Sunday, June 30, 2019

Is Downtown Fort Worth Having An Imaginary Construction Boom?

 A couple days ago I hit the publish button on a blog comment thinking I would later figure out what caused Anonymous to make this particular comment, as the instigation was not instantly apparent to me, since the blog post to which Anonymous made the comment made no reference to that which Anonymous was talking about, as far as my memory recollected.

And then today I saw that comment pop up again, as a published comment. And then I realized what instigated the Anonymous comment.

First the comment which perplexed me...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Trinity River Boat Tours Latest Idiocy From Fort Worth's Embarrassing Boondoggle":

The cities 5th tallest building was built last year.... There's several buildings of note going up now.

And it was the following comment from another Anonymous which brought the second Anonymous comment...

Anonymous said...Isn't a forum dedicated to Fort Worth Architecture a bit of an oxymoron? When was the last skyscraper added to that town's skyline? Or other building of note? Those bridges that have been being built for years?

So, this second Anonymous is claiming Fort Worth's 5th tallest building was built last year, and that there are several notable buildings going up, right now?

Okay. uh, well, I always try to be totally tactful, but wouldn't the 5th tallest building in downtown Fort Worth be, well, sort of short? Are any of those downtown buildings technically what is known as a skyscraper?

So, I am thinking the 5th tallest could be added and not much be noticed.

During my time of seeing the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth I recollect only one addition that added to that skyline. That being the new Convention Center Hotel, with that addition not being even remotely an aesthetically pleasing edifice.

I recollect back when that building was first foisted on the skyline someone commented it should be nicknamed the "Nit Comb Tower".  Apparently this person thought all those balconies sticking out from the tower looked like the teeth on a flea comb.

Does anyone know what this new 5th tallest building is in downtown Fort Worth? Or what these other notable buildings under construction are?

These other buildings are going up now?

With what length of a construction timeline?

Completed some time in the following decade, like those hapless pitiful little bridges being built in slow motion slightly north of downtown Fort Worth?

Until evidence indicates otherwise I am going to assume this boom in downtown Fort Worth construction is of the imaginary sort, such as is much of what does not happen in that town...

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Brazos River Cruise To Waco's Signature V-Pier Bridge Built Over Actual Water

For illustrative purposes I searched for an image of one of the River Safari cruise ship river boats of the sort which the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision's Party Planner Division has contracted with to float river boat cruises on the super scenic Trinity River as it passes by the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth.

The River Safari cruise ship river boat operation is headquartered in Waco, Texas. I assume the above photo shows a River Safari river boat on the Brazos River at a location on the actually scenic Brazos River as it passes through Waco.

Among the actual scenic scenery one would see via a River Safari river boat cruise on the Brazos River is an actual real non-imaginary signature bridge, that being the iconic Waco Suspension Bridge. A short distance from that bridge one would float by the scenic cliffs of Cameron Park.

And imagine my surprise when I found the above photo and I saw the bridges. The first one looks like one of the pedestrian bridges which cross the Trinity River near the location of the Trinity River Vision's inner tube parties at the location of the Boondoggle's imaginary island.

And then there is the surprise of the second bridge.

Let's take a closer look at that surprising second bridge...

Are those V-piers holding up that bridge?


You know, those supposedly unique, one-of-a-kind piers which America's Biggest Boondoggle's propagandaists tout as making America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges "signature" bridges, destined to become iconic symbols of, well, currently, iconic symbols of America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Those Fort Worth V-piers being built over dry land are now well into their 5th year of construction, with no end in sight until, maybe, some point in the next decade.

Did J.D. Granger and his Confederacy of Dunces copy a Waco bridge design before copying Waco's river boat cruises?

Is the Brazos River a polluted e.coli infested murky mess like the Trinity River? My times seeing the Brazos it looked like a normal river, not anything close to being a glorified ditch with heavily littered banks.

And another thing we have been wondering about regarding the Fort Worth version of Waco's Brazos River river boat cruises.

What with the Fort Worth version being a Trinity River Vision Party Planner Division operation, of course, booze consumption is a component, with the BYOB concept being pushed by the TRVPPD chief planner, Shanna Cate (Granger*).

Are there restroom facilities of the modern sort on board the Trinity River cruise ships? Or will the restroom facilities be the Fort Worth norm of an outhouse, or two, somewhere on one of the cruise ship's decks?

*We still have not received confirmation that the nuptials between Shanna Cate and her formerly married boyfriend, J.D. Granger, actually took place, as planned, on an isolated Caribbean island last February.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Fort Worth Botanic Garden Mindless Myopic Mistake

Now, what we have right here is yet one more reason why I have come to hold in such low regard the Texas town of Fort Worth.I continue to be baffled by the shenanigans that take place in this town.

For a town with a population rapidly approaching a million, Fort Worth has relatively few city parks for a town its size.

And many of those few city parks have few modern amenities, such as restrooms, and running water. But, plenty of outhouses.

And only a couple public swimming pools. And those with a $6 adult admission fee.

Years ago I was appalled when Fort Worth began charging an entry fee to its largest city park, that being the Fort Worth Nature Center & Preserve. $5 for adults, $2 for kids 3-12.

If I remember right I previously mentioned a scene I witnessed at that Fort Worth park soon before the entry fee came to be. I was at that park's Prairie Dog Town. An old station wagon pulled into the parking lot. A mom and dad and six kids got out of the car. The kids were so excited to see the Prairie Dogs. I could tell this was not a family which made a yearly trek to Disneyland or some similar destination. After that entry fee was added it would have cost this family $22 to see those Prairie Dogs.

No big deal, you say.

City parks are supposed to be amenities a town's people collectively pay for, so everyone can enjoy the experience of a park, Mother Nature and all the good stuff like that.

Modern cities pay for their city parks with taxes, or bond issues, or other funding mechanisms than a fee to enter the park.

It would be one thing if Fort Worth had a plethora of pleasing parks. But it does not.

What about other town's parks with which I am familiar?

Well, the town I lived in before moving to Texas, Mount Vernon, in Washington, has several city parks, all modern with modern facilities. Including one park called Little Mountain Park. Relative to actual mountains this should probably be called Big Hill Park, but Mount Vernon's Little Mountain would definitely be the biggest mountain for hundreds of miles at my current Texas location. Or Fort Worth. Little Mountain Park has a twisty road which takes you to the summit. A hang glider launch pad. A lookout tower. Miles of trails. It is a big park. And it charges no entry fee.

Tacoma has multiple parks, all with modern facilities. One is Point Defiance Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in America. No entry fee charged, despite being BIG, having miles of paved roads, trails, beaches, various venues, even a fort. Something Fort Worth does not have That being. Fort Nisqually in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park.

Or how about South Mountain Park & Preserve in Phoenix. One of the largest urban parks in the world. Miles of hiking and biking trails. Miles of paved roads. Multiple picnic venues. Multiple structures. Multiple rangers. And no entry fee. Or Papago Park, shared by Phoenix and Tempe. Another big park with multiple attractions and no entry fee. Or also in the Phoenix zone, the town of Chandler, where I am heading in a couple weeks, with multiple parks, none of which charge an entry fee.

And in Chandler there is this park, Veteran's Oasis Park, which sort of ties into what prompted this blog post, that being appalled that Fort Worth is going to start charging an entry fee to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Chandler's Veteran's Oasis Park is sort of a small version of Fort Worth's Botanic Garden, only with a lake filled with crystal clear water, and fish. With multiple modern restrooms, including one in an interpretive center with live critters, like snakes.

And no entry fee.

To enter the Botanic Garden Fort Worth is going to charge $12 for adults, $6 for children 6-15, $10 if you're over 65. And various limited schemes with entry fee discounts. Or free times, like for an hour in the morning, or an hour late in the day.

This entry fee has come about after much lamenting about millions of bucks needed for improvements, and to fill a budget hole of over a $1 million.

Read The Fort Worth Botanic Garden will cost you in July. Here’s how to go for free article for all the disturbing details.

Among the many reasons this seems so odd to me, besides the fact that funding for something like a Botanic Garden should just be part of a city's budget, which is the way it works in towns in modern America, there are other elements which are disturbing.

For instance. Fort Worth's Botanic Gardens has had revenue generators as long as I have known of this location. A fee to enter the Japanese Gardens. A fee to enter the big glassed greenhouse, which apparently has been long closed due to needing repairs. I do not know if it is still there, but when I last visited there was a restaurant by the Japanese Gardens.

There is a big building at the entry, with multiple meeting rooms of various sizes. And a large theater. I have attended events at this location. A revenue generating fee is charged to book one of these rooms. Weddings take place here, receptions take place here. All sort of events take place in these venues. All of which generate funds, unlike what takes place in other town's park, which charge no entry fee.

And then there are events in the Botanic Gardens such as Concerts in the Gardens. Do those events not make money? I remember years ago paying $15 to attend Star Wars Night.

So, something is way off here. Why is this park suffering such a funding shortfall? How was that well done Botanic Garden boardwalk through the trees paid for in this cash strapped park?

As is the norm, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram The Fort Worth Botanic Garden will cost you in July. Here’s how to go for free article generated zero comments, at least when last I looked.

However, on Facebook, via the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy, and another posting about this latest Fort Worth numbskullery there were dozens of comments which caused me to realize I was not alone in how I have reacted to this latest instance of the town of Fort Worth shooting itself in the foot. More on that foot shooting problem in a followup posting, but let's end this with a selection of comments from those aforementioned Facebook posts...

Kelly Cash: It makes me sad. It's not that much $ for one if not the wealthiest cities in the world, and the value of nature to mental health and well-being is just now being discovered. Botanical Gardens are different from plain parks. They ARE like libraries. They should be free. Especially in Fort Worth, a place that values art, nature and culture.

Ike Renfield: These exceptions are terribly limiting. All those little chopped up bits of time. A full three-day weekend just once a month (with rain dates) would be preferable to a few hours here, an hour there, albeit more frequently.

Wilson Armstrong: How much are we spending on the still-dry downtown pond front real estate development project? 17 million isn't that much for the city to cough up or put in a bond package.

Mariann Mitchell Taccia: We would not have to be returning "it to its former glory" and charging fees if it the Botanic Garden had not be miss managed in the first place and that fault falls on the city council.

Holly Behl: That’s a shame. Thinking back on all the visits I’ve made, I wouldn’t have made any of them if I had to shell out $30 to bring a friend in.

Michael Dallas: My family spent a lot of time in the parks and gardens of Fort Worth when we didn't have money to do anything else. Makes me sad that others won't get to enjoy the same.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Trinity River Boat Tours Latest Idiocy From Fort Worth's Embarrassing Boondoggle

If I remember right, and sometimes I do, it was via Elsie Hotpepper, last week, that I first learned of the latest embarrassingly bizarre nonsense from the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

More commonly known as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Or history's slowest un-needed public works project since the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Nothing with the Boondoggle ever seems to be completed, but new imaginary elements are added, as earlier elements fail.

Such as the obviously doomed to die Cowtown Wakepark, which TRVA Executive Director, J.D. Granger, touted as bringing the coveted sport of wakeboarding to an urban setting. This turned out to be an eyesore of a polluted pond which could only accommodate four wakeboarders at a time. Yet no one apparently intuited the obvious soon to happen fiscal failure.

And now America's Biggest Boondoggle is adding River Boat Tours on the Trinity River.

Someone with the name Anonymous made a comment on last week's blog post about Fort Worth's Panther Island Toxicity, with the comment containing links to two sources of info about this latest aspect of America's Biggest Boondoggle...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Fort Worth's Panther Island Remains Toxic While Tacoma Exemplifies Civic Reinvention": 

Formidable Fort Worth will soon offer river boat tours on the Trinity River.

River boat tours coming to Trinity River

Trinity River Cruises

The first link goes to an informative article about Fort Worth's River Boat tours, whilst the second link goes to an online forum all about Fort Worth architecture (and related subjects, such as River Boat tours).

I have experienced the "insights" of those participating in the Fort Worth Architecture Forum in past years. Seems like at least a decade ago I saw some in that forum participating in sort of complaining about me characterizing the Trinity River Vision as being a Boondoggle. This was even before the slow motion building of three simple little bridges over dry land added one more bizarre element to the ongoing growing Boondoggle.

The informative article about Fort Worth's River Boat tours is in the Fort Worth Business Press. I don't quite know what to make of the FWBP's slant in this article. Did they decide to just leave it to the readers to see the absurdity without pointedly pointing it out?

Who knows?

But, let's go through this article about River boat tours coming to Trinity River and see what we think about what we are reading.

Okay, the first paragraph...

Landlocked Fort Worth may seem an unlikely place for scenic boat tours but that’s about to happen as soon as next month.

Scenic boat tours? Scenic? The Trinity River in Fort Worth only becomes remotely scenic when it leaves the downtown zone and gets to Gateway Park, leaving the levees and dams behind. But that is not where these scenic boat tours are gonna float.

And then this...

Beginning in mid-July, Waco River Safari boat tours will launch Panther Island Boat Tours with several types of river cruises from Panther Island Pavilion north of downtown Fort Worth.

Boat tours? Of what? The imaginary island? Launching from the imaginary pavilion on the imaginary island?  Several types of cruises? Cruises? Seems like only yesterday I joked about wondering how long it was gonna be before J.D. Granger and his Confederacy of Dunces added Cruise Ships to their imaginary lake and canals.

And then this...

Shanna Cate, director of the programming and development for the TRWD, said boat tours offer another opportunity for residents and visitors to interact with the Trinity.

Okay, Shanna Cate is the TRVA employee with whom J.D. Granger conducted an extra marital affair, for years, to the chagrin and disgust of multiple TRVA employees, which is how I came to know of J.D.'s Shanna shenanigans.

In the past year, the TRWD general manager, Jim Oliver, acting like that guy in Casablanca shocked about gambling at Rick's, claimed not to have known of this particular instance of workplace inappropriateness, but that once it was known, Shanna Cate was moved out from under J.D. Granger, well, removed from working directly in the TRVA, with another position created for her as the director of programming and development. Also known as party planner.

And now we see a result of Shanna Cate's new position, programming the development of River Tours cruising on the scenic Trinity River.

On a related Shanna Cate note, I thought she was now Shanna Granger. Or did the nuptials between Cate and Granger not take place on that island in the Caribbean last winter as planned? I have heard no details of that event from my on site source known as Deep Moat, who was planning on attending the nuptials. Or is the newest Mrs. Granger going by her maiden name so as to not make so obvious this latest instance of TRWD nepotism?

And then this gem directly from Shanna Cate, with a level of unbelievable numbskullery similar to her former boss, and possible new husband...

“We’re heard so many requests from people who want to be on the water for a leisurely activity with no swimsuit or paddle required,” Cate said. “This will be a perfect complement to our other river activities.”

Oh yes, that is so totally believable. Many requests from people who want to be on the Trinity River without having to touch that nasty polluted water. Is there a record of these requests? Were they made by phone, email, or direct contact? Oh yes, River Boat tours are an obvious complement to their other river activities.

And what would those be? Other than rockin' the muddy river on inner tubes?

We will combine several paragraphs which detail the nature of these imaginary river cruises, including the River Boat tour cruise fares...

The tours will offer some informational and historic perspective about Fort Worth as well as the opportunity to see downtown and other parts of the city from a different perspective, Helm said. The night tour will focus on city lights, he said. The tours will take passengers along parts of the Clear and West forks of the Trinity. “Experiences are vital for residents to offer their out-of-town guests,” Mitch Whitten, executive vice president of Visit Fort Worth. “We encourage all visitors to stay longer and experience more of Fort Worth. “

“This will offer our residents a whole new way to connect with our waterway and learn more about Fort Worth’s natural surroundings,” Rebecca Montgomery, senior vice president of advocacy for the chamber, said in a statement. “The new cruises will be an unique attraction unlike anything else in the region.”

Helm said the goal is to run as many as 10 tours per day on weekends, provided the river is not at flood level. Hour-long tours will cost $15 for adults, $9 for children and $3 for toddlers. Relaxing, two-hour sunset cruises will cost $39 per person and include the option of a meal for additional cost. BYOB will be available on these cruises.

Oh my, these river boat tours will be offering information and historic perspective about Fort Worth. Will they float by the ruins of America's Biggest Boondoggle? Giving the floaters a look at those unfinished bridges? Oh yes, one can easily see how floating on the Trinity River will be giving people an opportunity for a different perspective on Fort Worth. You know, seeing how tacky the town is from a new angle. When they cruise under the Main Street Paddock Bridge will river boaters be able to see the boarded up Heritage Park eyesore as part of their historic perspective on the Fort Worth reality?

So, floating on the river will connect people with Fort Worth's waterway, which as it slow flows through downtown Fort Worth is pretty much a glorified ditch, with multiple dams slowing the natural flow.

These cruises will be a unique attraction unlike anything else in the region? Well, that is probably true. Is there any other town in the region which would instigate something so stupid? Just like no other town in the region was so stupid as to instigate a wakeboard park, which at the time it was foisted on Fort Worth it was also touted with ridiculous hyperbole, much of it from Shanna Cate's husband, or boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. We just do not know the status of that relationship.

Well, those sure seem like reasonable prices to charge people for the privilege of a river cruise in a scenic wonderland. That night cruise where one gets to see the lights of the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, that will likely be a real people pleaser for the town's few tourists.

And let's end with one final gem from Shanna Cates...

Cate said the river cruises are already popular entertainment options in Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

What do popular river cruises in Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City have to do with Fort Worth having River Boat tours on a waterway like the Trinity River? I have seen those three other town's water features. Austin has several. San Antonio's is world famous. And Oklahoma City's Bricktown is of a sort Fort Worth aspires to, but is too inept to actualize.

I recollect when I first saw OKC's Bricktown it was still being developed. A HUGE sign touted the bond measure which financed the project. I believe the dollar figure was well over a billion bucks. Imagine that, local voters voting to raise funds to build something the entire community benefits from, and not relying on federal welfare to do so. Or the hiring of an ineptly unqualified local congresswoman's son to run the project, to motivate mom to try and secure federal funds.

Pathetic, pitiful, and sad.

When will this Trinity River Vision madness end? 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Where In The PNW Are David, Theo & Ruby?

PNW is a short way to say Pacific Northwest, for those who for some reason do not know this. When I saw the photo above which came with that PNW question my first thought was that David, Theo & Ruby must have taken their parental units to the other side of the mountains, also known as Eastern Washington, to some location on the Columbia River. But the beach and the driftwood did not look quite right to be the Columbia River.

And then a second photo arrived with text suggesting that "maybe this view would help".

And with this help I did manage to accurately guess that David, Ruby & Theo were somewhere on the Puget Sound, most likely, maybe, Point Defiance.

And then three more photos arrived, with explanatory text which solved the location mystery...

So I’ll tell you cuz I don’t think you’ll figure it out. We walked from Owen beach at Point Defiance all the way around the tip until we could see the Narrows bridge. It was amazing. We heard that there’s a big drop off where seals hang out and people had recently seen Orcas like ten feet off the beach feeding on the seals. We didn’t see whales but those are seals behind David. I counted 31. You have to do this at low tide and we checked the tide table today and it was a minus tide this afternoon so we hustled over there. So awesome, even with no whales. In the family selfie, you can see the bridge to the right of Kristin’s head. In the pic of me and the kids up high, that’s Vashon sticking out behind us.

That's David with the flock of seals in the water behind him.

I think I can sort of see one of the towers of the twin Tacoma Narrows Suspension bridges to the right of Kristin's curls.

According to the information provided, that is Vashon sticking out into the Sound from the middle of the big rock on which David, Theo, Ruby & Michele are posing.

To those unfamiliar with such things, such as denizens of Fort Worth, Texas, Vashon is what is known as an island, as in its full name is Vashon Island. This is a real island, surrounded by real water of the crystal clear saltwater variety, not an imaginary island which may be one day surrounded by a cement lined ditch.

One can take a ferry boat from Point Defiance to Vashon Island.

So far the ridiculous Fort Worth absurdity which has become America's Biggest Boondoggle has not added ferry boat service to the imaginary wonders of the imaginary project. Though there is a Houseboat District in the Panther Island District of the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

And just this week touring tiny cruise ships have been added as a possibility for floating on the Trinity River, in addition to inner tubing whilst Rockin' the River in polluted brown soup. I've had multiple people point me to the info about those Trinity River touring tiny cruise ships. Maybe I'll get around to looking closer at that new ridiculousness.

And then one final photo arrived...

With the text telling us "Wore this one out! We stopped to get some fresh local strawberries on our way home but Theo had fallen asleep!"

I focused on the fresh local strawberries element of the above. I can not remember when last I had a strawberry which actually tasted like a strawberry. There is a farm near Wichita Falls, I think the name is Young's Farm, but I am not sure. Just a sec, I shall consult Google.

Well, I was close. It is Young's Orchard & Berry Farm.

I have had their blackberries, in cobbler form, at the Wichita Falls Farmers Market. And those blackberries were good. So, I suspect the Young's Orchard & Berry Farm strawberries are likely mighty fine too.

I wonder if the season for picking them is over?

And I also wonder where in the PNW David, Theo & Ruby will be taking us to next?

There has been some mention made of checking out Tacoma's new Dune Peninsula development after its grand opening on July 6,  before David, Theo & Ruby fly their parental units to San Diego for some fun in the sun dodging Pacific Ocean stingrays with Aunt Jackie and Uncle Jack, while their favorite uncle is in Arizona having fun with Grandma...

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fort Worth's Panther Island Remains Toxic While Tacoma Exemplifies Civic Reinvention

On first glance my one long time reader may see the image you see here and wonder if this is the latest version of America's Biggest Boondoggle's imaginary island.

No, what you see here is real, not an embarrassingly phantom of the sort you can not see in that American backwater of Fort Worth, Texas.

I think that new medication that causes me to say what I really think must be kicking in.

During the same time frame Fort Worth has been boondoggling along, ineptly, with an ill-conceived, incompetently implemented, un-funded economic development scheme disguised as imaginary flood control, the relatively little (population-wise, compared to Fort Worth) Washington town of Tacoma has managed to produce two large developments along that town's actual real waterway of Commencement Bay.

There is the Thea Foss Waterway development at the south end of Commencement Bay, and the Point Ruston development at the north end of Commencement Bay.

Both projects dwarf Fort Worth's pitiful attempt to create a "water feature" for that town. I do not know all the funding details, but both projects did not lack funding in Tacoma. The Point Ruston project is mostly a private development, with some, I assume, public funding.

Both Tacoma projects have elements of the EPA superfund being involved.

Fort Worth's Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District has never been voted on by the public, in an honest, legit way. The project relied on hiring the unqualified son of a Fort Worth politician as the project's executive director, in the hope mom would secure federal funding.

That has not worked out.

Hence Fort Worth's pitiful project, propagandized as a vitally needed flood control project, has been limping along for most of this century, with no end in sight. And with it highly unlikely that more prosperous parts of America will be sending money to Fort Worth to help pay for the town's ridiculous economic development scheme.

Meanwhile in Tacoma.

I saw that which you see above this morning in the Seattle Times, with the article headline From toxic site to green space: New Tacoma park exemplifies civic reinvention.

You can read the entire article to get the entire gist. You who are reading this in Fort Worth and are victims of America's Biggest Boondoggle, read the article and see how many bits of info are not of the sort one would read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the Trinity River Vision.

I will just use the last paragraph of the article as an example...

Dune Peninsula park is every bit the vision presented to Tacoma voters before the 2014 bond election that promised a fresh destination-quality landmark. It is an example for communities throughout Washington of how the legacy of one era can be reinvented as a resource for future ones.

Wow! Imagine that? A real vision presented to a town's voters, in an actual bond election of the sort which happens in modern America, passed in 2014, the year Fort Worth had an idiotic TNT exploding celebration to celebrate the start of construction of three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

And now, five years later, those Fort Worth bridges are nothing but eyesores, with no end in sight, while in an American town wearing its big city pants the people are enjoying the results of what they approved via the voting method.

What a revolutionary concept...

Touring With Spencer Jack & Grandpa Jake To Great Lake With Shrinking Viaduct

Spencer Jack and his grandpa have been taking me on some virtual tripping the past several days.

With Spencer Jack and his Jason dad in various locations in the Wisconsin part of America, while Spencer Jack's grandpa has been taking me to various locations in our old home state of Washington.

Earlier today I blogged about grandpa Jake in Seattle, after he asked me when I was last at that location, with the precise question not clear as to its precise meaning.

This afternoon fresh photo documentation arrived on my phone from both the Spencer Jack entourage and Grandpa Jake.

Both instances of photo documentation were sparse with the verbal details.

For instance that photo you see of Spencer Jack standing on a beach at the edge of what looks to be a lake simply said "Beautiful day at the lake."

This looks like a really great lake, likely one of the Great Lakes, most likely Lake Michigan, since I was previously informed that that particular Great Lake was going to be visited.

The next photo was a bit more informative, saying "Spencer and I at the Miller Brewery sampling product and finding a souvenir for Grandma Cindy."

And then the next photo, though free of any explanatory text seems to indicate Spencer Jack had found the appropriate Miller Brewery souvenir for Grandma Cindy.

Now, let's leave Wisconsin behind and head back west to Washington and Grandpa Jake.

The text with the above photo from Grandpa Jake simply said "And the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Which is coming down."

This is rather convincing evidence that Grandpa Jake does not read this blog, what with the number of times mention has been made of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and that other aspect of that project, that being the world's biggest boring machine's digging a tunnel under downtown Seattle.

Which is a public works project which began boring in 2014, the same year Fort Worth had a TNT exploding ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of three simple little bridges, built over dry land, with a then astonishing four year project timeline, now extended into the next decade.

While the new tunnel under Seattle has been completed and in use for months now, and with the Alaskan Way Viaduct almost all removed, followed by the rebuilding of the Seattle Waterfront.

In Grandpa Jake's above photo you can see remains of the Viaduct on the left, with the new open space on the right, where the Viaduct is now long gone.

I wonder if Grandpa Jake made his way up the Pike Street Hillclimb, and then ventured to see the Amazon Spheres. Ruby took me to see the Amazon Spheres the last time I was in Seattle. They were not yet open at that point in time. I believe they are now completed and open. But, I do not know if they are open to the public.

Well, I wonder where Spencer Jack and Grandpa Jake are gonna take me next?

Grandpa Jake In Seattle Remembering Kurt Cobain & Elvis

Incoming to my phone this morning from Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa, who is also my baby brother, Jake.

Jake is currently escaping the warmth of Arizona's Valley of the Sun by enjoying the record breaking heat of the Pacific Northwest.

The text that was attached to this photo asked...

"When were you last here?"


I am not sure what location, precisely, Jake is referring to with the word "here".

I can see Jake is on a ferry boat, in Elliott Bay. Which would make that the skyline of downtown Seattle behind him. The Space Needle on the far left is a major clue.

If by "here" Jake is asking when I've last been to Seattle, the answer to that would be a couple times during August of 2017.

If by "here" Jake is asking when I've last been on a ferry boat in Elliott Bay, I think I may also know the answer to that question, precisely, even though the date is way back in the previous century.

April 5, 1994, to be exact.

Why would I remember that date?


On that day Jake's two sons, my favorite nephews Jason and Joey, took me to Seattle where we rode the ferry to Bainbridge Island. While on that ferry Joey saw a big headline in the Seattle Times.


Joey read enough of the story to quickly deduce Kurt Cobain had killed himself. Joey was particularly upset at this news, asking his favorite uncle why Kurt Cobain would do such a thing. I had no answer.

And then Joey and Jason told me something I did not know previously, or had forgotten. That being whilst their cousin Alan was a teacher in, if I remember right, Montesano, he taught Kurt Cobain in 7th grade.

And so this is why I know the date I last rode a Washington ferry.

And on another death of an American music icon note, with the news learned on a Washington ferry.

On August 16, 1977, before Jason, Joey, Spencer Jack and Hank Frank joined the earth's population, I ferried with grandpa Jake from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, on a product delivery run.

We were not long out of the Anacortes port when we learned Elvis had died. I do not remember if this was learned via a newspaper headline, or an announcement over the public address system. I suspect the latter.

Anyway, I hope this answers Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa's "When were you last here?" question..

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Walk About Wichita Falls Takes Me Back To Fort Worth Numskullery

I opted to take a long walk today along the streets north of my abode.

I opted such due to the fact that big trees with a lot of leaves provide shade from the sun which was in blistering mode in the noon time frame.

When I walk in my neighborhood I almost can imagine I am back in modern America, what with sidewalks lining the streets, with grassy medians between the sidewalks and the streets.

What a concept.

I long lamented the fact that my previous Texas location, Fort Worth, somehow missed the memo that to be considered, well, a modern town, one needs to have sidewalks along most of your town's streets.

Along with Fort Worth also missing the memo which pointed out that outhouses are not a good idea in a city park in modern America, or anywhere in the world thinking it is part of the modern world.

I have not been to Fort Worth's Gateway Park in at least a year. That park has been sort of being upgraded by the ongoing embarrassment now known as America's Biggest Boondoggle, or the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

When I last visited Gateway Park I was impressed that the number of outhouses had increased. Stand alone outhouses, not more high end concrete enclosed outhouses such as what graces to soccer fields.

Why can the incompetents who run Fort Worth in what is known as the Fort Worth Way not get it through their thick noggins that when trying to attract a corporation or business to locate headquarters in your town it does not make a good impression when the inquiring visitor sees miles of streets with no sidewalks, parks with outhouses, freeway exits with zero landscaping, but plenty of weeds and litter and a park homage to the town's heritage a boarded up eyesore blighting the town's downtown for well over a decade.?

So perplexing...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Spencer Jack & Jason Train Wisconsin Dells In Trumped Disguise

Incoming email from Spencer Jack and Jason from Wisconsin.

The email included three photos, one of which is extremely disturbing.

We shall copy the text from the email, and put it in italics, so as to differentiate the Jason text from the non-italicized comments from Spencer Jack and Jason's Favorite Uncle D...

Spencer and I hopped aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder this morning in downtown St. Paul‘s Union Station for a 4 hour journey east to Wisconsin Dells.

(Ironically the Train we took left King Street Station two hours before we left Sea Tac on Sunday)

Okay, I must explain the irony to which Jason refers. King Street Station is the downtown Seattle Amtrak station, near the location of the now long gone Kingdome. Amtrak's Empire Builder left Seattle two hours before Spencer Jack and Jason flew out of Sea-Tac, and today, two days later, they are boarding the same train for a four hour ride to Wisconsin Dells. I hope I translated the irony accurately.

We were seated with an entire family of Northern Indiana Amish folk.  The Amish children were the most well behaved children I have ever met.

Those must have been some extremely well behaved children. I mean, Jason has met David, Theo and Ruby. Those are the most well behaved children I have ever met. Well, those three, and Spencer Jack.

Spencer spent the afternoon water sliding.

We will be residing here for two nights before driving ourselves to Lake Michigan on Thursday.

And now that aforementioned disturbing photo, and the text which explains it...

Upon arrival into the red state of Wisconsin, I made a quick wardrobe change to fit in with the locals.

This really is inexcusable. I mean really. If Spencer Jack and Jason were riding a train from Amsterdam to Berlin in 1936 would Jason buy himself a NAZI t-shirt to better fit in with the locals?

Well, I guess maybe he would.

Wisconsin is just barely red, isn't it? Probably blue by now. I would hope...

Grandpa Jake Fog Free Seeing Volcano Hank Frank & Ralph

Hank Frank's grandpa's fog has lifted, so he can see clearly now.

That basically was the text which accompanied the photo you see here, which arrived this morning on my phone.

Yesterday I talked to Hank Frank's great-grandma who told me she thought Hank Frank's grandpa, Jake, was currently at the Fancy/Clancy Compound on Hood Canal.

I told Hank Frank's great-grandma I had already had confirmation of Hank Frank's grandpa's location.

In today's fog free photo from grandpa Jake, in addition to the Hood Canal, we see another thing one can not see no matter which direction one looks.

A volcano.

This particular volcano, in the center of the photo, is the biggest one in Washington, Mount Rainier.

Tacoma, that being the location of my favorite nephews David and Theo, and my one and only favorite niece, Ruby, is between grandpa Jake's current location and Mount Rainier.

The mountain hovers much larger when it pops into view when one is driving around Tacoma.

After sending me the photo documentation of his current fog-free view grandpa Jake sent the photo you see below.

The text which accompanied this photo said "Hank Frank, with Ralph, and Hank Frank's dad."

Hank Frank's dad is my favorite nephew Joey, also known as FJ2.

FJ1 is Hank Frank's uncle Jason.

I have not heard from FJ1 and Spencer Jack today. I assume they are still having fun in the Mall of America, or have moved on to the Wisconsin Dells.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Relative Mystery With Spencer Jack Logging In Wisconsin With Wichita Falls Suspension

On Father's Day Spencer Jack's grandpa told me that Spencer Jack was taking his dad, later that day, to Bloomington, Minnesota, to go to the Mall of America, among other destinations, such as the Wisconsin Dells.

This morning, when I woke up my computer and checked email, the first I saw was from Spencer Jack's dad, telling me that when they checked in to the Embassy Suites in Bloomington the front desk operator, after Jason said his last name, asked if he was James or Jason.

What, said Jason, there is a relative staying here? The front desk person told Jason he could not divulge details. Jason deduced that this must be Uncle Mooch and Aunt Jane's eldest, James, also known as Neil. We last saw Uncle Mooch and Aunt Jane, along with Neil's sister, Amy, when we were in the Lynden zone, in Washington, August of 2017.

Jason asked me if I could see if I could get the phone number of James Neil from Uncle Mooch. So, I messaged Aunt Jane, knowing she monitors all of Uncle Mooch's social media activity, repeated what Jason had told me. And then Aunt Jane got right back to me with the shocking info that Neil was not in Wisconsin, that he and his wife had been dealing with stolen credit cards since Friday.


When I got that info from Aunt Jane I called Jason, who had just received the text message from me with the asked for phone number. Jason was just about to text his cousin to ask if he wanted to meet in the hotel breakfast bar, when I called.

I do not know if law enforcement is yet involved, arresting the perp using the stolen credit card.

A couple hours later Jason and Spencer Jack texted me a couple photos, including the one you see above, of Spencer Jack on a log ride, I assume in the amusement park part of the Mall of America.

Meanwhile, in Texas this morning there is no mall I could go to to ride a log in an amusement park.

So, I did the next best thing and drove to Lucy Park, which has drained, for the most part, from the recent flooding.

The Wichita River has dropped low enough to allow the re-opening of the Lucy Park Wichita River amusement park theme ride known as the Suspension Bridge.

The river was only about a foot under the bridge, and moving fast.

As you can see via the foliage in the photo, the Wichita Falls version of North Texas remains in lush green jungle mode.

Somehow, though, I think the Wisconsin Dells might be a bit more scenic...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day In A Fog

Around noon this Father's Day Sunday I sent out Happy Father's Day text messages to all the Father's in my phone.

Well, almost all of them.

One of the replies to those Happy Father's Day messages was from Hank Frank's Father, Joey, who sent me the pic you see here.

That is Hank Frank's grandpa, Jake, you see him reading to.

In the Happy Father's Day text message to Hank Frank's grandpa I asked if he would be seeing Hank Frank's dad, Joey, and Spencer Jack's dad, Jason, today.

The reply was in the negative, that grandpa Jake was spending Father's Day in a fog in Hoodsport, whilst Joey was at home in the Skagit Valley and Jason was at the Mall of America.

Soon thereafter Jason called and I learned he was not yet in Wisconsin, that he and Spencer Jack were flying out of Sea-Tac later today, heading to that aforementioned mall, and to the Wisconsin Dells, and Lake Michigan, in no particular order.

Meanwhile I have not received a single call, text message, email or card wishing me a Happy Father's Day today....

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Grandpa Jake's Clams Steam Us Back To Washington

Incoming from Washington this Saturday afternoon, sent by Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa Jake, who is also my baby brother.

What we are looking at here is a kettle full of clams getting steamed.

The text accompanying this photo...

"Do you eat many steamers in Texas?"

I replied "No. In Texas they think catfish and crawdads are seafood, but actual seafood does exist, even oysters. Raw oysters. I've never been able to work up the courage to swallow a raw Texas oyster."

Actually I do not remember ever eating steamers when I lived in Washington.

Mom and dad did not go digging for steamers. On a low enough tide we would join the throngs out on Samish Island to dig for horse clams, and an occasional geoduck. Along with wading out in the tide to hunt for dungeness crab.

Once or twice or thrice or more times a year we would go to the Ocean Shores zone on the Pacific to join the thousands digging for razor clams when the tide was low enough.

Razor clams were about the only type clam I ever had much success digging. Due to one did not have to use a shovel to free that particular type clam from the sand.

With razor clams you can use a tube type device to extract the clam. You see a dimple in the sand indicating a clam, you center the tube around the dimple, then push the tube as deep as you can manage, with air compressing and blowing out a hole in the top of the tube.

When you think you've gone deep enough you plug the hole with your thumb, then pull the tube out. Which is a feat which can be a bit of a struggle.

And then when you get the tube free you shake out the sand and if you are successful a razor clam also falls out.

Mom and dad were at Ocean Shores digging razor clams the morning Mount St. Helens erupted. That location was closer to the volcano than where I was when it blew up. I do not remember mom and dad saying they heard the explosion. The Pacific ocean can be a bit noisy, with crashing waves maybe cancelling out the boom of an exploding volcano.

But, I do remember mom and dad saying game wardens or other law enforcement used loudspeakers to tell people to get to higher ground off the beach, because the mountain had blown. I suppose the fear was that it might trigger a tsunami somehow. Ironically, back then the Washington Pacific coast did not have Tsunami Evacuation directional signs like now exist.

Nowadays Washington even has Volcano Eruption Evacuation directional signs. I've seen those in the Tacoma zone. Mount Rainier looms large by Tacoma. That and one of that volcano's glacier melt streams flows right into Tacoma's Commencement Bay.

Washington seems to be a much more dangerous state to live in than the one I am currently living in. What with the possibility of exploding mountains and tsunamis. There is not a mountain that could explode for many a mile from my current location. Let alone a tsunami.

However, tornadoes can be a bit troublesome. That and way too many right wing nut jobs...

Friday, June 14, 2019

Spencer Jack & Hank Frank's Grandpa Jake Hood Canal Cooling

This morning I texted Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's grandpa, Jake, to ask if he was still up in the Great Pacific Northwest enjoying the current record breaking heat wave.

A couple seconds later the phone made its incoming message noise indicating an incoming message, which is that which you see here, along with a few words saying "Cooled off today. I understand you're heading back to Hell...."

I replied that I had also heard that I was heading back to Hell rumor and confirmed it was true.

What Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's dad does not know, because he has never experienced it, is my current location is also Hell, as in HOT humid Hell. This location is even known as "Hotter 'n Hell' with a bike race celebrating that fact, which attract bikers from all over the world each August.

When I saw grandpa Jake's photo I was not sure what I was looking at, til I gave it some thought.

I think this is likely the Fancy/Clancy Compound overlooking Hood Canal. I know spending some incarceration time at this location is part of grandpa Jake's agenda. I have no idea why there are two pairs of chairs sitting on what looks like gravel, with a potted plant here and there.

When I realized that that was likely Hood Canal being the body of water in the distance that got me thinking that I had never thought to wonder why Hood Canal is so named.

Not the Hood part, but the Canal part of the name.

Hood Canal is a fairly wide body of water, though narrow enough for a long floating bridge to cross it at its northern end. I do not remember any part of Hood Canal which might be some sort of manmade canal of the Erie, St. Lawrence, Panama sort.

I was mortified at the thought that my old home state had misnomer-ed something as being a canal when it was not a canal, such as I had long been mortified for frequently occurring in my previous abode location of Fort Worth.

Where for years the downtown was called Sundance Square, where there was no square, confusing the town's few tourists, til finally a small square was built, and then goofily named Sundance Square Plaza, with other signs still pointing to the non-existent Sundance Square.

Or calling an industrial wasteland "Panther Island" long before a cement lined ditch cuts that wasteland off from the Fort Worth mainland.

And even then, calling such a thing an island is embarrassing.

It just occurred to me, even though I really don't like giving those TRVA dimwits ideas, but how about calling that cement lined ditch, which may never ever get dug, Panther Canal? Ain't that catchy?

Which leads me back to Hood Canal. I Googled Hood Canal and clicked on the Wikipedia Hood Canal article where I learned...

"Hood Canal is a fjord forming the western lobe, and one of the four main basins of Puget Sound in the state of Washington. It is one of the minor bodies of water that constitute the Salish Sea. Hood Canal is not a canal in the sense of being a man-made waterway—it is a natural waterway."

Well, there you go, after all these years of living on this planet I finally learn that Hood Canal is not a man-made waterway, it's a natural waterway.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, oh, why bother.

But I can not help but wonder how long it took Washington to build that floating bridge which floats over actual water, deep fast moving tidal water. I suspect it was way less than four years. Because, I remember when the original Hood Canal floating bridge sank during a storm, the replacement did not take four years.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, oh, again, why bother...

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Boating Sikes Lake Prior To Wichita Falls Yachting Season Opening

As you can see, via the lower left of the photo I took this morning whilst walking around Sikes Lake, wildflowers are still busy blooming this wet spring in North Texas.

I do not recollect the pink evening primroses still being so prolific this close to the arrival of summer past years in Texas. Likely that aforementioned "wet" element is a contributing factor to the current lushly green outer world at my location on the planet.

You can clearly see the wildflowers in the above photo. The other interesting element is less easy to see. That being that which you see floating on the lake near the far shore from the vantage point of the photo.

Is that a submarine surfacing? Or a yacht getting in some sailing before the official start of yachting season?

On closer inspection it was neither. It was a man in a primitive yacht, more commonly known as a rowboat, with the boat tethered to a line which crossed the lake, with the man in the boat and other men on shore engaging in some lake measuring activity of some sort.

There are multiple signs one sees when one walks around Sikes Lake advising along the line that one is not to kayak, canoe or float watercraft of any sort without express permission from MSU.

I assume today's rowboater got express permission to float, but I saw no evidence of such posted anywhere.

I have long wondered why I have seen, until today, no one using any sort of watercraft on Sikes Lake. Is the lake too shallow? Is that the issue? I can understand not allowing swimming, what with there are likely legit concerns about the water quality being safe, but kayaking? Canoeing? Why not?

I gave away my inflatable kayak when I left DFW. I think if I still had that kayak I might blow it up and float myself into Sikes Lake from the west entry creek, and claim ignorance of the floating ban if someone made a fuss.

Next month I expect to experience a dire color and temperature change when I leave the humid jungles of Texas and arrive in the HOT desert of the Valley of the Sun. I will try and enjoy the humid jungles of Texas as long as I can...

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Mr. Spiffy Takes Us To Sikes Lake Vision & Fort Worth's Favorite Dimwit Son

What you are looking at here is part of the Sikes Lake Vision, which would make that the Sikes Lake Diversion Dam on the left, the Sikes Diversion Channel in the middle, with one of the Sikes Lake Signature Bridges crossing the Sikes Diversion Channel.

The Sikes Lake Diversion Channel diverts flood water to Holliday Creek, from whence the flood water eventually floods into the Wichita River.

This is all part of a well designed flood control system built sometime back in the previous century. I do not know if Wichita Falls begged for federal money to build this system, or if any local congresswoman's unqualified dimwit son was employed to mis-manage the project.

When I saw the Sikes Diversion Channel today it brought to mind a Mr. Spiffy posting I saw on Facebook last night. The posting was about the billions of bucks which have been spent, post-Katrina, to upgrade the levees which protect New Orleans, and the fact that the fix may be failing.

Mr. Spiffy's New Orleans post generated a lot of comments, mostly comparing the legitimate New Orleans flood control effort, backed by all of America via the federal government, and Fort Worth's pitiful imaginary flood control effort, which is actually an economic development scheme con job, which the feds are balking at backing, along with the people of Fort Worth, who have never been allowed a legitimate vote on what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

Mr. Spiffy made one of the best comments, among many good ones, regarding his Facebook post about actual flood control problems which need actual solutions....

Mr. Spiffy: I'm saying that DC will stack rank their flood control funding. NOLA (New Orleans) will get the prioritized funding and rightly so. Kay Granger and her dimwit son sold us a bill of goods that the Feds would fund their billion dollar real estate development. The Feds keep putting the kibosh on their requests. Things like this tell me we'll never see that money (or much of it). Therefore, Fort Worth will be holding the bag for a billion and change.

Mr. Spiffy has an artful way with words. In another comment Mr. Spiffy referred to the "snake-like nature" of the dimwit's mother. How does Fort Worth manage to suffer imaginary leaders such as the reptilian snake-like Kay Granger and her dimwit son, one can not help but wonder? If only more people voted. Or graduated high school.

Regarding Kay Granger and her dimwit son's economic development scheme con job disguised as a flood control project, where there has been no flooding for well over half a century, due to levees the rest of America already bought for Fort Worth, recently we learned that the bogus independent assessment of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was going to recommend Kay Granger, her dimwit son, and the others involved in this con job amp up the con that this Boondoggle is focused on "flood control and public safety".

And should be re-branded and sold to the public as such.

Trying to sell such nonsense to the Fort Worth public would seem to indicate these independent assessors think the people of Fort Worth are way stupider than I think they are.

As in, if this ridiculously inept project, which has been limping along for most of this century, is for FLOOD CONTROL and PUBLIC SAFETY, then why have so many years gone by with so little accomplished?

You know, what with the public's safety being at stake.

Those responsible for this risk to the public's safety, such as Kay Granger, her dimwit son, and many others, should be run out of town for so ineptly dawdling and ineptly implementing this imaginary solution to an imaginary problem, which, if there really was a PUBLIC SAFETY issue, let alone an actual FLOOD CONTROL problem, should those serious threats to the public not have been addressed long ago?

And with that solution to the problem the responsibility of actual qualified, experienced adults? Not the likes of Kay Granger and her dimwit son, and the others who have made this mess.

One would think so, wouldn't one?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Holliday Rapids With Sunday Wind Blown Arizona Anniversary Disaster & Elsie Hotpepper

Yesterday, which was Sunday, the same series of storms which caused a wind disaster in Dallas, due to a blown over construction crane, caused me my most, or one of my most, dramatic weather events.

I was riding my bike, all was calm.

Rolling around Sikes Lake the air was so calm the lake was like a mirror.

But, I could see to the north an ominous wall of dark clouds moving in my direction, which seemed odd, what with there being no wind.

I left Sikes Lake and headed north across Midwestern Boulevard to the MSU campus. At the north end of the campus I stopped to check out progress on a construction project. I then headed east towards the Circle Trail. I got to the area where MSU has its annual gigantic installation of Christmas displays when suddenly the temperature dropped, the sky darkened, and a strong wind struck seemingly instantly.

I was trying to ride perpendicular to the incoming wind, which did not work, as in the wind would have knocked me over if I kept heading that direction. I did not know what to do. Big trees with big limbs were flapping like bird wings. I tried to see any close by shelter. There was none. Sunday the campus is deserted. Dirt and dust was blowing in my mouth, nose and eyes, along with other stuff hitting me.

Definitely scary.

And then it let up. A little. I decided to make like a high speed rabbit to the Circle Trail, which is open with few trees, about a quarter mile distant. I made it there, keeping an eye out for any flying branches.

On the Circle Trail the wind was behind me, making for a high speed wind assisted return to the safety of my abode.

And now today has been a calm blue sky North Texas spring day.

Something caused me to realize that it was about exactly two years ago that I drove to Arizona to see my dad for the last time. I did not remember the exact date. I went on a walk along the Circle Trail, took the photo you see above of Holliday Creek's current high water rapid status and then remembered in my vehicle there was paperwork which would give me the precise dates of the 2017 drive to Arizona.

So, I walked to that vehicle and found the warranty for the fuel pump that got installed when disaster struck me on I-40 about ten miles east of Flagstaff. The date on that receipt was June 9, 2017, which meant I left Texas the day before, and arrived at my brother's, post repair, in Scottsdale June 9, staying overnight til June 10, two years ago today, when I made it to Sun Lakes and my mom and dad's house, to drive my mom to where my dad was, with me seeing my dad for the first time since 2012.

The next couple weeks were among the most stressful I've ever made it through. I made it back to Texas on June 25, and got the sad news about dad five days later.

Hard to believe this is already two years ago, and that I have been back to Arizona so many times since.

Including a return next month, flying out July 10, returning July 27. I am traveling solo. I asked Elsie Hotpepper if she wanted to come along, thinking it would be good for her to experience modern America after what Texas has put her through of late. The Hotpepper, of course, is giving this some consideration, but she already has July plans to visit another area of modern America, as in Colorado.

Methinks Elsie would like the Valley of the Sun more, it's less elevated...

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Half Million Bucks Finds Fort Worth Boondoggle Needs Re-Branding As Imaginary Flood Control

Several days ago Captain Andy Facebook messaged me with a link to the Star-Telegram article you see here, along with a message saying...

Apparently, the only problem at the TRV is that they are not marketing it correctly. What a waste of effort.

I knew to what Captain was referring because I had already read and been appalled by this latest Star-Telegram propaganda and so I replied to Captain Andy thusly...

And it might cost less than the estimated half million bucks cuz J.D. and his cohorts were so cooperative. I give up. The Fort Worth locals deserve what they get, and apparently have long been used to this type idiocy, or why does it continue? It seems so long ago now that I was criticized for criticizing those bridges. And calling the nonsense a Boondoggle. Like I already said. I give up...

To which Captain Andy empathized with...

I hear you. I thought Mary had a slim chance in hell. But when the other two guys jumped i figured Mary was toast. And then Marty and Jim won again. Well, ok. That's the Fort Worth way. But i still see the bullshit so i just shake my head and commiserate with like minded friends. As for your recent blog post, I'm surprised the biggest little skyscraper wasn't built in Fort Worth. Apparently we like to invest in con jobs.

So, a few days ago I am telling Captain Andy I am giving up pointing out the propaganda idiocy I read in the Star-Telegram, feeling like why should I care about the utter foolishness when apparently so few others do. And now today I'm back at it again.

There seems to be something up with this Panther Island review nears completion. What will it mean for the project’s future? article. The day after I first read it I went back to the Star-Telegram to see if anyone had done the rarity in this newspaper of making a comment. At that point I could not find the article. The link was no longer on the front page. Nor could I find it via other menu options. I then went back to the original link from Captain Andy on Facebook, which brought me back to the article, where I found there was now one comment. And it is a good one....

 Gulf States: "It was done in lieu of the cost-benefit analysis normally required."

So did they get a waiver to do this type of report? Even though there is no malfeasance that does not mean that there is not rampant incompetence. An experienced urban planner should have been hired from the start to run this project, someone with experience that had actually run a massive billion dollar project before not the son of the ex-Mayor.
But the fact that the citizens did not get out and elect new members to the TRWD Board that oversees this project goes to show that in the long run people do not care enough to get out and vote. So you get what you deserve which are unfinished delayed bridges and a project that will eventually be paid for by more bonds since the government will not fund a real estate development disguised as a flood control fix.

Did someone at the Star-Telegram realize the "news" in this article was a bit dumbfounding, and decide to remove the links to it on the website, but did not delete the article? Who knows? I copied the article, and saved it. I could share the entire thing, but instead I will just point out an item of interest, or two, as I scroll through the article...

Let's start with the first paragraph...

An independent assessment of the Trinity River project called Panther Island has led to at least a dozen key findings, but reviewers so far have found no red flags with the $1.17 billion flood control effort.

Okay, so this supposed "independent assessment" is what they are now calling the forensic audit which multiple local officials called for, to get to the bottom of the financials of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. Items such as how much extra money has been spent paying the salaries of those financially benefiting from the long delayed slow motion project, such as J.D. Granger, who is being paid over $200 K a year, plus perks. So this "independent assessment" is only assessing the imaginary island part of the Trinity River Vision? No red flags? Isn't that embarrassing homage to an aluminum trash can which has sat for years at the center of an uncompleted roundabout, connected to the bridges taking years to build over dry land,.a red flag indicating something is dire wrong with this project?

And then there is this paragraph...

Riveron, a Chicago firm with a Dallas office, has been digging into Trinity River Vision Authority documents and interviewing key staff since mid-April. Fort Worth officials are hopeful the review — meant to study the project’s feasibility, funding and management — will help the project land more than $500 million needed from the federal government to complete a bypass channel in the river near downtown. It was done in lieu of the cost-benefit analysis normally required.

Are we now supposed to believe this "independent assessment" has been done instead of the cost-benefit analysis the feds normally require when dealing with normal parts of America where projects like this are approved of by the public, via voting, and are mostly funded locally, via bonds, rather than pitiful federal welfare where the more prosperous parts of America pay for one of Fort Worth's boondoggles?

And then this...

Kevin Ruiz, a Riveron representative, said the review was nearly complete and the company would begin formulating a series of recommendations related to its findings. He spoke generally Wednesday without providing major detail, but a full report will be provided July 10. No malfeasance or signs of wrongdoing have been found, he said.

No malfeasance or wrongdoing? Is it wrong for a project's executive director to flagrantly have an extramarital office affair with an employee, and then give that employee sweetheart promotions, jobs like being a party planner, which is a well known aspect of flood control, thus creating a hostile work environment where employees vent their disgust to voices outside the TRV office, like me?

And then there is this doozy, which is what most have been reacting to...

Originally conceived as a flood control effort, much of the attention has been centered on how a bypass channel would create an 800-acre island downtown poised for development. Ruiz said the authority needed to return to a focus on “flood control and public safety” in branding.

No. It was originally conceived as a corrupt economic development scheme benefiting multiple Fort Worth insiders, disguised as a flood control project where there has been no flooding for well over a half century due to levees the rest of America paid for long ago. So, almost a half million bucks is being paid to these brilliant "independent assessors" to advise that America's Biggest Boondoggle can get back on track by returning to focusing on the imaginary flood control and public safety aspects of the project.

Oh, yeah, that's gonna go over real well. This "independent assessment" group must think Fort Worth is totally full of clueless fools ready to be conned yet again by utter nonsense.

Just one more blurb from this article and then go read for yourself the entire Panther Island review nears completion. What will it mean for the project’s future? piece of propaganda, while it is still available.

Because Riveron’s review has been speedy, it might come in under the $466,222 budgeted.

So, Fort Worth is spending almost a half millions bucks on a speedy review, which has been so speedy it might not cost as much as was budgeted. Sounds like such a bargain, spending that pittance to learn the solution to America's Biggest Boondoggle is to re-brand itself as being all about much needed flood control in an area which does not flood, while actual deadly flooding areas in Fort Worth are ignored.

And people wonder, well, actually I think the number is small, why I refer to Fort Worth as being a backwards town, that embarrasses itself over and over again, whilst never seeming to learn that it just ain't working to keep operating in what long time locals refer to as the Fort Worth Way...