Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On This Last Day Of 2014 Spencer Jack Did Not Take Me Bird Watching On The Trinity River

This afternoon Spencer Jack and his dad emailed me some photos, one of which, as you can see, has Spencer waving goodbye to 2014.

The subject line in the email was "Bird Nerd".

The text in the email said, "Spencer Jack took me bird watching on this beautiful last day of 2014 in the great PNW.  More specifically, Fir Island and Conway".

Being familiar with the valley in which Spencer Jack is waving, I can tell he is standing west of the Amtrak tracks, which behind Spencer head to Canada, and in front of him lead to Seattle. My old hometown, and Spencer Jack's current hometown, Mount Vernon, is behind Spencer Jack, surrounding that raised area known as a mountain, Little Mountain, to be specific.

The birds being referred to are Trumpeter Swans and Bald Eagles. Trumpeter Swans migrate south from Canada every year to spend some vacation time in the Skagit Valley. It can be quite a spectacle when a flock of Trumpeter Swans decides to take flight. Noisy and you want to be wearing head protection if you are under the flight path.

Above you are looking at a grounded flock of Trumpeter Swans, with the Mount Baker volcano hovering over the birds. When I lived in Mount Vernon I could look out my kitchen window and see Mount Baker. I look out the kitchen window at my current location and I do not see a volcano. I see absolutely nothing.

That is a Bald Eagle in the tree high above Spencer Jack. Below is a closeup look at the Bald Eagle perched to swoop down on Spencer Jack.

In the tall fir trees behind my house in Mount Vernon a big Bald Eagle made a really big nest. It was sort of unsettling to be outside peacefully swaying on my hammock to look up to see the Big Bird coming home. This Big Bird only made his home at this location for a few years. I suppose the salmon supply ran out in the creek which flowed behind my house, and so the Big Bird moved on to better fishing grounds, like upstream on the Skagit River, perhaps, where a big flock of Bald Eagles spends a lot of time every year feasting on returning salmon.

As I previously indicated the text in the email which contained these pictures said that Spencer Jack had taken his dad bird watching to Conway and Fir Island on this last day of 2014. Below you are looking at the bridge which crosses the Skagit River from Conway to Fir Island. Below the below picture we will talk about the Fort Worth connection to the below bridge.

As you can see, the above bridge is built over water.

The Skagit River.

What you can not see is that at this location the river is subject to tidal changes, what with being so close to the mouth of the river and Skagit Bay, which is a bay on Puget Sound.

This bridge over the Skagit River was built over water in far less than four years. As you can see, the bridge has to cross a rather wide river at this point.

I remember the bridge the above bridge replaced. It was a sort of old-fashioned bridge from a much earlier era of bridge building. I can not remember if the original bridge was a one-way one where you waited your turn to cross.

As previously mentioned, this bridge crosses the Skagit River to Fir Island.

Fir Island is a real island, not an imaginary island like Fort Worth's embarrassingly pretentious Panther Island, which may one day be an island, if one really stretches, to the near breaking point, the concept of that which an island makes.

To make Fort Worth's imaginary island the Three Bridges Over Nothing, currently supposedly under construction, have to be finished.

Fort Worth's Three Bridges Over Nothing are extremely complex feats of bridge engineering requiring four years to build. If the bridges are ever finished being built then the ditch can be dug under them, water added, and the imaginary island can be proclaimed pseudo real, likely with a massive celebration of explosives to mark the occasion.

For the final picture from today's collection it would appear that Spencer Jack and his dad are channeling Fort Worth's Brian Luenser's School of Photographic Exaggeration, with this closeup look at a flock of Trumpeter Swans and Mount Baker looming way too close above them...

North Texas Is Freezing & Braced For Incoming Ice

So far the Ice Storm that is scheduled to be cometh at my location has yet to arrive.

However, the outer world  has been chilled, as you can see via my computer generated weather informant, to the below freezing temperature necessary to facilitate an Ice Storm of Historic Proportions.

Checking in on my old home zone this morning I  found both Western and Eastern Washington colder than my current location, with Mount Vernon freezing at 26 and Tonasket, on the east side of the mountains, even colder at 15.

Meanwhile in Arizona, in the Phoenix zone, my mom and dad, brother and sister, brother-in-law and sister-in-law and nephews are not freezing at 47. However, the Phoenix area is currently under a National Weather Service issued Freeze Warning.

Back to my current location in Frigid North Texas.

This morning's weather update from my favorite North Texas weather forecasting guru, John Basham, seems to indicate something major is about to arrive.

I need to go to ALDI to get coffee. Last winter I recollect a trip to ALDI starting off with no problem, then turning into a two hour ordeal to slide my way back to my home port. I hope today is not a repeat.

The latest John Basham forecast....

*** WEATHER FORECASTER'S NOTE *** - 630 AM WED DEC 31 2014 - TEXAS - Okay, for those of you who follow my forecasts (the truly devoted) you will remember Sunday that I was worried about the New Year's Eve / New Year's Day forecast for a large part of Texas and the D/FW Metroplex. I even used the term 'historic' which set many an email flying my way. If you'll recall I was worried about two weather items colliding in just the right way to cause a potentially dangerous weather scenario for a large population center in Texas. Well, I will no longer elude. I now have a genuine fear as the data becomes more and more clear that a MAJOR ICE STORM is POSSIBLE for a LARGE PART of TEXAS including the D/FW Metroplex. NOW, I AM NOT SOUNDING THE ALARM YET... & THE NWS HAS NOT ISSUED ANY ICE STORM WARNING, BUT...... Since tonight is New Year's Eve and Thursday Morning is New Year's Day I felt I had to at least let you know what I (and many other meteorologists) have been wrestling with. You DO NOT take an Ice Storm lightly as a meteorologist. There are few things that cause more widespread damage, injury, and loss of infrastructure. As new data continues to come out over the next few hours I will be updating everyone as soon as I feel I've zeroed in TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY where this event COULD take place. I know that's a lot of ifs and errrs... but I wanted to share so everyone could prepare and stay safe! MORE TO COME... THIS IS NOT AN NWS PRODUCT!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Apparently The Best Food City In America Is Not Dallas Or Fort Worth

Yesterday I happened upon a scientific survey documenting the 40 Best Food Cities in America.

I found this scientific survey in an online article titled THE 40 BIGGEST US CITIES, RANKED BY THEIR FOOD.

Ranking cities by their food struck me as an odd thing to be doing. But interesting, despite being odd.

Texas towns did quite well in this survey, with four towns among the Top 40.

I just realized the towns on this list are determined by population. So, then why are Dallas and Fort Worth not listed separately, rather than lumped together? I am thinking this helped tank the ranking for Dallas. In the article, which you can read via the link above, the town's population is included among the info, with the entire D/FW Metroplex population given as the population for D/FW.

And why is San Antonio not on this list? I am starting to suspect this is a flawed scientific survey.


At the bottom, in the #40 position is Fresno. At #39 is Jacksonville. Then we come to the first Texas town.

I will copy and paste that which this scientific survey had to say about the Texas towns and their relative ranking, along with the town on the list of 40 in which I've eaten more food than any other big city in America...

38. El Paso
While the rest of the Lone Star State’s big hubs have serious moves, El Paso just sorta rides the BBQ & Tex-Mex coattails, never planting a flag in the culinary sands. Plus, Old El Paso salsa's corporate offices are in Minnesota.

And then we come to my current location....

19. Dallas/Forth Worth
First of all, frozen margaritas don’t count as food. But there is no disputing that DFW is a serious player in the Tex-Mex conversation, what with Stephan Pyles existing. And Lockhart Smokehouse and Pecan Lodge ensure their part of the national BBQ conversation. And, crap, they’ve got the best damn airport in the nation to eat in. But Texas has stiff competition when it comes to its eating cities, and so Dallas has to find comfort in taking the Lone Star City’s comestible bronze.

The D/FW locals are likely all bumpuzzled about the two Texas towns thought to better feeding locations than the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, where clearly people like to eat.

A lot.

But before we get to the Texas towns which fared better than D/FW in this scientific survey we come to the big city I've consumed food in more than any other big city in America. This survey went very long-winded on this one, particularly compared to the puny blurb about D/FW...

7. Seattle
As a geeky teenager, you probably spent a lot of time alone, creating an imaginary world for yourself, complete with a super-hot girlfriend who no one knew 'cause she was from, like, Canada, or something. Well, Seattle is the culinary equivalent of that teenager after he grows up. It's geeky (maybe you've heard of Microsoft, Amazon, etc.); all alone in the corner of the country (the closest major city is Portla... oops, San Francisco); and creative (just look at how Starbucks and Redhook revolutionized two entire beverage industries).

When you combine those traits with the fact that Seattle's geography and climate provide it with a greater variety of regional produce and protein than any other city, you get places like the iconic Canlis, or the dozen or so restaurants owned by super-chef Tom Douglas, reinventing traditional dishes with local ingredients like salmon, shellfish, and other fresh seafood. But it's not just big-name chefs (Ethan Stowell, Maria Hines, and Renee Erickson among them) doing it: Seattle's best "neighborhood" restaurants (Lloyd Martin, Tanglewood Supreme) serve the kind of food reserved for destination dining in other cities, and there's a ton of these smaller spots opening all the time -- The Town has more restaurants per capita than anywhere but New York and San Francisco.

Oh, and as for the part about being grown-up, Seattle's fully embraced food from around the world: there are more teriyaki and pho restaurants here than any place outside Asia; the Seafood-heavy Jalisco-style Mexican food is a staple; and one of the best new(-ish) restaurants in Seattle is Shanik, an Indian place run by famed Vancouver chef Meeru Dhalwala. See, told you we had a Canadian girlfriend.

And then we come to the two Texas towns with better food than Dallas/Fort Worth or El Paso.

8. Houston
Houston has never been hotter, and that is NOT a commentary on their famously muggy weather. The food scene in The City With An Airport Named After President Bush Elder is finally getting the recognition it deserves, as this has always been a good town to eat in, though in the past it was primarily recognized for its steak and BBQ acumen. Now though, thanks to the ascendancy of some notable chefs (Underbelly’s Chris Shepherd, Reef’s Bryan Caswell, etc.), a national audience recognizing its incredible Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine, and the city's historically delicious Czech kolache culture (spread it #kolacheculture), more and more people are flocking to Houston just to eat and soak through a couple T-shirts in the process.

6. Austin
Austin knows its BBQ. That's a given. The meat-hungry masses form lines in front of spots like Franklin BBQ until they're out -- usually by 1:30pm. But this is not a one-dimensional food city. There're James Beard Award-winning sushi chefs. A food-truck scene that gives chefs the chance to flex their culinary muscles before moving on to bigger things (there's a reason the movie Chef filmed a ton there). And you can't forget the Mexican food. If you want a taco for every meal, Austin will gladly accommodate. There's so many places to score even just fantastic breakfast tacos, that you could eat them from 8am-8pm and go home happy. Here, we'll prove it.

The rest of  the list, without the explanatory descriptive blurbs....

5. Portland
4. San Francisco
3. Chicago
2. New York City
1. New Orleans

Of the Top Five I have only consumed food in restaurants in Portland and San Francisco. With the San Francisco food being of the Chinese type found in restaurants in Chinatown.

I wish I knew what Dallas/Fort Worth could possibly do to move into the coveted Top Ten along with Houston and Austin, but I draw a blank.

Well, it might help Dallas join Houston and Austin in the Top Ten if Dallas could somehow free itself from being connected to Fort Worth....

Monday, December 29, 2014

I Won't Be Heading Across Fort Worth's Pond Granger To A Clearwater Casino Anytime Soon

What you are looking at here is a posting I saw a few minutes ago on Facebook.

Newlywed Chris and wife, Sheila, are floating a ferry across Puget Sound to go to a casino this afternoon.

I saw this photo and thought to myself that there are several things here that I will likely never see, not ever, even if, decades from now, the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle actually becomes something any of those 10 million tourists the Dunce Confederacy currently claims come to downtown Fort Worth every year to visit downtown Fort Worth's teeny Sundance Square Plaza, can see.

The Pond Granger part of the Dunce Confederacy's Boondoggle varies in size depending on what propaganda spewing you are having spewed at you, ranging from around 12 acres to 33 acres.

Even at 33 acres Pond Granger would not be big enough to float a boat of any size, not even a small yacht, let alone cruise ships and ferry boats.

Unless a big earth moving project begins soon there will be no large mounds of dirt replicating mountains that one might see from any location located anywhere in the Dunce Confederacy's area of Boondoggling.

Maybe if that flood diversion channel is ever dug under the three bridges currently being built over nothing, that ditch excavation might provide enough dirt to build one semi-mountain to provide some vertical visual interest to what one sees from the Dunce Confederacy's imaginary island, other than the pitifully puny skyline of downtown Fort Worth.

Crossing a body of water on a big boat to go to a casino is another thing one will not be seeing in the Dunce Confederacy's Boondoggle's visionary lake. Basically you won't be crossing Pond Granger to anything of much interest, near as I can tell.

There is one other thing in addition to mountains, a big body of water, big boats and casinos, that one would not be seeing in the area of the Dunce Confederacy Boondoggle, or Texas, that is part of what I thought when I read that Chris and Sheila were heading to the Clearwater Casino this afternoon.

I'll let you see if you can figure out what that was....

2012 Arizona BBQ With Spencer Jack & His Time Traveling 2014 Christmas Train Shirt

On Christmas morning my great nephew, Spencer Jack, opened Christmas presents for me sent to Spencer Jack in Mount Vernon, Washington.

Meanwhile, at that same point in time I opened Christmas presents for Spencer Jack, his dad, Jason and Uncle Joey, sent to me in Texas.

After the presents were opened photos were taken and sent to those for whom the presents were  intended.

When I saw the present for Spencer Jack, which I had opened, it looked familiar, a blue t-shirt which was train themed.

Seconds ago I re-located Spencer Jack's latest blue train t-shirt for photo documentation purposes and to see if I could see what size the shirt is, to learn the shirt has no size info attached. We thought perhaps Spencer Jack was destined to be sent increasingly larger versions of this train t-shirt every three Christmases.

As you can see the t-shirt is from the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. I know Spencer Jack rode that park's train when he visited his great grand parental units on that March of 2012 visit. But I did not know he had received his original McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park blue t-shirt months prior.

Spencer Jack likes anything to do with trains. Sort of expanding on the Seattle Monorail obsession his dad had when he was Spencer Jack's age.

I did not know why Spencer Jack's 2014 Christmas train t-shirt looked familiar til his dad sent me the link to a blogging I blogged way back on Friday, March 16, 2012, titled....

Friday BBQ In Arizona With Spencer Jack, Super Hot Potato Chips & Refrigerator Slide Shows.

Part of the referenced blogging is screencapped above.

In that blogging Spencer Jack is wearing the same blue train t-shirt I opened for him over three years later, on Christmas morning of 2014.

It is a time traveling t-shirt.

In the picture of Spencer Jack standing in water he is wearing his blue train t-shirt, at some summer point in time, after finding it under his tree on Christmas Day of 2011.

All in all, I have to say the 2014 Christmas packages sent from Arizona to Texas and Washington have provided us with a much more engaging, entertaining, shared Christmas experience than would have been the case had the package intended for Texas ended up in Texas and the package intended for Washington ended up in Washington.

Before you know it Christmas of 2015 will be here and we will get to do it all over again....

I Think I Am Ready For A Major Texas Ice Storm To Blow Into Town

This morning on Facebook I found a fresh update from my favorite Texas weather guru, John Basham, which raises the possibility that we may be heading into an epic New Year's Eve, New Year's Day apocalyptic weather event of the Ice Storm sort.

Ice Storms are my least favorite Texas weather event.

If an Ice Storm blows in in a couple days, I am ready for it. I am stocked with vittles. I am walking distance from my New Year's Eve Party location. My Coleman stove and lantern are fully fueled. Firewood is ready to be burned should the fireplace be needed for heat if the power goes out.

WINTER WEATHER FORECAST - MON DEC 29 2014 850AM - TEXAS & SOUTHERN PLAINS - We have issued our graphical forecast for Tuesday from 6am through 10pm. Additional winter weather across an increased area possible through Saturday morning. Wednesday Texas will see a bit of a break from the wintry precipitation (at least that's the way it looks now) BUT THURSDAY could be a real problem with the potential for a major ice storm across a large swath of Texas and potentially millions of people. We will update the Thursday forecast this afternoon with some newer data in hopes that we will see continued computer model agreement beyond 60 hours. Everyone is advised to prepare for this potential Major Winter Weather event. While there is still a GREAT DEGREE of uncertainty about the potential impacts of this event. If trends continue then there could easily be widespread power interruptions and travel issues. More information to follow soon. THIS IS NOT AN NWS PRODUCT.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Today I Learned I Live In The Football Capital Of The World: Tarrant County

This morning via my local purveyor of ridiculous propaganda, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, I learned that Tarrant County is the Football capital of the world.

For you reading this who know little about Texas, Tarrant County is where the Texas towns of Fort Worth and Arlington are located.

The Dallas Cowboys play football in a monster stadium in Arlington, while Fort Worth has a college called Texas Christian University where football is played.

Apparently both Tarrant County football teams are doing well this year, hence the Star-Telegram propaganda that has Tarrant County being the Football capital of the world.

This seems to me to be an interesting variant of the Star-Telegram's patented Green With Envy verbiage. You know, where some perfectly ordinary thing in Fort Worth or Tarrant County is making the rest of the world green with envy.

Regarding Tarrant County being the Football capital of the world, I doubt most of the world has any awareness of Tarrant County. I doubt most of America has any awareness of Tarrant County. Maybe most of Texas has some awareness of Tarrant County.

As for having two football teams having a good season making Tarrant County the Football capital of the world, or America, or Texas, well, that is obviously a ridiculous thing to be suggesting.

The Star-Telegram article says nothing in the NFL or college football compares to the shock value of the Dallas Cowboys or TCU Horned Frogs.

Really? I live within short driving distance of both and have experienced absolutely no sense of being shocked.

I can think of another county, King County, that county being the location of the current Super Bowl champion. And the University of Washington Huskies. Apparently part of the Tarrant Football capital claim has to do with TCU playing in a bowl game this year. I think TCU has previously played in one other bowl game, that being the Rose one. And lost. Meanwhile, the Huskies in King County have played in multiple bowl games, including that Rose one. And won it. More than once.

UPDATE: The Fort Worth CD has informed me that TCU has won a Rose Bowl. Somehow this momentous event escaped being recorded by my memory. Was there no city wide celebration?

But, I highly doubt anyone in King  County, let alone any of the King County legitimate newspapers of record, of which there are several, would ever make the silly claim that King County was the Football capital of the world. Or ever claim anything in King County was causing other locations to be Green With Envy, because such bragging is just, well, embarrassing.

Particularly when the bragging is grounded in delusional hyperbole.

Anyway, the article in Sunday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about Tarrant County being the Football capital of the world, part of which I have copied below for your giggling bemusement, was written by Randy Galloway, titled, you might guess...

Tarrant County: Football capital of the world

Our local football blessings have runneth over this season, and without being provincial about it, I come to you today with a no-doubt, no-argument, official proclamation involving the truth and nothing but:

Tarrant County is the shock-value-of-a-positive-kind gridiron capital of the free world, plus those Commie nations, and the sand lizard empires, too.

Tarrant County is home to the Dallas Cowboys.

Tarrant County is home to TCU.

Don’t waste your time thinking about it, Florida. Nor you, California. Ohio, you make me laugh.

From coast to coast, all states are holding a big bag of nothing compared with our two Tarrant County trump cards.

Think about it.

Nothing compares to the shock value of the Cowboys in the NFL.

Nothing compares to the shock value of TCU in college football.

Argument closed. We Win. We Win.

And now we also see.

See what happens next for the Cowboys and for TCU. Actually, the next part is the best part.

Coming right up for the Cowboys is identifying the first-round playoff opponent, which happens Sunday. The odds figure it on being Detroit visiting Arlington in a week, but hold all wagers until it’s official.

After careful study back in early September, which included consultation with witch doctors and barstool experts, I had the Cowboys winning six games this season. I thought I was being overly optimistic.

With the regular season closing Sunday in Washington, the Cowboys could double my win total prediction. Over the last 50-something years, I’ve definitely been wrong many times about this franchise, but mainly wrong the other way.

I’ve never been this wrong this way. The shock-value-of-a-positive-kind of way.

Coinciding with the Cowboys’ sky-rise came TCU in the college world. A 5-4 conference record would have been a great season for the Frogs. But 8-1, Big 12 co-champs and a sudden national power?

Nobody, including Gary Patterson, was reading that kind of radar screen in early September.

And the “next” thing for the Frogs?

OK, maybe you heard, the College Football Playoff committee did a last-second dump job on TCU and suddenly the Frogs were out of the final four.

So what’s the next best thing that could have happened for TCU?

A bowl game against a certain kind of opponent, that’s what. That opponent had to be from, yes, the SEC West, a division, not a conference, that is the best in all of college football.

With personal great glee, all of the above will fall into place at Atlanta, at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, better known as New Year’s Eve morning.

The Frogs vs. Ole Miss.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fort Worth's #1 Photo Propagandist Is Not Now Falsely Advertising Seattle

I saw that which you see here this morning on Facebook, via Tacoma's Queen V.

I saw this photo and thought to myself, oh no, Fort Worth's #1 photo propagandist, Brian Luenser, has taken his special brand of colorful Chamber of Commerce worthy photography to Seattle.

But, that turned out not to be the case. This photo was taken by Kevin Russell of KR Backwoods Photography.

What I am curious about, regarding this photo, is how does one manage to take a photo of Seattle's Pike Place Market without a single human to be seen?

In this location we are looking directly at the famous location where the salmon fly. Usually this is human and auto gridlock at this location.

Looking at the KR Backwoods Photography portfolio had me wondering what photographic wonders might result if Brian Luenser ever took his camera to an area of the country, or world, which is actually scenically blessed, and which did not require special lightning and the cover of darkness to cover up that which is not too pretty in the bright light of day....

Will The Iceman Cometh To D/FW This Last Saturday Of 2014?

I checked in on Facebook this morning to find that which you see here, a chilly, icy, possibly snowy, forecast from my favorite Texas weather guru, John Basham......

WINTER WEATHER UPDATE: 100 AM SAT DEC 27 2014 - TEXAS - As I mentioned in earlier forecasts a strong cold-front is currently pushing South across Texas. At 100 AM a pre-frontal wind shift was along and Northwest of a line from Gainesville to Abilene to San Angelo to Del Rio. Winds behind this line were from the North with much lower surface moisture. While the pre-frontal wind shift was located along this line the cold air-mass associated with the front was along and Northwest of a Childress to Lubbock to just North of Midland-Odessa. This cold air-mass has temperatures in the 20's and 30's with a large area of snow and some some snow/rain mix across the Southern Texas panhandle and far Northern Permian Basin. Radar returns suggest much of the precipitation is not yet making it to the ground. While the upper level disturbance that is causing this precipitation will continue through tomorrow morning it will also cause areas of light rain to develop over the Eastern 2/3 of Texas. Much of this will be very light rain through early morning especially along the I-35 corridor. This same area will see areas of dense fog develop through early morning with some areas seeing reduced visibility below 1/8 mile, or the technical term "Pea Soup". The interesting part of the forecast comes Saturday afternoon and evening when a second upper level disturbance rotates into Texas at or very near the same time the sub-freezing surface air sinks across a much larger part of Texas including the D/FW metroplex. That's when an area a larger area of precipitation including rain, snow, and sleet could very well develop Southwest of the DFW metro and then increase in area and amount. Experimental forecast models are now even showing some accumulations of up to a tenth (very small amount) of an inch of snow across Northwestern Wise, Palo Pinto, Jack, Montague, and Cooke Counties in North Central Texas by as early as 2pm Saturday Afternoon. If this early model data trending continues, then my earlier forecast of snow Northwest of a line from Sherman to D/FW Airport to Stephenville should still hold true. The real question (especially across the western metroplex) is how early in the day we will drop below freezing at the surface and how long after that point precipitation will continue. Right now my "gut feel" and truly nothing more...(sorry, wish there was some science on that) says over-running moisture will keep precipitation falling for some time after sub-freezing temperatures set in and perhaps even a while after sunset. If this turns out to be true, then we would see a good chance of some accumulations of wintry precipitation across the Western parts of the metroplex and perhaps more. The greatest snowfall accumulations in Texas on Saturday will be from Lubbock South to just North of Midland/Odessa. This area of the far Southern Panhandle and Northern Permian Basin should see totals from 2 to 6 inches. I will continue to update the forecast as new data come in, or my gut feeling takes a turn that requires Pepto. THIS IS NOT AN NWS FORECAST.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Watercolored Snowflakes Fall On Oregon's Cannon Beach While No Snow Falls In Texas

Currently there are 364 shopping days til Christmas.

Which means I should have plenty of time to get the Christmas shopping I do, done in time for December 25, 2015.

The watercolor painting you are looking at here was sent to me by my cousin Scott.

Cousin Scott lives on the beach in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

I do not know if cousin Scott painted this watercolor he sent me for Christmas, or not.

I suspect not.

I do not remember when last I was in Cannon Beach. I know I was slightly north of Cannon Beach, in Seaside, a couple months before I moved to Texas. I recollect a pleasant night of listening to the roar of Pacific waves and playing with seals in the Seaside Aquarium the next morning.

The watercolor painting of Cannon Beach appears to be depicting big snowflakes falling. I do not know how often that happens. I suspect not too frequently.

On this day after Christmas at my currently location, nowhere near being deep in the heart of Texas, no snow will be falling, due to the temperature currently being 60, heading to a predicted high of 67. With clouds and a little drippage.

I was going to go on a bike ride today, what with these balmy temperatures, but the lack of sun and that aforementioned drippage has discouraged  me......

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Fosdick Lake Turkey Has Survived Another Christmas While My Mom Speeds Sledding

An hour before noon this Christmas Day of 2014 I left turkey roasting in the oven to roll my wheels to Oakland Lake Park to walk around the Fort Worth inland sea known as Fosdick Lake.

I have never seen as many birds, in as many varieties, as that which I saw today flocking on Fosdick Lake.

Including a big flock of seagulls.

What business do seagulls have being 100s of miles from the nearest sea?

The most surprising bird I saw today was the big turkey you see above. The big turkey seemed to lord it over the flock of odd ducks surrounding the big turkey. The odd ducks looked like the result of an illicit assignation between a seagull and a duck, with the seagull part manifesting itself in white seagull type heads, with below the neck looking duck-like.

My phone alerted me in the middle of the night, advising me to beware of strong winds on Christmas.

Why my phone feels I need this type advising in the middle of the night, I do not know.

The wind was a bit of a nuisance today.

The wind was so strong that during a couple gusts I had to hold on to my hat, lest it go airborne. At one point I sat at a picnic table to reply to an incoming text message. To do so I took off my sunglasses. A gust of wind soon sent my sunglasses flying off the picnic table, along with my walking stick.

Well, the turkey in the oven turned out well. I am now over turkey, except for leftovers, til next Thanksgiving.

Just got an email, sent from Arizona, from Cousin Jones. I have no cousins in Arizona, that I know of. Nephews, siblings, parental units and two in-laws, but no cousins that I know of. The email had a link to one of those JibJab cartoon things. This one had my mom sledding at high speed, along with at least two of my sisters. Maybe three.

How did they convince my mom to get on a sled? Very perplexing.....

Spencer Jack's Christmas Letter To Santa

This morning in my email inbox I found photos of Spencer Jack's letters to Santa in which Spencer thanks Santa for putting him on the Santa "nice" list.

The first photo documented Spencer Jack's letter to Santa and the cookies and milk Spencer left out for the hard working old guy.

The second photo documented Santa's reply to Spencer.

Very thoughtful of Santa, I think, that he would take time out of his busy schedule to write Spencer Jack a personal note.

A short while ago Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew Jason, texted me with photos attached.

The attached photos documented what was in Christmas presents for me in Texas, sent to Mount Vernon, in Washington.

Soon thereafter a video arrived from Spencer and his dad, documenting the opening of the Christmas presents that were sent to Washington, whilst I am stuck in Texas.

The video of Spencer Jack opening my Christmas presents is below, following the photo of Santa's reply to Spencer Jack's letter to Santa.

The below video was taken before the sun arrived in Washington this morning, hence the slightly dark nature of that which you see....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas To Aunt Arlene Who Says Jake & I Don't Know Who The Santa Is

I think I've already made mention of the fact that I don't mail anyone a Christmas Card.

However, every December I do mail one Christmas letter, to my Aunt Arlene, who lives in Othello, Washington.

My Christmas letter to Aunt Arlene is always written after I get that year's Aunt Arlene Christmas Card in which there is usually a letter with questions requiring answers,  hence my Christmas letter reply to Aunt Arlene.

Throughout the year I sometimes get letters from Aunt Arlene which also generate replies. Those Aunt Arlene letters have often been prompted by Aunt Arlene being appalled about something she read about which took place in Texas.

Things such as Rick Perry being the governor of this formerly fine state and his embarrassing antics.

I thought I'd hear from Aunt Arlene during the recent Texas election debacle which saw Rick Perry replaced by someone who seems as if he could be even worse, Greg Abbott.

Well, tonight I checked in on my mailbox to find this year's Christmas Card from Aunt Arlene.

It is now too close to Christmas to get a Christmas letter back to Aunt Arlene. That and this year's Aunt Arlene Christmas Card did not include a letter with questions in need of answering.

I believe Aunt Arlene is Christmasing on the Oregon coast, at Cannon Beach, at my favorite cousin Scott's beach cabin. I am hoping cousin Scott reads this and is able to relay to his mama, Aunt Arlene, my hope that Aunt Arlene has herself a Very Merry Christmas.

I almost forgot to mention. On the envelope of Aunt Arlene's Christmas Card I did not notice, til well after its opening, that which you see scanned above.

A drawing of Santa looking at two sleeping little boys, with Aunt Arlene writing "You and Jake Don't know who the Santa is!"

This is true. We don't know who the Santa is.

I just realized, unless I explain, most of you would not know who Jake is.

Jake is my little brother. Jake is also my grand nephew, Spencer Jack's, grandpa, which would also make Jake Spencer Jack's dad's dad, Jason.....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh No Snow In The Forecast For North Texas

This is not the first time since I've been spending Christmas in Texas that I've seen a potential White Christmas in the forecast.

Twice, or maybe thrice, a White Christmas has happened since I have been in Texas.

I only recollect one White Christmas during all my years of living in the relatively mild climate of Western Washington.

Before I moved to Texas I did not realize it even ever froze here, let alone freeze with these things I'd never experienced before called Ice Storms.

Anyway, moments ago I checked in on Facebook to find the premiere weather forecaster of North Texas, John Basham, mentioning the cold "S" word.

That is a screencap of said mention you see here, with the text of the cold "S" word warning copied below....

WEATHER UPDATE: 200PM WED DEC 23 2014 - NORTH TEXAS / OKLAHOMA / ARKANSAS / NW LOUISIANA - THIS IS AN NWS FORECAST. I wanted to pass along the NDFD (National Digital Forecast Database) forecast for midnight tonight (Tuesday) into early Wednesday. This NDFD is a composite image of all of the different local National Weather Service Office's individual forecasts (often VERY different from each other). This IS showing a rain snow mix changing to snow around midnight as close as Northeast Collin County in the D/FW metroplex. I personally think we will see snow a little farther South and West overnight until about 6am Wednesday across portions of the DFW metro as well... BUT, THAT IS NOT IN THIS FORECAST. THIS IS A VIEW OF WHAT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE THINKS WILL BE HAPPENING AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. Later this afternoon I will issue a more detailed holiday forecast (perhaps including some interesting New Year's weather) if time permits. Merry Christmas and enjoy the NWS Official Forecast.

Christmas Made In Washington Has Made It To Texas Two Days In A Row

As you can see, gray clouds have returned to my location on the planet. This morning those gray clouds were leaking at a level which caused me to decide my regular morning hot tubbing was not a good idea.

In the picture you are standing on my neighborhood Albertsons parking lot, looking north across one of  my neighborhood Chesapeake Energy Industrial Wastelands at some blue sky in the distance.

Since the clouds seem to be moving south I am assuming that blue sky will eventually arrive at my location.

Just as I was about to open the door to exit my abode a loud knock startled me. I opened the door to see a big man dressed in brown. After determining I was the correct person to whom to deliver the package which the big man in brown was holding, I signed an electronic tablet device, after which the big man in brown handed me that which you see below.

Two years ago the United States Postal Service could not manage to successfully deliver a single package to my abode or mailbox. Last year the USPS delivered three Christmas packages right to my door.

This year the USPS has delivered three Christmas packages right to my door, and left one Christmas package in the lock box by my mailbox. And now today's Christmas package delivery from UPS makes five successful Christmas package deliveries.

I do not know what accounts for the vastly improved Christmas package delivery service.

I have no idea what is in today's Christmas package. As you can see it is something from Made in Washington, apparently Artisan something with a truly local flavor, according to what I can read on the box.

Yesterday's Christmas package delivery also contained something made in Washington, but not from a Made in Washington Store.

Yesterday's made in Washington product was four big jars of homemade jam. one each of peach, raspberry, strawberry and blackberry.

It is well known that I am partial to all things blackberry. Blackberries grow wild and free for the picking in the valley in which I used to live in Washington.

Raspberries and strawberries are cultivated in that same valley, in copious amounts. I do not know if peaches are now grown in the Skagit Valley. I suspect not. The peaches for the jam likely came from Eastern Washington.

I suspect French toast with homemade Washington jam is on the menu for breakfast on the morning of Christmas Eve.

I shall resist the temptation to open any of the wrapped items that were in any of the other Christmas packages, or the Made in Washington box, until Christmas.

Or Christmas Eve.

The four jam jars revealed themselves, with no further unwrapping, when I opened the box which contained them, hence their pre-Christmas consumption potential.

I am a stickler for following a strict protocols when it comes to opening Christmas presents.....

Monday, December 22, 2014

The 2nd Day Of Winter Is A Blue Sky Semi-Warm Day In Texas

For what has seemed like weeks, but which was likely only a few days, my location on the planet, that being Texas, has been a gray, cold, drizzly, SAD inducing woeful miserable place to be.

By SAD, I mean Seasonally Affected Disorder inducing woeful miserable place to be.

As in that gray, cold, drizzly thing was inhibiting me from getting my much needed daily dose of endorphins from aerobic stimulation.

And now today, the second day of Winter, as you can see via the expansive view from my patio, blue sky has returned.


Rain is back on the menu for tomorrow.

And cold.

But today is scheduled to become semi-warm in the outer world, as in heated into the 60s.

I had myself a mighty fine, semi endorphin stimulating time, in the hot tub early this morning. I think I will follow that with a noon time bike ride. Either rolling around  my neighborhood, or rolling with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

I suspect it will be the Indian Ghosts I will be visiting, due to the need  to acquire cranberries and celery and some other stuff from ALDI for my Christmas Dinner Buffet.....

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Is My Neighborhood Santa Protesting Police Brutality?

Today is the first day of Winter.

Winter is off to a chilly start at my usually not too chilly location on the planet.

Yesterday, on the last day of Fall, on my way to walk around Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park, drenching drizzle caused me to opt out of that plan and continue on to an increasingly rare Saturday Town Talk visit.

Today in the noon time frame there was no drenching drizzle so I opted to take an increasingly rare walk around my neighborhood.

Walking north on Canyon Creek Drive I soon saw that one of my neighbors has Santa looking a bit unusual.

This Santa is about three miles from the machine gun toting Santa I blogged about earlier in the month in a blogging titled On My Way Today To Walk With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts I Had An Encounter With A Machine Gun Toting Santa.

I am fairly certain there is not some sort of Santa Gang War going on in my neighborhood.

Could Santa, with his arms in the air, in a "Please Don't Shoot Me" pose, be a reference to the Michael Brown murder in Ferguson?

Or is this supposed to suggest that Santa is climbing the tree to gain access to the chimney?

I likely will never know the answer to this particular Santa question....

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mr. Galtex Asked Me Another Trick Question That Had Me Pondering The Dunce Confederacy Bridge Boondoggle

Way back on Wednesday, December 10,  2014, I blogged a blogging titled In Italy Mr. & Mrs.Galtex Found A Possible Parking Lot Turned Into Turin's Piazza Castello after Mr. Galtex asked me a tricky question on Facebook.

This morning, on Facebook, Mr. Galtex asked me another tricky question.

You can read that tricky question above the picture of the source of the tricky question.

After pondering Mr. Galtex's tricky question, for a moment or two, I answered the tricky question with...

Well, since there is water under this bridge, with the water appearing to be part of a real river, my guess would be this is not a Fort Worth bridge, which means I am going with the Ticino in Pavia, Italy option.

I wonder if the Italians built this bridge over the Ticino River before adding  water to the riverbed under it, you know, what with that being the cost efficient way to build a bridge?

I wonder if the Italian bridge over the Ticino took four years to build?

Facebook just made its annoying notification noise. It's a reply from Mr. Galtex confirming I was correct in my answer to his tricky question...

I thought I might be able to fool you this time, but you correctly identified this signature bridge. That water was flowing very swiftly, too, quite unnerving for anyone accustomed to Trinity-type flow.

Regarding the Dunce Confederacy and their slow motion construction of Three Bridges Over Nothing.

It continues to annoy me that the Emperor continues to wander about town, wearing no clothes, with the people  pointing out this fact being ignored by the masses going along with the buffoonery that the Emperor is wearing new clothes.

Translated to Fort Worth, The Emperor is that which used to be known as the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, but which is now known as the Dunce Confederacy.  With the Dunce Confederacy foisting on its loyal subjects the ridiculous scam that the reason the Dunce Confederacy is taking four years to build Three Bridges Over Nothing is because it will save a lot of money to build those bridges over dry land. And then add  the flood diversion channel at some undetermined time in the future.

The truth of the matter is the more efficient way to build such a project would be to integrate the building of the bridges with the building of the channel. At the same time.

And a further obvious reality which shows the bogus-ness of the Dunce Confederacy dry bridge building scheme, is the fact that there will be no water in that flood diversion channel until water is diverted into it. In other words, the Three Bridges Over Nothing could be built over a totally dry flood diversion channel, under construction.

The reason the Dunce Confederacy is building the bridges over dry land, in slow motion, has nothing to do with cost efficiency. It is because they lack the funds to fund the construction of the un-needed flood diversion channel. Or build the bridges in a normal bridge construction timeline of far less than four years.

It does not take a lot of imagination to imagine if those Three Bridges Over Nothing actually do get built, and if that flood diversion channel then gets into construction mode, that there will arise a problem due to those bridges already being in place, something like the digging of the channel causing a problem with bridge support piers, or some other problem.

Bottom line truth is the fact that if the Dunce Confederacy's public works project was funded like any normal city funds its public works projects, both the channel and the bridges would currently be under construction.

And neither would take a ridiculous four years to build....

My Mom & Dad Want You To Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Yesterday in my mailbox I found a Christmas Card from my mom and dad. On the card I thought it to be  quite a nice photo of my mom and dad, hence sharing it in this venue.

I was a little curious how this card came to exist, what with it sort of looking like a professional type photograph and what with going to a professional photographer, for such a thing, not something my mom and dad are known to do.

A few hours after receiving the card in question I was on the phone with my sister who lives in Arizona five miles from my mom and dad.

After an hour, or so, of discussing other matters I asked if she knew how this Christmas Card came to be.


Turns out my sister took the picture, well, multiple pictures, on more than one occasion, and eventually got the photo we see above.

I then asked how that photo was turned into a Christmas Card.


Apparently you can go to the online version of a drug store called Walgreens and upload  a photo, choose a card, write text and an hour later go and pick up a pack of Christmas Cards at the Walgreens most convenient to your location.

If only I earlier knew of this easy method of making a Christmas Card I might have ended my lifelong aversion to sending anyone a Christmas Card......

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hope You Have Yourself A Relatively Happy Holiday

Last week I walked into my closet in search of something I thought should be in there, some where.

I looked through three file cabinets and two chests of drawers, to no avail.

But, I did find two Christmas Cards sent to me way back in the 1990s.

On one Christmas Card there were last century versions of my favorite nephews, Jason and Joey.

On the other Christmas Card there were last century versions of my favorite nephews, Christopher and Jeremy.

I scanned those two Christmas Cards, then morphed them together and added my grandest favorite nephew of all, Spencer Jack, to make my 2014 Have A Relatively Happy Holiday Christmas Card.

This 2014 Have A Relatively Happy Holiday Christmas Card is sent via electronic means only, no hard copy versions are mailed the old-fashioned method to anyone.

The electronic version of my 2014 Have A Relatively Happy Holiday Christmas Card is not addressed to anyone specifically, it is intended for those who happen to see it electronically, sort of an automatic default Christmas Card List.

So in closing, let me repeat, I hope you all Have A Relatively Happy Holiday.

I know I will.....

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Postman Sometimes Rings Twice In Texas

The Postman Sometimes Rings Twice, which is what happened today, with the Postman twice ringing and delivering packages of the Christmas present sort.

One of those packages is that which you see here, it being a HUGE box dwarfing my tall Christmas tree.

I use an exotic tropical evergreen for my Christmas tree, not the cliche pine type tree with all its vexing needles spewing off an odiferousness which makes me way too homesick due those type trees tendency to scent the air to smell way too much like the Pacific Northwest.

In a very strange bit of coincidental irony, well, I'm not sure about the irony part, well, actually, I am not even sure about the coincidental part, but just as I was transferring my Christmas Tree photos from camera to computer, Spencer Jack's dad called to tell me he and Spencer had received a package from the same source as this HUGE package you see here, the one dwarfing my Christmas tree.

Jason and Spencer Jack had opened their HUGE package. I always postpone gratification of that sort, unless I am told I need to open it immediately, due to refrigeration needs. When the HUGE package arrived I texted the senders to inform them of its arrival and to inquire if I needed to refrigerate the package prior to opening.

I was texted back "no fridge need".

So, the reason Spencer Jack's dad called about this package was due to the fact that after he and Spencer opened it they discovered it was full of wrapped Christmas presents for me.

I got off the phone and proceeded to make my way to the location of my Christmas Tree, removed the HUGE package from its resting place, then proceeded to open it to find wrapped Christmas presents for Spencer Jack, his dad and Spencer's uncle Joey.

Spencer Jack and Jason are flying here on Monday to retrieve that which arrived at my abode erroneously and deliver to me that which arrived at their abode erroneously.

I suggested it might be easier simply to use the same USPS method that caused the Postman to Ring Twice today....

UPDATE: Spencer Jack's dad emailed photo documentation of the look of joy and surprise on Spencer Jack's face upon arriving home to find a package filled with Christmas presents for his uncle in Texas!

The 2015 Manly Men & Wild Women Tandy Hills Hike Is Upon Us New Years Day

Yesterday, on Facebook, I saw that which you see here, that being a poster advertising the 2015, New Years Day Manly Men & Wild Women Hike on the Tandy Hills.

I do not do math well, and can not use my fingers to count right now because they are engaged in typing, but, since the first Manly Men & Wild Women Tandy Hills Hike took place on New Years Day of 2010 I think this upcoming Manly Men & Wild Women Tandy Hills Hike will be the 6th Annual Manly Men & Wild Women Tandy Hills Hike.

On Saturday, January 2, 2010, I blogged about that first Manly Men & Wild Women Tandy Hills Hike in a blogging titled Tandy Hills Hiking With Wild Women, Manly Men, The Queen Of Wink & Princess Annie.

How can it be, this upcoming New Years Day, that it has been five years since the Queen of Wink & Princess Annie journeyed all the way from their Kingdom in West Texas to do some hill hiking?

Time tends to fade memories, but my memory of that day, almost five years ago, is that the Queen of Wink, Annie and me could not keep up with the rigorous pace set by all the Manly Men & Wild Women. Eventually we found ourselves left behind, no Manly Men or Wild Women to be seen.

And so we made our way to my primitive form of mechanized locomotion and drove away from the Tandy Hills, eventually ending up in Arlington at a Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant, where we vowed to get ourselves in shape and come back to a future Manly Men & Wild Women Tandy Hills Hike where we would not be left behind in the dust.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spencer Jack's Sick Chill Magically Cured By A Grandma Vera Afghan

A day like today, cold, cloudy and dripping, such as is happening at my current location in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, a long distance north of being Deep in the Heart of Texas, with the cold, cloudy, drippiness being quite unpleasant, makes me think that I don't know if I could adjust, ever again, to living through a Western Washington non-sunny season, which is, pretty much, fall, winter and most of spring.

But, I think I'd be willing to try to make that adjustment, because I do remember how blissful those summer Pacific Northwest days can be, what with their natural air conditioning, bright blue skies.

And blackberries. Growing wild and free for the picking.

Nothing that I know of grows wild and free for the picking in Texas.

Well, there is the pear part of prickly pear cactus.

That is Spencer Jack sleeping above. Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason, emailed me this morning, with the above photo and a question about one of Spencer's relatives who lives in Tacoma.

A paragraph from the aforementioned email...

Picked Spencer up from school yesterday----he wasn't feeling well. Later that night tucked him into bed a little early. Said he was freezing. He was in sweat pants and a long sleeve shirt, covered by a sheet, a blanket and his bed comforter. Still said he was cold. Checked the thermostat in the house, which indicated it was 70 degrees. Grabbed a fleece blanket and put it over all his beddings. Went back to check on him. Still said he was cold. Drug out a Grandma Vera blanket, as seen in the picture. Must have been enough, as he was asleep in minutes.

So, Spencer Jack is ailing. I hope it's nothing serious. As soon as I saw the picture I knew what part of it was which Jason referenced, that being a "Grandma Vera blanket..."

More accurately a "Grandma Vera Crocheted Afghan."  Grandma Vera was my mom's mom. I last saw Grandma Vera in July of 2002 when Spencer Jack's Uncle Joey and I dropped in to visit Grandma in Bellingham. I think it was that visit north in 2002. It may have been an earlier visit in 2001.

Anyway, as far back as my memory goes Grandma Vera had really bad arthritis, with her hands all crippled up. This did not stop Grandma from being a crocheting machine. No one knows how many afghans Grandma made. I know I have four currently in my abode. I am looking at two right now, folded up, in position to be used should the temperature drop too much.

In addition to afghans, Grandma crocheted caps, or whatever it is you call  those mainstay headgears of skiing or a snowy winter day. I do not know how many Grandma Vera crocheted caps I have here. At least a half dozen. On a cold winter day, up in Lynden, near the Canadian border, if Grandma saw kids walking to school, capless, she'd go out and cover them with one of her crocheted caps.

I imagine to this day, in Lynden, on a cold day, you likely will see a head or two covered with a Grandma Vera cap.

Grandma Vera has been gone now for over a decade. That seems impossible. I think it would please Grandma Vera if she knew that over ten years later her eldest grandson was in Texas, talking about her on that newfangled thing, the Internet, which sort of annoyed her. Grandma Vera did not understand why everything was dot com this, dot com that. I remember trying to explain what dot com was, to limited avail.

I think Grandma Vera would be quite pleased to know her Great Great Grandson, Spencer Jack. I imagine by this point in time, if Grandma Vera were still alive, Spencer Jack would likely have a large supply of his own Grandma Vera crocheted afghans and caps.

Okay, I am feeling homesick and melancholy and sad now. Damn Seasonally Affected Disorder....

The Confederacy Of Dunces First Public Vote On The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

Yesterday after I blogged about the Confederacy of Dunces "My City. My Trinity. Fort Worth finding its way back home" photo exhibit, an amusing blog comment arrived from Ignatius J. Reilly...

Ignatius J. Reilly has left a new comment on your post "J.D. Granger & His Confederacy Of Dunces Is Now Programming Propaganda Photo Exhibit Products": 

Mr. Jones, you did not make note of a part of the TRV's press release that reeked with irony, that being the following sentence.

"A second gallery will feature community submitted photographs, the public is encouraged to vote on their favorite image."

For the first time in its history, that which you call The Boondoggle is allowing the public to vote on some aspect of The Boondoggle, albeit a very minor aspect. 

Ignatius is correct, I did not make note (in my blog post) of this first time ever public vote on any aspect of The Boondoggle.

However, I did make note of this historic fact, when I read it, and intended to mention this shocking development. But, then forgot to.

So, thank you, Mr. Reilly, for noticing this history making event and commenting about it.

As for the Confederacy of Dunces, or Dunce Confederacy, I opined yesterday that maybe we need to make this the new name for The Boondoggle.

That which is known as The Boondoggle has gone through several name changes. From Trinity Uptown, to Trinity River Vision, to Panther Island.

So, I guess it only makes sense that that which we used to refer to as the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, eventually to become known simply as The Boondoggle, may now become known as the Dunce Confederacy.

The term "Confederacy of Dunces" comes from a Jonathan Swift essay, in which Swift said, "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."

Sadly, there is no loud genius, appearing to be heard, who is speaking truth to the Fort Worth Confederacy of Dunces. Fort Worth has no real newspaper, of the daily sort, printing the results of investigative journalism.

Thus, the Dunce Confederacy basically operates in a vacuum with no checks or balance.

Fort Worth Weekly does what it can, but can not afford to annoy the local businesses who buy advertising.

Come to think of it, I don't think I saw a single ad in Fort Worth Weekly this summer from the Dunce Confederacy, formerly known as The Boondoggle, advertising their weekly Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Float Beer Parties.

You reading this outside the Fort Worth propaganda bubble, back in November we had a good example of the Dunce Confederacy in action. The occasion was the ground explosion, I mean, ground breaking, for the Dunce Confederacy's Three Bridges Over Nothing. Three very simple bridges which are scheduled to take longer to build than the Golden Gate Bridge and many other feats of modern engineering.

Only a Confederacy of Dunces would have a celebration to make note of something as lame as the start of this slow motion bridge construction project.

Go to the blogging I wrote that day, titled A Big Boom Begins Boondoggle Bridge Construction Three Months Late and you will see the Dunce Confederacy in action, including video (if the Dunces have not removed it) where you can hear J.D. Granger, his Mama Kay, and Fort Worth Mayor, Betsy Price, give a good verbal example of what Dunces sound like when they say stupid stuff which has no grounding in reality....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

J.D. Granger & His Confederacy Of Dunces Is Now Programming Propaganda Photo Exhibit Products

It seems so long ago, but it was only last September, when an embarrassing brouhaha broke out over a photo exhibit in the Amon Carter Museum, with the brouhaha being caused by an exhibit of photos of the Trinity River by Chicago photographer, Terry Evans.

Ms. Evans made the mistake of taking honest photos of what her eyes honestly saw, unaware, as she was, of the Fort Worth aesthetic when it comes to how Fort Worth is to be portrayed to the outside world.

In other words, Terry Evans did not take Chamber of Commerce type doctored photos, with manipulated lighting, filtering and a big dose of over saturating.

The Terry Evans photos looked at the Trinity River under the harsh light of day, not under the more forgiving light of darkness.

The forgiving light of darkness is the preferred lighting mode of way too many of those who have way too much influence over what  happens in Fort Worth, and which may be why so much which happens in Fort Worth ends up looking a bit ugly, when looked at in the realistic light of day.

Back in September I blogged about this Amon Carter/Terry Evans brouhaha in a blogging titled A Star-Telegram Review Of An Amon Carter Museum Exhibit Leads To Much Ado About Photos Of The Trinity River.

That blogging contained what may be the most embarrassing J.D. Granger verbiage he has uttered, and Lord knows there has been a plethora of embarrassing verbiage uttered from that boy's lips.

On Facebook, regarding this photo exhibit, J.D. said, "I firmly believe there are two people at fault right now. I point this out to encourage our beautiful river community to direct your comments at both of them to help educate them about our Trinity River in Fort Worth. We are victims of an outta town arrogant and ignorant photographer and a reporter who failed to educate herself about our community before she inked this junk."

The "beautiful river community" may be my favorite part of this Granger nonsense. Plus, "victims"? You tell the truth, or in this case, take honest photos, victimizing the community, because the allegedly beloved river is the object of an honest look? I suspect J.D. Granger likely has serious issues with mirrors as well.

So, after stewing about this victimhood for a couple months what does the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle do? He takes time out from his busy schedule of working on the complex, fast moving engineering project over which he is responsible to "Program" another "Product" of The Boondoggle.

In an article on The Boondoggle's website titled “My City. My Trinity. Fort Worth finding its way back home” Exhibit to Open at Fort Worth Community Arts Center we learn The Boondoggle is sponsoring a photo exhibit  including Trinity River  photos taken by the photo propagandist who helped stir up the Terry Evans controversy, Brian Luenser.

Part of the breathless "For Immediate Release" announcement....

FORT WORTH, TX -- The Trinity River and its tributaries ebb and flow through every corner of Fort Worth creating a unique opportunity for our city. Fort Worth was founded along the Trinity River because of the vitality the river provided. However, as time passed the community turned its back to the river. The Trinity became something that the community quickly drove across or beside forgetting the prominence it once played. In recent years, the Trinity River has experienced a resurrection in Fort Worth as the community has awoken to all that the river can provide. Today the Trinity River is returning to its original glory delivering water needs, open areas for recreation in and along its banks and a place to escape the hustle and bustle of one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. A deeper understanding of this wonderful amenity has developed as the public realized that the Trinity River can serve as a link that brings our entire community together.

The “My City. My Trinity.” exhibit features works of art from members of our community who have embraced the Trinity River and all that it has to offer our city. One gallery within the exhibit will feature photographs from Brian Luenser and Gordon Henry, both Fort Worth based photographers. A second gallery will feature community submitted photographs, the public is encouraged to vote on their favorite image. 

This exhibit is a gift to the community for their continued support of the Trinity River and their commitment to continue improving and embracing the opportunities it affords our city,” said Trinity River Vision Authority Executive Director, JD Granger.

This shift in perception would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of a select group of organizations. Thanks to water quality initiatives the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has implemented over the last 20 years the Trinity River is the only river in a large urban area in Texas that you can jump in and embrace.  The river is now enjoyed by kayakers, canoers, water skiers, tubers and swimmers alike. TRWD has also constructed a number of low water crossings and water access points for the community’s enjoyment. However, the amenity that TRWD is most appreciated for is its contribution to the beloved Trinity Trail system. TRWD has built and maintains over 58 miles of trail in the comprehensive Trinity Trails system. This system is connected to a strong on-street trail and park network provided by the City of Fort Worth which includes Trinity Park and Gateway Park. The full Trinity Trail system provides over 70 miles of continuous trails and connects to 31 neighborhoods. 

The above propaganda is right up there with the worst of The Boondoggle's embarrassing propaganda.

The river is returning to its original glory?

The river has experienced a resurrection?

The community has awoken to all the river can provide?

The public realizes the river can serve as a link to the community?

The river is the only river in an urban area in Texas that you can jump in and embrace?

And the best of the nonsense, predictably from J.D. Granger, telling us this exhibit is a gift to the community, with that gift given because of the continued support, by the community, of the river, along with the community support for improving the river and embracing the opportunities the river brings to Fort Worth.

The "community", as in voters, has never been allowed to vote for any of this, you clueless Dunce. How does the Executive Director of The Boondoggle know what the community wants?

There have been ZERO elections in which the community of voters has approved of anything The Boondoggle is doing.

Did the community want the world's premiere wakeboard lake? Did the community want the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century? Did the community want an ice rink? Did the community want the name "Panther Island" applied  to an area of urban blight, which is not an island? Did the community want happy hour inner tube floats on the river, with music?

If so, exactly by what means did The Boondoggle's Executive Director learn that this was what the community wanted, when the community has never approved of any of The Boondoggle's boondoggling via an election, including this embarrassing photo exhibit intended to childishly counter the Amon Carter Terry Evan exhibit?

Like I said.

A Dunce.

Leading what amounts to being a Confederacy of Dunces. A Confederacy of Dunces building bridges over nothing, in slow motion, to connect to an imaginary island, with a future island-making ditch to be dug, years from now, if ever, to fix an imaginary flood problem and make that imaginary island.

Confederacy of Dunces. I think this may be my new name for The Boondoggle....

Pantego Puzzlement Leads Me To No Man's Land In Arlington's Veterans Park

It was not soon before midnight, last night, that I returned to my abode after an exhausting night of Dancing with the Fort Worth Stockyard Cows.

Even though I got home late I got up early, before the sun, which enabled a sunrise hot tub bout which was quite salubrious.

Prior to noon I needed to go to Pantego to get myself bum puzzled  by a big electronic device which eventually gave me money.

No, there are no casinos in Pantego with slot machines. I have to drive all the way to Oklahoma or Louisiana to lose money by that method.

I was not long in Pantego before I headed to Veterans Park in Arlington.

Above you are looking at the Veterans Park Veterans Memorial, from the northeast side of the memorial.

To the south of the memorial, new signage has been installed since my last visit.

I had not heard that a Vietnam War Memorial was being added to Veterans Park.

When I saw the sign I wondered if this new memorial will be modeled after the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C.?

Fair Park in Dallas has a Vietnam Wall Memorial modeled after the one in Washington, D. C., but with the Dallas Wall memorializing only the names of Texans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone and you've not seen  the Vietnam Memorial in Fair Park, well, it is worth the trek to find it. It is very well done.

I'm sure the Arlington Vietnam War Memorial will also be well done. Arlington seems to have a habit of doing most things well. Except for things like public transit.

Today I hiked the more rugged area of Veterans Park.

As I gazed upon the scenic wonderland it caused me to wonder if this area you see here is not some sort of homage to the Veterans of World War I, with this being an art installation representing No Man's Land, with those rock structures representing trenches.

Or it may just be part of the Veterans Park Disc Golf Course.

Then again nothing stops this from being a dual purpose type deal.

Christmas In The Fort Worth Stockyards With Dancing Cows, Pete Delkus & Too Many Fort Worth Police

Last night, that being the third Monday night of the last month of 2014, I found myself in the Fort Worth Stockyards, making my way to the vicinity of Booger Red's Saloon, home of Buffalo Butt Beer, when I came upon a raucous scene I had not anticipated.

Being face to face with one of the most notorious faces in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Pete Delkus.

The premiere Weather Drama Queen of North Texas.

I have lost track of the number of times I have been peacefully minding my own business, watching some television show on ABC, to find the show suddenly interrupted by Pete Delkus excitedly informing me that a rotating cell has been detected some long distance from my location, that may drop hail or spin into a tornado.

Anyway, Pete Delkus was surrounded by a lot of Dancing Cows. And a mini-orchestra providing music, with a couple singers singing. It really was a festive affair. You can watch a snippet of the festive affair in the video below.

As I stood watching the Dancing Cows a nice young lady asked if I would like some hot cocoa. I politely declined. She then asked if I would like some cookies. I said yes please, saying I hope one is white chocolate macadamia nut. To which she replied one was, with the other one being a plain ol' chocolate chip cookie.

Soon after escaping the Dancing Cows and Pete Delkus, to continue on my way to Booger Red's, I came upon a poster informing me that the Dancing Cows with Pete Delkus mayhem was a Chick-fil-A Christmas thing.

Which explained the Dancing Cows and the event being a Toy Drop Off.

This also explained the long line of cars, with Santa and his Helpers taking packages from the cars in exchange for hot cocoa and cookies.

One thing of note which bothered  me about last night's visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards.

That being there seemed to be, to me, way too many Fort Worth police cars stationed around the Stockyards. I have been in many a tourist attraction over the years and I do not recollect ever seeing such a heavy handed type police presence at what would seem to be an innocuous night in the Stockyards. I have never noticed multiple Fort Worth police cars during daytime visits to the Stockyards.

Or was there an ISIS terror threat about which I was unaware? I did notice two Fort Worth police cars parked on Main Street, at the Exchange Street turn into the Stockyards, parked near the long abandoned New ISIS Theater.

Methinks if the Fort Worth police think a heavy handed police presence is needed, then park your police cars somewhere out of sight, get out of the car and walk the Stockyard beat.

And now for your viewing pleasure, Dancing Cows & Pete Delkus in Christmas Festive mode in the Fort Worth Stockyards, with heavy police protection...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tacoma's Foss Waterway Development Authority vs. Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Authority Boondoggle

A couple days ago, whilst sorting through my YouTube videos looking for a video I made six years ago of a drive over Tacoma's Two Bridges Over Water, I came upon another video I made during that year's stay in Tacoma, a video of a walk around Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway.

You can watch that video below, in which you will see a pair of Tacoma Link street cars, full of riders, crossing paths in Tacoma's Museum district, which is not called The Cultural District.

Those Tacoma Link street cars are free to ride from Tacoma's Intermodal Transport Center where you can hop a bus, train or streetcar, to go to all sorts of locations, after parking in a big parking garage, for free.

At the Tacoma Intermodal Transport Center you will also find Freighthouse Square, a Fort Worth Santa Fe Rail Market-like development on steroids, which has thrived for years, rather than die a quick death like Fort Worth's pitiful public market attempt.

Watching that video I made years ago, made well after the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was well underway, with its slow motion construction, I was struck by the similarities between what Thea Foss Waterway has become and what the Trinity River Vision purports to want to be.

Both have bridges. That is the Thea Foss Waterway Bridge below, built across water in way shorter time than four years. The TRV Boondoggle currently has three simple bridges under construction, over dry land, with the water to be added later. Maybe. With these simple bridges slated to take four years to build.

Above you are looking at just a small section of the Thea Foss Waterway. What is called the Esplanade meanders along the waterway for about 1.5 miles. I believe that is about the length of the Fort Worth Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's imaginary promenade alongside its imaginary channel alongside its imaginary island.

Below is another look at the Thea Foss Waterway Esplanade. When I visited for a month in August of 2004 I had myself a mighty fine time roller blading on the Esplanade.

The Thea Foss Waterway Development is a mixed use type of deal. There is a large marina with boats of all sizes, restaurants, a big apartment complex, which you see part of on the left above, stores, parks, other amenities, including museums, some of which are accessed by crossing over a freeway spur via what is known as The Bridge of Glass.

Above you are looking at the broad stairway which leads to the aforementioned Bridge of Glass, where you will find an installation of Chihuly Glass worth millions. That cone shaped structure is part of the Museum of Glass.

Okay, now that I have given you some idea of what the Thea Foss Waterway is, let's talk about how this development came to be.

Historically the Thea Foss Waterway was an industrial zone. Those industries polluted the waterway. In 1983 the Environmental Protection Agency designated the waterway and Commencement Bay a Superfund cleanup site.

Tacoma city and business leaders then created the Foss Waterway Development Authority with its goal being the restoration of the waterway to being a dynamic part of Tacoma. From that point on the FWDA has set precedents in planning, engineering and development, in cooperation with regulatory agencies and the public.

In 2014 the result is a mixed use urban village combining housing, retail, restaurants, along with recreation amenities.

The Thea Foss Waterway is on ongoing development, growing and expanding.

So, how does Tacoma, a town a quarter the size of Fort Worth, population-wise, manage to pull of a massive public works project, successfully, including the building of bridges, water features, walkways, along with cleaning up a pollution mess, while Fort Worth dawdles along with an embarrassing boondoggle which had an explosive celebration celebrating the start of the four year construction of Three Bridges Over Nothing?

I think part of the explanation for the difference is in Tacoma adults are in charge. The executive director of the Foss Waterway Authority is not the unqualified son of a local congresswoman. The Foss Waterway Authority sets and meets clear goals with project timelines.

Fort Worth's Boondoggle has no actual goals or project timelines, unless one wants to count that four year goal to build three simple bridges over dry land.

Comparing the Foss Waterway Development Authority website with the Trinity River Vision Authority website is very revealing.

The Tacoma website it totally reality based, sharing information about projects already completed, or in progress. The Fort Worth website is mostly propaganda, sharing pseudo information about plans which have no plan or project timeline, such as the Gateway Park Master Plan.

The Fort Worth website does a lot of bragging about things they should be embarrassed about, such as their various "Products" and "Programs".  Products like ice rinks, drive-ins, breweries and wakeboard parks. Programs like Rockin' the River Inner Tube Floats and music festivals.

You will find no information on the Fort Worth website about project timelines. You will find a lot of propaganda puffery.

The Tacoma website has a page listing the Foss Waterway Development Authority's Completed Projects.

You will find no similar list on The Boondoggle's website.

The mission statement type blurbs on the two website's home pages are telling.

From the Thea Foss Waterway Development Authority website...

The Thea Foss Waterway is quickly becoming a popular place to live, work and play. Mountain views, marina access, walking distance to downtown Tacoma and nearby services make Foss Waterway an attractive master planned community. Development sites are available along the Foss Waterway, just 35 miles south of Seattle. The Foss Waterway Development Authority (FWDA) is the coordinating agency for the waterfront's development. We can be advocates for developers through our established relationships with regulatory agencies.

From the Trinity River Vision Authority website...

The Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) is the organization responsible for the implementation of the Trinity River Vision (TRV) - a master plan for the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas. It is underway now - connecting every neighborhood in the city to the Trinity River corridor with new recreational amenities, improved infrastructure, environmental enhancements and event programming. The TRV will create Panther Island (formerly Trinity Uptown), a vibrant urban waterfront neighborhood, expand Gateway Park into one of the largest urban-programmed parks in the nation and enhance the river corridor with over 90 user-requested projects along the Trinity Trails.
Every time I read the TRVB's propaganda about 90 imaginary user-requested projects I cringe. I tell you, the Fort Worth Boondogglers, led by J.D. Granger, have no shame, no matter how absurd the propaganda they spew.

A master plan to connect every neighborhood in the city to the river? Can we see that plan please?

The plan is underway? Really? Where can we check out the project timeline for that plan which is underway? Such a timeline does not exist on The Boondoggle's website.

And, before I shut up, I must add one important thing. The Boondoggle is not yet at the point, if it ever gets there, when pollution issues come up that need mitigating, such as Tacoma had to deal with. The area where The Boondoggle is boondoggling is an industrial wasteland. It is highly likely contamination is going to be encountered if digging into the ground ever actually takes place.

Does the EPA Superfund still exist? Methinks that may be the only federal money The Boondoggle may actually be able to get its hands on.....