Sunday, November 30, 2014

Today I Learned Mommy Ethan & Grandpa Had Been At Village Creek Park Where There Is No Statue Of Liberty

My handlebars are pointing at a real good clue as to where they are located.

A boy named Ethan, well, I assume Ethan is a boy, chalked a message saying "Mommy Ethan Grandpa Village Creek Park".

Yes, my handlebars were in Arlington at the Village Creek Natural Historical Area for my semi-regular Sunday wheel rolling with the Indian Ghosts who haunt this location.

According to the weather predictors today is the last day before the arrival of a Big Chill on Monday, dropping the temperature from today's near 80 to tomorrow's below freezing.

I suspect the strong wind that I was biking against today is associated with the incoming cold. The strong wind I was biking against today was not anywhere near as gusty as that which blew in my old home zone yesterday. Wind speeds in the 70 mph zone in the north end of Puget Sound.

I first learned of yesterday's Big Blow this morning via a picture of Seattle's Statue of Liberty getting hit by big waves. Usually Seattle's Statue of Liberty has a good buffer between where it stands and waves crashing on Alki Point Beach.

I then checked the West Seattle Blog and saw a lot of pictures of Puget Sound being wilder than I ever remember seeing it. I blogged about this on my Washington Blog in a blogging titled A Showstopper Storm Surge Slaps Waves at Seattle's Alki Point Statue of Liberty. That blogging has a picture of Seattle's Statue of Liberty under yesterday's water siege, along with a link to the West Seattle Blog.

There is a Statue of Liberty in Dallas, at Fair Park. The Dallas Statue of Liberty is never in any danger of getting hit by a storm surge....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday Wheel Rolling In Gateway Park Before Town Talking Texas Grapefruit

For the first time in a long time I was back at my favorite Saturday photo op location in Gateway Park, prior to a visit to Town Talk.

Damage from a windstorm way back in late September, or was it early October, was the start of a long Gateway Park bike riding drought.

I saw the remains of a lot of chainsawed fallen trees today.

And the carpet of fallen leaves obliterated the trail in multiple locations, making the wheel rolling a bit more challenging than it is on a leaf free trail.

Post Thanksgiving Saturday at Town Talk was the most un-busy I've ever seen Town Talk on a Saturday.

Today's Town Talk Treasure Hunting yielded 6 cases of yogurt, 2 bags of Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit, extra sharp white cheddar cheese, 8 bags of beans, tofu, onions, carrots and bacon.

One thing I learned today was it is not an easy task to handle 6 cases of yogurt. That and I prefer my bike trails to be free of leaves.

Yesterday I Found A Long Lost Treasure Of Texas Bashing

Recently, if I remember right, I made mention of the fact that Google in the past few days has caused me to open every webpage that exists inside my domain.

I did not realize, or remember, that some of those webpages are well over a decade old, with me having little memory of making them.

One of those webpages is titled Texas Bashing.

I do not remember how or by what means, but somehow I solicited comments bashing and counter-bashing Texas. Why would anyone have found this webpage bashing Texas and then react with comments?

Even stranger, apparently at some point the Texas Bashing website was used by another website, called, in an article about bashing Texas. People then reacted with comments to the article, which I then added to the Texas Bashing webpage. Clicking on I found that website no longer exists, and so I did not turn it into an active link.

Below are a few examples of comments on the Texas Bashing webpage. On the Texas Bashing webpage I add my own comment to each comment. I can tell by my counter comments that early on in my adjustment to the culture shock of Texas I was much harsher in my opinionating than I am nowadays, well over a decade later...

I've lived in Texas (Austin, arguably "not really Texas") for six years. In Texas, you can buy Texas-shaped pasta, Texas-shaped tortilla chips, and Texas-shaped cheese in any grocery store. If you market beer or trucks in Texas, chances are your jingles appeal to Texas pride and have the word "Texas" in it at least five times. I don't know of any other state that's so insular and into itself. As somewhat of an outsider, I find it fascinating. Can you buy food products that come in the shape of your state? (Colorado and Wyoming, you don't count.) This is not a rhetorical question, I really want to know.


Where I grew up (Oklahoma), Texas-bashing was a favorite pastime. Why do people like to insult Texas? Because the average Texan will happily tell everyone they meet that "we're the only state that was once a separate country". Like that's something to be proud of? We also didn't appreciate being considered 'North Texas' by a lot of people (especially Texans).

Plus what may be my favorite comment...

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven, God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael, the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, "Where have you been?" God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael, look what I've made." Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?" "It's a planet," replied God," and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance." "Balance?", inquired Michael, still confused. God explained,  pointing to different parts of earth, "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while southern Europe is going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hot spot. Over there I've placed a continent of white people and over there is a continent of black people." God continued, pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot and arid." The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a large land mass and said, "What's that one?" "Ah," said God. "That's Texas, the most glorious place on Earth. There are beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers, sunsets and rolling plains. The people from Texas are going to be modest, intelligent, and humorous and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, and high-achieving, and they will be known all throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace," Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed, "what about balance, God? You said there would be balance!" God replied wisely, "Wait until you see the crazy bunch I'm putting next to them in Louisiana.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Late In The Day Tandy Hills Hike Has Me Pondering Why Downtown Fort Worth Is A Ghost Town Today

An observant person might look at the photo you see here and deduce, due to the long shadow, that the Shadow of the Tandy Hills Thin Man had himself a late in the afternoon Black Friday hill hike today.

That observant person would have deduced correctly.

The Tandy Hills looks different late in the day than it looks under the more direct noon day sun. I rather liked seeing the sun so low on the horizon, creating dark shadows where usually I see no shadows.

During my regular hiking time today I was busy doing my Black Friday shopping. It took me about 15 minutes to complete this year's Christmas shopping.

Speaking of Christmas shopping, and who isn't, when the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth came in to view I stopped to snap the picture you see below.

Last year, on the day after Thanksgiving, I drove to downtown Fort Worth to document the least busy big city downtown in America on the busiest shopping day of the year. I doubt there were any more shoppers in downtown Fort Worth today, since there still are no big stores in downtown Fort Worth. Let alone any vertical malls.

Yesterday Google caused me to happen to look at the Green With Envy webpage I long ago made, documenting numerous instances of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram claiming some totally ordinary thing about Fort Worth was making the rest of the world green with envy, or the envy of other towns far and wide.

It had been so long since I'd looked at the Green With Envy webpage that I'd forgotten how many instances of that bizarre propaganda I'd seen. And I'd totally forgotten about all the amusing comments from people equally perplexed.

Near as I can tell the Star-Telegram never fesses up to any of its tom foolery of the propaganda sort. Whether it's a big headline announcing the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, with the headline saying this would turn Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South.

No, you reading this who have actually been to Vancouver, I am not making this up.

Or the Star-Telegram's bizarre claim that a lame little development called the Santa Fe Rail Market was the first public market in Texas, and that it was modeled after Seattle's Pike Place Market and public markets in Europe. I knew when I read it that this lame development was not the first public market in Texas, having been to the Dallas Farmers Market, but then I was appalled to learn that this lame development was not even the first public market in Fort Worth.

Any mea culpa apology from the Star-Telegram?


And then there was the Cabela's Boondoggle. The Star-Telegram trumpeted over and over again that this sporting goods store would be the #1 tourist attraction in Texas. A short time later another Cabela's opened, in Buda, by Austin. And now the Fort Worth Cabela's is not even the only Cabela's in the D/FW Metroplex.

Any mea culpa apology from the Star-Telegram?


Lately the Star-Telegram has been going along with the local propagandists' touting that due to some totally bogus "award" that Fort Worth has the TOP Downtown in America. It did not take much digging to find the award submission that was submitted by the Fort Worth propagandists was full of absurd claims, ridiculous lies, such as claiming that downtown Fort Worth's new little plaza attracts millions of visitors a year. Sort of like the imaginary millions attracted to that #1 sporting goods store tourist attraction.

Today is the day which renders this TOP Downtown in America nonsense totally absurd. Like I have already said, on the busiest shopping day of the year downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town. How can the Top Downtown in America have zero department stores, few places to shop?

The town I lived in before moving to Texas, Mount Vernon, has a downtown about the same size as Fort Worth's. With a much bigger river. Mount Vernon's population is around 30,000. Fort Worth's is around 800,000.

When I was growing up, in Burlington, across the river, north of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon was the Big City in the valley. Downtown Mount Vernon had a Penney's, a Sears, a Woolworth's and a Montgomery Wards, along with multiple other stores. And a couple grocery stores.

In the 1990s all of downtown Mount Vernon's department stores headed north, to Burlington. My old hometown became the retail hub of the Skagit Valley, with a mall, outlet center, Costco, K-mart,  Fred Meyer, Target, new grocery stores. Even a Krispy Kreme.

Is this what happened to downtown Fort Worth? I know there used to be a department store in downtown Fort Worth called Leonard's.

Would it not be a more appropriate behavior if the Star-Telegram, rather than touting absurd claims that just are not true, instead editorialized reality based ideas about Fort Worth? Such as what could Fort Worth do to actually turn its downtown into one of the Top Downtown's in America?

Things like fix the Heritage Park Eyesore. Things like making it appealing to live in downtown Fort Worth. Things like figuring out why downtown Fort Worth has no department stores. Or grocery stores. Things like figuring out why downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town on the busiest shopping day of the year....

Today's Totally Tacky Look At Texas Will Not Include A Visit To Black Friday's Loneliest Downtown In America

The past few days Google has had me motivated to do something I have not done in years. As in open all the webpages that exist under my domain.

We are talking hundreds upon hundreds of webpages. Some of which were initially made late in the previous century, as in early on in my Exile in Texas.

One of the webpages that I had not looked at in years is titled Totally Tacky Texas.

Apparently before I found myself adjusted to the Texas culture shock I found a lot of things that I came across to be a bit tacky. This all seems quaint to me now, like I was operating out of my naive innocence, or something like that.

One of the tacky things I made note of is still being tacky all these years later, that being the long abandoned eyesore in the Fort Worth Stockyards called the New Isis Theater.

The blurb I wrote about the New Isis Theater sort of sounds like the type stuff I am still saying, all these years later....

The example of Texas Tacky to your left is in Fort Worth's Stockyards. There is an abandoned theater on Main Street in the heart of the Stockyard's 'Historical District' called, ironically, the 'New Isis'. This theater appears to have long been abandoned, broken windows covered with plywood as per the Fort Worth standard for abandoned buildings. To add to the tackiness semi-current messages are put on the marquee. On one side the sign says 'Welcome to the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards', while the other side announces 'Christmas in the Stockyards', which would be fine, except this sign still says this, on the first day of spring, 2002, well after Christmas. It is difficult to understand how a major city would allow such an eyesore to exist in the heart of its main claim to tourist fame. Particularly an eyesore with such renovation possibilities. Where is the civic pride? Perhaps a city government group could be sent to other towns to see how they manage to fix such problems. Any of the tourist towns in Washington state would suffice, or any of the tourist towns on Highway 49 in California. Or any of the tourist towns in Colorado, Utah, Arizona or New Mexico. Or just stay in Texas and find out how the town of Archer City managed to renovate their town's famous theater.

If I were to update Totally Tacky Texas in 2014 I would need to add the eyesore that Fort Worth's Heritage Park has become. Along with some of that which the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has wrought, like the shoddy looking Cowtown Wakepark, the also shoddy looking Coyote Drive-In, and let's not forget that also shoddy location where The Boondoggle has its Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats, with its outhouses and over all junky looking layout.

I think I'd also add Arlington's Dallas Cowboy Stadium to a 2014 update of Totally Tacky Texas. Sticking a stadium at that location, with urban blight on two of its four sides, across the street  from a Super Walmart, not to mention the outrageously tacky abuse of eminent domain which was used to take the land upon which the stadium sprouted, is all very tacky.

Well, all this tacky talk has brought me to the time of day where I am off to do something tacky, as in participate in the Black Friday mayhem. But I won't be Having Fun Looking For Black Friday Shoppers Today In Downtown Fort Worth like I did a year ago today....

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Have Yourself A Very Merry Warm Thanksgiving

No, that is not me cross country skiing, enjoying the slippery results of today's Thanksgiving Weekend Ice Storm.

No Thanksgiving Weekend Ice Storm has arrived at my location in North Texas, yet.

That is me cross country skiing several years ago when I lived in a far north Fort Worth suburb, the hamlet of Haslet.

The house was in Haslet, the mailbox was across the street in Fort Worth.

From this location the puny skyline of downtown Fort Worth could be seen, looking like little sticks sticking up on the horizon.

I recollect finding it odd that Fort Worth sprawled so far out in the country. This was one of the first Fort Worth things to strike me as odd. Little did I know, way back then, how long that list of odd Fort Worth things would become.

If I remember right the last time I slid on my cross country skis was a few years back, sliding down the hills in Arlington's Veterans Park.

Recently I discovered my cross country skis had partly delaminated, rendering them likely useless, though I've not had the snowy opportunity to test that potential uselessness. I had stored the skis in a storage area which was not climate controlled. I'm assuming the HEAT of summer caused the delamination.

On Tuesday I was unable to find any turkey smaller than 20 pounds. I don't recollect roasting a bird that big before. It barely fit in the roasting pan. I started the former gobbler roasting at 7 this morning, shoving it in the oven before going swimming in the hot tub.

I am expecting the turkey to be golden brown and ready for consumption approximately five hours after the oven insertion time.

Every year I say I am not going to go through the bother of cooking a turkey. This year I was sure I was going to bake a couple of the new style family size Marie Callender turkey pot pies for Thanksgiving. But, that plan went awry when I saw all the turkeys in Walmart waiting to be brought home by someone.

Anyway, I hope everyone has themselves a might fine Thanksgiving today....

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Spencer Jack's Walk Across The Skagit River Has Me Freshly Pondering Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

This morning due to photo evidence I found on Facebook I thought Spencer Jack was in Eastern Washington, east of the mountains in Washington lingo, in the themed tourist town of Leavenworth.

I blogged about this this morning on one of my other blogs in a blogging titled Spencer Jack Taking His Snowy Thanksgiving Turkey To Leavenworth.

And now, late this afternoon, incoming email from Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason, seems to indicate that Spencer Jack is back in Mount Vernon, with the primary evidence of that being the picture you see above.

The email contained no explanatory text.

Above Spencer Jack is standing on the Skagit River bridge which connects Downtown Mount Vernon to West Mount Vernon. As you can see, the Skagit River at this location is a big river. A big, free flowing river. The size of the river you see here is not the result of any type of dam.

This particular Skagit River bridge was built in less than four years. Built over water. A lot of water. All of the Skagit River bridges were built over water, in less than four years.

I really think it might behoove Fort Worth to send out some sort of task force to more advanced parts of America, like Mount Vernon, to see how those more advanced parts of America manage to build things, like bridges, far faster than Fort Worth's dawdling Three Bridges Over Nothing and their four years til completion before an un-needed flood diversion channel finally can be dug so that water can be added under the bridges.

In the second picture Spencer Jack is still on the Skagit River Bridge. In this view we are looking south at part of the Skagit River Vision's completed riverside walkway. In the picture you can not see the plaza, which is in the distance to the south.

It only took Mount Vernon a couple years to see its Skagit River Vision. Fort Worth began dawdling on its hard to see vision early in this century. Well over a decade later there really is not much to see of Fort Worth's fuzzy vision.

Well, there is the traffic mess being caused by those Three Bridges Over Nothing finally being under construction. I have not experienced the traffic mess. I read about it in Fort Worth Weekly. Apparently drivers who have noted how dangerously bad the detours are have tried to get the city and J.D. Granger to fix the problem.

To no avail.

I recollect J.D. Granger saying words to the effect that he had used his advanced engineering skills to engineer a project which would cause motorists no woes.

Will nothing short of the voters finally wising up and un-electing his mother get J.D. Granger fired from a job he is clearly not qualified to do, as evidenced by the ongoing displays of ineptness?

You can listen to J.D.'s traffic assurances in the YouTube video at the end of a blogging from a week or two ago titled A Big Boom Begins Boondoggle Bridge Construction Three Months Late.....

Confessions Of A Thanksgiving Party Pumpkin Pie Baker Gone Bad

On the left you are looking at a rare late afternoon look through the bars of my patio prison cell.

As you can see, I am not currently in the hot tub. Or pool.

I suspect when the sun leaves for the day I may find myself having a salubrious soak in the hot tub.

This blogging thing is such a burdensome responsibility. If I don't hit the publish button on a blogging by a certain time I start getting emails, text messages and phone calls inquiring about my well being.

Up til an hour or two ago my head was feeling like it might explode. This potential explosion was made more possible when I added to the head pressure by trying to fix some serious problems on the index page of my #1 website.

Apparently tablets and phones running Google's Android do not like webpages with table upon table nested inside tables.

By around noon I got the index page fixed and tablet worthy. I think. So, I decided to roll my wheels around my neighborhood. I thought that would fix the headache. Instead it made it worse.

So, what caused this horrific pain that has now abated? Well, last night I found myself at a pumpkin pie baking party. At that party I was given various adult libations. Whilst I was drinking these adult libations it did not seem like a bad idea. By morning it became obvious I should not drink adult libations while helping bake pumpkin pies.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, and who isn't? I just got back from ALDI. I have never seen  ALDI so busy, nor ALDI's parking lot nearly full. When I left my abode I saw that I-820 was a stalled traffic jam heading north. When I left ALDI I had intended to return via westbound I-30. However when I got to the freeway entry I saw that I-30 was also a stalled traffic jam, as far as I could see in both directions.

Is this day before Thanksgiving bad traffic a prelude to traffic gridlock on Black Friday? Will the only means to escape the crowded roads and crowded stores be to take a Fort Worth bus to downtown Fort Worth, the least busy big city downtown in America on the busiest shopping day of the year?

I must go boil some cranberries now.....

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Elsie Hotpepper's Bud Kennedy Cheerleading Turkey Nightmares Led Me To Why So Few Texans Vote

Last night Elsie Hotpepper sent me a disturbing text message informing me that she was unable to sleep due to the fact that she could not erase the disturbing image of Bud Kennedy in a pleated skirt, with ankle socks stuck in saddle shoes, wearing a Fort Worth logo-ed sweater doing cheerleader routines for Fort Worth's Godfather of the Good Ol' Boy Network, Ed Bass.

To which I texted back with a simple, 'HUH?"

To which Elsie texted that the nightmare image came from reading the 2014 Fort Worth Weekly Turkey Awards.

Since I had no idea what Elsie was talking about and since I had no memory of anything in the Turkey Awards having to do with Bud Kennedy wearing a skirt, I decided I must not have read the Fort Worth Weekly 2014 Turkey Awards with the attention level  they deserved.

And so I took a fresh look.

The first  thing I noticed that I'd not noticed before was that which I screencapped above, the text of which I will copy below...

The Big Bird Goes to: Non-Voters

This year’s dedication of the Big Bird, our sweepstakes Turkey, will be short and sour. It goes to the 83 percent of registered voters in Texas who stayed home on Nov. 4. Any organization — whether it’s the Democratic Party or the Republicans,  a church, a bunch of mega-corporations or the Mafia — that gathers too much power soon gets up to no good. At a time when this state is playing a major role in pollution and energy controversies that could affect the whole world via climate change, allowing so much power to concentrate in one party severely reduces the public debate on those and many other issues. And that’s what those who stayed home in November helped make happen.

Texas having the lowest voter turnout in the nation is a bit appalling, particularly when one looks at the result of the election. After the election I read an apropos blurb in, I think, the Washington Post, which may help explain the low voter turnout in Texas....

States where turnout is higher have a few things in common: Their populations are better educated, which correlates with higher turnout, and they have implemented rules that make it easier to vote, McDonald said. Maine, Wisconsin and Minnesota — all top turnout states — allow eligible citizens to register to vote on Election Day.

Well, there you go, quite simple, the Texas low voter turnout is yet one more bad result that comes about due to the population of Texas not being as well educated as those who received their educations in states with more progressive education standards.

And then I found that which gave the long suffering Elsie Hotpepper her nightmares....

Cheering a Big Land-Gobble

Bud Kennedy has been at this game long enough to get away with pretty much anything. And most of the time, the veteran Startlegram columnist comes from a good place. But when the civic discourse turned to the new arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the Cultural District, Kennedy donned his saddle shoes, ankle socks, pleated skirt, and FW-emblazoned sweater and cheered on Ed Bass, the power broker behind the $450 million (and counting) monstrosity. In Kennedy’s July 18 remembrance of the Fort Worth Convention Center –– the structure that the 14,000-seat arena is supposedly replacing –– he managed to leave out a few pesky facts: that parking is at a premium in the jam-packed neighborhood and, much worse, that the public had little to no say about it, even though millions of taxpayer dollars had already been spent on infrastructure. On Nov. 4 voters easily approved the arena (including $225 million as the city’s share). Kennedy should have been calling bullshit on yet another sneaky, screw-the-little-people play. Did he uncharacteristically not do his homework, or was he kowtowing to his employer, which has a long record of kissing up to the power players?

I really do not understand why so many people pick on good ol' Bud Kennedy. Some have even taken to calling him Dud, rather than Bud. Mr. Kennedy works for  the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Why would anyone expect him not to act as a propaganda purveyor when his bosses deem some local issue needs a cheerleading spin?

Bud Kennedy is an excellent food critic due to being a professional food consumer. He writes at a voluminous level of prolific-ness which is astounding, including finding the time to play hall monitor on his Facebook page.

Some suspect there may be more than one Bud Kennedy, due to instances such as thousands seeing him on a parade float at the same time he's posting a plate of food he's consuming in a Dallas eatery. That type thing, while also deleting inappropriate comments from his Facebook page.

I do have to agree with the Fort Worth Weekly Turkey Award awarders that it is a bit odd that Bud Kennedy went along with the Multi-Purpose Arena scheme, man of the people that he be, and what with that Arena being sold as a replacement for the Convention Center Arena, which the propagandists claimed could not hold enough ticket buyers to attract major acts, but somehow the new arena, which can hold an additional two thousand ticket buyers, will somehow attract those acts which previously avoided Fort Worth like the plague.

Has anyone considered the possibility that there may be other reasons than arena size why major acts opt not to appear in Fort Worth and choose instead other venues in Dallas and Arlington? Venues that can hold way more than the 14,000 Fort Worth's new arena may hold if it actually ever gets built....

Monday, November 24, 2014

Banana Hunting Instead Of Bike Riding Or Tandy Hill Hiking Today

I had intended to ride my bike on my neighborhood trails, well, roads, today, but by the time the noon rolling time rolled around the temperature was barely at the half century mark, with a slight wind blowing, and so I bailed on the biking and opted to walk to Albertsons on a banana hunt instead.

I doubt the Tandy Hills has dried out from this past weekend's deluge, so hill hiking did not cross my mind, that is until I checked in on Facebook and saw a post from the co-Godfather of the Tandy Hills, Philip Hennen.

Mr. Hennen posted three late in the day Tandy Hills photos along with a recommendation, saying "These sunny, late Fall days are perfect for getting lost at Tandy Hills Natural Area. I recommend late afternoon just before sundown which is about 5:30 P.M., these days."

I have hill hiked the Tandy Hills near the sundown time frame a time or two. I don't know when or why my regular Tandy Hills hike time became repetitively in the noon time frame.

That late in the afternoon light and shadows make for a much less harshly lit hiking experience than doing ones hill hiking under the glare of the noonday sun. That and the need for sunscreen is greatly lessened.

I am trying real hard to be less of a creature of repetitive habit, but I fear time shifting my hill hiking by several hours would be way too dire a change for my delicate sensibilities....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Duck Walk With The Fosdick Lake Turtles Over Fosdick Falls

The duck population populating Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park seems to have soared since my last visit.

I assume ducks flying south for the winter use Fosdick Lake as a way station. Or is Fosdick Lake the duck's final destination?

There were plenty of duck feeders feeding the quackers today, including the trio you see here.

Yesterday's copious rain raised the water level in my pool, but not its temperature. The hot tub's water level, and temperature, seemed unaffected by yesterday's rain.

The water level of Fosdick Lake, like my swimming pool, was affected by yesterday's rain, raising the lake level to the point that water was roaring over Fort Worth's biggest waterfall, Fosdick Falls. You can witness Fosdick Falls falling in the video below.

But, before we get to the video, I was pleased to see the Fosdick turtles had come out of their cold hiding places and were back enjoying sunbathing on their favorite log in the balmy almost 70 degrees. I hope the turtles enjoy their sunny break while it lasts, before they get blasted by this afternoon's predicted gale force blow.

Last night, in the middle of the night, 3am to be precise, my phone made its incoming text message type noise. I woke up the phone expecting some dire message, but instead saw an Urgent Wind Warning from AccuWeather.

At 3am AccuWeather sent out a Wind Advisory for wind expected to blow hard 11 hours later. I can't be the only one who finds this annoying. And idiotic.

We are coming up now on one in the afternoon. A slight breeze is blowing. I may be un-installing the AccuWeather App from my phone....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Semi-Stormy Saturday In Texas With Mary Kelleher Stuck In The Ukraine

This next to last Saturday of November was predicted to be extremely wet and stormy at my location on the planet.

In the middle of the night, last night, there was a short bout of heavy rain pounding the windows.

Early this morning, in the hot tub, I did experience some drippage dripping on me, and saw lightning far in the distance to the east, along with slight post-lightning strike rumblings.

At noon I left my abode for a drizzly walk up to Albertsons. As you can see, via the view looking up at the security spears which protect me from intruders and other nuisances, it is a gray day in Texas.

Today is reminding me of a winter day on Washington's Pacific coast. It is likely the only person who may be reading this who knows what I'm talking about is Steve A in Ocean Shores on the Washington coast.

The first jolt of the day was from Mary Kelleher, emailing from Kiev, Ukraine, where she desperately needed to be wired money so as to pay her hotel bill and escape the clutches of Putin and return to the relative safety of Texas.

I suspected this email may have been one of those Nigerian type email money scams. But then I thought it made sense for Mary Kelleher  to go on a fact finding trip to Ukraine to see how another corrupt oligarchy operates and maybe pick up some tips on how to deal with the type corruption inherit when one finds oneself dealing with a corrupt oligarchy.

On Facebook Mary Kelleher posted a post about her Ukrainian troubles, with that post eliciting a lot of sympathy.

Anyway, I think I am about 24 hours away from sliding into a fresh bout of Seasonally Affected Disorder. I am so spoiled anymore I seem to be able to only go two days without sun before I start feeling SAD....

Fort Worth Weekly Neglected To Award The Biggest Turkey In Town: Kay Granger

This week, due to this week being the week before Thanksgiving, Fort Worth Weekly's eagerly anticipated Turkey Awards issue hit newsstands all over Tarrant County.

The 2014 Turkey Awards award a large number of Tarrant County and Texans the coveted Turkey Award, including one of Tarrant County's favorite Turkeys, Bud Kennedy.

You can go to the online version of FW Weekly's 2014 Turkey Awards and read about all the Turkeys, but I want to focus on just one Turkey Award....

The Perks of Pedigrees Turkey Award

Thanksgiving is all about family and making sure your relatives have jobs at places that are a clear conflict of interest to your elected or appointed position. Wait — we’re thinking of Fort Worth’s rampant year-round nepotism, not Thanksgiving. When it comes to getting a high-paying cushy job in this town, seems that the best way to get ahead is to be related to some alleged public servant.

The Trinity River Vision staff reads like a social directory for the offspring of local politicians and high-ranking officials: Most notably U.S. Rep. Kay Granger’s son J.D. is its executive director, and the Tarrant Regional Water District’s head honcho Jim Oliver’s son Matt is the TRV’s public information officer.

Mayor Betsy Price was all over television shilling for the Ed Bass-led effort to get taxpayers to pay for his pet project, an absurdly high-priced arena. It would have been Fort Worth knowing (to borrow from those commercials) that her son-in-law works for Ed Bass’ real estate company and sits on the board of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

I have been asked once, maybe twice, why I would say something as outrageous as to suggest that Fort Worth's Congresswoman, Kay Granger, is a corrupt politician.

Let me answer that corrupt question quite simply.

A non-corrupt politician, when told her son was going to be given a job in her district, for which he was totally unqualified, being the executive director of a public works project, with that project relying on attaining federal pork barrel earmark money to fund it, well, a non-corrupt politician would immediately object, saying you can not do that, it would be wrong, it would look bad, it would be nepotism of the worst sort.

But, Kay Granger willingly signed on to her unqualified son being given a cushy, high-paying job where he could act out as a textbook case of  a frat boy with arrested development, organizing floating beer parties, concerts, junkets and all sorts of other nonsense that has nothing to do with the construction of a flood control project.

In reaction to FW Weekly's 2014 Turkey Awards there were several comments, including one from a guy named Roy, which said, in part...

So what is it about the stunning nepotism at the Trinity River Vision? I have wondered for years why the most qualified person to run that boondoggle is apparently the son of the politician who corrals the jack for it. And NOBODY seems to notice or say anything about it. Is that what they mean when they say something is being done “the Fort Worth way?”

I find it gratifying that I am no longer alone in referring to the Trinity River Vision as a Boondoggle. In fact, I believe the number now is quite large who refer to this ill-conceived, poorly executed, never voted for by the public, public works project as a Boondoggle.

I have long shared the puzzlement that Roy is expressing, that being that NOBODY seems to notice, in a meaningful way, that something is dire wrong about how Fort Worth has gone about and continues to go about foisting the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle on the people who have never voted for it.

And yes, Roy, I have been told repeatedly that this is what is known as the Fort Worth Way. A corrupt town run by a corrupt oligarchy of good ol' boys and girls, who operate primarily in their own self interest, not in the interest of the majority of the people of Fort Worth.

All of them Turkeys worthy of an award.....

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fort Worth's Tandy Hills JFK 51st Assassination Anniversary Memorial Hoodoo

The Tandy Hills JFK Memorial Hoodoo
It has been weeks since I was on the Tandy Hills.

With copious amounts of rain predicted to be drenching North Texas, starting today, I figured today might be my last mud-free opportunity, for awhile, to do some hill hiking.

A couple days ago Olive the Prairie Dog and her favorite hiking partner, the Godfather of the Tandy Hills, Don Young, emailed me asking if I knew anything about the crane atop Mount Tandy, aka Broadcast Hill. Since it had been weeks since I'd been on the hills I knew nothing about any crane.

Today Mount Tandy was totally crane free, near as I could tell.

Today, when I got to Hoodoo Central at the north end of the View Street trail, for the first time in a long time there was no Hoodoo. Just a Hoo, with no Doo. In other words, just one big rock with no rocks balanced on top of it.

I was resigned to having myself a mighty fine, but Hoodoo free hike, and then, whilst hiking up the south face of Mount Tandy I came upon a still standing Hoodoo at a location where I've found a Hoodoo previously.

I took a picture or two facing north, which were extremely dark. So I re-positioned myself to aim west to take some more pictures, hoping for a little more brightness.

While slightly less dark, which pleased me, what really caught my eye was the fact that the Hoodoo, as my camera saw it, looked like a Hoodoo Memorial Homage to JFK.

The John F. Kennedy Memorial Hoodoo on Fort Worth's Tandy Hills, just in time for the 51st Anniversary of JFK's last speech, which took place in downtown Fort Worth, followed by a fateful trip to Dealey Plaza in Dallas and a moment in time which altered the history of America and the World.

Grand Jury Investigation Of Tarrant Regional Water District Wrongdoing Allegations

The water seems to be getting hotter for the Tarrant Regional Water District. Or, to use a cliche other than the TRWD is in hot water, it seems some rogue chickens are finally coming home to roost.

During the last TRWD board election at one point I opined that the TRWD board cockroaches seemed to be in full flight from the light mode. I recollect some Dallas news source using my cockroach analogy as an indicator of how vitriolic the usually sedate water board election had become.

I opined way back then that there must be some dirty deeds in need of hiding, else wise why would the TRWD be refusing so many open records requests.

I also remember opining that if I were making a TRWD open records request I would like to see all the documentation covering the decision to hire Congresswoman Kay Granger's totally unqualified son, J.D., to be the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

And now it has come to pass that legal means, in the form of a Grand Jury, is going to be looking into the allegations of TRWD wrongdoing.

A couple paragraphs from an article in yesterday's Monitor titled Gooden asks Grand Jury to look into allegations against TRWD...

GUN BARREL CITYThe Henderson County Grand Jury has been asked to look into allegations of wrongdoing by Tarrant Regional Water District. Outgoing Dist. 4 State Rep. Lance Gooden told those attending the November luncheon of the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce that he testified in September on the matter.

Gooden said he strongly suspects wrongdoing and a cover up because his repeated Open Records requests for basic accounting documentation have gone unfulfilled and been repeatedly responded to by letters from lawyers.

“I’ve turned in open record requests in March and they have stonewalled me since then,” he told The Monitor Monday.

I have an inkling that we are about to be witness to an unraveling of a conspiracy to cover up TRWD wrongdoing which may eventually lead to the demise of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

I may be overreaching. Or I may not be......

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Panama Canal Was Built In The Time It Took Fort Worth To Begin Construction On Three Bridges Over Dry Land

No, on the left you are not looking at the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's un-needed flood diversion channel under construction.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's un-needed flood diversion channel, under construction, won't be anything anyone could possibly see for at least four years.

Before construction on that all important flood diversion channel can begin three bridges have to be built.

Three bridges which are such complex feats of engineering that they will take four years to build.

Over dry land.

What you are actually looking at above is the Panama Canal under construction. The Panama Canal was an actual vitally needed public works project, engineered by real engineers, with no congresswoman's son anywhere to be seen.

Construction on the Panana Canal began about 100 years before the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle began boondoggling, as in construction began in 1904, with the first ships floating through the Panama Canal ten years later, on August 15, 1914.

Are we all seeing the irony here?

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken was completed in the time it has taken Fort Worth Trinity River Vision Boondoggle to start construction on Three Bridges Over Nothing.

Does anyone know of any public works project anywhere that has as slow a pace of construction as Fort Worth's Boondoggle?

If the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is such an important flood control project, protecting downtown Fort Worth from flooding from which it has been protected by existing levees for well over a half century, and if The Boondoggle is such an important economic revitalization project, then why is it being built on what must be one of the slowest construction paces in the world?

Can you imagine Teddy Roosevelt signing off on building three bridges over dry land before the Panama Canal could begin to be dug? Can you imagine any sane, responsible person signing off on something so nonsensical?

I can not be the only person looking at this ongoing absurdity who is perplexed by this ongoing Boondoggle....

Fort Worth Really Is Not A Fifty Shades Of Grey Type Of Town

The last day or two I have been pondering something I have pondered before, that being trying to figure out why it is that those who represent Fort Worth, be it politicians, civic leaders and others, have such a propensity to make claims about Fort Worth which are just plain ridiculous, not grounded in reality or just out and out false.

One example, which I blogged about, is brought to us by Fort Worth's mayor Betsy Price, in a blogging titled Mayor Betsy Price Thinks The Late Nancy Bass & Her Four Sons Made Fort Worth One Of The Greatest Cities In The World.

Mr. Galtex commented on that example, saying "Perplexing to me, too. I think FW has a serious inferiority complex, which is unfortunate because in many ways it's a very pleasant place."

In another blogging, on a similar theme, titled Mr. & Mrs. Galtex Are In Argentina Where They Learned Fort Worth Has America's Top Downtown Mr. Galtex had another on target observation, saying "For the life of me, I've never been able to figure out why the FW locals are not content to simply say they have a nice downtown, a good this, and a swell that, instead of labeling everything with ridiculous superlatives. FW would be even nicer without a chip on its shoulder."

Mr. Galtex is a lifelong Texan who is one of the few people who live in downtown Fort Worth.

I totally agree with what Mr. Galtex is saying, that being that Fort Worth has a perfectly fine downtown, which unfortunately has people who speak for it spouting ridiculous superlatives with which they tout their perfectly ordinary downtown.

A time or two a person or two with limited perception ability has simplified my attitude towards Fort Worth by saying that with me it is Fort Worth bad, Seattle good. The actual fact of the matter is there are only a few downtown's with which I am quite familiar, those being Fort Worth, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Sorry Fort Worth, but you come up on the short end of all those big city sticks.

I dealt with the Fort Worth bad, Seattle good thing in a blogging titled On Top Of Mount Tandy Not Really Thinking Fort Worth Bad Seattle Good. Somewhat ironically, that blogging includes a lot of verbiage from the aforementioned Mr.Galtex in which he describes his and Mrs. Galtex's first trip to stay in downtown Seattle where they discovered a downtown accessed by rail from the airport, multiple grocery stores, vertical malls, department stores, a plethora of restaurants, lots of people, way too many Starbucks.

And little litter.

If I remember right it has been twice this year that the downtown Fort Worth propagandists have gone into full bore hype mode claiming Fort Worth was the Top Downtown in America. When I was perplexed by the absurdity of this claim it did not take much scraping off of the layers of nonsense to discover that the awards no one had ever heard of were brought about because some downtown Fort Worth entity submitted totally exaggerated submissions to some self-serving award givers,which proceeded to give out the bogus award without investigating the veracity of the award submission.

In one bizarre instance where Fort Worth's was named Top Downtown in America, by some narrow criteria, the other towns in the Top Ten were also towns most of America knew nothing about. Towns like the one I was born in, Eugene, Oregon, or a town I've lived in, Bellingham, Washington. Both of which, to me, have bigger, more evolved downtown's than Fort Worth's.

So, back to my original subject, as in where does Fort Worth's civic inferiority complex come from that causes it to so embarrassingly over compensate?

I started pondering this, oddly enough, when I watched the trailer for the upcoming movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. I knew this movie was based on some sort of publishing phenomenon which had a couple Texas women suing an Australian woman. I did not know, til watching the trailer, that Fifty Shades of Grey is set in Seattle.

Watching the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer, with its swooping views of downtown Seattle, with its skyscrapers, stadiums, Space Needle, waterfront, boats, trees, it suddenly struck me that it is seeing this type thing which must be at the heart of the Fort Worth civic inferiority complex.

I mean, can you imagine any sort of romantic novel being set in Fort Worth, with a movie filmed using Fort Worth scenery? Swooping in from the north the camera would need to avoid the Heritage Park eyesore. Or those Three Bridge Over Nothing under construction.

I have long been perplexed by the animosity towards Dallas I have heard from so many Fort Worth natives. I liked Dallas upon first exposure. Dallas is a town which seems to be wearing its big city pants. Except for when the time comes to build a new football stadium in town, or renovate something like Fair Park.

Dallas has an iconic skyline recognized all over the world due to the fact that a television show called Dallas became a huge hit all over the world.  I remember the first time I headed to Dallas on I-30 and realized I was seeing the classic scene from the Dallas opening credits.

Fort Worth being paired with a famous city must be like having a famous sibling, more beautiful, more successful, known all over the world. Of course this might lead to an inferiority complex. And over compensating.

Can you imagine a TV show called Fort Worth? Can you imagine what the opening credits would look like, coming in to town from whatever direction you chose? It would not be pretty.

It's not just 50 Shades of Grey which has Seattle as a setting. A TV show called Grey's Anatomy also is set in Seattle. Many shows and movies have been set in Seattle. Frazier comes to mine, with his big picture window looking out at the Space Needle.

Why does no TV producer choose Fort Worth as the setting for a movie or TV show? That is a question worth pondering. And please do not mention Walker: Texas Ranger to me. That is just embarrassing.

Sleepless in Seattle. Can you imagine Sleepless in Fort Worth? The lack of places to stage scenic scenes would be a killer when one would consider filming a movie in Fort Worth. No beaches, no houseboats, no waterfront, few skyscrapers, no professional sports venues, no iconic structures. Nothing really notable unless, maybe, one is filming a movie about homeless people, then Fort Worth's notorious Homeless People District might be useful.

Now, I realize me saying this type stuff may seem harsh. But, it is reality. A reality Fort Worth needs to collectively face and deal with, instead  of playing make believe.

Ask yourself why no movies or TV shows get based in Fort Worth and then ponder what it is other towns have which make them appealing for something like movies or TV shows and you'll go to the heart of why it is totally absurd to try and claim Fort Worth is the Top Downtown in America.

If it were, the town would be on the nation and world's consciousness, like Dallas is.

I truly believe that the bizarre Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is only going to make it worse for Fort Worth, that for the first time ever Fort Worth may find itself on the nation's radar screen. And not in a good way.

Think Boston Big Dig with a Southern Spin.

And now, watch the aforementioned Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer and try and imagine this being Fort Worth and you will realize Fort Worth has a lot of work to do if it wants to actually get anywhere near being the Top Downtown in America. It may be an impossible task....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stay South Of The North Face If You Know What Is Good For You

My incredibly great nephew, Spencer Jack, has been making a mighty strong case that I should move back to the Skagit Valley, going so far as to suggest I could stay in the guest wing of his Hillcrest home in Mount Vernon.

And then, just minutes ago, incoming email from Spencer Jack's dad, he being my favorite nephew, Jason, with the subject line of the email that which you see as the title of this blogging, "Stay South Of The North Face If You Know What Is Good For You."

In the body of the email, in addition to the newspaper clip you see on the left, was the following text...

"I found a good reason for you to continue living in Fort Worth via today's SV Herald.  Unless you enjoy milk, bread products and salmon."

I am feeling very conflicted. Should I move north? Should I stay south?

Even in Fort Worth, in addition to copious sunshine, I enjoy bread products and milk. Salmon, not so much, due to a scarcity of fresh out of the water salmon.

I don't think a salmon could long survive in the polluted Trinity River.

While up in my old home zone every year Spencer Jack's uncle Joey, he being my favorite nephew Joey, catches, in the Skagit River and other Pacific Northwest locations, more salmon than he knows what to do with.

I have long wondered why it is that the longer I live in the Deep South the more healthy I feel compared to when I lived in the Far North.

And now I know the reason.

Plenty of sun....

A Walk With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts Thinking About The Murder Of Mangas Colorado

This morning I was reading the chapter of Chronicles of the Indian Wars where Mangas Colorado gets murdered by a misguided army miscreant.

Mangas Colorado was an Apache. Even though he was not an Indian local to my current location, reading about the trials and tribulations of Mangas Colorado, and his murder, made me feel like driving to Village Creek Natural Historical Area for a visit with the Indian Ghosts who haunt this location.

That and I needed to go to ALDI to get butter and other good stuff.

That is not litter clogged up behind the Village Creek Dam Bridge you are looking at above. Those are leaves, a huge raft of leaves, not unlike the Great Red River Raft of long ago. Fallen leaves also made a pleasant crunching sound as I walked along the paved trail.

Back to Mangas Colorado.

If you are not familiar with the story of this famous Native American, below is the blurb from the Wikipedia Mangas Colorado article which pertains to his murder...

In the summer of 1862, after recovering from a bullet wound in the chest, Mangas Coloradas met with an intermediary to call for peace. In January 1863, he decided to meet with U.S. military leaders at Fort McLane, in southwestern New Mexico. Mangas arrived under a flag of truce to meet with Brigadier General Joseph Rodman West, an officer of the California militia and a future Reconstruction senator from Louisiana. Armed soldiers took Mangas into custody. West gave an execution order to the sentries.

"Men, that old murderer has got away from every soldier command and has left a trail of blood for 500 miles on the old stage line. I want him dead tomorrow morning. Do you understand? I want him dead.”

That night Mangas was tortured, shot and killed "trying to escape." While tied on the ground, Mangas was provoked with red hot bayonets until he moved to simulate his attempt to escape.

The following day, U.S. soldiers cut off his head, boiled it and sent the skull to Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist in New York City. Phrenological analysis of the skull and two sketchs of it appear in Fowler's book. Daklugie, one of informants in Eve Ball's book, said the skull went to the Smithsonian Institution.

So, U.S. soldiers beheaded Mangas Colorado, post-mortem. Sort of an ISIS army on the 1800s.

History ain't pretty sometimes.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Frozen Door Sends Me On A Wild Miss Puerto Rico Jeep Ride With Hondurans

Despite my best efforts the ongoing frigidity in the outer world is currently thwarting me from getting any exercise besides a walk and a hot tub soak.

Today's low of 26 degrees re-froze the sliding door access to my bike, despite the fact that I lubricated everything about that door that moved when I got it open two days ago.

By the time noon rolled around the temperature had risen to 50, so I thought this was likely warm enough that I could have myself a mighty fine time rolling my wheels around the neighborhood.

When I realized the sliding door was once again stuck I could have extracted the bike from another exit point, but I did not feel like going to the bother, and so opted to go on a walk.

Eventually, as I walked past the Mailbox Etc. store in the Albertstons strip mall I found myself being hollered at by Miss Puerto Rico. This soon had me abandoning walking and instead going on a wild jeep joyride with Miss Puerto Rico behind the wheel.

That soon led to a Jack in the Box drive-through where much mayhem ensued, mostly involving Spanish chatter between Miss Puerto Rico and the Honduran who was taking her money and giving her her Jack food. Miss Puerto Rico is a Jack regular, with the Honduran familiar enough with Miss Puerto that she felt comfortable asking who this guy was that she had with her.

Due to not being bilingual I don't know what Miss PR's explanation regarding me was, but it had both of them laughing.

As we left Jack in the Box I said that sure was a friendly Jack in the Boxer. That is when I was told the Jack in the Boxer was a Honduran. Miss PR then told me that Hondurans are real friendly and always happy and don't lose their tempers all the time, unlike Mexicans, Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

I have had Miss PR make these Spanish speaking world differentiations before. I find it interesting. I guess it is sort of like how a UK person might say Americans are loud and aggressive, while Canadians are quiet and passive.

I've got a big backlog of blogging fodder that my current low energy ebb has me avoiding. My favorite among this potential blogging fodder has to do with 50 Shades of Gray and Fort Worth. The Gray Fort Worth idea amused me. We'll see if amusement is the result. If not, I don't hit the publish button...

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Snow Missed Flaking On Me In The Hot Tub At My Location In The Dallas Fort Worth Zone

As you can see, this morning's hot tubbing was a steamy affair.

With the hot tub heated to somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees and the air chilled to 27 degrees the temperature differential made for a very pleasant soak under the shine of a thin sliver of a moon.

Last night snow was falling all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Except at my location.

I looked out my windows several times throughout the night and saw nothing falling.

Prior to bedtime I'd already read a snow report from the Fort Worth Connie D, reporting a virtual blizzard of flakes at her location a few miles west of me, slightly west of downtown Fort Worth.

This morning the only thing white that I saw was the thick coat of frost covering every roof within my purview.

Currently only a slight breeze is blowing, thus a minimalist wind chill factor. I think, if dead calm continues to prevail, I may again attempt a bike ride. Unless my sliding door access to my bike is back frozen again. After the freeze lifted, once again freeing that door, I lubricated everything associated with that door that moved.

If the sliding door is frozen shut again, and if I am feeling real determined to roll my wheels, I suspect I may go through the extra bother of extracting the bike from the back door, assuming it is not also frozen shut.

Those whose job it is to keep us worried about the weather are hinting at some apocalyptic icy weather event happening after Thanksgiving, heading into December.

I miss those good ol' days of Global Warming....

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rolling My Wheels To Walmart In Search Of A Fort Worth Sidewalk

Last night after the sun set for the day I was giving my aching self a salubrious hot tub soak, when pinpricks of recently frozen water began pummeling me. It felt good.

As I was being pummeled by the incoming former ice I remembered I'd forgotten to get salsa when I was at ALDI earlier that day. Salsa is a much needed ingredient for the baked enchiladas I was making for today's Sunday buffet.

In the middle of the night I was laying awake and had myself a brilliant idea. In the morning I would roll the wheels of my bike the less than 3 miles to Walmart to get that much needed salsa, figuring Sunday morning, with cold temperatures, there would be few people out and about.

Of course this wheeling rolling to Walmart plan was predicated on the predicted precipitation in the form of sleet and snow not precipitating, which had me a bit disappointed to see, upon the first light of dawn, that the outer world was dripping wet.

When I took this morning's salubrious hot tub soak I was once again pummeled by extremely cold formerly frozen water.

In the middle of the night I decided when I rolled my wheels to Walmart in the morning part of my plan was to document the pathetic lack of sidewalks along this route, with that lack making riding ones bike a bit more hazardous than it need be. I also wanted to document the lack of sidewalks leading to the John T. White Elementary School, which opened just a couple years ago, on John T. White Road.

I have long wondered who in the world John T. White was that he is so honored with a school and a sidewalk free road named after him.

Well, due to the extreme drippage I decided to opt out of riding my bike to Walmart. Instead I used the old-fashioned method of using my mechanized means of locomotion. On route I snapped pictures through the windshield of the missing sidewalks along John T. White Road.

In the above picture you are looking at the dirt path ending, turning into the narrow paved sidewalks which runs in front of John T. Elementary School. That would be the school you see on the right in the picture.

Apartments Short Distance West of John  T. White
 with NO sidewalks
To the west of John T. Elementary School, on John T. White Road there are multiple apartment complexes. You see the kids in those complexes walking along the dirt path with leads to their school.

You reading this in other parts of America, did you realize there are still towns in America without sidewalks, where kids wear in dirt paths to make their way to school?

Do no kids ride their bikes to school at this location? When I was in elementary school I rode my bike to school . The school was about a mile ride, all on sidewalk, unless I chose to pedal on the road. Lots of kids rode their bikes to school when I was a kid. The school had a big bike rack to park our bikes on.

How is it allowed in civilized, modern America to build a school without sidewalks built to walk on so as to walk safely to school? Are there no codes or standards or regulations or something that covers this type neglect?

What about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Does that kick in in this type circumstance for a kid in a wheelchair needing to wheel himself to school at John T. Elementary School?

Methinks Fort Worth really should collectively feel ashamed of itself for this obvious neglect. How can this town waste so much money on things not needed, such as Three Bridges Over Nothing, which likely will be over nothing for a long, long time, when the relative pittance required to build a necessary amenity, like sidewalks, is deemed something not worthy of doing?

Isn't that Americans with Disabilities Act as federal law? How do you get the feds to intervene when a city is negligent regarding the basics? Such as sidewalks to schools and running water and modern restrooms in its parks?

It is very perplexing to me....

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Deep Frying Your Thanksgiving Turkey Can Have Explosive Results

No, that is not me in the picture holding my latest culinary triumph, a severely burned turkey.

What you are looking at is a picture from the blog of some New York personal injury attorneys, specifically the post from their blog which deals with the dangers associated  with Thanksgiving and the frying of turkeys using propane fueled deep fryers.

More on what the New York personal injury attorneys have to say about the risks associated with deep frying your Thanksgiving (or Christmas) turkey later in this blogging.

I only learned of the practice of deep frying a turkey shortly before moving to Texas. I had been email corresponding with a Fort Worth inhabitant with the charming Southern sounding name of Julene. At one point Julene mentioned having ordered her Thanksgiving deep fried turkey from Dickeys.

Huh? How does one order a turkey from a blue jeans maker, let alone get it fried, I wondered?

Upon arrival in Texas it was not long until I saw Deep Fried Turkey Frying Kits for sale at Krogers and other places. Along with huge jugs of peanut oil. I knew the South liked to fry stuff, but this was beyond how bad I imagined it could be.

Then, by the time my first Texas Thanksgiving rolled around the head mistress at the domicile I was staying in at that time had bought a Deep Fried Turkey Fryer. And a giant jug of peanut oil.

I thought the idea of deep frying a turkey was disgusting, that it'd be greasy and could not understand how it could be safe heating a bit pot of boiling oil and then sticking a big bird in it.

I wanted nothing to do with it, so I absented myself from the process and went roller blading. By the time I returned the turkey was done, what with it only taking about a half an hour to deep fry a big turkey.

I saw the finished product and instantly thought it looked real good, all golden brown. And then I took one bite.

Tastiest turkey ever.

And totally non greasy.

That was to be the first of many deep fried turkeys during my time at that domicile.

At one point, for a 4th of July pool party it was decided to deep fry 10 chickens. That did not go so well. The chickens did not turn out golden brown, like the turkey, and the meat was rendered sort of chewy. I liked it, but the majority did not.

It has now been well over a decade since I have had Deep Fried Turkey. Ironically, a Dickey's has now opened in my neighborhood. I forget when it was I learned that Dickey's also barbecued in addition to making blue jeans. Last week my mailbox contained an ad from Dickey's with a Deep Fried Turkey offer.

Now, if I've convinced you that you want to rush out and get yourself a Deep Fried Turkey Fryer, here is what those New York Personal Injury Attorneys had to say about this method of making your Thanksgiving turkey...

Severe burns and other personal injuries as well as destruction of property may result from improper use of gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the bird in hot oil. These cooking appliances are very popular for Thanksgiving but they are not safe! The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages their use. The risk of oil spilling is significant and the resulting injuries can be severe.

If you still decide to use a Turkey Fryer you should be aware of some of the dangers you are facing:
  • During the cooking hot oil can splash on your hands or face resulting in burn injuries
  • The deep fryer stand can tip or collapse when the turkey is put in or taken out resulting in a major hot oil spill
  • The temperature of the cooking oil is so high that even its vapors can ignite creating an additional risk of fire
  • Deep fryers can not be used inside. Many fires have ignited when fryers were moved indoors or into a garage to keep the appliance out of the rain
  • Bad weather such as snow and rain is an additional danger to deep frying. If the rain or the snow hits the oil it may splatter or turn to steam and result in burns. The same can happen if the turkey is put in the oil when not fully thawed
  • Deep fryers use around five gallons of oil and if the turkey is dropped too quickly in it, the oil will splash and burn people close to the appliance.
I think I err on the side of caution and let Dickey's do the turkey frying....

Is It Colder In Texas Than Alaska This Week?

I learned this morning on Facebook, via Miss Julie, the Reigning Queen of Assumption, that apparently currently we are colder in Texas than those shivering in Alaska this week.

Somehow I find that a bit hard to believe.

Currently my outer world in Texas is being heated to ten degrees above freezing.

This morning when I woke up my temperature monitoring devices I had a confusing conflict. My phone told me it  was 40 degrees at my location. My online local news source also indicated it was 40 degrees.

However, my computer based temperature monitoring device was telling me it was 32 degrees, as in freezing. I clicked on that freezing information to see I'd set the temperature monitoring device to monitor the temperature in my old home zone of Mount Vernon. I switched the location to Fort Worth to find the temperature now matching my other temperature monitoring devices.

So, I find it hard to believe that Mount Vernon, located where it is, in the heart of what is known as the Western Washington Banana Belt, barely freezing, is colder than the far north, as in, in Alaska, where I suspect, in much of the state, the temperature is well below freezing.

On a temperature related note, I had myself a mighty fine time in the hot tub this morning, watching clouds flying by from the south. Great big masses of clouds in odd formations moving so fast the sky would temporarily clear and then cloud up again. It was hypnotic.

I am going to try and ride my bike again. I am assuming the door that gives me access to my bike is no longer frozen shut....

Friday, November 14, 2014

With My Bike Frozen Stuck Today I Took A Frigid Walking Tour Of My Neighborhood With Guacamole

You are looking at what freezing looks like at my location on the planet, looking past the spiked spears which make up the security fence which keeps me secure from Halloween trick or treaters and other intruders.

Due to the fact that this second Friday of November is the first day in days without a strong wind constantly blowing I decided today would be a mighty fine time to layer on my collection of winter outerwear so as to roll my wheels on a cold tour of my neighborhood in relatively chill-free comfort.

After going to all that bother of putting on more clothes than I've put on in a long long time I got to the vehicle in which my bike is stored, unlocked the sliding door to find I could not open the door. Even though the only precipitation since this Polar Bomb exploded was a little sleet in the middle of the night a couple nights ago, somehow this Deep Freeze has managed to freeze the sliding door stuck.

The other doors opened just fine. But I can not get the bike out the other doors.

So, with no wheels available for manual rolling I opted to take a well insulated walk around the neighborhood, eventually ending up in Albertsons where a pushy woman insisted I try her free sample of guacamole and one chip. I had fingerless gloves on which made the chip dipping difficult. That and the chip broke up into pieces. I had one bite of the guacamole before the chip disintegrated on me. It was good guacamole. The chip, no so much.

I don't recollect if I have mentioned that I have been enjoying getting HOT in the restored hot tub during this unfortunate icy freak weather event. The hot tub gets all steamy, seems to have a salubrious effect on my sinuses, maybe from some sort of steambath effect. The hot tub is being heated to only 85 degrees, so I don't get overheated followed by a need for a quick dip in the way too cool pool.

I have been enjoying the hot tubbing in frigid temperatures so much I have been having myself an evening soak the last couple nights, after the sun leaves for the day. It is very relaxing.

The Fort Worth Transit Authority Needs To Restore Its Fare Aid Free Bus Pass Program

No, that is not a picture of current bus riding conditions on a Fort Worth T bus. I suspect this picture was taken during last winter's snow event.

Those who forecast the weather for this part of the planet have backed off a bit on the chance of ice or snow making us even more miserably cold this coming Sunday.

I am using a Fort Wort T bus image for non-weather reasons. As in something else is bugging me.

Last month I learned that the Fort Worth Transit Authority was stopping its free pass program which gave free bus passes via a grant program called Fare Aid.

Fare Aid was designed to aid the transportation needs of those who lacked the means to buy a bus ticket. Such as Homeless People, some of whom actually have jobs requiring some form of transit to get to the job which does not pay enough to allow the person the ability to afford a place to live other than a Homeless Shelter in Fort Worth's Homeless People District.

What is going on lately with the demonizing of Homeless People around the nation, from coast to coast, from Florida to California?

If only this were a nation based on Christian principles.

Principles like "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them To Do Unto You".

And then there is that famous quote from the guy from whom the Christian religions sprang, "What You Do To The Least Among You, You Do Unto Me."

Methinks it would behoove the Fort Worth Transit Authority to re-think its free pass program. It is not like the buses are running anywhere near full capacity, except maybe the downtown to West 7th line, at times. It is not going to increase revenue by ending the free passes. Those who relied on free passes are not suddenly going to be able to afford the $60 or $70 or whatever it is a monthly bus pass costs. Or the $3.50 for a one-day pass.

I would think a town, like Fort Worth, which has so many Homeless People that an area of town is known as the Homeless People District, would be motivated to do anything it could to help these people, such as provide free access to the town's under utilized public transit system.

And isn't it ironic, and just a bit embarrassing, that on the west side of Fort Worth's downtown we have what is known as The Cultural District, while on the east side of Fort Worth's downtown we have what is known as The Homeless People District.

Restore the free bus passes, Fort Worth. It's the Christian thing to do......

Tarrant Regional Water District Management Practices Under Scrutiny

Among this morning's incoming email was an email from one of the Tarrant Regional Water District Board Directors.

No. It was not Jim Lane.

The email pointed me to an article on the Cedar Creek Lake website titled Tarrant Regional Water District management practices under scrutiny.

Four paragraphs from this article should motivate you to read the entire piece...

Gooden said he filed multiple open records requests for information, but TRWD's attorneys "stonewalled" him. "It really leads me to believe they are trying to hide something," he said. "We can't seem to get any answers."

Gooden said he took his concerns to Henderson County District Attorney R. Scott McKee. "It is my belief if he looks hard enough he will find some pretty interesting things."

Gooden said his concerns include allegations that TRWD provides massage therapists for all employees, owns a lake house on Cedar Creek Lake for the use of top managers and members of the board of directors, maintains deer leases for management's use and gives water to fracking operations.

Gooden said he is concerned that TRWD is pumping water out of Cedar Creek Lake to sell in order to divert money to a "slush fund."

I'd not heard the "massage therapists" allegation before. The Deer Lease and its Hunting Lodge, that I have heard of before.

How does the TRWD continue to get away with stonewalling open records requests? It would seem to me that that violation of the Freedom of Information Act, alone, should be enough of a red flag to cause law enforcement to do some heavy duty investigating of the TRWD's shenanigans.

The cliche which I think is appropriate here "where there is smoke there is fire...."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Carol Burnett's Family Is Causing Me More Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome In Texas

Last February when I finally got around to getting myself a smart phone I had no idea how smart smart phones are.

I thought it was sending text messages, photos and accessing the Internet which made them smart.

Clearly, I was really dumb about how smart smart phones actually are.

I really had no clue about how dumb I was about how smart the smart phones are til I got fed up with AT & T's U-Verse cable scam and decided to cut the cord.

Cutting the cable cord is liberating. Opening doors I did not know existed. As in I did not know til I killed AT & T that I could watch TV on my smart phone.

Soon I found myself watching entire movies, such as Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator.

YouTube is like having a video library access to the history of television. As in full episodes of TV series going all the way back to the era of I Love Lucy.

Which leads me to my current nightmare. One day I clicked on YouTube and found YouTube recommending for my viewing pleasure the Carol Burnett Show's sketch known as The Family. Later known as Mama's Family.

Above you are looking at Eunice Higgins. Decades ago when I first watched the Mama's Family sketches I was hit with twinges of extreme discomfort, due to the fact that that which was being hyperbolized hit way too close to home. Eunice Higgins is at the heart of that which hit too close to home.

Watching these sketches on YouTube has been causing me some bad post traumatic stress nightmares.

I have a relative, or two, who remind me of that which Eunice Higgins parodies. There were a couple decades where I avoided family holiday get togethers by going to Reno and California, so as not to subject myself to my personal Eunice's.

Eunice Higgins is an overbearing, insecure, neurotic bully, rough riding over anyone in her path. The Eunice behavior which mirrors the behavior of the relatives whose behavior I abhor is the interrupting, dismissing, syndrome. This is demonstrated below in the full YouTube Larry Comes Home For Christmas Mama's Family sketch where you will see Larry be subjected to this type behavior.

When Larry finally has had enough of the insanity he erupts with a spewing informing his relatives that he lived a life where the people he related to actually let him complete a sentence, sometimes even an entire paragraph.

I remember the last time I was in the presence of one of my personal Eunice's I couldn't take it anymore, just like Larry, I left, went on a long walk, ended up at some nearby friend's house where the first words out of my mouth were "I need someone to talk normal to me for awhile."

And now for your viewing pleasure, "The Family Merry Christmas"......