Monday, July 6, 2015

Hood County Issues Cowboy's Wedding License After Federal Lawsuit Filed

A couple weeks ago one would not thought possible we'd be seeing in Texas that which we've been seeing.

SCOTUS makes a ruling and pretty much universally, across America, the new law of the land prevails, causing rapid change, sort of like a revolution.

Except for a few holdouts here and there, like a county or two in Texas. And I think now, even those holdout county clerks are either doing their job or have resigned.

The Attorney General of Texas, currently in serious legal trouble which could send him to a life sentence in the slammer, made a fool of himself over religious rights or some such nonsense pertaining to county clerks doing there job.

One of the county clerk overbearing religious types was in Hood County. Name K.D. Lang. Or maybe Katie Lang. Ms. Lang managed to embarrass Hood County, Texas and much of America with her bone-headed statements regarding doing her job and the SCOTUS ruling.

I do not know if Ms. Lang decided to do her job without further nonsense, or if she resigned, or if she was fired.

What I do know is last week the pair of cowboys you see above, Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton, left Brokeback Mountain to ride into Granbury to get themselves hitched, only to find Ms. Lang refusing to issue the pair a license to marry.

The cowboys then filed a federal lawsuit against Hood County, with the result being Hood County then issued the license they sought.

I do not know if the wedding has already taken place, or if it will take place at a future date with a big shindig on the Hood County Courthouse Square.

Granbury puts on some of the best festivals I have ever seen. Like Granbury's 4th of July Parade and General Granbury's Birthday.

I assume that the General's birthday party still takes place. I had a mighty fine time my one and only time going to the General's birthday party....

Did A Gun Toting Texan Dinosaur Come From Facebook's Texas Gun Rights?

I saw this on Facebook. I assumed it was from a Facebook page called Texas Gun Rights, what with the bottom of the graphic being Facebook.com/TexasGunRights.

I went to Facebook.com/TexasGunRights and after perusing it for a bit somehow I don't think this graphic came from there, what with the graphic seeming to mock open carry gun-toting Texans as being dinosaurs.

Then again, upon going to the Texas Gun Rights Facebook page, below is the first thing I saw.


The above was followed by multiple similar type items. So, I can't tell for sure if this is some sort of parody joke type deal or someone is being serious, or if the gun-toting Texas dinosaur came from this location.

I will likely never know the answer...

Sound Transit $15 Billion Project Not Happening In Tarrant County Where The Poor Have Cars

Continuing on with our popular series of things we read in west coast online newspapers that one would never read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that which you see here is from the Seattle Times.

An article titled Sound Transit planning heats up for light-rail expansion and public vote.

Can you imagine reading in the Star-Telegram a headline like "TRWD Planning for $1 Billion Trinity Uptown Vision Project & Public Vote"?

Read the Sound Transit planning heats up for light-rail expansion and public vote article. Make note of how detailed the article is. Make note that the article mentions project timelines. Make note that the article details the issues being faced by Sound Transit prior to putting the $15 Billion project to a public vote. Make note how big the project is, covering three counties, each of which is way bigger than Tarrant County.

In Tarrant County there is no comprehensive public transit covering the entire, small, heavily populated county. Only Fort Worth has any form of public transit, that being a fleet of little buses which run on limited routes and a train which travels to Dallas and back several times a day.

A few days ago Elsie Hotpepper sent me that which you see below, which succinctly sums up how the developed. progressive parts of America and the world view public transportation.


Meanwhile, in Tarrant County, apparently, or so I have been told, most of the locals think only poor people use public transit....

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Today A Big Village Creek Snake Blocks My Way After Last Night's Fireworks Extravaganza

I only rolled my wheels a couple hundred feet in Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area Indian Ghost Sanctuary when I slammed the brakes to a skidding stop when the giant snake you see here slithered into view.

The snake stopped slithering long enough for me to take a picture, then it continued slithering and I continued on my way.

Later on in the wheel rolling I had another snake encounter, almost rolling over a little green snake.

I saw no signs anywhere in the Village Creek zone of any type of fireworks having been set off.

My location on the 4th of July was extremely quiet. Until the sun began to set. Then I started hearing firecrackers crack, with the cracking coming from various directions, so it was multiple people doing the firecracking.

A short time before the explosions began I had had multiple text message exchanges with Elsie Hotpepper where I told the Hotpepper my zone was dead quiet, while she told me she was taking heavy fire.

What was odd about last night's banging is it was all one note. The same type crack, over and over again, as if wherever those doing the firecracking got their firecrackers there was only one type available.

Are cherry bombs illegal in Texas?

At my old home zone in Washington last night I would have seen rockets getting launched with followup red blare, bombs bursting in air. Loud whooshing noises followed by loud bangs with displays like one sees at a fireworks show.

Last night, from my expansive balcony view I saw nothing being shot into the sky.

Just those one note firecracker cracks. Over and over again.

Spencer Jack's dad called last night. He and Spencer had attended the annual Big Lake Fireworks Show the night before. This always takes place on the 3rd of July. I don't know why.

Spencer Jack's grandma, my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Cindy, is one of those rare Washingtonians with air-conditioning. Jason said his mother was conditioning her house to 71 degrees. That sounded cold to me. It was from Spencer Jack's grandma's house the fireworks were viewed.

Western Washington broke its temperature record yesterday, something in the 90s, with the number varying depending on where in Washington ones thermometer was getting hot.

Jason told me Spencer Jack convinced him to stop at a fireworks stand by the time they passed through the 3rd Indian Reservation on their drive back home from the coast. So, fireworks of various sorts were purchased and exploded last night.

I have yet to see any video documenting Spencer Jack's fireworks.....

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The 4th Of July Is A Good Day To Ponder Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

On July 4, 1776, the day the Continental Congress finally voted for Independence from Great Britain, future president, John Adams, wrote his wife, telling Mrs. Adams that today "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore..."

In 1776 how did John Adams know that America would one day span the continent? It was over a quarter decade later that Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase from France and sent Lewis and Clark to check out the new land, all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Those Founding Fathers, including John Adams, were very smart, very forward thinking, coming up with a democratic republic that was the first on earth.

Less than a century after those Founding Fathers founded America the world's first democratic republic was in dire straits, due to rebellious Southern states thinking they could leave the Union to start up their own, new nation so as to preserve their odious practice of making slaves of fellow human beings.

Four months after the most deadly battle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln journeyed to the battle site to participate in the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg.

The principle orator at that Gettysburg dedication was not Mr. Lincoln. It was a guy few remember today named Edward Everett, a politician, pastor, educator, diplomat, senator and governor, known for his stirring orations.

Well, Edward Everett's Gettysburg oration lasted over two hours. And was not memorable.

And then it was President Lincoln's turn to speak, a three minute address in which Lincoln predicted "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here."

Mr. Lincoln was wrong. His Gettysburg Address is the most quoted speech in American history. And is known by democracy loving people the world over.

Most of us know the Gettysburg Address by heart, with its iconic opening line of  "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal", so I won't repeat the entire three minute speech here.

The Wikipedia article about Abraham Lincoln has a real good summing up of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address that I will repeat here....

In 272 words, and three minutes, Lincoln asserted the nation was born not in 1789, but in 1776, "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal". He defined the war as an effort dedicated to these principles of liberty and equality for all. The emancipation of slaves was now part of the national war effort. He declared that the deaths of so many brave soldiers would not be in vain, that slavery would end as a result of the losses, and the future of democracy in the world would be assured, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth". Lincoln concluded that the Civil War had a profound objective: a new birth of freedom in the nation.

A new birth of freedom, with actual freedom for all the people living in America. A war to preserve what was then the world's one and only democratic republic.

Now I am wondering if people in the states which were part of the Confederacy actually do grow up knowing Lincoln's Gettysburg Address?

Lately I think we have learned the majority of the people who live in the states which made up the Confederacy now realize those state's rebellion against the Union, to preserve slavery, was not a noble cause, not then, and certainly not now, a century and a half later.

Anyway, have a safe and fun 4th of July doing what President John Adams suggested a long time ago, with hot dogs added, because I am sure if John Adams knew hot dogs were in America's future, he would have mentioned that in his 4th of July suggestions to his wife....

Washington Heat Waving In The 100s While Texas Chills In The 90s

No, that is not a trio of Fort Worthers jumping in the Trinity River at Thursday's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Float you are looking at here.

The looming volcano in the distance is a pretty good clue this location is no where near Fort Worth.

That and the ultra clear, clean, blue water free of alligators, but currently, apparently, blooming with dreaded algae.

What you see here are a couple items from yesterday's Seattle Times front page that I found interesting, due to the heat subject, so I morphed them together in one image.

That would be Lake Washington being jumped into, with that volcano being Mount Rainier.

My old home zone is wilting. East of the Mountains is experiencing day after day well over 100, while West of the Mountains is a little cooler. When I saw this yesterday Seattle was sweating at 87 degrees at 3 in the afternoon, while I was perfectly comfortable at my Texas location at 93 degrees.

Western Washingtonians start wilting when the temperature gets in the high 70s. When it gets into the 80s the temperature becomes a major event, called a HEAT WAVE, with thousands seeking relief on the beaches that are located all over Western Washington, both of the salt and fresh water sort. Or by going shopping or to the movies, those being locations with air conditioning. Most Western Washingtonians do not have air conditioned domiciles.

I think the year was 2004 when I flew up to Washington in early August, leaving a Texas heated well over 100. Arriving in Washington with the temperature in the high 70s. It seemed chilly to me. The locals were in full "it's too HOT" whine mode.

The last time I flew back to Washington, July of 2008, for what turned out to be a miserable month in multiple ways, I flew out of Love Field with Dallas heated to 108. I got to Sea-Tac after dark. The temperature was in the 50s. And it was drizzling. And I was soon shivering.

My dear sweet little baby sister took pity on me not bringing cold weather clothes with me and got me a nice insulated jacket at Costco and sweatpants. My first night there was spent shivering in the basement under a cover of multiple blankets that I had to find in the middle of the night because I was so cold.

On my third day of trying to get warm I discovered my sister's unused third floor loft type bedroom space. It was roomy and had a big bathroom. And window air-conditioning units. I was told that this space was too HOT to use in summer. That the air conditioners did not make it cool enough. I begged to move up there from the frigid basement.

Permission was granted.

Soon I was back comfortable. I was met with disbelief when I said I did not want the air-conditioners on, aghast were they that the digital temperature reading device on the air conditioners was indicating it was 81 degrees. Too hot for a human to bear. I don't think they understood that 81 degrees is about what I chill my Texas space to and feel quite comfortable.

Right now I have the A/C set to 85 and am feeling a bit chilled by the cold air blowing on me.

Looking at that above info from the Seattle Times I am wondering why Western Washington lakes start getting algae infested when the temperature gets HOT. Does that same woe plague Texas lakes, where it gets way HOTTER? Seems like I remember about something unfortunate growing in Lake Texoma. Was it algae? I don't remember. Maybe it was giant catfish....

Friday, July 3, 2015

Jumpin Rudy Takes A Close Up Look At The TRWD's Airfield Falls Trailhead Boondoggle

Interesting email from Jumpin Rudy this morning...

In today's Star-Telegram: Airfield Falls Trailhead remains unfinished months after it was scheduled to open.

Seems like late is normal for TRWD. I've been watching this project for a while, periodically climbing over the No Trespassing barriers to get a better look. It's quite impressive. Someone spent a lot of money on installing landscaping and irrigation. The landscaping hasn't been well tended after installation, though. The last time I was out, they were working on a huge post to mount the pieces of the C-9.

My guesses: 
  • there are design/engineering/safety issues trying to mount pieces of an aircraft on a 20-foot pedestal
  • this project is over budget

It's odd for a normal public entity to withhold comment for such a large project, but history shows TRWD is anything but normal.
________________________________________

I was unable to read the Star-Telegram article, due to not being a subscriber, but I think I can glean from Jumpin Rudy's final sentence that the TRWD refused to comment regarding the tardy project.

I thought I remembered America's Biggest Boondoggle including propaganda about this Airfield Falls Trailhead project in one of their quarterly mailings touting all the imaginary things they have done or are going to do.

I Googled "Airfield Falls Trailhead" and at the top of the list was a link to America's Biggest Boondoggle's website, with the link going to a page from February 2, 2013 titled Airfield Falls Trailhead Update. That is a screen cap of part of that page you see above.

Two paragraphs from the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision Boondoggle's Airfield Falls Trailhead Update....

Last year the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) began working to create a one-of-a-kind trailhead at the entrance to Tarrant County’s only natural waterfall located in Westworth Village. The Airfield Falls Trailhead is located adjacent to the Pumphey Drive entrance to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base.

In addition to new recreation opportunities, the project also focuses on another of TRWD’s missions with the addition of a conservation garden. The trailhead will feature native plants so visitors to Airfield Falls will be able to see how and what to plant during different seasons. This beautiful new trailhead is currently being designed and construction is scheduled for spring 2013.

So, according to Jumpin Rudy the conservation garden, mentioned in the TRCCUPIV Boondoggle's propaganda got installed and then got neglected.

Well, the Boondoggle  propaganda did say this garden would feature native plants so visitors can see how and what to plant during different seasons. So, I guess the Boondoggle lesson is to plant plants native to Texas, then let them fend for themselves, just like they would have to do growing naturally in Texas.

Yeah, I'm sure that's the lesson.

When is the plug going to get pulled on America's Biggest Boondoggle? I hope it isn't after something tragic happens like someone getting attacked by an alligator, water moccasin or snapping turtle while Rockin' the River at the Boondoggle's imaginary island...

Lake Washington Used To Be A Polluted Mess Like The Trinity River But It Got Cleaned Up

Yesterday I found myself Wondering Why So Many Fort Worth Locals Think Tubing Polluted Water With Gators Is Funduring which I found myself reading the Wikipedia article about Lake Washington.

The Wikipedia article about Lake Washington had one paragraph that detailed in greater detail than I knew or remembered of how Lake Washington was restored to being a lake full of clean, clear water, safe for swimming and home to a lot of tasty fish.

Below is the paragraph I am talking about, under a heading of Water Purity...

Water Purity
Around 1900, Seattle began discharging sewage into Lake Washington. During the 1940s and 1950s, eleven sewage treatment plants were sending state-of-the-art treated water into the lake at a rate of 20 million gallons per day. At the same time, phosphate-based detergents came into wide-use. The lake responded to the massive input of nutrients by developing unpleasant blooms of noxious blue-green algae. The water lost its clarity, the desirable fish populations declined, and masses of dead algae accumulated on the shores of the lake. Citizen concern led to the creation of a system that diverted the treatment-plant effluents into nearby Puget Sound, where tidal flushing would mix them with open-ocean water. The diversion was complete by 1968, and the lake responded quickly. The algal blooms diminished, the water regained its clarity, and by 1975, recovery was complete. Careful studies by a group of limnologists from the University of Washington showed that phosphate was the culprit. Since then, Lake Washington has undergone major improvements, drastically improving the ecology and water quality, making the water twice as clear as it was in 1950.

Now, this is what I am thinking.

Here in Fort Worth, where there is no body of water twice as clear as it was in 1950, we have this entity called the Tarrant Regional Water District and its foster child known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, that being the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision Boondoggle, holding floating events in the Trinity River at a location they call Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island or pavilion.

Spokesmen for America's Biggest Boondoggle, via their Panther Island Pavilion Facebook page, have propaganda-ized that getting wet in the Trinity River is no different than getting wet in your drinking water, what with your drinking water coming from the same source, that being Lake Eagle Mountain and Benbrook Lake. The PIP propaganda neglects to mention, however, that the water that comes out of your tap has been treated, unlike the water the Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats take place in.

If the Panther Island Pavilion Propagandists think the Rockin' the River water is as clean as drinking water, how about a publicity photo of all of them drinking a glass of water fresh out of the river. With chief PIP Propagandist, J.D. Granger, taking the first gulp.

With America's Biggest Boondoggle stalled in slow motion from its original goal of altering the course of the Trinity River, creating some sort of waterfront feature that will somehow spur economic development, but which has morphed into multiple variations of beer parties, some on dry land, some in water, is it not time to do some serious priority assessment?

Such as, why not make the #1 priority cleaning up the Trinity River, like Lake Washington was cleaned up? Figure out what causes the spike in e.coli when the temperature rises and fix it.

Again, why is that not the priority?

Recently I read a PIP Apologist opine something along the line that for years now critics have been whining that America's Biggest Boondoggle should not be encouraging people to get in that polluted river, when the fact of the matter is that over the years of The Boondoggle boondoggling thousands of people have gotten wet in that water without growing a third nipple or having their hair fall out.

So, I guess as long as no one comes out of the Trinity with an extra nipple or bald, all is good and it is totally aesthetically pleasing to get into that murky brown water where you can not see what is swimming with you, be it a turtle, a snake, a gator or a plume of cow manure.....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wondering Why So Many Fort Worth Locals Think Tubing Polluted Water With Gators Is Fun

A few minutes ago I found myself Googling for images of America's Biggest Boondoggle's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats to find myself surprised to find a lot of the images were from this very blog you are looking at right now, including the Pigs in the Trinity image you see here.

The Pigs in the Trinity were from a blogging titled Elsie Hotpepper's Artist's Rendering Of Rockin' The Trinity River With Pigs from way back on August 7, 2013. No wonder I didn't remember it, that's a long time ago.

The reason I was looking for a Rockin' the River image for illustrative purposes came about due to a conversation I had recently with a fellow transplant from the Pacific Northwest, during which the fellow transplant asked me why I thought the locals here turn out in such big numbers for things like Rockin' the Polluted River and Funday Sundays in the same polluted river? And in large numbers to do something rather, I don't know, un-fun looking, like that Slide the City deal a few weeks ago.

Well, I gave this question some thought. And what I concluded is there are not enough fun things to do in Fort Worth of the playing in water type fun.

The only other big city, with which I am familiar, is Seattle. I may have mentioned that before.

I can say with 100% certainty that if Seattle had a polluted river running through the town, which it doesn't, but if it did, there is no way you could get 100s of people to get in that dirty water to float on inner tubes and listen to music.

Why?

Because, unlike Fort Worth, Seattle has multiple venues where the public can enjoy being on a beach and get themselves wet in clean water.

Such as Green Lake, a lake several times bigger than America's Biggest Boondoggle's proposed Pond Granger. Green Lake has a big swimming area. With lifeguards. An actual pavilion. And now that you're making me think about it, an actual island. Green Lake is surrounded by a wide jogging, biking, blading paved trail with designated lanes and directions.

On Elliott Bay there is Alki Beach, miles of beach with beach amenities, like running water and modern restrooms. And on a warm day you can have fun playing in the waves or swimming. If you are like me and like cold water.

Near the Ballard Locks you'll find another beach at Golden Gardens Park. You saw that beach if you watched Sleepless in Seattle.

In Seattle Lake Washington also has several parks with beaches allowing for warmer swimming, in summer, than getting wet in Puget Sound. Such as Madison Park and Denny Blaine Park, which can be topless and clothing optional, at times.

Now, isn't it interesting I found so many links to Wikipedia articles about these various Seattle beaches and attractions? How many Wikipedia articles do you find when you Google for such things located in Fort Worth?

NONE. ZIP. ZERO. NADA.

Hence why hundreds upon hundreds of people will show up for something as unappealing as America's Biggest Boondoggle's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in a dirty, turtle, snake and gator infested river and think they are having themselves a mighty fine time, because a mighty fine time is hard to find, of the water sport sort, in Fort Worth.

Something needs to be done about this. The fact that so many people are getting in that dirty river is a symptom of something amiss that needs to be addressed. There used to be something called Casino Beach on Lake Worth. Could that be revived and turned into a legit swimming beach?

I have been told that long ago, in Fosdick Lake in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park, swimming and boating was allowed. Fosdick Lake is rather small. But small is better than nothing. With a little effort could not Fosdick Lake be restored to a non-polluted state and made beach and fish friendly?

Fort Worth needs to do something. That seems obvious, with the symptom of something being dire wrong being the fact that so many think it is a fun thing to go floating in a murky, dirty, polluted river.

While drinking beer and listening to music.

And now featuring alligators.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Drought & Wenatchee Wildfire Brings Calls For Washington 4th Fireworks Ban While In Texas This Is Not A Problem

I saw that which you see here a few minutes ago via Tacoma's Queen V on Facebook.

I do not believe it to be true that the Sleepy Hollow fire is still burning, right now, like you see in the picture.

Sleepy Hollow is a neighborhood in Wenatchee. When you live in Western Washington you refer to Wenatchee's location as East of the Mountains.

A couple dozen homes and other property was totally obliterated by the wildfire.

Tonasket is also East of the Mountains. Tootsie Tonasket has been reporting day after day of temperatures well over 100, as in one day the HEAT hit 112. Tootsie's A/C went kaput overnight.

Currently there are a lot of people in Washington suggesting it would be a good idea for a total ban on fireworks this year, what with the entire state in emergency drought mode.

Yesterday a pair of hoodlums drove up I-5 in Western Washington setting off fires by launching flares as they drove along.

At my old home location in the East Thunderbird neighborhood of Mount Vernon the 4th of July was like a war zone. This is an extremely hilly, heavily wooded area. I would sit on my rooftop deck watching the explosions, ready to put out anything burning that landed on the roof. The launching area for my immediate neighbors was from the top of the cul-de-sac. A barrage would be launched and then another cul-de-sac would try and top it. After a few years of this it went from entertaining to annoying.

The Skagit Valley has several Indian Reservations where one could buy just about any firework type explosive made. There are dozens of Indian Reservations in Washington. Such as the Tulalip Reservation, which is where Boom City is located. Boom City has a website. The Tulalip Tribe also has a casino, nautical themed, with a giant Orca soaring out of the sea at the entry. Washington has dozens of casinos.

I don't like gambling, but I enjoy a good casino buffet.

I think Texas has only two Indian Reservations. And they are very small, with few Indians. I don't know if the Texas Indians sell fireworks on their reservations.

My first 4th of July in Texas came as a big surprise due to it being so un-explosive. I figured Texas would be much more explosive, firecracker-wise, than my old home zone, what with that whole cowboy western gun thing that much of Texas embraces.

Is it because there are no Indian Reservations selling fireworks that Texas is so quiet on the 4th of July?

I know the quiet has nothing to do with Texans not being as patriotic in their 4th of July celebrating as my old home zone. Best 4th of July parades I've ever seen have been in Texas, such as the Arlington 4th of July Parade and Granbury's.

I read yesterday the Confederate Battle Flag will not be in this year's Arlington 4th of July Parade. What if a Rebel shows up with the banned flag, despite the ban? I suspect booing would ensue. America can sure change fast when well motivated. Even the Texas part of America....