Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Year's Eve Shadow Of The Tandy Hills Thin Man

You are looking at the long skinny shadow of the ever more skinny shadow of the Tandy Hills Thin Man, today around noon.

I thought we were scheduled for clouds and rain today. Apparently I thought wrong.

The Tandy Hills were still being a bit tacky, mud-wise, so I cut the hiking a little short. I was not liking mud sticking to my shoes. That and my right foot pain was paining me. It is getting better though.

Earlier today I blogged about the BIG Box I got from my mom and dad this morning. It was full of oranges.

That blogging rose Nick Beef from the dead to make a comment.

Nick Beef is the headstone next to Lee Harvey Oswald in Rose Hill Memorial Burial Park in my neighborhood of east Fort Worth.

I do not believe Nick Beef is actually buried next to Lee Harvey. I believe Nick Beef bought the plot as some sort of publicity stunt.

And now, on the day before 2011, Nick Beef is still doing the publicity stunt thing, commenting on my blog. I'm sure this will get Nick unprecedented publicity.

After I was done getting stuck in the Tandy Hills mud I headed to Town Talk. Not knowing if it was open. It was.

Even though I'd just gotten a shipment of citrus from Arizona, from my mom and dad, I got myself a big bag of Cuties for only a buck. Among other things.

I think MLK or MBK or both, may be right. My unfortunate weight gain might be traceable to Town Talk. I know having Town Talk in my life has amped up my access to a lot of different cheeses. And chips. Something I don't usually buy.


For example, today, for 50 cents, Town Talk had All Natural Cheddar Tortilla Chips made with Cheddar Cheese, Quinoa, Soy, Flax, Sunflower, Sesame Seeds, Oat Fiber and Brown Rice. Made by some chip maker called Food Should Taste Good.

And I am sure it will. And be good for me. And not make me fat.

I will likely take a bag or two to my New Year's Eve Party. Due to start soon. See you there.

A BIG Box From Arizona In The New Year's Eve Mail

When I went to check the mailbox this morning I was surprised to find a BIG box. From my mom and dad. A very heavy box on which they spent a small fortune to mail. Whatever was inside was heavy and shifted around when I moved the box.

Jars of raspberry jam was my first thought. I figured, due to the weight and how I could tell it was small items rolling around, that no clothing items were inside.

My one longtime reader may remember that on Christmas I opened a box from my mom and dad to find some shirts and shorts that were a tad too small for me. When my mom asked if they fit I basically said I needed to go on a diet.

Which I am now on. I am making rapid progress towards being able to comfortably wear the shirts and shorts I got from mom and dad this Christmas.

So, a few minutes ago I opened the fresh, incoming BIG box. And what did I find...

Oranges, lemons, grapefruit and a shirt. Size Large. It fits. But not so much so that it will be baggy when I fit into the shirt and shorts that are currently not baggy.

This is my first Arizona citrus since mom and dad delivered a lot of lemons, oranges and grapefruit, almost two years ago, when they were here the first week of 2009.

Previous to that, I hauled Arizona citrus back to Texas myself, in April of 2006, direct from Phoenix, where my mom overloaded my carry on backpack with oranges. This created a very entertaining debacle when I went through security, losing my cell phone in the mayhem.

I know some of you reading this are thinking to yourself that I am awful lucky to have such a nice mom and dad.

You would be correct in thinking that. I am way luckier than you could possibly know.

The Warm Early Morning Of New Year's Eve In Texas After A Night Of Nightmares

As you can see, looking out the window, I am up way before the dawn of the last day of 2010.

The last day of 2010, in Texas, is already semi-warm, as in 62 degrees, according to my AccuWeather temperature measurer.

Apparently rain is on the schedule for today, with incoming freezing, starting the first day of the New Year.

I had myself some fun nightmaring last night. Including one where I watched two hoodlums breaking into my vehicle. I was helpless to stop them.

Soon after that I was riding my bike, fast, pedaling past Betty Jo Bouvier, who was in her yard, pulling weeds. I turned a corner and was at my house, which seemed to be my sister's house in Kent, sort of gone to seed. Parked beside my sister's house was my cousin Scott, in a Volkswagen bug.

I found this very disturbing. I've not seen cousin Scott since 2002. I was instantly perplexed, in my nightmare, as to why he was parked by my house, which really wasn't my house. And his presence was stopping me from heading back to Betty Jo Bouvier's to help her pull weeds.

The last I paid any attention to cousin Scott was a couple years ago, when he retired from the Seattle Times. He then took a cross-country trip in his Mustang convertible, going from the most northwesterly point in Lower 48 of America to the furthest distance to the southeast. Which meant cousin Scott started his trip at Cape Flattery on the Washington Olympic Peninsula, reaching his final goal at Key West, Florida. Visiting every one of his relatives along the way.

Except for me.

Cousin Scott had an aversion to driving through much of Texas, so he sort of skirted this state via Oklahoma, only entering Texas somewhere near Paris, quickly escaping to Arkansas, and avoiding me. I was able to follow cousin Scott's progression back and forth across America via his Scott's on the Road blog.

So, tomorrow starts the New Year of 2011. I think it will be a very good year. I think that, pretty much, at the start of every New Year, demented optimist that I am.

I am hoping to go hiking on the Tandy Hills today. One last time in 2010. If the rain does not arrive too soon.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The City Of Fort Worth's Personal Ad: I Am Fort Worth & I Am Looking For Someone To Love Me

Earlier today, on my Washington Blog, I blogged about an amusing article in the Seattle P-I in which the article writer conjured up a personal ad for the City of Seattle based on the various lists, rankings and polls that had Seattle on them, to varying degrees of it being a good or bad thing.

Seattle's Personal Ad went like this...

"Even though I'm getting up there in years (I was born in 1869), I'd like to find a young companion. A college student, maybe. Don't let my age fool you; I've been told I'm pretty cool and fairly romantic. I've also been told I need to work on my personal appearance, but I'd rather read a book than pick out clothes. Our first date probably wouldn't be too extravagant, and we'd probably have to take the bus. (I'm not a good driver, and bad traffic only makes things worse.) We'd probably go for coffee, or maybe to the nation's best cocktail bar. Or maybe we'll just read a book. Did I mention I like to read? You should know I'm especially good with men and extremely gay-friendly."

Fort Worth's Personal Ad goes like this...

"Even though I have been around for parts of 3 centuries I am quite immature in many ways. I have a big brother who I have always been envious of. He sort of dominates me. I've always felt like no one notices me. However, I have been told I am very easy to live with. I don't like to read, am a bit overweight, oh, all right, I'll be honest. I'm fat. I'm not the prettiest thing to look at, a little rough around the edges. Let's just say my infrastructure could use some work. I don't require indoor plumbing. I don't mind outhouses. Did I already mention I don't like to read? I also do not like to exercise. I do like fried food, donuts, catfish and anything BBQed. I can take you out to the world's biggest honky tonk. I do have some self esteem issues. I have been known to give away favors in exchange for promises that are never delivered. I have had more holes drilled in me than any other place in America. I'm a very cheap date. Really easy to bribe. I'll do just about anything for you if you dangle the right amount of cash in front of me. Did I mention I don't like to read?"

Okay. That was fun....

In Texas With Theodore Ryan & Ruby Jean Jones

You are looking at the twins, Theodore Ryan and Ruby Jean, born, I think, 2 weeks ago. In the Washington town that goes by the name of Tacoma.

The Jones Twins look awfully tiny to me.

The twins were sent to me, in Texas, via email.

I have not been informed, currently, what exactly is my relationship to TR & RJ. I know I share no genetic connection. However, that just seems like a technicality. Having the same last name cements the relationship deal.

I'm sure that's how it works.

I remember the last time I held a baby in my arms. It was sometime in the spring of 2000, in Mount Vernon, Washington. I held the baby for about a half a minute when it threw up all over me. Those watching the baby throw up all over me found it amusing. I did not.

The last time I tried to change a baby diaper was sometime in 1981. I was baby sitting my nephew Jason. His diaper needed changing. These were old-fashioned diapers, not those new-fangled Pamper things.

I laid my nephew down on newspapers and removed the bad diaper. I got the horrendous mess cleaned up, but then could not figure out how to install the replacement diaper. I called one of my roommates, at work, and she came home and finished the job for me.

Later that night, after Jason's parental units had picked him up and returned home, I got a call from my now ex-sister-in-law asking me why Jason had newsprint all over his butt. Said in a very accusatory tone.

And now here is more trivia.

The roommate who helped me change the diaper, way back in 1981, moved to Ada, Oklahoma one month before I moved to Texas. A little over two years after that a mutual friend from Washington flew in to D/FW. I drove her up to Ada the next day. I so clearly recollect sitting outside, up in Oklahoma, and remarking to my two other Washington natives, something like "if 20 years ago I had told the two of you that in 20 years hence we would be sitting under a pine tree in Oklahoma sipping wine, would either of you have been able to conceive of a scenario where that could possibly make sense?'

Neither could.

And now there is Theodore Ryan & Ruby Jean.

What a world.

So little of it I understand.

Jumping To The Ground & Jogging Through My Dangerous Fort Worth Neighborhood

You are with me looking down to the ground from about 30 feet in the air, looking through the bars of my patio prison cell.

No, I am not contemplating jumping.

What I was contemplating when this picture was taken was going jogging. And doing so in a novel, never before attempted way. As in go jogging right from my front door, rather than drive to a park to jog on trails.

I  am now back from this experiment. On the plus side, it saved time to not drive anywhere. On the non-plus side, I like jogging in a park better than sidewalks with cars in close proximity.

And my chronic aching right foot woe came back, which contributed to the jogging not being what I'd call a huge success.

It was warm enough to do the jogging in shorts and t-shirt. I currently have my windows open, due to the fact that I did jog enough to get a bit overheated.

Windows open on December 30. I do not remember this being doable in my previous Decembers in Texas.

This morning I blogged on my Washington Blog about an amusing thing I read in the Seattle P-I. That being an article that used the various lists, rankings and polls on which Seattle appeared in 2010 to compile what a City of Seattle Personal Ad would be like.

This had me wondering if I had enough creative juice to conjure up what a City of Fort Worth Personal Ad would be like.

This might be difficult to conjure due to the fact that Fort Worth does not show up on all that many of those type lists. And the ones it does show up on are usually not all that flattering.

Or it is some bogus thing.

Like a D.C. lobbying group, naming Fort Worth as one of the Ten Most Livable Communities in America. Which had Fort Worth, without looking too closely at the validity of the 'award,' having a city-wide celebration to celebrate this tremendous honor, while other, more informed places, like Tacoma and Pierce County, politely said thank you and then ignored it. With no city-wide celebration.

I'll see if I can come up with a City of Fort Worth Personal Ad. Later today. If I have the energy.

The Last Thursday Of 2010 Dawns Pink & Warm In Texas

The dawn of the last Thursday of 2010 looks like it might arrive with the sky clear of clouds, but I can not tell for sure at this point in time.

I can tell that the dawn of the last Thursday of 2010 has arrived warmly, as in just a couple degrees shy of 60.

In other words, no furnace running this morning.

Which pleases me, because I think it is the furnace running that somehow gets my eyes watering and makes looking at the computer screen a bit blurry until the eyes leaking situation gets under control.

The Scrabble Queen of Washington is heading to Long Beach today. That is one of my favorite locations on the Washington Pacific Coast. Apparently low tides will be turning the New Year's Day weekend into a razor clam digging opportunity.

Digging for razor clams, on a beach with thousands of other clam diggers is quite fun. In summer. I can't imagine doing this in winter. It seems like it would be very wet and cold.

The Scrabble Queen is bringing her iPad along so that she can continue beating me at Scrabble. I miss my Scrabble if I don't get a daily dose. It helps greatly with firing the synapses of parts of my brain that usually lay dormant.

The sun has risen quite a bit higher and I still can not tell if the sky is clear. I can see that it is glowing pink, as you can see in the latest picture, looking outside from one of my frost-free windows.

The conditions out there are such that we are under a wildfire alert in North Texas.  The way it is glowing out there right now it looks like a wildfire is in the neighborhood.

Anyway, all I know for sure that lays ahead today for me is a bowl of chili from a big pot of the State Soup of Texas that I made last night.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flags At Half Staff For Policewoman Murdered In Arlington With Hay Pipes & Elsie Hotpepper Singing

I have seen a lot of fire hoses today. But that is not a fire hose that was laying on the ground in Veterans Park in Arlington today. Instead it is some sort of barrier made of hay-like material held in a hose shape by black mesh.

The "hose" leads to the Veterans Memorial, where, if you look close, you can see the flags are at half mast.

I wondered why, for a moment, and then remembered the rookie policewoman, Jillian Michelle Smith, only 24 years old, murdered Tuesday within 20 minutes of responding to a domestic violence call, where she was trying to protect an 11 year old kids from an armed man, who killed 2 others, in addition to the police officer, before fleeing.

The killer was later caught.

My phone rang as I neared Veterans Park. I had trouble getting the phone out of my pocket. By the time I was successful in that endeavor it had already gone to voice mail.

When I was securely parked I flipped open the phone to get the message. It was Elsie Hotpepper. A long, convoluted message about lies, betrayal and fraud. And then Elsie started singing some sort of jingle, like a parody of the Dr Pepper song. It was unsettling.

I called Elsie back, but I got her voice mail.

Then a few minutes ago Elsie Hotpepper called again. I successfully answered, because my phone was already out of my pants. Elsie sang her Elsie Hotpepper jingle again. It is quite catchy. And then she asked me a question. Or two.

And now let's change the subject to the weather. It is currently 70 degrees out there at 6 minutes before 5. I have my window open. I was overheated after talking to Elsie Hotpepper.

My Peaceful Wednesday Afternoon Has Been Interrupted By Fort Worth's Finest Putting Out A Fire

I got back here about 1, after going to Arlington to Veterans Park. And Pantego to ALDI. When I returned to my neighborhood my way to my domicile was blocked by a wreck. This has never happened before. It was an odd location for a 2 car collision.

Then, after lunch, I was peacefully minding my business, trying, desperately, to beat the Scrabble Queen of Washington at Scrabble, before moving on to more serious matters, when suddenly all hell broke loose with the noise from big trucks hitting loud brakes and more sirens. And lots of horns honking.

The noise seemed to escalate and was quickly getting on my nerves. I called Miss Puerto Rico to ask if she knew what all the noise was about. Fire, she told me.

So, I grabbed my camera and exited. Not bothering to put on shoes. Because I didn't think I was going far. I was wrong.
When I got a view of the street I saw the line of fire trucks and emergency vehicles you see in the picture above. And then I saw smoke.

I walked towards the smoke, along with a lot of other people.

Dozens of Fort Worth's finest were on the scene, in full action mode. Some were already in the building. The fire hose was not yet spouting water, but foam had been sprayed. I saw flames flickering out of the building in two locations. Oddly, there was no smell of smoke in the air.

A fireman got on the roof and attacked it with a chain saw, so that water could get at the flames. Soon the flames were extinguished, but smoke continued to spew. Soon it was clear that the conflagration was under control.

This is the second time I've seen Fort Worth's finest up close, in action.

A couple years ago I was walking over to Miss Puerto Rico's when lightning struck a roof, quickly causing the building to catch fire.

I have never understood how the Fort Worth firemen were so quickly on the scene. I saw the lightning strike as I walked to Miss Puerto Rico's. I then called her to tell her that I think lightning struck one of the buildings. She had already gotten an emergency call. I walked towards the building. By the time I got there the firetrucks were already on the scene. And firemen were on the building.

I have never figured out how this was possible. Maybe they were already there on another call. Miss Puerto Rico has never gotten an explanation either.

I'll likely hear the details of today's fire later.

Mimi The Pit Bull's Owner Steven Woods Not A War Veteran After Thousands Of Dollars Bilked To Save Mimi

That is Mimi the Pit Bull, all gussied up and ready for church. Church is where Mimi needs to go, to pray for forgiveness for the sins of her owner, Steven Woods.

In October, just after Veterans Day, a minor scandal erupted in Fort Worth when it was made news that Mimi had been sentenced to death, on Veterans Day, for attacking an elderly neighbor.

Mimi was described as the therapy dog of a disabled Veteran, badly wounded in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I forget which.

A lawyer, Randy Turner, felt sorry for Steven Woods and Mimi's plight and offered his services, pro bono. The public responded to the sad tale, raising more than $17,000.

The story of the City of Fort Worth sentencing a War Vet's Therapy Dog to death, on Veterans Day, convicted on flimsy evidence, went national, giving Fort Worth yet one more black eye in Fort Worth's reputation with the rest of America.

Well. Apparently the City of Fort Worth has been unfairly besmirched in this particular incident.

WFAA, that is Channel 8, on your D/FW TV dial, reported Monday that there is no record with the Office of Veterans Affairs that Steven Woods served overseas. His only connection with the military is that he had served in the Arkansas National Guard.

Steven Woods' Attorney, Randy Turner, is now his former attorney.

Apparently Steven Woods has been cited on 3 previous occasions over attacks by his pack of dogs, including a 64 year old woman who was seriously injured by 4 pit bulls. On that particular attack, Steven Woods left his house to come to the rescue, kicking one of this dogs to stop the attack. In other incidents police had to pepper spray two of Woods' pit bulls. And in another incident, Woods got testy when a neighbor confronted Woods after Woods' pack of pit bulls was chasing children.

I don't know if there is any plan to return the thousands of dollars to the victims of this fraud, who good-heartedly came to the rescue of Mimi. And her undeserving owner.

Almost 60 On The Last Wednesday Of 2010 In My Texas Location

I did not get around to looking out the window til after the sun arrived, this last Wednesday morning of 2010.

With 3 days to go before the arrival of the New Year we are only 3 degrees shy of 60 degrees this morning in my zone of Texas.

Something in the air has my eyes not functioning correctly this morning. Excessive moisture causing blinking and slight itching. What is in the air that is causing this. The problem abates as the morning progresses.

Snow is in the forecast for the Northwest. Nothing white is in the forecast for my location. We are scheduled to have a couple days of semi-warmth, with possible rain, followed by a temperature plummet by the New Year. With no chance of snow.

It really is true, when you have nothing else to talk about, you talk about the weather. At least that seems to be what I do.

Time to go swimming now. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jogging Through The Drizzle Along Village Creek In Arlington

We are looking at the Grand Canyon of Village Creek, in Village Creek Natural Historic Area, in Arlington, today around noon.

As you can see it is being a bit misty. A drizzly mist. It was being like a winter day on a Washington Pacific Coast beach. Without the sound of waves crashing or sea gulls making a racket.

I went jogging for a couple miles in the drizzle. I do not remember the last time I went jogging. The jogging seemed to go well. Which sort of surprised me.

Prior to jogging I ran into someone who talked to me for about 10 minutes. This person was constantly coughing while talking. He was on his way to work. At a hospital. So, I am assuming the cough was an allergy, not a cold.

But, hypochondriac that I be, I am having that slight burning sensation on my face that is somewhat like what I remember a cold is like in the very early stages. However, it is too soon since my exposure to the cougher for this to be a cold. It is more likely an aftershock from going jogging for a couple miles in a cold drizzle.

There is a mirror above a bend in the Village Creek Trail. I assume it is there so you can see if a snake, of any form, is lurking around the corner. That's would be me, in the picture, taking a break from the jogging to take a picture. In case you can not tell, and were wondering, the white part of my lower extremity is long johns sticking out from my cargo shorts.  I was looking very layered and stylish.

We are supposedly supposed to be getting some heavy rain soon, with some possible Thunderstorm action. I would prefer a return to clear blue sky and temperatures in the 70s or low 80s. But that is currently not in the program.

Maybe next year. Which should be here soon.

The Dark Dawn Of The Last Tuesday Of 2010 In Texas

The sun had not yet arrived when I stepped outside to look at the view through the bars of my patio prison cell at the dark morning of the last Tuesday of 2010.

The sun is now dawning on a day currently heated to 11 degrees above freezing. It appears that we may be back under cloud cover. It is not quite bright enough to tell for sure.

This morning I found an annoying blog comment, from an entity calling itself "Best of Blogs Fort Worth."

Best of Blogs Fort Worth took yesterday's blogging titled Fort Worth Does Not Need A Bus Tunnel Under Its Downtown To Take You To Its Professional Sports Stadium and copied it in its entirety in to this Best of Blogs Fort Worth thing.

The comment said, "Love this! I've included it on a site I've created, which is a compilation of some of the best blogs in the city." With the blog's URL added.

This does not seem kosher to me. Particularly since the only thing I saw on this blog that had anything to do with Fort Worth was its title, its blog description and the blog post it stole from me. The rest of the blog posts seemed to do with various storage options, you know, those places where you rent a space to store your junk.

Change of subject. This is going to be a physical exertion-lite day. Due to being a bit sore in a place or two, I assume from overdoing it in a place or two.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fort Worth Does Not Need A Bus Tunnel Under Its Downtown To Take You To Its Professional Sports Stadiums

This week's Fort Worth Weekly had an interesting article about the demise of the Fort Worth Streetcar. The article attempts to figure out what went wrong. And who went wrong.

From my point of view the article did not quite get to the real reason behind why many thought the Streetcar plan was yet one more Fort Worth Boondoggle in the making. And just did not make sense.

From the article this one paragraph bugged me...

"Fort Worth’s historical attitude of giving little value to mass transit was probably a factor in the decision as well. Funding for the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) has also been on the low side compared to other cities, and the accepted view has always been that it’s mostly poor people who ride the bus — another reason the system gets little respect. Thus, better mass transit options have always been considered pretty much off the political radar screen."

Mostly poor people ride the bus? Why is that? And why is that the Fort Worth attitude towards bus riding? I've actually had someone tell me this in person when I opined that I thought riding the Fort Worth buses was fun, due to their theme park like wild ride aspect.

Now, the only other big city bus system that I have used is Seattle's. No one in Seattle would opine that only poor people use the bus.

In the picture above you are looking at the Pioneer Square station in the Seattle bus tunnel. Notice how many buses there are. This was on August 7, 2008. A Thursday, about 3 in the afternoon.

Seattle has a population a little over a half million. Fort Worth has a population over 700,000. Yet Seattle's downtown is way larger than Fort Worth's. There are several vertical malls, several department stores, grocery stores, theaters, two sports stadiums, museums, a symphony hall, Pike Place Market, all sorts of downtown attractions. And a lot of people from one end of downtown to the other, each and every day of the year.

Serving downtown Seattle, public transportation-wise, are surface buses, bus tunnel buses, light rail that runs through the bus tunnel, the SLUT streetcar and the Monorail. You can be at the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is) hop on the Monorail to Westlake Center (an actual downtown square, unlike Fort Worth's Sundance Square, which is parking lots), take the escalator from the Monorail level to the bus tunnel level and hop on a bus, or train, to take you to the International District's sports stadiums, or stop at any of the other stations, along the way.

All this transit, except for the Monorail and the SLUT streetcar is free. You start paying once you exit downtown.

Is anyone familiar with Fort Worth getting the point I am making here?

I've only touched upon a few of the attractions in downtown Seattle that make public transportation a viable and necessary option. Another reason public transit in downtown Seattle is necessary and viable is because a lot of people live downtown.

Fort Worth's streetcar plan, from what I understood, was that the hope was, build it and the attractions, and people will come. That has worked in some other locales. Like Dallas, Vancouver, Portland and others. But, in Fort Worth, methinks the foundation is way too weak for that sort of dynamic to occur.

I don't believe the "T" currently has bus routes circulating through downtown Fort Worth. Unless you count Molly the Trolley. That fact is rather telling, streetcar need-wise.

What Fort Worth actually needs to do is figure out why there are no vertical malls downtown, no grocery stores, no department stores.

Figure out why Heritage Park is a boarded up eyesore.

Seattle has a park similar to Heritage Park. It also had some problems. I believe a murder was committed in Seattle's Freeway Park. Freeway Park has water features, like Heritage Park did. When Seattle's Freeway Park became a problem Seattle did not put cyclone fence around it and turn off the water features. Seattle fixed the problem.

To my eyes, Fort Worth tends not to actually address its problems. Instead it pretends the problems aren't problems. How long is that embarrassing courthouse annex going to stand? It's been years now since I read it was coming down, with the historic courthouse to be restored to its original glory.

To sum up, in my opinion, Fort Worth needs to figure out why its downtown does not have attractions that attract crowds of people day after day. And necessities (like grocery stores) that would make it a place people want to live. Fort Worth needs to figure out why, on the busiest shopping day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving, downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town.

The year that downtown Fort Worth is not a ghost town on the busiest shopping day of the year is the year Fort Worth is actually ready to worry about building transit systems like streetcars.

Watch the video below I made of my Seattle visit of August 7, 2008. I was at Art in the Park in Pioneer Square (yet one more of Seattle's actual town squares). I walked to Westlake Center, then went into the bus tunnel. In the video you'll see one of Seattle's buses, on the surface, going by Westlake Center. In the bus tunnel you will see big, articulated buses, a lot of them, with a lot of people on board. You will notice that the bus I am on is standing room only. Picture the same scene in Fort Worth. You can't? Can you?

After the bus tunnel video I'll stick in one I made from the same day. Of Pike Place Market. On a summer Thursday afternoon. Make note of how big Pike Place is. In the video you see only a small fraction of the actual scope of the market. And note how many people are milling about. And how most of them look like they've had the air let out of them. You will see a big Texan or two, though.

Also, those who have heard me mention my disgust at how the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and downtown Fort Worth boosters touted Fort Worth's Santa Fe Rail Market as being modeled after Pike Place, well, the Pike Place video sort of shows you why I thought the local newspaper of record was not doing its job, and was pretty much spewing irresponsible propaganda....

And now a short walk through a small part of Pike Place Market...

The Muddy Shadow of the Tandy Hills Thin Man Trying To Keep Warm In Fort Worth

That is the Muddy Shadow of the Tandy Hills Thin Man waving at you today around noon.

It was a relatively balmy 41 when I hit the hills. So, I only had to wear 2 longsleeve shirt layers, plus a hoodie sweatshirt and wool cap to keep warm. And gloves.

I figured the Tandy Hills would have dried out by today from Friday's rain. I figured wrong. So, I did not get all gungho on the hiking.

Due to the mud and my recurring problem with my right foot having some sort of injury that is taking too long to go away, I cut my hill time short.

I tried returning calls to Elsie Hotpepper and Tootsie Tonasket while I navigated the mud. Neither was taking calls.

Before I left for the Tandy Hills I was trying to make sense of a West Texas Facebook mystery involving a charlatan who apparently has left dozens of West Texas women in Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned mode.

I've been down that road before. Unjustly, I might add. So I have some sympathy for the charlatan.

The Queen of Wink surprised me by indicating she is able to understand the tortured prose of Big Ed without a translator or subtitles. She is so smart it is annoying. She is so smart she'd never get taken in by a charlatan.

I also chatted with Carlotta Camano this morning. She is a witty one. Very hard for me to keep up.

And this morning for the first time I played Scrabble via I-Pad.

The Last Monday Of 2010 Dawns Freezing In Texas

You're looking out the window at the frosty pre-dawn of the last Monday of 2010, from my current point of view in Texas.

December has zipped by, just like I opined it would weeks ago. Now there are only 2 more holidays to go in the holiday season and we will be done with this nonsense for 11 months, give or take a day.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

This morning I was surprised to see that the DurangObesity blog I started a few months ago has suddenly gotten busy. It had sort of languished and I had sort of resigned myself to the semi-sad fact that I'd made another blog dud, like my Durango Roadtripping blog.

The sun has now completely lit up the place. I can now extinguish artificial light. And I can see that it is another blue sky day in Texas. A cold blue sky day, currently freezing at 29 degrees.

I'd like to say I'm going swimming now. But I won't.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Up Late The Day After Christmas After A Night Of Elizabeth Taylor's Harping

You are looking out my frosty bedroom window, with me up after the sun, on this day after Christmas, last Sunday of 2010.

The current temperature out there, according to my computer AccuWeateher plug-in, is 23 degrees. That's Fahrenheit, not Celsius.

This explains why I had to find me an extra blanket in the middle of the night.

I had a night of tossing and turning.

I believe I was over-stimulated from watching Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

I think Elizabeth Taylor's Martha the Harpy was way too much like a good-looking version of a horrendously ugly Harpy, who I was harped at by in a similar manner, well over 2 years ago in that Pacific Northwest town well known for producing  Harpies and Serial Killers, Tacoma.

I just realized, typing that, that I have been Harpy-free for almost 2 and a half years.

Now that you are making me think about it, more accurately stated, I have not had direct, in person, Harpy interaction in almost 2 and a half years.

However, I have had some problems with the worst of the Tacoma Harpies, via the Internet, what that particular Harpy displaying her particularly disturbing mental problems and pathological lying, in astounding displays of demented hypocrisy and histrionic narcissistic neuroticness. That was actually slightly entertaining, because I was not having to deal with it in person.

Total change of subject, back to Christmas. So, yesterday morning I opened the package from my mom and dad. In it were a couple shirts, candy canes and a cargo shorts swimming suit.

The swimming suit was a medium. I don't think I've fit in something medium sized in decades. The shirts I could get on, but not freely move.

So, when I called my mom and dad yesterday, mom asked if the shirts and shorts fit.

Well, I'm thinking, oh oh, this is some sort of test, mom is seeing if I'll tell the truth about the small-sized shirts and shorts.

I told my mom that, well, uh, I've put on some weight since you last saw me.

My mom then asked how that happened, that I was so slender at that point in time. This was the first time I remember the word 'slender' being used to describe me.

I then said, well, I'm not so slender anymore.

My mom then told me that the shorts and shirt give me a reason to lose weight.

I told my mom that I'd already come to that conclusion.

I should take a picture of me in the mini-shorts and shirt.

We are back under a clear blue sky, this morning, in Texas, hence the need for sunglasses.

The shirt and shorts don't look as tightly fitting in the picture as they feel in person.

I have been told, more than once, that my clothes are mostly too baggy. Maybe snug-fitting is the way to go. Somehow, I doubt it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas To My Mom & Dad From Village Creek Natural Historic Area

You're looking at the Village Creek Rapids, around noon, Christmas, in Village Creek Natural Historic Area.

Village Creek was running a little extra water due to Friday's rain, but not enough to cause the park to be closed

A surprisingly large number of people were taking a break from Christmas in the park today.

I called my Mom and Dad when I started walking, even though I had not gotten gas. My Mom answered with a "Merry Christmas." Mom was being quite cheerful. We talked for around a half hour.

Talking for a half hour, outdoors, with the wind chill factor making it feel like 25, eventually made my phone holding left hand very cold. So, I had to say goodbye to my Mom.

I had intended to call my Mom and Dad and then call Elsie Hotpepper. When I flipped the phone open to call  Mom and Dad I saw there was a voice mail from Elsie. Wishing me a Merry Christmas with a slight amount of Bah Humbug tossed in.

But, I did not call Elsie back due to the fact that I'd had my quota of phone talking in the cold for the day.

Merry Christmas From Texas

Looking out from the bars of my patio prison cell I can not quite tell for sure if the last Saturday of 2010, also known as Christmas is another cloudy Texas day, or not.

Cloudy or not, I'm sure I'll be having myself a very Merry Christmas, today.

My phone just made a noise and popped up with a text message.

I don't do that cell phone texting thing, as in I don't send text messages, but I have figured out how to read incoming ones.

This one was from the Queen of Wink. The message said "Merry Christmas."

Near as I can tell, despite Steve Doeung asking him to, Santa has not brought me a new bike. Perhaps Santa did not know where to put the new bike because I do not have a Christmas tree.

A year ago today I looked out my window to see a White Christmas. Right now, with the sun finally adding enough light, I can see that the only thing that appears semi-white is the sky with its covering of clouds.

I have no idea what lays ahead for me on this Christmas day, besides opening a box that arrived in the mail on Monday. And BBQing steak.

Merry Christmas to all and my one longtime blog reader.

Friday, December 24, 2010

On Christmas Eve I Finally Won Another Game Of Facebook Scrabble

It has been a long while since the Scrabble Queen of Washington let me win a game of Facebook Scrabble.

I think the Scrabble Queen knows how much my Scrabble ineptness depresses me and diminishes my easily diminished self esteem.

So, tonight, on Christmas Eve, the Scrabble Queen of Washington gave me my best Christmas present to yet be revealed this year.

She let me win again.

It is like a pre-Christmas miracle.

A Carter Avenue Holiday Card

That is Elizabeth Doeung and her dad, Steve, on Christmas Eve a year ago, surrounded by flags and snow on Fort Worth's infamous Carter Avenue.

Steve, with some help from Elizabeth, this morning, sent me the nicest Christmas card I've gotten this year.

So, I thought I'd share Steve's E-card, (for those reading this who are not so lucky as to be living in The Shale, the CHK to which Steve refers is Chesapeake Energy. TxDOT is Texas Department of Transportation)......

Dear Band of Bloggers,

You already know how I feel about you and what you mean to me.  So you are the first to receive this clumsy attempt at an e-card (with some help from little Elizabeth, of course). Love you all for who you are, what you stand for, and what you do--that reflect the essence of this season and the best of what those flags represent.

It looks like CHK started to dig trenches for the 8-inch diameter gathering line along TxDOT's right-of-way last week. Apparently, TxDOT has determined that 8 inches of high pressure is the maximum risk they will allow in their wide easement along the freeway. However, my mayor and city government obviously saw no problem with one or more pipelines 2X the size and pressure (thus threat, danger, and damages) under front yards along a residential street. All that aside, this is better for them than the previous two years of very bad PR and no pipeline/million$ in profit.

I asked Santa to bring Durango a new bike, Elsie something to occupy her spare time, and Joely a less stressful new year...and a nice hunk :>) I have a gift for each of you but am waiting for the right opportunity to give it. I hope to do it before we move, not immediate but hopefully soon/when feasible.

Merry Christmas and holidays wishes to all our friends and neighbors--both near and far--from the exhausted but thankful survivors of the Barnett Shale "Alamo". 

Thank you for helping us be the "miraculous" Victors after a two year long (and costly) battle. May the new year bring you health and happiness

May there be more Victors and less victims of the Exploiters of the Shale.

Your co-resister of Tyranny,

Y. Steve Doeung and family

Having Myself A Very Merry Wet Slippery Christmas Eve In Texas

Rain began dropping around 11 this morning. Around noon I took off, out of here, heading to ALDI in Pantego.

A year ago, today, we were being pelted with frozen rain in the form of snowflakes, which piled up quickly.

I was reminded of what Christmas Eve was like last year when I opened a Christmas card from Steve Doeung and daughter Elizabeth, and saw both of them surrounded by a Winter Wonderland. With flags.

The view in the picture is heading south on Dottie Lynn Parkway in Arlington, about to take a left on to Division Street.

You might be thinking what sort of fool drives along in treacherous conditions taking pictures. Well, a short time after this picture was taken I was thinking the same thing.

Because, when I turned from Dottie Lynn Parkway on to Division my vehicle suddenly spun out of control. It just sort of slid sideways, rather than making the turn.

No. There was no ice on the road. It is not cold enough for ice to be on the road.

It has not rained in a long time. This can cause oily greasy spots that become like ice when covered with a lot of water. Like today.

When I was in ALDI the lady behind me in line was going on about how slippery it was. We then commiserated about our driving misery.

So far I have not seen nor heard any of the predicted Thunderstorm action. Maybe that is scheduled for later in the day.

I won't be going out in it again this Christmas Eve, unless someone somehow strongly motivates me to do so.

Up With The Sun On the Morning Of Christmas Eve In Texas

Looking out my bedroom window this morning you can see I got up about the same time the sun did, on this Christmas Eve morning, the next to last Friday of 2010.

I thought we were scheduled to get some Thunderstorm action last night. I heard nothing.

Looking at the ground outside it does appear some moisture may have fallen, but not enough to do any puddling. At least from my current view.

I do not know what lays ahead for me on this Christmas Eve day.

I think what I am going to do today is try and find the flow. And then go with it. I do know for sure that going with the flow will not lead me to an unheated swimming pool.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cold Clucking With The Ducks At Fosdic Lake On Christmas Eve Eve

You can sort of tell from the picture that it is a cold, dreary winter day in the Fort known as Worth, this Christmas Eve Eve.

Birds of different feathers were flocked together in the cold water of Fosdic Lake, today, in Oakland Lake Park.

That group on the right managed to draw all the birds on the lake towards them, due to the tossing of bird food into the lake.

I assume this made for some very happy ducks with full gut ducks, because this group had several large bags of bird food.

The Fosdic Lake birds must be fed manually, due to signs around the lake warning that it is not safe to eat anything that grows in the lake.

I managed to be underdressed today. It was 46. But felt colder. I was minus my wool cap, had no gloves and only one shirt layer under my windbreaker. I can step outside and think I've got enough clothes on. Then get to my destination to quickly realize I was erroneous.

I must remember to stock extra clothes. And gloves. In my vehicle. I'm not much of a Boy Scout. Being prepared is not one of my traits.

I Am All Done With My Christmas Shopping On The Eve Of Christmas Eve

I am up before the sun on the morning of Christmas Eve Eve, this next to last Thursday of 2010.

I've been long done with all my Christmas shopping, due to doing no Christmas shopping. I don't know why more people don't adopt my holiday traditions.

Yesterday I blogged about my opinion that Santa Claus sets a very bad example for kids by being over weight and in dire need of going on a diet. There are way too many cookies consumed this time of year.

Just yesterday I went to my mailbox to discover two big boxes. One of the boxes was filled with Christmas Cookies, sent all the way from Seattle. I don't eat such things. Now, if it were a cheesecake in the box, there would have been a different outcome. Or if one of the cookie types were white chocolate macadamia nut.

I learned from the Scrabble Queen of Washington that North Texas is currently scheduled for some heavy duty storming on Christmas Eve. I did not know this, so I checked the weather forecast to learn that Thunderstorms are on the menu for tomorrow.

If I remember right, last year on Christmas Eve the snowstorm had already started that piled up a lot of inches by Christmas.

I don't know what I am up to today, except for being fairly certain that I am going to be shoving a big turkey in the oven. And likely going on a hike somewhere.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Millions Of Americans Are Good Without God While Wondering What If There Is A God?

I was surprised on the way to Wal-Mart tonight, waiting at a light, and seeing one of the Fort Worth T buses drive by with one of the controversial "MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE GOOD WITHOUT GOD" ads on its side. I thought the ads had been removed due to the silly protests of those types who go into protest mode over such silly things.

But then, when the light changed, and I pulled up behind the bus, I was surprised to see another ad on the back of the bus, with this ad asking, "WHAT IF THERE IS A GOD?"

So much for banning the religious message ads from Fort Worth buses.

The quality of the photos is a bit lacking, due to there being a lot of traffic causing me to hurry. The first attempt at a picture of the back of the bus had the flash going off. The above is the second attempt. Then I drove past the bus to take the "MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE GOOD WITHOUT GOD" picture, but I only had one chance, so I didn't get the zoom pulled back.

I digress in explaining the bad quality of the photos.

Are we having some sort of BUS AD WAR here in Fort Worth? I really don't get why the message that millions of Americans are good without God should get anyone upset.

Because it is true.

There are millions of Americans. And millions of people around the world who know how to be good without being told what to do by anyone. Who just live their lives naturally doing what Jesus would do, without having to ask what would Jesus do.

In other words, people who are good without God.

I'm sure, if there is a God, He really appreciates the humans who are good without having to follow a set of rules supposedly laid down by Him. As interpreted by Man.

Or maybe the God referred to in the Good Without God ad is the Muslim God, Allah. I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that Millions of Americans are Good Without Allah.

Methinks some of the more extreme religious sorts, locally, should familiarize themselves with the American concepts of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. One is free to think and say whatever one wants to in this country, within reason, and worship or not worship any religion of their choice.

This is sort of fundamental to the concept known as being American. Sadly, I am afraid that chapter in what it means to be American is not taught. Or learned. In way too many Texas schools.

And churches.

Pine Coning, Horse Riding, Mountain Biking & Hiking By Lake Grapevine From Bob Jones Park in Southlake

Above you are looking at a lone pine tree, loaded with big pine cones, sitting on a bluff above Lake Grapevine, in Southlake, with the tree shadowing Army Corps of Engineer's trails that you access from Bob Jones Park.

The Army Corps of Engineer's trails that you access from Bob Jones Park are the site of my second worst (and funnest) case of getting lost in Texas, with the best (and not fun) case of getting lost happening on Christmas day of 2002 at Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Yesterday it was in the 80s when I went hiking the Tandy Hills, thus requiring no additional warmth producing clothing beyond the minimum needed. Less than 24 hours later I needed two layers of long sleeved shirts, a windbreaker with a hoodie and a wool cap. And long pants.

Pine trees grow in Texas, naturally, mainly in the Piney Woods Region of East Texas. This solo pine tree seems a bit out of place, all alone with no relatives. I don't recollect ever seeing a pine tree so overloaded with pine cones.

If I had something along with me to carry them I would have picked some pine cones. They smell good. Sort of like getting the aromatic benefit of a Christmas tree without all those nasty needles drying out and falling to the floor.

Above you are looking at an inlet on the vast inland sea known as Lake Grapevine. I don't remember if I have been on these trails in winter before. I do remember I have never been on these trails when it is cold. My first experience on these trails occurred approximately a decade ago, in summer. It was a combo mountain bike/horse ride exploration.

I suppose you are thinking that is me, back in the saddle, using 4 horseshoed hooves to explore the Lake Grapevine trails.

You would be wrong.

The kid on the horse stopped to tell me of late he'd been seeing a lot of people on the trails. He wondered where I was from and how I knew about this place. This was an interesting question for him to ask, due to the fact that I'd come upon 4 separate groups of humans hiking today. And was wondering the same thing. I don't recollect ever seeing any humans, besides the ones I was with, in this location, previously.

Tomorrow is going to be cold, too. No pool for me. That is for sure.

The Cold Morning Moon Shadow Of The Thin Man

That is the Moon Shadow of the Thin Man early this second day of winter and next to last Wednesday of 2010.

It is colder than I expected this morning. 42 degrees. I was hoping it'd be in the 50s. This 42 degrees makes my plan to go swimming this morning not quite so certain.

I think I am going up to Southlake today. But, that plan could easily change.

The sun is beginning to provide light in addition to the full moon light. So, I guess I am going to try and go swimming now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Record Breaking High Temperatures In North Texas On The First Day Of Winter

Yesterday I was on  the Tandy Hills in shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt.

Today, on the first day of winter, I was back on the Tandy Hills, without a t-shirt.

The first day of winter in North Texas will likely be setting a temperature record. Currently, at right before 3pm it is 84 degrees.

I have my windows open. I may need to close the windows and turn on the A/C.

I know I have never had my windows open before in winter in Texas. Or run the A/C.

It is nice to finally get to experience some of that Global Warming you hear so much about.

I went off trail again today on the hills. Exploring the west side of the trail that leads in from View Street. I thoroughly explored a large area and found no wrecked van or dead witchey tree.

My attempt to go swimming this morning did not go well. Previously I believed whenever the 24 hour average was over 50, the water was warm enough. Yesterday it got to the low 80s, with the low in the 50s. But that pool was way too cool this morning.

I will try the pool again tomorrow morning. It will definitely be warmer than it was this morning. But, will it have warmed enough that I can have myself a fun swim? We'll see.

The Moon Has Recovered From Being Eclipsed On The First Day Of Winter

By the time I saw it this morning the bright glowing object in the sky had totally recovered from earlier this morning when it was totally eclipsed by the sun.

I forgot about the early morning total eclipse of the moon, so I missed it.

At some point in time today Earth's axis will be at its maximum tilt in relation to the sun. Thus heralding the start of winter.

Winter is getting off to a warm start in my zone of Texas. Just 4 degrees shy of 60 this morning.

So, I am going to make a swimming attempt this morning.

Monday, December 20, 2010

81 Degrees Monday Afternoon In Fort Worth On The Day Before Winter

81 degrees, coming up on 5 in the afternoon, this next to last Monday of December. I definitely do not remember having my windows open this late in December, previously, in Texas.

I believe tomorrow is the Winter Solstice. I do not know when the exact moment is tomorrow when the Earth's axial tilt is at its furthest distance from the sun.

I am fairly certain I will be going swimming in the morning. I'd go right now, but I have to leave to attend to a serious matter.

As in, I am out of milk.

Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision & The Dallas Trinity River Corridor Project

You are looking at a live camera view of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, under construction, about an hour ago, in Dallas.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is one of 3 signature bridges being built in Dallas, designed by Santiago Calatrava. The 3 bridges are part of what is now known as the Trinity River Corridor Project.

Earlier today I blogged about a letter in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in which the letter writer opined about Fort Worth's need for a visionary of the same ilk that brought Fort Worth the murky vision of the Trinity River Vision.

Among other points, I said, regarding the Trinity River Vision, "All that vision saw was copying what was being done in Dallas with its Trinity River Corridor Project. And then downscaling the Dallas Vision."

Anonymous commented to that particular blogging, and in that comment, said "As for Trinity River Vision, its initiatives and ideas far predate the Dallas effort and is in no way copying them. The FW project is superior in scope and vision, IMO."


I arrived in Texas in 1998. It was not long after my arrival that I learned of a project in Dallas that was to renovate the Trinity River as it flowed through Dallas. The Dallas mayor at the time, Ron Kirk, championed the project, with Dallas voters, in 1998, approving a bond proposal. At that time I believe the word "vision" was in the title for the Dallas project.

I believe it was sometime after the turn of the century I first read of Fort Worth's plan to do its own renovating of the Trinity River. I believe this was originally called the Trinity Uptown Project.

Unlike Dallas, the citizens of Fort Worth have not had the opportunity to vote on their controversial vision.

I believe I am correct when I say Fort Worth copied Dallas. That is definitely how it struck me at the time Fort Worth's vision was born. Including announcing that 3 signature bridges were part of the Fort Worth vision. Just like the Dallas vision.

Except, Fort Worth lost its signature bridges, while Dallas did not.

So, I believe the Anonymous commenter is erroneous when he claims the Trinity River Vision far predates the Dallas Trinity River Vision.

Wikipedia has articles about both the Dallas and Fort Worth projects. The Dallas article is quite detailed, while the Fort Worth article is a bit sketchy. And contains errors. Like saying the Town Lake was going to cover 33 acres. That lake long ago shrunk down to small pond size.

Both the Dallas Trinity River Corridor Project and the Fort Worth Trinity River Vision have good websites, which give you a good idea what these projects entail, and you can clearly see that, despite the Anonymous commenter's comment that the "FW project is superior in scope and vision," that that clearly is not the case.

Of course this is somewhat of a subjective matter. Maybe the Anonymous commenter attaches great import to the Trinity River Vision's vision of building the world's premiere wake boarding facility as part of its vision, while I think that the wake boarding part of FW's vision is just embarrassing.

Maybe the Anonymous commenter attaches great import to Happy Hour Inner Tube floats on the Trinity River, while I think that that is just embarrassing.

Maybe the Anonymous commenter attaches great import to building an un-needed flood diversion channel, while I think adding that just to get pork barrel funding is just embarrassing.

Who does J.D. Granger's job for the Dallas Trinity River Corridor Project? Did a Dallas Congresswoman get her out of work son the job? Or is nepotism frowned upon in Dallas?

Monday Hiking The Tandy Hills & Finding A Dead Pickup

It was in the 70s when I took off for the Tandy Hills today, putting me back in shorts and a t-shirt.

By 70s I am referring to the temperature, not the decade known as the 70s.

I did some off trail hiking today. That turned a bit more adventurous than I needed, due to a steep slope made slippery because of a thick carpet of fallen leaves.

Far from any road I came upon the dead pickup you see in the picture. How did this pickup get in this location?

There is a Tandy Hills Legend, propagated by Don Young, about a Volkswagen Van hitting a tree. The location of that van is supposedly on the west side of the trail that leads into the Tandy Hills from View Street.

Today's dead pickup lies far to the east, east of the Tandy Highway, north of the Fort Worth Space Needle.

There are a lot of mysteries laying on the Tandy Hills. Today, near the dead pickup, I saw a big piece of culvert type pipe, sitting on the ground. Why was it there? Who left it there?

Fort Worth's Desperate Search For A Visionary To Take The Town To Top-Tier Status

Sometimes my jaded view of the world makes it hard for me to detect if someone is being serious.

Or not.

One of those confusing moments came to me this morning as I was reading the letters to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

I'll copy the letter below and below that I'll comment on the letter.....

Seeking visionaries

Where are our visionaries? Those with big, bold ideas and the drive to see them through? Perhaps not on the City Council, which recently put the brakes on the modern streetcar initiative.

Where are the folks who approved the convention center hotel, supported the Trinity River Vision, Lancaster corridor improvements and new downtown park?

Our city is on a roll. We have momentum that other cities would kill for. But we still lack aesthetics and services that seem so natural to more cosmopolitan cities. Modern streetcars (i.e. efficient, light-rail mobility) are a perfect next step in our evolution to top-tier status.

Dallas has become a national leader in public light-rail transportation, and Denton, too, will soon launch its A train service. That leaves Fort Worth lagging in its vision for solving growing transportation issues, air-quality issues and the continuing vibrancy of our downtown.

We had the government seed money, the feasibility study and popular support. Now it's gone. On leadership one once said, "Search the parks in all your cities, you'll find no statues of committees." When will a visionary leader step up to deliver streetcars to our downtown?

-- Allen Wallach, Fort Worth

Fort Worth is on a roll? With momentum other cities would kill for? What momentum? What roll? The momentum to be on a roll to have the most boondoggles in a row?

Visionaries who approved the convention center hotel, the Trinity River Vision, Lancaster corridor improvements and a new downtown park?

What is this new downtown park the letter writer speaks of? Renovating the Heritage Park boarded up eyesore?

Lancaster corridor improvements? The weeds have been pulled, some lights installed, the Spring Palace is no longer surrounded by cyclone fence. But where are the restaurants and other developments that were supposedly going to occur on this restored corridor?

Fort Worth lacks aesthetics and services that more cosmopolitan cities have, like modern streetcars. And having streetcars are a perfect next step to evolving to top-tier status.


Okay, if streetcars are the next step to top-tier status, what in the world was the previous step? It can't be the Trinity River Vision. All that vision saw was copying what was being done in Dallas with its Trinity River Corridor Project. And then downscaling the Dallas Vision.

Was the previous step to top-tier status allowing one of the few unique things in downtown Fort Worth to become a boarded up eyesore, again referring to Heritage Park's  current status. Really, would any town with any pretensions to top-tier status allow a well-designed park to fall into such a state, what with that park being across the street from a county courthouse and adjacent to a jail?

I do agree with the letter writer that Fort Worth is in dire need of a visionary. A visionary with clear vision. Not the type visionary who copies what he or she sees elsewhere.

The Sky Is Clear In Texas For Tonight's Total Eclipse Of The Moon

This morning I was up late, again, after being out late, again, last night. All this holiday cheer needs to come to an end soon because it is starting to wear me down.

As you can see from the view from the bars of my patio prison cell the next to the last Monday of 2010 is another clear blue sky day in Texas.

Clear blue sky should make for easy viewing of tonight's total eclipse of the moon. I have not seen a total eclipse of the moon in Texas.

The only total eclipse of the moon that I recollect seeing was in August of 2004 in Tacoma. I remember having fish and chips at a restaurant in Tacoma's Old Town, then exiting the restaurant after sunset to see a big glowing moon slowly disappearing. And then reappearing.

I do not know what time the moon is scheduled to disappear tonight. I'll try and remember to look for the moon tonight.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Walking In Village Creek Natural Historic Area & Hearing About Theo John and Ruby Jean

You are looking at Village Creek in Village Creek Natural Historic Area around noon today. It was being a perfect walking temperature.

I called Tootsie Tonasket on my way to Village Creek because she'd left an urgent message asking for some counseling due to a terrifying Wal-Mart experience. I know how terrifying those Wal-Mart experiences can be.

But, I was unable to counsel Tootsie due to Tootsie not answering her phone. No one has heard from Tootsie today. This has Tootsie's legion of Facebook Friends very worried.

Me? Not so much.

When I got to Village Creek Natural Historic Area I called my sister. The one who lives in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. I'd not gotten an account of Ronald McDonald singing happy birthday to my dad last Sunday, til today.

I also learned that I sort of have a new nephew and niece. My youngest sister, the one who lives in Tacoma and likes to argue and mind other people's business because she somehow feels entitled to do so due to being a lawyer, adopted a little boy named David awhile back. David is a little over 2, I think. He is a redhead.

My sister also has 2 poodles, Blue & Max. Blue & Max used to have a blog. If I remember right I made it for them. Over the years, I've lost track.

When I was up in Tacoma, in July and August of 2008, I was surprised to learn all sorts of things. One of them is my little sister has some sort of disorder where she can not stand repetitive noises. Even noises as benign as the beeps a camera makes. Or the soothing sound of a waterfall. And God help you if you talk louder than the allowed decibel level.

So, I was a little surprised when my sister started taking in foster kids. Kids can be noisy. At one point she had 3 of the little darlings at one time.

Now, my sister, she being the youngest of my siblings, had no experience with what it is like when a newborn arrives. As in it can be very noisy. Off and on all night long. When my little sister was a baby, she was not all that noisy, but the next youngest sister, she being the one who now lives in Arizona, now that was one noisy baby. I can still remember how sleep deprived it made me. I think my grades took a hit. I would have been a 2nd grader. That was one tough year in school. In many ways I never recovered.

Many months ago I was a bit surprised when my mom told my sister was going to be having twins. Now I was told about the baby making plan when I was in Tacoma in 2008. I was even shown photos of the Dutch male participant in the plan. But that plan was thwarted with the arrival of the foster kids.

Or so I thought.

Well, the twins arrived on Thursday, I think that's what my sister told me. She is going up to Tacoma to help in a couple weeks. The twins names are Theodore John Jones and Ruby Jean Jones. I know the Dutch donor, who's picture I was shown, is not the father. With these particular names I am wondering if the donor dad is possibly African-American.

That'd be a first in our family, I think.

I have not talked to my mom since this blessed event. Mom and dad have no current plans to visit their latest, uh, well, grandchildren, I guess is what they are. Nor do I.

My Arizona sister has seen pictures of my new, uh, well, nephew and niece and she's says they are darn cute. I have seen babies barely out of the oven before and they never look cute to me. The twins must be an exception to that.

Up Late The (Next to) Last Sunday Of 2010 Wondering Why The Fort Worth Police Aren't Policing

I was out late last night which has made me up semi-late on this (next to) last Sunday of 2010. I don't like getting up semi-late.

It is not below freezing this morning, unlike yesterday's sub-freezing morning. Right now, coming up on 8am it is a balmy 40.

Yesterday I blogged about those ubiquitous signs I've been seeing along the I-30 freeway offering up to $10,000 a day to rent out your house for the Super Bowl.

This morning one of my frequent commenters, Mr. FW Stinks, informed me that the Super Bowl signs are a scam where the scammer tries to get the gullible scammee to fork over an upfront administrative fee.

Now, what I am wondering is why are the Fort Wort police not all over this scam? It would seem like it would be fairly easy to detect who the scammer is. And isn't there some sort of anti-littering law that forbids sticking signs like this at freeway exits?

I have no idea what lays ahead for me this Sunday. Except I can say with 100% certainty I am not going swimming this morning.

UPDATE: This morning, due to the aforementioned late night and sleeping ind and my desire to rush through this current holiday season and get to 2011 as soon as possible, I mistakenly said today was the last Sunday of 2010. Eagle-eyed sharpie, Steve A spotted me most current error and kindly pointed out the error.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rent Your Home For The Super Bowl For Up To $10,000 Per Day & Other Mysteries

The Super Bowl takes place February 6, avid football fan that I am, I know these things.

The Super Bowl takes place in Arlington's Dallas Cowboy Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys will not be playing in the Super Bowl. Not this year. And not into anyone's foreseeable future.

Arlington has no mass transportation. Not even buses. Well, there are these trolley bus-like devices that run a circuit around Arlington's Entertainment District, but no bus transit system, and no rail mass transit.

Unless you count Amtrak, which I assume runs through Arlington.

It seems like it would have been so much better to have built the Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, at Fair Park, now served by a DART train line. Dallas has a bus system. And a light rail network that covers a lot of miles.

There are a lot of motels and hotels in the D/FW Metroplex zone. Some of them are quite enormous.

And yet I am seeing signs at all the freeway exits that I have exited from, of late, like today at the Beach Street exit from I-30, offering up to $10,000, per day, to rent out your home for the Super Bowl.

Who would want to rent out their home to some incoming strangers? And why would anyone in their right mind want to pay up to $10,000 a day to stay in some stranger's home when you could spend way less and stay in a very nice hotel?

Are there actually any takers on this bizarre proposal on either end? Someone with a nice home willing to rent it out? And someone willing to pay a lot to stay in it so they can pay $75 to park somewhere near the Dallas Cowboy Stadium and pay who knows how much to actually get inside the stadium?

I have only seen one NFL game in person. Years ago in the Kingdome, watching the Seahawks. Play who? I don't remember. What I do remember was it was so incredibly boring. Much worse than watching it on TV. I don't remember if giant Jumbotrons had been invented at that point in time. I suspect not, because what so struck me was how, unlike watching on TV, the players and plays were so far away, like miniatures.

In the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium you can watch the game on the world's biggest TV screens, hung above the field. Why one would want to do that rather than just watch it at home is a mystery to me.

Avid football fan that I am.

The Return Of The Shadow Of The Tandy Hills Thin Man

Yesterday I needed two layers, a windbreaker and a wool hat to survive the icy Tandy Hills. Today the sun was back, I only needed one layer, no windbreaker, due to there being no wind, and I probably should have not had the hat on.

As you can see, due to my weakened condition I am now using a walking stick. Also known as a cane.

A couple days ago Alma, the Songbird of the Texas Gulf Coast, announced the shocking news that she'd been advised that maybe it was time for her to start using a cane. Alma and I then commiserated about our co-misery.

I heard the phone ring and go to voice mail whilst I was eating lunch and watching John Wayne and a Stagecoach get chased by Indians in Monument Valley.

It seems like I was just in Monument Valley. But it was at least 13 years ago. This is very disturbing for me to realize. That means it is at least 13 years since I've driven down the Moki Dugway and stayed in Mexican Hat at the San Juan Inn.

Enough of thinking about the depressing fact that time flies by.

After I was done getting aerobicized on the Tandy Hills I went to Town Talk. Busiest I have ever seen it. Which is the same thing I said last Saturday. This must have to do with Christmas. But I don't remember this phenomenon last Christmas. The warehouse was open again. I did not get organic grapefruit this week. But, I did get a case of V-8, sirloin steak, lasagna, shrimp and other stuff I'm forgetting right now.