Saturday, January 20, 2018

2018 Wichita Falls Women's March & Impeachment Rally

I wimped out on this year's annual Wichita Falls Women's March & Impeachment Rally.

Well, more accurately, the marching part I wimped out on, the Impeachment Pre-March Rally, I made it through.

I successfully delivered my fellow marchers to the march initiation site.

I listened to the pre-march speeches, full of inspiring MLK and JFK quotes.

I did some crowd mingling.

But.

I was not adequately attired to keep warm enough. While the air was heated to somewhere near the 50 degree zone, a strong wind blew, activating that dreaded WIND CHILL FACTOR.

I shivered through the speeches and then when the march began I slithered back to my vehicle's warm interior. Mid-slither I stopped on the Sikes Lake Bridge and took the photo you see below of the march underway.


Upon exiting the parking lot I turned onto Midwestern Boulevard to drive by the marchers whilst honking my horn and waving. The marchers appreciate this sort of feedback.

Salutes involving a single finger, not so much....

Pacific Coast Rogue Washington Waves With Mom, Dad & Sister Michele

I saw that which you see here this morning in the Seattle Times, via an article titled Watch cars flee a rogue wave at Ocean Park on Washington state coast.

No, this is not yet one more instance of sharing something I see in a west coast online news source which is not something I'd expect to see in a Texas, or Fort Worth news source, about something one would not expect to see in Texas or Fort Worth.

Well, now that you're making me think about it, I guess while it is obvious a rogue wave can happen on the Texas Gulf Coast, such a thing could not occur in Fort Worth. The town does not even have a water park generating fake waves which could malfunction and get out of control.

Then again, now that you're still making me think about it, what you see in the screen cap above is actually something one rarely finds in Fort Worth. That being a modern restroom facility in a park. In this case, Ocean Park, in the Long Beach zone of Washington's Pacific Coast.

In the Seattle Times article, in the caption under the video we are told this...

The National Weather Service recorded waves more than 30 feet tall near Aberdeen and near the mouth of the Columbia River. More stormy weather is forecast for the weekend.

The west coast has been getting battered by some big waves of late. A couple days ago I saw video from Cannon Beach, that's on the Oregon coast, of a wave making its way far from shore, foaming water down a Cannon Beach street. I don't know if this wave got near my cousin's Cannon Beach house. But I have not seen him on Facebook ever since this infamous wave came to town.

Years ago, when my little sister, David, Theo and Ruby's Mama Michele, was younger than Theo and Ruby are now, at 5 or 6, we were at Ocean Shores. That is on the Pacific Coast at the north side of Grays Harbor. There is a massive jetty made from massive boulders at the entry to Grays Harbor. The Ocean Shores beach begins at the north side of that jetty. Let me see if I can find a photo of this location.


All I could find was what you see above. Dad and mom at the aforementioned location. The jetty is to their left. This photo would have been taken in August of 2001. I was in Washington for mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary party. A few days after that dad drove us out to Ocean Shores where sister Jackie, nephew Jeremy, brother-in-law Jack and others were staying at an Ocean Shores beachfront hotel.

At some point we all drove to the above location. I remember I had my new Olympus camera and being surprised at how well that camera captured big waves splashing into the jetty. I do not know where those photos are, or why they are not on this computer along with this one of mom and dad.

Anyway, back when David, Theo & Ruby's Mama Michele was 5 or 6 I had driven over to Ocean Shores during a spring break from CWU in Ellensburg. That's in Eastern Washington. On a Sunday morning we took off to play on a now removed shipwreck which sank during a storm in the early 1960s.

Now where are my photos of that?

Missing photos are beginning to bug me.

So, we got to the beach where you see mom and dad above. The tide was out. There were dozens of people on the beach, at the water's edge. Some having come from church, all dressed up. I remember one lady wearing a fur coat which seemed sort of odd.

As we were playing wave dodge, suddenly we, and everyone else on the beach, realized the incoming wave was way bigger than the ones we had been dodging.

We began to run away from the shore. I picked up Michele. The wave caught up with us. I got us up on a driftwood. We were washed off the driftwood. This was the most dramatic panic scene I had ever been part of.

And then it was over, the wave receded. And we were left soaking wet.

I wonder if Michele remembers this incident? Or was it so traumatic it became a buried memory? If I remember right Michele did not panic or get scared. She probably thought we were having fun. I may have been able to keep Michele dry. I don't remember for sure.

I must try and find all these missing photos. In the meantime watch this cool drone video from the Seattle Times of the "Storm Surge - High Tide - Ocean Park, Wa Beach Approach "Cars Scrambling" Today 1-18-2018"...

Friday, January 19, 2018

Sikes Lake Bird Visit Before Tomorrow's Wichita Falls March & Meeting Beto O'Roarke

Today, around noon, even though the temperature was way closer to 60 than 32, there was still ice on Sikes Lake.

And for some reason most of the Sikes Lake bird population was floating at the edge of the transition between thawed water and water still capped by ice.

The bird population of Sikes Lake seems to have soared since I last surveyed this particular aviary-like sanctuary location.

Many of the Sikes Lake birds were out of the water, hunkered down and not their usual skittish selves. The birds in the water, as well as those on land, were segregated, per their norm, by feather type. In the foreground in the lake we see the goose group, in the middle of the lake the flock of seagulls congregated, and then at the far end of the lake ducks gathered.

At that other side of the lake location, where the ducks gathered, there was a group of about 20 small ducks. I thought maybe they were duck chicks, or whatever one calls baby ducks. Ducklings? Anyway, there was no large adult size duck near the flock of little ducks. Is there a pygmy breed of ducks, like there are pygmy goats and miniature horses?

I only came across four other humans, amongst the birds, braving the still cold, breezy air, following the path around Sikes Lake.

I will be returning to Sikes Lake tomorrow. Sikes Lake is the launch location for the Wichita Falls Women's (and Men's) Impeachment March. I'm assuming tomorrow's will be a larger marching crowd than last year's, what with nice clear blue sky expected, along with semi-warm air. And it is likely more people will feel like participating this year, for obvious reasons.

I do not know how long tomorrow's march is going to take. I know that at the march's destination there will be some speechifying. Saturday night I am expecting to be at MSU to see the Texan who it is hoped will send Ted Cruz to the ashbin of history, Beto O'Rourke.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hike To Summit Of Mount Wichita With Stomping Godzilla

I do not understand why my current Wichita Falls location does not follow the Texas norm of bragging and exaggerating.

For reasons unfathomable to me the only geographic feature within dozens upon dozens of miles, even remotely resembling a mountain, is referred to as a hill.

A HILL.

Well, to me this HILL shall always be known as Mount Wichita, and it was to that location I took myself today, what with the outer world no longer freezing, with the temperature almost halfway to 100.

With nary a breeze blowing, and the conditions perfect, I hiked to the summit of Mount Wichita multiple times today, using a different trail for each ascent and descent. It felt good to aerobicize with endorphins coursing through my internal energy supply system.

The view from the summit was blue today. Some ice remains frozen on Lake Wichita, which you can see via the bands of white. I was advised by lifelong North Texan, Miss Dana Wood Knot not to try and walk on any frozen body of Texas water. That the ice never gets thick enough to make doing such a thing a safe endeavor.


Whilst on the summit of Mount Wichita, soon after taking the above photo, I was startled by a stomping noise and loud breathing. I turned around to see that which you see below reach the summit.


The camera made some sort of optical illusion which makes the noisy stomper look like a Godzilla monster in a hoodie.

Anyway, nice to have a nice day, once again. And to see some scenic scenery. And breathe some fresh air that is not freezing...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Freeze In Texas While Washington Swelters In A Heat Wave

The past couple days the temperature has been in the 60s in my old Washington home zone in the semi-tropical Pacific Northwest.

Semi-tropical on the west side of the Cascades. While on the east side, where Tootsie Tonasket resides, Tootsie is being chilled to an Arctic Texas type temperature, though not as cold as my current North Texas, well below freezing, wind chill below zero, location.

My North Texas location is currently scheduled to return to being warm, in the 60s, by Saturday, just in time for the Impeachment March.

The screen cap you see here is from this morning's Seattle Times. For those unfamiliar with such things, that is a mountain you see in the distance. It appears to be one of the Olympic Mountains, which indicates in the photo we are looking west across Puget Sound, from, I think, a park on Elliott Bay, slightly north of the downtown Seattle waterfront zone.

You know how climate change deniers make mock of the concept of Global Warming, well, the man being the cause of it concept, along with denying the climate is changing, point to formerly warm, now freezing Texas as some sort of proof the climate is not warming. I do not know how such deniers explain to themselves what is causing the current balmy weather in the Pacific Northwest.

What I do know is I think I'm going to enjoy the coming HOT summer. And in the meantime I am hoping to be enjoying a nice warm Arizona in a couple weeks....

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What Makes You Think Fort Worth Is A Backwards Backwater?

I would never have used a illustrative graphic using the barnyard profanity you see here, had it not been made socially acceptable by the mentally stable genius currently pretending to be America's president.

A couple days ago I got an email from someone who asked not to be referenced, identity-wise, in blog mode, who asked the following interesting question...

What makes you think Fort Worth is such a Backwards Backwater????

Now, that question can be taken two ways.

One way would be, "How dare you think Fort Worth is such a Backwards Backwater?"

Or, the way in which I chose to interpret the question, "What the hell do you think is wrong with Fort Worth which keeps causing it to be such a Backwards Backwater?"

Well, let us all look at what Wikipedia has to say about a Backwater...

If a river has developed one or more alternative courses in its evolution, one channel is usually designated the main course, and secondary channels may be termed backwaters. The main river course will usually have the fastest stream and will likely be the main navigation route; backwaters may be shallower and flow more slowly, if at all. This results in a more diverse environment of scientific interest and worthy of preservation. Backwaters also provide opportunities for leisure activities such as canoeing and fishing.

The term has been applied as a metaphor to physical and social areas that have been bypassed. It may apply to places that have been neglected in economic development, or in the expression a "cultural backwater"
_________________

Okay, now do you get why and how Fort Worth is a Backwards Backwater? Both meanings of that Backwater word are applicable.

The Trinity River as it flows through Fort Worth is pretty much in Backwater mode, with the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision ineptly trying to turn the river into even more of a brackish Backwater.

Cultural Backwater? This is a town which thinks it is doing some marvelous thing instigating Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in that aforementioned Backwater river polluted with e.coli, benzene, arsenic and alligators. And pretends it does so at an imaginary island listening to music from an imaginary pavilion whilst being located at an imaginary urban world class music venue, with performance stages made from abandoned subway shacks.

With that world class music venue at that imaginary island sporting world class concrete enclosed outhouses and outdoor showers to wash off the river water, if one is inclined to attempt to wash off the e.coli, benzene and arsenic.

Speaking of outhouses. Most Fort Worth city parks do not have modern restroom facilities or running water. Most do have outhouses. Outhouses worthy of a city park in a third world city, or an American city which does not mind being a Backwards Backwater.

So, really, is it all that difficult to understand the fact Fort Worth is a Backwards Backwater?

Need a further example. Ride Molly the Trolley to the location of the Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats. Only a  Backwards Backwater would have a public transit system consisting of a bus converted to look like a trolley, whilst charging its victims five bucks to take a tour of Fort Worth's low highlights.

And then there are Fort Worth's miles upon mile of city streets without sidewalks. Again worthy of a third world country, or an American city which does not mind being a Backwards Backwater.

Recently the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in a rare instance of actually focusing on the multiple reasons why Fort Worth is such a Backwards Backwater, published an opinion piece focusing on what Fort Worth might want to try and do to fix what ails the town. This was blogged about in Bud Kennedy Fort Worth Fix Gets Over Dallas.

On the day that opinion piece appeared there were multiple comments commenting which ironically were reinforcing what is dire need of a fix in Fort Worth. Yesterday morning those comments had been deleted. But then last night the comments magically reappeared, along with many more comments, many also embarrassingly, ironically and cluelessly exhibiting the very type attitudes which Bud Kennedy indicated were in need of a fix.

If you click on the link to the Star-Telegram Here’s how to fix Fort Worth. (It’s not about Dallas, or pilots, or the cow.) the comments may still be there, maybe with even more.

I copied the comments I saw last night, but don't know if I want to copy them all here. Suffice to say there were one or two comments which were rational, among the dozens which where not rational.

I will just copy four of the comments. The first two appeared at the top of the comment list and are two of the comments I refer to as rational. The two which follow the rational comments are examples of the not so rational comments....

John Laird · Works at Retired Journalist
Excellent column as usual. Thoroughly researched. Creatively written. Compellingly presented. Thanks, Bud.

Randall Arnold · Author at Unsettled Space
Many comments here are shamefully reactionary. I wish people would read and process more thoughtfully. Bud raises valid, fact-based points here. Emotional responses are unhelpful.

Preston West
We’re supposed to be ok with being called dumb rednecks huh?!

Mary Beth Nicholson · Sul Ross State University
Spoken like a true liberal Dallas wantabe!
Screw you, Bud Kennedy, do us all a favor and move to Dallas!

_____________________

UPDATE: Reading through the comments there are two more I feel compelled to share. The first reactionary one demonstrates that bad education problem, while the second comment also comments on the bad education problem, but not in a reactionary way...


Janice Hallmark · Carter- Riverside High School
I want the world to know that Fort Worth is the greatest big city in the U. S. All those things said about Fort Worth by this so- call writer is so untrue.

Bo Bolinger · The University of Texas at Austin
Thanks for a great article Bud. Your opinions really seem to get people fired up. This is an uphill battle as it seems the consensus is to keep Tarrant Co dumb and useful!

Two Shivering Degrees Below Zero In Wichita Falls

Apparently a breeze is blowing with enough cooling power to make my location's currently semi-balmy 20 degrees feel like 2 degrees below zero.

And my location is currently scheduled not to get above freezing today, with the low tonight 8 degrees colder than the current semi-balmy 20 degrees.

In a little over two weeks I should be finding myself in Arizona where I anticipate the outer world will not be freezing.

Last summer I was twice in Arizona while the temperature rarely got under 100 degrees. During the June bout in Arizona the temperature was breaking records, at some degree above 120. So HOT for a couple days planes could not fly out of Sky Harbor Airport during the HOTTEST hours of those days HEAT.

During the week in August whilst I was in Arizona, even though August is usually the hottest month of the year, the temperature was no where near as blistering as it was in June.

Even though Arizona in February will be a bit cooler than it was last summer, I anticipate doing some daily swimming in a large heated pool...

Monday, January 15, 2018

MLK Day With Theo & Ruby Snow Fort Worth Building At Hyak Sno-Park


On this 2018 edition of Martin Luther King Day, Theo & Ruby decided today was a day worth fort building.

So, Theo & Ruby, along with big brother David, took their parental units a few miles east of their Tacoma abode to Snoqualmie Pass, from whence, a few minutes ago, their mama Michele sent the above photo of Theo & Ruby building a snow fort.

David did not think building a fort worth his time, so he opted instead to have fun throwing snow when he was not consuming snow cones.

It seems like only yesterday I was in a much warmer location with Theo, Ruby & David, at Birch Bay, building a sand fort, well, castle. David opted out of that building project, for the most part, too. And he also threw some sand, but at that point in time he consumed no sand cones.

For those with no familiarity with locations on the planet with extreme elevation variables, who are used to an extremely flat planet, let me explain where Theo & Ruby are.

In Tacoma, where Theo & Ruby live, their house is not very many feet above sea level. To the west of their abode there is a mountain range called the Olympics. To the east of their abode is a mountain range called the Cascades.

In the Cascades is where one finds Washington's five volcanoes.

The state of Washington is divided by the Cascades into Western and Eastern Washington. Eastern Washington is like Texas, but more scenic, with a BIG river running through it. Eastern Washington is also like Texas politically. It is the red part of Washington, with a higher percentage of rednecks than the blue western side of the Cascades.

In summer there are several ways to drive over the Cascade mountain between the west and east side. The North Cascades Highway, Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass and White Pass connect the two sides of the state, weather permitting, with Stevens and Snoqualmie the two passes kept open year round, for the most part, with an occasional closure due to heavy snow and avalanche danger. Or an actual avalanche.

In total in Washington there are more than a couple dozen  of what are known as mountain passes. You can check all of them out via Wikipedia's Mountain Passes of Washington State page.

A highway over a mountain range, the North Cascades for instance, has two passes, Rainy Pass and Washington Pass. For those unfamiliar with the pass concept, a pass is the point were a road "passes" over a summit, as in reaches a high point and then heads back down. Such can occur more than once on any given mountain crossing road, but only happens once on the two main passes across Washington's Cascades, that being Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass.

Stevens Pass is crossed by Highway 2. Snoqualmie Pass, where David, Theo & Ruby are today, is crossed by Interstate 90.

All the major Washington mountain passes have ski resorts at their summit, except for the North Cascades Highway.

The ski resort at Snoqulamie Pass, where Theo & Ruby felt a fort worthwhile to build, is known as Hyak Sno-Park. There are a couple other ski resorts at Snoqualmie along with Hyak. My last time on a chairlift at Snoqualmie was in the 1990s. And it was not to ski. In summer you can put your mountain bike on a ski lift in order to be taken to the high country for some rugged mountain biking and an eventual fun, fast trek back to the chair lift base.

I do not know how far from my current location I would need to travel to find a chairlift and snowy mountain to play on, other than, of course, nearby Mount Wichita, sans snow and chairlift. Would it be in New Mexico at Ruidoso or Taos? Os somewhere in Colorado?

Snow is currently in the forecast at my location. I doubt sufficient will fall of a depth permitting some adventurous Mount Wichita skiing. Or sledding...

Fort Worth Native Gone Since 2006 Returns To Same Backwards Backwater

Of late there has been some effort put forth to try and figure out why Fort Worth is such a backwards backwater. This effort has cost a lot of money, to the tune of several hundred thousand American dollars spent by the City of Fort Worth for a study to determine what seems not that hard to figure out.

UPDATE: Since the above paragraph was written an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram motivated a relating blogging titled Bud Kennedy Fort Worth Fix Gets Over Dallas.

Continuing on where we left off...

This Fort Worth identity crisis issue has been blogged about multiple times, with the first instance, I think, being Why Fort Worth Has Fallen Behind Developing An Identity Crisis in which we learned the depths of this crisis. Concern about Fort Worth's identity crisis spread as far east as Dallas. We blogged about that in Star-Telegram Embarrassing Fort Worth Dallas Rivalry Editorial.

So, a couple days ago, via the Seattle Times, I saw this A Seattle native comes home to find a city that’s changed article which got me thinking anew about Fort Worth's identity crisis.

In this article the Seattle native details her reaction to returning to Seattle after having been gone since 2006. Her reaction to seeing the 2017 version of Seattle mirrors my own, which I had when I was back in Seattle last summer, after not having been in Washington since 2008.

Some blurbs from the article verbalizing perceptions of the sort which matched my own impression of the Seattle metamorphosis...

THE BIGGEST CHANGE, of course, is the city’s new look: far bigger, bolder and more futuristic. (I’m not just thinking of South Lake Union, though I did a double-take the first time I passed the Amazon Spheres.) I’m still trying to identify new towers crowding into an improved skyline and — more than once — have been flustered by changes to places I used to know...

...Weeks later, I was wandering through the newly expanded Pike Place Market, which was heaving with tourists, even on a weekday...

...SEATTLE’S SKYLINE MIGHT be in constant flux, but there’s just as much happening on — even under — the ground... This makes me rather relieved that I don’t own a car, particularly given the city’s impressive gains in public transport. Now RapidRide buses run every 10 to 15 minutes — even in West Seattle, which always seems to draw the short straw in terms of public investment; even regular routes offer improved service and extended hours.
_________________

Okay, can you guess where I am going with this?

So, if a Fort Worth native left Fort Worth in 2006, and returned in 2017, what changes would that person see in this town currently suffering an identity crisis from being a backwards backwater?

Certainly that Fort Worth returnee would not be seeing a skyline which had been in constant flux, looking bigger, bolder and more futuristic than when the Fort Worth native last saw their hometown.

What would the Fort Worth native see in downtown Fort Worth different from when last seen in 2006?

Would the returned FW native be shocked at the altered Fort Worth skyline? All the new buildings? Well, there is that unfortunate looking Convention Center Hotel which has been added to the Fort Worth skyline, which the public had to help fund, due to, you know, not many big money conventions being staged in Fort Worth at the level which causes hotel builders to bid on the right to build a hotel, such as what happens in a non-backwards backwater town.

A year before 2006, 2005, J.D. Granger was given the job of executively directing the then named Trinity River Vision, which by 2017 turned into America's Biggest Boondoggle.

The returned FW native would see a bizarre roundabout with a million dollar homage to an aluminum trash can at its center, with cement structures shaped like a V, under construction for years, trying to build simple little bridges over dry land.

The Fort Worth returnee might come upon a large pond and not realize they were looking at the first failure of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, that being the Cowtown Wakepark, which was dug, and failed, since 2006.

In 2006 when that Fort Worth native left town the downtown had been confusing its few tourists for years by referring to itself as Sundance Square. In 2017 that returnee would find an actual little square, in Sundance Square, built on a couple parking lots and goofily named Sundance Square Plaza Sponsored by Nissan.

The Fort Worth native returning in 2017 would not find any transit improvements, no light rail, of any sort. But that returnee would marvel at the backwards backwater embarrassment known as Molly the Trolley. A bus converted to look like a trolley which transports Fort Worth's few tourists for five bucks a pop.

When the Fort Worth native left in 2006, Heritage Park, that homage to Fort Worth's storied heritage, located at the north end of downtown, overlooking America's Biggest Boondoggle, was already, or was soon to be a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded eyesore, which is still making eyes sore in 2018, that is, I assume such is the case, since I have not been informed otherwise.

That returned Fort Worth native would find a remodeled 7th Street Bridge which looks cool and is proof Fort Worth can build a good looking bridge, when there is no congresswoman's inept son involved to muck it up. Crossing that bridge the returnee will see all the development, poorly planned, that has happened in the West 7th area, since 2006.

That same incompetent urban planning has created a mess in north Fort Worth since that native left in 2006. Thousands of homes built without any apparent planning. You know, adequate road improvements, and other infrastructure upgrades which make such development work in towns which are not backwards backwaters.

All that concrete covering so many square miles of land which previously soaked up incoming deluges, now rushes in flash flood mode to wreak havoc in towns downstream, such as Haltom City.

When that Fort Worth native left in 2006 no one sane went swimming in the polluted Trinity River. Suggesting such a thing would have been considered nuts. But, that Fort Worth returnee, returned in 2017, would find Fort Worth encouraging its people to get wet in the Trinity River which is even more polluted than it was in 2006, doing so at Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tubes Floats, sponsored by America's Biggest Boondoggle, taking place at an imaginary island with an imaginary pavilion.

Yes, that Fort Worth native, who left in 2006, would return to Fort Worth and quickly wonder if the town has gone totally insane in their absence...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bud Kennedy Fort Worth Fix Gets Over Dallas

Last night I wrote a couple bloggings about the subject of Fort Worth and the town's identity crisis. And then this morning I saw in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Bud Kennedy had written an excellent article about this same subject, but in a more thoughtful, less snarky way.

You can go to Here’s how to fix Fort Worth. (It’s not about Dallas, or pilots, or the cow.) and read the entire article, including comments. When I read the article this morning there were already multiple comments of the ironic sort, ironic in that those making the comments had zero self awareness they were verbalizing aspects of what's wrong with Fort Worth. That and sounding like the type Trumpistic morons who make ignorant remarks on a FOX NEWS online article.

I'll copy just a little of the article, including the section which nailed something which has long bugged me, that being Fort Worth's perverse Dallas obsession, and then end with those aforementioned embarrassingly stupid comments...

FORT WORTH

The day of reckoning has come for Fort Worth, blurring from a distinct metropolitan city into the western sprawl of the DFW metroglob.

A new business plan for the city included wakeup alarms for city leaders:

▪ Our residents are less likely to have a college degree than Houston’s or Dallas’, and nowhere near as well-educated as Denver’s or Austin’s.

▪ Even our high school graduation rate trails San Antonio’s or Oklahoma City’s, both working-class cities with a rough-and-tumble cowboy past.

So the blunt truth is: Fort Worth and Tarrant County are not very smart.

But we’ve got more problems:

▪ One in 12 city residents has to go to Dallas for work.

▪ Some outsiders see Fort Worth as hostile to young adults, people of color and foreigners.

▪ Worst of all, Fort Worth doesn’t cross anyone’s mind at all. We’re No. 16 in population but No. 48 in Google searches — less sought than Tulsa or Oklahoma City, down there with Buffalo and Fresno.

3. GET OVER DALLAS

The popular local T-shirt says “Life is too short to live in Dallas.”

A newer saying is: “Don’t Dallas my Fort Worth.”

Folks, poking fun at Dallas is a statewide tradition. But it’s meant to be in fun.

Dallas is not Fort Worth’s enemy. Dallas is one of Fort Worth’s biggest assets.

(It’s also becoming one of Fort Worth’s biggest employers.)

“Screw Dallas!” is not a successful marketing slogan. The city to the east was always the region’s banking and business hub, and new parks and bridges have made it more attractive to visit.

Fort Worth could take more of a cue from Arlington, a sales-minded city that has leveraged its center position to pick up Dallas visitors and dollars.

Sure, it’s OK to joke about Dallas. Houston and Austin folks do it, too.

But to the rest of the world, it only makes Fort Worth look small.
_____________________

So totally true. The Dallas obsession has always seemed bizarre to me. It comes across as over compensating for a civic inferiority complex. Fort Worth would do itself a favor by losing its Dallas obsession and its related nonsense, that being naming this that and the other thing, like an imaginary island "Panther".

And now those previously mentioned comments....

Gavin Michaels · Sioux City, Iowa
Bud Kennedy is exactly what u would think he is: a pudgy nerd flaming liberal that became a reporter just so he could get his rocks off pretending to be some arrogant genius burdened by the presence of us grunts and rubes. Kids don't grow up to be a Bud Kennedy.

Christine Ewing Hodge
Wow! What an insulting article. We were accused of all sorts of things I feel we don't deserve.

M Keith Smith · University of Texas at Tyler
As FW leaders become more liberal, our citizens become dumber — could be a correlation there, just saying....

Perhaps our schools are failing, specially younger grades, because of the large number of illegal alien children and anchor babies of illegals with limited to no English in their households — could be a correlation there, just saying....

Tax working class to build 'attractions' that create more low-wage jobs and benefit big business...typical high-brow liberal idea, Bud...worked so well everywhere else where in twenty years cities get hold hostage for another new stadium, just saying....

Mike Kelley · Arlington, Texas
WOW! Sounds like you really hate Fort Worth! I personally like the fact that we aren’t like Dallas, Houston, or Austin.

Will Smith
Bud Kennedy found yet another way to denigrate his home town. What is it about these Startlegram reporters and columnists that make them find so many ways to insult Fort Worth?

Arlon Hill
There trying to convert it to a liberal Austin type town full of snowflakes.
__________________

Yeah, sure sounds like Bud Kennedy hates Fort Worth. That or Bud Kennedy clearly sees areas where the town should make some fixes and changes and maybe some day in the future not be such a backwards backwater.

Have you ever had the fun of asking one of these dotard types to define "liberal"? You get about as accurate an answer as asking one of them to explain Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Or why the sun rises in the morning...

UPDATE: By Monday morning the comments you see above have been deleted. This is sort of understandable. It serves no one well to give ignorant people a platform of any sort to spew their ignorant nonsense...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Benzene & Arsenic Added To Fort Worth's Trinity River Chemical Stew

As 2017 was drawing to a close we learned Why Fort Worth Has Developed An Identity Crisis.

The City of Fort Worth spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a study studying why corporations did not want to locate their corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, particularly downtown Fort Worth.

It seemed to many that the better question to ask is why is Fort Worth such a backwards backwater, and what can be done to change that fact?

In the weeks following the revelation that Fort Worth has an identity crisis there were a few followup blog posts in which a light was shined on some of the reasons for the Fort Worth backwards backwater malady, such as America's Biggest Boondoggle Roars Into 2018 With Fort Worth Cultural Significance

and

 Star-Telegram Embarrassing Fort Worth Dallas Rivalry Editorial.

Yesterday Elsie Hotpepper pointed to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Contaminated groundwater seeping into the Trinity River from this spot needs costly fix, which informs us of yet one more reason corporations are not attracted to locating their headquarters in Fort Worth.

The information in this article is a bit jaw dropping, revealing it has been long known that dangerous, cancer causing chemicals were leaking into the Trinity River. The leaking location is slightly downriver from the location were Fort Worth bizarrely encourages its desperate for water based entertainment citizens to float in the polluted Trinity River during summer season Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats, which is yet one more backwards backwater Fort Worth thing which would make a corporation leery about being linked to this town.

And bizarrely, at the end of this Star-Telegram article there is what appears to be some sort of advertisement for floating in the river the article is informing us is flowing with cancer causing toxins. That is a screen cap of this bizarre video advertisement. Look at that and then we will continue on with the rest of this story.


Some choice paragraphs from the contaminated groundwater article for the enlightenment of any corporation considering locating at this location...

It’s been nearly a year since environmental consultants provided the city with a report on the long-known issue of groundwater contamination seeping into the Trinity River at the south end of its Brennan Avenue Service Center, but fixing the issue is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Whenever it does, taxpayers can expect to foot an expensive bill to solve an environmental issue that no one can completely pinpoint the source of or when it started happening. The city’s land was and the surrounding properties have been used by oil refineries for more than a century.

This bill will be on top of the money the city has already spent to remove contaminated soil and leaking oil storage tanks on its property since the 1990s. Groundwater monitoring has been done since, but levels didn’t start exceeding acceptable regulated levels until a few years ago, triggering this latest review.

The cancer-causing contaminates apparently are not all coming from the city’s property, but are believed to also be seeping into the groundwater from adjacent and nearby properties that over years housed tank farms for oil refineries and other industries, some that date to the early 1900s.

Benzene and arsenic contamination from leaking tanks on the city-owned property was discovered several years ago. In 1991, soil and underground tanks were removed and the issue cleared from the city’s property. However, from August 2013 to December 2015, benzene, arsenic and other chemicals were detected in most of the 21 monitoring wells in the area.
______________________

Now Fort Worth's happy river floaters will have to consider that, in addition to the e.coli and alligators, you might also be floating with benzene and arsenic.

Multiple entities commented on the contamination. Three of those comments...

Steve Crow
Wouldn't you think this would be the first thing you'd clean up before starting the Trinity River Project?

Michelle Love ·
Tarrant County College
Gee, the only info missing from this story is an assessment of the health hazards to the public who use the Trinity River.

Safety on North Sylvania Avenue
Despite knowing this, the Trinity is being stocked with fish for people to catch and events are held that encourage people to get in the river? Sure doesn’t sound safe.
_____________________

Yeah, wouldn't you think cleaning up a seriously polluted river would be what you would do before re-engineering the river with an ill-fated economic development scheme designed to line the pockets of those who own property whose value would be enhanced if the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision ever became something someone could see?

What has become known as America's Biggest Boondoggle began boondoggling along way back in 2002. In 2005 Kay Granger's unqualified son, J.D., was plucked from his job as an assistant attorney of some sort, to be the Executive Director of what was then called the Trinity River Vision Authority. At that point in time, 2005, Kay's boy was paid around $100,000.00 a year. We all recently learned J.D. has been getting large yearly raises for a job not well done, and now makes around $200,000.00 a year, for mis-directing a project in slow motion, year after year after year.

Is this Trinity River contamination zone in the area being messed up by the Boondoggle? Is it on the imaginary island? Or downstream from the chunk of land which the Boondoggle is trying to connect Fort Worth's mainland to with three simple little bridges built over dry land with a construction timeline longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge and dig the Panama Canal, with both those engineering feats involving actual, real water?

Years ago I remember opining that if bulldozers ever began scraping the dirt on that imaginary island it would likely turn into an EPA Super Fund site after bad things, long buried, were uncovered...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Light Flight To Mount Wichita Summit Before February Flight To Arizona

I did not realize it until I thought about it, but today was the first time I used my motorized vehicle to drive to Mount Wichita since I returned from Arizona last August.

I have rolled my former bike's wheels around Mount Wichita multiple times since last August, but I had not hiked to the summit, until today.

I am about 30 pounds lighter than the last time I mountain climbed Mount Wichita.

What a difference a few pounds make when one wants to haul oneself up a mountain. I was surprised and pleased.

But it was cold, even though the temperature was above 50. Extremely windy, blowing an icy wind off the lake. I was in shorts and t-shirt and found myself shivering when I reached the Mount Wichita summit. Not breathing hard, but shivering.

As I arrived at the Mount Wichita parking lot I saw a few people at the summit. I never saw them again. They must have descended down the mountain's east face. By the time I reached the base of the mountain a lady was running up the trail next to the one I had chosen to ascend. You can see her nearing the summit in the photo above.

By the time I reached the summit that lady was in a relaxed yoga pose, which you see below. Or maybe she was taking a selfie photo.

Now that I've discovered mountain climbing is a lot easier without hauling a lot of unnecessary poundage along, I shall return for multiple summit ascents. But today I missed the insulative properties of that long gone adipose tissue which used to help keep me warm in chilly situations.

When I got back to a computer this afternoon I booked a flight to Arizona. I'm out of here most of the month of February. I am not going to bring a laptop along with me. My internet connectivity will be limited. I am looking forward to being disconnected...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fort Worth's Perplexing High Water Bills & Possible Bypass Ditch Bond Vote

A few days ago we were Anonymously Wondering If J.D. Granger Is Paid Enough To Direct America's Biggest Boondoggle. Judging by the thousands of page views we were not alone in wondering why someone is being paid so much to accomplish so little over such a long time.

Then in the past 24 hours Elsie Hotpepper pointed to a couple of items which are sort of related to wondering how someone can be paid so much to do so little so badly.

In Ever receive a high water bill in Fort Worth that can’t be explained? There is help we learn that some water buyers in Fort Worth have been hit with out of whack water bills.

Reading the article it appears the "help" is rather unhelpful. And there seems to be nothing regarding anyone trying to find out why so many water bills are so erroneous.

The other item Elsie Hotpepper pointed to is also water related, with the information coming from the TRWD website via a PDF about Matters to Come Before a Meeting of the Board of Directors of Tarrant Regional Water District.

One of those matters coming before the TRWD Board is....

Discussion of Potential TRWD Bond election to complete the Trinity
River/Gateway Park Bypass Channel Flood Control Project.

The "bypass channel" is the ditch which has to be dug to go under the three simple bridges being built in slow motion over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, which requires that ditch to be filled with water to complete the imaginary island illusion.

This discussion about a TRWD Bond election is the first mention we have seen about using such a mechanism to raise funds to pay for what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. In progressive, democratic locations in America the public is usually allowed to vote for a public works project and its funding mechanism. Such is not the case in the current Fort Worth oligarchical pseudo-dictatorship, also known as the Fort Worth Way of mis-leading a town.

It really is difficult to imagine the TRWD actually putting this ill-fated project to any sort of public vote after boondoggling along for most of this century.

How much is this ditch expected to cost? Has anyone seen an estimate? What is the projected construction timeline for digging such a ditch? Building three simple bridges over dry land has proven to be a lot for Fort Worth to handle. Digging a ditch under those bridges will likely prove even more daunting.

Years ago. Was it 2005? Kay Granger's unqualified son, J.D., was hired as the Executive Director of what he eventually turned into America's Biggest Boondoggle. Many believe J.D. was given this job to motivate his mother to try and secure federal funds to dole out to Fort Worth to pay for this project the town was unable to pay for itself, the way big cities wearing their big city pants do.

Eventually J.D.'s mom came up with about a half billion federal earmark dollars to help keep her son employed until he reaches retirement age.

What is that half billion dollars paying for? Apparently not the ditch, I mean "bypass channel". Does Kay Granger have any other children in need of a job which might give Kay motivation to pork barrel some more federal funds to Fort Worth before the voters wise up and elect someone else to be their congress person?

Regarding the TRWD's defense of its water billing problems there is this paragraph in the Star-Telegram article...

“We want to be fair about this,” said Fran Peterson, the Water Department’s customer relations manager. “You always want your customers to feel that we’re not a monopoly. We want to have a good, respectful relationship. This is a way to show we’re there for them. If there’s a problem, we need to identify the problem.”

The TRWD wants its customers to feel they are not a monopoly? But, the TRWD is a monopoly. And the TRWD acts like a monopoly with no competition. The TRWD imposes upon its customers things like the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District, also known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, without its customers allowed to vote on whether they want to support this pseudo public works project touted as a much needed economic development flood control scheme, where there has been no flood for well over half a century, due to levees already preventing such from happening.

And with the economic development scheme apparently so un-needed that the scheme is being implemented in ultra-slow motion, with the project executively directed by someone with zero experience managing such a project.

With that person now paid a salary close to $200,000.00 a year, plus benefits, such as a car and an expense account, starting off well over a decade ago with a salary of around $100,000.00 a year, given almost a $10,000.00 a year raise for each year of ongoing incompetent ineptness.

The recent revelation of the high paying salaries paid to multiple employees of the nepotism laden TRWD has appalled a lot of people. How much of the increase in water bills is caused by giving these people raises?

Recently Haltom City water buyers, in a town which purchases its water from the TRWD and then re-sells it to its citizens, have been complaining about their water bill increases.

How many Haltom City water bill payers does it take a year to just pay J.D. Granger his exorbitant salary?

Do other water districts in Texas operate in the TRWD Jersey Mafia Mob-like Gang on the Take Way? Or is this yet one more Tarrant County/Fort Worth anomaly of the sort which makes this part of America operate so differently than the more, well, modern parts of America, what with being the Eminent Domain Abuse Capital of America, along with other accolades of the sort most chambers of commerce hope to avoid?

So perplexing....

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Bike Riding With Theo To Fort Nisqually In Tacoma's Point Defiance Park

Today is the first day since my bike was stolen which has the outer world warm enough that I would have gone on a bike ride today, if I still had a pair of rolling wheels.

Just when I was finding myself feeling just a little melancholy in came some pictures from Tacoma which quickly had me having a bout of feeling homesick.

Apparently today Theo took Mama Kristin to Tacoma's Point Defiance Park to ride their bikes during the weekly Saturday closed to cars period.

Point Defiance Park is enormous. One of the biggest city parks in the world. In Point Defiance Park's 760 acres you will find "Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Rose Garden, Rhododendron Garden, beaches, trails, a boardwalk, a boathouse, a Washington State Ferries ferry dock for the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route to Vashon Island, Fort Nisqually, an off-leash dog park, and most notably a stand of old-growth forest."

All in quotation marks and in italics in the above paragraph was from the Wikipedia article about Point Defiance Park.

Also from the Wikipedia article, "Portions of The Five Mile Drive are closed to cars on Saturday. There are many hiking trails along Pt. Defiance's cliffs, that have sweeping views of Vashon Island, Dalco Passage, Gig Harbor, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The road network also passes by Fort Nisqually."

In the imaginary world class Texas city I lived in prior to moving to Wichita Falls there was nary a single city park worthy of a Wikipedia article. That town was named after a fort, which was actually a camp, made up of tents, eventually designated as a fort, even though there was no fortress of the sort one thinks of when one sees the "fort" word.

Fort Nisqually in Tacoma, in Point Defiance Park, is a classic frontier fort of the fort stereotype sort. You know, a wood stockade surrounding a fortified area. Just Googled to find there is an extensive Wikipedia article about Fort Nisqually.

Now that is sort of ironic, there is no Wikipedia article about Fort Worth, the fort, from whence the town got its name, it being a town named after a fort where there is no longer any semblance of a fort.

However, there is a run down boarded up eyesore of a park, called Heritage Park, which pays homage to Fort Worth's fort heritage, in the north end of that world class town's downtown, on a bluff overlooking the location of America's Biggest Boondoggle.


Above that is Theo riding along surrounded by some of that old growth forest mentioned in the Wikipedia article about Point Defiance Park. Being in a forest of tall old growth trees is soothing. And it smells real good.

In the photo at the top Theo is stopped at a point along one of those cliffs also mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Vashon Island is also mentioned. I think that is Vashon Island in the distance behind Theo. For those in Fort Worth not familiar with the concept. An island is a chunk of land surrounded by a large body of water. In the case of Vashon Island, it is surrounded by the south end of Puget Sound, which is an inlet of this really big body of water called the Pacific Ocean.

Digging a ditch around a chunk of urban wasteland and then filling that ditch with dirty water does not an island make. Of course there is no law forbidding someone from calling such a chunk of land an island, but doing so just opens a town up to being laughed at, ridiculed and makes ones town appear to be, well, a clueless backwards backwater that is certainly not world class...

Through The Looking Glass Where China Loves Fort Worth

Near the end of last year we learned, via a couple articles in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about Fort Worth suffering from an identity crisis due to the shocking realization Fort Worth had fallen way behind other American cities of like size.

In Why Fort Worth Has Fallen Behind Developing An Identity Crisis we blogged about this shocking identity crisis revelation and the hundreds of thousands of dollars Fort Worth spent to try to figure out why the town is such a backwards backwater to which corporations are reluctant to locate.

Such is terribly difficult to understand, what with Fort Worth's appeal being so obvious. Yet, it really is befuddling why Fort Worth can not seem to do simple things in a timely manner, like building three simple little bridges, for relatively little money, in a time frame of less than a decade. While other towns seem to do complex things, like dig giant transportation tunnels in a fraction of the time Fort Worth's boondoggles have been boondoggling along.

But now, near the beginning of 2018, we have some optimistic news, news which might make one think maybe people in other parts of the world have finally figured out where Fort Worth is located and that the town is not a Dallas suburb.

The first few paragraphs from this optimistic about Fort Worth article titled China’s real-estate agents explain why they love Fort Worth and if they think foreign homebuying will keep surging...

The China Alliance of Real Estate Agencies, whose membership handles about 60 percent of home sales in China, is touring the Fort Worth area this week. We tagged along and asked them about foreign home buyers in Tarrant County.

One of the biggest stories in the Fort Worth-area real-estate market continues to be the strong interest among home buyers coming from China.

Although foreign sales here are down a bit lately, Tarrant County in recent years has become one of the most sought-after U.S. regions for people in China looking for a home as an investment or to move to. While a boon for home sellers and real-estate companies, buyers from China have been blamed for soaring home prices, and foreign speculators became a main topic in the Fort Worth mayoral election.

So why are so many people from China interested in buying here, and will it continue? To find out, we joined a delegation of 15 top real-estate brokers from mainland China who are in town this week to check out the area for themselves and tour homes with the help of Windermere — the latest sign of China’s interest in Fort Worth. The brokers include the leadership of the China Alliance of Real Estate Agencies, whose membership handles about 60 percent of home sales in China.

Why Fort Worth?
The brokers all said good schools, clean air, proximity to China, beautiful natural resources like lakes and mountains and the growing economy are the main draws, with most citing Radio Shack, Pier One Imports and Chesapeake Energy as internationally renowned Fort Worth companies.
_____________________

Okay, obviously I fake news tricked you all again.

I suppose when you got to the part about Fort Worth's good schools, clean air along with beautiful natural resources like lakes and mountains you started thinking something was not making sense about what you were reading. And then you were further perplexed when you read reference to a growing economy and internationally renowned Fort Worth companies.

Well, in the above article blurb, substitute Seattle for Fort Worth and change those internationally renowned companies to Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing and you have what was actually in this China’s real-estate agents explain why they love Seattle and if they think foreign homebuying will keep surging article in the Seattle Times.

An article the likes of which you will never likely read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the current international status of Fort Worth and the town's attractiveness to Chinese home buyers.

Hence, an extremely good example of the type reality which causes Fort Worth an identity crisis, and why there is a good reason for that identity crisis. And why Fort Worth has fallen so far behind other towns of similar size in terms of national and international recognition.

And it did not cost Fort Worth several hundred thousand dollars to get this dose of un-sugar coated reality, I offered it up for free...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Anonymously Wondering If J.D. Granger Is Paid Enough To Direct America's Biggest Boondoggle

Someone with the extremely common name of "Anonymous" made an interesting comment to a blog post from a day or two ago, with the comment pointing out how many taxpayer dollars Kay Granger's son, J.D., is being paid for the extraordinary job he has been doing for years and years and years of being the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, but more commonly known, nationally, as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

The comment from Anonymous...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Bridge's 2020 Possible Project Schedule":

John Dean Granger IV was paid $192,816 in 2016 according to a Public Salaries Database in the Star-Telegram. That's more than the Tarrant County sheriff made. JD Granger also made more than County Judge Glen Whitely who presides over Commissioner's Court.

Public Salaries Database

That Public Salaries Database link above was included in the comment from Anonymous, and took us to a list of what public servants in Tarrant County are being paid to serve the people of the county in the illustrious commendable way, some of them, serve the public.

The salaries of the public servants working for the public on the TRWD (Tarrant Region Water District) are surprising, at least to me. As in I am surprised at how many public servants are being served so well, salary wise, by the public employing them to run this public agency which delivers water to the Tarrant Region.

The top salary earner in the TRWD, Jim Oliver, earns $304,990.40 a year.

Some of these public servants working for the TRWD are quite notorious, and have managed to keep their high paying jobs, despite the notoriety. Noteworthy notoriety such as being caught flagrante dilecto in the TRWD headquarter's parking lot making whoopee with a TRWD employee who was not this public servant's wife. I think that particular TRWD public servant got a raise after this shenanigan.

And then there was this other TRWD TRVA employee, married at the time, who had himself a fling with a subordinate co-worker, a fling which made some of his TRWD co-workers so uncomfortable details of this ongoing assignation were relayed to me, among others, including details, such as details of overnight junkets, to far away locations, like overnight hotel stays in Dallas, with the junket on the TRWD, well TRVA, expense account, because, you know, they were in Dallas to check out what Dallas was doing with its version of the Trinity River Vision.

Let's look at the Public Salaries Database's list of the top TRWD salary earners...

Oliver, James M. $304,990.40 General Manager TRWD
Thomas, Robert A. $236,475.20 Deputy General Manager TRWD
Buhman, Daniel L. $192,816.00 Assistant General Manager TRWD
Granger IV, John D. $192,816.00 Executive Director - TRVA TRWD
Buhman, Daniel L. $192,816.00 Assistant General Manager TRWD
Granger IV, John D. $192,816.00 Executive Director - TRVA TRWD
Marshall, David H. $188,323.00 Engineering & Opp Supp Director TRWD
Newby, Sandy         $182,000.00 Finance Director TRWD
Christie, Linda         $177,091.20 Governmental Affairs Director TRWD
Cleveland, Wesley $172,120.00 Integrated Pipeline Director TRWD
Beason, Darrell E. $168,272.00 Operations Division Director TRWD
Christian, Robert S. $156,270.40 Real Property Director TRWD
Weaver, Edward M. $150,155.20 IPL Program Technical TRWD
Maguire, Charles M. $149,344.00 Director of Information Services/CISO TRWD
Owen Jr., Wayne P. $139,360.00 Planning Director TRWD
Miller, Ronald B. $138,091.20 Assistant Operations Director TRWD
Ickert, Rachel A. $136,510.40 Water Resources Eng Director TRWD
ehrig, Jason         $133,910.40 Infrastructure Eng Director TRWD
Coffey, Jeffrey M. $133,764.80 Geospatial Services Manager TRWD
Hatcher, Michael T. $133,681.60 Cyber Security Operations Specialist  TRWD
Cabrera, JL        $132,329.60 Project Management Office Manager TRWD

Is this the norm in other areas of America, to pay this many people this much to operate a water district?

When I lived in Mount Vernon one of my neighbors on the cul-de-sac on which I lived was the manager of the PUD (Public Utility District), which is the Mount Vernon/Skagit County version of TRWD. I don't think he was paid around a third of a million bucks a year. Then again, Skagit County is much smaller, population-wise, than Tarrant County, with that water district run without the scandals and boondoggles which seem to plague Tarrant County's TRWD and its subordinate agency, the TRVA, which J.D. Granger has so ineptly mismanaged.

Continuing on with that train of thought, thinking that if the PUD in Skagit County came up with a bizarre economic development flood control scheme, called the Skagit River Vision, altering the part of downtown Mount Vernon which the Skagit River passes through, with the Skagit being an actual river, not a glorified ditch, to supposedly turn that section of Mount Vernon into the Vancouver of Washington, well, such nonsense is not imaginable, for multiple reasons in addition to the fact that two Vancouvers are within a relatively short drive to the north and south of the proposed imaginary Skagit River Vision.

Ironically, during the same time frame in which J.D. Granger's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has been boondoggling along Mount Vernon has sort of completed its own version of a Skagit River Vision, with the Skagit River, as it passes past downtown Mount Vernon, passing by a sort of Riverwalk, connecting downtown Mount Vernon directly to the river, with large plazas, a walkway and other attractive attributes. All that and a new Dutch designed flood wall which can be quickly put in place when the river goes rogue and threatens downtown Mount Vernon.

The Skagit River Vision was accomplished without abusing eminent domain to steal citizen's property. I do not know if the locals voted for the Skagit River Vision or if the funding came via other means, such as simply paid for out of other local revenue streams. I do know that no local congresswoman's son was hired to executively direct the Skagit River Vision in order to motivate his mother to secure federal funds to pay for the project.

I also am fairly certain if the Skagit River Vision boondoggled along, for years, with little to show for the effort, with that congresswoman's unqualified son paid $192,816.00 a year, well, the Skagit Valley locals would not put up with such outrageous nonsense.

Such is how the world operates in modern, democratic, progressive, well-educated locations in America.  Locations in America served by an actual newspaper practicing the time honored practice called investigative journalism...

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Bridge's 2020 Possible Project Schedule

Well, I guess it is high time for the first Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision absurdity of the new year.

Eagle-eyed Fort Worth Steve A made an interesting comment to a blog post from way back in 2015 with an interesting revelation...

Steve A has left a new comment on your post "According To The Texas Society Of Architects The Boondoggle's Bridges Over Nothing Were Completed Five Years Ago":

According to the Trinity River Vision website the bridge completion is NOW scheduled for 2020, though that "Estimated Project Schedule" is way down at the bottom of that page.

Sure enough, just as Steve A indicated, scrolling down to the bottom of the page you see this...


Yes, those three simple bridges, the construction of which began with a TNT bang back in 2014, are currently supposedly going to be finished being constructed in 2020. Three simple little bridges being over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island as part of a supposedly vitally needed economic development and flood control project.

A vitally needed project being built in ultra slow motion, relying on federal welfare to slowly dole out the funds to pay for this supposedly vitally needed project.

At the top what you are looking at is a screen cap of what you see when go to the Trinity River Vision webpage Steve A pointed us to. How surprising, embarrassingly propagandistic verbiage of the same misinformation type one reads in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about America's Biggest Boondoggle...

PANTHER ISLAND SIGNATURE BRIDGES
HENDERSON STREET • WHITE SETTLEMENT • NORTH MAIN STREET

The Trinity River Vision is no longer a vision, it is a reality. For several years, work along the Trinity River has been on-going preparing for this project milestone. The signature bridges are a collaborative effort between the Trinity River Vision Authority, TxDOT, City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The three signature bridges positioned along the realigned Trinity River will begin construction in late summer 2014. The estimated construction cost for all bridges is $66 million.  Serving as the gateways to Panther Island, the bridges create the foundation for a unique, urban waterfront community. The project partners will make every effort to minimize the inconvenience of this major construction project and will utilize multiple methods to keep residents and business owners informed.

Why does this insipidly idiotic ironic "SIGNATURE" bridge verbiage continue to be used to describe these three simple little bridges?

And then we have the following on this propaganda infused webpage...

Innovative Design

A team of engineers architects and planners have collaborated with partners from around the community to develop an innovative bridge design that also stays within budget. This project will enhance the area with three unique V-Pier bridges, 10 foot pedestrian-lit sidewalks, bicycle facilities, reduced vehicular traffic delays, enhanced landscaping and enhanced opportunities for future transportation.

Does anyone know who the members of this team of engineers, architects and planners and their partners from around the community are? It might be useful to identify the culprits responsible  for the bridge part of America's Biggest Boondoggle, so that they might be banned from ever doing similar damage to any other project Fort Worth might try to undertake.

Does anyone know what enhanced landscaping is? Does that mean any landscaping which is not the Fort Worth norm of weeds and litter? And what are enhanced opportunities for future transportation? What does that mean? An opportunity for Molly the Trolley to cross the bridges from the Fort Worth mainland to that imaginary island?

And then there is this....

Modern Roundabout

The project includes the use of Modern Roundabout intersections on Henderson St. and White Settlement Road.
> Handles 20% more traffic than a traditional intersection
> Offers ½ the average delay time/vehicle
> Provides safer roads by cutting traffic speed by 1/3
> Increases intersection capacity from 3,900 to 4,500 cars/hour
> Creates a positive environment for vertical development

Oh my, a Modern Roundabout, as opposed to an Old-Fashioned Roundabout. A Modern Roundabout which somehow creates a positive environment for vertical development, as opposed to an Old-Fashioned Roundabout which only creates a positive environment for horizontal development.

The Boondoggle's Modern Roundabout is actually already in operation. I do not know how much traffic the Modern Roundabout is actually  handling, due to its location in the construction mess created by America's Biggest Boondoggle's slow motion lack of progress.

However, a couple years ago there was a big ceremony to celebrate the installation in the center of this Modern Roundabout of a million dollar work of art which pays homage to aluminum garbage cans.

If you go to the Trinity River Vision website you can watch live video of "Panther Island Bridge Progress in Motion" to see for yourself, you living in sane locations in America, what some of your tax dollars sent to Fort Worth are paying for....

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Too Cold In Wichita Falls To Skate Frozen Holliday Creek

Frozen Holliday Creek With No Ice Skaters
New Years Day, that would be yesterday, for the first time in a long time I made no exit to the outer world at no point during the day, opting instead to remain warm.

But today, on the second day of 2018, I could remain in stir no longer without starting to go a bit crazy.

So, I installed both my long and short johns, then a couple layers more, then a hooded sweatshirt, then an insulated jacket, earmuffs, wool stocking cap, and gloves and exited to an outer world chilled well below freezing.

Well below freezing, but with the wind not blowing hard enough to wind chill the temperature down a couple dozen more degrees.

According to my somewhat reliable phone the outer world is currently a relative to yesterday warm 17 degrees, with a slight breeze making the wind chill cause those 17 degrees to feel like 16.

I lasted in the Texas North Pole simulation long enough to hike down to frozen Holliday Creek, where I saw no ice skaters. I wonder if Lake Wichita is frozen sufficiently to allow walking on ice? At my old home location in Western Washington, this many days well under freezing would freeze lakes deep enough to allow ice walking.

I wonder if there is cross country skiing and sledding happening on Mount Wichita? One more day of this Virtual Nome and I shall drive myself there to see. But, I won't bring my skis with me. That would be ridiculous...

Monday, January 1, 2018

Three Degrees Below Zero In Wichita Falls

Feeling like three degrees below zero.

What a cool way to start a new year.

This bout of day after day after day of extreme frigidity is the longest such bout I have shivered through in years.

Or maybe I am just forgetting the last time the shivering lasted this long.

I know for certain I prefer running the air conditioning to cool my interior to the temperature the furnace is currently running to warm my interior to the temperature the air conditioner cools the air to...