Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ruby, David & Theo Thea Foss Waterway Uncle Walk Vision

Earlier this month, on the way to the airport, David, Theo & Ruby took me to the downtown Tacoma museum zone where we went book shopping in a University of Washington bookstore, to find a book about Washington to send to Boston to David, Theo & Ruby's cousin Kwan.

After completing the bookstore task, along with something called Cake Pops from the adjacent Starbucks, David, Theo & Ruby led us across the Bridge of Glass to the Thea Foss Waterway.

I usually incorrectly refer to this waterway as Theo Foss, likely due to one of my favorite nephews being named Theo. However, Thea Foss was a Tacoma mill operator over a century ago, operating her mill in what is now known as the Thea Foss Waterway.

The Thea Foss Waterway was part of the Commencement Bay Superfund site. The final Superfund cleanup was finished in 2006. After the cleaning was complete an entity called the Foss Waterway Development Authority Board took over.

At the time of my previous visit (August 2008) to the Thea Foss Waterway a couple residential developments had sprung up, along with office space and restaurants and a marina. The promenade/esplanade, at that point in time, was maybe a mile long. In 2008 there were some water features, mostly tied into the Museum of Glass.

By the time of my recent walk along the Thea Foss Waterway, in August of 2017, multiple new water features, and other features, have been added. Along with several more residential buildings, and restaurants. And the promenade/esplanade has been extended under one of Tacoma's actual signature bridges.

That signature bridge comment is what is known as a dig. Directed at one of Fort Worth's ongoing embarrassments. That being referring to three simple little bridges slowly being built over dry land as signature bridges. Those Fort Worth bridges are being slowly built as part of a project overseen by the Trinity River Vision Authority.

The Trinity River Vision Authority has been boondoggling along during the same time frame as the Foss Waterway Authority Vision, only with the Tacoma vision you have this alien to Fort Worth concept known as, well, a successful, mostly completed, project.

With the Tacoma project coming about without using the property stealing technique so popular in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, known as abusing eminent domain.

Let's take a walk with David, Theo & Ruby and see some of what Tacoma has built during the time frame Fort Worth has dawdled.

Added since my last visit is the water feature you see above, on the promenade/esplanade near the Museum of Glass. Water flows down those glass tubes.

Here you see Ruby at the far side of the above oval area, playing music on one type of instrument, whilst Theo & David make louder music on some giant chimes. That blue water is part of the Thea Foss Waterway, now used as a marina, among other uses.

And now David, Theo and Ruby, and their parental units are about to walk under that aforementioned Tacoma signature bridge, built over water, in way less than four years. Fort Worth's pitiful little bridges began construction way back in 2014, with construction sputtering off and on, originally with an astonishing four year construction timeline, recently stretched to some year in the 2020s.

Above David is in the distant lead, leading me, Ruby & Theo up the stairs which lead to the Museum of Glass and the Bridge of Glass.

The Theo Foss Waterway is at the south end of Commencement Bay, at the far south end of the Tacoma waterfront. Several miles to the north is an equally impressive waterfront development, known as Point Ruston.

Pont Ruston did not exist during my visit to Tacoma in 2008. I blogged about Point Ruston whilst I was in Washington, including video, in a blogging titled Point Ruston Ruby, Theo & David Surrey Survey Of Tacoma's New Waterfront Development.

I likely will be blogging a followup blogging about Point Ruston, due to being freshly appalled at the slow motion nonsense of Fort Worth's Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, bizarrely touted as a vital flood control/economic development scheme, so vital it has been dawdling along in slow motion most of this century, taking property by abusing eminent domain, depending on federal dollar handouts to pay for the ongoing debacle, attracting zero real private investment.

And then there is Tacoma's Point Ruston. And the Thea Foss Waterway...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Seattle Dick's Deluxe With Good Pay & Benefits & Long Lines

Earlier this month, returning to Tacoma from Birch Bay, David, Theo and Ruby directed our driver to exit the I-5 freeway at what used to be Seattle's notorious Mercer Street exit.

I was pleased to find the notorious Mercer Street exit no longer notorious, what with its latest upgrade iteration seeming to facilitate easy transit, fixing what used to be known as the Mercer Mess.

Exiting I-5 at Mercer Street heads west towards the Space Needle, with Lake Union on the right, or north. This area was so transformed from when I last saw it, in 2008, I was astonished. Multiple canyons of high rises block the previous view of the downtown skyline of skyscrapers. Some of the streets in the canyons seemed only to have buses and trolleys, as in the SLUT (South Lake Union Trolley).

When I was last in downtown Seattle, in August of 2008, buses did not exist on the downtown streets. A tunnel had been bored in the 1990s, for the buses, to make for easy transit all over downtown Seattle. Well, now, in  2017, those buses have been banned from the tunnel, which has been taken over by light rail trains. The 2017 version of downtown Seattle has streets dedicated to buses and bikes only.

Since I was last in Washington voters voted to end the state's monopoly on liquor sales, ended the prohibition on marijuana, approved billions of dollars of transit projects, and in some towns, like Seattle, mandated the minimum wage be $15 at a minimum.

I was expecting to find Seattle a moribund ghost town, even less lively than sleepy, low minimum wage, slow/no growth Fort Worth, Texas, what with right wing nut job types predicting that a $15 minimum wage would wreak economic havoc.

David, Theo and Ruby directed our driver to take us to Dick's. Seattle's iconic burger drive-in. That is the Dick's we went to, the one west of Seattle Center, you see above, hence the Space Needle hovering above.

Ordering our burgers I looked up to see what you see below.

Along with a repeat of the same information on the counter by the order taker.

Dick's was busy. Super busy. Long lines. Lines moving fast because Dick's is an efficient operation. Always has been.

Dick's must not have gotten the memo informing them that paying its workers such an exorbitant sum, along with multiple benefits, would put Dick's out of business.

Dick's has long been a progressive enlightened operation. Long before the mandated increase in the minimum wage.

From the Wikipedia article about Dick's Drive-In...

For several years Dick's has offered best-in-industry employee benefits such as a matched 401(k), 100% employer-paid medical insurance, and a $22,000 college tuition scholarship after six months of work. In 2013, Dick's Drive-In was voted "the most life-changing burger joint in America" in an poll.

Those dang progressive, well-educated liberals and their ideas about how to make a better world to live in.

Meanwhile, in a Texas town, like Fort Worth, during the same period of time, from 2008 til now, nothing much has happened. No new skyscrapers, No new department stores, in a downtown with zero department stores.

During the nine years since I last saw Seattle the town has changed dramatically, with countless new downtown buildings, new transit trains, a new tunnel under downtown under construction, a transforming waterfront, Pike Place additions, a giant corporate headquarters, under construction, called Amazon, among many other boomtown type developments.

And during that same time period Fort Worth has floundered with an embarrassing public works project the public has never voted for, which relies on federal welfare to fund it, which does not even seem to be able to build three simple little bridges over dry land, all part of an imaginary flood control and economic development scheme which has been scheming along, to little fruition, for most of this century.

I think Fort Worth's problems are of a systemic, more deep seated nature where something as mundane as mandating raising the minimum wage would not much effect the town's  backwater nature. But it might be a place to start moving Fort Worth and its surrounding areas into the 21st century in more meaningful ways than something absurdly inept like the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision's pitiful un-need flood control project and equally pitiful economic development scheme.

Oh, and one more thing, the burger, shake and fries prices at Dick's did not seem to be much higher, if at all, than when I last visited Dick's, back in 2004. Seems like a Dick's Deluxe was about $3.45 back then, which is about what I think, if I remember right, the Dick's Deluxe cost when I had one earlier this month, along with a strawberry shake and fries...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fresh Bridge Boondoggle Nonsense From Fort Worth's Propaganda Purveyors

I seem to be having trouble getting around to blogging the blogging fodder I brought back to Texas with me, acquired during a week in Washington earlier this month.

Blogging fodder such as the Tacoma Water Vision, which one can actually see, unlike a Texas town with which I am familiar. That and seeing up close the imaginary economic devastation Seattle is suffering from that $15 minimum wage debacle.

But before I get around to any of that, let's talk about one of my favorite, sad, pitiful subjects. That being Fort Worth's embarrassing inept Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, aka America's Biggest Boondoggle.

I have long lamented Fort Worth's lack of having a real newspaper engaging in the novel concept known as investigative journalism.

My last day in Arizona I was sent a link to an article in the Fort Worth Business Press, Work on Henderson Street, White Settlement bridges progressing; New traffic pattern, with the breathtaking news that after years of nothing happening that...

In mid-July, concrete was poured for the first full-scale V-pier for the White Settlement Bridge. The bridge contractor used 200 cubic yards of concrete. With crews placing the concrete on both legs of the V-pier simultaneously, the pour took several days to complete and cure.

In a big city wearing its big city pants how is an item such as the above paragraph considered news? And how can any legitimate "newspaper" publish an article about the ongoing Fort Worth bridge building debacle without making any sort of reference to the project being long stalled. Or what caused the long stall?

And then we have the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, yesterday or the day before, publishing yet one more bizarre bit of bridge propaganda in an article about America's Biggest Boondoggle's long stalled bridge construction, Part of Fort Worth’s Main Street closes as work revs up on Panther Island bridges, with once again no explanation as to what stalled the bridge construction, but, like the FW Business  Press, sort of breathlessly celebrating that one of those wooden V-pier forms has finally had cement poured in its form, the result of which you can see below, courtesy of the aforementioned Star-Telegram.

So, what was the issue with this bridge design? I'm no engineer, but, I don't see how this cement teeter totter is going to support a bridge deck. And when were the foundations poured for all these bridge V-pier forms? Shouldn't that concrete teeter totter be sitting on a big solid foundation? And how will the ditch be dug under these teeter totters if the ditch is ever dug?

The Star-Telegram article uses a photo of that embarrassing explosive bridge ground breaking ceremony,  from years ago, and mentions that the project has endured nearly three years of delays.

Yet we still get no information regarding the nature of the design controversy which caused the delay. And what was resolved which resulted in concrete finally being poured into one of the V-pier forms.

We do get the following...

Work on the three Panther Island bridges was kicked off in November 2014. Back then, local delegates gathered near the Trinity River banks to celebrate the project with pyrotechnics. But work slowed down as the state transportation department wrangled with contractors over the unusual design of the bridges, including the V-shaped piers. But state officials say those concerns have been addressed and the project can move forward.

The state wrangled with contractors over the unusual design of the bridges? Really? What is so unusual about the design of these simple looking bridges which could cause such a long construction stall? And what issues were resolved? How were the design issues resolved? What changed which ended the wrangling with the contractors?

Why does the Star-Telegram not get answers to questions such as the ones I just asked?

And then there is the following gem from the Star-Telegram...

Panther Island is on a short list of projects nationwide that are considered by Congress to be priorities for flood control and economic development. Last year, Congress authorized $520 million to cover more than half of the project’s cost, although the money likely will become available over a number of years.

Considered by Congress to be a priority for flood control and economic development? If such were the case why is this supposed vital project being actualized in extreme slow motion?

Flood control? There has been no flood in the area of the Boondoggle since the early 1950s, when levees were installed to keep the Trinity River within its banks.

And why does the Star-Telegram go along with the absurd Panther Island nomenclature? There is no island, there will be no island, even if this project ever does get completed. Digging a ditch does not an island make. Visit Hawaii, Washington or the Texas Gulf Coast if you want to see what an island looks like.

Why does Fort Worth indulge in bizarre misnaming of perfectly ordinary things? Like for decades downtown Fort Worth confused its few tourists with directional signs pointing to Sundance Square, where there was no square, but was the odd name given a multi-block redevelopment zone. And now there are signs confusing Fort Worth's few tourists by pointing them to locations such as Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island or pavilion.

Why do the good people of Fort Worth, and the majority are good people, put up with a civic leadership which makes their town looks so, well, stupid, inept and embarrassing?

Fort Worth needs to run June Cleaver and her boy Beaver, also known as Kay and J.D, Granger, out of town, the sooner the better for the sake of sanity and the good people of Fort Worth....

Monday, August 28, 2017

Steel Flying Fish Found At Lake Wichita

This morning whilst conducting my daily local news perusal via the Wichita Falls Times New Record a Several parks projects falling into place headline caught my eye and caused a link click.

I thought among the "several parks" one might be the news that the long stalled Wichita Bluff Nature Area had been completed, or the Lake Wichita Revitalization was finally underway, or some other parks project about which I knew nothing.

Instead the main project news was that the bridge upgrade at Wichita Falls has finally been completed, with the waterfall turned back on just in time for the Hotter 'n Hell weekend.

There were a couple paragraphs that were not about the waterfall, one of which was the following...

A steel flying fish sculpture was placed at the lake ahead of schedule and is receiving a good deal of attention. Garner said it was delivered to the city last week and they were expecting to store it for a while until city crews could set it up. As it happened, there was a break in the city schedule and Terry Points and his team could set up the 17-foot creation Friday.

As you can read, the information in the article did not include where at the lake the flying fish sculpture was placed. But, I can tell you where it is. What with the outer world being chilled to an unnaturally pleasant temperature in the 70s, I opted  to go for an early morning bike ride to Lake Wichita, across the dam, all the way to Mount Wichita.

It is near Mount Wichita I came upon the flying fish sculpture, which you can see my handlebars aimed at above.

So, to be precise, the flying fish sculpture is located in Lake Wichita Park, at the northwest end of the lake, at the edge of the parking lot near Mount Wichita.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Inspired By Deflated Washington I Am Losing My Texas Inflation

Day one in Washington, August 8, David, Theo and Ruby took me to a neighborhood party at another Ruby's, known for her fried potatoes.

At that party, what with me being known as a Washingtonian who has spent considerable time exiled in Texas, I was asked if I'd noticed anything about Washington different than what I see in Texas (other than the obvious things like scenic mountains and a well educated population).

Well, I told the person asking me this question that that subject had sort of come up shortly after I arrived, when David, Theo and Ruby had their mom drive us to Southcenter to go to Duke's for seafood and to wait out the I-5 traffic jam.

After Duke's we walked the mall til we got to a Lego Store. Leaving the Lego Store I remarked to David, Theo and Ruby's mom that I was freshly amazed at the difference from Texas in what I was seeing, as in, so many people looking like the air has been let out of them, looking well dressed, and, well, just looking good and healthy, as to compared to what I see, way too often, in Texas.

As in, in Texas, I see way more people who look as if they have been over inflated, sloppily dressed, and, well, just slovenly.

I was feeling just a bit judgmental, but then again, ones sees what ones sees and thinks what one thinks when one sees what one sees.

This trip to Washington and Arizona was not the first time I have reacted to suddenly seeing deflated humans.

On a roadtrip back to Washington the human deflation phenomenon begins in the least obese state in the union, Colorado.

In a 2001 roadtrip back to Washington I remember overnighting in Pueblo, Colorado and making note of two noticeable things. One the dramatic decrease in litter from what I was used to seeing in Texas. And, two, the shrunken size of most of the humans.

In February of 2004 I remember getting picked up at Sea-Tac and taken to downtown Seattle, to Pioneer Square and Pike Place, because the person picking me up had to make some deliveries of her crafty products.

Ironically this Washingtonian taking me to downtown Seattle is the biggest Washingtonian I have ever known, up close and personal.  Yet, at a gallery in Pioneer Square, when learning I was freshly arrived from Texas, the proprietor asked me what my impression was of seeing my old home state again. I recollect first off mentioning the unseasonably warm weather was pleasant.

And then that I was struck by how so many people look as if they have had the air let out of them.

I think this instance was the first time I had used that "air let out of them" verbiage.

Previous to my recent return to Washington it had been nine years since I'd been to my old home state.

During those nine years I added over 30 pounds of Texas blubber to my previously skinny self.

I had not quite become a stereotypically over inflated Texan, but that has been the direction I have been trending, even though I have not even remotely adopted the Texas Food Pyramid.

I have now been back in Texas five full days.

I am currently in serious deflation mode, intending to return to my formerly skinny self, abolishing my acquired Texas blubber forever, I hope....

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Eye Witness Birch Bay Driftwood Confirmation

Over the years I have mentioned, a time or two, including a mention or two via a blogging on this particular blog you are reading right now, a chunk of driftwood on the beach at Birch Bay State Park in my former home zone of Washington.

Over the years I have asked various Birch Bay visitors if this chunk of driftwood still exists. I have received a photo or two of a chunk of driftwood located on the Birch Bay State Park beach, but I was unable to determine via the photo documentation if this was the chunk of driftwood which lingered in my memory.

So, the morning of August 12, David, Theo and Ruby's Uncle Jake drove me to Lynden, with our route taking us along the full crescent of Birch Bay, including entering the now restricted access state park area.

I soon saw the chunk of driftwood which haunts my memory. Uncle Jake stopped the vehicle allowing me to exit and snap the photo you see above.

The chunk of driftwood of my memory appears to have greatly shrunk. Or maybe I have grown greatly bigger.

This chunk of driftwood is the stump of a cedar tree. Cedar lasts a long time, even when sprayed regularly with saltwater.

A day later I was able to relatively confirm this chunk of driftwood has been at this Birch Bay location for well over a half a century.

That relative confirmation came from Aunt Judy, after I mentioned Jake and me seeing the iconic chunk of Birch Bay driftwood the day before.

Aunt Judy told us that Uncle Mel had told her about playing on that driftwood when he was a kid. What with Uncle Mel having been born in, I think, 1940, hence the fact this chunk of driftwood has been being played on for well over half a century.

I told Aunt Judy that when one Googles "Birch Bay Driftwood" a photo shows up of Aunt Judy's two eldest offspring, Jeff and Sheryl, sitting on a log in front of the chunk of driftwood.

Moments ago I repeated this act of Googling to discover it is via me that this photo shows up when Google searching. In one of my ubiquitous bloggings about this chunk of driftwood, titled Birch Bay Driftwood Confirmation From Lynden Via Tacoma I wrote the following...

Then this morning my little sister, Michele, emailed me the photo you see here, gleaned from our Aunt Judy's Facebook page. My best guess as to the identity of the two little kids is that those are my cousins Jeff and Sheryl.

So, it was from Aunt Judy, via sister Michele, I got the photo above which now shows up when one Googles "Birch Bay Driftwood".

I pretty much have almost zero regrets regarding my latest week in Washington.

But there is one regret.

I regret that our plan to have a picnic at Birch Bay State Park did not materialize. It's not the lack of a picnic I regret. What I regret is not getting the opportunity to get a picture of me on this chunk of Birch Bay driftwood with David, Theo and Ruby onboard with me.

Perhaps there will be a return to Birch Bay at some point in the relatively near future. There was some talk about buying a timeshare in the appropriately named Sandcastle Resort...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Theo's Birch Bay Sand Castle Building

This morning I found the flash drive upon which I placed a lot of photos during my recent visits to Washington and Arizona.

This recent trip was the first time this century I have traveled without bringing a computer along with me, which rendered me only able to do the blogging, emailing, youtubing, internet thing when I had access to my sisters' computers.

The sister computer in Arizona was easy to get into use mode. The sister computer in Washington was a bit more challenging.

Among the many things I anticipated having fun doing at Birch Bay was anything beach related. The bay at Birch Bay is extremely shallow. When the tide goes low and the sun shines bright the tidal flats get HOT, which heats the water when the tide decides to roll back in.

This particular Birch Bay phenomenon occurred only on the day we arrived, August 11, with Mother Nature delivering the best birthday gift of the day.

A warm saltwater swim.

David, Theo and I ventured far off shore, to the horror of the parental figures, back on land, who did not realize how shallow the water was. The deep water illusion may have been exacerbated by an uncle suggesting his nephews create the illusion they were up to their necks in deep water. After a few minutes of hearing screaming from shore the nephews stood to their full height with the water depth instantly dropping to waist deep. Calm eventually was restored on shore.

Two days later, on Sunday, the tide was once again out, but not too far. We decided to do some sand castle building. A wall was built, with a moat around the wall, and a mountain of sand constructed inside the wall.

Only three sand castle builders stayed with the project til its final flood.

Myself, Theo and Mama Kristin.

Ruby helped for awhile, digging a ditch to connect the moat to the nearest body of water, figuring this would help drain the moat when the tide came in. But, the sand castle building engineers miscalculated from whence the main flood threat would come. As in, Ruby's ditch turned into a back door flood as the tide reached the previously isolated body of water.

When Spencer Jack showed up he helped for a little while. And then Ruby talked Spencer into going swimming with her in the heated pool.

David also helped, but no one could figure out the method to his sand castle building madness.

Eventually the tide filled the moat and began to attack the wall. Theo directed a heroic effort to shore up the crumbing wall, but soon the effort proved fruitless.

The next day Theo's Uncle Jake went on an early morning walk during which he text messaged informing me the tide was heading out and the remains of Theo's sand castle wall were visible, surviving, somewhat.

After getting that message from Uncle Jake I located Theo. He and I then ventured via the elevator to the fifth floor clubhouse sunset viewing venue to check out the remains of Theo's Sand Castle. Theo then posed for the photo you see above, with the remains of Theo's Sand Castle in the center of the photo.

Theo is the funnest, best Sand Castle builder with whom I have ever built a Sand Castle....

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Brother Jake & Me With A Dad Photo Mystery

Saturday, August 12, 2017, after a ceremony at Lynden's Monumenta Cemetery, Aunt Judy invited those in attendance to her house for some pleasant relative time with tasty vittles, including a table with dad's favorite goodies, such as chocolate and cashews.

Aunt Judy and Uncle Mooch made two large photo boards, with dozens upon dozens of photos of my dad. Many of which I did not recollect previously seeing.

The following day, Sunday evening to be precise, Aunt Judy, Uncle Mooch, Aunt Jane, Cousin Amy and Amy's cute kid Kwan came to visit. It had been a long day with a lot of visitors, topped by the extremely enjoyable visit with the Uncle Mooch entourage.

Sometime around  midnight, my time, the Uncle Mooch entourage departed, but before doing so one of the large photo boards was given to us. The next morning I was tasked with removing the photos from the board so as to facilitate transit to Tacoma. Among those photos was a large one, in the center, of dad and his siblings, which I think was taken at a sibling reunion in Ohio earlier this century.

It was decided that I would take the large photo with me, to Arizona, to give to mom. When I arrived in Arizona and unpacked that which I had brought for mom, I was surprised to see two additional photos, photos I did not pack, that I had not been given to take to mom.

At the time I wondered how I came to have those two additional photos, but then thought nothing more about it, until the day before I flew back to Texas, that being Monday, August 21. On my last evening in Arizona I went  to my sister Jackie's place in Chandler. My brother, Jake was also there. Soon upon my arrival my brother gave me an envelope with a photo inside, which is the photo you see at the top.

With that photo being a montage of that big photo of dad I took with me to Arizona and the other two photos I accidentally took with me!

My brother and I have no idea how this happened. The next morning I located the three photos at mom's and took the photo you see below.

I then text messaged my little brother the photo I'd taken of the three photos he'd made into one photo, to which Jake replied, "That is beyond what I can make sense of. Think of the odds. It can't be a coincidence."

So, we have at least two mysteries here. One being how did I end up taking the two additional photos to Arizona, photos which matched those Jake made into a composite photo? Second mystery is what caused Jake to select those two additional photos to add to the big one of dad, from all the photos available, photos which matched  those two additional photos I inadvertently took to Arizona?

The photo on the right I can sort of understand why Jake chose that one. We had not seen a color photo, before, of the day mom and dad got married. In the color photo that is my dad's dad, dad's mom, mom, dad, mom's mom and mom's dad, well, step-dad, who was the only person I ever knew as grandpa.

The other dad photo, the one on the left, I think with dad in that photo is the aforementioned Uncle Mooch being the little guy in the foreground, with Uncle Ivan on the right.

The big photo which I delivered to mom has morphed into a new controversy in the last 24 hours. Apparently mom thought this was a painting of dad I brought from Washington, which has now disappeared. I have informed the photo searchers where I last saw this photo, that being the spot I returned it to after taking the composite photo you see above.

Items have a tendency, these days, at mom's, to disappear, and then reappear, at a new location, after mom reports them missing.

Or stolen....

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eventually Escaping The Trump Phoenix Debacle

What you are looking at here was my view on the world for well over an hour yesterday, stuck on the tarmac in Phoenix at Sky Harbor Airport at over 100 degrees, with the plane in stuck mode not able to keep the plane interior comfortably cool.

We were boarded and starting to move when the pilot informed us that ground control had halted all flights due to an incoming menace to the world, America's international embarrassment, Donald J. Trump.

The first pilot announcement announced that the delay would be for 30 minutes, approximately. Because the president's plane was landing and security had to secure the airport. The collective anti-Trump groan was pleasant to the ears.

A half hour later, give or take a minute or two, the pilot had a new announcement. Turns out the president's plane had just landed, the pilot saw it land, and that now we were to be stalled for 40 more minutes.

There was palpable panic onboard as victims tried to make arrangements to fix their connecting flight woes. It was pitiful to listen to. I assume this was taking place all over the plane, in addition to the lamenting I heard all around me.

I did not have a panic attack because I had almost three hours to make my connection. With that multi-hour window greatly shortened by the time I arrived at DFW.

The flight from DFW to Wichita Falls was what is known as a bumpy flight, due to passing through a thunderstorm. I left Phoenix sweltering with Trump over 100 degrees. I arrived in Wichita Falls to an outer world chilled into the low 70s, lightning striking and rain downpouring.

Getting struck by chilly rain was quite pleasant last night. I did not get horizontal til well past midnight, with my alarm set to wake me at 6am. However, soon upon getting vertical I got a text message postponing a meeting this morning back in DFW. I could have slept in this morning, had I known.

So, this morning, rather than driving back to the Dallas zone, I think I will find  myself going through the thumbdrive of photos I have collected the past couple weeks.

On another Dallas note. Last night I wondered how bad it bugs Fort Worthers when they land at DFW and hear the pilot welcoming them to Dallas. Or mentioning the impending arrival in Dallas, multiple times.

I see a bike ride in my immediate future today, weather permitting...

Monday, August 21, 2017

In Arizona Watching The Solar Eclipse With David, Theo & Ruby

Soon after the most stupendous American moon related event of the year I received photo documentation of five Tacoma eclipse viewers viewing the eclipse of the sun behind eye doctor approved viewing glasses.

Forming a triangle around their parental units we see my nephew David on the left, niece Ruby at the bottom, with nephew Theo on the right.

The nephew/niece triangle trio opined that the eclipse was extremely cool from their Washington viewing location.

Meanwhile in Arizona I watched the eclipse with grandma Daisy, on the TV. It was riveting television viewing. When the eclipse reached our Arizona location me and grandma Daisy did not make note of any dimming of the sun. Other Arizona sun observers did indicate they did notice some dimming.

I am currently at David, Theo and Ruby's Aunt Jackie's where the Arizona Diamondbacks are once again playing baseball.

Tomorrow I leave Arizona, making my way east from the sublime to the ridiculous. I am sort of looking forward to a bit less of the sublime and a bit more ridiculousness...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Driving Miss Daisy Searching For Jeremy While Navigating Around South Mountain

Yesterday began soon after dawn with the Miss Daisy Uber Taxi Service delivering my favorite brother-in-law, Jack, to Dobson's Ranch, site of a housing development of one of America's notorious criminals, last name Keating.

Jack was not in Dobson's Ranch for any nefarious criminal activity, but instead to make his ride connection to Prescott, site of a Pickle Ball Tournament, where he is paired with his first wife, whilst staying in a replica of the Bates Motel.

A few hours later Miss Daisy had her driver drive her to Tempe, to find her grandson Jeremy, to visit his jungle backyard which serves as a sort of Arizona Noah's Ark. We failed in our quest to find Jeremy's jungle.

Failing the Jeremy finding quest Miss Daisy directed her driver to drive to South Mountain. Eventually we made it high above Phoenix where I used my phone to take one of those rare, for me, selfie photos.

Another view of the same selfie scene, but without me in the view. South Mountain Park is the largest city park in any city in America. The drive up and down the mountain is a fun roller coaster of ups and downs and twists and turns.

South Mountain is home to a forest of saguaro cactus of various sizes and shapes. I dodged scorpions and rattlesnakes to get the cactus selfie closeup you see here.

When we left South Mountain Miss Daisy directed me to head west, rather than east. West heads away from civilization. Soon we were in an agricultural zone growing cotton and other such stuff, with irrigation ditches flowing a lot of water on both sides of the road.

Even though Miss Daisy directed me to go west, soon Miss Daisy decided maybe we should have gone the other direction. I opted to continue west, countermanding Miss Daisy's directions.

Eventually we came to a highway which headed south. Around South Mountain. This seemed a logical direction to go. A few miles later we entered the Gila River Indian Reservation and passed a casino.

Soon after passing the casino Miss Daisy announced we were on Riggs Road.

Riggs Road is the road which leads back to Miss Daisy's home location in Sun Lakes. Riggs Road runs east and west, not south and north. I informed Miss Daisy of this fact.

A few miles later Miss Daisy announced that she was now certain we were on Riggs Road. I tried to gently tell Miss Daisy that this was impossible, that the road sign says we are on Beltline Road.

A few miles later the mile marker said 2.0, which indicated we were 2 miles from some sort of junction or road change.

Imagine my shock as Beltline Road took a bend to the east and when we hit mile marker 0.0 the road name changed from Beltline to Riggs.

There are some who insist Miss Daisy has serious memory lapses. I have notice such lapses myself. And then I have an incident like this knowing we were on Riggs Road thing and I get confused as to how bad mom's, I mean, Miss Daisy's, memory actually is.

Oh, a few hours later we found Jeremy. He showed up at grandma's to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks lose again. Neither Jeremy or I have seen the Diamondbacks win. We are watching those D-Backs likely lose again tonight. Miss Daisy is slow cooking one of her recovered pot roasts...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Palm Tree Trimming With Sun Lakes Lady Fun Floaters & Mom's Curfew

Ever since I have been in Arizona, for what seems like a month, but has only been three full days, mom has been tasking me with all sorts of tasks I am not used to being tasked with.

Such as this morning I was tasked with helping mom crack a strong box so we could see what my dad had locked strongly in the box, accessible only via a key hidden where key seekers could not find the key which they might be looking for to gain access to the locked strong box.

Once we succeeded in cracking the strong box we found nothing too surprising. Well, there were the two two dollar bills my dad had secreted in his wallet. And I found a document or two I told mom to set aside because I thought David, Theo and Ruby's mom might want to have them for framing purposes. Such as the document which mustered dad out of the service way back in the early 1950s.

Yesterday mom tasked me with using dad's chainsaw to trim the fronds from the palm trees. It was a bit tricky figuring out how to shimmy my way up the tree's trunk, with the chainsaw dangling from my belt. Eventually I figured it out.

The palm tree trimming photo documentation you see above is not actually me in the tree doing the trimming on that particular palm tree. That is a tree trimmer I saw whilst in the pool this morning with what remains of the Sun Lakes Lady Fun Floaters.

Only Beverly currently remains from last June's Sun Lakes Lady Fun Floaters. The Queen of the Floaters, Jacqui, is currently up north, in Washington, enjoying the natural air conditioning. Beverly did not know the location of the other Fun Floaters, including Ann and Phyllis, who have been mysteriously missing for weeks.

Today mom gave me permission to only be gone for two hours. Yesterday apparently I created a panic by being gone for over three hours. And not answering my phone. I do not seem able to get mom to understand I seldom answer my phone. Or I don't realize the phone has been summoning me, which was the case yesterday when mom made her worried call.

I am enjoying the relatively chilly Arizona temperatures, barely in the low 100s. Last June when I was in Arizona it was actually HOT, as compared to now, with the temperature at that point in time going over the 120 mark multiple times. We are currently chilling into the 80s over night, which is making the pool cool. I don't know when it gets cold enough to kick in the solar heaters...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sad Washington Departure Leaving David, Theo & Ruby Behind After Blackberry Milkshakes

My week in Washington began with a boisterous arrival greeting from nephews David and Theo and niece Ruby.

On Tuesday my week in Washington ended with a somber departure from David, Theo and Ruby.

Especially Theo, who you see in front of me.

If there are a cuter trio of kids on the planet, I would like to meet them.

Eventually I will return to Texas with a thumbdrive bursting with material from Washington, material in the form of photos. Along with material consisting of my impression of what I was seeing when I was in Washington.

I will likely wait til I am back in Texas with a computer connection to the world, with which I am more familiar, before I blog that aforementioned material.

Suffice to say, though the reason to be there was a sad one, I had the best week I have had in a long long time, this time, in Washington.

On Tuesday, on the way to the airport, David, Theo and Ruby took me to Tacoma's Theo Foss Waterway. An area I will later photo document and refer to as the Tacoma Waterfront Vision (a vision which you can actually see, with no weeds or rusted re-bar or polluted water or drunken inner tubers) unlike another town's vision, which few sane people are seeing. Tacoma's real vision has an actual real signature bridge, built over actual real water. What a concept.

But, I digress.

Back to my last day in Washington.

After we left Tacoma we stopped in Fife at the Pick Quick Burgers Drive-In for burgers and blackberry milkshakes, and views of Mount Rainier.

With the sky finally clear of smoke the Mountain came out spectacularly on my last day in Washington, including a direct overhead view as my flight to Phoenix routed over the Rainier summit. I will save the full mountain view for later. Suffice to say, for the first time ever, I saw the Mount Rainier summit, and could make out markings of some sort at the summit, which you can sort of see below.

I arrived in Phoenix with a thud.

Literally. To use my nephew David's favorite word.

The plane landed with a jolt worthy of a theme park ride. A few people screamed. I was not one of the screamers. But the lady from Terlingua, next to me, was.

I was surprised as I exited the Sky Harbor security zone to suddenly see my mom and sister Jackie, sitting, waiting for me. Mom had walked her walker in from the parking lot, a couple elevator levels below or above. I'm not sure. I was sort of too tired to pay directional attention.

Wednesday morning I went swimming with what remains of the Sun Lakes Ladies Swimming Club. Most have let Arizona, temporarily, for cooler climes. Yesterday, post swim, I drove mom and Jackie to Maricopa to see Penny and to have ourselves a McDonald's feeding.

Today mom and I boxed up a lot of dad's stuff and took it to Goodwill. Then we went on a long drive to Coolidge, a town right next to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. We did not go see the ruins. I've heard there is not a lot to see. That they are sort of ruined. Which would seem to me what one would want ruins to be.

Eventually we made it back to Sun Lakes, where I left mom, to go to my current location, my sister Jackie's house, which I have all to myself, because Jackie is up north, in Prescott, playing in a Pickle Ball Tournament. Tomorrow mom and I return to my current location, that being sister Jackie's, at six in the morning, to chauffeur Jackie's first husband, Jack, to Dodson Ranch, so he can pick up a ride to Prescott, where he Pickle Balls tomorrow.

I am enjoying Arizona. But this is not the scenic wonderland of natural air conditioning, large bodies of water, and towering mountains, which is the reality in Washington.

Mom and I are making BBQ Ribs tonight. I have never seen three freezers so stocked with frozen stuff as what currently exists at my mom's abode....

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ruby Slotemaker Finds Road With Her Name On It

I think I may have mentioned I might not get back to a computer for about a week. But then whilst going through photos taken the past several days I came upon this one which quickly became my favorite.

And thus felt like sharing.

Slotemakers and a Jones or two from across the country were in Lynden Saturday August 12, converging at one in the afternoon at Lynden's Monumenta Cemetery.

Prior to one in the afternoon my little brother, Jake and I left Birch Bay and headed to Lynden to check out a thing or two or three, like our grandma's houses, and the old Slotemaker farm and Slotemaker Road.

I sort of thought I knew the way to Slotemaker Road. My little brother was more confident than I that he knew the way. And so we headed south across the Nooksack River.

And then proceeded to drive many miles in a futile search for the Slotemaker Farm and its namesake road. Eventually I asked Google "Slotemaker Road Whatcom County Washington". Google proceeded to be worthless, giving me a list of Whatcom Country history links. Then I called my little brother's eldest, Jason.

Jason was of no use because his dad had gotten us so convolutedly confused Jason could not figure out how to tell us how to get to Slotemaker Road from our extremely lost location on what turned out to be the wrong side of the river.

We decided to give up on our Slotemaker Road search and proceed to the cemetery, planning to ask Uncle Mooch the way at some point in time.

Asking Uncle Mooch proved unnecessary, because after we left the cemetery to head for Aunt Judy's Ruby consulted something called Siri on her iphone, with Siri telling Ruby how to direct her vehicle to Slotemaker Road.

Meanwhile my little brother and I had trouble finding Aunt Judy's after we left the cemetery. We mistakenly thought we were following someone who was also going to Aunt Judy's. We once again called Jason to ask if he knew the way to Aunt Judy's. Jason sort of patiently told me Aunt Judy clearly gave us all directions. But your dad and I were not listening, was my excuse to Jason. Jason then walked us through how to get to Aunt Judy's. Eventually we saw Jason holding his phone in front of Aunt Judy's.

A few minutes later I found myself talking to a relative who told me she first met me when I was two months old. That lead to me calling mom after which a group conversation ensued, having mom in virtual attendance.

And then Ruby triumphantly arrived, freshly returned from finding Slotemaker Road.

A couple hours later we left Aunt Judy's and followed Ruby the what turned out to be short distance to Slotemaker Road.

On the north side of the Nooksack River.

Which is how the above photo was taken of me trying to help Ruby continue the family tradition of purloining Slotemaker Road signs for display in our various home locations....

Birch Bay Sand Castles With Theo, Jake, Cindy & Uncle Mooch

I have not been near a computer since last Friday. I have a back log of blogging material and photo documentation of that blogging material.

But I may not get around to having fun reducing that back log of blogging material for about a week.

Tomorrow I head south from the Great Pacific Northwest, to the HOT Valley of the Sun, to spend a week with my mom.

I have been a little busy since last Tuesday. Yesterday, Sunday, was my first semi day of rest.

Sunday brought about a scenario the likes of which I could not have imagined what could possibly bring about such a scenario, if you had suggested such a scenario, say, two, five, ten or twenty years ago. That being what you see above. Me, my brother Jake, and my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Cindy, walking on the tidal flats of Birch Bay,

The day began with a long awaited visit from Nurse Canecracker and Betty Jo Bouvier. I have known few people as long as Nurse Canecracker and Betty Jo, who delivered me a bag full of Northwest goodies, including smoked salmon, raspberry jam, sourdough bread and dozens of Canecracker cookies. Eventually Nurse Canecracker and Betty Jo took me to a seaside seafood joint where we had seafood in the form of cod in various iterations. The feeding was fine, but visiting Betty Jo and the Canecracker was excellent.

In the afternoon Theo, David, their uncle Jake, mama Kristin and myself headed to the beach with the goal being to build a sand castle whilst the water was in tide going out mode. The day before we had had ourselves a mighty fine time defending a giant sand alligator from the incoming tide.

We were in mid sand castle building when Spencer Jack, his dad, Jason, and grandma Cindy showed up. Spencer helped with the castle building for awhile and then opted to join Ruby in the pool, leaving just the original castle builders to continue building.

Eventually the tide grew close. Soon we had to fight to defend our castle. It is always a losing effort. After we surrendered we retreated to an interior space where we found Spencer Jack, Jason, Cindy and others. We had ourselves a fine time visiting and enjoying grandma Cindy's special Northwest type brownies.

After Spencer Jack decided it was time to head home Theo convinced me to go swimming with him and Ruby in the pool, not the bay. We did so for what seemed a long time. I quit first. Upon returning to the condo I opened the door to find the place filled with a fresh supply of relatives, including the infamous, much revered, Uncle Mooch.

We all had ourselves a might fine time visiting Uncle Mooch and the rest of the clan. Ruby had herself a lot of fun with Mooch's grandson, Kwan, dismantling my former bed and turning it into a giant fort.

The Mooch Gang left sometime after midnight, my time. After that Theo and David talked me into going back into the bay to experience what David calls 'bio-luminescence'. We armed ourselves with a flashlight and made our way to the bay. All we need say about this part of the day is we did not get wet enough to see the water glow.

I slept well last night. This morning we ventured to the rooftop for some scenic view photos of the remains of yesterday's sand castle. And then soon it was check out time. The drive back to Tacoma did not have the traffic jam nightmares of the sort which made miserable the drive north on Friday. In Seattle we left I-5 to go to Dick's by the Seattle Center and then drive by the HUGE Amazon campus, largely under construction. Ruby and I got out for a quick photo op at the giant Amazon spheres, then we continued our quick tour of way too busy downtown Seattle.

More on Seattle and the past few days, later. This may be my last time on a computer for several days.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Point Ruston Ruby, Theo & David Surrey Survey Of Tacoma's New Waterfront Development

Last night David, Theo and Ruby took me on a roll along the Tacoma waterfront via a surrey with a fringe on top, powered by Fred Flintstonish pedal power.

For several years now I have been hearing about the incredible development which has come to the north end of the Tacoma waterfront, at Ruston, the site of America's biggest Superfund cleanup, cleaning up the toxic residue left from the Asarco copper smelting operation which operated during many years of the previous century.

I remember when the Ruston Asarco zone was an industrial wasteland. Driving through a narrow tunnel, coming out the other end to see the giant Asarco smelter chimney towering like a grimy Space Needle.

That tower came down several decades ago, in a spectacular explosive demolition similar to the fate of the Kingdome a few decades later. The site was cleaned of its lead and copper smelting pollution. And left a sort of wasteland.

And then at some point late in the last century some building action began. There was a slight stall due to the Great Recession, but now, in 2017, that old Ruston industrial wasteland is a boom zone known as Point  Ruston.

A waterfront development on steroids. Both the north and south ends of the Tacoma waterfront have boomed since I last saw those locations, way back in 2008.

Tonight, a Thursday, Point Ruston was busy. as was the rest of the Tacoma waterfront. Lots of people walking, blading, biking and surrey pedaling the waterfront promenade. A huge free parking lot garage makes it easy to visit the Point Ruston Asarco boom zone, along with what were a lot of other people. A giant hotel is under construction to accommodate the incoming visiting tourists who need accommodating.

Normally I would make mention of the fact that this HUGE development has taken place without using or abusing eminent domain. Without hiring the son of a local congressperson to motivate the local congressperson to secure federal funds to fund the development. With this Point Ruston development developing because private developers saw an economic opportunity and so HUGE sums of money, private, non-taxpayer money, is fueling this development.

And did I mention this is a waterfront development, which already has a promenade along the waterfront?

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Texas...

But, I don't have time to elaborate on how progress actually occurs in modern parts of America, and how it stymies in backwards, non-modern parts of America, because I have to get ready to head north towards Canada, to Birch Bay.

But before I go, some more photos from last night.

Ruby took the wheel for awhile. Ruby was a good driver, though David got a bit nervous when the steering took us to what looked to be a dropoff into Commencement Bay.

Here Theo took the wheel. Theo was a wilder driver than Ruby.

After an hour, give or take a minute or two, of rolling around in the surrey with a fringe on top, we parked our vehicle and proceeded to seek something to eat. Ruby wanted pizza, but the pizza place had a half hour wait. The burger joint also had a long wait.

Eventually we found a seafood joint with not a too long wait. I do not remember the name of the seafood joint. We had halibut and chips, calamari, fried jalapenos and a blackberry/rosemary/lemon concoction which was quite tasty.

Many of the feeding stations had outdoor dining options, such as you see above, both ground level and rooftop.

While we were pedaling our surrey with the fringe on top we came upon the above tugboat, docked, with people in dressed nice mode getting onboard. A half hour later the tugboat floated by. As you can see Point Ruston, and the Tacoma waterfront features a large urban lake. Only in Washington this is called Puget Sound.

Our last Point Ruston stop was at the Ice Cream Social, where we joined a long line waiting to quickly get some real good ice cream. Above you see Theo, me and Ruby waiting for Mama Kristin to deliver the goods. I have a pair of nephews with elevated refined palates. David likes calamari, Theo likes lavender ice cream, for example. Meanwhile, Ruby's tastes are less exotic, though last night Ruby did get a bit wild and crazy by trying some blackberry ice cream.

Below is a video from last night, in which you will eventually see David, Theo and Ruby, and me, dodging shots of water in a big free spirited, no restricted hours, water feature a town in Texas should have checked out for emulation purposes before installing a pitiful similar thing in their equally pitiful little downtown development pretentiously called Sundance Square Plaza. I did not make note of any pretentious name for the plaza with the Point Ruston water feature...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Riding Tacoma Waves With David, Theo & Ruby

For today's mid-day Tacoma fun David, Theo and Ruby waited til after Lego Camp to take me to Kandle Park to do some wave pooling along with a lot of other wave poolers.

We had a mighty fine time along with Mama Kristin.

In addition to this Tacoma public pool, with its big wave making machine, along with a wading pool and other water features, like a giant water dumping bucket and water machine guns, there are other Tacoma public pool parks. One of which has a lazy river.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Texas. Where it gets HOT.

Oh, why bother?

But it does make one wonder how it is one area of America can be so, well, advanced, progressive, modern, dynamic,and socially advanced while another area of America can be, well, not so much.

I took the above picture when we were leaving. Kristin took a lot of other pictures whilst we were wave pooling. I will likely share those later if we can figure out how to get them off Kristin's phone to my phone to this computer.

Other than the wave surfing my most amusing moment of the pool time was when a school girl friend of Theo's asked him if I was his grandpa.

Another amusing moment came when Theo and I were at the deep end, near where the waves generate, when a little girl wearing a flotation device asked if we could help her get to shore. She was very grateful when we got to where the waves were crashing at the end of their run.

We wave pooled for a couple hours, then had a picnic on the grassy knoll overlooking the pool, then it was off to Proctor to try out a new gelato joint.

In a couple hours we're heading to the north end of Tacoma, to Ruston, to see the results of a real public works project with a real dramatic water feature, a massive development which solved a real environmental issue.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth. Again, why bother?


Swan Creek Blackberry Mountain Biking With David, Theo & Ruby

That is my niece, Little Miss Ruby, you see pointing at me from her outdoor art studio. I was in the kitchen, looking out. Soon Ruby sent her brother, Theo, in to inform me it was time to go mountain biking on the Swan Creek Mountain Bike Trails.

A few minutes later David, Theo and Ruby helped me load the bikes on which they had spent the afternoon performing maintenance tasks, after we went on the Tacoma Walmart's hyperdrive grocery cart ride hunting for a bike tire pump, among other bike-related items.

A few hours before the smoky sun set for the day we arrived at Swan Creek Park. After consulting the trail signage Ruby directed us to warm up on the roller coaster Pump House trail. We all did so until David sustained a minor injury which took him out of biking action, temporarily.

Leaving David and Mama Michele behind, Theo lead Ruby and me off into the wooded forest of Swan Lake Park.

We made our way back to Mama Michele and the recuperating David. Soon thereafter we began picking blackberries. A lot of blackberries. It almost seemed as if Ruby could eat her weight in blackberries.

Soon we exhausted the easy pickings of the Swan Lake Park blackberries, so we headed to the Tacoma Community College blackberry patch where we filled enough containers with enough blackberries to make a cobbler or two.

After we finished picking blackberries we got gas, but did not call grandma. We did get some ultra fancy ice cream products of which I was soon tasked with completing the consumption of two out of three of the ultra fancy ice cream products.

Soon we were driving through Taco Time where we loaded up on natural burritos, fish tacos, chicken quesadillas and Taco Time tater tots.

Today David, Theo and Ruby are taking me swimming where there is a giant wave making machine. Then this evening the trio is taking me to Ruston to the site of America's biggest Superfund site, which has now been turned into Tacoma's most popular residential destination, along with multiple other attractions, one of which is taking a bike powered carriage tour of Ruston.

America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known at the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, has not reached the point where enough digging has been done to discover the site is a badly polluted area in dire need of being a Superfund site. With the potential to be America's Biggest.

That would be impressive for Fort Worth, to morph America's Biggest Boondoggle into America's Biggest Superfund site, which would make America's Biggest Boondoggle even a bigger boondoggle...


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

With Sheriff Help David, Theo & Ruby Find Their Uncle

Well, I arrived right on time yesterday in Seattle.

Most of the ride north was over a carpet of fluffy clouds.

Flying into and out of the Dallas/Fort Worth zone I was surprised at how green the landscape was looking.

A few hours later I looked out the window to see I was crossing over the Columbia River, from Oregon to Washington. The clouds were mostly gone, the sky was clear, free of the smoke I was expecting.

Then a few miles later a haze began to appear. Eventually I could not tell what I was flying over. The Cascade mountains? What? Usually I see the Washington volcanoes popping up above the rest of the mountains. Yesterday nary a mountain was to be seen through the thick smoky haze.

As we descended to Sea-Tac I could tell we were coming in from the south. Unlike Texas, the landscape of Western Washington was not looking evergreen. Instead brown seemed to be the dominant color, both on the ground and in the sky.

Soon upon landed I texted "The Uncle Has Landed".

A few minutes later I walked out of the security area where I soon found myself attacked by three Washingtonians, watched over by a Washington Sheriff escort.

Those three attacking Washingtonians were David, Theo and Ruby. That is the attack you see photo documented above.

A few minutes later I jokingly asked who was gonna carry my bags for me. Theo quickly grabbed one, then David the other. I felt a little bad that the two nephews were doing such heavy lifting, but they did not seem to mind.

On the ground the smoky haze turned out not to be too annoying, except for the diminishing of visibility.
Soon I-5 came into view. Stalled traffic jam for miles. The onboard navigators, David and Theo, used their traffic monitoring device to determine it would take a long time to get to Tacoma from our location.

So, Ruby suggested we go to Southcenter to Duke's to wait out the traffic congestion. At Duke's we had ourselves a mighty fine selection of seafood, including alder smoked salmon, dungeness crab and hail caesar salad. And the best french fries ever.

After Duke's David, Theo and Ruby took me to Legoland, I mean, the Lego Store. We got ourselves some Legos, then headed back to I-5 where traffic was flowing fine til we got to Fife, so we exited and took the scenic route back to Tacoma.

After a few minutes at the home location, where the home security chief, Eddie the Poodle, gave me a thorough checkout before giving his approval, we then walked to Ruby's Annual Potato Fry Party, via wide sidewalks, with a grassy landscaped area between the sidewalks and street.

At the Potato Fry Party I met a lot of people. No selfie type photos were taken, because, you know, that is so outdated and just not done in polite company.

I had some interesting conversations at the Potato Fry Party, Texas oriented questions. I shall save that for a future blogging, perhaps after I return to Texas.

Today when David, Theo and Ruby get back from Lego Camp we are going to work on our bikes. I hope that goes well...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Heading North To The Smoky Pacific Northwest Without Elsie Hotpepper

Last week when the news of how bad the smoky haze which has descended upon Washington from Canadian wildfires became known to me I figured by the time I arrived late this afternoon that the bluest skies I have ever seen, along with hills the greenest green, would have returned.

However, last night Mount Vernon amateur meteorologist, Miss Linda, told me the choking smoke has gotten worse. Currently the Pacific Northwest has the worst air pollution in America

For illustrative purposes I found the photo you see here, via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Known as the P-I, along with the Seattle Times, for you reading this in Fort Worth, these are what are known as real newspapers, covering real news, and  practicing a practice known as investigative journalism.

For instance if that tower you see through the above haze had started being constructed, with a four year construction timeline, and if that construction stopped shortly after starting, a few feet above ground level, the local newspaper journalists would investigate and let their readers know what was causing the problem.

Meanwhile in an American backwater called Fort Worth...

Visit Fort Worth's Infamous Graveyard Of Broken Promises.

For the next couple weeks Internet access for me is going to be a bit erratic. I am not hauling my laptop with me for the first time in a long time.

Tonight my nephews David and Theo, and niece Ruby, are taking me to a Potato Fry Party. I may take pictures. I may blog those pictures later tonight. I really have no idea at this point in time.

This morning I arrive at D/FW for an almost three hour wait to catch a plane heading to Seattle. I do not know if Elsie Hotpepper is going to use her TSA Homeland Security credentials to get past airport security to come find me and take me to McDonald's for lunch.

I suspect Elsie will bail on lunch, which is her norm...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Biking To Metal MSU Bikers Thinking About Ruby Tuesday Flight North

This first Sunday of August, day six, also known as the anniversary of the Hiroshima atom bomb bombing. And my mom and dad's anniversary.

Mom's first anniversary without dad.

This morning I took my bike on a ride. Eventually ending up on the MSU (Midwestern State University)  campus where I soon found  myself running into that which you see here.

A pair of bikers memorialized in metal. An homage to the Hotter n' Hell 100, the latest iteration of which takes place towards the end of this current month.

I won't be riding in the Hotter n' Hell 100, but I likely will venture to downtown Wichita Falls, to the MPEC (Multi Purpose Event Center) to partake in the festivities.

That is if I make it back in time from my journey north and west, which starts up the morning of this coming Tuesday.

Tuesday morning I will land somewhere at D/FW  Airport, brought to town by some flying device the nature of which is unknown  to me. Jet? A plane propelled by propellers?  I have no idea. Years ago I landed in Juneau, Alaska, arriving on a 707, soon finding myself on a small plane propelled by propellers, to fly to a little town called Hoonah, where there was no airport, so the plane had to land on the water. That was an adventurous landing.

I am almost 100% certain the plane that will fly me to D/FW will not be landing on water, even though Lake Grapevine is nearby.

I have almost three hours to kill after I land at D/FW before my plane to Seattle takes off. Elsie Hotpepper may use her TSA Homeland Security credentials to get past security to take me out to lunch at one of the airport's many fine dining locations, like McDonalds.

When I land in Seattle I believe I will be getting picked up by David, Theo and Ruby, then brought to Tacoma where the annual neighborhood Potato Fry will be taking place at Ruby's, next door to David, Theo and Ruby's.

Apparently Ruby has become a commonly used name in the Pacific Northwest.

On Friday David, Theo and Ruby will be taking me to the far north, to Birch Bay, where we will stay til Monday.

On Tuesday I will be back in the air again, heading south to Phoenix, to see my mom. And my sister, Jackie, and, I hope, nephews Chris and Jeremy, and my favorite brother-in-law, Jack.

Starting the next day I should be having myself a mighty fine time having a morning swim with the Sun Lakes Ladies.

I get back to Texas August 22, arriving in Wichita Falls an hour before midnight. The next morning I get to drive back to the D/FW zone. I will likely be a bit tired....

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bizarre DFW NBC TRV Bridge Boondoggle Propaganda

Yesterday I blogged about Visiting Fort Worth's Infamous Graveyard Of Broken Promises.

In that blogging about Fort Worth's ghost town of abandoned bridge piers I mentioned being puzzled as to why no D/FW media entity seems interested in finding out why the construction of these simple little bridges, the construction of  which began with a TNT bang way back in 2014, has stalled.

Ironically, soon after mentioning the lack of media interest in Fort Worth's embarrassing bridge boondoggle, Captain Andy, Elsie Hotpepper and others pointed to a new piece of absurdly embarrassing D/FW media propaganda regarding Fort Worth's ridiculous bridge fiasco.

This time the perpetrating propaganda purveyor is DFW's NBC affiliate in a "news" story titled Plan from Two Cities on the Same River : Fort Worth construction underway on Panther Island Trinity project.

Click the link to read the article and watch the "LIVE" from Fort Worth clip from DFW NBC local TV news, which seems to channel the spirit of Ted Baxter, in both male and female Baxter versions.

The local NBC TV "news" story leads one to think Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision is well underway, unlike the Dallas version of the vision. Even though Dallas has actually completed two actual signature bridges, actually built over water, known as the Trinity River. DFW NBC TV's report also gives the impression that Fort Worth's river vision only recently came to be, when the sad reality is this myopic vision has been limping along since the beginning of the century.

Some choice bit of ironic idiocy from  the print version of the DFW NBC TV article about Fort Worth's Bridge Boondoggle, including, as always in such articles, choice bits of utter nonsense from Congresswoman Kay Granger's boy, J.D....

The Fort Worth redevelopment area along the river will become what is now called Panther Island with construction of a new flood control bypass canal across a bend in the river north of downtown.

The redevelopment area will become what is now called Panther Island? After a flood control bypass is constructed across a bend in the river? That paragraph is what is known as meaningless gibberish. More accurately stated the redevelopment area will be known as Panther Island if the ditch ever gets dug to separate that chunk of land from the Fort Worth mainland, creating an imaginary island.

Bridges that would cross that future canal are under construction, even before digging of the canal that is slated to begin next year.

The bridges are under construction? Did the DFW NBC reporter not notice the weeds growing amongst the long stalled bridges? And the rusted rebar? That imaginary construction began with a bang way back in 2014. It is now past halfway through 2017. It took about that much time to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Over water. Digging  the canal is slated to begin next year? Really? And where did this erroneous information come  from?

J.D. Granger, executive director of the Fort Worth Trinity River Vision Authority, said the redevelopment area on the new island doubles the size of the Fort Worth Central Business District.

Yes, Granger has repeated this pretty much every time he is "interviewed" for one of the local media's propaganda pieces. Doubles the size of the Fort Worth Central Business District? Anyone know the whereabouts and  measurements of the Business District to which Granger refers? New island? As opposed to the old island? And by what rational stretch of the imagination is this going to be an island, even if that ditch is ever dug and water diverted into the ditch?

“This is very much going to have a functional purpose for flood control, and on top of that a wonderful backdrop for development — a beautiful promenade all along the water’s edge, and immediately adjacent to that you’ll be able to dine and have great residential looking over the water every day,” Granger said.

Great residential looking over the water every day? What does that mean? A functional purpose for flood control? Where no flood has occurred for well over half a century due to levees built and paid for way back  in the 1950s.

A 300-unit apartment is due to break ground in December near what is planned to be an urban lake on the Trinity.

The apartment about to break ground chestnut is always part of these propaganda pieces. Has the builder applied for building  permits yet? Does anyone know precisely the location of the shore of this urban lake which has changed size multiple times throughout the decade? Why does J.D. always use the "urban" modifer to describe this possible lake? Aren't all the lakes in a city urban lakes? And what is meant by "urban lake on the Trinity'? The Trinity is a river. How do you have a lake on a river? You can dam a river, creating a reservoir, which is often referred to as a lake. Isn't this particular proposed "urban lake" simply a section of the Trinity River which may be widened to create an imaginary lake?

“It solves the majority of our flood issues in our community, which is a huge issue for us given our population growth,” Granger said.

Now, the above is the most  embarrassingly stupid doozy to be uttered by J.D. Granger during the entire multi year period in which he has been uttering insipidly idiotic utterances.  This solves the majority of the flood issues in our community? As has already been mentioned, this area has not flooded for over half a century. However other areas of Fort Worth, and Tarrant County, such as Haltom City, have serious, unaddressed flooding issues. Deadly flooding issues.

“To be in a Texas city in a waterfront community in a landlocked area is a very, very unique opportunity,” Granger said. “So we’re working very hard to capitalize on it, because that’s something very special.”

Waterfront community? In a landlocked area is a unique opportunity? The water in this currently imaginary waterfront community comes from the Trinity River. The polluted Trinity River, where frequently the pollution reaches levels deemed unsafe for humans.

As for "very, very". Has no one mentioned to J.D. Granger the famous quote from Mark Twain regarding what apparently is one of J.D.'s very favorite words?

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."...