Saturday, April 30, 2016

Spencer Jack's Dad Takes Me Across Two Of The World's Most Dangerous Bridges

A couple days ago Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, emailed me with the subject line asking the puzzling question "Washington Bridges Dangerous?"

Other than the subject line the only other item in the email was a link to a YouTube video which you can watch below.

This YouTube video purports to show you the Ten Most Dangerous Bridges in the World.


Two of these supposedly dangerous bridges are in my old home state. I've crossed both these bridges innumerable times, never realizing I was in extreme danger.

One of the dangerous bridges in Washington is that which you see above. The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. Also  known as the SR 520 Floating Bridge. Also known as the Albert D. Rosellini Floating Bridge.

This particular dangerous bridge is no longer dangerous due to the fact that it has been replaced by a much bigger floating bridge which opened to traffic a short time ago.

The video's narration describing why this particular floating bridge was dangerous seemed way off. As in not factual. This bridge lasted for over 50 years before needing to be replaced for a variety of reasons, mainly the need to be able to handle more traffic and light rail.

The second allegedly dangerous bridge, in Washington, is even more perplexing. That being the Deception Pass Bridge.

The Deception Pass Bridge was a short drive from my home location in the Skagit Valley. I have probably walked across this bridge more than any other bridge in the world.

Over the years a suicide jump from the bridge would make the news. But, there is no way the number of suicides is over 425.

The narrator of the video says the Deception Pass Bridge trembles scarily as vehicles pass over it, presenting a frightening experience to a person walking the narrow sidewalk on either side of the bridge deck.

I do not remember this bridge trembling.

I have blogged about Deception Pass and its Bridge several times on my Washington blog, including...

Deception Pass Bridge Connecting Whidbey Island with Fidalgo Island and July 31 Deception Pass Bridge 75th Anniversary Celebration Picnic and Deception Pass & the Washington State Parks.

And now the aforementioned YouTube video...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fort Worth Preserves Its Rich Heritage Unlike Any Other City In America

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

A little blurb of text with a link to a website which I think may be the web version of a magazine I have never seen, named, maybe, Fort Worth Texas.

Mr. Spiffy made a comment on this Facebook post, commenting, if I remember right, "That was interesting."

I do not know if Mr. Spiffy was referencing the Facebook blurb as being interesting or if he was referencing the magazine article titled Who Named Fort Worth?

Unlike Mr. Spiffy, I found neither the blurb on Facebook or the article to be interesting.

I found both to be goofy, with the Facebook blurb being of the sort I used to disdain in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, back when that newspaper was still full sized and I was still a subscriber.

My one longtime reader can likely tell what I found goofy in the Facebook blurb from the magazine article. The goofy Star-Telegram type hyperbolic nonsense shows up in the first sentence...

Fort Worth, unlike any other city in the nation, manages to preserve its rich heritage despite dramatic growth.

Unlike any other city in the nation? Fort Worth manages to preserve its rich heritage?

Well, I think I can make a case for that ridiculous claim being true.

Unlike any other city in America, Fort Worth is content to let a park in its downtown which was dedicated to celebrating Fort Worth's heritage, thusly named Heritage Park, be a blighted, cyclone fence surrounded, boarded up, eyesore for year after year after year.

It is highly unlikely any other major city in America would be so sloppy about preserving its heritage, as expressed in an extremely well-designed park, such as Heritage Park.

Way back late in the previous century, on my first exposure to downtown Fort Worth, I made note of a few things. One was being surprised by all the parking lots. I'd never seen a major city whose downtown real estate was so under developed that so many street level parking lots existed.

Two things impressed me, in a positive way, about downtown Fort Worth on that first visit. One was the Water Gardens at the south end of downtown. The other was at the north end of downtown.

Heritage Park.

Now a closed mess, because of how Fort Worth, unlike any other city in America, does not manage to preserve its rich heritage.....

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Have Fort Worth's Fosdick Waterfowl Joined Bedford's Ducks Of Death?

Yesterday when I blogged about Catching Fish While Picnicking In North Richland Hills Linda Spurlock Park I said no, that pond you are looking at is not Fosdick Lake in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park, but instead the pond was in North Richland Hills Linda Spurlock Park.

Today the pond you are looking at is not the one in Linda Spurlock Park, but is the pond known as Fosdick Lake in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park.

I was in the neighborhood due to the need to visit the Fort Worth Community Credit Union, so I thought, since I was in the vicinity, it was a good opportunity for what may be my last visit to this park for awhile.

Today marked my first shirtless hike of the new year. That is always a watershed event in any year. Due to the recent bouts of deluges we are experiencing a bit of increased humidity, hence the need for minimalist outer wear.

I saw no ducks or turtles today enjoying Fosdick Lake. This is very unusual.

Did the Fosdick Lake duck and turtle population read this week's Fort Worth Weekly Ducks of Death article and decide to leave town before a similar fate befalls them which befell their relatives living a few miles north and east in Bedford in the Bedford Boys Ranch Lake?

If not, where have all the Fosdick ducks and turtles gone?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Catching Fish While Picnicking In North Richland Hills Linda Spurlock Park

No, that is not Fosdick Lake in Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park you are looking at here.

I do not know what the name of the lake/pond is, but the park's name I do know.

Linda Spurlock Park in North Richland Hills, a prosperous suburb north and east of Fort Worth.

A prosperous suburb which is able to afford modern restroom facilities and running tap water in its public parks. Even in a small park, like this Linda Spurlock one.

The water in the Linda Spurlock Park pond is clear. Schools of fish visible swimming. Multiple fishermen and fisherboys angling their rods into the pond. No signs warn about consuming fish one might catch.

No visible stream of the creek sort feeds water to this little pond. No signage indicates the pond is regularly stocked, such as one sees posted at the fishing pond in Chisholm Park in Hurst.

North Richland Hills Linda Spurlock Park is an excellent example of what a city park should be. A pleasant location for a picnic, due to running water and those aforementioned modern restroom facilities.

On this particular day a large group was having themselves a mighty fine time centered in the covered picnic pavilion at the south end of the pond. Multiple barbecues were perfuming the air. An elaborate game had been set up which involved colored ping pong balls.

Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park, and other Fort Worth parks, could be rendered more appealing and likely more used if they were upgraded to modern standards.

And how about an effort to clean up Oakland Lake Park's Fosdick Lake so the fish one catches there are safely edible? How about emulating the Chisholm Park pond in Hurst? How hard would that be to do?

Very perplexing.....

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On The Tandy Hills Post BioBlitzkreig With Fort Worth Nuts Creeps & Reprobates

This last Tuesday of April of 2016 I was back on the Tandy Hills for what may be my last visit to Fort Worth's best natural area for awhile.

As you can see, the hills are alive with the spectacle of color, mostly green, with an eye pleasing spattering of wildflowers in a variety of colors.

A cloud covered the sky today, a strong wind blew, the air felt hot and humid, requiring minimal outer wear to facilitate a satisfactory comfort level.

For about a week, ending this past Saturday, the Tandy Hills have been teeming with an Army of BioBlitzers.

Today, in multiple locations, I came across the aftermath of the Tandy Hills being BioBlitzed.

Much of last week's BioBlitzing took place in post deluge conditions which rendered much of the Tandy Hills' trails wet and muddy. The BioBlitzkreig left its mark on the trails, an example of that is what you see above.

I am fairly certain that eventually the Tandy Hills Natural Area will revert back to it natural pre-BioBlitzkrieg state, with the rutted trails smoothed over by the passage of time and more rain. That may happen as soon as today.

A time or two over the years I have come upon a scene on the Tandy Hills which I assume is a homeless person's temporary residence. Some of these temporary residences have been quite elaborate campsite set ups. Others are more primitive, such as that which you see below.

A red blanket, with two candles in glass jars setting on the outer edges of the blanket. In the upper middle of the picture is a black backpack. The backpack appeared to be empty, but I did not pick it up for a close up forensic examination.

I had no clue as to what to make of that which you see below, found next to a trail, deep into the heart of the Tandy Hills.

Did someone haul this large chunk of sheet metal deep into the heart of the Tandy Hills? Or did someone find this somewhere off trail and hauled it a short distance to its current location? This is located very close to the Bamboo Tepee which was a Tandy Hills mystery for years, never solved, now long gone, with just slight remnants of bamboo remaining.

What is F W N C & R?

I am guessing F W is Fort Worth. Is N C & R, Nuts, Creeps & Reprobates? Making this chunk of sheet metal a production of the Fort Worth Nuts Creeps and Reprobates organization? I do not know who is currently the leader of the Fort Worth Nuts Creeps and Reprobates....

Monday, April 25, 2016

Is HUGE Hail On The Weather Menu For Tuesday In North Texas?

Worrisome weather prediction report for North Texas for Tuesday from my favorite Texas weatherman, via Facebook....

METEOROLOGIST NOTES - @710AM MON APR 25,2016 - Area: Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas - Timing: Tuesday, April 26th. THIS IS NOT AN NWS PRODUCT. Have been inundated with questions, comments, and concerns regarding the potential for severe storms on Tuesday through Wednesday across the Southern Plains. I have chosen to keep all client updates private at this time as the candid nature of those client-centric forecasts could be alarming to some across this region. That said, It is now time to begin lifting the veil and exposing our significant concerns across the Southern Plains on Tuesday Afternoon and especially evening. I will not go into great detail at this time in my notes but will rather save the details for outlooks later today and Tuesday morning. I will say the following however, there is a SIGNIFICANT CHANCE of EXTREME SEVERE WEATHER TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND TUESDAY NIGHT. This risk will be present along and West of a line from just South of Waco to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, to Oklahoma, to Central Kansas. Gigantic Hail (Softball Size), Large and Damaging Tornadoes, Damaging Straight Line Winds, and Flash Flooding is possible in this region. My greatest concern for Large Tornadoes actually exists AFTER DARK Tuesday from North Central Texas in Central Oklahoma. Nighttime tornadoes can be especially dangerous as they are much harder to spot. Also, an extremely moist airmass will make the Super-Cell storms, that will produce these tornadoes high-precipitation in nature. This will likely cause any tornadoes that do form to become quickly rain wrapped further obscuring the ability to spot these tornadoes without Doppler radar or power flashes (where damage is already occurring). Tuesday night could easily shape up to be a VERY DANGEROUS situation for people in or close to any storms that form. Earlier in the day on Tuesday from Mid-Afternoon through early evening my greatest concern for severe weather will be GIGANTIC HAIL to SOFTBALL SIZE. We will continue to monitor this very dangerous weather situation and issue updated forecasts and pass along watches and warnings as conditions warrant... - THIS IS NOT AN NWS PRODUCT. Meteorologist John Austin Basham Storm Spotter METOPS - FOR THE VERY LATEST JOIN THE SKYWARN TEXAS FACEBOOK GROUP...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Anonymous Leads Me To New Bridge Ornamentation Over A Swollen Trinity River

Yesterday, after a visit to Fort Worth's Gateway Park, I blogged about America's Biggest Boondoggle's odd signage which has spread like a virus throughout The Boondoggle's domain.

Someone named Anonymous read that blogging and made a comment which caused my curiosity to take me back to the Gateway Park zone today.

Following is the comment from Anonymous...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "America & Fort Worth's Biggest Boondoggle's Berserk Signage":

Taking a trip back to your former stomping grounds, did you notice the 1st St. bridge over a rather swollen Trinity River? Close enough to finished to have some strange ornamentation on each corner... 

Above you are looking at that to which Anonymous refers.

In that photo you are looking west across the nearly completed new 1st Street Bridge over the Trinity River, with what Anonymous refers to as "strange ornamentation" at the northeast corner of the bridge. Just as Anonymous indicated, one of these strange ornamentations is at each corner of the bridge.

I did not find this particular bridge ornamentation all that strange. I've seen far stranger things in Fort Worth. Such as America's Biggest Boondoggle's Million Dollar Wind Roundabout Ridiculousness.

In the above photo and the photo below you get a glimpse of the rather swollen Triniity River.

Above we are looking south at the old bridge the new bridge is replacing. And the aforementioned swollen Trinity River. I am fairly certain the old bridge will become part of the new paved trail from Gateway Park, connecting to Quanah Parker Park's trails and the east and west sides of Gateway Park's mountain bike trails, if those trails ever dry out.

This new bridge over the Trinity River was built in less than a year. This new bridge is part of a big upgrade to 1st Street and Randol Mill Road. Three bridges, in total, have now been completed, in less than a year, as part of this upgrade. All three of the bridges dealt with water issues during construction, with the bridge over the Trinity River being hit with more than one flood during construction.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Fort Worth, three simple little bridges are slowly being built over dry land with a four year construction timeline. I have not heard if America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges are back under construction after a design error caused a halt to construction last month.

I wonder if whoever it is who engineered the construction of this new bridge over the Trinity River could be hired to get The Boondoggle's three simple little bridges built a bit faster?

Let's change the subject from The Boondoggle back to the new bridge over the Trinity River.

In the above photo you are standing on the middle of the new bridge, looking east towards an empty landscape. Fort Worth has so much open space. This particular open space has been rendered a bit of an industrial wasteland, courtesy of disgraced Chesapeake Energy.

Slightly to the left of the middle of the photo notice that bump sticking up above the horizon? That is an old rusted out water tower. To the right of the middle of the photo notice the limbs of a dead tree. Blending into the limbs of the dead tree is the "strange ornamentation" we saw at the top.

Below is another look at the water tower and tree.

The above looks sort of scenic to me. Not the type of scene one expects to see in a crowded urban zone.

I will miss Gateway Park, the Tandy Hills, River Legacy Park, the Village Creek Natural Historical Area and Oakland Lake Park when they are no longer located in what Anonymous refers to as my stomping grounds.....

Saturday, April 23, 2016

America & Fort Worth's Biggest Boondoggle's Berserk Signage

I am almost 100% certain I am not the only person who has noticed the proliferation of signage, such as what you see here, and wondered what fresh tacky hell is this?

The Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision, also known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, has long loved spreading propaganda signage all over the area where The Boondoggle does its boondoggling.

Some of the signage has been of the "Trinity River Vision Underway" sort. I first saw those over a half decade ago, near where the now defunct Cowtown Wakepark sits.

Speaking of Cowtown Wakepark, way back when that easily predicted to fail operation opened, an earlier version of The Boondoggle's signage showed up along the Trinity Trail, informing trail users of the direction and distance to various features one might find along the trail.

Such as the Cowtown Wakepark.

I remember taking a picture of one of those signs and asking what happens with the signage after the easily predicted failure of the Cowtown Wakepark?

As in, does The Boondoggle come along with whiteout and strike out that Cowtown Wakepark element on the sign?

And then there was the follow-up iteration of The Boondoggle's signage, as in the thing you see above.

These signs, to me, look like someone's 1960s idea of something looking futuristic, like one might have seen at a World's Fair, way back then.

The signs are made of thick plastic. Is the design supposed to be some sort of abstraction of a flower opening?

Below is a new Boondoggle sign installation, not yet completed, which I saw yesterday in Gateway Park, near the new Observation Deck on the west side of the park.

How much has America's Biggest Boondoggle spent on all this ridiculous, tacky, cheap looking signage? Should not that information be available to the public? These signs may look cheap, but I suspect they are quite costly to produce.

What with each one needing to be a one of a kind type deal with the special info which that one sign needs to convey, such as we see on the sign at the top, pointing us to two parking lots, a dog park, soccer fields and that aforementioned observation deck.

I do not know how anyone could manage to find the parking lots, dog park, soccer fields or observation deck without this useful sign......

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Bearthday From The Tandy HIlls BioBlitz

A Happy Earth Day message from Don Young and the Tandy Hills....

Talk about Cosmic Convergence! 

On this day in 1960, the land now known as Tandy Hills Natural Area was purchased by the City of Fort Worth. That was exactly ten years to the day before Earth Day was founded in 1970. 

And on THIS day, today, the Tandy Hills BioBlitz is born. Starting at 6am and running until 6pm Saturday, Tandy Hills is truly a living laboratory. Stop by and see science and nature in action.

Read more about the Amazing convergence here:

Happy 54th bEarthday Tandy Hills

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Fort Worth Way vs. Adrian Murray vs. New Isis Theater vs. Heritage Park

I have had a lot aggravating me of late. Which has me tardy in verbalizing my aggravation about some aggravating aggravations.

I think it was the Friday before last Friday I was driving along listening to right wing radio, the Chris Salcedo Show on WBAP, to be precise, when I listened to Salcedo hear a man's aggravating tale of the City of Fort Worth being totally insensitive and ham handed in the way city officials dealt with the man in the aftermath of suffering one of the worst things that can happen to someone.

Having ones home seriously damaged by fire.

Later that day Elsie Hotpepper asked me if I'd heard about Adrian. I said I'd heard no news about Adrian. Elsie then told me Adrian's house caught fire and that I would not believe the stupid thing the city did to Adrian that has Adrian in full on attack mode.

I then realized it was Adrian I had listened to on the Chris Salcedo Show.

Adrian Murray is a well known Fort Worth businessman and politician. Adrian ran for the TRWD Board a couple election cycles ago. It was at that point in time I met Adrian Murray. He impressed me. Even though we differ extremely in the political viewpoint area.

You can read what the City of Fort Worth did to Adrian, which totally aggravated him, via the Star-Telegraph in The Fort Worth Way vs. Adrian Murray.

Fort Worth city officials quickly realized they did not want to tangle with the wrath of Adrian Murray. You can read about that in An Update from Adrian Murray.

Now, among the many reasons the bad behavior of Fort Worth city officials puzzled me is this. Within days of someone suffering their home being consumed by flames the City of Fort Worth sends a home owner an insensitive letter, threatening legal action and possible criminal charges if the home owner does not present the city, within a very short time frame, a plan for the repair of the damaged home.

Meanwhile, ever since I have been in Texas I have been appalled at an eyesore the City of Fort Worth allows to fester in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historical District.

That eyesore I refer to is the long abandoned, boarded up New Isis Theater.

I have blogged about this eyesore multiple times, with the most recent blogging Look Inside Fort Worth Stockyards Renovated New Isis Theater.

That photo you see at the top is a look inside the New Isis Theater.

Why has the city not issued the owner of this Isis mess an order to fix it or face criminal charges?

Has the City of Fort Worth sent a letter to the City of Fort Worth demanding that the city fix the boarded up eyesore known as Heritage Park, located at the north end of Fort Worth's downtown?

Why would the city so aggressively go after a homeowner fire victim whilst ignoring much more public, long standing rundown eyesores?

Like I said, aggravating. And appalling....

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Successful Quest To Find Ally Collins Memorial Plaque In Haltom City's Whites Branch Park

A couple days ago I blogged about A Flooded Walk In Modern, Progressive, Liberal Haltom City's Whites Branch Park.

A few minutes after I hit the publish button on that blogging, Haltom City's modern, progressive, liberal known as Elsie Hotpepper text messaged me something along the line of "You loomed in on uni-sex restroom signs, but ignored the Ally plaque?"

I replied, in my defense, that I did not realize Whites Branch Park was the location of Ally's Playground and the plaque dedicated to Ally's memory.

I told Elsie I would return soon and find that plaque.

Shortly before noon I found myself in the Haltom City Library, where the aforementioned Elsie Hotpepper texted me asking "Are you OK? And have you found that Ally plaque yet?

I texted back that I was not OK, that I was in the Haltom City Library, but would soon journey north in search of the elusive Ally plaque.

So, I headed north on Haltom Road til Haltom Road intersected with Western Center Boulevard. I took a right on Western Center Boulevard, assuming that it eventually turned into Wautaga Boulevard before turning into Mid-Cities Boulevard.

I assumed correctly. A short distance after turning on to Western Center Boulevard I saw the entry to Whites Branch Park.

I walked all over the playground, looking for the Ally Collins Memorial Plaque, to no avail. I walked all over the Splash Park, again to no avail.

I texted Elsie Hotpepper asking where exactly this Ally plaque was located. Elsie Hotpepper did not get back to me before I found the Ally plaque on my own.

My search originally did not succeed because I was looking for a big vertical plaque.

Instead the Ally Collins Memorial Plaque is about the size of an i-Pad, installed flush to the ground, at the northern edge of Ally's Playground.

Ally's Playground is quite well done, along with the Splash Park. I should have thought to take a picture of it, showing the plaque. I shall return, but not today.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Houston's Got A Water Problem While Seattle Swelters With Record Breaking Heat

Houston's got a problem.

Way too much water.

What would happen in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone if 14 inches fell in less than 24 hours?

What would happen if 14 inches fell in less than 24 hours if the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision ever becomes something someone can see?

With the myopic vision taking down the levees which have kept Fort Worth dry for over half a century? With the Boondoggle replacing the levees with a flood diversion channel handling that which the levees successfully kept in check.

Meanwhile, in other weather news, up north in my old home zone of Western Washington yesterday broke the temperature record for April 18.

89 degrees in Seattle.

Hotter than Honolulu, Phoenix, Miami, Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth.

89 degrees would have had the Puget Sound beaches swarming with people yesterday.

There are very few beaches to swarm to at my current location.

Today I found myself driving on Beach Street, first in Fort Worth, and then in Haltom City.

I have wondered previously, and wondered anew today, why is Beach Street so named? When there is no beach to be found?

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Flooded Walk In Modern, Progressive, Liberal Haltom City's Whites Branch Park

At noon I ventured out under a dangerous looking sky to head slightly north and west, on Watauga Boulevard, to progressive, liberal, modern Haltom City to Whites Branch Park where I soon found myself walking beside a flooding creek, the name of which I am not sure.

I am assuming Whites Branch is a branch of one of the Fossil Creeks, with ordinary Fossil Creek, or Big Fossil Creek or Little Fossil Creek.

I am likely confused regarding Haltom City's Fossil Creeks. I really would know nothing of these Haltom City creeks except for the fact that they are one of the main nemesis of Elsie Hotpepper.

Below is Whites Branch in flood mode. I was rather liking the sound of the water rushing, combined with birds tweeting, along with excess negative ions charging the air. I made a short video you can watch below, in which you can hear the water rushing and the birds tweeting but you won't get the negative ion experience.

Below is evidence that Haltom City is a modern, progressive, liberal American city, unlike the big city Haltom City borders.

Even though Whites Branch Park is a small park, it has modern restroom facilities, with running water, including drinking faucets, two of which you see here. Two more drinking faucets were located near the Whites Branch Park Picnic Pavilion.

A real pavilion, unlike the imaginary pavilion you can't find at a nearby town which also has an imaginary island.

As for Haltom City being a progressive, liberal, modern American town, let's zoom in for a closeup of evidence of that fact...

Uni-sex restroom facilities, with the same facility permitted to be used by a man, woman or person using a wheel chair. What a daring concept.

And now the aforementioned video....

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Deluge Floods North Texas Including Fossil Creek

A week ago I visited one of Elsie Hotpepper's most notorious nemesis, Fossil Creek, and blogged about the visit in Communing With Nature At North Richland Hills Fossil Creek Park.

At that point in time Fossil Creek was a peaceful stream of clear water flowing over precipices creating waterfalls and sounds of burbling water, with large fish visible gently staying stationary against the flow.

This Sunday morning, about the time dawn cracked, rain started to pour down in down pour mode, just as predicted. The downpour lasted for hours, finally ceasing mid-afternoon.

Prior to mid-afternoon I took off for a long drive in the downpouring thunderstorm.

My first port of call was the aforementioned Fossil Creek Park.

Last Monday below is what Fossil Creek looked like.

In the photo at the top I am parked on the bridge you see above, looking at the serene scene you see here, but in today's flood mode.

From Fossil Creek I headed north to Watauga, I saw a lot of flooding as I drove along. At some point after I arrived in Watauga, almost to ALDI, the aforementioned Elsie Hotpepper texted me. I texted back asking if Elsie knew if Miss Mary Not Contrary needed any help dealing with the incoming flood.

Elsie texted back that Mary had successfully moved her cows to high ground. I assume the goose and peacock can move themselves to high ground.

I think this current respite from rain is just the eye of the storm, with a lot more to come.

Will the Gateway Park mountain bike trails ever get out from under water? I hope so. I miss those trails.....

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Miss Martha Takes Us From Scenic Mosier Valley To Hurst's Chisholm Park Catching Catfish

Yesterday I blogged about fish in a blogging titled Seattle Salmon Infused With Cocaine & Antidepressants in which we learned some Puget Sound fish are currently contaminated with a lot of unseemly ingredients, rendering them unappetizing candidates for the barbecue grill.

Today Miss Martha brought about circumstances which led me and Big Ed to Arlington and then to the scenic Mosier Valley.

From the Mosier Valley we headed north, eventually ending up in the scenic town of Hurst and that town's scenic Chisholm Park.

Chisholm Park is a modern park with modern facilities, including modern restrooms with running water. And drinking faucets throughout the park. Another water feature is a large water park with multiple pools and water slides of various iterations.

The biggest water feature in Chisholm Park is a large pond which is stocked with fish  of the channel catfish and rainbow trout type.

Beginning the third week of April, every two weeks, the stocking of channel catfish takes place, all through summer and into fall.

Rainbow trout require cold water. So in Texas this means they can only survive in winter. Chisholm Park Pond trout stocking starts in December and continues every two weeks til March.

One can eat the fish one catches in Chishom Park without worrying about Puget Sound type contaminants, or worse, such as whatever it is that has signs warning one not to eat fish one catches in most Fort Worth bodies of water.

One thing perplexes me about Chishom Park. I have been perplexed by this perplexation previously and was freshly perplexed today. That what perplexed me is what you see below.

Chisholm Park has several of these type covered picnic pavilions which you see above. All of them are surrounded by trash cans anchored to the ground tilted towards the picnic pavilion.

Is this array of mortars positioned so as to easily facilitate the disposal of bones from barbecued meat products? I have no idea. All I know for sure is I have never seen anything like this in any other park I have visited anywhere.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Seattle Salmon Infused With Cocaine & Antidepressants

This which I saw on Facebook this morning definitely fits in the category of something I read about something in the Pacific Northwest which I would not be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something similar happening in the Fort Worth zone.

First off it is a long distance from Fort Worth to where there is any water in which salmon swim.

Let alone salmon contaminated with cocaine and antidepressants, and other things one does not want in ones fish.

The first two paragraphs from the Salmon Caught Near Seattle Are Full Of Cocaine And Antidepressants article.....

Things are not looking good in the Puget Sound.

Apparently, samples taken from the water showed high levels of Prozac, bug spray, cocaine, Zantac, ibuprofen and 77 other drugs. These drugs littered not only the water but also the tissue of juvenile chinook salmon.

In Fort Worth one is advised to be cautious about consuming fish one catches in Fort Worth's various bodies of water, such as the Trinity River and Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park.

But, I do not remember ever reading what it is that the Fort Worth fish have consumed which has contaminated them. Excess e.coli? Fertilizer chemicals? I have no idea.

The Seattle salmon samples were taken near water treatment discharge areas. The Puget Sound zone treats water to the tertiary level of water treatment. I think 'tertiary' is the correct term. Meaning the highest level of water treatment.

Methinks if cocaine, bug spray and other bad stuff is making it through the water getting treated, to the point of a high level showing up in young salmon, well, this is just disturbing, and tertiary is not a high enough level of water treatment...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

36 Hours Of BioBlitz Action At The Best Place To Stand In North Texas

I have been asked more than once by more than one person if there is going to be a Prairie Fest this year on the Tandy Hills. This morning in my incoming email I think I may have received an answer to that Prairie Fest question in a press release about the upcoming Earth Day weekend BioBlitz on the Tandy Hills.....

April 13, 2016
Contact: Don Young, President
Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area / 817-731-2787

36 Hours of Science in Action
at the “Best Place to Stand in North Texas”

Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area is the Host-Sponsor. Co-Sponsors are: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (Conservation License Plate Program), Texas Wesleyan University, Teaming with Wildlife: True to Texas, Texas Nature Trackers and Fort Worth Park & Recreation Department

Tandy Hills BioBlitz: Technology - Biology - Conservation - Community Engagement With help from nearly 40 of top scientists in Texas, the Tandy Hills BioBlitz will document all living species at the park over a continuous 36 hour time period. Specifically, scientists and naturalists will lead and supervise this photo documentation and data collection blitz. The results form a permanent and valuable snapshot of biological life at Tandy Hills. Community members and volunteers are invited to observe science in action and participate by making their own contributions via iNaturalist while exploring the urban prairie. A mini-festival (Saturday ONLY) will offer other activities including, wildflower walks, wild food hikes, solar telescope viewing and kite flying. Food & beverage available. Free & open to the public.

Friday, April 22, 2016 (Earth Day) 6:00 a.m. until, Saturday, April 23, 2016, 6:00 p.m. Saturday is public day with activities running from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Tandy Hills Natural Area, 3400 View Street, Fort Worth, TX 76103

BioBlitz data gathering is important to Tandy Hill’s conservation mission for two reasons. It motivates and engages community participation AND the resulting data serves as a permanent scientific record for current and future management of Tandy's natural resources. In other words, to "keep it like it was" we need to "know what it is."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Taking A Fort Worth Walk On Another New Gateway Park Boardwalk Overlook

This morning I had a need to be in the area near Gateway Park.

So, I took the opportunity, since I was in the neighborhood, to check out progress on the east side of the park. Specifically to see if the boardwalk replacement was finished at that location.

A week or so ago I visited the new replacement boardwalk on the west side of the park.

I am not 100% certain, but I believe these new boardwalks are a product of America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Well, I was pleased to see the new boardwalk is finished on the east side of the park. This is a HUGE improvement. I took a few photos, which you see here, and after the photos I inserted a YouTube video I made back on September 29, 2014 of the old boarded up boardwalk.

The above photo of the new boardwalk is taken from the paved trail that meanders along the Trinity River in Gateway Park.

In the above photo we have stepped onto the boardwalk and are looking at some informational signage describing the various flora one sees from this location.

I did not know what to make of the below feature.

The round thing looked like it was made to spin. So, I gave it a spin to find it making a noise. I think the sound was supposed to be the noise made by water rushing over rocks. Maybe.

The furthest reach of the boardwalk posed another mystery.

When I first saw that green little Martian like thing stuck to the railing I thought it must be a spotlight aimed at the river. On closer examination I discovered that round, white area at the center is a view finder one looks through. The Martian rotates, directing the view finder to different views. The mystery is there is no magnification, like one usually experiences with such things. So, I have no clue as to the purpose. A second Martian was attached to another section of railing at another section of the boardwalk.

Below is the view from the aforementioned mentioned Martian looking west, back towards the paved trail from whence we came.

And below is the aforementioned YouTube video in which you will walk on the now gone boarded up boardwalk, giving you an appreciation of what a HUGE improvement this new boardwalk is to Gateway Park.

Tootsie Tonasket Picketing Okanogan County Courthouse Seeking Justice

The lovely lady you see here is known by various names. Tootsie Tonasket. Aunt Alice. Alice Odella. And Alice Hudson.

On Monday Aunt Alice and family and friends ventured to Okanogan to stage a protest in front of the Okanogan County Courthouse.

I blogged about this this morning on my Washington blog in Wade Hudson Family & Friends Picket Okanogan Courthouse For Justice.

For those who do not not know what happened to Wade Hudson that is causing his family and friends to protest I will copy an explanatory paragraph from previous bloggings....

On Saturday, September 26, 2015 33 year old Wade Hudson was brutally beaten to death in Omak, Washington by police person Shane Schaefer. Wade was murdered because he had a series of epileptic seizures from which he had not fully recovered and was not able to respond to the demands of this very aggressive, abusive killer in uniform. There is a civil law suit filed by Wade's parents against this murderer and a congressman helping to ask for an independent investigation into this death. The Omak, WA police agency has done an internal investigation and found the killer not guilty of murder. The evidence and witnesses do not support their decision. Please help us, Wade's family send this evil cop to prison and get him off the streets before he kills more innocent citizens for being very ill and disabled.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why Does Fort Worth Not See Biggest Jump In Bus Riders Of Any U.S. City

Well, this which I saw this morning in the Seattle Times online certainly fits within our popular theme of things I read in west coast news sources online about something on the west coast that I would likely never see in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about a similar thing happening in Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth "T" bus system is a bit primitive. Long waits between buses. With the buses also being a bit primitive.

As in the Fort Worth buses provide a bit of a rough ride on the rough Fort Worth roads.

Even so, I really do not understand why more Fort Worthers do not ride the bus. It is fun. Like a ride in a crazy theme park.

Seattle has been adding new buses and bus lines of late. That and the Link Light Rail recently opened a new extension which extends light rail all the way to the University of Washington, via a tunnel dug under one of the Seattle Seven Hills. Capitol Hill? Queen Anne? I can never remember which Seattle hill is which.

Modern mass transit seems to be catching in the modern parts of America, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Dallas.

Below is a YouTube video I made eight years ago. In the video you will walk with me to Seattle's Westlake Center.

Westlake Center is one of downtown Seattle's square/plaza type venues.

We walk into the Westlake Center vertical mall, where the southern terminus of the Monorail is located, and then descend down several levels to the Seattle bus and light rail tunnel's Westlake Station. We'll get onboard a crowded Seattle bus. We will exit the bus in the cavernous Pioneer Square station and as we ascend to ground level you will see a line of buses coming into the station and leaving.

Now, would it not be a good thing to be able to access Fort Worth's bustling downtown in such a modern, efficient manner?        

Does A Tandy Hills BioBlitz Earth Day Weekend Come With No Prairie Fest?

I am more than a little tired. Have been up since before five. Have been having trouble sleeping.

But, enough about my litany of woe.

I needed to take care of something which could only be taken care of directly at the U.S. Post Office this morning.

I opted to use the Handley Post Office, which is the one I have been used to using for quite a few years.

But, it has been a couple years since I had the direct, in the Handley Post Office, experience.


Long line. One postal worker working slow. Real slow. She was working on one customer when I joined the line, eight people back. 37 minutes later the line finally moved. Eventually a second postal worker opened a second window. From that point the wait was not too much longer.

After finally getting my postal business taken care of, since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to drive to View Street, for a short jaunt on the Tandy Hills. I can't remember the last time I jaunted on the Tandy Hills, but it has been awhile.

Upon arrival I saw the sign you see above, advertising the upcoming Tandy Hills Natural Area BioBlitz on Earth Day, 6 a.m. Friday, April 22, til Saturday, April 23 at 6 p.m.

I have been asked by more than once by more than one person when this year's Prairie Fest was taking place. Additionally asking if I'd noticed any promoting of the 2016 Prairie Fest.


This Earth Day weekend is the usual time the Prairie Fest takes place.

I do not know what has become of the Prairie Fest. I've heard nothing. I suspect it has been replaced by this BioBlitz event.

I usually check out the Prairie Fest each year. I don't know if I will be checking out this BioBlitz deal. Pretty much ever time I've gotten blitzed the next morning I wake up with a splitting headache. I do not like waking up with a splitting headache....

Monday, April 11, 2016

Communing With Nature At North Richland Hills Fossil Creek Park

Today during my daily nature commune I discovered the best North Richland Hills park yet.

Fossil Creek Park.

Located a short distance south and west of Linda Spurlock Park at which I parked and walked a couple days ago.

Fossil Creek Park is so named because Fossil Creek runs through it. As you can see this park is wooded and scenic. With a waterfall or two.

An unpaved trail meanders along the creek's edge, at times right at the edge of a steep drop off.

The trail looks down upon what appear to be deep, swimmable pools, once of which had a school of fish holding steady against the current. I am guessing these fish were bass. I assume they are edible bass due to the fact that the water appeared to be clear.

I don't remember if it is Fossil Creek, or Little Fossil Creek, or both, which are the evil nemesis of Elsie Hotpepper.

Walking along Fossil Creek it was easy to see how high this creek's water reached in flood mode, due to the evidence of litter deposited high up on trees along the creek's bank.

Above you are looking south at the Onyx Drive South Bridge over Fossil Creek. Due west of that bridge is the entry to, and parking lot for Fossil Creek Park.

The City of Richland Hills Park Department's website's description of Fossil Creek Park described it as being as if one has left a densely populated urban zone to suddenly find oneself in the wilderness.

I am recalling that description from memory, but I believe I got the drift of it fairly accurately.

Because walking along Fossil Creek, hearing birds tweeting, the noise of falling water, the lush forest of trees, well, it was a good commune with nature today.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Apparently Dallas Is Walkable While Fort Worth Is Fratty With ZBonz

On Friday I blogged about being impressed with what I saw whilst walking the Bear Creek Trail in Keller, Texas.

Soon thereafter someone calling him or herself Anonymous commented with three interesting links...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Still In Texas Walking Keller's Bear Creek Trail Finding A Castle, Palace & Sphinx": 

Fort Worth's newest park ZBonz opened earlier today.

Something to Bark About

Here are the 10 most walkable neighborhoods in Texas and none are in Fort Worth. Every big city in Texas is represented save for one, Cowtown.

The 10 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Texas

Fort Worth does, however, have the frattiest college in Texas and the 4th frattiest in the nation. That school is Texas Christian University or TCU as some call it. Frattiest schools have the highest percentage of male students involved in social fraternities. SMU in Dallas is rated as the 8th frattiest school and is the only other Texas school in the top ten.

The Frattiest Colleges in America

So, what I am thinking, after reading this, is that Fort Worth has two things to bark about. One being a new dog park, and the other bark worthy thing being having the 4th Frattiest college in America.

In the article about the new Fort Worth dog park I read....

Fort Worth residents and their canine companions have been eagerly awaiting the completion of ZBonz, a new dog park located at 6950 W. Camp Bowie Blvd., and on April 9, that wait will finally be over.

Well. I am sort of a Fort Worth resident, though currently in North Richland Hills. I have not been eagerly awaiting the completion of the ZBonz Dog Park. I knew nothing about it til today.

I am not sure I know what a Fratty school is. Is this a good thing? Or bad? Since Fort Worth ranks so high, I'm guessing it is the former. Is J.D. Granger a TCU product?

As for Fort Worth walkability, two paragraphs from that article...

According to our calculations based on Walk Score data, Dallas is the big winner when it comes to walkability. Not only did Downtown Dallas nab our number one spot for the most walkable neighborhood in the state with an 89 out of 100 Walk Score, but Dallas also tied for the most neighborhoods to make the top 10 list, with a total of three neighborhoods. Austin came in a close second place to Dallas, with three neighborhoods in the top 10 list, including the number two and three slots.

Which cities didn’t fare so well? Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, which made the bottom slots of our list, and Fort Worth, which didn’t make an appearance at all.

Downtown Dallas is the most walkable neighborhood in Texas?


I have walked all over downtown Dallas. And downtown Fort Worth. I find neither all that great a walking experience, but I would have to pick Fort Worth's downtown as the more walkable. Did Fort Worth lose points because of that shameful Heritage Park eyesore blighting the north end of its downtown?

Much of Fort Worth lacks sidewalks. But the downtown area has wide sidewalks on many of the streets. Walking from one end of downtown to the other is easy. The traffic is light, there are few people. Walking around downtown Dallas is a bit more challenging.

How did Dallas rank top in Texas? This makes no sense to me. Downtown San Antonio seems very walkable to me. And more interesting than downtown Dallas.

Now that you have me thinking about it, downtown Dallas does have a lot of attractions. Is Deep Ellum considered part of downtown? How about the Dallas Farmers Market? Downtown Dallas has a department store or two. Neiman Marcus comes to mind. Downtown Fort Worth is sadly lacking in the department store department.

Anyway, these type lists are usually a bit silly. This one seems to be a bit sillier than most...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Modern Capp Smith Park In Wautauga Texas With Passive Muscovy Ducks

In years gone by my Saturday norm was to hike the Tandy Hills, or bike Gateway Park, and then go to Town Talk.

But, the passage of time changes what one does on any given day of the week That and location plays a factor.

Currently my location is in North Richland Hills.

So, on this 2nd Saturday of April I stopped at the close by, biggest I have ever seen, Super Walmart to get myself some earplugs. I had trouble finding that which I was looking for and so resorted to asking one of the Walmart guides. I asked the Walmart guide if this was the biggest Walmart in the world. She indicated it is one of the biggest. It seems about double the size of the Eastchase Super Walmart I have been used to frequenting.

After finishing with the Walmarting I headed west to what is known as the Denton Highway, then headed north to what is known as the town of Wautauga to take a walk around Capp Smith Park.

In the first photo you are looking at something, again, that one rarely finds in a Fort Worth park.

Modern restroom facilities, with running water, including a drinking fountain.

I could not figure out what danger was presented by going beyond the point of this warning sign.

Capp Smith Park has a water feature created by a dam at the south end of the park, damming up a little creek. Fish swim in the pond that the dam created. I saw some guys fishing. I saw no signs warning fish catchers not to eat the fish they catch.

Capp Smith has a variety of features, such as this sun shaded amphitheater type area you see on the right. There are exercise stations located along the paved trail which makes a circle around the dammed pond.

And there is yet another modern restroom facility with running water at this relatively small park in Wautauga, Texas. The restroom facility you see below is at the south end of the park, which would make that first restroom facility we saw located at the north end.

A couple days ago when I found a modern restroom facility in the relatively small North Richland Hills Linda Spurlock Park I opined that maybe Fort Worth should send out a task force to find out how these small towns manage such modernity. Now add Wautauga to the towns the task force should visit.

Continuing on, I came to the scene below

Three guys taking turns taking pictures of themselves with a flock of Muscovy Ducks who seemed impervious to the intrusion. When the guy on the left saw I was taking a picture he got all apologetic and quickly moved away from the ducks. I said, no, I wanted you in the picture.

I then walked down the slope to the guys and the ducks. They said they'd been there about 15 minutes, with the ducks just sitting there, acting all nonchalant, instead of skittish, which is the duck norm.

I don't remember when last, before today, I'd been to Capp Smith Park. This used to be one of my roller blading destinations. My last time at this park may have been the time I tried to teach Gar the Texan how to roller blade.

Teaching Gar the Texan how to roller blade did not go well. He wobbled about 200 feet, then plopped down on a bench with a couple old ladies. Gar the Texan did not think he could do any more rolling. And so the attempt to teach Gar the Texan how to roll was ended.

We then went to a nearby Chili's bar, which presented a much more familiar type activity for Gar the Texan. Soon he found himself embroiled in a domestic dispute which was being disputed on adjacent bar stools.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Still In Texas Walking Keller's Bear Creek Trail Finding A Castle, Palace & Sphinx

I needed to ship something to someone from a UPS Store today. Looking for UPS Store locations I saw one in Keller near the Bear Creek Park trailway.

So, it was to Keller a package or two and I went.

When I lived in Haslet, a short distance to the west, I frequented this park frequently, usually to roller blade. This was the location where I learned to roller blade. Walking a couple miles of this paved trail today it sort of surprised me to realize I used to roller blade this narrow, somewhat hilly, curvy, busy trail.

Bear Creek Park has been greatly upgraded since I last walked this part of the planet. A large part of the park is currently closed due to even more renovations.

One of the new additions is what you see above. Soon I came upon two more of this type thing.

All together three of the coolest things I have come upon in a long while. The person walking with me wondered how much these clever abstract sculptures cost, what with Fort Worth spending about a million bucks on a piece of kinetic art which has moved few. The person walking with me opined that if that piece of junk in Fort Worth is worth a million these Keller works of public art must have cost several million.

Next to each of these works of abstract art is an explanation of what you are looking at. The one you are looking at here is inspired by a medieval castle built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria in honor of opera composer Richard Wagner

King Ludwig's castle was the inspiration for Disneyland's Magic Kingdom castle.

To see King Ludwig's castle, as envisioned by the clever abstract sculptor, you had to look through the viewing portal which directed you to look at the metal in a way which pulled all the pieces together into a recognizable image.

My favorite of the three is the one below. Can you guess what the twisted gold metal turns into when you look through the clarifying viewing portal?

The face of the Egyptian Pharoh Khafra, also known as the Sphinx.

The Sphinx was my favorite because it was the most difficult to see. In all three you had to move your focus around as you looked through the viewing portal til you eventually find the sweet spot which makes the vision clear. With the Sphinx I thought it to be amazing how all those chunks of metal could come together like this and looked solid, with shading and color tone changes, giving it a three dimensional look.

The third piece of abstract sculpture was inspired by Russian bad boy, Ivan the Terrble (Tsar Ivan IV).

Ivan got his terrible reputation by doing things like blinding the architect who designed this palace so that he could never create anything so beautiful again. Ivan the Terrible had this palace built to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhav.

The reason the above was my least favorite of the three was only due to the fact that it took no effort to see the random chunks of metal looking like what you see above. The Sphinx took a bit of effort.

Anyway, quite impressed with Keller today. That town has really grown since I first came to town late in the last century.

Below is a YouTube video I made when I came upon the first of today's works of public art...