Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Wichita Bluff Nature Area Mysterious Oddities

Bike wheel rolling the Circle Trail hills in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area has become my new favorite endorphin inducing aerobic activity.

On my most recent wheel rolling at that location I came upon two mysterious oddities.

The first mysterious oddity is the locks you see locked to a railing.

To find this oddity access the Wichita Bluff Nature Area from the western entrance, go down the first hill, then up the second hill til you come to the first spur off the trail. This is on the left side. At the end of that spur you come to a junction. Take the left junction and you will see that which you see above.

Why would people leave combination locks and padlocks at this location? My imagination is not sufficiently developed to enable the conjuring of an explanation.

And then at the other end of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, well, out of the area to be precise, I came up the second oddity.

Soon after one exits the Nature Area, passing under the eastern entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area sign, coming from the west, one comes to a long, curved downhill. At the end of that downhill glide the Circle Trail runs next to the Wichita River.

Eventually the trail comes to another incline. Near that point the trail crosses a big drainage ditch. On the east side of that ditch, between the trail and the river I saw that which you see below.


Greenish round balls, in size bigger than ping pong balls, smaller than tennis balls. Laying on the ground, connected by a network of vines.


Above we are looking at a close up look at one of the "balls".

It looks like a small round watermelon. This leads to the assumption that this is some sort of melon patch. Did someone spit out a seed which then went viral?

Perhaps a local horticulture lock expert can identify the above oddities...

Monday, November 18, 2019

Retired Army Corps Executive Replaces J.D. Granger Leading Panther Island Boondoggle

I first saw that which you see here on Facebook, with the Facebooker commenting "Will the absurdity never end?"

For a day or two I avoided reading about the latest absurdity of that which has come to be known, far and wide, as America's Dumbest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle.

As the years of this century amble on, along with this Boondoggle, I lose track of the timeline. Suffice to say in the past year or so, multiple entities have become fed up with Fort Worth's biggest mess.

And so it was decided to spend about a half million bucks to have someone analyze what has caused this mess and how to fix it.

That analysis was released a few months ago to almost universal eye rolling and contemptuous disgust, due to the obvious erroneous nature of much which the analyzer concluded.

But, out of that waste of money one conclusion was acted on. J.D. Granger was fired as Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Authority.

And then transferred to another job in the TRWD (Tarrant Regional Water District) at the same $200 thousand annual salary, with his job now being to oversee flood control efforts. Since there has been no flooding in the area in question for well over half a century it must have been assumed that this was something Granger could not muck up. And keeping him on the payroll might still motivate his mother to attempt to secure federal funding for Fort Worth's pitiful imaginary flood control and economic development scheme.

Here's the part of the FW Business Press article in which we learn about J.D.'s new phony job...

As part of the re-organization, the position of TRVA executive director was eliminated and J.D. Granger, who held that position at a salary of more than $200,000 annually, was shifted into the ranks of the TRWD in a role focused on flood-control. His salary has reportedly been unaffected.

But, someone was needed to take over the job which J.D. Granger had failed at. Hence the subject of that aforementioned Facebook post and its link to the Fort Worth Business Press Former Army Corps executive named new Panther Island leader article about J.D.'s replacement.

This article contains no details about how the J.D. Granger replacement, a retired Army Corps of Engineers executive, named Mark Mazzanti, was selected and vetted. Was a more stringent investigation into the replacement's record conducted than that which resulted in hiring the un-qualified to oversee anything, J.D. Granger?

Let's look at a couple paragraphs in a recent article in another publication in which the hiring of J.D. Granger is mentioned. The article is titled Commentary: Panther Island and the Tarrant Regional Water Discombobulation (TRWD) and the author is former Fort Worth city councilman, Clyde Picht, who details the absurdity of the hiring of J.D. Granger...

To add insult to injury, TRWD General Manager Jim Oliver picked a lawyer to oversee this project. This lawyer was reportedly from a fourth-tier law school and, at the time, worked for the Tarrant County district attorney.

You should be aware that the general description of a fourth-tier law school is one with lower entrance requirements, but apparently, they also teach economic development and flood control subjects.

This new, highly paid manager, who has since declared that everything is on cost and on schedule, was J.D. Granger, coincidentally the son of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX); a recent programmatic review from a third-party organization found the opposite to be true.
___________________

We have long known that it was TRWD General Manger Jim Oliver's fault that J.D. Granger was hired. And now that J.D. Granger has been fired, why does Jim Oliver still have his job after so many years of so many various scandals of various sorts?

And, again, what was the process by which this new guy was hired to replace Granger? Let's take a look at what we learn about him from the FW Business Press article...

He recently retired as director of programs for the Dallas-based Southwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, covering Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico. He managed inter-agency work on more than $6 billion in programs and led efforts for Congressional appropriation of more than $5 billion in disaster funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

His previous special positions include serving at Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he prepared the budget for the agency’s Civil Works Program and in a management role for the Corps in Baghdad and Iraq, where he managed more than 3,000 projects worth about $10 billion for infrastructure development.
_________________

Okay, did the TRWD people do a better job of vetting this guy's qualifications than they did with J.D. Granger? What was the process by which Mazzanti was selected? Were there other candidates? Was there looking into this Mazzanti guy's performance on these multi-billion dollar projects for which it is claimed he managed various aspects of various projects?

It would seem sensible that one can not help but wonder why a retired guy would come out of retirement to oversee an un-funded, stalled project which has been boondoggling along for most of this century.

Well, there is that $25,000 a month, which could be quite enticing.

And one can not help but wonder where this additional salary money is coming from, you know, what with the project being short of funds. Well, the article answers that question with...

TRWD General Manager Jim Oliver said Mazzanti’s will be paid from funds the TRWD received from the 2019 TIF disbursement as debt repayment.
________________

With inadequate funding how does Mr. Mazzanti plan on getting this Boondoggle out of Boondoggle mode?

Will Mr. Mazzanti ask, you know, due to those vast previous management experiences, why, if the Trinity River Vision is a vitally needed flood control and economic development scheme, why was it not put to a vote of the people asking voters to support paying for the project, such as what happens in towns wearing their big city pants?

A billion bucks for a public works project in a big American city is not a huge price tag for something worthwhile. Multiple big American cities have gone to their voters for approval of projects which dwarf Fort Worth's relative puny project.

Why should the more prosperous parts of America pay for Fort Worth's Boondoggle is a question it would seem any reasonable person would ask.

Will Mr. Mazzanti be appalled at the reality that this project has been long stalled in slow motion due to the lack of funding, because the locals are expecting federal welfare to pay for their imaginary flood control scheme, where there has been no flooding, and which is really all about the economic development part of the ongoing scam?

Like that Facebook poster asked above, will this absurdity never end?

Saturday, November 16, 2019

New High Hoodoo Rises In Wichita Bluff Nature Area

On this mighty fine third Saturday of the 2019 version of November I returned again to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to do some high speed hilly bike riding on the Circle Trail.

The hill climbing on the Wichita Bluff Nature Area of the Circle Trail is pretty much the only location I have found in the Wichita Falls zone where one can get themselves some good aerobic stimulation in anticipation of a Spring return to Moab to do some real mountain biking on real mountain bike trails.

A couple weeks ago I photo documented a trio of hoodoos which had been erected in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

On the next visit to the hoodoo trio the precarious hoodoo in the middle of the trio had crashed to the ground, either by the whimsy of Mother Nature, or some passing hiker's swift kick.

Evidence seemed to indicate it was a hiker's swift kick which had dismantled that hoodoo, due to the way the rocks of the hoodoo were scattered about in a way which did not appear to be what would happen due to a hoodoo destroying gust of wind.

And now today I was pleased to see the rocks in the hoodoo zone have been reconfigured into a solo hoodoo of a height I have seldom seen for this type construction. Which is what you see photo documented above.

Speaking of bizarre constructions. I have some blogging fodder about that ridiculous construction in Fort Worth which has been dawdling along in Boondoggle mode for most of this century.

But, I somehow find myself not caring enough to bother making mention of the latest absurdity. Maybe I will muster motivation enough to make mention of the latest.

It is amusing to see the blog stats after mention is made of Fort Worth's ongoing Boondoggle embarrassment.

Multiple hits from Washington, D.C., I assume due to the link being shared by those being asked to send Fort Worth federal welfare for its debacle...

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Wichita Bluff Nature Area With No Amber Waves Of Blueberry Mountains

At my current location on the planet there is no purple mountain majesty no matter which direction one looks and no matter how powerful a telescoping viewing device one might use.

But, there may be some amber waves of grain waving somewhere closer than the nearest mountains, though I have not personally eye witnessed any wheat or oats or rye growing any where near my current location..

And those are not amber waves of grain you see waving here. Those are tall, as in maybe 12 feet tall, or taller, waves of, (I think the name is) cat-o-ninc tails, rendered brown by the recent deep freeze of recent days.

I saw that this jungle of foliage was no longer green today when I returned to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area of the Circle Trail so as to enjoy some chilly pseudo hill hiking.


A few hundred feet to the west of those wannabe amber waves of grain I came upon that which you see above. An evergreen tree of some variety not familiar to me, blooming what looked to me like blueberries. This definitely is not a blueberry bush. And this did not seem to be a juniper tree with the "berries" smelling like something that would come out of a bottle of Dutch gin.


Today I hiked as far as the point you see above, an overlook looking over the Wichita River. As you can see the dominant color is no longer green. The deep freeze has wreaked havoc with the color scheme.

The next time the outer world temperature moderates I am thinking a drive north to Oklahoma to Medicine Park and the Wichita Mountains Wilderness zone might be scheduled. I do not know if these mountains are of the sort I think of when I see that "mountain" word, but it sounds fun to find out...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Arctic Blast Has Not Covered Mount Wichita With Snow While Seahawks Beat 49ers

No.

This is not Mount Wichita you see here, covered in snow from the Arctic Blast which has sent the temperature way closer to single digits than triple digits in need of air conditioning.

My interior world warmth producing device has been getting its toughest workout in a long long time the past 24 hours.

While that which you see here is almost a dead ringer for my neighborhood artificial mountain what this actually is is a real mountain, which is also a volcano.

Last night after watching the Seattle Seahawks win another football game I saw this mountain on Facebook via Seattle's KOMO TV.

Which would make this Mount Rainier.

I have wondered a time or two since I have been in this mountain/volcano free part of the planet what a person who grows up mountain-less thinks the first time a mountain is seen, or a range of mountains.

In a flat part of the planet, such as where I am currently, the sky looks big, the horizon way in the distance. A mountain range, when one is close to it, shrinks the sky, and the horizon is not way in the distance.

I sort of miss mountains, and big forests of evergreen trees.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bass Plan To Increase Fort Worth Global Influence With Granger Grifter Gang Soap Opera


What you see here showed up on the November 10, 2019 front page of the online version of the Sunday Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Apparently Fort Worth's Bass's are forming some sort of team with some sort of fellowship program and this is going to lead to an increase in Fort Worth's already totally formidable global influence.

Soon we can expect even more national and international corporations to join Radio Shack and Pier One Imports in locating their headquarters in downtown Fort Worth, what with that coming increase to Fort Worth's global influence.

Is the Fort Worth Bass family related to the famous Sam Bass gang of stage coach robbers? I've never been able to get a clear answer to that question. I do know the exquisite good taste of the Bass family has left an indelible mark on Fort Worth, architecturally and otherwise.

And now Fort Worth is going to be able to thank the Bass family for an upcoming increase to Fort Worth's global influence.

I don't know if another rumor I have heard about Fort Worth is reality based, or Trump type fake news. That being that Lorimar Productions is looking to once again have success with a prime time soap opera of the sort which brought Dallas world wide recognition in the last century.

It is easy to imagine a prime time soap opera based in Fort Worth, with the opening credits zooming in towards the Fort Worth skyline, making that skyline known world-wide, like the opening credits of Dallas did for Dallas, zooming in over I-30 from the west, heading toward Reunion Tower and the impressive Dallas skyline.

The below is an artist's rendering of what that zooming in on the Fort Worth skyline scene of the opening credits will look like for the new prime time Fort Worth soap opera.


Unlike the Dallas opening credits zooming over I-30, it looks like the Fort Worth opening credits will be zooming over the West 7th Street Bridge.

Soon this view will be known worldwide, should Fort Worth become a hit, greatly amping up Fort Worth's global influence.

The Dallas soap opera was all about oil and the Ewing family. Will the Fort Worth soap opera be about fracking and the Bass family?

Or will the Fort Worth soap opera be more of a Falcon Crest type soap with a domineering mother ruling the roost?


Instead of Miss Ellie (or Angela Channing) will the Fort Worth soap opera matriarch be based on Fort Worth's Kay Granger? Will the Granger Grifter Gang be the plot inspiration for Fort Worth, the soap opera? Instead of Miss Ellie and J.R., will we have Miss Kay and J.D.?

Will the plot of the Fort Worth soap opera be the ongoing tale of one family's Fort Worth shenanigans, wreaking havoc with their trailer park aesthetics in their ongoing nefarious plots to make a buck off Fort Worth's yokels?

Will there be a plot line about a bizarre imaginary flood control project with J.D. in charge of building bridges over dry land, while having thousands of bucks funneled to his bank account, whilst season after season after season nothing much gets done and the ongoing debacle of J.D. trying to build bridges over dry land becomes the Fort Worth TV show's ongoing joke, til the show gets cancelled after running for a decade or two?

Well, I know I'll be watching. I already feel like I have been watching the Fort Worth soap opera for a couple decades...

Wichita Falls Mysterious Seymour Highway Ruins

This second Sunday of the 2019 version of November is being yet one more perfect weather day at my North Texas location.

Tomorrow weather perfection is scheduled to come to an end with an Arctic Blast arriving with a chill well below freezing.

And so, today, whilst the outer world remains pleasant, I took myself back to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to join the throngs getting themselves some salubrious endorphin inducing aerobic stimulation.

Actually, I only saw five or six other humans, and only one of them was in aerobic stimulation mode.

I suppose you may be wondering what that photo above is documenting. What you see there has long made me wonder what it was whilst driving by on the Seymour Highway on the way to the west end Wichita Bluff Nature Area parking lot.

Does any Wichitan know what this massive abandoned cement structure was used for? It looks like the remains of a fort.

Regarding my use of that Wichitan word.

This is how natives of Wichita Falls refer to themselves. I learned this soon after my arrival when I made the mistake of referring to the natives as Wichita Fallsers. Severe umbrage was taken by a few who chose to verbalize their umbrage. I tried to defend myself, saying I thought Wichita Fallser made more sense than Wichita Fallsian or Wichita Fallsperson.

Dropping the Falls and turning Wichita into Wichitan did not occur to me as an option.

I was told that it is the same as residents of Niagara Falls, who the umbrage takers claimed refer to themselves as Niagarans, not as Niagara Fallsers, or Niagara Fallsians. I had no way to confirm that those who live in the town of Niagara Falls refer to themselves as Niagarans.

Anyway, any Wichitan, or other aficionado of Texas history, know what these cement remains are?

Friday, November 8, 2019

Tacoma Could Show Fort Worth How To Build A Bridge Over Water

I saw that which you see here yesterday on Facebook via a post by Mildred's paternal parental unit.

With the post being the story of the fall and rise of a bridge in my old home state of Washington, known as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Later in the day, yesterday, Spencer Jack's paternal parental unit text messaged me asking me "Did you hear that the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed today?

To which I replied "Yeah. About 80 years ago. Or was it 79??"

To which my Favorite Nephew Jason replied "You are too smart to be easily tricked. No wind today to knock down a bridge. In fact it has been sunny and gorgeous her for nearly two weeks now. I think Seattle is setting an all time record for lack of rain this time of year. My mother just informed me that she is cooking Thanksgiving dinner and I am welcome to bring a guest. Will you be able to join us in Big Lake? I think dinner should be around 3 or 4 pm..."

To which I replied "I have booked a flight, arriving 10:25 am, November 28, Gate D, Bellingham International Airport. Please ask Spencer Jack if he can pick me up and drive me to his grandma's."

And now back to that post from Mildred's paternal parental unit. The entire text which accompanied the photo of Gertie Galloping...

On This Day in History: November 7, 1940.
The original Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Tacoma, Washington collapsed in a windstorm – only four months after its completion. Spanning the Puget South from Gig Harbor to Tacoma, the bridge opened to traffic on July 1, 1940. At the time it was the third longest suspension bridge in the world, covering 5,959 feet. Its design was its downfall as it was designed to be the most flexible ever built. This flexibility was experienced by the builders and workmen during construction, which led some of the workers to christen the bridge "Galloping Gertie." The engineers, however, did not take into consideration the aerodynamic forces during a period of strong winds. On this day in 1940, high winds caused the bridge to sway considerably. A little after 11 a.m., the bridge broke free of its restraints and was tossed back and forth before it finally collapsed. The only casualty was Tubby, a black cocker spaniel, who was too scared to come out of Leonard Coatsworth’s stranded car. Coatsworth was the last person to drive on the bridge. Another person tried to rescue Tubby during a lull in the winds but the dog was too terrified and bit one of the rescuers. A replacement bridge opened on October 14, 1950, after two years of construction. It is 40 feet longer than the original and the fifth longest suspension bridge in the U.S. Today, the remains of the bridge are still at the bottom of Puget Sound and have formed one of the largest man-made reefs in the world.

Photo: The bridge’s roadway twisting and vibrating violently under 40 mile per hour winds the day it collapsed.
___________________

Now let us take a look at the local to Texas angle regarding the story of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge turning into Galloping Gertie.

The Tacoma Narrows is so named because it is a narrow, deep Puget Sound channel, with extremely strong tides. Cliffs are on both sides of the channel, hence the need to use the suspension bridge method to span the channel.

At the time it was completed, in 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was the third longest suspension bridge in the world.

After the original bridge failed its replacement took two years to complete.

Two years.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, Texas. A town with no deep, fast moving water, or steep cliffs, three simple little bridges have been in construction mode since 2014, currently not scheduled to possibly be completed til sometime in the next decade.

Oh, I forgot to mention, these three simple little bridges are being built over dry land.

Dry land.

There will be no water under these bridges until the money and means can be found to dig a ditch under them, with Trinity River water then diverted into that ditch.

And those responsible for this Boondoggle have managed to get away with conning the locals into thinking these simple bridges are being built over dry land in order to save time and money, when there was no other option.There never was any other option, since there will/would never be water under the bridges until/unless the Trinity River is diverted into the ditch.

Those responsible for this Boondoggle have also managed to try and con the locals into believing that these three simple bridges are complex feats of engineering, hence all the delays.

Complex feats of engineering?

The three little bridges look like freeway overpasses.

Structural engineers have raised multiple design issues, hence the slow motion bridge construction. The ridiculous V-piers are problematic. Some think the bridge foundations are unstable. Others think if the ditch is ever dug under the three completed bridges that multiple issues will arise compromising the structural integrity of the bridges.

And yet a little town in Washington, a fraction of the size of Fort Worth, somehow managed to build a suspension bridge over actual deep, fast moving water, in two years. And then, in this century, add another, even bigger suspension bridge, next to the original, also built in less than four years.

And people wonder why I refer to Fort Worth as a backwards backwater...

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Missing Mom's Rainy Poetry Whilst Driving To ALDI

On my way to ALDI this morning I thought of my dear, late mother.

No, not due to usually calling mom on my way to some destination to ask if she wanted to ride along.

No. Today I thought of my dear, late mother on my way to ALDI due to remembering mom's penchant for reciting poetry.

Such as on a day like today mom would wax poetically saying "rain rain go away, come again another day."

In her later years mom did not develop a lot of fresh material and tended to repeat her oldies but goodies.

In the above rainy photo documentation we are driving south on Taft Boulevard with the MSU Fantasy of Lights ongoing installation on our right as we drive by. Due to the cold rain not much installing appeared to be going on today. There is still plenty of time to get Christmas up and running in time for its post-Thanksgiving debut.

Due to the ongoing inclement weather, and anticipating much worse with the coming winter, after ALDI I went to a shoe store and got myself a pair of winter weather ready shoes. In Washington these type shoes were known as waffle stompers. I do not know if that is what they are known as in the South.

What I do know is I am now ready to stomp waffles in deep snow...

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Spencer Jack Prescribes Exercise For Texans


Incoming email from Spencer Jack and his paternal parental unit, FNJ, also known as my Favorite Nephew Jason.

Subject line in email: "Y'all need some exercise".

And then after that rude subject line all there was in the email is the graphic you see above listing the Top Five American States with the Highest % of Physically Inactive Adults, and then next to that listing the Five American States with the Lowest % of Physically Inactive Adults.

The Top Five Most Inactive States...

!. Kentucky, 2. Mississippi, 3. Texas, 4. Arkansas, 5. Oklahoma

The Top Five Most Active States...

1. Washington, 2. Colorado, 3. California, 4. Alaska, 5. Oregon.

Shocking, the least active states are all in the South, while the West Coast states are the most active.

With my old home state being the Most Active State in America. Whilst the American State I am currently sitting in, Texas, is the 3rd Most Inactive.

I would be prevaricating if I tried to pretend that I have not noticed way more slothfulness when I am in Texas than I notice when I am West of Texas, be it Colorado, Arizona, Utah, or any of the West Coast States.

I think I have mentioned previously the incident way back in 2004 when I returned to Washington after two years of only seeing Texans. I remember being in downtown Seattle, taken to a gallery in Pioneer Square ( a real square, unlike Fort Worth's imaginary Sundance Square) and when mention was made to the gallery owner that I had just flown in from Texas, and was visiting Washington for the first time in two years, the gallery owner asked something like has anything changed?

To which I said something like it is striking me that the people are looking like they have had the air let out of them.

This was before I learned that many Europeans refer to Americans as Balloon People. I assume Europeans make this reference after visiting a Southern American State, not a West Coast American State.

Big Ed is currently scheduled to return to the West Coast, and Washington, this coming summer for the first time since Christmas of 2002. I have warned him to be prepared for culture shock. Such as the HUGE increase in traffic along I-5. The homeless camps in Seattle. And the greatly changed Seattle skyline, with things like Amazon, along with a Great Wheel on the waterfront, multiple giant cruise ships. Along with way less litter, the world looking new, less shabby, and the air smelling like Christmas trees, at times.

When you've spent almost two decades in the part of America which sort of plods along in slow motion, it is a bit jarring to adjust to the more accelerated pace one finds in modern America. I just remembered, Big Ed has been back to modern America one time since 2002, with last October's visit to Arizona, where he was impressed to once again see competent urban planning, streets with sidewalks, and city parks with zero outhouses.

And way fewer ultra plump people...

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Biking With Horizontal Horses Before Turkey Taco Thanksgiving

When one lives in what used to be one of the locations of the wild, wild west one never knows what historical remnant one might come upon whilst rolling ones bike's wheels around and about.

Today my handlebars came upon the scene you see here.

A pair of exhausted horses laying down, unhitched from their wagon, with no humans anywhere to be seen.

In a few weeks, likely the weekend following Thanksgiving, this pair of horses will be back vertical, hitched to the wagon, with the wagon's wheels mysteriously turning with a buckboard driver holding the reigns attached to the horses.

A day or two ago I made mention of the fact that the annual Fantasy of Lights were already being installed at their regular MSU (Midwestern State University) location.

After I made mention of this early arrival of the Christmas season, local historian, Miss Wood, informed us that this is the norm, for the installation of the MSU Fantasy of Lights to begin well before the lights goes live after Thanksgiving.

Speaking of MSU.

Yesterday I found myself watching college football. The University of Washington Huskies being beat by the Utah Utes was one of the games I watched.

Whilst that game was going on I saw another football game being broadcast by one of the non-major broadcasters. This was a football game broadcast in the primitive pre-HD TV style. That game was the aforementioned MSU, being soundly beaten by something called Tarketon.

Later Saturday, Saturday evening to be precise, I watched the Oregon Ducks soundly beat the USC Trojans. The Ducks play for the University of Oregon. The University of Oregon is located in Eugene. I was born in Eugene. I did not realize til watching that game last night that the Oregon Ducks were headquartered in Eugene.

This sort of indicates how much attention I usually pay to football; college, high school or professional.

I don't even know if my old high school still plays football. I can't remember the last time I read a fuss being made regarding my old high school doing well in football playoffs. The last time I do remember that happening was way back in the last century when my old high school somehow made it to a championship game being played in the now long gone Kingdome in Seattle. I do not remember if my old high school won or lost that championship game. I think I remember watching it in person.

Speaking of Thanksgiving.

This year I am not gonna roast a turkey. Instead I am having a Tequila Turkey Taco Thanksgiving Thursday Party. I am currently taking reservations. There is limited seating available...

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Bluff Biking Almost Crystal Clear Wichita River

This post Halloween first Saturday of the 2019 version of November is another clear blue sky semi-warm day at my location nowhere near being deep in the heart of Texas.

Of late, well, the past couple weeks, I have been enjoying actual hilly bike riding via rolling on the Wichita Bluff Nature Area section of the Circle Trail.

Which is what I did today.

After a mile, give or take a foot or two, I stopped the bike at one of the side trails and aimed the handlebars at a house I have noticed ever since I first rolled in this location.

From a distance this house reminds me of my old home in Mount Vernon. A couple years ago I tried to get up close using motorized means, but could not figure out what road would take me there.

So, a zoomed close up is the best I can do.



It is the flat roof and multiple levels, and light brown color which reminds me of Mount Vernon. Though, zoomed up close it sort of looks like a prison facility. Which I know it is not.

At the east end of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area the Circle Trail makes a long looping descent til it gets to river level, and then runs along side the Wichita River til the current trail end under the Loop 13 bridge over the river.

Today the Wichita River looked way different than I had ever seen it look previously.


As in instead of being the usual cool shade of reddish mud, which always reminds me of Utah redrock, today the Wichita River looks like a Western Washington river running clear clean water which might have only been recently thawed from its high mountain origin. Which definitely could not be the case here, what with no mountains for hundreds of miles, let alone snowpacks to melt.

The water was being so clear today, if there were fish swimming nearby, I should have been able to see them. I suspect if I had lingered more than a minute I would have seen a fish or two.

Changing the subject from clear river water to something else.

A few days ago I made mention of a Smoky Visit With The Retired Elsie Hotpepper.

At the time when I made mention of that smoky visit it did not occur to me that there were some who did not know there is more than one DFW individual known as Elsie Hotpepper. There is Elsie Hotpepper, the Younger, she being the Hotpepper we are more familiar with, and then there is Elsie Hotpepper, the Elder, the grandmother of Elsie Hotpepper, the Younger.

I probably should try and make these type distinctions clearer in the future...

Friday, November 1, 2019

Wichita Falls Light Fantasy Cranking Up The Holiday Scrooge

A couple days before yesterday's Halloween I was surprised whilst driving Taft Boulevard to see that Christmas was already arriving on the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus.

At that point in time, a couple days ago, my location in Texas was in the throes of what was seeming like a stereotypical Western Washington winter day.

Cold, totally overcast gray sky, dripping all day long. With fog.

And then on the third day, Halloween, the fog lifted, with the return of a totally blue sky. With the temperature below freezing.

Today, with the temperature a bit above freezing I layered on layers of outerwear and rolled my handlebars to the MSU campus, where me and my handlebars stropped to take the festive holiday photos you see here.


If I remember right when this holiday extravaganza opens it is called "The Fantasy of Lights". I may be remembering that wrong.

It will be several more days before this fantasy lights up, as there are still a lot of installations not yet in place, and wired.

Every year which I have observed this particular holiday display there have been multiple new elements. So far, and it is early, I made note of nothing new.

And I gotta say. I am really not in the mood for this holiday season thing to start up. I am currently feeling more Scroogy than I usually do, and that is with a high level of Ebeneezer being my norm...

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween Tonight With Spencer Jack & Linda Lou

Incoming email this Halloween morning from Spencer Jack and his paternal parental unit, FNJ, also known as my Favorite Nephew Jason.

The email included multiple \photos along with asking me the probing question "Are you ready for Halloween?"

The answer to that probing question is that I am as ready as I need to be.

Since I have been located in Texas my location has never been conducive to having my doorbell rang by trick or treating beggars.

When I lived in Washington, about three miles slightly northeast of where Spencer Jack is standing in this photo, in the neighborhood known as Thunderbird, I was inundated by trick or treaters.

The first few years of living at that location it was sort of fun having so many doorbell ringers on this particular night. And for a few years I had fun adding some Halloween touches, like a looping loud soundtrack of spooky noises.

I do not recollect, however, going as gungho with Halloween decorations as Spencer Jack appears to be doing.


Above we see a closer look at the doorbell location, with Spencer Jack holding a bowl full of candy bars.

One of the included photos documented what the little beggars will be getting tonight when they trick or treat at Spencer Jack's house.


That does look like a good supply, sufficient to handle the first wave of beggars.

Linda Lou lives a block or two from Spencer Jack's home location.

Linda Lou, if you are reading this, you should go trick or treating tonight at Spencer and Jason's.

I can't remember the name or number of the street, but it is due north off Blackburn, a block or two east of Hillcrest Park. I'm sure you can easily find it by looking for the 1435 house number and Spencer Jack's Halloween decorations.

I wonder if we will be seeing photo documentation of David, Theo & Ruby in trick or treat mode?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Cold Wet Hoodoo Trio Rises In Wichita Bluff Nature Area

With the temperature a few degrees above freezing, with snow falling a few miles northwest in Amarillo, with cold rain dripping at my current Wichita Falls location, it seemed like a mighty fine time to go on a cold walk on the Circle Trail at the Wichita Bluff Nature Area location.

Last week I got a new phone, which has a better camera than the one I was used to using on the old phone.

But, I still have trouble doing that selfie thing.

Somehow I got the camera into video mode. And then when I got that to stop I could not figure out why the screen was black, til I realized one of my misbehaving fingers was blocking the lens.

About a mile into the bluff hiking I came upon something I regularly used to come up whilst hiking the Tandy Hills in Fort Worth.

Hoodoos.

Hence the selfie with a hoodoo over my left shoulder.


This was a collection of three well constructed hoodoos, rising a few feet from the Circle Trail. The middle hoodoo looks particularly precarious.


Soon after photo documenting the hoodoo trio I took a side spur off the Circle Trail and saw this bucolic bench scene you see here.

I do not know if anyone keeps such a statistic, but I suspect Wichita Falls has more rocking benches per capita than any other town in America.

It will likely be a few days before warmth returns to the outer world at my location, rendering a bike ride once again a pleasant experience. In the meantime, events beyond my immediate control may require a drive to DFW in a day or two or three.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

New Small Multi-Purpose Arena Will Turn Fort Worth Into Imaginary Business & Culture Mecca


I saw that which you see above, this morning, side by side, on the front page of the Sunday October 27 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, online version.

Two articles.

On the left "Dickies Arena will promote Fort Worth as important city for business and culture".

On the right "Protesters interrupt Mayor Betsy Price during Dickies Arena opening ceremony."

I did not bother reading either of the articles. I knew, just from the article headline, that the one on the left would be full of Star-Telegram style propaganda puffery. Touting the nonsense that a relatively small multi-purpose arena will somehow have some sort of trans-formative effect on Fort Worth's business and culture fortunes.

While the article on the right likely sort of accurately reported on the continuing disgust of many Fort Worth locals regarding the Fort Worth police's multi-year history of shooting deaths of innocent citizens.

Fort Worth might want to think about improving the national and international bad reputation of its police force before the town deludes itself into thinking anything about Fort Worth promotes the town as important for business, let alone culture.

Maybe Fort Worth might want to think about the message the town sends with the boarded up eyesore of a park at the north end of its downtown.

Heritage Park.

Intended as an homage to Fort Worth's imaginary storied heritage.

Heritage Park was closed soon after four visitors to Fort Worth drowned in a poorly designed part of the Water Gardens at the south end of downtown.

Heritage Park also had a couple water features. Water features of a depth too shallow to drown anything, but maybe a mouse or rat.

But, those who run Fort Worth so ineptly feared Heritage Park might become the source of another costly lawsuit, you know, should someone somehow manage to drown in the shallow depths of one of Heritage Park's water features.

In a sense, the current state of Heritage Park does serve as an accurate metaphor for the town's actual heritage.

A short distance to the west of Heritage Park we have the location of the Radio Shack Corporate Headquarters Boondoggle.

Eminent domain was used to take property so Radio Shack could build a new corporate headquarters, which Radio Shack soon found it could not afford. So, Tarrant County College then took over much of the campus.

But, the damage to Fort Worth was already done. Due to the Radio Shack Boondoggle Fort Worth lost the world's shortest subway line, lost acres of free parking, which, with that subway line, made visiting downtown Fort Worth easy, and with free parking.

Then due north of Heritage Park we have another homage to the actual inept incompetent heritage of Fort Worth. The massive ruins of what has become America's Dumbest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

Currently with three simple little bridges stuck partly built over dry land, with construction started in the first half of this decade, currently scheduled to possibly be completed at some point in the next decade. With water added under the bridges at a currently undetermined date way in the future.

Yeah, one can really see how a new, relatively small, special events arena will be just the ticket to help promote Fort Worth as an important city for business and culture.

When will this propaganda nonsense ever end? When will Fort Worth ever get a real newspaper?

Well, James Michael Russell, a real journalist, is now journalizing for Fort Worth Weekly. Maybe there is hope that that weekly "newspaper" will again start practicing actual legit investigative journalism...

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Clear Blue Saturday Wichita Bluffs Natural Bike Ride

Thursday and Friday at my North Texas location were like a return to a Western Washington winter.

A sky totally cast over with gray clouds, frequently dripping. At times dripping copiously.

Cold. Rainy. Windy. Foggy.

And then by the morning of this last Saturday of the 2019 version of October nary a cloud existed anywhere no matter where one directed ones gaze.

Two days of gray was not enough time to activate a SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) bout.

Even so I felt the need to be cheered up by some aerobic exercise induced endorphins. And so my bike talked me into driving it to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area for some up and down hill rolling.

The Wichita Bluff hills were alive today with the sound of people having themselves a mighty fine time enjoying the almost perfect weather.

In the photo above my bike is sitting atop one of the bluff's high points, looking northwest at the Wichita River meandering through fall foliage.

I saw this morning via next week's forecast that we are currently scheduled to be frozen for the first time since last winter. I am not in the mood, yet, to be frozen...

Friday, October 25, 2019

Smoky Visit With The Retired Elsie Hotpepper

Til yesterday I had not had a chance to meet up with Elsie Hotpepper since she retired from her decades long career at a job the details of which Hotpepper has always refused to reveal.

Undercover government employee of some sort has long been the Elsie Hotpepper job speculation of many.

The week Elsie Hotpepper retired she left Texas, via Galveston, on a one way cruise through the Panama Canal, followed by a month in Mazatlan before flying back to Texas.

Hence the reason why Elsie Hotpepper is looking more sun tanned than is her norm in the selfie she took for this blog post.

Meeting up with Elsie for the first time in over a year I felt obligated to ask if she had any plans to try to give up on her three plus packs a day Camel unfiltered cigarettes habit. That puff of smoke in my face, you see above, was Hotpepper's answer to that perfectly legitimate query.

I asked Elsie what she has planned for her retirement years. Another run for political office? Mayor? Congress? Governor?

The answer was a resounding NO.

Elsie says her main activity is going to be being an even more active supporter of the Bucky Elementary Grade School from which Elsie graduated decades ago, way back in the last century.

Around the turn of this century Elsie Hotpepper was made an honorary lifelong Bucky Buckaroo after someone made note of the fact that Elsie Hotpepper, in all the years since she graduated, had never missed a single Bucky Buckaroo football homecoming parade, football game or post game dance. And that Elsie Hotpepper was an ardent supporter of just about all Bucky Elementary activities.

Now you who did not grow up in Texas, or the South, might think it unusual that someone would pay any attention to the grade school from whence they graduated. Well, the thing is, for many in Texas, and the South, graduating grade school was their last bout of higher learning, stopping their school years at 8th grade, never venturing on to high school.

Later generations, for the most part, in Texas, and the South, do go on to high school, with many managing to graduate and go to college, leaving their high school and grade school years in their distant past.

I thought maybe, now that she has the time to do so, Elsie Hotpepper might get her GED high school equivalency certificate. So I asked if that was something she might think of doing.

Again the answer was a resounding NO. Along with verbiage which sounded like Elsie Hotpepper was channeling Pink Floyd, telling me she did not need no education, did not need no thought control.

I thought maybe Elsie's use of double negatives indicated otherwise, but what do I know?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Historically Musical Fort Worth's New Dickies Arena

I saw that which you see here a day or two ago in my favorite online propaganda purveyor, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The article headline instantly struck me as patented Star-Telegram style puffery.

New "one-of-a-kind" venue?

I know this arena is new, and that it is a venue. But one-of-a-kind? That seems unlikely.

Reading the article I expected to be seeing multiple instances of propaganda puffery.

And I did.

However, perusing the "Dickies Arena, Fort Worth's new one-of-a-kind venue, is for more than just rodeo" article and reading the parts of the article which were actual factual descriptions of this new Fort Worth building, and looking at the gallery of photos, I can see this is a cool new addition to Fort Worth. An edifice any town anywhere would be proud of to have in their town.

But, having said this, let's take a look at the ridiculous propaganda puffery in this latest Star-Telegram Chamber of Commerce style production.

First paragraph...

Fort Worth likely hasn’t seen anything like Dickies Arena in a generation.

Well, now that assertion certainly can not be argued with. Nothing much has been built in Fort Worth of the large public facility sort or downtown skyscraper sort, since I first laid eyes on Fort Worth about two decades ago. One must point out the Modern Art Museum, added to Fort Worth this century, near Dickies, is impressive, and was added to Fort Worth in a generation.

Also impressive is the fact that the Dickies Arena was built in what for Fort Worth was a short construction timeline. I mean, it seems like only four or five years ago voters approved of this project by approving three silly ballot measures. One to charge a livestock stall fee, one to charge a parking fee, one to charge an admission ticket fee. I may not be remembering totally accurately the three ballot measures, but I can accurately say I had never ever witnessed such a bizarre ballot measure used to approve a public works project.

It is sort of ironic that Dickies Arena was built to completion in the years since America's Dumbest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision began trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land, starting with a TNT exploding celebration way back in 2014.

I suspect the project engineer who oversaw the construction of Dickies was an actual qualified professional sort, and not the inept son of a local congress person.

And then the next paragraph...

Sure, Fort Worth has seen its share of visionary endeavors. AllianceTexas is an economic driver. TEXRail connects downtown to DFW Airport. We’re promised continued growth in Near Southside and one day maybe along the river’s Panther Island.

Visionary endeavors? And these are the examples? Nothing more needs to be said.

And then there is this rather elevated claim...

“I think, you know, the level of finish that you have in this building is second to no other in the United States,” said Dickies Arena General Manager Matt Homan.

Okay, the General Manager of this building project has reason to be proud of the accomplishment. But, second to no other in the United States?

And then these two paragraphs featuring Fort Worth's mayor...

Dickies Arena would not have been possible with out the generosity of Fort Worth’s philanthropic community, said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

“There’s not a lot of cities that can say they have a nearly $600 million venue that’s mostly funded by private donors,” she said. “People who don’t want to go to Dallas can come to Fort Worth and feel right at home.”

Uh, Fort Worth has a population over 800,000. Dear Betsy, most American towns of this size can finance a relatively small project like this arena without relying on charity from their town's more wealthy citizens. Having to do so is nothing to be bragging about.

And then we have an embarrassing quote from a local Fort Worth architect...

“I think it’s a really great mix of old and new,” Roberts said. “Our Cultural District is the best in the country. We’ve been very fortunate to have these world-renowned architects add to our city.”

How many big cities in America have an area of their town which they designate as being their Cultural District, one can not help but wonder? Is Culture allowed in other parts of Fort Worth? Or is Culture restricted to being allowed only in the Cultural District?

The following is an amusing paragraph with its comparison of a sign to a pickup truck...

If you can’t see the action on the floor, there’s a 25-by-38-foot rounded video board hanging from the dome. It’s the second largest of its kind in the country (behind the one in Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena) and weighs 12 times as much as a Chevrolet Silverado.

Oh my, a curved video board second biggest in America. And weighing 12 times more than a Chevy Silverado. Is that the small version of that pickup, such as the one I drive? Or one of the big versions?

Then there is a series of paragraphs touting what a great music venue Dickies Arena will be, unlike anything else available in the DFW market, including this doozy...

Fort Worth has historically been a music town. Elvis Presely played in Cowtown Coliseum early in his career and Willy Nelson cut his teeth in honkytonks along Jacksboro Highway, she said.

Oh yes, Fort Worth has historically been a music town. I bet you reading this in locations in modern America were totally aware of this. Oh my,  Elvis (Star-Telegram editors, Presley is the correct spelling of the Elvis last name, historically speaking) sang in the Stockyard's Coliseum way back over a half century ago, in the 1950s, followed by Willie singing in Jacksboro honkytonks. That is quite a music history.

Okay, that is enough of this. Read the entire "Dickies Arena, Fort Worth's new one-of-a-kind venue, is for more than just rodeo" article to find other gems of propaganda nonsense, such at the final sentence in the article...

This is really giving Fort Worth a much higher profile.”...

Monday, October 21, 2019

Rolling By Lake Wichita's Flying Fish At Low Tide


This final Monday afternoon of the October version of 2019 my bike rolled me south on the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita and the loop around Lake Wichita Park, which eventually arrives at the location you see above. Where I took a water consumption break by the lakeside work of art known as The Flying Fish.

I think I remember The Flying Fish correctly being the name for this lakeside work of art. I do know for a fact that Wichita Falls did not pay a million bucks for this lakeside work of art, which sits surrounded by scenic scenery and completed landscaping.

Unlike Fort Worth, which did spend a million bucks on a roundabout work of art, which does not sit surrounded by scenic scenery, but instead sits surrounded by weeds, litter and a couple simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction over day land for years.

In the above photo you can see Mount Wichita piercing the blue skyline at the upper left. On the right you can see that Lake Wichita was in low tide mode when I rolled by. I saw no clam diggers.

But, seeing the low tide expose the mud flats of Lake Wichita it reminded me that I must remember to mention to David, Theo and Ruby's parental units that it might behoove us to check the tide schedule for Birch Bay and possibly schedule next summer stay there during a period of low tides.

One can not rely on the weather being predictable in Western Washington in July and August, though the chances are better that it will by sunny than rainy, but one can rely on the tidal charts.

An extremely low tide at Birch Bay would be extremely fun with David, Theo and Ruby. They did not get to experience what that is like when we were there in August of 2017.

Maybe David, Theo and Ruby's uncle Jake can figure out the tide schedule for us. He is expected to be there and thus possibly able to be motivated to research this serious tide schedule issue.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Unidentified Rusted Objects Draw Crowds To Wichita Bluff Nature Area

This next to last Sunday of the 2019 version of October is about as perfect as it ever gets, weather-wise, in my North Texas location.

And so I decided it was a good day to so some high speed bluff hiking on the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area zone.

That section of the Circle Trail came to mind yesterday with reports on Facebook of mysterious unidentified rusted objects.

When I saw photo documentation of those mysterious unidentified rusted  objects I recollected having seen them previously and wondering what they were. Space debris from a failed satellite? Antique cement mixers?

I was not the only person checking out unidentified rusted objects today on the Circle Trail.


I saw more people today on the Wichita Bluff section of the Circle Trail than any previous visit. It was not the type throng one would see on the trail circling Seattle's Green Lake, but this seemed like a throng of people today, by Wichita Falls standards. In the above photo you can clearly see three unidentified rusted object seekers, but there were actually five more unidentified rusted object seekers that my non-camera eye saw when I took this photo.


Before arriving at the unidentified rusted objects, one passes by the jungle of tall foliage you see above. Those sticks of green are about twice as tall as me.

And then we come to the URO's, sitting at the edges of a dried up pond.


As you can see, I was not the only URO seeker taking photos today of these mysterious rusty remains.

I think the next time I go to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area I will bring my bike. Several bikers whizzed by today. It looked fun whizzing down a hill. One does not find a lot of downhill whizzing action at my current basically flat location on the planet...

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Mom's Final Newspaper Notification Visiting Texas Along With Hank Frank

A week or so ago an incoming phone call indicated to me that there had been no notice published in the Skagit Valley newspaper regarding mom's departure.

I soon learned there was some confusion as to who was taking care of this. Soon Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason, and Jason's Favorite Aunt Michele were solving the problem.

And then yesterday Jason called asking me if I had any good photos of grandma to be used in the publication of this long delayed notice. I was not at my photo storage device when Jason called, but a couple hours later I was able to see if I could find a suitable photo. That search soon seemed sort of futile.

During that search I did find the photo you see above, of mom and dad and their first born. And then I found some photos I took the last time mom and dad visited me in Texas, back in January of 2009. At the start of that visit I gave mom and dad cowboy hats, and insisted they put them on for any outdoor photos.

You will see some of those photos further down in this blog post.

Oh, I forgot to mention, last night Jason texted me saying he was hoping to meet today with our one and only remaining Whatcom County aunt, who he hoped would have some good photos of mom. Photos of that meeting arrived Saturday afternoon, and are also further down in this blog post.

But, before you get to that, you will get to the final version of what should show up next week in the Skagit Valley Herald, and later in the Whatcom County newspapers. For this blog post version I used the photo of mom which I sent to Jason last night as being the best I could come up with...

Shirley Louise (Wilder) Slotemaker

January 30, 1933 - September 20, 2019

Shirley Slotemaker, 86, of Sun Lakes, Arizona, passed away peacefully September 20, 2019 surrounded by the love of her family.

Shirley was born January 30, 1933 in Bellingham, Washington to LaVerne & Vera (Sundean) Wilder and attended school in Whatcom County, graduating from Lynden High in 1950.

On August 6, 1951, she married John “Jack” Slotemaker at her parents' home in Lynden and remained by his side until his passing in 2017.

Jack and Shirley lived in Eugene, Oregon and Mount Vernon, WA before settling in Burlington to raise their five children.  Shirley was primarily a housewife and mother, but she also operated a daycare out of her home and later worked at her favorite restaurant for her favorite son-in-law.  Jack and Shirley retired in 1995, living in Hoodsport, WA; Yuma, AZ, and finally Sun Lakes, AZ.

Shirley ran a tight ship, raising five kids in a three-bedroom, one-bath house. She took her role as homemaker seriously, and served home-cooked meals every night, always had homemade cookies in the cookie jar and usually a pie or cake on the counter. She hosted large family gatherings for many holidays and often joined in the big softball game across the street after the meal.  She will be missed.

Shirley was preceded in death by her beloved husband; both of her parents; her stepfather Dr. James Porter; and her three siblings. Shirley is survived by her children Dean, Jake, Nancy (Loretta Spencer), Jackie (Jack) Weston, and Michele (Kristin); grandchildren, Jason, Joseph (Monique), Christopher and Jeremy Weston, David, Theo and Ruby; and great-grandsons, Spencer and Henry.

There will be no services.

Shirley will be laid to rest at Monumenta Cemetery, in Lynden WA.
____________________

And now the aforementioned photos.

The first photo is the one I cropped to make the photo you see above. We were at Rockledge Park on Lake Grapevine.


Mom and dad's 2009 visit to Texas seems so recent in my memory. Hard to believe it was a decade ago.


It being January there was nothing much going on at the State Fair of Texas Fairgrounds, so I was able to drive mom and dad right up to the Cotton Bowl.


Above we are still at the State Fair of Texas Fairgrounds, with the Midway behind mom and dad. And dad texting a message to, I think it was, sister Jackie in Arizona. Dad was an early adopter of the text messaging thing. Years before I finally got around to doing so. And dad did his texting on a pre-smart phone.


The above used to be known as one of the most unique McDonald's in the world. I have been told it no longer exists. I do not know what replaced it. I long ago webpaged it and that page used to generate a lot of AdSense action. I remember mom and dad had hot fudge sundaes at this McDonald's, not wanting to over eat because we were heading to Babe's Chicken House in Roanoke for our evening feeding.


The above is not Babe's. It is Riscky's BBQ in the Fort Worth Stockyards. We did the All You Can Eat Ribs option. I was embarrassed by the big pile of bones which eventually piled up on the table. I had no idea mom and dad liked BBQed ribs so much.

And now on to today's photos from Jason.

Last night Jason told me he was hoping to meet up with Aunt Judy in LaConner.

For the enlightenment of Fort Worth ignorami, LaConner is a Skagit Valley tourist town. LaConner is a small town, a small town which somehow managed to built an actual iconic, signature type bridge, over actual water, taking about a year to build the actual feat of bridge building engineering.

I digressed. Back to the photos.

Jason's email with the photos contained no descriptive text. I am guessing the photos were not taken in LaConner, but were taken in Jason's Fidalgo Drive-In in Anacortes.


Above that is Aunt Judy standing in front of Joey, who is next to Jason, who is holding Hank Frank, with Hank Frank's mama, Monique, on the right.


And above Aunt Judy is now holding Hank Frank.


I have no idea what Hank Frank is doing above. It appears he is walking at a location he probably should not be walking on. Hank Frank is mom and dad's second great-grandson, with the first being Hank Frank's cousin, Spencer Jack. Mom and dad never got to meet their second great-grandson.

However, a few months ago, whilst I was in Arizona, Joey sent his grandma and me a video in which Joey claimed Hank Frank was saying hi to grandma. I think I YouTubed that video, but this blog post is already way too long and it takes way too long to find a video and copy the embed code.

Thanks to Aunt Judy for helping with the find a photo of mom project. If mom had not been so camera shy this would not be so difficult....

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Atop Wichita Bluffs Pondering Big Blue While Shrinking

Likely the iconic view you see here needs no description, what with it being obvious we are atop a bluff on the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, looking east over the Wichita River at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Wichita Falls.

That skyscraper at the center of the skyline is known a Big Blue. I have yet been able to understand why the locals do not seem to realize Big Blue is a bit of an eyesore, sticking out like an out of place mistake surrounded by buildings which do not look out of place.

Since first seeing Big Blue I have learned in its former glory years it was a classic old style building with a beautiful high ceiling lobby. And then it fell on hard times, which somehow resulted in the building being clad with a blue metal covering to facilitate the easy covering up plumbing and electrical upgrades running up the outer walls of the building, turning it into what looks to be a poorly designed, sorely in need of some sprucing up, eyesore, with a frequently malfunctioning time and temperature sign at its top.

Turning the subject from what looks to me to be the worst Wichita Falls eyesore, well, in the downtown zone, to today's hike on the Circle Trail.

The past couple years I have found myself in Arizona on seven separate occasions, for two to three week visits. Upon each return I have been double non-plussed to find I gained some poundage. Usually in the 10 pound range.

I have found as one gets older it is increasingly more difficult to melt off excess poundage. In years past simply amping up the miles of biking, roller blading and hiking would accomplish the pound shedding. With no dieting of the food intake monitoring needed.

But now, I find the biking and hiking does not seem to reverse the slow creep to 300 pounds. So, I have opted to amp up the calorie burning hiking, and cut back on some of the calorie adding eating.

Hence the hiking the Wichita Bluffs today.

I hope to be able to fit back into my blue jeans before cold weather renders doing so a dire necessity...

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Chilly Wichita Falls Saturday Before Sunday DFW With No Texas State Fair Galaxy Of Girls

A couple decades ago, when my living space was on the west coast, a 60 degree day was considered warm, borderline balmy.

Today I was in sweatpants and a couple layers on top, including a stocking cap at the ultimate top, because the outer world was chilled to 61 when my bike talked me into going on a ride.

The location you see here, where the bike opted to take a break, is a side spur off the Circle Trail, with a rocking bench, in Hamilton Park.

I have never been able to ascertain if Hamilton Park is named after Alexander, or some local Hamilton. I suspect it is the latter option.

Tomorrow I am heading southeast, a rare Sunday drive to the DFW zone. I do not believe I will be going to the east side of the DFW zone, to Dallas, and the State Fair of Texas. Though I would enjoy doing so. I have not been to the Texas State Fair since 2007.

I have only been to two state's state fair. That being the Texas one and the Washington one, formerly known as The Puyallup. The Texas State Fair version is larger than the Washington State Fair version. Both have sky rides, with the Washington version being transplanted from its original use in 1962's Seattle World's Fair.

The Washington State Fair has way more farm animals than the Texas version. And way more agricultural exhibits. And way fewer exhibits of motor vehicles. I recollect the Washington State Fair as having way more exhibits of the various vendor sorts. And more arts, crafts and flowers. While the Texas State Fair has way more permanent buildings of the architecturally cool sort, as in classic Art Deco. Both State Fairs have a lot of fun free entertainment.

Every year at The Puyallup my usual favorite was the show put on by a group called The Shoppe.

From Dallas!

 I dunno if The Shoppe has ever played the Texas State Fair.

I recollect watching an entertaining rodeo at The Puyallup. I do not recollect a rodeo at the Texas State Fair. I suspect there is one, but I missed it.

One thing about the Texas State Fair which is way bigger than the Washington State Fair is the Midway. The Texas State Fair Midway version is the biggest, funnest, wildest of that sort thing I have ever seen.

Maybe the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) in Vancouver comes close, what with having a big old-fashioned wooden roller coaster. But, I have not been to the PNE in decades, so my memory of it has faded.

The PNE's Midway has the first strip show I ever eye witnessed. Can't imagine such a thing at the Texas State Fair. Or Washington's.

Canadians are such free-spirited, permissive, progressive liberated, liberal sorts.

Just remembered, regarding it being unlikely the Washington State Fair would have a strip show. I had forgotten that Washington has long been a free-spirited, permissive, progressive, liberated, liberal sort of state, more like Canada than Texas.

That aforementioned Seattle World's Fair came back to mind when I remember the PNE's strip show.

The Seattle World's Fair had an adult section called "Show Street".  I remember mom and dad going to the World's Fair and seeing Show Street's Girls of the Galaxy show til prudish sorts of that era caused the show to be shut down due to the show featuring naked Milky Way girls.

Such shows were a staple of past world's fair. Sally Rand's fan dance comes to mind.

I wonder if The Puyallup now has weird distasteful fried food such as one finds at the Texas State Fair? I suspect not.

Just a couple weeks ago, after I Linda Lou shipped me some of her Jam Factory's raspberry jam, I asked if scones with raspberry jam were still a big deal at The Puyallup. The person I asked, who had just been to the fair, answered by saying they bought a bag of scones to take home with them.

I wonder if I will ever again go to The Puyallup or the Texas State Fair?

Ironically I was in Arizona last year during the Arizona State Fair, which takes place in Phoenix. During that visit, in answer to one of Miss Daisy's daily queries asking if there was anything I can think of to do that I have not seen or done before, I answered that we could go to the Arizona State Fair.

Miss Daisy thought that sounded fun, but I didn't think it was a good idea to drive Miss Daisy to the Arizona State Fair. I probably was right...