Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Imaginary Eyes Of The World Are On Fort Worth

Years ago, early on in my exposure to Fort Worth's Star-Telegram official city propaganda organ, I made note of an odd phenomenon occurring with frequency in that newspaper, a phenomenon which came to be known as "Green With Envy Syndrome".

Where in an article about some perfectly ordinary, nondescript subject, the article would declare that this subject was making towns, far and wide, green with envy. There were multiple iterations of this, verbiage, such as some lame thing would somehow supposedly give Fort Worth "Bragging Rights".

This type nonsense is a sub-set of other Star-Telegram nonsensical propaganda, such as an ill-conceived public works project turning Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South. Or a lame food court type thing being modeled after public markets in Europe, and Seattle's Pike Place. Or a sporting goods store being destined to be the top tourist attraction in Texas.

And now we have a new iteration of the Star-Telegram's "Green With Envy Syndrome".

College football kicks off with all eyes on Fort Worth

Yeah, that sounds believable. College football kicking off is causing all eyes, everywhere, to be on Fort Worth.

The article contains multiple embarrassing instances of nonsense. Let's go through the article and look at some of those embarrassing instances of nonsense. The first three paragraphs...

When nearly 2 million people tune in to ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday, Fort Worth will be front and center.

The game between Oregon and Auburn will be played at AT&T Stadium, but Rece Davis, Lee Corso and crew will be in Sundance Square. That’s good for DFW sports fans, but it’s great for Fort Worth as the city looks to boost tourism and national attention.

“You can’t pay for the kind of free advertising ‘GameDay’ gives us,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Okay, so "all eyes" is now reduced to 2 million people with 4 million eyes. And though the football game will be played in the Dallas Cowboy stadium in Arlington, Fort Worth will be front and center.

And this will somehow boost tourism in the town few tourists tour, and those 4 million eyes will be giving Fort Worth much needed national attention.

Fort Worth's mayor thinks you can not pay for this kind of free advertising.

Well, I can not help but wonder why ESPN does not broadcast from downtown Arlington's Founders Plaza, which is close to the stadium, is bigger than Sundance Square Plaza, has a large stage. And something Fort Worth rarely has, modern public restrooms. Does Fort Worth give ESPN one of those incentives the town is so fond of giving any business indicating possibly wanting to come to town?

Continuing on with the continuing nonsense with three more paragraphs...

“College GameDay” averaged 1.9 million viewers last year and it’s safe to assume that number will be the same or better for broadcasts this year. That’s priceless exposure, said Mitch Whitten, executive vice president for marketing and strategy for Visit Fort Worth.

Studies have shown most outsiders imagine Fort Worth as a much smaller city, between 30th and 40th in size — think Albuquerque, New Mexico, or Fresno, California — instead of as a top 20 city, larger than Seattle, Denver or San Francisco, Whitten said.

“There’s no question that nationally people associate Dallas-Fort Worth as one big area,” he said. “This helps us elevate Fort Worth as a city of its own.”

So, Fort Worth has a national reputation for being a much smaller town than it is. We assume the size we are talking about is population, because that is the only measure which ranks Fort Worth as a big city. Now, why would people not realize Fort Worth is a "bigger" city than Seattle, Denver or San Francisco.

Well, stating the obvious, Seattle is known for having hosted a successful World's Fair, which left a Space Needle and a Monorail in its wake. Seattle is known as a scenic town, surrounded by water and mountains, a major port, connected to the Pacific, home to Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing, Costco and other world wide known entities. And the town has a big skyline of towers, and two sports stadiums downtown. Oh, and cruise ships and ferry boats. Denver is known for being a mile high, with a backdrop of Rocky Mountains. San Francisco is known all over the world for a big bridge built over actual water, a skyline of skyscrapers, Fisherman's Wharf, being hilly, cable cars, Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, and a lot of other things, including being a beautiful Pacific Ocean port.

Meanwhile Fort Worth is known, world-wide, for....I'm waiting...uh, can you think of anything?

The recognizable skyline? A bustling downtown which is a ghost town on the busiest shopping day of the year? For being the only big city in America with no downtown grocery stores or department stores? For city parks with a ridiculous number of outhouses. With most streets having no sidewalks?

For having public transit in the form of a converted bus called Molly the Trolley?

Well, to be fair, which we always are, there is the Fort Worth Stockyards, which are the one and only thing in Fort Worth which is remotely unique.

Oh, I forgot, Fort Worth is getting national recognition for hosting America's most embarrassing boondoggle, the Trinity River Vision, limping along for most of this century with little to show but a mess of stalled construction. Oh, and there is that eyesore which has been boarded up for over a decade, Heritage Park, dedicated to honoring Fort Worth's history, located at the north end of downtown, across the street from the county courthouse.

The article continues on with multiple additional instances of propaganda, including the final paragraph...

“People often ask whether that view down Main Street is real or a backdrop, which I think says a lot about our downtown,” Campbell said.

Really? People often ask if the view is real or not? Looking down Main Street? Isn't that the view which ends with that unfortunate part of the convention center which looks like a giant flying saucer has landed on downtown Fort Worth?

Another indicator of how embarrassingly clueless this "All Eyes On Fort Worth" hyperbole is, is can you imagine a Seattle, Denver or San Francisco newspaper touting such over something so lame? No, I can't either.  A headline declaring "All Eyes on San Francisco as ESPN Broadcasts from Fisherman's Wharf as College Football Kicks Off" followed by an article touting how this will be a huge boost to San Francisco tourism, boosting the town's image.

Read the entire College football kicks off with all eyes on Fort Worth  article for the full dose of Star-Telegram Chamber of Commerce propaganda nonsense which bears little resemblance to reality.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Turbulent DFW Excursion With Explosions & Flying Grocery Carts

Til today it had been a couple months since I took the long way to D/FW, as opposed to flying to D/FW, which is a quick trip, well from Wichita Falls, a little longer from Phoenix.

I digress.

So this morning reasons arose which made it make sense to drive to D/FW.

The weather was not predicted to be any level of dire.

Not long after heading southeast on 287 the first weird thing happened. Suddenly it was obvious the northwest bound lanes were getting rained on, whilst the southeast bound lanes I was on were dry.

That strangeness last for a couple miles. And then the black smoke you see above came into view.

Soon it became obvious this was an incident on the road. Soon after that the road was blocked with traffic diverted to a frontage road. From the frontage road one could see a long line of vehicles was stuck behind the incident.

Driving slow on the frontage road we eventually came to whatever it was which had happened. No details could be determined whilst passing by, other than a big ball of flames spewing smoke.

I forgot to mention, by the time of the exit to the frontage road the sky had gone into drop a downpour mode. Which explains the view from my rain coated side window as we passed the conflagration.

Continuing on towards D/FW the sky eventually brightened.

And then around noon I arrived at Winco. The sky was blue. No sign of a storm no matter which direction I looked.

I was in Winco for about a half an hour. Upon exiting Winco I felt like Dorothy must have felt when she began her journey to Oz.

Calm had been replaced by storm. Dark clouds looked like tornado makers. Lightning was striking. Thunder boomed. Wind was blowing strong. Grocery carts were sailing across the parking lot. I had trouble securing my goods whilst the wind threatened to send them skyward.

Eventually I was back on my way to return to Wichita Falls. But not before navigating the bizarre mess one must drive through to get from Tarrant Parkway to Highway 287.

If I have said it once, I have said it twice. Fort Worth is not a town which wears big city pants. How in any sane world is it okay to have approved all that retail development without upgrading the roads? It is just inexcusably bizarre. And the type thing one does not see in what is known as modern America.

In modern America they do this thing called URBAN PLANNING. You do not give the go ahead to retail/commercial development without also having adequate infrastructure upgrades.

I can not imagine how any citizen of Fort Worth can drive 287 to Tarrant Parkway and not be appalled. Or try to drive Tarrant Parkway to 287 and also be appalled.

And yet it somehow remains a mystery to those who run Fort Worth in what is known as the Fort Worth Way why the town has such a bad reputation and has to offer bribes in any attempt to land various developments, be it a new residential building, a sporting goods store, a corporate headquarters, or anything else.

How can it not be known by ardent Fort Worthians that towns which have, uh, attributes, do not need to bribe with pathetic incentives?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Cascade Scenery Thunderbolts Tuesday With New Bike Parts

Good news sort of started yesterday when I first checked email. And then after that the day sort of went downhill.

Those early morning incoming emails told me replacement parts were being shipped to me to replace parts which broke on my bike, those being parts which should not have broken.

So, even though there was no warranty that I was aware of, a reasonable complaint to the manufacturer about the issue resulted in multiple emails from various sources, including UPS, telling me the parts are on their way.

So, Schwinn is well on its way to getting back its good reputation it had long ago, back in the previous century.

I shan't detail all of yesterday's woes.

But, around noon I went on a walk on the Circle Trail where I eventually found myself dodging lightning bolts and big rain drops delivered at high speed.

Prior to the thunderstorm I was walking and talking to my Arizona sister. Mom is not adjusting well to her new home.

After lunch, I took off for ALDI, feeling melancholy.

For years I used to call mom and dad whenever I got gas, to tell, usually mom, what the gas cost and what the current temperature was. In recent years I call, and when mom answers, I ask if mom wants to ride with me to ALDI, or Walmart, or the library, or some such thing.

At mom's new home her phone did not move with her. I got a text message on Sunday from my Tacoma sister, who was in Arizona, with mom, asking me to call either her phone or my Arizona sister's phone, so I could talk to mom.

When mom got on the phone I did not ask if she wanted to ride with me anywhere. That was no longer possible. I could not understand much of what mom was saying, til I sorta said goodbye, to which mom said something I could clearly understand, a question she usually always asked, as in "When are you coming for another visit?"
To which I replied, "As soon as I can get there." 

And then later in the afternoon Linda Lou called with some rather shocking news. Not my place to be detailed. Suffice to say, America's longest war needs to end and all the troops need to come home.

The news from Linda Lou caused me to email Maxine, something I had been intending to do for some time. So, I emailed Maxine the shocking news from Linda Lou, thinking Maxine likely had already heard, but in the oft chance she had not, I was emailing her with the shocking news.

Maxine quickly emailed back, she was as shocked as was I by the news. In my email to Maxine I also asked if she'd been doing any fun hiking.

So Maxine included two photos of her most recent hike, one of which is what you see at the top.

The Shannon Ridge Trail to the Mount Shuksan Summit.

Just last week, hiking photos from my favorite ex-sister-in-law, of a hike near Mount Shuksan, had me wondering if hiking to the summit of that craggy mountain was a doable thing.

Maxine's photos of the Cascade Mountains sort of activated that homesick feeling such photos have been causing me of late.

There are plans afoot to return to the Pacific Northwest. To visit? Or what? Time may tell...

Monday, August 26, 2019

Thousands Of New Imaginary Downtown Fort Worth Residents By 2022

It seems like only yesterday, or the day before, we asked if you had Read Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Boondoggle Bridge Design Flaws Investigation?  in which mention was made of the fact that Fort Worth suffers from not having a real newspaper, and that the town's Fort Worth Star-Telegram acts more like the town's Chamber of Commerce mouthpiece than a normal newspaper of the practicing investigative journalism sort.

And then this morning, on the front page of the Star-Telegram, once again, a big Star-Telegram propaganda headline touting These projects will bring thousands of new residents to downtown Fort Worth by 2022,  leading to yet one more of those Chamber of Commerce type pieces which have long been so annoyingly ridiculous to anyone with an iota of common sense and a memory.

Those not familiar with Fort Worth, in the photo above, that is the stunning skyline of downtown Fort Worth, as seen from the west, looking across that wide ditch which is known as the Trinity River. On the left, in the photo, crossing over the ditch, that is Fort Worth's one and only actual signature bridge, the West 7th Street Bridge, which many locals thought should have been the design of the three simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction for years, trying to cross dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Let's take a tour through this latest article of Star-Telegram propaganda and ferret out some of the ridiculousness.

But, before we do that let's make mention of the fact that that downtown, where projects will supposedly bring in thousands of new residents, currently has zero grocery stores, zero department stores, not many restaurants, and few of the other amenities one might expect to see in the downtown of a town with a population over 800,000.

So, let's start with the first sentence of this latest Star-Telegram propaganda...

Tim and Donna Young are proud to be called “Mr. and Mrs. Downtown Fort Worth.”

Okay, that is just weird. Apparently this couple met in 2012, live in the downtown Texas & Pacific Lofts, can be seen walking around town, and for these obvious reasons their friends have given them this "Mr. and Mrs. Downtown Fort Worth" nickname.


Tim Young said he feels “like I live in Paris sometimes” because of their urban-centric lifestyle.

Oh yes, one can see how living in downtown Fort Worth would feel like living in Paris. what with downtown Paris being known for having no grocery stores or places to shop, and few restaurants or sidewalk bistros. And then there are those Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the Seine River. And that boarded up eyesore park at the heart of downtown Paris celebrating the storied history of Paris.

Yes, one can easily see how one could feel like one is living in Paris when living in downtown Fort Worth.

Let's leave the Youngs and their Parisian dream now and move on with the rest of this article...

As the city looks ahead to the next five to 10 years, much energy will be spent encouraging growth in the city’s core. Nearly a dozen new buildings are in the works downtown, according Downtown Fort Worth Inc. – some that will reshape the skyline as soon as 2022, when as many as 3,000 new residents could live downtown.

Wow! After all these years of the Fort Worth skyline seeming to be permanently stagnant, by 2022 the skyline will be reshaped! So excited to see that. And maybe as many as 3,000 new residents could maybe live downtown.

Nearly a dozen new buildings are in the works? What does that mean? Someone has thought of maybe building? The only other big city newspaper I pay much attention to seems to make mention of new buildings coming to downtown only after the building of such is a done deal, as in being built.. Not just a pipe dream. Like last week I read Google is building a new tower north of the downtown Seattle Amazon campus, along with residential towers to house the incoming new Google workers.

Then there is a paragraph about three new buildings which have received approval from the Fort Worth Downtown Design Board. No clue as to how close these three buildings are to actually being built, but the three paragraphs which follow the mention of these three possible new buildings are amusing...

The new buildings may not be as noticeable as the Omni Hotel Fort Worth or the City Center Towers, but they will be the first new residential high-rise structures built downtown in decades.

Ann Zadeh, the councilwoman representing downtown, said her hope is that downtown’s skyline will fill in with buildings that stand out.

“When I drive by other cities with prominent skylines, I think it’s a great visual,” she said. “That’s what I want for downtown.”

First new residential structures in downtown in decades? Is that not sort of a telling fact? And downtown's councilwoman hopes the Fort Worth skyline will fill in with stand out buildings, because when she drives by other town's skylines she longs for a similar visual for downtown Fort Worth?

I have long wondered what long time natives of Fort Worth, who have not recently visited towns in modern America, think when they see another big city for the first time in a long time. Like if they drive 30 miles east and see the world-wide recognizable skyline of Dallas, and see those hundreds of miles of Dallas light rail. Along with downtown shopping of the Neiman-Marcus sort.

Or see the downtown of a town like Seattle, with multiple vertical malls, multiple downtown grocery stores, multiple downtown department stores, transit tunnels under downtown, an ever changing skyline, and dozens of downtown highrises under construction, not just being talked about possibly being built.

And then there is this doozy of a pair of paragraphs...

City planners are confident in the residential growth, but commercial investment is less clear. The city’s long-term economic development plan relies heavily on attracting new corporate headquarters to Fort Worth with an aggressive goal of landing seven Fortune 1000 companies in the next five years.

As many as 80 companies are in talks with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce about moving or expanding in Fort Worth, said Chris Strayer, senior vice president of business attraction. About 40% of those would need office space, and downtown has been a target.

Really? As many as 80 companies are in talks about moving to Fort Worth? An aggressive goal of landing seven Fortune 1000 companies in the next five years?

All the time I have been in Texas, Fort Worth has been trying to lure companies to Fort Worth, using all sorts of incentives. Never successfully. How about sending a task force to towns which do successfully lure the companies Fort Worth fails to lure to find out why? Like why would a company choose, I don't know, Plano, over Fort Worth? Or Irving? Or Austin? Or Tempe, Arizona? Or any other town in America which do land a new company coming to town.

Fort Worth even managed to fail at having hometown Radio Shack succeed at locating a new corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Worth. This resulted in a typical Fort Worth boondoggle disaster, with the Radio Shack new headquarters being taken over by Tarrant County College, after the debacle managed to rob downtown Fort Worth of acres of free parking and the world's shortest subway, which gave easy access to downtown Fort Worth.

This delusional pie in the sky propaganda article just goes on and on. Mentioning the need for more commercial space, you know for offices, you know, for all those companies coming to town where all those new people living in downtown Fort Worth will work.

Why, they are even giving tax incentives to the owners of the dozens of downtown parking lots if they will vertically build.

Any downtown with dozens of parking lots taking up acres of downtown building space is not a healthy downtown.

And then there is mention made of something called Neighbor's House Grocery, opening in October on the ground floor of a downtown building. Imagine that, yet one more attempt at a downtown Fort Worth grocery store.

Maybe some thought should be given to fixing Heritage Park. That really can not be a good selling point for any corporation looking to come to town, a boarded up eyesore celebrating the town's heritage, located at a key location across from the county courthouse.

Maybe some thought should be given to how dumb it looks for a downtown of a big city to have something called Molly the Trolley as part of the town's limited, primitive, downtown transit system.

And also, why in this article about the soon to be booming downtown Fort Worth is no mention made of that HUGE development immediately north of downtown, you know, that development known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision?

A troubled vision which has been trying to see progress for most of this century, which touts an imaginary island with multiple residential towers, retail establishments, and canals to travel between attractions.

What do those corporations think about that BIG mess due north of downtown when they visit to consider moving to town? Those simple little bridges stuck in slow motion construction can not be a good selling point of the town's viability. Let alone the absurd fact that those simple bridges are being built in slow motion over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Will this supposedly newly booming downtown Fort Worth be the final death knell of the Trinity River Vision and its long ill-fated economic development scheme and imaginary flood control?

Time will likely tell...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Read Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Boondoggle Bridge Design Flaws Investigation?

This The light-rail bridge being built in south Bellevue seems to soar unsupported over I-90 Here’s why article showed up in the Seattle Times yesterday.

This is a long, detailed article explaining the engineering involved in building a rail bridge. This rail bridge is part of a $3.7 billion light rail expansion approved by Puget Sound voters, known as the East Link, connecting Seattle's Chinatown / International District with Bellevue, across Lake Washington, via the I-90 floating bridge.

The East Link section of the expanding Link Light Rail system is on schedule and on budget, opening to riders in mid-2023.

This article in the Seattle Times about a public works project is yet one more example of what I find so confounding about Fort Worth's sad excuse for a newspaper of record, the Star-Telegram.

Yes, I know railing against a newspaper is a bit of a cliche, but in the Star-Telegram's case there are way too many instances of something legit to rail against.

I was not long in the D/FW zone before I realized something was not right about the Star-Telegram, seeing that newspaper acting as if it is some sort of bizarre propaganda tool for the local chamber of commerce.

Such as touting something that turned out to be a soon to fail glorified food court as being the first public market in Texas, and modeled after Seattle's Pike Place and markets in Europe. Or the time the Star-Telegram touted that a sporting goods store would become the #1 tourist attraction in Texas.

Sometimes I find the Star-Telegram propaganda and misinformation to just be simply amusing. Other times I find the propaganda to be borderline irresponsible.

Such as, way back near the start of this century, touting an ill-conceived, ineptly implemented pseudo public works project as being something which would turn Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South.

Almost two decades later Fort Worth still bears zero resemblance to either of the Vancouvers of the North.

Now, back to the bridge subject.

We are now in year five of Fort Worth's infamous bridge fiasco part of what is known as the Trinity River Vision, trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, across a cement lined ditch which may one day be dug and filled with polluted Trinity River water.

It is known, via sources other than the Star-Telegram, that there have been engineering problems and conflicts with various project engineers regarding the built in slow motion bridges.

But, unless I missed it, there, has not been a single article in the Star-Telegram detailing what those bridge design / construction issues are, and how they have caused these bridges to now have a completion timeline some point in the next decade.

The now almost universally discounted Riveron Review of the ongoing Boondoggle did not detail any of the actual problems with the bridge building. The Riveron Review did repeat the disinformation propaganda regarding why those bridges are being built over dry land, and why the highly regarded design of the West 7th Street bridge design was not used.

We talked about the Riveron Review fraud in Has The Trinity River Vision Riveron Review Been Officially Rejected?

Why is there not a single actual investigative type journalist reporting for the Star-Telegram who insists on trying to get to the truth of what is behind all the problems which would, in most modern towns in America, have been a long ago completed public works project?

How can this ridiculously ineptly implemented project in Fort Worth be touted as a vitally needed flood control project, needed to protect lives and property, when the project ambles along in ultra slow motion? That and the area in question has not flooded in well over a half a century, while other areas of Fort Worth, and Tarrant County, do have serious, unmitigated flood issues endangering life and property.

How did Oklahoma City manage to build that town's massive Bricktown development? A similar concept to Fort Worth's hapless Trinity River Vision. How did Tulsa manage to build its award winning Gathering Place development along the actually scenic Arkansas River?

Do Oklahoma City and Tulsa have actual real responsible newspapers of record honestly reporting on what goes on in their towns?

I've lost track of how many times I have made mention of the fact that Fort Worth suffers due to not having a real newspaper.

Lately it has been mentioned to me that there are some Fort Worth locals who are trying to bring real, much needed, investigative journalism to Fort Worth. I would not recommend holding ones breath waiting til that actually happens...

Friday, August 23, 2019

My Life Now Includes A Shocking Elsie Hotpepper Republican

A couple days ago an incoming email asked me if I had seen Elsie Hotpepper's online biography on a website called MyLife. The emailer indicated to me that the Elsie Hotpepper Bio contained at least one bit of info which would likely shock me. And so, of course, I clicked on the link and did soon find myself shocked...

Elsie's Bio

Elsie Hotpepper's birthday is 07/11/1963. Elsie is 56 years old. Elsie's Reputation Score is 4.35. Previous towns in which Elsie has lived include Las Vegas, Nevada and Cannon Beach, Oregon. Sometimes Elsie goes by various nicknames including Elsie Hotspot, Elsie Hotspotter, Elsie Nothotter and Elsie Jalapeno Hotpepper. Background details that you might want to know about Elsie include: ethnicity is Native American, whose political affiliation is currently a registered Republican; and religious views are listed as Scientologist. We know that Elsie is single at this point. Elsie's personal network of family, friends, associates & neighbors include Elmer Hotpepper, Ethel Hotpepper, Peter Snively and Petunia Hotpepper. Taking into account various assets, Elsie's net worth is greater than $25,000 - $49,999; and Elsie makes between $100 - 149,999 a year when she feels the need to have a job.

Birthday: 7/11/1963
Political Party: Republican
Ethnicity: Native American
Religion: Scientologist
Income: $100 - $149,999
Net Worth: $25,000 - $49,999
Relationship: Single

Okay, now that is new information. Elsie Hotpepper is a Registered Republican?


I do not know if being a Republican and a Scientologist are two things which should be in conflict.

As for Elsie Hotpepper being of Native American descent, this does not shock me.

I suspect Elsie must be of the Cheyenne tribe, known as the Tsistsistas, meaning Beautiful People.

Or possibly Comanche, what with that fierce Hotpepper warrior spirit and those prominent cheekbones...

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Back Biking With MSU Mustangs Considering 1988 Time Travel With Miss Daisy

If I remember correctly a few days ago I mentioned my bike was in malfunction mode due to the pedal crank being noisily cranky.

Months ago, last winter, my bike went through a similar cranky period.

And then suddenly the cranky crank returned to normal.

And stayed in that normal state until the day after a severe night time thunderstorm a week or two ago, a thunderstorm which poured down some rain.

The morning after that storm my bike was still wet, even though it is safely anchored, undercover, overnight. And riding the bike that same morning was when the crank returned to being noisily cranky.

Then a few days ago, after several days of the temperature being well north of 100 I decided to see if whatever had made my bike cranky had somehow dried up and gone away.

And so it did. And I have been enjoying HOT bike rides ever since, including today's which included a stop at the MSU fountain.

To the right of where my handlebars are located above is the new MSU Mustangs I visited on Saturday at their newly installed location by the soon to open Centennial Hall.

After the above fountain drink break I rolled over to that aforementioned newly installed Mustang location.

You can not quite make it out, due to my inferior photography skills, but the small pond in which the Mustangs are stampeding has now had water added, with the fountains in burble mode. The cyclone fence construction barrier has now been removed, replaced my regular ol' 'DANGER' tape.

Let's zoom in and see if I can get a better picture of the Mustang stampeding over the burbling fountain.

There you go. This would be a much better photo if that traffic cone had not intruded.

Prior to exiting air-conditioned comfort for a HOT bike ride, Sister Jackie called with a report on how Miss Daisy is doing. I do not recollect mentioning that Miss Daisy has moved to a new location, still close to Sister Jackie, but no longer in Sun Lakes.

Miss Daisy is gradually adjusting to her new surroundings, and enjoying the time travel machine which came with the move.

Yesterday Miss Daisy spent several hours back in 1988, babysitting her grandsons, Christopher and Jeremy, before returning to 2019 to watch a Little League game on TV with dinner.

Sister Michele will be using conventional air travel means to fly south on Friday to see Miss Daisy at her new location. I do not know if Miss Daisy is planning on taking Michele anywhere interesting in her new time travel machine...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Where In The PNW Are David, Theo & Ruby This Time?

That asking me "Where in the PNW are David, Theo & Ruby this time?" question was asked in the subject line of an incoming email, last night, which included only one attached photo.

Which is that which you see above.

Along with that question in the email subject line, the text in the email also asked...

"Can you do it with just one pic?"

Hence the singular pic documenting the trio's most recent Pacific Northwest outing.

Upon seeing the above aforementioned pic the first thing which came to mind was one of my all time favorite locations, close to where I lived in the Skagit Valley, that being Larrabee State Park, accessed by one of the most scenic roads anywhere, Chuckanut Drive.

So, I Googled Larrabee State Park and then clicked on images to soon see the one below, which seems to mirror the one of the trio above...

From the Wikipedia Larrabee State Park article...

Larrabee State Park is a public recreation area located on Samish Bay on the western side of Chuckanut Mountain, six miles (9.7 km) south of the city of Bellingham, Washington. It was created in 1915 as Washington's first state park. The park covers 2,748 acres (1,112 ha) and features fishing, boating, and camping as well as mountain trails for hiking and biking. It is managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

Larrabee was one of my favorite go to locations when I lived in the neighborhood. On a hot summer day on the beach, to the left of the rocks you see David, Theo, Ruby and their maternal parental unit, Michele, standing on, you would be seeing a large crowd. Swimming is possible, what with the water being clear, with a steep drop off, and the temperature of the water being refreshingly chilly.

To the north of Larrabee one finds Teddy Bear Cove. A clothing optional beach. I may have been at that location a time or two.

Hiking up Chuckanut Mountain was a year round destination when I lived in the Skagit Valley. At Larrabee one finds the southern remains of the old interurban transit train, now turned into a trail. Many a time I biked that trail from Larrabee to its end point at the Alaskan Ferry Terminal.

If I remember right the last time I pedaled the Interurban Trail was with the Tacoma Trio's cousins, Christopher and Jeremy. I recollect Jeremy getting a bit unsettled at one point on the trail where navigating a steep canyon is a bit challenging.

Again, if I remember right, the last time I was at the summit of Chuckanut Mountain it was with the Tacoma Trio's cousin Joey. One of the funnest bike rides in the Skagit/Whatcom zone is the long downhill coast from the top of Chuckanut Mountain. I'd pedaled to the summit before, and then did the downhill coast.

So, this time with Joey it became one of my infamous Nephews in Danger episodes. I instructed Joey to carefully control his speed, watching carefully for trail junctions. And that I would meet him back on Chuckanut Drive at the Interurban Trail parking lot.

I made it to the parking lot before Joey did, barely. At that point in time Joey indicated that was the best bike adventure he had ever had. I think the time I let Joey and his brother coast down the Mountain Loop Highway from the Monte Christo access point came later.

I am currently thinking I may be in Arizona this coming Thanksgiving at the same time the Tacoma Trio is at the same location. Maybe this time their parental units will let me have a 21st Century Nephews and Niece in Danger episode driving David, Theo & Ruby to the top of South Mountain...

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Midwestern State University Traffic Jam With Two New Mustangs

I headed to the Midwestern State University campus this morning to take a shady walk in what I thought would be a virtually abandoned campus, due to the day being Saturday.


I soon found myself perplexed by a long traffic jam of vehicles trying to get to some unknown, to me, location.

Soon I was to learn the long traffic jam was trying to make its way to a drop off zone where incoming students could unload their goods.

I do not know why people did not just park on one of the many empty parking zones and then walk their stuff to its final destination, thus avoiding that long line moving in slow motion.

But, it all made for an entertaining spectacle.

And then I came to the location you see above. The new Centennial Hall building nearing its construction completion, almost ready for its grand opening next month.

Today I saw a pair of Mustangs running wild in the currently unfinished water feature in front of the new building.

This is the first two of an eventual four Mustang sculptures, one for each class, freshman, sophomore, junior and senior, With each class of Mustang bigger than the one before.

I have no way of knowing which two classes of Mustang I saw installed today. I suspect, maybe, freshman and sophomore.

These are realistic horse sculptures. Impressive.

I have been watching this new building get built for years, it seems like it began soon after my arrival in town. I like watching something like this progress. To my eyes this is a well designed building, with architectural nods to all the various styles of buildings on the campus.

I think I may attend the Centennial Hall grand opening event...

Friday, August 16, 2019

Broken Bike Happy Hot Walking Wichita Falls Circle Trail Not In Arizona

Well, I did sorta almost manage to take a patented Elsie Hotpepper style selfie today.

There must be some trick I do not know about which makes it so one can see the phone screen when one is out where the sun is in bright mode.

My bike is in malfunction mode with a pedal crank which suddenly turned noisily cranky the day after the night of thunderstorms two nights ago.

I do not like going to the bike doctor, so I will likely be procrastinating on doing so.

In the meantime, looking at that wannabe Elsie Hotpeper style selfie, it almost looks like I may be being happy, which is an increasingly rare state of mind for me of late.

Yesterday, and this morning, I thought I was on the fast track to returning to Arizona way sooner than I thought I would be. Possibly returning in just a few days. Currently I really do not feel as if I have totally recovered from my most recent Arizona visit, which lasted for 17 days last month, and included about 16 hours of airport waiting, all delays totaled.

And then about an hour before noon I got a call from Hank Frank & Spencer Jack's grandpa Jake and great aunt Jackie with news which makes it seem like I may not be returning to Arizona way sooner than I thought I would be.

So, feeling some sense of relief I exited my air conditioned abode for a natural HOT sauna bath-like walk for a couple miles on the Circle Trail.

And now I wait on the next installment of the days of our lives as the world turns another day. Or two...

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Hiking Chain Lakes Loop By Mount Baker With Spencer Jack & Hank Frank's Grandma Cindy

Seems likely lately rarely a day goes by without me seeing photos from the Pacific Northwest which tend to cause me a twinge of homesickness.

This morning it was on Facebook such occurred.

In the photo, the one of the trio who is on the right, to the left of the snow capped mountain, is my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's Grandma Cindy.

I last saw Grandma Cindy on August 13, 2017 at Birch Bay, when Spencer Jack drove his Grandma and Dad to see his FUD.

That snow capped mountain is Mount Baker. One of Washington's five volcanoes.

Or is that Mount Shuksan, viewed from an angle I am not used to?

I know in the photo Cindy's hiking trio is hiking the North Cascades hike known as the Chain Lakes Loop. The Chain Lakes Loop is accessed from Artist Point, which is the end of the road on the north access to the Mount Baker ski area. A lot of snow has to melt before one can reach Artist Point each hiking season.

From Artist Point Mount Shuksan looms to the east, whilst Mount Baker looms to the south. Mount Shuksan is much more rugged than Mount Baker.

If I am remember correctly the last time I was at Artist Point was at some point in time in the 1990s. FNC and FNJ3 and I went hiking from Artist Point to the top of Tabletop Mountain. Years ago I webpaged that hike as part of my controversial Nephews in Danger series.

I forgot, must explain, FNC is Favorite Nephew Christopher, FNJ3 is Favorite Nephew Jeremy. I have two other nephews whose names start with the letter "J" who are older than Jeremy, so they are FNJ and FNJ2. FNJ is Spencer Jack's dad, Jason. FNJ2 is Hank Frank's dad, Joey.

When I lived in Mount Vernon, on a clear day, I could look out my kitchen and living room windows and see the Mount Baker volcano.

If there were no buildings blocking the view I might be able to look out my current kitchen window and see the stunning summit of Mount Wichita, which is about two miles distant.

For several years now, when hiking season opens in the North Cascades, Cindy takes part in something called the "Trek for Treasure". This is a competition where you get some clues and then hike to find something which proves you hiked the hike. I think this then gives you another clue, which points you to the next week's hike.

Or maybe it's a clue which points to the final treasure. I don't quite remember.

I first learned of this Treasure Trekking when the first person who ever led me to hike up Mount Baker, Maxine, told me about this hiking adventure she was competing in. I recollect being quite surprised when sometime later I learned my favorite ex-sister-in-law was also trekking for treasure.

When Cindy was my sister-in-law things like going hiking in the high country were just not one of the things she did.

I wonder if FNJ2 has ever told his mother about the Nephews in Danger episode when Joey and I hiked up Sauk Mountain when the trail was covered with ice and snow was falling. It was a bit treacherous.

I do recollect talking to Joey and us verbalizing how impressed we were to learn his mother had done that Sauk Mountain hike Joey and I had trekked up in a snowstorm...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Has The Trinity River Vision Riveron Review Been Officially Rejected?

Last month, after perusing it, we came to the conclusion that the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Riveron Review Needs A Forensic Audit.

That conclusion was reached due to there being some parts of the Riveron Review which seemed to be obviously tainted by self-serving "information" provided by, most likely, TRWD General Manager, Jim Oliver and TRVA Executive Director, J.D. Granger.

The Riveron Review cites input from the Army Corps of Engineers. But, in the list of who the Riveron Review reviewers interviewed, which shows up at the end of the Review, no one from the Army Corps of Engineers was interviewed. Just those responsible for the mess which has become an infamous Boondoggle, such as Oliver and Granger, and other perpetrators, were interviewed.

Those two had some explaining to do regarding the myriad problems which led to the demands for a forensic audit of the long-stalled imaginary flood control project.  There are three sections of the Riveron Review where it is obvious the Riveron Review interviewers were fed a load of self-serving propaganda, which apparently Riveron did not feel the need to question, or dig deeper.

Let's take a look at those three sections, one by one...


The Central City Flood Control Project 

The task force essentially considered three choices as proposed by the USACE:

Build the existing levees an additional 10 feet taller, requiring an additional 150 feet on each side of riverway, negatively impacting businesses and neighborhoods, and resulting in an even more inaccessible riverfront 

Build a 1.5 mile flood control bypass channel, which would be a very complicated, expensive, and ambitious project that would potentially transform the City and its relationship to the waterfront 

Do nothing and accept increased flood risk, damage and loss of people and property

The Trinity River Vision (TRV)* 

After public debate and agreement, federal, state and local government stakeholders and sponsors agreed to the initial USACE design for the three inter-related elements of the Central City Flood Control Project:
-The 1.5 Mile flood control Bypass Channel 
-The three Bridges at Henderson, Main, and White Settlement that will span the Bypass Channel 

-Clean up and ultimately enable future development and recreation in the area between the river and channel, known as Panther Island

Public debate? And agreement? Cite some evidence of that please.

Okay, after the Riveron Review was released locals with a functioning memory quickly pointed out Army Corps Of Engineer's Document Contradicts Controversial Riveron Review.

The Army Corps never suggested the levees be built 10 feet taller. And what businesses or neighborhood would have been impacted if such had happened? It's an industrial wasteland. The Boondogglers fed the Riveron Reviewers this propaganda because it is used to justify the diversion channel, which is key to their ill-conceived, ineptly implemented economic development scheme.

Do nothing and accept increased flood risk, damage and loss of people and property? The area in question has not flooded for well over half a century due to those levees already in existence. As we learned via the Army Corps of Engineer's document the existing levees could be brought up to post-Katrina standards for a few million bucks paying for some shoring up of the levees in a few locations.

Meanwhile, there are areas of Fort Worth and Tarrant County which do have increased flood risk, which have already suffered property damage, and have already drowned people, due to the failure to address those actual flood issues, whilst funds are wasted on an area where there is no legitimate flood risk.

And now on to the next element of wanton misinformation in the Riveron Review...

Sequencing a Capital Project 

Three bridges were designed for Main Street, Henderson Street, and White Settlement to span the eventual bypass channel. The bridge design was approved by the City, USACE, TXDOT and the TRVA Board. Bridge design work was done by the firm of Freese & Nichols and Rosales + Partners, and construction is being performed by Sterling under the direction of TXDOT and with the support and coordination from the City and TRVA, respectively.

It is critical to understand the complexity and sequencing of a project of this nature. There are multiple stakeholders working on what is essentially three projects: the bypass channel to provide flood control; the three bridges spanning the channel; the utility and other elements necessary to create habitable land in the island that is formed once the channel is in place. 

To safely and economically deliver this complex project, the bridges need to be essentially completed by the time the channel begins construction. This approach allows the project participants to sequence dependent activities among each other with a minimum of starts and stops to re-evaluate and re-design which would be required if building bridges over a completed, water-filled channel.

Take a moment to ponder the utter absurdity of the above three paragraphs from the Riveron Review. Basically they are repeating the nonsense that these three simple little bridges are being built over dry land, as if there was some other option, as if someone has somewhere suggested that the three bridges not be built til the cement ditch is dug and filled with water.

To safely and economically deliver this complex project the bridges needed to be built by the time the ditch gets dug? Again, as if there is any other option. And pretending this is by some grand design. Economically? The three simple little bridges are now in year five of being built in slow motion.

Clearly it is obvious a fully funded, correctly engineered project of this sort would have been building the bridges at the same time the ditch was built under the bridges. Now, if the bridges ever do get completely built, it does not take a whole lot of common sense to realize it complicates the ditch digging to dig under the bridges.

We have already seen a parking garage on the imaginary island fail due to a sinking foundation. It does not take much imagination to imagine the big OOOPS which will likely happen when/if that ditch gets dug under those bridges with their host of design problems.

Oh oh, we have a sinking V-pier.

Why did the Riveron Review interviewers accept this bill of goods they were being sold by the foxes  guarding the hen house?

And now on to the final element of wanton misinformation in the Riveron Review...

The 7th Street Bridge 

Unrelated to the Central City Flood Control Project, TXDOT was involved in another nearby effort to build the West 7th Street Bridge on the west side of downtown Fort Worth. 

Leveraging lessons learned from this effort, TXDOT approached the Central City Flood Control Project participants about leveraging the experience and design template for the West 7th Street Bridge to the bridges at Henderson, White Settlement and Main that will eventually span the channel. 

Initially the local government sponsor was responsible to pay for any budget overages and the State obligation would be capped. TXDOT made an offer to take on the obligation of budget overages if the local government sponsor would agree to use the 7th Street Bridge plans for all three of the new bridges. 

The USACE, in reviewing this proposed change, indicated that the design change would require formal USACE review and would require significant rework to the proposed design of both the bridges and bypass channel. Accepting the West 7th Street proposal was ultimately rejected for two reasons.  

-The design itself would impact and potentially weaken other structures and was not acceptable as presented.
-Any design change would also have triggered USACE requirements to study and evaluate the resulting flow, turbulence, and other hydrodynamic effects, likely adding years to the project timeline.

The above misinformation propaganda stems from what we learned way back in October of last year, which we blogged about in America's Biggest Boondoggle Unravels As Trinity River Vision Scandals Grow.

At that time we all learned, via a rare instance of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram doing some accurate reporting on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, in an article titled How a split between Rep. Kay Granger and her son changed Panther Island forever. that J.D. Granger interfered with his mother's economical plan to have the Boondoggle's three bridges be of the same design as the well regarded West 7th Street Bridge.

J.D. Granger was stung bad by this embarrassing revelation. Many thought this should have been the final straw which got him fired. But, a smoke screen of nonsense was thrown up. Among the misinformation J.D. Granger spewed in defense of his mistake was the claim that the West 7th Bridge had piers in the river. Which is not true, which is clearly illustrated in the America's Biggest Boondoggle Unravels As Trinity River Vision Scandals post.

For some reason renowned design expert, J.D. Granger got it in his frat boy head that V-piers would be just the ticket to make the channel promenade something special. Unlike that well regarded West 7th Street Bridge design.

Just a couple days ago we blogged about the decade old video of the Trinity River Vision model of the diversion ditch and the three bridges. That model does not show V-piers supporting the bridges.

J.D. Granger's V-piers have been a engineering nightmare. Which makes the two reasons the Riveron Review gives for the rejection of the West 7th Street Bridge design particularly specious and blatantly wrong.

Claiming the West 7th Street Bridge design would somehow impact and weaken other structures, and such a design change would require the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the design, you know, like what has been missing from the current project, which is one of the reasons for the cut off of federal funding.

And to claim using this obviously superior West 7th Street Bridge design, instead of the tacky V-pier design, would add years to the project timeline, well that claim is beyond embarrassingly stupid.

The V-pier design bridges are now in year five of slow motion construction, with the current project timeline having the bridges possibly completed in the next decade.

Yes, one can clearly see how using a proven good design, such as the West 7th Street Bridge design, already spanning a river channel, would take way way way way longer than J.D. Granger's  non-signature, non-iconic, V-pier bridges.

Has the West 7th Street Bridge weakened other structures near it? No? I didn't think so.

And once again let's repeat it is Time For J.D. Granger's Forensic Job Performance Review...

Monday, August 12, 2019

Good Reason For Creepy Obsession With J.D. Granger

I wrote the following last month whilst trying to make my way to Arizona, and then forgot about it til this morning...

Recently we learned an oxymoron minion, and fellow minions of the Fort Worth Way, were of the opinion we have a creepy obsession with J.D. Granger and his assignation history, including supposedly soliciting a TRV mole to get into paparazzi mode at J.D. Granger's nuptials, which apparently took place last February on an island near Cancun.


Those minions also feel J.D.'s office hanky panky is no one's business, and making public comments about this is just a terribly creepy thing to do.


First off, I only came to know of what went on inside the offices of the TRVA because someone privy to the office situation was not happy about it. Felt it was morally and ethically wrong, and felt those paying the bills, as in the Fort Worth public, needed to know.

The person telling me about it felt J.D. Granger created a hostile work environment, you know, one where someone has an affair with the married boss, and then seems to get work benefits, as in promotions, trips and such. Well, such behavior would get most bosses fired, or held to account in some manner.

But not in the nepotism corrupted Tarrant Regional Water District, or its offspring, the Trinity River Vision Authority, of which J.D. Granger was made the Executive Director, with zero qualifications for such a position, but given the job because he is the son of a local congresswoman who it was hoped would be motivated to get federal pork barrel funds funneled to Fort Worth.

J.D. Granger is paid over $200,000 a year, plus benefits and other perks. For doing a job which if it was done by a professional qualified project engineer would have been long over, as in J.D. Granger's sweetheart pork barrel high paying job would be no more, and he would have had to go back to being a low paid low level district attorney.

But, J.D. Granger has actually said, I think it was to NBC News, that he intends to keep working on the Panther Island project until it is completed. And then retire.

How many executive director project engineers are able, with mother's help, to milk a single public works project til they retire?

So, yeah, I guess I do have a sort of J.D. Granger obsession. I have long had a bad habit of when I see something I know is wrong, I tend to point out that fact.

However, I have also long thought the circumstance J.D. Granger found himself gifted with is not his fault. And how nice it is for him that he has been able to milk the public trough for so long.

It is Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Way, as in a town rife with corruption, which is the real problem, and is the real reason J.D. Granger was given such a job, for which it is now clearly obvious he was not qualified to do, and is the reason I make mention of the J.D. Granger Scandal at regular intervals.

Because the J.D. Granger Scandal is a symptom. Why would the people of a town put up with such an obvious case of corruption?

Boggling and perplexing.

And creepy, real creepy...

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Hank Frank Shocked Reaction To Elderly FUD

Incoming text message from my Favorite Nephew Joey this afternoon, which included the photo you see here, and the following message...

"Henry's facial expression when I told him how old you are. Happy Birthday, FUD."

In  a little over a month little Hank Frank will be one year old.

Not even a year old yet and I am already Hank Frank's Favorite Fuddy Duddy.

Looking at this photo it looks like Hank Frank is practicing for his walking debut.

This morning, before church, leaving ALDI, I called Hank Frank's great grandma, Miss Daisy, in Arizona, to do my annual wishing her a happy birthday.

When one is one of a dozen siblings, give or take a sibling or two, one learns not to make much of a big deal over a birthday, unlike some people do.

I have long been of the opinion that it is the birthing mother who should be getting happy birthday messages, not the one who got birthed.

I realize my opinion on this matter is not widely subscribed to.

I learned yesterday that David, Theo and Ruby are planning on taking their parental units to Arizona for Thanksgiving in a couple months.

It sure would make for a mighty fine time if Hank Frank flew his parental units south during that same time frame. Add Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's Uncle Jason and we would be having ourselves one mighty fine family reunion.

That is if I were to also show up...

Decade Old Scale Model Trinity River Vision Video Irony

Last night on YouTube, for mysterious reasons unknown to me, a video showed up among the YouTube video recommendations, tailored for my viewing preferences, with that recommended video being over a decade old.

Published by the Trinity River Vision on April 1, 2009.

A decade seems like a long time for a vitally needed flood control project to not have completed that vitally needed flood control project. Which would seem to indicate that vitally needed flood control was not vitally needed after all.

I wonder how all those property owners who had their property taken by the Trinity River Vision's eminent domain abuse feel now, over a decade after their property was taken for the imaginary public good.

One would think an imaginative lawyer could conjure quite a legitimate fraud case against the Trinity River Vision at this point in time.

Below is the dating info from YouTube which accompanied this video.
The video itself seems bizarre after all these years, touting what now seems to totally be imaginary wonders of what any honest person knows is a failed vision.

In the video there is bragging about this scale model of the imaginary island and the diversion ditch being one of the biggest such models ever built.

In the model we see water flowing under what are now known as the Panther Island bridges. The video does not show these bridges as being built upon V-piers. But the video does show the bridge piers in the model, being in the water filled ditch.

And at one point the model demonstrates how those bridge piers are designed not to impede the flow of litter careening down the Trinity River when it is in flood mode. How bizarre.

Also, one can not help but wonder how much was spent building this model of the imaginary wonders of the imaginary flood control plan? Such info is of the sort one hoped would be part of the Riveron Review of the mess which has become America's Worst Boondoggle. But, the Riveron Review turned out not to be any sort of forensic audit.

So, we did not learn how much money J.D. Granger has been paid over all the years he has been Executive Director of this mess. Or how much "extra" money J.D. Granger has been paid past the time such a project should have been completed, if managed correctly, such as what happens in non-corrupt, modern cities in America.

J.D. Granger has actually publicly admitted he plans to stick with the Panther Island gravy train until it is completed, and then retire.

Watch the jaw droppingly embarrassing Trinity River Vision video below. In that video you will see a young version of J.D. Granger, before a decade of boondoggling stress has noticeably aged him...

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Where Do You Think David, Theo & Ruby Took Us On Their Latest Adventure?

Three incoming emails this morning, coming in from David, Theo and Ruby.

Each of the three emails had photos attached, with no explanatory text.

But, the third email did ask the following question...

"At which pic did you figure out today’s adventure?"


This first pic is the one you see here of the trio about to board a Washington State Ferry.

There is a ferry dock in Tacoma from whence one floats to Vashon Island. I figured that is not the ferry we are seeing here, due to the second photo not showing a scene one sees from the ferry to Vashon, on either the Tacoma or the island side.

With the second photo I thought the scene looked familiar. Port Townsend? Did the trio have their parental units drive up Hood Canal and the Olympic Peninsula to board the Port Townsend ferry to Whidbey Island.

And then it was the next photo which had me fairly sure I knew where the trio's most recent adventure took them.

I don't know why, for sure, but when I saw the above driftwood fort photo I thought to myself, it was Port Townsend in the second photo, and this is the beach at Fort Casey.

The photos in the second email confirmed I did correctly figure out where the trio was adventuring.

That is Ruby jumping high on the open plain above the Fort Casey fort.

The photo above pleased me. Theo is deep inside the Fort Casey fort. I can see some major restoration has taken place, on the floor and via paint. During all the years I had fun at Fort Casey the fort, for the most part, was left in natural ruins mode, with some improvements, but mostly left in its ruins of a fort state.

Another example of the newly polished up Fort Casey, with one of the guns and its surrounding enforcement looking all freshly restored.

There are multiple of these lookout type towers at Fort Casey. The funnest games of hide and seek I ever played were played at Fort Casey. Or was it just playing tag and chasing my siblings? I don't precisely remember, other than the fact that Fort Casey was always super fun. There are hidden scary areas, with pitch black passageways. A dropped and broken flashlight could produce trauma. Or if a brother turned off a flashlight at key times to scare his little brother

The steps you see the trio on here are one of many which took one in and out of the depths of Fort Casey.

It takes a long time to explore all of Fort Casey. There are two big gun emplacements dug into the cliff which overlooks Admiralty Inlet. These are outside the main fort. One of those is not what Theo, David and Ruby are sitting on above.

Fort Casey is an early example of America building a defense system which soon became obsolete. Way back in the 1890s the narrow entry into Puget Sound, Admiralty Inlet was considered strategic to the defense of Puget Sound. So, three forts were built. Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, Fort Worden at Port Townsend. And Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island.

These fortresses were intended stop any incoming invasion. Construction began in 1897, completed in 1901, and then considered no longer an adequate defense soon thereafter, what with the advent of enemy battleships with improved weapons.

Fort Casey is now a state park, of the historical sort, full name Fort Casey Historical State Park. Fort Casey is located within an even larger park reserve, known as United States Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve.

Fort Ebey is north of Fort Casey, close to Oak Harbor and the current Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Fort Ebey was built in 1942 as a World War II Puget Sound coastal defense. Fort Ebey's remains are not nearly as elaborate as Fort Casey, but the gun bunkers can still be seen and explored. And the cliffs of Fort Ebey are way higher than the cliffs of Fort Casey.

Fort Ebey State Park was a frequent go to place for me when I lived in the neighborhood. Great hiking, with adventurous trails. And being in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, little rain, and somehow this results in something extremely odd to see growing in Western Washington.


I also recollect picking wild strawberries at Fort Ebey.

If I remember right the last time I was at Fort Casey was back in the 1990s. And on that visit exploring Fort Casey was not on the agenda.

On that day David, Theo and Ruby's cousin Joey and I parked at Fort Casey to ride our bikes on the ferry to Port Townsend.

Whilst at Port Townsend, Joey, who in addition to being the trio's cousin, is one of my many favorite nephews, and also the proud papa of Hank Frank, and I pedaled to Fort Worden.

If you have viewed the movie named An Officer and a Gentleman you have seen Fort Worden. After Fort Worden Joey and I explored around Port Townsend. At some point we heard the ferry whistle and made it back, barely, for the last sailing of the day.

That turned into one wild ferry ride. With Admiralty Inlet being somewhat narrow, as in less than four miles wide at its narrowest, this makes for some strong tidal action when Puget Sound is in extreme tidal change mode. When this happens the result is a rock and roll ferry boat ride where it is virtually impossible to walk the deck.

By the time we got back to Fort Casey the park was closed and there was a note from the ranger telling us he figured we were on the last ferry, to knock on his door and he'd open the locked gate for us. And so we knocked and the ranger kindly let us exit.

Last month whilst I was visiting Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's Grandpa Jake, in Arizona, we were lamenting all we missed, which we so often enjoyed, whilst living in the Skagit Valley of Washington. So close to so much good stuff that neither of us are anywhere near at the current point in time.

Some of the funnest times I have ever had were taking my four oldest nephews to various locations in Washington when they were kids.

It sure would be fun to take my two youngest nephews and my first favorite niece on some Pacific Northwest Adventures. Hiking Mount Baker and Tabletop Mountain comes to mind. As do the Ice Caves. And Washington Park in Anacortes (favorite nephews Chris and Joey used to call this Bunny Park) and then there is, well, I could go on, but I'm getting homesick...

Friday, August 9, 2019

What I Love About Fort Worth...

The following was written last month whilst I was stuck in limbo trying to fly to Arizona. I forgot about this, til today, along with another blog post I wrote whilst in the air, with that one being about the controversial Riveron Review of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Without further adieu, let's see what I love about Fort Worth...

A few days ago I made mention of the latest fiasco of the ongoing Panther Island mega fiasco which has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. Well, maybe not the Biggest Boondoggle, I should probably concede, as it has been pointed out to me that nothing regarding Fort Worth is the Biggest or Best at anything in America. Perhaps it would be more accurate to refer to the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision as America's Worst Boondoggle.

So, like I said, a few days ago I made mention of this fiasco after reading about a parking garage sinking which is part of the Encore Panther Island residential complex so highly touted as the first of many imaginary projects blooming on Fort Worth's imaginary island.

Well, apparently a guy named Dylan took some umbrage regarding what I have said, or say, about Fort Worth and its various shortcomings, like America's Worst Boondoggle, and so Dylan commented the following...

Dylan has left a new comment on your post "Will Panther Island's Encore Include Sinking Bridges?": 

The Panther Island Project has many issues, especially with the bridges that engineers are concerned about and contractors don't know how to build.

That said, many people would like to see the project as a whole come to fruition. Aside from Panther Island, there are many great things happening in this city. TEXRail is now open, a new arena is under construction (though it's a bit small), new hotels are under construction, and new residential buildings are being built throughout the urban core. There's certainly more happening in Fort Worth than in Wichita Falls.

So, I'm curious: Why do you hate Fort Worth so much? Is there anything positive you can say about the city? 

I shall try to help Dylan alleviate his curiosity.

Let's see if we can answer Dylan's probing question. Why do I hate Fort Worth so much? Well. I do not hate Fort Worth. Over my time of observing Fort Worth I have made note of a number of things which I do not think worthy of a modern era American city with a large population.

Let's just look at that first thing Dylan mentions in a la-de-da, no big deal way. Those three bridges, which Dylan tells us have been a bit of a problem because engineers have concerns, and the contractors do not know how to build the bridges which have been stuck in eyesore mode for years. And apparently the majority of the Fort Worth locals, and those who run Fort Worth in what is known as the Fort Worth Way, are okay with this, year after year after year.

Let's just start with why I have long given myself permission to say what I really think about Fort Worth, without doing any sugar coating. Early on I was offput by what I would characterize as false bragging. I would see this reflected frequently in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in what I came to call Green With Envy Syndrome, where that newspaper would have an article about something or someone and would claim that this that or the other thing was making towns far and wide green with envy, or give Fort Worth bragging rights, or some similar verbiage.

I found this bizarre. And then I soon also found myself personally experiencing longtime locals verbalizing what seemed to me to be totally delusional ideas about their town. This sort of struck me as some sort of be true to your school thing. That and some sort of civic inferiority complex and jealousy of Dallas, which is an actual world known town.

Let's take Sundance Square for example. When I moved to the DFW zone, signage in the downtown Fort Worth area pointed to Sundance Square. I had trouble finding a local who could tell me where this square was. Some thought it was parking lots by the downtown Chisholm Trail mural. After a couple years I learned that Sundance Square was the name given a multi-block downtown Fort Worth revitalization plan, with apparently no one realizing naming this Sundance Square, where there no square, was not a good idea.

And then after a couple decades of confusing the town's few tourists an actual square was built on those parking lots which had long been rumored to be Sundance Square, and then named Sundance Square Plaza.

Pointing out this non-existent square absurdity does not mean I hate Fort Worth, it means I find something goofy and not big city worthy.

And then there is a Fort Worth inept embarrassment such as the long closed, cyclone fence surrounded Heritage Park. A park supposedly celebrating Fort Worth's heritage. This has been a boarded up eyesore for over a decade, located at the north end of downtown, across from the Tarrant County courthouse. What sort of self respecting town would let such a thing go on, un-fixed, for so long? Pointing this out does not mean I hate Fort Worth.

The kid who pointed out the emperor wore no clothes, did not point this out because he hated the emperor. Instead the kid felt sorry for the emperor's embarrassing clueless naked condition and thought someone should mention it to him.

Same as pointing out that Fort Worth streets have few sidewalks, Fort Worth parks have way too many outhouses. And there are way too few parks for a city of Fort Worth's size. And way too few public pools.

And then add in the fact that Fort Worth charges an entry fee to its only two unique parks, those being the Fort Worth Refuge and Nature Center, and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Charging entry fees to two of a town's few parks is not worthy of a big city. Pointing this out does not mean I hate Fort Worth.

Oh, I almost forgot when Fort Worth's city government, under the corrupt leadership of mayor, Mike Moncrief, decided it was a good idea to make Fort Worth the world's first experiment in massive urban gas fracking. Where I lived in east Fort Worth this resulted in two nearby frackings, noisy, dirty, dusty frackings which no modern city would allow on such a massive scale within its borders.

During the period when Fort Worth was getting fracked the town was basically run by a shadow government of Chesapeake Energy, operating out of the Pier 1 Imports building.

And then there is that Boondoggle which Dylan indicates he and others would like to see come to fruition. I have never ever said I thought the concept of the Trinity River Vision was a bad idea. I have said the idea has never been properly vetted, as in analyzed and examined and discussed in public forums of various sorts.

Then sold to the public. Who then vote to approve the public works project after being convinced it is a good idea. Thus funding the project in the way such projects get funded in other areas of America. Just look a few miles east of Fort Worth to Arlington to see how such miraculous wonders occur.

For instance, since Fort Worth began trying to build three simple little (un-funded) bridges over dry land, voters in Arlington voted to build a new baseball ballpark, which is nearing completion.

Dylan makes reference to that new Fort Worth arena, kookily called Dickies. The vote to build this was typically Fort Worth goofy. Half the funding from private sources. Half from the public who somehow approved of their half by passing three separate bizarre ballot measures. With one measure approving a fee on event tickets, another approving a fee on livestock stalls, and another an add-on fee on parking.

This just is not a normal way to have the public vote to approve a public works project. Pointing out this obvious fact does not mean one hates Fort Worth.

Switching back to the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Pointing out the various absurdities of this Fort Worth embarrassment does not mean I hate Fort Worth. It is absurd that this boondoggle was foisted on the town's population as being a much needed flood control project. When the area in question has not flooded in well over half a century, due to levees long ago paid for by the rest of America. And if this were about actual needed flood control, why has the project not been actualized with any semblance of urgency?

And, might we add, there are actual serious flood control issues in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Deadly, property damaging flood issues in multiple locations.

Just look at what happens in the West 7th area when too much rain falls on that poorly planned new development.

Pointing out that Fort Worth is woefully lacking in the urban planning department does not indicate I hate Fort Worth.

When I moved to DFW, to the hamlet of Haslet, on the border with Fort Worth, huge tracts of open ranch land were all one saw, looking south to the teeny skyline Fort Worth barely poking the sky way in the distance.

It may have been 1999, maybe 2000, when Fort Worth had one of its many failures at luring a corporation to locate a facility in town. This instance was a HUGE Intel facility, to be built on land in the triangle formed when 287 exits I-35 on its way to Amarillo.

An overpass was built over I-35 as evidence of the effort Fort Worth would go to to please Intel, in addition to a lot of other perks. But, Intel went elsewhere, I believe to the town I am currently in, Chandler, Arizona. It does not take a rocket scientist to see why Intel would prefer this town to Fort Worth.

That new overpass was pretty much abandoned. I remember a period of time when a big pile of trash remained dumped on it for a long time.

And now, years later, the epic bad urban planning Fort Worth is infamous for is on full display at that location. Crossing that overpass over I-35 one now comes to a collection of stores, like Costco, Winco, Target, and many others. That is on the west side of the freeway. On the east side there is more development of the retail sort, including a mall.

Thousands of homes have been built on that open ranch land I saw when I was first in Texas.

And for the most part the roads are still in the same sad state they were in when I first drove them. North Tarrant Parkway, on its way to Highway 287 now goes around a poorly designed, un-landscaped, mess of a roundabout, which you exit to get on the same entry to 287 in the same bad condition it was in two decades ago.

I am appalled every time I see what has happened in that area of Fort Worth with which I was so familiar when I first moved to DFW. In modern America, like where I am right now, all that development, retail and residential, would had resulted after careful urban planning. Roads would have been upgraded, infrastructure, such as drainage, installed, parks built, and then the homes and businesses get built.

Pointing out the fact that Fort Worth lacks modern urban planning does not mean I hate Fort Worth. How many more kids are going to drown due to the increased water run off from all that poorly designed development?

I almost forgot that Dylan asked if there was anything positive I could say about Fort Worth. Well, over the years visitors visiting from the Pacific Northwest have unanimously been impressed by two Fort Worth attractions. The Fort Worth Stockyards and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

I have long thought Fort Worth sort of neglects the Stockyards. The lighting at night is terrible. The sidewalks are in bad shape in way too many places. And I've already mentioned Fort Worth is making a mistake now charging an entry fee to one of the town's few actual attractions.

I see I have gone long-winded with this, and boarding begins soon, if there is not another delay.

Before I close I want to make mention of another thing Dylan had to say, that being saying there is certainly more happening in Fort Worth than Wichita Falls. That comment came after Dylan mentioned the "great" things happening in Fort Worth, with those things being a new small arena under construction, new hotels under construction, new residential buildings and that TEXRail is now open.

TEXRail is a train link from downtown Fort Worth to the DFW airport, built on existing rail, covering about 20 miles. So, that and a few buildings under construction are great things happening in Fort Worth?

Well, let me point out to Dylan that Fort Worth is a town around 800,000 in population. Wichita Falls has a population around 100,000. Wichita Falls is still recovering from a multi-year drought which hit the town hard.

Wichita Falls has way more park acreage per town size than Fort Worth. And I have never seen an outhouse in a Wichita Falls city park.Wichita Falls has one public pool. For Fort Worth to have the same pool number, ratio-wise, Fort Worth would have eight public pools. Wichita Falls is part owner of a waterpark, Castaway Cove, thus making for a much less expensive entry fee than Arlington's Hurricane Harbor.

Downtown Wichita Falls has been making a lot of improvements since I first saw its rundown reality.

Unlike Fort Worth I have experienced no delusional verbiage about something ordinary in Wichita Falls being the envy of anyone. And, I like how Wichita Falls seems to have a sense of the town's history, its booms and busts, its ups and downs. I've detected zero false bragging in Wichita Falls about anything, well, there is that historical marker denoting the World's Littlest Skyscraper...