Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Best Of Times The Worst Of Times Til The End Of 2017

I think it would be Charles Dickens I would be stealing from when I say for me 2017 was the worst of times, and the best of times.

Great Sadness. Great Happiness.

2017 was the first time since 2001 that I drove solo on a long roadtrip. In 2001 it was a July drive back to Washington, to surprise my mom and dad at their 50th wedding anniversary party, with that party taking place on August 11, that being the first Saturday since mom and dad's actual anniversary date of August 6.

On August 11 of 2017 I found myself at Birch Bay where at some point in the night I found myself blowing out a birthday candle.  The next day, August 12, my brother Jake, sister Michele, sister-in-law Kristin, and nephews Jason, David and Theo and niece Ruby, uncle Mooch, aunt Jane, aunt Judy and others, arrived at Lynden where we buried my dad.

That solo roadtrip in 2017 began June 7 with the final destination being Sun Lakes, Arizona. The first night I stayed in Albuquerque. The next day my vehicle suddenly came to a halt 10 miles east of Flagstaff. This turned into a few traumatic hours. I was rescued by more than one angel. By five I was back on the road, and a couple hours later finally able to relax at my brother's condo in Scottsdale.

I remained in the Phoenix zone until June 24. Suffice to say that stay in Arizona was an emotional roller coaster which I don't think I want to detail. I left Sun Lakes early Saturday, June 24, taking the south route back to Texas, the route which passes through El Paso. I drove over 800 miles that day, finally stopping about an hour before midnight. I slept for a couple hours then drove the final couple hundred miles back to Wichita Falls.

Five days later I got the message that dad was at peace.

I am so glad I took that roadtrip to Arizona last summer. To not have done so, well, that would not have been good.

Then August 8 I flew up to Washington for the first time since July of 2008.

A few minutes after landing at Sea-Tac I met David, Theo and Ruby for the first time.

David, Theo and Ruby are one of the parts of 2017, which were the best of times.

Long ago, via nephews Jason, Joey, Christopher and Jeremy I learned I liked being an uncle. But, I thought those years had long passed, for me, til last summer, when I found myself having the most uncle fun I have had in many years.

Riding bikes, wave pooling, pedi-cabbing, blackberry picking, dungeness crab chasing, avoiding arrest for illegal pull tabbing.

And building sand castles at Birch Bay.

Along with swimming in the warm water of Birch Bay, which the fates favored us our first day there with a low tide rolling in, soon upon our arrival, with the sun heated sand heating up the incoming tide.

David, Theo and Ruby's mom, my little sister Michele, never played in Birch Bay when she was a kid, like her older siblings did. So, Michele did not know the water is not deep. Ruby did not make it out too far, but David, Theo and I got far enough out that the parental units on shore were hollering that we were in too deep. We three dipped low in the water to maintain the illusion of being in real deep water. And then after a few more minutes of hollering we stood up to show those on shore that the water was not dangerously deep. We found this amusing at the time.

Two days later Theo and I were out a couple hundred feet from shore, wading, when we came upon a dungeness crab. Theo and I then chased the crab, and got chased by it. Theo was so funny. Meanwhile David was stuck on a sandbar wanting to be rescued from what he thought must be a herd of invading crabs. Eventually uncle Jake made it out to where Theo and I were crab chasing. Jake reached down and picked up the crab. Theo's reaction to this was what the word "priceless" was invented for.

So, 2017 was a year of ups and downs. In multiple ways. Back in June I returned to bike riding. Two weeks ago today my bike was stolen.

In another type of down, for the first time in several years I start the new year with my weight well under 200 pounds.

It was that week in Washington, followed by a week in Arizona last summer which got me on an effortless track of shrinking. In Washington I got inspired by Kristin to expand my salad making repertoire when I watched Kristin make tabouli salad. Then in Arizona my sister Jackie made a corn salad which was so good. When I got back to Texas I started making variations of both salad inspirations, along with others. Extremely nutritious, low calorie, filling and pounds melted off effortlessly. That shrinkage was not intended, just an unexpected benefit.

Anyway, Happy New Year, well, I hope 2018 is a Happy New Year....

Too Cold To Celebrate New Year's Eve At Fort Worth's Sundance Square

Baby, it's cold outside.

Still 24 degrees at my Wichita Falls, North Texas location. But, I think my phone based temperature monitoring is stuck at 24 degrees, which is the temperature the phone has been claiming ever since the sun arrived this morning.

As you can see, via the screen cap, Fort Worth has cancelled its downtown New Year's Eve celebration.

What I found interesting about this headline in the Star-Telegram was that this was the second time in the past couple days I have seen Sundance Square Plaza sponsored by Nissan referred to simply as Sundance Square.

Does this mean that Fort Worth has finally dropped the goofily stupid practice, which has plagued the town for decades, of referring to its downtown as Sundance Square? Where for decades the town confused its few out of town tourists because there was no square in Sundance Square, til a few years ago a couple parking lots were turned into an actual square, then named Sundance Square Plaza, while the rest of the downtown was still referred to as Sundance Square.

Is there an outbreak of common sense breaking out in Fort Worth? Soon to be followed by pulling the plug on America's Biggest Boondoggle? Leaving those pitiful bridge V-piers as monuments to hubris and civic incompetence?

Changing the subject back to the big chill chilling downtown Fort Worth's Sundance Square celebration. Checking temperatures in other towns I see New York City will be around 15 degrees at midnight. I doubt the party at Times Square has been cancelled.

I see Seattle is supposed to be about one degree above freezing up in the relatively balmy Pacific Northwest. I imagine tonight's New Year's Eve celebration at the Seattle Center will go on as planned, with fireworks shooting off the Space Needle.

Sort of ironically the best New Year's Eve celebration I have ever been to was in downtown Fort Worth, at that turn of the century New Year's Eve. That night downtown Fort Worth was packed with people. I remember the countdown to midnight was projected on one of Fort Worth's few tall buildings, with fireworks erupting spectacularly.

Back then, when 1999 became 2000, it was so easy to go to downtown Fort Worth. There were huge parking lots, free to park at, and the world's shortest subway to take you from those parking lots to the heart of downtown Fort Worth.

All that which made visiting downtown Fort Worth easy to do was lost when eminent domain was abused to take property so Radio Shack could build a corporate headquarters it could not afford. When the City of Fort Worth allowed this to happen may have been the moment when I realized something was dire wrong with that town, with that realization re-realized over and over and over again in the years which followed.

Years later what remains of those parking lots is now part of the location where America's Biggest Boondoggle has its Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats. The subway's maintenance shop has been turned into a Trinity River Vision Beer Hall called The Shack. The subway stations have been turned into stages, you know, you know, for those music events hosted by America's Biggest Boondoggle in what we learned earlier today is the first music-friendly community in Texas.

Anyway, hope y'all have a safe and warm New Year's Eve...

Fort Worth Has Finally Formally Recognized The Town's Toadies

Yesterday I received a message from Elsie Hotpepper telling me that the Star-Telegram is doing it again, with a link to that which the Star-Telegram had done again, which took me to an article titled How’s this for music-friendly? City to declare ‘Toadies Day’ in Fort Worth.

Elsie's phrase "doing it again" refers to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's tendency towards spewing embarrassing propaganda, touting something as being something special, when, well, it's not all that special.

Prior to Miss Hotpepper pointing me to it I had seen the headline for this article and had not bothered to read it. I remember thinking the headline seemed odd, as in the headline was asking how's this for music friendly. With, apparently, that music-friendliness being that Fort Worth had declared a special day for something called Toadies.

The article was short. I will copy the How’s this for music-friendly? City to declare ‘Toadies Day’ in Fort Worth article in its entirety...

The holiday season just got a little bit bigger around here.

Right smack in between Christmas and New Years, Fort Worth will now be celebrating ... Toadies Day.

The City of Fort Worth will formally recognize the Toadies’ contribution to the local music scene Saturday before the band’s show at Billy Bob’s Texas.

The certificate of recognition says, “in appreciation for their contributions to our local music culture,” according to the copy obtained by the Star-Telegram.

Fort Worth’s recognition of the Toadies’ contribution to music in North Texas comes on the heels of the city being designated in October as the first “music friendly community” in Texas by the Texas Music Office, a division of the office of Governor Greg Abbott.

So, because Fort Worth is celebrating Toadies Day the holiday season got a little bit bigger? Apparently the City of Fort Worth gives formal recognition to entities like Toadies.

Formal recognition?

Wouldn't informal recognition be sufficient for something so seemingly insignificant?

The Star-Telegram, in yet one more sterling example of the intrepid investigative journalism which that newspaper is not noted for, managed to obtain a copy of the Toadies Certificate of Recognition, which is what you see above. On that certificate, it being such an important document, Fort Worth's mayor, Betsy Price, and all the city's city council members, signed the certificate.

That last paragraph is puzzling. This recognition of the Toadies' came on the heels of the city being designated as the first music-friendly community in Texas?

The Toadie recognition came on the heels of something else? Heels?

Fort Worth is the first music-friendly community in Texas?

Did Austin secede from the state?

On Facebook, in response to this article, multiple people were puzzled. One person opined that Fort Worth is sadly lacking in music venues, with that person listing Billy Bob's, the Convention Center, Bass Hall and Panther Island as the town's only music venues.

The imaginary island as a music venue? That's just sad. I wonder if the Toadies have appeared at Panther Island, singing to all the floaters enjoying rocking the river...

White Wichita Falls New Year's Eve

What you see here is what I saw this morning when I opened the window blinds and looked north.

Overnight on this last day of 2017 the outer world at my location has been rendered white.

White and cold, extremely cold, as in 24 degrees cold, with a brisk wind causing that 24 degrees to feel colder, and with the temperature predicted to get colder as this last day of the year winds down, heading to a super chilly 12 degrees tonight.

The ground is white, the sky is gray, covered with what look like snow clouds.

I had planned on going mountain climbing today, hiking to the summit of Mount Wichita. That won't be happening. I can not yet tell if the roads are in a slippery state. Not much traffic, near as I can tell. I may venture out in it, later, maybe...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Propaganda Partners

A couple days ago, after reading yet one more bizarre instance of Fort Worth Star-Telegram irresponsible misinformation propaganda I blogged about the ridiculousness in America's Biggest Boondoggle Roars Into 2018 With Fort Worth Cultural Significance.

This particular instance of Star-Telegram journalistic malpractice has received a lot of criticism.  My blog post about that bizarre article has had thousands of page views, the majority those viewing that page have been looking from outside Texas, according to the Google stats.

Whoever is responsible for the nonsense, which the Star-Telegram spews, needs to understand something.

If the Star-Telegram thinks it is creating a "positive" image of Fort Worth by spinning such nonsense, the reality is the actual result is thousands of people, via various sources, get the real story of what a backwards backwater Fort Worth actually is, with the town's pitiful newspaper of record being a sad metaphor for that backwards backwater reality.

Yesterday one of the victims of the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle Facebook messaged me with a link to a page on the Trinity River Vision's website. That is a screen cap of the webpage link above. In the Trinity River Vision website's "In The News" section the "STAR-TELEGRAM: $55 million Panther Island community taking shape in Fort Worth" propaganda article is repeated, with a link to the original article in the Star-Telegram.

The Trinity River Vision's offices are on the ground floor of the Star-Telegram building. In that location you can see an incredible array of propaganda, including a giant model of what America's Biggest Boondoggle purports to someday be, after who knows how many more decades of boondoggling.

So, is the Star-Telegram some sort of partner of the Trinity River Vision? Shouldn't the Star-Telegram include some sort of disclaimer anytime that pitiful newspaper prints one of its Trinity River Vision propaganda pieces?

Or was this embarrassingly blatant propaganda piece actually written by a Trinity River Vision lackey? It is well known that among the many dollars wasted by America's Biggest Boondoggle many dollars are spent on "marketing" the various versions of the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, via propaganda means such as slick quarterly "newsletters" full of information about what little has been accomplished in the three months since the previous quarterly mailer was mailed.

I remember years ago when one of those quarterly Trinity River Vision embarrassments arrived in my mailbox touting, among whatever else was being misrepresented at that point in time, an exciting announcement about the opening of the Cowtown Wakepark, bringing the coveted sport of wakeboarding to an urban environment. J.D. Granger was quite pleased with this now long gone out of business early indicator of the boondoggle in the making.

So, really, how did that ridiculous propaganda article about all the Panther Island wonders to arrive in 2018 come to be in the Star-Telegram? Did the Trinity River Vision pay for this "article" which amounted to being an advertisement?

Regarding that article there were a couple items I forgot to make note of. One is in the following paragraph...

While land was being purchased and buildings demolished to make way for the $910 million flood control and economic development project, sometimes it was hard to imagine if it would ever be built — much less what it might look like. That won’t be a problem in 2018.

"While land was being purchased and buildings demolished"? Property was taken, years ago, via the blatant abuse of eminent domain. Under the pretext that this "public works" project was for the public good. However, this public works project has never been approved by the public. And if this property was needed for the "public" good, then why has this supposedly vitally needed economic and flood control development been developed at a snail's pace, relying on federal welfare to pay for it?

And some of those people who had their property stolen saw their property bulldozed before the property owner had had their case heard in a non-corrupt, out of Fort Worth court.

And then there is a gem from another paragraph which has bugged me every time I've seen it...

When it is completed, it will create an 800-acre island on the north side that includes an urban lake.

Includes an "urban lake'? Any lake inside a city's limits is an urban lake. Definitely not a rural lake. Why is this "urban" qualifier used to describe this lake? And that's another thing. This is not a lake. Large pond would be more accurate. Basically, according to renderings of what this vitally needed economic development might look like, the "urban lake" looks more like a wide section of the river. And the size of this pond has changed as the years of this century have passed. I think the most recent size I have seen of this "urban lake" is 12 acres. You are not going to be floating a lot of boats on 12 acres of polluted water.

Urban lake. The nonsense never ends. So perplexing...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Freezing Heading To 10 Degrees New Year's Eve

Baby, it's cold outside, and gonna get colder.

10 miserable cold degrees, three days hence, on New Year's Eve.

10 degrees along with frozen precipitation predicted, with the form of precipitation still up in the air, literally, predicted to possibly be sleet or snow or both.

Or worse.

I am okay with 10 degrees and either sleet or snow or both, but I am not okay with a possible Ice Storm. I have learned to have a strong aversion to Ice Storms.

Yesterday was the day of my monthly return to the D/FW zone. This was the coldest return yet. And the first time I have seen the temperature monitoring device in my vehicle add the words ICE after the temperature number was displayed. The ICE info seemed a bit redundant, what with it following the number "28".

Due to fear of exposure to a variety of possible viruses I cancelled yesterday's lunch with that current smorgasbord of sickness, Elsie Hotpepper.

During this time of year, when so many people are coughing and sneezing, I tend to avoid close contact, as much as possible. And try to have zero contact with anyone who has been exposed to multiple of those walking petri dishes known as children.

With these cautionary measures I have avoided catching a cold, or the flu, for years. I probably should find some wood to knock on...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

America's Biggest Boondoggle Roars Into 2018 With Fort Worth Cultural Significance

Apparently the content determinators determining what gets printed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have decided to end 2017 with a flourish of ridiculous propaganda touting that which is in dire need of honest criticism, not dishonest propaganda.

Hence today's $55 million Panther Island community taking shape in Fort Worth article.

I saw the headline and thought is this going to be yet one more much ado about nothing regarding a developer allegedly getting ready to develop a small apartment complex in the industrial wasteland known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District, more commonly known as America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Yes, that is what it turned out to be. We have been reading about this groundbreaking development since way back years ago when the Star-Telegram celebrated with a TNT explosion the start of construction of three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

That TNT explosion was way back in 2014, with, at the time, it being claimed these three simple bridges would take an astonishing four years to build. And now, almost four years later, still no bridges. And the Star-Telegram has had zero investigative articles looking into what the problem is with the bridges.

However, without mention being made of the astonishing long timeline of this ineptly implemented project, this latest Star-Telegram article about America's Biggest Boondoggle does make reference to these bridges, such as the photo and caption below.

What big news! Years after the TNT explosion celebrating the start of construction, last August concrete was poured for the first V-shaped bridge beam.

And now today's breathless article about all that is going to be happening with America's Biggest Boondoggle in 2018, including the $55 million apartment community referenced in the headline.

I saw that $55 million figure and thought of that Austin Powers movie where he comes back to criminal life after decades of hibernating and issues a ransom demand of "One Million Dollars", said as if this was a HUGE figure, to the bemused reaction of those to whom Austin made the demand.

Let's look at some choice bits of propaganda nonsense from this $55 million Panther Island community taking shape in Fort Worth Star-Telegram shamelessness...

The first three paragraphs---

For years, it seemed as if the Panther Island project was going nowhere.

While land was being purchased and buildings demolished to make way for the $910 million flood control and economic development project, sometimes it was hard to imagine if it would ever be built — much less what it might look like. That won’t be a problem in 2018.

Work on all three of the project’s landmark bridges — White Settlement Road and Henderson Street and North Main Street — will pick up speed. On the White Settlement bridge, workers will complete pouring concrete in its eight signature v-piers and begin erecting the rest of the superstructure.

So, it is not going to be a problem next year, in 2018, to imagine what America's Biggest Boondoggle is going to look like, and wondering if anything would ever actually get built will cease to be anything anyone wonders about, because work on the project's three bridges, construction of which began in 2014, with that four year project timeline, will pick up speed, not be completed, mind you, but will pick up speed. And one of those pitiful bridges, the White Settlement one, why it will complete the pouring of concrete of its eight signature v-piers, with the start of adding the bridge deck, pompously called superstructure.

Signature? Why is the Star-Telegram persisting in still using this long discredited verbiage to describe these little bridges? When first announced Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision copied the Dallas Trinity River Vision by also seeing three signature bridges. However, Dallas has actually already built two of those bridges, built over actual water, and which actually are real signature bridges designed by a world renowned bridge designer.

Landmark bridges? Please, can't anyone make this stop? The Golden Gate Bridge, that is a landmark, signature bridge. These little Fort Worth bridges being built to eventually cross a ditch are not ever going to be landmark signature bridges. Unless they become some sort of historical marker deal noting the location of America's Biggest Boondoggle, long abandoned.

And then this paragraph...

During the first quarter of 2018, construction on the $55 million, 300-unit Encore Panther Island community is expected to begin. Besides being the first private development, it also will straddle the first section of one of the interior canals. Construction on the canal is expected to begin next year, too.

Note the conditional "expected" verbiage. This first private development, puny as it relatively is, has been "expected" for years now.  Construction of the canal is also "expected" next year.

Let's skip ahead to the end of the article, under the heading "Number to know" to learn more about that "expected" canal...

220 feet

The length of the first canal to be dug, roughly one city block. The canal will be about 20 feet wide and includes sidewalks on both sides that are 8 to 10 feet wide.

There was only one number to know under the "Number to know" heading. The Star-Telegram is making note of an expected possible 20 foot wide ditch that is only 220 feet long. Which may appear in 2018. The most noteworthy part of this breathtaking news is there will be sidewalks on both sides of the ditch canal. Sidewalks in Fort Worth are a rare commodity.

Now, let's leave the end of this bizarre propaganda and look at something else. Under a "Why it's important" heading we are told...

Once called Trinity Uptown, Panther Island is part of a massive public works project that spans 1,800 acres on the city’s north and east sides. When it is completed, it will create an 800-acre island on the north side that includes an urban lake. It would compare with the size of Fort Worth’s central business district.

While the project has been criticized by its opponents and some lawmakers as a boondoggle, the project received a major boost in 2016 when Congress authorized up to $526 million in funding for Panther Island when approving $5 billion in water projects proposed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Community leaders see Panther Island as a way to create a walkable, livable community that, with its 12 miles of urban waterfront and more than 10,000 residences, would rival other parts of town in cultural relevance. Panther Island was included in the city’s pitch for the $5 billion Amazon headquarters.

Panther Island, where there is no island, where there never will be an island by any sane definition of what makes an island, is "part of a massive public works project" which the public has never been allowed to vote on.

"Once called Trinity Uptown"? I remember that iteration of the Boondoggle's name. Way back early in this century, I opened the Sunday Star-Telegram to see a HUGE front page headline, something like "Trinity Uptown to Make Fort Worth Vancouver of the South" and thought to myself what absurd ridiculousness is this? Who could have foreseen, then, how totally ridiculous this was to become?

While the Boondoggle has been criticized for being a boondoggle, the Boondoggle is somehow mitigated due to Kay Granger finagling some federal pork attached to an Army Corps of Engineers water bill? No mention made of the fact Kay's help in this matter was secured by giving her unqualified son, J.D., the job of executive director of the project which he helped turn into America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Community leaders see this boondoggle as a way to create a walkable, livable community? As opposed to those HUGE areas of Fort Worth which are not walkable due to no sidewalks? Panther Island, where there is no island, will rival other parts of town in cultural significance?

Cultural significance?

Who is it on the Star-Telegram staff who spews this type propaganda nonsense? And why are they not told to knock it off? One can not help but wonder where these other Fort Worth areas of cultural significance are located.

Panther Island was included in the city's pitch for the new Amazon headquarters? Isn't that sort of admitting this pitch by Fort Worth was a strikeout? Yeah, I'm sure locating a corporate headquarters at the site of America's Biggest Boondoggle is quite attractive. What with those bridges which may go a long ways to getting built in 2018. And that canal that is expected to get dug by that apartment complex that is expected to maybe start getting built.

And maybe Molly the Trolley might begin providing public transit service to this burgeoning area of cultural significance.

Under the heading "Key factors" more absurd nonsense....

Finding the money to pay for Panther Island has been an issue since it was first imagined in the early 2000s.

A major hurdle was cleared in 2016 when Congress authorized the $526 million. By 2017, the project had already received at least $53 million from the Army Corps of Engineers and $50 million in federal highway dollars. The rest of the money spent on Panther Island has been from local and state stakeholders.

Crucial to Panther Island staying on track is making sure the money spigot isn’t cut off. A key player will be U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, who has led the fight for Panther Island on Capitol Hill.

Keep an eye out to see if developers push the city to allow Panther Island buildings go above and beyond the five-story limit included in current plans. And, finally, don’t be surprised if there is movement on efforts to save LaGrave Field, which is located along the Trinity River and considered a showpiece within the project.

I wonder if there is any connection between the problem of finding money to pay for this make believe public works project and the public never voting to help fund it, you know, by approving a bond issue such as what happens in grown up towns wearing their big city pants? If this is such a vitally needed economic and flood control project why is it depending on federal handouts to pay for it? Doled out in drips year after year.

Crucial to staying on track is to keep that federal money spigot pouring out funds. Which the Star-Telegram is suggesting requires keeping Kay Granger in Congress to fight for Panther Island on Capitol Hill. You paying taxes in more grown up, progressive, modern parts of America. How do you feel about your money being sent to Fort Worth for what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Oh my, the Star-Telegram will not be surprised if there is movement on efforts to save LaGrave Field, you know, that rundown showpiece of an embarrassing baseball park where Fort Worth played in a league with other big towns, like, well, places you've never heard of, with populations a tiny fraction of Fort Worth's 800,000 plus. This ballpark eyesore is considered by the Star-Telegram to be a showpiece? Yikes.

Long ago, back during an earlier time of being appalled at Star-Telegram propaganda about LaGrave Field I webpaged my look at this showpiece. Take a look at my look at LaGrave Field so you too can shake your head in wonderment.

Well, we have a few more days left in 2017. Is today's edition the last of the Star-Telegram's embarrassing propaganda for the year? Or will Fort Worth's pitiful newspaper of record top itself tomorrow with some fresh delusional nonsense?

Monday, December 25, 2017

White Western Washington Christmas With Theo & Ruby

A couple minutes ago my sister in Arizona, nephews Christopher and Jeremy's mom, texted me telling me she had heard from Ginger in Marysville with photo documentation from Ginger's Marysville location north of Seattle, documenting that a White Christmas had arrived.

At that precise moment another text message arrived, this one from my sister in Tacoma, nephews David and Theo and niece Ruby's mom, with the photo documentation you see here, of Theo in his snowy Tacoma backyard.

I replied to the snowy Theo photo saying I was going to blog this, to which I got another text message telling me a snowman photo would soon arrive.

That arrival just happened. And so that photo has been added.

Where is David? Did Ruby and Theo turn David into the snowman?

David can be a little bit persnickety. It does not strain my imagination too much to imagine that David may have a strong aversion to the idea that playing in something cold, like snow, is fun. David would sound quite reasonable explaining his snow beliefs and would likely have me thinking he is correct in his thinking.

I know a little snow play goes a long ways for me. Unless I am on skis. Or a sled. But, making a cold snowman, not as much fun.

It is cold enough to snow at my North Texas location. There is some cloud action above. But, so far nothing white has precipitated....

UPDATE: More Snow Photos of Theo & Ruby...

I have never been a fan of laying on snow covered ground and doing that "snow angel" thing. But, it appears Ruby has no similar aversion.

I have found out the reason we are seeing no photos of David and snow. David is enjoying the great indoors having fun playing with his new Nintendo device of some sort.

UPDATE #2: Theo and Ruby taking Mama Kristin on a sled ride down a hill in Tacoma's Wright Park...

Merry Christmas From Santa Durango

Santa Durango.

Sounds like a town South of the Border. Or in California.

I do not know if David, Ruby and Theo knew it was Santa Uncle Durango in whom they were confiding their Christmas wish list.

I also do not know if under their Christmas tree David, Ruby and Theo found everything they told Santa they hoped would show up under that aforementioned tree.

Yesterday David, Ruby and Theo's grandma, who also is my mom, told me David, Ruby and Theo had taken their parental units to Seattle to spend Christmas weekend. I would guess Christmas in downtown Seattle would likely involve riding the Monorail to Seattle Center to partake of the various Christmas related installations in that venue.

When I was David, Ruby and Theo's age a visit to downtown Seattle always took place at some point in time during December. This would always involve going to the Bon Marche. For those reading this in Fort Worth, who know not of such things, the Bon Marche was a downtown Seattle department store, many stories tall, accessed via a big parking garage and a skybridge which took one from the parking garage to, if I remember right, the eighth floor.

One of the Bon Marche's floors during the Christmas season was devoted to kids, as in full of toys. And Santa. Years ago the Bon Marche ceased to exist, taken over, I think, by Macy's. In addition to whatever the old Bon Marche department store now is, there are many other department stores in downtown Seattle, along with dozens of smaller stores, and several vertical malls.

In downtown Seattle there are a couple surface level trolley lines to zip one around downtown, but, unlike downtown Fort Worth, there is no old bus converted to look like a trolley and given a silly name, like Molly the Trolley. In downtown Seattle one can also zip around downtown underground via a light rail transit tunnel with five downtown stations.

Today, as in Christmas, Pike Place is closed, but yesterday at that downtown Seattle venue one would have experienced human gridlock.

Yesterday, as in Christmas Eve, one would not experience any human gridlock anywhere in downtown Fort Worth, despite that town's pitiful newspaper of record last week propagandizing that downtown Fort Worth has "a lively downtown filled with people day and night".

Did I mention that that town's newspaper of record is pitiful?

Downtown Fort Worth has zero department stores, zero vertical malls, few stores, few restaurants, no grocery stores, and no subterranean transit system.

But, there is Molly the Trolley....

UPDATE: Incoming photos documenting David, Theo and Ruby's Christmas Eve in downtown Seattle---

Above David, Theo & Ruby are all aboard Seattle's Molly the Monorail, heading towards the Space Needle and Seattle Center, sponsored by Nissan. I joke. Seattle would not be so goofy as to name one of the monorail trains Molly. Or have Seattle Center in need of a corporate sponsor.

Above I can tell Ruby is at the aforementioned Seattle Center, because that is the Space Needle behind her. But, I have no clue as to what this futuristic looking swing device is for, other than to swing.

I had mentioned that Pike Place would be human gridlock on the day before Christmas, But, above this would have to be into the evening of Christmas Eve, with Pike Place in shut down mode. Behind David, Theo, Ruby and their parental units is the location where the fish fly, you know, that sort of iconic Seattle thing where vendors throw salmon at tourists, and each other. There is always a HUGE throng at that location, watching.

Some things in Pike Place remain open, such as some of the restaurants. I suspect such is where David is at below, and the reason they were at Pike Place after hours.

I have never known a kid to like seafood as much as David does. Any seafood, well, as far as I have seen. I guess there could be some seafood David might be wary of. Like Japanese puffer fish, particularly if David knew how poisonous a puffer fish can be if not properly prepared.

That is one big Dungeness Crab David is getting ready to tear in to. At my old home location I used to be able to drive a few miles west, drop a crab pot into the water and head home a short time later to cook me some fresh caught crab.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Star-Telegram Embarrassing Fort Worth Dallas Rivalry Editorial

A few days ago in a blog post mention was made of a study commissioned by Fort Worth to try and find out why the town is so backwards.

That is my paraphrasing use of the backwards word. The articles about this study which appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, rather than use the word "backwards", used words like 'identity crisis" and "fallen behind".

The blogging about this serious subject was titled Why Fort Worth Has Fallen Behind Developing An Identity Crisis.

The Dallas Morning News got wind of the fact that Fort Worth is trying to figure out why it is so backwards, falling behind, with an identity crisis, which led to an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News titled One reason Fort Worth's lagging Dallas: Billions invested with public transit. This opinion piece was written by former Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Mitch Schnurman.

This then led to the Star-Telegram having its own opinion piece, in the form of an editorial, which, in typical Star-Telegram fashion, is clueless, embarrassing and sort of funny, in its, well, cluelessness.

The Star-Telegram's one semi-good reporter, Bud Kennedy, then posted about the Mitch Schnurman column on Facebook, which then generated a lot of interesting comments, many of which indicated quite clearly that not all Fort Worth natives are clueless about their town's problems and Dallas.

For example, two comments in the Bud Kennedy Facebook thread about this subject...

Sunni Roppolo The “Dallas rivalry” is so stupid and the only people that perpetuate it are Ft Worth residents! I’ve never understood why it’s an issue. Our friends that live in Dallas never badmouth FW yet all I hear is how terrible Dallas is all the time. Live where it makes sense and be nice! (Ft Worth native here)

Christopher D. Kratovil Interesting column by a good writer. To me, this is the money paragraph: “Fort Worth is home to two Fortune 1000 companies. But Dallas has 17 Fortune 1000 headquarters, Irving has nine, Plano has six and Richardson has two, according to the report.”

The Dallas bashing, as reflected in the Star-Telegram, perplexed me soon upon my arrival in Texas. I soon was to learn this bizarre civic pathology had a long history, dating way back to the 1800s when a Dallas reporter visited Fort Worth and then returned to Dallas to opine that Fort Worth was so sleepy he saw a Panther sleeping on the city hall steps. Or some such thing. This triggered the Fort Worth neurotic over compensating  civic inferiority complex which continues to this day, with Fort Worth thinking it is really showing Dallas what's what by naming this and that ridiculous thing with the "Panther" label. For example, in this century America's Biggest Boondoggle eventually came to be named the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, where you will find an imaginary island named after that sleepy Panther, along with a brewery, an ice rink and an imaginary pavilion on that imaginary island, all named Panther.

Okay, now that aforementioned insipid Star-Telegram editorial about this subject. The editorial is titled Forget it Dallas. We aren’t sitting at the kiddies table.

Let's all take a look at some choice bits from this editorial...

If ever Fort Worth has wondered whether Dallas is paying attention to us, we need wonder no more.

Wednesday, the Dallas Morning News devoted an editorial and a column to our city image versus that of Dallas. That’s a lot of journalistic real estate, and we want to thank Big D’s paper of record for considering us worthy of so much attention.

Oh yes, I imagine there are thousands of Fort Worth people wondering if Dallas is paying any attention to Fort Worth, what with there being so much to pay attention to, you know, things like worrying about a town encouraging its people to get wet in an e.coli contaminated river. But, now, those wondering if Dallas is paying attention need wonder no more, because the Dallas Morning News devoted a column to comparing the Fort Worth image to the Dallas image. Oh, and Fort Worth's sad excuse for a newspaper of record wants to thank Big D's actual newspaper of record for deigning to supposedly give Fort Worth attention with this one little column.

How pathetic can a newspaper get?

Let's take a detour here and focus on one aspect of Fort Worth's image problem, or more accurately, lack of an image problem. Last night I was watching YouTube news videos and it struck me how often the talking heads have some town's iconic image behind them, identifying where the talking head is talking from, without needing to identifying the town.

Ever seen such a news clip with a Fort Worth identifying image in the background? Nope. You have not, Hence one aspect of both Fort Worth's image problem on the national/international stage, and one reason for Fort Worth's obvious inferiority complex as related to Dallas, because a news clip with a talking head can appear with a recognizable Dallas background, because, like the Dallas Morning News column mentioned, Dallas has international recognition, for multiple reasons, including being the subject of what once was the world's most popular TV show, which showed the Dallas skyline to the world every time the show aired.

Can you imagine a prime time TV show called Fort Worth, with the opening credits zooming in on the downtown Fort Worth skyline? Zooming over the Heritage Park eyesore, trying to catch a glimpse of teeny Sundance Square Plaza sponsored by Nissan? Hence one of many reasons for Fort Worth's image problem complex.

And now this from the Star-Telegram editorial...

Fort Worth is nobody’s little brother. The people who live here are the city’s biggest fans.

We love Cowtown’s western history, its first-class arts district and a lively downtown filled with people day and night.

The people who live in Fort Worth are the town's biggest fans? How is this determination made? Fort Worth has fans outside of Fort Worth who are lesser fans? But those who live in the town are its biggest fans? And these fans love Fort Worth's western history, its first class arts district and a lively downtown filled with people day and night?

Fort Worth loves its western history so much that much of the Fort Worth Stockyards is a poorly maintained mess. Such as the New Isis Theater eyesore. Ever been to the Stockyards at night? Fort Worth's only actual tourist attraction is in dire need of a lighting upgrade. The Star-Telegram needs to get over attaching the "first-class" and "world-class" label to this that or the other thing in Fort Worth. As for the downtown being lively. Downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town on the busiest shopping day of the year, due to the downtown's lack of the stores people shop in in other town's downtown's. Anyone who thinks downtown Fort Worth is lively day and night must have never been to any other big city downtown to think such a thing. Or the Star-Telegram assumes its few readers have never been to a thriving big city's downtown and thus do not know any better.

And then the Star-Telegram editorial spews some more embarrassing nonsense, further documenting the town's, well, the town's sad excuse for a newspaper's, Dallas neuroses...

The DMN editorial fairly mentioned as have we that consultants noted, “Fort Worth struggles with establishing visibility and name recognition, especially in comparison to Dallas,” and “Fort Worth appears to be on its way to becoming a suburb of Dallas County.”

Those pronouncements generated an outpouring of vitriol from Star-Telegram readers angered by the suggestion of secondary status:

“We live in Fort Worth because it’s not Dallas-like,” said one.

“Fort Worth has the most wonderful small town feel for such a large city. I love it and am thrilled it is so different from Dallas,” said another.

Finally: “Don’t Dallas my Fort Worth.”

The above is the type thing which is perplexing to newcomers to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone, that being the Fort Worth attitude, expressed by what one can hope is a small minority, that there is something dire different about Dallas, that Fort Worth thankfully is not.

Fort Worth has a small town feel? For such a large city? Yes, it is true, most small towns do not have large department stores in their downtown's, just like Fort Worth. Many do, unlike Fort Worth, have grocery stores in their downtown's though. Most small towns downtown's are not ghost towns on the busiest shopping day of the year, so, really, how does Fort Worth have a small town feel? Such a sentiment may sound good, I guess, but it makes no sense.

Yes, it is true, Fort Worth is not Dallas-like in many ways. Dallas has a modern public transit system, including the nation's most miles of light rail. Dallas had a Trinity River Vision before Fort Worth copied the concept, except in Dallas the voters were allowed to vote on the project, while Fort Worth voters were not allowed to do so. The Dallas Trinity River Vision saw three actual signature bridges, two of which have been actually built, over actual water. While Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision lost its signature bridges and replaced them with three simple little bridges which are proving difficult to build over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Yes, it is true, Dallas is not Fort Worth. I suspect the people of Dallas, if they ever actually think about it, are content their town is not like Fort Worth. I suspect most big cities in America are content they are not like Fort Worth....

Friday, December 22, 2017

Freezing With Snowflakes Falling In Wichita Falls

I lack the technical ability to cause my phone to take a photo of itself, so when I saw the phone was indicating the temperature had dropped to freezing, and the phone's home screen weather animating thing was indicating snowflakes were falling, I used my old-fashioned digital camera to take a photo of my new-fashioned phone.

The temperature had been predicted to be dropping today, starting to fall soon after the sun's arrival. But, the temperature drop accelerated much faster than the predicted drop.

By the time I bundled up to drive to ALDI and Walmart the temperature was a couple degrees above freezing, with huge plops of rain getting my windshield wet.

Since I have been in Texas no snowstorm has ever behaved in the manner the weather predictors indicated it would.

So, I fully anticipate waking up tomorrow to find myself snowbound. Or worse, with the outer world covered with thick ice.

Til moving to the South I had never experienced an Ice Storm. I was barely in Texas two weeks, located in the far north Fort Worth hamlet of Haslet when an Ice Storm delivered a shocking blow. We did not know what to do with the two cows left behind by the previous owner. Or how to turn off the water to the barn. Or what to do with the pool. Or where the water shut off  to the house was. Suffice to say, survival was managed, but it was a rude wakeup to how nasty the weather in Texas can be.

I remember arriving at that new house in Haslet and asking why the hell is there a big fireplace in here/ Two weeks later all the new arrivals from the Pacific Northwest knew why there was a fireplace.

I have lost count of how many Ice Storms I have been through now. Why is it this southern location has such a weather event, when in all my years in Western Washington never a single Ice Storm? If such a thing happened up there the damage would be horrific. The trees, all those trees. But, why, with so much precipitation falling in Western Washington, and the occasional Arctic Blast, why no Ice Storms?


I must go on an additional outer wear and blanket hunt now. This place has no fireplace....

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Grocery Store May Open Near Fort Worth In 2019

In this last month of 2017 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has been doing a bang up job of providing absurdly ironic, embarrassing, pitiful fodder for commentary, with, apparently, no one at that sad excuse of a newspaper having a clue regarding such.

This first day of winter's edition had some fresh ridiculousness of the Dallas the Bogeyman sort. We may get to that later.

In the past couple weeks the Star-Telegram has had a couple articles lamenting Fort Worth's "image problem", "identity crisis" and that the town has supposedly "fallen behind".

The falling behind image problem identity crisis was blogged about in Why Fort Worth Has Fallen Behind Developing An Identity Crisis.

Overnight, via the stats, I see the latest blogging has had a few hundred, well, thousand, page views. The majority of those are from outside Texas. I do not know if this is any help or hindrance regarding Fort Worth's image problem and identity crisis.

Which leads us to this embarrassment from the Star-Telegram from a couple days ago.

For those not in Texas, HEB is a grocery store.

The screen cap you see above was taken from the front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram online.

Yes, the imaginary newspaper of record of the town with an identity crisis and image problem considers it big news that a grocery store chain is inching closer to Fort Worth via opening a nearby store in 2019.

If one was part of a conspiracy to make a town look like Rube Central you really could not do a much better job than what the Star-Telegram does.

Does it occur to no one at the Star-Telegram that thinking such information to be newsworthy might be indicative of the town's image and identity problem?

I can not imagine the Dallas Morning News having a headline on its front page informing its many readers about a grocery store chain opening a new store in 2019 is inching closer to Dallas.

Can not imagine a headline in the Seattle Times telling its many readers that some grocery store is inching closer to Seattle, opening in 2019. Unlike Fort Worth, which has none, Seattle has multiple grocery stores in its downtown, and it would not be news that some grocery store is opening somewhere else, outside of Seattle, or anywhere in Seattle, for that matter.

Hence, one among many reasons why no one would ever suggest calling Seattle, or Dallas, Rube Central.

And then you have Fort Worth...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Texas Bicycle Thief Wichita Falls Edition

That which you see here is what my eyes saw, and my sinking heart felt, about 5 o'clock Sunday afternoon.

Heading to ALDI, as I backed out of the carport, suddenly I knew there was something wrong with what I was seeing, or not seeing.

My bike.

In broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon, a week before Christmas Eve, a thief cut the what I thought was supposed to be impervious to such, that being the cable which secured my bike to a metal post.

Broad daylight.

This is now two stolen bikes in Texas. The first involved breaking into my van to steal the bike and try to steal the van. That was in October of 2010.

It was almost two years later I got another bike, March of 2012.

I think this latest bike theft may be the end of my bike riding years.

Such will also end my new position as the Wichita Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau Outdoor Adventure Guru. Well, this will end the bike part of the Outdoor Adventure Guru-ing.

I reacted with resignation to yet one more bike theft. I quickly went into sweet lemon rationalization mode, thinking maybe it was the excessive bike riding which was causing my right knee to ache. Three days later I have no pain in my right knee.

I also rationalized that anyone so brazen as to steal a locked bike in broad daylight must have needed, or wanted, a bike real bad. Maybe desperate to give their kid a Christmas present. Or needing a bike to get to a job, or some such thing. I would think one would have to have a good reason to steal something of relatively little value.

My first evening in Tacoma last summer we went to a neighbor's Annual Potato Chip Party, where I don't remember getting any homemade potato chips, but I do remember getting incredibly good chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven.

That and the next door neighbor's tale of having three mountain bikes stolen from his garage the day before. He had arrived home, opened the garage door, went into the house for a brief time, came back out to find the three bikes stolen. At the time I thought myself grateful to be currently living in a low crime location in Texas, much safer than my previous location in Texas, in Fort Worth, where I lived behind security gates, which did not prevent stolen bikes and auto thefts.

A couple days later I had David, Theo and Ruby's bikes on the front lawn, along with the bike I was to ride. My sister informed me it was not safe to leave the bikes on the front yard, unattended, even though there is a fence, due to the rapidity with which Tacoma thefts apparently take place. I thought my sister was over reacting. Now I realize it was I who was his usual level of clueless naivete.

There is an Italian movie, a neo-realistic classic from well over a half century ago, regarded as one of the best movies ever made.

The Bicycle Thief

From Wikipedia - The Bicycle Thief is a 1948 Italian film directed by Vittorio De Sica. The film follows the story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle, without which he will lose the job which was to be the salvation of his young family.

This movie quite poetically shows the pain and troubles a bicycle thief can cause the victim....

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Why Fort Worth Has Fallen Behind Developing An Identity Crisis

Last week a couple jaw dropping articles appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram which once again had me appalled at the level of nonsensical delusion which is like some sort of infection infecting part of the Fort Worth population and the newspaper which so ill serves that town.

Let's look at the first of these two articles, the one which suggests Fort Worth has fallen behind. Here’s a plan to up our game.

The article's first two paragraphs focus on something I have mentioned more than once...

When a jumbo jet touches down at DFW International Airport, passengers often hear the flight attendant activate the intercom and say, “Welcome to Dallas.”

The greeting illustrates an unwelcome truth for Fort Worth community leaders representing the other named city in the DFW brand. Their community lives in the shadows of their Big D neighbor to the east. It’s an identity problem noted in the 492-page economic development plan just released by the city.

Just last August, after experiencing what is described above, landing at D/FW via American Airlines, I mentioned the usual pilot welcome to Dallas, with no mention made of the location of American Airlines headquarters, Fort Worth. This had a local, named Tim R. opining via a Facebook comment that he flies almost weekly and has never heard such a thing. Uh huh, I thought.

Pilots uttering that welcome to Dallas is no big deal. I mentioned it, as does this article in the Star-Telegram, because it is a symptom of something else, that being Fort Worth's absence from the national and international radar screen.

The second article Identity crisis: Is Fort Worth becoming a Dallas suburb? addresses that first article's Fort Worth national invisibility issue in its first two paragraphs...

When Toyota scoured the Metroplex to move its North America headquarters from California, Fort Worth wasn’t even on the list.

And, in a recent study, when people were asked where Fort Worth falls on the list of the nation’s largest 50 cities? They responded 45th. Fort Worth is the 16th largest city and in a couple years could move up to the No. 12 spot.

According to the Star-Telegram's Identity Crisis article Fort Worth spent $350,000 to find out this crisis exists and that this identity crisis is what prevents Fort Worth from attracting business.

Uh huh.

So, out of the study a supposed plan has arisen which the Star-Telegram says is "ambitious", with its focus on adding office and residential space downtown, along with corporate headquarters, attempting to add 30 companies.

The paragraph about the attempt to add 30 corporations to the central business district...

The plan is ambitious. It focuses on growing the central business district with more office and residential space, but also with corporate headquarters and jobs. In the next five years, Fort Worth should attempt to add 30 companies.

Again.  Uh huh. This type thing is what we mean when using the delusional word.

How many corporate headquarters have bailed from downtown Fort Worth in recent years? And why? We have the massive failure of the new Radio Shack corporate headquarters. We have Pier One Imports corporate headquarters, replaced temporarily with Chesapeake Energy til that embarrassment was run out of town. And, most recently, XTO Energy escaped downtown Fort Worth by heading south to Houston.

And now, somehow in the next five years Fort Worth is going to magically fix what is wrong and thus attract a couple dozen new companies to its downtown business district where no department stores, grocery stores and few restaurants exist, with public transit helped by a bus converted to look like a trolley called Molly the Trolley?

Regarding that "plan" two paragraphs from the Fort Worth Falls Behind article which illustrates part of Fort Worth's actual "attitude" problem...

Still, city and community leaders should be congratulated for commissioning this comprehensive exploration that doesn’t candy-coat economic weaknesses. Other cities might have put lipstick on their shortcomings and come up with a typical 30-year plan that gathers dust on a shelf.
Fort Worth is notably identifying challenges and adopting strategies to tackle them almost immediately. The plan calls for results in a five-year period beginning in 2018. That’s next month.

Really? Other cities may have put lipstick on their shortcomings with a typical plan which gathers dust on a shelf? Is this what shrinks call projection or transference? Why does the Star-Telegram persist with this type verbiage? What are these other towns which share Fort Worth's dire straits which put their plans to fix their woes on a shelf? While, notably Fort Worth identifies challenges and adopts strategies to fix them immediately?

Again, really? Immediately?

And fix those problems in a five year period, you know, unlike those other towns which get a plan and then put it on a shelf.

Does this five year plan have a plan to finally fix the downtown embarrassing homage to Fort Worth's storied history called Heritage Park?

I'm guessing having a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded eyesore in a town's downtown, celebrating a town's heritage, is not a big selling point to a business thinking of locating to such a town.

And then there is this last paragraph in the Identity Crisis article...

Brandom Gengelbach, executive director of economic development with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, said Fort Worth is a popular place and it will grow, but the city needs to become aggressive in its marketing.

Fort Worth is a popular place? Didn't we just read that most of America knows nothing about Fort Worth? What is going to be aggressively marketed? Also in the Identity Crisis article we learn that incentives to bring about the fix to this Identity Crisis will be ready in early 2018.

Once again.  Uh huh.

Last week we blogged about Fort Worth's bizarre "incentive" fixation and its sad history of failure in Fort Worth Needs An Incentive To Fix Its Downtown Embarrassments.

Speaking of falling behind. How do you fall behind when you are already behind? Would it not be more accurate to use the phrase "fallen further behind"?

As for an example of being delusional, the Star-Telegram in its two articles provides visual metaphors for the delusional tendency. At the top we have a Star-Telegram photo of downtown Fort Worth. This photo is rendered in what locally is known as the Luenser Effect. Digitally altered photo reality to create a hyper-reality view of reality. And then we have the other photo from the Star-Telegram, it being a totally realistic, non-Luenser Effect look at what the downtown Fort Worth skyline actually looks like.

Looks like a place about to become a boomtown doesn't it? Like a downtown oodles of corporations would want to move to.

The blurb under the Star-Telegram photo of downtown Fort Worth is bizarre. "Fort Worth should become hub for corporate headquarters, a new consultant's study says"?

"Should" is likely the operative word here. Change "should" to "could" and one can say something which actually is reality based and makes sense.

As in Fort Worth "could" attract corporate headquarters if it fixed what is wrong with the town. For one thing, Fort Worth is not just downtown Fort Worth. The impression the town makes is made by more than just its sleepy downtown.

More streets without sidewalks than any other major city in America leaves a bad impression.

The majority of city parks without running water and modern restrooms leaves a bad impression.

A bus system inferior to that in many third world cities leaves a bad impression.

The lack of modern public transit leaves a bad impression.

Molly the Trolley leaves a bad impression.

Being the host to America's Biggest Boondoggle leaves a bad impression.

Taking years to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect to an imaginary island leaves a bad impression.

A downtown with zero department stores or grocery stores leaves a bad impression.

Un-landscaped, littered, weed covered freeway exits to your town's only actual tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, leaves a bad impression.

Thinking it a good idea to have Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tubes Floats in a polluted river at the north end of your downtown leaves a bad impression.

A town with a population over 800,000 with zero public pools leaves a bad impression.

Ridiculously mislabeling a large area of your downtown as Sundance Square leaves a bad impression, because it makes no sense. Knock that off and rename the parking lots which eventually became an actual square as Sundance Square, not Sundance Square Plaza. And drop the embarrassing Nissan sponsorship of the little square. Such leaves a bad impression.

And lastly, one more paragraph from the Fort Worth Falling Behind article...

Proud Cowtown officials understandably don’t like the part of the report that states a lack of recognition on the national and international scene as one reason “Fort Worth has fallen behind its competition.”

Who is Fort Worth's competition? What does that even mean? Recently the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy, in a post about Nashville's public transit development, said something like Nashville is often seen as a competitor to Fort Worth, which had multiple people asking who it was who sees such a thing, and why would they?

This is the type thing I refer to when I mention delusion. Why is this type ridiculous propaganda spewed? At least one person opined that maybe Austin might be seen as some sort of competitor of Nashville, what with both being known for their music, among other attributes. But Fort Worth?

This type delusion does not serve Fort Worth well. What do you think people think when they see Fort Worth for the first time. The downtown appears fairly tidy, some landscaping, clean, but there is that Heritage Park debacle. But what do they see when they head east on Lancaster? Or Rosedale? Or go north on Main Street? Or visit the neighborhoods around the Stockyards?

I can tell you what they see. If they come from prosperous parts of America they see rundown urban decay the likes of which they do not see at their home location. I was talking about this very subject a couple days ago with a fellow west coast transplant, how shocking it is when you first see this type thing, when you did not realize such existed in America.

And it's not just Fort Worth, though the slums of Fort Worth are bad, real bad. Recently a United Nations agency checked out parts of Alabama and declared they were seeing things which did not exist in other of the world's developed nations. I suspect they would be equally appalled at areas of Fort Worth. And Dallas, and my current location in Wichita Falls.

It would seem such is the type thing Fort Worth might focus on fixing in what will likely still be a futile effort to attract companies to locate their corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Worth.

And one more thing, really, what is it these "proud" Cowtown officials are proud of? Really, what? I draw a total blank...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Since Great Recession Has Thriving Fort Worth Boom Left Other Cities Behind?

I have been having trouble completing a blogging about a couple articles in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from last week, one of which had to do with a town falling behind other towns in the growing and developing aspect of being a thriving city.

And then this, yesterday, from the Star-Telegram, an article titled Boom and gloom: Since recession, a few thriving cities have left others behind.

The first three paragraphs from this boom and gloom article...

As the nation’s economy was still reeling from the body blow of the Great Recession, Fort Worth’s was about to take off.

In 2010, Radio Shack opened a headquarters in the north end of downtown Fort Worth — and then expanded eightfold over the next seven years to fill 36 buildings. Everywhere you look, there are signs of a thriving city: Building cranes looming over streets, hotels crammed with business travelers, tony restaurants filled with diners.

Fort Worth is among a fistful of cities that have flourished in the 10 years since the Great Recession officially began in December 2007, even while most other large cities — and sizable swaths of rural America — have managed only modest recoveries. Some cities are still struggling to shed the scars of recession.

Okay, if you clicked on the Boom and gloom: Since recession, a few thriving cities have left others behind above you already know I punked you. Punked is a younger generation phrase which means tricked, I think.

Here are the article's actual first three paragraphs...

As the nation’s economy was still reeling from the body blow of the Great Recession, Seattle’s was about to take off.

In 2010, Amazon opened a headquarters in the little-known South Lake Union — and then expanded eightfold over the next seven years to fill 36 buildings. Everywhere you look, there are signs of a thriving city: Building cranes looming over streets, hotels crammed with business travelers, tony restaurants filled with diners.

Seattle is among a fistful of cities that have flourished in the 10 years since the Great Recession officially began in December 2007, even while most other large cities — and sizable swaths of rural America — have managed only modest recoveries. Some cities are still struggling to shed the scars of recession.

Okay, well, it is painfully obvious to anyone with functioning eyes that Fort Worth is one of those cities still struggling. Hence the articles referred to at the top, which showed up last week in the Star-Telegram, about Fort Worth falling so far behind.

Suffice to say, in Seattle, and other thriving towns in America, there is nothing so pitiful as Fort Worth's Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle struggling to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect a town's mainland to an imaginary island. Let alone letting a failed pseudo works project amble along in boondoggle mode, year after year after year, with no end in sight, and little to see.

The trouble I am having regarding blogging about that which is contained in those two Star-Telegram articles about Fort Worth's woeful woes is it is a lot of material.

Delusional, strange, embarrassing material.

Maybe I will get around to blogging about what the Star-Telegram has to say about Fort Worth falling so far behind tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. I have a lot on my mind right now, which is causing my focus to be a bit out of focus...

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Theo & Ruby's Happy Birthday #7

Today is the Happy 7th Birthday of Theo and Ruby, my youngest nephew and niece.

That is Theo and Ruby's favorite uncle between them.

I believe we were at Point Ruston in an ice cream purveyor's shop, the name of which I do not remember. I do remember this ice cream shop was extremely popular, with the line waiting for cones extending out the door, and with the ice cream shop run with regular Pacific Northwest efficiency of the sort I miss when I am at a more moribund location on the planet.

I also remember the ice cream flavors we enjoyed. Theo asked for and got what seemed to me an usual flavor which turned out to taste real good. Lavender.

I got Cascade Wild Mountain Blackberry, which also tasted real good.

Ruby's taste in all things dessert oriented tends to be Chocolate. I did not sample Ruby's exotic choice.

I am almost 100% Theo and Ruby are in Tacoma today for their birthday. Last weekend the twins had an early birthday celebration at the Great Wolf Lodge. If I remember right the Washington version of that lodge is located south of Olympia. I may be wrong about this. I was going to look it up, but forgot.

Today Theo and Ruby came to mind, well, more Theo than Ruby, when I rolled my bike's wheels around Sikes Lake and came to the view you see below.

No, that is not a sandbar formed at low tide on Sikes Lake you see my handlebars pointing towards. That is one of the islands which have appeared on Sikes Lake due to a lack of rain. Some rain fell last night, but not enough to add any water to the creek which flows into Sikes Lake.

Anyway, I saw this sandbar island and thought of sand castle building last summer at Birch Bay. Ruby helped for awhile, but then left to go swimming with Spencer Jack and David. Meanwhile Theo and I kept working on our sand castle until the incoming tide rendered continuing the effort to be impossible.

I suspect the material which makes up this Sikes Lake sandbar is likely not sandcastle worthy building material. It would probably be more of a fun playing in mud type experience...


Friday, December 15, 2017

Chilly Bike Roll To Thirsty Sikes Lake With Seagull Goose Peace Accord

Though the outer world temperature was barely over 40, looking out my flag viewing window on the world nothing seemed to be blowing strong enough to do any flag unfurling.

And so I layered on some insulative outer wear and rolled my wheels to Sikes Lake and beyond.

Sikes Lake is beginning to suffer from the mini-drought. The creek which feeds water to Sikes Lake is no longer doing so, which you can see via the view over my handlebars, looking west from the Bridge of Sikes, where currently no gondola can possibly float under.

It now seems obvious to me why swimming, kayaking, canoeing and other type water activities are not allowed on Sikes Lake. The lake is too shallow. The lake is so shallow now most of the birds no longer float in the water. They simply stand in it, which is what they are doing below.

Previously I made mention of the apparent conflict between the Sikes Lake invading Seagulls and the resident Goose population. An accord seems to have been reached, as you can see above, with the birds peacefully fraternizing and ignoring, for the most part, that adage about birds of a feather sticking together.

As you can see, beyond the birds, a beach has formed.

In other locations on Sikes Lake islands have popped up. How is the Sikes Lake fish population doing under this current stress?

With the exposed lake bottom one can see the type mud which made Mount Wichita, when late in the previous century Sikes Lake was dredged, with the dredged material hauled to Lake Wichita Park to be formed into the region's one and only mountain.

Methinks maybe it is time to dredge Sikes Lake again and maybe make another mountain next to lonely Mount Wichita.

Someday if the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project ever comes to fruition Lake Wichita will get dredged. So far I have not read of any plan to make that dredged material into a mountain, or mountains. Seems like an entire range of mini-mountains might be possible.

Possible and a real good idea...