Thursday, December 31, 2015

Belly Baby & Coco Being Perfect Cat Models

I think I may have already mentioned the fact that a couple days ago I was tasked with taking some modeling photos of Miss Puerto Rico's babies, Bella and Coco, to send to Florida to be made part of a photo collage to be sent to Puerto Rico to Miss Puerto Rico's papa for his happy birthday.

I had a Cat Modeling session two days ago which did not result in very good  pictures. Coco was not cooperative in that she kept pulling a blanket over her head.

The morning after the blanket pulling incident another photo taking attempt was made, with the intention being that Miss Puerto Rico would be in the photo with both babies. However, upon my arrival for the photo session both babies ran into hiding.

It was then decided to use the pictures I'd taken the day previous. I sent the best of those to Florida, but I did not like what I sent.

So, today I scheduled another modeling session. There was no hiding today. Both babies were very cooperative, posing together, responding to my posing cues.

The photo above has been sent to Florida. I do not yet know if it has been received. In the photo that is Bella, also known as Belly Baby, on the left, which would make that Coco on the right.

A Muddy New Year's Eve Tandy Hills Hoodoo Hike

It has been such a long time since I've taken a picture of the sort you see here that my one blog reader has likely forgotten where and what this is that you are looking at here.

Well, this is a Hoodoo located at Hoodoo Central at the north end of the View Street trail on the Tandy Hills in beautiful Fort Worth, Texas.

Til today it had been over a month since I'd done any hill hiking. I believe the last time was on Thanksgiving. On that day there were no Hoodoos seen.

Today there were a surprising number of people trying to hike the Tandy Hills.


Yes, trying, and then bailing. The trails have not dried out from our recent Goliath Storm unpleasantness. Much muddiness, with some trails completely submerged. I did a lot of cross country, trail-free, hiking to get around the wet zones.

Is the Manly Men Wild Women Annual New Years Day Hike still on for tomorrow? I don't see how that would work out well. Maybe I am wrong about the MMWW Hike date and it's a week from tomorrow, when the hills may be a bit more dried out.

Til today it seems like it's been a long time since my eyes feasted on the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, known far and wide, well, locally, by a few, as the Best Downtown in America.

Nothing seems to have changed with the Fort Worth skyline since I last saw it.

The view you see above is looking west from a location close to the aforementioned Hoodoo. I saw something from this location I'd  not seen before.

Gateway Park is on the north side of the I-30 freeway, with the Tandy Hills Natural Area on the south side of the freeway.

With the foliage greatly diminished, for the first time ever from this vantage point, I saw a section of the Gateway Park paved trail. It looked to be new trail, maybe a section which did not exist before, where paved trail damaged long ago by the Hurricane Hermine flood is being upgraded by America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Well, the lunch gong just sounded. I must excessively fortify myself nutritionally so as to have plenty of energy for tonight's New Year's Eve Festivities....

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Finding A Big Package From Washington On My Way To Miss Puerto Rico's

For several days now incoming emails have been tracking the journey of a large packaged shipped via USPS from Washington.

Yesterday an email announced the package made it to Dallas.

This morning an email indicated the package was on its way to Fort Worth.

Around noon an email said the package was on the final leg of its journey and would arrive soon.

About three this afternoon I exited my abode to head over to Miss Puerto Rico's to take the photo you see above, documenting the return of blue sky for the first time since that Goliath Storm nightmare descended upon us.

When I exited my abode I found a note from the mailman indicating he was sorry I was not home and thus able to accept delivery of the package. I checked me email and found no notice telling me the final destination had hit a snag.

I knew the mailman was still in the area. After about a minute I found him and asked if he'd tried to deliver a package to my address. He had, said he, about 30 minutes prior. Claimed he knocked on the door, with no answer. I asked if he'd hauled that big package all the way to the door. He said no, he had not, that he'd learned when the package is big to knock first and just leave a note if no one is home.

Huh? Wondered I. You walk to the door with that note filled out and ready to leave if no one answers the knock? And if someone answers the knock then you make your way back to your delivery truck to get the package?

Well, unlike a few years ago, the past several years I've had no problems with the mailman delivering packages, rather than leaving a note on the door or in the mailbox, necessitating driving to the post office to retrieve the package.

So, all is well which ends well. As you can see below the package is now inside my abode, unopened.

I know what is inside the package. I am a bit apprehensive to open it. It cost the shipper $36.97 to send this from Washington to Texas. Which would seem to indicate that that which is inside the package is something one is not able to purchase in Texas.

And, a couple minutes after getting the package into my abode one final email from the USPS arrived informing me that the package had been received by an individual.

Me thinks there still is a bit of a clinker in the delivery method of the USPS. It's that final leg of the journey that seems to have going awry potential....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Checking Out Fort Worth's Mallard Cove Park Artworks & Bridges

Gooseneck of Mallard Cove Park
Around noon I had to deliver some paperwork to an office in what is called the Grammercy Building, located along the frontage road which runs east of I-820 from John T. White to Randol Mill Road.

Since I was in the neighborhood, after the paperwork delivery, I opted to head east on Randol Mill Road to Mallard Cove Park, for the first time since the park was flooded a month, or so, ago.

The beautiful work of art you see here must have been installed since my last visit, or maybe I simply did not notice it before. I do not know what the work of art is called.

Gooseneck, maybe?

Judging by the fact that Fort Worth spent about a million bucks on a piece of structural art which looks like a garbage can, or the ruins of a water tower, I'm guessing this substantial looking Mallard Cove Park Gooseneck work of sculptural art cost likely somewhere in the couple hundred thousand zone.

Continuing on past the Gooseneck I eventually came across a bride over Mallard Cove.

I do not know how much this feat of bridge engineering cost or how long it took to build. I don't even know if it was built over water, or built during a drought when Mallard Cove shrinks to puddle size. I do know that there was no Star-Telegram article touting the appearance of the piers which support this Mallard Cove bridge.

Walking with the Mallard Cove ducks did not last long. Too cold, despite multiple layers of outerwear, including an ear covering thing I have used whilst skiing. I fear it will be another year before I feel the outer world heated to above 70.....

Why Shut Bud Up Via Facebook?

I think it was yesterday I came upon that which you see here, a Facebook page titled Shut up Bud - the Star-Telegram Boycott Page.

The BSTBP Mission Statement....

Dedicated to exposing the Fort Worth Star Telegram's liberal bias and conservative attack dog, Bud Kennedy. Encouraging FWST subscription cancellations.

Oh, where do I begin? Well, first off I will say I like Bud Kennedy. I do not think Bud Kennedy should shut up. And I will also say this Boycott the Star-Telegram Facebook effort is a bit ridiculous, in the same way most of those who spout Tea Party nonsense sound ridiculous.

This Facebook page is dedicated to exposing the Star-Telegram's liberal bias? I have lived where the local newspapers of record are liberal type publications. The Star-Telegram is not a liberal type publication. Bud Kennedy is a conservative attack dog? I think whoever wrote that might want to do some editing, because I don't believe Bud Kennedy is even remotely to be tarred with the conservative label. I assume the writer was intending to say that Bud Kennedy is a dog attacking conservatives.

Now, I can totally get behind criticizing the Star-Telegram and suggesting subscribers cancel, but not due to Fort Worth's pitiful newspaper of record having a liberal bias. But because Fort Worth's pitiful newspaper of record does such a poor job with investigative journalism and being the advocate of those who are not the rich and powerful.

An example, or two. The Star-Telegram totally ignoring the Pulte Wall of Shame. Or the Star-Telegram not coming to the defense of hundreds of victims of a greedy landlord's 30 day eviction notices.

And then there is the way the Star-Telegram acts like a Chamber of Commerce cheerleader booster of America's Biggest Boondoggle, that slow motion pseudo public works project which has been ambling along for most of this century, with little to show for the effort, ramrodded by the totally unqualified son of a local congresswoman, J.D. Granger.

A liberal progressive newspaper of record in one of the modern democratic locations in America would have been all over the corrupt nepotism which gave J.D. Granger a job for which he had zero qualifications, particularly after nonsense like inner tube floating beer parties in the polluted Trinity River became one of The Boondoggle's many dubious "products".

An embarrassing Tea Party-esque post from the Shut Up Bud Facebook page....

Of course Bud conveniently ignores that the biggest racist in America today resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The current resident there exploits identity politics to deliberately create racial division in order to win elections. But Bud is more concerned with a republican precinct chair from Arlington. Oh gosh it just occurred to me - Bud is doing the same thing as Barack - he is just a hack opinion writer so isn't as good at it. Shut up Bud.

Oh yes, imagine that, Bud ignoring something that does not exist, as in the biggest racist in America is living in the White House. How do the numbskulls who spout this type nonsense not realize how stupid they sound? And how out of touch they are with the majority of America, and the World?

And then there was the following embarrassingly dumb Tea Party-esque post....

Sigh - here we go again. Bud doubling down on the liberal narrative and talking points on the Syrian refugee issue. It's not Christian after all if you're not willing to expose your family to potential terrorists. Obama created this refugee crisis when he drew a fake line in the sand, and didn't back up his idle threat. Where's that column Bud you worthless jackass?

Oh yes, the "liberal narrative". Obama did not back up his "idle threat"?  I guess those have been imaginary airstrikes hitting ISIS.

It seems to me that most of those who try and make "liberal" a dirty word can not come even remotely close to defining that which they disparage. Ask one what a "liberal" is and you will either hear crickets or idiotic ignorant nonsense.....

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Phone Is Telling Me It Is Snowing At My Texas Location

When I woke up my phone this morning, sometime between 5 and 6, the screen thing which indicates what the weather is doing showed snowflakes falling from a dark sky.

Hours later the screen thing which indicates what the weather is doing shows a brighter sky with snowflakes still falling.

However, in the real non-phone world, I have seen no flakes falling.

A short walk around my neighborhood did indicate that some snow had fallen during the dark hours, with the evidence being what appeared to be snow accumulation on windshields.

The temperature is currently 4 degrees above freezing. Two days ago I had myself a mighty fine morning swim, with the temperature increasing throughout that day, to a high near 80, spawning tornadoes.

I tried to go jogging this morning, but quickly aborted the attempt. I was dressed more to go skiing than jogging. I decided multiple layers of outerwear does not facilitate jogging.

I think this cold nonsense is scheduled to last for the rest of the year. I need to locate my ski pants and see if I can still get in them....

Sunday, December 27, 2015

All Hail Breaks Loose With Texas Goliath Storm Thunder Booming

No, those are not icicles you see dangling from a tree. It is not yet cold enough to make icicles.

But it is cold enough for the ongoing Goliath Storm to drop a big deluge of marble-sized hail at my current location about 40 miles west of where tornadoes yesterday wreaked havoc on the Dallas side of the D/FW Metroplex.

Hail falling in copious amounts is even noisier than my memory of how noisy an earthquake is, as in a real earthquake caused by shifting tectonic plates, not a fracking earthquake, which from reports I have heard are not all that noisy.

Thunder just started up booming again. I'm ready for this storm to take an exit. And for HEAT to return. The outer world is still 10 degrees above freezing at my location, but it feels so COLD.

Below is video of All Hail Breaking Loose a few minutes ago....

Washington Comes To Snowy Sun Bowl & Stormy Heart Of Dallas Bowl

I saw that which you see above this morning in the online version of the Seattle Times.

Yesterday Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, text messaged me asking....

Are you going to the Big Game today?

To which I replied that since I knew of no Big Game the answer to the question is no. And then asked where the Big Game was.

To which FNJ replied....

The Big Game is the Heart of Dallas Bowl with the UW Huskies.

So, it was that Cotton Bowl game that puzzled me weeks ago when I first heard of it, wondering why the UW Huskies would be playing in such a game. I texted my puzzlement to which FNJ replied....

The Cougars also played in Texas yesterday. It snowed where they played. Kinda bizarre that two WA football teams both travel to Texas to play in bowl games.

The Cougars are the Washington State Cougars. WSU and the UW play a game every year called the Apple Bowl. I did not think either team had themselves a good season, so why are they invited to bowl games in Texas? I did not know where the Cougars got snow bowled, so I asked FNJ if the bowl was in Amarillo, to which he replied....

El Paso.

The Sun Bowl in El Paso, where it snowed? I think that is known as ironic.

Did a lot of Washingtonians make the trek to Texas for these bowl games? I can't imagine doing so. I saw no mention made of either game in my local Texas online news sources.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hot Texas Day After Christmas Swim Put Me In Smile Mode

This morning when I woke up my temperature monitoring device I was surprised to see that device telling me the outer world was being heated to 74 degrees. I confirmed this information via my phone's temperature monitoring device.

74 degrees meant the 48 hour average was well over 50 degrees, thus rendering the pool as swim worthy as a Western Washington lake in summer.

Thus I had myself a mighty fine time in the pool this morning. On the day after Christmas. This is unprecedented.

Yesterday I took a quick dip in the pool so as to take a Santa photo. When Elsie Hotpepper saw that photo she commented that if I had been smiling in that photo she would have had it printed and framed. People telling me to smile really irritate me. Because, if I felt like smiling I would probably do so.

Anyway, today I did not have my Santa cap on in the pool. But, I did my best effort to smile for Elsie Hotpepper. I suspect she is not going to be printing and framing this photo.

If I remember right, and I sometimes do, Thanksgiving morning was the last time I had myself a long bout in the pool. That was followed by jogging and later hiking on the Tandy Hills.

This morning, post-swim, I did go jogging. That went well. But, I have no inclination to go do some Tandy Hills hill hiking.

Both hiking the Tandy Hills and going to Town Talk have faded from my regular activity list. With the Tandy Hills it has been mostly weather related reasons that have not had me hill hiking. With Town Talk the place had become not the enjoyable treasure hunt it was when I first discovered it.

And all my favorite checkers seemed to have disappeared, replaced with newbies who don't already know the answer to the debit or credit question.

That and I got burned by two cases of what I thought were coconut yogurt, but turned out to be inedible pseudo yogurt made from coconut milk.


Friday, December 25, 2015

The Iceman Cometh To Texas Along With All Natural Special Moments

The above is the weather info I gleaned moments ago from this very blog you are looking at right now. The 7 day local Fort Worth forecast shows up whenever you scroll all the way to the bottom of this blog.

It looks like tomorrow morning will be my last possible swim until some warmer point in time in 2016.

Snow on Monday? I'll believe it when I see a flake.

Christmas has exhausted me this year. It is barely past 8 o'clock and I am having trouble keeping my eyes open.

I suppose I could make use of the strangest Christmas present I opened today.

A bottle of pills.

Pills bottled in Fort Worth by something called Always Be Healthy.

This particular Always Be Healthy product, which was gifted to me, is called Always Be Intimate. An All Natural Herbal, uh, Special Moments Enhancing Supplement for Both Men and Women.

I slightly altered the description on the bottle because "Special Moments" sounded more family friendly than the actual word used in the product description.

I am supposed to take up to six of these pills a day to get those Special Moments being special, with the recommendation that a pill be taken about an hour before I feel like being special.

The ingredients listed on the bottle are some heavy hitters in the makes you feel good department. Such as Kava Kava, St. John's Wort, Nettle Leaves, Yohimbe Extract, along with multiple other herbs I've not heard of.

I'm thinking my next possible Special Moment would be going swimming in the morning. Taking one of these pills when I get up in the morning would be about an hour before the sun arrives and I go into swim mode. I should know by about 8 tomorrow morning if the swimming special moment was enhanced by this all natural herbal product.....

Merry Christmas Thinking About Legson Kayira Not Being A Racist Collaborator

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve Elsie Hotpepper sent me some text messages. Elsie and her Gang were at some sort of Christmas event giving goodies to people in need of such.

Among Elsie's Gang was a 9 year old who at one point noted that there were not many light skinned people in attendance, and then added that "I'm not trying to be racist."

Which caused Elsie Hotpepper to text me wondering if she even knew what racist meant when she was 9.

That got me thinking, wondering if I knew that being a racist was an evil thing when I was 9, or thereabouts. I know as far back as my memory goes it has made me extremely uncomfortable whenever I have witnessed, or heard anything remotely racist. I was not very old when I realized that verbalizing such things indicated the verbalizer was an ignorant idiot.

Of late this issue has bothered me, when I realized among my so-called "Friends" on Facebook, were a number of racist collaborators who had absolutely no problem having an extremely racist hate speaker listed as one of their friends.

This sort of appalled me. My already high opinion of Mr. Spiffy went even higher when he was the only one among my Facebook "Friends" who got how wrong it was to have any association with a racist hatemonger, and deleted him. Others, for reasons unfathomable to me, rationalized not doing so. I can no more fathom being a racist collaborator than I can fathom being a Nazi collaborator.

Let me tell you about the first "famous" person I ever met. This may explain why from a young age I have had a positive opinion about people from Africa.

The valley I grew up in, the Skagit Valley, is sort of a Shangri-La special place. I don't know the reason why, but the valley is a very tolerant place where the majority judge people by their character, not their color or any other stupid reason. The valley has a big Hispanic population due to so many Mexican migrant workers eventually deciding to make the valley their home. The Mexico Cafe was my favorite Mexican restaurant in the valley. It was not til I moved to Texas that I realized that Tex-Mex was what the Washington Mexican restaurants had on the menu.

I digress.

So, back to the first black man with whom I  shook hands.

Way back during World War II, on a specific date in 1942 not known, Didimu Kayira was born in Nyasaland, now known as Malawi. Didimu's mother was unable to feed a baby, so she threw him into the Didimu River, from whence he was rescued and named after the river.

Eventually Didimu was enrolled in a school where he decided to add the English sounding name of Legson to his name. When he was a mid teenager Legson made up his mind that the only way he could get a college degree was if he got himself to the United States.

Someone told Legson to get himself to Kampala, Uganda. Once there he found his way to an American agency of some sort. At that agency Legson was looking in a U.S. Information Service Directory when he saw the name Skagit Valley College. He applied to the college, was accepted, with a scholarship.

Now Legson had to make his way, on foot, over 1860 miles to Khartoum, where he could get an entry visa to the U.S.

By the time Legson made it to Khartoum his story had reached the Skagit Valley. People all over the Skagit Valley raised money to bring Legson to Washington. Two years after setting out for America, Legson Kayira arrived in the Skagit Valley to great fanfare.

Legson Kayira went to Skagit for two years, then the University of Washington, then St. Catherine's College in Cambridge.

Legson Kayira wrote a best selling autobiography titled I Will Try, along with several other books.

I did not know til yesterday that Legson Kayira died October 14, 2012, in London.

During his time in the Skagit Valley Legson Kayira visited the various groups who had helped him come to America, including my Sunday School at the Burlington Presbyterian Church. He was the first black man I had seen up close in person. He was so friendly and happy to see all of us. I remember so clearly shaking his hand and feeling like I was in the presence of someone special.

Was Legson Kayira's passing noted in the Skagit Valley Herald? I check that newspaper online daily and I don't remember reading of this. Has Legson Kayira's legacy been forgotten in the Valley? If that is the case, this needs to change. There needs to be a statue in his honor at the college, and one of the buildings named after him.

Legson Kayira's trek to America to Skagit Valley College was an international news story in its day. It made Skagit Valley College known world wide. After Legson Kayira others from other parts of the world, and America, made their way to the Skagit Valley to go to Skagit Valley College. My first two college years were spent at Skagit Valley College. I found it to be a much superior educational experience than what I got when I transferred to a university.

I am thinking that in honor of Legson Kayira, come the New Year, I may be deleting any racist collaborators I am aware of.

It's the right thing to do.....

Merry Christmas From The Jones Family

Last Saturday a package arrived from Arizona. When I opened the package and saw the box inside was festively wrapped I stuck it under my Christmas tree with all the other incoming packages waiting to be opened on Christmas.

What with it now being Christmas that box from Arizona has now been opened.

Among the many things I found inside the box was the above "Christmas Card" from my mom and dad.

I thought mom and dad are being just darn cute in this picture, so I felt compelled to share. How can you not like how mom and dad coordinate their Christmas outfits, color-wise?

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Santa Takes A Christmas Morning Pool Dip

The incoming Deep Freeze is still a day or two in the future.

So, I decided to get in my Santa costume and go for a quick Christmas morning pool dip.

Yesterday the temperature high was in the 70s. Over night the temperature dipped below 50.

Making the pool a bit cool.

Which made for a very brief time in water, taking a quick selfie before shivering set in.

And now I am going jogging to warm up.

There will be no selfie jogging documentation. I jog phone free.....

Christmas Eve Concrete Ghost Town Visit With Spencer Jack

What you see here showed up in my email Christmas Eve, photo documentation by Spencer Jack's dad of their Christmas Eve visit to the Skagit Valley town of Concrete.

The following explanatory text was included with the photo and video documentation...

Spencer Jack and I drove up to Concrete today. 

I think we were the only two people in town literally.  Note that Main Street was empty and the only car in town was ours.

CONCRETE must be a really HARD place to live, we figured.

We were expecting to find more snow than we did.

Concrete is the last town-sized town one comes to when heading east on Highway 20 in the Skagit Valley on the way over the currently closed for the season North Cascades Pass. There are a couple small settlements as one continues east, with gas stations, convenience stores and a restaurant or two. Newhalem and Marblemount come to mind.

Concrete is sort of a tourist town. I don't know why it was a ghost town on Christmas Eve, looking like downtown Fort Worth on the day after Thanksgiving.

Concrete was the setting of one of Leonardo DiCaprio's early movies, This Boy's Life. I remember when that movie was being filmed, but I did not go upriver to gawk. During the filming of the Michael Douglas / Kathleen Turner movie, War of the Roses, I did drive over to Coupeville on Whidbey Island to join the throngs gawking at Danny Devito directing a fight scene between the Roses which did not make it into the movie.

Below is video of Spencer Jack tossing a big snowball into the Baker River. I wonder if my Favorite Nephew Jason knows that if you head up the primitive road that heads north from the Baker River Bridge you will soon come to Lower Baker Dam, it being a very old, sort of scary looking dam, built years before the more frequently seen Upper Baker Dam, which does not look scary. Unlike Upper Baker Dam, I don't remember being able to drive across Lower Baker Dam.

Anyway, Spencer Jack making a big splash....

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Is A Major Post-Christmas Winter Storm About To Hit Texas?

Tis the day before Christmas, with not a chance of anything white and frozen contributing to the holiday spirit at my currently balmy location on the planet.

However, according to my favorite Texas weatherman, Storm Spotter, John Austin Basham, the currently balmy-ness may soon come to an end....

MAJOR WINTER STORM: - TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA - ***THIS IS NOT AN NWS PRODUCT*** AT THIS TIME STORM SPOTTER METOPS IS FORECASTING A MAJOR WINTER STORM ACROSS THE WESTERN, NORTHWESTERN, AND PANHANDLE PORTIONS OF TEXAS AS WELL AS THE WESTERN 2/3 OF OKLAHOMA THIS WEEKEND STARTING SATURDAY THE 26TH THROUGH EARLY MONDAY THE 28TH. BLIZZARD AND ICE STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE FORECAST REGION. This bulletin is being sent out as a courtesy to customers across the area prior to the detailed forecast by early Thursday morning. With anticipated holiday travel during this time all persons in the affected areas should prepare for near white-out conditions or impassible roadways. Again, a more detailed forecast will be issued by Storm Spotter METOPS meteorologists by early Thursday morning. For customers needing site and time specific forecasts, please contact your assigned meteorologist or the METOPS forecast hot-line for additional help and details. For official watches and warnings refer to the NWS website ***THIS IS NOT AN NWS FORECAST*** Meteorologist John Austin Basham Storm Spotter METOPS

I am not in the mood for anything frigid. One thing for sure I will not repeat my mistake of the past two winters by driving during an Ice Storm. I've lucked out twice doing so. The third time likely would see my luck running out with me careening sideways into something best not careened into....

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mount Baker Skiing With Spencer Jack

I thought I had myself a Spencer Jack Exclusive last night when a dozen, give or take one or two, snow photos of Spencer Jack showed up in my email. Along with a video.

This morning I saw some of the photos on Facebook, including the one you see here of Spencer Jack practicing driving in snowy conditions.

One of the emails included a message from Spencer Jack's papa, my Favorite Nephew Jason, explaining what I was seeing in the photos and video.

In the email message FNJ makes it sound like he and Spencer Jack had made it to the top of an active volcano called Mount Baker.

However, where Spencer Jack actually drove to was the Mount Baker Ski Area. The Ski Area is not on Mount Baker. It is north of the volcano. But is in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.

Spencer Jack needs to drive his dad back to the Mount Baker Ski Area in late summer to drive to the end of the road, where he will find a big parking lot from whence he will be looking directly at Mount Baker, and then find himself tempted to hike the trail that heads up the mountain, or hike the switchbacks the lead to the top of Tabletop Mountain.

Spencer Jack is eight years old, about three months shy of being nine. My first attempt at skiing happened when I was 12. At the now defunct Mount Pilchuck Ski Area. It did not go well. I had trouble holding on to the tow rope. Apparently Spencer Jack had no similar trouble and quickly graduated to using the chair lift.

I don't think I was still a teenager when I first went skiing via chair lift transport. If I remember right that took place at one of the Snoqualmie Pass ski areas.

Following is the email detailing Spencer Jack's ski adventure, and following that video documentation of Spencer Jack skiing and gracefully falling....

FUD --

FNSJ and I had ourselves a mighty fine time today on top of the active, snow covered volcano, known to the locals as Mt. Baker.

He finished his schooling for the year last Friday, and we are sitting around, bored, awaiting Santa's Thursday night arrival.

Some of the locals spend the days before Xmas in malls, however, FNSJ and myself finished our shopping weeks ago.

FNSJ suggested we go sledding today.

Once we got a top Mt. Baker, sleds in hand, I suggested that he FNSJ try skiing.

He concurred.

So off we went.   I'm pretty sure he had one of the best days of his life. He was all smiles and loved riding the chair lifts, after I quickly graduated him from the rope tow, which by the way is no longer a rope, but rather a cable.

I have a poor quality video of FNSJ wiping out down the slopes. The video was not of good quality, as the IPhone it was taking on, was fogged up in the near blizzard like afternoon conditions.

Hope you have your Xmas shopping done, and can relax and enjoy these winter days in the mountains too!


Isn't that nice of FNJ to hope I enjoy winter days in the mountains too. Winter? I went swimming this morning. Yesterday got into the 70s, this morning the air was chilled to 64.

Mountains? Relax on a mountain? We ain't got no stinkin' mountains here. All we have is some pitiful hills. A couple years ago a few inches of snow covered those pitiful hills. I got out my cross country skis and discovered the summer heat in the storage closet  had partially de-laminated the skis. I attempted skiing anyway. It did not go well. Insufficient steepness.

Below is the aforementioned video where you will see that Spencer Jack did find sufficient steepness....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pirate Whitebeard In Arlington Walking With Village Creek Indian Ghosts

I have not gotten any better at taking those selfie things, even after I figured out how to set a two second delay.

I need to consult the Tarrant County Kim Kardashian of Selfies, Elsie Hotpepper, as to proper technique.

As you can see I am almost  ready to be Santa Claus. Either that or a Pirate named Whitebeard.

This particular selfie attempt was taken in the Village Creek zone. I'd not walked with my favorite Indian Ghosts for weeks, or so it seems.

The temperature seems to be being unnaturally balmy for a couple days before Christmas. With the outer world being heated into the 70s on this second day of winter, by tomorrow morning the semi-cool pool should be doable.

I was in Arlington this morning to go to a Tom Thumb. That's a grocery store for those who don't live where Tom Thumbs exist. I went to Tom Thumb due to last night I was informed that Tom Thumb had a CoinStar Gift Card exchange machine. I was at a Christmas Party where I acquired a $200 Lowes Gift Card. I remarked to a fellow partygoer something along the line of what am I gonna spend $200 on at Lowes? To which the fellow partygoer informed me of the CoinStar Gift Card exchange deal.

Back to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

As I was walking along one of the more isolated areas of Village Creek I came upon the above fisherman enjoying the balmy weather to catch himself some likely inedible fish. Having typed that I just realized  that unlike at Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park there are no signs along Village Creek warning that it is not a good idea to consume the fish one might catch.

I just got a text  message informing me that Miss Puerto Rico needs a ride to where her vehicle is being serviced. That should turn into an adventure going all sorts of sideways that my limited imagination will not pre-conceive until faced with whatever has gone sideways....

Monday, December 21, 2015

Don't Be An Anonymous Corrupt River Rat

You are looking at the handsome face of my most frequent blog commenter.


I never see most of the comments Anonymous makes. Google does a good job of detecting Anonymous spam or nuisance comments.

I have 5 or 6, or is it 7, blogs. And one humongous website. All of which generate emails and comments. I have to moderate the comments rather than let them be auto-published, because the spam comments would make for a mess if they all got published..

Adding up all the posts on all the blogs I would guess the number is in the 8 or 9 thousand range. Any of which  on any given day can generate a comment.

A person making a comment has the option of using their Google account name or OpenID, whatever that is or make up a fake name or be Anonymous.

Some commenters do not notice the message about the comments being moderated.  A few times this has resulted in someone making a comment multiple times, with each effort slightly different and increasingly strident, because the commenter does not see their comment instantly appear.

If a commenter wants to make sure their comment gets read by the moderator don't make the comment as Anonymous.

If you don't have a Google account, simply make up a name. Those I always notice, particularly if the name is clever, like JD Mama Boy, or Corrupt River Rat, or Betsy Price Not Right.

Names like that.

Does Anyone Need Some Longhorn Bulls To Ramrod On The Chisholm Trail?

And now for something completely different.

I think I have likely mentioned a time or two over the years I have received dozens of email queries asking to buy my various rattlesnake products.

People, usually from Europe, often Germany and the UK, go to my Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup webpage and somehow that leads them to think I am a purveyor of rattlesnake products.

The following non-rattlesnake related email arrived from my Eyes on Texas website over the weekend....

Subject: Longhorn bulls for sale

I was told to contact Chisholm trail for purchasing longhorn bulls. If this is correct and u r interested, please call me @ 214-xxx-9477. I have a two year old, one nearly one yr, and a younger one to be weened soon. All registered with TLBAA.

Thanks, Barbara

I explained to Barbara that my only connection to longhorns is I have a webpage or two or three with longhorn related info. And that I also made a webpage of the long defunct Chisholm Trail Days event in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

I also made a webpage devoted solely to the Fort Worth Herd, complete with video, if I am remembering correctly. And, again if I am remembering correctly, Elsie Hotpepper shows up for a second or two in the Fort Worth Herd video. I may have made more than one video of the Fort Worth Herd. I am fairly certain the one with the Elsie Hotpepper appearance is the one that uses a repeating loop of the Lonesome Dove theme song.

I digress.

That longhorn photo you see above is the photo which turned me into a highly paid professional photographer. Backpacker magazine paid me a whopping $100 to use that photo, almost 14 years ago, way back in February of 2002.

I had webpaged photos of an encounter with a rogue longhorn herd on the mountain bike trail one rides at the west end of Lake Grapevine. Someone from Backpacker magazine saw my longhorn photos and then began grueling negotiations for the publishing rights to that one photo.

When Barbara asked me if I was interested in purchasing some longhorn bulls, I drew a blank regarding knowing anyone who might be interested in such a thing.

Well, about a minute ago I remembered Mary has a farm. With a lot of critters. Mary Kelleher, if you are reading this, are you interested in purchasing some longhorn breeding stock? If so, I can get you Barbara's phone number with the xxx replaced with the actual numbers.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Dozen Bogus Reasons For Flocking To Fort Worth

Yesterday's blogging about yet one more bridge feat of engineering completed in less than four years generated a comment which led to some amusing bum puzzlement....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Wondering Again How It Can Take Fort Worth 4 Years To Build 3 Simple Bridges":

Hey now Mr. Jones, more people than ever are flocking to Fort Worth and there are 12 reasons why! Durrr!

A dozen reasons folks are flocking to Fort Worth like never before

You know an article's gonna be great when a photo from Brian Luenser is included! Double durrr!! 

Yikes! Yet one more embarrassing piece of inflated propaganda. You can click the above link to see all 12 amazing reasons for the flocking to Fort Worth.

Among the dozen reasons people are flocking to Fort Worth is....

#10 Best Downtown in the Country
Fort Worth has the No. 1 Downtown in the U.S.

When I saw this propaganda yesterday there were two comments at that point in time....

Helo: #1 Downtown in the US?

What is this research? Even us here in Fort Worth know that's not true!

Scott Pederson: -> helo

This is not the first time we have seen this Top 10 list used to tout Fort Worth as having the best downtown in America, to the utter befuddlement of people who have been to other downtown's in America.

This particular Top 10 list has been blogging fodder several times, including....

Is Fort Worth's The Best Small Downtown In America? and America Is In Deep Trouble If Fort Worth Is The Best Downtown In America.

This particular Top 10 Best Downtown's in America list was looking at the downtown's of small American towns. I don't know how Fort Worth, with a population of around 800,000, qualifies as a small town, but that's how the town looked to, apparently.

I was born  in one of the small towns on this Top 10 Best Downtown's list, that being Eugene, Oregon. I have lived in another of the small towns, Bellingham, Washington. Both Bellingham and Eugene have lively downtown's of the sort that, unlike Fort Worth's, are not ghost towns on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Isn't it sort of an act of false advertising to boldly proclaim Fort Worth has the #1 Downtown in America, due to being on this list of 10 small towns?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wondering Again How It Can Take Fort Worth 4 Years To Build 3 Simple Bridges

My Favorite Oregon Cousin, Scott, took the picture you are looking at here, yesterday or the day before yesterday.

In the picture we are in Oregon, looking north across the Columbia River, with Washington hidden in the fog.

That bridge is known as the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

I do not remember if I have blogged about this bridge previously in one of my continuing series of bloggings about feats of engineering, usually bridges, built in four years, or less.

Over water.

I am motivated to blog about these feats of engineering due to the astonishing fact that a bridge building project, currently sort of underway in Fort Worth, has a four year project timeline.

Four years to build three simple, little bridges.

Over dry land.

Eventually, some day, way in the future, if money can be found to do so, a ditch may be dug under Fort Worth's bridges, with water added, which at that point the bridges will be connecting the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

No one has an explanation as to why it will take Fort Worth's infamous Boondoggle four years to build three simple, little bridges. Most people's best guess is there is a shortage of funds causing the slow motion construction.

The Astoria-Megler Bridge is not a simple, little bridge. The bridge is 4.1 miles long. The bridge is designed to handle wind blows of 150 mph and a river current of 9 mph. This bridge is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.

Obviously this bridge was built over water. With that water affected by tidal changes. While under construction the engineers had to contend with ship traffic making its way upriver from the Pacific, or heading downriver, out to sea.

Bridge building complications of the sort Fort Worth can only dream of.

And yet this bridge took less than four years to build, with construction beginning November 5, 1962, finished July 29, 1966.

As you can see via the above photo, the bridge as it leaves Astoria soars quite high. That is so ships can pass. Note that big pier upon which the cantilevered span rests.

I wonder if the local Astoria press made a big deal out of when that pier started to rise out of the water, like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram did when America's Biggest Boondoggle's pitiful little wooden forms for the bridge's V piers became visible rising from dry land?

I suspect not....

Friday, December 18, 2015

Listen To The Fort Worth Voice Of The Pulte Wall Of Shame

I think the first time I blogged about the Pulte Wall of Shame was back on September 29 in a blogging titled Why Is Fort Worth's Best Public Servant Ignoring The Pulte Wall Of Shame?

Then on December 4 I blogged about the Pulte Wall of Shame again in a blogging titled Arlington Pit & Fort Worth Wall Of Shame Examples Of Civic Irresponsibility.

On that same day, December 4, I heard from one of the primary Fort Worth victims of the Pulte Wall of Shame, via a text message on Facebook. However, due to a snafu with Facebook Messenger, I did not see that text message til yesterday.

The text message is worth repeating in its entirety for your enlightenment as to what it is like to live in a town with a corrupt city government and no newspapers practicing journalism of the sort practiced in more democratic locations in America and the world....


Thank you so much for shining a light on our situation. Nearly 9 months later; most have simply walked away because it's not their wall and not their problem.

Please feel free to share my message here & the information I share with you in the comments section of your blog or a separate post or email or any medium you deem necessary.

You are 100% correct that The Star Telegram has essentially refused to cover our story despite my continued efforts to elicit their cooperation in running a story. I think I reached out to 4 various employees including editors AND reporters.

What's MORE interesting is how we were approached at City Hall by a reporter, Caty Hirst, to cover our story but who, after ONE conversation, which I'm sure was followed by her digging into the various sources and fact checking what I provided her, never interviewed me or wrote anything. We never truly spoke again. It appeared for weeks as if we were playing phone tag but in actuality, Caty may have been dodging me all together & never followed up on our story nor did anyone else at the Telegram. Coincidence? I think not. And I also think it absurd for any professional journalist to insinuate this isn't a good story...tragic as it is because it's MY real LIFE...this is good news that would draw in readers/viewers. So, suddenly dropping a story that you found so intriguing is suspicious to me.

As far as the Fort Worth Weekly...they reached out to us and I took the time (a lot of time, actually) to gather up all the documentation I could give them that THEY requested even when I told them that there was a LOT of information and documentation but that I was happy to walk them through it. And I did walk one reporter through it over the phone at length and he told me that he wanted to get something together quickly to run in the next couple of days in the public opinions section and that he'd then work on a big, full story. So, I even summarized for him the grabbing highlights he could use for the smaller section. All he had to do was print it. He contacted me two days later saying that their paper felt our story was "too complicated" for them and they wouldn't be covering it. 

Too complicated?!? Isn't that a journalists "uncomplicate" and summarize/provide an overview of a situation and tell a story that the reader/viewer can grasp? Are journalists simply not capable of this anymore? I mean, I had even done the heavy lifting for him so navigating through it wouldn't have been so difficult. No, journalists are completely capable of this but in Fort Worth loose lips sink ships and the media here is more concerned with politics and staying in the old boy's club than actually doing what they're here TELL THE STORIES of the people who live within the city; to SHINE A LIGHT on corruption or problems or public causes or needs.

If I've learned ANYthing over the last several months it's that journalism is NOT what it used to be. For someone, who as a young girl, idolized journalism and has the heart of a writer; this discovery was heartbreaking. Our media is bought, plain and simple. And you and I don't have pockets deep enough to buy any of it.

As far as, she still is yet to return a call, email or come out to see the catastrophe for herself. Heck, would've been nice if her office had even just reached out during these terrible floods to ask if we needed sandbags!! Councilman Moon paid nice lip service as well that he would help and outside of one completely useless email that took THREE WEEKS to get; he did nothing.

Even if our arrogant city refuses to own up to their part in this devastation; the very least they could do is pretend to CARE about my family. To think that we sat in a meeting with EVERY SINGLE department in this city and they looked in our eyes and those of my two little children and not only didn't fulfill what they promised but haven't even bothered to have an intern shoot off an email to inquire as to how we are after the terrible weather?!? That's purely disgusting. That's the best, most polite word I have for it. Disgusting.

Sorry for the length of this but I wanted to answer some of your questions.

Thank you again for continuing to call out responsible parties and shine a light that the city keeps trying to cover.

-Krissy Irizarry-

Fort Worth Boondoggle's Second Roundabout Public Art Revealed?

Last week Fort Worth locals were stunned at the million dollar reveal of a work of public art stuck at the center of the only one of America's Biggest Boondoggle's roundabouts currently under construction.

Opinions vary as to what that roundabout work of art looks like. Ruins of a water tower? A garbage can?  A drain trap?

Yesterday as I was merrily scrolling along in Facebook I came upon that which you see here and instantly wondered if I was looking at an artist's rendering of another of The Boondoggle's public art works installations.

However, I quickly learned that this work of art is, or was, located in the Texas tourist town of Fredericksburg.

This Frederickburg work of art is known as the Fredericksburg Christmas Pyramid.

I do not know if this art installation is currently installed in Fredericksburg, of if this is from a Christmas past.

This Fredericksburg work of public art does look like it would fit in just fine at the center of one of The Boondoggle's roundabouts. It'd probably cost a lot less than a million bucks.

Changing the subject, slightly.

Yesterday a fellow former Pacific Northwesterner and I were talking about America's Biggest Boondoggle and that embarrassing work of art The Boondoggle dedicated with a ceremony last week, when the former PNWer opined that would it not make more sense to simply plant a tall tree at that roundabout location, with Texas friendly vegetation surrounding the tree, creating an eye pleasing green space? Perhaps with a water feature to add to the overall eye pleasing aesthetics?

And another thing about the million dollar roundabout garbage can water tower ruin that occurred to me. Could not a local Fort Worth artist be found to design an eye pleasing installation at the center of that roundabout?

Has anyone eye witnessed the Fredericksburg Christmas Pyramid?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fort Worth Public Artfully Wraps Ugly Except For Outhouses

Eagle Eyed Elsie Hotpepper pointed me to this interesting tidbit of Fort Worth news about some new Fort Worth public art.

Fort Worth public art, paid for via a 2% fee charged to a Fort Worth public works project, is a bit controversial of late, due to a visually distracting traffic eyesore that cost nearly a million dollars and sits in the middle of one of America's Biggest Boondoggle's traffic roundabouts, installed well before the construction of the roundabout was completed.

Some have questioned whether America's Biggest Boondoggle qualifies for the 2% public arts deal, due to the fact that the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision is a quasi-public works project that is the feeble brainchild of a quasi-public agency known as the Tarrant Regional Water District.

Another reason for the validity of the 2% public arts deal being in question, regarding The Boondoggle getting funds for such, is the fact that the public has never voted on any aspect of this imaginary public works project, nor has the public been allowed to participate in any sort of public hearings regarding same, in any meaningful way.

The new works of public art which Elsie Hotpepper pointed me to is detailed in the following three paragraphs....

COMING SOON: Fort Worth Public Art is also looking for local artists to create 14 artwork images for traffic control cabinets on East Lancaster Avenue. Houston already has these fancy boxes around the city.

The idea is to make art out of drab, ugly boxes that house traffic signal controls.

“These structures provide an opportunity for the city of Fort Worth to poetically invest in its utility infrastructure,” FWPA explains on its website. “The artist designed wraps will contribute to a growing collection of public art blossoming along the corridor that connect different neighborhoods along the way.”

I have never noticed ugly traffic control boxes in need of an aesthetic covering. Have you?

However, in many of Fort Worth's public parks I have noticed an ugly item which might benefit from an artistic cover.


Fort Worth has more outhouses in more public parks than any other major city in America.

America's Biggest Boondoggle sort of  pretties up the outhouses located at its imaginary world class music venue called Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island or pavilion, but there are outhouses shrouded in concrete enclosures, slightly mitigating the eyesore aspect.

Wouldn't covering Fort Worth's army of outhouses in colorful wraps be a good use of public art funds? And a lot more people would see this "art" than those who might notice artfully disguised traffic control boxes.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bertha Will Be Done Digging Before Fort Worth's Boondoggle Bridge Ditch Is Dug

I saw that which you see here in the Seattle Times. I thought it to be interesting, the contrast between how a problem with a public works project is covered in a Seattle newspaper as compared to how the Star-Telegram covers a problem, or problems, with a local pseudo public works project.

The Highway 99 tunnel project in downtown Seattle has been stalled for about two years due to the world's biggest tunnel boring machine, named Bertha, running into some unexpected steel, causing a lot of damage to Bertha.

As you can read, via the text under the picture of the hole Bertha is in, the new tunnel was originally supposed to open this month.

If Bertha manages to bore successfully, the project timeline now has the tunnel open in  2018.

While Bertha was stalled, other parts of the approximately $4 billion project continued and are on schedule.

The Bertha problems and the ongoing fix have been reported in detail in Seattle media.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, there also is a stalled public works project, which used to be known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision.

But is now known simply as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Even with the delay Bertha will end up taking about four years to dig the biggest diameter tunnel ever bored.

While in Fort Worth, America's Biggest Boondoggle started construction on long delayed bridges in October of 2014, with a four year project timeline. To build three simple little bridges over dry land.

The Fort Worth bridge construction had no mechanical malfunctions to explain why it was a year after the supposed start of construction that big fanfare ensued due to bridge piers finally being under construction for one of the bridges.

Yes, you read that right. One year later only one of the Fort Worth bridges is under construction. And a big fuss was made because the wood forms for the bridge's piers could be seen.

Now, unlike the Seattle Times, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram makes no effort to explain to its few readers why this Fort Worth pseudo public works project has accomplished so little in a project which has spanned most of this century.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has not asked The Boondoggle for the real reason the bridges are being built over dry land, since it is obvious The Boondoggle's claim that the over dry land construction is a cost saving tactic is bogus. Because the reality of The Boondoggle's bridges is there will be no water under those bridges until a ditch is dug under them and water is diverted from the Trinity River.

Why does the Star-Telegram repeat The Boondoggle's propaganda about the bridge construction without questioning the obvious disinformation?

Why does the Star-Telegram not do some investigative journalism looking into the finances of The Boondoggle?

How many taxpayer dollars have been spent on the TRVA worker's salaries, including J.D. Granger's, over the course of this overly extended slow motion project? How much has the dithering added to the cost due to having to pay the people running The Boondoggle for years longer than if this had been a well executed project?

How much money has been spent on the frequent propaganda mailers sent out by The Boondoggle?

How much money has been spent on The Boondoggle's signage?

How much money has been spent on the The Boondoggle's Epstein propaganda purveyors?

How much money did The Boondoggle spend to dig the pond for the defunct Cowtown Wakepark?

If The Boondoggle was taking place in Seattle, or any other town in America with a real newspaper, you would have the answers to those questions, instead of reading the questions, unanswered, in a blog like this.

Come And Take It Durango

Someone I shall not name emailed me that which you see here.

What message is this conveying?


Come and take what?

And why is this message on the bottom of what appears to be a shoe?

Who is walking around with a shoe advertising this message?

I have a bad feeling I am never going to get any answers to these probing questions....

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Are You One Of The Great American Embarrassments Supporting Trump?

Today when I hit the publish button on a blogging, and then checked to see that it published correctly, I was a bit, well, mortified, to see I was sort of advertising the world's currently most notorious human.

Donald Trump.

Well, maybe not the world's most notorious human, that title is likely still held by that other little man with bad hair, you know, that creepy killer who rules North Korea with bombast and firing squads.

But, I can not think of a human, currently, more notorious in America than The Donald.

I have no control over what ads Google's AdSense puts on my blog. I can only control the category of ads. Like maybe block political ads, but I'm not sure that blocking political ads is a blocking option.

The ads Google AdSense displays are contextual. Meaning Google tries to match ads with the content of the blog post and what Google determines are what the blog reader may be interested in. I must have been to some Trump-related thing, or maybe I mentioned Trump in a blog post, or maybe some Trump entity is paying a lot of many to put this Trump ad on any fool blog out there.

I really don't know.

What I do know is it is somehow just a little embarrassing to find myself, even indirectly, advertising anything to do with Mr.Trump.

I used to have a non-negative opinion of Donald Trump. Back when he was simply a billionaire who sort of made an ass of himself firing people on a reality TV show. He seemed innocuous til the day he announced he was going to attempt to become the next Republican president. His announcement was ripe with absurdly stupid hatespeak, which only signaled the beginning of a lot of absurdly stupid hatespeak to come.

The Donald's hatespeak has gotten so much worse.

But, he speaks the language of the great mass of under educated, ill-informed, nonsense spewers who are what I refer to as The Great American Embarrassment.

The Great American Embarrassment is all over the Internet. Or listen to right wing talk radio. Or read the comments to a FOX News online article. Or attend a Tea Party meeting. Or a Sarah Palin speech.

Methinks the Great American Majority has had their fill of the Great American Embarrassment, with a big change coming via the next election.

Then again, I have previously admitted I am a hopeless optimist who is frequently disappointed and thus fully prepared to seek refugee status in Canada, should Donald Trump or Ted Cruz get elected by the Great American Embarrassment, which would mean that the Great American Embarrassment had become the Great American Majority, to the shuddering horror of a lot of Americans and the rest of the world....

Why Is America's Biggest Boondoggle Celebrating A Brewery Birthday?

That is J.D. Granger you are looking at here, holding what appears to be some sort of adult libation. I am not sure who the lady is standing next to J.D., except for being fairly certain it is not J.D.'s wife. The lady does look like a lady we saw years ago in a Dallas hotel with J.D., but the name escapes me.

A blog comment showed up this morning which pointed me to this photo...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Dam Failure Endangers Dallas With No Army Corps Of Engineers Help":

J.D. Granger and Matt Oliver sightings if you have any interest:

Pics: Panther Island Brewing's 1st birthday party

Granger - pic #141
Oliver - pics #37, #51 and #142

The Matt Oliver being referred to is, along with J.D. Granger, one of the TRWD's most infamous nepotism cases, what with Matt Oliver being among the Jim Oliver relatives on the TRWD payroll.

The concept that nepotism is a form of corruption did not get taught in civics class at this location on the planet.

So, it has been a big week for America's Biggest Boondoggle. We had the ridiculous dedication ceremony for a piece of alleged "art" which has been met with widespread revulsion and disgust plus a party to celebrate the one year anniversary of a brewery associated with The Boondoggle.

It gives one pause to wonder if a qualified project manager had been put in charge of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle if we would be seeing things like the goofy dedication of an ugly artwork in an unfinished construction zone and a party to celebrate a brewery anniversary?

Would we be seeing this Panther Island nomenclature embarrassment plastered all over? Would a qualified project manager have nixed putting time and money into "branding" with that branding labeling a chunk of land as an island, when it is not an island, and will only be an imaginary/pseudo island if a ditch is dug into which river water is diverted?

If a qualified project manager had been hired would we being seeing things like a flooded wakeboard pond? Would we be seeing inner tube floats in the polluted Trinity River? Would we have seen resources diverted to create a barebones, shoddy, tacky, outhouse serviced, music venue, touted as Panther Island Pavilion?

Would we be seeing multiple beer and booze parties, in various iterations, throughout the year?

Would we be seeing a pitiful ice rink showing up for a few weeks during the winter, called Panther Island Ice?

Would what is now known as America's Biggest Boondoggle already be completed if a competent qualified project engineer had been hired? Would a competent qualified project engineer sign off on a project timeline of four years to build three simple, little bridges over dry land?

Or would a qualified project engineer have been mortified regarding the damage to his reputation that would result from being part of taking four years to build three simple, little bridges?

Over dry land

Alleging doing so to save money, as opposed to building over water. Where there will be no water until the river is diverted into the un-dug ditch.

How many more years will J.D. Granger be being paid his over $100,000, plus expenses, annual salary? How much has it added to the cost of America's Biggest Boondoggle to be paying J.D. and his cohorts in incompetency years beyond what it would have taken a well-managed project to be completed?

America's Biggest Boondoggle is very boggling.....

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Birthday B.K.S. Iyengar You Yoga Monster

This morning's attempt to do a yoga routine did not go much better than my last attempt. The Reverse Plough, which I used to easily do, continues to vex me.

And then, a few minutes after being vexed by the Reverse Plough I go to look up something on Google to suddenly find  myself wondering why is Google mocking my yoga woes?

However, I quickly figured out that I was being hypersensitive regarding my yoga issues, with all knowing Google knowing nothing about them.

I eventually figured out the reason a skinny cartoon figure was doing yoga positions on my Google screen was due to today being the 97th birthday of someone named B.K.S Iyengar.

I had no clue what this Iyengar guy had to do with yoga, so I Googled his name to learn....

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, better known as B.K.S. Iyengar, was the founder of the style of yoga known as "Iyengar Yoga" and was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world.
I do not know what the style is of the yoga I am inept at doing. I'd not heard  of the Iyengar Yoga style til today.

I suspect B.K.S. Iyengar was easily able to do the Reverse Plough position, likely up til the day he died.....

Best Fort Worth Weekly In Eons Has Me Wanting To Powwow

I think, if I remember right, a time or two I have mentioned that ever since a Beer Hall Putsch removed Gayle Reaves from being the brains behind the quality of Fort Worth Weekly, the quality of that weekly publication has seemed to sink.

I did not get around to reading this week's Weekly til yesterday.

Best issue since that aforementioned Beer Hall Putsch.

The Static column about Barnett Shale driller scams titled Methane High was up to a Reaveseque level of succinct pointedness, with subtle snark.

The Metropolis Third World Child Welfare article about a Fort Worth CEO's  revelations learned from a visit to Cuba was top notch.

And then there is the cover story titled The Way They Were, A once-lost silent film tied to Quanah Parker’s legacy is a bittersweet gem.

The first four paragraphs....

White Eagle has fallen for the Daughter of Dawn.

But the prettiest child of the Kiowa chief has more than one suitor. Black Wolf, despite Red Wing’s love and devotion, can offer plenty of ponies to the beautiful maiden’s father. All that White Eagle can give is himself, his bravery, and his love. The Daughter of Dawn must choose between the two men.

Sounds like a soap opera, but it’s actually a 1920 silent film.

The Daughter of Dawn was thought lost until 2005, when the 83-minute feature was discovered and restored. After screening at colleges all across the country and now becoming available on Netflix, the film written and directed by Norbert A. Myles comes to University of Texas-Arlington in February, prior to the school’s annual Powwow, a celebration of Native American culture.

Most who know me know I am an aficionado of Native American history and culture. The Cynthia Ann Parker Story is a bit of history each new generation of Americans needs to learn, along with the story of Cynthia Ann's son, Quanah, he being the last Comanche chief, and a leader who made the transition to living successfully with the American invaders.

Modern technology has made silent films very watchable, rendering them as they were originally viewed, not the jerky type motion picture that was the result of earlier tape transfer technology.

Who wants to go with me to UT Arlington in February for the Powwow viewing of The Daughter of Dawn?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dam Failure Endangers Dallas With No Army Corps Of Engineers Help

What you are looking at here is a screencap from Facebook, a post from former Tarrant Water District Board candidate, John Austin Basham, raising an alarm about that which you see in the photo.

That being a failing Lake Lewisville Dam.

Lake Lewisville is a reservoir at the north end of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Lake Lewisville is currently at full pool, meaning the reservoir is full, thus putting maximum stress on the dam which holds back a 65 foot tall wall of water from careening though the heart of Dallas.

In other words the Army Corps of Engineer's has indicated a Lake Lewisville Dam breech could put some 431,000 people in harm's way.

But, the Army Corps of Engineers says it will need millions of dollars to  repair what is known to be one of the nation's most dangerous dams.


Meanwhile, a few miles to the west of Lake Lewisville we have the Army Corps of Engineers spending millions of taxpayer dollars on an un-needed flood control project where no flood control project is needed, not needed because over a half century ago the Army Corps of Engineers spent millions to build massive levees which have prevented flooding for decades.

The Army Corps of Engineers has signed on to the absurd idea of taking down those levees, replacing them with a "flood diversion channel" which will fast track a flood past downtown Fort Worth where it will then get slowed down by a forest of what are known as J.D. Granger's Magic Trees.

Should not those Magic Trees already be planted, so that they may be well established if that flood diversion channel ever actually gets dug and shoots a volume of water at high speed towards Arlington?

How many millions would it take for the Army Corps of Engineers to fix Lake Lewisville Dam before a disaster strikes?

How many million has the Army Corps of Engineers already wasted on America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Two comments from Mr. Basham's Facebook post I thought worth repeating....

Tony Pompa: If the possibility of a 65' wall of water traveling at 34 MPH right through the heart of Dallas does not get their attention, then I don't know what would! This should be fixed, like yesterday!

Mr. Spiffy: Very frightening. But on the upside we have a new kinetic sculpture in Fort Worth that cost several hundred thousand and millions of taxpayer dollars spent on fun parties and cool marketing campaigns. Meanwhile they have tarp and duct tape holding back a wall of death.

The kinetic sculpture to which Mr. Spiffy refers is that which I blogged about in America's Biggest Boondoggle's Million Dollar Wind Roundabout Ridiculousness.

Near as I can from what I have read, regarding the reaction to Fort Worth's newest sculpture, "disgust" seems to be the thought most frequently expressed in various ways. As in a disgusting waste of money for something that looks like the ruins of a water tower or a garbage can. And which is designed to be a big shiny object casting random bolts of reflected light at driver's trying to navigate around a big roundabout.

Fort Worth's #1 Boondoggle's absurdities are pretty much hopeless at this point. Apparently there are no adults in the room to intervene with the foolishness.

One would have thought that the fact that The Boondoggle's first completed project, Cowtown Wakepark, has been flooded multiple times, shut down, gone out of business, that this first project of something that touts itself as a flood control project, would see its first project destroyed by floods, that whis would cause some sort of backlash where people come to the realization that what used to be known as the Trinity River Vision is now an embarrassing boondoggle.

Why would The Boondoggle dig a wakepark pond where it would get flooded every time the Trinity goes into flood mode? I remember when I first saw Cowtown Wakepark thinking won't there be a lot of damage when the river floods? It seemed sort of obvious.

And I can't be the only one who wonders what calamity will ensue the first time the Trinity floods into that flood diversion channel if it ever gets dug.....

Saturday, December 12, 2015

East Fort Worth's Boy Scout Troop Restoration Of Harrison Cemetery

Way back in August of 2013 I blogged about an abandoned cemetery in East Fort Worth.

At that point in time the cemetery was an overgrown jungle, yet it had a Texas State Historical Marker near the side of the road, which is what caused me to stop to see what was being marked.

When I read the historical marker I was surprised to learn this overgrown cemetery was the final resting place for a local notable, J.C. Randol, he of Randol Mill fame.

Anyone who drives anywhere in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone has found oneself driving on Randol Mill Road at some point in time. For me it is pretty much anytime I drive anywhere.

A couple days ago someone named Anonymous commented on that blog post from way back in 2013.....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Today I Found East Fort Worth's Abandoned Harrison Cemetery":

A local Boy Scout troop cleaned the cemetery in 2014 and again in October 2015. You might want to drop by again...

I did as Anonymous suggested and dropped by the Harrison Cemetery again.


That Boy Scout Troop deserves a medal or two or some special accolade.

Harrison Cemetery has been restored. That is how I found, above, the obelisk marking the grave of J.C. Randol.

Below is the aforementioned Texas State Historical Marker. Now you can see the cemetery behind it. Go to the original Today I Found East Fort Worth's Abandoned Harrison Cemetery blog post and see what this looked like two years ago.

What motivated this Boy Scout Troop to do this good deed? Methinks some sort of reward is warranted.

Did the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have an article about the restoration of this East Fort Worth cemetery? If not, why not?