Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Fiery Tuesday Sunset Before Wednesday Morning Lucy Park Nature Commune

What you see above is what the sunset sky looked like last night, looking west, when I was getting in my vehicle in the Walmart parking lot.

The temperature yesterday started off below freezing. By the time I walked around Sikes Lake I had too many layers of outerwear on, necessitating removal as I began to heat up. The outer world was warmed to somewhere in the 40s by that point in time.

It froze again last night. But I did not make the same outerwear mistake for this morning's Lucy Park nature communing. I left the insulating long underwear at home. The temperature was a bit warmer than it was for yesterday's walk, heated into the semi-balmy 50s.

In the above Lucy Park view we are standing on the Circle Trail, looking north at the Lucy Park undeveloped zone, currently leaf-free. In a few months, well, about four months, the scene here will return to being jungle-like with green the predominant color.

But, before green returns we have a long, hard, cold winter to make it through. Hopefully without a state-wide blackout with the temperature below zero...

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Snowy Merry Christmas From Joey, Henry & Monique


The above arrived in my mailbox yesterday. The first Christmas card to arrive during this getting Christmas cards in the mail time of year.

The card says "Merry Christmas Love, Joey, Henry and Monique."

Which would make that Hank "Henry" Frank holding a snowball.

Joey, Henry and Monique's abode is in the Skagit Flats, near Roozengarde. I don't think snow has hit the ground on the Skagit Flats yet during this snow is possible time of the year.

That looks like a big snowman standing behind Hank Frank. 

UPDATE: This morning I learned via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that snow has fallen of late in the lowlands of Western Washington. Which would seem to render it possible that Hank Frank's snowman and snowball are recent productions. I remain skeptical though...

Monday, December 6, 2021

Sikes Sunset With Good Shepherds Joining Three Wise Men

Yesterday, that would be Sunday, for some reason that day's morning multi-mile walking at Lucy Park did not fill my aerobically induced endorphin needs. 

So, about an hour before the sun was scheduled to set I took off on a bike ride, heading north on the Circle Trail to Hamilton Park, then through the festively decorated Beverly Hills of Wichita Falls to the equally festively decorated campus of MSU, and then on to Sikes Lake where I saw that which you see above.

A few days ago I mentioned discovering what appeared to be an abstract hoohoo rock sculpture installation which appeared to possibly be an homage to the Three Wise Men awaiting the arrival of Baby Jesus. 

Last night, as you can clearly see, it appears some Good Shepherds have arrived to join the Three Wise Men to await the arrival of Baby Jesus later this month.

 A short distance from the abstract hoohoo rock sculpture installation I stopped my bike again to take another photo when I realized the sun was quickly leaving for the day. The sun sets fast at this location of the world.

I took the photo and then skedaddled at high speed the approximate mile back to my home base. There was still some ambient light when I arrived at that home base. But not much...

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Wise Words About Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Mess

A guest editorial type opinion piece appeared a couple days ago in the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The subject was America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

A Vision which has been trying to be seen for almost two decades, with the primary accomplishment, thus far, being three supposedly iconic signature bridges built over dry land, taking seven years to build, due to being highly complex feats of engineering. 

That is a drone image of one of the bridges you see above. Breathtaking, isn't it. People will be wanting to come from all over the world to drive over those bridges and marvel at the engineering feat and the cement lined ditch.

But, you don't see that cement lined ditch in the above image, do you? Like we said, the bridges were built over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island. Currently there is no funding for the digging of the ditch, due to multiple complications and incompetency's. 

You probably will be paywall blocked from reading the After another Panther Island disappointment, city and private sector should step in opinion piece. This guest editorial by Chris Putnam makes multiple excellent points. Chris Putnam tried to replace Congresswoman Kay Granger, but his overly enthusiastic support of Trump doomed that effort.

We shall go through Putnam's piece and share those aforementioned excellent points...

Once more, our community finds itself lamenting another Washington budget cycle in which the Trinity River Panther Island project has not received federal funding. 

Every year, about this time, is Panther Island Groundhog Day. To quote the Star-Telegram Editorial Board: “As Washington spews $1.2 trillion for infrastructure, none for Panther Island. Why?” 

Yeah, why? Good question. And Putnam answers it...

But another question arises, too: How do we get out of this mess?

To answer these questions, it is important to understand how we got here. Panther Island was sold to taxpayers and voters as a “flood control project.” But the reality is that it was always principally a commercial real estate project conceived by Rep. Kay Granger. “Flood control” was the justification for the massive federal expenditure required to construct the proposed Trinity bypass channel. 

A proper flood control feasibility study has never been produced. In fact, the Tarrant Regional Water District, which oversees the project, refused money that the Trump administration offered just last year to perform one. The water district knows full well that, as currently structured, the project will never survive the review.

The lack of a feasibility study has long been the major roadblock to what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. Putnam further elaborates...

Digging a bypass channel for the Trinity is the principal element of the project’s economic development element — creating a San Antonio-like river walk. This has been the primary issue with the project all along. U.S Army Corps of Engineers projects and budgets cannot be used for economic development projects. 

The water district may have successfully confused local bond voters with this shell game, but it’s well understood in Washington, which is why the project remains unfunded. Compounding this problem is the political reality that no one in Washington wants to attach themselves to the bad optics of nepotism and potential conflicts of interest in approving such a large budget with the requesting congresswoman’s son in charge of the project. 

The mention of "confused local bond voters" in the above paragraph perplexed me. There has never been a bond measure voted by the voters which specifically dealt with voter approval of the Trinity River Vision. The Vision was foisted on the public without the public's voting approval.

Continuing on...

As a community we must be honest about the project’s origins, its challenges and the roadblocks to funding. The flood control element must be clearly and truly separated from the economic development project. This is a clear requirement for Corps flood projects. 

It has been perplexing for years now why those who are foisting this project on the public think they can somehow skip this key error in the actualizing of the project.

J.D. Granger should be completely removed from the project and all perceived conflicts of interest eliminated. Private partners should be brought in, along with fresh leadership that expands the city of Fort Worth’s role in governance. 

A legitimate, transparent public/private partnership approach should be implemented. Developers not controlled, approved or managed by J.D. Granger would contribute matching dollars directly to the bypass channel construction, thus becoming a true partner with the taxpayer and federal government. This is how other infrastructure costs are structured with developers. 

J.D. Granger being given a high paying job, for which it is now totally clear he was not qualified, has long been controversial. Hired to motivate his mother to secure federal funds. Which has not happened. And which likely sours many in Congress who know the details of Fort Worth's Boondoggle.

Continuing on...

Asking J.D. Granger to step away from the project, increasing the city’s governance role and asking the private sector entities who will ultimately profit to share in the channel-construction expense will help restore public trust and demonstrate good faith to Washington.

Political realities in D.C., Kay Granger’s nepotistic conflict of interest and the mismanagement of the project for the last 20 years dictate that she simply cannot steer this project to completion. Fort Worth civic leaders, local government entities, and the community at large must change strategies. 

Mr. Putnam has opined the most sensible take that I have read of the mess Fort Worth has gotten itself into. And Mr. Putnam suggests a sensible way forward out of this mess. A sensible way which makes sense. Making sense is something which has been sadly lacking from day one of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle...

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Foggy Saturday Nature Commune At Lucy Park

At dawn's early light, this Saturday morning, a dense fog rendered almost zero visibility looking out my bedroom window. Yesterday's record breaking high got mixed up with an incoming cold front making for a foggy mess.

It is now two hours past noon and the sun still has not managed to melt away the foggy cloudiness.

So, even though the outerworld was a bit uninviting, and creature of repetitive habit that I be, I rolled my wheels once again to Lucy Park to commune with nature and dodge disc golfer's discs.

Each visit to Lucy Park of late has seen less and less color and fewer and fewer leaves in the trees. The evergreens are still green, though, hence the name. The one above is a good evergreen example. It looks like an overweight Christmas tree.

I thought the above now naked tree looked interesting. The photo does not much do justice to how interesting it looked. That trail you see here is not the Circle Trail. Lucy Park has multiple lesser trails meandering through the park.

Another interesting looking tree next to another meandering trail. It looks like a ghost town of dead trees.

Had never walked through the above section of Lucy Park before. Multiple sheltered picnic tables hidden in a grove of trees.

I wonder where I will commune with nature tomorrow? 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Hot Early December Colorful Lucy Park Nature Commune

It was back to Lucy Park this Friday morning of the third day of the 2021 version of December. The temperature is predicted to likely break a record today, sizzling to somewhere in the 80s.

In that barren of leaves tree you see above, those are not bird nests clinging to the limbs.

Those are clumps of mistletoe. I learned this when a passing stranger suddenly kissed me and used the mistletoe above as her excuse for this assaulting behavior.

I do not remember when last the weather was as perfect for communing with nature as is the case today.

Is that not a colorful display of leaves you see above? I've decided I want to build a house from scratch again, with the color scheme being fall colors, combined with some Southwest turquoise and Northwest green.

The last time I built a house from scratch the color scheme was basically beige.

What you see above passes for a hill in these parts. And atop that hill sits a picnic table with a view of the Wichita River.

The leaves are big which fall from some of these trees.

Unlike leaves on the ground in my former home zone of the Pacific Northwest, Texas leaves are crunchy, like stepping on potato chips. Northwest leaves quickly decompose and turn slippery and slimy, with zero crunch.

It is time to go make sauerkraut soup now. Heidi Klum's mother's recipe, and Heidi's favorite food when she returns to Germany for a visit...

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Senior Citizen Doctor Appointment Leads To Christmas Extravaganza Installation

Today, on the morning of the 2nd day of the 2021 version of December, I was in Good Samaritan mode, driving a senior citizen to a doctor's appointment. This time the appointment was in downtown Wichita Falls, in the Hamilton Building, a short distance from the Wichita Falls Public Library.

So, I dropped off the geezer and drove on to the library, the entry of which is what you see above. I think this was built in what is known as the Grecian style, hence the round columns.

I perused periodicals til my phone vibrated, indicating the senior citizen was in post doctor appointment mode.

I picked up the geezer in front of the Hamilton Building and decided to go home via Hamilton Drive, which is adjacent to Hamilton Park. 

I wanted to drive to this location to see if I could take some photos of what I think is the most over the top Christmas installation I have ever seen. I did not know if doing so would do justice to how massive this Christmas installation is.

Well, the answer is the results do not come anywhere near photo documenting the extent of this multi-acre display.

I should have tried to do a panorama view. I was taking the photos from my driver's window viewpoint.
I need to practice taking a panorama photo. 

At night is when the over the top-ness of this location really is undeniable. Maybe I will remember to drive by at night. This location is close to the MSU Fantasy of Lights, which I think I will try to walk through, taking video. Maybe I can do both in one nocturnal adventure.

There are maybe a dozen vehicles of various sorts being part of this extravaganza, including a Grinch Mobile.

It is only day two of December and I'm already totally overwhelmed with the Christmas spirit...

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Hot Walk Around Dead Calm Sikes Lake With Three Wise Men Homage To Chicken Butchering

Yesterday, the final day of November, the temperature at my location soared into the 80s zone, which made for a pleasant communing with nature at Lucy Park.

With the outer world returning to summer like heat I was tempted to turn on the A/C yesterday, but I didn't. The interior space only warmed to 79 degrees, which is only one degree warmer than I chill to with the A/C.

Today, the first day of the final month of 2021, the outer world is as warm as yesterday. And dead calm, zero wind blowing.

So, I opted to take a fast walk around wave-less mirror-like Sikes Lake. 

Soon after the fast walk began I came upon what looked to me to be some sort of abstract rock hoodoo homage to the Three Wise Men who are scheduled to show up later this month to bring goodies to Baby Jesus.

I tried to take a selfie with the Three Wise Men behind me, but that did not work, the result of which is what you see above. So, I turned around and was able to successfully photo document the rock hoodoo homage to the Three Wise Men.

About a quarter mile past the Three Wise Men I come to the view below. I like the look of this tree, all twisted and confused.

Earlier today I had an adventure with a chicken. The last time I cut up a whole chicken was way back in 2008, in Tacoma. I had been instructed to tutor my soon to be sister-in-law in the art of cutting up a chicken, two of which we had acquired at the Tacoma Thursday Market. That tutorial went well. 

This morning's chicken cut up did not go quite as well. Maybe my knife was not sharp enough. Maybe I'd forgotten how to find the joints where one does the slicing. Somehow the back piece ended up with a lot of breast. And one thigh went missing.

I think the result will be edible. It smells like it is edible. I shall find out in a few minutes...

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

More Memories From Google Which I Mostly Do Not Remember

I need to figure out how to turn off the getting a daily Google email ostensibly showing me memories from that particular day.

I do not remember being at that memory in the upper left, but I do know that from left to right we can barely see Aunt Ruth, then Grandma Slotemaker, then my Mom and Dad, then Aunt Judy and Uncle Mel.

Below that family photo I think that is Aunt Alice standing between two people I do not recognize.

The upper right is a look at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, looking west from high atop the Tandy Hills.

Under the Tandy Hills it looks like that memory is of a tree trunk.

And I have zero clue as to who that is in black and white at the lower right.

I wonder what memories I mostly don't remember Google will have for me tomorrow on the first day of December...

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday Night Text Message Dramatic Stupidity

Tonight I made a polite inquiry about a relative heart situation. To which I got one of the rudest, stupidest replies I think I have ever seen.

So over the top neurotically stupid that all one could do was a simple head shake, a little laugh, and wonder how is it that some people function with such a high level of being dumb.

And then, minutes after that perplexing text message, I was sent the above, via email. I shan't say who sent the email.

And I do not know who is engaged in this text message.

But, I have my suspects as to who the culprits are...