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......

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Panama Canal Was Built In The Time It Took Fort Worth To Begin Construction On Three Bridges Over Dry Land

No, on the left you are not looking at the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's un-needed flood diversion channel under construction.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's un-needed flood diversion channel, under construction, won't be anything anyone could possibly see for at least four years.

Before construction on that all important flood diversion channel can begin three bridges have to be built.

Three bridges which are such complex feats of engineering that they will take four years to build.

Over dry land.

What you are actually looking at above is the Panama Canal under construction. The Panama Canal was an actual vitally needed public works project, engineered by real engineers, with no congresswoman's son anywhere to be seen.

Construction on the Panana Canal began about 100 years before the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle began boondoggling, as in construction began in 1904, with the first ships floating through the Panama Canal ten years later, on August 15, 1914.

Are we all seeing the irony here?

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken was completed in the time it has taken Fort Worth Trinity River Vision Boondoggle to start construction on Three Bridges Over Nothing.

Does anyone know of any public works project anywhere that has as slow a pace of construction as Fort Worth's Boondoggle?

If the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is such an important flood control project, protecting downtown Fort Worth from flooding from which it has been protected by existing levees for well over a half century, and if The Boondoggle is such an important economic revitalization project, then why is it being built on what must be one of the slowest construction paces in the world?

Can you imagine Teddy Roosevelt signing off on building three bridges over dry land before the Panama Canal could begin to be dug? Can you imagine any sane, responsible person signing off on something so nonsensical?

I can not be the only person looking at this ongoing absurdity who is perplexed by this ongoing Boondoggle....

Fort Worth Really Is Not A Fifty Shades Of Grey Type Of Town

The last day or two I have been pondering something I have pondered before, that being trying to figure out why it is that those who represent Fort Worth, be it politicians, civic leaders and others, have such a propensity to make claims about Fort Worth which are just plain ridiculous, not grounded in reality or just out and out false.

One example, which I blogged about, is brought to us by Fort Worth's mayor Betsy Price, in a blogging titled Mayor Betsy Price Thinks The Late Nancy Bass & Her Four Sons Made Fort Worth One Of The Greatest Cities In The World.

Mr. Galtex commented on that example, saying "Perplexing to me, too. I think FW has a serious inferiority complex, which is unfortunate because in many ways it's a very pleasant place."

In another blogging, on a similar theme, titled Mr. & Mrs. Galtex Are In Argentina Where They Learned Fort Worth Has America's Top Downtown Mr. Galtex had another on target observation, saying "For the life of me, I've never been able to figure out why the FW locals are not content to simply say they have a nice downtown, a good this, and a swell that, instead of labeling everything with ridiculous superlatives. FW would be even nicer without a chip on its shoulder."

Mr. Galtex is a lifelong Texan who is one of the few people who live in downtown Fort Worth.

I totally agree with what Mr. Galtex is saying, that being that Fort Worth has a perfectly fine downtown, which unfortunately has people who speak for it spouting ridiculous superlatives with which they tout their perfectly ordinary downtown.

A time or two a person or two with limited perception ability has simplified my attitude towards Fort Worth by saying that with me it is Fort Worth bad, Seattle good. The actual fact of the matter is there are only a few downtown's with which I am quite familiar, those being Fort Worth, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Sorry Fort Worth, but you come up on the short end of all those big city sticks.

I dealt with the Fort Worth bad, Seattle good thing in a blogging titled On Top Of Mount Tandy Not Really Thinking Fort Worth Bad Seattle Good. Somewhat ironically, that blogging includes a lot of verbiage from the aforementioned Mr.Galtex in which he describes his and Mrs. Galtex's first trip to stay in downtown Seattle where they discovered a downtown accessed by rail from the airport, multiple grocery stores, vertical malls, department stores, a plethora of restaurants, lots of people, way too many Starbucks.

And little litter.

If I remember right it has been twice this year that the downtown Fort Worth propagandists have gone into full bore hype mode claiming Fort Worth was the Top Downtown in America. When I was perplexed by the absurdity of this claim it did not take much scraping off of the layers of nonsense to discover that the awards no one had ever heard of were brought about because some downtown Fort Worth entity submitted totally exaggerated submissions to some self-serving award givers,which proceeded to give out the bogus award without investigating the veracity of the award submission.

In one bizarre instance where Fort Worth's was named Top Downtown in America, by some narrow criteria, the other towns in the Top Ten were also towns most of America knew nothing about. Towns like the one I was born in, Eugene, Oregon, or a town I've lived in, Bellingham, Washington. Both of which, to me, have bigger, more evolved downtown's than Fort Worth's.

So, back to my original subject, as in where does Fort Worth's civic inferiority complex come from that causes it to so embarrassingly over compensate?

I started pondering this, oddly enough, when I watched the trailer for the upcoming movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. I knew this movie was based on some sort of publishing phenomenon which had a couple Texas women suing an Australian woman. I did not know, til watching the trailer, that Fifty Shades of Grey is set in Seattle.

Watching the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer, with its swooping views of downtown Seattle, with its skyscrapers, stadiums, Space Needle, waterfront, boats, trees, it suddenly struck me that it is seeing this type thing which must be at the heart of the Fort Worth civic inferiority complex.

I mean, can you imagine any sort of romantic novel being set in Fort Worth, with a movie filmed using Fort Worth scenery? Swooping in from the north the camera would need to avoid the Heritage Park eyesore. Or those Three Bridge Over Nothing under construction.

I have long been perplexed by the animosity towards Dallas I have heard from so many Fort Worth natives. I liked Dallas upon first exposure. Dallas is a town which seems to be wearing its big city pants. Except for when the time comes to build a new football stadium in town, or renovate something like Fair Park.

Dallas has an iconic skyline recognized all over the world due to the fact that a television show called Dallas became a huge hit all over the world.  I remember the first time I headed to Dallas on I-30 and realized I was seeing the classic scene from the Dallas opening credits.

Fort Worth being paired with a famous city must be like having a famous sibling, more beautiful, more successful, known all over the world. Of course this might lead to an inferiority complex. And over compensating.

Can you imagine a TV show called Fort Worth? Can you imagine what the opening credits would look like, coming in to town from whatever direction you chose? It would not be pretty.

It's not just 50 Shades of Grey which has Seattle as a setting. A TV show called Grey's Anatomy also is set in Seattle. Many shows and movies have been set in Seattle. Frazier comes to mine, with his big picture window looking out at the Space Needle.

Why does no TV producer choose Fort Worth as the setting for a movie or TV show? That is a question worth pondering. And please do not mention Walker: Texas Ranger to me. That is just embarrassing.

Sleepless in Seattle. Can you imagine Sleepless in Fort Worth? The lack of places to stage scenic scenes would be a killer when one would consider filming a movie in Fort Worth. No beaches, no houseboats, no waterfront, few skyscrapers, no professional sports venues, no iconic structures. Nothing really notable unless, maybe, one is filming a movie about homeless people, then Fort Worth's notorious Homeless People District might be useful.

Now, I realize me saying this type stuff may seem harsh. But, it is reality. A reality Fort Worth needs to collectively face and deal with, instead  of playing make believe.

Ask yourself why no movies or TV shows get based in Fort Worth and then ponder what it is other towns have which make them appealing for something like movies or TV shows and you'll go to the heart of why it is totally absurd to try and claim Fort Worth is the Top Downtown in America.

If it were, the town would be on the nation and world's consciousness, like Dallas is.

I truly believe that the bizarre Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is only going to make it worse for Fort Worth, that for the first time ever Fort Worth may find itself on the nation's radar screen. And not in a good way.

Think Boston Big Dig with a Southern Spin.

And now, watch the aforementioned Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer and try and imagine this being Fort Worth and you will realize Fort Worth has a lot of work to do if it wants to actually get anywhere near being the Top Downtown in America. It may be an impossible task....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stay South Of The North Face If You Know What Is Good For You

My incredibly great nephew, Spencer Jack, has been making a mighty strong case that I should move back to the Skagit Valley, going so far as to suggest I could stay in the guest wing of his Hillcrest home in Mount Vernon.

And then, just minutes ago, incoming email from Spencer Jack's dad, he being my favorite nephew, Jason, with the subject line of the email that which you see as the title of this blogging, "Stay South Of The North Face If You Know What Is Good For You."

In the body of the email, in addition to the newspaper clip you see on the left, was the following text...

"I found a good reason for you to continue living in Fort Worth via today's SV Herald.  Unless you enjoy milk, bread products and salmon."

I am feeling very conflicted. Should I move north? Should I stay south?

Even in Fort Worth, in addition to copious sunshine, I enjoy bread products and milk. Salmon, not so much, due to a scarcity of fresh out of the water salmon.

I don't think a salmon could long survive in the polluted Trinity River.

While up in my old home zone every year Spencer Jack's uncle Joey, he being my favorite nephew Joey, catches, in the Skagit River and other Pacific Northwest locations, more salmon than he knows what to do with.

I have long wondered why it is that the longer I live in the Deep South the more healthy I feel compared to when I lived in the Far North.

And now I know the reason.

Plenty of sun....

A Walk With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts Thinking About The Murder Of Mangas Colorado

This morning I was reading the chapter of Chronicles of the Indian Wars where Mangas Colorado gets murdered by a misguided army miscreant.

Mangas Colorado was an Apache. Even though he was not an Indian local to my current location, reading about the trials and tribulations of Mangas Colorado, and his murder, made me feel like driving to Village Creek Natural Historical Area for a visit with the Indian Ghosts who haunt this location.

That and I needed to go to ALDI to get butter and other good stuff.

That is not litter clogged up behind the Village Creek Dam Bridge you are looking at above. Those are leaves, a huge raft of leaves, not unlike the Great Red River Raft of long ago. Fallen leaves also made a pleasant crunching sound as I walked along the paved trail.

Back to Mangas Colorado.

If you are not familiar with the story of this famous Native American, below is the blurb from the Wikipedia Mangas Colorado article which pertains to his murder...

In the summer of 1862, after recovering from a bullet wound in the chest, Mangas Coloradas met with an intermediary to call for peace. In January 1863, he decided to meet with U.S. military leaders at Fort McLane, in southwestern New Mexico. Mangas arrived under a flag of truce to meet with Brigadier General Joseph Rodman West, an officer of the California militia and a future Reconstruction senator from Louisiana. Armed soldiers took Mangas into custody. West gave an execution order to the sentries.

"Men, that old murderer has got away from every soldier command and has left a trail of blood for 500 miles on the old stage line. I want him dead tomorrow morning. Do you understand? I want him dead.”

That night Mangas was tortured, shot and killed "trying to escape." While tied on the ground, Mangas was provoked with red hot bayonets until he moved to simulate his attempt to escape.

The following day, U.S. soldiers cut off his head, boiled it and sent the skull to Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist in New York City. Phrenological analysis of the skull and two sketchs of it appear in Fowler's book. Daklugie, one of informants in Eve Ball's book, said the skull went to the Smithsonian Institution.

So, U.S. soldiers beheaded Mangas Colorado, post-mortem. Sort of an ISIS army on the 1800s.

History ain't pretty sometimes.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Frozen Door Sends Me On A Wild Miss Puerto Rico Jeep Ride With Hondurans

Despite my best efforts the ongoing frigidity in the outer world is currently thwarting me from getting any exercise besides a walk and a hot tub soak.

Today's low of 26 degrees re-froze the sliding door access to my bike, despite the fact that I lubricated everything about that door that moved when I got it open two days ago.

By the time noon rolled around the temperature had risen to 50, so I thought this was likely warm enough that I could have myself a mighty fine time rolling my wheels around the neighborhood.

When I realized the sliding door was once again stuck I could have extracted the bike from another exit point, but I did not feel like going to the bother, and so opted to go on a walk.

Eventually, as I walked past the Mailbox Etc. store in the Albertstons strip mall I found myself being hollered at by Miss Puerto Rico. This soon had me abandoning walking and instead going on a wild jeep joyride with Miss Puerto Rico behind the wheel.

That soon led to a Jack in the Box drive-through where much mayhem ensued, mostly involving Spanish chatter between Miss Puerto Rico and the Honduran who was taking her money and giving her her Jack food. Miss Puerto Rico is a Jack regular, with the Honduran familiar enough with Miss Puerto that she felt comfortable asking who this guy was that she had with her.

Due to not being bilingual I don't know what Miss PR's explanation regarding me was, but it had both of them laughing.

As we left Jack in the Box I said that sure was a friendly Jack in the Boxer. That is when I was told the Jack in the Boxer was a Honduran. Miss PR then told me that Hondurans are real friendly and always happy and don't lose their tempers all the time, unlike Mexicans, Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

I have had Miss PR make these Spanish speaking world differentiations before. I find it interesting. I guess it is sort of like how a UK person might say Americans are loud and aggressive, while Canadians are quiet and passive.

I've got a big backlog of blogging fodder that my current low energy ebb has me avoiding. My favorite among this potential blogging fodder has to do with 50 Shades of Gray and Fort Worth. The Gray Fort Worth idea amused me. We'll see if amusement is the result. If not, I don't hit the publish button...