Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wikipedia Has Me Confused About Dallas

A few days ago in a blog post I mentioned Spencer Jack's Dad's Dallas Grave Visit.

Regarding Spencer Jack's dad's Dallas grave visit that post said....

Whilst Jason did his touring he text messaged a time or two to his Favorite Uncle D. That would be me. One of those messages said, in part....

Not only did I see Benjamin Franklin's grave today, I saw Dallas's grave. Are you aware of who the city of Dallas is named after?

Well, I guess I have always assumed Dallas was named after a guy whose last  name was Dallas. But, I Googled "Dallas" to see if I could find who this Dallas person was. Soon I found myself reading the Wikipedia article about Dallas. The Wikipedia article made no mention of who or what Dallas is named after.

Well, Spencer Jack's dad must have read the above and then emailed me with....

FUD -- That big city in Texas, named Dallas, was named after George M. Dallas.   Or so said my Philadelphia Big Bus tour guide, who majored in history in the early 1970s.

I had previously never heard of the man.   Apparently he was our 11th vice-president.


So, I Googled George M. Dallas. Info from the Wikipedia article about Mr. Dallas is what Google adds to the search results for illustrative blurb purposes to the right of the search results, the screen cap of which you see above.

The first paragraph of the George M. Dallas article says "The City of Dallas, Texas, is named after him because Dallas created the first local trading post which was the first known settlement in what is today the Dallas, Texas."

During the course of the Wikipedia article, as the life of George Dallas is detailed from birth on, his education, what he did when Dallas got out of school, there is no mention made of how he came to be in Texas, or when this was, or how long Dallas was in Dallas.

The article details the political career of Dallas, going from being mayor of Philadelphia to a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania to James Knox Polk's Vice-President.

But nothing about what Dallas did in Dallas, other than that one mention of creating that first local trading post. The article makes no mention of Dallas being any sort of  merchant, let along a trading post opener founding the first known settlement at the location named after him.

I wonder if many Texans or Dallasites know why Dallas is named Dallas? I recollect being shocked, shocked I tell you, when the native born Texan known as Gar the Texan verbalized being surprised to learn Fort Worth had actually been a fort at one time. Gar the Texan learned this when reading the signage at one of Fort Worth's currently boarded up eyesores, Heritage Park, to which we had biked, back before that spot celebrating Fort Worth's heritage degraded into being a boarded up eyesore.

Leaving Fort Worth and going back to the founding of Dallas, the Wikipedia article about Dallas, the city, says...

John Neely Bryan established a permanent settlement near the Trinity River named Dallas in 1841.

What? 1841? That is four years  before George Dallas became Vice-President, eight years after he ceased being a Senator. I think the John Neely Bryan log cabin is something I have seen in downtown Dallas, near the JFK memorial.

Why isn't Dallas named Bryan?

Anyway, I think both myself and Wikipedia are confused about Dallas....

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On The Tandy Hills Perplexed By Lonesome Shoes And The Rapidly Rising Gas Price

Back on the Tandy Hills on this next to last day of September. A few days ago I had myself a slight tripping incident which impacted my left knee. For some reason hiking hills at high speed makes the knee feel all better.

Likely the feel all better thing is caused by the tranquilizing endorphin effect induced by heavy duty aerobicizing.

Now, what is the deal with the shoes, you are asking yourself?

Well, these shoes were sitting beside the trail on the north side of the Tandy Falls Escarpment, above currently dry Tandy Falls. This location is about as far as one gets from civilization on the Tandy Hills, unless one considers the freeway civilized.

In other words, I would not want to walk barefoot from this location back to my vehicular transport.

Speaking of vehicular transport. What's up with the price of gas overnight shooting up 20 cents a gallon, or more. I drove by two QTs today that I drove by yesterday. At that point in time both were $1.95. Today both were $2.19. The Circle K on the way to the Tandy Hills yesterday was $1.96. Today it was $2.18. Yesterday the Shell across the street from the Circle K was one penny more than the Circle K. Today the Shell is still a penny more than the Circle K.

How does this happen, overnight? Did something bad happen about which I am unaware? Did the Iran nuclear deal collapse? Did NASA's revelation that Mars is wet send up the price of oil? Is the price jump caused by Shell ceasing with Arctic drilling?

Why Is Fort Worth's Best Public Servant Ignoring The Pulte Wall Of Shame?

Dog Wall Watcher
Last night I got an email informing me I had been "tagged" in Facebook. I learned from past taggings that this means someone wants me to look at something. This time that something turned out to be what I soon learned is known as the Pulte Wall of Shame.

Upon first arriving at Facebook to see what had tagged me I saw a photo of a tall wall with a tall dog looking like it was standing guard. The text with the photo explained that in the 7 months that this wall has been in failure mode only in the past few days have the worried person's three dogs been acting like something is up. Or about to come down.

From a series of comments I was able to glean that this wall has been posing a threat to a neighborhood, with those who own the wall doing nothing to fix it. I wondered where this disaster waiting to happen was located, so I made a comment....

Durango Jones: Have you informed the city officials of whatever city this dangerous wall is crumbling in of this potential disaster? The city has a responsibility to act to fix such a problem. Should the disaster occur the city would be guilty of some type of criminal negligence, if they had been informed of the problem, pre-disaster.....

Well, imagine my shock when I was told this crumbling wall was crumbling in Fort Worth. Multiple attempts to get help from the city have been ignored. Attempts to talk to Fort Worth's mayor, Betsy Price, have failed.

The lady whose dogs are on wall guard duty then commented...

Krissy Harmon Irizarry: Oh, Durango, they could care less! Just as Layla stated. I've YET to speak to Betsy ONCE in 7 months via email or otherwise. I have invited them all (city council and city heads) out to see the wall in one has come. We had a big meeting with the city in August where lots of promises were made to try to "help us" but it was all lip service. I've only heard from each of them once since then. And David manager...don't get me started. I've NEVER been spoken to so disrespectfully by anyone in my life. Rude is a huge understatement. Oh, did I forget to mention that the city never inspected the wall? Issued a permit, never inspected a 15 foot retaining wall bordering a home and holding back tons of pounds of earth, and then says that even if they didn't inspect they are not responsible. We are so thankful for Rep. Krause and his office...they have been our ONLY ally in this!

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that Fort Worth's esteemed mayor has been impossible to reach.

Apparently the city issued permits to allow the building of the wall, then did no building inspections. The crumbling wall is at the Golf Club Fossil Creek, also known, apparently, as Eagle Golf.

I think I have gleaned that the neighborhood where homes are in danger is known as the Pulte Development, hence the Pulte Wall of Shame.

Below is a screen cap from the Pulte Walls of Shame Facebook page.

There has been some news coverage of the Pulte Wall of Shame. Nothing in the Star-Telegram, due to that newspaper's policy of not covering anything crumbling in Fort Worth. The local NBC affiliate was the first local TV station to show any interest in the crumbling wall. However, nothing ever made it to air, and NBC5 ceased responding to emails and phone calls.

Now why would NBC5 decide not to cover the story of the crumbling wall after they checked into the details? Well, I think the advertisement below might provide a clue....

In the Capital of Cronyism one can't help but  wonder about NBC5's relationship with Eagle Golf Club Fossil Creek.

I wonder if Betsy Price takes  phone calls from whoever owns the Golf Club Fossil Creek?

Last week Fort Worth Weekly released their highly anticipated Best of Fort Worth 2015 edition. That's the edition where a few readers submit their choices of what they think is Best in Fort Worth.

Who did those few readers think is the Best Public Servant in Fort Worth?

If you guessed Betsy Price you guessed right.

I would have thought the readers would have picked Betsy as the winner in the Best Old Gal category.

Now, why would Betsy Price show no interest in a crumbling wall which poses a threat to some of her constituents she has been elected to serve? Is Betsy Price not aware of the Pulte Wall of Shame? If not, why not? Why does Betsy Price ignore attempts to contact her about the Pulte Wall of Shame?

If the City of Fort Worth issued the permits which allowed the wall to be built. And then did no inspections of the construction of the wall to make it sure it was being built to code. And if that wall fails catastrophically, doesn't the city have some liability? The golf course is responsible for the wall. But who is responsible for allowing the wall to get built?

Wouldn't you think Fort Worth's Best Public Servant would show some concern over the Pulte Wall of Shame crumbling in her town?

Very perplexing.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Spencer Jack's Dad's Dallas Grave Visit Took Me On A Walking Tour

A week or so ago Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, was visiting historic sites in the historic city of Philadelphia.

Whilst Jason did his touring he text messaged a time or two to his Favorite Uncle D. That would be me. One of those messages said, in part....

Not only did I see Benjamin Franklin's grave today, I saw Dallas's grave. Are you aware of who the city of Dallas is named after?

Well, I guess I have always assumed Dallas was named after a guy whose last  name was Dallas. But, I Googled "Dallas" to see if I could find who this Dallas person was. Soon I found myself reading the Wikipedia article about Dallas. The Wikipedia article made no mention of who or what Dallas is named after. But reading about Dallas led me to an interesting website that analyzed the walkability of towns all over America and Canada. The major cities have blurbs describing them, along with Walk Score, Transit Score  and Bike Score.

That is the graphic for Fort Worth you see above. The information blurb for Fort Worth was sort of pitiful compared to other towns blurbed....

Fort Worth is the 42nd most walkable large city in the US with 741,206 residents. Fort Worth has minimal public transportation and does not have many bike lanes. Fort Worth is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car.

The blurb for Dallas was a lot less pitiful....

Dallas, Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex — it’s the biggest landlocked region in the US. Things are big here, as you’d expect from Texas. There’s blues and BBQ here, but there’s also art at the Dallas Museum of Art, history at the African American Museum, and all kinds of culture — dance, theater, and live music.

Dallas is improving its transit with a light rail line that serves downtown and Oak Lawn, two of the more walkable districts. The Trinity Railway Express connects Fort Worth with Dallas’ DART light rail system at Union Station, with a stop near DFW, the international airport.

Dallas is the 23rd most walkable large city in the US with 1,197,816 residents. Dallas has some public transportation and does not have many bike lanes. Dallas is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car.

The entry for Austin is as pitiful as Fort Worth's, but with Austin deemed  more walkable than Fort Worth...

Austin is the 34th most walkable large city in the US with 790,390 residents. Austin has some public transportation and is somewhat bikeable. Austin is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car.

The blurb describing Houston was also not pitiful, and, apparently, Houston is slightly easier to walk in than Dallas....

Houston has sparkling new high-rises, historic architecture with wrought iron balconies, parks and museums, and plenty of shopping. It’s the fourth largest city in the US. The Johnson Space Center is in Houston, and the Rothko Chapel, a serene facility housing the work of one the masters of American Art.

In Houston, you’re inside the Loop (Interstate 610) or inside the Beltway, or out in the suburbs. There are five main business districts, two Chinatowns, and day trippers think nothing of heading to Galveston on the Gulf Coast. Houston is a commuter’s town, you may find a walkable neighborhood but most likely still have to drive to work.

Houston is a Car-Dependent city. Most errands require a car. Houston is the 22nd most walkable large city in the US with 2,099,451 residents. Houston has some public transportation and does not have many bike lanes.

I have walked  in many of the towns ranked by the Walkscore people. I was surprised Portland was not considered to be more walkable than Seattle. I was not surprised  to see that Fort Worth is the least walkable  of the big Texas towns. If I remember right I have complained a time or two about Fort Worth's sidewalk shortage.

You can  go to the Walkscore website to see which is the most walkable town in America, along with how other towns rank.

Below is the blurb for Seattle. I have walked more in Seattle than any other big city in America....

Seattle is rapidly becoming a world-class walkable city. SoundTransit’s new light rail line connects the city and to the airport. People are relocating to Seattle for jobs at companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks.

Seattle is ringed by the Olympic and Cascade mountains and surrounded by Lake Washington and Puget Sound. Seattle neighborhood architecture ranges from single family homes in Wallingford to high-rise downtown apartments.

Seattle is the 8th most walkable large city in the US with 608,660 residents. Seattle has good public transportation and is somewhat bikeable. Seattle is Very Walkable. Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 

I agree, Seattle is very walkable, with wide sidewalks, all over town. But, you would not catch me riding a bike in downtown Seattle. Too hilly, too many people, too much traffic, way too much going on which would render riding a bike in that zone to be scary. Seattle has a lot of paved bike trails, though. The Burke-Gilman comes to mind.

I think Walkscore shortchanged Fort Worth in the Bike Score department.

I have rolled my bike wheels in downtown Fort Worth many times. It is not scary to do so. And Fort Worth has that Bike Share program that seems to be working. I thought that was another sure to fail Fort Worth thing. I was wrong. And Fort Worth has a lot of miles of paved bike trails, called the Trinity Trails, along the Trinity River. One can roll ones wheels from the east end of Fort Worth to the west end on the Trinity Trails.

Fort Worth definitely earns its low Transit Score of 19. The Fort Worth public transit system is terrible.

A few weeks ago Mr. Ed had to use the Fort Worth bus system to get from Berry and I-35 to his abode, about 8 miles to the east. Mr. Ed had to take a bus a circuitous route with multiple stops west, eventually reaching the downtown transit center, switch to another bus to head back east to another transit center, then switch to another bus to get to his final destination.

Over two hours to go eight miles is rapid transit in Fort Worth. It would have been faster for Mr. Ed to walk home....

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Today Aunt Alice's Son Wade Rests In Peace

Last night I was surprised, on Facebook, to learn that Aunt Alice's son, Wade, had been taken to Harborview Hospital in Seattle, due to seizures causing his brain to bleed.

I assume Wade was flown to Seattle in an emergency air ambulance.

I was struck by all the people expressing their support for Aunt Alice. Her kindly nature really does bring out the best in an awful lot of people.

I learned a few minutes ago, also on Facebook, that Wade died this morning.

Aunt Alice tried to call me yesterday. It was an odd call. Suddenly Facebook notified me that Aunt Alice was calling me. How did Facebook know this? Then my phone lit up, telling me I had a call, but it was not the usual thing I see when I get a call. I couldn't figure out how to answer it.

My friend on the planet of the longest duration, Linda R, asked me a couple weeks ago if Aunt Alice was my mom or my dad's sister, because Linda did not remember me having an aunt named Alice.

Well, Aunt Alice is not really my aunt. I just call her that. And she refers to  me as her Sweet Nephew. Aunt Alice is also known as Tootsie Tonasket of the Okanogan Tribe. Alice used to be married to Uncle Albert, last name Hudson, which makes Wade's name Wade Hudson. Aunt Alice used to be Alice Hudson, tell she reverted  to Alice Odella, her pre-married name.

I have known Aunt Alice for a long time. But I have never met her in person. Or Wade. I think I have only been to Eastern Washington once since I came to know Aunt Alice.

Years ago Alice emailed me a question about the Branch-Davidians. She'd been to my webpage that documented my visit to the site of that tragedy and somehow thought I was associated with that cult. This began years of email exchanges.

I've seen Aunt Alice change drastically over the years, growing way more confident. MySpace and then Facebook connected Aunt Alice with the rest of the world in a way she did not have available to her prior to social media. Via Facebook Aunt Alice re-connected with her sister she'd been separated from since she was a little kid.

Aunt Alice is not rich in material goods, she has some health issues stemming from childhood meningitis. But, Aunt Alice is rich in heart and spirit. And she's a real good cook.

Wade was the same age as two of my nephews, Spencer Jack's uncle Joey and my nephew Jeremy's big brother, Christopher.

Soon after I met Aunt Alice she became a grandma. Wade had a baby with Veronica, a girl named Lavada. Lavada is now in high school. Time flies.

I assume Wade was getting good medical care. ObamaCare did not get compromised in Washington, like it did in Texas. No one should die from lack of decent medical care in the country which touts itself as the best in the world with the world's highest standard of living.

Sentiments which actually are not reality based....

The Shadow Of The Tandy Hills Thin Man Fast Hiking On The Last Sunday Of September

The Shadow of the Tandy Hills Thin Man was back doing some high speed hill hiking on this last Sunday of September.

Temperature in low 80s,  breeze blowing. Very pleasant.

I snapped five Shadow of the Thin Man photos. Each of them has that dark area that looks like the Thin Man is holding a blanket, with each iteration being slightly different. No clue what caused this.

Today I noticed that some sections of the new trails are getting a bit overgrown. I don't think the new trails are seeing as many boots on the ground as they should be seeing.

As I was doing the hill hiking I was pondering that Trinity River Vision Update that I blogged about earlier today.

I was talking about The Boondoggle's UPDATE to another person not native to Texas and Fort Worth and that person opined that The Boondoggle's quarterly UPDATES seem like a very small town type thing to do.

The Boondoggle has been boondoggling along this entire century, with very little so show for the effort. So, to make it appear that they are getting something done they send out these "UPDATES" detailing the progress of the construction of a roundabout and a piece of "art" already installed in the roundabout.

Now, that roundabout and that art installation might be a big deal in a real small town. But it seems a rather pathetic thing to be UPDATING the people about in a city of over 800,000. And how many times do we need to hear about all those "events" taking place at the imaginary pavilion on the imaginary island?

Anyway, I am in a bad mood. Just learned of the death of a young man, only 33 or 34. Aunt Alice's, also known as Tootsie Tonasket's, son, Wade.

Fort Worth Weekly Critic's Choice Blog Is Not What You Are Reading Right Now

Today I finally was able to procure a hard copy of this week's Fort Worth Weekly, that being the eagerly anticipated annual Best of Fort Worth edition.

Readers are asked to pick the Best in several categories, such as Getting & Spending, People & Places, Good Grub, Culture and On The Town.

Each category has sub-categories where the readers submit what they think is the Best in Fort Worth.

For example, in Getting & Spending readers are asked to pick the Best place to get cigars. The Reader's Choice was Pop's Safari. The Critic's Choice was Tobacco Lane.

The Critic's Choice part of Fort Worth Weekly's annual Best of Fort Worth edition has always struck me as odd. They solicit the opinion of Readers. And then over and over again indicate the Reader's choice is wrong, that this is the Critic's Choice. And who are these Critics?

I suspect not all that many Readers bother to submit choices, so those Critics have to fill in the blank spaces with their choices. This is the biggest edition of FW Weekly of the year. Chock full of advertising. Advertisers love to get that coveted "Best of" accolade, which they then promote in their advertisements.

Now, regarding the Critic's Blog Choice of the Star-Telegraph, the Critics tell us the Star-Telegraph is a reminder that watchdogging still has a place.

Okay, well, that really makes no sense. Why do we need a reminder that watchdogging still has a place?

Regarding the Star-Telegraph blog, you can find a link to it on this very blog you are reading right now, on the list of blogs you will find on the column on the right.

A time or two or maybe more I have been asked if I know who does the Star-Telegraph blog. I think I get asked this because a time or two or maybe more the Star-Telegraph blog has linked to something I have spewed on my blog.

My boilerplate answer to this probing question is that I do have a fairly good idea who it  is who does the Star-Telegraph blog. And that it is not Betsy Price, who many think is the culprit...

Trinity River Vision Fall 2015 Update Propaganda

I found this in my mailbox this morning. The FALL 2015 TRINITY RIVER VISION UPDATE.

I think every quarter I blog about getting these quarterly UPDATES from The Boondoggle.

How much does The Boondoggle spend on these slick, full color, multi-page propaganda pieces?

Much of the propaganda is regurgitated from previous UPDATES. Items such as "The Trinity River Vision will enhance the river corridor with over 90 user-requested projects along the Trinity Trails."

I've asked before, who are these users who made these requests? And how were the requests made? Anyone know?

The Boondoggle's propaganda is still referring to the three bridges it is building in slow motion as being signature bridges.

The UPDATE had very little to actually update about due to the slow motion nature of this public works project that public has never voted for.

So, with little actually accomplished since the last UPDATE, two pages are devoted to the roundabout that is under construction and the odd piece of artwork in the center of that roundabout, which has already been installed, with the propaganda claiming this "NEW ART IS TURNING HEADS ON PANTHER ISLAND."

More accurately it might be said heads are shaking in bum puzzlement at the sticks of bent metal rising inexplicably in the center of a construction mess. I know that was my reaction when I saw it a month or so ago.

There is no mention made in the UPDATE as to when this vitally needed flood control  and economic development project is scheduled to be completed.

Oh, and the UPDATE, as expected, devotes a lot of space to all the concerts, runs, festivals, inner tube floats and beer parties which take place at Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island or pavilion.

Mention is also made of the ice skating rink which will show up in a couple months for a few weeks at The Boondoggle's drive-in movie theater.

Now, you living in parts of America where there are public works projects underway, do you get quarterly updates full of puffery and propaganda about those projects?

Does the Los Angeles River Vision Project send out quarterly updates? That project is a few billion dollars bigger than Fort Worth's little project. And has already reaped an economic bonanza for downtown Los Angeles.

The Seattle area has several big public works projects underway. Link light rail extensions, the world's biggest tunnel, currently stalled awaiting the reassembly of the Bertha boring machine, tunneling under downtown Seattle, along with the rebuilding of the Seattle Waterfront, plus a new floating bridge, which will soon open to traffic. Each of these projects cost billions of dollars more than Fort Worth's little project.

And each of these projects have project timelines, with the Bertha woes pushing back the day the new tunnel opens to traffic.

Does the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project, costing around $4 billion, mail out quarterly updates? Does the 520 Floating Bridge replacement project, also costing around $4 billion, mail out quarterly updates? Do the Link Light Rail projects, also costing billions, mail out quarterly updates?

I suspect not. I think the public would not appreciate seeing their money spent on foolish propaganda of the sort the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle mails out quarterly. Why does the Fort Worth public put up with this nonsense?

Very perplexing....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Does The FBI Have Me Under Surveillance Again?

I totally forgot about this, til now. On Wednesday I was in Euless at the Dr Pepper Star Center location where I found I was able to connect my phone to the City of Euless open wi-fi.

When I got back to my home wi-fi zone the phone did not do its usual automatic connect to the wi-fi thing. The phone opened up all the wi-fi hotspots available. I was surprised at how long the list was.

And more than surprised to see that which you see here, that being among the wi-fi connections available was one to a FBI Surveillance Van.


I used my digital camera in macro mode to take the photo you see  here. I've not figured out how one makes a screen cap of what one sees on the phone.

I digress.

If the FBI were in my vicinity, in a Surveillance Van, would they be so dumb as to announce their presence in this manner?

Does the FBI have me under surveillance? I strongly suspect not.

Years ago a "special" woman in Tacoma, prone to what those who deal with her refer to as "episodes", claimed, on Facebook, that she'd contacted the FBI about some imaginary thing about me that her delusional mind had conjured. It was pretty funny. One of the comments from one of her "Friends" suggested she save all the emails. I don't know where the reference to emails came from. Emails were not part of the episode's rant. So, to the email suggestion the delusional "special" woman then posted that that email suggestion worked. That the FBI was coming to her house to read those emails and check out her computer.

Anyway, I mentioned the FBI Surveillance Van to one of my neighbors. That neighbor had seen this on his list of possible wi-fi connections too.

The only van in my local vicinity is my own van. I am almost 100% certain my van is not being used as an FBI Surveillance Van......

In Arlington's Veterans Park Checking Out The Incoming Vietnam War Memorial

No, that is not a selfie photo of my new hiking boots you are looking at here.

The boots you see here were not made for walking. These boots are being worn by the tall statue of an armed soldier who stands guard over the memorial in Veterans Park in Arlington.

I was in the neighborhood so I decided to take myself on a relaxing walk in one of the best parks in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

That sign you see between the soldier's legs is telling you that a Vietnam War Memorial is being built. Construction appeared to be well underway, as you can see below.

The soldier whose boots we were previously looking at is surrounded by those white pillars you see in the background.

The Vietnam War Memorial looks as if it will be quite large. No clue as to what it will look like.

In Dallas, in Fair Park, where the State Fair of Texas is currently underway, there is a Vietnam War Memorial of the same sort as the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. A wall with the names of all the Texans killed in that unfortunate war. It is a bit shocking to see that wall with all those names, representing only a fraction of all those killed in that awful war.

The thing about Arlington's Veterans Park that makes it such a great park is the variety of attractions. There is a paved trail for walking, biking and blading. There is a disc golf course. A Wildscape Xeriscape deal with all natural landscaping of the low water needs, grows well in Texas type. The trails through the Wildscape are like a walk in a woods. There is also a more formal type garden adjacent to the Wildscape. The park has a couple covered picnic pavilions. There is a big playground for kids.

And then there is the undeveloped part of Veterans Park. A hilly, heavily wooded maze of trails that one can get  lost in the first couple visits. In the hilly, heavily wooded part of Veterans Park it does  not seem one is at the heart of a metro zone with over 6 million people in residence.

The big dead tree, atop a cliff, is in the aforementioned hilly, heavily wooded part of the park. At this location there used to be a rope hanging from a tree that is behind me. Thrill seekers would hold on to that rope and jump off the cliff for a long swing back and forth.

The rope still dangles, but years ago vandals lit a big fire under the rope, burning it into uselessness. I don't know why no one has  replaced the rope. Well, except for the fact it would be a scary operation, climbing up the host tree and going way out on a limb. I always wondered how that rope got there in the first place.

No regularly scheduled Saturday Tandy Hill hiking for me today, with no Town Talk visit. I am trying real hard to get out of my predictable rut. That and I have not been liking Town Talk all that much of late.

Friday, September 25, 2015

On A Tandy Hill Gazing Enviously At Downtown Fort Worth

In the picture you are standing with me on one of the Tandy Hills, looking west at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, about which, we learned yesterday, the entire nation of America is envious.

We have yet to learn why the entire nation of America is envious of downtown Fort Worth.

Are other towns in America envious because their downtowns do not have a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded park at the heart of their downtown, celebrating their town's heritage?

Are other towns in America envious of Fort Worth's downtown because their towns have a lot of noisy construction going on, with way too many shoppers shopping in way too many stores, while downtown Fort Worth is so peaceful, with few stores and zero construction.

Well, zero construction unless one expands what one considers downtown Fort Worth to include where America's Biggest  Boondoggle is building three simple little bridges in a slow motion four year construction timeline.

Anyway, I had myself a mighty fine time doing some high speed hill hiking today, with a good breeze blowing air that was chilled to the mid 80s.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

America Is Shocked To Learn Downtown Fort Worth Is The Envy Of The Nation

Over the years, a time or two, maybe three, someone will ask me what I have against Fort Worth. This question is usually asked after I have pointed out something as being, well, wrong.

Like some Fort Worth entity claiming this, that or some other thing in Fort Worth is causing the rest of Texas, the nation or the world to experience spasms of extreme envy.

Soon upon arrival in Texas I noticed the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a chronic problem with this type nonsense, saying someone somewhere else was green with envy over some perfectly ordinary thing in Fort Worth.

I long ago made a webpage titled Green With Envy with a lot of examples of the Star-Telegram's envy verbiage.

Sometimes I will feel compelled to point out other odd propaganda nonsense. Two examples, also from the Star-Telegram.

Years ago a banner headline in the Sunday Edition proclaimed "TRINITY UPTOWN TO TURN FORT WORTH INTO VANCOUVER OF THE SOUTH".  Years after this proclamation, what was then known as Trinity Uptown, is now known as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Another example was the Star-Telegram's chamber of commerce type propaganda claiming that a lame little food court type enterprise called the Santa Fe Rail Market was modeled after Seattle's Pike Place Market and public markets in Europe and would be the first public market in Texas.

The Santa Fe Rail Market propaganda was so bone-headedly stupid I was actually embarrassed for the Star-Telegram. Not only was this not the first public market in Texas, it was not even the first  public market in Fort Worth.  And how could the Star-Telegram not know about the Dallas Farmers Market, which actually does resemble Seattle's Pike Place? I documented the Santa Fe Rail Market lunacy on several webpages.

Needless to say, but I will anyway, the Santa Fe Rail Market long ago failed and no one in 2015 is thinking America's Biggest Boondoggle is turning Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South.

Which brings us to the present. Yesterday I blogged about a new skyscraper in Seattle, along with opining about the moribund state of development in downtown Fort Worth. Someone calling him or herself Anonymous made an amusing comment to that blogging which led me to something even more amusing....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A New 101 Story Seattle Skyscraper Is Not America's Biggest Boondoggle":

Meanwhile back at the Cowtown ranch:

The high life: Fort Worth downtown penthouse for sale

The first sentence of the FW Business Press article that I'm posting has to be a joke. Doesn't it?

Oh my. Did the Star-Telegram take over the Fort Worth Business Press? The sentence to which Anonymous refers is...

How would you like to gaze down upon the downtown that has become the envy of the nation? Fort Worth’s downtown is tops in the country, according to, and with a penthouse view you can check it out anytime you want.

The last paragraph of the article is a doozy too....

“We are seeing more people attracted to everything that downtown Fort Worth has to offer, from shopping and dining to museums and culture,” Bentsen said. “The Omni Penthouse provides a beautiful home base for exploring and enjoying this great city.

Now, Fort Worth's downtown is a totally fine place, but the pretending it is something it is not is real annoying.

Fort Worth's downtown is not the envy of the nation. Downtown Fort Worth is not on the nation's radar screen. Most of America knows zero about Fort Worth. Nothing in downtown Fort Worth is of the iconic recognized around the world, or America, sort of thing.

Shopping? Downtown Fort Worth does not have a single department store. No Neiman Marcus, no Nordstrom, no Macys, not even a Penneys or a Sears. Downtown Fort Worth has zero grocery stores. Fort Worth is the only town in America with a population over a half million with zero department or grocery stores in its downtown. For a town closer to a million in population than a half million, Fort Worth's downtown is very small.

Fort Worth's downtown is tops in the nation according to Is Livability one of those entities that the downtown Fort Worth association sent a totally exaggerated description of the wonders of downtown Fort Worth, resulting in the prestigious accolade no one has ever heard of?

On the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town. The downtown that is the envy of the nation is a ghost town. I think it was either last year's day after Thanksgiving, or the year before, I blogged about this phenomenon in a blogging titled something like Having Fun Looking For Black Friday In Downtown Fort Worth.

Anyway, enough of that, except to say, do you think a city which actually had an enviable downtown would promote that their downtown has become the envy of the nation? Even if it were true it's an embarrassing braggart, blowhard type thing to say. And for someone to say such about a downtown like Fort Worth's, which definitely has not become the envy of the nation, well, it is beyond embarrassing. Don't those who write this type nonsense realize American's outside of Fort Worth read this type thing and laugh?

Running Ghost-Free At Village Creek Unable To Find Fort Worth Weekly

Yesterday I got myself no heavy duty aerobicizing of the inducing endorphins sort due to a Euless doctor visit wreaking havoc with my regular schedule.

A cool pool bout just does not do it for me, endorphin-wise. This morning's cool pool bout started before the sun arrived.

Today in the noon time frame I was in Arlington, near where the Indian Ghosts haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area. So, I decided to go jogging.

Well, actually running. Today was run as fast as I can as long as I can and then walk day. Breathe hard. And repeat.

And sweat like a fat pig in a sauna.

Above you are looking at the Village Creek selfie stick which I have shown you before. This is a wider view of the mirror ball. I detected no Indian Ghosts hovering about me when I got the picture off the phone today. Maybe the Indian Ghosts have taken a quick trip to Washington, D.C. to see the Pope. The Indian Ghosts were probably pleased to hear the Pope speak of their ancestors.

Changing the subject to something else.

This week's Fort Worth Weekly is not be found, by me, at any of the usual locations. This is the annual Best of Fort Worth issue.

I have been told by a fairly reliable source, who included photo documentation, that Fort Worth Weekly has given one of its coveted Critic's Choice awards to a popular Fort Worth centric blog, with Fort Worth Weekly saying that that blog is a reminder that watchdogging still has a place.

I did not know we needed a reminder to know watchdogging still has a place.

The online version of Fort Worth Weekly was messed up when I tried to glean the Critic's Choice thing about that watchdogging blog. I'll go check and see if it is still messed up. Be right back.

Still messed up.

Ever since the esteemed, highly regarded Gayle Reaves decided to find a better job than being the editor in chief of FW Weekly, the Weekly has gone downhill like a sled out of control. The website being messed up and the Weekly not being delivered are a couple examples.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A New 101 Story Seattle Skyscraper Is Not America's Biggest Boondoggle

Continuing on with our popular series of items I read in west coast online newspapers, usually the Seattle Times, which is not something I have ever read, or expect to read, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about a similar thing happening in the Fort Worth zone.

This morning it was once again the Seattle Times where I read of yet one more building project in downtown Seattle, of the sort one does not read about happening in downtown Fort Worth.

This time it is a 101 story skyscraper, a mixed use building with 1,200 residential units, 150 hotel rooms and a lot of office and retail space.

This skyscraper will once again have Seattle having the tallest building on the west coast. Currently the 73 story U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angles, at 1,018 feet, is the tallest, taller than second tallest on the west coast, Seattle's Columbia Center at 76 stories, but reaching only 933 feet high.

The article about the new 101 story Seattle skyscraper did not say how tall it was expected to grow.

Since I've been in the Fort Worth zone I have only seen one semi-tall building built. The Omni Convention Center Hotel.

A month or so ago the extremely erudite, Mr. Spiffy, opined as to why downtown Fort Worth is a moribund ghost town with little new construction.

America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision Boondoggle, is stifling new development because developers do not know if America's Biggest Boondoggle will ever come to fruition. And if it miraculously does come to fruition, will what The Boondoggle has, at times, referred to as Uptown, be where one would want to put ones development dollars, instead of the current downtown Fort Worth zone, south of The Boondoggle's Uptown, currently bizarrely known as Panther Island?

Recently I was sent an email from which I learned a reporter for the Star-Telegram, for some reason, thinks The Boondoggle has a projected project completion timeline of 2023. I have read this nowhere else.

How this relatively simple project can take far longer than far more complicated engineering projects, be it the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Panama Canal and many other feats of engineering, documented on this very blog, to have been completed in a shorter time period than America's Biggest Boondoggle has been boondoggling along, is a perplexing mystery.

Even more mysterious is why is it the locals, or the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, don't insist in getting some answers as to why this project has turned into America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Currently, the only construction project that I am aware of, anywhere near the downtown Fort Worth zone, is those three simple little bridges The Boondoggle is building over dry land, with a four year construction timeline, to connect Fort Worth's mainland to an imaginary island.

Why are other big American cities currently experiencing a construction boom in their downtown's, such as what is taking place in Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and others, while Fort Worth is moribund?

If America's Biggest Boondoggle is not the cause, what is?

A Long Wait In Euless At The Dr Pepper Star Center With Fuzzy Fish Tacos

Today I decided I would photo document what I look like when I have grown tired of waiting for someone to return.

Elsie Hotpepper has been giving me selfie taking lessons.

I don't see that the lessons have brought much improvement. I always look the same. Apparently tiring of waiting causes no alteration in my demeanor. Basically it seems I always look grumpy.

Anyway, I was doing the waiting at the Dr Pepper Star Center in Euless. I don't know if that is what the entire huge sports complex is called, or just the ice hockey arena.

I swiped the phone awake and sent a couple text messages, then checked Facebook. Then the phone made a noise which caused me to look at the part of the phone that points out things, like if you are wi-fi connected. The phone told me I was wi-fi connected. How could that be, I wondered? I tapped on the wi-fi connected part of the screen to see a long list of active wi-fi spots, with my phone connected to the "open" City of Euless wi-fi.

So, does the city of Euless have city-wide wi-fi? Or was this just a Starcenter thing?

Whatever the answer, discovering I was connected to wi-fi made the phone much more useful for time passing. I watched a YouTube video or two. Listened to the part of the Nixon/Dean Cancer on the Presidency tape that I had not yet completed. Watched a few Facebook videos.

I was engrossed in video watching when the party I had been waiting for showed up. The time was coming up on an hour past noon. I was hungry. A Fuzzy's Tacos was nearby. Fish tacos sounded like a good lunch plan.

Fuzzy's Tacos fish tacos not being as good as Taco del Mar fish tacos is the most important thing I have learned today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Visit To Miss Puerto Rico's Babies With Belly Baby Belly Up & Hissing

This morning Miss Puerto Rico told me that the Babies were missing me because I had not visited in well over a week.

So, this afternoon I made the long trek to the home Miss Puerto Rico has made for her Babies.

When I got past the security check I hurried down the hall so as to shut off access to the hiding place under Miss Puerto Rico's slumber pad, due to the fact that when I last visited the Babies, Bella, also known as Belly Baby, hid under the bed and could not be coaxed out.

Today I could not find Belly Baby, at first, so I visited her sister, Coco.

After about 10 minutes Belly Baby made her presence known.

With a little effort I was able to pick up Belly Baby, who, I must say, has grown a bit bigger since I last picked her up. If she gets much bigger I fear I will risk putting my back out lifting her.

Belly Baby was very cooperative taking selfie photos, about a dozen, the best of which you see above.

I think Belly Baby was intrigued by the noise the phone made when a picture was taken. That and she seemed to really like looking at herself on the phone.

After we finished the photo session I continued my ongoing, so far futile, attempt to get Belly Baby to purr. Her sister I can get to make noises of contentment, but no such noise from Belly Baby.

And then I flipped Belly Baby belly up. Previously she liked this, wrapping her front legs around my arm, then blissfully, I thought, closing her eyes. But not purring.

But, today when Belly Baby went belly up, about two seconds later, she hissed at me like a lioness about to swallow its prey. I quickly disengaged from close contact with Miss Hissy Fit. I thought when she was back grounded Belly Baby would run away to one of her hiding places. Instead she slowly walked a few feet away and sat herself down under her favorite chair, staring at me, as if saying, you aren't done with me yet, are you?

Well, I was. Done with her for today. For the most part.

When Coco left me she hopped up on Miss Puerto Rico's Lazy Boy. Soon after Belly Baby hissed and hopped off me, Belly Baby left her under the chair refuge spot to hop up and join her sister on the Lazy Boy.

Now that both Babies were on one chair I got hold of their mouse on string toy and got them fighting over that. Then we had a bout of chase the laser light and then it was time for me to leave.

All in all it was a good visit with the Babies, but I really don't think they miss me all that much, well, I'm sure Belly Baby does not miss me, maybe Coco does, a little.....

Jogging Around Fosdick Lake Before Fall & Yom Kippur Arrive

The first day of Fall falls upon us tomorrow, along with Yom Kippur.

I will be celebrating the Autumnal Equinox by driving to Euless for my regularly scheduled monthly doctor appointment.

I have not decided how I will be celebrating Yom Kippur tomorrow.

Today I celebrated the day before Yom Kippur and the start of Fall by driving to Oakland Lake Park for a HOT jog around Fosdick Lake.

92 degrees when I arrived at the lake, according to my vehicular temperature monitoring device. My phone argued with the vehicle, with the phone claiming the air was cooler, at 91.

Dead calm, no wind chill factor.

I was not the only one jogging around the lake. One of the fellow joggers was a rather large lady in some sort of head to toe sweat suit.


I asked her how she could stand the long pants and long sleeves. Her  reply told me it was her sweat suit, you know, to help her sweat.

I forgot to mention the tree above, rising next to the white egret, looking out at the sputtering Fosdick Fountain. That tree must not have received the notification that Fall begins tomorrow, because that tree has already turned on its Fall leaf color.

I think I will go Google Yom Kippur now, since I don't actually remember what this particular Jewish holiday is for. All I remember of Yom Kippur is one of the Israeli/Arab wars is called the Yom Kippur War, due to that war starting on Yom Kippur.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Tired Shadow Of The Tandy Hills Thin Man Looking For Little Caesar's And A Greek Pizza

That is the Shadow of the Tandy Hills Thin Man you are looking at here, with his walking and snake whacking stick in upright position.

This morning whilst in the pool, well before dawn, I swam in the darkness and thought to myself I really do not get enough exercise.

Hence today's return to the Tandy Hills. My last time trying to hike the hills was on Saturday. That attempt was aborted due to rain.

I had myself a bad bout of insomnia last night. I never nodded off til well past midnight and then woke up over and over again due to scary nightmares, with the same nightmare starting up again every time I fell back asleep.

Basically the short version is today I am an exhausted, yawning mess.

Yawning is a rarity for me. It is sort of embarrassing. During one of today's yawning bouts I fear I troubled the person I was talking to, due to an assumption being made that I was bored. And so yawning. I think I had explained to this person that I was sleep deprived, but I'm too tired to remember.

Anyway, the hill hiking went well. By the time I hiked back to the summit of Mount Tandy I was feeling rejuvenated.

Pizza is baking in the oven.

A couple weeks ago, at Town Talk, I found myself some oversized whole wheat pitas. I then discovered the pitas make excellent pizza crusts.

Pizza is so easy to make I don't know why anyone would go the bother of having Domino's deliver one of their bad pizzas. Or Papa John's.

Now if Little Caesar's delivered and if the Little Caesar's in Texas had the Greek Pizza like the Little Caesar's had in Washington, well I would find myself having a pizza delivered, every once in awhile. How come the Little Caesar's Texas pizza menu is so, well, bland?

Anyway, the pizza bell just rang. I'm both hungry and very sleepy.....

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Maclura Pomifera Almost Knocked Me Out Today Jogging With Indian Ghosts

That is a Maclura Pomifera you see me holding. More on that later.

Today, as I rolled along on my way to Arlington to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area for my regularly scheduled Sunday jog with the Indian Ghosts who haunt this location, I had the radio playing loud.

The vehicle has six speakers, so sound sounds like it is coming from multiple directions. As I waited for a light to turn green suddenly sound seemed to be coming out of my jogging pants pocket.

After a few seconds of being puzzled by the sound I realized it was my phone. I struggled to extract the phone from the pocket. By the time I freed the phone and touched the screen I think I rejected the call. I then saw the rejected call was from Spencer Jack's dad, he being my Favorite Nephew Jason.

I got to Village Creek and text messaged Jason explaining the phone answering debacle and that I was about to go jogging for a few miles.

Shortly before taking the picture you see above the phone made its incoming text message noise. I stopped jogging under some shade to soon find myself reading the following text message from the aforementioned Jason...

Having lunch at the Reading Railroad Terminal Market. The Amish lunch makers apparently don't work Sunday's, so I had to settle for an antipasto salad. Off to the Wanamaker building to hear the organ. Call back after you have completed your marathon training, if desired.

As I read Jason's text message I was almost clobbered by that green thing you see me holding. This is the time of year these delicious looking pieces of tree fruit fall to the ground. Maclura Pomifera is this fruit's fancy name. It is also known as Osage orange, horse apple, hedge apple, bois d'arc, bodark and monkey ball.

Monkey ball?

I gleaned this monkey ball info from the Wikipedia article about the serious Maclura Pomifera issue.

When I was finished with the jogging, which, incidentally, went well today, and was back in air-conditioned vehicular comfort I called Jason. The call went to voice mail. I left a message, then headed for home. A mile later Jason called back. Sounds like he's having himself a mighty fine time in Philadelphia, going to museums, visiting Benjamin Franklin's grave, having lunch (yesterday) with some friendly Amish Dutch girls and other stuff I am not remembering.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Spencer Jack's Dad & Favorite Uncle's Philadelphia Visit With The Pope

Just yesterday I asked Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, aka FNJ, if he was planning on seeing the Pope when the Pope came to town.

FNJ said no to the Papal visit.

So, what do I find in my incoming email this afternoon?

A photo of Spencer Jack's dad with the Pope.

In addition to the photo of the Pope there was another photo, with that one being FNJ with what looks like the Liberty Bell behind him.

The text in the email said....

Toured the Liberty Bell, not covered in snow, this afternoon with FNJoey after taking a picture with the Pope.

So, if FNJ is in Philadelphia apparently he took his little brother, he being Spencer Jack's Favorite Uncle and my Favorite Nephew, Joey, aka FNJ2, along.

I didn't think one was allowed to get as close as FNJ appears to be to the cracked Liberty Bell.

And why are there no pictures of FNJ2?

The Liberty Bell photo appears to be a selfie, taken by Jason of himself and the cracked bell. The Pope photo does not appear to be a selfie, which might indicate FNJ2 took the picture.

Two days ago FNJ implied, with tricky verbiage, that the next day he was heading over the newly re-opened North Cascades Pass, driving by Liberty Bell Mountain, to check out the remains of the Eastern Washington wildfires.

Below is the part of the original Liberty Bell text message which did not seem to indicate it was to Eastern Pennsylvania FNJ was heading....

Heard the east is much warmer. 85 degrees daytime high. Looking forward to such. As I am going to visit Liberty Bell tomorrow. Wish me a safe journey. Will for sure share new photo documentation of the Liberty Bell, and post the Eastern Washington devastating fires. -FNJ

I am guessing that FNJ thought he would be able to take some Eastern Washington wildfire photos whilst flying over them. That plan may have gone awry due to cloud cover or the route not flying over anything burned or burning.

Anyway, I guess I really don't know where FNJ and FNJ2 are. I am fairly certain I know where FNJ3, my Favorite Nephew Jeremy, is, as in somewhere in the Phoenix metro zone, likely Tempe.

I wonder if Jason invited the Pope to visit Spencer Jack's school in Mount Vernon. Spencer Jack's school is called Immaculate Conception. I am almost 100% this is a Catholic school. I know it's not Lutheran....

A Wet Tandy Hills Leads To America's Biggest Boondoggle In Gateway Park

From looking at this picture the one regular reader of this blog might guess I went hill hiking on the Tandy Hills on this next to last Saturday of September.


No hill hiking happened.

In this view we are hiking on to the Tandy Hills from View Street, looking north. The summit of Mount Tandy is to the right.

Soon upon arrival the rain that was already dripping at my home location had begun to arrive at the Tandy Hills. So, I decided to abort and continue on to Gateway Park, and then Town Talk.

I entered Gateway Park via the Beach Street entrance. This brought me to that which you see below.

The last time I visited the above location I saw that the boarded up boardwalk overlook eyesore had been mostly removed. Now it appears construction of the new overlook is underway.

I walked down the closed paved trail to see if the new trail bridges were yet built. Well, some sort of cement foundation has been laid. And further along I came to new paved trail, replacing the paved trail  that had been damaged for years by a flooding Trinity River.

All this Gateway Park construction is part of the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision, also known as America's Biggest  Boondoggle.

Near where I parked there were two signs. The  first of which had information on it I'd never seen associated with anything to do with America's Biggest Boondoggle.

A project completion date. As you can see above the sign says SCHEDULE COMPLETION DATE DECEMBER 2015. Seems that they'd need to get real busy if this is to be finished in December.

Below is a close up look at the sign you see in the upper right of the above picture.

Some people who are not from around here think I make up that long name for America's Biggest Boondoggle. As you can see above that sign pretty much covers it all, Trinity River Vision-Central City Uptown. The only part missing is the newest name for The Boondoggle, Panther Island.

Town Talk was a bit of a bust, again. Cheese, buns and tortillas. That's about it.

Is Spencer Jack's Dad In Eastern Washington Or Eastern Pennsylvania?

I am confused.

Yesterday I made mention of a text message I'd received from Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, also known as FNJ.

In that text message FNJ seemed to indicate he was heading to Eastern Washington, yesterday, to check out the wildfires. FNJ mentioned the North Cascades Pass back being open. And FNJ said he'd be visiting Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell is a mountain one drives by on the North Cascades Pass highway.

Yesterday morning FNJ posted a post on Facebook with a picture of a Liberty Bell replica. This led to some confusion as to FNJ's location.

And now this morning, rather than photo documentation of the Eastern Washington wildfires, FNJ emailed me a selfie photo of himself standing in front of what looks to be Liberty Hall in Philadelphia.

Hence me being confused....

Friday, September 18, 2015

Solving The Mystery Of Spencer Jack's Dad's Liberty Bell Location With The Republican Debate

This morning when I woke up my phone I found a couple text  messages from my favorite nephew, Jason, he being Spencer Jack's dad and my favorite ex-sister-in-law's eldest son.

Soon after reading my FNJ's text message I saw that which you see here, on Facebook. A posting from the aforementioned FNJ.

To that post my favorite ex-ex-sister-in-law's favorite mountain hiking partner, Michele, asked Jason "where are you".

The photo in Jason's Facebook post might suggest he is Philadelphia, or in California, at Knott's Berry Farm.

Jason's second text, which he sent last night, might provide a clue as to the why of the Liberty Bell photo. Below is that text message in its entirety....

Howdy --- FUD must be in his horizontal position. Fires in Eastern Washington subsided and North Cascades  Pass is open thanks to much needed rain in the area. We did not have an Indian Summer. Cold and rainy tonight! Furnace on. Heard the east is much warmer. 85 degrees daytime high. Looking forward to such. As I am going to visit Liberty Bell tomorrow. Wish me a safe journey. Will for sure share new photo documentation of the Liberty Bell, and post the Eastern Washington devastating fires. -FNJ

Translating a few terms in FNJ's text message. FUD is Favorite Uncle D. Horizontal position means in bed. Liberty Bell is a mountain one drives by when one crosses the North Cascades Pass from Western to Eastern Washington.

FNJ is heading to Eastern Washington to get some natural heat at a temperature about what I set my A/C to. Currently, well before noon on this Friday morning the outer world is chilled to 81 at my location, heading to a predicted high today of one degree under 100.

FNJ's first text message said....

Thought I'd see some Trump blogging this morning. Did my FUD not watch the 3 hour long entertaining debate?

I watched. For awhile. I did find it entertaining. For awhile. But, after awhile it gets a bit annoying listening to a group of grownups spout so much ignorant nonsense. Methinks Lincoln would be appalled at what now passes for Republicans. Teddy Roosevelt would likely also be appalled.  Now that you are making me think about it, Dwight Eisenhower would likely be appalled. I think even Barry Goldwater would be appalled and embarrassed by some of the irresponsible things spewed by too many Republicans.

Is that a good enough debate take, FNJ?

Oh, I forgot to mention Trump. Well, I find him amusing. He sure is living proof that just about anyone can become a billionaire. Apparently being smart, well educated and well mannered are not requirements. In Trump's case it helped that he got help due to inheriting his dad's real estate business. Or was it dad's money? I forget.....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jogging With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts

Pre ALDI today I went jogging in Arlington at the Village Creek Natural Historical Area, that being an area known for being haunted by the Ghosts of Indians who were massacred at this location by eminent domain abusing invaders who eventually called themselves Texans.

I did not feel a strong Indian Ghost presence today.

I stopped at the Village Creek giant mirror, installed by the Arlington park people to serve as a selfie photo enabler.

Maybe the giant mirror has other purposes as well, like letting someone see what is on the other side of a blind corner.

So, I took a picture. When I transferred the picture from my phone to my computer I saw something hovering near me that I did not see in person. That being a ghostly looking apparition clinging to my left arm. I cropped the picture and doubled  its size to get a better look.

Seems like just a couple days ago I took a picture of the giant mirror with a ghostly presence hovering above me. I think the Indian Ghosts know I am a friendly sympathizer and thus are getting closer to me.

Well, enough of that nonsense. The lunch bell just chimed. Sour cream chicken enchiladas, among some other good Tex-Mex stuff.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Today Mr. Ed Took A Bloody Bad Tandy Tumble

The Tandy Hills turned bloody today for Mr. Ed.

I think I may have mentioned previously that I usually excuse my way out of taking Mr. Ed anywhere where being coordinated, direction-wise and other-wise, is an asset.

The last time I agreed to take Mr. Ed on a Tandy Hills hiking expedition he got lost.

I did not witness it, due to being on the opposite side of the hills, but today Mr. Ed apparently took a spectacular tumble on the trail which heads west from Tandy Falls, resulting in bloody knees, butt bruising, face lacerations and hand palm cuts.

Mr. Ed only agreed to have the hand palm cuts photographed for documentation purposes.

Mr. Ed may be being extra clumsy due to having impaired eyesight, scheduled to be fixed early in the morning of October 2 via cataract surgery.

Speaking of clumsy. I have gone hiking and biking with some clumsy people. Gar the Texan comes to mind.

The last time I ever went mountain biking with Gar the Texan he had one of the most spectacular bike wrecks I have witnessed. It was on the Horseshoe Trails at Lake Grapevine. We were pedaling merrily along when suddenly Gar the Texan lost control on a downhill section. He flew over the handlebars, did a roll, rather gracefully gymnastically, I must admit, and then came to a stop. He was quite shaken, with this putting an end to that mountain bike ride.

I just realized not only was Horseshoe Trails the last place I mountain biked with Gar the Texan, it was also the last place I mountain biked with Mr. Ed. Mr. Ed was pedaling merrily along when somehow the bottom of his shorts got hooked on the bike pedal, ripping the shorts, causing a wreck. This put an end to Mr. Ed's mountain bike riding. The bike went into isolated seclusion in Nurse Martha's garage.

Tomorrow I think I will go jogging in Arlington at the Village Creek Natural Historical Area, alone, except for the Indian Ghosts.....

The Tallest Non-NYC Skyscraper In The World Was Built In Four Years 100 Years Ago

A couple days ago, in a blogging about the Dallas skyline being the best in the world, somehow mention was made of Seattle's Smith Tower.

Regarding Seattle's Smith Tower, Mr. Steve A made a comment...

Steve A has left a new comment on your post "This Morning I Learned The Dallas Skyline Is The Best In The World":

Speaking of the Smith Tower, according to "Eccentric Seattle," it was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City at the time it was built. Even including NYC, it was the 4th tallest. Even it was built quicker than the FW bridges. 

I did not know the Smith Tower was the tallest building in the world, outside NYC, when it was built. I did know the Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi until a taller building was built in Kansas City in 1931.

The Smith Tower remained the tallest building on the West Coast until the Space Needle came to town in 1962.

The Smith Tower is a 38 story, 489 foot tall tower.

Steve A's comment caused me to decide to add the Smith Tower to our popular series of bloggings about feats of engineering which took four years or less to complete.

For those new to the program, we are looking at feats of engineering which took four years or less to complete due to our utter amazement that America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Uptown Central City Panther Island Vision Boondoggle is building three simple little bridges, over dry land, with a four year construction timeline, connecting the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

As you can see via the graphic above, gleaned from Wikipedia, the Smith Tower began to rise from the ground in 1910, completed in 1914. I am terrible at math, but that seems like a four year construction timeline to me. To build what was then the tallest skyscraper in the world, other than those located in New York City.

The Smith Tower has a very good Smith Tower website, where you can learn all about the Chinese Room, the observation deck and see an interesting illustration where you see what the Smith Tower looked like when it was the only skyscraper in town. And what it looks now, dwarfed by its new neighbors.

I found a Seattle skyline image that shows you the Smith Tower and its new neighbors.

The Smith Tower is that structure at the far right of the photo. As you can see, even at 489 feet, it is a midget next to the new kids on the block.

As you can also see, the Space Needle is at the far left, a distance away from the downtown Seattle skyscrapers. Way too many photos of the Seattle skyline indulge in what we in Fort Worth call the Brian Luenser effect, as in distorted images that give a false impression.

Most photos of the Seattle skyline make it look as if the Space Needle is the tallest structure, and that Mount Rainier is hovering real close.

Are any of Fort Worth's skyscrapers as tall as the Smith Tower? I have no idea.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Jogging Around Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake With The Duck Whisperer

When I arrived at Oakland Lake Park today to jog around Fosdick Lake the Shady Lady you see here was sitting in the shade of a leafy tree being a Duck Whisperer.

When the jogging was over the Shady Lady was still in Duck Whisperer mode, which is when I took the picture you see here, with the Shady Lady using hand gesturing, along with whispering to make the ducks do her bidding.

That and eat her birdseed.

Decades ago, when I first developed a jogging habit I remember it did not go well at first. I could run only a block or two. I kept at it, and even though it is a long time ago, and my memory may be faulty, I'm fairly certain within a relatively short time running a block or two turned into a mile or two or three or more.

Well, today I was very surprised to find myself jogging all the way around Fosdick Lake without stopping to catch my breath. I jogged the perimeter of the park, mostly on grass, not the paved trail. And then when I got to Fosdick Dam, where a cool breeze was blowing off the lake, I switched from jog mode to run fast as I can mode the length of the dam.

This jogging thing causes an endorphin dose which seems much stronger than I get from hill hiking or mountain biking. It is that endorphin dose which can make something like jogging addictive. Hours later and I am still in a good relaxed mood.

This morning the pool was cool for the first time in a long time. I don't know how cold the temperature dipped to overnight. I suspect somewhere in the 60s. Cold enough to chill the pool water. I prefer the cool pool to the too warm pool that multiple days above 100 creates.

This morning Mr. Steve A made a blog comment which has pointed me to yet one more feat of engineering completed in four years, or less. I will likely wait til tomorrow to add this to my popular series of bloggings about feats of engineering, usually bridges, built in four years or less.

For those new to the program, this look at feats of engineering completed in four years or less is in response to the embarrassing fact that America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Uptown Central City Panther Island Vision Boondoggle, is currently building three simple, little bridges, over dry land, to connect the mainland to an imaginary island, with a  four year construction timeline.

The latest blogging about a feat of engineering built in four years or less will not be about a bridge. It will be about a skyscraper.

Monday, September 14, 2015

This Morning I Learned The Dallas Skyline Is The Best In The World

No explanation is needed to explain that what you are looking at here is the internationally recognized stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, as seen from the old wagon trail that heads west from the top of Mount Tandy to where the west supposedly began.

This morning whilst listening to The Bert Show on the radio Bert out of the blue said something about some international survey had picked the Dallas skyline as the best in the world.

Bert seemed a bit bum puzzled by this, naming off some other cities one might think would be more recognized, like New York City or Paris. Actually I think Bert only mentioned Paris, because I recollect thinking to myself does Paris have an internationally recognized skyline other than that big tower that towers high above all that surrounds it.

Soon after learning from Bert that Dallas has the world's Best Skyline I Googled "Dallas skyline" to quickly learn that this skyline survey happened a year ago, some joint operation between USA TODAY and something called 10Best picking the Best International Skyline.

If this was a USA TODAY operation would that not tend to skew the results to being American skylines, I thought to myself. Then I clicked the link to the 10Best article about the Best International Skylines to see the entire Top Ten.
  1. Dallas
  2. Chicago
  3. Rio de Janeiro
  4. Toronto
  5. New York
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. St. Louis
  8. Hong Kong
  9. San Francisco
  10. Seattle
What about Tokyo? Vancouver? Sydney? Kuala Lumpur? And no town in Europe has an internationally recognized skyline?

And what about Fort Worth? How can Fort Worth not be on this list? Show a photo of the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth to just about anyone in the world and they are going to instantly be able to tell you what town they are looking at, what with its iconic tower and skyscrapers.

From the USA TODAY 10Best article let's look at the skyline photos used for Dallas and Seattle and the accompanying explanatory blurb.

"Dallas became initially identifiable by the opening credits of an infamous '80s TV show," says expert Preston Kissman. "The contemporary Dallas skyline tells a story of big banking, big oil, big money, and the occasional big bust." James Adams add, "Dallas has continued to stay flashy. Controversially, it has done this not with the height or style of its newest architecture, but rather through an internal race to adorn its existing and new icons with colorful interactive lighting that cannot be ignored."  

Where is this view of the skyline of Dallas looking across what looks like a big lake? Or is that the Trinity River? That is not the iconic view of the Dallas skyline as seen on the infamous soap opera's opening credits. You need to shift the view to the left for that, so as to get a more straight on look at the Reunion Tower.

And now the #10 Best International Skyline.

Mt. Rainier appears in the distance, looming behind the cosmopolitan Seattle skyline, giving this city a connection with the outdoors that's as refreshing as a cool breeze," says our expert Preston Kissman.  The Space Needle adds to the list of reasons this USA skyline is beloved and identifiable. 

Visit downtown Dallas and you really do not see much water, certainly not the view you see in the Dallas skyline photo above.

Visit downtown Seattle and you are surrounded by water. Elliot Bay and Puget Sound to the right, in the photo, Lake Union to the left, Lake Washington further to the left. Yet we see no water in this photo of the Seattle skyline. If you visit Seattle you also will not see the Space Needle towering over the skyline like you see above, because the Space Needle does not tower above the skyline. I think you have to be on Queen Anne Hill and use a telephoto lens to create what is known as the Frasier view of downtown Seattle. The structure to the far right of the Space Needle is now known as Key Arena. During the World's Fair it was the Washington State Pavilion.

I think it was likely the Seattle World's Fair that amped up Seattle's world wide recognition. At that point in time, 1962, the Smith Tower and the Space Needle were the tallest structures in town. There were no skyscrapers. A few years after the World's Fair ended what was then known as the Seafirst Tower became Seattle's first modern skyscraper. It looked a bit ridiculous, standing all alone. It was quickly referred to as the Box the Needle came in.

The Seafirst Tower was not alone for long. By the end of the 1960s Seattle had a skyline of skyscrapers.

Maybe Fort Worth could host a World's Fair. Wouldn't that be something? Maybe to celebrate the completion of the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision, also known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, if that much needed economic and flood control development is ever completed.

Then again, a World's Fair does not always bring about earth shaking changes to the town it takes place in. San Antonio had a World's Fair a few years after Seattle's, with the San Antonio World's Fair also featuring a tower with a rotating restaurant, I think, at the top. I don't think many people world-wide recognize the Tower of the Americas and associate it with San Antonio.

Vancouver had the last successful World's Fair in North America, way back in 1986. Vancouver was left with some remarkable structures, one of which is now a cruise ship terminal, but nothing that has become an iconic symbol of Vancouver. Vancouver is on the world's radar though, maybe not so much for its recognized skyline, but for hosting the aforementioned successful World's Fair, that and hosting a successful Winter Olympics.

Maybe Fort Worth could make a bid to host a Winter Olympics, have a successful hosting, and thus gain itself some international recognition. Yes, I can really see that happening. Just like I can really see America's Biggest Boondoggle coming to any sort of fruitful fruition....