Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Shadow Of The One-Armed Tandy Thin Man Thinking About Returning To My House In Washington

I have yet to tire of taking pictures of the Shadow of the Tandy Hills Thin Man. Today's Thin Man Shadow was across a dry creek bed at the bottom of a ravine. With leaves.

The leaves in the trees on the Tandy Hills have greatly diminished. Large areas of the trails are under a thick carpet of fallen leaves.

Fallen leaves in Texas are much more pleasant to walk on than fallen Washington leaves.

In Texas the leaves stay crunchy and quickly dry up and blow away. In Washington the leaves get wet and slimy and can make walking slippery. I prefer the Texas leaf disposal method.

In Washington my house had flat roofs. Four of them. Leaves would cover the roofs and need to be removed. Over and over again. The house was surrounded by trees, about half of them evergreen, the rest leaf shedders, of the big maple leaf sort that can easily clog a drain.

Go here to visit my house in Mount Vernon, Washington. It is a primitive webpage, made long ago, well before highspeed broadband, hence the little clickable thumbnails. On the webpage you'll meet my deceased cat, Hortense. She died in Texas my first year here. You will see a lot of trees and see why there were a lot of leaves. You will also see pictures of the most snow I ever saw on the ground in my zone of Washington. I was stuck on my cul-de-sac's hill for almost a week.

I had not looked at pictures of where I lived in Washington for awhile. This has put me in a sort of wistful, melancholy mood that fits perfectly with how tired I am feeling from last night's exhausting nightmares. Looking at the pictures brought back remembering how nice it was to walk out the front door, from the kitchen, to the rooftop garden to BBQ and pick fresh tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, basil and other stuff I'm not remembering.

In Texas there is no rooftop garden that I walk out to from my kitchen. Nothing grows on my Texas patio. Not even moss. I'm ready to move back to Washington. But doing so takes a lot of effort and bother. And right now I am tired.

Fort Worth's Native Son Rex Reed Shoplifting, Starting Rumors, Dissing Korea & Starring In X-Rated Movies

You likely do not recognize the person in the picture. His name is Rex Reed.

Rex Reed got himself a well-earned reputation for being a bit of a nasty, mean-spirited movie critic.

I always assumed Rex Reed was a New Yorker, for some reason.

Here in the boondock known as Fort Worth, the local newspaper with the largest circulation, it being the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has a habit of pointing out any possible remote connection between Fort Worth and some celebrity type in the news.

The Star-Telegram celebrity connection can be very tenuous, something like Joe Jones was once married to Fort Worth's Sprinkle Pants and visited Fort Worth once during the 1970s.

So, I was a bit surprised to learn that critic, Rex Reed, was born in Fort Worth on October 2, 1938, the son of Jewell and James M. Reed.I do not believe I have ever read mention of Rex Reed being a Fort Worth product.

I think I know why. Maybe it is because Rex Reed is a bit embarrassing to have known as a native son. He is a bit notorious.

Like the time, in February of 2000, when Rex Reed was arrested for shoplifting Peggy Lee, Mel Torme and Carmen McRae CDs from a Manhattan Tower Records. Peggy Lee was so impressed that Rex Reed went to so much effort to get her records that the sent him her entire CD catalog.

In 1993 Fort Worth's Rex Reed started the rumor that Jack Palance called out the wrong name at the Academy Awards for the Supporting Actress award, when he said Marisa Tomei's name. Reed claimed Jack Palance was confused due to being too drunk or stoned to be able to read the envelope. Four years later, in 1997, Rex Reed was still claiming there had been a massive cover-up to prevent the public from learning about this horribly serious Academy Award crime against humanity.

Then in 2005 Fort Worth's Rex Reed aggravated people by harshly reviewing a South Korean movie called Oldboy, writing, "What else can you expect from a nation weaned on Kimchi, a mixture of raw garlic and cabbage buried underground until it rots, dug up from the grave and then served in earthenware pots sold at the Seoul airport as souvenirs?"

Now, I think the Kimchi/Korean comment was funny. That Kimchi stuff is terrible.

Rex Reed is a bit on the old side of his life now, in his 70s.

Over the years Rex Reed has made a few acting appearances, including being in the X-Rated Gore Vidal debacle Myra Breckinridge, where he co-starred with Mae West, Raquel Welch and Farrah Fawcett. Fort Worth's Rex Reed was also in Inchon and played himself in one of the Superman movies. In the late 70s Rex Reed's tart tongue was a regular on The Gong Show.

To get a look and listen to of one of Fort Worth's favorite native sons, Rex Reed, watch the video below of a Rex Reed Appearance on the Dick Cavett Show in 1969, where Rex Reed disses John Wayne so bad it had to be bleeped out, while he discusses what he think about the 1969 Academy Awards.....

A Cold Morning In Texas On The Last Day Of November Following A Night Of Nightmares

Looking out the window, on another cold morning in Texas, on this, the last day of the 1st November of the 2nd decade of the new century.

I am growing weary of time passing so quickly, I would like time to slow down and give me a break from the rapidly aging process.

This morning the rapidly aging process is manifesting itself in it feeling like every joint and bone in my feet and hands and shoulder is sore.


I do not know. Except for the fact that last night I had my most action-filled series of nightmares in memory. Disturbing nightmares where I would think I had awakened from the nightmare only to realize I was still asleep and still nightmaring. I've never experience such a thing before. It was exhausting.

It is only 36 degrees in the natural unheated zone this morning. No way am I going to try to go swimming. I will be totally over-doing hiking on the Tandy Hills today, barring some unexpected interruption of that plan.

Monday, November 29, 2010

George's Specialty Foods & White Settlement Road Under Attack By Chesapeake Energy & Fort Worth's Natural Gas Corrupted City Government Of Eminent Domain Abusers

You are looking at a mural at George's Specialty Food on White Settlement Road.

The mural depicts the view from George's, looking out at the Trinity Trail, the Trinity Levees and the houses in the hills on the opposite side of the river.

However, the mural is a bit out of date. Chesapeake Energy drilling sites need to be added to the view.

A few days ago I blogged about George's Specialty Foods closing in order to fight Chesapeake Energy's abuse of eminent domain to take property from the George's Specialty Food's owners.

I have gotten a few messages about this latest Chesapeake attack on Fort Worth Citizens. It is my understanding, now, that George's Specialty Foods was started by George and Helen Phiripes and is now operated by George's son Nick and Nick's son Theo.

Chesapeake Energy in the guise of one of its alias, Texas Midstream, want to take the Phiripes' property to run a pipeline from a couple Barnett Shale drilling sites Chesapeake has drilled and frac'ed.

I'm assuming this is another non-odorized natural gas pipeline like what Chesapeake tried to ram under Carter Avenue.

This morning I got an interesting comment to the blogging about George's Specialty Foods closing.

The commenter's name is Jim Bowe. Mr. Bowe has some interesting things to say regarding Chesapeake, and the City of Fort Worth's, rush to abuse eminent domain to steal citizen's property....

Now that all the bad publicity generated for two years by the Carter Ave. pipeline fight has come to an end, it appears that the gas drillers and the city need to make up for lost time and start putting those gathering pipelines in ASAP. 

That sector of gas drilling operations officially employed the outgoing TRR commissioner Victor Carillo as a consultant a few weeks ago---even while he's still in office. They also must hurry up because the legislators are fixing to meet next year and their man's prospect for another term as ruler, uh "mayor", of FW is not as secure as before. 

Gathering pipelines and eminent domain abuse appear to be the new hot issue in 2011. 

I guess we can help these business folks the same way we helped the residents on and near Carter Ave.: by keeping the story in front of the public and uniting to raise funds for legal defense. Not sure how much was raised to help those people on Carter Avenue fight for so long and then win an impossible victory. There must have been tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars collected in order to pay for a team of legal specialists to work on the case for two years.

Whatever money left from that Carter Ave. pipeline legal defense fund should be used to support these folks--if they want the help or their lawyer/s approve, of course. It would seem that these business owners have more financial resources than the working class folks on Carter, but they are going to need all the help they can get in going up against a multi-billion dollar corporation and its close city allies, though.

Well, Jim, I can tell you that no fortune of money was raised to save Carter Avenue. What happened was one brave Texan, Steve Doeung, fought back, alone at first. Steve acted as his own attorney. Because he could not afford one. Early one it was Steve alone, with Don Young pretty much being his only comrade in arms.

And then, it seemed to me, that a lot of people sort of got outraged over the bad behavior of the city and of Chesapeake. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram did not do too much to expose the dirty dealings. But, FW Weekly, did. Then various bloggers kept pounding away on the issue.

From what I've learned, from observing this, the people fighting Chesapeake Energy and the City of Fort Worth, can not expect any semblance of fairness if you get into a Fort Worth courtroom. What you can expect is to experience corruption up close. I'd never actually gotten to witness corruption up close til I spent time in a Fort Worth courtroom.

Why hasn't FW Weekly done a story on George's Specialty Food closing to fight eminent domain abuse? I can't help but wonder.

Soldier Standing Guard On A Warm Monday In Arlington's Veterans Park With Turtles

It rained last night. I had the dire need to aerobicize. My Therapist, Dr. L.C., ordered me outdoors. Due to the rain I thought the Tandy Hills might be a bit muddy. Since I needed to be in Pantego I decided to take a walk at Veterans Park in Arlington.

The backwoods, hilly area of Veterans Park was dry and not muddy. I suspect the Tandy Hills were in a similar condition.

The soldier who guards the Veterans Park Memorial has had some pillars join him since my last visit. The soldier guards 100s of names etched in bricks. You can find bricks honoring men who served in American Wars as far back as the War of Northern Aggression.

To the east of the soldier lies the Veterans Park Pond. With the temperature nearing 70 the Veterans Park Pond Turtles were basking in the sun, being watched over by a lot of ducks on patrol.

Usually turtles are a bit skittish and don't like anyone getting too close, quickly jumping in the water. But these guys were liking the sun too much to worry about a guy taking pictures of them.

I'm feeling a bit better after having spent time outside on this perfect day.

I lasted less than a minute in the pool this morning. The air temperature was around 60, with the water being colder than 60. I should have known better than to get wet.

I have a backlog of blogging material that is staring at me. I hate being stared at.

The Monday Morning Texas Blues

It is a dark and cloudy last Monday of November, this morning. And a relatively balmy 62 degrees. I bailed on going swimming yesterday. I will not bail this morning.

I heard the pitter patter of rain hitting my window last night. I did not realize that rain had been scheduled.

I do not know if sufficient water hit the ground to dampen the Tandy Hills enough to make mud.

I did not do my usual Tandy Hills hiking yesterday. I did not leave my abode on Sunday. Did not spend one second outdoors.

Which is why I think I have gotten up this Monday morning feeling anxious, cranky and a little headachy. This is the price one pays when one gets oneself addicted to endorphin. I'll be getting multiple fixes today.

Starting right now.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gar the Texan's Ongoing Mullet Hair Denial Lunacy

The first time I met Gar the Texan in person was quite memorable, due to the fact that I'd never been up close to a Mullet Head before.

In the Pacific Northwest Mullet Heads, for the most part, were called Pocatello Do's. Or was it Poca-Do's? I don't remember. Pocatello is a town in Idaho known for being a bastion of the Mullet, back when it was popular with those who like silly looking hairstyles.

For some reason, Gar the Texan, with clock-like regularity posts a picture of himself in his Mullet Prime, knowing that someone is going to make mention of the Mullet, which he then denies the fact that it is a Mullet.

The latest iteration of this occurred yesterday on Facebook. Gar posted the infamous Mullet Picture, which caused someone named Jennifer to comment, "I must say...That is one b#tchin'* mullet..."

To which Gar the Texan made his predictable Mullet Denial comment.

To which a voice of reason commented, "Gar, I have lost track of the number of times I've told you if it looks like a mullet, it's a mullet. Why do you continue in mullet denial? It's not like you had the mullet in this century. Now, that would be embarrassing."

To which Gar the Texan commented, "I will be in Mullet denial forever."

And then the really weird thing happened.

Someone who lives way out in the West Texas Boonies, in Gar the Texan's old hometown of Kermit, came to a very irrational, albeit, scientific sounding defense of Gar's claim that he was not a Mullet Head.

The commenting Kermitite, Jyl, basically makes the case that Gar was a Feather Head, not a Mullet Head, commenting, "......and no, it's NOT a mullet..feathers? yes. Mullet? no. I can even explain the distinction to those of you who are either from the wrong region or decade to know the difference. A mullet (a.k.a. bi-level, has a perimeter that is disconnected just above, and slightly behind the ears, creating two different styles on one head. Short (business) in the front, and long (party) in the back... What Garland is sporting in this picture is more of a soft metal feathered look...pre-hair band, but still would have made Eddie Van Halen jealous. Quite beautiful, Garland. Perfectly executed feathers...kudos to you!"

I'm thinking it sounds worse to be a Feather Head than a Mullet Head.

At the top is a composite of 4 Mullet Heads. Gar the Texan is the Mullet on the left. The Mullet Head next to Gar is from the Wikipedia article about the serious Mullet Hair issue. The others were Mullets I found by Googling for Mullet Hair images. I picked ones that matched Gar the Texan's Mullet Feather Head.

An interesting quote from the Wikipedia Mullet Hair article...

"The mullet is a hairstyle that is often ridiculed as a lowbrow and unappealing hairstyle. The mullet began to appear in popular media in the 1960s and 1970s but did not become generally well-known until the early 1980s. It continued to be popular until the mid-1990s and has enjoyed a partial return to favor as a retro look in the 2000s."

Gar the Texan continued his Mullet Head well past the mid-1990s. Maybe when I first saw the Gar Mullet it was in retro look mode. It takes awhile for the news that a fad is now a dud makes its way inland to Texas, from the left and right coasts. An example of that is you still see a lot of idiots here in Texas wearing their pants down around their knees, exposing their underwear. I don't recollect ever seeing this particular example of bad taste on the left coast.

Below is a YouTube video celebrating the Mullet Nation. I don't think Gar the Texan is in the Mullet Nation video...

Up Early Sunday Morning After Bad Night Due To Being Overstimulated By Bad Movies & George's Specialty Foods

I am up way too early this last Sunday of November of 2010.

As you can see there is no steam rising from the hot tub. This is not an indicator that the air temperature has risen.

It hasn't.

It is currently 39 degrees out there where the hot tub sits. The reason it is not steaming is because the heat has been turned way down on the water circulating in to the hot tub.

I got new information, over night, regarding the George's Specialty Food Chesapeake Energy Eminent Domain Abuse Scandal. I must ask a couple questions of the person who sent this information to me to make sure I understand what I'm being told.

I did not sleep well last night. I think I may be being overstimulated from watching too many movies. I usually do not watch a movie all that often. And if I do it is usually a classic on Turner Classic Movies.

AT & T's U-Verse has turned on all the HBO, CineMax and Showtime channels for free sampling and recording. Consequently I watched something called Trueblood on HBO. Very disturbing series. And then last night I tried to watch Avatar. It is Avatar that I think overstimulated me.

Maybe tonight I will try and make it to the end of Avatar. Currently I am not getting why this movie is such a huge hit. Maybe I am James Cameron averse. I also did not like Titanic. Could not get past the dumb plot and wooden dialogue.

The temperature average over the last 24 hours has been above 50. So, I am going to make a swimming attempt this morning. I'll let you know how that goes later.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fort Worth's George's Specialty Foods Closes To Challenge Chesapeake Attempt To Abuse Eminent Domain To Steal Their Property

I was looking through FW Weekly a few minutes ago, in the restaurant section, when I saw an ad for George's Specialty Foods, it being a Greek type place in West Fort Worth on White Settlement Road.

In the ad, George's Specialty Foods is telling its customers that they are closed for the purpose of challenging Texas Midstream, which is an alias of the evil entity known as Chesapeake Energy, on the process of eminent domain being abused to take their property.

I'd not heard of this latest Chesapeake abuse of eminent domain in Fort Worth.

So, I Googled "George's Specialty Foods Chesapeake Eminent Domain."

I found nothing.

Is Chesapeake trying to run a non-odorized natural gas pipeline under George's property? Or take land for a drilling site?

Does the George Family know what sort of living hell fighting Chesapeake Energy can bring down on them? Chesapeake may order its stoolies in the city government of Fort Worth to run a few Gestapo Raids on their store, like what was done on Carter Avenue when one of the bravest Texans in Fort Worth  fought back when Chesapeake tried to ram a non-odorized natural gas pipeline under his home.

Does the George Family know you can not fight this in court? Because you will be trying to have a fair fight in what is a corrupted courtroom. Where judges blatantly lie and mislead and always side with Chesapeake and its City of Fort Worth lapdogs. If you aren't careful you might even find that Chesapeake has finagled a bogus lawyer to represent you, without your knowledge, which will lead to all sorts of pain trying to untangle the mess.

So, does anyone know what Chesapeake is up to, abusing eminent domain to steal the George family land? When a well known local restaurant closes in protest, why is this not news in the local newspaper of record? Oh, that's right, I forgot. There isn't one.

Two Miles To Waco On The Tandy Hills With Elsie Hotpepper In Trouble Again

Looking at that road sign, on the left, in the lower right part of the picture, one might think we are looking at a skyscraper in Waco, 2 miles away.

But, what we are actually looking at is a road sign on I-30 telling you that the I-35 exit to Waco is 2 miles ahead.

And that skyscraper is one of the more unfortunate looking ones, viewed from the Tandy Hills, that make up the skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth.

It was a beautiful day looking at the beautiful skyline today on the Tandy Hills. Perfect temperature. No need for a coat.

Town Talk had lots of good stuff today. I got a couple containers of yellow grape tomatoes, a pork roast, smoked provolone, feta cheese, big whole wheat hamburger buns, veggie burgers, sweet potato chips, shrimp, salmon and cod.

You can quit worrying about Elsie Hotpepper, who had been missing since Thanksgiving. I heard from her this morning, simply saying, with no details, "In trouble..."

I have no idea what Elsie has done this time to get in hot water. It's always something.

A Cold Saturday Morning In Texas Wondering Who Elbowed President Obama Requiring 12 Stitches?

Looking through the bars of my patio prison cell at my pool, early on the Saturday morning of November 27.

It is currently 35 degrees out there, the same temperature that currently has Seattle shivering.

We do not seem to be getting down to the predicted lows, which for this morning was supposed to be 26.

35 degrees means I will not be getting wet in the pool this morning. My current requirement for doing so is the 24 hour average has to be 50 degrees, or above.

I was surprised this morning to read that President Obama suffered a blow to the head that required 12 stitches in his mouth zone. The explanation is this injury occurred during a day after Thanksgiving basketball game.

This seems suspicious to me. Is someone playing a friendly game of basketball with the President of the United States going to play so aggressively that an elbow plants itself on the President's mouth? Where was the Secret Service during this worst attack on a U.S. President since John Hinckley shot President Reagan?

Who owned the elbow that smacked the President? Was First Lady Michelle in the game?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Return Of The Shadow Of The Tandy Thin Man Minus The Salvation Of The Queen Of Wink

Mother Nature removed yesterday's cloud cover, bringing back the blue sky of Texas, which allowed for the return of the Shadow of the Tandy Thin Man today.

Hiking the Tandy Hills was not a windy, chilly fun time, today, unlike yesterday's Thanksgiving Day, cold, blowing, hard hike.

Last night's first freeze of the year appears to have knocked the leaves out of a lot of trees. Maybe the trees were already naked of leaves yesterday and I did not notice. But, I don't think so.

The freeze has made the remaining leaves all the same color, for the most part, sort of a very burned reddish brown.

I heard from the Queen of Wink this morning. My one longtime reader may remember me mentioning that the Queen of Wink called me a couple weeks ago to tell me she was coming here for Thanksgiving.

Anticipating the Queen's arrival, I then proceeded to prepare complex Thanksgiving plans to have a Turkey Day Buffet, totally Royal Worthy.

So, imagine my shock to get an email, this morning, from the Queen of Wink, telling me, the day after I expected her at my Turkey Day Buffet, that she had enlisted in the Salvation Army on T-Day, and that, and I quote, "Looks like I didn't make it to Fort Worth, huh? Maybe for the Christmas break."

Yes, I can see myself going through the Living Hell of preparing a Royal Feast. Again. On Christmas. Only to find out the day after Christmas that the Queen has again enlisted in the Salvation Army.

Well, at least Elsie Hotpepper showed up, as expected, at my Turkey Day Buffet. And, WOW, can that skinny girl eat. Methinks she has some sort of freakish high metabolism.

Speaking of Elsie Hotpepper, I've not heard from her since she left the Turkey Day Buffet. I know she did not leave here to go saloon hopping, because I do not think any saloons were open on Thanksgiving. Maybe Elsie is busy doing some Black Friday mall hopping.

I gave in to the chill this morning and turned on my furnace for the first time since last winter.

A Cold Black Friday In Texas Recovering From Overeating & Worrying About North Korea's Insanity

Looking out my icy window on the early morning of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, November 26.

The low did not go as low as the predicted 27, at my location, but it did freeze at 29.

My Turkey Day Buffet went well.

But, I am sort of out of buffet practice due to the extreme infrequency of going to all you can eat buffets. So, even though I did not eat as much as I would have when I was in training for over eating, I did eat too much, almost to the discomfort point.

I forgot to mention my mom called on Thanksgiving Eve. Mom and dad were not going to be home on Thanksgiving, due to heading south to my brother's, in Maricopa, hence the Thanksgiving Eve Happy Thanksgiving call.

I don't know if I want to attempt doing the swimming thing this morning. The novelty has sort of worn off. I know for certain I will not be participating in Black Friday.

I'm feeling nervous that the insanity known as North Korea may be about to go over the edge.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Cold Tandy Thanksgiving Day Hike

Yesterday I did not go hiking on the Tandy Hills, despite the inviting 83 degrees of heat.

Today, as in Thanksgiving Day, I had a couple hours to spare before the turkey was ready to spring from the oven, so I decided to go for a Tandy Hills hike,

As you can see I am wearing a lot of clothes, which is not my Tandy Hills norm. The excess clothing was necessitated by a temperature of 37 with a steady wind causing a Wind Chill Factor of 27.

I should have been wearing gloves.

This morning, upon waking, the temperature was 50. By the time I went swimming it was 45 and very windy. Swimming this morning was the strangest yet. Due to being warm the past few days the water was quite a bit warmer than the air temperature. This made the water easy to get into.

But, I assumed the water would quickly chill me and I'd have to bail after a few minutes. Instead, within a minute I realized I was going to be able to stay in it as long as I wanted. So I had myself a nice long swim this morning.

I thought when I exited the pool the wind and chill would quickly have me shivering. But that did not happen either.

I am almost 100% certain that tomorrow morning the water in the pool will have become significantly colder than it was this morning.

I have 45 minutes to go before the bird comes out of the oven. The doorbell is ringing. I need to go now. Talk to you later....

Happy Thanksgiving From Cold Texas

Well, it is now Thanksgiving Day, November 25. Looking out my window this morning you can see the view is a bit frosted. Courtesy of a big temperature drop from yesterday's high of 83 degrees.

When I woke up my computer this morning, at a quarter to 7, it was 50. It is now 45. The temperature is scheduled to drop throughout the day, eventually landing somewhere in the 27 degree zone.

I have a big bird ready to shove in the oven. If my calculations are correct it should take about 5 hours to have the turkey in ready to eat mode.

I think I may have overdone the swimming yesterday. It came as a bit of a surprise that the water temperature was so swimmable, so I stayed in it a long time. I suspect this will not be the case when I get back in the water this morning.

Have yourself a Happy Thanksgiving Day. And if you are coming to my Turkey Day Buffet, don't be late.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

83 Degrees In Fort Worth On Thanksgiving Eve With A Long Afternoon Swim

As you can see, the temperature has reached a semi-HOT 83 today. With the National Weather Service in Drama Queen mode over wind. Yes, it has been very windy all day long.

Today I did not make it a record-breaking 12 days in a row on the Tandy Hills. I'm not sure if this lapse was due to Don Young causing me to realize the total futility of me trying to get in shape.

But, that realization of the futility did not stop me from going swimming this afternoon in a daring break from my predictably boring pattern of doing the same thing over and over again at the same time.

Due to the 83 degrees the pool water was warmed up enough that I was in the pool for well over a half hour. I do not foresee the same thing happening tomorrow, what with the low expected to be 27.

I've got my Thanksgiving Day Turkey Buffet well under control. Cranberries cooked and chilling in the fridge. Pumpkin Pudding cooling, along with Cherry Pie. Whole Wheat/Red Pepper Stuffing ready to stuff the bird. Bird thawed.

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

From the time the Indians cooked turkey for the Pilgrims until October 3 of 1863, America celebrated Thanksgiving Day. But not on the same day.

Then, in the midst of the Civil War, a well known magazine writer, Sarah Josepha Hale, sent a letter to President Lincoln in which she suggested that Lincoln have "the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival. You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."

Mr. Lincoln apparently agreed with Ms. Hale and so the President issued one of his many Proclamations. Lincoln loved making Proclamations. Lincoln's Secretary of State, William H. Seward, penned the Proclamation, which Lincoln then signed, forever making the last Thursday of November a National Day of Thanksgiving and Praise.

Below is Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation....

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

The United Nations Picks Fort Worth As One Of The Top Five Most Positive Cities In The World

Well, just in time for Thanksgiving, this morning I learned I have yet one more thing to be thankful for.

And that would be the fact, apparently, that I am living in one of the Top Five Most Positive Cities in the World.

That's right, Fort Worth is one of the Top Five Most Positive Cities in the World.

If this is not some sort of Apocalyptic Warning that the World is in trouble, I don't know what is.

This accolade was not bestowed on Fort Worth by some bogus self-serving Washington, D.C. lobbying group, like when Fort Worth was picked as one of America's Most Livable Communities, setting off city-wide celebrations by those who did not know better.

No less an esteemed body than the United Nations has determined Fort Worth's positivity. Some agency of the UN called The United Nations NGO Voting Academy, made up of highly respected United Nations NGOs, like Sister Cities International, Rotary International and Pathways to Peace determine what towns are positive.

What is an NGO? I have no idea.

All the Large Community Finalists, in the Top 5, are American Cities, Atlanta, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Phoenix.

Of the Small Community Finalists 3 out of 5 are American, Ashland Oregon, Coral Springs Florida, Darlington England, Macon Georgia and Trier Germany.

Phoenix is a Top Five positive town? Isn't that where they are demonizing Mexicans who have crossed the border to work?

Atlanta? Have the United Nations NGO's not watched The Real Housewives of Atlanta?

I can understand Ashland, Oregon being picked as positive. Ashland is a very tolerant town. You can wander around Ashland with no clothes on and no one gets all negative on you, for the most part.

Fort Worth is the Big Doozy on this list. Fort Worth is one of the world's most positive towns? Fort Worth has a corrupt mayor, on the take to the total tune of millions of dollars to the Barnett Shale gas drillers poking holes in his town. Fort Worth's mayor fired the city's ethics board when they finally had the backbone to stand up against the city's ethics problems.

Fort Worth positive? This is a town where the city allies with gas drillers against the people to conspire to try and put non-odorized natural gas pipelines under people's homes, using Fascist Gestapo-like raids to intimidate those who fight for their right to speak out against having a dangerous pipeline run under their home.

Fort Worth positive? This is a town that regularly uproots citizens from their property, using eminent domain in conspiracy with big business, like what was done to get Radio Shack its now defunct corporate headquarters. And is currently being done courtesy of Fort Worth's myopic Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Fort Worth positive? This is a town with America's 15th Most Dangerous Neighborhood.

Fort Worth positive? This is town that can't keep its libraries and swimming pools open.

Anyway, I'm sure there are other less than positive things about Fort Worth that are not quickly coming to mind, right now.

This really is the goofiest thing I've seen in awhile. You can read more about the Positive Communities on the CelebratePositive website.

71 Degrees This Morning In Balmy Texas While Washington Has Record Breaking Lows & Snow

The morning before Thanksgiving, November 24, outside, looking through my patio prison cells bars at my tropical Texas paradise, with the temperature a balmy 71, windows open all night.

Meanwhile up in my old location in the frigid north, the Seattle zone is shivering at 16 degrees, with it expected to get colder, as in record breaking cold. With more snow. The deep freeze and snow of the last couple days in the Pacific Northwest has overwhelmed crews trying to keep roads open.

Tropical Texas, well, my zone of Tropical Texas, is scheduled to get frozen on Thanksgiving, with a predicted low tomorrow of 27 with a high of 44, with precipitation. I assume not in the form of iced crystals.

So, I guess I need to go swimming this morning while the pool remains at a pleasant temperature.

After the swimming I need to do some cooking to get ready for tomorrow's Turkey Buffet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 11 In A Row Of Not Getting In Shape Hiking The Tandy Hills

Winter is fast approaching, in a week it will be December. Yet, today on Day 11 in a row of hiking on the Tandy Hills I saw a newly bloomed wildflower.

The yellow flower you see in the picture, blooming solo, the only bloom to be seen in any direction from its location.

Eleven days in a row of hiking may be a record. I'm not sure. I have memory issues.

The excessive hiking had been part of my campaign to get in shape and rid myself of unsightly excess adipose tissue.

Last night, thanks to Don Young, I learned that all my swimming, hiking, biking and all the other various aerobic strains I put myself through are likely all totally futile, due to the fact that I am likely genetically doomed to be physiologically unable to get in shape.

Don Young sent me a link to a New York Times article titled "Phys-Ed: The Workout Enigma" which detailed the findings of Finnish research into the reasons why, no matter what people like me do, there is no way we can get can get to a shape level commonly known as buff. Or those 6 pack ab deals that are considered a mark of being in good shape.

The first two discouraging sentences of the article are...

Recently, researchers in Finland made the discovery that some people’s bodies do not respond as expected to weight training, others don’t respond to endurance exercise and, in some lamentable cases, some don’t respond to either. In other words, there are those who just do not become fitter or stronger, no matter what exercise they undertake.

Well, at least I now know why, after all these years of heavy duty exercise, eating healthy and taking my vitamins, I am still a high blood pressured mess with baby fat.

I guess I should thank Don Young for showing me the light. I won't let this new reality stop me from doing my hill hiking or swimming. I find both to be relaxing and fun, even if all that activity is doing nothing for me, getting in shape-wise.

November 23 Looking At A Warm Clear Blue Texas Morning While Washington Freezes At 19 Degrees

Looking out my window at the pool through the bars of my patio prison cell this morning, Tuesday, November 23, at a clear blue Texas sky, currently 3 degrees shy of 60.

Meanwhile up in my old home zone Washingtonians are in a deep freeze of 19 degrees, with roads iced over, schools closed, power out, more snow expected, with a very rare blizzard scheduled to slam Eastern Washington today.

It is a little unusual to get this type of heavy duty winter weather action in the lowlands of Washington before the arrival of winter. I do remember a heavy duty storm, back in the 1990s, known as the Thanksgiving Day Storm. If I remember right this was a Pineapple Express Storm, courtesy of El Nino, or was it El Nina, that dumped a lot of snow in the mountains and rain in the lowlands, and then rising temperatures melting snow in the Cascades, which caused epic flooding.

I recollect sandbagging way past midnight to save downtown Mount Vernon from getting flooded. And then when the Skagit River reached its crest point the next morning it suddenly dropped a couple feet. A dike had broken down river.

And then 2 weeks later it all happened again, another massive flood. I don't remember if it was the first flood or the second one that sank the I-90 Floating Bridge.

Anyway, weather drama is way different in Washington than Texas weather drama. Texas weather drama can be very sudden and very violent. Washington weather drama can play out over days, with a slow build ending in a big mess.

I suspect I will not be experiencing any weather drama in Texas today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

81 Degrees Monday Afternoon In Fort Worth While 28 In Tacoma

Seconds ago I checked in on Facebook and saw that former Fort Worth native, now in exile in Tacoma, Mary Bishop Kellogg, shared the chilly information that it was currently 28 degrees in Tacoma.

One of MBK's Facebook Friends, Evelyne Schwarz Neimand, then felt compelled to comment that it was currently 81 in Fort Worth. I felt compelled to make the same comment, even before I saw Evelyne Schwarz Neimand's 81 degree comment.

I do not know what dire events conspired to take MBK from the balmy paradise known as Fort Worth, and has her currently incarcerated in that chilly Northwest town known for churning out crazy, Tacoma.

I do know that MBK has totally adjusted to the Pacific Northwest lifestyle. Hopping ferries to go pick fruit. Canning and preserving the ample, readily available fruits and vegetables that grow all over the the Northwest.  Just reading what MBK is cooking, canning and baking makes me homesick, at times.

I hope the Arctic Blast currently chilling Tacoma, does not put a damper on MBK's constant food preservation endeavors.

Climbing To The Top Of The Fort Worth Space Needle On Top Of Mount Tandy

I was peacefully deep into a salubrious endorphin trance, on my 10th day in a row of hiking the Tandy Hills, in a desperate attempt to get myself in shape, when, as I was hiking across Lost Sunglasses Ridge, I heard a lot of shouting.

I looked in the direction of the shouting and saw what I thought might be human forms on the Fort Worth Space Needle that sits atop Mount Tandy.

I'd not parked at the top of Mount Tandy for this particular excursion, I was parked on View Street. I'd not intended to hike to the top of Mount Tandy.

But, seeing someone climbing the Fort Worth Space Needle motivated me to get closer.

As you can see in the picture, there are 3 guys on the tower. They seemed to be clipped on to the structure. I could not tell what they were doing. They did not move up or down while I was watching.

The top of the Fort Worth Space Needle does not have a revolving restaurant. You have to bring your own sack lunch to the top and do your own rotating.

A few days ago I ran into a raven-haired, red lip-sticked beauty, with a dog, on top of Mount Tandy, underneath the Fort Worth Space Needle. This was the first day I had seen all the cable on the ground, with it apparent the tower was being worked on.

The raven-haired beauty told me the support cables were being replaced. And that the day before she'd watched a guy, part way up the tower, go into panic mode when he ran into a hive of bees who were not happy to see him. She also told me she had a friend who worked for whoever maintains the tower and that he was barely on the job when he had to climb to the top of the Fort Worth Space Needle.

Which I believe is something like 1,000 feet tall. He told the raven-haired beauty that the tower swayed at the top, even when it was not windy. When her friend was back on the ground he vowed to never climb such a thing again.

It was quite windy on the Tandy Hills today, which makes it a bit surprising that ascending the Fort Worth Space Needle was being attempted.

I do not know how much money it would take to motivate me to climb to the top of the Fort Worth Space Needle. Maybe a million, half up front.

Today Is The 47th Anniversary of JFK's Assassination In Dallas

The happy scene above, in Dallas, was taking place a little less than 47 years and two hours ago. November 22, 2010 marks the 47th Anniversary of the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 2nd or 3rd of major jolts of the 1960s, a decade that was to provide America and the world with a lot of jolting experiences, some bad, like Wars, Assassinations and Riots. Some good like Space Missions, Color TV and Hippies.

I was at Dealey Plaza for the 40th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination, along with thousands of others. It was a poignant, eerie, macabre scene. Security was very tight, I think due to this taking place just 2 years after 9/11. Just at the moment marking the exact time of the assassination, a Dallas Police Swat Team showed up in full armor. That was the macabre part of the day.

A man from Longview, Texas, born less than a month after the assassination, had a good letter to the editor in this morning's Dallas Morning News, in which he paraphrased JFK's famous "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," line from his Inauguration Speech on a snowy January day in 1961.

Below is the letter from Longview, and below that is the video I made of this day in 2003....

Today marks 47 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the streets of downtown Dallas. I was born just 22 days later, on Dec. 14, 1963. 

When he was killed, Kennedy was smiling and waving to thousands of spectators along that motorcade route. He was 46 years old. Now, I am 46 myself. A few days ago, I was traveling by car in Dealey Plaza. I glanced over at the old Texas Book Depository Building, and then I looked down at the roadway at the "x" that I have seen so many times. Many people are frozen in grief, wondering what might have been if Kennedy had not been shot. 

I share that grief. But I look at that spot with fresh eyes as a 46-year-old today: The dream did not die. The vision of a brighter future did not die. The man's legacy lives on.

To broadly paraphrase and adapt one of Kennedy's sayings: "Ask not what types of bereavement are associated with Dealey Plaza. Ask yourself how you can turn the page and make this country a better place for all mankind."

James A. Marples, Longview

Another Warm November Monday Morning In Texas

As you can see, looking out my computer room window, on Monday morning of November 22, it is not snowing.

Currently it is 69 degrees out there. Meanwhile, up in Seattle, right now, it is 30 degrees, with 1 to 3 inches of snow predicted, with the mass transit systems running in weather emergency mode this morning.

I do not know if clouds are predicted to be part of the weather mix on Thursday in my zone of Texas. But, I do know the predicted low is 30. So, if clouds are in the mix, I suppose there is a chance we might get to have a White Thanksgiving here.

Don Young sent me an email last night, subject line: what's up, message: with your website?

I did not know anything was up with my website. This morning when I checked there appeared to be no problem. But, my immediate reaction when seeing the what's up question was a feeling of panic and dread that this meant I'd been hacked again.

I have no major plans for today. I suspect there will be larger than the usual Monday crowds this morning at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, what with today being the 47th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK. I won't be among them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sliding On The Mount Aggie Ski Resort In College Station Texas

You are looking at Mount Aggie. A destination ski resort on top of a mountain in Texas.

I did not know of the existence of Mount Aggie til this morning, when I was informed about this heretofore, unknown to me, Texas  mountain, informed by my #1 information source about the things I don't know about Texas, he being my fellow Washington transplant who goes by the name of Steve A.

Yesterday I blogged about the opening of the Mount Baker Ski Resort (in Washington) on Saturday.

I said, regarding Saturday's snowfall in Washington, "I do know the Mount Baker Ski Area opened yesterday. That is a sentence I could not type in Texas, as in the Mount Somewhere in Texas Ski Area opened yesterday."

To which Steve A corrected my erroneousness by telling me...

"Mount Aggie in College Station is open year round. Not a real challenging slope, however."

I have not been down to College Station, even though I would like to visit the George Bush Presidential Library. I certainly did not know of the existence of a mountain in College Station.

The Mount Aggie Ski Resort has a website. It was there I learned that "outdoor skiing is also available year-round to students at Texas A & M, who ski on a plastic slope known as Mount Aggie."

Mount Aggie is located on the southwest side of Read Arena at the end of Penberthy Road, east of the George Bush Library.

I watched a couple videos of Texans "skiing" on Mount Aggie. In one of the videos a guy is heard to yell that this was the most fun he has ever had sliding on wet carpet. In none of the videos did I make note of chair lifts or rope tows taking skiers to the top of Mount Aggie.

In the YouTube video below you will see some Texans having winter-like, snow-like fun, on Mount Aggie, in Texas...

Hiking The Colorful Tandy Hills Thinking About Big Rocks & Getting Scalded

As you can see, the Tandy Hills are alive with the sound of color. The chirping music of singing birds, not so much. I would have thought the birds have flown south for the winter, but that's where they already are.

Today marked Day 9 in a row of hiking the Tandy Hills. I believe 11 is my record. If I keep this up I may lose the unsightly weight gain that motivated me to make my DurangObestity Blog. Or not.

This morning I went to Beacon Rock on my Durango Washington Blog. Beacon Rock is a big rock, some say second only to the Rock of Gibraltar. Others beg do differ.

Where does Enchanted Rock in Texas fit in in this world-wide big rock sweepstakes?

This morning I managed to go swimming for the first time in over a week. The 24 hour temperature average had been way over 50 degrees, thus rendering the water swimmable. However, something has malfunctioned with my hot tub's thermostat. I jumped out of the cold water and into the hot and instantly experienced what a live crab must feel like when it gets thrown into the cooking pot. The thermometer informed me that the hot tub temperature was 180.

It's time for lunch. Burgers on Whole Wheat Buns, Red Pepper/Tomato Salad, Baked Sweet Potato Slices & Waldorf Salad made with low-fat Vanilla Yogurt, rather than mayonnaise. Buzzers buzzing. Lunch is ready.

Up Early On A Balmy Sunday Texas Morning Thinking About A Snowy Washington Volcano

I'm up about the same time as the sun, this Sunday morning of November 21.

As you can see, looking through my patio prison cell bars, there is no steam currently fuming from my hot tub. There is no steam fuming because the temperature this morning is a balmy 63.

The temperature got into the 70s yesterday. This should mean the water in the pool has warmed enough to be swimmable. I will test that possibly debatable theory in a short while.

The current forecast for Thursday and Friday of this week is for it to freeze in my zone of Texas for the first time of this freezing part of the year.

Meanwhile up in my old location, in the usually semi-warm Western Washington, the north part of Puget Sound, in the Bellingham zone, saw a lot of snow blow in. Flurries dropped some flakes on areas of the rest of the Puget Sound zone. I do not know if the area I lived in, known as The Banana Belt, due to it being an area less frequented by snow than the areas to the north and south, got any snow yesterday.

I do know the Mount Baker Ski Area opened yesterday. That is a sentence I could not type in Texas, as in the Mount Somewhere in Texas Ski Area opened yesterday. On my Durango Washington Blog, yesterday, I blogged about Mount Baker, it being the snowiest place on the planet, with a record breaking 95 feet recorded in 1999.

In winter I used to be able to look out my kitchen window and see the Mount Baker volcano. In Texas when I look out a window I do not see any volcanoes.

It is time to go skiing now, I mean swimming.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Saturday Return Of The Tandy Hills Thin Man Pondering Fort Worth Bridges & Flood Diversion Channels

Today marked the 8th day in a row I overly aerobicized myself on the Tandy Hills. I think I may finally be getting myself in to shape and am gradually beginning to lose that unsightly weight gain that has been so seriously vexing me.

There was some cloud action in the sky in the noon time frame, hence a slightly less distinct shadow, than when the light of the sun falls to earth unfiltered by vaporized water.

Today I did not take the trail that would have taken me past the homeless camp I discovered last night. But I did sneak a peak to see if the residents were "home." The camp appeared to be vacant.

I heard from Elsie Hotpepper this morning. She claims no memory of last night's saloon hopping. I told Elsie there will be absolutely no saloon hopping tonight. I will be enjoying myself a nice relaxing pot of Kava tea.

I had myself some good hunting luck at Town Talk today. Real good red peppers, 5 for a $1. And 2 pound containers of cherry tomatoes for a buck. Also got a bag of whole wheat hamburger buns. And something called Rinded Red Leicester cheese.

The Rinded Red Leicester cheese is nice and sharp. It went well with the fish tacos I made for lunch.

I think it is all the cheese I get from Town Talk that is responsible for my unsightly weight gain, which had the consequence of motivating me to start my DurangObestity Blog to deal with my over eating issues.

Yesterday on my Durango Washington Blog I blogged about a town in the valley I used to live in, that being the Skagit Valley and the town being La Conner. A few decades back La Conner was a tired, rundown, poor fishing village. Now it is one of Washington's most popular tourist towns, with one of Washington's iconic images,  that being La Conner's Rainbow Bridge over the Swinomish Channel.

The Swinomish Channel is a man enhanced waterway that connects Skagit Bay with Padilla Bay.

La Conner has a population of 670.

Yesterday when I was looking at La Conner it reminded me of Fort Worth. La Conner is situated on a prominent water feature. Fort Worth is in the midst of spending $1 billion so it can have a water feature. I don't remember how much La Conner's Rainbow Bridge cost. I know no one ever talked about it being a signature bridge, like what Fort Worth was going to build to cross its new, unneeded flood diversion channel, but which lost their "signature" status when they could no longer be afforded after J.D. Granger spent too much money on junkets, parties, inner tube happy hours and the world's premiere wake boarding lake.

Float planes land on the Swinomish Channel. I don't know if float planes will be landing on Fort Worth's unneeded flood diversion channel.

If Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle  manages to transform Fort Worth as impressively as La Conner was able to transform itself, well that will be a mighty impressive transformation.

But, let's be realistic, do you really think there is even the remotest ice cube's chance in hell that any of Fort Worth's now non-signature bridges over that un-needed flood diversion channel are going to look even remotely as cool as little La Conner's Rainbow Bridge across its very needed channel?

A Late Texas Saturday Morning Thinking About A Murder, A Full Pool, Caribbean Cruises & Hotpepper Sisters

It is the morning of Saturday, November 20. In two days it will be 47 years, if my math is correct, since someone gunned down John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

On November 22, 2003 I went to the 40th Anniversary of the Assassination at Dealey Plaza. This was one of the more macabre events I have ever witnessed.

Changing the subject from murdering presidents.

As you can see, my pool is back full of water. While the pool was out of business I seem to have lost my ability to motivate myself to get in cold water. I suppose the temperature being under 50 helps temper the temptation to get wet and cold.

Gar the Texan got 2 all expenses paid Caribbean cruise tickets. He wants me to go with him on this cruise. But I'd have to renew my passport and that seems like an awful lot of bother just to go float on a boat.

Speaking of headaches. Last night, after my salubrious Tandy Hills Sunset Hiking, I got talked into doing some Saloon Hopping with the Salsa Sisters, Elsie and Kelsie Hotpepper. As a consequence of my bad judgement I was out way past my regular bedtime. And up, this morning, way past my usual uptime.

And my head hurts, I suppose from way too much Hotpepper.

It is going to be a long day today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tonight's Drinking Four Loko With Homeless People On The Tandy Hills

Sunset Tandy Hills Hikes are my new repetitive habit. Come the heat of next summer I can see where late in the evening Tandy Hills Hikes might be a really good thing.

If I am still living here.

Tonight's hill hike had one jarring moment. I was walking along, fast, when suddenly ahead of me I saw a pile of stuff that did not belong in the natural area. Because it was not natural. From a distance I thought it was some sort of construction material.

But, as I got closer I saw it was a little pathetic camp. It made me a bit nervous, as I looked around, looking for the homeless person who belonged to this abode. I saw no one. But noises in the trees startled me a couple times as I took pictures.

On the right side of the camp you can see a Dallas Cowboy blanket. Could this be the camp of that hapless Wade Phillips guy who Jerry Jones fired as Dallas Cowboy coach a few days ago? I know Jerry Jones can be a bit draconian, but would he leave that sad coach homeless? I suspect not.

Continuing on I came upon a new Four Loko can stuck on a branch. Could the Tandy Hills Homeless Person be the Four Loko drinker?

Four Loko has been banned in the repressive, conservative State of Washington. Meanwhile in free-spirited, liberal Texas, Four Loko continues to be sold.

Even to minors.

A guy was arrested a day or two ago, here in the D/FW Metroplex, for selling Four Loko to a pair of minors, 16 years old, I think, who drank the Four Lokos, stole the family SUV, in Denton, and headed for the Oklahoma border, with a 14 year old girl. The driver, drunk on Four Loko, rolled the SUV, sending the un-seat-belted girl flying to her death.

I have not detected much noise in my current location demanding a cessation of Four Loko selling. If there has been noise it may have been lost in all the noise over Fort Worth Streetcars.

Trying To Keep Happy In Texas While Protecting My Private Parts From The Probing TSA

You are looking out at my blurry Friday, November 19 view, this morning, at a chilly 7 degrees above freezing.

Snow is not in the immediate forecast.

If it does snow I will not be going cross country skiing. I stored my skis in an area of this place that is not temperature controlled. As a consequence the skis delaminated. They are now living in a landfill somewhere.

Yesterday one of my frequent commenters, Agent cd0103, commented on what Agent cd0103 perceived to be me being unhappy being in Texas.

I do not know what led Agent cd0103 to that conclusion. Maybe my basic attitude as expressed via my words? I don't know.

What I do know is I'm not being all that happy. But, it really is not Texas that is the cause.

What is currently making me cranky, beyond all the lack of common sense stuff I see going on in my current location, is the absurd amping up of the TSA's security pat down procedures.

After 9/11, when airport security turned absurd, I thought why does no one see this as a victory for the terrorists? And now the terrorists are causing total innocents to be violated in a way that usually results in criminal charges being filed. Or a priest being de-frocked.

On the way back here, from Seattle, in February of 2004, I had my one and only experience with an enhanced security check. I was getting on an earlier flight to Phoenix than I'd originally booked, so I could spend a 10 hour layover with my sister.

I got the early flight, but timing was tight. Going through security was a very long line. I did not see how I could possibly make it to the gate in time. And then suddenly I was pulled out of line by a security agent, very politely asking me to come with him.

What fresh hell is this, I thought.

He walked me right past the line. Then once we were through the security perimeter he wanded me and did a little pat downing. Nothing untoward that had me feeling violated. After less than a minute I was on my way to my gate.

I don't know why I lucked out like this. It was like someone said pull that guy out of line or he is not going to make his flight.

Last night I saw Larry King on CNN ask Vice-President Joe Biden what he thought of the new enhanced TSA private parts pat downs. Biden said he daily saw the Security Threat Assessments and believed the enhanced private parts pat downs were needed.

Fine. So, tell us, the easily duped American public, exactly what those supposed threats are that are having our private parts subjected to uwanted probing?

Agent cd0103 suggested I seek happiness elsewhere, if Texas impinges on me being happy. Well, it ain't Texas. I'd need to find another planet, a place where common sense reigns supreme. Or a nice South Pacific deserted island. With broadband Internet.

I have no idea what I am going to do with my cranky self today. But I am fairly certain I will not be too happy doing it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Got A Heavy Duty Endorphin Fix On The Tandy Hills Tonight With Elsie Hotpepper Saying UGH

I went later to the Tandy Hills tonight than last night, that being a night when I had the sun go down  on me sooner than I had anticipated. I lost the sun tonight too, but the glow of the sunset was sufficient to easily illuminate my way back to the top of Mount Tandy.

In the picture you are standing on top of Mount Tandy, looking west, where the sun has set behind the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth.

As I was nearing the end of tonight's hike, as I stepped onto the Tandy Highway, I was startled by a guy jogging up from behind me. He let out a warning yell so as to not startle me, which thoroughly startled me.

I did a bit of jogging tonight, too. Running up the hills. There was no wind tonight, unlike last night, but it felt chillier. Which makes sense, because it was chillier. It was the wind last night that made the chilliness, not the temperature.

I don't know if you can tell, but I am a bit blissed out right now due to getting a very strong endorphin fix.

The last I heard from Elsie Hotpepper today all she said was "Ugh." I do not know if she is channeling her inner Indian Princess, or what. "Ugh" can mean so many things.

A Portland Streetcar Sits In Downtown Fort Worth & Other Fort Worth Boondoggles

Lately here in Fort Worth the subject of building a streetcar line has been generating all sorts of nonsense.

Apparently Fort Worth applied for Federal funds to build a streetcar. The funds were granted. Something like $25 million, if I remember right.

The first goofy thing that happened was after the money was granted a Fort Worth government person, I think a city councilman, wanted to spend the money on fixing a train yard, not understanding this was not money to be spent any ol' way Fort Worth wanted.

The Fort Wort Streetcar moved forward.

Somehow it then merged with J.D. Granger's Trinity River Vision with J.D. claiming the Streetcar had always been part of The Vision.

J.D. is now claiming that due to the Streetcar being in The Vision, developers are super-sizing their buildings, plumping them up from 3 stories to 10. I could not help but wonder why, if the Streetcar was always part of The Vision, why did it come as a revelation to developers that caused them to change the size of their buildings?

The latest Fort Worth Streetcar goofiness is on display this week in downtown Fort Worth. I assume on one of the parking lots known as Sundance Square. $25,000 was spent to bring a Portland Streetcar to Fort Worth.

Why? I really don't get it. The result of a boozy late night brainstorm? I suspect that may be the case, what with the Trinity River Vision paying the largest share of the $25,000 at $12,000. The T paid $8,000, while something called Fort Worth South chipped in $5,000.

When I first read about the Portland Streetcar I thought to myself, Portland does not have a streetcar, are they talking about the Max light rail train? So, I looked it up. Portland built a less than 4 mile long streetcar line in the downtown zone, which opened in 2001, the first built in America since WWII. The Portland Steetcar system is currently in expansion mode. Portland's Max Light Rail Train System has greatly expanded since I last rode it back in the 1990s.

J.D. Granger says, "It's a no-brainer," for the Trinity River Vision to donate $30 million to the Fort Worth Streetcar.

Was that some sort of Freudian Slip? "No-brainer?"

When I first moved to Texas there were only 3 things in downtown Fort Worth that even remotely impressed me.

One was the Fort Worth Water Gardens, south of the Convention Center. Another was Heritage Park, on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River. And the other was the Tandy Subway that took downtown visitors from big, free parking lots to a vertical shopping mall in, I think, what are known as the Tandy Towers.

Heritage Park has been allowed to turn into a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded, embarrassing eyesore.

The Fort Worth Subway, a sort of streetcar, was lost in one of the more outrageous abuses of eminent domain that I have witnessed. Conspiring with the City of Fort Worth, Radio Shack used eminent domain to take a big housing project called Ripley Arnold, so Radio Shack could build a new corporate headquarters.

The new Radio Shack Headquarters eventually became a compound Fort Worth boondoggle.

First off the Tandy Subway was taken with nary a peep from the locals. I did not understand that at the time. I was still learning about the local sheep mentality.

The Radio Shack Headquarters soon grew on the banks of the Trinity.

Soon after that, Tarrant County College started building a new downtown campus, a short distance downriver from the Radio Shack Headquarters. I was of the opinion that the new Tarrant County College might give Fort Worth its first signature building that people outside of Fort Worth might come to associate with the city.

However, as the architectural plans for the new college were unveiled the man responsible for many of the more ugly buildings in downtown Fort Worth, but who is worshiped locally as some sort of wonderful benefactor, Ed Bass, made harsh noises about a sunken plaza at the new college.

Soon after that all sorts of hell broke loose over the college building project and its huge cost overruns.

Before the college brouhaha, Radio Shack found it could not afford its corporate headquarters. So, just a couple years after eminent domain was used to take a lot of people's living quarters and rid Fort Worth of its unique Subway, Radio Shack's headquarters was bought by German investors, who then rented some space back to Radio Shack.

Now, here is where this Fort Worth boondoggle gets really weird. The new Tarrant County College campus, construction well underway, way over budget, is sort of stopped. With Tarrant County College now buying a chunk of the Radio Shack Headquarters for a few hundred million bucks, and using that space as its new downtown Tarrant County College.

I believe the current plan for the partially aborted original new downtown Tarrant County College is for it to house administration offices and maybe some sort of nurse training.

And now we have both the former Radio Shack Headquarters and the partially aborted new Tarrant County College looking down on the Trinity River Vision. A likely boondoggle that will dwarf the Radio Shack/TCC boondoggles.

It really is a no-brainer.

November 18 In Texas Looking Out Steamy Windows Thinking About Steamy Teachers & Bicycle Theives

On this chilly morning of November 18 my view of the outside world is a bit blocked by steamy windows. I resist the temptation to turn on the furnace for the first time of this particular chilly season.

I was late on the Tandy Hills yesterday. So late the sun started disappearing on me. Combined with the chilly temperature, a high wind and losing the light, I found myself running at times, particularly up the hills, partly to speed up, partly to warm up.

As a consequence of that extra exertion, this morning I have that delightful feeling of a few strained muscles in a few choice locations.

I am sure I will recover.

In the meantime I must remember to tell the story of Fort Borscht in the old Soviet Union. Maybe I will get around to that today.

Speaking of today. It looks like today will be yet one more clear, blue sky day in Texas.

I read in the Star-Telegram that yet one more female teacher in the D/FW Metroplex has been arrested for corrupted a minor boy. A 26 year old woman with a 16 year old boy, this time.

This problem seems to be some sort of epidemic. And it is not confined to Texas.

One of the more notorious examples of this phenomenon  took place in my old home state of Washington with the Mary Jo LaTourneau scandal. Eventually, after a couple trips to prison, and birthing a baby, Mary Joy married her Samoan boy.

Are a lot of police resources devoted to investigating these type crimes? To me, and I'm like wrong, but in my humble opinion, the attempted theft of my van and the actual theft of my bike is a worse crime. But it warranted absolutely no investigation by the Fort Worth police.

How about trying a little vehicle theft sting action with police trap, easily stolen vehicles, with good stuff inside to tempt the thieves? If it were known by the thieves that there were police trap vehicles out there, geared to catch a thief, one would think this might put a damper on the activity.

Anyway, it is time to go do something non-computer related now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me On The Tandy Hills

Coming up on 5, this afternoon, I was being peppered with questions from Elsie Hotpepper about my lunch, today, with her sister Kelsie. I tell you, the sibling rivalry between those peppery Hotpepper sisters is borderline unseemly.

There are reasons some Hotpeppers don't get made into salsa.

Whatever that means.

So, to escape the Elsie Hotpepper inquisition I took off for the Tandy Hills, not quite remembering when the sun went down for the day.

I was well into the hills when I realized the sun was dancing dangerously close to the horizon. I have hiked in the dark before. One notorious time getting caught miles from the trail head, after hiking to Washington's hidden volcano, Glacier Peak. That went okay til the batteries went dead on my flashlight.

Tonight, I was coming down the hill that leads to Tandy Falls, when the sun really started turning down the illumination. I was grateful the Tandy River was currently not roaring over Tandy Falls, so an easy passage was made over the escarpment.

It was a bit difficult navigating the poorly illuminated, very rocky trail, that leads to the top of Mount Tandy from the north side. But I made it.

Obviously, or I would not now be telling the tale of my evening travail.

Now, what am I to do with those Hotpepper sisters?

Looking At Flying Saucer Water Tanks In Hurst While Waiting For A Little Hotpepper

Around noon I was sitting on a bench next to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Hurst, waiting for Elsie Hotpepper's little sister to show up so we could go have lunch at the Panera Bread that is on the north end of the Wal-Mart parking lot.

I looked up and saw the blue flying saucer structure you see in the picture.

It is a Hurst, Texas water tower. There are dozens upon dozens of various forms of these structures in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

You reading this who live in the D/FW zone, or in Texas, are likely thinking, so what? You reading this in other locations, like the state of Washington, for instance, are likely thinking, how bizarre.

You see, Washingtonians, there are no mountains here, some slight hills, but no mountains. So, water has to be pumped up to a tank hovering above where it is to be delivered, so that gravity can do the delivering. I have no idea where the massive pumps are located that pump the water up in these tanks.

When I lived in Washington, in the town of Mount Vernon, water came from a protected reservoir/lake called Judy Reservoir. This reservoir is surrounded by chain link fence, with, if I remember right, concertina wire at the top.

My memory of things in Washington grows hazy, but I believe Judy Reservoir supplied the water needs of several Skagit Valley towns, besides Mount Vernon.

Except for Anacortes. Anacortes sucked its water out of the Skagit River, treated it, and then pumped it to Anacortes. There are hills around Anacortes, more hilly than hills here in Texas, but, I don't think the water is pumped up to a storage lake on a hill. I remember no big water tanks in Anacortes, like I see in Texas.

So, how did that water move to homes in Anacortes, without the Texas style giant flying saucer water tanks?

Very perplexing.

Anyway, as I sat pondering my perplexation, Elsie Hotpepper's little sister, Kelsie, showed up. At Panera Bread we both had the Signature Macaroni & Cheese with a Bacon Turkey Bravo Sandwich. It was good. But I like my own cooking better. Kelsie does not have quite the colorful vocabulary of her older sister, in case you are wondering.

Early Wednesday Morning Thinking About Paris & JD Granger's Streetcar Named Conspire

The early morning of November 17 and it is yet one more clear blue sky day in Texas.

My aching ol' man rheumatis' joints did not pain me last night like the night before. I appreciate that.

The Golden Years of Senior Citizenship aren't all that Golden.

According to my mom.

As I slip ever closer to being an Old Man, I understand what my mom means.

On a completely different note, Gar the Texan has me thinking about Paris. I can't remember the last time I was in Paris. Gar had himself a fine time there, recently, with the French doing their striking hobby and other insolent behaviors.

Meanwhile, again on a totally different note, over on the Star-Telegraph, Adrian Murray sent the S-T an amusingly on target rant about JD Granger's bizarre claim that the proposed Fort Worth Streetcar Named Conspire has somehow always been part of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Methinks JD Granger is way way brighter than any of us detractors give him credit for. He has obviously figured out that the powers that be are paying no attention to his shenanigans. And those of us who have made note of the obviously corrupt boondoggly shenanigans, are people no one, who matters, pays any attention to.

At this point in time it would not shock me if ground was broken on the Trinity River Vision Bordello homage to the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, with JD Granger claiming it has always been part of the vision and with JD first in line at the grand opening.

Fort Worth thinks it is "Where the West Begins," with a proud history of lawlessness, which used to be contained in an area known as Hell's Half Acre, but which now encompasses all of downtown and beyond.

It's appalling. But no one who matters seems to notice or care.

Sad, sad situation.

I wonder what good deeds JD Granger is up to today....