Monday, May 10, 2021

Wichita Bluffs Nature Area Wildflowers

This is the time of year when Texas is at its most scenic. Well, more accurately, this is the only time of year when the Texas landscape is naturally scenic.

As you can see, the Wichita Bluffs Nature Area is alive with a little color, and a lush jungle of green. 

Til today it had been awhile since I went hiking on the Wichita Bluffs. I do not remember last spring, or the spring before that, the Wichita Bluffs being this green, with so many wildflowers.

Conditions this year must be optimum for wildflowers to bloom. Even so, I have only seen the State Wildflower of Texas where people have planted it in their landscaping at their house. I've not seen a single bluebonnet blooming naturally anywhere on the landscape at my location in North Texas.

The last time I visited the Wichita Bluffs, the area where Hoodoos arise, the area had no Hoodoos. Today there was the Hoodoo you see above. There were no wildflowers blooming by the Hoodoo.

I think the orange wildflower you see above is known as an Indian Paintbrush. I could easily be wrong about that. I have no idea what the purplish/blue wildflower's name is.

As you can see, via the photo at the top, it is cloudy here today. A slight drizzle drizzled whilst I was hiking.

Yesterday the outer world heated to nearly 90. Today a big chill has cooled the outer world down into the 50s. Thunderstorms are on the weather menu for later today...

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Happy Mothers' Day...

I don't know if this is my Favorite Nephew David, or my Favorite Nephew Theo who is correcting his teacher's erroneous correction in the above New Yorker illustration....

You Know You Are From Washington When You Have A Favorite Brand Of Cannabis Mayonnaise

On Facebook this morning I saw a Heinz or Hunts version of mayonnaise which contained cannabis. This later  disappeared from Facebook when I went to find the pot mayonnaise image for blogging purposes.

I thought I would make mention of this and ask anyone who might know, who lives in one of the free American states, like Washington, Oregon, Colorado,  Arizona, Alaska, and others I am not remembering right now, if such a product is now sold in grocery stores.

I Googled looking for the image of the Heinz or Hunts green colored product, to no avail. But, I found others.

Also Googled to learn there are now 16 states which have pretty much decriminalized the use of marijuana. Along with Washington, D.C.

When Washington the state legalized the sale of recreational marijuana products, one of my nephews sent me a package which contained mint chocolates infused with cannabis.

I am fairly sure sending such to one of the backward, repressive states is likely breaking some sort of law.

It is so strange how states can be so different. One state, with the population highly educated, with good schools, resulting in a progressive liberal population, while another state, with the population not so well educated, with the schools not having a good reputation, resulting in a repressive, conservative population.

I remember shortly before moving to Texas, being at a festival in Fremont, in Seattle.

Fremont declared its independence from the U.S. decades ago, claiming then to be the Free Republic of Fremont. I may have the name wrong.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Fremont acquired some communist era artifacts, like statues. All in good fun, but of the sort which would have ignorant right wing nut jobs ranting in other parts of America.

Like where I am now.

Anyway, I was at this festival in Fremont, it may have been the Summer Solstice Festival, the one which begins with the big naked bike ride, which I have never seen. So, Wanda and I are wandering around and we see this guy hawking hash brownies for $1. There was a policeman about 10 feet from the hash brownies guy, who had a steady stream of customers, which soon included me and Wanda.

Well, that was one tasty brownie and it made for a much more interesting Fremont Festival experience.

Point being, well before the product was legalized, a permissive tolerance policy was pretty much in play in Washington.

And then I moved to Texas, where the concept of a permissive tolerance policy has just way too many syllables for most Texans to understand.

Speaking of Washington, also on Facebook I saw a semi-amusing item credited to comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who, apparently, now lives somewhere in Washington and who has lived there long enough to make the following observations about living in Washington...

1. If someone in a Lowes/Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in Washington.

2. If you've worn shorts, flip-flops and a warm-jacket at the same time, you live in Washington.

3. If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed the wrong number, you live in Washington.

4. If you measure distance in hours, you live in Washington.

5. If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in Washington.

6. If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' and back again in the same day, you live in Washington. (That is “if” you have “AC”)

7. If you can drive through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Eastern Washington. If you live in Western Washington and can’t drive through 2” of snow and are in a ditch or have stalled out in the middle of the road, you are now pissing off all those who migrated from Eastern Washington to Western Washington, who now regret their choice. 

8. If you get your kid's Halloween costumes to fit over 2 layers of clothes or under a raincoat, you live in Washington.

9. If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with leaves, mud or ice, you live in Washington.

10. If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in Washington.

11. If you feel guilty throwing bottles, cans or paper in the trash, you live in Washington.

12. If you know more than 10 ways to order coffee, you live in Washington.

13. If you know more people who own boats than have air conditioning, you live in Washington.

14. If you stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal, you live in Washington.

15. If you consider that if it has no snow on it (with the exception of the recently erupted), it’s not a ‘real’ mountain, then you live in Washington.

16. If you can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Tullys, you live in Washington.

17. If you know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon, you live in Washington.

18. If you know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Snoqualamie, (he misspelled Snoqualmie) Wenatchee , Spokane , Umpqua, Yakima and Willamette, (the Willamette is a river in Oregon. When my mom and dad moved from Washington to Eugene, where I was born, they were giggled at due to mis-pronouncing the name of the river which runs through Eugene as Willa-meetee), you live in Washington.

19. If you consider swimming an indoor sport, you live in Washington.

20. If you can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai food, you live in Washington.

21. If you go camping with a tarp, scotch guarded cloths and waterproof matches on you, you live in Washington.

22. If you have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain, you live in Washington.

23. If you think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists, you definitely live in Washington.

24. If you buy new sunglasses every single year because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time, then you live in Washington.

25. If you actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your Washington friends, you live or have lived in Washington.


Now I am off to Amazon to see if I can order some Cannabis Mayonnaise. One would think if such is available it would be on Amazon, what with Amazon being headquartered in Seattle...

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Bike Riding With Dozens Of Goslings In Sikes Lake

Rolled my bike to Sikes Lake this second Saturday of the 2021 version of May. A couple days ago I was at this location and saw a few dozen goslings being herded across the paved trail, heading to the lake. Walkers and bikers stopped to watch and not interrupt the passage. 

The guardian geese get quite aggressive with their protecting the babies duty. You get a warning hiss noise with a tongue stuck out and wagging. I have not pressed the issue far enough to see what happens if one presses forward toward the hissing tongue.

I have been goosed by a goose before. I believe that is the correct term indicating being bitten by an angry goose. It is painful. It happened to me in a raspberry patch in Washington when I was a pre-teenager. 

The temperature was in the mid 80s whilst biking. The wind blew strong from the south. So strong it made for slow going in the lowest gear when heading home via the Circle Trail.

I saw a lot of golfers golfing on the golf course east side of Holliday Creek. How does one golf when the wind is blowing 30 miles per hour, with gusts?

Friday, May 7, 2021

In Cabo San Lucas With Latest Addition To Extended Jones Family

That is my Favorite Nephew Christopher you see above, with his newly wed wife, my Favorite Niece-in-Law Carissa.

Christopher and Carissa are in the Weston branch of the Jones Family, located in Arizona.

The nuptials took place May 1 at a location in Cabo San Lucas called the Garza Blanca Resort.

As you can see, via the photo documentation above, attendees to the wedding were required to be attired in earth tones. 

Via additional photo documentation it appears Christopher's younger brother, my Favorite Nephew Jeremy, was his usual rebel self and did not follow the earth tone edict.

Then again, I may be wrong, and blue is an earth tone. 

That is Jeremy, in blue, and his older brother, Christopher, in earth tones, kissing their mother, my Little Sister Jackie, who is also known as my Favorite Jackie Sister.

I know the name of Jackie's earth tone is Champagne. I know this because Jackie told me such. 

This is the first time I was not able to attend the wedding of one of my nephews. This was the first nephew wedding which did not take place in the United States.

I just remembered, I also did not attend my Favorite Nephew Joey's wedding. But that one does not count because I was not invited, because Joey and Monique eloped. At least that is what I was told. Joey and Monique got married in Montana, which is in the United States, and so attending those nuptials would not have required a passport.

That and the Joey/Monique nuptials took place prior to the COVID nightmare.

COVID made flying to Cabo a more difficult wedding to attend, in addition to needing a passport.

I can not help but wonder which nephew wedding is up next. Jason 2.0? Jeremy? David? Theo?

If Vegas were taking odds I would bet on Theo's being the next nephew wedding to take place, hopefully somewhere in the United States, well after COVID has faded into history....

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Way Back To 1989 With Jason & Joey

Yesterday on Facebook I saw a photo posted by my Favorite Ex-Sister-in-Law, Cindy. 

Cindy is Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's Grandma. 

Which would make Grandma Cindy Jason and Joey's maternal parental unit.

The photo was of the group sort, a collection of baseballers assembled for some sort of baseball thing at Lake Padden in Bellingham.

Bellingham is the last semi-big town one drives through on I-5 before reaching the border with Canada.

Lake Padden Park is of the sort I really do not see much of in Texas. As in a city park which is HUGE, with multiple amenities. Miles of trails, some quite challenging. Excellent swimming. Multiple playfields for various sports. Amenities like modern restrooms and water running out of a faucet. This park can get a bit overwhelmed on a HOT summer day. When I lived in Washington I frequented Lake Padden frequently.

And this is not even Bellingham's only big park. Whatcom Falls Park is a scenic wonderland the likes of which do not exist at my current location. Again, miles of trails, a swimming hole like something out of a a movie.

Think Blue Lagoon without palm trees.

But containing a forest of big old growth evergreen trees...

Anyway, back to Jason & Joey. The photo above, cropped from a larger photo, was taken in 1989. That is Jason on the left, making that Jason's little brother, Joey, on the right.

Cindy remarked, in a comment on this post, that this year, the 1989 young version of Jason turns 42.

Turns 42, with a kid, Spencer Jack, older than Jason was in 1989.

The rapid passage of time really is not for the faint hearted...

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Way Back Machine To 2014 TRWD Mary Kelleher Censure Scandal Protest

Last night my phone chirped with a text message from an inquiring mind inquiring if I could find photos of the time the TRWD (Tarrant Region Water District) Board made a spectacle of itself censuring Mary Kelleher. This resulted in a near riot of protesters inside and outside the TRWD's palatial headquarters on the Trinity River.

To find the requested protest photos I went to this blog you are reading right now and entered "Mary Kelleher Protest" into the search tool.

This brought up multiple posts on the subject, with the latest one being from July 4, 2014, titled Mary Kelleher Has Had Enough Of The TRWD's Jim Oliver's Attempts To Bully, Intimidate And Harass Public Officials. You see part of that blog post screen capped at the top.

Jim Oliver was the Executive Dictator of the TRWD during Mary Kelleher's first term on the TRWD Board. As the title says, Jim Oliver acted like a bully, one with what is known as typical of Little Man Syndrome. Men with Little Man Syndrome are intimated by a woman like Mary Kelleher.

Jim Oliver will not be a problem for Mary Kelleher this time around serving on the TRWD Board.

The blog post with the protest photos was from the day Mary Kelleher was censured, April 29, 2014.

You can go to the A Packed Meeting Room With Protesters Outside Greets TRWD Board Mary Kelleher Censure Hearing post (screen capped above) and see an additional photo of this protest.

I was surprised to see this took place way back in 2014. It seems so recent, as in not way back seven years ago.

I do not remember why I did not go to this protest. I recollect there was a good reason at the time, but I forget what it was.

This time around I suspect if Mary Kelleher chooses to talk to the press about some frustration she is having over trying to obtain some TRWD documents she will not be censured by the other members of the TRWD Board...

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Isn't Fort Worth One Of The 15 Most Beautiful Cities In America?

Of late I have found myself watching a lot of YouTube. Watching not via a browser on my computer, but via ROKU streaming on my TV. 

Last night among the YouTube videos I watched was one titled "15 Most Beautiful Cities in America."

Such lists are always subjective, what with there being no data criteria which might make such a list some sort of scientific certainty.

This particular list of 15 seems particularly goofy. Watch the video and listen closely to the narrator's description of St. Augustine, Florida, for an example of goofy.

I have been to many of these 15 cities, including #12, Bozeman, Montana. I have passed through that town a number of times. I remember nothing about it, other than one time stopping at a Burger King to clean off all the bugs which had hit my windshield to a degree which had greatly diminished visibility.

There are three west coast cities on this list of 15. I have been to all the cities on the west coast. This video has one of those west coast cities as being the #1 Most Beautiful. You will have to watch the video below to see which town is #1.

I will just say I was surprised San Francisco was not one of those 3 west coast cities on the list. I will also just say that in my subjective opinion the two most beautiful cities on the west coast are San Francisco and Seattle. 

I would add the north of Seattle version of Vancouver, but, even though that town is on the west coast, it is not in America.

There is one Texas town on this list of 15.

No, it isn't Fort Worth.

I wonder what Fort Worth natives think who seldom leave their town, even to go to Dallas, let alone leave Texas, who are subjected to the local propaganda about Fort Worth from dubious sources, like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which will report to its readers that some ordinary thing in Fort Worth is making towns far and wide green with envy.

Do those Fort Worth natives who read the propaganda about their town find it perplexing that their town is never on a list of this Most Beautiful Cities sort?

Well, there was that time, early this century, when a Washington, D.C. lobbying group had Fort Worth on a list of 10 most livable cities, due to something to do with the urban village concept. Fort Worth had a city wide celebration to celebrate this amazing accolade. I am not making that up. It is true.

A few months after Fort Worth made towns far and wide green with envy due to being on this list I had reason to have lunch with the Deputy Mayor of Tacoma. Tacoma was also on this list of 10 most livable cities. Tacoma has clearly defined urban villages, so awarding this award to Tacoma I could understand. I have never understood where Fort Worth's urban villages are. 

Anyway, I asked the Tacoma Deputy Mayor if Tacoma had a city wide celebration after winning this prestigious award. He laughed and said no, we did not, we sent a thank you letter and that was the end of it. I then told him Fort Worth had a city wide celebration. You must be making that up, he said in reply. Nope, that really happened. How embarrassing the Deputy Mayor said in reply.

Yup, said I, Fort Worth has a way of embarrassing itself like that.

This was well before the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle and the Fort Worth Cabela's is gonna be the top tourist attraction in Texas embarrassments.

Til moving to Texas and being exposed to Fort Worth, I did not know a town could be green with envy about something.

Watch the video to see which Texas town is the Most Beautiful. I would have picked Austin or San Antonio.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Water Roaring Over Lake Wichita Falls

With a strong wind blowing from the north today seemed a good day to roll south on the Circle Trail.

Having a windy assist makes for a speedy bike ride, til the part of the ride comes to head the other direction, into the wind.

Last week's rain had Holliday Creek running more water by my abode than I remember seeing after any previous rainstorms. It's been several day and there is still a lot of water making its way to the Wichita River and spilling over Lake Wichita Falls.

As you can see via the above photo documentation, my bike's handlebars are aimed at the current biggest loudest actual waterfall in Wichita Falls.

And just as is the case with the intermittently off and on fake falls which Wichita Falls is not named after, this current Lake Wichita Falls waterfall will soon dry up to return to its regular state of being a water-free dam spillway.

I have never eye witnessed Niagara Falls. The biggest waterfall I have ever experienced is Snoqualmie Falls, in Washington, a short distance east of Seattle. If you were, or are, a Twin Peaks fan, you have seen Snoqualmie Falls.

When Western Washington gets a lot of rain, and especially in winter if a Pineapple Express blows in with warm temperatures causing the Cascade snowpack to melt, well, serious flooding then happens to the Western Washington rivers, including the Snoqualmie River. 

And when that happens Snoqualmie Falls becomes an awesome thing to witness. Even though the Snoqualmie Falls viewing lookout is a long distance from the waterfall you can feel the ground shaking from the force of the falls. A mist makes it hard to see the falls from the lookout when it is in flood mode.

I just remembered Nooksack Falls. Another spectacular Washington waterfall. You sort of see that one from above, but can climb down the side of it. This is a bit scary. More than once someone has fallen over Nooksack Falls to their demise. 

Oh, just remembered I have also seen the waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, in the spring, when the snowmelt makes for high water and the waterfalls in Yosemite at their most spectacular. But, none reached the ground shaking power of Snoqualmie Falls when flooding.

I don't know what has got me on waterfalls today. Oh, yeah, because I saw Lake Wichita Falls in somewhat rare dribble mode...

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mary Kelleher Wins Back TRWD Board Seat

Above you are looking at Mary Kelleher, on the right. On the left is the D/FW legend known, by some, as Elsie Hotpepper.

It seems like a long time ago I was hiking in Fort Worth's Gateway Park when the infamous Elsie Hotpepper called me whilst she was being in thrilled and happy mode, due to having met with someone with serious Fort Worth flood issues who had agreed to run for a seat on the Tarrant Region Water District Board.

That someone was Mary Kelleher.

In that water board election Mary Kelleher won in a landslide, with what, at that point in time, was the most votes any water board candidate had ever received.

What followed was a tumultuous four years as Mary Kelleher tried to bring to light that which the TRWD had kept hidden in the dark, for years.

Mary Kelleher was frequently blocked in multiple ways. Denied an entry key to TRWD headquarters. Not allowed in the 'secret room' where the longtime board members met. Denied requested information.

Eventually Mary Kelleher was censured by the TRWD Board. A ridiculous attempt to shut her up which resulted in a big throng of protesters bringing shame to those who tried to intimidate Mary Kelleher into going along with the shenanigans she had vowed to put to a stop.

Things like the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, which had, even then, way back years ago, become an obviously idiotic, ineptly managed, slow motion boondoggle doing damage to the heart of Fort Worth.

Damage such as three simple little bridges being built over dry land, ever since 2014, causing traffic disruption, ruining businesses, stealing property by abusing the perfectly legal, if properly used, concept of eminent domain.

The Trinity River Vision was sold as a vitally needed flood control/economic development scheme.

Where there had been no flooding for well over half a century. With the economic benefit going to those who owned property in the area of the scheme.

And yet this vitally needed flood control scheme is actually so vitally un-needed that the project has limped along the length of this new century, with nothing done regarding the imaginary flood control problem.

While Mary Kelleher's east Fort Worth neighborhood regularly floods, due to Fort Worth's criminally inept urban planning. 

When Mary Kelleher ran for re-election, she lost, in what seemed to be an actual obvious fraudulent election. With that obviousness leading to a investigation by the state which resulted in a few low level perpetrators being held to account, but with the actual fraud perpetrators left untouched.

And now, another four years later. Or is it eight? Time flies so fast. Mary Kelleher is back on the TRWD Board. 

The next four years should be interesting for Fort Worth.

The times they are a'changing...