jason, I asked the question Will Camelback Helicopter Rescue Be Needed For Clancy, Fancy, Jackie & Jake?

In that blogging I opined that I likely would be getting text  messages regarding the Camelback Mountain debacle, if such became the case.

I was in Arlington, making a quick visit to River Legacy Park when Jason texted me a photo he'd been texted from Camelback Mountain, which is what you see above. That would be Jake, Jackie and Fancy, with Clancy, on the right, looking like she's not quite yet recovered from recent electroshock treatments.

I thought it looked like the Camelback  Mountain hike was going well and Jason was concerned needlessly.

And then a couple hours later I was having a chile relleno lunch with Felicity Frankfurter at Esperanza's in the Fort Worth Stockyards zone when Jason texted me the following photo.


I do not know which of the three we are seeing being rescued above, dangling from the helicopter. Jason provided no details. And no word about Jason's dad's hiking condition.

I got gas today in North Richland Hills. $1.93 a gallon. Sometimes I call my mom  and dad when I get gas, but today I did not. I did not want to call because I figured I could not resist asking if mom and dad knew any details about the Camelback Mountain rescue debacle. Figuring they were likely oblivious to this ongoing drama I thought it best just not to call, so as not to needlessly worry them.

Moving on.

I did not decide my return route to Wichita Falls until I reached the Decatur option junction. Scenic route or the more direct Highway 287 route? I opted to go direct. That turned out to be not so direct.


About 10 miles west of the little burg called Bellevue, that being one of the few slow to 55 sections of 287, all Wichita Falls bound traffic was halted.

Dead stop.

At this point in time I do not know what closed the road.

Eventually I reached a point where a highway guy was directing  people to drive across the grassy median to head back from whence one came.

Highway 287 looks like a four lane freeway, for the most part, but it is not part of the federal interstate system.

When it was my turn to get directions from the highway guy he simply said, just follow that truck and he will lead you back to 287.

And so I did. As the miles accumulated, following that truck, I had no clue how far we were going backwards before finding the detour. The detour exit turned out to be in Bellevue, heading south on a country road.

Above, that is the truck I was following in a convoy of people being detoured.

Eventually we came to a junction heading back north towards 287. Soon thereafter we came to another junction, this one going to the little town of Scotland. I knew that would more efficiently take me back to where I needed to be, instead of returning to 287 past the obstruction.

And so I left the convoy and went to Scotland, then home.

I hope those Camelback hikers are okay, but the best part of today was that chile relleno at Esperanza's.....

This Morning I Learned I Am An Emotional Extrovert

This morning on Facebook, via Nurse Martha, I saw one of those scientific survey test things which do an in-depth analysis using precise data to make some determination about something, such as if one is spelling challenged, a genius or what state one is best suited to live in. That type thing.

I found out I am an Emotional Extrovert after I took this grueling test.

The link bait in Facebook said "You Can Only Fit One Of These Four Personalities. Which One Is It?"

"Every single person is one of these four. Which are you?"


Along with learning I was an Emotional Extrovert I also got the following detailed analysis....

Most defining characteristics: Your personality is mostly associated with fire! You are optimistic, restless and sensitive. 

You are a extroverted, eccentric and opinionated person. You tend to be impulsive and restless but at the same time passionate and sensitive. You love to be in charge and ambition is one of your strongest qualities. 

You have a very short fuse and a flaming temper. Patience for other peoples' inadequacies or ignorance is something you lack, and you can come off as blunt and aggressive. Despite your flaws you are wildly intelligent, incredibly loyal and you do have a soft side that helps you create deep and meaningful relationships with people.

Uncannily accurate....

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Will Camelback Helicopter Rescue Be Needed For Clancy, Fancy, Jackie & Jake?

I will get to the explanation as to who you are seeing in this photo in a moment.

But first I have to explain  that this afternoon I got a cautionary email  from Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason.

I will copy that email in its entirety so as to convey what is being cautioned...

FUD-

I have just been informed by your brother that he, your two eldest sisters and one of their wives are going to attempt to hike Camelback Mountain tomorrow morning, via the Echo Canyon Summit Trail.

This is the same 'extremely difficult' trail that I traversed last week.

I don't see this outing going well. I know that one member of the hiking party has severe lower back issues which may prevent him from reaching the summit.

To reach the summit, one climbs on large boulders, often on all fours, for a gain of 1700+ feet in about a mile.

Many rescues are made on this trail via helicopter. Local authorities use a helicopter to rescue hikers, as the pathway to the summit ends after a few hundred yards, leaving few other options.

I advised your brother that someone ought to make sure that the helicopter has a full tank of gas.

- FNJ
_________________

I can understand Jason's concern. The main objects of concern would be Jason's eldest aunt, who also is my eldest sister, Clancy. That would be the most recent  photo of Clancy. that I could find, which you see above. You can sort of intuit from the photo why Jason has some concerns about Clancy getting on a Camelback.

The brother to whom Jason refers is my little brother Jake, who also is Jason's dad. Hiking with a bad back over treacherous terrain is a recipe for pain.

Now, the other two hikers, those being my second eldest sister, Jackie, and my ex-wife, Fancy, well, I don't think those two present as big a concern as the other two.

On my last visit to Arizona I went hiking with my second eldest sister, Jackie, who also happens to be the mother of my Favorite Nephews Christopher and Jeremy. We hiked up Piestewa Peak. Jackie wore me out on that hike. At one point she somehow went straight up the peak, bypassing a pair of switchbacks. Suddenly I had no clue where Jackie was. Eventually, after she watched me spend a couple minutes being perplexed, hollered from above, letting me know where she was.

Now, Jason and I may be totally wrong in our danger assessment regarding this Camelback Mountain climbing expedition. All four of these hikers have been regularly playing something called Pickelball. Maybe all that Pickelballing has gotten the quartet in excellent shape.

I expect I will be getting a report about this expedition tomorrow. I will be in Dallas for most  of the day. I likely won't  know if a helicopter rescue was needed until I get back to being connected to my computer. Unless I get a text message...

Felicity Frankfurter Takes Me To Fort Worth Protest Thumping Trump

Yesterday morning when I woke up my computer I found a message on Facebook from Felicity Frankfurter.

Felicity Frankfurter's Facebook message was simply a link to an article on the KERA TV station's online version, that being an article titled Protests Greet GOP Donors In Fort Worth.

I am assuming Felicity Frankfurter read my Indivisibly Protesting Fort Worth's Missing Kay Granger blogging in which I may have indicated I was not quite sure what was being protested.

The KERA article and accompanying TV News video clarified what the demonstrators were demonstrating about.

Apparently, like most of the world's non-fascist citizens, these Fort Worthers are appalled America's new president is just as bad and as embarrassing as many feared he would be. And so they gathered by the 100s outside some sort of Lincoln Day event in downtown Fort Worth's Omni Hotel at which multiple irresponsible Republicans, such as Fort Worth's Kay Granger, were expected to appear.

Regarding Fort Worth and protests.

A couple years after I moved to Texas I was back up north, in downtown Seattle. I remember escalating back to ground level from Seattle's Westlake Center transit station and finding myself in the midst of an enormous protest. I do not remember what was being protested.

I remember when I saw that Seattle protest I remarked to the person I was with that it was nice to be back in the Northwest where people take to the streets to take up a cause. Further remarking that since I'd been in Texas I had not seen a single protest about anything, which seemed so odd to me, in a city (Fort Worth) and a state (Texas) where there seemed so much that was protest worthy.

Well.

Moving forward into the next century, it seems that the protest bug has spread to Texas.

Including Fort Worth.

In recent years in downtown Fort Worth I've seen a massive demonstration of protesters marching in support of decriminalizing marijuana.

Since America's presidential election debacle took place there have been multiple protests in downtown Fort Worth, in addition to Saturday's Lincoln Day protest.

Thousands marched in downtown Fort  Worth, joining the millions who protested world-wide, the day after Trump's inauguration, in what was called the Women's March.

I'm thinking a protest demonstration protesting the ongoing embarrassment known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther  Island District Vision, would be extremely impressive.

A couple thousand people carrying signs demanding J.D. Granger be fired and his mother's resignation, marching to the Heart of the Boondoggle, circling around that roundabout with the million dollar homage to a shiny aluminum trash can at its center.

Then marching around those nearby V Piers sticking out of the ground, with the protesters bringing bridge construction to a halt.

Oh, wait, that already happened, with no protest needed.

Next month it will be a year since construction of America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island has sputtered, due to design errors and who knows what other instances of incompetence.

Instances such as this seems very worthy, to me, of a massive protest demonstration.

Would hanging J.D. and his mama, in effigy, from one of those V Piers be too radical?

Monday, February 20, 2017

No Wichita Falls Whitewater Rapids Running On Holliday Creek For Me Today

Last night's predicted thunderstorms and heavy downpours arrived as scheduled.

But, without the damaging winds which were also part of the forecast for my location.

Maybe wind did some damage at other locations, but managed not to blow hard where I am situated.

This Monday morning, an hour before noon, with the outer world heated to a non-chilly 60, I opted to take a walk on the Circle Trail to my Caribbean neighborhood as far north as the Spanish town of Granada.

In the view above you are on the Circle Trail looking north at Holliday Creek. As you can see last night's rain put Holliday Creek into white rapids mode. One can easily see how this type violent erosive action carved out Holliday Canyon over the eons of time.

I wonder why I have seen no daredevil type doing some kayak based rapids running on raging Holliday Creek when it is in whitewater mode? I have seen no warning signs forbidding such activity.

Come to think about it, I have also seen no boat activity on the Wichita River, which is the river the water running in Holliday Creek eventually joins.

Perhaps there is a danger of which I am not aware. That happens a lot to me...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Indivisibly Protesting Fort Worth's Missing Kay Granger

Last night I had a couple incoming messages regarding a protest underway in the downtown Fort Worth zone.

When I received the protest messages I did not know what was being protested.

Did a large collective of Fort Worth natives finally gather up enough common sense to organize a protest against the embarrassing debacle known as America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Were these protesters demanding the immediate firing of Congresswoman Kay Granger's son, J.D.?  Due to J.D. being the person many blame as the root of all the problems which have led to Fort Worth being the proud sponsor of America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known at the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or TRCCUPIDV for short.

Well, I am not totally certain as to the entire scope of all which was being protested in Fort Worth last night, but, apparently one of the objects of protesting derision was J.D. Granger's mama, whose job in Congress is what got J.D. the job for which he had zero qualifications, so as to motivate his mama to get some federal pork barrel  money sent his way so as to keep him gainfully employed, apparently for decades.

And J.D.'s mama, Kay, has delivered on that promised pork, to the tune of about a half  a billion bucks.

I don't know how much, if any, of that money has arrived. Maybe that incoming money is what is being waited on so as to continue the construction of The Boondoggle's three simple little bridges, the construction of which has been stalled for a year.

By this morning a Haltom City lady calling herself Layla Caraway had posted about last night's Fort Worth protest and pointed that post at me, as you can see via the screen cap above.

After reading what Ms. Caraway said about Kay the RINO I commented thusly....

Durango Jones: Mrs. Granger is a Republican in Name Only? I thought she was an authentic right wing nut job, not one of the more reasonable Republicans....

To which someone also calling herself Layla Caraway counter-commented...

Layla Caraway: Back in the day she was a D. Not that I care who is a what, that's part of why we are in this mess, but she couldn't get elected to higher office on that ticket, so she went down to the crossroads, and well, everyone knows how that story goes. But if you call yourself a 'conservative' while taking a billion from taxpayers and property from regular folks all for your gain, Rino was the nicest thing I could think of.
_______________________

I have no idea  what the truth is during this troubled time of one never knowing what is real news or fake. Or a liar claiming real news is fake so as to obfuscate his own pathological lying.

I digress.

Anyway, regarding Kay Granger and those who do not think she represents the people in her district, but is instead a lackey for the moneyed interests who in various ways run Fort Worth and Tarrant County like their private fiefdom to be exploited by the local good ol' boy and girl network in what is known as the Fort Worth Way, well, I guess there are plenty of reasons to protest.

At one point in time Kay Granger and her gang, I mean, associates, were rumored to have extensive land holdings the value of which would be greatly enhanced if the Trinity River Vision ever became something someone  could see.

The Trinity River Vision, in its original form, was supposedly a much needed flood control plan combined with an economic development scheme.

The vitally needed flood control part of  the scheme has been pretty much discounted in all the years since it was first announced, due to the fact that if it was so vitally needed why has the project proceeded in slow motion? That and the obvious fact, now clear to everyone, that the area deemed in dire need of flood control has not flooded in over a half a century, due to levees installed, at taxpayer expense, way back in the 1950s.

I think it is a good thing that a large number of Fort Worth people are finally fed up with the corruption known as the Fort Worth Way and are willing to loudly protest.

Methinks if  Kay Granger ever gets up the courage to face a Fort Worth Town Hall, she will likely hear a lot of things she does not want to hear, or acknowledge, things like her baby boy being in dire need of a spanking and a time out....

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Uptown Wichita Falls Funk Slams Dallas Poetry

I was not long at my new location on the planet before it was obvious to me Wichita Falls is a unique location on Planet Earth.

I will not bore you, right now, detailing all the ways Wichita Falls is unique.

Suffice to say I like this town.

Later today, well, tonight, in downtown Wichita Falls, a unique cultural event will be taking place.

The Dallas Poetry Slam Team will be performing a two-hour feature at 2011 Bistro, located at 801 Indiana, beginning at 10 p.m. The event is focused on celebrating the Month of Love and Black History Month. Event admission is $10 and is sponsored by the Wichita Falls Art-Entertainment and Culture Center.

I hope I see you there.

But before you get to experience the Dallas Poetry Slam you must experience the lovely Beauties of Wichita Falls showing their Uptown Funk at the Downtown MPEC....

Friday, February 17, 2017

W's Not Seeing America's Biggest Boondoggle's Bridges Under Construction


We are coming up on the one year anniversary of America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges hitting a construction snag.

Mr. W's above Facebook post generated some illuminating comments regarding Fort Worth's current #1 Embarrassment...

Durango Jones: I keep putting off beating this dead horse yet again, but what with the one year anniversary of the stalled construction of simple, little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island I'm assuming Fort Worth's highly esteemed newspaper of record must be about to publish an expose in a series of articles detailing what has gone wrong with what has become known far and wide as America's Biggest Boondoggle....

Mike Wegner: I'm just dumbfounded at how little attention this has received, the lack of progress, the ongoing road closures, etc. If they can't even build these bridges over dry land, how can they pull off a $1B+ project? Meanwhile, the 'Left Bank' development between Montgomery Plaza and the river is going great guns, hundreds of apt units, Tom Thumb, other retail, etc. But I think that is all independent of the Boondoggle.

Durango Jones: It is all so bizarrely perplexing. I am not even remotely possessing engineer type understanding of constructing anything. But, I look at those V Piers and I do not understand how such would support a bridge deck. Seems like it'd be some sorta perverse teeter totter. And if those bridges ever do get built, over dry land. how does the ditch get engineered to get dug under them without causing problems with the bridge's foundations. It this type thing the real cause of the holdup? As in a legit adult project engineer showed up on site and quickly determined this project design was insane????

Wayneman's Page: 3 unfinished bridges to nowhere, but lies and corruption.

Terri Bednar Wegner: It's a collaborative effort but wonder which entity awarded the design contract to the Fort Worth engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc.? And how the $66 million cost is split between the entities? And is there any way to find out since the TRV is not subject to open records law either?

Mary Kelleher: How embarrassing!

Andy Nold: The 2 northernmost piers on Jacksboro highway have a lot of "new" steel in them. The northernmost looks like the rebar is complete. The 2nd one south of that looks about 50% complete. But it looks like they have stopped again. I wonder if they have hit a flaw with the redesigned rebar mat? I'm no civil engineer, but have worked as a civil engineering technician and alongside engineers as a land surveyor.

Bob Lukeman: I'm shocked!!!
_________________

In her comment above, Mrs. W referenced a link to an article (Construction on three bridges hits snag) in the Fort  Worth Business Press. That article, among numerous instances of nonsense, repeats what was reported way back when construction ground to a halt, that being that the construction halt should last about a month.

Let's look at and comment about some of the aforementioned instances of nonsense in this Fort  Worth Business Press article...

Construction of the Henderson Street, White Settlement and North Main Street bridges began in 2014 and is still on track to be completed in 2017 and 2018 at a cost of about $74 million.

The construction of these three simple little bridges did not begin in 2014. The embarrassingly stupid TNT exploding bridge ground breaking ceremony, featuring J.D. Granger, his mother and Betsy Price, is all that took place in 2014. I blogged about this explosive 2014 event in A Big Boom Begins Boondoggle Bridge Construction Three Months Late.

The bridges are being constructed over dry land and have been criticized by opponents of the Trinity River Vision project as “bridges to nowhere” because millions of dollars in anticipated federal dollars has yet to be appropriated for the transformative project north of downtown Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Business Press thinks the construction of these bridges has been criticized by opponents because funds were yet to be appropriated? No. The lack of funding had nothing to do with why opponents were opposing. The opposition  had to do with things like incompetence, bad design, inept implementation. That and the unqualified son of a local congresswoman being hired, at high pay, to  oversee the project for which he had ZERO qualifications, with the result being that the embarrassment has been a boondoggle for years.

Supporters of the project defend the decision to build the bridges over dry land as a cost-saving move.

Anyone who thinks the building of these three simple little bridges over dry land is a cost-saving move is moronic idiot. There will be no water under these bridges (if they ever do get built) until the ditch is dug under them. And until water from the Trinity River is diverted into that ditch. It does not take a trained engineer to realize the actual cost saving measure would be to dig the ditch at the same time the bridges are being built.

The bridges were designed by architect Miguel Rosales and the Fort Worth engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc. The signature piece of the design is the V-shaped pier design. The bridges will appear to float about 50 feet above ground, “lightly touching the ground every 220 feet,” according to a statement by Freese and Nichols.

The bridges will appear to float 50 feet above the ground? Lightly touching ground every 220 feet? Look at those V Piers in Mr. W's photo above and see if they look 220 feet apart, 50 feet above the ground. See if you can imagine those V Piers supporting a bridge deck. And has anyone seen the part of the bridge construction where massive foundations were poured deep into the ground?

Why isn't Fort Worth's make believe newspaper of record, the Star-Telegram, investigating the Boondoggle's bridge embarrassment?

Just this morning I read a detailed article in the Seattle Times titled Officials say damage to sewage plant in Discovery Park is catastrophic thoroughly covering what went wrong with a primary treatment plant during a recent Washington storm. The article seemed to cover every aspect of the disaster, what caused it, the damage  done, the effect on Puget Sound, the progress of the repair. The article seemed to be a totally transparent report about a serious issue effecting the public.

And then we have the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision headquarters occupying the Star-Telegram building's ground floor. One would think it would be easy for Star-Telegram reporters to take the elevator  to the ground floor and not leave until they get answers to a question the Fort Worth public deserves to know.

As in, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THOSE THREE SIMPLE  LITTLE BRIDGES?