Thursday, November 30, 2017

Grangers, Grifters & Inept Irresponsible Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Earlier in this next to last month of 2017 I blogged about yet one more instance of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram publishing an article rife with erroneous "information".

This erroneous "information" malady has been something I have been annoyed about regarding this newspaper since soon after I was first exposed to it, late in the previous century.

Someone named Anonymous also found this recent example of Star-Telegram journalistic irresponsibility to be comment worthy, hence an amusing comment from Anonymous...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Trinity Trails "Could" Stretch To An Imaginary 219 Miles":

"From zero to 72 miles in about 15 years"

I ran on the Trinity Trails beginning in the late 1970's.

Just to sure, I checked Historical Aerials and saw the trails and the footbridge across the Trinity River from the Radio Shack parking lot. The date is 1979. The bridge is still there and being used. 

There were parcourse or fitness trail stops across the river from the Radio Shack parking lot which included pull up bars, parallel bars and slant boards. I saw those being installed.

The Star-Telegram will repeat just about anything the grifters or the Grangers tell them. 

Grifters & Grangers. Sounds like a country music duo.

Why is there no one, with the ability to do so, holding the Star-Telegram accountable for all the nonsense that newspaper spews?

From the non-consequential, like the nonsense in the article being referenced here, to the consequential, such as misleading propaganda about issues like the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, or the idiotic nonsense about Fort Worth's Cabela's sporting goods store becoming the top tourist attraction in Texas, or the Santa Fe Rail Market being the first public market in Fort Worth, whilst being modeled after public markets in Europe and Seattle's Pike Place Market, when all it was was a soon to fail small poorly conceived mall type food court type venue, with a little fish market.

Or for decades referring to a multi-block area of downtown Fort Worth as Sundance Square, where there was no square, until a couple years ago when a little square was built on a parking lot and then bizarrely named Sundance Square Plaza, whilst still referring to a multi-block, nondescript area of downtown Fort Worth as Sundance Square.


A real newspaper in a town wearing its big city pants would tell what ever entity it is which persists with the Sundance Square nonsense to knock it off. That it is embarrassing. And confusing to the town's few tourists...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Arizona Golfing With David, Theo, Ruby & Grandma

This is the last in the series of photos documenting David, Theo and Ruby's Thanksgiving Week in Arizona.

These photos arrived with zero explanatory text. Likely assuming such was not needed due to the obvious golfing going on in the photos.

But, where did this golfing take place? At grandma's location in Sun Lakes? Judging by the scenery, it would appear so.

Then again, scenery in Arizona tends to looks alike.

The first photo is one of two non-golf photos, except, well, the vehicle in this first photo appears to be a golf cart. Or is that a police car?

We see PATROL clearly printed on two locations on this "golf" cart.

Were David, Theo and Ruby up to some accidental shenanigans again, like last summer up north in Birch Bay when authorities caught the trio using quarters to buy gambling pull tabs, with the twin's and David's excuse being they thought they were buying tattoos. That defense quickly crumbled. Who buys tattoos out of a vending machine for a quarter?

And now the golfing photos....

That would be David preparing to swing a club, with Theo looking on under his large sunblocking hat.

And now Theo takes a swing. I forgot to mention, one of the more surprising things David and Theo did whilst I was up in Washington last summer, was avidly watch golf on TV with their Uncle Jake. I told the kids there was some painting going on in the lobby, we could go watch that dry, but even with that alternative they thought watching the golfing on TV was more entertaining.

Now, Ruby does not join her brothers watching golf on TV. So, Mama Michele had to act as Ruby's golf instructor.

Note the red golf ball cleaning device to the left, behind the club swinging Ruby.

I'm guessing using the ball cleaner turned out to be almost as fun as the golfing, with each anxiously waiting their turn to clean a golf ball.

And the requisite all lined up non-spontaneous group photo, with David, Theo and Ruby looking happy after their round of golf, and thinking now it was time to take grandma to McDonald's for her daily caramel frappe and vanilla ice cream cone.

Well, I don't know who was doing the driving to McDonald's. I suspect it was not David, Theo or Ruby. But, it appears grandma got her vanilla ice cream cone. The caramel frappe is likely installed in the cup holder...

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rustler's Rooste Rattlesnake For David & Theo After Tin Slide Ride To Cotton Candy

Yesterday I blogged about an Arizona Desert Horse Ride With David, Theo, Ruby & Texas Longhorn.

In that blogging I later figured out I was erroneous in suggesting a Texas Longhorn seen in the first photo in that post was located at the location where David, Theo and Ruby took three horses for a ride.

In that blogging I mentioned that it appeared Theo had to change shirts to a cooler t-shirt from the long sleeve shirt he first appeared in.

I should have noticed that the first photo showed yet one more Theo shirt, and that that shirt matched the shirt Theo was wearing when he went with his brother, sister, grandma and parental units to the Robber's Rooste in Tempe.

As you can see, above, in that group photo with grandma, at Rustler's Rooster, Theo does not appear to be too happy, using the same "smiling" technique his favorite uncle always uses when subjected to being photographed.

But then Theo noticeably cheers up when he gets a big ball of the Rustler's Rooste cotton candy.

Rustler's Rooste was mentioned to me the last time I was in Arizona. I think maybe we were driving by its location when we were in the South Mountain zone. I remember the slide to the dining room being mentioned, and the cotton candy.

A blurb from the Rustler's Rooste website...

Rustler's Rooste has it all.  Our critter out front, an enormous long horn steer named Horney greets you upon arrival.  Open the door and enter part of an old mine shaft to the top floor to our Mountaintop Saloon. Saunter over the indoor waterfall and take our Famous “Tin” Slide into the dining room. (for the faint of heart, there’s a staircase).   Enjoy the live country western band and our strolling cardshark/magician.  The building is bordered on the north side by plate glass windows so there is a view form every seat in the house.

In the text accompanying these photos I was told the ever adventurous, in all things culinary, David, ordered the Rattlesnake Combo. David, as is the case with most people, upon his first rattlesnake bite said it tasted like chicken. Theo wanted to sample a bite, and simply said "tastes like meat."

In that aforementioned text upon first read I thought I understood the text to be telling me that my mom wanted to take the tin slide to the dining room. So when I first saw the picture below I thought, oh my, I can not believe my semi-elderly mother did this.

And then upon second reading I realized the text was telling me mom was up to being adventurous and going to the Rustler's Rooste, even with the tricky entry via a wood plank walkway entering a mine shaft. And that a Rustler's Rooste cowboy helped mom get from the Mountaintop Saloon to the dining room.

So, instead of my mom I think that is mama Kristin on the slide, with Ruby and Theo at the top ready to follow.

Above I believe we are at the Rustler's Rooste Mountain Saloon, prior to riding down the tin slide to where the cotton candy is located, which is explains why Theo is still looking a little grumpy, still emulating his favorite uncle.

Rustler's Rooste looks fun. What I saw on the Rustler's Rooste website reminded me of the long gone Baby Doe's in Dallas. I remember seeing Baby Doe's the first time I drove to Dallas, just slightly west of downtown, built atop a cliff, with a big Coor's billboard with a waterfall.

It was not long before I made my one and only visit to Baby Doe's. The place was made to be like one was in a mining operation, just like Rustler's Rooste. I recollect enjoying the saloon, watching the sun set and the light show fire up from the dome atop the Reunion Tower.

The parking situation at Baby Doe's was terrible. You had to hand your keys over to a valet who disappeared with your vehicle. I never like when that happens. I recollect it was difficult to find ones way to the entry to Baby Doe's, which was another drawback. Too bad. Dallas lost something cool when Baby Doe's left town...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Arizona Desert Horse Ride With David, Theo, Ruby & Texas Longhorn

A week or so ago a postcard from Tacoma arrived in my mailbox.

That postcard caused me to blog From Tacoma Postcard I Learn David, Theo & Ruby Will Never Come To Fort Worth.

In that blogging I mentioned my initial confusion regarding the message on the postcard, which I momentarily thought had David, Theo and Ruby asking me to come explore Fort Worth with them.

I recollect instantly thinking what fresh hell is this?

Then I realized my mistake, that it was Fort Worden in Washington that was in need of exploration, not Fort Worth in Texas.

When I shared my confusion with my sister she said she can't see bringing the kids to Fort Worth to explore any time soon. Then she added, well, okay, never.

To which I replied that the kids would enjoy the Fort Worth Stockyards, but then I drew a blank as to anything else they might enjoy in Fort Worth, and admitted, well, after the Stockyards, there pretty much is nothing that is not bigger and better in multiple other locations David, Theo and Ruby have already been to.

So, regarding that visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards, within a week that no longer is something of the sort the kids have not seen, hence, now there is absolutely nothing they would find fun to explore in Fort Worth.

In the photo at the top you see nephews David and Theo, and niece Ruby, with a Texas longhorn behind them. The kids are at an Arizona horse ranch, getting ready to do some riding.

When the kids picked me up at Sea-Tac last summer, David and Theo insisted on carrying my bags for me. Those bags were heavy.

Here we see Theo carrying his saddle to put on his horse.

I am guessing this was a HOT day in Arizona, because in the following photos we see Theo has lost the long sleeve shirt.

Prepare for a dose of cowboy, and cowgirl, cuteness in the following photos....

Ruby on her Palomino, ready to ride. Ruby looks like a seasoned cowgirl, comfortable in the saddle. I don't actually know if this horse is a Palomino, but it is blonde, so I figured, why not?

David also looks to be totally comfortable onboard a horse. David has a tendency to be like his uncle, and find ways to be particular when he finds himself in unfamiliar territory, but being on a horse does not appear to have triggered that impulse in David.

And here we see Theo steering his horse right at us. After a little practice inside the corral it was time for David, Theo and Ruby's Indian Guide to lead them out into the Arizona desert.

I'm impressed at how quickly the kids seem to have become seasoned horse riders. Their uncle's one and only horse riding attempt, in Texas, did not go so well. Suffice to say that incident led me to accuse someone of trying to kill me. Too painful a memory, even after many years, to go into any detail.

Further into the desert the cowboys and cowgirl ride. Those are mountains in the distance, for those in Texas who are not familiar with that type geologic formation.

 I do not know if there was much of a rattlesnake danger whilst the kids were riding in the desert. I do know that later David and Theo were in a restaurant called Robber's Rooste where the boys ordered the rattlesnake combo plate. I may share those photos in a following blogging.

At trail's end all but Ruby seem to be striking a classic cowboy pose.

I talked to David and Theo on Thanksgiving. Neither mentioned their cowboy experience. Theo did ask if I was going to be a Thanksgiving dinner. I told Theo I did not think I could make it in time...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Did Fort Worth Adopt Wichita Falls Santa Outhouse?

Last Sunday I took myself on a video bike ride around my Wichita Falls neighborhood's biggest holiday season display of Christmas type stuff.

In that video, at one point, I am surprised by what I am riding by and hear myself saying something like is that an outhouse? Santa's Outhouse?

Because a random outhouse in an unseemly location would be something I would expect to see in Fort Worth, not here in Wichita Falls, where all the city parks have modern restroom facilities, and nary an outhouse.

And then yesterday, the morning after Thanksgiving, I took myself on another ride around that aforementioned biggest holiday season display of Christmas type stuff, now with what amounts to being sort of explanatory signage.

And what to my wondering eyes did virtually appear?

A sign saying...

Adopted By
The Outhouse Capital of
Fort Worth, Texas

This may be an example of that which has become known as Fake News...

Friday, November 24, 2017

Spencer Jack Back From Utah With Skagit River Flooding

Spencer Jack and his dad are back home in Washington, after Thanksgiving in Utah. David, Theo and Ruby and their parental units are also back in Washington, after Thanksgiving in Arizona.

Spencer Jack and his dad got back to Mount Vernon just in time to help the valley deal with the Skagit River in flood mode for the first time this flood season. I began seeing drone videos of the flooding Skagit yesterday, with those videos showing the Skagit in the downtown zone of Mount Vernon, which is like New Orleans, as in, below river level when the river goes high.

A few years ago Mount Vernon decided to copy a bigger town in the south called Fort Worth when Mount Vernon developed its virtual Skagit River Vision, only with Mount Vernon's vision being an actual legitimate economic development scheme, combined with an actual vitally needed flood control scheme.

Minus corruption and nepotism. In other words, Mount Vernon did not give the unqualified son of the local congressperson the job of director of the Skagit River Vision, in order to motivate the parent to secure federal funds to pay for the project. Mount Vernon did what towns wearing their big city pants do, as in mostly paid for the project itself and hired qualified adults to oversee the project.

Hence the Skagit River Vision's timely completion.

As in, unlike Fort Worth Trinity River Vision's ill-planned scheme, Mount Vernon's is up and running. And, apparently, currently saving downtown Mount Vernon from a disastrous flood.

Prior to the Skagit River Vision and its flood control aspect, when a flood threatened downtown Mount Vernon a literal army of locals sandbagged for hours to build a wall to hold the river back.

Post Skagit River Vision a Dutch-designed flood wall can now be put in place in a couple hours by a handful of workers. The new flood wall is what you see holding back the river in Spencer Jack's photo documentation above.

On the right side of that flood wall is another aspect of the Skagit River Vision, a long riverwalk type attraction, complete with a plaza, or two. I do not think, unlike Fort Worth, the plazas have Japanese car company sponsors.

I remember twice helping sandbag downtown Mount Vernon. The most dramatic incident was in the early 1990s. A warm front had melted the mountain snowpack. The lowlands were drenched in hours of downpour. All the rivers of Western Washington went into flood mode. One of Washington's floating bridges sank.

I was at home, in far east Mount Vernon, high above the river, watching Seattle TV cover the situation live in Mount Vernon. About one in the morning the news started to make the situation sound dire. The National Guard was arriving. All possible help was being asked to come to downtown Mount Vernon to the staging area by the library.

I woke up my house and soon the occupants were at the downtown library, which was a beehive of action. Soon we found  ourselves part of a bucket brigade of sandbaggers, building a sandbag wall where today there is that Dutch flood wall.

At some point maximum sandbag height was reached. We were told to retreat, and that the anticipated flood crest would be about 11 that morning. At that point in time, myself and many others, flooded the high points above downtown Mount Vernon to see if the sandbag wall was going to save downtown Mount Vernon.

We could see the water start to crest over the sandbags.

And then, suddenly, the water level dropped, instantly, it seemed.

What just happened everyone wondered.

Soon all hell was breaking loose. Sirens, helicopters in the air. I do not remember how long it was before we learned the dike protecting Fir Island breached, flooding the island, and taking pressure off the river, hence the sudden drop.

For those of you reading this in Fort Worth. Fir Island is what is known as a real island, surrounded by water, two sides of which are forks of the Skagit River, the third side being the Skagit Bay of Puget Sound.

And there are two bridges connecting the Skagit mainland with Fir Island, both built over the rapid moving water of the Skagit River. Neither promoted as being signature bridges. Both built in a fraction of the time Fort Worth has been spending trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, which could never suffer a catastrophic dike breach such as what Fir Island suffered. Twice. Because Fort Worth's imaginary Panther Island will never be what any sane person would call an island ....

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Week Internet Woes With D/FW Sam's Club Gas Gouging

I forgot about that which you see here til this Thanksgiving morning.

Monday morning my Internet connection ceased working. Calling for Spectrum tech support soon had me driving to the local Spectrum office to pick up a new router/modem device.

The new router/mode device did not fix the problem.

Spectrum then scheduled a tech guy to arrive by around 11 the next morning, that being Tuesday. I was scheduled to head towards the Dallas zone by one that afternoon.

The Spectrum tech guy showed up earlier than expected. The problem turned out to be not an easy fix. All wiring had to be replaced. And so it was, well before my departure time. With the Internet now working I was soon heading southeast via Highway 287.

By around four I was ready to leave D/FW. I stopped at my usual gas fillip location. The North Richland Hills Sam's Club located near Rufe Snow Road and 820.

Gas was $2.10.9. I did not call my mom to tell her I was getting gas.

I was about 10 gallons into the fill up process when I started to think the number I was seeing did not add up. By the time the number of gallons I had pumped reached 9.792 me, with my limited math skills, could see the pump was pumping at a rate well above $2.10.9 per gallon.

I ceased with the pumping and took the photo documentation you see below.

I then went into Sam's Club, to the service desk, to complain. Eventually I got the price difference refunded. But, I detected no sense that these Sam's Club employees realized how serious this type issue is.

I wondered how many of my fellow pumpers, filling up their tanks, paid any attention at all to the number of gallons being pumped and the total being charged. How many people have been gouged in this manner at this Sam's Club?

Or was my experience some sort of one pump anomaly? One would think the Sam's Club employees would have been right on this with some urgency. Coming back with me to the pump in question to see it make the mistake.

And how many people, realizing such a thing will go to the bother of complaining? It is a bit of a pain to do so. It helps when one is feeling righteously annoyed.

And I think I got more refunded to me than the actual overcharge. Slight compensation for the extreme annoyance.

Needless to say, on future trips to D/FW gas will not be pumped at Sam's Club in North Richland Hills.

After the Sam's Club ordeal leaving D/FW I thought I would have some evening commute traffic woes. But those turned out to be minimal. And soon D/FW was fading in my rear view mirror as I watched the sun set, which you see photo documented at the top, as I drive along eating my sushi on a stick late lunch....

Spencer Jack's Pre-Thanksgiving Non-Fiery Hike To Delicate Arch & Dead Horse Point

While Spencer Jack's dad's cousins, David, Theo and Ruby spent the week before Thanksgiving in Arizona, Spencer Jack has been one state north, in Utah.

Spencer Jack flew his dad into Denver several days ago, then drove west via I-70, through the Eisenhower Tunnel, past places like Vail and Aspen, which surprised the boys due to the large number of ski lifts they were seeing.

Eventually Spencer Jack got his dad to Moab where upon arrival they secured one of the 75 daily allotments for hikes into the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park.

Spencer Jack and his dad called after they'd booked their hike into the Fiery Furnace, telling me it was a self-guided tour. I verbalized my astonishment that such was now allowed, when previously such was strictly verbotten.

Well, that night Spencer Jack took his dad to downtown Moab in search of a restaurant for their evening feeding, and in the process talked to multiple locals about hiking unguided into the Fiery Furnace. The locals also verbalized astonishment that such was allowed.

So, Spencer Jack and his dad decided to opt out of getting lost forever in the Fiery Furnace maze and instead decided to hike to Delicate Arch, which is where Spencer Jack is sitting above, in the aforementioned Arches National Park. and then drove to Dead Horse Point State Park, near the entry to Canyonlands National Park.

Above we see Spencer Jack tired of hiking, with his dad now piggy backing him. I believe that is the Colorado River we see a glimpse of, working on scouring deeper into the canyon. I vaguely recollect going to Dead Horse Point State Park and reading the story of why it was so named. Something to do with horses being accidentally stranded somehow on a mesa, and dying for lack of food and water. Or some such thing.

I think I have only been in Moab once when the town was not in tourist mode. That was a New Year's Eve. I think the year was 1995. I recollect snow on the ground and icy hiking in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

I have no idea where Spencer Jack and his dad will be finding turkey in Moab today.

I do know that David, Theo and Ruby are flying back to Tacoma today. I do not know if they will have turkey in Arizona first. I will call later today and find out...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pool Time With David, Theo & Ruby In Chandler Arizona With Spencer Jack In Fiery Furnace

The trio you are looking at here are Theo, Ruby and David. My nephews and niece from Tacoma.

The trio are currently visiting their grandma, and other relatives, currently located in Arizona, such as aunt Jackie, uncles Jack and Jake, .cousins Chris and Jeremy, and others, like Clancy and Fancy.

Where the trio are in this photo is a public pool in Chandler.

According to the trio's mother...

"We went to an awesome public pool in Chandler with a vortex pool, various waterslides, lazy river and a variety of diving boards. We went on a special family day, so it cost $1 for all of us!!! Pics to follow..."

Those aforementioned following pics are what you are seeing here.

On a sort of related note, last week I blogged about learning the shocking news From A Tacoma Postcard David, Theo & Ruby Will Never Come To Fort Worth.

I learned the Tacoma Trio would not be coming to Tacoma after I mentioned being momentarily confused via their postcard causing me to think the Tacoma Trio was in Fort Worth wanting me to come explore the town with them.

As I said in that blogging, I told my sister of my initial confusion to which my sister said,  "I can't see us coming to explore Fort Worth anytime soon. OK. Ever."

To which I said, "I can almost guarantee the kids would love the Fort Worth Stockyards. But, other than that. Nothing. Well, unless a storm blew in with tornado sirens. They might think that was fun."

Well, I feel terribly remiss in neglecting to mention to my sister anything about all the Fort Worth public pools the kids could enjoy during a visit to that fine "world class" town.

Imagine, I should have told my sister, the public pools in a town the size of Fort Worth, with what, a population about eight times the size of Chandler, obviously with a myriad of fun public pools being enjoyed by the public, in addition to one of the world's only defunct urban wakeboard park ponds.

Anyway, with that painful sarcasm out of the way, the rest of those aforementioned pics of the Tacoma Trio enjoying public pooling in Arizona...

That would be Ruby, below, shooting out of one of those waterslides. With Theo, above, about to hit water at the end of a long slide.

And then we have future Olympian David.

Whilst in Arizona David has been going by the new name of Michael. Something to do with uncle confusion.

Above that appears to be Ruby and Mama Kristin floated around on a Lazy River.

And Ruby now showing off her unique diving skills.

Which Theo then upping the ante with a reverse spin around dive into the pool.

I was scared to dive into a pool when I was these kid's age. I don't even think I knew how to swim at that age.

And here we have Theo and Ruby and a third unidentified swimmer. I forget what the name is of those floating tubes. Worms? Is that it? In the above photo I believe the kids are no longer at a public pool, but are at the pool at the place where their Aunts Clancy & Fancy are staying.

Yesterday whilst in the D/FW zone I began getting text messages from Spencer Jack and his dad. They have flown to Denver, then drove to Moab, where this morning they are going on the Fiery Furnace hike in Arches National Park. I expect to see photo documentation.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Trinity Trails "Could" Stretch To An Imaginary 219 Miles

Saturday night I was enjoying an immensely stimulating intellectual debate with D/FW's Trag Tickley, he being one of Facebook's most prolific instigators of thought stimulating debate.

Trag Tickley is so persuasive he almost has me turning into one of those left-leaning, liberal, progressive, free thinking American sorts.

So, after that Saturday night of sublime intense intellectual stimulation, the next morning Trag Tickley brought me back to the ridiculous, to yet one more embarrassingly stupid Fort Wort Star-Telegram propaganda piece, complete with an idiotic quote from Fort Worth's Mayor, Betsy Price.

Trag Tickley pointed me to this via a Facebook message which said...

Enjoy the delusional Betsy Price nugget buried in this story.

The "story" to which Trag Tickley refers is Expansion plans: Trinity Trails could stretch to 219 miles.

The use of the word "could" in the article title is a good clue you are about to read a Star-Telegram propaganda piece.

First paragraph contains the first error...

From zero to 72 miles in about 15 years, the Trinity Trails has become quite the attraction for bicyclists, joggers and all sorts of outdoor enthusiasts across Tarrant County.

From zero to 72 miles? When I arrived in Texas, late in the last century, longer than 15 years ago, there were already miles of  paved Trinity Trails trailing alongside the shade-free Trinity River.

Oh yes, those Trinity Trails have become quite the attraction across Tarrant County. Unless, you know, you live in the Arlington part of Tarrant County with close access to River Legacy Park and that park's miles of paved trails, shaded by trees, along the Trinity River.

And then this paragraph...

According to the draft of a proposed strategic plan of the Trinity Trails, that could grow an to impressive 219 miles, closing gaps between 18 cities and along waterways, and creating a tourism mecca as well as a economic development opportunities. The trails would run along all 90 miles of the Trinity River in Tarrant County.

There we have the "could" word again. Yes 219 miles could/would be impressive. As would be creating any sort of tourism mecca in a part of America currently lacking any tourism meccas.

And this...

For example, the trails would loop completely around Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Benbrook. Or, someone in Crowley could get on the trails and make it up to north Saginaw, some 30 miles away, or from White Settlement to past River Legacy Park in Arlington. Eventually the trails will connect into Dallas.

Oh yes, one can really see that happening, paved trails looping around those two lakes. And someone from Crowley biking all the way to Saginaw. I have been hearing about that imaginary possible trail connection to Dallas ever since I have been in Texas.

Plus this...

“It’s pretty inspiring,” Pierce said. Steams & Valleys raised $450,000 to hire California-based MIG Inc. consultants to shepherd and write the new 10-year plan. “We’ve had a lot of great river plans, but things change so fast now. Is this very ambitious? No question it is. We want to look ahead to the river we want to have.” Consultants are in the thick of the planning process, asking for suggestions from groups, city leaders and the public.

Yeah. really inspiring. Somehow a California consultant firm was able to milk about a half million bucks from the local rubes to help come up with a plan as to where to pave imaginary trails which will never happen, judging, am I, by how little seems to happen with any sort of urgency in this lethargic part of America.

We've had a lot of great river plans? Things change so fast now? Consultants are in the thick of this trail planning process? Asking for suggestions? Who writes this stuff? Who approves it for publishing?

How are those three simple little bridges being built across dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island coming along? Along with the rest of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision?

Is Fort Worth's downtown homage to its founding, Heritage Park, still a boarded up eyesore?

Read the Expansion plans: Trinity Trails could stretch to 219 miles in its entirety for the full propaganda lunacy.

We will end with what Trag Tickely referred to as a delusional nugget from Betsy Price...

Mayor Betsy Price called the draft an amazing plan so far. “It used to be a muddy ditch. It’s a jewel now,” she said of the Trinity River.

During my time in Texas the Trinity River has not changed one iota. It was a littered, muddy, don't eat the fish you catch, polluted mess when I arrived and if anything, it is more littered, muddy and polluted now, in 2017. But, Fort Worth's mayor thinks the muddy ditch has turned into a jewel.

And people wonder why I and others think Fort Worth is totally ill-served by the fools who get elected to local public office and the sad excuse for a newspaper which reports on their embarrassing nonsense without identifying it as such...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Sunset Rolling Around Wichita Falls & Sikes Lake

This morning I rode my bike on a Sunday Morning Pre-Thanksgiving Ride Around Wichita Falls Light Fantasy followed at the other end of this Sunday by a sunset ride around Sikes Lake.

I am looking a little cold in this sunset selfie with the sun setting behind me. But, the outer world really was not all that cold.

Low 60s. With no wind, as you can see by the glassy still surface of Sikes Lake glowing behind me.

I had on sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt, whilst I saw others circulating around Sikes Lake in shorts and t-shirts. I was over dressed, in other words.

Another view of the Sikes Lake sunset, without me blocking any of the view.

When the sun finishes setting lights come on all around Sikes Lake, allowing for post-darkness outdoor activity. I have not partaken of such, but last night driving by this location, well after the sun had set, I was surprised by the number of people I could see making their way around the lake, even with the gale force wind continuing to blow, which had been blowing all day long.

I knew of no lighted paved trail anywhere in the Texas town I previously lived in. This morning one my D/FW fonts of information, Trag Tickley, pointed me to an embarrassing article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, an article with typical Star-Telegram mis-information, propaganda, and topped with a ridiculously stupid comment from Fort Worth Mayor, Betsy Price.

I must get around to blogging about that which Trag Tickley pointed me to. Later...

Sunday Morning Pre-Thanksgiving Ride Around Wichita Falls Light Fantasy

Four days to go til Thanksgiving.

I do not remember when I last was in holiday spirit mode so well in advance of the holidays.

I'm done with my Christmas shopping.

And all my Christmas decorating.

And all my Christmas card mailings.

Now, all I have to do is enjoy this latest iteration of the holiday season til it is blessedly over with at the start of yet another new year.

On Friday I rolled my bike's wheels to the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus intending to shoot video whilst riding my bike around the perimeter of Wichita Falls Fantasy of Light Christmas theme park.

On that day the wind which blew all day Saturday had begun to blow. Hence most of the video I took that day was noisy with the wind blowing over my patented pithy commentary.

So, on this almost dead calm, almost windless Sunday, this morning I rolled back to MSU and did two video iterations. I liked the second one best, so that is the one I YouTubed which you can watch and listen to below.

But before we get to that what are we looking at in these two photos, above and below?

Well, in the one at the top, located at the far southeast edge of the Fantasy of Lights, is your basic stereotypical Bethlehem manger scene, with some wise men on camels, a couple sheep, a couple shepherds, and Mary and Joseph in the manger with their newborn. The Joseph figure looks sort of worried and angry. I suspect he had just received word America's modern era Herod had blocked immigrants from migrating from Mary and Joseph's war torn oppressive middle eastern location to the new world of America. And so the desperate young family is stuck their with their baby, awaiting who knows what dire fate at the hands of the infidels from the west.

And then we move on from that poignant scene to the next one.

What appear to be the Village People on a carousel. The explanatory signage accompanying this installation really did not explain much. All that signage says is "NUTCRACKER CAROUSEL Adopted By First Bank".

Nutcracker Carousel? Aren't the Nutcrackers in the Nutcracker ballet production some sort of toy soldier figures? Even more confusing is the Village Person in white on the left. The banner on that Village Person's back says "Texas Nurses".

Before we get to the video from today, the full text of an article in this morning's Wichita Falls Times News Record, or is that Wichita Falls News Times Record? I can never remember. Just a second I will go look...

Oh my, both are wrong. The correct name of the local newspaper is Wichita Falls Times Record News. I don't mean to be rude, which I never am, but that newspaper name is just unnecessarily convoluted, hence my confusion. Why not simply call it the Wichita Falls News and leave it at that? Or Wichita Falls Times? Or Wichita Falls Record?

Almost forgot, here is the blurb from the Times Record News about that which I biked around today...

With the flick of a switch at dusk on Nov. 20, the MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights displays will illuminate the campus of Midwestern State University and Wichita Falls with a festive atmosphere. Almost 40 lighted displays – including Peter Pan, The Three Little Pigs and a robot blowing bubbles – will light the night.

This year, guests will get an extra treat. Workers at MSU found a treasure that hasn’t been displayed in 15 years. Hidden in a crawl space of the Hardin Building, a vintage display spells out “Merry Christmas To All” in red and green neon letters. Students at the Carrigan Center transformed the neon letters to LED lights.

The lighted animated displays take about 1,300 hours to set up and maintain. Fantasy of Lights receives no state funding or federal grants, but instead relies exclusively on the generous donations and volunteerism of the city of Wichita Falls. To keep the timeless tradition going takes the effort of generous donors like you.

The holiday light displays that burn bright on the campus on Taft Boulevard are viewed by approximately 200,000 people every year – at no charge. 

And here is the almost wind free video...

Friday, November 17, 2017

From Tacoma Postcard I Learn David, Theo & Ruby Will Never Come To Fort Worth

Yesterday I found that which you see here in my mailbox.

Several weeks ago David, Theo & Ruby text messaged me saying they'd lost my address, asking me to send it to them again. I did so, figuring David, Theo & Ruby must be wanting to mail me something.

So, starting a few days after that I eagerly opened the mailbox anticipating incoming from my Tacoma nephews and niece.

After weeks of nothing from Tacoma I sort of forgot about it. And then yesterday the postcard you see here arrived. On the postcard a label was stuck informing me there had been some delivery difficulty, the nature of which I was unable to determine.

I was barely back in my abode when David, Theo and Ruby, and their mother, texted me asking "Did our postcard get to you?"

I replied that it had arrived a couple minutes previous. A reply to that told me they'd mailed the postcard weeks ago.

What spooky coincidental timing. Texting asking if I had gotten the postcard minutes after I got the postcard which was weeks late in arriving.

My mailbox is in a location without good lighting. When I got the postcard out of the mailbox I was without my reading glasses, just returning from a long bike ride. When I first read the message on the postcard I mis-read Worden as Worth and thought the kids had written "We want you to come explore Fort Worth with us."

Yikes, I thought, they are in Fort Worth? I thought they were supposed to be in Arizona? But then I checked again, even before better light and reading glasses, to read the message correctly.

I told my sister of my initial confusion to which my sister said,  "I can't see us coming to explore Fort Worth anytime soon. OK. Ever."

And then my reply to that struck me as both amusing and revealing, due to it being how Fort Worth is talked about when talked about to non-Texans. This is what I replied...

"Well, I can almost guarantee the kids would love the Fort Worth Stockyards. But, other than that. Nothing. Well, unless a storm blew in with tornado sirens. They might think that was fun."

Nothing of interest in Fort Worth to three kids from Tacoma other than the Stockyards?

Fort Worth Zoo? Those kids have been to the San Diego Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, the Tacoma Zoo, Northwest Trek, and others I probably don't know about.

Parks? I'd be embarrassed to take them to a Fort Worth park. What if they needed a restroom? David, Theo & Ruby live a short distance from Point Defiance Park, a huge Tacoma park which could likely contain all Fort Worth's parks. Point Defiance Park has miles of trails through old growth forest, an actual fort in Fort Nisqually, miles of beach with crystal clear water, the Tacoma zoo, and I think, an aquarium and multiple other assets one would not find in a Fort Worth park. Such as modern restrooms in multiple locations.

Swimming pools? Tacoma has multiple public pools in various iterations. One with a giant wave pool, another with a lazy river.

Sundance Square Plaza? Tacoma has two plaza type locations, with water features kids play in, that pretty much dwarf Fort Worth's little plaza, which is sponsored by a Japanese auto maker. The kids have also been to Seattle's Westlake Center, which also dwarfs Fort Worth's little plaza, and also has a water feature. And a monorail. And a vertical mall, and access to a light rail tunnel underground.

Cabela's? The sporting goods store which the Star-Telegram helped propaganda-ize would be the top tourist attraction in Texas. when six months after opening it was not even the only Cabela's in Texas, and now is not even the only Cabela's in the D/FW Metroplex.

David, Theo & Ruby live a short distance from two Cabela's, one a short drive to the south on I-5, the other a short drive to the north on I-5. Both built without trying to con Washingtonians with idiotic nonsense about a sporting goods store being the top tourist attraction in Washington. Both built without being conned into providing incentives such as Fort Worth willingly provided, you know, so as to get that top tourist attraction in Texas.

Okay, maybe get out of Fort Worth and take the kids to Arlington to Six Flags Over Texas. Nope. They've been to Disneyland and Disney California. But, the kid's parental units might like Six Flags, due to the admission fee being a fraction of what it costs to go to Disneyland. Then, again, you get what you pay for.

Well, I guess I could take them to one of Fort Worth's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats. Such is not available anywhere else in the world. Floating in a muddy river regularly contaminated with too many toxins, like e.coli, while listening to music coming from an imaginary pavilion on an imaginary island. You can't find that type entertainment in Tacoma. Or anywhere in Washington, or probably the entire west coast, including British Columbia....

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Did MSU Flying Monkeys Return Tin Man To Yellow Brick Road?

Yesterday after I took a Roll Through MSU With Cinderella & Dorothy On The Yellow Brick Road I verbalized being concerned as to the whereabouts of the Tin Man, due to the Tin Man not being with Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow or Toto at the massive MSU (Midwestern State University) Holiday Season Christmas Theme Park.

I have no way of knowing if the Tin Man, as was speculated, had been Flying Monkey-napped by the Wicked Witch of the West, or had simply wandered off, or took a coffee break.

The missing Tin Man worried me almost all night long. So, today I rolled myself back to MSU to find myself relieved to see the Tin Man back with the rest of the gang heading to the Emerald City via the Yellow Brick Road in the Merry Land of Oz in Texas.

If the above were a video you would be seeing the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion in motion mode. The Tin Man slowly swings his ax whilst squeaking, while behind him the Cowardly Lion waves an arm holding a can of tin lubricating grease. The Scarecrow, Dorothy and Toto were also in motion mode in various ways today.

Maybe before this latest iteration of the "Holidays" is mercifully over for another year I will wander through the MSU Christmas Theme Park and take video of all the action.

And in other news, this morning I was pleased to learn I am now the Wichita Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau's Outdoors Adventure Guru. This gets me many perks, including ice water anytime I visit WFC & VB's offices in Ray Clymer Hall at MPEC (Multi-Purpose Event Center) in downtown Wichita Falls.

Best free ice water since the last time I was in South Dakota at Wall Drug....

Washington Outhouse Landing Thought Not To Fly In From Fort Worth

I saw this this morning on Facebook, via Tacoma's Queen V, which had me thinking, before learning the details, that this was yet one more interesting Fort Worth outhouse installation.

But, why would Queen V in Tacoma be seeing this?

Well, turns out this outhouse took flight a couple days ago during a big, bad windstorm which battered Western Washington.

I do not know in what town and on whose house this outhouse landed.

The reason I assumed this was in Fort Worth was because of the number of times I have seen similar such things in what is known as the Outhouse Capital of the World, with more outhouses per capita than any other major town in America.

Having more outhouse per capita than any other town in America is yet one more Fort Worth claim to fame which has cities Far and Wide Green With Envy regarding Fort Worth.

Most Fort Worth parks have no modern facilities, no restrooms, no running water. But do have picnic tables and outhouses, with no place to wash ones hands.

Even Fort Worth's only real tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, considers indoor plumbing to be a luxury. We have blogged about this a number of times, most recently in Is Indoor Plumbing An Imaginary World Class Fort Worth Luxury?

That most recent blogging about Fort Worth's paucity of indoor plumbing was prompted by some foolish nonsense in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about some mundane thing in Fort Worth being "World Class" and thus worthy of being considered for something I don't remember. The Amazon HQ2 location? Maybe that was it.

Most of Fort Worth's city parks can not be accessed by a sidewalk. Because Fort Worth has the fewest sidewalks per city street mile than any other major city in America. But that's a whole different issue than the Fort Worth indoor plumbing shortage....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Roll Through MSU With Cinderella & Dorothy On The Yellow Brick Road

This mid November Wednesday was warm enough to make for a mighty fine bike ride today, mighty fine, even with a mighty strong wind blowing in from the north.

Today I once again found myself rolling through the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus Christmas Happy Holiday Season theme park.

The lights were on and the animation was animating, with a piano player playing for dancing girls dancing,a Ferris wheel spinning, along with the spinning wagon wheels of Cinderella's pink chariot, which is what you see above. From this angle you can not see Cinderella looking all cozy inside her carriage, but you can see those jealous evil step-sisters look evil in the foreground.

I am unclear as to what the Holiday Season connection is between Cinderella and Christmas. The same is true with the below exhibit.

But you have to admit, even though the Christmas connection might be a bit confusing, Cinderella, along with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Toto make for a festive piece of Holiday Season merriment.

But, where is the Tin Man? Has he already entered the Emerald City ahead of the rest of this gang? Or lost on the Yellow Brick Road? Did the Flying Monkeys snatch him? Or the Wizard of Oz?

I don't know.

I shall look more earnestly for the Tin Man the next time I visit...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Looking Puzzled At The Multiple Texas Veterans Memorials

What you are looking at here is a small section of the Veterans Memorial in Veterans Park in Arlington.

Behind and to the left of the soldier a couple years ago a Vietnam War Memorial was added.

Veterans Park is a sprawling park at the center of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

A beautiful park with an equally beautiful Veterans Memorial.

Long ago I made a webpage about Veterans Park, which shows the scope of the park, but I think that webpage was made before the memorials were added.

In Dallas, at Fair Park, there is an excellent Vietnam War Memorial which emulates the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. On the Dallas Wall all the names of Texans who died in the Vietnam War are engraved.

 A new Veterans Memorial was dedicated on Saturday in the Fort Worth suburb of Haltom City.

There are likely many other Veterans Memorials in the D/FW zone which I do not know about.

There is an obscure Vietnam War Memorial in Fort Worth. I say it is obscure because I accidentally happened upon it whilst exploring the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. I blogged about this in Charlie Company Memorial in Fort Worth's Botanic Garden. The Charlie Company Memorial may be the best such thing I have ever seen. One would have to have a heart of ice not to be touched by the story told at the Charlie Company Memorial. And it makes one proud of Fort Worth and the people of Fort Worth.

A half century ago.

I do not understand why a bigger deal is not made of the Charlie Company Memorial, with the memorial brought out of the shady shadows and made easy to find with directional signs.

A couple months ago I attended an event at Lake Wichita celebrating finally getting Army Corps of Engineer approval for fixing Lake Wichita. Part of that event involved plans for a Wichita Falls Veterans Memorial, to be located at the to be upgraded boat launch dock on Lake Wichita. A local car dealer donated a half million bucks to the Veterans Memorial, making the donation with one of those giant checks you see when someone wins something like the million bucks on Survivor.

One can also buy a personalized brick to help pay for the Wichita Falls Veterans Memorial. I do not know why personalized bricks seem to be the go to fund raiser for this type thing in Texas. That and car washes.

A couple days ago I was thinking about all the Veterans Memorials in Texas, maybe this was triggered by the one I see one directed to when passing by the small town of Alvord, between D/FW and Wichita Falls, and this got me trying to remember if there is any sort of Veterans Memorial in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley, in Mount Vernon, or the town I grew up in, Burlington, or in any of the other towns or parks in the valley. I could remember none.

I did remember that Anacortes has some sort of Seafarer Memorial dedicated to those who are lost at sea. As in fishermen, based in Anacortes, usually lost whilst fishing the rough seas of Alaska.

I can not remember any Veterans Memorial in Seattle. Or Tacoma. Or Olympia. I'm sure such must exist, in some form, but I don't remember.

It has crossed my mind that all these memorials may be a fine thing, but that it would be more impressive, to me, if rather than dedicating yet one more memorial, a town might do something more memorable, like put that money to helping Veterans, to making sure there are Veteran services in your town, to making sure you have no homeless Veterans in your town, to doing all you can do to prevent a Veteran from getting so desperate that suicide is the only option in your town.

How many millions of bucks and hours of time have been spent on multiple Veterans Memorials in Texas, I can not help but wonder. And I also can not help but wonder could not that money and time have been put to a more meaningful memorial to Veterans?

Anyway, that's what seeing that sign on 287 pointing to an Alvord Veterans Memorial made me think about. That and why isn't Veterans Park in Arlington sufficient to cover all the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex Veterans Memorial needs, like Arlington covers D/FW's professional ball park needs...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bike Ride To MSU Santa & Peter Pan Battling Captain Hook With Pirates Of The Caribbean Wenches

Saturday and Sunday strong wind blew cold air at my location on the planet. This frigidity had me not wanting to ride my bike or climb a mountain.

And now, on Monday, even though rain is supposedly on the weather menu, there is no wind, dead calm, nothing blowing.

And so, even though the outer world is cloudy and chilled to the middle 50s, with only a little extra layering I was able to take myself on a long roll of my wheels, first to Sikes Lake, eventually to Hamilton Park and the Circle Trail, but before I got there I rolled through MSU (Midwestern State University) and stopped to visit one of the multiple Santas currently holding court over a large assemblage of Christmas Holiday Season type installations still in being installed mode.

Among those installations is the pirate ship you see below.

I am not sure, but I think this pirate ship is Peter Pan themed. The name of the ship is Jolly Roger. A damsel in distress is tied to a mast, looking like she is being tormented by evil eyed pirates, whilst what appears to be Peter Pan is battling what looks to be the sword wielding captain of the ship, looking like Captain Hook, because, well, one arm has a hook instead of a hand at its termination point.

This pirate ship holiday season installation seems to be a bit out of sync with the times. Didn't I recently read that Disneyland has edited The Pirates of the Caribbean to no longer have scary drunken pirates chasing scared wenches?

I have not been to Disneyland since Christmas day of 1994. At that point in time the pirates were still chasing those scared wenches  The wench chasing part of the ride was one of my favorite parts, going all the way back to the first time I took the dead men tell no tales boat plunge to enter the mayhem of the Disneyland pirate world.

My mom and dad were along for the ride the first time I experienced Pirates of the Caribbean. Maybe that's why the pirates chasing the wenches did not seem all that frightening. I was more disturbed by It's a Small World and all those singing Precious Moments type figures singing that annoying song over and over and over again.

I just realized, whilst thinking about riding Pirates of the Caribbean with mom and dad, for the first time, decades ago, that the last time I rode a theme park type ride with mom and dad was in November of 1995, at Luxor in Las Vegas. I was staying at Treasure Island, mom and dad were nearing the end of their retirement trek across America. They met up with me. I left who I was with in Vegas to go with mom and dad to Luxor, where we buffeted and then rode the Luxor virtual reality ride which makes one think one is flying to the center of the world in search of an obelisk, or some such thing. Mom was amusing. Sort of terrified. But, she recovered enough to give me a big box of Christmas presents to haul north to distribute.

As for Pirates of the Caribbean. I Googled to find the correct name for the It's a Small World ride and this brought up a YouTube video with the entire Pirates of the Caribbean ride, start to finish. That ride, along with the rest of Disneyland is one of the many reasons I found Six Flags Over Texas so totally lame the first time I visited that theme park.

Take the video ride below, if you've never been to Disneyland and ridden the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The ride starts slow, building drama, stay with it til the first time you hear dead men tell no tales. Then the video goes dark for a bit, not managing to catch the shock of what actually happens, when your boat sort of goes over a waterfall to enter the world of the Pirates of the Caribbean, eventually ending with the pirate Jack Sparrow counting his treasure.

The blurb accompanying the video....

Avast ye land lubbers! Set forth with this HD Front Seat POV on one of the best Dark Rides every created. Disneyland never disappoints and Pirates of the Caribbean is always a crowd pleaser....

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day Visit To Wichita Falls Prairie Dog Town With No Armistice

With it being Veterans Day, or Armistice Day if one prefers to pretend the American 1950s never happened, I decided to visit my neighborhood's survivors of the Indian Wars who live in the Wichita Falls Prairie Dog Town.

I did not know if the cold weather would have the Prairie Dogs underground or out and about.

I brought with me a bag of various bread products I cleared out of my fridge this morning, along with sweet potato peelings I made this morning when I peeled sweet potatoes.

Arriving at the Prairie Dog Town suburbs it was quickly obvious the cold weather had not sent the Dogs down under Town.

The little guy on the left is enjoying one of those sweet potato peelings. When the Prairie Dogs see food has arrived they announce the delivery with a sort of high pitched barking which has the Town come to life with Prairie Dogs peeking out of burrows all over town. And in the suburbs which ring the walled main Prairie Dog community.

This guy, who I call Chester, immensely enjoyed the chunk of Italian bread I tossed him. He finished that and then I tossed him some whole wheat bread, so as to provide some extra fiber. Chester also got some sweet potato peelings.

This pair enjoyed big chunks of French bread while I admired their artistic homage to nearby Mount Wichita.

Since my last visit to Prairie Dog Town a new playground has been installed. A walled playground with a deep covering of sand inside the wall. I assume this is intended to be a barrier to Prairie Dog additional development, blocking this area from being a new suburb.

The previous playground equipment had been compromised by a Prairie Dog invasion, with burrows at the base of the slide and all around the swings and monkey bars. The Prairie Dogs are strategic with their land grabbing invasions, hence the Trump-ish border wall, attempting to keep an area out of Prairie Dog control.

I suspect there is Prairie Dog plotting afoot in the Prairie Dog Councils of War, on this Armistice Day of 2017, trying to determine the best way to make an encroachment into the new walled playground area.

When next I visit I expect to see Prairie Dogs popping up from burrows burrowed under that deep sand behind the wall....