Sunday, August 31, 2008

400 Pounds At 7 Years

I see kids here grossly overweight and wonder how a parent lets that happen. And why isn't it considered some sort of child abuse? I've seen little boys so fat they are ashamed to take off their shirt to get in the swimming pool. That's just sad.

It's one thing when an adult, for whatever reason, decides to abandon common sense and pack on pounds to the point of obesity, but a kid, they can't make that choice, or shouldn't. Some adult should be controlling what the kid eats.

The below video is a sorry sad thing. I've known adults in almost this condition, but never a little kid.

Meanwhile I've fallen to a new low. 167. I would have thought with all the forced feedings when I was in Washington that I would have packed on a few pounds, but no, I'm skinnier than ever.

The opposite of obese is no picnic either, I tell you. I need new clothes. I do not like shopping for new clothes. The only things that fit me are shirts and a coat my sister got me when she got tired of seeing me in the same ol' baggy stuff. Maybe I should eat more.

Neurotic Nancy Interviewed

State of Denial

No. I'm not talking about Texas.

That wonderfully eccentric bundle of lovable joy who calls herself Lulu gave me Bob Woodward's State of Denial while I was up in Tacoma recently. I didn't think I'd find it all that interesting. I was wrong.

If you want a shocking look at what brought about the Iraq fiasco, read this book. If you're the sort who doesn't want to know how hot dogs get made you probably will be equally squeamish to know how policy gets made with George W. at command. But it isn't George who comes out of the book looking all that bad. It's some of those who served him, worst being Donald Rumsfeld.

It's like the events of 9/11 were so shocking to those in command that rational thought went on hiatus and some sort of post-traumatic stress depression took over that tainted the decision making process. Almost like some form of mental illness, so much rationalizing, so much wishful, almost magical thinking.

I've had reason to think of late about mental illness and depression, why people get depressed, how they handle it, how those suffering from inner conflicts have troubles at times maintaining an even, rational keel.

I wonder if any of the people currently in the White House are on any psychotropic meds. I hope not, but I suspect there are at least one or two Wellbutrin/Lexapro poppers.

I was curious about side effects of Wellbutrin and Lexapro. I wasn't too shocked to learn there is evidence of several neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with Wellbutrin in patients with depression---including delusions, hallucinations, psychosis, concentration disturbance, paranoia, and confusion.

Lexapro is also sort of scary. Lexapro discontinuation, particularly abruptly, may cause certain withdrawal symptoms such as "electric shock" sensations (also known as "brain shivers" or "brain zaps"), dizziness and irritability. As with many other medications, you should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while being treated with Lexapro.

Lexapro has a long list of side effects, like...

Arthritis - Painfully inflamed and swollen joints. The reddened and swollen condition is brought on by a serious injury or shock to the body either from physical or emotional causes.

Hepatic Enzymes Increased - An increase in the amount of paired liver proteins that regulate liver processes causing a condition where the liver functions abnormally.

Hyperglycemia - An unhealthy amount of sugar in the blood.

Increased Weight - A concentration and storage of fat in the body accumulating over a period of time caused by unhealthy eating patterns, that can predispose the body to many disorders and diseases.

Hypercholesterolemia - Too much cholesterol in the blood cells.

Back Discomfort - Severe physical distress in the area from the neck to the pelvis along the backbone.

Jaw Pain - The pain due to irritation and swelling of the nerves associated with the mouth area where it opens and closes just in front of the ear. Some of the symptoms are pain when chewing, head aches, losing your balance, stuffy ears or ringing in the ears, and teeth grinding.

Jaw Stiffness - The result of squeezing and grinding the teeth while asleep that can cause your teeth to deteriorate as well as the muscles and joints of the jaw.

Muscle Cramp - When muscles contract uncontrollably without warning and do not relax. The muscles of any of the body’s organs can cramp.

Thirst - A strong, unnatural craving for moisture/water in the mouth and throat.

Restless Legs - A need to move the legs without any apparent reason. Sometimes there is pain, twitching, jerking, cramping, burning, or a creepy-crawly sensation associated with the movements. It worsens when a person is inactive and can interrupt one’s sleep so one feels the need to move to gain some relief.

Shaking - Uncontrolled quivering and trembling as if one is cold and chilled.

Aggravated Nervousness - A progressively worsening, irritated and troubled state of mind.

Agitation - Suddenly violent and forceful, emotionally disturbed state of mind.

Apathy - Complete lack of concern or interest for things that ordinarily would be regarded as important or would normally cause concern.

Carbohydrate Craving - A drive and craving to eat foods rich in sugar and starches (sweets, snacks and junk foods) that intensifies as the diet becomes more and more unbalanced due to the unbalancing of the proper nutritional requirements of the body.

Confusion - Not able to think clearly and understand in order to make a logical decision.

Forgetfulness - Unable to remember what one ordinarily would remember.

Irritability - Abnormally annoyed in response to a stimulus.

Restlessness Aggravated - A constantly worsening troubled state of mind characterized by the person being increasingly nervous, unable to relax, and easily angered.

Tremulousness Nervous - Very jumpy, shaky, and uneasy while feeling fearful and timid. The condition is characterized by thoughts of dreading the future, involuntary quivering, trembling, and feeling distressed and suddenly upset.

Yawning - involuntary opening of the mouth with deep inhalation of air.


Okay, I don't need to list anymore bad Lexapro things, I'm almost convinced Donald Rumsfeld was being medicated by psychotropics. It explains so much. That last one on the list is disturbing. Was someone slipping Lexapro in my water when I was up north? Because I was constantly yawning. I never yawn. Or hadn't til my month in Tacoma. I've not yawned once since I've been back in Texas.

National Geographic's Top 50 Best Places to Live

National Geographic Adventure magazine's September 2008 issue has one of those lists ranking cities and towns by who knows what criteria. The article seems a bit unfocused, judging just by the titles.

As in "50 Best Places to Live: The Next Great Adventure Towns. Where to Live + Play Now! The fifty next great adventure towns."

I guess it isn't too shocking that only one Texas town made this list. Texas towns don't often appear on these type lists. Unless it's in something like Men's Health. And then it's not a good thing to be on the list. The one Texas town that made the list is San Antonio. With San Antonio being in the Top 12 along with Seattle.

National Geographic divided the list by regions. Somehow Reno and Tucson ended up in the Rockies region. You don't see any Rocky Mountains in Reno or Tucson.

Anyway, here's the list. Those in BOLD are Top 12 picks, in no particular order.

West
1. Seattle, Washington 2. Coos Bay, Oregon 3. Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii 4. Girdwood, Alaska 5. Hood River, Oregon 6. San Francisco, California 7. Joshua Tree, California 8. Leavenworth, Washington 9. Arcata, California 10. Klamath Falls, Oregon 11. Bellingham, Washington 12. Malibu, California

Rockies
13. Missoula, Montana 14. Lander, Wyoming 15. Idaho Falls, Idaho 16. Silver City, New Mexico 17. Ogden, Utah 18. Carbondale, Colorado 19. Prescott, Arizona 20. Reno, Nevada 21. Pagosa Springs, Colorado 22. Red Lodge, Montana 23. Tucson, Arizona 24. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Central
26. Grand Marais, Minnesota 27. Rapid City, South Dakota 28. Traverse City, Michigan 29. Bardstown, Kentucky 30. Mobile, Alabama 31. Lafayette, Louisiana 32. Hermann, Missouri 33. Mountain View, Arkansas 34. Peoria, Illinois 35. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 36. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 37. San Antonio, Texas

East
38. Brattleboro, Vermont 39. Boston, Massachusetts 40. Charleston, South Carolina 41. Charlottesville, Virginia 42. Plymouth, New Hampshire 43. State College, Pennsylvania 44. Blue Hill, Maine 45. Lenoir, North Carolina 46. Avalon, New Jersey 47. Salisbury, Maryland 48. Islamorada, Florida 49. Chattanooga, Tennessee 50. Saranac Lake, New York

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Transactional Analysis in Texas

A shrink named Eric Berne came up with a post-Freudian way of looking at psychology and psychotherapy that he called Transactional Analysis. This spawned several books, like Games People Play and I'm OK, You're OK. Big best sellers that were disdained by some as "Pop Psychology."

But if you read one of these books you'll likely see a lot of truth behind the theories and many examples in your own existence.

I've long found Transactional Analysis useful when trying to understand otherwise incomprehensible behaviors.

At any given time, a person manifests their personality through a mixture of behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Typically, according to TA, there are three ego-states that people consistently use:

Parent: a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent's actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked.

Adult: a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to what is going on in the "here-and-now," using all of their resources as an adult human being with many years of life experience to guide them. This is the ideal ego state, and learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality.

Child: a state in which people revert to behaving, feeling and thinking similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond as they did in their childhood, by looking at the floor, and feeling shame or anger, as they used to when scolded as a child.

Ego states can become contaminated, for example, when a person mistakes Parental rules and slogans, for here-and-now Adult reality, and when beliefs are taken as facts. Or when a person "knows" that everyone is laughing at him, because "they always laughed". This would be an example of a childhood contamination, insofar as here-and-now reality is being overlaid with memories of previous historic incidents in childhood.

A racket feeling is a familiar set of emotions, learned and enhanced during childhood, experienced in many different stressful situations, and maladaptive as an adult means of problem solving.

A racket is then a set of behaviors which originate from the childhood script rather than in here-and-now full Adult thinking, which are employed as a way to manipulate the environment to match the script rather than to actually solve the problem, and whose covert goal is not so much to solve the problem, as to experience these racket feelings and feel internally justified in experiencing them.

Examples of racket and racket feelings: "Why do I meet good guys who turn out to be so hurtful", or "He always takes advantage of my goodwill". The racket is then a set of behaviors and chosen strategies learned and practiced in childhood which in fact help to cause these feelings to be experienced. Typically this happens despite their own surface protestations and hurt feelings, out of awareness and in a way that is perceived as someone else's fault. One covert pay-off for this racket and its feelings, might be to gain in a guilt free way, continued evidence and reinforcement for a childhood script belief that "People will always let you down".

In other words, rackets and games are devices used by a person to create a circumstance where they can legitimately feel the racket feelings, thus abiding by and reinforcing their Childhood script. They are always a substitute for a more genuine and full adult emotions and responses which would be a more appropriate response to the here-and-now situation.

Supermodel Vice-President Sarah Palin

Has a possible Vice-President been on the cover of Vogue before? Al Gore, maybe?

I'm a bit non-plussed over both the Dems and the Reps vice picks this time around. I've never cared much for Joe Biden. I think it goes back to when he got hair plugs.

As for Sarah Palin, I'd not heard of her til I was up in Washington last month. Alaska news is news in Washington.

It has long seemed odd to me that we go through a long long process to pick a nominee, with the nominee thoroughly put through the ringer during the process. And then that nominee gets to pick who would replace him.

It's not like that's never happened. Just in the last 60 years, Truman replaced Roosevelt, LBJ replaced JFK and Ford replaced Nixon.

We've gone 34 years without a Vice President taking over. It would seem we're overdue for such a thing. John McCain is 72. Sarah Palin is a bit more than half his age.

Sarah Palin has been a governor for 2 years. And before that served 2 terms on the Wasilla, Alaska city council from 1992 to 1996 and then was elected mayor of Wasilla twice, in 1996 and 1999.

The possible future Vice-President got a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism at the University of Idaho.

When I heard who McCain picked I wondered wasn't Elizabeth Dole available?

Paranoia Strikes Deep

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man with a gun over there. Telling me I got to beware.

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down.

Paranoia strikes deep. Into your heart it will creep. It happens when you're always afraid. Step out of line and the man comes to take you away.

Stop, hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down. Its time we stop, hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down. Stop, hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down.

Friday, August 29, 2008

2008 State Fair of Texas

Yesterday I blogged about this year's Big Tex Choice Award finalists. That's an annual competition to see who can come up with the most bizarre thing to deep fry and make tasty to some people's taste buds.

That's Big Tex you see in the photo.

The State Fair of Texas this year runs from September 26 to October 19. Today I was informed I will have 10 tickets to the fair. Who wants to go with me?

The Texas State Fair is a good thing. It's not quite at the level of the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup, but it's still a good thing. For one thing the Puyallup's food is better. And you can buy things with good ol' American money. At the Texas fair you have to buy coupons and then use the coupons to buy everything from rides to food. The Puyallup Fair has way more farm animals and way fewer cars on display. And way more free stuff. I like free stuff.

Ironically, well maybe it ain't irony, just interesting, but every year at the Puyallup my favorite thing was going to this free show stage. I'd see hypnotists that did amazing things. And every year there'd be this band from Dallas, called The Shoppe, that was always very entertaining. The Shoppe should play at the State Fair of Texas. And they could use a hypnotist or two.

Go here to the webpage version of my visit to last year's State Fair of Texas.

Or watch my YouTube video of that visit to the State Fair of Texas.

Level Red Toxic Human Alert

The air doesn't look dangerous this morning. But, apparently it is. Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone we are still under an Ozone Alert. It varies day to day from a Level Red to a Level Orange Ozone Alert.

I wish there were Alerts assigned to humans. Mandatory testing and then you're issued an Alert Badge. Level Green for totally non-toxic, well-adjusted humans, Level Yellow for humans with some interactive issues, but not toxic. Level Orange for humans with some degree of toxicity who are likely best avoided. And Level Red for those humans who should be avoided totally due to their extreme toxicity.

With no Human Alert system in place I have to rely on instinct and warning signs.

One big red flag warning sign is if you find out someone is a religious fanatic. You probably don't want to be friends with a religious fanatic. By religious fanatic I'm meaning a member of some twisted cult thing, like Hare Krishna.

Another big red flag is if a person is on any sort of psychotropic mind-altering prescription medication. If a person needs to have their brain altered to manage to get through the day this is a strong indication that there is some seriously degraded thought processes in play which could come out at any random time in an extremely toxic manner, despite the medications.

A long history of being in therapy is another warning sign. The fact that the individual is seeking help is a good thing. But the fact that the individual needs help is a warning sign.

If you make note of a person being self-indulgent in self-destructive ways, this is a warning sign that the person could be toxic. Such sorts are self-loathers who can quickly go from loathing themselves to spouting irrational loathing at humans with whom they interact.

Catching a person in a lie more than once is a huge red flag. I have a 3 strikes and you're out policy, likely due to my love of baseball. Okay, that was a lie. I don't like baseball. I've known one or two pathological liars who lie for no fathomable reason, almost as if they want to see what they can get someone to pretend to believe. Sadly, the liar's lies are usually quite transparent. And they easily get caught in their lies, because basically liars are not the brightest lights on the planet.

Currently I am totally free from dealing with any toxicity. That's a good thing. I intend, I hope, to remain free from toxic humans. It's a lofty goal.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stairtown Latest Texas Natural Gas Explosion

June 7, 2010 Natural Gas Explosion Kills 3 in Hood County.

Five homeowners on Carter Avenue in East Fort Worth, near Tandy Hills Park, continue to fight to stop Chesapeake Energy from running a natural gas pipeline beneath their property.

Condemnation hearings have begun.

Chesapeake Energy spokespeople and gas industry propaganda touts the safe practices of the modern gas exploitation industry. However, nothing as extensive as the hundreds of miles of pipelines flowing from well over 1000 wells has ever before been attempted in an urban zone.

So, naturally, people have their concerns. Despite claims to the contrary, there have been natural gas explosions in recent times. Just today a town in Texas, Stairtown, had a natural gas explosion.

Simply Google "Texas Natural Gas Explosions" and you'll find quite a long list of Texas explosions. Some recent. With the most deadly one taking place way back in March 18, 1937, killing 100s of students at New London School in New London, Texas. It's at the top of the list.

It seems reasonable that a person would have some reservations about having a large gas pipeline running under their property. Or a gas drilling rig nearby.

Watch the YouTube video below. Survivors of the New London tragedy are interviewed. A couple interesting comments follow, from YouTube, regarding the below video.

"This happened a month before I was born. I had at least 12 cousins killed. I went to school in the new building that's there now. I know everybody in this video."

"My mother's father was a pipeline welder that was hired to construct the heating unit for the school. He thought the design was unsafe in theory and till his death felt terrible guilt for having been involved in the construction. The family was living in Tyler Texas at the time of the tragedy and he raced there to assist in the rescue efforts. My grandfather worked in the construction of the boiler and steam heating at the grade school that I attended in Dallas in 1954."

Protesting Chesapeake Energy in Church

Interesting incoming today from the leader of the Eastside Rabblerousers, Don Young, commemorating the 3rd anniversary of a protest outside a Baptist Church in Fort Worth. If you are going to protest outside a church in Fort Worth the odds are that it will be a Baptist Church. There are more Baptist Churches here than Starbucks.

Below is the message from Don Young....

"It was a hot and humid Sunday morning on 9/28/05, but that didn't stop a couple dozen folks from picketing outside a Baptist church in east Fort Worth. This was before Just Say NO. FWCanDo was not yet named. Just say WHOA! was still a star in the sky. Urban gas drilling was in its infancy. But we knew trouble when we saw it, even back then.

The reason for the protest? Sagamore Hill Baptist Church, owned 50 acres of very rare, original Texas prairie which is next to a historic neighborhood. They had announced that they were striking a deal with the devil. The devil in this case is Chesapeake Energy who wanted to extract the minerals under the property which is also adjacent to Tandy Hills Natural Area.

With full knowledge of the negative impact to the immediate neighborhood's integrity, its residents safety, wildlife and the adjacent, natural area, church leaders signed a mineral lease with Chesapeake. When all efforts to reason with the church failed, we felt the only way to get their attention was on Sunday morning.

Chesapeake later bought the property, outright and continues to terrorize the neighborhood and the region in the name of free money. The church has abandoned the neighborhood for greener pastures.

As far as I know, this was the first public protest against urban gas drilling in the Barnett Shale, maybe the world. It will not be the last.

Stroll down Memory Lane by reading this report in the Fort Worth Weekly by Jeff Prince, who we all met for the first time at this protest on '05."

State Fair of Texas Big Tex Choice Awards

The State Fair of Texas starts up in about a month, running from September 26 through October 19. Each year there is a competition among food vendors for the Big Tex Choice Award.

This year over 40 contestants tried to be among the final 8.

Last year's winner, Abel Gonzales, who won with his Fried Cookie Dough concoction is in the running again this year, making the final 8 cut with an even more disgusting sounding dessert, this one called Fire & Ice. Consisting of a battered deep-fried pineapple ring, topped with frozen banana flavored whipped cream covered with strawberries and syrup.

Other equally disgusting sounding final 8 desserts were a Deep-Fried Banana Split, a Deep-Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Deep-Fried Chocolate Truffles, Deep-Fried Jelly Bellys, Deep-Fried Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls on a Stick and Chicken-Fried Bacon Strips.

If I hadn't seen this type stuff with my own eyes I'd think someone was making it up, but I saw last year's winning Fried Cookie Dough. I also saw the Deep-Fried Latte and the Deep-Fried Coke.

And I saw a lot of really fat people buying this stuff.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chesapeake Energy Pokes Another Fort Worth Hole

I left my abode today and headed in a northerly direction for the first time since my return from a northerly direction a week ago today. Before I left for my month of aversion therapy in Tacoma I'd noticed an odd giant wall-like thing growing beside a road known as Randoll Mill Road.

Today I found out what the giant wall-like thing was. Well, what it is associated with, I still don't know what it's for. But it has something to do with yet one more Chesapeake Energy drilling operation in my neighborhood. So, I felt compelled to take some pictures of my new neighbor.

As you can see, this drilling operation is very close to the road. I wouldn't want to be driving by if it decided to go boom.

Above is a view from a greater distance. What you are looking at is the intersection of Randoll Mill Road and Handley-Ederville Road. The Chesapeake Energy operation takes up the northwest corner of that intersection.

That's the wall I referenced above. It is on the west side of the drilling operation. I don't know what its purpose might be, unless it's to block some sound from reaching some upscale houses a short distance away.

The drilling rigs are always very patriotic, flying both the American flag and the state flag of Texas. There are no houses within 800 feet of this drilling operation, of that I am fairly certain. However, there are several liquor stores close by, due to this location being on the border of a dry zone. I live in a wet zone.

2008 Democratic Convention

Last week I thought I was looking forward to watching this week's Democratic Convention.

But I've not watched but a few minutes of it. I think the problem is I turn it on about 7. That is 2 hours from the primetime main part of the show. Like when Mrs. Clinton or Mrs. Obama gave their speeches. Or when Teddy Kennedy touched everyone, even Rush Limbaugh. I was in bed by then.

I recollect spending a lot of hours watching the 2 conventions in election years gone by. During the 2004 conventions I was on the west coast. And so primetime convention speeches came on at 7, hours before my bedtime. I have no recollection of watching the conventions that nominated Al Gore and George in 2000. I'm pretty sure I must have watched them. This is only my second convention season in the central time zone of Texas. Things like Superbowls, Academy Awards Shows and Conventions come on too late here.

I think part of the problem for me watching this stuff is anymore I'm easily bored and start thinking of something I'd rather be doing. I think I find them boring because the conventions don't have that spontaneous, lively, anything might happen type feel of conventions of years gone by. It is all so slickly produced, like one giant infomercial.

I'll try again tonight to make it to convention primetime, hopefully to see Mr. Clinton and Mr. Biden give their speeches. I'm betting I won't make it though.

Half Ton Texas Woman Too Fat To Kill

In another example of how obesity is a health hazard that kills, a Texas woman, Mayra Rosales, was charged with the killing of her 2 year-old nephew. Rosales' attorney has claimed Rosales could not have beaten her nephew because she is too fat to use her arms to do so.

Though Rosales is charged with capital murder she is being held under house arrest because Hidalgo County does not have a jail cell large enough to hold the half ton woman or the medical staff to attend to her needs. Hidalgo County is on the Texas Gulf Coast, south of Houston.

The mother of the murdered boy has been charged with injury to a child for leaving her son in the care of his bed-ridden aunt. The mother believes the death was an accident possibly caused when her morbidly obese sister rolled over on to the boy.

However, prosecutors claim the boy had 2 head injuries not explainable by being rolled over by an obese woman.

Sad story.

Why do people let themselves get so obese? I've had reason to ponder that up close and personal of late. When an obese person is still mobile, as in they are able to get out and about and walk, their musculature must be well-developed to haul all that heft. And their caloric needs, just to stay at a steady weight, are much greater than a healthy weighted person. Hence their ability to lose weight quickly if they decide to get healthy.

It is possible for a morbidly obese person to exercise and amp up the weight loss if they ever decide to get off the gravy train and cross over to fruit and vegetable world. Below is a YouTube video that is an example of a health motivated obese person exercising.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tootsie Tonasket

I've developed a habit over the years of collecting some rather diversely kooky characters via email and website feedback. Way back in 2003 an entity calling herself Tootsie Tonasket emailed me with a question about the Branch-Davidians. If I remember correctly she somehow thought I was a member of that cult. This was to be the first of many many Tootsie Tonasket confusions over the years.

Tootsie Tonasket has sent me all sorts of things. I get real nice birthday presents and a big box filled with good stuff for Christmas. Okay, I know this slightly contradicts what I may have said before about me getting ignored on special occasions. That may not be exactly true. That's more directed at those who do actually ignore all the significant events in my sad little existence. Like when I turned 30. I believe I've carefully parsed the verbiage when I claim to being ignored on these highly important occasions.

Anyway, I digress. So, in addition to sending me things in the mail, some of which I really don't want to mention in this venue, Tootsie Tonasket also sends me some soap opera type drama details.

Tootsie Tonasket's emails often read like a torrid, trashy novel. For example. Her son had a baby with an older woman who left the son for a series of bad guys. Tootsie Tonasket's son then took up with the lovely lady you see above. She's posing, especially pretty, at Wenatchee's Apple Blossom Festival.

We'll call this girl Sissy. Well, Tootsie Tonasket's son got tired of Sissy. Sissy then took up with Tootsie Tonasket's husband, an old bald guy 30 years older than Sissy. This affair became Peyton Place scandalous in the little town they all live in.

After breaking Tootsie Tonasket's husband's heart, Sissy moved on to a new conquest and at last report she is now expecting a baby with a married guy in Yakima. This all took place in the last 3 months, or so.

This morning Tootsie Tonasket sent me the photo you see above of Sissy. She told me to do with it what I wanted. What would I do with it, I thought, but tell the story of why it is that Tootsie Tonasket would be sending me photos of some girl named Sissy.

None of these people get outside of MySpace World, so there's no chance they'll happen upon my blog. Unless Tootsie Tonasket directs them to it.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Continues To Shrink

This morning I read an interesting series of comments at the West & Clear Blog regarding reader's regard, well actually, lack of regard regarding the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's current state of failure.

After having spent a month reading another McClatchy newspaper, that being the Tacoma News Tribune, it is surprising how different the 2 papers are. One would think the Tacoma paper was the one serving the bigger market, but Tacoma's population is just a tad over 200,000. While Fort Worth has over 700,000 people currently residing within its borders. I believe the Star-Telegram circulates more newspapers than the News Tribune.

But the Star-Telegram is a much smaller paper, with a lot more ads and way fewer columnists. Somehow the News Tribune can afford to have more than one columnist on its editorial page.

The comments in West & Clear about the current state of the Star-Telegram's diminishing relevancy were interesting, matching much of what I've observed, including the weird role the paper assigns itself as being a city booster, rather than accurately reporting on the city's many shortcomings.

A guy named Greg wrote an interesting comment about the Star-Telegram's shortcoming's and its resultant disservice to the community. I'll copy what Greg wrote below....

"A paper whose purpose in life has its historic roots in boosterism for the home town is doomed in the long run. It won’t get into controversies that could make Fort Worth look anything less than perfect. And that’s just not interesting. By not digging and finding things that need improvement I guess it’s assumed Fort Worth can look great. The problem is if we don’t expose what’s wrong, how do we ever get better? I mean, I love Fort Worth but I still think we have some areas that fall short of perfection.

Worse, by not digging into city failures and bad ideas the paper leaves the casual observer thinking there’s no reason to take an interest in civic affairs. And so people don’t show up and they don’t pay attention.

A free press is critical to preserving our other freedoms, but only to the extent that it does its job to inform the citizens about their government, including criticizing it. Fortunately we have the Weekly and occasionally the Business Press taking a few shots, but that’s not enough.

I don’t want to imply, though, that the S-T doesn’t have some dedicated and talented people. What it lacks is vision."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mount Rainier August 11 Video

Earlier this month I blogged about finally getting to see Mount Rainer up close. All previous visits found The Mountain shrouded in clouds.

Today I finally got around to YouTubing video of my day at The Mountain.

Some of what happened during the day I went to Mount Rainier I did not mention while I was still under the heavy censorship control of my temporary place of confinement. For fear of eviction, a fear I was constantly faced with due to my constant border-line unforgivable faux pas.

Now that I am safely back in Texas I can mention some things I kept quiet about previously. Like how Kristin almost broke my back.

The aforementioned Kristin took the above photo of me. At Kristin's insistence I climbed the treacherous ladder you see here. This is a tall shed made to store stuff when the snow gets high. The snow gets real deep at Mount Rainier. Kristin said she wanted a photo of me at the top of this ladder. When I got to the top Kristin directed me to hold onto a bar that was attached to the door and to lean out for the photo. I did as instructed, just like I always do. Well, as I leaned out the bar broke free, just after Kristin took the photo you see above. I nearly lost my balance, but caught myself right before I would have backflipped to the ground. You'll hear this incident discussed in the video below. Kristin had been to this location before, far more recently than I. Myself, being a totally paranoid suspicious sort, believe Kristin plotted this nefarious deed in an attempt to do me bodily harm. Why? I'm still pondering that.

A large number of people visit Mount Rainier National Park each day. There are many trails with a lot of people hiking on them. Very lush, green meadows with wildflowers. Including what looked to be bluebonnets. Just like the ones in Texas. I was told they are not the same. You'll hear that in the video.

A large group had gathered as we all watched the clouds disappear and The Mountain come out in all its glory. You'll see some of the crowd of people in the video below. You'll also see Kristin and her mom shake their butts at me. Those two were unruly video subjects.


Cody Linley aka Jake Ryan with Gar the Texan's Daughter

Earlier today I blogged about the upcoming Dancing with the Stars and about half the dancing stars being stars I'd never heard of.

One of the ones I'd not heard of was a guy named Cody Linley who is on a TV show called Hannah Montana.

So, Gar the Texan sent me a photo of his daughter, Riley, or is it Ryleigh, with this Cody guy I'd not heard of.

Gar the Texan's words:

"My daughter with Cody Linley. You said you didn't know him. He lives (or lived) in Lewisville. I'm surprised the Startlegram has not mentioned it."

What I find disturbing in all this is the idea that apparently Gar the Texan has watched this Hannah Montana show and knows the character's names, as in Cody Linley plays Jake Ryan. And that this Cody guy lives or lived in Lewisville. If my memory serves me correctly, and it often doesn't, it seems like Gar the Texan's daughter lived in one of those north Dallas suburb towns, like Lewisville.

So, how does Gar the Texan's daughter know this wannabe dancing star. Is this Cody guy her boyfriend? Will Gar the Texan's daughter get to go to Hollywood to watch her boyfriend dance? Does Gar the Texan approve of this relationship? How come he doesn't know if the guy still lives in Lewisville if his daughter is seeing him? So many questions. It's hell to have an inquiring mind.

Dancing With The Stars Dancing Again

Yes, I have watched Dancing with the Stars. I find it entertaining. I like watching something where I know no matter how long I practiced I'd not be able to do what these people do.

Usually there is at least one "star" who is very entertaining. The last season of Dancing with the Stars I found no one entertaining. So I quit watching.

The season previous to the last one had Marie Osmond on it. She was very entertaining and provided good drama. Like fainting and deaths in her family.

The new Dancing with the Stars starts September 22 on ABC. As usual several of the "Stars" are stars I've never heard of.

Like Jeffrey Ross. He's a celebrity roaster and a comedian. Or Brooke Burke. Never head of this star. She's an actress. Never heard of a guy named Cody Linley. He's a "Star" on something called Hannah Montana. I've never heard of Warren Sapp. He's a football player. The football players they've had on Dancing with the Stars have been very entertaining, like Jerry Rice and Emmet Smith. If I remember right, Emmitt Smith won. There are two Olympic jocks I've never heard of on this edition of the show, those being Maurice Green and Misty May-Treanor, a sprinter and a volley baller.

And then there are the "Stars" I've heard of. Like Susan Lucci. She's Erica on All My Children. She should be fun to watch. I know who Cloris Leachman is. She's funny. In her 80s now. It embarrasses me to realize I know who Kim Kardashian is. She's on an awful reality show called Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She's also taken her clothes off for Playboy. Lance Bass sang in a boy band and likes boys more than girls. Rocco DiSpirito is a celebrity chef who had a reality show called The Restaurant. Rocco has the potential to provide some good drama. I wonder if his mama is still alive and cooking meatballs? Toni Braxton I know is a singer. Can't name one of her songs, though. I also know who Ted McGinley is. He was on Married With Children. I would bet he'll be one of the first kicked off the show this time.

So, of the 13 dancing "Stars" I have heard of 7 of them. I'm rooting for Cloris for the win. I hope she's paired with the Russian pro named Maks. They'd be funny together.

Olympic Lawn Mower Race

Last night I watched the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics. I made it as far as the athletes coming into the stadium. When I woke up this morning I had it in mind to blog about the ridiculousness of having a riding lawn mower competition in the Olympics.

I was certain I'd watched a riding lawn mower race last night where there was a big crash of dozens of lawn mowers with this guy from Kenya riding past the wreck and winning the gold medal. I remember thinking do they even have lawns to mow in Kenya?

So, this morning I Googled for images of last night's Olympic Riding Lawn Mower Race and was confused to not find any. And then I realized that I must have had a dream about the Olympic Riding Lawn Mower Race. And that there are no motorized competitions, as far as I know, in the Olympics. So, it had to be a figment of my bad imagination.

I did not watch much of the Olympics other than the opening and closing. Much of it seems ridiculous to me. Like one of the few things I watched was a men's gymnastic thing where a guy would flip himself off a vault and do twists in the air. He'd be judged as to how well he did his flips and twists and his landing.

The amount of time a guy would have to practice this bizarre feat in order to master it seems such a weird waste of effort. All so that you can compete at various events and possibly win a medal and the adulation of the millions of people who see this as a valuable, important activity.

Some of the Olympic stuff makes sense to me, due to it being things that humans actually do. Like run. Or swim. Or ride a bike. But to make a sport out of jumping on a trampoline and doing flips is just silly. Do they still have synchronized swimming? That one always seemed totally silly to me.

Anyway, I'm glad to see the Olympics go bye-bye for another 4 years, til 2012, when dozens of billions of dollars can be spent on it again, this time in London. I'll watch the opening ceremony, if I still have a TV, to see if the Brits top the spectacle the Chinese put on. I doubt that is possible.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Charter Communications Not Communicating

I did not watch much TV when I was up in Tacoma. I did not turn on my TV here til Friday night. I wanted to watch something on Bravo. But my Bravo channel, #72, was now a blue screen. I then switched to channel #49, Turner Classic Movies. Also blue.

What fresh hell is this I wondered?

So, even though I knew nothing good would come of it, I called Charter Customer Service. I don't know why they call it that. There is no service. The customer doesn't matter. I know I reached a call center in a foreign land. The Ukraine perhaps, maybe the Philippines, maybe India. I don't know. Joe wouldn't tell me where he was. These foreign customer service people always have fake American-type names, or so it seems.

I told Joe I wasn't getting Bravo or TCM on my cable connection. Joe told me that I was incorrect, that he can see I am getting Bravo and TCM. I told Joe all I'm getting is a blue screen.

Joe then asked me if I was interested in getting a Charter telephone. Why would I want a Charter Telephone, I asked Joe? You people are somehow losing my TV channels, why would I want to trust you with phone calls?

It is now Sunday and I'm still getting a blue screen of death when I want to watch Bravo. I talked to another Charter victim this morning and asked if she noticed any missing channels. She was missing SoapNet and is now 2 weeks behind on Young and the Restless. Quality of life is being detrimented by Charter's cavalier treatment of its customers. If you fall 2 weeks behind on Young and the Restless you may never catch up.

I guess I could go to the Charter website and see if there is any means to email a complaint. I think I've gone down that road before and found it fruitless.

Texas Armadillo Encounter at River Legacy Park

It has been a long long long time since I've biked the River Legacy Park paved trails. I used to pedal this almost daily. When I returned from a short visit to Washington in April of 2006, totally disgusted, I found that by pedaling hard at River Legacy the endorphins made me feel better. Soon, Washington was to fade from my memory. Where it remained, til recently.

I'm not suggesting there is any connection between today's pedaling and the fact that I returned on Wednesday from over a month in Washington.

But. Those endorphins did feel good today.

I pedaled a lot of it at over 18mph. I have about 25 fewer pounds on me than when I last pedaled this trail. It makes a difference. Was pretty easy to go 18mph.

And I saw a River Legacy armadillo. They are darn cute. No bobcats, snakes or tarantulas though.

Craig's List Vexes Me

I know Craig's List is a real good thing. Last winter I found a guy on Craig's List who fixed my brakes and all sorts of things. And it was way cheaper than going to one of those annoying car fix-it places.

During my brief time in Tacoma I put a dining room table for sale on Craig's List. It was easy to set up an account. But goofy things happened that vexed me. Like the listing would disappear. Or Craig's List would tell me to fix an error marked in red. This would bring up an accept the terms type thing, which I'd click and then get told I'm violating the rules by trying to post the same listing twice!

I figured this was a fluke due to me committing some obvious user error. But, this morning I put a Laser Hand Level on Craig's List, that you can go here to see and buy, and the same thing happened.

This time I got told to fix an error. This error was I'd not confirmed my email address. When I did so and clicked 'continue' I got that warning, again, about violating the rules by trying to post the same listing twice.

I'm guessing I'll have about the same luck selling this laser level tool as I did selling my sister's table. Which is still for sale.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kroger: Wrong Store Wrong Price

An Albertsons is across the street from where I live. I don't get my groceries at Albertsons for the same reason I didn't shop at Albertsons when I lived in Washington. Because of a chronic problem with prices being wrong. And always in Albertsons favor.

A Krogers is about 2 blocks from where I live. When I'm in a hurry I'll go to Krogers. But Krogers is as bad, if not worse, than Albertsons with the price mistake problem.

This morning I wanted to make French Toast. I needed eggs. I was in a hurry so I went to Krogers. I only got eggs, bacon and orange juice. 3 items. On the shelf the sticker indicated the bacon was $2.99 with your Kroger Card.

But it rang up at $3.99 with 50 cents off, making it $3.49.

Krogers used to have a big sign telling you if the price rang up wrong you'd get the item for free. I've gone through that a few times at Krogers. You get to deal with a vacant-eyed teenager in customer service who has a real hard time understanding what you're complaining about.

So, today I was in a hurry. I saw two especially vacant-eyed looking teenagers at the customer service desk. It was not worth it to me to spend a half hour to get some free bacon.

I figured I'd get my revenge by blogging about Krogers. And in doing so I found I'm not the only one who has noticed Krogers has a chronic problem with the prices on the shelves not being the price you pay.

As in here you can read about another person's bad experiences with Krogers.

I may complain about Wal-Mart every once in awhile. But I buy most of my groceries at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart rarely makes a price mistake. When I catch Wal-Mart making a mistake, more often than not, it is in my favor. So, I don't complain.

No Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington

In the Washington town of Ballard, which is pretty much part of Seattle, a little old lady named Edith Macefield became a local legend when, at age 84, she refused to sell her little old house to developers.

Edith died June 15th at 86 years old. Her house still intact, as you can see in the photo. During the course of fighting the construction that surrounded her, Edith befriended many of the construction workers, including the construction's superintendent, Barry Martin.

Edith's last will and testament put Barry Martin in charge of her estate. During the course of constructing buildings that put concrete walls on 3 sides of her house, Edith charmed those building the walls. Barry Martin would drive Edith to appointments and help her with all sorts of things.

I've long said that the eminent domain abuse that occurs regularly in Texas to the benefit of private business, like the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal in Arlington or the Radio Shack Corporate Headquarters in Fort Worth or the mall parking lot scandal in Hurst would not occur in the more, well, progressive states on the west coast. Or the rest of America.

The survival of Edith's house is a prime example of how different things are in Texas compared with the rest of the United States. Edith was offered more than a million bucks for her $120,000 house. Which she refused. There was not even the remotest suggestion or attempt to abuse the concept of eminent domain to steal Edith's house, like what was done dozens of times in Arlington to get the land to build Jerry Jones his stadium.

Edith lived in a place that respected the basic American concept that one should be secure in ones home, safe from predators misusing the law for their own private gain. I still foolishly hold out the hope that the lingering court cases against the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones and Arlington will somehow reach a courtroom outside Texas and result, somehow, in criminal charges being brought against those who committed crimes against citizens of Arlington, with jail time and huge fines being imposed on those who did the dirty deeds. I know it won't happen, but I naively cling to the concept that justice prevails in America, while I now it often doesn't.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Death in the Family

I'm not sure I should blog about this. But it's so sad.

Several years ago I somehow managed to set in motion a series of steps that ended up causing the biggest family reunion in my family's history. In July of 2002 100s of relatives, few of whom I'd ever met, or heard of, descended on the Washington border town of Lynden.

The thing that led to this reunion was me making what is pretty much known as the most elaborate family history website on the Internet. During the course of making that website I learned my family history. Some of it was surprising, like my grandpa was a bootlegger. Some of what I learned was just a function of how dumb I can be. Like I didn't know that Aunt Agnes was my grandpa's sister. And I'd spent time with Aunt Agnes.

Well, during the period of gathering family info I learned of a cousin named Steve. He was a tall basketball star. He'd had some tough times battling depression. When Steve's cousin Kristi moved to Dallas I met her and heard more about her cousins.

This branch of my family suffered a shocking tragedy back in the 1980s when their Grandma, my Aunt Fanny, was brutally murdered. This led to my little sister becoming a lawyer.

So, my cousin Steve, whom I've never met, in October of 2002, got married to Bridget Bomberger. I remember getting an email about that, asking me to change the info on the list of family info.

I'll copy and paste why Bridget has been showing up on my webstats in the past day or so. I finally looked to find out why and was surprised. The photo above is of Bridget and Steve's baby who you'll read about below.........

I have posted a couple of updates on Bridgett Slotemaker, the young wife and mother in her 30's who found out in May of this year that she had Stage IV cancer. If you remember, June 23, her daughter, Chloe was born at 26 weeks weighing a mere 1 pound 2 oz. The doctors advised taking the baby early due to complications with Bridgett's chemotherapy. At 10:03 pm August 12, Bridgett went to be with the Lord. With her family by her side, she left her sick, physical body and now has a new glorious one. While it is a sad day, it is not a bad day for her (to steal the words of our former pastor!). However, my heart is just so sad for her husband, two year old daughter Gracie, parents, in-laws, friends, etc. who will not see her on this side of eternity. Above is a a picture of Chloe that I believe was taken shortly after she was born. Please pray for this precious little one, that I think currently weighs less than 1200 grams! At birth, she had a 70% chance of survival, but only about 20% chance of no complications. Her Daddy Steve has battled depression in the past and this devestation has great potential to set him back. I do not know this family, but I have been so touched as I have followed their story. Their faith and walk with the Lord although tested, has been more than inspiring. Bridgett's desire was that someone come to know Christ through this trial.

Alabama Cracks Down On Fat Employees

The State of Alabama, #2 in national obesity rankings, is putting State of Alabama employees on a diet.

Alabama has given its 37,527 employees a year to lose the fat and get fit or the state workers will have to pay $25 month for insurance that is currently free.

Employees must get a health screening. If the tests show blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity problems the employee will have a year to improve their health. If the employee shows progress by the end of the year they won't be charged. If they don't make progress they start getting charged starting January of 2011.

Gar the Texan blogged about the obesity issue a few days ago. Apparently Gar the Texan was denied an alcoholic beverage due to the server thinking he'd had too much. After that Gar the Texan was in a fast food joint getting himself a greasy burger when an obese person waddled up to the counter and ordered a couple Mega-sized Happy Meals.

Gar the Texan opined that the same principle involved in denying booze to a drunk should apply to denying excess calories to an obvious chunkster. Even though the chunkster is just doing his part to contribute to the Strategic National Fat Preserve.

I think I agree with Gar the Texan on this serious issue. I have been in situations recently where I eye witnessed a morbidly obese person buying stuff that should not be stuffed in an obese person's mouth. I would have loved hearing, "I'm sorry ma'am, I can not in good conscience sell you that because you are obviously morbidly obese."

Jerry Horton Gives Up Fight Against Cheseapeake Energy

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn this morning that Jerry Horton has given up her fight against Chesapeake Energy. On the same day Jerry Horton was scheduled to be in court for a condemnation hearing she reached a settlement with the people threatening her with eminent domain abuse in order to run a natural gas pipeline under her front yard.

A few of Jerry Horton's neighbors continue to fight against settling. Jerry Horton will get $15,500 for signing over the right of way. Chesapeake, well, actually a division of Chesapeake Energy that does the pipeline laying, called Texas Midstream Gas Services, has contracted with Jerry Horton to put the pipeline at least 20 feet below the surface, with no vents or any other surface protrusions. And will replace any of Jerry Horton's trees that die within 6 months.

It is very rare for a gas line to be installed under houses. The gas line will affect the property value. It must be disclosed to any potential buyer. Having a gas line under heavy pressure underneath your home is not seen by most people as a good thing.

There are currently more than 1,100 gas wells drilled or planned to be drilled within Fort Worth. These wells require a growing web of pipelines throughout the city. Nothing like this has ever been done in an urban zone before.

Jerry Horton felt she did not have the resources to fight Chesapeake. She could not afford the legal fees. I would think that in all of Fort Worth, or Tarrant County, or Texas, there would be at least one good lawyer with a conscience who would take on a case like Jerry Horton's, pro bono. For the public good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Toxic People Populate Tacoma

I don't know what put me in mind of this book I read years ago. Toxic People. One of the best books I ever read. Helped me understand all sorts of things that perplexed me. Transactional Analysis was another good one that's stayed with me. I dealt with some Contaminated Parental Ego States during my month in Washington. That's Transactional Analysis speak.

Almost every human on the planet has at least one Toxic Person they have to deal with. It's how you deal with them that presents the challenge. For me, it's the buffer. As in a good deal of geographic distance between myself and toxic people in my life. Buffers are great. I had a real fun discussion about buffers on the flight into Dallas with another appreciator of the buffer.

As a Public Service I'm gonna paste some How To Deal With Toxic People info from a Toxic People website below.

Be comforted in the fact that you are not alone. Every person walking the earth knows at least one toxic person in their life. The toxic person is a family member, friend, associate, workmate, boss, etc. Toxic people come in all shapes and forms as they know no boundaries.

The most important thing to remember is that you have the power to stop a toxic person. You do this by controlling your own actions and reactions. As you probably already know, you cannot control the actions of other people. But the good thing is you can control yourself and your life. You have the power to walk away from a toxic person and not allow them into your life anymore. Freedom is a wonderful and liberating experience.

Realize that toxic people can drain your health, energy, well being and sanity. It helps to move away from toxic people and move towards people who are positive and uplifting. Positive people are a blessing. Rely on your instincts, they never lie. Train yourself to move away from what hurts you and move towards what feels good. This is one of the smartest life skills you can learn, and also one of the best gifts you can ever give to yourself.

Toxic people are extremely negative, nasty, miserable, whiny, jealous, inconsiderate, financially irresponsible, selfish, and abusive. They can be criminally minded, mentally ill, or just plain evil. Toxic people are also the ones that abuse alcohol or drugs and then hurt other people. The toxic individual exudes the dark side of human nature all of the time. They cause other people pain, craziness, and aggravation. They are not hard to recognize. Just take notice of how you feel when you are around one of these people. It will be easy to determine. You will immediately feel sick and experience physical symptoms like a headache or stomach pain. Or you will just feel like you are going crazy, but don't worry that is the true mark of being with a toxic person. Remember this so that you will be better able to identify a toxic person. That is the first step towards eliminating one from your life.

Know that when a person is toxic it is because of their own issues. Sometimes these issues can consist of mental illness. Accept that a toxic persons behavior has nothing to do with you. In life, each of us has to take responsibility for our own actions. Toxic people do not do this. They have a habit of turning things around so that you feel bad, you feel guilty, and you feel like you are at fault. Remember that when dealing with a toxic person, they are responsible for their own actions, but often do not. Realize this and you take back your power.

When dealing with toxic people remember that exercise is your best friend. Exercise relieves both mental and physical tensions. It helps the body to produce healing chemicals that will repair your body and help you think more clearly. Exercise also encourages the release of endorphins, chemicals that relieve pain and help you to feel good both mentally and physically.

Most importantly develop supportive relationships with your life partner, friends, family, workmates, and associates. There is strength in numbers. Talking things over with the people in your life who love and care for you, can help you to overcome the negativity of toxic people. Just as animals and children instinctively can sense when someone is good or evil, the people who love you are very good at recognizing when someone is toxic and hurting you. Loved ones are a good defense against toxic people because they can offer you good advice and support for eliminating negative influences in your life.

One Of The Best Downtowns In America

I've got a month's stack of Fort Worth Star-Telegrams piled up that I'm not going to look through. Then again, how many gems might I miss if I don't.

Like this from yesterday.

Texas U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson was in town, sucking up to the locals, feeding the bizarre need to feed the local ego.

Regarding Fort Worth's slowly going plan to build a little lake, some canals and a river diversion channel. And restore some wetlands. A plan pompously called The Trinity River Vision, Senator Hutchinson actually said, "Fort Worth has always been a leader in urban development and perhaps has one of the best downtowns in all of America."

And regarding the river project the Senator said, "I think it is just amazing."

Do I really need to say anything. And where do I start? Fort Worth has always been a leader in urban development???? Including now? How is Fort Worth a leader in such development? Who is it leading? Who is following Fort Worth's lead??

Fort Worth perhaps has one of the best downtowns in all of America??? Has the Senator been to any other downtowns in America? I've been to a lot of them and I can not think of any lamer downtown that I've seen than Fort Worth's.

I just got back from a month in the Seattle zone. Spent one Thursday in downtown Seattle. The population is a bit over a half million. It seems like another half million is out on the streets busily going to all the attractions. Pike Place Market was human gridlock. Pioneer Square's streets were full of people. The waterfront was human gridlock. People from all over the world. New construction going up all over town, the skyline being altered yet again. Hundreds of stores, including several huge department stores, grocery stores, restaurants, museums, galleries, cruise ships docking, street musicians playing. Seattle actually is one of the best downtowns in all of America. Though no Washington Senator would say such a thing. Because it would sound stupid and self-aggrandizing.

Seattle is a bustling city. All the west coast cities are that way. Dallas is bustling. San Antonio is bustling. Houston's downtown is a good thing. So is Austin's. I like El Paso. But Fort Worth is SLEEPY. There is not even one single department store downtown, no grocery store, few stores for that matter. The deadest downtown in America on the busiest shopping day in America, the day after Thanksgiving, because there are few places to shop.

One of the best downtowns in America can't even keep open it's signature park on its north end, that being Heritage Park, now surrounded with cyclone fence and Keep Out signs. Downtown Fort Worth couldn't even manage to get a little public market right. Even though they modeled it, um, after Seattle's Pike Place, with something going wildly askew with the model.

And people wonder why those who watch what goes on here think this plan to make a fake lake and some canals is likely going to be a money-sucking boondoggle? I'd like to believe it won't be. I'd like to believe it'd be a great thing, fast-tracked to success, built quickly, transforming downtown Fort Worth into something special for the first time in its history. But, I just don't see that happening. Not from what I read about it.

And it doesn't help to have politicians feeding some Fort Worthers illusions about Fort Worth, rather than face the realities of all that doesn't quite work right in downtown Fort Worth and work on truly making it one of the best downtowns in America. The city could send a task force out to check on how other cities are doing. And compare it to Fort Worth. Start with Seattle and head down the coast. If the task force returns and still claims Fort Worth has one of America's best downtowns I'll have to realize something being added to the water here is causing some rather strong hallucinations.

Jerry Horton Battles Chesapeake Energy & Fort Worth

Just when I think that the bad stuff being done in Fort Worth by corrupt companies like Chesapeake Energy can't get worse, they find a new way to hit a new low.

One of Fort Worth's best blogs, West & Clear, recently told the story of what Chesapeake is doing to one fine lady in East Fort Worth named Jerry Horton. I live in East Fort Worth. I am often in Jerry Horton's neighborhood. I was there today.

West & Clear and others produced the below excellent video in which Jerry Horton tells you what Chesapeake Energy is doing to her. You who don't live in Texas, can you imagine this happening in your state? In the West Coast states I'm pretty sure Chesapeake Energy would be run out of town or end up in jail for fraud and illegal intimidation tactics and who knows what else. In Texas, though, it's still the Wild West and the law does not do a good job of protecting the interests of the little guy.

Shocking stuff. Watch the video below. Read the West & Clear article here. If someone wants to send me the source video I can YouTube it for possible viral/worldwide distribution.


The Amazing Race & The Amazing Star-Telegram



After a month of reading the Tacoma News Tribune and the New York Times it was a bit of a jolt this morning to find myself back with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram being my morning paper.

Both the Star-Telegram and the News Tribune are McClatchy newspapers. So, why does the Star-Telegram have so few columnists on its editorial page compared to the News Tribune?

And why does the Star-Telegram make Doonesbury so hard to read on their editorial page when the News Tribune does not?

Not once whilst reading the Tacoma News Tribune did I read any writer make some connection between Tacoma or Washington or the Pacific Northwest and some TV show.

My first day back and the Star-Telegram does it again in an article about my favorite TV show. A show I'd feared CBS had cancelled, that being The Amazing Race.

I'll copy and paste the Star-Telegram Amazing Race article verbatim with its Amazing Connection to Fort Worth.....

North Texas team to compete in 'The Amazing Race’

A brother-and-sister team with ties to Fort Worth will try to continue the success of North Texas contestants on reality shows when the 13th edition of The Amazing Race debuts on CBS at 7 p.m. Sept. 28.

Star Spangler (yes, that’s really her name), a former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader who lists her hometown as Fort Worth, and brother Nick, who performed in a recent Casa MaƱana production of The Fantasticks, will be one of the 11 teams vying for the grand prize of $1 million.

In media materials, they admit to an uncommon level of competitive instinct, even with each other, which could make for some exciting TV.

One team the siblings will face is made up of geeky best friends Mark Yturralde, 41, and Bill Hahler, 42. The Comic-Con treasurer and student aid administrator from San Diego have been pals for more than 20 years and have auditioned for Race since the third season. The superhero and gaming aficionados said they left their toys at home during the race.

"We’ve got really teeny backpacks," Hahler said. "They are small. We wanted to make sure that there wasn’t anything to prevent us from putting that pack underneath the seat in front of us when we got on a plane."

Two couples teams look promising, too.

Married beekeepers and self-described hippies Anita Jones, 63, and Arthur Jones, 61, from Eugene, Ore., are the oldest — and perhaps most colorful — team on this season.

Among their mottos: "Don’t worry, be hippie" and "The hokey pokey is what it’s all about."
Ken Greene, a former St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers defensive back, now 51, will race with estranged wife Tina.

Starting at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the contestants will travel more than 30,000 miles in 23 days to countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yahoo! I'm Back in Texas!

Best flight ever. Everything went well. I had no trauma during the going through the security ordeal. No alarms went off. No body cavity searches. Nothing flying off a conveyor belt. No pants falling down. No oranges rolling all over.

Absolutely problem free. I attribute this to my little baby sister delivering me to the airport in a totally stress-free manner. That started it off good.

I was in Position 33 to board on my Southwest flight. My strategy for the first leg was to head to the back of the plane. I figured if it wasn't a full flight, that back seats had the best chance of having no annoying person sitting next to me.

However. It was a full flight. But the young lady who ended up sitting next to me was quite pleasant. So, the leg to Salt Lake City was easy.

That's the takeoff view of Puget Sound you see in the first photo. When we landed in Salt Lake City my plan was to move to the front of the plane. When I saw the entire front row was empty I took the window seat. Huge leg room. No pull down tray. No big deal. I can handle my little 4 ounce cup of Coke with no serving tray.

Eventually some sports jock guy took the aisle seat, leaving the middle seat empty all the way to Albuquerque. I was in flying heaven.

On the first leg we got a bag of cheese nips and a bag of pretzels with our 4 ounces of Coke. For the next leg, to Albuquerque we got 2 bags of peanuts with our 4 ounces of Coke. So, my protein needs were being met.

Below is the view of Salt Lake City whilst landing. It was the roughest, funnest, most roller coaster landing I've ever had. Great fun. I loved all the screaming.


In the below photo you see me enjoying my leg room in my seat at the front of the plane. This was the view during the leg from Salt Lake City to Albuquerque.


Below is looking at the Rio Grande River as we landed at Albuquerque. Albuquerque was not as green as the month before. The best leg of the trip was the final leg that ended in Dallas. Details below.

So. When we landed in Albuquerque I decided to switch to the left side of the plane. At the front. This turned out to be a good move. As the new people boarded this hilarious lady bound for Little Rock took the aisle seat. She did GREAT witty repartee'. I've been sort of missing GREAT witty repartee'.

I told the Little Rock bound one that our goal was to keep the middle seat empty. We successfully did so til there were only 2 seats left and 2 people looking for them.

So, this totally beautiful blonde bound for Dallas takes the middle seat. I expressed my umbrage and told her she would need to hold our drinks due to taking the seat and our seat location lacking pull down trays.

She then whipped out a bunch of Southwest Airline freebie drink tickets and asked if we used those if she could get out of drink holding duty.

This eventually turned into a very fun flight to Dallas. Her name was Nancy. Like my very big sister. She has a vacation house in Taos that she and the husband go to about once a month. We shared our mutual admiration of the concept of having a buffer from relatives. She has the opposite situation from me. She lived in Alaska for years, with a buffer, and then ended up in Dallas, through events beyond her control, in the town where her mom and dad and several siblings live. She wants her buffer back, in a large part due to the pain the lack of a buffer puts her husband through.

The landing at Love Field was after dark, so the Metroplex was lit up. Big Ed showed up to pick me up, almost on time. The Dallas skyline was looking cool, not quite Seattle cool, but cool nonetheless. Lightning was flashing all around. Rain had been falling. The temps were in the 70s. Gas has fallen to $3.36 a gallon. And I'm finally where I'm not cold. But I did have to turn the A/C down when I got in this place. It felt hot in here. Way hotter than my deluxe living quarters in Tacoma.

Nice to be home. Thanks Michele and Kristin and Blue and Max. See you kids in 2018!

Shocking Georgia Bigfoot Sasquatch Hoax

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that yet one more time a proof of the elusive existence of a Sasquatch Bigfoot has proved to be a hoax.

Despite the promise of a California news conference at which photo proof and DNA testing results were to be presented, what actually ended up being presented was the fact that when the Bigfoot in the freezer was thawed it was found to be made of rubber.

As in it was some sort of rubber gorilla suit. It was sold by some tricksters, frozen, to a couple of gullible Georgians, who then proceeded to excite the world with what they had frozen in their freezer.

I blogged, skeptically, a few days back about this Georgia Bigfoot. I guess I'm not all that shocked this turned out to be yet one more Bigfoot Sasquatch Hoax.

A Stormy Departure From Tacoma

In more ways than one I'm having myself a stormy departure from Tacoma. It is very windy and raining heavily this morning. I don't know, yet, if this is messing up the flight schedules at Sea-Tac. I hope not. But if it is, being stuck, for awhile, at Sea-Tac waiting to get onboard and in the air wouldn't be a bad thing. Being onboard and stuck on the tarmac, that I would not handle well.

The photo is my view this morning from this upstairs zone of this multi-story abode. I'm fairly certain I will not be seeing The Mountain again during what remains of my stay in Washington.

Speaking of my stay in Washington. My favorite thing I got to do here was to finally see the aforementioned Mountain up close. My second favorite thing was seeing my grand-nephew for the first time. Third favorite thing was seeing my mom and dad and little sisters after a 2.5 year absence. My fourth favorite thing was BBQing. Fifth favorite thing was hiking around Point Defiance. Sixth favorite thing was all the blue sky days and how good the air smells, like Christmas trees. Seventh favorite thing was wandering around Seattle's downtown. Eighth favorite thing was going to a couple of Tacoma's seafood restaurants, Steamers and Duke's Chowder House.

Okay, I've grown bored of thinking of my favorite things. I forgot to mention the poodles, Blue and Max and all their amusing antics.

I was right in the middle of typing the above when I got an urgent alarm from my sister. The rain is falling heavy. The basement sump pump is not working. We went out in the downpour to see if the intake was plugged. I was barefoot in boxers and t-shirt and got sopping wet. A plumber is being called who it is hoped will get here before the basement floods.

All in all the morning has begun as a perfect metaphor for my entire month in Tacoma.

Below is a video metaphor for this morning's Tacoma rain.



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Duke's Chowder House with the Girls

Tonight on my last night in Tacoma, Kristin and Michele took me Dukes Chowder House on the Tacoma Waterfront.

It is a wonderful northwest summer night. Cloudy and a few sprinkles, but not enough to stop us from walking the waterfront after we left Dukes.

I ate way too much. I had some tomato juice concoction with 2 giant prawns, a black olive and a bean. Way too much hot fresh sourdough bread with butter. And then the appetizers came. A hot crab dip and mussels in a broth that you dipped bread into. I was pretty full when the halibut and chips arrived.

Like I said, after we were done with Dukes we walked the waterfront. That's Michele walking out on the dock where parasailers take off. Kristin was raised a landlubber in the Midwest, so floating docks in deep saltwater unnerve her a bit.

There are several restaurants over water on the Tacoma waterfront. That's CI Shenanigan's below.

Katie Downs, below, is another fun restaurant on water. They do good pizza and seafood. And beer.

Okay, that's enough with the Tacoma restaurants over water. It's time to start packing. I've got so much to pack. Oh, I forgot, I'm already done with the packing. Out of here a bit past noon tomorrow. Back in Texas a bit before 9, Central Time.