Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spencer Jack's Wakeboard Lake Has Cleaner Water Than J.D. Granger's Cowtown Wakepark

This morning when I woke up my computer I saw I had incoming email from FNJ (Favorite Nephew Jason).

The subject line of the email said "Spencer Wakeboards in Backyard".

The message in the email said....

FUD---

Skagit County is suffering a tropical heat wave.  Highs in Seattle predicted to exceed 80 over the next two days.

Spencer Jack used his earnings from a lucrative Easter Egg hunt to purchase a new backyard swimming pool.

I must explain FUD is short for Favorite Uncle Durango, in case you did not already know that.

Wow! My old home zone is suffering a tropical heat wave while I am here in the Deep South shivering from an Arctic Blast that has brought the temperature down from the 90s to the low 50s.

Spencer Jack's Wakeboard Lake and his other engineering projects got me thinking how much my young great nephew has in common with Fort Worth's J.D. Granger.

Both have zero project engineering qualifications. But both are in charge of large engineering projects, with some key differences.

Spencer Jack's Skagit Valley Vision is fully funded, with the original vision completed, yet continuing to be added to.

While J.D. Granger's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has been Boondoggling for well over a decade, underfunded, with basically nothing built.

Well, there is the Cowtown Wakepark. A crowning achievement, so far, of the TRVB.

And I forgot all the property taken by abusing eminent domain for a public works project the public has never been allowed to vote on. Spencer Jack did not abuse eminent domain for his Skagit Valley Vision.

Spencer Jack's Skagit Valley Vision, of which he is the project  manager, is a massive urban village with trains and a monorail, built in his garage.

J.D. Granger has recently been bragging that soon three extremely ordinary bridges, that he thinks will be a signature look for Fort Worth, will be under construction, maybe, and maybe be finished in three or four years.

J.D.'s bridges will be built over no river. They will be built over an imaginary bypass channel that has yet to be funded, or have its hydraulics designed. As in no one knows how much the imaginary flood gates will cost to divert a flooding Trinity River into the imaginary bypass channel.

Near as I can tell, J.D. Granger is much better at playing than is Spencer Jack. J.D. comes up with Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the polluted Trinity River, while I don't think it has crossed Spencer Jack's mind to float on an inner tube in the un-polluted Skagit River.

J.D. has also come up with pretending to have the world's premiere urban music venue at a location he dubbed Panther Island, which may be an island, I think, if that imaginary bypass channel ever becomes real.

J.D. helped bring about the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century, while I doubt Spencer Jack knows what a drive-in movie theater is.

J.D. also helped bring Fort Worth a much needed little ice rink for six weeks during the winter. I don't think such things cross Spencer Jack's mind. He has his ice needs met by being driven up to the snowy Cascades during the winter.

However, like I already said, in the project engineering part of the vision thing, Spencer Jack is way ahead of J.D. Granger. And has now added a Wakeboard Lake in his backyard, which doubles as a boating venue, which you can see video of below....


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Today Mary Kelleher Received The Badge Of Honor Of A TRWD Board Censure While Censuring The Board Herself

Yesterday I blogged that Tomorrow Mary Kelleher May Receive The High Honor Of Being Censured By The Ethically Challenged Tarrant Regional Water District Board.

Well, today is yesterday's tomorrow and today, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, the TRWD Board voted to censure fellow board member, Mary Kelleher.

At one point in the meeting Mary Kelleher said she would "wear the censure like a badge of honor."

When Mary said that she would wear the censure like a badge of honor the scene you see part of above, erupted, with Mary's supporters standing and cheering.

I do not know how long the video of this meeting will be viewable. I suspect it may disappear when Mary's fellow board members realize how bad this meeting makes them look. Bad and out of touch with reality. And downright ineptly stupid.

Currently you can view the video of today's meeting, via the TRWD website, by going here.

Sitting at the TRWD Board table, that you see above, is Vic Henderson at the head of the table. To the right of Henderson, clutching her pearls, is Marty Leonard. Mary is next to Marty. Directly across from Mary is Jim Lane. I think that is Hal Stevens between Lane and Henderson. Apparently Hal Stevens is limited to 10 words per meeting.

He is cropped off in the video screencap above, but to the left of Jim Lane, also across from Mary, is Mary's arch nemesis, the notorious Jim Oliver.

What with what was said about Jim Oliver at this meeting I was thinking to myself what in the world does this man have on these people that keeps him from being fired? Jim Oliver won't give Mary a key to the building? While Vic Henderson hems and haws about how he can't tell Jim Oliver what to do?

Was Vic Henderson able to comprehend that  people were laughing at him and the ridiculously ironic things he was saying at times? At one point Henderson threatened to clear the room when the guffawing got going real good. Someone shouted "Good luck with that", implying that Henderson and his co-horts were outnumbered. To which Henderson threatened "It can be done."

I wish the crowd would have been more vocal and more disruptive. This was the first actual real good protest I have witnessed since I have been in mostly protest-free Texas, a place where there seems to me to be so much to protest about.

My favorite moment was when Mary basically censured the board with a litany of their extremely questionable actions. Mary brought up nepotism, cronyism, other isms I'm forgetting and most memorably Mary brought up an illicit liaison between a high ranking TRWD employee and a lower ranking TRWD employee, saying this as she sat a couple feet from Jim Oliver.

I wish I could remember exactly what it was Mary said when she got to the illicit liaison part of her censuring of the TRWD Board.

While watching this absurd meeting a couple times it was reminding me of a Simpson's episode. With Mary being Lisa Simpson, you know, wise beyond her years Lisa Simpson, usually smarter than any of the adults in the room, being totally flummoxed by the utter ridiculousness of what she is dealing with.

Sticking with the TV theme, watching this absurd meeting also reminded me of watching Dallas. The drawling Texas accents, particularly Vic Henderson's, combined with the sort of evil undertone of the Board's shenanigans, well, it seemed like J.R. Ewing would have felt right at home, and not just because of the condoning of illicit liaisons.

Listening to some of the nonsense, like going on and on like Mary had committed some sort of crime at a Fort Worth City Council meeting had me thinking Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass, where right is wrong, up is down, stupid is smart, yes is no.

And where, in Vic Henderson's imagination, Mary is surrounded by special shirts. Yes, that's right, Henderson accused Mary of attending the city council meeting with a gang of special shirts.

Seriously, Fort Worth, can't we do better than have buffoons like this conducting public business?

I wish there was a printed transcript so I could exactly repeat what Mary said about her fellow board member's need to resign due to their multiple incompetencies and questionable antics. This may have come in the part of the meeting where Mary answered the various charges against her, charges like costing the district money. Mary then counted off a long list of various ways the TRWD Board had wasted public money. Like millions spent on a lawsuit trying to get water from Oklahoma.

Or planting peas at their private game reserve.

One more thing.

I think I may have fallen in love with Mary Kelleher today. I know I'm smitten. If you watch the video you will get why, there's just something about Mary.....

Rolling My Wheels On Gateway Park's Trails With Fallen Trees, Brush Blockages, Snakes & A Bobcat

Those are my handlebars back in Gateway Park today, looking at the ever growing piles of brush that is blocking much of that which was not blocked before the brush was cut and piled.

The brush cutters were back cutting and piling brush today.

I think I may have figured out the purpose of all the brush cutting. I think the Fort Worth Park Department may have decided it was a good idea to open up this section of the park, giving open access to the cliff from which one looks down on the Trinity River. This part of the park did have a bit of a claustrophobic feel to it, prior to the brush being cut.

The brush was an issue even before I started to roll my wheels today. As I was unloading my bike from its motorized vehicular transport, to load it with that which I take with me, as in wallet, camera, phone and water, a guy rolled up, stopped and asked me if I was riding the single track.

When I indicated I was pedaling the single track he advised me to not pedal past the two cones I'll come to at the point where the trail has its first steep down and up section. I indicated I knew whence he was referring. He said he pedaled past the cones, zipped down the hill and then had to slam the brakes when he saw the trail was blocked by brush and brush cutters.

The guy also warned me about a downed tree further down the trail that he slammed in to due to it being on part of the trail that zips up and down with sharp turns. He said he went through the jungle to get to the paved trail and around the downed tree. When I got to the obstruction I decided just to turn around and go the wrong way, back to an easy exit to the paved trail.

All the trail problems had me wondering if the Fort Worth Mountain Bike Association is still actively maintaining the Gateway Park trails.

A few weeks ago, on the informational sign at the trailhead, I read about a problem the FWMBA was a having over losing its insurance and thus not being able to keep up their part of the trail bargain they'd made with the city.

I re-read that information today which directed me to the FWMBA website for updated trail info.

I don't think I'd been to the FWMBA website before. That is a screencap of the Gateway Park part of the website you are looking at here. It is a well done website.

The FWMBA website gave me no indication that this organization is no longer actively involved with the Gateway Park trails.

On Sunday as I rolled over the Gateway Park trails I suddenly found myself faced with an incoming couple pedaling the wrong direction. Today it happened again, with a solo guy. Both were confused by the maze of trails. It is easy to get going the wrong direction, or take a wrong turn on to a disc golf trail.

 I have only seen two directional arrows anywhere on the Gateway Park mountain bike trails. And both of those are a bit confusing.

I don't know if the FWMBA people realize how popular their Gateway Park trails have become. Popular for a good reason. They are fun trails, as long as no brush blocks your way before almost getting hit by someone rolling the wrong direction.

Other than blocked trails and other aggravations I had myself a mighty fine time rolling my wheels today, with that mighty fine time including having my first bobcat encounter ever at Gateway Park and almost rolling over a snake for the first time this year...

A Packed Meeting Room With Protesters Outside Greets TRWD Board Mary Kelleher Censure Hearing


UPDATE: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, the TRWD Board actually followed through on the censure of Mary Kelleher, to boos from protesters and threats from the TRWD Board to remove the booing supporters of Mary Kelleher.

The Tarrant Regional Water District Boards attempt to censure fellow board member, Mary Kelleher is now underway.

I suspect the wannabe censurers are being a bit taken aback by the standing room only crowd which has assembled to witness the TRWD Board's nefariously questionable antics.

I doubt the TRWD censurers considered their offputting antics would cause protesters to be standing outside holding protest signs up to the meeting room windows.

Signs with messages such as " FOLLOW YOUR OWN RULES", "LET US VOTE ON TRV", "GIVE TRANSPARENCY A CHANCE".

I opted out of attending the TRWD Board meeting and its attempt to censure Mary Kelleher. I sort of figured I did my part by blogging about it.

That and I find so much about the TRWD to be annoying that I could see where I might have found myself in some sort of unseemly confrontation of  the sort I've found myself in times previous, which in hindsight would have been best avoided.

Anyway, if I hear anything interesting about what's happening at the TRWD headquarters, I'll let you know.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Tomorrow Mary Kelleher May Receive The High Honor Of Being Censured By The Ethically Challenged Tarrant Regional Water District Board

On the left you are looking at a page from the recently mailed Tarrant Regional Water District Annual 2013 Report. On this page we are looking at the TRWD Board of Directors, with the most recently elected Director, Mary Kelleher, at the bottom.

Today I learned that the Directors above Mary on this page have conspired to censure Mary Kelleher.

This censuring is scheduled to take place at 9:30 tomorrow, Tuesday, April 29 at the Tarrant Regional Water District's headquarters at 800 E. Northside Drive in Fort Worth.

What in the world has Mary Kelleher done to warrant this latest bout of abuse from her fellow board members?

I can think of some things that don't get a censure from the TRWD Board, that can not be what Mary has done.

For instance, I doubt Mary is being censured for being caught flagrante delicto with someone other than her spouse in the backseat of a car parked on the TRWD parking lot, because that is okay behavior in the TRWD Board's ethical world.

Mary can't be getting censured for any sort of nepotism, because it is well known that the TRWD Board has no problem with the corrupt practice of nepotism, while nepotism is frowned upon in ethical, democratic parts of the world.

Mary can't be being censured for being instrumental in a sweetheart deal to let someone build a restaurant on public property with out the sweetheart deal being an open bid type of opportunity, because the TRWD Board condones that type of shady deal.

Mary can't be being censured for coming up with a plan to buy some land from a financially strapped friend, followed by giving another sweetheart deal for someone's plan to build something silly, like the first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century, because the TRWD is totally okay with that type shady deal.

Mary can't be being censured for causing the public to lose a lot of money due to initiating an incompetent lawsuit aimed at taking water from Oklahoma, because the TRWD Board is totally okay with that type of waste of money, even if the case has to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Mary can't possibly be being censured for asking to see some specific TRWD public documents, can she? The TRWD's censuring could not possibly be due to claiming Mary has caused conflict on the board, claiming this to be disruptive, can they?

Is this censuring of Mary Kelleher the latest and most blatant attempt by her fellow TRWD Board Members to shut Mary up?

I have long not been alone in wondering what it is that the TRWD Board is covering up that it goes to such extreme lengths to keep the public, through Mary, from seeing the public documents Mary has long been denied access to.

During the last TRWD election, the one where Mary won her seat with a record number of votes, I referred to the TRWD Board as cockroaches. Some thought this harsh. I thought it totally accurate. Cockroaches do not like light. Cockroaches go to extreme measures to keep out of the light.

It can be difficult to get rid of a cockroach infestation. I think we are seeing this currently in Fort Worth.

I have previously opined, and many agree with me, that Fort Worth suffers from not having a legitimate newspaper of record. The Star-Telegram functions like the old Soviet Union's Pravda, as in it is no longer a newspaper, but is instead, a propaganda purveyor.

I can tell you, with just about 100% certainty, that if this TRWD Board's cockroach-like behavior played out in other towns in which I have lived, those being towns on the West Coast with real newspapers, that those town's newspapers would be all over the TRWD Board's bad. unethical behavior. The TRWD would be hit with Freedom of Information requests, reporters would investigate the TRWD's shady dealings.

And Mary Kelleher would be a local hero, admired for her tenacity, while the TRWD Board Members, who tried to censure Mary, would be reviled as not being fit to be in a position of public trust.

And don't get me started on what any of the towns I have lived  in on the West Coast's newspapers would have done with the absurd Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, with its absurd hiring of a local congresswoman's unqualified son to run the project.

I really believe Fort Worth suffers because the majority of the people have never lived in a town with a real newspaper that looks out for the public's best interest, and so they don't know what their town is missing and thus don't insist that their town's newspaper acts like one......

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, the TRWD Board actually followed through on the censure of Mary Kelleher, to boos from protesters and threats from the TRWD Board to remove the booing supporters of Mary Kelleher.

I Had No Panther Encounter Today Whilst Walking With Arlington's Village Creek Indian Ghosts & The Mumu Lady

A few minutes before I left my abode this morning I got some news that had me in need to ponder mode.

Walking with the Indian ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area has been a good pondering zone for me for years.

Today was no different. I had myself some real good pondering, with only two interruptions to the pondering, one being a lady with a pit bull named Patsy, who she was having trouble keeping under control.

The other interruption was of short duration, that being an encounter with nice oldster I refer to as the Mumu Lady.

I have no idea if Mumu is the correct spelling of that type clothing attire that looks sort of like wearing a big blanket. Maybe the correct spelling is Moomoo.

The Mumu Lady was in her Mumu the first few times I saw her. Then the Mumu was replaced with a stylish jogging type suit. The Mumu Lady does this odd waving of her arms in front of her as she walks fast. Her face is extremely sun-tanned, of the sort I see when I visit a Sunbelt retirement zone, like where my mom and dad live.

The first time I met the Mumu Lady she asked me if she could give me her testimony. I politely indicated no interest. Then she started telling me about her encounter with a panther at the very spot we were standing and that during that encounter she turned to Jesus for help, with Jesus quickly sending the panther on its way, without stopping to eat the Mumu Lady. So, the Mumu Lady sort of got her testimony in via a sideways move.

The Mumu Lady's panther encounter was one of many that occurred around that time, encounters which were reported in the news, including the Mumu Lady's encounter.

Over the years, including today, when I howdy the Mumu Lady, and stop a second to exchange pleasantries, she never remembers my previous answer to her can I give you my testimony question.

Today after I politely declined the testimony offer the Mumu Lady continued on to the Village Creek Blue Bayou Overlook where I saw her kneel down and go into praying mode, a photo of this is what you see above.

It is time for lunch, after which I will likely be blogging about that which I was pondering whilst I walked with the Indian ghosts and the Mumu Lady....

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Cowboy Spencer Jack Got Me Remembering Losing Control Of Caution

No, that is not Cowboy Spencer Jack riding his horse in the Fort Worth Stockyards that you are looking at on the left.

I do not know where Spencer Jack is riding his horse in the picture.

Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew Jason, sent this picture to my phone last night. It took me til today to figure out how to get the picture off my phone and onto my computer.

It turns out this was rather easy.

Which should not surprise me, what with learning yesterday, via Nurse Martha, that I have a Superior Intellect.

A Superior Neurotic Intellect.

Being neurotic is a useful trait when it comes to figuring out something.

Back to the subject of the Cowboy Spencer Jack.

It seems to me that Spencer Jack is a bit young to be being such a good cowboy.

I recollect being a couple years older than Spencer Jack when I had an unfortunate incident with a Shetland Pony that had me swearing off getting on any sort of horse for decades to come.

Not til I moved to Texas did I get back on a horse.

And that did not end well.

July 4, 2000.

I was talked into getting on a horse named Caution. The name should have clued me. Basically I lost control of Caution who was determined to re-enter, by any means, the barn from which he came, to retrieve a carrot, which I later became convinced had been placed where it was placed by Caution's owner, an angry woman whose plots to get rid of me became ever more blatant.

Well, I survived that particular carrot plot, but I have never been on another horse, not since Caution, and his evil owner, tried to kill me, or maybe just scare me off of horse riding.....

Having A Smoggy Sunday Reaction After Rolling My Wheels On Gateway Park's Mountain Bike Trails

I must have misunderstood the weather forecast for today. I  thought serious storms were a sure thing for this final Sunday of the 4th month of 2014.

Last night I figured this morning's pool bout would have me swimming in the rain. And that I would not be going anywhere hiking or biking today.

I figured wrong.

I had myself a mighty fine rain-free swim this morning,  followed by an equally mighty fine rain-free rolling of my wheels on the Gateway Park mountain bike trails.

No rain, but HOT and humid. Currently the temperature is 86, with that vexing humidity making it really feel like 91.

Of late I have been vexed by some new allergen that makes my eyes itch and burn in a way that reminds me of my first encounter with LA smog when I was a teenager, way back in the last century. Post Gateway Park I'm finding the burning eye sensation to be particularly vexing. Eyes drops help some.

I never had any allergy woes when I lived in Western Washington. Is Mother Nature trying to tell me something?

I Took My Superior Intellect To The Dark Side Of Genius And Learned I Am A Cynical Neurotic

The Friday before last Friday I blogged that Today Via Queen V I Learned I Am A Coyote.

In that blogging I mentioned the Facebook epidemic of quizzes by which one learns all sorts of interesting things about oneself.

Last night on Facebook, via Nurse Martha, I took The Dark Side of Genius quiz and learned that based on my answers I have a Superior Intellect and am Neurotic.

I tell you, these scientific quizzes are uncanny in their accuracy.

The following two paragraphs are The Dark Side of Genius's summing up of the scientific results of my answers to The Dark Side of Genius quiz....

You're not perfect, but you're not far off. You are to thinking what Yoda is to the Force. And you're also meticulous to the tiniest detail. There are grammatical errors in this result that are already beginning to bug you. Just remember, we're not operating on your level.

Moreover, your test results show a proclivity to be a tad paranoid. In other words...you're a healthy cynic. You question everything around you with the same intensity that Darth Vader squeezes windpipes. No one can ever say you're unprepared...for anything.

That is so true. I am very cynical. And I am also very healthy. To help with that healthiness I am about to take my cynical self to Gateway Park to roll my wheels on the mountain bike trails, unless rain intervenes....

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I Made It To The 2014 Prairie Fest But Did Not Find Elsie Hotpepper Belly Dancing

Sometime around noon today I started getting text messages from Elsie Hotpepper instructing me as to when I needed to be at the Tandy Hills Prairie Fest.

At some point in time after the last Elsie Hotpepper message I arrived at the summit of Mount Tandy, figuring it'd be easier to park there and hike to the Prairie Fest, thus avoiding any parking annoyances.

The route from where I parked to where I fested took me across the lonely colorful spot of prairie you see above. No humans in view. One would not guess a festival was in progress nearby.

Eventually I made it to the Prairie Fest, where, in the center of the sprawling festival grounds I saw the tepee you see below. Everyone knows how much I like anything that has anything to do with Native Americans, so seeing the tepee pleased me.

I walked around the tepee as the first step in my search for Elsie Hotpepper.

On the west side of the tepee I came upon the view you see below.


For a part of a second I stood there thinking that this was Elsie Hotpepper belly dancing by a hippie van.

But, I quickly realized I had not located the elusive Hotpepper.

However, I must say, this belly dancer addition to the Prairie Fest was interesting. Every time the band would start playing a new song the belly dancer would go into dancing animation mode. It was hypnotic.


A large crowd was enjoying having themselves a mighty fine time listening to the music. It was like being at a mini-Woodstock, but with very little inappropriate behavior.

The biggest disappointment at this year's Prairie Fest you see below.


The Tandy Hills Hoodoo at Hoodoo Central at the north end of the View Street trail was totally obliterated, with only its foundation rock left in its place. Tragic.

As for the search for Elsie Hotpepper.

After what seemed like hours of searching I eventually resorted to text messaging "I have looked all over. Where are you?"

To which Elsie Hotpepper replied something like "I left for another engagement."

To which I replied, "Well......."

Mountain Biking Gateway Park Blocked By Piles Of Brush Before Finding Elsie Hotpepper At The Tandy Hills Prairie Fest

I think it has been a couple weeks since I last rolled my bike's wheels on the Gateway Park mountain bike trails.

A couple weeks and today I found that piles of brush are still piled up, blocking the trail, the sidewalk, and spilling over on to the road.

When I started pedaling today I was quickly annoyed by a metallic rattling noise that sounded like something was about to malfunction.

After three stops for a water break I discovered it was the water bottle's metal cage  that had come a bit loose, making the malfunction in the making noise. A wrench quickly fixed the problem so I could continue rolling with no metallic rattling noise.

Prior to driving to Gateway Park Elsie Hotpepper asked me when I was going to be at the Tandy Hills and the Prairie Fest today. My answer was I don't know.

When I got to Gateway Park I text messaged Miss Hotpepper with the information that the wind was gusting quite blustery, making me think that the Prairie Fest may be heading to blown to smithereens mode. About an hour ago I got a text message from the Hotpepper saying she would be at the Prairie Fest in half an hour, at which time she expected to see me there.

Well, I knew that was not going to happen. Lunch was my priority at the time. Whole wheat ham & cheese wraps.

After I had my fill of bike riding I was off to Town Talk, back on my regular schedule after going rogue last week by going to Town Talk on Friday instead of Saturday.

Yogurt was three cases for five bucks today. I got one case of Chobani blackberry, one of Chobani apple cinnamon, plus one case of Odyssey Greek peach yogurt. I also got a big bag of chopped kale, bleu cheese, extra sharp white cheddar, two jars of sun-dried tomatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes and whole wheat tortillas.

It was a good Town Talk day today.

And now I must see if I want to muster the energy to go to the Prairie Fest.....

Friday, April 25, 2014

At Arlington's Village Creek Meeting My TRWD Litter Quota Worrying About Equal Rights For Unborn Women While Eating Turtles

If you're like me and are among the thousands who have signed up to be part of the Tarrant Regional Water District's brilliant plan to eliminate litter from Fort Worth and surrounding areas by picking up 10 pieces of litter every Tuesday, yet have been having trouble filling your litter quote, I may be of some help.

Go to Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area to pay your respects to the Indian ghosts who haunt that location, then continue on til you reach the south Village Creek dam/bridge where you will find a litter jam piled up behind the dam/bridge.

This particular litter jam  is refreshed every time rain falls in copious amounts. So far the TRWD's brilliant anti-litter plan has not seemed to have made much of a dent in the Village Creek Litter Jam.

In non-litter related Village Creek conundrums, today I was a bit perplexed by the bumper sticker you see stuck to the bumper of the car below, parked across from me in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area's parking lot.


"EQUAL RIGHTS FOR UNBORN WOMEN"? And is that license plate meant to be saying "Fakely"?

Continuing on after being perplexed by a bumper sticker, before being perplexed by the above litter jam, I visited the Village Creek turtles who were not being skittish or perplexing today.


A couple days ago I was channel chasing and came upon one of those ubiquitous outdoor survival shows right when the survivalists were preparing a turtle for roasting. I don't think I could eat a turtle.

I did not think I could eat frog legs either, til I was the Rio buffet in Las Vegas. I had part of one....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

On The Tandy Hills With A Fallen Hoodoo And A Wardrobe Malfunction

Today was my first time back on the Tandy Hills since my right knee recovered from a middle of the night nightmare incident.

It felt good to be back doing some high speed hill hiking.

I don't remember when I was last on the Tandy Hills, but I think we have had two precipitation incidents since my last visit. Those two precipitation incidents seem to have greatly amped up the production of vegetation, including wildflowers.

I was a bit crestfallen to reach Tandy Hills Hoodoo Central to find the Tandy Hills Signature Hoodoo laying in pieces.

Today is Thursday. The 2014 Prairie Fest is Saturday. Will there be a Hoodoo Resurrection between now and then?

The other known Hoodoos that I visited today were still intact.

Before I reached the Fallen Hoodoo I turned on my camera to take a picture of the incredibly dense air pollution that was hovering across the horizon, greatly limiting visibility. What is making this mess? Dust? Wildfires?

Anyway, when I turned on my camera I saw the battery about to go dead red light flashing. I took a picture and turned off the camera. When I got to the fallen Hoodoo I reached for the camera, figuring it'd likely be good for a snap or two. Then I remembered my picture taking phone was in another pocket.

Well.

I have no problem with the viewing screen of my camera, but the phone camera, in the bright sun, I could see nothing. So, I just aimed and touched the take a picture button and hoped for the best. Of the three attempts the above was the best.

The worst thing that happened today on the Tandy Hills happened when I squatted down to take the above picture.

My cargo shorts tore apart.

I really need to lose some weight. Or get industrial strength cargo shorts....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Apparently Canton First Mondays Is Violating The Americans With Disabilities Act In Texas

A Pair of Motorized Scooters Scooting Around Canton First Mondays
A couple days ago I got a feedback comment from Gary M. from my Eyes on Texas webpage about Canton First Mondays.

After I moved to Texas, Canton's First Mondays was the first thing I experienced of a particular genre that was better, in this case much better, than I'd experienced anywhere else.

Since then there have been a time or two where I've thought the same thing. Fort Worth's Main Street Arts Festival comes to mind.

Canton's First Mondays may be an incredibly special event, but something about it bothered Gary, rightfully so. Below is Gary's initial email, then my short response, followed by Gary's response to my short response.

Hi, you guys have a great page set up, places I have never thought about. I would like to bring something to your attention about Old Mill and The Mountain in 'Canton Texas'.  Although First Mondays rents scooters, there are places where they are not allowed, Old Mill itself has a sign saying Foot Traffic Only! As does The Mountain. This has been a huge concern for the ADA and the disabled / handicapped community. There are no signs saying no scooters allowed, just foot traffic only signs. Last month a disabled 14 year girl with her scooter and her parents were removed and the police called, apparently Canton's police are not familiar with the laws that protect the disabled and handicapped. I can just picture how dramatic this was for that child. A few months before that there was another incident involving their supposed security guard and a senior man on his mobility scooter, carrying a blue disabled plaque, who was repeatedly told "His kind wasn't welcome". I have heard this type of complaint before, but I think this one regarding the child stepped over the line. This is not a place I want to take my family. And I feel anyone involved with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) should be warned as the man said "Your kind wasn't welcome here." Thanks for your time and I hope you can give a heads up here. 

To which I shortly responded with...

Thanks for the info. That is disturbing. I can see not allowing those scooter carts that people rent into some locations, but to deny wheelchair type access. Isn't that against the law? And what an idiotic security guard. He needs to be either educated or fired. I will likely blog about this.

To which Gary responded with....

Thanks for the Quick Replay. The scooters are "disability equipment" recognized by the Government and State of Texas, just like a wheelchair. They are just like someone's legs, as a seeing eye dog is like some people's eyes. "This is the law in the state of Texas". Of course anyone can rent one. But these people own theirs. There are a lot more handicaps than not being able to walk or get around. "Heart Problems, Mental, Balance Problems, Lung Problems being short of breath, etc.." The older man the security guard jumped on and screamed at used his state approved scooter because of heart problems and did have a handicapped plaque just like using it at Walmart. He didn't obey the so called security guard because he wasn't wearing a security guard uniform, which is required by law, and had no idea what the law was and hinted he had a gun, plus other vulgar remarks and getting in front of him slamming the brakes on in his golf cart. This was all witnessed, not hearsay. Thank you for your time and I hope this broadens the scope of things a bit. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks, Gary 

Well,  I don't know how much help blogging about this will do, but I think it is clearly obvious that Canton's First Mondays needs to have a bit of an institutional attitude adjustment. I can not imagine saying to a disabled person that their kind is not welcome here. Or harassing a 14 year old girl in a scooter wheelchair. Methinks these harassments are criminal acts and a lawyer could have him or herself a field day doing some suing...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating Earth Day At Quanah Parker Park With A Green Trinity River & Plantains

For my Earth Day commune with nature I decided to burn some gas driving to Quanah Parker Park's parking lot to take a walk by the giant pecan trees while listening to the symphony of tweeting birds.

That greenish body of water you see in the picture is the Trinity River, looking west from a Quanah Parker Park overlook.

I am fairly certain the green tint to the river is not the result of any sort of Fort Worth Earth Day celebration where Mayor Betsy Price has dyed the river green in an emulating homage to her predecessor, goofy Mike Moncrief, and his attempt to dye the Trinity River purple with a cup of grape Kool-Aid.

As I took the picture of the Trinity River I looked down to see a lizard looking at me. Lizards are reptiles. So are snakes. Why do I find lizards to be cute and cuddly while snakes I find to be the opposite of cute and cuddly? It's a conundrum.

As part of my ongoing Earth Day celebration I am cooking Plantains for the first time. Miss Puerto Rico gave me a Puerto Rican cuisine cookbook the last time she returned from her home island. Most of the recipes in that cookbook involve frying in way too much corn oil.

I Googled for health friendly variations as to what to do with Plantains, which is what I am about to attempt.

But butter is involved. Wish me luck....

Celebrate Earth Day Today Followed By Celebrating Prairie Fest On The Tandy Hills On Saturday

It seems like only yesterday the world had its first Earth Day.

April 22, 1970.

A time when Americans were walking on the moon, a time when Americans were dying in Vietnam, a time when America was adding Cambodia to its invasion to do list, a time when students protested while the National Guard shot and killed them, a time when Richard Nixon was president before anyone had heard  the word Watergate.

Incoming email from Don Young this morning regarding Earth Day and this coming Saturday's 2014 Prairie Fest on the Tandy Hills....

On April 22, 1960, the Fort Worth City Council made their most inspired decision, ever, when they agreed to purchase the land now known as Tandy Hills Natural Area for the sum of, $138,250. With more than 500 native plant species, that works out to $276.50 per species. What a deal!

The story of how Tandy Hills survived the plow, grazing, development and gas drilling in the heart of the third largest city in Texas is an amazing but true story. By this resolution, the city inadvertently preserved a prairie wonderland for future generations. 

Ten years later to the day, Earth Day was founded in 1970. 

Come wave your green flag in celebration of the wild and natural world at Prairie Fest, this Saturday, April 26.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Thunderclouds Have Gone Away So Connie D Can Come Over For A Swim

This afternoon both my computer based and phone based weather monitoring devices were repeatedly advising me that I was being threatened by a Severe Thunderstorm.

But, when I looked out any of my viewing portals on the outer world all I saw was blue sky.

Around five I decided to exit my abode and walk up to Albertsons. At the point when I finally had a clear view east I saw the HUGE thundercloud you see here, looking towards Dallas across the Albertsons parking lot.

I could hear distant rumbling, but saw no lightning bolts.

That big, expanding mushroom cloud scene was repeated in several locations as I panned the horizon, as best I could, from my still partly obstructed view.

Yesterday's potential inclement weather, with its lightning potential, caused me to feel the need to rescind a swimming invite I'd made earlier in the afternoon to Connie D.

This morning Connie D. text messaged me and I got the idea she was wanting another swimming invite. And so I texted Connie D. back, telling her that she could come by for a swim today if she wanted to.

Connie D.'s text message reply really did not make a lot of sense to me, texting "Ha ha ha. You crack me up."

What is that supposed to mean?

I just realized I need to clarify that this is not the Fort Worth Connie D. wanting to go swimming with me, it is the Tacoma Connie D. we are talking about.

That is the Tacoma Connie D. you are looking at on the left. The way I tell the two Connie D.'s apart is the Tacoma Connie D. is a blonde, whilst the Fort Worth Connie D. is not a blonde.

Both my weather monitoring devices have now dropped the thunderstorming warnings, now reporting that it is sunny in Fort Worth.

It has been sunny in Fort Worth all day for me today. Except when I was in Arlington...

This Morning I Thought About Hunting Easter Eggs With Spencer Jack Before Thinking About Sitting On A Lonely Bench

This morning when I woke up my computer prior to going for my regularly scheduled swim I found in my email inbox email from Spencer Jack's dad with pictures of Spencer Jack hunting Easter Eggs at his Very Special Aunt Clancy's sprawling estate in Kent.

That would be Kent, Washington, not Kent, England.

The pictures were not accompanied by any explanatory text, leaving me to guess as to what I was looking at, and whom.

I can see Spencer is carrying a bag with his name on it. I assume this is where he is putting the eggs he finds. I am guessing Spencer has spotted an egg in the tree and is trying to reach it.

Another picture showed a lot of artificial eggs with money strewn about. Apparently the eggs were stuffed with cash.

April of 2006 was the last time I was at an Easter Egg Hunt at Spencer Jack's Very Special Aunt Clancy's. There were no kids in attendance. I think the youngest person there was well into their 30s. Yet Aunt Clancy insisted on subjecting us to an Easter Egg Hunt. However, and this is the type thing which makes Spencer Jack's Aunt Clancy Very Special, the Egg Hunters had to take off their shoes and put on special footwear.

I was the only one to opt out of participating in this.

Changing the subject from Spencer Jack's Easter Egg Hunting with his Very Special Aunt Clancy to something else.

I have been staying off my bike ever since I hurt my knee in a nightmare related incident last week, til today.

I rolled my mechanized vehicular transport device to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington to find out if my knee could handle rolling my bike's wheels.

Judging from the fact that the pedaling was pain free I think I have recovered from my latest nightmare injury.

Changing the subject from my knee to the bench you see in the picture.

I think I've heard a country music song about there being nothing lonelier than an empty bench. Then again, that sounds ridiculous. Then again, once again, many country music songs are a bit ridiculous so maybe I did hear a country song about a lonely bench.

Anyway, in parks in Texas I see a lot of benches. Usually lonely benches with no one sitting on them. The lonely bench you see above, that my handlebars are aimed at, sits a bit off the Bob Findlay Linear Park's paved trail that one comes to as one leaves the Village Creek Natural Historical Area and enters the Interlochen zone.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter With A Crowd At Oakland Lake Park Pondering The Make Fort Worth Livable Initiative

For the third year in a row part of Easter, for me, has been driving to Oakland Lake Park in East Fort Worth to walk around Fosdick Lake and be impressed by all the big family units and their Easter BBQ Picnic setups, many hauling in big wood burning smokers, along with tables and chairs.

And music. Lots of music. Very cheerful sounding music that I think originates south of the border.

Today marked the first time I've seen any sort of food vendor vending in Oakland Lake Park. The vendor seemed to be doing a lot of vending. As I walked around Fosdick Lake I came upon an unopened bag of pork rinds which was not of your usual commercial variety. I assumed they'd fallen from the food vendor's vending apparatus. I picked up the bag and gave it to a girl sitting solo at a picnic table, guarding her family unit's Easter picnic setup.

A short while later I saw the food vendor pushing his cart on the opposite side of the lake. That is that scene you are seeing below.


To the right of the picnic table you see above I saw the scene you see below, that being a group sitting on the ledge of the park's picnic pavilion watching a barbecuer barbecue. All that barbecue smoke wafting about today would have made me hungry had I not been overfilled by this morning's whole wheat pancakes & scrambled eggs breakfast.


As you can see below, by looking at Fosdick Fountain, wind is doing some gusting today. Blowing from the south. This had a slight mist hitting me as I crossed Fosdick Dam. I thought rain was beginning to do its predicted fall til I came to the view of the fountain you see here and saw a gust blowing mist towards Fosdick Dam.

If you look carefully at the far middle right of the above picture you will see someone has set up a tent. There is no camping in Oakland Lake Park. I suspect the tented person got drenched in last Easter's downpour and came prepared this year with a water-proof covering.

Below you see the solo girl I mentioned earlier, to whom I gave the bag of fallen pork rinds. To her right a guy is fishing for fish you are advised not to eat.


And finally we come to one of the collection of outhouses which were moved in for this very special Easter occasion. I mentioned a couple days ago on a previous blogging seeing park workers dropping off extra outhouses.

I also mentioned in that previous blogging how ironic I find it that the town some easily duped locals believe to be the Most Livable City in America, has city parks with no modern restroom facilities, and no running water of the potable, drink and wash your hands sort.

To my simple mind, parks without restrooms and running water are sort of like allowing restaurants to operate without restrooms and running water.

That same simple mind of mine thinks Fort Worth should have itself some sort of Make Fort Worth Livable Initiative. You know, a public works project which the public actually gets to vote on and which actually does something that helps the general public, like adding restrooms and running water to Fort Worth's parks and sidewalks to Fort Worth's roads, you know, like most livable cities did decades ago.....

The Tarrant Regional Water District's 2013 Annual Propaganda Report

I think it was a week ago I opened my mailbox to discover the eagerly anticipated Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's 2014 Spring Update.

And now, this Easter morning, I opened my mailbox to find the equally eagerly anticipated Tarrant Regional Water District Annual Report 2013.

Four months into 2014 and we're getting the eagerly anticipated TRWD 2013 Annual Report?

I eagerly anticipated that this particular report would be a bonanza of propaganda. The first paragraph let me know I would not be disappointed...

"Thank you for taking the time to read the 2013 TRWD Board Report. Our board and district staff have been working diligently over the last year to ensure the Water District's service area has ample water to sustain its rapid growth, strong levees and dams to protect us from devastating floods and excellent recreational facilities that promote a healthy, active lifestyle."

Reading through the entire propaganda piece I read nothing about what the TRWD Board has done to protect the people of Haltom City from that town's creeks when they go into devastating killer flash flood mode.

There is no mention in the TRWD Annual Report regarding the Board thwarting the efforts of fellow TRWD Board Member Mary Kelleher's attempts to examine TRWD records and documents.

I have long opined that I wish someone would examine the TRWD records and documents that cover the TRWD Board's decision to hire Fort Worth Congresswoman, Kay Granger's son, J.D., to be the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. J.D. went from being an assistant prosecutor to running a construction project, with his only qualification seeming to be that his mother is Kay Granger.

Yes, I now understand that nepotism is an accepted part of doing public business the Fort Worth Way, but it still sort of galls me.

Speaking of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, (and who isn't?) part of that boondoggle is taking down the levees that have kept a large part of the Central Fort Worth zone safe from floods for well over half a century. The levees were built to contain the Trinity River after a massive flood wreaked havoc in the early 1950s.

Currently three bridges are scheduled to be built over an unbuilt bypass channel through which future floods may flow, thus allowing the removal of the levees which have done the job assigned to them for decades.

In the page in the TRWD 2013 Annual Report about Flood Control, like I already said, there is no mention made of anything being done to mitigate the Haltom City flood threat, but almost half the Report's Flood Control page was taken up by that which you see below.


The text explaining the above photo says, "LaGrave Field in Fort Worth, after massive flooding tested the floodway levees in the 1950s."

Huh? And the point here is? What?

I am assuming this is a photo of the flood which resulted in the building of the massive levees one sees now by LaGrave Field.

So, really, what information is being imparted by including this photo and its accompanying text in this TRWD 2013 Annual Report?

Another page in the TRWD 2013 Annual Report is titled Reverse Litter.

You have likely already seen the billboards touting the TRWD's new anti-litter plan, those being those billboards asking people to make the pledge to pick up ten pieces of litter each Tuesday.

Yes, that sounds like a very effective anti-litter plan, likely to appeal to those who actually don't litter. A more effective anti-litter plan might be to induce the litterers to cease with their littering ways. I understand in some states one can get fined for driving down a road with a pickup full of litter with a trail of litter flying from ones truck bed.

How much did this slick, full color 12 page report cost the taxpayers to publish and mail, I can't help but wonder? Only about half the publication is actual propaganda verbiage, the other half  is photos and graphics.

How come no mention was made in the TRWD 2013 Annual Report regarding the lawsuit the TRWD lost whilst trying to get water from Oklahoma? That particular TRWD bit of business was a supreme bit of embarrassment in 2013. And yet no mention in the Annual Report.....

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Walking On My Wounded Knee With Arlington's Village Creek Indian Ghosts The Day Before Easter

If looking at the picture on the left you guessed you were looking at two kids playing on the snake infested log/litter jam on the down creek side of one of the Village Creek dam bridge crossings in Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area, you would be guessing correctly.

My right knee is still in recovery mode, slowly hurting less after taking a strong hit in a middle of the night battle with my bedroom's wall.

And so, with knee pain remaining intermittent, I opted to take a sedate stroll with the Indian ghosts today.

I do not recollect seeing so many people out and about in the Village Creek zone, previously, as what I saw today.

Bikers, walkers, picnickers, butterfly hunters, lots of dogs, adult tricycles, wildflower photographers, fishermen and women.

Plus one sad scene of a young girl rolling on wheels which belonged in a roller rink, as in, not outdoor friendly inline roller blades, but instead those indoor type skates with four wheels on each skate, arranged like wheels on a car. The young girl was not having an easy time of it, trying to roll those wheels on a paved trail.

Spring has now sprung enough that walking through the Village Creek Natural Area is back seeming like walking through a jungle. Or what I imagine a jungle walk to look like, since I have never actually walked in a jungle, that I know of.  Do rainforests count as a jungle? I've walked in many a rainforest.

I walked to the Blue Bayou Overlook. Then when I was done looking over the Blue Bayou I walked back from whence I came (from whence I came? I'm not sure that makes sense, but it sounds right to me) and saw the scene you see below.


A small family appearing to be stranded on an island in Village Creek. I hope they make it off the island before the next flash flood arrives.

Soon after I left that small family stranded on a Village Creek island I was passed by what you see below.


An adult tricycle. The tricycle you see here was the last in a group of three. It takes me a moment or two to get my camera turned on.

I pedaled a recumbent tricycle once, years ago, back in August of 2001, at Ocean Shores in my old home state of Washington. The Ocean Shores version was more of a mountain bike trike, designed to pedal on the beach.

I have absolutely nothing planned for Easter besides the usual possible sunrise service. I don't think that has actually happened since some point in time in the last century when I agreed to go to an Easter sunrise service with my mom  and dad, at Roozengaarde, that being Tulip Central in the Skagit Flats. I do not remember much about this occasion except for it being cold. And maybe going to the Farmhouse Inn for breakfast afterwards.

Tomorrow morning I am planning on making whole wheat crepes and scrambled eggs with ham, but I'm not sure that counts as an Easter thing, even though eggs are involved....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Today Via Queen V I Learned I Am A Coyote

In the past  month or two, over and over again, on Facebook, there have been these postings telling me that a person is this, that or the other thing, in some special area. Then imploring me to find out what this, that or the other thing, I am, in some special area.

It can be what color are you? What animal are you? What country are you? What body part are you? What mythical character are you? What actor are you? What political figure of the past are you? What Loony Tunes character are you?

That question was today's. I  found out I am the Loony Tunes character, Wile E. Coyote. I was sure I would be Bugs Bunny.

The explanation as to why I am Wile E. Coyote was as follows...

You're pretty smart and always have really great ideas. They don't usually work out, but hey, that's better than no ideas at all, isn't it? You also have a special gift - the ability to walk in mid-air without falling (until you realize you're walking on nothing, and then it's bye bye)

Like I said to Queen V, she being the party who posted this particular Loony Tune post, this is just uncanny. How could this Loony Tune thing so accurately nail me with just a few simple questions? Spooky.

So far, by taking these tests I have learned I am brown, a pig, Canada, an eye, someone known as Captain Crazy, Brad Pitt, Woodrow Wilson and today, Wile E. Coyote.

The science behind this is amazing....

Good Friday Finding Fosdick Lake Sea Monsters While Seeking Modern Facilities In Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park Before Easter

The quintet of turtles you are looking at here are basking in the sun in Fosdic Lake in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park.

Well, I am assuming the turtles are doing some sun basking, but it also looks like this could be some sort of group mating session. I'm not sure what a turtle mating session would look like. I suppose I could solve that mystery with a little info-searching.

Fosdick Lake was a cheery shade of green today, a color which you can see  reflected on the shiny back of the turtle on the left.

The Fosdick turtles were greatly outnumbered by another species today in Oakland Lake Park, with that species being humans. I am assuming that since this is Easter weekend, schools are out, hence the large number of kids and parental units frolicking in the park on this Good Friday.

While I was taking the above turtle photo a mom passed by me with her little boy, with the little boy pointing to the turtles and asking his mom if those were sea monsters. The mother told her little boy they were turtles. I then told the little boy's mom that I was pretty sure they were sea monsters, not turtles. This seemed to greatly please the little boy, that he was seeing sea monsters.

I brought a bag of corn tortillas with me today to feed the fosducks. But, I think they were remembering not liking the whole wheat tortillas I threw at them a few days ago, because there was zero interest in my tortillas. In fact it was active dis-interest, in that rather than even look at that which I was throwing at them, the fosducks simply turned their backs on me and waddled off, quacking their disapproval as they waddled.

I shan't be bringing these ungrateful ducks any treats from this day forward.

In other Fort Worth park news.

Extra outhouses were being deposited today. I saw this both at Oakland Lake Park and Quanah Parker Park.

On Sunday, that being Easter, both parks, and other parks in Fort Worth, will be busy with a lot of picnicking and barbecuing. Hence the extra outhouses.

Now, I know you who do not live in Fort Worth and who know that Fort Worth is widely believed (by some deluded locals) to be the Most Livable City in America, must be wondering how it is that a city which is so incredibly livable can have city parks without modern restroom facilities?

Let alone potable water.

Well, that particular puzzlement has puzzled me ever since I started experiencing this part of the planet. I used to describe Fort Worth's primitive park facilities as getting to have a Third World type experience without the expense and hassle of leaving America.

But, the lack of modern facilities in their parks does not seem to bother the locals or the local public health officials. One would think it would be considered unsanitary to have picnic facilities in parks without running water.

Changing the subject from outhouses to aching knees.

I have been taking it easy the past few days, so my injured knee can recover from the nightmare incident where I kicked my bedroom wall in the middle of the night. I wanted to ride my bike at Gateway Park today, but opted for the more sedate walk with the Fosdick turtles. I've amped up the no-stress to the joints swimming in the morning to compensate for being more sedate the rest of the day.

I decided to go to Town Talk today and skip my regularly scheduled Saturday Town Talk visit. I suspect Town Talk will be a busy zoo tomorrow, what with that being the day before Easter. Usually I like Town Talk when it is a busy zoo, but not so much when I am in hobble on an injured knee mode which is not impervious to getting banged on by an aggressive Town Talk shopping cart pusher.

Today I got a lot of All Natural Tyson Chicken Legs, Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, a case of Chobani Lemon Yogurt, Flatbread and White Onions.

The World's Longest Floating Bridge Got Me Pondering Fort Worth's Imaginary Signature Bridges

Last night I was reading the news on CNN online when I saw a headline for an article about the world's longest bridges. That article quickly let it be known that due to China dominating the longest bridges, with five of the world's longest suspension bridges, the writer of the article opted instead to list the longest bridge in the world in specific categories, other than suspension bridges. Such as longest natural arch bridge, ironically also in China, world's longest covered bridge, world's longest floating bridge and other types of longest bridges.

My old home state of Washington has four of the world's five longest floating bridges, including the world's longest, which you see above, that being the Evergreen Point Bridge across the north end of Lake Washington. Another floating bridge crosses the southern end of Lake Washington. The northern Lake Washington floating bridge is currently being replaced, hopefully before the current floating bridge sinks, something that has happened twice to Washington's floating bridges.

Looking through the CNN list of bridges got me once again thinking how bizarre it is that the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle refers to three bridges which may soon be under construction, across a possibly never to be built flood control bypass, as signature bridges.

Signature bridges?

I assume what is meant by that term is a bridge which acts like a signature, signifying to someone who sees that bridge, that that bridge is located in a specific location. For instance, the Golden Gate Bridge is a signature bridge instantly recognized as being in San Francisco. The Brooklyn Bridge is a signature bridge instantly recognized as being in New York City. The London Bridge, is, well, you know where it is being a signature bridge.

And then we have Fort Worth's "signature" bridges, an artist's rendering of one is what you see below.


Why would anyone in their right mind claim with a straight face that the above bridge could be a signature bridge that people the world over might recognize as being in Fort Worth, Texas? Very perplexing. Why are ordinary things touted as being extraordinary, so often, in this town?

I have never heard any of the Seattle floating bridges referred to as signature bridges. I've never heard of the Tacoma Narrow's suspension bridges referred to as signature bridges. I've never heard of the Golden Gate bridge referred to as a signature bridge. Why do those behind the attempt to build these Fort Worth bridges, over a non-existent flood bypass channel, insist upon referring to them as signature bridges?

I've mentioned before that the proposed trio of  Fort Worth bridges originally were going to be more architecturally significant, maybe even signature, designed by renowned designer, Bing Thom. But the Thom designs were scrapped due to being too expensive for the underfunded public works project the public has never been allowed to vote on.

Dallas has its own version of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, also with three bridges, also referred to as signature bridges. The Dallas vision, with its three bridges, came along before Fort Worth had the same vision. However, the Dallas vision is already seeing an actual bridge over actual water, that being the Trinity River. The completed Dallas bridge is named the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Why? I don't know.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the other two, uncompleted, Dallas bridges.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge has warranted a Wikipedia article.

Is Vegas taking bets on if there will one day be a Wikipedia article about Fort Worth's signature bridges across an un-built flood control bypass?

A blurb from the Wikipedia article about the Dallas bridge...

"...the signature, 40-story center-support-arch was topped-off with a central curved span, providing an additional feature to the Dallas skyline, as it can now be seen from many miles away from several directions."

That is the bridge in question you are looking at below. It appears to have a slightly different visual impact than Fort Worth's proposed "signature" bridges.


Regarding iconic signature city skyline elements, recognized world-wide as being part of a particular city, on the left of the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge you are looking at Reunion Tower, it being a well known symbol of Dallas.

The Wikipedia article mentions that the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is featured in the opening credits of the new version of the TV series Dallas. That TV series, in its original form, is what made Reunion Tower a symbol of Dallas, recognized around the world.

I wonder what the opening credits of a Fort Worth TV series would show the world? Those Trinity River Vision Boondoggle "signature" bridges? Hundreds of inner tubers Rockin' the Trinity River? Sundance Square Plaza? The Fort Worth Stockyards sign? A Longhorn? Maybe a Longhorn herd? Cowtown Wakepark? Gas fracking sites? The stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth?

Perplexing questions.....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Today I Am Recovering From Last Night's Potato Roll & Snake Nightmare Caused By Maxine

On the left you are looking skyward, looking west past the speared security fence which keeps me semi-secure, with this location being near where my mechanized vehicular transport device is parked.

As you can see blue sky is not the dominant theme at this point in time at my location on the planet.

For more reasons than one I opted not to roll the aforementioned mechanized vehicular transport's wheels anywhere today to a location where I might get myself some endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation.

One reason for no wheel rolling is fairly obvious. As in a threatening sky with some precipitation already precipitating, though not in amounts even remotely precipitous.

Another reason for no wheel rolling is I got myself some mighty fine endorphin induction action early this morning, via a slightly cool pool.

But, the main reason I am opting for no wheel rolling, hiking or biking today is an incident which occurred last night when I found myself having a bizarre nightmare which involved Maxine and myself having a serious issue over potato rolls and butter.

In the nightmare this seemed to be at a Ukrainian crisis level of serious.

At one point in the nightmare somehow the potato rolls and butter got involved with a big snake.

When I saw the big snake coming for my potato rolls, butter and me I gave it as hard a kick as I could muster.

But, in reality, what I found out that I was kicking, upon instantly awakening, was the wall  on the west side of my bed.

A consequence of that wall kick is it somehow hurt my right knee. I thought a hot tub hydrotherapy session this morning would abate the woe.

It did not.

Climbing a flight of stairs is currently slightly problematic. So, pedaling a bike or hiking hills does not currently seem doable.

I am sure I will quickly recover from this latest nightmare related malady, as long as Maxine and her potato roll and butter aggressive ways stay at bay....

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Unreliable HostGator Is Down Again While Evening Primroses Blow In The Wind By Arlington's Village Creek

Not happy in Texas right about now. Found out a few minutes ago, when trying to send an email to Elsie Hotpepper, that my formerly reliable website host, HostGator, is down, again.

The last time this happened was back in November, but, even though that is about a half year ago, it seems like yesterday.

I can't email via my durangotexas.com domain, but I can blog via Google, which is what I am doing right now.

Early this morning I managed to have myself a fairly mighty fine time via a hot tub hydrotherapy session, combined with three cool pool dips.

A few minutes before noon I rolled my mechanized wheels to Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area to visit the Indian ghosts who haunt that location and to get down on the ground to take a picture of my favorite Texas wildflower, one I believe is called the Evening Primrose.

I saw my first Evening Primrose late in the last century. I was heading to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone to check out the concept of moving there. Somewhere southeast of Amarillo, driving on Highway 287, I started seeing patches of what looked to be a very delicate pink flower. After many miles of the pink patches I stopped along the road for a closer look.

At that point in time I did not realize wildflowers like this colored up the Texas landscape for a brief time every year, at some time after winter turns into spring.

As you can sort of tell, via the picture above, the Evening Primroses were blowing in the wind today. As was I....

A Trio Of Kids Tip Toeing Through The Skagit Valley Tulips While Spencer Jack Has A Root Beer Float At The Fidalgo Drive-In

No, those are not a trio of kids frolicking in a flat field of Texas wildflowers you are looking at on the left.

That trio of kids are frolicking in a field of tulips in what are known as the Skagit Valley Flats, in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley in Washington.

I have never met this trio of kids. I don't know if this trio of kids know they have an uncle who lives in a place called Texas.

I found this tulip picture this morning on the blog on which this trio of kid's caretaker poodles, Blue and Max, chronicle the ongoing adventures of Theo, David and Ruby, in a blog post titled Tip Toeing Through The Tulips, or something like that.

If you click the Tip Toeing Through The Tulips link you will see many more photos of the trio of kids frolicking in the flowers.

The Skagit Tulip Festival is at the half way point, running the entire month of April, with events all over the valley, in addition to the 100s of acres of blooming flowers.

Over a million visitors come to the Skagit Valley each year for the Tulip Festival. This creates traffic mayhem.

A blurb from the Skagit Tulip Festival website...

The sun is shining and the tulips are blooming and people are coming from all around the world to see the flowers. 

Back in the early 1980s I lived in West Mount Vernon, around the time of the first Tulip Festival. Worst traffic mess I've ever lived through. The traffic mess has greatly improved over the years, turning some roads temporarily one-way, signs pointing to alternative routes, tour buses to get visitors out of their cars, helicopters overhead to monitor the traffic flow and events all over the valley to take some of the traffic away from the tulips.

If you're going to this year's Skagit Tulip Festival be sure to go to Anacortes to Spencer Jack's dad's Fidalgo Drive-In and have yourself basket of Pubhouse Battered Cod, Puget Sound Clam Chowder, a Dungeness Crab Sandwich, a Tillamook Bacon Cheddar Burger and a Root Beer Float made by Spencer Jack.

And then return to the Skagit Flats for some more tip toeing through the tulips....

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Risking Rolling My Wheels Over Fort Worth's Mallard Cove Park's High Pressure Natural Gas Pipeline

Last night we were warned that the temperature could possibly dip to the freezing zone.

I was under blankets last night for the first time in awhile, but, when I woke up my temperature monitoring devices this morning, I saw that the pre-dawn temperature was several  degrees above freezing.

Yet somehow this morning there appeared to be frost on the roof that I gaze upon during my regularly scheduled hot tub hydrotherapy session.

Due to that predicted freeze I did not think I'd be in the once again cool pool this morning. But, after getting too hot in the hot tub I thought I'd take a quick cooling dip. And found the water in the pool was way less cool than the air.

Around noon I drove to the post office to mail a letter to the IRS in Austin. Then I headed south to Mallard Cove Park to roll my bike's wheels. That would be Mallard Cove you are looking at above, with the coolest looking rock picnic table I've ever seen, in the foreground.

In the picture on the right you are looking at my handlebars pointing at one of the many natural gas pipeline warning posts stuck in the ground in this particular park.

Last Wednesday I rolled my wheels around Mallard Cove and blogged about it, and asked a question about the Fort Worth signature benches installed in this park.

That question generated an interesting blog comment from someone named Dub Kennedy...

Dub Kennedy has left a new comment on your post "Rolling My New Tires To Fort Worth's Mallard Cove":

"I have never seen anyone sitting on one of these benches. How much do they cost, I can not help but wonder?"

I'm guessing that Chesapeake or some other energy company picked up the tab for this park.

I have little doubt that natural gas pipelines run underneath this so-called park. I say so-called because a parcel of land with nothing more than concrete trails doesn't make a park in my opinion. 

Another so-called park similar to Mallard Cove park was built near the Rockwood golf course in northwest Fort Worth and was paid for by natural gas producers. I know for certain that at least one gas pipeline runs under that park.

Well, Dub is correct, in that there is a Chesapeake installation just outside the west end of this "park", along with 18 or 19 GAS WARNING posts stuck in the ground  inside the park, marking a pipeline route. Plus one HUGE curved pipe stuck in a cement block, which I assume is gas related.

Below is a closeup view of the warning post my bike's handlebars are pointing towards.


I can read the words "HIGH PRESSURE" near the top of the GAS WARNING post. Is this non-odorized highly pressured gas?

Dub says a parcel of land with some paved trails does not a park make.

I agree with Dub that a parcel of land with some paved trails does not make a park, but, in addition to the paved trails Mallard Cove Park has those aforementioned benches, plus the also aforementioned rock picnic table, plus the never before mentioned gazebo-like covered picnic table structure, plus wide expanses of grassy weeds, which are infrequently mowed and some rather stately old big trees.

And giant prickly pear cacti, as in the biggest patches of prickly pear cactus I've ever seen. Not that I've done all that much prickly pear cactus hunting....