Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Morning Worrying Arizona Monsoon Swim

You are looking at my slightly cock-eyed morning Monsoon view, post swimming, this third Arizona Sunday of the 2018 version of July.

Miss Daisy did not accompany me to the pool this morning. I think the threatening sky worried her.

Last night, early in the evening, my phone went off with multiple dust storm warnings. Miss Daisy and I had returned to cover shortly before the warnings arrived. We saw the incoming wall of dust on our way back to Sun Lakes.

I am a bit worried my return to Texas may be more adventurous than I like. Both ways, this trip, my DFW connection was less than an hour. No big deal when the plane departs, or arrives, on time. The flight out of DFW was delayed almost an hour. Which really caused no problem, except for the extra wait time for the pickup crew in Phoenix.

The return to DFW is where I may have a problem.

Saturday the Arizona temperature at my location is scheduled to reach around 115. We have this ongoing Monsoon madness. With that, and a high temperature, flights may be delayed out of Sky Harbor Airport.

If there is a significant delay I will not be able to make the connection to the flight to Wichita Falls. Thus rendering a wait til the first flight out the following morning.

I am sure if such a calamity happens someone like Miss Puerto Rico or Elsie Hotpepper will come to my rescue.

Or not.

The photo of me you see here was taken post-pooling this morning, drying out on a lounge chair under a gray sky with cooling drops dripping slowing the drying process.

Keeping Cool In Tacoma With David, Theo & Ruby

No, what you are looking at here is not me cooling off at one of Arizona's many refreshing beaches.

Last night my favorite Ruby niece text messaged me what you are looking at here.

That being her favorite brothers, Theo and David, rescuing some driftwood at Owens Beach which had floated in from some where on the Puget Sound.

Owens Beach is located in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park, near the ferry landing which takes one from the mainland to Vashon Island.

To those reading this in Fort Worth, and its environs,Vashon Island is a real island, not an imaginary make believe pretend island surrounded by a man made ditch..

That is just a piece of Vashon Island you see in the distance to the right of David's red head.

The gap between the mainland and Vashon Island is too far to close the gap with a bridge, hence a ferry boat being the means of island access.

No local Tacoma congresswoman's incompetent son, exhibiting classic Dunning-Kruger Effect syndrome, was put in charge of building the boat to float from Tacoma to Vashon Island, hence that boat has been floating for decades.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, has anyone been seeing any real progress with those pitiful little bridges which have been stuck in slow motion make believe construction for around four years. Longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge, which was an actual feat of engineering, built over actual water?

Yesterday around the time Ruby sent me the above cool looking photo Miss Daisy and I were getting hit with yet one more dust storm and monsoon. With the temperature over 100.

Owens Beach, Tacoma, the Pacific Northwest, and a naturally air conditioned outer world sounds appealing at this point in time.

I don't know if I can successfully trick Miss Daisy into directing me on a roadtrip north to Washington.

It is now Sunday, the day after the above pithy paragraphs were written. A week from today I should be back in Texas.

This Sunday morning Miss Daisy directed me to her usual Sunday morning McDonald's Sausage McMuffin with Egg. Followed by a long drive to Santan Mountain.

After not doing some mountain climbing Miss Daisy directed me to a Costco where we free sampled and hunted for some sort of frozen cone confection.

The frozen cone confection search was futile. We left Costco with nothing but those aforementioned free samples.

The drive from Costco back to Sun Lakes passed through some falling raindrops, but not enough, it seemed to me, to qualify as legitimate precipitation.

However, this morning, post swim whilst lounging poolside, whilst talking on the phone, some legitimate precipitation precipitated, but not in full downpour mode. It was refreshing.

I took a photo of this morning's poolside monsoon. It is one my phone. Maybe I will get that photo off my phone later...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Arizona Swim Between Incoming Monsoons

This morning I took my feet to the pool for a swim between incoming Monsoon storms.

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, Miss Daisy and I made it back to interior cover a few minutes before that day's Monsoon hit.

Today we are heading north to Scottsdale, being adventurous and risky, what with today's predicted Monsoon scheduled to be a wild one.

The most unusual, to me, thing about these Monsoon storms, is they can include big balls of hail. A temperature over 100 degrees would seem to HOT to not melt incoming ice....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Survived First 2018 Arizona Monsoon Haboob

Last night my favorite Jeremy nephew managed to make it to grandma's slightly ahead of the Haboob Dust Storm.

Soon after Jeremy arrived so did the Haboob.

The blowing dust was quickly replaced by rain, followed by lightning strikes.

Jeremy's uncle Jake called from Scottsdale to let us know he had lost power and was taking refuge in his vehicle in order to keep cool.

After Jake called we located emergency lighting in the form of four flashlights.

We did not lose power, but it was a good thing to be prepared.

Last night's storm did not last too long at our location, Elsewhere, according to the morning news. the Valley of the Sun took quite a Monsoon Haboob hit last night.

Below is video taken a couple minutes after the Monsoon arrived....

Monday, July 9, 2018

Stuck In My First Arizona Haboob Dust Storm With Miss Daisy & Jeremy

Miss Daisy and I were about to head north to Mesa to go to the Superstition Ranch Farmers Market when the phone went into Emergency Alert Warning mode, warning us of an impending dust storm, from which we were advised to seek shelter.

And get off the road if driving.

Incoming Haboob.

Last night, around ten, the phone made the same warning, multiple times. We noticed nothing, til this morning when the morning sun revealed an outer world covered with a coating of dust.

And this morning when I went pooling I learned some emergency warning went off at 3 in the morning which had the pool maintenance people busy dealing with clogging filters.

Now this most recent Emergency Alert Warning has been extended another 25 minutes.

I stepped outside a few minutes ago to photo document the incoming wall of dust, which is what you are seeing.

Nephew Jeremy just arrived, chased by the dust storm, says lots of lightning is on the way. It's getting real dark. Brother Jake just texted that power is out in Scottsdale.

The dust has arrived. Must hit the publish button and batten the hatches...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Arizona Day One HOT As Expected With No Additional Turbulence

In the view you are looking at here you are looking east from my mama's living room, with a sun-blocking screen causing the pattern of squares between you and the pair of cactus.

The ride to Arizona was the wildest yet. Extreme turbulence on the leg from Wichita Falls to DFW. The flight to Phoenix from DFW was postponed a couple times, ending up with about an hour delay.

As we descended into the Valley of the Sun a blockade of dark clouds appeared, shooting lightning. The turbulence hit quick and hard, banging my fragile head against the window.

The turbulence soon abated.

Nearing Phoenix I looked out the window on what looked like those palm islands in Dubai. I quickly realized I was looking directly down at mom's Sun Lakes location and the clubhouse swimming pool I pooled in this morning.

A few minutes later I was on the ground. A few minutes after that after traveling on three sections of moving sidewalks my little brother came into view in the distance. Then I saw mom and sister Jackie. Spencer Jack's grandpa was rolling mom in her chariot. I took over that duty whilst SJ's grandpa took over wheeling my rolling bag.

Upon exiting the Sky Harbor interior I was a bit surprised at how HOT the blast of 115 degrees felt. I mean, this really was not all that much HOTTER than the Texas temperature I had just left. But it felt like I was at the Gateway to Hell.

This Sunday morning mom took me on a shopping expedition to Food City, Costco and WinCo. We got all the fixin's for tonight's steak grilling.

Almost one day down, and only 13 to go. Not that I am counting...

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sikes Lake Ducking Before Leaving Wichita Falls For Arizona

With a few hours to go before I fly out of here I decided I had time for one more bike ride before hitting HOT Arizona.

I was not long rolling before it was evident a lot of people decided this relatively cool Saturday made for a good day to be outside.

Rain is slightly in the forecast for today. Sikes Lake is in need of some rain. Islands are beginning to form.

And the geese and duck flocks stand in the remaining water as much as they float in it.

Today I stopped under the Sikes Lake Pavilion, which is the location you see my bike resting at above. As I rolled to a stop at a bench I rolled past a small flock of snoozing ducks. They woke up upon my passing, and then when I got off the bike to sit down and do some drinking, the ducks rose as one and began waddling towards me, quacking loudly.

I think the ducks were expecting something to eat from me. I suspect such happens throughout the day, which is why they camp out at this location near the museum parking lot.

Friday, July 6, 2018

HOT Wichita Bluff Nature Area Walk Prior To Being HOT In Arizona

Around the noon time frame this first Friday of the 2018 version of July I decided some HEAT exposure would feel good in a place with little shade.

And so I rolled my mechanized wheels to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to go on a HOT walk.

By early tomorrow evening any walking I do will likely be HOTTER than today's walking, because that walking will be taking place in the Valley of the Sun, which is in Arizona, which is a HOT location.

Nurse Canecracker informed me a few minutes ago, via Facebook, that a monsoon has been blowing and dripping in the east end of the Valley of the Sun. If there is some monsoon activity extreme humidity will likely be added to the Phoenix zone's HOT mix.

Regarding that photo you see above. I was sitting at a picnic table, under the shade of a picnic pavilion, looking northeast over the Wichita Bluffs. I have no clue what those rectangular stone formations are supposed to be. A fourth one is out of photo frame, to the left.

Tomorrow's weather prediction is for some possibly storminess. I hope this does not wreak havoc with my travel plans. I have a short, less than an hour, connect time to get from the little plane which takes me to DFW from Wichita Falls, to get on the bigger plane which takes me to Phoenix.

I suspect it will all work out. And if it doesn't, well whatever happens should be interesting. I like it when whatever happens is interesting...

Thursday, July 5, 2018

My Arizona Mom Did Not Shoot Her Son To Stay Out Of Assisted Living

I saw this early 4th of July morning on Facebook.

By noon I got email from one of my mom's four grandsons suggesting this may be some sort of cautionary warning about grandma.

I believe this Arizona shooting took place in Tempe. My mom lives in Sun Lakes, a short distance south of Tempe.

There has been talk about moving mom to some sort of assisted living situation. But, as far as I know, none of mom's sons are on board with such being a good idea.

I have been tasked with flying to Arizona on Saturday to help find some solutions to make mom's living easier. I do not think I need to worry about making sure mom is not hiding any firearms. Mom has never liked guns. Guns were never in our home growing up.

However, at times I wonder and worry that I do not know all which mom may be up to.

For instance, on my last visit I discovered an almost empty large bottle of gin hidden in the back of the lower shelf of mom's refrigerator.

Mom has never been a consumer of alcoholic beverages.

Except for the brief period of time when mom discovered getting free drinks whilst playing slot machines in Reno. I recollect at one point mom asking me if I'd ever had a root beer fizz. Which I learned was one of the "exotic' cocktails mom had discovered in Reno. When it was explained to mom these were alcoholic beverages that particular fad quickly faded.

Or so I was told.

But that bottle of gin had me wondering.

The day after I found mom's hidden bottle of gin Spencer Jack's grandpa and his favorite aunt Jackie showed up. I brought up the gin subject for the first time. Til then I had not mentioned my discovery to mom.

Mom acted all innocent, claiming no knowledge regarding the booze in her fridge.

Spencer Jack's aunt Jackie then came up with some sort of explanation explaining the mysterious bottle of gin as having something to do with David, Theo & Ruby's mother, who is also our little sister, Michele.

I soon gave up getting to the bottom of mom's gin mystery.

But, I am pretty much 100% my mom has nary a gun hidden anywhere,

I do not think any of my sane relatives have firearms.

However, one of our relatives with marginal personality disorder is known to keep a gun close by. This relative is a classic example of why we need stronger gun control laws so as to keep firearms away from the arms of such marginal personality types...

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

2018 Wichita Falls 4th of July Parade Extravaganza

The 2018 Wichita Falls 4th of July Parade is now history.

Today's 4th of July Parade in downtown Wichita Falls is the third one I have eye witnessed. This year's had the coolest temperature of the three.

The parade began right on time, at 9 this 4th of July morning, with soldiers marching the colors of the flags of the various nations stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base, complete with loud musical accompaniment. You can see and hear that below, via video.

Before the parade began, the crowd of parade viewers quickly grew. And waited. Above you see a quartet waiting in the shade, having themselves a pre-parade smoke of what appeared to be some sort of tobacco product.

Like we said, the parade began with dozens of soldiers in uniform, carrying flags. The parade viewers stood, many with hand over heart. No kneeling was seen. Though I may have been tempted to do so.

I have been to a parade or two where the passing paraders toss candy to the kids in the crowd. But I have never seen this done to the level I see happen in Wichita Falls. One nearby dad commented it is like Halloween without having to go through the effort of walking door to door.

What with all that candy being thrown about and so many people seeming to be having themselves a mighty fine time, the Wichita Falls 4th of July Parade has a sort of party feel. I've never seen so many people in a parade looking like they are having so much fun.

The parade viewers seemed to be having just as much fun as the paraders. Such as the lady above. She laughed a lot. The adult parade viewers had fun directing the kids to candy locations.

Red, white and blue seemed to be the dominant color theme.

Red, white and blue, along with multiple iterations of Uncle Sam, with the guy above being one of the best, riding on a rusted jalopy, which reared up and down as it rolled along.

And here we have a pair of red, white and blue grannies riding on the tailgate of a red USA pickup.

A red 65 Ford Mustang sporting the red, white and blue. My first car was a 1965 Mustang Fastback. A 65 Mustang is over half a century old. Yikes!

A collection of young Uncle Sams sporting more of that red, white and blue color motif.

This pair of older "Uncle Sams" pushed a sign which said "SUPER SAM & SAMANTHA: TRUTH JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY".

I think I recognized the people riding the above large Radio Flyer wagon. I am fairly certain they were red, white, blue and Browns.

One of the last entries in the parade was from the local Patterson Auto people, suggesting we PRAY FOR PEACE, with the message tacked to the side of a military vehicle.

And now that aforementioned video of Sheppard Air Force soldiers leading the Wichita Falls 4th of July Parade...

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Jason Joey Samish Island Blackjack Flashback

The mysterious photo you see above arrived in my incoming email yesterday, that being the second day of July. The email was from Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason.

The subject line in the email simply said "Samish Island Blackjack".

Blackjack is a gambling game played with cards, for you in the non-liberated part of America where gambling is banned.

Banned, along with a lot of other things. Like using cannabis oil for medicinal purposes.

I have long been perplexed how the parts of America most vocally verbalizing that land of the free concept are at the same time banning that which those in America who actually live in more liberated zones enjoy as a freedom, unlike those repressive, faux freedom spouting American locations, such as Texas.

And Alabama.

And others.

Who trumpet that land of the free concept whilst stifling freedom.

The parents of Texas kids suffering from ailments treatable by medicinal marijuana must journey as far as Colorado, currently, to get treatment for their kids.

This will soon change because a state closer to Texas than Colorado, progressive, liberal, Oklahoma has jumped on the medicinal marijuana bandwagon. A bandwagon ride sensible people logically take.

I digress, which I frequently do.

Back to the subject we started with. That photo above from Spencer Jack's dad.

In that photo, playing blackjack, we see Jason on the left, across the table from his little brother, my favorite nephew, Joey. I do not know who the other kids at the blackjack table are.

I believe that is Jason and Joey's mama, my favorite ex-sister-in-law Cindy standing to the right of Jason. Directly above Jason that looks to be Audrey Van W. Next to Audrey is my dear old mom, who I expect to see on Saturday. Next to mom is my dear old dad. Next to dad is Marie Y. I suspect this gambling operation is taking place at the home of Glen and Marie Y, what with Jason indicating this blackjacking was taking place on Samish Island.

I am guessing this photo documented blackjack game took place in the early 1990s. Joey appears to be about the age his nephew, Spencer Jack, is now. As in ten years old. Or is Spencer 11 now? Time flies and I lose track of it...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Imaginary Fort Worth Political Cartoonist Returns Home

Yesterday in the Seattle Times I saw that which you see here, an article titled More of everything: David Horsey returns to a changed Seattle.

David Horsey is a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist who, when I lived in Washington, did his political cartooning for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  And then, apparently, six years ago, Horsey left Seattle to do his political cartooning in Los Angeles. I do not know if after I left Washington Mr. Horsey went to cartooning for the Seattle Times, but I do know he has now returned to Seattle to do political cartooning for the Seattle Times.

And in this current Seattle Times entry Horsey did some political cartooning in video form in which he reflects on what has changed in Seattle in the six years he was out of town.

I know how that is, the reflecting on the changes after being gone for awhile. Last summer I saw Seattle for the first time in nine years. And was sorta of shocked by some of what I saw. Such as the large homeless encampments looking like tent campgrounds, sprouted beside the I-5 freeway, viewed like a dystopian nightmare as one slowly drives through downtown Seattle.

In his reflecting about the changes in Seattle Horsey makes mention of the shocking homeless camps, and the slow traffic on I-5.

Horsey also makes mention of other things, such as all the construction cranes, the changed skyline, all the Amazon workers, that type thing. You can watch this David Horsey returns to a changed Seattle video embedded below, or by clicking the link above to go to the article.

But, what struck my imagination whilst seeing this was wondering what a Fort Worth Horsey would think returning to Fort Worth after a six year stint in Los Angeles.

Yes, I realize the idea that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram would have a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist is a bit of a stretch, but stay with me here.

So, when that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist left Fort Worth six years ago the Trinity River Vision had not yet quite become America's Biggest Boondoggle.

I think it was around six years ago that the Boondoggle's J.D. Granger breathlessly announced that the Trinity River Vision was bringing the coveted sport of wake boarding to an urban venue in the form of the Cowtown Wakepark.

That imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist would return to Fort Worth to find the Cowtown Wakepark has long been sunk by incompetent management and an idiotic business model. Sort of a metaphor for the Trinity River Vision, which in 2018 is now known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, in addition to its accolade as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

When that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist left Fort Worth six years ago the Boondoggle's bridges had long been part of the cloudy Trinity River Vision. They were then called "Signature Bridges". That imaginary political cartoonist would likely return to Fort Worth assuming those make believe Signature Bridges were now a reality, connecting the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, with that imaginary island being imagined whilst he was in Los Angeles.

But, as I mentioned a couple days after I experienced a Fort Worth Drive By America's Biggest Boondoggle Embarrassment those bridges, bizarrely named, by the Boondoggle "Panther Island Bridges" do not exist, after four years of construction, all one can see is a HUGE construction mess with multiple V-piers in various stages of teeter tottering. So much so locals have taken to referring to the Stonehenge-ish eyesores as the Yeehaw Seesaws.

When that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist left Fort Worth six years ago the downtown Fort Worth park celebrating Fort Worth's heritage, appropriately named Heritage Park, was a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded eyesore. Six years later Fort Worth's heritage is still being celebrated in boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded fashion. Yet one more visual metaphor accurately representing the Fort Worth reality.

When that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist left Fort Worth six years ago the town's few tourists were still being confused when trying to find where Sundance Square was, with most thinking Sundance Square was the parking lots located by a big mural celebrating the Chisholm Trail. Well, that imaginary political cartoonist would return to Fort Worth and discover those parking lots have been turned into an actual little square, called Sundance Square Plaza.

When that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist left Fort Worth the town had no modern public transit system, other than a primitive bus system using primitive buses. While Los Angeles was busy building miles of light rail mass transit, that  Fort Worth political cartoonist would return to Fort Worth to find downtown Fort Worth still sporting Molly the Trolley. An Australian bus converted to look like a trolley.

When that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist left Fort Worth the town's downtown had little construction happening, with very few construction cranes. Such was still the case six years later, with a downtown skyline little changed.

Horsey returned to Seattle to see part of the downtown transformed by Amazon. And other corporations. That imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist would return to Fort Worth to find Radio Shack's corporate headquarters turned into a county college.

Perhaps most horrifyingly that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist left Fort Worth when the locals still considered the Trinity River a dangerously polluted river one did not want to get wet in, or eat fish one caught in the river. And now, six years later, part of America's Biggest Boondoggle consists of hosting Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in that polluted river, hosted at an imaginary pavilion at an imaginary island.

Horsey returned to Seattle to find a downtown with multiple grocery stores, department stores, vertical malls, dozens of new restaurants, light rail running under downtown via a tunnel. Meanwhile that imaginary Fort Worth political cartoonist would return to Fort Worth to find the Star-Telegram touting the amazing opening of the downtown area's first pharmacy. And would soon notice that downtown Fort Worth still has no grocery stores, department stores, and few new restaurants. Or one of those new-fangled light rail transit things running under downtown Fort Worth.

But, like we said, there is Molly the Trolley to take you around downtown Fort Worth.

We could go on and on here, mentioning other things unchanged in Fort Worth in six years. Such as the town's parks for the most part still not having modern facilities such as running water and restrooms. But an unseemly number of outhouses. And that Fort Worth streets still, for the most part, lack sidewalks.

But, we will end here, with that aforementioned embedded video of that aforementioned Horsey political cartoon video...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Families Belong Together Protesters March Across America Including Mount Vernon

That which you see above showed up a few minutes ago on Facebook.

Apparently my old home zone of Mount Vernon was one of the 700 some American cites where protest marchers marched today.

The Texas town I am currently in, Wichita Falls, did not have a protest march today, that I know of. However, tonight there will be a candlelight vigil type protest in Lucy Park protesting the sad state our sad nation has sunk to.

Treating asylum seekers like criminals.

Kidnapping babies and children from their parental units and then keeping them in cages, with apparently no record keeping keeping a record of what baby belongs to what parent. Or where the baby is being caged.

I have not heard from anyone in the Skagit Valley today, so I don't know if I know anyone who was protesting in downtown Mount Vernon. I suspect Nurse Canecraker was likely there, possibly along with Betty Jo Bouvier, Honey Lulu and Maxine.

Spencer Jack and his dad were likely busy today in their Anacortes restaurant and thus unable to protest.

Mount Vernon has a long protest history, going all the way back to the Vietnam War. During that war a group of peace protesters assembled every Wednesday at noon at the Skagit Valley Courthouse, pretty much the same location as those protesters you see in the above photo.

Those Skagit Valley Peaceniks kept up the Wednesday vigils after the end of the Vietnam War, with the protest morphing into an ongoing protest against the military industrial complex and the resulting war machine.

I do not know from personal observation if the Skagit Valley Wednesday Courthouse Protests continued into this century. But I suspect they have, what with America being pretty much at perpetual war, to various degrees, this entire century.

I do not think I will go to Lucy Park for tonight's candlelight vigil. Bug biters, like mosquitoes, are out in full force at that time of the day...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Another 100 Degree Wichita Falls Day With Lily Pads

I do not remember any 100 degree days last summer in Texas. I do remember multiple 100 degree plus days in Arizona last summer. And late last spring.

This year, before summer even made its arrival we went over 100 at my Texas location.

And in May I got blasted over 100 in Arizona. If I remember right it was a record breaking 105 one day in May in the Valley of the Sun.

On Wednesday, when I drove to the DFW zone, I stupidly turned my A/C off. The temperature that day reached 107 according to one of my heat measuring devices. When I re-entered my abode, some time after 5 in the afternoon, the interior temperature was 93. It took awhile for the air condition to condition the air to a comfortable level of cool.

Today is another day where we are scheduled to go over 100. Around 11 this morning, when the air was still relatively cool, at 90, and with a strong wind blowing, I opted to roll my wheels on the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita.

The past few times when I have rolled to Lake Wichita I have noticed lily pads popping up in a creek which feeds into Lake Wichita.

Today those lily pads had greatly increased in numbers, and a couple of them were spouting lilies.

In the above photo you see my handlebars looking at some of those aforementioned lily pads. The handlebars are on the bridge the Circle Trail crosses soon after it leaves the top of Lake Wichita Dam.

The blooming lily pad is too small to see clearly in the above photo. Let's zoom in for a closer look.

I have zero clue regarding the botanical facts regarding lily pads. As in what causes them to suddenly be so prolific? Is this sprouting of so many lily pads indicative of the relative purity of the water from which they are sprouting?

Or do lily pads thrive in relatively polluted water?

I suspect lily pads do not thrive in polluted water. I have never seen a lily pad adding color to the Trinity River as it slogs its way through Fort Worth...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Fort Worth Drive By America's Biggest Boondoggle Embarrassment

Til yesterday it had been several years since I have been at the heart of America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

I think it was February of 2015 I first saw ridiculous signage touting "Panther Island Bridge Construction Underway".

And now, years later, the imaginary "construction" zone is a HUGE mess of uncompleted construction.

Except for this million dollar absurdity you see here, an aluminum homage to a trash can at the center of an un-landscaped, un-completed roundabout.

Why would anyone with any common sense think it a good idea to install this "work of art" early on in a construction project, which now, years later, appears to be stalled in dawdle mode? If I remember right a celebration ceremony was held for the unveiling of this aluminum embarrassment.

Driving through the heart of America's Biggest Boondoggle is a baffling experience, when one realizes how many years this mess has been an ongoing eyesore and traffic nightmare.

And seeing those infamous bridge V-piers in various stages of "construction", rising helter skelter across the landscape I could not imagine where the flood diversion ditch will be dug in this mess.

A few illustrative photos documenting the current state of those bridges which began being built almost four years ago, with what at the time seemed a ridiculously long four year project timeline.

And now, almost four years later, below is what you see of America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges.

Above we are looking at a couple V-piers awaiting concrete, while in the background we see some V-piers which have had some concrete added, yet remaining held up by supports, I assume the supports are to keep the Yeehaw Seesaws from teeter tottering.

I was unable to get a good photo of the roadwork which has been built in the area of the V-piers. I could not tell if this road work is the approaches to the bridges, or what. With a quick drive by I was not able to make any sense of the various construction elements. It just looked like a big mess.

I did see what I assume to be bridge workers working on one of the V-piers. No clue what they were doing. Possibly spraying rust inhibitor on the rusting re-bar or wood preservative on the wood elements which have been exposed to the elements way longer than any legit building engineer would have deemed appropriate.

How many more decades are the Fort Worth locals going to tolerate hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Space Force's Donald Trump In Fort Worth Walmart With Betsy Price

On Wednesday, which was yesterday, I found myself in the Beach Street Fort Worth Walmart.

I was barely inside this particular Walmart when I heard a loud speaker speaking loudly.

This seemed not to be my usual Walmart experience.

A second or two later I found myself asking a fellow Walmarter what was going on with all this loud speaking.

My fellow Walmarter told me she thought there was some sort of celebrity posing for photos with TV news people.

I ventured in the direction of the loud speaking and soon found myself able to take the photo you see above.

One of Donald Trump's best friends, and possible former girl friend, Fort Worth mayor, Betsy Price, posing with what looked to be some sort of caricature of Betsy's best friend in his Space Force uniform.

There were multiple dozens of people attending this event. I have never seen so many cell phones held overhead in photo taking mode.

Apparently a lot of Fort Worth locals are thrilled to be in the presence of someone close to Donald Trump....

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Arizona Pooling With Theo, Ruby & David

In a little over a week I will likely by at the location you see here.

Had I planned it better I could have been at this location last week and had myself a mighty fine time pooling with my nephews, David and Theo, and niece Ruby.

That would be Theo on the left with Ruby in the middle, in the water. You can figure out which one is David without further instruction.

The location we are looking at here is the backyard of David, Theo and Ruby's aunt Jackie and uncle Jack in Chandler, Arizona.

My expected next opportunity to possibly see David, Theo and Ruby is next October when the trio take their parental units to Mexico City, followed by a stay in Anaheim in order to go to Disneyland with their aforementioned aunt Jackie and uncle Jack.

During that October time frame I will be spending the majority of the month in Arizona. It is only a short drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles. I'm sure David, Theo and Ruby's favorite grandma, Shirley, will be up to a road trip and a Disneyland visit. Grandma has never been to Disney California.

I'm sure the twins and David would love to take grandma on their favorite Disney rides...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Wichita Falls Sikes Lake Goose Trap Video

I did not roll my bike's wheels yesterday. And likely will not roll my bike's wheels tomorrow, due to rolling my motorized wheels to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone whilst leaving my bike at home. At least, that is the current plan.

Today's long roll of my bike's wheels took me eventually to Sikes Lake where the geese were in a stubborn mood. I think I have mentioned previously that it appears the Sikes Lake geese are getting militant.

Before I got to the goose blockade you see above I had been granted passage by a smaller group. When I got off my bike to take the picture you see above of that goose blockade, I turned around to take the picture you see below, in which it would appear the geese have conspired to trap me.

When I switched my camera to video mode the geese quickly listened to reason when I asked if they really wanted their stubborn behavior documented on YouTube. After about a minute of a honking conference the geese decided to let me pass through, begrudgingly.

If you watch the video you will not be able to make out much of my commentary due to the fact that a strong wind was once again blowing. I think it was that strong wind and the resulting waves which had most of the Sikes Lake goose population being landlubbers today.

I am almost 100% certain tomorrow's lunch in the D/FW zone will take place around one in Fort Worth in the Stockyards zone, at Esperanza's, the location of my favorite chili cheese relleno. Or maybe it will be the Tandoor Indian buffet in Arlington. I'm flexible...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Leaving Wind Damage Behind To Hike Wichita Falls Nature Area

Wichita Bluff Nature Area Overlook
Last night around three in the morning my location was hit by what must have been extreme micro bursts of high velocity wind.

This off and on wind blasting last for about a half an hour. During the course of the blasting power flickered off and on multiple times.

By light of day I found that my patio furniture had been blown asunder, along with the door mat and one planter.

Nearby neighbors appear to have been wind blasted too.

However, driving away from my location I saw no wind damage, other than in my immediate area. Unlike the windstorm of a couple weeks ago which wreaked havoc every where I looked.

So, I left my abode this morning, heading to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area expecting to see lots of evidence of Mother Nature going rogue. But I saw nothing of the sort once I exited my parking area.

I thought some hiking was in order today in preparation for next month's possible mountain hiking in Arizona. I say possible because such will likely not occur unless some freakishly cold air somehow blows into the Valley of the Sun.

Today at the Wichita Bluff Nature Area I made note of the sign you see below.

These type signs appear along the Circle Trail, frequently, showing mile markers and where one currently is located.

However, on this particular Circle Trail sign I quickly saw there was an informational problem. We shall go in for a closer look. See if you can spot the problem.

Likely if you are not a Wichita Falls local, or are a local not familiar with the Circle Trail, you might not be able to spot the problem. I shall spot it for you. As you can see, the area in green is the Wichita Buff Nature Area. The location of this sign is near that 20 mile mark, near the north entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, a short distance from the parking lot.

However, the "YOU ARE HERE" on the sign is telling you that where you are is about a mile to the east, due west of Loop 11, on one of the three sections of the Circle Trail not yet completed, the completion of which has been slightly stymied by voters saying NO to a Circle Trail completions proposal on the May 5 Bond Election.

All the other instances of this type Circle Trail signage has been accurate with the YOU ARE HERE info. I wonder why no one noticed the mistake with this one before installing the sign?

I feel it my duty as the Official Wichita Falls Convention Center & Visitor's Bureaus Outdoor Adventure Guru to point out such things...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Preferring Wichita Falls Fine Rusty MSU Art To Running With Elsie Hotpepper & Beto O'Rourke

This first summer Sunday of 2018 my bike decided to take me on a windy ride north on the Circle Trail, eventually to Hamilton Park, then west through the Wichita Falls version of Beverly Hills, then south to the sprawling campus of MSU (Midwestern State University).

Rolling around the MSU campus on previous occasions I have come upon an art installation. Or two. Or three.

Today I came upon a virtual forest of art installations, installed near something called the Fain Fine Arts Center.

As you can see above, I parked my bike by a giant rusted hammer and then proceeded to walk amongst the rest of the fine rusty art.

I am guessing the above is symbolizing the fact that it is hard to get toothpaste back in the tube once a hard squeeze has released it.

Is the above a rusty Tiki god's lips? Maybe, maybe not.

For some reason there is a lot of Japanese type imagery in Wichita Falls, from pagodas in Lucy Park, to installations covering traffic light controllers in multiple intersection locations. Is this tall piece of rusty fine art a Japanese image? Or Chinese? Or what?

I got myself down to ground level to take the above photo. This looked to be some sort of rusty ball and chain installation in the foreground. Next to a stack of rusty shapes. And a couple non-rusty ceramic looking vases.

This one I may have liked best. Sort of looking like it was a box of glass balancing on a narrow point above a rusty arch.

Earlier this Sunday I have a conversation with Elsie Hotpepper about going running with Elsie and Beto O'Rourke.

I think I enjoyed the walk amongst rusty art more than the early Sunday morning run with Beto O'Rourke...

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mama Duck With Her Ducklings Seek Possible Asylum In Lake Wichita

This morning I saw the mama duck you see here, leading her flock of ducklings south on Holliday Creek, heading towards possible safe asylum  refuge in Lake Wichita.

I hope the mama duck and her ducklings safely make it to refuge without being separated by any sort of lake border enforcer, with the ducklings taken from their mama duck.

Or worse.

One sees many turtles sunning on the shore of Holliday Creek.

Are turtles predators of ducklings?

I hope not.

Years ago, in Mount Vernon, the town in Washington I lived in before being exiled to Texas, I had a couple pet ducks. Those ducks never reproduced. I only had the pet ducks for a short duration. Their job was slug patrol in my garden.

And then one day both ducks were murdered by a neighbor's dog.

Suffice to say, the neighbor's dog was severely punished for murdering my ducks...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Arrival Mountain Biking Mount Wichita Summit

Yesterday rain dampened my enthusiasm for rolling my bike wheels anywhere.

Dodging drops running from Walmart to my motorized method of motion seemed sufficient aerobic stimulation yesterday.

That and when I returned from Walmart to find my home location dry, with nothing wet being delivered from the massive black cloud I had been under a short distance to the west, I opted to go for a short walk on the Circle Trail, phone in hand, so as to call my mom to remind her to go to the airport to pick up David, Theo and Ruby, arriving from Sea-Tac to Sky Harbor.

So, today, which may be the first day of summer, though yesterday my mom told me yesterday was the first day of summer, on this first or second day of summer, with nothing wet falling from above, I took my bike's wheels on a long roll.

Eventually I reached the mountainous spot you see above, with my bike's handlebars aimed at the summit of Mount Wichita.

What with my bike being a mountain bike and Mount Wichita sort of passing for a mountain I debated whether or not to try pedaling up Mount Wichita.

Well, above we are looking southeast from the summit of Mount Wichita. If this photo were in full sized mode you might be able to make out my bike at the base of the trail which I did not pedal up. I used the more primitive method of mountain climbing.

I hiked to the summit.

Mount Wichita is much too steep to use a bike to reach its summit.

I was not long at the summit today, due to it being infested with a swarm of flies, I hope I did not stay summit bound long enough to get bug bit. So far I see no signs of such...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Militant Wichita Falls Geese Blockade Sikes Lake Trail

The sky looked a bit menacing this morning when I opted to go on a bike ride.

A long bout with insomnia last night has me being exhausted.

A long bike ride helped, a little with this being exhausted thing.

The flocks of geese which call Sikes Lake home were in out of the lake mode today, occupying various locations around the lake, attempting to bully block the trail.

The geese usually end their blockade when they see a bike rolling towards them.

On the opposite side of Sikes Lake from the goose view above I saw today's biggest concentration of geese with maybe two dozen on the trail and dozens more maintaining a vigil beside the trail.

I saw three little girls on scooters have a short standoff with the geese in that biggest concentration. Eventually the geese relented and let the girls pass.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nurse Canecracker's Mount Vernon History Took Me To America's Fort Worth Boondoggle

I found that which you see here in my mailbox this morning, sent by Nurse Canecracker, aka, Miss Linda.

A history of the town I lived in before moving to Texas, titled Images of America: Mount Vernon.

I have always liked learning about the history of this, that or any other thing.

This book from Nurse Canecracker answered several questions about Mount Vernon, and the Skagit Valley, which I have wondered about.

Such as when was the bridge across the Skagit connecting downtown Mount Vernon with West Mount Vernon built? I now know it was 1954 that cars first drove across that new bridge.

And when did the two malls in Mount Vernon open? One would think I could remember this, since I was living in the neighborhood at the time.

Well, it was 1971 when the Mount Vernon Mall opened on the north side of College Way, with the Skagit Valley Mall opening two years later, across the street on the south side of College Way.

Those two malls wreaked havoc with downtown Mount Vernon. And then a modern mall opened a couple miles north, on the other side of the Skagit River, in Burlington, eventually causing the two Mount Vernon malls to be demolished, replaced with modern type strip malls.

And now that mall in Burlington, the Cascade Mall, is having trouble staying open, losing all its anchors.

I have wondered what the flooding history of the Skagit River was, before dikes were built to contain the river when it left the narrow valley and entered the delta flood plain.

Well, there were some hellacious floods, photo documented in this book from Miss Linda. I have eye witnessed some hellacious Skagit floods post dikes being built, hence wondering what it was like before those dikes were built.

The Texas town I lived in before moving to my current location, Fort Worth, has had a multi-decade pseudo public works project underway to supposedly address imaginary flood issues which were long ago fixed by the construction of massive levees.

This Fort Worth "flood control" project is known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision. But more commonly known as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Fort Worth has long wanted to be the best or biggest at something.

And now the town proudly hosts America's Biggest Boondoggle, with an embarrassing mess of a project with three simple little bridges under construction now for years, being built over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

With the current state of those bridges being badly engineered seesaws in teeter totter mode, with locals referring to the eyesores as the Yeehaw Seesaws.

A Fort Worth congresswoman's totally unqualified son was put in charge of this ill conceived ineptly implemented plan, paid around $200K a year, plus perks and benefits, to motivate his mother to secure federal funds, with little luck, hence a recent bizarrely corrupt ballot measure conning the ill-informed locals that they were approving a quarter billion bucks for flood control and drainage issues.

And somehow in Texas this type ballot subterfuge is perfectly kosher.

Reading about Mount Vernon's flood history, and how intelligent Americans dealt with flood issues, I amused myself thinking what if someone in Mount Vernon came up with a brilliant plan to take down the Skagit River dikes, then build a flood diversion channel to divert a flooding Skagit around an imaginary island, with canals, creating a sort of San Antonio Riverwalk type venue.

Well, I don't think there is anyone stupid enough any where in the Skagit Valley to come up with something so idiotic, and to amp the idiocy by claiming it was a flood control plan, and an economic development scheme.

Selling such an idea, the economic development scheme, in a town with is already doing quite well, economically, would be laughed at. But, in Fort Worth, those who decide such things, don't laugh. they think it makes sense to create an imaginary island with canals.

And to remove levees which have prevented flooding for decades.

Oh, I almost forgot.

Without any corrupt political shenanigans, with no hiring of a local congresswoman's son to do a job he has no clue how to do.

Mount Vernon has built a Riverwalk type attraction on the Skagit River as it passes past downtown Mount Vernon.

A Riverwalk type attraction with a flood wall which can be put in place quickly when the Skagit goes rogue. A Riverwalk type attraction with a plaza.

And, unlike what is the Fort Worth norm, no outhouses.

All done in a fraction of the time Fort Worth has been boondoggling along with little to show for the effort.

Well, to be fair, those Yeehaw Seesaws have become a bit of a tourist attraction, to the few tourist attracted to Fort Worth. That and the giant million dollar homage to an aluminum trash can, stuck in the center of America's Biggest Boondoggle's roundabout.

Has the Star-Telegram ever looked into how that million dollar homage to an aluminum trash can came to be? Installed years before any other aspect of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle came to any sort of fruition?

What is J.D. Granger's connection to whoever it was who got the million bucks for that imaginary work of aluminum art?

Is there an Images of America: Fort Worth book? I suspect not...