Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Today I Avoided Being Mugged By Visiting The Indian Ghosts With No Running Water In Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area

Shortly after 11 this morning I exited my abode to drive to Mallard Cove Park to visit the ducks and roll my bike wheels at high speed for enough miles to get myself a good dose of aerobic stimulation and the resulting endorphins.

On my way to the ducks, heading east on Randol Mill Road, a couple Fort Worth cops passed me at high speed, without their sirens blaring. I've watched enough cop shows to know this means they are trying to intercept a crime in progress and don't want the perps to know they are on their way.

The cops continued east as I headed north on the dead end road that ends at the entry to Mallard Cove Park.

The Mallard Cove Park parking lot is a bit isolated. I have seldom seen any other vehicles there. As I was about to unlock my bike a beat up car drove to the dead end and then turned into the parking lot. The two males in the beat up car did not look like they were there to get any exercise.

The driver backed his car into a parking spot, the position one assumes if one wants to get away as quickly as possible. I could see the pair in the car were watching me. I decided it was not a good idea to get my bike out of the vehicle and put my wallet, phone and camera in the bike bag in front of prying eyes.

I decided I'd opt to be cautious and quickly made my exit, heading to the location I'd been on Sunday, Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area, which is about three miles from the duck zone.

So, that would be a photo of a Village Creek Natural Historical Area location you see above. One of the multiple areas in this park with multiple picnic tables and a big elevated fire pit.

In all the years I have been visiting the Indian Ghosts who haunt their former Village Creek home I have never seen anyone picnicking at the above location. I have never seen any of the fire pits burning anything.

So, why is this picnic area so seldom used I am sure you are asking yourself? Well, I really don't know the answer, for sure, but I can speculate.

Do you like taking your kids to a park for a picnic when the park has no running water or restroom facilities?

I don't have any kids, but I know I don't like taking myself to a park for a picnic when the park has no running water. The lack of restrooms is less bothersome to me.

Unlike Fort Worth's, most of Arlington's parks, which I have visited, do have running water and restrooms, if they have picnic tables.

In other parts of America do the states mandate that parks must have modern amenities, for health and sanitation reasons?

Texas does excellent freeway rest areas, clearly indicating Texas is not behind the rest of America in that amenity.

Parks in Texas towns like Grapevine and Southlake and Keller and others have modern amenities.

It seems to me that it is just common sense if you are going to have picnic tables in a park, with fire pits, that you should have modern amenities, like running water.

Unless ones goal is to go for an undeveloped third world type experience in ones parks....

The Dallas Observer Suggests You Get Drunk & Roll Down The Grassy Knoll Yelling Al Qaeda Did It

In a mysterious coincidence, during the final week of September, both Fort Worth Weekly and the Dallas Observer issue their highly anticipated Best of the Year issues.

Best of the Year, as in this that or the other thing is the Best of 2014.

I'd not seen a Dallas Observer Best of the Year edition til this year's version.

I've long thought the Fort Worth Weekly Best of the Year version has some goofy elements, but then figure it's a big issue which takes a lot of effort to produce, hence some goofy elements are to be expected.

The most goofy element I have found in the Dallas Observer Best of 2014 edition is in the section the online version calls Arts & Entertainment, which the print version calls Nightlife & Music.

Just having different names for this section is a bit goofy, but the goofy element to which I refer I screencapped above and copy for your reading pleasure below...

Best Spot to Be Drunk and Yell at Tourists Dallas 2014 - Grassy Knoll

Now that Dallas has marked the 50th anniversary of JFK's murder, the city is moving on from the tragedy. It's time to acknowledge that the Grassy Knoll is a great spot to hide in and yell at people. The most elevated point at Dallas' knoll has an excellent view of tourists below, all of whom appear very interested to hear any Dallas factoids, personal revelations or conspiracy theories shouted at them from above. For people intent on yelling at tourists all night, showing up drunk tends to yield more creative results, such as the ever popular "Al Qaeda did it!" Other fun knoll-related activities include just silently sitting and not yelling at people and rolling down the hill.

I am sure whoever decides such things at the Dallas Observer thought the above was the height of hilarity. I don't know what people in parts of America, other than Dallas and Texas, might think about the idea that the Dallas Observer thinks getting drunk and hollering at tourists from the Grassy Knoll is a fun activity, and perfectly appropriate, what with it being over a half century since JFK was murdered at this location.

For some reason yelling "Al Qaeda did it" seems a bit juvenile to me. And would anyone actually laugh at that?

As for rolling down the hill known as the Grassy Knoll. I  recollect way back late in the last century seeing Dealey Plaza for the first time. When I figured out where the Grassy Knoll was at Dealey Plaza I recollect being surprised because it really is not much of a geographic feature. Labeling it as a Grassy Knoll seemed like an exaggeration, as does referring to this little knob as a hill.

Go to my Dealey Plaza webpage and you will see a photo of the little knob known as the Grassy Knoll, which the Dallas Observer thinks is a fun hill to roll down, drunkenly, whilst yelling that Al Qaeda did it....

Monday, September 29, 2014

Boardwalking In Fort Worth's Gateway Park Hunting For Endorphins & Copperheads

Yes, you guessed right, my bike is back in Gateway Park.

If you guessed that my bike is at the boarded up Boardwalk one finds on the east side of the park you would also be right about that.

I was in need of an overdose of endorphins to counteract a foul mood that had be-fouled me. Swimming did not provide a sufficient dose, hence the unscheduled drive west to Gateway Park.

I rolled twice around the entire mountain bike trail, well the part that is on the north/west side of the river. I do not venture across the scary bridge that crosses the Trinity River to reach the trails on that side of the river. Last week a couple of bikers told me that a large section of those trails are like the EKG section of the River Legacy Park trails. EKG is too much for me. That and I got myself lost just walking in the EKG section.

After I was done with the mountain bike trails I rolled the paved trail to the site of Gateway Park's second boarded up Boardwalk, to find myself surprised to find it not as boarded up as in times previous. And with no warning signs. Or trail closed signs. No signs at all.

And so I walked the partially boarded up Boardwalk as best I could. The video of this walk is processing at this very moment.

Prior to walking the Boardwalk I had myself a copperhead encounter. I mention the copperhead encounter in the video. A copperhead encounter is always good for some adrenalin stimulation which seems to enhance the endorphin production.

But, even with a big dose of adrenalin and endorphins I am still in a foul mood. You can hear how grumpy I am when you listen to the video below....

Looking At Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridges & Fort Worth's Three Bridges Over Nothing

Last month when Spencer Jack sent me a picture of himself and his dad crossing the Golden Gate Bridge it got me thinking and blogging Wondering Why It Will Take Fort Worth Longer To Build 3 Puny Bridges Over Nothing Than It Took To Build The Golden Gate Bridge.

I have yet to hear any sort of explanation as to why it is projected to take four years to build three puny Bridges Over Nothing in Fort Worth when way back early in the last century San Francisco managed to build a big bridge over water in four years.

Yesterday I was looking for a picture for a blogging about Penitentiary Hollow in Lake Mineral Wells State Park when I came upon pictures I'd forgotten I'd taken back in 2005 of the new Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge under construction, along with pictures taken in 2008 of the completed bridge.

This got me wondering how long it took to build the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

It did not take long to learn construction began on October 4, 2002, with the bridge open to traffic on July 15, 2007, about four years, nine months later.

Reading the Wikipedia article about the three Tacoma Narrows Bridges I came upon a couple interesting contrasts between the new Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge project and the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Bridges Over Nothing.

As in, in 1998 voters in the Washington counties affected by the need for a new bridge across the Narrows approved a measure to create a second Narrows bridge. Then following that vote came protests and court battles, with construction finally beginning in 2002.

Now, could the reason the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Bridges Over Nothing are being built in slow motion have anything to do with the fact that nothing to do with the Boondoggle has been voted on  by the public? And thus not funded in the way public works projects are usually funded.

And where are the protests and court battles initiated by locals disturbed by various aspects of the Boondoggle? Where is the court case brought by someone appalled at the nepotism involved in hiring a local Congresswoman's unqualified son to be the Executive Director of the Boondoggle, to motivate that Congresswoman to help fund the Boondoggle with earmarked pork, which has never materialized, due to changing times, hence the stalled, slow motion Boondoggle?

The unqualified Executive Director of the Boondoggle has claimed that building the Three Bridges Over Nothing will save money and facilitate ease of construction by not building them over that pesky un-needed flood diversion channel and its shallow water.

Why has no one called foul on this claim? When the fact of the matter is the bridges are being built over nothing because there is no money to build the un-needed flood diversion channel.

The new Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge was built over water. Deep water. Deep water which moves fast when the tide changes. The total length of the new Tacoma bridge is 5,400 feet. On average the bridge deck is 187.5 feet above the tidal changing water below.

I don't know why the Tacoma bridge builders did not think to make their construction job easier by draining the Tacoma Narrows before doing any bridge building. They should have consulted Fort Worth's premiere project engineer, J.D. Granger, for advice on how to best build a bridge over water.

Below is a picture I took in early August of 2008, looking north at Tacoma's twin suspension bridges.

I was taken to this location to a fish and chips joint the name of which I do not remember. I do remember it was very good fish and chips. With the fish being cod, not catfish, which passes for being seafood at my current location on the planet.

Do you think if the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing actually get built they will be as visually interesting as the Tacoma bridges? And why does Tacoma not refer to their bridges as being signature bridges and iconic? Because they sort of are.....

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wheel Rolling Along Arlington's Village Creek With The Indian Ghosts Out Of Town

Those are my handlebars parked on the paved trail in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area. I stopped at this location hoping I would be able to get a good picture of all the leaves that are falling and have fallen since the arrival of fall.

I was not very successful in getting a good picture of the fallen and falling leaves.

As I was taking the picture I looked up to see what I thought was a guy walking a pair of small ponies. Upon closer inspection the pair of small ponies turned out to be a pair of big dogs.

I had no interaction with the Village Creek Indian Ghosts today. They must be out of town at their annual Harvest Moon Powwow.

If you were that one person who read my blogging from yesterday where I mentioned I arrived at Gateway Park yesterday and quickly found out that I was unable to roll my wheels over the mountain bike trails, due to a front tire flat, well, I guess you can likely intuit that the flat is fixed, hence today's Sunday wheel rolling.

Later this afternoon I will be going over to Miss Puerto Rico's for a rare visit. But, before that I just received an urgent request from Elsie Hotpepper which requires my immediate un-distracted attention. I guess I will take care of that right now....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Feeling Flat Had Me At Town Talk Early Finding Lobster Bisque

That would be the front tire of my bike you are looking at, sitting on the patio overlooking the swimming pool where I had myself a mighty fine time this morning.

After that mighty fine time early this morning the time following that has not been so fine.

Around 11 this morning I rolled my mechanized wheels to Gateway Park hoping to roll my human mechanized wheels a couple loops around the mountain bike trail.

All was going well until I discovered the aforementioned front tire was flat.

One would think I would keep a patch kit on the bike, or in the bike transporting vehicle, but I never remember to do so. Maybe I will remember after this incident.

So, with the bike ride aborted by a flat I was off to Town Talk much earlier than the Saturday norm. I had no problem finding a parking spot at Town Talk today, unlike recent Saturdays.

Today my Town Talk treasure hunting yieldied a big bag of apples from Yakima. Yakima is a town in Eastern Washington. In addition to the apples I got a package of 100% pure beef hamburger patties, flour tortillas, extra sharp white cheddar cheese, red onions, organic milk, smoked sausage and lobster bisque.

I have had lobster a time or two, but never in its bisque format.

I guess I will go fix a flat now....

Friday, September 26, 2014

Is Fort Worth's The Best Small Downtown In America?

Yesterday after I saw a full page advertisement in this week's Fort Worth Weekly touting Fort Worth's downtown as being the Top Downtown in America I opined my disdain for this absurdest propaganda.

When I opined my disdain I was thinking that this propaganda had to do with the recent award Fort Worth shared with Wichita Falls which the local propaganda distortionists touted as indicating Fort Worth had America's best downtown when the award was for Fort Worth's new downtown plaza, with the award given after Sundance Square submitted the plaza for consideration, with that submission being full of ridiculous propaganda which the Pinnacle Award awarders must not have investigated for veracity before awarding the award.

After I blogged my disdain for this Top Downtown in America ad someone named Anonymous commented...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "To Experience America's Top Downtown Go To Fort Worth Weekly":

The ad claims "Fort Worth has the #1 downtown in America, according to livability.com..."

That is a lie.

No I'm almost certain they are correct. Downtown Fort Worth was chosen the #1 downtown in America by Livability.com.


The pinnacle award for Sundance Square Plaza is a separate award from a different organization. It seems like Fort Worth is always winning one these meaningless awards and, of course, bragging about winning them.

I found the comment from Anonymous to be disturbing for a very disturbing reason, with that reason being I think my memory may be failing.

Why do I think my memory may be failing? Well. I clicked on the link in the comment from Anonymous, and quickly found myself thinking that that which I was reading seemed very familiar. Particularly when I read that two of the other towns on this Top Ten Best Downtowns list were Eugene, Oregon and Bellingham, Washington.

I thought to myself, did I blog about this? I thought it seemed likely I would have, what with Eugene being where I was born and having lived in Bellingham. So, I entered "Bellingham" into the search window on the blog and quickly found out that I did blog about this, back on Monday March 17, 2014, in a blogging titled America Is In Deep Trouble If Fort Worth Is The Best Downtown In America.

I am thinking I promptly forgot about this ludicrous Top Downtown deal due to the ludicrousness of it, I mean, just read what towns followed Fort Worth on the rest of the Top Ten list--- Providence, Rhode Island, Indianapolis, Indiana, Provo, Utah, Alexandria, Virginia, Frederick, Maryland, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Bellingham, Washington, Eugene, Oregon, Birmingham, Alabama.

At the time I don't know why I did not investigate Livability.com. I have now done so and found out how Fort Worth could end up on such a list when better known downtowns in America are not on the list, you know, towns like New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, Boston or Seattle.

The Wikipedia article about Livability.com cleared it up for me in its first paragraph....

Livability.com is a website that ranks America’s most livable small and mid-sized cities. The website includes demographic information, statistics, articles, photography and video that summarize the quality of life in cities, including information about schools, neighborhoods, local restaurants and cultural events. The website’s content is anchored by original photography shot by Journal Communications Inc. staff photographers. The site also provides moving tools and tips, do-it-yourself project help and home and garden advice.

So, I guess I was right after all when I opined it was false advertising to advertise Fort Worth's as the Top Downtown in America, according to Livability.com, when truthful advertising would have said "America's Top Mid-Sized Downtown", with the blurb at the bottom of the ad truthfully edited to say "Fort Worth has the #1 mid-sized downtown in America, according to livability.com....."

I don't understand how Fort Worth can be considered mid-sized. Fort Worth is a big city, population wise. Why would Fort Worth be on a list with much smaller towns like Bellingham and Eugene? This makes no sense.

Does Fort Worth still have that semi-pro Cats baseball team playing in La Grave Field? I recollect finding it bizarre that a big city like Fort Worth had a semi-pro baseball team playing in a very minor league with teams from little towns a fraction the size of Fort Worth.

Why does Fort Worth not play in the Big Leagues, both in baseball and when it comes to competing for these important Top Ten in America type lists? And shouldn't someone let the good folks at livability.com know that Fort Worth is not a mid-sized city? Fort Worth's currently population is 792,727.

Bellingham's population is 82,234. Eugene's population is 157,986. Both are small, mid-sized towns.

Bellingham, Eugene and Fort Worth's are the only downtowns on the Livability list which I have visited. My ranking would be Eugene at #1 due to being so pedestrian friendly. Bellingham at #2 due to being a bigger, more lively, more attractive downtown than Fort Worth's, even though Bellingham is a fraction of the size of Fort Worth.

I'd rank Fort Worth a distant third, due to its downtown having embarrassing eyesores like the boarded up Heritage Park, along with no downtown department or grocery stores, both of which exist in the downtowns of Eugene and Bellingham....

2014 Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Today is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. I was made aware of Mesothelioma Awareness Day a couple weeks ago via an email asking me to help raise awareness about Mesothelioma. The email was from Cameron and Heather Von St. James.

Mesothelioma is rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium. Mesothelium is a fancy word for the protective lining which covers the internal organs of the body.

The prognosis for those who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma is bleak. Heather Von St. James is a Mesothelioma survivor. You can listen to Heather tell you about her winning battle against Mesothelioma in the video below.

Exposure to asbestos is the primary causal agent for Mesothelioma. Heather was exposed to asbestos when she was a kid, before the danger of asbestos exposure was common knowledge.

Asbestos began being mined and used commercially in the late 19th century. Use of the mineral greatly increased during World War II, exposing, since the early 1940s, millions of Americans to asbestos danger.

It is now known that breathing in asbestos fibers is extremely hazardous to human health. And yet asbestos continues to be mined, with 2 million tons mined world wide in 2009. Russia produces about half the world's asbestos, followed by China, Brazil, Kazakhstan.

Canada closed its last two asbestos mines in 2011.

The dire severity of asbestos related diseases, including Mesothelioma, combined with the extremely widespread use of asbestos, along with it continued long term use, even after the dangers were known, has brought about asbestos litigation which has become the most expensive mass tort case ever in the U.S.

Approximately 100,000 Americans have died or are currently terminally ill from asbestos exposure related to ship building. Thousands of tons of asbestos were used in World War II ships. Some 4.3 million shipyard workers were exposed to asbestos during the war. For every thousand of those shipyard workers fourteen died from Mesothelioma.

In this century, when New York City's World Trade Center towers were knocked down, lower Manhattan was blanketed with the dust of debris, with asbestos among the combustible materials in the debris. Breathing in the 9/11 dust is thought to be the cause of the high cancer death rate among emergency workers since 9/11. Thousands of others who were exposed to that day's dust are thought to be at risk.

With today being Mesothelioma Awareness Day, beware of the continued danger caused by asbestos.

Go here to learn about Asbestos sites in Texas. Go here to learn about Asbestos sites in Fort Worth, including information about medical and legal help.

Watch the video below to hear Heather Von St. James testimony to the fact that one can be a Mesothelioma Cancer Survivor....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Multiple Towers On The Tandy Hills Today With Men Hanging From Above

Towers shall be the theme for today's visit to the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

On the left we are looking west across an old wagon trail which heads west from the summit of Mount Tandy towards a lone tower sticking up above the horizon, with that lone tower being one of the few skyscrapers which make up the stunning skyline of beautiful Downtown Fort Worth.

Also known as the Top Downtown in America by some local fact distortionistas.

Today's hill hiking was the coolest in a long time. Cool in the temperature sense of the word.

The outer world was chilled to the low 60s when I went swimming early this morning. The low 60s was cooler than the temperature of the water, which made for a very refreshing time in the pool.

The temperature had only risen about 20 degrees by the time I drove myself to the summit of Mount Tandy, hence the cool hiking.

For months now every time I drive to the summit of Mount Tandy there is a crew there working on the Tandy Tower, also known as the Fort Worth Space Needle.

Today was no exception.

As I walked past the Tandy Tower I heard shouting, but could not see who was doing the shouting.

Then about half way down Mount Tandy I looked back at the tower to see a guy hanging from a rope, halfway up the tower. And then another guy came into view. I got the camera out and zoomed in for the photo you see above.

I have no idea what these two guys are doing to the Tandy Tower, but I do know watching them activated my usually dormant acrophobia.

Soon after I started getting dizzy from being too high I came upon the towering Hoodoo you see below.

The above Hoodoo appears to be well engineered with a solid, substantial foundation. That was not the case with the second towering Hoodoo I came upon today.

The below Hoodoo tower was towering at Hoodoo Central at the north end of the trail that leads to the Tandy Hills from View Street. I think we could call this one the Leaning Hoodoo Tower of Tandy.

I suspect it will not be long before the Leaning Hoodoo Tower of Tandy finds itself horizontal.

To Experience America's Top Downtown Go To Fort Worth Weekly's Best Of 2014 Edition

Yesterday I picked up this week's Fort Worth Weekly, the eagerly anticipated Best of 2014 edition.

I did not get around to looking at the eagerly anticipated Best of 2014 edition of Fort Worth Weekly til this morning.

It only took flipping the cover to the first page to aggravate me.

You are looking at the aggravation on the left. A full page advertisement from the entity known as Sundance Square.

I know there is often little truth in advertising, but this un-truthful advertisement is downright embarrassing. I know that Fort Worth Weekly likes its advertising revenue, but, really, this ad is totally shameless.

The ad claims "Fort Worth has the #1 downtown in America, according to livability.com..."

That is a lie.

Livability.com did not designate Fort Worth's as the #1 downtown in America. I blogged the facts about this ridiculous propaganda previously in a blogging titled Elsie Hotpepper Helped Me Learn How Fort Worth Became The Top Downtown In America.

Why does Fort Worth Weekly go along with this false advertising I can not help but wonder?

Than again, maybe I don't need to spend all that much time wondering, what with the following propaganda gem from Fort Worth Weekly itself in the "On the Town" section of its Best of 2014 edition....
The few readers who participated in the Best of 2014 voting voted Lightcatcher Winery and Bistro as the place to Take a First Date.

While the Critic's, meaning the Fort Worth Weekly staff, chose Coyote Drive-in as the place to Take a First Date.

Part of the Critic's Choice explanation for their choice says "Situated at the scenic Panther Island Pavilion, the outdoor theater serves tasty food and beverages..."

Okay, let's just ignore the fact that what used to be known as Trinity Bottoms has been renamed Panther Island, by the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, even though there is no island, and it is highly likely there never will be anything one could stretch their imagination far enough to call an island.

There also is no pavilion on the imaginary island. A blogging from a few weeks ago titled The Futile Search For The Missing Pavilion, Island & Panther At Fort Worth's Panther Island Pavilion elaborated on the fact there is no pavilion at Panther Island Pavilion.

Now, let's get back to what those Fort Worth Weekly Critic's had to say.....

Coyote Drive-in "Situated at the scenic Panther Island Pavilion"?

The area that is known as Panther Island Pavilion is at the confluence of the West and Clear Forks of the Trinity River, that being the location of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats.

I do not know anyone whose imagination is so imaginative that they would see this location as being scenic.

The oddest part of what the Fort Worth Critic's had to say about the Coyote Drive-in being situated in the scenic Panther Island Pavilion is not the scenic part, it is the fact that the Coyote Drive-in is no where near the confluence of the West and Clear Forks of the Trinity River and that which is being called Panther Island Pavilion.

Well, you get what you pay for. Fort Worth Weekly is free.....

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Walk Through The Forest Of Trinity River Vision Gateway Park Master Plan Propaganda

A few days ago I biked by the Trinity River Vision's Gateway Park Master Plan propaganda installation, stopped to take a picture and later blogged about my wonderment that this signage has been touting the Boondoggle's Master Plan for years now.

With absolutely nothing to show for  it.

Not even J.D. Granger's Magic Trees have been planted, which one would think would be of foremost importance, to give the trees plenty of time to grow strong roots, so as to slow up a Trinity River flood as it races through the un-built, un-needed flood diversion channel before it inundates Arlington.

In the video below I take a long walk through the forest of Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Gateway Park Master Plan propaganda signage marveling at the wonder of it all.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spencer Jack Wishing Us A Mighty Fine Fall From The Skagit River Vision

On the day before the Autumnal Equinox, Spencer Jack took his dad to Ground Zero of the Downtown Mount Vernon Revitalization Project, also known as the Skagit River Vision, to take a Happy First Day of Fall photo for his Great Uncle.

Spencer Jack is standing before a Get Ready sign which depicts what the Skagit River Vision will look like when it can totally be seen in a week or two.

If that sign behind Spencer Jack were not blocking the view you would be looking at the signature bridge which crosses the Skagit River, connecting West Mount Vernon to Downtown Mount Vernon. That signature bridge was built in less than four years and was built over a wide, fast moving body of water, with water elevation changes, cyclically throughout the day, to varying degrees, due to tidal action a few miles downstream.

When the Skagit River Vision's re-built riverfront opens to the public the public will be enjoying a plaza which dwarfs a recently opened plaza in another town about which I am familiar, a town with a population about 25 times bigger than Mount Vernon's.

I am still unclear how the new flood wall works. The flood wall is the key ingredient which instigated the Downtown Mount Vernon Revitalization Project, also known as the Skagit River Vision. When the Skagit River goes into flood mode Downtown Mount Vernon finds itself in a New Orleans type situation,  as in below the level of the river.

A big sandbag wall has saved Downtown Mount Vernon multiple times from a raging Skagit River. The big sandbag wall took hours to build, with hundreds helping. It takes just a few people a few minutes to put up the new flood wall.

Knowing what it is like to have lived in a town with serious flood issues, seriously addressed, is part of what makes it perplexing to me to currently live in a town with imaginary flood issues, goofily, irresponsibly addressed.

Yes, perplexing.

Very perplexing.....

A Moving Look At One Of Fort Worth's Boarded Up Gateway Park Boardwalks

On the left you are looking at one of Fort Worth's Gateway Park boarded up Boardwalks.

There are two boarded up Boardwalks in Gateway Park. One at the west side of the park, one at the east side of the park.

Both Gateway Park boarded up Boardwalks have been boarded up eyesores for years.

One used to be able to get by that which boarded up the Boardwalk and make ones way down the Boardwalk to the point where going further was impossible.

Now, in 2014, the boarded up west side Boardwalk is boarded up with sufficient boards to prevent anyone getting on the boarded up Boardwalk without extreme effort. Upon a close look it appears a lot of the boards that make up the Boardwalk have now decomposed to the point where one would be a fool to try and get around the blockage to walk on the boarded up Boardwalk.

Below is a YouTube video which gives you a good idea of what an eyesore this boarded up Boardwalk is. And, like I say in the video, I don't understand why Fort Worth does not either tear down this boarded up Boardwalk. Or fix it...

Monday, September 22, 2014

No Fallen Trees Blocked Me From Seeing The Scenic Trinity River In Gateway Park Today

I did not manage to get myself a sufficient endorphin dose via this morning's long aerobically stimulating pool bout, so around noon I headed west to Gateway Park to roll my wheels and take a picture at my favorite Trinity River photo op location.

What you see in picture is really what the Trinity River looks like under the bright, clear blue sky. I used no special lighting effect or filter to enhance the river's natural beauty.

When I got to the roller coaster section of the mountain bike trail I heard the sound of chain saws. I figured the fallen tree obstruction I came upon the last time I rolled my wheels at this location was being chopped into pieces.

I had a lengthy debate with myself whether or not to cut the ride short so as to avoid the logging operation. By the end of the debate I decided not to avoid the logging operation.

Turned out the lengthy debate was totally unnecessary. By the time I got to the fallen tree location the chain saw operators had moved on to another fallen tree, one that had fallen on the paved trail, not the mountain bike trail.

After one time around the mountain bike trail I got on the aforementioned paved trail and rolled to the boarded up boardwalk on the west side of the park because I wanted to make a video of this eyesore. I figured if a picture is worth a thousand words a video has to be worth a lot more.

After finishing the boardwalk video project I continued rolling til I got to the Fort Woof location of the massive installation of Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Gateway Park  Master Plan Propaganda signage to make a video of that, as well.

The boarded up boardwalk video is currently being processed. It seems to be stuck at the PROCESSING 95% mark. If it ever finishes processing I'll upload the Gateway Park Master Plan video. It is quite a bit longer than the boarded up boardwalk video.

In the meantime I await incoming photos from Spencer Jack and his dad, photo documenting for me Mount Vernon's Skagit River Vision, along with that vision's completed signature bridge over actual water....

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Are You A Fellow Trash Bashing Trinity Believer?

A couple minutes ago incoming email came in from Felicity Harper, subject line "OMG", with nothing else in the email but that which you see on the left.

I am assuming this is a badge one gets if one participates in the upcoming annual event where thousands of people fill thousands of bags with Trinity River litter.

The Trinity River produces an astounding amount of litter. It truly is a wonder to behold at times.

What does the T.R.E.E.S. part of the badge stand for? I have no clue.


What does that mean? Believe what in the Trinity?

Are we being divided into two groups? One group which believes in the Trinity" With the other group not believing in the Trinity?

I really don't know if I believe in the Trinity or not. I suspect though that I am likely a non-believer.

Very perplexing.....

Is Open Space For Feral Cats Included In Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

Wikipedia has a Trinity River Vision Project article about which, apparently, Wikipedia is aware there are a lot of problems, as evidenced by the blurb at the top of the article which starts with the statement "This article has multiple issues".

I can clear it up for Wikipedia. The multiple issues in this Trinity River Vision Project article can be summed up by the fact that it is non-factual, for the most part, Trinity River Vision Boondoggle propaganda.

Four paragraphs from the Trinity River Vision Project article.......

The Trinity River Vision Project is a master plan for 88 miles (142 km) of the Trinity River (Texas) and its major tributaries in Fort Worth, Texas. The river is a significant part of the history of Fort Worth, and the city's downtown was developed in 1849 as an army outpost along its banks.

More than a decade in the making, the master plan was conceived by volunteers and community leaders, and adopted by the city, county, state and federal officials.[citation needed] The goal of the master plan is to preserve and enhance the river and its corridors so they remain essential greenways for open space, trails, neighborhood focal points, feral cats and recreation areas.

Infrastructure needed for flood control and transportation will restore an aging industrial area once devoted to oil refining, scrap metal yards, electrical and chemical plants. When the bypass channel is completed around 800 acres (3.2 km2) of underutilized land between the Tarrant County Courthouse and Northside Drive will be accessible for private redevelopment opportunities- in essence doubling the size of downtown. An envisioned 10,000 housing units and three million square feet of commercial, retail and educational space will make it possible for Fort Worth residents to live, work, shop, play and learn near the river.

The 2003 Trinity River Vision Master Plan was adopted by the Tarrant Regional Water District, Streams & Valleys, Inc., The City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Many projects including trail extensions, new trailheads, trail amenitites, additional low water dams and pedestrian bridges and private developments oriented to the Trinity Greenbelt have been implemented in the last six years.

I left any misspellings, bad syntax and grammar errors intact.

My favorite bit of info is this --- "The goal of the master plan is to preserve and enhance the river and its corridors so they remain essential greenways for open space, trails, neighborhood focal points, feral cats and recreation areas."

Feral cats? Methinks someone was having fun adding something ridiculous. Then again, with the Boondoggle, who knows?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tarrant Is Not The County Leading The U.S. In Real Domestic Product Growth

This morning as I perused the various online news sources I peruse every morning, when I got to the news source for my old local home zone of the Skagit Valley, via a website called GoSkagit, I learned something I did not know previously.

That being that my old home zone is designated as a Metropolitan Statistical Area by those who pay attention to such things in the federal government, specifically designated as the Mount Vernon - Anacortes Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The article where I learned that Skagit was a Metro zone interested me for a couple reasons, with the main reason being the news that the Skagit-Anacortes Metropolitan Statistical Area has the highest Gross Domestic Product Growth in the U.S.

Another reason this article interested me was it was quite noticeable the stark difference between how the news in this article was told in my old home zone and the way it would have been told in my current home zone, a home zone which does not have what most people would consider a real newspaper reporting news in a factual, accurate, honest, un-biased, non-propaganda manner.

Had the Fort Worth Star Telegram the same type news to report we would have seen a GIANT headline at the top of the Star-Telegram's front page, screaming...


While in GoSkagit the news that Skagit leads the U.S. in real gross domestic product growth is way down past the fold on GoSkagit's front page, as you can see via the screen cap above.

And the article about the Skagit Metropolitan Area leading the U.S. in GDP growth makes no mention of this fact making other Metropolitan Areas far and wide Green with Envy.

You had to click on the link on the GoSkagit front page to go to the actual article to see a big headline,

When I lived in Skagit County it was the least prosperous of Washington's Puget Sound counties. I don't know if this 10.6 percent growth has Skagit County no longer being the least prosperous Puget Sound county, or if the growth is helping the county catch up.

What I do know is this. That upon moving to Tarrant County, well over a decade ago, it was readily apparent that Tarrant County was not nearly as prosperous as the county in Washington from which I had moved.

A few examples.

Parks in Mount Vernon and Skagit County have modern amenities, like running water and modern restrooms.

Is there any other sporting venue in America which has more outhouses surrounding it on game day than the Dallas Cowboy Stadium?

The freeway exits in the two towns in Skagit County which I-5 passes through, that being Mount Vernon and Burlington, are landscaped.

Fort Worth's freeway exits to its only tourist attraction, that being the Fort Worth Stockyards, are not landscaped, instead they are littered, weed covered messes.

Arlington is in Tarrant County. The freeway exits in the Six Flags Over Texas, Ballpark  in Arlington, Dallas Cowboy Stadium zone are very well done, with murals and landscaping.

So, some parts of Tarrant County seem as prosperous as Skagit County, freeway-wise.

Skagit County has a public mass transit system called SKAT. SKAT connects to the public mass transit systems of surrounding counties. When I lived in Skagit County it was free to ride SKAT. In 2014 a fare is charged. One buck for 90 minutes, two bucks for an all day pass.

A Fort Worth T bus charges $3.50 for an all day pass. Unlike SKAT, which has lines covering all of Skagit County, Fort Worth's T does not cover all of Tarrant County, just Fort Worth.

Tarrant County is a much smaller county, size-wise, than is Skagit County. And not nearly as prosperous....

Today I Kept Out Of A Dangerous Construction Area In Fort Worth's Mallard Cove Park

Today I decided to be a rebel and not roll my wheels at their regular Saturday location in Fort Worth's Gateway Park, followed by a bout of Town Talk treasure hunting.

Instead I rolled my wheels in Fort Worth's Mallard Cove Park followed by what passes for treasure hunting in the nearby Super Walmart.

I am not a fan of seeing DANGER CONSTRUCTION KEEP OUT signs in parks I visit.

Actually I don't think I remember ever seeing such a DANGER sign before in a park I visit.

Why is there no explanation as to what is being constructed? And why it is dangerous?

Is Fort Worth building a picnic pavilion in its newest park?

Restroom facilities?

Likely no on the restroom facilities idea. Most Fort Worth parks lack modern amenities, like restrooms and running water.

Outhouses are usually available though, but not the cool high tech type ones you find on the Dallas Cowboy Stadium parking lots....

Maybe Fort Worth Should Look At Mount Vernon's Skagit River Vision

If my memory is serving me correctly on several occasions I have blogged about Fort Worth area "Master Plans" which are sort of lacking, with no project timelines for what are basically imaginary "Master Plans" mastering nothing.

Such as the Trinity River Vision and the Boondoggle's Gateway Park Master Plan.

I also am fairly certain a time or two I have opined about being appalled at the ridiculous propaganda spewed about Fort Worth's imaginary plans, and the disconnect between the propaganda and what is actually is being built.

Today I was checking out the state of my old hometown of Mount Vernon's Skagit River Vision. Soon I was looking at the Mount Vernon equivalent of Trinity River Vision Boondoggle propaganda, with a clear difference.

The Mount Vernon Skagit River Vision, with details of its Master Plan being grounded in reality, are funded and are being constructed.

Below is Mount Vernon Skagit River Vision propaganda verbiage I gleaned from a Mount Vernon website. Make note of all the things happening in Mount Vernon, population of around 30,000, compared to what's actually happening in Fort Worth, population closer to a million than 30,000. Things like an actual flood protection project, which is actually needed to fix an actual problem. And more...

“Downtown Mount Vernon is the vibrant heart of Skagit County. It is a place where people come to live, work, and play, enjoying the riverfront promenade, boutique shopping, fine dining, and entertainment of all sorts. Its public spaces are enlivened by a farmer’s market and live music. People come for its fairs, festivals, and riverfront setting. They come back for its small town character and the ease with which they can park their car and walk wherever they want to go. Downtown Mount Vernon is thriving because it is where people want to be.”

That is the vision for Downtown Mount Vernon and the City is well on its way to making it happen.

The Opportunity

The future is now!  The City of Mount Vernon has adopted a Master Plan for the Waterfront and Historic Downtown Area that provides guidelines for development over the next 20 years and presents an economic development opportunity in Downtown Mount Vernon.

The Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan is designed to build on and enhance existing retail activity along First Street, and create a vibrant, attractive, and safe waterfront and downtown, with enhanced public access to the shoreline and river, new and improved public amenities, and mixed-use redevelopment that will generate new jobs and create housing that preserves the character of downtown Mount Vernon.

Location.  Location.  Location

Mount Vernon is located along the I-5 corridor, 60 miles north of Seattle and 80 miles south of Vancouver British Columbia.  Mount Vernon is unique as it is one of the only cities west of the Mississippi and north of San Francisco that within a 100 mile radius can draw from an estimated 6 million people.

Mount Vernon’s historic downtown is bounded to the east by Interstate 5, to the west the Skagit River, to the north Lion’s Park and to the south by Section Street. Mount Vernon is minutes away from the beautiful San Juan Islands to the west and the North Cascade Mountain Range and Mt. Baker to the east.  Mount Vernon is the County seat and has a strong presence of government employees within the downtown core.  

The City’s regional transit center, built in 2004 is a gateway project located at the front door step to downtown Mount Vernon along I-5.  Skagit Multi-Modal Station offers rail, bus, commuter and taxi service to the region.

The Skagit River, which is the only river that can boast salmon runs for five different species of salmon naturally, runs through downtown Mount Vernon offering a spectacular scenic amenity within downtown.  Principle economic activities include government, healthcare, retail and tourism.

The Master Plan takes advantage of Downtown’s assets and will achieve the following goals:

Provide permanent certified flood protection for downtown to make investing in downtown Mount Vernon economically viable.

Develop a pedestrian-oriented downtown where people are encouraged to circulate on foot.

Encourage a mixture of land uses, including public open space, shoreline recreational, cultural, and institutional uses integrated with revenue producing uses that may include office, retail, restaurant, hotel, entertainment, and residential uses.

Accommodate an overall increase in residential density to provide a greater level of around-the-clock activity, support existing businesses, and improve the general economic vitality of downtown.

Provide sufficient and conveniently located parking without compromising the overall pedestrian-friendly environment.

Accommodate vehicular circulation while providing pedestrian-friendly streets.

Preserve and build upon the existing historic character of downtown.

Provide more open space and public amenities downtown.

Encourage multi-modal transportation by developing improved connections across the river, to regional trails, and to Skagit Station.

The City is undertaking a major flood protection project that will result in 100-year flood protection for downtown Mount Vernon.  In addition to the flood control measure, the City has designed and will construct a 25 foot wide, ½ mile long riverfront walk and public park along the Skagit River.

The flood protection measure is designed to protect the downtown area from flooding and remove the downtown from the FEMA 100-year flood plain designation. The flood protection measure is designed with removable sections that will be used only during flood events, therefore views and access to the river will not be encumbered.

Does the Mount Vernon Skagit River Vision remind you at all of Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision?


Me either.

Key difference is the fact that the Mount Vernon Skagit River Vision is well underway to being seen. While the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is currently building, maybe, Three Bridges Over Nothing, while, after over a decade of boondoggling, what has actually been created are things like an imaginary island with an imaginary pavilion, a brewery, drive-in movie theater, a wakeboard lake and happy hour inner tube floats where a polluted river gets rocked with beer.

The Mount Vernon Skagit River Vision addresses a real flood control issue.

Trust me, the Skagit River in flood mode is very real. I have seen what happens in downtown Mount Vernon when the Skagit River goes into rampaging flood mode. Twice I have helped sandbag a floodwall to save downtown Mount Vernon.

I have seen the Trinity River in flood mode several times since I have been in Texas. I have never seen those floods even remotely endanger downtown Fort Worth in the way I have seen the Skagit River threaten downtown Mount Vernon.

Hence one of the reasons I refer to the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's flood diversion channel as being un-needed, because it is un-needed, wasting resources to build an un-needed thing, if it ever actually does get built, under those Three Bridges Over Nothing....

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Last Friday Before Fall Walking Tour Of The Industrial Wasteland I Call Home

As you can clearly see, cloudy is our sky motif for this last Friday before the First Day of Fall.

The cloudiness looks such that one would think some precipitation would be precipitating. However, nothing wet fell on me as I took one of my semi-regular walking tours of the Industrial Wasteland I call home.

In the picture we are looking southwest across the vast Chesapeake Energy Barnett Shale gas fracking operation which takes up the northwest corner of the intersection of Boca Raton Boulevard and the 820 frontage road.

Across the middle of the picture, at the far left, sits Italy Pizza & Pasta, In the middle sits the Albertsons I frequently frequent and its collection of other stores in an antiquated 60s style strip mall in dire need of having its signage and landscaping upgraded.

The picture pretty much accurately captures what my neighborhood Industrial Wasteland actually looks like.

I suppose I could make a more flattering photo by taking a picture on a sunny day, near sunrise or sunset, with the scene bathed in a golden glow and my camera set to its sunset filter to enhance the special beauty of the moment.

But that would sort of seem like photographic propaganda to me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Today Via Twitter Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price Favorited Me With A New Word

Today, when I returned from rolling my wheels in Fort Worth's Gateway Park, I checked my email to find a message from Twitter informing me that my favorite Fort Worth mayor, Betsy Price, had favorited me.

Well, actually what the message said was "Your Tweet got favorited!".

I don't think "favorited" is actually a word. Favorited is being red-flagged as a misspelling every time I type it.

About a half hour after learning that my favorite mayor had favorited me I mentioned to someone who shall remain Nameless that Betsy Price had favorited my latest blogging Tweet on Twitter.

Nameless acted all confused and perplexed as to what in the world Betsy Price could have favorited, since the latest blogging Nameless had read on my blog had to do with the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Nameless said something like "Betsy Price favorited you making fun of the Trinity River Vision?"

To which I replied something like "Betsy Price seems to me to be a very intelligent person. Don't you think she is a bit embarrassed being the mayor of a town with such an embarrassing boondoggle building things like bridges over nothing, imaginary islands and non-existent pavilions?"

I do not remember if I ended up telling Nameless that the Tweet Betsy Price favorited had to do with Today Is North Texas Giving Day With Dorothy's Ruby Slippers On The Tandy Hills, which is not a controversial subject...

Sticky Trails With A Fallen Tree Led Me To The Gateway Park Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Master Plan Propaganda

I was in a bad mood this morning, an after effect of a raging political printer debate last night on Facebook which left me exhausted.

A long swim, early this morning, under the sliver of light provided by a skinny crescent moon did little to alleviate my bad mood.

So, I decided some fast wheel rolling on the Gateway Park mountain bike trails would be just what the Mood Doctor would prescribe if I had a Mood Doctor.

As I made the left turn into Gateway Park I began to see puddles of water. This did not bode well. While no rain fell on my location yesterday, it appeared that five miles to the west some precipitation precipitated.

As I drove to the bike unload zone I decided if the trails were muddy I would instead pedal the paved trails, trails which I have not pedaled in a long time, not since I discovered I enjoyed the Gateway Park mountain bike trails.

As you can clearly see above, I made it to my favorite Gateway Park photo op location. A scenic look at the Trinity River in its natural state, not needing tricky lighting and special filters to make the Trinity River look good which is what you usually need if you want to take an "enhanced" Trinity River photo in the downtown Fort Worth zone of the Trinity River.

The fact that I made it to my favorite Gateway Park photo op location would indicate the trails were not muddy, which they weren't. But rain had left the trails a bit sticky, thus impacting how freely the wheels roll.

I had already decided I was only going to go one time around the trails due to the sticky trails issue, when I came to the below obstruction.

Getting over the fallen tree was fairly easy, but doing so rendered me a wet sweaty mess. I was already in adrenaline over drive due to an encounter with a big cranky snake stretched across the trail. I slammed to a stop, did not reach quickly for my camera, figuring by the time I got the camera turned on the snake would have slithered off. I  figured wrong. The slithering took long enough that I likely could have taken a picture had I quickly reached for the camera. I think the snake may have been slithering slow due to the cool temperature, as in chilled to the low 80s.

Continuing on I came to one of Gateway Park's infamous boarded up boardwalks, where I saw signage had been added, signage with very tortured verbiage whose meaning my feeble grasp of English had trouble understanding.


So, is the Gateway Park boarded up boardwalk designated as restricted? Does the AREA CLOSED TO PUBLIC sign you see below designate the boarded up boarkwalk as being restricted? Why use such clunky verbiage on a sign?

An even better question than wondering about clunky verbiage on a sign is to wonder how many more years is this Gateway Park eyesore going to exist? Either fix the boarded up boardwalks or tear them down.

Or are we  waiting on the Gateway Park Master Plan to fix the boarded up boardwalks? Which leads us to the next sign.

The Trinity River Vision may be one of America's top all time Boondoggles, but one thing the TRVB does do well is produce long lasting signage spewing imaginative propaganda about imaginary plans.

Like the Gateway Park Master Plan signage. The forest of Trinity River Vision Boondoggle propaganda signs showed up years ago, near Fort Woof in Gateway Park touting the Gateway Park Master Plan. The propaganda on the sign above, under the title "The Gateway Park Master Plan" says...

"The revitalization of Gateway Park is a major component of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. The park's ecosystem will be restored to its natural beauty and over 80,000 native oak and pecan trees will be planted. Community-requested recreational amenities will be added throughout its 1,000 acres, making it one of the largest urban programmed parks in the nation. The master plan will spur economic development and connect the east and southeast neighborhoods of Fort Worth to the Trinity River Corridor."

80,000 trees to be planted. When? These are known as J.D. Granger's Magic Trees. I mentioned the Magic Trees in a blogging in early August and first mentioned the J.D. Granger Magic Trees in a blogging way back in 2011, which included video of J.D. Granger describing the Magic Trees.

Shouldn't a Master Plan have some sort of plan? You know, something like a project timeline?

When are we going to see any of the wonderful things we see on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's propaganda signage about the Gateway Park Master Plan?

More than once whilst reading Trinity River Vision Boondoggle propaganda I have been baffled by the Boondoggle making a claim along the line that something has been requested by the community. In the Gateway Park Master Plan's instance the sign says "Community-requested recreational amenities will be added throughout its 1,000 acres."

I really would like to know how the Boondoggle manages to find out what the "community" is requesting. I'm part of the "community". No one asked me what amenities I'd like to request.

Since, apparently, the Trinity River Vision Boondoggles does what the "community" requests, on behalf of the "community" I would like to request a project timeline letting us in the "community" know when we well be able to start enjoying the amenities the "community" has requested?

It is a puzzling, perplexing mystery to me why more people are not puzzled and perplexed by the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's propaganda nonsense....

Today Is North Texas Giving Day With Dorothy's Ruby Slippers On The Tandy Hills

A message from Dorothy and the Friends of the Tandy Hills...........

Dear Friends,

Today is the Day!

It’s North Texas Giving Day. Please choose Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area to be the recipient of your Environmental dollars on this special Giving Day.

From 6 a.m. until midnight, your donation of $25 or more will yield bonus funds and prizes which means that your tax deductible donation to Friends of Tandy Hills, TODAY ONLY, will go further.    

Need 32 good reasons to support us?
Go here: http://www.tandyhills.org/campaign

The direct link to donate to Friends of Tandy Hills is here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Pre-Fall Barbecue Chicken Burger With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts

Fall falls upon us in a few days.

Today I needed to go to ALDI so I decided to roll my wheels with Arlington's Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area prior to ALDIizing.

In the picture my handlebars are looking at the formerly blue Village Creek Blue Bayou.

Currently the formerly blue Blue Bayou is looking like it has adopted fall colors, with green fading to brown.

Bike riding was extremely pleasant today. No wind, the air chilled to the mid 80s, no overheating.

The pool is back not being cool after its bout last week of being almost too cool for this time of year. I suspect the too cool pool will soon return and that I will acclimate to it.

In the meantime I'm having a barbecue chicken burger with cabbage salad. Fall food.....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Economic And Fiscal Reality Of Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

This morning Elsie Hotpepper pointed me to a 20 page document on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's website titled Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the Corps of Engineers' Trinity River Vision Project in Tarrant County Texas.

More than once I have verbalized my wonderment regarding the fact that there does not seem to be any sort of project timeline for the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's urgently needed flood control and economic development scheme.


Reading through the TRVB document there is a lot of jaw dropping information. But the main thing I gleaned was way back over a decade ago, when this document was produced, the Boondoggle had a project timeline which had construction projects starting in 2005, running through 2015, which is about three months from now.

The Boondoggle's document says the corps will spend about  $357 through 2015, generating more than $600 million in economic activity. Wow. That is one HUGE return on investment. I suspect though that the Boondoggle forgot to add the word "million" after $357.

In this Boondoggle document, near the end, we learn that way back over a decade ago, developers noticed what will  be happening on the Trinity River in Fort Worth, with one un-named business leader opining that this project can catapult Fort Worth into the upper echelon of American cities.

I wonder what that un-named business leader is thinking now?

A decade later.

With little to show after a decade of Boondoggling.

Well, there are those Three Bridges Over Nothing supposedly under construction, a drive-in movie theater, an imaginary island with an imaginary pavilion, inner tube floating music parties with beer and a brewery. Oh, and a wakeboard lake.

Below are three excerpts from the Boondoggle's document containing that which I referenced above.....

The preliminary cost schedule calls for the Corps of Engineers to spend $435 million to realign the Trinity River with ancillary construction projects starting in 2005 through 2015. This spending will pay for engineering, architectural, environmental and other studies as well as hard and soft costs of building bridges, realigning the bypass channel, building gates, walls, levees, and several other features as well as management, administrative, and other costs. Though the budget includes over $76 million for property acquisition, we have not included this spending in our impact estimates. We do not have sufficient information on property ownership to ascertain the degree to which any income gains from the sale of property would contribute to local economic activity. In addition, $1.5 million is budgeted to help existing businesses relocate. The impact of this spending will depend on the nature of the assistance provided; therefore, we do not include this comparatively modest spending in our impact assessment.

The Trinity River realignment project and related Trinity River Vision have already spurred redevelopment efforts in the City of Fort Worth, without turning one shovelful of dirt. Corps spending on the proposed project will be about $357 through the year 2015, not including payments for land acquisition and business relocation assistance. This spending will generate more than $600 million in economic activity in Tarrant County and support over 6,000 person-years of employment. However, as impressive as these impacts are, they pale in comparison to the private commercial and residential development that will likely follow the TRV project.

Business and city officials note that developers from outside Tarrant County and outside Texas have taken notice of what will be happening along the Trinity River in Fort Worth. As observed by one business leader, this is the project that can catapult Fort Worth into the upper echelon of American cities.

Today I Found A Fallen Hoodoo In The Tandy Hills Natural Sauna Steam Bath

There really are few things sadder than a fallen Hoodoo, shattered and scattered about, a ruin of its former vertical self.

Til today it had been over a week since I last did some fast hill hiking.

Though the temperature was in the relatively chilly mid 80s, compared to last week's over 100 record breaker, the humidity still managed to turn the Tandy Hills into a virtual sauna steam bath.

A very salubrious sauna steam bath.

Last week after I finished my Tandy Hills hill hiking I was told that a bobcat had been following me at the start of the hiking, unbeknownst to me.

Today when I neared the currently dry Tandy Falls I heard some creature crashing through the jungle.

Bobcats are stealthy, they don't draw attention to themselves by noisily crashing through the jungle. I stood still for a couple minutes hoping to see what was making the noise, but never did. And so I continued on.

Earlier today Elsie Hotpepper directed me to some good blogging fodder. Post hiking, back at my computer, I found more good blogging fodder. Blogging fodder of the scandal in Fort Worth sort.

I must ponder a bit before I blog about these scandalous subjects...

Spencer Jack Did Not Go Swimming In The Trinity River Yesterday

No. That is not an artist's rendering you are looking at of what it would look like if Spencer Jack, whilst visiting his favorite great uncle in Texas, jumped into Pond Granger, if it ever exists.

What you are looking at is Spencer Jack jumping into the crystal clear water of Lake Samish, yesterday, in an escape from an unexpected, rare, mid September heat wave in Western Washington.

Spencer Jack's dad emailed me several pictures of yesterday's heat escape. A few minutes after that I checked in on Facebook to see the same pictures there. So, I don't have myself a Spencer Jack exclusive.

Speaking of the phantom Pond Granger, that being the little lake that might come to be if the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle ever becomes anything anyone can see, this morning I was conversing with an engineer. Not of the train driving type of engineer, this was a build things type of engineer I was conversing with.

The subject of the Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing came up. The subject of the claim that the four year bridge building project was taking place before the un-needed flood diversion channel was built, because the Boondoggle claims this will save money, was scoffed at by the engineer.

The engineer said a properly designed project would have the bridges and the channel being built at the same time. That no water would be in the channel til water is diverted into it. That integrating the building of the channel simultaneously with the building of the bridges would in reality be the most cost effective way to engineer such a project.

I opined that the non-propaganda fact of the matter is there is no money to build the un-needed flood diversion channel, which is why it is not currently being built at the same time as the un-needed Bridges Over Nothing.

Has anyone given any thought as to how ridiculous those Three Bridges Over Nothing are going to look?

If, in four years money is found to build the un-needed flood diversion channel, how many years will that take? Four years to build three simple bridges? What? 20 years to build a channel?

And no, in the second picture you are not looking at an artist's rendering of Spencer Jack standing in a clean, litter free, crystal clear Trinity River of the future.

What Spencer Jack is in the middle of is known as Friday Creek. Spencer Jack and his dad stopped at Friday Creek on their way to cool off in Lake Samish....

Monday, September 15, 2014

An Ides Of September Walk Around My Neighborhood's Billboards

I had myself a mighty fine time in the not so cool pool this morning.

By the time my regularly scheduled midday break from keyboard tapping came around I was not in the mood to drive anywhere, so I took a walk around my neighborhood.

When I got to the part of my neighborhood walk that walks on the narrow sidewalk next to the I-820 frontage road I looked across the freeway to see the billboard you see here, with something not looking right hanging off the billboard.

I wondered if this was some sort of Chick fil A type cleverness relating to floors which my feeble imagination was unable to understand.

When I got the picture off the camera I was surprised to see that there were two men on board the billboard which my eyes did not see. But my camera did.

The lesson I glean from this is I need to pay closer attention to the details of that at which I am  looking.

Save the Date! September 18th, 2014: Tandy Hills North Texas Giving Day

Message from Don and Debora Young------

Dear Friends,

It was ten years ago this year that Debora and I organized a volunteer team of folks called the Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area. This is our first year to participate in the fund and profile-raising event called North Texas Giving Day. On September 18, 2014 from 6 a.m. until midnight, each donation of $25 and above made through our page on the North Texas Giving Day website will receive bonus funds and prizes which means that your tax deductible donation to Friends of Tandy Hills on Giving Day will go further.    

Your donations to Friends of Tandy Hills are vital. There are no paid staff members in our nonprofit organization. All donations fund conservation and education initiatives. Where specifically do your donations go?

Our award-winning outdoor education program Kids on the Prairie. Program expenses include:
  • transportation to and from Tandy Hills Natural Area for 250 4th graders from area schools annually
  • field journals tailored to the local Cross Timbers prairie and aligned to Texas State and National science standards
  • onsite outdoor facilities
  • water, snacks, and lunches for the kids, teachers and bus drivers

Our long term goal of restoring the land itself via the Master Plan. These goals include:
  • critically needed removal of invasive species
  • trail maintenance and creation
  • construction of a visitors center

We hope you agree that Tandy Hills is a North Texas jewel, and that Friends of Tandy Hills plays a critical mission in "keeping it like it was."  On Thursday, September 18, please visit FOTHNA’s page on northtexasgivingday.org anytime between 6am and midnight and click "Donate Now". Then put on your hiking boots, grab your water bottle and come, take a hike in our rare prairie remnant.  Just east of downtown Fort Worth, Texas.

Thank you for joining us in our essential work!
See you on the prairie!

Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area

P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Today I Must Contribute To The Community By Educating Myself About Chesapeake Energy's Fresh Turquoise Water

Way back in the last decade, back when Chesapeake Energy invaded the Barnett Shale, Chesapeake ran a big counter-information operation.

If a blogger blogged something about Chesapeake almost instantly one would see blog post hits from Oklahoma City, that being the location of Chesapeake's headquarters.

Soon thereafter boilerplate blog comments would show up, often mentioning Archie Bunker and horses.

I don't know when it was Chesapeake Energy figured out their heavy handed "information" campaign was being counter productive, but it has long been gone. No more Tommy Lee Jones on billboards. No propaganda ads on buses. No this, that or the other thing brought to you by Chesapeake  Energy.

See that turquoise pond above? Way back in 2010 that pond showed up on the route I take to visit the Indian Ghosts in Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

At that point in time that pond did not look a very natural shade of blue. Currently the pond looks like normal murky North Texas lake water.

This morning in my inbox I found a blog comment typical  of what the Chesapeake Energy shills would send in their heyday.....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Fort Worth Chesapeake Fresh-Water Frac Pond's Unnatural Shade Of Blue":

The water is fresh water as in not salt water or treated water. The fence is in place to keep people out. The pit is lined with high density polyethylene geo textile, if someone tries swimming in it, they cannot climb out due to the plastic, which could cause drowning. You can now go back to ignorantly throwing accusations at the evil oil companies... or you could educate yourself and contribute to your community. I am betting against the latter.

I wonder if this Anonymous person would be willing to let me take video of him or her drinking a glass of this Chesapeake fresh water?

Chesapeake Energy sure has had itself a reversal of fortune from the days it freely ran roughshod  over Fort Worth and surrounding areas. Is Chesapeake's former CEO, the basketball team stealing Aubrey McClendon still a free man? Or is he doing time? With a big fine?

Who would have guessed just a few short years ago that by 2014 the City of Fort Worth would be among the many suing Chesapeake Energy for its shady dealings?

Today I read that a Fort Worth lawyer named Dan McDonald has been holding town meetings and has put together a legal team to hold Chesapeake Energy accountable for their alleged underpayment of royalties to thousands of people who were allegedly cheated by the Chesapeake slicksters.

I must end this blogging now and go and try and educate myself about something....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Today In Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park I Was Partly Protected From West Nile Virus & Possible Mini-Stealth Drones

This morning the pool was cool for the first time since some time early last spring.

For the first time in months I retreated, twice, to the warmth of the hot tub, a tub which ironically is chilled about seven degrees colder than the record breaking 102 we were sweltered with a couple days ago.

This morning the outer world was almost 50 degrees chillier than that 102.

I opted out of my regularly scheduled Gateway Park bike ride and Town Talk treasure hunt today.  I figured with the wind blowing the windchill would likely have the air feeling like it's in the 40s. And I've sort of not been enjoying the Town Talk Saturday traffic jam of late. I think I may be making Wednesdays my Town Talk day.

So, in the noon time frame I put on long pants for the first time in a long time, along with a long sleeved t-shirt and headed west to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdick Lake.

Today was the first time I've seen the sign you see above about protecting oneself  from the West Nile Virus. The sign had been added since I was at this location earlier in the week. Sort of ironic that I was wearing the recommended long pants and long sleeves for the first time in a long time.

I own no mosquito repellent.

I have no recollection of getting a mosquito bite during the entire time of my exile in Texas. I do not remember ever going a summer in Washington without getting mosquito bites.

At one point during my walk around Fosdick Lake I saw that which you see below.

Is that a West Nile Mosquito? A mini-Stealth Drone? Whatever it is it was BIG and not moving except for a slight shake. Was it grounded by the cold? Shot down by an anti-aircraft missile? Trying to re-establish contact with the Mother Ship?

All I know is whoever designed this thing I like their design aesthetic. And want a sweater that looks like this....