Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gateway Park's Failing Boardwalks & Fort Woof

As you can in the picture of the jogger running up the wooden stairs, after last night's rainy thunderstorm, we have had a return to blue sky and pleasant temperatures.

The jogger is running up stairs that are part of an elaborate boardwalk that brings you down to the Trinity River from a bluff in Fort Worth's Gateway Park.

I decided to do something radically different today. Hence hiking at Gateway Park rather than one of my regular locations. I was hoping to find the Trinity in making rapids mode. But all the heavy rain did was make the river muddy.

Gateway Park is just a couple miles from my abode, closer than Tandy Hills Park. The I-30 Freeway separates Tandy Hills Park and Gateway Park, with Tandy on the south side, which makes Gateway on the north side of both the freeway and the river.

Gateway Park is the location of one of Fort Worth's proudest achievements, that being Fort Woof, home to what something called Dog Fancy magazine ranked as the #1 Dog Park in America. I don't remember if we had a city-wide celebration for being #1 or not.

In Gateway Park there are two elaborate boardwalks, one of which you see in the pictures. Both have been allowed to fall on hard times. Floods have wreaked havoc, burying the last few switchbacks in sand and dirt, now overgrown with foliage. It's sad, after going to the bother and expense of building the things, that they have been left so neglected. Eventually deterioration will likely necessitate the total removal of these boardwalks. That would be a shame.

But. Fort Worth is not really all that big on preserving things. Look at poor Heritage Park. Fort Worth hasn't managed to un-eyesore that sad monument to civic neglect, even with it representing where Fort Worth began. And its heritage.

Fort Worth also does not do a very good job with keeping the Fort Worth Stockyards looking good. Even though the Stockyards are on the National Historical Area Registry. And yet many buildings in that location have sat, ever since I moved to Texas, as boarded up eyesores.

When I saw the Gateway Park Boardwalks, for the first time, the boards must have been fairly new. There was no deterioration at that time. I saw them after a heavy rain had the Trinity running high. It made the boardwalk look like it ran right into the water. Which made it a scary looking boardwalk.

Gateway Park has added a Disc Golf Course since I was last there. A mountain bike trail has supposedly been built, but the one mountain bike trail like spot I've seen does not look promising. With no one riding it. I think the Gateway Park bike trail may have been abandoned. There are miles of paved hiking trails through the park with wooden bridges across shallow ravines.

Gateway Park is worth a visit if you've never been there. Fort Woof on weekends can be amusing. Very busy. There are entries to the park easily found by exiting I-30 at Beach Street. Or from Randoll Mill Road.

Sweetwater Sucks & Other Dumb Comments

I find amusement in reading a TV Forum called Survivor Sucks. Part of the amusement comes from being appalled at how people can get so worked up, so angry. At each other and about people on TV. And so inarticulate, to the point that, at times, they come across as so seriously deficient I don't understand how they can manage to navigate a computer, let alone the Internet.

The worst of the forums, for sheer mean-spirited idiocy, are the ones for shows like American Idol or Survivor. They really draw in the bottom feeders. And then I go to the Survivor Sucks forum for LOST and I feel like I've entered some high level discussion by a bunch of college professors analyzing a work of art.

Now, there is a slight corollary between Survivor Sucks comments and comments I get to videos I put on YouTube. To the YouTube videos, like the one for the State Fair of Texas and the 40th JFK Assassination Anniversary I get LOST-like, thoughtful, insightful comments. To the videos I made of of my visit to the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup and videos I've made of the building of the Dallas Cowboy Stadium and Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Drilling I get American Idol Survivors Sucks dumb/angry type comments. Though there have also been quite a few thoughtful LOST-like comments regarding the Dallas Cowboy Stadium and Chesapeake Energy's dirty deeds.

So, with that all as preface, yesterday I got a comment to the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup YouTube video, from a Canadian calling him/herself diflorio007.

diflorio007 said, "see my point has been made...you taxas rednecks...you would think the US would have smart people....but just goes to show how stuped they are....and you guys make fun of the middle east......stop sleeping with your mothers and cousins...."

So, this Canadian, diflorio007, is concluding all of us Americans are "stuped" because some people in "taxas" have an annual roundup of rattlesnakes that they turn into a big festival. The Canadian goes on to suggest we Americans make fun of the Middle East. And that we are all the result of inbreeding.

I wonder how many baby seals this Canadian clubs to death every year? Baby seals seem way more harmless and cuter than rattlesnakes.

How many Canadians have died 'making fun' of the Middle East so that a country or two in that region might enjoy the benefits of freedom and democracy?

I can't remember, what was the name of that most recent Canadian to win a Nobel Prize? How many Canadian Nobel Prize winners have their been? I think, maybe one Canadian has won the Nobel Peace Prize. How many Americans have won the Peace Prize?

Okay, I'll tell you, only one Canadian has ever one the Nobel Peace Prize in that peace-loving, world-leading country, that being Lester Pearson, for his role in trying to end the 1956 Suez Conflict.

Meanwhile 21 Americans or American Organizations have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Teddy Roosevelt, Elihu Root, Woodrow Wilson, Charles Gates Dawes, Frank B. Kellogg, Jane Addams, Cordell Hull, John Raliegh Mott, American Friends Service Committee, Ralph Bunche, George C. Marshall, Linus Pauling, Martin Luther King, Jr., Norman E. Borlaug, Henry Kissinger, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Elie Wiesel, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Jody Williams, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.

I wish Canada would breed more American style "stuped" people, so that Canada might contribute more to the world than the Canadians currently do. Maybe if Canada bred some more American style "stuped" people Canada might contribute more to the development of technology, science, medicine and the arts and win more of those illusive Nobel Prizes that us Americans win way too high a percentage of, compared to Canada, even when one factors in the population difference.

Anyway, I love the "stuped" comments I get. Especially from Canadians.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Night Storm Blows Into Fort Worth Getting Me Out Of Bed

I was peacefully in bed, reading a new book, almost ready to fall asleep, when WeatherBug went off with its annoying chirping sound that I thought I had disabled. But, apparently had not.

I knew we were in storm mode. When I fast forwarded through tonight's Dancing With The Stars, after being over-stimulated by 24, I saw a weather warning crawl across the screen over and over again warning of impending doom in the form of powerful Thunderstorms capable of producing baseball size hail.

Usually when a Big Storm like this happens Pete Delkus would be excitedly interrupting the regular programming and the screen crawl warnings to tell us over and over again of the impending doom.

But, not tonight. Because tonight on ABC their most popular show was running. Which raises an interesting ethical question. If the locale TV Station normally feels they need to interrupt the programming that their viewer has chosen to watch to go with pointless live weather updates, why did tonight having the storm happen during ABC's most popular show keep Pete Delkus from imposing his weather fetish on us?

This bizarre practice of interrupting programming for dumb reasons is fresh on my mind due to Hell's Kitchen being ruined on Thursday by multiple interruptions that made the show impossible to watch.

The warning crawl seemed to work just fine for ABC tonight. They did their civic duty, or what they see as their civic duty, and did not ruin the programming they try so hard to get us to watch. The local stations should always use a crawl rather than break in with live info from the local Ted Baxters.

Now, below is tonight's chirping warning from the National Weather Service that got me out of bed....

Bulletin - Eas Activation Requested Severe Thunderstorm Warning National Weather Service Fort Worth TX 1009 PM CDT Mon Mar 30 2009

The National Weather Service In Fort Worth Has Issued A

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning For, Southern Denton County In North Central Texas, Northern Tarrant County In North Central Texas, Southeastern Wise County In North Central Texas,

* Until 1115 PM CDT

* At 1009 PM CDT, National Weather Service Meteorologists Detected A Severe Thunderstorm Capable Of Producing Baseball Size Hail, And Damaging Winds In Excess Of 60 Mph. This Storm Was Located Near Pelican Bay, And Moving East At 30 Mph.

* The Severe Thunderstorm Will Be Near, Pecan Acres And Lakeside By 1015 PM Eagle Mountain, Lake Worth And White Settlement By 1020 PM Sansom Park, River Oaks And Westworth By 1025 PM Haslet And Saginaw By 1030 PM

Golfball To Baseball Hail Was Reported In Springtown With This Storm.

Another Severe Storm Between Boyd And Rhome, In Wise County, Was Capable Of Producing Golfball Hail. This Storm Was Also Moving East At 30 Mph, And Will Impact Southern Portions Of Denton County.

Now, I'm gonna try and go back to bed. After turning off WeatherBug. Oh great. I think I hear tornado sirens in the distance.

Texas Bluebonnets & Wifebeaters at Tandy Hills Park

It is another windy, gray day today in Texas. I needed to escape this chair and computer screen, so I went to the Tandy Hills around noon and saw my first Tandy Hills bluebonnet of the year, up close and very personal.

Bluebonnets are very photogenic. The one you see here was up by the Fort Worth Needle, that being a really tall communications tower. This was the only spot I saw bluebonnets today inside the Tandy Hills Park. I saw a lot of bluebonnets along side the roads on the way to Tandy Hills.

Bluebonnets are the State Flower of Texas and are very strongly protected by strict Texas law. You can look, you can take pictures, you can see if they smell good, but if you pick a bluebonnet there is a chance you may do a stint in Huntsville.

Imprisoned for picking a bluebonnet? And yet some wonder how America manages to imprison 756 inmates per 100,000 Americans, at a rate nearly 5 times the world's average.

Speaking of crimes and jail time. For months now there has been a white wifebeater t-shirt hanging from a bush. Today it was blowing in the wind like some sort of ghostly apparition. Why would someone take off their wifebeater and leave it behind at this location in the Tandy Hills? Or did it blow in from some domestic dispute in some distant location? It's a puzzlement.

The first new Tandy Hills wildflower of today's hike appeared even before I exited my vehicle, in the open prairie zone viewable from View Street. I don't know what the name of this wildflower is, but it looked like an orange Indian Paintbrush that had been dyed pink. I'm pretty sure no one went to the bother of painting a field of Indian Paintbrush a new color.

It's less than a month til the 4th Annual Fort Worth Prairie Fest, Saturday, April 25, 2009, 10 AM - 8 PM.

A New Mouse From An Empty Texas Target

I've been having trouble with my mouse. By mouse I mean my computer mouse, not my pet mouse, Moose. Moose is fine.

But my computer mouse had developed an annoying habit of not doing what it should when I clicked. This seemed to be getting increasingly more chronic and was beginning to cause problems that caused errors and accidents.

So, this morning I'd had my fill of my misbehaving mouse. I have 2 easy mouse choices within a short distance, those being a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Target.

I chose Target. It's easier to return things to Target if the need arises. It was 10 in the morning when I went to Target. There were very few customers, very few cars in the lot. I looked across the freeway to the Wal-Mart and there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. Target has a lot of workers wandering around. I was asked 3 times if I was finding what I was looking for.


I don't understand how Target stays in business. It is always so quiet. I've never been in a busy Target. The Super Targets seem even more ghostownish. The first Super Target I visited was in Logan, Utah. I couldn't believe how huge it was. With checkouts all across the front of the store. Now that I've seen many Super Targets, I've never seen on where more than a few of the checkouts are open.

This morning when I went to buy my new mouse there was only one checkout open. Across the street at the Super Wal-Mart there would be about 20 checkouts open, along with the self checkouts. Target has no self checkouts.

When my mom and dad were here I took them to the Montgomery Plaza Super Target in Fort Worth. I forget why my mom wanted a Target. Even though my mom has trouble seeing she said the Fort Worth Super Target was bigger than their Phoenix area ones. Mom said, "I guess what they say is true. Everything is bigger in Texas." But, mom said the Texas Target was just as un-busy as their Phoenix Targets. So, the number of customers wasn't bigger in Texas.

Is Target some sort of tax write off for some bigger corporation? Is that how it keeps going? It's puzzled me for years.

Anyway, that's my day so far, that and I went swimming this morning. It's windy now, but I think I'll go do my doctor prescribed excessive activity thing. Since it is Monday, I think that means I'll be seeing the Tandy Hills in an hour or two.

Tootsie Tonasket's Triumphs & Tribulations

It has been a tough couple months for Tootsie Tonasket. On February 19 Tootsie's husband, Goofbert, a 50 year old man smitten with a girl half his age, filed for divorce from Tootsie.

I first came to know Tootsie Tonasket years ago. She'd emailed me, thinking I had something to do with the Branch-Davidians and that fiasco outside Waco.

At first I thought Tootsie was pretty much a kooky-bananas nutcase. It took me awhile to figure her out. Finally I understood that this was a very nice, good, smart person, who has had a lot of bad things happen to her that have wreaked havoc with her self-esteem and confidence. And yet she continues on.

In the picture above you are looking at Tootsie's 5th birthday party. It took place in a small house in Pensacola, Florida. Tootsie is in the middle, on the left is big sister, Payne. Sitting on Tootsie's lap is Tootsie's baby sister, Denise.

Now here's the part where you may need your hankies. Soon after the above picture was taken, Tootsie's life was torn apart.

Tootsie's dad had abandoned his family. Tootsie's mom had taken up with a guy Tootsie called The Hillbilly. I'm not real clear as to the sequence of events, but soon after Tootsie's 5th birthday her mom took Tootsie and sister, Payne, and left The Hillbilly. Leaving Tootsie's baby sister, Denise, behind.

Tootsie's mom told Tootsie and her sister that she could only take care of two kids. Somehow Tootsie grew up thinking Denise was The Hillybilly's daughter. A short time ago Tootsie was to learn differently. Denise is not her half-sister. They share the same father.

Tootsie and her mom and sister ended up in the Chicago area. Tootsie's mom re-married. To a nice guy, this time, who Tootsie remembers fondly.

Tootsie never forgot about the little sister she lost. A few months ago Tootsie contacted a website that deals with missing or lost persons. That website put Tootsie in touch with a group called, I think, The Angels.

The Angels asked Tootsie for all the info she had about her missing sister. Within a short time they located her! Living just a short distance from one of The Angels and just a short distance north of Pensacola, the place where Tootsie last saw her baby sister.

The Angels gave Tootsie a phone number. Tootsie bravely called her baby sister. Denise answered. And instantly understood who was calling. Denise told Tootsie she had been trying to find her lost family for years.

Since then Tootsie and Denise have talked hours on the phone. Denise is hoping to come north to visit Tootsie. Yesterday was Tootsie's 56th birthday. Her long lost sister sent Tootsie $50.

I don't know when they are scheduled for Oprah. Or Dr. Phil. Maybe that's where they should have their reunion. That seems to be the modern way to do these type things.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Watch This: The Carter Avenue Story

Fresh incoming from Don Young.

One of the Tough Texas Women who have had enough of the roughshod way some things are done here in Texas has made a video showing the plight of those who's lives and homes and peace of mind have been sacrificed so Chesapeake Energy can run a pipeline through their yards.

A 24 inch natural gas pipeline carrying non-odorized pressurized gas.

The Tough Texas Woman's name is Brook. The video she made is a great example of citizen activism in our modern era. Everyone has the tools of mass communication nowadays.

Brook's video is long. She first shows you the Carter Avenue neighborhood. And then she moves on to interviewing several people who live on Carter Avenue, including the well-known Jerry Horton. After the interviews Brook shows some examples of natural gas explosions in recent times, here in Texas.

The video opens in Windows Media Player by clicking the first link in the message from Don Young below....

Neighborhood activist and my and compatriot in the gas drilling wars, Brooke, has put together an excellent short film you need to watch. The subject of, Carter Avenue Story, is the proposed installation of a natural gas pipeline (gathering line, actually) in a Fort Worth, Texas neighborhood.

Known as the Carter Avenue pipeline, it would be the first such large diameter line allowed to run through a densely populated neighborhood. If approved by the Fort Worth City Council, the 16" - 24" diameter pipe will carry un-odorized natural gas and cut through the yards of a four-block long street of low income residents.

This is also an important test case for the many other expected pipelines that Barnett Shale drilling companies have planned. This story will be repeated wherever gas drilling occurs in the USA.

Brooke's short film consists of interviews with several Carter Avenue residents who were intimidated into signing agreements with, Texas Midstream (a Chesapeake company), under threat of Eminent Domain.

Brooke, who is not a professional, conceived of the idea, filmed and edited the video in just a few days with the goal of screening it for Texas state legislators and others. She is another of those unheralded, Texas Women who are doing it.

Please take a few minutes to educate yourself on this important issue by watching this important and heartfelt film.

You can contact Brooke at her website, Meadowbrook Today.

Dog Terror at River Legacy Park

My health adviser, Dr. L.C., told me I am WAY too active. She may be right.

This morning I tried to go swimming, it'd gotten down to freezing overnight, so the water was a bit colder than optimal. I lasted about 5 minutes before retreating to the hot tub.

Around 1 I headed to River Legacy Park to pedal the mountain bike trail. It's dried out from our recent deluge. And gotten a lot greener thanks to that deluge, as you can see in the picture.

There were a lot of people in the park, including a lot of people on the mountain bike trail. I saw no wildlife and no wildflowers.

But, I did have an incident with a savage beast. I was in the zone of the trail called The Prairie Loop. I pedaled past a group of walkers. They had a dog. As I pedaled on I heard the people yelling. And then I realized their dog was chasing me. I went in to hyper-fast mode. The dog was gaining. It was a brutal looking black pit-bullish monster. I knew I couldn't keep control of the bike going at the speed I was pedaling. So, I hit the brakes and hollered "GET" real loud. The vicious dog turned tail and ran. I was relieved.

The Dallas Bad Cop Robert Powell Ryan Moats Scandal

I had not seen the video of the Dallas Bad Cop Incident til this morning. Watching and listening to it is a lot more shocking and disgusting than reading about it.

I doubt there is anyone out there who has not heard this story since it's turned into a nationwide embarrassment, but I'll re-cap.

NFL footballer, Ryan Moats, in the wee hours, when traffic was light, was rushing his wife and other relatives to a Plano hospital. They had gotten a call telling them that Moat's mother-in-law was in her final moments of a long cancer battle.

A short distance from the hospital Moats stopped at a red light. Then seeing there was no traffic he proceeded on. The common sense thing to do.

But a Dallas cop, Robert Powell, was lurking in the shadows and gave chase, turning on his lights and siren. Powell chased Moats to the Emergency Room parking lot. Moat's wife, Tamishia, got out of the car to run into the hospital, but was stopped by Powell. And that's when the police abuse began.

I've not read it anywhere else, but to my ears the Dallas Cop sounded drunk. His rambling threats sounded like a drunk. The cop's insolent attitude sounded drunk. If the cop was drunk that would seem to explain his irrational, rather stupid behavior.

Robert Powell issued an apology on Friday. He is on paid leave. After watching the video I think he should be fired.

And now another NFL player, Zach Thomas, has come forward to accuse Robert Powell of a similar abuse on July 27, 2008. His wife, Maritza Thomas was pulled over by Powell for doing an illegal U-turn. Powell issued 5 tickets, handcuffed Maritza, put her in the back of his police cruiser and stuck her in a Dallas jail cell for 3 hours. Maritza's mother, Teresa Lozano, visiting Dallas for the first time, from Mexico, and speaking very little English, was left stranded, riding the tow truck to where Maritza's car was impounded.

4 of Powell's 5 tickets were thrown out. Maritza accepted deferred adjudication for the U-turn charge.

At the time of the incident the Thomases decided not to file a complaint against Powell. Now they realize they should have and plan to do so now.

Like I already said, that bad Dallas cop needs to be fired now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Landslide Clyde for Fort Worth Mayor

Windy Texas Hellaciousness with Snow

This has been one hellacious Saturday with way too much self-imposed hellaciousness.

First off it is very cold. This morning when I went swimming it was 36. Small pieces of white-colored frozen water drifted to earth. There weren't many of these 'flakes' but I'm fairly certain it was snow.

It is almost April in Texas and I was hit by a snowflake this morning. Don't talk to me about Global Warming.

Saturday is one of my go take a hike days. More often or not at the Tandy Hills. But we've had rain, not enough time to dry out the hills. So, I decided walking the paved trail at River Legacy Park might be interesting. Starting from the park entrance off Collins Street on the north side of the Trinity River.

I wanted to see how the Huffines Project to Forever Alter River Legacy Park was going. I'd not seen it in a couple months. Nothing much seems to have been done. And the trail is still closed past the 6 mile mark due to pipeline construction. How can a private business disrupt a public park for such a long period? One would think they could quickly pipe the part where the trail is, re-pave it and be done with it.

I am not used to walking on pavement. Today I walked almost 6 miles on hard pavement. By mile 3 my feet were killing me. Same thing happens if I go to something like the State Fair of Texas. Feet exhaustion. I can hike to the top of a mountain without a problem. But put me on hard pavement and nothing good comes of it.

And then there was the wind. At times today it was blowing so hard that I had to lean into it in order to move. That was kind of fun. But made the walking way more work. It was so windy that there were whitecaps on the waves on Lake Huffines. I saw no surfers.

I also so no wildlife except for a few fellow humans. I did see some wildflowers, but taking a picture was not possible due to the wind moving the flowers way too fast.

The prediction for tonight is that by morning we will be freezing here. I don't see swimming in my immediate future. But I do the next day when the temperatures are supposed to return to the 70s.

I Pledge Allegiance to the State Flag of Texas and to the Republic for which it Stands

That's the World's Biggest State Flag of Texas. It gets hauled out by the Alpha Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Omega at the University of Texas at Austin for football games and pep rallies and other events requiring the World's Biggest State Flag of Texas.

In Texas public schools each day begins with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States and the Texas Pledge of Allegiance. Followed by a minute of silence.

Every day.

The Pledge of Allegiance to the State Flag of Texas is a short pledge...

"Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible."

I know some of you Yankees reading this are thinking I'm making this up. I'm not.

A guy named David Croft has kids going to Texas public schools, right here in the D/FW Metroplex, in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district.

God was added to the Texas pledge in 2007. Some here in the Buckle of the Bible Belt objected to this, one of the objectors being David Croft.

David Croft got himself a lawyer, Dean Cook, and brought the State of Texas to court. On Thursday Judge Ed Kinkeade of U.S. District Court upheld God in the Texas pledge, saying, "A voluntary recitation of the Texas Pledge of Allegiance simply does not coerce students in the same way a school sponsored prayer might."

The Judge also said the U.S. Pledge has God in it and that 4 other states have similar pledges. What other states have a state pledge, I can't help but wonder?

Croft and his attorney, Cook, are considering appealing the decision, with the Attorney Cook saying, "The insertion of the language 'under God' shows that the Legislature did not have a secular purpose. It would be just as inappropriate if they inserted the language 'this is a state under no God' or a 'state under Vishna.' It doesn't maintain the proper neutrality between the state and religion."

In a separate hearing Croft has also tried to get the moment of silence stopped, to no avail.

Cook is considering taking the moment of silence case to the Supreme Court after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his arguments a few weeks ago.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tandoor Indian Restaurant & Arlington's Chinatown

I had to be in Arlington by the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium at 10 this morning. This seems to be becoming a habit. We have not yet returned to dry, blue skies. So, instead of the usual Arlington related mountain bike ride at River Legacy Park, this Friday I went to the Hong Kong Market in Arlington's Chinatown.

I got me a real nice wok at the Hong Kong Market. And lots of stuff to cook in it. But by the time I was done with what drew me to Arlington I was hungry. When I leave the stadium area I head west on Randoll Mill Road. I had intended to drive Randoll Mill to Fielder Road and then get on the freeway.

But at the intersection of Randoll Mill and Fielder there is this place called Fielder North Plaza. And at that plaza there is Tandoor Indian Restaurant. I've read rave reviews of this place, but had never eaten there. Til today.

At lunch Tandoor has a buffet. I've been to a lot of Indian buffets. Tandoor's is the best as far as my memory goes. Tandoor has a good website in addition to good food.

Bobcat Attacks in Arizona & Texas

I had my first bobcat encounter soon after there were reports of cougar/panther sightings here in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone. My first bobcat encounter was on the mountain bike trail at River Legacy Park. I braked to a halt. The bobcat was in tall grass at the side of the trail. It kept popping its head up as if it was waiting to pounce on me.

I reversed course and high-tailed it out of there, going the wrong way on the one-way trail. I found a park ranger person and told her of my dangerous encounter. She laughed and told me the bobcats were harmless.

So, after that, with my follow-up bobcat encounters, I had no concern that I was in danger. On one of my bobcat encounters I was rollerblading and the bobcat was an old lady one. She just slowly walked ahead of me while I snapped pictures. That's the old lady bobcat in the picture.

My most recent bobcat encounter was also the weirdest. I pedaled on to the north end of the River Legacy trail's bridge over the Trinity River. At the south end I saw a bobcat walking on to the bridge. I kept pedaling. He kept walking. We met in the middle with me saying, "howdy kitty."

So, I was quite surprised to learn this morning that bobcats do attack humans. As in a bobcat attacked 3 people in Cottonwood, Arizona. The first attack occurred after a woman thought she'd hit the bobcat with her car. She stopped, got out and was attacked and scratched.

After that the bobcat headed towards a Pizza Hut where it menaced a woman as she left with her pizza.

After the pizza encounter the bobcat went inside the Chapparal Bar and commenced to attack, causing people to stand on bar stools and tables to get away from the marauding bobcat. The bobcat bit two men in the bar.

By the time the police arrived the bobcat was in the bar's parking lot. The police shot and killed it. Rabies test results are not yet available. I'm thinking this might be a Hitchcockian The Birds type phenomenon, with bobcats going crazy randomly.

I won't be so relaxed during my next bobcat encounter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rural Texas Women Are Getting It Done

This week's FW Weekly's feature article features Sharon Wilson. Sharon Wilson is also known as 'Texas Sharon." You may have run into "Texas Sharon" on this very blog.

"Texas Sharon" has been working hard battling natural gas drillers who have wreaked havoc where she once believed was paradise.

In addition to "Texas Sharon" other rural Texas women fighting similar fights are mentioned. Like Kathy Chruscielski in Parker County. She became an activist when she came to realize no one was looking out the protection of water supply aquifers.

In Bexar County, Terri Hall has led successful battles against a tollway and eminent domain land grabs being planned near her home north of San Antonio.

Too bad Arlington had no Terri Hall in town when Jerry Jones in cahoots with the City of Arlington did themselves some land grabbing.

You can read the entire FW Weekly article about these Activist Texas Women, but read it fast. I don't think FW Weekly archives their Feature articles.

O'Reilly Auto Parts & Oakland Lake Park

Today started off foggy and drizzling. It hasn't much improved as the day has drizzled on. About noon I went to Oakland Lake Park, hoping a good brisk walk would help stave off any return of SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder). I believe my efforts have been successful. So far.

It was so foggy at noon that the beautiful skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth was not visible.

The walk around Oakland Lake was uneventful. I did not see the ugly mutant combo duck/turkey bird known as a Texas Lulu Bird today. That concerns me.

After walking I headed to O'Reilly's Auto Parts to pick up auto parts that had been re-ordered on Monday.

Re-ordered you ask? Well, on the previous Monday I had ordered that same parts. I was told it would be in the store by the next day at 11;30am. Well, I did not make it to that store til a week later.

The part could not be found. So, they re-ordered it. I was again told it would be in the store the next day by 11;30am.

So, today, before actually going to the store, I called to make sure the parts were there. After a lot of searching I was told that parts that are ordered in are sent back after 48 hours and my parts had left the store that morning.

Huh? Why was I not told this?

So, I asked if I could re-order the parts again, this time making sure I was in the store to buy them within that 48 hour time frame. She told me she'd see if she could get them back in the store. I waited and waited and waited and then after about 10 minutes I hung up.

Why would a store not be real clear about something like this? You have 48 hours to pick up your parts and then they leave the store. And why would they do that? Doesn't that add to their costs to be moving stuff around like that? I could see, maybe, if the parts had sat, un-bought, for 2 weeks, but 2 days?

Anyway, I need to find a different auto parts store. O'Reilly's is the closest, but those Irish are so difficult sometimes.

Only Child Syndrome Caused Suleman Octuplets

Sometimes it seems 50% of those coming to my blog come looking for Big Butts, Dallas Cowboy Stadium info and for help about how to deal with an Only Child Syndrome bully brat.

Apparently, the reason I get so many OCS sufferers coming here looking for relief from an Only Child is due to currently if you Google "Only Child Syndrome" this blog is in the #1 spot.

There is a lot of Only Child Syndrome info out there. I don't know why this blog would be considered to be the #1 source of info about that dire affliction.

Currently I think some of the Only Child Syndrome interest may be due to controversial octuplet mom, Nadya Suleman's, mom, Angela Suleman telling US Weekly magazine that she strongly believes her daughter's status as an only child played a role.

Makes sense to me.

Among the plethora of Only Child Syndrome info out there I found an Urban Dictionary that defined the affliction....

1. Only Child Syndrome

A terrible disease that typically effects only-children, but can occasionally strike people with siblings. It may also effect children whose parents divorce.

Symptoms include: playing mind games with members of the opposite sex, a cripling desire for instant gratification, the inability to compromise or share, and a total disregard for anyone's thoughts or feelings but their own.

Example 1: Man, that girl is such a bitch- she wouldn't even spare a square! She has the worst case of only child syndrome I've ever seen!

Example 2: My boss has the worst case of only child syndrome ever! Every time I do something good he finds a way to slam me down just so he can feel better about himself.

2. Only Child Syndrome

Only children sometimes exhibit characteristics resembling women suffering PMS. This can occasionally lead to flashes of intense anger when they don't get their way or if they perceive someone insults them even the slightest bit. Also, when there is dissent in the friendship ranks, which they are a part of, they lash out and try to make the other friends seem more culpable than they are. They have an overwhelming feeling that the world is against them and they tend to ruminate a lot as well. When you factor girls into the picture, with an only child, it is never a pretty sight.

Garzon: (on cell): Yo man, you wanna go play ball today?
Dre: Nah man, I got work today sorry.
Garzon: God Damnit, no-one ever wants to do anything in this town, I hate everyone. *click*

Later that night, Garzon ruminates for hours on how Dre is such a dick.

Garzon has exhibited traits that relate back to his "only child syndrome."

3. Only Child Syndrome

The self-centered attitude and actions that a large percentage of people with no siblings make their calling card.

Lars: "Why does he think everyone needs to worship the ground he walks on?"
Marv: "Dude it's just only child syndrome."

Well, there you go. Two months into the Obama Administration and I don't believe I've heard a word uttered regarding what we are going to do with this serious Only Child Syndrome problem that causes so much grief all over America. And the World.

Sadly, though none of Nadya Suleman's dozens of kids is an only child, they are all victims of one, according to their grandma, so even though they aren't Only Children, they all suffer from Only Child Syndrome.

Squirrely Shirley in a Texas Fog

My pet squirrel, Shirley, is having herself a real fine time this morning, munching on all the new green growth sprouting in my jungle. Shirley spends a lot of her day looking in my patio window. She's a very busy squirrel.

Yesterday's wet, loud storm left us with 99% humidity this morning. Which meant my walk to the pool this morning was through refreshing atomized droplets of water floating in the air. Also known as fog. Really heavy fog. Rolling off the Pacific on a cold winter day type fog.

But I'm nowhere near the Pacific. I'm deep in the heart of Texas, nowhere near a big body of water. And yet it is foggy. And cold. 55 degrees at 10am. Brrrr.

It's so cold this morning that I made split pea soup with a lot of ham. That may warm me up. I hope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Texas Clouds are Booming & Pete Delkus is Twittering

That was what the sky looked like today around noon, up at Sprouts Farmers Market in Southlake. By the time I left Sprouts thunder was booming. As I headed south I was in a downpour, but I got ahead of the rain, barely, by the time I got back here.

The clouds today are the strangest thing I've seen above me in Texas since I saw a Space Shuttle streak across the night sky.

The clouds and rain caught up me with soon after I got back here. About an hour later I was consuming lunch when lightning started up, with several hits directly above me. It has been booming ever since.

So, I turn on the TV and see that all the local TV stations are in Heavy Duty Weather Drama mode. The most dramatic of the local Weather Drama Queens is this guy on WFAA, that's the ABC affiliate, named Pete Delkus. He gets way too earnest about these storms. It's one of my few pet peeves. I figure if you are watching TV, you are safely out of harm's way.

If a tornado cell has formed then I figure it is a legit thing to tell people if they are in that cell's location, to seek a safe place. But what they do instead is if there is a storm brewing, or moving, the Weather Drama Queens will interrupt regular programming to repeat what you've been reading crawling across the bottom of the screen over and over again.

That crawl will run and run. And then stop, replaced with a Weather Warning in an upper corner of the screen. Then there'll be a beep or a buzz and the crawls starts up again. And then they break in, first with an annoying announcement that they are breaking in, which takes up time. If the announcement is so damn important why not get right to it?

So, this afternoon Pete Delkus is pointing out the various storms and the direction they are heading and at which speed. Then he points to Tarrant County and says it is drizzling slightly there with the thunderstorms yet to arrive. I hear this as I see bright flashes, hear loud booms and watch a lot of falling water. And I am in Tarrant County.

Such is the high quality of our weather reporting.

Oh, another thing. At the end of Pete Delkus' Weather Warning Report he said he'll be twittering throughout the storm, so you can keep updated on the ongoing storm by going to Pete's TV Station, WFAA, Twitter page. You'll have to join Twitter first before you get to read Pete's weather tweetering. For me, I think I'll just get my weather info by looking out the window.

Pete Delkus is in Wikipedia. You can read all about him.

The Last Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal Court Case

I've gotten some rather idiotic comments regarding what I call the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal. One recently said something like, "How can it be a scandal that those homes were destroyed? The owners had to agree to sell their homes or Jerry Jones wouldn't have been able to buy them."

Now, I've longed learned that once a person let's it be known that they are an idiot, there is no point in trying to alleviate them of some of their idiocy. There would be no point to explaining what the concept of eminent domain is. Or what abusing the concept of eminent domain means. Or why its abuse is a scandal.

Anyway, yesterday the last of the holdouts in the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Land Acquisition Scandal has settled, with Arlington's City Council agreeing to pay $325,000 for Paul Jordan's 3 properties, after a long court battle over the properties condemnation by eminent domain.

Not happy with the black eye the eminent domain abuse has given Arlington, Mayor Robert Cluck won't go along with Jerry Jones' attempt to get the city to abuse eminent domain again so as to acquire land for parking lots.

Another reason why this particular use of eminent domain is of the abuse/scandal nature is people's homes were bulldozed prior to the owner's getting their day in court. Paul Jordan was ordered off his property, was told how much he would be paid, he objected, brought the city to court. But the bulldozing of his property went ahead, in the rush to build this stadium.

Originally the city had figured it'd cost about $40 million to take people's property. It ended up costing twice that amount, due to more people fighting the condemnations in court than the city figured on.

Paul Jordan still feels the sting of the scandal, made evident when he talks about his old neighborhood and the new stadium that hovers above it like a misplaced giant UFO. He said his old neighborhood reminded him of a Norman Rockwell painting, with a sense of community, where he knew everyone on a first name basis.

Paul Jordan may wax nostalgic about his lost home, but he can also verbalize anger over the scandalous stadium, complaining that "We are paying more taxes than the Cowboys will ever pay. That's such a lop-sided, one-sided, bad deal for anybody but Jerry Jones."

The City of Arlington owns the stadium, so it will generate no property tax revenue on the land that formerly did generate property tax revenue.

The picture at the top was the last house standing, Evelyn Wray's house. The city offered her $351,000 for her property. She fought back. And got a lot more money. Her property, 4 acres and a house, which was on Randoll Mill Road, across from the Wal-Mart Supercenter, was obviously worth more than the city offered after condemning her property to build a sports facility. The courts agreed. Evelyn Wray eventually settled for $2.75 million.

You can read Evelyn Wray's story and a lot more about the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal, with photos of all that was condemned and destroyed. While the owners tried to fight to protect their right to feel safe, secure and happy in their own homes, by going here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yvonne's Big Butt

Like I said in the previous blogging, I was fixin' to blog about Yvonne's Big Butt when I got distracted by the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium. I'd been looking at my FeedJit stats to see how many of the most recent 50 visitors to my blog had come looking for the World's Biggest Butt.

Every day there are dozens upon dozens of people from around the world looking for the World's Biggest Butt. I have my camera with me all the time due to my promise to get a picture the next time I see one like the Big Butt that I originally blogged about that causes all these people to come to my blog.

Among the most recent 50 blog visitors only one came looking for the World's Biggest Butt. Okay, I looked again, in the last couple minutes a couple people have arrived looking for the World's Biggest Butt. The Biggest Butt searchers often come in clusters. Same with those seeking help in dealing with one of mankind's most vexing vexations, that being dealing with Only Child Syndrome.

I saw one yesterday, a really Big One (Big Butt I mean, not a Big Only Child). At Wal-Mart, again. It was a cashier. I could not believe that lady could stand there all day checking out stuff with that huge butt cantilevered out so far behind her. It seems like that'd give a person a back ache, always having to lean forward so your butt doesn't cause you to topple backwards.

But, once more couthness stopped me from whipping out my camera.

Yvonne, however did not practice similar restraint, so she sent me an email, telling me that she keeps hearing about those big butts, but I've yet to show any. So, she decided to send me one. Yvonne claims, quite emphatically, that it is NOT her in the photo.

I believe her.

Another Guy Sees a Dallas Cowboy UFO Stadium

I was fixin' to blog about Yvonne's Big Butt and wanted to see how many people had come to my blog in the last couple hours looking for the World's Biggest Butt, when I saw that instead of looking for Big Butts people are coming to my blog looking for info about the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

When a lot of people read what I think about that new stadium, particularly when they watch my video of the eminent domain destruction of homes and apartments I get really ignorant comments that are so bad they're funny.

So, I looked at the FeedJit stats to see if I could figure out why the sudden jump in the number of people looking for Cowboy Stadium info. All I could find was a forum where a guy shared his opinion of the new stadium after seeing it in person. And he said "one guy told me to check out this website." With the link going to my blog.

I have said a time or two that it isn't gonna be pretty when the stadium opens and the national press describes it. The guy below sort of confirms that. He zeroed in on the same things I've said. That being that it looks like a huge UFO plopped down in a poor American neighborhood. The juxaposition of that ultra-modern structure with rundown houses, apartments and retail is real tacky. And, unlike the dumbclucks who comment over and over again how this stadium is going to be an economic miracle bringing new restaurants, motels and other business, despite nothing like that happening where the old Dallas Cowboy Stadium sat in Irving, the fact is, so far, the new stadium has not caused any new business to be spawned in the area, near as I can tell.

Here's part of what Floaty44 wrote....

Was helping a buddy of mine move back home from Mississippi to Boise-and got a chance to see the Cowboys new stadium a few days ago...and had to laugh out loud- First of all-It looks like a UFO

Second- I question the stability of the stadium. Those new 1/4 mile trusses come to a single point on the end- with no support.They are just sitting on embedded concrete with one single steel bar connecting it all....and that's it.

I really would have my personal safety in mind when it came to playing under that new video screen that's gonna weight some 3 million + lbs

Third...Jerry has actually built the new stadium right next to a cheap Walmart. Yeah-I know Walmart has taken over the world since driving 2400+ miles in 4 days-But come on Jerry-That was the best place you could come up with?

If you watch the DallasCowboys offical new stadium fly by videos- you get the impression it's gonna be in an open space....with beautiful trees.....plenty of parking.

Which is nothing of the sort. It's gonna be surrounded by cheap convenince stores.

Talked to quite a few people about the stadium..and got really mixed reviews.

Some people, like myself, don't understand why they had to cram it right next to Six Flags theme park and Walmart.

Others seem to think it's OK

But I never got the impression people were "wowed" by it.

One guy told me to check out this website....

2009 Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival

In less than a month downtown Fort Worth gets really busy with the Main Street Arts Festival, starting on Thursday, April 16, ending Sunday, April 19.

The Main Street Arts Festival is the one and only thing I've been to in Fort Worth that is better than any similar thing I've been to anywhere else.

Well, there is the Fort Worth Stockyards. They are definitely the best Stockyards I've ever seen.

But the Main Street Arts Festival, it is something about which the Star-Telegram could actually use its making towns far and wide "green with envy" verbiage and have it actually be possibly true for once.

The Main Street Arts Festival is not some flea market on steroids. Actual artists come from all over America to display their work here. Some of it is very expensive. As in thousands of dollars type expensive. The Festival is sort of like going to an outdoor museum. With music stages and food.

From the Official Main Street Arts Festival website...

BREAKING NEWS: Headliner entertainment announced! MAIN ST. now ranked #3 Fine Arts festival in the U.S.! The MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival hosts tens of thousands of people annually during the four-day visual arts, entertainment and culture event. MAIN ST. showcases a nationally recognized fine art and fine craft juried art fair, savory food, live concerts, performance artists and street performers on the streets of downtown Fort Worth. The net result: fun!

There are only a couple vexing things about the Main Street Arts Festival. With the loss of the huge Tandy Subway parking lots, it is not as easy as it used to be to find parking in downtown Fort Worth.

The other vexing thing is this festival uses the coupon method for buying food and drinks. You wait in a line to buy coupons at 50 cents each. Then you wait in another line to buy something. This was the first event I'd ever been to where the use of American currency was not allowed and had to be exchanged for another currency, that being coupons. The State Fair of Texas uses the coupon method, too.

A lifelong Texan explained the reason for the coupon method. Apparently it is difficult to find Texans willing to work at these food purveyor jobs who are able to make change. So, coupons simplify the process. I suppose coupons also make it more difficult to steal. Although the State Fair of Texas had a coupon stealing scandal a couple years ago.

Anyway, if you haven't been to it before, and you live in the D/FW zone, you really should experience the Main Street Arts Festival. Unless you have a strong aversion to big crowds. I'm planning on going this year. I met a lady from Austin at the Fremont Sunday Market last summer, during my period of indentured servitude, who is an artist at the Main Street Arts Festival. I told her I'd see her there this year. I always do what I say I'm going to do. Usually.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pantego Bi-Centennial Park

I had to go to my bank today, that being Washington Mutual, aka WaMu aka now swallowed up by Chase Bank. The closest WaMu is about 4 miles north, but I didn't want to go in that direction. The next closest WaMu is about 5 miles east. I wanted to go in that direction.

So, I did.

But on the way I got distracted and found myself on a different road than I had intended. This had me taking a left onto a side street to get me where I wanted to be. I had not gone this way before.

The street went by an interesting looking park. I decided to make my deposit and then come back and check out the park.

It is called Pantego Bi-Centennial Park. I assume it opened in 1976. But it looked way newer than that. All over the park there are little statues like you see in the pictures. There are paved trails and bridges across a flood control channel. Or maybe it was a creek lined with cement.

There is a playground for kids and a covered exercise workout area for bigger kids and grownups. The workout area had several stations with directions on what you were supposed to do. It looked like way too much bother to me. So, I just admired the effort and continued walking. That is the covered workout area under the green roof in the background of the picture on the left.

It is getting harder and harder to avoid Texas Wildflowers. They are getting closer to being everywhere. The pink ones the name of which, I think, has primrose as part of it, is one of the earliest to show up and the longest to last. Pink seems like such an un-Texas color. It's a Red State, not a Pink State.

When I was leaving the Pantego Park I didn't think there was enough of a draw to bring me back. Maybe if I was looking for a real nice covered picnic table on a hot day. But, when I exited the parking lot I saw the park continued, along the flood control channel/lined creek, with a trail snaking along into the distance. It looked like it might be a roller blading possibility.

But, that will need to wait for awhile. We are heading into some stormy weather. It's likely going to be very wet for a few days.

Flying Half Mast in Arlington's Veterans Park

Why were the flags flying at half mast today in Arlington's Veterans Park? No one at the park knew. I thought the U.S. flag could be flown at half mast only at the orders of the President?

As you can see it is a windy, cloudy day here in Texas. We are building to a BIG Storm, which is supposed to hit by tomorrow morning.

Eat What You Want Pay What You Want At Potager

An interesting new restaurant called Potager has opened in Arlington near the University of Texas at 315 S. Mesquite. I mention that address because the article about this place in this morning's Dallas Morning News neglected to mention where this place is located.

What makes this restaurant interesting is not what is on the menu, though the menu does sound good, what makes it interesting is how you pay for what is on the menu.

I'll copy a blurb from Potager's MySpace page which will tell you about how you pay for what is on the menu....

BECAUSE FOOD IS SO PRECIOUS, we don't want you to waste any. We're different from other restaurants where food waste runs rampant and food portions are ridiculous. At Potager, we would like you to ask for only as much food as you know you can eat--you are more than welcome to come back for more--but please, don't waste it. As a result, we have no set price for our meals.

THAT'S RIGHT, we trust people. You ask for how much you want; we ask that you pay what you feel is a fair price for it, keeping in mind that that plenty of love, talent and great ingredients have gone into the preparation of your food each and every day. We want everyone to be able to afford a wholesome and delicious meal, reconnecting with food in a way made almost obsolete in this era of fast food restaurants and cheaply made take-out.

Currently this pricing method does not seem like it's being a very good business model. According to the article in the Morning News it is currently costing Potager's about $8 per customer, while the customer's are paying about $7 each.

Shopping For Info About The Shoppe

Anonymous does a lot of commenting on my blog. I think Anonymous is a Greek name, but I'm not sure of that. I also get comments from Stenotroph-omonas. That name sounds Greek to me, too.

This morning Anonymous commented about a blogging I wrote last year about the State Fair of Texas. In that blogging I mentioned the Western Washington State Fair, which is pretty much the State Fair of Washington, also known as The Puyallup (pronounced pew-al-up, the Puyallup are a Pacific Northwest Indian Tribe).

When I mentioned The Puyallup I also mentioned a band that I always made a point of making sure I heard, due to the band being very entertaining. The band's name was/is The Shoppe. They are/were from Dallas.

Anonymous's comment was about The Shoppe, commenting, "Hi, I agree with you about The Shoppe at the Puyallup. They were always fun to watch. They haven't been around for a few years. Do you know where they are?"

Well, I don't know where they are. The last time I went to The Puyallup was some time in the 1990s. I don't remember if I saw The Shopped that time or not.

When I Googled "Dallas band The Shoppe" all I got was an E-Bay auction of a The Shoppe LP album. For those of you reading this who are under 30, an LP album is what music used to be put on prior to CDs. LP's were these big vinyl circles, usually black, that had grooves in which a needle vibrated, turning the grooves into music. Yes, it was a very primitive method for listening to music.

So, does anyone in my current D/FW zone know what became of The Shoppe? Did they ever play at the State Fair of Texas? The Shoppe is/was better than anything I've heard at the State Fair of Texas. It wasn't just the music. They also did very good banter.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday at River Legacy Park

It's Sunday, so I went to River Legacy Park to pedal the mountain bike trail.

I seem to be a creature of habit with little derivation.

Swimming at 8 this morning. Another tiresome habit.

At River Legacy, today, unlike the last time I was there, I saw some wildlife. A lot of humans, hiking and biking, including Blonde Bobbi. Sunday at River Legacy seems to be one of Blonde Bobbi's bad habits too.

I had 2 snake encounters today. One was quite big. The other likely had only recently hatched. Neither were of the venomous sort. But the big one moved real fast. It is unsettling to see a snake move real fast. I don't understand how they can get so much speed out of that slithering motion.

I tried to slither across my Tacoma sister's floor once, so as not to set off the motion detectors. It took me forever to slither across the floor, and then by the time I got to the door, it had taken me so long, I forgot about the alarm and opened the door to get the paper. All sorts of mayhem quickly ensued. I probably should have been embarrassed about all that mayhem, but it all seemed amusing to me. Although, I did think my sister demanding DNA proof that we are actually related to be a bit rude.

It is almost 80 here today, so, when I got back here, a jump in the pool in my biking shorts seemed to make sense. There are good reasons why the approved attire for swimming is either skinny dipping or a swimming suit. Using my biking shorts as a swimming suit brought up all sorts of issues we need not discuss. Suffice to say, I will not make that mistake again.

We are heading into several days in a row of possible severe storms. This happens every Spring in Texas. I suspect I may hear my first tornado siren of the year this week.

In the meantime I'm trying to write the story of the Travails of Tootsie Tonasket. But it is convoluted and very confusing, thus taxing my ability to make sense of it. So, the story stays in draft mode. For now.

$25,000 Reward for Information Leading to the Arrest...

A few days ago I mentioned seeing a couple billboards that were unusual, or seemed unusual to me, that I see when I drive to the Tandy Hills. One is the Dr. Kim Lap Band Billboard that I already mentioned. The other is the one you see above.

This "$25,000 Reward" billboard has been up for quite a long time. I assume that must indicate no arrest has been made. I don't know the details of this murder, or remember anything about. There are a lot of murders in the news when you live in a metro area of around 6 million people.

I'll see if I can find anything out about this murder....

Okay, now that I've read about it, my memory is refreshed. This case has shown up on "America's Most Wanted." Early in the evening of December 9, 2007, 68 year old Marianne Wilkinson's doorbell rang. She opened the door and was shot 3 or 4 times. Neighbors heard the shots.

Marianne's family said she had no enemies and that there was nobody who would want her dead. The random nature of the murder shocked the community and had people afraid that a murderer was at large, randomly ringing doorbells and shooting people.

And then a neighbor of Marianne's came forward saying she believed that she was the intended victim. The neighbor had gone through a very acrimonious divorce due to a lot of money being involved. The neighbor lived in a house very similar to Marianne's, with a very similar address in the same housing community.

Police came to the conclusion this was a murder for hire that had gone badly awry.

Months passed and a handgun was found that proved to be the murder weapon. But tracing registration records showed the gun belonging to people deceased. Police also got shell casings, along with the gun. That lead them from Texas to England, where a forensic scientist named Dr. John Bond had developed a method for removing fingerprints from metal surfaces, even surfaces that had been wiped clean.

So, police now have fingerprints. Now they are looking for the right fingers. If you can help the police find the right fingers you could be $25,000 richer. I know that's nothing like an AIG executive bonus, but it'd still buy a few groceries in these troubled times.

Tandy Hills: Visual & Verbal Poetry From Don Young

Prairie Notes: March 21, 2009
Vernal Equinox

Field report-

I was so busy yesterday, preparing for the 4th annual Fort Worth Prairie Fest, that I forgot to look up when the center of the Sun crossed the equator in the celestial sphere at 8:44 am CDT. The vernal equinox has come and gone. Dang! I hate it when that happens.

The winds of mid-March whistle through the TV towers above Tandy Hills like the ghosts of Indians past. The trees are adorned with kites and plastic bags. A pair of Screech Owls have arrived, testing the mettle of scurrying field mice. Tiny-legged Ground Skinks are on the move again, "swimming" like quicksilver through the mysterious world underfoot.

A Cooper's Hawk, sliced overhead yesterday, reminding me of who rules the air around here.

Learn more about the birds of Tandy Hills in Tom Steven's excellent, Tandy Hills-Stratford Parks Ornithological Assessment.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

LOST in the Tandy Hills Dharma Initiative

I was at the Tandy Hills Natural Area today. I saw 3 separate, very large areas covered with what I now know to be Texas Wild Irises, thanks to the horticulture input of Twister and Shirley.

I was surprised to find no Texas Bluebonnets doing their blue thing on the Tandy Hills today, because I saw a patch of them blooming along the freeway, I assumed they'd be up and running on the Tandy Hills.

I did see another Wildflower that has now made its Spring appearance. I've no idea what it is, but it is a reddish colored thing sort of shaped like a horn.

I suspect that by my next scheduled Tandy Hills visit, on Monday, the hills will be alive with the sound of color. And birds.

I've mentioned before that sometimes when I'm wandering around the Tandy Hills the TV show LOST comes to mind. I got around to watching 2 episodes of LOST last night, so it was fresh in my memory.

Today I came upon 3 underground stations like the one in the picture, indicating that before the current Earth Loving Tribe took over the Island of Hills, "Others" had punched some holes in the ground here. I did not try to open the hatch to see if it was inhabited. I suspect whatever "Dharma-like Initiative" put this hatch in this location, has long abandoned the area, unable to abide by it being taken over by Natural People wanting a Natural Area.

I wonder if the patches of Texas Wild Irises date from when "The Others" controlled the Tandy Hills? One more thing they left behind. Like their hatches.

First Texas Bluebonnet of the Year

This morning's Dallas Morning News had a picture of the first Bluebonnets blooming on the first day of Spring.

At noon, on my way to Tandy Hills Park, to hunt for wildflowers. I saw my first Bluebonnets of the year. They were blooming along side Interstate 30. Currently they are looking a bit puny, compared to this same location last year. I suspect it will grow way bluer in this spot in the coming weeks.

In the foreground of the picture (you'll have to click the pic to see the bluebonnets) is another Texas Wildflower staple, the name of which escapes me right now, maybe something with primrose as it's last name. You see a lot of this particular wildflower. In fact they were my introduction to Texas Wildflowers, way back in the Spring of 1998, when I drove into Texas via Amarillo and began seeing these fragile looking flowers lining the side of the road.

Now that Spring has officially arrived with the first Texas Bluebonnets I can relax and eagerly anticipate the first 100 degree day of the year. And the first Tornado Warning Sirens of the year.

Sam Rayburn Turnpike & Other Texas Freeway Honorariums

Lately I've noticed an awful lot of ink being devoted to the naming of a toll road here in the D/FW Metroplex. The toll road being named is a 21 mile section of State Highway 121. It is proposed that this section of highway be named after Sam Rayburn. Mr. Sam was a legendary Speaker of the House from Bonham, Texas. He and Lyndon Johnson, working together, were a formidable pair of legislators.

I don't know why it has come to be, but, as Wikipedia put it...

"For those new to the Metroplex, the area's elaborate highway system can be a bit confusing. The D/FW area has long had a tradition of naming numbered highways."

Some of the freeway and highway naming seems really goofy to me. I know other areas of America also name their freeways, like in the Los Angeles zone I-5 is the Golden State Freeway. They also have the Hollywood Freeway, Ventura Freeway and a lot more. The only freeway named after a person in the LA zone, that I know of, is I believe there may be a section of freeway named after Richard Nixon.

The Seattle zone does no freeway renaming. Up there they just stick with I-5, I-405, I-90, I-520, you get the drift.

Here in the Metroplex the same road can go by various names. Like right where I live on one side of I-820 the road is called John T. White Road, cross over the freeway and it becomes Bridge Street. A couple miles to the east of me Green Oaks Boulevard turns into Dottie Lynn Parkway for no discernible reason.

Here in the D/FW Metroplex we have the LBJ Freeway (I-635), the George Bush Turnpike and the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway (I-20 in Arlington).

Those are our Presidential Freeways. We also have a section of U.S. Highway 287 in Fort Worth renamed as Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway.

I-30 from the Tarrant County line on east to the Dallas Mixmaster is called Tom Landry Freeway. Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys at some point in time and is apparently highly regarded. The Tom Landry Freeway signs have a strange hat as its symbol.

I have no idea who the other people are who have freeways named after them. We have the East R. L. Thornton Freeway and the South R. L. Thornton Freeway.

And then there is the Marvin D. Love Freeway, which is U. S. Highway 67.

U.S. Highway 175 is known as C.F. Hawn Freeway.

Spur 366 is known as the Woodall Rogers Freeway.

Texas State Highway 360 is Angus Wynne Freeway. I think he may be the guy who started Six Flags.

Texas State Highway 114 is known as the John Carpenter Freeway. The movie maker? I have no idea.

Interstate 45 in known as the Julius Schepps Freeway. I don't believe it is called that all the way to Houston.

Texas State Highway Loop 12 has a lot of names. Depending on where you are on the loop it is known as Walton Walker Boulevard, Northwest Highway, Ledbetter Drive, Military Parkway and Kiest Boulevard.

We also have parts of freeways named after other sports figures besides Tom Landry. Golfer Byron Nelson, car racer Dale Earnhardt and baseballer Nolan Ryan all have freeway signs with their names on them.

Anyway, like I said, I don't know what caused the bizarre practice to be so, well, frequently practiced. What I do know is I would like someone to explain Randoll Mill Road to me. No matter where I drive in this huge Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex I seem to run into Randoll Mill Road meandering about.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Naked Texas Miscellaneous Wildflowers

I'm in the mood to do some salubrious stream of consciousness typing. but I am an absolute blank as to a subject I want to salubriously stream about.

I really like that salubrious word.

I had to be in Arlington today, so I pedaled 2 times around the mountain bike trail at River Legacy Park. I saw no wildlife and no wildflowers.

Those are wildflowers at River Legacy in the picture, but that picture was taken last year. Or the year before. The view you see in that picture is currently totally altered due to the huge Huffines construction project.

When I got done biking I had to change out of my biking shorts into non-biking shorts. Usually I do this inside my vehicle, but that is not easy and involves some serious yoga-like moves to get the job done.

Last week, when I was at River Legacy, I saw a guy changing his clothes outside his vehicle, with his open door blocking anyone from seeing him. So, I figured I could do the same thing by being on the west side of my vehicle, where I could clearly see the only two paths by which a person could catch me with my drawers down.

So, I go to my "changing room," scan the trails for any humans, see none, pull off my biking shorts and quickly pull on my non-biking shorts. When the non-biking shorts were about halfway into position I looked up to see a guy with a dog. Where in the world did they come from? The guy with the dog did not look my way and I acted like I hadn't noticed them.

After the being caught with my pants down incident I went to my next stop, that being right by the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium. Every time I see that thing I'm amazed by it. It is so HUGE. And looks so weirdly out of place, like a futuristic flying saucer has plopped down on some random American location.

When I saw the stadium today I thought of its price tag. Currently $1.1 billion and rising. I'm really bad at math, but I think a trillion is a thousand billion. I think I've read that all the various stimulus and bailout bucks add up to 3 or 4 trillion dollars. $4 trillion would amount to 4,000 new Dallas Cowboy Stadiums. If my math is right.

4,000 Dallas Cowboy Stadiums could likely be enough space to turn into enough condos to house everyone who has lost their home due to foreclosure and have enough space left over to give condos to those who's homes were stolen to get the land to build the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

I've got a story to tell about Tootsie Tonasket, but telling that story will require concentration. Concentration requires me to be in the right mood. Right now all I can concentrate on is it sounds fun to go swimming again and lay on a lounge chair for awhile.