Friday, July 31, 2015

At The Geekfill Bar Texas Sings Karaoke While Washington Drinks Coffee

Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason, also known as FNJ, emailed a link to a geekfill webpage titled The 50 States Of America If They Were Actually People In A Bar. California Is Perfect.

Below are some of the more amusing states being a person in a bar, starting with California. Texas being a person in a bar is amusing, as was my old home state of Washington, and the state I was born in, Oregon, but before you meet those states in a bar, California...

California is constantly buying drinks for others, yet has failing kidneys from lack of hydration.

Arizona is the bouncer, kicking Mexicans out who are trying to get in from the bar across the street. Ironically, he’s drinking Tecate.

Colorado is a beautiful, perfectly athletic couple wearing all Patagonia, drinking craft beer talking about their last mountaineering trip, with an air of aloofness.

Idaho is drinking Keystone Light and pretending they are part of the South.

Kansas is dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans and clean boots. He’s friendly enough and even buys a round to get the party started. After a few drinks, it’s obvious he feels sorry for Oklahoma, hates Missouri, and is hung up on Colorado. After striking out with California, him and Wisconsin get hammered drunk and sing Country Boy.

Mississippi is just looking to start a fight with Alabama about who’s less redneck.

New Hampshire is a skinny, nerdy white guy in a collared shirt and khakis, who also carried in signs for his favorite political candidate. He’s drinking craft beer and getting into philosophical and political discussions with Vermont and Maine, but is open to talk to everyone. He is quick to tell everyone he loves himself, and humbly without arrogance.

Oklahoma is an obese couple who have not moved from their spots since sitting down next to Texas. They have on sweatpants, and brought in fast food to eat at the bar. They are drinking Bud Light bottles.

Oregon is the hipster drinking the eclectic craft microbrew that nobody’s even heard of.

Texas is singing karaoke about how great Texas is.

Washington is a pale girl, very quiet and reluctant to be friendly to anyone except Oregon. She has glasses and a couple books, and isn’t drinking because she’s enjoying a cup of coffee she got from her favorite place on the way here. She loves hiking with her boyfriend and watching indie movies and documentaries on Netflix. She suddenly yells at New Jersey for throwing a napkin on the floor and not in the correct recycling bin.

Texas & Washington's Different Sizzling Summer Scorching Heat Waves

No, what you are looking at here is not some Fort Worthers Rockin' the River at last night's Happy Hour Inner Tube Float in the Trinity River.

I saw that which you see here on the front page of this morning's Seattle Times online.

The people in the photo are floating in Lake Washington, a clean body of water suitable for swimming and fishing, with no signs warning people not to eat the fish they catch.

Western Washington has had itself a couple days in a row with the temperature above 90, which has a large percentage of the population seeking heat relief by heading to one of the hundreds of beaches available for cooling  purposes in the Puget Sound zone.

We are a couple hours before noon at my current location in North Texas, with the temperature rapidly approaching 90, on its way, I assume, to going over 100 again today. The North Texas locals don't whine about the temperature the way Western Washingtonians whine.

In North Texas the summer temperature can go over 100 day after day, for weeks.

In Washington what the locals call a heat wave usually lasts only three days, before a meteorological effect, the name of which I can not remember, kicks in.

Basically what happens with a Western Washington heat wave is all that hot air starts to rise and head over the Cascade Mountains to Eastern Washington,  which causes cool air to be drawn in from the Pacific Ocean, sort of natural air-conditioning that you have to wait for three days for it to kick in.

Possible thunderstorms are on the weather menu for North Texas. Currently I see nothing but a clear blue sky when I look out the window, with my temperature monitoring device telling we are currently chilled to 86....

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Last HOT Neighborhood Bike Ride Til The Air Cools

With the outer world temperature a degree or two under 100 it seemed like an excellent idea to take my handlebars on a roll around the neighborhood.


I sort of got a bit overheated by the 4th or 5th mile.

As you can see, the heat does not stop golfers from golfing.

Are Texas golf carts air-conditioned? Texas mountain bikes are not air-conditioned.

In summers previous I have had myself a mighty fine time riding my bike when the temperature is in the century zone.

But, that wheel rolling took place on mountain bike trails. Mostly shaded, concrete-free, mountain bike trails. For the most part I don't get under much shade when I bike tour the neighborhood. And concrete and asphalt radiate heat, unlike the non-radiating dirt mountain bike trails.

So, why am I not rolling my motorized mechanical motion device to a mountain bike location? Well, last I checked the Gateway Park trails have yet to recover from the recent  flooding. The River Legacy Park trails are back to normal, I think, but those trails are not as enjoyable as Gateway Parks'.

Just got email from TXU telling me to turn down my A/C this afternoon due to today's HEAT, so as not to cause rolling brownouts. The A/C just cycled on. It is set to cool  to 85.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Something Never Seen In Texas On A Bridge Built In 21 Months

Continuing on with our popular series of  bloggings  about things I see via west coast news sources which is not something we would likely be seeing as a news event at my location in Texas.

This blogging is also continuing with our popular series of bloggings about construction projects, mostly bridges, built in a time span of less than four years.

What you see here I saw on Facebook this morning. A posting by KING 5 TV. KING 5 is the Seattle NBC affiliate.

The bridge you are looking at here is St. John's Bridge, spanning the Williamette River in Portland, Oregon.

This bridge is in the news today due to that which you see dangling from the bridge deck.


Protesters blocking a Shell Oil support ship trying to float to the Arctic where Shell is planning to poke holes in the seabed so as to extract oil. A lot of people do not think this to be a good idea, hence the protesting.

Construction on St. John's Bridge began one month before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 began the Great Depression. The bridge was completed 21 months later, on May 12, 1931.

At the dedication of the bridge, bridge engineer, David B. Steirman made a very Fort Worthy braggadocio type statement, saying...

"A challenge and an opportunity to create a structure of enduring beauty in the God-given wondrous background was offered us when were asked to design the bridge. It is the most beautiful bridge in the world we feel.”

If America's Biggest Boondoggle's three bridges being built over dry land, currently with a four year project timeline, actually get built, I can imagine J.D. Granger, or his mama, or someone else opining that the bridges are the most beautiful bridges in the world.

However, at the time St. John's Bridge was dedicated it may have been the most beautiful bridge in the world. The superlatives which describe St. John's Bridge at the time of its completion are certainly of a sort one will never hear about Fort Worth's simple little bridges, built over dry land, connecting the mainland to an  imaginary island. In four years.

While St. John's Bridge, in 1931 had....
  • the highest clearance in the nation,
  • the longest prefabricated steel cable rope strands,
  • the tallest steel frame piers of reinforced concrete,
  • the first application of aviation clearance lights to the towers, and
  • the longest suspension span west of Detroit, Michigan.

I wonder if there will be sufficient clearance under America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges for protesters protesting something being shipped in the Trinty River to dangle and block passage?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Spencer Jack Won't Be Taking His Selfie Stick To Disneyland

A couple days ago I read that a theme park had banned selfie sticks. I don't remember which theme park, whether it was the Six Flags theme parks or Disney theme parks, or maybe it was all theme parks, world-wide.

What I do know is that I did not know what a selfie stick was or why they would be banned.

And now this morning, what do I find in my incoming email? Multiple photos of Spencer Jack taking selflie pics with the help of a selfie stick with the email's subject line being "Spencer's Selfie Stick".

I don't get the whole take a selfie thing. They are like some sort of virus epidemic on Facebook. And elsewhere.

But, now that I have seen a selfie stick I can see why a theme park would not want them in the park. Someone could get hurt with these sticks.

Or weaponize them, with a group armed with selfie sticks getting in a sword-like fight with another group armed with selfie sticks.

Or maybe sneak the selfie stick onto a roller coaster, thinking this would be a great place to take a selfie, with the attempt going all sorts of sideways, with the phone flying off and hitting someone and the stick flying at high speed to the ground where it stabs an innocent bystander.

Anyway, below is one of the selfies Spencer Jack took with his stick...

Gateway Monument To Fort Worth Stupidity Close To Completion

A few minutes ago I got an email informing me that Elsie Hotpepper had tagged me in Facebook. It always makes me nervous when this happens.

When I made my way to Facebook I found out the Hotpepper had tagged me so that I would see that which you see here, that being an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Usually I am banned from reading the Star-Telegram, but if the link is in Facebook, I am good to go.

I would put in the link to the Gateway monument for east Fort Worth closer to completion article, but you'd likely find yourself blocked from reading it unless you come up with the 99 cent reading fee.

This article is a gem, a real gem, a real embarrassing gem. But, before I get to that, as soon as I saw this Gateway monument thing I was hit with a deja vu feeling, as in, didn't we already deal with this? Years ago? Some tacky proposed monument which screamed hideous eyesore.

It took me awhile to find it, but way back on November 4, 2010 I blogged about this same subject in a blogging titled Fort Worth Is About To Use Money Intended For Landscaping To Build A Monument To Itself.

Some choice bits from the Star-Telegram article...

Fort Worth leaders are hoping a long-planned Interstate 30 gateway monument entrance sign that spells out Fort Worth becomes an iconic symbol much like Los Angeles’ Hollywood sign, but for now they just want it completed.

The project started in 2004 and is now scheduled to be installed in spring 2017.

The sign will the first of its kind for Fort Worth. It will have the city’s name spelled out in 8-foot-tall steel letters, mounted on repurposed concrete construction barriers that will cascade one-by-one for 500 feet perpendicular to the highway and will be lighted after sunset.

Councilwoman Ann Zadeh said the sign is unique and interesting and is “going to turn into something like the Hollywood sign. I would like to have my picture taken in front of a big ole sign that says Fort Worth.”

Oh my, this is just so embarrassing.

Fort Worth leaders are hoping this sign will become an iconic symbol like the Hollywood sign?

Fort Worth leaders? More like Fort Worth fools. For multiple reasons (America's Biggest Boondoggle is one) it is apparent Fort Worth is mislead by its leaders, but this really is a new low.

The Hollywood sign is iconic because it hovers over Hollywood. Hollywood is a name the entire world knows. Fort Worth is not known worldwide. Even if Fort Worth had a hill, like the Hollywood Hills, upon which it could stick a Fort Worth sign, it would still be a big yawn.

Fort Worth already has a semi-iconic sign, that being the Fort Worth Stockyards sign, it being the only thing in Fort Worth that someone from other parts of the planet might recognize as being in Fort Worth, greatly helped in that deduction by Fort Worth being named on the sign.

This proposed Fort Worth Hollywood sign is not on a hill, it is on the north side of Interstate 30, between Eastchase Parkway and Cooks Lane, an area I know well. If it actually gets installed in a couple years this will look ridiculous,


If putting up a sign like this was a good idea, don't you think other towns in America would already have done so? So that they too could have that iconic Hollywood sign thing happening?

Seattle has a lot of hills. How come no one in that town has suggested putting up a Hollywood type sign spelling out SEATTLE on one of the Seattle hills?

Or Vancouver, up north in Canada. Why isn't there a big VANCOUVER sign on Grouse Mountain, lit up at night, hovering over the coolest town in Canada?

San Francisco has a lot of hills, steeper than Seattle's. How come that town has not stuck a big SAN FRANCISCO sign on one of its hills?

I will tell you why.

Because it is a STUPID idea. And those towns have leaders who are not fools, unlike a certain town in Texas which seems to have a highly developed ability to embarrass itself.

Over and over and over again......

Monday, July 27, 2015

Today Via Google I Learned The Home Of America's Biggest Boondoggle Is America's 17th Largest City

Last night I Googled Seattle. When I did so I saw that Google put a blurb about Seattle on the right side of the search results.

I was Googling Seattle because I wanted to find a paragraph I had previously read in the Wikipedia Seattle article about Seattle's print media, as an example of a town with real news sources of various sorts compared to a town without a real newspaper doing real investigative journalism.

The point I was going to opine was that in a town with real newspapers you don't have things happen that result in becoming something like America's Biggest Boondoggle. Or a public works project never voted on by the public, where a local congressperson's unqualified son is hired to be the executive director of the project, where the son's executive directing goes into planning things like floating beer parties in a polluted river.

The Wikipedia article also mentions that Seattle has the highest percentage of college and university graduates of any major American city. And that Seattle is the most literate of America's 69 largest towns.

How do you go about measuring how literate a town is, I am left wondering? Percentage of people with library cards? Number of libraries? Hours libraries are open? Number of books sold in bookstores? Number of bookstores? Amount of print media produced in a town?

Anyway, after I saw that Google puts up a little blurb about any town in the world that you Googled, I thought I would check in on a few towns and see what Google blurbs about them.

Well, Google pretty much waxes poetic about Seattle....

City in Washington
Seattle, on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and encompasses thousands of acres of parkland (hence its nickname, "Emerald City"). It’s home to a thriving tech industry, with Microsoft and headquartered in its metropolitan area. The futuristic Space Needle, a legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair, is its most recognizable landmark.

I then Googled Fort Worth to find that Google did not have a lot to say about Fort Worth....

City in Texas
Fort Worth is the 17th-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas.

One would think that Google could at least point out that Fort Worth is known for its Stockyards and for currently hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle. And that Fort Worth has a long history of making other towns, far and wide, green with envy. Google does point out that one can stay in a 3-star Fort Worth hotel for around $120, while Seattle's 3-star hotels will cost you around $300, with 5-star hotels running around $510.

Now let's look at Fort Worth's sister city, Dallas.

Well, Google has more to say about Dallas than it says about Fort Worth, saying....

City in Texas
Dallas is a major city in Texas and is the largest urban center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. The city proper ranks ninth in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio.

Apparently Dallas has 3-star hotels cheaper to stay in than Fort Worth's at around $110. Dallas has 5-star hotels way cheaper than Seattle's at around $180. Google really does not have much more to say about Dallas than it did about Fort Worth. No mention of Dallas being the location of the State Fair of Texas. Or being the location of America's most recent presidential assassination.

Let's go back to Washington to see what Google has to say about the town I was living in before I was exiled to Texas.

City in Washington
Mount Vernon is a city in Skagit County, Washington, United States. The population was 31,743 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area.

I just now noticed that Google is getting some of the blurbs from Wikipedia, which would explain the sparse Fort Worth entry, because the Wikipedia Fort Worth article is sort of pitiful.

Mount Vernon's 3-star hotels are a more expensive stay than Fort Worth and Dallas at around $150. I've stayed in a Mount Vernon hotel or two on return visits to Washington. Never paid anywhere near $150. I have no idea if I was staying in a 3-star hotel.

All the blurb examples I have used here came from the first sentence of that town's Wikipedia article.

Except for the Seattle blurb.

Which I assume means there must be a way to edit Google's description of a town. I think someone needs to get on this serious issue right away and spruce up the Fort Worth and Dallas blurbs.

And Mount Vernon's as well, with mention made of the annual tulip festival attracting over a million tulip tiptoers, the annual Skagit County Fair, the Riverwalk, Little Mountain and other stuff I am not remembering right now....

Sunday, July 26, 2015

To Be Safe From Texas SWAT Attacks Arlington's Garden Of Eden Should Move To The Skagit Valley

Today we have another entry in our popular series of bloggings about something I see in a west coast online news source which I would not see in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

This morning it was my old home zone's online news source called the Skagit Valley Herald, in its online version called GoSkagit, that I saw something one would not see going on in Texas.

That being anything to do with legal marijuana, since nothing to do with marijuana is legal in Texas, not even medicinal marijuana.

The "changing landscape" part of the article's title refers to the limbo Skagit County pot growers have been in due to the county commissioner's multiple changing of interim pot growing ordinances en route to finally approving permanent regulations, sometime soon.

The changing ordinances were things like it is okay to grow your weeds outdoors, to not being okay to grow your weeds outdoors, that type thing.

The guy above, standing by his pot plants, at his Sugarleaf pot farm, applied for a pot license from the Liquor and Cannabis Board on the day it became legal to do so. A year later he got his license and has been growing cannabis ever since.

If I correctly understood what I was reading, the Sugarleaf pot farm can continue to grow its weeds outdoors, something to do with the outdoor patch being grandfathered in before the new ordinance banning outdoor pot plantings.

When I saw the photo above of the Sugarleaf pot farmer standing by some of  his plants, while it did cross  my mind that one would not see this in Texas, that thought was soon followed by thinking how bizarre it is that in one state something like growing pot is legal, while in Texas, in the town of Arlington to be specific, a  SWAT team terrorized a commune type farm known as the Garden of Eden.

Arlington police surveillance drones had determined that the Garden of Eden was growing marijuana, hence the fully armed SWAT raid, tearing apart the Garden of Eden, handcuffing the farmers, terrifying the children.

Turned out that which the police thought to be marijuana was tomato plants.

The SWAT team tried real hard to find something illegal going on at the Garden of Eden, to no avail. After a few hours the handcuffs were removed. If I remember right the police charged the Garden of Eden with some bogus thing to justify their SWAT attack. I think the complaint was the Garden of Eden's foliage was too dense, making difficult to see what was going on behind the wall of vegetation.

The leader of the Garden of Eden tried to negotiate a settlement with the City of Arlington. The City of Arlington should have been ashamed, embarrassed and apologetic, pledging to repair the damage done.

But, the City of Arlington did not do the right thing, so the town is now being sued by the Garden of Eden.

I hope the Garden of Eden gets millions in the eventual settlement. And then uses those millions to move the Garden of Eden to the Skagit Valley, where they will find fertile soil that can grow anything, including pot plants, free of any fear of a SWAT team invading their space...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

FOX News Is Once Again Spewing Falsehoods About Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage

I saw that which you see here on Facebook today. A lot of what I see on Facebook appalls me.

I really think Obama should come up with a 21st century version of John Adams' Alien & Sedition Act and use it to shut down spewers of corrosive misinformation.

Like FOX News.

Back when Seattle passed its $15 minimum wage hike, FOX News came up with a totally bogus story which quickly spread to all the conservative nonsense purveyors of the talk radio sort, such as Rush Limbaugh.

FOX News claimed that four Seattle restaurants had closed due to the new minimum wage.

There were two problems with this piece of FOX propaganda. Number one was the fact that when contacted by legitimate journalists all four restaurant owners said their restaurant closures had nothing to do with the new minimum wage, and, in fact, they supported the $15 minimum wage.


It gets worse.

It was not possible for the new $15 minimum wage to cause a Seattle business closure because the new minimum wage had not yet gone into effect. The increase to $15 is being phased in over a three year time span.

Whoops again.

And now a new bogus FOX News story about Seattle's $15 minimum wage has become fodder for the doddering right wing chattering chicken head types.

The new claim is that Seattle's $15 minimum wage is causing minimum wage workers to ask for fewer hours because making more money will cause them to lose their welfare handouts, like food stamps and rent subsidies.

The reality is the Seattle minimum wage is currently around $4 shy of that $15 mark. Legitimate journalists were again unable to find any worker who was asking for fewer hours so as to be able to keep getting food stamps.

And, as was the case with the first bogus FOX News story about this subject, the Seattle minimum wage has not yet been raised to $15. Yet the FOX "news" story falsely makes the $15 claim.

FOX News online has now pulled their latest Seattle $15 minimum wage story.

Doesn't anyone at FOX News ever get embarrassed at some of the garbage they spew? Shepard Smith seems like a decent fellow. Why does he continue working for FOX News? They must pay him a lot.

And another thing. Right wing conservative naysayers opine that Seattle's $15 minimum wage is economic idiocy. And that Seattle is a socialist hell on earth.

Well, Seattle does have a socialist mayor, along with one or two socialist city council members. Seattle is one of the most liberal, if not the most liberal city in America. Along with being one of the most progressive.

Socialist Seattle also has the fastest growing economy in America. I read today that there are so many construction projects under way in Seattle that there is a shortage of construction workers.

I suspect construction workers in Seattle are paid a wage much higher than the minimum.

Maybe towns like Fort Worth should try the socialist, progressive approach and see if that produces better results than the current construction crane free skyline of downtown Fort Worth....

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sunday Is A Fort Worth Funday Floating In The Trinity River Around Gator Island

I saw that which you see here this morning on Facebook.

Apparently Rockin' the Trinity River on Thursday did not adequately meet the local River Rockin' demand, so a Sunday version of Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube floating was added.

Called Sunday Funday.

Isn't that clever? Funday rhymes with Sunday.

Sunday Funday is yet one more Trinity River Central City Uptown Gator Island Vision Boondoggle product.

Way back near the start of this month of July, or maybe it was in the latter part of June, I verbalized being appalled regarding the plethora of websites, with custom domain  names, America's Biggest Boondoggle was using to promote its various products.

I recollect listing the various websites, which then had someone telling me of yet one more, that being the special website America's Biggest Boondoggle has had made to promote its Sunday Funday.

I did not remember to check out the Sunday Funday website until reminded to do so by that Facebook posting you see above, which faintly lists the Sunday Funday web address. Below is a screen cap of most of the Sunday Funday website home page.

You will surely want to go to the Sunday Funday website yourself to witness the animation which has multiple inner tubers floating around the imaginary island which used to be known as Panther Island before getting renamed Gator Island.

However, the Sunday Funday website, as you can see, has not been updated with the new name for the imaginary island, still inviting locals to a "Sunday Funday at Panther Island  Pavilion".

Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island, where there is no pavilion, where no one has seen a panther, but where many have seen an alligator, hence the name change.

Did you notice that the "U" in Funday is a mug full of beer? Why do the Trinity River Central City Uptown Gator Island Vision Boondoggle products all do so much beer consumption promoting? The Boondoggle even turned the old Tandy Subway maintenance building into a beer hall called The Shed.

How much money is America's Biggest Boondoggle spending on all the websites promoting its products? After a decade and a half of boondoggling, with very little to show, but with an astounding amount of propaganda spewed in various media, as in mailed hard copy propaganda pieces, multiple websites, advertisements in local print media, and other places, how is this propaganda expenditure accounted?

When The Boondoggle gets federal money, is that money not intended for a specific use? Like taking down levees, building bridges in slow motion, planting magic flood prevention trees.

Who approves of The Boondoggle spending money on things like Sunday Funday? How much did that website cost? How come the budget of America's Biggest Boondoggle is not an easily accessed, readily available, public document?

If only The People had someone on the TRWD board who could get answers to these type questions....

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Why Are Armed Bubbas Guarding Burlington's Army Recruiting Center?

What you see here arrived via email a couple minutes ago.

I thought it was only in Texas armed Bubbas were guarding Army recruiting centers.

Burlington is the town in Washington I lived in from age 5 til 20, give or take a year.

Is the open carrying of firearms now legal in Washington like it is in Texas? Can a Washington Goober now stick a gun in a holster and wander around in public? And guard things the Bubba Goober thinks need guarding?

What is it these volunteer guards are thinking? Is it that the Chattanooga murder of five military men by a mentally ill Muslim is some sort of conspiracy that is threatening to be replicated all over America? Including the little town of Burlington?

You just know if this epidemic of Bubba Goobers guarding military personally keeps spreading that something bad is going to happen.

The Burlington Bubbas should hurry themselves to Texas to help fight the Jade Helm invasion....

Is America's Biggest Boondoggle Stopping Downtown Fort Worth From Being A Boomtown?

In yet one more variant of our popular series of bloggings about things I read in west coast online newspapers, usually the Seattle Times, which I would not likely be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, yesterday I saw that which you see here, an article titled Five takeaways from the downtown Seattle boom.

I have mentioned previously that hardly a week goes by without me reading about some new construction project in downtown Seattle.

For some time now I have known Seattle and Western Washington are booming, but I did not know til yesterday the extent of new project construction in downtown Seattle. The following paragraph is where I learned why I'm constantly reading about new projects...

The Seattle Times Sunday Buzz logged the report in, noting, “Thirty projects were completed in 2014. But, with 24 projects completed in the first six months of 2015 alone, and 36 scheduled for completion by the end of the year, downtown Seattle is on track to see the largest number of completed projects in the last decade…”

Can you imagine reading in the Star-Telegram about 24 projects completed in downtown Fort Worth so far in 2015, with 36 more scheduled for completion by the end of the year? It takes Fort Worth four years to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the mainland to an imaginary island.

Another interesting paragraph from the Seattle Times article...

The “back to the city” movement has legs. All over the country, millennials and others want to live in vibrant central cities with walkable neighborhoods, real downtowns and good transit. In Chicago, giant Kraft Heinz is the latest company to abandon suburbia for downtown.

Los Angeles is also seeing a big boom in its downtown as people and corporations return to the city center.

A few days ago in a blogging titled No Sturgeon Dying In Trinity River While Largest Hotel In Texas Is Not Built In Fort Worth I made mention of a comment made by Mr. Spiffy, where Mr. Spiffy opined along the line that America's Biggest Boondoggle boondoggling along in slow motion is the reason nothing of the big project sort is happening in downtown Fort Worth, due to no investor wanting to invest in downtown Fort Worth when there is a chance that the Trinity River Central City Uptown Gator Island Vision Boondoggle might actually become viable, with that being where one would want to invest, not in the existing moribund downtown.

Regarding America's Biggest Boondoggle, I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I think the actual concept is a good idea. Turning a large area of urban blight into an urban village with water features, restaurants, residential towers, public transit.

It is the way Fort Worth has  gone about actualizing this "vision" that I find objectionable. Hiring the unqualified son of a local politician to run the project. Not having the public vote to approve and fund the project. No project timeline. Over a decade and a half after its inception, very little to show, except  for a slow motion boondoggle sponsoring floating beer parties in a polluted river, which really is just shameful.

Though the locals really do not seem to mind.

Which is baffling.

America's Biggest Boondoggle is basically killing downtown Fort Worth, with the town stuck in neutral while other towns in other areas of America are in boom town mode.

Regarding that "back to the city" movement mentioned in the Seattle Times article, where people are drawn to city centers with real downtowns, walkable neighborhoods and good transit. Fort Worth fails miserably on all three of those draws.

Fort Worth is the biggest town in America without a single department store operating in its downtown. Fort Worth is the biggest town in America without a single grocery store operating in its downtown.

Not enough people visit downtown Fort Worth to support a department store. Not enough people live in downtown Fort Worth to support a grocery store.

These are symptoms of something being not quite right with downtown Fort Worth, despite the downtown cheerleader's constant attempts to pretend otherwise.

How many department stores are in downtown Seattle? Several. Along with several vertical malls. And multiple grocery stores. And a huge public market drawing tourists from all over the world. With good public transit in the form of a transit tunnel running under the downtown zone.

Can you imagine a transit tunnel running under downtown Fort Worth? On the plus side, it would not need to be a very long tunnel...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Euless Doctor Appointment Takes Me To Palm Treed Viridian Beach Volleyball Court

Today was the day of my regularly scheduled monthly doctor appointment in Euless.

The doctor's workshop is near Collins Street. Driving south on Collins Street soon takes one to the north entry to River Legacy Park, which was closed today, and likely for several days, due to the road and parking lot surface being upgraded.

So, I continued south, took a right on Green Oaks Boulevard and continued west til I got to the south entry to River Legacy Park.

Arlington seems to have the highly evolved good habit of constantly improving its parks. If River Legacy Park is not the best park in the entire D/FW Metroplex, I wish someone would point me to the park that is.

Today I rolled my bike wheels back across the Trinity River to the north side of River Legacy Park with the intention to take my handlebars to the Viridian development, if Lake Viridian had receded enough from last month's flooded state, to allow trail access from River Legacy to Viridian.

I think my last roll through Viridian was about two years ago. There were only a couple dozens homes built at that point in time. The development did not seem all that appealing, what with the high expectations of all that was proposed for the Viridian development before the Great Recession grounded the project to a halt.

Well, from what I saw today one would think the Great Recession is ancient history.

The paved trails along the lake have been expanded since my last visit. A school has been built. A sprawling club house, with swimming pools, has been added, part of which you see above, looking over my handlebars at a sandy white beach volleyball court surrounded by palm trees.

The landscaping at Viridian is impressive. I am a fan of a well landscaped landscape.

For quite a distance Collins Street has received the Viridian treatment, creating an aesthetically pleasing landscaped boulevard of the sort one sees in towns like, I don't  know, Phoenix, Tacoma, Mount Vernon, Los Angeles, and others.

Fort Worth should send a task force to Arlington to see what an improvement, aesthetically speaking, a well landscaped road can be, free of weeds and litter.

Check out the I-35 exits to Fort Worth's #1 tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, and imagine those exits with the Arlington landscape treatment, rather than their current eyesore state of being a littered, weedy mess....

Once Again Maxine Has Made Me Homesick For Washington & Japanese Fishing Floats

Last Thursday, in a blogging titled A Hot July Day In Texas Thinking About Catching A Llama With Maxine I lamented about a Maxine salmon barbecue that had me thinking, yet again, about moving back to the Wonders of Washington.

Rarely a week goes by, of late, where someone from Washington does not send me something which makes me feel a bit homesick.

Yesterday it happened again, once again via Maxine.

Last Friday Maxine told me over the weekend she was floating the ferry to the Olympic Peninsula to drive to a knitter's convention in a cabin on the beach in Moclips.


The name was totally familiar, but my memory of place names and their location in Washington is fading as the years of exile pile up. I had to look up Moclips on my Street Finder program to restore my memory that Moclips is slightly north of Copalis, which had me further appalled at the sad state of my failing memory.

Copalis, as a kid, was just about my favorite place we would journey to for a weekend of camping, or a week of summer vacation. There was a store in Copalis which had all sorts of fun stuff.  Every trip to Copalis my brother and I would go to that store and spend a lot of time deciding what balsa wood rubber band propelled airplane we would buy and fly.

I was last in Copalis and Moclips the summer of 2004. I remember quite clearly that it was near Copalis I first saw the Tsunami Evacuation Route signs which had been added since the last time I visited Washington's Pacific coast.

With all the brouhaha of late regarding the impending 9.2 long overdue SUPER QUAKE off the Washington/Oregon coast, and its predicted 300 foot Tsunami, I wonder if those evacuation routes have been altered. Getting oneself to high ground above 300 feet would present a challenge along much of the coast.

In the picture above I am fairly certain we are looking at Maxine, standing on the Moclips beach, with the Pacific Ocean and a very bright sunset creating a Maxine halo, even though Maxine told me she took the photos she sent me. I think the above one may be an exception.

You looking at these photos, who have never been to the west coast, does it surprise you that a Pacific beach can be such a big flat space?

Above, that line you see across the horizon under the setting sun, that would be the line of waves crashing in from the Pacific Ocean.

Maxine told me she and her fellow knitters had fun finding sand dollars on the beach. Finding sand dollars constituted a really fine time when I was a kid.

Another big deal when I was a kid, on the beach at Copalis, and other Pacific beaches, was finding Japanese glass fishing floats. These were glass balls of various sizes, some quite large, which Japanese fishing boats used to float their nets.

The floating balls would break free and journey across the Pacific to wash ashore on Washington beaches. I do not know if this still happens. I suspect Japanese fishing fleets no longer use glass balls. I do know that Japanese glass fishing floats are currently valuable collector items.

I do not remember if me and my brother ever found a Japanese fishing float. I do remember we had ourselves a mighty fine time looking for one....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Perplexed Replacing Deplorable Seats In Fort Worth's Doomed Convention Center Arena

I saw that which you see here this morning on the front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram online.

I am only allowed to read the Star-Telegram's front page, but that which I was allowed to read was enough to perplex me.

The Convention Center Arena's seats apparently are deplorable eyesores in need of fixing.

The seats are deplorable eyesores? How about the giant flying saucer the seats sit in? Is that structure not widely reviled as a deplorable, outdated eyesore which architecturally looks way out of sync with the look of the rest of the Convention Center? And downtown Fort Worth?

Am I remembering correctly when I remember that a few elections ago voters voted to build a new multi-purpose arena to replace the too small, outdated Convention Center eyesore?

If I recollect correctly voters were asked to approve three financing propositions to provide funds to build the new arena. With those financing propositions approving money making schemes such as charging a buck to rent one of the new arena's livestock stalls.

In the long period of time since the voters approved of the three financing propositions, thus approving of the building of the new arena, did someone figure out that those dollar livestock stall rentals were not going to raise enough money to pay for the new building?

Has anyone seen any sort of project timeline schedule for the new multi-purpose arena the voters voted for? Did J.D. Granger get put in charge of this project? Is that why it seems to be going nowhere?

My memory of long ago events may be shaky at times, but I am fairly certain I remember correctly that this new arena was intended to replace the Convention Center Arena, due to the fact that the Convention Center Arena is not big enough to attract the big acts that the new arena, with its additional couple thousand seats, would be able to attract.

Which really never made any sense to me, but must have made sense to the majority of voters, since they voted for the three silly propositions. Why would a couple thousand more seats be the tipping point that would bring One Direction or Maroon Five to town?

I opined at the time that I did not think it was the size of the arena which kept big acts from playing Fort Worth.  It was the fact that nearby there are much bigger venues. Such as the Dallas Cowboy stadium. And in Dallas, that arena where the Dallas Mavericks play basketball. Both with better transportation access and parking than one finds in Fort Worth's Cultural District location of the new multi-purpose arena.

Anyone out there know when ground will be broken for the new Fort Worth arena? Will there be a big ceremony with TNT explosions such as what was done for the ground breaking ceremony marking the start of the four year construction of America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges connecting the mainland to an imaginary island, now known as Gator Island.....

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rolling My Wheels To A New Woodhaven Swimming Hole While Thinking About A Blue Mound Move

It seems as if it has been at least a day since I rolled my wheels around my Woodhaven neighborhood, so with the memory fading of my most recent having done so, today I took my handlebars on a roll around the Woodhaven Country Club Golf Course.

Today I came upon a new view, that being that which you see my handlebars looking at. That pool of blue looked very inviting on this day predicted to hit 101 degrees of HOT.

I saw no "NO SWIMMING" signs. But, I'd already had my early morning swim of the day, so the temptation was not too great.

Changing the subject from the above blue pool to Blue Mound.

This morning on Facebook I was messaged with an odd question, asking me if I was moving to Blue Mound. I replied, saying not that I am aware of, why are you asking this?

In a followup message the messenger explained that someone named Durango Jones had the power to their Blue Mound home turned off this weekend, with the power then turned back on in Durango Jones' name.

I then told the Blue Mounder that this particular Durango Jones was not the culprit, along with verbalizing being perplexed at the idea their is another Durango Jones working this territory. Adding to the oddness is the fact that myself and the Blue Mounder share six Facebook friends in common, but myself and the Blue Mounder are not Facebook friends.

I don't know how the Blue Mounder managed to Facebook message me without us being Facebook friends. I thought that was a Facebook requirement to send someone a Facebook message.

Anyone else out there had any contact with someone purporting to be Durango Jones? I hope not....

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Today I Celebrate My 8 Year Happy Google Anniversary

Google has a policy regarding its AdSense product similar to the first rule of Fight Club, as in the first rule of Google AdSense is not to talk about Google AdSense.

I think the talking prohibition has more to do with sharing details of how many AdSense cents one makes, revenue generating-wise, than simply mentioning some non-consequential AdSense aspect.

Such as, this morning when I checked in on the Google account Google informed me of that which you see above, that being today is my 8 year Happy Anniversary with AdSense. So far I have not been notified about any Google party celebrating this momentous occasion.

It is a little hard to believe that it has been 8 years since the Google AdSense account went active. I remember having to jump through hoop after hoop and then getting to the point where I was told  I could add AdSense code to my webpages. That day I added the code to about a quarter of my Eyes on Texas webpages, which at that point in time only numbered around 300.

The next day I logged into the Google account to find the AdSense account providing a strong motivation to add the AdSense code to all my Eyes on Texas webpages. And so I did.

And now, 8 years have gone by. If I remember right the blog you are looking at right now came along about a year later, followed by multiple other blogs, all with AdSense ads.

Doing the Google AdSense thing has become sort of an addiction, like pulling the arm of a slot machine and being pleased by the number that rolls up, or being perplexed by the number that rolls up, while once a month seeing the slot machine tray fill up with coins.

I'd like to break free of this addiction, but I fear it would involve getting some sort of addiction therapy, which seems like way too much bother, all things considered....

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My Location In Texas Has Finally Become A HOT 100

The temperature has hit 100 at my location for the first time this year. My phone made its incoming text message noise. After I read the message I checked the temperature to learn it is HOT.

My computer based temperature monitoring device is also being heated to 100.

With the phone I did something I did not know I could do until I did it. As in I emailed myself what I was seeing on the phone, which is that which you see here.

Elsie Hotpepper and Spencer Jack's dad email what appear to me to be screen caps from their phones. Often embarrassing dialogues on Facebook. I figured this must be an i-Phone thing not able to be done on my Korean phone.

As I so often do, I figured wrong.

With the outer world being so HOT I would have thought my air conditioner would be running more frequently than it is to cool down my inner world. I guess it has been so long since it has been HOT that I forget how often the A/C works to keep things cool.

I must go find ice now, and some water to drown the ice in....

One Score And Two Years Ago Is No Way To Start A Wedding Speech

I do some of my best pondering whilst rolling along via my bike wheels.

Today I decided to take my handlebars on a roll around the neighborhood to get me some endorphins and do some pondering on various ponderments.

Apparently "ponderments" is not a word. It has been red flagged. Maybe pondermentable is a word.


Also red flagged. Well, both should be words.

Among the things I pondered whilst rolling today was a task I was assigned last night. I was asked to use my highly evolved poetic literary skills to compose a wedding speech, well, actually, wedding reception speech. I got that clarification this morning after opining that I'd never witnessed anyone giving a speech at a wedding, other than the wedding officiator and the pair getting hitched.

As I rolled along I started composing the wedding speech, "One Score and Two Years Ago there Arrived on this Planet...."

And then I realized I was channeling Abraham Lincoln, with the further realization that parodying the Gettysburg Address as a wedding speech, what with that speech dedicating a memorial to thousands of fallen soldiers, would probably be in really bad taste at a wedding celebration type event.

Eventually I gave up on the composing a wedding speech thing and moved on to some other pondering, with equally unsatisfactory results.

I probably should resign from this wedding speech task. What do I know about wedding speeches? Very little. I have attended few weddings. And every one of them has ended in divorce, if I remember right, and I likely do....

Friday, July 17, 2015

No Sturgeon Dying In Trinity River While Largest Hotel In Texas Is Not Built In Fort Worth

Continuing on with our popular series of items I read in Pacific Northwest online news sources, usually the Seattle Times, which I seldom or never would read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, today's Seattle Times had a Mother Lode of such items.

A few years ago in downtown Fort Worth no developer could see the viability of building a hotel, so the voters had to vote to provide funds so Fort Worth's Convention Center could add a hotel. Towns which have a lot of visitors with a lot of conventions need not resort to such measures to build a needed hotel.

A few days ago in a blogging titled Wondering Why There Are No Plans To Build Fort Worth A New Skyscraper I mentioned that rarely a week goes by where I will not read of some new big Seattle construction project, while this rarely happens in Fort Worth, and when it does, it always seems who ever is doing the building has been given a lot of incentive perks.

Regarding the lack of new development in downtown Fort Worth, Mr. Spiffy made an interesting comment on Facebook....

If you were a real estate developer and knew that the downtown plans for a new lakeshore may or may not happen - or may take another decade, would you commit your resources to that project? The Gator Island (let's change the name, please) project is slowing downtown progress. Or eliminating it altogether.

What Mr. Spiffy says seems so true. Downtown Fort Worth is stymied by the slow motion progress of America's Biggest Boondoggle. Why would a developer develop anything in the downtown Fort Worth area when, just to the north of downtown, there is this "project", which in one of its many name iterations was called Central City, which might be the place one would want to invest in, not in the existing downtown area.

If only the Trinity River Central City Uptown Gator Island Vision Boondoggle had been voted on by the public and fully funded in the way successful public works projects are, well, the project would likely be completed by now, with downtown Fort Worth experiencing a booming economy, rather than a downtown where one might still find a panther sleeping.

Or a gator.

The first item you see from the Seattle Times tells us of yet one more construction project in downtown Seattle. This time it is what will be the largest hotel in the Pacific Northwest.

The second item tells us dozens of sturgeon have been found dead in the Columbia River. I did not know sturgeon in large numbers were still navigating the Pacific Northwest rivers.

To give you an idea of how big a sturgeon is, that is Spencer Jack's dad's, dad's, dad's, dad, my grandpa, displaying a sturgeon he caught in the Nooksack River. The Nooksack is the furthest north of the Western Washington rivers, getting most of its water in summer from snow and ice melting on Mount Baker. I suspect the Nooksack River is currently in creek mode.

The third item of three clustered together in the Seattle Times, that one would not see in the Star-Telegram, tells us that Washington's legal pot businesses are set to make a lot of money. I have no idea why, or how. The Seattle Times only lets me read five articles a month. Which is five more than the Star-Telegram allows me.

That brings us to the fourth item I saw today on the Seattle Times front page which is unlikely something I would see in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Can you imagine reading in the Star-Telegram "Downtown Fort Worth hotel development booms to meet record demand for rooms in Fort Worth"?

This is not the first time the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle has expanded. I think the most recent expansion occurred since I've been in Texas, because I remember walking around in the downtown zone in 2004 and being surprised by a giant glass atrium spanning, I think it was 5th Avenue, and learning it was a new part of the Convention Center.

This latest expansion will double the capacity of the already HUGE convention center, is expected to cost $1.4 billion, with construction beginning in 2017, completion in 2020.

Imagine that, a project with a project timeline.

With its three year construction time, this Seattle Convention Center expansion must be a much simpler project than America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges, connecting the mainland to the imaginary Gator Island, taking four years to build.

Near as I can tell, no child of any Seattle Congressperson has been given the job of overseeing this project. That may explain why this Seattle project will be a reality in 2020 whilst America's Biggest Boondoggle is still boondoggling along, trying to figure out how to dig a ditch and add water to go under those three simple little bridges to Gator Island.....

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Hot July Day In Texas Thinking About Catching A Llama With Maxine

I decided to roll my wheels around the neighborhood again, which is why you are looking at my handlebars under some dark shade looking at the Woodhaven Country Club Golf Course.

I took a hedge clipper with me today to clear the sidewalk trail of vexing mesquite brush which has been presenting a thorny aggravation.

I think due to the strong dose of moisture delivered in May and June all things green are growing way more than the norm, hence the mesquite brush sidewalk attack.

I have been getting interesting drought reports from Washington. Today's drought report was from Maxine. Years ago, Maxine and her first husband built a cool house on a big chunk of wooded land, on a bluff above the Skagit River, about 20 miles upriver, as a crow flies, from my former abode in Washington.

I remember soon before I moved to Texas I called up Maxine to ask if she'd like frozen beef products I found in my freezer that I was clearing out. So, I delivered them. I found out later, from Maxine, that those beef products were old. Real old. I'd not paid attention to the date which was stamped on the wrapping. Not fit for human consumption. I wonder if Maxine let her dogs have those beef treats?

The last time I was at the Maxine location was in August of 2004. Maxine had a salmon barbecue party. I drove up from Seattle with Wanda and Wally. Chris and David, who still lived in Ada, Oklahoma, at the time, were back home in Washington for a visit, so they were at that barbecue too. Seems like there were others there too, but my age related memory woe is not letting me remember who they were.

Anyway, back to Maxine and the drought. Maxine told me the high country trails that usually don't open til late August, or later, are already open and hikeable. Maxine participates in the same hiking treasure hunt competition thing my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Spencer Jack's grandma, Cindy, hikes in.

So far the Maxine well is still delivering water. Due to the perfect growing conditions, with plenty of sunshine, Maxine's garden is the biggest and best ever, with things, like cucumbers, already ready for pickling or eating. Maxine has the best garden I've ever seen. Raised beds with lawn between the beds, making for an easy garden to work in. Trails around the house with raspberry bushes.

I remember a big party at Maxine's, long ago, way back in the last century, maybe sometime in the 1980s. A neighbor showed up at the party, desperate for help. Her Llama had escaped. She needed help rounding up the Llama. That was a fun adventure. I remember at one point being face to face with the creature, with it turning and running from me. Gradually we closed in on the beast and it was re-captured.

Thinking about Maxine makes me think of yet one more reason to move back to Washington. In all the years I have lived in Texas not a single person, not a one, has invited me to a salmon barbecue. Or even a catfish barbecue. Let alone invite me to help capture a rogue Llama....

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Spencer Jack Drives Me And His Dad Over The North Cascades To Liberty Bell Mountain

Email last night from Spencer Jack's dad, FNJ (also known as my Favorite Nephew Jason).

Email Subject Line: Spencer Jack visits Liberty Bell

Text in Email: Spencer Jack and I traveled east. Have some great pictures of Spencer and the Liberty Bell that I'm sure his FUD would enjoy. Will upload them from my camera and send them to you later.

FUD (that would be me) replied asking: "Liberty Bell in Philadelphia? Or the one on the North Cascade Highway?"

That question was answered a few minutes ago, with the promised pictures and the following message....

FUD --

Your FNSJ drove me east to the Washington State Liberty Bell.

Our original plans were to explore the Skagit Dams yesterday.   We did the dam thing with stops along the route at Rasar State Park, Concrete High School / Airport, Lower Baker Dam and Howard Miller Steelhead Park before proceeding further east to reach our final destinations of Newhalem, the Gorge Dam, and Colonial Creek at Diablo Lake.   But Spencer Jack insisted driving until we found snow.   We both had never seen such a near snow free North Cascades.   We were finally able to find some winter snow remnants underneath Washington's Liberty Bell.   After a snow ball fight, we decided we needed to cool off in Lake Pearrygin before having dinner in Winthrop.   Spencer Jack let me drive home last night while he slept.

In the picture above you are seeing Spencer Jack in the driver's seat with Liberty Bell Mountain in the background and the most pitiful pile of snow I have ever seen at this location.

Above it appears Spencer Jack is in the midst of the snowball fight mentioned above.

I am losing my ability to remember Washington place names, but I believe what we are looking at above is Spencer Jack at what is called the Washington Pass Overlook, which sits atop a steep cliff and overlooks the North Cascades Highway as it descends, steeply, from Washington Pass. The aforementioned Liberty Bell Mountain is behind Spencer to the right.

Above Spencer Jack is standing on a suspension bridge which crosses the Skagit River. On the other side is the Gorge Dam Powerhouse. Gorge Dam is further up river, with a tunnel bored through rock to deliver hydro power to the Powerhouse. One used to be able to go inside the Gorge Dam Powerhouse, with nice restrooms of the modern facility sort located inside. I wonder if one can still go inside the Powerhouse, nowadays, what with terrorists terrorizing that which used to seem safe from such things. Behind the Powerhouse are elaborate gardens, with waterfalls and trails, built while the dams were being built. The town here is Newhalem. Sort of a company town for Seattle City Light. It appears there is a lot of water in the Skagit River at this location. There is no dam that backs water up here. This location is as far upriver as spawning salmon can get. When the spawning salmon are in town it is quite a spectacle.

The Gorge that gives Gorge Dam its name begins shortly past the Powerhouse as you continue east. This section of road is not for the acrophobic. If you saw the Warren Beatty movie, The Parallax View, you saw the Gorge in the part of the movie where Warren suddenly has to scramble due to water being released from the dam. This happens in real life as well as the movies. Alarm sirens go off if water is about to be released, so Gorge explorers can scramble to safety.

The next Seattle City Light Dam one comes to is called Diablo Dam. It is an old dam across a narrow gorge. One used to be able to drive across. I've no idea if that is still the case. Construction on Diablo Dam's Powerhouse tunnel began in 1917. The dam was not completed til 1930. At the time of completion it was the tallest dam in the world. Hence it being a bit scary to drive across. That and the narrow switchback road one drives to get to the dam is also a bit scary.

Next we go back to earlier in Spencer Jack's drive across the North Cascades.

Concrete is a town which used to have a big concrete making business. It was quite the spectacle to witness in operation. It has been closed for decades. Back when it was operating Concrete was known for its gray coating of concrete dust. As you can see above, Concrete High School has the unique distinction of having a road run under the school. Is this the road that leads south to the Concrete area bridge over the Skagit River? I don't remember.

In the last picture I am not sure of location, but it appears that Spencer Jack is somewhere on the west side of North Cascades National Park. Even in drought mode there are rainforest type areas on the west side of the North Cascades.

FNJ made mention of going to Winthrop and Lake Pearrygin, but no photos were included documenting such.

Winthrop is a fun old west type theme town. Very touristy. In a good way. If I remember right I did what is known as the Cascade Loop the summer before the move to Texas. I remember it being a melancholy drive, not knowing when I would be that way again. The Cascade Loop is done by driving over the North Cascades Pass making a loop of it by returning via Stevens Pass or Snoqualmie Pass. Or vice versa, clock-wise, counter-clockwise, with the North Cascades being the end of the loop, not the beginning. The Stevens Pass Cascade Loop option takes you by another fun theme town, the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. The Snoqualmie Pass option takes you by Roslyn, not exactly a theme town, but a tourist town, which was known as Cicely in the TV show called Northern Exposure.

I was melancholy the last time I drove the Cascade Loop, not knowing when I would pass that way again. Turns out August of 2001 I did a modified Cascade Loop, leaving out the North Cascades Pass part. Instead taking Stevens Pass to Leavenworth, then on to Wenatchee to get a lot of fruit to take back to Texas, then across Blewett Pass en route to Snoqualmie Pass, stopping in Rosyln for pizza, before crossing Snoqualmie Pass back to Seattle.

A couple years before moving to Texas I remember driving Spencer Jack's dad and uncle, my Favorite Nephew Joey, over the North Cascades, to Lake Pearrygin, where we surprised their parental units, then continued on through the Methow River Valley where the nephews had a Nephews In Danger incident on a rickety wooden suspension bridge swaying over the Methow River. I do not remember stopping in Leavenworth that time, as we headed west towards Stevens Pass.

Yesterday Elsie Hotpepper got me thinking about PNW stuff, mostly Oregon related. And now today has me remembering living a very short distance from an incredible variety of scenic wonders. Saltwater in one direction, mountains in another direction. And my favorite foreign country, other than Mexico, a short drive north.

I think I am ready to move back to the Pacific Northwest.....

Shocked To Learn The Kimbell Art Museum Is No Longer The World's Most Beautiful Work Of Modern Architecture

You are looking at a screen cap here from the Wikipedia article about Fort Worth, with some representative images of Fort Worth, including the Modern Museum of Art, but not the Kimbell Art Museum.

Way back in 2012 I blogged a blogging titled Someone Thinks Fort Worth Is The Location Of The Most Beautiful Work Of Modern Architecture In The World, after I read the following in the Wikipedia article about Fort Worth....

"Fort Worth is home to the Kimbell Art Museum, considered to have one of the best collections in the world, and housed in what is widely regarded as the most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world."

By the time I read the above I had long grown used to the tendency to hyperbole employed way too often in Fort Worth by some entities when describing some perfectly ordinary thing in Fort Worth.

But, to claim the Kimbell Art Museum is widely regarded as the most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world was so over the top ridiculous I found it an embarrassingly stupid assertion to make.

A person named Anonymous, with a reading comprehension problem, commented....

Anonymous said...
I know you like to dog on all things Fort Worth, but please leave your personal distaste for the city aside on this one. The Kimbell *is* widely regarded as an architectural masterpiece. Just googling Louis Kahn and the Kimbell should tell you this. See also this article from the New York Times.

I never bothered to read the article Anonymous was directing me to, as there was no need. Instead I responded with....

Durango said...
Anonymous, I am aware the Kimbell building is well regarded architecturally. I did not indicate otherwise. What I was dogging was the ridiculous claim that this building is widely regarded as the most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world.

So, now to the point of this particular blogging. Yesterday I once again happened upon the Wikipedia Fort Worth entry to see that the Kimbell Art Museum is no longer widely regarded as the most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world.

This is what the article now says about the Kimbell Art Museum...

The Kimbell Art Museum, considered to have one of the best collections in Texas, is housed in what is widely regarded as one of Texas' foremost works of modern architecture designed by Louis Kahn and Renzo Piano.

Now, isn't that a lot better? No ridiculous hyperbole, no embarrassing exaggeration. Just an honest statement that no one should find objectionable. Or stupid.

On a related note, yesterday an incoming blog comment was along this same theme, as in objecting to Cowtown hyperbole....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Texas Is A Large State With Deserts Pine Forests Houston And The Rio Grande":

The Fort Worth Business Press pulp fiction writers and Dud Kennedy should edit the Texas Google page to portray Cowtown in a better light. Fort Worth will outwit, outplay and outlast you! Fort Worth's bold moves and relentless success takes it to the next level! TCU slapping their name on the Osteopathic Medical school is a game changing bold move according to the lap dogs at the FW Biz Press. The Cowtown Way's bluster and blather makes me ill.

Yeah, the bluster and blather really are a bit much at times.

Regarding the Wikipedia article about Fort Worth, I find it interesting that there is absolutely no mention made of the Trinity River Uptown Central City Gator Island Vision Project, known worldwide as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Fort Worth's Congresswoman, Kay Granger, has indicated she thinks this project is currently the biggest urban water project underway in North America. Yet no mention made in the Wikipedia article about Fort Worth.

Ms. Granger's blustery blathery claim is sort of an insult to urban zones of North America which have actual urban water projects underway with a bit more complexity than building three little simple bridges in four years to connect the mainland to an imaginary island, while hosting dozens of inner tube floating parties in the polluted Trinity River, while waiting for a ditch to be dug under the three simple little bridges, sometime in the future, with that future being more than four years from now.

How can a Wikipedia article about Fort Worth not mention that town is currently hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle? Makes one question the accuracy of that which one reads in Wikipedia. Then again, Wikipedia did fix that embarrassing most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world nonsense.

So, maybe soon an entry will be made in the Wikipedia article to include America's Biggest Boondoggle, run by Kay Granger's son, J.D., a highly trained civil engineer specializing in urban water projects....

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cowtown's Bluster & Blather Makes Some Ill While I Am Annoyed At Non-Presidential Bushes

I decided to take my handlebars on a roll around the neighborhood today. Upon doing so I soon came upon the obstruction you see here, obstructing the already narrow sidewalk.

My opinion about this Fort Worth obstruction will likely be a bit negative. So, be warned.

I am saying this because earlier today I had a reason to look at a blog post from way back in 2012, seeking a bit of info for another blogging which will likely show up tomorrow, and is very amusing, at least to me.

So, in that blogging from way back in 2012 someone calling him or herself Anonymous Someone had this to say....

Just goes to show that opinions vary. Ranked lists of this and that aren't all that important, and your perennial negativity toward Fort Worth has become rather annoying. And I don't even live in Fort Worth or care dearly about it...sigh...

My perennial negativity toward Fort Worth? I don't know how anyone could think such a thing. And if one found such a thing annoying why would someone continue to read it?

Back to the sidewalk.

My handlebars are looking west, on the north side of Boca Raton Boulevard, across from Albertsons. On the other side of the row of sidewalk obstructing bushes is my neighborhood Chesapeake Energy gas pad site.

Years ago Chesapeake planted those bushes to try to pretty up the mess they'd made. And now the bushes have grown out of control.

Continuing west on Boca Raton I come to multiple obstructions due to brush growing over the sidewalk. Last week I stopped to break off some mesquite branches with thorns which were presenting a hazard.

Now, why in the world would a world class city which is the envy of other cities, far and wide, causing multiple spasms of green with envy syndrome, not have a street crew of some sort whose job it is to make sure Fort Worth's  few sidewalks are free of dangerous obstructions?

Very perplexing.

This just in, a blog comment on my most recent blogging from someone else named Anonymous with perfect timing, with this Anonymous person totally getting what it is that causes me to seem to some to be perennially negative about Fort Worth...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Texas Is A Large State With Deserts Pine Forests Houston And The Rio Grande": 

The Fort Worth Business Press pulp fiction writers and Dud Kennedy should edit the Texas Google page to portray Cowtown in a better light.

Fort Worth will outwit, outplay and outlast you!

Fort Worth's bold moves and relentless success takes it to the next level! 

TCU slapping their name on the Osteopathic Medical school is a game changing bold move according to the lap dogs at the FW Biz Press.

The Cowtown Way's bluster and blather makes me ill. 

Texas Is A Large State With Deserts Pine Forests Houston And The Rio Grande

Yesterday I Googled "Texas" for what reason I no longer remember. Upon Googling "Texas" Google, in addition to the myriad Texas links, came up with the above snapshot of Texas, in which we learn...

Texas is a large state in the southern U.S. with deserts, pine forests and the Rio Grande, a river that forms its border with Mexico. In its biggest city, Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts houses works by well-known Impressionist and Renaissance painters, while Space Center Houston offers interactive displays engineered by NASA. Austin, the capital, is known for its eclectic music scene.

Seems a bit Houston centric, to me. though Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Galveston are mentioned as Destinations. No mention made by Google of Fort Worth. Google must have missed the memo that Fort Worth is a world class city making other towns, far and wide, green with envy.

Seeing what Google did to Texas had me wondering what Google did to my old home state when one Google's "Washington".

Well, we learn that...

Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest with terrain spanning the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to forested islands in Puget Sound. Its largest city, Seattle, is known for its thriving tech industry, vibrant music scene and celebrated coffeehouses. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle and century-old Pike Place Market. Nearby, hiking trails wind through vast rainforest in Olympic National Park.

Well. Google makes my old home state sound a bit more interesting than the state I am currently sitting in, what with snow capped mountains and forested islands, rainforests and coffeehouses.

And a minimum wage over $2 higher than the Texas minimum wage.

Google thinks the Points of Interest in Texas are the San Antonio Riverwalk, the Alamo, the state capitol and a pair of Six Flags theme parks.

While in Washington Google thinks the Points of Interest are Olympic National Park, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks.

With Google's Destinations in Washington being Seattle, Forks, Bainbridge Island and again with the state's national parks.

Leaving out the most interesting national park n Washington, that being Mount St. Helens National Monument.

Bainbridge Island? But no mention of the San Juan Islands? Or Whidbey Island? Eastern Washington is totally ignored. Spokane? Grand Coulee Dam? Lake Chelan? Wenatchee? Yakima? Leavenworth? Apple orchards?

As for Texas. No mention of Big Bend National Park? Or South Padre Island? Or Enchanted Rock? Or Marfa?

Or Fort Worth?

How can Google ignore the most important city in Texas? If not the entire world?

Clearly, Google needs to adjust the algorithms used to determine a state's Destinations and Places of Interest....

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wondering Why There Are No Plans To Build Fort Worth A New Skyscraper

This blogging is a variant of my popular series of bloggings about something I see in a west coast online news source, usually the Seattle Times, that I would not see in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The variant is that this particular blogging is about something I regularly see in the Seattle Times which I rarely see in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

That being the announcement of some new big construction project.

Seems like hardly a week goes by without reading of some new construction project in downtown Seattle. Pike Place expansion. Residential towers. Mixed use towers. And projects like this skyscraper you see  here.

I've seen no new skyscrapers scrape the sky in Fort Worth since I have been in Texas. I think Dallas has added one or two.

I read yesterday that the Seattle area is currently the fastest growing zone in America, with the economy back in boom mode.

A booming economy would explain all the building projects, I suppose.

But, I thought I've read in the Star-Telegram that Fort Worth is growing fast. I don't think I've read that the local economy is booming though. Is that the reason for the static skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth?

The only semi-tall building I've seen constructed in Fort Worth since I have been in Texas is the Convention Center Hotel. That project did not come about via private enterprise building a hotel to accommodate all the tourists and convention goers flocking to Fort Worth. Due to the paucity of both, no private entity was interested in making that type hotel investment, so the local voters were snookered into helping pay for the hotel.

Since I have been in Texas I have witnessed several large construction projects in downtown Fort Worth.

Such as the Radio Shack Corporate Headquarters. To build that building eminent domain was abused to remove a public housing development. Due to building the Radio Shack Headquarters the big free Tandy parking lots were no longer usable. The world's shortest subway line was closed, making access to downtown Fort Worth no longer the easy thing it was prior to this debacle. The lack of easy parking has greatly reduced the number of times I have visited downtown Fort Worth ever since.

A short distance from the Radio Shack debacle we had the downtown campus of Tarrant County College debacle, a grandiose project, with an interesting design, thwarted in mid construction. In the midst of the Tarrant County College downtown campus boondoggle Radio Shack found it could no longer afford its new corporate headquarters. So, in a deal which made no sense to me, Tarrant County College, which had already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on their mangled downtown campus, then paid a few hundred more million to buy space in the Radio Shack building to use as their downtown campus, in a building which was not designed to be a school.

I tell you, Fort Worth has to be the "Boondoggle Capital  of the Free World".

That should be the town's catchy slogan, not "Where the West  Begins".

Adding to the roll of boondoggles, we have the Pier One Imports Corporate Headquarters. A beautiful building built on the spot where buildings were destroyed by a tornado. I don't remember how long Pier One Imports occupied their new headquarters before they, like Radio Shack, found out they could not afford it. The building was then sold to Chesapeake Energy to use as their satellite corporate headquarters from whence they ran their shadow Fort Worth city government during the reign of gas industry lackey, Mike Moncrief.

I don't know who owns the former Pier One Imports building now that Chesapeake Energy has taken the Walk of Shame out of Fort Worth.

If Fort Worth's economy is doing as well as the Star-Telegram propaganda-izes, how come we don't see more evidence of such?

We have America's Biggest Boondoggle currently stalled in slow motion, taking four years to build three little simple bridges from the mainland to an imaginary island, but not much else, except for an extensive music festival schedule taking place in, and beside, the Trinity River, a river which other parts of America would call the Trinity Slough, with no one thinking it a good idea to use as an inner tubing venue.

I'm sure some local would point to the West 7th area as evidence of Fort Worth's booming economy. Well, what I have seen in that area is extremely poor planning, with the area turning into a flooded lake when too much rain falls. The sidewalks are too narrow on West 7th, creating a canyon like effect that is not pleasant.

There is a lot of highway construction underway. Is that a sign of a booming local economy? Or one more sign of bad planning? The I-35 drive north from downtown Fort Worth has turned into an extremely unpleasant experience, particularly when you get past I-820.

I know there has been some effort to have some sort of train transit running from downtown Fort Worth to Grapevine, and, I think, the north entry to D/FW International. But, that project seems to be a lot of talk and little action.

If Fort Worth ever does actually have itself a booming economy do you think maybe sidewalks could be added to more of the city's streets? And maybe get rid of all the outhouses in all the parks and install modern restroom facilities with running water to replace the outhouses?

We have all recently witnessed how fast the South can change when properly motivated. Could not the Fort Worth outhouses go as quickly as the Confederate flag? We can only hope....