Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Phone Call From Baltimore

Every once in awhile something will happen which will cause me to think something like if you had told me in 1989 that in 2009 this that or the other thing would happen, with my 1989 imagination being unable to conjure a scenario where this that or the other thing would make sense.

Like if in 1989 you would have told me I would be living within walking distance of the gravesite of Lee Harvey Oswald I would not have been able to imagine how that scenario could come to pass.

Like about an hour ago. My cell phone rang. I saw it was Chris. Chris is one of my all time favorite people. We've known each other since grade school. We've lived together, we've traveled together, we've done all sorts of things together. Chris and her family moved to Ada, Oklahoma about a month before I moved to Texas. Last July Chris moved back to Washington, leaving me stranded, almost alone, in Texas.

Chris was calling me from the airport in Baltimore. She was flying alone. To go to an army base in North Carolina where her son's wife is getting ready to have their 4th baby.

Now, in 1989 if you had told me that in 2009 I would be in Texas getting a call from Chris in Baltimore en route to help with her 4th grandkid, well, I would not have been able to make sense of that scenario. Just Chris flying solo is not the Chris I have always known.

That picture at the top is of Chris and Nancy (Chris on left, making that Nancy on the right), up in Oklahoma, sitting under Chris's big oak, I think it was an oak, tree. That was in October of 2001, a bit over a month after 9/11. Nancy had flown in the day before and I drove her up to Oklahoma so she could spend a week. Then they all came down here for a couple days, where we did the tourist things. Except Six Flags. Six Flags had been done on a previous visit. No need to repeat.

2001 does not seem all that long ago. But it has been long enough that the little girl you see in the picture, Megan, under the Fort Worth Stockyards sign, has now graduated at the top of her Oklahoma High School class and is now a freshman at the University of Washington. While her big brother, during that same time frame, has graduated from, I think, Oklahoma State University, got married, joined the Army, served a tour in Iraq and is now back home about to have his 4th kid, with his mom flying across the country to help, and calling me from Baltimore.

I remember my first visit up to Ada to see Chris. She was being totally overly worried about tornadoes. There had been one of the worst ever touch down near Oklahoma City, a huge one. I think Chris and family went up to see the damage. I remember driving around Ada and asking Chris if she saw any tornado damage. So, not all that much time later, Chris had totally adjusted to living with tornadoes, to the extent that when she experienced her first one, up close and personal, she stayed outside and took pictures. But yelled at Megan to get into a closet.

Anyway, it was nice hearing from Chris today. I miss talking to her. One of the nicest people I've ever known. Smart with a sense of humor. And a good cook.

Getting Tweeted, Facebooked & Super Poked In Texas

I got Super Poked, again, from Facebook this morning. I don't get the point of Poking, let alone Super Poking. And to make it seem even more pointless, when you get Poked or Super Poked Faceback seems to insist that you return the Poke or comment on the Poke.

So, a minute or two after the Super Poking idiocy I went to Gar the Texan's Random Ramblings Blog for some of Gar the Texan's own highly evolved type of idiocy and there I saw the image you see here, that I stole from Gar the Texan's Blog, which he stole from his friend Ed's Blog.

Or maybe it was Gar the Texan's friend Ed's Facebook from which Gar got the above. Wherever it came from it was pertinent to what I was thinking about getting Super Poked from Facebook.

Apparently Gar the Texan's friend Ed is out of the country and mentioned, or Tweeted, that he'd had a small banana for breakfast. To which someone Tweeted that they'd like Ed to Tweet a picture of his banana breakfast, which is what prompted the above and Gar the Texan's Blogging about the subject.

If I remember right, Gar the Texan's friend Ed is from the same small West Texas town as Gar, but he now lives up in Seattle and works for Microsoft as a psychologist. I don't know why Microsoft needs a psychologist. Maybe it is to help make sure that Microsoft's products keep driving us all nuts.

In addition to Super Poking me this morning, Facebook also got its Scrabble game back working. Washington's Reigning Queen of Scrabble, Karen, has gained what seems to me to be an insurmountable lead, again, having something like 146 points to my 22. It is sort of embarrassing. I used to think of myself as being good with words. Well, the delusion is now shattered!

It was 33 and very windy when I went down to the pool at 8 this morning. I managed to stay in it for about 10 minutes before I retreated to the hot tub. The next 2 nights it is supposed to freeze here. I thought we were done with this type nonsense for the year.

I think I'll go Super Poke someone now.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wild Boars, Copperheads, River Legacy Biking, Zorro's Buffet & Whataburger

I think I mentioned I was in Arlington this morning, having something that needed to be tended to at 11:30, so, before that, I went mountain biking at River Legacy Park again.

The bike riding was uneventful except for running into a guy named Robert who was working on the trails. Robert told me disturbing new River Legacy news, that being that there are Wild Boars in the park. I did not know this. Robert also mentioned numerous Copperhead sightings. I have had Copperheads mentioned to me before at River Legacy, as in someone shouting something like "watch out, there's a pair of Copperheads on the trail ahead." But I've never seen one. Not at River Legacy. I did get chased by a Copperhead once at Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Eventually I ended up at Fry's and got a new keyboard and a music playing device. It was time for a feeding. My favorite restaurant, that being Sweet Tomatoes, was virtually walking distance away, but I was out-voted on going to Sweet Tomatoes.

Then I suggested the new Wolfgang Puck restaurant that recently opened in Reunion Tower in Dallas. It is called Five Sixty, due to that being how high off the ground Reunion Tower's rotating restaurant is. The Seattle Space Needle, built in 1962, is a bit higher and also has a restaurant that rotates once an hour. I've never been to the Space Needle's rotating restaurant. Rotating above Dallas sounded fun.

But again I was out-voted. I hate living in a democracy.

So, where did I end up going? Zorro's Buffet in Fort Worth. Friday is Seafood Day. When I left Zorro's I saw a stack of FW Weekly's. I'd not seen FW Weekly's at Zorro's before. When I got back here I saw that this week's FW Weekly restaurant review was all about Zorro's Buffet.

Apparently a high energy Israeli immigrant named Ricki Epstein, who arrived in America sometime in the last decade of the previous century, built a very successful catering business in the Fort Worth zone. But, she wanted to do a high quality buffet. And so Zorro's Buffet was born.

Today Zorro's was packed with a very eclectic blend of buffet aficionados, many of whom I thought maybe they should steer clear of anything or place where they can eat all they want. But, like I said before, I may not like it, but we live in a democracy where people can eat and say anything they want.

Like what I'm going to say right now. In Arlington I saw an un-tacky looking Whataburger. I opined, to my captive throng of ardent, buffet slut, listeners, that I did not understand how there can be a non-tacky looking Whataburger, like this one in Arlington, while the majority of Whataburgers are very dated looking eyesores, one of which my eyes were greeted with upon leaving Zorro's, sitting right across the street from Fort Worth's best buffet.

I think it's Whataburger's A-Frame with the orange and white striped metal roof that bugs me. I have never been in a Whataburger, but I've had more than one person tell me that Whataburger makes good burgers.

Anyway, that's been my exciting day. It started off in the 70s with a half hour swim. Those balmy temperatures with the windows open all night have not lasted. It has gotten colder all day long. We are heading towards possibly freezing again. I doubt I will last a half hour in the pool tomorrow morning.

Scrabbling in Texas

I continue to be vexed by Facebook's Scrabble. It won't let me take my turn due to, I guess, technical difficulties. When I try to take my turn Facebook says they are working on fixing what's vexing me.

It is particularly vexing due to the fact that ever since Wednesday I've been trying to play my biggest word ever for a whopping 15 points. That word is "faunae." I have no idea what it means.

So, currently Washington's Queen of Scrabble has 65 points to my pathetic 10.

Windows remained open all night (Alma, that refers to both types of windows). This morning, due to being way too warm all night long, getting into the pool felt refreshing, not bracing.

I have to go to Arlington again this morning. I think I'll add a bike ride to the schedule, again. Then it's to Fry's Electronics, again, to get a new keyboard. I don't know if I'm in the mood for Sweet Tomatoes again. Though their Friday Clam Chowder is pretty good. Not as good as my Mom's Clam Chowder, none is, but Sweet Tomatoe's is better than most.

Reading back the above paragraph I see I used the word "again" 4 times. That seems excessive.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Army Invasion Of River Legacy Park & The New Dallas Cowboy Stadium

Okay, I have overdone it today. I swam for a half hour, early this morning. I hiked for an hour at the Tandy Hills at 11am. Then I had to be in Arlington at 4. Since River Legacy Park is in Arlington, why not bike the mountain bike trail on the way to my 4 o'clock destination, I foolishly thought.

I think the motivation to be outside excessively today is due to it being the first HOT day of the year. As in 87. I now have a slight sunburn.

I biked for well over an hour. On my second time around I came upon the sort of scene I don't expect to see when I'm riding my bike. As in army troops crouching about. As you can see they were well camouflaged. Upon realizing I'd entered some sort of firefight, my instinct was to quickly shout "Don't shoot. I'm a friendly."

Then I stopped and asked if I could take a picture. After a brief interrogation I was given permission. I took my pictures and asked no more questions.

As I biked on I came to another group. I told them they were being sitting ducks, sitting on the trail, not hiding like the other group. The commander of that group told me her group was going to capture the other group. I offered to give up their position. She said there was no need, they'd already acquired their position.

After that I saw a lot more soldiers as I biked on. It was odd seeing all those soldiers all decked out in combat gear. I am currently reading The Complete Idiots Guide to World War I. Just this morning I'd read a chapter about how ridiculous some of the combatant nation's uniforms were, particularly the French. Bright blue coats, bright red pants and instead of a helmet a brightly colored cap. When the French figured out that those bright red pants helped the Germans by presenting a bright target, the French finally lost the red pants. Well into the war, though. Which they did not lose.

After I was done engaging American Troops it was on to my other Arlington destination, which happened to be very close to the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium. The property is at the landscaping stage now. In a couple months the giant stadium will open with a George Strait/Reba McEntire concert. I'm sure Jerry Jones will make sure that all the people who lost their homes so he could have a new stadium will get free tickets to the first event to take place on the land they used to call home.

The view you see of the stadium, in the picture, is looking east on Randoll Mill Road at the intersection with Collins Street.

Stimulus Watch Looking At The Trinity River Vision

This just in from my one longtime reader, the President of my (imaginary) Fan Club....

Please go to this website and tell them the Trinity Uptown (Boondoggle) is not critical...please forward to anyone you know and ask them to do same. If you could leave a comment that would help as well because the ones with the most comments are actually getting reported on. (Be sure and read the other comments listed!)

For those of you who aren't aware the Trinity River Vision is a plan for economic development in Fort Worth that got cut due to funding, so the powers that be went back, joined this project with some others and then called it Flood Control. With the help of some important wealthy powerful political people and their family members it got pushed through. Now the levees that have protected Fort Worth for 60 years will be removed, the river will be rerouted and a city will be built right in the center of it and only a small portion will be protected from erosion. The land around this project is being taken by eminent domain. The taxpayers of Fort Worth are paying for part of this $600 million dollar project (while their water bills increase because they have a billion dollars of flooding issues currently) though they did not get a vote. The Tarrant Water board is footing the bill for some of it too, isn't their job to ensure we have water?

All of this is moving forward rapidly while the tributaries of the Trinity continue to flood and damage people's property and lives. There is no money for that, even though all of those important wealthy powerful political people are fully aware of the issues and have been doing something(?) about it for a minimum of nine years. When TRV is complete, those that have flooding issues now, will still have flooding issues...And in the middle of a recession, do we really need high end office space and another hotel in downtown Fort Worth? The city just paid to build the Omni Hotel, citizens did not get to vote on that either. The waterways in Tarrant county do not stop at the city limit lines, Fort Worth and the surrounding city residents should all get a vote on what happens to our waterways and we should get truthful, competent information from those capable of doing the jobs before making that decision. Please help as local media will not speak against our current leadership or projects even while knowing it puts thousands of lives at risk.

Thank you!!!!!

Some interesting comments----(go to the Stimulus Spending Watch Website to read all the comments)

Concerned Citizen says....

No, No, No... this is pork. The flooding problem is with the arterial waterways that feed the Trinity. This is "Decorative" flood control and has been an under the radar earmark for years! This is "Elective River Surgery" and insurance or Fed Money should not cover it. The foundation of this project is land acquisition and eminent domain abuse enabled by a local, state and federal group of politicians who have manipulated the legal process in order to expand the Central City area by taking land at at bargain in the name of Flood Control. This is a land and development scheme that is full of cronyism, nepotism, and half truths. The project claims that the river is at risk to flooding and shows pictures of te 1949 flood as a fear tactic. The River levee system was put in place following that flood event and has works like a charm even in the heaviest rain to fall here in 100 years. The Corp of Engineers estimated within the last decade or so, that all the river levee system needed was 9 million dollars to repair in areas that needed from 2 to 4 feet of levee surface to protect from the Standard Project Flood, as required. From 9 million to 383.5 million is a lot of added cash and it is centered around Special Interest! This is exactly what needs to be eliminated from this bill. The Tarrant County area is tragically behind to the tune of 1 billion dollars in street drainage repairs. It is precisely this arterial drainage that presents a threat to life, property and downstream flooding into Arlington... not the Trinity River and it's effective levee system that needs the 9 million dollar repair!!!!

Deep Throat Who Knows says...

The Trinity Vision Project is as good of an example of local systemic corruption involving wealthy favored city , county ,state and federal officials as has ever come to full flower. Investigative staffs of the Congress know this, watchdog national journalist who follow ethical transgressions know this, the authority of the Tarrant regional water district to engage in this activity with the help of local legislators was done in unethical ways with the only witness for the State House proceeding being the Director of the Tarrant Regional Water District. It is a land grab to enrich everyone from the Mayors son to the Congressman's son who is the Director of the Trinity Vision project. The only people who don't understand the scam are those who choose not too. This is a project that would make Rod Blagoveich proud, every one cashes in who isn't part of the "click"

And Sick of Wasteful Spending says...

TRV is better know as Trinity Up Yours in some Fort Worth circles. People aren't going to be driving in from the suburbs to sit at "riverside" cafe that has stinky and polluted water that's so bad that you cannot even eat the fish out of the Trinity. Granger is on the outs with the Congresswoman in Dallas who has a legitimate flooding issue. If anyone gets flood control money, it should be Dallas. The only people making money off TRV in Fort Worth are local politicians, developers, Grangers' deadbeat son and the Gideon Toal group. Where are Chuck Silcox and Clyde Picht when you need them?

Haven't you heard? Clyde Picht is running for mayor. His campaign slogan is something like "Impicht Moncrief." I think it is very clever.

Lord Voldemort's Minions & Warm Water

The morning is half gone. Usually by this point in the day I've been on the computer for hours. When I finally got around to waking up this beast, after it had a long sleep, I was greeted with several very demented comments to this very blog.

But, before I get to the dementia, I must mention it's already in the 70s, the overnight low was 67, the high today is supposed to get to 85. So, with three 80 degree days in a row the water in my swimming pool had warmed up a lot from yesterday's morning attempt to swim, which only lasted 2 minutes, at the most. Today the water seemed warmer than the air. I swam for over a half an hour!

And now on to the dementia. When someone comments on this blog I get sent an email with the comment and the option to publish or reject the comment. Usually it is spam comments I reject. Or if someone is spewing tacky profanity.

This morning I got comments from what I believe to be one of Lord Voldemort's Minions in Tacoma. Like I've mentioned before, there are some very Toxic People in Tacoma. This particular Toxic Tacoma Minion sent 4 comments. The first 3 were pretty much repeating the same thing, but with the tone being like the Minion was working itself up into an ever greater state of agitation, as if the Minion kept accidentally hitting the delete button and was getting frustrated at having to write the comment again.

And then I got the 4th comment and figured out what caused the previous three. Lord Voldemort's Minions are not the brightest lights, pretty much bottom feeders. What happened was this Minion typed the comment, hit the publish button and then got frustrated when the comment did not instantly appear. And so the Minion would try again.

And then the Minion figured it out, and wrote the below comment. (I've covered up the profanity with *)

"Oh you rotten little, cowardice ****-bag. How dare you hide behind a "Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author." you ridiculous little half-****, best you hide your true, moronic self from the public view, maybe try doing that with all that you write."

Now that is funny. I'm a coward(ice) hiding behind comment moderation. While this Minion hides behind "Anonymous." With moderating comments allowing me to hide my true, moronic self from public view.

Now, on to the Minion's moderated comments.

Each began with "After my Scrabble defeat I needed to do something where there was some likelihood that I might not fall down......", copied and pasted from the blogging to which the Minion was commenting.

The quote was followed by the following choice excerpts....

Wow. I didn't think you had it in you. Are you kidding me? It is with the best of intentions that I STRONGLY advise you to avoid any further attempt at communicating with what I shall hereto refer to as,"THE REAL WORLD."

Holy smokes, you rotten, ridiculous bore. It is with great sadness and regret, well, not really, that I intend to inform you...that nobody really gives one half of a **** what it is that you are trying to convey.

Wow, no wonder they want to turn you into a canoe, back in Tacoma. People DO love a canoe, but Jesus, I can't see spending a day on the water, even afloat on your sun-cured hide, and being able to catch a fish surrounded by the stink of your insipid gibberish. To you sir, I say,..."Good Day."

Holy smokes, I didn't think you had it in you. That you still believe, after all this time, that there is some lonely, half-witted soul out there waiting to hear more of the insipid gibberish that runs forth from you.

Like a land-locked turtle, that survives solely upon the filthy, waste filled runoff of it's retched, ghetto surroundings, your audience cries," More! More! Without YOU we have NOTHING!" Do not sir, go about in pity for yourself, go about in pity for these lost, and ignorant souls that still, for God only knows what reason, frequent your ridiculous, one-sided ramblings.

Okay, I have to admit, some of the above is almost poetic. Turn my hide into a canoe? A land-locked turtle? Ghetto surroundings? Apparently this Minion reads my blog. Does this make the Minion one of the lost ignorant souls who read this ridiculous, one-sided, rambling gibberish?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tandy Hills Trout Lily Invitation

This just in from Don Young....

This Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 1 pm, Master Naturalist, Jim Varnum of Farmers Branch, Texas will hold a Trout Lily Walk & Talk at the Tandy Hills Natural Area in beautiful Fort Worth, Texas.

Bring good walking/hiking shoes, water, hat, sunscreen, camera, a notebook and something to eat.

If you want more info you can get call Don Young at 817.731.2787.

Jim Varnum writes a newsletter called "Jim's This and That" devoted to Naturalist information. The latest "This and That" is devoted to Trout Lilies.

Below is an excerpt from the latest "This and That" about Trout Lilies.

What is a Trout Lily?

Spring comes early in North Central Texas. Dandelions and henbit aside, we spot one or two wildflowers by the end of January and a dozen or so by the end of February. But one February bloomer – the trout lily (Erythronium albidum) -- stands out to both the botanist and casual wildflower watcher as a true harbinger of spring. What an odd name -- “trout lily” -- it doesn’t look like a trout! It's also called a dog-tooth violet or fawn lily, but it doesn’t resemble those creatures either. Let's explore this interesting and amazing plant.

About 20 or so years ago I became interested in trout lilies (also called white dog-tooth violet and fawn lily) from Dr. Geoffrey Stanford founder of Greenhills Environmental Center (now Cedar Ridge Preserve). Since then I have scoured and scouted Texas near and far for this interesting plant.

When do Trout Lilies Bloom?

Trout lilies bloom from the middle of February until the end of March. Wow -- that is it for the year. Look in shady spots on chalky or blackland soil for one or two mottled green leaves rising from the leaf litter. (Someone once thought the leaves resembled the speckled trout, thus this plant’s common name). The flower sits atop a short stem or 'scape' about 4-5 inches above the ground. The stem bends over so the flower actually points toward the ground. The flower has 6 floral parts (3 petals and 3 sepals) that are white on the front and lavender on the back. These parts are ''recurved'' -- they curl backwards to resemble a small Easter lily. To get a good view you almost have to lie on the ground. Photographers, gently lift the flower with a pencil or twig, snap your photo and put it back.

How do Trout Lilies Grow?

How trout lilies propagate is an amazing story in itself. Remember the downward-pointing flower? After blooming, the plant produces a few seeds almost at ground level. The seed sends down a root, or bulblet, 3-5 inches underground. Some people believe this bulblet resembles a dog’s tooth, thus another common name for this plant, ''dog-tooth violet.'' For 6 years, the trout lily produces only one leaf and no flowers. In the 7th year, it produces 2 leaves and a flower, which will produce seeds and start this amazing cycle all over again.

In addition to spreading by seed, trout lilies, like many other species in the lily family, can reproduce by sending off underground rhizomes from the bulblet. New bulblets will be produced at the end of each rhizome, and those bulblets can produce their own flower, so many times when we see a patch of trout lilies, they are a colony of plants that all came from the spreading of one parent flower. Imagine trying to propagate trout lilies yourself. Dr. Geoffrey Stanford once transplanted some it took many years to see any results. They exist to today.

There, if you made it this far you know than you ever thought you possibly could about a flower you've likely never heard of before. See you at Tandy Hills on Sunday!

Getting A Good Poking In Texas, Polly The Parrot & A Heat Wave

That's my pet bird, Polly the Parrot, outside my computer room window, this morning. She'd been walking back and forth on the brick ledge outside the window, looking at me. That was cute, but by the time I got my camera turned on, Polly had hopped to a post on the patio. And wasn't looking at me.

No need to worry, Polly the Parrot and Shirley the Squirrel get along fine.

We've hit 80 again today. Same predicted for tomorrow. The pool was a bit warmer this morning due to the warmer temperatures. I lasted about 3 minutes before I started to worry about my extremities being too traumatized. By tomorrow the water should be quite a bit warmer. I've got the windows in this place open and am contemplating closing them and turning on the A/C for the first time in 2009. Texas weather is so schizophrenic. We'll probably have another ice storm in 3 days.

At noon I went up to Sprouts Farmers Market for my regular Wednesday stock up of good stuff. When I got back here, around 3, and checked my email, I had the answer to a question that had vexed me ever since I started doing Facebook.

That question was, "What does a Facebook poke mean?" Now, I was not long into my Texas exile when I learned what a Texas poke means. Basically a Texas poke can be both a verb and a noun, just like an other often used word that has a "k" in it that describes the same thing. So, with that in mind I was a bit surprised when the first of my large group of 4 Facebook friends "poked" me.

So, I guess it was on this Facebook thing called "The Wall" that I asked Gar the Texan if he knew what a Facebook Poke meant. Gar said he did not know, but the idea of it made him nervous and embarrassed him. I knew what he meant.

Then, this morning I got a Facebook message from someone named Joely Ann, telling me that if I Facebook Friended her that she'd tell me what a Facebook Poke was. And so I Friended her.

Then I got back here and there was a Facebook message from Joely telling me, "Garland is a bit conservative when it comes to poking...he hasn't had the pleasure of experiencing the full FB poke. It's an application that you allow into your world...or you can choose not to (as Garland has). There are the average pokes without animation and there are the PREMIUM pokes with full animation. You can choose to be mean or nice...depending upon your mood. Basically, it's a virtual hug, pinch, slap or kiss...whatever you feel like doing."

She referenced Gar the Texan, so I figured Joely must be one of Gar the Texan's hundreds of Facebook Friends. So, I clicked on Joely's Facebook Profile, which I can now look at because I Facebook Friended her. And sure enough, Joely graduated from the same little high school Gar the Texan graduated from, that being Wink High School. I guess WHS must be in the town of Wink, but I thought Gar the Texan was from Kermit. I do know that Gar the Texan was the top student in his high school class. He had 7 classmates, if I remember right. That is one small school. I probably could have even managed to be the top student, in my class, if the class was that small.

After reading what Joely told me about Facebook Poking I tried to Super Poke her, but it got confusing and so I gave up, so now my Facebook Profile is saying "Durango is trying to Poke someone." That'd be embarrassing if I had 100s of Facebook Friends reading it, but I've actually met only 50% of my 4 Facebook Friends, so I'm pretty much impervious to Facebook embarrassment, unlike poor overexposed Gar the Texan.

When I got to the Super Poke part of my Poking Attempt I saw that today's top Super Poke is "Wishing a Happy Hump Day to..." with a charming animation of a dog doing something unnatural to a fire hydrant. That was the Super Poke I tried to send to Joely that has Facebook saying I'm in the midst of trying to poke someone.

I begin to worry that Facebook may be too complicated for me.

Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup Comments

Like I mentioned a couple days ago, this year's Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup starts in about 2 weeks, on Thursday, March 12, through the weekend.

I have about 3 dozen videos on YouTube. Of those one gets more comments than any other, that being the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup video. People are so opinionated about Sweetwater and those snakes.

Below is a sampling of those comments, and below the comments I'll stick in the YouTube video, again, that they are all commenting on...

chip131313 commented:
out of all the venues to hit,why cant terrorists blow one of these events sky high so we can see a bunch of inbreds losing their skins.good goin morons.lets keep sucking our natural resources,just,like the dirty mexicans.we are no better when we see representations like this.

azyaninvasion commented:
They have Rattlesnake roundups in Sacramento, California too. I just never really been bothered with them getting killed in these events. Rattlesnake meat does taste good and their skins makes for great wallet, boots, and whatever you could make out of them.

muquesko commented:
hay don't kill us rattlesnakes humans kill just as much as we do.

hatchlingcopperhead commented:
just a bunch of toothless hicks getting some kicks out of killing beautiful animals.

gnigged68 commented:
I bet there's going to be some 'an heroes' in the milk pit, lol.

lukeinarizona commented:
lol@3:03...woulda been more entertaining to see it bite the dancing dude to waltz music.

acetharula28 commented:
thats sad i love rattlers. mine arnt a threat to me. just dont mess with them.

thatcaliguy311 commented:
If you have ever had fresh ranch chicken it's close. It depends on how it's prepared. Either way it tastes a little gamey. The meat is firm and flakey. Great tasting lean meat.

jonmarc1980 commented:
Rattlesnake is just another white meat which most people associate with chicken. It has a different flavor. If ever going through Amarillo Tx the Big Texan Steak Ranch (tourist trap) has it on the menu.

HANKEYMAN45 commented:
i bet this would be seen as cruel if they did it with puppy or kitterns or any thing fluffy,,, so why not rattlers!?!?! >:(



*may seem harsh... but i am.

jbmorr03 commented:
When a baby gets aborted you Liberal Wackos do flips - are snakes more important that unborn humans?

CroDalm commented:
What a bunch of rednecks.

leotheroach commented:
Rattlesnakes are relatively slow to mature, have only modest litters, and are already adversely affected by habitat destruction and persecution. These events remove thousands of animals, including large numbers of reproductively mature animals. Since rattlesnakes are an apex predator, a sudden decline in their population could have ecological consequences, particularly for the rodents they typically feed on.

dumdeedum2 commented:
I hate hate hate snakes. But this annual event - especially the snake taunting - seems very cruel and unnecessary.

FuzzyLogic0101 commented:
Animal abuse. . .period! These people have no idea what impact on the environment this causes. For that matter the thought never crossed their mind about the environment.

DNR001 commented:
It amazes me how people can spend one day torturing and making a mockery out of some of God's most fascinating animals and wake up and go to church the next day. Not only are rattlesnake round-ups cruel and inhumane, they are also very destructive to the environment. Habitats are thoughtlessly destroyed. Gasoline is sprayed into dens and burrows, driving snakes out, but this also kills many other animals that use them as shelter. Humans use and abuse this snake for their entertainment.

yikeroo3 commented:
Okay, I do not like snakes. This event is very creepy to me.

idn commented:
Pathetic display. Get bitten please.

tjensensandiego commented:
what is wrong with these perverts?

garter10895 commented:
this rattlesnake roundup is a sick sick ****ing thing you all know what causes sickness in food right, its mice and rats, which they eat, and of your worried about them remember that hawks eat them, and this is inhumane, and soon they will shut it down!!!

To which FuzzyLogic0101 commented:
I definitely understand and feel garter10895 anger on this, It's disturbing. I unfortunately live in Alabama where they hold one of these horrid events. It's in Opp, Alabama. The name is about the same size of the town. Morons...

And finally avbiker commented:
jus to say first no they cant use the venom for anti venom its 3 different snakes in one jar and its not steril and its crule lets see how many snakes we can slaughter heres a cool show they could try bring out there inbred hick kids and see how frickin deformed they are thats a good show.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Texas Ups & Downs, Icy Water & Steroid Use Accusations

I've had me a day. By 3 in the afternoon it caused something that rarely, very very rarely happens, in that I passed out for a few minutes in the form of a nap. Very unsettling.

A bit before that, the President of my Fan Club (I think there are now 2 members), emailed me with the shocking accusation that she believes my bloggings have grown more long-winded due to my performance enhancing steroid use in the form of Dragon Speak 10. I deny this shocking accusation. I am naturally long-winded and I've not yet even got the Dragon Speak Voice to Text program totally up and running.

I proudly admit I never win at anything. This was once more true, this morning, when my first game of Facebook Scrabble ended with me thoroughly trounced, something like 566 to 133, beaten by Karen, the Washington Queen of Scrabble. I don't think Facebook liked me playing Scrabble, because now Facebook is saying that due to supposed technical problems Scrabble is not working.

After my Scrabble defeat I needed to do something where there was some likelihood that I might not fall down. I so enjoyed yesterday's mountain biking at River Legacy, after not having been there in so long, I decided to go back and stay longer.

Well, I did not have a wreck. But there were problems. I decided I'd try one of the new sections, a section on which the warning sign simply said "Steep Climbs." How steep could they be, I thought. There are just gullys here, no hills.

Just like with Scrabble and turning letters into words, my topography observations are equally faulty. When I turned on to the "Steep Climbs" trails, I sort of easily made it up the first steep climb. The steep drop off was a bit daunting, then the next steep climb equally so. And then I did the 3rd up and down and barely up again. And then I saw the next drop-off.

No way was I going down that. It was not just steep. It was vertical. And then the next climb was also steep and at an angle. So, I took the wimp's way out and walked my bike back up and down the steep things I'd already biked. It was not easy it was so steep, with the dirt loose in places.

That is a short section of the "Steep Climbs" trail in the picture above. The picture does not give even the slightest idea of how treacherous this was for an elderly biker.

No wonder I later passed out and had a short nap.

I forgot to mention, I went swimming this morning around 8am. I lasted at least a minute. I swam from the shallow end to the deep end and back and decided, if I did not get out, extremities were going to go into frostbite mode. I got in the hot tub and could not feel if it was hot or not. It felt good though.

I'll try again in the morning. I didn't think it felt all that cold. I think it's just that I've not been in the frigid water for over 2 months and I've got to get back re-acclimated and must keep telling myself that it's not as cold as Tacoma last summer, it's not as cold as Tacoma last summer, it's not as cold as Tacoma last summer.

Speaking of Tacoma, I keep hearing from people up there who feel/felt my pain, due to their own pains, to varying degrees, dealing with the one who Gar the Texan has labeled "Lord Voldemort." I have absolutely no idea who Lord Voldemort is. I think Jabba the Hut is more appropriate, but then again, like I said, I've no idea who Lord Voldemort is.

According to one of my sources, anonymous, of course, so take it with the credence an anonymous source deserves, but one of my anonymous sources has told me that law enforcement is once more dealing with Lord Voldemort of the Hut of Jabba, due to theft accusations somehow associated with Fremont. The message was very cryptic, with no details. I believe one of the original probation terms was a prohibition against being where money was exchanged. Which made no sense to me. How is one supposed to go shopping if one can't go where money is exchanged? Or do much of anything for that matter?

The Curious Case of the JFK Assassination Window

It is looking as if today's blogging is all about odd things people are trying to sell in Dallas, first large sums of money to buy a seat in a football stadium and now fighting over a Dallas window.

Okay, I'll admit the window does have some notoriety and fame. I've even looked out this window. Well, looked out where the window(s) in question used to be located.

See, way back in November of 1963 it is believed that a man, buried near where I live, named Lee Harvey Oswald, shot a rifle from a window in a building known as the Texas School Book Depository. It is believed, by many, that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of John F. Kennedy.

When you visit the museum that now occupies the 6th Floor of the Texas School Book Depository building you can see the window from which it is alleged Oswald shot. You are blocked from directly looking out that window.

When I visited the 6th Floor Museum I assumed I was looking at the actual window that was there at the time of the assassination. I was wrong.

Two Texans, Caruth Byrd and Aubrey Mayhew (are those great Texas names, or what?) both claim to have the original sniper's window from the 6th floor.

A couple years ago Byrd sued Mayhew, claiming that Mayhew's claim to have the real window reduced the value of Byrd's window.

Byrd claims he inherited the window from his dad, Colonel D. Harold Byrd, a former owner of the Book Depository. The son claims his dad, the colonel, had the window removed 6 weeks after the assassination.

Aubrey Mayhew (actually from Tennessee, not Texas) bought the Book Depository from the colonel in 1970, thinking he was going to open a museum. The colonel financed Mayhew's purchase, Mayhew defaulted and the colonel re-took possession in 1973.

Mayhew claims that while he held the building he had the assassin's window removed.. The men Mayhew hired to remove the window have signed affidavits attesting to the fact they believed it to be the sniper's window.

Previously a judge has ruled that Mayhew does not own the window, but that judge also did not rule that Byrd did own it.

What a lot of confusion over a window. Byrd has tried a couple times to sell his window on E-Bay, with no success. Currently he is saying he wants to maximize the value of his window so he can sell it and build a wildlife refuge.

Mayhew says he does not want to sell his window, that his goal is just to muck things up and confound potential buyers, thus discouraging any sale.

Mayhew has finally gotten around to hiring a lawyer, previously he had refused. The trial was supposed to start on Monday, without Mayhew having a lawyer, but now that he has hired representation, the trial has been postponed til March 16 to give Mayhew's lawyer time to figure out the case.

I love a good brouhaha over a window.

Dallas Cowboys Season Tickets Are Affordable (For Whom?)

The Dallas Cowboys put a full page ad in today's Dallas Morning News letting readers know that the Dallas Cowboys are making it easy for Cowboys fans to buy season tickets.

Under the top of the ad, where it says, "A seat in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium costs less than you think," below the picture of one of those affordable seats the ad says...

Dallas Cowboys season tickets are affordable. Who says you can't afford Dallas Cowboys season tickets? You can purchase a season ticket in the most advanced stadium in the NFL, including the seat option, for less than $1,300 a year.

Financing options to fit your budget. We're making it easy for Cowboys fans to purchase season tickets with financing options that let you pay in easy installments. Right now, you can get an upper level sideline seat (seat option and tickets) for a one-time down payment of $1,558 and then $1,298 a year.

A seat you own. Keep it, sell it, will it. Owning a Dallas Cowboys seat option comes with exclusive rights and privileges. You can keep your seat, sell it to the highest bidder, even put it in your will. It's part of history and you own it.

See what happened when we told people they could have a Dallas Cowboys season ticket for less than $1,300 a year. Exclusive video at

Where do I start? A seat you own? You keep? You can sell? You can will? Built on land taken from people by using the worst case of eminent domain abuse in American history? Sitting in a seat where such an abuse took place, how can you be certain that when the eminent collapse of professional sport arrives, that some even greater eminent domain abuser isn't going to come along and condemn your seat, to build, I don't know, maybe a Six Flags expansion.

How did the Cowboys determine that this seat price was affordable? Affordable to whom? I'm guessing affordable to those who can afford them, the number of which is likely dwindling.

Also in the morning paper Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones was quoted as saying he hoped to break the attendance record for a Super Bowl when the new stadium hosts that event in 2011. To break the record Jerry Jones is going to remove the arm rests from those affordable seats you are buying and squeeze your seats closer together so more seats can be crammed in.

So, it would seem that Jerry Jones is retaining ongoing eminent domain rights to those seats you people are buying and are thinking you own. Like property. Maybe the contracts stipulate that the armrests are not included in the seat.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Endorphin Addiction Worsens At Tandy Hills & River Legacy

I need to get this monkey off my back. This addiction to endorphins is wearing me out. By tomorrow morning it will get worse. My pool is back open. I was last in it 6 days before the Winter Solstice. We are now about a month from the Spring Equinox. It would seem this should mean the water is warmer than when I was last in it.

Before noon, after sitting too many hours in front of this computer, I went to the Tandy Hills again and ran up steep hills. That quickly gets the endorphin fix happening.

That's the Tandy Hills tower known as the Fort Worth Needle, in the picture at the top. It's really tall. It makes me dizzy to stand under it and look up. Part of that dizziness may have been due to having run up the hill to get under the Needle.

There's a library a short distance from my abode. I went there about 3 this afternoon to get some books. Reading too many books is the other monkey on my back addiction that is taxing me.

When I left the library I decided, why I do not know, craving more endorphins, maybe. For whatever reason, I went to River Legacy Park. I had not biked the mountain bike trails there in a long long time. I don't know why.

It has been so long that several new trails have been added. I've never seen the River Legacy Trails in such good shape. New bridges have been added. Bypasses and shortcuts have been added. Real good signage has been added.

One section is called "Fun Town," for Experts. There is a red skull and crossbones on the sign. Fun Town had some really steep drops and some really steeply banked turns. I should wear my helmet. The River Legacy Trail used to be so tame. Not anymore.

And there were a lot of bikers there this afternoon. Word must be getting around, River Legacy has some really good mountain bike trails in really good shape.

I only went one time around, that's about 5 miles. My bike was making a weird squeaky noise. I knew it'd been too long since I'd greased all the moving parts. So, I cut it short and went to Wal-Mart and got some grease and some new bike shorts.

I see a return to biking and swimming in my immediate future. Weather permitting.

The Coldest War: A Memoir of Korea

Usually, if I blog about something in this venue, in some way it is some how some thing to do with Texas. But in this particular blogging the only connection to Texas is it's a book I read in Texas.

By James Brady. Not the James Brady of Reagan Press Secretary Assassination attempt infamy. No, this book was written by the James Brady of Parade Magazine interview fame. Among other things.

I've read more books about wars than I can remember. The Civil War, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Iraq Wars I & II, the Cold War, the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War. I'm likely forgetting a war or two.

I've read war related memoirs before, like Albert Speer's Inside the Third Reich and Spandau: The Secret Diaries. But something about this book by James Brady was striking a chord with me that I didn't quite figure out til the end.

The thing that made this book especially interesting was that unlike other books about wars, that I've read, this one was written by a guy describing the war as he experienced it. And James Brady writes very well and spares no detail, some of which was a bit eyepopping. Details of the likes you don't see in movies.

I don't know why the Korean War is now referred to as the "Forgotten War." I hadn't forgotten about it. I was led to reading the James Brady book after watching a very well done documentary about the Korean War on The Military Channel.

After reading a lot of books about wars, and particularly after reading books about the current Iraq War I've decided all wars have a lot of very stupid things happen, bad decisions, bad leaders, some worse than others.

After watching The Military Channel and after reading articles online about the Korean War I've decided General Douglas MacArthur was a terribly irresponsible general who's good reputation, at the time, was pretty much a function of the way the press covered him, and a whole lot of ignorance. MacArthur was an Only Child with classic Only Child Syndrome symptoms. He should never been put in command over the lives of men.

Anyway, it's off to the library in a bit to find something to read. I think maybe a biography of Douglas MacArthur might be interesting.

The 2009 Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup

It is only 18 days until the Annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup. Plenty of time to make plans to head west if you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone, or whatever direction you need to head from your location to reach the eastern fringes of West Texas where the town of Sweetwater is located.

The weekend will officially kick off on Thursday, March 12, 2009 with the Rattlesnake Review Parade through downtown Sweetwater. That evening, you can attend the Miss Snake Charmer Pageant held in the Sweetwater Municipal Auditorium at 7:00pm.

The doors will open at 8:00am Friday March 13, 2009 for the 51st Annual Sweetwater Jaycees World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up, with snakes being weighed in at 7:00am that morning at the Nolan County Coliseum. Catch one of the snake handling demonstrations and be sure to try some deep-fried Western Diamondback Rattlesnake meat.

Now, I have not, myself, sampled deep-fried Western Diamondback Rattlesnake meat, or any snake meat, for that matter. The idea sort of disgusts me. When I saw the deep-fried Rattlesnake, the big sharp bones really sealed the deal in making it unappetizing. I don't care how much it supposedly tastes like chicken.

There are a lot of people who think rounding up rattlesnakes is a wrong thing to do. What amazes me is that there are so many of the slithery reptiles that each year there seems to be a fresh supply waiting to be rounded up.

Attention All Dallas Cowboy Fans

I get some really goofy comments to this blog and to my YouTube videos. Or to my Eyes on Texas website. Sometimes I can not quite tell where the comment or feedback is coming from.

On this blog, somewhere, it says "I am not a Cowboy or a Cowboy Fan."

Yet, this morning I got a comment from a very ardent, albeit it slightly grammatically challenged Super Dallas Cowboy fan, posting the comment to a YouTube video I'd made which rather pointedly shared my disgust over what had been done in Arlington to get Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys a new stadium.

Since the ardent Dallas Cowboy fan is asking any and all to copy and paste his message on every Cowboy's video, I'm going to paste it below. And below that the YouTube video from which he commented.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's Fort Worth Smokin'?: Part 2: Dr. Aremendariz Speaks

Interesting incoming from that tireless Dynamo Don Young regarding the air that we breathe here in Fort Worth, air with added goodies, thanks to all the Barnett Shale Natural Gas Drillers. When the Carter Avenue fracking took place and I blogged and YouTubed it, I got a dismissive comment from a Chesapeake shill telling me it was perfectly harmless and I was an alarmist.

We are all Guinea Pigs.

Below is Sunday's Don Young message....

Remember this?

Frack-job near Carter Ave. in east Fort Worth, TX, Jan. 2009.

Back on January 11, I posed the question, "What's that you're smokin'?", in reference to the plume of smoke/vapor/fumes/??? that escapes from a drill-site during the fracking phase. What is in that, "cloud of stuff", that we all breathe every day?

I put the question to SMU Professor, Dr. Al Aremendariz, whose research of air quality in the Barnett Shale has, in my view, cast a dark shadow over the "clean burning" myth.

His response and "final revised" report follows:

Sorry for the long delay in reply. I’d been working furiously to try and get the final revised version of the emissions inventory I was working on completing for EDF. In case you haven’t yet received a copy, I’ve attached one to this email.

After drilling the main well bore, engines, water, sand, chemicals, and pumps are brought to the site to frac the well. Towards the end of the frac process and for a small number of days afterwards, the gas companies will let the well go through a “completion” process. During this time, the well is often let to vent to the atmosphere. During the venting, large amounts of natural gas, water, sand, oils, etc., will rise to the surface.

If you are seeing a “smoke” or some other cloud during the venting process, its possible that in the visible cloud droplets and in the invisible gases around the droplets are mixtures of any of the following: water droplets, water vapor, hydrocarbon liquids, hydrocarbon gases, chemicals used during the fracturing process, small bits of sand, and ?.

I would be surprised if anyone has actually gone out and sampled the cloud of stuff. So, until there is a better understanding of what might be in it, it’s probably best to avoid getting directly downwind of a well venting process.

In a follow-up email to me, Dr. Armendariz pointed out that, whatever is in the plume "will dilute over space and time." He continued, "With these relatively unstudied emissions, its pretty hard to know exactly what the potential dangers are, and how the emissions compare to any nearby roads, highways, etc."

Good luck,

There you have it. Without legitimate studies of "frack fumes", north Texans will continue to be guinea pigs while Fort Worth fat cats and a dirty industry rake in billions of dollars a year. Remember that next time you see a frack-job on your planet.

New question: Whose going to do the studies and when?


A Mountain View From Fort Worth?

I really don't get enough aerobic exercise, so I went running around the Tandy Hills again today. When I was done with that I headed east on Meadowbrook, towards my favorite Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. You may not have one of these in your neighborhood yet. They are small versions of a Wal-Mart, sort of like a regular grocery store.

Looking east on Meadowbrook, at the stop light for the exit off I-820, there seems to be what looks like a mountain in the distance. In the northwest that is sort of what Mount Rainier can look like on the horizon.

But, it isn't a mountain. What it is is the nearly completed new Dallas Cowboy Stadium, clearly visible, as you can see in the picture, from Fort Worth.

I've wondered before, in this very venue, if the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium is visible from any vantage point in Dallas. Maybe from the lookout at the top of Reunion Tower. Or one of the other downtown Dallas skyscrapers.

I know the new stadium is not visible from the highest of the Tandy Hills. I was there today and there was no stadium to be seen.

I did see a lot less litter. I've been slowly removing the deluge of litter that clogged up one of the creek beds during our last heavy rain. It's a daunting task. I think the litter in that location has been reduced by half.

Today Is Sunday In Texas

Another blue sky Sunday here in North Texas. Things green seem to be springing to life. Soon Texas will turn colorful for a month or two with the sprouting of wildflowers. And then it'll turn brown, for the most part.

Tonight is Academy Awards night. Last year I think I lasted less than a half hour before turning off the TV. I've not gone to a movie in a theater in this century.

The Academy Awards used to seem sort of like living history with all sorts of famous movie stars from as far back as the 1920s, alive and on display in their elderly form.

Only a few of the Hollywood Stars of Old are still alive. Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, I can think of no others. I'm sure there must be some.

You know you're getting old when Warren Beatty and Clint Eastwood get Lifetime Achievement Awards.

And tonight they are giving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Jerry Lewis. I read this morning that those humorless, clueless French still think Jerry Lewis is a comedic genius. That's troubling.

Speaking of Humanitarian Awards, this morning I got an interesting, empathetic email from someone in Tacoma who, apparently, has been reading my blog ever since I was up in Tacoma and who has been, and is, appalled by the childish rantings of a fellow Tacomaite and amused by my ongoing attempts to make sense of what I've come to understand was/is very difficult to understand behavior. I had no idea, til this person told me, that the party in question, previously, had me up on a pedestal and referred to me as her second husband. Just typing that sent a chilling shudder down my spine.

I've not read any of the ranting in awhile, the last instance was pretty funny and so embarrassingly self-revealing, making clear, for any and all to see, what I meant by toxic madness.

The funniest part of that particular ranting was a line, something like, the party in question "had been warned that it would end badly if she allowed me back into her life." Now, I long ago understood that this particular person creates her own alternative reality, that bears little relationship to truth. I love the idea that she lets people into or out of "her life," as if it is some sort of Theme Park one gains admission to.

The reality is, it has always been her behavior that causes things to "end badly." The time previous to the final instance was way back in the 1990s, at Sunriver, when I'd had enough of her lack of impulse control causing multiple temper tantrums. By the time I moved to Texas we were on friendly terms again. I remember returning in 2000 and being confused as to why there had been a move to Tacoma, but I didn't ask and didn't learn why til a couple years later.

By 2003, or so, this person had pretty much faded from my consciousness. Then I got a call from my brother. A friend of his, who knew I knew the party in question, had been unable to reach her. I called the number, I had, to find it'd been disconnected. I contacted a mutual friend, in Bellingham, who told me there had been some trouble, that I'd have to find out the details elsewhere. But, she gave me a phone number.

So, I called and told the person, who was warned "not to let me back in her life because it would end badly," that Miss X was trying to get in contact with her. The person who runs her life like a Theme Park and I exchanged pleasantries. And then I got off the phone. I did not realize, at the time, that my calling had given her my cell phone number.

So, with that cell number, the calls began. Soon the calls came daily. I have no idea at what point in time I was granted admission to this person's Fabulous Life. I do know I flew up there in February of 2004 and this was the first time in years I'd physically been in this person's Fabulous Life. I was back again, for a month, in August of 2004. That time I really was deep into that Fabulous Life, staying the month in her apartment building. That was actually fun.

I returned again in November of 2004, 3 flights up to Seattle in one year. I did not like that. I was up there again in, I think, October of 2005 and then again in April of 2006. On that visit I house sat for the person who now villifies me, while she and her first husband went to Mexico.

My next return was July 20 this past summer, for an entire hellish month that ended August 20. The person who now says she has divorced me (again, shudder) had convinced herself that I was moving back to Washington, at least part time, to do flea markets with her. The concept had been discussed, but not seriously, by me. The person who now villifies me, in stereotypical Only Child Syndrome fashion, did not take it well when I said I was returning to Texas and that no, I did not think I was interested in a flea market career. Though it had been sort of fun helping out with several of those, 3 times at the Fremont Sunday Market, once at Art in the Park and one really boring one in Lacey, called the Saturday Market.

Of course, me good-naturedly doing these flea markets, drivng all over, making magnets and even washing dishes and cleaning a filthy kitchen floor is totally forgotten when some minor thing upsets the Only Child, causing a fit to be pitched with a temper tantrum. Which, with the perspective of time and space, makes it all seem pretty funny, with such a high level of groundless acrimony on display. It was I who had valid reason to be righteously offended and upset.

The biggest irony is it was actually I who let this person back into my life. And I actually did have someone remind me of how difficult she was. But, I've always found her very amusing and I figured she was older, maybe the hormonal rages no longer happened. I knew she'd been in therapy and was taking mood altering medications, all of which made me think the temper tantrums were a thing of the past.

I was wrong.

Everything had gotten worse. I don't think I was ever able to get my balance back from the shock of my second day in Tacoma last summer, when seeing the party in question, for the first time in over 2 years, to see that she'd at least doubled in size. I don't know if I was able to keep an unshocked looking expression on my face. I do remember that upon seeing me she told me I looked sickly and gaunt! I probably did. I felt like throwing up.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The New Dallas Cowboy Stadium Opening Soon

I have not been shy about verbalizing my disgust regarding how the City of Arlington and Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys committed the most outrageous abuse in American history of the perfectly legal practice of using eminent domain to seize private property for the public good.

To build a sports stadium.

But, now that the stadium is almost finished, I have to admit, it is one cool-looking structure.

That looks totally out of place in its location. It would have been such a good thing to have built this at Fair Park in Dallas, particularly now with the DART train having a new line going to Fair Park.

Arlington has no mass transit of any type.

It's pretty easy to predict what the reaction will be when the stadium opens for football, particularly the Super Bowl. For the Super Bowl, one team will be staying in Fort Worth. About 20 miles from the stadium. People will come to the stadium and marvel at the neighborhood of, well, let's call them "older" houses. And a rather, well, eclectic blend of businesses. People will arrive at D/FW airport, take a taxi to their motel, and then be appalled at how far they are from the stadium, and that they have to take another taxi to get to it.

Now, when Arlington was conned into voting to build this stadium they were told it would spur all sorts of development, new hotels, restaurants, retail. For awhile a big development called Glory Park was dangled before the locals as an enticement to approve being taxed for the stadium.

Sadly, the voters of Arlington have very short memory retentions. Way back in the early 1990s, a similar con was run on them to get approval for the Ballpark in Arlington. That's where the Texas Rangers play baseball. Voters were told the Ballpark would spur all sorts of development, including a San Antonio-like Riverwalk. Well, there is a little lake and you can walk around it. But nothing else.

And now, today, there is surprise that nothing new is being built around the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium. All the people of Arlington had to do was visit the current Dallas Cowboy stadium in Irving and make note of the vast wasteland that surrounds the stadium. It's been there for decades without spawning anything of the sort Arlington voter's thought was going to happen around their new Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

Now that the stadium is almost finished, does anyone in Dallas have any regrets that it is not in Dallas? Dallas has over a million people, the tax burden would have been far less than that which Arlington's 332,000 have burdened themselves with.

And what an incredible addition to Fair Park that stadium would have been. Instead it is now sitting in an industrial wasteland. And I think it is too big to move.

Tandy Hills Brush Bash: Day One

I had the best of intentions, today, to help move brush and stuff alien to the natural nature of the Tandy Hills Natural Area.

But, a sprained thumb rendered me worthless for such an endeavor. However, feeling guilty for not doing my part, I did send in a proxy to help and report back to me.

As it turned out, a small army, complete with heavy equipment was on duty today. And a lot more than invasive vegetation was dispatched.

Dozens of abandoned tires were removed. Dozens of bags of litter were collected. I've never seen a tire at the Tandy Hills. I have seen litter, a lot of it in the creek beds, but I don't think that was where today's litter was collected.

I believe it is going to take many more Saturdays to get this job done. I'm thinking dragging a solar-powered wood chipper deep into the park would be a much more efficient means to remove wood debris, than hauling it all the way to where trucks can reach it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sweet Tomatoes & A New Computer

I've had me a day of diving deeper into Computer World than I usually like to go. The day started off with me thinking I liked the idea of having the World's Lightest Laptop, a little itty bitty Sony thing that seemed way too little when I saw it in the flesh, so to speak.

Then my eyes fell upon another one, it was also slim, but had a much bigger screen, 3 gigs of memory, a huge hard drive and one of those duo core processors that I know nothing about, except that they must be fast.

The new laptop is a Toshiba. Don't they make cars?

On the way back here a feeding was needed. Fry's Electronics is on the south side of I-20 at Matlock. Sweet Tomatoes is on the north side of I-20 at Matlock. So, it was to Sweet Tomatoes I went after computer shopping made me hungry.

I forgot to mention, I also got that Dragon Speak program that converts the spoken word, via a microphone, to text. This should help me finally be more prolific with this typing words thing I do.

When I got back here, the getting a new computer working thing went way easier than the last time, which was about 5 years ago. I may be remembering wrong, but I think there was some user error involved that time.

I've got this place being a hardwired network connecting a few computers together. Ever since I got rid of Charter Communications and replaced that bankrupt, poorly run company with AT & T U-Verse, I've suspected that that huge modem/router thing they installed was a wireless modem.

I've long noticed when I turn on the wireless connection, on my other laptop, I see several possible connections, with one being at full strength. I suspected that was my own wireless connection. But I did not have a WEP key.

One of the available networks was 2WIRE063. I Googled for info about a U-verse wireless connection. I found out I could use a browser to connect to and control my modem. Doing that I found all sorts of info, including the fact that my broadband connection's wireless connection is named 2WIRE063, thus confirming I have a wireless system here.

But, what is the Network Key? Well, clicking "I forgot my Pass Code" brought up "Hint: Look on the Label." Label? I thought, maybe on the modem? Sure enough. There was a label on the modem and on that label was a number. And that number turned out to be the Network Key!

I feel like a detective who solved a very complicated problem. That should give you some indication of how low the level of technical proficiency operating here is, if I could have a wireless system, unbeknownst to me, that has to be figured out via Googling for help. Pathetic.

The next technical hurdle was getting the network to recognize the new computer. That turned out to be not too baffling. Files are being transferred even as I type.

I am going to try and watch last night's Survivor tonight. I hope I don't pass out again, like last night, but it's been a long day, and my poor little brain has really been overtaxed today. I may pass out at any time.

See you all tomorrow at the Tandy Hills, hauling brush to the street! I can't wait!

Friday's Fry's Day Sony Vaio Laptop

Who wants to go laptop shopping at Fry's Electronics with me today?

Today Fry's has the world's lightest laptop on sale, that being a Sony Vaio P Series that only weighs 1.4 pounds. Its battery lasts up to 4 hours. 2GB of Ram. With a built in camera and GPS navigation system, which I can not imagine using because I never get lost. Maybe it could be used on a plane to make sure the pilot is heading in the right direction.

I think I overdid the running around Tandy Hills yesterday. Sometime after 8 last night I started to watch yesterday's DVRed latest episode of Survivor, but I passed out on the couch before we got to the first challenge. This never happens to me, well, hasn't happened to me in a long long time. Of recent times my problem has been insomnia, not passing out in front of the TV.

Apparently I go from one extreme to another.

Like I can go from saying I'm not returning to the Northwest for another 10 years, after last summer's miserable month of, well, misery, to seeing a picture of tulips on a laptop screen and thinking it'd be fun to be in the Northwest this spring to see the Skagit Valley tulips for the first time in a decade.

This year's Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a month long, as in the entire month of April. When I lived in the Skagit Valley I don't recollect the Tulip Festival lasting an entire month. If I remember right, last year's late Spring made everything bloom late, everything from tulips to blackberries, the blackberries being something I'd looked forward to last summer, but who's late ripening disappointed me, just like pretty much everything else had.

Maybe the Tulip Festival is being stretched longer to make sure there are some blooming flowers when the hordes, and I do mean hordes, of tourists arrive.

The same month as the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, the Tandy Hills Prairie Fest happens. The Prairie Fest will get about 3000 visitors. The Tulip Festival will get somewhere around a million visitors. This creates epic traffic jams on country roads, requiring a lot of traffic cop direction and surveillance by helicopters. It's a spectacle.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Decapitated Cactus & Brush Bash Prep At Tandy Hills

I decided this morning that I really do not get enough exercise, so I decided to go run up and down the hills at Tandy Hills Natural Area.

I figured I'd also check on the progress of the City of Fort Worth arborist's brush cutting project preparing for Saturday's onslaught of Tandy Hills Aficionados ready and eager to haul tons of brush to the road.

I ran and ran and ran over mile after mile of the Tandy Hills trails, looking for some cut brush. Finally, after what seemed hours, I came upon several clumps of Prickly Pear Cactus that had been sliced.

Surely this is not part of the City of Fort Worth brush cutting, I hoped. I continued on with my search. I looked on the west side of the main trail that leads from the main park entry. No cut brush.

I backtracked to the main entry part, that's where there is regular, planted and mowed lawn and a playground. Just a short distance after the planted lawn ends there is a seldom used trail that heads to the east and connects to more frequently used trails.

On that infrequently used trail I did find a small section where brush had been cut. If that is all the brush that needs to be bashed on Saturday, it doesn't appear it will take too long to clean it all up.

In the meantime I'm trying to find out if there is anything that can be done to save those decapitated cactus. In Arizona you can do jail time for decapitating a cactus, if it's a Saguaro. I don't know how they feel about Prickly Pear Cactus in Arizona.

Amon G. Carter Foundation Fort Worth Heritage Park Fix

Yesterday on my Fort Worth To-Do List of Problems that I think would behoove Fort Worth to address and fix was the downtown eyesore that should never have been allowed to have become an eyesore, that being Fort Worth's Heritage Park.

Now that the destruction of Heritage Park has become a national issue, with it being put on a list of National Modern Marvels of Architecture in Danger, plus the State of Texas putting Heritage Park on a list of Texas Landmarks in Danger, the City of Fort Worth is finally, sort of, addressing the problem.

My suggestion yesterday was to immediately remove the cyclone fencing and the "Park Closed" sign, clean up the park and re-open it. And worry about fixing the water features later. I believe the claim that shifting ground has affected the structures to be a bogus concern. I've walked all over the "closed" park and saw no signs of cracking concrete.

It seems that currently the City of Fort Worth is earnestly attempting to counter the bad publicity regarding what most outsiders would view as an act of civic negligence, by contacting those who are critical, and concerned, regarding the current sad state of Heritage Park.

Yesterday I was contacted by a City of Fort Worth representative, Veronica Villegas, who wanted to share with me new information about Heritage Park. I then asked if the "new information" was what had been reported in the press, that being that Fort Worth was looking for a way to re-open the park, needing over $7 million to do so.

The City of Fort Worth representative replied with the following, regarding the "new information" about Heritage Park....

The city would like to bring residents up to speed on where we are and how we got here.

As you know, the park was closed in 2007 without much information as to why. We think it is important that residents know those reasons. Also, since then, Streams and Valleys commissioned a study that addresses some of the very issues for the park’s closure.

Last week the city announced that it will be partnering with the Amon G. Carter Foundation to bring landscape architect Laurie Olin, a close associate of the park’s designer Lawrence Halprin, to help the city explore ways to restore and improve Heritage Park. He will lead a two or three day study workshop sometime in April.

The city has forgotten about Heritage Park, but the issues are very complex and it has taken some time to determine our next steps. Certainly, the upcoming workshops will not provide all of answers or even a definitive solution. Instead, it is the first step in a what will undoubtedly be a thorough process that will involve interested stakeholders and our residents.

I would be happy to discuss additional details with you over the phone.


I think the part where Veronica says "The city has forgotten about Heritage Park." was a Freudian Slip. I'm sure what she meant to say was "The city has not forgotten about Heritage Park." At least, I hope that is what she meant.