Sunday, January 31, 2016

Swimming On The Last Morning Of January With Gar The Texan Unable

What with the high temperature the past couple days nearing 80 and the overnight temperature staying above 50, my pool doing criteria of an average temperature above 50 for 48 hours has rendered the pool doable the past couple mornings.

Time flies so fast. I think the last I was in the pool was Christmas morning. I am fairly certain the last couple days were the first pool bouts of the new year.

I do not recollect the pool being doable in January's past.

While for me the pool is doable, a few miles north and east of my location apparently pools are not doable when the temperature nears 80.

Yesterday, on Facebook, I saw Gar the Texan lamenting about his new pool not being doable. Gar the Texan and his latest wife recently moved to a new house, and that new house has a pool in the backyard.

Below is Gar the Texan's Facebook post about not going swimming in his new pool. Below that I'll copy the rest of Gar the Texan's cool pool lament.


Apparently Gar the Texan has a wetsuit, you know that thing you wear to go skin diving in cold water. Below is what Gar the Texan had to say about trying to go swimming in his new pool....

"I looked up my wetsuit rating and it says 55 degrees. Current water temp is 53. I put my arm in the water for half a minute. It came out numb. I need to rethink things. Perhaps the pool temp gauge is broken."

Someone reminded Gar the Texan that his latest wife is from Idaho, and is likely used to swimming in lake water heated in summer to the current temperature of his Texas  pool.

Now, in Gar the Texan's defense I must admit that he is a bit delicate. During the period of time in which I personally experienced Gar the Texan's delicate nature he had multiple incidents of what I came to call "episodes of the vapors."

The first time I experienced a Gar the Texan vapor episode was the first time I went mountain biking with him. The second time I experienced a Gar the Texan episode was the second and last time I went mountain biking with him. In that episode he had the most spectacular bike crash I ever witnessed, flying over the handlebars, then doing a somersault upon landing, and then suffering an episode of the vapors.

The one and only time I went roller blading with Gar the Texan ended with an episode about ten minutes into rolling. That episode had Gar sharing a bench with a pair of old ladies until he could recover enough to remove the roller blades and walk back to safety.

I am likely forgetting some Gar the Texan episodes of the vapors. I do recollect two hikes with no episodes of getting the vapors, one being hiking in Dinosaur Valley State Park and the other hiking at Turner Falls Park.

Due to the history of Gar the Texan having episodes of getting the vapors when doing a physical exercise type thing I am a bit puzzled as to why he has a wetsuit. Has he actually gone skin diving? If so, how does that work if an attack of the vapors happens? Seems like it would be scary.

Anyway, I think there shall only be a couple days more of swimming temperatures before the outer world resumes freezing, if the forecast is to be believed....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Non Tandy Hills Type Slippery Sauk Mountain Joey Hike


What with today being Saturday, and Saturday being the day I often go hiking Fort Worth's Tandy Hills, and what with there being what look like hills in the above photo, someone with extremely poor eyesight might think they are looking at the Tandy Hills.

That person would be thinking incorrectly. That is not a hill. It is a mountain. Sauk Mountain, located in the Skagit Valley of Washington state. Sauk Mountain is on the far west edge of the Cascade Mountain range.

I saw the above photo this morning on Facebook, via the first wife of renowned best selling author, Martin B.

Seeing this photo caused me to feel slightly homesick.

Sauk Mountain is one of the more easily accessed Cascade Mountain trails. If I remember right the trailhead was about 30 miles east of my abode in Mount Vernon. Slightly further than the four miles I drive to the Tandy Hills, but infinitely more scenic and more challenging to hike.

I have hiked to the summit of Sauk Mountain multiple times. In summer, when the high country opens up, free of the snowpack, Sauk Mountain draws hundreds of hikers on a good weather weekend day.

My last time hiking to the summit of Sauk Mountain was not on a good weather summer day. It was on a mid fall bad weather day.

My Favorite Nephew Joey and I had been doing a lot of mountain hiking the previous summer, like hiking up Mount Baker.

When Joey and I arrived at the Sauk Mountain trailhead there were only a couple other vehicles parked. And we soon saw that the owners of those vehicles were coming down the mountain, almost to the parking lot.

Joey and I decided to go for it, even though a few flakes of snow were falling. And it was freezing.

If you look closely at the photo above you can see the switchbacks of the trail which takes you to the summit of Sauk Mountain. You can also see that when this photo was taken some small patches of snow remained near the top of the mountain.

When Joey and I did that hike, that fall, there was already an accumulation of snow. When we  reached the last few switchbacks the trail was covered in ice, and slippery, but we kept on going til we reached the top.

And then the snow began falling in copious amounts. Around that time it crossed my mind  that I was being a slightly irresponsible uncle. I told Joey we'd go down the trail real slow, til we got off the iced over part of the trail. And that if we slipped and started to slide down the mountain, to just treat it as sled ride til a stop could be made.

Well, there was no slipping, we made our way slowly back to safety, where eventually the vehicle's heater warmed us up enough to stop the shivering.

Since I have been in Texas, Joey's mom, my Favorite Ex-Sister-In-Law, Cindy, has taken up the hiking sport. Cindy has hiked up many of the Cascade's most popular trails, including Sauk Mountain.

I do not know if Joey has ever told his mother that he and his irresponsible uncle hiked Sauk Mountain in an icy snow storm....

Friday, January 29, 2016

Blazing Trails To New Locations On Arlington's Village Creek

I had myself a different type of haunting experience in Arlington today at the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Years ago I was at one of the turtle viewing locations on Village Creek when I was startled to suddenly see a guy on the other side of the creek. How could someone get to this location, I wondered, what with the underbrush so thick, and what with it being summer, the time of year when the rattlesnakes, copperheads and other venomous critters are extra frisky.

Well, today I found my way to that location. In the picture above I am standing about where I saw that guy years ago. That thin gray line you see at the top of the photo is the paved trail that one accesses from the VCNHA parking lot, which I had been jogging on a few minutes prior. That opening you see in front of the gray paved line is the turtle viewing location mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Though the air was heated today to a summer type temperature, if you are talking about a Western Washington summer, not a Texas summer, it was not hot enough today to get the slithering reptiles in danger mode.

I got gas today. $1.43 a gallon. I used to regularly call my mom and dad when I got gas, but of late I don't do that so much because usually when I get gas I am not alone and it seems rude to call someone when one is not alone in the vehicle. So, I called today from a Village Creek NHA picnic table, but got no answer. A call later in the afternoon was successful.

Tomorrow is my mom's happy birthday. Happy birthday, mom......

This Trinity River Whitewater Rapids Plan Would Have Filled Dallas Potholes

A couple days ago, after Elsie Hotpepper caused me to be puzzled I blogged about that which puzzled me, asking Why Does Army Corps Of Engineers Not Like Dallas Whitewater Wild Rapids Blocking Trinity River?

Yesterday I got an email from Facebook telling me that Elsie Hotpepper had tagged me. Getting tagged by Elsie Hotpepper always raises my worry level.

This particular instance of Elsie Hotpepper tagging me was due to the Hotpepper wanting me to read a comment made to her posting about the Dallas Whitewater Rapids.

The comment was made by Korean War historian and Trinity River Watchdog, Hal Barker. The comment in its entirety, copied and pasted from Facebook....

Hal Barker: Indeed. It cannot be made up. Only the City of Dallas could come up with a project like this for the 8 kayak folks who want to take the 2 second ride. 

My suggestion originally was that, in lieu of a fake rapid, that the City offer all 8 white water kayak folks who live in Dallas and want to ride on the Trinity free tickets by SW Airlines to Colorado with an all expense paid vacation whenever they want.

That would have cost about what it cost to buy the design for the project, and left over millions for filling potholes.

But no, the City wanted a Colorado experience in Dallas. So here we are, the Corps going on a rampage, the City forgetting to tell their bosses that the doo-doo was going to hit the fan, lawsuits, screaming executives, and Hal Barker going after Corps of Engineers documents they don't want to give up. This is like a Trump reality show....

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Look Inside Fort Worth Stockyards Renovated New Isis Theater

This morning Elsie Hotpepper directed me to that which you see here, on Facebook, photos of "An abandoned theater in the Stockyards of Fort Worth built in 1930s and forgotten since 1988."

The theater being talked about is the New Isis Theater, with its reader board, for years, promising the New New Isis would be opening soon, ever since I first saw this eyesore soon upon my arrival in Texas, late in the previous century.

I have mentioned this Stockyards eyesore many times, in various venues, over the years, including multiple mentions on this blog you are looking at right now, for example...

The Fort Worth Stockyards New Isis Theater Travesty & The Baker Hotel In Mineral Wells Travesty

and

The New Isis Theater In The Fort Worth Stockyards Is Still Not New After All These Years.

The blog post about the New Isis Theater still not being new, after years of claiming it would be re-opening soon, included the following interesting information from a guy named Robert....

Dear Durango Texas,

As an FYI - The New Isis Theater is currently in the architectural phase of renovation. This will probably take 3-4 months and the renovation approximately 14-16 months. Hopefully we can achieve a look which will remove us from your expertly crafted list of Stockyard buildings in need of repair. You could be very helpful in this process by informing your web viewers that the original seats from the inside of the theater are available for those who would like to purchase a piece of history. These will need to be replaced because of they are only 16 1/2 inches wide compared to modern theater seats at 21". (a testament to the decline of our culinary tastes over the last 70+ years.)

Regards,
Robert
The New Isis Theater

The blog post which let us know the New Isis Theater renovation would be completed in 14 - 16 months was from way back in October of 2011.

Did J.D. Granger and America's Biggest Boondoggle take over the New Isis Theater renovation? Is that why in 2016 the New Isis Theater looks like that which you see below?


The above photo is what the interior of the renovated New Isis Theater looks like in 2016. This is one of the photos in the Jonny Goodday Facebook post which Elsie Hotpepper directed me to.

How did this theater get in such bad shape? Why is this boarded up eyesore allowed to continue blighting Fort Worth's best tourist attraction, the Stockyards, decade after decade?

Throwing Thursday Back To 1027 Washington Avenue In Burlington

I do not believe I have ever participated in the phenomenon known as "Throw Back Thursday".

I suppose my lack of participation in this phenomenon has to do with not having anything I've felt like throwing back on a Thursday.

So, last week, or the week before, something caused me to look for photos of an October 1994 incident where I was snowed in by a blizzard in a log cabin at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

During the course of looking for that photo I found the photo above, long forgotten.

On the left that would be my Favorite Nephew Joey, standing next to my Favorite Nephew Jason.

If I remember correctly this photo was taken in December of 1999. I'd made a winter driving trek back to Washington to attend to something the details of which have turned foggy due to the passage of time. I do not remember why my nephews and I returned to the location of the photo, but I believe this is likely the last time I have been at this location.

1027 Washington Avenue in Burlington, Washington. The house I grew up in.

Who would have thought, when I took this photo in 1999, that six years later I would pick up these two nephews and their girl friends at D/FW Airport, where I was informed that Jason would be getting married soon, with me flying north for that wedding a year, or so later, followed by the arrival of Spencer Jack a year or so after that.

Who would have thought, when I took this photo in 1999, that in October of 2015 my Favorite Nephew Joey would be standing outside a Grapevine, Texas McDonald's, meeting up with his Favorite Uncle, because Joey was in Dallas to install some high tech electronic gear at an Expedia outlet?

My nephews have aged since the above photo was taken. They no longer look like kids. While like some sort of creepy Dorian Gray Benjamin Buttons thing I have not aged at all.

So much for Throwing Back Thursday.....

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why Does Army Corps Of Engineers Not Like Dallas Whitewater Wild Rapids Blocking Trinity River?

I saw that which you see here a few minutes ago, from Elsie Hotpepper, via Facebook.

Til the past week, give or take a day or two, I did not know that the Dallas version of the Trinity River Vision already saw a whitewater wild rapids installation.

A wild rapids installation which cost a few million bucks and which blocks upriver boat floating on the Trinity River.

That blockage has turned the Dallas wild rapids into a problem with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose job it is to make sure America's navigable rivers remain navigable.

How this Dallas wild rapids thing got installed without the Army Corps of Engineers being in the loop is a mystery to me.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, I have long known that a proposed wild rapids installation is part of Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision. I learned of the Fort Worth wild rapids via signage installed, long ago, by America's Biggest Boondoggle,  in Gateway Park, which is the location of the proposed Fort Worth wild rapids.

I don't quite understand how wild rapids are supposed to work in an area where the topography is a bit flat, hence a slow moving river.

If the Dallas wild rapids is now an issue because it has blocked navigation, why are the multiple dams across the Trinity River, as it passes through Fort Worth, not a navigation blocking issue?

Are the Fort Worth Trinity River dams not relevant, navigation blockage-wise, because the Trinity River is no longer considered navigable by the time one goes upriver as far as Fort Worth? Who knows?

What I do know is I have wondered ever since I saw The Boondoggle's Gateway Park signage touting the Gateway Park wild rapids feature how in the world that would work, what with that absence of much elevation change problem that I already mentioned.

I have not seen the Dallas wild rapids on the Trinity. I have no idea where this is located. By Tramwell Crow Park, perhaps? I have seen the steep boat launch at that location.

If the Army Corps of Engineers is threatening to pull the plug on Dallas' water, why doesn't Dallas simply remove the silly fake wild rapids? Have people actually been using these fake rapids in kayaks to have themselves a pseudo wild river experience? Seems unlikely.

Then again, 10 years ago I would never have dreamed that the local sheep could be convinced it is a good idea to float on inner tubes in the Trinity River, drinking beer, while listening to music blaring from an imaginary pavilion on an imaginary island....

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Finding More Picnic Tables Than Indian Ghosts In Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area

Yesterday was so warm it would have qualified as a HOT summer day back in my old home zone in Western Washington.

Overnight, clouds arrived, along with a steep temperature drop, as in yesterday at this late point in the afternoon the outer world was nearing 70 degrees. Today, at this late point in the afternoon the temperature is in the 40s, and feels much colder.

After a bit of shivering this morning I decided going running with the Village Creek Indian Ghosts, again, would warm me up.

So, around the noon time frame I drove to Arlington and did some running. This warmed me up somewhat, but not much.

Late last spring an Arlington park crew removed the thick underbrush along both sides of the paved trail which runs through the Village Creek Natural Historical Area. This did not seem, to me, to be a very natural thing to be doing. A result of the clearcutting has been that you can see way in the distance, where previously the view was blocked by brush.

Today I made note of this clear view when I noticed how many picnic tables I could see. I took several photos of the sea of picnic tables, but in none of them could you much see the ones in the distance.

The picnic tables you see in the foreground of the photo are located in one of two concentrated  picnic table zones, both with large off the ground fire pits. The two concentrated picnic table zones are only a short distant apart, with the first one just a short distance from the parking lot.

I bring up this forest of picnic tables because, while I'm sure the Arlington park's people meant well with all these picnic tables, the fact of the matter is over all my years of  visiting this park I have only rarely seen anyone using any of the picnic tables, or burning wood in one of the two fire pits.

Seems a shame that these picnic tables are so underused. A shame and a waste. I'm thinking that moving most of these picnic tables to another Arlington park might be a good idea. Like Veterans Park, which has way more visitors and way fewer picnic tables.

The fact that the Village Creek Natural Historical Area is not an appealing picnic spot is another reason I think it odd there are so many picnic tables. Like many Fort Worth parks, this Arlington park has no modern restrooms, not even outhouses, and no running water, unless one counts the water which flows through Village Creek.

Anyway, it just struck me as a sad scene when I noticed how many unused picnic tables I was able to see, way into the distance, and behind me....

Fort Worth's Bearded Lady Stuffs Her Texas Twinkie JalapeƱos With Pulled Pork

Texas cuisine is so tempting it is a wonder, to me, more Texans do not have a weight problem.

For instance, six or seven times a week Mildred Halbert's parental units have a feeding at one of the many Dallas/Fort Worth food purveyors.

Usually when Mildred Halbert's parental units have one of their ubiquitous feedings they document the occasion on Facebook, such as what you see here.

A delicacy known as "Texas Twinkies" which Mildred Halbert's parental units enjoyed yesterday at a Fort Worth feeding establishment called The Bearded Lady.

I used to know a lady known as The Fat Lady who was a real good cook. Best cookies ever. I have never known a lady known as The Bearded Lady who is a good cook.

We learn about "Texas Twinkies" when Mildred Halbert's paternal parental unit describes the Bearded Lady lunch as....

 "Havin' a few Texas Twinkies for lunch! (bacon wrapped, pulled pork stuffed in jalapeƱos covered with pineapple chutney) #GonnaMakeYourTongueSlapYourBrainsOut#TheLadyBraidsHerBeard.

I don't get that hashtag thing one sees all over, but in this case I think it relates to the line at the top where Mildred Halbert's paternal parental unit says "feeling tongue slapped at The Bearded Lady."

I have never been to The Bearded Lady. I don't know where in Fort Worth this feeding establishment is located.

For years Elsie Hotpepper and her co-hort, Mary Not Contrary, have been saying they are going to take me out to lunch. But, they never do.

Maybe someday Elsie and Mary will take me to The Bearded Lady for Texas Twinkies.....

Monday, January 25, 2016

Is Dallas As Bad A Sewage Polluter As Victoria British Columbia?

Way back late in the last century a scandal erupted in the Pacific Northwest, with that scandal being an issue between Washington and British Columbia over some extremely disgusting, bad behavior by the British Columbia provincial capital of Victoria.

Until the scandal erupted most Washingtonians were not aware of the fact that the city of Victoria pumped its raw sewage, untreated, into the Straits of Juan de Fuca, that being the body of water which separates Washington from Canada.

British Columbia officials claimed that the tidal action of fast moving currents treated the raw sewage, naturally.

However, Washingtonians, who had witnessed the large plume of discolored water that frequently appeared from  the area  of Victoria's sewer pipes, thought differently.

Starting back  in the 1960s Washington sewage treatment had elevated to what is known as tertiary treatment. Which basically means the treated sewage is restored to a safe water state before winding up back in Puget Sound. The waters of Washington, both the rivers and the Sound, soon were no longer polluted. This had multiple benefits, such as salmon returning to Lake Washington.

So, you can see why it grated on the nerves of the people of Washington to learn that the capital of British Columbia was shooting raw sewage into the straits through which salmon swam on their way to Washington rivers.

All these years later I believe Victoria, despite promises to modernize, still releases sewage into the straits which has not been cleaned up to American standards.

Meanwhile in Texas.

I was vaguely aware that there was an issue in Dallas regarding the south part of town not having full access to the town's sewer lines.

A recent article in the Dallas Observer titled COUNCIL GIVES MONEY TO A MALL, BUT WON'T SPEND ON SEWERS. THAT'S SO DALLAS sort of shocked me with the realization that Dallas is pretty much almost as bad as the Canadian town of Victoria.

Two blurbs from the article...

Pitre (pronounced PEEtree) owns 120-plus acres of land near the new University of North Texas' southeast Dallas campus. He is one of several black land-owners in that area who have been campaigning for years — unsuccessfully so far — to get the city to extend sewer service to their part of the city.

But the DART station at UNT will be on a septic tank, because Dallas still has not extended a sewer main close enough to that location for DART or any other developer to be able to afford to connect to it. Recently, when the city rebuilt a major thoroughfare next to the campus —  an ideal time to put in sewer cheaply because the road was torn up anyway — the city declined to do so.
__________________________

I had no idea that a large American city existed without modern sewage treatment covering a large part of the town.

South Dallas is sewer line free?

Does this mean Fair Park is not connected to a sewer line?

Are parts of Fort Worth similarly backward?

Is that why the majority of Fort Worth parks are serviced by outhouses rather than modern restroom facilities?

Is the South Dallas zone, which is not connected to a sewer line, solely dependent on septic tanks? Or do a lot of people have outhouses in their backyards?

What does it do to the ground water to have so many septic tanks in a concentrated area?

Why would Dallas spend money on extremely cool futuristic looking bridges when a large portion of the town does not have modern plumbing?

Victoria, British Columbia took a big hit, tourist-wise, after the Sewagegate Scandal erupted. Would Dallas take a similar hit, tourist-wise, if it became known, nationally, and internationally, that a large part of the town is cut off from the type amenity one expects in a modern city?

Very perplexing.....

Texas Woman Visits Washington And Finds It Astonishing

I was looking for an old email, yesterday, when I saw a blog comment email from Techsas Woman from around three years ago which I did not remember.

My not remembering this email is clearly yet one more indicator of my failing memory function, because not only had I previously read this comment, I had hit the publish button on it and had replied to the comment.

In my memory's defense, I have multiple blogs, with the total number of posts on those blogs being in the thousands, all of which can get commented on.

The comment  from Techsas Woman and my reply.....

Techsas Woman has left a new comment on your post "The Skagit Valley's Big Rock With Spencer Jack's Grandma Cindy & The Nookachamp Star Child Falling From The Sky": 

I was so happy to find your blog, as I have a Texas / Mt. Vernon connection, too, though from the other side. My Texan daughter moved to Mt. Vernon three years ago. My husband and I made our first visit two years ago and found the beauty to be astonishing - the San Juan Islands, Deception Pass, Snoqualmie Falls... breathtaking! (The second thing we found astonishing was the number of ex-patriot Texans we ran into up there.) While I find some of your remarks towards Texas and Texans to be awfully stinging, I'm so pleased to find great travel commentary for the area. We're heading back in late June with hopes to head up towards Mt. Baker and also make a trip to Vancouver. 

Durango Northwest said...
Thanks for the comment, Techas Woman. Did not get "Techas" til I read the comment. I can't remember any stinging remarks directed at Texas or Texans. I have age related memory issues. You are really gonna like Vancouver. Very scenic. And the town's Skytrain & Sea Buses make it easy to get around. If your visit to Mount Baker is to the ski area you are in for some classic mountain driving that might be unsettling if you've not experienced that before. Later in summer hiking up Mount Baker becomes doable from the south side, hiking to the side you can see from Mount Vernon. You might also like driving over Stevens Pass. It being, in my opinion, the most scenic of the Washington mountain passes, with Leavenworth on the east side being Washington's best tourist themed town. The North Cross State Highway is also very scenic with another tourist theme town on the east side, in Winthrop. I miss Washington and its extremely varied topography.
_________________________

I can't imagine to what Techsas Woman refers when she says some of my remarks regarding Texans and Texas are awfully stinging. Anything I have ever remarked has always been reality based. I guess reality can have a bit of a sting if ones view of ones world is through tainted rose-colored glasses....

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Running With Arlington Indian Ghosts

Til today the last couple of weeks I had not indulged in the jogging habit I acquired last summer.

I think it was the abrupt change to winter type temperatures which put the temporary stay on running.

But, today, with the outer world not being too cool, currently at a relatively balmy 61 degrees, but a little cooler when I hauled myself to Arlington to go running with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

I was not alone with the Indian Ghosts today. More people than is the norm were having themselves a mighty fine time enjoying the crisp, clean air.

My intention today had been to run a three mile loop. But when I got to the location you see above I found the loop was not doable due to water flowing over the dam bridge I use to cross over into the Interlochen neighborhood.

I don't like backtracking, but with the loop not doable, backtracking is what I did.

And now, a couple hours later, I am still enjoying the endorphins that came my way today via aerobic over stimulation.

I think I will make sure I don't fall off the salubrious jogging wagon again....

Quickly Building A New Fort Worth Bridge Over Water

Yesterday, after leaving Gateway Park I eventually found myself heading east on the road which morphs from being East 1st Street into Randol Mill Road.

This road crosses the Trinity River on an old bridge which will soon become part of a new paved trail running east all the way to Quanah Parker Park.

I stopped my vehicle prior to crossing that aforementioned old bridge in order to snap a photo of the new bridge which will replace the old bridge.

The new bridge over the Trinity River looks to be a four lane bridge. Only a month ago the bridge's support piers were under construction. That phase of the project is finished with the road bed now being installed.

This new bridge over the Trinity River is being constructed over water, obviously. Water which has caused some construction problems, like back around Thanksgiving when the Trinity quickly went into flood mode, stranding, under water, a heavy piece of construction equipment.

This upgrade to East 1st Street/Randol Mill Road includes two other bridges, in addition to the one over the Trinity. The other two bridges are already completed.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Fort Worth, America's Biggest Boondoggle is currently boondoggling along building three simple little bridges with a four year construction timeline, building the bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

A couple months ago America's Biggest Boondoggle made a big deal over one of its three bridges having the wooden forms for its V-piers able to be seen. Has concrete now been poured in those forms? Is the bridge deck under construction like the above Fort Worth bridge?

How is it that one public works project in Fort Worth seems to be being built in the efficient manner I have witnessed such things in other locations in America, at the same time another public works project in Fort Worth ambles along in slow motion with very little to show for an effort which has spanned most of this century.

Very perplexing.

I suspect a local congresswoman's unqualified son is not directing the road/bridge building project on East 1st Street/Randol Mill Road. I suspect actual qualified adults with engineering degrees are in charge of building that bridge over the Trinity River.....

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Looking Over New Gateway Park Overlook Before Town Talk Dud

For a long long time Saturday's were my day to go mountain biking the Gateway Park Fort Worth Mountain Bike Association trail prior to going treasure hunting at Town Talk.

For many a month now Gateway Park and Town Talk have not been my Saturday norm.

Til today.

First off let's get Town Talk out of the way. TT was a dud today. Crowded. All I could find to put in my cart were giant tortillas. With that being all I could find, I bailed, and vowed not to return unless I happened to be in the area. Town Talk has gone downhill under its new owner, I've concluded, after having such suggested by Mr. Stenotrophomonas.

The Gateway Park part of today turned out to be interesting. That and I had myself a mighty fine walk. The photo above is looking at the currently closed entry to the FWMBA trail. Closed due to work being done in Gateway Park by, I think, the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision.

Some of what is being done to Gateway Park I could understand, some of what I saw perplexed me, such as that which you see below.


Every where I walked I saw orange mesh, such as you see above, acting like a flimsy fence around trees. To what purpose I could not figure out.

I have no idea when the Gateway Park mountain bike trail will be fully doable once more, with part of the problem clearly visible below.


When the Trinity River went into flood mode it flooded all the low lying areas where the mountain bike trail trailed. And then when the river receded lakes of water were left behind. I assume the only way this water will drain is via the slow evaporation method.

I will need to explain what you are looking at below.


On the left that big chunk of gray is a dangling chunk of the old Gateway Park paved trail that succumbed to a long ago flood. The blue on the right is a slice of the Trinity River, well below being in flood mode. In the center of the photo you see splashes of white. The camera did not quite capture the astonishing array of litter left behind, stuck in tree limbs, when the river receded.

Today's Gateway Park inspection did not take me to the location of the new Trinity River Overlook on the west side of the park.  Today's inspection did take me to the location of the new Trinity River Overlook on the east side of the park.


When I last saw this location, late last year, I saw that the decayed, water damaged boarded up boardwalk overlook had been removed. I was sort of surprised to see the new west side overlook looking good and nearly completed. Above we are looking west at the south part of the new overlook. That would make that slice of blue on the left the Trinity River.

The mud you see in the foreground was frozen solid, so I walked over it to walk over the new overlook.


Above we are standing on the new overlook, looking northwest, with the Trinity River behind us. This new overlook looks to be much more solidly built and better designed than its ill-fated predecessor. Wood is not a construction element. And the entire structure appears to be above what a flooding Trinity River can reach.

Today's walk around Gateway Park had me thinking that the improvements being made may bring this park a lot more visitors. I've long thought Gateway Park was under appreciated by the locals, due to seeing so few people making use of the park's many miles of shaded  paved trails.

Van Williams Cousin's Ex Thanks Durango & Elsie Hotpepper For The Memory

Earlier in the week I blogged about an Elsie Hotpepper nightmare which I thought may have been caused by a Rawhide episode, which led to someone suggesting I watch Surfside 6 starring Fort Worth's Van Williams, which led to me blogging about Surfside 6, which led to the following interesting comment from someone named Anonymous who had been married to a cousin of Van Williams...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "On Rat Patrol Looking At Fort Worth's Surfside 6 Van Williams With No Calamity Nightmares":

Van was the son of Blackie and Priscilla Williams. He went to Arlington Heights and was famous for driving his jeep through the old fountain in front of the main building... long since removed. 

Bernard " Blackie" was a great guy and was on the TCU National Championship football team of 1938. He married Priscilla Jarvis and had 2 sons. Van and the older Bernie, who lived his life as a monk in California. 

Van was a looker. He was discovered by Mike Todd and Elizabeth Taylor as he walked the beaches of Waikiki. He was the cousin of my ex who was a Jarvis. He used to come to visit and had a beautiful family. Gorgeous wife and daughters. 

The Jarvis and Van Zant families were founding families of The Fort. 

Blackie introduced my mother to her second husband, though I never held it against him. 

My little sis was a burn victim when she was little and Van came to see her in the Carswell burn unit. She has never forgotten it. 

Van had a beeper company in LA back when that was hot. He took parts as he could to be able to keep his SAG insurance plan.

Fun to see him brought up again. Thanks Durango and Hotpepper. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Feeling Guilty When Anything Helps While Having Nothing To Give

A few months ago, back when the outer world air was warm, well, actually, HOT, I was leaving the Target/ALDI shopping zone on Eastchase Parkway in far east Fort Worth, waiting in a line of vehicles for the light to turn green when I saw a pan handler person sitting on the ground.

As I got out my camera the light turned green, so no photo was taken of that sad scene at that point in time, last year.

And now today, I was once again leaving the Target/ALDI shopping zone on Eastchase Parkway in far east Fort Worth where I found myself driving by the same pan handler person sitting in the same location.

Only this time the light turned red before I could make the turn on to Eastchase. So, I got out my phone and took a photo of the pan handler as reflected in the side mirror of my vehicle.

What you see the man holding is a sign which says "Anything Helps".

The man holding the sign looked to be healthy, in his 20s, darkly suntanned, likely from way too much outdoor exposure.

Is this guy at this location every day? Seen by thousands of passing people over the passage of time? I did not think to turn around, park, and then walk over to talk to the guy to find out what has him in this seemingly dire situation.

Fort Worth police must drive by this guy every day. As do the people who operate the stores in this shopping zone.

I felt guilty taking a photo of the guy, and not offering anything to help. But, in my defense, the only actual money I had on me was the quarter I use to unleash an ALDI shopping cart. I doubt he takes debit or credit cards. I did buy a jar of peanuts at ALDI. I suppose handing the guy a jar of peanuts would qualify as help.

Could this guy be one of the army of homeless veterans left injured in ways unseen by the infamous Bush Wars? He is not the first young man I have seen in my neighborhood zone, seeming to be homeless, who had me wondering if he was yet one more abandoned veteran.

A couple years ago I came upon a guy who I thought might be an abandoned veteran living in a home made of cardboard under cover of brush near my neighborhood defunct Kroger store. I saw that guy over and over again for about a year, always looking ever more haggard. And then he disappeared.

Why isn't the veteran suicide epidemic a HUGE issue? All that Repugnant warmongering that would create more traumatized veterans, but no mongering about fixing the problems that plague the army of veterans.

Well, there is Donald Trump, who does say he will fix the disgraceful treatment of the veterans, but, well, it's Donald Trump, so the words are pretty much meaningless....

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fort Worth Weekly Static Over Confederate Battle Flag Ku Klux Klan Parade Infiltration

This week's Fort Worth Weekly Static column reflected on last Saturday's Fort Worth Stock Show Parade in downtown Fort Worth, opining the parade resembled a backwoods Ku Klux Klan rally.

Fort Worth Weekly made a good case as to what made the Stock Show Parade resemble a Ku Klux Klan rally, and before any Yankees reading this prejudge Fort Worth and its signature parade, you need to read in its entirety what Fort Worth Weekly's Static had to say.....

Stock Show Parade or Klan Rally?

Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo officials are barring people from displaying the Confederate battle flag at official events from now on. The ban included participants at last Saturday’s downtown parade that drew thousands of spectators. One participating group has long displayed the flag during previous parades. A local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans protested by carrying flagless poles with black streamers. The group, founded in 1896 in Richmond, Va., by descendants of Confederate soldiers, sent out volunteers to distribute Confederate flags to 1,400 spectators, ensuring that the parade resembled an inbred, redneck, backwoods, Ku Klux Klan rally.

Afterward, on the Facebook page for “R.E. Lee Camp 239 Sons of Confederate Veterans,” administrators bragged about polluting the parade: “Most of the crowd loved us, and all went pretty well with only the occasional sarcastic comment,” read a post from Sunday, Jan. 17, the day after the event. “Of course, the media went to great pains to edit and crop their shots to try and not show the flags in the crowd. A couple of the flaggers were hassled by police and parade marshals for getting too close to what they determined to be private property; but conversations with Fort Worth’s finest let [sic] us to believe that they were with us but couldn’t speak out for fear of job reprisal.”

You know who wasn’t with you? People who equate the flag with pro-slavery sentiments. Waving it in public, putting a decal on your truck, or wearing it on a t-shirt are ways of saying, “I support people who fought to own slaves.”

Supporters say the familiar red flag with the blue X and white stars stands for states’ rights, independence, freedom, and preservation of history. Others see it as a fashion statement or a harmless homage to the Dukes of Hazzard. Whatever. If a huge group of people sees the flag as a grand insult, why would you want to flaunt it? The swastika was considered sacred for thousands of years. In the early 20th century, the symbol was thought to be lucky and was often engraved on flammable items such as space heaters as an added safety precaution. And then Hitler came along.

Who among you wants to walk around town waving a swastika flag today? You could explain to each person you meet that it’s really a religious symbol or that it means luck. But why would you want to? If you wear a swastika or a Confederate flag in this day and age, you look like someone who supports racism. If you flew the flag in battle 150 years ago, power to you. If you’re flying it now, you’re just an ass hat.

Sure, Americans enjoy personal freedoms and can display that flag if we wish. Freedom of expression is a wonderful thing. And, wonderfully, Texas Rep. Ramon Romero of Fort Worth didn’t curb his expressions. (Romero rode in the Stock Show parade, took photos of people waving Confederate flags, and posted them on his Facebook page. One photo showed baby carriages adorned with the controversial flags.)

“Hate was front and center today!!” Romero posted shortly after the parade. “What a shame that our city is so full of hate and ignorance that Confederate flags were distributed to Stock Show parade watchers all along the route…! Who gives Confederate flags to kids????! Racists! Our city deserves so much better!! Teachers teach, parents teach, elected officials speak out against this small minority of people that shamed our city today.”
_______________________________________

I thought I read somewhere that the yahoos who infiltrated Fort Worth's Stock Show Parade with Confederate Battle Flags were based in Weatherford. Weatherford is the county seat of Parker County, located on the far west end of the D/FW Metroplex.

This morning I was looking for a photo of being snowed in at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon when I came upon the photo you see at the top of a group of what appear to be Rebel troops assembled under the Confederate Battle Flag.

This photo was taken at a Civil War Battle Re-Enactment taking place at a location a few miles west of Weatherford.

This took place way back at the start of this century. In recent years I have not noticed announcements of Civil War Battle Re-Enactments. I was extremely impressed by what a HUGE deal the Weatherford re-enactment was. There was a Union Camp and a Confederate Camp. You could visit both. In the camps you could get yourself period appropriate vittles, like giant smoked turkey legs.

Watching the battle take place were women and other spectators in period garb. Even the "hospital" was very realistic, with limbs being sawed off and left in a pile where rats and dogs added to the realism.

As you can see the now notorious Confederate Battle Flag was part of this re-enactment. I thought nothing of it at the time. I am sure those hoisting that flag were doing so for authenticity, with doing so having nothing to do with making any sort of ugly racist statement.

Which I don't think was maybe the case with those yahoos who distributed Confederate Battle Flags at last Saturday's Fort Worth parade....

2016's Third Thursday Drips Wet & Noisy At My Texas Location With Sarah Palin

I stepped outside to take an outer world photo on this third Thursday of the new year to find myself surprised by water dripping from above.

Just minutes prior I heard on the radio that the drippage was not scheduled to arrive for several hours, coming in from the west, along with some thunderstorming.

Does the fact that water is already dripping portend that the incoming storm may be more severe than predicted?

I hope not. But before we find out if the incoming storm is going to be a bad one.

A knock on the front door.

Incoming plumber, replacing bathroom faucets.

Speaking of dumber than a plumber.

Yesterday I watched as much as I could stand of Sarah Palin's Trump endorsement  speech.

Yikes!

It is terribly troubling that apparently there are some Americans, including Donald Trump, who are unable to tell that there is something seriously unhinged in this woman.

Blaming Obama for her drunken son Track's assault on his girl friend? Shamefully embarrassing.

Yesterday I also watched the British Parliament's debate on banning Trump from entering the UK. Words like idiot, imbecile, embarrassing, ridiculous, bigot and a mugwat sounding word I'd not heard before were used, all sounding very elevated with a British accent.

The plumber is making a lot of noise with his plumbing. I do not like a lot of noise. Must escape....

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On Rat Patrol Looking At Fort Worth's Surfside 6 Van Williams With No Calamity Nightmares

Yesterday, after I blogged about a Calamity Hotpepper Nightmare in which I mentioned the nightmare may have been caused by watching a Rawhide episode from a half century ago, someone calling him or herself Anonymous made an interesting comment...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Elsie Hotpepper Becomes A Nightmare Calamity":

You could watch Surfside 6 which features famous Fort Worth actor Van Williams in one of the starring roles. Van Zandt Jarvis Williams had another role as TV's Green Hornet. His sidekick was none other than Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee attended the University of Washington and is buried in Seattle. The Fort Worth - Seattle connections keep a comin'. And now you know the rest of the story. Good day. 

I checked to see if Surfside 6 is available via my YouTube ancient TV show provider. It is not. All there is is a video of the Surfside 6 opening credits and theme song. A very catchy theme song with a bit of cha cha cha.

Reading the Wikipedia article about Surfside 6 I learned that in addition to Fort Worth's Van Williams, this is the show which turned Troy Donahue into a temporary star. Surfside 6 was to be pretty much the high point of Troy Donahue's life. I remember Troy Donahue, but til reading the Wikipedia Troy Donahue article I did not know how pitiful the rest of his life was after his heyday in the early 60s.

As for Fort Worth's Van Williams, he is still among the living and according to the Wikipedia article about Van Williams, his life has had a much better trajectory than his Troy Donahue co-star.

Does Van Williams ever return to his old hometown? I do not recollect a visit being noted since I have been in this location.

As for Van Williams Green Hornet co-star, Bruce Lee being buried in Seattle. I can remember visiting a grave in the cemetery that is adjacent to Seattle's Volunteer Park. But was it the grave of Bruce Lee? Or Jimi Hendrix.

Back to Wikipedia to find out who is buried where.

Okay, it was Bruce Lee who is buried in Lakeview Cemetery on the north side of Volunteer Park on Seattle's Capitol Hill.  Jimi Hendrix is buried at the location of his mother's gravesite at Greenwood Cemetery in Renton, Washington.

Last night I did not watch Rawhide or Route 66. Instead I went the World War II route and watched Rat Patrol.

About Rat Patrol I will say this show from half a century ago is not up to the quality level of Combat, Rawhide or Route 66. Rat Patrol is so bizarrely plotted and badly dialogued that it is sort of a comedy.

I wonder why watching a TV show called Rat Patrol did not trigger another Elsie Hotpepper nightmare?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Elsie Hotpepper Becomes A Nightmare Calamity

Last night I had a bad dream, well, nightmare, that sort of involved Elsie Hotpepper.

Lately I have been watching an old TV show from way back near the middle of the last century known as Rawhide. This is the Western which made Clint Eastwood a star, playing a character named Rowdy Yates.

The episode which inspired the Elsie Hotpepper nightmare was titled, I think, Incident of the Careening Creek.

Most all Rawhide episodes are named Incident of this, that or the other thing.

In Incident of the Careening Creek Rowdy Yates comes to the rescue of a tough cowgirl who is trying to run a ranch pretty much by her lonesome. She has a few head of cattle and a creek running through her property. An adjacent rancher, he of the cliche evil badman sort, wants the tough cowgirl's land, using tactics like fiddling with the creek that runs through her property. Damming the flow, then letting it go, causing floods, that type thing.

Well, the tough cowgirl, with Rowdy's help, fights back, after her property is badly flooded, eventually putting the evil badman in his proper place, letting the tough cowgirl live in peace with her creek.

So, in my nightmare, last night, the tough cowgirl somehow morphed into Calamity Hotpepper, pictured above. In my nightmare version Calamity Hotpepper uses her pistol and rifle and sharpshooter skills to wreak havoc with the evil badman who is doing her harm.

There was a lot of bloodshed.

Calamity Hotpepper was sort of a Django Unchained Wicked Wreaker of Havoc.

The nightmare was unsettling.

Obviously in my nightmare I morphed the Rawhide tough cowgirl with the Texas tough cowgirl known as Elsie Hotpepper and turned Elsie into Calamity Hotpepper, the Avenging Gunslinging Gal from Hell, whose wrath no one should ever risk raising, lest one wants to tangle with a well armed sharpshooter with good people skills.

I suspect last night's nightmare will have me ceasing with watching Rawhide. I think I will switch to watching another classic TV show from a half century ago, Route 66. I don't see how either Elsie or Calamity Hotpepper could ruin Route 66 for me....

Monday, January 18, 2016

Words Of Wisdom From Mr. Spiffy About Martin Luther King Day

What with it being Martin Luther King Day, I have seen many expressions of sentiments of tolerance in various forms in various locations today.

Elevated sentiments speaking to the good, optimistic, hopeful side of humankind.

One of the best, if not the best, that I have seen today, was on Facebook, via Mr. Spiffy.

I screen capped what Mr. Spiffy had to say above and will copy it below....

MLK day should be a day set aside to stop making snap judgements about people. But I'm going to make one here. If you think a person's skin color, birthplace, religious beliefs (or lack of religious beliefs), or gender preference automatically makes them a bad person, then you are a racist, bigot and/or homophobe. That's a bad lifestyle choice. But there is an upside: Hate and irrational fear can be unlearned if you open your mind and heart. Love everyone today and every day. It's possible.

Mr. Spiffy practices what he espouses. A couple months ago when I realized I'd somehow acquired a Facebook "Friend" who was an outrageously despicable racist hate speaker, saying things about our president which was of the sort that no decent, moral, patriotic, ethical, clear-thinking, intelligent person would tolerate in any way, I verbalized my disgust in various venues, including this blog.

As far as I can tell, Mr. Spiffy, among my Facebook "Friends", was the only one with the moral rectitude to remove this particular racist traitor from his list of Facebook "Friends".

I was appalled by others on this issue, going through twisted moral gymnastics to rationalize not ostracizing this particular racist hate speaking traitor.

If racist hate speaking traitors are tolerated by people who like to think of themselves as decent human beings, how can we expect to wise up the racist idiots if people who purport not to be racists tolerate the racist hate speakers?

It really perplexes me and I would be lying if I did not admit that those who continue to tolerate hate speaking racist traitors, in any way, lose face with me.

I see it no different than someone who was a Nazi collaborator who excused going along with evil because all they were doing was following orders, as if they did not have the free will to do what is right.....

Martin Luther King Day Walk With Arlington's Indian Ghosts

Overnight my location on the planet was chilled to around 27 degrees. Coming up on noon the outer world had heated up to a degree above freezing.

With the temperature a degree above freezing I thought it a good idea to layer on the outerwear and take myself to Arlington for a Martin Luther King Day walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Turns out I was over-layered in outerwear. The lack of wind and wind's attendant wind chill factor made the almost freezing temperature easily tolerated.

As I walked with the Indian Ghosts and reached the area of the Village Creek Brown Bayou Overlook I came upon harbingers of spring in the form of bright yellow wildflowers.


How can these delicate blooms be coloring up the landscape when the temperature is in winter freeze mode?

I put the camera in macro mode to get the close up of the yellow beauty you see at the top.

These delicate yellow wildflowers looked as if they should spew a pleasant fragrance, but up close pleasant is not the word I would use to describe this particular wildflower's fragrance. Pungent might be a good word.

With wildflowers appearing in the dead of winter is this a good sign that this year's Texas Wildflower Season is going to be a bumper crop? Last year the wildflowers were a bit of a bust, due to, I think, the drought.

It's only about two months now til spring gets sprung. I eagerly anticipate that happening.....

Mr. Galtex Shows Us Not All Texans Are Right-Wing Gun-Toting Under-Educated Nut Jobs

For some reason many people in the world who do not live in Texas think all Texans are right-wing gun-toting under-educated backwards nut jobs.

Well.

I have had direct exposure to Texans for all of this century and I can say for absolute certainty that not all Texans are right-wing gun-toting under-educated backwards nut jobs.

Take Mike Wegner, also known as Mr. Galtex, for example.

Mr. Galtex is a lifelong Texan who is not a right-wing gun-toting under-educated backwards nut job.

I believe Texans of Mr. Galtex's ilk are in the majority in Texas, but have been a silent majority for way too long, but are starting to be way less silent.

Mr. Galtex wrote a blog post yesterday that is an excellent example of the fact that there are a lot of Texans who have a firm grasp on reality as expressed in his blog post titled On Diplomacy in which Mr. Galtex verbalizes his disdain for the current crop of Republican Chickenhawk Presidential Candidates.

The first few sentences of Mr. Galtex's On Diplomacy blog post....

In these early days of presidential primary season, virtually all the Republican candidates are calling for vigorous military action against our enemies, real and imagined. Obama is weak! Carpet bomb ISIS! Our military will be so strong no one will dare challenge us!

Such talk makes me ill......

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sampson Strong Words Not Enough To Get Me To A Seattle Super Bowl Party

During this peaceful Sunday afternoon at one point in the passing time I checked in on Facebook to find myself shocked to see Chris of Sampson and Delilah fame cursing like Elsie Hotpepper on a Saturday night saloon hopping escapade.

The Miss Chris artful use of the notorious F word and the context in which the notorious F word was used indicated to me that the Seattle Seahawks were not doing well in their attempt to defeat the Carolina Panthers and thus advance one more step towards being in the Super Bowl three years in a row.

I then checked my online method of checking an ongoing football game to quickly learn that the Seahawks were behind something like 34-21 going into the final quarter. From the point I began paying attention the Seahawks started in on one of their patented come from behind win attempts that eventually failed with the final score 34-24.

I guess I am relieved that I now will not be needing to find myself a viewing location to watch the Seattle Seahawks in this year's Super Bowl.

I had already secured one of the coveted invites to the annual Sampson & Delilah Super Bowl Party, but attending that particular Super Bowl Party requires traveling a couple thousand miles north and west from my current location.

An effort which seems like way too much bother just to attend a storied, legendary Super Bowl Party.....

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Is Fort Worth No Longer Home To America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Wikipedia has an article about the important Boondoggle subject in which we learn....

The term "boondoggle" may also be used to refer to protracted government or corporate projects involving large numbers of people and usually heavy expenditure, where at some point, the key operators, having realized that the project will never work, are still reluctant to bring this to the attention of their superiors. Generally there is an aspect of "going through the motions" – for example, continuing research and development – as long as funds are available to keep paying the researchers' and executives' salaries.

Currently Fort Worth is home to America's Biggest Boondoggle, a slow motion project which has been lumbering along in slow motion for most of this century, known, by some, as the Trinity River Uptown Central City Panther Island Vision.

Seattle has had a project underway for several years known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel Project. Until recently this project has been stalled due to a stuck tunnel boring machine named Bertha.

Bertha recently was boring again, but then soon was halted once again. First off by a malfunctioning barge and then by the appearance of a large sinkhole which caused Washington Governor Jay Inslee to order a Bertha halt til it could be determined what caused the sinkhole.

Bertha coming to a halt so soon after her two year repair was finished became the moment when Seattle's tunnel project may have surpassed Fort Worth's Boondoggle and became America's Biggest Boondoggle.

The Seattle tunnel project dwarfs Fort Worth's slow motion pseudo island project, cost-wise. And engineering difficulty wise.

When I first learned of the plan to tunnel under downtown Seattle with the biggest tunnel ever bored I wondered how that worked, engineering ignorant boy that I be. I mean, this huge tube being dug under giant skyscrapers? Don't skyscrapers scrape all the way to bedrock for their foundations? Does the tunnel go under those bedrock foundations I wondered?

Many options were considered before it was decided to dig a tunnel. After Bertha got herself stuck a couple years ago, those who were advocates of other options began making the case that the tunnel plan needed to be abandoned to revert to one of the other viaduct replacement plans.

Reading articles criticizing the Bertha debacle it strikes me as such a contrast with what I don't read in the Fort Worth press regarding Fort Worth's slow motion, poorly planned, ineptly engineered flood control economic development project, which has seemed to go nowhere slow for years, causing many to wonder why, if this is such an important flood control/economic development project why is it being built with all the urgency of a turtle?

A couple articles about Seattle's tunnel boondoggle illustrate the difference between what one might read about a Seattle issue in the Seattle press and what one might read about a Fort Worth in its propaganda press.

Seattle’s Unbelievable Transportation Megaproject Fustercluck

and

Guest Editorial: Seattle Pull the Plug on the Tunnel Unless You Can Answer These Seven Questions

I like that Flustercluck word. Had not heard that before. In one of the articles the word "Doonboggle" was coined for Boondoggle? Backwards Boondoggle? Is that what Doonboggle means?

Can you imagine an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth Business Press or Fort Worth Weekly titled Guest Editorial: Fort Worth Pull the Plug on the Trinity River Vision Unless You Can Answer These Seven Questions?

Yeah, me neither.

Methinks there are likely more than seven questions that should be answered or the plug pulled on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

2016 Fort Worth Stock Show Parade Possibly With Snowflakes

That which you see here I saw this morning on the front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram online edition.

This would make this the opposite of my usual bloggings about things I read in west coast online news sources which I would not expect to be reading in a Texas online news source about something happening in Texas.

As in, I doubt today any west coast town has a Stock Show county fair event in the dead of winter with a big parade to start off the fair.

With snowflakes.

The 2016 Fort Worth Stock Show Parade starts rolling in about an hour. So far I have seen no snowflakes falling from a gray cloudy sky.

Currently the temperature is a relatively balmy 45 degrees, so it would seem unlikely that snowflakes will be falling soon, unless we experience a sudden precipitous temperature drop.

Which can happen at this location on the planet.

I don't think I will be making my way to downtown Fort Worth today to watch the world's biggest non-mechanized parade. Going to downtown Fort Worth and finding parking used to be so easy, before the Radio Shack Corporate Headquarters boondoggle debacle destroyed acres of parking lots and the world's shortest subway.

I may make it to the 2016 edition of the Fort Worth Stock Show. I have a couple weeks before that opportunity passes for another year.....

Friday, January 15, 2016

Are Festus Allcock's Confederate Battle Flags In Tomorrow's Fort Worth Stock Show Parade?

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 16, the 2016 Fort Worth Stock Show Parade takes place in downtown Fort Worth.

Weather permitting.

Currently the forecast is for precipitation in downtown Fort Worth tomorrow, possibly in the form of snow.

In the past week, or so, it became known that the infamous Confederate Battle Flag of recent extreme controversy, due to that flag's racist reputation, would not be allowed in tomorrow's parade.

The Confederate Battle Flag banishment has upset a group of what are known as Confederate Flaggers, led by Festus Allcock. I blogged about this in a blogging titled Festus Allcock Leads Confederate Battle Flag Charge During Fort Worth Stock Show Parade.

This morning I looked at the photos I took the last time I watched the Fort Worth Stock Show Parade to see if the notorious Confederate Battle Flag was parading that day.

Well, looking at the photo above it does appear that the Confederate Battle Flag was being carried in that particular iteration of the Stock Show Parade, carried by a marching group of Confederate Rebel Re-Enactors.

Another group of Confederate Rebel Re-Enactors, with this group on horseback, also carried Confederate flags, but not the notorious Confederate Battle Flag.


I do not think anyone could logically accuse the above parading group of Confederate Rebel Re-Enactors to be racists, as it appears that at least one of those riding with the group is of African-American descent, though not in uniform

The Yankee Union Re-Enactors also paraded on horseback, sans, it appears, the Union flag.


I am sort of the opinion that much too big a deal has been made over the Confederate Battle Flag, and Confederate Memorials of the statue sort.

My ancestors arrived in America several decades after the Civil War, eventually settling in part of America, Washington, which was not yet part of the Union during the Civil War. So, I am not a Yankee.

When I drove down to Texas, back in May of 1998, to see if it was a place I might want to move to, I recollect driving west to Weatherford, walking around the Parker County Courthouse, impressed by the courthouse square where I came upon something I had never seen before.

A Confederate War Memorial.

Til that moment it had not dawned on my that I was in the Confederacy, in the South, in Rebel territory.

Since seeing that first Confederate War Memorial I have seen many more, like the big Dallas Confederate Memorial at Pioneer Cemetery by Pioneer Plaza, with Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis depicted.

I am not onboard with those who see these historical memorials as being racist symbols in need of eradicating.

I am onboard with those who want to eradicate the Confederate Battle Flag when the Confederate Battle Flag is used as a racist symbol of hate.

I don't know if Festus Allcock uses the Confederate Battle Flag as some sort of racist badge of idiocy, or if Festus Allcock and his Confederate Flaggers simply see the Confederate Battle Flag as a historical relic.

However, that Confederate Battle Flag has, for many reasons, come to represent something very ugly that the majority of Americans object to.

And so, methinks it would behoove Festus Allcock and his fellow Confederate Flaggers to join the rest of the world in relegating that flag to fading memory and no longer wave it in people's faces.

Not in parades, not on flag poles. No where.....

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Grand Opening Set For New Floating Bridge While In Fort Worth.....

My Favorite Nephew Jason, knowing of my interest in bridge building projects completed in four years or less, emailed me a link to a KOMO news online article about the Grand opening set for new 520 floating bridge.

The new 520 floating bridge is replacing the old 520 floating bridge. The old 520 floating bridge is the longest floating bridge in the world. The new 520 floating bridge, when it opens, will be the longest floating bridge in the world, spanning more distance that the old 520 floating bridge.

The 520 floating bridge floats on Lake Washington. It is one of two floating bridges which cross the lake. The 520 floating bridge is at the north end of the lake. One the east side of the lake the bridge starts floating not far from Bill Gates' home. At the west side of the lake the bridge floats near the University of Washington.

The cost of the entire 520 floating bridge project is around $4.65 billion. Construction of the new 520 floating bridge began in 2012, with the Grand Opening set for April of 2016.

Four years to build the longest floating bridge in the world.

Over water.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, a pseudo public works project known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known at the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision is building three simple little bridges over dry land, connecting Fort Worth's mainland with an imaginary island, with a four year construction timeline.

No, that is not an artist's rendering of one of America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges you see below.


The above is a WSDOT artist's rendering of the new 520 floating bridge, looking west towards Seattle. The University of Washington would be on the right at the end of the bridge, the Seattle Space Needle would be to the left, hidden behind a hill.

As you can see the new 520 floating bridge has a wide bike/pedestrian trail. I'm thinking this new bike bridge crossing would easily connect to the Burke-Gilman trail and possibly make for a bike ride loop around the north end of Lake Washington. That would make for one long bike ride. Long and fun.

The bike/pedestrian trail across the new 520 floating bridges has five bump outs, which they are calling belvederes, once of which you see depicted above.

I do not know if America's Biggest Boondoggle's three bridges have bike/pedestrian trails with bump outs. I suspect not.

I also have not heard of a Grand Opening date for America's Biggest Boondoggle's three simple little bridges being built over dry land.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why Don't Texas Schools Incorporate Native American Culture Into Their Curriculums?

What you see here is a screen cap from my old home zone newspaper, the Skagit Valley Herald online edition.

This blogging falls into the category of things I read in a west coast online news source which I would not expect to read in a Texas local news online news source.

Apparently the schools in the various districts in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley are adding courses teaching Native American culture to their curriculums.

Skagit County is home to three Native American tribes. The Samish, the Swinomish and the Skagit.

My current county of residence, Tarrant County, is home to zero Native American tribes.

Before the Texans arrived, Tarrant County and the surrounding area was home to many Native Americans of various tribes. In modern day Texas those tribes survive, for the most part, only in town names, like Waxahachie and Waco, and others.

The history of Native Americans in Texas is quite complex, quite interesting, and a history worth being known and taught.

Methinks it would behoove Texas to add Native American culture, and history, to their school curriculums.....

Festus Allcock Leads Confederate Battle Flag Charge During Fort Worth Stock Show Parade

This coming Saturday, January 16, the 2016 edition of the Fort Worth Stock Show Parade takes place, weather permitting.

I have watched the Stock Show Parade a couple times. It is one of the best, if not the best, parade I've ever watched.

Very entertaining.

The world's biggest non-mechanized parade.

Meaning no motorized vehicles, just critters and humans are in the parade. But, you are allowed to use a mechanized device to get yourself to downtown Fort Worth to watch the parade.

This year's Stock Show Parade has an added element which might make for some interesting viewing.

As you can see, via reading the screen cap above, which I gleaned from Facebook, a person named Festus Allcock is organizing what apparently are known as Confederate Flaggers to flood the parade route with Confederate Battle Flags to protest such flags being banned from the parade.

I suspect this may be the year that Fort Worth's Stock Show Parade gets national media attention.

How can it not? What with a name like Festus Allcock leading the Confederate charge.....

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Balmy Walk With Village Creek Indian Ghosts Perplexed By An Odd Sign

A lot of people had the same idea I had today. That being that these suddenly almost balmy temperatures presented an excellent opportunity for a salubrious aerobic endorphin inducing visit to Arlington to exercise with the Indian Ghosts who haunt the Village Creek Natural Historic Area.

Along with the Indian Ghosts I was a bit haunted by that which you see in the photo.

Previously, whilst mountain biking, when I would zip at high speed across the dam bridge that crosses Village Creek, I would zip up the trail that had been worn in the short knoll you see here, facilitating making contact with the paved trail at the top of the knoll.

A bulldozer has pretty much obliterated the well worn trail. And the sign you see at the top of the knoll, with a close up view below, has been added to where the trail used to be.


As you can see, the sign is telling Ghost Whisperers to USE SIDEWALK, with a an additional message on the sign telling bikers to keep off.

I fail to see how that trail that had been worn on the knoll did harm enough to warrant going to the bother and expense of installing this sign. Particularly when you consider the ironic fact that a bulldozer made an actual mess, the likes of which the well worn path never made.

Very perplexing......