Fosdic called around noon wanting to go on a walk. I did not realize we were being pummeled by an ocean-like drizzle this afternoon, here in landlocked Fort Worth.
So, I aborted on the outdoor type walk and went with the pushing a cart around Wal-Mart option.
There were so many human spectacles today at Wal-Mart. It's like some sort of natural Fellini movie.
After Wal-Mart I was driving John T. White Road and I remembered a very odd thing I'd seen on Morrison Road, that I'd previously mentioned to Fosdic.
Celebration Church. It looks like a movie theater bowling alley type place had slammed into a regular church. But what caught my eye, this time, that I'd not seen before, is why Morrison Street is so-named, I assume, because directly across the street from Celebration Church is Morrison Ranch, complete with horses.
The southern border of Morrison Ranch is Interstate 30.
Morrison seems like a good Texas name. I used to know a Morrison up in Washington. Last I saw her she'd grown into a really big girl. I don't think she could possibly get on a horse. Maybe a Clydesdale with a lift assist.
I've lost track of the Morrison girl. I've no contact with anyone who maintains contact with the Morrison girl. Maybe she's slimmed down, moved to Texas and opened the Morrison Ranch for all I know.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Fosdic called around noon wanting to go on a walk. I did not realize we were being pummeled by an ocean-like drizzle this afternoon, here in landlocked Fort Worth.
That is the Queen of Wink you're looking at in the picture.
Personally I think wearing a crown around is a bit silly. But, to each her own.
This morning I was surprised to be reading the Queen of Wink's blog to see one of my bloggings referred to as poignant. I don't know that I'd ever thought of myself being poignant before.
I thought the Queen of Wink's blogging about mine being poignant was poignant. And she makes a good point or two.
Which she seems to do, regularly. I guess it must be part of being Regal, that being poignant thing and making good points.
Other than continuing to be poignant, I have no plans for New Year's Eve. The cold, foggy current conditions has my rheumatism acting up. I'm in pain when that happens. A lot of pain. I'm hoping for a pain free 2010, but I'm not overly optimistic about it.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I have slacked off on my popular Outhouses of Dallas/Fort Worth series of bloggings.
My one longtime reader may remember me being perplexed by the 100s of Outhouses I saw surrounding the new $1.1 billion Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington.
I'd long been appalled by Outhouses I'd see at Arlington's wonderful River Legacy Park.
I thought my Outhouse series would be limited to Arlington. And then I remembered the unfortunate Outhouses I'd seen in Fort Worth, so I expanded the Outhouse search to include the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. This is going to be a long series. And take a long time.
I'd mentioned in the previous blogging that I went to Gateway Park today with 3 purposes. The third purpose was to take an Outhouse picture. A couple years ago Gateway Park added some very well done, nice-looking soccer/rugby fields. They also added a cement enclosure which holds 4 or 5 Outhouses.
There are a couple other Outhouses, like the one you see in the picture, at various points on the parking lot. The last time I was at the soccer/rugby field a rugby tournament was going on. The parking lot was full. I had to park elsewhere. There was food for sale from several vendors, tacos, BBQ.
But, no Modern Restroom Facilities, or running water with which to wash ones hands. The Outhouses appeared to be heavily used. As in there were lines. Beer was likely being sold.
Regarding what initially got me on this Outhouse fixation, that being the 100s of Outhouses that surround the Dallas Cowboy Stadium, I have yet to hear from anyone telling me if other professional sports stadiums in America are surrounded by 100s of Outhouses.
The only professional sports stadiums I have personal experience with, other than the ones in Arlington, are the Seattle stadium's parking lots, where I do not recollect seeing any Outhouses. I'm thinking those picky, uptight Pacific Northwest sorts with their snooty ways would not look kindly on 100s of Outhouses being stuck on the parking lots of their new stadiums.
Texans are way more easy going. And way more used to Outhouses, I guess.
Is The Texas Commission On Environmental Quality Issuing Permits For The Gas Drillers Taking Trinity River Water?
I had to get outside today, what with the return of blue sky and the surprising, unpredicted jump in temperature, ending our North Texas Fort Worth Deep Freeze. For now.
So, I went to Gateway Park. I had a secondary and a tertiary purpose in addition to my primary purpose, that being going on a walk.
I'll get to my tertiary purpose in a subsequent blogging. My secondary purpose for going to Gateway Park was I wanted to check on the current condition of the Barnett Shale Anonymous Natural Gas Driller's Trinity River water stealing damage to the Trinity River Levee and to see if any fresh water thieving was going on.
As you can see, it is still a muddy mess, but the water suckers have not returned.
I have a good reason this is fresh on my mind.
I was looking through the 2010-2011 Texas Almanac. Fascinating stuff in there. No real Texan should be without this Almanac.
In a section about the Texas water supply, there is a highlighted section under the title Water Regulation.
In the first paragraph it says, "In Texas, surface water belongs to the state and, except for limited amounts of water for household and on-farm livestock use, requires permits for use."
The third paragraph says, "The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is responsible for permitting and adjudicating surface-water rights and uses. It is the primary regulator of surface water and polices contamination and pollution of both surface and groundwater."
Okay, back to the Gas Drillers sucking water out of the Trinity River. I have asked, previously, if a permit is required. And if so, why is this permit not posted by where the water is being taken?
Apparently Texas law requires a permit if one takes Texas surface water. That water flowing down the Trinity River appears to me to be on the surface. Of course, I'm no expert on such matters.
I may be wrong, but I believe no permits are being required by the City of Fort Worth or the Texas Commission on Water Quality for Gas Drillers to lay down pipelines across public land and take water out of the Trinity.
I believe I've read, more than once, that the quality of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been co-opted by having industry stooges on the Commission, thus creating a fox watching the hen house type scenario.
But, this morning I blogged about the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's new methodology enabling citizens to report suspected Natural Gas Pollution. Have the foxes been removed from this hen house? Or is the TCEQ's new found cooperativeness, with those who hope to clear the air, some sort of toothless ruse?
If the TCEQ is issuing permits to the Gas Drillers to take Trinity River water, in a perfectly legal and environmental appropriate manner, why has no one straightened me out on this? If I'm wrong and permits have been issued, I want to know.
If the TCEQ has issued permits for the Trinity River water to be taken, how much does the permit cost? How much water is allowed to be taken? If these permits exist, why are they not part of some easily accessed public record?
What I actually believe is happening is the Trinity River water is being stolen, illegally, as just one more aspect of the result you get when you have corrupt politicians in office, operating with Conflicts of Interest, giving carte blanche to the Gas Drillers to do whatever they want, for the most part, in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief rakes in more than $600,000 a year from his vested interests in the gas companies drilling holes in his town. Does Moncrief have a rather strong motivation, as in more than 600,000 strong, to look the other way when a little water is stolen? This type thing is why there are strong Conflict of Interest laws, in Texas, currently ignored in the lawless protective bubble known as Fort Worth and surrounding environs.
Fort Worth has a long and storied history of providing a safe haven for crooks. Why, Fort Worth even names its downtown collection of parking lots after a famous crook who used to hang out in downtown Fort Worth, he being The Sundance Kid and those parking lots named Sundance Square.
Dear Barnett Shale residents and visitors---
PLEASE take advantage of this EZ way to help clean the air.
If you live in or visit anywhere in the Barnett Shale and encounter an odor you suspect is related to natural gas activity in any way, the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) wants to know about it.
TCEQ has stated publicly that they investigate ALL complaints and will dispatch a field inspector to your door within 12 hours of your complaint. Documentation is a critical first step to obtain the essential data. Your report will enable TCEQ to take enforcement action to stop toxic emissions.
Here's all you need to do.
Step 1- Print out the Odor Log and Nuisance Affidavit forms.
Step 2- Fill out the simple forms, to the best of your recollection, immediately after encountering an odor.
Step 3- Call the toll-free TCEQ Complaint Hotline and register your complaint. 1-888-777-3186
Step 4- When a TCEQ agent arrives, request their ID and hand them the forms. Keep copies for your records.
Step 5- Keep a personal record of your experience with the TCEQ for future reference.
Step 6- Repeat as often as necessary.
This morning a comment to my YouTube video of the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup caused me to go to my YouTube account. There I was surprised, first off, to see there have been 100 comments about this video. I read the comments when they come in, but I had no idea they had added up to that high a number.
The second thing to surprise me was to see that there was a copyright dispute regarding the audio soundtrack. I believe I used a Strauss piece of music. He's long dead. Can his music be copyrighted?
The third thing to surprise me was to see that the video has been banned in some countries.
The comments the video generates range from reasonably explaining why rattlesnake roundups should be banned, to totally angry about killing the snakes, to totally angry at the people who think the practice should be banned.
Today's comment seemed both reasonable and angry...
These people are undignified, mentally unstable, pathetic excuses for human beings reveling in animal cruelty at its worst. Roundups need to stop; they are nothing more than disturbing massacres of uniquely beautiful and ecologically indispensable creatures. A twisted delight for twisted people. There is no argument about it. However, the narrow minded people who indulge in these disgraceful activities will either try to argue in their defense, or simply carry on like mindless savages.
Below is the YouTube video that is banned in some countries.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Today I watched the most amazing movie. Salt of the Earth. From 1954. I'd never heard of it before. As I watched it I was very perplexed. As in this was good stuff. I figured it was from the 60s. Or 70s. Being from 1954 really surprised me.
This movie had a powerful women's liberation theme that I would have thought not possible in 1954. And it had an incredibly strong anti-establishment theme that I also would have not thought possible in 1954.
After all, 1954 was the era of Red Scares and Commie Baiting and McCarthyism.
Well, it turns out Salt of the Earth is known as the only U.S. blacklisted film. Its writer, director and producer had all been blacklisted by Hollywood during that particularly shameful time in our nation's history.
According to Wikipedia, "The movie became a historical phenomenon and has a cult following due to how the United States establishment (politicians, journalists, studio executives, and other trade unions) dealt with the film."
Ironically, when viewed in 2009, Salt of the Earth seems almost Frank Capraesque in its uplifting Power to the People and Protest is the American Way of Righting Wrongs and Toppling Tyranny message.
Naturally, while I was watching this movie, my thoughts turned to Texas, and the current corruption, oppression and heavy-handed abuse by out of control gas drilling miscreants and their political lackeys, who act as their lapdogs, doing their bidding as the Citizens of the Shale have their property stolen, their air dirtied, their lives made miserable and their basic right to being secure and safe in their own homes eroded by the government that is supposed to protect them.
I'm thinking I'm going to be thinking of a Salt of the Earth type action if it ever comes time to totally stop Chesapeake Energy and Fort Worth's Mayor Mike Moncrief from running non-odorized natural gas under the homes on Carter Avenue.
I'm in the mood for some Rabble Rousing. And I'm sadly perplexed that there is such a need for Rabble Rousing in the Texas of almost 2010.
Our previously scheduled Tuesday Afternoon Snow Storm arrived right on time, starting around 2. By 3 I was out in it, heading to the library, which finally opened again after a long shutdown.
You are looking west on Bridge Street, the library is on the other side of that clump of shrubs on the right.
After I finished with the library I stopped at the Post Office on my way to Wal-Mart. By the time I got to the Post Office it was snowing harder than it was during the Infamous 2009 Texas Christmas Eve Blizzard. Today's storm is not a blizzard, the snow is falling straight to the ground with no wind interfering with its descent.
About a half mile from the Post Office I decided to take video of the drive to Wal-Mart. YouTube is processing that video even as I type. YouTube must be located on the West Coast, because, looking at it right now, as it is being processed, it says the video was added at 02:53 PM. It was added at 04:53 PM Central Time.
Tomorrow I believe the weather conditions will keep me from my regular morning icy dip and hot tub flash. By morning it will likely be a very slippery mess out there.
Okay, the video is done processing. It's a long one. I should have turned the radio down. It drowns out my pithy commentary at times. I did not notice, til watching the video, the black car that sort of spins on the ice in front of me, early on in the video. I did notice that that was the only spot where I could tell I was slipping a bit.
The Texas Conflict of Interest Laws Made Simple Enough For Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief To Understand
I have a slight problem, at times, confusing my dreams with reality. It is now obvious to me that I was dreaming when I said I had had a long talk with Fort Worth Mayor, Mike Moncrief, in which I was able to get him to understand why he is committing a serious crime with his Conflicts of Interest involving his Barnett Shale Natural Gas Drilling Company holdings and he being mayor in a town that's getting drilled.
Apparently, I was also dreaming when I said that Moncrief had agreed to use his ill gotten gains to fund the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision.
See that dollar bill with Mike Moncrief on top of George Washington? Moncrief makes over 600,000 of those dollar bills, annually, from his holdings in each of the gas drillers drilling in Fort Worth.
Now, there are those in Fort Worth, like the city's attorney, who do not think the Conflict of Interest laws apply to Fort Worth or Mike Moncrief. Both the city attorney and Mike Moncrief apparently are ignorant of the fact that the State of Texas has quite strict, precise Conflict of Interest Laws.
The State of Texas even conveniently put an explanation of the Texas Conflict of Interest laws on a website, under the title 2010 Texas Conflict of Interest Laws Made Easy.
Made so easy, in fact, that I'm almost certain a simpleton, like Fort Worth's mayor and his city attorney might finally understand that Moncrief is breaking the law and needs to be removed from office, jailed and fined, now that the Conflicts of Interests have grown so dire with Moncrief in cahoots with a corrupt company like Chesapeake Energy in their abuse of eminent domain in a basically Nazi-like attack on Steve Doeung and the citizens on Carter Avenue.
I think I'll send a letter to the FBI today. Surely it's time the feds intervene in Fort Worth now that the political racketeering has reached its current level of corruption.
Below is a short excerpt from 2010 Texas Conflict of Interest Laws Made Easy. Read it and ask yourself how in the world the Mayor of Fort Worth and his idiot attorney can claim he has no Conflict of Interest when he owns a piece of the drilling companies and looks the other way while they steal Trinity River water, abuse eminent domain and pollute the air?
What conflict of interest laws apply to local public officials in Texas?
The general conflict of interest law for Texas city and county officials, as well as officials of other Texas political subdivisions, is found in chapter 171 of the Texas Local Government Code. Chapter 171 establishes the standard for determining when a local official has a conflict of interest that would affect the ability to discuss, decide or vote on a particular item. Chapter 171 conflict of interest provisions apply to all local public officials. Within a governmental unit, “local public officials” are defined to include:
1) elected officials such as the members of the city council or county commissioners (whether paid or unpaid); and
2) appointed officials (paid or unpaid) who exercise responsibilities that are more than advisory in nature.
It should be noted that other state and federal laws, as well as local provisions in the case of cities, may be applicable to officials in a particular situation. Whether a law is applicable depends on the activity that the official is undertaking. Officials should work with local legal counsel to determine whether their activities are subject to any such provisions. However, the general conflict of interest provision for officials remains chapter 171 of the Local Government Code.
What types of issues are covered by Texas conflict of interest laws?
Texas conflict of interest statutes do not address every conceivable conflict that may arise for a local official. In fact, chapter 171 conflict laws are generally financial in nature and only cover two types of conflicts of interest:
1) Business Entity conflicts: Conflicts due to a local official's substantial financial interest in a business entity and that has an issue before his or her governmental unit;
2) Real Property conflicts: Conflicts due to a local official's substantial financial interest in a real property and that would be affected by his or her governmental unit's action.
What is considered a “substantial interest” in a business entity (such that it would amount to a potential conflict of interest)?
There are four ways that a person could be deemed to have a “substantial interest” in a business entity that would raise a potential conflict of interest. A person has a substantial interest in a business entity if the person has a(n):
1) Stock interest: If the official owns 10 percent or more of the total voting stock or shares of the business entity;
2) Other ownership interest: If the official owns either 10 percent or more, or $15,000 or more, of the fair market value of the business entity;
3) Income interest: If the official received more than 10 percent of his or her gross income for the previous year from the business entity;
4) Close family member with any of the above interests: If a close relative of the local official has any of the above types of interest in a business entity. A local official is considered to have the same interest in a business entity that his or her close relatives have in that business entity. In this context, close relatives of an official would include persons who are related to the official within the first degree by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage). Such relatives would include an official father, father-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, son, son-in-law and the spouse of the official.
Monday, December 28, 2009
I did not think the Tandy Hills would be available for my noontime daily constitutional due to the remains of our Christmas Eve unpleasantness still not fully melted.
Speaking of our Christmas Eve unpleasantness, just this morning Miss CVB of Sedro Woolley, Washington had the raw gall to tell me that that raging blizzard the blew for 7 hours on Thursday was nothing but a light snow flurry.
So, it was back to the site of the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision to do some more imagineering.
Those really are some happy ducks that float on top of Fosdic Lake. Today they were in full loud quack mode. Practically every time I'm at Fosdic Lake there is someone throwing bread or other duck food at the birds.
The Fosdic Ducks are so used to being given food they have developed quite an attitude of entitlement. If you stand at the shoreline taking a picture, for instance, a herd of the little beasts will make a beeline for you and when you don't deliver the goods they keep on coming, as if chasing you is going to free up something to eat. It has been quite unsettling on more than one occasion.
After I was done communing with nature I headed to Town Talk. I found no good stuff today. Got big containers of cinnamon and black pepper. That's all. My favorite Town Talk checker's line was open. Previously she'd lamented regarding the upcoming Christmas.
So, I asked her how Christmas went. "Christmas was fine," she said, "but Christmas Eve was a nightmare."
"Why?" I asked.
"The blizzard," she said.
I told her I'd been informed that the blizzard was a light snow flurry.
"Well, that light snow flurry took me an hour and a half to go what should have taken 20 minutes," said she, quite testily.
The nerve of some people. Suggesting that the historic Texas Christmas Eve Blizzard of 09 was nothing but a little snow flurry. I tell you, those people from Washington can be so uncouth. Makes me glad I'm a Texan.
Incoming Invite From Don Young:
Need a post-holiday workout in the great out-of-doors? Something vigorous but not too challenging? Feel a need to test your mettle? You're in luck!
Celebrate the new year and the 50th anniversary of THNA by participating in the First Annual Manly Men and Wild Women Hike at Tandy Hills Natural Area.
This will be a border-to border-to-border-to-border hike, tracing the steel cable that defines the 160 acre boundary. Here are five good reasons to join in:
1) You will lose at least 2 pounds. (results vary)
2) See sections of the park known only to birds and coyotes. (and gas drillers)
3) Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the coolest park in Fort Worth. (2010)
4) It won't kill you but will make you stronger (for the Brush Bash)
5) Work up a good appetite for a group lunch (TBA)
Who: Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area
What: Manly Men & Wild Women Hike. (All ages welcome.) No wimps allowed.
When: Saturday, January 2, 2010
10:00 am (allow 1.5 hours for hike)
Where: Tandy Hills Natural Area
3400 View Street
Meet at the Prairie Fest entrance
Why: For the fun and glory of it and to prepare your body and mind for the upcoming Brush Bash (January 23, 2010)
Bring: Water, snack, camera, hiking boots, hat.
RSVP: > > > to Don Young ASAP. <EMAIL>
As you can see in the picture, Chesapeake Energy's basketball team stealing thief of a CEO, Aubrey McLendon, pretty much has in his hands, Fort Worth's corrupt, ethically challenged, Conflicts of Interest-laden mayor, Mike Moncrief.
Mayor Mike owns a piece of Chesapeake Energy, earning money from the entity that has come to his town to stick a lot of holes in the ground and run roughshod over a lot of the people whom Moncrief is supposed to serve and protect.
We are seeing in Fort Worth a real bad civics lesson in why there are Conflicts of Interest rules and laws.
I've been getting some good blog comments of late. Mostly generated by the outrageous continuing persecution of Steve Doeung by Chesapeake Energy.
Chesapeake Energy had bullied every homeowner on Carter Avenue, but one, to sign over the right to run a non-odorized natural gas pipeline under their homes. Threatening the homeowners that eminent domain would be abused to steal their property if they did not cooperate.
A month or two ago, Chesapeake Energy let it be known that a route other than Carter Avenue was being looked at. Carter Avenue celebrated. American flags lined the street.
Even though Chesapeake Energy publicly let it be known an alternative route was possible, their eminent domain case continued against Steve Doeung. How can this be? Why would the judge not simply throw the case out of court, since, with the alternative route, there was no longer any justifiable reason to continue with the eminent domain case?
And now Chesapeake Energy is back acting like they are going ahead with their plans to run a pipeline under Fort Worth citizen's homes on Carter Avenue, running the same type gas that resulted in the worst natural gas explosion, ever, killing 100s of school kids, right here in Texas.
Anyway, below are a couple of blog comments that I liked, both from my favorite commenter, Anonymous. The first was a comment to a blogging about the Fort Worth Library being closed. The second comment was in response to a blogging about the same subject as this blogging, that being Steve Doeung and the corrupt nature of the city Steve lives in.
"BINGO, Durango. You must not be from 'round these here parts. Too much book learning and questioning ain't part of the "Fort Worth Way". The gasbaggers like McClendon needs lots of workers devoted to taking orders and using their muscles not asking questions and using their minds and reasoning. See why they've been trying so hard to put down that Steve guy on Carter--can't allow any victory by the common man, it might give others "ideas" and even en-courage to do the same kind of thing. That guy and his stance--for so long and against so powerful aggressors--reminds me of "the tankman" who stopped (more like delayed, actually) those columns of Chinese commies' tanks in Tienanmen square twenty years ago this past summer. He might be whisked away eventually, but his bravery (or foolishness) has given the world an opportunity to see both the good and the evil sides of humanity."
"There certainly is a prevailing culture in the city of Fort Worth that tolerates this kind of corruption, which in turn filters down to lost and wasted tens of millions of tax dollars AND even to the fairly common but brutal suppression/oppression of free American citizens--both by muscles and tazers as well as by the weapon of eminent domain. This man, Mike Moncrief and his "court" might be rulers of the so-called "citizens of the shale"---not unlike the tactics and practices of Hitler's and other fascists. In fact fascism by definition is not a dictatorship per se--it is the people willingly allowing the "run of the government" in the hands of a few. Of course, power tends to corrupt. Guess what this mayor's predecessor is making million$$ doing now a days? If it helps, you can scratch off volunteering with Habitat for Humanity."
The Queen of Wink and I have been trying hard to de-nerdify one particular Texan thought to be the smartest Texan in Texas. I'll call this Texan Top Texan. Or TT.
TT has a blog where he shares a lot of his elevated thinking. It's really inspiring.
On his blog TT describes himself thusly...
"I've been addicted to computers since I was perhaps 11. I have some kind of innate ability to intuitively know how they will behave. I architect computer systems and design and write software for a living. I'm very good at it."
TT has now slightly altered the above self-description as part of the de-nerdification process.
This morning I realized TT might be an even tougher nut to crack than the Queen of Wink and I realize. Note that TT says that from age 11 he was addicted to computers, with an innate ability to know how they will behave.
Now, TT was born in 1969. In 1980 he was 11. The first mass-marketed IBM PC, the 5150, was introduced on August 12, 1981. It was very expensive.
Prior to the IBM PC you had Commodore products, like the VIC-20 and Commodore PET. There was the Apple II and Radio Shack's TRS-80.
I can't help but wonder what computer a little 11 year old boy in West Texas happened upon in 1980 that caused his addiction and revealed his innate ability to intuitively know how they will behave?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I did not know if the Dallas Cowboys were playing in their shiny new stadium today, or not. Which means I did not know if the Dallas Cowboys Stadium Wal-Mart Supercenter was open or not.
I have still not received an explanation as to why the Stadium Wal-Mart shuts down during Dallas Cowboy home games, while all the other area businesses appear to remain open.
So, after I was done with Arlington's Chinatown I headed north on Collins Street to the Stadium Wal-Mart, which was open, with no football game being played across the street.
Inside the Wal-Mart there are a lot of flat panel TV's hanging down from the ceiling on which it appeared a Dallas Cowboys game was being played.
Inside the Stadium Wal-Mart there is an extraordinary amount of Dallas Cowboy merchandise taking up a lot of floor space. Like you see in the picture, with the game playing overhead.
I have not heard from the Mad Texas Grandma since December 15. You remember the Mad Texas Grandma, I am sure. She was mad because she and more than 50 others had their vehicles towed off the Wal-Mart parking lot on November 21, believed by the Mad Texas Grandma to have been towed illegally.
Wal-Mart denied knowing anything about the towing, or about A-AArlington Towing or about the dozens of taxis that showed up to take people to their hijacked vehicles.
The last I heard the Mad Texas Grandma was unable to reach the actual real manager of the Stadium Wal-Mart.
My best guess, as to what is going on with that Wal-Mart, is the manager, on his own, made a deal with A-AArlington Towing and the Taxis, with the manager getting a cut of the towing take.
Then, in a separate deal with Jerry Jones, the manager gives up a lot of store floor space to Dallas Cowboy merchandise, of which the manager and Wal-Mart gets a cut, along with Jerry Jones.
How all this wheeling and dealing between the local Wal-Mart manager, Jerry Jones and A-AArlington ends up with the Stadium Wal-Mart being closed during Dallas Cowboy home games continues to be a mystery.
Way back on November 7 I blogged about the pond you see in the picture. On that day it was cloudy and so the pond did not look the unnatural shade of turquoise blue it looks under a clear sky.
I said I'd get a picture of the pond on a clear day, which turned out to be today on my way to Arlington.
This is a Chesapeake Energy pond located a few feet east of the intersection of Brentwood Stair Road and Cooks Lane in far East Fort Worth.
So, what's in this "water"? How is it used in conjunct with the Chesapeake Barnett Shale gas well that is adjacent to the Blue Pond?
What is in this pond that is so dangerous it requires being surrounded by chain link fence and barbed wire? It appears a dam-like structure was built to hold in the "water."
If that "dam" broke the "water" would flow towards the apartments you see in the background.
Are chemicals flashing off from this "water?" What happens to a bird that lands on this water?
This morning Miss CVB of Sedro Woolley, Washington emailed me the story of a little boy who died from Leukemia, who wanted to be a fireman when he grew up. It was a touching story, but seemed hokey to me. So, I looked it up and quickly found there were several versions. The one Miss CVB sent me had the little boy being a Canadian in Calgary, Alberta.
So, with me thinking the story was a total hoax, urban legend, myth type thing I changed all the instances of Calgary to Fort Worth. And blogged it.
Soon after that Miss CVB emailed me that she was "crushed to learn it was not true."
Then I got a message from Steve A telling me, "The story IS true, albeit from Phoenix rather than Fort Worth. Even the off the wall bit about the firefighters climbing through the window is true."
Well, sort of true. In the real story it was 5 firemen, not 16. The boy's name was not "Billy." It was Frank "Bopsy" Salazar. The boy was 7, not 6. The story was lifted from the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book. The boy was the first "wish child" helped by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The little boy wanted to be a fireman, ride in a hot air balloon and go to Disneyland. He got all 3 wishes. It is true the little boy was given a fireman's uniform. In the real story he got a ride in a firetruck and squirted a few cars with the fire hose.
In the real story the boy's condition worsened after the trip to Disneyland. He was back in the hospital, third floor. A fireman knocked on the room's window, it was opened and in crawled the 5 firemen. Later that evening the boy died.
In Fort Worth, Texas a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia.
Although her heart was filled with sadness,
she also had a strong feeling of determination.
Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up & fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible, the leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dream to come true.
She took her son' s hand and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?'
Mommy, "I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up."
Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make your wish come true."
Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Fort Worth , where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Texas.
She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.
Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy - one-with the emblem of the Fort Worth Fire Department on it, and a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots. They're all manufactured right here in Fort Worth, so we can get them fast."
Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.
Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Fort Worth that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls.
He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van, and even the fire chief's car.
He was also videotaped for the local news program.
Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.
One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital.
Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.
The chief replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes.. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire?"
"It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?"
About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window-------- 16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room.
With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him. With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said,
"Chief, am I really a fireman now?"
"Billy, you are, and the Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand," the chief said.
With those words, Billy smiled and said, "I know, He's been holding my hand all day, and the angels have been Singing..."
He closed his eyes one last time.
This was way too good a story with way too many improbable elements. "Am I a Fireman yet?" is yet one more Urban Legend that has been circulating around the Internet for years.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Until today I was pretty much housebound due to the North Texas Christmas Eve Blizzard. On Christmas too much ice and snow lingered to make it seem like a good idea to drive anywhere.
Today I could take being housebound no longer. So, I went to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdic Lake. A lot of people seemed to be of a similar mind, to get out and enjoy the balmy 40 degree temperatures.
I was very surprised today to see an exotic, beautifully yellow, wildflower blooming (that is one in the picture with Fosdic Lake in the background). How do these wildflowers survive 14 degree temperatures, a raging blizzard and being covered with snow? There were dozens of these beautiful wildflowers coloring up the landscape. I would have picked a bouquet, but that seemed wrong to do. That, and these wildflowers do not smell too nice.
As you can see above, snow still lingers where the blizzard blew it into drifts. There were still some icy spots on the road in shady spots, so it's still a bit dicey driving out there, requiring caution. I'm not used to having to use a lot of caution. I usually throw it to the wind.
I'm on the west side of Fosdic Lake, looking east at a family feeding the Fosdic Lake Birds. The family is standing on what the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision envisions being a beach, where Fort Worth kids can play on the sand and run into the lake for a swim, while thanking Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief for making it all possible.
So, that's been my boring post-Christmas day. I actually got un-housebound prior to going to Fosdic Lake. After I came in from my morning quick dip and hot tub roast I had a hankering for bacon. This required a quick trip to Wal-Mart. I also had a hankering for waffles. These type hankerings and my decreased activity level are still causing constant weight gain, despite my therapist Dr. L.C.'s orders to the contrary.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Christmas has me being a weather related housebound victim in Texas this year. I was well prepared for this eventuality.
You are looking at my Traditional Texas Thai Christmas Dinner in the picture.
That is a bowl of Coconut Chicken soup on the left. Those are Coconut Shrimp on the big plate next to Jasmine Rice covered with Stir-Fried Celery, Onion, Green Pepper and Garlic, with a Peach, Apricot Oyster Sauce. The little bowl has a spicy dipping sauce for the Coconut Shrimp.
The only non-traditional thing I had was Blackberry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream.
The Queen of Wink made Butterscotch Pie. I'd never heard of that before. I had a bad incident with Butterscotch when I was a kid, the details of which I do not remember, but ever since then I have found Butterscotch disturbing. I have a similar problem with bread sticks.
Clearly I have some culinary issues.
I'm sure that pigging out on all this Classic Traditional Christmas food and the weather related inactivity has caused my weight gain problem to grow worse. I must determine a plan to rectify this situation before it slides further out of control with the return of a beer belly and man boobs.
The Dallas Morning News article about yesterday's day long Christmas Eve snowstorm called it a blizzard. I thought it looked like a blizzard, heavy wind blowing the snow horizontal, but since I'd had never been in a blizzard I didn't really know for sure.
Three inches were recorded at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with that three inches being the first Christmas Eve snowfall since the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1898.
The National Weather Service was keeping records where D/FW Airport is located? Way back in 1898?
At times, during the blizzard, visibility was reduced to around a quarter-mile. A lot of flights did not make it out of the airport yesterday on time.
This morning it was well below freezing when the sun came up. Making this a White Christmas. Because it was so windy a lot of the snow got blown into little drifts. I have a little snowdrift outside my front door. The snow had mostly blown away from the cement area around the pool.
We have now gone above freezing so the white stuff is starting to disappear.
Like I said I would, yesterday, despite my therapist Dr. L.C.'s admonishment not to, I went swimming this morning and photo documented it. And like I said I would, all I wore was my Santa cap. I believe this is the first time I've gotten into the pool when it was below 25.
Since the water in the pool was not frozen it was significantly warmer than the air. So the immediate reaction to getting in it was that it felt warmer. I have no idea what the temperature of the water is. We got to almost 80 two days ago.
Thai food is my Christmas feeding theme. With blackberry pie. The feeding is around 2. Don't be late.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
It is 5pm, Christmas Eve in Fort Worth, Texas. I am snowbound.
It is 26 degrees. Snow continues to fall. All is blanketed with white.
I canceled my plan to go to Miss Puerto Rico's tonight, due to weather related hazards.
In the photo, that is my swimming suit, from this morning, sitting outside my patio screen door, under cover, yet frozen and covered with snow from the continuing blizzard.
As God is my witness I shall not let this keep me from the pool in the morning. I shall photo document that event, complete with Santa hat. I may skinnydip just to make it more interesting.
Yesterday was warm, almost 80. Overnight it got cold. This morning it started snowing. By the time I got out of here, at noon, it had turned pretty much into a blizzard out there.
The temperature has now fallen to 29. I just heard a long screeching skidding noise out there. The snow continues to fall fast, being blown horizontal by the wind.
Just looked out the window. The snow is starting to stick. This is going to pile up fast now unless the snow stops.
When I escaped here it was to go to the Post Office and Wal-Mart. I have never seen the Wal-Mart/Sam's Club parking lots so full. Inside the store it was a zoo. I don't believe I've ever seen it so busy.
The blowing blizzard added an almost surreal element to the throng of last minute Christmas Eve shoppers.
One thing I'm not understanding is I've still not had to turn on the heat in here. Has that icy water swimming done something dire to my internal thermostat?
Below is a YouTube video of part of my drive to Wal-Mart through the blizzard.
That's Jonathon Morrow you're looking at. He is a famous blogger.
I'd not heard of Jonathon Morrow til today. I was telling someone about another blogger's most recent blog and it's boneheadedly annoying premise, that being that the No Child Left Behind policy, as practiced in Texas, was causing the education level to be drug down to the Lowest Common Denominator.
As in the smart kids were being held back because the teaching had been dumbed down to the LCD level.
This blogger's solution was to separate the smart from the not so smart, so the not so smart would stop hindering the smart from getting smarter.
This blogger seemed to have no concept of the reality that being the top student in your class does not necessarily mean you are also the smartest student in the class. There are all sorts of things to be smart about, in addition to being able to process a complex math problem.
In days gone by, for the most part, kids with Dyslexia would get labeled stupid because they could not learn to read.
I don't know for sure why I found the LCD blogger's blogging about LCD so disturbing. Maybe it was the arrogant, elitist attitude behind it.
On the same day that the LCD blogger was being boneheaded, the Queen of Wink told me about a problem out in West Texas where a student with a slight learning disorder was being denied special help. The Americans with Disabilities Agency is coming to the rescue.
Speaking of Americans with Disabilities and why we collectively need to help those who need special help brings me back to Jonathon Morrow.
His mother had to fight hard for Jonathon, first off, to live, second off, to get to go to school. Read Jonathon's blogging about Dying, Mothers and Fighting for Your Ideas and then tell me that we should separate those with special needs from those blessed with fewer problems.
Now, the LCD blogger will insist that this was not what he meant. What he doesn't get is who gets to decide who is smarter, who's special need gets helped? Who sets the criteria? If I were the dictator I'd separate those with a Low Social IQ from those with a High Social IQ and put the LSIQ's in a different school from the HSIQ's. This would put me in a different school from the LCD Blogger.
The person who told me about Jonathon Morrow has a High Social IQ. So the story could not be told without a few tears flowing. It's that inspirational. So, read it.
Merry Christmas Eve Morning from chilly Fort Worth, Texas.
I am waiting for the sun to come up and light up the place so I can see my way to the pool to go swimming.
I'll likely have to wade through some water to get to the pool. I heard wet stuff hitting my bedroom window a lot last night. At times it sounded as if the wet stuff may have been frozen, hitting the window with extreme prejudice.
Yesterday the temperature managed to almost get into the 80s. Overnight a cold front has pushed the warmth away.
The Big Chill will continue to get chillier throughout the day, with possible snow. High winds are supposed to help bring in the Big Chill.
I've had one White Christmas since I've been in Texas. Tomorrow there is no forecast of precipitation in any form. But, if it snows today enough to provide a white cover, there is a chance the white could survive til Christmas morning.
I will be sure to document tomorrow's possible White Texas Christmas with photos, if it happens.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Fosdic Lake Dam Dead Tree, that had been marked by a Big Red X, for at least a year, maybe two, is now gone, with nary a stump, to mark its location.
After I blogged about it, I soon had feedback about the Fosdic Lake Dam Dead Tree and the Fosdic Dam Clearcut.
But that feedback led to another question.
The Dead Tree may be gone from Fosdic Lake Dam in Oakland Lake Park, but live trees remain growing on the dam.
We have added some mountain bike trails to the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision. It's fun to be able to jump in a lake after working up a sweat mountain biking. There are lakes in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, like Lake Joe Pool and Lake Grapevine where one can jump in the lake directly from a mountain bike trail.
But those lakes have snakes. Though I have swum in both Lake Joe Pool and Lake Grapevine without a snake incident, I have had an attacking turtle incident.
The turtle attack occurred in Lake Grapevine on July 12, 2002. I'd been mountain biking the Horseshoe Trails. It was over 100 degrees. At the end of the trail, by a boat launch, there is a dock. I jumped off the dock and started swimming. The water was not all that refreshing, more like luke warm bathwater.
I was about 100 feet out when a giant reptilian head popped out of the water in front of me. SNAKE, my panicked mind told me. I did not know I could swim as fast as I did. So fast I was sore from it for days. When I got safely to shore I was soon to learn it was not a snake trying to kill me, it was a big turtle.
They like to bite. That's why some are called Snapping Turtles.
As I pondered the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision today I saw something sunning itself on a log that may present a problem. A turtle. The turtles will need to find a new home.
It is warm today, windows are open, tomorrow will be in the 20s. When it is cold the turtles disappear. Does anyone know where they go? It perplexes me.
The turtles were not being as skittish today as when it's warmer. But the one in the picture jumped in the water when a jogger clomped by.
I live close to a Fort Worth Library Branch. On my way to check out Fosdic Lake to work on the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision I wanted to drop off a couple books and get a couple new ones.
The Fort Worth Library was closed. And I could not drop off the books I wanted to return because the book return was blocked by the sign you see in the picture.
As I drove up to the library I saw, maybe, 10 cars in the lot and several people standing by the door, I assumed, waiting for the library to open at noon.
I sat there watching for maybe 5 minutes. Several cars drove on to the lot and left when they spotted the closed sign. Others got out of their car and walked to the door and eventually saw the closed sign. I imagine this will continue all day long
What a waste of time and gas.
So, I got to Fosdic Lake and started to walk. And then I remembered I had the number for the Burlington Library on my phone. I know the librarian.
Burlington is the small town in Washington I grew up in. It's current population is somewhere around 5,000, I think. But the town's population soars during the day due to it being a shopping hub with a big mall, outlet center, Costco, Fred Meyer, I forget what else.
My call to the Burlington Library was answered on the second ring. Try calling the Fort Worth Library and see what happens. I called at 12:15, which made it 10:15 on the West Coast. I asked, "Are you open today?"
"Yes. From 11am til 8pm" the librarian answered.
I told the librarian I was calling from Fort Worth, Texas where I was annoyed to find the library closed today.
It has annoyed me many a time to drive by the Fort Worth Library to see a line of people waiting to get in. It seems such a waste to build libraries and crimp on the hours they are open.
Oh, yes, I know there is a serious budget shortfall, so serious that Fort Worth is abandoning its Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. No, wait, I don't think that's reality, that was a dream I had recently.
Yesterday, when I had my long meeting with Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and he not only agreed to support the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision, he agreed to use his ill-gotten Conflict of Interest gains to finance the project.
Now, I'm thinking I would be agreeable to scaling back the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision, with Mayor Moncrief donating some of his ill-gotten gains to the city for the specific use of expanding Fort Worth Library hours.
Earlier today I blogged about Seattle being America's most literate city, with Fort Worth being America's 52nd most literate city. I see a connection between little Burlington's library being open today and the Northwest having a high literacy rate and Fort Worth's library being closed today with Fort Worth having a significantly lower literacy rate, with a lot of Fort Worth citizens really wanting their library to be open today.
Shameful and perplexing.
BING had a best city skyline contest. The winning photo will be the background on the BING homepage. Seattle photographer Justin Kramer had the winning photo, with his picture of the Seattle skyline.
Speaking of Seattle, yet one more study has Seattle being the #1 most literate city in America.
Cities were ranked based on the number of retail bookstores per 10,000 population, the percentage of adults with a high school diploma or higher, the number of web page views, per capita, of a city's Internet version of a newspaper and the total circulation of a city's newspapers.
The Top 75 cities, with populations over 250,000, were ranked.
The top Texas city is Austin, coming in at #16, followed by Dallas at #48, Forth Worth close on Dallas' heels at #52, Plano tied at #53, Houston at #60, San Antonio at #61, Arlington tied for #70 and El Paso in last place at #75.
It does not shock me, too much, that Fort Worth would be in the bottom third of a study like this. Yesterday's talk with Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief was illuminating. I believe he is a product of the Fort Worth schools which left him sadly lacking in key pieces of knowledge, like what a Conflict of Interest is. Or that pouring a cup of grape Kool-Aid into a river is not going to turn it purple.
If Fort Worth were a more literate city I suspect that more than 6% of the eligible voters would turn out and not re-elect an ethics challenged, Conflicts of Interest-laden mayor, with a 70% of the vote landslide. In other words no one like Mike Moncrief would ever be elected mayor of Seattle.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I've had myself an all jumbled up day. It started off okay with a nice cool dip in the pool. Followed by that lengthy meeting with Fort Worth Mayor Moncrief I mentioned earlier. I did not get around to having lunch til 2.
I'm under my therapist, Dr. L.C.'s, orders to get heavy duty aerobic exercise every day to try and reverse my weight gain and lower my blood pressure.
So, today was the 4th day in a row to hike the Tandy Hills. This afternoon I decided to park by the Tandy Tower at the east entry to the Tandy Hills Natural Sanatorium Area. As you can see in the photo above I was greeted by a Fort Worth Police Car. My fear of a Gestapo encounter increased my heartbeat before I did anything aerobic.
I saw another car parked closer to Tandy Tower. I figured the cop must be chasing someone into the hills. I started heading that way, then heard a noise behind me, someone shouting. I turned to see the Fort Worth Cop.
No. He was not shouting at me. He was shouting at a horse. Trying to get the horse to enter the fenced area of the broadcast buildings. Eventually he succeeded and corralled the horse inside the fenced area you see in the picture.
After the successful corralling the cop walked back towards his cop car. I was concerned I was going to be an object of attention due to some illegal parking issue. And I was not wearing my seatbelt.
So, I said howdy to the cop and asked what the deal was with the horse. He said there'd been reports of a horse running wild in the neighborhood. I told him I'd seen a lot of hoofprints the last time I hiked the Tandy Hills. I think I mentioned that previously, and the fact that posted signs clearly say "No Horses." Apparently this horse does not follow rules and has no respect for authority.
About an hour later I was done with the hiking. As my vehicle came into view I saw the cop had moved his car closer to the horse. What appeared to be a police truck pulling a horse paddy wagon was driving in.
A cop wrangler in a cowboy hat got out of the cop truck.
I did not stay around to see the horse get wrangled. I hope this all has a happy ending and a home is found for the apparently abandoned horse.
Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief Agrees To Use His Ill Gotten Conflict Of Interest Gains To Fund The Fosdic Lake Dam Vision
I had a long talk with Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief this morning. That's why I've been absent from blogging world. Thank you for the concerned messages inquiring about my well being due to my absence.
It took a couple hours of going through it, step by step, but as we neared hour 3 the good mayor finally began to understand what a Conflict of Interest is and why not having Conflicts of Interest by government officials is a key part of good, honest government.
I do not understand why no one explained what a Conflict of Interest is to the good mayor, til now. Mike told me the Fort Worth City Attorney had told him he had no Conflicts of Interest. I asked the mayor why he asked the City Attorney if he had Conflicts of Interest if he did not know what a Conflict of Interest was.
The mayor said he got tired of people telling him he had a bad ethics problem due to violating Conflict of Interest laws, hence the question to the City Attorney.
After Mayor Moncrief understood why it was wrong for him to be taking over $600,000 a year from the Natural Gas Companies drilling in the Barnett Shale in Fort Worth he asked me how he could possibly make it up to the people of Fort Worth.
I told the mayor I'd estimated he'd made approximately $4 million from the Natural Gas Drillers since he became mayor.
I then told Mayor Moncrief about my Fosdic Lake Dam Vision and that I estimated the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision could be a reality for between $3 & $4 million. I suggested he bank roll the vision as a gift to the citizens of Fort Worth.
Mayor Moncrief was instantly sold on the idea of using the money he'd gotten due to his Conflicts of Interest to clean up Fosdic Lake and turn it into a swimmable, fishable, boatable lake for the people of Fort Worth.
I need to get ahold of Kay Granger and get her on board with the Fosdic Lake Dam Vision. Anyone know if she has any more unemployed kids? The Fosdic Lake Dam Vision is going to need someone to run the project.
That is a picture of one of the proposed Fosdic Lake aerators at the top.
Monday, December 21, 2009
My therapist, Dr. L.C. ordered me to the Tandy Hills today for the third day in a row. Apparently the temperatures are scheduled to turn cold again. My therapist has been alarmed regarding my recent inactivity caused weight gain.
It's the Winter Solstice today. That's my first day of Winter noontime long shadow on a Tandy Hills trail. That shadow makes it appear as if I'm wearing some sort of skirt. I'm pretty sure I left my skirt at home and was wearing cargo shorts.
Horses are not supposed to go hiking on the Tandy Hills. There are signs clearly stating that rule. In Texas we do not break rules. In Texas we do not question the rules or the authority of who makes the rules.
Anyway, at least one horse clomped around on the trails leaving telltale horseshoe prints. And piles of digested horse food that was attracting flies. It seems sort of counter intuitive to have a rule forbidding the riding of a horse on a Texas Prairie. Then again, it was easy to see, today, how a lot of horses clomping on the trails could do a lot of damage.
The Tandy Hills River was roaring over Tandy Falls today. I'd not hiked to Tandy Falls for a long time. I don't know why. It's so peaceful there. And I love the sound of a roaring waterfall.
I heard from Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief. He commented on a blogging yesterday about the Toy Run of motorcycles. Mayor Mike said he was Anonymous and then signed his comment "Your dedicated and honorable mayor, Mikey."
Ever since I saw the dedicated and honorable Mayor Mikey pouring a cup of grape Kool-Aid into the Trinity River thinking this was going to turn the river purple, well, the former high esteem in which I held the honorable mayor took a really serious nosedive.
Anyway, that's been my exciting day, so far. No swimming this morning due to reasons I don't want to talk about. And today I got my last website off my previous chronically hacked webhost. And then canceled that account. Now I feel like I'll be doing some complaining about IX Webhosting and the dirty deeds they did to me in cahoots with their Ukrainian cyber tech terrorists.
Yesterday I said again that it seems as if the zone of Texas I'm living in is under some sort of protective bubble that prevents the laws that govern the rest of America from being relevant.
This morning I learned the protective bubble is smaller than I thought. Now I'm thinking Fort Worth is at the center of the protective bubble, with its suburbs likely under the cover, while suburbs of Dallas, like Richardson, are outside the protective bubble, with Richardson operating under the laws that govern the rest of America.
So, what did I learn this morning? Well, the people of Richardson have raised Conflicts of Interest issues regarding alcohol sales at a public golf course and city official's involvement in those sales.
Seems a fairly trivial Conflict of Interest compared to that of Fort Worth's Mayor Mike Moncrief and his having an interest in all the natural gas companies drilling in Fort Worth. Interests that pay him over $600,000 a year. The Conflict of Interest in Richardson did not involve any use of eminent domain to take citizen's property, did not involve the release of dangerous toxins into the air, did not involve the theft of river water.
I truly do not understand why criminal charges have not yet been brought against Moncrief. Surely the gas industry is not so powerful that it has co-opted law enforcement.
Permit me to spell out the legalese regarding Conflict of Interest.
Political Reform Act of 1974
The Political Reform Act of 1974 contains a general prohibition against conflicts of interest in public decision making, as well as a provision for the adoption of a conflict of interest code. It prevails over any other conflict of interest law to the contrary. Gov’t Code § 81013. The restrictions of this Act apply to all government employees, without regard to whether they are required to file an annual conflict of interest form.
The General Prohibition
No public employee at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his [or her] official position to influence a governmental decision in which [s/he] knows or has reason to know [s/he] has a financial interest.” Gov’t Code § 87100. Any person who willfully violates the general prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor. Gov’t Code § 91000. This prohibition applies to all government employees.
Conflicting Personal Financial Interests
A personal financial interest extends beyond the public employee’s own finances or investments. A public employee has a personal financial interest in a government decision if it is reasonably foreseeable that the decision will have a material financial effect on the employee, a member of his or her immediate family, in any one of the five economic interests. Gov’t Code § 87103.
Five Economic Interests
1. Any business entity in which the employee has a direct or indirect investment worth $2,000 or more, including ownership of stock by the employee or the employee’s spouse or dependent child.
2. Any real property in which the employee has a direct or indirect interest worth $2,000 or more. The employee’s home is not included in this calculation but any other investment property would be.
3. Any source of income that provides $500 or more in value promised to, or received by, the employee within 12 months prior to the time when the decision is made.
4. Any business entity in which the employee is a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, or holds any position of management.
5. Any donor of, a gift or gifts totaling $420 or more, received, or promised to the employee within 12 months prior to the decision being made. Meals, travel costs, or anything else of value are included in the $420. (This amount is tied to a consumer price index and is occasionally adjusted.)
Now, how can any sane person not get that Fort Worth's Mayor is committing a serious crime? Let me spell it out again, loud and bold.
THE MAYOR OF FORT WORTH, MIKE MONCRIEF, IS TAKING $600,000 A YEAR FROM NATURAL GAS DRILLERS WHO ARE ABUSING EMINENT DOMAIN TO TAKE FORT WORTH CITIZEN'S PROPERTY & POLLUTING THEIR AIR WITH DANGEROUS CHEMICALS WHILE STEALING WATER FROM THE TRINITY RIVER.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
No, those are not a bunch of Fort Worth natives standing on the Beach Street overpass over Interstate 30 protesting their air being poisoned by Barnett Shale gas drillers. Nor, even though they are close to Carter Avenue, are they showing support for the Carter Avenue Chesapeake Energy Resistance. And no, these Fort Worth natives are not celebrating the eminent arrest of Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief on racketeering charges.
So, I was on my way to the Tandy Hills. I enjoyed yesterday's perfect weather so much I decided to go for a repeat. This morning's swim was excellent too, though a tad chilly.
On my way, to the Tandy Hills, Tootsie Tonasket called me. I was driving down Brentwood Stair talking to Tootsie when I saw 2 Fort Worth Police cars oddly parked on the grass by an I-30 freeway exit and entry.
A short distance later, right before Oakland Avenue, I saw what you see above. All these vehicles parked beside the freeway, with people outside looking like they are waiting for something.
I get views of the freeway from the Tandy Hills. Each time I could see the freeway I'd see nothing out of the ordinary. Then I came to the view you see above, looking west towards downtown Fort Worth. And again with a lot of vehicles parked on the side of the freeway. And people out like they are looking for something. This was about an hour after I'd first spotted people at the side of the freeway watching nothing. If you look at the enlarged version of the above scene you'll see that there are pickups that have climbed the knoll on the opposite side of the freeway.
I finished with my hiking and headed towards the Beach Street Wal-Mart. When the Beach Street overpass came into view I saw all those people you saw in the first picture, standing on the overpass. As I crossed the freeway I finally saw what these people were looking at. I made a U-Turn, heading back to the Wells Fargo parking lot. Saw no NO EVENT PARKING sign, so I risked being towed and walked back to the freeway overpass.
And this is what I saw. Motorcycles as far as I could see, looking both west and east. Sadly I don't have a photo of the view to the east, because by the time I was on that side of the overpass I'd switched the camera to video mode. Which means there is a YouTube video of what I saw today, below.
By the time I got to the Tandy Hills I was fairly certain I knew what the people were waiting for, because I remembered being in Arlington around this time last year and seeing a similar scene, only unlike this year, when I came upon it, the motorcycles were already on the freeway.
This event is called the Toy Run. With the people on motorcycles bringing toys to, I think, the Arlington Convention Center. I have never seen so many motorcycles. Thousands of them.
The Fort Worth Police close off the freeway entries while the motorcycles pass. I wonder how kosher doing that is on a federal highway? Seems like it'd breaking some sort of rule. We don't believe in breaking rules in Texas. How much did this little event cost cash strapped Fort Worth?
It is a tad perplexing that thousands of Fort Worth citizens will line up along the freeway to watch some motorcycles motor by while only 6% of them will line up to vote to hopefully oust a corrupt mayor.
Watch the YouTube video to see and hear the motorcycles and the people cheering them on...