Saturday, May 31, 2014

Today I Once Again Learned My Washington Blisters Are A Serious Pain

My Washington Blisters
Earlier today I got an email telling me I needed to check on a perpetual perpetrator's latest perpetration on Facebook.

The emailer piqued my interest by telling me....

"You know, your sisters are a real pain in the ass (to put it mildly) but without them I wouldn't know you. I'll take that trade off any day. Have a great time at the Dixie Chicks."

So, like I always do, I did as instructed. I read the referenced Facebook post to find myself highly amused at the ironic hypocrisy I was reading.

As in, grace really is a word only the graceful should ever use in reference to themselves.

Clearly I am a fan of self-serving bloviation, but even I can detect when bloviation has bloviated too far.

And then the comments to the bloviation, from people who do not actually know the bloviator and her wanton history of epic bloviation, were even more amusing in their insipid smarminess.

As for the emailer telling me my sisters are a real pain in the ass.


I actually only have one sister and she is not even remotely what anyone would consider a pain in the ass. That sister lives in Arizona and is the mama of two of my favorite nephews.

However, I do have a pair of Washington blisters who I can see where someone might characterize them as being a pain in the ass, or PITA, because, well, many have characterized them as such, particularly the older blister, whose annoyingly bad behavior offputs many decent, kind, positive people to the extent that a support group has formed which meets twice a month at a Kent, Washington McDonald's.

Now, unlike others, I, myself, do not consider my blisters to be PITAs. Not at all.

Overbearing, humorless, boors, yes, but PITAs? No.

I have not seen either of my Washington blisters in years. The bigger blister behaved so badly in April of 2006, followed by more repugnant behavior in August of 2008 that I basically resolved to not subject myself to that ever again. So far that resolve has worked out well. As for the lesser blister, well, when I last saw that particular blister I said I might return in another 20 years.

That sounds about right.

However, I am currently planning a return to the Pacific Northwest this coming September. But, I will not be seeing any blisters.......

On The Final Saturday Of May Being A Sweaty Pig On Fort Worth's Smoggy Tandy Hills

On the left you are looking west through a filter of smog at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth on this final Saturday of the 5th month of 2014.

The view you see viewed here was viewed from the west side of the north end of the main trail which leads to the Tandy Hills from View Street.

Whenever I go to any of the outdoor locations I frequent I never find myself having any allergy woes. No itching eyes, no sneezing, no sinus issues.

Allergy woes only seem to occur when I am indoors. In other words, I never take my nasal spray with me when I exit my abode. This never struck me as odd til it struck me as such today.

The new Hoodoo which I saw a couple days ago has not changed. It is still a very short Hoodoo. I like my Hoodoos tall and precarious.

I have no idea what has been causing me to be Mr. Energy today, but something certainly has had that effect. I got up before the sun today. Was in the pool soon after the sun arrived. Had myself a mighty fine time spending a mighty long time swimming.

Then come noon, on the Tandy Hills, I was a hill hiking maniac. And, unlike two days ago, when I wondered how it was I possibly managed hill hiking when the temperature goes into triple digit mode, today it all came back to me.

Even though the temperature was at a relatively chilly low 80s today, just like two days ago, today my amped up speed had me sweating like a pig in a sauna. And thus naturally being cooled.

Why does a pig always seem to be the go to animal when describing perspiration levels? I don't think pigs sweat. I know I have never seen a sweaty pig. And yet I have known more than one human whom I would readily describe as a sweaty pig.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Spinning My Wheels On The Gateway Park Roller Coaster Before Getting Melons At Town Talk

Today my mountain bike's handlebars got rolled to a familiar location in Fort Worth's Gateway Park, looking down a cliff at the green Trinity River.

My inferior photographic skills are unable to adequately photograph something like a steep drop-off. Or a cliff.

On the right side of the picture, in the middle, you can clearly see the canyon-like drop-off. Or what some might characterize as a cliff.

That same cliff is directly below where my handlebars are located.

When I have seen this view, more than once, it has crossed my mind to wonder how many locals, as in lifelong natives of Fort Worth, have seen this view.

Only a short distance east of downtown Fort Worth you have the Trinity River in its natural state, likely looking just as it looked a couple hundred years ago, before incoming Texans began using a primitive version of eminent domain abuse to take the land from those who lived on it.

The above scene is on the eastern border of Gateway Park. At the western border, as the Trinity River starts its flow by Gateway Park, the massive levees come to their end, near the location of the final river flow obstructing structure. From that point east, for miles upon miles, for the most part, the Trinity River flows natural.

The part of the Trinity River which all of Fort Worth sees is the part which flows past downtown Fort Worth. This is not a natural river at that location. It is more of a massive ditch with the biggest dikes, I mean levees, I have ever seen, along with multiple river flow obstructions, which also act as river crossings for the Trinity Trail.

If the Trinity River Vision, I mean, Panther Island Boondoggle ever becomes anything anyone can see it will have turned the Trinity River into even more of an un-natural river, with a little fake lake, canals and a massive flood bypass channel, which, I assume, will be free of water when there is no flood available, which will likely render the bypass channel into what is known as an eyesore, perplexing Fort Worth's few tourists wondering what in the world that big cement ditch is for.

If you are a Fort Worth native who has never seen the Trinity River in its scenic natural state, that is a very easy shortcoming to rectify.

Simply drive yourself to the northern entry to Gateway Park, that being a turn south on to Streams & Valleys Road from East 1st Street. When you come to a junction do not take the option to the right, instead continue on past the, hopefully, open gate. In a short distance you will see that the road makes a big loop. Park along the loop, exit your vehicle and walk east, towards what looks like open space. Soon you will see that that open space is caused by the Trinity River flowing below a steep cliff.

If you walk to the edge of the cliff you will have walked over the mountain bike trail. Head north on the mountain bike trail and you will eventually come to the view you see above.

You may get confused by a lot of side trails due to this also being a disk golf course, but getting confused on the maze of trails is part of the fun.

Basically, as you walk north if you keep taking the trail option to the right eventually you will come to the hikers only trail that is right at the edge of the cliff. It is that on the edge, non-biking trail that my handlebars are aimed at above.

So, after having myself a mighty fine time on the Gateway Park mountain bike trail roller coaster ride, since I was in the neighborhood, I went to Town Talk.

Today I got myself a pair of watermelons, two for a buck. The watermelons were those seedless round personal size melons. Also got some Dutch cheese called Vlaskass. Plus a big container of cherry tomatoes, red peppers, basmati rice and eco-farmed brown sweet rice. Whatever that means.

Fort Worth Is Not An American Town Leading The Way With Urban Agriculture Like Austin Is

It seems like every day,  more than once a day, Tootsie Tonasket, aka Alice O Della, puts something on Facebook which I find interesting or amusing or both interesting and amusing.

In the interesting category would be the Tootsie Tonasket Facebook posting you see screencapped on the left.

This particular Tootsie Tonasket Facebook posting led me to a website called SEEDSTOCK which apparently is dedicated to fostering sustainability and innovation in agriculture.

The article on SEEDSTOCK to which Tootsie Tonasket linked is titled 10 American Cities Lead the Way With Urban Agriculture Ordinances.

Among the 10 American Cities cited are the usual suspects, like Portland and Seattle. Along with some surprises, such as Detroit.

There is one Texas town on the list. Austin. I think Austin would be in the usual suspects category.

Methinks it would behoove Fort Worth to adopt the type of Urban Agriculture Ordinances which have resulted in some good things growing in other towns in America.

Portland has 26 farmers' markets. I think Fort Worth has one.

There is plenty of open space in Fort Worth which could be turned into urban gardens. In my neighborhood, on Boca Raton Boulevard, there is a large open space where an apartment complex once resided. That apartment complex has been gone for years, and yet that land just sits there. I've long thought that open space should be turned into a park in this ill-served, park-wise, part of Fort Worth. Now I'm thinking a HUGE urban garden would be a better use of this open space.

From SEEDSTOCK the list of 10 American towns which lead the way with urban agriculture....

1. Detroit, Michigan

The City of Detroit, once the wealthiest city in the United States, saw its population peak in 1950 at 1.8 million. In the sixty years since, population declined by 60 percent to approximately 713,000 in 2010. As a result, the city’s once bustling 139-square miles contain an estimated 200,000 vacant parcels comprising a quarter of the city’s land area, according to the Wall Street Journal. The vacant land stretches for miles, forming vistas across urban prairies interspersed with abandoned structures. In 2009, the city of Detroit created a Food Policy Council to study how to implement local food systems and urban agriculture in the city, and in 2013, through the work of the council, the city adopted a comprehensive urban agriculture ordinance. With detailed zoning that focuses on the production of local food, the city is now home to 1350 community gardens, as well as farmer’s markets, food trucks, small urban growers and local businesses focused on neighborhood stabilization.

2. Portland, Oregon

With 26 farmer’s markets, 22 acres of community gardens and over 170 food cart businesses, Portland is a haven for urban agriculture.  Supplemental businesses such as bee keeping supply shops and farming supply stores have sprung up across the city in the last few years. Small farms just outside the city provide a local food economy and CSAs abound. Portland adopted an urban growth boundary in 1981, a community gardening program in 1975 and passed an Urban Food Zoning Code in June of 2012. The Food Zoning Code has a new chapter on food production and distribution within the city limits providing detailed guidelines for market and community gardens, CSAs and farmer’s markets. Community and respect for neighbors is part and parcel of Portland’s plan forward.

3. Austin, Texas

Community gardens in Austin provide over 100,000 pounds of local fresh food annually. With a YWCA Community garden project dating back to 1975 and the founding of Austin’s Sustainable Food Center in 1993, this fast growing Texas city is no stranger to sustainable thinking. The city of Austin adopted the Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program (SUACG) in 2009 providing a framework of guidelines for an established local food system. The ordinance addresses not only community gardens and urban farms but storm water collection as well as waste and energy reduction. The ordinance is brief in comparison to many, but supported by an active Sustainable Food Policy Board created in 2009.

4. Boston, Massachusetts

With over 40 food truck companies, a pilot residential composting program, 200 community gardens, 100 school gardens and 28 farmer’s markets, Boston was in need of a framework for its growing sustainability efforts. In December of 2013, the City of Boston adopted Article 89 into their zoning code focused on providing structure for developing urban agriculture while also helping to promote it’s growth. Before the zoning amendment, there was nothing in city code that expressly allowed or discouraged urban agriculture in the city. Article 89 permits ground-level and roof-top farming, bee-keeping, chicken-keeping, aquaponics, and hydroponics as well as farm stands and farmer’s markets.

5. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland’s urban agriculture movement has steadily gained momentum in recent years. The city began adopting green space policies in 2005. In 2007, they created garden and farmer’s market polices and established a Food Policy Council. In 2009 came the chickens and the bees and finally, in 2010, they provided guidelines for urban agriculture. Today, with 20 farmer’s markets, 30 CSAs, more than 200 community gardens and a recent study showing 1108 potential sites for urban agriculture, Cleveland is tackling its “rust belt” status head on. The city’s Office of Sustainability promotes the “Sustainable Cleveland 2019” initiative bringing together various institutions, nonprofits, businesses and residents to build a Cleveland that is green, resilient and thriving.

6. Chicago, Illinois

In 2011, Chicago adopted a revision to its zoning code to allow urban agriculture as a permitted use within the city limits. This includes the creation of rooftop farms, apiaries, community gardens and farmers’ markets and the transformation of vacant lots into urban farms, all in an effort to make Chicago a safer, healthier place to live and work. Sustainable businesses are moving into Chicago and community outreach efforts and sustainable education programming abounds. With 64 food truck vendors, 24 seasonal markets and one year round market, 62 urban farms and community gardens, 54 businesses and organizations actively promoting urban agriculture, not to mention an ever growing bounty of restaurant rooftop gardens, Special attention to utilizing urban agriculture to revitalize urban neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side is paying dividends.

7. Seattle, Washington

Always a leader in urban agriculture, Seattle adopted its first sustainability plan back in 1994. Revisions to the city’s zoning code in 2010 clarified land use requirements and limits of urban agriculture. The city’s P-Patch community garden program began in 1973 and today, 85 community gardens are housed on 31 acres of city land. The Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance manages seven farmer’s markets in the city. There are over 160 food trucks in operation, over 30 CSAs and dozens of urban farms in town and in the outlying region creating a vibrant local food culture.  The city’s latest urban agriculture addition is the Urban Garden Share program matching experienced gardeners that live in condos and apartment with local gardens with growing space to share.

8. Baltimore, Maryland

In 2013, Baltimore created an urban agriculture plan detailing the many ways in which urban agriculture can take place in the city as well as educational and funding opportunities for residents and business owners.  In 2010, a rewrite of the city’s zoning code began and is expected to pass into law this year. The new code changes community gardens from a temporary to permitted use in all zoning districts. Some of the gardens have already been in existence for over two decades. Urban farms will go from temporary to conditional use in all districts except those zoned industrial. The code clarifies the keeping of bees, chickens, rabbits and even miniature goats in the city. The city created Homegrown Baltimore and a Food Policy Initiative to encourage urban agriculture and promote the use of vacant city lots for green space and food production. With 20 farmer’s markets, six public markets, over 30 food trucks and dozens of urban farms and CSAs, Baltimore is encouraging a vibrant local economy while creating a better educated and healthier populace.

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Registering 2,700 vacant lots and 12,000 foreclosed homes in 2013 and the loss of 70,000 manufacturing jobs since 1970, the city of Milwaukee had to reassess its collective future. In April 2012, a zoning code audit for the city supported the idea of promoting urban agriculture to build a new economy. Zoning for agriculture, bees and greenhouses already existed. Through the Office of Sustainability’s HOME GR/OWN program, vacant lots are being transformed into green spaces, urban farms, community gardens and city orchards. A plan to refresh the city’s infrastructure, ReFresh Mike, promotes sustainable manufacturing, an increase in local food production and a reduction in waste and energy use. With community garden grants, chicken and bee ordinances, vacant lot leases, tax breaks for Brownfield cleanup and funding for sustainable manufacturing, Milwaukee sets the bar high in terms of post industrial city evolution.

10. Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minneapolis City Council adopted an Urban Agriculture Policy Plan in 2011 with recommendations to improve conditions for urban growers and gardeners. An urban agriculture ordinance passed in March of 2012 to implement the plan’s recommendations, providing detailed guidelines and use requirements for current and emerging urban farmers and growers. The Minneapolis Food Council collaborating with the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative makes urban agriculture policy recommendations to the city. With 200 community gardens, 80 food trucks and 32 farmer’s markets, Minneapolis continues to promote urban agriculture and increase access to local fresh food for its residents.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A New Tandy Hills Hoodoo With Prickly Pears & People Conferencing About The State Of The Prairie

Today I was pleased to see a four piece new Hoodoo has risen at Hoodoo Central at the north end of the View Street trail in the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

Once again the weather predictors have predicted potential thunderstorms for my vicinity. So far the sky does not look too menacing, as you can see by that which is hovering above the new Hoodoo.

Yesterday's predicted thunderstorms never materialized at my location, though the sky did look menacing a time or two.

The temperature was in the low 80s when I did my hill hiking today. Not too hot but I got HOT.

Today on Facebook someone suggested if one combined the color of ones underwear with the name of that which one had just eaten that this would be the name of your band.  As in rock type band, I assume.

I was Commando Banana.

I was also Commando Banana on the Tandy Hills today, trying to keep cool in minimalist attire which consisted solely of shoes and seriously ripped cargo shorts. And yet I got HOT. How is it I manage to do hill hiking when the temperature hits triple digits I was wondering to myself today.

Perhaps I have layered on some adipose tissue of which I am unaware, or in denial about, which is providing un-needed insulation and thus causing me to get too HOT.

At one point today whilst doing my hill hiking I glanced off to the south and saw the scene you see below.

This group is assembled at the Tandy Hills amphitheater which consists of 8 benches. Or is it 9? I suspect this group is the State of the Prairie Conference people I mentioned earlier today. I did not get close enough to ascertain for certain that this was the Prairie People having their conference.

Conferences make me nervous, and so I keep my distance.

A short time after seeing the collective of people in possible conference mode I came upon that which you see below.

A collective of Prickly Pear Cactus in conference mode. Prickly Pear Cactus make a delicate yellow flower as part of their Prickly Pear making process.

Seeing Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom mode reminded me I am about out of Prickly Pear Syrup.

No. I don't harvest Prickly Pears from the Tandy Hills and then render the Pears into Syrup. I get my Prickly Pear Syrup from Town Talk.

I suspect I may be rolling my bike's wheels on the Gateway Park mountain bike trails tomorrow prior to going to Town Town and possibly remembering to hunt for Prickly Pear Syrup.....

The State Of The Prairie Conference Is Underway Right Now On The Tandy Hills

Moments ago, at 10 this morning of Thursday May 29, the 5th Annual State of the Prairie Conference got underway with a Field Trip to the Tandy Hills which lasts until a half hour past noon.

During the course of the three day State of the Prairie: Prairies in a Changing World Conference presenters from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana will be presenting presentations.

I  think I will be going to the Tandy Hills today, but, likely too late for the Field Trip Experience.

Tomorrow, May 30,  from 8:30 am til 4:30 pm the State of the Prairie Conference moves to Fort Worth's Botanic Gardens, where dinner will also be served, from 6:30 pm til 8:00 pm.

On Saturday, May 31 the State of the Prairie Conference continues at the Botanic Gardens, covering almost the same time frame as Friday's conference, ending a half hour earlier, at 4:00 pm. On Saturday, in lieu of dinner an optional field trip is offered, with that field trip going to BRIT.

I have absolutely no idea what BRIT is.

For all the information you could possibly need about the State of the Prairie Conference go here...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Escaping Past Security In A Futile Attempt To Find This Week's Fort Worth Weekly At Albertsons

On the left we are looking south at the menacing pointed metal spears which form the security fence which keeps me mostly secure.

As you can see some big white cloud action is blocking what would otherwise be a clear blue sky. Those big white clouds may be a harbinger of thunderstorms later today. That's the weather prediction.

Just like yesterday.

But I heard no thunder booms yesterday. I did experience a slight amount of cloud sourced moisture yesterday, both in the pool and late in the afternoon, whilst walking to the mailbox.

Today, with today being Wednesday, I took my regularly scheduled walk around the neighborhood, culminating in Wednesday's regularly futile acquisition attempt of this week's Fort Worth Weekly at Albertsons.

Late this afternoon if I can summon the energy for another walk I likely will discover this week's Fort Worth Weekly safely arrived at Albertsons.

I just got a call from Miss Puerto Rico asking if I could help her replace a couple light bulbs. I indicated I was not available for light bulb replacement. This light bulb replacement help request may have been some sort of Puerto Rican version of a Polish light bulb joke. I don't know.

The Puerto Rican sense of humor, as exhibited by some Puerto Ricans, is not accessible to my simple mind....

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Back With Arlington's Village Creek Indian Ghosts Finding No Crime Scene Tape Before Helping A Hugely Obese Woman

Seems like I just had myself a mighty fine time visiting the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area, because, well, I had had myself a mighty fine time doing so, on Sunday.

On Sunday I biked with the Indian Ghosts, today I walked.

I was in the Indian Ghosts' neighborhood due to needing some supplies from ALDI which I'd forgotten I needed when I was at ALDI on Saturday.

Damn age related memory woes.

As you can see via the above photo documentation the crime scene tape has been removed from the Village Creek Dam Bridge. In addition to the crime scene tape being removed the massive pile of litter and logs has also been removed, thus allowing Village Creek to smoothly flow under the Dam Bridge.

On the weather menu for today, at my location on the planet, is possible incoming thunderstorms, with possible large balls of hail, along with possible heavy rain which could lead to possible flash floods.

So far none of what is possible has happened today.

If the sky does go into downpour mode today it is likely that by tomorrow the litter log jam will have re-appeared at the Village Creek Dam Bridge, followed by more crime scene tape.

Changing the subject, wait a minute, my phone just made its notification noise, so after reading what my phone had to tell me I am staying on the weather subject a bit longer before changing the subject. According to my phone AccuWeather is informing me that the National Weather Service is suggesting we be on a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, currently, in my vicinity.

Okay, now I am changing the subject and sticking with the change, this time.

So, at ALDI today I learned one must look over ones receipt. I did so and saw a bag of Red Delicious apples listed among the items I'd just paid for.

First off, I only eat Red Delicious apples if I am in Washington, where they are grown, and if I have just picked the apple from its home tree.

So, after bagging that which I bought, I walked back to the nice checkout lady who always seems to enjoy teasing me. She is hugely pregnant, due to pop on the 4th of July. She is one of those type pregnant ladies who glows. She looked at the receipt and said, "you didn't buy any apples." She then realized she'd  hit the key number for bags of Red Delicious apples instead of celery, which is what I actually bought.

A few key strokes later, and after a manager's override, the hugely pregnant checkout lady handed me back the two extra dollars I'd paid for the celery.

After that ALDI unpleasantness was taken care of I saw that an enormously obese woman was having trouble getting out of the ALDI motorized shopping cart which obese people ride to go grocery shopping. Eventually she got vertical, but then she was struggling to get what she bought out of the motorized shopping cart and into a non-mechanized shopping cart so she could roll her stuff to her vehicle.

I helped the enormously obese woman get her stuff from one cart to the other. It really was a logistics nightmare. It all started when I was fussing over apples, with the enormously obese woman trying to get someone to pay attention to her need for a shopping cart. Being told she needed a quarter to get a shopping cart was useless information. Eventually the store manager told the hugely pregnant checkout lady to give the enormously obese lady a shopping cart.

It was at that point I lent my assistance.

As I was inserting my own bags of stuff into the interior of my motorized transport device I saw the enormously obese woman slowly making her way to her car, holding on to the shopping cart for dear life.

She'd already profusely thanked  me for my assistance. I resisted the temptation to offer further assistance. I was on my way before she got into her vehicle and started it moving. I assumed that that would not be a pretty thing to witness, as there likely is a lot of physical struggling involved.

What perplexes me often about enormously obese people, and which perplexed me about this particular woman, is why in the world would you go get yourself tattoos when you are in this condition? And body piercing? Is the body self image so distorted out of reality that it is thought that tattoos and piercings just add to the overall attractiveness?

Like I said, very perplexing......

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Memorial Day Walk Around Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake With A Lonely Turtle

Am I remembering wrong? It seems like Memorial Days previous in Texas, on the times I've decided to go into Memorial Day picnic mode in a Texas park, that finding an unoccupied picnic table was difficult.

Today finding a picnic table was not an issue, due to using my in-house picnic table to support the weight of the massive slabs of pork ribs I have BBQed for today.

Prior to consuming massive slabs of BBQed pork ribs I used my mechanized motion device to take me to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdick Lake. I figured this location would be as busy as it was on Easter.

I figured wrong. There was nary a single BBQing picnic happening. A few guys fishing. A few people sitting on benches, enjoying being outdoors in the muggy humidity. But no Memorial Day picnic action.

Maybe the inclement weather, with its few drops of water, scared  people off of going to the bother of a Memorial Day picnic.

The kid you see above, petting a turtle, had passed me earlier on my walk, speeding by on his bike. He braked to a stop when he came upon a turtle on the trail. The kid and I speculated as to what was wrong with the turtle that had him out of Fosdick Lake, sitting in a vulnerable spot on a sidewalk.

After about 5 minutes of turtle talk the turtle decided to walk, slowly, on to the grass, but heading away from the lake.

Is it turtle mating season? I've seen odd turtle behavior in times previous, when the cute reptiles leave their watery home searching for someone to experience conjugal bliss with them.

Well, enough of this talk about conjugal bliss. It's time for some BBQ.....

This Memorial Day Spencer Jack At The Eiffel Tower Has Me Remembering Las Vegas

When I woke up my computer on this morning of the 2014 edition of Memorial Day I saw incoming email from my favorite nephew, Jason, with the subject line being "Spencer Jack Visiting Eiffel Tower on Memorial Day Weekend."

I opened the email to find the picture you see here of Spencer Jack with what appears to be the Eiffel Tower behind him.

I am guessing this is not the Eiffel Tower which towers over Paris, France, but is, instead, the scaled down version of the Eiffel Tower which towers over the Paris Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It seems like only yesterday that Spencer Jack's dad and my favorite nephew, Joey, took  me to Las Vegas for four days the summer before I moved to Texas. If I recollect correctly it was whilst driving back to Las Vegas from heat seeking in Death Valley that I told my nephews I was moving to Texas.

And now, in what seems like just a few years later, Spencer Jack is bringing his dad and his favorite girl friend, Brittney to Las Vegas to Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

I wonder if Spencer Jack is taking his dad and Brittney to the top of the Stratosphere Tower. Spencer Jack's dad, Joey and I had ourselves quite a HOT adventure at the top of the Stratosphere Tower, some of which you can read via the above link referencing four days in Las Vegas.

I am also wondering if I will be getting pictures emailed to me of Spencer Jack riding the tallest Ferris wheel type device in the world, that being the recently opened for rolling Las Vegas High Roller.

I recollect that soon after the Seattle Great Wheel opened Spencer Jack emailed me pictures of himself, his dad and Brittney on the Great Wheel.

Does Spencer Jack tag along for the casino game playing? I recollect Spencer Jack's uncle Joey was only 15 when Joey and Jason took me to Las Vegas. Joey and I worked around him not being 21 by having Joey direct me as to what to do whilst playing Video Poker.

I also recollect Keno cards being funneled through me when the nephews discovered they could play Keno whilst we enjoyed the Stratosphere buffet for free as one of the compensations we received due to our HOT adventure at the top of the Stratosphere Tower.

Jason had himself a big Keno win, which caused way too much Keno to be played, including returning to the Stratosphere the next morning so the nephews could play Keno during the breakfast buffet.

I had never played Keno until my nephews corrupted me.

I suspect Spencer Jack is likely enjoying playing Keno, with his number choices being funneled through his dad. This type corruption is passed down, generation to generation.....

UPDATE: Additional incoming photos have confirmed it is the Las Vegas version of the Eiffel Tower which Spencer Jack is visiting over Memorial Day Weekend.

Above Spencer Jack is soaking wet after getting out of the Mandalay Bay pool, before getting in the Mandalay Bay Lazy River with his favorite girlfriend, Brittney.

I don't know what to make of the next picture.

I assume Spencer Jack is the photographer. The Luxor is next door to Mandalay Bay. Why are Jason and Brittney visiting the Chapel at Luxor? With Spencer Jack? Is this the second weekend in a row with one of my relatives getting married in an unusual location?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend's Sunday Thinking About A Proper Historical Memory Marker For The Caddo Indians Of Arlington's Village Creek

I had intended to roll my bike's wheels over Gateway Park's mountain bike trails today.

However, my intention was un-intentionally altered when I discovered rain had come to earth at my location on the planet at some point in time during the night.

Rain has a tendency to render dirt into mud on mountain bike trails. I am not a fan of rolling my wheels over mud. It can get messy.

So, I decided to head east instead of west, to a place where I can roll my bike's wheels with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Visiting Arlington's Indian Ghosts has become very popular on Saturday and Sunday. Today the parking lot was the closest to being full I have ever seen it.

In the picture above my handlebars are not in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area looking at a historical marker. My handlebars are a few feet off the Bob Findlay Linear Park looking at a historical marker.

This particular historical marker tells the tale of why this location is haunted by Indian Ghosts, with this tale told from the Texan white man perspective, not the Native American perspective. Or a balanced perspective.

Years ago, way back in the last century, a short time after I'd read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, I was heading to Reno with a stop at Lava Beds National Monument on the way. The Lava Beds are in Northern California, a maze of lava tubes and caves. It is the location of Captain Jack's Stronghold.

Captain Jack and his band of Modocs caught the world's attention when they successfully defended their position in the Lava Beds from United States Army forces sent to capture  them.

At the turn off from the main highway, on to the road which takes you to the Lava Beds, there is an old historical marker, erected closer in time to the 1872-73 period of the Modoc War, than the present time. That historical marker tells the story of the Modoc War and Captain Jack from the white man's perspective. As in, I was sort of appalled at how slanted and biased that historical marker was.

However, inside the Lava Beds National Monument the history of the Modoc War and Captain Jack is told in the same enlightened way it was told in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Which brings me back to the historical marker you see above, located near where John B. Denton was killed during the Battle of Village Creek.

A  couple blurbs from the Battle of Village Creek historical marker....

"General Tarrant, for whom the County was later  named, led 69 Volunteers from settlements  near the Red River in an early morning attack on the villages of the Caddo and other tribes which were located along Village Creek."

Okay, digest the above paragraph and then read this sentence...

"Soon after entering the creek, they were ambushed and Denton was killed."

So, General Tarrant invaded from the north, deep into the Caddo Confederacy, in an early morning sneak attack on multiple villages, during which John B. Denton was killed by Caddo Indians defending their villages.

How can Denton's death be characterized as an "ambush" after he helped attack the Caddo villages which then resulted in Denton being killed? That'd be like the Japanese claiming one of their planes was shot down in an ambush by Americans on December 7, 1941, during the Japanese Sneak Attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Caddo Confederacy villages along Village Creek were in existence back when the Spanish first arrived in 1542. In other words, those villages had been the Caddo home for a long time. The Caddo Confederacy was mostly a peaceful, agrarian group of tribes. They were not warmongers like the Comanche.

I suspect a historically accurate Battle of Village Creek historical  marker would be something like this....

Acting on faulty intelligence that blamed Caddo Indians in the Village Creek area for attacks on settlers along the Red River, General Tarrant led a group of settlers in a sneak attack on peaceful Caddo villages, killing untold men, women and children. The Caddo fought back as best they could, killing several of the attacking invaders. 

However, the devastation to the Caddo villages, caused by General Tarrant and his army, was so great that the Caddo abandoned the villages they had inhabited for centuries.

Attacking innocents based on faulty intelligence happens in modern times, even with all our modern information gathering and communication ability.

I imagine it was rather easy to whip the Red River settlers into a frenzy after some violent Comanche attacks. I also imagine it was likely an easy sell to convince the revenge seekers to attack villages of friendly Indians, who were basically farmers, rather than go after the Comanche, who were a fierce force with which to reckon...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday On The Tandy Hills Finding Cauli Flowers With No Hoodoos Plus Mysterious Fort Worth Police Behavior

Today I was back on the Tandy Hills for the first time in weeks. The Tandy Hills wildflowers seem to have gotten a blooming boost from the rains which rained down during May.

All over the hills today I was seeing the white flowers you see in the picture to the left of the trail.

I am dubbing these white wildflowers Cauli Flowers, due to the blooms slight resemblance to the white cruciferous vegetable.

I was looking forward to seeing the latest iteration of the infamous Tandy Hills Hoodoo today.

But, when I got to Hoodoo Central, at the north end of the View Street Trail, I was saddened to find a totally deconstructed Hoodoo laying on the ground where usually a Hoodoo rises vertical to impressive heights.

I saw no other Hoodoos today in locations where Hoodoos previously were located.

A few weeks ago fellow Tandy Hills aficionado, Stenotrophomonas, asked me if I'd seen the new Tandy Hills Shrine which had been growing on the summit of Mount Tandy. At the point in time when Stenotrophomonas asked me about the new shrine, I had not seen it. But, today I saw what I think may be that to which Stenotrophomonas referred.

Is the above a Tandy Hills guerrilla artist's abstract sculptural art? I have no idea.

For months I have been seeing something when I drive to the summit of Mount Tandy which perplexes me, but which I've not mentioned.

Til now.

Adjacent to Mount Tandy is Broadcast Hill. Broadcast Hill was the location of a NBC broadcast operation. Months ago the NBC broadcast operation moved to a new location.  Ever since the Broadcast Hill NBC broadcast operation closed there has been a Fort Worth police car on the property, with a policeman inside the car.

The Fort Worth police car has been spotted parked at various locations behind the security fence which surrounds the site. Any day of the week, including Sunday, that I have driven to the summit of Mount Tandy, ever since the NBC broadcast operation moved, I have seen a Fort Worth police car.

Months ago I saw trucks arriving to pack off material. At that point I thought maybe the Fort Worth police had been hired to oversee the packing off of material.

So, I can not help but wonder why there is a constant presence by the Fort Worth police at this location? Who is paying for this? And why are they paying for this?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rolling My Wheels On Gateway Park's Mountain Bike Trails Before Getting Ribbed At Town Talk

Today I was back rolling my bike's wheels again. This time at Gateway Park.

Yesterday when I blogged about Fun Town in the River Legacy Park's mountain bike trail maze I mentioned the first steep drop-off one comes to whilst pedaling the Gateway Park trails.

That would be the aforementioned steep drop-off my handlebars are pointing at in the picture.

Why is it a photo of something steep never looks steep when it is a photo I have taken?

When one zips down this particular drop-off ones speed rapidly accelerates. I saw a guy have a spectacular wreck at this location several weeks ago due to that rapid acceleration of speed thing.

One reaches the bottom of this steep drop-off and then pedals like a bat out of hell so as to make it up the steep climb which one quickly comes to.

My first couple attempts zipping down and then up at this location ended in failure on the uphill part, forcing an emergency jumping off of the bike.

A sign one comes to when one makes it to the top of the steep climb, lucky to still be rolling, is a sign stuck on a fallen log advising that one should go slow. As if there was any other option.

Can you see the SLOW sign above? I rode the section that comes after the SLOW sign twice today. It's the funnest, most difficult section of the trail.  Maybe a half mile of an up and down, twist and turn, two wheel roller coaster ride, before exiting, via shortcut, to the paved trail.

After I was done with Gateway Park, since I was in the neighborhood, I continued on to Town Talk.

I'd not been to Town Talk for a couple weeks. The checkout girl had noticed my absence, saying something like "you've not been in for awhile."

It's nice to be missed.

I got some good stuff today, including a slab of pork ribs for barbecuing on Monday, three already smoked,  ready to eat half chickens, broccoli, extra sharp cheese, ginger, jalapeno sausage and other stuff I am forgetting right now.

All this food talk is making me hungry, and so I think it is time for lunch.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Apparently Breitbart Is Back Rooting Out Corruption At The Tarrant Regional Water District

This afternoon I came upon an interesting article in the Star Telegraph blog. Please note that that is Star Telegraph, not Star Telegram, to which I am referring.

The Star Telegraph blog post was titled Breitbart's back.

Breitbart's back is not about some guy named Breitbart's back problems.

Breitbart's back is about the problem with the entity known as the Tarrant Regional Water District.

The somewhat controversial publication known as Breitbart has been investigating the controversially corrupt entity known as the Tarrant Regional Water District.

In Breitbart's latest edition you can read an article titled ROOTING OUT CORRUPTION AT THE TARRANT REGIONAL WATER DISTRICT which roots out, in easy to understand language, why those who know corruption when they see it look at the shenanigans of the Tarrant Regional Water District in amazement that those shenanigans continue with no adults intervening and putting a stop to the bad behavior.

Or maybe this fester of corruption needs a federal intervention with the perps rounded up, handcuffed and jailed. Pending trial. Maybe that will come after the 60 Minutes expose.

I have long thought Fort Worth would benefit from a good hard hitting 60 Minutes expose.

My favorite paragraph in the Breitbart  article was this...

The move comes in support of reform-minded Board Member, Mary Kelleher, who believes the documents contain potentially incriminating information regarding the TRWD’s alleged misuse of public funds, cronyism, and numerous other activities surrounding what is known as the “Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.”

I like to believe that it was I who first attached the "Boondoggle" word to the Trinity River Vision. But, I suspect that is not the case, what with the Trinity River Vision so obviously being a boondoggle, attaching that appellation to it likely crossed the minds of dozens of locals appalled at the ridiculousness of the entire bizarre thing.

Including the TRWD's corrupt hiring of Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger's un-qualified son, J.D., to run the massive pseudo public works project which the public has never been allowed to vote on. Hiring an un-qualified relative of a political power, for a government job, is what is known as nepotism, and is frowned upon, or is outright illegal, in areas of the world where democracy has been established.

Also, regarding the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, Laurence Meyers, the writer of the ROOTING OUT CORRUPTION AT THE TARRANT REGIONAL WATER DISTRICT article, must not have gotten the memo that due to imaginary public input the name of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has been officially changed to the Panther Island Boondoggle.

The name change thing  is just one more boondoggly addition to the ongoing embarrassing boondoggle...

Rolling Past Fun Town On Arlington's River Legacy Park Mountain Bike Trail

Water had almost been fully re-installed in my swimming pool by this morning's regularly scheduled pool dip.

To be totally topped off the pool still had about a foot to go at that point in time, but the deep end was sufficiently deep to facilitate the acquisition of some much needed endorphins from stimulating aerobic activity.

It has been awhile since I have rolled my mechanized wheels to Arlington to roll my non-mechanized wheels on the River Legacy Park mountain bike trail, so I decided to do so today.

Several weeks ago I whined about the lack of directional signage pointing the way on Fort Worth's Gateway Park's mountain bike trails. A couple days after I whined some directional signage showed up, but not nearly as copious as the directional signage that points the way on River Legacy  Park's much more convoluted maze of  trail loops.

Above you are looking at my handlebars looking at the signage for Fun Town, plus some directional signage.

To the left, not caught on camera, is another directional sign, with that sign having two arrows, both pointing left and down, with the down part indicating a drop-off. One of  those arrows is red, indicating experts only should think about taking that option. The blue arrow points to a slightly less scary drop-off that reaches the same spot as the scarier drop-off.

That is the scary, experts only, drop-off  you see above. The picture does not do this drop-off justice. That and you aren't seeing the steep uphill that comes after the drop-off

I opted to avoid rolling over anything scary and continued on past Fun Town without indulging in that particular fun.

The subject of Fun Town came up weeks ago in Gateway Park. I'd had a going the wrong way incident with a couple of bikers. I got them turned around and led them back to where they needed to be. This was the incident which prompted me to whine about the lack of directional signage on Gateway Park's mountain bike trails, with me having no way of knowing such signage was in the works and about to be installed a few days later.

The couple of bikers I got turned around and I stopped to chat when we reached the location where I could point them in the right direction. The lady of the pair asked me if there were any difficult areas on the trail. I asked what she considered difficult. She asked if I had pedaled the River Legacy Park trails. I indicated  I had. She then said something like, "You know that steep drop-off you come to shortly after leaving the parking lot, and then the next drop-off that follows that, followed by more ups and downs? That I consider difficult."

To which I pointed to a spot on the trail and said she would not want to go past that point, because it gets a bit challenging, more so than that first challenging section in River Legacy Park.

And then, for some reason, I brought up the scary sections of the River Legacy Park trails, that being the EKG and Fun Town loops.


She then told me they rode Fun Town all the time. And that it is a lot of fun! I incredulously then asked if they actually went down that first steep drop-off with the experts only warning, to be told, no, they avoid that part.

So, I guess I am going to have to give Fun Town a try. And get there by pedaling the paved trail to its end, because if I get to Fun Talk by the mountain bike trail by the time I get there I would have already pedaled several miles.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I Can Not Swim Or Find Fort Worth Weekly Today While Elsie Hotpepper Is With David In Italy

Tall grass is blocking the iron spears which make up the security fence which keeps me secure.

I was easily able to escape security to have myself a walk around the neighborhood culminating in a Fort Worth Weekly acquisition attempt at Albertsons, which usually is not successful until Thursday, which remained the case today.

I was unable to go swimming this morning due to an almost complete lack of water rendering swimming impossible.

The water has been drained from the pool so cool new LED lighting fixtures can be installed. No telling how long this will take, but I have not seen the electrician electrifying anything yet today.

Elsie Hotpepper has still not returned to inside America's borders, because Elsie is still in Italy. Florence to be precise, where it seems Ms. Hotpepper has become infatuated with a guy made of marble named David.

And on the allergy front conditions have greatly improved, with greatly reduced eye irritation. The eyes being irritated was real irritating, so I'm hoping this reduced irritation becomes the status quo and not just a respite...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

June 8 Gateway Park Fort Worth Fat Tire Festival Celebrating All Things Mountain Bike For $15

A couple weeks ago I saw a flyer on the information sign at the Gateway Park Fort Worth Mountain Bike Association trail's trail head announcing the June 8th 4th Annual FAT Tire Festival.

This was the first I'd heard of this festival, even though there have been three previous.

I don't think I've ever been to a mountain bike festival of any sort, so I thought maybe I might go to this one.

Then in this week's Fort Worth Weekly I saw the advertisement for the FAT Tire Festival you see above, with that advertisement advertising there would be Live Music, Singletrack, Bicycle Vendors, Great Food Trucks, Mountain Bike Events and FWMBA T-Shirts & Memberships.

And then in the lower right part of the advertisement, in a low contrast, hard to read font, we learn....

$15 Donation
$40 for Families of Four or More

Wow! This must be one ultra-cool festival. Isn't $15 about half what it cost to get into Six Flags Over Texas? So many really cool festivals in the D/FW zone charge no admission charge, such as the Tandy Hills Prairie Fest and Fort Worth's Main Street Art Festival.

And what odd admission verbiage. If the "Donation" word is used, is it not usually used in a context such as "Suggested Donation $15"?

Maybe the food from the food trucks and those FWMBA T-Shirts are included in the price of admission, which would sort of help explain, maybe, the $15 Donation.

And what is meant by "Singletrack" on the list of what one will find at the FAT Tire Festival? Is this a reference to the mountain bike trail, which is mostly singletrack, except for one short section that is two-way?

On June 8, from 9 am - 3 pm, must one donate $15 to roll ones wheels on the Gateway Park singletrack mountain bike trail?

I suspect I will go to Gateway Park on Sunday, June 8, and find out....

Monday, May 19, 2014

Today's 34th Anniversary Of The Mount St. Helens Eruption Has Me Feeling Homesick

This morning after I realized today marked the 34th Anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in my old home state of Washington, I blogged about this on my Washington blog in a blogging titled The 34th Anniversary of the Mount St. Helens Eruption on May 19,1980.

Thinking about the Mount St. Helens eruption which boomed over three decades ago got me feeling more melancholy than feeling even remotely nostalgic. How could anyone get nostalgic about a mountain exploding, killing a lot of people and doing a few billion dollars in property damage?

The melancholy homesick thing kicked in when I watched the YouTube video below, which I had used in an earlier blogging about Mount St. Helens and Harry Truman on my Washington blog titled Mt. St. Helens Harry Truman's Spirit Lives On.

Watch the video below and see if you can guess what makes me melancholy and homesick in addition to the woeful tone of the song.

If you guessed seeing mountains, rugged scenery and forests of tall evergreen trees you would have guessed right.....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fort Worth's Connie D Is Not A Fan Of Facebooked Self-Reflection, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh Or Fox News

Both the Tacoma Connie D and the Fort Worth Connie D fairly regularly manage to amuse me to varying degrees on Facebook. Today it was the Fort Worth Connie D who amused me.

It was not the link Connie D shared to a story about Brad Pitt throwing beer at Matthew McConaughey in New Orleans which amused me. It was the comment Connie D made, followed by the comment Connie D's friend, Matt H., made.

Connie D commented "I thought it was one of the coolest things I read today. I can only tolerate so much self-reflection and philosophy on FB."

To which Matt H. commented "I can tolerate none of it, so you're better than me."

Now having no tolerance for self-reflection and philosophy, as experienced on Facebook, well that one really resonates with me. My intolerance for this eventually led me to discover how to stop Facebook from showing me the self-reflecting and philosophizing of those prone to such.

It is really annoying when the constant self-reflection is coming from someone over the half century mark, age-wise. I mean, really, if you've not figured it out by now, maybe you should just give up trying to figure out how to have yourself a mighty fine time with this life you are living.

And why share this self-reflecting and philosophizing on Facebook? To what end? To what purpose? To help others? To share these great truths that you think you have discovered so as to help others?

I could get more detailed about one particular perpetrator of this type behavior, pointing out the incredible hypocrisy and irony that this particular perpetrator perpetuates, cluelessly unaware of the absurdity of someone such as this giving anyone advice about anything, but I'll keep it to myself....

I almost forgot to include the below gem from Fort Worth's Connie D, with no additional commentary needed....

Today I Did Not Find New Guerrilla Art On The Tandy HIlls

No, that is not a new piece of guerrilla art you see here, rising from the top of a Tandy Hill.

This particular hill is located about 4 miles east of the Tandy Hills, located pretty much in my backyard.

A couple days ago I went hiking in my neighborhood greenbelt to find myself surprised to see a new line of power poles running east, perpendicular to the collection of power lines which run north and south in my neighborhood greenbelt.

I don't know how this new power line managed to get installed without me noticing. I did notice the rather impressive engineering operation that installed new huge power poles in the greenbelt zone.

In the photo above you are looking east. At the top of the hill, to the right, sits a big, abandoned building which formerly housed my neighborhood Krogers. The power pole at the top of the hill is one of the ones I just mentioned which I had not noticed being installed, even though this line cuts right through where I frequently walk and drive.

I really am not a very observant person is what I am able to conclude from this incident.

Below is another look at the power poles that got installed without me noticing.

I think the design of these new, modern power poles is sort of sculptural, like a piece of urban art. That swath of cleared land into which the power poles are stuck, used to be a rather difficult struggle to walk through. Now it is almost east to walk from the location where this picture was taken, to the site of the aforementioned former Krogers.

Anyway, I had myself a mighty fine time walking around my neighborhood today, working up an appetite for lunch, which today will be cornbread stuffed with a lot of jalapenos, with a lot of cheese melted on top, plus chicken and broccoli.

And lemonade....

Photo Evidence Of The Fancy Clancy Wedding On A Hood Canal Beach

Clancy & Fancy & Wedding Facilitator
This morning when I woke up my phone I saw that Spencer Jack and his dad had sent me photo documentation purporting to document yesterday's sacred ceremony which wedded Clancy & Fancy in Holy Matrimony.

For some reason I thought that Clancy & Fancy would be wearing the wedding dresses they wore for their wedding portrait at the actual wedding.

Well, I thought wrong. I'd been told that the wedding invitations indicated that the proper attire for the invited guests would be Clam Digger Chic. I thought this was a joke, but clearly I was, once again, wrong.

I do not know what Clancy & Fancy are laughing at in the picture. Maybe they were at the part of the ceremony where the vows had been uttered, with the Wedding Facilitator informing the newly betrothed that the bride could now be kissed, which may have caused confusion which led to the laughing.

In case you are wondering what is being advertised on the front of Fancy's hoodie, wonder no more. Fancy is advertising Dungeness Crab Lager.

Crab flavored beer? Dungeness Crab is just about my favorite seafood.

But, beer which tastes like crab? Yuck.

I do not know who took the above photo of the wedding ceremony. However, someone had to take the photo, which is clear evidence there were at least four people in attendance, those being the brides, Clancy & Fancy, the Wedding Facilitator and the photographer....

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Avoiding Town Talk By Walking With Arlington's Village Creek Indian Ghosts

Since today is Saturday my regular thing to be doing would be to go to one of my hiking or biking locations in the Town Talk vicinity prior to going to Town Talk.


I have decided to change my way too predictable pattern and opted out of going to Town Talk today.

One reason being that of late Town Talk has been almost too busy on Saturdays. Sometimes I find this entertaining, but not so much when I am in a hurry.

Today I needed to replenish my milk supply. ALDI is my milk supplier. ALDI is in the opposite direction, from my abode, from Town Talk,  as in Town Talk is west, towards downtown Fort Worth, while ALDI is east, towards downtown Dallas.

With ALDI being only about a half mile north of Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area I decided that would  be my walking location today.

As you can see, above, the crime scene type tape is still cautioning people that there is an apparently dangerous pile of logs and litter jamming behind the Village Creek dam bridge.

I wonder what the Village Creek Indian Ghosts make of the crime scene tape with CAUTION repeated repeatedly on it.

Today on the opposite side of the dam bridge from the log litter jam I saw a big water snake slithering through the water. Water snakes can slither remarkably fast. I suppose some of that speed can be explaining by the fact that the water snake is swimming with the flow of the creek, rather than against the flow.

Next Saturday I suspect I will be returning to Town Talk....

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dodging Mesquite Thorns Whilst Walking The Mean Fort Worth Streets Of The Most Livable City In America

With the temperature continuing to be unseasonably chilly, as in in the 70s, I decided to continue with my drastic alteration of my regular predictable pattern and once again go on a walk in my neighborhood, rather than drive to one of my regular hiking or biking destinations.

It has been awhile since I walked west on Boca Raton Boulevard, so I did so today, taking a right on to Canyon Drive, then west up a steep side street to walk south under my neighborhood power line greenbelt to Bridge Street, then back to my abode via Bridgewood Drive.

I was not long on Boca Raton Boulevard before I was appalled by that which you see above. A thorny mesquite bush, at least that is what I think it is, blocking the sidewalk. There are very few sidewalks in my neighborhood. This particular sidewalk leads to Albertsons, multiple fast food joints, like Wendy's, KFC, Church's Chicken, Dan's Seafood, Subway, Grandy's and others I am likely forgetting, in addition to regular restaurants, like Italy Pizza & Pasta, Luby's, and regular businesses, like Home Depot, Firestone, Discount Tires, Family Dollar, Dollar General, the aforementioned Albertsons and others I, again, am likely forgetting.

And yet one of the few sidewalks that lead to these places is blocked by vegetation. And it was not just this one instance of blockage, as you can see below, a couple hundred feet from the first obstruction.

I know for you reading this in other parts of America, it is hard to believe that this type poor sidewalk maintenance exists in what locals, who have not seen much of the rest of the world, believe to be the most livable city in America. Or that which they believe to be the most livable city in America has so many roads with no sidewalks, with the sidewalks that do exist being so narrow that a couple plus-sized Texans could not pass without one needing to step out onto the street.

Heading north on Bridgewood Drive, just past the aforementioned Firestone and Family Dollar, I came upon the example of the dangers of no sidewalk, combined with another out of control bush, which you see below.

Note the dirt path worn into the ground where a sidewalk should be. Many a time I have seen people struggling to walk on this wobbly path. Or a mom struggling to push her babies in a stroller. You can not tell it from the photo, but this road slopes downhill at this location. With the dirt path so close to the road it is a bit startling when a bus and car pass by at the same time. I was startled by just that, soon after I made my way past the above obstruction.

Among the many reasons I am appalled by the Trinity River Vision, beside the fact that it is a myopic Boondoggle, is the fact that that Boondoggly vision is so narrow in focus. When Fort Worth has so many areas which could use a bit of vision, wasting limited resources building un-needed bridges over an imaginary bypass channel is just bizarre, when Fort Worth needs much more than a Trinity River Vision, because it really needs a Fort Worth Vision, with that vision seeing a city with sidewalks, with parks in areas currently underserved  by parks, such as East Fort Worth.

Many a time I have mentioned that those who have visited me from the Pacific Northwest have liked the Fort Worth Stockyards the best of the area's tourist attractions. What I don't think I have ever mentioned is I take people on a tour of the darkside of Fort Worth. Driving east from downtown Fort Worth on Lancaster, Rosedale and other streets is a sure jawdropper to those who have never visited a third world country. Same with much of the area on the Northside, as in surrounding the Stockyards zone.

Where is the vision to vitalize the rundown, slum-like parts of Fort Worth? Why is this not even much of an issue? I know other towns in America also have rundown, slum-like areas. I also know some towns in America do not have such areas. Why is that?

I walk the streets of Fort Worth on a day like today and these are the type things I wonder about....

Spencer Jack's Aunt Clancy & His Namesake Getting Married On A Washington Beach Saturday

Fancy & Clancy Spencer or Jones
On a date which may live on in infamy, Saturday, May 17, 2014, on a secluded beach somewhere near Hoodsport on Hood Canal in Washington, my Great Nephew Spencer Jack's Aunt Clancy is currently scheduled to be getting herself hitched to Spencer Jack's namesake, Fancy Spencer.

The guest list for the Fancy Clancy wedding is quite exclusive.

Spencer Jack's dad called me a couple days ago to inquire as to what I knew about this Big Event. I told Spencer Jack's dad (at that point in time) I pretty much knew nothing about it.

Spencer Jack's dad assumed his and Spencer Jack's invitation to what may be Washington's Wedding of the Year, was lost in the mail.

Lost the same way my invitation was likely lost.

Now I have learned, via my confidential sources, that it is about a 5 mile hike, in and out, to get to the location where the Fancy Clancy nuptials will take place. I do not know if the entire wedding party must hike in, or perhaps some will be delivered by boat.

I really can not imagine this pair of blushing brides doing a 5 mile hike in their wedding dresses. Then again, they will likely be wearing hiking boots, even though they will be in wedding dresses, because wearing hiking boots is part of their signature look from which they never deviate, no matter what the occasion.

It was from my aforementioned confidential source that I acquired the photo of the brides-to-be you see above. I assume the brides-to-be hired the services of a professional wedding photographer, judging by the high quality of the photo.

I have also been told that on Saturday I likely will be sent photos of the Fancy Clancy wedding, and maybe video, possibly sent, via phone, as the event unfolds.

My confidential sources do not know if the newlyweds will be known as Fancy & Clancy Spencer, or Fancy & Clancy Jones.

My confidential sources also do not know where the newlyweds will be honeymooning. I suspect an RV will be involved, but no guess as to where that RV will be rolling.....

UPDATE: Just received a photo from Spencer Jack and his dad of Fancy on the beach at the wedding rehearsal for tomorrow's Big Event. It appears Fancy got new hiking boots for the occasion.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Taking A Walk Around My Neighborhood Wondering About The Hazards Of Being Too Close To Chesapeake Energy & Wind Chimes

My Gas Neighbor With the Tandy Tower on Mount Tandy in Background
Due to the fact the heat has left this part of the planet, of late, the return of winter-like chilling makes for a pleasant walk around my neighborhood, thus rendering unnecessary, for now, driving to one of my hiking or biking locations where shade from the HOT sun is available.

I had another reason I wanted to take a walking tour of my neighborhood today.

This morning the annoying irritant which has been burning my eyes had greatly abated. For weeks I have been hearing a loud mechanical motor device running at the Chesapeake Energy gas pad I walk by to get to Albertsons.

I figured if I walked by the Chesapeake Energy gas pad today and that loud mechanical motor device was not making noise that this would be a non-smoking gun pointing to the culprit causing my allergic misery.

Well, the Chesapeake Energy mechanical motor device was being its usual loud self, so, I guess Chesapeake is off the hook, for now, on this particular issue.

On the left you are looking at one of the warning signs Chesapeake installed warning people that there is a gas pipeline underneath them. The warning signs do not mention that the gas pipeline is moving non-odorized natural gas pumped by the loud aforementioned mechanical motor device.

Look at the photo at the top and notice how close this Chesapeake gas pad is to a residential development. This type closeness occurs all over the area where the gas drilling is allowed.

Some towns in the D/FW Metroplex have put a stop to this type industrial activity inside their borders. Having said that the only town that comes to mind is the progressive town of Denton.

Even though residents reside close to my neighborhood Chesapeake gas pad, no agent of Chesapeake made any contact with any of the residents informing them of what was about to happen in their neighborhood. When the fracking part of the operation took place, with its seemingly endless lines of trucks causing dust to coat the area, no explanation was given, no offer of a free car wash was made.

Same thing when the natural gas pipeline installation occurred. No notice was given to residents that they were about to be subjected to incredibly loud noise, with ground vibrations, or that this was to install a non-odorized natural gas pipeline.

I know you reading this in civilized parts of America are sitting there thinking how can this happen? Wondering if the town I live in (Fort Worth) lacks a city government, wondering if the town I live in (Fort Worth) lacks some sort of public health agency.

Well, like I said, I live in Fort Worth and I wonder the same things, in addition to other things I wonder about.

Like why are nerve rattling wind chimes allowed? Wind chimes have long been banned in civilized parts of America and the world. Well, actually, usually the civic ordinance regarding wind chimes is you can only install those nuisances if you are 300 feet from your nearest neighbor....

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Today I Found Arlington's Village Creek Log Jam Blocked Off By Crime Scene Type Tape

It has been a few days since I have rolled my bike's wheel, and so early this morning, as in when I was enjoying my early morning swim in a pool whose water felt very warm due to the outer world's air being very cold, as in chilled into the 50s this morning, I thought I'd go on a bike ride today.

However, by the time the middle of the day started to be within eyesight the combo of high winds and that chilly thing I previously mentioned had me deciding it'd be more pleasant to walk than bike.

And so I hauled myself to Arlington, to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area, where I had myself a mighty fine time walking with the Indian Ghosts who haunt this location

At the dam/bridge which crosses Village Creek, leading to the Village Creek Blue Bayou, I saw something I'd not seen in this location before.

No, I am not referring to the young lady jogging across the dam/bridge. I am referring to the crime scene type tape strewn across the dam/bridge.

I have seen worse log/litter jams at this location, but those times previous did not warrant being blocked off in this manner.

From whence does all this loggage come I wonder every time this happens? The distance between this dam/bridge and Lake Arlington is not all that great, just a couple miles. I know of no logging operation in the area.

Very perplexing....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is Chesapeake Energy The Cause Of My Burning Eyes?

No, that is not my right eye staring at you. My right eye is brown, while the right eye staring at you is not brown.

I am using this particular right blue eye for illustrative purposes to illustrate an irritated eye, because, well, I am getting real tired of having myself a pair of very irritated brown eyes.

For week upon week to varying degrees I have been experiencing an eye burning sensation, with leaky eyes, which reminds me way too much of the first time I experienced smog, in Los Angeles, decades ago.

Many of my neighbors have also noticed an increase in this annoying eye aggravating irritation. Anyone in other locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone also experiencing such symptoms?

Recently Fort Worth Weekly had an article titled Home to Roost which detailed the horrors foisted upon a Texas family by the Barnett Shale natural gas driller that calls itself Aruba. The family made miserable successfully sued Aruba, winning a large settlement in a Dallas court. The location of this family's home is in Wise County, that being a county at the northwest end of the D/FW Metroplex.

A paragraph from the Fort Worth Weekly Home to Roost article...

For Robert and Lisa Parr and daughter Emma, the April 22 verdict was a vindication. Within six months after Aruba began drilling wells near their 40-acre property, first Lisa and then Robert and Emma variously suffered blinding headaches, vision and hearing problems, rashes, and swollen lymph nodes. When they hired a company to take air samples, a doctor took one look at the results and “told us to move immediately,” Lisa Parr said.

In addition to the vision problems mentioned in the above paragraph, the past couple days I've been having strange flashes of a short headache type pain.

I thought yesterday's heavy duty storming, with strong wind and numerous lightning strikes would have cleaned the air and negatively ionized it.

However, this morning the eye irritant nuisance did not evidence any improvement.

Googling "What Causes Burning Eyes?" I came upon this list....

Environmental causes include:

  • Dust
  • Windy days
  • Sun exposure
  • Smoke
  • Airborne chemical irritants
  • Other chemical irritants, including chlorine in a swimming pool
  • Hair spray
  • Smog

Allergy-related causes include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Pet dander
  • Fragrances, such as a burning incense, perfume, or cologne

Clearly I am doomed.

In the Environmental Causes Department, at my current location, I experience a lot of dust, windy days, sun exposure, airborne chemical irritants, swimming pool irritants and smog.

In the Allergy Department, at my current location, I experience a lot of pollen, more dust and mold, that is, if mildew is mold.

My abode is within 1,000 feet of two Chesapeake Energy natural gas drilling sites, one to the east of me, one to the west. What differentiates  these two Chesapeake Energy operations from the Aruba  nightmare which terrorized the Wise County family, I can not help but wonder?

I likely would not have any success suing Chesapeake Energy in a Dallas court over my eye woes.....

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Storm Is Brewing Along With The News That Spencer Jack's Aunt Clancy Is Marrying His Namesake

The time is coming up on two hours past noon on this 12th day of the 5th month of 2014. As you can see, via the view from my patio, the weather is being a bit inclement  today.

This morning's very early morning swim went well, free of any sky drippage.

However, soon after re-entering my abode, drippage began, not a lot of drippage, but enough dripped to give the outer world a layer of wet.

Due to the wetness, and predictions of more to come, including hail, thunderstorms and possible tornadoes, I decided to opt out of any of my regularly scheduled mid-day aerobic type activities and go shopping instead.

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, more than just inclement weather had me feeling a bit discombobulated today.

I am easy to discombobulate.

For instance, one of the discombobulators is that my mom called me late last night, apparently forgetting the current two hour time difference between her location in Arizona and my location deep in the heart of Texas. I was just about to go to bed when my mom called, keeping me up a half hour longer.

After my mom's call ended I then saw, via my computer, that I had an incoming message with even more resultant discombobulation. As in the news that this coming Saturday Spencer Jack's Aunt Clancy, and his namesake, are getting married on some isolated beach in the north sound part of Puget Sound.

Like I said, I am easy to discombobulate.

I do not know if the Aunt Clancy wedding is going to be videotaped.

I suspect a video of this event, in the right hands, could go viral on YouTube, for reasons obvious to those who know Spencer Jack's Aunt Clancy and his namesake.

I do not know if Spencer Jack has been invited to this special event. I know I have not......

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Walking The Rails Around Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake With My Mom, My Sister, Miss Puerto Rico & Elsie Hotpepper

Even though I'd been there the day before, I decided to take my Mother's Day walk today with the turtles who call Fosdick Lake home in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park.

One of the mysteries of this particular Fort Worth park, in addition to the mysterious lack of modern facilities of the restroom and running water and in addition to the mysterious sudden appearance, months ago, of a fountain in the middle of Fosdick Lake and in addition to the mystery of why there is no Oakland Lake in Oakland Lake Park there is the mystery of what the purpose is of the railings you see in the picture above.

There is no drop off on either side of the railings, warranting that type protection. The railings exist only at the northwest corner of the paved trails around Fosdick Lake. What possible purpose do these railings serve?

Changing the subject from mysterious railings back to Mother's Day.

I text messaged my only sister who has given birth, to wish her a Happy Mother's Day and ask if she was in Washington or Arizona. She texted back a photo indicating she was in Tacoma. Which is in Washington. A followup text message said she was on her way to Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Pike Place is a very popular public market modeled after Fort Worth's world famous Santa Fe Rail Market.

Clearly I am seeing if I can muster Fort Worth Star-Telegram type ridiculous puffery with the above sentence of misinformation.

I text messaged my mom with a Happy Mother's Day message, adding that I'd call via the voice message method later.

Whilst walking around Fosdick Lake, multiple times I had to sit down to read a  message and then fumble a reply. Elsie Hotpepper's message had something to do with running. After I texted Elsie back asking what she was running from I called my mom.

Mom answered on the 4th ring. Usually mom answers before I hear a ring. Today when I called a distraction had arrived in the form of my little brother and my favorite sister-in-law and her youngest daughter, delivering Mother's Day Brunch to my mom.

I hope everyone is having as happy a Happy Mother's Day as I am....