Thursday, November 27, 2014

Have Yourself A Very Merry Warm Thanksgiving

No, that is not me cross country skiing, enjoying the slippery results of today's Thanksgiving Weekend Ice Storm.

No Thanksgiving Weekend Ice Storm has arrived at my location in North Texas, yet.

That is me cross country skiing several years ago when I lived in a far north Fort Worth suburb, the hamlet of Haslet.

The house was in Haslet, the mailbox was across the street in Fort Worth.

From this location the puny skyline of downtown Fort Worth could be seen, looking like little sticks sticking up on the horizon.

I recollect finding it odd that Fort Worth sprawled so far out in the country. This was one of the first Fort Worth things to strike me as odd. Little did I know, way back then, how long that list of odd Fort Worth things would become.

If I remember right the last time I slid on my cross country skis was a few years back, sliding down the hills in Arlington's Veterans Park.

Recently I discovered my cross country skis had partly delaminated, rendering them likely useless, though I've not had the snowy opportunity to test that potential uselessness. I had stored the skis in a storage area which was not climate controlled. I'm assuming the HEAT of summer caused the delamination.

On Tuesday I was unable to find any turkey smaller than 20 pounds. I don't recollect roasting a bird that big before. It barely fit in the roasting pan. I started the former gobbler roasting at 7 this morning, shoving it in the oven before going swimming in the hot tub.

I am expecting the turkey to be golden brown and ready for consumption approximately five hours after the oven insertion time.

Every year I say I am not going to go through the bother of cooking a turkey. This year I was sure I was going to bake a couple of the new style family size Marie Callender turkey pot pies for Thanksgiving. But, that plan went awry when I saw all the turkeys in Walmart waiting to be brought home by someone.

Anyway, I hope everyone has themselves a might fine Thanksgiving today....

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Spencer Jack's Walk Across The Skagit River Has Me Freshly Pondering Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

This morning due to photo evidence I found on Facebook I thought Spencer Jack was in Eastern Washington, east of the mountains in Washington lingo, in the themed tourist town of Leavenworth.

I blogged about this this morning on one of my other blogs in a blogging titled Spencer Jack Taking His Snowy Thanksgiving Turkey To Leavenworth.

And now, late this afternoon, incoming email from Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason, seems to indicate that Spencer Jack is back in Mount Vernon, with the primary evidence of that being the picture you see above.

The email contained no explanatory text.

Above Spencer Jack is standing on the Skagit River bridge which connects Downtown Mount Vernon to West Mount Vernon. As you can see, the Skagit River at this location is a big river. A big, free flowing river. The size of the river you see here is not the result of any type of dam.

This particular Skagit River bridge was built in less than four years. Built over water. A lot of water. All of the Skagit River bridges were built over water, in less than four years.

I really think it might behoove Fort Worth to send out some sort of task force to more advanced parts of America, like Mount Vernon, to see how those more advanced parts of America manage to build things, like bridges, far faster than Fort Worth's dawdling Three Bridges Over Nothing and their four years til completion before an un-needed flood diversion channel finally can be dug so that water can be added under the bridges.

In the second picture Spencer Jack is still on the Skagit River Bridge. In this view we are looking south at part of the Skagit River Vision's completed riverside walkway. In the picture you can not see the plaza, which is in the distance to the south.

It only took Mount Vernon a couple years to see its Skagit River Vision. Fort Worth began dawdling on its hard to see vision early in this century. Well over a decade later there really is not much to see of Fort Worth's fuzzy vision.

Well, there is the traffic mess being caused by those Three Bridges Over Nothing finally being under construction. I have not experienced the traffic mess. I read about it in Fort Worth Weekly. Apparently drivers who have noted how dangerously bad the detours are have tried to get the city and J.D. Granger to fix the problem.

To no avail.

I recollect J.D. Granger saying words to the effect that he had used his advanced engineering skills to engineer a project which would cause motorists no woes.

Will nothing short of the voters finally wising up and un-electing his mother get J.D. Granger fired from a job he is clearly not qualified to do, as evidenced by the ongoing displays of ineptness?

You can listen to J.D.'s traffic assurances in the YouTube video at the end of a blogging from a week or two ago titled A Big Boom Begins Boondoggle Bridge Construction Three Months Late.....

Confessions Of A Thanksgiving Party Pumpkin Pie Baker Gone Bad

On the left you are looking at a rare late afternoon look through the bars of my patio prison cell.

As you can see, I am not currently in the hot tub. Or pool.

I suspect when the sun leaves for the day I may find myself having a salubrious soak in the hot tub.

This blogging thing is such a burdensome responsibility. If I don't hit the publish button on a blogging by a certain time I start getting emails, text messages and phone calls inquiring about my well being.

Up til an hour or two ago my head was feeling like it might explode. This potential explosion was made more possible when I added to the head pressure by trying to fix some serious problems on the index page of my #1 website.

Apparently tablets and phones running Google's Android do not like webpages with table upon table nested inside tables.

By around noon I got the index page fixed and tablet worthy. I think. So, I decided to roll my wheels around my neighborhood. I thought that would fix the headache. Instead it made it worse.

So, what caused this horrific pain that has now abated? Well, last night I found myself at a pumpkin pie baking party. At that party I was given various adult libations. Whilst I was drinking these adult libations it did not seem like a bad idea. By morning it became obvious I should not drink adult libations while helping bake pumpkin pies.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, and who isn't? I just got back from ALDI. I have never seen  ALDI so busy, nor ALDI's parking lot nearly full. When I left my abode I saw that I-820 was a stalled traffic jam heading north. When I left ALDI I had intended to return via westbound I-30. However when I got to the freeway entry I saw that I-30 was also a stalled traffic jam, as far as I could see in both directions.

Is this day before Thanksgiving bad traffic a prelude to traffic gridlock on Black Friday? Will the only means to escape the crowded roads and crowded stores be to take a Fort Worth bus to downtown Fort Worth, the least busy big city downtown in America on the busiest shopping day of the year?

I must go boil some cranberries now.....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Elsie Hotpepper's Bud Kennedy Cheerleading Turkey Nightmares Led Me To Why So Few Texans Vote

Last night Elsie Hotpepper sent me a disturbing text message informing me that she was unable to sleep due to the fact that she could not erase the disturbing image of Bud Kennedy in a pleated skirt, with ankle socks stuck in saddle shoes, wearing a Fort Worth logo-ed sweater doing cheerleader routines for Fort Worth's Godfather of the Good Ol' Boy Network, Ed Bass.

To which I texted back with a simple, 'HUH?"

To which Elsie texted that the nightmare image came from reading the 2014 Fort Worth Weekly Turkey Awards.

Since I had no idea what Elsie was talking about and since I had no memory of anything in the Turkey Awards having to do with Bud Kennedy wearing a skirt, I decided I must not have read the Fort Worth Weekly 2014 Turkey Awards with the attention level  they deserved.

And so I took a fresh look.

The first  thing I noticed that I'd not noticed before was that which I screencapped above, the text of which I will copy below...

The Big Bird Goes to: Non-Voters

This year’s dedication of the Big Bird, our sweepstakes Turkey, will be short and sour. It goes to the 83 percent of registered voters in Texas who stayed home on Nov. 4. Any organization — whether it’s the Democratic Party or the Republicans,  a church, a bunch of mega-corporations or the Mafia — that gathers too much power soon gets up to no good. At a time when this state is playing a major role in pollution and energy controversies that could affect the whole world via climate change, allowing so much power to concentrate in one party severely reduces the public debate on those and many other issues. And that’s what those who stayed home in November helped make happen.

Texas having the lowest voter turnout in the nation is a bit appalling, particularly when one looks at the result of the election. After the election I read an apropos blurb in, I think, the Washington Post, which may help explain the low voter turnout in Texas....

States where turnout is higher have a few things in common: Their populations are better educated, which correlates with higher turnout, and they have implemented rules that make it easier to vote, McDonald said. Maine, Wisconsin and Minnesota — all top turnout states — allow eligible citizens to register to vote on Election Day.

Well, there you go, quite simple, the Texas low voter turnout is yet one more bad result that comes about due to the population of Texas not being as well educated as those who received their educations in states with more progressive education standards.

And then I found that which gave the long suffering Elsie Hotpepper her nightmares....

Cheering a Big Land-Gobble

Bud Kennedy has been at this game long enough to get away with pretty much anything. And most of the time, the veteran Startlegram columnist comes from a good place. But when the civic discourse turned to the new arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the Cultural District, Kennedy donned his saddle shoes, ankle socks, pleated skirt, and FW-emblazoned sweater and cheered on Ed Bass, the power broker behind the $450 million (and counting) monstrosity. In Kennedy’s July 18 remembrance of the Fort Worth Convention Center –– the structure that the 14,000-seat arena is supposedly replacing –– he managed to leave out a few pesky facts: that parking is at a premium in the jam-packed neighborhood and, much worse, that the public had little to no say about it, even though millions of taxpayer dollars had already been spent on infrastructure. On Nov. 4 voters easily approved the arena (including $225 million as the city’s share). Kennedy should have been calling bullshit on yet another sneaky, screw-the-little-people play. Did he uncharacteristically not do his homework, or was he kowtowing to his employer, which has a long record of kissing up to the power players?

I really do not understand why so many people pick on good ol' Bud Kennedy. Some have even taken to calling him Dud, rather than Bud. Mr. Kennedy works for  the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Why would anyone expect him not to act as a propaganda purveyor when his bosses deem some local issue needs a cheerleading spin?

Bud Kennedy is an excellent food critic due to being a professional food consumer. He writes at a voluminous level of prolific-ness which is astounding, including finding the time to play hall monitor on his Facebook page.

Some suspect there may be more than one Bud Kennedy, due to instances such as thousands seeing him on a parade float at the same time he's posting a plate of food he's consuming in a Dallas eatery. That type thing, while also deleting inappropriate comments from his Facebook page.

I do have to agree with the Fort Worth Weekly Turkey Award awarders that it is a bit odd that Bud Kennedy went along with the Multi-Purpose Arena scheme, man of the people that he be, and what with that Arena being sold as a replacement for the Convention Center Arena, which the propagandists claimed could not hold enough ticket buyers to attract major acts, but somehow the new arena, which can hold an additional two thousand ticket buyers, will somehow attract those acts which previously avoided Fort Worth like the plague.

Has anyone considered the possibility that there may be other reasons than arena size why major acts opt not to appear in Fort Worth and choose instead other venues in Dallas and Arlington? Venues that can hold way more than the 14,000 Fort Worth's new arena may hold if it actually ever gets built....

Monday, November 24, 2014

Banana Hunting Instead Of Bike Riding Or Tandy Hill Hiking Today

I had intended to ride my bike on my neighborhood trails, well, roads, today, but by the time the noon rolling time rolled around the temperature was barely at the half century mark, with a slight wind blowing, and so I bailed on the biking and opted to walk to Albertsons on a banana hunt instead.

I doubt the Tandy Hills has dried out from this past weekend's deluge, so hill hiking did not cross my mind, that is until I checked in on Facebook and saw a post from the co-Godfather of the Tandy Hills, Philip Hennen.

Mr. Hennen posted three late in the day Tandy Hills photos along with a recommendation, saying "These sunny, late Fall days are perfect for getting lost at Tandy Hills Natural Area. I recommend late afternoon just before sundown which is about 5:30 P.M., these days."

I have hill hiked the Tandy Hills near the sundown time frame a time or two. I don't know when or why my regular Tandy Hills hike time became repetitively in the noon time frame.

That late in the afternoon light and shadows make for a much less harshly lit hiking experience than doing ones hill hiking under the glare of the noonday sun. That and the need for sunscreen is greatly lessened.

I am trying real hard to be less of a creature of repetitive habit, but I fear time shifting my hill hiking by several hours would be way too dire a change for my delicate sensibilities....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Duck Walk With The Fosdick Lake Turtles Over Fosdick Falls

The duck population populating Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park seems to have soared since my last visit.

I assume ducks flying south for the winter use Fosdick Lake as a way station. Or is Fosdick Lake the duck's final destination?

There were plenty of duck feeders feeding the quackers today, including the trio you see here.

Yesterday's copious rain raised the water level in my pool, but not its temperature. The hot tub's water level, and temperature, seemed unaffected by yesterday's rain.

The water level of Fosdick Lake, like my swimming pool, was affected by yesterday's rain, raising the lake level to the point that water was roaring over Fort Worth's biggest waterfall, Fosdick Falls. You can witness Fosdick Falls falling in the video below.

But, before we get to the video, I was pleased to see the Fosdick turtles had come out of their cold hiding places and were back enjoying sunbathing on their favorite log in the balmy almost 70 degrees. I hope the turtles enjoy their sunny break while it lasts, before they get blasted by this afternoon's predicted gale force blow.

Last night, in the middle of the night, 3am to be precise, my phone made its incoming text message type noise. I woke up the phone expecting some dire message, but instead saw an Urgent Wind Warning from AccuWeather.

At 3am AccuWeather sent out a Wind Advisory for wind expected to blow hard 11 hours later. I can't be the only one who finds this annoying. And idiotic.

We are coming up now on one in the afternoon. A slight breeze is blowing. I may be un-installing the AccuWeather App from my phone....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Semi-Stormy Saturday In Texas With Mary Kelleher Stuck In The Ukraine

This next to last Saturday of November was predicted to be extremely wet and stormy at my location on the planet.

In the middle of the night, last night, there was a short bout of heavy rain pounding the windows.

Early this morning, in the hot tub, I did experience some drippage dripping on me, and saw lightning far in the distance to the east, along with slight post-lightning strike rumblings.

At noon I left my abode for a drizzly walk up to Albertsons. As you can see, via the view looking up at the security spears which protect me from intruders and other nuisances, it is a gray day in Texas.

Today is reminding me of a winter day on Washington's Pacific coast. It is likely the only person who may be reading this who knows what I'm talking about is Steve A in Ocean Shores on the Washington coast.

The first jolt of the day was from Mary Kelleher, emailing from Kiev, Ukraine, where she desperately needed to be wired money so as to pay her hotel bill and escape the clutches of Putin and return to the relative safety of Texas.

I suspected this email may have been one of those Nigerian type email money scams. But then I thought it made sense for Mary Kelleher  to go on a fact finding trip to Ukraine to see how another corrupt oligarchy operates and maybe pick up some tips on how to deal with the type corruption inherit when one finds oneself dealing with a corrupt oligarchy.

On Facebook Mary Kelleher posted a post about her Ukrainian troubles, with that post eliciting a lot of sympathy.

Anyway, I think I am about 24 hours away from sliding into a fresh bout of Seasonally Affected Disorder. I am so spoiled anymore I seem to be able to only go two days without sun before I start feeling SAD....

Fort Worth Weekly Neglected To Award The Biggest Turkey In Town: Kay Granger

This week, due to this week being the week before Thanksgiving, Fort Worth Weekly's eagerly anticipated Turkey Awards issue hit newsstands all over Tarrant County.

The 2014 Turkey Awards award a large number of Tarrant County and Texans the coveted Turkey Award, including one of Tarrant County's favorite Turkeys, Bud Kennedy.

You can go to the online version of FW Weekly's 2014 Turkey Awards and read about all the Turkeys, but I want to focus on just one Turkey Award....

The Perks of Pedigrees Turkey Award

Thanksgiving is all about family and making sure your relatives have jobs at places that are a clear conflict of interest to your elected or appointed position. Wait — we’re thinking of Fort Worth’s rampant year-round nepotism, not Thanksgiving. When it comes to getting a high-paying cushy job in this town, seems that the best way to get ahead is to be related to some alleged public servant.

The Trinity River Vision staff reads like a social directory for the offspring of local politicians and high-ranking officials: Most notably U.S. Rep. Kay Granger’s son J.D. is its executive director, and the Tarrant Regional Water District’s head honcho Jim Oliver’s son Matt is the TRV’s public information officer.

Mayor Betsy Price was all over television shilling for the Ed Bass-led effort to get taxpayers to pay for his pet project, an absurdly high-priced arena. It would have been Fort Worth knowing (to borrow from those commercials) that her son-in-law works for Ed Bass’ real estate company and sits on the board of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

I have been asked once, maybe twice, why I would say something as outrageous as to suggest that Fort Worth's Congresswoman, Kay Granger, is a corrupt politician.

Let me answer that corrupt question quite simply.

A non-corrupt politician, when told her son was going to be given a job in her district, for which he was totally unqualified, being the executive director of a public works project, with that project relying on attaining federal pork barrel earmark money to fund it, well, a non-corrupt politician would immediately object, saying you can not do that, it would be wrong, it would look bad, it would be nepotism of the worst sort.

But, Kay Granger willingly signed on to her unqualified son being given a cushy, high-paying job where he could act out as a textbook case of  a frat boy with arrested development, organizing floating beer parties, concerts, junkets and all sorts of other nonsense that has nothing to do with the construction of a flood control project.

In reaction to FW Weekly's 2014 Turkey Awards there were several comments, including one from a guy named Roy, which said, in part...

So what is it about the stunning nepotism at the Trinity River Vision? I have wondered for years why the most qualified person to run that boondoggle is apparently the son of the politician who corrals the jack for it. And NOBODY seems to notice or say anything about it. Is that what they mean when they say something is being done “the Fort Worth way?”

I find it gratifying that I am no longer alone in referring to the Trinity River Vision as a Boondoggle. In fact, I believe the number now is quite large who refer to this ill-conceived, poorly executed, never voted for by the public, public works project as a Boondoggle.

I have long shared the puzzlement that Roy is expressing, that being that NOBODY seems to notice, in a meaningful way, that something is dire wrong about how Fort Worth has gone about and continues to go about foisting the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle on the people who have never voted for it.

And yes, Roy, I have been told repeatedly that this is what is known as the Fort Worth Way. A corrupt town run by a corrupt oligarchy of good ol' boys and girls, who operate primarily in their own self interest, not in the interest of the majority of the people of Fort Worth.

All of them Turkeys worthy of an award.....

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fort Worth's Tandy Hills JFK 51st Assassination Anniversary Memorial Hoodoo

The Tandy Hills JFK Memorial Hoodoo
It has been weeks since I was on the Tandy Hills.

With copious amounts of rain predicted to be drenching North Texas, starting today, I figured today might be my last mud-free opportunity, for awhile, to do some hill hiking.

A couple days ago Olive the Prairie Dog and her favorite hiking partner, the Godfather of the Tandy Hills, Don Young, emailed me asking if I knew anything about the crane atop Mount Tandy, aka Broadcast Hill. Since it had been weeks since I'd been on the hills I knew nothing about any crane.

Today Mount Tandy was totally crane free, near as I could tell.

Today, when I got to Hoodoo Central at the north end of the View Street trail, for the first time in a long time there was no Hoodoo. Just a Hoo, with no Doo. In other words, just one big rock with no rocks balanced on top of it.

I was resigned to having myself a mighty fine, but Hoodoo free hike, and then, whilst hiking up the south face of Mount Tandy I came upon a still standing Hoodoo at a location where I've found a Hoodoo previously.

I took a picture or two facing north, which were extremely dark. So I re-positioned myself to aim west to take some more pictures, hoping for a little more brightness.

While slightly less dark, which pleased me, what really caught my eye was the fact that the Hoodoo, as my camera saw it, looked like a Hoodoo Memorial Homage to JFK.

The John F. Kennedy Memorial Hoodoo on Fort Worth's Tandy Hills, just in time for the 51st Anniversary of JFK's last speech, which took place in downtown Fort Worth, followed by a fateful trip to Dealey Plaza in Dallas and a moment in time which altered the history of America and the World.

Grand Jury Investigation Of Tarrant Regional Water District Wrongdoing Allegations

The water seems to be getting hotter for the Tarrant Regional Water District. Or, to use a cliche other than the TRWD is in hot water, it seems some rogue chickens are finally coming home to roost.

During the last TRWD board election at one point I opined that the TRWD board cockroaches seemed to be in full flight from the light mode. I recollect some Dallas news source using my cockroach analogy as an indicator of how vitriolic the usually sedate water board election had become.

I opined way back then that there must be some dirty deeds in need of hiding, else wise why would the TRWD be refusing so many open records requests.

I also remember opining that if I were making a TRWD open records request I would like to see all the documentation covering the decision to hire Congresswoman Kay Granger's totally unqualified son, J.D., to be the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

And now it has come to pass that legal means, in the form of a Grand Jury, is going to be looking into the allegations of TRWD wrongdoing.

A couple paragraphs from an article in yesterday's Monitor titled Gooden asks Grand Jury to look into allegations against TRWD...

GUN BARREL CITYThe Henderson County Grand Jury has been asked to look into allegations of wrongdoing by Tarrant Regional Water District. Outgoing Dist. 4 State Rep. Lance Gooden told those attending the November luncheon of the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce that he testified in September on the matter.

Gooden said he strongly suspects wrongdoing and a cover up because his repeated Open Records requests for basic accounting documentation have gone unfulfilled and been repeatedly responded to by letters from lawyers.

“I’ve turned in open record requests in March and they have stonewalled me since then,” he told The Monitor Monday.

I have an inkling that we are about to be witness to an unraveling of a conspiracy to cover up TRWD wrongdoing which may eventually lead to the demise of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

I may be overreaching. Or I may not be......