Thursday, February 28, 2013

Taking A Break On A Tandy Hills Amphitheater Bench Before Hunting For A Trout Lily

Another weather perfect hiking day on the Tandy Hills on this last day of the 2nd month of 2013.

Today when I got to the newly installed benches that overlook the new cleared Tandy Hills Amphitheater I had myself a pleasant sit down for a bit.

I do not know if the Trout Lily Walkers will sit down on these new benches at some point during their walking this coming first Sunday of the 3rd month of 2013.

I got email yesterday about Sunday's Trout Lily Walk....

Tandy Hills Natural Area, aka., The Land that Time Forgot, is home to many rare and uncommon plant species. One of the most eagerly anticipated of them is the diminutive yet striking, Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum). Being one of the first wildflowers to bloom each year it is sometimes called, the harbinger of Spring.

Don Young Trout Lily Photo
The Vernal Equinox is March 20, but the harbinger of Spring has arrived at Tandy Hills. Their golden-throated white trumpets hang from curvy stems nestled inside mottled leaves that resemble speckled trout. They are scattered across the Tandy hills and hollers hiding in secret places.

It helps to have a field guide. We are lucky to have the best of the breed in, Jim Varnum, who will lead a Trout Lily Walk this Sunday, March 3, at Tandy Hills. The tour starts at 1 pm. Jim will regale you with amazing facts about TL's and help ID other plants along the way. Don't miss this brief window of opportunity. 

I don't know if I'll be going on the Trout Lily Walk on Sunday. It starts a bit later than my usual walk time. I suspect going on the Trout Lily Walk is the best chance I will have to actually see, for the first time, the elusive Trout Lily.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You May All Go To Hell Because I'm In Texas Celebrating Texas Independence Day

I swiped the quote, supposedly from Davy Crockett, from MBK, this morning on Facebook.

March 2, 1836, a day that lives in infamy, because it was on that day that the Texas Declaration of Independence formally declared the independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico.

The Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836.

The formal signing had to be postponed a day after the conventioneers adopted the declaration so that errors in the declaration's text could be corrected.

I have not committed, yet, to going to any of the many Texas Independence Day celebrations. It is such a conundrum of choices.

A Sidewalk Free Fort Worth Walk With Poor People

Continuing with my very popular Sidewalks of Fort Worth series.

In the picture you are looking north at the well worn dirt path worn at the side of Bridgewood Drive in East Fort Worth.

There is no buffer between the well worn dirt path and Bridgewood Drive, so it is ever so slightly scary when a vehicle speeds by.

I have seen a mom with two kids in a stroller struggling to walk in this sidewalk-less location.

A couple weeks ago I blogged about my perplexation regarding the lack of a comprehensive public mass transit system in Tarrant County and the other counties that make up the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in a blogging titled The Befuddling Mystery Of Tarrant County & Texas Public Transit.

Someone named Dannyboy commented on the befuddling mystery of Tarrant County & Texas public transit,  with part of that comment informing me that, "It is a fact of life in North Texas. Mass transit is considered something that poor people use, and consequently, the funding and improvement of such transportation plans are not seen as important in any way."

Today, when I walked on the dirt path alongside Bridgewood Drive it occurred to me that Fort Worth's sidewalk shortage may stem from the same attitude that causes mass transit in parts of Texas to be a bit behind the modern world as lived in other parts of America and the world.

So, is that the reason for the Fort Worth sidewalk shortage? That being that in Fort Worth sidewalks are considered something that only poor people use?

That only poor people have the need to walk?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tandy Hill Hiking With Europeans Thinking Of Moving To The Tandy Campground

In the picture you are looking south, across the Tandy Escarpment, over which currently dry Tandy Falls falls into Lake Tandy when a sufficient amount of precipitation precipitates to cause the Tandy River to flow with enough water to fall over the precipice.

Currently the Tandy Hills are in dry mode, even though some rain did fall on this part of the planet in the past week.

Even though the temperature had not risen above the 50 degree mark and even though a strong wind blew, when I hiked the Tandy Hills today I did not get chilly.

I also did not get hot.

Which means today was a perfect hill hiking day in North Texas.

There was a vehicle parked at the summit of Mount Tandy when I arrived today. That does not happen too often.

I was about halfway down Mount Tandy when I came upon the hiker who belonged to the vehicle. A lady in rather good shape who spoke with a very strong European accent, of which flavor I could not tell, for sure. But I don't think she was a German because my usual visceral, anti-German revulsion did not kick in.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I came upon what looked to me to be a campsite on the west side of the View Street Trail.

When I saw this campsite, previously, I think the resident was in residence, so, I quickly scrambled out of there.

Today I came upon the Tandy campsite again. Today I got much closer. The camp appeared to be abandoned. The resident left behind some items, including a pair of Levis hanging from a branch.

A couple times I have come upon what appeared to be a possible homeless person camp on the Tandy Hills.

The Fort Worth homeless shelter zone is not too far to the west of the Tandy Hills.

Whatever became of the big homeless campsite that was removed prior to the Super Bowl when the Super Bowl came to D/FW a couple years ago? Did that homeless campsite later sprout up again in the same location? Or elsewhere?

I wish more effort were put into providing decent quarters for homeless people, with a lot of help given to transitioning the homeless person back in to having a place to live.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Trying To Get A Grip On My Democratic Whining While Watching Turtle Evictions

As this last Monday morning of the 2nd month of 2013 faded into history, the temperature dropped from the balmy 50 something degrees that heated me when I went for a quick pool dip soon after the sun arrived.

The temperature predictors have predicted that the temperature in North Texas would drop today, eventually getting so cold, by tonight, that there is a slight chance that snow flakes may fall.

By the time I drove to Oakland Lake Park, to walk around Fosdick Lake, a strong wind was blowing, and the temperature had dropped into the low 40s.

And now, in the middle of the afternoon, despite the temperature predictors predicting the temperature would be plummeting, instead we have heated up to a relatively balmy 55.

Even though it was not all that hot, the Fosdick Lake turtles, today, were having themselves a real fine time basking in the sun, turning their backs to me and the wind.

As you can see via the above picture a big duck was talking to the turtles. I could not understand what was being quacked. But it sounded very serious.

Soon, whatever it was that the duck was telling the turtles, it had several of the turtles jumping into the water.

The duck then jumped up on the open space left by the evicted turtles. You can sort of tell by the reaction of the turtles, on the right of the duck, that they were not happy about this intrusion.

Changing the subject from Duck/Turtle Turf Wars to me being a whiner.

A few minutes ago I got a short amusing blog comment from someone named Anonymous...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "In Texas We Are In Great Danger From Terrorism, Severe Weather & Man-Made Disasters That Can Kill": 

get a grip you democrat whiner 

If Anonymous is referring to the party that opposes the Republicans, should not a capital "D" be used? I guess that lack of a Big D can be explained by Anonymous's apparent aversion to punctuation.

Why does Anonymous think I'm a Democrat, I can't help but wonder? I can understand thinking I'm a whiner. Whining is one of my favorite hobbies.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dancing With Wolves While Thinking About Going To The Academy Awards

Since it is Sunday today, with this Sunday being the last Sunday of the 2nd month of 2013, I took my usual Sunday walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

I was a little surprised to see that the trail obstruction that has been obstructing the Pioneer Trail is still obstructing. I think this obstructing has been going on for around 3 weeks.

Today, looking closer at the "stump" I wondered if this may have been the work of a tomahawk being wielded by one of the Indian Ghosts.

There were a lot of people walking with the Indian Ghosts today. And for the first time I saw one of the big fireplaces being used. What I assumed was a couple of dads with about 10 kids. Hamburgers were the item being barbecued.

Speaking of Indian Ghosts, I think Dances With Wolves was the last time I saw a movie prior to it winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. That was sometime back in the last century.

I used to look forward to the Academy Awards Show. Way back in the last century. Not so much anymore.

The Academy Awards is broadcast live, like the Super Bowl, or the State of the Union Address. With Los Angeles being on the west coast this had the show starting at 5:30, if I remember right, in my old time zone. In this time zone I am currently in, the Academy Awards starts 2 hours later and ends way past my bedtime.

I think the time change may have contributed to my diminished enjoyment of the Academy Awards.

I have been in Los Angeles a few times on the day of the Academy Awards Show.

Way back in the last century I drove my friend, Miss Chris's, Ford Pinto, to California. Along with me and Miss Chris, Miss Maxine and Big Ed were also crammed into the tiny Pinto.

We were camping at San Clemente State Park and on the day of the Academy Awards decided to see how close we could get. It was way easier than I figured it would be. Found a place to park then started off walking to wherever it was the show took place back then. Miss Chris and Miss Maxine got a bit shy, but Big Ed and I climbed over a cyclone fence and found seats in the stands where people sat to watch the incoming celebs.

Seems so bizarre to me, in this post 9/11 era, to remember how lax security was way back in the last century.

The only celebs I remember arriving were the Bridge's family, as in Jeff, Beau and dad Lloyd. I think we got there near the end of the arrivals.

Miss Chris and Miss Maxine got a bit cranky waiting on the other side of the street. Eventually we all made it back to the Pinto. It was now dark and I quickly got a little lost. Eventually I got re-oriented and found my way to Sunset Boulevard where Miss Maxine spotted a Mexican joint she wanted to go to. And so we did, but I remember very little about it.

Tonight's Academy Awards Show's host is Seth McFarlane, the creative genius behind the cartoon called Family Guy. If there was a place to place a bet, I think I'd bet on this not going well...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Exhausted Doing the Hokey Pokey With Fosdick Lake's Sitting Ducks

Fosdick Lake Fosduck Convention
In the picture you are looking at a large convention of sitting ducks convening on the northeastern shore of Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park in Fort Worth, Texas, on this last Saturday of the 2nd month of 2013.

Saturday began with the air temperature being below freezing. This made the cool pool feel much warmer than the air when I did a quick, pre-hot tub, dip, early this morning.

I got up later than my norm, this morning. I was a bit exhausted from an unexpected bout, Friday night, of doing the Hokey Pokey with the Queen of Wink.

Exhausted from an unexpected bout of doing the Hokey Pokey and also from being asked to dance, with the request verbalized in a shockingly profane manner.

Changing the subject back to the Fosdick Lake Fosducks.

Usually the Fosducks put up quite a quacking fuss when I get close. Today, while there was some quacking, there was also a strange tweety noise I'd not heard coming from ducks before. I thought ducks could only quack, so I was surprised to learn there is more than quacking to their vocabulary.

After walking around Fosdick Lake, since it is Saturday, I went to Town Talk, where I got myself an awful lot of avocados. I suspect I will be making a humongous batch of guacamole later today, if I don't find myself sidetracked doing the Hokey Pokey again.

Friday, February 22, 2013

In Texas We Are In Great Danger From Terrorism, Severe Weather & Man-Made Disasters That Can Kill

I've been seeing the above message stuck to Fort Worth city buses lately. I guess it is a newsworthy revelation that terrorism, severe weather and man-made disasters, like a natural gas pipeline exploding, can kill people.

To help people save themselves from a terrorist attack, severe weather or a man-made disaster, the message informs us that we can receive free emergency alerts via text message and email.

I must sign up immediately.

Because lately I have been spending a lot of time worrying about how I can save myself from getting killed in the next Texas terrorist attack. I think knowing that I will be getting a text message or an email telling me that there is a terrorist attack underway in my neighborhood will really give me some peace of mind that I've been lacking.

Not to mention the peace of mind I will have from knowing I will get a text message or email informing me if any of my neighborhood Chesapeake Energy Barnett Shale Natural Gas Fracking sites have gone into dangerous malfunction mode.

Yesterday I learned via the below poster that Texas has a really long history of fighting terrorism. All the way back to 1823.

Stephen F. Austin unofficially created the Texas Rangers in 1823. I don't know who the Texas Rangers considered terrorists way back in 1823.

Were the Mexicans and Indians, whose land Texans were expropriating, the terrorists?

I believe bad guys like gunfighter John Wesley Hardin and bank robber Sam Bass came along well after 1823.

Is Sam Bass related to the Fort Worth Bass Family of latter day robber barons, I have previously wondered and never remembered to ask?

Is what the Mexicans and Santa Ana did at the Alamo considered a terrorist attack?

I really need to do a much better job of learning Texas history...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blue & Max's Effects Of Early Childhood Coffee Consumption Video Documentary

On the left is my nephew Theo John. In the middle is my nephew David Jay. On the right is my one and only niece, Ruby Jean.

This morning, Blue & Max, my poodle nephews, put a video of Theo, David and Ruby on their Blue & Max Blog.

I am guessing Blue & Max decided to share this video with the world as some sort of cautionary warning as to what can happen when kids become coffee drinkers at way too young an age.

I probably should not have sent the kids Starbucks gift cards for Christmas...

Dodging Obstructions On A Muddy Walk With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts Thinking About Floating On Willow Boughs On The Trinity River

Is the City of Arlington Parks Department on strike?

It has been well over a week since I first came upon the obstruction you see in the picture, obstructing the Pioneer Trail that trails through the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Detouring around the obstruction put ones footwear in contact with mud. I do not like it when my footwear is in contact with mud. Unless my footwear, at the time, are my mud boots.

Today's mud was the result of this morning's brief downpour that poured down at the predicted time, but not of the predicted duration, and with none of the predicted hail or winds up to 60 mph.

The downpour started, at my location, about 5 minutes before I headed to the pool for my lately regular cool dip and quick retreat to the hot tub. When I got out from under falling rain protection I opened my bumbershoot. This did not seem counter-intuitive at the time, getting under an umbrella to walk to go swimming, but it does seem counter-intuitive now, though, I must say, the bumbershoot did come in handy, keeping my towel dry.

Changing the subject from me getting all wet, back to walking with the Village Creek Indian Ghosts.

I think I've made mention before of the historical informational sign that sits at the western entry to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area's Pioneer Trail. If I remember correctly, I have copied part of the text on that historical informational sign before. Today I decided to copy the first paragraph, for the enlightenment of those who do not know the nature of the Native Americans that the incoming Texans rudely evicted from this part of the country....

The Village Creek valley was home of the largest concentration of Native Americans in Texas. From prehistoric times native peoples practiced agriculture along the banks of Village Creek safe from the periodic floods of the Trinity River. Archaeological digs have revealed arrowhead points from 5,000 B.C. The first accounts of recorded history of settlement along Village Creek came in 1542 when royal Spanish map makers recorded a camp that explorers had made here at an Indian village named "Guasco". They described this area as being the western edge of a "corn belt," west of which were the grasslands of unfriendly Indian tribes. Several of the first European explorers to wander through the region recorded visits to villages of the Caddos, a leading tribe of the Caddo confederacy. These were peaceful tribes who grew corn along the creek, lived in conical-shaped dwellings thatched with grass or bark and navigated the Trinity River on rafts and in canoes made from skins stretched over a framework of willow boughs.

Okay, that ends your history lesson for today....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trying To Walk Around Fosdick Lake Under A Bumbershoot Before Going Yogurt Hunting

In the picture you are looking slightly northeast from the Oakland Lake Park pavilion overlook, looking at Fosdick Lake, on a stormy next to last Wednesday of the 2nd month of 2013.

When I left my abode precipitation was precipitating not too precipitously. Within a mile the precipitation was in downpour mode.

By the time I got to Oakland Lake Park the precipitation had slowed up. So, I parked, got out my bumbershoot and proceeded to see if going on a walk was doable.

I quickly found I was not attired to a level sufficient to provide the needed cold buffer. And I also quickly found that the wind wreaked havoc with my bumbershoot. Plus the wind blew precipitation past the bumbershoot protection, thus rendering that rain shielding device a bit useless.

I ended up going on a very short walk before retreating to the relative comfort of my vehicle's interior space.

On Saturday Town Talk was a bit low on yogurt. By this morning I was also low on yogurt. I like my yogurt. So, after the cold, wind and rain aborted my walking, I headed to Town Talk where I found myself a couple cases of yogurt. One of which was a new, to me, flavor, that being pear. The other was peach.

Early this morning I found myself throwing together a casserole, with no directions, I mean, recipe.

I cooked two cups of brown rice in the rice cooker, then tossed that in a big bowl. I had a large container of Chobani plain Greek yogurt that I mixed with the rice. Then I added a chopped up onion and a lot of celery. And chunks of ham. Poured in a little olive oil and some lemon juice. Then some garlic and pepper. Mixed this all up, then spooned it into a glass casserole dish. Then I grated a lot of cheese of various sorts on top. Baked this concoction til it got all bubbly and the cheese got a bit browned.

And the result?

Very tasty.

In addition to cooking something I'd never cooked before, this morning I also found myself giving instructions I'd never given before. That being instructions to a pair of poodles as to how to upload a YouTube video and then put the video code into their blog.

Poodles are such smart dogs. Almost like talking to humans...

An Early Morning Hot Tub Hail Shower With More Scheduled Tomorrow For North Texas

I quickly retreated to the hot tub after a short pool dip this morning to look up at a rather threatening sky.

A few minutes after looking up at a rather threatening sky all hail broke loose in the form of little pellets of frozen water pummeling earth, and me, from the rather threatening sky.

The hail falling did not last very long.

I enjoyed the ice shower while it lasted, due to the frozen water pellets creating an odd sensation when pummeling when one is mostly immersed in tub of very hot water.

I heard on the radio this morning that the weather predictors are predicting some heavy duty storming tomorrow. Apparently a line of storms is advancing from the west, which should hit the western end of the D/FW Metroplex about the time the sun arrives.

Straight line winds up to 60 mph and hail is predicting by the predictors. And rain. And maybe some lightning. With a chance of a tornado thrown into the mix.

My appointment with the hot tub should be very interesting tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gazing Into Lake Tandy Thinking About Moving Back To Washington Where Voters Get To Vote

In the picture that is me and my shadow standing today on the Tandy Escarpment, above Dry Tandy Falls, looking down at the crystal clear water of Lake Tandy.

Looking at Dry Tandy Falls and Lake Tandy had me thinking about Dry Falls and crystal clear Sun Lakes in the state from whence I came, Washington.

I've blogged about Dry Falls and Sun Lakes a couple times on my Durango Washington blog in bloggings titled Sun Lakes State Park & Dry Falls and Dry Falls, Sun Lakes, Wind, Riots & Streakers.

I've been thinking about Washington a lot lately. It has been almost 5 years since I've visited the Pacific Northwest.

When I renewed my Texas driver's license, last summer, was the first I realized I'd been in Texas for over 12 years. I was a bit mortified when I realized how quickly 12 years had passed, and how old I will be after the passage of another 12 years.

If I still had a house in Washington I think I'd be moving back. But, my house in Mount Vernon was sold in 2002. There was a house waiting for me when I made the move to Texas, which made moving easy.

When I moved to Texas I knew I was moving to a much more conservative, much less progressive state than  Washington. In the years since I moved to Texas, Washington has become even more progressive and even more liberal. While Texas has sort of regressed.

The depressing, non-progressive, regressive state of being in the state of Texas was brought again to mind a couple minutes ago when I got a blog comment from Dannyboy in response to a blogging I blogged yesterday morning.

Dannyboy has left a new comment on your post "The Befuddling Mystery Of Tarrant County & Texas Public Transit": 


You are a bit wrong about Tarrant County mass transit. When it was proposed some decades ago, every city in Tarrant County had the vote to join in. Most did not, including Arlington. So it wasn't that there was "no effort" made to include the whole county, it's just that most of the county said "no" and continues to do so. It is a fact of life in North Texas. Mass transit is considered something that poor people use, and consequently, the funding and improvement of such transportation plans are not seen as important in any way. So it is a conundrum that has no simple fix. People don't use mass transit unless they have to because it is crappy in FW, but they don't want to spend anything to make it better because it is for the crappy poor people. Get it? It will never happen in FW until those attitudes change and I don't see that happening anytime soon. 

If I am understanding Dannyboy correctly, at some point in time individual towns in Tarrant County voted for or against funding mass transit. With only Fort Worth, apparently, voting yes.

Why would this not be a county wide vote, rather than having each town vote regarding its mass transit participation?

The lack of cohesive mass transit in Tarrant County affects the entire county. Why let Arlington vote no and thus make it impossible for Fort Worth residents to take mass transit to Six Flags? Or to watch the Rangers play baseball at The Ballpark in Arlington?

I remember being very perplexed when the Dallas Cowboys were demanding a new football stadium, with how, when it came time to fund the building of a new stadium, the Cowboys ceased being America's Team, the Cowboys were not North Texas' team, not the D/FW Metroplex's team, not the Dallas County team, not the Dallas team, but instead somehow it was the voter's in little Arlington, in Tarrant County, upon whom it fell to help fund a new stadium and proudly engage in one of the worst acts of eminent domain abuse in American history.

By the 1990s congestion had grown into gridlock territory on Washington's Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge. That  infamous bridge connects Tacoma to the Kitsap Peninsula. I remember shortly before I moved to Texas, in 1998, voters in the Washington counties affected by the congestion voted on whether or not to support building a second suspension bridge. The voters voted yes and have been driving over the new bridge since 2007.

If I remember correctly the new Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge cost around $1 billion, about the same cost of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, with key differences being that voters voted on the bridge.

Construction began in 2002, completed 5 years later.

Meanwhile, voters have not voted on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, and well over a decade since this incredibly important Fort Worth flood control project was begun, very little can been seen of the vision. And what can be seen ain't at all pretty, visions like the Cowtown Wakeboard Park, the world's pre-eminent urban wake boarding facility.

So, why is it in Texas the voters in a county can not vote on a county-wide project? Why can't all the voters in all the counties that make up the D/FW Metroplex vote in a project that benefits everyone?

Like mass transit for poor people.....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Paw Prints With Incoming Spaceships On The Tandy Hills Bemoaning Power Failures

I'd not been on the Tandy Hills for well over a week, not since rain fell on the prairie.

I do not recollect doing hill hiking with a wind blowing with as high a velocity as what was buffeting me today, particularly on the summit of Mount Tandy, which is the location where the picture of the Tandy Hills' latest art installation was taken.

I am absolutely worthless at interpreting abstract art.

Having admitted that I am absolutely worthless at interpreting abstract art I think my take on this latest Tandy Hills art installation is it represents our meager earthbound defenses against incoming spaceships.

Even though that high velocity wind had some wind chilling factoring into the temperature I soon found myself overheating, which had me doffing all but one major piece of outer wear.

On the hike down Mount Tandy I saw countless paw prints embedded in what had been mud.

And then I came to new directional signposts, with a new trail symbol, that being a paw print which looked just like the paw prints I'd been seeing in the dried mud.

Was Olive the Prairie Dog and Official Mascot of the Tandy Hills the model for the new paw print signposts?

Today may be the last day for awhile where I get my aerobic stimulation on the Tandy Hills. Rain is predicted to precipitate later today and later on this week.

Changing the subject to something else.

I don't think I remembered to mention that last week, Thursday evening at 7:00 o'clock, to be precise, the power went out in my neighborhood. And stayed out for almost 2 hours. Losing power after dark is not pleasant. I have some strategically placed flashlights, which I use to find my Coleman lantern.

Speaking of my Coleman lantern. I bought it way back in 1994, to take along the first time I went houseboating on Lake Powell. That lantern went on the second Lake Powell houseboating trip in 1997 and has made the move to Texas. And in all those years this Coleman lantern has not had its mantel replaced. It has lasted for almost 20 years.

Now, what reminded me of last week's power outage? Well, I was enjoying lunch, watching TV, when the power went out again. This outage only lasted about 10 minutes.

I don't ever remember getting traumatized by the power going out at my house in Washington. All utilities were underground at that location. I'm sure at some point in time something must have caused the power to go out, but I am not remembering any instances of being traumatized by suddenly being totally in the dark.

The Befuddling Mystery Of Tarrant County & Texas Public Transit

A couple months ago Steve A commented on a blog post where I said something about riding a bus, or public transit, the specifics of which I don't remember, but I remember the comment was about Steve A being able to ride a public transit bus from his vacation spot of Ocean Shores, on the Washington Pacific Coast, to Olympia.

Ocean Shores is in Grays Harbor County. Olympia is in Thurston County, about 70 miles from Ocean Shores.

When Steve A told me he could take a public transit bus from Ocean Shores to Olympia I realized I could take public transit from my old home zone in the Skagit Valley, all the way to Ocean Shores, because of the Washington public transit system of Inter-county connectors.

This got me thinking about the extremely sad state of mass public transit in Texas.

One would think that the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone of around 6 million people would be all connected by mass transit, but one would be wrong to think that.

The Washington county I lived in, Skagit County is served by public transit, called Skagit Transit, known as SKAT. SKAT has a Skagit Transit website, is on Twitter and there is a Wikipedia article about SKAT.

Skagit County covers 1,731 square miles. Tarrant County covers 897 square miles. Skagit County's population is 118,109. Tarrant County's population is 1,849,815.

Skagit County is about twice as big as Tarrant County, with Tarrant County having a population about 15 times bigger than Skagit County.

So, how is it that Skagit County has public transit, while Tarrant County does not? When Fort Worth decided to have a public bus system called  The T, why was no effort made to make this a county-wide public transit system?

From the SKAT website, their mission statement...

Our goal is to provide high quality public transportation that meets the needs of the citizens of Skagit County at the least cost to the taxpayer and the user and in the process contribute to the county's economy and quality of life. To do this, we provide traditional Fixed Route bus transportation to most shopping, medical, employment, recreational, and governmental locations. Buses operate Monday through Sunday except on certain holidays.

What is it that stops Tarrant County from having a similar lofty goal?

Tarrant County can not plead being poor as its excuse. The per capita income in Tarrant County is $39,380. Skagit County's per capita income is $37,904. The cost of living is higher in Skagit County than it is in Tarrant County.

The Seattle/Tacoma/Everett Metropolitan zone is served by mass public transit in various forms, including rail, bus and ferries. The Dallas/Arlington/Fort Worth Metropolitan zone is not served by a cohesive mass public transit system.

The Seattle/Tacoma/Everett Metropolitan zone covers 5,894 square miles with a population of 3,500,026. The Dallas/Arlington/Fort Worth Metropolitan zone covers 8,991 square miles with a population of 6,526,548.

So, the Dallas/Arlington/Fort Worth Metroplex is more densely populated than the Seattle/Tacoma/Everett Metroplex, but does not have a public mass transit system serving the population.

One would think that some sort of effort would be made to bring mass public transit to D/FW International Airport.

One would think that some sort of effort would be made to bring mass public transit to Arlington's Entertainment District, that being the location of Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

I have been told by more than one Texan that Texans don't ride buses because buses are for poor people.

I guess Washington has way more poor people than Texas does. Watch the video below and eventually you will see a lot of poor people on buses in the transit tunnel that runs under downtown Seattle.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Walking With The Turtles On The Newly Discovered Pioneer Trail In The Village Creek Natural Area

I am not certain, but I think that may be a leafless pecan tree you are looking at in the photo. This big tree is one of many in the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington.

I suspect these big trees are quite old and may have been alive back when this particular area was home to a lot of Indians, before incoming Texans used a primitive form of eminent domain abuse to evict them.

As you can see in the picture, the tree has no leaves and the sky has no clouds.

The temperature was over 60 when I went for a walk today with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek zone.

The temperature was not over 60 this morning when I went for a very quick pool dip followed quickly by a jump into the hot tub.

The perfect weather conditions of this 3rd Sunday of the 2nd month of 2013 had a lot of people out enjoying  nature in the natural area.

The perfect weather conditions also had the Village Creek turtles basking in the sun. Usually the Village Creek turtles are very skittish. But today they politely posed while I took their picture. Not a single turtle jumped into the water.

Today I had the fact that I really am not a very observant person made clear to me, once again, when I noticed something I'd not noticed before, even though I've walked by it dozens upon dozens of times.

The thing I'd never noticed before was the plaque that is stuck to the brick structure that you see in the above photo. On top of the brick structure there is historical information signage that tells the story of the Indians who used to call this location home.

The plaque on the side of the brick structure says "PIONEER TRAIL."

I had no idea, til today, that the Village Creek trail has a name.

It seems to me the name of this trail should be more Indian-centric, rather than named, sort of, after those who evicted the Indians.

THE SKY IS PINK by Josh Fox and the GASLAND Team

An emergency short film from Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of GASLAND addressing the urgent crisis of drilling and fracking in New York state.

Go to for more info and to get involved.

PINK LINKS: Selected Compiled Research

The Sky Is Pink- Annotated industry documents featured in the film:

Affirming GASLAND- Our responses to industry charges against GASLAND

Flaming Faucets,2933,509857,00.html

Well Failures/Gas Leaks

Well Construction/Integrity

Climate Change

Breast Cancer

Pittsburgh Fracking Ban

Water Contamination


‘Drilling Down’

PR/Hill and Knowlton

State Government Documents

‘Reality Tour’ Marcellus Shale

Merchants of Doubt

Colbert Report

Gas Industry Conference:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Saturday Monitor Malfunction With A Water Free Fort Worth Picnic & No Samosas

Dead Calm Fosdick Lake
Today Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park was hosting the biggest flotilla of floating ducks I have ever heard quacking at this location.

This 3rd Saturday of the 2nd month of 2013 has been a dead calm, clear blue sky, perfect middle of winter type day in Texas.

This 3rd Saturday of the 2nd month of 2013 began not too auspiciously.

I woke up my computer before the sun arrived this morning. All was fine for a minute or two. And then my second monitor went into malfunction mode, with a pop and a hiss. The monitor was toasted.

But, I had a replacement monitor ready to replace the dead one. So, by the time the sun arrived all was back functioning again in my computer world.

Way back in the early 1990s I bought a computer from Gateway. A now very antique 386 era computer. I was real happy when the new computer arrived, excited was I to set it up. And then, when powered up for the first time, the Gateway monitor did not turn on. Instead it started spewing smoke.

Switching the subject from bad monitors back to Oakland Lake Park.

Today there was a large group having a picnic in the Fosdick Pavilion. Meat products I was unable to identify were being barbecued.

When I see this type thing happening at this park it bothers me.

Because there is no running water available at the Fosdick Pavilion, or anywhere else in Oakland Lake Park. The park's restroom facility is one outhouse. An outhouse with no place to wash ones hands.

Well, there is the lake water, if one was feeling brave and willing to ignore the bad water warnings.

Big Bird Out Of Water
Does my old home state have some sort of law mandating modern facilities at parks with picnic facilities?

Is that why I don't remember seeing such an uncivilized thing til I moved to Texas?

In addition to the picnic without water, I saw a big bird out of the water. I don't think this big bird was a duck. He or she did not seem to mind me getting sort of close.

Changing the subject from Big Birds to Town Talk.

Since this is Saturday naturally I went to Town Talk after my daily dose of endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation.

Prior to leaving my abode today I cooked up some rice, flavored with curry, ginger and jalapenos to go well with Indian food, because I'd planned to get a box of Chicken Samosas at Town Talk. Well, the boxes of Chicken Samosas were no where to be found at Town Talk.

The only thing I got in a box at Town Talk today was a case of Siggis Icelandic Grapefruit Yogurt. I also got a big bag of Texas Grapefruit. Among other things.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Village Creek Natural Historical Area Trail Tree Blockage

I last walked with the Village Creek Natural Historical Area's Indian Ghosts last Sunday. At that point in time Village Creek was moving a lot of water.

Today Village Creek was back in trickle mode.

About a quarter mile from the Village Creek Natural Historical Area's Dottie Lynn Parkway parking lot I came to the trail blockage you see in the picture.

I assumed this trail blockage was caused by wind.

Upon closer examination I saw that my initial assumption was incorrect. Me making an incorrect assumption does not happen all that often. Usually no more than once or twice a day do I find I've made an erroneous assumption.

What knocked down this tree was not the wind, but the hand of man, with that hand of man using a chain saw, sawing the tree off about 4 feet from the ground.

Was this vandalism? If it was the Arlington park people who cut down the tree I doubt they would leave it on the ground, blocking the paved trail.

But, why would someone haul a chainsaw to this location to do some random tree vandalizing? That also seems unlikely.

I suspect I will never know the answer to this perplexing mystery.

Watergate's Hidden History Led Me To Margaret Chase Smith's Republican FIBS

On the left you are looking at the cover of a book I am currently reading, that being WATERGATE THE HIDDEN HISTORY.

The subtitle of "Nixon, the Mafia and the CIA" was a bit off-putting to me. I figured this would likely not be a very historically accurate accounting of Nixon's allegedly bad behavior.


So far, this book is being very interesting. It was published in 2012, 40 years after the botched break-in at the Watergate became the start of what became the most notorious Presidential scandal in American history.

I think I have previously mentioned my favorite genres, reading-wise, are Native American History, True Crime books, the Civil War and World War II.

I don't think I have mentioned that Watergate is also a subject about which I seem to have a continuing interest. I have read all of Richard Nixon's books, post-resignation. Haldeman's Diaries was very surprising. I ended up really liking H.R. Haldeman. I've read Woodward and Bernstein's All the President's Men and Final Days and all the subsequent books Bob Woodward has written on other subjects, like all the books about the perversity of the George W. Bush presidency, except for one sitting on my desk right now, The War Within, which I've not gotten to yet.

In our modern times there are some people who think the Republicans have become the Stupid Party. Apparently there are a lot of Republicans who think and say things that a lot of people think are stupid. I have noticed some of this stupidity myself.

The Republicans have a long history of thinking stupid stuff. Watergate The Hidden History is reminding me of some of it. Like the McCarthy stupidity of the 1950s.

I also have learned from Watergate The Hidden History that back in the 1950s and 1960s, in addition to stupid Republicans, there were also Republican voices of reason.

Republican voices of reason like Margaret Chase Smith.

Margaret Chase Smith was a U.S. Representative from 1940 til 1949, then a U.S. Senator from Maine from 1949 til 1973.

In 1964 Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman to be a candidate for the presidency at a major party's national convention.

Margaret Chase Smith rose to fame as an American voice of reason way back well over a half century ago, delivering, on June 1, 1950, a 15 minute speech that became known as the "Declaration of Conscience."

The "Declaration of Conscience" was directed at the bad behavior of fellow Republican Senator, Joe McCarthy, denouncing "the reckless abandon in which unproved charges have been hurled from this side of the aisle."

Senator Smith charged that McCarthyism had debased the Senate to "the level of a forum of hate and character assassination."

In the "Declaration of Conscience" Senator Smith defended every American's "right to criticize...right to hold unpopular beliefs...right to protest; the right of independent thought."

In the "Declaration of Conscience" Senator Smith acknowledged her desire for Republican political success, tempering that desire by adding that, "I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horseman of calumny -- fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear."

Margaret Chase Smith's four horseman of calumny became known as "FIBS." Which became shorthand, for many, for the Republican Party, the party of FIBS.

I am sure glad that Margaret Chase Smith types are now in the majority in the Republican Party and no one would ever think that the modern day Republican Party is still the party of FIBS....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Did The Waco Star-Telegram Claim The Waco Cabela's Will Be The #1 Tourist Attraction In Texas?

I was a little surprised on Facebook today to see Bud Kennedy, he being a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, telling Fort Worth that "we're suckers."

Suckers? Why, you ask?

Mr. Kennedy says the people of Fort Worth are suckers because they gave the sporting goods store called Cabela's $40 million in tax breaks on the promise to bring 2.5 million visitors a year to Fort Worth.

I really do not know where to start.

First off it was not the people of Fort Worth who gave Cabela's tax breaks. That was done by the naive, incompetent, common senseless Fort Worth City Government, cheered on by the City of Fort Worth's propaganda purveyor known as the Star-Telegram.

The Star-Telegram repeated, over and over and over again, that the Fort Worth Cabela's would be the #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas.

Depending on who was writing the propaganda the number of tourists ranged from 4 million to 8 million.

I would read this propaganda and be absolutely appalled and sort of embarrassed that people whose job it was to report news and apply some common sense to what they were reporting, did not intuitively realize that if a sporting goods store could be the #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas that this clearly indicated the Texas Tourist Industry had a very serious problem with having a lack of decent Tourist Attractions.

And how can someone (Bud Kennedy made this claim) not automatically realize that 8 million visitors to a sporting goods store in one year is not even remotely feasible?

I was so appalled that I emailed Bud Kennedy about his 8 million visitors claim, along with the #1 Tourist Attraction claim.

Bud Kennedy replied to me by saying that I must be against business. I replied something like, "no, I am not against business, what I am against is a newspaper making ridiculous claims about something like a sporting goods store becoming the #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas, drawing up to 8 million visitors."

Bud Kennedy replied again, sort of granting me my points, but I forget how he articulated that.

Reading Bud Kennedy today in Facebook had me wondering if he has forgotten his initial assertions regarding the Fort Worth Cabela's. Bud Kennedy is amazingly prolific, so it would not shock me if he does not remember something he wrote in the Star-Telegram years ago.

After Bud Kennedy trivialized my comments about the Star-Telegram Cabela's propaganda, by saying I must be against business, I sort of had myself an instant dislike for the guy. That has since greatly abated, to the point I now actually like Bud Kennedy and think he's about the best thing that comes out of the Star-Telegram. With some periodic lapses.

Cablela's came up today, with Bud Kennedy, due to the announcement that Cabela's is now opening a store in Waco. It was not long after the Cabela's opened in Fort Worth that a Cabela's was opened in Buda, by Austin. Then another Cabela's opened in the D/FW Metroplex, in Allen.

Bud Kennedy's reference to Fort Worth getting suckered is the closest I have seen to reading anyone associated with the Star-Telegram admitting that the Star-Telegram got suckered into being propaganda tools for Cabela's #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas scam.

I have blogged about the City of Fort Worth and the Star-Telegram getting suckered by these out of state Cabela's slicksters a few times from 2008 to 2011...

Fort Worth and Cabela's

The Top 15 Texas Tourist Attractions With #1 Not Being Cabela's Sporting Goods Store

SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2011
A Second Cabela's Opens In Allen In The Dallas Metroplex

Another Look At Fort Worth's Sad Sidewalk Situation

Continuing on with my popular Fort Worth Sad Sidewalk Situation Series, today I took another walk around my neighborhood.

In the photo we are looking at some Fort Worth pedestrians walking along the west frontage road on I-820.

The couple on the right are both pushing strollers, with one kid in each stroller. The male of the pair is pushing the lead stroller, which in addition to kids is also packed with what looked like bags of groceries.

The guy on the left is opting to use the well worn dirt "sidewalk" rather than the street "sidewalk", likely because he is not pushing anything.

I don't know why it took me so long to realize I could go walking in my neighborhood, as on option, rather than driving to a park.  Maybe I subconsciously thought that walking the mean sidewalk challenged streets of Fort Worth seemed a bit dangerous.

The last time I mentioned the Fort Worth sidewalk shortage I also mentioned the seemingly odd location of utility poles at the side of John T. White Road.

Today, walking south on Bridgewood Drive, on a very narrow sidewalk, I thought it odd that utility poles shared space with the sidewalk.

This particular stretch of Fort Worth sidewalk only extends a short distance on Bridgewood Drive, terminating when it gets to Boca Raton Boulevard.

When I lived in Washington, in the relatively small town of Mount Vernon, the roads in my neighborhood all had sidewalks on both sides of the streets.

Whilst living in Mount Vernon, just like I do in Fort Worth, I would often drive to go hiking. The only close by hiking was about 2 miles east, to Big Rock, this Gibraltar like monolith that was quite a steep hike, with a very scenic payoff at the top.

All my other Washington hikes were a much further distance than I drive in Fort Worth to go hiking, whether it was just 25 miles to Anacortes to hike around Washington Park, or 30 miles to Deception Pass State Park to hike up Goose Rock. Or a much longer drive east, to hike up one of the Cascade mountains.

Unlike my current location, my old home zone was very hilly, as in very steep hills. I could get a good workout just walking down to my mailbox and back up to my abode. Eaglemont Golf Course was at the end of a steep road. It was on the Eaglemont Golf Course paved golf cart trail that I got myself in shape for my first mountain biking trip to Moab.

I think it is the buried memories of walking sidewalks in Mount Vernon, that causes me to feel irked when I make note of Fort Worth's really sad sidewalk situation.

Having Myself A Happy Valentine's Day In Texas

Super romantic type boy that I be, today is my favorite holiday of the year, Valentine's Day.

Each year, as soon as January ends, I start counting down the days til February 14.

Last night I got a pre-Valentine's Day surprise from Honey Bunny #1 in the form of hot out of the oven dark chocolate fudge brownies.

Normally I am not much of a chocolate fan, particularly when the chocolate is hot, but, if the hot chocolate product is paired with peppermint ice cream, like it was last night, well, you can pretty much get me to do anything, at least til the happy glow wears off.

It was way back late in the last century that I learned that pairing a chocolate product with peppermint ice cream is a good thing. The chocolate product at that taste bud pleasing point in time was chocolate cheesecake.

The origin of Valentine's Day is a curious tale.

Apparently a long ago Christian saint named Valentius was thrown in jail by the Romans for performing wedding ceremonies for soldiers who were not allowed to get married. While in prison Saint Valentius somehow cured the illness of the daughter of one of his jailers. Even so the nasty Romans proceeded with their planned execution of Saint Valentius. According to the enduring legend, prior to getting put to death, Valentius sent a farewell note to the girl he'd cured, signing the note, "from your Valentine."

Thus spawning a modern day world wide multi-billion dollar Valentine's Day greeting card and gift industry.

At some point in time Saint Valentius became Saint Valentine, with Saint Valentine's Day being an official feast day of the Anglicans.

By the 15th century, of the Middle Ages, Valentine's Day had morphed into a holiday where love bunnies declared their affection with things like flowers, candies, brownies and greeting cards, which came to be known as "Valentines."

I am not sure, yet, if any Honey Bunny is going to be cooking me a heart shaped Texas steak today. I can only hope....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fort Worth & Other Texas Town's Low Literacy Ranking

Last night I learned from Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, that a new police and firefighter training center will soon have her town being the Envy of the Nation.

This morning I learned, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in an article titled Texas cities fare poorly in measure of literacy, that Fort Worth's level of literacy will not be making this town the Envy of the Nation, coming in at #52, five ranks less literate than Dallas at #47.

The most literate city in Texas is Austin, at #23.

The most literate city in America is Washington, D.C., with #2 being Seattle, in the other Washington.

No mention of this literacy ranking was seen this morning in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I highly doubt the mayor of Seattle will be opining that Seattle's high literacy ranking has made Seattle the Envy of the Nation.

Because making such a claim would be seen as really really goofy when made in an extremely literate town.

While such a claim can be easily made in Fort Worth.

Does making a goofy Envy of the Nation claim, about something in Fort Worth, not cause much local eye rolling because of the town's relative illiteracy? One can only wonder.

This America's Most Literate Cities study is a product of Central Connecticut State University. The study ranks cities with populations in excess of a quarter million, focusing on six key literacy indicators, those being the number of bookstores, Internet resources, library resources, the population's educational attainment, newspaper circulation and periodical publishing resources.

With most of my existence spent in the highly literate Seattle zone, then being exiled to the much less literate Fort Worth and Texas zone, it sort of explains one of my problems I encountered upon arrival in Texas.

I found I could not speak at the speed level I was used to using in the Pacific Northwest. I'd get in communication situations where I found myself not being understood. I soon learned to drawl my speaking speed down, at times.

There have been many times where a Texan has asked me if I am from England. Or Canada. Just last week, whilst depositing a check, the bank teller asked if I was from Boston. Boston? Why Boston I asked? Because of your accent, said he. I don't think this guy knew what a Boston accent actually sounds like. A Pacific Northwest accent is definitely not a Boston sounding accent.

Now to be fair, and Lord knows I am all about being fair, I have met many totally literate Texans. Gar the Texan comes to mind. Yes, I did find myself having to slow down my speaking speed to be understood, but not all that much. Elsie Hotpepper is another extremely literate Texan, albeit with a much more pronounced drawl than Gar the Texan.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy is a highly articulate, very literate Texan. But, in my experience in Texas, for every literate Texan Bud Kennedy there have been 3 or 4 Texan Dud Kennedy's who could have benefited from spending more quality time in school. And maybe reading something, somewhere, every once in awhile....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mayor Betsy Price Thinks Fort Worth Will Once Again Be The Envy Of The Nation

A couple minutes ago I got email from Facebook telling me that MW, aka Mr. Galtex, had tagged me on Facebook. That sounded serious to me, getting tagged.

So, I logged in to Facebook to see I'd been tagged with an alert about Fort Worth's Mayor, Betsy Price, who has resurrected some Fort Worth verbiage that I thought had been rendered extinct, due to its tendency to cause giggling.

Then I got another email telling me that someone named Anonymous had made the following comment about the same subject...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Damp Driving Texas Roads With No Sidewalks & Dangerous Telephone Poles": 

Fort Lurch is once again the envy of the nation.

From the article: Fort Worth breaks ground on $97.5 million police, fire complex

"We will be the envy of the nation," Mayor Betsy Price said. 

I am really curious as to what it is that is so special about this new police and fire training center that Betsy Price thinks the rest of America is going to be envious of it.

The painful reality is most of the rest of America knows pretty much nothing about Fort Worth, let alone knowing about something in Fort Worth that might make someone envious.

Now, do I want to go to the bother of adding this latest Green with Envy, Envy of the Nation type nonsense to my Green With Envy webpage?

Maybe I will let blogging about Fort Worth again being the Envy of the Nation suffice.

Damp Driving Texas Roads With No Sidewalks & Dangerous Telephone Poles

It is a bit damp at my location on the planet on this 2013 State of the Union Speech Day.

With me in no mood to put on my galoshes and walk under a bumbershoot, I opted to get in my daily salubrious endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation, today, by walking in Walmart.

My usual route to my neighborhood Walmart is via John T. White Road. Which might have you guessing correctly that that is John T. White Road in the photo, looking a bit damp.

As you can see, John T. White Road is a four lane boulevard, with a grass covered median.

And no sidewalks.

I think I've mentioned my opinion regarding Fort Worth's sidewalk shortage previously.

What I had not noticed, previously, til I looked at the photos I took today whilst driving, in all the years I've driven on John T. White Road, is how absurdly close utility poles are to this road, stuck in the ground where one might expect a sidewalk to be. Is this normal operating procedure to stick poles this close to a road? Seems sort of dangerous to me.

On the right side of the road, in the second photo, you can see a pedestrian walking on the well worn dirt path where most towns would have a paved sidewalk.

I remember during my month, that seemed like a year, in Tacoma, summer of 2008, I walked a lot of miles. I don't recollect walking any street in Tacoma that did not have a sidewalk, on both sides of the street, with most of the sidewalks being of the sort I've not seen in Fort Worth, as in about twice as wide as a Fort Worth sidewalk, with a landscaped strip between the sidewalk and the road.

I've not gone sidewalk inspecting in other Texas towns to see if this is a chronic Texas shortage, or just isolated to Fort Worth. I suspect this particular type shortage may be widespread in Texas.

Other than Fort Worth, the Texas towns I am most frequently in are North Richland Hills, Hurst, Pantego, Arlington and Bedford. I'll check those town's sidewalk situation the next time I am in those locations.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Walking With Frita Fremont Talking About Bikinis & Late Arriving Stale Christmas Cookies

Frita Fremont called me real early this morning to tell me that she wanted to go on a walk with me later in the day. I said, okay, I'll call you when I go walking.

I stuck a ham in the oven around 10 this morning, then a little before noon I pulled the ham to pour a glaze over it and then left my abode to go on a walk with Frita Fremont around my neighborhood.

I think I have mentioned Fort Worth's sad sidewalk deficiencies previously.

The example of a town without sidewalks, that you see in the above photo, is looking north, with the I-820 frontage road next to the pedestrian worn dirt path where a paved sidewalk would be in a modern American city with modern American amenities.

Enough about Fort Worth's sad sidewalk situation for now. Back to Frita Fremont.

Among the many interesting things Frita talked to me about today was her bikini issues. I really have no bikini issues of my own, so it is interesting to hear about the bikini issues of someone who does have bikini issues. I hope Frita is able to resolve her bikini issues before it is time for her to take a Spring Break down south on South Padre Island.

Changing the subject from Frita's bikini to the U.S. Postal Service.

On the last day of last month I blogged my opinion that the U.S. Postal Service's bad service may border on being criminally neglectful. My pique was raised regarding a package the USPS claimed it was unable to deliver on December 21.

I requested re-delivery, twice, left notes for the mailman, wrote a letter to the Postmaster. Got zero feedback and no package.

And then today I returned from my walk with Frita Fremont and what do I find? The long missing package mysteriously showed up at my door!

Sort of.

There was a note telling me where I could find the package. I went to that location and there it was. That is the tardy parcel post in the photo above, the box with the words "PRIORITY MAIL" printed a couple times on it.

I wonder how slow non-priority mail is?

What was in the box, I know you are sitting there wondering? Well. Christmas cookies. A tin filled with homemade stale Christmas cookies. I'd say more, but I really do try to avoid hurting anyone's feelings. Most of the time....

My Defective Walmart Air Bed Somehow Turned Into An OSHA Bed Bug Issue With Me Getting Some Beauty Rest

Last week, after the Super Bowl, I mentioned in a blogging that an air bed that I bought at Walmart had had a massive failure upon first inflation.

Yesterday I stuck the defective air bed back in its box and attempted to return it to "Satisfaction Guaranteed Or Your Money Back" Walmart.

There was no line when I got to the customer service center, which quickly removed one potential annoyance.

I sat the air bed box on the counter and handed the customer service guy the receipt whilst I explained how the air bad had massively failed upon first inflation.

And then the experience turned into a Seinfeld episode.

The customer service guy, in a very friendly manner, told me that it was good that I returned the product in its original box. And that it was good that I had the receipt.

But, if I was wanting my purchase price refunded, that was not possible, because I'd opened the box.

Huh? said I. How would I know the product was defective without opening the box? Walmart sold me a defective product, how can you not give me a refund?

It is an OSHA regulation about bed bugs and air beds, said the customer service guy.

Are you making some sort of joke, said I?

Another customer service person chimed in that it was not a joke, pointing me toward a list stuck to a wall, one of which was an OSHA regulation not allowing the return of air beds, due to bed bugs.

I asked the customer service guy why would the Occupational Safety & Health Administration have a rule about bed bugs and air beds that causes Walmart to not make good on its satisfaction guaranteed guarantee?

The customer service guy then totally empathized with me thinking this was totally nuts.

The customer service guy then told me that while Walmart could not refund the purchase price I could have in-store credit for the amount of the purchase price, or get another air bed of equal or higher price.

Why would I want to go through the bother of trying out another of these INTEK air beds, I asked?

The customer service guy then told me I could get an air bed from another manufacturer as a replacement.

I said something like are you telling me I can go get another air bed, that costs more than the the defective one, from a different brand?

Yes, was the answer.

So, I walked to where the air beds were located and picked up a Queen sized Beautyrest air bed.

The defective INTEK air bed cost something like $59.95, plus tax. The Beautyrest air bed cost $89.95.

I took the Beautyrest air bed to the customer service guy. He quickly made the transaction and had me sign something and gave me a new receipt.

I left Walmart with the new Beautyrest air bed, leaving the INTEK air bed with the customer service guy.

Now, why, if OSHA thinks returned air beds present a bed bug danger, did Walmart keep the possibly bed bug infested air bed?

Why could Walmart not simply refund my money and then stick the possibly bed bug infested air bed in to some HAZMAT container, prior to incineration?

I went to the OSHA website to see if I could find the specific regulation regarding bed bugs and air beds.

I found nothing about air beds. I did find some OSHA bed bug issues.

Googling 'air beds bed bugs' I found that there are people recommending that if you have a bed bug woe that you might want to switch to sleeping on an air bed, because air beds are not happy homes for bed bugs!

Like I said, like a Seinfeld episode....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Don Young's SUPER Bash Report

In the picture you are looking at part of the army of Brush Bashers who Bashed Brush the day before the Super Bowl, that being the 1st Saturday of the 2nd month of 2013.

Below is Don Young's amusing account of this year's successful Brush Bash....

There was no power blackout and no delay of game at the, one-day-a-year Brush Bash at Tandy Hills Natural Area on February 2, 2013. But like that other big game last weekend ours game was one for the record book.

About 25 dedicated FOTHNA volunteers backed up by 50 workers from the Sheriff's Dept. took to the field sending more than 236 cubic yards of invasive, prairie-choking, woody plant material to the compost pile. We basically stiff-armed a bunch of privet into oblivion making a touchdown in the process.

City of Fort Worth PACS staff led by playmakers, Bobby Muriel and Billy Roden, went on the offensive, spending several days cutting the brush and treating the stumps at selected locations within the park. Michelle Villafranca and Suzanne Tuttle of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge double-teamed to help oversee the project that follows a key provision of the Master Plan playbook for Tandy Hills. 

The new panoramic view from the Outdoor Classroom benches is like having seats to the Super Bowl on the 50 yard line minus the crowd.

Debora Young and Anne Aldefer were the key FOTHNA staffers huddled on the sideline making sure everything went according to plan and players enjoyed good field position until the play clock ran down. Longtime FOTHNA staffers, Phil Hennen and Myra Waldrop kept the brush moving downfield.

Game Balls went to every single worker who showed up. They were in the red zone most of the day insuring that 2013 was another championship season. Special Teams award goes to Scoutmaster Martin Grunow and the Scouts who helped remove an ancient pile of roofing shingles.

For those who failed to show or were on injured reserve, you will not be penalized BUT you missed a good one. There is no off-season for privet which is perpetually guilty of encroachment. We expect your participation next season. The Hall of Fame awaits you.

Check out post-game photos from FOTHNA super-volunteer, Scott Ausburn, here....