Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fort Worth's Panther Island Remains Toxic While Tacoma Exemplifies Civic Reinvention

On first glance my one long time reader may see the image you see here and wonder if this is the latest version of America's Biggest Boondoggle's imaginary island.

No, what you see here is real, not an embarrassingly phantom of the sort you can not see in that American backwater of Fort Worth, Texas.

I think that new medication that causes me to say what I really think must be kicking in.

During the same time frame Fort Worth has been boondoggling along, ineptly, with an ill-conceived, incompetently implemented, un-funded economic development scheme disguised as imaginary flood control, the relatively little (population-wise, compared to Fort Worth) Washington town of Tacoma has managed to produce two large developments along that town's actual real waterway of Commencement Bay.

There is the Thea Foss Waterway development at the south end of Commencement Bay, and the Point Ruston development at the north end of Commencement Bay.

Both projects dwarf Fort Worth's pitiful attempt to create a "water feature" for that town. I do not know all the funding details, but both projects did not lack funding in Tacoma. The Point Ruston project is mostly a private development, with some, I assume, public funding.

Both Tacoma projects have elements of the EPA superfund being involved.

Fort Worth's Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District has never been voted on by the public, in an honest, legit way. The project relied on hiring the unqualified son of a Fort Worth politician as the project's executive director, in the hope mom would secure federal funding.

That has not worked out.

Hence Fort Worth's pitiful project, propagandized as a vitally needed flood control project, has been limping along for most of this century, with no end in sight. And with it highly unlikely that more prosperous parts of America will be sending money to Fort Worth to help pay for the town's ridiculous economic development scheme.

Meanwhile in Tacoma.

I saw that which you see above this morning in the Seattle Times, with the article headline From toxic site to green space: New Tacoma park exemplifies civic reinvention.

You can read the entire article to get the entire gist. You who are reading this in Fort Worth and are victims of America's Biggest Boondoggle, read the article and see how many bits of info are not of the sort one would read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the Trinity River Vision.

I will just use the last paragraph of the article as an example...

Dune Peninsula park is every bit the vision presented to Tacoma voters before the 2014 bond election that promised a fresh destination-quality landmark. It is an example for communities throughout Washington of how the legacy of one era can be reinvented as a resource for future ones.

Wow! Imagine that? A real vision presented to a town's voters, in an actual bond election of the sort which happens in modern America, passed in 2014, the year Fort Worth had an idiotic TNT exploding celebration to celebrate the start of construction of three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

And now, five years later, those Fort Worth bridges are nothing but eyesores, with no end in sight, while in an American town wearing its big city pants the people are enjoying the results of what they approved via the voting method.

What a revolutionary concept...

Touring With Spencer Jack & Grandpa Jake To Great Lake With Shrinking Viaduct

Spencer Jack and his grandpa have been taking me on some virtual tripping the past several days.

With Spencer Jack and his Jason dad in various locations in the Wisconsin part of America, while Spencer Jack's grandpa has been taking me to various locations in our old home state of Washington.

Earlier today I blogged about grandpa Jake in Seattle, after he asked me when I was last at that location, with the precise question not clear as to its precise meaning.

This afternoon fresh photo documentation arrived on my phone from both the Spencer Jack entourage and Grandpa Jake.

Both instances of photo documentation were sparse with the verbal details.

For instance that photo you see of Spencer Jack standing on a beach at the edge of what looks to be a lake simply said "Beautiful day at the lake."

This looks like a really great lake, likely one of the Great Lakes, most likely Lake Michigan, since I was previously informed that that particular Great Lake was going to be visited.

The next photo was a bit more informative, saying "Spencer and I at the Miller Brewery sampling product and finding a souvenir for Grandma Cindy."


And then the next photo, though free of any explanatory text seems to indicate Spencer Jack had found the appropriate Miller Brewery souvenir for Grandma Cindy.


Now, let's leave Wisconsin behind and head back west to Washington and Grandpa Jake.


The text with the above photo from Grandpa Jake simply said "And the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Which is coming down."

This is rather convincing evidence that Grandpa Jake does not read this blog, what with the number of times mention has been made of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and that other aspect of that project, that being the world's biggest boring machine's digging a tunnel under downtown Seattle.

Which is a public works project which began boring in 2014, the same year Fort Worth had a TNT exploding ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of three simple little bridges, built over dry land, with a then astonishing four year project timeline, now extended into the next decade.

While the new tunnel under Seattle has been completed and in use for months now, and with the Alaskan Way Viaduct almost all removed, followed by the rebuilding of the Seattle Waterfront.

In Grandpa Jake's above photo you can see remains of the Viaduct on the left, with the new open space on the right, where the Viaduct is now long gone.

I wonder if Grandpa Jake made his way up the Pike Street Hillclimb, and then ventured to see the Amazon Spheres. Ruby took me to see the Amazon Spheres the last time I was in Seattle. They were not yet open at that point in time. I believe they are now completed and open. But, I do not know if they are open to the public.

Well, I wonder where Spencer Jack and Grandpa Jake are gonna take me next?

Grandpa Jake In Seattle Remembering Kurt Cobain & Elvis

Incoming to my phone this morning from Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa, who is also my baby brother, Jake.

Jake is currently escaping the warmth of Arizona's Valley of the Sun by enjoying the record breaking heat of the Pacific Northwest.

The text that was attached to this photo asked...

"When were you last here?"

Well.

I am not sure what location, precisely, Jake is referring to with the word "here".

I can see Jake is on a ferry boat, in Elliott Bay. Which would make that the skyline of downtown Seattle behind him. The Space Needle on the far left is a major clue.

If by "here" Jake is asking when I've last been to Seattle, the answer to that would be a couple times during August of 2017.

If by "here" Jake is asking when I've last been on a ferry boat in Elliott Bay, I think I may also know the answer to that question, precisely, even though the date is way back in the previous century.

April 5, 1994, to be exact.

Why would I remember that date?

Well.

On that day Jake's two sons, my favorite nephews Jason and Joey, took me to Seattle where we rode the ferry to Bainbridge Island. While on that ferry Joey saw a big headline in the Seattle Times.

NIRVANA'S COBAIN DEAD

Joey read enough of the story to quickly deduce Kurt Cobain had killed himself. Joey was particularly upset at this news, asking his favorite uncle why Kurt Cobain would do such a thing. I had no answer.

And then Joey and Jason told me something I did not know previously, or had forgotten. That being whilst their cousin Alan was a teacher in, if I remember right, Montesano, he taught Kurt Cobain in 7th grade.

And so this is why I know the date I last rode a Washington ferry.

And on another death of an American music icon note, with the news learned on a Washington ferry.

On August 16, 1977, before Jason, Joey, Spencer Jack and Hank Frank joined the earth's population, I ferried with grandpa Jake from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, on a product delivery run.

We were not long out of the Anacortes port when we learned Elvis had died. I do not remember if this was learned via a newspaper headline, or an announcement over the public address system. I suspect the latter.

Anyway, I hope this answers Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa's "When were you last here?" question..

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Walk About Wichita Falls Takes Me Back To Fort Worth Numskullery

I opted to take a long walk today along the streets north of my abode.

I opted such due to the fact that big trees with a lot of leaves provide shade from the sun which was in blistering mode in the noon time frame.

When I walk in my neighborhood I almost can imagine I am back in modern America, what with sidewalks lining the streets, with grassy medians between the sidewalks and the streets.

What a concept.

I long lamented the fact that my previous Texas location, Fort Worth, somehow missed the memo that to be considered, well, a modern town, one needs to have sidewalks along most of your town's streets.

Along with Fort Worth also missing the memo which pointed out that outhouses are not a good idea in a city park in modern America, or anywhere in the world thinking it is part of the modern world.

I have not been to Fort Worth's Gateway Park in at least a year. That park has been sort of being upgraded by the ongoing embarrassment now known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, or the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

When I last visited Gateway Park I was impressed that the number of outhouses had increased. Stand alone outhouses, not more high end concrete enclosed outhouses such as what graces to soccer fields.

Why can the incompetents who run Fort Worth in what is known as the Fort Worth Way not get it through their thick noggins that when trying to attract a corporation or business to locate headquarters in your town it does not make a good impression when the inquiring visitor sees miles of streets with no sidewalks, parks with outhouses, freeway exits with zero landscaping, but plenty of weeds and litter and a park homage to the town's heritage a boarded up eyesore blighting the town's downtown for well over a decade.?

So perplexing...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Spencer Jack & Jason Train Wisconsin Dells In Trumped Disguise

Incoming email from Spencer Jack and Jason from Wisconsin.

The email included three photos, one of which is extremely disturbing.

We shall copy the text from the email, and put it in italics, so as to differentiate the Jason text from the non-italicized comments from Spencer Jack and Jason's Favorite Uncle D...


Spencer and I hopped aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder this morning in downtown St. Paul‘s Union Station for a 4 hour journey east to Wisconsin Dells.

(Ironically the Train we took left King Street Station two hours before we left Sea Tac on Sunday)

Okay, I must explain the irony to which Jason refers. King Street Station is the downtown Seattle Amtrak station, near the location of the now long gone Kingdome. Amtrak's Empire Builder left Seattle two hours before Spencer Jack and Jason flew out of Sea-Tac, and today, two days later, they are boarding the same train for a four hour ride to Wisconsin Dells. I hope I translated the irony accurately.

We were seated with an entire family of Northern Indiana Amish folk.  The Amish children were the most well behaved children I have ever met.

Those must have been some extremely well behaved children. I mean, Jason has met David, Theo and Ruby. Those are the most well behaved children I have ever met. Well, those three, and Spencer Jack.


Spencer spent the afternoon water sliding.

We will be residing here for two nights before driving ourselves to Lake Michigan on Thursday.

And now that aforementioned disturbing photo, and the text which explains it...


Upon arrival into the red state of Wisconsin, I made a quick wardrobe change to fit in with the locals.

This really is inexcusable. I mean really. If Spencer Jack and Jason were riding a train from Amsterdam to Berlin in 1936 would Jason buy himself a NAZI t-shirt to better fit in with the locals?

Well, I guess maybe he would.

Wisconsin is just barely red, isn't it? Probably blue by now. I would hope...

Grandpa Jake Fog Free Seeing Volcano Hank Frank & Ralph

Hank Frank's grandpa's fog has lifted, so he can see clearly now.

That basically was the text which accompanied the photo you see here, which arrived this morning on my phone.

Yesterday I talked to Hank Frank's great-grandma who told me she thought Hank Frank's grandpa, Jake, was currently at the Fancy/Clancy Compound on Hood Canal.

I told Hank Frank's great-grandma I had already had confirmation of Hank Frank's grandpa's location.

In today's fog free photo from grandpa Jake, in addition to the Hood Canal, we see another thing one can not see no matter which direction one looks.

A volcano.

This particular volcano, in the center of the photo, is the biggest one in Washington, Mount Rainier.

Tacoma, that being the location of my favorite nephews David and Theo, and my one and only favorite niece, Ruby, is between grandpa Jake's current location and Mount Rainier.

The mountain hovers much larger when it pops into view when one is driving around Tacoma.

After sending me the photo documentation of his current fog-free view grandpa Jake sent the photo you see below.


The text which accompanied this photo said "Hank Frank, with Ralph, and Hank Frank's dad."

Hank Frank's dad is my favorite nephew Joey, also known as FJ2.

FJ1 is Hank Frank's uncle Jason.

I have not heard from FJ1 and Spencer Jack today. I assume they are still having fun in the Mall of America, or have moved on to the Wisconsin Dells.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Relative Mystery With Spencer Jack Logging In Wisconsin With Wichita Falls Suspension

On Father's Day Spencer Jack's grandpa told me that Spencer Jack was taking his dad, later that day, to Bloomington, Minnesota, to go to the Mall of America, among other destinations, such as the Wisconsin Dells.

This morning, when I woke up my computer and checked email, the first I saw was from Spencer Jack's dad, telling me that when they checked in to the Embassy Suites in Bloomington the front desk operator, after Jason said his last name, asked if he was James or Jason.

What, said Jason, there is a relative staying here? The front desk person told Jason he could not divulge details. Jason deduced that this must be Uncle Mooch and Aunt Jane's eldest, James, also known as Neil. We last saw Uncle Mooch and Aunt Jane, along with Neil's sister, Amy, when we were in the Lynden zone, in Washington, August of 2017.

Jason asked me if I could see if I could get the phone number of James Neil from Uncle Mooch. So, I messaged Aunt Jane, knowing she monitors all of Uncle Mooch's social media activity, repeated what Jason had told me. And then Aunt Jane got right back to me with the shocking info that Neil was not in Wisconsin, that he and his wife had been dealing with stolen credit cards since Friday.

Yikes.

When I got that info from Aunt Jane I called Jason, who had just received the text message from me with the asked for phone number. Jason was just about to text his cousin to ask if he wanted to meet in the hotel breakfast bar, when I called.

I do not know if law enforcement is yet involved, arresting the perp using the stolen credit card.

A couple hours later Jason and Spencer Jack texted me a couple photos, including the one you see above, of Spencer Jack on a log ride, I assume in the amusement park part of the Mall of America.

Meanwhile, in Texas this morning there is no mall I could go to to ride a log in an amusement park.

So, I did the next best thing and drove to Lucy Park, which has drained, for the most part, from the recent flooding.


The Wichita River has dropped low enough to allow the re-opening of the Lucy Park Wichita River amusement park theme ride known as the Suspension Bridge.

The river was only about a foot under the bridge, and moving fast.

As you can see via the foliage in the photo, the Wichita Falls version of North Texas remains in lush green jungle mode.

Somehow, though, I think the Wisconsin Dells might be a bit more scenic...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day In A Fog

Around noon this Father's Day Sunday I sent out Happy Father's Day text messages to all the Father's in my phone.

Well, almost all of them.

One of the replies to those Happy Father's Day messages was from Hank Frank's Father, Joey, who sent me the pic you see here.

That is Hank Frank's grandpa, Jake, you see him reading to.

In the Happy Father's Day text message to Hank Frank's grandpa I asked if he would be seeing Hank Frank's dad, Joey, and Spencer Jack's dad, Jason, today.

The reply was in the negative, that grandpa Jake was spending Father's Day in a fog in Hoodsport, whilst Joey was at home in the Skagit Valley and Jason was at the Mall of America.

Soon thereafter Jason called and I learned he was not yet in Wisconsin, that he and Spencer Jack were flying out of Sea-Tac later today, heading to that aforementioned mall, and to the Wisconsin Dells, and Lake Michigan, in no particular order.

Meanwhile I have not received a single call, text message, email or card wishing me a Happy Father's Day today....

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Grandpa Jake's Clams Steam Us Back To Washington

Incoming from Washington this Saturday afternoon, sent by Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa Jake, who is also my baby brother.

What we are looking at here is a kettle full of clams getting steamed.

The text accompanying this photo...

"Do you eat many steamers in Texas?"

I replied "No. In Texas they think catfish and crawdads are seafood, but actual seafood does exist, even oysters. Raw oysters. I've never been able to work up the courage to swallow a raw Texas oyster."

Actually I do not remember ever eating steamers when I lived in Washington.

Mom and dad did not go digging for steamers. On a low enough tide we would join the throngs out on Samish Island to dig for horse clams, and an occasional geoduck. Along with wading out in the tide to hunt for dungeness crab.

Once or twice or thrice or more times a year we would go to the Ocean Shores zone on the Pacific to join the thousands digging for razor clams when the tide was low enough.

Razor clams were about the only type clam I ever had much success digging. Due to one did not have to use a shovel to free that particular type clam from the sand.

With razor clams you can use a tube type device to extract the clam. You see a dimple in the sand indicating a clam, you center the tube around the dimple, then push the tube as deep as you can manage, with air compressing and blowing out a hole in the top of the tube.

When you think you've gone deep enough you plug the hole with your thumb, then pull the tube out. Which is a feat which can be a bit of a struggle.

And then when you get the tube free you shake out the sand and if you are successful a razor clam also falls out.

Mom and dad were at Ocean Shores digging razor clams the morning Mount St. Helens erupted. That location was closer to the volcano than where I was when it blew up. I do not remember mom and dad saying they heard the explosion. The Pacific ocean can be a bit noisy, with crashing waves maybe cancelling out the boom of an exploding volcano.

But, I do remember mom and dad saying game wardens or other law enforcement used loudspeakers to tell people to get to higher ground off the beach, because the mountain had blown. I suppose the fear was that it might trigger a tsunami somehow. Ironically, back then the Washington Pacific coast did not have Tsunami Evacuation directional signs like now exist.

Nowadays Washington even has Volcano Eruption Evacuation directional signs. I've seen those in the Tacoma zone. Mount Rainier looms large by Tacoma. That and one of that volcano's glacier melt streams flows right into Tacoma's Commencement Bay.

Washington seems to be a much more dangerous state to live in than the one I am currently living in. What with the possibility of exploding mountains and tsunamis. There is not a mountain that could explode for many a mile from my current location. Let alone a tsunami.

However, tornadoes can be a bit troublesome. That and way too many right wing nut jobs...

Friday, June 14, 2019

Spencer Jack & Hank Frank's Grandpa Jake Hood Canal Cooling

This morning I texted Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa, Jake, to ask if he was still up in the Great Pacific Northwest enjoying the current record breaking heat wave.

A couple seconds later the phone made its incoming message noise indicating an incoming message, which is that which you see here, along with a few words saying "Cooled off today. I understand you're heading back to Hell...."

I replied that I had also heard that I was heading back to Hell rumor and confirmed it was true.

What Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's dad does not know, because he has never experienced it, is my current location is also Hell, as in HOT humid Hell. This location is even known as "Hotter 'n Hell' with a bike race celebrating that fact, which attract bikers from all over the world each August.

When I saw grandpa Jake's photo I was not sure what I was looking at, til I gave it some thought.

I think this is likely the Fancy/Clancy Compound overlooking Hood Canal. I know spending some incarceration time at this location is part of grandpa Jake's agenda. I have no idea why there are two pairs of chairs sitting on what looks like gravel, with a potted plant here and there.

When I realized that that was likely Hood Canal being the body of water in the distance that got me thinking that I had never thought to wonder why Hood Canal is so named.

Not the Hood part, but the Canal part of the name.

Hood Canal is a fairly wide body of water, though narrow enough for a long floating bridge to cross it at its northern end. I do not remember any part of Hood Canal which might be some sort of manmade canal of the Erie, St. Lawrence, Panama sort.

I was mortified at the thought that my old home state had misnomer-ed something as being a canal when it was not a canal, such as I had long been mortified for frequently occurring in my previous abode location of Fort Worth.

Where for years the downtown was called Sundance Square, where there was no square, confusing the town's few tourists, til finally a small square was built, and then goofily named Sundance Square Plaza, with other signs still pointing to the non-existent Sundance Square.

Or calling an industrial wasteland "Panther Island" long before a cement lined ditch cuts that wasteland off from the Fort Worth mainland.

And even then, calling such a thing an island is embarrassing.

It just occurred to me, even though I really don't like giving those TRVA dimwits ideas, but how about calling that cement lined ditch, which may never ever get dug, Panther Canal? Ain't that catchy?

Which leads me back to Hood Canal. I Googled Hood Canal and clicked on the Wikipedia Hood Canal article where I learned...

"Hood Canal is a fjord forming the western lobe, and one of the four main basins of Puget Sound in the state of Washington. It is one of the minor bodies of water that constitute the Salish Sea. Hood Canal is not a canal in the sense of being a man-made waterway—it is a natural waterway."

Well, there you go, after all these years of living on this planet I finally learn that Hood Canal is not a man-made waterway, it's a natural waterway.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, oh, why bother.

But I can not help but wonder how long it took Washington to build that floating bridge which floats over actual water, deep fast moving tidal water. I suspect it was way less than four years. Because, I remember when the original Hood Canal floating bridge sank during a storm, the replacement did not take four years.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, oh, again, why bother...

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Boating Sikes Lake Prior To Wichita Falls Yachting Season Opening

As you can see, via the lower left of the photo I took this morning whilst walking around Sikes Lake, wildflowers are still busy blooming this wet spring in North Texas.

I do not recollect the pink evening primroses still being so prolific this close to the arrival of summer past years in Texas. Likely that aforementioned "wet" element is a contributing factor to the current lushly green outer world at my location on the planet.

You can clearly see the wildflowers in the above photo. The other interesting element is less easy to see. That being that which you see floating on the lake near the far shore from the vantage point of the photo.

Is that a submarine surfacing? Or a yacht getting in some sailing before the official start of yachting season?

On closer inspection it was neither. It was a man in a primitive yacht, more commonly known as a rowboat, with the boat tethered to a line which crossed the lake, with the man in the boat and other men on shore engaging in some lake measuring activity of some sort.

There are multiple signs one sees when one walks around Sikes Lake advising along the line that one is not to kayak, canoe or float watercraft of any sort without express permission from MSU.

I assume today's rowboater got express permission to float, but I saw no evidence of such posted anywhere.

I have long wondered why I have seen, until today, no one using any sort of watercraft on Sikes Lake. Is the lake too shallow? Is that the issue? I can understand not allowing swimming, what with there are likely legit concerns about the water quality being safe, but kayaking? Canoeing? Why not?

I gave away my inflatable kayak when I left DFW. I think if I still had that kayak I might blow it up and float myself into Sikes Lake from the west entry creek, and claim ignorance of the floating ban if someone made a fuss.

Next month I expect to experience a dire color and temperature change when I leave the humid jungles of Texas and arrive in the HOT desert of the Valley of the Sun. I will try and enjoy the humid jungles of Texas as long as I can...

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Mr. Spiffy Takes Us To Sikes Lake Vision & Fort Worth's Favorite Dimwit Son

What you are looking at here is part of the Sikes Lake Vision, which would make that the Sikes Lake Diversion Dam on the left, the Sikes Diversion Channel in the middle, with one of the Sikes Lake Signature Bridges crossing the Sikes Diversion Channel.

The Sikes Lake Diversion Channel diverts flood water to Holliday Creek, from whence the flood water eventually floods into the Wichita River.

This is all part of a well designed flood control system built sometime back in the previous century. I do not know if Wichita Falls begged for federal money to build this system, or if any local congresswoman's unqualified dimwit son was employed to mis-manage the project.

When I saw the Sikes Diversion Channel today it brought to mind a Mr. Spiffy posting I saw on Facebook last night. The posting was about the billions of bucks which have been spent, post-Katrina, to upgrade the levees which protect New Orleans, and the fact that the fix may be failing.

Mr. Spiffy's New Orleans post generated a lot of comments, mostly comparing the legitimate New Orleans flood control effort, backed by all of America via the federal government, and Fort Worth's pitiful imaginary flood control effort, which is actually an economic development scheme con job, which the feds are balking at backing, along with the people of Fort Worth, who have never been allowed a legitimate vote on what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

Mr. Spiffy made one of the best comments, among many good ones, regarding his Facebook post about actual flood control problems which need actual solutions....

Mr. Spiffy: I'm saying that DC will stack rank their flood control funding. NOLA (New Orleans) will get the prioritized funding and rightly so. Kay Granger and her dimwit son sold us a bill of goods that the Feds would fund their billion dollar real estate development. The Feds keep putting the kibosh on their requests. Things like this tell me we'll never see that money (or much of it). Therefore, Fort Worth will be holding the bag for a billion and change.

Mr. Spiffy has an artful way with words. In another comment Mr. Spiffy referred to the "snake-like nature" of the dimwit's mother. How does Fort Worth manage to suffer imaginary leaders such as the reptilian snake-like Kay Granger and her dimwit son, one can not help but wonder? If only more people voted. Or graduated high school.

Regarding Kay Granger and her dimwit son's economic development scheme con job disguised as a flood control project, where there has been no flooding for well over half a century, due to levees the rest of America already bought for Fort Worth, recently we learned that the bogus independent assessment of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was going to recommend Kay Granger, her dimwit son, and the others involved in this con job amp up the con that this Boondoggle is focused on "flood control and public safety".

And should be re-branded and sold to the public as such.

Trying to sell such nonsense to the Fort Worth public would seem to indicate these independent assessors think the people of Fort Worth are way stupider than I think they are.

As in, if this ridiculously inept project, which has been limping along for most of this century, is for FLOOD CONTROL and PUBLIC SAFETY, then why have so many years gone by with so little accomplished?

You know, what with the public's safety being at stake.

Those responsible for this risk to the public's safety, such as Kay Granger, her dimwit son, and many others, should be run out of town for so ineptly dawdling and ineptly implementing this imaginary solution to an imaginary problem, which, if there really was a PUBLIC SAFETY issue, let alone an actual FLOOD CONTROL problem, should those serious threats to the public not have been addressed long ago?

And with that solution to the problem the responsibility of actual qualified, experienced adults? Not the likes of Kay Granger and her dimwit son, and the others who have made this mess.

One would think so, wouldn't one?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Holliday Rapids With Sunday Wind Blown Arizona Anniversary Disaster & Elsie Hotpepper

Yesterday, which was Sunday, the same series of storms which caused a wind disaster in Dallas, due to a blown over construction crane, caused me my most, or one of my most, dramatic weather events.

I was riding my bike, all was calm.

Rolling around Sikes Lake the air was so calm the lake was like a mirror.

But, I could see to the north an ominous wall of dark clouds moving in my direction, which seemed odd, what with there being no wind.

I left Sikes Lake and headed north across Midwestern Boulevard to the MSU campus. At the north end of the campus I stopped to check out progress on a construction project. I then headed east towards the Circle Trail. I got to the area where MSU has its annual gigantic installation of Christmas displays when suddenly the temperature dropped, the sky darkened, and a strong wind struck seemingly instantly.

I was trying to ride perpendicular to the incoming wind, which did not work, as in the wind would have knocked me over if I kept heading that direction. I did not know what to do. Big trees with big limbs were flapping like bird wings. I tried to see any close by shelter. There was none. Sunday the campus is deserted. Dirt and dust was blowing in my mouth, nose and eyes, along with other stuff hitting me.

Definitely scary.

And then it let up. A little. I decided to make like a high speed rabbit to the Circle Trail, which is open with few trees, about a quarter mile distant. I made it there, keeping an eye out for any flying branches.

On the Circle Trail the wind was behind me, making for a high speed wind assisted return to the safety of my abode.

And now today has been a calm blue sky North Texas spring day.

Something caused me to realize that it was about exactly two years ago that I drove to Arizona to see my dad for the last time. I did not remember the exact date. I went on a walk along the Circle Trail, took the photo you see above of Holliday Creek's current high water rapid status and then remembered in my vehicle there was paperwork which would give me the precise dates of the 2017 drive to Arizona.

So, I walked to that vehicle and found the warranty for the fuel pump that got installed when disaster struck me on I-40 about ten miles east of Flagstaff. The date on that receipt was June 9, 2017, which meant I left Texas the day before, and arrived at my brother's, post repair, in Scottsdale June 9, staying overnight til June 10, two years ago today, when I made it to Sun Lakes and my mom and dad's house, to drive my mom to where my dad was, with me seeing my dad for the first time since 2012.

The next couple weeks were among the most stressful I've ever made it through. I made it back to Texas on June 25, and got the sad news about dad five days later.

Hard to believe this is already two years ago, and that I have been back to Arizona so many times since.

Including a return next month, flying out July 10, returning July 27. I am traveling solo. I asked Elsie Hotpepper if she wanted to come along, thinking it would be good for her to experience modern America after what Texas has put her through of late. The Hotpepper, of course, is giving this some consideration, but she already has July plans to visit another area of modern America, as in Colorado.

Methinks Elsie would like the Valley of the Sun more, it's less elevated...

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Half Million Bucks Finds Fort Worth Boondoggle Needs Re-Branding As Imaginary Flood Control

Several days ago Captain Andy Facebook messaged me with a link to the Star-Telegram article you see here, along with a message saying...

Apparently, the only problem at the TRV is that they are not marketing it correctly. What a waste of effort.

I knew to what Captain was referring because I had already read and been appalled by this latest Star-Telegram propaganda and so I replied to Captain Andy thusly...

And it might cost less than the estimated half million bucks cuz J.D. and his cohorts were so cooperative. I give up. The Fort Worth locals deserve what they get, and apparently have long been used to this type idiocy, or why does it continue? It seems so long ago now that I was criticized for criticizing those bridges. And calling the nonsense a Boondoggle. Like I already said. I give up...

To which Captain Andy empathized with...

I hear you. I thought Mary had a slim chance in hell. But when the other two guys jumped i figured Mary was toast. And then Marty and Jim won again. Well, ok. That's the Fort Worth way. But i still see the bullshit so i just shake my head and commiserate with like minded friends. As for your recent blog post, I'm surprised the biggest little skyscraper wasn't built in Fort Worth. Apparently we like to invest in con jobs.

So, a few days ago I am telling Captain Andy I am giving up pointing out the propaganda idiocy I read in the Star-Telegram, feeling like why should I care about the utter foolishness when apparently so few others do. And now today I'm back at it again.

There seems to be something up with this Panther Island review nears completion. What will it mean for the project’s future? article. The day after I first read it I went back to the Star-Telegram to see if anyone had done the rarity in this newspaper of making a comment. At that point I could not find the article. The link was no longer on the front page. Nor could I find it via other menu options. I then went back to the original link from Captain Andy on Facebook, which brought me back to the article, where I found there was now one comment. And it is a good one....

 Gulf States: "It was done in lieu of the cost-benefit analysis normally required."

So did they get a waiver to do this type of report? Even though there is no malfeasance that does not mean that there is not rampant incompetence. An experienced urban planner should have been hired from the start to run this project, someone with experience that had actually run a massive billion dollar project before not the son of the ex-Mayor.
But the fact that the citizens did not get out and elect new members to the TRWD Board that oversees this project goes to show that in the long run people do not care enough to get out and vote. So you get what you deserve which are unfinished delayed bridges and a project that will eventually be paid for by more bonds since the government will not fund a real estate development disguised as a flood control fix.

Did someone at the Star-Telegram realize the "news" in this article was a bit dumbfounding, and decide to remove the links to it on the website, but did not delete the article? Who knows? I copied the article, and saved it. I could share the entire thing, but instead I will just point out an item of interest, or two, as I scroll through the article...

Let's start with the first paragraph...

An independent assessment of the Trinity River project called Panther Island has led to at least a dozen key findings, but reviewers so far have found no red flags with the $1.17 billion flood control effort.

Okay, so this supposed "independent assessment" is what they are now calling the forensic audit which multiple local officials called for, to get to the bottom of the financials of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. Items such as how much extra money has been spent paying the salaries of those financially benefiting from the long delayed slow motion project, such as J.D. Granger, who is being paid over $200 K a year, plus perks. So this "independent assessment" is only assessing the imaginary island part of the Trinity River Vision? No red flags? Isn't that embarrassing homage to an aluminum trash can which has sat for years at the center of an uncompleted roundabout, connected to the bridges taking years to build over dry land,.a red flag indicating something is dire wrong with this project?

And then there is this paragraph...

Riveron, a Chicago firm with a Dallas office, has been digging into Trinity River Vision Authority documents and interviewing key staff since mid-April. Fort Worth officials are hopeful the review — meant to study the project’s feasibility, funding and management — will help the project land more than $500 million needed from the federal government to complete a bypass channel in the river near downtown. It was done in lieu of the cost-benefit analysis normally required.

Are we now supposed to believe this "independent assessment" has been done instead of the cost-benefit analysis the feds normally require when dealing with normal parts of America where projects like this are approved of by the public, via voting, and are mostly funded locally, via bonds, rather than pitiful federal welfare where the more prosperous parts of America pay for one of Fort Worth's boondoggles?

And then this...

Kevin Ruiz, a Riveron representative, said the review was nearly complete and the company would begin formulating a series of recommendations related to its findings. He spoke generally Wednesday without providing major detail, but a full report will be provided July 10. No malfeasance or signs of wrongdoing have been found, he said.

No malfeasance or wrongdoing? Is it wrong for a project's executive director to flagrantly have an extramarital office affair with an employee, and then give that employee sweetheart promotions, jobs like being a party planner, which is a well known aspect of flood control, thus creating a hostile work environment where employees vent their disgust to voices outside the TRV office, like me?

And then there is this doozy, which is what most have been reacting to...

Originally conceived as a flood control effort, much of the attention has been centered on how a bypass channel would create an 800-acre island downtown poised for development. Ruiz said the authority needed to return to a focus on “flood control and public safety” in branding.

No. It was originally conceived as a corrupt economic development scheme benefiting multiple Fort Worth insiders, disguised as a flood control project where there has been no flooding for well over a half century due to levees the rest of America paid for long ago. So, almost a half million bucks is being paid to these brilliant "independent assessors" to advise that America's Biggest Boondoggle can get back on track by returning to focusing on the imaginary flood control and public safety aspects of the project.

Oh, yeah, that's gonna go over real well. This "independent assessment" group must think Fort Worth is totally full of clueless fools ready to be conned yet again by utter nonsense.

Just one more blurb from this article and then go read for yourself the entire Panther Island review nears completion. What will it mean for the project’s future? piece of propaganda, while it is still available.

Because Riveron’s review has been speedy, it might come in under the $466,222 budgeted.

So, Fort Worth is spending almost a half millions bucks on a speedy review, which has been so speedy it might not cost as much as was budgeted. Sounds like such a bargain, spending that pittance to learn the solution to America's Biggest Boondoggle is to re-brand itself as being all about much needed flood control in an area which does not flood, while actual deadly flooding areas in Fort Worth are ignored.

And people wonder, well, actually I think the number is small, why I refer to Fort Worth as being a backwards town, that embarrasses itself over and over again, whilst never seeming to learn that it just ain't working to keep operating in what long time locals refer to as the Fort Worth Way...

Friday, June 7, 2019

Washington Clamming With Spencer Jack & Hank Frank's Grandpa

Yesterday my #1 Arizona sister told me our #1 brother, he being Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa Jake, had flown to his former home zone the previous day.

So, last night I text messaged SJ and HF's grandpa "I hope you are having yourself a mighty fine time up in the Paradise of the North".

The reply was the photo you see here.

Yesterday my #1 Arizona sister told me our #1 brother was having a great time clamming and oystering.

What you see Jake doing in the photo is butchering a clam. I'm not sure what the correct verb is for this. Butchering sounds a bit harsh.

I have never been good at clam digging. All my other relatives are good at it. Crabbing, that I am good at, maybe because crabbing is funner than digging to get a clam.

I do not remember going clam digging this century. I don't remember the last time I was on a clam digging expedition. I do remember my last crab experience. It was in August of 2017 at Birch Bay, in Washington, a short distance south of the border. Nephew Theo and I chased a crab until uncle Jake, to Theo's amazement, scooped the crab out of the water for Theo to pet.

I am almost 100% certain the location where Jake is knifing a clam is a tidal flat on Hood Canal. Or he may already be up in the Skagit Valley zone, which would make this tidal flat being located on Samish Island.

I am heading to Arizona, again, next month. I do not know, yet, if Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa Jake will be back in Arizona at that point in time, or still enjoying the pleasantly temperatured Pacific Northwest...

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Her Boob Brought Lubbock A Chance Of Rain

Yesterday, via the local TV news, I saw a news story start up with a big wall of dust looking like what I have seen when I am in Arizona.

A Haboob.

And then the news part of what I was seeing told me that this Haboob was doing its Haboobing a few miles to the west and south of my location, that being Lubbock, Texas.

No dust made it to my location, as far as I can tell.

And then this morning, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy, on Facebook, I saw that which you see here, that being the WFAA ABC out of Dallas weather guy, or maybe he's a news guy, or both, reporting on the Lubbock Haboob.

Only the captioning turned that news into "HER BOOB WILL BRING US A CHANCE OF RAIN'S".

Mr, Kennedy identified the WFAA reporter as being named Jesse Hawila, who took the "HER BOOB" fiasco good naturedly, saying “Closed captioning hates me and strikes again... I said, the storms that created the “haboob will bring us a chance of rain.

I've lately been a little annoyed at the weather guys on the local stations at my current location, that being NBC and CBS here in Wichita Falls, and ABC beaming out of Lawton, up in Oklahoma.

Yes, the weather here can be dangerous. But, when the skies threaten a possible tornado, if you are watching network TV, during a possibly storm you are warned with a graphic in the upper left, and a screen crawl at the top, which announces itself every few minutes with dialogue obscuring beeping.

But, the most annoying is when the local weather guy on the CBS affiliate breaks in to the regular programming. He did that the first time I tuned in to check out the James phenomenon on Jeopardy.

You're already aware that Doppler Radar has detected some possible tornado rotation, via the info you've already seen. And then this guy goes on and on and on and on, repeating the same thing over and over and over and over again, til it begins to seem like a Cry Wolf syndrome type deal, particularly when he goes "live" to his storm spotter, who shows us some clouds which do not look particularly menacing.

I have seen the local CBS weather guy get all bollixed up, losing control of his graphics.

I do not watch all that much TV, so I imagine I miss a lot of the inept Ted Baxter type moments.

Recently, I do not remember what I was watching, the inept Wichita Falls CBS guy broke in and could not stop coughing. This went on for several minutes. Highly annoying. During a subsequent interruption he apologized for the previous coughing fits, explaining he had been eating when he was told to go into Weather Drama King mode.

A few weeks ago, I think it was on CBS, the local weather guy broke in, started in with his "warning" and then something happened to what he was trying to show the viewers, which had that guy saying "Oh crap", which really did not seem to me to be a professional TV broadcaster type utterance. Another voice then said "We are returning to regular programming". A few minutes went by and the guy tried again, apologized for the previous foul up and then proceeded with his tornado warnings.

I suspect, given enough time, if I watch enough local Wichita Falls TV, one of these guys will surpass the Dallas WFAA guy's HER BOOB faux pas....

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Visiting Raccoon In Wichita River Flooded Lucy Park

This morning I thought it to be a good idea to take a walk in Lucy Park on my way to my final destination by Sheppard Air Force Base.

I thought I had read that the recently flooded Lucy Park was back open, but when I arrived at the main entry I found the gate closed, blocking access, with water across the road a short distance away, but not nearly as much water as the previous flooded visit to Lucy Park.

A local television crew was working on a news segment at the closed entry. I did not stop to give an interview, but continued on to another access point to Lucy Park, that being the way in by the Duck Pond.

From the Duck Pond the road was dry all the way to my regular parking location by the Lucy Park log cabin and pool.


As you can see others also made their way past the flooded zone to Lucy Park locations, like the public pool.

I forgot to mention that flooded photo at the top. This was a short distance from the pool, near the suspension bridge which crosses the Wichita River. As I stood there looking at the flood, suddenly a critter came into view.

A raccoon.

The raccoon was swimming from the fallen tree towards the river. When the raccoon reached the tree you see sticking out of the water it disappeared.

This was my first raccoon encounter this century. The last time I had a raccoon encounter was in Yosemite, at Curry Village, on the night the Cheers TV show finale aired. I don't remember what year that was. 1992 or 1993 seems about right.

The next photo shows more of the entire raccoon scene. The aforementioned fallen tree is on the left, The flooded suspension bridge entry is in the middle.


Continuing on the Circle Trail to the west side of Lucy Park I walked until the trail went under water.


The above scene looks peaceful.

Green, wet and peaceful.

I do not remember the foliage at Lucy Park looking so lushly jungle-like on any previous visit. This must be due to all the vegetation being well hydrated by the copious amounts of rain.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Downtown Wichita Falls Dodging Lightning Bolts With Littlest Big Blue Skyscraper

This morning I had a book or two which needed to be returned to their place of residence, the downtown Wichita Falls Public Library.

So, with the weather outside being only somewhat frightful, what with a few lightning bolts with occasional raindrops, it seemed at the time a good idea to take a walk around downtown Wichita Falls.

It had been a couple years since I had walked by the World's Littlest Skyscraper, which is the towering edifice you see here.

I wonder why Dubai does not try to take the World's Littlest Skyscraper title away from Wichita Falls?

The World's Littlest Skyscraper is close to the Wichita Falls Farmers Market. The market was open today, with a few vendors and few shoppers.

Downtown Wichita Falls has had some aesthetic improvements since I first saw this downtown three years ago.

When one walks around the downtown one sees a lot of vacant buildings, some with what looks like good restoration possibilities.

I don't know if anything, restoration-wise, could be done with the pair of vacant buildings you see above. The open space behind the still standing storefront on the right looked like it could somehow be made into a functional space for some imaginative use. Maybe the building on the left could become a saloon with the open space on the right a beer garden.

Downtown Wichita Falls is an extremely eclectic mix of architectural styles. To my eyes the older buildings look good. The modern buildings not so much. Such as the short skyscraper you see below.



The locals call the above building "Big Blue". This building has been a work in progress as long as I have been in Wichita Falls. The exterior of Big Blue has a lot of issues in dire need of fixing.

From what I have been told this was an older building which was updated. To make the updating cost effective blue cladding was stuck on the old building so as to easily facilitate modern plumbing and wiring changes. This has never seemed like a plausible explanation to me.

Near as I can tell most of the locals like Big Blue. To my new to town eyes this blue building sort of sticks out in an obtrusive eyesore sort of way. Methinks removing the blue cladding would be a real good idea.

There is another attraction near the Wichita Farmers Market. A railroad museum.


The railroad museum has what looks like a graveyard of vintage rail vehicles, from locomotives to passenger cars.

I need to return to downtown Wichita Falls sometime soon and check out the railroad museum and maybe takes some photos of some of the impressive looking old buildings, some with explanatory historical markers.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Hotpepper Haltom Hold'Em Burlesque Revue

Haltom City is a Fort Worth suburb which recently has been enjoying the restoration of the classic Haltom Theater, with the theater hosting a wide variety of performers, which one can enjoy whilst consuming vittles such as cheese sticks, wings, tacos and nachos, along with cooling libations.

This coming Friday, June 7th to be precise, the Haltom Theater is presenting the Haltom Hold'Em Burlesque Revue.

The first time I ever witnessed such a thing was years ago at the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) in Vancouver. With the most recent such experience being the Crazy Girls Revue in Las Vegas.

I don't remember at which casino the Crazy Girls did their revue, other than it was on the opposite side of the Las Vegas Strip from Caesar's.

I strongly suspect that the Haltom Hold'Em Burleque Revue will not be quite as risque as those I saw in Vancouver and Vegas.

I have heard it rumored, but have no way to confirm the rumor, that Haltom City's Elsie Hotpepper is the headliner in the Haltom Hold'Em Burlesque Revue, performing Elsie's interpretation of Sally Rand's ostrich feather fan dance and balloon bubble dance, which Ms. Rand made famous at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

I can not remember the last time I saw Elsie Hotpepper's interpretation of Sally Rand's fan or bubble dance.

Sadly, I don't think I will be able to make it to Haltom City on Friday for the show....

Anonymous Leads Us To Fort Worth Bridge's Falsework

I know what you might be thinking looking at the photo you see here.

That being thinking that this photo is a look from a new angle, looking at one of the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District bridges, with the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth hovering above one of the bridges which may one day connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Well, you would be incorrect if you were thinking this was one of America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges which have been stuck in slow motion construction mode since 2014, with the current construction completion date some point in the next decade.

What you are looking at is not a Fort Worth bridge in the making, what it is is an elevated track for a Link light rail line heading into a tunnel in a suburb of Seattle. Which would make that part of the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Bellevue you are looking at. The absence of any old buildings in the photo was likely a good clue this was not Fort Worth.

Bellevue is a relatively new town.

There is a good reason this photo was of interest to me. We will get to that particular "falsework" subject later in this blogging, but first I want to make note of the article in the Seattle Times in which this photo appeared.

The article's title is Don’t derail Sound Transit 3, Seattle and is a classic example of the differences I see in a real newspaper, such as the Seattle Times, and the extremely lame reporting I read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about similar subjects, such as local public works projects and the ongoing status of those projects.

The subject in this Seattle Times article is the current project status of the Sound Transit 3 part of the ongoing Link light rail construction in the Puget Sound zone.

One does not read any sort of detailed examination of the current stymied status of Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision public works boondoggle, which the public did not approve of via the voting method, unlike how things actually get done in modern America.

Fort Worth's pitiful excuse for a newspaper has never told its readers what exactly are the design problems which have caused the multiple construction halts to these simple little bridges being built over dry land.

Read the entire Don’t derail Sound Transit 3, Seattle for the full experience of the difference between a Star-Telegram article and a Seattle Times article, and also make note of the dozens of cogent comments on the subject in the Seattle Times.

Back to that aforementioned "falseworks" subject mentioned above.

Last week, Wednesday, May 22, 2019 to be precise, I blogged yet again about Fort Worth's bridge boondoggle, and in that blogging I asked a question about those bridges which generated an interesting question, which, when I thought about it, raised more questions.

First the comment, and then my questions...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Tale Of Two Town's Bridges":

"Why are all those vertical pilings required to help hold up the bridge deck, one can not help but wonder?"

Those supports are called falsework.

Wikipedia says that falsework consists of temporary structures used in construction to support a permanent structure until its construction is sufficiently advanced to support itself.

_________________

So, apparently that is falsework holding up that Bellevue section of the Link light rail under construction. And that is falsework holding up the road deck of one of Fort Worth's pitiful freeway overpass-like imaginary signature bridges we see above.

That looks like a lot of falsework helping those imaginary "signature" V-piers hold up that road deck.

Falsework seems like an ironically appropriate term to apply to Fort Worth's hapless slow motion Trinity River Vision project.

So, is removing that falsework the source of one of the many delays in bridge building? Are the project engineers not sure those imaginary "signature" V-piers can hold up the road deck?

Without Fort Worth having a real newspaper there is no legitimate journalist finding out what the actual problems are which have caused these simple little bridges to be a construction congestion nightmare for years.

I remember in the previous century when the now long gone Kingdome was being built in Seattle. There was a point in the construction where there was this thing called an "O ring", which all the ribs which made up the dome's roof came together. The design called for the "O ring" to be removed with the roof's concrete ribs then coming together in compression, holding the dome up.

The original construction company was not confident this would work, and balked at pulling the "O ring" until further design analysis indicated it would work as planned. Eventually the original construction company continued to balk, and was replaced by a construction company willing to pull the "O ring".

And it worked.

But, myself, and many others, really never forgot that controversy and any time I was in the Kingdome I would look up at the high point of the ceiling, where those concrete ribs came together and wondered what would happen in a strong earthquake.

I have long wondered regarding what sort of foundation those Fort Worth bridge's V-piers are built upon. I don't remember HUGE amounts of dirt being removed and big foundations being poured.

I have also long wondered how it works to have these little bridges built, and then to dig a ditch under them, without compromising the structural integrity of the bridge.

These are the sort of questions the citizens in a town with a real newspaper would get the answer to.

I can't imagine a town like Fort Worth building anything complicated, like a domed stadium, or a transit tunnel, without the project turning into a hapless boondoggle...

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Arlington #1 Fittest Town In America While Fort Worth #88

If you are thinking that whom you are looking at here is Elsie Hotpepper, on the right, and her mom, enjoying the great outdoors at Fort Worth's downtown Water Gardens, well, you would be thinking incorrectly, since I am almost 100% that the Texans in this photo are not Elsie and her mom.

Then again, I have not seen either in over a year.

The size level of people occupying various American towns came to mind recently via an in depth study by the American College of Sports Medicine which used a wide range of various criteria to determine the fitness level of the population populating America's Top 100 towns.

Of course I assumed a Texas town would be at the top of the list, or the bottom. So, I was not too shocked to see Arlington was determined to be the fittest town in America. With Seattle coming in at #2.

Then I took a second look and saw that the Arlington at the #1 spot was the Arlington in Virginia, not the Texas version of Arlington.

The Texas version of Arlington does not have a large enough population to make the Top 100 list, but many other Texas towns were big enough.

Such as Austin, with the Texas capital being the fittest Texas town on the list, at the #42 spot, followed by #44 Plano, #60 Lubbock, #61 Dallas, #72 El Paso, #73 Houston, #76 Garland, #78 Irving, #80 Laredo, #82 San Antonio, #88 Fort Worth and #91 Corpus Christi.

What a shock that Fort Worth is near the bottom of this list. Unfortunately one of the criteria was the percent of a town's population having a city park within a 10 minute walk. Along with the number of parks per capita. Perhaps having too many outhouses also factored in. Along with the majority of Fort Worth's streets having no sidewalk on to which to walk to one of the town's few parks. 

Well, basically Fort Worth did not do well in any of the fitness criteria.

You can read the entire report to see how towns ranked in the Top Ten of various criteria categories, including Bike Score, Best Air Quality, Personal Health Rank & Score, Community/Environment Rank & Score, Exercise, Aerobic Activities, Strengthening Activities, Park/10,000 Residents, Parks Within 10-Minute Walk, Walk or Bike to Work, Use Public Transportation, Walk Score, 2 or More Fruits per Day, 3 or More Vegetables per Day, Farmers Markets.

What a shock. Fort Worth showed up in zero of those lists of the Top Ten in any of the categories.

I remember way back when I first moved to close proximity to Fort Worth it was difficult to adjust to seeing so many people so much bigger than the people I was used to seeing on the west coast.

Soon thereafter I remember reading that many Europeans referred to Americans as the Balloon People. Had I read this whilst still living in Washington I would have thought it rude, and not understood why those Europeans would think such a thing.

I remember flying up to Washington in February of 2004, picked up at Sea-Tac, brought to a gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square, where I watched the throngs pass by and I memorably remarked that it looked as if everyone has had the air let out of them, so used to, by then, seeing so many plus-sized Texans.

Last October, for the first time since 2002, Big Ed left Texas, well, other than going to Oklahoma, which is Texas-lite. Big Ed rode with me to Arizona. I remember telling him he was going to be surprised at seeing so many deflated people, with so few looking like candidates for one of those "People of Walmart" photo collections, unlike what he was used to seeing in Texas.

Ironically, when people in Arizona saw Big Ed for the first time in years one after another remarked that Texas had made him skinny. Thus began a three week effort to fatten him up.

I would have thought the Arizona towns I have visited in recent years would show up higher on this List of American Cities. However, Chandler where one of my little sisters lives, along with my favorite brother-in-law, is the #68 fittest town. Mesa, where one of my other sisters winters in an RV concentration camp, is #66, fitter than Chandler. Phoenix at #71 and Gilbert at #83 are even less fit, almost as misfit as Fort Worth.

Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert have multiple parks, multiple public swimming pools, miles of paved trails, streets with sidewalks,and plenty of fresh fruit, often free for the picking.

So, I have no idea why those Arizona towns ranked nearly as poorly as Fort Worth, a town with few parks, zero (some claim three) public swimming pools, few streets with sidewalks, and the only fruit I know of free for the picking is maybe prickly pears.

Anyway, read the American College of Sport Medicine Fitness Summary for all its interesting insight...

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Final May Wednesday Tornado Storm In Fort Worth

When I got vertical early this morning I thought I would be spending the day in Wichita Falls, hunkered down whilst yet one more thunderstorm blew in to town.

But, around noon I found myself heading southeast on Highway 287, heading to Tarrant Parkway in North Fort Worth.

Rain was already dripping when I headed to D/FW. By the time I got to Decatur the rain had turned copious, with lightning bolts added. But not much wind.

Reaching the Fort Worth outer limits the phones began getting noisy with weather warnings of the tornado danger, take cover sort.

Exiting the 287 pseudo freeway I made a quick stop at the Tarrant Parkway Target. A couple minutes later, leaving the Target, people were standing outside the entry, alarmed by the tornado sirens which had erupted whilst we were inside Target. Rather than making a dash for their vehicles most people just stood there taking photos of the scary looking clouds with their phones.

I opted for the mad dash option.

I ran to my vehicle and continued on, got to my destination, took care of that which brought me outdoors on such an inclement day, and then headed towards the nearby WinCo.

But, before I could get to WinCo what one might refer to as ALL HELL broke loose. Power went out, killing traffic lights. I made it to the Costco parking lot, with Costco a short distance from WinCo.

It was whilst sitting in that Costco parking lot I shot the video you see YouTubed below. We had no way of knowing if a tornado was nearby, or what to do. Shopping carts were blowing by in Wizard of Oz mode, along with multiple litter projectiles.

After several minutes of extreme storming it calmed down a little. So, I made my way to WinCo, which still had power. I was able to get my regular WinCo supplies, such as their grind it yourself peanut butter.

And then it was time to head back towards Wichita Falls. For a few miles it looked like the drive home might be calm. And then, well before Decatur, rain started up, with a thick black wall of clouds ahead, shooting lightning bolts. Soon we were inside that thick black wall, stopping to gas up in Decatur. By the time we reached Bowie regular clouds appeared, soon with more blue, than gray, visible above.

Anyway, I was glad to get back to my home location. I'm getting way too old for this type activity. And below is that aforementioned video...

Monday, May 27, 2019

Flooding Memorial Day Wichita Bluff Nature Area Hiking With Linda Lou

Feeling the need for some Memorial Day aerobically induced endorphins, acquired via hiking some elevation gain, at my current rather flat location on the planet I have only three options of which I am aware available within a reasonable distance, as in less than ten miles from my home location..

Those three locations which rise above the surrounding flatness would be hiking to the summit of Mount Wichita, hiking to the top of the Wichita Falls manmade waterfall, or the option I took today, which is by far the best of the three, that being hiking the Wichita Bluff Nature Area section of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

As you shall soon see the Wichita River is again in over its banks mode. Thus the Circle Trail accessed from the newly opened east access to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area is currently under water. So, it was to the original west access I took myself, which would make it soon past the WBNA entry point you are looking at above.

I did not check it out so as to be certain, but I am assuming Lucy Park is also once again under water, and thus the Circle Trail access to the manmade Wichita Falls is currently not accessible.

Today on this Memorial Day hiking occasion I saw more people than I have ever previously seen enjoying this location, which is one of the most scenic one can find at this location on the planet.



Above you are at the highest point in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, looking down at the flooding Wichita River, looking way bigger and closer than it usually looks.

And below we have gone as far as we can, without going into swimming mode, which would not be a practical thing to do at this location.


If you look closely you can see the rapidly flowing Wichita River on the other side of the line of green trees.

I do not plan on doing any BBQing on this Memorial Day. It is too HOT and humid.

Yesterday I heard from my favorite Skagit Valley nurse, Linda Lou, that she will be on assignment in Seattle most of June, staying at a location in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood.

Since I knew this area overlooked Lake Washington, and that the I-90 tunnel goes under Mount Baker on its way to floating across the lake, I asked Linda Lou if she would be having a good view of that bridge for photo documenting purposes, so as to show people who can not even manage to build a simple little bridge over dry land that in modern America they somehow manage to float big bridges over actual water.

Linda Lou confirmed she will have a good view of the bridge, and yes was the answer to my question asking if the Seattle Link light rail ran through the Mount Baker neighborhood. Linda Lou confirmed that that was the case and that a station was within close walking distance.

So Linda Lou will be using modern public transit to move herself all over the Seattle zone. What a concept.

Maybe Linda Lou will take some closeup photos of the new Seattle Waterfront when she is out and about.

I am also curious to see via a photo of the I-90 floating bridge if the Link light rail installation is underway. That link of the Link, when completed, will make a loop through Bellevue, and then over the other floating bridge at the north end of Lake Washington. With a link, I think, off that loop, going to Redmond and the Microsoft complex. I know the downtown Bellevue section of that link is via a tunnel, of which the boring has been underway for quite some time. But, I have read no news about it for quite some time.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, when will Molly the Trolley be able to roll over any of those pitiful little bridges which have been under slow motion construction for years? Will Molly the Trolley roll by what remains of Radio Shack's corporate headquarters? What a boom town...

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Tale Of Two Town's Population Boom: One Horizontal One Vertical

This past week's news gave me an opportunity I have not enjoyed previously. That being the two big cities with which I am most familiar, Fort Worth and Seattle, sharing a piece of news.

Thus, for the first time ever I can directly compare how the same news is reported in Fort Worth compared to Seattle, as evidenced by the two town's dominant newspapers, those being the Fort Worth Star-Telegram vs. the Seattle Times.

Just the article titles and the photos used to illustrate are revealing. Above we see the example from the Star-Telegram's Fort Worth’s booming growth refuses to slow down as city becomes 13th largest in U.S. article, while below we see the example from the Seattle Times Big-city growth slows across U.S. — but Seattle still ranks No. 2 in 2018 article.

The Seattle Times article about this subject is detailed, factual, comprehensive, well-written, and long. And the article has generated dozens upon dozens of intelligent comments reflecting wide ranging points of view.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about this subject is simplistic, reads like propaganda, and is not long. And the article has generated only a few comments, and those comments are short, simple-minded, for the most part, and with most not intelligently reflective of any point of view worth reflecting.

Let's take a look at the first four paragraphs of these two articles for illustrative purposes, and then end with a doozy of an embarrassing propaganda paragraph in the Star-Telegram article.

First the first four paragraphs from the Star-Telegram article...

The boom shows no sign of ending.

Fort Worth is now the 13th-largest city in the United States, behind Jacksonville, Florida, and ahead of Columbus, Ohio, as well as San Francisco, according to the latest Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday.

“Fort Worth’s rapid growth speaks to our incredible quality of life, business friendly climate and affordable cost of living,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “Of course, substantial growth presents both great opportunities as well as new challenges to strategically manage our growth without compromising what makes Fort Worth a unique place to live, work, and play.”

Last year, Fort Worth ranked 15th but the city added 19,552 people between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, to reach a population of 895,000. It was the third-largest gain behind Phoenix and San Antonio.

And now the first four paragraphs from the Seattle Times article...

Seattle’s decade of record-breaking growth may be slowing down, but it’s not done yet. There are still a lot more folks coming than going.

Census data released Thursday shows that from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018, the city’s population grew by more than 15,000, bringing the total to 745,000.

That pencils out to a one-year increase of 2.1%, which ranks Seattle as the second-fastest growing among the 50 most-populous U.S. cities. We were just a fraction behind No. 1, Fort Worth, Texas.

Even so, Seattle is slowing down a little. One year earlier, from 2016 to 2017, the city added 19,000 people, achieving a growth rate of 2.7%. And the year before that, Seattle grew even faster, and ranked No. 1 in the nation. In fact, last year’s 2.1% growth rate was Seattle’s slowest since 2010, when the city was still feeling the effects of the nationwide recession.

Okay, before we get to that aforementioned paragraph of embarrassing propaganda, mention needs to be made of the idiotic statement from Fort Worth's recently re-elected mayor, one of Donald Trump's best friends, and rumored former girl friend, Betsy Price.

Betsy thinks Fort Worth's population is growing due to the town's incredible quality of life and friendly business climate? Have we mentioned previously the town has way too few parks for a town of its size, that those parks, for the most part, do not have modern facilities, but do have a lot of outhouses. That most of the town's streets have no sidewalks. And there are no (some claim there are three) public pools. This town with the friendly business climate fails over and over and over again when trying to attract a corporation to re-locate, or open a facility, despite big bribes and incentives.

Fort Worth's population is growing fast because the town has long had HUGE areas of wide open spaces, due to annexing HUGE areas of open prairie, expanding the town's city limits.

When I moved to Texas it was to the hamlet of Haslet, at the north boundary of Fort Worth. Across the street, in Fort Worth, as far as one could see one saw open land, with Fort Worth's puny skyline poking up like matchsticks way in the distance. Same thing to the west and east, except for the matchsticks. Now, two decades later, all that land is filled in with thousands of houses. And a couple large shopping complexes. Little was done to upgrade roads, add new parks, install adequate drainage, resulting in a mess of a bad urban planning not worthy of a modern American city.

This unlimited open land population growth factor was mentioned by a couple Fort Worth locals in comments on this subject on the Star-Telegram's prize winning star columnist Bud Kennedy's Facebook post about this article in his newspaper.

A couple of those cogent comments...

Don Wheeler: Fort Worth: Where urban sprawl apparently has no limits.

Dan Pariseau: Bud, do you think Ft Worth has thought out this growth and developed the City correctly? Or as I feel that the city has grown in a haphazard way, with not much serious thought given to existing neighborhoods and infrastructure, like flooding problems, crumbling streets, and sewers not able to handle the loads now.

So, clearly Fort Worth is not totally populated with propaganda purveyors lacking in common sense regarding their town's population growth and its resulting sprawl.

A town like Seattle has no open land to expand to. Seattle is surrounded by large bodies of water and other towns. San Francisco and several other big American towns also do not have what Fort Worth has, as in HUGE areas of undeveloped land. Towns like Seattle and San Francisco have to build vertical when their populations increase. Poorly planned urban sprawl is not an option in modern well-developed American towns.

And now that aforementioned paragraph of embarrassingly dumb propaganda in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about the town's population boom...

“The jump to 13th largest city in the U.S. will boost Fort Worth’s recognition worldwide as a formidable city in its own right and help draw more visitors and business investments,” said Bill Thornton, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “The Dallas-Fort Worth region, now fourth-largest metro, and the Texas brand continue to attract business and top talent to fuel our economy. When people see that Fort Worth is larger than San Francisco, it should pique some curiosity about what’s going on here.”

Oh my, where does one start on this nonsense? Okay, you living in the rest of the world, has Fort Worth's population jump caused you to recognize the town as a formidable city?

Within the last year I recollect an article somewhere in local Fort Worth media lamenting a study which had used some sort of analytical criteria to determine that while Fort Worth, at that point in time, was America's 17th biggest town, it was at #48, or #49, in being recognized. I assume people were asked what they knew about a particular town. And with Fort Worth the answer likely usually was that it was near Dallas, with nothing else about the town on the nation's, or world's, recognition radar screen..

Luckily few people outside the town know to answer that Fort Worth is that town that encourages its people to go inner tubing in the town's e.coli polluted river while listening to music playing from an imaginary island. Or that the town is the biggest in the nation with the fewest sidewalks. Or parks. Or that the town is the outhouse capital of America.

An increasing number of American's are becoming aware of the fact that Fort Worth is the host to America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Being the 13th biggest city will draw more visitors? To see what? To visit Heritage Park at the north end of Fort Worth's downtown? That park, celebrating Fort Worth's heritage, has been a boarded up eyesore for over a decade, in that town about which imaginary curiosity is piquing, wondering what is going on in this American boomtown.

Heritage Park overlooks America's Biggest Boondoggle. Does any legitimately booming American town sport something like a boarded up city park overlooking a public works disaster mucking up a huge area of their town's landscape with bridges being built in slow motion over dry land?

Is there no limit to the delusions? Fort Worth's population boom is not fueled by booming business coming to town, by corporations re-locating to Fort Worth, or by an imaginary incredible quality of life.

The population boom is fueled by people coming to the Dallas Fort Worth Metro zone needing a place to live, while Fort Worth has wide open spaces upon which to build new homes. That is the one and only actual factual explanation for Fort Worth's population increase...