Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Eyes Of Texas Are Upon You Trump Cruz

For almost a year about once a month I find myself driving from Wichita Falls to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone.

Along the way, on Highway 287, a thing or two or three caught my eye the first time I drove by, and every time since.

One of the oddest I see shortly before passing through the tiny burg of Bellevue, with that odd thing being an adult video store. I thought video stores of all sorts, including the adult  type, had gone the way of the dodo bird, due to the Internet, along with cable TV.

Prior to Bellevue, about  20 miles out of Wichita Falls what I saw odd originally was "CRUZ" crudely spray painted on a large wooden wall billboard type thing slightly elevated above ground level.

Upon first perusal I did not know if this particular CRUZ sign was a political sign supporting the creepy Texas senator who bears a striking resemblance to Grandpa Munster, or what. Around the time of last summer's Republican Convention I saw that CRUZ had been crossed out, with "TRUMP" sloppily spray painted over CRUZ.

So, apparently this is a political sign of the times.

As I drove by I tried to snap a photo of the CRUZ/TRUMP sign, but that did not work out. Next time I will pull off the highway so as to facilitate successful photo documenting.

I forgot to mention a giant cowboy stands in front of CRUZ/TRUMP, adding to the oddity.

One of the other odd things, well, not really all that odd, more Orwellian than odd, I come to a few miles south of Decatur.

That to which I refer you see above.

A billboard warning passing people that "The EYES of TEXAS are Upon YOU". With a spy in  a cowboy hat snooping with binoculars.

I think this sign's purpose is to discourage people from poaching wildlife. Or maybe cattle. I did not realize this was a problem of such serious proportions that it would warrant a billboard and a phone number so that one can call and be a snitch about a suspected poacher...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Orcas Not Yet Seen In Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

No, that is not an artist's rendering of the latest imaginary addition to the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, adding a pod of Orcas to the newly designated "Houseboat District" of America's Biggest Boondoggle, which can't even manage to build a simple little bridge over dry land.

I was going through my library of photos last  night and came upon this picture I took earlier this century on a trip back to my old home zone of Washington.

The pod of Orcas you see here are part of the entry to the Tulalip Resort Casino complex. The Tulalip Resort Casino complex is in Marysville, a town north of Seattle, about 40 miles south of my place of residence prior to moving to Texas, that being the town of Mount Vernon.

Texas evicted most Indians and their tribes way back in the 1800s. So, Texas only has a couple Indian reservations with small casinos.

When I was a young lad going to Nevada was a novel experience, to Reno or Las Vegas, or any other town in Nevada, due to the legalized gambling, with slot machines ubiquitous, not just in casinos.

And then the native tribes of the west coast won legal battle after legal battle establishing their right to operate casinos. Eventually this rendered going to Nevada not nearly the unique experience it once was.

My old home county of Skagit has two big casino complexes. The Skagit Casino Resort is the location of one of my all time favorite buffets, of which I  partook frequently when I lived in the valley. The other casino complex in Skagit County is the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, which is the location of my all time favorite seafood buffet.

Today if I wanted to partake of a buffet in a casino I could drive about 20 miles north, crossing the Red  River into Oklahoma, to go to the Morning Star Buffet in the Kiowa Red River Casino.

The buffet may be good at the Kiowa Red River Casino, but I have not partaken, I know from personal experience  the buffet at Oklahoma's WinStar World Casino Resort is real tasty, with the best coffee I have had in all my years in the South.

I am about 100% certain I will not be going to a casino today.  I am also about 100% certain I will not be seeing any Orca pods today playing in Lake Wichita, or any other Texas location.

Well, maybe Sea World in San Antonio. Or have the captive Orcas been freed?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Record Breaking Temperature Has Me Thinking About Being Stuck On An Imaginary Fort Worth Island

Does that view looking north from the Wichita Falls Circle Trail look HOT to you?

I heard via the radio, a few minutes ago, we may be heating up to a record high today.

Currently, barely past noon, the outer world at my location is not quite HOT, but is merely extra warm at 77 degrees.

I do not know if I will be able to resist turning on the air conditioning today.

If I do turn on the A/C I believe  this will be my first time doing such a thing in February.

I remember a February day a couple decades ago, when I lived in the Puget Sound zone of the Pacific Northwest, a rare winter heat wave struck with temperatures in the 70s. Or was it 80s? I don't remember. What I do remember is Washingtonians by the thousands  flocked to the beach. I recollect my beach of choice that day was the one at Camano Island State Park.

I had not thought of it before, til typing Camano Island,  that my old home zone actually has one thing in common with Fort Worth.

Imaginary islands.

There were two islands which were not islands a short distance from my Washington abode. The aforementioned Camano Island and Samish Island.

Fort Worth's imaginary island is called Panther Island.  Currently Fort Worth is stuck trying to figure out how to build three simple little  bridges over dry land to connect to the imaginary island.

A key difference between those two Washington islands, which are not islands, and Fort Worth's island, which is not an island, is the Washington islands were actual islands before farmers built dikes to hold back the saltwater.

Now that you are making me think about, Camano Island may actually still be an island. It has been years since I drove to that island, but I am sort of remembering a bridge crossing to the island, which would seem to indicate Camano Island is still an actual island.

Even if Fort Worth ever manages to dig a ditch under those three non-existent bridges, and fill that ditch with water, I don't think any sane person would consider the result to be an island.

When I starting writing this blogging about it being HOT I sure did not think I would somehow end up on an island...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Country Road Detour While Helicopter Rescues Jackie, Fancy & Clancy

Well, I have had myself an exhausting day.

Up early to drive to the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro mess.

This particular morning commute was pleasant, no traffic woes, not even in the congested construction zone one comes to when one reaches Fort Worth's version of I-35.

The return to Wichita Falls commute this afternoon had a bit of a problem. I will get to that later.

But first, yesterday, after receiving a cautionary email from my Favorite Nephew Jason, I asked the question Will Camelback Helicopter Rescue Be Needed For Clancy, Fancy, Jackie & Jake?

In that blogging I opined that I likely would be getting text  messages regarding the Camelback Mountain debacle, if such became the case.

I was in Arlington, making a quick visit to River Legacy Park when Jason texted me a photo he'd been texted from Camelback Mountain, which is what you see above. That would be Jake, Jackie and Fancy, with Clancy, on the right, looking like she's not quite yet recovered from recent electroshock treatments.

I thought it looked like the Camelback  Mountain hike was going well and Jason was concerned needlessly.

And then a couple hours later I was having a chile relleno lunch with Felicity Frankfurter at Esperanza's in the Fort Worth Stockyards zone when Jason texted me the following photo.


I do not know which of the three we are seeing being rescued above, dangling from the helicopter. Jason provided no details. And no word about Jason's dad's hiking condition.

I got gas today in North Richland Hills. $1.93 a gallon. Sometimes I call my mom  and dad when I get gas, but today I did not. I did not want to call because I figured I could not resist asking if mom and dad knew any details about the Camelback Mountain rescue debacle. Figuring they were likely oblivious to this ongoing drama I thought it best just not to call, so as not to needlessly worry them.

Moving on.

I did not decide my return route to Wichita Falls until I reached the Decatur option junction. Scenic route or the more direct Highway 287 route? I opted to go direct. That turned out to be not so direct.


About 10 miles west of the little burg called Bellevue, that being one of the few slow to 55 sections of 287, all Wichita Falls bound traffic was halted.

Dead stop.

At this point in time I do not know what closed the road.

Eventually I reached a point where a highway guy was directing  people to drive across the grassy median to head back from whence one came.

Highway 287 looks like a four lane freeway, for the most part, but it is not part of the federal interstate system.

When it was my turn to get directions from the highway guy he simply said, just follow that truck and he will lead you back to 287.

And so I did. As the miles accumulated, following that truck, I had no clue how far we were going backwards before finding the detour. The detour exit turned out to be in Bellevue, heading south on a country road.

Above, that is the truck I was following in a convoy of people being detoured.

Eventually we came to a junction heading back north towards 287. Soon thereafter we came to another junction, this one going to the little town of Scotland. I knew that would more efficiently take me back to where I needed to be, instead of returning to 287 past the obstruction.

And so I left the convoy and went to Scotland, then home.

I hope those Camelback hikers are okay, but the best part of today was that chile relleno at Esperanza's.....

This Morning I Learned I Am An Emotional Extrovert

This morning on Facebook, via Nurse Martha, I saw one of those scientific survey test things which do an in-depth analysis using precise data to make some determination about something, such as if one is spelling challenged, a genius or what state one is best suited to live in. That type thing.

I found out I am an Emotional Extrovert after I took this grueling test.

The link bait in Facebook said "You Can Only Fit One Of These Four Personalities. Which One Is It?"

"Every single person is one of these four. Which are you?"


Along with learning I was an Emotional Extrovert I also got the following detailed analysis....

Most defining characteristics: Your personality is mostly associated with fire! You are optimistic, restless and sensitive. 

You are a extroverted, eccentric and opinionated person. You tend to be impulsive and restless but at the same time passionate and sensitive. You love to be in charge and ambition is one of your strongest qualities. 

You have a very short fuse and a flaming temper. Patience for other peoples' inadequacies or ignorance is something you lack, and you can come off as blunt and aggressive. Despite your flaws you are wildly intelligent, incredibly loyal and you do have a soft side that helps you create deep and meaningful relationships with people.

Uncannily accurate....

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Will Camelback Helicopter Rescue Be Needed For Clancy, Fancy, Jackie & Jake?

I will get to the explanation as to who you are seeing in this photo in a moment.

But first I have to explain  that this afternoon I got a cautionary email  from Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason.

I will copy that email in its entirety so as to convey what is being cautioned...

FUD-

I have just been informed by your brother that he, your two eldest sisters and one of their wives are going to attempt to hike Camelback Mountain tomorrow morning, via the Echo Canyon Summit Trail.

This is the same 'extremely difficult' trail that I traversed last week.

I don't see this outing going well. I know that one member of the hiking party has severe lower back issues which may prevent him from reaching the summit.

To reach the summit, one climbs on large boulders, often on all fours, for a gain of 1700+ feet in about a mile.

Many rescues are made on this trail via helicopter. Local authorities use a helicopter to rescue hikers, as the pathway to the summit ends after a few hundred yards, leaving few other options.

I advised your brother that someone ought to make sure that the helicopter has a full tank of gas.

- FNJ
_________________

I can understand Jason's concern. The main objects of concern would be Jason's eldest aunt, who also is my eldest sister, Clancy. That would be the most recent  photo of Clancy. that I could find, which you see above. You can sort of intuit from the photo why Jason has some concerns about Clancy getting on a Camelback.

The brother to whom Jason refers is my little brother Jake, who also is Jason's dad. Hiking with a bad back over treacherous terrain is a recipe for pain.

Now, the other two hikers, those being my second eldest sister, Jackie, and my ex-wife, Fancy, well, I don't think those two present as big a concern as the other two.

On my last visit to Arizona I went hiking with my second eldest sister, Jackie, who also happens to be the mother of my Favorite Nephews Christopher and Jeremy. We hiked up Piestewa Peak. Jackie wore me out on that hike. At one point she somehow went straight up the peak, bypassing a pair of switchbacks. Suddenly I had no clue where Jackie was. Eventually, after she watched me spend a couple minutes being perplexed, hollered from above, letting me know where she was.

Now, Jason and I may be totally wrong in our danger assessment regarding this Camelback Mountain climbing expedition. All four of these hikers have been regularly playing something called Pickelball. Maybe all that Pickelballing has gotten the quartet in excellent shape.

I expect I will be getting a report about this expedition tomorrow. I will be in Dallas for most  of the day. I likely won't  know if a helicopter rescue was needed until I get back to being connected to my computer. Unless I get a text message...

Felicity Frankfurter Takes Me To Fort Worth Protest Thumping Trump

Yesterday morning when I woke up my computer I found a message on Facebook from Felicity Frankfurter.

Felicity Frankfurter's Facebook message was simply a link to an article on the KERA TV station's online version, that being an article titled Protests Greet GOP Donors In Fort Worth.

I am assuming Felicity Frankfurter read my Indivisibly Protesting Fort Worth's Missing Kay Granger blogging in which I may have indicated I was not quite sure what was being protested.

The KERA article and accompanying TV News video clarified what the demonstrators were demonstrating about.

Apparently, like most of the world's non-fascist citizens, these Fort Worthers are appalled America's new president is just as bad and as embarrassing as many feared he would be. And so they gathered by the 100s outside some sort of Lincoln Day event in downtown Fort Worth's Omni Hotel at which multiple irresponsible Republicans, such as Fort Worth's Kay Granger, were expected to appear.

Regarding Fort Worth and protests.

A couple years after I moved to Texas I was back up north, in downtown Seattle. I remember escalating back to ground level from Seattle's Westlake Center transit station and finding myself in the midst of an enormous protest. I do not remember what was being protested.

I remember when I saw that Seattle protest I remarked to the person I was with that it was nice to be back in the Northwest where people take to the streets to take up a cause. Further remarking that since I'd been in Texas I had not seen a single protest about anything, which seemed so odd to me, in a city (Fort Worth) and a state (Texas) where there seemed so much that was protest worthy.

Well.

Moving forward into the next century, it seems that the protest bug has spread to Texas.

Including Fort Worth.

In recent years in downtown Fort Worth I've seen a massive demonstration of protesters marching in support of decriminalizing marijuana.

Since America's presidential election debacle took place there have been multiple protests in downtown Fort Worth, in addition to Saturday's Lincoln Day protest.

Thousands marched in downtown Fort  Worth, joining the millions who protested world-wide, the day after Trump's inauguration, in what was called the Women's March.

I'm thinking a protest demonstration protesting the ongoing embarrassment known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther  Island District Vision, would be extremely impressive.

A couple thousand people carrying signs demanding J.D. Granger be fired and his mother's resignation, marching to the Heart of the Boondoggle, circling around that roundabout with the million dollar homage to a shiny aluminum trash can at its center.

Then marching around those nearby V Piers sticking out of the ground, with the protesters bringing bridge construction to a halt.

Oh, wait, that already happened, with no protest needed.

Next month it will be a year since construction of America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island has sputtered, due to design errors and who knows what other instances of incompetence.

Instances such as this seems very worthy, to me, of a massive protest demonstration.

Would hanging J.D. and his mama, in effigy, from one of those V Piers be too radical?

Monday, February 20, 2017

No Wichita Falls Whitewater Rapids Running On Holliday Creek For Me Today

Last night's predicted thunderstorms and heavy downpours arrived as scheduled.

But, without the damaging winds which were also part of the forecast for my location.

Maybe wind did some damage at other locations, but managed not to blow hard where I am situated.

This Monday morning, an hour before noon, with the outer world heated to a non-chilly 60, I opted to take a walk on the Circle Trail to my Caribbean neighborhood as far north as the Spanish town of Granada.

In the view above you are on the Circle Trail looking north at Holliday Creek. As you can see last night's rain put Holliday Creek into white rapids mode. One can easily see how this type violent erosive action carved out Holliday Canyon over the eons of time.

I wonder why I have seen no daredevil type doing some kayak based rapids running on raging Holliday Creek when it is in whitewater mode? I have seen no warning signs forbidding such activity.

Come to think about it, I have also seen no boat activity on the Wichita River, which is the river the water running in Holliday Creek eventually joins.

Perhaps there is a danger of which I am not aware. That happens a lot to me...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Indivisibly Protesting Fort Worth's Missing Kay Granger

Last night I had a couple incoming messages regarding a protest underway in the downtown Fort Worth zone.

When I received the protest messages I did not know what was being protested.

Did a large collective of Fort Worth natives finally gather up enough common sense to organize a protest against the embarrassing debacle known as America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Were these protesters demanding the immediate firing of Congresswoman Kay Granger's son, J.D.?  Due to J.D. being the person many blame as the root of all the problems which have led to Fort Worth being the proud sponsor of America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known at the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or TRCCUPIDV for short.

Well, I am not totally certain as to the entire scope of all which was being protested in Fort Worth last night, but, apparently one of the objects of protesting derision was J.D. Granger's mama, whose job in Congress is what got J.D. the job for which he had zero qualifications, so as to motivate his mama to get some federal pork barrel  money sent his way so as to keep him gainfully employed, apparently for decades.

And J.D.'s mama, Kay, has delivered on that promised pork, to the tune of about a half  a billion bucks.

I don't know how much, if any, of that money has arrived. Maybe that incoming money is what is being waited on so as to continue the construction of The Boondoggle's three simple little bridges, the construction of which has been stalled for a year.

By this morning a Haltom City lady calling herself Layla Caraway had posted about last night's Fort Worth protest and pointed that post at me, as you can see via the screen cap above.

After reading what Ms. Caraway said about Kay the RINO I commented thusly....

Durango Jones: Mrs. Granger is a Republican in Name Only? I thought she was an authentic right wing nut job, not one of the more reasonable Republicans....

To which someone also calling herself Layla Caraway counter-commented...

Layla Caraway: Back in the day she was a D. Not that I care who is a what, that's part of why we are in this mess, but she couldn't get elected to higher office on that ticket, so she went down to the crossroads, and well, everyone knows how that story goes. But if you call yourself a 'conservative' while taking a billion from taxpayers and property from regular folks all for your gain, Rino was the nicest thing I could think of.
_______________________

I have no idea  what the truth is during this troubled time of one never knowing what is real news or fake. Or a liar claiming real news is fake so as to obfuscate his own pathological lying.

I digress.

Anyway, regarding Kay Granger and those who do not think she represents the people in her district, but is instead a lackey for the moneyed interests who in various ways run Fort Worth and Tarrant County like their private fiefdom to be exploited by the local good ol' boy and girl network in what is known as the Fort Worth Way, well, I guess there are plenty of reasons to protest.

At one point in time Kay Granger and her gang, I mean, associates, were rumored to have extensive land holdings the value of which would be greatly enhanced if the Trinity River Vision ever became something someone  could see.

The Trinity River Vision, in its original form, was supposedly a much needed flood control plan combined with an economic development scheme.

The vitally needed flood control part of  the scheme has been pretty much discounted in all the years since it was first announced, due to the fact that if it was so vitally needed why has the project proceeded in slow motion? That and the obvious fact, now clear to everyone, that the area deemed in dire need of flood control has not flooded in over a half a century, due to levees installed, at taxpayer expense, way back in the 1950s.

I think it is a good thing that a large number of Fort Worth people are finally fed up with the corruption known as the Fort Worth Way and are willing to loudly protest.

Methinks if  Kay Granger ever gets up the courage to face a Fort Worth Town Hall, she will likely hear a lot of things she does not want to hear, or acknowledge, things like her baby boy being in dire need of a spanking and a time out....

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Uptown Wichita Falls Funk Slams Dallas Poetry

I was not long at my new location on the planet before it was obvious to me Wichita Falls is a unique location on Planet Earth.

I will not bore you, right now, detailing all the ways Wichita Falls is unique.

Suffice to say I like this town.

Later today, well, tonight, in downtown Wichita Falls, a unique cultural event will be taking place.

The Dallas Poetry Slam Team will be performing a two-hour feature at 2011 Bistro, located at 801 Indiana, beginning at 10 p.m. The event is focused on celebrating the Month of Love and Black History Month. Event admission is $10 and is sponsored by the Wichita Falls Art-Entertainment and Culture Center.

I hope I see you there.

But before you get to experience the Dallas Poetry Slam you must experience the lovely Beauties of Wichita Falls showing their Uptown Funk at the Downtown MPEC....

Friday, February 17, 2017

W's Not Seeing America's Biggest Boondoggle's Bridges Under Construction


We are coming up on the one year anniversary of America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges hitting a construction snag.

Mr. W's above Facebook post generated some illuminating comments regarding Fort Worth's current #1 Embarrassment...

Durango Jones: I keep putting off beating this dead horse yet again, but what with the one year anniversary of the stalled construction of simple, little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island I'm assuming Fort Worth's highly esteemed newspaper of record must be about to publish an expose in a series of articles detailing what has gone wrong with what has become known far and wide as America's Biggest Boondoggle....

Mike Wegner: I'm just dumbfounded at how little attention this has received, the lack of progress, the ongoing road closures, etc. If they can't even build these bridges over dry land, how can they pull off a $1B+ project? Meanwhile, the 'Left Bank' development between Montgomery Plaza and the river is going great guns, hundreds of apt units, Tom Thumb, other retail, etc. But I think that is all independent of the Boondoggle.

Durango Jones: It is all so bizarrely perplexing. I am not even remotely possessing engineer type understanding of constructing anything. But, I look at those V Piers and I do not understand how such would support a bridge deck. Seems like it'd be some sorta perverse teeter totter. And if those bridges ever do get built, over dry land. how does the ditch get engineered to get dug under them without causing problems with the bridge's foundations. It this type thing the real cause of the holdup? As in a legit adult project engineer showed up on site and quickly determined this project design was insane????

Wayneman's Page: 3 unfinished bridges to nowhere, but lies and corruption.

Terri Bednar Wegner: It's a collaborative effort but wonder which entity awarded the design contract to the Fort Worth engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc.? And how the $66 million cost is split between the entities? And is there any way to find out since the TRV is not subject to open records law either?

Mary Kelleher: How embarrassing!

Andy Nold: The 2 northernmost piers on Jacksboro highway have a lot of "new" steel in them. The northernmost looks like the rebar is complete. The 2nd one south of that looks about 50% complete. But it looks like they have stopped again. I wonder if they have hit a flaw with the redesigned rebar mat? I'm no civil engineer, but have worked as a civil engineering technician and alongside engineers as a land surveyor.

Bob Lukeman: I'm shocked!!!
_________________

In her comment above, Mrs. W referenced a link to an article (Construction on three bridges hits snag) in the Fort  Worth Business Press. That article, among numerous instances of nonsense, repeats what was reported way back when construction ground to a halt, that being that the construction halt should last about a month.

Let's look at and comment about some of the aforementioned instances of nonsense in this Fort  Worth Business Press article...

Construction of the Henderson Street, White Settlement and North Main Street bridges began in 2014 and is still on track to be completed in 2017 and 2018 at a cost of about $74 million.

The construction of these three simple little bridges did not begin in 2014. The embarrassingly stupid TNT exploding bridge ground breaking ceremony, featuring J.D. Granger, his mother and Betsy Price, is all that took place in 2014. I blogged about this explosive 2014 event in A Big Boom Begins Boondoggle Bridge Construction Three Months Late.

The bridges are being constructed over dry land and have been criticized by opponents of the Trinity River Vision project as “bridges to nowhere” because millions of dollars in anticipated federal dollars has yet to be appropriated for the transformative project north of downtown Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Business Press thinks the construction of these bridges has been criticized by opponents because funds were yet to be appropriated? No. The lack of funding had nothing to do with why opponents were opposing. The opposition  had to do with things like incompetence, bad design, inept implementation. That and the unqualified son of a local congresswoman being hired, at high pay, to  oversee the project for which he had ZERO qualifications, with the result being that the embarrassment has been a boondoggle for years.

Supporters of the project defend the decision to build the bridges over dry land as a cost-saving move.

Anyone who thinks the building of these three simple little bridges over dry land is a cost-saving move is moronic idiot. There will be no water under these bridges (if they ever do get built) until the ditch is dug under them. And until water from the Trinity River is diverted into that ditch. It does not take a trained engineer to realize the actual cost saving measure would be to dig the ditch at the same time the bridges are being built.

The bridges were designed by architect Miguel Rosales and the Fort Worth engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc. The signature piece of the design is the V-shaped pier design. The bridges will appear to float about 50 feet above ground, “lightly touching the ground every 220 feet,” according to a statement by Freese and Nichols.

The bridges will appear to float 50 feet above the ground? Lightly touching ground every 220 feet? Look at those V Piers in Mr. W's photo above and see if they look 220 feet apart, 50 feet above the ground. See if you can imagine those V Piers supporting a bridge deck. And has anyone seen the part of the bridge construction where massive foundations were poured deep into the ground?

Why isn't Fort Worth's make believe newspaper of record, the Star-Telegram, investigating the Boondoggle's bridge embarrassment?

Just this morning I read a detailed article in the Seattle Times titled Officials say damage to sewage plant in Discovery Park is catastrophic thoroughly covering what went wrong with a primary treatment plant during a recent Washington storm. The article seemed to cover every aspect of the disaster, what caused it, the damage  done, the effect on Puget Sound, the progress of the repair. The article seemed to be a totally transparent report about a serious issue effecting the public.

And then we have the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision headquarters occupying the Star-Telegram building's ground floor. One would think it would be easy for Star-Telegram reporters to take the elevator  to the ground floor and not leave until they get answers to a question the Fort Worth public deserves to know.

As in, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THOSE THREE SIMPLE  LITTLE BRIDGES?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Caribbean Neighborhood Cruise With Unexpected Spain Detour

A breeze from the south has brought some warmth to my location on the planet on this 16th day of February.

Almost 60 degrees worth of warmth when I opted to exit my abode to take a walking tour of my neighborhood Caribbean zone.

As you can see via the view looking north on the Circle Trail, a clear blue sky has brushed the gray away.

Water flows once again in Holliday Creek, roaring through Holliday Gorge on its way to merge with the Wichita River. Roaring Holliday Creek would be that ribbon of blue you see to the right of the Circle Trail.

My walking tour plan today was to exit the Circle Trail, then cross Weeks Park Lane to enter the Caribbean via Grenada.

But, today I was shocked to see that before I could get to the Caribbean island of Barbados I had to visit a city in Spain named Granada.

Why would those who named these streets opt to throw in a Spanish city amongst all the Caribbean islands?

I suspect a spelling error or geographic illiteracy may be the culprit.

I did not let the unexpected detour to Spain deter me from enjoying my Caribbean cruise to Barbados, Antigua and Tobago.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Post Valentine's Day Blues With Singapore Feeling Trumpy

I think I may have I learned something new this morning.

Flora Cheng has been my favorite Singaporean since way back in the last  decade of the previous century.

This morning, on Facebook, Flora posted that which you see here.

If you are unable  to read Chinese, let me translate  for you....

Heavy rain
Outside Temperature 27
Some people will be rest to 27
I don't have language.

I am sure that even if you are not fluent in Chinese you likely do know that Singapore, and most of the rest of the world, measures temperature using this thing called the Centigrade scale.

I do not know if 27 degrees Centigrade is extra hot or extra cold for a country located near the equator.

I commented on Flora's  post, using  the English language, because my fluency in Chinese is not as evolved as I  wish it was...

Durango Jones: 93 here last Saturday. HOT. Snow yesterday on Valentine's Day. BRRRR!!!!

Flora Cheng: Your weather has gone Trumpy.

Durango Jones:  Let us just hope the entire world's weather does not go Trumpy....

Flora Cheng:  Hopefully.
_______________________

I am guessing that our Dear Leader's name has become a descriptive word in Singapore.

Trumpy.

I am also guessing as to what Trumpy means in Singapore.

Is Trumpy Singalese for Crazy? Nuts? Unpredictable? Bizarre? Weird Unbelievable?

I suppose I could end the guessing by emailing Flora and asking what Trumpy means to her and her fellow Singaporeans....

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day Hike To The Summit Of Arizona's Camelback Mountain

No, that is not Mount Wichita you are looking at here, though the resemblance is uncanny.

Currently, on this Valentine's Day of 2017, Mount Wichita is shrouded in clouds with those clouds dripping on the mountain and its surrounding area.

That would be Camelback Mountain we are looking at here, not Mount Wichita. Mount Wichita is in Texas.

Camelback Mountain is located two states to the west, in Arizona, in what is known as the Valley of the Sun, which is the location of towns such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler  and Sun Lakes.

A few minutes ago my phone made  its incoming text message noise. Soon upon checking on the source of that noise I saw a message with a photo.

The message was "Valentine's morning  hike to the top of Camelback. Heading south  to Sun Lakes later today."

You can see who sent this message from Camelback below, but before we get to that let's take a closer look at the south side of Camelback Mountain.


It was my Favorite Nephews, Chris and Jeremy, whose mom, my Favorite Sister, Jackie, took me on a tour of Camelback Mountain during my most recent visit to Arizona. The homes built on to the side of Camelback are impressive. I really liked the one above which looked like a fortified castle with a cactus making what looked like an obscene gesture in the foreground.

Prior to touring Camelback, Jackie and I had hiked up the former Squaw Peak, now known as Piestewa Peak. This was a brutal hike in blazing sun, with the trail shared with dozens of tourists from all over America, in town to watch baseball players play some training games.


No, what we are looking at here is not the well designed trail to the summit of Camelback Mountain. I believe that summit trail is accessed from the north side of the mountain. What we are looking at here is on the south side, with that stairway leading to yet one more impressive home built into the side of the mountain.

And now we get to the mountaineer who sent the below photo this Valentine's morning from high atop Camelback Mountain.


That would be Spencer Jack's Favorite Dad, my Favorite Nephew, Jason, currently in the Scottsdale zone to see his dad and to surprise his Grandma, in the aforementioned town of Sun Lakes, with appropriate Valentine's Day surprises. I assume such would be a box of chocolates and maybe some sort of fragrant flower.

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day from the summit of  Camelback Mountain....

Monday, February 13, 2017

Return Of Cold Jogging Along Holliday Creek With No Threat From Lake Oroville Dam Failure

With the outer world temperature one degree short of being 20 degrees above freezing I decided to layer on the outer wear as best I could manage so as to have myself some endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation acquired via moving fast on the Circle Trail.

A steady breeze from the north today brought about that much dreaded wind chill factor. That factor somewhat abated when I switched my movement direction from heading north to heading south.

As you can see via the photo documentation dark clouds make rain appear likely.

I suspect Holliday Creek and its gorge, which you see part of above, would like to see some rain, as not much water is currently moving in Holliday Creek.

Last night an incoming  news alert informed me that the catastrophic failure of the Oroville Lake Dam was imminent within an hour. And that a large  swatch of California was ordered to evacuate ahead of the expected catastrophic wall of water.

I'd been watching the drama on that particular California dam since early last week. When I went to the live YouTube feed  of last night's ongoing dam situation that situation  quickly became muddled.

As in was the danger due to the erosion  in the main spillway which early in the week had been deemed not a serious problem? Or was the danger due to erosion on the emergency spillway? The news reporters seemed to be confused as to what the precise danger source was.

I watched the drama for about an hour, and then opted to cease with the watching. By morning the dam had not failed, the water level  was down, no catastrophic failure had occurred. But more rain is on the way.

I suspect today there are a lot  of Californians feeling a bit cranky that they were given a few minutes to evacuate due to failure being expected within the hour.

But it is always better to be safe than sorry.

And the Oroville Lake Dam has not  had its dam problem fixed, so a catastrophic failure could still happen.

Let's hope  not. In Washington I eye witnessed the destruction  resulting from a dike failure when a flooding Skagit River broke through the dike downstream from my home zone in Mount Vernon, causing Fir Island to be flooded.

A breech in the dike of a flooding river is a minor thing compared to the failure of a dam.

Currently I am living downstream a mile from a dam, the Lake Wichita Dam, which holds back the water of Holliday Creek. It would take one HUGE flood to breach the top of Lake Wichita Dam and cause a catastrophic failure. Or so it seems to me. But what do I know about dam engineering? Not much...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Felix Lindsey Gone But Not Forgotten At Wichita Falls Riverside Cemetery

The oldest cemetery in Wichita Falls is Riverside Cemetery, located on a bluff on the south side of the Wichita River, adjacent to Lucy Park, with Wichita Falls flowing from its north side.

Most of Wichita Falls most famous and infamous citizens are buried in Riverside Cemetery. Familiar local names like  Kemp, Kell, Barwise and others.

Multiple Texas State Historical Markers tell the story of many of the Riverside Cemetery inhabitants.

Walking around Riverside Cemetery takes one on a trek through Texas and American history, past statuary, elaborate mausoleums and monuments.

Among the Texas State Historical Markers is one telling the story of Felix L. Lindsey.

The text on the Felix Lindsay Historical Marker...

FELIX L. LINDSEY

Felix L. Lindsey was born in Gallatin County, Kentucky on October 10, 1847. His mother was mulatto and his father was full-blood Creek Indian. He was sent to live with a white family named Meeks when he was seven years old and was provided a small amount of education so that he could help with the family's business. During the Civil War, Lindsey was tasked by the family with carrying food to Union soldiers camped nearby and he developed a fondness for the uniform. In 1882, Lindsey joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 10th Calvary Regiment of "Buffalo Soldiers" at Fort Davis, Texas. In 1885, his unit was sent to Arizona to pursue Apache tribe leader, Geronimo. In later accounts to interviewers Lindsey recalled pursuing Apaches along narrow canyon trails, witnessing soldiers being shot from their horses and a brief encounter with Geronimo as he was negotiating his surrender. Felix Lindsey suffered three wounds that ended his military career at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1893.

Soon after, Lindsey moved to Wichita Falls where he married Mary Tillman and raised their family of nine children. Lindsey lived and worked in the African-American community, operating a drapery cleaning service and house cleaning service.  Physically limited by his military service wounds, Lindsey employed family members in his business ventures and earned respect among his clients. Felix L. Lindsey died in Wichita Falls on September 14, 1939 at the age of 92. The life of Felix Lindsey is a testament to the passion and perseverance of African Americans after the Civil War to prosper and earn respect during a turbulent time in Texas and our nation.
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From the official City of Wichita Falls Riverside  Cemetery webpage....

Riverside is the oldest cemetery in Wichita Falls. It was originally known as Wichita Cemetery. The first burial took place December 18, 1879.

Many of the City's founding fathers and their families are buried in Riverside as well as a few infamous former citizens. There are many hand carved granite monuments and mausoleums that date back to the early 20th century that make for interesting viewing during a quiet walk among the stately trees and picturesque trails.
_______________

From the Texas State Historical Marker one comes to at the entry to Riverside Cemetery...

African American citizens organized the “Riverside Colored Burial Association,” and in 1906 the city sold the association a half-acre on Riverside’s northwest corner. Hundreds of burials took place in that section, although today few grave markers remain. Improvement to Riverside over the years included a chapel, iron fencing and gates, landscaping and street paving. 


Near the Felix Lindsey Historical Marker, and grave marker, in the African-American section of Riverside Cemetery, is the above headstone, fallen on hard times, literally, with the name no longer able to be read, with the epitaph an ironic, "GONE  BUT NOT FORGOTTEN"...

Happy Birthday Little Sister Jackie

On the morning of this day, many decades ago, way back in the previous century, my little brother, Jake, big sister, Clancy, and myself, found ourselves sitting on the south side of the curb of Fairhaven  Avenue in the Washington town called Burlington.

Our home abode at the time was on the same block as the curb we were sitting on, on the street due south called Washington Avenue, directly across from Maiben Park, Burlington's one and only city park.

On the north side of Fairhaven at that point in time there was a hospital. I do not remember the name of that hospital. It was soon  to be turned into apartments when a new hospital called United General was built between Burlington and Sedro-Woolley.

It was in that new United General Hospital that my last littlest sister, Michele, the mother of David, Theo and Ruby was born.

And it was in that long gone hospital on Fairhaven Avenue that my then littlest sister, Jackie, was born, on this date, decades ago.

Myself and my two siblings were sitting on that curb on that morning on this day, decades ago, so we could see our new baby sister for the first time. At that point in time kids were not allowed in the hospital, or so we were told.

So, we sat on the Fairhaven curb and scanned the fourth floor windows until we finally spotted our dad holding our new baby sister, Jackie, at the window, so we could see her for the first time.

I remember this like it happened only yesterday. I was seven at the time.

Happy Birthday, Jackie. Hope to see you soon.....

Saturday, February 11, 2017

93 Degree Texas Heat Wave Before Incoming Snow

Is 93 degrees a February 11 record for Wichita Falls?

I have so far resisted turning on the air conditioning.

I have turned on the ceiling fans.

Tomorrow a new cold  front arrives, followed, supposedly, with possible snow on Tuesday.

This is leaving plants, birds, snakes and some humans feeling discombobulated.

That Was Not Elsie Hotpepper At The Wichita Falls Public Library Today

This second Saturday of February I opted to risk exposure to the extreme HEAT wave which has descended upon North Texas to venture to downtown Wichita Falls to my favorite local source of reading material.

The Wichita Falls Public Library.

A couple Fridays ago I finally got around to getting myself a library card so as to enable checking out books from Wichita Falls one and only public library.

Regarding that lady walking into the library ahead of me, who you are looking at in the picture, I suspect some might guess this is Elsie Hotpepper, due to the striking resemblance.

Well, this is not Elsie Hotpepper, obviously, because this is clearly not a redhead, but, other than that, the doppelganger level resemblance to Elsie Hotpepper is remarkable.


That is the entry to the Wichita Falls Public Library you are looking at above. The Wichita Falls Public Library is among the best I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

Til checking out a book in Wichita Falls I had not experienced a library using a self checkout method. The self checkout works slick. You scan your library card and then one by one place books above the checkout ray. Instantly the book is identified. When done checking out all your books you select 'done' and then choose to have a receipt printed.

Returning books is also a slick operation. At the entry to the library there is a robotic device where you set a book on a moving belt which sucks the book into the robot whilst identifying the book. When done you can opt to print a receipt.

When I was done with the library I opted to return to nearby Riverside Cemetery to do some walking through history. That is a story for another blogging.

The walk among tombstones was HOT. In the 80s, heading to some place in the 90s. I currently have a ceiling fan spinning overheard and am considering turning on the air conditioner.

These extreme temperature fluctuations are aggravating. Tomorrow a cold front is scheduled to blow in, with snow on the menu for Monday.

Snow.

Very perplexing...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Long Walk Checking Lake Wichita Revitalization Project Progress

Yesterday, if I remember right, I mentioned that Lake Wichita Has Been Reported To The Trump Administration.

I think I also mentioned that according to information I gleaned from what I believe to be the official Lake Wichita Revitalization Project website that Lake Wichita's Revitalization is expected to be completed somewhere in the mid 2017 time frame.

I think mid 2017 would be around June and July, about five months from this current Friday in February.

Til today it had been at least a month, likely longer, since I'd hiked to my neighborhood dam, that being the dam which causes Lake Wichita to exist.

I thought it would be interesting to check out Lake Wichita Dam, and the lake, to see if I can detect any of that much talked about revitalizing, what with the middle of the year and that completion date rapidly approaching.

Well. I could detect nothing that has changed since I last looked at Lake Wichita.

In the above photo we are rock and rolling on a wave tossed floating dock. That pimple on the horizon is Mount Wichita, looking like a floating oasis far out to sea.

The long range plan for a revitalized Lake Wichita includes building a new pavilion  on the lake.

Below is what remains of the former Lake Wichita Pavilion.


The Lake Wichita Pavilion was quite an attraction in its heyday. Eventually the pavilion became neglected and then at some point in the 1950s the pavilion burned to the ground, I mean water. The pilings you see above, sticking out of Lake Wichita,  are all that remains of the Lake Wichita Pavilion.

I think the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project is an extremely good plan. I hope this plan comes to fruition. Soon.

Near the start of this century the Texas town I previously lived in announced a water revitalizing project, which eventually became known as the Fort Worth Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

Or, more commonly, as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

The FWTRCCUPID Vision never has seemed like it was as well thought out and as good an idea as the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project.

The FWTRCCUPID Vision has had projected project timelines over the years that never manage to happen. For instance a couple years ago American's Biggest Boondoggle had a TNT explosion celebration to mark the start of construction of one of three little simple bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Construction on that bridge was supposed to begin soon after the TNT explosion. Many months later construction did start on that bridge, with a four year construction timeline. About a year ago construction on that bridge was halted due to the discovery of design errors. No one knows if or when America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges will get built.

I hope the Lake  Wichita Revitalization Project is not plagued with Fort Worth type inept incompetence.

Way back in 2010 I remember riding my bike on Fort Worth's Trinity Trail. Soon I found myself seeing a lot of dirt being moved and the trail re-routed, along with a massive amount of signage announcing "Trinity River Vision Underway".

Way back then the official name for what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle was a lot shorter than it is now, fitting easier on a sign.

That dirt I saw being moved way back  in 2010 was to make a pond for an absurdity which became known as Cowtown Wakepark, a product of the Trinity River Vision. Cowtown Wakepark soon went out of business, due to multiple issues, most of which common sense would have obviated the Cowtown Wakepark ever being built  in the first place.

I do not see an unseemly amount of signage about the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project, certainly not at the bizarre Orwellian propaganda level of what continues to be seen in Fort  Worth with its embarrassing boondoggle.

Is that huge "Panther Island Bridges Under Construction" sign still displaying near the Henderson Street Bridge near the location of Panther Island Pavilion? Where there is no island or pavilion?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lake Wichita Has Been Reported To The Trump Administration

I gleaned what you see here a few weeks ago from the Wichita Falls Times Record News, that being the newspaper which serves the area of Texas in which I currently reside.

I read the accompanying article and still could not figure out how Lake Wichita was in a report for Trump.

I have now been in Wichita Falls long enough to notice a thing or two which sort of vex me.

One of those vexations is the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project, which I learned of within days of arriving in this burg.

This coming May I will have been in Wichita Falls a year. Lake Wichita is no closer to being revitalized than it was upon my arrival.

I have made note of multiple Lake Wichita Revitalization fund raising projects, such as car washes.

Trying to raise money for a big public works  project via things like car washes seems goofy, and well, just a bit bizarre to me.

Revitalizing Lake Wichita seems like such a good idea to me I have no idea why funding such is not submitted to the public, asking voters to support a bond issue to raise the money to pay for it. The cost estimates I have seen are in the $30 million range. This does not seem that large a figure for a town of over 100,000 residents. But it does seem like a large figure to try and raise with car washes.

The Texas town I lived in before moving to Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, has a bizarre public works project which has been crawling along most of this century. With little to show for the effort, despite a lot of money having been spent, much of which has gone to pay for the large number of employees employed by what has  become known  as America's Biggest Boondoggle, or the Trinity River Central  City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

Currently America's  Biggest Boondoggle has been stuck for a year trying to figure out what went wrong with the construction of three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

I hope the Wichita Falls Lake Wichita Revitalization Project is not of the same ilk as Fort Worth's badly designed, ineptly implemented project, ambling along with little to show year after year.

Last year at some point in time I read that the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project was ready to submit its plan to the Army Corps of  Engineers. This submission sounded as if it was imminent. But a few months went by when I read again that the submission was about to be made.

On the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project website I learned the following regarding this project's  projected timeline...

We expect to acquire a permit by the end of 2015 or early 2016. The project should take 1.5 to 3 years. With appropriate funding this project could be complete and ready for water by the middle of 2017.

Well,  we are rapidly approaching the middle of 2017. I have seen nothing which indicates this project is underway.

One of the reasons Fort Worth's water project has turned into America's Biggest  Boondoggle is the son of Fort Worth's Congresswoman, Kay Granger, was hired to be the Executive Director of  the project, even though he had no experience overseeing a large engineering project. J.D. Granger was hired in order to motivate his mother to obtain federal pork barrel money for the project.

I am assuming that no Wichita Falls Congressperson's ne'er do well offspring has been hired to over see the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project, or I would have heard reference made of such.

If not the hiring of the incompetent offspring of a local politician being the reason, what is the explanation why the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project seems stalled?

Everything about this project seems like a good idea to me, with the result likely proving to be a HUGE asset for Wichita Falls and its surrounding area.  Go to the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project website and see for yourself all this project entails. Unlike Fort Worth's, this is a vision which makes sense and seems very doable.

In other words, it seems to me the sooner Lake Wichita gets revitalized the better life will be for the people of Wichita Falls and the people who visit  this town....

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mystery Why Fort Worth Is Not One Of The Top Ten Best Places To Live In America

This particular blog post is sort of yet one more iteration of something I see in a west coast online news source, usually the Seattle Times, about something I would not be expecting to be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something related to Fort Worth.

No, I am not referring to the illustrative photo from the Seattle Times article showing part of the downtown Seattle skyline, with the iconic Space Needle, and Mount Rainier in the background, as something one would not expect to see in Fort  Worth.

Because, well, even though Fort Worth does not have much of a downtown skyline, nor any sort of iconic symbol.

Or a mountain hovering in the distance.

What I am referring to as something I would not expect to see in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which I saw today in the Seattle Times, is an article about some legit entity naming Fort Worth as one of the top ten best places to live in the United States.

The legit entity in this case is U.S. News & World Report.

The rankings are based on migration, desirability, quality of life, “value” and job-market health, using U.S. Census Bureau data to compare income and cost of living to show how comfortably people could live within their means. along with crime statistics, health-care rankings and education rankings to measure the quality of life.

The rankings were also a bit of a popularity contest with U.S. News & World Report polling people all over America as to where they were most interested in living.

Sort of surprising Fort Worth did not rank high due to that popularity contest part of the survey, what with, you know, how Fort Worth regularly causing cities and towns, far and wide, to be Green with Envy over something in Fort Worth.

A Texas town, other than Fort Worth, did make this top ten list, coming in at #1 as the best place to live in the United States.

Austin.


These type rankings always seem a little bit goofy.

San Jose? I have been all over California, seeing many places in that state that would be a great place to live. But, San Jose? I have zero memory of anything about San Jose.

Des  Moines? Fayetteville? The rest on the list I have some awareness of.

I think Austin would be a mighty fine town  to live in. Except for being so close to all that mountain cedar pollen. That and the traffic.

If Fort Worth's Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther City District Vision ever becomes something America can see, and no longer America's Biggest Boondoggle, I'm sure Fort Worth will zoom right up to the top ten of any list measuring the best places to live in America....

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

No Free Lunch With Hard Working Trinity River Vision Folks

 An amusing blog comment a couple days ago linked me to a not so amusing item about America's Biggest Boondoggle in action.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Has Anyone Seen Fort Worth's Imaginary 8.8 Million Visitors?":

Are the Trinity River Vision folks hard at work or hardly working? That's original, eh? I could work for the Eppstein group with comments like this.

Link: It's a working lunch kind of day...
______________

America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Vision Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision has been boondoggling along for most of this century.

Currently, next month, as in March, it will be a year since construction ground to a halt of the Boondoggle's simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Some of the people you see in the above photo have been on the Boondoggle's take for over a decade, such as J.D. Granger, on the right at the far end of the table. Next to J.D. is his girl friend, Shanna, who has also been on the take for a long time.

Due to the Boondoggle becoming such, taking a long, long, long, long time to do very little, these people have been securely employed for years longer than they would have been if this public works project was properly engineered and executed by actual trained professionals with a history of accomplishing such things.

Instead of hiring a trained professional the Tarrant Region Water District hired a low level county prosecutor, who happened to be the son of Fort Worth's congresswoman, Kay Granger, to be the Executive Director of this project, thus to motivate Kay to secure federal pork barrel money from you taxpayers in more prosperous parts of America.

Go to the Trinity River Vision Facebook page and you will soon be seeing examples of propaganda and hubris, such as you see below.
The comments on the Boondoggle's Facebook page can be best characterized as being embarrassing.

As in people gushing about how wonderful this project is, asking when will it be ready, many seeming to indicate no awareness that this Boondoggle has been limping along for years, with stalled bridges and failed wakeboard parks and cancelled polluted river floats.

To one of the commenter's questions asking when will this wonderful project be finished the Boondoggle's Facebook spokesperson replied that the project's "infrastructure is almost complete."

A month or two ago J.D. Granger told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the project's infrastructure should be mostly complete by 2023.

2023.

How many more years is this absurdity going to continue before there is an intervention?

Very perplexing...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Snow School For Spencer Jack Today


Reading the Seattle Times this morning I learned Western Washington has had itself a snow storm, with accumulations sufficient  in some locations to cause school closings and other inconveniences.

I did not know, via reading the Seattle Times, if my old home zone, known as the Banana Belt of the Skagit Valley, also got hit with a blanket of snow.

The Skagit Valley is known  as the Banana Belt due to the fact that it is located between two of these things known as convergence zones. This somehow causes the blizzards which can rage between the Skagit Valley and a short  distance north to the Canadian border, to not reach the Valley of the Skagit.

Well, such is not the case with the current snow, which I learned minutes ago from Spencer Jack's dad who phoned me the above photo of Spencer Jack's Mount Vernon domicile, along with a text message which said, "Spencer Jack will not be schooled today."

Pre Super Bowl Wichita Falls Nature Bluff Hike

Yesterday, prior to going to ALDI for my Super Bowl Party supplies I thought it might be interesting to check out the current status of Wichita Falls and the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

A month or so ago I read in the Wichita Falls Times News Record that Wichita Falls was going to be having some work done. A new bridge, trail upgrade to the Circle Trail and a thing or two I am not  remembering.

I  thought I understood that this remodeling was a ready to go project with one of the points of the article being that access to Wichita Falls would be slightly compromised during the process of the upgrade, which I thought was to be quickly underway.

Apparently I thought wrong, because it looked to me as if nothing has been done in the area of Wichita Falls and it did not appear that anything was being prepared to be done.

It was a good walk to the falls, though. A lot of other people were also enjoying that walk along the Wichita River.

Speaking of which, yesterday was the first time I've seen the Wichita River not in muddy red river mode. It looked like normal river water, not that color that always reminds me of Utah type redrock,

After checking out Wichita Falls I meandered back to Lucy Park and then drove west to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, where I was expecting to see the project finally back being worked on after a long delay due to problems with the contractor the city had hired, who had to be replaced.


In the instance of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area the information I read in the Wichita Falls Times News Record matched what I saw. As in there has been a lot of work done since I last checked out this project.

I did not know what to make of those four coffin shaped cement structures, you see above, which have been added just outside the covered pavilion.

I saw a lot of work has been done on the bridge across the gully at the bottom of the bluff. And a lot of trail work is underway.

Judging  by what  I saw yesterday I would hazard to guess that when the Wichita Bluff  Nature Area is available for hiking it will quickly become my favorite go to place for that type activity, in the same way the Tandy Hills Nature Area used to be when I was incarcerated in the D/FW zone of Texas.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hoping The Fog Lifts Before Lady Gaga's Super Bowl Halftime Show

One of my vehicles under the carport safe from the Fog
When one lives close to the ocean one expects to wake up every once in awhile to find ones outlook on the outer world to be foggy.

Such was the case this morning on this fifth day of 2017's February.

Super Bowl Sunday.

Super Bowl LI

I'm not much of a fan of the football game part of the Super Bowl, unless someone like the Seattle Seahawks is playing, or the Dallas Cowboys.

Apparently not many people are alive in 2017 possessing a living memory of the Dallas Cowboys playing in the Super Bowl.

I do remember the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowling a time or two in the past few years.

I used to find the Super Bowl commercials to have some entertainment value. But the commercials have not been all the memorable the last several years.

Nor has the Super  Bowl Halftime Show been memorable the last several years.

Today I will likely make  it through the Halftime Show before bailing on the 2017 iteration of the Super Bowl.

I like Lady Gaga.

I am expecting Lady Gaga to put on a super Super Bowl Halftime Show. If Lady Gaga does not deliver a super show I will be terribly disappointed.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Enduring Arctic Texas Cold With Green Siracha Sauce From Vietnam

I have lost track, due to not taking notes, of the number of aggravations currently aggravating me.

So, with a cluster of aggravations aggravating me I decided to layer on the outer world to venture out into the current return of the Arctic to have myself a cold, windy walk on the Circle Trail which circles around this tiny Texas town which calls itself Wichita Falls.

I lasted in the chill long enough to take the photo you see here, looking north at Holliday Creek Gorge, with the Circle Trail on the left, barely visible.

This latest Arctic Blast is scheduled to retreat in a couple days, with the temperature then returning to a more reasonable 80 something.

Shrimp is not on the barbie for lunch, instead shrimp is scheduled to be added to a nice hot stir fry of various vegetables including broccoli, bok choy and bean sprouts, along with jasmine rice.

Yesterday I got myself a new product to add some heat to whatever I stir fry.

Green Siracha sauce. From Vietnam.

Living in Texas is such a rewarding multi-cultural experience...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Has Anyone Seen Fort Worth's Imaginary 8.8 Million Visitors?

This morning I got an email from someone who shall remain anonymous asking me if I'd seen this.

This was referring to an article in this morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram titled Fort Worth attracted 8.8 million visitors last year in booming tourism market.

I replied to Anonymous that I had already seen the article and that I found it to be yet one more appalling piece of Star-Telegram propaganda.

8.8 million  visitors to Fort Worth?

A few years ago the Star-Telegram joined with the Fort Worth chamber of commerce sorts in spewing the nonsense that a sporting goods store in Fort Worth would be the #1 tourist attraction in Texas and was well worth the bribes, I mean, incentives, Cabela's was requesting for Fort Worth to land such a coveted prize.

During the selling of the Cabelas con job the number of visitors, annually, to what would be the top tourist attraction in Texas ranged from 6 to 8 million. Something around 30 to 40 thousand sporting goods shoppers a day.

Fort Worth was left, yet again, with embarrassing egg on its face after falling for the Cabela's con, only to soon learn that the Fort Worth Cabelas was not going to be the only Cabelas in Texas, and soon not even the only Cabelas in the D/FW Metroplex.

And now we are supposed to believe that Fort Worth attracted 8.8 million visitors last year?

Was it to the sporting goods store those millions of visitors were attracted?

Long ago I remember reading that anyone coming from a distance of 50 miles or more was considered a visitor to Fort Worth. How this number of visitors statistic is compiled I have no clue. I suspect it is likely a bogus false statistic conjured out of thin air.

Anyone who has actually been to a town  which attracts out of state visitors knows such is not the case in Fort Worth. One seldom sees out of state license plates, and most of those are from Oklahoma.

Go to San Antonio and make note of how many out of state license plates signifying tourists you see. Do the same in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Phoenix, New Orleans or even Dallas and you will see a lot of out of state license plates.

Fort Worth is not any sort of tourist mecca. To pretend otherwise is delusional. Why does this type ridiculous propaganda get spewed?

Here's an embarrassing quote from the article...

“There is an excitement about the city and a sense of opportunity that exists right now,” Jameson said. “Our visitors have more things to do than ever.”

Excitement about the city? More things to do than ever?

Like what? Go wakeboarding? No, that effort by America's Biggest  Boondoggle sank. More things to do, like floating in the Trinity River in The Boondoggle's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube  Floats?

More things to do? Like check out The Boondoggle's bridges being built to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island?

The construction of which has been stalled for what will be a year in March. Is gazing at those moldy V Piers stuck in the air near that Roundabout homage to aluminum garbage cans one of the exciting things to do in Fort Worth?

The Tourism Boom article is full of embarrassing gems. Items about conventions bringing  in big bucks. About expanding the convention center. About the new arena that still is not under construction which voters sort of voted for years ago.

And the need for another convention center hotel built with taxpayer help.

Here's a clue, Fort Worth, to that actual health of your imaginary tourist boom. If such was really the case, developers would be eager to build new hotels, with no incentive help, such as what happens in actual booming tourist towns such as Seattle and San Francisco and others.

Why does the Star-Telegram publish embarrassing propaganda puff pieces like this without  asking  any critical questions? How many times now has Fort Worth been burned by getting conned?

A few examples come to mind. The Santa Fe Rail Market. Cabelas. The Radio Shack Corporate Headquarters. The Mercado, or whatever it is called on Main Street south of the Stockyards.

And then there is the biggest Fort  Worth con job of all.

The Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision which has  become known far and wide as America's Biggest (and most embarrassing) Boondoggle....

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Spencer Jack At Oso Mudslide Memorial Straining My Memory

This week Spencer Jack loaded up his new pickup and took his dad to the site of America's worst mudslide disaster, Oso, Washington.

FNJ & FNSJ emailed three Oso photos and the following explanatory text...

FUD --

The winter days are so long here. Spencer and I try each day after school to find something to do.  We have to do this immediately after school pick up time as the sun sets by 5 these days. Today we visited for the first time the nation's deadliest landslide.  The pictures don't do justice.  But if you want to do more research about this, google 'before and after pictures of the Oso mudslide.' A small community literally was covered when a logged mountain couldn't hold an abnormal amount of rain. I expected to do some hiking this afternoon, but the area is off limits to the public.  A makeshift memorial of this tragic event is located where we were able to stop and snap a few pictures. 

Tomorrow Grandma Cindy has Spencer Jack school pick up duty, but Wednesday, I'm hoping to take him bike riding around Lake Padden. Or perhaps the Interurban trail. Spencer bought a pickup truck last month so he can haul our bicycles to fun locations. He has only been able to do this once so far this very cold winter. Do you remember when you and Joey and I started at Larrabee State Park and rode our bikes to Lake Whatcom and back? That was a fun day. I remember we stopped at Haggens (when it was just local to Bellingham) for their deli Chinese lunch. Spencer and I need to do that soon. You should join us.

Hope all is well, FNJ
_______________________

Regarding the other pictures referred to,  you can see them on another blog via Oso Washington Mudslide Update From The Jones Boys.

I remember biking with Spencer Jack's dad and uncle from Larrabee to the Alaskan Ferry Terminal in Bellingham's Fairhaven District, which is about 16 miles roundtrip, if I remember right. But I have no memory of pedaling all the way from Larrabee to Lake Whatcom. That would be a long bike ride. I told Jason I don't remember that bike ride, but he assured me we did do so.

I trust Jason's youthful memory more than my own.

Whilst in Washington Lake Padden was one of my regular go to places, both for mountain biking and hiking. Miles upon miles of great hilly trails. And in summer a dip in the lake was doable.

When I moved to Texas I was appalled to find there were no grocery stores of the Haggen quality level. I used to frequently frequent the Bellingham Haggens Chinese and Sushi deli. When Central Market came to the D/FW zone I was pleased to see it was sort of like Haggens, but not quite. I understand, for reasons unfathomable to me, Haggens has fallen on hard times.

Something to do with Alberstsons.

When I lived in Washington Albertsons was the worst of the grocery stores. When I moved to Texas I was appalled, appalled I tell you, when I asked what the best grocery store was, to find myself being told it was Albertsons.

The Texas Albertsons were/are just as bad as the Washington version, in my humble opinion.

I wonder where Spencer Jack is going to take his dad next? I wouldn't mind seeing some pictures of Lake Padden. It's been many years since I have seen Lake Padden.