Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Apparently Canton First Mondays Is Violating The Americans With Disabilities Act In Texas

A Pair of Motorized Scooters Scooting Around Canton First Mondays
A couple days ago I got a feedback comment from Gary M. from my Eyes on Texas webpage about Canton First Mondays.

After I moved to Texas, Canton's First Mondays was the first thing I experienced of a particular genre that was better, in this case much better, than I'd experienced anywhere else.

Since then there have been a time or two where I've thought the same thing. Fort Worth's Main Street Arts Festival comes to mind.

Canton's First Mondays may be an incredibly special event, but something about it bothered Gary, rightfully so. Below is Gary's initial email, then my short response, followed by Gary's response to my short response.

Hi, you guys have a great page set up, places I have never thought about. I would like to bring something to your attention about Old Mill and The Mountain in 'Canton Texas'.  Although First Mondays rents scooters, there are places where they are not allowed, Old Mill itself has a sign saying Foot Traffic Only! As does The Mountain. This has been a huge concern for the ADA and the disabled / handicapped community. There are no signs saying no scooters allowed, just foot traffic only signs. Last month a disabled 14 year girl with her scooter and her parents were removed and the police called, apparently Canton's police are not familiar with the laws that protect the disabled and handicapped. I can just picture how dramatic this was for that child. A few months before that there was another incident involving their supposed security guard and a senior man on his mobility scooter, carrying a blue disabled plaque, who was repeatedly told "His kind wasn't welcome". I have heard this type of complaint before, but I think this one regarding the child stepped over the line. This is not a place I want to take my family. And I feel anyone involved with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) should be warned as the man said "Your kind wasn't welcome here." Thanks for your time and I hope you can give a heads up here. 

To which I shortly responded with...

Thanks for the info. That is disturbing. I can see not allowing those scooter carts that people rent into some locations, but to deny wheelchair type access. Isn't that against the law? And what an idiotic security guard. He needs to be either educated or fired. I will likely blog about this.

To which Gary responded with....

Thanks for the Quick Replay. The scooters are "disability equipment" recognized by the Government and State of Texas, just like a wheelchair. They are just like someone's legs, as a seeing eye dog is like some people's eyes. "This is the law in the state of Texas". Of course anyone can rent one. But these people own theirs. There are a lot more handicaps than not being able to walk or get around. "Heart Problems, Mental, Balance Problems, Lung Problems being short of breath, etc.." The older man the security guard jumped on and screamed at used his state approved scooter because of heart problems and did have a handicapped plaque just like using it at Walmart. He didn't obey the so called security guard because he wasn't wearing a security guard uniform, which is required by law, and had no idea what the law was and hinted he had a gun, plus other vulgar remarks and getting in front of him slamming the brakes on in his golf cart. This was all witnessed, not hearsay. Thank you for your time and I hope this broadens the scope of things a bit. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks, Gary 

Well,  I don't know how much help blogging about this will do, but I think it is clearly obvious that Canton's First Mondays needs to have a bit of an institutional attitude adjustment. I can not imagine saying to a disabled person that their kind is not welcome here. Or harassing a 14 year old girl in a scooter wheelchair. Methinks these harassments are criminal acts and a lawyer could have him or herself a field day doing some suing...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating Earth Day At Quanah Parker Park With A Green Trinity River & Plantains

For my Earth Day commune with nature I decided to burn some gas driving to Quanah Parker Park's parking lot to take a walk by the giant pecan trees while listening to the symphony of tweeting birds.

That greenish body of water you see in the picture is the Trinity River, looking west from a Quanah Parker Park overlook.

I am fairly certain the green tint to the river is not the result of any sort of Fort Worth Earth Day celebration where Mayor Betsy Price has dyed the river green in an emulating homage to her predecessor, goofy Mike Moncrief, and his attempt to dye the Trinity River purple with a cup of grape Kool-Aid.

As I took the picture of the Trinity River I looked down to see a lizard looking at me. Lizards are reptiles. So are snakes. Why do I find lizards to be cute and cuddly while snakes I find to be the opposite of cute and cuddly? It's a conundrum.

As part of my ongoing Earth Day celebration I am cooking Plantains for the first time. Miss Puerto Rico gave me a Puerto Rican cuisine cookbook the last time she returned from her home island. Most of the recipes in that cookbook involve frying in way too much corn oil.

I Googled for health friendly variations as to what to do with Plantains, which is what I am about to attempt.

But butter is involved. Wish me luck....

Celebrate Earth Day Today Followed By Celebrating Prairie Fest On The Tandy Hills On Saturday

It seems like only yesterday the world had its first Earth Day.

April 22, 1970.

A time when Americans were walking on the moon, a time when Americans were dying in Vietnam, a time when America was adding Cambodia to its invasion to do list, a time when students protested while the National Guard shot and killed them, a time when Richard Nixon was president before anyone had heard  the word Watergate.

Incoming email from Don Young this morning regarding Earth Day and this coming Saturday's 2014 Prairie Fest on the Tandy Hills....

On April 22, 1960, the Fort Worth City Council made their most inspired decision, ever, when they agreed to purchase the land now known as Tandy Hills Natural Area for the sum of, $138,250. With more than 500 native plant species, that works out to $276.50 per species. What a deal!

The story of how Tandy Hills survived the plow, grazing, development and gas drilling in the heart of the third largest city in Texas is an amazing but true story. By this resolution, the city inadvertently preserved a prairie wonderland for future generations. 

Ten years later to the day, Earth Day was founded in 1970. 

Come wave your green flag in celebration of the wild and natural world at Prairie Fest, this Saturday, April 26.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Thunderclouds Have Gone Away So Connie D Can Come Over For A Swim

This afternoon both my computer based and phone based weather monitoring devices were repeatedly advising me that I was being threatened by a Severe Thunderstorm.

But, when I looked out any of my viewing portals on the outer world all I saw was blue sky.

Around five I decided to exit my abode and walk up to Albertsons. At the point when I finally had a clear view east I saw the HUGE thundercloud you see here, looking towards Dallas across the Albertsons parking lot.

I could hear distant rumbling, but saw no lightning bolts.

That big, expanding mushroom cloud scene was repeated in several locations as I panned the horizon, as best I could, from my still partly obstructed view.

Yesterday's potential inclement weather, with its lightning potential, caused me to feel the need to rescind a swimming invite I'd made earlier in the afternoon to Connie D.

This morning Connie D. text messaged me and I got the idea she was wanting another swimming invite. And so I texted Connie D. back, telling her that she could come by for a swim today if she wanted to.

Connie D.'s text message reply really did not make a lot of sense to me, texting "Ha ha ha. You crack me up."

What is that supposed to mean?

I just realized I need to clarify that this is not the Fort Worth Connie D. wanting to go swimming with me, it is the Tacoma Connie D. we are talking about.

That is the Tacoma Connie D. you are looking at on the left. The way I tell the two Connie D.'s apart is the Tacoma Connie D. is a blonde, whilst the Fort Worth Connie D. is not a blonde.

Both my weather monitoring devices have now dropped the thunderstorming warnings, now reporting that it is sunny in Fort Worth.

It has been sunny in Fort Worth all day for me today. Except when I was in Arlington...

This Morning I Thought About Hunting Easter Eggs With Spencer Jack Before Thinking About Sitting On A Lonely Bench

This morning when I woke up my computer prior to going for my regularly scheduled swim I found in my email inbox email from Spencer Jack's dad with pictures of Spencer Jack hunting Easter Eggs at his Very Special Aunt Clancy's sprawling estate in Kent.

That would be Kent, Washington, not Kent, England.

The pictures were not accompanied by any explanatory text, leaving me to guess as to what I was looking at, and whom.

I can see Spencer is carrying a bag with his name on it. I assume this is where he is putting the eggs he finds. I am guessing Spencer has spotted an egg in the tree and is trying to reach it.

Another picture showed a lot of artificial eggs with money strewn about. Apparently the eggs were stuffed with cash.

April of 2006 was the last time I was at an Easter Egg Hunt at Spencer Jack's Very Special Aunt Clancy's. There were no kids in attendance. I think the youngest person there was well into their 30s. Yet Aunt Clancy insisted on subjecting us to an Easter Egg Hunt. However, and this is the type thing which makes Spencer Jack's Aunt Clancy Very Special, the Egg Hunters had to take off their shoes and put on special footwear.

I was the only one to opt out of participating in this.

Changing the subject from Spencer Jack's Easter Egg Hunting with his Very Special Aunt Clancy to something else.

I have been staying off my bike ever since I hurt my knee in a nightmare related incident last week, til today.

I rolled my mechanized vehicular transport device to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington to find out if my knee could handle rolling my bike's wheels.

Judging from the fact that the pedaling was pain free I think I have recovered from my latest nightmare injury.

Changing the subject from my knee to the bench you see in the picture.

I think I've heard a country music song about there being nothing lonelier than an empty bench. Then again, that sounds ridiculous. Then again, once again, many country music songs are a bit ridiculous so maybe I did hear a country song about a lonely bench.

Anyway, in parks in Texas I see a lot of benches. Usually lonely benches with no one sitting on them. The lonely bench you see above, that my handlebars are aimed at, sits a bit off the Bob Findlay Linear Park's paved trail that one comes to as one leaves the Village Creek Natural Historical Area and enters the Interlochen zone.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter With A Crowd At Oakland Lake Park Pondering The Make Fort Worth Livable Initiative

For the third year in a row part of Easter, for me, has been driving to Oakland Lake Park in East Fort Worth to walk around Fosdick Lake and be impressed by all the big family units and their Easter BBQ Picnic setups, many hauling in big wood burning smokers, along with tables and chairs.

And music. Lots of music. Very cheerful sounding music that I think originates south of the border.

Today marked the first time I've seen any sort of food vendor vending in Oakland Lake Park. The vendor seemed to be doing a lot of vending. As I walked around Fosdick Lake I came upon an unopened bag of pork rinds which was not of your usual commercial variety. I assumed they'd fallen from the food vendor's vending apparatus. I picked up the bag and gave it to a girl sitting solo at a picnic table, guarding her family unit's Easter picnic setup.

A short while later I saw the food vendor pushing his cart on the opposite side of the lake. That is that scene you are seeing below.

To the right of the picnic table you see above I saw the scene you see below, that being a group sitting on the ledge of the park's picnic pavilion watching a barbecuer barbecue. All that barbecue smoke wafting about today would have made me hungry had I not been overfilled by this morning's whole wheat pancakes & scrambled eggs breakfast.

As you can see below, by looking at Fosdick Fountain, wind is doing some gusting today. Blowing from the south. This had a slight mist hitting me as I crossed Fosdick Dam. I thought rain was beginning to do its predicted fall til I came to the view of the fountain you see here and saw a gust blowing mist towards Fosdick Dam.

If you look carefully at the far middle right of the above picture you will see someone has set up a tent. There is no camping in Oakland Lake Park. I suspect the tented person got drenched in last Easter's downpour and came prepared this year with a water-proof covering.

Below you see the solo girl I mentioned earlier, to whom I gave the bag of fallen pork rinds. To her right a guy is fishing for fish you are advised not to eat.

And finally we come to one of the collection of outhouses which were moved in for this very special Easter occasion. I mentioned a couple days ago on a previous blogging seeing park workers dropping off extra outhouses.

I also mentioned in that previous blogging how ironic I find it that the town some easily duped locals believe to be the Most Livable City in America, has city parks with no modern restroom facilities, and no running water of the potable, drink and wash your hands sort.

To my simple mind, parks without restrooms and running water are sort of like allowing restaurants to operate without restrooms and running water.

That same simple mind of mine thinks Fort Worth should have itself some sort of Make Fort Worth Livable Initiative. You know, a public works project which the public actually gets to vote on and which actually does something that helps the general public, like adding restrooms and running water to Fort Worth's parks and sidewalks to Fort Worth's roads, you know, like most livable cities did decades ago.....

The Tarrant Regional Water District's 2013 Annual Propaganda Report

I think it was a week ago I opened my mailbox to discover the eagerly anticipated Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's 2014 Spring Update.

And now, this Easter morning, I opened my mailbox to find the equally eagerly anticipated Tarrant Regional Water District Annual Report 2013.

Four months into 2014 and we're getting the eagerly anticipated TRWD 2013 Annual Report?

I eagerly anticipated that this particular report would be a bonanza of propaganda. The first paragraph let me know I would not be disappointed...

"Thank you for taking the time to read the 2013 TRWD Board Report. Our board and district staff have been working diligently over the last year to ensure the Water District's service area has ample water to sustain its rapid growth, strong levees and dams to protect us from devastating floods and excellent recreational facilities that promote a healthy, active lifestyle."

Reading through the entire propaganda piece I read nothing about what the TRWD Board has done to protect the people of Haltom City from that town's creeks when they go into devastating killer flash flood mode.

There is no mention in the TRWD Annual Report regarding the Board thwarting the efforts of fellow TRWD Board Member Mary Kelleher's attempts to examine TRWD records and documents.

I have long opined that I wish someone would examine the TRWD records and documents that cover the TRWD Board's decision to hire Fort Worth Congresswoman, Kay Granger's son, J.D., to be the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. J.D. went from being an assistant prosecutor to running a construction project, with his only qualification seeming to be that his mother is Kay Granger.

Yes, I now understand that nepotism is an accepted part of doing public business the Fort Worth Way, but it still sort of galls me.

Speaking of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, (and who isn't?) part of that boondoggle is taking down the levees that have kept a large part of the Central Fort Worth zone safe from floods for well over half a century. The levees were built to contain the Trinity River after a massive flood wreaked havoc in the early 1950s.

Currently three bridges are scheduled to be built over an unbuilt bypass channel through which future floods may flow, thus allowing the removal of the levees which have done the job assigned to them for decades.

In the page in the TRWD 2013 Annual Report about Flood Control, like I already said, there is no mention made of anything being done to mitigate the Haltom City flood threat, but almost half the Report's Flood Control page was taken up by that which you see below.

The text explaining the above photo says, "LaGrave Field in Fort Worth, after massive flooding tested the floodway levees in the 1950s."

Huh? And the point here is? What?

I am assuming this is a photo of the flood which resulted in the building of the massive levees one sees now by LaGrave Field.

So, really, what information is being imparted by including this photo and its accompanying text in this TRWD 2013 Annual Report?

Another page in the TRWD 2013 Annual Report is titled Reverse Litter.

You have likely already seen the billboards touting the TRWD's new anti-litter plan, those being those billboards asking people to make the pledge to pick up ten pieces of litter each Tuesday.

Yes, that sounds like a very effective anti-litter plan, likely to appeal to those who actually don't litter. A more effective anti-litter plan might be to induce the litterers to cease with their littering ways. I understand in some states one can get fined for driving down a road with a pickup full of litter with a trail of litter flying from ones truck bed.

How much did this slick, full color 12 page report cost the taxpayers to publish and mail, I can't help but wonder? Only about half the publication is actual propaganda verbiage, the other half  is photos and graphics.

How come no mention was made in the TRWD 2013 Annual Report regarding the lawsuit the TRWD lost whilst trying to get water from Oklahoma? That particular TRWD bit of business was a supreme bit of embarrassment in 2013. And yet no mention in the Annual Report.....

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Walking On My Wounded Knee With Arlington's Village Creek Indian Ghosts The Day Before Easter

If looking at the picture on the left you guessed you were looking at two kids playing on the snake infested log/litter jam on the down creek side of one of the Village Creek dam bridge crossings in Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area, you would be guessing correctly.

My right knee is still in recovery mode, slowly hurting less after taking a strong hit in a middle of the night battle with my bedroom's wall.

And so, with knee pain remaining intermittent, I opted to take a sedate stroll with the Indian ghosts today.

I do not recollect seeing so many people out and about in the Village Creek zone, previously, as what I saw today.

Bikers, walkers, picnickers, butterfly hunters, lots of dogs, adult tricycles, wildflower photographers, fishermen and women.

Plus one sad scene of a young girl rolling on wheels which belonged in a roller rink, as in, not outdoor friendly inline roller blades, but instead those indoor type skates with four wheels on each skate, arranged like wheels on a car. The young girl was not having an easy time of it, trying to roll those wheels on a paved trail.

Spring has now sprung enough that walking through the Village Creek Natural Area is back seeming like walking through a jungle. Or what I imagine a jungle walk to look like, since I have never actually walked in a jungle, that I know of.  Do rainforests count as a jungle? I've walked in many a rainforest.

I walked to the Blue Bayou Overlook. Then when I was done looking over the Blue Bayou I walked back from whence I came (from whence I came? I'm not sure that makes sense, but it sounds right to me) and saw the scene you see below.

A small family appearing to be stranded on an island in Village Creek. I hope they make it off the island before the next flash flood arrives.

Soon after I left that small family stranded on a Village Creek island I was passed by what you see below.

An adult tricycle. The tricycle you see here was the last in a group of three. It takes me a moment or two to get my camera turned on.

I pedaled a recumbent tricycle once, years ago, back in August of 2001, at Ocean Shores in my old home state of Washington. The Ocean Shores version was more of a mountain bike trike, designed to pedal on the beach.

I have absolutely nothing planned for Easter besides the usual possible sunrise service. I don't think that has actually happened since some point in time in the last century when I agreed to go to an Easter sunrise service with my mom  and dad, at Roozengaarde, that being Tulip Central in the Skagit Flats. I do not remember much about this occasion except for it being cold. And maybe going to the Farmhouse Inn for breakfast afterwards.

Tomorrow morning I am planning on making whole wheat crepes and scrambled eggs with ham, but I'm not sure that counts as an Easter thing, even though eggs are involved....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Today Via Queen V I Learned I Am A Coyote

In the past  month or two, over and over again, on Facebook, there have been these postings telling me that a person is this, that or the other thing, in some special area. Then imploring me to find out what this, that or the other thing, I am, in some special area.

It can be what color are you? What animal are you? What country are you? What body part are you? What mythical character are you? What actor are you? What political figure of the past are you? What Loony Tunes character are you?

That question was today's. I  found out I am the Loony Tunes character, Wile E. Coyote. I was sure I would be Bugs Bunny.

The explanation as to why I am Wile E. Coyote was as follows...

You're pretty smart and always have really great ideas. They don't usually work out, but hey, that's better than no ideas at all, isn't it? You also have a special gift - the ability to walk in mid-air without falling (until you realize you're walking on nothing, and then it's bye bye)

Like I said to Queen V, she being the party who posted this particular Loony Tune post, this is just uncanny. How could this Loony Tune thing so accurately nail me with just a few simple questions? Spooky.

So far, by taking these tests I have learned I am brown, a pig, Canada, an eye, someone known as Captain Crazy, Brad Pitt, Woodrow Wilson and today, Wile E. Coyote.

The science behind this is amazing....

Good Friday Finding Fosdick Lake Sea Monsters While Seeking Modern Facilities In Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park Before Easter

The quintet of turtles you are looking at here are basking in the sun in Fosdic Lake in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park.

Well, I am assuming the turtles are doing some sun basking, but it also looks like this could be some sort of group mating session. I'm not sure what a turtle mating session would look like. I suppose I could solve that mystery with a little info-searching.

Fosdick Lake was a cheery shade of green today, a color which you can see  reflected on the shiny back of the turtle on the left.

The Fosdick turtles were greatly outnumbered by another species today in Oakland Lake Park, with that species being humans. I am assuming that since this is Easter weekend, schools are out, hence the large number of kids and parental units frolicking in the park on this Good Friday.

While I was taking the above turtle photo a mom passed by me with her little boy, with the little boy pointing to the turtles and asking his mom if those were sea monsters. The mother told her little boy they were turtles. I then told the little boy's mom that I was pretty sure they were sea monsters, not turtles. This seemed to greatly please the little boy, that he was seeing sea monsters.

I brought a bag of corn tortillas with me today to feed the fosducks. But, I think they were remembering not liking the whole wheat tortillas I threw at them a few days ago, because there was zero interest in my tortillas. In fact it was active dis-interest, in that rather than even look at that which I was throwing at them, the fosducks simply turned their backs on me and waddled off, quacking their disapproval as they waddled.

I shan't be bringing these ungrateful ducks any treats from this day forward.

In other Fort Worth park news.

Extra outhouses were being deposited today. I saw this both at Oakland Lake Park and Quanah Parker Park.

On Sunday, that being Easter, both parks, and other parks in Fort Worth, will be busy with a lot of picnicking and barbecuing. Hence the extra outhouses.

Now, I know you who do not live in Fort Worth and who know that Fort Worth is widely believed (by some deluded locals) to be the Most Livable City in America, must be wondering how it is that a city which is so incredibly livable can have city parks without modern restroom facilities?

Let alone potable water.

Well, that particular puzzlement has puzzled me ever since I started experiencing this part of the planet. I used to describe Fort Worth's primitive park facilities as getting to have a Third World type experience without the expense and hassle of leaving America.

But, the lack of modern facilities in their parks does not seem to bother the locals or the local public health officials. One would think it would be considered unsanitary to have picnic facilities in parks without running water.

Changing the subject from outhouses to aching knees.

I have been taking it easy the past few days, so my injured knee can recover from the nightmare incident where I kicked my bedroom wall in the middle of the night. I wanted to ride my bike at Gateway Park today, but opted for the more sedate walk with the Fosdick turtles. I've amped up the no-stress to the joints swimming in the morning to compensate for being more sedate the rest of the day.

I decided to go to Town Talk today and skip my regularly scheduled Saturday Town Talk visit. I suspect Town Talk will be a busy zoo tomorrow, what with that being the day before Easter. Usually I like Town Talk when it is a busy zoo, but not so much when I am in hobble on an injured knee mode which is not impervious to getting banged on by an aggressive Town Talk shopping cart pusher.

Today I got a lot of All Natural Tyson Chicken Legs, Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, a case of Chobani Lemon Yogurt, Flatbread and White Onions.