Friday, November 17, 2017

From Tacoma Postcard I Learn David, Theo & Ruby Will Never Come To Fort Worth

Yesterday I found that which you see here in my mailbox.

Several weeks ago David, Theo & Ruby text messaged me saying they'd lost my address, asking me to send it to them again. I did so, figuring David, Theo & Ruby must be wanting to mail me something.

So, starting a few days after that I eagerly opened the mailbox anticipating incoming from my Tacoma nephews and niece.

After weeks of nothing from Tacoma I sort of forgot about it. And then yesterday the postcard you see here arrived. On the postcard a label was stuck informing me there had been some delivery difficulty, the nature of which I was unable to determine.

I was barely back in my abode when David, Theo and Ruby, and their mother, texted me asking "Did our postcard get to you?"

I replied that it had arrived a couple minutes previous. A reply to that told me they'd mailed the postcard weeks ago.

What spooky coincidental timing. Texting asking if I had gotten the postcard minutes after I got the postcard which was weeks late in arriving.

My mailbox is in a location without good lighting. When I got the postcard out of the mailbox I was without my reading glasses, just returning from a long bike ride. When I first read the message on the postcard I mis-read Worden as Worth and thought the kids had written "We want you to come explore Fort Worth with us."

Yikes, I thought, they are in Fort Worth? I thought they were supposed to be in Arizona? But then I checked again, even before better light and reading glasses, to read the message correctly.

I told my sister of my initial confusion to which my sister said,  "I can't see us coming to explore Fort Worth anytime soon. OK. Ever."

And then my reply to that struck me as both amusing and revealing, due to it being how Fort Worth is talked about when talked about to non-Texans. This is what I replied...

"Well, I can almost guarantee the kids would love the Fort Worth Stockyards. But, other than that. Nothing. Well, unless a storm blew in with tornado sirens. They might think that was fun."

Nothing of interest in Fort Worth to three kids from Tacoma other than the Stockyards?

Fort Worth Zoo? Those kids have been to the San Diego Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, the Tacoma Zoo, Northwest Trek, and others I probably don't know about.

Parks? I'd be embarrassed to take them to a Fort Worth park. What if they needed a restroom? David, Theo & Ruby live a short distance from Point Defiance Park, a huge Tacoma park which could likely contain all Fort Worth's parks. Point Defiance Park has miles of trails through old growth forest, an actual fort in Fort Nisqually, miles of beach with crystal clear water, the Tacoma zoo, and I think, an aquarium and multiple other assets one would not find in a Fort Worth park. Such as modern restrooms in multiple locations.

Swimming pools? Tacoma has multiple public pools in various iterations. One with a giant wave pool, another with a lazy river.

Sundance Square Plaza? Tacoma has two plaza type locations, with water features kids play in, that pretty much dwarf Fort Worth's little plaza, which is sponsored by a Japanese auto maker. The kids have also been to Seattle's Westlake Center, which also dwarfs Fort Worth's little plaza, and also has a water feature. And a monorail. And a vertical mall, and access to a light rail tunnel underground.

Cabela's? The sporting goods store which the Star-Telegram helped propaganda-ize would be the top tourist attraction in Texas. when six months after opening it was not even the only Cabela's in Texas, and now is not even the only Cabela's in the D/FW Metroplex.

David, Theo & Ruby live a short distance from two Cabela's, one a short drive to the south on I-5, the other a short drive to the north on I-5. Both built without trying to con Washingtonians with idiotic nonsense about a sporting goods store being the top tourist attraction in Washington. Both built without being conned into providing incentives such as Fort Worth willingly provided, you know, so as to get that top tourist attraction in Texas.

Okay, maybe get out of Fort Worth and take the kids to Arlington to Six Flags Over Texas. Nope. They've been to Disneyland and Disney California. But, the kid's parental units might like Six Flags, due to the admission fee being a fraction of what it costs to go to Disneyland. Then, again, you get what you pay for.

Well, I guess I could take them to one of Fort Worth's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats. Such is not available anywhere else in the world. Floating in a muddy river regularly contaminated with too many toxins, like e.coli, while listening to music coming from an imaginary pavilion on an imaginary island. You can't find that type entertainment in Tacoma. Or anywhere in Washington, or probably the entire west coast, including British Columbia....

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Did MSU Flying Monkeys Return Tin Man To Yellow Brick Road?

Yesterday after I took a Roll Through MSU With Cinderella & Dorothy On The Yellow Brick Road I verbalized being concerned as to the whereabouts of the Tin Man, due to the Tin Man not being with Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow or Toto at the massive MSU (Midwestern State University) Holiday Season Christmas Theme Park.

I have no way of knowing if the Tin Man, as was speculated, had been Flying Monkey-napped by the Wicked Witch of the West, or had simply wandered off, or took a coffee break.

The missing Tin Man worried me almost all night long. So, today I rolled myself back to MSU to find myself relieved to see the Tin Man back with the rest of the gang heading to the Emerald City via the Yellow Brick Road in the Merry Land of Oz in Texas.

If the above were a video you would be seeing the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion in motion mode. The Tin Man slowly swings his ax whilst squeaking, while behind him the Cowardly Lion waves an arm holding a can of tin lubricating grease. The Scarecrow, Dorothy and Toto were also in motion mode in various ways today.

Maybe before this latest iteration of the "Holidays" is mercifully over for another year I will wander through the MSU Christmas Theme Park and take video of all the action.

And in other news, this morning I was pleased to learn I am now the Wichita Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau's Outdoors Adventure Guru. This gets me many perks, including ice water anytime I visit WFC & VB's offices in Ray Clymer Hall at MPEC (Multi-Purpose Event Center) in downtown Wichita Falls.

Best free ice water since the last time I was in South Dakota at Wall Drug....

Washington Outhouse Landing Thought Not To Fly In From Fort Worth

I saw this this morning on Facebook, via Tacoma's Queen V, which had me thinking, before learning the details, that this was yet one more interesting Fort Worth outhouse installation.

But, why would Queen V in Tacoma be seeing this?

Well, turns out this outhouse took flight a couple days ago during a big, bad windstorm which battered Western Washington.

I do not know in what town and on whose house this outhouse landed.

The reason I assumed this was in Fort Worth was because of the number of times I have seen similar such things in what is known as the Outhouse Capital of the World, with more outhouses per capita than any other major town in America.

Having more outhouse per capita than any other town in America is yet one more Fort Worth claim to fame which has cities Far and Wide Green With Envy regarding Fort Worth.

Most Fort Worth parks have no modern facilities, no restrooms, no running water. But do have picnic tables and outhouses, with no place to wash ones hands.

Even Fort Worth's only real tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, considers indoor plumbing to be a luxury. We have blogged about this a number of times, most recently in Is Indoor Plumbing An Imaginary World Class Fort Worth Luxury?

That most recent blogging about Fort Worth's paucity of indoor plumbing was prompted by some foolish nonsense in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about some mundane thing in Fort Worth being "World Class" and thus worthy of being considered for something I don't remember. The Amazon HQ2 location? Maybe that was it.

Most of Fort Worth's city parks can not be accessed by a sidewalk. Because Fort Worth has the fewest sidewalks per city street mile than any other major city in America. But that's a whole different issue than the Fort Worth indoor plumbing shortage....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Roll Through MSU With Cinderella & Dorothy On The Yellow Brick Road

This mid November Wednesday was warm enough to make for a mighty fine bike ride today, mighty fine, even with a mighty strong wind blowing in from the north.

Today I once again found myself rolling through the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus Christmas Happy Holiday Season theme park.

The lights were on and the animation was animating, with a piano player playing for dancing girls dancing,a Ferris wheel spinning, along with the spinning wagon wheels of Cinderella's pink chariot, which is what you see above. From this angle you can not see Cinderella looking all cozy inside her carriage, but you can see those jealous evil step-sisters look evil in the foreground.

I am unclear as to what the Holiday Season connection is between Cinderella and Christmas. The same is true with the below exhibit.

But you have to admit, even though the Christmas connection might be a bit confusing, Cinderella, along with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Toto make for a festive piece of Holiday Season merriment.

But, where is the Tin Man? Has he already entered the Emerald City ahead of the rest of this gang? Or lost on the Yellow Brick Road? Did the Flying Monkeys snatch him? Or the Wizard of Oz?

I don't know.

I shall look more earnestly for the Tin Man the next time I visit...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Looking Puzzled At The Multiple Texas Veterans Memorials

What you are looking at here is a small section of the Veterans Memorial in Veterans Park in Arlington.

Behind and to the left of the soldier a couple years ago a Vietnam War Memorial was added.

Veterans Park is a sprawling park at the center of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

A beautiful park with an equally beautiful Veterans Memorial.

Long ago I made a webpage about Veterans Park, which shows the scope of the park, but I think that webpage was made before the memorials were added.

In Dallas, at Fair Park, there is an excellent Vietnam War Memorial which emulates the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. On the Dallas Wall all the names of Texans who died in the Vietnam War are engraved.

 A new Veterans Memorial was dedicated on Saturday in the Fort Worth suburb of Haltom City.

There are likely many other Veterans Memorials in the D/FW zone which I do not know about.

There is an obscure Vietnam War Memorial in Fort Worth. I say it is obscure because I accidentally happened upon it whilst exploring the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. I blogged about this in Charlie Company Memorial in Fort Worth's Botanic Garden. The Charlie Company Memorial may be the best such thing I have ever seen. One would have to have a heart of ice not to be touched by the story told at the Charlie Company Memorial. And it makes one proud of Fort Worth and the people of Fort Worth.

A half century ago.

I do not understand why a bigger deal is not made of the Charlie Company Memorial, with the memorial brought out of the shady shadows and made easy to find with directional signs.

A couple months ago I attended an event at Lake Wichita celebrating finally getting Army Corps of Engineer approval for fixing Lake Wichita. Part of that event involved plans for a Wichita Falls Veterans Memorial, to be located at the to be upgraded boat launch dock on Lake Wichita. A local car dealer donated a half million bucks to the Veterans Memorial, making the donation with one of those giant checks you see when someone wins something like the million bucks on Survivor.

One can also buy a personalized brick to help pay for the Wichita Falls Veterans Memorial. I do not know why personalized bricks seem to be the go to fund raiser for this type thing in Texas. That and car washes.

A couple days ago I was thinking about all the Veterans Memorials in Texas, maybe this was triggered by the one I see one directed to when passing by the small town of Alvord, between D/FW and Wichita Falls, and this got me trying to remember if there is any sort of Veterans Memorial in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley, in Mount Vernon, or the town I grew up in, Burlington, or in any of the other towns or parks in the valley. I could remember none.

I did remember that Anacortes has some sort of Seafarer Memorial dedicated to those who are lost at sea. As in fishermen, based in Anacortes, usually lost whilst fishing the rough seas of Alaska.

I can not remember any Veterans Memorial in Seattle. Or Tacoma. Or Olympia. I'm sure such must exist, in some form, but I don't remember.

It has crossed my mind that all these memorials may be a fine thing, but that it would be more impressive, to me, if rather than dedicating yet one more memorial, a town might do something more memorable, like put that money to helping Veterans, to making sure there are Veteran services in your town, to making sure you have no homeless Veterans in your town, to doing all you can do to prevent a Veteran from getting so desperate that suicide is the only option in your town.

How many millions of bucks and hours of time have been spent on multiple Veterans Memorials in Texas, I can not help but wonder. And I also can not help but wonder could not that money and time have been put to a more meaningful memorial to Veterans?

Anyway, that's what seeing that sign on 287 pointing to an Alvord Veterans Memorial made me think about. That and why isn't Veterans Park in Arlington sufficient to cover all the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex Veterans Memorial needs, like Arlington covers D/FW's professional ball park needs...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bike Ride To MSU Santa & Peter Pan Battling Captain Hook With Pirates Of The Caribbean Wenches

Saturday and Sunday strong wind blew cold air at my location on the planet. This frigidity had me not wanting to ride my bike or climb a mountain.

And now, on Monday, even though rain is supposedly on the weather menu, there is no wind, dead calm, nothing blowing.

And so, even though the outer world is cloudy and chilled to the middle 50s, with only a little extra layering I was able to take myself on a long roll of my wheels, first to Sikes Lake, eventually to Hamilton Park and the Circle Trail, but before I got there I rolled through MSU (Midwestern State University) and stopped to visit one of the multiple Santas currently holding court over a large assemblage of Christmas Holiday Season type installations still in being installed mode.

Among those installations is the pirate ship you see below.

I am not sure, but I think this pirate ship is Peter Pan themed. The name of the ship is Jolly Roger. A damsel in distress is tied to a mast, looking like she is being tormented by evil eyed pirates, whilst what appears to be Peter Pan is battling what looks to be the sword wielding captain of the ship, looking like Captain Hook, because, well, one arm has a hook instead of a hand at its termination point.

This pirate ship holiday season installation seems to be a bit out of sync with the times. Didn't I recently read that Disneyland has edited The Pirates of the Caribbean to no longer have scary drunken pirates chasing scared wenches?

I have not been to Disneyland since Christmas day of 1994. At that point in time the pirates were still chasing those scared wenches  The wench chasing part of the ride was one of my favorite parts, going all the way back to the first time I took the dead men tell no tales boat plunge to enter the mayhem of the Disneyland pirate world.

My mom and dad were along for the ride the first time I experienced Pirates of the Caribbean. Maybe that's why the pirates chasing the wenches did not seem all that frightening. I was more disturbed by It's a Small World and all those singing Precious Moments type figures singing that annoying song over and over and over again.

I just realized, whilst thinking about riding Pirates of the Caribbean with mom and dad, for the first time, decades ago, that the last time I rode a theme park type ride with mom and dad was in November of 1995, at Luxor in Las Vegas. I was staying at Treasure Island, mom and dad were nearing the end of their retirement trek across America. They met up with me. I left who I was with in Vegas to go with mom and dad to Luxor, where we buffeted and then rode the Luxor virtual reality ride which makes one think one is flying to the center of the world in search of an obelisk, or some such thing. Mom was amusing. Sort of terrified. But, she recovered enough to give me a big box of Christmas presents to haul north to distribute.

As for Pirates of the Caribbean. I Googled to find the correct name for the It's a Small World ride and this brought up a YouTube video with the entire Pirates of the Caribbean ride, start to finish. That ride, along with the rest of Disneyland is one of the many reasons I found Six Flags Over Texas so totally lame the first time I visited that theme park.

Take the video ride below, if you've never been to Disneyland and ridden the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The ride starts slow, building drama, stay with it til the first time you hear dead men tell no tales. Then the video goes dark for a bit, not managing to catch the shock of what actually happens, when your boat sort of goes over a waterfall to enter the world of the Pirates of the Caribbean, eventually ending with the pirate Jack Sparrow counting his treasure.

The blurb accompanying the video....

Avast ye land lubbers! Set forth with this HD Front Seat POV on one of the best Dark Rides every created. Disneyland never disappoints and Pirates of the Caribbean is always a crowd pleaser....

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day Visit To Wichita Falls Prairie Dog Town With No Armistice

With it being Veterans Day, or Armistice Day if one prefers to pretend the American 1950s never happened, I decided to visit my neighborhood's survivors of the Indian Wars who live in the Wichita Falls Prairie Dog Town.

I did not know if the cold weather would have the Prairie Dogs underground or out and about.

I brought with me a bag of various bread products I cleared out of my fridge this morning, along with sweet potato peelings I made this morning when I peeled sweet potatoes.

Arriving at the Prairie Dog Town suburbs it was quickly obvious the cold weather had not sent the Dogs down under Town.

The little guy on the left is enjoying one of those sweet potato peelings. When the Prairie Dogs see food has arrived they announce the delivery with a sort of high pitched barking which has the Town come to life with Prairie Dogs peeking out of burrows all over town. And in the suburbs which ring the walled main Prairie Dog community.

This guy, who I call Chester, immensely enjoyed the chunk of Italian bread I tossed him. He finished that and then I tossed him some whole wheat bread, so as to provide some extra fiber. Chester also got some sweet potato peelings.

This pair enjoyed big chunks of French bread while I admired their artistic homage to nearby Mount Wichita.

Since my last visit to Prairie Dog Town a new playground has been installed. A walled playground with a deep covering of sand inside the wall. I assume this is intended to be a barrier to Prairie Dog additional development, blocking this area from being a new suburb.

The previous playground equipment had been compromised by a Prairie Dog invasion, with burrows at the base of the slide and all around the swings and monkey bars. The Prairie Dogs are strategic with their land grabbing invasions, hence the Trump-ish border wall, attempting to keep an area out of Prairie Dog control.

I suspect there is Prairie Dog plotting afoot in the Prairie Dog Councils of War, on this Armistice Day of 2017, trying to determine the best way to make an encroachment into the new walled playground area.

When next I visit I expect to see Prairie Dogs popping up from burrows burrowed under that deep sand behind the wall....

Friday, November 10, 2017

Misty Cold Wichita Falls Bike Ride To Sikes Lake Priddy Pavilion With No River Rockin'

That is my COLD look you are looking at here. This is not all that different from my HOT look, but with the COLD look a hooded sweatshirt is included.

If you think the air looks a bit misty behind me you are thinking correctly.

A fine mist misted me as soon as I left being under cover to take myself on a bike ride to Sikes Lake. Eventually the mist amped up its thickness to being borderline rain.

In the photo my handlebars and I are stopped at the Priddy Pavilion on the aforementioned Sikes Lake. That is a bridge over water you see in the background. The paved trail which surrounds Sikes Lake crosses over that bridge.

I do not know if when that bridge was built it was built over dry land, with the water added later. I suspect not. I also do not know if the Wichita Falls locals were told this was a signature bridge. Again, I suspect not.

What I do know is Rockin' Sikes Lake Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats at Priddy Pavilion do not take place at this location. Even though it is a real pavilion.

Because, well, unlike another Texas town I can think of, Wichita Falls is significantly saner and does not encourage its people to get wet at an imaginary pavilion on an imaginary island in polluted water. Even though Sikes Lake is not polluted to a Trinity River level of pollution, swimming is not allowed.

Except for the large goose and duck population, and the occasional seagull....

Elsie Hotpepper & Clod Hopper: Texas Partners In Crime Fighting

A day or two or three ago I was talking to Elsie Hotpepper about her domicile's security upgrade which Elsie brought about due to concern about the recent bout of mass shootings.

This seemed excessive to me.

I recollect a line of a song sung by someone which I sort of remember as...

"Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep"

Or something like that.

I have never owned a gun or felt the need to do so. Worrying about my abode being invaded has never concerned me.

I am probably either moronically naive. Or totally rational. Or somewhere in between.

I have only been to the Hotpepper Hacienda once. The experience was unsettling.

Not unlike flying.

Once one gets past the security gate guard one is then confronted with parking ones vehicle in the designated zone monitored by security cameras. Once parking is approved you are clear to make your way to the Hotpepper Hacienda entry door. You pass through a device that is sort of like the security thing at the airport.

I set the entry security thing off several times.

Eventually I got through security after being reduced to only wearing my swimming suit and a pained expression.

I had been invited to a Hotpepper Hacienda Pool Party so it was not too annoying to find myself ready to swim sooner than I had expected.

Inside the Hotpepper Hacienda one only notices the security cameras and motion detectors when one looks for them. Outside, on the main grounds behind the house, where the pool complex is, the security cameras are more obvious, though somewhat cutely disguised in things like garden gnomes and prickly pear cactus, and welded to the bar and other location in forms like whiskey bottles and table lamps.

The portrait you see at the top is what greets you when you enter the Hotpepper Hacienda.

In that portrait we see Elsie Hotpepper and Clod Hopper in crime fighting mode in some Texas town somewhere.

Haltom City? Midlothian? Grapevine? I don't know. I did not ask. I feared asking too many questions might seem suspicious and set off a security alarm....

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Democrats Take Control Of Washington Legislature Meanwhile In Texas...

Saw that which you see here this morning via the Seattle Times.

A Democrat with an unusual name defeated a Republican with an unusual name, in a district which had been reliably Republican, with this Democrat win giving Democrats control of the Washington State Senate, and thus control over both the Washington House of Representatives and the Washington State Senate.

And the Washington Governorship.

We can only hope this result is a harbinger of the near future for the rest of America, saving us from the Idiocracy and its False Orange God and his worshiping Basket of Deplorables.

Washington's Governor Inslee says with this Democrat win he plans to initiate an ambitious climate change agenda, whatever that means.

We can hope that this further swing to the Washington left means my old home state will be increasing its leadership role as one of America's most progressive, liberal states.

Meanwhile in Texas...

In Texas, this morning, via Facebook, regarding Tuesday's election, I read a Texan comment that "Wish cannabis law reform would happen here, but Texas is so assbackwards it will never happen."

Texas will continue to be assbackwards, compared to the progressive states, as long as Texas continues to elect morons to state and national office. How can this be the same state which gave America LBJ, Sam Rayburn, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, and other intelligent, progressive, liberal, decent-minded leaders, and now is the state which foists the embarrassing likes of Ted Cruz, John Cronyn, Rick Perry, Kay Granger and Greg Abbott on America, to name a few of the Texas embarrassments?

But, there is hope in Texas, a lot of hope. I have met a lot of Texans who are not morons, who are embarrassed by the assbackwards embarrassment Texas has become. Methinks the non-moron Texans are going to soon be back in control of this formerly great state.

This morning I read a letter to the editor of a Texas newspaper lamenting the idiot Texas elected governor...

‘Idiotic response’ from governor

I don’t think we’ll ever hear a more idiotic response concerning this past weekend’s tragedy than from our cowardly governor.

Obviously scared of offending the NRA, and losing the financial support given by them, Greg Abbott dropped the responsibility of preventing these tragedies squarely on “more prayer and forging a stronger connection with God?”

That’s his answer for dealing with this kind of tragedy? No mention of tightening up and enforcing gun laws? That’s the same “thoughts and prayers” route that our nation’s legislative branch has been using in dealing with this for years. That doesn’t seem to be working very well.

My old home state of Washington has not been immune from the national tragedy of senseless mass shootings, though, so far, not on the Texas, Vegas scale. If, after one of the Washington senseless shootings Washington's governor said something so idiotically stupid as suggesting preventing such required more prayer and forging a stronger connection with God I can pretty much guarantee that that idiot governor would be scorned with a scorn level which would have him laughed out of office and the state.

Meanwhile in Texas...