Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Fort Worth May Spend $70 Million To Become Imaginary Tech Hub

In non-troubling times if I saw something like that which you see above, on the front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, I would not have hesitated long before pointing out a thing or two.

But, with America convulsed by civil unrest, rightfully so, in the midst of the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu over a century ago, whilst being ineptly mislead by the worst president in American history, the latest Fort Worth nonsense seems sort of trivial to be talking about.

However, I'm bored, and feel like spending a few minutes clacking keyboard keys.

Does anyone keep track of how much money Fort Worth has spent on various incentives trying to lure some business to town? Such has been an ongoing phenomenon ever since I arrived in Texas and began observing the Fort Worth Way up close.

So many pitifully pathetic instances. The Cabela's sporting goods con job comes to mind. Fort Worth's inept city government bent over backwards to accommodate Cabela's, falling for the standard Cabela con that a sporting goods store would become the #1 tourist attraction in the state.

I remember when first I read that bizarre claim and thinking to myself doesn't that sort of insult all of the actual tourist attractions in Texas which actually do attract tourists?

Cabela's tried their standard incentive request when wanting to open a store by Olympia in my old home state.

Cabela's was told if it was not economically feasible to open a store without taxpayer help, then don't open a store. Cabela's opened that store, and then another one, in Washington, north of Seattle. Cabela's did not add their it's gonna be the top tourist attraction to their Washington pitch. That would be a bit ludicrous to do in the shadow of Mount Rainier, with the Olympics a short distance northwest, and Seattle a few miles to the northeast.

But, Fort Worth, well, the city government, fell for the Cabela con. And, within a few months of opening, the Fort Worth Cabela's was no longer the only Cabela's in Texas. And now, the Fort Worth Cabela's is not even the only Cabela's in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro zone.

And what is with the headline saying "Fort Worth says"?

Who in Fort Worth says this? Towns don't talk. Someone representing a town might say something.

So, who is the fool behind this latest attempt to lure a business to town via incentives?

Fort Worth can be a tech hub?

Has whoever thinks this actually been to any of America's tech hubs?

Instead of trying to bribe a business to come to town, why not instead make an effort to make the town more attractive for a business to locate to? As in why not some sort of effort to turn Fort Worth into a modern American city?

You know, where most streets have sidewalks, where city parks have modern restrooms, running water, and zero outhouses, where the town has multiple public pools, and an efficient modern public transit system.

And nothing as embarrassing as Molly the Trolley.

Fort Worth's Molly the Trolley needs to be taken off the streets and relegated to a museum.

Another thing to think about regarding attracting anything to a town, be it a business, or tourists. Awhile back some sort of survey found that Fort Worth ranked something like #48 in public awareness, whilst being America's 13th biggest city.

I have no idea what Fort Worth could do to raise awareness of the town in the American imagination.

I do know it ain't things like happy hour inner tube floats in a polluted river.

Or botched public works projects the public has never voted for, such as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, which has been limping along for most of this century, currently with three simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction over dry land, hoping one day to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

You really think it is attractive to a business looking to re-locate to see something like the mess which  has become America's Biggest and Dumbest Boondoggle? Do you think such instills confidence in a town's ability to get stuff done?

You really think $70 million is gonna successfully lure some obscure business to Fort Worth, turning the town into a tech hub?

Delusional madness, that's what it seems to be to me...

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Linda Lou Wichita Bluff Wedding Walk With Nooksack River Near Tragedy

On this last Saturday of the 2020 version of May I opted to drive to the west parking lot of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to do some nature communing under the HOT pre-summer sun.

Upon arrival I was surprised to see more vehicles parked than I've ever seen previously. As in there was only one spot left for me to park on.

A short distance into the nature communing I saw what had clogged up the parking lot, that being the directional signage you see above, stuck in the ground next to the Circle Trail, pointing wedding party people to Wichita Falls' latest wedding venue, that being the Wichita Bluff Nature Area pavilion.

The wedding ceremony appeared to be well underway by the time I got a direct look at it.

What sort of surprised me was all the people I saw in the wedding venue were dressed like one might be if one was in an air-conditioned space. Suits with ties, long dresses. That and no masks, no social distancing.

There was no sound system with microphone broadcasting the proceedings. Such would have been possible, since there is electricity available at this venue, along with lighting for an after dark event. I can see where this location might become a popular wedding venue. A case could be make this is the most scenic location in town.

I almost forgot the Linda Lou part of walking the Wichita Bluffs today. I was at the highest point on the bluffs when my phone made its incoming text noise. When I got to the covered picnic structure which is at the Wichita River overlook I checked the message and texted back an answer to Linda Lou's probing question.

A short time later the phone made that incoming text message noise again. It was Linda Lou, again, asking a follow up question. I texted back an answer to that question and resumed the nature communing.

A short time later the phone made its incoming call noise. I got the phone back out of its pocket and was soon able to see the call was from Linda Lou. But, it took me awhile to figure out how to answer the phone call due to the text message screen being all I saw, except for a note at the top saying the call was from Linda Lou.

Eventually I figured out how to answer the call. Linda Lou then walked with me all the way back to the wedding venue. For the bulk of the call Linda Lou told me about an ABC 20/20 documentary which re-ran last night, which Linda Lou had suggested I DVR the day before. I had recorded the show, as instructed, but had not yet viewed it.

Near as I can tell, prior to watching the two hour show, has something to do with some convoluted murder case centered around the Nooksack River.

The Nooksack drains the Mount Baker watershed, eventually reaching Bellingham Bay.

The subject of the Nooksack River coming up switched the conversation to an incident last century on the Nooksack River which could have easily taken a fatal turn, though not a murderous one.

On a HOT summer day, Linda Lou, me and the Goober Twins joined hundreds of others inner tubing in the swift moving, glacier cooled Nooksack River.

This was a lot of fun. Until near tragedy struck.

We were floating along at high speed, when suddenly an inner tube traffic jam caused Linda Lou to get bumped into a log jam. Soon the suction of the fast moving water pulled Linda Lou under the logs. It was awful. Possibly the scariest thing I have ever been part of.

We panicked. Did not know what to do.

And then, just as suddenly as it happened Linda Lou popped out from the other side of the log jam. Linda Lou had no injuries. And was not upset at all, other than the obvious sense of relief.

I remember being impressed with how well Linda Lou handled this. I probably would have exited the river and walked back to where the return vehicles were located. Instead we just continued on, floating til we reached the end point.

Must hit the publish button now and go watch SpaceX take-off.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Linda Lou's Texas Berry Delivery

A few days ago Linda Lou texted me telling me to be on the lookout for a package arriving soon.

Soon turned out to be yesterday. I did not know what was in the package. On the package there was a warning to "PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE---GLASS".

I carefully opened the box and soon found four glass jars containing four berry products, including one being blackberry, which is well known to be my favorite berry. In addition to blackberry the other berries are strawberry, raspberry and marionberry.

Thank you for these Pacific Northwest delicacies, Linda Lou!

Finding The Hidden Lake Photo

A couple days ago I blogged about being Surprised To Find Mount Baker On My Wall. In that blogging I mentioned several hikes on Washington mountains other than Mount Baker, and old fire lookouts on those mountains, including mentioning the Hidden Lake Lookout.

I also mentioned that I should have Hidden Lake Lookout photos somewhere in my abode or on this computer.

Then, last night, whilst looking for a photo of my newly deceased poodle nephew, Blue, I came upon the photo above of me sunbathing on a granite slab on the promontory on which the Hidden Lake Lookout is built. The lookout is behind me. That is Hidden Lake you see behind my knees.

Back when I lived in Washington is never occurred to me how uniquely special it was that I could drive about 30 miles to the east and be seeing scenery like you see above. Or go even fewer miles to the west and be at a saltwater beach.

At my current location I would need to drive hundreds of miles to see a mountain scene, or a saltwater beach.

R.I.P. Blue

Sad news yesterday from sister Michele.

Blue, who would have turned 16 this coming August, died yesterday.

That is Blue, above, on the right, next to his brother, Max, who passed away in August of 2017.

Blue and Max are being held by mama Kristin, in this photo taken July 27, 2008, at Sea-Tac airport, where Blue and Max had come to pick me up, so I could take care of them whilst their parental units spent some time in the other Washington, the D.C. one.

Blue's health had been failing, with one of those failures being going blind. I do not know if Blue's blindness was caused by macular degeneration, but I do know Blue was especially fond of his grandma Shirley, my mom, who did have macular degeneration.

The Tacoma Trio, David, Theo and Ruby, and their parental units were with Blue when he ascended to Dog Heaven.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lake Wichita Dam Spillway Takes Me To Twin Peaks & Snoqualmie Falls For Some Northern Exposure

Somewhere, upcreek, a lotta rain must have fallen in the Holliday Creek watershed, judging by the rapidly raging Holliday Creek I saw today as I biked towards Lake Wichita Dam where I saw the spillway spilling what I photo documented above.

A virtual Niagara of water falling over the Lake Wichita Dam spillway. The roar of the water bordered on being somewhere near deafening. The ground almost was trembling from the force of the falling water.

I have not experienced such a wild water act of Mother Nature since the last time I was at the Snoqualmie Falls overlook during a flood. The roar at that time was totally deafening. And the ground actually did tremble. That, and even though the waterfall was a half mile distant, waterfall mist caused one to get quickly drenched.

Oh, I suppose I should point out that Snoqualmie Falls is in Washington, a short distance east of Seattle, near the town of North Bend, which was known as Twin Peaks in the TV show of that name.  Snoqualmie Falls was the waterfall you saw at the opening credits part of Twin Peaks whilst that show's haunting theme music played.

That was an odd time to live in Washington, during the Twin Peaks period. That show was big in Japan. Tour groups came from Japan just to go to the Twin Peaks locations and have cherry pie and mighty fine coffee at the Mar T Cafe. I did that myself. After hiking to the top of Mount Si. The cherry pie was blah, and the coffee was nothing special. Agent Cooper hyperbolized.

Around the same time Twin Peaks was a big deal on the west side of the Cascades, taking I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass to the east side of the Cascades, to the town of Roslyn, one got to have an even better TV immersion experience. One I did multiple times.

On the CBS Twin Peaks type show called Northern Exposure Rosyln was Cicely, Alaska. One could go in the Cicely bar, I forget the name, maybe The Brick was it, and have a pitcher of beer. Or cross the street to Ruth Ann's grocery. Or visit Dr. Fleishman's doctor office. Or the radio station, I forget the call letters and the DJ's name. My favorite was Dr. Fleishman's eskimo nurse, Elaine. She was very popular and would show up frequently in Rosyln to make tourists happy by signing autographs.

If you are ever in Washington and driving around the state, do not miss Roslyn. It's my favorite of the Washington tourist towns. And don't miss the cemetery. Or the pizza joint across the street from the saloon. A long line to get in on a Saturday night, but well worth it, and the wait is entertaining.

At my current location I do not know how far I am from a place I might think to be a tourist town. Hundreds of miles, maybe? Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country is a fun tourist town. That's the only one I can think of.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Surprised Finding Mount Baker On My Wall In Texas

A week or two ago I made mention of Washington's Mount Baker volcano in a blogging about Mr. Forrester Cooling Down A Washington Heatwave Via Mount Baker.

I have been looking at the image you see above, all this month of May, due to this image being the May scenic view on the calendar which arrived this most recent Christmas, sent by Sister Woman Lydia Mae, from Mount Vernon, where Lydia Mae can see Mount Baker on any clear day she looks out one of her windows facing northeast.

Now, as an example of how un-observant I can be. I have been seeing this calendar for five months now. And only today did I realize the calendar's scenic scenes are all from Washington. I don't want to take the calendar from the wall to check out the month's previous, but I can look at the following months without taking the calendar from the wall.

I see next month is a view of Mount Shuksan, the mountain some have mistaken for being Mount Baker, due to the fact that one can see Mount Shuksan from the Mount Baker ski area, but one can not see Mount Baker from the Mount Baker ski area.

After seeing next month is Mount Shuksan I wondered if the entire calendar consists of scenes around Mount Baker, so I went another month ahead, to July, to see the July scene is Palouse Falls. That is in Eastern Washington, far away from Mount Baker.

The caption describing the May photo is "Park Butte Lookout and Mount Baker".

I have hiked from Schrieber's Meadow multiple times, hiking what is called the Railroad Grade up the southwest slope of Mount Baker. I have only hiked the spur trail to Park Butte Lookout once. It is a strenuous addition to an already strenuous hike. But, well worth the effort.

A blurb from the Washington Trails Association webpage about the Park Butte Lookout hike...

On Park Butte, hike to an historic fire lookout and come face-to-face with Koma Kulshan. Along with unobstructed panoramic views of Mount Baker, the Twin Sisters, and the rest of the North Cascades, the route to Park Butte offers campsites, wildflower-filled alpine meadows, rushing waterfalls, and a stunning variety of mushroom species.

The Park Butte Lookout is one of the few remaining from the era when lookouts were needed to lookout for forest fires.

The most brutal hike I have ever hiked in the Cascades is a few miles north of Mount Baker, the Church Mountain hike. The summit of the Church Mountain hike is a small flat spot on which the few remains of a long ago abandoned lookout remain. To reach the summit you have to pull yourself up the steep final ascent using a cable which remains from the old lookout. It is a bit scary and not for those made squeamish by anything steep.

The Hidden Lake Lookout is another which remains operable which I have hiked to. The Hidden Lake Lookout is accessed via the Skagit Valley. I think it is probably closer to the Glacier Peak volcano, than Mount Baker.

The Hidden Lake Lookout is maintained by the Skagit Alpine Club. I seem to recollect there being some sort of emergency phone which required cranking to operate. This may be a false memory. You can stay over night in the Hidden Lake Lookout on a first come first stays basis.

I can not remember the last time I went on an actual real hike on a real mountain. It may have been August 11, 2008, when my favorite sister-in-law had me drive her and her mother to Mount Rainier, where we hiked from Paradise to Myrtle Creek.

I am now feeling melancholy thinking about missing going on real hikes on real mountains. Something I thought might happen this coming summer til this COVID-19 Trump Pandemic happened...

Monday, May 25, 2020

Escaping Rain Under Lucy Park Covered Walking Venue With Memorial Day Hot Dogs

Rain arrived this morning, right on schedule, as predicted by the predictors.

The predicted rain so far has not fallen in copious amounts.

Instead it is reminding me of a stereotypical Western Washington winter rainy day.

Slow dripping. Under a gray sky. And not too cold.

Feeling the need to do some vertical moving I opted to drive to Lucy Park and avail myself of one of the park's covered walking venues.

As you can see, I was not alone in thinking driving to Lucy Park to avail oneself of one the the Lucy Park covered walking venues was a good idea.

My co-walkers fired up a grill and were soon cooking hot dogs and burgers. I politely declined the invite to join in due to having already made Memorial Day lunch plans at another location...

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Wichita Bluff Hoodoos Survive Softball Size Hail

This Sunday before the 2020 version of Memorial Day I opted out of attending a church service in one of the few churches in Wichita Falls open for regular business, and instead joined the morning throngs communing with nature in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area zone.

Yesterday, via Facebook, I saw a photo of a gigantic chunk of hail the size of a small watermelon which allegedly crashed into a home in the town of Burkburnett, a town due south of the Oklahoma border, about 15 miles north of Wichita Falls.

I heard nothing else about hail cannon balls in the neighborhood, til this morning whilst checking on the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's front page and saw this...
The storm happened Friday night, well into Saturday morning. I heard no hail hitting my Wichita Falls location. I am guessing by "near Wichita Falls" the Star-Telegram must be referring to the aforementioned Burkburnett.

When I last saw the Wichita Bluff Nature Area's Hoodoo installation the installation was totally discombobulated, as in something or someone had totally obliterated the stand of Hoodoos.

I think that was Friday morning, before the thunderstorm which produced giant hail. So, I really do not think Mother Nature can be blamed for the Hoodoo leveling. I suspect it was an act of human destruction which discombobulated the Hoodoos.

And now this morning, 24 hours, or longer, after giant hail pummeled some locations, the Wichita Bluff Nature Area Hoodoo installation has once again risen, this time with more Hoodoos than ever previously counted, as in I almost had to use all my fingers to count all the Hoodoos.

So, that has been my Memorial Day Weekend, so far...

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Saturday Lucy Park Suspension Bridge Video Walk Over Wichita River

Last night's almost all night long thunderstorm was the longest and loudest storm so far this year, near as I can remember.

And now, on this next to last Saturday of the 2020 version of May, blue sky has returned with only some big puddles of water and foliage scattered about.

A visit to Lucy Park seemed like a good idea, post-storm. I thought there was a chance sufficient rain fell to render the Wichita River into flood mode, with Lucy Park closed.

But, soon upon arrival at one of the biggest parks in Wichita Falls, when the Wichita River came into view, it was seen to be nowhere being in flood mode, though running high.

Today I used my new phone to make a video. I think this was the first time I have done this with the new phone. The phone seems to make better video than my old video camera used to make, before I tossed it due to it being an antique. The old video camera was just a camera. Not a phone. And it was about ten times the size and weight of the phone.

Anyway, in the video you walk with me across the Lucy Park suspension bridge over the Wichita River. This is not for the squeamish who are afraid of heights whilst walking on something swaying.