Thursday, March 31, 2016

Feeling Dark On A Bright Blue Sky Last Day Of March

It has been well over a week since the temperature enabled a bout in the pool. This morning the temperature was such that the pool would have been doable but it did not cross my mind to take a dip.

Ever have one of those days that goes sideways and suddenly the world seems upside down?

Well, I'm having myself one of those days.

It's slightly exhilarating to unexpectedly find, to use a cliche, the rug pulled out from under you.

I hope another cliche turns out to be true, that being that cliche about what doesn't kill you makes you stronger......

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tic Toc Clock From Orange Chair Pictures

A couple weeks ago a couple days before the Ides of March I blogged about Sad News From Washington, after I learned of the passing of someone I'd known for decades, a multi-prize winner for multiple endeavors named Geff Hinds.

So, last night, Maxine, she being a friend of Geff Hinds, dating all the way back to when they schooled in Sedro-Woolley, sent me a link to a blog post Geff wrote in his Orange Chair Pictures blog, titled tic tock goes the clock.

I have no way of knowing if Geff spelled toc wrong so as to match clock.

I had read a few of Geff's Orange Chair Pictures postings back when he first started writing them. I found them to be a bit of a labor to read. Long stories, with minute detail.

I figured Geff likely got bored with the writing thing and moved on to some new creative endeavor.

I figured wrong.

Geff continued writing blog posts for years after I first read one.

When Maxine brought up the subject of Geff's blog yesterday, saying she thought it was Red Chair something or other. I remembered the actual name, Googled for Orange Chair Pictures, found it and read the most recent post, from, if I remember right, back in 2012. I was impressed with how much the story telling had improved.

So, last night Maxine sends me that tic tock goes the clock  blog post link. As I  clicked on the link I wondered what I was about to read that had Maxine sending it to me.


In light of Geff's passing this blog post was extremely poignant, which had me replying to Maxine's email saying "Wow. That was just pure brilliance."

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Omni Dallas Hotel Lit Up With Pakistani Flag

Yesterday, when I learned of the Easter suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan killing 70 Christians celebrating Easter in a park, well, it crossed my mind to wonder why the international reaction is not the same as it was with the Paris Massacre and the Brussels bombing.

By international reaction I mean various cities displaying their symbolic solidarity with displays of the flag of the victim country, usually via lighting on famous buildings.

Or, in the case of Seattle, after the Paris Massacre a giant French flag was hoisted atop the Space Needle.

Well, this morning I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Dallas has world wide social media buzzing due to the Omni Dallas Hotel using its lighting to display the Pakistani flag.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Grumpy Trumpy Drove Me To Walk With Arlington's Indian Ghosts This Final March Monday

The Trumpification of America seems to  have American civility at one of the most un-civil levels since the Civil War.

So much bad behavior.

And then this morning I learned of some local Trumpified behavior of a neighbor being un-civil and un-neighborly over a fallen tree and the fence the fallen tree knocked down.

The neighbor should have cleared out the fallen tree and helped fix the fallen fence. But instead the spirits of the Hatfields & McCoy's came to town, complete with guns.

I am having my own menu of aggravations, in addition to learning of the aggravations of others, plus all the aggravations all over America.

So, I did what I often do when trying to feel more peaceful.

I went on a long walk.

My closest long walk location is the Village Creek Natural Historical Area in Arlington. So I had myself a long walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt this location due to their long ago aggravations brought to them courtesy of incoming Texans.

Macaroni & cheese, with barbecued chicken always seems to be a bridge over troubled water for me, so that was what was on the menu for lunch.

But, I'm still feeling Trumpy grumpy.....

Sunday, March 27, 2016

At Fosdick Lake Hanging An Easter Bunny With Five Little Dogs

Pre-Easter dinner of Chinese food I drove to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdick Lake.

Easter is reliably an interesting day to walk around Fosdick Lake, due to all the people in Easter festivities mode, with a lot of barbecuing smoking up the air.

I did my walking before Easter day church servicing was over, hence not many people had yet arrived to sit on the many seats which have been set up.

But, the people in charge of the barbecuing apparently were allowed to skip church so as to do the cooking. There was a big barbecuing operation going on in the Oakland Lake Park Pavilion, with only one guy doing the smoking, that I saw. He'd already barbecued an enormous platter of meat products.

Upon arrival at the east side of Fosdick Lake I saw that which you see above. An Easter Bunny hung in apparent effigy.

After taking the picture of the hung Easter Bunny I walked by the nearest group of Easter picnickers where one of the picnickers asked me if I wanted to take a whack at the Easter Bunny. I was carrying my whacking stick, which I usually do whilst on one of my ubiquitous walks. I declined the kind offer to whack the Easter Bunny.

On the west side of Fosdick Lake I came upon that which you see below.

Five cute little doggies leading a nice lady around the lake. I stopped to chat a bit with the nice lady. All but one of the doggies were strays which she rescued and restored to good health. I told the nice lady that two of her doggies reminded me of my ex-sister's doggies, Rosie the Rat Dog and Bean the Wiener Dog. That would be the Rosie the Rat Dog  lookalike on the right, and the Bean lookalike on the far left. I told the nice lady that Rosie had a snaggle tooth and Bean had one bad eye, just like her dog on the far left.

Regarding the doggie with only one eye the nice lady then told me that that was her only dog which was not a rescue dog, that she'd bought the one-eyed dog. After about six months she had grown frustrated with the one-eyed dog's failure to learn anything. She took the one-eyed dog to the doctor and learned that in addition to being blind in one eye the little feller is also deaf.

The little doggies were very well behaved and sort of rushed up to me with tails wagging to get petted. That's the Rosie the Rat Dog lookalike staring right at me.

I told the nice lady that Rosie the Rat Dog had a website. Just Google it, I told her. I got back to my computer and Googled "Rosie the Rat Dog" to find that it seems Google no longer indexes those webpages. Probably because they have not been changed since the last century.

The Rosie the Rat Dog webpages still exist, via clicking Rosie the Rat Dog. While Google apparently does not index the Rosie the Rat Dog webpages, Google does index two blog posts I wrote about Rosie the Rat Dog that I do not remember writing.

Easter dinner in Arizona is a 3 in the after barbecue at my sister Jackie's in Chandler. Both my mom and dad and sister asked if they can expect to see me there....

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Linda & David Voting For Bernie In The Washington Democrat Caucus With A Yellowstone Bear Story

In the photo you are looking at something you can not see today in Texas.

Because what you are looking at are a pair of voters at today's Washington Presidential Caucus at some location in my old hometown of Mount Vernon.

The identity of these two are Linda R and David B.

Linda R. text messaged me earlier today when I was out under the sun in Arlington, asking me if I thought Bernie had a chance and how appalled was I at the Trump/Cruz ongoing embarrassment.

That and Linda R. had made reservations to fly her mom's ashes to Hawaii to be scattered in tropical paradise.

Linda R. moved back to Mount Vernon, from Seattle, to help take care of her mom.

Now, the David B. part of this story is interesting. Soon after Linda R. moved back to Mount Vernon she ran into David's mom, Mrs. B.

Mrs. B. and Linda R. had themselves a nice reunion. Mrs. B. had been our Sunday School teacher long ago. Mrs. B. asked Linda R.whatever became of those two wonderful boys, whose names Mrs. B. could not remember. Linda R. named off a series of possible boy pairs, with Mrs. B. saying no to each, until Linda R. asked if it was Durango and Jake Jones she was thinking of.

That's the ones, said Mrs. B.

So, Linda R. then emailed me, telling me about the encounter with Mrs. B. and asked me to relay that story to my brother. Well, my brother and I were not emailing each other at that point in time.  But, my brother had Facebook friended me a day or two before. I Facebook messaged my brother the Mrs. B. story, did not hear back from my brother, and thought no more of it.

Until a week or two later when my brother's oldest son, Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, called me to tell me he got a real odd call that day.

From Mrs. B.

And now the shocking part.

My brother, who was not known, by me, to be a big communicator, had written Mrs. B. a long letter, telling Mrs. B. a variety of things, such as what a wonderful nurse Mrs. B.'s daughter, Barbara, had been when my brother was hospitalized for one of his many sports injury repairs.

To this day I do not know how my brother knew where to mail the letter to Mrs. B.

My brother had told Mrs. B. that Jason has a restaurant in Anacortes, called the Fidalgo Drive-In. Which is where Mrs. B. called. Explained to Jason who she was and that she was so touched to have received a wonderful letter from his dad. Mrs. B. then proceeded to read the letter to Jason.

Shortly thereafer Linda R. ran into Mrs. B. again, who tearfully shared with Linda the tale of my brother's letter.


The shocks for me were not over with yet.

A week or two later I called my mom and dad. I asked if Jake had mentioned writing to Mrs. B. to them. He had not. I told mom the series of Mrs. B. events. I told mom I did not know my brother did things, like write letters.

To which my mom shocked me by telling me my brother had taken to writing stories. Stories about his childhood memories. He'd been over to mom and dad's and had read them some of the stories.

A short time later Jason called me.  I asked if he knew about his dad's story writing. He knew, but he was not supposed to tell anyone. Jason had several of them. He read me one. About seeing LBJ at the Peace Arch in Blaine, Washington. I was, once again, shocked. Shocked at my brother's memory of details. Shocked at how well written the story was. Just plain shocked.

A short time later Jason confessed to his dad that he'd read me one of the stories. And that I'd liked it. At this point in time my brother and I were text messaging. At some point mention was made of his story writing. I indicated my surprise at his new hobby and how good the one I was read was.

My brother then told Jason to email me all the stories my brother had emailed Jason. About 30 of them. Which is just a fraction of the collection.

I forgot to mention, my brother has illustrated many of the stories. My brother always has been good at drawing.

So, I get the batch of stories. Read through them. Was surprised at some of them. Like I have long wondered if Jake remembered the traumatic time he dropped three salmon into the Skagit River. He did, he wrote a story about it, with some poetic license.

Some of my brother's stories had details wrong. I'd text him a correction, about which he was pleased, asking me to send more, and more details about things I remember.

He had details of our long vacation to Yellowstone mixed up. I used to remember that trip in detail.

My brother had the details of the most infamous incident of that Yellowstone trip all wrong. This would be the incident where mom was soaking her feet whilst sitting at the picnic table at our campsite in the Old Faithful Campground, when a big brown bear came running into camp. My brother and I were in our sleeping bags in the car when we heard mom screaming for our dad, whilst jumping up and down on top of the picnic table. We popped up in time to see the bear running away. I suspect it was more scared of my mom than mom was of the bear.

My first two teenage years the yearly family vacation trip was to California and Disneyland. My brother had those two trips morphed together. It taxed my memory to try and separate the two years. Like was it the first year we drove into Mexico, to Tijuana? Or the second year? Stuff like that.

Anyway, all that,  me reading my brother's stories, which I did not know existed, would not have happened if Linda R. had not run into Mrs. B., who could not remember the names of those two wonderful Jones boys.....

Update On Washington's Wade Hudson Murder By Cop Case

Incoming email this morning, subject line: Update on "Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Bob Ferguson: Murdered by Cop! Epileptic young man beaten to death for having seizure"

Sharon Bowers just posted an update on the petition you signed, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Bob Ferguson: Murdered by Cop! Epileptic young man beaten to death for having seizure.
Mar 26, 2016 — Wade Hudson's Father, Albert Hudson is asking everyone who is able to join us in a demonstration in Okanogan, WA outside the courthouse in front. We are picketing for the county prosecutor to prosecute Shane Schaefer for murder as recommended by the Washington State Patrol investigation. We will meet 10:00 am, Monday April 11th. Please join us if you can.

I know the wheels of justice spin slow too much of the time. But, it's been at least six months, I think, since Tootsie Tonasket's, aka Aunt Alice's, son, Wade, was beaten by an Omak cop while Wade was having an epileptic seizure.

I believe the beating was caught on video.

I do not know the current status of the lawsuit initiated by Wade's mom and dad.

I also do not know if the cop, Shane Schaefer, who administered the beating which led to Wade's death, is still on active duty. Or on some sort of leave.

Aunt Alice has had a tough time of it since Wade was murdered. She is currently missing his help yardwork, garden prep-wise. But, a lot of people have stepped up and helped Aunt Alice during this ordeal.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sour Cream Takes Me To Arlington To Walk Green With Indian Ghosts

Desperately in need of sour cream, for lunch. And with ALDI being my prime sour cream provider, pre-lunch I headed east, then drove past ALDI to nearby Arlington to take myself on a walk with the Indian Ghosts who continue to haunt the Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

I do not seem to be improving at this taking a selfie thing. It's hard to see the screen when out under the bright sun.

That baseball cap on top of me is a new one. Miss Puerto Rico got it for me on her recent trip to her home island. However, that baseball cap is not Puerto Rico themed. It says "Fort Lauderdale" on it.

Miss Puerto Rico bought the cap and other souvenir type trinkets during her 12 hour Spirit Airlines layover debacle in Fort Lauderdale on her return to D/FW.

We are at that time of the year when the Village Creek Natural Historical Area begins to look its best, with the return of green in various shades. Soon walking at this location will be seeming very jungle-like, including snakes. No monkeys, though, that I've ever seen.

Years ago Betty Jo Bouvier asked me, after seeing photos on my blog, if this really was Texas. Betty Jo said she thought Texas was all brown and desert-like.

The last time I flew north to Washington, July 20 of 2008, I left Texas with my location in the state looking green. I arrived in Washington with the state in drought mode, looking like what Betty Jo thought Texas looks like.

I remember the first time I drove to East Texas, just a couple months after my arrival in Texas. I found myself surprised by how much the East Texas Piney Woods Region looked like parts of Western Washington, with forests of evergreens growing on hills.

Anyway, I remembered to stop at ALDI after doing the communing with nature. I think Beef Stroganoff is my favorite Russian thing I concoct.....

The Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision Non-Bond Boondoggle Mess

I saw that which you see here, this morning, in the Seattle Times, and while this is yet one more item I likely would not be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something taking place in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, something else crossed my mind.

What this little blurb caused to occur to me was how much better Fort Worth and Tarrant County would be if such a thing took place.

For example, what if public comments were sought at the start of the century regarding the idea of developing the blighted north side of downtown Fort Worth by turning the Trinity River into an attractive waterfront type feature, with a lake, canals and an economically viable piece of real estate that would attract residents, shopping and restaurants?

And then what if the public voted to tax themselves to fully fund this project?

If that had taken place the Trinity River Vision, in 2016, would likely be something one could actually see, with the public benefiting from that which they voted for.

Instead, what Fort Worth got was a Big Boondoggle. Had America's Biggest Boondoggle been funded the way most public works projects are funded, J.D. Granger would never have been hired. There likely would be no Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube floating beer parties in the polluted Trinity River.

How much of the money The Boondoggle has spent has gone to the salaries of J.D. Granger and his legion of minions? Salaries which would no longer be being paid if the project had been completed in a timely fashion.

If the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision was such a vital economic and flood control project why was it not put to a public vote, with a bond issue fully funding the supposedly vitally needed economic and flood control project?

Is it too late now to fix this mess with a public vote and a bond issue?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Throwing Thursday Back Off The Grand Canyon

I was looking through some old photo albums this morning and came upon that which you see here, taken the first time I visited the Grand Canyon, which would make this the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

I'm thinking this would qualify as one of those Throw Back Thursday photos.

A couple weeks ago, on Facebook, Mr. Spiffy posted a photo of himself and his Favorite Son Cameron dangling off the edge of the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. Mr. Spiffy asked others to post photos of themselves in precarious locations.

I posted one high atop a rock formation in Zion National Park. I did not remember this Grand Canyon high atop a rock formation photo at the time I was looking for a precarious photo.

My first time seeing the Grand Canyon was part of what ended up being a long roadtrip of the classic winging it, going with the flow type roadtrip, with no itinerary other than initial destination being Yellowstone.

On the way to Yellowstone we stopped in Ellensburg to rent an apartment for my last year of college, which was to start about four weeks hence. Spent four days exploring Yellowstone, including hiking to see Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I remember remarking that this is one grand canyon, and suggested heading south to see the more famous Grand Canyon.

On the way south we came to a turn off to Bryce Canyon National Park. Knew nothing about Bryce Canyon. It was not a long detour and en route to Bryce saw my first Utah redrock. Bryce Canyon turned out to be the most incredible thing I had ever seen, up to that point in my existence.

Then it was on to Zion, again knowing nothing about it. Entering the park from the east one comes to one amazing site after another. Stopped at each, not realizing the main attraction came later. Was surprised to find the road entering a tunnel. The tunnel had portals, which gave you quick views of where the tunnel was heading. Exiting the tunnel I found myself driving down a steep series of switch backs to reach the bottom of Zion Canyon.

In one day I had now seen two of the most incredible things I'd ever seen. Drove to the end of Zion Canyon, then hiked up the narrow slot canyon of the Temple of the Gods. Spent the night in Zion Canyon in my tent.

Next day we headed south some more, to Grand Canyon. When first a canyon came into view it was again one of the most incredible things I'd ever seen. And then realized this was a side canyon, not the main show.

After a few hours of taking in the Grand Canyon I decided, since it was close, why not head to Las Vegas, a town I'd never been to before. Arrived in Las Vegas well past midnight. It was extremely HOT. Set my tent up in a KOA. Did not really much like that first Vegas visit.

Decided, since we were close, why not head west to California, to the Los Angeles zone and go to Disneyland. Had roadtripped to Disneyland the year before, using San Clemente State Park as the base location.

Leaving Vegas stopped in a rest area. A drunk guy was parked in his pickup. He told me he was too drunk to drive, asked if I'd drive him home to Hollywood for a hundred bucks. Got him to his home, he had a guest house out back. His wife was so grateful to have him safely delivered we were talked into staying a couple days. Which is how I came to watch the movie Chinatown in a theater in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

After the unexpected stay in Hollywood headed south again, to the aforementioned San Clemente. Stayed in San Clemente a couple days, driving back north during the day to go to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios and to explore the Los Angeles zone.

And then it was south to San Diego. Had not been to San Diego since I was 17, on my first roadtrip without my parental units. Tented in a KOA south of San Diego. Explored Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.

At the time it seemed like a good idea to drive into Mexico. And so crossed the border, without incident, unlike a couple years prior. Got lost driving in Tijuana. Bought way too much ridiculous stuff, including a five foot statue of Cortez, which I still have. My little 65 Mustang was stuffed with stuff, which made the rest of this trip a packing and un-packing challenge, til all the Mexican trinkets were unloaded back in that new apartment in Ellensburg.

Decided to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park, staying at a nearby KOA. Was very impressed with the Wild Animal Park. Had never seen anything like it. Had never, previously had an up close surprise encounter with a tiger, or had a gorilla throw gorilla poop at me.

Somewhere near the Wild Animal Park stopped at an orange orchard where I bought a lot of the best oranges I have ever had.

My memory is vague regarding the rest of this roadtrip. Don't remember if it included going to San Francisco. Do remember taking the Klamath Falls route through Oregon, rather than I-5, due to the need to return to Ellensburg in Eastern Washington to unload my car full of Mexican trinkets.

Will Fort Worth Ever Need To Add Longer Trains To Meet Light Rail Demand?

I saw this this morning in the Seattle Times and thought to myself that this is definitely something I would not be seeing in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about a similar thing happening in Fort Worth.

Some excerpts from the Seattle Times Sound Transit to add longer trains to meet unexpected light-rail demand article....

Sound Transit will put some longer trains on its light rail tracks beginning Monday, to carry the unexpectedly big crowds using the new University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations.

Three-car trains will alternate with the usual two-car trains, spokesman Bruce Gray said Wednesday.

The agency opened a new $1.8 billion tunnel from Westlake Station to UW and Capitol Hill on Saturday. Passengers are finding full platforms and trains at peak times, and sometimes waiting for the next train, Gray said.

And that’s happening while UW is on spring break, and Seattle Central College in exam week.

Roughly 57,000 passengers used the 19-mile light-rail corridor from UW to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday, Gray said. That followed 67,000 people on opening day, 35,000 on Sunday and 47,000 on Monday. Previous weekday ridership was around 35,000 boardings.

So the counts are already as high as Sound Transit projected for next year — with not only these two stations, but the Angle Lake Station beyond the airport scheduled to open in September, with 1,050 park-and-ride stalls.

Sound Transit aims to carry nearly — but not more than — 150 people in each railcar, or 450 in a three-car train. That sort of volume means about half are seated, half standing, and people can readily enter or exit. Similar-sized trains in Asia might hold 200 people per railcar, considered a crush load here.

Apparently Puget Sounders are liking their new light rail mass transit method of traveling. Soon Puget Sound voters will be voting on a multi-billion dollar extension of the Link Light Rail. The newly opened extension to the University of Washington cuts the commute time of someone living in the Rainier Valley from around an hour and a half to half an hour, with no need to find a parking space.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, riding the Fort Worth antiquated T bus public transit it takes about an hour to make it from my location, eight miles, to downtown Fort Worth.

There is an attempt underway to add a commuter rail line to transit options in Tarrant County.

The subject of this new commuter rail line in Tarrant County came up yesterday in a series of Facebook comments made regarding yesterday's blogging titled Fort Worth Star-Telegram Thinks Someone Goofed On The Panther Island Bridge Design.

Chris Putnam commented--- One correction to Durango's story. The TRV isn't America's - or even Tarrant County's biggest boondoggle - that honor goes to TexRail with a $1B price tag and unknown operating costs to construct 23 miles of commuter rail that will service less than one half of one percent of the Tarrant population. TRV is a close 2nd.

To which Durango said--- I am sticking with the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision as being Tarrant County's and America's Biggest Boondoggle. America's Biggest Boondoggle has been boondoggling along longer than any of America's other boondoggle candidates, with very little to show for the effort. America's Biggest Boondoggle has multiple facets that enhance its boondoggle status. You have wasting almost a million bucks on a work of art that looks like an abstract garbage can, unveiled in a solemn ceremony that was very boondoggle worthy. You have the totally unqualified son of a local congresswoman put in charge of America's Biggest Boondoggle so as to motivate the mama to secure federal funds. Adding corruption to the mix enhances the TRCCUPIV's boondoggle status. Then we have the wanton abuse of eminent domain. The son of the local congresswoman has what is known as a Frat Boy mentality. None of America's other Biggest Boondoggle candidates have added items to the agenda like Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floating beer parties in a polluted river. None of America's other Biggest Boondoggle candidates has gone through so many name changes, let alone oddities like calling a chunk of a land an island, where there is no island....

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Well, I can say I have now had my first up close encounter with bluebonnets early on in this 2016 Texas wildflower season.

If you have never had the privilege of visiting Texas and want to see the state when the Texas outer world looks its best, visit in the Spring, when Texas turns green and extremely colorful.

The bluebonnet patch you see here was blooming today on a bluff above Village Creek in Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Thinks Someone Goofed On The Panther Island Bridge Design

Yesterday after Elsie Hotpepper pointed me to an article in the Star-Telegram about the latest delay of America's Biggest Boondoggle I blogged about it in Design Woes Are Not The Only Problem With Fort Worth's Panther Island Bridges.

This morning Elsie Hotpepper pointed me to an editorial in this morning's Star-Telegram titled Panther Island bridge design: Someone goofed.

If you click the link you may be blocked from reading the editorial if you are not a Star-Telegram subscriber. So, I will copy the editorial in it entirety, below, for your reading pleasure.

But before you get to the editorial there is a thing or two I want to say about what I read in this editorial.

The editorial tells us this project has been controversial since it was proposed 15 years ago and that when anything goes wrong it gives the project's legions of critics another reason to harp about a boondoggle. And that this one time the legions of critics might be just a little bit right about the boondoggle thing.

This allegedly vitally important flood prevention and economic development has been limping along for 15 years, with very little to show for the effort, with the project morphing, over time, to include bizarre things like hosting floating beer parties in the Trinity River at a location called Panther Island Pavilion. Where there is no island or pavilion.

And the Star-Telegram thinks the legions of critics might be just a little right thinking the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision is a boondoggle?

And then there is the part where the editorial opines that it is true that the bridge design is novel because Panther Island advocates were determined to have unique bridges.

Now I ask you reading this in sane areas of America, and the world, look at that artist's rendering of one of these design flawed bridges. Does that look even remotely unique to you? Does it look even remotely novel? Or do you see what I see? A rather plain, simple looking little bridge. With a construction timeline of four years, the same amount of time it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Over deep fast moving water.

Building over water. That leads me to the part of this editorial I found the most annoying. I am referring to this sentence....

The bridges are being built on dry land to save money, before the 1.8-mile Trinity bypass channel is built below them.

The way propaganda works is basically a lie gets repeated over and over again til it becomes believed to be the truth.

The bridges are not being built over dry land to save money. The bridges are being built prior to the flood diversion channel being built because there is no money, currently, to pay for the digging of the ditch under the bridges. There will be no water under  those bridges until the Trinity River is diverted into the flood diversion channel.

There has never been any other option but to build these bridges over dry land. To claim this was by design, to save money, is,  well, like I said, annoying. It likely would have saved money to have the construction of the bridges taking place at the same time as the bypass channel was built, easily integrating the two aspects of the project.

Look at that drawing of one of the bridges, with one of its piers in the water. I predict that if the money is ever found to dig the ditch, that having those bridges already in place will present yet one more costly design engineering problem for America's Biggest Boondoggle.

And now, below, the aforementioned editorial....

Panther Island bridge design: Someone goofed

As far as delays on $910 million construction projects go, this is not a big one.

Texas Department of Transportation officials say some work has been halted for about a month on two of the three bridges over a planned Trinity River bypass channel, part of the 800-acre Panther Island (Trinity River Vision) project north of downtown Fort Worth.

The bridge construction isn’t scheduled to be finished until 2018, so a month or so here or there won’t be noticed.

But the Panther Island project’s advocates don’t have to be reminded that there is more to it.

The project has been highly controversial since it was proposed almost 15 years ago. Anything that goes wrong is highly sensitive, another reason for legions of critics to harp about a boondoggle.

This one time, they might even be just a little bit right.

A design problem cropped up during construction of concrete piers for the bridges on Henderson Street and White Settlement Road. A third bridge, on North Main Street, isn’t scheduled to begin construction until next month.

Problems happen, we all know. But inadequate design for a project this expensive (the three bridges are budgeted at $65.5 million)?

TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez says there was a miscalculation in the amount of steel needed to reinforce the concrete piers.

“What we are addressing is adjusting the spacing of the reinforced steel in the piers to simplify the pouring of concrete into it,” Lopez told Star-Telegram reporter Gordon Dickson. “It’s a novel design, and we want to make sure we execute it as best we can so we can deliver the highest-quality project possible.”

That part about the bridges being a novel design is true — Panther Island advocates were determined to have unique bridges.

But the part about taking extra care to “deliver the highest-quality project possible” is lipstick on a pig.

Somebody screwed up. The original design was faulty — or it was so “novel” that it just didn’t work in the real world of bridge construction.

Lopez says work will continue on other aspects of the bridge project, and construction on the redesigned piers will start again “in probably a month’s time.”

The bridges are being built on dry land to save money, before the 1.8-mile Trinity bypass channel is built below them.

The overall Panther Island project, a combined flood control and economic development effort, still needs a $340 million allocation from the Army Corps of Engineers.

None of this is cheap.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Design Woes Are Not The Only Problem With Fort Worth's Panther Island Bridges

Last night Elsie Hotpepper, Big Ed and others messaged me with a link to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article titled Design problem delays work on Panther Island bridges in Fort Worth.

I saw that headline and thought to myself how could those simple little bridges be having themselves a design problem?

It was six months ago that America's Biggest  Boondoggle and it co-propagandizer, the Star-Telegram, breathlessly touted the wonder to behold of wooden V pier forms being something that people could see.

I blogged about this bizarre propaganda way back on October 7, 2015 in Beautiful Fort Worth V Piers The Likes Of Which The World Has Never Seen.

And now to learn that six months later concrete has not yet been poured into those wooden V pier forms, with that eventual pouring of concrete now delayed due to a design problem, well, this is just odd.

Those wooden V pier forms showed up six months ago. Why has it taken so long to get to the point of pouring  concrete into the forms, to then discover that there is a problem with the design?

I'll copy a big chunk of the Star-Telegram article in which we learn the nature of the bridge design problem, among other things.....

The construction of three bridges over dry land north of downtown Fort Worth is being delayed as officials fix a design problem that was noticed as workers began to pour the concrete piers.

The delay involves a miscalculation in the amount of steel that would be needed to reinforce the structure’s piers, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman said. However, the problem is being addressed and should only cause about a month-long postponement of bridge work, said Val Lopez, TxDOT spokesman.

When completed, the bridges will span over what officials hope will be a new Trinity River channel creating Panther Island, an 800-acre development in a former industrial area that could become pristine, waterfront property. The project includes construction of new bridges along Henderson Street, White Settlement Road and North Main Street, and the re-channeling of the river under those structures.

“What we are addressing is adjusting the spacing of the reinforced steel in the piers to simplify the pouring of concrete into it,” Lopez said in an email. “It’s a novel design, and we want to make sure we execute it as best we can so we can deliver the highest-quality project possible.”

“We haven’t stopped construction on the project at all,” Lopez said in a phone interview. “We’ll be out there working on those piers again in probably a month’s time.”

To complete the project will require a $340 million appropriation to the Corps of Engineers.

In the meantime, the Trinity River Vision Authority is promoting development of areas such as the Coyote Drive-In, and hosting about 44 events per year at the Panther Island Pavilion. Those measures are partly to generate revenue, but also to establish Panther Island as a destination for entertainment, and eventually shopping, working and living.

How was it that when workers began pouring concrete it was noticed that there had been a miscalculation regarding how much reinforcing steel was needed? I assume by reinforcing steel we are talking about re-bar. It would seem that calculating how much re-bar is needed would be sort of standard information. It's not like these bridges are the first time a concrete pier has been built.

The third paragraph in the Star-Telegram article amused me with the information that the bridges will span what officials hope will be a new Trinity River channel creating Panther Island. Officials are hoping there will be a new river channel to go under these three bridges?

And then the next paragraph where we learn that these bridges are a novel design which they want to execute as best they can so as to deliver the highest quality project possible. Should not that sentiment go without saying? As in, don't all public works project want to execute the highest quality project possible?

The TxDOT spokesman says they have not stopped the project at all? And that they will be back working on those piers again, probably, in a month? How is that not stopping the project at all?

And then there is that last paragraph, where we learn the Trinity River Vision Authority is promoting things like the Coyote Drive-In and hosting 44 events a year at Panther Island Pavilion. Where there is no island or pavilion, where we just learned officials hope one day there will be a new river channel creating Panther Island.

Those 44 events are measures to generate revenue and establish the non-existent Panther Island as an entertainment destination, eventually with shopping, working and living?

Like I've already said, more than once.

Shameless propaganda.....

Monday, March 21, 2016

HUGE Bernie Sanders Seattle Rally But Not In Fort Worth Star-Telegram

I keep reading how the national corporate media is ignoring, for the most part, the Bernie Sanders phenomenon.

I am not quite sure that the national corporate media is ignoring the Bernie Sanders phenomenon, since I seem to somehow read about the money raised and the HUGE rallies of Bernie supporters.

Like what you see here, from today's Seattle Times. Apparently yesterday Bernie Sanders drew one of the biggest crowds of the current presidential campaign.

Thousands lined up in a drizzle to fill Seattle's Key Arena.

Key Arena is where the Seattle Supersonics used to play basketball before the late Aubrey McClendon stole the team and moved it to Oklahoma City. Before being known as Key Arena the Arena was known as the Seattle Coliseum. Before the Coliseum was known as such it was known as the Washington State Pavilion at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, where one could ride what was known as the Bubbleator, which took you to a vision of the future.

I saw no mention made of the big Bernie Sanders Seattle Rally in any of the other online news sources I check in on each morning.

At the top of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's front page I did see mention made of Bernie Sanders, a headline claiming "Sanders campaign seems unwilling to meet with press in Boise."

Well, Mr. Sanders was in Seattle. That is a couple mountain ranges and a few miles from Boise.

No mention made of the HUGE Sanders rally in Seattle, but instead an article about the Sanders campaign seeming to be unwilling to meet with the Boise press?

Maybe there is some sort of anti-Sander corporate media conspiracy afoot.....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Veterans Park Vietnam War Memorial Thorny Spring Hike With Meatloaf

The first day of Spring seemed to be a good day to visit the closest to my location Vietnam War Memorial, which is in Arlington, in Veterans Park.

Unlike yesterday's last day of Winter, for this first day of Spring I layered myself in sufficient outer wear to insulate from the windy cold.

After paying my respects at the two Veterans Park War Memorials I continued on to have myself a mighty fine, cold hike in the Veterans Park back country.

Til today it'd been awhile since I've hiked the Veterans Park back country. Years ago I hiked those backwoods frequently. Today I managed to get a bit bollixed up, sort of having to blaze a trail through a thicket of brush, some with thorns. I had two incidents where I was stopped by getting tangled up in brush.

I only remembered there being one creek that needed crossing in the Veterans Park back country. Today I had to figure out how to ford three narrow creeks.

By the time I made it back to paved civilization my shoes were not too muddy.

There was quite a large throng of people enjoying the first day of Spring, including a lot of disc golfers. The appeal of disc golfing is not understood by my feeble imagination.

I see an incoming email from Mr. Prairie Notes, Don Young, with "Happy Vernal Equinox!" as the subject line. I must go read  that and then have lunch.

Meatloaf, rice and beans....

A Cold Vernal Equinox First Day Of Spring Palm Sunday In Texas

Winter of 2016 is now history. Spring of 2016 is now freshly sprung.

As you can see, via the view from my patio balcony, Spring at my location has sprung with a bright sunny Sunday.

A cold first day of Spring.

Only 37 degrees when the sun arrived this morning. So, the pool was a too cool no go for a first day of Spring refreshing dip.

In addition to today being the Vernal Equinox it is also Palm Sunday. That being the day Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to be murdered five days later, and then supposedly sprung back to like two days after that, on the day known as Easter.

I think I have my bible story correct. It has been a few decades since I have been in Sunday School....

When Will A New Light Rail Station Transform Fort Worth?

I saw what you see here yesterday in the online version of the Seattle Times and thought, well, that is sure something I would not be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about a similar thing in Fort Worth.

The UW referred to in the headline is the University of Washington. The UW's new light rail station is due south of Husky Stadium. The current end terminal of an extension of the Seattle Link line, via a three mile tunnel under Queen Anne Hill.

Soon voters in several Puget Sound counties will be voting on a $20 billion bond issue to extend the Link lines all the way from Everett to the north, to Tacoma to the south, and points east. The voters have a history of passing these type transportation proposals. Likely because they are seeing the benefit of having efficient mass public transit.

I have wondered before, and am wondering again, why is there no effort in the D/FW Metroplex to have a modern efficient mass public transit system? All one needs do is check out the Dallas DART light rail system to see a modern transit system in action.

Why is there no effort to extend DART to Arlington, to the Dallas Cowboy Stadium/Six Flags zone?

Building rail lines in this flat part of the planet would seem to be far less challenging and far less expensive than doing such in a location like Seattle and surrounding towns, what with there being a lot of topographic variation and large bodies of water.

Pretty much every weekday I see I-820 slowed to a crawl. One would think mass public transit would be more appealing than being stuck in a traffic jam day after day.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Last Day Of Winter With A Cold Walk With Village Creek Indian Ghosts

I did not get the memo telling me that Winter had been scheduled to return the day before the arrival of Spring.

The outer world was chilled to 41 degrees this morning when the sun arrived. I had figured I'd go swimming this morning, but I re-figured that plan when I saw the temperature was only 9 degrees above freezing.

And there will be no swimming on the first day of Spring, because tonight the low, last I heard, is supposed to get down to only two degrees above freezing.

In the noon time frame I bundled myself up in long pants and a sweatshirt and headed east to Arlington to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area to have myself some alone time with the Indian Ghosts who haunt their former home.

As you can see, above, North Texas is being green. In the picture I'm on the wildflower designated area on the bluff above Village Creek. That is the Village Creek dam bridge crossing you see at the center of the picture. The Village Creek formerly Blue Bayou is on the other side of that dam bridge.

I was sort of surprised the Historical Natural Area was open and not still closed due to flooding, due to the recent deluging. But, there was no sign of leftover mud indicating the creek had gone into serious flood mode.

After walking a couple miles I said goodbye to the Indian Ghosts and dropped in on ALDI for some vittles and Spec's Liquor to acquire this week's Dallas Observer.

And now it is time to make macaroni and cheese with barbecue chicken and corn.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spencer Jack Took Me On A St. Patrick's Day Trek Around Puget Sound

Email arrived this morning from my Favorite Nephew Jason, with a subject line of "Evergreen Trip on St. Patrick's Day" documenting where Spencer Jack went on yesterday's Irish oriented holiday.

The text in the email....

After exploring Fort Casey on a beautiful sunny Pacific Northwest day, your FNSJ took me to Barnes & Noble and a tangled web under the Space Needle today via ferries, a monorail, and the World's Longest Salt Water Floating Bridge.

That would be Spencer Jack at Fort Casey you see above. Fort Casey was a Spanish American War era fort, built on Whidbey Island to guard the entry to Puget Sound. Another fort, Fort Flagler is on the Olympic Peninsula side of the strait, in Port Townsend.

I have had myself many a fine time exploring Fort Casey. It's sort of a kid's paradise. If I remember right, the last time I was at Fort Casey was with Spencer Jack's Uncle Joey.

Joey and I ferried our bikes from Fort Casey to Port Townsend, pedaled to the aforementioned Fort Flagler, then made it to the last ferry of the night for a rocky float back to Whidbey Island where I found a note on my pickup from the park ranger telling me to knock on his door and he'd open the locked gate to let us escape.

Continuing on with Spencer Jack's St. Patrick's Day.

I am guessing the below photo was taken near the Keystone Ferry Dock where Spencer Jack and his dad were waiting for the ferry so they could float to Port Townsend.

Below Spencer Jack is at the back of the ferry as it leaves Whidbey Island and the Keystone Ferry Dock.

The email mentioned the world's longest salt water floating bridge, but no photo was included of such. That bridge would be the Hood Canal Floating Bridge. The original version of which sank during a storm, late in the last century.

From the photo below I think I can accurately ascertain that Spencer Jack eventually made his way to Bremerton, where the ferry to Seattle was boarded, which would explain the below photo.

That body of blue water is known as Elliott Bay. When America's Biggest Boondoggle gets around to putting water in what may be known as Pond Granger, the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth may be seen in scenes such as you see above. I don't know if ferry boats are planned for Pond Granger. I suspect not.

Spencer Jack and his dad, particularly his dad, can not go to Seattle without riding the Seattle Monorail.

Above Spencer Jack is at the front of the Monorail, heading to Seattle Center, the location of the Space Needle.

The contraptions Spencer Jack is climbing on have been added since last I have been at the Seattle Center.

I have no idea what Spencer Jack is inside below.

Is it a mesh sky bridge between two elevated locations?

Spencer Jack likes to read.

Which may be why Spencer Jack, at his young age, is a fan of bookstores and libraries.

Spencer Jack's St. Patrick's Day trek around Puget Sound freshly reminded me of how many fun things there are to do in Western Washington, fun and varied, within a relatively short distance.

Meanwhile, at my current location......

Above I said Spencer Jack had emailed no photo of the aforementioned Hood Canal Floating Bridge. Spencer Jack's dad read that and informed me that the Hood Canal Floating Bridge is seen in the background of the below picture. And that they had to wait a half hour for the bridge to open to allow a boat to pass.

When I saw this photo I did not notice the line of cars or the bridge. I just thought it was a photo of Spencer Jack wearing big sunglasses. Turns out those are his dad's sunglasses. Now, on to the next update, from my Favorite Cousin Scott.

scott barry has left a new comment on your post "Spencer Jack Took Me On A St. Patrick's Day Trek Around Puget Sound":

hey, durannngggooo, just wanted to clean up a little of the geography in your recent post. fort flagler is located on marrowstone island, which is across the bay a little south and a little east of port townsend. fort worden, the third of the three forts constructed to protect puget sound -- and they did it well -- is located at the northeast tip of port townsend and has a great view across the sound to ebey's landing on whidbey island and beyond to mount baker. olivia and i spent many a day on the beaches at fort worden...

Fort Flagler did not sound right to me, so I Googled it, saw it was by Port Townsend, then assumed that was the name of Fort Casey's counterpart. I did not remember the Fort Worden name til the memory was restored by my cousin. I don't think I have been to Fort Flagler. I have been to Ebey's Landing many a time. Great hiking, high bluffs upon which cactus grows due to, I think, being in the dry rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I Did Not Know A Thunderstorm & Hail Was On The Texas Weather Menu For Today

Yesterday was a borderline HOT blue sky cloud-free day which started for me with a long swim in the not too cool pool you see here under a dark, cloudy sky.

I did not know thunderstorms were on the menu when I got vertical last night.

Sometime around three in the morning extremely bright flashes lit up my bedroom, almost non-stop.

What fresh hell is this, I lay there wondering, wondering this because while the extremely bright flashes seemed to be close lightning strikes, I heard no thunder rumbling.

And the outer world was dead calm. No wind. Nothing but those silent extremely bright flashes of light.

An hour or longer later I finally heard a distant thunder rumble adding sound to the light show.

Eventually the thunder grew louder.

About an hour after the thunder got loud the tornado sirens started screaming. Yet there was still no wind blowing. The tornado sirens screamed for about 15 minutes before ceasing with the screaming.

And then rain began downpouring, soon joined by big chunks of hail pummeling the windows.

The rain and thunder booms ended an hour or so ago.

Apparently more booming is scheduled for later today and tomorrow.

Below, from Facebook, this morning in West Fort Worth....

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Today Facebook Told Me I Was Basically An A+ Genius

I ignore most of the link bait attempts whilst visiting Facebook.

But every once in awhile I will click on one if the bait hooks me.

Like today, I clicked on one that said that most people could not answer 20 questions about subjects they learned in elementary school.

Well, most of those 20 questions were a bit more advanced subject matter than what I remember learning in elementary school.

I got all 20 questions right, though. And an A+ grade. It's been decades since I got an A+ for anything.

The test result also said "You're basically a genius." If I had a dime for every time I've been told that, I'd have at least a dollar. The genius blurb is in that faded text under the kid with two thumbs up.

Recently I got hooked by another Facebook link baiter. This one hooked me by saying something like "On average only Chefs can answer more than four of these cooking questions correctly."

Well, the questions were so dumb and easy I don't see how anyone could get one wrong. Like there'd be a photo of a cracked egg, with the question asking what the yellow part of the egg is known as. The choices, other than yolk, were totally absurd. All the questions were like that.

I think some of these Facebook link bait quizzes are designed to make stupid people feel smart. I know they have that effect on me.....

Is Rush Limbaugh's Radio Empire Crumbling?

I saw this on Facebook a minute or two ago. Ironically I was listening to Rush Limbaugh ranting about the latest Super Tuesday's election results.

Rush Limbaugh is not sounding like a ranter who is in the midst of a crumbling radio empire.

I'm listening to a local car advertisement right now. So, apparently this particular car dealer is ignoring the Dump Rush people.

Methinks Limbaugh has a steady audience of like minded, poorly educated listeners.

And that there are likely a supply of advertisers willing to support right wing hate radio.

Then again, if this is true that the radio empire of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk is facing imminent bankruptcy, that would be the first hope for humanity and American sanity news I have heard of late.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

An Ides Of March Oakland Lake Park Walk Around Fosdick Lake With Throngs Of Little Kids

Earlier today I mentioned that someone was wanting to sell me a coffee machine so my Oakland Lake Park employees could have fresh brewed coffee.

That put Oakland Lake Park and Fosdick Lake on my mind. And so I took myself on a drive west for a couple miles and joined a throng of Spring Breakers enjoying the balmy Ides of March.

As you can see Oakland Lake Park has greened up nicely in preparation for the arrival of Spring in a few days.

As I was walking across Fosdick Dam a throng of kids were running towards me, led by a big dog. A little girl who was barely post toddler brought up the rear. When she got to me she looked up, let out a scream and turned around to run back to her mama.

Why are little kids so afraid of me? I must look like a sinister monster to them.  Or maybe it's my walking stick that frightens.

By the time I got my phone out of its pocket, turned on and in camera mode the only kids remaining as photo subjects were the two little guys you see above.

This was one happy group of little kids, well, except for the little girl who ran back crying to the safety of her mama when she saw me.

Wondering About Getting Water For Fort Worth's Oakland Lake Park

About once a week I get email from China offering to sell me customized souvenir trinket type junk for my Pioneer Plaza business.

But, I have no Pioneer Plaza business. All I have is a webpage I made about the Cowboy and Longhorn Herd statues at Pioneer Plaza in Dallas.

This morning I got email with the subject line you see above, "Get Coffee and Water for Oakland Lake Park."

The Coffee part perplexed me, but the Water part had me thinking this was a person, like me, who wonders how a city park can have picnic facilities with no running water, for public safety sanitation sake.

And no modern restroom of the indoor plumbing sort.

Well, turns out the sender of this email, Office Vendor Specialist Jennifer, was offering to provide my Oakland Lake Park employees fresh brewed coffee at the best rates available.

But, I currently have no Oakland Lake Park employees. All I have is a webpage I made about Oakland Lake Park.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rocking With The Waves Aboard A Washington San Juan Ferry

That which you see here is something I am unable to see at my current location on the planet.

Huge waves crashing into a ferry.

Apparently my old home zone was windy this weekend.

The ferry getting splashed is a San Juan ferry. That is the only identifying info in the Skagit Breaking News Facebook post which was the source of the video below.

The San Juan ferry route runs from Anacortes out to several of the San Juan Islands, with Friday Harbor the furthest destination. Anacortes is the town where Spencer Jack sells burgers at the Fidalgo Drive-In.

I have been on a Washington ferry a time or two when the ride has been scarily rough. A crossing from Port Townsend to Keystone comes to mind. The boat got to rocking so rambunctiously that it was not possible to walk.

The wave you see crashing aboard, above, splashes at about the 2:30 minute mark in the below video....

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sad Day With A Few Photos Of Geff & Lulu

This morning I blogged about the loss of someone I have known for decades.

Geff Hinds.

Over the decades I have boomeranged in and out of contact with Geff and his lovely wife, Lulu.

And then there was a time in the 1990s when Geff and I sort of bonded over a couple shared interests, which I mentioned in the blogging earlier today.

I remember on the last day of our 1994 Lake Powell houseboating Geff and I took off in the early evening for a hike. We knew the nearby rock formation was known as the Moki Steps. We did not know what that meant. We hiked up the trail and came to a ladder. I climbed the ladder, Geff did not want to. I think I mentioned before we shared a fear of heights.

So, I went back down the ladder and we headed back to the houseboat. I remember saying something to Geff along the line of is it as surprising to you as it is to me that we are getting along so well. Geff said something like it was like we did not actually know each other before. Like I said, it was a bonding moment.

Soon after that bonding moment we found ourselves surrounded by bats, thousands of bats. Which is why the last houseboat docking location was known as Bat Cove.

So, after I blogged this morning about Geff's passing, his lovely wife, Lulu, commented to that blogging with the following....

lulu has left a new comment on your post "Sad News From Washington":

Thank you Dean. If you have any pictures of Geff & i, I would love to have access to them. L


I had looked through my photo collection this morning and saw a few photos with Geff and Lulu. After Lulu indicated she would love access to them I scanned four of the photos, the best of which, I think, is the one above, taken in Death Valley, after my van got a flat tire.

Much drama ensued after that tire popped. But, soon we made it to Stovepipe Wells for the night. That is Geff, acting like he is a paparazzi blocker, stopping someone from taking a photo of his wife.

The next two photos are from the Lake Powell houseboat trip.

Geff had hurt his back, so Lulu had to do all the heavy lifting, rolling goods to the houseboat docked at Bullfrog Basin Marina.

The above photo was taken at what we called Cougar Cove, due to a cougar coming on board in the middle of the night, with me scaring the cat off by screaming like a crazy person when I looked up to see a big cat staring at me. Everyone else was sleeping on the roof. Only I was inside guarding the entry. No one believed my tale til the next morning when big cougar tracks were seen embedded into the sand.

In the above photo Lulu is barbecuing with Geff's assistance.

A couple years after houseboating we journeyed to Moab for a lot of mountain biking and hiking.

The above photo was taken on the Fiery Furnace hike in Arches National Park. That would be Geff in the lead, followed by Lulu, with their son, Andrew behind his mama.

The Fiery Furnace hike took place two decades ago. Yet in my memory, it seems so recent.

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls......

Sad News From Washington

Sad news from up north this Sunday morning. Via text message and Facebook I was told the person you see on the left in the photo passed away yesterday.

Geff Hinds is the name. Pretty much the most creatively talented person I have ever known.

In the photo Geff is walking on a trail in Zion Canyon National Park. An overnight stay in the Zion Lodge was part of the most complicated road trip I ever executed.

Four days of Lake Powell Houseboating, floating to Rainbow Bridge, a scary descent down the Moki Dugway, overnight at the San Juan Inn in Mexican Hat, Monument Valley, caught in a blizzard in a log cabin on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, three nights in Las Vegas, overnight at Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley and a sidetrip into Yosemite National Park.

It was due to Geff that I learned how to make websites. Soon after returning home from the Lake Powell houseboating trip all who were on that boat got connected to the Internet. This was back in 1994. Soon we were emailing maniacs.

Back then the World Wide Web was real slow. Geff discovered it first, via something called Netscape. Geff early on saw that this newfangled WWW thing was really gonna be something. I just found it to be real slow. One day I got an email with a link to a website.

Mud Sluts.

Geff had figured out how to make a website using this thing called HTML. Geff's Mud Sluts was all about mountain biking. Mud Sluts was soon named Cool Site of the Day. Back then being Cool Site of the Day was a very cool thing. Soon thereafter Geff made another website called Lulu & Durango: As The WWW Turns.

As The WWW Turns was soon picked as Cool Site of the Day.

Soon thereafter I was summoned to Gig Harbor, told  that Geff had something for me. That something turned out to be a logo graphic and the HTML for a website called Dialing Doctor Durango. Geff showed me how HTML worked. He made it look simple. But it was too much like doing math for my simple mind.

So, I quickly found an HTML editor called Hot Dog, which basically made making webpages easy. Soon I was churning out material. Dialing Doctor Durango never was a Cool Site of the Day. But it did get picked to be Funky Site of the Day.  Doctor Durango got questions from all over the world. That is how I met Singapore's Wee Cheng.

One day I was informed that a German university had listed Dialing Doctor Durango as one of the Top Ten medical websites on the Internet. That was soon followed by a serious medical question from the UK.

People not getting that I was not a legitimate doctor, that it was a satiric type website, was perplexing. So, I killed Dialing Doctor Durango and morphed it into The Durango Files.
Soon after moving to Texas I killed The Durango Files.

It was with Geff I went on my first mountain bike ride on an actual real mountain trail. I can not remember if it was before or after that the Mud Sluts name came to be. But, that's what Geff's biking group was called.

Mud Sluts.

A couple years after houseboating Geff arranged for a group of Mud Sluts to journey to Moab. I had wanted to do that ever since New Years Day of 1994, when I was at Islands in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park and saw mountain bikers far below. I said right then when I get back home I'm getting myself a mountain bike. And then come back here. And so I did, making it back in late March of 1996, if I remember right.

On that return to Moab, in addition to mountain biking, there was hiking the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park.

Depending on what trail was being biked the group of Mud Sluts ranged from a dozen or so to the group of seven you see below, at the trailhead for the brutal Porcupine Rim Trail. I had no idea what I was getting into. The trail starts with about a thousand foot elevation gain, reaching an incredible view of the valley far below. And then the ride is basically a downhill bumpy roller coaster for miles. I don't think I'd ever been so exhausted.

That would be Geff, second from the right, with me third from the right. Geff and I shared a fear of heights. The Porcupine Rim Trail put that fear to a test.

On that Moab trip we also biked the Slick Rock Trail. Well, actually, Geff and some of the Mud Sluts biked the whole trail. It was too difficult for me. I bailed after a couple miles. We also biked the Gemini Bridges Trail. That was an easy fun one, but it required some logistical maneuvering due to the trailhead being a long ways from the trail's end.

During the 1990s I rolled my wheels many miles with Geff, all over Washington and Oregon, in addition to the one Moab mountain biking trip.

I have one Geff memory that sort of haunts me. On the last day of Lake Powell houseboating, heading across Bullfrog Basin to return the boat to the marina, Geff said something like "When can we do this again? Can we really wait a whole year to do this again?"

Now for me, I was real happy to get off that boat, and was a bit surprised that Geff was ready to do it again. But, I was back houseboating on Lake Powell four years later. I don't think Geff ever made it back. Hard to believe that that first Lake Powell houseboat float was 22 years ago.

Thanks for all the good memories, Geff.....

Sporcle Found Fort Worth Forgettable With Dallas Extremely Unforgettable

Yesterday I blogged about Amazon biospheres and Fort Worth's slow motion bridge construction boondoggle.

Someone named Anonymous then made an interesting comment which led me to some interesting data of the random list sort.....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Amazon Biospheres & Fort Worth Slow Motion Bridge Construction":

Cowtown (Fort Worth) didn't fare well in a list of the most unforgettable U.S. cities.

Dallas did really well placing 4th highest on the list. 

Seattle was 9th highest while Fort Worth was well behind at 45th place. Fort Worth is the 16th largest city and yet only the 45th most well known.

Dallas Ranks Among the Most Unforgettable American Cities

This listing of America's Unforgettable Cities came from something called Sporcle, which used a highly evolved scientific means to come to its conclusions. Below is a graphic from Sporcle listing the Top 10 Most Unforgettable American Cities.

San Jose, that is a big town in California, fared quite poorly in being memorable.

As Anonymous already told us, Fort Worth also fared quite poorly in being memorable for one of America's higher population towns.

Three paragraphs from the D Magazine Dallas Ranks Among the Most Unforgettable American Cities article about the Sporcle data....

It’s no surprise that when asked to name all 100 cities, most-populous New York was rarely missed. More than 99 percent of users got it. Compare that to poor San Jose, which only 66.6% named, even though it is the 10th-largest in the U.S.

Dallas is golden by comparison. Ours is the 9th-most populous city, but we were named on the fourth-most quizzes, 92.4%. Decades of the Ewing family and America’s Team and (less fortunately) JFK conspiracies have allowed Dallas to burrow deep into the collective consciousness. We’re only beat out by the three-largest U.S. cities, which is nothing to be ashamed about.

But what about our best little suburb sister city to the west? Fort Worth is almost as bad off as San Jose. It’s the 16th-most-populous city, but ranks 45th among those named in quiz responses. Only 59.2% of Sporcle users remembered it.

I do not know what Fort Worth could do to make itself more memorable and less forgettable. Dallas had its skyline burned into the collective memory of much of the world due to a hit namesake television show. That and one of the world's most infamous crimes took place in Dallas, which also burned the town into the world's collective memory.

Maybe when the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision, also known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, is ever completed, Fort Worth will become memorable for its lively waterfront with hordes of beer drinking inner tube floaters floating under three stunning signature bridges recognized the world over.

And a giant Liberty sized statue of J.D. Granger honoring the man who brought world wide recognition to previously un-recognized Fort Worth, Texas.....